What Can We Learn from Christian Fundamentalists? Phil Newton 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.

Phil Newton

phil newtonFundamentalists pose both positive and negative lessons for Evangelical believers. From the positive end, Fundamentalists exhibit high standards. They have strong convictions, so much so that they are willing to face criticism to maintain their stance on various issues. All the while, they take seriously the call to spread the gospel and to call God’s people to holiness.

Negatively, Fundamentalists sometime miss the forest for the trees. While maintaining convictions, they may treat relationships lightly, neglecting the Second Great Commandment. I recall getting a visit from a local Fundamentalist shortly after I moved to a pastorate in Alabama. I smiled, welcomed his visit, and told him that I was a believer and a new pastor in the area. I assured him that I joined him in seeking to reach unbelievers in our area. I shall never forget his response, complete with a scowl on his face, “Time will tell, time will tell.” So much for warmly welcoming me to the community!

I learned from this to stand firmly on truth, pursue my gospel calling, and always do so with warmhearted love for my neighbor.

Phil Newton, author of Elders in Congregation Life (Kregel, 2005), is the senior pastor of South Woods Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee.

March/April 2008, ©9Marks

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