"THREE GREAT NEEDS OF
Dr. Don Jasmin
No discerning fundamentalist will question the fact that the hour in which we are living is a "time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). As we survey the movement known as "historic fundamentalism," we believe that it has many pressing needs.
Biblical fundamentalism obviously needs (a) The Proclamation of the Scriptures (II Timothy 4:2)─solid scriptural exposition seems to be at a premium; (b) The Pursuit of Sanctification (Philippians 3:14)─the desire for true holiness is minimal; (c) The Power of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)─the lack of divine power is evident everywhere; (d) A Passion for Souls (II Corinthians 5:14)─a coldness and indifference pervades; (e) A Patience in Suffering (Hebrews 10:36)─there is an avoidance of the "stigmata" of the cross; (f) A Prevailing in Supplication (Ephesians 6:18)─this is a prayerless age; (g) A Perseverance in Soldiering (II Timothy 2:3)─the dropouts and casualties in battle are rapidly increasing.
While not diminishing the importance of any of the above, the writer would like to draw attention to three other vitally needed elements; qualities that he believes are desperately required for the "hour" in which we are living.
1. BIBLICAL FUNDAMENTALISM NEEDS A RADIANT CHRISTIANITY (Psalm 34:5─ "They looked unto Him and were lightened…")
Believers may hum the trite chorus, "Down in the dumps, I’ll never go," but many saints are living on a "submarine" level. If any believer had plausible reasons for despair and despondency, it would have been the famed missionary pioneer Adoniram Judson. Disappointment, disease, and death were his constant "companions" in life, yet the Burmese called him "Mr. Glory Face." Radiant Christianity should be the experience of every child of God.
This "radiance" does not mean that the believer never experiences sorrow, never sheds tears, or does not contend for the faith, but that the joy of the Lord can be his strength (Nehemiah 8:10) in every circumstance and testing of life. It was in a prison, under adverse circumstances, that Paul exhorted the saints to "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice." (Philippians 4:4)
There are three simple truths to note concerning this "radiant" Christianity. (A) The Revelation of this Radiant Christianity: (B) The Requisites for this Radiant Christianity, and (C) The Results of this Radiant Christianity.
A. The Revelation of this Radiant Christianity: God has not only recorded in his Word the possibility of experiencing such radiance, but illustrated it in His Word in the lives of numerous biblical characters. This radiant Christianity can be (1) exhibited in conflict during persecution ─Stephen exhibited it in Acts 7:56-60; (2) expressed in communion during prayer ─Moses expressed it in Exodus 34:29 and 35: (3) exemplified in crises during pressure─David exemplified it in Psalm 34; (4) experienced in conditions during pain─Paul experienced it in II Corinthians 12:7-10.
(B) The Requisites for this Radiant Christianity include first of all A Constant Thanksgiving (Psalm 34:1─I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.") God’s antidote for adversity is praise! Psalm 34 is a psalm of thanksgiving. The apostle Paul urges us in I Thessalonians 5:18 that "in everything" we should "give thanks."
The second requisite is that of A Contrite Turning. The word "looked" in Psalm 34:5 is derived from an old primitive root which means "to turn, to look away from so as to see" and thus infers repentance. In the New Testament, the word "look" means to "earnestly look upon" or to "gaze intently upon" to "face or behold." (Illustration: John the Baptist─John 1:36.) Believers who possess a radiant Christianity are those who have turned away from their self and their sin and have their sights intently fixed upon the son of God!
The third requisite is that of A Consecrated Trusting (Psalm 34:8─"…blessed is that man that trusteth in him." The radiant Christian puts his confidence in and places his reliance upon the Lord. The little Sunday school lad was not far a field when he rendered the great gospel song. "Trust and Obey" as "Trust and O.K."
C. THE RESULTS OF THIS RADIANT CHRISTIANITY are (1) A Liberating from our Fears (Psalm 34:4─"…delivered me from all my fears"). The radiant Christian experiences deliverance: (2) A Lighting of our Faces (Psalm 34:5─"…and were lightened"). While there are at least thirty forms-variations for the words "light," "lighted," and "lightened," with several hundred placements in the divine record by the Holy Spirit of this root source, this is the only time that the specific word used here occurs in the biblical text.
The word "lightened" means "to sparkle" or "be cheerful." As a figurative expression, it is likened to a clear flowing translucent stream where the glistening rays of the sun’s light sparkle brightly upon the flowing brook because of the pristine beauty of the water. The stream in the radiant believer's life is free of the pollutant murky waters of sin.
