"The political, social, and ecclesiastical landscape has changed ... While movements come and go, truth remains"

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Joel Tetreau's picture

Well - I'll not be surprised if Matt's comments will once again result in another (what my good friend Rob Fall calls) "a fundamentalist institutional food-fight." Seeings how I still have mustard in my hair from the last one, I might as well comment before the narly "left-overs" get tossed my way or Matt's way....again.

So in my way of thinking Matt and I are both suggesting that the best kind of "fundamentalism" (per se - and it's a fundamentalism in "idea" - the kind of Healthy Christianity that can be traced through history called by a variety of names) is the one that has at it's center the Gospel, the Scripture and Christ. I think we are saying similar things here. I would make a case that this is the emphasis of unity in the gospels and in the epistles. The only real times believers are told to separate from other believers is when there is a consistent disobedience in their walk - or if there is poison in their teaching - to the degree one end's up with a false teacher or a false faith. When fundamentalism has been focused on the core and gracious on secondary or third-level issues, then the movement has been most healthy. When on the other hand ministries and their leaders want to import second and third and fourth level issues into the "sine-qua-non" (hope I spelled that right) of a movement or koinonia, well then we've lost the way.  As I mentioned in the 3 Lines Redux - this really seems to be Christianity 101.  

I'm not saying you don't have a view past the core. I do! I'm a Type B fundamentalists, a 4.5 Calvinist, a mostly classic McCunian dispensationalist, A Biblical counselor who takes the Scripture's serious, A young earth kind of a guy, A historic Baptist who believes in the English Descent theory - who has a fondness for some of the Anabaptists, a cessationist who believes God can do whatever He wants to do in whatever dispensation He wants to do it in. I am mostly a Van-Till guy when it comes to apologetics - but I don't have a problem talking to postmoderns about their idol to the unknown god! I believe man is a 2 part not a 3 part identity. I believe churches (if they can) should be lead by a plurality of elders. When it comes to textual criticism I hold to an eclectic text that reflects closely to what one finds in the UBS4. Along with Jesus, I even often side with the LXX over the MT! Lastly when it comes to music in the church while I'm open to newer stuff, I still love the more "high church" hymns and personally I love classical music. My point in all of that is that I could easily fly 7 or 8 sub-theological flags and demand that only those who fly the same flag's enjoy co-ministry. I'd be sinning against God and His church! It is exactly that kind of partisanship that Paul challenged the Corinthians (and others) about. Of course someone will try to suggest that the NT defends defending these various sub-views with an approach of unity and separation which is all or nothing. I still say I'm not sure what Bible you're reading. 

I love what Matt is saying here. This is historic fundamentalism at it's best. I'm very grateful that more and more leaders, churches and now learning institutions are seeing this. I would encourage you who believe like Matt and I do, that you no longer remain silent. I'm not saying you have to put your neck on the block as I do here in public - not everyone is called to that. However, I'm asking you to let your yes be yes and your no be no. If you don't agree with my view or Matt's fine. If you do, don't let the voices of others scare you into the corner. Have enough character and integrity to be who you are and admit to what you believe. "If God be for us......" (Yes I understand the context of Rom Cool

Straight Ahead!


(My apologies for any missed spelling - it's late and I'm at an IBL leadership training gig and I won't have time to do this later - so I send this out tonight - I pray you are all encouraged in your corner of the Vineyard - Shalom)

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Rob Fall's picture

many of the discussions "Intramural Food Fights".  These IFF's can take on Animal House proportions.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..