The Southern Baptist Investigation of the Fraternal Order
Author: Gary H. Leazer
Publisher: M Evans & Company
What is fundamentalist Christianity? How did fundamentalists become the religious right? Why is this religious group so politically powerful? Why have they targeted Masons for special attack when so many fundamentalists are themselves Masons? A popular definition of a fundamentalist is an evangelical who is mad about something or someone. They have also been described as militant evangelicals who insist on doctrinal uniformity and lead or support attacks against what they define as liberal theology, liberal social issues and certain elements of modern science. In fact, fundamentalism as a mindset can be traced to 1860-1890 Princeton Theological Seminary conservatives concerned about preserving the fundamental concerns of the Christian faith in the face of the religious, scientific, technical, social, and intellectual trends of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It was not until 1920 that Curtis Lee Laws, Baptist editor of the Watchman-Examiner, used the term fundamentalism for the first time. Leazer describes the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist convention (the largest Protestant denomination in the United States) in the face of every freedom for which Baptists have historically stood, and he examines its subsequent investigation of - and crusade against - Freemasonry. Freemasonry, fundamentalists claim, is based on universalism; it is a religion that denies the doctrines of Christianity; it uses suspicious signs and symbols; and it denies the deity of Christ. These and other issues are discussed and refuted in Fundamentalism & Freemasonry. Leazer argues that Freemasonry is like any other human organization. Members come with various faith commitments. Most Masons are Christians; many are members of other faiths. Masons accept men from different faiths as friends, fellow citizens, brothers, and individuals for whom God loves and cares.