Appendices  in  Common Sense Christianity

Book Chapter by C. Randolph Ross

The two appendices are somewhat more technical in nature. Appendix A is on the canon, the Christ, and the historical Jesus, in which we consider how the authority of the Bible is related to the authority of Jesus. I argue that Jesus the Christ must serve as our “canonical principle’ by which we decide which …

Appendix A: The Canon, the Christ and the Historical Jesus  in  Common Sense Christianity

Book Chapter by C. Randolph Ross

Since early in the Church’s history the Old and New Testament have been recognized as its "Canon", as authoritative over all other writings, beliefs and opinions. But in recent decades there has been an increasing tendency to try to go behind this, to reconstruct the traditions and writings as they existed before they were incorporated …

Appendix B: Biblical Scholarship and the Resurrection: Did He or Didn’t He?  in  Common Sense Christianity

Book Chapter by C. Randolph Ross

Anyone who wishes to propose a hypothesis for “what really happened” on Easter is taking on a difficult challenge. Besides the fact that this is an emotionally charged subject, we have no evidence except for accounts written down fifty or more years later by people who had a particular point to prove. Nevertheless over the …

At the Divine Banquet

Article by Rodney Clapp

According to the claims of classical Christianity, there can be no salvation except through Christ. So what of those who reject or apparently never receive an invitation to join the party? Does God’s generosity, and the generosity of classic Christian spirituality, extend only so far? If spurned, does God turn to spite and everlasting punishment? …

Banished from the Land of Unity by William Hamilton  in  Radical Theology and the Death of God

Book Chapter by Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton

From the religious perception of Dostoevsky as seen through his religious vision and the eyes of his characters Dmitry, Ivan and Alyosha Karamazov, William Hamilton concludes that we ought not trust ourselves to claim that we have Dostoevsky’s final secret, for we may find it possible to receive only part of Dostoevsky’s religious vision today.

Beliefs That Count

Book by Georgia Harkness

(ENTIRE BOOK) Twelve basic affirmations of our Christian faith as each relates to modern man are discussed: What we believe about God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, Man, Sin, Experience, Perfection, the Church, the Kingdom of God, Divine Judgment and Eternal Life.

Bibliography  in  Resurrection: A Symbol of Hope

Book Chapter by Lloyd Geering

Selected Bibliography (These are arranged in chronological order or appearance) D. F. STRAUSS, The Life of Jesus, fourth edition, 1840 (Eng. trans. 1846). SAMUEL BUTLER, The Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, as Given by the Four Evangelists, Critically Examined, written in Canterbury, New Zealand, 1859-64. WILLIAM HANNA, The Forty Days after Our Lord’s …

Chapte<B> </B>4: Grace Abounding  in  Know Your Faith

Book Chapter by Nels F. S. Ferré

The meaning of sin, salvation, and sanctification: Sin is our deliberate act of faithlessness and rebellion. Salvation means getting right with God, and such a state alone can give man full satisfaction. The indwelling presence of God as Holy Spirit at work in life is called sanctification. To sanctify means "to make holy." God saves us by making us holy.

Chapter 1: Being and Becoming Human  in  Man and His Becoming

Book Chapter by Philip H. Phenix

Relatively little of human significance can be discovered in the disciplines of mathematics and the natural sciences, for they are restricted to the objective description of human beings. If these sciences are broadened to include philosophical considerations out of their critical scrutiny of science and technology they will become primes sources of knowledge of man.

Chapter 1: By What Authority?  in  Know Your Faith

Book Chapter by Nels F. S. Ferré

Authority is found in experience, the Bible, and the church, but these are all in the world. The Holy Spirit is beyond it. Christ as the Godman is both in and beyond the world. Only when the Holy Spirit can draw from "the things of Christ," using the channels of experience, the Bible, and the church, can we find that authority of the Christian faith which is truly of God, ever beyond the world, and yet also truly in the world for man.

Chapter 1: The Context: The Public Character of Theological Language by David Tracy  in  Talking About God: Doing Theology in the Context of Modern Pluralism

Book Chapter by David Tracy and John B. Cobb, Jr.

Tracy argues for the fully public theological language, an analogical language for the Christian Doctrine. He concludes that any theological discussion in the university must clarify three issues: the fundamental questions of human existence; the proper means to interpret a religious tradition; and the central meanings of any public truth-claims.

