So, are fundamentalists evil? Today in America, we have flown far from the straightforward humble beginnings of biblical fundamentalism. We have narrowly defined and broadly brushed what true fundamentalism is. We have stood in our pulpits and blasted those who use drums in their services and called them liberals, modernists, and accused them of leaning, and then preached with drums on the platform the following week; cause it’s ok if our friends, who are fundamental, do it. We have lambasted those who have been caught molesting children and called their churches “Saint Pedophiles” and then actively engaged in covering up and excusing sexual sins and crimes in our own ranks. We have loudly shouted amen for men who, from the pulpit, blast other men who were once our friends for thinking and doing what we ourselves find acceptable. We have criticized, snickered about, lampooned, and ostracized men and women who dare to disagree with us in any of the fundamentals or secondary issues that we hold as truth. All of this is done under the banner and in the name of Christ, who is supposed to be our example. Is He really?
The bible bids us to be kind to one another tenderhearted and forgiving. We are told to love one another, especially the brethren. We are told to look on the things of others, not their possessions but their problems and heartaches and joys. We are told to bear one another’s burdens. We are told to have the mind of Christ. We are supposed to be merciful. I do not see these things being accomplished by most of my colleagues in Independent Fundamental Baptist churches. Instead we are rude and offensive to one another, we have bitterness and gall in our hearts against the weaker brother, we refuse to forgive, we ain’t getting over it any time soon. We don’t love, we tolerate one another for a while; after our toleration is used up we put them on blast, from the pulpit, on the internet, on the phone and by writing letters. We only look on the things of others with the green eye or with contempt. Bearing our own burdens is too much for us in this Oprah-tized world so our overly sensitive little selves can not possibly bear one another’s burdens. The mind of Christ is an ethereal unobtainable thing so we do not even try to have it; we don’t believe in it, we do not seek it, we do not let it be in us. Mercy, in this modern age that we live in, is just a rule in church softball games.
We play politics and accuse others of playing politics as we campaign for voters to sign on to our causes. We create wars and spread rumors of wars to gain an edge over the liberals and the falling, the wounded and the dying, the helpless and the crying for help. We puff ourselves up, brag on our righteous deeds, give ourselves awards, while we hand out honorary doctorates like Smarties on a bus route all to legitimize what we now call fundamental. You gotta love old-time religion.
If it is a slow gossip day, we make up new things to gossip about. I recently heard that a man who signed my ordination certificate no longer uses the KJV. The liberal, the backslider, the contemporary hack, the dirty fence jumping dog. Upon investigation, the truth was discovered, he still uses the KJV, just as he always has, but hey it was a slow gossip day. I guess Dr. Runs-his-mouth was wrong on that one?
Preachers hate church members, and church members hate preachers. Pastors complain about evangelists, and missionaries complain about pastors, evangelists complain about everybody. We hold grudges, we backbite, we malign, we use unrighteous and unfair judgment, we clique up and ball out those not in our clique, we spew hate and denigrate those who do the same. We throw personalities off our boards for personality sake and separate from the other guy, who in all reality is just like us. We try to get our beloved brother thrown out of a meeting because he hurt our big feeling. Greet them with a kiss today, stab them in the back tomorrow would be tattooed on our backsides if we could be sure tattoos were not a sin.
Even though I truly believe all of the above is becoming the norm in fundamental circles, I do not think fundamentalism is evil. I think fundamentalism is correct, and wholesome and righteous, and pure, but too many fundamentalists have kidnapped fundamentalism, not for a ransom, no sir, but to build their own little empire. We build an army of Mini Mes to go out and do our dirty work. We get them to put on cufflinks and carry green pens, and use the Cambridge wide-margin bibles. We try to fashion them in our own image as we pull them further and further away from the image of Christ.
There are many pastors out there doing the right things correctly and with excellence. Some of them have large churches and vast ministries, some of them are nobodies doing something in a small town you’ve never heard of. Some of them are on the front of the Sword of the Lord, and some of them can’t spare the $20 for a subscription to the Sword.
Gospel sucks, he once met Stamps and Baxter and threw them both out of his church…(yes it’s true…no not really) he has tried many things that are not in the AHIFIWGGTATB. (All HylesIndependent Fundamental International World-Wide Galactic Guide to all things Baptist) But let me tell you one thing
he has never done. He has never stopped being a fundamentalist. He would be the first one to tell you that the contemporary movement is a waste of time, and he would tell you that he has made several mistakes, and he would tell you he is apt to make some more. He would also tell you he is still learning and plans to learn and fail and grow and continue and succeed till Jesus comes. You see this humble pastor is one of the many good guys, but he doesn’t look quite like me. If I was going to have a tent meeting, he’d be on my list of speakers.