In an age of decreasing denominational loyalty, questions of identity have become important. Both church members and inquirers wonder what to make of a denomination's core values, mission, and common practices. Because the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was born as a movement of reform on the American frontier during the early nineteenth century, it is marked by the time and place of its birth. The message it offered at the time was one of Christian unity rooted in theological simplicity and freedom of belief and practice. This message influenced the way the tradition came to understand biblical interpretation, theology, the sacraments, ministry, and its eschatology. As the movement matured, many recognized that this message of freedom could lead to unfettered individualism and tended to undermine congregational life and cooperation beyond the congregation. In response, Disciples leaders turned to the biblical idea of covenant to balance the message of freedom and link congregations with other forms of church without creating hierarchical systems. If, as some have suggested, this is a movement whose time has come, then it is important to understand the movement's identity and core values, which have been formed within the fulcrum of the tension existing between freedom and covenant.
Respected Baptist historian and theologian Bill Leonard takes readers through the theological and practical questions that are important to Baptists. In a clear style and with great sensitivity to the varieties of beliefs among Baptist bodies, Leonard considers the big questions of faith. These include Baptist beliefs about God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, salvation, and the Christian life, among others. Drawing on historic statements of Baptist belief, contemporary history, and his own background and deep scholarship, Leonard provides reliable and accessible discussions of these issues. His work will be highly illuminating for Baptists of all denominational groupings as well as for others interested in the core of Baptist theological convictions and their various expressions. Leonard's is a strong and trusted voice, and this book will be a welcome resource.
John H. Leith's classic examination of what it means to become a member of the church. This study was designed for junior high communicant classes, but is also an excellent resource for church officer training and new member classes--for adults and young people alike.
Leith confronts the choices and questions that arise for young people, or anyone for that matter, trying to understand their place in the priesthood of all believers. He enlightens readers to the meaning of the church while he explores the vows taken by those entering the communing fellowship of the church, the nature and faith of the church, and the worship and work of the church.
Respected Disciples Michael Kinnamon and Jan Linn propose reclaiming the Disciples movement's identity in a way that encourages reform of worship, relationships, and mission. With praise for the founding leaders' willingness "to follow their vision of what it meant to be church in their own time in history," the authors call on the denomination to do the same today, not in order to survive as an institution, but in order to enhance the church's participation in God's mission of peacemaking and compassionate service. Kinnamon and Linn explore the Disciples' historic commitment to covenant and claim that heritage as a tool for addressing current issues such as money, minister licensing, homosexuality, the future of seminaries, and more.
This book will deepen your regard for the church's task of 'didache', the act of teaching Christians. The chapters explore what the writers believe are several key biblical texts and themes for teaching, select doctrines of the church that inform teaching as a ministry, and features of teaching in the Lutheran tradition and its current practice. We authors address these matters with deep commitment to our shared Lutheran tradition, yet also with profound respect for what the Holy Spirit has done across the centuries in other orthodox traditions of the Great Church. Welcome to our conversation, a conversation the church has shared--though not without dispute--for centuries (from Chapter 1).
The faith of the Church, although unchanging, must be told afresh for each new generation. In this volume, Michael Perham, Bishop of Gloucester, does exactly that by exploring key Christian beliefs. His approach is readable and accessible yet with the depth of his pastoral experience and theological insight. This is a book that, whilst encouraging and affirming, offers no easy solutions but takes us on a shared faith journey that is firmly rooted in the real world.
As the title of this engaging book suggests, "catholicity" was the true intent of the Reformation. The Reformers did not set out to create what later came to be known as Protestant Christianity. Theirs was a quest for reformation and renewal in continuity with the "one holy catholic and apostolic church" of ancient times. The authors of the essays collected here demonstrate this catholicity of the Reformers and stress the importance of recovering the church's catholic tradition today. Robert W. Jenson examines communio ecclesiology, describing ecumenical thought on this ecclesiology and developing it in a number of areas. David S. Yeago proposes a new way of reading Luther, suggesting that the shift in Luther's thought actually brought him closer to the church's catholic tradition. Frank C. Senn discusses the Reformers' changes to the order of the mass, which restored the people's participation and regular preaching on biblical texts. Carl E. Braaten explores the problems that arise from the lack of an office of teaching authority in Protestant churches. James R. Crumley examines various perspectives on the office of pastor, seeking to clarify the notion of ministry in the catholic tradition. Robert L. Wilken looks at Pietism, showing that this movement sought to recover lost aspects of medieval spirituality and called for a deepening of personal piety. Finally, Gunther Gassmann discusses the ways in which the church universal is and should be a communion of churches.
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