This Rebellious House: American History and the Truth of Christianity

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There was a day when the plausibility of Christianity was debated on a philosophical and metaphysical basis: Does God exist? Can a good God create and sustain a world marred by evil? Can peoples in all times and places take seriously the very particular claims made by and for Jesus Christ? Today Christianity is often challenged not from philosophy or metaphysics but from history. Rather than attack the supposed proofs of God’s existence, skeptics of all sorts (college professors, journalists, members of ethnic minority groups, women, and especially Generation Xers) are more likely to point to slavery, patriarchalism, mistreatment of Native Americans and other historical examples of Christian oppression as evidence that Christianity is either misguided or untrustworthy. These revisionist views of U.S. history, most prominently developed in the proposed National Standards for United States History, have recently captured the attention of the wider American public via reports on Nightline and in the pages of Time and several national newspapers. In This Rebellious House historian Steven Keillor meets the new challenges head-on. Examining events in the United States from Columbus to Clinton, he first disabuses us of the notion that our nation has ever been a genuinely “Christian” one. Then he focuses in turn on various political, economic and cultural policies or events (the Civil War, westward expansion) that are now often cited to “disprove” or “debunk” Christianity. Relying on essential Christian assumptions and on the best of contemporary historical scholarship, he refutes each of these challenges with a provocative, compelling and robustly pro-Christian reading of U.S. history. Here is a significant new resource for historians, students, Christians and all citizens of conscience caught in the crossfire of our nation’s current culture wars.

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