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Re-Forming the Center: American Protestantism, 1900 to the Present Paperback – July, 1998

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 508 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (July 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802842984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802842985
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,014,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

At present, my research and writing focuses on two main topics: (1) the intersection of religion and higher education and (2) world Christianity.

Religion and Higher Education: No Longer Invisible: Religion in University Education (Oxford University Press, 2012), co-authored with my wife and fellow scholar Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen, is my most recent publication in this area of study. Drawing on conversations with hundreds of professors, co-curricular educators, administrators, and students from institutions spanning the entire spectrum of American colleges and universities, Rhonda and I illustrate how religion is constructively intertwined with the work of higher education in the twenty-first century. Religion in contemporary American life is incredibly complex, with religious pluralism on the rise and the categories of "religious" and "secular" often blending together in a dizzying array of lifestyles and beliefs. Using the categories of historic religion, public religion, and personal religion, No Longer Invisible offers a new framework for understanding this emerging religious terrain, a framework that can help colleges and universities--and the students who attend them--interact with religion more effectively. No Longer Invisible is part of the Religion in the Academy Project (RITA) that Rhonda and I co-direct (see www.religionintheacademy.org ). Other recent RITA publications include Scholarship and Christian Faith (Oxford University Press, 2004) and The American University in a Postsecular Age (Oxford University Press, 2008).

World Christianity: Christianity is the world's largest religion--roughly a third of the world's population is Christian (more than 2 billion people)--and the most widely disseminated. About 13% of the world's Christians live in North America, 27% live in Europe, 24% in Latin America, 20% in Africa, and 16% in Asia. In terms of faith and theology, Christianity can be divided into four main traditions. Roughly half the Christians in the world are Catholic, about 10% are Eastern Orthodox, 20% are classic Protestant, and 20% are Pentecostal or Charismatic. How all of this theological diversity is layered on top of the global expanse of Christianity in the 21st century is explained in my recent book The World's Christians: Who they are, Where they are, and How they got there (Wiley/Blackwell, 2011). I am currently beginning a new writing project dealing with world Christianity that is tentatively entitled Following Jesus: The Global Trek of a Middle Eastern Religion.

Other Areas of Interest: In addition to the topics mentioned above, I continue to be interested in the history of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement. See Thinking in the Spirit (Indiana University Press, 2003) and A Reader in Pentecostal Theology (Indiana University Press, 2006). And, as a theologian, I remain committed to explaining Christian beliefs and practices in ways that bend toward the gracious rather than the pugnacious. See Gracious Christianity (Baker Academic, 2006).

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Format: Paperback
This book could be considered either history or theology. It actually falls into the general category of Sociology of Religion. This is an excellent set of thoughtful essays on the role of religious thought in the political and cultural milieu of the United States in the 20th century.

The authors have drawn together an excellent set of essays looking at the range of thought and sociological form found in American churches in the 20th century. This provides good historical portraits of many American religious movements and denominations. In doing so, however, the authors challenge the value of the standard "two-party" analysis commonly used until recent years.

The dualistic mindset has commonly tried to divide churches, denominations and the Christian movement as a whole into dichotomies, such as Modernist-Fundamentalist, Liberal-Conservative, Evangelical-Social. These essays propose that the real picture is much more complex and such dualistic analyses overlook an extensive middle. They point out here important peripheries that cannot be accounted for by trying to put every group or faction into one of the two categories preferred by analysts.

There were other important factors that led to the coalescence or divergence of various groups. The dominant political factors, sometimes clothed in theological concerns, cannot account for the identities involved, according to the writers of this collection. Thus the focus on Re-forming the Center. Looking more realistically at the situations and trying to understand the factors, concerns, values and motivations that led to various movements such as the Holiness, then Pentecostal, and later Charismatic focuses.
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