For a long while I have wanted to write a short message on a subject which we read about in every edition of our religious magazines: the modernist-fundamentalist debate. To be sure, each article in our religious press does not take form in such bold and concise structure. Yet the theological biases of the authors underlie all the articles, and the writers usually can be placed into some general category. I do not object to this. In fact, I do not object to being classified myself, if I am classified correctly. What I object to is the false classification of men, and worse yet, the usually erroneous definition of one of the vital classifications. I refer to that of historic contemporary fundamentalism, or, if you want two better terms, the old fundamentalism, or the old evangelical ism. It does not seem to occur to most of our scholars that there are such animals as these yet living; yet if I am not mistaken, they form the largest group faithful to the Word of God today.

Before going further in our definition of this group, however, I myself would like to fall into the sin of making some classifications. In Protestant Christianity today there are five classifications: (1) the new liberalism, (2) the new orthodoxy, (3) the new evangelicalism, (4) the new fundamentalism, (5) the historic contemporary fundamentalism.

The new liberalism finds its chief exponent in Bultmann and his effort to demythologize Scripture. The new orthodoxy is now quite old, finding its chief exposition in its greatest theologian, Karl Barth, and becoming utterly confused in Paul Tillich. The term new evangelicalism was coined by Harold John Ockenga but has been driven to further and perhaps dangerous extremes by some of its more recent exponents. The ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: