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The Future of Faith
Cover of The Future of Faith
The Future of Faith
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"A beautiful book and a Cox classic....Readers will be grateful that they joined him on his journey." —E.J. Dionne Jr., author of Souled Out

"Insightful, provocative, and inspiring—I even found myself uttering a hearty evangelical 'Amen!'" —Richard Mouw, President, Fuller Theological Seminary, and author of Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport

The Future of Faith is Harvard religion scholar Harvey Cox's landmark exploration of why Christian dogmatism is giving way to a grassroots Christianity rooted in social justice and spirituality. Cox laid the groundwork for modern religious writing with his 1965 classic, The Secular City, paving the way for writers like Diana Butler Bass, Karen Armstrong, Stephen Prothero, and Deepak Chopra, who calls The Future of Faith "a fresh vision for the resurrection of a new global Christianity."

"A beautiful book and a Cox classic....Readers will be grateful that they joined him on his journey." —E.J. Dionne Jr., author of Souled Out

"Insightful, provocative, and inspiring—I even found myself uttering a hearty evangelical 'Amen!'" —Richard Mouw, President, Fuller Theological Seminary, and author of Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport

The Future of Faith is Harvard religion scholar Harvey Cox's landmark exploration of why Christian dogmatism is giving way to a grassroots Christianity rooted in social justice and spirituality. Cox laid the groundwork for modern religious writing with his 1965 classic, The Secular City, paving the way for writers like Diana Butler Bass, Karen Armstrong, Stephen Prothero, and Deepak Chopra, who calls The Future of Faith "a fresh vision for the resurrection of a new global Christianity."

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About the Author-
  • Harvey Cox is the Hollis Research Professor of Divinity at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1965, both at Harvard Divinity School and in the Harvard Fac- ulty of Arts and Sciences. His classic book The Secular City is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century's most influential books of Protestant theology. He is also the author of The Future of Faith. Cox lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Noted Harvard theologian Harvey Cox tackles difficult questions about the future of religious faith in a thoughtful and engaging manner. Don Hagen narrates in a tone that is far from the halls of academia. His smooth voice is as pleasing to the ear and as easy to listen to as soft music. Cox views current religious trends--from fundamentalism to ecumenism--through a scholarly and historical lens, yet he writes in a style befitting a popular audience. Even so, Hagen is occasionally confronted with pesky little-used theological terms and historical names, and he handles them as if they were second nature. This important book may become the apex of Cox's distinguished career, and the audio version does it credit. S.K.G. (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 10, 2009
    What shape will the Christian faith take in the 21st century? In the midst of fast-paced global changes and in the face of an apparent resurgence of fundamentalism, can Christianity survive as a living and vital faith? With his typical brilliance and lively insight, Cox explores these and other questions in a dazzling blend of memoir, church history and theological commentary. He divides Christian history into three periods: the Age of Faith, during the first Christian centuries, when the earliest followers of Jesus lived in his Spirit, embraced his hope and followed him in the work he had begun; the Age of Belief, from the Council of Nicaea to the late 20th century, during which the church replaced faith in
    Jesus with dogma about
    him; and the Age of the Spirit, in which we're now living, in which Christians are rediscovering the awe and wonder of faith in the tremendous mystery of God. According to Cox, the return to the Spirit that so enlivened the Age of Faith is now enlivening a global Christianity, through movements like Pentecostalism and liberation theology, yearning for the dawning of God's reign of shalom. Cox remains our most thoughtful commentator on the religious scene, and his spirited portrait of our religious landscape challenges us to think in new ways about faith.

  • Kirkus

    August 1, 2009
    Celebrated religious scholar Cox (Divinity/Harvard Univ.; When Jesus Came to Harvard: Making Moral Choices Today, 2004, etc.) argues that we are witnessing the dawn of a third epoch in Christian history.

    First came the Age of Faith, a time of emphasis on the message of Jesus, lasting from his crucifixion to Constantine's decision to make Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire. Next came the Age of Belief, a long period marked by theological hegemonies and emphasis on creeds and theological points of view. Only in recent decades has this longstanding era begun to crumble against the insurgent Age of the Spirit, which is in many ways like the original Age of Faith. Cox examines the present death knells of two movements he describes as detrimental to people of faith: hierarchical theology, embodied mainly by the Catholic Church, and fundamentalism. These two movements, argues the author, stymie both faith and the true message of Jesus. Cox describes creed-making as a"toxin"; his disdain for orthodox theology is unmasked. As for the people, Cox attempts to show empathy toward Catholics, fundamentalists and even his own mid-20th-century divinity-school professors. This empathy, however, comes across as patronizing and condescending, opening him up to the"ivory tower" stereotype. Cox's work is intriguing, and there is certainly truth in his observations about global Christianity and the rise of Pentecostalism and liberation theology. The author is also an entertaining writer who has known seemingly every major religious figure in recent history, including three popes and figures ranging from Jerry Falwell to Gustavo Gutirrez. However, his black-and-white characterizations of wide-ranging movements leave his arguments wide open for attack.

    A panoramic view through myopic eyes.

    (COPYRIGHT (2009) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • Booklist

    Starred review from October 1, 2009
    The future of faith, Cox argues, is spiritual rather than creedal or dogmatic, egalitarian and hands-on rather than mediated by a hierarchical clergy. Christianity, in particular, has arrived at an age of the spirit, in which the term spiritual is increasingly preferred to religious, the vast numbers of conversions worldwide are made outside church establishments, and Christlike behavior is considered more meaningful than doctrinal precision, Mother Teresa is more admirable than the pope. Apprehension of the divine arrives for more people through experiences of wonder and awe and the appreciation of mystery, not out of study, reasoning, and formal professions of belief. In the center of this lucid and congenial book, Cox retraces organizational Christianity from the earliest communities of Christians through the long career of the church within Roman imperial and later political systems to the structural devolution of the church since the Reformation. He is not alone, but he is most cogent, in thinking that the content of Christian faith is becoming more like that of the early church, rooted in personal and communal behavior, and its expression more syncretistic and secular than ever before. A book full of good news.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2009, American Library Association.)

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