Apologetics: ə-pŏl'ə-jĕt'ĭks from the Greek απоλоγία Def: The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

Confronting Fundamentalism

Written By Esthermay Bentley-Goossen on 18 September 2008

I am thankful today for the Blogosphere where all of us are utterly free to express ourselves and agree or disagree with others in the community. We each have the unreserved right to write what we feel and moderate comments however we see fit in keeping with the spirit of our own blog.

The Heart of a Pastor’s Wife received this comment following Tuesday’s Post, “Hanging Christians. . .

. . . Don't you think Christians need to let up a little on preaching about sin and start emphasizing more love and acceptance of people who don't believe exactly like we think they should? Not everything is a sin! God is the final judge. Preaching about sin only makes people angry and drives them away from the church. Isn’t God the final judge? I just think that Christians need to learn more about love and acceptance and compassion. Christ was all these things.

With all proper respect to this commenter (who happens to maintain a perfectly attractive and purposeful blog), I disagree.

And in offering an explanation to a comment that I chose otherwise not to publish, I am calling attention to an issue that has effectively altered the Church over the last several decades.

First I should point out that I am not prancing through my church and neighborhood preaching to and labeling everyone I see a "sinner." (My husband did require that I take "Christian Diplomacy 101" as a pastor's wife.)

That said, I do fall into the “Fundamentalist” category when it comes to evangelical labels.

What exactly is a “Fundamentalist?” One meaning the dictionary gives is "one who is immovable from [her] beliefs."

Sadly, the trend over the last 20 years in the “evangelical” church is to lean away from the absolute Truth of God’s Word and the meaning of the term “Fundamentalist” has undergone a change in meaning.

Used to be that the term "fundamental" by definition, meant not only believing in and sharing the Gospel of Christ -- but also pointing out err. That is, showing others -- by the use of Scripture -- that we are by our very nature – intrinsically, inherently and naturally -- sinners.

But the evangelical movement has leaned away from the absolute Truth of God’s Word and has chosen instead to offer the Gospel of Love/Acceptance/Tolerance. The thinking is that to call someone a sinner might offend them. (Oh MY!)

To a Fundamentalist, this sacrifices the Truth of Salvation! And thereby the Truth of Scripture.

How can anyone come to a true faith in Jesus Christ without first seeing their sinful nature and their great need of salvation? The Book of Romans is very clear - and very much addresses sin in full -- and previous to -- the introduction of Grace and Love.

The Gospel of Love and Acceptance alone does NOT offer eternal salvation.

Today, the word “Fundamentalist” is often used as a term of mockery and ridicule – even contempt – against those who still believe that God’s Word is the absolute final authority on all things --including the portions that address behaviors that offend God.

The term “Fundamentalist” is also loosely interpreted to describe anyone who expresses any kind of belief in the teachings of the Bible.

So you can see that there is a collaborative effort made by both the secular media and some “Christians” to smear “Fundamentalists” with the image of being unloving, intolerant, unkind, judgmental, snobbish and unattractive. …All because Fundamentalists believe God’s Word is genuine, accurate and all-inclusive.

When the Apostle Paul was leaving the church in Ephesus, where he had ministered for three years, he reminded the Christians there, “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27) What he was saying was, “I have spoken the truth of God’s Good News to you. I spoke the whole truth. I left nothing out. I gave you all the facts.

Sounds a lot like,” Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”
Works well in the state and federal court systems.
Not so well in all churches.

The whole counsel of scripture includes a great deal about sin. If you really examine the major themes of the New Testament, you would find a great number of passages addressing people (including “Christians") who are not living as True Believers.

The entire Old Testament is a chronicle – the complete story – of mankind's sin against God. Beginning in the Garden of Eden and narrated right up to the destruction and rebuilding of the temple in The Book of Nehemiah.

Proverbs and Psalm are abounding with cautions and warnings and reprimands.

The entire New Testament in confrontive in nature. Every New Testament Epistle was written to a local church body with problems. (See I and II Corinthians, James, I and II Peter.)

Turn to the Gospels: In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus confronted people with Truth. Remember the Woman at the Well. (John 4:1-42) Jesus confronted her. He did it, of course, with abundant compassion, concern and kindness. But he did not offer that compassion, concern and kindness by itself. Had he done that, she would have walked away believing she was "okay in HIS sight." And she was not. He confronted her sin.
Remember Zacchaeus (Luke 19)? Remember Nicodemus (John 3)? How about the scathing rebuke of the Pharisees in Matthew 23?

As a writer with discernment, I fall on the side of "confrontive" rather than "tolerant and accepting." I never want anything I’ve written to be misconstrued. I never want anyone to misinterpret Scripture based on something I’ve written. A misunderstanding of God’s Word can/will have eternal consequences.

As a Christian Counselor, I recognize and appreciate that working with people is a delicate zone that love must guide.
Confronting in Love. What a calling!

