Posted by Pastoral Musings on 26th August 2011
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When I was in Standard Three (equivalent to third grade in the U.S.), we were studying the biblical story of Cain and Abel. According to the lesson, Cain went to a land called Nod after he killed his brother. He got married and had a son called Enoch. Trying to understand the story better, I asked my C.R.E teacher whether Cain married his sister, because I assumed they were the only family on earth at that time. Instead of an explanation, my teacher caned my bottom and accused me of being an agent of the devil. “Who did you think you are to question biblical facts?” she yelled between thrashes. Reflecting back now, this is probably where I began questioning the veracity of Biblical literalism.
Our next-door neighbor, who was a “commercial sex worker,” contracted AIDS while fending for her family. She was a single mother of five. Her friends took her to a hospital where she was put under anti-retroviral treatment. While she was convalescing at her house, my family used to help her and her children. A local pastor started coming to her house to pray for her. He convinced her that her faith would heal her if she truly believed. After a while, she stopped taking her medication. As a result, her health deteriorated and she died shortly afterwards. Her death opened my eyes to the dangers of Christian fundamentalism.
Via The Bait of Christian Fundamentalism in Africa.
Here is the problem that many people have with fundamentalism. One simply cannot ask questions. This is sadly the state of affairs in many Evangelical churches, too.
“Sincere seekers not welcome” should be the sign over the doors of many churches and religious institutions. We simply don’t want to fight with the hard questions. We take every question as an attack instead of seeking to give answers.
I know a person who is a brilliant guy. He is a professing Christian, but he is not in any form what I could consider a Fundamentalist. In fact, our conversations have led me to believe that he leans toward the more liberal end of the Evangelical side of things. He is also angry toward the church in which he was raised, and hardly goes to any church at all. Why is he there? Because his questions were not answered. In fact, he was treated as a heretic and an idiot for asking questions.
Some of us have inquisitive minds. Some of us are hungry to learn. Some of us desire to find the answers to our questions.
Get this, and let it sink deeply, all who are Fundamentalists or Evangelicals: answer our questions with respect. If you don’t, we’ll go where there are answers; but we may get answers that are not right. In fact, many will simply walk away from Fundamentalism, Evangelicalism, and even Christianity.
If that happens, you will be greatly to blame.
Tags: evangelicalism, Fundamentalist Christianity, liberalism, questions
Posted in extreme fundamentalism, Genesis | 2 Comments »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 19th August 2011
In a story that could have come from the archives of Dimension X, the Guardian reports
reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.
Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth’s atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.
This highly speculative scenario is one of several described by a Nasa-affiliated scientist and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University that, while considered unlikely, they say could play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future.
At this point scientists have neither seen, heard, or confirmed the existence of extra terrestrial beings. In fact, many of them declare that God is not there. They say however that it is plausible that we could encounter aliens.
Shawn Domagal-Goldman of Nasa’s Planetary Science Division and his colleagues compiled a list of plausible outcomes that could unfold in the aftermath of a close encounter, to help humanity “prepare for actual contact”.
They warn us that we should not seek much communication with ETs unless it is to ask for help with our math homework; or something of the sort.
To bolster humanity’s chances of survival, the researchers call for caution in sending signals into space, and in particular warn against broadcasting information about our biological make-up, which could be used to manufacture weapons that target humans. Instead, any contact with ETs should be limited to mathematical discourse “until we have a better idea of the type of ETI we are dealing with.”
Yep. It’s so crazy for these Fundamentalist Christians to think that you can actually talk to a God that is unseen, yet we should be careful in communication with aliens who are unseen.
RIGHT! Got it!
Oh! Be careful, too, that you don’t damage the environment too much. These aliens may be green- not as in Martian green- eco-terrorist green.
“Green” aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. “These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets,” the authors write.
Aha! There is the true issue! The promotion of global warming hype through fear of alien invasion.
They say Christians are crazy?!?!
Tags: Dimension X, Extraterrestrial life, Fundamentalist Christianity, God, Nasa
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Posted by Pastoral Musings on 12th August 2011
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In most of everyday life we understand how groups work. We understand that if two entities are in the same group, each is not necessarily in all the same groups as the other. In a bowl of apples, all are in the group “apples,” but only some are in the group “green apples” or “rotten apples.” The red and ripe apple is not less of an apple for failing to be green or rotten. Greeness and rottenness are not components of appleness.
My dog, Sweetheart, is in a group called dogs. To her chagrin (don’t ask how I know) she shares that group with the strays that wander the neighborhood. But Sweetheart behaves differently from the strays. She doesn’t produce patches of dead grass in people’s front yards or raid the garbage cans in strangers’ garages or breed at random. (Whether she would do all of these if she could is beside the point!) It would be silly to reason, “Sweetheart is a dog; strays are dogs; therefore Sweetheart is a stray.” It would be even more absurd to surmise, “Sweetheart is a dog; strays are dogs; being a dog means being a stray.”
