Un-fundamentals Christians?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Gina B, Dec 1, 2002.

  1. Gina B

    Gina B
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    How can somebody who denies the fundamentals of Christianity be a Christian? I'd really like an answer to this.
    Gina
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    Depends on how they define "fundamentals" and which ones, exactly, they do not believe.

    I can believe that the Bible "contains" the Word of God but is not inerrant, infallible, or even inspired and STILL accept Jesus Christ as my savior.

    See what I mean?
     
  3. Gina B

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    Yes, I can understand some disputes on one or two issues, but to have a major problem with most or all is an entirely different story. Especially when one not only disagrees, but bashes them as being ignorant.
    Gina
     
  4. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Gina,

    Would you please list the fundamentals of Christianity and which ones you think Joshua rejects (since we all know this is what this thread is about... ;) ). The reason I ask this is because there may be some controversy as to what the fundamentals of Christianity are.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  5. Gina B

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    Joseph, I asked him in the thread up above so it could be clear. So I'm (im)patiently awaiting his reply.
    Gina
     
  6. Jim1999

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    To many American Baptists I could be labelled liberal because I am not a dispensationalist. In Canada, I am a conservative, which is often interpreted in the USA as being liberal.

    We have "liberals" in Canada who follow different theologies, but are as evangelical as the next person in relation to the gospel. I am afraid labels are often dangerous in philosophical fields.

    I can even remember being called liberal because I did not accept a universal flood, but then the gap theory in Genesis was once a popular viewpoint, but is deemed ridiculous now.

    I guess we all have hats to wear and only the other person can read the writing.

    Cheers,

    Just Jim
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    Fundamentals of the Faith, Niagara Conference 1895 summarized:
    </font>
    • Inspiration of the Bible (NOT any English translation, mind you)</font>
    • Virgin Birth</font>
    • Vicarious Atonement</font>
    • Bodily Resurrection</font>
    • Literal Second Coming</font>
    • Contending/Defense of the Faith</font>
    Almost every evangelical holds to the basics above EXCEPT the contending and fighting for the faith.
    New evangelicals are noted for their willingness to "rethink" these key doctrines.

    Moderate fundamentalists just won't fight.

    BTW, I did not know what a virgin WAS when I got saved. So they are NOT tantamount to salvation.
     
  8. rsr

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    Thanks, Dr. Bob, for the reference to the Niagara Conference.

    According to the World Congress of Fundamentalists, a fundamentalist is a born-again believer in Jesus who:

    "Maintains an immovable allegiance to the inerrant, infallible, and verbally inspired Bible;

    Believes that whatever the Bible says is so;

    Judges all things by the Bible and is judged only by the Bible;

    Affirms the foundational truths of the historic Christian Faith:
    The doctrine of the Trinity,
    The incarnation, virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, bodily resurrection and glorious ascension, and Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ,
    The new birth through regeneration by the Holy Spirit,
    The resurrection of the saints to life eternal,
    The resurrection of the ungodly to final judgment and eternal death,
    The fellowship of the saints, who are the body of Christ;

    Practices fidelity to that Faith and endeavors to preach it to every creature;

    Exposes and separates from all ecclesiastical denial of that Faith, compromise with error, and apostasy from the Truth; and

    Earnestly contends for the Faith once delivered."

    Which are the true fundamentals? There is a great difference between believing in the inspiration of the Bible and adhering to inerrancy, infallibility and verbal inspiration."

    Outside the context of American fundamentalism, a case could be made for the fundamentals contained in the Apostles Creed:

    "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead, he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy universal church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen."

    Interestingly, Bob Jones III has suggested adopting a new name for the movement because of the baggage it has accumulated:

    http://www.bju.edu/aboutbju/pca/spring02.xml

    Sorry to be so long.

    [ December 02, 2002, 10:46 AM: Message edited by: rsr ]
     
  9. Rev. Joshua

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    Good Morning all. Sorry I didn't get back to you last night but I was a little swamped. My posting will probably be a bit erratic since Advent is one of our busiest times of the year.

    Gina, I have no problem with the fundamentals of Christianity. I do have several problems with Christian fundamentalism. To whit:

    - despite all its protestations against modernism, fundamentalism is a movement completely defined by modernist propositions (i.e. to be "true" the Bible must be literally and historically accurate in all senses)

    - in my opinion, fundamentalism offers an inconsistent hermeneutic; interpreting the Bible literally when it's convenient and metaphorically when it doesn't agree with a particular, socially conservative worldview

    - fundamentalism essentially ignores the past 200 years of biblical scholarship

    - fundamentalism chooses to reinforce some aspects of first century culture (oppression of women and homosexual persons) and ignores others (slavery) - hence my comment about bigotry

    - in America fundamentalism has, for profoundly unbiblical reasons, aligned itself with the un-Christian political agenda of the Republican party; another sign that it is more rooted in a sub-culture than the Bible

    - fundamentalism lends itself to a profound and sometimes laughable legalism

    I'm sure I can think of other concerns, but that should give you some idea of where I'm coming from (although none of this can be much of a surprise).

