Please allow me to proceed by first defining Fundamentalism. And then help you to understand why you should become one.
FUNDAMENT’AL, a. Pertaining to the foundation or basis; serving for the foundation. Hence, essential; important; as a fundamental truth or principle; a fundamental law; a fundamental sound or chord in music.
FUNDAMENT’AL, n. A leading or primary principle, rule, law or article, which serves as the ground work of a system; essential part; as the fundamentals of the christian faith.
FUNDAMENT’ALLY, n. Primarily; originally; essentially; at the foundation. All power is fundamentally in the citizens of a state.
These are from Webster’s 1828 dictionary, a must-have dictionary. There’s free modules for Bible Analyzer and for E-Sword. If you were to go to the year 2012 on my blog and start reading all my articles from the beginning (hey, what a radical idea!) then you’d see why… when I quote a word from Webster’s and then you see Bible verses after it, that’s not my impressive scholarship – why, that’s Webster’s. Those verses are right out of the Bible. Mr. Webster knew his Bible better than any of us – Concordances were not commercially available in those days.
Fundamentals are the basics. If I were to try taking up Golf again (shudder) I would most definitely spend quite a bit of time on grip, and swing. Those are the Fundamentals.
What are the Fundamentals of the Christian faith? I spent some time in a wild-eyed rant last month on “what doctrines are essential to salvation?” Let’s look at a slightly longer list, in “what are the fundamentals of the Christian faith?”
Belief in a God. That’s kind of a no-brainer. It disqualifies most theologians, by the way. Like a lot of those names I talked about yesterday in the “King James Bible” issue.
1 And God spake all these words, saying, 2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:1-3 (KJV)
Belief that Jesus Christ is divine. If you do not believe Jesus Christ is fully God, and fully man – you cannot call yourself a Christian. Which amazes me as a lot of cults who deny the deity of Jesus Christ often want to call themselves Christian. Mormons have a very different definition of “God” than we do. To many of them, it’s like a promotion, an office. They deny that God created anything out of nothing, a term called “Ex Nihilo”. See, I paid attention in Seminary.
58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. John 8:58 (KJV)
30 I and my Father are one. John 10:30 (KJV)
Everyone doing good so far? If not, skip the rest of this and drop down to the bottom and leave a comment. I promise I’ll answer it as soon as possible.
A Literal belief in the Bible as God’s word. Here’s where it gets a little tricky. There’s all kinds of people getting this wrong. It means when you read Genesis, you believe in a literal, 6 day creation. That’s not too hard, right? Lots of Evangelicals are right there with me.
It means you believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. That’s kind of important. If you deny the Resurrection, you deny Christ’s power to save you. And trust me, if you don’t accept His bodily Resurrection, here’s a clue – He won’t save you.
34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. Acts 10:34-43 (KJV)
Notice it was part of Peter’s Gospel message. D. L. Moody once had a seminary student deliver a Sunday message where he taught the life of Jesus Christ. The student promised to speak on the Resurrection the following week – but Moody explained the man would not be speaking ever again. “The Gospel without the Resurrection is no Gospel at all.”
A literal belief in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. Yup! If you don’t accept this by faith, this is most definitely in the “I’m a little worried about your salvation” category.
How we doing?
A literal belief that the death, blood, burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ atones for the sins of fallen mankind. Wow, those scary Fundamentalists! “hey, you’re starting to describe me!” I hope so!
A literal belief that Jesus Christ ascended bodily into heaven. I believe that. Absolutely. No questions.
A literal belief in the second coming of Jesus Christ. Yup. The Bible says it, that settles it.
That’s pretty much it for the beliefs category. How did you do? I’m hoping you scored a home run! I’m pretty sure everyone here scored well on that. Well, a couple of you are following my blog because you’re selling vacation homes, and if you follow 10,000 blogs, you’ll be able to get at least 1,000 followers, and that way you can legally sell your spam on WordPress. And a few others are fiction writers, who are following 10,000 blogs in the hopes of getting 1,000 people to read your fiction. I think that would be amazing, to know a thousand people read your words. But what I’m getting at is… for those of you who do not, let’s see if we can help you with your beliefs over the next year!
