In this first of a three-volume, comprehensive series, Gary Dorrien mixes theological analysis with historical and biographical detail to present the first comprehensive interpretation of American theological liberalism. Arguing that the indigenous roots of American liberal theology existed before the rise of Darwinism, Dorrien maintains that this tradition took shape in the nineteenth century and was motivated by a desire to map a progressive "third way" between authority-based orthodoxies and atheistic rationalism. Dorrien characterizes American liberal theology by its openness to historical criticism and evolutionary theory, its commitment to the authority of individual reason and experience, its conception of Christianity as an ethical way of life, and its commitment to make Christianity credible and socially relevant to modern people.
Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly (Vol. 102, NO. 4, Fall 2005)
Evangelical Review of Theology (Vol. 30, No. 2, April 2006)
Newsletter of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy (No. 102, October 2005) "[A] brilliant account of the emergence of progressive theology in the 19th century.... Dorrien's project is awesome in scope, prodigious in depth, generous in judgment and it makes the 19th century theological scene vivid for the general reader, as well as the specialist." "Surely, however, such a major work should not be lacking a formal bibliography. Westminster John Knox ought to be able to do better than that for such an author." --Joseph Pickle, Colorado College