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Praise for Ecumenical Babel

“Jordan Ballor calls for leaders of the largest Christian ecumenical organizations to stop endorsing neo-Marxist hermeneutics as the presumed framework for Christian professions of social theory and practice worldwide. He appeals to Bonhoeffer and Paul Ramsey in making a case for welcoming diversity of theological and economic opinion on Christianity and the emerging modern global economic culture, and for encouraging debate as the best means for making confessions on Christian social policy. Ballor draws upon the recent works of Christian writers who resist neo-Marxist deconstructions of market capitalism as inherently de-humanizing and destructive to the natural world. On the contrary, they see immense potential in market capitalism for the pursuit of Christian good, not least for the sake of the poor. Ballor’s voice is one that very much needs to be heard and considered by all Christians who profess serious commitment to the liberation of the world’s poor from the terrible evils of poverty.”

John R. Schneider, Professor of Theology, Calvin College, and author, The Good of Affluence: Seeking God in a Culture of Wealth

“Drawing on a long running and coherent critique that begins with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and picked up later by Paul Ramsey, Ecumenical Babel explains why the activism of the social justice curia of churches and ecumenical bodies so often works at cross purposes to the great moral imperatives of the Judeo-Christian tradition. This is particularly so in the areas that are receiving so much attention now—social ethics and economic globalization. Author Jordan Ballor vividly illustrates how the ideologies of these church bureaucracies are grounded in faulty economic thinking, which leads to policy positions that seem to be impervious to the facts of the situation. Ecumenical Babel is an invaluable introduction to the world of contemporary ecumenical social thought and should be required reading for anyone interested in the future of Christian social witness.”

Michael Cromartie, Vice President, Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Vice Chair, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

“The modern ecumenical movement, which began a century ago with such promise for unity in the mission of Christ, took a tragic turn at mid-century. As a result of this turn various organizations representing the movement embraced an agenda that is less known for fidelity to the gospel of grace than it is for a sectarian form of culture-Christianity deeply rooted in economic and social theories that are highly questionable. Through a judicious use of source material, and the insights of three great mainstream Christian thinkers from the twentieth century, Jordan Ballor shows why we should end the tyranny of these ecumenical experts and again confess the gospel properly, which is nothing less than the original purpose of ecumenism.”

John H. Armstrong, President, ACT 3, and author, Your Church Is Too Small: Why Unity in Christ’s Mission Is Vital to the Future of the Church

Ecumenical Babel summarizes the emergence of today’s matrix of ecumenical relations, identifying pressing problems that confront the movement. First, there is lack of clarity in the movement about the role of ecumenical institutions. For whom do they speak? To whom are they speaking? By what authority do they speak at all? Then there is the ironic embrace of materialist neo-Marxist ideology in response to the materialism of neoliberal economics. Ecumenical Babel is an insightful primer on the challenges facing the ecumenical movement. It is a wonderful resource, inviting us to deeper reflection on ecclesiology, ethics, and economics as we consider the future of ecumenical roles and relationships.”

Michael Kruse, Chair of the General Assembly Mission Council of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and author, Kruse Kronicle Blog

“With Ecumenical Babel Jordan J. Ballor gives us a much needed consideration of modern ecumenism. In particular he grapples with this daunting question: whether ecumenical bodies indeed speak for the church in their pronouncements on the hot-button social issues of the day. Wedding compassion with clear-headed thinking, Ballor questions whether ecumenical bodies may rightfully make such assertions on behalf of God’s people, and – more to the point – whether ecumenism is getting its economics right.”

Victor V. Claar, Ph.D., associate professor of economics at Henderson State University, and coauthor of Economics in Christian Perspective: Theory, Policy and Life Choices