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The Church of the Fundamentalists

Maranatha Baptist Seminary presents: The Church of the Fundamentalists.

It is the purpose of this work to explore one theological segment—the doctrine of the church, including how the various men and movements came to understand this doctrine and how that understanding affected their affiliations and actions.  –Dr. Larry Oats, author

About the Book

Fundamentalism did not arise out of a single event or in a single generation. The belief system that surrounds “the fundamentals” was born at least in part out of an ecclesiology that sought to be obedient to God’s Word. The issue and especially the application of ecclesiastical separation was at the heart of the division that occurred between evangelicalism and fundamentalism in the middle of the twentieth century. While much has been written on the histories of these two movements, the theological basis of that division has frequently been overlooked.

Within the pages of The Church of the Fundamentalists, Dr. Larry R. Oats examines how the ecclesiologies of mid-twentieth century fundamentalists and evangelicals affected their views of separation and, in turn, how those views led individuals to establish, abandon, or modify their application of ecclesiastical separation. The Church of the Fundamentalists explores one theological basis for the division of fundamentalism and the new evangelicals of the mid-twentieth century: the doctrine of the church.

Excerpt from The Church of the Fundamentalists

“Roger Williams provides an early example of an American separatist. Williams believed that the Church of England had failed and that leaving it was absolutely necessary. He left England to remove himself from its influence, only to discover that the Puritan churches of Massachusetts were “tainted with Roman corruption.” This forced Williams to draw a distinction between “godly persons” and “godly persons who had renounced their participation in the Church of England.” To worship with a godly person who had not renounced the Church of England was tantamount to worshipping with the unconverted.” [1]

[1] Edmund S. Morgan, Roger Williams: The Church and the State (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1967), 38.

About the Author

Dr. Larry R. Oats has earned three master’s degrees and a PhD in Systematic Theology. As one of Maranatha Baptist University’s most distinguished alumni and frequent conference speakers for both the University and Seminary, he has been involved in Christian higher education for 50 years. Dr. Oats has written numerous theological papers and is an authority on Baptist fundamentalism.

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