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The Born-again Friar: American Evangelical Appropriations of Saint Francis of Assisi, 1972-2013
Paul R. Foth (author)Bruce L. Guenther (thesis supervisor)Robert K. Burkinshaw (second reader)Don M. Lewis (third reader)Trinity Western University GSTS (Degree granting institution)
Beginning in the late twentieth century, some evangelical Protestants in America turned to historic Catholic saints as inspirational exemplars of Christian faith. A surprisingly diverse range of American evangelicals appealed to Saint Francis of Assisi because he was perceived as a quintessentially authentic Christian. Saint Francis provided historical justification for some of these evangelicals’ own ideals of Christian discipleship, and served as an example for inspiration and emulation as they navigated contemporary American culture and the evolving evangelical movement. This thesis examines a range of American evangelical appropriations of Saint Francis of Assisi from 1972 to 2013, focusing on several sub-groups or movements within American evangelicalism. This examination of the evangelical reception of Saint Francis of Assisi contributes to a deeper understanding of evangelical Protestant interactions with Catholic spirituality, while also illuminating changing evangelical conceptions of what constitutes true Christian faith.
Francis, of Assisi, Saint, 1182-1226.Protestant churches -- Relations -- Catholic Church.Evangelicalism--United States--History.Christian life.