Riley, William Bell
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Time Period
3/22/1861  - 12/5/1947
After graduating from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1888 and holding several short-term pastorates, William Bell Riley became the pastor of First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, where he quickly stirred up controversy among his well-to-do parishioners by abolishing pew rents, adding revival services, and proclaiming a strictly fundamentalist theology from the pulpit. In response to the growth of theological modernism in the Northern Baptist Convention (NBC), Riley formed the World Christian Fundamentals Association in 1919 to unite fundamentalists from all denominations, recruited William Jennings Bryan to uphold Tennessee's anti-evolution law during the Scopes Trial of 1925, and founded Northwestern Bible School in Minneapolis. Shortly before his death in 1947, Riley successfully pulled the Minnesota Baptist Convention out of the NBC and appointed the then somewhat obscure evangelist Billy Graham as president of Northwestern.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Baptist Religious Events and People in American History
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Baptist Religious Events and People in American History
Religious Groups
Baptist Family: Other ARDA Links

Timeline Entries for the same religious group Independent Fundamentalist Family
Independent Fundamentalist Family: Other ARDA Links

Baptist Bible Union
The Cooperative Program Instituted in the Southern Baptist Convention
Scopes Trial
Conservative Baptist Association of America
Northwestern College
World Christian Fundamentals Association
Northern Baptist Convention

William Bell Riley portrait- Hennepin County Library Special Collections
Book/Journal Source(s)
Larson, Timothy and David Bebbington and Mark Noll, 2003. Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals. InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois.
Trollinger, William Vance, 1990. God's Empire: William Bell Riley and Midwestern Fundamentalism. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.
Web Page Contributor
Paul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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