The third result is (3) A Longing for Food (Psalm 34:8─"O taste and see that the Lord is good"). The radiant Christian will long to feast at the table of God’s Word. There will always be a hunger for the Word of God and an appetite for spiritual food. The radiant Christian comes to church with a breadbasket and sings "fill my cup, Lord." In addition, a radiant Christianity will (a) attract the unsaved; serve as (b) an antidote for the unpleasant experiences of life and become (c) an answer to the ungodly.
II. BIBLICAL FUNDAMENTALISM NEEDS A FRAGRANT CHRISTIANITY (Song of Solomon 4:16─"Blow upon my garden that the spices may flow out"). "Ideal" Christianity─the type of Christian living every believer should manifest is (a) Fruitful Christianity (Song of Solomon 4:13 &16)—"thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruit"; "Let my beloved come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruit"; [cp. John 15:5,8,16 with Gal. 5:22-24.]
(b) Flowing Christianity (Song of Solomon 4:15)—"A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters and streams from Lebanon": [cp John 4:14 & John 7:38;]; (c) Fragrant Christianity (Song of Solomon 4:16—"Blow upon my garden that the spices thereof may flow out;" See also 4:13-14 where the "chief spices" are delineated as "camphire, spikenard, calamus, cinnamon, frankincense, myrrh and aloes!"
Where is such a fragrant Christianity located? According to Song of Solomon 4:16, it is contained in a garden, the garden of the "beloved," a term found 22 times in this book.
This garden is (a) a garden of communion—4:16, 6:2-3, the place where the bride and bridegroom meet in sweet intimate fellowship; it is a (b) garden of concord—2:16, 6:2-3. Contrary to widely spread false rumors, uncompromising Fundamentalists do believe in concord, harmony and unity among brethren of like faith and practice! It is also a (c) garden of completeness—every essential need of the bride is supplied in that garden.
In the Song of Solomon, the bridegroom-the "beloved" one—issues a wonderful invitation to "come" with him and enjoy the blessings of this fruitful, flowing and fragrant garden in intimate communion.
However, the fragrances and spices delineated in Song of Solomon 4:13-16 did not naturally grow in the Palestinian soil. They were imported and then implanted into a soil that was not conducive to such spices and did not naturally respond to that earth. These spices required much special care, nourishment and watering to grow in that hostile environment. This is why the weeds of evil thoughts and actions in believer's hearts must be constantly rooted out and our hearts kept with all diligence—Prov. 4:23.
The Importance of Biblical Separation
This exquisite garden of communion was a "garden enclosed"—Song of Solomon 4:12, implying that the bride was solely separated unto her "beloved" one. If the garden was defaced, mutilated or destroyed, it meant both the loss of honor for the bridegroom as well as for the bride. Therefore, this garden had a "hedge" or fence that acted as a separation enclosure. The purpose of this prickly hedged shrub was to keep out the "little foxes"—Song of Solomon 2:15—that spoiled the vines, as well as to keep out the serpents that would poison the shrubs, vines and occupants inside the garden.
The late Dr. G. Archer Weniger was right when he declared that "separation is the hedge that protects all other doctrines." If we allow this hedge to be broken down, the garden of communion where we fellowship in sweet communion with our Lord will be destroyed.
The writer believes that our Fundamentalist forefathers should be extolled, not excoriated for their firm stance to maintain this Biblical hedge; that they should be honored, not humiliated for their forthright stand on Biblical ecclesiastical separation. The stand of these men needs to be reiterated not repudiated!
The Serpent Whose Bite is Poisonous
The garden of communion where obedient Fundamentalists meet their Lord is being cut down today by well-meaning but mistaken brethren within our ranks who think that the hedge their forefathers built was too high, and that it keeps out too many vacillating friends.
What these brethren ignore, deny or simply do not know is that there is a Biblical curse upon those who break down Biblical hedges. The Scripture declares in Ecclesiastes 10:8 that "whosoever breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him." That Serpent is declared to be Satan in Revelation 12:9. This dangerous serpent has a poisonous bite. The incision his forked tongue makes is a deadly wound. According to Rev. 12:4, his goal is that of deception.
In Gen. 3:1, at the dawn of human history, this serpent appeared in a garden and used the strategy of subtlety to catch Eve by surprise. He conned Eve into thinking that God's negative prohibition—God's separatist manifesto—was keeping her from enjoying all the delicacies of the garden.
The centuries have passed, but the human race, including some naïve Fundamentalists, are still being lured by the same deceptive bait. The garden of faith and fellowship must be protected, regardless of the arguments of compromising brethren who errantly believe that ardent Fundamentalist defenders of the faith are too strict with their standards and stance.
