Wayward Christian Soldiers: Freeing the Gospel from Political Captivity

Paperback | November 15, 2008

byCharles Marsh

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In Wayward Christian Soldiers, leading evangelical theologian Charles Marsh offers a powerful indictment of the political activism of evangelical Christian leaders and churches in the United States. With emphasis on repentence and renewal, this important work advises Christians how tounderstand past mistakes and to avoid making them in the future. Over the past several years, Marsh observes, American evangelicals have achieved more political power than at any time in their history. But access and influence have come at a cost to their witness in the world and the integrity of their message. The author offers a sobering contrast betweenthe contemporary evangelical elite, which forms the core of the Republican Party, and the historic Christian tradition of respect for the mystery of God and appreciation for human fallibility. The author shows that the most prominent voices in American evangelicalism have arrogantly redefinedChristianity on the basis of partisan politics rather than scripture and tradition. The role of politics in distorting the Christian message can be seen most dramatically in the invasion of Iraq, he argues: Some 87% of American evangelicals supported going to war, while every single evangelicalchurch outside the United States opposed it. The Jesus who storms into Baghdad behind the wheel of a Humvee, Marsh points out, is not the Jesus of the Gospel. Indeed, not since the nazification of the German church under Hitler has the political misuse of Christianity led to such catastrophic globalconsequences. Is there an alternative? This book proposes that the renewal of American churches requires a season of concentrated attention to faith's essential affirmations--a time of hospitality, peacemaking, and contemplative prayer. Offering an authentic Christian alternative to the narcissistic pietyof popular evangelicalism, Wayward Christian Soldiers represents a unique entry into the increasingly pivotal debate over the role of faith in American politics. "With Wayward Christian Soldiers, Charles Marsh again shows that he is one of the most astute observers of evangelicalism today." --Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics

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In Wayward Christian Soldiers, leading evangelical theologian Charles Marsh offers a powerful indictment of the political activism of evangelical Christian leaders and churches in the United States. With emphasis on repentence and renewal, this important work advises Christians how tounderstand past mistakes and to avoid making them i...

Charles Marsh is Professor of Religion and Director of the Project on Lived Theology at the University of Virginia. His books include Reclaiming Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Last Days, God's Long Summer, which won the 1998 Grawemeyer Award in Religion, and most recently, The Beloved Community: How Faith Shapes Social Justice, from the Civ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 5.12 × 7.91 × 0.79 inPublished:November 15, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019537603X

ISBN - 13:9780195376036

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"With Wayward Christian Soldiers, Charles Marsh again shows that he is one of the most astute observers of evangelicalism today. This is a passionate critique of how evangelical faith in America has been compromised by the political captivity of the gospel. His case study of evangelical support forthe war in Iraq in the face of almost universal opposition from the transnational church is one of the best I've seen. And his call for the church to refocus on the basics of faith - repentance, prayer, and peacemaking - is a very welcome one. This is a book that will help us move past partisanreligious politics to recover the Good News of Jesus." --Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics and president of Sojourners/Call to Renewal"'Wayward Christian Soldiers' is not only a provocative and stimulating call for change, it's a learning experience. Marsh is expert at providing the context needed to fully appreciate the ideas he is expressing, and this is especially important considering what's happening in the Christian worldnow."--Charleston Post and Courier"This is a well-thought-out treatise about the danger of letting a desire to fit in get in the way of righteous-ness."--The Hartford Courant"With the passion of a believer and the reason of a scholar, Charles Marsh has produced a brilliant manifesto for reclaiming Christianity from the Christian right. He is that most effective of critics, an 'inside agitator, ' relentless in cataloguing the trespasses of his co-religionists against the'truth' they profess." --Diane McWhorter, author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution"Wayward Christian Soldiers is a brave, unsettling tract for the times. From the heart of the evangelical world comes a prophet in the tradition of Barth and Bonhoeffer to confront his fellow Christians with the bracing Word of God. Charles Marsh directs his prophetic critique at his fellowevangelical Christians who have compromised their own convictions for the sake of political influence. But his words challenge all Christians to return to the fiery center of their faith in a God who challenges every political agenda and who calls Christians back to their most ancient tasks aspeople of peace and reconciliation." --The Very Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III, Dean of Washington National Cathedral"Provoking and confessing, making fascinating historical and global connections, Wayward Christian Soldiers is essential reading for American evangelicals and anyone concerned about faith and politics. Marsh is a public theologian for our time." --Mark R. Gornik, author of To Live in Peace: Biblical Faith and the Changing Inner City and Dean of City Seminary in New York