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Christianity in the Twenty-First Century : Reflections on the Challenges Ahead - Robert Wuthnow

Christianity in the Twenty-First Century

Reflections on the Challenges Ahead

Paperback Published: 1st March 1995
ISBN: 9780195096514
Number Of Pages: 272

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In the year 2000--and beyond--what will the church be like? What challenges will it face? Will the church be able to provide a strong sense of community? Will it be an ethical force in the lives of Americans? And what role will religion play in politics and in the marketplace?
In Christianity in the 21st Century Robert Wuthnow reflects on these provocative questions as he seeks to identify changes that are taking place now in American society that churches must address if they are to remain vital in the future. He foresees five critical areas--institutional, ethical, doctrinal, political, and cultural--in which major challenges will arise, then meets the thorny issues head-on. How will churches' resource bases, their very identity, and their capacity to carry on their spiritual traditions be altered? till they continue to function as sources of caring in a needy world? What impact will the resurgence of fundamentalism have, and how will moderate and liberal congregations react? How will the political activities of churches influence their capacity to be heard in the public arena, and what will the impact be of pluralism and the prevailing materialism of our society?
Drawing on a wide range of first-hand observations and research, Wuthnow demontrates that in each of these five areas people of faith have strong reasons to enter the next century with confidence in their religious institutions. But he also highlights worrisome signs, and points to specific areas that need to be addressed to ensure the continuing vitality for Christianity in America--not least among these are the rampant individualism that erodes spiritual communities and the religious infighting that diminishes the Christian sense of unity.
The onset of a new millennium affords a historic opportunity to take stock of the present situation and to plan for the future--in the years ahead, much reflection is likely to occur about all our major institutions. Christianity in the 21st Century aims to contribute to those reflections by offering a sobering, realistic, and ultimately hopeful assessment of where the church is now, and where the church is headed.

"There is much to be learned here about the manner in which culture has both created and been influenced by the organizational forms of the Christian faith."--Journal of Church and State "This is the work of a man who cares about the future of individuals, community life, and the church....He has a broad knowledge of religious studies as well as a rich trove of personal anecdotes from the lives of church members and leaders"--Commonweal "His remarks...are insightful....I commend Wuthnow for his felicity of style, his ability to tell a story, and his skill at discovering in narratives hints of larger patterns of social and cultural significance"--Christian Century "Robert Wuthnow, one of the best sociologists of religion in America, has written a very sensitive and perceptive book about the present condition of American religion viewed through the prism of possible future developments and challenges. The book is neither a lifeless analysis of data nor a widely speculative polemic on religion to date. Rather it is a superb exercise in sociological analysis of possibilities and prospect for religion in America. It should be essential reading both for sociologists and for those concerned about the present and the future of the Church."--Andrew M. Greeley, Professor of Social Science, The University of Chicago "Discursive and deeply thoughtful....Wuthnow combines personal stories with references to scholarly works and to current events, enhancing the relevance of each aspect of his study as he builds to his cautiously optimistic conclusions."--Publishers Weekly "There is much to be learned here about the manner in which culture has both created and been influenced by the organizational forms of the Christian faith."--Journal of Church and State "This is the work of a man who cares about the future of individuals, community life, and the church....He has a broad knowledge of religious studies as well as a rich trove of personal anecdotes from the lives of church members and leaders"--Commonweal "His remarks...are insightful....I commend Wuthnow for his felicity of style, his ability to tell a story, and his skill at discovering in narratives hints of larger patterns of social and cultural significance"--Christian Century "Robert Wuthnow, one of the best sociologists of religion in America, has written a very sensitive and perceptive book about the present condition of American religion viewed through the prism of possible future developments and challenges. The book is neither a lifeless analysis of data nor a widely speculative polemic on religion to date. Rather it is a superb exercise in sociological analysis of possibilities and prospect for religion in America. It should be essential reading both for sociologists and for those concerned about the present and the future of the Church."--Andrew M. Greeley, Professor of Social Science, The University of Chicago "Discursive and deeply thoughtful....Wuthnow combines personal stories with references to scholarly works and to current events, enhancing the relevance of each aspect of his study as he builds to his cautiously optimistic conclusions."--Publishers Weekly "There are a few historians of modern American religion who write as insightfully as Robert Wuthnow about the recent past, a few sociologists who are his equal in describing the institutional and cultural shape of modern religion, and a few narrators of Christian experience who go a little deeper than Wuthnow into the inner life of faith. But no living scholar combines so well historical, sociological, and lived commentary on religion in contemporary America. No one is better equipped to canvass the prospects of Christianity for the twenty-first century. No one at all."--Mark A. Noll, McManis Professor of Christian Thought, Wheaton College "With this book Robert Wuthnow ratifies his status as one of the most authoritative social scientists working on problems of religion in the contemporary world. He provides a broad and magisterial overview of all the major issues confronting Christians and other believers today--institutional, moral, and intellectual. Throughout it is clear that Wuthnoe is not only an astute observer, but also an individual who has grappled himself with the issues discussed. His book represents a remarkable achievement in what is already a distinguished career."--Peter L. Berger, University Professor of Sociology, Boston University "A decade of at least some of the best scholarship on contemporary Christianity has been gathered and sifted here by Wuthnow into a lucid and compelling portrait of 'the future and the present.' Religious leaders--by lay and clergy--from across the entire spectrum of church life will be both sobered and inspired by the changes he articulates so clearly. Scholars will find an apt reading of a vast and important literature."--Craig Dykstra, Vice President, Lilly Endowment, Inc.

ISBN: 9780195096514
ISBN-10: 0195096517
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 1st March 1995
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.27 x 13.61  x 1.5
Weight (kg): 0.24