“Evangelical Paradoxes: American Evangelicalism and the Destruction of American Christianity”: A Book Proposal
It seems that my book proposal still can’t find a home at a major christian publisher. I have tentatively entitled it “Evangelical Paradoxes: American Evangelicalism and the Destruction of American Christianity.”
I must admit this is a tough book proposal and hard critique of the state of American Christianity and American Evangelicalism. As a Christian and follower of Jesus Christ, I lament over the state of American Evangelicalism, American Christian Leadership, and the dynamics between American Christianity and American Culture and Politics. In its present condition, American Evangelicalism is a deeply wounded system and worldview. It is heartbroken!
* If I can’t get this book published by a major Christian press like #Eerdmans, #FortressPress, #Zondervan, #IVPAcademic, etc…I will probably not publish it.
In “Evangelical Paradoxes: American Evangelicalism and the Destruction of American Christianity,” Dr. Celucien L. Joseph advances the courageous claim that American Evangelicals have destroyed Christianity in America, and that Evangelicals are Christianity’s worst enemy. In other words, the enemy is within. As a result, American Evangelicals have not only produced many atheists in the American culture, they have been and are trapped in a cultural war and politico-ideological worldview that question the integrity of the Gospel of transformative grace and correspondingly the enduring meaning of Biblical Christianity in contemporary American culture and life. Moreover, the world of American Evangelical is characterized by serious conflict, tension, and resistance to biblical discipleship. Contemporary American Evangelicalism is not an optimistic faith nor is it a culture that has the power to confront responsibly, ethically, and christianly the challenges and pressing needs of America’s 21st century culture.
In this critical analysis of contemporary American Evangelicalism, Professor Joseph highlights ten major issues or critical factors, what he phrases, “evangelical paradoxes” and “evangelical contradictions” to not only demonstrate how Evangelicals engage culture, politics, ethical issues; they also represent a major crisis in contemporary American Evangelical thought, leadership, and Evangelical practice. Accordingly, (1) American Evangelicals zealously defend the life of the unborn and in the womb, but are reluctant to protect and defend life after birth; (2) They claim that abortion and homosexuality are moral issues that all Christians should reject, but undermine major ethical or moral issues such as war, poverty, hunger, racism, the exploitation of workers by big corporations, etc., (3) They fervently preach Jesus’ pacifist teachings, but support U.S. military invasion in the world or in Third World countries; (4) They despise the cruel empires of the Biblical era that led to the suffering, humiliation, and forced exile of the Israelites—the chosen people of God—and eventually the death and persecution of countless Jewish and Gentile Christians in the Roman Empire, but do not renounce American imperialism and European neocolonialism in the world that contribute to greater suffering, poverty, and countless death in the world; (5) They passionately preach the unconditional love of God to all people, but support racist politicians and bigot leaders; (6) They believe that it is a Christian duty to care for the poor, feed the homeless, and welcome the immigrant, but vote politically against the poor, the homeless, and the immigrant. Or they become allies with lawmakers and politicians who created (intend to create) policies against the welfare of underprivileged families and the poor; (7) They claim that they are not citizens of this world and do not need the world’s power to succeed, but sell their soul and compromise their faith to pursue political power and to have cultural influence; (8) They believe that it is a Christian duty to evangelize and win the lost for Christ such as the Muslims, but sees their neighboring Muslims in the United States as a threat to Christianity and an enemy to American democracy; (9) They give sacrificially to international missions and even send missionaries on both short and long term missions in foreign and distant lands such as black countries in Africa, Jamaica, or Haiti, but maintain segregated churches and defer the project of racial reconciliation and harmony in contemporary American society and churches; and (10) finally, American Evangelicals eagerly announce the fatherhood of God to all people, but approve of America’s foreign policy that dehumanizes peoples who have been created equally in the image and likeness of God.
While the current state of contemporary American Evangelicalism is depressing and seems hopeless, as described above, the book makes a clarion call to Evangelical Christians, churches, and leaders to uproot itself from cultural attractions and the pursuit of political power and influence in the American culture. The imperative call is to biblical Christianity and faithfulness, and to relentless commitment to hospitality, justice, and care for the poor, the afflicted, and the needing neighbor in our midst. The Message of Jesus is the antithesis of Political-Bourgeois American Christianity. We need to stop assuming that American Cultural Evangelicalism is synonymous with Biblical Christianity. In other words, an American Cultural Evangelical is not (or should not be) equated with being a follower of Christ. It is time to divorce Biblical Christianity and American Cultural Evangelicalism.
Evangelical Paradoxes: American Evangelicalism and the Destruction of American Christianity is divided in three equal parts, and each part consists of three chapters. Each represented chapter is an attempt to deal carefully with the ten evangelical paradoxes and contradictions noted above. The final part of the book provides biblical solution to the predicament of contemporary American Evangelicalism. This twenty-first century is a critical time in American history for American evangelicalism to rethink in a revolutionary sense about its ethical framework/system and reconsider itself both as a religious movement and liberation movement that also values life after birth, and prizes equally the demand for justice, peace, dignity, respect, love, unity, reconciliation, and democracy for all. American Evangelical contemporary ethical system is not “thick” and rigorous enough to confront the pressing human needs of contemporary American society and the radical transformation of the human condition and nature in these urgent times. The peril of the Evangelical mind is inevitably its unreadiness to face critically and responsibly the changing American culture. In the same line of thought, the danger of Evangelical theology is its inadequacy to be relevant to the culture and values of the “millennial” generation.
The word of democracy & the work of democracy are not inseparable. The democratic life becomes meaningful and attainable whenever the rhetoric of democracy contributes to social change and pushes humanity forward together to explore and actualize future hope and emancipative possibilities.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part I. American Evangelicalism and the International Conflict
The Message of Jesus vs. Political-Bourgeois American Christianity
The American Flag is Not Christian, and Christianity is not America, but It is
okay to celebrate the Flag!
The Predicament of White Evangelical Scholarship and Evangelical Theological
Education: Radical Reconciliation for a New Christian Community
Part II. Human Dignity, Race, Culture, and the Politics of Respectability and Civility
Trumping Evangelical Christianity and the Rejection of King Jesus
Evangelical Ethic: Racializing the Poor, the immigrant, and the Meaning of Life
Is Black or Brown Life Sacred? The Desecration of Black or Brown Life and the
Silence of American Evangelicals
Part III. American Evangelicalism and the Promise of the Gospel
How deep is Evangelical Love?
How Now Shall We Live Together and Gently? A Biblical and Theological Perspective
Jesus: An Old Story for a Dying American Evangelical Christianity, Desperate Humanity, and Disoriented World!