Everything You Know about Evangelicals Is Wrong (Well, Almost Everything)

An Insider’s Look at Myths and Realities

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While evangelicals make up a significant portion of American society, they still constitute a mystery for many. They exert considerable influence on virtually every aspect of American life and culture, yet by those who don't appreciate them they're seen as rednecks, crypto-fundamentalists, and people without education. Wilkens and Thorsen contend that evangelicals are tired of being caricatured and provide an insider's look at myths and realities surrounding the movement. They winsomely and sometimes humorously assess the breadth and depth of evangelical beliefs, values, and practices, arguing that evangelicalism is identifiable by a family resemblance, vitality, and relevance that transcends particular theological and political stereotypes that arise inside as well as outside of it. The book provides a synthetic presentation of contemporary evangelical Christianity as well as critiques of it.


"Recent, sometimes vocal and strident, attempts to define evangelicalism in narrow ways won't work, and this book shows why. Evangelicalism is like a mixed salad: it all fits in the same bowl, but the individual ingredients retain their diverse character. The mixture of the ingredients makes it what it is. One of the best ways to help evangelicals today is to tell the truth and have fun doing it, and this book does just that."--Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University; author, The Blue Parakeet; blog.beliefnet.com/jesuscreed/

"This is a splendid addition to the literature on evangelicalism. It delivers a pungent and accurate antidote to the stereotypes that flood the popular airwaves and even the upper echelons of the academic world. It also provides extremely helpful insights for the future of the evangelical tradition."--William J. Abraham, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

"This is a wonderfully life-giving book that will inspire some with its magnetic draw to a broad and generous gospel. It will make others nervous as it breaks down divisive notions about evangelicals."--Kevin Mannoia, chaplain and professor of ministry, Azusa Pacific University

"Don Thorsen and Steve Wilkens have written a wonderful, nuanced book that unmasks the stereotypes that so often afflict evangelicals, both those outside the movement as well as the different factions within. At times hilarious, at times sobering, they roam the corridors of theological dissent that have kept an otherwise robust religious movement from achieving its complete contribution. The topics are interesting, based largely on stereotypes that afflict evangelicals and are perpetuated by unknowing adversaries. Although some of the topics may sound weird to non-evangelicals (especially the chapters on the rapture and Scripture) and non-Christians, there is much in this book that excavates the deeper recesses of our human longing for God that have taken on all manner of diverse expression. With nearly 100 million evangelicals in North America alone and upwards of 500 million (estimated) worldwide, this book will provide a helpful corrective to many misgivings about the nature and direction of the evangelical movement. Combined with the work of such notables as Philip Jenkins and George Barna, this book will help unmask the stereotypes that have afflicted evangelicals of all stripes. Drs. Thorsen and Wilkens are experienced professors and able authors who make a serious case in a lighthearted, enjoyable way. In the process, they invite us back into the camp and help us stay on track or get back on track with our own faith journey, an able goal for every aspiring evangelical!"--Dr. Gayle D. Beebe, president, Westmont College

The Authors

  1. Steve Wilkens

    Steve Wilkens

    Steve Wilkens (PhD, Fuller Seminary) is professor of philosophy and ethics at Azusa Pacific University and the author or coauthor of seven books.

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  2. Don Thorsen

    Don Thorsen

    Don Thorsen (PhD, Drew University) is professor of theology at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. His previous books include An Exploration of Christian Theology, What Christians Believe about the Bible, and The Wesleyan...

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