Andrew Himes: Emerging from Fundamentalism

Andrew Himes: Emerging from Fundamentalism

I inherited some of my grandfather’s strongest personal characteristics. I had an innate and overweening self-confidence. I was perfectly certain that when I expressed an opinion it was the right one. If you disagreed with me it was probably because I needed to explain a little more to you, or you hadn’t yet thought things through, or you needed to get some clarity or do some studying or pray about it to let my God set you straight.

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Ed Vasicek's picture

Interesting article. It leaves me wondering where he is at? is he a liberal protestant, post-conservative evangelical, or general theist?

I used to feel awkward coming from an unsaved family. The more Christians I meet who have chips on their shoulders because of how their Christian parents raised them, I consider myself blessed. And that is in itself a sad commentary.

These frustrated Christians write books and start movements that are, in essence, reactions to their childhood. Their agendas then find their way into churches, IMO. Although my parents were not born-again (my mother came to know Christ after I was in the ministry), they allowed me freedom within reasonable boundaries and were fairly liberally minded.

Legalism is still around in its more modern incarnations. I think the word "high pressure" best defines the legalistic spirit. Thus it often masquerades as devotion or zeal.

"The Midrash Detective"

Lee's picture

Yet another theme and variation on "It's not my fault." Why can't these guys just be honest with themselves and with us and state "I went the way of the world because, in spite of the best efforts of my parents and mentors, I simply loved the world more?"

A dynamic leaders' imperfections, quirks, blind-spots, or whatever do not negate the truth that they promote and live. For ample illustrations of that reality just cruise through the Book of Judges a time or two.

It really has practically nothing to do with legalism.


Bob Nutzhorn's picture

Yes, the individual is responsible, but the leaders are also accountable for where they are leading people. In fact in Matthew 23:2-3 Jesus says, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice." Here we see that Jesus says, yes, they teach the law, and as they follow the law, listen to what they say, but don't follow them because of what they do. Jesus then spends the rest of the chapter showing the ways that the religious leaders were failing those following them, even saying that they are shutting the kingdom of heaven in people's faces and making people children of hell. That is pretty strong language for leaders who thought they were leading in the right way. It is frightening to think about how many people have had "the kingdom of heaven shut in their faces" by well-meaning leaders, even leaders within fundamentalism.

Susan R's picture


This kind of article always triggers the thought that far too often confidence and passion are linked with legalism and arrogance. Because guess what? I don't go around apologizing about the things I am convinced are truth, or wisdom, or prudence. My husband and I expect our kids to follow our lead, and we believe we have provided adequate support and explanation for those guidelines. We understand that there may be things about which we are misguided, but when we know what those things are, we will deal with them. If I didn't think I was right, I wouldn't believe what I believe or do what I do. We ALL act on what we believe to be true.