Monday, January 12, 2009

 

Why is hyper-fundamentalism unprofitable?

First some definitions. These came from dictionary.com, I think they will work.

Hyper:
1.
overexcited; overstimulated; keyed up.
2.
seriously or obsessively concerned; fanatical; rabid




Fundamentalism
1.
(sometimes initial capital letter) a movement in American Protestantism that arose in the early part of the 20th century in reaction to modernism and that stresses the infallibility of the Bible not only in matters of faith and morals but also as a literal historical record, holding as essential to Christian faith belief in such doctrines as the creation of the world, the virgin birth, physical resurrection, atonement by the sacrificial death of Christ, and the Second Coming.
2.
the beliefs held by those in this movement.
3.
strict adherence to any set of basic ideas or principles: the fundamentalism of the extreme conservativ
es.



I think using definition #2 on hyper & #3 on fundamentalism is fairly close to what hyper-fundamentalism should mean.

I think most people are fundamental in one way or another. I have basic fundamental beliefs & being fundamental in itself is not bad, I think it is probably good. In order have or know truth don't you have to be just a tad bit fundamental?

When we become hyper in our fundamentalism then most of the time we lose a little bit of respect because who ever we are talking to feels degraded by our conversation with them. If that happens how are you ever going to convince someone of what you believe is the truth about an issue?

1 Cor. 13:2
If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

I get from this that I can know all the answers to Lordship, Free Grace, theology but not have love then what I am saying is nothing to whoever is listening. I may get by with one maybe two or three conversations but sooner or later the person who is listening is going to realize there is no real concern by me for them as a person. IOW what I am saying is more important than who I am saying it to. Thats messed up!

How do I know if I have love? Well the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul to the Corinthians seems pretty clear on what love is.

1 Cor. 13:4-7
4Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.


So if your not seeking your own and are not provoked or you don't take into account a wrong suffered and are kind and patient then you have love.

This brings me to a basic question:

If you are in a discussion about theology and are not seeking your own or can't be provoked or your not taking into account a wrong suffered then where in the name of love can you find reason to practice separation? You may call it biblical but is it really biblical after knowing what love is?
Come on, separating over theological disagreements? It's not like separating from someone who is sleeping with their stepmother and knows better is it? Of course not!

If your a hyper-fundamentalist, your hyperness is a clue you don't have the love God is talking about in the passage above.

How do we get that love? We love because He first loved us.(1 John 4:19) Or is 1 John 4:18 speaking to you? If it is lay down the conditions you have set up for yourself in order for God to love you. Maybe it will be the first time you experience God's love. Maybe you have experienced God's love before but you have been the victim of hyper-legalistic-fundamentalism yourself. If its the latter I know what you are going thru and brother there is hope. Let the conditions go and the unconditional will take over.






Comments:
Kris,

When I read your post I think about my years spent "evangelizing the LDS" at a particular forum.

I think my doctrines were always uncompromising, but in the beginning I too was hyper about it. After several years of being ungracious and warned that I was going to be banned, and meanwhile noticing these important points from scripture - well, my attitude became more moderate.

I really appreciated that you are picking up that all conservative evangelicals are "fundamentalists" - they want the church and the lost to be held accountable to an infallible Word.

But the "fundamentalists" of the kind of the IFBs (Rokser and Lou are the people we know), are different than the rest by their alarmism and their wholesale announcement of others' weaknesses.

I'd like to know, what do you think God uses to discern our obedience or the lackthereof? Is it precise doctrine? Something else, or both?

Thanks for letting me hang,
Michele
 
Thanks for commenting Michele.

Your question:

"I'd like to know, what do you think God uses to discern our obedience or the lackthereof? Is it precise doctrine? Something else, or both?"

Well I am pretty sure it is not precise doctrine. Here is why I am pretty sure, it may be long though;

The gospel of John records Jesus in chapter 5 healing a man who had been ill for 38 years. The man couldn't get into this 'healing pool' on his own when the waters were stirred. He couldn't walk, so Jesus healed him but it was on the Sabbath and he told the guy to pick the mat he had been laying on up and that was breaking the Sabbath according to the 'fundamentalist'.

In verse 16 after these hyper-fundamentalist (H-F) found out it was Jesus that did this they started harassing Jesus because He was breaking the Sabbath. (Starting to sound familiar?)

Then in verse 18 after Jesus basically told them that He and God were equal in healing the man they went from harassing to trying to kill Him. Now Jesus answers them again in verse 19 and doesn't stop talking until all the way to verse 46.

Up until verse 39 He was trying to reason with them about letting His works and John's testimony convince them of who He was.

But in verse 39 He says: "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;"

Now why would He say that? I think these guys worked hard at looking at scripture to know what was lawful and what wasn't and when the messiah would come and where he would come from and in that searching they totally missed the point of the scripture actually pointing to a living God. Their god ended up being their doctrines and traditions.

I think to a H-F offending a doctrine or tradition is like offending God Himself. You must defend the "truth" which is doctrine instead of Christ Himself (John 14:6) at all cost.

I could go on but I think you get my point that I don't think it is precise doctrine that God requires as obedience. If it is then He would be turning us into the very people He preach against the most.

I think the Holy Spirit within us is what guides us to obedience as much as anything. Now I think His word is important and the Spirit uses it and the word confirms to us that it is the Spirit when we may have doubt.

There are alot of people who could not read that walk by the Spirit all over the world the past centuries.

Jesus picked uneducated Galileans to work miracles(Acts 2:7) through after He ascended for a reason.

The seminary in Jerusalem had become hyper-fundamental and He just couldn't get through to them because they thought they had life in the scriptures instead of the living God the scriptures tell about.

Now I am not saying that higher education and seminary school is bad.

But it can be dangerous and grace killing if H-F have taken over.
 
Very interesting thoughts, Kris! I am glad you shared them. I think you are on to something when you say:

You must defend the "truth" which is doctrine instead of Christ Himself (John 14:6) at all cost.

Thanks for all your contributions to the blog conversations.
 
Kris,

You said:
How do I know if I have love? Well the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul to the Corinthians seems pretty clear on what love is.

What would happen if we got fundy about these passages on love? Could we go wrong with that?

Good thoughts, it is very pleasing to hear the Word on methodology and true service to God.

Thank you! Michele
 
Thanks for your comment, Michele.

That's a great point! It's probably always a danger of becoming hyper "fundy" on alot of things. I fight this alot off the time. It's my perfectionist, pridefull bent.

How about this; if a person is habitually using these passages on love to see if others are loving then they might be hyper fundy on love. But if a person looks at these passages and examines himself by them then he is seeing himself in a mirror & realizes how much he lacks the love of God toward others. Of course a person can't stop there, he will end up in despair.
He must realize that this love is God's love toward him and by that love he is empowered to love where love was lacking.
 
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