f you think you know who said the following, leave a comment. I'm traveling today, with no time to write or answer comments. But unless weather (or worse) delays me, I'll be home by this evening. So if nobody's got it yet, I'll post the correct answer then.
AFTERNOON UPDATE: Those who guessed (or googled) Fosdick were correct. Harry Emerson Fosdick, that is, not the Al Capp character.
Fosdick, one of the most militant modernists of the twentieth century, would feel right at home with both the views and the rhetoric of Emergent Village. The similarity of his ideas and the standard talking points at Emergent Village belies the utterly groundless claim that post-modernized "evangelicalism" somehow constitutes the abandonment of modernity rather than the further advancement of it. (One intrepid commenter at one of the post-evangelical trash-talk blogs recently accused me of misconstruing Spurgeon's position with regard to Emerging trends. Spurgeon hated modernism, this fellow reasoned. Therefore he surely would have embraced post-modernism, right?)
Fosdick's words refute such a notion. Sample any of Fosdick's books or sermons and you'll see that they read like an Emergent manifesto. Same arguments; same style of rhetoric; same appeal to "tolerance"; same revulsion for substitutionary atonement and biblical inerrancy; same tactics of decrying the militancy of conservatives while declaring war on conservative principles. If you want to understand the Emergent trajectory, read up on Fosdick.
Here's another excerpt. This one's from Fosdick's most famous sermon, "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?"
But the fundamentalists did winat least in the battle against modernism. And today's evangelicals could learn a lot from that episode.
Although Fosdick insisted that those who believe in the truth of Scripture were evil aggressors destroying the unity of the church, and he decried the efforts of fundamentalists and evangelicals to drive liberals out of their denominations, in the end it was the fundamentalists and evangelicals who were driven out. Most liberals thought they had gained the upper hand. But virtually all the mainstream denominations declined drastically under liberal leadership, and some ceased having any kind of spiritual influence whatsoever. Moreover, the independent churches and institutions founded by fundamentalists and evangelicals grew pretty steadily in size, strength, and influence for most of the twentieth century.
But then fundamentalists and evangelicals went to war with one another. Fundamentalists turned their attention away from the fundamental doctrines of Christianity and spent a few decades fighting over secondary matters. And most evangelicals abandoned their evangelical principles in search of the world's friendship.
That's why the church today is weak, divided, and once again desperately seeking "relevance" by aping the world's fashions. We have we've come full circle, and the typical evangelical and post-evangelical of today have more in common with Fosdick than with their own spiritual ancestors. In the immortal words of Shirley Bassey:
It's all just a little bit of history repeating.