My Guide to become a recovering fundamentalist: Q&A

Why the series? Are you anti, pro or neutral to fundamentalism?
There are three big reasons why:
1) Fundamentalism became a strawman argument. So, people can attack ‘fundies’ and gain some quick accolades. Strawman arguments are bad and it’s better to address real heart issues instead. Not all fundamentalist churches are cults or legalistic.

2) Many have been spiritually abused and crushed in fundamentalist circles. Some want to leave the baggage but retain what is good. By addressing heart issues we can sift what’s truth vs human error. I’m finding doctrine isn’t the real issue for people leaving fundamentalist, it’s the actions of some fundamentalists.

3) Faithful are the wounds of a friend. Many in my generation take an unbiblical attack dog stance against fundamentalists and then anyone who acts or smells like one. I wanted a balanced critique and not a tribunal.

I’m pro-gospel and pro-bible. May sound like a cop-out, but I don’t think we should get stuck on words too much.

Will this series be just a critique?
No! I’ll be focusing in three big benefits to fundamentalism just as I focused on three big heart issues.

Is the movement essentially dead?
Yes & no. It’s a recurring movement. Pharisees, monastic movement are two examples of separatist movements. There is a cycle to history that repeats. The break that occurred in the emerging church was along the similar lines as the liberal/fundamentalist controversy in the early 20th century. I think the essence of the movement will continue. I do think our culture tends toward being shallow so the name will die out, as will organizations, but new names and networks will emerge.

You often use act vs react, why is that?
Reactionary movements, what fundamentalism essentially was, are inherently unstable. Acting is far more difficult than reacting. Acting vs reacting is my attempt at articulating God’s instructions to Joshua to follow His Word not turning to the left or the right.

Are you a fundamentalist?
I’m a recovering fundamentalist. I don’t use the word because of the baggage associated with it… What I find is living biblically is the hardest and most elusive stance to take. So I’ve been accused of being ‘fundy’ and being ‘liberal.’ The label isn’t important, walking by faith and being biblical is.

Are you against labels then?
Everyone is for labels. The anti-labels gig is disingenuous, I think. Example: remove all labels from canned goods and then go grocery shopping. Adam labeled things. So did Jesus and Paul. Rather than being anti-labels let’s focus on the issue of being gracious and loving and civil and listening. I sense that’s what the anti-labels gig is going for.

Are you a creationist?
I believe that if you lose the resurrection you lose creationism and not the other way around. Jesus is the best proof and validity for creationism. I do think creationism is a secondary or tertiary doctrinal issue, not primary or a fundamental of the faith.

Dispensational?
I’m little ‘d’ as opposed to big ‘D’… I think the essentials of plain interpretation of the Bible, distinction between Israel and the church, and the Bible is about God’s glory is core. Too often dispensationalists get stuck on a timeline and details rather than the major emphasis of the Bible. We should heed Jesus words that “it is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” Eschatology is important as our view of death determines how we live. So, those who argue against any focus on studying the end times are off as well. It’s a hard balance.

Baptist?
I’m baptistic. While baptists probably wouldn’t say it this way, they focus on three big areas: Biblical authority (the Bible is the basis for our faith and actions, Individual soul liberty (a person is left to their own choice to believe and should not be coerced into believing) and Priesthood of the believer (in Christ we have direct access to God). These are core themes in the Bible and other baptist attributes stem from those three. I think the label is often, not always, a hinderance based on behavior of baptists and not it’s doctrine per se.

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