Only 60 years later, it is difficult to imagine the pitiable state of evangelical scholarship as it looked at the end of World War II. "Fundamentalist" was the more typical title to designate the whole movement we now call "evangelical," and to be a "fundamentalist" meant, with very few exceptions, that one stood outside mainstream academia. Ever since the Scopes "Monkey Trial" of 1925, fundamentalism had been identified with anti-intellectualism. In the 1940s most of the small number of accomplished fundamentalist scholars were found in a few separatist seminaries and Bible schools.

Harold John Ockenga and his associates hoped to reverse this trend and bring Bible-based scholarship back into the mainstream. Their hopes for intellectual renewal were part of a larger strategy, built first on national revival. Beginning with aggressive evangelism, they hoped to restore evangelical influences throughout American culture.

Separating from separatism

One early organizational step was to found the National Association of Evangelicals in 1942. The name of the new organization signaled the beginning of a return to the 19th-century term "evangelical" to designate their movement. For Ockenga the change in terminology meant a repudiation of what he regarded as the mistaken separatist tendencies among fundamentalists. In their zeal to counter theological modernists, many militants had withdrawn from mainstream institutions to form their own "pure" schools and churches. Some were making such separatism a virtual test of genuine commitment.

A classic instance had occurred at Princeton Theological Seminary while Ockenga was studying there. In 1929 conservatives left Princeton to form ...

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