Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Death Knoll for Mark Noll's...

... construction of fundamentalism is the Table of Contents for the volumes of The Fundamentals put out in the 1920's (thanks to Bud Bence for the list).

Dispensationalists? Yeah, I see them. Thinkers like B. B. Warfield--in whose train J. Gresham Machen, Westminster Theological Seminary, Wheaton, Fuller followed--yes, I see them.

Holiness types and Pentecostals? Nope. (I doubt the Methodist Episcopal bishop on the list would have liked to be identified with the holiness types)
History of Higher Criticism - Dyson Hague Wycliffe College (Toronto)
Mosaic Authorship of the Pentatuch – Frederick Wright - Oberlin College (!)
Fallacies of Higher Criticism – F Bettex Stuttgart, Germany
Holy Scriptures and Modern Negations – James Orr - Glasgow
Old Testament Criticism and New Testament Chistianity Griffith Thomas - Wycliffe College (Toronto)
Internal Evidence of the Fourth Gospel – Osborne Troop - Montreal
Testimony of Christ to the Old Testament William Caven – Knox College (Toronto)
Early Narratives of Genesis - James Orr
One Isaiah George Robinson - McCormick Seminary Chicago
Book of Daniel Joseph Wilson – Reformed Episcopal Seminary Philadelphia
Doctrinal Value of Genesis 1 – Dyson Hague
Pentatuch and Graf-Welhausen Craigh Robinson County Cork Ireland
Testimony to the Truth of Scripture Frederick Wright
Archeology and the Scriptures M.G Kyle Xenia (Ohio) Seminary
Science and Christian Faith James Orr
My experience with Higher Criticism J.J. Reeve Southwestern Seminary Fort Worth TX

Inspiration of the Bible James Gray Moody Bible Institute
Inspiration L.W. Manhall Germantown PA
The Glory of Jesus, Proof of Inspiration - William Moorhead Xenia Seminary
Testimony of Scriptures to the Themselves - George Bishop New Jersey
Organic Unity of the Bible Arthur Pierson
Fulfilled Prophecy Arno Gaebelein -- New York City (Founder of Christianity Today (?)
Life in the Word Philp Mauro Attorney New York
Is There a God Thomas Whitehall Kilmarnock Scotland
God in Christ - Robert Speer Presbyterian Mission Board New York
The Deity of Christ - Benjamin Warfield Princeton Seminary
Virgin Birth - James Orr
God –Man John Stock
Person and Work of Christ Bishop Nuelson Methodist Episcopal Church – Omaha NE
Bodily Resurrection of Christ R. A. Torrey
Deity of the Holy Spirit – R. A. Torrey
Holy Spirit and the Sons of God - W. Eerdman
Conversion of Paul Lord Lyttleton Cambridge
Christianity No Fable Thomas Whitelaw Kilmarnock Scotland

Biblical Concept of Sin – Thomas Whitelaw
Paul’s Doctrine of Sin Charles Williams Southwestern Baptist Seminary Fort Worth TX
Sin and Judgment to Come – Robert Anderson London
Christ’s Teaching about Future Retribution - William Proctor Croydon, England
The Atonement – Franklin Johnson - Chicago
At-One-Ment by Propitiation – Dyson Hague - St. Paul’s Cathedral, London
The Grace of God - C. I. Scofield
Salvation by Grace - Thomas (?) Spurgeon London
The Nature of Regeneration - Thomas Boston d. 1732(!)
Regeneration, Conversion and Reformation George Lasher Cincinnati
Justification by Faith H.C. Moule Bishop of Durham, England
Doctrines that Must be Emphasized in Successful Evangelism – L W Munhall, Philadelphia
Preach the Word - Howard Crosby, Chancellor of New York University, New York
Pastoral and Personal Evangelism Timothy Stone Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, Chicago
The Sunday School’s True Evangelism Charles Trumball Philadelphia
The Place of Prayer in Evangelism – R. A. Torrey Dean of BIOLA Los Angeles
Foreign Missions and World Wide Evangelism – Robert Speer Presbyterian Board of Missions
A Message from Missions – Charles Bowen Olympia, WA
What Missionary Motive Should Prevail? Henry Frost Director of China Inland Mission, Philadelphia
Consecration - Henry Frost
Is Romanism Christianity? T. W. Medhurst Glasgow, Scotland
Rome, the Antagonist of the Nation – J M Foster, Boston
The True Church - Bishop Ryle
Foreign Missions and the Providence of God Arthur Pierson
The Purpose of the Incarnation - G. Campbell Morgan Westminster Chapel – London
Tributes to Christ and the Bible by Brainy Men Not Known as Active Christians J Anonymous

