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Evangelicals, Evolution and Inerrancy: a comparative study of congregational boundary work

Unsworth, Amy, Ecklund, Elaine Howard (2021) Evangelicals, Evolution and Inerrancy: a comparative study of congregational boundary work. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 36 (2). pp. 199-221. ISSN 1353-7903. (doi:10.1080/13537903.2021.1945752) (KAR id:76780)


A number of evangelical Christian denominations and networks uphold a specific doctrine of scripture stating that the Bible is the “inerrant” word of God. Those who adhere to biblical inerrancy tend to reject literary interpretations of the creation accounts in the Bible and therefore to reject evolutionary theory. Indeed, evolution rejection frequently functions as a key boundary for biblical inerrantists that must be strictly maintained. In this comparative study, we analyse interview data and other materials to uncover the mechanisms by which evolution rejection as a boundary is strengthened, maintained or weakened within two evangelical church congregations that adhere to biblical inerrancy: one in London, U.K., and one in Texas, U.S. We find significant differences in boundary work between the two congregations and consider how the interplay of three factors, namely: 1) orientation of the congregation (internal or external), 2) religious context (minority or majority), and 3) boundary salience, may lead to boundary strengthening or weakening.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/13537903.2021.1945752
Uncontrolled keywords: evangelical, inerrancy, creationism, Intelligent Design, Richard Dawkins, Ken Ham, boundary work
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Amy Unsworth
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2019 09:39 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 16:32 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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