The Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy was a defining moment for New York in the 1920s and one of the most significant theological battles in the city's history, as key doctrines of the Christian tradition such as the Virgin Birth, the Atonement, and the bodily resurrection of Christ were debated in the mainstream as well as the religious press. The principal figures in the controversy were John Roach Straton and Harry Emerson Fosdick, two prominent clerics whose intellectual and oratorical confrontation showed just how deep this nationwide religious divide had become. Straton and Fosdick used their New York pulpits as public platforms to articulate their opposing theological visions and to justify them as the correct expression of historic Christianity in the present. In doing so, they made the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy very much a New York story, remapping the city's Protestant evangelical culture and reorienting one of the most important episodes in American religious history. The aftermath of the conflict, however, reveals that the lines between fundamentalist and modernist as distinct categories of religious experience became blurred as each embraced elements of the other. By 1935, both fundamentalists and modernists in New York City had been transformed, just as they had transformed the city.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies
- Religious studies
- New York City
- Theological Debate