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Cities of God

Cities of God Author Rodney Stark
ISBN-10 9780061739972
Release 2009-03-17
Pages 288
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How did the preaching of a peasant carpenter from Galilee spark a movement that would grow to include over two billion followers? Who listened to this "good news," and who ignored it? Where did Christianity spread, and how? Based on quantitative data and the latest scholarship, preeminent scholar and journalist Rodney Stark presents new and startling information about the rise of the early church, overturning many prevailing views of how Christianity grew through time to become the largest religion in the world. Drawing on both archaeological and historical evidence, Stark is able to provide hard statistical evidence on the religious life of the Roman Empire to discover the following facts that set conventional history on its head: Contrary to fictions such as The Da Vinci Code and the claims of some prominent scholars, Gnosticism was not a more sophisticated, more authentic form of Christianity, but really an unsuccessful effort to paganize Christianity. Paul was called the apostle to the Gentiles, but mostly he converted Jews. Paganism was not rapidly stamped out by state repression following the vision and conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine in 312 AD, but gradually disappeared as people abandoned the temples in response to the superior appeal of Christianity. The "oriental" faiths—such as those devoted to Isis, the Egyptian goddess of love and magic, and to Cybele, the fertility goddess of Asia Minor—actually prepared the way for the rapid spread of Christianity across the Roman Empire. Contrary to generations of historians, the Roman mystery cult of Mithraism posed no challenge to Christianity to become the new faith of the empire— it allowed no female members and attracted only soldiers. By analyzing concrete data, Stark is able to challenge the conventional wisdom about early Christianity offering the clearest picture ever of how this religion grew from its humble beginnings into the faith of more than one-third of the earth's population.



Who Were the First Christians

Who Were the First Christians Author Thomas A. Robinson
ISBN-10 9780190620547
Release 2016-12-01
Pages 312
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It has been widely assumed that there were 6 million Christians (or 10% of the population of the Roman Empire) by around the year 300. The largely-unexamined consensus view is also that Christianity was an urban movement until the conversion of Emperor Constantine. On close examination, it appears that these two popular views would nearly saturate every urban area of the entire Roman Empire with Christians, leaving no room for Jews or pagans. In Who Were the First Christians?, Thomas Robinson shows that scenario simply does not work. But where does the solution lie? Were there many fewer Christians in the Roman world than we have thought? Was the Roman world much more urbanized? Or, is the urban thesis defective, so that the neglected countryside must now be considered in any reconstruction of early Christian growth? Further, what was the makeup of the typical Christian congregation? Was it a lower-class movement? Or was it a movement of the upwardly mobile middle-class? Arguing that more attention needs to be given to the countryside and to the considerable contingent of the marginal and the rustic within urban populations, this revisionist work argues persuasively that the urban thesis should be dismantled or profoundly revised and the growth and the complexion of the early Christian movement seen in a substantially different light.



Understanding Christian Mission

Understanding Christian Mission Author Scott W. Sunquist
ISBN-10 9781441242143
Release 2013-09-15
Pages 464
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This comprehensive introduction helps students, pastors, and mission committees understand contemporary Christian mission historically, biblically, and theologically. Scott Sunquist, a respected scholar and teacher of world Christianity, recovers missiological thinking from the early church for the twenty-first century. He traces the mission of the church throughout history in order to address the global church and offers a constructive theology and practice for missionary work today. Sunquist views spirituality as the foundation for all mission involvement, for mission practice springs from spiritual formation. He highlights the Holy Spirit in the work of mission and emphasizes its trinitarian nature. Sunquist explores mission from a primarily theological--rather than sociological--perspective, showing that the whole of Christian theology depends on and feeds into mission. Throughout the book, he presents Christian mission as our participation in the suffering and glory of Jesus Christ for the redemption of the nations.



