Church History: Five Approaches to a Global Discipline
Erling, Maria, International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Church History: Five Approaches to a Global Discipline. By Dyron B. Daughrity. New York: Peter Lang, 2012. Pp. xiv, 289. Paperback $38.95 / SFr 36/ euro29.95/ £24.
Dyron Daughrity's innovative textbook advances two objectives: guide beginning students through complexity in church history, and give substantial attention to Christianity outside of Europe and America. In doing so, he utilizes five approaches - chronological, denominational, sociological, geographical, and biographical - in as many chapters. The reader is treated to a succinct and at times breezy account.
Along the way, traditional themes receive attention without bogging down the author. Important doctrinal developments that caused rupture factor in the narrative, but results rather than meaning in context are stressed. The contested Reformation principle oí sola Scriptura means that believers have freedom to interpret the Bible on their own (58), persecution of Anabaptists by Reformation princes aside. In the sociological section, secularization theories provide one way to interpret declining Christian affiliation in Europe and growth in the Global South through indigenization processes, which provide the background theme present throughout all the chapters. The complexity of the debate over secularization theories is referenced briefly to note that secular Europe's humanitarian movements of protest and reform could be recognized as Christian. Empty cathedrals, low birthrates, and so on appear as indicators of the trends. It is surprising, therefore, that women figure in stories but not in the analysis. Fertility, focused on in his sociological approach, is a growth mechanism, but women can choose to limit births. Women's decisions about fertility would affect Christianity outside of Europe and America.
Geographical and biographical approaches receive creative and passionate treatment. People and narratives from Orthodox, African, and Asian Christianity appear, giving evangelical Protestants, seemingly the intended readership, insight into other traditions. Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Pentecostal movements receive significant attention, but mainline Protestant traditions and their institutions are largely bypassed. The World Council of Churches receives scant treatment, world confessional families do not factor in the analysis, and ecumenical and interfaith dialogues, as well as Christian relief efforts and development work, are not discussed.
- Maria Erling
Fifteen Outstanding Books of 2012 for Mission Studies
In consultation with fifty distinguished scholars from around the world, the editors of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research have selected fifteen books published in 2012 for special recognition of their contribution to mission studies. We commend the authors, editors, and publishers represented here for their contribution to the advancement of scholarship in studies of the Christian mission and world Christianity. …