Why Fundamentalism is Doomed to Failure Part 2

The Fundamentals!

Back to our regularly scheduled blog.

Fundamentalism, as a movement in Baptist churches is doomed to failure.  The fundamentals of faith will never fail, they are eternal, but the movement which was started in opposition to liberal interpretation of biblical doctrines is doomed to fail.  It is not doomed to fail because of the ideas of Fundamentalism, it is doomed because of the implementation of those ideas.  In part 1 we looked at several reasons Fundamentalism is doomed to failure.  I want to crystallize those reasons and recap them here.

1. Fundamentalism is doomed to failure because we accept false teachers, like Jack Schaap, based on pedigree not doctrine.

2. Fundamentalism is doomed to failure because we worship men instead of God.

3. Fundamentalism is doomed to failure because of its ever-changing often unknowable standards.

4. Fundamentalism is doomed to failure because it preaches preferences in lieu of doctrine.

5. Fundamentalism is doomed to failure because it demonizes and marginalizes those who disagree with the movement in any manner.

There are several other reasons Fundamentalism is doomed to failure.  First and foremost it is doomed to failure because we have substituted sharp sayings for sound doctrine.  We no longer teach and preach doctrine from our pulpits as we should.  Instead we have replaced eternal truths from the Bible with platitudes and topical messages which have little to no bearing on daily Christian living.  Most topical messages can be summed up in three points.  Salvation, Sanctification, and Service could be the main points of almost any modern topical IFB message.  The pat answer to this charge is: “Oh yeah, well Jesus preached topical messages.”  There are three problems with that statement. 1. Those who make such statements are not Jesus.  2. Jesus audience was Israelite and had a base of knowledge which is not usually present in gentiles.  3. Jesus “topical” messages were calling people to turn to God’s Christ which was of course Jesus.  The typical topical message you hear today urges you to be saved, be separate from the world, and serve the church.  That’s right, I said serve the church, not God mind you, the church.

Topical Message Generator!

The Bible tells us there would be a famine for the hearing of the word of God, and we are living in that famine.  The Bible said there would be a falling away in the last days, and we are falling hard and fast and looking sharp while we are doing it.  There is however a solution.  The solution is expository preaching.  I am going to name names but don’t go getting your dander up.  I do not agree with every application I have heard from this preacher, but Lawrence Mendez is a good example of an expository preacher.  He studies the scriptures and tries to pull every ounce of truth out of them.  I do always agree with how he applies those truths but I believe he is diligently seeking the truth in the Bible and not just finding texts to prove his points.  One thing that I was taught at Midwestern Baptist College, but seldom saw practiced, a preacher should not read into the scriptures what is not there.  He should not force his thoughts into God’s declarations.  Another preacher who sticks to what God said is Dr. Joseph Fortna.  He was one of my teachers at MBC and he was without a doubt the most qualified instructor the college has had in years.  He constantly warned us about the dangers of imposing our ideas on the word of God.  He is a meticulous note taker and a studious man who loves the word of God and has tremendous respect for what God has said, not for what some man taught him.  This should be every preachers mindset.

The mind of Christ is the mind of a servant not a master. Philippians 2:1-5

Far too many IBF and IFB preachers impose their ideas on to the scriptures.  It is a hard task not to force your ideas into God’s declarations but integrity is the wall which should keep the preacher from abusing God’s word.  The main problem is we do not have many preachers with such integrity.  I do not say this to insult preachers.  Men have the propensity to be men; we want a following, we crave attention, and we desire power.  If we can attach our ideas to “thus saith the Lord” we can instantly have all three.

It is a difficult and sometimes Herculean task to extricate yourself and your ideas from the homiletic process.  In other words, it is hard not to try to build a following, gain attention, and garner power through the sermons you preach; after all you have to keep them coming back for more.  Certain preachers, evangelists in particular, have a difficult time not imposing their ideas on the truths of the Bible because a large portion of their job is marketing.

It is a difficult and sometimes Herculean task to extricate yourself and your ideas from the homiletic process

Evangelists are voracious self promoters.  They are constantly branding themselves and coming up with new ways to spread the word about how awesome they are.  That is why an evangelist will have someone transcribe their messages bind them in a book and then claim they are an author.  That is why an evangelist will write a tract and try to sell it by the thousands to every church he visits.  That is why he has a book table, full of CD’s DVD’s and poster cards that you can purchase.  He has to keep his brand in your face so you will keep him coming back so he can pay his bills.  Are there truly any evangelists who are seeking revival?  I seriously doubt it…((((but I have been corrected, see the comment from Stacy below)))))  Check out their Facebook pages and their Twitter accounts, go to their meetings and see what they are really promoting.  I am not against a man making a living in the ministry, but what is the legacy of an evangelist? Evangelists, by and large, are self promoting side shows of Fundamentalism.  Many of them do not care if they help a church or blow a church up.  The joke is the evangelist blows in, blows up, blows out, and blows away to the next church leaving the pastor to clean up the aftermath.  I have sat at tables with them and heard it for myself from their own mouths.  This is a problem in Fundamentalism which is causing its doom.

We have to understand that God has predestined us to serve Him, not the church but God.  We use the church as a vehicle for service, but it is a tool and not the whole shebang.  Serving God goes much deeper than showing up to every service.  It is in your heart, the seat of your emotions, and your head, the seat of your intellect, and your soul.  God wants a change in us from the flesh to the spiritual.  God wants us to be conformed to the image of Christ.   How do we do this?  That is what preaching should be for.  Instead, we get the same old message repackaged a thousand different ways and we end up like the Hebrews slavishly mashing mud and straw to build bricks for our human master’s glory.  There is nothing wrong with Salvation, Sanctification, and Service, but there is something wrong if that is all your preacher knows how to preach, and it is killing fundamentalism.

