Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Next Time Someone Calls You a Fundamentalist...

All too often, people like myself are characterized as fundamentalists and painted like this,

When I look at that picture, I see the proper order of things: politics is under country, and both are under God. Perhaps a better picture would have a included donkey alongside the elephant, but try as I might, I couldn't find one of those anywhere.

Unfortunately, historical religious fundamentalism is also painted in a negative light, but the reality of the matter is nothing to be ashamed of as Charles Hoffman+ points out below:
"While there was no single founder of of fundamentalism, many ideas and themes had been suggested by American evangelist Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) and British preacher John Nelson Darby (1800-1882). The original formulation of American fundamentalist beliefs can be traced to the Niagara Bible Conference (1878-1897) and in 1910 to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, which distilled these into what became known as the five fundamentals:
1. The inerrancy of Scripture
2. The virgin birth and deity of Jesus
3. The doctrine of substitutionary atonement through God's grace and human faith
4. The bodily resurrection of Jesus
5. The authenticity of Christ's miracles (or alternatively, his pre-millenial second coming)
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) 
But consider these questions:
Are these five fundamentals not the core of the Christian faith and life as contained in the Creed and traditions of the church?
Are they not held as the teaching of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as reflected in the teaching and praying of the Book of Common Prayer?
Are they not what the church has believed throughout its history?
So why should we be ashamed of being called a fundamentalist?
Perhaps if the Episcopal Church returned to these fundamentals of doctrine, we would find our way back into the fullness of the Christian faith and heal the many divisions in the church. 
So the next time someone calls you a fundamentalist, respond by saying: 
'Yes, and which of these fundamentals do you reject?'" The Rev. Charles L. Hoffman, D. Min. from back in 2005 

Note: Chuck Hoffman retired this year (see Grace Episcopal Church, Old Seabrook). 


  1. Anonymous5:12 PM

    Whatever its documents say, TEC certainly does not believe 1 & 2. 4 & 5 are up in the air. 3, maybe.

    A recovering Episcopalian, now Anglican.

  2. Recovering,

    Sad but given the tolerance of those who openly deny those fundamentals, it is true.