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Christianity in the Twenty-first Century: Reflections on the Challenges Ahead [Kindle Edition]

Robert Wuthnow
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

In the year 2000--and beyond--what will the church be like? What challenges will it face? Will the church be able to provide a strong sense of community? Will it be an ethical force in the lives of Americans? And what role will religion play in politics and in the marketplace?
In Christianity in the 21st Century Robert Wuthnow reflects on these provocative questions as he seeks to identify changes that are taking place now in American society that churches must address if they are to remain vital in the future. He foresees five critical areas--institutional, ethical, doctrinal, political, and cultural--in which major challenges will arise, then meets the thorny issues head-on. How will churches' resource bases, their very identity, and their capacity to carry on their spiritual traditions be altered? till they continue to function as sources of caring in a needy world? What impact will the resurgence of fundamentalism have, and how will moderate and liberal congregations react? How will the political activities of churches influence their capacity to be heard in the public arena, and what will the impact be of pluralism and the prevailing materialism of our society?
Drawing on a wide range of first-hand observations and research, Wuthnow demontrates that in each of these five areas people of faith have strong reasons to enter the next century with confidence in their religious institutions. But he also highlights worrisome signs, and points to specific areas that need to be addressed to ensure the continuing vitality for Christianity in America--not least among these are the rampant individualism that erodes spiritual communities and the religious infighting that diminishes the Christian sense of unity.
The onset of a new millennium affords a historic opportunity to take stock of the present situation and to plan for the future--in the years ahead, much reflection is likely to occur about all our major institutions. Christianity in the 21st Century aims to contribute to those reflections by offering a sobering, realistic, and ultimately hopeful assessment of where the church is now, and where the church is headed.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wuthnow, a social science professor and director of the Center for the Study of American Religion at Princeton University, suggests that the eve of the millennium is an ideal moment to consciously address the role of Christianity in the nation's public life in the next century. In addition to facing the problems posed by AIDS, environmental pollution and nuclear weapons, the author argues, the church can expect internal challenges. How will the concept of Christian community be affected by growing emphasis on multiculturalism, and by increasing numbers of those who profess faith but sever ties with religious institutions? Among other topics in this discursive and deeply thoughtful study: the future of fundamentalism and its significance in American culture; the transmission of ethics and values as the nuclear family declines; the role of Christianity in mediating age-old questions about economic disparities as prosperity becomes ever more elusive. Wuthnow combines personal stories with references to scholarly works and to current events, enhancing the relevance of each aspect of his study as he builds to his cautiously optimistic conclusions.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Wuthnow (social sciences and religion, Princeton) offers a believing sociologist's reflections on the role of the church in American society. Specifically, he examines five areas of challenge--institutional, ethical, doctrinal, political, and cultural--and argues that the church needs to consider how best to meet them. Emphasizing the church as community, he examines the role of religion in recent American history, especially fundamentalism and the religious right, in order to consider the kind of role religion can and should play in the future. Overall, Wuthrow offers a positive view of the future of the church. A worthwhile and thought-provoking book for those who take their Christianity seriously.
- Augustine Curley, Newark Abbey,
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3182 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (April 29, 1993)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0013PXO9A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,528,151 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Professional, appreciative, and far-seeing January 13, 2008
Wuthnow gives an unbiased study of where Christian churches are moving, or not, across the world. He studies where organizational and personal growth are happening, or not. His work compares with Tariq Ramadan's thought on the future of Islam, but Wuthnow is more social science and less philosophy. I like the highly professional approach.

The future Wuthnow sees is driven more by lay initiative. It involves spreading informal networks for learning, spiritual practice or social action, which increasingly reach across denominational, national, or ethnic lines. These as "webs of inclusion" are growing more independent in means and aims. The element of popular experimentation, less controlled by any central authority, seems on the rise. It is all quite fascinating.

-author of Correcting Jesus
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