100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

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100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by durangopipe » Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:47 pm

http://theconversation.com/fundamentali ... ght-123651

I’ll leave it to the moderators to decide whether this is a topic we can discuss as a community here.
If it needs to be in an opt-in forum, I’ll opt out.

However, I somehow stumbled across this article this morning and thought it might generate some interesting discussion.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that a lot of our other conversations (notably, many that revolve around the differences between some Protestant expressions of the faith and Catholic and Orthodox expressions) have the question of biblical inerrancy and exactly what that phrase means at their root.

The matter of the conflict (or not) between science and scripture (young earth/old earth, evolution, etc.) is at its root a question regarding the matter of biblical inerrancy, an issue that was/is central to Protestant Fundamentalist Christianity.

That the matter of conflict between science and scripture was well explored and resolved by many (most notably Aquinas) as an apparent and not legitimate conflict seems to inform most mainstream Protestant denominations, as well as Catholic and Orthodox positions on the matter; however, fundamentalist Christianity sees the matter quite differently.

Can we frame that discussion here in terms of church history, and most specifically in terms of the history of Protestantism and Fundamentslism in America without lapsing into destructive argument?

This article has me pondering these questions anew.
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by SlowToke » Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:34 pm

When anyone claims inerrancy over anything, especially spiritual, it sends up red flags for me. It always strikes me as arrogant close mindedness to even begin to think we understand God and his ways. In reality, I believe we only scratch the surface of understanding in our limited and primitive ways. In these instances (and any instance where one person or group claims the other is wrong and therefor falsely assumes they are, by default, right) I’m reminded of Job. After arguing with his friends exhaustively over whether he is culpable for his plight, Job reprehends God. Job is a righteous and blameless man but he illustrates his lack of understanding of God. In these types of debates, more often than not, most likely both sides are at least partially if not wholly wrong.
Last edited by SlowToke on Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by sweetandsour » Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:13 pm

The son of a good friend of mine at our church is one of the physicists at the creation museum. He's spoken at our church on a couple of occasions, and talks more about literal translation, rather than inerrancy per se. E.g., 7 days = 7 days, etc. He bad-mouths no one, but just presents his data, states his case for a so-called young earth (young universe, actually). He does claim that there are secular scientists who secretly agree with him.

Wrt the above link, it went to a book synopsis, not an actual "article", and I'm not sure exactly where the authors stand on the issues. I jumped to the synopsis for their book about the creation museum also, which seemed to be rather cynical.
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by Goose55 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:00 pm

Despite the spelling of the word, there's no fun in fundamentalism.
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by DepartedLight » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:37 pm

durangopipe wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:47 pm
http://theconversation.com/fundamentali ... ght-123651

I’ll leave it to the moderators to decide whether this is a topic we can discuss as a community here.
If it needs to be in an opt-in forum, I’ll opt out.

However, I somehow stumbled across this article this morning and thought it might generate some interesting discussion.

Correct me if I’m wrong, I actually read the article first but it seems to me that a lot of our other conversations (notably, many that revolve around the differences between some Protestant expressions of the faith and Catholic and Orthodox expressions) have the question of biblical inerrancy and exactly what that phrase means at their root. ok

The matter of the conflict (or not) between science and scripture (young earth/old earth, evolution, etc.) is at its root a question regarding the matter of biblical inerrancy, an issue that was/is central to Protestant Fundamentalist Christianity. ok

That the matter of conflict between science and scripture was well explored and resolved by many (most notably Aquinas) as an apparent and not legitimate conflict seems to inform most mainstream Protestant denominations, as well as Catholic and Orthodox positions on the matter; however, fundamentalist Christianity sees the matter quite differently. Ok

Can we frame that discussion here in terms of church history, and most specifically in terms of the history of Protestantism and Fundamentslism in America without lapsing into destructive argument? No.

This article has me pondering these questions anew.

The article was a walk through a history that is personally painful. My bias against the latest iteration of Fundamentalism was best bantered with Infidel. We called them 9 Fingered. Mu.

Fundamentalists at the core find the liturgical Christian communities to be 'the real evil.'

I've finally accepted that and stopped arguing with them.
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by wosbald » Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:14 pm

+JMJ+
DepartedLight wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:37 pm
[…]

Fundamentalists at the core find the liturgical Christian communities to be 'the real evil.'

