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A Little Ocean Ambiance
THE BALANCED FUNDAMENTALIST
According to the Book of Jude
Dr. Richard Flanders
Juniata Baptist Church
Great 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!
Fundamentalists, by definition, fight for the Christian faith. Contending
for Gospel truth is the theme of Jude, and the basis of fundamentalism as
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)
Although 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.
The 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).
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
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."
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
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
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
"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!
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
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."
Balanced 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!
One 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.
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.
by Dr. Rick Flanders
currently Pastor of
Juniata Baptist Church
Juniata Baptist Church|
5656 Washburn Road
Vassar, MI 48768
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
In His Service,
Teaching the Word
To Glorify Our Lord
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