Faith of the Founders (My Review of John Fea in the Christian Century)



3 comments
Paul Harvey

I was very happy that the Christian Century asked me to review John Fea's Was America Founded as a Christian Nation: A Historical Introduction -- and even more glad they gave me relatively ample space (over 1200 words anyway, better than the average review) to develop some thoughts on John's book. The review is here. Here is an excerpt, and then continue at the jump:

Faith of the founders

Was America founded as a Christian nation? No, is John Fea's answer to the question posed in his title. But the answer is yes if we consider how Americans (especially from 1789 to 1865) understood themselves as a Christian nation. And then again, maybe it's just a bad question, Fea concludes, because it arises not from a rich understanding of the past but from present-day polemics. Only when we remove it from that context can we begin to make sense of it.

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3 comments:

Edward J. Blum at: June 5, 2011 at 3:24 PM said...

I assigned this book for my fall seminar "Is the United States a 'Christian Nation'?" I'm excited to read it and see what students in southern California think of it and the topic.

Tony Gill at: June 6, 2011 at 9:28 PM said...

We here at Research on Religion podcast -- the one that Matt Sutton appeared on -- will have an interview with John Fea the week of June 27. We will follow that interview up on July 4 with Mark David Hall talking about the Calvinist (Reformed) influence on the Founders. The two interviews set up a nice historical debate.

I reveal my own answer to the "Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?" during the Fea interview.

By the way, we also thanked your website at the beginning of our current podcast with Karrie Koesel on house churches in China.

Tony Gill
www (dot) researchonreligion (dot) org

Tony Gill at: June 6, 2011 at 9:32 PM said...

We here at Research on Religion -- the podcast that Matt Sutton recently appeared on -- have a forthcoming interview with John Fea about this book. It will air on our website on June 27. We have a good discussion that goes beyond the paramenters of the book and I reveal my own answer to the question of whether or not the US was founded as a Christian nation. We also talk about just war theory and I ask John whether or not he would have picked up arms during the Revolutionary War.

We follow Fea's interview with Mark David Hall on July 4. Hall looks at the Calvinist (Reformed) influence on the Founders, with specific reference to Roger Sherman, and comes to a different conclusion than Fea. The two podcasts make for a good debate.

BTW, we also mentioned your blog at the beginning of our podcast with Karrie Koesel this week. She talks about Chinese house churches.

Tony Gill
www (dot) researchonreligion (dot) org

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