Are YOU a Fundamentalist?

Do you find yourself cringing every time someone shouts “Fundamentalist,” as though it’s the dirtiest four-letter word you can think of?

Do you think fundamentalists are aging pastors who tuck their shirts into their pants and wear ties on Sunday, preaching from the King James version of the Bible and hating the word “fun?”

Have you ever wondered what actually makes someone a fundamentalist?

According to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church and the Niagara Bible Conference of the late 19th and early 20th centuries (thank you Wikipedia), the following are five fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith:

  1. The inspiration of the Bible by the Holy Spirit and the inerrancy of Scripture as a result of this.
  2. The virgin birth of Christ.
  3. The belief that Christ’s death was the atonement for sin.
  4. The bodily resurrection of Christ.
  5. The historical reality of Christ’s miracles.

Believe in these fundamentals would then, by definition, make one a fundamentalist.

So, for whatever it’s worth, here’s my encouragement to all of us:

Be a fundamentalist about the fundamentals.

Don’t confuse preferences and precepts for principles, as a dear mentor of mine says. Fight for principles, appropriately debate precepts, but don’t divide over preferences. When we confuse these, we only tear ourselves apart.

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  • Jeney

    This garners a resounding OH YES from this girl!

    • Aaron


  • PJ

    That is all dandy and a definition. In practice, is where it all falls apart. My wife was a member of the Southern Baptist Church people. Fundamentalists extraordinaire. They did not believe in dancing, music other than church or basically having fun types. As a result many people beat the bush as soon as they were able or figured it out for themselves. Yes, being called a fundamentalist has a bad connotation in today’s environment. Belief is a very private thing. Where I draw the line is when told how to believe. That is freedom from dogma in any form.

    • Aaron

      Hi PJ. Thanks for taking the time to comment. You do make an excellent point that practice is where it makes all the difference. I’m sorry about your wife’s experience.

      I think it illustrates exactly why we should not be legalistic in our approach to issues of conscious, such as dancing, music style and responsible alcohol consumption. These are not things we need to legislate in our belief practices beyond what the Bible says about them.

      When you say “Where I draw the line is when told how to believe,” I guess my question would be do you believe that there are things that it’s acceptable to give the “how to”?