Lowell Streiker, a longtime expert on free church movements and cults, examines a vital and growing free church movement-an impressive movement that is yet largely unknown. Founded in Norway more than 90 years ago, it is a church without membership rolls, clergy, central administration, tithing, or even a name. Outsiders call them Smith's Friends after their founder, Johan Oscar Smith. On a worldwide basis, some 30,000 people participate in more than 200 churches in 50 countries.
As a phenomenologist of religion, Streiker attempts to be descriptive, analytic, and constructively critical. In order to set Smith's Friends in historical, social, and religious perspectives, he first examines their similarities to and differences from earlier Norwegian revival movements. He then provides a detailed phenomenological report on Smith's Friends, based on field study in America and Europe. He examines their worship, hymnody, theology, and their everyday way of life. As a friendly critic, Streiker entertains the hope that Smith's Friends will come out of their small-church shell and actively engage Christendom and the world. If they do, Streiker believes we would all be better impressed by the influence of this extremely positive force for spiritual renewal. Streiker's examination presents an important study for scholars of religion, sociologists, psychologists, historians, and the general public concerned with modern religious life.
Reflections on Politics and Religion is a collection of the author's work over several years, presented in a series of short stories and essays, but in the final analysis represents the character of this American patriot who has spent his entire life as a servant. Agree with him if you will or disagree if you must, but somewhere in the middle even the most liberal or the most conservative will find common ground. Decide for yourself by reading the book!
The present volume is a continuation of the series Contemporary Philosophy. As with the earlier volumes in the series, the present Chronicles purport to give a survey of significant trends in contemporary philosophy. The need for such surveys has, I believe, increased rather than decreased over the years. The philosophical scene appears, for various reasons, more complex than ever before. The continuing process of specialization in most branches, the increasing contact between p- losophers from various cultures, the emergence of new schools of thought, particularly in philosophical logic and in the philosophy of language and ethics, and the increasing attention being paid to the h- tory of philosophy in discussions of contemporary problems, are the most important contributing factors. Surveys of the present kind are a valuable source of knowledge of this complexity. The surveys may therefore help to strengthen the Socratic element of modern philosophy, the intercultural dialogue or Kommunikationsgemeinschaft. So far, nine volumes have been published in this series, viz. P- losophy of Language and Philosophical Logic (Volume 1), Philosophy of Science (Volume 2), Philosophy of Action (Volume 3), Philosophy of Mind (Volume 4), African Philosophy (Volume 5), Medieval Age P- losophy (Volumes 6/1 and 6/2), Asian Philosophy (Volume 7), Philo- phy of Latin America (Volume 8), and Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art (Volume 9).
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