Modern Philosophy - Philip Mauro
The Knowledge of God – David James Burrell Marble Collegiate Church , New York
The Wisdom of this World – A. W. Pitzer Salem VA
The Science of Conversion – H. M. Sydenstricker West Point, MS
The Decadence of Darwinism Harry Beach Grand Junction, CO
The Passing of Evolution – George Frederick Wright
Evolutionism in the Pulpit - anonymous
The Church and Socialism - Charles Eerdman
Millenial Dawn William Moorehead United Presbyterian Seminary, Xenia OH
Mormonism - R. G. McNeice Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City UT
Eddyism, Called Christian Science Maurice Wilson Dayton OH
Modern Spiritualism Algernon Pollock Weston, England
Satan and his Kingdom Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis Leicester, England
Why Save the Lord’s Day - Daniel Hoffman Martin. Glens Falls, NY
Apologetic Value of Paul’s Epistles E. J. Stobo
Divine Efficacy of Prayer Arthur Pierson
The Prayer Life of George Mueller – Arthur Pierson
The Scriptures – A. C. Dixon Pastor of Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England
What the Bible Contains for Believers George Pentecost Darien CT
The Hope of the Church – John McNicol Toronto Bible Training School
The Coming of Christ - Charles Erdman
The Testimony of Christian Experience – President of Louisville Seminary
Personal Testimony – Howard Kelly
Personal Testimony – H W. Web-Peploe Vicar of St. Paul’s London
Personal Testimony C. T. Studd
Personal Testimony Philip Mauro
The very titles of the essays show that the pioneers of fundamentalism were engaged with modernism. They were not running away from it. That means that Noll's Foucaultian schema that largely distinquishes fundamentalist from evangelical on the basis of withdrawal and engagement is fundamentally skewed (i.e., fundamentalists=the stupid people and evangelicals=the smart ones). The fundamentalists were ideologically combative and were, overwhelmingly, Calvinist.

For those who don't know my beef here, I have argued that the roots of the Wesleyan Church are more pre-modern than anti-modern, with fundamentalism being fundamentally anti-modern. The problem is not primarily the positions the fundamentalists took. For example, I believe in the virgin birth and the divinity of Christ. The problem for me is 1) the militant, combative tone of fundamentalism and 2) the fact that fundamentalism let the modernists (in the early twentieth century sense) set the categories for their response.

Fundamentalism is thus defined by modernism as anti-modernism, its categories were defined by that which it was against. But since the categories of modernism were wrong, that means that the categories of fundamentalism are wrong.

My fundamentals
I would argue that most Wesleyans haven't even heard of most of the issues in the list above. We have our own list of what is important. Here are some of mine given where we are in history, at least for now (the lists change as we engage changes in culture). I think the Wesleyan fits well with this list and would do well to move forward with these:

1. A generous orthodoxy

Orthodox, yes. We affirm the commonly held beliefs of Christendom, the consensus of the communion of saints through the ages, always with room for reformation on the basis of Scripture as the fountain of faith and the kingdom as the trajectory of faith.

Generous, yes. God will sort out who is going to be saved and who isn't. We are charitable toward those we disagree with and with the damned. We speak truth to power in love rather than in anger. We want the world to be transformed, not destroyed. If your heart (not head) is as our heart then give us your hand. In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity.

2. A missional Christianity

God is in control, but we live as if anyone can be saved, as if they will not be saved unless we bring the good news to them, and as if salvation can be lost. This is how we live, regardless of the theological possibilities to the contrary.

We are concerned for people's souls but we are concerned for their stomachs and their marriages and their houses and their wallets. We are concerned for nations. We are concerned for the poor and the widow and the fatherless. We are concerned for God's creation and for the beauty He has created.

3. Changed lives

We have no time for a religion that doesn't do anything. People are enslaved to powers and they can be freed. If Christ does not change lives, really, then Christianity is false. If people can't been freed from their sins, then let's walk away from this thing now, it's useless. The proof is in the putting. If Christ does not actually transform the world for the better, then Christianity is false.

