Monday, December 26, 2005

Fundamentalists and the Original New Evangelicals: Some Curious Commonalities

George Marsden analyzes the methods for divining God's will as they were practiced by both fundamentalists and the founders of Fuller Theological Seminary—the fathers of the New Evangelicalism:
For all major decisions, Fuller and the other founders of the seminary spent much time in prayer and took seriously certain signs as messages from God as to whether to proceed with a given course. The dominant form of the twentieth-century fundamentalist version of this common Christian practice was the nineteenth-century holiness tradition, which emphasized particularly a personal walk with God and the leading of the Lord. These emphases were widespread in American revivalist Protestantism and had been reinforced in fundamentalism especially through the influences of Keswick piety. Even the practical-minded Carl Henry later wrote that "any statement of evangelical experience that does not include the possibility both of communion with God and the communication of the particularized divine will seems to me artificially restrictive."
George Marsden, Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism, pgs. 57–58. (Quote from Henry is from his autobiography, Confessions of a Theologian, pg. 53.)

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