Niebuhr is one of today's very few truly "ecumenical" theologians in the sense that he is one of the not more than three or four, whose thoughts and opinions carry considerable weight among the thinkers of every major western denomination. This collection of essays on "religious, social and political thought in a technological age," though they contain nothing new (dating as they do from 1930 to early 1968), do go far toward explaining how the author has attained his present stature. They represent a humanistic, as well as a theological, diversity that is as astounding as it is sophisticated, ranging from essays on faith, the spiritual life, the ecumenical movement and ethics, to intriguing pieces on "American hegemony and the prospects for peace" in Vietnam, and on "Johnson and the myths of democracy." As a collection, Faith and Politics finds its unity as much in the author's consistency of principle as in the fact that the individual pieces all attempt to define the relevance of Christianity to modern political and ethical issues. And, of course, as a collection the hook will inevitably be regarded as a minor work — insofar as anything of Niebuhr's can be regarded as "minor." But that is not a material consideration.
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