The friendship between Abraham Joshua Heschel and Reinhold Niebuhr was both personal and intellectual. Neighbours on the Upper West Side of New York City, they walked together in Riverside park and shared personal concerns in private letters; Niebuhr asked Heschel to deliver the eulogy at his funeral. They were bound by shared religious sensibilities as well, including their love of the Hebrew Bible, the irony they saw in American history and in the writings of the Hebrew prophets, and in their commitment to social justice as a duty to God. Heschel arrived in the public sphere later, as a public intellectual with a prophetic voice, much as Niebuhr had been for many decades prior. Niebuhr’s affirmation of the affinities between his and Heschel’s theological scholarship pays tribute to an extraordinary friendship of Protestant and Jew.
William Dyrness and Christi Wells
Edwards’s aesthetics grounded in the ongoing work of God communicated in creation, not only lies at the centre of his thought but is increasingly recognized as one of his most original contributions to theology. Edwards’s reflection on God’s beauty emerged in the context of his work as a pastor, which allowed him to frame God’s dynamic presence in dramatic and multi-sensory categories. For Edwards Beauty glimpsed in the form of images formed in the mind reflects a consent of being; the visual beauty of symmetry and proportion is meant to move the heart to consent to the will of God reflected in creation—what Edwards calls respectively secondary and primary beauty. All creatures are types and shadows of spiritual realities; beauty and morality are linked, though only the Holy Spirit allows believers to consent to God’s self-disclosure in creation. Edwards’s neo-platonic framework allowed his reflections on the revivals to affirm physical beauty while subordinating its meaning to the spiritual, enhancing its role as revelation but diminishing its value as an end in itself.
Adriaan C. Neele
Jonathan Edwards’s attention to Africa cannot go unnoticed, as articulated in his A History of the Work of Redemption. Less attention, however, has been given to the reception of Edwards’s works in Africa. This absence in Edwardsean research is remarkable, as many of his works have been reprinted, translated, and published from the eighteenth century onwards, particularly by those who had a vested interest in missionary movements and societies labouring throughout Africa. In fact, the reception of Edwards’s thought in Africa is primarily through the work of nineteenth-century missionaries and missionary societies—willing or unwilling participants of the colonial European expansion in Africa. Several of his works translated into Arabic, Dutch, English, French, and German found their way from Cairo to Cape Town. This chapter, then, is a preliminary overview from North Africa to Southern Africa of the distribution, use, and appropriation of some of Edwards’s works throughout the continent.
Ronald Lawson, Kenneth Xydias, and Ryan T. Cragun
This chapter provides a clear but concise history of three of the more prominent proselytizing religious groups in Latin America: Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. All three were founded in the United States in the nineteenth century, but for varying reasons began a global expansion that included efforts in Latin America. The different motivations behind their global expansion are detailed in the chapter. The groups have different dates of origin, and different dates at which their international expansion into Latin America began. The chapter discusses these dates and the reasons why the groups entered Latin America when and where they did. Once full-fledged proselytizing efforts began, the three groups adjusted their messages and approaches in different ways, reflecting the broader approaches employed by them as well as their different theologies. As a result, rates of growth for these groups have differed, as have retention rates. The chapter provides current membership data for each country in Latin America, illustrating differences in retention rates and proselytizing practices. The chapter explains why Mormon membership numbers are particularly overstated, why Seventh-day Adventist numbers are relatively accurate, but also slightly overstated, and why Jehovah’s Witnesses numbers are understated. Finally, it examines growth rates over time to better understand the likely future of these groups in Latin America.
Heather A. Warren
Reinhold Niebuhr’s ability to analyse the most fundamental aspects of human existence and reckon with them on the grandest scale has remained relevant for American foreign policy since the 1930s. In the contexts of the interwar years, the Second World War, the immediate post-war world, and the Cold War, Niebuhr called attention to the importance of justice, pride, national interest, and prudence in deliberations about the United States’ responsibilities in an interdependent world that faced the menace of communism. The Irony of American History (1952) was his extended examination of America in the new international system, and it included recommendations to guide the making of American foreign policy. Niebuhr’s principles provide insight into US successes and failures in the Vietnam, Bosnian, and Gulf Wars.
This chapter traces the Anglican commitment to, and involvement in, the ecumenical movement from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, particularly as reflected in resolutions of successive Lambeth Conferences from 1867 to 2008. It highlights the classic statement of the Anglican ecumenical vision given by the 1920 Lambeth Conference, centred on the Lambeth Quadrilateral, and the Appeal to All Christian People that the Conference issued. It considers various ecumenical developments with Anglican participation in the 1940s and 1950s and records major doctrinal agreements reached in bilateral and multilateral dialogues particularly from the 1970s onwards, as well as new stages of closer communion entered into with a number of ecumenical partners at regional levels. Increasingly, a commitment to an ecumenism of action is becoming a dominant feature of today’s ecumenical movement, although doctrinal conversations continue to search for the agreement in faith that is required and sufficient for visible unity.
