Cahill, Thomas. How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe (New York: Anchor Books/ Doubleday, 1995). Cahill, founder of The Cahill & Company [Book] Catalogue and director of religious publishing at Doubleday in New York City, calls for a cultural reevaluation of the early Church, and especially of the role of "the Irish Monks, who single-handedly refounded European civilization through the continent in the bays and valleys of their exile" (p. 4). This cogent reevaluation includes a review, not only of St. Patrick: "the first human being in the history of the world to speak out unequivocally against slavery" (p. 114); but also of St. Augustine, of whom the author claims: "he is the father not only of autobiography but of the modern novel. He is also the distinguished forebear of the modern science of psychology" (p. 41).
Cahill summarizes his thesis: "as the Roman Empire fell, as all through Europe matted, unwashed barbarians descended on the Roman cities, looting artifacts and burning books, the Irish, who were just learning to read and write, took up the great labor of copying all of western literature… These scribes then served as conduits through which the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian cultures were transmitted to the tribes of Europe… Without this Service of the Scribes… the world that came after them would have been an entirely different one—a world without books. And our own world would never have come to be" (pp. 3-4).
Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 vols.; trans. Ford Lewis Battles; ed. John T. McNeill (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960). Calvin (1509-64), the French Protestant reformer, is renowned for having applied his theology socially and politically in Geneva (1541-64), and for creating a unique "church-state." In Christ and Culture H.R. Niebuhr associates Calvin with Augustine as a theologian who considered Christ "the Transformer of Culture": "Calvin is very much like Augustine. The conversionist idea is prominent in his thought and practice. More than Luther he looks for the present permeation of all life by the gospel. His more dynamic conception of the vocations of men as activities in which they may express their faith and love and may glorify God in their calling, his closer association of church and state, and his insistence that the state is God's minister not only in a negative fashion as restrainer of evil but positively in the promotion of welfare, his more humanistic views of the splendor of human nature still evident in the ruins of the fall, his concern for the doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh, above all his emphasis on the actuality of God's sovereignty—all these lead to the thought that what the gospel promises and makes possible, as divine (not human) possibility, is the transformation of mankind in all its nature and culture into a kingdom of God in which the laws of the kingdom have been written upon the inward parts" (pp. 218-219).
In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904-1905) the German sociologist and political economist Max Weber (1864-1920) credited Calvinism, its discipline and ideals, as a central force and primary factor in the success of capitalism. Toward the end of the Institutes, vol. 2, Calvin made the famous statement: "It is indeed a bad thing to live under a prince with whom nothing is lawful, but a much worse to live under one with whom all things are lawful" (4.20).
Carroll, Jackson and Wade Clark Roof, eds. Beyond Establishment: Protestant Identity in a Post-Protestant Age (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993). This volume contains a superb essay by Daniel V.A. Olson, a sociologist at Indiana U. at South Bend, entitled, "Fellowship Ties and Transmission of Religious Identity" (pp. 32-53). On the one hand, Olson argues that conservative churches prosper because of the distinctive, orthodox beliefs and values which they hold in common. On the other hand, he argues that: "the religious subculture of mainline denominations is based on a shared identity that is only marginally distinct from mainstream culture… identity expectations are relatively indistinct from those of most citizens… many of their value concerns and interests are [better] served by other secular institutions" (p. 46).
Carson, D.A. and John D. Woodbridge, eds. God and Culture: Essays in Honor of Carl F. H. Henry (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1993).
Carter, Stephen L. The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion. (New York: Basic Books, 1993). An Episcopal layman, a professor of Law at Yale University, and an expert on constitutional law, Carter warns that the Establishment clause of the First Amendment, which was intended to serve as "a guardian of religious liberty," is threatening to become "a guarantor of public secularism" (p. 123). He contends that religions have a "proper democratic role of mediating between the individual and the state," and protecting against totalitarianism. In his book, Our Character, Our Future, Alan Keyes critiques The Culture of Disbelief: "Unfortunately, Mr. Carter's work only gives the appearance of taking religion seriously, without in fact doing so… Though Mr. Carter purports to take religion seriously, he never deals with its claim to be the sine qua non that secures the characteristic common good of the American polity. Yet neglect of this claim is the most critical way in which the liberal approach to law and politics trivializes religious belief" (pp. 36,38).
