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Megachurches and Social Engagement

Public Theology in Practice

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Mark J. Cartledge, Sarah Dunlop, Heather Buckingham and Sophie Bremner

This book is the first detailed academic study of megachurches in the UK. In particular, it explores the nature and significance of social engagement by megachurches in the context of London. The research contains empirical case studies of two Anglican and three African diaspora Pentecostal churches. As well as exploring the range of social engagement activities provided by these churches, the study offers explanations in term of theological motivations and the influence of globalisation. Subsequently, the book outlines the importance of the findings for the relationship between church and society in the contemporary context, addressing the implications for social policy and practice. The book advances discussions in public theology, megachurch studies, Pentecostal and Charismatic studies and ecclesiology.
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Karl Rahner, Culture and Evangelization

New Approaches in an Australian Setting

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Anthony Mellor

The situation of religious institutional diminishment in many Western countries requires new approaches to the proclamation of Christian faith. As a response to these complexities, Karl Rahner suggested a “mystagogic” approach as a future pathway for theology. A mystagogical approach seeks modes of spiritual and theological conversation which engage the religious imagination and draws upon personal experiences of transcendence and religious sensibility. In Karl Rahner, Culture and Evangelization: New Approaches in an Australian Setting, Anthony Mellor develops a reflective process of contemporary “mystagogia”, describing how different fields of engagement require different patterns of mystagogical conversation. While focussing on the Australian setting, these differentiate arenas of engagement are also applicable to other cultural settings and offer fresh perspectives for evangelization today.
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Marthe Hesselmans

In Racial Integration in the Church of Apartheid Marthe Hesselmans uncovers the post-apartheid transformation of South Africa’s Dutch Reformed Church. This church once constituted the religious pillar of the Afrikaner apartheid regime (1948-1994). Today, it seeks to unite the communities it long segregated into one multiracial institution. Few believe this will succeed. A close look inside congregations reveals unexpected stories of reconciliation though. Where South Africans realize they need each other to survive, faith offers common ground – albeit a feeble one. They show the potential, but also the limits of faith communities untangling entrenched national and racial affiliations. Linking South Africa’s post-apartheid transition to religious-nationalist movements worldwide, Hesselmans offers a unique perspective on religion as source of division and healing.
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Edited by Brian Grim, Todd M. Johnson, Vegard Skirbekk and Gina Zurlo

The Yearbook of International Religious Demography presents an annual snapshot of the state of religious statistics around the world. Every year large amounts of data are collected through censuses, surveys, polls, religious communities, scholars, and a host of other sources. These data are collated and analyzed by research centers and scholars around the world. Large amounts of data appear in analyzed form in the World Religion Database (Brill), aiming at a researcher’s audience. The Yearbook presents data in sets of tables and scholarly articles spanning social science, demography, history, and geography. Each issue offers findings, sources, methods, and implications surrounding international religious demography. Each year an assessment is made of new data made available since the previous issue of the yearbook.

The 2018 volume features a wide range of subjects, including approaches to measuring religious violence, religious changes in the Indian Subcontinent, religious demography in Lebanon, Baptism and Godparenthood in Catholic Europe, the relevance of social media data for religious demographic research, and the methodological and practical challenges of measuring religiosity in Turkey.

Contributors are: Todd M. Johnson, Gina Zurlo, Peter Crossing, Robert Brathwaite, J. K. Bajaj, M. D. Srinivas, Wissam Raji, Yves Rahme, Marc Zeinoun, Charbel Zeidan, Guido Alfani, Joey Marshall, Zubeyir Nisanci, Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa, María Concepción Servín Nieto.
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Practicing Safe Sects

Religious Reproduction in Scientific and Philosophical Perspective

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F. LeRon Shults

Where do gods come from – and what is the cost of bearing them? In Practicing Safe Sects F. LeRon Shults argues for the importance of having “the talk” about the causes and consequences of participating in religious sects. To survive and thrive as a social species, we humans are likely to continue needing some kind of sects (as well as sex) for quite some time. But can we learn how to practice safe sects? Can we live together in healthy and productive social networks without reproducing the superstitious beliefs and segregative behaviors that are engendered and nurtured by shared ritual engagement with imagined supernatural agents? In this provocative and timely book, Shults provides scientific and philosophical resources for answering these questions.
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Preaching a Dual Identity

Huguenot Sermons and the Shaping of Confessional Identity, 1629-1685

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Nicholas Must

In Preaching a Dual Identity, Nicholas Must examines seventeenth-century Huguenot sermons to study the development of French Reformed confessional identity under the Edict of Nantes. Of key concern is how a Huguenot hybrid identity was formulated by balancing a strong sense of religious particularism with an enthusiastic political loyalism. Must argues that sermons were an integral part of asserting this unique confessional position in both their preached and printed forms. To demonstrate this, Must explores a variety of sermon themes to access the range of images and arguments that preachers employed to articulate a particular vision of their community as a religious minority in France.
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Edited by Brian Grim, Todd M. Johnson, Vegard Skirbekk and Gina Zurlo

