In what sense i am fundamentalist?
aymon de albatrus
The Bible is Inerrant, as originally given,
We do not have the original texts,
No translation to another language can convey all the nuances pertaining to the original language,
However we believers have the promise of the Holy Spirit that HE will guide us in all truth, (Joh 16:13)
Thus ONLY believers can interpret the Bible correctly with the Holy Ghost,
Unbelievers, no matter how well qualified and capable CANNOT interpret the Bible,
The principle of correct interpretation, accepted by all, is to let the Bible interpret Itself, i.e. by comparing verse with verse.
So I am fundamentalist in the sense of the Bereans: "I receive the Bible as presented with all readiness, daily examining the Scriptures if these things are so".
For example take this famous verse: "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1Ti 2:4) This verse can be interpreted in two ways, depending on your soteriology: to one group it means that ALL humans, without distinction, God is willing to save, whereas to the other it means that God is willing to save ALL the elect and these will be saved for sure and only those, for God does not fail in His purposes. So, this verse on its own can have two meanings whilst this other verse provides a clear unique interpretation, both grammatically and Biblically: "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." (Act 13:48) The key subject being "and as many as were ordained to eternal life (the elect) believed" this phrase has only one possible interpretation i.e. The Gospel was preached to all equally, but ONLY those that were ordained to eternal life believed, the others (not elect) did not believe.
Also take another verse with only one possible interpretation: "And he said, Therefore said I to you, that no man can come to me, except it were given to him of my Father." (Joh 6:65 also 6:44) Who can go to Christ and be saved? ONLY those to whom the Father has given the ability to do so, i.e. the elect.
Returning to 1Ti 2:4, to whom the key word "all" refers? To the whole human race, without exception, or only to "all" of the elect? Obviously to the latter ones and thus interpreted the 3 verses are in perfect harmony with each other, whilst with the former it is not so and there is no clarity or harmony.
Moreover if the "all" is interpreted as meaning the whole human race then God is portrayed as a weak and limited god and not the Almighty God of the Bible, for we know for sure that not all are saved. Thus, with this interpretation, God is presented as willing but not capable, e.g. not the omnipotent God at all, but a figment of our imagination. This interpretation is therefore false.
I am fundamentalist this way: "I see verses that in themselves have possibility of varying interpretation and see others that clearly have only one possible interpretation and these must have precedence over the former".
The Webster dictionary defines FUNDAMENTALISM as a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literal interpretation of the Bible as fundamental to Christian life and teaching. Fundamental means ESSENTIAL which mean to be so important as to be indispensable, belonging to the very nature of the thing and therefore being incapable of removal without destroying the thing itself or its character. In essence it is FUNDAMENTAL to something that is a foundation without which an entire system or complex whole would collapse. (note this point)
In other words Fundamentalism is to accept, truly believe and defend the Bible as INERRANT, that is interpreting every teaching, aspects and words of the Bible as literally true, as originally given.
In that context I am truly a FUNDAMENTALIST
Liberal and Democratic people normally associate Fundamentalism with LEGALISM. The Webster dictionary defines Legalism as a strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code, for example the institutionalised legalism that restricts free choice.
In that context I am not a LEGALIST.
HOWEVER, people are ever ready to accuse anyone that honestly and in humility speaks of Biblical rules and regulations as being a Legalist.
Question: Was Jesus a Legalist??
Answer: Well most people would tend to say …. NO.
and yet ye said: "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." (Mat 5:18) Strange, these words fit perfectly well in the mouth of a "fundamental legalist".
Was Paul a legalist?: "Or do you not know that unjust ones will not inherit [the] kingdom of God? Do not be led astray, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor abusers, nor homosexuals," (1Co 6:9)
I am sure if I were to show this verse to those who elected the openly declared homosexual Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire would immediately anathemise me by declaring me a Fundamentalist and a Legalist to boot, for sure.
So BOTH Jesus and Paul (and the Apostles) were indeed Legalists but in the sense that they proclaimed the truth of the Bible as IT IS "For I did not keep back from declaring to you all the counsel of God." (Act 20:27)
The difference is that, YES, they declared (Very CLEARLY) the WHOLE Bible without leaving out anything or adding to it, they left no one in doubt of what is required, but they did not enforce it physically, for it was left to the people to decide whether or not they wanted to be perfect: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Mat 5:48)
And that is my stance, I am "legalist" in the sense that I will declare (by God’s will) the whole counsel of God as IT IS without leaving out or watering down anything from His Word, (God forbid) but clarifying to the people that even though it is not possible to obtain perfection in this life, we MUST NOT deny these things (or rationalise them to our convenience) and just do what we want, but to recognise that all things are possible with God, as our Master testifies: "I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (Joh 15:5)
Therefore i am a "Legalist" in the context that: "for me the whole Bible means what IT says" and will declare with conviction that we must believe and do just what IT says, in Him: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Phi 4:13 ) but will not impose it by force, for our Lord never did that, although Paul ordered that people that would not attempt to follow ITs teaching or even behave contrary to the Word be shown the door. Let us understand that when Paul was speaking in the context of the 'liberty in Christ' he was always counterpoising the 613 laws that the Jews were supposed to follow with what was requested of the Christians, he was NOT referring to Antinomianism, as many contemporary churches and people do. AMEN.
But i am NOT a Legalist in the sense of imposing on people; only proclaiming the Word of God, as It is, and moving on if not received, as Scripture commands: “And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.” (Luk 9:5)
I will not be moved by callings, accusations (or shall i say: swearing) from the world of liberal, democratic, cultural and modernistic ‘Christians’ as being Legalistic and Fundamentalist, in a derogatory manner.
So help me God.