Guest / Limited Access /

Jesus Made in America: A Cultural History from the Puritans to the Passion of the Christ
Stephen J. Nichols
$20, 240 pages

Liberal scholars looking for Jesus remade him in their own image. So argued Albert Schweitzer in his landmark 1906 book, The Quest of the Historical Jesus. Fundamentalists cheered Schweitzer's critique even as they cringed at his own conclusion that Jesus was a failed prophet of the end times.

During the 20th century, evangelicals proudly turned back many such attempts to deconstruct the biblical Jesus. Yet if evangelicals today still regard Jesus Christ as true God from true God, fully God and fully man, they don't dwell on it. Their music, trinkets, DVDs, and movies market a Jesus who will hold you tight, model generosity, and tell you how to vote. So argues Stephen J. Nichols, research professor of Christianity and culture at Lancaster Bible College and author of Jesus Made in America: A Cultural History from the Puritans to the Passion of the Christ.

"Today's American evangelicals may be quick to speak of their love for Jesus, even wearing their devotion on their sleeve, literally in the case of WWJD bracelets," Nichols writes. "But they may not be so quick to articulate an orthodox view of the object of their devotion. Their devotion is commendable, but the lack of a rigorous theology behind it means that a generation of contemporary evangelicals is living off of borrowed capital."

Nichols's declension narrative begins with kind words for the Puritans. He shows how Jonathan Edwards, the Connecticut pastor who preached "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" in 1741, paired deep devotion to Jesus Christ with meticulous theology. He introduces readers to Edward Taylor, another Puritan pastor serving ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedHow I Escaped the Mormon Temple
How I Escaped the Mormon Temple
After being in the LDS Church for 30 years, I began reading the New Testament. What was there shocked me.
TrendingWhat to Give Up for Lent 2016? Consider Twitter's Top Ideas
What to Give Up for Lent 2016? Consider Twitter's Top Ideas
(UPDATED) Charting how Lenten abstinence has changed over time, as 2016 data comes in.
Editor's PickGod's Place in Black History
God's Place in Black History
Looking to the past provides direction for the current fight for justice.
Christianity Today
JesUSAves
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

September 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.