Wednesday, June 01, 2005

More on Fundementalism

My last post on Fundamentalism left a lot to be said. Mark highlighted this when he asked in his comment what my point was.

I should clarify. The very definition of a fundamentalist is elusive. It all depends on who is actually using the term and who they are speaking of. By the standards of most non-Christians I am a fundamentalist. Using their definition a fundamentalist is generally defined as someone that believes in the inerrancy of the Bible, is politically conservative, believes it is the call of all Christians to spread the Gospel (evangelism) and accepts salvation through Jesus Christ.

That is a pretty broad based definition and is utterly unfit for this discussion. The general agreements held by Christians that fit the above description are far greater than disagreements; it matters little if non-Christians fail to see the nuances and subtle deviations in world-view.

Of course to some Christians the subtle differences, especially in theology are all that matters in the application of manmade labels. Among Protestants the Calvinist are probably the most dogmatic in this regard. In their view there are essentially two camps, those that accept the Five Points of Calvinism and those that do not.

It is just not that simple. Many denominations that began as Calvinistic have adopted what Calvinist would term as Armenian doctrine. Of course a robust study of the early differences in Calvinism and Armenianism demonstrates that there was not two camps. The Armenians simply rebutted some of the five points and Calvinist returned fired by essentially declaring that two camps existed; those that were with them and those against.

In the big picture this is not the issue at hand either. There are Biblical points to support aspects of both views. Many fine men of God have dedicated their lives to defending one view or the other.

This does little to define what I mean by fundamentalism. To be certain the Armenian/evangelical camp far and away comprises the bulk of what Christians would term as fundamentalist. I am not damning all Armenians however.

The debate over Dispensationalist and Covenant Theology is likewise also another possible dividing point between what I term fundamentalism. The heavily reliance in most dispensational churches on premillennial doctrine surely has an enormous impact on their world view. This in and of itself is not the dividing line.

My definition of fundamentalism would include the following

1) Belief in the inerrancy of the Bible (this is a good thing and I agree)
2) Call to evangelism (again I agree)
3) Salvation through Jesus Christ (agree)
4) The belief that they are politically conservative (here we disagree, they are not conservative and on this point I will elaborate further)
5) Adherence to dispensational and premillennial theology (I have no problem with the belief in the pretribulation rapture if that is how a man interprets the Bible. I will elaborate my difficulties with this item below)

Points four and five are the areas that cause me the greatest consternation with fundamentalist.

First the idea that they are conservative, that they actually believe this fascinates me. The article in my previous message (written by a moderate that I obviously do not agree with entirely) mentions that one of the tenets of fundamentalism is the "intermediate goals" of: eliminating the Public School System, homeschooling, and severely limiting the government.

What a fascinating notion. The fundamentalist, under the leadership of men like Farwell, Robinson and Dobson, vote squarely for the Republican Party. Anyone that truly considers the GOP a conservative party is beyond my ability to reach with words.

When has the Republican Party limited government in the last 35 years? (23 of those years a Republican sat in the Whitehouse) Does the Patriot Act limit government? Has any Republican president truly attempted to eliminate the Department of Education or the myriad of Great Society and New Deal programs that burden us so and stray so far from the original intent of the Constitution?

Has the Republican Party stood up to protect the unborn or the sanctity of marriage? To steal the words of Reagan is America better off now than 35 years ago? Is it more moral, does the government reflect a more conservative and limited role?

This is the political party of choice for fundamentalist.

Point five is closely related to the discussion above and is likely the very reason that so many fundamentalist blindly support a party that is little better than democrats or socialist. The belief that this must be the end of days and that the true Christian purpose must be to support and encourage the second coming engenders a strange world view. Without being offensive this mentality is akin to that of a death cult. 'The end is near, prepare!!'

My Bible tells me no man knows the time. History tells me that many men in the past have wrongly predicted that theirs was the end of days.

What makes Hal Lindsey and Tim Lahaye any different?

What if they are wrong? What if this is not the end of days. What if mankind persists for another 2000 years? Can any premillineal dispensationalist know for sure? Can anyone but God alone know? Is it the place of a Godly and righteous man to forsake the birthright of his children and their children based upon his hope of rapture in his lifetime?

This is the crux of my issue with fundamentalist. God love them, they intend well, but they are simply wrong-minded. Being yoked with a political party that only pays lip service to true Christian values is unbiblical. The notion that god can use wicked men to achieve his purpose does not excuse the conscious decision of a Christian to “do a little evil to achieve a great good”. God will use who he will, it is not for us to decide who we will compromise with. Our calling is simple and straight forward. We are to be an example but we are also to be separate.

These compromisers are who I define as fundamentalist and it is at those folks that I aim my ire. Mark my friend, that was my point

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