Fundamentalism jousts with liberal Protestant theology. Questions for Discussion: Lesson 37A – Chapter Thirty-Three “Conservative Theology Hardens Traditional Categories” from The Story of Christian Theology by Roger Olson

1. If asked “What is most characteristic of the extreme fundamentalism of the early twentieth century?” how would you respond? What is the “essence of liberal Protestant theology”?

2. How would you summarize Princeton theologian Charles Hodge’s critique of the German liberal theologian Schleiermacher?

3. During Benjamin Warfield’s tenure at Princeton, following Hodge, a controversy over the “Higher Criticism” occurred. What is the “Higher Criticism”?

4. Unlike many modern fundamentalists, neither Hodge nor Warfield saw Darwin or his evolutionism as a threat to conservative Protestant orthodoxy? In fact, Olson reports Warfield studied biology as an undergraduate and was always a believer in evolution. How did they accomplish this reconciliation?

5. Anti-liberal groups in the early twentieth century offered lists of doctrines that were described as fundamentals of the faith but, in the case of some, were “…never before considered essential Christian doctrines by any significant group of Christians” prior to the Fundamentalist movement. Can you identify and define one of these “doctrines”, formerly considered an “opinion”, still widely associated with Rapture theology?

6. What was the central thesis of J. Gresham Machen’s book Liberalism and Christianity (1923)? How did Machen view antievolutionism and premillennialism vs. amillennialism?

7. What is the historical significance of the Scopes trial for the story of Christian theology in the twentieth century?

8. What were the most common themes in Fundamentalism? What is the legacy of this movement?

See Lesson 37B for correlated readings

Videos of leading Fundamentalist preachers

Bible Verses for Reflection


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