Thursday, February 16, 2012

The tragedy of hyperfundamentalism

I was thinking about the hyperfundamentalism that most evangelicals and fundamentalists--and OK, quite a few in and out of other churches--come into contact with from time to time, and realized that the tragedy of hyperfundamentalism ("I don't drink and I don't chew and I don't go with girls that do") is summed up in a simple precept; it undoes fundamentalism and the good it did and does.

Now for some, "the good that fundamentalism did" is subtle, to put it mildly, but let's remember the real fundamentals; the inerrancy of Scripture in its autographs, the virgin birth, the substitutionary atonement, the physical resurrection, and the second coming.  In specifying these as essential for Christian faith, they provided a needed shorthand where believers could discern sheep from wolves, and thus they created a powerful unifying force where Baptists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Methodists, and others could find fellowship despite significant theological differences.  (little known fact; Bob Jones was a Methodist)

Now consider hyperfundamentalism; King James Only, Trail of Blood, Landmark, prohibitions on everything from alcohol to cigarettes to playing cards to red cars, dictatorship of the head pastor in too many churches, hymns only, psalms only, .....and what do we have but a profoundly divisive movement, or....let's face it, set of movements.  What they have in common is substitution of the rules of men for the Word of God and the Gospel, and hence....what do we have but an un-doing of the good that the original fundamentalists did a century ago?

That's what I'll call a tragedy.


tobin said...

Good points.

I came across the following article recently that seems to best sum up my feelings on what you term hyperfundamentalism. It's long, but well worth reading it all:

Bike Bubba said...

A little more wordy than I'd like to write (or at least admit that I wrote, ha ha),and I'd differ on a couple of points, but not bad, not bad at all.