Your reflections on 1976 were fascinating in the latest issue of Mandate.
Thank you! I humbly submit one more from "Against the World for the World, the Hartford Appeal and the Future of American Religion", by Peter Berger and Richard John Neuhaus, editors, Seabury Press 1976, ISBN: 0-8164-2121-8:
In 1975, eighteen prominent Christian thinkers issued "The Hartford Appeal for Theological Affirmation", a document which identified 13 "pervasive, false, and debilitating" themes in contemporary Christian thought...and called for a religious renewal in America.
The 8 writers are: Peter Berger, George Lindbeck, Avery Dulles, George Forell, Carl Peter, Richard Mouw, Alexander Schmemann, and Richard John Neuhaus.
Their 13 themes representing the final capitulation by the Church to modern thought are:
1. Modern thought is superior to all past forms of understanding reality, and is therefore normative for Christian faith and life
2. Religious statements are totally independent of reasonable discourse
3. Religious language refers to human experience and nothing else, God being humanity's noblest creation.
4. Jesus can only be understood in terms of contemporary models of humanity.
5. All religions are equally valid; the choice among them is not a matter of conviction about truth but only of personal preference or life style.
6. To realize one's potential and to be true to oneself is the whole meaning of life.
7. Since what is human is good, evil can adequately be understood as failure to realize potential.
8. The sole purpose of worship is to promote individual self-realization and human community.
9. Institutions and historical traditions are oppressive and inimical to our being truly human; liberation from them is required for authentic existence and authentic religion.
10. The world must set the agenda for the Church. Social, political, and economic programs to improve the quality of life are ultimately normative for the Church's mission in the world.
11. An emphasis on God's transcendence is at least a hindrance to, and perhaps incompatible with, Christian social concern and action.
12. The struggle for a better humanity will bring about the Kingdom of God.
13. The question of hope beyond death is irrelevant or at best marginal to the Christian understanding of human fulfillment.
The 18 signers of that Appeal were: Peter L. Berger, Elizabeth Ann Bettenhausen, William Sloan Coffin, Avery Dulles, Neal Fisher, George Forell, James N. Gettemy, Stanley Hauerwas, Thomas Hopko, George Lindbeck, Illeana Marculescu, Ralph McInerny, E. Kilmer Myers, Richard J. Mouw, Richard John Neuhaus, Randolph W. Nugent, Carl J. Peter, Alexander Schmemann, Gerard Sloyan, Lewis B. Smedes, George H. Tavard, Bruce Vawter, John D. Weaver, and Robert Wilken.
The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.)