Perspectives on the Past, Prospects for the Future
Author: Keith Harper
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
This work brings various important topics and groups in American religious history the rigor of scholarly assessment of the current literature. The fruitful questions that are posed by the positions and experiences of the various groups are carefully examined. American Denominational History points the way for the next decade of scholarly effort. Contents Roman Catholics by Amy Koehlinger Congregationalists by Margaret Bendroth Presbyterians by Sean Michael Lucas American Baptists by Keith Harper Methodists by Jennifer L. Woodruff Tait Black Protestants by Paul Harvey Mormons by David J. Whittaker Pentecostals by Randall J. Stephens Evangelicals by Barry Hankins
Though the church universal is an ancient institution, the contemporary ministry landscape is always changing. That's why a new resource with useful information about Christian organizations is needed. The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries is an easy-to-use guide to more than 200 of the largest denominations and 300 ministries in the United States. The entries for organizations include a brief history and summary, a contemporary profile, and discussion on doctrinal emphases, creeds, membership, and interdenominational and ecumenical alliances. Pastors, ministry leaders, community leaders, and students will find this resource a helpful guide as they seek to understand Christian denominations and ministries.
George Marsden and the State of American Religious History
Author: Darren Dochuk
Publisher: University of Notre Dame Pess
No living scholar has shaped the study of American religious history more profoundly than George M. Marsden. His work spans U.S. intellectual, cultural, and religious history from the seventeenth through the twenty-first centuries. This collection of essays uses the career of George M. Marsden and the remarkable breadth of his scholarship to measure current trends in the historical study of American evangelical Protestantism and to encourage fresh scholarly investigation of this faith tradition as it has developed between the eighteenth century and the present. Moving through five sections, each centered around one of Marsden’s major books and the time period it represents, the volume explores different methodologies and approaches to the history of evangelicalism and American religion. Besides assessing Marsden’s illustrious works on their own terms, this collection’s contributors isolate several key themes as deserving of fresh, rigorous, and extensive examination. Through their close investigation of these particular themes, they expand the range of characters and communities, issues and ideas, and contingencies that can and should be accounted for in our historical texts. Marsden’s timeless scholarship thus serves as a launchpad for new directions in our rendering of the American religious past.
The term "denomination" is now widely used to describe a Christian community or church. But what is a 'denomination'? In this highly creative collection of essays, representatives of all major Christian traditions give an answer to this question. What does the term mean in their own tradition? And does that tradition understand itself to be a 'denomination'? If so, what is that understanding of 'denomination'; and if not, how does the tradition understand itself vis Á vis those churches which do and those churches which do not understand themselves as 'denominations'? In dialogue with the argument and ideas set forth in Barry Ensign-George's essay, each contributor offers a response from the perspective of a particular church (tradition). Each essay also considers questions concerning the current landscape of ecumenical dialogue; ecumenical method and the goals of the ecumenical movement; as well as questions of Christian identity and belonging.
Winner of the 2015 Saddleback Selection Award from the Historical Society of The United Methodist Church During the nineteenth century, camp meetings became a signature program of American Methodists and an extraordinary engine for their remarkable evangelistic outreach. Methodism in the American Forest explores the ways in which Methodist preachers interacted with and utilized the American woodland, and the role camp meetings played in the denomination's spread across the country. Half a century before they made themselves such a home in the woods, the people and preachers learned the hard way that only a fool would adhere to John Wesley's mandate for preaching in fields of the New World. Under the blazing American sun, Methodist preachers sought and found a better outdoor sanctuary for large gatherings: under the shade of great oaks, a natural cathedral where they held forth with fervid sermons. The American forests, argues Russell E. Richey, served the preachers in several important ways. Like a kind of Gethesemane, the remote, garden-like solitude provided them with a place to seek counsel from the Holy Spirit. They also saw the forest as a desolate wilderness, and a means for them to connect with Israel's years after the Exodus and Jesus's forty days in the desert after his baptism by John. The dauntless preachers slashed their way through, following America's expanding settlement, and gradually sacralizing American woodlands as cathedral, confessional, and spiritual challenge-as shady grove, as garden, and as wilderness. The threefold forest experience became a Methodist standard. The meeting of Methodism's basic governing body, the quarterly conference, brought together leadership of all levels. The event stretched to two days in length and soon great crowds were drawn by the preaching and eventually the sacraments that were on offer. Camp meetings, if not a Methodist invention, became the movement's signature, a development that Richey tracks throughout the years that Methodism matured, to become a central denomination in America's religious landscape.
Exploring the Yoruba tradition in the United States, Hucks begins with the story of Nana Oseijeman Adefunmi’s personal search for identity and meaning as a young man in Detroit in the 1930s and 1940s. She traces his development as an artist, religious leader, and founder of several African-influenced religio-cultural projects in Harlem and later in the South. Adefunmi was part of a generation of young migrants attracted to the bohemian lifestyle of New York City and the black nationalist fervor of Harlem. Cofounding Shango Temple in 1959, Yoruba Temple in 1960, and Oyotunji African Village in 1970, Adefunmi and other African Americans in that period renamed themselves “Yorubas” and engaged in the task of transforming Cuban Santer'a into a new religious expression that satisfied their racial and nationalist leanings and eventually helped to place African Americans on a global religious schema alongside other Yoruba practitioners in Africa and the diaspora. Alongside the story of Adefunmi, Hucks weaves historical and sociological analyses of the relationship between black cultural nationalism and reinterpretations of the meaning of Africa from within the African American community.
The eighteen essays collected in this book originate from a conference of the same title, held at the Wingspread Conference Center in October of 1993. Leading scholars were invited to reflect on their specialties in American religious history in ways that summarized both where the field is and where it ought to move in the decades to come. The essays are organized according to four general themes: places and regions, universal themes, transformative events, and marginal groups and ethnocultural "outsiders." They address a wide range of specific topics including Puritanism, Protestantism and economic behavior, gender and sexuality in American Protestantism, and the twentieth-century de-Christianization of American public culture. Among the contributors are such distinguished scholars as David D. Hall, Donald G. Matthews, Allen C. Guelzo, Gordon S. Wood, Daniel Walker Howe, Robert Wuthnow, Jon Butler, David A. Hollinger, Harry S. Stout, and John Higham. Taken together, these essays reveal a rapidly expanding field of study that is breaking out of its traditional confines and spilling into all of American history. The book takes the measure of the changes of the last quarter-century and charts numerous challenges to future work.
Evidence of mainstream denominational decline virtually throws itself in our faces--growing religious pluralism in North America; the decline over the last half century in the salience, prestige, power, and vitality of Protestant denominational leadership; slippage in mainline membership and corresponding growth, vigor, visibility, and political prowess of conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist bodies; patterns of congregational independence, including loosening of or removal of denominational identity, particularly in signage, and the related marginal loyalty of members; emergence of megachurches, with resources and the capacity to meet needs heretofore supplied by denominations (training, literature, expertise); growth within mainline denominations of caucuses and their alignment into broad progressive or conservative camps, often with connections to similar camps in other denominations; widespread suspicion of, indeed hostility towards, the centers and symbols of denominational identity--the regional and national headquarters; migration of individuals and families through various religious identities, sometimes out of classic Christianity altogether. Denominationalism looks doomed and is so proclaimed. It may be. However, viewing the sweep of Anglo-American history, this volume suggests how much denominations and denominationalism have changed, how resilient they have proved, how significant these structures of religious belonging have been in providing order and direction to American society, and how such enduring purposes find ever new structural/institutional expression.