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The Fundamentalist-Modernist Conflict. The Rise of The Culture Wars. Christian America. Great Awakenings: Development of national consciousness Idea that God had chosen America for purpose Development of Evangelicalism as movement stressing personal religious experience. Coming of Modernism.

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the fundamentalist modernist conflict

The Fundamentalist-Modernist Conflict

The Rise of The Culture Wars

christian america
Christian America
  • Great Awakenings:
    • Development of national consciousness
    • Idea that God had chosen America for purpose
    • Development of Evangelicalism as movement stressing personal religious experience
coming of modernism
Coming of Modernism
  • Charles Darwin (1809-82)
    • Origin of Species (1859)
    • Descent of Man (1871)
  • Theory of Evolution challenged biblical account of creation
  • Biblical Higher Criticism
    • Documentary theories
    • Search for the Historical Jesus
    • Denied divine inspiration of Scripture
liberal christianity
Liberal Christianity
  • Bible is human book
  • Optimism about humanity
  • God works through human institutions
  • Focus on Christ as human example of God-consciousness
  • Denial of miracles & supernatural, including virgin birth & resurrection
  • Denial of atonement; preferred moral influence theory
  • Emphasis on this life & social gospel not evangelism
  • Rational theology; non-exclusive faith; tolerance
  • Truth evolves; Christian doctrine is developmental
liberal christianity1
Liberal Christianity

“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross”

H. Richard Niebuhr

  • Conservative reaction: Fundamentalism
    • 1920, Curtis Lee Laws, editor of Watchman Examiner coined term “fundamentalists”
  • Five Fundamentals:
    • Verbal inspiration of Scripture
    • Virgin birth & deity of Christ
    • Substitutionary atonement of Christ
    • Bodily resurrection of Christ
    • Physical, imminent return of Christ
  • General characteristics
    • Inerrancy
    • Dispensational Premillenialism
      • John Nelson Darby (1800-82)
      • Cyrus Scofield (1843-1921) & Scofield Bible
    • Separatism
      • Bob Jones (1883-1968)
      • Carl McIntire (1906-2002)
    • Cross-denominational
      • Especially Presbyterians & Baptists
  • “Princeton Theology”
    • Calvinism; Infallibility of Scripture; Scottish Philosophy of Common Sense
    • Charles Hodge (1797-1878); A.A. Hodge (1823-86); B.B. Warfield (1851-1921)
  • John Gresham Machen (1881-1937)
    • Left Princeton due to growing liberalism
    • Formed Westminster Theological Seminary (1929); Orthodox Presbyterian Church (1936)
  • Split: Presbyterian Church USA & Presbyterian Church in America
northern baptists
Northern Baptists
  • William Bell Riley (1861-1947): pastor of FBC, Minneapolis; founder of Northwestern College
    • 1922 Convention, proposed adoption of New Hampshire Confession
    • Liberals countered with New Testament as “all-sufficient ground of our faith & practice”
southern baptists
Southern Baptists
  • J. Frank Norris (1877-1952): pastor of FBC, Fort Worth, & Temple Baptist, Detroit – simultaneously!
    • Flamboyant preacher & moral crusader against liberalism, Catholicism, communism, evolution
    • Kicked out of BGCT & SBC; organized World Missionary Baptist Fellowship; Fundamental Baptist Bible Institute (now Arlington Bible College)
    • Accused of arson (twice) & murder; but acquitted
    • “Ten Biggest Devils in Fort Worth – Names Named!”
southern baptists1
Southern Baptists
  • Edgar Young Mullins (1860-1928): 4th President of Southern Seminary
  • In response to threats of liberalism & accusations by Norris, Mullins sponsored & edited Baptist Faith & Message (1925)
scopes monkey trial
Scopes Monkey Trial
  • Theory of Evolution became flashpoint for Fundamentalist-Modernist debate
  • Laws against teaching it were passed in several states, including Tennessee
  • ACLU convinced John Scopes, biology teacher in Dayton, to test the law
scopes monkey trial1
Scopes Monkey Trial
  • ACLU hired Clarence Darrow for defense
  • Prosecution led by William Jennings Bryan
  • Dubbed “Trial of Century” & broadcast on radio
scopes monkey trial2
Scopes Monkey Trial
  • In a surprise move, Darrow called Bryan to testify; Bryan agreed: “I am simply trying to protect the Word of God against the greatest atheist or agnostic in the U.S.”
  • Darrow: “We have the purpose of preventing bigots & ignoramuses from controlling the education of the U.S.”
scopes monkey trial3
Scopes Monkey Trial
  • Darrow pressed Bryan on date of Flood: “What do you think that the Bible says?”
  • Bryan: “I never made a calculation”
  • Darrow: “What do you think?”
  • Bryan: “I do not think about things I don’t think about”
  • Darrow: “Do you think about things you do think about?”
  • Bryan: “Well, sometimes”
scopes monkey trial4
Scopes Monkey Trial
  • Bryan: “Your Honor, I think I can shorten this testimony. The only purpose Mr. Darrow has is to slur at the Bible!”
  • Darrow: “I object to that! I am examining you on your fool ideas that no intelligent Christian on earth believes!”
scopes monkey trial5
Scopes Monkey Trial
  • Jury found Scopes guilty of violating Tennessee law & fined him $100
  • Decision was reversed on technicality
  • Story made into movie: Inherit the Wind
aftermath of scopes trial
Aftermath of Scopes Trial
  • Fundamentalism was dismissed as rural, narrow-minded, backward, anti-intellectual
  • Northern Presbyterians & Baptists lost their denominations to liberals
  • Liberal reaction to demise of fundamentalism:
    • “Event now passed;” dysfunctional mutation away from main line of religious evolution
    • If not dead, it was no longer force in American thought & culture
    • Relegated to “mean streets” of America, “everywhere that learning is too heavy a burden”
    • It no longer appealed to “best brains & good sense of modern community”
aftermath of scopes trial1
Aftermath of Scopes Trial
  • Fundamentalists regrouped:
    • Bible colleges
    • Mission organizations
    • Radio
    • Publications
    • Powerful pastors with large congregations
  • Liberal, mainline denominations declined as their theology has declined
    • “It’s difficult for church to survive if there’s nothing that makes church distinct from culture”
neo evangelicalism
  • 1943, National Association of Evangelicals founded: “kinder, gentler” fundamentalism
  • Leaders: Harold Ockenga, pastor of Park Street Church in Boston, later president of Fuller Seminary
  • Charles Fuller of Old Fashioned Revival Hour
  • Carl F.H. Henry, 1st editor of Christianity Today
  • Billy Graham
religious right
Religious Right
  • Jerry Falwell & Moral Majority, involved in election of Ronald Reagan in 1980
  • Pat Robertson, founder of 700 Club, presidential candidate in 1988
  • James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, involved in Culture Wars
    • Abortion
    • Homosexual rights
american evangelicalism
American Evangelicalism
  • Influence in media
    • Christian Contemporary Music – $1B per year
    • The Passion of the Christ (2004) - $600M
    • Left Behind Series – over 60M in sales
american evangelicalism1
American Evangelicalism
  • Power in politics
    • Connected to election of Republican candidates since 1980