In Philippians Paul instructs us to rejoice when the Gospel is preached. There is no doubt in my mind that the Gospel is preached faithfully in fundamentalist churches. Heart issues aside (all groups have them) fundamentalism does have at its core the Gospel. This is first and foremost one of the benefits of fundamentalism. It’s the baby from the bathwater.
Let’s face it, the Gospel is offensive. The Bible says so and reality says so. One of the problems with the strawman we call fundamentalism is this: We figure that by bashing fundamentalists we are somehow more palatable to our culture. We can write ‘fundamentalists’ off as extremists. So, we cast aside fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. In other words: we bash ‘fundies’ to make ourselves look good. Friends, the Gospel is offensive. Bashing any group doesn’t make the Gospel less offensive and doesn’t make us look good either.
There are false Gospels
There is and always has been movements to teach and promote a false Gospel. The Bible tells us it will happen and we see throughout history that it happens. In the fundamentalist modernist controversy we have to remember that the stance that was being taken was for the truth of God’s Word and the essential issues regarding Jesus. Paul instructs us to pay attention to our ministry and our doctrine. While we may not agree with the practical outgrowth that happened to fundamentalism, It’s founding is solid and it’s motive solid. If anything fundamentalism does teach us there is a point where you have to stand your ground and say this is truth and this is heresy.
I often say act don’t react. But like many proverbial statements, it’s not always true all the time. There are times when reaction is correct, like placing you hand accidentally on a hot stove. Galatians states how we should not be deceived, that what we reap we will sow. Fundamentalism started as a good reaction to a bad trend. To hold as vile fundamentalism by touting all its ills is a standard none would care to live by. I don’t think we want to reap that in our own ministries.
The bottom line:
One of the greatest contributions of fundamentalism is a defense of the Gospel. Such passion for the Gospel and the Bible should not be taken lightly. Further, we shouldn’t bash a movement like a strawman, as we reap what we sow. The Gospel is offensive. While we as Christians shouldn’t be offensive we must remember there is a point where we have to say what is false and what is true.