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Evangelical, Fundamental & Pentecostal


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here's an piece I wrote...

 

The History & Roots of American Christian Fundamentalism

 

Beliefs That Religious Fundamentalists Share

 

*That 'Their' Brand Of Christianity Is 'THEE' Only Real Version of Christianity & All 'Others' Are False & Unsaved

 

*Spreading The Gospel Motivating By The Fear Of Loved Ones Being Destroyed At Armageddon, Or Going To Hell

 

*Praising Women But Refusing To Excpet Them as Completely Equal

 

*Rigid Man-Made Rules That Can Not Be Bibically Backed

 

(This website does NOT support the views of www.EveryStudent.Org, www.Watchman.org, nor the views of www.Freeminds.org, nor ANY of the above ads)

 

 

 

The term "Fundamentalist" derives from a 1909 publication "The Fundamentals: A testimony to the truth" which proposed five required Christian beliefs for those opposed to the Modernist movement.

 

Originally a technical theological term, it became commonly used after the "Scopes" trial in Tennessee during the mid 1920s. Dayton, Tennessee in 1925. John Scopes, a high school biology teacher was on trial for contravening the state's Butler Act. It forbade the teaching of "any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals." 4,5 Although Scopes was found guilty, it was generally felt that he had won a moral victory.

 

By the late 1930's Christian Fundamentalists had formed a sub-culture and had largely withdrawn from the rest of society. Following major revisions to Roman Catholic beliefs and practices during the Vatican II conferences in the 1960's, the term "fundamentalist" started to be used to refer to Catholics who rejected the changes, and wished to retain traditional beliefs and practices. Thus it became a commonly used word to describe the most conservative groups within Christianity: Protestant and Catholic.

 

Back in the 1960's many theologians and historians expected that religions would become less conservative and generally weaker with time. That did not happen. Instead, the fundamentalist wings of major world religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, have grown and become increasingly dedicated to preserving religious tradition. Karen Armstrong has addressed Fundamentalism in Christianity, Islam and Judaism in her book: "The Battle for God." 1

 

Focus on the Kingdom, Volume 6 No. 9 June, 2004

 

My Spiritual Journey

 

by Diane M.

 

"When I was young, my parents called themselves fundamentalists. As I grew older, they began to use the term evangelical. (In my experience, the difference between the two is mostly one of tone: the manner of presentation of doctrine rather than the substance of doctrine. The stance of an evangelical toward the world is less confrontational and less wary than the stance of a fundamentalist.)

 

The theology I was taught, and believed, from adolescence through most of my adult years I call evangelical orthodoxy. Some major doctrines are the Trinity, the dual nature of Christ, salvation by faith evidenced by works, eternal security, the pre-tribulation rapture of the church, the immortality of the human soul with immediate heaven or hell after death, and the everlasting suffering of the damned in hell."

 

In the U.S., the Fundamentalist-led Moral Majority emerged to challenge social and religious beliefs and practices. Today, Fundamentalists are the most vocal group in opposition to abortion access, equal rights against discrimination and hate crimes for homosexuals, physician assisted suicide, the use of embryonic stem cells for medical research, comprehensive sex-ed classes in public schools, etc.

 

The Assemblies of God is one Fundamentalist denomination. The Southern Baptist Convention has moved towards fundamentalism in recent years. Bob Jones University [see buttom link on him], the General Association of Regular Baptists, the Moody Bible Institute and other groups are also Fundamentalist. Among the most generally known Fundamentalist Christian leaders are Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Hal Lindsey.

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  • 6 years later...

It seems like in my lifetime the use of fundamentalist has developed a negative connotation; it is used to describe the fringe. I like your use of the term evangelical orthodoxy. I was raised in an evangelical home and went to an evangelical private school; most of my family are evangelical Christians. None of my family would identify themselves as fundamentalist.

 

Some of my family are pentecostal; to me the defining attribute of pentecostal is more lively contemporary church services and the speaking in tongues. I was raised holiness which is like pentecostal without the lively services or the speaking in tongues; in particular I was raised in the Nazarene Church.

 

It seems like the evangelical orthodoxy has converged around the idea of 'born again', rapture, stict moral codes including conservative sexual codes, pro-life, and prohibition of alcohol consumption. Open questions which separate denominations include worship style, method of sanctification, the frequency and meaning of 'back-sliding', speaking in tongues. Other open questions are acceptance of evolution and global warming, level of focus on Isreal and focus on end times.

 

Interesting questions to me is the overlap and differentiation compared to mainline protestants and to Roman Catholics. There are definitely conservative Roman Catholics who share many views with evangelicals. There are some documented cases of speaking in tongues appearing in the mainline protestent denominations and many of the mainline denominations have breakaway versions which have become evangelical; consider for example the different Lutheran branches. My childhood church, the Nazarenes are actually a break away from the Methodist.

 

Are we getting to a point where protestant is to broad a category and we need to differentiate evangelical and mainline?

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It seems like in my lifetime the use of fundamentalist has developed a negative connotation; it is used to describe the fringe. I like your use of the term evangelical orthodoxy.

Scott,

 

FWIW, Corbett (Religion in America) defines evangelicalism as having these minimal criteria:

 

(1) Salvation only through faith in Jesus Christ,

(2) An experience of having a personal conversion, commonly called 'born again,'

(3) The importance of missions and evangelism (sharing the message),

(4) The truth of inerrancy of Scripture.

 

Under Fundamentalism, she says, "The keystone was and is the inerrancy of Scripture. She doesn't mention the importance of evangelism. But, there seems to be some overlap, particularly with respect to inerrancy of Scripture.

