Making the Best of It: Following Christ in the Real World

Making the Best of It: Following Christ in the Real World

by John G. Stackhouse
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0195173589

ISBN-13: 9780195173581

Pub. Date: 04/02/2008

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

What should be the Christian's attitude toward society? When so much of our contemporary culture is at odds with Christian beliefs and mores, it may seem that serious Christians now have only two choices: transform society completely according to Christian values or retreat into the cloister of sectarian fellowship.

In Making the Best of It, John Stackhouse

Overview

What should be the Christian's attitude toward society? When so much of our contemporary culture is at odds with Christian beliefs and mores, it may seem that serious Christians now have only two choices: transform society completely according to Christian values or retreat into the cloister of sectarian fellowship.

In Making the Best of It, John Stackhouse explores the history of the Christian encounter with society, the biblical record, and various theological models of cultural engagement to offer a more balanced and fruitful alternative to these extremes. He argues that, rather than trying to root up the weeds in the cultural field, or trying to shun them, Christians should practice persistence in gardening God's world and building toward the New Jerusalem. Examining the lives and works of C. S. Lewis, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer for example and direction, Stackhouse suggests that our mission is to make the most of life in the world in cooperation with God's own mission of redeeming the world he loves. This model takes seriously the pattern of God's activity in the Bible, and in subsequent history, of working through earthly means—through individuals, communities, and institutions that are deeply flawed but nonetheless capable of accomplishing God's purposes. Christians must find a way to live in this world and at the same time do work that honors God and God's plan for us.

In an era of increasing religious and cultural tensions, both internationally and domestically, the model that Stackhouse develops discourages the "all or nothing" attitudes that afflict so much of contemporary Christianity. Instead, he offers a fresh, and refreshingly nuanced, take on the question of what it means to be a Christian in the world today.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195173581
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
04/02/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction: Who Are We, for Jesus Christ, Today?     3
The Classic Typology
Reappropriating H. Richard Niebuhr's Christ and Culture     13
Definitions
Reappropriating the Typology of Christ and Culture
Some Resources for the Recovery of Christian Realism
C. S. Lewis: The Christian Individual     45
The Christian Story
The Elements and Shape of the Story
Themes in a Theology of Culture
Conclusion: C. S. Lewis's "Parables"
Reinhold Niebuhr: Prophet of Christian Realism     81
Is Christianity Realistic?
What Is Christian Realism?
Implications of Christian Realism
Conclusion: Niebuhr's Legacy
Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Christian and the Church in and for the World     115
The Heart of Bonhoeffer's Theology
Themes in a Theology of Culture
Conclusion: Stations on the Way to Freedom
Making the Best of it
Method in Ethics: A Sketch     165
Attending to Jesus
A (Protestant) Christian Tetralectic
The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Receptivity
The Story and the Mission     181
The Christian Story-and Us Within It
Mission: The Four Commandments
Vocation     221
Human
Christian
Time
Conclusion: Mission and Vocation
Principles of a New Realism     261
A Mixed Field, Mixed Motives, and Mixed Results
The Normal ... and Beyond
Faith and Faithfulness
Liberty and Cooperation
Conclusion: Making the Best of It     309
The Shape of Our Lives
Behaving in Public
Governing Motifs
Index     357
Index of Scriptural References     369

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