Saturday, May 13, 2023

Testimony by Jon Ward Book Review

About the Book:

Jon Ward's life is divided in half: two decades inside the evangelical Christian bubble and two decades outside of it.

In Testimony, War tells the engaging story of his upbringing in, and eventual break from, an influential evangelical church in the 1980s and 1990s. Ward sheds light on the evangelical movement's troubling political and cultural dimensions, tracing the ways in which the Jesus People movement was seduced by materialism and other factors to become politically captive rather than prophetic.

A respected journalist, Ward asks uncomfortable but necessary questions, calling those inside and outside conservative Christian circles to embrace truth, complexity, and nuance. He recounts his growing alarm and grief over the last several years as evangelical conservatives attacked truth, rejected personal character, and embraced authoritarianism and conspiracism. He shares his search for a faith that embodies the values he was taught as a child.

Ward's experience and reflections will resonate with many readers who grew up in the evangelical movement as well as all those who have an interest in the health of the church and its impact on American life. 

You can read an excerpt here.

My Review:

I read this book in my ongoing effort to understand the last presidential elections and the current state of the evangelical church.

I appreciate the first part of the book as Ward remembers his youth. It was a walk down memory lane. That section of the book is good for readers who would like to know about the Christian culture of a couple of decades ago.

I also appreciate his insights into what happened so that Christians would lose touch with reality, get caught up in conspiracy theories, abandon moral principles and truth, and believe lies. It was a problem that was decades in the making. “The church had failed to train its members in exercising discernment.” (208)

This is a good personal account of being raised in a conservative Christian culture and then seeing many leaders abandon Christian principles and much of evangelical Christianity lose its way. 

About the Author:

Jon Ward is the chief national correspondent at Yahoo! News. He has covered American politics and culture for two decades, including as a White House correspondent traveling aboard Air Force One and as a national affairs correspondent writing about two presidential campaigns. He is the author of Camelot's End: Kennedy vs. Carter and the Fight That Broke the Democratic Party and hosts The Long Game podcast. Ward has written for the Washington Post, the New RepublicPoliticoVanity FairHuffPost, and the Washington Times and lives in Washington, DC. Photo Credit: © Lawrence Jackson

Brazos Press, 256 pages.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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