Critics of Christian fundamentalism seem think they have the movement in a box, all neatly packaged and easily dismissed to historical oblivion. Yet despite this it survives and even flourishes today. Likewise even the modern evangelical might be tempted to treat the fundamentalist with a bit of disdain and disrespect for an apparent lack of social and intellectual engagement. Reading Dr. Wenger's dissertation (published more than 30 years after its original completion) provides us with some insights into the mind and behavior of the fundamentalists of the (roughly) 1920s, breaks down some stereotypes, and gives us an honest historical appraisal of the leaders and teachers of this movement.
Dr. Wenger answers the stereotypes in five parts. The first is a discussion of the faith of the fundamentalist, their origin and geography, and how they came to unity. These are framed in relationship to the fundamentalist reaction to particular theological and philosophical issues, which leads to the second step, the mind of the fundamentalist. The third concern is the relationship of the church to the nation and their response to the questions hint of some of today's responses. The fourth matter is the churches relationship to minorities, especially blacks and Jews. The fifth and final matter is the church and social concerns.
What is Dr. Wenger's conclusion about fundamentalism as it stands up against these stereotypes? You'll need to read pages 289-290 for the answer.
Fundamentalism is not what many think it is. I find this an important book if, for nothing else, that we remember our heritage, for the evangelical stands beside the fundamentalist on 99.9% of the matters at hand.
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