06
Jun
08

The fundamentals by Miz Pink

So, I tripped on into another WordPress blog by accident yesterday called Mystery of Iniquity and it had a definition page that caught my attention as it defined the terms funamentalist and inerrancy. Both definitions set some small alarms off in my head so first let me give you the blogger’s defintions first before I do any ranting…

1. Fundamentalist: A religious fundamentalist is someone who believes that whatever scripture they adhere to is inerrant (see below) and not just inspired by God but transmitted to the writers without error. A religious fundamentalist is one who follows his/her (or her “head” or her pastor’s) interpretations of said scripture as if it were fact and not open to dispute. A Fundamentalist also believes that there are certain doctrines that must be believed in order to be saved although Jesus never required belief in dogmas.

and…

2. Inerrancy: The doctrinal position that in its original form, the Bible is totally without error, and free from all contradiction; “referring to the complete accuracy of Scripture, including the historical and scientific parts.” Inerrancy is distinguished from Biblical infallibility (or limited inerrancy), which holds that the Bible is inerrant on issues of faith and practice but not history or science.

My problems with those definitions is subtle. But I think they are important to point out anyway. And I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that I’m speaking for Deke here too. We talk a lot about how Christians are defined and we’re pretty much in agreeement on alot of that so I think he’ll sign on to this.

And really it’s the first definition that gets me, but it ties into the second one too. I don’t really like the way folks try to lump fundamentalism into such a nice tidy package that is so very narrow. Just like I don’t like the way liberal has come to mean left wing extremist and conservative has come to mean rightwing wacko for people (depending on your political leanings). I’m liberal, yet there are things that happen in left wing circles that totally dismay me. Christians get pigeonholed by the way folks define and refer to fundamentalists, evangelists and things like that. Because mostly when people refer to those two groups in particular, what they really mean is Christian nutjob. They assume that every fundie and every evangelist have the exact same script they follow slavishly.

I think that to say you have to believe in the inerrancy of the Bible to be fundamental is kinda silly. If I believe in things like sex before marriage is a sin and gay sex is a sin and you will go to Hell if you don’t declare Jesus as your Lord (and I do) I think people would say I’m a fundie, even if I don’t belive that the earth was created in 6 days and the earth is only several thousand years old and that all the historical stuff is accurate in the Bible. By the defintion above, I wouldn’t be a fundie because I only believe the Bible is infallible and not inerrant.

As liberal as my politics are my faith in the Bible is pretty fundamentalist when it comes to sin and redemption. I don’t believe that you get to Heaven just by being a pretty good person. I don’t accept the idea that we can pick and choose what things are sins in the Bible based on our political and social leanings. Yeah, my friends who go to the Unitarian Universalist church might get along with me okay when we talk politics, but we’ve agreed not to talk religion too much because they don’t like what I have to say about original sin, sexual morality, temperance and things like that. They have liberal to moderate spiritual beliefs and believe you me they would call me a fundamentalist without hesitation.

What really gets me about that first definition is this line though: A Fundamentalist also believes that there are certain doctrines that must be believed in order to be saved although Jesus never required belief in dogmas.

I suppose that one of those doctrines or “dogmas” would be that little thing I just mentioned about accepting Jesus as messiah in order to be saved. Dogma? But wasn’t it Jesus himself who said no one got to God except through him?

And wouldn’t that require a belief in dogma that establishes his divine nature, like the virgin birth, his sinless life and the fact he was the son of God?

Sorry, but Jesus followed God’s law to the letter to be an acceptable human/divine sacrifice on our behalfs to give us a way to wash away our sins. There’s some devotion to dogma for you. And Jesus is supposed to be our example, so I think that doctrines are important to him and something we should follow. It’s just that the doctrine changed a little after Jesus made his sacrtifice for us. So, by the example set by Jesus we must dogmatically accept that a lot of things are sins. We must dogmatically accept that we need to be forgiven those sins. We must dogmatically accept that Jesus is the one who allows us to be free of the punishment that comes with alot of that dogma. Dogma dogma dogma.

Woof.

Just a little joke God. Dont’ smite me.

My point is that funamdentalism isn’t as cut and dried as one might want to think. And dogma to a certain degree is indeed something we must accept and embrace. Okay, I guess that was two points. But I guess you get the idea.

