"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

I Believe in the Fundamentals But Don't Call Me a Fundamentalist

I hold to the fundamentals of the Christian faith: the doctrine of the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, His physical resurrection and return, the full inspiration and authority of the inerrant Bible, and salvation by grace through faith. However, I refer to myself as a conservative theologian, not a Fundamentalist. What is the difference? Chuck Swindoll describes the Fundamentalist mindset in a little ditty that sums up the deep seeded problem of Fundamentalism.

Believe as I believe no more, no less;
That I am right (and no one else) confess.
Feel as I feel, think only as I think;
Eat what I eat, and drink what I drink
Look as I look, do always as I do;
And then and only then I'll fellowship with you.

God save the SBC from Fundamentalism.

In His Grace,



Bryan Riley said...

One of the most frightening aspects of fundamentalism is that it seems to neglect the fact that God is God and we are human. I do not deny that we have Christ in us or that He has given us everything we need for life and godliness, or that the Spirit can reveal to us the meaning of scripture, but our relationship with God is just that--each individual's personal relationship with God. And, as C.S. Lewis emphasized through Lucy and Aslan, each human's story and relationship with Him is unique to that individual, and what one individual may eat or drink or not eat or not drink, or what one individual may believe about a nonessential aspect of our faith versus another is really more about God working in that individual's life to make him or her more like Christ. Any passage of scripture may at one time in an individual's life mean something different to them than at another time.

Moreover, it strikes me that if we are focused on someone else's beliefs or practices we are neglecting the race we are supposed to be running. No runner wins by looking over their shoulder at the other racers. God desires that we fix our eyes on Him and Him alone and then to allow Him, as we offer ourselves to Him, to transform our lives.

God's love alone saves others, not the law or anyone's rendition of doctrine. May the love He instills in us radiate to others and thereby bring Him glory and demonstrate to others the One True Source of Life.

Anonymous said...

I laughed when I read a comment on Wade's previous post It so vividly exemplified the difference in worldview between a Fundamentalist and a non-Fundamentalist and why the two have so much trouble dealing with each other.

Brad said
I apologize if my concerns concern you (your lack of concern here concerns me)."


charliemac said...

I believe fundamentalism among Baptist is illustrated by those who allow their wives to spend money getting their hair fixed, wear gold and pearls as well as expensive dresses, but refuse to allow them to teach men or pastor a church because Paul condemned that. I know this is a long sentence, but so was Paul's when he said he did not all any of the above.

Former M said...


May God ever grant me the grace to recognize my own errors, as well as the courage to offer others the freedom to disagree with my limited understanding. God's grace is sufficient to overcome my failure of doctrinal acumen, as well as my failure of wrong-doing. Oh, that we might live the loving reality of that same grace before others.

It is in this grace that we learn the love Jesus claimed as the sign to the world of Christian identity: "By this shall all know that you are my disciples--if you have love one for another."

Anonymous said...

Matthew 7:1-2 says," Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you."
When you judge your fellow christians as Liberal, you are likely to be judged as a Fundamentalist.

Jack Maddox said...

Wow! The lines are being drawn now are they not?

It feels like circa 1989


blampp@juno.com said...

I suppose you were attempting levity, and I certainly believe Swindoll was..... But, it would sound to me like you are establishing perimeters! I have some very Godly Brethren with whom I'm more familiar with their daily walk than yours? But still believe we can do Kingdom work together. Most seem perfectly happy to be respected for what they believe though it may differ in areas from me. Here again, we are talking about folks we may not agree with.... and I would apparently disagree with your definition? Back in the sixties I had several Denominational heads call me (to my face) a FunDAMentalist because I share a view of Scripture you just recently verbalized! They didn't change my position simply be calling me a name, but I rejoice to say that position is commonly held by most of the leadership of today! I'm much more concerned about methodology, organization parity, Agency transparency (accept when it deals with the safety of personnel, proportionate representation, et. al.!
Just a thought! I really have enjoyed the commentary of the past several weeks, even while dealing with my wife's hospital stay and surgery..... I found myself seeking time to check what was being posted, even when unable to respond personally! Wish I could have been in N.M. for the IMB public sessions..... but, responsibilities still linger at this end, we will be praying for ALL the IMB BoT's! bml

Clif Cummings said...

