cover image Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism

Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism

Joel A. Carpenter. Oxford University Press, USA, $30 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-19-505790-4

In this riveting historical and cultural study, Carpenter, provost of Calvin College, examines the American Fundamentalism between 1920 and 1950. While several books (Sandeen's The Roots of Fundamentalism, for example) trace the origin and development of American fundamentalism, there are none that explore the relative silence of fundamentalism after 1925. While many observers, including the Christian Century magazine, saw it as the defeat of parochial and narrow fundamentalist theology, Carpenter demonstrates that the 1925 Scopes Trial was not a loss but a new beginning for American fundamentalism. Even though fundamentalism retreated from the social horizon after Scopes, in the 1930s and '40s it became introspective, attempting to reformulate its own mission and its relation to society. These two decades saw a new emphasis on the training of leadership in seminaries and the emergence of movements like Youth for Christ and various missionary movements that would bring revival to the world. According to Carpenter, fundamentalism's exile ended in the late 1940s, when various preachers, such as Bob Jones, began to use radio as an effective tool for spreading their message and when Billy Graham's revivals began to fill stadiums with capacity crowds. Carpenter's portrait of the lost years of American fundamentalist is compelling religious and cultural history. (Sept.)