Wednesday, 5 December 2012

New Review of Enlightened Evangelicalism

A friend recently alerted me to a new review of Enlightened Evangelicalism by Hoon Lee in the most recent edition of Themelios. This is very thorough review of the book, including even my summary of Erskine's adoption of a Christian form of Stoicism.

Here is a taste:

Enlightened Evangelicalism is a wonderful addition to other works that have skirted around the present subject matter but have never addressed Erskine in a suitable manner. Yeager's work goes beyond Richard Sher's Church and University in the Scottish Enlightenment (1985) by addressing the evangelical involvement with the Enlightenment. The work accompanies books that attempt similar thinking but with other Christian figures such as Henry Rack's Reasonable Enthusiast: John Wesley and the Rise of Methodism (1989) and Josh Moody's Jonathan Edwards and the Enlightenment (2005).

While being the definitive work on Erskine, Yeager's book is much more than a standard biography. Yeager taps into the study of the book trade and its impact on theological and ecclesiastical issues during the eighteenth century. The study also adds light to the Transatlantic Awakening and the rise of evangelicalism. Especially profitable is Yeager's discussion of eighteenth-century evangelicalism and the Enlightenment. Although he may fail to convince Sorkin and particularly Israel that Erskine was an active member of the Enlightenment, by showing how Erskine utilized Enlightenment thinking Yeager does complicate the issue of the Enlightenment. More importantly, Yeager illustrates a successful example of Christian participation with critical thinking and creatively incorporating new methodologies into orthodox theology. Erskine's ministry is a testament to Christian humility based on countless hours of encouragement through letters, generous financial support through books, and the dissemination of Christian ideas through the promotion and criticism of other authors. Through clear prose and strong research, Yeager brings to light Erskine's thankless endeavors during the early stages of evangelicalism.

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