Download e-book for kindle: Liberalism without Illusions: Renewing an American Christian by Christopher H. Evans

By Christopher H. Evans

ISBN-10: 1602582084

ISBN-13: 9781602582088

By way of the Thirties such a lot mainline Protestant traditions promulgated the foremost tenets of liberalism, particularly an include of recent highbrow conception in addition to theological and non secular pluralism. In Liberalism with out Illusions, Christopher Evans reviews his personal culture, focusing particularly why such a lot of americans this day are looking to distance themselves from this wealthy and colourful history. In a time while attitudes approximately liberal vs. conservative theology became the focal point of the tradition wars, he offers a optimistic dialogue of the way liberalism may flow ahead into the twenty first century, which, he argues, is integral to the way forward for American Christianity itself.

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If liberal Christianity is to move into the future, it needs to take seriously something that has never come easy for Americans: examine the past. The next three chapters show that Christian liberalism is far more than an obsolete caricature but, like every movement of theology, is a living tradition that has reflected and responded to changing historical contexts. Two Evangelical and Modern Christian Liberalism in the Nineteenth Century P art of the difficulty of telling the story of Christian liberalism is that it lacks a clear point of historical origin.

I do not want to disparage the contributions made by past and contemporary scholars who cite pluralism as the defining theme of the American religious experience. Indeed, any understanding of American religion without an understanding of religious pluralism would be incomprehensible. The issue is not whether religious pluralism exists. The issue is: how does one interpret the reality of religious pluralism? 14 The former angle is largely indebted to the legacy coming out of an institutional vision grounded in theological liberalism; the latter reflects the realities of sectarian religious groups where, in the case of American Christianity, the dominant movements emerged from groups often invisible to liberal historians and church leaders: popular evangelicalism.

22 The “resident alien” label has become a popular metaphor for many mainline churches that have struggled with questions of theological identity and institutional mission, paralleling the explosion of popular “church-growth” literature that has flooded religious bookstores throughout the country. These books and manuals emphasize the fact (often with justification) that contemporary Americans are largely alienated from Why Do Americans Distrust Liberals? 27 the practices of Christendom (in particular, challenging earlier takenfor-granted assumptions that the Christian message can be conveyed through the construction of grand theological narratives).

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Liberalism without Illusions: Renewing an American Christian Tradition by Christopher H. Evans

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