What good is fundamentalism if everyone disagrees upon the fundamentals?

There are fundamentals of the faith that should not be rejected outright but this is not what we are discussing. We are to go beyond the fundamentals and learn of the deeper things of God. We are not to be carried away with every wind of doctrine and we are to leave the milk of the word and take meat.

When fundamentalism that could be rightly called fundamentalism first appeared over a hundred years ago, it was to stand up for the fundamentals of the faith and the inerrancy of the scriptures. What is now understood to be false is the extremism of the fundamentalists that uses the Bible as a legalistic tool to supplant the authority of the Holy Spirit, deny God in history and deny the free operation of spiritual gifts. If we want to use the term fundamentalist in these extremes, we may do so because the majority of the so-called fundamentalists have taken it to these extremes where ignorance has supplanted knowledge.

We should not reject the authority of scripture, nor inspiration, but we cannot subject the Bible to private fundamentalist interpretation. Prophecy is subject to the spirit of prophecy and has to include the authority of the Holy Spirit and the scriptures together. The real shame is that fundamentalism could have been the right way to go but false teachers corrupted it and made it into an intolerant tool of bigoted false doctrine and divisive exclusivism.

Some common fundamentalist traps to quench the spirit and foster ignorance are:

  • If the Bible is silent on any matter of doctrine, we must also be silent.
  • The scriptures alone are the only authority for faith and doctrine.
  • Since the New Testament has been completed, knowledge has ceased and God does not speak to us in history.
  • The Bible is the only book we need to study Christianity.
  • If you deny fundamentalism, you deny the Bible.
  • Fundamentalism is the only right way in Christianity, everything else is secular.
  • If you believe in revelation knowledge, you are a gnostic.
  • If you believe in revelation as a valid spiritual authority, you are new age.
  • Faith in the Bible takes precedence over reason.

Here is a perfect example of extreme fundamentalism. Unless you can come up with chapter and verse on any subject, it is as if the terms should not even be discussed. Orthodoxy is a term that is used in the church a lot, it may be in the dictionary but that it is not in the Bible does not make it any less of a valid subject. It is a false notion that creeds and church history have no place in religious discussion. It is the attitude that since God has spoken to us in scripture that it is no longer necessary for us to think. It was taught with the Calvinists, it is taught from the fundamentalist pulpits today and it is something that we should guard ourselves against. The Protestant tradition held to rigid beliefs and unquestioned fundamentals. As science and history began to challenge these established beliefs, movements that tried to adapt with new world views were stonewalled. Liberal theology based upon progressive revelation came into contact with immovable conservative fundamentalism and a great divide encroached upon unity that continues to this day. Without this unity, liberal theologians became short on sin and conservative theologians became short on progressive thinking and out of touch with the contemporary world and social justice. What followed was extremism on both sides.

My opinion, for what it is worth, is that revival begins in the heart with a stronger relationship to Jesus, not the Bible. This does not take anything away from the Bible, it is still living and sharper than a two edged sword but so is the word of God through prophecy. We would not know of the early church without the scriptures, the church existed apart from the New Testament writings and was spiritually alive, filled with the truth that we are to be restored to and with a vitality that we must have if we are to be revived. These early followers of Jesus did not follow the scriptures alone, they followed the spirit of the risen Jesus and gives us a supreme example of how we should conduct ourselves today.

Luther erred with his sola scriptura doctrine. Luther was not perfect just as we are not perfect, this was one of his biggest mistakes. Another gigantic mistake was to take the sacrament out of marriage. Marriage should be taken as a sacred rite and was taken out was because it wasn't in the Bible, this is the limitation of the sola scriptura doctrine and fundamentalism. Free sex and divorce in these days has its roots here.

The word of God is living and powerful, and still exists today in the Rhema. This is why there was no conclusion to the book of Acts, it continued with church history and we can still find God teaching us through His Holy Spirit here and now. The authority of the Jesus of now and throughout history is just as valid as it was when He was alive and when the New Testament was completed. The Bible is not a dead letter, it is alive and its inspiration continues for those who accept its veracity.

