The Commercial Church
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The Commercial Church : Black Churches and the New Religious Marketplace in America

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In this new book on the rise of commercial black 'mega churches,' Mary Hinton examines the rich legacy of the historic black church from the dual perspectives of theology and religious education. She explores the new religious models emerging from the tradition of the historic black church and questions whether they are continuing to operate and practice according to the wisdom of this unique form of American religion. Two mega church ministries, those of T. D. Jakes and Creflo Dollar, are examined in detail with regards to how they align with black church religious history. Hinton concludes by proposing that the fastest growing religious phenomenon within and outside of the black community in the United States-the mega church-should no longer be analyzed based on size alone. Instead, Hinton urges readers to consider the ecclesiastical structures of churches in making appropriate assessments in determining should and should not be classified as a commercial church.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 170 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 12.7mm | 430.91g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739137727
  • 9780739137727

Review quote

Mary Hinton is perhaps the first to articulate a theology of religious education operative in two specific black mega church ministries that are antithetical to prophetic dimensions associated with the historical black church. The richness of this book is in Hinton's analysis, which is informed by extensive ethnographic research. She places herself squarely within the black church tradition, but writes with an awareness of dialectical tensions that inform her critique of T. D. Jake's Potter House and Creflo Dollar's World Changers International. Thanks to Hinton's interpretation of this cultural phenomenon, I understand more fully how a commercialization of the church can contribute to a devaluation of religious education. -- Angela Sims, Saint Paul School of Theology Hinton skillfully analyzes the mega church phenomenon and its divergent relationship with the rich theological and educational wisdom of the historic black church tradition. Arguably one of the most significant studies in African American religious education today, her groundbreaking work is bound to inspire new avenues of investigation for contemporary religious education theory and practice. -- Yolanda Y. Smith, research scholar and lecturer in Christian education, Yale Divinity School, and author of Reclaiming the Spirituals: New Possibilities for African American Christian Education This volume by Hinton (Misericordia Univ.) on two black megachurches is a very important contribution to the literature and theology of black religious education. In this ethnographic study of T. D. Jake's Potter's House and Creflo Dollar's World Changers Church International, Hinton focuses on the goals stated in the literature of the churches and on some structural components of the corporate bureaucracy and entrepreneurial style of these two CEOs and their organizations (hence the title The Commercial Church). Hinton's original contribution is less in the study of these megachurches and more in the theories and theology that undergird her focus on religious education. Her ethnographic approach does not include interviews with Jakes and Dollar, or with any church members, e.g., those in the small group meetings that provide the intimate space for megachurches. Her analysis of religious education largely focuses on the prosperity gospel sermons these two leaders preached. She finds that they lack the prophetic tradition of historic black churches. The value of this study is in the clear, concise summaries of the literature in the areas of biblical literature, religious education, theology, and megachurches. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty. CHOICEshow more

About Mary Hinton

Mary Hinton is vice president of Planning and Assessment at Mount Saint Mary College.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7show more

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