This document is part of the Festschrift in Honor of Charles Speel, edited by Thomas J. Sienkewicz and James E. Betts and published by Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois in 1997. The Table of Contents for this volume can be accessed here. If you have any questions, you may contact Tom Sienkewicz at

Theological Education: A Reformed Imperative

Janet Fishburn MC'58

"Where once ruled Bach and Mozart and Beethoven," sighed O'Hanrahan, "is now this. That's what saddens me about American Christianity. The lack of learning in the ministers, the cliched sermons, and backward politics, the shoddiness of the churches, the vapid emptiness of the music. . . for our country's Christians, art and architecture and scholarship and music are the enemy camp." (Barnhardt 1993:743)

The quotation is from Gospel, a novel about a biblical scholar who teaches at the University of Chicago. It refers to changing worship forms, media exploitation of religion and wide-spread anti-intellectual currents that impact pastors, congregations and seminaries. Professor O'Hanrahan is an anti-hero who sees with the clarity of an Old Testament prophet. He ponders the meaning of the church growth and megachurch movements that both excite and trouble leaders of formerly "main-line" denominations like the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

This essay is an informal exploration of theological conflict and theological education in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at the end of the twentieth century. Like the fictional professor, I find anti-intellectualism in the church disturbing, especially denial of the historical nature of theology and doctrine. All religious belief and practice take shape in and emerge from a particular cultural context. Yet, there are Presbyterians whose critique of the church today implies that God's truth was "once and for all time delivered to the saints." They simply do not realize that whatever theology they regard as "traditional" has a history. Some are so a-historical as to suspect that accounting for social context in biblical interpretation may be heretical.

As a historian, my particular interest lies in tracing the ways in which Reformed theology, polity and practice have changed over time in response to particular social locations. The story of cultural adaptation by Presbyterians in the United States is well documented in L.A. Loetscher's aptly titled The Broadening Church.

My exploration of late twentieth century Presbyterian history is informed by knowledge of church history, social history, cultural history, theology and pastoral theology. Presbyterians in the United States experience a major destabilizing of tradition at least once a century. Participants in eighteenth and nineteenth century conflicts referred to each other as old light, new light, old side or new side. Historians have continued to see similar divisions along party lines in each new conflict. The fact that new lights usually prevail in the long run is reflected in Loetscher's interpretation of the Presbyterian Church as "a broadening church." Because of these precedents, I will compare voices in the present conflict to some of their eighteenth century old light-new light predecessors.

My interdisciplinary method owes much to the influence of Charles Speel and his colleagues who taught at Monmouth College between 1954 and 1958. My interest in both historical studies and theology was cultivated by Wiley Prugh and Garvin Davenport as well as Charles Speel, but the possibility of understanding church history in relation to the general study of religion was first suggested to me by a course in World Religions taught by Charles Speel.

"Old Light" Presbyterians and Historicity

In an oft-quoted line from eighteenth century conflicts about theological education Gilbert Tennent accused his opponents of ordaining "an unconverted clergy." The nature of theological education was an issue at the time because most of the clergy serving congregations on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania frontier had been educated in Scotland.1 Gilbert Tennent, his brothers and other "new light" Presbyterians were educated in a small log-cabin in Pennsylvania by his father, William Tennent.

In the United States today a major economic transition is changing the way people earn a living. During the last twenty to twenty-five years, members of congregations have experienced cultural change in terms of job loss, uncertain vocations, changing family roles, changing attitudes about sexuality, church membership decline and theological conflict.

Discussions about ordination and theological education occur in the context of a larger set of issues about religious and educational institutions. Due to the present economic and social transition there is little agreement about what we can expect of the church, family, schools or government. Presbyterians no longer agree about core social values taken for granted at mid-century. Continuing unresolved conflict about theology and polity raises serious questions about the future of Reformed theology and polity in the United States.

It is tempting to apply Tennent's accusation to the present situation in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). In the Presbyterian Lay Committee we have a vocal minority similar to Tennent's "old light" opponents in their desire to preserve one particular form of theology in a time of cultural transition. Their determination to maintain theology and doctrinal standards through polity as they had experienced it in Scotland was thoroughly a-historical. Christians concerned with doctrinal standards as a test of faith are rarely prepared to acknowledge the extent to which theology does change over time.