Chapter 1: Why Do We Have Creeds?  in  Christian Affirmations

Book Chapter by Norman Pittenger

Christianity is not the simple religion of God’s Fatherhood and man’s brotherhood, but rather the religion which finds God come to men for their wholeness of life in the person of Jesus Christ; and therefore finds in Him, in who He was, in what He did, in who He is, and in what He does, and in the consequences of those things, the whole substance.

Chapter 10: Christian Existence  in  The Structure of Christian Existence

Book Chapter by John B. Cobb, Jr.

Among the Hebrews the mythical was ethicized and personalized so that the power of the sacred remained overwhelmingly present. Responsibility for ones actions was recognized thus requiring control over ones emotions and thought. So Christian existence is spiritual existence that expresses itself in love. Spiritual existence is explained as a structure of radical self-transcendence, and its power for both good and evil is emphasized.

Chapter 10: The Faith That Kills and the Faith That Quickens  in  Liberal Christianity at the Crossroads

Book Chapter by John B. Cobb, Jr.

The word "faith" means so many different things, and it is so easily used to conceal an absence of meaning. The common use of this slippery word falsely suggests agreement where there is none. And yet it is claimed that salvation itself depends upon what it names, or faith is even identified with salvation. But the gospel is not about faith so much as it is about grace.

Chapter 11: H. Richard and Reinhold Niebuhr  in  Living Options in Protestant Theology

Book Chapter by John B. Cobb, Jr.

H. Richard Niebuhr has proposed that Christian affirmations should be understood as the confession of how that which is in itself absolute has been experienced from a conditioned and relative perspective. The suggestion of Reinhold Niebuhr is that the distinctive prophetico-Christian faith as found in the Bible provides an illumination of the socio-historical situation that other faiths and philosophies distort and obscure.

Chapter 11: Love  in  The Structure of Christian Existence

Book Chapter by John B. Cobb, Jr.

For the Christian, love is the possibility of openness to the other as another and concern for him as such. It is made possible by the gift of an undeserved love, and hence it cannot seek a deserving object for its expression. The possibility of its occurrence consists in a freedom from the sickness of self-preoccupation, and, hence, the prior relation of the other to the self cannot be relevant.

Chapter 11:<B> </B>We Believe in Divine Judgment  in  Beliefs That Count

Book Chapter by Georgia Harkness

The wrath of God must not be taken to mean vindictiveness. It means God’s inevitable condemnation and terrible judgment upon sin. It is because sin is so serious and divine judgment is so real that hell (alienation and separation from God by persistent rejection of him) is a reality upon earth and may well be after death. God forces no man to love and serve him; but when we refuse his invitation, we bear the penalty.

Chapter 12: Resurrection as the Hope for Personal Immortality  in  Resurrection: A Symbol of Hope

Book Chapter by Lloyd Geering

The Jewish doctrine of resurrection had not only preceded the rise of Christianity, but was also the necessary background for the expression of the Easter faith in terms of the resurrection of Jesus. In the course of time resurrection was increasingly orientated to the interests of the individual person, so that it became the Christian form of the hope of personal immortality, guaranteed by the affirmation of the Easter proclamation.

Chapter 12: The Question of Finality  in  The Structure of Christian Existence

Book Chapter by John B. Cobb, Jr.

Socratic man identifies himself with his reason, which he recognizes as one element within his psyche. Spiritual existence is constituted by the emergence of an "I" that transcends reason and passion and will as well as itself. To incorporate such an "I" is impossible without ceasing to identify oneself with one’s reason, whereas the reason of Socratic man can be incorporated into spiritual existence.

Chapter 13: Joy  in  Liberal Christianity at the Crossroads

Book Chapter by John B. Cobb, Jr.

The objectivity and universality of the good news should guard us as Christians against the dangers of privatism and individualism. It should establish a sense of our solidarity with all men in receiving the wholly unanticipated and undeserved gift. We are members of one another, and what God has done for us he has done for us all.

Chapter 13: What Can ‘Resurrection of the Dead’ Mean for Us?  in  Resurrection: A Symbol of Hope

Book Chapter by Lloyd Geering

The term ‘resurrection of the dead’ should not be interpreted as a hope for the prolongation or restoration of our own conscious existence, but rather a hope that human life has meaning, that when our conscious existence is ended, the historical life we have lived may be raised before the eternal Judge, and may be vindicated, as being of some value for that Kingdom which is eternal and for whose fuller manifestation on earth we ever pray.

