The Rise of Network Christianity: How Independent Leaders are Changing the Religious Landscape
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Oxford University Press / 2017 / Hardcover
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The Rise of Network Christianity: How Independent Leaders are Changing the Religious Landscape

Oxford University Press / 2017 / Hardcover

In Stock
Stock No: WW635671


Product Description

Why, when traditionally organized religious groups are seeing declining membership and participation, are networks of independent churches growing so explosively? Drawing on in-depth interviews with leaders and participants, The Rise of Network Christianity explains the social forces behind the fastest-growing form of Christianity in the U.S., which Brad Christerson and Richard Flory have labeled "Independent Network Charismatic." This form of Christianity emphasizes aggressive engagement with the supernatural-including healing, direct prophecies from God, engaging in "spiritual warfare" against demonic spirits--and social transformation. Christerson and Flory argue that macro-level social changes since the 1970s, including globalization and the digital revolution, have given competitive advantages to religious groups organized as networks rather than traditionally organized congregations and denominations.

Network forms of governance allow for experimentation with controversial supernatural practices, innovative finances and marketing, and a highly participatory, unorthodox, and experiential faith, which is attractive in today's unstable religious marketplace. Christerson and Flory hypothesize that as more religious groups imitate this type of governance, religious belief and practice will become more experimental, more orientated around practice than theology, more shaped by the individual religious "consumer," and authority will become more highly concentrated in the hands of individuals rather than institutions. Network Christianity, they argue, is the future of Christianity in America.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 200
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2017
Dimensions: 9.3 X 6.4 X 1 (inches)
ISBN: 0190635673
ISBN-13: 9780190635671
Series: Global Pentecost Charismat Christianity

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Author Bio


Brad Christerson is Professor of Sociology at Biola University.

Richard Flory is senior Director of Research and Evaluation at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California.

Editorial Reviews


"This is an important book because it illustrates very well what some sociologists have argued for some time: globalization does not mean the end of religion but rather globalization introduces new forms including networked religion."--Michael Wilkinson, Pneuma


"This book is an important introduction to a form of Christianity you've likely never heard of - but need to And while the publication date of this book (March 2017) limited the opportunity to draw parallels with Trumpism, the volume offers insights into a religious mindset and posture that could partly explain the rise of a populism eagerly awaiting a strongman savior."--James K. A. Smith, Los Angeles Review of Books


"Well-researched and well-executed...Christerson and Flory have offered us a valuable piece of the overall puzzle depicting changes in the organization of Christianity."--Christopher P. Scheitle, Sociology of Religion


"The authors' aims are clearly defined and unpacked throughout the book. They substantiate their claim that [Independent Network Charismatic] Christianity is a rapidly growing sub-group in neo-Charismatic Christianity and argue that it will influence mainstream Christian practices in years to come. Their discussion of networks in the religious economy is useful in understanding the influence of INC Christianity in the changing religious landscape of America."--Shaun Joynt, Reading Religion


"American Christianity continues to morph into new forms as the world around it changes at an increasing pace. Christerson and Flory's analysis of 'Network Christianity' offers a fascinating window into a new wave movement in entrepreneurial Protestantism. Important reading for understanding developing trends in contemporary religion."
--Christian Smith, Director, Center for the Study of Religion and Society, University of Notre Dame


"A revealing introduction to a new generation of Charismatics. Relying on informal networks of cooperation and introducing innovations in outreach and fundraising, these rapidly growing churches are redefining how churches are organized. Christerson and Flory offer a detailed and insightful review of how these groups operate and a candid assessment of their prospects for the future."--Roger Finke, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Religious Studies, and International Affairs, The Pennsylvania State University


"Drilling deeper than statistics showing worldwide growth in Pentecostal or charismatic Christianity, Christerson and Flory insightfully unpack features of its thriving institutions. New forms of institutional authority, avoidance of routinization, and distinctive financial models motivate revised understandings of religious congregations and their lifecycles. By situating religious innovation within broader social changes, including globalization, the digital revolution, and declining bureaucracies, the authors significantly advance theories of the trajectories of contemporary religious institutions."--Lisa D. Pearce, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


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