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The Future of Faith Hardcover – September 8, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1St Edition edition (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061755524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061755521
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #826,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. What shape will the Christian faith take in the 21st century? In the midst of fast-paced global changes and in the face of an apparent resurgence of fundamentalism, can Christianity survive as a living and vital faith? With his typical brilliance and lively insight, Cox explores these and other questions in a dazzling blend of memoir, church history and theological commentary. He divides Christian history into three periods: the Age of Faith, during the first Christian centuries, when the earliest followers of Jesus lived in his Spirit, embraced his hope and followed him in the work he had begun; the Age of Belief, from the Council of Nicaea to the late 20th century, during which the church replaced faith in Jesus with dogma about him; and the Age of the Spirit, in which we're now living, in which Christians are rediscovering the awe and wonder of faith in the tremendous mystery of God. According to Cox, the return to the Spirit that so enlivened the Age of Faith is now enlivening a global Christianity, through movements like Pentecostalism and liberation theology, yearning for the dawning of God's reign of shalom. Cox remains our most thoughtful commentator on the religious scene, and his spirited portrait of our religious landscape challenges us to think in new ways about faith. (Oct.)
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Review

“At this crucial turning point in history, Harvey Cox reminds us of essential religious values and imperatives . . . A timely and prophetic book” (Karen Armstrong, author of A History of God)

“For the last four decades, Harvey Cox has been the leading trend spotter in American religion.” (Stephen Prothero, author of Religious Literacy)

“The Future of Faith is insightful, provocative, and inspiring—I even found myself uttering a hearty evangelical “Amen” at many points!” (Richard Mouw, President of Fuller Theological Seminary and author of Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport)

“This important book has not only helped me understand the past, present, and future of this amazing phenomenon called Christianity ... it has also motivated me to keep working to help make actual the possible future Cox envisions.”  (Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian)

“Harvey Cox has been a voice of both reason and faith in our cynical times. Now, he offers  a fresh vision for the resurrection of a new global Christianity that will restore our faith both in ourselves and the divine.” (Deepak Chopra, author of Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment)

“The Future of Faith is a tour de force. As passionate and challenging as his classic, The Secular City, Cox’s new book invites the faithful, the skeptical, and the fearful into a spirit-filled vision of Christianity that can renew a hurting world.” (Diana Butler Bass, author of A People's History of Christianity)

“With typical brilliance and lively insight, Cox explores questions in a dazzling blend of memoir, church history and theological commentary . . . Cox remains our most thoughtful commentator on the religious scene, and his spirited portrait of our religious landscape challenges us to think in new ways about faith.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Celebrated religious scholar Cox argues that we are witnessing the dawn of a third epoch in Christian history . . . Cox’s work is intriguing, and there is certainly truth in his observations about global Christianity and the rise of Pentecostalism and liberation theology.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A lucid and congenial book . . . [Cox] is not alone, but he is most cogent, in thinking that the content of Christian faith is becoming more like that of the early church . . . A book full of good news.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“With its overarching themes, Cox’s new book can be viewed as the culmination of his life’s scholarship.” (Boston Globe)

More About the Author

Harvey G Cox, Jr is Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard University. His many influential books include The Secular City (1965), which became an international bestseller, and When Jesus Came to Harvard: Making Moral Decisions Today (2004). Daisaku Ikeda is President of Soka Gakkai International and the author of over 80 books on Buddhist themes.

Customer Reviews

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This author is so clear, fairly easy to read, yet so brilliant.
Paul R. Snell
If you are discouraged at where we human beings seem to be right now, this book is, like a good sermon, something that will lift you up.
Marguerite M. Blythe
The historical perspective Cox uses to start the book provides a rich history of the early Christian Church.
Buckley Brinkman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Marguerite M. Blythe on September 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Harvey Cox recently retired from Harvard in September 2009 as the ninth person to hold the Hollis Chair of Divinity which, established in 1727, is the oldest endowed professorship in American higher education.

