The following is a portion of a paper Dr. Straub read at the Bible Faculty Leadership Summit last summer (he also read a variation at the Conference on the Church for God’s Glory
last May). It appears here with light editing. The paper will appear here in four parts. See Part 1
New-Image Fundamentalism (continued)
So if hyper-fundamentalism adds to the essential core, should we then speak of hypo-fundamentalism? Well, maybe, but I think “new-image” is a better term. A new-image fundamentalist does not like the negative image that older fundamentalism carries and wants to create a new category that will allow them to be seen in a better light by their fellow evangelicals. As such, some of the things that have given other parts of fundamentalism a bad image are jettisoned outright or quietly abandoned.
What are the characteristics of a new-image fundamentalist? Well clearly new-image men are evangelical in the classic sense of the term—committed to the core of Reformation truth summarized at least by the five solas: Scriptura, fides, gratis, Christus, and Deo Gloria. Part of the new image is pointing out their close affinity with other evangelicals in these important doctrinal views. “We believe what you believe—we cannot be that bad!” By saying this, I am not at this point meaning to exclude non-Calvinists necessarily from the term evangelical. But I am suggesting that there is, despite current revisionist notions within evangelicalism to the contrary, an essential body of truths that represent historic evangelicalism, including the nature of God, the reality and eternality of eternal punishment, etc. Little separates the new-image men who sometimes self-identify as fundamentalist from their conservative evangelical cousins. Both hold to some level of separation, primary at least, and even to some extent, so-called secondary separation. But the new-image men are tired of the hyper-fundamentalists and are looking desperately for something more balanced. They find that balance in the evangelical right.