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Homespun GospelThe Triumph of Sentimentality in Contemporary American Evangelicalism$
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Todd M. Brenneman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199988983

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199988983.001.0001

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You Are Special: The Anti-Intellectualism of Sentimental Evangelicalism

You Are Special: The Anti-Intellectualism of Sentimental Evangelicalism

(p.51) 2 You Are Special: The Anti-Intellectualism of Sentimental Evangelicalism
Homespun Gospel

Todd M. Brenneman

Oxford University Press

Because evangelicals have relied so heavily on Scottish Common Sense philosophy for understanding the world and encouraging people to moral action, contemporary evangelicals have encountered intellectual challenges to their worldview. Sentimental evangelicals like Max Lucado and Rick Warren, however, have sidestepped these challenges by turning to emotion as a source of authority. The sentimental understanding of the world allows evangelicals to claim their religion is true because it feels true. This anti-intellectualism and reliance on emotion are evident in the sacralization of the ordinary in evangelicalism. God favors the ordinary and the common. Because this is God’s concern, doctrinal differences and the elitism of intellectual approaches to faith should be avoided. Yet the reliance on emotion has allowed some evangelicals, like Rob Bell, to challenge traditional doctrines in the movement.

Keywords:   Sentimentality, Scottish Common Sense philosophy, Anti-intellectualism, Max Lucado, Rick Warren, Rob Bell

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