In an interview, quoted in The New York Times, Mr. Pultz said, "What a lot of people have missed over the years is that it is an appeal to tolerance. One of the remarkable things that people have said, after I preached, is how relevant it seems today."
In the sermon Fosdick asked: "When will the world learn that intolerance solves no problems?"
Fosdick added, "This is not a lesson which the Fundamentalists alone need to learn; liberals also need to learn it."
Fosdick numbered himself as a liberal. His chief concern was to fight for the proposition that we should always be open to new truth (John 15:12f.) and that truth is of one cloth—when properly understood, there can be no contradiction between scientific truth and religious truth.
While opposing fundamentalists in many ways, he also valued their contributions. In a later sermon, "A Fundamentalist Sermon by a Modernist Preacher," he declared:
You see, we modernists have often gotten at our faith by a negative process. We do not believe this. We do not believe that. We have given up this incredible idea or that obsolete doctrine. So we pare down and dim out our faith by negative abstractions until we have left only the ghostly remainder of what was once a great religion. Then seeing how few our positive convictions are and how little they matter, we grow easy going about everybody else’s convictions, and end in a mush of general concession. Then a crisis falls upon the individual soul, upon the family, upon the world at large, where a religion that is going to amount to anything must have deep conviction in it...Here in this church we will not stand for such thin modernism. O my soul, be broad in your sympathies but O my soul, go deep in your convictions.
©1996 C. David Hess