Upcoming from Karl Giberson & Randall Stephens!
The Anointed: America’s Evangelical Experts
by Karl Giberson & Randall Stephens
Karl Giberson and Randall Stephens (associate editor, Historically Speaking) are looking critically and from a fresh perspective at the broad subculture of conservative evangelicalism. The book (under contract with Harvard University Press) examines the tendency of so many within the evangelical sub-culture to reject much of mainstream knowledge. The vision for this project has gone through several iterations seeking an effective approach to this complex topic that will be both constructive and illuminating.
Our key questions is: Why do individuals such as Ken Ham, Tim LaHaye, David Barton, and James Dobson have such extraordinary influence when they are not leaders in their fields?
(This tendency is particularly acute in the area of science, where vast portions of contemporary science are rejected in favor of an alternative creation, or intelligent design "science.")
These conservative Christian experts speak for and to home-schooling parents, ministers, Christian college administrators, and many more. Such leaders shape the worldview of millions in areas as diverse as science, theology, economics, psychology, and history.
In our book, which has the working title The Anointed: America’s Evangelical Experts we juxtapose the above leaders with their more legitimate evangelical counterparts—genuine authorities who largely conform to the standards of the academy and are recognized as leading scholars in their respective fields. This strategy allows us to locate the tension in our project within evangelicalism, avoiding the tendency to caricature the entire evangelical community as hostile to mainstream academia.
Our tactic will be to ask why so many evangelicals prefer Ken Ham to Francis Collins, Tim LaHaye to N. T. Wright, David Barton to Mark Noll, and James Dobson to David Myers.
Evangelicalism, we will argue, is certainly not monolithic. Yet regardless of the presence of credentialed, academic evangelicals in their midst, millions of believers still develop their own "in-house" criteria for truth, independent of and often hostile to mainstream ideas and scholarship.
We will conclude our study with a discussion of how the divide between non-fundamentalists and fundamentalists within evangelicalism might be bridged.
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