This Rebellious House: American History and the Truth of Christianity,by Steven J. Keillor (InterVarsity, 368 pp.; $24.99, paper). Reviewed by John Wilson.
The assault on Christian belief in our colleges and universities takes many forms. One of the most potent is via courses in American history, where professors routinely blame Christianity for a multitude of injustices—and thereby suggest that its truth-claims are worthless. Steven Keillor's reinterpretation of American history is explicitly intended to counter such anti-Christian polemics. But his book does not take the form you might expect.
On the one hand, Keillor draws heavily on the revisionist scholarship of the past 30 years—scholarship that emphasizes the dark side of American history. So there is a good deal here about slavery and racial injustice, patriarchy, and the insidious force of capitalism (which functions in Keillor's narrative as the demonic powers might in the writings of a third-century Christian chronicler). Moreover, Keillor emphatically rejects American exceptionalism. The United States, he argues, was not founded as a Christian nation, nor is its history privileged in comparison to that of other nations. (Don't hold your breath waiting for the Family Research Council to endorse this book.)
On the other hand, Keillor speaks forthrightly about God's providence and human rebellion against God's plan in a manner shunned by many prominent evangelical historians, let alone your typical thoroughly secularized academic, who would be likely to regard such pronouncements as if Keillor had suddenly started talking about UFOs in the middle of an exposition of the the Monroe Doctrine. The result is a fresh and provocative reading of American history ...1
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