I’m a Fundamentalist! Are you?
“Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”
“If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed (1 Timothy 4:2-6, NIV).
My good friend Don Simpson turned me on to an interesting (you can interpret that as “funny” if you like) website called Stuff Fundies Like. One post was a hoot; the Fundy Purity Test. Please take the test. I did and flunked it worse that my college Metaphysics class final (Which was an essay question: Please describe the history of the universe in less than 300 words and in no more than 30 minutes.).
Proving once again that I’m way out of touch with these kinds of monikers and stereotypes, I thought I was a fundamentalist. Based upon my score on the Fundy test it appears that I’m an apostate at least, and a heretic at worst (I’m more than willing to give a hair follicle sample). Either way, according to the test, I’m clearly not a legalist and may be a Calvinist (which I’m told is a form of the anti-Christ).
With that in mind, I wanted to share the following article about fundamentalism. It includes a list of 5 doctrinal beliefs that most consider fundamental in being a Christian. Although sure to disappoint and anger some, this might at least be a starting point. Here’s the list:
1) The inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture
2) The deity of Jesus Christ
3) The virgin birth of Christ
4) The substitutionary, atoning work of Christ on the cross
5) The physical resurrection and the personal bodily return of Christ to the earth.
I’m sure this list will not please everyone (and maybe no one), but it will at least help explain why I consider myself a fundamentalist. Let me add that, among many other things, I also believe in salvation by grace through faith in Christ for God’s glory alone. Yes, I know it’s not really that simple but I do believe in these fundamentals. And I do my best not to add any legalistic, Pharisaical “fence laws” to the simple beauty and liberty (not license) found in the Gospel. We are saved by grace, but it is only by that very same grace that we can live in a way that honors God .
Here’s the article found at Fundamentally Reformed:
What is Fundamentalism?
“Historically, Fundamentalism describes the movement of conservative orthodox Evangelicals to take a stand against the encroach of modernist liberal theology. Many of the same Evangelicals who were involved in prophecy conferences and the Bible school movement, united together across denominational lines in an effort to stem the tide of heresy. Unfortunately they lost many of the mainline denominations and institutions.
The term fundamentalist was first used around 1920, and referred to the fundamental doctrines held in common by fundamentalists. Various lists of fundamentals are to be found, but most lists include the following five fundamentals of the faith: 1) The inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture 2) The deity of Jesus Christ 3) The virgin birth of Christ 4) The substitutionary, atoning work of Christ on the cross 5) The physical resurrection and the personal bodily return of Christ to the earth.
In the 1950s, Billy Graham and Carl F Henry and others like them, took Evangelicalism on a different tack than the fundamentalist faith of previous generations. They wanted to gain a hearing and interact with the modernists. They didn’t advocate a “militant” mindset toward those who didn’t accept all the fundamentals of the faith. Their motivations were to win by persuasion, and influence the culture rather than isolate from it.
To varying degrees this strategy failed, and most conservative evangelicals today would admit this to some extent. But another result of this shift in strategy drastically impacted the development of fundamentalism. Now instead of the liberals being “the enemy”, Christian brothers (who held to the fundamental doctrines themselves) were the ones being separated from. Since they made common cause with apostates, they earned the scorn of fundamentalists.
Since the 1960s fundamentalists have steadily withdrawn from wider evangelical institutions and concerns. An inbreeding effect was experienced as more and more fundamentalists tended to shun education (in fear of leaning toward the left) and isolate themselves from others. Infighting between fundamentalist groups, which caused the demise of the original fundamentalist organizational structure of the 1920s spiraled. Strong personalities directed the movement and whether intentionally or not, attracted a following.
Cultural concerns and a desire to hold onto the standards of the past have also entered the mix. The dramatic changes of modern culture with regard to music, dress, movies and more, have also muddied the waters. The lasting influence of American individualism, the revivalism and organized evangelism of Charles Finney and Moody, the strident and theatrical “hell-fire and damnation” preaching of Billy Sunday, and even the social concern of the temperance movement have all impacted the development of the fundamentalist movement today.
To be a fundamentalist today, one has to be orthodox in doctrine and have a desire to be militant for the faith. Separation from error in the world and the church alike are required. Usually, however, the mindset of the movement as a whole is required. Resisting error is not seen to be the same as actually removing from associations or denominational groups that contain error. While some early fundamentalists never separated from their denominations, today, years after the split from the old denominations, “independency” is akin to faithfulness. Staying in the Baptist General Conference or the Southern Baptist Convention is usually enough to be viewed a fundamentalist outsider.”
Okay, Fundies, fire away! My occasional use of the NIV (not my favorite by the way) alone should be enough to start placing your arrows into the crossbow.
I consider myself a fundamentalist in the original sense of the term. Which means that there is a 99.26467% chance that this traditional fundamentalist will be condemned and rejected by the new, law-burdened grace killers who label themselves fundamentalists (think of Westboro as an extreme example).
Now isn’t that fundamentally ironic?!