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Hope College Sociologists Co-Edit Book

Posted December 10, 2001

HOLLAND -- Hope College sociology professors Donald Luidens and Roger Nemeth have co-edited a recently published book, "Reformed Encounters with Modernity: Perspectives from Three Continents" (Media-Com, Stellenbosch, South Africa).

Other co-editors include scholars from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, the Free University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands and Calvin College, reflecting the "three continents" which are the focus of the study.

The articles in the volume consider the many ways in which Reformed communities have responded to the changes that accompany the modernizing of society. According to Luidens and Nemeth, urbanization, mass communication, globalization and a loss of traditional identities have gone hand in hand with the economic changes of modern society. They note that the church and people of faith have had to respond to these challenges, and it is the responses that are the focus of "Reformed Encounters."

Among the contributing authors are several pastors and researchers from the countries surrounding South Africa. Their unique perspectives, from countries experiencing the early stages of modernization, provide a valuable counterpoint to articles written by European and American scholars, Luidens and Nemeth believe. Along with their editorial role, Nemeth and Luidens contributed an article to the volume on social and demographic changes in the Reformed Church in America since 1920.

Hope faculty members Lynn Japinga and Robert Swierenga have also written articles, on the Reformed Church and Christian Reformed Church respectively, in "Reformed Encounters." The articles were presented in 2000 at a conference held at the University of Stellenbosch, during which the authors were able to refine their interpretations of the changes they had encountered.

"Reformed Encounters" is the third in a series of studies published by the International Society for the Study of Reformed Communities, co-founded by Luidens, Nemeth, and their colleagues. The ISSRC brings together academics from around the globe who are conducting research on various groups related to the Reformed branches of Protestant Christianity. Earlier volumes, "Rethinking Secularization" and "Reformed Vitality" (both co-edited by Luidens and published by the University Press of America), assessed the role that secularization has played in the life of Reformed churches and the ways in which religious communities have responded creatively to those challenges.

Luidens has been a faculty member at Hope College since 1977. After completing his undergraduate degree at Hope, he did graduate work at Princeton Seminary and Rutgers University.

Nemeth has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1983. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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