Summary: Labels are applied easily--some are undeserved, and some should be embraced. If we stand with Christ and His Word, we can anticipate vilification. Paul obviously expected elders to stand firming on some truths.

“Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.” [1]

The term “fighting fundamentalist” has become a pejorative used to disparage and ridicule naïve literalists who hold the Bible to be the Word of God. Consequently, evangelicals often shy away from doing anything that would make them appear overly firm in defence of the Faith or even somewhat aggressive in pursuit of the truth. It is often true that evangelicals want to be acceptable to the elite of the religious world, though they don’t necessarily wish to jettison their faith in the Bible as the Word of God.

Let me state for the record that I am a naïve literalist when it comes to the Word of God. I accept that God said what He meant to say. It is not my job to make His words palatable for modern sensibilities; I am responsible to declare the truth He has given, warning lost people to flee the coming wrath and urging the righteous to stand firm in the Faith. Undoubtedly, that makes me a Fundamentalist in the eyes of many. However, as with many labels, the term covers a multitude of sins, meaning pretty much whatever the one tossing about the term wants it to mean. If I am to wear the label, I should at least be able to define what I mean.

To be a Fundamentalist should mean that I hold to the Fundamentals of the Faith. Ideally, the term means that I accept Jesus Christ as very God and very man. It means that I am convinced that He gave His life as a sacrifice for sinful people because of mankind’s inability to rescue themselves. The term means that I am convinced that the Son of God conquered death and is risen from the tomb. To be a Fundamentalist means that I know that Christ the Lord has ascended into Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father. As a Fundamentalist, I am certain that by faith in Him, the Risen Lord of Glory, that anyone is set free from sin and brought into a right standing with God Himself. To be a Fundamentalist means that I believe that Jesus the Son of God is coming again to take His people to Himself. Perhaps most importantly, when I say I am a Fundamentalist, it should mean that I am convinced of these precious truths because the Bible is God’s authoritative and accurate Word. This Book is infallible and inerrant, and it is the basis for faith and practise.

To say that I am a fighting Fundamentalist requires a bit of explanation, not because the term is difficult, but because the term has been seriously distorted. I don’t go looking for a fight; but I am in a fight. I am a man of peace, seeking peace with all people. However, as I stand firm in this most Holy Faith, I know that the truths I hold will prove offensive to those who are opposed to the Master. Tragically, church members who want the comfort of the pew without the cost of the cross will whimper, whinge and whine that I am attacking them when I declare truth. Outsiders who know the truth, but who are unwilling to embrace truth, will attack me as if that action will free them from the conflict of their own conscience.

Though not seeking the opprobrium associated with the term, I became a Fundamentalist. Without seeking conflict, I became a Fighting Fundamentalist through standing firm. If you have convictions concerning the Christ and concerning His Word you will soon be known as a Fundamentalist. As one Fundamentalist of a bygone era stated, “If you want no trouble, don’t say anything, don’t do anything, don’t be anything.”

As the Master has warned, “A man’s enemies will be the members of his household” [MATTHEW 10:36 NET BIBLE]. The strongest opposition to holding convictions often comes from fellow believers. I worked closely with the wife of a denominational leader on one occasion. On the board which I chaired were three Christians, each individuals of stature within their denomination and within their respective churches. This woman was one of those believers. When opposing action from the board which I found to be morally doubtful, I framed my opposition by stating that I held Fundamentalist views. Peggy remonstrated with me, “Oh, Mike, don’t say that; it is so offensive. Don’t let anyone know you are a Fundamentalist.”

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