    As movements, classical and contemporary liberalism also have their failings - just as fundamentalism has its strengths. Thats one of the reasons I have great sympathy for neo-orthodox theology; which I think is of increasing relevance in a postmodern culture.

    Joshua

    [ December 02, 2002, 10:17 AM: Message edited by: Rev. Joshua ]
     
  10. Mike McK

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    http://www.bju.edu/aboutbju/pca/spring02.xml</font>[/QUOTE]BJU embodies most of the problems with fundamentalism.

    How about if we all stay fundamentalists and they change theirname?

    Mike

    [ December 02, 2002, 10:29 AM: Message edited by: Mike McK ]
     
  11. Gina B

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    Joshua: I have no problem with the fundamentals of Christianity. I do have several problems with Christian fundamentalism.

    Gina: That was a most contradictory statement, but otay.
    Now list what rsr and Dr. Bob put out and say which ones you agree with. Haven't you already said in the past you do not believe in the virgin birth or the inspiration of the bible? Or interpret it differently than presented by Christianity, oops. Whatever. Will you please clarify?

    Joshua- despite all its protestations against modernism, fundamentalism is a movement completely defined by modernist propositions (i.e. to be "true" the Bible must be literally and historically accurate in all senses)

    Gina: Wrong. Accurate, yes, inspired, yes, literal no, if I understand your use of the term, at least not on all counts.

    Joshua- in my opinion, fundamentalism offers an inconsistent hermeneutic; interpreting the Bible literally when it's convenient and metaphorically when it doesn't agree with a particular, socially conservative worldview

    Gina: Also highly inaccurate. It's those that deny it's inspiration and truth that decide where it's literal, figurative, etc. to fit their needs. Take your stance on homosexuality for instance. You have in front of your face the living Word and you twist its meaning to fit in with what's socially acceptable by the worlds definition.

    Joshua- fundamentalism essentially ignores the past 200 years of biblical scholarship

    Gina: Fundamentalism ignores ANY scholarship that changes the true meaning of Christianity. That's a good thing Joshua.

    Joshua- fundamentalism chooses to reinforce some aspects of first century culture (oppression of women and homosexual persons) and ignores others (slavery) - hence my comment about bigotry

    Gina: Bigotry? What were the sins of Sodom? Did God yield to culture and just go with it, pronouncing it sin because it wasn't acceptable at the time? No, he went against what the majority believed and fried them for their perversion, saving only the few righteous. I find that most interesting.

    Joshua- in America fundamentalism has, for profoundly unbiblical reasons, aligned itself with the un-Christian political agenda of the Republican party; another sign that it is more rooted in a sub-culture than the Bible

    Gina: And what is that unchristian political agenda? Name a few items.

    Joshua- fundamentalism lends itself to a profound and sometimes laughable legalism

    Gina: Yes, it does. And liberalism lends itself to a not so profound and not so amusing definition of what it means to be in obedience to God.

    Joshua: As movements, classical and contemporary liberalism also have their failings - just as fundamentalism has its strengths. Thats one of the reasons I have great sympathy for neo-orthodox theology; which I think is of increasing relevance in a postmodern culture.

    Gina: Neo-orthodox? ROFL That should be an illegal word, it doesn't make sense. :D
     
  12. Rev. Joshua

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    Gina:

    1. No contradiction at all. Fundamentalism is a movement that claims to built on the "fundamentals" of the faith, but the assumptions fundamentalist make about what is "fundamental" are by no means universal.

    I have no dispute with the fundamentals listed by Bob and rsr, with the exception of the "separation from apostasy." In theory it sounds good, but in practice it smacks of a kind of anti-ecumenism I've always opposed.

    2. Fundamentalists generally believe Genesis 1-11 has to be literally & historically true to be true. I do not, and I would argue that most Hebrew Bible scholars argue likewise.

    3. The "living Word" is Jesus, not the Bible. Biblical interpretation is not a cut-and-dry matter (as we've discussed ad infinitum here). In my opinion, the fundamentalist hermeneutic is inconsistent.

    4. Fundamentalism ignores any scholarship that challenges its preconceptions about the "true" meaning of Christianity. There's a difference.

