Monday, December 13, 2004how serious are you about The Faith?
Fundamentalism: A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.
This definition, taken from the "American Heritage Dictionary", draws a pretty clear picture; and for most, the picture isn't too attractive. The first thing people today think about when they hear "fundamentalism" is usually "Islamic fundamentalism" and the terrorism associated with it; which explains the stigma associated with fundamentalism. Unfortunately, in this particular case, the problem isn't with fundamentalism, but rather with Islam. You see the thing about fundamentalism is that the fundamentalist is either "fundamentally right", or "fundamentally wrong". If a person errs in the fundamentals (like in the case of Islam), everything that is based on that foundation will be wrong.
Now as born-again Christians, we have THE TRUTH, the Word of the Living God: the Bible. That is our foundation, our "fundamentals". The Lord Jesus Christ even made it unbelievably easy for us by summarizing the fundamentals of the Christian faith in two simple commandments:
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matthew 22: 37-39)
No room for "jihad", suicide bombings, or plane hijackings here. These are the fundamentals of the Christian fundamentalist; he loves God with everything he's got, and he loves and cares for his neighbour as himself.
Now the question is: are you a Christian fundamentalist? Is it the God of the Bible + nothing for you? Do you make it a point, in your life, to glorify God in all you do and all you say? Do you love your neighbour as yourself? Do you love him enough to be a witness to him? To be there when he needs a helping hand?
The fact of the matter is most Christians today (and this is a personal observation), aren't fundamentalists. They're not even close.
Oh! they love God enough to go to the Lord's Day morning service, but you'll never see them darken the door posts of the church for the evening service or the mid-week prayer meeting/bible study. They love God enough to stay away from pornography and drugs, but they see no problem with watching R-rated movies (for violence, nudity, coarse language...etc), and giving up the "pubs" with the buddies is completely out of the question (even if one doesn't drink to the point of drunkenness, "bars" and "pubs" are no place for God's children).
And as far as "loving their neighbours" is concerned, they'll be there for them in times of trouble, to give a helping hand, but for the most part, it's the "don't bug me, I won't bug you" attitude. Many Christians don't even bother sharing the gospel with their neighbours for fear of ridicule or persecution (this is probably the biggest lack of caring and love...Withholding the gospel that could save them).
Most Christians know for a fact that the church was in much better shape 50-60 years ago, and that is why so many want the old days again. The problem is, they want the "old days", but they don't want the "old ways". Wasn't so long ago that a Christian didn't watch Hollywood's filth at the cinemas; wasn't too long ago, the Christian influence in the US was so strong, they actually outlawed alcohol and the bars/pubs that supplied the drunkards; wasn't too long ago that Christians didn't shop or do business on the Lord's Day, they'd rather keep the day holy unto the Lord. These are but a few examples of the differences in attitude between the Christian in the days when the church was strong, and the "modern" day Christian.
So, I ask again: are you a fundamentalist?