Why We Belong: Evangelical Unity and Denominational Diversity

Overview

Denominations. The word itself often sparks strong reactions, causing us to wonder if there are merits to our factions and if it’s possible to come together as one.

Showing how denominational affiliation can be natural without being negative, and how evangelical identity can help rather than hinder Christian unity, Why We Belong explains both the personal and doctrinal ...

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Why We Belong: Evangelical Unity and Denominational Diversity

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Overview

Denominations. The word itself often sparks strong reactions, causing us to wonder if there are merits to our factions and if it’s possible to come together as one.

Showing how denominational affiliation can be natural without being negative, and how evangelical identity can help rather than hinder Christian unity, Why We Belong explains both the personal and doctrinal reasons each of the following contributors fit not only in their church, but also in the Church:

  • Gerald L. Bray (Anglican)
  • Timothy F. George (Baptist)
  • Douglas A. Sweeney (Lutheran)
  • Timothy C. Tennent (Methodist)
  • Byron D. Klaus (Pentecostal)
  • Bryan Chapell (Presbyterian)

Demonstrating that Christians have significant reasons for identifying with a denomination, this book also helps us see and belong to something much larger than our own traditions—the family of God.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

“Biblical evangelicalism must always be churchly, and churchly evangelicalism today cannot avoid being denominational. And denominational evangelicalism is a spiritual smorgasbord, offering more spiritual wealth and wisdom than any one person can possibly take on board. In these pages evangelical leaders become tour guides to their own denominational heritage. Authoritative? Yes. Absorbing? That too. Enriching? Very much so. Taste and see.”
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

“The editors have assembled a strong lineup of contributors to explain why they are both evangelicals and members of their specific denominations. The result is a sparkling presentation of the very best in a number of Protestant traditions, but also a welcome prompt to think about denominationalism itself. The book is for those who value history, biblical interpretation, Christian witness, and theology—that is, for nearly everyone.”
Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame

“The contributors to Why We Belong remind us that the strength of American evangelicalism is its unity-in-diversity. Their personal stories help us understand the importance of both our common evangelical faith and our respective denominational distinctives. This twin emphasis avoids narrow sectarianism, on the one hand, and lowest-common-denominator theology, on the other. As a movement, evangelicalism is richer because of the unified diversity displayed in the chapters of this commendable book.”
George O. Wood, General Superintendent, Assemblies of God; Chairman, World Assemblies of God Fellowship; Executive Committee member, National Association of Evangelicals

“These essays reflect the wonderful unity and diversity that exist in the body of Christ. Thus, they show evangelicalism at its best. Written by practitioners of irenic Christian cooperation and conviction, this book will instruct young believers in the true purposes of evangelicalism. It will also remind older believers why evangelicalism is worth preserving.”
Paul R. House, Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School; author, Old Testament Theology

“The authors of Why We Belong argue for a robustly evangelical ecumenism—one that does not downplay the importance of doctrine or paper over theological differences, but instead recognizes those differences for what they are and moves forward in authentic Christian unity. Highly recommended.”
Bruce Riley Ashford, Provost and Associate Professor of Theology and Culture, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“The gospel brings life, and that life finds expression in a myriad of institutional forms. This important book shows how evangelicalism, with its gospel-centeredness, transcends any particular denominational form and yet links those who share in the new life that Christ brings. More than that, this work offers a positive theology of denominationalism that is simply refreshing.”
Graham A. Cole, Anglican Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School

“If you find yourself standing over the funeral of either denominationalism or evangelicalism with a smile on your face, then you owe it to yourself to read this book. With biblical wisdom and theological insight (and humor, too) the editors and contributors chart a beautiful path between appreciating all that is good in denominationalism and embracing all that is good in evangelicalism. To put it succinctly, we belong to our churches and we belong to each other—and both of these are so good for us.”
Stephen J. Nichols, President, Reformation Bible College; Chief Academic Officer, Ligonier Ministries

“Many of us have long felt that a passion for Christian unity does not mean the abolition of denominational distinctives. Finally, here is a book that supports loyalty to both the unique mission of one’s church and the larger unity of the people of God. We learn in its pages that the future strength of evangelicalism depends on a passion for both. A must read.”
Frank D. Macchia, Professor of Systematic Theology, Vanguard University

“This book promotes a healthy Christian unity by showing how and why God’s family is much larger than any one denomination.”
Andy Naselli, Assistant Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, Bethlehem College and Seminary, Minneapolis

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433514838
  • Publisher: Crossway
  • Publication date: 6/30/2013
  • Pages: 251
  • Sales rank: 969,073
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony L. Chute (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is associate professor of church history and associate dean of the School of Christian Ministries at California Baptist University, where he has taught since 2003.

Christopher W. Morgan (PhD, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of theology and dean of the School of Christian Ministries at California Baptist University. He is the author and editor of several books, including Suffering and the Goodness of God.

Robert A. Peterson (PhD, Drew University) is professor of systematic theology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the author and editor of numerous books and articles, including The Glory of God and The Deity of Christ.

Gerald Bray (DLitt, University of Paris-Sorbonne) is research professor at Beeson Divinity School and director of research for the Latimer Trust. He is a prolific writer and has authored or edited numerous books, including The Doctrine of God, Biblical Interpretation, God Is Love, and God Has Spoken.

Bryan Chapell (PhD, Southern Illinois University) is senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Peoria, Illinois. He is also president emeritus and adjunct professor of practical theology at Covenant Theological Seminary, as well as distinguished professor of preaching at Knox Theological Seminary. Chapell has authored numerous books, including Christ-Centered Preaching and Holiness by Grace.

David S. Dockery (PhD, University of Texas) has been president of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, since 1995. He is a much sought-after speaker and lecturer, a consulting editor for Christianity Today, and the author or editor of more than twenty-five books, including Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal and Theologians of the Baptist Tradition.

Timothy George is the founding dean of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, where he teaches theology and church history. He serves as general editor for Reformation Commentary on Scripture and has written more than twenty books. His textbook Theology of the Reformers is the standard textbook on Reformation theology in many schools and seminaries.

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