Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

A Nation with the Soul of a Church: How Christian Proclamation Has Shaped American History

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

A Nation with the Soul of a Church: How Christian Proclamation Has Shaped American History

Article excerpt

A Nation with the Soul of a Church: How Christian Proclamation Has Shaped American History. By O. C. Edwards (Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, 2013, Pp. xii, 366. $58.00.)

What would "a nation with the soul of a church" be like? G. K Chesterton was thinking of the Declaration of Independence, America's secular Decalogue, when he coined that phrase, but O. C. Edwards is more interested in the role of Christian faith in American history. Choosing nineteen representative men, no women, Edwards tells us their stories and analyzes one of their typical sermons. It is a useful exercise and ought to initiate a valuable conversation. The subtitle, however, "How Christian Proclamation Has Shaped American History," makes a claim that the book fails to substantiate. These sermons do indeed reflect aspects of American history and some may also have influenced it but readers are likely to come away from this book marveling that such things were once said and how quickly their moment passed. Jonathan Edwards and Billy Sunday, Henry Ward Beecher, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Billy Graham, and Martin Luther Kingjr. clearly belong in such a book, but one wonders how Peter Cartwright, Dwight Moody, Phillips Brooks, Walter Rauschenbusch, and Norman Vincent Peale were overlooked and whether Roman Catholics ought not to be represented by some more representative voice than the notorious Charles Coughlin? …

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