This title was first published in 2001. Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age explores how a religion, Christian or any other focussing on a personal God, may be communicated to people in a secular age. With people uninterested, uninformed or unbelieving in the Godward dimension and in any particular religious tradition, David Attfield claims that appropriate communication is essential. Before direct communication can begin some background conditions in the targeted population must be satisfied, and communication then requires a series of stages. This book offers an examination of seven particular species for communication: evangelism; inter-faith dialogue; nurture of adults; nurture of children; religious education in schools; the academic study of religion; professional ministerial formation. David Attfield offers fresh insights and practical suggestions which will be of interest to a wide-range of students, academics and those in ministerial training and practice.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: Autobiographical; Defining the key terms; Species of communication; Assumptions of the theory; Current forms of Religious Communication and their Problems: Church decline and its causes; The normal process of communication; A special process of communication; Gender and communication; A new positive approach; The requirements of communication; The Core Theory: The four-stage model; Adding the fifth stage; The background conditions; The Second, the communicator’s model; Background Conditions: Verbal ability; Autonomy; Opportunity; Nourishing the Sense of God: The sense of God; Nourishing the sense of God; Assessing Stage IV; The case for God’s reality; Motivation and Myers-Briggs: The Myers-Briggs typology; Motivation by type and temperament; Applying Myers-Briggs in communication; Other categorisations; Learning, Exploration and Commitment: Learning; Exploration; Religious truth-criteria; Reformed epistemology; The stage of commitment; Application: Evangelism; Inter-faith dialogue; Nurture (of adults); Child nurture; Religious education; Academic study of religion; Ministerial formation; Objections: The social gospel; Grace & human effort; Lack of resources; Remediation; Training the communicators: Who are the communicators?; Evangelism; Inter-faith dialogue; Nurture of adults; Child nurture; Religious education; The academic study of religion; Ministerial formation; A Concluding Vision: Summary of the whole argument; The sower and the seed; A final view; Bibliography; Index.
'David Attfield offers a general theory of religious communication, covering evangelism, inter-faith dialogue, nurture of adults and children, religious education, the academic study of religion and ministerial formation. It is both unusual and helpful to find treatment in one volume of these different kinds of religious teaching, thus facilitating our appreciation of their similarities and their differences. ...The kind of overview provided by Attfield's careful delineation of the different genres of religious communication makes possible a wise coordination of approaches... The book is a model of clarity in expression and organisation of ideas... he does succeed admirably in providing an intelligent and helpful analysis of the many possible ways of communicating a religious faith. ' International Journal for Religious Education '... a systematic account of what religious communication - from evangelism right through to the academic study of religion - is attempting to do... At the heart is a belief that religious communication is often viewed in too simplistic terms. For (the author), an adequate understanding must take full account of the fact that we live in a pluralistic and increasingly secular age, and have different abilities, educational backgrounds and personalities... the author has thought and read carefully about this important issue...' Church Times 'Attfield is concerned, again in a 'secular' age, for the process of communication of religious ideas and beliefs... Attfield has many helpful things to say about religious communication.' Regent's Reviews