Styles and Methods
Fundamentalists and evangelicals (including conservative evangelicals) both want to distinguish themselves from one another. Fundamentalists usually want to be known as fundamentalists, or at least to find some label that says more than “evangelical.” For their part, evangelicals of all sorts are eager to avoid being mistaken for fundamentalists.
When asked about their differences, both groups often respond with stock answers. According to many evangelicals, fundamentalism has been polluted with legalism or externalism, while fundamentalists often say that evangelicalism has been tainted with worldliness. Each group has typically taken its perception of the other to be virtually axiomatic.
What I have been trying to do is to discover what each party means by its accusation. What do fundamentalists see in evangelicals that smacks of worldliness? What do evangelicals see in fundamentalists that seems legalistic?
I have suggested several answers to those questions. First, fundamentalists and other evangelicals have often differed over their observance of what I have called “revivalistic taboos.” Second, fundamentalists have been more hesitant to adopt the accouterments of the counterculture (now mainstream culture) that began in the 1960s. Third, evangelicals have been more suspicious of second-premise arguments when the second premise has relied upon a matter of judgment rather than a statement of fact.