Lecturers feature in critically-acclaimed book on church life
April 18 2015
Psychology and Theology lecturers published articles in a critically-acclaimed new book on religious belief, identity and church life.
Dr Mandy Robbins and Professor William Kay from North Wales-based Glyndŵr University contributed chapters to 21st Century Evangelicals – Reflections on Research by the Evangelical Alliance.
A reader in Psychology at the Wrexham institution, Dr Robbins - whose previous work includes research into religious divides in Northern Ireland – submitted a report on Life in the Church.
The book – described as “fascinating” and “an invaluable resource” by leading lights in the theological arena – also includes a section by both academics entitled Evangelicals and the Charismatic Movement.
Dr Robbins said they were delighted to be involved with the collection, which follows more than a dozen short papers from leading academics in the social sciences who looked in depth at data and contributed analysis and reflection on subjects including politics, global mission, gender and families.
“It was a pleasure to participate and submit research on behalf of Glyndŵr University,” said Dr Robbins.
“We looked at the perspectives of religious groups, prayer, belief and social actions in the UK, which makes for interesting debate.
“The widely held view that religion is in decline and church attendances are falling is also discussed and analysed, along with positives around the strong identity and community of evangelicals.”
21st Century Evangelicals busts many of the myths of what evangelicals look like, and delves beneath the surface of the surveys provides an impressive portrait of a vibrant and active part of the UK Church.
In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in religious belief and its unexpected resilience in a world where it was predicted to demise. This book explains why evangelical Christians are of particular interest, as the churches they are part of are usually the ones bucking the trend of nationwide decline.
Dr Dave Landrum, director of advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance and author of the book’s concluding chapter, said: “The research shows that those with strong orthodox beliefs and moral values are far more likely than average to be involved in serving their communities and participating in voluntary projects.
“What this book shows is that the purpose of their political engagement is primarily focused on serving other people – particularly those in acute need.”
Greg Smith, editor of the volume, added: ““It was a delight to work collaboratively with Mandy Robbins and William Kay on this book.
“They brought unique expertise, undertook careful statistical analysis and, best of all for an editor they delivered well written manuscripts in good time.
“The data we have compiled is a treasure chest of information about evangelicals in the UK. In the book we have been able to delve deeper than in the initial reports, and our team of authors has set out their analysis in the framework of contemporary academic debates, while writing in a style that should be accessible to all.”
21st Century Evangelicals is out now, published by Instant Apostle.