Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 115

BOOK REVIEWS Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of this chapter (ch. 3) is the contention that King cannot be properly understood unless one recognizes a version of Evangelicalism as part of King’s vision. Heltzel examines King through the lenses of Bebbington’s quadrilateral and the Evangelical characteristic of trans-denominational populism; King is revealed as one who regards the Christian life as a taking up of the cross in pursuit of the kingdom of God. “Living with the love of Christ meant complete identification with the poor and oppressed” (69). The chapter on Carl F. H. Henry (ch. 4) highlights a struggle to have a socially engaged Evangelicalism that has “world relevance.” This includes the pursuit of social justice, including the question of race. While many are familiar with Henry’s Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism (1947), Heltzel also brings to our attention A Plea for Evangelical Demonstration (1971) as an expression of prophetic Evangelicalism, a work that gestures toward the kind of politics emblematic of the civil rights movement. While it is clear that Henry desired to address racism, his own theological vision did not prove adequate for the task. Without realizing it, Henry was ensnared in the logic of the ‘half gospel’ that characterized twentieth-century white evangelicalism, focusing its primary energies on personal evangelism and relationships, never able to fully integrate ministries of social justice” (87). Henry’s approach emphasized the conversion of individuals with the hope that transformation within the person would lead to social change. The next four chapters demonstrate the contrast between the legacies of King and Henry expressed institutionally. The chapter on Focus on the Family (ch. 5) presents a helpful overview of the central concerns of James Dobson’s ministry with an emphasis on how political concerns are tied to the central mission of nurturing the family. It is interesting to note Heltzel’s contention that Dobson’s Nazarene heritage leads to an emphasis on “healing” (in terms of the family), in addition to other traditional Evangelical emphases. Heltzel maintains that on the issue of race, Focus on the Family has made significant improvements in the recent decade; one major reason for this is the influence of Bishop Harry Jackson, who met Dobson and Tony Perkins (head of the Family Research Council, one of two political organizations founded by Focus on the Family). While Jackson has significantly increased their sensitivity to racism and helped facilitate strategies of reconciliation, there remains an emphasis on individual change without a clear commitment to addressing structural/systemic sin. The subsequent chapter on the National Association of Evangelicals (ch. 6) traces the background of this denominationally diverse and conservative 117