Riley, William Bell - Timeline Biography
03-22-1861 - 12-05-1947
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.
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Religious GroupsBaptist Family: Other ARDA Links
Baptist Family: Religious Family Tree
Timeline Entries for the same religious group: Independent Fundamentalist Family
Independent Fundamentalist Family: Other ARDA Links
World Christian Fundamentals Association
Baptist Bible Union
Conservative Baptist Association of America
Northern Baptist Convention
The Cooperative Program Instituted in the Southern Baptist Convention
Related Dictionary TermsBelief in Creationism/Acceptance of Evolution, Measure of, Bible, Christian, Theology
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 ContributorPaul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History