The Victory Of Fundamentalism In The Minnesota Baptist Convention -- By: Dell G. Johnson

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 020:1 (Spring 1977)
Article: The Victory Of Fundamentalism In The Minnesota Baptist Convention
Author: Dell G. Johnson

The Victory Of Fundamentalism In The Minnesota Baptist Convention

Dell G. Johnson

Pillsbury Baptist Bible College Owatonna, Minnesota


An atomic bomb was dropped upon the battlefield of the secular and religious world with the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species in 1859. He biological application of the principle of uniformitarianism provided the systematization and framework for a new world outlook. Western culture from the time of Constantine in the fourth century to the twentieth century had accepted a Christian view of life. After nineteen and one-half centuries of Biblical influence, the intellectual world discovered a more objective explanation of the earth’s inhabitants. This “new” discovery was immediately popular among the scholars of academia who never had felt very comfortable with the moral dictates of the Scriptures. Further, the new empirical approach to the study of life paralleled the proliferation of scientific inventions; thus, the ideology

was quickly accepted as a cognate. Theology was displaced as queen of the sciences and quickly became academically disfranchised in the university departments. Christianity was fast fading into the background as a legitimate description of the universe and science was, with each retreating step of Christianity, taking the place of prominence. The theologian, once regarded as a leader in the community, a drummer who beat out the rhythm to which the majority stepped, was replaced with the golden-mouthed Ph.D. scientist who could hear no evil, see no evil, and do no evil, and who could therefore offer no value judgments.

Such major cultural changes did not occur without devastating influence upon the ecclesiastical world. Christians, who from the time of Christ up to the mid-nineteenth century had accepted the Bible as their guidebook, now began to apply the conclusions of modern evolutionary scholarship to the Scriptures.1 This application resulted in a new psychological (Freudian) approach to man, a new hermeneutic in the critical approach to Scripture, and ultimately a new theology in the doctrinal understanding of God.

The bullets of this new theology whistled their way across the Atlantic and lodged themselves deep within the breasts of the major denominations of America. Hence, between the Civil War and 1900, the fortresses of American Christian orthodoxy were besieged by alien ideas from a foreign land. The scholars returning from Europe with their prestigious degrees gave the recently acquired “new theology” to the next ministerial generation. A time bomb had been planted by three demolition experts:

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