Another good example of extreme fundamentalism is a problem that I had with the point made about Calvinists denying the Nicene creed in one of our discussions. I should have said question rather than problem because it amazed me if that is so. Is that actually true? I mentioned the false Oneness doctrine on one side of the trinity and the JW's on the other extreme but I had no idea that Calvinists would deny the creed itself. I know that to exalt the letter above the revelation of God will kill the spirit but this is just too fantastic to me. Even if it is true, it is hard for me to believe that subsequent Calvinists have carried on in this tradition. If anyone would deny the creed, he would deny the truth behind the creed. Anyone who rejects the truth of the Nicene Creed because it is not in the Bible has no idea what God can teach us through his spirit. It is still true in our day that we know in part and we prophesy in part, that is from the authority of the Bible, the Holy Spirit and of us who are able to draw upon spiritual charisms to bear witness with each other. Remember when we discussed "the perfect has come" and the fundamentalists who believe that spiritual gifts died since the New Testament was completed? Same thing. Again the only problem that I had with it is that it just seems so absurd. At any rate, I believe that Luther and Calvin has done untold damage to the church because of this type of fundamentalism and legalism These are the same heretical position that the oneness and JW's take. The Nicene creed is part of the plumb line in restoration because of the truth involved in the nature of Christ.

We discuss in dialectic. There is a place for hermeneutics but just like fundamentalism, it is grossly inadequate for a true interpretation of scripture unless there is a free expression of our faith to allow for spiritual guidance. There are principles of interpretation that can keep us on track but to make rigid systems in our faith and beliefs is above any other definition, legalism. What it does not do is to allow the free operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives and we must give Him complete freedom if we are to get rid of anything that would quench the spirit. Jesus came against rules and established the law of love. We are told to search the scriptures for the testimony of Jesus. Jesus is the final authority, the scriptures are the record of that authority and just as authoritative but only if taken spiritually.

If people had more of a historical foundation they wouldn't be such easy prey for Calvinism and such like. Really important, folks. The fundamentalists will try to tell you that church history is not important, that all you need is the Bible. What they mean is all you need is their interpretation of the Bible exclusive of what God has taught others throughout history. I did not invent the term Puritan Ignorance, it is a term given them throughout their history because of this very thing. Without history, we would not even know of the mistakes that the church has made in the last two thousand years and we would not know what God has been teaching us all this time to be able to correct them. This is what makes Calvin such a false teacher, by rejecting the living God of History and accepting only the past God of the Bible, he purposely set the church back and rejected any truth that God had taught us for fifteen hundred years. And do not think that he was relying on the New Testament for inspiration either, he based his theology on Old Testament legalism and set up more rules to follow, just like the Pharisees did. This is the danger of conservative thinking in that it holds people back by not allowing God the freedom to progress the church and helping us grow in the faith, in the spirit and in grace. Paul wrote in Galatians that if you seek to be justified by the law that you have fallen from grace.

The Bible has always been in the position of divine truth but through the Dark Ages, the authority of Pope and church tradition was mistakenly placed above it. There was an historical move before and during the reformation to restore the scriptures to the proper foundation of truth as the divinely inspired Word of God that it had from the beginning. John Wycliffe was falsely accused of being a heretic because He had placed the authority of scripture above the popes and church councils yet to place the Word of God above God Himself as the final authority is legalistic letter of scripture pure and simple. There must be the spiritual interpretation of scripture before it can even interpret itself and it must be of paramount importance that it not be placed as an idol. God is spirit and must be worshipped in spirit and truth, not worshipped to the private interpretation of the letter of scripture according to the whims of man. Saint John rightly denounced heretics in his condemnation of Cerinthus, that is from church history, not the Biblical record and just as true as if it was written in red letters, no more, no less.

[Babylon and fundamentalism was a topic of the latter rain discussion list] 140.

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