    5. I find the story of Sodom interesting as well, but I don't think it's a statement on healthy, committed homosexual relationships.

    6. Destruction of the environment, favoring the interests of big-business over the interests of the poor, supporting the continued oppression of homosexual persons all come to mind. Many would argue that support for the death penalty falls into that category as well.

    7. Liberal Christianity can (and in many cases does) offer a very strong and separatist statement of obedience. Fundamentalists somehow manage to never notice it.

    8. I see your smiley, but "neo-orthodoxy" was a theological movement that placed responsible scholarship and social justice in the context orthodox faith.

    Joshua
     
  13. Johnv

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    Alas,, Christian Fundamentalism is often not about Christian fundamentals at all, but more about a six day creation, prayer in schools, and abortion.

    I cosider myslef a fundamental Christian. But I'm not a Christian Fundamentalist.

    [ December 02, 2002, 02:03 PM: Message edited by: Johnv ]
     
  14. Scott J

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    This is true only if you reject inerrancy and verbal inspiration of the Bible. Once the Bible is accepted, there are several "fundamentals" that come from a normal reading of the text along with many less clear issues that fundamentalists do not break fellowship over.

    Please demonstrate how Christ or the Apostles favored unity over truth.

    So in your world, the acknowledgement that there is an objective truth and that this truth has been revealed to us in scripture is inconsistent while rejecting these truths is consistent? How can you claim consistency when liberalism is based largely on the opinions of men rather than any objective standard?

    Liberalism rejects any fundamental that challenges its preconceptions about the "true" meaning of Christianity.

    The Bible calls it sin directly. The Bible calls it sin indirectly by condemning all sex outside of marriage while not ordaining any form of homosexual relationship. In short, there is no biblical basis for your supposed "healthy, committed homosexual relationships." You usurp the authority of God by attempting to define such a thing.

    ...as opposed to pseudo-science resulting in millions of burned acres due to poor forest management... not to mention what is for all intents and purposes a religion of nature worship.
    To say that Democrats or even liberals are less guilty of this than Republicans is laughable. Big business execs are just as likely to be Dem as Rep. The "wealth" of conservatism and Republicans is small businesses.
    This would be a fairly difficult thing to prove since they have above avg affluency. Additionally, there is no proof that the behaviour is anything but a moral choice. They are not being suppressed by the refusal to afford them special protections from us who find their "choice" immoral.
    Of course!! "Nothing is inherently immoral except for absolutes and by extention those who promote the belief in absolutes... such as Fundamentalists.

    So once again with your big broad brush, you label those of us who disagree with you as somehow ignorant. I, for one, notice that you attempt to promote an ethic. It is simply so convoluted and incoherent that only someone completely blinded by their own desire to define God outside of the Bible can swallow it.

    The message being that only "scholarship and social justice" that agrees with your unbiblical opinions is responsible? How typically condescending of you.
     
  15. mark

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    Many Baptists and Baptist Churches encourage seperatism and some seperate over anything and everything. I love the fundamentals because I recognize them as the issues worth seperating over! Dr. Bob I always thought it was juyst the first 5 btw.
     
  16. Pastor Larry

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    With no real desire to get in deep, I do want to clear up a couple of misconceptions that Joshua has propogated.

    First, we must realize that there is a "popular" fundmentalism that is unfounded and does engage in some of the things that Joshua refers to. However, there is also historic fundamentalism that is vastly different. Just as there are "popular" liberals, there are popular fundamentalists. Joshua is an "educated" liberal, which makes his misconceptions and misstatements all the more amazing.

    You would have a hard time showing this to be true using the theological definition of modernism. In fact, using proper definitions, your statement falls without comment. The doctrine of Scripture is a major part of fundamentalism proper and that is why you are not one -- you do not share our view of God's word.

    Fundamentalism practices a "normal hermeneutic." The reason you think it is inconsistent is becuase you don't like where it takes you. Truth be told, you use our hermeneutic everyday on everything but Scripture. Your preconceptions lead you to use a different one for Scripture in order to support your conclusions.

    Actually, fundamentalism has knowingly rejected the past 200 years of "biblical scholarship" since it has shown itslef to be neither biblical nor scholarship. It has gained a following among those who like its conclusions rather than its method. That is the problem with it. Its method was faulty. It is not as if fundamentalism (proper, not popular) is ignorant of this. We have read it, studied it, are familiar with it, and reject it because we find it incompatible with God's word.

    Simply wrong. Fundamentalism does not participate in oppression of women or homosexuals. We exalt women to the place God ordained them rather than dragging them down to the level that the 20th century has. As for homosexuals, Scripture clearly condemns it and we offer them hope through redemption in Christ. Considering that "oppression" only comes from those who consider Christ not to be the hope for life.

