WHO ARE THOSE CRAZY FUNDAMENTALISTS ANYWAY?
2 Tim. 4:3
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of
teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”
A recent article in National Review (What We’re Not Fighting For, Ramesh Ponnuru, Nov. 5, 2001) contained the following quote from Michael Lind: “The anti-American Muslims believe that the United States is a godless, secular humanist regime. So does the religious right. The radical Muslims want to roll back feminism and stamp out abortion and homosexuality. So does the religious right.” The article then goes on to quote Aryeh Neier who writes: “American fundamentalists (my emphasis) are as hostile to modernity as their counterparts elsewhere.”
The writer of the article goes on to set the record somewhat straighter by pointing out that conservative Christian leaders are not bringing down buildings, nor are they espousing a theocracy in America. The tone of the article, however, and the way liberal thinkers use the term “fundamentalist” to describe both Islamic fanatics and Evangelical Christians brought me up short. After all, I believe in the fundamentals of Christianity. And . . . I want you to believe in them too! I do not, however, see any connection between our faith and an Islamic fanaticism that desires to forcibly return the world to the culture of the Middle Ages!
Although it is most widely applied to Baptists today, the term “fundamentalist” was first widely applied to Presbyterians who took a stand against the unbiblical theology of the “modernists” in the General Assembly of the Northern Presbyterian Church in 1910. Their debate centered on five central issues:
1) The inerrancy and authority of Scripture
2) The virgin birth of Jesus
3) The substitutionary atoning death of Christ
4) The physical resurrection of Jesus
5) The historicity of the miracles
The real question was this: Is there a supernatural sovereign God? The modernists said, “no,” the fundamentalists said, “yes.” What difference does one’s answer to this question make? Well . . . if the Scripture is natural in origin – not inspired by the Holy Spirit – then it can’t be either inerrant or authoritative. If Jesus was simply another “product of natural conception” – born out of wedlock, to boot – then he is just like any other man and certainly not God the Son. If Jesus’ death was just the natural outworking of history – collateral damage in the struggle between eastern and western civilizations – then it has no spiritual effect on you and me. If Jesus’ body followed the natural course of events, then it is long since returned to dust - and that is our eternal destiny as well. If God can’t transcend natural law, than He really isn’t God at all.
I guess that makes me a fundamentalist. Just so ya know.
Pastor Keith Andrews