See you in Albuquerque! I've got to see one of these meetings first hand. Plus, it is my understanding that one of our church member's daughters and her husband are being commissioned Tuesday night!

Bryan Riley said...

From today's Proverb:

It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.

The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.

Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?

Who can say, "I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin"?

Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance.

Do not say, "I'll pay you back for this wrong!" WAIT for the Lord, and he will deliver you.

A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?

Prophet said...

So I guess you're a fundamentalist, but these other crazier types would be extremists.

Anonymous said...

This is somewhat amazaing! For 20 pluse years words were used to condemn, critize, to take over, to rule, ...and now the kettle is calling the pot black!! Some of us knew that one the enemy would become US!..Time will tell if SBC can handle it...this is most interesting...wayne

Rzrbk said...

Swindoll's little ditty reminds me of the following often quoted statement by Jimmy Draper from a book he wrote in the 70s.

Fundamentalism is more dangerous than liberalism because everything is done in the name of the Lord. In the name of the Lord, the fundamentalist condemns all who disagree with him … he uses the Bible as a club with which to beat people over the head, rather than a means of personal strength and a revealer of God. To the fundamentalist, the test of fellowship is correct doctrine. If you do not agree with his doctrinal position, he writes you off and will not have fellowship with you. There is no room in his world for those who have a different persuasion. He feels threatened by diverse convictions and writes them off as sinister and heretical. As long as you support his position, he is with you. Cross him, and he has no use whatever for you . . . the fundamentalist tactic is simple: hatred, bitterness, and condemnation of all whom they despise … In the name of the Lord they will launch vehement attacks on individuals and churches. In the name of the Lord they attempt to assassinate the character of those whom they oppose. They direct their attack most often on ther Christian leaders with whom they find disagreement. Jimmy Draper, The Church Christ Aproves; 1974.
It is ironic that Draper's words could so perfectly describe an organization he allied himself with in the 80s.

Several years ago an IMB trustee chairman from California was addressing our missionaries and stated how hurt he had been that some people had described him as a red-neck fundamentalist. I told him later that was an example of differences in culture. In my home state of Arkansas to be described as a red-neck fundamentalist was considered a compliment. I consider myself a fundamentist with a small f if that means believing in the fundamentals of the faith often used to define fundamentalism. Unfortunatley the word fundamentalist has come to define an attitude or behavior instead of a belief system.
Ron West

Bob Cleveland said...

From the "Curmudgeoclast" Corner:

Who cares? I should worry about what labels others want to hang on me?

For the record, I'm a 25-year Southern Baptist with a prayer language, who is also a 5-point Calvinist. Anybody wanna swap label stories?

Someone asks me what I think of fundamentalists (or conservatives, liberals, etc), I just ask them which one. Who? Which guy you talkin' about?

If I don't want anyone generalizing away my individuality, I'd best not be doing it to anyone else, either.

I must say, though, I do love the discussions about them. Since my kids are grown and gone, there's nobody around to ignore what I say.

Hallelujah! I found a whole new crowd!

Tom Bryant said...

Having been raised and trained by real KJV only, IFB types (Tennessee Temple, Hyles-Anderson), I am often amused by the idea that almost any SBC-er would be considered fundamentalist with a capital "F". Even Page Patterson himself would not be considered a Fundamentalist with either small case 'f' or capital 'f' by the guys I used to hang around.

But I understand the fear and agree with it.

Swindoll was being funny and true. And it can happen with our convention. Go back and check the history of the IFB-ers of today and find that almost all of them had SBC roots.

Dr. Rice (sword of the Lord fame) was trained by the SBC

Dr. Roberson's church seperated from the local Association.

Jack Hyles was trained in SBC colleges.

They left because of the real liberalism that has been taken care of.
This issue now cannot be won by their successors who have stayed in.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that you have a built-in immunity to fundamentalism. You have too much agape in your spiritual DNA to be even remotely susceptible.
You are in our prayers.

Bryan Riley said...

