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One of the unique aspects of the religious profession is the high percentage of those who claim to be "called by God" to do their work. This call is particularly important within African American Christian traditions. Divine Callings offers a rare sociological examination of this markedly understudied phenomenon within black ministry. Richard N. Pitt draws on over 100 in-depth interviews with Black Pentecostal ministers in the Church of God in Christ-both those ordained and licensed and those aspiring-to examine how these men and women experience and pursue "the call." Viewing divine calling as much as a social process as it is a spiritual one, Pitt delves into the personal stories of these individuals to explore their work as active agents in the process of fulfilling their calling. In some cases, those called cannot find pastoral work due to gender discrimination, lack of clergy positions, and educational deficiencies. Pitt looks specifically at how those who have not obtained clergy positions understand their call, exploring the influences of psychological experience, the congregational acceptance of their call, and their response to the training process. He emphasizes how those called reconceptualize clericalism in terms of who can be called, how that call has to be certified, and what those called are meant to do, offering insight into how social actors adjust to structural constraints.
Martin Luther's posting of the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517 is one of the most famous events of Western history. It inaugurated the Protestant Reformation, and has for centuries been a powerful and enduring symbol of religious freedom of conscience, and of righteous protest against the abuse of power. But did it actually really happen? In this engagingly-written, wide-ranging and insightful work of cultural history, leading Reformation historian Peter Marshall reviews the available evidence, and concludes that, very probably, it did not. The theses-posting is a myth. And yet, Marshall argues, this fact makes the incident all the more historically significant. In tracing how - and why - a 'non-event' ended up becoming a defining episode of the modern historical imagination. Marshall compellingly explores the multiple ways in which the figure of Martin Luther, and the nature of the Reformation itself, have been remembered and used for their own purposes by subsequent generations of Protestants and others - in Germany, Britain, the United States and elsewhere. As people in Europe, and across the world, prepare to remember, and celebrate, the 500th anniversary of Luther's posting of the theses, this book offers a timely contribution and corrective. The intention is not to 'debunk', or to belittle Luther's achievement, but rather to invite renewed reflection on how the past speaks to the present - and on how, all too often, the present creates the past in its own image and likeness.
In April 2008, state police and child protection authorities raided Yearning for Zion Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, a community of 800 members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints (FLDS), a polygamist branch of the Mormons. State officials claimed that the raid, which was triggered by anonymous phone calls from an underage girl to a domestic violence hotline, was based on evidence of widespread child sexual abuse. In a high-risk paramilitary operation, 439 children were removed from the custody of their parents and held until the Third Court of Appeals found that the state had overreached. Not only did the state fail to corroborate the authenticity of the hoax calls, but evidence reveals that Texas officials had targeted the FLDS from the outset, planning and preparing for a confrontation. Saints under Siege provides a thorough, theoretically grounded critical examination of the Texas state raid on the FLDS while situating this event in a broader sociological context. The volume considers the raid as an exemplar case of a larger pattern of state actions against minority religions, offering comparative analyses to other government raids both historically and across cultures. In its look beyond the Texas raid, it provides compelling evidence of social intolerance and state repression of unpopular minority faiths in general, and the FLDS in particular.
