Christ and Culture in Moscow

Article by Robin Lovin

Almost every American seminary student knows H. Richard Niebuhr’s typology of five ways of relating Christ and culture. I have often used Niebuhr’s book Christ and Culture in the classroom. Presenting these ideas to students at the Russia United Methodist Seminary however, was a new experience. Since Christ and Culture has been translated into good …

Churchgoers From Elsewhere

Article by John Dart

Before the American Unitarian Association merged with the Universalist Church of America in 1961, the former group ran an ad campaign suggesting, "I was a Unitarian all along and never knew it." The Unitarian Universalist Association could revive such a slogan today in view of recent surveys. Two polls indicate that only 10 percent of …

Common Roots, Divergent Paths: The Disciples and the Churches of Christ

Article by W. Clark Gilpin

Despite common ancestry in an American religious movement which knew itself as the “Reformation of the 19th century,” the Churches of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) today exhibit only faint family resemblances. For a century the congregations of the Christian Church have moved steadily, if at times hesitantly, toward life as one …

Denominations: Surviving the ‘70s

Article by Martin E. Marty

In 1944 the then “undenominational” Christian Century published several articles under the heading “What’s Disturbing the Churches?” Nineteen years later, in 1963, the now “ecumenical” weekly took another turn and had numerous writers ask, “What’s Ahead for the Churches?” By that time, according to Editor Kyle Haselden: the earlier question was no longer apropos. The …

Fractures in the Future

Article by Douglas W. Johnson

The dream of uniting the U.S. Protestant religious community has hit a snag. Splintering rather than unity appears to be the theme of the 70s and may be this decade’s legacy for the ‘80s. The fragility of denominational unity is evident as some bodies are unable to overcome internal divisiveness. The cracks in the church’s …

Is Theological Pluralism Dead in the UMC?

Article by John B. Cobb, Jr.

“Liberalism” has many meanings in contemporary theological usage. Chiefly it has come to name something the speaker dislikes. But the liberal spirit has continued in an affirmation of theological pluralism — an appreciation and attentive acceptance of a variety of theological programs. Sometimes this has meant that various historic Christian traditions have affirmed the legitimacy …

Moderates Unite? The Future of Southern Baptist Dissidents

Article by Jim Jones

Should moderate Baptists, now fragmented into various groups, consolidate their forces into a full-fledged national denomination and try to provide a compelling alternative to the conservative Southern Baptist Convention? That was the most intriguing question brought up when more than 3,000 moderates gathered in Fort Worth in June for the annual general assembly of the …

The Holiness and Pentecostal Churches: Emerging from Cultural Isolation

Article by Donald W. Dayton

The Holiness and Pentecostal churches, the youngest of the ecclesiastical families examined in this series, are often overlooked and sometimes avoided by their elder brothers and sisters in Christendom. Notice, however, is especially appropriate now because the rest of this century will see the culmination of a continuing process as these churches emerge from sectarian …

The Methodist Story

Article by Grant Wacker

Book Review: Methodism: Empire of the Spirit By David Hempton. Yale University Press, 291 pp.   In 1868 General U.S. Grant remarked that the United States possessed three great parties: “The Republican, the Democratic, and the Methodist Church.” More recently my colleague Stanley Hauerwas quipped that “long after Christianity is dead and gone, the United …

The Mormons: Looking Forward and Outward

Article by Jan Shipps

In less than two years from now, the 150th anniversary of the formal organization of the Mormon Church will be observed with carefully choreographed ceremonies telecast from the gigantic Tabernacle in Salt Lake City’s historic Temple Square. Distinctly separate ceremonies will be conducted in the 10,000-seat auditorium in Independence, Missouri, the center-place and headquarters of …

The Reformed Churches: Enlarging Their Witness

Article by Howard G. Hageman

The churches that bear the name “Reformed” are only a fraction of the churches in this country that represent the Reformed tradition. It is one of the curiosities of that tradition in the U.S. that, while Baptists are always called Baptists and Methodists are always called Methodists, many Reformed Christians are called Presbyterians! The difference, …

The Unitarian Universalists: Style and Substance

Article by Robert B. Tapp

For church-watchers, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) provides fascination. Formed in 1961 by a merger of Unitarians and Universalists, this relatively new denomination is small (its membership peaked at slightly above 200,000 during the bulge of the ‘60s); wealthy (43 per cent of its members earn more than $25,000 a year); and highly educated (42 …

Toward the Prophetic: A New Direction in the Practice of New Thought

Article by Liza J. Rankow

Called “The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness” by William James in his classic work, Varieties of Religious Experience, New Thought is a spiritual and philosophical movement associated with the founding of a number of ideologically-related churches in the late 19th and early 20th century United States. Among the best known of these are Divine Science, Religious Science …

Two Religions?

Article by Michael Root

Book Review: Christian Contradictions: The Structures of Lutheran and Catholic Thought By Daphne Hampson. Cambridge University Press 323 pp. Is there some single basic difference between Catholics and Protestants? Did the Reformation spring from a theological disagreement so fundamental that schism was inevitable, and which no amount of good will could have settled? According to …