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Reinhold Niebuhr and Protestant Liberalism

Reinhold Niebuhr and Protestant Liberalism

(p.211) Epilogue Reinhold Niebuhr and Protestant Liberalism
After Cloven Tongues of Fire
David A. Hollinger
Princeton University Press

This epilogue offers a historical perspective on the career of Reinhold Niebuhr, the most acclaimed intellectual within a distinctive American Protestant generation: the generation that brought the tradition of Protestant liberalism to its greatest moments of public authority, and then presided over that tradition's decline in relation to secular dispositions on the one hand and evangelical sensibilities on the other. Niebuhr's career displays the fissures and fusions that constitute much of Protestant liberalism's struggle to define its own relation to the United States and its various component parts. At issue, often, has been to what extent the faithful should make common cause with, or against, people who do not profess Christianity at all, or who profess the wrong kind. Those fissures and fusions have been propelled by many immediate historical conditions, but also by a variety of often conflicting senses of how Protestant Christianity can best accommodate the Enlightenment.

Keywords:   Reinhold Niebuhr, American Protestant, Protestantism, Protestant liberalism, Christianity

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