Monday, June 02, 2008

John Piper and Fundamentalists

John Piper has given 20 Reasons I Don't Take Potshots at Fundamentalists. I appreciate his point as I know some fundamentalists who are godly, loving, Christ honouring, and self-less people who, I lament, are just a little further down the right end of the theological spectrum than myself. I genuinely understand their stance but I do not agree. However, I've also seen fundamentalism destroy people, churches, marriages, and missions over matters that are trivial and rooted in cultural preferences rather than theology. I've made fairly solid critiques of fundamentalism (and liberalism) elsewhere so I won't rehearse them here. But I will ask (tongue in cheek) if John would like to do a three part follow-up series on the following:

20 Reasons I Don't Take Potshots at the Proselytizers in Galatia
20 Reasons I Don't Take Potshots at the Pharisee Christians in Acts 15
20 Reasons I Don't Take Potshots at the Mutilators of the Flesh in Philippi

Lately I've enjoyed singing 2 Cor. 3.17 with my eldest daughter. That verse, plus Gal. 5.1, is why I'm not a fundamentalist! Evangelicals are not Liberals and not Fundamentalists - the distinction is important - in fact, it's critical for the integrity of the gospel. I'm happy to sit down and chat to Bob Jones and Bishop Schori about theology, politics and rugby league over coffee or at a conference; but I'm not gonna elect either one to be president of a seminary that I've working in.


Denny Burk said...


I think your critique (and Piper's post) begs the question as to what a fundamentalist is. Many people are a bit trigger-happy when it comes to applying the term "fundamentalist," and they apply it to anyone who happens to fall to the left of them on the theological spectrum.

Anyway, more here if you are interested:


CJW said...

I think the critique, post, and comment beg an even greater question - who is it okay to take pot shots at?

I don't think Piper will be making a list (let alone 20 items long) of why he doesn't take pot shots at moderates!

::aaron g:: said...

I loved #20: "Everybody to my left thinks I am one. And there are a lot of people to my left."

Alex said...


I like the tongue in cheek suggestions for Piper. :)


I'm not sure what the dictionary definition is, but to me, fundamentalism is not about theological beliefs per se, but rather an entire mindset. To me it is an attitude where 1) a person "knows they are right" and tend to be irrational when handling objections, 2) they do not have a healthy sense of doubt in their own ability to see truth, and 3) a mentality that what's right for them is right for everybody. I think this can effect not only someone's theology, but also their politics and even their marriage, family life, and other relationships. It is a way of dealing with knowledge and other individuals.