For those who don’t know, a “recovering Fundamentalist” is a person who allegedly grew up in a Fundamentalist home, trained at Fundamentalist churches and schools but has now seen the “errors” of Fundamentalism and is now trying to recover from years of exposure if not injury. Intellectually speaking, that is poppycock, balderdash, and a generous portion of hogwash. I have discovered that some of the most vocal “recovering” Fundamentalists have exaggerated their experience with Fundamentalism.
No doubt, there are some people who put their trust in a Fundamentalist leader only to be horribly disappointed and possibly emotionally abused but such people need to recognize that all groups have self-serving extremists which the group cannot control. They should not blame the movement or God, but the person. Then deal with those specific issues and move on in their Christian life. It does no good and much harm to “pick at the scab” and blame a whole group for the failure of a few nuts.
All nuts are not on trees or in secular universities. Some are in pulpits, even Baptist pulpits!
Make no mistake: Fundamentalists are the original Christians! That fact is confessed by one of the leading religious scholars to serve in mainline Christianity. Dr. Kirsopp Lake was a professor of Ecclesiastical History at Harvard University who affirmed that fundamentalism is original Christianity! This expert of church history wrote, “It is a mistake, often made by educated persons who happen to have but little knowledge of historical theology, to suppose that Fundamentalism is a new and strange form of thought. It is nothing of the kind: it is the…survival of a theology which was once universally held by all Christians.” Lake added, “The Fundamentalist may be wrong; I think that he is. But it is we who have departed from the tradition, not he, and I am sorry for the fate of anyone who tries to argue with a Fundamentalist on the basis of authority.” He added that the Bible is on the side of Fundamentalists! (Kirsopp Lake, The Religion of Yesterday and Tomorrow, 1925, pp. 61, 62.)
In 1947, a critic of Fundamentalists, Harold J. Ockenga, said that “fundamentalism most nearly approximates theological truth” despite all that he thought was wrong with it. He even declared in a sermon in December of 1957, “I wish to be always classified as a Fundamentalist.”
Charles Colson, a devoted and brilliant evangelical, equated Fundamentalism with orthodox Christianity. “Everyone who believes in the orthodox truths about Jesus Christ—in short, every Christian—is a fundamentalist.” All right, why doesn’t every professing Christian belong to a Bible-preaching church?
The Apostles’ Creed was first mentioned in the 300s and has always been used by many mainline churches who, for the most part, do not believe it! It was believed, in the 4th century, that the creed was composed by the Apostles themselves. All Bible believers would accept the entire creed.
It is obvious to any honest person that Fundamentalists are original Christians since their doctrine is the same as first century Christians. Plus, the simplicity of their services as opposed to the formal liturgy in many churches is further support for its originality. The Roman Catholic Church, Episcopalians, the Greek Orthodox Church, and most of the mainline American churches do not believe in the original doctrines of the New Testament or they have added doctrines and practices that are not found in Scripture.
Another indication that Fundamentalists are original Christians is separation, both personal and ecclesiastical. Personal separation from sin is called, “godliness,” or “holiness,” and no one suggests that only Fundamentalists believe and practice that. However, the preaching of godly living today is as scarce as albino dinosaurs in Kentucky. Too much preaching nowadays pats the back and tickles the ear, but does not get under the skin. There is no conviction and therefore no conversion. I am thinking not only of the ministry of reproof and rebuke but also of the message of inspiration, of encouragement, and of comfort. The average church member leaves church at noon with his depths unstirred, his heart untouched, and his conscience unpricked. Such pastors are therefore unbiblical, unnecessary, and should be unemployed.
Of all religious groups, Evangelicals come closest to Fundamentalists (since that is the Evangelicals’ roots) but many refuse to condemn filthy television, movies, alcohol, other drugs, etc., and refuse to promote frequent church attendance, tithing, and other distinctives. Many Evangelicals work hard at convincing everyone they are not Fundamentalists.
Methinks they protest too much.
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