Beloved Bible Teacher Reveals the Secret to Receiving God's
Pastors Andy and Sally Langford take a unique approach in this six-session study by looking at how United Methodists claim and live their faith as individuals and as a denomination. Through the study, you will gain insightinto The United Methodist Church, its beliefs and faith practices. Living as United Methodist Christians is ideal for small groups, new member classes, and disciple training classes and includes: An introduction that sets the stage for exploring the belief and practices of United Methodist Christians Six chapters that will help learners hear and claim for themselves the Christian story, particular emphases and beliefs of United Methodists, and ways to live as a United Methodist Christian Leader and learner helps such as reflection questions placed near main text material to which they refer. These helps will stimulate discussion about the reflections or insights participants gain from the material "
In January of 1956, five young evangelical missionaries were speared to death by a band of the Waorani people in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Two years later, two missionary women-the widow of one of the slain men and the sister of another-with the help of a Wao woman were able to establish peaceful relations with the same people who had killed their loved ones. The highly publicized deaths of the five men and the subsequent efforts to Christianize the Waorani quickly became the defining missionary narrative for American evangelicals during the second half of the twentieth century. God in the Rainforest traces the formation of this story and shows how Protestant missionary work among the Waorani came to be one of the missions most celebrated by Evangelicals and most severely criticized by anthropologists and others who accused missionaries of destroying the indigenous culture. Kathryn T. Long offers a study of the complexities of world Christianity at the ground level for indigenous peoples and for missionaries, anthropologists, environmentalists, and other outsiders. For the first time, Long brings together these competing actors and agendas to reveal one example of an indigenous people caught in the cross-hairs of globalization.
Throughout its history, Nigeria has been plagued by religious divisions. Tensions have only intensified since the restoration of democracy in 1999, with the divide between Christian south and Muslim north playing a central role in the country's electoral politics, as well as manifesting itself in the religious warfare waged by Boko Haram. Through the lens of Christian-Muslim struggles for supremacy, Ebenezer Obadare charts the turbulent course of democracy in the Nigerian Fourth Republic, exploring the key role religion has played in ordering society. He argues the rise of Pentecostalism is a force focused on appropriating state power, transforming the dynamics of the country and acting to demobilize civil society, further providing a trigger for Muslim revivalism. Covering events of recent decades to the election of Buhari, Pentecostal Republic shows that religio-political contestations have become integral to Nigeria's democratic process, and are fundamental to understanding its future.
A devout Congregationalist, Emma Newman felt called to preach and perform pastoral work in the frontier regions of Illinois and Kansas following the Civil War. She overcame obstacles to secure a license to preach, obtain formal ordination, and establish a congregation of her own.
In this book, Randi Walker illustrates how Emma Newman's life and career took her to an "American West" that was, in general, more receptive to women's professional aspirations. The vast, sparsely populated landscape modified traditional gender roles and relationships and demanded of all its inhabitants an entrepreneurial spirit. Social conventions restricting women's religious activity were less firmly entrenched than in the East. And because the geography isolated men and women, minister from denomination, and minister from her people, it provided freedom for women to engage in pastoral work and break the barriers keeping them from the pulpit and ordination.
Walker draws on Emma Newman's diaries and correspondence and studies American frontier religion to chart Newman's career and steady persistence.
The Assemblies of God (AG) is the ninth largest American and the world's largest Pentecostal denomination, with over 50 million followers worldwide. The AG embraces a worldview of miracles and mystery that makes"supernatural" experiences, such as speaking in tongues, healing, and prophecy, normal for Christian believers. Ever since it first organized in 1916, however, the "charismata" or "gifts of the Holy Spirit" have felt tension from institutional forces. Over the decades, vital charismatic experiences have been increasingly tamed by rituals, doctrine, and denominational structure. Yet the path towards institutionalization has not been clear-cut. New revivals and direct personal experience of God-the hallmarks of Pentecostalism-continue as an important part of the AG tradition, particularly in the growing number of ethnic congregations in the United States. The Assemblies of God draws on fresh, up-to-date research including quantitative surveys and interviews from twenty-two diverse Assemblies of God congregations to offer a new sociological portrait of the AG for the new millennium. The authors suggest that there is indeed a potential revitalization of the movement in the works within the context of the larger global Pentecostal upswing, and that this revitalization may be spurred by what the authors call "godly love:" the dynamic interaction between divine and human love that enlivens and expands benevolence. The volume provides a wealth of data about how the second-largest American Pentecostal denomination sees itself today, and suggests trends to illuminate where it is headed in the future.
See Yourself as Blessed in Every Season of Life
We all want to be blessed. We desire health, happiness, promotion, joy, financial security, peace, good relationships, and every quality signifying that blessing and abundance are flowing in our lives.
