History And Polemic

A History of Fundamentalism in America by George W. Dollar (Bob Jones University Press, 1973, 411 pp., $6.95, $3.95 pb), is reviewed by H. Crosby Englizian, professor of church history, Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, Portland, Oregon.

George Dollar has done the evangelical church in America a great service with this volume on the history of fundamentalism. He narrates the goodness and glory of historic fundamentalism while also revealing its pettiness and misery. Because of the radically separatist stance, symbolized by the clenched fist on the jacket cover, Dollar has produced something more than a history. For the history, we are in his debt. For the rest, some of us who are evangelical historians are embarrassed.

Dollar’s account of fundamentalism prior to 1900 is welcome. Only a few scholars have endeavored to tell in some detail the values and significance of the prophetic conferences held near the close of the nineteenth century (in this connection, the researchers that brought to light the contributions of A. J. Gordon of Boston are noteworthy). The biographical data scattered throughout the book, and especially the seventy-six-page biographical index, are invaluable. One may wonder, however, why such early church figures as Clement, Constantine, and Augustine are included in such an index. Dollar is a student of preachers and Spirit-blessed preaching—a personal enthusiasm that enhances this effort.

The reader might begin his reading on page 279, where Dollar discusses “secondary separation,” and then ponder a while his definition of historic fundamentalism: “… the literal exposition of all the affirmations and attitudes of the Bible and the militant exposure of all non-Biblical affirmations ...

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