Home » A Theology of Religious Change: What the Social Science of Conversion Means for the Gospel by David J. Zehnder
A Theology of Religious Change: What the Social Science of Conversion Means for the Gospel David J. Zehnder

A Theology of Religious Change: What the Social Science of Conversion Means for the Gospel

David J. Zehnder

Published June 8th 2011
ISBN : 9781610973595
Paperback
202 pages
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 About the Book 

Synopsis: A Theology of Religious Change asks a simple question with a complicated answer: Why do people change religious faiths? The study invites its readers on a trek through sociological and psychological literature that suggests many causes ofMoreSynopsis: A Theology of Religious Change asks a simple question with a complicated answer: Why do people change religious faiths? The study invites its readers on a trek through sociological and psychological literature that suggests many causes of religious change. Moving beyond a mere catalogue of motives for conversion, the author explores how a theological account of conversion and the doctrine of election can be broadened, strengthened, and reformulated in light of the complexity of faiths human side. This book seeks to guide pastors, church workers, and theologians in their task of communicating the message of good news effectively by drawing attention to the diverse factors influencing religious change. Endorsements: David Zehnder performs a great service to theologians and social scientists by explaining how doctrines of salvation actually affect the real-life circumstances of people and their struggles with Christian faith. Here the age-old question of why some believe and others do not avoids getting mired in theological perplexities and speculations that take one well beyond the proper limits of theology. Instead, Zehnder brings clarity to discussions about conversion by examining the psychological and sociological factors that contribute to that process. This is an important study of the human side of religious experience that deserves a wide audience. -Matthew Becker Associate Professor of Theology Valparaiso University Since the social sciences replaced philosophy as the major auxiliary branch of learning informing the theological task a half century ago, Christian thinkers have struggled with how to put these disciplines to use. Their focus on what it means to be human has concentrated much recent theological discussion on biblical anthropology. Using the classical Protestant question of the role of the human will and decision in conversion as a test case, Zehnder illumines effectively what social scientific research has contributed to our understanding of conversion to the faith, perceptively evaluating several approaches to such investigation, their presuppositions and potential. This book opens up vistas and agendas in our discussion of what and how social-scientific research can contribute to the explication and application of the biblical definition of our humanity. The book serves as a new marker in the larger debate regarding twenty-first century theological method. -Robert Kolb International Research Professor of Systematic Theology Concordia Seminary, St. Louis Author Biography: David J. Zehnder is a graduate of the Concordia Seminary Graduate School in St. Louis and author of several articles in theology and its relationship to science, history, and philosophy.