DOUBTS AND LOVES: What Is Left of Christianity
Following in the footsteps of John A.T. Robinson and John Shelby Spong, Holloway, formerly Bishop of Edinburgh, shows why Christianity often seems irrelevant to the contemporary world and what it must do to retain its vitality. Traditional Christian doctrines such as original sin, hell, the resurrection of Christ and the inerrancy of the Bible have no power in the modern world, says Holloway, because they fail to emphasize the central meaning of the Christian faith. These doctrines, preached by an institutional religion that often requires literal adherence to the creed, have made the Christian faith into a theology of death. Instead, he argues, Christianity is really a theology of life that consists of imitating the self-sacrificial and subversive actions of Jesus, particularly his love of the unlovely and unloved and his forgiveness of those condemned by society. Attentive to what he believes are these central elements of authentic Christian faith, Holloway recasts Christian doctrines in their light. Arguing that a literal belief in Christ's resurrection from the dead is not necessary to the Christian faith, he suggests that it is more meaningful to think of resurrection as simply a transformation and to help others bring new life to communities still held in the grip of death. Thus, for example, black South Africans experienced resurrection after apartheid was dismantled. Holloway's book will certainly appeal to followers of Matthew Fox and Spong, but his unoriginal thesis offers no particularly new or illuminating insights that haven't already been revealed more engagingly and fully by these others. (Feb.)
Forecast:Given the popularity of books like Spong's Why Christianity Must Change or Die, this U.K. import is likely to draw some attention. Canongate's strategy of bringing Holloway to North America for a five-city book tour will aid book sales.