The Benedictine Preacher
When first I was invited to speak at this conference on Rod Dreher's Benedict Option, I purposed to say something of an earlier attempt within American Protestantism to face the problem of an encroaching and hostile secularizing religious modernism which threatened to, and has actually been successful in, vitiating the Christian witness wherever it has been permitted to operate. This spirit, addressed by Pope Pius X in the 1907 encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, was being dealt with among Protestants of a number of denominations in 90 essays published between 1910 and 1915, gathered under the title The Fundamentals. Through the gift of two wealthy businessmen, an effort was made to send copies to every minister, missionary, professor of theology, YMCA and YWCA secretary, and Sunday school superintendent in the United States and other English-speaking countries.
In the early 1920s, those in sympathy with the conservative tracts were journalistically dubbed "fundamentalists," and within twenty years, fundamentalism itself divided into two mistrustful factions, the more separatistic of which continued to identify itself as fundamentalism while the more world-engaging group called itself "Evangelical," establishing the National Association of Evangelicals in 1942. My original intent was to present a commentary on this continuing division as representative of two natural but defective ways to proceed in the world and thus as a cautionary tale on the grounds of the Benedict Option—and the use of the concept of mere Christianity as a way to address pre-emptively problems of this sort, while noting its consonance with the spirit of the original fundamentalists.
THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:
S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
more on apologetics from the online archives
calling all readers
"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand
"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor
• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!
Transactions will be processed on a secure server.
Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.
OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)
Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.
more from the online archives