101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. 102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. 103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. 105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:101-105 (KJV)
As I’ve mentioned several times in the past, there’s a difference between fundamentalism and evangelicalism.
Like most Christians, I had considered myself (before joining seminary) that I was both an Evangelical Christian, and a Fundamentalist. I thought that if you believed in spreading the Gospel and winning souls for Christ, you were an Evangelical.
So my assumption was, any author that Evangelicals advocated was good. I should read the people whom Evangelicals quote and advocate. I raised my eyebrows at these author’s statements, and I could happily read Rick Warren and not notice anything wrong with it. John MacArthur was a strong preacher, and he talked a lot about Calvinism, which I didn’t know what in the daylights that was. But Evangelicals talked reverently about him, and I considered myself a fundamentalist, and wasn’t that the same thing?
So I started learning what that was. And quickly backed out of it after meeting a very simple and plain Pastor, who carefully explained the truth to me. See, that’s what’s great about real Pastors. They care what you believe.
Fundamentalism is the position you take when you say, “I accept the Bible as the inspired word of God.” Now, to take any other position is heresy. And a great many heretics and false teachers make the same profession.
Heretics and false teachers? Yes, heretics, and false teachers. The Bible makes it abundantly clear they would arise. Indeed, Paul warned that they would arise immediately after he left, and told the early Christians that he’d warned them many times, weeping, that grievous wolves would arise (Acts 20:29)
So, we’re past the position of thinking that just every Christian teacher out there is good. If you’ve read the Bible cover to cover at least once, that should be abundantly clear. If not, SLOW DOWN on your next read through of the Bible! STOP, take notes. Ask yourself, “What does this verse mean???”
The one thing I’ve advocated the most is deliberate study of your Bible. I dare say, there are 10 Christians who will die for the Bible to every 1 that will read it! Don’t depend on me to tell you what the Bible says. go buy one! Study it! I’ll help, but hey… you need to do the work. And you need to beware any organization, church, denomination, etc that advocates letting THEM interpret the Bible for you! Should you learn Greek? Couldn’t hurt. Can you understand the Bible without it? Absolutely! you don’t need the mindset of a Jew, a Korean, or any other such thing. You just need salvation… and a Bible!
In addition to believing in the Bible as the inspired word of God, inerrant, there’s an additional belief in the preservation of God’s word. We’ll discuss this one more, but let me first finish with the Fundamentals of the faith.
Fundamentalism is, when you break the word down, NOT about anger. NOT about shaking your finger in someone’s face. NOT about judging other people.
And that’s the impression that the unBelieving public has about what a Fundamentalist is.
Some people have categorized Westboro Baptist as being Fundamentalist, when in fact, they are not. The average person going to Westboro Baptist has little or no idea what’s in the Bible. It was interesting whoever made those films on Youtube where a Christian politely asked the Westboro Baptist people what they believed??? The answers to me were quite interesting. They had not a clue what the Fundamentals of Christianity were.
Which tells me the Westboro Baptist people are either a cult (duh) or the invention of a liberal media trying to make Christians look bad. Your choice what you think the truth is.
What is a Fundamentalist? What is Fundamental Christianity? Why one who believes in the Fundamentals of Christianity!
It’s that simple. But you’ll find when you say, “I’m a Fundamentalist” that some things change. You take the Bible seriously, because, well, that’s the rule of our faith and practice. A discussion with a Methodist pastor I used to work with led to a discussion where people wanted to know the difference between his denomination and mine was. He explained, “WE believe in Bible, Reason, and Tradition.” My response was, “Baptists believe in Bible, Bible, Bible.”
The next words that were spoken was very revealing. Someone who was attending a Methodist church then asked me, “You don’t really believe the Bible, do you?” The tone was a skeptical one, like, “That book is full of errors and superstitions! How can you believe that?”
My answer was simple. “Yes, I believe the Bible.” It says a lot. Because it’s NOT full of errors and myths, but EVERY WORD is true.
In many ways, how you see the Bible is almost a barometer of your salvation. If you see the Bible as MOSTLY God’s word, warning bells should be going off. Because if I were your pastor, I’d immediately begin asking you more questions, and chief among them would be, “Tell me your testimony. I’m a little worried.”
If you see the Bible as PRETTY MUCH God’s word, again, same worry.
If you see the Bible as full of old myths and superstitions, i’m going to take you through a study of salvation, and ask you repeatedly, “Are you sure you’re saved?” Because i’m telling you right now, you can’t see the Bible that way and be saved.
