In January, 1975, the so-called Hartford Declaration, entitled “An Appeal for Theological Affirmation,” appeared. Our editorial comment on the declaration said in part:
Other than focusing on “the apparent loss of a sense of the transcendent,” the signers identified no real theological enemy; instead, they simply slapped the backside of a wriggling centipede and crippled some of its legs. Specific disclaimers include facets of the secular theology promoted in recent decades by Harvey Cox and Paul van Buren; of the situation ethics of Joseph Fletcher and John A. T. Robinson; of the liberation theology of Gustavo Gutierrez and James Cone; of the process-perspectives of Schubert Ogden and the late Teilhard de Chardin. By eclipsing divine transcendence in whole or in part, such religious theorists had acclimated Christian theology to secular naturalism and humanism. The Hartford theologians—mostly non-evangelicals—have now laid down certain limits of tolerance [CHRISTIANITY TODAY, February 28, 1975].
The editorial went on to assert that the wording of the Declaration was “technical and not without ambiguities; it hardly carried ‘good news’ intelligible to the man in the street and in search of a viable faith.”
The Hartford Declaration was hardly a thunderbolt, but it stirred up Harvey Cox of Harvard and The Secular City and other theological professionals in New England. Not to be outdone, Cox and his colleagues last month pasted together their response to Hartford under the title “The Boston Affirmations.” It brought the two groups more or less into open conflict, and charges and countercharges are flying back and forth. The irrepressible Harvey Cox, tongue in cheek, bared his soul in a recent issue of the Christian Century (January ...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 65+ 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