What Can We Learn from Christian Fundamentalists? Carl Trueman Responds

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.

Carl Trueman

carl truemanWe can learn from the Fundamentalists a number of things (depending, of course, on how you define the term). On the positive side, we see in many Fundamentalists the importance of an unapolgetic emphasis on exclusivity of Christ and the centrality of a high doctrine of scripture and clear understanding of scriptural authority for the vitality of the church. We also see a zealous earnestness both for truth and for reaching out to the lost.

On the debit side, we can also see the problems involved when Christianity retreats into a siege mentality to avoid contamination by the world—a retreat which, in America at least, is as culturally conditioned as anything else; and in the proliferation of trivial taboos which distract from central Christian truths, foster legalism, and hinder a fully-orbed understanding of the Christian life. Having said that, by the definition of J I Packer (in Fundamentalism and the Word of God), I am a Fundamentalist!

Carl Trueman is the professor of historical theology and church history at Westminster Theological Seminary, and the author of John Owen: Great Theologians (Ashgate).

March/April 2008, ©9Marks

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