Stanley Hauerwas

American theologian

Stanley Hauerwas (born July 24, 1940) is a Christian theologian and ethicist. He has taught at the University of Notre Dame and is currently the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School with a joint appointment at the Duke University School of Law.

Stanley Hauerwas


  • We are willing to worship a God only if God makes us safe. Thus you get the silly question, How does a good God let bad things happen to good people? Of course, it was a rabbi who raised that question, but Christians took it up as their own. Have you read the Psalms lately? We're seeing a much more complex God than that question gives credit for.
    • From the Chronicle for Higher Education, The Chronicle Review, "A Complex God" September 28, 2001 The Chronicle Review Page: B6
  • Consider the problem of taking showers with Christians. They are, after all, constantly going on about the business of witnessing in the hopes of making converts to their God and church. Would you want to shower with such people? You never know when they might try to baptize you.
    • From "Why Gays (as a Group) are Morally Superior to Christians (as a Group)" in The Hauerwas Reader (2001) eds. John Berkman and Michael Cartwright
  • We must first experience the kingdom if we are even to know what kind of freedom and what kind of equality we should desire. Christian freedom lies in service, Christian equality is equality before God, and neither can be achieved through the coercive efforts of liberal idealists who would transform the world into their image.
    • From "The Servant Community: Christian Social Ethics" (1983) in The Hauerwas Reader (2001) eds. John Berkman and Michael Cartwright
  • Christians know that Christianity is simply extended training in dying early. That is what we have always been about.
    • From "Abortion, Critically Understood" (1990) at [1]
  • One reason why we Christians argue so much about which hymn to sing, which liturgy to follow, which way to worship is that the commandments teach us to believe that bad liturgy eventually leads to bad ethics. You begin by singing some sappy, sentimental hymn, then you pray some pointless prayer, and the next thing you know you have murdered your best friend.
    • From The Truth About God: The Ten Commandments in Christian Life (1999, with William H. Willimon). Page: 89

Matthew (2006)

  • John Howard Yoder makes the striking observation that after the Constantinian shift the meaning of the word "Christian" changes. Prior to Constantine it took exceptional courage to be a Christian. After Constantine it takes exceptional courage not to be counted as a Christian. ... After the Constantinian establishment, Christians knew that God was governing the world in Constantine, but they had to take it on faith that within the nominally Christian mass there was a community of true believers. No longer could being a Christian be identified with church membership, since many "Christians" in the church had not chosen to follow Christ. Now to be a Christian is transmuted to "inwardness."
  • Jesus's poverty has made it possible for a people to exist who can live dispossessed of possessions. To be poor does not in itself make one a follower of Jesus, but it can put you in the vicinity of what it might mean to discover the kind of poverty that frees those who follow Jesus from enslavement to the world. Not to be missed, moreover, is the political significance of such poverty. Too often we fail to recognize our accommodation to worldly powers because we fear losing our wealth.
  • The disciples ... are capable of peacemaking because they are sustained by the purity derived from having no other telos but to enact the kingdom embodied in Jesus. Yet such a people may well be persecuted, as Jesus was persecuted, because they are an alternative to the violence of the world that is too often called "peace."
    • pp. 62-63

The Work of Theology (2015)

  • Ralph Wood argues quite persuasively that the Christian vision of the world is fundamentally comic. Drawing on the insights of Karl Löwith, Wood observes that because Christians do not, as the ancients did, regard the universe as eternal or divine but as created, comedy is made possible by the acknowledgment of the sheer contingency of all that is.
  • I do think, in spite of the considerable evidence to the contrary, that theology can and should be, in some of its modes, funny. Theology done right should make you laugh.
    • p. 217
  • Huebner observes that my use of laugher is my attempt to practice theology in a manner that refuses the attempt to manage the world. In short, my use of laughter is “an appropriate theological antidote to the Constantinian desire for control.”
    • p. 217
Wikipedia has an article about:
  • Hauerwas Reading Room Online Resources on and by Stanley Hauerwas. Maintained by Arnold Neufeldt-Fast, PhD, Tyndale Seminary