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Religions 2017, 8(2), 17; doi:10.3390/rel8020017

The Protestant Search for ‘the Universal Christian Community’ between Decolonization and Communism †

John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, Washington University in St. Louis, 1 Brookings Dr, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
The author would like to thank the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis and its director, Dr. R. Marie Griffith, for providing the support that made writing this article possible.
Academic Editor: Mark T. Edwards
Received: 2 December 2016 / Revised: 18 January 2017 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 24 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Nationalism in the United States)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [193 KB, uploaded 24 January 2017]

Abstract

This article investigates the history of American Protestant thought about peoples living beyond the North Atlantic West, in Asia in particular, from 1900 to the 1960s. It argues that Protestant thought about the Global South was marked by a tension between universalism and particularism. Protestants believed that their religion was universal because its core insights about the world were meant for everyone. At the same time, Protestant intellectuals were attentive to the demands of their coreligionists abroad, who argued that decolonization should herald a greater appreciation for national differences. The article traces three distinct stages of Protestant attempts to resolve these tensions; support for imperialism in the early twentieth century, then for human rights at mid-century, and finally for pluralism in the 1960s. In doing so, it shows that the specter of the Soviet Union intensified the Protestant appreciation of national differences and ultimately led to the disavowal of Protestant universalism. View Full-Text
Keywords: Protestantism; human rights; communism; Soviet Union; Cold War; World Council of Churches; William Ernest Hocking; Wilfred Cantwell Smith; pluralism Protestantism; human rights; communism; Soviet Union; Cold War; World Council of Churches; William Ernest Hocking; Wilfred Cantwell Smith; pluralism
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zubovich, G. The Protestant Search for ‘the Universal Christian Community’ between Decolonization and Communism †. Religions 2017, 8, 17.

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