God’s Cold Warrior: The Life and Faith of John Foster Dulles

John D. Wilsey. Eerdmans, $21.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8028-7572-3
Wilsey (American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion), associate professor of church history at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, delivers a thoughtful biography of John Foster Dulles (1888–1959), Eisenhower’s secretary of state from 1953 to 1959. The author makes a cogent argument for considering Dulles’s Presbyterian faith as an important factor in his career, as Dulles believed America had a “God-given” responsibility to lead the world as well as conviction that “moral law” (in the form of Protestant theological doctrine) was an “invincible” force in the world. Dulles had formative experiences as a functionary at the Versailles Conference in 1919 and as a member of the Federal Council of Churches, where he pushed the modernist side of the modernist/fundamentalist debate over preaching and church dogma. By the time he entered the State Department, Dulles relied on his vision of America’s role in the world to dictate reconstructionist policy: “America was chosen by God, not passively, but to actively champion human freedom and protect peoples who were vulnerable to tyranny.” Readers with an interest in postwar politics will appreciate Wilsey’s perspective on what made his subject tick. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/05/2020
Release date: 02/01/2021
Genre: Religion
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