What is the Difference between a Conservative Christian and a Fundamentalist?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by sister christian, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. sister christian

    sister christian
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    What is the difference between a Conservative Christian and a Fundamentalist?



    Someone suggested I add this as a focus question, and I thought it had merit, so here it is.
     
    #1 sister christian, Apr 24, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2008
  2. Crabtownboy

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    I see a major non-theological difference as attitude. I find many fundamentalists have very judgmental and negative attitudes. They do not seem to like people very much, especially anyone who does not agree with all their jots and tiddles.

    There are other differences I see and if you want I will discuss them.
     
  3. mactx

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    I tend to agree. fundamentalists seem to pull things out of a hat and demand that to be a true Christian you will do these things (in my circle it is usually head covering, dresses only on women , KJVO reading and never touching alcohol) The things they choose are man made, usually, and stretch the limits on Bible truth.

    A conservative, they study the Bible, speak where it speaks and remanin silent on issues where we are given a choice, or where the bible says nothing.

    My fundamentalist sisters are Christians, they just suffer from an over abundance of pride. It is that whole log and spec thing. Instead of focusing on their heart, where God puts HIS focus, they are focusing on the rules, where the phariasees had their focus, being higher and holier than others.

    Mind you this is all my opinion, based on my observations from runing a Christian women's message board for the last 5 (almost) years.
     
  4. donnA

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    We're fundamentalist and you all aren't describing us at all.
     
  5. Crabtownboy

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    Give us your view on the difference between a fundamentalist and a conservative. Thanks in advance.
     
  6. donnA

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    I don't know the differences, but I don't have too to know your descriptions of a fundamentlist do not apply to all fundamentalists. We do not beleive in dresses only, covered heads, or kjvo, we beleive in living scripture, and not 'stretching' any of it, no over abundance of pride, no focusing on rules over relationship and God's work in the heart. Bad attitudes can be found anywhere, not just fundamentalists.
    A fundamentalist is one who holds to the fundamantel truths of the bible. The virgin birth, the diety of Christ, the sinless life and death of Christ, the resurection and Christ returning. Others would add more I am sure(some concerning man).
     
  7. superwoman8977

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    The truths in the bible meaning women wear skirts only and long hair and submission and all that Its all about legalism to a fundamentalist. At least with the Conservative Christian there is some leniency its not so strict....by the book...mho
     
  8. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    No I disagree with your definitions. There are pride filled judgmental Pharisees that are fundamentalists and there are pride filled judgmental Pharisees that are simply conservatives. A legalist cannot by definition be a fundamentalist because they are adding to the fundamental doctrine of salvation.

    Historically a fundamentalist must believes the fundamentals of the faith. There is almost no argument that these must include:
    Inerrancy of scripture
    Virgin Birth
    Sacrificial Atonement through the death of Christ
    Salvation by faith through grace without works
    Bodily Resurrection
    Imminent return

    Now some Christians would love to add to those fundamentals other things like:
    Baptism by Immersion
    Closed Communion
    Prohibiting Women from serving as pastors

    And others would like to make fundamentals out of things like:
    Women’s apparel
    Men's hair cuts
    KJVO
    Separating from popular culture – movies, music, tv, etc.
    Prohibiting music with an excessive beat
    Wire Rimmed Glasses
    Two toned shoes
    Secondary separation

    But that does not make these things fundamentals, they are not fundamental to our faith in Christ, they are not fundamentals. Believing these things does not make you a fundamentalist.

    OK, I will get to the point. The difference between a fundamentalist and a conservative is very simple. They both believe the same things but the fundamentalist is willing to fight for what he believes. Standing up for and fighting for those fundamentals is what makes a conservative into a fundamentalist.

    Adding non fundamentals to your beliefs does not make you more fundamental. Not believing the fundamentals means you are not a conservative. The difference is in actions not beliefs.
     
  9. Dale-c

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    Exactly!
    What most people have posted here are the exact opposites of what the words actually mean.
    But most people who call themselved fundamentalists are actually conservatives.

    A conservative is one who holds on to tradition. The old ways.
    It is neither good or bad to be a conservative in and of itself.

    We should all be fundamentalists.
    The fundamentals are a lowest common denominator.

    To say someone is not a fundamentalist is to say they are not a Christian.
     
  10. exscentric

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    Fundamentalist is doctrinal and conservative is living for the most part in my mind. The "fundamentals" have been listed. A conservative on the other hand may hold to them or reject them hold/reject some not others.