So how do you continue to live blessed even when you are going through life’s valleys?
Everyone faces difficult times—seasons where we don’t feel blessed. God wants to mold and shape you into a person who sees yourself as blessed, not because of your circumstances, but because this is your God-assigned identity!
In this classic book from Bishop T.D. Jakes, you will discover how to:
- walk in a blessed identity, no matter what season or circumstance comes your way.
- unlock inner strength to persevere, even when you feel like you can no longer go on.
- exchange your stress and worry for gratitude and thanksgiving.
- become a person God can trust with Heaven’s blessing and abundance.
Whether you are standing on the highest peak of victory, or feel like you are sinking into the valley of trial, once you start to see yourself as blessed, you will be positioned to thrive in every season!
Andrew White is something of a legend: a man of great charm and energy, whose personal suffering has not deflected him from his important ministry of reconciliation. Andrew grew up in London, the son of strongly religious parents: by the age of five he could repeat the five points of Calvinism. As a child and young man he was frequently ill, but his considerable intelligence meant that his studies did not suffer. He set his heart on becoming an anaesthetist, an ambition he achieved, only to be redirected by God to Anglican ministry. Since ordination he has had a considerable role in the work of reconciliation, both between Christian and Jew and between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslim. Often in danger, and always in pain, he has nevertheless been able to mediate between opposing extremes. A man of God, he is trusted by those who trust very few.
Produced during the lifetime of Shakespeare and Donne, the King
James Version of the Bible has long been viewed as the most
elegantly written and poetic of the many English translations. Now
reaching its four hundredth anniversary, it remains one of the most
frequently used Bibles in the English-speaking world, especially in
An Interview with the Author on the History News Network
A Founding Father with a Vision of Equality Richard Newman's op-ed in "The Philadelphia Inquirer"
Author Spotlight in "The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle"
"Gold" Winner of the 2008 "Foreword Magazine" Book of the Year Award, Biography Category
Freedom's Prophet is a long-overdue biography of Richard Allen, founder of the first major African-American church and the leading black activist of the early American republic. A tireless minister, abolitionist, and reformer, Allen inaugurated some of the most important institutions in African-American history and influenced nearly every black leader of the nineteenth century, from Douglass to Du Bois.
Allen (1760-1831) was born a slave in colonial Philadelphia, secured his freedom during the American Revolution, and became one of the nations leading black activists before the Civil War. Among his many achievements, Allen helped form the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, co-authored the first copyrighted pamphlet by an African American writer, published the first African American eulogy of George Washington, and convened the first national convention of black reformers. In a time when most black men and women were categorized as slave property, Allen was championed as a black hero. As Richard S. Newman writes, Allen must be considered one of America's black Founding Fathers.
In this thoroughly engaging and beautifully written book, Newman describes Allen's continually evolving life and thought, setting both in the context of his times. From Allen's early antislavery struggles and belief in interracial harmony to his later reflections on black democracy and black emigration, Newman traces Allen's impact on American reform and reformers, on racial attitudes during the years of the early republic, and on the black struggle for justice in the age of Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Washington. Whether serving as Americas first black bishop, challenging slaveholding statesmen in a nation devoted to liberty, or visiting the President's House (the first black activist to do so), this important book makes it clear that Allen belongs in the pantheon of Americas great founding figures. Freedom's Prophet reintroduces Allen to today's readers and restores him to his rightful place in our nation's history.
How do Christians account for the widespread presence of goodness in a fallen world? Richard Mouw, one of the most influential evangelical voices in America, presents his mature thought on the topic of common grace. Addressing a range of issues relevant to engaging common grace in the 21st century, Mouw shows how God takes delight in all things that glorify him--even those that happen beyond the boundaries of the church--and defends the doctrine of common grace from its detractors.