It’s absurd because strayness is a distinct quality from dogness. She is no less of a dog for staying home, raiding only her own trash cans and never breeding at all. Would anyone suggest she is only 75% dog?
But when we talk about the group “fundamentalists,” many seem to slip into a group logic fog of some sort—a strange world in which apples should become oranges because so many apples are rotten and dogs should become cats because so many dogs are strays. Some enter an even weirder world where appleness is the same thing as rottenness and dogness is the same thing as strayness.
In the world I live in, even if every dog but Sweetheart became a stray, she should hold her head high and be proud to be a dog.
With that as context, I’ll say it again: I am a proud fundamentalist.
Be sure to read the rest at Proud Fundamentalist | SharperIron.
Tags: fundamentalism, Fundamentalist Christianity
Posted in Fundamentals, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 31st July 2011
The gravest threat we face from terrorism, as the killings in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik underscore, comes not from the Islamic world but the radical Christian right and the secular fundamentalists who propagate the bigoted, hateful caricatures of observant Muslims and those defined as our internal enemies. The caricature and fear are spread as diligently by the Christian right as they are by atheists such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Our religious and secular fundamentalists all peddle the same racist filth and intolerance that infected Breivik. This filth has poisoned and degraded our civil discourse. The looming economic and environmental collapse will provide sparks and tinder to transform this coarse language of fundamentalist hatred into, I fear, the murderous rampages experienced by Norway. I worry more about the Anders Breiviks than the Mohammed Attas.
via Chris Hedges: Fundamentalism Kills – Chris Hedges’ Columns – Truthdig.
Such irresponsible writing.
Fundamentalism is not extremism. The words are not synonyms.
Neither can an atheist be a Fundamentalist, as Fundamentalism is uniquely Christian.
A Fundamentalist cannot be a terrorist either. Christian Fundamentalism will take us back to the basics of the faith of Jesus Christ, whose teachings direct us to love our enemies.
I truly wish that people would study and think before they begin their uniformed spewing of vitriolic nonsense.
Tags: atheism, fundamentalism, Fundamentalist Christianity, terrorism
Posted in Fundamentals | 1 Comment »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 23rd July 2011
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It is obvious that the term “Fundamentalist” will never recover its proper usage.
Neither can we distinguish between a theological Fundamentalist and an idealogical fundamentalist by calling one a Fundamentalist and the other a fundamentalist, thus distinguishing them by the “F/f.”
On Joel’s blog I said,
I once naively thought that the term “Fundamentalist” could be recovered.
No longer do I think so.
There needs to be a new term.
Evangelical does not fit, as they don’t even agree on what an Evangelical is.
The Fundamentals provide a good picture of what a Fundamentalist is, and it is nothing like the insanity which is attributed to them.
The big “F” and little “f” won’t do to distinguish.
Why do I think this way? Because the fact is that the well is so poisoned by the misappropriation of the term such as “Islamic fundamentalists” and “Fundamentalist Mormons” that only the few who truly understand what the Fundamentalist/Modernist controversy was about know what a Fundamentalist is.
Most people think of Muslims as fundamentalists. Others think of Fred Phelps and his family as fundamentalists. Others think of the KJVO crowd as fundamentalists.
Too few think of Fundamentalism as a theological movement that sought to get back to the Bible.
I believe that this does a great disservice to men such as B.B. Warfield, R.A. Torrey, Thomas Spurgeon, and even J.I. Packer. These men are great examples of true Fundamentalists.
Now, we simply need a term that adequately describes one who holds to the Fundamentals of the faith…
Tags: Christianity, evangelicalism, Fred Phelps, fundamentalism, Fundamentalist Christianity
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Posted by Pastoral Musings on 28th May 2011
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In my mind Historic Fundamentalism as a movement was a good thing. Sure, there were probably excesses. Human are normally people who go to extremes in almost everything they do. The goal and the purpose seems to have been honorable, however.
What went wrong?
Why is fundamentalism now distrusted and maligned?
Why is “fundamentalist” synonymous with “extremist”?
One of the issues is the fact that separation became an issue. Some decided that they would rather not separate from error, but dialogue with those in error in an attempt to win them over. Personally, I don’t think this has as much to do with the demise of fundamentalism as a movement as the following issues do.
Fundamentalists began to retreat from culture. Instead of engaging and transforming culture, fundamentalists began to isolate themselves. They did so to such an extreme that Carl F. H. Henry wrote a book entitled “The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism”. His contention was that the fundamentalists’ understanding of the Scriptures should have led them to social activism in a redemptive context. They failed in that respect.
In their retreat from culture and their separation from those in error fundamentalists began to separate from one another over various non-fundamental issues (dress, hair, Bible translations, music, etc.). They committed a sort of intellectual and spiritual incest by creating their own institutions of learning and actively resisted learning from evangelicals or anyone else, choosing to recycle their students by bringing them into their faculty. (This is a generalization, but it is an observation from this writer’s experience.) This led to further isolationism, a clannish spirit within fundamentalism, as well as a growing anti-intellectualism.
