The ACCC adopted four resolutions on fundamentalism at this year’s conference. The Resolution on Instances of Abuse wihin Professed Fundamentalism posted here earlier this week. Two of the remaining resolutions appear below.
Resolution on Cherishing the Heritage of Biblical Fundamentalism
When exhorting his readers to patient endurance of the race set before them, the author of Hebrews affirms the importance both of looking ahead and of looking back. Looking ahead the believer must depend upon the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Author and the Finisher of our faith, and looking back he must draw encouragement and inspiration from a cloud of witnesses that once preceded and now encompasses him (Heb. 12:1-2).
The faithful men and women of Hebrews 11 comprise this cloud of witnesses: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and the patriarchs, Moses, Rahab, and others. Time would not allow the author to go on listing all the names (v. 32), so he summarizes their character by referring to their accomplishments (vv. 33-39). They were fallible servants of the Lord, but that is not the focus of this passage. Instead, an abundance of past-tense verbs expresses the affluence of the author’s appreciation for these true heroes of the faith.
This appreciation for the past enjoins us in the present to a similar faithfulness, for the author explains that, apart from us, the work of predecessors cannot be perfected (v. 40). We follow in their train. In addition, the appreciation for the past expressed in Hebrews extends not only to distant Biblical history, but also to more immediate examples, the pattern of those who spoke the Word to us (13:7-8). We are to remember with thankfulness their leadership, value the results of their ministry, and imitate their faith. Cherishing the heritage they provided for us reflects the immutable character of the Lord we serve, Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and it safeguards against the temptations of varied and strange teachings (vv. 8-9).
The corruption of Christian movements and organizations is a danger illustrated throughout the history of Christ’s Church. The record of heresies, scandals, greed, immorality, abuse, egomania and multiple other sins remind all to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8).
Lest we who are separatists be guilty of “straining at a gnat” and “swallowing a camel” (Matt. 23:24), or of seeking to remove a mote from another’s eye when a beam blinds our own (Matt. 7:3-5), or lest we be guilty of closing our ears to distressed victims, and of affirming evil by silence, we acknowledge with grief, revulsion, and unmitigated denunciation abuse that has been revealed within some professedly fundamentalist churches and ministries.
For example, confirmed reports of severe corporal punishment cite an instance of beating and bruising children, the failure to report to authorities bruises found on children as a result of abuse in their homes, and a flaunting of corporal discipline, evidenced in such practices as giving a souvenir paddle to ministry visitors.
The same ministry context involving this shaming of children included humiliation before their peers and forcing them to wear garments of the opposite sex as a punishment for inappropriate performance. Such would doubtless be condemned as a wicked perversion if a child opted of his own volition to dress in this manner, yet for the purpose of shaming, this ministry demanded this conduct of children.