Editor’s Note: 9Marks Ministries recently dedicated their recent eJournal issue to discussing Fundamentalism. SharperIron has received permission from them to reprint the articles here for discussion. We will post ten articles over the next two weeks. If you would like the complete eJournal or would like to subscribe to further editions, please go to www.9marks.org.
We can learn from the Fundamentalists to appreciate and affirm the following:
- An emphasis upon the Scripture and Preaching
- An emphasis upon Evangelism and Missions
- An emphasis upon the Local Church
- An emphasis upon authority
- A concern for personal purity
- A concern for ecclesiastical purity
- A willingness to be tenacious
Many of these strengths have certainly become points of abuse and are well documented, tragically so. But Fundamentalists are not afraid to take a stand, which is refreshing. We can also learn that your strength taken to an unbiblical position will be your weakness. The emphasis upon preaching has often turned into an emphasis upon the preacher. The priority of evangelism has led to much man-centered gospel presentations, manipulation, and forced conversions. Some local churches function with cult-like symptoms, where the fear of man reigns over the fear of God. Personal purity can turn into following a list of external standards which do not always address the heart nor reflect the Scriptures. Concern for separation from the world has often resulted in a tolerance for arrogance and aberrant theology by others who are also separated (e.g. KJV only, blatant Arminianism). Some who grew up in the Fundamentalist camp (no Fun, all Damn and no Mental) have reacted to the abuses by abandoning that which is biblical and truly fundamental.
Bob Johnson is the senior pastor at the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Roseville, Michigan, and is a graduate of Bob Jones University.
March/April 2008, ©9Marks
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