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Editorial Reviews


“Biblical evangelicalism must always be churchly, and churchly evangelicalism today cannot avoid being denominational. And denominational evangelicalism is a spiritual smorgasbord, offering more spiritual wealth and wisdom than any one person can possibly take on board. In these pages evangelical leaders become tour guides to their own denominational heritage. Authoritative? Yes. Absorbing? That too. Enriching? Very much so. Taste and see.”
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

“The editors have assembled a strong lineup of contributors to explain why they are both evangelicals and members of their specific denominations. The result is a sparkling presentation of the very best in a number of Protestant traditions, but also a welcome prompt to think about denominationalism itself. The book is for those who value history, biblical interpretation, Christian witness, and theology—that is, for nearly everyone.”
Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame; author, Protestantism: A Very Short Introduction  

“The contributors to Why We Belong remind us that the strength of American evangelicalism is its unity-in-diversity. Their personal stories help us understand the importance of both our common evangelical faith and our respective denominational distinctives. This twin emphasis avoids narrow sectarianism, on the one hand, and lowest-common-denominator theology, on the other. As a movement, evangelicalism is richer because of the unified diversity displayed in the chapters of this commendable book.”
George O. Wood, General Superintendent, Assemblies of God; Chairman, World Assemblies of God Fellowship; Executive Committee member, National Association of Evangelicals

“These essays reflect the wonderful unity and diversity that exist in the body of Christ. Thus, they show evangelicalism at its best. Written by practitioners of irenic Christian cooperation and conviction, this book will instruct young believers in the true purposes of evangelicalism. It will also remind older believers why evangelicalism is worth preserving.”
Paul R. House, Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School; author, Old Testament Theology  

“The authors of Why We Belong argue for a robustly evangelical ecumenism—one that does not downplay the importance of doctrine or paper over theological differences, but instead recognizes those differences for what they are and moves forward in authentic Christian unity. Highly recommended.”
Bruce Riley Ashford, Provost and Associate Professor of Theology and Culture, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“The gospel brings life, and that life finds expression in a myriad of institutional forms. This important book shows how evangelicalism, with its gospel-centeredness, transcends any particular denominational form and yet links those who share in the new life that Christ brings. More than that, this work offers a positive theology of denominationalism that is simply refreshing.”
Graham A. Cole, Anglican Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School

“If you find yourself standing over the funeral of either denominationalism or evangelicalism with a smile on your face, then you owe it to yourself to read this book. With biblical wisdom and theological insight (and humor, too) the editors and contributors chart a beautiful path between appreciating all that is good in denominationalism and embracing all that is good in evangelicalism. To put it succinctly, we belong to our churches and we belong to each other—and both of these are so good for us.”
Stephen J. Nichols, President, Reformation Bible College; Chief Academic Officer, Ligonier Ministries

“Many of us have long felt that a passion for Christian unity does not mean the abolition of denominational distinctives. Finally, here is a book that supports loyalty to both the unique mission of one’s church and the larger unity of the people of God. We learn in its pages that the future strength of evangelicalism depends on a passion for both. A must read.”
Frank D. Macchia, Professor of Systematic Theology, Vanguard University

“This book promotes a healthy Christian unity by showing how and why God’s family is much larger than any one denomination.”
Andy Naselli, Assistant Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, Bethlehem College and Seminary, Minneapolis, Minnesota

About the Author

Anthony L. Chute (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is associate professor of church history and associate dean of the School of Christian Ministries at California Baptist University, where he has taught since 2003.

Christopher W. Morgan (PhD, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of theology and dean of the School of Christian Ministries at California Baptist University. He is the author and editor of several books, including Suffering and the Goodness of God.

Robert A. Peterson (PhD, Drew University) is professor of systematic theology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the author and editor of numerous books and articles, including The Glory of God and The Deity of Christ.

Gerald Bray (DLitt, University of Paris-Sorbonne) is research professor at Beeson Divinity School and director of research for the Latimer Trust. He is a prolific writer and has authored or edited numerous books, including The Doctrine of GodBiblical Interpretation, God Is Love, and God Has Spoken.

Bryan Chapell (PhD, Southern Illinois University) is senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Peoria, Illinois. He is also president emeritus and adjunct professor of practical theology at Covenant Theological Seminary, as well as distinguished professor of preaching at Knox Theological Seminary. Chapell has authored numerous books, including Christ-Centered Preaching and Holiness by Grace.

David S. Dockery (PhD, University of Texas) has been president of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, since 1995. He is a much sought-after speaker and lecturer, a consulting editor for Christianity Today, and the author or editor of more than twenty-five books, including Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal and Theologians of the Baptist Tradition.

Timothy George is the founding dean of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, where he teaches theology and church history. He serves as general editor for Reformation Commentary on Scripture and has written more than twenty books. His textbook Theology of the Reformers is the standard textbook on Reformation theology in many schools and seminaries.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (June 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433514834
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433514838
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #477,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Luke Geraty on August 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
Dialogue between the different traditions that claim the term "evangelical" hasn't always been gracious or effective. In both history, as well as my own experience, sometimes when different "denominations" talk, they often talk past each other. How can those who claim to be "evangelical," which I would assume means there are some shared beliefs, not be interested in partnering together? Imagine sitting in a room where six denominational representatives were able to talk clearly, graciously, and lovingly about their traditions and distinctives while also talking about their shared unity?

