Quotes from Stanley Hauerwas

I read Hauerwas’s autobiography, Hannah’s Child (Eerdmans 2010), a couple of months ago. It’s an interesting portrait of what life is like being a theologian (the politics and career of it), a memoir of a troubled marriage and scattered with some great insights into faith, like the three quotes below. As well as the fullest account yet of What Yoder Really Did to get himself in trouble for sexual misconduct.

Most people do not have to become a theologian to become a Christian, but I probably did. Of course, being a theologian can be a liability for being a Christian. You cannot help but be tempted to be a “professional believer” because you get paid for believing in God. As a result, you cannot afford to call into question what you say you believe.
-p. 159

For me, learning to be a Christian has meant learning to live without answers. Indeed, to learn to live in this way is what makes being a Christian so wonderful. Faith is but a name for learning how to go on without knowing the answers.
-p. 208

Accordingly, Christians should understand marriage as an insitution for resolving conflict, and marriage should be structured toward that end. In the memo, Yoder observed that “the commitment to hanging together, i.e., lifelong fidelity, is a prerequisite for taking conflict resolution seriously: otherwise every conflict becomes an occasion for fantasies of escape.”
-p. 243


2 thoughts on “Quotes from Stanley Hauerwas

  1. Hi Nathan,

    Of course it is not only the theologians who get paid as professionals to believe their theological viewpoint, so do pastors.

    There is enormous pressure on theologians at many Evangelical seminaries to toe the party line and the same is true of pastors in their local churches. They fear a loss of livelihood if they express any viewpoint outside the accepted boundaries.

    This is especially true the more fundamentalist and hardline a church or denomination is, or if the pastor or theologian has a young family to support and has no recent qualifications or experience in an alternative occupation that he/she could move to should they were dismissed for expressing a non acceptable viewpoint.

    I often wonder if a pastor or theologian is expressing his/her true views or whether they are expressing what they consider to be the acceptable line.

    The more hadline the denomination, the more difficult it is for a theologian to innovate because the churches of hardline denominations often fail to distinguish between the inspiration and interpretation of the bible and tend to confuse the received view with”the” “biblical view”, as if there is only one possible view.

    What do you think would happen if a pastor of a strict Evangelical church (that accepted the penal substitutionary theory of the atonement) came out and said he supported Steve Chalke’s view?

    A few years back there was an attempt by members of the Evangelical Theological Society to suspend Clark Pinnock and John Sanders over Open Theism but the move failed. Nevertheless, such moves must put the wind up budding young theologians’ sails.

    Evangelical churches are not noted for accepting theological diversity.

    John Arthur

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