What is “fundamentalism”? Name about 666 examples from recent media coverage… – GetReligion

Yes, “fundamentalist” can apply in a generic sense to any old band with some hard-core outlook. But in any religious context, it should refer only to a specific movement of Orthodox Protestants, especially important in the United States. The religious F-word should be applied with care because, as the Associated Press Stylebook correctly warns, it has “to a large extent taken on derogatory connotations”.

So here’s the big idea: the AP advises, “in general, don’t use fundamentalist unless a group applies the word to themselves.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is angered when offshoots that perpetuate its founding prophet Joseph Smith Jr.’s doctrine of polygamy are called “Mormon fundamentalists,” and is now seeking to abolish its own “Mormon” moniker. . Islamic scholars alike reject the common label of “Muslim fundamentalist” for terrorists and political extremists.

Back to the Protestants. Premier historian George Marsden’s funny definition was that a fundamentalist is “an evangelical who is angry at something.” Fundamentalism is best understood as the most militant and strictest segment within the larger and looser evangelical movement.

This month things were sorted at this Patheos post by Jim Erwin, pastor of First Baptist Church in Washburn, Mo., and executive secretary of Baptist Church International Ministries. The Guy borrows and revises Erwin’s distinctions between the two terms as follows.

Fundamentalist churches first and foremost maintain religious separation not only from non-Christians but also from other Christians, including evangelicals, if they are seen as not strict enough in their beliefs and/or too open to secular influences. of the world. The distinction was accentuated by the career of Monsieur Evangélique, the Rev. Billy Graham, who was ultimately shunned by fundamentalists because he cooperated with more liberal Protestants and Catholics in his evangelistic campaigns.

It is important to note that fundamentalism also draws a line against the Pentecostal and charismatic movements, which are important segments of the evangelical coalition, as it opposes their practices of speaking in tongues, faith healing and prophecy. modern gods.

Evangelicals and fundamentalists uphold traditional Christian doctrines and moral principles and most particularly the Protestant belief in the complete and unique authority of the Bible. Fundamentalists insist on the “inerrancy” of the Bible as originally written (free from error, including all historical details) and the divine inspiration of every word. They follow strictly literal interpretations, for example on the account of creation in the book of Genesis, unless the words are clearly meant otherwise. (One faction insists on using only the King James version.)

Evangelicals may agree, but many accept judicious use of modern scholarship and some flexibility on these issues.

Fundamentalist separatism extends to what are seen as harmful societal influences to create a cultural enclave. They prefer church-run day schools and home-schooling to public schools, while evangelicals support all options. Fundamentalists generally avoid alcohol and entertainment such as social dancing, movies, and sometimes television. They may observe careful limits on hair, clothing, or jewelry. And they teach men’s leadership in the home and in the church.

Evangelicals generally allow varied beliefs and practices on these aspects and in particular have an important “egalitarian” component on the roles of women.

With these current differences in mind, let’s sketch out the basic story a bit.

CONTINUE READING: “What is “fundamentalism”?by Richard Ostling.


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