Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Populist and cosmopolitan evangelicals

Here’s a great Pew transcript featuring Hanna Rosin, author of God’s Harvard, and Michael Lindsay, author of Faith in the Halls of Power. They offer a richly nuanced survey of the contemporary evangelical scene (though I have to confess that some of the nuance doesn’t show up until TWS’s Terry Eastland begins asking his characteristically well-informed questions.

For me, the crucial question is the character of Lindsay’s "cosmopolitan evangelicalism" (noted here). Is it simply or largely stylistic (focusing on how to be "winsome" in a pluralistic society) or does it bring with it some intellectual sophistication (either in terms of philosophical and theological depth or in terms of an integration and accommodation with "the world")? In the past, some evangelicals (perhaps more properly called fundamentalists) worried about how "intellectualism" inevitably led people away from faith. It surely can do that, but it also strikes me that, absent a self-conscious engagement with a rich intellectual tradition that provides sufficient resources for relection and "self-defense," people who go out into the world will almost inevitably surrender to it.

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