Why I’m Not Ashamed to be a Fundamentalist

Posted: November 19, 2008 in Thoughts

A couple of years ago, I had an interesting conversation on an airplane. I typically try to strike up a conversation with whomever I’m sitting next to (which is getting harder and harder to do), simply out of a desire to be polite & to see if I might get an opportunity to share the gospel with them. This one woman I was sitting next to was very hospitable, and before long we got to speaking about spiritual things. As it became apparent that I was one of “those” kind of Christians, I could almost see her nose turn up & it was obvious she had no desire to be in the same plane as me, let alone the same row.

At the time, I was somewhat taken aback. After all, I didn’t think of myself as a “fundamentalist.” To me, that term described folks in the backwoods dancing with snakes, and quoting from the 1611 King James (because to them, that was the *original* inspired language). Yet to her, I WAS the fundamentalist, simply because I believed that the Bible means what it says.

As time has gone on, I’ve seen that her definition of “fundamentalism” is the prevailing definition of the word. Those who believe as I do are disparaged as fundies, fundagelicals, bible-thumpers, religious-right, and more. All are terms used as pejoratives (not descriptions), and the implication is that I should be ashamed to hold the beliefs that I do.

You know what? I don’t.

Instead of shunning the term, I’ve decided to embrace it. I am a fundamentalist Christian. (With no apologies to Rosie O’Donnell.)

As I’ve turned to the common definitions of fundamentalism, there are two basic areas this encompasses: (1) theology, (2) morality.

On the theological side, I believe that the Bible is the inerrant inspired word of God, that Jesus is God incarnate, in the substitutionary atonement, in His bodily resurrection, in His supernatural miracles, and in His coming again. I believe that the Bible means exactly what it says, and although there are numerous debates over various interpretations, the overall message of the Bible is absolutely clear without mistake. That is: God is Holy…we’re not…Jesus took our judgment for sin upon Himself & offers His grace to all who call upon Him. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible speaks of the glory of God, because quite simply, He is glorious & worthy to be praised.

On the morality side, I believe that God calls us as Christians to live in such a manner as to glorify Him. That doesn’t mean we won’t ever fail (we do quite often!), but when we do, we simply repent anew and move on. It also means that I cannot in good conscience give my approval to sin among our culture. I don’t expect non-Christians to act like Christians (why should I? That’s illogical.) But neither do I feel obligated to deny my faith in order to make non-Christians feel better about their sin.

Why exactly these two positions annoy our culture so much, I honestly don’t know. The longer I study the Bible, and the more time I spend in prayer, the more I learn that life is not about me, but about Him. God gives me breath and bread for His glory. Jesus died on the cross & rose again for His glory. The Holy Spirit gave me a new birth for His glory. Do I benefit from these things? Absolutely & in wondrous ways! But God doesn’t do these things so much for me, as He does for Himself. Thus when it comes to decisions about theology and morality, my choice only logically becomes: what gives glory to God?

If that makes me a fundagelical bible-thumper, so be it.

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Comments
  1. timburns says:

    Hi Eric –
    Thanks for stopping by!

  2. JoeH says:

    Tim,

    Very well said!

  3. timburns says:

    Hi Joe! Long time, no see! How are things going?

  4. JoeH says:

    Tim,

    I’m doing well. The job is great. Hope all is well with your family and church.

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