Chapter 14: What Can the ‘Resurrection of Jesus’ Mean for Us?  in  Resurrection: A Symbol of Hope

Book Chapter by Lloyd Geering

The meaning of the cross must not be forgotten in the meaning of the resurrection. It is the Jesus who truly died who has been raised to spiritual life in a new form in the community which bears his name. Life does not mean the endless prolongation of a conscious self but a life of such quality that, having no further concern for self-interest, can transcend death and rise to a fresh mode of manifestation in the lives of men who follow.

Chapter 18: The Economic System  in  Common Sense Christianity

Book Chapter by C. Randolph Ross

The question of wealth in the consideration of economic systems is pursued. The conclusion is reached that neither in the capitalist systems nor in the socialist systems are the solutions to be found. Neither is in itself the problems nor the solution. The challenges confronting our own democratic capitalism is considered.

Chapter 2: The Son of His Love  in  Know Your Faith

Book Chapter by Nels F. S. Ferré

Christ rightly interpreted is the Word of God’s eternal love become historic, of God’s universal love become personal. Can anything be more universal; can anything be more needed? Here we have the answer to Judaism, to Islam, to Baha’i. Christ can be and has been falsely interpreted so as to block communication, but he can and should be understood in such a way that an open, concerned community is created.

Chapter 3: Analogy and Dialectic: God-Language by David Tracy  in  Talking About God: Doing Theology in the Context of Modern Pluralism

Book Chapter by David Tracy and John B. Cobb, Jr.

Tracy first continues to examine neo-Thomism and process traditions, then looks at analogical languages within Protestantism, starting from a negative dialectics view. He concludes that that the languages of analogy and dialectics, too long ignored by many Christian theologians, deserve their traditional central place in the genuinely public theological discussion of God.

Chapter 3: The God Who Goes “Zap”  in  Common Sense Christianity

Book Chapter by C. Randolph Ross

The question of whether we can conceive of God as going “zap” — intervening in the physical processes of the world in particular instances — is examined. This forces us to confront the problem of suffering, for this is where this question matters the most. He concludes that neither our reason nor our faith in a loving God can allow us to conceive of God as acting in such a capricious way.

Chapter 3: To Mature Manhood  in  Know Your Faith

Book Chapter by Nels F. S. Ferré

Is man good or bad? God made man good. This is his essential nature. Man’s fallen nature is not his real nature, but only the actual condition of his nature. What does it mean that man was created in the image of God? God is infinite and perfect Love. Man is finite, made for love. The image is absolute; the conscience is relative. Man himself lives in the conflict of the perfect and the sinful, the unconditional and the conditional.

Chapter 4: God and the Scientific World View by John B. Cobb, Jr  in  Talking About God: Doing Theology in the Context of Modern Pluralism

Book Chapter by David Tracy and John B. Cobb, Jr.

Cobb’s three lectures deal with three challenges to showing today that God truly exists: how to think of God in a way that is compatible with our scientific world view without removing God’s presence and efficacy from our lives and our world; how to think of God as the one in whom we place our complete trust and yet acknowledge the truth and greatness of a Way (Buddhism) that ignores or denies God; and how to free our thought of God from sexism without losing the profound values that have been bound up with the masculine images of God as Father and as Son. In this chapter he takes on the first challenge: science.

Chapter 4: The Kingdom of God and the Kingdoms of This World  in  God’s Grace and Man’s Hope

Book Chapter by Daniel Day Williams

The abyss between the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world has opened up before our eyes. We are perplexed to know what to make of our tragic world history, and to know how as Christians we are to live in it. We must examine the roots of this perplexity, and show why its solution lies in an interpretation of the creative and redemptive work of God which is other than that of either liberalism or neo-orthodoxy.

Chapter 4: The Self-Annihilation of God  in  The Gospel of Christian Atheism

Book Chapter by Thomas J.J. Altizer

We must recognize that the proclamation of the death of God is a Christian confession of faith. For to know that God is dead is to know the God who died in Jesus Christ, the God who passed through what Blake symbolically named as “Self-Annihilation” or Hegel dialectically conceived as the negation of negation. Only the Christian can truly speak of the death of God, because the Christian alone knows the God who negates himself in his own revelatory and redemptive acts.

