Stanley Hauerwas, who recently retired from Duke Divinity School, identifies himself as first and foremost a teacher. After 45 years of teaching ethics and theology, he considers his major contribution to be helping the church think through the loss of Christendom. I would add that in the process, Hauerwas has made it clear that the church’s loss of power in this new age is a good thing.
Because Hauerwas spends little time bemoaning the church’s decline in membership and loss of legitimacy in the eyes of culture, his writing is refreshing. In an age in which ecclesial leaders are inundated with suggestions on how to repair or reform the church for the 21st century, he seems a little less anxious about the times than most of us. His arguments are not weakened by the “epistemological crisis” the church is going through as it is trapped between irreconcilable means and ends.