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Title: Christians in the Twenty-First Century
Author: Chryssides, George
Additional Authors or Contributors: Margaret Z Wilkins
Publisher: Acumen Publishing; Publication Date: 2011
Paperback; ISBN: 9781845532130
Volumes: 1; Pages: 448
List Price in Paper: $24.95 Our price: $19.99
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A Survey of Christianity presents a new approach to understanding the Christian faith. While many introductions seek to encompass Christianity's history and theology, this new book treats Christianity as it is understood and practised by its present-day followers, not simply to the 8 per cent of Britain's population who attend church on a Sunday, but to the 71.6 per cent who defined themselves as 'Christian' in the 2001 British census.
After addressing traditional issues: the Jesus debate and Paul's impact on Christianity, the authors explore a number of key Christian concepts: the Bible, the Creeds, the Church and the sacraments. After outlining the major traditions--Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism--a number of recent movements and issues are examined: the effects of the European Enlightenment and the rise of science, new approaches to biblical scholarship, and the fundamentalist movement. Present-day issues include the ecumenical movement; the ordination of women, secularisation, the inter-faith movement, and the impact of the electronics revolution.
Although aimed initially at students, A Survey of Christianity is of interest to any layperson who seeks to understand the Christian faith. It presuppose no prior knowledge of Christianity, but nevertheless presents the complexity of the world's largest faith.
Chapter 1: Christianity's multifaceted nature
Chapter 2: The 'Jesus of history' debate
Chapter 3: Paul's contribution to early Christianity
Chapter 4: The Bible How the canon was defined. A brief outline of the various genres of biblical literature. Christian attitudes to the Old Testament, and Christianity's distinctive interpretation of it. How Jewish and Christian canons came to coincide. Uses of scripture: doctrine, liturgical, devotional
Chapter 5: The creeds. A brief historical background, introducing Christian teachings on the nature of Jesus Christ and the Trinity. Why creeds are considered important, and their present-day role in the Christian faith
Chapter 6: The Church. The Church as the 'communion of saints', encompassing all Christians of the past, present and future. Augustine's concept of the invisible Church: notions of the visible and invisible Church, the Church militant and the Church triumphant. Some introduction to the various Christian denominations will be given in this chapter
Chapter 7: The sacraments and rites of passage. The role of sacraments in the Christian faith: their definition, nature and meaning. The relationship between sacraments and life-cycle events: baptism, confirmation, marriage
Chapter 8: Traditions (1): The East-West Split--Eastern Orthodoxy. The disputes that gave rise to the 1045 'Great Schism' and how these define the essential nature of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. The key tenets and structure of the Orthodox churches. Reference will also be made to the Uniate churches
Chapter 9: Traditions (2): The Protestant Reformation. The historical disputes that gave rise to the split between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, and how key Reformation concepts manifest themselves in Protestant thought and worship (e.g. faith and works, the role of grace, the nature of authority, the priesthood of all believers, interpreting the sacraments)
Chapter 10: The European Enlightenment and its effects on the Christian faith. Scientific progress and its effect on Christianity: Lyell and Darwin, and the rise of historical science. Developments in biblical scholarship, and the rise of fundamentalism
Chapter 11: By-ways of doctrine. A brief overview of the Christian-derived movements that are not generally accepted as belonging to mainstream Christianity, e.g. Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Unification Church. How schismatical movements become mainstream (e.g. Adventism, The Salvation Army). Pentecostalism as a borderline case
Chapter 12: Christianity in Africa. The distinctive nature of Christianity in Africa, and the new forms that have arisen
Chapter 13: Christian mission. The different waves of Christian mission, and how they led to the Christian ecumenical movement
Chapter 14: Christianity as a folk religion. In the 2001 Census, 71.6 per cent of Britons declared themselves Christian. Exploration will be made of what this means, and how Christianity manifests itself outside the organised Church
Chapter 15: Recent movements. The ecumenical movement; the ordination of women, and feminism within Christianity; secularisation; the interfaith movement; the impact of the electronics revolution; the charismatic revival