You Might Be a Fundamentalist
If you're troubled by the sort of "Christianity" being presented to the world by the divisive, politicized, and unloving form we are witnessing among some of the American Evangelical church, you are not alone. If you are not troubled, you should be. The word that comes to mind to describe this false-Christianity is "Fundamentalism". I am not concerned with the historic meaning of this word. I am concerned with the psychological content. Fundamentalist mentality is directly opposed to the loving ways of Christ. It is akin to the Pharisaism of the 1st century that received the criticism of Jesus Christ in the Gospel accounts. Fundamentalism is a mental attitude that results in unloving actions that are justified by a rigid, legalistic, and confrontational use of the Bible.
This Blog was nspired by a recent article on Patheos.com (10-Ways-to-Spot-a Fundamentalist, by Erin Wathen).
Some of you may remember the comedian Jeff Foxworthy's comedy sketch titled "You Might Be A redneck". For example, Foxworthy remarked, "If you mow the lawn and find three junked cars, you might be a redneck." Let's change that comedy sketch and title it, "You Might Be a Fundamentalist".
However, identifying the fundamentalist error isn't a funny subject. Jesus had ongoing conflict with the fundamentalists of His day - the Pharisees.
If your message is based on fear, you might be a Fundamentalist.
Fundamentalists manipulate people through fears such as ...
Fear of damnation in hell. Please notice that the Gospel in the New Testament is never presented to anyone using the fear of hell as a motivation. The Gospel is always presented with Jesus at the center of the message and the wonderful promise of resurrection.
Fear of a supposed Great Tribulation and missing a supposed "rapture". Prophecy fundamentalists on radio and television gain millions in dollars and followers using fear as manipulation. God's Country Ministries rejects this fear based view of the future.
Fear of some other person or group. For example, fear of Muslims, Homosexuals, Liberals, or a fictitious Anti-Christ. Fundamentalists love to label people in order to ignore them. Jesus-Followers connect with people with love, not labels.
Fear of being rejected; not fitting in, or being expelled. Fundamentalists control people by an unspoken fear they will be rejected if they dare disagree.
Fear of imagined persecution. Fundamentalists find an enemy behind every tree and divide people into "them and us".
Jesus was not a fundamentalist. He motivated hurting people by love, not by fear. When Jesus did use fear, He was speaking to religious people and warning them of the penalty they faced for their unloving ways.
God's Country Ministries in not a Fundamentalist Church. We endeavor to avoid using fear to motive people.
If you think men should always be in charge, you might be a Fundamentalist.
Jesus had women as disciples and honored, encouraged, and treated women with respect throughout His ministry. His Church in the first century followed His example by allowing women to fill leadership roles such as Apostles, Prophets, Deacons, Pastors and Teachers.
The New Covenant teaches mutual submission in the home and equality in Church life.
Jesus and His true Church does not support Patriarchy.
God's Country Ministries is not a Fundamentalist Church. Men and women are called to mutual respect, mutual honor, and equal opportunity in both the home and the Church and equal opportunity to use the gifts God has given them in team ministry.
If you demand a rigid, literal interpretation of Scripture in which there is no room for mystery, doubt, or questions, you might be a fundamentalist.
The story of Job and his questioning of God, demonstrates that God expects and honors the person who is a sincere seeker, and dares to ask tough questions. Job's false-friends claimed to have all the answers. At the end of the story Job is vindicated and his false-friends accused of misrepresenting God.
The Bible is not a science book. Its sole purpose is to lead people to Christ. For example, Christians may disagree on how best to understand the creation account in Genesis.
God's Country Ministries encourages Jesus-Followers to dialogue in non-essential matters of the faith. We respect the right for Christians to disagree agreeably on non-essentials. We practice the axiom; "In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity."
If you elevate law and minimize love in relating to people, you might be a Fundamentalist.
The New Covenant inaugurated by the Blood of Jesus sets us free from the Old Covenant and the laws of the Torah. The "Law of Christ" is to "love one another as Jesus has loved you." The Law is fulfilled in the New Covenant, not by lists of rules, but by love from a pure heart. The true Jesus-Follower is more aware of their own sinfulness than the sin of others.
God's Country Ministries will always strive to relate to people with the love of Christ.
If you cannot separate your faith from your patriotism, you might be a Fundamentalist.
The Kingdom of God demands higher loyalty than any kingdom of this world. We are to "obey God rather than men". The story of the relationship of prophets to the governing authorities in the Bible is one of conflict. False prophets were cheerleaders for the government, while true prophets of God dared to declare the sin of the nation.
God's Country Ministries will always try to keep civil celebrations and memorial occasions of patriotism separate from times of worship.
Pastor Pete Tremblay