Chapter 5: The Poem: Language of Insight  in  Speaking in Parables: A Study in Metaphor and Theology

Book Chapter by Sallie McFague

The second part of TeSelle’s book deals with various forms of Christian reflection: the poem, the story, and the autobiography. This chapter examines the poem as a source for parabolic theology as it attempts to integrate language, belief and life-style. Christian poets in particular have helped place the imagistic language of tradition into fresh contexts so that dead metaphors may become alive and effective once more.

Chapter 5: "And the Life Everlasting"  in  Know Your Faith

Book Chapter by Nels F. S. Ferré

Three concepts of "Life Everlasting" are discussed: 1. Eternity as a quality of life is participation without the right of duration, in the case of man, in the life everlasting; 2. Life as a continual stream of choices and consequences, of living and dying, of repeated reincarnations in this world; 3. God reawakens us to life after death in another realm beyond this earthly existence. The final outcome is in God’s hands. We can trust him for the best result possible.

Chapter 5: God and Buddhism by John B. Cobb, Jr  in  Talking About God: Doing Theology in the Context of Modern Pluralism

Book Chapter by David Tracy and John B. Cobb, Jr.

Eastern religions have probed the human depths with remarkable penetration and seen much that we in the West have neglected. Yet they have not found God. Perhaps the question today is not whether or not we believe in God but how we understand inclusive reality and whether within that understanding we find it appropriate to designate the whole or some element as God. Cobb examines the religious insights of Buddhism, and concludes that Buddhism and Christianity ask different questions to which each gives different answers.

Chapter 5: Heeding the Cry  in  Liberal Christianity at the Crossroads

Book Chapter by John B. Cobb, Jr.

If history has no Lord, and if we individually do not stand under the moral judgment of a transcendent maker, then does our continued concern for critical openness and historical responsibility make sense? There is a cry of terrifying Love, to which it is so much more comfortable to shut our ears and hearts. This cry leads us to the God whom we have been trying to heed as liberal Christians. It is not a figment of our imagination or a product of our wishes. It is there to be discerned if we will be attentive and perceptive.

Chapter 5: The Nineteenth-Century Background  in  Living Options in Protestant Theology

Book Chapter by John B. Cobb, Jr.

"Theological positivism" reaffirms the hostility of the Reformers to the Scholastic confidence in philosophical reason, and it employs this hostility more systematically as a methodological principle than was possible or necessary for the Reformers themselves. Responsible theology is not essentially different from Biblical exegesis. It can have no second norm beside the revealed Word of God. Since that revelation is self-authenticating and self-interpreting, it needs no second norm.

Chapter 5: We Believe in Man  in  Beliefs That Count

Book Chapter by Georgia Harkness

If the Christian in all humility subordinates himself to God and recognizes his sin and weakness and his complete dependence on God for his existence and his salvation, there is nothing wrong in thinking that man is the supreme object of God’s concern. Jesus apparently believed this, and so may we.

Chapter 6: Buddhist Existence  in  The Structure of Christian Existence

Book Chapter by John B. Cobb, Jr.

Gautama rejected the quest for a transcendent self, and he purified the reflective consciousness from the last traces of mythical influence. This, he believed, also broke the power of the bond that held the successive moments of experience together in the unity we have called the soul. In the process, therefore, reason was vigorously active, but the goal of this activity was a final passivity of the reflective consciousness toward what is given in the unreflective consciousness.

Chapter 6: Emil Brunner  in  Living Options in Protestant Theology

Book Chapter by John B. Cobb, Jr.

Brunner’s theology rejects both liberalism and orthodoxy, both subjectivism and objectivism. Liberalism, he declares, has become man-centered and has sought to subject the mystery of God to human reason. As a result, it has become an expression of human religiosity rather than of Christian faith, and its spokesmen have substituted the science of religion for Christian theology.

Chapter 6: God and Feminism by John B. Cobb, Jr  in  Talking About God: Doing Theology in the Context of Modern Pluralism

Book Chapter by David Tracy and John B. Cobb, Jr.

Cobb holds that if we have in Newton’s God transcendence without wholeness and in Tillich’s God wholeness without transcendence, we need an understanding of God as inclusive of both. We need to think of God as the prod and the lure to liberation and transcendence, and at the same time the inclusive wholeness to which that transcendence distinctively contributes. Now the contemporary women’s movement has raised new questions about God. Does God agree with our deepest attitudes, and thus also oppress women? Although Christianity has been male-oriented in the past, it need not remain so.

