Mod-Post Modern Theologians. All Material Written By Thomas Perez

Written By Thomas Perez. May 9, 2010 at 7:58PM. Copyright 2010.


1. A.H. Strong (1839-1921)

Major work

• Systematic Theology


• Most notable Baptist theologian of the 19th and early 20th centuries

• Taught from a reformed Baptist perspective

• Open to diverse theological opinion

• Moderate Calvinistic view of election

• Said inerrancy was an indefensible position

• Was converted under Charles Finney as a college student

• Held to theistic evolution

• Some thought he was on a slippery slope toward liberalism

2. E.Y. Mullins (1860-1928)

Major works

• The Christian Religion in its Doctrinal Expression (systematic theology)

• Christianity at the Crossroads


• Known for his emphasis on “soul competency”

• Guided Southern Baptists away from some of the more extreme expressions of Calvinism and Landmarkism

• Took moderate stance on Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy

• Held to moderate Calvinism

• President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1899

3. Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918)

Major works

• A Theology of the Social Gospel

• Christianity and the Social Crisis


• Great proponent of a social gospel and critic of orthodox Christianity

• His focus was primarily ethical

• Human need was his starting point

• Said Inerrancy was a human invention

• Denied the deity of Christ and vicarious atonement

• Was a strong critic of capitalism

• Said Premillennialism stymied the social conscience of Christians

• Influenced by Schleiermacher; Ritschl and Harnack

4. Alfred Whitehead (1861-1947)

Major work

• Process and Reality


• Gave philosophical foundation for process theology

• Reality is not static but a process

• Reality built on four concepts: actual occasions, eternal objects, God, and creativity

• God and the world are interdependent

• God suffers with the world

• God knows the future only as a possibility, not actuality

• Was a mathematician

• Called his approach “philosophy of organism”

5. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)

Major work

• The Quest of the Historical Jesus


• German theologian, medical missionary, and musicologist

• Famous for viewing Jesus as an apocalyptic leader who was wrong about the coming of the kingdom

• Rejected liberal view of Jesus as just a moral teacher

• Said theologians were finding a Jesus who reflected them and their views

• Was a believer in ‘the spirit of Jesus’ and emphasized ethics and discipleship

6. Gustaf Aulen (1879-1978)

Major work

• Christus Victor


• Swedish theologian and scholar

• Gave analysis of the theories of the atonement

• Held to a modified ransom to the devil theory of the atonement (the atonement is a divine victory overcoming the powers of hell and death, making available the love of God)

• Known in the Swedish Lutheran Church as a composer of widely used church music

7. J.G. Machen (1881-1937)

Major works

• Christianity and Liberalism

• The Virgin Birth of Christ


• Leading American conservative theologian and NT scholar

• Stood for historic orthodox Christian truth

• With Van Til and Allis, Machen resigned from Princeton Theological Seminary and founded Westminster Seminary in 1929

• His opposition to liberalism caused him to be kicked out of Presbyterian church

• In 1936 he led the establishment of Orthodox Presbyterian Church

8. Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976)

Major work

• Jesus and the Word

• “The New Testament and Mythology”


• German New Testament scholar who tried to demythologize the New Testament

• Known for existential interpretations of Scripture

• Known for “form criticism” of gospels

• Tried to free Christianity from historical scholarship

• Reinterpreted the resurrection of the body

• Said the Jesus of history holds little relevance for faith

• Believed the kerygma of the early church is central to faith

• Known for his distinction between historie and geschichte

• Viewed himself as an ally with Barth against liberalism

• Followed the insights of Heidegger on inauthentic and authentic existence

9. Paul Tillich (1886-1965)

Major work

• Systematic Theology (3 vols.)


• Viewed as one of most influential theologians of the 20th century

• Taught that God is ‘ground of being,’ all else said about God is idolatry; man must face nonbeing

• Known for his “method of correlation”—philosophy and theology should play a complementary role to each other

• Theology is about ultimate concern

• The history of Jesus is irrelevant although Jesus represented the ultimate example of what human potential can lead to.

• His father was a Lutheran minister

• Was a chaplain of German forces in WWI.

