Christianity: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
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Exploring the cultural and institutional dimensions of Christianity, and tracing its course over two millennia, Linda Woodhead provides a fresh, lively, and candid portrait of Christianity's past and present. Addressing topics including the competition for power between different forms of Christianity, the churches' use of power, and its struggles with modernity, this new edition includes up to date information on the growth and geographical spread of Eastern Christianity, reflecting the global nature of Christianity in our ever-shifting contemporary culture. At a time when Christianity is flourishing in the Southern hemisphere but declining in much of the West, this Very Short Introduction offers an important overview of the world's largest religion.
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Baldung Grien (c. 1520–5) 26 Agnew & Sons, London/ www.bridgeman.co.uk 4 The Way of Good and Evil, American woodcut (1826) 33 Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe 7 The Holy Family with a Little Bird, Murillo (c. 1650) 34 All rights reserved. © Prado Museum, Madrid 8 The Sacred Heart of Jesus on a popular card (c. 1900) 36 Mary Evans Picture Library 9 The Light of the World, Holman Hunt (1900–4) 37 By permission of the Warden and Fellows of Keble College, Oxford 28 Courtesy of the Library
there were many rather more traditional Church and Biblical Christians in America who were genuinely supportive of the Revolution and its ideals and who believed that good Christians could also be good Americans, loyal to the ideals of liberty and democracy. One explanation of the greater openness towards the modern secular, democratic state on the part of many American churches is that they had more to gain than to lose from constitutional separation of church and state. Since there were already
Pentecostalism, and may also be called Pentecostal Christianity). Charismatic Christianity, which will be examined in more detail in the next chapter, places particular emphasis upon the direct experience of God as Holy Spirit. As a result, Evangelical Protestantism now covers a spectrum of positions. At one extreme are the most conservative Evangelicals, or Fundamentalists, who afﬁrm the absolute and infallible authority of scripture. At the other are Charismatic Evangelicals (or Evangelical
activity within the Anglican and Catholic churches, for example, has been strengthened by opposition on the part of African bishops in both denominations. Like Islam, Christianity may be in the process of becoming a global force of resistance to some of the dominant values of late modern Western culture. As in Islam, the liberal wing of the religion suffers a crisis of conﬁdence in the face of the growing forces of conservatism. In both, post-colonial hostility to Western dominance may ally
there were so many divine beings, one could accept that Jesus was divine without necessarily believing that he was unique. We know that there were many different groups in the ﬁrst centuries of the Christian era who were inspired by what they heard about Jesus and happy to admit that he had brought the sacred into the midst of life. Though they were later classiﬁed by the ‘orthodox’ form of Christianity that produced the New Testament as ‘heretical’ and ‘gnostic’, they were more diverse in belief