Lines in the Sand Redux: A Plea to Type A Fundamentalists


The majority of the healthy remnants of historic fundamentalism today have settled into a kind of co-belligerency. That is, the theological sons and grandsons of the first generation of fundamentalism have perched onto one of two branches of the fundamentalist family tree. These two branches are what I call Type B and Type C fundamentalism. I noted several years ago that a third branch, namely the Type A branch often believe and act as if they, and they alone, represent the entire tree! Thankfully more and more are flying over to the part of our ecclesiastical bush that respects a certain heritage while at the same time respects an allowable diversity.

This kind of C/B relationship was on display this last year when Mark Dever shared a platform with leaders such as Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran and Tim Jordan. Another example of how that relationship continues to emerge is the incredible overlap of what a healthy and biblical evangelicalism looks like as defined by Kevin Bauder and then by Al Mohler in Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism. One more example of this has been the explosion of interaction between Type B and C fundamentalists at conferences such as Shepherds and T4G. Certainly there continues to be a few differences between a Type B and Type C fundamentalists, but frankly there are far more differences between Type A fundamentalism and the B/C co-belligerency than there are differences between the B and C brethren themselves.

Lines in sand

Years ago I developed and presented a kind of taxonomy primarily for those within my own ministry. At the time I was wanting to hold on to the fundamentalist label but, for a variety of reasons, felt I needed to distance myself from many who used the same tag. I believed the taxonomy helped me do that in a way that could be understood by both those who grew up in the movement as well as newcomers (or onlookers). The result was the identification of Type A, B and C fundamentalism. I explored these categories several years ago in a series of articles entitled, “Three Lines in the Sand.” An earlier article entitled, “A Line in the Sand,” focused on the differences between Type A and B fundamentalism. “Three Lines” expanded to include Type C fundamentalism.

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Moving Toward Authenticity: Musings on Fundamentalism, Part 2

tracksDr. Doug MacLachlan presented this paper at Central Seminary’s fall conference on Oct. 17, 2011. Read part 1. Part two begins with the second of three indispensible necessities for authentic fundamentalism.

2. Pursuing the radical center

It was G. K. Chesterton who suggested that the Christian life is like a narrow pathway with deep ditches on both sides. For much of its history, large segments of the body of Christ have too often found themselves off the “narrow pathway” (the radical center) and in one or the other of these ditches. It doesn’t matter which ditch we fall into. In both of them, believers become muddied and defiled. In this condition, the watching world is once again receiving a skewed view of Christ and His body. Far too large a percentage of the evangelical world has descended into the “left ditch.” And doubtless, far too much of the fundamentalist world has descended into the “right ditch.” This tragic descent into the ditches mandates a deep commitment to a strong pursuit of the “radical center,” if we are to recover historic, mainstream fundamentalism.

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Moving Toward Authenticity: Musings on Fundamentalism, Part 1

Dr. Doug MacLachlan presented this paper at Central Seminary’s fall conference on Oct. 17, 2011. It will post here in two parts, today and tomorrow.

My personal spiritual journey—it begins with a fundamental church.

The church is God’s good family in man’s broken world.

In 1 Timothy 3:15, Paul defines the church as: “the household (the family) of God.” In effect, Paul is saying to our 21st century body of Christ: “Be what you are:” The family of God in a world of fractured families; a home-base for the familially disenfranchised! A very significant part of our calling as 1st century Christians and churches in a 21st century world is to be a place where relational warmth, familial love, gospel truth, and biblical exposition can be found. If we fulfill this function biblically and compassionately we will impact our world rescuingly and redemptively for Jesus Christ.

I know this first from Scripture, but second from personal experience. My familial pedigree has never been considered very impressive. I am the son of a bartender, and the grandson of a gangster. My first encounter with “family” as it was ordained by God to be was in the context of a local, fundamental Baptist church in the small village of Montrose, MI where I was raised. I brought nothing of value or status to the small community of believers in Montrose Baptist Church, except my eternal soul as a creature made in God’s image, and as a sinner for whom Christ died. That was enough for that body of believers to welcome me into their midst and invite me into their homes.

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