The Paradox of Church and World: Selected Writings of H. Richard Niebuhr

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9781451494143: The Paradox of Church and World: Selected Writings of H. Richard Niebuhr

"Ultimately," or so H. Richard Niebuhr wrote as early as 1929, "the problem of church and world involves us in a paradox; unless the church accommodates itself to the world, it becomes sterile inwardly and outwardly; unless it transcends the world, it becomes indistinguishable from the world and loses its effectiveness no less surely." In the same context he went on to state: "The rhythm of approach and withdrawal need not be like the swinging of the pendulum, mere repetition without progress; it may be more like the rhythm of the waves that wash upon the beach; each succeeding wave advances a little farther into the world with its cleansing gospel before that gospel becomes sullied with the earth."

Niebuhr's thought on the paradox of church and world is an essential piece of our understanding of twentieth-century theology in America. In this volume, Jon Diefenthaler collects for the first time over forty writings that trace the lineage of Niebuhr's thought, presents them in a single place, and makes a case for their enduring value in a post-church religious environment. The volume is a treasury of little--known and hard-to-find pieces, making scholarship and understanding easier.

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About the Author:

Jon Diefenthaler is president emeritus of the LCMS Southeastern District and adjunct professor at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, Missouri. He received his PhD in American religious history under Sidney Mead at the University of Iowa. His career has also included parish pastorates in Virginia and Maryland, as well as working for Lutheran World Relief.

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