"Old lights" in Tennent's day were bitterly opposed to "new light" evangelical preaching intended to elicit a conversion experience. However, when "new lights" preached about the practice of piety, "conversion" did not mean a sudden, road of Damascus conversion experience. Tennent understood the pastor's responsibility to be preaching and worship leadership that offered Christian faith as a way of life. In this context, then, a conversion experience was one possibility for entrance into the Christian life. He took the work of spiritual formation--or "cure of souls"--to be an on-going task of ordained leaders of congregations.

Tennent's opponents saw no reason to adapt theological education as they had experienced it in Scotland to life in the middle-Atlantic states, then a rude frontier. They were so concerned with necessary knowledge that they did not question the relevance of an "old world" education to a struggling immigrant population in Pennsylvania and New Jersey where the only church buildings were small log-cabin meeting houses. In short, they were traditionalists devoted to perpetuating the Presbyterian Church of Scotland as they had known it in Scotland.

Tennent's sense of the need to adapt theology and theological education to a different social context was more "Calvinist" than those who would freeze Reformed theology in the form of one particular time or place. The impulse toward a "broadening church" among Presbyterians in the United States comes from John Calvin's humanistic background as a lawyer-scholar-theologian-pastor. His teaching, preaching and theology presupposes change over time.

A careful reading of The Institutes of the Christian Religion reveals Calvin to be a thinker who assumed a historical perspective in his study of history and theology. A newly reclaimed historical perspective made the Protestant Reformation possible and was essential to Calvin's project of reclaiming Scripture for Christians newly emancipated from the rigid authority of "priestcraft" and the Pope.

Contemporary Presbyterians who acknowledge only one form of Reformed theology have been influenced by the a-historical attitudes of American culture. In a country where it is possible to earn a college degree without taking any history courses, Christians should be alert to the devastating consequences that follow from denying historicity. Presbyterians who know nothing about how and why the Reformed tradition has changed over time have no way to evaluate current theological conflicts. People who lack historical perspective are vulnerable to the claims of the most persuasive leaders.

An unwillingness or inability to question "traditional" belief is one characteristic of a fundamentalist cast of mind. Like eighteenth century "Old Lights," twentieth century fundamentalists propose saving "the Church" from "new light" by requiring clergy to subscribe to "traditional" doctrines. The Presbyterian Lay Committee is so convinced that denominational executives are dangerous heretics that they propose "subscription" as a requirement of employment by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Presbyterians who accept change as integral to human history were wrongly labeled "modernists" by "fundamentalists" earlier in the twentieth century. Historicity is not a "modern" idea. The idea that there is a history of philosophy, a history of the Christian religion and a history of theology was assumed by Calvin. Shocking though it might be to a twentieth century fundamentalist, John Calvin was educated as a scholar in the sixteenth-century Renaissance "humanist" tradition! He was familiar with the historical-critical method of studying law and was particularly interested in the historical and literary pursuits of Christian humanists.

The lament of the fictional O'Hanrahan is worthy of a member of the Reformed tradition. Though Presbyterians have not been devoted to art and architecture, scholarship and music have never been in "the enemy camp." Those who would impose "subscription" to doctrinal standards on all who work for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are enemies of the quality of scholarly pursuit valued historically in the Reformed tradition. A cast of mind that claims only one form of right belief represents a kind of "fundamentalism" that has emerged from a culture that is functionally a-historical. 2

Examples of Contemporary Old and New Light Positions

A casual reading of Monday Morning, a magazine written for and by Presbyterian pastors, offers weekly examples of different attitudes about theology, history and biblical interpretation. This, in turn, reveals something about the importance of historicity in the theology of the writers. Disagreement about the legitimacy of Presbyterian support for the November, 1993, Re-Imagining Conference continues to provoke an outpouring of quite different perspectives about God, the Bible and ecumenicity.

Although the Presbyterian Church has ordained women since 1958, the role and authority of women in the church remains an issue. That women had the audacity to "imagine" and participate in liturgies that incorporated feminine images of God is profoundly threatening to people who fail to distinguish between God and human expressions of belief about God.

Even if speakers had not challenged the viability of atonement theory, a Conference about the language of theology and worship planned and led by women for women would still have been of concern to anyone determined to preserve "the Truth." This event, like the Angela Davis Affair of the 1960's, has been a lightning rod for conservatives who cannot imagine a church that treats women as equal to men in church leadership. That women are now educated in large numbers as theologians, ethicists and interpreters of Scripture is especially disturbing to people who want to believe there is only one acceptable theology.

