For the Life of the World
Theology That Makes a Difference
The question of what makes life worth living is more vital now than ever. In today's pluralistic, postsecular world, universal values are dismissed as mere matters of private opinion, and the question of what constitutes flourishing life--for ourselves, our neighbors, and the planet as a whole--is neglected in our universities, our churches, and our culture at large. Although we increasingly have technology to do almost anything, we have little sense of what is truly worth accomplishing.
In this provocative new contribution to public theology, world-renowned theologian Miroslav Volf (named "America's New Public Intellectual" by Scot McKnight on his Jesus Creed blog) and Matthew Croasmun explain that the intellectual tools needed to rescue us from our present malaise and meet our new cultural challenge are the tools of theology. A renewal of theology is crucial to help us articulate compelling visions of the good life, find our way through the maze of contested questions of value, and answer the fundamental question of what makes life worth living.
Introduction: Why Theology Matters--To Us
1. The Human Quest
2. The Crisis of Theology
3. The Renewal of Theology
4. The Challenge of Universality
5. Lives of Theologians
with Justin Crisp
6. A Vision of Flourishing Life
"For the Life of the World is the perfect riposte both to critics like Richard Dawkins who say that Christian theology is good for nothing and to theologians who are so focused on God that they overlook the world. Volf and Croasmun argue that theology makes a difference precisely because it is about human flourishing. This is a brave and bracing proposal to rethink theology's role and relevance by recovering its original concern with the fundamental question of human existence: How do we live a flourishing life with others in this world, the home of God?"
Kevin J. Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"Miroslav Volf and Matthew Croasmun articulate with breathtaking clarity the urgency and weight of genuine theology. Our world's skepticism about the reality of transcendence makes theological work more important even as it becomes less prestigious. This is can't-miss reading."
John Ortberg, senior pastor, Menlo Church; author of I'd Like You More If You Were More Like Me
"This fascinating 'manifesto' reminds us all that theology can only matter if it engages what matters. While it is directed to theologians, it asks questions so fundamental to human life, and in language so ordinary and pellucid, that many people who are not at all theologians may find themselves caught up in this text. Which is, of course, their point. Highly recommended."
Charles Mathewes, Carolyn M. Barbour Professor of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
"In this timely and compelling book, Volf and Croasmun issue a clarion call for theologians, broadly understood, to articulate and live into a theology focused on how as humans we might cultivate forms of flourishing life as revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The book recovers an ancient vision of theology as a way of life while being attentive to the internal and external challenges theology must address if it is to declare good news to the contemporary context."
Luke Bretherton, professor of theological ethics and senior fellow, Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke Divinity School
"My most anticipated book of the spring is For the Life of the World."
C. Christopher Smith,
Englewood Review of Books