The making of a battle royal: The rise of religious liberalism in Northern Baptist life, 1870-1920
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SubjectNorthern Baptist Convention--History.
Baptist theological seminaries--United States.
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This dissertation traces the development of the liberal hegemony in Northern Baptist seminaries between 1870 and 1920. Chapter 1 surveys the 1920s to ascertain particular issues and individuals identified by the fundamentalists as they attempted to return the Northern Baptist Convention to orthodoxy. Chapter 2 begins in the late 1860s by examining the historic Baptist view of the Bible, and then reviews the life of Thomas Fenner Curtis, the first Baptist to deny an inerrant, infallible Bible in print. The chapter examines early exponents of Baptist liberalism (1870-1885) Crawford Howell Toy and Ezra Palmer Gould, who were fired for denying the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible, and for embracing higher critical views. Chapter 3 examines the growth of liberalism between 1885 and 1900, by reviewing the careers of William Newton Clarke, Walter Rauschenbusch, and Nathaniel Schmidt. It also examines the development of the Social Gospel among Baptists in the Brotherhood of the Kingdom. Chapter 4 focuses on the University of Chicago, the greatest influence for liberalism among Northern Baptists. It surveys its founding and reviews the career of William Rainey Harper. It examines the development of the "Chicago School" by reviewing its chief exponents, George Burman Foster, Shailer Mathews, Ernest De Witt Burton, Gerald Birney Smith and Shirley Jackson Case. Chapter 5 examines the entrenchment of liberalism from 1900-1920 at Rochester, Colgate, Crozer, and Newton Seminaries. It examines the progressive presidents, George Edwin Horr, John Frederick Vichert, Joseph William Alexander Stewart, Clarence Barbour, and Milton G. Evans, who led the schools into the fundamentalist-modernist controversy. It demonstrates that both the leadership and the faculties were committed to liberalism. The chapter examines representative liberal professors George Cross, Henry C. Vedder, Richard Vaughn, and Frank A. Starratt as evidence of the liberal hegemony that dominated Northern Baptist education by 1920. The first appendix examines liberal pastors William Coleman Bitting, Cornelius Woelfkin, and Harry Emerson Fosdick, and liberal university presidents William Herbert Perry Faunce, David Jayne Hill, and Rush Rhees. The second appendix treats the Baptist participation at the World's Parliament of Religions in 1893. A third appendix is a transcript of "My Theological Emancipation" by Henry C. Vedder.