Consider a letter published in Monday Morning titled "Sin Is In the Camp." It was written by a pastor in Tacoma, Washington who quoted without citation a description of the Conference from The Presbyterian Layman.3He is one of many readers of The Presbyterian Layman ready to believe the following account.

According to reports, conferees included General Assembly staff and other Presbyterian leaders who participated in an occult milk-and-honey ceremony, rejoiced in the "blessings" of homosexuality, recited a perverse, filthy, and vulgar liturgy, and worshiped the goddess "Sophia" (Boyd 1994:7-8).4

The letter writer regards the General Assembly Council response to criticisms of Presbyterian funding for the event as "the usual cliches about confessions, the Brief Statement of Faith, study and dialogue, and other assorted mumbo-jumbo. . . ." Like "old light" Presbyterians in the eighteenth century, the writer is convinced that new ideas are unbiblical. His readiness to dismiss confessions, the Brief Statement, study and dialogue as "mumbo-jumbo" is reminiscent of Old Light critics of "the Tennent party." They were prone to ridicule anything different from their own belief and experience. Over time, the positions of eighteenth century "new light" Presbyterians prevailed and were validated when Gilbert Tennent was elected moderator of the newly re-united Synods of New York and Philadelphia in 1758.

In the same issue of Monday Morning, a pastor from Atlanta, Georgia, writes that scapegoating women and the General Assembly staff ". . . for a host of issues the denomination needs to face is both an injustice and a grave strategic error for our church" (Goleman 1994:9). Instead of vilification of leaders with different perspectives, he outlines precedents from church history and Scripture to support his observation that "To deny our national church leaders a wide berth in ecumenical gatherings is to profess that we Presbyterians alone hear the Word in its fulness" (Goleman 1994:1).

Lest a contemporary New Light appear more constrained than Gilbert Tennent, the writer regards his opponents as "Un-Presbyterian" malcontents! From his perspective the targeting of "Wisdom" language is ". . . indicative of how parochial, rigid, and control oriented our theological concerns have become. I cannot think of a more poisonous trend in a tradition that honors open scriptural and ecumenical engagement" (Goleman 1994:11).

From a historical perspective, the second writer is correct: the first writer is "un-Presbyterian." The second writer has been educated in the humanist tradition of John Calvin with his assumption that the nature of Christian theology is historical. Yet, to those who fight to preserve "the tradition" known to them, a historical approach to contemporary church conflict appears to be failure to take a stand, bad faith or lack of conviction. Their concern is valid in the sense that some modern scholarship does undermine the viability of Christian belief.

Historical consciousness can be used as a tool to undermine the assumption of Christians that some ideas contain more "truth" than others. Some scholars claim that if all ideas are social constructs, all are equally valid. From an academic point of view this does relativize belief about revealed truth in Scripture. Yet, even this extreme form of deconstructionism practiced by some post-modern scholars is not new. Modern skepticism has its roots in eighteenth century debates about epistemology.

The key doctrine of the Protestant reformers--salvation by grace through faith--remains a viable alternative to contemporary skepticism and relativism. Recognition that faith is always in need of being re-formed is a hallmark of Presbyterians who claim the Reformed tradition. Presbyterians in the United States have been able to adapt theology to different cultural contexts for purposes of evangelism and mission and in times of major cultural transitions. Theological reflection has never been considered a settled or static enterprise in the Reformed tradition.

In theological education in the United States there has been an on-going debate that continues to echo the old light-new light positions of eighteenth-century Presbyterians. The debate concerns the extent to which the study of theology is adequate preparation for ordination. Gilbert Tennent's charge that "old lights" were ordaining "unconverted" clergy implied that he did not believe that the study of philosophy, theology and doctrine alone qualified anyone for ordination. He regarded the study of philosophy useless if a candidate could not also give a personal account of the work of God's grace in his life.5

At the "Log College" in Neshaminy, William Tennent was the sole instructor. His scholarly credentials remain a mystery. What is known is that he single-handedly instructed a score of young men in both knowledge of theological disciplines and the practice of ministry under less than optimal conditions. "Graduates" of the Log College emerged as pastors capable of ministry and theological reflection that suited their own time and social location.

