History 578 Lecture # 11

History 578 Lecture # 11 - History 578 Lecture # 11 I. The...

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History 578 Lecture # 11 I. The Decline of Liberalism A. In 1928, Episcopal Bishop Charles Fisk saw what he called the “evidence of a sad disintegration of American Protestantism.” B. Unitarian writer, William Sullivan, in an article “Our Spiritual Destitution” believed that religion had become “timorous, unimaginative, quick with comment upon the contemporaneous, but unable in the authentic manner of its great tradition to judge the contemporaneous by categories that are eternal.” C. The twenties demonstrated an American Christianity that was fractured, opulent, and in decline. D. Theologians began to realize that the Fundamentalist/Modernist debate had not only split Protestantism, it left it in a theological void, making its adherents choose one or the other. E. There were a number of liberals that had become disillusioned with the spiritual aridity of their faith. As they were certainly not interested in choosing Fundamentalism, they were attracted to a new theology that developed around 1930 called Neo-Orthodoxy. II. Neo Orthodoxy’s Issues Against Liberalism A. The neo-orthodox theologians varied in their understanding of Christianity, but there were two things they agreed upon. 1. Fundamentalism’s insistence on biblical inerrancy and literal interpretation was wrong. 2. Liberalism’s human centered idealism was wrong – One theologian said in 1932 that theology needed “to promote a theocentric religion as over against he prevalent anthropocentric one.” B. The foundational representative of neo-orthodoxy in America was Reinhold Niebuhr. 1. Niebuhr’s contention against American liberalism was not against the minister who comforts some of the afflicted, but against those who never afflict the comfortable. 2. Niebuhr rejected the upbeat liberal Christianity that was unable to address the spiritual needs nor material excesses of American society. He rejected a Christianity that simply perpetuated such a spiritual condition. 3.
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course HIST 578 taught by Professor Powell during the Spring '08 term at Ohio State.

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History 578 Lecture # 11 - History 578 Lecture # 11 I. The...

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