Paul Tillich and Religious Socialism: Towards a Kingdom of Peace and Justice argues that the Kingdom of God—the reign of God over all human affairs via God’s manifestations in love, power, and justice—can be fragmentarily achieved through a religious socialism that creatively integrates the early Tillich’s socialist thinking with later insights throughout Tillich’s theological career and with contemporary developments in just peacemaking. The resulting religious socialism is defined by economic justice and a recognition of the sacred reality in all human endeavors. It employs Christianity to furnish the necessary depth for warding off materialism and affirming the spiritual dimension of both labor and acquiring material goods. The unbridgeable Marxist chasm between expectation and reality is bridged through new being, already historically inaugurated in the Christhood of Jesus. New being is fundamentally oriented toward bringing justice to the poor, the disenfranchised, and the marginalized. It affirms the individual and equal value of all persons and thus, in Kantian terms, promotes a kingdom of intrinsically worthwhile ends rather than a kingdom of instrumentally worthwhile means of things.
Kirk R. MacGregor is associate professor of philosophy and religion and department chair at McPherson College.
During a time in American politics when “socialism” has become a new point of contention, MacGregor’s refurbishment of Tillich’s work reminds readers of the viability of religious socialism for our shared communal life. Not only does MacGregor thoughtfully articulate Tillich’s own relationship to religious socialism in both the German and American context, he updates Tillich’s work to make it applicable to our current context in ways that are faithful to Tillich’s original work. Rather than distance theology from the realm of politics, MacGregor furthers a theo-politics that condemns the idolatries and demonic aspects of our current political landscape while promoting a vision for peacemaking and social justice that are eschatologically oriented. Ultimately, the book asks people of faith to consider alternative forms of political life that foster genuine democracy.
Kirk MacGregor has broken new ground! Putting to rest arguments that there are distinct American and German periods in Tillich's writings, MacGregor convincingly argues that Tillich's early writings on religious socialism permeate his subsequent theological writings. More than an analytical work, though, Paul Tillich and Religious Socialism makes a stirring argument for the importance of religious socialism to ongoing efforts in just peacemaking. MacGregor invites us to envision an economics suffused by a pluralist Christology and compellingly articulates the continued importance of public theology. Anyone interested in public theology or religious socialism should take heed of MacGregor's work.
Kirk R. MacGregor furnishes an integrative, constructive and creative rereading of almost the entire corpus of Paul Tillich’s works from an unusual, yet compelling perspective: religious socialism, which critiques both capitalism and Marxist socialism, and urges to manifest ceaselessly transcendent Christian ideals in the all too real social realities. There have been rare, if not none, theologians since Tillich who can write prophetically in such comprehensive areas as ontology, ethics, psychology, science, economics, law, sociology, culture, international relationship, education, etc. This exquisite monograph revives what genuine theology was half a century ago and demonstrates what it can be today.