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The Presbyterian Controversy: Fundamentalists, Modernists, and Moderates (Religion in America) [Paperback]

By Bradley J. Longfield (Author)
Our Price $ 57.60  
Retail Value $ 60.00  
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Item Number 160313  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   352
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 5.56" Height: 1.08"
Weight:   1.01 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 25, 1993
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0195086740  
EAN  9780195086744  

Availability  56 units.
Availability accurate as of May 27, 2017 07:06.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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Item Description...
This extensive reference work, hailed by the Journal of Religion as "a book long needed by historians of American religion, " offers "a unique contribution to this often-told story by providing an in-depth analysis of seven persons intimately involved in the controversy" (Theology Today). 13 halftone illustrations.

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More About Bradley J. Longfield

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Bradley J. Longfield is Dean and Professor of Church History at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. He is the author of "The Presbyterian Controversy: Fundamentalists, Modernists, and Moderates."

Bradley J. Longfield has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.

Bradley J. Longfield has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Religion in America

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A sad story, but not to be forgotten  Dec 13, 2007
I wish that every Christian in the United States would read this book. The story of the downfall of the Presbyterian Church USA is one of the most compelling cases for the practical importance of sound doctrine, and it comes through clearly in Longfield's account, even though he is not particularly sympathetic to the one character, Machen, who more clearly than any other saw the consequences of the perfidious doctrines of liberalism. Longfield tells the story primarily through short biographies of six of the most prominent figures of the controversy, which I think is helpful because it presents the family background as well as the theological roots of each of them. The book is also extensively documented.

No one should read this book without reading Machen's "Christianity and Liberalism" first, which is the classic statement of Biblical Christianity against liberalism. Longfield tells the story of Machen and his allies' fight for this Biblical Christianity. They fought both against the liberals and against the moderates who were mostly theologically conservative, but primarily by accident, since if their commitment to the historic doctrines of Christianity had sprung from a deep conviction of their truth they would have stood up for those convictions. As it was, they didn't care, and the battle was lost as a result.

It is very interesting to read Longfield's take on the current situation in the mainline denominations, as he is obviously not sympathetic theologically to conservatives, but concedes they were right in forseeing the inexorable consequences of jettisoning the historic doctrines of the faith. In the last paragraph of the book, he suggests that perhaps the church needs to "affirm a normative middle theological position with clear boundaries." One wonders where any such normativity or boundaries could even conceivably come from once it has already been decided that it will most certainly not come from the Bible as the normative revelation of God. The infinite morass of subjectivity to which religion then immediately descends does not seem likely to be balanced out by "affirming a normative middle theological position" that would necessarily be every bit as subjective as any other potential position.

I enjoyed reading this book immensely, and I think Longfield does a reasonable job of at least trying to be sympathetic to all sides. Obviously, when the sides are so fundamentally opposed ideologically it is impossible to be truly sympathetic to all sides, and I think the picture he paints of Machen is not altogether fair. For instance, he suggests that Machen's joy on the final split from the PCUSA was a joy over schism for its own sake, which is nonsense: if all Machen wanted was a split he wouldn't have had to fight for his life for twenty years to do that. His joy was due to finally being free from an apostate church. I also highly recommend listening to Prof. Godfrey's lecture after reading this book. It is available at an org site called radioapologia, and it balances this book brilliantly.
A Look At The Past Toward The Future  Jun 4, 2006
With the rise of the so called "emergent church" movement, we are beginning to see the seeds of the seeker movement coming to fruit. Liberalism has a new name, a new face, and a new title. But historically where did it come from? What laid the roots long before Bill Hybells or Rick Warren introduced the church to their deadly doctrines?

The answer lies in the early 20th century with the divisions seen in one of the United States oldest denominations, the Presbyterian Church. While the Presbyterians were not 100% united in the 19th century, there were basic tenets from the Westminister Confession that they held to. While they might disagree over immersion, infant baptism, and church polity, they each held the Westminister Confession and the Scriptures dear.

In the 20th century, the fruits of liberal teachings from Europe begin to seep into the Presbyterian churches. From Princeton to the average church, the Presbyterians found themselves in a battle over which direction they would take. In the end, the churches split with the liberals joining the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the conservatives joining the Presbyterian Church in Ameirca (PCA) and the Associate Reformed Presbyterians (ARP). But the battle continues.

With the rise of the emergent church, its good to learn from history. I fear that the emergent church is nothing more than liberalism with a new name. We can learn from what took place in the Presbyterian Church at the turn of the 19th century. We can learn to stand against error by staying true to the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-4:6). I pray that we will learn from the past and resist the errors of this age (1 Timothy 4:1-16). I highly recommend every disciple of Jesus to read this informative book.
A Diplomatic Attempt  Oct 23, 2003
Longfield attempts to fairly and finely balance the most pivotal denominational split of 20th century America. He does so by briefly biographing and documenting the interaction of the PCUSA's main players at that time. The documentation is excellent. The problems enter when Longfield interprets and implies motives. The main problem is Longfield succumbing to the whole problem Machen was fighting against in the modernist contrversy: historical consciousness. As a result the reader is not given an objective account. Machen is categorized as a fundementalist in the same category with William Jennings Bryan. Anyone familiar with Machen's intense new testement scholarship and political stances know otherwise. And to someone like myself who greatly admires Machen, such a depiction is borderline blasphemy. Machen was a brilliant and faithful standard bearer, not a demagogue or reactionary (as implied by fundementalist label). I recommend this book with serious reservations to discerning readers. 'Toward a Sure Faith' by Chrisope serves as an excellent account setting the stage for Machen's latter battles.
Key insights for Mainline decline.  Nov 26, 1998
An insightful and enjoyable survey of the people and ideas which split the Presbyterian Church in the 1930s. Through careful research and a captivating style, Longfield studies indepth the main characters of the Fundamentalist/Moderist controversary in the Presbyterian Church. Sympathetic to both sides, he shows how relaxing theological standards began to blunt the church's ability to speak to its members and society. Important reading for anyone trying to discover the roots of decline in mainline churches in America today.

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