For more than half a century, Rousas John Rushdoony and his followers have articulated and disseminated what they understand to be a biblical worldview, based in aspects of traditional reformed theology and both the Old and New Testaments. This worldview seeks to apply biblical law to every aspect of life and to transform every aspect of culture to establish the Kingdom of God. While some components of their vision are so extreme that Christian Reconstructionists are often dismissed as an irrelevant fringe group, other aspects of their vision have taken root in conservative American Protestantism, especially in the Christian homeschool movement, and therefor influenced American conservatism more broadly. This essay outlines that worldview and points to some of those areas of influence.
The churches of the Anglican Communion discussed issues of sex and gender throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century. Arguments about gender focused on the ordination of women to the diaconate, priesthood, and episcopate. Debates about sexuality covered polygamy, divorce and remarriage, and homosexuality. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, these debates became intensely focused on homosexuality and were particularly fierce as liberals and conservatives responded to openly gay bishops and the blessing and marriage of same-sex couples. By the second decade of the twenty-first century, the sex and gender debates had become less acrimonious, the Anglican Communion had not split on these issues as some feared, but the ‘disconnect’ between society and the Church, at least in the West, on issues such as the Church of England’s prevarication on female bishops and opposition to gay marriage, had decreased the Church’s credibility for many.
This essay examines conflicts concerning sex, sexuality, and gender within Black churches. Black churches are American Protestant churches with a predominantly Black leadership and congregation. Often serving the oppressed and underprivileged, Black churches have a history not only of providing for the spiritual needs of Black Americans, but also of fighting for social justice. Increasingly, controversies have begun to emerge within these churches, about gender equality, HIV/AIDS and safer sex education, and, perhaps the most controversial, about homosexuality and same-sex marriage. This essay discusses how Black churches have responded to these issues and the impact that HIV/AIDS has had on this response. Additionally, examples of the role of women and sexual minorities in Black church denominations and congregations will be provided.
Seth L. Bryant, Henri Gooren, Rick Phillips, and David G. Stewart Jr.
This chapter first traces the historical framework of Mormon conversion in the nineteenth-century church forward into the twentieth century. Next the chapter analyzes the reorganization of the mission program and the church administration through the 1960s Correlation program. Subsequent sections on contemporary conversion and retention in Mormonism follow a geographical approach, dealing first with the United States and subsequently with Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The conclusion develops ideas on Mormon conversion and traces the origin of the current low retention rates in developing countries to the new policies of the 1960s. More recent changes in mission policies were defined in 1985 and 2004, which consequently had a substantial impact on missionary and convert recruitment.
This chapter puts the theological use of father and son language in the traditional doctrine of the Trinity into perspective by showing that this language has a limited theological point and no exclusive privilege. These terms cannot stand on their own, moreover, without threatening to bring with them serious misunderstandings. As with every set of terms used to discuss the relationship between the first and second persons of the Trinity, the connotations of this one need to be severely modified in ways the simple use of the terms themselves cannot convey. While Anglicanism itself may be loath to change its liturgy, its favourite theological literature gives the whole church reason to reconsider that reluctance. By discussion of patristics, the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus, it seeks to show how gender can be reconceived.
Anglicanism’s multiple identities are often explained in terms of ‘church parties’, perhaps ‘high church’ and ‘low church’; ‘conservative’ and ‘radical’; or ‘evangelical’, ‘anglo-catholic’ and ‘liberal’. Such descriptions are frequently heard in accounts of the origins and contemporary character of the Anglican movement. However, there are many pitfalls in this interpretative approach, as this chapter reveals. The flourishing literature on Anglican identities is often deeply misleading. In particular, a church party framework can be guilty of imposing a model of conflict upon the historical record; of pigeon-holing Anglicans with simplistic stereotypes; and of being used as a rhetorical tool to bolster intra-Anglican polemics. This chapter cautions against the dangers, to which all students of Anglicanism must be alert.
Dorian Llywelyn SJ
The mother of Jesus is the most important female figure of Christianity. Mary appears in a small number of biblical passages, but the vast Marian phenomenon includes Christian doctrine and a range of cultural expressions. Interest in Mary emerged early in the Eastern Mediterranean, and spread into the West. With slightly different emphases, Catholics and Orthodox Christians share a number of beliefs concerning Mary and pray to her, but most forms of Protestantism reject Marian devotion. While Catholic attention to Mary diminished in the global North following the changes wrought by the Second Vatican Council, it has remained strong in other parts of the world, especially in Latin America. Shrines such as sites where Mary is believed to have appeared draw millions of devotees annually. Contemporary Mariology, the academic study of the figure of Mary, includes considerations from almost all the liberal arts.
Despite the struggles of defining an Anglican Communion, there is much to celebrate in terms of how dynamic and relevant Anglicanism can be. For example, through Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his theology of ‘Ubuntu’, the Anglican Church provided an important platform from which to demonstrate deeper communal identity. Sages like Tutu demonstrate what it will take, not only for the church but also for nation states, to have a future. Christian identity should no longer lead to culture wars and incommensurate identities. For Anglicans, the future of the church lies in her ability to be catholic—building the capacity to contain diverse worldviews and still flourish. Herein lies the best of Anglican aptitude, namely—spirituality as habitual recollection of the presence of God in the midst of diverse relationships. Through such spirituality, Tutu’s Anglican ecclesiology not only helps the church but also provides the precedent for how nation states will practise reconciliation.
John Witte Jr.
The chapter analyses the mainline Lutheran, Calvinist, and Anglican models of sex, marriage, and family and their gradual liberalization by Enlightenment liberalism. The theological differences between these models can be traced to their grounding in Lutheran two kingdoms doctrines, Calvinist covenantal theology, Anglican commonwealth theory, and Enlightenment contractarian logic. Lutherans consigned primary marital jurisdiction to the territorial prince or urban council. Calvinists assigned interlocking marital roles to local consistories and city councils. Anglicans left marital jurisdiction to church courts, subject to state oversight and legislation. The early Enlightenment philosophers, many of them Protestants, pressed for a sharper separation of church and state in the governance of marriage, and for stronger protections of the rights and equality of women and children within and beyond the marital household. But they maintained traditional Protestant prohibitions on extramarital sex and no-fault divorce in an effort to protect especially women and children from exploitation.
Although the reporting of Anglican Communion and sexuality has been disproportionate and often ill-informed, debates about sexuality, including homosexuality, have been and will remain a major area of crisis and controversy, continuing to make an impact on the unity and structural development of the Communion and worldwide Anglicanism for several years. This chapter explores the range of political and cultural factors, especially the impact of globalization, which have increasingly divided the Anglican Communion, particularly the Lambeth Conference, over the subject of sexuality. It highlights that the current crisis will not be resolved until deeper theological issues, particularly in relation to the Bible, are more fully addressed by Anglicans as has been attempted in the Anglican Covenant.
This chapter examines the continuities, development, and diversity found among evangelical Christians as they explore different patterns of evangelical response to new and challenging questions relating to sexuality and gender. Evangelicals have generally accepted contraception although there has been some recent opposition. Understandings and responses to divorce and remarriage vary from prohibition to generous accommodation with general acceptance of diverse genuinely evangelical views. Issues of gender and women in church leadership have, however, caused tensions and divisions between more restrictive ‘headship’ views and more egalitarian understandings, raising issues related to biblical inspiration and authority as well as hermeneutics. In contrast to diversity in these areas, most evangelicals remain committed to a sexual ethic focused on marriage and abstinence for the unmarried, and thus opposed to any approval of homosexual partnerships. Although some evangelicals are questioning this, most see change here as unbiblical and going beyond evangelicalism.