(PUBEerdmans)A wise, cautious, and balanced assessment of the major proposals for church renewal offered during the last 50 years in charismatic, fundamentalist, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox, and mainline circles. Reveals the theological underpinnings, while weighing the overall strengths and weaknesses. 160 pages, softcover.
The Western church is currently awash in a sea of renewal movements so much so that she is in danger of drowning. Across the church's many denominations and great theological divisions there is a persistent quest for change, reflected in repeated calls for "revival," "reform," revitalization," and "restoration." We now have so much literature on the topic that one is hard-pressed to keep up with it, let alone evaluate it critically.
In The Logic of Renewal William Abraham helps church leaders and members get their bearings in the renewal debate by analyzing the most salient proposals for church renewal that have surfaced over the last fifty years. In successive chapters he pairs outspoken figures who (in all but one chapter) represent strongly contrasting convictions James T. Draper and Dennis Bennett, Lesslie Newbigin and John Shelby Spong, Rosemary Radford Ruether and Cardinal Ratzinger, Martin Luther King Jr. and Archbishop Romero, Alexander Schmemann and Gilbert Bilezikian, Don Cupitt and Edward Norman, C. Peter Wagner and R. R. Reno. Abraham gives special attention to the theological assumptions of each proposal, highlights its overall strengths and weaknesses, and develops his own proposals for church renewal through interaction with those under review.
Articulate, bracing, and constructive, The Logic of Renewal will redefine the way Christians think about church life.
William J. Abraham is Albert Cook Outler Professor of Theology and Wesley Studies at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. His other books include Canon and Criterion in Christian Theology: From the Fathers to Feminism (Oxfor
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