Fundamentalism  – why it didn’t last

1.  Scopes Trial

2.  Differences among

A.  Prohibitionists/ anti-evolutionists, dispensationalists

B.  Calvinist Presbyterians  –  Warfield, Machen

C.  Pentecostals

D.  Ethnic Protestant groups (Dutch, German, Swede… remained ethnic)

E.  Arminians

The tearing apart of Protestantism in the twenties…is one of the major incidents of American religious history. Its full consequences for culture and society keep revealing themselves differently with each passing decade. (Historian Martin Marty)

(Soon only the A group above retained the label of fundamentalists)

3. Great Depression – fundamentalist causes lacked funds

4. Growing non fundamentalists numbers

A.  Immigration

B.  Candidacy of Al Smith (1928) Roman Catholic against Herbert Hoover (descended from Quakers) Smith received 60% more votes than any Dem. candidate, showed political strength of non-protestants. Smith’s candidacy pointed to perhaps the most important religious development of the decade – growing awareness that American life was no longer exclusively dominated by white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant culture. (Mark Noll)

5.  Denominational splits

A.  Baptists –  1932 – Baptist Bible Union (today GARB) split from more liberal Northern Baptist Convention

B.  Mainline churches remained open to liberalism

C.  Presbyterianism  – Pearl Buck served as a Presbyterian missionary wrote, The old mission ideas about saving the heathen were superstitious and the real character of Christianity was found in Christ’s example.  The old reasons for missions are gone from the hearts and minds of many of us.  (Buck)

D.  Independent Board of Missions – Gospel

E.  Trial – Machen found guilty – withdrew – formed OPC 1936

1. )  Presbyterian fundamentalists (wanted probation platform and allowed dispensationalism –  Reformed Protestants were against prohibition platform for ministers and saw dispensationalism as against the Westminster Confession)

2.) Bible Presbyterian Church, Carl McIntyr and J. Olive Buswel split

6.   Black and white thinking of revivalism doesn’t work

A.  America vs. world

B.  Immediate conversion vs. dead orthodoxy

C.  YE, Six-day creationism vs. scientific discovery

D.  Supernatural direct understanding of Bible vs. the need for an educated clergy

E.  End of world vs. optimism

F.  Worldliness defined as things (dancing, cards, alcohol, entertainment, clothing) vs. participation in culture

Share This