By David A. Hollinger
The function of liberalized, ecumenical Protestantism in American historical past has too frequently been obscured by way of the extra flamboyant and orthodox models of the religion that oppose evolution, include slim conceptions of kin values, and proceed to insist that the USA will be understood as a Christian kingdom. during this publication, considered one of our preeminent students of yank highbrow heritage examines how liberal Protestant thinkers struggled to embody modernity, even on the price of yielding a lot of the symbolic capital of Christianity to extra conservative, evangelical groups of faith.
If faith isn't easily a personal predicament, yet a possible foundation for public coverage and a countrywide tradition, does this suggest that spiritual principles could be topic to a similar form of powerful public debate usually given to principles approximately race, gender, and the economic climate? Or is there whatever specific approximately spiritual principles that invitations a suspension of severe dialogue? those essays, accumulated right here for the 1st time, exhibit that the serious dialogue of non secular rules has been primary to the method during which Protestantism has been liberalized through the heritage of the USA, and make clear the advanced courting among faith and politics in modern American life.
After Cloven Tongues of Fire brings jointly in a single quantity David Hollinger's such a lot influential writings on ecumenical Protestantism. The booklet positive aspects an informative basic advent in addition to concise introductions to every essay.
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It was dominated by Americans who then campaigned earnestly through publications, sermons, and study conferences to educate their own constituencies on the need to supplement a local perspective with a global one. In the meantime, American entry into World War II generated a new and concentrated effort to outline what church leaders described as a Christian basis for a just, equitable, and peaceful future for the United States and the entire world. Inspired by the magnitude of transforma- 30 • chapter 2 tions attendant upon World War II, including decolonization abroad and the domestic exposure of the contradiction between racial discrimination and war aims, the heirs of the Social Gospel agreed on a program of political action that focused on the United Nations and on the diminution of racial and economic inequalities within the United States.
History since World War II? I argue that it facilitated an engagement with many aspects of a diverse modernity that millions of Americans would not have achieved without the support and guidance of the ecumenical churches. Much of the influence of Protestant liberalism is now visible outside the churches, and for that reason has often been missed by scholars who focus on church membership. It is hyperbolic to claim that the ecumenists won the United States while yielding much of the symbolic capital of Christianity to the evangelicals, but there is something to it.
Other voices pushed that self-critique in directions that were more novel, that distinguished the ecumenical discourse yet more starkly from evangelical discourse, and that embraced even more omnivorously the diversity of the world beyond white Protestantism. Two additional books of the same historical moment can represent these more radical voices that questioned even the foundations that were left unchallenged by Stringfellow and Dodge. Honest to God was written in England by the Anglican bishop John A.