Fundamental Evangelistic Association
Looking Back - Looking Forward
Magazine, March April 1995 Volume XVI
THE WORD "FUNDAMENTALISM" is used with increasing frequency. Unfortunately it is all too often mis-interpreted, mis-applied, mis-understood and incorrectly defined. While it is true that "Fundamentalism" as a movement came into being in the early part of this century, the term "Fundamentalist" is in reality just another way of identifying old-fashioned, Bible Believing, Bible obeying Christians; and it is important to realize that God has raised up and preserved a faithful remnant of His people in every generation regardless of the name which might be applied to them at any given time. We read in Acts 11:26 that the new believers were first called Christians at Antioch "and we see the believers in Berea commended because they "searched the scriptures daily" (Acts 17:11). True believers have always given the Word of God priority over the words of men; they have always preached the one true Gospel; and they have always identified, exposed and separated from false teachers, disobedient brethren and the things of the world.
Evangelicals versus the Modernists
When liberal theology was introduced into the Protestant churches in the early part of the l9th century, the term "evangelical" was most often used to differentiate between Bible believers and Bible doubters. However, during the last part of the 1800's, several major Satanic attacks were launched against the very foundational truths of the Christian Faith. First there was a rapid increase of unbelief (first called modernism; later liberalism; and finally ecumenism) which originated in the theological schools and was gradually disseminated by unbelieving teachers and pastors in most of the mainline Protestant denominations. In this same time period, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution found ready acceptance among both religious and secular scholars. These scholars had been looking for some explanation of the origin of man and the universe since they rejected the inspired record of creation given in God's Word, the Bible. Furthermore, in this very same time period, deceived religious scholars launched a major attack upon the verbal inspiration and infallibility of the Scriptures which came to fruition in the preparation and promotion of the Westcott/Hort Greek text of the New Testament. From this polluted Greek text came polluted English translations beginning with the English Revised Version in 1885 and American Standard Version of 1901. The proliferation of dozens of later polluted Bible versions is documented in our leaflet, "Modern Bible Versions Are Dangerous-Watch Out For Them."
With the dawning of the 20th Century, the power and influence of Modernism (religious liberalism) had grown so fast that Christian leaders who were sound in the faith began speaking out publicly concerning the dangers of this unbelief which had infiltrated the churches, denominations, colleges, universities, seminaries and missionary organizations.
The Fundamentals Drew the Line
In 1909, God led two Christian laymen to set aside a large sum of money for issuing twelve volumes which would set forth the fundamentals of the Christian faith. These were called The Fundamentals,and consisted of messages written by well-known defenders of the faith from several different denominations. These twelve volumes of The Fundamentals were mailed free to over 300,000 ministers, missionaries and other Christian workers in different parts of the world. The response was far beyond any expectation. The Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA) through its publication, The King's Business printed additional copies to meet the demand and finally combined the volumes into a four volume set which was also widely circulated.
From that time on, those who believed in the fundamentals of the faith were glad to be called "fundamentalists," and various organizations using the word "fundamentalist" in their name were organized and fellowships were established to combat the growing menace of modernism (liberal theology) within the churches. The World's Christian Fundamentalist League was established and brought together hundreds of Bible-believing, Bible-preaching pastors and leaders. Moody Bible Institute of Chicago and the Bible Institute of Los Angeles were established and became strongholds of Biblical fundamentalism.
It was in this time frame that M.H. Reynolds, Sr. became a student at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA) where he was taught the Word and given a love for lost souls. Sitting under the ministry of fundamentalists like Dr. R. A. Torrey and Dr. T. C. Horton, and enjoying the ministry of other outstanding fundamentalists from around the world who lectured and spoke there, he came to understand the necessity of absolute fidelity to the Word of God. Upon graduation, he joined the BIOLA staff where he had the two-fold privilege of enjoying further fellowship with some of the outstanding fundamentalists of the 1920's and of helping to organize evangelistic activities in which BIOLA students could participate. He also pastored the San Gabriel Union Church and began a radio ministry. The words "fundamental" and "evangelistic" were coupled in his heart and ministry from the very start.
In those early days, BIOLAS major publication, The King's Business and the Moody Monthly magazine published by Moody Bible Institute kept Christians informed about the deceitful, dangerous words and programs of liberal leaders and denominations, much the same as Foundation magazine does today. They trained hundreds of faithful pastors, missionaries and Christian workers who were both fundamental and evangelistic. In those early days, BIOLA and Moody enjoyed close fellowship and cooperation in preaching the Gospel and contending earnestly for the faith. Jude 3, 4.
