Apologetics without Apology (Didsbury Lecture) (Paperback)
Against many expectations, religion has not vanished from Western culture. People are troubled and fascinated in equal measure by this new visibility and are unsure whether it is right to (re)incorporate the vocabulary of faith into our common life. This unprecedented co-existence of religion and secularism is sometimes termed the ""postsecular,"" and in this book Elaine Graham considers some of its implications for the public witness of Christianity. She argues that everyone, from church leaders, theologians, local activists, and campaigners, needs to learn again how to ""speak Christian"" in these contexts. They need to articulate credible theological justifications for their involvement in public life and to justify the very relevance of their faith to a culture that no longer grants automatic privilege or credence. This entails a retrieval of the ancient practice of apologetics, in order to encourage and equip Christians to defend and commend their core principles and convictions in public. This ""new apologetics"" involves discerning the actions of God in the world, participating in the praxis of God's mission and bearing witness in word and deed. Rather than being an adversarial or argumentative process, this is an invitation to dialogue and to the rejuvenation of our public life. ""Here is fresh thinking on how to make a theological contribution to the common good in a post-secular world, where religion is resurgent, resisted, and optional in the public sphere. With characteristic clarity and erudition, Elaine Graham invites us to see public theology as the new apologetics--not arguing for one's beliefs against skeptics, but making the case for God's presence in the world by the lives we live there, shaped by the Christian story."" --William Storrar, Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton ""This book addresses the vital issue of how to communicate faith in a post-secular world in which religion is often framed as a site of hostile struggle. Elaine Graham points us towards an emerging Christian apologetics that is committed, critical, and creative. In its dedication to dialogue and the common good, this apologetics performs its sacred obligation by placing love of neighbor at its embodied core."" --Heather Walton, Professor of Theology and Creative Practice, University of Glasgow ""This book advances an impressive and inspiring concept of apologetic as a contextual, public theology. Bringing together perspectives from traditional apologetic writings and current theological thinking, it convinces the reader that today more than ever the Christian mission must be performed in word and deed, working together with people from other faiths and none for the common good. Thus, it lays a sound theoretical basis for diverse areas of Christian practice."" --Manfred L. Pirner, Chair of Religious Education, Director of the Research Unit for Public Religion and Education, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany ""How is one meant to 'speak Christian' in a post-secular society? In Apologetics without Apology, Elaine Graham furnishes a highly elaborate answer to this urgent question. Building on a lucid examination of our current situation, she convincingly sets out the contours of an ambitious apologetic project that claims to be no less than part of the missio Dei."" --Christoph Hubenthal; Professor of Systematic Theology, Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies, Center for Catholic Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen ""This timely publication by Elaine Graham enhances the constructive involvement of religious and secular faiths in public life. She develops a new and constructive apologetics that provides us with an ethos and grammar, skills and modes for the public involvement of faith in pluralistic contexts. This book equips us to show hospitality to a plurality of perspectives in churches, broader society, and the academy. Moreover, it strengthens us to impact transformatively upon pluralistic p.
Elaine Graham is Grosvenor Research Professor at the University of Chester, UK and Canon Theologian of Chester Cathedral.