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 H. Richard Niebuhr Quotes
5 Famous Quotes by H. Richard Niebuhr
9/3/1894 - 7/5/1962
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About H. Richard Niebuhr

Institutions can never conserve without betraying the movements from which they proceed. The institution is static, whereas its parent movement has been dynamic; it confines men within its limits, while the movement had liberated them from the bondage of institutions; it looks to the past, [although] the movement had pointed forward. Though in content the institution resembles the dynamic epoch whence it proceeded, in spirit it is like the [state] before the revolution. So the Christian church, after the early period, often seemed more closely related in attitude to the Jewish synagogue and the Roman state than to the age of Christ and his apostles; its creed was often more like a system of philosophy than like the living gospel.

Christianity Quotes, by H. Richard Niebuhr

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The power and attraction Jesus Christ exercises over men never comes from him alone, but from him as Son of the Father. It comes from him in his Sonship in a double way, as man living to God and as God living with men. Belief in him and loyalty to his cause involve men in the double movement, from world to God and from God to world. Even when theologies fail to do justice to this fact, Christians living with Christ in their cultures are aware of it. For they are forever being challenged to abandon all things for the sake of God; and forever being sent back into the world to teach and practice all the things that have been commanded them.

Christianity Quotes, by H. Richard Niebuhr

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Commemoration of Lanfranc, Prior of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1089 The denominations, churches, sects, are sociological groups whose principle of differentiation is to be sought in their conformity to the order of social classes and castes. It would not be true to affirm that the denominations are not religious groups with religious purposes; but it is true that they represent the accommodation of religion to the caste system. They are emblems, therefore, of the victory of the world over the church, of the secularization of Christianity, of the church's sanction of that divisiveness which the church's gospel condemns.

Christianity Quotes, by H. Richard Niebuhr

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We must face the recognition that what the early Christians saw in Jesus Christ, and what we must accept if we look at him rather than at our imaginations about him, was not a person characterized by universal benignity, loving God and loving man. His love of God and his love of neighbor are two distinct virtues that have no common quality but only a common source. Love of God is adoration of the only true good; it is gratitude to the bestower of all gifts; it is joy in holiness; it is "consent to Being." But the love of man is pitiful rather than adoring; it is giving and forgiving rather than grateful. It suffers for them in their viciousness and profaneness; it does not consent to accept them as they are, but calls them to repentance. The love of God is nonpossessive Eros; the love of man pure Agape; the love of God is passion; the love of man, compassion. There is duality here, but not of like-minded interest in two great values, God and man. It is rather the duality of the Son of Man and Son of God, who loves God as man should love Him, and loves man as only God can love, with powerful pity for those who are foundering.

Christianity Quotes, by H. Richard Niebuhr

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Feast of Barnabas the Apostle The disorder of secularism is perhaps nowhere more apparent in our contemporary Church than in the extent to which we have permitted the order of the world to creep into the order of the Church... That it should carry out its mission to the men in the middle classes of capitalist society is doubtless a part of the Church's order; but that the mission should result in the formation of a middle-class church which defends the secular outlook and interests of that class is an evident corruption.

Christianity Quotes, by H. Richard Niebuhr

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