The Secular Meaning of The Gospel by Paul Van Buren

In the 1960s within academic theology a movement emerged called ‘The Death of God’ theology ( Acknowledging the increasingly secular temper of the age, attempts were made to re-cast religious beliefs and theological notions in terms that could be accepted by secular minded people.

The conviction was that religious belief and practice were not worthless but had to be ‘redacted’ into acceptably modern terminology in order to remain vibrant and fresh. In other words, how not to throw the baby out with the bathwater! More nuanced understandings of the status of religious language had been entertained for a long time within Christian thought, so this was by no means entirely a child of the 1960s.

Nevertheless, most humanists and secularists thought that it was a futile rear-guard action, and would fizzle out as yet another passing intellectual fashion. One of the proponents of the movement was Paul Van Buren (, an Episcopalian Priest and Professor of Religion. See what you make of his celebrated attempt here to offer up what to many sounds a contradiction in terms – ‘secular Christianity’.

Enquire at your local library or see here for further bibliographic detail The Secular Meaning of the Gospel: VAN BUREN, Paul: Books

First published 1963.

205 pages in SCM Press


Paul Van Buren

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