(A brief history lesson)

by Drew Johnson

For those who are doing a bit of realistic game-playing, here's a bit of information on that which is called the Fundamentalist movement.

Early this century, a rather renowned Protestant preacher (the name escapes me at the moment) wrote a series of pamphlets that 'returned to a more literalist, Bible-based theology than the liberal experimentation that was prevalent during those years by some of the mainline churches.' The pamphlets were called "The Fundamentals" and set off what is called in certain evangelical terms a revival. Many, many people rallied around this return to what they believed to be a more accurate interpretation of Biblical thought. The modern Evangelical movement sprang up from this particular time period in church. There are many in the Evangelical community who are enamored of the term "Fundamentalist" not due to its present usage but rather from what it used to mean...

The term Evangelical (also bandied about at the time) was essentially a word for the more socially-liberal off-shoots of Fundamentalism. Once again, many people who have identified themselves as evangelical use it in this way (Tony Campolo, a noted liberal Christian speaker, wrote a rather excellent article on this particular term; Sojourners Magazine on-line might have it somewhere)

Sometime later, a lot of the Fundamentalists began to see the world around them as something simply too sick and too sinful for them to be an active part in it and subsequently dumped their heads into the sand for about half of a century. They created Christian colleges such as Wheaton, their own youth leagues (such as AWANA - an unusual variation of Boy Scouts), and generally created the Fundamentalist/Evangelical sub-culture.

An important caveat is the Jesus Freak movement during the late 60s and early 70s, where thousands of the young adults of that time period mixed the hippie sub-culture into the rather conservative Fundamentalism of the time. (Send me e-mail if you want more on this facet...) This sub- culture came out of their self-imposed closet around 1978, when they realized that Jimmy Carter was not doing for them what they thought was right for the country. They suddenly started caring a hell of a lot and started actively supporting the Republicans, whose social policies were much more in line with this rather frightened mass of people than the Peanut Farmer from Georgia.

From a theological standpoint, the Fundamentalists (as we see them today) are biblically fairly sound, but have lost much of the social gospel that drove earlier generations of Christians. Similarly, many liberal Evangelicals (remnants of the push in the first half of the century) have kept their roots in the socially conscious, often (Biblically conservative critics would say) at the loss of their footing in theological issues.

To my eyes as someone who tries to bridge those two extremes in my own life, I'd say that, in game terms, it would be wholly accurate to see either side (and I do not mean to be stereotypical, though I have certainly met a good number of both of these extremes) as precious to God and his forces, as well as a constant source of delight and challenge for them wacky Princes.

An excellent sourcebook for understanding the Fundamentalist movement - should you want more - is _Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory_, a rather anecdotal but well-researched book by an Evangelical expatriate. Also, take a look at for a good look at a group that attempts to bridge gaps between the Christian Right and the Christian Left. For a much lighter, satirical look at such things, find a copy of _The Door_, the only satire magazine written by, for, and about the foibles of the Evangelical and Christian sub-cultures. If you can find it, another good one in this vein is the Collected Writings of St. Hereticus, who would've given old Wormtongue (of C S Lewis fame) a run for his money in theological misdirection.



Back to the INC Mainpage.

Elizabeth McCoy <>
Archangel of Archives