God in the New World by Lloyd Geering
Lloyd Geering is a Presbyterian minister and former Professor of Old Testament Studies at theological colleges in Brisbane and Dunedia, and Professor of Religious Studies at Victorian University in Wellington, New Zealand. He is author of Tomorrow's God (1994), The World to Come (1999) and Christianity Without God (2002). Published by Hodder and Stoughton Limited, St. Paulís House, Warwick Lane, London. Copyright, 1968 by Lloyd Geering. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.
Foreword by the Very Rev. J.M. Bates
In a few circles of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, there was strong concern expressed about the orthodoxy of an article on "The Resurrection," and as soon as this came to the notice of the press, the debate left the confines of Presbyterian Church circles and became a public issue. This author writes of these controversies.
Chapter 1: The New Source of Knowledge
All forms of knowledge in which Christian faith and experience has expressed itself must also be continually subject to re-examination and reformulation. This is why theology at the present time is in the most fluid state it has been since the period of Christian origins.
Chapter 2: The New View of the Bible
When the aids of modern scholarship are brought to bear upon the Bible, and its own historical context is reconstructed as the stage setting, then the Bible once again becomes alive.
Chapter 3: The New View of the World
The three-decker world view of ancient man, (sky, flat earth, underworld) and the contemporary space universe stemming from Copernicus and Galileo are so different from each other that every aspect of the Christian faith must be radically reinterpreted.
Chapter 4: The New View of Origins
The popular and simple view of origins which was held by Christians until a hundred years ago has gone for ever.
Chapter 5:The New View of Man
The dogmatic way in which the church has often declared itself on matters of personal salvation and judgment has rested on an inadequate understanding of the complexities of the human situation. But this is not to conclude that the sciences which are forcing us more and more to abandon our traditional understanding of the nature and destiny of man, have solved the riddle of life and of the mystery of man.
Chapter 6: The New Secular Culture
Secularization on a global scale is bringing in a new situation in which the Christian community and the secular society within which it lives, must both discover their proper mutual relationships. The Christian community in particular must be careful not to waste unnecessary energy fighting an enemy that her own misjudgment has largely created.
Chapter 7: The New Theology
The new world poses many questions for the Christian faith. It has challenged the validity of traditional Christianity at many points, but at the same time it is out of Christendom that the new world has emerged. It depends more on the nourishment from its cultural roots than it realizes.
Chapter 8: The Mythological World of Ancient Man
A review of the ways in which ancient men saw their world. The Biblical thinkers, prophets and witnesses believed Israel was called to pioneer a new and distinctive way for the whole human race.
Chapter 9: The Concern with History and the End of Mythology
The witness of the Old Testament is that Israel was always concerned with her contemporary history, and was prepared to reinterpret her past heritage in the light of what she witnessed in her own day.
Chapter 10: The Concern with the Word and the End of the Gods
In turning men away from the mythological concepts of the gods to the YHWH who was known through His Word, Israel seized upon the most important phenomenon in the human scene -- language -- to become the metaphor for faith "The Word became flesh."
Chapter 11: The Concern with the Earth and the End of Heaven
The emergence of the new worldview has brought about the dissolution of the mythological framework in which Christian faith had come traditionally to be expressed.
Chapter 12: The Concern with Man and the End of Religion
Some people define religion as a body of beliefs and practices which direct manís attention to one or more divine beings in an unseen supernatural world. If this is religion, then Israel rejects it and so does Christianity. Jesus of Nazareth did not begin a new religion. He proclaimed a new way of faith, by which man, in whatever generation he lives, is summoned by the Word of God to concern himself with the human scene, for this is Godís concern. The Christian way transcends religion and spells the end of religion -- thus the point of "religionless" Christianity.
Chapter 13: The Concern with the Man Jesus and the End of an Age
The end did not come. The apostles died, but the Christian faith did not. It slowly, almost unnoticeably, adjusted to the new situation, reinterpreting the New Testament to the new age, and thus the new age began -- BC. became AD.
Chapter 14: The Concern with Freedom and the End of Bondage
The joyful message of deliverance from bondage originating in the Old Testament as well as the New has brought forth the concern for freedom in the new world.
Chapter 15: Faith as an Essential for Human Existence
The liberal extreme abandons Christianity as no longer tenable. The conservative extreme defends the bulwarks of orthodoxy as long as it can. But those committed to the Christian heritage are called to a new venture in faith.
Chapter 16: Myth as the Language of Faith
The language of faith is communicated in myth, and there is no more powerful a myth than the story of the Christ of faith.
Chapter 17: God as the Ground of Faith
When we speak of God, we are speaking of the deepest reality possible, yet we do not know what that reality is. A known God is an idol. A defined God is no God. We live not by knowledge but by faith and God is the ground of that faith.
Chapter 18: Hope as the Goal of Faith
In the language of the world, Jesus is dead. But in the language of faith, Jesus is risen. And because He is risen, the world is a different place.
Chapter 19: Love as the Life of Faith
In the day of reckoning only those things will remain which have in them the power to remain because they come of God, and those things are faith, hope and love, and the greatest of the three is love.
Chapter 20: The Church as the Community of Faith
According to the Bible, the Judeo-Christian faith has always been a community affair. There is emerging today a new form of the church as the community of faith which is the leaven of that faith and of hope and of love in a unsettled world.
Chapter 21 The Faith which Outlives Death
In submitting himself to the life of obedience, in seeking to be used as an instrument in the renewal of the world, in shouldering the cross of Christ his Lord, the Christian shares in the life of faith which genuinely outlives death.
Suggestions for Further Reading
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