Time for a Change: Reconfiguring Religion, State and Society (Christianity and Contemporary Culture)

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9780567084873: Time for a Change: Reconfiguring Religion, State and Society (Christianity and Contemporary Culture)
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In Time For a Change, Paul Weller argues that continuation of the establishment of the Church of England is theologically and politically inadequate to the religious, social and political landscape of the twenty-first century. Theologically and ecclesiologically, he suggests that reluctance actively to consider alternatives is symptomatic of a lack of confidence that needs to be overcome. Socially and politically, for a society that aspires to be inclusive of people of many religions and none, the continuation of establishment is argued to be inequitable. Within an outline of the contemporary religious landscape and the empirical results of research into the nature and extent of religious discrimination, Time For a Change traces the historical and contemporary contours and implications of establishment. A range of alternative social, legal historical, theological and ecclesiological approaches and models are examined and aspects of 'negotiation theory' are used to explore the conditions and dynamics necessary for transition and change. Finally, Weller argues that often-neglected perspectives of Baptist Christian tradition - in particular its theologically founded commitment to religious freedom and voluntaryist ecclesiology - offer more adequate resources for shaping the Christian future in a religiously plural and secular society than perspectives historically associated with establishment. Time for Change shows that, through the conjunction of social, political, demographic, theological and ecclesiological developments, a 'kairos' or decision time has arrived for establishment. It aims to stimulate a social and religious dialogue leading to the evolution of a new 'socio-religious contract'.

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About the Author:

Paul Weller is Professor of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby and Visiting Fellow in the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture at Regent's Park College, University of Oxford, UK.

Review:

'This is a weighty and patiently-researched thesis, which will be well-received by the Inter Faith Network.' (Andrew Atherstone, Themelios, 32/1 Themelios)

'This is an excellent book, tackling the reconfiguration of religion, state, and society. Weller's suggestion that the Baptist way of looking at things offers a ready-made model for the present circumstance is both novel and, to a large extent, convincing. Of course, not everyone will agree with him, but his argument is backed up with meticulous research and an encyclopeadic knowledge of the many aspects of his subject, and for that reason alone is deserving of serious consideration.' (John Drane, University of Aberdeen Theological Book Review)

'[V]ery valuable as a resource...this is a stimulating book and Paul Weller argues positively for what he calls covenantal voluntarism for a plural society.' Andrew Wingate, Interreligious Insight, July 2006

'this is a useful and thought provoking book, well worth a read by anyone interested in thinking about how the C of E relates to our current socio-religious setting.' ~ Mark Vasey-Sanders, ANVIL, Vol 32, No 2 (Mark Vasey-Sanders Anvil)

'He soundly argues [with]...evenhandedness and readiness to give credit where it is due.' (Paul Avis, The Council for Christian Unity, Church House, Westminster Theology)

"The book is a fine and nuanced overview of a crucial question in the present religious character of England..." (Michael Northcott, New College, Edinburgh Expository Times)

'This is an excellent book, tackling the reconfiguration of religion, state, and society. Weller's suggestion that the Baptist way of looking at things offers a ready-made model for the present circumstance is both novel and, to a large extent, convincing. Of course, not everyone will agree with him, but his argument is backed up with meticulous research and an encyclopeadic knowledge of the many aspects of his subject, and for that reason alone is deserving of serious consideration.' (Sanford Lakoff Theological Book Review)

'this is a useful and thought provoking book, well worth a read by anyone interested in thinking about how the C of E relates to our current socio-religious setting.' ~ Mark Vasey-Sanders, ANVIL, Vol 32, No 2 (Sanford Lakoff Anvil)

'He soundly argues [with]...evenhandedness and readiness to give credit where it is due.' (Sanford Lakoff Theology)

"The book is a fine and nuanced overview of a crucial question in the present religious character of England..." (Sanford Lakoff Expository Times)

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