Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon What is a Fundamentalist Christian? ]

Lonnie Branam

Some people who believe in the Bible are called fundamentalists. What does it mean to be a fundamentalist? Fundamentalism is the religious belief that the Bible is the only authority in matters of faith and morals. It exalts the word of God and believes it was penned by supernatural inspiration. God so directed the minds of the Bible writers that they wrote exactly what God wanted them to say. Hence, the Bible contains the words of God himself, even though men did the writing. The Bible says, All scripture is given by inspiration of God"(2 Tim. 3:16). Anyone who rejects that statement is not a fundamentalist. I am a fundamentalist, and as such I believe that the blood of Christ is the one and only thing which can cleanse a soul from sin. God punished Jesus for the sins of all mankind, and God accepts his suffering as a substitute for the human race. All who will accept Christ's atoning work on the cross by becoming a Christian will be forgiven by God and treated as right in His sight. God will accept them as though they had never done anything wrong in their lives. Furthermore, fundamentalists entertain the hope of The resurrection of their bodies from the grave and look for the glorious appearance of Christ at the end of the world. To many people life ends it all, but to a fundamentalist this is but the beginning. He believes there is an existence beyond this vale of tears.
Unfortunately, all fundamentalists are not in agreement on what the Bible teaches. Members of the Church of Christ are true fundamentalists, and to them the Bible alone is the source of authority in religious faith and practice. Whatever it teaches, demands or commands they are ready to accept. Beyond its declarations they dare not go. To them the Bible is to be taken in full or it is unworthy of serious consideration. It is either the sum of all authority or it is none at all. The Bible is either the work of God or it is a product of man. Fundamentalism at its best refuses to preach anything for which there is no authority in the word of God. Such is my understanding of what it means to be a fundaentalist.
There are countless numbers of people who believe the Bible but do not accept it as the inspired word of God. How should hese people be classified? All Bible believers who are not fundamentalists are called modernists. In the religious world today, as well as in the political and social, there is much disturbance. A spirit of restlessness prevails. I may not know all the causes of it, but in my humble opinion, very much of this disturbance is due to the fact tat we are lacking in recognition of the right standard of authority to govern us in our respective affairs. Men do not see matters in the same way, and disputes arise. Conflicts over our rights and privileges abound. The same uncertainty and disturbance prevails in the realm of religion. In religion it is, perhaps, more essential than anywhere else that a correct standard of authority be adopted. With reference to what that standard is. there are two schools of thought. They are designated by terms that are not well understood, namely Modernism and Fundamentalism. When it comes to an attitude toward the Bible you are either a fundamentalist or a modernist, if you believe the Bible at all. There is no middle ground. With one or the other I am almost forced to take my stand. Modernism is thought to be a term first applied to religious teachers in Europe who had departed from the orthodox teachings of Christianity. This idea has now developed into a great force, not only among the lower classes but among some of the very best minds in the land. Modernism represents that attitude of heart and mind which rejects the Bible as the only authority in doctrtne and morals. It substitutes each one's intellect as his sole guide and criterion. A modernist rejects the Bible as authority and relegates it to the background. They reduce the Bible to a common plane with uninspired writings and exalt the intellect of man as the sole standard by which one is to be governed. The ultimate objection modernists have to the Bible is the idea of miracles. Their belief is that whatever cannot be understood and thoroughly comprehended should be rejected as unworthy of acceptance. But friends a little reflection ought to suggest to us that the world is full of things we cannot understand or explain. There are hundreds of things I know to be true, and yet I do not understand them. Who can explain to us what life is? The greatest scholars do not know. We know quite a bit about it, but we do not know what the thing called life really is. I wonder if any of the learned people of our day can tell us why it is that a black cow can eat green grass and give white milk from which we get yellow butter? There are many marvellous things in the natural world we cannot explain. Yet the modernists reject the miracles of the Bible because they cannot comprehend them. The inspiration of the Bible writers is truly a miracle, and I cannot explain it. But this is no rcason to reject it as a supernaturally inspired volume and put it on the level Shakespeare' writings and other great classsics which have comd down through the ages. In addition modernists reject the idea that human beings can be forgiven by the blood of Christ. They say, "How is it that the blood of a man who lived 2,000 years ago and thousands of miles from America can forgive a person in the 21st century?" This is not reasonable, they say. Well, I don't think they understand either. I don't understand it myself. God did not ask us to fully comprehend it; he asked us to believe it. The modernist does not believe that the blood of Christ can cleanse a soul from sin; does not entertain a hope of the resurrection and does not look for the glorious second coming of Christ at the end of the world, To a modernist, this life ends it all. All these things are miraculous, and the modernist says, I cannot accept them on the ground that I cannot understand them. And yet they claim to be Bible believers and want people to accept them as such.
When it comes to believing the Bible, it is all or nothing at all.

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