Exploring Faith in Action Theology
Some theologians to discover...
Bonhöffer was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian, who was a member of the Confessing Church from the 1930s onwards. The Confessing Church was a Christian community which arose in opposition to growing attempts by the State to Nazify the German Protestant Church. His ideas about costly discipleship were outspoken in Protestant evangelical circles in his time and his influence is still felt today. For more about his life and theology, see the Dietrich Bonhoeffer page.
Sölle was a German liberation theologian who coined the term ‘Christofascism’ to describe the tendency towards authoritarianism in the Church. She wrote extensively from 1967 until her death in 2003 on political theology, mysticism, and radical activism. She was outspoken and sometimes provocative: she called Vietnam ‘Golgotha’ and her book ‘Suffering’ was a critique of what she calls the Christian ‘masochistic’ tendency to glorify suffering. She was influenced by Bonhöffer and the Radical Reformers, especially in her 1974 book ‘Political Theology’.
Wink was an American theologian, biblical scholar, activist and advocate for nonviolence. His trilogy on the Powers- ‘Naming the Powers’, ‘Unmasking the Powers’ and ‘Engaging the Powers’- written in the 1980s and 90s, was seminal. In it, he coined the phrase ‘the myth of redemptive violence’, often used by other theologians since. He was passionate about what he called ‘Jesus’ Third Way’, which goes beyond pacifism and just war into creative nonviolent resistance. His short book ‘The Powers That Be’ summarises many of the ideas from his trilogy.
Radcliffe is a Roman Catholic priest and Dominican friar. He is outspoken about peace and justice issues. He is currently Director of the Las Casas Institute of Blackfriars in Oxford and an honorary Doctor of Divinity in the University of Oxford. He was recently appointed by Pope Francis as a consultor to the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace. He has written many books, including ‘What is the Point of Being a Christian?’ and ‘Why Go to Church? The Drama of the Eucharist’.
Gutiérrez is a Roman Catholic priest and liberation theologian from Peru. His theology is born out of his experience of the oppression and injustice against the poor in South America. He is one of the key figures in the South American Liberation Theology movement which has had an enormous influence on 20th and 21st century theology. Two of his most famous books are ‘A Theology of Liberation’ and ‘On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent’.
Gebára is another important South American liberation theologian. She is a Catholic nun who has written important work on feminism and eco-feminism, and also on evil. She is sometimes outspoken and has criticised come of the moral teaching of the Church, to the point that she was ordered to two years of ‘forced silence’ in the 1990s. Two of her important books are ‘Longing for Running Water: Ecofeminism and Liberation’ and ‘Out of the Depths: Women’s Experience of Evil and Salvation’.
John Hull was, until his recent death in July 2015, a tutor at Queen’s Theological College in Birmingham, and before that at Birmingham University. He emigrated to the UK from Australia in the 1960s to study and never left. He wrote on practical theology, religious education, social justice and latterly disability theology (John went completely blind in 1980). His book ‘On Sight and Insight: A Journey into the World of Blindness’ was a theological and moving account of his experience of losing his sight.