Thankfully, there is a new book that helps us reflect on these questions while focusing on the unity and differences that evangelicals hold. Why We Belong: Evangelical Unity and Denominational Diversity, edited by Anthony L. Chute, Christopher W. Morgan, and Robert A. Peterson attempts to tackle this provocative subject.

The book's introduction starts us off towards thinking through both the negative and positive aspects of denominationalism. As many people will testify, the concept of denominations does not always bring fond thoughts or pleasant experiences. However, we read,

"In spite of the perennial predictions of the death of denominations, the fact remains that evangelical Christians typically have core beliefs that lead them to identify with other like-minded Christians. Given the plausibility of continued division, is there a way in which evangelical Christians can maintain their distinctive doctrinal beliefs while communicating to the church and the world that they have much more in common? We believe there is, and such is the purpose of this book." (p.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bill Nikides on November 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This edited work from a denominationally diverse, expert body of contributors endeavors to define their individual, evangelical, denominational commitments. In other words, in an age where people in general and evangelicals in particular are shunning denominational identity and loyalty, these conservative Christians tell us why they remain. It is, as are many edited works, uneven in execution. Some contributions are quite personal and satisfying (Timothy George's explanation of why he is a Baptist). Others are overly long and "school-bookish" such as the chapter by Bryan Chappell. By far, the best and most illuminating chapter came from Gerald Bray who graces the reader with a profound but simple description of why he is an Anglican. Alone among the offerings, it seemed to capture the essence of a denomination's ethos and appeal. The book may be a worthy purchase on that basis alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Hogaboam on September 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Kudos to Crossway for publishing this worthy project, Why We Belong: Evangelical Unity and Denominational Diversity. When I saw that they were including a Methodist and Pentecostal, along with an Anglican and Lutheran, and of course a Presbyterian and Baptist, I was honestly excited. "How will each contributor honor their own tradition and yet remain irenic towards each other?" I thought to myself. Well, they all did an excellent job. The contributors who represented their own tradition were as follows:

Gerald L. Bray (Anglican)
Timothy F. George (Baptist)
Douglas A. Sweeney (Lutheran)
Timothy C. Tennent (Methodist)
Byron D. Klaus (Pentecostal)
Bryan Chapell (Presbyterian)
There were, however, other contributors for the preface, first two chapters, and final chapter. The table of contents was as follows:

Preface: Are Denominations Dead? Should They Be? (Anthony L. Chute)
1. Toward a Theology of the Unity of the Church (Christopher W. Morgan)
2. One Lord, One Faith, but Many Expressions: Denominations and Their Stories (Anthony L. Chute)
3. Why I Am an Evangelical and an Anglican (Gerald L. Bray)
4. Why I Am an Evangelical and a Baptist (Timothy F. George)
5. Why I Am and Evangelical and a Lutheran (Douglas A. Sweeney)
6. Why I Am an Evangelical and a Methodist (Timothy C. Tennent)
7. Why I Am an Evangelical and a Pentecostal (Byron D. Klaus)
8. Why I Am an Evangelical and a Presbyterian (Bryan Chapell)
9. Denominationalism: Historical Developments, Contemporary Challenges, and Global Opportunities (David S. Dockery)

You'll note that each chapter begins with "Why I Am an Evangelical...", followed by the denominational tradition.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you aren’t a church historian and desire a very well written view on how the book’s six denominations came to being, Anthony Chute’s chapter – One Lord, One Faith, but Many Expressions – is worth the price of the entire book. Further, the three chapters on Presbyterians, Methodist, and Lutherans respectively provide great summaries on the teachings of Calvin, Wesley and Luther and how these doctrines shaped these denominations.

Though I am not a Presbyterian, Bryan Chappell’s presentation was inspirational. He wrote as a true elder and father within the body of Christ: honestly, ecumenically, wisely and with nuanced thoughts shaped by years of experience. He showed a willingness to humbly state his doctrinal positions, give liberty for other persuasions, and leave the reader with the impression that he was open to learning from others outside his denomination.

Each author had a similar story: temperament, gift mix, positive and negative personal circumstances, personal calling and doctrinal preferences on secondary issues … that brought them to the current denominational setting – a place where they currently have found a fit and are joyfully flourishing.

Within today’s American church though people still consider a denomination when “picking” a church, they also factor in location, friends who go there, what’s going on at that particular church, how it affects their kids, etc. And, as per the theme of this book, that’s okay. Why? Of greater importance is that people are in an accountable, healthy Christian community of faith – where Jesus is confessed as both Lord and Savior – one composed of old and young, mature and immature, leaders and followers, teachers and learners … disciples making disciples: a place where a person can fit and flourish.
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