Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Perspective of a Proud Former Fundamentalist

[D]espite my former fixations on all the externals and rigamajig of devoted churchianity, I would do it all again. If I could reboot my life, I would still opt to grow up on the fundy track. (For a few years, at least.)
My confidence in the Bible hasn't waned an ounce in all these years. But I am now what you'd call an evangelical, committed to changing the world through the Gospel and my best human efforts. And therein lies the reason for today's column.
Full article here.


Don said...

Hi Ben

I wonder what he means by fundamentalist, but the last quote and the final emphasis of the column on societal change brings to mind recent discussions of social involvement. Does this emphasis still define a dividing line between fundamentalism and evangelicalism?

In his artcile, the writer says that the NT church set out to change their society. Really? What church history is he reading? The church eventually did redefine Western society, but it seems to me it was more a side effect of evangelism rather than direct social action.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Ben said...

I don't know the answer to that, Don. Within the past year we've had fundamentalists decry the rising interest in social action among the young fundamentalists. But on the other hand, we've had unquestioned fundamentalists heavily involved in political and social action for decades. I'm at a loss for how to interpret that paradox.

I agree with the point of your second paragraph, but I'm not sure where Rutz says what you're saying he does. He does imply that the earliest believers planned to unseat Caesar and combat infanticide, but that's not the same as the church setting out to change society. I think the corporate body/individual believer distinction is important to maintain. But then, I don't know my history well enough to know if he's accurate.

I'm also sympathetic to his broader point that Christians fight societal evil because it's what Christians do. My sense, however, is that this is far from the mission of the church. The addictive nature of political power and cultural influence is far too seductive to justify toying lightly with it.

Matthew LaPine said...
Have you seen this guy's webpage?!

Ben said...

I wonder if they could've moved her cue cards a little closer to the camera.

Unfortunately, I can't get the video with the history of the planet in 3 minutes. I was thinking I'd make some money selling it to History of Civ students.