Fundamentalism and All Truisms

Although by some it could be considered a virtue, going back to fundamentals of the faith has brought with it baggage beyond the allowed limit for check-in. Fundamentalism has at its root a separation from everything “unholy”, which is large in part the culture we live in according to their definition. It harkens back to the OLD Testament when Israel was called to separate herself from the peoples around her, having nothing to do with them (cf. Ex 34:14).

What is the motivation of this separation? I believe it comes from pure motives of wanting to be holy as the Lord is holy (Lev. 19:2; 1 Peter 1:15). However, there seems to be a diminishing of the fact that where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom (2 Cor. 3:17). What does this mean in the context? Paul is comparing his ministry with that of Moses’. There is a veil over the eyes of people when they read the Law. There is a lack of the quickening spirit of God. These are a finitude and a shadow of the true substance (Col. 2:17). The laws that constrain Israel to not eat and touch and congregate with non-Jews is done away with. The dividing wall between ethnicities and a separation from the pagan has been done away with.

Paul says he has become all things to all men so that he might win some. He clothes himself with the garb of a Jew one day and then as a Greek and then a slave and then as a freedman. He tells the Corinthians that they are allowed to eat meat sacrificed to idols insofar as they do not sear their conscience (1 Cor. 10:14-33; cf. Ps. 24). After all what is an idol? Wood (Is. 40:; 44:14-20)

Comments 3

  1. Yes, being a fundamentalist can become an idol in itself like I’m better than those that are not like me. I love Paul’s statement of becoming all things to all men. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did? Came down on this earth, made himself lower than the angels, becoming like us, even a servant, and died on the cross. Have a good wknd and enjoy throwing the frisbee!

  2. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

    Jesus speaks this in John so how are we to believe we should separate ourselves from the world when this is precisely where Jesus has sent us?

  3. Good point bethy31. The tension I want to work with is the fact that we are called to be in the world. How do we relate to the world without compromising convictions? So many Christians seem to say that for the sake of “reaching the lost” we should do x,y,z – which really seem like paltry applications of the greatness and beauty of the Gospel.

    Fundamentalism seems to make too tight of a connection between the OT and the NT. That is, because Israel was supposed to be set apart from their surrounding culture with external characterstics, so are the NT saints. We are definitely supposed to act differently; this has to do with the fundamental difference between the internalization of the New Covenant – it is a matter of the heart. This has huge implications of course. I wonder how those look. Rather than having Christian jargon, how do we communicate the saving Gospel in understandable language?

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