Introduction: The Future in the Present

Robert Wuthnow

in Christianity in the Twenty-First Century

Published in print June 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096514
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853380 | DOI:
Introduction: The Future in the Present

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Christianity has always taught its followers to be mindful of the future. One set of issues that warrant attention perhaps more urgently than any others arises from the fact that the Christian's place has always been linked historically with the church as an institution. For those who, in consequence, have severed all ties with institutional religion, it may seem strange to suggest that the challenges facing the church as an institution deserve top billing. We need to understand how community is being reshaped by the diversity, the individualism, and the voluntarism that has become so prominent in American culture. A second set of challenges that deserve serious consideration focuses on what might be termed the “ethical” dimension of faith. A third set of issues raises a challenge in the area of religious doctrine. Some might prefer to call it the problem of belief. These are the challenges—institutional, ethical, doctrinal, political, and cultural—with which the present book is concerned.

Keywords: Christianity; future; religion; church; community; diversity; individualism; voluntarism; faith; belief

Chapter.  6912 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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