The Great War Helped Create the Modernist-Fundamentalist Controversy
The modernish/ fundamentalist controversy was heating up in the early 1900s. Conservatives saw this coming a long way off but could not stop modernism from taking control of seminaries and popular pulpits. It was everywhere. It all came to a head with WWI.
Theological conservatives saw WWI as evidence that the world was getting worse. To them, it was a chance to fight for patriotic reasons. Modernists were also pro-war because they thought this was the “war to end all wars”. There would be no more war after this and democracy would take over the world. The liberals fired the first shots in this theological battle because they thought that premillennialism encouraged people to root for the end of the world. That is how the Great War helped Create the Modernist-Fundamentalist Controversy.
William Jennings Bryan was Secretary of State in the US during this time and did his best to keep us out of the war.
This episode features the voices of George Marsden (author of “Fundamentalism and American Culture”) and Michael Kazin, professor at Georgetown University and author of “What it Took to Win”.
Special thanks to the National Museum of Military Vehicles in Dubois, Wyoming for letting me record with permission.
- Fundamentalism and American Culture by George Marsden
- The Evangelicals by Frances Fitzgerald
- A Godly Hero by Michael Kazin
- What it Took to Win by Michael Kazin
- These Truths by Jill Lepore
- To End All Wars by Adam Hochschild
- Dead Wake by Erik Larson (about The Lusitania)
- Woodrow Wilson’s second inauguration
- Short article about Billy Sunday
- The National Museum of Military Vehicles
- What was the purpose of WWI? What caused it?
- Would you have been for or against the war in the 1900s?
- How can pre and post-millennialism shape a person’s view of the world? Does it have to?
- How does social Darwinism tie into WWI and WWII?
- Is WWI an outcome of changing morality?
- How would you tell a large audience of Christians to adapt to changing morality?