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Religion Revealed

Christianity and Modernity

John R. Elford

This book is written for a generation curious about religion, largely ignorant of what it actually is and confused by signals about it in the modern world. The argument is, therefore, self-explanatory throughout. The first half explains the historic and worldwide phenomenon of religion in its major manifestations. It also discusses problems with religion. The second part focusses on Christianity, showing how it can be professed with intellectual integrity and to personal and social benefit. Whilst the author is critical of some forms of contemporary Christianity, he draws throughout on the Bible and Christian tradition in its reconstruction. Care is given in defining modernity and explaining how Christianity engages with some of life’s central concerns and responsibilities. In this the book shows how the Christian understanding of how to live responsibly and to the full remains as vibrant and relevant as it has ever been.


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Introduction 1 R. John Elford, The Pastoral Nature of Theology: an Upholding Presence, Cassell, London, 1999, pp. 9f f. 2 ‘Always reforming’ is a basic tenet of the Protestant Reformation. 3 E.g. Alister McGrath, Dawkins’ God: Genes, Memes and the Meaning of Life, Blackwell, Oxford, 2007. 4 Cf. Marc Ellis, Revolutionary Forgiveness, Baylor University Press, Waco Texas, 2000. Chapter One 1 Amir Taheri, The Times, 68768, 2 August 2006, p. 17. 2 R. Harries, God Outside the Box: Why Spiritual People Object to Christianity, SPCK, London, 2002. 3 Ibid. p. xii. 4 Ibid. p. 42. 5 D.M. Mackinnon, Borderlands of Theology, Lutterworth, London, 1968, p. 54. Chapter Two 1 Edward Caird, The Evolution of Religion, Vols 1 and 2, James Maclehose and Sons, Glasgow, 1899. 2 Ibid. Vol. 1, p. xi. 3 Ibid. Vol. 2, p. 325. 198 Notes 4 Ibid. Vol. 2, p. 296. 5 Eds. Ian S Markham and Tinu Ruparell, Encountering Religion, Blackwell, Oxford, 2001, pp. 297f f. 6 Major Religions of the World Ranked by National Adherents, Religion, accessed 17 November 2010. 7 S.G.F. Brandon, Man and His Destiny in the Great Religions, Manchester University Press, 1962, p. 336. 8 Major Religions op. cit. 9 See p. 161 this volume. 10 Encountering Religion, p. 166. 11 E.g., Ben Witherington III, Jesus the Sage: the Pilgrimage of Wisdom, T & T Clark, Edinburgh, 1994. 12 Ed. Franklin Sherman, Luther’s Works, Vol. 47, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, pp. 121f f. 13 Major Religions, op. cit. 14 Cf. Johannes Munck,...

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