[…]

ImageImage

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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by Del » Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:59 pm

SlowToke wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:34 pm
When anyone claims inerrancy over anything, especially spiritual, it sends up red flags for me. It always strikes me as arrogant close mindedness to even begin to think we understand God and his ways. In reality, I believe we only scratch the surface of understanding in our limited and primitive ways. In these instances (and any instance where one person or group claims the other is wrong and therefor falsely assumes they are, by default, right) I’m reminded of Job. After arguing with his friends exhaustively over whether he is culpable for his plight, Job reprehends God. Job is a righteous and blameless man but he illustrates his lack of understanding of God. In these types of debates, more often than not, most likely both sides are at least partially if not wholly wrong.
I agree with you, but I want to inject a bit of precision in terms here. Specifically, what theologians mean by inerrant, infallible, and authority.

When we say that a Sacred Scripture is inerrant, we mean that the source data is reliable. The inspired writing is faithful to the message that God wants to give us.

When we say that a Church's teaching Tradition is infallible, we mean that the teachings of that Church are guided by the Holy Spirit, protected from human fallibility.

When we say that a Church or Tradition has authority, we mean that there is divine guidance available to correct us when we misunderstand the inspired Scriptures.
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by tuttle » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:20 am

As one who has many a beef with the more fundamental versions of Protestant Christianity, the article, and many critics of fundamentalism, downplays the legitimate threat of liberalism seeping into Christianity. Fundamentalism was a built on a 'hold the fort' kind of response that for the most part didn't seem to mature properly. They rightly saw a real threat, and rightly understood what positions needed to be held at that time, but the problem (with many reactionary movements) is that their defense of the gospel became the gospel.
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by wosbald » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:55 am

+JMJ+

To me, this seems to be the article's money-quote …
Durango's linked article wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:47 pm
[…]

The second was “The Fundamentals,” 12 volumes published between 1910 and 1915 which made the case for biblical inerrancy while simultaneously attacking socialism and affirming capitalism.

[…]
Assuming this quote accurately summates the source's views, then this encapsulates the problem. For what can be seen here is a reduction of religion to the political sphere. A yoking of Christianity — through a flat "affirmation" rather than a cautiously provisional sufferance — to culturally favored politco-economic systems.

This is an error common to both Fundamentalism/Integralism and Modernism/Progressivism. They predicate the Church/Kingdom upon the triumph political systems, rather than measuring said systems by their conformity to the lineaments established by the Church/Kingdom.

AFAIC, it really is just that simple.

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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by FredS » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:46 am

FredS wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:45 am
I don't understand what the hell is going on today, but I'm finding myself largely in agreement with our Catholic guys.
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by durangopipe » Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:27 pm

tuttle wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:20 am
As one who has many a beef with the more fundamental versions of Protestant Christianity, the article, and many critics of fundamentalism, downplays the legitimate threat of liberalism seeping into Christianity. Fundamentalism was a built on a 'hold the fort' kind of response that for the most part didn't seem to mature properly. They rightly saw a real threat, and rightly understood what positions needed to be held at that time, but the problem (with many reactionary movements) is that their defense of the gospel became the gospel.
... and included a good number of contemporaneous social conventions that had nothing to do with the gospel - the prohibitions against smoking, alcohol, movies, dancing, traditional playing cards, etc.that became conflated with sound doctrine.

More complex is the focus on end times and the establishment of pre-millennial eschatology and dispensationalism as near givens in biblical exegesis. But this, too, was a product of the Fundamentalist movement.

Along with, as Wosbald suggests, a flipping of cart and horse in the assessment of economic policies, politicians and political parties. Sound doctrine should inform politics. Politics should not create doctrine.

All of this, along with a re-emphasized perception of the (apparent - my position) conflict between faith and science.

This “100th anniversary” moment reminds us of American Fundamentalism’s origins in time and place: early 20th century United States, not in the early church and not particularly well rooted in scripture (again, my position) or shared by the majority of Christian expressions and theologians in other places and times.
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by tuttle » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:04 pm

durangopipe wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:27 pm
tuttle wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:20 am
As one who has many a beef with the more fundamental versions of Protestant Christianity, the article, and many critics of fundamentalism, downplays the legitimate threat of liberalism seeping into Christianity. Fundamentalism was a built on a 'hold the fort' kind of response that for the most part didn't seem to mature properly. They rightly saw a real threat, and rightly understood what positions needed to be held at that time, but the problem (with many reactionary movements) is that their defense of the gospel became the gospel.
... and included a good number of contemporaneous social conventions that had nothing to do with the gospel - the prohibitions against smoking, alcohol, movies, dancing, traditional playing cards, etc.that became conflated with sound doctrine.