Dr Cox has been interested in religion, culture and politics throughout his career. His 1965 book, The Secular City sold a million copies. That book painted the church as a people of faith and action, not an institution. The Future of Faith, a 256 page essay, builds on the concept of church as a people. The church as entering a totally new era now, Dr Cox proclaims, which is the Age of the Spirit. In this exciting new time, different cultural backgrounds will add new life to the church; a prophetic vision of social justice will challenge structures of power and oppression.

Christian people of faith and action are once again on the verge of something new. Like the early church, where different languages, cultures and backgrounds co-existed in radical groups that lived Jesus' good news in different ways and under different kinds of structure, this new era will encompass many different Christian paths: liberation theology, Pentecostal and charismatic beliefs, and the cultures of the East and the sub-European South. Dr Cox reminds us that in 1900 90% of Christians lived either in Europe of in The USA but today 60 percent live in Asia, Africa, or Latin America.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Robert Koller on February 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Harvey Cox [...] is the recently retired Professor of Divinity emeritus at Harvard whose last book is entitled, "The Future of Faith." My good friend, Jack LaMar, who still labors in God's pastoral vineyards in Elcho, Wisconsin, was kind enough to send me Cox's latest work as a birthday present. Since you ask-you did, didn't you?-what I thought of the book, here are my thoughts.

It's a moderate investment of one's time, covering 224 pages and written in quite understandable layman's language. It would be helpful if the reader has a little background in Christian theology and the history of the church, but even without that background it does not appreciably limit Cox's ability to communicate his message.

That core message, as I understand it, is that Christianity began in a "faith" mode, but, then, beginning most notably in the 4th century, deteriorated into a "belief" mode and its future lies with trying to get into a "spirit" mode.

Perhaps a subtitle to the book, obviously greatly overdrawn, would be the thesis, "deeds, not creeds." That's what Christianity should be about, says Cox.

When the Church began it overcame and burst out of the Jewish trappings in which it originated. Through the Apostle Paul, the good news of Jesus went out into the gentile world, the Greek speaking world. Cox sees the early church as a vibrant, enthusiastic group of communities dedicated to "following" Jesus. Not following "about" Jesus, but trying to devote themselves to what Jesus meant to his own community and "doing" that in the context of others. So, he talks about the early church's mission to help others, serve the poor, etc., although I think that kind of mission was mostly intended for members of the fellowship, instead of some wider community enterprise.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Psymansez on April 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Harvey Cox, Religion Prof Emeritus at Harvard, writes a superb little book for those of us who still have doubts despite many years of search, study, prayer, etc. In clear language, he reviews faith barriers for many , especially the "miracles", and shows how they do not need to clobber one's faith. A nice addition to my ability to integrate my faith behavior with my theological understanding!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Paul R. Snell on July 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So far in my 66 years of life I have avoided reading any books by Harvey Cox, such as the Secular City. I did hear him lecture once in 1965, but I wasn't listening then. For different reasons - such as my interest in the Progressive Church movement - I decided to pick up this book. This author is so clear, fairly easy to read, yet so brilliant. I am so amazed and so grateful. Harvey would probably not list himself as a progressive, but would critique that movement as he does all others. He stands alone by the sheer stature of his breth and depth of years of study and teaching. Yet he stands among us all as a friend of faith - not of "the faith", but of faith itself. Whatever that is, he will help you decide. Yes, do read this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Pflum Gobrail on December 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read the book on my Kindle in late July. I found it so interesting and helpful that I purchased a hard copy so I could make notes in the margins. Since then, I have decided the Kindle is great only for my novels (since I am not likely to make notes in the margins!) Harvey Cox again clears away the fog and puts into words the thoughts of my heart!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ted C. on February 8, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have always wondered what the dialogue would sound like if the religious right (fundamentalists) took the time to study the history and origin of their beliefs. This is a great book and offers sanity and REALITY to the Christian faith. (Quite a refreshing change from the tired, mythological beliefs that define the fundamental Christian religion.) The Future of Faith is an excellent read on many levels. It is well written, interesting and not a boring theological thesis.
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