The preaching of Harold John Ockenga as a response to the perceived excesses of fundamentalism
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SubjectOckenga, Harold John, 1905-1985
Norris, J. Frank (John Frank), 1877-1952
McIntire, Carl, 1906-2002
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This dissertation analyzes the preaching of Harold John Ockenga as a response to fundamentalism and as a demonstration of neo-evangelicalism. Chapter 1 displays the cleavage between fundamentalism and neo-evangelicalism, and introduces Ockenga's approach to what he considered the excesses of fundamentalism. Chapter 2 outlines the key events and leaders in the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy. It reveals how the controversy set the stage for the creation of the neoevangelical movement under Ockenga's leadership. Chapter 3 provides a biographical sketch of Ockenga's life and ministry. This chapter reveals how his ecumenical rearing and education provided the proper training for his leadership responsibilities as a pastor, seminary president, and neo-evangelical leader. Chapter 4 analyzes Ockenga's preaching. It describes his preaching methodology, types of sermons, and the impact of his preaching. This chapter concludes with an assessment of the neo-evangelicalism displayed in Ockenga's preaching. Chapter 5 provides a description of the ministries of J. Frank Norris and Carl McIntire. It also provides an analysis of a sermon in which Ockenga outlines his disagreements with fundamentalists. The bulk of this chapter examines the doctrinal and practical emphases of Ockenga's sermons and compares and contrasts them with representative sermons and writings by J. Frank Norris and Carl McIntire. The analysis reveals their common emphasis on liberalism, communism, and separation and shows that although Ockenga agreed with Norris and McIntire on the first two issues, he took a different approach in addressing them. This chapter also reveals the ground of Ockenga's concern and disagreement over separation. Chapter 6 provides a concluding synthesis to this dissertation. It ties together Ockenga's spiritual formation, education, and experience, which informed his neoevangelical preaching. This chapter concludes that although he clearly and publicly disagreed with fundamentalists on certain issues, Ockenga displayed his neo-evangelicalism by employing the pulpit to proclaim what he approved more than what he rejected.