The Laing Lectures 2018: Theological Existence Today

Speaker(s): Stanley Hauerwas
Date: Winter 2018
Length: 6h
Product ID: RGDL4809S

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 Respected theologian Dr. Stanley Hauerwas gives three lectures on the theme of "Theological Existence Today."

Theological Existence Today from Regent Audio on Vimeo.

A: The Christian Message in the World Today 

After WWII, Karl Barth’s writings urged the European church to free itself from bondage to the societal and cultural status it had in the past. Rather than maintain its attachment to its own history, the church must root itself in the ultimate historical event—the incarnation of Christ. With Barth’s insights as a foundation, Hauerwas turns to the North American church, suggesting provocatively that perhaps we have not left Christendom behind so thoroughly as we might think—suggesting that we, like post-war Europeans, need to carefully consider where we may have mistaken devotion to nation for devotion to Christ. 

B: The Christian Message and Humanism

In this lecture, Hauerwas turns his focus onto Karl Barth’s response to the “new humanism” of the late 1940s. At this time, many sought ways of re-establishing Enlightenment humanism in the face of the war’s worst atrocities. Barth would have none of it. It is not the return of a secular optimism toward humankind that we need, Barth argued, but rather the “humanism of God.” In contrast to the new humanism, Barth contended that all things human are to be regarded only from the cross. In today's context as in Barth's, only with an anthropology planted firmly in Christ can the church find its lost theological voice amidst a fading Christendom.

C: The Church and Civil Society 

For Hauerwas, as for Karl Barth, the state is one of God’s redeemed creatures. Even a state that has rebelled against its divine calling can’t fully escape the reality of God’s purposes. And if the state is redeemed, then church must not wash its hands of it as it once washed its hands of Christ. Instead the church must learn to speak about Christ truthfully and boldly in the world. Hauerwas, grounded again in Barth, puts forward one method of how to do so: by anchoring our own political ideals not in this or that “ism,” but on what has been revealed to us of the workings of Christ’s Kingdom.

See All Audio by Stanley Hauerwas

Stanley Hauerwas is Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law at Duke Divinity School. He is author of many books, including The State of the University: Academic Knowledges and the Knowledge of God, A Community of Character: Toward a Constructive Christian Social Ethic, and (with William Willimon) Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony.

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