Chandler, Russell. Racing Toward 2001: The Forces Shaping America's Religious Future (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992). A prize-winning religion reporter at the Los Angeles Times Chandler presents a bewildering array of social statistics and projections. He predicts that by 2001 churches will face increasing regulation by the state, no longer enjoy preferential tax treatment, and find it increasingly difficult to afford a full-time pastor. He reports a poll which found that most people think pastors should be paid less than plumbers; he predicts that Islam will soon surpass Judaism as the largest minority religion; he asserts that only churches which innovate will survive and that public intolerance toward the Christian worldview will increase.
Chesterton, Gilbert Keith. Orthodoxy (Garden City, NY: Image Books, 1959). Chesterton (1874-1936), British essayist, critic and novelist, came to faith as an adult, joining the Catholic Church in 1922 under the influence of Rev. John O'Connor who became the Father Brown of his mystery
series. In this classic text, G.K. offers such enduring wisdom as the following: (1) his definition of "democracy," as "the proposition that the things common to all men are more important than the things peculiar to any men" (p. 46); and (2) his definition of "tradition," as "giving votes to… our ancestors; it is the democracy of the dead" (p. 48). A particularly rich section of the book compares materialists to maniacs: "Materialists and madmen never have doubts" (p. 24); "the chief mark and element of insanity… is reason used without root, reason in the void" (p. 27); "The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone" (p. 30).
Clapp, Rodney. A Peculiar People: The Church as Culture in a Post-Christian Society (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996). . Mr. Clapp is a former assoc. editor for Christianity Today; the senior editor for general and academic books at InterVarsity Press; a contributor to The Christian Century and the Wall Street Journal; and an Episcopalian layman. In this provocative and compelling volume Clapp asserts that the era of "Constantinian Christianity"—characterized by "religious sponsorship" of the state—is now over, or at least: "near its end" (p. 17). According to Clapp, one of the worst results of Constantianism was the church's loss of its separate mission and identity. He rejects the notion that Christianity can serve as a "unifying force" within a secular state (p. 23). He views Christianity as "political," i.e. representing an alternative claim of authority (pp. 76-77), and embodying "a new and unique culture" (p. 89). "By Christian confession, our most fundamental identity is not that of Americans—it is that of Christ's disciples. So our most important culture is the church; our most important cultural activity is the liturgy" (p. 113). Clapp's perspective, like that of Willimon and Hauerwas in Where Resident Aliens Live, is deeply dependent upon the Anabaptist perspective of John Howard Yoder.
Cochrane, Charles Norris. Christianity and Classical Culture (New York: Oxford U. Press, 1940/1972). Cochrane (d. 1946) was professor of Greek and Roman History at University College, Toronto. In this classic study he demonstrates the antithetical views of "the state" held by Graeco-Romans and Christians. The Graeco-Romans looked to the state for "permanent security," and for "peace and freedom through political action, especially through submission to the 'virtue and fortune' of a political leader." "This notion the Christians denounced with uniform vigour and consistency. To them the state, so far from being the supreme instrument of human emancipation and perfectibility, was a straight-jacket to be justified at best as 'a remedy for sin'"(p. vi).
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. On the Constitutions of Church and State (1830). Coleridge (1772-1834), poet, political and literary critic, philosopher and theologian, is most famous for "The Ancient Mariner," "Christabel," and "Kubla Khan." Coleridge's influence in England paralleled that of Schleiermacher (1768-1834) in Germany. In On the Constitutions he preached a spiritual interpretation of life, against fossilized religion on the one hand, and against an empty, materialistic rationalism on the other. Like Schleiermacher, he asserted an intuitive, subjective basis for religion as a necessary truth of life which is evident in: (1) a universal law of conscience; (2) freedom of the will; and (3) the divine image.
Coleridge shifted the criterion of religious truth from an objective to a subjective basis to such an extent that he was accused of pantheism. Yet he considered Christian truth rational and self-evident, and he sought an ecumenical unification of the Church based upon common tenets. Perhaps his main contribution to the history of church and culture was his appeal for a culturally elite, secular clergy, which he called a "clerisy." According to Coleridge, the clerisy would consist of a class of artists and critics responsible for the spiritual and cultural education and enrichment of the nation. The clerisy would inculcate not only theology, but: "all the so-called liberal arts and sciences, the possession and application of which constitute the civilization of a country." Coleridge once planned to found a utopian community in the United States, but the plan failed to materialize.
