After slogging through his history, I begin to agree with Cox

Since I couldn’t get to sleep, I read some more of Cox’s Future of Faith.  Since I have read through most of his take on the early church (which I found especially hard to swallow — because of where he chose to put his emphasis and the frame that he used to present the history), I found the reading much easier. Perhaps it was also because I decided to read it as a Cox’s spiritual autobiography rather than, as the title suggests, a grand vision for how people of faith should live. Since, in these later chapters, I don’t feel the need to argue with him, I found myself agreeing with his assessment of where Christians are, for the most part, and where they need to go.  As I read about his encounter with Ratzinger in “No Lunch with the Prefect”, I found myself agreeing with his vision for the role the papacy could play in Christianity. He clearly doesn’t understand the inertia of social systems — at one point he seems to expect the Catholic church to make a dramatic course change because we now “know” that Peter himself didn’t teach Apostolic succession, though almost all of his successors did.  And his claim to “understand” fundamentalism because he spent a couple of semesters in college in <a href=”http://www.intervarsity.org/”>IVCF</a> is pretty shaky (though, he is right that he probably understands it better than those who lack even that exposure). But in these later chapters I find that I’m agreeing with him a lot more than in the earlier chapters.  I don’t like his view of history and I think he could benefit from some more exposure to Eastern Christianity, but when it comes to where Christianity is at present, I don’t think he is far off.    

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