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:
- The inspiration of the Bible by the Holy Spirit and the inerrancy of Scripture as a result of this.
- The virgin birth of Christ.
- The belief that Christ’s death was the atonement for sin.
- The bodily resurrection of Christ.
- 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.
Finances have been on my mind a great deal. Over the past few months, the Armstrong family has been learning how to live solely on my income and finding that we actually can. Our lifestyle is by no means extravagant, but we have food on the table and the bills are paid, which is really all you can ask for, right?
We have to wait on things that we want, but that just means that we have extra time to learn whether or not we really want them.
Thursday morning, I had a great meeting with our pastor, and we were discussing this very thing. And after saying how much he admires the very difficult task that single moms have, earning an income and raising children on their own (I was raised by a single mom who worked really hard to take care of my sister and I, so I wholeheartedly agree; single parents are superheroes), he, in a somewhat resigned fashion, said, “The days of the single-income household are gone, for the most part.”