Chapter 6: The Divine Call and Man’s Response  in  God’s Grace and Man’s Hope

Book Chapter by Daniel Day Williams

In the conception of the meaning of history at which we have arrived, we interpret our present life as having its course within and under the reign of Christ. God has revealed His love in Christ with decisive power and clarity. He has made it possible for us to believe in the victory of His love, and to see its beginnings. Yet the victory is not consummated.

Chapter 7: Autobiography: The Unity of Life and Thought  in  Speaking in Parables: A Study in Metaphor and Theology

Book Chapter by Sallie McFague

This chapter discusses autobiography as a source for parabolic theology, as it integrates language, belief and life. It discusses the art and content of true autobiography, then illustrates with religious and secular autobiographies the way in which they provide an important tradition, and provide a theology understandable to contemporary readers.

Chapter 8: What Is Existentialism?  in  Living Options in Protestant Theology

Book Chapter by John B. Cobb, Jr.

For the thoroughgoing existentialist, the death of God means the absolute aloneness of the existent individual and the absence of any given structure of meaning whatsoever. Hence, the question of sin and forgiveness in the Christian sense cannot even arise. The all-important quest is for meaning, and this quest is foredoomed to failure in so far as meaning is still conceived as something given for the individual. Since God, the objective source of meaning, is dead, the only possible source of meaning is the self. The existentialist finds himself, finite being as he is, in the lonely and sovereign role of God, the author of purposes.

Chapter 9: Rudolf Bultmann  in  Living Options in Protestant Theology

Book Chapter by John B. Cobb, Jr.

God can never be introduced as a factor into the explanation of this-worldly events. He is radically transcendent, and his acts can never be placed alongside other causal influences in the interpretation of what occurs. From this principle there can be no exceptions, whether we are dealing with events recorded in the Scripture or with the religious experiences of mystics. These events are all subject to explanation in terms of this-worldly causes.

Chapter 9:<B> </B>We Believe in the Church  in  Beliefs That Count

Book Chapter by Georgia Harkness

The Church is the body of which Christ is the Head. It must have no other head but Christ; the governing authorities and all else within it must be subject to him. It exists to exalt the lordship of Christ over all of life. When anything or anybody else becomes supreme, idolatry has corrupted its nature and distorted its function. Christ is the incarnate Word of God, and he alone must reign within it.

Chapter<B> </B>1<B>: </B>We Believe in God  in  Beliefs That Count

Book Chapter by Georgia Harkness

God condemns, but he does not reject us. Mercy, not judgment, is God’s last word. Therefore, we should not be surprised to find that "there is no conflict between the justice of God and the mercy of God; both spring out of His infinite love for His children." And if this is true, it is certainly true that in response to his self-giving love he bids us love both him and our neighbor.

Chapter10: Paul Tillich  in  Living Options in Protestant Theology

Book Chapter by John B. Cobb, Jr.

In his ontology, Tillich places himself in the main stream of Western thought from the pre-Socratics through the great Christian philosopher-theologians down to the German idealists and especially Schelling. His intention is not to develop speculatively a particular form of ontology and defend it against all others. He seeks rather to lift out certain basic features indispensable to philosophical thought.

Common Sense Christianity

Book by C. Randolph Ross

(ENTIRE BOOK) A fascinating presentation of sensible answers to many of the questions in the minds of ordinary church people. It is written by a committed Christian who is convinced that much of what the Church has taught as doctrine for most of its twenty centuries is just plain wrong.

Debating the Incarnation

Article by Trevor Beeson

Questions directly related to Christian doctrine rarely hit the headlines in Britain these days, and there has been no public theological debate since the furor created by Bishop John Robinson’s Honest to God in 1963. But the publication of a volume titled The Myth of God Incarnate earlier this summer sparked off another controversy that …

Dietrich Bonhoeffer by William Hamilton  in  Radical Theology and the Death of God

Book Chapter by Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton

Bonhoeffer is undermining the traditional Christian confidence in language, argument, debate; in short, our assurance that we can persuade an indifferent world that it really needs God. He is forcing us to shift our center of attention from theology, apologetics, criticism of culture, the problem of communication, and even from hermeneutics, to the shape and quality of our lives.