More complex is the focus on end times and the establishment of pre-millennial eschatology and dispensationalism as near givens in biblical exegesis. But this, too, was a product of the Fundamentalist movement.

Along with, as Wosbald suggests, a flipping of cart and horse in the assessment of economic policies, politicians and political parties.

All of this, along with a re-emphasized perception of the (apparent - my position) conflict between faith and science.

This “100th anniversary” moment reminds us of American Fundamentalism’s origins in time and place: early 20th century United States, not in the early church and not particularly well rooted in scripture (again, my position) or shared by the majority of Christian expressions and theologians in other places and times.
I think the pressure exposed the weaknesses. Look at the dependence on external scruples. Look at all the cult-like mentalities of many of these groups; total obeisance to a single/temporal authority. Look at the subjective interpretations, with a bible in one hand and the crisis newspaper headline in the other, and note the fear-based eschatological fist banging. People with a firm grasp of the gospel don't do that.

This 100th anniversary moment reminds me that an intransigent minority besieged on all sides can cause a ripple effect throughout a nation. It behooves us in our day and age, when we are being assaulted, to seek a similar intransigence, deeply rooted in orthodoxy and welded to gospel fidelity.

Like I said, I have my beef with fundamentalists, but I have a hard time condemning someone aiming at an attempt at being faithful, slinging sandbags against an oncoming flood, because they get uppity about rated R movies. That said, 100 years later, they've grown so used to their entrenchment that they think the trench fever is a godly thing. They can't conceive of anything but a foxhole/wartime Christianity. I say (not that you don't) honor the faithfulness and condemn the stupid and don't forget Christ loves a lot of stupid people.
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by TwoXseveN » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:23 pm

Del wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:59 pm
SlowToke wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:34 pm
When anyone claims inerrancy over anything, especially spiritual, it sends up red flags for me. It always strikes me as arrogant close mindedness to even begin to think we understand God and his ways. In reality, I believe we only scratch the surface of understanding in our limited and primitive ways. In these instances (and any instance where one person or group claims the other is wrong and therefor falsely assumes they are, by default, right) I’m reminded of Job. After arguing with his friends exhaustively over whether he is culpable for his plight, Job reprehends God. Job is a righteous and blameless man but he illustrates his lack of understanding of God. In these types of debates, more often than not, most likely both sides are at least partially if not wholly wrong.
I agree with you, but I want to inject a bit of precision in terms here. Specifically, what theologians mean by inerrant, infallible, and authority.

When we say that a Sacred Scripture is inerrant, we mean that the source data is reliable. The inspired writing is faithful to the message that God wants to give us.

When we say that a Church's teaching Tradition is infallible, we mean that the teachings of that Church are guided by the Holy Spirit, protected from human fallibility.

When we say that a Church or Tradition has authority, we mean that there is divine guidance available to correct us when we misunderstand the inspired Scriptures.
Ok I'll play devil's advocate even though I'm not one to typically chime in on these guys.



Del, I like your clarifications. It's a helpful distinction.

On the other hand, you describe The Church's interpretations/definitions of three words.


Here are the actual definitions:

inerrant: incapable of being wrong.

infallible: incapable of making mistakes or being wrong.

authority: the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.


AKA: if Del's distinctions are accurate, The Church has done a lovely job of claiming three words and colossally misrepresenting them.
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by FredS » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:24 pm

durangopipe wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:27 pm
This “100th anniversary” moment reminds us of American Fundamentalism’s origins in time and place: early 20th century United States, not in the early church and not particularly well rooted in scripture (again, my position) or shared by the majority of Christian expressions and theologians in other places and times.
^This^

fun·da·men·tal·ism
noun: fundamentalism
a form of a religion, especially Islam or Protestant Christianity, that upholds belief in the strict, literal interpretation of scripture

By this definition, there is a time and place where the fundamentalists say "Here! We plant our flag right here and right now. From here forward scripture is to interpreted as we interpret it now."

