By Reinhold Niebuhr
Theologian, ethicist, and political analyst, Reinhold Niebuhr was once a towering determine of twentieth-century non secular concept. Now newly repackaged, this crucial booklet gathers the simplest of Niebuhr’s essays jointly in one quantity. chosen, edited, and brought through Robert McAfee Brown―a pupil and good friend of Niebuhr’s and himself a unique theologian―the works integrated right here testify to the intense polemics, incisive research, and deep religion that characterised the full of Niebuhr’s life.“This positive anthology makes to be had to a brand new iteration the concept of 1 of the main penetrating and profitable of twentieth-century minds. Reinhold Niebuhr continues to be the good illuminator of the darkish conundrums of human nature, background and public policy.”―Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
“Sparkling gemstones. . . introduced from the shadows of historical past into modern mild. fantastically chosen and edited, they express that Niebuhr’s fiery polemics and gracious assurances nonetheless converse with strength to us today.”―Roger L. Shinn
“An tremendous important volume.”―David Brion Davis, New York overview of Books
“This assortment, which brings jointly Niebuhr’s such a lot penetrating and enduring essays on theology and politics, may still display for a brand new iteration that his top notion transcends the fast historic atmosphere within which he wrote. . . . [Brown’s] advent succinctly provides the significant gains of Niebuhr’s existence and thought.”―Library Journal
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Additional resources for The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr: Selected Essays and Addresses
OPTIMISM, PESSIMISM, AND RELIGIOUS FAITH 5 the process of divorcing God from the nation was a matter of both spiritual insight and actual experience. If the early prophets had not said, as Amos, "Are ye not as the children of the Ethiopians unto me, saith the Lord" (Amos 9:7), faith in the God of Israel might have perished with the captivity of Judah. But it was the exile which brought this process to a triumphant conclusion. A second Isaiah could build on the spiritual insights of an Amos, and could declare a God who gave meaning to existence quite independent of the vicissitudes of a nation, which had been the chief source of all meaning to the pious Jew.
There is no purely spiritual method of preserving minimal justice and order in a world, for the world is not purely spiritual. Power is the basis of justice in history as it is of order in the entire natural world. To declare the omnipotence of God is to insist that the ultimate power which maintains the order of the world is superior to all subordinate powers and majesties which tend to create anarchy by making themselves the premature and inadequate centers of order in the world. THE "POWERLESS" CHRIST Yet, despite the certainty of biblical faith that God is all-powerful, it looks upon the crucified Messiah as the final revelation of the divine character and the divine purpose.
The weakness of God's love is not the weakness of goodness striving against the recalcitrance of some "given" stuff of creation. It is the self-imposed weakness of His love. If God has created free spirits who have the capacity to defy Him in their freedom, He has created forms of life so independent that even the power of God, acting merely as power, cannot reach the final source of their defiance. The divine power, the very structure of the world, the requirements for mutual living which are made part of the very character of h u m a n existence, all these are able to set an ultimate limit to man's defiance of the order of creation.