This fall, a hardcover nonfiction book Reading Evangelicals will explore five famous Christian novels. Christianity Today news editor Daniel Silliman revealed the book cover and description on Jan. 25:
— Daniel Silliman (@danielsilliman) January 25, 2021
Reading Evangelicals will survey bestselling Christian-made fiction, focusing on these titles:
- Love Comes Softly
- This Present Darkness
- Left Behind
- The Shunning
- The Shack
Of those titles, three are considered fantastical in genre: contemporary supernatural thriller This Present Darkness, end-times thriller Left Behind, and supernatural-fiction-meets-sermon The Shack.
Eerdmans, which is publishing Reading Evangelicals, intros the book this way:
Who are evangelicals? And what is evangelicalism? Those attempting to answer these questions usually speak in terms of political and theological stances. But those stances emerge from an evangelical world with its own institutions—institutions that shape imagination as much as they shape ideology.
In this unique exploration of evangelical subculture, Daniel Silliman shows readers how Christian fiction, and the empire of Christian publishing and bookselling it helped build, is key to understanding the formation of evangelical identity. . . .
Reading Evangelicals ultimately makes the case that the worlds created in these novels reflected and shaped the world evangelicals saw themselves living in—one in which romantic love intertwines with divine love, in which humans play an active role in the cosmic contest between the divine and the demonic, and in which the material world is infused with the literal workings of God and Satan. Silliman tells the story of how the Christian publishing industry marketed these ideas as much as they marketed books, and how, during the era of the Christian bookstore, this—every bit as much as politics or theology—became a locus of evangelical identity.
Read more at the Eerdmans book listing for Reading Evangelicals, releasing Oct. 5, 2021.