Why We Belong: Evangelical Unity and Denominational Diversity

Why We Belong: Evangelical Unity and Denominational Diversity

by Anthony L. Chute

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Denominations, although often maligned, are important for the continued health and vitality of the church. Contributors from a variety of evangelical traditions share their personal stories for the sake of unity across denominational lines.

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Denominations, although often maligned, are important for the continued health and vitality of the church. Contributors from a variety of evangelical traditions share their personal stories for the sake of unity across denominational lines.

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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; author, Protestantism: A Very Short Introduction

“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, Minnesota

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