As we all know, the dialectical-existential revolt against reason overtook the American religious scene with astonishing ease, although few evangelical centers capitulated.
Noteworthy indications are appearing, however, of a renewed interest in the scientific legitimacy of theology in view of the cognitive significance of its knowledge claims. There are signs of a new wrestling with the rational importance of Christianity. At long last the modern age of religious anti-intellectualism may be burning itself out.
A year ago Charles Scribner’s Sons published the Harvard scholar Gordon D. Kaufman’s Systematic Theology. Issuance of this title by a major publishing house, not on its general list of religious books but rather among volumes intended specifically for university use, is noteworthy. Although Kaufman’s work too much reflects H. Richard Niebuhr’s contrast of faith and reason to sustain a satisfactory evangelical theology, its shortcomings should not hide the importance of the appearance of a work of this nature at a time when theologians either have been running away from any vestige of a system or are still on the prowl for one.
Now Oxford University Press has published Thomas F. Torrance’s Theological Science, in which the Edinburgh theologian boldly champions what, as those of us recall who heard him lecture under the early fascination of Barthian theology, was surely at that time held to be in league with the world, the flesh, and the Devil rather than with God and faith. Professor Torrance had, in those years, shocked his evangelical friends by the reckless abandon with which he insisted that faith is self-vindicating, and by his disdain for all external evidences as a betrayal of justification ...1
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