Christopher Ben Simpson tells the story of modern Christian theology against the backdrop of the history of modernity itself. Modern Christian Theology examines the many ways that theology became modern while seeing how modernity arose in no small part from theology. These intertwined stories progress through four parts, spanning from the beginnings of modernity in the late Middle Ages and progressing through the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenments and awakenings of the eighteenth-century, the nineteenth-century, and through the twentieth-century’s crisis—covering each key personalities or movements from Karl Barth to the nouvelle théologie, liberation theology, and conservative Protestantism in America.
Learn how key themes in Christian theology and how it functions in the modern liberal arts university with Matthew Becker’s Fundamental Theology: A Protestant Perspective.
“So between 1500 and 2000, a huge change happened in the western world, and we have named this profound, epochal change ‘modernity’. So, what happened? What was the change?” (Page 3)
“Charles Taylor (in his book A Secular Age—more on that in a moment) calls an immanent frame. We in the West, in Europe, the UK, and America especially, have an immanent perspective. What this means it that it is perfectly normal for people to pass through their lives with little thought for God or religion.” (Page 1)
“The world is because God wants it to be, not because it has to be. The traditional understanding of creation, then, is that the universe is a gift. The universe is fundamentally dependent on God, on creation as a free gift.” (Page 17)
“It is often not natural for people outside (and often inside) the Church to think in terms of Christianity, and you have to help them think in terms of that story—as if it were a different world. This is the initial point I’d like to make: a strong component of our current situation has to do with the difficulty, the dissonance, the strangeness of believing in the present.” (Page 2)
“‘Once, there was no ‘secular’.’ Once, and by ‘once’ we’re meaning as recently as the Middle Ages, humanity, the natural world, and the divine held together, and were understood together as a community, as an inherently ordered and harmonious community.” (Page 2)
This is a splendid survey: judicious, precise and generous; marvelously comprehensive and yet concise. Students of modern theology will be deeply indebted to Simpson.
—David Bentley Hart, contributing editor, First Things and fellow, Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Studies
This is the best, most up-to-date, attractive, incisive and well-informed elementary guide to modern theology now available. It has no current rivals.
—John Milbank, professor, University of Nottingham
Christopher Ben Simpson's book skilfully weaves together the manifold strands of modern Christian theology in a lively and readable manner that makes the subject approachable for the non-specialist. His broad, non-partisan approach shows how the story of Christian theology has always involved a range of often conflicting approaches and that this is likely to continue into the future - a good warning to those specialists insisting too loudly on the exclusiveness of their own claims.
—George Pattison, professor, University of Glasgow
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Christopher Ben Simpson is professor of philosophical theology at Lincoln Christian University. Simpson is the author of Religion, Metaphysics and Postmodern, The Truth is the Way: Kierkegaard's Theologia Viatorum, Deleuze and Theology, and Merleau-Ponty and Theology.