Conservatism and Liberalism in the Christian Faith
Toward a Moderate Approach
by William E. Hull
In Conservatism and Liberalism in the Christian Faith: Toward a Moderate Approach, William E. Hull—scholar, educator, pastor, preacher, mentor—provides strategies for understanding and responding to what seem incessant fractures within the Christian church, ideologically represented in our time by the labels “conservative” and “liberal.” Hull knew those labels well, not only from his academic research, but also in his own person, particularly in his long association with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Indeed, Hull uses America’s largest Protestant denomination (ca. 14 million and declining) as something of a case study for illustrating the larger dynamics of his analysis.
For many, Hull personified those dynamics in himself. Baptist conservatives saw him as the consummate liberal, promoting modernity in his approach to biblical criticism and theological speculation. Yet for many liberals, Hull was the conservative “company man,” representing institutional establishments amid accomplished academic rigor. Hence this book, Hull’s literal “last words,” aimed, he says, at “reconciliation” of issues, ideas, and attitudes that, in his view were present from the church’s beginnings, and necessary for its survival!