Early Inroads of Modernism
However, in the last half of the 1920s, liberal theology infiltrated BIOLA in the person of Dr. John MacInnis who was chosen to serve as Dean, succeeding Dr. R.A. Torrey. Almost immediately, controversy arose over a book Dr. MacInnis had written, Peter the Fisherman Philosopher. The subtitle read, "A Study in Higher Fundamentalism." In truth, however, this book was a clever presentation of liberal theology disguised by the use of evangelical terminology. Dr. MacInnis' book was copyrighted and published by the Bible Institute of Angeles (BIOLA) in 1927.
Pastor M. H. Reynolds, Sr., along with many other fundamentalists across the country, found it impossible to remain silent about this promotion of liberal theology from the president of a school which had become known for its stand for the truth and fearless exposure of error. The controversy over Peter the Fisherman Philosopher spread rapidly. Fundamentalists were forced to take sides. By that time, M. H. Reynolds, Sr. had been on the BIOLA staff for 12 years but he could not remain silent on such an important issue. As a result, he prepared and circulated a 30 page analysis which he titled, "Is 'Peter the Fisherman Philosopher' True to the Scriptures?" It was a fearless exposure of D MacInnis liberal theology based upon a comparison between what MacInnis had written and the Word of God.
The immediate result was that M. H. Reynolds, Sr. (the fundamentalist) was fired by the BIOLA Board of Directors and Dr. MacInnis (the liberal) was retained and given a vote of confidence. The long range result was that the Fundamental Evangelistic Association was organized in 1928 which remains today a straightforward, unyielding testimony of Biblical fundamentalism, whereas BIOLA began to walk the path of compromise which soon removed it completely from the fundamentalist, separatist position and transformed it into the compromising, new-evangelical institution it is today.
Dr. Charles E Fuller, who later became so well known through his "Old Fashioned Revival Hour Broadcasts," was another casualty of the BIOLA compromise. Dr. Fuller and M. H. Reynolds, Sr. had been close friends and had exchanged pulpits on several occasions. Both men were among the pioneers in Gospel radio broadcasting. But Dr. Fuller, who was on the BIOLA board at the time of the MacInnis controversy, voted with the majority of the board to fire M.H. Reynolds, Sr. and to retain the liberal BIOLA Dean.
From that time on, Dr. Fuller no longer remained in the fundamentalist camp. Instead, following years of gradual but growing compromise, he eventually founded Fuller Theological Seminary in 1947-a school which was founded on a platform of theological and positional compromise. Its first president was one of he leading exponents of evangelical compromise, Dr. Harold John Ockenga.
Today, Fuller Theological Seminary is one of the most dangerous theological institutions in the world. While still appealing for support from old-timers who remember Dr. Fuller's early broadcasts and clear fundamentalist, old-fashioned Gospel messages, Fuller Theological Seminary now boasts of its diversity, and fellowships with Roman Catholics, charismatics and apostate Protestants. It has become a chief trainer and promoter of so-called Christian psychologists and an advocate of what has been called the "Third Wave of the Holy Spirit" (so-called power evangelism accompanied by signs and wonders) which they consider essential to the conversion of lost sinners. While it is true that Fuller Seminary's size and worldwide influence has grown tremendously, this growth has been at the expense of obedience to the Word of God. Today, 48 years after its founding, Fuller is not training defenders of the Faith, but rather perverters of the Faith. A terrible price is now being paid for earlier compromises.
Advocates of Compromise Arise
But the outstanding example of what happens to fundamentalists who compromise is Dr. Billy Graham . There were fundamentalist roots and influences in his early training and ministry. However, his studies at Wheaton College and affiliation with Youth for Christ as its first full-time traveling representative were influences in the opposite direction.
Although Billy Graham had conducted a number of citywide revivals in various major cities around the USA during 1947 and 1948, the actual beginning of the Billy Graham Crusades is reckoned from the Los Angeles crusade held in 1949. It was here that Graham first gained national attention and recognition largely through the help of the Hearst newspapers. The background of this Crusade is worthy of special note.
The Christ for Greater Los Angeles Committee extended the invitation for Graham to hold a three-week revival in Los Angeles. Representing over 1000 churches in the Southern California area, this committee succeeded in bringing together a "mixed multitude" of pastors and leaders from a wide variety of evangelical and quasi-fundamental groups on the basis that the "time was ripe for evangelism" and it was "necessary to come together" to accomplish this task. Only a few fundamentalists (including M. H. Reynolds, Sr. And Jr.) refused to cooperate, recognizing that doctrinal differences could not be set aside for any reason, not even in the name of evangelism. Although Graham reportedly refused the support of the very liberal Los Angeles Church Federation at that time, such a policy was not to be continued for very long as the crusades grew in size and number.
