Fundamentalism and Anabaptists

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Anabaptists, like all American Christians, were deeply affected by the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy in the twentieth century. And like many other Christians, we find it helpful to look further back in history to the time before the fundamentalist movement, to help us find our way forward in the present.

Staff member Marlin Sommers hosted this conversation with our frequent guests, Chester Weaver and Matt Landis about the history and impact of the fundamentalist-modernist controversy. The event also included an audience Q & A which can be found below, along with various other resources.

Access audio version here.

Matt Landis is a Mennonite businessman and church leader from Pennsylvania. He has read widely in church history, including the primary text of the fundamentalism movement, The Fundamentals.

Chester Weaver is a retired school teacher and avid student of Anabaptist history. His episodes related to fundamentalism, and the attention they generated, spurred this live conversation.

In this prior video Chester gives an overview of the Fundamentalist movement and especially how it played out among Anabaptists. (Listen to audio version here.)

Before we get to Chester’s next (and more provocative) episode, here is an episode by John D. Martin that Chester recommends for a positive alternative to both fundamentalism and liberalism. (Listen to audio version here.)

Chester’s provocatively-titled episode “The Apostasy of the 1960’s” portrays his understanding of how fundamentalism (and reactions to fundamentalism) played into the tumult of that decade. (Without going too deep into Mennonite history, we should note that the 1960’s marked the beginning of the parting of ways between present-day conservative Mennonites and the segments of the (Old) Mennonite church that eventually joined the mainline MCUSA.) (Listen to audio version here.)