Academic journal article Theological Studies

Reinventing Liberal Christianity

Academic journal article Theological Studies

Reinventing Liberal Christianity

Article excerpt

Reinventing Liberal Christianity. By Theo Hobson. Grand Rapids, Ml: Eerdmans, 2013. Pp. viii + 322. $30.

Hobson's book offers a significant attempt to rejuvenate a liberal Christianity that affirms the deep affinity between the gospel and political and cultural freedom (i.e., the liberal state). Hobson examines with clarity and conviction the theological and philosophical roots that led to imagining and creating the liberal state in the mid-17th century, distinct from the intentions of the radical reformers (chiefly Anabaptists). H. is a British theologian who, at the beginning of this volume, distinguishes between the "good" tradition of liberal Christianity (or liberal Protestantism) and its "bad" counterpart, where Christianity presents itself as an essential rational worldview that loses the very concept of revelation, as well the importance of religious and cultic practice where "God's authority is acknowledged and the story of his salvation is told and performed" (111). Without this "core" of Christian faith, liberal Protestantism lacked the inner resources to resist a secularizing mutation. In an interesting manner, H. describes the development that goes from the Christian rationalism of Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe (a religious style that marginalizes sacramentalism as the troublemaking part of religion [132]) to Deism as an alternative form of faith in divine reason and "a profound disaster to Protestant theology" (142). …

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