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A Little Ocean Ambiance
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Doctrinal Writings
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According to the Book of Jude

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Dr. Richard Flanders
Juniata Baptist Church
Vassar, Michigan
clear.gif - 808 BytesGreat concern is being expressed by some these days that fundamentalist Christians not gravitate to extremes or take an unbalanced approach to the challenges of the ministry. Speakers and writers are saying to fundamentalist preachers that they must move to the center of the theological spectrum. If they do not hurry up and do this, their movement will die in a few years. Along a similar vein, others are openly worried that a growing number of fundamentalists are becoming imbalanced: riding hobby horses instead of pressing Biblical truth, leaning too far to one theological pole or other, emphasizing some aspect of doctrine to the exclusion of its balancing opposite. Much work is going on to teach preachers how to be balanced fundamentalists, and surely the motivation behind it all is good. However this concern and effort is fraught with danger. Seeking the center or striving for balance can mean finding a way to navigate directly between opposing sides of current issues. Now if one of the two sides is Biblically correct, then moving between it and its opposite will serve only to create another false viewpoint. Gravitating to the center or striking a balance can mean compromising the truth for the sake of some kind of strategic advantage in the world. We ought not to look for the Biblical balance in worldly wisdom or political strategy. We will find it only in the Bible. The Word of God is full of balance, and the balance fundamentalists need to find is clearly laid out for us in the little book of Jude. We ought to be balanced, and here is how!

What We Do: Fight for the Faith!
clear.gif - 808 BytesFundamentalists, by definition, fight for the Christian faith. Contending for Gospel truth is the theme of Jude, and the basis of fundamentalism as a principle.

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (verse 3)
clear.gif - 808 BytesAlthough Christian fundamentalism is a definable movement in church history, it is basically more a principle than a movement. It is the biblical approach to dealing with the denial of the Gospel by reportedly Christian ministers. God's Word says that we are to fight against it. The Greek word translated "earnestly contend" in Jude 3 means to struggle and strive for something. The root word from which it is derived is translated "fight" in I Timothy 6:12 and II Timothy 4:7 (the famous verses about fighting the good fight). Bob Jones, Sr., used to say that it means to stand up and fight! What we are to do when we find damnable doctrine in the churches is to stand up and fight it.

clear.gif - 808 BytesThe problem is the presence of what I call "the creeps" among us!

"For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." (verse 4)
I call them "creeps" because they "crept in unawares" among us. They deny the Christian faith while professing to be Christians. Jesus called them "false prophets" and wolves "in sheep's clothing" (Matthew 7:15).

clear.gif - 808 Bytes In every era of church history, men who deny the essentials of the Gospel find their way to the Christian pulpit. What are the orthodox supposed to do about "the creeps"? We are to fight against them. Jude's book calls upon us to fight for the Faith first by verbal denunciation of the false prophets and their false doctrine (verses 5 through 11), and then by ecclesiastical separation from them (verse 12 through 19). Jude by divine inspiration says that these infiltrators are "filthy dreamers," that they "defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities," that they "speak evil of those things which they know not," and he accuses them of following "the way of Cain" and "the gainsaying of Core." With such strong language he denounces the false prophets. Then he says that they are "spots in your feasts of charity." They defile Christian fellowship because they are not truly Christians! One day the Lord and "his saints" will "execute judgment" upon them because they are "ungodly sinners." It is not fitting that saints and sinners be classified together in the church. Jude says that because false prophets do not have the Holy Spirit, they "separate themselves" from true Christians. Consistently, the New Testament blames ecclesiastical division on false brethren, not on the Christians who contend with them.

"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them." (Romans 16:17)
Jude is calling on believers in Christ to expose the wolves in sheep's clothing, to oppose them, and to separate them from their assemblies. This is the right way to deal with "creeps." It is the principle of fundamentalism!

clear.gif - 808 Bytes The term "fundamentalism" comes from the idea that Christianity is defined by certain fundamental teachings. I Corinthians 15:1-4 says that the Gospel (the basic Christian message, the truth that saves the soul) includes five essentials: the authority of Scripture ("according to the scriptures"), the deity of Christ ("how that Christ"), His substitutionary atonement ("died for our sins"), His bodily resurrection ("he rose again"), and justification by faith ("which also ye have received . . . by which also ye are saved . . . ye have believed"). These doctrines make up the Gospel, and are essential to it. Lacking any one of them, the message is not the true Gospel, and the religion is not Christianity! Fundamentalists insist that these fundamentals are fundamental to the Faith. Denial of any of them must deny a teacher recognition as a Christian. This is how and why a fundamentalist fights false prophets.

clear.gif - 808 Bytes Other kinds of evangelicals profess to believe the fundamentals of the Gospel, but do not treat them as fundamental to the Gospel. They will accept "creeps" as Christians. That's what some conservatives did about the liberals in the churches in the twentieth century. They disagreed with them, but called them "Reverend." Liberal theology denies some if not all of the essential Christian doctrines, but evangelicals leave liberals on seminary faculties, send them to the mission field, work with them in evangelistic enterprises, and regard them as fellow Christians. The "new evangelical" approach claimed to take its theme from II Timothy 4:2, "Preach the word." We should just preach the Word; we don't have to fight the liberals, they said. But the book of II Timothy itself tells us to fight false teachers.

"Shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness" (2:16)
"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (3:5)
". . . reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears . . ." (4:2-3)
The only right way to deal with disguised wolves is to expose them, to fight them, and to get them away from the flock. It is the Bible way, and it is fundamentalism!

clear.gif - 808 Bytes Notice that we are to contend for "the faith." This term refers to those essential doctrines men must believe in order to be saved. All of us should hold to all truth, but warfare should be reserved primarily for saving truth. A fundamentalist doesn't fight and war over everything, but he does contend for the faith!

It's Not What We Want to Do!
Did you see this in Jude 3?

"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith . . ."
Contention for the faith is "needful" but it is not particularly enjoyable! The balanced fundamentalist fights when and because he must, not because he likes to fight. Spare us from the preacher who loves the sound of battle! Some evangelicals say they cannot be fundamentalists because they are too mild-mannered to fight. But mild-mannered men do fight when they must, in defense of that which is precious. This is why fundamentalists fight. It is a matter of principle and necessity, and not a matter of preference. Balanced fundamentalists say "no" to certain popular causes and proposals, not because they like saying "no," but because loyalty to Christ requires them to say "no." Some fundamentalists have strayed from the Biblical pattern by making holy war the theme of their ministries. Balanced men would rather concentrate on "the common salvation," but the message of salvation sometimes makes it "needful" to "contend."

It's Not All We Do!
The Book of Jude says we should do more with the Christian faith than fight for it. Look at verses 20 and 21.

"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."
clear.gif - 808 BytesBalanced fundamentalists build people up on the Faith. They teach the Word of God more often than they defend it. What hypocrisy there is in the fundamentalist pastor who prides himself in standing for a Book he seldom studies or really teaches. Fundamentalist churches ought to be Bible-teaching as well as Bible-believing churches! Notice that balanced fundamentalists should practice "praying in the Holy Ghost." It is sadly amazing how unspiritual some who contend for the Faith have been!

clear.gif - 808 BytesOne reason some have turned away from the fundamentalist movement has been the carnality of certain leaders. It is a fact of history that most (but not all) of the fundamentalists who preached and prayed for revival were drawn into the "new evangelicalism" of the 1940s and 1950s. Such a defection was, of course, tragic both for the fundamentalist movement and for the cause of revival. Spiritual revival is not achieved by disobedience to Jude 3, and fundamentalism is not advanced by carnality! The balanced fundamentalist will be a spiritual man evidencing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. His battle for truth will be fought with "weapons . . . not carnal, but mighty through God" (II Corinthians 10:1-6). The false teachers are characterized as "having not the Spirit," but those who fight them must be characterized as "praying in the Holy Ghost." Jude 22 and 23 speak of saving souls, some with compassion and some with fear, "pulling them out of the fire." A fundamentalist is not balanced unless he is given to evangelism! We fight for the Gospel in order to keep it pure for use in saving sinners. "Evangelistic unction," it has been said, "makes orthodoxy function" How barren and pointless is contention for its own sake. Our focus must remain on preaching the saving Gospel to the world of sinners.

clear.gif - 808 Bytes Nothing has hindered the fight for the Faith as much as fundamentalists who are shallow, unspiritual, or unevangelistic. To maintain the balance we need, Christians must build on the Faith, live the Faith, and spread the Faith as well as contend for the Faith. Fundamentalism is a Bible principle that is needed now as much as in the past. It must be understood, taught, and followed, but it cannot be our sole emphasis. We must learn to be Christlike in our passion for truth. We must keep on fighting, but also keep the fight in proper prospective. We must know the balance of living (by His Spirit) as our Lord did, not the questionable balance of mediating between what seem to be extremes.

Monthly Article
by Dr. Rick Flanders
currently Pastor of
Juniata Baptist Church
Juniata Baptist Church
5656 Washburn Road
Vassar, MI 48768
(517) 823-7848

Dr. Rick Flanders Biographical Data

Converted in 1963 through a radio ministry.
Earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from Bob Jones University.
Honorary D.D. from Pensacola Christian College.
Pastor at Juniata Baptist Church since 1973.
On BCPM Board, (Baptist Church Planting Ministry)
and also MACS. (Michigan Association of Christian School)

Articles published in the;
Sword of the Lord
Baptist Preacher,
Christian View of the News,
Pulpit Helps,
Maranatha Watchman
Church Bus News,
and other national periodicals.

His Majesty's Service
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Teaching the Word
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