Good Soldiers Of Faith

Author’s Note: This is the third post in a short series on Fundamentalism.


John 8.31-32

The war on the Bible and the “faith of our fathers”[1] came on the shoulders of worldly forces that included “humanism, critical theology, and new studies in philosophy, science, and comparative religions.”[2] Christianity was under attack and the attackers demanded that Christianity needed to be “’progressive,’ ‘forward-looking,’ ‘tolerant,’ and ‘open-minded.’”[3]

Men were raised up by God to answer the attackers of the Christian faith. These men were Fundamentalists that were resolved to stand against the attackers of the faith, and they were men who were highly trained and dedicated to the Word of God. These men were giants of the faith, and they belong in fundamentalism’s hall of fame. They were men like A.J. Gordon, I.M. Haldeman, James H. Brookes, A.J. Frost, R.A. Torrey, W.J. Erdman, D.L. Moody, George W. Needham, Charles A. Blanchard, and L.W. Marshall. George W. Dollar writes, “They were mighty men, able pulpiteers, careful exegetes, persuasive Bible teachers, and unmovable defenders of the faith . Their pulpits became spiritual beehives and their disciples became sincere Christian workers, many of them becoming faithful preachers of the Word.”[4] These men were considered the fathers of fundamentalism.

The second generation of fundamentalists had impressive men of the faith as part of their roll call as well. Men like W.B Riley, C.I. Scofield, who published the famous Scofield study system Bible, James M. Gray, J.C. Massee, J.R. Straton, A.T. Pierson, Oliver Van Osdel, Cortland Myers, and J. Frank Norris. Of these men Dollar writes, “How much better America would have been had it listened to these giants of God’s grace instead of Darwin and Dewey.”[5]

These men took the Bible literally and believed that God’s plans for Israel and the church are separate plans. These men are thus considered to be dispensationalists, believing in seven dispensations. They believed in the rapture of the church, the seven years of tribulation, and the return of Christ in His millennial reign. These men were militant in their attitudes; they attacked every error that was discovered in the church.

They were sickened by the weakening and decay of the Christian doctrines taught in churches and schools. They fought for every literal meaning of the words in the Bible. To them, the truths that they were teaching were given by God and worthy to be defended. Consider what Dollar writes about the attitude of these men.

They could have been silent and have allowed the decline to go unquestioned and unchecked. They could have compromised and engaged in dialogue with the critics, the humanists, and the evolutionists. They could have refused to be involved, stay sound themselves, and ignore the erosion around them. But these were not the paths of stout fundamentalists, then or now. They were set for the defense of the faith. They were good soldiers of Jesus Christ, not good sports of church picnics.[6]

If this does not get your blood flowing, then there is not much hope for the church.


 

 

[1] Calibri W. Dollar. “The Early Days of American Fundamentalism.” Bibliotheca Sacra. (April 1966):115.

[2] Ibid., 116.

[3] Ibid., 116.

[4] Ibid., 116.

[5] Ibid., 117.

[6] Ibid., 120.

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About Peter van Brussel

Peter is the Director of For His Glory Prison Ministry. Peter holds a BA in Pastoral Studies from Southwestern College, a MA in Theological Studies, and a M.Div. from Liberty University. Peter is married to Niki, and has two children. He has been saved by grace and seeks to share the Gospel with those who have been forgotten.
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