The year was 1878. Modernism was on the rise, and its attack on the church was full scale. In response, a group of conservative Bible scholars established a set of fourteen doctrinal principles to outline what they believed was the essence of biblical Christianity. Known as the “Niagara Creed” (because it was associated with the Niagara Bible Conference of 1883–1897), these principles laid the foundation for a movement that would later be called fundamentalism.
On the broader front, the dispensational organizers of the Niagara Bible Conference were joined by non-dispensationalists like B.B. Warfield and J. Gresham Machen in their fight against modernism. In 1910, the fourteen-point Niagara Creed was distilled into “five fundamentals” by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. These five fundamentals were as follows:
1. The inerrancy of Scripture
2. The virgin birth and deity of Jesus Christ
3. The substitutionary atonement through God’s grace and human faith
4. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ
5. The authenticity of Christ’s miracles (or later, by others, the imminent return of Jesus Christ)
It was also in 1910 that a wealthy Presbyterian layman, named Lyman Stewart, funded the publication of twelve pamphlets entitled The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth. These pamphlets, which together consisted of 90 essays written by 64 authors from several denominations, were published between 1910 and 1915. The articles themselves expanded on the five fundamentals, and strengthened the fundamentalist stance against modernism. Continue Reading…