The Niagara Bible Conference And American Fundamentalism -- By: Larry D. Pettegrew

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 20:4 (Winter 1977)
Article: The Niagara Bible Conference And American Fundamentalism
Author: Larry D. Pettegrew


The Niagara Bible Conference And American Fundamentalism

Larry D. Pettegrew, Th.D.

Central Baptist Theological Seminary Minneapolis, Minnesota

[Part five and last 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.”]

V. The Aftermath Of The Niagara Bible Conference

When the Niagara Bible Conference stopped meeting after 1900, the outcome of the controversy between the pretribulationlists and the posttribuiationalists was in serious doubt. By taking over the periodical, The Watchword and Truth, and thus being able to set the editorial position, the posttribulationalists had taken the offensive. At this time, however, the

pretribulationalists took on new life. One man in particular arose to mold the pretribulationalists into a strong movement; a new Bible Conference was started to perpetuate the pretribulational witness of some of the Niagara men; and a Bible with dispensational notes in it was published which soon was to have great influence on evangelical Christianity.

This chapter, then, will examine the aftermath of the Niagara Bible Conference. First, the continuing controversy between pretribulationalism and postribulationalism will be discussed. Second, the rise of A.C. Gaebelein to leadership among pretribulationalists will be surveyed. Third, the Sea Cliff Bible Conference will be studied as the direct successor to the Niagara Bible Conference, and as the location for the initiation of the fourth important development of these early years of the twentieth century, the Scofield Reference Bible. By the end of the time period covered in this chapter, the nature of American Fundamentalism was well on its way to being set.

The Leader: A. C. Gaebelein

Pastoral Ministry

In the years following the demise of the Niagara Bible Conference, a new leader, A.C. Gaebelein, arose to instill new life into the pretribulational camp. Sandeen gives this general evaluation of Gaebelein:

Arno C. Gaebelein, ambitious and conscientious, provided the spark for the millenarian movement during the first two decades of the twentieth century. Rather than withdrawing to lick his wounds, Gaebelein led his followers in a vigorous campaign of expansion.1

Arno Clemens Gaebelien was born August 27, 1861, in Germany. When he was twelve years old he had a “definite experience” in which ...

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