That's why it bumps against new discoveries. We spent a lot of time discussing this in my church group in our last term. You can't unlearn something. The adult child of an alcoholic father can't go back to an innocent childhood once he learns how damaging the father was. We can forgive and make allowances and show grace, but we can't unknow things. We can't pretend the earth is the center of the universe after we discover it orbits the sun. To do so - as Del wrote - makes us look silly when we try to share the gospel.
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by TwoXseveN » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:27 pm

FredS wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:46 am
FredS wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:45 am
I don't understand what the hell is going on today, but I'm finding myself largely in agreement with our Catholic guys.
I really like this. I might steal it in my day to day life.
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by Thunktank » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:25 pm

I was raised closely with Evangelical fundamentalism via an independent Baptist church. Some of them even more precisely believed that only the King James Version was inerrant. I was instructed to memorize the New Testament save Revelations from the 6th -12th grade using the King James Version. We studied prophecy in 12th grade using a “dispensationalist” method. I doubted God in 12 grade, but one afternoon my entire family left the house without mention. We lived in woods. I was very concerned that they were raptured and I was left behind like I deserved. That is all. :lol:
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by TwoXseveN » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:32 pm

Thunktank wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:25 pm
I was raised closely with Evangelical fundamentalism via an independent Baptist church. Some of them even more precisely believed that only the King James Version was inerrant. I was instructed to memorize the New Testament save Revelations from the 6th -12th grade using the King James Version. We studied prophecy in 12th grade using a “dispensationalist” method. I doubted God in 12 grade, but one afternoon my entire family left the house without mention. We lived in woods. I was very concerned that they were raptured and I was left behind like I deserved. That is all. :lol:
This is called behavioral manipulation / abuse in 2019

We probably need a prayer thread for Thunk.
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by Del » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:54 pm

Thunktank wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:25 pm
I was raised closely with Evangelical fundamentalism via an independent Baptist church. Some of them even more precisely believed that only the King James Version was inerrant. I was instructed to memorize the New Testament save Revelations from the 6th -12th grade using the King James Version. We studied prophecy in 12th grade using a “dispensationalist” method. I doubted God in 12 grade, but one afternoon my entire family left the house without mention. We lived in woods. I was very concerned that they were raptured and I was left behind like I deserved. That is all. :lol:
Did they ever come back?
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by Thunktank » Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:29 am

Del wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:54 pm
Thunktank wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:25 pm
I was raised closely with Evangelical fundamentalism via an independent Baptist church. Some of them even more precisely believed that only the King James Version was inerrant. I was instructed to memorize the New Testament save Revelations from the 6th -12th grade using the King James Version. We studied prophecy in 12th grade using a “dispensationalist” method. I doubted God in 12 grade, but one afternoon my entire family left the house without mention. We lived in woods. I was very concerned that they were raptured and I was left behind like I deserved. That is all. :lol:
Did they ever come back?
Yes, and they still think I deserve it. Especially now that I’m Catholic. :lol:
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Re: 100 Year Anniversary of American Fundamentalism

Post by Del » Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:47 am

Thunktank wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:29 am
Del wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:54 pm
Thunktank wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:25 pm
I was raised closely with Evangelical fundamentalism via an independent Baptist church. Some of them even more precisely believed that only the King James Version was inerrant. I was instructed to memorize the New Testament save Revelations from the 6th -12th grade using the King James Version. We studied prophecy in 12th grade using a “dispensationalist” method. I doubted God in 12 grade, but one afternoon my entire family left the house without mention. We lived in woods. I was very concerned that they were raptured and I was left behind like I deserved. That is all. :lol:
Did they ever come back?
Yes, and they still think I deserve it. Especially now that I’m Catholic. :lol:
Dispensational mythology is mystifying to a cradle Catholic. I never had a parent or teacher or pastor -- or any trustworthy witness at all -- hand down that tradition to me.

When a cradle Catholic first encounters the Rapture, it just sounds crazy. Like someone 1) opened up a Bible, 2) made up something about the Bible, and then 3) told the world that we had to believe it because it was "biblical."

Then we learned that no Christian ever believed the Dispensational order of eschatology until the mid-1800's, and it started in America -- of all places!

An Apostolic Christian always asks, "Is this what the Apostles believed about the Scriptures that they wrote and taught? No? Then I should not believe this either."

Every great false teaching was founded in Scripture. The Arian bishops quoted Scripture even as they denied the divinity of Christ. Nestorius and Pelagius were Scriptural scholars, too.
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