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Future of Christianity: Historical, Sociological, Political and Theological Perspectives

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This book, written by a group of New Zealand scholars, theologians, historians and lawyers, examines the question of New Zealand's Western culture and Christianity. The contributors explore recent debates over secularisation, exploring its merits and explanatory power, while also showing its limitations. Throughout the West diverse forms of religiosity and spirituality remain widespread and while changing form, show signs of disappearing. The contributors insist that it is impossible to understand contemporary ...

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Overview

This book, written by a group of New Zealand scholars, theologians, historians and lawyers, examines the question of New Zealand's Western culture and Christianity. The contributors explore recent debates over secularisation, exploring its merits and explanatory power, while also showing its limitations. Throughout the West diverse forms of religiosity and spirituality remain widespread and while changing form, show signs of disappearing. The contributors insist that it is impossible to understand contemporary relations between the West, and for example, the Islamic world, without understanding the religiosity on both sides of this complex and portentous divide. Several contributors raise questions about the extent to which Western political, intellectual and media elites really understand what ordinary Westerners, let alone Muslims, actually believe. The assumtion still pervasive among secular Westerners that religion is dying out constitutes a species of wishful thinking that the twenty-first century world can no longer afford. Editor, Professor John Stenhouse teaches history at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781920691233
  • Publisher: ATF Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2004
  • Pages: 255
  • Product dimensions: 5.92 (w) x 8.14 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

John Stenhouse teaches in the Department of History, University of Otago. He publishes in the fields of religious history, the history of ideas, and the history of science.

Brett Knowles is Senior Lecturer in Church History and Director of Academic Resources at the Sydney College of Divinity. He has research interests in New Zealand Pentecostalism and in the transmission of Early Asian Christianity, and has published a history of the New Life Churches of New Zealand.

Anthony Wood is an honorary member of the Department of Political Studies at the University of Otago. Previously an Associate Professor until his retirement there, his research and writing interests are in New Zealand, Canadian and Latin American politics.

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Table of Contents

Introduction John Stenhouse and Brett Knowles Karakia Muru Walters Part I Historical Perspectives
1. Te Upoko o te Ika Karaitianatanga Muru Walters
2. Christianity and National Identity: The Role of the Churches in 'the Construction of Nationhood'
Allan K. Davidson Part II Sociological Perspectives
3. Is the Future of Western Christianity a Pentecostal One? A Conversation with Harvey Cox Brett Knowles
4. 'No Longer Believing' — or — 'Believing without Belonging'
Kevin Ward
5. Christian Allegiance Is Declining, Yet Theological Education Is Booming Bruce Knox
6. The Future of Christianity in New Zealand: What Is Happening with the Children?
Mary Petersen Part III Political Perspectives
7. Endorsement, Neutrality or Suppression: What is the Best Government Policy for Christianity?
Rex J. Ahdar
8. Unmaking New Zealand’s State Secular Education System Rory Sweetman
9. Social Policy in the Churches in the 1990s and Beyond Peter Lineham
10. Coming through the Backdoor? Secularization in New Zealand and Maori Religiosity Eric Kolig Part IV Theological Perspectives
11. The Future of Christian Thought in the South Neil Darragh
12. Beyond Ground Zero: Resourcing Faith in a Post-Christian Era Obligation Mike Riddell Contributors Index of Names Index of Subjects.

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  • Posted January 22, 2009

    articles on state of Christianity in modern world

    The circumstances, possibilities, and issues concerning Christianity in New Zealand are a microcosm of these elsewhere in the Western world. This multidisciplinary work aims to inform readers of perspectives and realities regarding contemporary Christianity not reflected or suggested in the popular media. Focus on certain anomalies is especially revealing, as well as to some degree predictive of Christianity's possible future depending on how these are resolved. Kevin Ward, a lecturer of Church issues in the modern world, explores how the 'fragmentation and religious pluralism' in postmodernism not only limit and distort understanding of beliefs and developments in Christianity, but also shape strategies for Christians wishing to be a part of modern culture. 'Believing Without Belonging' is part of the title of Ward's article. Another by Bruce Knox, Executive Director of Bible College in New Zealand, explores the apparent anomaly that 'Christian Allegiance Is Declining, Yet Theological Education Is Booming.' The role of religion in shaping the New Zealand national identity, even as the nation was 'set up more or less decisively independent of any denominational church influence,' is another relevant topic; while a couple of other articles take up political solutions for dealing with the desire of Christians to see their beliefs and values reflected more plainly in government policies and activity. The number of articles by theologians, historians, and sociologists, among others, with their fingers on the pulse of contemporary Christian situations and concerns offer a variety of views on the persistent matter of religion in contemporary life and current affairs.

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