Preaching to Convert
Evangelical Outreach and Performance Activism in a Secular Age
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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More people than I can hope to account for helped me to envision, research, and complete this project. Scott Magelssen, Lance Gharavi, Carolyn Roark, Rob Shimko, Sara Freeman, Henry Bial, and Jody Enders all helped me—as editors and as friends—work through versions of and...
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Introduction: Tackling You to Change the World
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Suppose you knew something deeply, utterly true—not just a truth but the Truth, a life-changing, capital-T- type Truth. Imagine that you knew with every atom of your being that this Truth could set people free, save them from a certain doom, and lead them into a richer, fuller, life. What...
1: Performance Activism, Progressive Oversights, and Deep Differences
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Writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2005, critical and legal theorist Stanley Fish recalls a reporter asking him “what would succeed high theory and the triumvirate of race, gender, and class as the center of intellectual energy in the academy. I answered like a shot: religion.”1 A glance at recent publications from superstar critics on the progressive...
2: Positioning Secular Age Evangelicalism
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What’s going on with evangelicalism? Consider two perspectives on faith in the United States, one from an evangelical minister and one from a sociologist of religion. In the spring of 2009, Michael Spencer, an evangelical pastor and blogger known as “the Internet Monk,”1 posted a three-part series—part argument, part manifesto—entitled “The Coming Evangelical Collapse.”2 There Spencer...
3: Face to Face, Door to Door: Personal Evangelism and the Scandal of Salvation
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A young man, mid-to late twenties, dressed in a suit and tie, climbs the porch steps to knock on the door. As the door opens, the man introduces himself: “Hi, I’m Steven Anderson; I pastor Faithful Word Baptist Church.” Provided the person does not shut the door at that point...
4: Apologies and Apologetics: Meta-Kerygmatic Evangelism
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For the approaches I reviewed in the previous chapter, evangelistic effectiveness depends upon the miraculous power of the gospel message. Those strategies stress that the Holy Spirit, not the evangelist, works to convict and persuade prospects through kerygma, the plain proclamation...
5: Hell and Judgement: Houses of Distinction
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It’s 10:30 at night, the day after Halloween 2003. I’m standing in line outside of the Freedom Assembly of God Church in Tallahassee, Florida, to watch the congregation’s first annual Hell House.1 It is my first Hell House as well, and I am a little uncertain just what to expect. News...
6: Prepare to Believe: Performing the Evangelical Worldview at the Creation Museum
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I confess: I was taken aback by how professional it looks, this Museum, how slick. Past experience with conservative evangelical productions led me to expect something like hell houses: an earnest but awkward attempt at “science,” a sincere but threadbare facsimile of a secular discovery-center...
7: Staging Church, Marketing the Divine
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The video begins with a young couple pulling into a Starbucks. “So, are you nervous?” the young woman asks. “Because I haven’t been to a coffee shop since I was a little girl.” The storefront looms in the windshield. “At least you’ve been to a coffee shop,” her husband replies. Searching for a free space in the immense, comically crowded lot...
8: Change Is Possible: Exodus and the Opposite of Homosexuality
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It is mid-June 2009, and I am sitting in an ancillary chapel of the huge Sunshine Community Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At the podium is Alan Chambers, president and public face of Exodus International,1 the largest and oldest evangelical organization dedicated to helping...
Conclusion: American Grace and Evangelical True Believers
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have ended with an especially profound, intimate, and therefore scandalous model of evangelical conversion, describing ministries and people dedicated to transforming homosexuality (seen as a desire-based identity) into holiness (a faith-based practice of self). As Exodus’s ongoing...
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Page Count: 408
Publication Year: 2013