Does that mean I’m a gun-toting, knife wielding blood thirsty assailant?Actually, it means the exact opposite. The word ‘Fundamental’ means ‘Forming a foundation. Essential.’ (World Book Dictionary) Therefore a fundamentalist is a person who believes the foundational, the essential tenants of his or her faith and ideology. This conviction motivates them to live out their foundational beliefs and it becomes their world-view.’Yes, it is correct to say certain religious and political groups have a basic belief system that promotes barbaric behaviour and cruel oppression. However, such a worldview cannot be laid at the feet of Christianity’s founder, the Lord Jesus Christ. On what basis do I make such a statement? Simply on the authority of the Bible!
For me, to be a Christian Fundamentalist requires me to know, understand and apply the foundational truths of the Christian Faith. The most basic one of course is the person and work of the one named Jesus in the Gospels. He is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament; He is the Song of God; He was crucified according to the scriptures, entombed and on the third day rose again. (John 20:31. Romans 10:9-13)
When you ask Him to be your Saviour and Lord you place yourself under His authority. In turn that requires you to get to know, understand and endeavour to live out His teachings. That is fundamental to your Christian life. As you read the Gospels and the New Testament letters you do not find any jihadist teaching or allowance for such behaviour. In fact a far great test for moral and spiritual courage and faith is demanded.
The fundamentals of my faith flow from but do not cease at the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-48. In the context of which fundamentalism is now portrayed as being terrorists what do you make of the following:
‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.’
‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake’
‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account’
‘I (Jesus speaking) say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven…”
‘In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.’ Matthew 7:12.
History has an unfortunate record of disobedience to these fundamentals by true and pseudo disciples. The Inquisition is a case in point. Jesus never authorised His followers to perpetrate such intolerance and cruelty towards those who reject Him. In fact in the parable of the ‘Weeds’ in Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. The Lord calls for patience and kindness. Why? Because only He can discern the ‘Wheat from the Weed’ for He alone sees the heart. He alone is the Supreme Judge and hasn’t delegated that to anyone. He has set aside a judgement day when all will give an account of their fundamental worldview, behaviour and view of Him.
Jesus Christ isn’t demanding of His followers what He hasn’t experienced Himself. Isaiah 53 prophecy was fulfilled in Christ on the cross. He could have called the angelic hosts to rescue Him, but no, He trusted in the Heavenly Father’s promise of victory over Sin, Death and the Devil. This could only be accomplished through the medium of the cross and the declaration of victory by the resurrection from the tomb.
It is on the evidence of the Bible, secular and sacred history that I bowed in faith before Him and became His disciple. I have grown in that relationship for nigh on sixty years and have found Him faithful to His word. It hasn’t always been easy (however a lot easier than my Christian family in other countries), it hasn’t always been pleasant. Nor has it always been appreciated while being exploited by Christ’s opponents. However, the sense of walking in His light and approval combined with the promise of one day seeing Him face to face puts everything in proper perspective. Both my walk in this life and my abiding with Him in the next is simply, solely and eternally due to the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
They are some of the reasons I’m a Christian Fundamentalist. There are others and you can read about them in the Judeo-Christian Bible.
© Ray Hawkins October 2014.