There are those who claim that the fundamentalism featured here on SFL is an artifact of the past or focused on the fringes. No matter how much evidence is brought to light, these apologists insist that Fundamentalism has changed into a kinder, gentler movement where all that crazy stuff just doesn’t happen any more. This is a strange claim given that the entire premise of fundamentalism is that it does not waver from its convictions — no matter how many convictions its leaders receive in court.
With that in mind let us consider the following facts…
Bob Jones University, Hyles-Anderson College, Pensacola Christian College, West Coast Baptist College, and Crown College (to name only a few) are still in full operation. Not one of those institutions has significantly changed since their founding. Not one has apologized for the racist, sexist, or abusive behavior of the past. Not one has made meaningful changes to the core philosophy of man-centered religion, outward-focused rules, or performance-based spirituality.
Many of the same evangelists who were touring in the 70′s and 80′s are still on the road today visiting churches that are still run by the same pastors who were big names in decades past. If, perchance, those pastors of yesteryear have retired you can be sure that their son, son-in-law, or hand-picked disciple is now running the show the same way that daddy did. Does anybody remember a man named Jack Schaap? If you’ll check you’ll see that he was sentenced in 2013 not 1983.
I could fill pages with the scandals that have broken in fundamentalism over the past five years since SFL started but I simply don’t have the stomach to revisit them all. Suffice it to say that Chuck Phelps is still preaching, Greg Neal is still being defended, and Matt Jarrell is still dead. How many examples have to occur before people can finally admit that the lunatic fringe is not that far from the center of fundamentalism?
It is the greatest of ironies that fundamentalism can proudly proclaim that their music is the same, their message is the same, their Bible version is the same, their convictions are the same, their standards are the same, and their methods are the same but at the same time expect us all to believe that they’ve completely changed with regards to their faults and follies. I don’t buy it. Do you?
Update 1: It has been pointed out to me by several different people that Bob Jones University did indeed apologize for its racism and support of segregation. The words “not one” should instead read “Very few.”