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Fundamentalist Christian Evolution: 5 Key Events in History of Fundamentalist Movement

By    |   Friday, 06 Feb 2015 12:14 PM

Fundamentalist Christians in the early 20th century began responding to the rising liberal theology, which taught that people were responsible for changing and improving the world instead of relying on the word of God. Traditionalists desired a return to the essential teachings of the Bible.

Here are five key events that helped build the fundamentalist Christian movement through the 20th century and into the 21st century:

1. In 1909, Scholars at Princeton Theological Seminary wrote a 12-volume series called "The Fundamentals."  The project explained their views on the true meaning of the Bible. The tenets included the literal reading of the Bible, Christ as man and God, salvation through the Lord based on the crucifixion, the resurrection of Christ, and the Second Coming of Christ. Three million copies of the series were distributed to churches, schools and religious institutions. Followers of the tenets became known as fundamentalists.

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2. Fundamentalist Christians received widespread exposure during the famous 1925 Scopes Trial in Tennessee in which a teacher was arrested and convicted of teaching evolution in a public school. Although the fundamentalists appeared to win the case, which was later overturned, the event resulted in public ridicule and led to a splintering of the movement.

3. The fundamentalist movement remained a force among conservative believers, who withdrew from conventional denominations to adhere to their strict Biblical beliefs. Carl McIntire, a minister who later founded the Bible Presbyterian Church, advocated denouncing deviations from traditional Christian beliefs and a separation from liberal theologians and believers. He helped form the American Council of Christian Churches in 1942. Fundamentalist groups also formed the International Council of Christian Churches in 1948.

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4. Televangelism began increasing in the 1970s. Jerry Falwell, a popular televangelist, founded Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1971 and then established the Moral Majority in 1979, moving the fundamentalist movement into politics. The Moral Majority crusaded against the moral decline of social and cultural trends, supporting political issues through lobbying efforts.

5. Fundamentalist Christians further entered the political arena by becoming a strong part of the Republican Party in the 1980s. Pat Robertson, a successful televangelist and founder of the Christian Coalition, ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for president in 1988. Following the 1992 Republican Convention, the overwhelming presence of fundamentalists resulted in criticism from those inside and outside the party. Party officials began toning down the movement's involvement, but some Republican candidates continue to seek support from fundamentalist Christians.

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Fundamentalist Christians in the early 20th century began responding to the rising liberal theology, which taught that people were responsible for changing and improving the world instead of relying on the word of God.
Fundamentalists, Christians, Movement, Evolution
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2015-14-06
Friday, 06 Feb 2015 12:14 PM
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