THE BURDEN OF FREEDOM: Americans and the God of Israel by Paul M. van Buren

THE BURDEN OF FREEDOM: Americans and the God of Israel

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Paul van Buren (The Secular Meaning of the Gospel) is a tough-minded, independent theologian. He argues here that Chrisitanity has fundamentally distorted what the biblical witnesses reveal about God and human destiny. The early Church compensated for the non-arrival of the Kingdom by making it into something wholly spiritual, fully attained only by individuals in the after-life. But the ""freedom of the children of God"" cannot be reduced, as in the American dream, to the private right to pursue self-fulfillment; it is really a vocation to work for the liberation of all men, indeed of all creation. As van Buren reads the biblical record, God has given up his own freedom until his creatures achieve complete liberation, and this mysterious burden is likewise imposed on all whom he sets free. The lesson of the Exodus and of the Resurrection is not that the new age has come, that we are saved once and for all, but that Jews and Christians have been called to free the world from oppression, and that the forces of evil will not finally prevail. Christians, then, must become aware of their intimate connection with Israel, as the once-and-future prophet of freedom, and must oppose the substantial American investment in oppression. A challenging indictment, sketchily developed; van Buren hopes to address its many unanswered questions in a subsequent full-scale study.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Seabury