The Making and Unmaking of an Evangelical Mind: The Case of Edward Carnell

2057887Edward John Carnell (1919-67), philosopher-theologian and president of Fuller Theological Seminary, played a singularly influential role in the emergence of mid-twentieth century Protestant evangelicalism out of the fundamentalism that had developed early in the century.  Although his significance was widely acknowledged both within and outside the evangelical tradition, he paid a severe price for this recognition—overtly as the object of scathing criticism from right-wing opponents and internally as the victim of a psychological breakdown.

Through the lens of Carnell’s personal struggle, this book offers a provocative view of the larger cultural tensions, unleashed by new modes of secular thought, that challenged the framework of American religious life during the middle years of the last century.

Cambridge University Press, 1987


“Rich in incisive criticism of the ‘evangelical mind’”
Journal of American History

“…an excellent example of the way in which biography can provide an angle for historical, cultural, and theological commentary.”
Religious Studies Review

“Few more revealing studies of this kind of Evangelical can have been written. Professor Nelson handles his subject with sympathy but pulls no punches…This is a fascinating commentary on recent religious history.”
Expository Times (England)

“Carnell’s story, skillfully told here, vividly demonstrates the strength and weakness of Evangelicalism in the American mode.”
Times Literary Supplement (London)

“Even those who puzzle from afar over how evangelicals make and unmake their minds will find this account extremely valuable.”
Christian Scholar’s Review