Expanding Perspectives on Evangelicalism: How Non-evangelical Students Appreciate Evangelical Christianity
Evangelical students pose a distinctive set of challenges to higher education professionals. These students, though advantaged to some degree because of their Christian identity, commonly report feeling marginalized and silenced on college campuses. In light of these tensions, the purpose of this study was to examine how non-evangelical students come to an appreciative understanding of evangelical Christianity. Specifically, the research focused on the specific campus conditions and experiences that influence non-evangelical students’ appreciative attitudes toward evangelicals. Findings reveal distinct demographic, institution type, and academic major differences in those students’ perspectives toward their evangelical peers. Additionally, the results suggest that appreciative attitudes toward evangelicals are associated with non-evangelical students’ interfaith experiences, albeit to differing degrees based on self-identified worldview. Recognizing that the work of helping non-evangelical students develop an appreciative understanding of evangelicals is as complicated as it is challenging, especially in the collegiate context, the authors conclude with a discussion of implications for research and practice.