I recently asked Larry Eskridge why he chose to write about Larry Burkett (see "When Burkett Speaks, Evangelicals Listen, " p. 44).
"I wanted to find out what evangelicals on the popular level do with the Bible and finance," Eskridge said.
"But that was too big a bite to chew."
So he asked what popular figure had the most systematic approach to finances and the greatest entrée to the evangelical public. Larry Burkett was the obvious answer.
"I started looking around, and I found that nothing but a few short magazine articles had been written on him," Eskridge said.
"Certainly no academic studies."
So following his nose for evangelical popular culture, Eskridge decided to write the first major academic paper and the first major magazine article about Burkett. Has Eskridge really written the first major article on Burkett? Our own Internet search turned up a lot of material by Burkett, a few brief debunking efforts, and a lot of sites selling Burkett's books and other materials. One of the debunkers labeled Burkett the
"Bill Gothard of so-called Christian finance" and concluded that his seminars are "the latest satanic 'wile' to entrap historical separatists-fundamentalists in the neo-evangelical net."
Caveat investor. Eskridge is associate director of the Wheaton College–based Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals (ISAE). When reporters, historians, and social scientists call Christianity Today to ask background questions about American evangelicals, we try to answer their questions and then frequently refer them to our friends at ISAE. ISAE director Edith Blumhofer has specialized knowledge of American Pentecostalism (see, for example, her book Aimee Semple McPherson: Everybody's Sister, published by Eerdmans in ...1
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