When did Christians of a fundamentalist nature become linked with rigid rules? Who is it that decides that so-called Fundamentalist Christians will be colored in one way, tarred with a brush of narrow-mindedness and cold, unfeeling hearts? When did the idea of going back to the roots – as we might see them – was tantamount to some frigid abolishment of Love from our lives?
The Anchoress discusses an interview she read with author Bruce Bawer. He has written Stealing Jesus; How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity. Seemingly, Bawer has a dim view of Christian believers of the Fundamentalist, or Evangelical, schools of thought.
Rather than rehash what The Anchoress has written – and how could I come close to her eloquence? Use the link above and visit her! – or parse the man’s interview, I figured I would simply scribble down some thoughts I have. And, yes, they will ramble a tad. I don't usually do this sort of thing for a post!
First off, yes there are denominations, or perhaps Sects, within Protestantism, that have some odd beliefs not informed by Scripture. (I am not knowledgable enough to even try to speak on Catholicism.) Just where, for example, in the Scripture do we find a rule against dancing? Anyone? No? For all his bad behavior, David, son of Jesse, danced for the LORD. In public! GOD did not strike him down. David’s sorrows and punishments came, not for dancing but for his many sins, such as adultery. Coveting is not a good thing, Folks.
So if your church tells you that dancing is a sin, you ought to rethink your membership there. Same thing with music.
Look, I have a host of respect for the Amish – the Pennsylvania Dutch, as they are popularly known – and can see so many positive things in their way of life and worship. But where, in the Bible, did they find a cut-off date for technology? Yes, a zipper could be considered a manifestation of pride – if you are the only one who owns a zipper. A car? A Truck? Where is the cut-off point in Scripture? Actually, there isn’t one. The Amish are wonderful Folk, but they are Scripturally off the mark.
What critics of Fundamentalist and Evangelical churches most often get confused is in regards to their Doctrines and Dogmas. And those errors, those departures from Scripture, rarely affect how Christians act toward others.
All too often, "Judge not, lest you be judged” is thrown at a believer, as if Jesus did not believe in sin. He was cautioning against damning people, not discerning sin. When people sin, we are not forbidden from mentioning it. Not at all. We should bloody well be polite about it, but sin is sin. And if we, as followers of Christ, can not condemn sin, then why are we here? How do we worship the Father if we ignore sin?
Can you commit murder and be just dandy with GOD? Somehow, I doubt it.
But when we move beyond sin, to the majesty of Love, we find a different Christian as well. Not the Christian that Movie-makers, TV script-writers, and the MSM would have you see. Those are cardboard cut-outs. Propped up for the MSM to point to as paradigms of Religion in the Western World.
Yes, Fundamentalists can get wrapped up in End Time things, and forget the present and the mission Christ gave us. But it never lasts. Those prophecies, and studies become a hobby to so many Christians, but never become their life’s work. Spreading the Love of Christ does.
The most charitable people in the US are the Christians and Jews. Whenever the need arises, you see their money flowing into the charitable coffers, their canned goods, and blankets, and bottled water flowing to collection points. And it doesn’t slow when news is reported of cheats, and thieves. Waste doesn’t stop the giving.
Why? Because we do heed the call to Love Our Neighbors.
Perhaps the problem isn’t that we love too little, but that we do not say so loudly enough. Yet, we are enjoined by Christ to do our charity in secret, just as we are supposed to pray. So, to stop the lies and assaults on Christians, do we speak up?
Well, a little. But it really isn’t our problem, you know. It’s the Media’s problem, as usual. And the problem of those Christians who do not understand Fundamentalism, or Evangelicalism.
Going back to a more basic understanding of GOD and his WORD should not be an excuse for other Christians to hurl abuse at us. If we read the Scripture and don’t think most of it is allegory, or parable, or nice stories to make us nice people, why is that a reason to think us hateful? Do I think there may be some errors in the Bible? Perhaps. But I know that Scripture is remarkably unchanged from the time of Christ. Why? Because the Dead Sea Scrolls show no difference in the Scripture. The commentaries of Julius Caesar can’t claim the same accuracy. And maybe that’s why the Media, and the Liberal Christians have such a problem with us. We truly believe!
Imagine that! We believe, in our hearts and minds, in Jehovah, the Father, and Jesus, the Son and Messiah. We have faith. Not that timorous apologetic faith that makes some of us Christmas Christians, but a strong Faith in GOD and Christ that allows us to speak boldly to any who ask. We don’t look at our feet and scuff our toes when asked about things Christian. We aren’t embarrassed by Jesus. We are not iffy about GOD the Father. Even the Holy Spirit is in our thoughts. And I, for one, cannot imagine any man or woman who professes to be a Christian, apologizing for that faith. Those kinds of Christians are the biggest problem with Modern Christianity, sorry to say.
As for me, why I cling to the Scriptures for answers to the really tough questions. After all, if you believe that GOD has no problem with Euthanasia, why that’s your problem, Friend, not mine. I believe in the Scripture.
If you believe that women should be allowed to be Ministers, Pastors, even Priests, why more power to you! Ask the Catholics about Priests. If you ask me, I will tell you that the early Church had no problem with women leading the services. All were welcome; all were equal in GOD’s eyes. And it was that early Church, not the Presbyterians, Episcopalians, or Lutherans, that spread GOD’s WORD to the world. Not even the Catholics did that. No, it was the small, persecuted Churches that spread the Gospel.
And they did not use Liturgy – no matter how beautiful it may be – nor fancy Pulpits – I do love the way they look – nor robes, nor silly humanist sermons on Diversity and social ills. No, they preached love and the WORD of GOD. They preached the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ. They did not protest the wars of Rome. They did not riot over troop movements into Gaul. They did not involve the Church in the Political machinations of the day.
They preached the WORD. And that was, and is, Love.
Any Fundamentalist worth his/her salt will know what charities his/her church supports. They will know which families are in need in the church, and in the neighborhood. They will go to their jobs, and pay their taxes, and be insulted every day by Society at large. And on Sunday they will start their week again at Church. Hearing the WORD of GOD. The Love of GOD.
How hateful of them, huh?