Sunday, February 09, 2014
The Female Fundamentalist: A Re-Introduction
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on this blog, but I think that, after over nearly a decade has passed, it’s about time to get started. Not that the passage of time means something should get a restart but in this particular case, as the years elapse, my “voice” has begun to develop. (That’s a term I heard back at a writers’ conference—that sometimes the writer’s voice inside of you needs time to develop, grow, and be nurtured before you have something worth saying.)
It’d be nice to think that I could speak more to the point now than I did when I started blogging, that the issues that troubled me then have been worked out. In fact, grey issues have melded into closer shades of white and black and a new perspective has emerged in the several twelve-months that have separated me from this blog, but I am far from having all the answers. However, my colleague Ricci and I will seek to post once every 7-10 days, to keep this blog a lively journey.
And so again begins our trek toward congruity, the Female Fundamentalist.
Before we continue on our journey, I find it necessary to define my terms. By “Female Fundamentalist” I mean these posts will be authored by women in an IFB church, an independent, fundamental Baptist church.
Historically, fundamentalism acquired its name in the early part of the 20th century when G. Campbell Morgan, R. A. Torrey, and sixty-two others wrote in defense of the “fundamentals” of the faith in dozens of essays. That is essentially the link to the term fundamental, a term which speaks of the rudiments of belief.
Unfortunately, this term fundamental is confusing in a number of ways. The ultimate question in fundamentalism is: what are the fundamentals? Several groups within fundamentalism proper will argue over which fundamentals are important and which are not, making fundamentalism more of a misnomer than an accurate depiction of our circle.
Another confusion is the link of this term in our society with radical movements, such as radical Islam. A “fundamentalist” Muslim believes in the fundamentals of the Koran. A fundamentalist Christian believes in the fundamentals of the Bible. When God says love your enemies, the Koran says, "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121). Both the fundamentalist Muslim and the fundamentalist Christian take their holy book literally. The problem is, the Koran and the Bible teach radically different ideologies concerning, among many other things, the treatment of one's enemies; this example merely illustrates one polarizing "fundamental" difference between the two belief systems. Yet, because of its literal interpretation of Scripture, Fundamentalism has been bashed because secularists consider such a position extreme. However, I would argue that everyone in our culture is a fundamentalist about something. You must be a fundamentalist linguist to put together the rudiments of a sentence. You must be a fundamental historian to grasp an overview of world history and cultures. And the list could continue. For a Christian, whose entire belief system is rooted in Scripture, what better place to be a "Fundamentalist" than about the interpretation of this fundamental book?
So the fundamentals of belief are needful, but which ones are important are argued over time and again; thus, the term “Fundamentalist” in this blog will essentially embrace those elements of Christian culture within conservative IFB churches.
“Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth,” states I Cor. 8:1. So much has been said to bash IFB churches, and this blog is intended to do nothing of the sort. The evaluations offered in this blog will, by God’s grace, include edifying words that seek to build up the body of Christ and fellow believers.
Opinions are offered understanding that meekness is necessary for any and every reproof (Gal. 6:1). Personal accounts are given to illustrate the authors’ own identification with struggles within IFB circles.