Fortress Press

The Reality of the Gospel and the Unreality of the Churches

The Reality of the Gospel and the Unreality of the Churches

Douglas John Hall (Author)


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Writing simply for ordinary Christians "who must decide, in the long run, what will become of the churches," Douglas John Hall offers a prescription for their survival.

His belief is that the gospel is entirely pertinent to the problematic of our times, but an atmosphere of frustration prevails in places where Christian faith is taken seriously. Sensitive Christians experience a new openness to the basic elements of faith on the part of many "secular" persons. At the same time, there is the conflicting experience of an emptiness, an absence of reality in the churches.

Reflecting on these two conflicting experiences, he asks: What lies behind the new appreciation for the worldly realism of the gospel? Why, at the very moment when the gospel begins to seem almost real again, does so much about the churches seem unreal? Can the churches be swept up into the reality of the gospel? What would it mean for the churches to be subjected to the scrutiny of a gospel which is ready for new dialogue with the contemporary world?

His solution is that the churches can participate in the reality of the gospel only if they "disestablish" themselves. He indicates how they can do this by deliberately dissociating their witnesses and practices from the official optimism of our society.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800662691
  • Pages 190
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Publication Date January 1, 1975


"Dr. Hall writes as a loyal churchman ... but he addresses questions ... that are seldom asked in such a searching way and on as deep a level."
— John C. Bennett

"Dr. Hall has written an exciting book about the church in such a way that it is also a book about the world. ... His plea for the disestablishment of the church is powerful and persuasive."
— Robert McAfee Brown