The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries

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The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries

Postby Rvaughn » Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:39 pm

This is not specific to Baptist history, but is related because the book contains information about Baptist history, theology and denominations:

The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries, edited by George Thomas Kurian & Sarah Claudine Day, Baker Books, 2017, 480 pages.

The two very brief reviews on Amazon are mostly positive. Are any of you familiar with this book? If so, what do you think?
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Re: The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries

Postby Sandy » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:02 pm

I'm not familiar with that one. I have the most recent edition of the Handbook of Denominations in the United States, and it is a well researched book that is updated annually. It's a useful resource.
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Re: The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries

Postby Rvaughn » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:25 pm

Thanks, Sandy. I have several editions of those, from way back. I consider it a good resource, although I have run across a few bunged up entries. You have the new 14th Edition edited by Roger Olson at Baylor? I have the 13th edition, but haven't purchased the 14th.

One thing I am particularly interested in is how The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries might compare with Handbook of Denominations in the United States.

Thanks again.
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Re: The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:33 pm

I bought a copy out of interest for my Kindle. The article on United Methodists was good with two minor inaccuracies. The article contended that Bishops are elected for life. That is only true in the US. It also contended that the term “conversion” is often used reffering to justification. My experience is that “conversion” is a term mostly used by southern Methodists and not northern Methodists for the most part.
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Re: The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries

Postby Rvaughn » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:45 pm

Thanks. I think we have to take books like this with a few grains of salt. When they take on a project that big, there are bound to be areas of weakness of groups they don't know much about and/or have trouble getting good data from. It is good to read and compare groups you know about in order to get an idea of whether they are doing a decent job in general.
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Re: The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries

Postby Haruo » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:55 pm

Tim Bonney wrote: The article ,,, contended that the term “conversion” is often used reffering to justification. My experience is that “conversion” is a term mostly used by southern Methodists and not northern Methodists for the most part.

So do northern Methodists not use "conversion" to describe the experience "O for a thousand tongues" was written for the anniversary of? I have frequently seen it described that way, and have assumed the sources were Methodist, but have no way of guessing what part of what country they were from.
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Re: The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries

Postby Tim Bonney » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:09 pm

Rvaughn wrote:Thanks. I think we have to take books like this with a few grains of salt. When they take on a project that big, there are bound to be areas of weakness of groups they don't know much about and/or have trouble getting good data from. It is good to read and compare groups you know about in order to get an idea of whether they are doing a decent job in general.


I agree. I thought the articles I looked at were all pretty accurate.
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Re: The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries

Postby Tim Bonney » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:11 pm

Haruo wrote:So do northern Methodists not use "conversion" to describe the experience "O for a thousand tongues" was written for the anniversary of? I have frequently seen it described that way, and have assumed the sources were Methodist, but have no way of guessing what part of what country they were from.


We talk about salvation, redemption, justification, a relationship with Christ, God's grace working in our lives, etc. But I just hardly ever here the word conversion because we don't believe that salvation is an event. We believe salvation is a life long journey. Conversion for some folks implies a done deal. But since we strongly emphasize both sanctification and a belief in the free choice to apostatize, conversion is not a helpful word for us.
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Re: The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries

Postby Haruo » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:31 am

Tim Bonney wrote:
Haruo wrote:So do northern Methodists not use "conversion" to describe the experience "O for a thousand tongues" was written for the anniversary of? I have frequently seen it described that way, and have assumed the sources were Methodist, but have no way of guessing what part of what country they were from.


We talk about salvation, redemption, justification, a relationship with Christ, God's grace working in our lives, etc. But I just hardly ever here the word conversion because we don't believe that salvation is an event. We believe salvation is a life long journey. Conversion for some folks implies a done deal. But since we strongly emphasize both sanctification and a belief in the free choice to apostatize, conversion is not a helpful word for us.