Here we are today with fundamentalists struggling to find their identity. They wonder what a fundamentalist is. What does he believe? And, should we even care?
It is this preacher’s contention that it does matter, and that we should care.
It is for this reason that we have this blog. We long to call people back to the fundamentals of the faith. We long to help those who have been hurt by extremism. We long to point out error for the sake of helping those who are in error.
We have been down the extremist route, but we are Fundamentally Changed, though we are Fundamentally The Same. We are fundamentalists with a capital “F”. We have not abandoned that. We have abandoned legalism. May we encourage you, dear reader, if you are in legalism, to do the same?
Tags: 20th Century, Bible, Carl F. H. Henry, Christianity, Church History, fundamentalism, Fundamentalist Christianity, Religion & Spirituality
Posted in biblical criticism, church issues, doctrinal issues, doctrine, exegesis, extreme fundamentalism, Fundamentals, hermeneutics, higher criticism, history, Inerrancy, King James Only, kjvo, liberalism, modesty, morality, music, origins, pastoral issues, Preaching, Scripture, Social, textual issues, theology | Comments Off
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 27th May 2011
Hudson, in Religion in America notes that fundamentalism had many moderates at the first. Later, he states, there arose militant fundamentalists who sought to take over denominations, and were prepared to fight for what they held to be true.
Hudson does not seem to speak of any fundamentalist with favor, but these are certainly not highly esteemed by him.
He later goes on to state that there was not a large revival in the US as a result of fundamentalism. On the other hand, in less secularized portions of the population, yet the holiness movement was the one that profited the most.
It is interesting to see these things, because it illustrates the tie between revivalism and fundamentalism. Sadly, much of fundamentalism has drifted more and more into emotionally driven worship and preaching. At the same time, there has been much neglect of the life of the mind.
Though there were many well educated fundamentalists, there are becoming less and less. Emotionalism is becoming more prevalent, and fundamentalism more fragmented. The fighting spirit seems to have dominated the studious heart.
Historically, though connected to revivalism, fundamentalism still held a seat in the university. There are those who are seeking to recover the intellectual emphasis while retaining a passionate love for God.
May their tribe increase.
Tags: 20th Century, Christianity, Church History, fundamentalism, Fundamentalist Christianity, Jesus, Religion & Spirituality, United States
Posted in biblical criticism, church issues, doctrinal issues, doctrine, extreme fundamentalism, Fundamentals, hermeneutics, higher criticism, history, liberalism, theology | Comments Off
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 12th May 2011
A the top of the Biblioblog top 50 is Jim West. I happen to think that Jim is an intelligent and nice guy. We’ve had a few good exchanges, and I hope to read his book on Zwingli when it is released. Sadly, Jim has an issue with Fundamentalists and is myopic in that he thinks all Fundamentalists are the same. That is sad, because it prevents us from having the relationship that Christian brothers should.
Though somewhat strongly worded (I know no other way to deal with it), I’m hoping that the statement below will cause Jim to reconsider his words.
a fundamentalist in iowa is the same as a fundamentalist in islamabad.
Sorry, Jim. Christian Fundamentalism is not Islamist fundamentalism. After all, the term Fundamentalist came out of the Niagara Bible Conference. It is first of all a Christian term. You can read some brief articles about Christian Fundamentalism here.
You may use it as a pejorative, yet you do so either in ignorance or with spite. I make no assertion which it is.
I distinctly recall someone saying that one needs to read theologians of other traditions before condemning their theology.
What is at stake here? A misrepresentation of historical Fundamentalism. Christian charity. Something that we need more of.
It’s time to stop the skewering of those who disagree with you, Jim. Disagreements don’t have to be fights. Straw men don’t help us fellowship. It’s also time to stop acting like the extremists that you call fundamentalists: those dudes don’t walk in the footsteps of the historical Fundamentalists such as Machen, Torrey, and G. Campbell Morgan. While despising them, acting like them brings you to their level.
NOTE: This is not about fighting with Jim. It is about hoping for reconciliation by Jim giving us the same courtesy that he expects to be given to himself and to others.
Tags: 20th Century, Bible, Christianity, Church History, fundamentalism, Fundamentalist Christianity, hermeneutics, Islamism, Machen, Niagara Bible Conference, Religion & Spirituality, The Sword of The Lord
Posted in extreme fundamentalism, Fundamentals | Comments Off
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 15th December 2010
Yes, that’s right. A hyper-Fundamentalist study Bible has a note declaring Santa to be a Satanic creature who is “a uni-sex freak”.
Just look at his picture here. Don’t you see the lecherous gleam in the ole rascal’s eye?
Neither do I.
Courtesy of Stuff Fundies Like.
This is sad. It is also the reason we have established Re:Fundamentals. We hope to show that Fundamentalism is about doctrine, and not culture, or culturally driven assumptions.
Tags: fundamentalism, fundamentalist, Fundamentalist Christianity, hyper-fundamental, hyper-fundamentalist, IFBX, King James Only movement, Study Bible
Posted in extreme fundamentalism | Comments Off