This chapter considers the future of Anglicanism especially in the light of the interpretation of Scripture. It considers a recent instance of impasse and suggests a possible way forward. It goes on to discuss the contemporary issues concerning Anglican interpretations of scripture by looking at treatment of sexuality and violence. It considers hermeneutical differences among societies. The second half of the chapter questions whether the approach of scriptural reasoning that has been modelled by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars, in which Anglicans have played a prominent part, could assist different religions and different cultural contexts in hearing one another and learning to reason about the Bible together.
By virtue of its historical origins as well as its commitment to fundamental doctrines such as the Trinity, and the transformation of perspective as a result of ecumenism and the continuation of the Anglican Communion worldwide, Anglicans draw on an extraordinary range of resources both old and new. Reflection on scripture, saints both pre- and post-Reformation, and the willingness of present-day Christians to lay bare their own engagement with God result in a rich and demanding range of possibilities. The impact of liturgical reforms and revisions post Vatican II have resulting in the reordering of places and spaces for worship, increased sensitivity to ‘sacramentalism’ very broadly construed, attention to the arts in all their complexity, and in some cases in serious re-engagement with political and social life.
In the light of recent Anglican practice, initiated by the Anglican Primates’ taskforce, Theological Education for the Anglican Communion, to speak of ‘the Anglican Way’ rather than Anglicanism, this chapter explores whether the notion of a single ‘Anglican Way’ is feasible, given the theological diversity of Anglican history and the Anglican Communion. The chapter maintains that there are historically at least ten different ‘Anglican ways’ from the time of the Elizabethan Settlement (such as Puritanism, Latitudinarianism, Evangelicalism, Tractarianism), and describes them briefly, arguing that, interacting historically and in the present, they can be seen as contributing to a single Anglican Way. However, recognizing the tensions among these ten Anglican ways and the single Anglican Way, the chapter makes seven suggestions for resolving tensions. It then describes the new global Anglican Way that is emerging against a very narrow Anglican Way that discredits history and Anglican diversity.
The chapter focuses on the nature and character of Anglican wisdom, exploring this in the context of church structures, tradition, and truth. Drawing on a variety of different examples and contrasting wisdom with folly, it argues that, historically and in the present time, Anglican wisdom is rooted in its capacity, in the presence of God, to acknowledge and hold the complexity and contradictions of human life in all its fullness. Lacking the authority structures required to give a single definitive Anglican view on any given subject, wisdom in the churches of the Anglican Communion continues to emerge through an ongoing, collective, often fraught act of listening to God.
This chapter considers the emergence of the complex relationship between Anglicanism and a broader evangelical movement (often known as ‘pan-evangelicalism’) which transcends denominational boundaries. The origins of this relationship goes back to the sixteenth century, but became especially important from the eighteenth century onwards as a result of the ‘evangelical revival’ in England, and its extended influence. The expansion of British colonial power was an important factor in consolidating and extending an evangelical influence within Anglicanism, especially on account of the role of entrepreneurial individuals and mission societies in propagating the Christian faith. The chapter concludes with reflections on the future of this relationship, given contemporary developments within both Anglicanism and evangelicalism.
Anglicanism from the time of the Reformation has been characterized by a persistent interest in the Fathers of the church which joins authorities as diverse in date and disposition as Cranmer and Pusey or Jewel and Newman. While both the methods of reading and the conclusions drawn from considering patristic sources have varied greatly, Anglicans of different tendencies have tended to value the Fathers such as Augustine both as representing a Catholic consensus opposed to Roman and Puritan extremes, and as uniquely useful sources for theological discourse, constructive or controversial. Even where the authority of the Fathers is not regarded as theologically unique, the characteristics identified as necessary in a Church both catholic and reformed have tended to be drawn from the practice and belief of ancient Christianity, as in the Quadrilateral. Anglicanism is less a tradition characterized by confessional adherence to the Fathers as by consistent acknowledgement of its historical basis in the early Church in terms of both doctrine and dogma.
This chapter explores Edwards’s theological anthropology from the perspective of his psychological understanding of the person, where the human intellect and volition reflect and participate in the Word–Spirit unity, distinction, and ordering in God. Special attention is paid to his idealist and dynamic human ontology, which rejects substance as its underlying reality. Yet, it is argued that Edwards’s particular versions of determinism and occasionalism, where the will is bound by causes though humans are not efficient causes, do not undermine his compatibilist account of free will. Under consideration are the critical roles the intellect and body play in the natural affections and the way in which true freedom coincides with the theocentric and integral nature of the religious affections. The chapter concludes with a description of Edwards’s embodied, dynamic, and relational dimensions of eschatological humanity.
