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"Protestant" is shorthand for a spreading family tree of church and theological traditions. Each tradition embodies a historically shaped perspective on the beliefs, practices and priorities that make up a Christian community.
Whether you are an insider to one tradition, a hybrid of two or three, or---as many Christians today---an outsider to all, Exploring Protestant Traditions is a richly informative field guide to eight prominent Protestant theological traditions: Lutheran, Anabaptist, Reformed, Anglican, Baptist, Wesleyan, Dispensational and Pentecostal. Clearly and evenhandedly, W. David Buschart traces the histories of each tradition, explains their interpretive approaches to Scripture and identifies their salient beliefs. As a result, you will gain a sense of what it is to believe and worship as a Reformed or Pentecostal Christian, who the traditions' heroes are and where the "theological accents" are placed. Charts displaying the denominational representatives of each tradition and bibliographies mapping the path for further explorations add to the value of this guide.
This is a book that seeks to receive rather than evaluate, to listen and understand rather than judge or correct. His is a model of theological hospitality that encourages you to open your doors to the varied ways in which Protestantism has taken root in history and human society.
Some things take time, like coming to know a religious tradition. But Exploring Protestant Traditions is an excellent place to start.
W. David Buschart (Ph.D., Drew University) is associate dean and professor of theology and historical studies at Denver Seminary. He is also the founder of Credo Consulting, a theological consulting firm.
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