Next is the deity of Christ. Fundamentalists believe Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. The Trinity is next. Fundamentalists believe in the Trinity.
so far so good? you’re probably a little surprised if you’ve never thought of yourself as a Fundamentalist.
Salvation by grace through faith is the next one. How’re you doing so far? Hopefully pretty good. If not, leave comments below what doctrines you’re having problems with, and we’ll help explain it.
Here’s where we may lose a person or two – Repentance is required for salvation. Repentance is a change of mind leading to a change of actions. Does this mean you never sin again once you’re saved? Hah hah hah!!! Sorry, that’s more a laugh of regret than anything. No, you’re still going to sin. Does this mean you have to change your actions in order to be saved? No, because that’s salvation by works.
The important thing is that you understand that sin is rebellion against God, and that by engaging in sin, you are rebelling against God. That mindset makes the awareness of sin reprehensible to you. Good, that’s a Godly mindset. It’s a good indicator that you’re saved.
But someone who lives like the devil day in day out and sees nothing wrong with it is deluding themselves. Anyone who can say, “I believe I can be a (insert sin here) and still be a Christian” is probably deluded about their salvation.
The problem arose back in the 60’s with Bill Bright’s Campus Crusade for Christ, when he invented his “four spiritual laws”. it basically whitewashed the Gospel, and Bill Bright himself later rejected the approach. Don’t believe me? It’s in the last book he wrote before his death. It’s a public statement, and not some “Deathbed rejection”.
Another problem is Jack Hyles. David Cloud made a joke in one of his sermons that he hoped that Hyles’s church would hire another Pastor to replace Jack Schaap, also named Jack. That way, Cloud’s book could have been called “Three Jacks” instead of “The Hyles Effect”.
Jack Hyles basically bypassed the Gospel in his attempt to save time, and get more “yes” answers to his altar call. Hyles taught the only sin there was was the sin of unbelief. The approach was to ask in a positive manner questions you wanted a “Yes” to. “You want to go to heaven, don’t you?” Well, of course, everyone’s going to answer “Yes” to that. “You don’t want to be rejected by God, and not spend eternity in heaven, don’t you?” That answer is always going to be “no” because of the way it’s asked.
The problem is, between Bill Bright’s approach and Jack Hyles’s “one two three, repeat after me” approach, millions think of themselves as saved, who are not saved. I’m not kidding about the numbers, because Hyles bypassed the issue of sin altogether, and over 750,000 people supposedly accepted Christ through Jack Hyles alone! Yet First Baptist of Hammond, Indiana had a membership of only a couple thousand.
Wait. If 750,000 people all claimed to be born again, shouldn’t your church membership be at least, I don’t know, 100,000??? Let’s just say 1 in 10 were really born again out of that number – that would be fair, right? Then the attendance at First Baptist should be 75,000 and not 2 or 3 thousand!
AS a result, we have at least a couple of million people out there – I really want you to picture that in your mind – who have walked an aisle or maybe just put a hand up in their seat, thought a quick “Yes” at an invitation, and think they are saved.
Previous to Bill Bright and Jack Hyles, the Gospel invitation was always centered around presenting to the person that “Do you understand you are a sinner, and that your sins have separated you from God? If you died today, you would not be going to heaven, but are doomed to spend eternity in Hell.”
Yup. That’s the old approach. We need a new approach, one right with the new times, right?
The old approach is right. Because if you are not saved, and you died tonight, would you be in Heaven… or Hell?
If there is no repentance, there is no salvation. now, I’ve written a blog article or three in the past, totally blown away by a blog article I saw someone write once, saying “repentance is not even in the Bible!”
Uh… are you KIDDING????
Okay, if you really want to see my coffee-fueled rant, it’s somewhere in my archives. It was pretty amusing, to watch my brain promptly explode over that!!!
Listen, if repentance was not important, then why was it the very first thing the Lord taught after His baptism and his time in the wilderness???
so repentance is an important part of the Fundamentalist.
What’s next? A holy life. you should start working to being less worldly. A few steps at a time! this was why, in my pages on the Jehovah’s Witnesses, my advice to anyone who came out of the JW world was simple – cut back. They were used to spending sometime 30 to 40 hours a week at the Kingdom Hall, or in meetings, Bible studies, evangelizing, etc.
Step by step. it’s like exercise. Too much at once is too much. You get hurt. Should you get rid of your TV? Up to you. I recognize that addiction to TV is too much for a lot of people. I recommend it, but hey… I want to make it clear I’m not thinking for you. You do what you’re comfortable with, right now. And let the Lord lead you, a step at a time, out of Egypt.
