Conflict, Change, and Conversion: Four Decades of Conversion Among Baptists in Croatia 1970-2010
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CONFLICT, CHANGE, AND CONVERSION: FOUR DECADES OF CONVERSION AMONG BAPTISTS IN CROATIA 1970-2010 Eric Kane Maroney, Ph.D. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2015 Chair: Dr. M. David Sills Evangelicals represent a tiny minority in Croatia. During the period of conflict and change that accompanied the emergence of the Republic of Croatia during the 1990s, evangelical groups experienced significant growth. This movement has not been formally studied. Understanding this movement has significant benefit to those seeking to further the Kingdom of God in Croatia, but also beyond, as the issues of ethnic identity, nationalism, and civil strife are not unique to Croatia. The focus of research is the from 1970 to 2010, the two decades prior to the emergence of the Republic of Croatia and the two decades that followed, and is limited to Croatian Baptists. Chapter 1 introduces the subject of the study and makes a case for the research. The Chapter 2 seeks to answer the question of the Croatian religious identity from an historical perspective. The chapter begins with an overview of demographics from the four decades with which this research project is concerned, including ethnicity, language, and religion. Next, the geography of Croatia is reviewed. Subsequently, the religious history of the Croatian people is detailed, providing insight into their conversion resistance. Finally, a brief overview of the Croatian Baptist history is provided. Chapter 3 seeks to provide an understanding of conversion as related to conversion experience. The first part of the chapter details differing perspectives on conversion. The second part of the chapter examines two typologies of conversion experience, before examining two central aspects of conversion experience: context and means. The chapter concludes with an examination of the three primary conversion contexts included in the research: Traditionalist, Materialist, and Baptist. Chapter 4 presents the research data beginning with a description of the survey instrument, followed by a description of the methodology of application. Following this introduction to the instrument and method, the results of the research are presented. First, the results of the entire survey for the whole of Croatia are provided. Second, the results are examined for the impact of conflict and change on conversion. Chapter 5 concludes the dissertation with seven conversion resistance factors and five recommended evangelical responses to this resistance.