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Grace, Order, Openness and Diversity: Reclaiming Liberal Theology [Paperback]

Ian Bradley
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

25 Mar 2010
This title presents a powerful re-statement of Liberal Protestantism for the twenty first century, especially alive to the imperative of inter faith dialogue and understanding. In this highly accessible, passionately argued and scholarly book, Ian Bradley presents fundamentalism, born a hundred years ago in the United States of America, as the great twentieth century heresy and aberration. He identifies and seeks to reclaim for the twenty first century a liberal theological tradition existing in Christianity, Islam, Judaism and the other major world faiths. This liberal heart is found in their scriptures and was often to the fore in their foundational stages but has more recently been overlaid with conservative reaction, fundamentalism and fear. He defines this liberal theology in terms of the four values of grace, order, openness and diversity which he suggests can be read by Christians as key attributes of the three persons of the Trinity and of God in Trinity as a whole. This book counters the growing influence of narrow, exclusive judgemental religious conservatism with a powerful reassertion of the liberal gospel of grace, goodness and generosity grounded in the being of God.

Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: T& T Clark (25 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 056726890X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0567268907
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 15.7 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 725,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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This amazing little book is full of ... insights, which will come as a complete surprise to most people --Churchman, September 2010 'Bradley writes beautifully about the goodness of creation and the divine ecology of blessing' --Reform, October 2010 'This book… presents a well-defined statement of liberal beliefs clearly very far from the assumed position of most Congregationalists.' --The Congregationalist, November 2010 'This is an intelligent and passionate book. The author is unusually sure-footed in the way in which he not only defends liberalism, but remains engagingly open to the flaws that its critics accuse it of.' --Church Times, 11th Feb 2011

'Ian Bradley has given us a readable, broadly researched book, a passionate reclamation of theological liberalism and a stout defence of its academic pedigree.' --The Furrow, March 2011

'This is a fun and interesting book… Bradley makes an important case for a set of values that need and should be part of any good theology.' --Theology, 1st March 2011

About the Author

Ian Bradley is Reader in Practical Theology and Church history in the School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews and a prolific author, broadcaster and preacher.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing vicious about it 28 July 2011
I have read this book after getting it from the library, and as a result, I have just purchased a copy through Amazon because it is worth having a personal copy to dip into in the future.

I found the remarks of a previous reviewer ('dreadful book' and 'a vicious attack' and 'this book verges on slander') a distressing example of why Christianity is declining (a recent survey stated there would be no C of E left in 20 years!!). I would have hoped for a more thoughtful and spiritual review of a book that tries very hard to seek the mind of God, and examine the process of Christian thought over the last two millenia, and shows love and respect for those who don't necessarily agree with a particular and exclusive interpretation of the truth. Jesus spoke in parables, and often asked questions in response to questions because He wants us to think things through, guided by the Holy Spirit, and taking account of the fact that things change over time. Jesus' all-encompassing wisdom is shown by the fact that He showed there could be no set of black and white rules suitable for all times and places, and so He never gave us those, instead He sent us the Holy Spirit (thank God!) to help us interpret the scriptures in our search for God's truth. Ian Bradley, in this book, demonstrates clearly the God-given benefits of this approach. A book worth reading by anyone, and particularly by those who are trying to make sense of their Christian journey and who want to show the mind of Christ to colleagues, family, friends and neighbours.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Answer to fundamentalism 2 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very timely counter-attack on fundamentalism while expounding the legitimate theological basis for liberal evangelicalism. It is well written and accessible to any interested party.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 2 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Love the way this man writes. He talks a lot of sense. He also brings in hymns which I love.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A challenging book 8 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After hearing Ian Bradley give a paper at a Free to Believe conference I had to learn more from this author. There is so much good sense in what he says and writes. This is a thoughtful book, so it is not a quick read, but its proclamation of an inclusive liberal outlook is refreshing. One similarly-minded friend who read my copy after me was not as enthusiastic about all the views expressed as I was after reading, but nevertheless like most of the book. Therefore this is a "must-read" for thoughtful people.
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0 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A vicious attack 11 Nov 2010
I was given this dreadful book as a present. It is a vicious attack on those who take the word of God seriously based on prejudice rather than reason. It claims to be putting forward a rational argument but it is actually an escape from the reality of God. A dangerous distortion of what faith is about, this book verges on slander.
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