The Billy Graham Los Angeles Crusade of 1949, originally scheduled for three weeks, was extended time and time again until it lasted eight full weeks. Several important Hollywood celebrities as well as gangster Mickey Cohen professed faith in Christ. With the nationwide publicity given by the Hearst Newspaper chain, Graham became a celebrity overnight and the Billy Graham crusades were off to a running start. Significantly. the next Graham crusade was held in Boston at the invitation of Dr. Harold John Ockenga, often referred to as "the father of new evangelicalism."
In the early days of the crusades, Billy Graham's positions and public statements seemed for the most part to be Biblical and fundamental. He said he could not have liberals on his crusade committees; he expressed reservations concerning the direction in which the World Council of Churches was going; he made it clear that he thought communism was satanic; and he recognized that Roman Catholics needed to hear the Gospel rather than to be partners in preaching the Gospel . However, as Graham's popularity grew and the attendance at his crusades increased, he fell prey (as have many others) to the deadly spirit of compromise which greatly expanded the areas of cooperation but limited the opportunities of giving the God-commanded warnings about false teachers.
Today, Billy Graham's attitude toward error has completely changed. He works with liberal leaders of the National and World Councils of Churches; he praises the pope as one of the world's great evangelists and speaks of Roman Catholics as though they were true believers; he has become one of Communisms best friends as he parrots the communist propaganda line just as religious liberals have been doing all these years. In fact, Billy Graham now speaks against Biblical separation and advocates unscriptural cooperation with the workers of iniquity-a complete about-face from his original position 46 years ago!
Many additional examples could be given of institutions and leaders who started out as fundamentalists, but who, through repeated compromises and unscriptural fellowships with false teachers and disobedient brethren, have lost all spiritual discernment and are now giving aid and comfort to the enemies of Christ and the Gospel. It is a great heartache to see so many of these groups which were founded by fundamentalist "Come-outers" now following the path of compromise. This weakening of position and practice has put them on the downward road toward the unscriptural positions and fellowships which their founders had repudiated and from which they had separated.
Those who seek to negate the current testimony and position of Biblical fundamentalism are often heard saying that the early fundamentalists were not "separatists," claiming it is only the extreme fundamentalists who take that position today. Such a statement shows a complete lack of understanding concerning the history of fundamentalism. The only reason early fundamentalists remained in their denominations was because they thought they could sound the alarm, rally the Bible believers, and put the liberals out. When they were unable to do this, genuine fundamentalists separated from apostate denominations and formed true-to-the-Word churches, denominations, schools and mission agencies. It was at this time that groups such as the General Association of Regular Baptists (GARBC), the Independent Fundamental Churches America (IFCA), the Bible Presbyterians, Bible Methodists and other similar denominations came into being.
Of course, many books have been written on this subject, but in this brief summary our thought has been to give God's people a more personal and hopefully a more clear understanding of what fundamentalism is all about. Those who fail to understand the absolute necessity of fidelity to the Word of God, coupled with the consistent, continual exposure of those who depart from that Foundation, are bound to reap a tragic harvest. 1 Corinthians 15:33.
The F.E.A.-Standing Firm for Sixty-Seven Years
The sixty-seven year history of the Fundamental Evangelistic Association clearly reveals how wonderfully God provides for the needs of those who obey God rather than men in their lives and ministries. Just a year after its founding in 1928, America's economic system collapsed and the great financial depression followed. Yet, God supplied every need and the F. E. A. work continued to grow. Periodically, efforts were made by religious liberals to stop evangelistic efforts because the FEA would not join ecumenical agencies nor be silenced concerning the rapidly growing apostasy of mainline Protestant denominations. Several times, the Federal Communications Commission sought to silence our radio broadcasts because we would not agree to their mandates which would have greatly restricted free speech on radio and given religious apostates freedom to preach their damnable heresies without public exposure.
The path of Biblical separation is not always easy on the flesh. Pastor Reynolds, Sr., first paid a price as a young minister when he resigned from the Northern Baptist Convention (now the American Baptists) because of their liberalism 72 years ago. Then, he paid the price of losing his position at BIOLA because he refused to remain silent when a wolf in sheep's clothing not only crept in but occupied the top position . Taking a stand all these years against Billy Grahams unbiblical, ecumenical crusades has not been easy either, because so many have not yet seen the issues involved and have criticized the watchmen who sounded the warnings.