    A conservative is one that is conservative in his life style, thinking and usually doctrinally but not necessarily.

    Non fundamentalists usually paint with broad brushes as we've seen in the above posts, and a certain amount of pride can be assumed from their stance of not being one of those "fundamentalists." :laugh:
     
  11. mactx

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    Donna,
    I am glad I am not. As i said this is my opinion, not hard facts, based on my observation of women on a Christian message board.

    Glad to know my theory is flawed (it usually is!):wavey:
     
  12. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    While I agree with most of what you said I am not sure about this last statement. Is it possible to be a Christian and not believe all of the fundamentals? Of course that depends at least in part on how you define those fundamentals, but could you be a christian and not believe in, say, the second coming?

    I think it is possible to be a Christian and still be faulty in the doctrine you believe. Of course I think you would be wrong, but you would still be a Christian.
     
  13. Pastor Larry

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    If you want to know what fundamentalism is, read a couple of books on the topic.

    Here are two good places to start:
    George Dollar The History of Fundamentalism in America
    David Beale In Pursuit of Purity

    George Marsden in Reforming Fundamentalism gives the history of where conservative evangelicalism really started from.

    These are resources that are well studied and well-documented rather than the hodge-podge of misleading information here.

    Essentially, a fundamentalist is someone who holds fervently to the core, load-bearing doctrines of the faith and is willing to "do battle royal" for them. This means that fundamentalists are by nature separatists from false teachers and those who are disobedient brothers.

    The books will give a much lengthier defense of that, along with the history to substantiate it.

    Several misconceptions:
    Fundamentalists are legalists -- There are legalistic fundamentalists, just as there are legalistic conservative Christians, or legalistic liberals. But we must also remember that the Bible commands us to be holy as he is holy. If we took taht seriously in this world, what would we look like?
    Fundamentalists believe women should not wear pants -- Some do, but that is not a part of fundamentalism.
    Fundamentalists use only the KJV -- Simply not true and in fact has never been true. Fundamentalists have always had a high view of Scripture that prevented things like KJVO from creeping in.
    Fundamentalists are just mad -- That's just not true.

    I could list many others, but doing the research will be helpful.
     
  14. sister christian

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    Please do not post PMs in public fora - they are for private use.

    Roger
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    #14 sister christian, Apr 28, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2008
  15. Salty

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    I contend that the difference between a fundamentalist and conservative is based on interpretation.

    Now, some have posted that I think we can all agree on which are fundemantals of the faith:

    Inerrancy of Scripture
    Virgin Birth
    Sacrificial Atonement through the death of Christ
    Salvation by faith through grace without works
    Bodily Resurrection

    Now about doctrines such as closed communion and women should not wearing pants? Issues such as these ARE DOCTRINE to those who believe it. Now, I can respect those who hold such beliefs, even though I don't agree. (as opposed to a doctrine such as transubstantiation - that I can not agree with at all)

    Final thought - Some or are liberal or soft conservatives will consider me a fundamentalist, yet some fundamentalists, will consider me a Neo-con or even a liberal based on MY interpretation.

    Bottom line, when calling a new pastor - or joining a church, its best to ask a lot of questions.

    Salty
     
    #15 Salty, Apr 28, 2008
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  16. David Lamb

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    Here, "Conservative Christian" (with two upper-case Cs) would be describing someone's politics and their religion (i.e. they support the Consevative party - as opposed to the Labour Party or the Liberal Democrat Party or the Green Party or .....), and they are Christian. An example of this is the fact that there is an organisation called "The Conservative Christian Fellowship", whose web site at http://www.ccfwebsite.com/ says:
    The CCF was founded approximately 15 years ago, by David Burrowes M.P. and Tim Montgomerie whilst they were students at Exeter University. The CCF exists to be a vibrant Christian witness within the Conservative Party.

    But "conservative Christian" (lower-case c for "conservative") means something like: "A Christian who bases his or her beliefs solely on Scripture". A secular journalist wrote an article saying that Christians who own hotels and guest houses should not be allowed to refuse homosexual guests who wanted to share a room. He wrote:
    After all, conservative Christians believe sex outside marriage to be equally a sin, yet they haven't been protesting about this.

    Indeed, many of them may well believe gluttony is a sin, but they haven't been campaigning for Christian waiters to have the right to refuse fat people extra chips [ "fries" to Americans ] on moral grounds.


    So all I am saying is, be careful if you come across the term "Conservative Christian" in a UK source.
     

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