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Andrew Wilson on How the Year 1776 Shaped the Post-Christian West

There’s one big idea at the heart of Andrew Wilson’s remarkable new book, Remaking the World: How 1776 Created the Post-Christian West (Crossway). He argues that more than any other year in the last millennium, 1776 made us who we are today in the West. 

I suppose many Americans are now thinking, Of course! The Declaration of Independence! Ron Swanson says history began on July 4, 1776. But wait, didn’t Andrew just say the post-Christian West? What does he mean? 

Andrew demonstrates a lot of courage writing about 1776 as the teaching pastor of King’s Church London. But a key point of his book is that the American Revolution was just one of many world-changing events and ideas crossing and recrossing the Atlantic in and around 1776. He argues the battles were less important than the words. Human rights; free trade; liberal democracy; religious pluralism; the preference for authenticity over authority, choice over duty, and self-expression over self-denial—Andrew traces it all back to 1776.

Ron Swanson might not be right that history began on July 4, 1776. But Andrew does argue that 1776 separates us from the past. He writes, “The vast majority of people in human history have not shared our views of work, family, government, religion, sex, identity, or morality, no matter how universal or self-evident we may think they are.”

In Andrew’s telling, the West is full of Protestant pagans, and Christians are victims of our own success. A fellow of The Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics, Andrew joined me on Gospelbound to talk about his favorite stories and his fervent hopes. If you enjoy this episode, then you’ll love Andrew’s new podcast with Glen Scrivener called Post-Christianity?

You can watch Andrew’s keynote address at TGC23 on Exodus 32 or his microevent on 1776, and read a profile of him and his family from Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra. Andrew also filmed a mini documentary, “The One Edit That Changed History.”

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