Doubting Theology

Article by Forum ralls

  (How do Christians understand their faith in light of insights gained from history, social science, natural science and other modes of inquiry? How, for example, do Christians understand the book of Genesis in light of scientific investigation into the origin of the universe and of the species? How do they understand theological references to …

Exposing Zacchaeus

Article by Vitor Westhelle

Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminded us that grace is free but not cheap, gratis but not banal, gratuitous but not superfluous. The reformers of the 16th century defined the cost of grace by a single word: repentance. Repentance comes about when “terror strikes the conscience” (Melanchthon). Only thus can grace be truly free: in recognizing our sin, …

Introduction  in  Beliefs That Count

Book Chapter by Georgia Harkness

The Purpose of this small book is to state the timeless truths of the Christian faith in terms relevant to the perplexities and confusions, the aspirations, joys, and sorrows of modern man in a troubled world. In short, we shall try to see not only what Christians are entitled to believe but also how these …

Jesus Loves Everybody

Article by Ronald Goetz

More human beings live in abject poverty now than at any moment in the history of the planet. The wars of our century have set records for destructiveness. We have seen genocide practiced with a technical efficiency, that might have caused Genghis Khan to blanch. To the long list of ancient pestilences has been added …

Jesus Up Close

Article by Robin M. Jensen

Last year Popular Mechanics announced that a team of British scientists, assisted by Israeli archaeologists, had fashioned “the most accurate image” of the face of Jesus. Assuming that Jesus would have looked like a typical Galilean Semite of his time, the scientists gathered skulls from that date found near Jerusalem and proceeded to reconstruct Jesus’ …

Liberal Christianity at the Crossroads

Book by John B. Cobb, Jr.

(ENTIRE BOOK) Says the author: “I have tried in these chapters to share as a liberal Christian with other liberal Christians an understanding of where we are and where we are called to go. I am convinced that liberal Christianity has little future unless it can articulate its stance to itself in such a way as to differentiate itself from the activist, mystical, and psychological movements toward which it gravitates from time to time.”

Living Options in Protestant Theology

Book by John B. Cobb, Jr.

(ENTIRE BOOK) Dr. Cobb provides an overview of contemporary Protestant theology. This theology is confronted by a wide variety of ideas that sometimes agree and sometimes do not. If we are to judge ideas intelligently, we must learn why each theologian affirms them and how he justifies them. Then we can consider both the soundness of the method and the care and consistency with which it is employed.

Man and His Becoming

Book by Philip H. Phenix

(ENTIRE BOOK) No single field of study can provide a full picture of human nature and growth. An integral philosophy of man must be founded upon knowledge gained from all areas of inquiry, including the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities.

Not All Cats Are Gray: Beyond Liberalism’s Uncertain Faith

Article by Leonard I. Sweet

The German poet Heinrich Heine stood with a friend before the cathedral of Amiens in France.        "Tell me, Heinrich,” said his friend, “why can’t people build piles like this any more?” Replied Heine: “My dear friend, in those days people had convictions. We moderns have opinions. And it takes more than opinions to …

Personal Conclusions  in  Living Options in Protestant Theology

Book Chapter by John B. Cobb, Jr.

Those who would support the Christian vision in our time must develop new approaches to meet a genuinely new situation fraught with profound peril to the human spirit but possibly offering also hope for reversing the long decline of faith. One of the major tasks that confronts our generation is the development of a phenomenological-existential history of man’s emergence into various dimensions of consciousness and self-consciousness.

Preface  in  Know Your Faith

Book Chapter by Nels F. S. Ferré

This book is an attempt to make theology more available to the general public. Ferré says, "No book has caused me more pain of authorship than this one… If harder writing makes for easier reading, without forfeit of content, the pain is worth while."

Preface  in  Liberal Christianity at the Crossroads

Book Chapter by John B. Cobb, Jr.

My particular perspective within liberal Christianity has been shaped by years of living with the philosophical vision of Alfred North Whitehead. The understanding of grace, which is the single most pervasive theme of these chapters, is derived from him, although the word is not his and he might have been surprised by this use of his thought.

Preface  in  God’s Grace and Man’s Hope

Book Chapter by Daniel Day Williams

The author holds that the social gospel was too optimistic about man and his progress, while the “neo-orthodox” reaction to the liberalism of the social gospel was too pessimistic. His aim is to find a truer Christian understanding of man and God expressed in a structurally sound theology.

