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After Cloven Tongues of Fire: Ecumenical Protestantism and the Modern American Encounter with Diversity

After Cloven Tongues of Fire: Ecumenical Protestantism and the Modern American Encounter with Diversity

Chapter:
(p.18) Chapter 2 After Cloven Tongues of Fire: Ecumenical Protestantism and the Modern American Encounter with Diversity
Source:
After Cloven Tongues of Fire
Author(s):
David A. Hollinger
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691158426.003.0002

This chapter addresses the question of why “mainline” Protestant churches experienced a dramatic loss of numbers from the mid-1960s through the early twenty-first century, while the evangelical churches grew. It argues that evangelicals triumphed in the numbers game by continuing to espouse several ideas about race, gender, sexuality, nationality, and divinity that remained popular with the white public when these same ideas were abandoned by leaders of the mainline, ecumenical churches as no longer defensible. The chapter also considers the historical significance of ecumenical Protestantism for U.S. history since World War II. It argues that it facilitated an engagement with many aspects of a diverse modernity that millions of Americans would not have achieved without the support and guidance of the ecumenical churches.

Keywords:   Protestantism, liberal Protestants, Protestant churches, evangelical churches, evangelicals, ecumenical churches, modernity

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