Monday, February 18, 2013

Fundamentalism, or the Inability to Play Safely on the Playground

 I know Roger Olson and others have begun to post quite a bit on this subject, but I offer (an admittedly biased) comment on this pernicious topic.


Christian Fundamentalism, especially of the evangelical stripe, has also been confusing.  In part this is because evangelicalism at one point transitioned from revivalism into fundamentalism and then back out (though some fundamentalists are also evangelical!). For a while “fundamentalism” just meant one adhered to the fundamentals of the faith. However, it became deeply reactionary against culture and withdrew, especially after the Scopes Trial. They pulled out of their denominations and started to create their own schools in order to maintain doctrinal “purity.” While many who are fundamentalists hold to certain views (premillenialism, dispensationalism, penal substitution, young earth creationism, KJV only and some form of patriarchy—at least today) and tend to resist certain behaviors (no movies, no card playing, and no drinking), not everyone who holds to one or several of these is a fundamentalist.

Evangelicalism is quite diverse. However, Some parts that are key to fundamentalism are: 1) The tendency to view only itself as true evangelicalism at the exclusion of everyone else, 2) non-essentials of the faith become essential (ex: one is not a true Christian if they drink or go see rated R movies), 3) a tendency to separate from what they do not agree with and 4) they are aggressively anti a lot of things such as: Catholicism, evolution, or ecumenicalism. Fundamentalists very often have what they call a “literal” view of Scripture, which is more like a rigid understanding of the inerrancy doctrine and resists all Biblical criticism.
 For the rest, enjoy it here.


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