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Kierkegaard's Attack upon "Christendom" and the Episcopal Church

Owen C. Thomas


Kierkegaard’s Attack upon “Christendom” was aimed at the established church in Denmark. Since the Episcopal Church often has a fantasy of establishment, this essay explores the implications of Kierkegaard’s book for the American church. Kierkegaard first criticizes the preaching and the public worship of the Danish Church. In response to this situation Kierkegaard emphasizes the difficulty of becoming a Christian and living the Christian life. He argues that leniency has led to the abolition of Christianity in Denmark and calls for rigor in these matters. The author describes his own experience of leniency in several dioceses of the Episcopal Church. Then the works of Ruth A. Meyers and the Standing Liturgical Commission on Christian initiation which treat these issues are examined. Finally, Kierkegaard’s later works are seen as predicting the horrors of the twentieth century and Kierkegaard scholar Howard A. Johnson’s interpretation of this for President Roosevelt are recounted.

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