Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth Century Evangelicalism, 1870-1925

By George M. Marsden | Go to book overview

Keswick Bible teachers, with whom the Princeton party had many disagreements, looked more and more like worthwhile allies. The conservative wing of the Presbyterian church, of which Princeton was only the leading edge, already included some prominent leaders from the more evangelistically oriented movement. Although Princeton and the interdenominational Bible teachers' movement developed their views of Scripture and of the essential importance of the supernatural for independent reasons, they had much in common philosophically, and therefore spoke the same language and defended the faith in similar fashion. 31

The emergence of this alliance is most clearly perceptible in the foundation in 1903 of the Bible League of North America. This organization, with its journal, The Bible Student and Teacher, was initially dedicated to semipopular scholarly defense of the faith. It had the leadership predominantly of prominent conservative professors at Northern and Southern Presbyterian seminaries. Soon, however, dispensationalists became active in the movement, regular contributors to the journal (on non-dispensationalist themes), and board members. 32 By 1913 board membership of the journal had been expanded well beyond the alliance of conservative Presbyterians and dispensationalists, with the editorship in the hands of a Methodist. The journal's name was changed to the Bible Champion, which signalled a more militant and popular stance. This anti-modernist coalition had one principal goal- "to maintain the historic faith of the Church in the divine inspiration and authority of the Bible as the Word of God." 33 The outlines of a broad fundamentalist alliance were emerging.


XIV. The Fundamentals

The Fundamentals was conceived by a Southern California oil millionaire and edited by Bible teachers and evangelists. Published in twelve paperback volumes from 1910 to 1915, it was meant to be a great "Testimony to the Truth" and even something of a scholarly tour de force. Lyman Stewart, the chief promoter and financial backer, described the prospective authors as "the best and most loyal Bible teachers in the world." He had a business‐ man's confidence that the product would "doubtless be the masterpieces of the writers." 1 Stewart hired as his first editor A. C. Dixon, a well-known evangelist and author, then pastor of Moody Church in Chicago. He had greatly impressed Stewart with a sermon attacking "one of those infidel professors in Chicago." 2 Dixon and two successors, Louis Meyer (a Jewish‐ Christian evangelist) and Reuben Torrey, assembled a rather formidable

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