The Birth of Liberal Modernist Theology
George Marsden characterized Christian fundamentalism as “militantly anti-modernist protestant evangelicalism”. Right there you see that fundamentalism is a reaction against something. And that something is modernist theology. Modernism is a broad term used to describe a few different schools of liberal theology. In this episode, we discuss the Tubingen and Berlin schools.
Modernist theology is often marked by the desire to discuss the “historic Jesus”. This term can be a bit confusing because it is less about understanding what historic texts say about Jesus and more about discussing the non-miraculous aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry.
Our special guest this episode is Chris Evans, professor of Christian History and Methodist Studies at Boston University and author of “Do Everything” a biography of Francis Willard.
- What does it mean that fundamentalism is a reaction to modernist theology?
- What is modernist theology?
- Do you know any theologically liberal people?
- Do you find it difficult to both love the Lord and love your neighbor?
- What makes someone a Christian? Does your view include theologically conservative people? What about theologically liberal people? Where is the line for you?
- How vital are Jesus’ miracles to your life and faith?
- Is there a tension in Christianity where it is culturally difficult to be theologically conservative and still want to love our neighbors?
Helpful Links and Sources:
- “The Evangelicals” by Frances Fitzgerald
- An interesting article on Arminius
- “Church History in Plain Language” by Bruce Shelley
- “Who is An Evangelical?” Thomas Kidd
- Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters edited by Donald K. McKim p 350
- Matthew 22:36-40
I just learned about your podcast through Christianity Today’s best podcasts for 2022 list. I am enjoying your current series. But, as a native of the Philadelphia suburbs, I have to submit a correction for this episode (“The Liberals,” Mar. 29, 2022) at the 27:33 mark. The “Reading Railroad” (as in the Monopoly game) derives its name from Reading, PA, and is pronounced “redding.” Don’t feel too bad. My husband, from WA state, also grew up thinking it was pronounced “reeding.” Keep up the good work.
Sorry for the late reply! I’ve had family in town and am just getting back to work.
Thanks for the correction! I probably should have known about the “Reading/Redding” thing since I’m from Ohio 🙂 I’m so glad that the CT podcast list helped folks find the show. I hope that this is a good resource for you. Godspeed!