Re: history please

James Peterson (
Fri, 28 Feb 1997 17:28:16 -0500

George Marsden's Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of
Twentieth Century Evangelicalism 1870-1925 (Oxford University Press, 1980)
is a well documented start on your question. For a more focused example you
could read the Wilhelm Pauck biography of his mentor Paul Tillich (Harper &
Row, 1989). Pauck traces Tillich's rejection of God's existence when faced
with the suffering in the trenches during WWI. Yet as a chaplain he was
still expected to preach, so he did, using "God language" to express ideas
that were important to him, but that had nothing to do with God actually
existing. After the war he left the ministry and became a full time academic
philosopher until he fled to New York City as a refugee from the Nazi
regime. The only job he could find was teaching systematic theology at
Union Seminary. There he trained a whole generation of pastors to carry on
what he considered to be the good moral influence of the church and its
teaching, while he actually redefined such language. For example, Tillich
was quite happy to admit that when he refered to "God," he meant
thoughtless, personless, "being itself," not the purposeful Creator of the
Biblical tradition.

At 10:56 AM 2/26/97 EST, you wrote:
>>Take a lesson from the liberal theologians of the early 20th century. How
>>did they capture the mainline denominations to their view? By capturing the
>> Bob [please add last names!]
>And we are still paying for that catastrophe. As the liberals took over the
>seminaries and theological education in the mainline denominations, they
>contributed significantly to the decline of those denominations. That is
>part of the reason we have a number of interdenominational or
>non-denominational seminaries as well as several conservative alternatives
>which seem to be doing quite well
>Donald F. Calbreath, Ph.D
>Chemistry Department
>Whitworth College
>Spokane, WA 99251
>All my Christian life I've heard about this 'takeover' of the seminaries.
>At this point I would like some historian to describe this process
>without using any military metaphors. How did this happen? Was it
>like the Scopes trial, where the conservatives were found to be wanting
>in knowledge and scholarship, merely supported by popular opinion?
>Were there debates or discussions about the big issues? Were there
>committees making policy statements and votes? Was all this done
>behind peoples' backs, so to speak? Is there any documentation of
>the actual history and statistical trends in the denominations?
>All I've heard of an analysis is Schaeffer's famous comment that
>"presuppositional apologetics would have stopped the decay."
>Is there a book in print about all this?
> Paul Arveson, Research Physicist
> Code 724, Signatures Directorate, NSWC
> 9500 MacArthur Blvd., Bethesda, MD 20817-5700
> (301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-4511 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)