Preface  in  Christian Affirmations

Book Chapter by Norman Pittenger

The first section of this book is the result of a series of Tuesday evening meetings at Trinity Church, New York, during November and December of 1953. On those Tuesdays I gave a number of addresses, answering questions often asked by Christian laymen and inquirers; the answers were taken down by tape-recorder and are here …

Radical Theology and the Death of God

Book by Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton

(ENTIRE BOOK) The aim of the new theology is not simply to seek relevance or contemporaneity for its own sake but to strive for a whole new way of theological understanding. Thus it is a theological venture in the strict sense, but it is no less a pastoral response hoping to give support to those who have chosen to live as Christian atheists.

Resurrection: A Symbol of Hope

Book by Lloyd Geering

(ENTIRE BOOK) A helpful examination of the Christian meaning of resurrection — including the difference between belief in Jesus’ resurrection as an historical event, versus resurrection as an expression of faith in the risen Christ. .Resurrection does not mean the endless prolongation of a conscious self but a life of such quality that, having no further concern for self-interest, can transcend death and rise to a fresh mode of manifestation in the lives of men and women who follow.

Searchlights on Contemporary Theology

Book by Nels F. S. Ferré

(ENTIRE BOOK) Dr. Ferré discusses the barriers to dialogue and the following questions: Are Theologicans Undermining the Faith? What does freedom mean in an enslaved world? What kind of basic revision is needed in American education? What is the authority of the bible today? What is a definition of God and Christian experience for the twentieth century man?

Speaking in Parables: A Study in Metaphor and Theology

Book by Sallie McFague

(ENTIRE BOOK) This book studies the relationship of metaphor and theology. Parables, poems, novels and autobiography are examined as literary forms which address the ways in which metaphor operates in language, belief and life. Thus they are prime resources for a theologian who is attempting to serve the hearing of God’s word for our time, by keeping language, belief and life together in a meaningful and relevant way.

The Authority of Hope

Article by F. Thomas Trotter

In his remarkable collection of Hasidic tales, Elie Wiesel tells of a young couple discussing their marriage announcement with the rabbi. The announcement indicated that the wedding would take place in Berditchev (Poland) on a certain date. The Hasidic rabbi, with that peculiar wisdom of the Hasidim, edited the announcement. “The wedding will take place …

The Claim to Uniqueness

Article by Gabriel Moran

The word “unique” has appeared with regularity in recent Christian theology, often as the most fundamental claim. For example, Jesus is said to be unique as the revelation of God or the way of salvation. It is therefore surprising that this complex and confusing word is seldom analyzed. The relation of the Christian church both …

The Death of God Theologies Today by William Hamilton  in  Radical Theology and the Death of God

Book Chapter by Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton

We try to convince others that God is dead. We are not talking about the absence of the experience of God, but about the experience of the absence of God. Yet the death of God theologians claim to be theologians, to be Christians, to be speaking out of a community to a community. They do not grant that their view is really a complicated sort of atheism dressed in a new spring bonnet.

The Difference Jesus Makes

Article by David Kelsey

Just as he turned eight, a boy I will call Sam became totally paralyzed and spent three months on a respirator in a coma. The rest of the year he spent in a children’s rehabilitation hospital. He emerged with minor brain damage, learning disabilities, complex emotional problems and severe behavioral problems. Under the strain of …

The Dimensions of God’s Life

Article by Ted Peters

BOOK REVIEW: God for Us: The Trinity and Christian Life, by Catherine Mowry LaCugna. Harper San Francisco, 434 pp., $25.00.   On the floor of theological debate in recent decades boisterous voices have been arguing about methodology, ecumenism, hope, liberation and the place of women or other marginalized groups in the conversation. Outside the arena …

The Divine Burden

Article by Ronald Goetz

If God had not acted in history, if he had remained far removed from events, or if Jesus had not instructed us to pray, and to pray hoping and expecting that God can and does help us, then the problem of evil would not take on the special significance it has for the Christian faith. …

The Gift of Faith

Article by B. A. Gerrish

How is the gift of saving faith in Jesus Christ given? To answer this question, we must look closely at the actual phenomena of faith and repentance, the new birth and growth in grace, and ask how the work of Christ is accomplished. How does it happen that someone comes to faith and has faith …

The Gospel of Christian Atheism

Book by Thomas J.J. Altizer

(ENTIRE BOOK) The honest Christian must admit that the God he worships exists only in the past — or he must bet upon the gospel, or "good news," of the God who willed his own death to enter more completely into the world of his creation. And the honest atheist, who lives forlornly bereft of faith, will want to understand this revolutionary and definitive statement about a Christ who is totally present and alive in our midst today, embodied now in every human face.

