Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

Citing individuals and groups that have been influential in the writing of this book is certainly not to suggest that the work's shortcomings can be attributed to anyone but me. Rather, such is merely an acknowledgment of the debt lowe to so many. Without the input and encouragement of those cited below, this book would never have seen the light of day....

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

J.Frank Norris was one of the most controversial figures in the history of Christianity in America. Loved by most fundamentalists and very nearly hated by mainline Southern Baptists, he was hardly ever ignored. Such controversial individuals and movements are always difficult to interpret. With regard to Norris, this difficulty has been compounded by recent developments in the Southern Baptist Convention. As the conservative wing of the SBC has come to dominate...

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1 The Making of a Populist Preacher

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pp. 7-18

J.Frank Norris's career as a Baptist and fundamentalist preacher, newspaper publisher, political activist, and general controversialist spanned roughly the first half of the twentieth century. During this period he pastored simultaneously two of the largest churches in America, traveled the world, corresponded with congressmen, and...

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2 From Populism to Southern Fundamentalism

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pp. 19-44

The development of Norris's populism prepared him well for the coming of fundamentalism after World War I. Having pitted himself first against the leaders of First Baptist, then against the political fathers of Fort Worth, Norris was ready by 1920 to go head to head...

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3 American Nativist

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pp. 45-73

Events from the preceding chapter show the extent to which Norris could be ruthless in dealing with his theological adversaries. Likewise, in his political life, he spared no enemy his wrath, especially when he perceived his enemies as subversive of America. In the twenties, he counted as subversives Catholics and immigrants especially....

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4 Dispensational Prophet

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pp. 74-89

While Norris's nativism was driven for the most part by forces other than his fundamentalist theology, he did employ theology in his commentary on many public issues especially in the realm of international affairs. More than any other fundamentalist belief, dispensational premillennialism seems to have affected Norris's views in ...

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5 Motor City Man

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pp. 90-117

By the 'end of the 1920s, Norris was a well-known fundamentalist figure across the South and in the North as he continued in the roles of populist preacher and dispensational prophet. It was at this time that he also exhibited the worst strands of his nativism in the anti-Smith campaign of 1928. He was already moving toward national prominence within fundamentalism when in the thirties he would...

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6 Sphinx

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pp. 118-137

While Norris's enemies often charged that he had no character, few have doubted that he was one. His need to be in the public eye and his desire to control all facets of his own empire often led him to engage in some of the most outlandish acts imaginable for a fundamentalist pastor. One need think only of some of the events already covered to understand how much this was so. After all, how many pastors in...

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7 Anticommunist

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pp. 138-160

As Norris progressed through his career he latched on to a variety of political and religious issues. Although he always seemed to be battling on several fronts, there was usually one dominant issue during a given period. He would often tackle such an issue for several weeks, then drop it and go on to another. At other times, he...

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8 The Race Card

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pp. 161-170

In the summer of 1995, messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Atlanta approved a resolution recognizing the responsibility the denomination bore for its past complicity in racism. In addition to acknowledging "the role that slavery played in the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention," the resolution cited the failure on the part of many Southern Baptists to support...

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Conclusion

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pp. 171-176

If anything emerges from a study of J. Frank Norris, it is that he was an extremely complex individual. A bundle of contradictory forces, he was fundamentalist yet Baptist, populist yet elitist, southern yet northern, and Democrat yet Republican. When he was on the attack on any issue, he was usually crude and vicious. When he was explicating Scripture or teaching, he could be calm and rational. At times...

Notes

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pp. 177-212

Index

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pp. 213-220