A critical biography of Bernard Ramm: an exemplar of the development of a neo-evangelical-Baptist identity in the American Baptist Convention.
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Bernard Ramm (1916-1992) was an American Baptist (ABC-USA) theologian who lived during the heart of the twentieth century. His embrace of the neo-evangelical movement, which arose during the 1940s, led to the development of a unique neo-evangelical-Baptist identity. Through his own theological journey and crises, Ramm was instrumental in helping American Protestants break free of the confining theological commitments of militant and isolationist fundamentalism so that Christians would be able once again to re-engage with the culture and grow theologically. This dissertation outlines a history of the American Baptist denomination as well as American Protestant Fundamentalism in order to set a context for the rise of the neo-evangelical movement and Ramm’s place within it. The dissertation then offers a detailed biography of Ramm’s life and the reasons behind his departure away from fundamentalism and toward neo-evangelicalism. Ramm’s theological journey is particularly highlighted through his work on the rapprochement of science and Christianity, as well as through his professional and personal relationships and subsequent writings. Ramm’s place in Christian history is critical as one who helped to validate the neo-evangelical movement as well as the interplay between science and faith in order to help reclaim evangelical identity and history.