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Unlearning Protestantism: Sustaining Christian Community in an Unstable Age di [Schlabach, Gerald W.]
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In this clearly written and insightful book, Gerald Schlabach addresses the "Protestant dilemma" in ecclesiology: how to build lasting Christian community in a world of individualism and transience. Schlabach, a former Mennonite who is now Catholic, seeks not to encourage readers to abandon Protestant churches but to relearn some of the virtues that all Christian communities need to sustain their communal lives. He offers a vision for the right and faithful roles of authority, stability, and loyal dissent in Christian communal life. The book deals with issues that transcend denominations and will appeal to all readers, both Catholic and Protestant, interested in sustaining Christian tradition and community over time.


Gerald W. Schlabach (Ph.D., University of Notre Dame) is professor of theology and director of the Justice and Peace Studies program at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the founder and director of Bridgefolk, a movement of Mennonites and Roman Catholics who come together to celebrate each other's traditions, explore each other's practices, and honor each other's contribution to the mission of Christ's church. He is also the author or editor of several books.

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  • Formato: Formato Kindle
  • Dimensioni file: 929 KB
  • Lunghezza stampa: 272
  • Editore: Brazos Press (1 aprile 2010)
  • Venduto da: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Lingua: Inglese
  • ASIN: B00B85CLQW
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Le recensioni clienti più utili su (beta) (Potrebbero essere presenti recensioni del programma "Early Reviewer Rewards") 3.5 su 5 stelle 2 recensioni
6 di 7 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
4.0 su 5 stelle dissent is meaningless outside of communion 29 febbraio 2012
Di Greg Smith (aka sowhatfaith) - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile
Unlearning Protestantism: Sustaining Christian Community in an Unstable Age is a complex book that evolved over many years. Schlabach expressed hesitancy to publish the work after fully converting to Roman Catholicism, but chose to do so at the urging of colleagues. The book is necessarily autobiographical at times, but constantly seeks to speak much more broadly and to encourage those within the Catholic and Protestant traditions to find their way forward in the practices of stability and virtues of fidelity. In the current unstable age, which many term postmodern, the way forward for Christian traditions in all of their many shapes is via the commitment of adherents to their respective communities. Voices of loyal dissent must be heard and valued, but are helpful in generating needed reform only as they remain a part of the tradition. The outcome of this shift in thinking should be an increase in Christian unity and in openness to learning from the other traditions as well as one's own.

The author writes for two audiences: Roman Catholic and Protestant. Protestant readers will be thankful to learn that he is not writing to encourage them to follow his path and join with the Roman Catholic tradition, yet will likely struggle with his heavy reliance upon the Second Vatican Council. Personally, I found the fourth chapter, "Stability in Hard Times: Loyal Dissent," the most important and hopeful. In those pages he offers the stories of Yves Congar, Dorothy Day, Dom Helder Camara, Oscar Romero, and Joan Chittister as powerful examples for his premise that dissent is meaningless outside of communion.
2 di 9 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
3.0 su 5 stelle A learned book, contaminated by disturbing religious syncretism 12 maggio 2014
Di J. Michael - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle
The author of this scholarly but ultimately confusing book came into full communion with the Catholic Church in 2004, after a lifetime as a Mennonite. Given his background as a member of an insular group that descended from a fringe of the Radical Reformation, he naturally had thought deeply about the subjects of Christian community and ecclesiastical stability and concluded that only the Catholic Church possessed the history, theology and praxis necessary to attain such characteristics. His deep learning and personal experience led him to understand that the "Protestant Principle" of institutional critique and reform is, while being an admirable quality in times of crisis, also a debilitating cancer over the long term, leading to fragmentation, denominationalism, and destruction of community.

While the author's commitment and sincerity can hardly be doubted, considering his radical and public conversion, several aspects of his book make me wonder about both his motivations and true convictions. Did he really convert to Catholicism or did he convert to a mistaken conception of Catholicism or even to a revolutionary ideal of Catholicism that he wishes to see brought into being?

In the first place, in all his analysis of the stability of Catholic ecclesiology, I found no reference to anything supernatural in the Church that would recommend it to a non-Catholic. Community is a great thing, but hardly the quintessential argument for the validity of a revealed Faith; there's nothing here about Truth.

Second, the Catholicism that he embraced seems to be a theoretical Catholicism of his own making, in which he can be both a good Catholic and a good Mennonite at the same time; he admires Martin Luther and his rebellion and considers the Reformation a good thing. He even has a grand agenda of his own, in which the Protestant Principle will be integrated within Catholicism, allowing for dissent and loyalty at the same time. Tellingly, he claims that he never could have become a Catholic if not for the Second Vatican Council. Why? It doesn't appear that he made that statement based on some appreciation for the Council's manner of presenting Catholic dogma in a new and comprehensible way; instead, it is to be deduced that he values the Council because its intentionally ambiguous declarations birthed a bastardized form of anarchic Catholicism that would allow for the syncretic Catholic/Protestant religion he envisions.

He openly admires the modernists who formed Vatican II: Congar, Murray, et al, whose writings had correctly been condemned by previous Popes as antithetical to Catholic doctrine, but most revealingly, he cites Sister Joan Chittister as his prime example of someone who represents his ideal of dissident loyalty. She is a nun who consistently and publicly dissents from the Magisterium on female ordination, abortion, contraception and homosexuality, among other things. Sister Chittister should not be considered "loyal" just because she has not_explicitly_apostatized; she is a formal heretic, denying Catholic dogma and intentionally leading souls into perdition. The fact that this rotted-out Vatican II pseudo-church has not excommunicated this heretic is in no way a recommendation of her loyalty to Christ's Church, but an indictment of the hierarchy's impotence and even complicity. Mr. Schlabach's admiration for such a person reflects his Protestant background and deficient understanding of the Faith and implies that he simply wishes to change us into some more credible version of Episcopalianism.

As he touches on in this book, it would be wrong of me to wish that he leave the Catholic Church and find some Protestant sect that matches his beliefs; there should be one flock, one shepherd. Nevertheless, Mr. Schlabach should not mistake the moral and theological anarchy of the Vatican II church for the eternal Catholic Faith, nor should his attempt to mix the past few decades' diluted swill with Protestantism be tolerated. Dissent within the Magisterium is a wonderful quality: for example, that's what the saints in the SSPX are doing every day. But dissent that advocates lies and heresies is a different thing altogether. The author has read a lot of books and can write with great erudition, but he's ultimately trying to have it both ways. He can either be Catholic or Protestant, and despite the difficult personal situation he finds himself in (considering his own cultural and theological baggage, and with his wife being the pastor of a gay-friendly Mennonite church), he has to make a choice. No man can serve two masters.
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