The Blackwell Companion to Protestantism edited
by Alister E. McGrath & Darren C. Marks (Blackwell
Companions to Religion Series: Blackwell Publishing)
brings together new essays from internationally renowned scholars in order to
examine the past, present and future of Protestantism.
The Blackwell Companion to Protestantism
co-edited by leading Protestant theologians Alister E.
McGrath, Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and Professor of Historical Theology
at the University of Oxford; and Darren C. Marks, who lectures in
systematic theology and religious studies at Huron University College at the
University of Western Ontario. The volume opens with an investigation into the
formation of Protestant identity across
The text reflects a triad of concerns:
Protestantism as pan-global, theological and ideologically loaded. The
Introduction provide a historical theological background, from Protestantism's
own confessions, of what Protestants believe and how they organize themselves
as a consequence in their church polity. Complementing this introduction is the
final part on 'The Future of Protestantism'. In this part, the essays define and
analyze the offspring of Protestantism – post-modernism, Pentecostalism,
Evangelicalism, the emergence of Asian, African and South American Protestant
forms, and the situation of historic western Protestant denominations. The
Introduction and final part begin and end (at least for the present) the
conversation about what Protestantism is in terms of its origins and its
Sandwiched between the Introduction and ‘The
Future of Protestantism' are two further major parts. The first, ‘The Formation
of Protestant Identity: History and Ideology', is a magisterial survey of
Protestantism in various regional and national identities, as well as an
exploration by several major Protestant thinkers. The 'big five' of Luther,
Calvin, Edwards, Schleiermacher and Barth have been highlighted in this part.
'The next major part, 'Protestantism and
Present Identity', is broken down into two components. Once again, these reflect
the triadic concern that drives the text. 'Protestantism and Its Relations'
frames the conversation that Protestantism has had with major segments of' human
enterprise and culture, usually in the western context. The relationship of
Protestantism to science, art, politics and law as well as itself via its
Bible-centered commitments is explored, highlighting the interplay between the
`religious' or 'theological' and other presumably secular human enterprise and
creations. 'Protestantism and its Influence' furthers this conversation by
addressing Protestantism to various movements that dominate much of the present
situation and constitute the grounds of future conversations elsewhere. The
section explores Protestant responsibility for (and resources to combat)
anti-Semitism, racial and sexual inequality, and presents two of the major
Protestant variations (or reactions) in liberalism and fundamentalism. In
looking forward to the ‘New Protestantism' of the twenty-first century in new
climes it seems imperative that Protestantism learns of its own critique well,
if only to avoid repeating the same mistakes in new situations. This section
also examines how Protestantism has exported itself in missions and its
spirituality. These essays indicate how the interplay between idea theology and
wider culture is transferred into real concrete situations in both pleasantly
surprising and woefully shattering ways.
The Blackwell Companion to Protestantism has nearly 40 different
contributors, many writing in a second or even third language, which makes for
some stylistic variance, and McGrath and Marks have retained the contributors'
spelling and punctuation style, whether UK or US. References and up-to-date
further reading lists are also provided.
The Blackwell Companion to Protestantism takes seriously the shift in
Protestantism from a predominantly North Atlantic perspective to a more global
reality. The strength of the volume is contributions by indigenous scholars on
regional Protestant history and context as well as chapters that examine the
nature of neo-Protestant forms and the future of historic Protestant identities
as a consequence of increasing secularity and the emergence of “new”
non-Eurocentric or American Protestants.
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