“FIGHTING FUNDAMENTALISTS?”—YES! “FRACTIOUS FUNDAMENTALISTS?”—NO!
A Baptist magazine recently contained an article entitled “Should We Be Fighting Fundamentalists?”, an article that clearly implied a negative answer and an emphatic “no.” In his article, the author not only misrepresented all genuine “fighting fundamentalists,” but presented a gross caricature of them where he made the following false accusations:
“There is among too many contemporary Baptist churches and pastors a legalistic ‘fighting fundamentalist spirit that poses a serious threat to the religious liberty and prosperity of Baptist people everywhere.” Then, in his conclusion, he made the following unjust allegations.
“This unbiblical and ‘un-Christian’ spirit or attitude of the ‘fighting fundamentalist’ in the sense that it uses fear, threats, intimidation and other bully tactics to try to force others to accept its subjective interpretation of the Holy Scriptures as ex-cathedra pronouncements and labels those who cannot in good conscience buy into these teachings as ‘heretics,’ ‘infidels,’ ‘apostates,’ and ‘sowers of discord among the brethren.’”
Are “fighting fundamentalists” men who major in minors and minor in majors? Are they men who concentrate on “secondary” peripheral issues and on skimp on “primary” matters? Undoubtedly there may be a few such “fractious” fundamental Baptists in our ranks whose goal may be simply to cause division and strife among the brethren, but this writer believes they number in the vast minority.
PAUL’S GRACIOUS STANCE CONCERNING NEWER BELIEVERS
The above question is an important one, since this preacher desires to follow the example of the Apostle Paul. Was he a “fighting fundamentalist?” or did he “tiptoe through the tulips” when it came to standing for the truth without compromise? Was he so afraid of offending the brethren, that he sidestepped vital issues for fear of using terminology that might offend a so-called weaker brother?
Now, Paul certainly was warmly inclined towards recently new-born weak brethren in the faith. In Rom. 14:1, he stated: “Him that is weak in the faith, receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” Paul believed that new believers should not be pestered with unnecessary questions and disputations that concerned only adult mature believers.
Paul did not believe that older saints should unnecessarily contend with younger believers over issues that concerned secondary matters: Paul discerningly wrote: “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion in his brother’s way—Rom. 14:13.”
WAS THE APOSTLE PAUL A FIGHTING FUNDAMENTALIST?
However, when it came to contending with both the APOSTATES, as well as the ACCOMMODATERS, the Apostle Paul was definitely a FUNDAMENTALIST FIGHTER! In I Tim. 2:19, he frankly stated that some formerly professing saints had “made shipwreck” of the faith once delivered unto the saints, and he specifically exposed these faith-wreckers by name as Hymenaus and Alexander—I Tim. 1:20.
Paul manifested his “fighting fundamentalist” colors, when on one occasion, he exposed a close brother-in-Christ, by name in Gal. 2:11-14, a respected fellow believer who also was a fellow apostle: the Apostle Peter. Was Paul making “false accusations” as a “legalist?” when he exposed Peter’s compromise on that occasion? Obviously not, he was acting just like a “fighting fundamentalist” should act! Paul’s decisive action concerned corrective authority.
Everywhere the Apostle Paul traveled, he exercised his legitimate role as a “fighting fundamentalist.” Paul vigorously fought against the Charismatic heretics in Corinth. He vigorously contested with the legalistic Judaizers in Galatia. He strongly exhorted Timothy to unwaveringly oppose the apostates in Ephesus—I-II Timothy and he openly exposed Demas’ retreat to this “present world” in II Tim. 4:10.
Was the Apostle Paul a “fighting fundamentalist?” Read below his concluding remarks about his 35+ years ministry in II Tim. 4:6-7: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Make your own conclusion! Was the Apostle Paul a “fighting fundamentalist?”
Did those original eleven apostles all suffer martyrdom because they were “fainting fundamentalists?” or because they were “fighting Fundamentalists”? Was the Apostle John boiled in burning oil because he possessed a congenial pleasant spirit that attracted first century apostates to his noble stand or because of his uncompromising stance? The Apostle John was an ideal “fighting fundamentalist.” The reason for John’s persecution was not his disposition, it was his position! The Apostle John combined grit with grace and militancy with majesty.
There may be a few eccentric fractious fundamentalists who major on minors and who make secondary issues primary consideration. These chosen few may believe that they “alone” possess the infallible interpretation of every verse and every spiritual issue and if you differ with them, you are a compromiser or an apostate, but they constitute a small percentage within our ranks.
This editor’s compatriots and close friends are “fighting fundamentalists,” who bravely take their stand both for the defense of the faith and the dissemination of the faith. These men combine courage with compassion in a stance that is both militant and majestic. This writer does not censure these brave “fighting fundamentalist” warriors, he commends them both for their Scriptural fight and their soul-winning fervor. “Fighting Fundamentalists—Yes!”, “Fractious Fundamentalists? No!”
Also from this issue:SWISS VOTERS