The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978 Page: 349
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suasively that the multiple biography format is a particularly effective
way of investigating the leadership of one of the most illusive and
controversial of all American religious movements.
Russell has chosen as his subjects seven men-four Baptists and three
Presbyterians-who often seem more different than similar. J. Frank
Norris at one point in his colorful career at the same time supervised
the largest Sunday School in the world at the First Baptist Church in
Fort Worth and was indicted for murder. Like Norris, John Roach
Straton of New York City's Calvary Baptist Church was dogmatic and
aggressive; but, unlike the unique Texan, Straton attempted as a
Fundamentalist to address some of the concerns of a "Social Christian-
ity" that engaged the contemporaneous Social Gospelers. Russell's
study of William Bell Riley, pastor of Minneapolis's First Baptist
Church and president of the Northwestern Schools reminds the reader
that Fundamentalists were able to create influential institutions with
which to propagate their variant of the Christian gospel. Likewise,
the essay on the obscure Baptist minister J. C. Massee describes a
Fundamentalist leader of unexpected moderation; while the one on
Princeton's J. Gresham Machan reveals a Fundamentalist scholar of
unimpeachable academic credentials. In Russell's analysis, too, William
Jennings Bryan, the "statesman-fundamentalist," emerges as much more
than the outwitted buffoon of the Scopes Trial. Finally, Clarence E.
Macartney-the Presbyterian cleric who was most responsible for driv-
ing the Baptist Harry Emerson Fosdick from the pulpit of New York
City's First Presbyterian Church-is discussed as one of the great pulpit
orators of his time who, nevertheless, did not engage in the controversial
revivalist techniques so often associated with Fundamentalism.
Russell's collection of essays has several strengths. The biographies
point out the disparate nature of the Fundamentalist leadership and
caution the reader against too easily generalizing about that leadership.
Unintentionally, perhaps, Russell's essays also demonstrate forcefully
the limitations of the Fundamentalist leaders. In particular, the mul-
tiple biography format highlights the destructive effect of the extreme
individualism of strong-willed men like Norris and Macartney, men
who were willing to disrupt for conscience's sake great denominations
as well as individual congregations.
At several points Russell makes useful observations about the South's
contributions to the Fundamentalist crusade. The movement has long
been associated with the straitlaced anti-intellectualism of the rural
South, but Russell reminds us that the Fundamentalist movement was
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978, periodical, 1977/1978; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101205/m1/389/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.