A few thoughts on Fundamentalism:
- Differences of opinion…differences are necessary (1Cor.11.19)…and yet, Fundamentalism’s remaining closed to honest inquiry is particularly dangerous. A studious and humble disposition lends itself to honest inquiry and continual study (broader than the scope of our dogmatic). Our being ‘too married’ to our present understanding of things tends to ‘divorce’ us from growing up in the knowledge of the Lord.
- Fundamentalism…everything tends to be black and white…they hold not only the essential doctrines in a closed fisted manner/mentality, but all their beliefs and practices.
- Assumptions are had by all…the question is what grounds we have for such and such assumptions, and, are we willing to reconsider those assumptions in the light of a growing understanding of Scripture within the Body of Christ?
- Fundamentalism is known to absolutize the principle “you reap what you sow“. Perhaps, with less consideration of the broader context of things, and with less charity/humility, this perspective finds it easier to take a course that associates all hardship with personal and intentional sin. Thus, I’m not throwing out the principle itself, but concerned with misapplying it and misunderstanding the theological distinction between suffering under the OC and NC.
- So yes, there is such a principle at work in the world, and yet, the principle doesn’t apply with the same theological breadth now (NC) as it once did (OC). And, it will be applied universally in the end, to all those who are outside of Christ. In the OC, obedience = blessing/bliss < and > disobedience = cursing/suffering, as a works-righteousness covenant was in place over the people of God. However, in the NC, the people of God are under a grace-righteousness covenant, wherein Christ is our blessing thru his own obedience < and > Christ bore our curse thru his own suffering (1Pt.3.18). Subjectively, under the NC, obedience and suffering are at times related; suffering at times being associated with the will of God, not the result of personal/intentional sin (1Pt.3.17; 4.16,19). Objectively, under the NC, blessing is associated with faith in God’s promise as opposed to works of our own (Gal.3.9,10,14).
- Fundamentalism operates with a faulty hermeneutic…a univocal one. Seeing both the Text and Time (historical timeframe) in a strict-literalistic way. Reading all Scripture monolithically (as opposed to the opposite error of Liberalisms mythologically hermeneutic) only at the surface, thus missing something of the theological depth and purposes of all Scripture.
- Fundamentalism tends to have a cloister-mentality, not only against the World but within the Church, securing itself against ongoing growth in Truth, hence it becomes stunted and stagnant.
- More focused upon “doing” (deeds over creeds)
- Missing the higher principle of “knowing” (that governs “doing”)
- Fundamentalism is a type of Traditionalism (or Romanticism).
- Traditionalist, in that, if it was good enough for so and so to believe this or that, it is good enough for us.
- Romantic, in that, it places something of an unwarranted hope in “former times” when believers were “really serious” about God; really committed to “being holy”, etc.
- Fundamentalism has a proclivity to think in terms of:
- “We are better!”
- Rather than, “There are better ways of thinking about this or that.”
I believe that Fundamentalism is natural to all of us. I believe that Fundamentalism is actually a worldly way of thinking. I believe that Fundamentalism is a problem present in all branches of the Church.