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Post Fundamentalists and Evangelicals
Created by John Eipper on 05/07/17 8:36 AM

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Fundamentalists and Evangelicals (Robert Whealey, USA, 05/07/17 8:36 am)

Garry Wills, a liberal Catholic, has traced Fundamentalism back to the Great Awakening. That is his historical rewrite and interpretation.

My mother who belong to a Fundamentalist Methodist Church and quoted her minister, who claimed the movement as having started among a small group of Princeton theologians in 1910. Their theology was caused by the rejection of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. The first Fundamentalist principle was that the earth was created in six days. The second principle of Fundamentalism was that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, which contradicted all scientific understanding. Paradoxically, the Fundamentalists had no problem with the Roman Catholics about the Virgin Mary, but the Catholics later invented a new doctrine, the Immaculate Conception.

Fundamentalists in 1948 were usually pious people who did not have an education beyond high school. In 1948 Billy Graham, who was originally a Methodist Fundamentalist, could see that he could make more converts in Yankee Stadium on TV by calling himself an "Evangelical." The Evangelicals were far more liberal and came from the idea that John the Baptist called himself an Evangelical. Gradually in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Fundamentalists gave up their hard and fast dogmatism and became more flexible Evangelicals.

Today there are conservative Evangelicals and liberal Evangelicals. I don't think I ever met a Fundamentalist after I left college in 1952. In 1948 at Bates College, there were only two or three Fundamentalists on campus. And I had a great debate during my freshman year with a half a dozen students.

When I arrived on the Bates campus in September 1949, I told my roommate Stelian Dukakis, the brother of the more famous Micheal Dukakis, that I was no longer a Fundamentalist. Stelian, raised in the Greek Orthodox Church, laughed. Later Stelian took me to Beacon Street, the First Unitarian Church on the Boston Commons. This was my first visit to any Unitarian Church. Later Michael Dukakis married Kitty in a Unitarian Church.

JE comments:  Are there any Liberal Evangelicals left?  And a second question:  Doesn't the Catholic doctrine of Immaculate Conception go back centuries?  Ed Jajko--can you answer this?

I was curious and did a Google search:  Stelian Dukakis died in a bicycle accident in 1973.


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