2009 is the 500th anniversary of the birth of Calvin, the Reformed theologian whose legacy has played such an important role in the shaping of modern South Africa.
The popular understanding of him as grim moralist, proponent of predestination and a tyrannical God is a caricature, but one that does spring from aspects of Calvin's legacy.
In this book, De Gruchy attempts to restate the Reformed tradition as a transforming force, one that opposed slavery and apartheid and that participated in the struggle for liberation and transformation in this country.
De Gruchy considers Christian humanism to be an alternative to both Christian fundamentalism and secularism, as "being a Christian is all about being truly human in common with the rest of humanity", and has come to the conclusion that there is much to retrieve and celebrate in the Reformed tradition that is of importance for the ecumenical church and global society in the 21st century.
The "evangelical" element in the title refers to the literal meaning of the word - "good news" - which is at the heart of being both Christian and human.
John W. de Gruchy
John de Gruchy is Emeritus Professor of Christian Studies at the University of Cape Town, where he taught for over thirty years. He is currently a Senior Research Scholar at the University of Cape Town and an Extraordinary Professor at the University of Stellenbosch. De Gruchy, who has doctorates in both theology and the social sciences, is author of The Church Struggle in South Africa and a number of other significant books.