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Reasons for Hope: The Faith and Future of the Friends Church Paperback – August 1, 2001
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About the Author
John Punshon has recently retired as Professor Quaker Studies at Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion. He is a member of First Friends Meeting in Richmond, Indiana, and is a recorded minister in Indiana Yearly Meeting. His other books include Portrait in Grey (1984), Patterns of Change (1987), Encounter with Silence (1987) and Testimony and Tradition (1991).
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But a more systematic theological approach to these subjects would have been helpful. A number of Punshon's theological points are not well backed up- they would only convince the choir- or meeting, as the case may be. And he really could have used a much better editor- there are large sections of the book that need to be skimmed because nothing concrete is said. The second half of the book is much better, more cohesive, with it's foci on worship, discipleship, holiness, end times, and the future. But Punshon's section on Holiness is very confusing- at some points he says that Friends are Holiness and at other points he says they are not; he says that Wesleyan Holiness, Methodist Holiness, and Friends ideas on perfection are all different, but never gets around to explaining how this is so. This section clearly demonstrates that the author assumes a large background in theology from his readers.
I still don't understand why a whole chapter is devoted to the end times, especially when Punshon states that it has never been a great focus to the Friends. As for the subtitle "Faith and Future", the book is long on faith, and short on future- to the tune of one chapter of future. A reissue of this work would be greatly benefited by more focus on possible future ideas.
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