Economic Origins of Roman Christianity

Economic Origins of Roman Christianity Author Robert B. Ekelund Jr.
ISBN-10 9780226200026
Release 2011-08-15
Pages 269
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In the global marketplace of ideas, few realms spark as much conflict as religion. For millions of people, it is an integral part of everyday life, reflected by a widely divergent supply of practices and philosophical perspectives. Yet, historically, the marketplace has not always been competitive. While the early Common Era saw competition between Christianity, Judaism, and the many pagan cults, Roman Christianity came eventually to dominate Western Europe. Using basic concepts of economic theory, Robert B. Ekelund Jr. and Robert D. Tollison explain the origin and subsequent spread of Roman Christianity, showing first how the standard concepts of risk, cost, and benefit can account for the demand for religion. Then, drawing on the economics of networking, entrepreneurship, and industrial organization, the book explains Christianity's rapid ascent. Like a business, the church developed sound business strategies that increased its market share to a near monopoly in the medieval period. This book offers a fascinating look at the dynamics of Christianity’s rise, as well as how aspects the church’s structure—developed over the first millennium—illuminate a number of critical problems faced by the church today.



Need to Know

Need to Know Author John G. Stackhouse Jr.
ISBN-10 9780199376971
Release 2014-05-30
Pages 320
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How should a Christian think? If a serious Christian wants to think seriously about a serious subject--from considering how to vote in the next election to choosing a career; from deciding among scientific theories to selecting a mate; from weighing competing marketing proposals to discerning the best fitness plan--what does he or she do? This basic question is at the heart of a complex discourse: epistemology. A bold new statement of Christian epistemology, Need to Know presents a comprehensive, coherent, and clear model of responsible Christian thinking. Grounded in the best of the Christian theological tradition while being attentive to a surprising range of thinkers in the history of philosophy, natural science, social science, and culture, the book offers a scheme for drawing together experience, tradition, scholarship, art, and the Bible into a practical yet theoretically profound system of thinking about thinking. John Stackhouse's fundamental idea is as simple as it is startling: Since God calls human beings to do certain things in the world, God can be relied upon to supply the knowledge necessary for human beings to do those things. The classic Christian concept of vocation, then, supplies both the impetus and the assurance that faithful Christians can trust God to guide their thinking--on a "need to know" basis.



Seven Revolutions

Seven Revolutions Author Mike Aquilina
ISBN-10 9780804138970
Release 2015-02-24
Pages 288
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Combining history, politics, and religion, Mike Aquilina and Jim Papandrea provide practical lessons to be learned from the struggles of the Early Church, lessons that can be applied to the day-to-day lives of Christian readers. Prolonged, multiple wars in the Middle East. Waves of immigrants crossing the borders. Ongoing economic recession. Increasing political polarization, often with religious overtones. Conflicts over ideologies that pit the progressive against the traditional. Sound familiar? These conditions not only describe the United States, but the situation of the Roman Empire in the third century. That situation led to religious persecution and the eventual collapse of the empire. In the middle of the third century, the Roman Empire was roughly the same age as the United States is now. In this book, authors Mike Aquilina and Jim Papandrea examine the practices of the Early Church—a body of Christians living in Rome—and show how the lessons learned from these ancient Christians can apply to Christians living in the United States today. The book moves from the Christian individual, to the family, the church and the world, explaining how the situation of the Early Church is not only familiar to modern Christian readers, but that its values are still relevant



Sociology of Religion

Sociology of Religion Author Kevin J. Christiano
ISBN-10 0742561119
Release 2008
Pages 374
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Sociology of Religion charts changes in the sociology of religion without ignoring the continuing relevance of Weber, Durkheim, and Marx. Veteran sociologists Christiano, Swatos, and Kivisto address both the foundations and the profound changes in the field, placing new conceptions against their historical background. Charts, pictures, down-to-earth examples, and a readable style keep the history and new developments within the reach of undergraduates. Instructors who want to give their students a current and comprehensive overview of the field should take a look at Sociology of Religion: Contemporary Developments.



