After Cloven Tongues of Fire, by David A. Hollinger

June 4, 2013

After Cloven Tongues of Fire is a collection of historian David Hollinger’s writings on 20th-century Amer­ican Protes­tantism. Hollinger is interested both in pinpointing ecumenical Protestant influence on the United States and in tracking signs of its decline. He chronicles the tensions between de­nominational leadership and people in the pew, between expansive visions and everyday realities. In Hol­linger’s view, “liberalizing Protes­tants” were too successful in their pursuit of a more equitable and unified American society: they re­formed themselves almost out of existence. He does not have a problem with that, since maintaining a form of ecumenical Prot­estantism for the 21st century is not his concern. Instead, he wants us to better understand the influence of Protestantism.


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