Has Fundamentalism Become Secularized? Part 4

Pragmatism

See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Although few fundamentalists would like to admit that the driving force in their philosophy of ministry is pragmatism, for all too many this statement is true. While being pragmatic is necessary at times, being a pragmatist comes into sharp conflictmeasuring_tape.jpg with a biblical philosophy of ministry. This fourth essay on the topic of secularization examines the final effect of secularization on Fundamentalism—pragmatism. By examining the forces that affect our practice of the faith, we can more intelligently identify where we have gone astray and correct our paths. Read more about Has Fundamentalism Become Secularized? Part 4

Calvinism, Arminianism, Biblicism

In The Nick of Time
Some fundamentalist leaders have recently and publicly registered their objections to Calvinism, but they prefer not to be called Arminians. They believe that both Calvinism and Arminianism are man-made systems that predetermine one’s interpretation of Scripture. These leaders wish to start at the other end, with Scripture, and to arrive at a conclusion on the basis of the study of the text. Consequently, they prefer to be called Biblicists.

Fortunately, these recent pronouncements are irenic in tone. This is a token that fundamentalist theology is maturing. Not long ago, it was difficult to find criticism of Calvinism that did not end in a rant. If these recent publications are an example, however, we are now able to discuss Arminianism and Calvinism in a deliberate and thoughtful manner.

Nevertheless, the term Biblicist seems to have only limited usefulness in this debate. Which of us does not try to start with Scripture and to draw conclusions by studying the text? Which of us wishes to set aside any of the Bible in favor of a human system? No, we are all Biblicists here.

Since we are conversing as Biblicists, I would like to raise a question. Which problems do we Biblicists have to solve in order to be entitled to say that we have a biblical answer to the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism? I would like to suggest four specific problems for which we must find biblical solutions.
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The Winsome Missionary

What makes some missionaries such attractive candidates for support?

In the eight years I’ve been a pastor, our church has met and heard presentations by many Handshakemissionaries. Accounts of how God led them to faith in Christ and stirred their interest in missions have been a highlight of church life for us. Judging by the lobby chatter afterwards, our congregation has been repeatedly amazed to discover God’s power at work in places where we had no idea anything was happening.

But missionaries who have come through our church seeking support have left widely differing impressions on us. Some left us eager to support them (as best we could) and keenly interested in finding a way to do so. Others left us with a sense of unease about them and their future.

No doubt some of this difference can be explained by personality factors. Not everyone is blessed with electrifying charisma, and not everyone has the kind of plainspoken friendliness that resonates with our congregation’s sensibilities. But it hasn’t always been the talented speakers or gregarious conversationalists who have ignited us; nor has it always been the missionaries with the most dramatic results to report.

Rather, several other factors have consistently made some support-seeking missionaries an exciting prospect in our eyes.
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Making a Difference, Changing Lives, Inspiring Others

goodling_heart_beat.jpgAt age four, I was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The doctors told my parents I would not make it, and I had at the most one week to live! That was more than thirty-eight years ago, so it’s been a long week! The cancer that almost took my life left in its wake several scars that would remain with me for life. My growth was stunted, my vocal chords were partially paralyzed, and I would have to undergo many hours of medical and dental operations over the coming years. Humanly speaking, my life was severely hindered.When I was in the fifth grade, I felt God calling me to share my story and the gospel of Jesus Christ with others to be an encouragement and inspiration to them. Many people laughed or told me I better seriously think about that call because they didn’t think I could do it. And they were right. I couldn’t do it. But the Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ” (Phil. 4:13, emphasis added). With His power and help in my life, I could do anything He wanted me to do.
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Book Review: The Apologetics Study Bible

The Apologetics Study Bible, Ted Cabal, General Editor. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishing, 2007. Jacketed Hardback. 2,048 pages. $39.99

(Review copy courtesy of B&H Publishing.)

Apologetics Study BiblePurchase: B&H | CBD | Amazon

Website: The Apologetics Study Bible (a very resourceful page!)

Sample pages

Features: Holman CSB® translation; Introduction to the Holman CSB®; Two-column Bible text setting; Translation footnotes; 100+ articles; Profiles of Christian apologists; 72-page Bible concordance .

ISBNs: 158640024X / 978-1586400248

Reviewed by Dr. Paul Martin Henebury.
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The Well and the Water: An Allegory

In The Nick of Time Once upon a time, a band of vigorous tribesmen occupied a high and arid plain. They were surrounded by snow-covered peaks, and what little water they had trickled down from the glaciers and snowfields above. Water was precious to them, for their lives depended upon it. They took care not to waste a drop.

One day, a mighty man rose up among them and asked, “Why do we wait for such water as the mountains are willing to share? Why do we not dig a well?” So he began to dig. But there were in that land certain men who had been given authority to distribute the water. These men knew that if people could drink at will, then their power would end. And so these Authorities sought to defeat the well digger. When the well digger died, they stopped up his well and resumed their authority.

In spite of the Authorities, however, water continued to seep from the well digger’s well. Eventually, other mighty well diggers arose. The Authorities killed some of these. They stopped up the wells of others. But with each new well, the Authorities grew weaker. Soon many wells dotted the plain. People were at last able to drink freely, to water their herds and flocks, and to grow their crops. The Authorities lapsed into oblivion, for water was free to all.

After these things, a new king began to reign. He hired the best well diggers to dig a deep well. “This well,” he proclaimed, “is the Authorized Well. Let all drink freely from it!”
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Consider the Flowers: Tulip, Daisy, or Dandelion? Part 1

A Missio-Botanical Journey

by Dr. Stephen M. Davis
bee_on_dandelion.jpgSome time ago, while debating a certain theological issue, a brother in Christ told me that he could not believe something I had proposed because his theology would not allow it. My tongue-in-cheek riposte was that perhaps the problem was that it was indeed “his theology” and maybe he needed to rethink his theology. My point was not only that I thought I was right—which we all think to some degree, or else we should make needed corrections—but that we never arrive at a point where our theology cannot be corrected, better articulated, or become more balanced and scriptural. Of course, I realize that there may be those who identify what they believe on all points of doctrine as “the faith once delivered to the saints,” hold all truth with the same degree of certitude, and claim that from their earliest days of theological study they have not changed one jot or tittle. They may learn little from this essay and appreciate it even less. Another perspective might offer us the opportunity to achieve greater balance in our theological perspectives while remaining committed to unchanging, fundamental truths (those without which one could not be called “Christian”).
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