Thursday, November 01, 2007
Praise God for Fundamentalists?
John Piper posts a response to a Fundamentalist resolution on his ministry. I commend John for being gracious in his response. I hope this leads Fundamentalists to start reading or to keep reading Piper's books, his sermons, and attend his conferences. But I cannot praise God for them. Here's why:
1. Shall we praise God for their legalistic approach to the faith which (for example) makes one's views of alcohol a basis for fellowship and discipline (I was raised in a house with alchol abuse so don't anyone even think about getting up on their high horse and lecturing me about alcholism and its effects)? [Note: Piper has an excellent sermon on this topic in DG archives].
2. Shall we praise God for the racism of some Fundamentalists who believe in racial segregation and prohibit inter-racial marraiges and so deny the great Reformed doctrine of justification by faith where God vindicates Jews and Gentiles from sin and calls them into one fellowship and into one family of faith?
3. Shall we praise God for the KJV-only crowd among Fundamentalists whose views are based on a mixture of historical ignorance and cultural arrogance?
4. Shall we praise God for Landmarkers whose views are based on doctrinal innovation and historical revisionism and pervert the sacrament of God?
5. Shall we praise God for the eschatology of some Fundamentalists and how they support the state sponsored persecution of our Arab Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land in the name of their esoteric reading of Revelation? [Note: I am told that 1 Kings 21 about Naboth's Vineyard is the most frequently preached text in Palestinian Christian churches!!!]
6. Shall we praise God for their separation (sometimes even two degrees of separation) from those who maintain a biblical and orthodox faith over secondary matters and so destroy the unity of the body of Christ?
Short answer: Not on my watch! These things I'm ranting about aren't just little quirks we can shrug off and roll our eyes about, it is really bad stuff. We need to protect the flock from this stuff.
As a shepherd of my students and as a servant in my church, I have to guard against serious errors and aberrations of the faith from both the left and the right. Now I can tolerate people more moderate than I am and I can tolerate people more conservative than I am. But there are extremists of the left and the right who are not playing with a full theological deck. Less I seem too harsh, I have met Fundamentalists, I have heard them preach, and I have seen what they do to people, churches, and families. It is slavery to the traditions of men and it is captivity to a certain culture. My Bible says that "For freedom Christ has set us free" and we are free from such slavery.
A qualification. Not all Fundamentalists are KJV-only, Landmarker, pro-segregationists. Many are just highly conservative individuals who grew up in a certain religious tradition. Some are more "liberal" on separation than others. Neither are they devoid of love or compassion, let it be known that I never said that. But on the whole, the ethos and dynamics of the movement, as well as its distinctive beliefs, can be a very dangerous threat to the fabric of the gospel and the mission of the church. We should guard the good deposit of the gospel against errors, from both liberals and fundamentalists.
HT: Andy Naselli