From Exodus to exile: The early fundamentalist movement among Maritime Baptists, 1930 - 1939
LE3 .A278 2016
Master of Arts
Acadia Divinity College
Beginning in the 1920s, faint protests against modernism occasionally emerged from within the United Baptist Convention of the Maritime Provinces. In 1930, John James Sidey joined John Bolton Daggett to co-pastor the Kingston-Melvern circuit of churches in Nova Scotia. Disturbed by what they saw as the growing threat of modernism at the Convention-operated Acadia University in Wolfville, they set out to gently guide the Baptist constituency toward a more conservative theology, known as fundamentalism. That year, they founded the Kingston Bible College—one of the first major events in the early Maritime Baptist fundamentalist movement. In 1934, the Convention removed Sidey from its list of ordained ministers and Daggett resigned in protest. Hoping to inspire others, they created a rival network of churches that supported their college, as well as a mission board and a newspaper. Their influence in the region proved largely ineffective and only a hand-full of churches followed them in their crusade, the majority of which had split from them by 1939. As the decade closed, the movement was reduced to one geographical region. The common historiography of these events largely revolves around J.J.Sidey. However, in order to understand the formation of the movement and its decline in influence, one must look beyond him. While this study explores Sidey’s role, it focuses also on those characterized as his “lieutenants,” including J.B.Daggett, Neil Herman, J.W. Hill, and T.A. Meister, in the development of the movement. This study shows that Daggett provided much of the impetus for the movement and deeply influenced many of its policies. Additionally, Herman, Hill, and Meister each signify some important development within the movement: Herman provided leadership in the early years and ultimately symbolized the Kingston fundamentalists’ connection to the Baptist Convention; Hill was the movement’s link both to New Brunswick and to the wider, international fundamentalist crusade; and Meister’s schismatic attitude limited the movement’s growth in the region, ultimately turning it into a localized movement.
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