Many neo-protestant ecumenists see the Church’s task as restructuring historical institutions into the Kingdom of God through socio-political revolution. This historicized eschatology replaces the central evangelical task of persuading sinners to accept forgiveness of sins and eternal life through the Risen Christ.
Snippets of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s prison letters are often quoted out of context to establish that revolutionary activist as a champion of radical secularism. In setting forth their alternatives to supernatural theism, Jürgen Moltmann and Wolfhart Pannenberg import time into the nature of God, and deny the universal validity of New Testament doctrines. As a result, their emphasis that Jesus’ resurrection illuminates the eschatological goal of history readily accommodates a political view of the Church’s task in the world. Still newer types of dogmatics adjust historic Christian theism to a camouflaged atheistic humanism; biblical motifs survive only with an altered meaning, and these theologians celebrate the death of God by affirming man’s ability to fashion his own ideal society.
Myriads of young clergymen now herald Marxism as a norm of twentieth-century social ethics. They ignore the lean evangelical fragments that survive in recent mediating views. Many seminarians no longer connect the future or the present with the Bible or with Jesus. They are aware of how modernists, dialectical theologians, existentialists, and others manipulate the texts to maintain the “Christian authenticity” of their positions. Neo-Protestant theologians have made the Scriptures a rubber mask for their speculations. Now hundreds seeking ministerial careers have abandoned the conviction ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more