Dr John Webster reviews Dr Nicholas Healy’s Hauerwas: A (Very) Critical Introduction here, and finds that church-centered postliberalism might just be the same old man-centered liberalism after all:
A final note: Is it really Schleiermacher who is Hauerwas’s progenitor? Might not a better candidate be the great, and neglected, Albrecht Ritschl, surely the theologian of liberal Protestant Christian moral culture? Ritschl was, to be sure, no sectarian. But his repudiation of metaphysics, his fear that preoccupation with fides quae is a speculative distraction from viewing the world in terms of moral value, and his conviction that Christian faith is principally a mode of active moral community are not far from much that may be found in Hauerwas’s corpus. Perhaps one of the services of this fine book may be to cause its readers to ponder the irony that a body of writing that sets its face resolutely against the liberal tradition of modern moral theology may in important respects be that tradition’s heir.
It’s worth noting that Pastor Wedgeworth has already drawn attention to the similarities between Ritschl and postmodernist ecclesiocentrism here.