Okay, what else is there? Well, there’s a mindset for a Fundamentalist. I’m going to give you the big definition shortly. “God says it, I believe it. Matter of fact, God says it, I do it.” A Fundamentalist is to a certain extent, someone who believes and follows the commandments of God as a lifestyle choice. Or rather, wants to follow, but messes up a whole lot.
Let’s look at those commandments! There’s a LOT of them Fundamentalists choose to keep, for the love of God.
- Love the Lord your God
- Love thy neighbor as thyself.
Whew! That’s a lot of reading right there! Those are the choices I make. How often do I live that? A few seconds every week, but I’m trying. Some weeks I’ve been able to consistently keep those two commandments for up to 18 consecutive minutes in a row! Yeah!
Well, what bothers me is how often I put myself over others consistently. But that’s another blog post there.
Ready for the big definition now? I bet a lot of you are thinking you’re Fundamentalists right now! There’s one little thing that separates Fundamentalists from Evangelicals. I was dumbfounded to learn when I first got born again, that I was not a Fundamentalist, but an Evangelical. Once I was educated as to what an Evangelical believes, I made the change immediately. It’s like people who call themselves Calvinists. Once many of them try wading through Calvin’s Institutes, they often realize they’re really Baptists who believe Electionism. And when they learn what Calvin advocated as “Sound doctrine” – they abandon his heresies quickly.
getting back on topic, let’s look, finally and at last, on what a Fundamentalist is. I’ve made the case so far that a Fundamentalist is someone who believes in the fundamentals of the Christian faith. But what do they practice? There’s a huge difference between what you do and what you believe.
For instance, I bathe and brush my teeth daily. Does that mean I believe that these are requirements for salvation? Not at all. Enemies of Fundamentalists routinely accuse Fundamentalists of believing that we are saved by dressing modestly. They’re raising a straw man by deliberately representing what we do with what we believe.
here’s the definition of what a Fundamentalist is…
A Fundamentalist is a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ who–
- Maintains an immovable allegiance to the inerrant, infallible, and verbally inspired Bible.
- Believes that whatever the Bible says is so.
- Judges all things by the Bible and is judged only by the Bible.
- 4. Affirms the foundational truths of the historic Christian Faith: The doctrine of the Trinity; the incarnation, virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, bodily resurrection and glorious ascension, and Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ; the new birth through regeneration by the Holy Spirit; the resurrection of the saints to life eternal; the resurrection of the ungodly to final judgment and eternal death; the fellowship of the saints, who are the body of Christ.
- Practices fidelity to that Faith and endeavors to preach it to every creature.
- Exposes and separates from all ecclesiastical denial of that Faith, compromise with error, and apostasy from the Truth.
- Earnestly contends for the Faith once delivered.
Wow, that’s not really a lot, is there? But it’s the article 6 that separates Evangelicalism from Fundamentalism. It’s right about the only difference.
Let’s use two hypothetical people, Bob and John.
Scenario 1: Bob is a Christian, John is a Jehovahs’ Witness. They work together. Bob is a committed Christian, and John comments on Bob’s faith, and lets it be known as a Jehovah’s Witness he does not believe in the Trinity. He invites Bob to his house for a Bible study. Bob decides not to go, because he really doesn’t want to associate with someone who denies the trinity, understanding that bad doctrine can be contagious.
That’s article 6, the doctrine of separation. It’s in the Bible. A lot of Christians think one of the verses refers to marriage – be ye not unequally yoked. That’s separationism.
Let’s rephrase the scenario, so that we can make it clear. I’m only going to change one word, and part of a sentence, and it should make everything clear.
Scenario 2: Bob is a Christian, John is a Mormon. They work together. Bob is a committed Christian, and John comments on Bob’s faith, and lets it be known as a Mormon he believes man may become God, which is a denial of the Trinity. He invites Bob to his house for a Bible study. Bob decides to go, because he really doesn’t want to commit the sin of Mormophobia.
