From ............. Religion And America
Beacon Press, Boston
Edited by M. Douglas & S. M. Tipton
By George M. Marsden
" .......... pointed toward the earIy return of Jesus to set up a political kingdom in the Iand of Isreal. The sorry moral state of the nation was seen primarily as an impetus for repentence. The new Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority mobilized not so much the political impulse that had been distinctive to fundamentalism but rather the moral-political impulse that had been one part of the revivalist tradition more generally.
Although Falwell comes from a fundamentalist background and is pastor of a fundamentalist church, his national moral crusade involved too broad an alliance with "Mormons, Jews, Roman Catholics, Adventists, apostates, New Evangelicals" to suit the strict fundamentalists.
Falwell in their view was a "pseudo-fundamentalist" or, worse, a "neo-evangelical" in disguise.
In this dispute, the stricter fundamentalists are probably correct that Falwell's movement is similar to the neo-evangelical movements of the 1940s and 1950s. He is, as Frances Fitzgerald has observed, torn between doctrines that demand separation and ambitions for acceptance and influence that demand compromise.
While condemning in good fundamentalist fashion the compromises of Billy Graham, Falwell is moving in the same direction away from strict fundamentalism as did Graham.
In terms of the history of American evangelicalism, FaIweIl and the Moral Majority perhaps can be best seen as a recombination of some eIements drawn from the neo-evangelical and fundamentalist heritages since 1950.
From neo-evangelicalism comes the conception of "secular humanism" as virtually a religious force threatening to displace Christianity entirely from the culture. This critque was articulated around midcentury by a number of neo-evangelical theologians and philosophers who spelled out the incompatibilities of the world views derived from Christian presuppositions drawn from Scripture and world views founded on atheistic-naturalistic assumptions. Following in a general way the sophisticated suggestions of Dutch theologian-politician Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), the neo-evangelicals viewed Western culture as locked in a struggle between these contending world views.
By the 1970s such ideas in simplified form had filtered to some fundamentalist leaders through, for instance, the immensely popular film series How Should We Live Then? (1976)............ "
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