Me with my lovely wife, Kathy:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Both Embrace and Reject Fundamentalism:

Several years ago a Bible College instructor whom I greatly respect came up to me after I had been privileged to preach in chapel at the conservative, I think in the good sense of the word, Fundamental, Bible College where he teaches, and observed, "You are on a crusade, aren't you?"
I was glad he noticed. I'm not sure if he intended his comments as I took them, but I was encouraged. Perhaps I am the ecclesiastical version of Don Quixote, tilting at windmills hung from steeples, but I do continue on, lance in hand.
As far as I understand what it means to be one in the historic sense, I am a Fundamentalist. As far as how Fundamentalism has come to be defined at this point in history, I utterly reject the label. Too many Fundamentalists became too committed to too many principles, convictions, and conclusions that weren't fundamental at all. They allowed--in some cases caused--themselves to be defined by what music they didn't use, what Bible translations they rejected, which well known Evangelicals they separated from, etc., etc. They made silly distinctions, such as separating from Theologically solid people who failed to do due diligence to some Fundamentalist sacred-cow, while continuing to tolerate--in too many cases even embracing--those who hold to heresies like King-James-Only-ism. No wonder many young people who grew up watching these contradictions rejected the whole business.
When I've had the opportunity--they are few, and my circle of influence is small--I have challenged this drift in our movement. Thus my friend's observation: It may be a tempest in a Theological teapot, but I am crusading when I have opportunity.

Recently I came across an article by Dr. Kevin Bauder, President of Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Minneapolis. Bauder appears to be a Fundamentalist with solid credentials, yet in his article, "Let's Get Clear On This," he chides his colleagues for some of their foolish distinctions and lack of sound thinking. I highly encourage you to read the article and then the follow-up articles, The follow-up articles are listed in reverse order. As of today there are eleven. You need to scroll to page two in order to find the first one, "Now, About Those Differences, Part 1 - Why This Discussion?"

The whole set of articles is well worth the time it will take to read them. I'm so impressed, I'll be taking time to read them again. I hope to post some comments on this blog. I welcome yours.


Karisa said...

Hearty amen. As I began to read this post I thought, he needs to read Dr. Bauder's articles! Glad you've already found them. Keep crusading; keep tempest-ing, teapot or no.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we will call you "The Don" not because you put FUN back into fundamentalism, but because you are on the crusade to help the church understand what fundamental really means. Good post. I miss your chapels!