The New Optimism — from Prufrock to Ringo by William Hamilton  in  Radical Theology and the Death of God

Book Chapter by Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton

An optimism of grace, a worldly optimism faces despair not with the conviction that out of it God can bring hope, but with the conviction that the human conditions that created it can be overcome, whether those conditions be poverty, discrimination, or mental illness. It faces death not with the hope for immortality, but with the human confidence that man may befriend death and live with it as a possibility always alongside.

The Real Task of Practical Theology

Article by Robin Lovin

“Practical Theology” provides the theme for much of today’s discussion about theological education. Experienced voices are calling for a more central role for the practical disciplines–preaching, counseling, education and the like–which are often relegated to the intellectual margins of the seminary. More important, this focus on practice leads to probing questions about the purposes of …

The Resurrection: A Truth Beyond Understanding

Article by Ronald Goetz

This Easter, as with Easters past, most churches can expect a “good” attendance. If Easter doesn’t bring Christians to church, what will? Even those whose attendance is relatively sporadic — the “Easter Christians” — are aware, however vaguely, of the centrality of the resurrection for faith. Without their faith in the resurrection, the apostles, the …

The Sacred and the Profane: A Dialectical Understanding of Christianity by Thomas J.J. Altizer  in  Radical Theology and the Death of God

Book Chapter by Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton

When the sacred and the profane are understood as dialectical opposites whose mutual negation culminates in a transition or metamorphosis of each into its respective Other, then it must appear that a Christian and eschatological coincidentia oppositorum in this sense is finally a coming together or dialectical union of an original sacred and the radical profane.

The Truth of the Christian Fiction: Belief in the Modern Age

Article by Donald E. Miller

Despite the growth of conservative expressions of Christianity during the past decade, many liberal Protestants and Catholics have found that Christian faith is for them increasingly perplexing and ambiguous. The membership losses in mainline Protestant denominations indicate that, at least for some sectors of the population, religious commitment is becoming more problematic. Although changes in …

Theology and the Death of God by Thomas J.J. Altizer  in  Radical Theology and the Death of God

Book Chapter by Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton

The history of religions teaches us that Christianity stands apart from the other higher religions of the world on three grounds: (1) its proclamation of the Incarnation, (2) its world-reversing form of ethics, and (3) the fact that Christianity is the only one of the world religions to have evolved — or, in some decisive sense, to have initiated — a radically profane form of Existenz.

Thursday’s Child by William Hamilton  in  Radical Theology and the Death of God

Book Chapter by Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton

The theologian today is both a waiting man and a praying man. He is sometimes inclined to suspect that Jesus Christ is best understood as neither the object nor the ground of faith, neither as person, event or community, but simply as a place to be, a standpoint. Thus today he stands along side the neighbor, being for him, along side the black, along side of all sorts of groups, to love them, not by apologetics or evangelism, but in honesty and faithfulness.

Toward Theological Understanding: An Interview with Edward Farley

Article by Edward Farley

You’ve written that the first aim of theological education is not to teach pastoral skills or to mold scholars but to convey “wisdom” about “the believer’s existence and action in the world.” What do you mean by this? My point is that theological education cannot be reduced to the learning of clerical skills or to …

Why Creeds Matter

Article by William C. Placher

Book Review: Creeds and Confessions of Faith In the Christian Tradition. Edited by Jaroslav Pelikan and Valerie Hotchkiss. Yale University Press. 4 vols., 3,796 pp. and CD ROM. $995.00 Credo. By Jaroslav Pelikan. Yale University Press, 609 pp. First of the 4 vol. set, also sold separately at $37.50.   Just a few months before …

William Blake and the Role of Myth in the Radical Christian Vision by Thomas J.J. Altizer  in  Radical Theology and the Death of God

Book Chapter by Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton

Through Blake we can sense the theological significance of a poetic reversal of our mythical traditions, and become open to the possibility that the uniquely modern metamorphosis of the sacred into the profane is the culmination of a redemptive and kenotic movement of the Godhead. The Blake who proclaimed that God must eternally die for man, that a primordial Totality must pass through "Self-Annihilation," was the Blake who envisioned a uniquely contemporary Christ, a Christ who becomes Antichrist before he is resurrected as Jerusalem.