Sheler, Jeffery L. 1949(?)-
Sheler, Jeffery L. 1949(?)-
Born c. 1949, in Grand Rapids, MI. Education: Graduated from Michigan State University, 1971; Georgetown University, M.A., 1994.
Writer, journalist. United Press International, journalist, c. 1971-79; U.S. News & World Report, religion reporter, 1979-2003; freelance journalist, 2003—. Contributor to Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly, Public Broadcasting System (PBS); frequent guest on radio and television programs, including Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Crossfire, and John McLaughlin One on One.
Religion Newswriters Association (secretary-treasurer and former president).
Apologetics Book of the Year award, Christianity Today, 2000, for Is the Bible True? How Modern Debates and Discoveries Affirm the Essence of the Scriptures.
Is the Bible True? How Modern Debates and Discoveries Affirm the Essence of the Scriptures, HarperSanFrancisco (San Francisco, CA), 1999.
Believers: A Journey into Evangelical America, Viking (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including Smithsonian and Reader's Digest.
Jeffery L. Sheler originally intended to be a minister, but he also had an interest in world affairs, so after graduating from college he became a journalist. He has managed to incorporate his interest in religion into his chosen career, becoming a prominent journalist who has specialized in covering religious issues. From 1989 to 2003 Sheler was the first full-time religion reporter at U.S. News & World Report. While at that magazine, Sheler wrote more than thirty-five cover stories devoted to religious topics, causing a dramatic expansion in the amount of space that U.S. News & World Report devoted to religious stories.
Sheler's book Is the Bible True? How Modern Debates and Discoveries Affirm the Essence of the Scriptures provides "a complete, concise, and reliable overview" of archeological evidence for and current scholarship about the historical accuracy of the Bible, according to Library Journal contributor Eugene O. Bowser. Sheler covers six separate debates, ranging from whether or not the Exodus actually occurred to the true identity of the historical Jesus. Sheler "brings to his task an admirable ability to write lucid prose without technical jargon," D.A. Carlson wrote in Christianity Today. Although the topics covered could be considered controversial, Sheler "rel[ies] on his journalistic sense of balance" and "deftly presents the arguments side by side, allowing lay readers to decide for themselves if the Bible is true," a reviewer noted in Publishers Weekly.
In Believers: A Journey into Evangelical America, Sheler examines the issues and stereotypes surrounding the influential Christian faith group that includes some sixty million people. To research the work, Sheler—a former Evangelical himself—interviewed Saddleback megachurch pastor Rick Warren, visited Wheaton College, a Christian liberal arts school in Illinois, and attended the annual Creation Festival in Pennsylvania. Though Christianity Today reviewer Douglas LeBlanc noted that the author "retains a clear affection for the culture that nourished his early faith," he added: "Sheler frequently questions evangelicals' involvement in fractious culture-war issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and sexual morality." "I'm not trying to polish the image of evangelical Christianity," Sheler told Sarah Price Brown in the Dallas Morning News. "I'm just trying to do what I've always attempted to do as a journalist: turn a light on in a dark corner, expose life for what it is." According to a Publishers Weekly contributor, Sheler "does an excellent job capturing the complex diversity within this conservative faith movement."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Atlantic Monthly, October 1, 2006, "God and Country," review of Believers: A Journey into Evangelical America, p. 126.
Booklist, November 15, 1999, Ilene Cooper, review of Is the Bible True? How Modern Debates and Discoveries Affirm the Essence of the Scriptures, p. 582.
Christian Century, October 4, 2003, "Newsmagazines Cut Slots for Religion," p. 15.
Christianity Today, May 22, 2000, D.A. Carson, review of Is the Bible True?, p. 87; November 1, 2006, Douglas LeBlanc, "No Theocracy Here," review of Believers, p. 99.
Dallas Morning News, December 4, 2006, Sarah Price Brown, "Evangelicals: ‘Your Next-door Neighbor,’" review of Believers.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2006, review of Believers, p. 829.
Library Journal, November 15, 1999, Eugene O. Bowser, review of Is the Bible True?, p. 74.
News & Observer (Raleigh, NC), November 3, 2006, Yonat Shimron, "Explaining Evangelicals."
Publishers Weekly, October 25, 1999, review of Is the Bible True?, p. 71; August 14, 2006, review of Believers, p. 198.
U.S. News & World Report, December 23, 1995, profile of Jeffery Sheler, p. 5.
Village Voice, September 21, 2006, Emily Weinstein, "Salvation Army," review of Believers.
Jeffery Sheler Home Page,http://www.jefferysheler.com (June 1, 2007).