v29no1y1973ocr.pdf [article]

As the theme of our first issue in the present volume of USQR, we are considering the Church and society. It is a peculiarity of the Christian Church that it is a community both existing within the world and at the same time standing over against the world, transforming human society. Four articles deal with aspects of this theme. JERRY A. IRISH presents a welcome review of the thought of H. Richard Niebuhr by focusing on his conception of the Church. For Niebuhr, the Church is always that
more » ... nity between God and the world whose "theocentric ethics" result in an alternating process of "aggression" and "withdrawal" in relationship to society and the world. Moreover, Niebuhr sees one's personal response of faith in Christ as necessarily involving a community-a community which, in turn, does not witness to itself, but to the revolutionary and reconciling action of God. Our next two articles, on nineteenth century European church history, emphasize the Church's "aggressive'" entry into the politics of the world. RONALD MASSANARI looks at the controversial figure of Adolf Stoecker, who went from a preaching ministry to become the founder of the (German) Christian Socialist Workers' Party. Stoecker's theology is formulated as a major "shift of anthropological perspective" from an individualistic to a community model-wherein the Christian is called not only to reform himself but society as well. JANOS PASZTOR contributes a complementary essay on Leonard Ragaz, one of the leading exponents of Swiss and German socialism who insisted upon the revelation of God in the historical process itself. While Ragaz lost patience with many traditional concerns of theology, he was engrossed in the hope that God's Kingdom was breaking through in the emergence of Social Democracy. The implications of the Kingdom for the claims of family, church, and state in Ragaz's political-social theology influenced such twentieth century figures as Karl Barth and Paul Tillich. Our final article describes the contemporary history of monasticism, a movement within the Church which, in Niebuhr's terms, represents a "withdrawing" from the world. JOHN J. CAREY observes how the monastic orders arc now being called to re-appraise their identity and function with regard to twentieth centun• needs-while also preserving their traditional value as a viable, alternative style of life for the Christian. Book reviews conclude the issue.
doi:10.7916/d8-9paq-rs11 fatcat:uvt7dxwzufe6vdug2luud5lddi