Is Fundamentalism Bad?
First a definition of Fundamentalism would be in order – from “The Religion Book” 2004 by Jim Willis. “. . . the word conjures up two images. The first is the old image of the Protestant Christian fundamentalist – the ‘Bible believing, virgin birth, born again, second coming’ image. The second and more recent image is that of the Islamic fundamentalist.” And any Fundamentalist is just someone who accepts his faith’s basic doctrines.
Now that doesn’t seem like such a bad thing unless it’s the kind of faith that attacks & kills others in the name of Allah . . . In the Christian sense we have lots of groups that are F. oriented. Baptist, Pentecostal, Gospel groups, and a variety of others are considered fundamentalists. When I found the Lord in ’72 (or did He find me??) the word F. was not an issue. I wasn’t impressed with any kind of religion as such – Sunday meetings, ritual, right attitude, etc., but the presence of the Holy Spirit, miracles, divine guidance, answered prayer, etc., was pretty neat stuff. My experiment with Christianity was just like those folks I read about in the Bible. I began to like what I had touched, & if it was F. I didn’t care.
I think in our day people have disconnected from accountability to God & religious principles because science seems to disapprove. Therefore fundamentalism has become a word with a bad image. And folks use the common rejection of the image of F. as an excuse to reject the Word of God & it’s Author. Many of them don’t examine those elements of F. – “Bible believing, virgin birth, born again, second coming” – if it’s fundamentalism it must be bad just because. And besides, C. Darwin & Steve Hawking wouldn’t approve of this stuff . . . Well, I resolved from the start in ’72 to read the Book thoroughly & carefully. My missionary friend D.L. gave me a golden rule then – “if you find something you don’t understand or find especially credible, just go on. It will clarify later.” And God has blessed my experience with those miracles & good things mentioned in paragraph 2 above – for about 44 years now.
So “Is Fundamentalism Bad?”, no F. is a good thing, only some extreme forms of it may be a little intense, but in Christianity that’s not so bad. Better to be too F. & approved by the King – “Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;” Matthew 25:34, than to be without principles & liberal, and hear Christ say, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;” Matthew 25:41 Why challenge God? Better to take on a 400 lb. gorilla. The best approach is to study the Word & see if it’s false. Many have done this to find it’s true! – I did . . . I conclude that the spirit of this age has branded F. & Bible thumping as bad which BLOCKS many from studying the WORD, which they need to make an informed decision for Christ & those fundamentals. “Judging a book by its cover??” “The blind leading the blind??” Here’s a few references from “the fundamentalist handbook”:
- “. . .the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:4
- “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
- “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessaloni’ca, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11
- “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:23 KJV
- “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11 (The word of two angels when the resurrected Christ ascended.)
Choose Jesus, He is alive, and probably the original fundamentalist. See “Was Jesus God?” link #97
Many other interesting titles: www.gospelnotes.net – index is link 1 * * F. J. Stone * *