Tag Archives: James Davidson Hunter

created good is a by-product of loving God

Let me finally stress that any good that is generated by Christians is only the net effect of caring for something more than the good created. If there are benevolent consequences of our engagement with the world, in other words, it is precisely because it is not rooted in a a desire to change the world for the better but rather because it is an expression of a desire to honor the creator of all goodness, beauty and truth, a manifestation of our loving obedience to God, a d a fulfillment of God’s command to love our neighbor.

To Change the World, pp. 226-227, by James Davidson Hunter

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irresponsible leadership

The people of God, individually and collectively, are called to give expression to the redemptive work of God in all of their lives. As we’ve seen, the challenges to this calling in our time are formidable to say the least. What has been missing is a leadership that comprehends the nature of these challenges and offers a vision of formation adequate to the task of discipling the church and its members for a time such as ours. By misreading the nature of the times and by focusing so much energy and resources on politics, those who have claimed the mantle of leadership have fixed attention on secondary and tertiary problems and false solutions. By admonishing Christian lay people for not, in effect, being Christian enough, they shift responsibility for their own failures onto those that they lead.

To Change the World, pp. 226-227, by James Davidson Hunter


american cultural syncretism

The first task is to disentangle the life and identify of the church from the life and identify of American society. The neo-Anabaptists are right about the problems that attend the close association of the two. As it applies to the Constantinian associations of the church with the nation-state and political economy, their criticisms are mostly correct and little more needs to be added. For conservatives and progressives alike, Christianity far too comfortably legitimates the dominant political ideologies and far too uncritically justifies the prevailing macroeconomic structures and practices of our time. What is wrong with their critique is that it doesn’t go far enough, for the moral life and everyday social practices of the church are also far too entwined with the prevailing normative assumptions of American culture. Courtship and marriage, the formation and education of children, the mutual relationships and obligations, between the individual and community, vocation, leadership, consumption, leisure, “retirement” and the use of time in the final chapters of life–on these and other matters, Christianity has uncritically assimilated to the dominant ways of life in a manner dubious at the least. Even more, these assimilations arguably compromise the fundamental integrity of its witness to the world.

To Change the World, pp.184-185 by James Davidson Hunter


value of political participation

Christians are urged to vote and become involved in politics as an expression of their civic duty and public responsibility. This is a credible argument and good advice up to a point. Yet in our day, given the size of the state and the expectations that people place on it to solve so many problems, politics can also be a way of saying, in effect, that the problems should be solved by others besides myself and by institutions other than the church. It is, after all, much easier to vote for a politician who champions child welfare than to adopt a baby born in poverty, to vote for a referendum that would expand health care benefits for seniors that to care for an elderly and infirmed parent, and to rally for racial harmony that to get to know someone of a different race than yours. True responsibility invariably costs. Political participation, then, can and often does amount to an avoidance of responsibility.

To Change the World, pp.172-173, by James Davidson Hunter