Worldliness. That’s a big difference between Evangelical and Fundamentalist. The Evangelical position is like walking halfway out of the ocean, still waist deep in water, and claiming you’re bone dry. The Fundamentalist position is to keep walking towards the beach. You know you’re just gonna be cold once you’re out of the water, but go ahead and do it anyway, because you know it’s holding you back.
Get out of the world. leave their mindset behind. Get a godly mindset.
Lastly, separation. That’s a HUGE issue. Evangelicalism rejects it. The Bible makes it clear, it is not optional, but mandatory.
Evangelicalism says, “We’re going to cooperate with other Christians for the sake of the Gospel, and ignore the small things.”
Sounds nice. What’s the small things? find me one doctrine in the Bible that God says, “This is a small thing, don’t divide over it.”
Because what Evangelicalism calls a small thing is to me a big thing. They cooperate with the unSaved for the sake of the Gospel. now, i’ve blogged on this time and again. We should not be partnering with those to whom salvation is determined by if a baby is sprinkled with water. If you think you’re saved because you got your forehead clean as a baby, I got really bad news for you. You’re not saved.
If you think you have to do good works in order to be saved, you’re not saved.
But Evangelicals partner with both groups. Willingly. And call them “Christians”.
That goes right back to position number one. the Bible, and a lack of knowledge or even accepting what the Bible says! “Well, they have a cross on their church steeple.”
It’s nowhere in the Bible that we are Christians if we wear a cross. It says we’re disciples if we carry it, not wear it. Remember, don’t confuse “disciple” with “saved”. if the Bible wanted to tell you “saved”, it would use that word. “disciple” is a step you take AFTER you are saved. You can be saved and not be a disciple. OK? Good.
I’m going to tell you right now, it’s not like in the “Left Behind” movie where the entire church goes in the Rapture, and the youth pastor is left behind. (I’m tempted to joke and say, “The deacons will be there too”…)
There will be entire denominations who will see the vast majority of them enter the Tribulation. That’s not my words, that’s the Bible. If you do not believe Salvation by grace through faith, that salvation is the gift of God and not of works (Eph. 2:8-9)… uh… you’re getting left behind. Why? You’re not saved.
I do not partner with so called Christians who believe that because they were sprinkled, or a geometric shape of some kind was traced on their forehead as a baby, that they’re saved. Why? They’re not saved. If I partner with that, I’m giving credence to their false Gospel. I’m lending it my legitimacy. So, I separate from it.
If you personally do not believe in the Trinity, I separate from you. Why? You’re not saved. I’m not lending my name to a blasphemy that dooms all adherents to Hell.
I’m not going to partner up with a Roman Catholic or a Seventh Day Adventist, because they believe in salvation by works. I will not lend any stamp of approval to heresy. How can I expect you to help me further the gospel when you don’t understand what it is? If you think you must do ANYTHING to earn or maintain your salvation, you’re a heretic, and not saved.
So why should I partner with you? I say, “You go evangelize this neighborhood, and i’ll get this one…” and you go off and tell them they need to join your church to be saved, and you must do all six of the seven “sacraments” to be saved, and minimize your time in a mythical purgatory… and what did I do? I went and saved one neighborhood, and trusted you to deliver another one straight to Hell.
so, Fundamentalists separate from the unsaved.
I know, there’s that wonderful saying, “in essentials, unity, in all things charity.” or some other nonsense. So… if salvation is not an essential doctrine, what is???
out of political expediency, Christians across the US suddenly reversed their position about whether Mormons were Christians or not. Spineless “pastors” apologized to Mormons for the sin of “Mormophobia”.
Okay, I’m not afraid of Mormons. But in no way am I deluded into thinking they’re Christians. They don’t have the Gospel. the whole Mormon love affair started with Glenn Beck and his moderate conservative politics. Christians love to hear him rant against democrats, so they began softening their attitude about Mormons. Operation World suddenly changed their statistics to include Mormons as “Christians” and Franklin Graham just about passed out when he found that the BGEA had an entry describing Mormonism as a cult.
Okay, well, it is a cult. No issues there. Cult or false religion, your choice. They preach universalism. If they’re saved, so are the Unitarians. If Unitarians are save,d so is everyone else, because that’s about as blasphemous a position as you can get!
See the error of the Evangelical position? Are you sure you agree with that?
The Bible position is Fundamentalism.