This post was originally featured on SFL in September, 2011
As part of the never ending quest for a broader definition of fundamentalism (including but not by any means exclusive of Independent Baptist fundamentalism) I’d like to contribute a few thoughts on what fundamentalism IS by taking a quick look at what it IS NOT.
Fundamentalism is not just believing that the Bible is true; it’s believing that only one tiny group of people knows the “real truth” of the Bible.
Fundamentalism isn’t having rules and standards; it’s having rulers who make themselves ultimate standard.
Fundamentalism isn’t refusing to serve alcohol; it refusing to serve anybody who isn’t “deserving.”
Fundamentalism isn’t believing that your convictions are right; it’s believing that they could never be wrong.
Fundamentalism isn’t applying our religious fervor to our political choices; it’s trusting political choices to bring about religious fervor.
Fundamentalism isn’t a belief that people are sinners; it’s a belief that some few chosen spiritual elite are not.
Fundamentalism isn’t striving for personal holiness; it’s wallowing in prideful ignorance.
Fundamentalism isn’t loving hymns of the faith; it’s refusing to accept as part of the faith those who don’t love hymns.
Fundamentalism isn’t teaching your children self-sacrifice; it’s happily sacrificing them on the altar of other people’s selfishness.
Fundamentalism is not simply believing that God created the world; it’s living in an isolated world run by a god of your own creation.
This post was originally featured on SFL in July of 2010.
Since its inception, the primary purpose of the automobile has always been to provide venue for pastors to lose their testimonies. It may also (as a strictly secondary function) provide some modicum of useful transportation.
It is a well known fact in fundamentalism that even the most restrained and moderate of people lose all self-control once they set foot in a motor vehicle. Unless carefully monitored, riding in a car with a member of the opposite sex can lead to fornication, drunkenness, and head-on collisions with trains — possibly all three at the same time.
In the interest of preventing these unfortunate occurrences, the following rules should be observed by any fundamentalists who intends to travel by automobile.
– Pastors should never enter a car with a woman. Ever. If that means leaving her to be eaten by wolves then so be it. Your ministry is too important to risk.
– If two people who are dating should happen to need to travel together for sanctioned ministry purposes such as traveling too and from Bible college, they must travel in no smaller vehicle than a 15 passenger van and be seated for maximum separation distance between them. Please consult the following chart:
– If two people are currently pretending not to be dating so they can sit together on the long, long missions trip to Mexico they must be separated at all times by the width of a King James Bible (Wide Margin, Oxford Press, 1769 edition, 3rd printing).
– Chaperons shall be strategically placed in the vehicle in such a manner that all hands, feet, elbows, and knees are in plain view at all times. If a chaperon is unavailable this task may be relegated to a child who has demonstrated great alacrity in the tattling department.
– Every trip shall begin with a prayer in which the driver shall make it clear to all within earshot that the continued safety of all passengers from accident or freak avalanche depends on the above rules being kept with utmost vigor.
Observe these rules well and it may be possible to keep the inevitable vehicular orgies to a bare minimum. And keep an eye out for those oncoming trains.
“If it is safe not to run with the wrong crowd, then it is safer not to run with the crowd who runs with the wrong crowd.” ~ Jack Hyles
How to be Completely and Totally Separated in a Few Easy Steps
Step 1: Hey, that guy is a godless liberal heathen. I’m going to separate from him!
Step 2: Hey, you are friends with that godless liberal heathen guy. I’m going to separate from you too!
Step 3: Hey, you are friends with that friend of a godless liberal heathen. Guess you’re on my separation list as well!
Step 6,697,254,041: I’m now the most separated and holy individual on the planet. I also own 28 cats.
This post was originally featured on SFL in February of 2011.
Although Baptist fundamentalists make up less than 1% of the overall population of America, you’d never know it to hear them talk. How many pastors have we heard introduced as “one of the most influential men in America”? How many times have we been told that some church of 300 or 500 people is at the forefront of the battle to bring the entire nation back to God? Yet somehow with all this influence, the powerful fundy church with its amazing pastor can’t even manage to get the liquor store down the street to go out of business.
The accolades of power and prestige that both fundy churches and pastors heap to themselves range from the ridiculous to the outright hilarious.
– “Adviser to the Governor and State Legislature” (He met them once at a fundraiser along with 632 other members of the clergy.)
– “Books and Tracts have influenced Christianity greatly” (Except that nobody who doesn’t shop at the church bookstore has ever bought a copy of any of them. The missionaries who received complementary copies in lieu of Christmas presents have long since used them for kindling.)
– “One of the most dynamic and powerful churches on the West Coast.” (Also one of the most oblong and unceremonious. I mean if we’re just going to throw around meaningless adjectives let’s go for broke.)
– “Reclaiming their town for Christ.” (And they’re doing it one zoning board battle at a time. Take that, heathen politicians!)
Most fundamentalists just seem to have no clue that the average non-fundy has never heard of their church, its pastor, his alma mater, and their preacher’s fellowship. And as long as they are refusing to have any meaningful relationship with non-fundamentalists, it’s going to stay that way in perpetuity. Delusions of grandeur would seem to be a requirement to be a somebody in fundyland.