The Niagara Bible Conference And American Fundamentalism -- By: Larry D. Pettegrew
CenQ 20:2 (Summer 1977) p. 2
The Niagara Bible Conference And American Fundamentalism
Pillsbury Baptist Bible College Owatonna, Minnesota
[Part three in a series. This article is a portion of Dr. Pettegrew’s Th.D. dissertation at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas, and printed with permission. The dissertation is entitled “The Historical and Theological Contributions of the Niagara Bible Conference to American Fundamentalism.”]
II. The Development Of The Niagara Bible Conference
In 1883, the Believers’ Meeting for Bible Study moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, there to remain for fourteen years. During this time the Conference came to full maturity, with large attendance and famous speakers addressing the people as they gathered together. By the last three years that the Conference met at Niagara, 1895–1897, it was evident that the meetings were beginning to decline. Those meetings will be discussed in a later chapter.
The task of this chapter is to study the Niagara Bible Conference from 1883 through 1894. First, the setting of the conferences will be discussed
CenQ 20:2 (Summer 1977) p. 3
by a description of Niagara-on-the-Lake and by a brief notice of Agnes Dick, the one who invited the Believers’ Meeting to Niagara. Secondly, a historical survey of the conferences during this time will be given with attention focused on new and significant developments at the meetings. Then the theology of the Niagara men as taught at the conferences will be discussed, with particular attention given to three doctrines of major significance: Bibliology, Eschatology, and Ecclesiology.
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, was located in a beautiful area at the joining of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, some fourteen miles from Niagara Falls.1 Its potential for the setting of the Bible meetings was obvious to those who knew of the place. One who later attended the meetings writes.
Take the summer through, a cooler, purer, more bracing atmosphere cannot be found perhaps on the Continent. A restful feeling comes over one, the moment he steps on the wide verandah of the hotel, and gazes out upon the blue lake, stretching away in the distance like a boundless sea. His eye will fall at once upon the white sails of a vessel, apparently hanging motionless on the horizon, and outlined against the sky, bringing to him somehow thoughts of childhood, home and the dear ones who are gone, and the peace of heaven. If one is fond of silence and solitude, as every man ought to be in this poor world, he can wander alon...
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