Sex, Lies, and Life on the Evangelical Edge

Philip Yancey's books have sold more than 5 million copies internationally. His books include Rumors of Another World (2003), Soul Survivor (2003), Reaching for the Invisible God (2000), The Bible Jesus Read (1999), What's So Amazing About Grace? (1998), and many others; he was an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine when this article appeared. Philip Yancey was interviewed by Sojourners editor-in-chief Jim Wallis in Washington, D.C.

Sojourners: Your books have been very successful in the evangelical world. You're able to ask questions that challenge evangelical orthodoxies. How do you do that?

Philip Yancey: I myself have been surprised at what I can get away with. When I sent off the manuscript of What's So Amazing About Grace? I said to my wife, Janet, "That's probably the last book I'm going to write for the evangelical market." It's got a whole chapter on Mel White, who's now a gay activist, and it's got a whole chapter on Bill Clinton, who's not the most favored president of evangelicals.

Instead, it will probably be the best-selling book I've written. Part of it is, maybe through media bias, we typecast evangelicals unfairly. There are some evangelicals out there that don't see things through a grid that The New York Times may put on us. I push the edges at Christianity Today, probably—they come back and say, "Do you really want to say this?"

Growing up in fundamentalism I learned how to talk to fundamentalists—basically, just quote the Bible at them. I am not radical. Jesus is radical!

Sojourners: You write about what you're interested in, what you're struggling or worrying about, so your writing becomes a way to think through issues that are on your mind and heart.

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Sojourners Magazine February 2004
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