III. BIBLICAL FUNDAMENTALISM NEEDS A MILITANT CHRISTIANITY. (II Timothy 1:18—'War a good warfare")
Obedient Fundamentalists, who desire continued fellowship with their Saviour in the garden of a radiant and fragrant Christianity, must vigilantly guard against every intrusion that would weaken and destroy this blessed communion. The protection of this garden hedge requires militant sentries and soldiers.
Preachers who promulgate a radiant and fragrant Christianity, but omit sermons on militant Christianity are depriving their congregations of vital Biblical truth that is necessary for spiritual maturation (Col. 1:27, Psalms 19:11)
One of Fundamentalism's Great Need
One of the great needs of the hour is simply this: Partakers of the garden must also be protectors of that garden via militant vigilance.
Militancy, a term that was once the hallmark of the Fundamentalist movement, has fallen into disuse, disrepute and neglect. Militant Fundamentalists, who have stood valiantly for the truth, are now being tagged by brethren within the camp with the same fallacious labels as the New-Evangelicals have previously applied to ardent defenders of the faith.
The writer believes that Dr. Ed Nelson was correct when he declared that "historic Fundamentalism is militant Fundamentalism." Militancy is not a term that should be abhorred, it is a term that should be admired. The thesis that "if you are not contending, you're compromising" is a valid concept.
Sadly so, many formerly "fighting" Fundamentalists have become "frightened" and "fearful" Fundamentalists. Fearful that they have supposedly driven younger men away by purported unethical attacks and unloving actions, [We need to be both ethical and loving!], they are urging fellow brethren to soften their attacks and decrease the spiritual gunpowder in their shells. While their motives may sometimes be noble, their philosophy is errant and wrong.
A Noted British Theologian Who Got it Right
The writer believes the words of the late Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones aptly apply today when he stated: "Today, however, when so many boundary lines are being blurred, the negative test is not enough. We must go on to ask about any man, 'what then does he say?' This includes noting what he does NOT say, i.e., we must take note of his consistent omissions…a pseudo-evangelical betrays himself by his silence or equivocation at just those points where the Bible calls for fearless precision." [The writer believes the word "pseudo Fundamentalist" could be rightly inserted.]
In past decades, Fundamentalist groups have put themselves as being squarely on record in favor of a militant Christianity. In a resolution "regarding Fundamentalism" that was passed at a national Fundamentalist gathering in 1979, participants stated that the proper definition of a Fundamentalist includes someone who "earnestly contends for the faith, which includes a militant defense and proclamation of the faith and separation from all forms of heresy, apostasy, unbelief and inclusivism, direct or indirect."
This resolution also stated that love compels a Fundamentalist to "expose error, within and without the household of faith." At the same meeting, a resolution "regarding historic Fundamentalism" declared: "We repudiate the position of those who refer to 'historic' Fundamentalism and claim identity with it, but who are unwilling to practice militant exposure of all nonbiblical affirmations and attitudes and that cover their 'soft' and compromising position with the mantle of 'love.'"
While the current position of Dr. Robert Sumner is not the strong stance he once took, the following statement he once made is still relevant and valid: "God's preachers are to be warriors. He is looking for militant preachers who have the courage of their convictions, no matter what may be the cost." The writer heartily concurs with the words former U. S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower, who speaking to a group of 200 clergyman at the White House said, "I like militant preachers and chaplains."
Dr. Bob Jones Jr., now in glory, was right when once stated, "If you're not a fighter, you're not a Fundamentalist." Dr. Richard Clearwaters, now also in heaven, hit the target squarely when he declared: "The non-militant attitude of the rank and file of Christian leaders today is surrendering the New Testament to Satan." A former militant Fundamentalist leader made the following discerning appraisal when he said, "It's only a short step from being a passive Fundamentalist to becoming a New-Evangelical." Dr. Ian Paisley was correct when he stated, "The larger your ministry becomes, the more militant it should become."
The Militancy of the Apostle Paul
The statements by the above men are corroborated by the life and ministry of the apostle Paul, who serves as an outstanding example of Biblical militancy.
A. The LABORS of the Apostle Paul were Militant. The apostle Paul fought valiantly against every heresy and false teaching in his day. He contested with the Charismatics at Corinth, he fought the Gnostics at Philippi, he battled with the Judaizers at Galatia and he combated the heretics in Rome.
In II Tim. 2:18, Paul delineated the nature of apostates as being "profane and vain babblings," but he also disclosed the names of these apostates in the same passage as being "Hymenaeus and Philetus."
Paul delineated the nature of the compromiser in II 4:10 when he declared his error was that he "loved this present world," but he also designated the name of the compromiser when he cited "Demas" as the guilty accommodator.
