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

5.0 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: #3,592,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Orville B. Jenkins VINE VOICE on March 3, 2009
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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