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The word fundamental can describe any religious impulse that adheres to its basic tenets. Fundamentalism, for the purpose of this article, is a movement within the church that holds to the essentia...
Fundamental elements of faith in Jesus Christ that are derived from the scriptures have solid root and unbending, unyielding foundation for all people--believers and unbelievers alike. Fundamentalism came to mean unmovable attitudes on the part of practitioners that go beyond foundational truths. Fundamentalism is present in all the world religions and rarely reflects anything helpful beyond the furtherance of absolute doctrines needed to sustain the religion by holding its followers captive with threats and punishment. Catholicism and Protestantism alike have seen action in this unfortunate realm of brutality in Christ name. Both have a sordid and unpleasant past to try and reconcile with the Savior, Jesus Christ. Humans will forever want to do good works of obedience--to placate and appease God so that he will not punish them and reject them. The same error of theology will poison their lives so that they must also work to keep or sustain any sense of present and eternal security. Religions capitalize on these legal prey. A love relationship with God is replaced with keeping rules, law and order. If enough of these people congregate, you have a religion, and likely a fundamentalist one. The Pharisees in Jesus day were the religious fundamentalists and we have had them with us ever since. They are legalists who demand perfect adherence to laws they themselves have no hope of meeting. Historically, when tied to religion, fundamentalism represents an unhealthy extreme that is rooted in insecurity--a fear of losing control over people. We see many today who become militant to this end. Politically, fundamentalism has come to also mean a "join-us-or-else" attitude. Remember the 70's when the Moral Majority was neither? …another unfortunate attempt at religious fundamentalism. Christianity was black-eyed by judgmental and hateful modern day Pharisees. In Christianity, fundamentalism today is not much different. Fundamentalism has also attracted folks who see it as their job to take up for God, as though he is a simpleton wimp--a little boy who needs a bully by his side to defend him. This is unfortunate and it reflects poorly on the true Gospel of Jesus Christ who came to seek and to save us from such vain human enterprise. Christ followers know when they have crossed the line from standing up for God to pretending to defend him. For example: Someone who professes no belief in any god is cursing and taking God's name in vain. He or she also has chosen a lifestyle contrary to the bibles teachings. The Fundamentalist response is to put him in his place and to act offended and hurt by this persons disdain for "my" God. How dare him not believe the bible or live by it! The Jesus response is to understand that this person, without Christ in his heart, is merely acting out his being lost before God. If he cleaned up his act and spoke nice things about the bible, Jesus and his followers, he may have gotten religion, but he is no more saved unto God than before. (John 3:5-8) Fundamentalism sponsors good works to appease God and to be accepted by him. Christianity preaches that all people are lost without Christ and that they cannot be saved by personal attempts at self-redemptive behaviors. In short, Christians know not to expect professing non-Christians to act like Christians until Christ first resides in their heart. Moral reform does not work and if it did, Christ would become unnecessary. (Romans 4:4) "Money paid to workers isn't a gift. It is something they earn by working. But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in him."
Like the Pharisees of old who were also the keepers of the law, it is easy to degenerate into law keeping for salvation when we feel we don't need Jesus because we can make ourselves righteous enough to go to heaven by our own bootstraps. The Pharisees added over 600 extra biblical laws and rules for people to live by, and if you did not you were not part of the 'in group'. They taught that if you wanted to go to heaven you needed to follow their extra biblical rules and regulations. Almost every fundamental church has a list of extra biblical rules they go by. They strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. They go by the letter of the law instead of the spirit and if you do not go by their rules and regulations you are looked down upon with contempt. They make mountains out of mole hills and leave out grace and mercy. Paul was one of these fundamentalists until he met Jesus. Jesus said, " many will come to me and say, Lord Lord, have we not done all these good works and even cast out demons in your name." And Jesus said, "Depart from me I never knew you." To many fundamentalists have a loveless attitude toward others. They put burdens on the backs of the people that they themselves will not carry. Their doctrines of men become more important than God's absolute laws. Walking in the spirit is no longer possible because it contradicts the rules. It confuses people because they don't know whether to obey what God says or the guru in the pulpit. The bible calls them wolves in sheep's clothing telling people the way of salvation is through following their own laws instead of what the bible clearly teaches. Grace is never preached on as it might lead the sheep into greener pastures. We have to keep them so far from the fence that they cannot possibly stray. It is all about what we are doing for God instead of what Jesus has done for us. There are no gray areas and everything is black and white. There is no room for the spirit to work in ones life as everything you need to know will be given by the "Shepherd". I still believe many of these people are saved, they have just lost their first love. They have no grace. Everything is law works. They love to put people in bondage to rules and regulations. The sad part is some come to believe if they just follow the rules that is what saves them. The doctrines and traditions of men will never replace the absolutes given in the bible. Fundamentalism has its place but with all man made religion men are fallible. To many read scripture under black light without the leading of the spirit to guide them into the truth. Then we come up with the doctrines of men instead of the inspiration of the spirit working in us. We make our own laws and make them binding on everyone. We love to sit in Moses seat and hand down the law. I believe many pastors are going to loose their reward for teaching extra biblical doctrines of men. We should preach what the bible clearly says is sin, but we cannot play God and make our own rules dogma. Jesus paid a horrible price for us to go to heaven. He gave us his perfect righteousness as a free gift. We do nothing to earn it. Jesus said, "come, buy without money." We cannot save ourselves and when we try we always come up short." Then we obey God because we love him and not under the law. Jesus came to save sinners, not the selfrighteous. There are only two kinds of sinners, saved ones and lost ones. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, even to those that just believe on His name.
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