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Holding On to the Faith: Confessional Traditions and American Christianity Paperback – October 3, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0761841326 ISBN-10: 0761841326

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of America (October 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761841326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761841326
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #515,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Underrepresented in the canon of American religious historiography, confessional traditions have yet to receive sufficient critical consideration for the role they have played in the narrative of Christianity in the United States. This noteworthy collection of essays opens up that dialogue and provides a superb entry point into the developing conversation about what it means to be "confessional" in America. (Lawrence R. Rast, Jr., Academic Dean, Concordia Theological Seminary)

At a time when evangelical Protestantism and Global Christianity seem to be the wave of the future, a reminder that American Christianity's roots were largely European is crucial for historical perspective on the contemporary church. By exploring the Old World background to New World Christianity, the essays in this book make important contributions. . . . Holding On to the Faith is a much needed addition to the study of American Christianity in much of its variety. (D.G.Hart, Intercollegiate Studies Institute)

Holding on to the Faith offers a provocative reconsideration of the tensions between confessional identity and cultural relevance in American churches. The editor's introduction and conclusion provide perfect framing for essays that probe a revealing set of juxtapositions: confessional doctrine and lived religious practice, creedal claims and pluralistic social norms, historic identities and individual experience. The cumulative insights of this book surprise and inform. It illuminates the importance of confessional tradition and raises engaging questions about how today's churches ought to recover the meaning of Christian witness in a culture otherwise devoted to the whims and fashions of popular sentiment in America. (Mark Valeri, E.T. Thompson Professor of Church History, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia)

This important book explains the ongoing importance of the "old", European-based churches that define themselves by written confessions of faith. Its treatment of major Christian movements is particularly useful for gauging what has been lost and gained as these confessional churches interact with distinctly American patterns of life. The editing, the insights, the scholarship, the discernment—all are simply superb. (Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame)

The book as a whole makes two arguments, both of which the editors lay out effectively in the introduction and conclusion. (Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture)

About the Author

Douglas A. Sweeney is Professor of Church History and the History of Christian Thought and Director of the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. A specialist in American Christian history and theology, he has published books on the eighteenth-century minister Jonathan Edwards, the New England Theology, and evangelicalism. Charles Hambrick-Stowe, Academic Dean and Professor of Christian History at Northern Seminary, is the author of several books and numerous articles on American religious history from the colonial period through the nineteenth century.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An interesting book that turns the tables on the "standard" approach to the history of American Christianity ("Why did a marketplace-friendly evangelical style of Christianity come to dominate the American religious scene?") by asking the contra question ("How is it that confessional-based denominations and traditions managed to survive in an America dominated by a market-driven Christianity embodied most particularly by the evangelical movement--usually eclipsing the strength and vitality of their Old World expressions by the 20th-century?"). A very capable group of scholars including James Moorhead, Robert Bruce Mullin, James Bratt, Mary Todd, Christopher Shannon, and James C. Juhnke examine this phenomenon via a case-study approach for the Catholic, Lutheran, Anabaptist, Reformed, Anglican, and Orthodox. A must-have for any scholar, clergy, or layperson interested in the long-term trajectory of their tradition in the United States.
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