The Peril and Promise of Christian Liberty

The Peril and Promise of Christian Liberty : Richard Hooker, the Puritans, and Protestant Political Theology

4.25 (8 ratings by Goodreads)

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How do Christians determine when to obey God even if that means disobeying other people? In this book W. Bradford Littlejohn addresses that question as he unpacks the magisterial political-theological work of Richard Hooker, a leading figure in the sixteenth-century English Reformation.

Littlejohn shows how Martin Luther and other Reformers considered Christian liberty to be compatible with considerable civil authority over the church, but he also analyzes the ambiguities and tensions of that relationship and how it helped provoke the Puritan movement. The heart of the book examines how, according to Richard Hooker, certain forms of Puritan legalism posed a much greater threat to Christian liberty than did meddling monarchs. In expounding Hooker's remarkable attempt to offer a balanced synthesis of liberty and authority in church, state, and conscience, Littlejohn draws out pertinent implications for Christian liberty and politics today.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 314 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 25.4mm | 430.91g
  • Grand Rapids, United States
  • English
  • 0802872565
  • 9780802872562
  • 898,983

Review quote

Oliver O'Donovan
-- University of Edinburgh
"It is an exciting development that Richard Hooker is being relieved of his image as a fusty ecclesiastical polemicist and rediscovered as a formative influence on the modern political imagination. He finds a committed and discriminating advocate in W. Bradford Littlejohn, who reveals how the generous Christian faith that moved Hooker equipped him with a supple and disciplined account of human freedom."

Charles Mathewes
-- University of Virginia
"Littlejohn's work would have been enough if it had simply been a terrific recovery and restatement of major themes in the work of Richard Hooker--for he is, after all, perhaps the one truly great major thinker in Christian thought who lacks disciples in the contemporary academy. But, more than that, it is also a significant contribution to debates about the nature of modernity and liberalism, the relation between earlier theological notions of liberty of conscience and contemporary individualism, church and state, and arguments about the meaning of the Reformation for the contemporary world--all from a deeply underappreciated perspective. Agree or disagree, Littlejohn's work, in reaffirming a major Christian tradition, is a wonderful addition to the current tumult in political theology."
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About W. Bradford Littlejohn

W. Bradford Littlejohn serves as director of the Davenant Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the renewal of Christian wisdom for the contemporary church. He is also the author of Richard Hooker: A Companion to His Life and Work and numerous articles and book chapters in Reformation studies and Christian ethics.
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Rating details

8 ratings
4.25 out of 5 stars
5 38% (3)
4 50% (4)
3 12% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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