I have been thinking a lot about fundamentalism and fundamentalists lately and IT SEEMS TO ME that the real problem with Fundamentalism--from a hermeneutical standpoint--is that it asserts a certain definite kind of authority over the scriptures, which insists that the bible must be true in this way (and not THAT way) if it is true at all. To me, who is not an expert, it seems as if fundamentalists are in danger of being like those learned men who know every jot and tittle very well, and believe that the inerrancy (and therefore truth) of scripture is to be found in the preservation and observation of those same tittles and jots.

Are there any practicing fundamentalists out there who are able to clarify for me better the way they understand the bible, and why they are fundamentalist? I know many good fundamentalists, but I have never been able to understand their position on the authority of the Bible, though I sense that they have a deep respect for the book and for the Lord. It is not my desire to attack fundamentalists but to understand them--please help me understand your position, so that we may commune with respect.

beemanlee's picture

What Is A Fundamentalists

Sister Ima,

At one time in my life, when I was very young and still learning how to understand G-d's Word, my High School Sunday School teacher explained why Christians believed the way they do.

He explained; They have their Theology well studied and identified by many different points. Most are not willing to give an inch of text away from their Theology. So when this occurs, within The Church, the label which comes to bear upon that person's unwillingness to move away from that position is most commonly referred to as a Fundamentalists.

Most of the time, this idea of a Fundamentalists, will fall within a group, that is known throughout Church History, as The Reformers, who were labeled Protestants, by The Roman Catholic Church or (RRC).

The Reformation movement was the beginning of the debate on what The Word of G-d was actually saying. Up to this point in Time within Europe, it was only those in The Clergy, within The Roman Catholic Church, that had any access to reading G-d's Word. Actually they were able to read and understand what The Word was saying, for themselves.

This is why Martin Luther was able to really understand what G-d's Word was really saying because he was within The Clergy as well as being a Scholar within The RRC. His discovery's concerning many of the traditions found within The RRC, within Europe at that time, were not found within The Text of The Bible, i.e. "indulgences, sacerdotalism and clerical marriage". Indulgences were designed to extract money from the adherents. While clerical marriage, was not allowed within The RRC.

What was being identified by the laity was a desire to read The Bible for themselves in their own Language, rather than from The Latin Language of Rome, for the presenting of The Liturgical Mass.

So it was out of The Reformation Movement that we actually start to get to the positions of individuals who could now discuss the different points from The Bible translated into their own language.

It was probably around this same time period, that many of the different denominations within The Protestant Movement began to take shape. Because of different understanding from within The Bible, we have today thousands of differing groups of Believers who are The Church today, including The RRC and other Orthodox Churches. Luther's nailing of his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, to the doorway of The RRC was the beginning of this movement in Church History today that brings out The Fundamentalist, to their point of view.

William Tyndall was one of the reasons why we now have G-d's Word in a English translation of The Bible. Of course there were many others that assisted this translation movement including James, The King of England, at that time.

John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, Myles Coverdale, John Calvin and many more who have stood up and said I will not budge an inch from my belief.

Today, being referred to as a Fundamentalist, can mean a derogative way to make fun of a persons Belief System.

So it has taken a long time to develop our descriptive ways of referring to a Belief System as a Fundamentalist.

However, as I started my presentation talking about my Sunday School Teacher, I want to emphases this one point; He took great pride in identifying himself to us, his students, that he is a Fundamentalist Teacher.

Now this happened during my High School days and that was over 50 years ago, so this term has a Biblical meaning that goes deep into Church History. My Teacher was a Graduate of Moody Bible Institute and was a very deeply convicted man concerning how the dissemination of The Evangel/The Gospel, G-d's Word should be preached.

My Teacher was proud to be called a Fundamentalist. Why? Because he wanted to help people understand which direction they need to be going in life. On top of that, He would proclaim The Gospel to those on Skid Row, or in places like The Tenderloin District, or like The Waterfront District of San Francisco. Because he saw the need of the people was to know that G-d had Provided for them a way of escape from a troubled lifestyle spent in debauchery. He worked during his extra time in Bible School, with the down and out of Chicago's Skid Row at a place called Pacific Garden Mission, a homeless shelter in The South Loop section of Chicago Downtown District.

With this information above, you can see a small view into the life of a Fundamentalist, G.A.R.B.C. type of Baptist Sunday School Teacher who was very instrumental in developing my Belief System concerning The Bible. There were others with the same point of view that helped me along my adolescent journey in life to my personal discovery of G-d's Son, Jesus Christ, The Messiah and my Redeemer of my soul from my sin and my Separation from G-d's Abiding Love, Mercy and Grace.

So a Fundamentalist is really a person who is interested in another persons' wellbeing and their struggle to find G-d's Love at work within their heart and life.

You may have another idea that may also be what a Fundamentalist is, but it must contain G-d's Love, Mercy and Grace at work within that persons life to really be a True Fundamentalist, at least from my standpoint of understanding the term.

Shalom,

Lee...


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