In The Future of Evangelicalism in America, thematic chapters on culture, spirituality, theology, politics, and ethnicity reveal the sources of the movement's dynamism, as well as significant challenges confronting the rising generations. A collaboration among scholars of history, religious studies, theology, political science, and ethnic studies, the volume offers unique insight into a vibrant and sometimes controversial movement, the future of which is closely tied to the future of America.
Over the past 50 years, the architects of the religious right have become household names: Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson. They have used their massively influential platforms to build the profiles of evangelical politicians like Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, and Ted Cruz. Now, a new generation of leaders like Jerry Falwell Jr. and Robert Jeffress enjoys unprecedented access to the Trump White House. What all these leaders share, besides their faith, is their gender. Men dominate the standard narrative of the rise of the religious right. Yet during the 1970s and 1980s nationally prominent evangelical women played essential roles in shaping the priorities of the movement and mobilizing its supporters. In particular, they helped to formulate, articulate, and defend the traditionalist politics of gender and family that in turn made it easy to downplay the importance of their leadership roles. In This Is Our Message, Emily Johnson begins by examining the lives and work of four well-known women-evangelical marriage advice author Marabel Morgan, singer and anti-gay-rights activist Anita Bryant, author and political lobbyist Beverly LaHaye, and televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. The book explores their impact on the rise of the New Christian Right and on the development of the evangelical subculture, which is a key channel for injecting conservative political ideas into purportedly apolitical spaces. Johnson then highlights the ongoing significance of this history through an analysis of Sarah Palin's vice presidential candidacy in 2008 and Michele Bachmann's presidential bid in 2012. These campaigns were made possible by the legacies of an earlier generation of conservative evangelical women who continue to impact our national conversations about gender, family, and sex.
Evangelical Bible study groups are the most prolific type of small group in American society, with more than 30 million Protestants gathering every week for this distinct purpose, meeting in homes, churches, coffee shops, restaurants, and other public and private venues across the country. What happens in these groups? How do they help shape the contours of American Evangelical life? While more public forms of political activism have captured popular and scholarly imaginations, it is in group Bible study that Evangelicals reflect on the details of their faith. Here they become self-conscious religious subjects, sharing the intimate details of life, interrogating beliefs and practices, and articulating their version of Christian identity and culture.
In Words upon the Word, James S. Bielo draws on over nineteen months of ethnographic work with five congregations to better understand why group Bible study matters so much to Evangelicals and for Evangelical culture. Through a close analysis of participants' discourse, Bielo examines the defining themes of group life--from textual interpretation to spiritual intimacy and the rehearsal of witnessing. Bielo's approach allows these Evangelical groups to speak for themselves, illustrating Bible study's uniqueness in Evangelical life as a site of open and critical dialogue. Ultimately, Bielo's ethnography sheds much needed light on the power of group Bible study for the ever-evolving shape of American Evangelicalism.
Ernst Troeltsch is widely recognized as having played an important role in the development of modern Protestant theology, but his contribution is usually understood as largely critical of traditional modes of theological inquiry. He is best known for his historicist critique of dogmatic theology, and seen either as the closing chapter of nineteenth-century liberalism, or as a proto-postmodernist. Central to this pivotal period in modern theology stands the problem: how can we articulate a doctrine of ultimate reality such that a meaningful and coherent account of the world is available without our understanding of God thereby becoming conditioned by the world itself? Evan Kuehn demonstrates that historiographical assumptions about twentieth-century religious thought have obscured the coherence and relevance of Troeltsch's understanding of God, history, and eschatology. An eschatological understanding of the Absolute, Kuehn contends, stands at the heart of Troeltsch's theology and the problem of historicism with which it is faced. Troeltsch's eschatological Absolute must be understood in the context of questions that were being raised at the turn of the twentieth century both by research on New Testament apocalypticism, and by modern critical methodologies in the historical sciences. His theory of the Absolute is central to his views on religion and religious ethics and provides practitioners of constructive studies in religion with important resources for engaging with sociological and historical studies, where Troeltsch's status as a classical figure is widely recognized.
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