A Polemic For Fundamentalism -- By: Alfred U. Russell

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 03:4 (Winter 1960)
Article: A Polemic For Fundamentalism
Author: Alfred U. Russell


A Polemic For Fundamentalism

Alfred U. Russell

First Baptist Church, Lakeview, Oregon

The triumph of the proponents of a naturalistic liberal theology has been so thorough since the turn of the century that those who hold to and defend Biblical theology might well be forgiven if they were to cry, “Our hope is lost!” Biblical criticism on the one hand, and the evolutionary hypotheses on the other have so assailed the citadel of faith that its complete overthrow is being confidently predicted in some liberal circles.

Origins And Backgrounds

Much has been written concerning the origin of destructive criticism; that infidelity had much to do with its inception and spread is an undeniable fact. We cite the names of Aben Ben Ezra, Spinoza, Hobbes, and that of Voltaire in support of this statement. But these unbelievers readily found disciples of their unbelief within the ranks of the church itself. Semler, Ruess, Kuenen, and Wellhausen, to name just a few of the more vocal European theologians soon began to direct the shafts of their poisonous criticism against the integrity and authenticity of the Biblical documents. In the universities, gymnasia and theological halls of Germany destructive criticism began to flourish and prevail as far back as one hundred and fifty years ago. Men calling themselves Christians and holding high office as Bible teachers and theological professors began to theorize concerning the Scriptures; they wrote and talked about them as they would the pagan authors, and it was not long before faith flew out the window, and scepticism and infidelity came in. It was a sorry thing for the church.

The spread of Biblical criticism during the last two decades of the nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth century spread alarm within the ranks of godly Christian people, and this was the genesis of what came to be known as “Fundamentalism.” Front ranking Biblical scholars soon sprang to the defense of the Biblical narratives and documents, exposing the fallacy and unworthy basis of the attacks being made. In 1917 the Lyman Stuart Foundation sponsored a number of booklets containing a series of treatise written in defense of historic Christianity; they were entitled “The Fundamentals,” and very soon the appellation “Fundamentalist” was being attached to Bible-believing Christians everywhere. There is an attempt being made to belittle Fundamentalism by talking of Pentecostals, snake charmers, holy rollers, and Mormons as being fundamentalists; the fact is that Fundamentalism had its commencement among scholars and trained theologians, men whose hearts and minds had been outraged by the many wild and insensate attacks being made upon the Christian Scriptures, and through this upon the whole structure o...

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