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An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story

“An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story” PBS (Aired April 2, 2017).

This documentary, produced for the Public Broadcasting System, is a very fine introduction to the life, writings and influence of Reinhold Niebuhr, perhaps the most prominent and influential American theologian of the 20th Century. His theology of social justice, peace and the sometimes tragic necessity for war, helped guide the leadership of World War II and the Cold War.

This documentary by Martin Doblmeier includes a wonderful series of photos of Niebuhr’s life and teaching career at Union Theological Seminary. It has multiple commentaries from a wide range of Niebuhr’s admirers such as David Brooks (conservative commentator for the New York Times) Andy Young (Civil Rights leader of the 1970s) various contemporary theologians and two presidents, Obama and Carter.

It is a balanced and fair presentation, and I heartily recommend it for both those who have never heard of Niebuhr and for those who already are familiar with some of his works. It is available as a free download for viewing at your leisure. It is also a great teaching tool for those doing, for instance, a survey class of modern theology, or an adult Sunday school class.

The link is:  http://www.pbs.org/video/2365984011/

Reviewed by William De Arteaga

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Category: Church History, Spring 2017

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include Quenching the Spirit: Discover the Real Spirit Behind the Charismatic Controversy (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015), and The Public Prayer Station: Taking Healing Prayer to the Streets and Evangelizing the Nones (Emeth Press, 2018). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He continues in his healing, teaching and writing ministry and is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook

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