THE RADICAL IMPERATIVE: From Theology to Social Ethics by John C. Bennett

THE RADICAL IMPERATIVE: From Theology to Social Ethics

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Bennett, former president of New York's Union Theological, continues his protest against the drift to privatistic piety and the churches' cozy relations with the political status quo. He points to some theological sources for his unstinting commitment to social equality and the needs of the oppressed. Faced with humanity's present plight--mass starvation, nuclear buildup, gross economic disparity--and the churches' ambiguous stance, he feels it's time to reassert the Social Gospel he promoted 40 years ago. Actually this book is less a clarion call to action than a spot report on the progress being made. He ticks off ecclesiastical successes and failures, outlines the emerging theologies of liberation (feminist, black, Latin American), draws up an agenda of vital economic reforms, articulates the lessons of Vietnam, and sets guidelines for handling the global threats ahead. In this roving survey, Bennett expresses the ethical demands of contemporary Christian faith in a tone of reasoned moderation. But it is the people he talks about--Camara, Cone, Guttierez, Ruether, et al.--whose voices are the most effective here.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1975
Publisher: Westminster