Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Twelve Lies That Hold America Captive by Jonathan Walton

This was a hard book for me to read. Not because of the author's writing style, that was fine. It was because of the subject matter. I am a white female evangelical Christian. I was shocked by the honesty of Walton's thoughts and feelings about the United States and its previous and current political leaders. Reading this book may be the closest I'll ever get to understanding the experiences of an Ivy League educated black Christian in America.

One of the lies Walton identifies is saying the United State is a Christian nation. He does a great job of showing that many actions taken by national leaders in the past and now are not “Christian” by any means. He also points out that calling the United States a Christian nation neutralizes the only people actually capable of critiquing the nation – followers of Jesus. (Loc. 451/2867) Christians have exchanged the mantle of truth and justice for the mantle of political power and have compromised their integrity.

And that is only the first lie. Another is identifying the slaves brought here against their will as “immigrants.” (Ben Carson's first address to federal workers, March 6, 2017.) (Loc 471/2867) Other lies he identifies include that we are a great democracy, that we are the land of the free and the brave, that America is the greatest nation on earth, and more.

Walton is not afraid to name irresponsible Christian leaders who have bowed to political power at the expense of their faithfulness to the gospel. He is not afraid to point out where the church has denied the Savior for the gain of worldly power and influence. He calls Christians to task for promoting what he calls white American folk religion, a far cry from true Christianity.

I highly recommend this hard hitting book. I must say I did not understand all of it. Walton's experiences and thoughts are so very different from mine. I did not agree with everything he said. However, I did see the United States through another person's eyes, a valuable experience indeed.

It would be a great book for a group study. Walton has included questions for discussion or personal reflection at the end of each chapter. He also includes a number of exercises for further reflection and action in Appendixes. You must be willing to have your eyes opened to the truth of what has happened and is happening in the United States, seen through the eyes of a black Christian.

You can find out more about the book and watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Jonathan Walton is an area ministry director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's New York/New Jersey region. He previously served for ten years as director of the New York City Urban Project. He has been named one of Christianity Today's 33 Under 33, won a Young Christian Leaders World Changer Award, and was honored as one of New York's New Abolitionists. He lives with his wife and their daughter in New York City.

InterVarsity Press, 224 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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