"Fundamentalist"?

The term “fundamentalist” has fallen on hard times. Given popular use of the term these days, let’s clarify right away what we do not mean by it. When we say we are historic fundamentalists, we do not mean we favor polygamy, bombing of abortion clinics, burqas on women, snake handling, wife beating, honor killings, or “forcing our beliefs on everyone else.” Force has no role at all in anything we want to accomplish.

In a religious sense, the term “fundamentalist” was first used in 1922 in reference to a group of Baptists who were seeking to establish doctrinal limits in the Northern Baptist Convention. Their goal was to uphold the Bible and rid the convention of the philosophy of Modernism, which denied the infallibility of Scripture, rejected miracles, and gutted the Christian faith of defining principles such as the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. In short, the fundamentalists thought the Northern Baptist Convention ought to at least be genuinely Christian.

As similar battles occurred in denominations across the U.S., Bible-believers who rejected Modernism and fought for the historic core beliefs of the Faith identified themselves as Fundamentalists.

Over the decades since, popular use of the term has increasingly come to mean something like “any sort of wild eyed religious extremist.” The Fundamentalism Project (editors Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby) in the early 90’s accelerated the erosion of the term.

At SharperIron we’re still clinging to the term in its historic sense. Here, a Fundamentalist is someone who believes in the foundational principles of the Christian faith and also believes in separation from apostasy.  Opinions vary as to the degree of separation, the process and the methods. But we are committed to the principle. For the purposes of the site, “the foundational principles of the Christian faith” are those expressed in our Doctrinal Statement.

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