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Christ and Culture (Torchbooks) [Paperback]

By H. Richard Niebuhr (Author)
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Item description for Christ and Culture (Torchbooks) by H. Richard Niebuhr...

Addresses the challenge faced by American Christians in remaining true to Jesus's message despite materialistic values, in an updated volume containing a new forward, introduction, and preface. Reprint.

Publishers Description
This 50th-anniversary edition, with a new foreword by the distinguished historian Martin E. Marty, who regards this book as one of the most vital books of our time, as well as an introduction by the author never before included in the book, and a new preface by James Gustafson, the premier Christian ethicist who is considered Niebuhr's contemporary successor, poses the challenge of being true to Christ in a materialistic age to an entirely new generation of Christian readers.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Christ and Culture (Torchbooks) by H. Richard Niebuhr has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Christianity Today - 10/01/2013 page 68
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/1993 page 90
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/1998 page 82
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 85
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 12/31/2008 page 111

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Harper & Row
Pages   259
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.1" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 24, 2001
Publisher   Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN  0061300039  
ISBN13  9780061300035  

Availability  8 units.
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More About H. Richard Niebuhr

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! H. RICHARD NIEBUHR was one of the most noted of American theologians. Among his books are several that are regarded as classics of American religou thought. The Kingdom of God in America, The Social sources of Denominationalism, and Christ and Culture. He was both a pastor and a scholar; he was ordained in 1916 by the Evangelical and Reformed Church after being graduated from Elmhurst College in 1912 and from Eden Theological Seminary in 1915. He served a pastorate in St. Louis, Missouri, from 1916 to 1918, hen joined Eden Theological Seminary as a professor. He became president of Elmhurst college, then taught at the Yale Divinity School from 1931 to 1962. Niebuhr was named Sterling Professor of Theology and Christian Ethics in 195. He died in 1962.

MARTIN E, NARTY is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago; he is senior editor of The Christian Century, and author, most recently, of Protestantism in the United States.

H. Richard Niebuhr was born in 1894 and died in 1962.

H. Richard Niebuhr has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Library of Theological Ethics
  2. Major Unpublished Writings
  3. Torchbooks

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > Substores > jp-unknown1
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality

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Reviews - What do customers think about Christ and Culture (Torchbooks)?

Not helfpul in developing a Biblical position  Feb 6, 2007
The only helpful thing in this book was the description of the five types. This does provide a framework for analyzing different position. The types could have been defined in a much shorter work.

The book does not offer clear Biblical argumentaion for or against differnt views. One flaw (which is apparently common in Liberal theology) is that he talks about the New testament writers postions as if they were contrary and not complementary to each other. For example he talks about Pauline and Johanine Theology as if they had separate, and contradictory on some points, views.

With each view Neibhur talks about a few historical people who have held this view. These people are for the most part extremist who have taken one idea and thrown out the rest of the Bible. The majority of them were heretics. The association of each view with some very extreme exponents of it may give the conservative Christian the impression that the view itself is heretical (Which it may or may not be).

More work needs to be done on this subject with Biblical argumentation for the different views.

If in reading this book you are (as I was) attempting to develop a Biblical theology of Christ and Culture I believe you will find it a dissapointment.

Great Concepts but Difficult Reading  Mar 17, 2006
I thought the 5 approaches were good but the reading is tedious and difficult. Actually, I thought the articles and reviews ABOUT this book were much easier to understand and more helpful on the subject than the book itself.
Dated . . . but . . . Foundational  Mar 26, 2004
What do I mean by dated . . . but . . . foundational?

Christ and Culture has been around for over half a century now. When first penned it attempted to describe all the various ways in which Christians interact with culture, and make sense of it. The book was profound, for its time period. However, a lot of theology has been written since 1951 and culture has changed even more. At first glance the reader might find himself or herself toying with several ideas that are more recent than Niebur's.

This book made such a splash that some Christian colleges adopted similar classes. This was the prevailing text. Therefore, most of the ideas on this subject that churn in the modern Christian reader's mind were formed in reaction to this book, even if the reader is unaware of it. Therefore, if the reader of today can grasp the concepts of this work, that reader will have a deeper understanding of his or her own beliefs.

This book is dated, but not outdated. Read it and compare it with newer works for a broader grasp of the subject. By the way, this is one of the most important subjects that today's Christian can wrestle with. Too many of our Christians react to culture with limited understanding of what they are doing or why they are doing it. We Protestants, of which I am one, are horribly weak in our understanding of what it means to be the Church of Jesus Christ in a fallen world.

This classic is a must read for students of Christianity.  Jun 17, 2003
Niebuhr's views, historical, cultural and religious, were solidly based in the context and culture of the late 40's and early 50's. He wrote as an ethicist who, in 1950, fully comprehended the cataclysmic failure of the German National Church. Now, over fifty years later, with the republishing of Niebuhr's book, his inquiry into the relationship of the Church and the contemporary culture remain valid, though the world and the church have dramatically changed.

In "Christ & Culture" Niebuhr describes five models of how the sacred & secular can interact. Ultimately he seeks to give insight into the question of "how shall we, as Christians, live?" I will not go into the five types, but of the five types, Niebuhr favors most the "Christ transforming Culture".

Faith, in Christ, Niebuhr believed, needs to go beyond separation, accommodation, adoration or polarization and engage dynamically the culture with the values of life that Christ espoused. Faith in Christ, through presence and social action, will transform the world. Thus, for Niebuhr, if Christ identified with the poor, we should too. If Christ took in the orphans and widows, we should too. If Christ healed the sick, we should too. Jesus is God-with-us, not to rescue us out of "all of this," but to redeem, transform, restore us and all of this. God's work of redemption is not at odds with God's work of creation. We live in the world, we create the world and we, through faith, are involved in bringing God's "kingdom come, here on earth as it is in heaven."

This is a must read for any student of Christianity. This is a serious read and it can be a bit dense and daunting at times, but it is non-the-less a Christian Classic that every pastor and thinking Christian should have in their library. Strongly recommended.

A not-so Neo-Classic  Jan 27, 2002
Niebuhr's book has been seen as a classic for nearly half a century now, and to be honest, when I first read it I too was captivated by his typology: Christ Against Culture, Christ of Culture, Christ Above Culture, Christ and Culture in Paradox, and Christ the Transformer of Culture.

There are several nit-picky complaints about it-- for example, his desciption of the Mennonite Church as Christ Against Culture is not accurate. He probably meant the Old Order Amish. Second, culture seems to shift during his exposition, so that by the time you get to the end of the account you forget how he defined it. Third, and sorry if I am giving anything away, he fails to critique the fifth option (transformer) to the same extent as he does the first four. It is a bit of intellectual cheating that this position is his position of preference-- a quasi-calvinistic reformist view that wants desperately to keep Christianity relevant to the society in which it finds itself. Not to the extent of his brother, Reinhold, but certainly more than enough.

This book is more a theological treatise than an accurate historical account. The trouble is that the examples then become straw men for the theological or polemical point instead of being able to stand on their own merits.

Typologies are dangerous because they do not allow for a lot of barrier-transcending. Calling a group "Christ Against Culture" fails to consider that it too may be triving for some sort of "transformation". It may be one that is much more overtly Christian, which is considerably different from a perspective that sees the Church as the moral conscience of the secular state.

Finally, some revisions are necessary today for the diferent movements that have come up more recently. Christ the Liberator of Culture, for example.


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