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nube's picture

I have been thinking a lot about fundamentalism and fundamentalists lately and IT SEEMS TO ME that the real problem with Fundamentalism--from a hermeneutical standpoint--is that it asserts a certain definite kind of authority over the scriptures, which insists that the bible must be true in this way (and not THAT way) if it is true at all. To me, who is not an expert, it seems as if fundamentalists are in danger of being like those learned men who know every jot and tittle very well, and believe that the inerrancy (and therefore truth) of scripture is to be found in the preservation and observation of those same tittles and jots.

Are there any practicing fundamentalists out there who are able to clarify for me better the way they understand the bible, and why they are fundamentalist? I know many good fundamentalists, but I have never been able to understand their position on the authority of the Bible, though I sense that they have a deep respect for the book and for the Lord. It is not my desire to attack fundamentalists but to understand them--please help me understand your position, so that we may commune with respect.

tomgroeneman's picture


I agree with your analysis to a point and that is where we may have a debate. Modernism and Post-modernism presents a challenge to the historic Christian faith when it posits the theory that only truth that can be empirically verified is reliable; and even then it can still be rejected by people and their subjective experience or individual opinion. In other words, since the rationalism and materialism of the Enlightenment, there is no absolute truth that can be known. This is the historical contention that you have observed and that Fundamentalism is a response to.

I would accept the presupposition that the Sacred Scriptures are the ultimate standard of truth and God's word is authoritative and historically reliable. In the contemporary philosophical paradigm, man is left to himself in a random universe and subject to the capricious dictates of relativism. If the Scriptures are given their proper place, man has hope and confidence in a consistent system of morality that is based on the attributes of God. Authority is the main issue and where I am most secure in my understanding of the universe.

Without this authority, a state of intellectual and practical anarchy exists. We see the fruits of this in the moral decay and social dysfunction of contemporary culture. The institutions of Family, Church and Government are being eroded gradually until there will be a complete breakdown described in the Bible as the Great Tribulation. The foundations of civilization are built on the principles and authority of God and His eternal Word. Truth can be known and it has been revealed to mankind in the person and work of Jesus Christ. This is how I see it anyways.

Tom Groeneman