4. Full inclusion of all people

The age of the Spirit is the age in which things like race, status, and gender fall away as markers of importance. Those who have tricked themselves into thinking racist attitudes to be associated with Christianity because they are "conservative"--attitudes toward immigrants or toward entire groups of people different from me--have no place in the kingdom.

We wipe the dust off our feet of those enslaved to the elements of the world who resist women in all forms of ministry or who insist a numskull male with a sharp wife be the head of that particular household because he has certain genitalia. Be gone. God's kingdom knows nothing of this.

And we are responsible for those who are disempowered among us. We are responsible for their bodies whether they come to Christ or not because every human is our responsibility. Again, Christ will not separate the sheep from the goats on the basis of whether you were politically conservative or not but by what you did to the least of these.

5. Spirit-led

Culture constantly changes. Christ does not acquiesce to cultural values, but Christ engages culture. History is the story of Christians confusing the key components of Christianity with culture. The extreme examples are those who look like they are stuck at a particular point in recent history, while thinking they are stuck in the New Testament church.

The heart of the church is always moving with culture through the leadership of the Spirit. This is not the same as compromising its values. It is the very principle of incarnation principally shown in Christ but also in the way God revealed the Scriptures in history. The Spirit-led attitude will thus regularly come into tension with "conservatism," which is by definition resistance to change. True Christianity strongly resists change on its orthodoxy, and is thus fundamentally "conservative" in that regard. But in regard to the working out of its values in culture, Christianity is fundamentally on the move, "progressing" toward the kingdom.

What do you think?


Bob said...

Holiness types? Handley Moule - one of the speakers at the first Keswick convention. Not to dismiss your thesis, but just to observe that the kind of fundamentalism you don't like is rather more of a US disease than a european one, and the general tenor of UK evangelicalism has been much more open and inclusive - Stott and co, the anglican evangelicals, hardly well-defined as anti-modernists. So please be cautious; not everything biblically conservative is as it seems from your side of the pond.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Wesleyans are pre-modern in their theological beliefs and so called tolerance and openmindedness. But, they have been anti-modern in their behavior historically. Wesleyans sure came across as anti-modern fundamentalists better known for what they were against, exclusionism and self rigtheousness. They were every bit as radical as fundamentalist Baptist or Calvinist Christians. They may have had a kinder or more gentle theology as you speculate, but practical application of it, NO WAY!

James said...

There’s a tension, is there not, between (1) orthodoxy (even a generous one) on the one hand, and (4) inclusion of all on the other hand. For how are those who fail to believe, especially the incorrigible who can’t be reached, or, worse, or who can be reached and still reject the tenets of orthodoxy--how are they to be included? If they have every prospect of rejection by St. Peter, and even the striving believer who falls short of sainthood can plainly see that they deserve to rejected--how then can the be numbered among the “all”? The sexist, the racist, the chauvinist--don’t they quote scripture? And what of those who don’t quote scripture at all, but instead subsist on thin gruel of secularism--are they to be numbered among the included?

Ken Schenck said...

Bob, thanks, yes, this whole discussion is really more American than anything. And my basic point is that American fundamentalism at its fountain head should be defined in terms of a militant ideological engagement with encroaching ideas from modernism. Noll makes intellectual retreat vs. intellectual engagment one of his main lenses for what fundamentalism was and then strangely equates it with the intellectual, even sociological retreat side. I would say the fundamentalists were very much engaging modernism intellectually.

Craig, I have no intention to raise the Wesleyans of the forties, fifties, and sixties as models for anything. They were legalistic. They were on the wrong side of civil rights. They even retreated on women in ministry. Then when a good thing came along--merger--a lot of them removed themselves completely from us.

What they were not is intellectually engaged with modernism. You're right, some of the teachers at Marion College and Houghton were. But I would argue that the bulk of the church had completely dismissed the ideas of modernism to where they were hardly even a concern.

I welcome correction!

So I would agree that the values I'm expressing are not by any means the only trajectory the Wesleyan Church might take. It is just the one I think is right and the one that holds the most hope for the future of evangelicalism.

James, I didn't mean full inclusion of non-Christians in the church.

Thanks all, keep the sharpening coming...