Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dissent, the Anvil of Truth

Fundamentalism was born out of the hot furnace of dissent against the inherent flaws of denominationalism. The one man at the center of that dissent was none other than J. Frank Norris, the acknowledged founder of the so-called Fundamentalist Movement. Dissent is not of itself a bad connotation. It’s constructive value or disruptive capability must be looked at from an objective standpoint. Any ill-conceived idea is a reproach upon humanity and must be countered only by dissent.

Likewise, the great Protestant reformation came to fruition through the voice of dissent. It only takes a cursory review of church history to reach this conclusion. Most noteworthy of all dissenters was Martin Luther, famous for his posting of the “Ninety-Five Thesis”. But more riveting than the life of Luther, was the account of England’s most honored martyred saints.

On October 16, 1555, the lives of Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were consumed in flames, at the ruthless hand of Queen Mary Tudor. The same fate awaited Thomas Cranmer just six months later. As the flames rose, Latimer called out to his companion, “Be of good cheer, Mr. Ridley, and play the man, for we shall this day light a candle in England as I trust, by God’s grace, shall never be put out”. This event happened in Oxford, England, where now stands a memorial in honor of these three saints.

Thankfully, American culture has never stooped to the low of burning dissenters at the stake, based on the offense of dissent. Dissent characterized the ministry of J. Frank Norris without question, but never without a rational reason for which history now agrees. Search his record, and almost without exception, time and consensus have proven him to be a man ahead of his time. Such is the conclusion of friend and foe alike.

Sadly, the negative “Johnnie-come-lately” gainsayers seem totally unable to render fair judgment. Until credible researchers are forthcoming, the real J. Frank Norris will never be known. You who view this video, I request that you share with me, any documented information which will be helpful in my quest.


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