The Fundamentals

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The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth (generally referred to simply as The Fundamentals) is a set of ninety essays published between 1910 and 1915 by the Testimony Publishing Company of Chicago. It was initially published quarterly in twelve volumes, then republished in 1917 by the Bible Institute of Los Angeles as a four-volume set. Baker Books reprinted all four volumes under two covers in 2003.

According to its foreword, the publication was designed to be "a new statement of the fundamentals of Christianity."[1] However, its contents reflect a concern with certain theological innovations related to liberal Christianity, especially biblical higher criticism. It is widely considered to be the foundation of modern Christian fundamentalism.

The project was conceived in 1909 by California businessman Lyman Stewart, the founder of Union Oil and a devout Presbyterian and dispensationalist. He and his brother Milton anonymously provided funds for composing, printing, and distributing the publication. The project had three successive editors: A. C. Dixon, Louis Meyer, and Reuben Archer Torrey. The essays were written by sixty-four different authors, representing most of the major Protestant Christian denominations. It was mailed free of charge to ministers, missionaries, professors of theology, YMCA and YWCA secretaries, Sunday school superintendents, and other Protestant religious workers in the United States and other English-speaking countries. Over three million volumes (250,000 sets) were sent out.[2]

The volumes defended orthodox Protestant beliefs and attacked higher criticism, liberal theology, Romanism, socialism, modernism, atheism, Christian Science, Mormonism, Millennial Dawn (whose members were sometimes known as Russellites, but which later split into another group, adopting the name Jehovah's Witnesses), spiritualism, and what it called evolutionism.

The Fundamentals essays[edit]

arrangement of the original 12-volume set:


  1. ^ The Fundamentals. Chicago: Testimony Publishing Company. 1910. p. 4.
  2. ^ Marsden, George M. (2006). Fundamentalism and American Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 118–119. ISBN 0-19-530047-5. OCLC 61445933.

Online texts[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

The Fundamentals public domain audiobook at LibriVox