Ideology of the Fundamentalist
"Christ and the Bible
are indissolubly linked
together. If you can get rid of the Bible, you can get rid of Christ.
If you can get rid of Christ, then you can get rid of the Bible. The
one is the complement and counterpart of the other. Christ and
the Bible are the binomial word of God...You are done with Christ
if you are done with the Bible...." GW Truett The Quest for Souls
In reaction to rising evolutionary theorist and modernist Biblical criticism, the fundamentalist Christian movement emerged in various Protestant bodies in the early 19th Century. In 1895, a Bible Conference of Conservative Protestants met in Niagara. A result of this conference was a statement that illuminated the five points of fundamentalism: verbal inerrancy of the Scripture, divinity of Jesus Christ, the Virgin birth, a substitutionary theory of atonement (the idea that one achieves salvation through God's grace and not through his own works), and the physical resurrection and bodily return of Christ. All of our beliefs are based on a literal reading of the King James Bible. This belief of verbal inerrancy of the Bible is probably the main tenant of fundamentalism. We believe the Word is God and God is the Word (John 1:1), and the two cannot be separated. So, although many people view our beliefs as either extremist or ultra-conservative, we are simply following the Word of God, as written in the Bible. Many aspects of our beliefs are often criticized, such as our belief in the subordination of women (Ephesians 5:22-24), but this, like all our other beliefs, is supported by the Bible. Specifically, the Fundamentalist Christian movement exists to combat the presence of Satan in a world that has been taken over by secularized culture and a non Christian society. Our goal is not to accomplish one specific task, per se, but to lead people to the Truth, and to a Christian lifestyle that focuses on the Bible.
As a movement, we are not inherently political. But, when we do enter into the political arena, the Christian Coalition is usually at the forefront. The Christian Coalition, www.cc.org, led by Pat Robertson, was founded in 1989, and is a growing group of 72 million. During the first half of the 20th Century, many Christians vanished from the political arena. Post WW II prosperity, along with a desire to avoid becoming "worldly," lured many Christians into political complacency. However, Christian Americans wanted to bring the country back to the morals and faith on which is was founded, and gradually we began to get reemerge in the political arena. Now, the Christian Coalition touts itself as the largest and most effective grassroots political movement of Christian activists in the history of the nation.
Our movement's beliefs, in alignment with groups like the Christian Coalition and the Southern Baptist Convention, politically and socially conservative. We believe in strengthening the family and defending the institution of marriage, which includes an opposition to homosexual behavior, as well as gay marriages. We would like to see abortion outlawed in order to protect innocent lives. As defined by the Bill of Rights, we believe in religious freedom thus we believe that prayer should be returned to the public school system. Above all, we adamantly believe in religious freedom; standing up for people of faith against drugs, violence, and sexual promiscuity.
Along with us, the American Protestant fundamentalism has made a powerful push to "return" to an idealized form of the the traditional family. The family forms the cornerstone of our beliefs, because the family is an institution set up by God, who acts as the head of the household. In accordance with our beliefs, a woman's ideal fulfillment is usually motherhood, and the home is to be a haven from the harshness of the outside world. Parents have a moral obligation to maintain an active and guiding role in the daily life of their child. Following the inerrant, literal directions of the Bible, this parental role takes many forms. Many of our beliefs are justified by the Bible, such as our desire to completely shelter our children from the habits, talk, and philosophy of the world, as stated in II Corinthians 6:14-18. The rest of the family are assigned roles, by God, and entail the husband being the head of the wife and authority over the children, the wife being the help and secondary authority over the children and the children being absolutely obedient to the parents. Authority is placed throughout the family based on gender and age. The Bible states that women are naturally subordinate to men because Adam was created before Eve and that Eve was the first sinner and thus lesser in her status relative to heaven. This belief is justified in that there is no female figure in Godhead, and thus women only have rights in so far as they are given to her by the male figure.
The dating and courtship practices of Christian fundamentalist families often embody the basic tenants of fundamentalist beliefs. It is against our beliefs for an individual to date someone who has not been saved, further if they participate in premarital sex, then they must be married IMMEDIATELY! (Ex. 22:16). Children should not attend public schools or universities if these institutions breed "ungodliness and animalism," as author Paul Freeman puts it. Good Christian parents routinely disallow any form of dating or courtship until college, but even then the parent should maintain an active role when choosing a suitable Christian mate for their child. We believe that strict chaperoning is the only way to keep children out of trouble, since leaving members of the opposite sex alone can only invite certain trouble. Anything that involves sexuality - such as dances, movies, or even sex education classes- must be not be discussed with children so as to avoid having it enter into a child's conscious.
Perhaps the most crucial challenge for Fundamentalist Christians is to be "in the world, not of the world." One way that this is exemplified is through the protest that we plan to have on in which parents will withdraw their children from school because of unproper reading material. We want to prevent ourselves and our families from succumbing to the evil temptations that permeate our society today. The object is to live cleanly and purely, with devotion to God being a daily goal. This becomes possible by adhering to God's commandments and using very strict, literal interpretations of His Word, the way the Bible was intended to be read. God is perfect, and because He and His Word are one in the same, the Bible must also be perfect. Avoidance of worldly sin is achieved by building strong families with correct gender roles, and providing a haven for our children in which to learn about God. Fundamentalism, as a movement, is a continuing process because each individual must make a personal decision to come to Christ, and our goal is to serve as an aid in people's quest for salvation. As a collection of individuals who believe in the power of the Fundamentalist movement, we will be more capable, as a UNIT, to affect change in our communities.
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