368 pages (November 2000)
Best Theology/Ethics Book
|Renewing the Center:
Evangelical Theology in a Post-Theological Era
By Stanley J. Grenz
Where has evangelicalism been, and where is it going? As we enter
a new century and a new millennium, it is appropriate for evangelical
Christians to take stock of their faith and its relationship to
the world around them. In Renewing the Center, Stanley Grenz challenges
the thoughtful to do just that and provides them with an insightful
According to Grenz, The postmodern condition calls Christians
to move beyond a polarity that knows only the categories of 'liberal'
and 'conservative' and thus pits so-called conservatives against
loosely-defined liberals. The way forward is for evangelicals to
take the lead in renewing a theological 'center' that can meet the
challenges of the postmodern--and in some sense post-theological--situation
in which the church now finds itself.
Grenz begins with a historical survey, considering the influence
of two major strands within evangelicalism. He goes on to sketch
a creative vision for a renewed evangelical theology that faces
the intellectual challenges of its time. He further envisions an
evangelical center through the establishment of a generous orthodoxy
that enables the church to fulfill its mission in the world.
Renewing the Center is an important new book for professors and
students of theology, pastors, and church leaders.
"Stanley Grenz, a leading American theologian, has written a lively
and engaging work which should help American evangelicals chart
the challenging course of their theological future. In a very refreshing
manner, Renewing the Center: Evangelical Theology in a Post-Theological
Era not only defines evangelicalism in a classical way, exploring
the significant Reformation heritage, but also in an inclusive way
where the streams of both Pietism (17th century German and 18th
century British) and Puritanism, in their joint emphasis on ˝convertive
piety,ţ are in the mix. Grappling with the demise of such philosophical
movements as foundationalism and realism as well facing the challenge
posed by religious pluralism for the contemporary evangelical community,
Grenz offers a balanced, carefully-argued, and lucid prescription
for the way ahead. Accordingly, I highly recommend this book and
hope that it receives the wide reading that it so richly deserves."
"This account of where evangelical thelogy has been and where
it is going bears all the virtues that one expects from a book by
Stanley Grenz: clarity, fair-mindedness, thoughtfulness, comprehension,
and faithfulness. Among other things, Renewing the Center offers
a welcome clarification of Grenz's relation to the evangelical tradition
just before he launches his multivolume dogmatics."
--Gary Dorrien, Kalamazoo College
"This is an important and provocative book. Its analysis will
be challenged by other evangelicals who have a different vision
of both the history and future of our movement, but Stan Grenz has
set forth an interpretation that cannot be ignored."
--Timothy George, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
"Stan Grenz acknowledges that the postmodern condition has resulted
in 'the end of theology as we know it,' but unlike others he is
not discouraged by this development. His thoughtful attempt to reconstruct
evangelical theology after the demise of foundationalism and realism,
along with his scholarly and irenic response to critics of 'the
evangelical left,' should raise to a higher plane any further discussions
about the nature and future of evangelicalism. Likewise, Grenz's
continuing emphasis on the church as believing community and his
call for a 'generous orthodoxy' offers an agenda worth taking seriously.
This is a book to be read carefully, more than once, in conversation
with friends. Its message will be debated, but it constitutes a
real service to the church."
--Robert A. Pyne, Dallas Theological Seminary
"Stanley Grenz presses the question of whether evangelicalism
can embrace a doctrine of the Church that is believably universal
and comprehensive. Evangelicals, Catholics, and other Christians
have a very big stake in how that question is answered in the years
--The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus Editor in Chief, First Things
"Stanley Grenz urges a re-forming of evangelical theology in a
coherent apologetic, churchly, missional, forward-looking world
so as to interface effectively with the intellectual thoughts of
postmodern and postchristian culture. His exposition is a tour de
force that commands our attention, and merits our gratitude."
--J. I. Packer, Regent College