Wednesday, June 29, 2016

American Creation Helps Keep Scholars and others Honest on America's Founders' Religion

Long story short. Back in February an historian from Biola named Susan Lim wrote a more or less fair and good article on the topic for "Christianity Today." Like David McCullough, she left out John Adams' unitarianism from the story, giving the impression he was a "Puritan." A PhD named Matthew Hunter caught this and contacted her. And he cited both me and co-blogger Tom Van Dyke (you can read Dr. Hunter's post to find out which America Creation posts he cited). John Fea tells us about it.

I think David McCullough is a fine scholar. Perhaps he wrote on Adams with a disinterest in the finer theological details of things and expected his popular audience to share that disinterest. The readers of "Christianity Today" and scholars at Biola aren't, I don't think, supposed to share such disinterest. Dr. Lim followed the same path that the pious pastor named Joel Mark I discussed the issue with years earlier in that linked to AC post did: Read David McCullough's account of John Adams and assume he was a pious Christian of the Puritan persuasion.

(As for the title to Dr. Lim's article, she noted this about Alexander Hamilton's faith: "Like most faith journeys, Hamilton’s ebbed and flowed between skepticism and belief." She could have elaborated further that while he rose to fame and did his "work" founding the nation he wasn't an orthodox Christian, but that "other" in between category. He didn't convert until after his political life came crashing down and his son died.)

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