Like their eighteenth century predecessors, contemporary "old lights" are convinced that pastors with more knowledge of theology and doctrine will save the denomination. In the debate about the Re-Imagining Conference, the call for "biblical" faithfulness in seminaries has been relatively muted compared to attacks focused on denominational officials. For example, a pastor worried that his children may be the last generation with the "blue blood of Presbyterianism" running through their veins, thinks that "The saving grace of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will be an uprising of solid centrists who revel in overt and scandalous acts of biblical faithfulness" (Bryant 1994:5).

"Presbyterians For Renewal," a caucus with local chapters, national meetings and a newsletter, represent themselves as centrists. Like The Presbyterian Lay Committee they regard themselves as evangelicals. They are somewhat more flexible about change in the Presbyterian Church than The Lay Committee. Yet, they run the risk of perpetuating whatever "tradition" they inherited and mistaking that one version of Reformed theology for biblical faithfulness. The name of their newsletter, ReNew, suggests a maintenance operation of people satisfied with the present. Although renew can mean a spiritual renewal, it also means a restoration of freshness rather than the possibility of radical change. The "renewal" of a tradition is not the same as openness to being re-formed through a rediscovery of the spiritual power of Scripture led by the Holy Spirit.

Eighteenth-century "old lights" referred to themselves as orthodox and to "new lights" as the party of piety. Contemporary "old lights" call themselves evangelical but use the word as a synonym for orthodox. Yet, when evangelical is interpreted in terms of Calvin's theology, the Christian life requires attention to both theology and the practice of piety. Calvin's famous observation, that theology consists in knowledge of God and knowledge of self, requires attention to the way belief informs the Christian life.

To Calvin, there is no knowledge of God where there is no piety. Yet those who call themselves evangelical today are so concerned with defending "Truth" that they neglect the connection between belief and life. Their preoccupation with right belief is not yielding theology capable of sustaining faith. The failure of Presbyterian evangelicals to connect belief with lived experience misrepresents the Reformed understanding of faith.

Being Reformed in the Current Cultural Context

In the past, the "new light" theology of people like Gilbert Tennent has prevailed over "old light" factions unwilling to adapt to a new situation. Church periodicals published during two nineteenth century cultural transitions carried articles blaming seminaries for whatever was wrong with the church at the time. The equation changed little over time; pastors and laity unhappy with the state of the church called for the seminaries to add a course in whatever area seemed to be missing in church life. This implies that the future of the church is heavily dependent on the knowledge and leadership of pastors.

Although the history of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) demonstrates that up to now "new light" perspectives have led the denomination into the future, there are elements in the present situation that could reverse or retard that pattern. Three phenomena that could work against the eventual emergence of a new theological concensus are the megachurch, televangelism, and media coverage of religion as a topic broader than, but including, news of Protestant denominations. All of this, in turn, affects theological education.

All main-line denominations have suffered serious membership loss over the last twenty-five years. Total membership of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is now 4.2% of the population of the United States. Membership loss is related to the changing shape of religion in the United States. But the historic Protestant denominations also fail to understand that they can no longer expect American culture and law to reflect only their values. Until approximately 1960 there was so much congruence between civil law and Protestant ethics that many Presbyterians believed the United States was a "Christian" nation. Since then, it has been impossible to assume that "freedom of religion" refers only to Christian religions.

For most of Presbyterian history, the congregation, the family, and theological schools were primary sources of theological education. In this time of pluralism in religion, new forms of congregational life are emerging in which the pastoral staff arranges its own theological education. Televangelism offers theological education in easy access to daily worship and Bible study. Media attention to many forms of religion educates church members about other kinds of religious belief available to them. And television, computers, and telecommunication mediate learning in ways quite different from those of traditional schooling.

Presbyterians report that they learn about their denomination from media other than official denominational publications. These include national news media and newsletters published by caucus groups like The Presbyterian Lay Committee and Presbyterians For Renewal. Such unofficial sources of news and interpretation wield a powerful influence in denominational politics.

When national news media report on denominational events, they are usually prompted by a major conflict like the release of a sexuality report. In addition to covering only the most sensational stories, reporters no longer confine themselves to the reporting of events or quoting of documents. By engaging in editorial comment on documents they influence denominational decision making processes. Selective coverage and opinionated reporting skew the impressions members have about denominations.6

In Selling God, R. Laurence Moore (1994) argues that the forms of theology and religion emerging in times of cultural change are those that best address the personal issues of the population. He acknowledges that "The pageant of American religious history reveals people who have found in their faith a social identity, a source of ethnic and racial pride, an assurance of salvation, and a basis for protest against injustice. Surely, as users of religion, they ought to be remembered as something other than ordinary consumers, their faith as something more than the only commodity on the shelves they could afford" (Moore 1994:273).

