My guide to become a recovering fundamentalist: Part 2

“Someone asked me if I was a fundamentalist. I don’t know what to say.” ~Friend
“I resolve to make fun of fundamentalists for fundamental reasons.” ~Driscoll

Mr. Strawman, you’re dismissed…
In Part 1 I said that ‘fundamentalism’ is a bit of a strawman. It’s easy to couch a group of people under one term, then make that term dark a derogatory. Metaphorically speaking, we light the term on fire. Again, bash fundamentalists and you’ll get accolades. Here’s the problem with that. It’s not right, not gracious and I’d say not biblical. It’s time we stop with the strawman battles. Yes, we all do this.

The battle over words…
I give no loyalty to words, and few words I defend. I don’t defend the word baptist nor fundamentalism. I take seriously what Paul tells Timothy about false teaching that “has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil, suspicious, etc.” (1 Timothy 6:4) Attacking fundamentalism as a blanket category is much about attacking words. A key to being a recovering fundamentalist is to let go of the battle for words. Need a blueprint for this? Read 2 Timothy 2:22-26!

Civilian casualties…
In war people cringe at civilian deaths. Attacking broad categories is analogous. Bringing everyone under a broad category and then bashing that category, we create disdain for innocent people. People who are good, godly, and pursuing Christ with a loving and pure conscience. When we react out of emotion rather than act out of grace, we do what we claim ‘fundamentalists’ do. We become be the Holy Spirit. Yes, I’m saying many anti-‘fundamentalists’ act like fundamentalists.

It’s the heart…
Focus on the key heart issues. Like it or not, there are ‘fundamentalists’ who we can learn from, respect, emulate and even admire. Every person struggles with sin. It’s a matter of what sin a person struggles with. Let’s focus on the heart issues of arrogance, legalism, fear of man, “majoring on minors,” and bitterness. You and I struggle with these issues too! If you can’t stomach that, remember we’re all one church, and Jesus died for “their” sins as well as yours and mine.

The bottom line:
There is a key choice to become a recovering fundamentalist: Will I focus on bashing a category or on helping heal key heart issues. It’s easy to bash a categorical word because there isn’t a face attach to it, only negative emotions. Too many people have categorically rejected fundamentalists and treated such with putrid disdain. While for some it’s understandable, that doesn’t make it right. “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5 ESV) To rephrase our choice: Will I choose bitterness or love?

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