Coming Out Christian in the Roman World

Coming Out Christian in the Roman World Author Douglas Ryan Boin
ISBN-10 9781620403181
Release 2015-03-03
Pages 224
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The supposed collapse of Roman civilization is still lamented more than 1,500 years later-and intertwined with this idea is the notion that a fledgling religion, Christianity, went from a persecuted fringe movement to an irresistible force that toppled the empire. The "intolerant zeal†? of Christians, wrote Edward Gibbon, swept Rome's old gods away, and with them the structures that sustained Roman society. Not so, argues Douglas Boin. Such tales are simply untrue to history, and ignore the most important fact of all: life in Rome never came to a dramatic stop. Instead, as Boin shows, a small minority movement rose to transform society-politically, religiously, and culturally-but it was a gradual process, one that happened in fits and starts over centuries. Drawing upon a decade of recent studies in history and archaeology, and on his own research, Boin opens up a wholly new window onto a period we thought we knew. His work is the first to describe how Christians navigated the complex world of social identity in terms of "passing†? and "coming out.†? Many Christians lived in a dynamic middle ground. Their quiet success, as much as the clamor of martyrdom, was a powerful agent for change. With this insightful approach to the story of Christians in the Roman world, Douglas Boin rewrites, and rediscovers, the fascinating early history of a world faith.



Embracing Obscurity

Embracing Obscurity Author Anonymous
ISBN-10 9781433677816
Release 2012-10-01
Pages 178
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Argues for a life based on humility, service, and sacrifice instead of the accepted worldview of a life valuing fame and recognition.



One True God

One True God Author Rodney Stark
ISBN-10 9780691187853
Release 2018-06-05
Pages
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Western history would be unrecognizable had it not been for people who believed in One True God. There would have been wars, but no religious wars. There would have been moral codes, but no Commandments. Had the Jews been polytheists, they would today be only another barely remembered people, less important, but just as extinct as the Babylonians. Had Christians presented Jesus to the Greco-Roman world as ''another'' God, their faith would long since have gone the way of Mithraism. And surely Islam would never have made it out of the desert had Muhammad not removed Allah from the context of Arab paganism and proclaimed him as the only God. The three great monotheisms changed everything. With his customary clarity and vigor, Rodney Stark explains how and why monotheism has such immense power both to unite and to divide. Why and how did Jews, Christians, and Muslims missionize, and when and why did their efforts falter? Why did both Christianity and Islam suddenly become less tolerant of Jews late in the eleventh century, prompting outbursts of mass murder? Why were the Jewish massacres by Christians concentrated in the cities along the Rhine River, and why did the pogroms by Muslims take place mainly in Granada? How could the Jews persist so long as a minority faith, able to withstand intense pressures to convert? Why did they sometimes assimilate? In the final chapter, Stark also examines the American experience to show that it is possible for committed monotheists to sustain norms of civility toward one another. A sweeping social history of religion, One True God shows how the great monotheisms shaped the past and created the modern world.



The Triumph of Christianity

The Triumph of Christianity Author Rodney Stark
ISBN-10 9780062098702
Release 2011-10-25
Pages 512
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Celebrated religious and social historian Rodney Starktraces the extraordinary rise of Christianity through its most pivotal andcontroversial moments to offer fresh perspective on the history of the world’slargest religion. In The Triumph of Christianity, the author of God’sBattalions and The Rise of Christianity gathers and refines decadesof powerful research and discovery into one concentrated, concise, and highlyreadable volume that explores Christianity’s most crucial episodes. The uniqueformat of Triumph of Christianity allows Stark to avoid densechronologies and difficult back stories, bringing readers right to the heart ofChristian history’s most vital controversies and enduring lessons.



God s Battalions

God s Battalions Author Rodney Stark
ISBN-10 9780061582615
Release 2009-09-29
Pages 288
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In God's Battalions, award-winning author Rodney Stark takes on the long-held view that the Crusades were the first round of European colonialism, conducted for land, loot, and converts by barbarian Christians who victimized the cultivated Muslims. To the contrary, Stark argues that the Crusades were the first military response to unwarranted Muslim terrorist aggression. Stark reviews the history of the seven major Crusades from 1095 to 1291, demonstrating that the Crusades were precipitated by Islamic provocations, centuries of bloody attempts to colonize the West, and sudden attacks on Christian pilgrims and holy places. Although the Crusades were initiated by a plea from the pope, Stark argues that this had nothing to do with any elaborate design of the Christian world to convert all Muslims to Christianity by force of arms. Given current tensions in the Middle East and terrorist attacks around the world, Stark's views are a thought-provoking contribution to our understanding and are sure to spark debate.



