Differences between traditionalists and fundamentalists were evident as early as the Presbyterian General Assembly of 1923…At the 1923 assembly, true to his form in national elections, the statesman [William Jennings Bryan] ran and lost as a candidate for moderator. Despite defeat, Bryan managed to bring two proposals to the floor. He won support for a resolution endorsing total abstinence from alcoholic beverages, but his motion to prohibit the teaching of evolution in Presbyterian schools yielded only a watered-down motion that instructed churches to withhold approval from institutions that taught a “materialistic evolutionary philosophy of life.” Machen, whose views on prohibition and evolution differed from Bryan’s, was not at all pleased by the populist’s efforts…
Although Bryan and Machen were perceived to be on the same side, their concerns were distinct. Many of Bryan’s efforts actually failed to win the support of Presbyterian traditionalists. Bryan, like fundamentalists more generally, believed America should be a Christian society and so worked to purge liberalism from the nation’s schools and churches. In contrast, Machen, like Presbyterian traditionalists, sought to preserve Presbyterian theology and church practice, and limited his efforts against liberalism to the ecclesiastical sphere. Although Bryan was not a premillennialist, his desire to preserve Christian civilization resembled popular fundamentalism in that he thought the institutional church was at best indifferent and at worst detrimental to spreading of the gospel. Bryan minimized doctrinal and denominational differences and conceived of Christianity as a sure means to improve society. Fundamentalist concerns about secularism in American society ran counter to the narrowly ecclesiastical and confessional aims of Presbyterian traditionalists. Rather than linking Machen to Bryan, a better parallel to Presbyterian traditionalism was the contemporaneous effort in Canada by Presbyterian conservatives who in 1925 refused to join the United Church of Canada and formed their own denomination to preserve Presbyterian faith and practice.
D.G. Hart, Defending the Faith: J. Gresham Machen and the Crisis of Conservative Protestantism in Modern America
Or to make a popular TV analogy, fundamentalism is to traditionalism what jihad-watching neo-conservatism is to institutional-oriented paleo-conservatism. It is what Jack Bauer is to Jack McCoy. One wears the latest fashions and carries synthetic man-bag, the other a suit and a well-worn leather suitcase. One thinks pious Muslims are suspect and to be feared, the other that they make fantastic neighbors. One is a self-assured government agent who drinks Red-Bull before saving the world, the other a worldly-wise district attorney who absently takes Scotch in his office to celebrate a win he’s not sure makes him feel good. One has a father who owns a for-profit company, the other had an old man who was a beat cop of Irish-Catholic descent. One is young, the other not-so-much.
Jack McCoy says things like, “You’ll thank me one day, Mike, for yanking your leash. I just wish someone had been there to yank mine,” and Jack Bauer says things like, “Dammit!”