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The Urban PulpitNew York City and the Fate of Liberal Evangelicalism$
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Matthew Bowman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199977604

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199977604.001.0001

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(p.xii) (p.1) Introduction
The Urban Pulpit

Matthew Bowman

Oxford University Press

Harry Emerson Fosdick’s 1931 sermon “A Fundamentalist Sermon by a Modernist Preacher” reveals many of the ambiguities and internal inconsistencies of liberal evangelicalism. Fosdick criticizes liberal evangelicals for insufficient concern for spiritual things and too much accommodation with American culture. Taking these critiques seriously reveals what a tenuous balancing act early twentieth century liberal evangelicalism was: its advocates struggled to maintain both a commitment to traditional evangelical devotional methods with accommodation to the intellectual, social, and cultural demands of modernizing urban America. Fundamentalism, on the other hand, is best understood as an aggressive assertion of traditional evangelical devotion.

Keywords:   Harry Emerson Fosdick, Liberalism, Preaching, Fundamentalism

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