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A Better Hope: Resources for a Church Confronting Capitalism, Democracy, and Postmodernity
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A Better Hope: Resources for a Church Confronting Capitalism, Democracy, and Postmodernity


Brazos 2000

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


By his own admission, Stanley Hauerwas, never one to duck a good fight, has, in the past three decades, established himself as one of our most important and most disputatious theologians. With A Better Hope, he concentrates on the constructive case for the truth and power of the church and its faith, “since Christians cannot afford to let ourselves be defined by what we are against. Whatever or whomever we are against, we are so only because God has given us so much to be for.”

Hauerwas not only crystallizes and extends profound criticisms of America, liberalism, capitalism, and postmodernism, but also identifies unlikely allies (such as Chicago Archbishop Francis Cardinal George) and locates surprising resources for Christian survival (such as mystery novels). Interlocutors along the way include Reinhold Niebuhr, John Courtney Murray, and, in a significant and previously unpublished essay, social gospeller Walter Rauschenbusch.

Never boring and often telling, A Better Hope demonstrates how a thinker so often accused of being “tribal” and “sectarian” is, at the same time, one of few contemporary theologians read not just by other theologians, but by political scientists, philosophers, medical ethicists, law professors, and literary theorists.

With Logos Bible Software, Scripture passages appear on mouse-over, and all cross-references link to the other resources in your digital library, making this volume powerful and easy to access—a cornerstone reference for scholarly work or personal Bible study. Perform comprehensive searches by topic or Scripture reference—finding, for instance, every mention of “postmodernism” or “capitalism.”

Key Features

  • Shows how postmodernism is the overworking of the logic of capitalism
  • Gives an account of the life and work of Walter Rauschenbusch
  • Incorporates insights from Reinhold Niebuhr, John Courtney Murray, and Walter Rauschenbusch


  • Part 1. The Church in the Time Called America
    • On Being a Christian and an American
    • The Christian Difference: Or, Surviving Postmodernism
    • Resisting Capitalism: On Marriage and Homosexuality
  • Part 2. Christian Ethics in American Time
    • Christian Ethics in America (and the Journal of Religious Ethics): A Report on a Book I Will Not Write
    • Walter Rauschenbusch and the Saving of America
    • Not Late Enough: The Divided Mind of Dignitatis Humanae Personae
    • Only Theology Overcomes Ethics: Or, What “Ethicists” Must Learn from Jenson
    • Why The Politics of Jesus Is Not a Classic
  • Part 3. Church Time
    • Why Time Cannot and Should Not Heal the Wounds of History, But Time Has Been and Can Be Redeemed
    • Worship, Evangelism, Ethics: On Eliminating the “And”
    • Enduring: Or, How Rowan Greer Taught Me How to Read
    • Captured in Time: Friendship and Aging (with Laura Yordy)
    • Sinsick
    • McInerny Did It: Or, Should a Pacifist Read Murder Mysteries?

Praise for the Print Edition

Stanley Hauerwas is always provocative, regularly funny, and right more often than his critics will ever admit. His pacifism implies no objection to vigorous intellectual combat. As Shakespeare put it, ‘Once more into the breach, dear friends.’

William Placher (1948–2008), LaFollette Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, Wabash College

Engaging and provocative. . . . Those who know Hauerwas will enjoy this, and those who don’t may consider it a fine way to become acquainted with his thought.

Publishers Weekly

Both interesting and challenging—in style as well as content. It is thought-provoking, often contentious but far from conclusive.


Hauerwas offers believers much that is worth pondering. . . . Perhaps Hauerwas’ work, along with similar works, will encourage debate within the churches that will create opportunities for building a distinctly Christian subculture that can effectively challenge this world’s assumptions.

Philosophia Christi

Ranging over a wide variety of topics, Hauerwas demonstrates why he is one of the most provocative (in every sense of the word) theologians in America today. . . . That he goes against the cultural and theological steam is more than evident. That we have much to learn from him should be equally evident.

Trinity Seminary Review

Hauerwas, never shy with his critiques, offers up a sharply drawn account of the church’s abuse of secular idealism in shaping its own inner workings. Though critical in nature, A Better Hope offers valuable insights from a theologian who has led the ethical revolution on how the church may impact, while itself not be impacted by secular society. . . . For those who desire a refreshing new approach to the church’s interaction with society, Hauerwas will certainly not disappoint.

Ashland Theological Journal

Product Details

  • Title: A Better Hope: Resources for a Church Confronting Capitalism, Democracy, and Postmodernity
  • Author: Stanley Hauerwas
  • Publisher: Brazos Press
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Pages: 288

About Stanley Hauerwas

Stanley Hauerwas is the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke University. Prior to that, he was a professor at the University of Notre Dame. In 2001, he was named “America’s Best Theologian” by TIME Magazine. Hauerwas is the author of numerous books, including Unsettling Arguments, Hannah’s Child: A Theologian’s Memoir, Christian Existence Today, and Living Gently in a Violent World.