Fundamentalism as equally Modernist as liberalism?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Matt Black, Jun 25, 2003.

  1. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Taken from a paper that I wrote about three years ago:-

    "A further strand that needs to be woven into the historical picture here is the influence of the Modern age. Without wishing to devote reams of paper to defining Modernity and Post-modernity, one of the products of the Age of Reason has been the development of liberal theology and critical biblical scholarship of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which was partly traceable to the influence of Darwin’s theory of evolution on the Church. This in turn produced a backlash within evangelical Protestantism (itself arguably a Modern phenomenon), giving rise to fundamentalism, particularly in the U.S. A major turning point here was the famous Scopes ‘monkey trial’ of 1925, which demonstrated the polarisation of American thought on the subject of evolution. The rising tide of fundamentalism in the U.S. (and later to an extent elsewhere), asserting a no-nonsense literalist approach to Scripture, that characterised the 1920s and subsequent decades can thus be seen as a response to the liberal theology earlier referred to in this paragraph, rather than borne out of sound biblical scholarship; fundamentalism was therefore essentially a reactive (rather than pro-active) Modernist theological trend. "

    My contention here is that, as much as a liberal theological methodology is the product of the Enlightenment and rationalism, so equally is fundamentalism (which is odd considering how implacably opposed most fundamentalists seem to be to Modernity); both share a desire for certainty and empiricism in their epistemiology ie: both want to pin God and His affairs down, wanting definite answers to definite questions. This is in many respects a denial of the fact that we are finite beings and God is infinite and that as such we cannot possibly hope to know and understand all the 'things of God',and stands in contradistinction to both pre-Modernity and, to an extent post-Modernity, which both recognise this missing element that used to be called 'mystery' and what theologians call the apophatic, the 'unknowable'.

    My suggestion is this: if we allow ourselves to become less Modern in our worldview, then we will free ourselves to enjoy the 'mystery' of God more and certain issue that plague evangelicals such as infallibility and Calvinism/ Arminianism will be much less divisive.

    Comments/ observations?

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  2. Deacon

    Deacon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    6,972
    Likes Received:
    129
    Interesting theory. It tends to be the stance I take on the evolution/YEC controversy.

    I've been meditating on this verse from my devotions this morning. It fits right in. The Apostle John who probably before everyone else would know what the future would hold, admits there are still mysteries.

    Rob
     
  3. Artimaeus

    Artimaeus
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2002
    Messages:
    3,133
    Likes Received:
    0
    The word "fundementalist" might be modern but the concept isn't. The argument has always been, "Did God say what He meant or did He mean something else?" We can make up all kinds of labels and sometimes even think that we have come up with a new concept but it all boils down to whether or not we believe God. If it weren't for the Holy Spirit dwelling within us there would be no hope of understanding the Bible and what God is telling us. Men are much to clever, and Satan is way too interested in deceiving us. We would all drown in the water of confusion but, we HAVE the mind of Christ. Read I Cor 2 for a better understanding of what I mean.
     
  4. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ah, but your very question itself smacks of Modernity - your desire to know what God meant (whether literally or otherwise). Mystery is not the same as confusion. Yes, we have the Holy Spirit and the mind of Christ, but we are also still fallible human beings "seeing through a glass darkly" (as you like I Cor).

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  5. dherder

    dherder
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Okay, so Mystery is not the same as Confusion. As an individual, I am not spiritually confused. The chorus of individual voices on any religious issue, however, can be very dissonant. It is because we all try in different ways to deal with the mystery.

    God created us with these differences. Thank God the world is not full of many-me(s). I anxiously await the day when I will see Him AS HE IS, face to face, and all will be revealed.

    David
     
  6. Artimaeus

    Artimaeus
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2002
    Messages:
    3,133
    Likes Received:
    0
    No one expects to know "all the things of God", to do this you would have to BE God. Mysteries are unrevealed truths and are just that, "unrevealed" and as such are unknowable. There is much we cannot and do not know. There is, however, a few things we can and do know. Those things "revealed" in His word. They are no longer "mysteries" and as such He expects us to know them. How does one "enjoy" the mysteries of God? You can take comfort in the fact that there are things we don't know but you can't enjoy those things since you have no idea what they are. The fact that I don't and can't know everything does not mean that I don't and can't know anything.

    I haven't the slighest interest in following fundementalism, Calvinism, Arminianism, pre-mid-post-quasi-modernity. I follow a sound Biblical scholarship and let the chips fall where they may. That glass may be dark but, it is the only glass He gave me.
     
  7. NarrowWay

    NarrowWay
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is my position as well. I'm not an "Arminian." I simply study the Bible and interpret it for myself. I don't like labels because they tend to put people in a corner in which they don't necessarily belong.
     
  8. John Wells

    John Wells
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    Messages:
    2,568
    Likes Received:
    0
    Matt,

    The problem with the "live and let live because it's all a mystery" mentality is that "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." (2 Timothy 4:3) That time came during the Apostles' life times and has been plaguing the church ever sense.

    Paul warns, "Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith." (1 Timothy 1:18-19)

    Believers need to help one another avoid becoming "shipwrecked" on the reef of heresy! ;)
     
  9. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    God did not call us to be a fundamentalist, a liberal, a conservative, or an evangelical. He called us to be radical Christians.

    I have been called all four by pew sitters. But sometimes I ask them to tell me about who's living for Jesus Christ because of their life. The answer is almost always the same. There is no need to discuss their theology. They have already proven it by their fruit compared to Matthew 28:19,20 and 4:19.

    Only a radical Christian pleases God.

    Hebrews 11:6, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
     

Share This Page

Loading...