 

Apart from any formal distinction, I agree with you that the term 'fundamentalist' has acquired a negative connotation that 'evangelical' has not.

 

George

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Are we getting to a point where protestant is to broad a category and we need to differentiate evangelical and mainline?

 

Protestant is still a valid distinction, IMO, between themselves and Catholic.

 

Although both claim to be Christian, they differ significantly on the "means" of salvation. Protestants claim that salvation is a D-I-Y kind of thing, whereas Catholics believe in the Sacraments as a means to salvation. Put simply; Catholicism is a "works-based" salvation and Protestantism is a "knowledge-based" system (one could argue, however, that since there is a "special knowledge" required, that it also is a "works-based" faith). Much-ado, however, is made of the Grace-through-Faith argument (For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Ephesians 2:8) first adequately articulated by Martin Luther in his "95 Theses" document nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany in protestation of the Church's practice of selling Indulgences.

 

Evangelical and Fundamental describe variants to the Protestant theme. I don't think I've ever heard of Catholics calling themselves "fundamentalist." I could be wrong.

 

Personally, I don't see much difference theologically between those who call themselves Evangelical and those who call themselves Fundamentalists (I've been long-time members of both) - other than some Evangelicals don't like the word or negative association, as pointed out above, of the Fundamentalist moniker.

 

When I was a believer and a member of either, I referred to myself as a fundamentalist - because those fundamentals are basic understandings of the faith as I understood them.

 

NORM

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I would say the view on the bible quite far distinquish fundamentalism "like the bible is the innerrant world of God" versus a scientifical approach.

Here in my country the majority of fundamentalists wouldn´t call themselves that, rather traditionalists, which in general means the same, the innerrant bible

tells them that no women can be priests and gays cannot marry or practice sex and so on.

 

In practice the scientifical view on the bible doesn´t result in one "true" view but instead it raises questions and shows there is no true dogmatic view for all.

This at least opens up one to think more or less critically and may result in a variety of views, however often less hard, which despite of the diversity results

in a very different approach towards religion.

 

No other factor (mission, salvation) separates in my view the outcome as much as the biblical view.

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I would say the view on the bible quite far distinquish fundamentalism "like the bible is the innerrant world of God"

 

This is held to be true among those who call themselves evangelicals. They can differ on interpretation of the inerrant word o' G-d.

 

NORM

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Here in my country the majority of fundamentalists wouldn´t call themselves that, rather traditionalists, which in general means the same, the innerrant bible

tells them that no women can be priests and gays cannot marry or practice sex and so on.

 

Akhenaten,

 

Welcome. You mention your country (presumably not the U.S). I would be interested to know what country that would be. That would give a little more perspective to your comments. Your nom de PC sounds like it could be Semitic (Hebrew - brother of Naten?).

 

George

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I have to comment because my day just wouldn't be complete if I didn't. :D

 

I was Catholic – guess I still am because “once a Catholic always a Catholic”. I know many, many Catholics who are fundamentalist, believing in the literalness and inerrancy of scripture. Even the official catechism takes the fall of Adam and Eve literally. No Catholic that I know would ever consider themselves fundamentalist – just Roman Catholic. I also know many evangelical Catholics who would never call themselves fundamentalist, but would certainly proudly claim being evangelical.

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I must admit this is something I am not at all clear on, either...the difference, the distinctions, between "fundamentalist" and "Evangelical". Can someone or a particular religious community be one and not the othher, or the other and not the one?

 

Now "Pentacostal", I think I'm clear on...it designates those that believe in a "second" baptism, the "baptism in the Holy Ghost (or Spirit)", as something that might later for some that have recieved "just the basic" water Baptism of salvation for having accepted Jesus as savior.

 

Jenell

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Guest billmc

I must admit this is something I am not at all clear on, either...the difference, the distinctions, between "fundamentalist" and "Evangelical". Can someone or a particular religious community be one and not the othher, or the other and not the one?

 

To my understanding, Jenell, most fundamentalists are also evangelicals but not vice versa.

 

The following is an over-simplification but reflects my own experiences in both groups:

 

Fundamentalists tend to have an agreed upon "statement of beliefs" or set of doctrinal statements which have to do with the nature of things - God, the Bible, humanity, the church, eschatology (future things), sin, etc.. And they are often "evangelical" in that they seek to increase their numbers by spreading their belief system or paradigm. They are primarily concerned with getting their beliefs right.

 

Evangelicals, though having similar beliefs, tend to share their faith more through focusing on their own personal experience of a relationship with Jesus. They are more prone to share their faith, not by telling you all of their beliefs, but by telling you what God and Jesus (or, for Pentecostals, the Spirit) have done in their lives. So, IMO, evangelicals tend to be the more "mystical" of the two groups. But there is still a lot of overlap.

 

Some fundamentalists, however, are not very evangelical. In my experiences, the Calvanists, while having a quite clear belief system, don't "evangelize" very much, perhaps due to their view of predestination.

 

Fundamentalism is not at all confined to Protestants though. Some Catholics can be very fundamentalist. And some are very evangelical. Some atheists are fundamentalist. Again IMO, fundamentalism is rooted in dualism - in constanting trying to determine what is right and wrong, saved and unsaved, godly and secular, holy and evil. The upside to fundamentalism is the sense of community derived from a gathering where everyone agrees on the fundamentals. The downside is that questioning is often discouraged and there is often pressure to conform to the group's standards. Evangelicals are more freeing in allowing for questions and disagreement, but they still feel the need to make converts.

 

Hope this helps.

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