Saturday, June 28, 2014

"at the forefront of a decidedly rearguard action"

     "On the ground, in congregations, liberal Christianity has floundered, its champions less and less able to explain why a liberally minded person should bother to be a liberally minded Christian.  That is not a strong position from which to recruit followers.  Among Christian theologians, the dynamic has not been so different:  the firebrand lecturers and supervisors, whose account of the faith might inspire a student [to] take up the mantle in the next generation of academics, have been people whose scholarship is informed by a sense of the faith as the pearl of great price, and who see its traditionsin one or other of its most characterful expressionsas worth glorying in."

     Andrew Davison, "Common terrain," a review of Reinventing theological liberal Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 2013), Times literary supplement no. 5799 (May 23, 2014), 24.
     The "decidedly rearguard action" is being mounted by theological liberalism, not conservatism.  Yet in Davison's hands, the book at its "forefront" (Hobson's) comes off as surprisingly conservative (which would make it a good book in my view).
     Prof. Davison is Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Sciences in the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge.

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