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Chris Poe


Thanks for this informative review. This definitely looks like a book I'll want to read.

When I was a student at Louisiana College, Dr. Hankins was one of my history professors. That was my major, but unfortunately the only class I took from him was outside of his field, which appears to be the intersection of fundamentalism, evangelicalism and American culture. As an unbeliever at that time, I was regrettably rather uninterested in studying those kinds of issues.

Within the context of today's SBC, Dr. Hankins would probably be considered to be more on the "moderate" side of the fence, but from what I know of him it might be fair to consider him to be a conservative moderate and a scholar who has no particular axe to grind.

Over the years he has published a number of other books on similar subjects, perhaps most notably for Southern Baptists, "Uneasy in Babylon: Southern Baptist Conservatives and American Culture."

As Dr. Hankins notes, Prohibition and the issue of the liquor trade generally was something that liberals and fundamentalists agreed on, even at a time when denominations, especially in the North, were splitting over theological issues. That's something that probably can't be repeated enough since that fact is likely unfathomable to many today who would just assume that Prohibition was a "fundamentalist" thing. (Of course Catholics and Lutherans were opposed to it, as were a much smaller number of conservative confessional Reformed men in the Machen mold. Most Presbyterians however were as supportive of Prohibition as Baptists and Methodists were.)

The religious liberals of that day, influenced by Darwinism and German Higher Criticism, thought that much of the Bible was a myth, but they most certainly wanted to maintain what they saw as Christian morality. But of course having discarded the Bible as their ultimate authority, their rationale for upholding what they considered to be Christian morality basically amounted to traditionalism and and perhaps especially their assumptions about the inevitable progress of civilization. The two World Wars shattered the illusions about the latter, and mere traditionalism isn't going to last long, especially in a democratic society.

The religious liberals of today by contrast have little or no interest in upholding traditional mores. Moralism of course will save no one, but I think it's important to note this difference between the religious liberalism of 100 years ago and today.

Although I don't know that it would necessarily have much to do with the culture wars, I also wonder if he makes any mention of the rise of what is termed New Thought teaching. Things like "The Secret" that become wildly popular from time to time are basically carbon copies of the blatantly unbiblical New Thought teaching that was in vogue in the early part of the last century. The Word-Faith/prosperity gospel movement is heavily influenced by it as well.

Regarding anti-Catholicism, does he dwell much on the revival of the KKK during that period, a time in which by most accounts it reached the height of its influence?

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