    The political issue is an interesting one. As a whole, the republican party values are closer to biblical values than democratic, particularly on social issues of life and responsibility. Politics are what they are. The vast majority of democractic values are so far out of line with Scripture, it barely merits comment.

    There are some fundamentalists who do this to be sure but again, this reveals a failure to recognize the difference between fundamentalism and some fundamentalists.

    Fundamentalism as a movement is probably over. It is an ideal to be sure. But in the broader scope of theology, philosophy, and life in general, fundamentalism offers a truly consistent approach to all of it. This is not to say that there are no fundamentalists with weaknesses. There are to be sure ... some even dead wrong on some things. Yet liberalism has repeatedly changed over the years because of its inability to deal with the issues. It is in constant need of revisionism and by its nature, it can tolerate that becuase it has not real answers anyway. It is always searching for new truth.

    My last comment would deal with something Joshua said in an earlier post that demostrates the inherent fallacy of his position. He rejected separation from apostasy because it smacks of the anti-ecumenism that he hates. In such a statement, he reveals that his guide for truth is not Scripture but his own mind ("that which he hates); He shows that he is willing to admit the possibility that Jesus Christ is not the only way to heaven by refusing to stand vocally against those who would deny it.

    This cannot be merely glossed over as an insignificant difference. It is a major problem with those who claim the Scripture. I think Scripture clearly refutes the kind of "christianity" that Joshua espouses. While he might have a personal distaste for some of fundamentalism, it is a far different matter to support and encourage the direct disobedience of Scripture and the offering of hope outside of Jesus Christ by the support and encouragement of apostasy. These are serious issues that remove one from serious discussion about biblical theology. Theology is may be; biblical it is not.
     
  17. Gina B

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    Joshua: I have no dispute with the fundamentals listed by Bob and rsr

    Gina: The virgin birth and the inspired scriptures were both listed.

    Joshua on the virgin birth: I believe it because the Church has traditionally believed it, but I think there are several compelling arguments for it being a later addition to the Christian tradition. Since I don't subscribe to the Augustinian understanding of the tradition of the seminal transmission of sin, I don't believe Jesus would have had to have been born of a virgin for God to have made Him fully human and fully divine. I certainly don't think accepting the virgin birth is a prerequisite to salvation.

    The Isaiah passage has been dealt with - but presumably not to the satisfatcion of either side. The scholars I prefer say "girl." The scholars fundamentalists prefer say "virgin."

    Gina: Here you state that you only believe it because of it's historicity, yet you seem greatly disgusted by fundamentalism because it doesn't dwell on scholarship. Which is it?
    Later you state that you prefer the scholars that say girl as opposed to virgin.
    Are we confused on what we think perhaps?

    An interesting post popped up on the virgin thread.

    Joshua: 2 - I believe that the Scritpures represent the authoritative writings of the Christian tradition and that the books which comprise them are - in places - compilations - rather than the works of single authors.

    Gina: So they represent authoritative writings, some of them are mere compilations.
    So do you believe the scriptures you hold in your hand today to be the inspired words of God or not?
     
  18. Speedpass

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    Speaking about "Biblical Scholarship", shouldn't we stress the Holy Spirit's role in critical study of the Scriptures?
     
  19. Rev. Joshua

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    Larry - Your points are well-taken, and I think generally reflect the differences of where we stand. It is fair to say that I am addressing the cultural phenomenon of "fundamentalism" as it is represented on this board and by figures like Jerry Fallwell and Bob Jones.

    I would like to clarify my comments on apostasy. I am not from the "no creed but the Bible, anything goes crowd." My concern is that, in my experience, fudnamentalists have used lines like that one to draw absurd lines of separation (they dance, we don't, etc.). My commitment to ecumenism is not, however, a commitment to pluralism.

    Gina - Regarding the virgin birth, I believe it because Christians have traditionally believed it and there is no compelling reason not to believe it. As Bob said, it's not a prerequisite for salvation or even an essential of the faith in my opinion. It does, however, make for a nice story on Christmas Eve.

    As for the inspiration of the Bible, there is no contradiction between recognizing its inspiration and recognizing that several of the "books" were actually compilations.

    I do not believe the Bible is the literal words of God. It is a collection of the writings which the children of God have recognized as authoritative and inspired over the centuries. Elevating it beyond that strikes me as idolatrous.

    Joshua
     
  20. Dr. Bob

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    Joshua - NO ONE will ever mistake you for a fundamentalist! :eek:

    For which I (as one) am glad, and I am sure for you as well! :rolleyes:
     

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