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.
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 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.
This chapter explains the critical reception of Karl Barth by scholars of ecotheology and the challenges that his theology presents to environmental thought. Then, working along lines of critical reconsideration in environmental thought, it develops lines of possibility for reconsidering the environmental legacy of Barth. It argues that Barth silences nature and that his searing critique of modernity unwittingly reproduces its fundamental ecological illusion, the sundering of humanity from nature. Yet the silencing of nature is the first moment in a dialectic that anticipates a recovery of creation in which one may listen to other creatures. With an ecological imagination informing Barth’s logic, his system could constructively be developed to support an unusual stewardship ethic.
At the heart of Barth’s theological anthropology and its accompanying special ethics is a human agent set in motion by the creative and redemptive work of Christ and directed towards its human fellows in a relationship of shared need and obligation. I mobilize the ethically oriented, critical, and reflective mechanisms in Barth’s depiction of this agent to contest his heterosexist framework for the relationship and difference between the sexes. I propose that Barth’s Christocentric account of human agency undermines his efforts to subordinate women to men, that it has critical mechanisms that can contest, decenter, and reconfigure his rigid gender binary, and that it resonates in productive and suggestive ways with Judith Butler’s gender theory.
David W. Congdon
While Karl Barth avoided the question of hermeneutics and theological method, preferring to focus on the actual exegesis of Scripture, his work is thoroughly—albeit often implicitly—hermeneutical. His hermeneutics, however, is always determined by the subject matter. Over against historical critics who advocated a posture of feigned neutrality, Barth argued that the interpretation of a text requires a participation in its subject matter. Barth’s hermeneutics thus changed over the course of his career as his understanding of the subject matter changed. The eschatological subject matter of his early theology led to a hermeneutic of simultaneity. The historical subject matter of his later, Christocentric theology led to a hermeneutic of description. This chapter argues for an apocalyptic subject matter that unifies the eschatological and the historical and generates a bifocal hermeneutic.
This chapter reflects upon the relationship between Barth’s theology and Jewish thought. Currently we inherit a certain framing of this relationship, generated by a family of Jewish thinkers who placed particular stress on the ‘wholly other’ character of God and God’s revelation as command and love. Yet this Jewish appropriation of Barth has resulted in an unwanted strain of antinomianism and the installation of a ‘gnostic’ sensibility, which insists upon the dramatic separation between God, world, and word. The goal of this chapter is to reorient the encounter between Barth and Jewish theology. To that end, it considers the relation between Barth’s theology and Jewish thought in light of the challenge posed by modern science to religion, and it does so by way of a comparison between Barth’s theology and the work of his teacher at Marburg, the great Jewish philosopher Hermann Cohen.
Karl Barth has often been seen as the arch-enemy of liberal theology. Closer attention, however, reveals a constant concern to nuance his understanding of key liberal thinkers—even to the point where Barth claimed, towards the end of his life, to be himself a liberal theologian. But what does it mean to be a liberal theologian? What are the key markers of theological liberalism, and is that tradition homogeneous? This chapter addresses these questions and considers the ways that Barth cannot be said to have been either simply ‘anti-liberal’ or straight-forwardly a direct heir of modern liberal theology.
Mediaeval works of theology are frequently cited throughout Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics. Yet, with the exception of Anselm of Canterbury’s Proslogion, Barth shows little interest in engaging mediaeval works first-hand in his teaching or writing. This lifelong tendency to hold mediaeval theology at a distance springs from Barth’s critical judgement—first expressed in lectures in 1922 at the University of Göttingen—that the theology of the mediaeval era is by and large a ‘theology of glory’. Although Barth came to view Anselm as an important exception to this judgement by the time of Fides quaerens intellectum (1930), the question of whether he might have found further value in other mediaeval theologians deserves consideration.
Derek Alan Woodard-Lehman
This chapter argues against the familiar consensus that Barth’s relationship to modern moral philosophy is oppositional. It demonstrates that Barth appropriates the central insights of his philosophical predecessors and incorporates them into his ethics, even as he anticipates one of the most fruitful developments in contemporary moral philosophy: Stephen Darwall’s ‘second-personal ethics’. Rather than casting autonomy as sin, he recasts obedience to the Word of God as a form of autonomy. Barth incorporates the rational form of Kantian self-legislation and the social form of Hegelian mutual recognition into his account of subjective reception of revelation. Because Barth does not separate the sovereignty of revelation from the sociality of the church’s interpretation of Scripture and confession of faith, we—Barth’s readers—must not separate his account of hearing the Word of God from his account of hearing the divine command. In fact, we should take his account of the subjective reception of revelation as his most fulsome and winsome account of practical reason.
The struggle with modernity is a characteristic feature of Barth’s theology throughout his career. Because of the moral failure of his ‘liberal’ teachers in the First World War, Barth came to insist that Christian theology be based on a transparent epistemology, and that theory and practice be integrated. From 1915, Barth developed an avant-garde dialectical theology, initially in a neo-idealistic and expressionistic manner, with an implicit methodology, and later in an academic manner, with an explicit methodology. The result of this endeavour was an interpretation of God’s acting in the world through a (dialectically conceived) church.