Book Review -- By: Anonymous
MBTJ 4:2 (Fall 2014) p. 187
Bauder, Kevin and Robert Delnay. One in Hope and Doctrine: Origins of Baptist Fundamentalism 1870-1950. Schaumburg, IL: Regular Baptist Books, 2014. 396 pages.
Baptist Fundamentalists and all those interested in twentieth-century Baptist history owe a debt of gratitude to Bauder and Delnay for this superb, thorough, and interesting account of American Baptist Fundamentalism in the first half of the twentieth century. They tell a story that had not been told at this level of detail or documentation, and it is a story Baptist Fundamentalists should know.
To set the context for the central story line, the authors review the history of the founding of the Northern Baptist Convention. Such a survey involves explaining the rise of theological liberalism in northern Baptist circles and the initial responses of Baptist conservatives to this alarming development. To those who are conversant with the treatments of this topic by Beale, Sandeen, and Marsden, this is a familiar story. Nevertheless, the authors tell it efficiently, clearly, and with reference to original sources. The freshness and originality of their writing—whether telling a new story or recounting a familiar one—ring throughout the volume.
The second chapter, which zeroes in on Baptist concerns after the founding of the NBC in 1907, gives a fresh slant on the subject by telling the story from the perspective of Oliver van Osdel. Van Osdel is somewhat neglected in the histories referenced above, and the authors rectify that by showing how pivotal he was to the unfolding drama of Baptist Fundamentalists wrestling with the question of nonconformity versus separation. While not perfect—the authors are brutally honest with every character they
MBTJ 4:2 (Fall 2014) p. 188
portray—van Osdel emerges as a hero of the book because of the clarity with which he perceived, as early as 1909, that Baptists would be better served to separate from the convention rather than attempting to reform it. He was twenty years ahead of his time, but his wise and patient leadership style gradually helped many younger men to sort out the real issues involved. He was a key founder of the first major dissent from the NBC—what became MOBA, the Michigan Orthodox Baptist Association; of the Baptist Bible Union, usually associated with bigger names like Riley, Shields, and Norris; and of the GARBC, when he was in his 80s. The authors say that van Osdel’s “influence would be difficult to overstate” (11); readers should be thankful that Bauder’s previous work on van Osdel—or much of it—is now available in this form.
The story of the BBU is extremely well told in Delnay’s dissertation, which was subsequently published as a book ...
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