At the same time Moore points out that the cultural climate in the United States is one of competition fostered by a capitalist economy. He suggests that theology emerging in a time of conflict is theology that sells well, because it meets the needs of consumers for religion in their lives. The success of the megachurch movement is a case in point. Congregations of 2,000 or more members are able to offer programs attractive to people of every age and life situation. Smaller congregations find it difficult to compete with this kind of variety.

In 1995, 15% of all Presbyterians belonged to a megachurch. The others belonged to small or medium size congregations. As social institutions, the two types of congregation are quite different. Pastors of megachurches offer continuing education for their own staff. Some, like the Crystal Cathedral and Willow Creek in suburban Chicago, mass market continuing education for pastors. The subject is more often "effective" (successful) ministry than a refresher course in theology.

Meanwhile, understaffed and underfinanced denominational seminaries, burdened with multiple theological degree programs, find it difficult to offer continuing education courses. Most seminaries prepare women and men to begin ministry in modest size churches. Most are not large enough to equip pastors with the specialized skills needed by megachurch staff members. Does this mean that the megachurch movement will eventually train its own pastors? What kind of theological education would it give?

There is a marked anti-intellectual strain in the United States that makes it difficult to expect high standards of knowledge and expertise for pastors. A pastor who is better educated and more knowledgable about Bible, theology and church history may not compete as well as a pastor who is a skilled entrepreneur able to meet the needs of religion consumers. An investment of years in theological study may be a handicap in the present cultural environment.

According to Calvin, the aim of theological study is practical, to transform the heart and mind. He agreed with Erasmus that "True theology is a matter not of marshalling formal arguments more clever and subtle than those of one's opponents, but of grasping the poetics of scriptural discourse and letting it make a better person of you" (Gerish 1993:17). Seminary students today are impatient with courses that do not have obvious application to ministry. Their professors have devoted years of study to the mastery of a particular discipline and are rarely prepared to relate their knowledge to the practice of piety. In this environment, few students are able to grasp Calvin's sense that the study of theology is a spiritual discipline.

Even though students arrive at Seminary with less prior knowledge of Bible and theology than was once the case, the gap between the theological knowledge of pastors and laity continues to widen. A recent survey of pastors who have completed five years of ministry reveals that four areas of greatest disappointment to them are all related to members' lack of understanding of Christian faith. They listed "degree laity shares leadership tasks, witness in world, laity's theological insight and laity's biblical understanding" as the most difficult aspects of ministry to address. (Larsen 1995:37). Who in the Presbyterian Church today will lead the way in theological reflection about our most urgent issues? Is the traditional way of resolving conflicts through theological disputation still viable in a cultural milieu impatient with historical perspective and the discipline of reasoned theological reflection?

It becomes ever more difficult for a historic form of Christianity like the Reformed tradition to maintain a sharp sense of identity that distinguishes its members from other Protestants. General anti-intellectualism and disdain for those who dwell in ivory towers has been compounded by televangelism models of ministry. The highly publicized successes of the consumer oriented megachurch movement are discouraging to the seemingly modest enterprise of the small-town or rural congregation. Selective media coverage of denominational conflicts over issues like homosexuality obscures the fact that this is only one aspect of a much larger complex of issues in need of fresh theological reflection. As in the eighteenth century, the world Presbyterians inhabit has changed so much that there is no concensus about the nature of the church, ministry or the meaning of ordination.

During the last twenty years the "old lights" of current theological conflicts have dominated the production and distribution of news in the church. More Presbyterians receive copies of The Presbyterian Layman and ReNewthan subscribe to official church publications. While official denominational publications reflected the moderate to liberal identity of the denomination, conservatives raised money to finance their own publications through grants and individual contributions.

Twentieth-century "new lights" have not had to learn to market themselves and their theology, as "evangelical" and "fundamentalist" Christians have for most of the twentieth century. They did not have to become adept at political organization as long as they were part of a denomination with a moderate to liberal public identity. But national politics have undergone a dramatic reversal since 1980 that is similar in spirit to the new-found power of conservative voices in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). "Old lights" are wrong in the belief that, as evangelicals, they are the bearers of the historic Reformed tradition.

