Great Things I Have Learned from Fundamentalism

To keep in tune with a positive approach, as I have determined to do, and in contrast to the criticism of fundamentalism found on this blog, I would like to highlight just a few of the invaluable things I have gleaned from being a fundamentalist.

So there is no question about it, I am still a fundamentalist. As stated before, I love and appreciate the ideals of fundamentalism as expressed historically. I believe these tenets are rooted in scripture and manifested in Christ and the apostles. Fundamentalism is a love for the truth – a love that must defend the truth and separate from error. In this regard, I will always be a fundamentalist, even if the modern movement known as “fundamentalism” continues to drift from its original intent. It is this modern movement of which I speak…or of which I type. . .and I want to make sure it is known that, although I have some concerns, not all is bad. In fact, much of modern fundamentalism is good, and God has used these things to shape my life, as He continue to do.

The Primacy of the Bible

One of the very first things I learned from fundamentalism was the role of the Word of God in the life of the Christian. Of course, I knew the scriptures were important, but it was through fundamentalism that I learned just how important they were.

Meeting with my pastor one day to talk about a decision I was going to make, he asked me if I could “scripturally justify” what I would be doing. I thought that was weird. After all, I didn’t know the Bible inside and out, and it didn’t seem possible to scripturally justify everything. After some counsel, however, I walked away knowing that the only way to really know God’s will is through applying His Word in all cases. To this day, my mentality is all about scripturally justifying my actions, although oftentimes I fall short of the goal.

Delighting in God

One of the slogans at my Bible college was, “The Christian life is not just doing God’s will, it is delighting to do God’s will.” I find this very similar to John Piper’s idea of Christian Hedonism, but I discovered it before I even knew Piper existed. To me, it is the principle that Christ gave when he summarized the entire law with the command to love the Lord with all your heart and soul.

Although fundamentalists can be criticized for providing a grievous list of standards, and in some cases this criticism is justified, many times it is through fundamentalism that one really learns to enjoy serving God.

The Presence of God

The stress within fundamentalism for a personal devotional life is extremely helpful. Of course, sometimes it is taken to the extreme, but if fundamentalists are guilty for wanting to spend too much time with God, I think that’s something of which we wouldn’t mind being guilty.

A few quotes stick out in my mind: “God’s seemingly impossible commands are always coupled with His promises.” He commanded us to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature (seemingly impossible), but He promised to be with us always! He commanded His followers to deny themsevles and take up their crosses (seemingly impossible), but He said His grace would be sufficient. Time and again, the scriptures are filled with things that Christians should be accomplishing; thankfully time and again, they are filled with wonderful promises from God.

“We often say in our prayers, ‘Lord be with so and so’, but what we really should pray for is the realization of His presence.” I apply that often. I catch myself asking God to be “with” a situation sometimes, but what I really want is for those involved to recognize that He is there! God’s presence is everything, and it is through fundamentalism that God has showed me this.

Giving God Everything

Many have been critical, including myself, of modern fundamentalism’s emphasis on standards, holiness, serving, and topical preaching. In same cases, I do believe this criticism is warranted, but only when there is a lack of balance. In other words, if all those things are preached without expository preaching, worship, prayer, relying on God, etc. then there is an extreme that needs to be called into question. Equally true would be a ministry that is all about abstract ideals but never makes the necessary hard-hitting applications.

When I look back, I am grateful for much of the preaching that encouraged us to boldly take a stand for Christ and give Him our all. If this is the trademark of modern fundamentalism, then we have reason to rejoice.

Conclusion

Those are just a few things, but I hope it is clear that the good within modern fundamentalism far outweighs the bad. I still think we are in need for more improvement, but who isn’t?

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2 comments so far

  1. […] responded by giving us his post. I am still a fundamentalist. As stated before, I love and appreciate the ideals of fundamentalism […]

  2. Frederick L. Pattison on

    To me fundamentalism has become far too critical and political and has largely lost its original stance. I continue to hold firmly to the basic biblical fundamentals of the historic biblical faith but shy away from referring to myself as a “fundamentalist.” I think of myself simply as a Christian!
    Frederick L. Pattison


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