• Became professor of Harvard Divinity School in 1955

• Was critical of Barth

• Was accused of being a pantheist

• His wife said he was a dirty old man

10. Karl Barth (1886-1968)

Major works

• Der Romerbrief

• Church Dogmatics (when he died in 1968, volume 13 was unfinished)


• German neoorthodox theologian

• Probably the most influential theologian of the 20th century

• Exposed bankruptcy of liberalism; reacted against liberalism by claiming that God, not man, is the chief actor in salvation

• Stressed God’s absolute transcendence

• Used dialectical theological method

• Held to the deity of Jesus

• Held orthodox view of Trinity


• Viewed salvation as an objective event—Christ objectively wrought salvation for all people by his victory on the cross

• Christ at his coming united the entire human race to himself; with his death the world’s sin was judged and in his resurrection the human race was vindicated

• Justification and sanctification are the outworking of the covenant made in eternity past to bring all men to God

• People contribute nothing to their salvation—faith, repentance, and obedience are manifestations of a finished salvation, not the means of salvation

• All persons are elected to life in Christ; Barth said “The doctrine of election is the sum of the Gospel.”

• In eternity past the Father determined that Jesus would be “elect God” and “elect man”; He is “elect God” in that he is the subject who would elect others; he is “elect man” in that he is the object of God’s election

• Had a novel view of double predestination—on the cross God said “No” to himself as Christ bore the sentence of man’s rejection—at Calvary God said “Yes” to his son and the people in him

• Rejected the traditional covenant of works; instead, through a single covenant of grace God entered into partnership with humankind to reconcile the race to himself

• God’s grace is sovereign and irresistible; those who experience it cannot be lost

• Barth laid the theoretical basis for universalism although he did not explicitly say this believing that committing to it would limit God’s freedom

• Rejected penal theory of atonement, said by his incarnation and death Jesus Christ united humanity with his divine nature

• Rejected natural theology—no grace outside of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ

11. Ludwig Wittgenstein(1889-1951)

Major works

• Tractatus

• Philosophical Investigations


• Leading analytical philosopher of the 20th century

• Argued that words are understood by engaging in ‘language games.’; language is best conceived as an activity involving the uses of words as tools

• Studied with Bertrand Russell (told Russell he would pass him in significance)

• Believed he solved all philosophical issues

12. Emil Brunner (1889-1966)

Major works

• Nature and Grace: A Discussion with Karl Barth


• Swiss Reformed neo-orthodox and dialectical theologian

• Along with Barth was a pioneer of neo-orthodoxy

• Opposed liberalism

• Unlike Barth, he accepted natural revelation

• Held to a high Christology; accepted Chalcedonian view of Christ

• Said God can only be known through personal encounter

• Denied virgin birth and inerrancy

• Was accused of promoting the doctrine of universalism

13. Martin Heidegger (1889-1976)

Major work

• Being and Time


• Important 20th century existentialist

• Said everyday existence is inauthentic

• Said we should strive for authenticity; authenticity comes by facing death when we focus on what’s really important and not worry about what others think about us

• Attacked Christianity saying it destroyed genuine culture

• Believed in importance of language which is the “house of Being”

• Was a disciple of Husserl

• Had an influence neo-orthodox thought and had a strong influence on Bultmann; he also influenced Tillich

• His influence has led some to drop grammatical-historical hermeneutics

14. C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)

Major works

• Mere Christianity

• The Screwtape Letters

• The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe


• The best-selling Christian author of all time

• His works are popular in Great Britain and the United States

• Converted from atheism to theism in 1929; became a Christian in 1931

15. G.C. Berkhouwer (1903-1995)

Major work

• Holy Scripture


• Dutch theologian in tradition of Kuyper and Bavnick

• Committed to absolute authority of scripture

• Argued for relationship between faith and revelation

16. Karl Rahner (b.1904)

Major work

• Theological Investigations (20 vols.)


• Roman Catholic theologian

• One of most influential theologians of the 20th century

• Leading thinker behind Vatican II

• Was a transcendental Thomist—said being is discovered not in external objectivity but in the subjectivity of a human knower

• Helped popularize inclusivism

• Believed in universalized saving grace

• Said there are “anonymous Christians”–saved people who have not placed their faith in Christ; held that every human has the ability to hear God, thus there are saved people of different faiths

• This dynamic impulse that orients all people toward the immediacy of God is called the “supernatural existential.”

17. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)

Major works

• Letters and Papers from Prison

• Ethik


• Lutheran pastor and theologian

• Was a pacifist who eventually opposed the Nazis even to point of violence

• Involved with a failed assassination attempt of Hitler

• Executed by the Nazis at age 39

• Worked at Union Theological Seminary in NY for a while

• Argued for a nonreligious interpretation of Christianity (“Religionless Christianity”)

18. Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984)

Major works

• The God Who is There

• He is There and He is Not Silent

• Escape from Reason


• Founder of L’Abri Fellowship

• Was an influential leader and apologist within evangelicalism

• Thousands of people came to L’Abri in Switzerland from all over the world to get real answers to life

• Emphasized the Lordship of Christ in the totality of life

19. Billy Graham (b. 1918)


• Most influential evangelist of all time

• Founded Christianity Today in 1956

• Had his breakthrough at the 1949 Los Angeles Crusade

20. John Hick (b. 1922)

Major work

• The Metaphor of God Incarnate

• A Christian Theology of Religions


• Leading advocate of Pluralism—all major religions lead to God

• Argues for a shift from a Christocentric to Theocentric emphasis in theology; (a “Copernican Revolution” in theology)

• Denies deity of Christ

• Says Christians on the whole act no better or no worse than people of other faiths

• Was an evangelical but had inner turmoil when he viewed pious people of different faiths and contemplated the traditional Christian view of exclusivism

• Views himself as a philosopher of religion

21. Carl F.H. Henry (b. 1923)

Major works

• God, Revelation and Authority


• Leading evangelical theologian of the latter half of the 20th century

• Defender of evangelical truth

• Christianity Today’s founding editor

• Involved with Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy; wanted church to avoid excesses of fundamentalism and engage broader theological community

• Focused on God, revelation, and various points of controversy

• Gave a thorough defense of inerrancy

• At Wheaton made friends with Billy Graham and Harold Lindsell

• Went to Fuller Seminary in 1947

• Viewed Barth’s views as dangerous

• Was a presupposition list

22. George Lindbeck (b. 1923)

Major work

• The Nature of Doctrine


• Famous post-liberal theologian connected with the “Yale school” of theology

• Proposes a cultural-linguistic model—church doctrines are not truth claims but authoritative rules of discourse, attitude and action; religions are “comprehensive interpretive schemes, usually embodied in myths or narratives and heavily ritualized, which structure human experience and understanding of self and world.”

• Proponent of ecumenism without doctrinal compromise

• Believed explicit belief in Christ necessary but holds out for post-mortem evangelism

23. Jurgen Moltmann (b. 1926)

Major works

• Theology of Hope

• The Crucified God


• German reformed theologian

• Known for theology of hope (resurrection-centered theology)

• Said eschatology is a key aspect of theology; renewed confidence in apocalyptic vision of Scripture

• Held that the coming kingdom transforms the vision for the church

• Believed that God is a suffering God

• Held to social trinitarianism

• Was a prisoner of war in WWII

24. Wolfhart Pannenberg (b. 1928)

Major works

• Revelation as History

• Systematic Theology


• Lutheran theologian

• Part of the theology of hope movement

• Believed faith is dependent on a historical basis

• Countered existential thinking

• Viewed apocalyptic as the key theological category

• Believed in a literal resurrection of Jesus

• Viewed the triune God as the center of theology

• Studied theology under Barth

25. Hans Küng (b. 1928)

Major works

• On Being a Christian

• Judaism

• Numerous articles and books


• Roman Catholic theologian

• Most published, translated, and read Catholic theologian of the 20th century

• Had ecumenical emphasis

• Questioned infallibility of the pope

• Called for a Christology from below

• Said there was a need for church reform

• Wanted more of a role for women in the church

• Did a dissertation on Barth’s doctrine of justification

• Came into conflict with Roman Catholic authorities

• Said Protestant and Roman Catholic views of justification are not that different

26. Gustavo Gutierrez (b. 1928)

Major work

• The Theology of Liberation


• A Roman Catholic from Peru who became the most influential Latin American liberation theologian

• Known for his liberation theology–salvation is political and results in the throwing off of oppression

• Said, “Even the poor have a right to think.”

27. Rosemary R. Ruether (b. 1936)

Major work

• Sexism and God-Talk

• Numerous articles and books


• Pioneer of Christian feminist theology

• Most widely read feminist theologian in the United States

• Argues that the church as been anti-semitic

• Other interests include the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, history of women in American religion, mythology of the Ancient Near East and ecology

28. Clark Pinnock (b. 1937)

Major works

• A Defense of Biblical Infallibility

• The Scripture Principle


• Major evangelical theologian of last third of 20th century

• Primary evangelical proponent of inclusivism–Christianity is uniquely true but people of other faiths can be saved without explicit belief in Jesus Christ

• Primary evangelical proponent of the Openness of God movement

• Defended biblical authority and infallibility early in his career and then softened his position later in life

• Views election as a corporate matter

• Argues for annihilationism

• Was a strong Calvinist but became Ariminian

• Influenced by Schaeffer and lately has been influenced by Barth

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