Fundamentalist Christianity

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Fundamentalist Christianity, also known as Christian fundamentalism, is defined by historian George M. Marsden as "militantly anti-modernist Protestant evangelicalism." Marsden explains that fundamentalists were evangelical Christians who in the 20th century "militantly opposed both modernism in theology and the cultural changes that modernism endorsed. Militant opposition to modernism was what most clearly set off fundamentalism."[1] The name is taken from the title of a series of essays published by the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth.

As an organized movement it began within Protestant churches—especially Baptist and Presbyterian—in the United States in the early 20th century. Many such churches adopted a "fighting style" and certiain theological elements, such as Dispensationalism,[2] but it is not an organized movement and has no national body or official statement.

Fundamentalism arose out of British and American Protestantism in the late 19th century and early 20th century among evangelical Christians.[3] The founders reacted against liberal theology, actively asserted that the following ideas were fundamental to the Christian faith: the inerrancy of the Bible, Sola Scriptura, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and the imminent personal return of Jesus Christ.

The term "fundamentalist" is controversial into the 21st century; it is often used to attack or ridicule adherents (label of "fundy"), although it was coined by movement leaders. Some who hold these beliefs reject the label of "fundamentalism", seeing it as too pejorative[4] while to others it has become a banner of pride. Such Christians prefer to use the term fundamental as opposed to fundamentalist (e.g., Independent Fundamental Baptist and Independent Fundamental Churches of America).[5] This term is sometimes confused with Christian legalism.[6][7]


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