At AllFaith.com I share numerous studies into the world's religions based on my personal quest for Truth. Over the years this research has led me to embrace Judaism. That is now the main focus of the domain.
On my blogs I share many of these studies and invite your questions and comments.
Also see my Xanga Blog.
~ John of AllFaith
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Christian Fundamentalism: Its Origins and Essentials
The "textbook" of Fundamentalist Christians is the Authorized King James Version (KJV) of the Bible (some use the New King James now but most revere the KJV as the Pure Word of God). Such Christians usually refer to themselves not as "Fundamentalists" but as "Bible Believing Christians."
Toward the end of the 1800's Christianity began undergoing a rather major revision (sometimes known as the Third Great Awakening -- see the link above). This modern reformation was spawned by two contrary movements:
1. Versions of Humanism and the new sciences ("Liberal Christianity," the growing popularity of Universalism, "New Thought," Interfaith/Ecumenism, the introduction of Eastern concepts, Darwinism -- a bit later) and so on.
2. The rise of new sects like the Russelites (such as the Bible Students Association, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Dawn Bible Students etc), the Millerites (Adventism etc), the LDS (i.e. the Later Day Saints or Mormon sects), the resurgence of Catholicism, the 312 Azusa Street Revival of 1906 (including Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement), the diverse attempts to restore Christianity to its First Century doctrinal roots, and similar factors.
Many traditional Protestants (correctly) felt their beliefs were being threatened by these new movements and beliefs and hence sought to reinvigorate their doctrinal systems.
The Presbyterian conference of 1910 established "the five fundamentals" and determined that any teaching that that did not include all five of these essential doctrines had erred from the traditional Protestant faith and were guilty (to some degree) of heresy.
2. The divinity of Jesus
3. The Virgin Birth
4. The belief that Jesus died to redeem humankind
5. An expectation of the Second Coming or physical return of Jesus Christ to initiate his thousand-year rule of the Earth, which came to be known as the Millennium.
Those who accepted "the five fundamentals" were accepted as being "fundamentalist" in their beliefs. As other Christians joined the movement to "restore the fundamentals of the faith" the list was expanded and developed, in part to exclude ever more groups and views the Fundamentalists did not agree with doctrinally.
"The Fundamentals" (or The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth) was edited by A. C. Dixon and later by Reuben Archer Torrey and consists of 90 essays in 12 volumes. They were published between 1910 to 1915 by the Bible Institute of Los Angeles.
These essays form the basis of what today is considered the Fundamentalist Movement and are embraced to various degrees by several Protestant Christian denominations.