This short chapter considers the renewed interest in Niebuhr’s legacy from the middle part of the first decade of the twenty-first century, through the presidency of Barack Obama and into the era of Donald Trump, following his victory in the 2016 presidential election. It places what might be called the Niebuhrian ‘world view’—understood as Christian theology set upon an international historical canvas—against the backdrop of the so-called ‘crisis of world order’, about which much has been written since 2014. It argues that Niebuhr plays a similar role in American intellectual life as Edmund Burke has done in Britain and that his ideas continue to provide a useful guide to the world today.
This chapter gives an overview of the scholarship of Asian Edwardseans and the significant publications of primary and secondary sources on Edwards in Asia. There remains today little critical research on Jonathan Edwards’s influence in Asia or Asian Edwardsean scholarship. Thus, the significant contributions of Asian scholars to Edwardsean scholarship have been largely unacknowledged. This chapter begins by assessing the state of Korean Edwardseans, which is the second-largest group of Edwardseans in the world. Korean scholars, publications, and churches together reveal a robust engagement with Jonathan Edwards’s life and thought. Edwards’s influence on the Korean Church has rapidly accelerated in recent decades and is poised for continued growth. In addition to Korea, Japanese, Chinese, and Singaporean Edwardsean scholarship receives attention. Throughout the chapter, comments on the future of Asian Edwardsean scholarship are provided, including pointing out areas where further development remains necessary.
Because evangelicalism has been arguably the strongest expression of Christianity in Australia, Edwards, as one of its principal founders, has been a seminal presence. The explicit reception of his writings, however, was not extensive in the nineteenth century and was most evident among Presbyterian clergy. In the twentieth century he was central to the ‘marriage mysticism’ of the Reformed theologians attached to the New Creation Teaching Ministry headed by the Rev. Geoff Bingham, an Edwards aficionado. At the end of the twentieth century, Edwards was increasingly cited by both supporters and opponents of the Charismatic movement. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, he has been the subject of increasingly sophisticated academic inquiry. His spirituality and ecclesiology have been studied with a view to benefitting especially evangelical churches, while his trinitarian theology has been quarried by those, not necessarily evangelicals, who have been captivated by Edwards’s thinking on creation and design.
This chapter explores questions of power and authority under the headings of identity, orthodoxy and ministry. Written from a (South African) postcolonial context, and employing the method of theologies of liberation, the chapter interrogates the shifting positions of insider/ outsider identities and how these relate to who exercises power in the churches of the Anglican Communion. In turn this opens the question of who is recognized as holding the authority to define contemporary orthodoxy. Finally, in considering the relationship of leadership to authority and power, some reflections on the question of the churches’ mission to draw in those on the margins are offered.
Steven R. Harmon
While the Baptist tradition has not always been associated with ecumenical engagement in the minds of its observers or of Baptists themselves, this chapter highlights the overt and implicit ecumenical commitments that historically have marked this free church tradition. These include the congregational interdependence that is a dimension of Baptist ecclesiology, Baptist participation in the institutions of the modern ecumenical movement, Baptist participation in formal ecumenical dialogue, Baptist involvement in church union discussions, and the manner in which the Baptist tradition has received various aspects of other Christian traditions. The chapter proposes that the paradigm of receptive ecumenism reframes Baptist identity as being more ecumenically open than previously appreciated and has the potential to encourage new forms of Baptist contribution to ecumenical convergence.
Cornelis van der Kooi
The appropriation of Barth’s theology in contemporary Protestant theology is related to the culture and conditions of its reception. While the direct influence of Barth may broadly have decreased in recent years, some of his major insights and decisions have found wide acceptance in Protestant theology. The importance of Christology for the doctrine of God is recognizable in many strands of contemporary Protestant thought; equally, the ethical dimensions of Barth’s theology have drawn much attention to this domain of the theological enterprise. Barth’s emphasis on God’s action in favour of God’s creatures and of the human being—the creature called to creative and free response to God—also features heavily in current Protestant reception of his work.
Due to a widespread perception that he was a theologian of division, Karl Barth is not generally counted amongst the twentieth century’s great theologians of culture. Although this reputation derives largely from an unfair caricature, it also grows out of Barth’s very real scepticism concerning the possibility of a theology of culture that could avoid the deification of human achievements. Those who delve deeply into Barth’s understanding of culture, however, find in his writings a rich resource in his eschatological appreciation of secular culture. This chapter examines his writings on culture between 1926 and 1932, including his lectures on ethics and Church Dogmatics I/1, as well as his later essays on Mozart (1956) and relevant portions of Church Dogmatics IV/3, noting how these texts can be positively interpreted and can fund a contemporary theology of culture.