Niebuhr, Reinhold 
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Time Period
6/21/1892  - 6/1/1971
Despite ideological shifts over his lifetime, Reinhold Niebuhr consistently desired to connect Christianity with the social and political realities of his day. During his pastorate in Detroit from 1915 to 1928, Niebuhr saw the exploitation of the working class and the oppression associated with capitalism, leading him to adopt socialism for a time. Although he came from a theologically liberal background, he denied liberalism’s belief in the innate goodness of humans and utopianism as a result of the corruption he observed. For this reason, Niebuhr is associated with Christian realism and neo-orthodoxy (he disliked the latter term). His critique of theological liberalism influenced the intellectual spheres of American Protestantism.

Niebuhr also is cited as the author of the popular Serenity Prayer:

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference..."
Interactive Timeline(s)
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Religious Groups
Timeline Entries for the same religious group Lutheran Family
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Billy Graham's New York Crusade

Reinhold Niebuhr portrait- by Ernest Hamlin Baker- National Portrait Gallery Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time Magazine

Reinhold Niebuhr bust- Missouri House of Representatives Hall of Famous Missourians

Reinhold Niebuhr statue 2- Flickr- photo by Clarkmaxwell (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Reinhold Niebuhr statue- Flickr- photo by Clarkmaxwell (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Queen, Edward, Stephen Prothero and Gardiner Shattuck, 1996. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History. New York: Facts on File.
Enns, Paul, 2008. The Moody Handbook of Theology . Chicago: Moody Publishers.
Web Source(s)
Reinhold Niebuhr's Encyclopedia Britannica Entry
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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