Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I am a Fundamentalist, If...

Kevin Bauder in an address he gave in 2005 called, A Fundamentalism Worth Saving, defines the idea of fundamentalism like this:

In answering this question, I first distinguish fundamentalism as an idea from fundamentalism as a movement. As I have said on other occasions, fundamentalism is a great idea. As an idea, fundamentalism is essentially a doctrinal and ecclesiastical reaction against unbelief masquerading as Christianity. Ideal fundamentalists affirm that all doctrine is important, but they recognize that some doctrines are more important than others. They assert that some doctrines are so important as to be essential to the gospel itself. These essential or fundamental doctrines are held to be indispensably bound to the very definition of Christianity. While ideal fundamentalists certainly do not believe that Christianity can be reduced to a doctrinal statement, they affirm that Christianity rests upon an inviolable doctrinal foundation. To add to or subtract from that foundation is to deny Christianity itself. Moreover—and this is the crux of the matter—fundamentalists insist that no Christian fellowship can exist or should be pretended with people who deny the gospel.

This understanding distinguishes fundamentalists from two sorts of religious people. First, it distinguishes them from apostates, or people who deny essential doctrines while claiming to be Christians. Second, it distinguishes them from the people whom J. Gresham Machen called indifferentists, people who personally affirm the fundamentals but who refuse to acknowledge that those fundamentals are essential to the definition of Christianity or the existence of Christian fellowship. Typically, historic fundamentalists have felt themselves duty-bound not only to truncate visible fellowship with those who deny the gospel, but also to limit their cooperation with those whose view of the gospel is so low that they feel they can continue in fellowship with apostates. (read the whole thing here)

If this is fundamentalism. I am a fundamentalist.

Bauder was one of my seminary professors and is now the President of Central Baptist Theological Seminary.

If this topic is of interest to you I recommend reading the following:


g039260 said...

good article Daniel. I'm not crazy about Bob Bixby's stuff but Bauder has always been solid. Fundamentalism as an Ideal has always been what I embrace. The problem is that even the guys who say they embrace fundamentalism as an ideal seem to "add to it". Those who don't talk about "fundamentalism" but hold to the fundamentals are usually the ones who don't get caught up in adding to it.

Michellyn said...

Hey, Daniel, I think your link to Piper's comments is incorrect. I'm guessing the right one is here: http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1801_Good_Breeze_from_a_Fundamentalist_Neighbor/