In this article, I’ll very briefly outline what historic fundamentalism is; specifically American fundamentalism. I cannot hope to discuss the genesis of the movement in a comprehensive fashion here, but hopefully it is helpful to the fundamentalist community at large, both as a brief summary introduction to the movement or as a refresher to faithful warriors still on the field of battle!
This material will be old-hat to many of you. Some may never even read it because it may tread the same ground you’ve trod many times before. I believe it is important, however, to remind ourselves of how fundamentalism started, and visit old battlefields of the past periodically. We cannot understand our movement unless we grasp how it all began.
This is the first in a three part series examining, in sequence, (1) the historic roots of fundamentalism, (2) the historic roots of evangelicalism and (3) the idea of secondary separation.
What is Fundamentalism?
Just what in the world is fundamentalism? Numerous authors have provided their own definitions throughout the years.
George Marsden writes,
A fundamentalist is an evangelical who is angry about something. That seems simple and is fairly accurate…. A more precise statement of the same point is that an American fundamentalist is an evangelical who is militant in opposition to liberal theology in the churches or to changes in cultural values or mores, such as those associated with “secular humanism.” In either the long or the short definitions, fundamentalists are a subtype of evangelicals and militancy is crucial to their outlook. Fundamentalists are not just religious conservatives; they are conservatives who are willing to take a stand and to fight. (4)
William Ayer observes, read more