It is not a bad thing to be a fundamentalist!

I am thankful that God's Words as revealed in the Bible are just as true today as when they were first spoken by chosen men of God under divine inspiration.

I am thankful that the solutions God provides in His Word are suitable for all the problems we face today.

I am thankful to be counted as one who believes in the absolute inerrant reliability of God’s Word.

- Esthermay Bentley-Goossen
© Copyright 2008 The Heart of a Pastor's Wife


John Burreson said...

Amen. Amen. Amen.
Profound Truth Here.
God bless your ministry!
John Burreson

Kristi said...

I'm thankful for His word too that is alive and active and so applicable today. Blessings to you!

LAURIE said...

Thank you for your visit to my TT post and for your sweet comments. First time to come by your blog and your post is written wonderfully. God's Word is true and the final Word! If there wasn't sin in the world why would we need so much instruction? The Bible says that we are ALL sinners and each of us come to the Father in the same way - I am thankful for His love, His acceptance and His forgiveness. Too many churches are preaching "safely" - or what I call "feel good" sermons. We all WANT to feel good but what we all NEED is the truth because the Truth will set us free!

-Blessings, Laurie

Debra said...

This was beautifully written and I'm thankful for the Spirit in you that allowed such wisdom!

Blessings to you today!

Blessed One said...

Amen and Amen! Yes, God is God of love and we should share His love, however, God is also a Righteous and Holy God and sin is not something to accept, sugar-coat or make excuses for. I particularly enjoyed your "Christian Diplomacy 101" course that you mentioned. Know where I can sign up? :) Thank you for sharing this wonderful, wisdom-filled post.

And thank you too, for visiting my blog and for your kind comments. You have a delightful blog and I'm happy to have gotten here. Blessings!

Barbara said...

My husband would say we've sacrificed the Cross of Christ for the the sake of not hurting people's Feelings! And people will go to hell without the Cross. Sad, isn't it?
Great Writing!

Rachel said...


You have hit on a topic that is very important to me, so forgive me if I get a little fired up.

I am so SICK of the prosperity Gospel making its way around this country. The lie that you can have the blessings of Jesus but never have to confront your sin.

The truth is that there are blessings to be had with a relationship with Jesus, and we should be forever grateful for these blessings. But these blessings are not the REASON to come to Jesus.

But you have churches that get people in and gloss over the sin in their lives and get straight to the victory - and these people walk out disillusioned and waiting for a miracle blessing that will never come! And they are certainly not brought face-to-face with their sin.

Please don't get me wrong, I don't ever want to "fire-and-brimstone" beat people and make them feel guilty and worthless. I believe in correction done in love. You said it perfectly. Are we really showing our brothers and sisters love if we simply "tolerate" what they are doing and don't share with them the gift of eternal redemption?

I love how you alluded to Romans because that was exactly what I was thinking as I read your post. Paul talks about the love and freedom and blessing of life in the Spirit (ch. 8) but before that he goes through 7 chapters of sin and its effects on the believer.

You're so right, one cannot truly appreciate all that Christ has done for them if they have no idea what He's rescued them from!

Laurie Ann said...

Amen! I used to be called a "fundie" in jest by an aquaintance of mine who is an athiest for my refusal to budge on the message of salvation and the innerant Word of God. I wore the label proudly. Still would if I were in contact with her. Christ never worried about offending anyone with the gospel of Truth and we shouldn't either. I love how well-written this was and that you were willing to take the stand for Christ.

Amy Guerino said...

Well written and well said. It is a delicate balance to bring truth into a conversation while it is seasoned with grace and love. Truth confronts the age of tolerance we live in. Randy Alcorn wrote a wonderful little book on it that I go back to time and again called The Grace and Truth Paradox.

Thanks for your sweet comment to my most recent post.

Kat said...

I love what you said! Thank you for standing up for the truth of the Bible! Sadly even many professed Christians nowadays don't believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God! :( Some churches are afraid of offending people with God's truth too, so they don't mention 'offensive' scripture. Hey, the truth of God's word may hurt, and it should sometimes, it should convict us, and in the end will set us free.

sara said...

Amen! That was so well written, thank you!

Darlene said...

I love the question that you asked, "How can anyone come to a true faith in Jesus Christ without first seeing their sinful nature and their great need of salvation?" I think that is the core. To be a Christian without the knowledge that we are nothing without Christ, removes Him from the occassion. It happens too often these days.

God Chaser said...

Amen,God is a God of love and a God that does not tolerate sin. well put.

Kris said...

another x in the 'how are we alike' box. that could have been me writing that piece, but not with as much style. you are a great writer...


Kathy S. said...

How encouraging to read these comments and know that there are so many like-minded believers. Bless you for addressing this. Ther greatest encouragement to stand in the fundamental truth of the word of God is the book of Revelation.

To those who overcome...

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