The Yearbook of International Religious Demography presents an annual snapshot of the state of religious statistics around the world. Every year large amounts of data are collected through censuses, surveys, polls, religious communities, scholars, and a host of other sources. These data are collated and analyzed by research centers and scholars around the world. Large amounts of data appear in analyzed form in the World Religion Database (Brill), aiming at a researcher’s audience. The Yearbook presents data in sets of tables and scholarly articles spanning social science, demography, history, and geography. Each issue offers findings, sources, methods, and implications surrounding international religious demography. Each year an assessment is made of new data made available since the previous issue of the yearbook.

The 2017 volume features a wide range of subjects, including religious demography in Botswana, Protestantism in Guatemala, life satisfaction in Japan, fertility rates in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the movement of Muslims from the Middle East to Europe.

Contributors are: Todd M. Johnson, Gina Zurlo, Peter Crossing, Muhammad Haron, Rachel M. McCleary, Robert J. Barro, Kimiko Tanaka, Jeong-Hwa Ho, Nan E. Johnson, Antonius Liedhegener, Anastas Odermatt, Michaela Potančoková, Marcin Stonawski, Anna Krysińska, Anaïs Simard-Gendron, Simona Bignami, Robert Dixon, Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa, and Maria Concepción Servín Nieto.
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Timothy T.N. Lim

Ecclesial Recognition proffers a framework for churches to accept the legitimacy and authenticity of each other as the Church in the dialogical process towards fuller communion. Typically, ‘recognition’ and its reception investigate theologically the sufficiency of creeds as ecumenical statements of unity, the agreeability of essential sacramentality of the church, and the recognition of its ministries as the churches’ witness of the gospel. This monograph conceives ecclesial recognition as an intersubjective dynamics of inclusion and exclusion amid identity formation and consensus development, with insights from Hegelian philosophy, group social psychology, and the Frankfurt School Axel Honneth’s political theory. The viability of this interdisciplinary approach is demonstrated from the French Dominican Yves Congar’s oeuvre, with implications for intra-Communion and inter-Church relations.

"Dr Lim examines philosophical recognition theory, group social psychology and political recognition theory to analyse the non-theological impasses confronting the whole ecumenical movement." - Rev Dr Trevor Hoggard, Director English-speaking Ministries, Methodist Church of New Zealand.

"Lim masterfully argues for the viability of an interdisciplinary approach to ecumenical recognition within communities, among churches, and in their common pastoral mission.” - Fr. and Professor Radu Bordeianu, Duquesne University, and Orthodox theologian, Representative of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh, and Assistant Priest of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Pittsburgh.

“This book makes an important contribution to ecumenical ecclesiology.” - Rev. Dr and Professor Sandra Beardsall, St Andrew’s College, Canada and United Church of Canada Ordained Minister.

“I find Dr. Lim's work a solid and necessary contribution to ecumenical work around the world.” - Rev. Dr. and Professor Dominick D. Hanckle, Regent University, and priest of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches.

“With penetrating analysis and creative suggestions, this monograph takes the talk about ecumenical recognition in a new level.” - Professor Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, University of Helsinki.


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Mark J. Cartledge

In Narratives and Numbers: Empirical Studies of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity Mark J. Cartledge provides a rich set of essays on key themes in Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity. Using empirical research methods drawn from the social sciences he interrogates his originally gathered data by means of theology and sociology. These studies address such issues as glossolalia, prophecy, spirituality, gender and the family, the doctrine of the Trinity, socialization, altruism and the practice of healing. Collectively they provide original insight into one of the most vibrant forms of Christianity today. Additionally, these studies model how empirical research in religion can be bought into conversation with theological discourse. The findings of this research can be used by scholars and students from different perspectives and disciplinary contexts.
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Liquid Ecclesiology

The Gospel and The Church

Pete Ward

In Liquid Ecclesiology Pete Ward explores the theological contours of the turn to ethnography in the study of the Christian Church. His approach rests on a theology of culture that holds in tension and paradox the expression of the Church and divine presence. This theological framework is then developed through an extended qualitative empirical case study examining the communicative practices of the contemporary evangelical Church. The case study examines how the evangelical Gospel through expression has become marginalised in the everyday life of communities being replaced by a new more individual and personalised theology seen in worship songs. The final section of the book returns to the debates around ethnographic forms of theology and the question of normativity. This book will be of interest to all those engaged in empirical and theological work, as well as those researching the contemporary Church and evangelicalism