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7 Responses to “The fundamentals by Miz Pink”


  1. June 6, 2008 at 12:24 am

    Wow! Impressive for a lib! 😉

    Or for anybody, for that matter. Great points, Miz Pink. People don’t fit in all those neat little boxes so well at all. I’m sure there are a whole pile of things you and I would disagree on, but you’ve really impressed me. Most of the liberals I meet do put us conservative fundamentalists into a pretty confining box. And I guess we have a tendency to do the same thing to our more liberal sibs. Not a real brotherly/sisterly thing to do.

    I’ve been meeting lots of liberals recently, many of them Christians. I don’t understand a lot of their attitudes. We’re all of us for helping the poor–we differ on how to accomplish that. The thing that’s caught my attention the most, though, is that yes, they really are Christ followers (those who are), and those who aren’t are mostly still quite pleasant and decent people.

    Thanks for a great post! 🙂

    Cindy

  2. June 6, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Touche! I will amend my definition to more closely define the meaning of fundamentalist. Although, it’s a tad unfair to say

    “Because mostly when people refer to those two groups in particular, what they really mean is Christian nutjob. They assume that every fundie and every evangelist have the exact same script they follow slavishly.”

    I don’t think every fundie is a nutjob nor do I think they follow the “exact same script.” Assuming that from the definition is going out on a limb.

    Overall though, you make some good, if not ungenerous, points.

  3. 3 Inda Pink
    June 6, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Oh that comment wasn’t directed at you personally. It’s based on my experience in life, both before and after choosing Christ, that people have rather “ungenerous” opinions of fundies and evangelists. I wasn’t trying to pick you out of a crowd as having those opinions. Just pointing out how easy it is to paint someone into a corner, politically or religiously, and then make huge assumptions about who they are based on labels.

  4. 4 Deacon Blue
    June 6, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Inerrancy and infallibility. Cool. I needed some terms like that as I get into my dissection of some of the Old Testament stories and defense of others (and a little bit of both for the rest). If nothing else, this post has been educational in that distinction. I never had a good term for my belief in the basics of the Bible while feeling that some things weren’t altogether accurate.

    What I love though is infallibility equalling “limited inerrancy.”

    Limited inerrancy. Isn’t that an oxymoron? But maybe it gives us a new term for ourselves, Pink…like limited fundamentalists.

    Then again, maybe you’re only a little pregnant. 😉

  5. July 25, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    not to chase a rabbit… or not to chase it far, anyway. but people often equate “No one gets to the father except through me” to “if you have not uttered the chant of salvation/sinner’s prayer when asked before you die, then you are bound for hell”. why is that? I like to think that Jesus is able to save. I like what C.S. Lewis says: “We only know one way for Jesus to save us, but HE might know another way…”

  6. 6 Deacon Blue
    July 26, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Yes, but…

    …how does Jesus save someone who doesn’t admit that they are sinful and need salvation? The problem is that people are in the water and cannot see the riptide coming to drag them away, so when they see the life preserver tossed to them, they’re like: What the heck do I need this for? And they swim deeper out.

    The “sinner’s chant” doesn’t save anyone. A person has to really want to reach out to Jesus and really want to be better and truly realize their sin nature. Words are just words. I hate it when preachers on TV do the “prayer for salvation” like it’s going to magically change all the lost folks who happen to speak it.

    It’s like saying to someone “I’m sorry.” If you don’t really mean it, people tend to know, and then it’s almost worse than not having said anything you know?

    Jesus can save in many ways that we don’t know but one some level we alwasy have to be part of the process by knowing we’re messed up and knowing we need help.

  7. July 28, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    ok, here are my two cents on this bad boy……a prayer does not get you to heaven. repentance , although important, does not get you to heaven. one must BELIEVE he/she is a sinner, he/she deserves hell, Jesus paid that hell debt for him/her, and rely on Jesus and Jesus alone to get to heaven. God made it simple for a reason. so dumb dumbs like me and others wouldn’t complicate it so much that none of us would ever get to heaven. you can be the greatest person on the planet, but if you haven’t accepted Christ’s “gift” of salvation, you cannot and will not go to heaven! very good post miz pink, i enjoyed it!! oh, btw, i believe the KJB is the Word of God and that is the translation that is the closest to what was originally written. some words in some languages cannot be translated word for word , but its been proven that the King James version is the closest translation of all of them….i find it amazing , though how many people “take scissors” to their Bibles and “cut out” what they don’t believe. like some parts are true or fact and some aren’t. i believe in an every word Bible. every word is true, whether we AGREE (or abide by) with every word or not…….


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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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