American Christian faith is slaveholder religion

Today is the launch day for Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s new book, Reconstructing the Gospel. I haven’t yet read the book closely, but I think it ought to be required reading for white evangelicals.

While its a general book, it attempts to give the reader an orientation to the historical antecedents of contemporary American evangelical faith–the emerging evangelicalism of the 19th Century.

Slaves in the Cotton Fields

Faced with the institution of Southern chattel slavery Nineteenth Century American Christianity developed three responses:

  1. The northern abolitionists rejected it and fought against it.
  2. Southern traditionalists defended it.
  3. There was also a third, mediating, approach that offered a qualified defense of slavery (I’ve written about it here).

According to Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove the traditionalists prevailed.

In Reconstructing the Gospel, he argues that the dominant Christianity of American evangelicals is slaverholder religion, a form of Christianity that developed in the attempt to justify the unjustifiable.

I hope to write at greater length about this important book, but I wanted to pass along this video introduction in the hopes that you’d go to your local bookstore and order it today!