Have you ever heard a sermon based on the differences between eros, phileo, and agape? Can you never remember not knowing what Koine Greek was? I’d dare to bet that at some point you have been a fundamentalist.
Fundamentalists believe that the King James Version of the Bible is the only accurate translation that has been preserved for English speakers. They believe this so firmly that they are willing to separate from other churches and groups who don’t use the King James. Then through some strange cognitive dissonance, they also spend years in church basements learning the original languages to enable them to explain what the Greek really means in English.
“In the original languages,” the pastor will intone “This verb “to sit” is really a pluperfect subjunctive. This means that the original author really meant “he will have sat at some point in the future perhaps but has not actually sat yet nor will he sit until the present time is over.” One is left to wonder how those incredibly bright King James translators missed out on all of this detailed material that is so vital to the second point of the pastor’s sermon.
Ask any fundamentalist and they’ll tell you that the King James is as absolutely perfect as gold purified seven times — as long as you’ve got a fundamentalist pastor there to tell you what the original Greek says, that is.
Fundamentalists love it when preachers preach hard. They want want the preaching to be so hard that the paint on the sides of the church blisters. They want the pastor to look like he’s fighting bees. They want…something like this:
When C.H. Spurgeon was in his heyday, an Anglican minister penned these words:
There was once a preacher named Spurgie
Who hated the English liturgy.
But his sermons are fine,
I use them as mine,
And so do the rest of the clergy
Much like the Anglicans, fundamentalists also have no issue with using Spurgeon’s sermons — as long as they have been sanitized of Calvinism. Indeed, the fact that he was a Calvinist appears almost nowhere in fundamentalist’s speaking or writing about him.
Like so many fundy heroes, Spurgeon probably wouldn’t be invited to speak at any fundamentalist churches today. It’s impossible even to picture a bearded, cigar-smoking, Calvinist preacher speaking in a fundamentalist church. The mind boggles.
But his sermons are fine. And so are his commentaries. And we can always just snip out the Calvinist bits…
“Preacher, please sign my bible.”
Autograph hounds show up just about everywhere, and fundamentalists events are no different. At any special services where a well-known fundy pastor, evangelist, or missionary is present there will inevitably be a line of folks who gather to get his signature on their Bible.
Why fundamentalists feel the need to collect these signatures remains somewhat of a mystery. Perhaps an annual contest would be in order with prize categories like
- most signatures (A wide margin Scofield Bible is a must to be considered a serious competitor in this field. Old Scofield only, please)
- most important signature (One would, of course, run the risk of a tie between the autographs of Jack Hyles and John R. Rice — not an easy contest to settle without bloodshed.)
- strangest Bible reference given with signature (Why would anyone sign a bible with the reference Matthew 19:12??)
Get up to the front of the auditorium and get lined up for that autograph! The music for the second service is just about to start…