Guest / Limited Access /

T. S. Eliot described the art of writing as a "raid on the inarticulate." Neuhaus was a brilliant raider, and never wrote a boring sentence. His many books and essays, like those of G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis, will be studied for generations to come. His death in New York City at age 72 early this year marks the end of an era in America far more tellingly than the defeat of John McCain. And despite his conversion to Roman Catholicism, he remained one of the most influential "evangelicals" of the past 50 years.

Born Again and Again

But none of this was evident as "little Dickie Neuhaus," as he referred to his younger self, grew up in the Ottawa Valley of Ontario, Canada. His father was a Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor, and he was duly baptized and catechized in that Reformation tradition. Though his life would take many turns and twists, he never lost the ecclesial identity he received as a young boy.

In his mid-teens, Neuhaus was sent to a church-related school in Nebraska, where he got into all kinds of trouble organizing beer parties and leading panty raids. After he was confined to his room for several weeks, one of his teachers stopped by to check on his spiritual well-being. The teacher said, "God is very disappointed with what you did, for he thinks so highly of you. But, because he loves you so much, he forgives you and will help you to be better." Neuhaus repented with tears and gave his life to Christ in what he would later describe as a "born-again experience."

Actually, this was only one of several conversions Neuhaus would undergo in what poet Anne Sexton called "the awful rowing toward God." More shenanigans got him expelled from another school in Texas, and he never finished high school. But, through sheer ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedThe Case Against 'Radical' Christianity
Subscriber Access Only The Case Against 'Radical' Christianity
Michael Horton's message to restless believers: Stay put, and build the church.
TrendingMark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
Mark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
"I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission."
Editor's PickA Word Can Be Worth a Thousand Pictures
A Word Can Be Worth a Thousand Pictures
Why the pulpit—and not the screen—still belongs at the center of our churches.
Comments
Christianity Today
The Radical Conservative
hide thisMarch March

In the Magazine

March 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.