Will Moredock did a fairly good job of outlining the origin of the term "fundamentalist" and discussing the essays, which were later published as a collection entitled The Fundamentals, but his analysis is predictably biased and many of the implications that he draws have the flavor of a straw man. ("Fear of the Future: Fundamentalism began as a reaction of modernism," Dec. 16),
As one who actually owns the four-volume collection of essays, I was surprised to hear him charge that they "encapsulated a lot of free-floating ideas that had been inhabiting the fringe of American theology for generations."
The five fundamentals upon which the essays were based — scriptural inerrancy, the virgin-birth and deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement (the idea that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ), the bodily resurrection of Christ, and the authenticity of Christ's miracles, which includes the expectation of His bodily return at some future point — were mainstream Protestant doctrine since the Reformation and, with some nuances regarding substitutionary atonement, would have been uncontroversial among Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians as well.
Moredock's notion that "the important thing for the fundamentalist is to get right with God and prepare to be whooshed up in the Rapture. The world and the people in it are not worth saving" is also not a major theme in The Fundamentals.
Rev. Charles A. Collins, Jr.