Individualism   /   Spring 2002   /    Articles

Authority and Grace

Heather A. Warren

PROFESSOR BELLAH LAYS A CHALLENGE AT THE FEET of religious intellectuals: “to uncover [the connections constituting our deep cultural code] and then to suggest a possible transformation....” I agree with Professor Bellah that individualism is increasing in America, but its sources are not limited to Protestantism. That said, Protestantism and the churches are accountable because they have been major players in this development. Consequently, I will focus on Protestantism and cluster my remarks around two subjects that I believe have a bearing on what Professor Bellah has called the “Protestant structure of American culture”: authority and grace. Speaking from historical and theological viewpoints, I will suggest steps we can take towards reformation, even transformation.

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