Discovering God

Discovering God Author Rodney Stark
ISBN-10 9780061743337
Release 2009-03-17
Pages 496
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Winner of the 2008 Christianity Today Award of Merit in Theology/Ethics The History of God In Discovering God, award-winning sociologist Rodney Stark presents a monumental history of the origins of the great religions from the Stone Age to the Modern Age and wrestles with the central questions of religion and belief.



The First Days of Jesus

The First Days of Jesus Author Andreas J. Köstenberger
ISBN-10 9781433542817
Release 2015-09-01
Pages 272
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The birth of Jesus stands as a pivotal moment in the history of the world, marking a dramatic turning point in God’s plan to redeem creation from sin and death. Much to the world’s surprise, redemption had arrived . . . in the form of a lowly baby. Aimed at stirring your affections for Jesus, this meditative book will lead you on a step-by-step journey through the Gospels’ birth narratives, clearing away common misconceptions, making messianic connections, and setting the stage for Jesus’s later life and ministry.



Reformation Myths

Reformation Myths Author Rodney Stark
ISBN-10 9780281078288
Release 2017-08-17
Pages 160
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What has the Reformation ever done for us? A lot less than you might think, as Rodney Stark shows in this enlightening and entertaining antidote to recent books about the rise of Protestantism and its legacy. ‘Rodney Stark takes no prisoners as he charges through five hundred years of history, upsetting apple carts left and right. Almost everything you thought you knew about the Reformation turns out to be a false narrative. . . In future, anyone who makes sweeping claims about the benefits of Protestantism ought to check their assumptions against Stark’s research first.’ Clifford Longley, author and journalist ‘Stark brings the insights of a distinguished sociologist of religion to bear on a range of inherited assumptions about the impact of the Reformation . . . The result makes for salutary reading in this year of commemoration and (not always justified) celebration.’ Peter Marshall, Professor of History, University of Warwick ‘Stark changed the way we think about the early Church and this book may change the way you think about Protestantism . . . Reformation Myths cuts through pious certainties and challenges us to think again about our cultural history.’ Linda Woodhead MBE DD, Professor of Sociology of Religion, Lancaster University



From Jesus to Christ

From Jesus to Christ Author Paula Fredriksen
ISBN-10 9780300164107
Release 2008-10-01
Pages 288
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From Jesus to Christ has been writing in one form or another for most of life. You can find so many inspiration from From Jesus to Christ also informative, and entertaining. Click DOWNLOAD or Read Online button to get full From Jesus to Christ book for free.



Surprised by Oxford

Surprised by Oxford Author Carolyn Weber
ISBN-10 9780849949319
Release 2013-02-04
Pages 480
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"Well written, often poignant and surprisingly relatable." - Kirkus Reviews "A hugely readable journey of cultural and spiritual discovery, sparkling with wit and wisdom." - Alister McGrath "Carolyn Weber's memoir reads like a fast-paced novel. I loved the humor, skillful use of language and her compelling account of her steps to finding God at Oxford. I was totally captivated from beginning to end." - Marilyn Meberg Surprised by Oxford is the memoir of a skeptical agnostic who comes to a dynamic personal faith in God during graduate studies in literature at Oxford University. Carolyn Weber arrives at Oxford a feminist from a loving but broken family, suspicious of men and intellectually hostile to all things religious. As she grapples with her God-shaped void alongside the friends, classmates, and professors she meets, she tackles big questions in search of Truth, love, and a life that matters. From issues of fatherhood, feminism, doubt, doctrine, and love, Weber explores the intricacies of coming to faith with an aching honesty and insight echoing that of the poets and writers she studied. Rich with illustration and literary references, Surprised by Oxford is at once gritty and lyrical; both humorous and spiritually perceptive. This savvy, credible account of Christian conversion and its after-effects follows the calendar year and events of the school year as it entertains, informs, and promises to engage even the most skeptical and unlikely reader. "Surprised by Oxford is a sprightly contribution to the genre of spiritual memoirs in the vein of C.S. Lewis's Surprised by Joy and Lauren F. Winner's Girl Meets God. Carolyn Weber is an unconventional thinker whose engagingly told faith journey will speak to folks who still believe that thoughtful people cannot be Christian." - Lyle W. Dorsett