The Church And Fundamentalism
Fundamentalists tend to make their self definition increasingly narrow and restricted, to isolate themselves, to demagogue emotional issues, and to view change, cooperation, negotiation and other efforts to resolve differences as signs of weakness- pg. 34-35
When I was playing basketball in college, there were times where our coach was frustrated and annoyed at our play. According to him we had forgotten the basics of the game and our practices afterwards were focused on the fundamentals of the game.
These athletic fundamentals were also narrowly defined, resisted emotional issues, and did not like change and so on. Altering them was also a sign of basketball and athletic weakness. If you did not know your fundamentals, then you did not know the game.
The same goes with our values and the Christian faith. If you do not know the fundamentals then both were weak and subject to all manner of enemy strategies that defeated those values and Christian principles.
There have been many attempts by the church to go beyond the fundamentals of the faith set down by Jesus and the disciples. The different church leaders over the generations have all sought new and exciting ways to win people to Christ and get them into the church.
Sadly many of these strategies backfired and failed to accomplish what those church leaders wanted done. To illustrate this I need to refer to a discussion I had with an pastoral intern at a local church congregation many years ago.
I had noticed a sign he put up advertising the coffee house he and his wife were running. The message in that advertising was directed towards the street youth of that city.
Unfortunately, he put the words ‘We are just like you, trying to figure this whole life thing out’ on the sign. When I pointed the error out to him, he stated that he was trying to identify wit those homeless youth.
There are Several Errors to That Strategy
First, he tried to identify with those homeless youth even though he wasn’t homeless and he wasn’t trying to figure life out. Second, he said he and his church were just like those street youths, which sent the message that he and his church did not have the answer for their problems
Third, we find no biblical teaching by Jesus, his disciples or Paul to identify with the lost. Once we are saved, we are not like the lost and have found the answer to life’s problems. We have the answers to the street youths of the world and for all unbelievers in the world today.
The only way to identify with the lost is to say ‘we were once like you but we have found the answer...’ We do not shoot ourselves in the foot by trying to send false messages in hopes of attracting unbelievers to the church through bad strategies.
The fundamentals of the faith are better than any strategy especially since Jesus said to lift him higher and HE would draw all men unto him.
The Fundamentals Do Not Change
While fundamentalists may not always be correct in their adhering to fundamental elements in the Christian faith, once thing is for certain. They are trying to keep the church in line with God and his instructions.
Too often modern people ignore the fundamentalists and strive to change church and biblical law to allow sin and evil to be a part of their membership and leadership. That is wrong and ignoring the teachings of Jesus and the disciples.
No matter how one wants to design the church and the Christian faith, the fundamentals do not change. Salvation is through Christ alone, there is only one way to heaven, the broad path leads to destruction, God created everything by speaking and he destroyed the world through a global flood and more.
There is nothing that can change those elements of the church and the fundamentalists are doing a great favor to the church by their work. , for the most part.
It Does Not Help the Church to Ignore Those Fundamentals.
Nor does it help the church to go along with the many changes secular culture makes to society. If the church does then they are not representing God or Jesus correctly. Neither one made those changes to their church or their faiths.
Ignoring the fundamentals also has the church leading people to a God that is different from the one found in the Bible. Staying true to God’s word means you represent both God and Jesus correctly and do not change their words, etc.
Also, by ignoring the fundamentals of the faith, the church then says they do not believe god or Jesus any more and think they can run Christianity a lot better than both.
Fundamentalists have a point and no matter how negatively they are portrayed or viewed, they are sticking to God’s word. Again, for the most part and there are always exceptions.
Some Final Words
Fundamentalists may not like change but then change i snot always for the better. When the church changes and allows sin ad corruption to enter its borders. Once that happens then nothing but problems will arise. People also will stay away from the church because they see that its members do not follow the God they claim to follow.
Ignoring the fundamentals and fundamentalists keep the church from making the impact it should be making for Jesus. Evangelistic efforts fail or produce discouraging results.
Like basketball and other athletic competitions, the fundamentals of the faith exist for a reason and keep the people on the right track. Also, they make sure that the people believe the God they say they believe sending out a message that God does exist and cares for all people.
To make the church better, get back to the fundamentals of the Christian faith.
© 2019 David Thiessen