Why The Term "Christian Fundamentalism"
Causes So Much Confusion
One of our ministry goals is to draw attention to an
error, which has been in existence since the first
century and now travels under countless names and
labels. We often refer to it by its generic name
of "Christian or Bible fundamentalism". However, there
are other preachers, churches and ministries, who also
refer to themselves as a "fundamentalist" and actively
work to expose this same error because of its ability
to lead believers astray in their faith. The following
is an explanation that clarifies this often confusing
use of names and labels?
The many denominations and church groups that oppose the Apostle Paul's command to "rightly (or correctly) divide God's Word" (2 Timothy 2:15) - also work to advance the popular “anti-grace” agenda. These two "sub-groups" represent a larger general group of church leaders and their followers. The term "Christian fundamentalism" (or simply the word "fundamentalist") is used to describe the majority of its members, who support this forbidden way of interpreting the Bible.
HOWEVER, THERE ARE ALSO THOSE, WHO
CALL THEMSELVES “FUNDAMENTALISTS”
– BUT REJECT THIS “MAJORITY VIEW”.
The Rock of Offence web-ministry is in this latter group. A Christian "fundamentalist" is simply an individual, church or denomination that believes and practices the basic truths and tenants of the Christian faith. Yet, like so many things in the world of religion, there is both a right and a wrong way of defining these fundamentals.
Many in the world-wide institutional church refuse to "rightly (or correctly) divide" the Scriptures into its two different covenant programs (Galatians 4:21-31, Hebrews 8:6-13). This failure produces an erroneous view of the Bible, which results in defining Christian fundamentals incorrectly. Yet, this large and diverse group continues to identify itself as “Christian fundamentalists". Massive confusion occurs when two or more different types of theology (and their many supporters) all operate under the same name. We see it in churches that claim to preach "the Gospel of Jesus Christ". Yet, the apostle Paul warned that there is both an authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ and a "different" (or counterfeit) gospel of Jesus Christ taught in the church. When two or more different doctrines or groups use the same name, it becomes impossible to discern the authentic from the counterfeit unless you closely examine how they teach and believe the Bible. This examination process, which includes judging if the doctrine in question produces the correct kind of Bible faith, carries unthinkable eternal consequences. Why? Contrary to popular beliefs, God does not accept nor honor the counterfeit (regardless of how "Biblical" it sounds) and your good intentions in this area do not count. Because of this spiritually lethal situation, Paul gave the following warning to the Church ;
"EXAMINE YOURSELVES AS TO WHETHER
YOU ARE IN THE FAITH.
Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that
Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless indeed you
are disqualified." (2 Corinthians 13:5)
In his "Epistles to the Church", Paul teaches about the importance of "rightly (or correctly) dividing God's Word". Paul warned that this practice is what qualifies a minister or workman as being "approved by God". Therefore, it is important to consider what it means when church leaders and their followers fail to "rightly divide the Word" - and incorrectly teach it "undivided".
It is the practice of interpreting and teaching the Scriptures "undivided" that produced the heresy Paul constantly worked to expose in the various congregations under his care. As we often remind our readers, it was this same error that nearly destroyed the Galatian Church and forced Paul to write his, "Epistle to the Galatians". If we fail to "rightly divide" God's Word, we are ignoring (and abusing) the Bible’s context, MIXING SCRIPTURES AND PROGRAMS TOGETHER THAT GOD SPECIFICALLY SAID SHOULD NOT BE MIXED. In this instance, it is Old Testament Law (also known as Judaism) that is being mixed with the New Testament Grace of Jesus Christ. As a result, this practice creates a dangerous teaching that redefines Christian salvation into something God never intended. Unfortunately, it is found among a majority of Bible-believing Christians and those who refer to themselves as "fundamentalists".
Throughout our studies and commentaries, we use various names and labels to describe those who oppose Paul's instruction and teach this misleading theology. They often tell their audience that their message is "God's original theology of the Bible". These names and labels include ;
- Treadmill religion
- Pharisaical religion and theology
- Christian Legalism
- The Galatian Error
- Being Galatianized
- Lordship salvation and theology
- The Jesus plus works gospel
- Discipleship and Shepherding theology
- Many types of Messianic Judaism
- Jewish Roots Movement theology
- Another Jesus
- A Different Gospel
- Meritorious salvation
- The Judaized gospel
- Biblical theology
- Biblical Christianity
- Covenant theology
- Reformed theology
- Calvinsim - and "New Calvinism"
- Liberal theology
- Many expressions of Christian fundamentalism
A shocking number of Protestant churches and denominations (but, thankfully not all) use this forbidden method of handling the Scriptures. However, it is also practiced by the Roman Catholic Church, under different names and labels.