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The Last PuritansMainline Protestants and the Power of the Past$
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Margaret Bendroth

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469624006

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469624006.001.0001

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Coming to Terms with the Pilgrim Fathers

Coming to Terms with the Pilgrim Fathers

(p.108) Chapter Six Coming to Terms with the Pilgrim Fathers
The Last Puritans

Margaret Bendroth

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter takes up the experiences of laypeople as they sifted through Sunday school lessons about the book of Genesis and sermons on a so-called new theology, where turn-of-the-century liberal piety refused to make forced choices between fixed positions, one right and the other wrong. Many Congregational laypeople found themselves in this liminal space as the nineteenth century drew to a close and the twentieth century began to unfold. They understood that the past, with all its traditions, was important, but they knew at the same time that it was not absolute. They were relativists but also believers, skeptical of old pieties but unable or unwilling to leave them behind.

Keywords:   twentieth century, liberal piety, new theology, Congregational laypeople, old pieties

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