Wait. Does that make sense? That’s essentially the same scenario. But it’s what Evangelical leaders are pushing right now. “Accept the Mormons as fellow Christians.” But since their doctrines deny the deity of Jesus Christ, and their view of God is so flawed that it cannot be said they truly believe in one… that we have to conclude they’re not saved. “When I become a supervisor, I’m going to have a nice office.” “When I become God, I’m going to have a nice planet.” See, that’s viewing God as a position, a promotion. That’s not a belief in a God, that’s a hope in a promotion.
Scenario Number three: Bob is a Christian, John is a theological modernist.They work together. Bob is a committed Christian, and John comments on Bob’s faith. He explains he thinks salvation is a process based on becoming a more moral person and says that he has always been a Christian, at least since his Baptism as an infant. He invites Bob to his house for a Bible study. Bob decides to go, because he really doesn’t see any problem, since John is a member of a Christian denomination.
Are you getting the picture? The responses Bob makes are the responses of an Evangelical. An Evangelical trusts everyone who names the name of Christ, except for the most blatant cultist groups. “moonies? Cult! Messianic Jew? Why, Christian!”
A Fundamentalist would answer “no” to every scenario.
17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Romans 16:17-18 (KJV)
Fundamentalists are people who’ve put this into practice.
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Ephesians 5:6-9 (KJV)
As a Fundamentalist, you begin to become suspicious of anyone advocating associating with modernists, cultists, and the unsaved. You can call yourself a Christian, but that doesn’t make you one. You have to be born again to be a Christian. Jane Fonda made a comment years ago about she was a Christian now, but did not consider herself one of those born again wackos.
Well, if she’s not born again, she’s not a Christian. I can call myself a wagon, but that doesn’t make me one.
going to church does not make you a christian. You can sit in your garage all day, but that doesn’t make you a car.
So, why do we call people Christians who consider their salvation to be being sprinkled with water as a baby? That doesn’t make you a Christian!
So why do we associate with those denominations who do?
Why are Evangelical leaders pushing you to do it?
Why are they pushing you to accept cults?
Why are they pushing you to Rome?
now that you understand the Fundamentalist mindset (I’m almost done!), let’s look at one more thing.
Many Evangelical leaders are literally treating Fundamentalists as if they’re the enemy.
If all a Fundamentalist is is one who accepts the fundamentals of the Christian faith and believes in separating from heresy… then the only real enemy of a fundamentalist should be Satan, right? Satan and his followers…
“I spent some time trying to support a friend. It seems he’d gotten a letter from some Fundamentalist whacko, and got depressed…” Charles Swindoll.
Yup. I heard that on Swindoll’s radio program broadcast on WBBN. It was the last time I listened to him. Swindoll clearly views Fundamentalists as the enemy. I present this as a fact, without drawing conclusions. Who was Swindoll talking about? Well, the only Fundamentalist I know of who sends letters expressing concerns about someone’s doctrinal stands is… David Cloud. Who’s the friend? Don’t know, but I’ll guess Rick Warren. Many Evangelicals are waking up to the fact that Rick Warren may be dangerous. slowly but surely.
“There are all kinds of fundamentalists, Larry, and they’re all based on fear. There are Christian fundamentalists. There are Muslim fundamentalists. I’ve met some Jewish fundamentalists. You know that there are secular fundamentalists. They’re all based on fear. Secular fundamentalists are afraid of God.” Rick Warren, Larry King Live, Dec. 2, 2006
There are Evangelical leaders who describe themselves as the enemies of a Fundamentalist. And I think I’ve made a very good case, with the scenarios above, for every Christian should be a Fundamentalist. Now that you know what one is, what they believe, and how they practice their faith, shouldn’t you be one?
Charles Swindoll is not my enemy. But by his own words he declares me to be his enemy. Rick Warren describes me as his enemy. All I do is avoid associating with heretics, and for that they declare me an enemy.
Are Evangelical leaders really leading you in the way of all truth? Think about that. Because the only difference between an Evangelical and I is I choose to obey Scripture and separate from heresy. That’s all. And because of that, they declare me to be an enemy.
Raises a lot of questions, doesn’t it? Why would you oppose that which is clearly commanded in the Bible?