Well, Wikipedia uses the term for what happened to (or in) Charles in May 1738 that a year later resulted in the great hymn I cited, and I have probably seen it used also of Aldersgate. But these are not conversions from something other than Christianity to Christianity, but something that occurs in people who are already at least more than nominally Christian. So it differs in a major way from, say, Saul's experience on the road to Damascus. Or maybe not so major, since you can easily argue that Saul's was an analogous experience within Judaism.
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Re: The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:57 pm

Haruo wrote:Well, Wikipedia uses the term for what happened to (or in) Charles in May 1738 that a year later resulted in the great hymn I cited, and I have probably seen it used also of Aldersgate. But these are not conversions from something other than Christianity to Christianity, but something that occurs in people who are already at least more than nominally Christian. So it differs in a major way from, say, Saul's experience on the road to Damascus. Or maybe not so major, since you can easily argue that Saul's was an analogous experience within Judaism.


I think you kind of answered your own question about Saul. In this cases he was a believer in the God of Abraham already. He wasn't entirely off the path. He needed to be guided onto the right path towards Christ. You could argue that he was experiencing God's prevenient grace in the process of receiving his revelation of Christ and deciding to follow Christ.

I'm not saying that United Methodist don't believe that people change as they grow in the grace of Christ. "Conversion" just isn't the term we usually use for that. If you look at both our Articles of Religion and our Confession of Faith I don't believe you will find the word "conversion" in any of them. Being born again, redemption, justification, faith in Christ are all mentioned. Just not conversion.
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Re: The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries

Postby Haruo » Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:03 pm

Actually in the case of Charles, I think "conversion" was his own term for the event of May 12?, 1738. And I'm not saying "conversion" is a term appropriate for the incremental growth in Christ that believers experience over the course of their experience of grace, but rather that even among Methodists (or at least among the Wesley brothers and those who quote them) it is the term for a sudden and seismic spurt of growth in Christ, involving a major overturning of some prior conception. It is appropriate to use of Paul on the road to Damascus, appropriate to use of Aldersgate, and appropriate to use of Charles' experience. I can't offhand think of a more appropriate term for such sudden and life-direction-changing experiences. If northern Methodists choose to call such things mere "growth", that is to their impoverishment.
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Re: The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:25 am

Haruo wrote:Actually in the case of Charles, I think "conversion" was his own term for the event of May 12?, 1738. And I'm not saying "conversion" is a term appropriate for the incremental growth in Christ that believers experience over the course of their experience of grace, but rather that even among Methodists (or at least among the Wesley brothers and those who quote them) it is the term for a sudden and seismic spurt of growth in Christ, involving a major overturning of some prior conception. It is appropriate to use of Paul on the road to Damascus, appropriate to use of Aldersgate, and appropriate to use of Charles' experience. I can't offhand think of a more appropriate term for such sudden and life-direction-changing experiences. If northern Methodists choose to call such things mere "growth", that is to their impoverishment.


I'm not sure why you are so attached to the word Hauro. :) I don't have a problem with it being used in context. If you read the whole of Wesley you find that Wesley was a Christian before his Aldersgate experience. The experience wasn't an original experience of justification but primarily a recognition of the assurance of his salvation. Before Wesley never felt sure he was a Christian. That lack of assurance was his main barrier to his growing in Christ.

Methodists don't believe in "mere growth" at all. That might be something you could do without God. We believe in God's Holy Spirit leading us in the path of sanctification, this is becoming more and more like Christ and to love others as Christ loves being the goal of the Christian life.

The problem with the way conversion is used by some Christians is that just simply getting saved becomes then main goal. Where as the goal of sanctification is to then grow, through that same Holy Spirit, into the likeness of Christ. Methodists don't believe getting saved is enough and that God wants much more for us.
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Re: The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:40 pm

Apologies folks for delving too far into Methodism here! Feel free to skip if it doesn't interest you.

Hauro, you might be pleased to know that "conversion" does find its way into one of the descriptions of salvation on the UMC website. The site makes a point of saying that conversion can be instantaneous or gradual. That may be a different definition than you are working with. But it does use the term. http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/our- ... n-heritage

One of the reasons the word may not be heard as much is that Methodists don't think of baptized children who grow up in the faith as "converts." The largest portion of people join my church by baptism followed by confirmation in their Junior High years. They aren't called converts as they are "Baptized members" and then at confirmation become "Professing members." Sacramental theology I'm sure is related to this discussion.
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