A unique blending of historical analysis and bibliographical data, this volume defines and surveys the voluntary association for religious purposes.
A unique blending of historical analysis and bibliographic data, this volume examines the course of the voluntary association for religious purposes and analyzes the prominent primary and secondary literature in the field of voluntarism. In addition, hundreds of voluntary associations prior to 1900 in Britain, the United States, Canada, and elsewhere are listed. A reference tool for students and scholars in Western Christian thought and history, over 900 resources are classified by general, denominational, racial, and gender categories and are annotated.
The first part of the volume examines the roots of voluntary thought in the Christian tradition and provides an overview of the evolution of voluntary Christian endeavor in Britain and North America. Of particular significance is the connection between churchly voluntary associations and the evangelical experience of the 19th century. Individual voluntary relationships and groups are an integral part of human socialization. This is the first bibliography and overview of individuals joining together under the banner of Christianity in order to satisfy this deep human need.
Foreword by G. E. Gorman Preface The Origin and Evolution of an Idea The Evolution of the Voluntary Society in Great Britain Christian Voluntarism in North America Before 1900 The Function of Christian Voluntarism in British and North American Experience Bibliography and Critical Assessment Appendices Author Index Subject Index