Foreword Review — Summer 2013
Informative book examines the social and political changes that are crafting a new breed of theologically conservative Christians.
Non-evangelical, Tom Krattenmaker is a religion columnist for USA Today. He is also the author of Onward Christian Athletes.
Drawing comparisons between the present state of the evangelical church and the King of Kings statue in Monroe, Ohio, that burned to the ground after being struck by lightning, the opening chapter, “Remaking Styrofoam Jesus,” gives many examples of “the continuing emergence of our new ‘post-Christian’ age.” While the traditionalists of the evangelical community chafe against the new ways of the younger generation, Krattenmaker says, history will confirm “that the new-millennium evangelical generation, those advertising their different ethos with tattoos and soul patches, their denim and sneakers, their quieter voices and more attentive ears, were the Christian believers who devised and implemented the correctives needed to help keep the two-millennium Jesus Movement alive for another go-round.”
Krattenmaker proceeds to examine how evangelical Christians have worked to form a positive relationship with city leaders and citizens in liberal Portland, how young Christians are rethinking evangelism and taking a more nuanced view that focuses on asking the right questions rather than mandating divine answers how Christians are questioning the unspoken and spoken assumption that the Christian faith is synonymous with the Republican Party.
The book closes with Krattenmaker’s honest look at the organization Focus on the Family, his conversation with the group’s leader, Jim Daly, and the polarizing issue of gay marriage.
The wonderfully informative notes section adds nuance and perspective to Krattenmaker’s statements and will aid in understanding his perspectives. His willingness to see things with new eyes is an admirable lesson for people on every part of the political, social, and religious strata.
The Evangelicals You Don’t Know aims for an audience of progressive non-evangelicals. Some Christians may feel on their guard as they begin, but the author’s honesty, humility, and research will put them at ease—even if they disagree with his conclusions. Readers of all faiths and backgrounds will see religion, in general, and evangelical Christianity, specifically, in a broader, more positive light through Krattenmaker’s research, experience, and insight.