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From Fundamental to Extreme

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From Fundamental to Extreme:

Christian fundamentalism as we know it today can be dated back to the late 19th century when British and American Protestants banded together to fight theological liberalism and cultural modernism. As theologians began to diverge from the hardcore support of views some Christian ministers deemed "fundamental" to Christianity, fundamentalists began favoring literal interpretations and biblical inerrancy of those interpretations. They felt as if the liberal theologians were creating imbalance, and therefore leaned further in favor of traditional doctrines to "balance the scales".

As the fundamentalist movement progressed, certain ministers and evangelists advanced further towards traditional beliefs than the main body of fundamentalists. Their extreme doctrinal views attracted a subset of the fundamentalist movement, specifically those who felt the traditional views should be militantly defended against all opposition. Many of those ministers and evangelists attracted supporters who defended the minister or evangelist as strongly as they did the doctrine. They had moved beyond fundamentalism; their core beliefs included many additions other fundamentalists did not share. They were hyper-fundamentalists.

This resulted in a segregation within the same movement. The fundamentalists viewed the hyper-fundamentalists as a threat because they were progressing into extremism. The hyper-fundamentalists viewed the fundamentalists as weak or inferior in the faith because they rejected the extra-biblical or anti-biblical additions. Worse, because both groups placed such a significant value on adhering to the literal interpretation of the Bible, they both were theologically isolated from non-fundamentalist Christians. Over time, these levels of separation created factions within Christianity, and issues creating division were so complex that reconciliation became nearly impossible. Hyper-fundamentalist groups had effectively severed themselves from two levels of Christian fellowship.