The Gospel and Religious Freedom
Historical Studies in Evangelicalism and Political Engagement
Imprint: Baylor University Press
Sales Date: 2023-06-30
238 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.69 in
- Published: July 2023
- Published: July 2023
For Professors: Exam Copies
Religious freedom as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains a perennial concern across the globe. Over the centuries many evangelicals have not enjoyed this right in practice, but they have generally advocated its acceptance, especially to allow the spread of the gospel. Not always, however, have they supported freedom for religious groups besides themselves, and sometimes they have endorsed discrimination against other bodies.
The Gospel and Religious Freedom explores the complex relationship in theory and practice between evangelicals and religious freedom, covering periods from the eighteenth century to the present. The volume includes studies of the intellectual lineage of asserting the free exercise of religion, of evangelicals in the United States who endorsed religious liberty in the early twentieth century, and of recent American evangelical political pressure on behalf of freedom of religion at home and abroad. Other contributions address the evangelical defense of the cause in British territories in the age of William Wilberforce, the apparent threat to religious liberty by Roman Catholics throughout the world, an evangelical attempt to restrain Muslim laws in Nigeria, and the persecution of believers by Communists in Eastern Europe and China.
Evangelical Christians emerge as preeminently concerned with evangelism, but in other respects they are diverse in their responses to challenges in various global regions. This volume is designed to demonstrate something of the significance of the evangelical movement in the history of the modern world.
While this volume’s contributors take varied positions on the highly contested relationship between evangelicalism and religious freedom, they transcend the political tribalism of our moment. The result is a meaningful dialogue, which also tells a tale wide-ranging in historical period, denominational tradition, and, most significantly, its global reach. Well-established protagonists in this story are seen through different lenses, socially as well as culturally, and new characters become part of an often-vexatious plot. This absorbing anthology of essays inspires me to reimagine the Dawson Institute’s work in sustaining the distance between Church and State and how it might better examine the concept and challenge of religious liberty in other parts of the world.~Elizabeth Flowers, Associate Professor of Religion and Director of the J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies, Baylor University
This welcome book complicates and clarifies a subject of enduring significance. With contributions from both senior historians and younger scholars, and with coverage extending to many places in the world, it complicates by expanding attention beyond just the United States and its recent political controversies. Clarification comes as the chapters demonstrate that, while 'evangelical' does designate a recognizable religious position, it is imperative to examine local contexts carefully before trying to explain the relationship between evangelicals and religious freedom. It is a welcome book indeed.~Mark Noll, author of America’s Book: The Rise and Decline of a Bible Civilization, 1794-1911