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.
At least two important lessons can be learned from the Fundamentalists:
The Fundamentalists were protectors of the essential truths of Scripture. As the name suggests, the early Fundamentalists fought to retain the core doctrinal verities of the Christian faith. Doctrines including—but not limited to—the historicity and authority of the Bible; the deity of Jesus Christ, including belief in his virgin birth; the depravity of mankind; the vicarious, substitutionary nature of Christ’s death upon the cross; salvation by grace through faith in Christ; the pursuit of holiness; and the visible return of Jesus Christ to the earth, were absolutely non-negotiable with them. If we are their heirs in any meaningful sense, we should be mindful of their battle-scarred victories as we engage in our own truth war.
The Fundamentalists often fought over matters that exceed what is written. Later Fundamentalism unfortunately became enmeshed in areas where Scripture gives greater latitude or is silent altogether. While we can appreciate the Fundamentalists’ tight grip on the essential elements of Christianity, we must eschew their doctrinaire stances on issues which are much more secondary or tertiary. The Apostle Paul is thus our wiser guide in these areas (1 Corinthians 4:16; Romans 14:1—15:13).
Lance Quinn is the pastor-teacher of The Bible Church of Little Rock in Little Rock, Arkansas.
March/April 2008, ©9Marks
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