The Origins of Baptist Fundamentalism

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by Truth Seeker, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. Truth Seeker

    Truth Seeker
    Expand Collapse

    May 11, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Based on what I read online and in print it appears that Baptist fundamentalism in the South was started during the 1920's by then SBC J. Frank Norris. Now my question is, do we know how Baptist fundamentalism was started in the North? Was it prior to J. Frank Norris?

    I know they were fundamentalists prior to J. Frank Norris, but what I'm referring to is when did the first IFB church got started? Wasn't the First Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX the first IFB church?
  2. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
    Expand Collapse

    Jul 4, 2000
    Likes Received:
    We know about the origins of Fundamentalism in the North from the histories of the GARBC and the FBFI. I won't say its prior, but more like contemporaneous. Also, remember due to The Late Hostilities, a gap still remained between the Northern and Southern Baptists.
  3. TCassidy

    Expand Collapse

    Mar 30, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Baptist Fundamentalism had its start on the floor of the Northern Baptist Convention in 1920 when William Bell Riley, Senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota, stood and, in a fiery speech, denounced the Modernism and Theological Liberalism of the Northern Baptist Convention.

    His speech was not unexpected as he had written a book, "The Menace of Modernism" (New York: Christian Alliance, 1917) exposing the Modernism of the NBC.

    This led to the organization in 1920 of the National Federation of Fundamentalists of the Northern Baptists.

    The more militant fundamentalists withdrew from the NBC in 1932 and formed the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches.

    Fundamentalists organized the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society in 1943 and in 1946 the Fundamentalist Fellowship changed its name to Conservative Baptist Fellowship and was instrumental in organizing the Conservative Baptist Association of America in 1947 and the Conservative Baptist Home Mission Society in 1948.

    But disagreements arose (after all, they were Baptists!) which caused the Fellowship to organize the World Conservative Baptist Mission (now Baptist World Mission), which would only appoint missionaries who were premillennial in eschatology.

    In 1967, the Conservative Baptist Fellowship broke all ties with the Conservative Baptist Association movement and took the name Fundamental Baptist Fellowship of America (now International).

    Some of the members of the CBA formed the New Testament Association of Independent Baptist Churches in 1965.

    The "Great Triumvirate of the Fundamental Baptists" were the previously mentioned W.B. Riley of Minneapolis, T.T. Shields of Jarvis Street Baptist Church in Toronto, Canada, and, of course, J. Frank Norris of Texas.

    In around 1937 Norris organized a group of independent, premillennial Baptist churches into the Premillennial Missionary Baptist Fellowship (later the World Baptist Fellowship), to try to combat what he believed were socialist, liberal, and "modernist" tendencies within the Southern Baptist Convention.

    Norris's group established the Fundamentalist Baptist Bible Institute, now called Arlington Baptist College. The famous John Birch was a graduate of Norris's school.

    In 1950 a group of men broke away from Norris and formed the Baptist Bible Fellowship which now centers around the Baptist Bible College of Springfield, Missouri.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Jerome

    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Recent book: One in Hope and Doctrine: Origins of Baptist Fundamentalism, 1870–1950. By Kevin Bauder and Robert Delnay. Schaumburg, Ill.: Regular Baptist Books, 2014

    pdf (first chapter and index)

    Reviewed in Church History (85:02 June 2016, pp. 412 - 414):

    "Bauder and Delnay go beyond previous scholars in showing both the influence and destruction wreaked by J. Frank Norris (disclosure: this reviewer is a Norris biographer). Norris appears all over the first several chapters of the book, but chapter eight is titled, “The Norris Legacy,” and it is not pretty. Norris’s rhetorical violence, bullying, and unethical behavior among Southern Baptists has been documented before, but not his same activities in the Midwest. There is no surprise here, of course, except that the authors make a fairly strong case that Norris was a serial sexual harasser and possibly engaged in sexual assault in at least one instance. If the fundamentalist heirs of Norris believe their founder has been maligned by non-fundamentalist scholars, they’ve seen nothing yet. This book documents heavily the extent to which Norris sought to destroy, not just moderates and liberals in the South, but true fundamentalists in the Midwest with whom he had disagreements. As the authors write in their preface, “[Fundamentalism] features fools, predators, toadies, hypocrites, power grabbers, and character assassins as well as humble servants, insightful leaders, and heroic warriors” (14). Norris is the prime example of the bad actors; Van Osdel and Ketchum are among the humble servants. Thankfully, there were far more of the latter."
    • Informative Informative x 1

Share This Page