Fundamentalists and Scholarship, Part 5

Does Fundamentalism Have Scholars?

In The Nick of Time
Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Let me summarize my argument to this point. Scholarship is a calling that is worthy of being pursued by Christians, and particularly by fundamentalists. While many fundamentalists do not understand what scholarship involves, Fundamentalism needs at least a sprinkling of scholars. Unless fundamentalists are willing to allow those scholars to do their work, they will suffer at least two consequences. First, fundamentalists will leave themselves open to being influenced by philosophies that are contrary to their core principles. Second, fundamentalists will fail to advance a case for those principles that will seem coherent and convincing even to their own constituents.

Now the time has come to make a sober assessment. Does Fundamentalism have the scholars that it needs? To answer that question, I must mention a couple of caveats.
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The Baptist Preacher in the Rexburg Idaho Temple

wood_temple1.jpgFor the first time in my life after thirty-eight years of existence on this earth, I explored the interior of a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) temple. Actually, I have done so twice in 2008. But after dedication day, February 10, 2008, the Rexburg Idaho Temple doors will be closed to the public, even to the cultural Mormons, Jack Mormons, New Order Mormons, Born Again Mormons, Non-active Mormons, and so on. There is only one thing that separates Believing Temple Mormons from others: the bishop-recommend card. Though you might be wearing a suit and looking your finest, without your recommend, no way will you pass the front desk and step into the peaceful symbolism of celestial glory. Only those “worthy” LDS (living a clean life, tithing, and serving fellow man, etc.) can enter. The temple is restricted to everyone else because the top sphere of heaven is exclusive. I wonder how long this idea will hold out for future generations in a postmodern religious America. (Note: Special thanks to Chris Leavell for permission to use his photos.)
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Book Review: God's Harvard

Rosin, Hanna. God’s Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America. San Diego: Harcourt, 2007. Hardcover, 304 pages. $25.00
Purchase: Harcourt | CBD | Amazon

ISBNs: 0151012628 / 9780151012626

Subjects: Patrick Henry College, Christian higher education, colleges

Hanna Rosin has covered religion and politics for the Washington Post. She also has written for the New Yorker, the New Republic, GQ, and the New York Times. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband, Slate deputy editor David Plotz, and their two children.
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Book Review: Schulz and Peanuts

Note: This article is reprinted with permission from As I See It, a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at

Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography by David Michaelis. New York: Harper, 2007. 655 pp., hardback. $34.95
Charles Schulz - Associated PressAs a rather typical baby boomer/adolescent of the 1960s, I was an enthusiastic reader of the daily four-panel comic strip “Peanuts,” conceived and drawn by Charles Schulz. I imbibed much of the wit and sarcasm of the strip and made it my own (to my occasional detriment). I was entirely at home with the ever-lonely perpetual fall guy and loser Charlie Brown; his very strange dog, Snoopy; the domineering and often-crabby Lucy; the philosophical and thoughtful Linus (my personal favorite); and the rest of the regular gang. At various times and in various guises, these characters were Schulz’s alter egos or real life “adversaries” caricatured. Michaelis has written a detailed and thorough biography of Schulz, the retiring and reticent barber’s son from the Minnesota Twin Cities. His lifelong aspiration, even from smallest childhood, was to be a cartoonist. By doing so, he achieved worldwide fame and remarkable wealth. (Right: Charles Schulz, Associated Press) Read more about Book Review: Schulz and Peanuts

Fundamentalists and Scholarship, Part 4

Does Fundamentalism Need Scholars?

In The Nick of Time
Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Not all fundamentalists think that scholarship is a good thing. After all, scholarship comes at a high price, and it carries certain risks. Why should they want to spend resources on something hazardous? The answer is that there are risks to not having scholars, too. Knowing these risks is essential to making a proper evaluation of scholarship.

Why do we need scholars? Let’s start with something basic. We ought to be interested in knowing all that we can about God’s creation and God’s Word. Why? First, because they are His, and He discloses Himself in them. Second, because we have been invested with dominion over the created order, the right exercise of which requires us to know both creation and Scripture. Third, because human improvement (whether material or spiritual) demands the advancement of knowledge. Advancements in technology and medicine, for example, require increased knowledge of creation, and knowing the right use of those technologies requires increased examination of Scripture. All other things being equal, expanding the stock of human knowledge is a good thing.
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Persevering in Our Priorities

The Message of Haggai

You’ve probably heard about or seen the object lesson where someone takes a jar and fills it with big rocks, gravel, sand, and then water. The point of the lesson is that if you don’t get the big rocks in first, you won’t get them in at all. In other words, if you neglect the important things in life, other things will press in and crowd them out. We need to make sure we Jar of rockshave our priorities right.
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Submissive Christians Proclaim the Gospel

Are people hearing the gospel from us? It is God’s plan for people to hear the gospel from our lips. Romans 10:14 says, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (KJV). Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, John 20:21, and Acts roof_reach.jpg1:8 teach that each believer is to be a “preacher,” proclaiming the “good news” of the Lord’s salvation. If George Barna’s research is right, at least half of the people who call themselves “Christians” are not actively sharing the gospel on a regular basis.
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