It is disconcerting to men and women who simply want to love God and grow to be more like Christ to see the supposed mature leaders of the faith go to task over matters that clearly don't matter. Sure, some may fear the slippery slope. Or, some might say if you don't have the faith to believe "X" then it shows you don't have the faith to believe "Y." And, yes, many fear that we are going to succumb to picking and choosing what we accept from the Scripture and what we don't. But, I would challenge that we all already do that. But, oh, to proclaim something as true in the name of the Lord and to then reject any other interpretation or apology... Bottom line, it is not demonstrating Christ. They don't know we are Christians by our doctrine. They don't know we are Christians by our lines. They don't know we are Christians by our lipservice to any particular creed. They will know we are Christians by our love.

Cate Hanchez said...

SBC leaders may not be Fundamentalist like, for example, Bob Jones is Fundamentalist. However, we have certainly withdrawn our fellowship from an awful lot of people who love the Lord and believe the Bible just as much as we do, but who understand some things differently. I feel keenly that our leadership has made it clear that they want us to believe as they believe or we are not welcome here.

Grosey's Messages said...

Can we redefine the issue here? I don't think the issue at fault is fundementalism per se, but rather the attitude of superiority that is a travelling companion to any form of conceit, and attaches itself to any issue (even the dreaded texan tendency to emphasise their bigness!)
I have met extreme liberal catholic theologians who have displayed a disdain for anyone not in their party. I think the issue is party spirit, not fundementalism.

Jake Barker said...

Indeed you are not a fundamentalist. I would prefer the term "Orthodox Christian". Even though I call myself "conservative" the names "conservative" and "liberal" have a way of polarizing issues and people to the point that we talk past each other. Calling onself "orthodox" opens up a question and answer session that allows one to witness to our conservative brand of Christianity.

Anonymous said...

I've wasted 30 minutes trying to reply to you, Brian Riley, Chuck Swindow and the rest of you. We live in perilous times when ear ticklers are rampant. We will just fight the good fight. Let the rewards fall where they may. Sticks and stones may break my bones but.......................

frostburgpreacher said...

I heard the definition of Fundamentalist put like this...

No fun
too much dam
and not enough mental

I have always liked that!

Anonymous said...

Frostburgerpreacher, Your intellect is showing. Would you call me an "unhappy cuss'n idiot". Would'nt you know it; I thought I was a happy, separated, student of the Word of God. It's gonna take me a while to get over this. Let me see, if I believe the fundamental's but I am not a fundamentalist? I suppose some piano players do not consider themselves pianist. I am really getting educated.

An Awful Fundamentalist

Bryan Riley said...

Perhaps Isaiah 58:1-14 is a good word for much of today's "church." I know it is a message for me and my ego. To boil it down to its essence, I think it says this: Get out of religion and self-righteousness and get into loving my children and selflessness. How do others read the passage?

frostburgpreacher said...

Dear Awful Fundamentalist,

I believe in fundamentals of the faith. The definition used was because of those who have taken and ruined something that should be a good word and made it a bad word in many people's minds. Just like all those who call themselves Christian yet aren't and tear down the name of Christ because of it!

I was thinking back to who I heard that definition from and remembered it actually came from John MacAthur during a Q&A session at a conference when someone asked him what does he call himself. I do not have the exact response but it went something like this. We can't call ourselves evangelical because of too many liberals that have messed up that word, we can't call ourself Christian because everyone does, we can't call ourself reformed because nobody knows what that means, we can't call ourself orthodox because everyone thinks of the Greek Orthodox church, and we can't call ourself fundamental because all the fundamentalist have made it, no fun too much dam and not enough mental.

Also, Awful Fundamentalist, personally I don't know if you cuss and if you are judging my intellect by one simple and short post, well you can't so stop trying!

Stephen said...


Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts in this blog. I was raised in Fundamentalism (my Great-Grandfather is John R. Rice), and am still surrounded by it. I am glad to see there is a movement in the SBC to move away from man-made rules and to focus on the true nature of the Gospel.

I just moved to a new city, and when I started looking for a church I didn't look at baptist churches for a couple reasons, although I was raised in one. One big reason I didn't want to be associated with the SBC is Richard Land. Are his opinions really shared by most of the SBC, or if not why is he your spokesman concerning politics?


GOP Christian said...

I became Southern Baptist because of it's conservativism. If the SBC stops making Democrats angry I'll leave.