Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism

Article excerpt

Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism.

By Joel A. Carpenter. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1997. Pp. xiv, 335. $30.

This is a splendid account of fundamentalism from the 1930s to the 1950s. It builds on the work of George Marsden and Ernest Sandeen, who chronicled the origins of the fundamentalist movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Contrary to some interpretations that argued for the demise of fundamentalism, Joel Carpenter shows how vibrant the movement was during these decades.

Carpenter, who is provost of Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, stages a lover's quarrel with his subject. Raised as a fundamentalist but no longer adhering to its tenets, he documents in detail the highly contentious environment of fundamentalism and its combative leaders.

Three crucial themes stand out. First, the fundamentalists of this era were institution builders. Driven from the ranks of mainline Protestantism and even separating from each other, they created an array of institutions and organizations that now compose a vast network to nurture the fundamentalist faith. …