It has been written, “a fundamentalist is an evangelical who is angry about something”.
Although used by fundamentalists as tongue-in-cheek, it certainly sets the mind to an image of someone whose description is summarized in a single word: intense. The goal of this research,consequently, is to provide a background of this movement, traced through its evangelical roots,in the social and theological environments of the United States at the time while presenting thismovement as what it is: a response to other theological worldviews. Included in this responseare the specific theological characteristics separating this group from others.
In terms of definition, Fundamentalism is a relative newcomer in the world of theologicaldistinctives as it formed in the late nineteenth century.
Those holding to this persuasion wouldimmediate argue with this statement as they view themselves, as a movement, not as new butold; insisting they are teaching and living in a manner consistent with the teachings of Jesus andthe Apostles. Aside from this point of argument, Fundamentalism exists as a branch on theevangelical tree.EvangelicalismWhile possible for one to be an evangelical without being a fundamentalist, it is notpossible to be a fundamentalist without being an evangelical. Noll writes of the foundations of the evangelical movement as one where “changing the world was never as important for theearly evangelists as changing the self or as fashioning spiritual communities in which changedselves could grow in grace.”
George M. Marsden,
Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism
(Grand Rapids: EerdmansPublishing Company, 1991), 1.
Justo L. González,
The Story of Christianity,
The Reformation to the Present Day
(New York:HarperCollins, 1985), 255.
The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Edwards, Whitefield, and the Wesleys.
(DownersGrove: Intervarsity Press, 2004), 262.