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9 responses to “Why Fundamentalism is Doomed to Failure Part 2

  1. You know I don’t comment much but I have to say that I think I love this post the most. Shouldn’t the litmus test for any sincere pastor or evangelist be to leave the congregation thinking about God, how he loves us and what he expects from us, and not the speaker? This comment is gold – “Serving God goes much deeper than showing up to every service. It is in your heart, the seat of your emotions, and your head, the seat of your intellect, and your soul. God wants a change in us from the flesh to the spiritual. God wants us to be conformed to the image of Christ.” And I read it again and again and all I could think about was not how “fantastic” you were for saying it but how much Godly truth was in it. That is what is wrong with so many born again Christians today; that we keep God in our little box of what we believe to be comfortable and acceptable truths yet really all God wants is the focus of every breath we breathe to be about him.

  2. Although I agree with you that some evangelists may be self promoting, I do think there are some out there still looking for revival and truly wish to be a help to the pastors and churches they are visiting. Larry Bell is an example of one of those people. I always remember what a help and blessing he was to Steve when he was starting the church in Connecticut. My father in law also tried to be a help to the churches he visited while he was on the road. He would never say it, but he usually paid his own expenses and did not have unreasonable expectations from the churches he visited. Usually he visited small struggling churches and wasn’t interested in being in the “big name” ones. I am sure (perhaps I am looking at this through rose colored glasses) that there are others out there. Unfortunately a few bad apples have spoiled the applesauce (south dakota country bumpkin saying). I am sorry to read from your other recent post that your family has been attacked and lies have been told. I am still praying for all of you 🙂

    • I agree with you about Larry Bell and your father-in-law. Those guys are truly humble servants and sometimes it is easy to overlook them because they are in the shadows of the others who are rabid self-promoters. I am glad you brought them up, and there are others. I try not to make generalizations and overstatements, but it happens. I am going to look over what I said and ammend it to make sure I am not including everyone in that statement. Thank you as always and tell Kevin hi for me!

  3. I think Dr. Joseph Fortna is the greatest, doctrinal, expository Bible teacher that I have ever encountered. And I agree that most preachers and teachers put their own ideas into Scripture.

    Doesn’t it seem that the congregates now worship the church itself?

    And replacement theology seems to be overtaking everything. From the new “Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaf, to the wacky self anointed Baptist Preacher – Steven Anderson. All I can say about him is – he really likes himself!

  4. Another evangelist who is really sincere and cares more about revival than putting on a show is c.t. townsend you can just tell by his preaching style and overall attitude and personality

  5. I am just reading this blog for the first time, and Jason you hit the nail on the head when you said, “Serving God goes much deeper than showing up to every service. It is in your heart, the seat of your emotions, and your head, the seat of your intellect, and your soul. God wants a change in us from the flesh to the spiritual. God wants us to be conformed to the image of Christ.”

    This past Sunday, my husband and I had a horrible experience with a visiting “self-promoter” evangelist and my husband sent our pastor an email calling him out about this him. (My husband has not received a reply from our pastor as yet.) This “self-promoter” was loud and made a comment, that only God knew what he was saying, that was very inappropriate and uncalled for. This sermon was recorded and was going to be broadcast on radio and TV. I sure hope they edited the comment out. It was truly offensive to say the least. Yep, I agree Fundamentalism is on the way OUT. I has become very hard to find a Spirit-filled, Bible teaching, preaching and believing church that isn’t all out of shape with control and manipulation of it’s members. My husband and I stopped becoming members of a church because I do not find anywhere in the Bible as this being a requirement, except when we profess Christ, and are baptized and at that point I am a member of His church. We belonged to a church for 28 years and when the pastor retired, the church became the “seeker friendly” “emergent” church that has Rick Warren and Bill Hybels calling the shots. We didn’t stay due to the new preacher, once he too over he was like a bull in a china closet and got rid of everything that resembled a church, it was very sad and then told the old members that build that church, if they didn’t like the changes being made the could leave, and leave a bunch of us did. So, now their mantra is “works” related salvation. We have visited many churches, as always the people are warm and friendly, but it is later that you find out who they really are and what they believe and it is quite scary. I do not feel one bit guilty about leaving a church when the teachings don’t line up with what the Bible says. It is always good to have a church family, however not at the cost of blindly being there. When the Holy Spirit says to leave, we leave. We have found there is a lot of “flesh” in churches today and not enough of the Lord. There is too much worldliness and compromise, it is sad. I don’t care what anyone says about leaving a church, because I will be the one that will stand before God one day and give an accounting, not them. So, I have found it is easier to trust and obey God and leave all the consequences to Him, as I learned from Charles Stanley’s teaching. I have found this to be so freeing.

    I just hope and pray that this “self-promoting” evangelist doesn’t ever come back to the church we are attending now. The preacher is great, preaches the Word, he is humble, very caring and is always mindful of his responsibility as a pastor. However, they do have a condescending attitude toward women who do wear pants. Sometimes, I like to wear pants!! I don’t dress like a hooker or disgraceful in anyway. God looks on my heart and my motivations, not what I am wearing and any woman who loves the Lord is not going to make Him look bad by wearing something suggestive or that I am trying to act like a man. That is so sad and pitiful.

    Thank you for your boldness and standing for the Lord.

    God bless you Jason.

    • What a great comment. Thank you for posting this. I wish you all the blessings of Christ, and direction from the Holy Spirit. It is tough out there. I am, of course, very curious who the evangelist might be. Perhaps you would email me and let me know? Jasonlittle39@gmail.com. if not I will understand. You should start a blog of your own, I would be interested to read it
      God bless you!

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