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The Tradition of Liberal Theology
POD; Published: 1/20/2014
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6981-4
Price: $ 19.50
174 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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Describes and defends a long- standing tradition that maintains a proper balance between religious faith and human rationality

Many of the early apologists, including Justin Martyr and Origen, presented a defense of the Christian faith that sought to combine the message of the Gospels with respect for the kind of rationality associated with Socrates and his followers. Michael Langford argues that, despite many misunderstandings, the term "liberal theology" can properly be used to describe this tradition.

Langford's Tradition of Liberal Theology begins with a historical and contemporary definition of "liberal theology" and identifies eleven typical characteristics, such as a nonliteralist approach to interpreting Scripture, a rejection of original guilt, and the joint need for faith and works. Langford then gives vignettes of thirteen historical Christian figures who personify the liberal tradition. Finally, he explores some contemporary alternatives to liberal theology -- fundamentalism, the Catholic magisterium, Karl Barth's theology -- and presents a rational defense of the tradition of liberal theology.
Gary Dorrien
-- author of The Making of American Liberal Theology
"The Tradition of Liberal Theology is winsomely written, cogently argued, and focused mainly on the early British tradition. Like Michael Langford's previous books on this subject, it offers a rationalistic perspective and a deeply informed account of where liberal theology came from and why it still matters."
John Polkinghorne
-- author of Belief in God in an Age of Science
"Michael Langford gives a clear and accessible account of liberal theology's quest to strike the appropriate balance between faith and reason in the search for truth. The Tradition of Liberal Theology is a very helpful contribution to current debate about the reasonableness of religious belief, and it deserves a wide readership."
Keith Ward
-- author of Is Religion Dangerous?
"A readable, clear, jargon-free exposition and defense of liberal theology that dispels many misunderstandings and stereotypes. Langford provides a positive and attractive account of what liberal theology is and why it is a compelling interpretation of Christian faith in the modern age. . . . The book is outstanding in its rationality, its clarity, and its charitable tone. Anyone who refers to 'liberal theology,' either for or against it, will find here a reliable guide to what liberal Christian theology is at its best."
"Langford offers a succinct, accessible guide to what he calls `mainstream' liberal Christian thought. . . . Those to his theological left or right may disagree with his conclusions, but will never be less than challenged by his arguments."
Modern Believing
"All in all, this is good in parts, and the parts that are good are very good indeed. Clearly the melodies of modernity can be, and have been, heard alongside the tunes of tradition, and the contribution of pre-modern liberals to the modern church deserves this welcome recognition."
James McGrath, Exploring Our Matrix
"This is an important book, and it should be read by those Christians who consider themselves liberal, those who consider themselves moderate, and (perhaps especially) by those who consider themselves conservative and thus view themselves as the torchbearers of the historic Christian tradition. As Langford demonstrates with ample evidence, there is a vibrant liberal strand of Christianity, and it goes back at least as far as more conservative strands do."
Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
"A phenomenal resource that should be part of the library of a scholar or a pastor. Langford's summary of liberal theology is a gift to those seeking to find a reliable source on the liberal interpretation of Christianity."