AGAINST THE WORLD FOR THE WORLD: The Hartford Appeal and the Future of American Religion by Peter & Richard John Neuhaus--Eds. Berger

AGAINST THE WORLD FOR THE WORLD: The Hartford Appeal and the Future of American Religion

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

In January 1975, eighteen prominent Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox thinkers issued ""The Hartford Appeal for Theological Affirmation."" Its thirteen theses cited pervasive ""false themes"" in the modern Zeitgeist that have had a debilitating effect on Christianity and must be rejected to recover that sense of the transcendent which makes faith and theology possible at all. The manifesto evoked a vehement response--both damning and praising--far beyond the signers' modest expectations: it touched a sensitive nerve, particularly among lay people who had long awaited a strong critique of the Christian intellectual elite's capitulation to the prevailing spirit of humanism and rationalism. Not since the ""Death of God"" hullabaloo has serious theological discussion thus leaped over seminary walls to enter the marketplace. Already another group (including Harvey Cox) has countered with ""Boston Affirmations"" calling for fresh Christian commitment to social action and rejecting purely transcendental theology; nothing less than a struggle for the future of belief is shaping up. This book contains the text of the Appeal and essays by eight of its principal architects, each offering a different perspective (sociological, ecumenical, social-activist, etc.) on Hartford's meaning. The authors are convinced that Christianity has reached a critical threshold and must either escape its cultural captivity (by American civil religion on the right and liberationist faddism on the left) or confess its spiritual bankruptcy. Theft common voice raises the central religious issue of our time--is there a transcendent dimension to reality?--and that alone makes Hartford a crucial document in modern American religious history.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1976
Publisher: Seabury