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Reinhold Niebuhr by Howard G. Patton


A Symposium by Five Women on the Seminary Campus. (ERROR) Reinhold Niebuhr was published in 1977 by Word, Incorporated. This book was prepared for Religion Online by Harry W. and Grace C. Adams.


Editorís Preface
The editor gives the rationale for the series Makers of the Modern Theological Mind that includes this volume on the thinking of Reinhold Niebuhr.

Preface
The author.who is also editor of this series Makers of the Modern Theological Mind, explains his reasons for writing this volume.

Chapter 1: The Making of a Christian Realist
Along with relevant biographical facts, this chapter outlines the development of Niebuhrís thought over a fifty-year period, and discusses briefly his more significant books as they throw light on his evolving ideas from liberalism to the more classical theological concepts that have profoundly affected American thought in both Christian and secular life.

Chapter 2: Existential Anthropology
Niebuhrís theology is based on his doctrine of man as self-transcending yet finite and capable of evil in not accepting his finitude. This anthropology forms the basis of Niebuhrís ethics, view of history, Christology and eschatology, and is the foundation of his rejection of idealism, naturalism and romanticism as inadequate to deal with manís paradoxical nature.

Chapter 3: Man the Sinner
Niebuhrís inordinate emphasis on the doctrine of sin derives from the anxiety inherent in the paradox created by the conflict between manís freedom and his tendency toward the prideful self-dependency which is a universal human tendency.

Chapter 4: The Triumph of Grace
Niebuhrís later writings reveal a shift in emphasis from human sinfulness to Godís grace as found in Christ who offers both the truth that clarifies manís inadequate reason as well as the power to obey this truth. This grace is paradoxical in that man can never achieve righteousness himself, and must await full completion of his life eschatologically in divine action beyond history.

Chapter 5: Love and Justice
Niebuhrís later writings reveal a shift in emphasis from human sinfulness to Godís grace as found in Christ who offers both the truth that clarifies manís inadequate reason as well as the power to obey this truth. This grace is paradoxical in that man can never achieve righteousness himself, and must await full completion of his life eschatologically in divine action beyond history.

Chapter 6: Relevance and the March of Time
With an acknowledgment that some of Niebuhrís thought and actions were flawed and dated, the author insists he remains relevant, and emphasizes five things we might consider. First, he was a thinker and doer who united faith and practice. Second, he defined the basic sin as pride rather than sensuality. Third, sin persists on every level of human achievement. Fourth, we can be ruggedly realistic about our illusions and those of others. Fifth, we can learn something about how to communicate the gospel in a secular age by taking seriously the biblical revelation that God revealed in Christ.

Selected Bibliography

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