Is the criticism of American Christianity by the fictional O'Hanrahan too bleak? Probably not. There is always a balance to be struck between the old and the new, between traditional expressions of an historic religion and new expressions of that tradition. But when a strong reactionary movement in religion lacks historical consciousness, there is no acknowledgement of a need for balance. In place of a search for balance, there is an obsession with maintaining or restoring old beliefs and practices regarded as more faithful.

This means that theological education is, and will continue to be, an imperative if the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is to be a church "reformed and always reforming." If there is only one truth, only one theology, only one way to interpret Scripture, there is no need to be re-formed. The sense of change and continuity over time expressed in "How Un-Presbyterian!" is an example of a pastor who understands what it means to be a bearer of the historic Reformed tradition.

Given the powerful influence of telecommunications and media in shaping attitudes and opinions about religion, politics, denominations and theology, if the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is to continue to be a "broadening church" it is also imperative that we broaden our understanding of theological education. There is little future in educating clergy in historically grounded theological disciplines if they are being called to serve congregations where there is little or no appreciation for this way of looking at the world. It is important to reclaim our historic appreciation for the teaching role of the pastor, but there is a new balance to be struck concerning theological education in general.

My joining of contemporary Presbyterian conflicts with those of the early eighteenth century leads me to pose the following questions about theological education. What is the meaning of ordination? Are scholars in theological disciplines the only or best equipped persons to prepare men and women for ordination? Is completion of a Master of Divinity degree and demonstration of ability to pass ordination examinations adequate preparation for church leadership? Is study in a seminary or university setting the best or only context for mastery of theological reflection and pastoral skills? Why do we segregate future pastors from laity during their theological studies?

If there is to be a future for "an educated clergy"--in the full Reformed sense of the term--we will have to reconsider our assumption that formal theological education is primarily for people seeking ordination. Given the a-historical culture in which we live, we will not have a Presbyterian membership capable of grasping what it means to be "reformed and always reforming" unless we engage in the theological education of all church leaders, those who are ordained and those who are not. Theological education is an imperative for Reformed Christians. . . all of them!

Works Cited

Barnhardt, Wilton. 1993. Gospel. New York: St. Martin's.

Boyd, J. Duncan. 1994. "Sin Is In the Camp." Monday Morning (March 21, 1994), pp. 7-8.

Bryant, Steven S. 1994. "The Weakening of the Church." Monday Morning (March 21, 1994).

Fishburn, Janet. 1990. "Pennsylvania 'Awakenings,' Sacramental Seasons and Ministry." In Scholarship, Sacraments and Service:Historical Studies in Protestant Tradition, edited by Daniel B. Clendenin and W. David Buschart. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press. Pp. 59-89.

__________. 1994. "Gilbert Tennent, Established Dissenter." Church History (March, 1994).

__________. 1995. "The Presbyterian Human Sexuality Task Force: A Case Study in the Language of Public Moral Discourse." In The Sexuality Debate in North American Churches, 1988-1993: Controversies, Unresolved Issues and Future Prospects, edited by John J. Carey. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press.

Gerrish, B. A. 1993. Grace and Gratitude: The Eucharistic Theology of John Calvin. Minneapolis: Fortress.

Goleman, Larry A. 1994. "How Un-Presbyterian!" Monday Morning (March 21, 1994), p. 9.

Larsen, Ellis L. 1005. "A Profile of Contemporary Seminarians Revisited" Theological Education (Association of Theological Schools). Vol. 31. Supplement.

Lewis, R. W. B. 1955. The American Adam. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Loetscher, L. A. 1954. The Broadening Church. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Moore, R. Laurence. 1994. Selling God: American Religion in the Marketplace of Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


1. For a fuller discussion of the theological nuances see Fishburn 1990.

2. For a compelling discussion of the extent to which "Americans" think of themselves as "innocents" who dwell in an eternal present, see Lewis 1955. This aversion to acknowledging the limits of time and finitude has been especially pronounced since the nineteenth century. Ours is a culture in which people prefer to think that every idea or discovery is new and every change, progress.

4. For information on the role of The Presbyterian Lay Committee and Presbyterians For Renewal in creating a furor around the Re-Imagining Conference, see The News of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (Feb./March, 1994), pp. 1, 4-5.

5. For more detail on Old Light "orthodoxy" and New Light "piety" see Fishburn 1994:43-47.

6. See Fishburn 1995 for a chronological account of the relationship between articles published in public news media and those published by The Presbyterian Layman and ReNew about the Presbyterian Sexuality Task Force in 1990-1991.

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