I have received several comments re: my three-part Weekly Messenger series on fundamentalism (May 23, 30 and June 6). Here is another response, sent to me second-hand.
Armstrong’s articles on fundamentalism were disappointing. It was all over the map, i.e. unclear. It also seemed to conclude that our belief in the truth rests in seeing the events of Christ as being factual and the only way this happens is when the Spirit works in our hearts. Where does this leave us when people claim to be moved by the Spirit to contradictory interpretations of thefacts of Christ? This is surely another form of irrational emotionalism. It is also very dangerous for him to say that there is a difference between divine revelation and the Bible. I guess he is fighting against a narrow biblicism, i.e. worship of the Bible. But who does that? It is a straw man.
What about what Josiah required in 2 Kings 22 and 23. All the people were to listen to the Lord as he spoke to them in the book of the covenant. This was the way to love and serve God. Josiah was a fundamentalist according to Armstrong because Josiah saw obeying the words of the covenant written in the book of the covenant in Hebrew language as tantamount to obeying and serving the Living God. There was no distinction between divine revelation and Scripture.
Inspiration and innerrancy underlay the authority that the Book of the Covenant had. To say these are minor, fundamentalist issues is to step over the edge of evangelical faith, or what has been held as evangelical faith. It was accepted as God’s very words by Josiah and it was not to be doubted nor were certain portions accepted or rejected based on whether the Spirit was using that portion of the Word to touch their heart. It was all true–objectively true, even propositionally true–and to be obeyed without question.
There is more in these comments than than I can address fully in a few paragraphs but I will try to give a little perspective on several things. I believe most readers can move beyond the emotional words used in this kind of reaction.
1. My articles were not "unclear" to scores of readers who know exactly what I am talking about since they have either been fundamentalists or have been profoundly influenced by the ministry of one or more fundamentalists.
2. My articles referred to the "tone" and "spirit " of fundamentalism as understood in Dr. E. J. Carnell’s reference to fundamentalism being "orthodoxy turned cultic." This was clearly the burden of my first two articles, which I am unsure this critic carefully read.
3. That there is a difference between the Bible and divine revelation is nothing more than good, solid, orthodox theology. This writer seems to think that I am positing the idea that the Bible does not actually reveal God to us. Nothing could be further from the truth. I did not say Scripture "contains" the Word of God. What I said was that Christ is the Word of God who is revealed to us by the Spirit through Scripture. There is a huge difference here and I am not sure this critic understands that difference or its importance.
4. I did not say inspiration or inerrancy are "minor" issues. I do not know where the reader got this from my articles. I said we make a mistake when we equate a sectarian interpretive framework with a high view of the Bible. Here is one such parapragh from my second article:
I read it