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In his book, “A History of Christianity In the United States And Canada”, Mark Noll gives his assessment of the impact of the early part of the 2oth Century’s “Modernism”:

“Modernism has had a long-lasting influence on the academic study of religion” (376)

In contrast to Modernism’s effect in the field of academia, Noll observes of “Modernism”  lesser impact in the pews:

“Modernism had less impact among the church-going population, although its promotion of the Social Gospel helped keep alive a concern for social reconciliation in the large Protestant denomination of the North” (376)

And then he gave this interesting point:

“Ironically, modernists may have had the greatest impact on their polar opposites, the fundamentalists, who were intensely preoccupied with the effort to refute modernist reinterpretations of the faith” (376)

I disagree.

Noll seems to miss “Modernism’s” greatest effect is the blurring of the gospel, and the hinderance of the gospel from being preached clearly.  “Modernism” is not a monolithic movement and its various theological shades which deny the essential core of the Gospel in academia would only cripple the cause of the gospel when it comes to training the leaders of the church.  Even if the gospel is not explicitly denied, the confusion would at least take away the centrality of the Cross.

This amounts to the training of preachers/leaders who are not clear when it comes to the gospel.

And that is the most tragic effect of “Modernism” as one can see where the Mainline denomination is at today, with their spiritual and number decline.

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