Another Installment by Kevin Bauder

For those of you that haven’t had the time to read Dr. Kevin Bauder’s series on Fundamentalism I have extracted one teaser from his latest essay. I have taken this one building block out of his solidly constructed analysis of history. If this tidbit doesn’t stand by itself then you need to start at the beginning of the series and read through to this point. The series has caused me to reflect upon both my own faith as well as upon the dynamics within churches that I have been associated with.

“The shift in metaphysical dream [precedes  a worldview] resulted in professing Christians (including fundamentalists) whose vision of the faith was surprisingly and appallingly earthbound. While they gabbled of the historic doctrines of the faith, those doctrines often ceased to grip their imaginations and consequently ceased to influence their lives. Focused almost entirely on the immanent order and driven by populism, these Christians felt compelled to adapt their religion to every breeze of cultural change. A concern for relevance displaced the thirst for transcendence, but what they thought of as relevance turned out to be mere trendiness (and nothing is less relevant than a trendy church). Evangelism became the new mysticism, and evangelicalism (including the later fundamentalism) became profoundly pragmatic. In the long run, much of Christianity was transformed into a venue for baptizing worldly trends so that the faithful could enjoy the same amusements as the rest of the culture, only in a partially sanitized way. Fundamentalists and evangelicals still struggle against (or, more often, capitulate to) this dynamic.”

I would be interested in people’s reactions to this extract or the entire series.


2 comments on “Another Installment by Kevin Bauder

  1. Jason Sipes says:

    I believe Mr. Bauder should analyze Jesus’ ministry anew. He might find that the Savior’s ministry was also surprisingly earthbound and pragmatic. It was the Pharisee’s religion which remained disconnected and transcendant. I understand the dangers of allowing pragmatism to shift our orthodoxy, but 1950’s fundamentalism is so far from ideal Christianity. I believe fundamentalists should stop holding it up as the golden age of Christianity.

    • Luke says:

      I suspect that if you read the entire series you will find that you agree with Dr. Bauder more than you disagree. He definitely doesn’t view the 50s as a golden age, rather, quite the opposite. He traces the roots of the fundamentalist pragmatism from common sense realism. He is critical of fundamentalists attempting to hold to the culture of the Victorian era after it had passed. He is critical of the boss mentality (or “Doc” mentality as he phrases it). Though you will likely still disagree with him after reading the series I doubt it will be as strongly as you think. His series is far from conveying the historic, non-academic, pulpit pounding party line.

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