A Theology of Religious Change
What the Social Science of Conversion Means for the Gospel
Imprint: Pickwick Publications
"David Zehnder performs a great service to theologians and social scientists by explaining how doctrines of salvation actually affect the real-life circumstances of people and their struggles with Christian faith. Here the age-old question of why some believe and others do not avoids getting mired in theological perplexities and speculations that take one well beyond the proper limits of theology. Instead, Zehnder brings clarity to discussions about conversion by examining the psychological and sociological factors that contribute to that process. This is an important study of the human side of religious experience that deserves a wide audience."
Associate Professor of Theology
"Since the social sciences replaced philosophy as the major auxiliary branch of learning informing the theological task a half century ago, Christian thinkers have struggled with how to put these disciplines to use. Their focus on what it means to be human has concentrated much recent theological discussion on biblical anthropology. Using the classical Protestant question of the role of the human will and decision in conversion as a test case, Zehnder illumines effectively what social scientific research has contributed to our understanding of conversion to the faith, perceptively evaluating several approaches to such investigation, their presuppositions and potential. This book opens up vistas and agendas in our discussion of what and how social-scientific research can contribute to the explication and application of the biblical definition of our humanity. The book serves as a new marker in the larger debate regarding twenty-first century theological method."
International Research Professor of Systematic Theology
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis