Liberal types

The Making of American Liberal Theology: Idealism, Realism, and Modernity 1900-1950. By Gary Dorrien. Westminster John Knox, 666 pp., $39.95.

Theological liberalism stands between American secularism and various forms of Christian orthodoxy. Regarding scripture and church tradition as sources for theology rather than as representations of external authority, it uses reason and experience to reformulate Christian theology. Gary Dorrien, professor of religion at Kalamazoo College, has produced a history of liberal American theology that is a necessary addition to every theological library. Doctoral students in theology and ethics need to read this masterful survey. Dorrien combines his great skills in historical narrative with excellent analytic work to produce this book aimed at the advanced theologian. His judgments, from a Niebuhrian-Tillichian perspective, are accurate and fair.

 

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