Brad Littlejohn on Richard Hooker

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of interviewing my good friend Brad Littlejohn about his new book about the sixteenth century English theologian, Richard Hooker. You can read the entire interview over on Mere Orthodoxy. Within it, Brad demonstrates the profound relevance of Hooker’s thought to the Church today.

Luther’s call to Protestants to live by grace alone through faith alone is a scary one. We would much rather retreat sometimes into the comfort of a rule-bound religion, one in which we could consult an exhaustive checklist to see when we were doing God’s will, building the walls of the kingdom straight and sturdy, calling down blessings on our churches rather than curses. Protestantism is supposed to be riskier and more improvisatory than that. Of course, it’s a risk grounded on a firm assurance: God’s promise that he is well-pleased with us before any of that, which frees us to respond creatively in the ever-changing social and political circumstances that are simply what it means to be called to live in history. This historical contingency stands as a warning against the attempt to absolutize the perfect liturgy or the perfect polity or the perfect form of church discipline, none of which Scripture promises to give us. Hooker’s thought is above all concerned to simultaneously deconstruct such false attempts at certainty in the domain of practical reason, and to guard against the idea that lack of certainty means total uncertainty or relativism. His ecclesiology is profoundly grounded in Scripture, in history, in reason and law, all of which work together to guide us in framing our lives together toward flourishing and the glory of God, but none of which direct us in such a way as to dispense with the need for prudence, disagreement, and creative reformulation in the face of change.

Read the whole thing here. I highly recommend Brad’s book, which can be purchased here.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Church History, Culture, Ethics, Guest Post, Politics, Society, The Church, Theological. Bookmark the permalink.

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