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.
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.
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.
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.