Kierkegaard's Attack upon "Christendom" and the Episcopal Church
Owen C. Thomas
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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.