Colson, Charles. Kingdoms in Conflict. (Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan, 1987); Against the Night. Living in the New Dark Ages. (Ann Arbor, MI.: Servant Publications, 1989); The Body. Being Light in Darkness. (Dallas, TX.: Word Publishing, 1992). A grad. in law from George Washington University, Colson served 1969-1973 as special counsel to Pres. Nixon, and spent seven months in prison after pleading guilty in Watergate. The founder and Chairman of Prison Fellowship, in Kingdoms, Colson reminds his readers that "the only institution in Germany that offered any enduring or meaningful resistance" to Hitler was the Church (p. 174). The basic role of the church toward the state is positive, e.g.: "legitimizing government" (p. 181); identifying "the Law behind the law" (pp. 237-240); providing "our fundamental postulates of order, justice and freedom," and "a transcendental moral influence and…ordering of society" (p. 235). However, the church is called to civil disobedience when the state: "attempts to take over the role of the church;" "restricts freedom of conscience;" or "flagrantly ignores its divinely mandated responsibilities to preserve life and maintain order and justice" (pp. 247-249).
Conner, Steven. Postmodernist Culture: An Introduction to Theories of the Contemporary (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989).
Conquest, Robert. The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine (New York: Oxford U. Press, 1986). A senior research fellow and scholar-curator of the East European Collection at the Hoover Institution at Stanford U., Conquest holds M.A. and D.Litt. degrees from Oxford U., and has held teaching positions at the London School of Economics and Columbia U. This work, a sequel to his acclaimed account of the Soviet mass purges of the 1930s, The Great Terror (1973), focuses on "what may be described as a terror-famine inflicted on the collectivized peasants of the Ukraine and the largely Ukrainian Kuban… Though confined to a single state, the number dying in Stalin's war against the peasants was higher than the total deaths for all countries in World War I" (p. 4). Conquest's account identifies the church as a particular target of the terror-famine: "This action… was accompanied by a wide-ranging attack on all Ukrainian cultural and intellectual centres and leaders, and on the Ukrainian churches" (ibid).
Conquest traces the communist hostility toward the churches to the fact that the churches: "represented an alternative view of life to the one presented by the regime," and to a famous passage in a letter from Lenin to Maxim Gorki, written in November, 1913: "Every religious idea, every idea of God, even flirting with the idea of God, is unutterable vileness.. of the most dangerous kind, 'contagion' of the most abominable kind. Millions of sins, filthy deeds, acts of violence and physical contagions… are far less dangerous than the subtle, spiritual idea of God decked out in the smartest 'ideological' costumes… Every defence or justification of God, even the most refined, the best intentioned, is a justification of reaction" (p. 199). Conquest comments: "Given this basic attitude, various methods of action against the objectionable beliefs were available" (ibid).
Coupland, Douglas. Life After God (New York: Simon and Schuster/Pocket, 1994).
Cullmann, Oscar. The State in the New Testament. (New York: Scribner’s, 1956). Cullmann (b. 1902), enjoyed an enormous reputation as a scholar and authority both in New Testament studies and in Early Church History, served as a professor both at the U. Basel, in Switzerland (from 1938), and at the Sorbonne, in Paris (from 1949). Although best known for his work, Christ and Time (1946), this study has also become a classic. The State in the New Testament assumes that the most unique and important political characteristic of the early church was its "eschatological attitude," i.e. its focus on the future: "Because the Gospel presents itself as the 'politeuma,' the community of the coming age, it must accordingly see as its most intrinsic concern its disposition toward the present 'polis,' the secular State. Where the expectation of the end is taken seriously in Christianity, it becomes necessary to assume toward the earthly State an attitude based on principle… from the Christian expectation of the end proceed very strong impulses toward dealings with the world" (p. 4).
According to Cullmann, the NT Church delineated three complementary principles in regard to secular authority: "First, it must loyally give the state everything necessary to its existence. It has to oppose anarchy and all zealotism within its own ranks. Second, it has to fulfill the office of watchmen over the state. That means it must remain in principle critical towards every state and be ready to warn it against transgression of its legitimate limits. Third, it must deny to the state which exceeds its limits, whatever such a state demands that lies within the province of religio-ideological excess" (pp. 90-91). Cullmann concluded that this unique Christian perspective represented: "a chronological dualism between Now and the Future… not the hellenistic dualism between this-worldliness and otherworldliness" (p. 89).