School Library JournalGr 7 Up-Brown takes on the admittedly difficult task of trying to survey and summarize the sometimes-bewildering diversity within Protestantism. The introductory chapters touch on the spread of the religion around the world, its effects upon culture in general, and the biblical background common to most of its major branches. The following chapters trace the works of Protestant leaders; describe the major branches of the faith; detail the rites of passage observed by many believers; and, finally, provide a more in-depth look at the impact of Protestantism on society, especially in the United States. The broad outlines of Brown's narrative are solid and clearly laid out, in a fairly dry academic style, and are accompanied by photographs that complement and sometimes expand on the text. There are, however, several specific comments and details that are certain to draw complaints. Early on, for example, the author equates the Bible to "Christian Scriptures," a definition that will displease many Jews, and in a later chapter discussing the variance between Catholic and Protestant teachings, he writes, "-Catholics tend to focus on externals." Elsewhere he says that the Reformation principle of "always being reformed" "encourage(s) disagreement, renewal, and continual improvement." While it is obvious that many readers would agree with these assessments, it should be noted that such value judgments exist. Whether such comments are minor irritations in a generally sound treatment or serious problems rendering the book questionable is a decision that individual readers will have to make.-Coop Renner, Moreno Elementary School, El Paso, TX Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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