God Hides

God Hides

by Ned Wisnefske


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GOD HIDES is a critique of contemporary christian faith. It argues that faith should not be understood as the result of spiritual seeking, but rather as rooted in moral living. Starting with the challenge of Bonhoeffer's "religionless Christianity," it argues for a common morality, and then shows how that morality leads to Christian faith. The thesis is that in order for us to serve our neighbor whom we see, and not seek God whom we cannot see, God hides. Drawing upon the rich tradition of religious thought from Luther, Kant, Kierkegaard, and Bonhoeffer, this book offers a way past the religious battles in the current culture war.
Wisnefske points to the emptiness of the Christian promise of salvation in a time when virtually no one believes there is a hell to be saved from. Instead, he shows that it makes sense today—in view of our nuclear arsenals and environmental crisis—to claim that life is threatened by death. Our present circumstances provide new understanding into the biblical view that primeval chaos threatens creation.
A distinctive feature of the book is that it develops the traditional understanding that sin and death are powers threatening creation. Christian faith, accordingly, is best understood as the living hope that creation will be saved from the violence and destruction that threaten to return it to chaos.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781606088685
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 02/18/2010
Pages: 132
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.28(d)

About the Author

Ned Wisnefske is Schumann Professor of Lutheran Theology at Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia. He is the author of Our Natural Knowledge of God: A prospect for natural theology after Kant and Barth (1990) and Preparing to Hear the Gospel: A Proposal for Natural Theology (1998).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii

Introduction: Salvation Nobody Needs 1

Part 1 A Critique of Religion

1 The End of Religion and the Beginning of Faith 13

2 God Hides 25

Part 2 Moral Grounds

3 Value Frees 43

4 Believe in Moral Truth (or else) 58

Part 3 A Primer for Faith

5 Freedom, Failure, and Forgiveness 77

6 The Threat to Life 94

Excursus 109

Bibliography 117

Author Index 121

Scripture Index 122

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Continuing his explorations into the new shape of 'natural theology' after the death of the God of pious self-seeking, Wisnefske's analysis uncovers the contemporary experience of natural life under global threat. With help from Kant, he explicates the corresponding moral imperative to preserve, protect, and defend life, and with help from Luther, he just as incisively exposes our helplessness to do what we ought."


Tise Professor of Lutheran Studies

Roanoke College

"Drawing on Kierkegaard's stages to faith (the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious), Ned Wisnefske clears the ground for an authentic witness to the gospel. Moving beyond the culture wars between liberals and conservatives, he not only criticizes how many understand religion today, but also highlights the importance of ethics for human life and Christian faith. His concluding 'primer of faith' articulates the gospel's claims in ways that are passionate, lucid, and insightful."


Associate Professor of Systematic Theology

Luther Seminary

"This brilliant study is a realistic endeavor into postmodernity providing guidance in moral questions by challenging the idea of religion commonly held today. Ned's fine acquaintance with Dietrich Bonhoeffer's notion of 'religionlessness' allows for a fresh look at the liberating power of faith in the midst of uncertainties imposed on modern Christian life today.


Chair at Universitat Flensburg and Board of the International Bonhoeffer Society (German Section)

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