The more I read Bruce Shelley the more I like him. Dr. Shelley is the long-time professor of church history at Denver Seminary. This book is the best I have read yet. It addresses the question of why this generation is the way it is and gives a historical perspective of how the church has dealt with each generation.
Shelley divides American history into four traditions. The first is the biblical tradition existing before 1776 when the settlers and colonists were fervent in their desire to be governed with God’s will. The second is the republican tradition ushered in by the constitution. Shelley doesn’t look through rose-colored glasses at the founding fathers but sees them as moral men influenced by the older biblical tradition. The third is the economic tradition after the Civil war in which the industrial revolution produced the desire for material success. The last is the therapeutic tradition or our present post-war era. Of this age Shelley observes, ‘‘Our need is no longer salvation; it is healing.’’
I think this book is a must reading for serious observers of our generation.