DISCOVERING AN EVANGELICAL HERITAGE by Donald W. Dayton

DISCOVERING AN EVANGELICAL HERITAGE

KIRKUS REVIEW

In this sketch of the 19th-century reformist roots of Evangelicalism, Donald Dayton comes to terms with his conservative religious background and education. Disaffected by the Evangelical churches' complicity in pro-war, anti-civil rights politics, he discovered that the reactionary stance of the Evangelical establishment betrays crucial elements of its own tradition. Significant figures and institutions in the revivalist movement championed such reform causes as the abolition of slavery, the liberation of women, and the achievement of social equity. Jonathan Blanchard, founder of Wheaton College, insisted that Christian preaching had to link Old Testament prophecy with New Testament evangelism in promoting God's Kingdom on earth--precisely the contrary of the spiritualist position now taken by Billy Graham and Christianity Today (the official Evangelical magazine), both Wheaton products. Oberlin, expressly created to advocate revivalism and abolitionism, committed itself from the outset to integrated education and even engaged in civil disobedience to help free slaves. Dayton speculates on why the reforming spirit died out, but the value of his book lies principally in showing progressive Evangelicals a heritage of social crusading.

Pub Date: Aug. 11th, 1976
ISBN: 0943575060
Publisher: Harper & Row