A Fundamentalism Worth Saving

I don’t think that there is any better representation of my perspective on Fundamentalism than Bauder’s article  A Fundamentalism Worth Saving. I include a summary but I would plead with you to read the article if you have never done so.

He concludes:

  • A fundamentalism worth saving will be a fundamentalism that takes doctrine seriously.
  • A fundamentalism worth saving will be a fundamentalism that takes the human condition seriously.
  • A fundamentalism worth saving will also be a fundamentalism that takes learning seriously.
  • Moreover, it will be a fundamentalism that takes meaning seriously.
    • A fundamentalism that is not serious about meaning will not be serious about obedience. Neither will it be serious about the religious affections.
    • The only way to be a historic, biblical fundamentalist is to be a cultural fundamentalist.
  • A fundamentalism worth saving must be sober. And it is this: we must take piety seriously.
    • It is our fundamental duty (and our delight) to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Everything else grows out of this.
  • A fundamentalism worth saving will be a fundamentalism that takes separatism seriously.
    • Fundamentalists have done separatism too badly too often. We have sometimes made it the excuse for political posturing and power grabbing. We have sometimes tolerated unchristian conduct and even error to our Right while excoriating the smallest deviations to our Left. These abuses have cast a pall of opprobrium over separatism. The young leaders who are training in our schools are aware of that opprobrium, and they are waiting for us to make the case for a legitimate separatism that that can be defended theologically and implemented deliberately.

Comments?

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5 comments on “A Fundamentalism Worth Saving

  1. Jason Sipes says:

    I’m extremely pleased with Dr. Bader’s candor and honesty as he examines fundamentalism. Almost every problem he addressed contributed to my departure several years ago. The distinction between fundamentalism as an idea and a movement is especially thought provoking. In fact, I agree with his assesment that as an idea, more evangelicals have done a better job defending the fundamentals than the average fundamentalist. I’ve often said over the years, particularly after I’ve been taken to task by a fundamentalist, “They don’t even know what the fundamentals are, I do a better job defending the fundamentals than they do.” My understanding of fundamentalism as a movement has more to do with the attitude and personality of the person than it really does doctrine. Each fundamentalist needs to ask themselves honestly the question Dr. Bader poses, “Which doctrines are fundamentals?” It was particularly my disagreement with a pretribulation rapture that caused me to be marginalized by many of my fundamentalist contemporaries. They put more energy into defending this doctrine and the KJV-only position than they did in defending what I consider the essentials (the real fundamentals.) I also agree that study of the humanities is essential to genuine Christianity. It seems that fundamentalist missionaries are allowed to appreciate culture in the country in which they serve but not our own culture. I feel that fundamentalists basically believe that everything in pop culture is inherently sinful. How arrogant. So, I hear Dr. Bader saying, “Study the humanities,” but then would you still be a fundamentalist? (speaking of the movement here and not the idea) He makes an emphasis on separatism, I wish he would have expounded more in this area. He says fundamentalists need to make a better case for separatism, but I believe that this is exactly what will never allow fundamentalists to be as he says, “in concert,” and therefore, never be a missional force. I also would like to pick his brain on what kind of music he considers frivilous. I know a great many hymns which are frivilous in doctrine, but most fundamentalists accept them based on the most cherished doctrine of the fundamentalist institution I attended, which says, if it’s old it has to be good. To which I say, a hearty “hogwash.” I believe after reading Dr. Bader’s assesment, I would say, to answer his question, fundamentalism as an idea is good, but as a movement should be scrapped. Fundamentalism as an idea finds a better home in the conservative end of the evangelical spectrum.

    • Luke says:

      I appreciate your post, even if I don’t always agree. Dr. Bauder would 100% agree with your statement that there are frivolous hymns. We often discussed both “good” and “bad” hymns at the beginning of class. I think that you would find his series on the theater interesting and it would perhaps answer some of your questions relating to the humanities and give you insight into his position on music. I am also sure that if you wrote him a note that he would respond.

      One point struck me in your conclusion, you write: “fundamentalism as an idea finds a better home in the conservative end of the evangelical spectrum.” I believe I am on the “conservative end” of the evangelical spectrum. However, what I think you mean is on the conservative end of the “new” evangelical spectrum (where I would not be categorized). I could probably agree with you that this group would be a better home for the idea, if they practiced the biblical doctrine of separation. But, I guess that would make them fundamentalists then wouldn’t it.

      — By the way did you notice the news that Faith Baptist Seminary and Central Seminary are investigating a merger?

      • Jason Sipes says:

        Here is my understanding of the terms fundamentalist and evangelical:

        Toward the end of the 20th century, some have tended to confuse evangelicalism and fundamentalism, but as noted above they are not the same. The labels represent very distinct differences of approach which both groups are diligent to maintain, although because of fundamentalism’s dramatically smaller size it often gets classified simply as an ultra-conservative branch of evangelicalism. Both groups seek to maintain an identity as theological conservatives; evangelicals, however, seek to distance themselves from stereotypical perceptions of the “fundamentalist” posture of antagonism toward the larger society and advocate involvement in the surrounding community rather than separation from it.
        Marsden, George M (1991). Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. pp. 5. ISBN 0802805396.

        The term “new-evangelical,” as I understand it was coined by Harold Okinga (sp.?) and was used by fundamentalists around 1950 as a derogatory term, mainly referring to Billy Graham’s “ecumenism.”
        So, this is why I would not include “fundies” in the evangelical movement.

        Where is Faith Seminary? Sorry, that probably reveals my extreme ignorance.

        God bless you brother, thanks for the discussion.

  2. Luke says:

    Faith is in Ankeny, Iowa. It was historically closely associated with the GARBC.

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