But what a comfort it is to me ( M. H. Reynolds, Jr.) to realize that because my own dear father and other fundamentalists like him refused to compromise Biblical principles so many years ago, we have been delivered from the religious confusion that abounds everywhere today. Many leaders have frankly admitted that they have changed their previously held positions and standards. I am glad to be able to stand today, right here where my father stood 67 years ago-and where fundamentalists of every generation have stood. I would like to encourage others today to "stand" and keep standing (Ephesians 6: 10-18). Thank God for the firm foundation He has provided for us (1 Corinthians 3:7-11) "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity" (2 Timothy 2:19).
The Fundamental Evangelistic Association has always been in the minority and there is no reason to believe that it will be anything different in the days ahead . Throughout the Old Testament, the faithful servants of God were always in the minority. Think of Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Nehemiah, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and so many others who believed God and spoke His Word faithfully even though it was opposed by the false prophets and ridiculed and rejected by the majority. Think of the heroes of faith mentioned in Hebrews Chapter 11, many not even mentioned by name but all being faithful unto death. Think of those faithful ones throughout church history who stood up for the truth and spoke out against error. God was faithful to all of them and their reward will be great in heaven.
The Current Controversy
How close are we to the rapture? Only God knows, but this much is certain-we have been left here to "occupy" (do business) for our Lord until He comes. Satan and his angels of light have succeeded in beguiling many unstable souls. Sadly, however, few clear-cut warnings are being sounded today by most evangelicals and many fundamentalists with the result that the most dangerous enemies of the cross of Christ are being welcomed as partners in prayer, worship and evangelism. Evangelical leaders of world renown like Billy Graham and Bill Bright are praising the pope and blinding the minds of millions of believers to the fact that the Roman Catholic Church is a false cult-not a part the true body of Christ.
Dr. Jack Van Impe, a former fundamentalist, completely reversed his separatist position several years ago and wrote a book Heart Disease in Christs Body in which he explained his new agenda. In the past, he was greatly used of the Lord as an evangelist, and thousands came to Christ through his ministry. However, since he determined to practice a much wider fellowship than the Scriptures allow, his spiritual discernment has deteriorated to the place where now praises the pope and joins hands with new evangelicals and charismatics who are moving rapidly toward Rome. Dr. Van Impe has become a major factor in promoting unscriptural fellowships and programs by means of his greatly expanded television programs and videos.
Charismatic deceivers like Paul Crouch, Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, Rodney Howard-Browne, and many others are misleading millions through their around-the-clock, around-the-world television and radio programs . Mixing truth and error which Gods Word specifically forbids (2 Cor. 6:14-18) has allowed the development of unprecedented programs of deception, the latest being an ecumenical, charismatic program called Promise Keepers. This unscriptural program is finding a ready acceptance in many churches which have not yet realized how truth and error are mixed together; and, they are not yet aware that Promise Keepers' ultimate goal is a false church unity which will include liberal Protestants, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Mormons and others who preach a false gospel. This ecumenical approach to unity at the expense of sound doctrine and practice is the same policy adopted by the Modernists so many years before. What is amazing, though, is how this current movement is being embraced by those who claim to be conservative-even fundamental! - Bible-believing Christians. As in former days, man's programs are taking precedence over conformity to God s precious Word.
The desire of this ministry is to be of help and encouragement to other faithful, separated, remnant testimonies across this land and around the world who are of like mind concerning the need for standing firm and true. Throughout the 67-year ministry of the Fundamental Evangelistic Association, we have sought to be faithful watchmen for the Lord according to Ezekiel 33:1-33; 2Timothy 3:1-5; 4:1-5. Realizing that believers have been "put in trust with the gospel" ( 1 Thessalonians 1: 4), and that all who preach any other gospel must be exposed and separated from (Galatians 1:6-10), our desire has been and is to be faithful to the Lord and to His Word ". . . till He comes. "
We close this brief history with a word of encouragement to all of God's faithful remnant-pastors, evangelists, Bible teachers, missionaries and other Christian workers. Our encouragement must be "in the Lord," but we can and should encourage and pray for one another. Let us all redouble our efforts to reach the lost with the pure Gospel of salvation by grace through faith alone. Let us all feed our souls on the pure Word of God in the KJV, keeping our eyes on the Lord rd and seeking to make every moment of every day count for eternity. The battle for faith and freedom can only grow more intense, but our strength in the Lord will enable us to do His will and finish the work He has given us to do. 2 Timothy 4:7, 8. Call on us; we want to be of help if we possibly can be.