The former editor of the now defunct Calvary Contender also lined up with the apostle Paul's position when he wrote: "The most loving thing we can do for compromising brethren is to warn them and tell them the truth, even if they hate us for it. Militant Fundamentalists have said the right things and must not let up as compromises increases just because we sometimes fail to speak sweet things."
B. The LANGUAGE of the Apostle Paul was Militant. In Eph. 6:11-18, Paul exhorted believers to "put on the whole armour of God" for the spiritual battle they must face. In II Cor. 10:3-4, he referred to the "weapons of warfare," while in Philippians 2:25 and in Philemon he spoke of "fellow soldiers' of the cross. In Rom. 8:37, he declared that we are "more than conquerors" in the battle.
In II Tim. 1:18, he "charged" Timothy to "war a good warfare." The writings of this great warrior of the faith are laced with terminology that speaks of militancy. Paul maintained his militant attitudes and actions all through his ministry, even to martyrdom and death..
C. The LAST TESTAMENT of the Apostle Paul was Militant. II Timothy was Paul's last treatise. It contained his testament and will, his final autograph and letter. One would be inclined to think in his last words, Paul would write about his numerous spiritual achievements or that he would have penned a letter delineating his tender care and love for the countless souls he had won to Christ.
Paul's last will and testament, however, involved a charge delivered to a younger pastor concerning militant warfare in which he exhorts Timothy to "endure hardness as good solider of Jesus Christ." In each chapter, he names two men who were either apostates or heretics with regard to the faith once delivered unto the saints.
Paul's militancy continued, even to the hour of his martyrdom. As he prepared to lay aside his earthly uniform, he stated intently that he had "fought a good fight"; that he had finished his course and that he had "kept the faith." Professing Fundamentalists today who have a phobia concerning the use of "militant' as a label are either ignorant of this meaning of this word or ashamed of the Scriptural truth it represents.
Spiritual Guards in the Battle
In practicing militancy, obedient Fundamentalists must diligently guard against three unbiblical actions: (a) Meanness in the Conflict. Fundamentalists can be militant without being mean, they can be sweet and still be strong; they can and should possess the right spirit as well as the right stand. If perceptive Fundamentalists alienate other brethren in the conflict, it should always be because of a Scriptural position, not because of a sour disposition!
Defenders of the faith—a group that should include all genuine brothers in Christ—must be careful about (b) Mishandling the Conflict. They must not "shoot from the hip" and fire indiscriminately at everyone in sight. They must guard against an unbiblical dogmatism in matters that are specifically local custom and practice that do not violate Scriptural principles.
They must guard against an unbiblical dogmatism on strictly local matters that do not affect the intrinsic fabric of Fundamentalist belief and behavior. [Scripturally based standards and genuine spiritual music are not peripheral issues—they intrinsically affect the doctrine and demeanor of professing believers!]
Thirdly, Fundamentalists must guard against (c) Mellowing in the Conflict. As Fundamentalist soldiers grow older there is s natural tendency to either grow bitter or grow cold in the essential conflicts, trends that must be arduously resisted. As the pressures increase from both wayward sinners as well as worldly saints, the inclination to grow weary in battle is a luring temptation. Fundamentalists must stand relentless against every unscriptural intrusion, regardless of its substance or source.
A Final Challenge
Historic Biblical Fundamentalism must be (a) Militant Fundamentalism standing unashamedly against all unbiblical movements seeking entrance into its camp. A younger generation of preachers needs an unwavering banner to uphold in these apostate and compromising days.
Historic Biblical Fundamentalism must be a (b) Marching Fundamentalism, marching forward not simply in conflict against evil, but in fulfillment of the Great Commission. "Evangelizing, Baptizing and Catechizing" are the marching orders Fundamentalists must obey—Matt. 28:18-20.
Fundamentalists must march forward with the priority of the Great Commission as their heralding banner It is interesting to note that these mandatory marching orders were given five times in the first five books of the N.T: Matt. 28:18-10; Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, John 20:21 and Acts 1:8.
Historical Biblical Fundamentalism must also be a (c) Magnificent Fundamentalism; magnificent in Christ likeness and godliness, unreservedly upholding the honor, integrity and testimony of its soon-coming Saviour-Titus 2:11-13.
In a world that desperately needs their witness, Biblical Fundamentalists must manifest a radiant Christianity, a fragrant Christianity and a militant Christianity. They must fervently aspire to manifest all three of these Scriptural virtues not just one or two of these assets. These spiritual qualities are not optional, they are obligatory. What is Biblically obligatory is Biblically obtainable—II Cor. 9:8. D.J.
Also in this issue:
|Editorial – October-November 2006 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.|