Fundamentalism v Liberalism
1910 – Lyman Stewart, a godly business man, recounted in a letter to Dr. A.C. Dixon regarding the first meeting between the two in the Auditorium of the Los Angeles Baptist Temple in 1909. Dr. Dixon had made a trip to California to speak. In one of his sermons he tore into the liberalism that was contaminating many from the University of Chicago. Stewart was in the audience and requested a meeting with the famed preacher who had pastored, at one time, the Moody Memorial Church in Chicago and the Spurgeon’s Tabernacle in London. Stewart proposed that Dr. Dixon should edit a series of booklets, which Stewart and his brother would finance, to counteract the liberalism of the day. Thus was born The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth. The first issue of twelve paperback volumes were sent free of charge to approximately 175,000 preachers in America. Though it did not stop modernism it was mightily used of God to strengthen the faith of Fundamentalists throughout the land and prepare them for the Fundamentalist-liberal battle in the days ahead. Dr. Dixon was born into the family of Thomas Dixon an outstanding Baptist preacher in Shelby, N.C. on July 6, 1854. At the age of 12 he received Christ and was baptized along with 97 other converts. He was called of God to preach and studied theology under Dr. John A. Broadus at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Greenville, S.C. He pastored several Baptist churches including the Hanson Park Baptist Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. In 1893 he was associated with Evangelist D.L. Moody in a Month long Revival Meeting at the World’s Fair. [Gerald L. Priest, A.C. Dixon, Chicago Liberals, and the Fundamentals. (Detroint Baptist Seminary Journal,) 1:113-14. (This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 630-32] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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The real root of fundamentalism
1863 – Dr. A.T. Robertson, universally known as the greatest Greek scholar of his day, was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. In that he died in 1934 he lived during the Fundamentalist/modernist battles. However, like many of his Southern brethren he never became involved in those controversies except to oppose A.H. Strong’s pantheism. Following is one of his most famous quotes: “Give a man an open Bible, an open mind, a conscience in good working order, and he will have a hard time to keep from being a Baptist.” Baptists have long held the tenet that the Bible is our only rule of faith and practice. Literal interpretation leads one to dispensational/premillennialism. In the early days Fundamentalists could be found in most denominations but today Fundamentalism is primarily a Baptist movement. All others refer to themselves as Evangelicals. Dr. A.J. Frost, a Baptist Bible teacher addressed the 1886 International Prophecy Conference with the thesis that the world’s moral condition was “growing worse, etc.” based on II Tim. 3:13. Ernest R. Sandeen concluded that millenarianism was the root of Fundamentalism. But the real root is the literal interpretation of God’s Word. Dr. Robertson taught the book of Colossians from his Greek N.T. in the Calvary Baptist Church in New York City as Dr. H.A. Ironsides listened. Then he listened as Dr. Ironsides taught 1st and 2nd Thessalonians in English. Dr. Robertson told Dr. Ironsides that if he had his life to live over again he would be much more positive about this matter concerning premillenialism, because in all of his ministry he had never met a premillennialist who was a Modernist. [George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), p. 66. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 606-07.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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A Fool hath spoken
In speaking of false teachers, Peter says that they will be “clouds without water”, and that they will be brought into bondage by what overcomes them. While many compromise truth for pleasure or popularity, there are others that are overcome by their own intelligence. Such a one was Crawford Howell Toy, who was born on March 23, 1836. Baptists must not forget C.H. Toy who resigned from Southern Baptist Seminary and moved to Harvard and became Unitarian and a celebrated professor from that institution. God had provided Toy with every opportunity to succeed as a champion of Fundamentalism. He had an outstanding education, incubation into sound doctrine, the opportunity of walking with great men such as John A. Broadus, who he boarded with. He wooed and won the hand in engagement of the lovely missionary Charlotte “Lottie” Moon, who he would later lose because of his infidelity. He was noted for his bravery as he fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War under the direct leadership of Robert E. Lee. He was wounded and captured by the Union forces, and he utilized his time studying Hebrew, which he would later become a foremost authority. After the war he studied in Europe and no doubt began to drink the poison of liberalism. Toy was an intellectual giant. To this day it is not difficult to find his articles and writings. Yet in the zenith of his walk among outstanding Bible preachers and professors he would imbibe Darwinism and shipwreck his faith. The same Darwinism that godly Baptists steadfastly resisted in spite of the nearly overwhelming pressure of the intelligentsia of the day. What a fool was Toy in spite of his great intellect. And his former student would prove wiser than her teacher by refusing his hand in marriage.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp, 170 – 172.
[t]he Baptist doctrine of local church autonomy prevailed]
On Jan. 31, 1938, in a specially-called meeting, the congregation voted 92-18 to concur with the pastor and deacons and withdraw from the Convention and its affiliated organizations. On May 16, 1926, Rev. Ford Porter had become pastor of the First Baptist Church of Princeton, IN. This church held membership in the Northern Baptist Convention, the Indiana Baptist Convention, and the Evansville Baptist Association. The battle between fundamentalism and modernism had recently begun. Pastor Porter had become aware of serious modernistic inroads into the Northern Baptist Convention. Believing in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible, he determined that he would position the congregation solidly upon the inerrant, infallible Word of God. In 1932 during the depression, more than 200 professed conversion or united with the church. The church came to the conclusion that something must be done about their alignments so a special church meeting was called to discuss the matter, when the above vote was taken. However a minority refused to admit defeat and spurred on by denominational leaders they took the church to court asking to be declared the true First Baptist Church of Princeton. We should all rejoice that the Baptist doctrine of local church autonomy prevailed as the court ruled in favor of the majority. Dr. Robert T. Ketcham, one of the founders of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches testified on behalf of the church in this case. Rev. Porter’s son Robert was only 13 years old at this time. Rev. Porter wrote the famous tract, God’s Simple Plan of Salvation.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins, pp. 62-64.