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A Little Ocean Ambiance
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Doctrinal Writings
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Dr. Richard Flanders
Juniata Baptist Church
Vassar, Michigan
"If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" (John 10:35-36)
"Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" (Luke 24:25-26)
If there is any term that has a negative connotation in American journalism today, it is "fundamentalism." Fanatics and madmen are called "fundamentalists." The lunatic fringe of any religion is designated as "fundamentalist." Contemporary writers identify many forms of fundamentalism, but insist that they are all based upon ignorance, hatred, and fear. The odd truth, however, is that real fundamentalism is a very rational point of view.

The Fundamentalist Movement rose up in the early twentieth century among evangelical Christians to oppose the growing acceptance and influence of "liberal" theology in the mainline denominations. They were called "fundamentalists" because they asserted that Christianity can be defined by certain "fundamental" doctrines. If a preacher or theologian denies any of the "fundamentals" he cannot be called a true Christian. An older term, "orthodoxy," points to what fundamentalists say Christianity is. Orthodoxy comes from the Greek expression for "straight" or "right" doctrine. Unorthodox teachers are not to be accepted as representing a truly Christian point of view. Christians differ on lesser issues, but the fundamental doctrines actually define Christianity, fundamentalists say. Those who claim the Christian label but contradict the Christian faith are wolves in sheep's clothing, false prophets, and not merely new kinds of Christians. So the fundamentalists said, and on this battleline they fought.

To them the hallmarks of orthodoxy were obvious. To be a true Christian one must believe that the scriptures are infallible. This includes believing in the Genesis account of creation. One must believe that Jesus Christ is deity in order to be truly Christian. Belief in the virgin birth is part of this fundamental also. The crucifixion and death of Christ were an atoning sacrifice for man's sins, they insisted, and no other "theory of the atonement" is Christian. It is essential to the Christian faith to believe that Jesus arose literally and bodily from the dead, they proclaimed. It is also necessary to believe that men are saved from their sins by faith in Christ alone, and not through their good deeds or even the sacraments of the church. By these doctrines, all found in the Bible, fundamentalists separated the sheep from the goats. And separation is very basic to fundamentalism, since their premise leads to separation from church bodies and ministerial alliances that do not weed out the liberals.

Over the years, the liberals that came to dominate the American ecclesiastical and academic establishments gave fundamentalism a very bad name. The vilification of this point of view has now escalated to identifying world terrorism with it! Yet careful consideration of the fundamentalist view will led us to conclude that it is the only rational and consistent representation of monotheism in the world! One who follows the logical path laid out by the various world views will eventually arrive either at fundamentalism or atheism! This assertion may seem extreme and indefensible at first, but it does deserve consideration.

God Without the Bible?

Cannot a reasonable person believe in God without believing the Bible? Fundamentalism is usually associated primarily with belief in every word of the Bible as the Word of God. All of the fundamentals are derived from simple faith that whatever the Bible says is true. Yet many claim to believe in a personal, transcendent God who do not believe that the Bible is His Word. Are they being logical?

The fact is that we know nothing about a singular, personal, transcendent, all-powerful, eternal God apart from the Bible! Nobody ever came up with that idea without the influence of the holy scriptures. Two of the great montheistic religions (Judaism and Christianity) are obviously based upon the testimony of the Bible. The third is Islam, which got its concept of monotheism from the Christians and the Jews! Neither Hinduism nor Buddhism believes in the Creator-God Western civilization has so long recognized and revered. They are atheistic or pantheistic philosophies with spiritual overtones, and pantheism is a form of atheism if God is defined in the ususal way. The deniers of God are at least more consistent and logical than those who have a belief in God not based upon faith in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures! Both trained and armchair theologians claim to be able to speak about God without any authoritative source of information about Him! Some speak of His love, but how do they know without the Bible that God loves us? Some speak of His justice, but how can they know anything about that apart from what the Bible says about it? How does anybody know anything about God without the Bible?

If, as some say, the Bible has been discredited as a reliable witness to the true God, then we know nothing about Him. The scriptures claim to be God's self-revelation. Notice what I Corinthians says in Chapter 2. "We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." (Verses 7-10) The words that follow these make it clear that God's Spirit has revealed the truth about God through the writings of apostles and prophets. "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." (Verses 12-13) II Timothy 3:16 and II Peter 1:21 say the same thing. The Bible is divine revelation.

Everybody's concept of God, if they believe in one God Who is the Creator and Ruler of the Universe, is founded on the Bible's revelation of the One Genesis 1:1 calls "God." They may say that they do not agree with what the Bible says about God, but they must realize that the very idea of God originated in the Bible and that we have no other authoritative information about Him. If the scriptures are not the infallible final word that Jesus said they are, that they themselves claim to be, and that Christians have always regarded them as, then man has no knowledge of God.

The Bible Without Orthodoxy?

Then there are those who want to uphold the Bible in some way, but refuse to accept orthodox Christianity. Some such people are "cultists" who claim to believe the Bible to be infallible, but deny such doctrines as the deity of Christ, His bodily resurrection, or salvation by faith in Him. Some who want to keep the Bible but discard orthodoxy are liberals who grant the old Book respect as a religious guide but deny it the infallibility it claims. All of these people have left logic somewhere behind!

If the books of scripture claim to be the written Word of God, then they either are what they claim to be, or they are the worst example religious fraud in the world! If the Bible isn't the infallible Word of God, it isn't worth the paper on which it is printed. Those who accept divine inspiration for the moral and strictly religious sections of scripture, but reject it for the miracle stories and for some of the historical accounts, are conveniently ignoring the fact that divine inspiration is claimed for every section of the Bible!

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God . . ." (II Timothy 3:16)
"Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." (Luke 24:25-27)
"Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" (John 5:45-47)
Jesus (the only Jesus we know about, Jesus Christ of the Bible, the historic Jesus) taught that the first five books of the Bible were written by Moses and that they are historically, scientifically, and religiously accurate. This is clear in Matthew 19.
"And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?" (Verses 4-5)
He also affirmed that Jonah was really swallowed by a whale (See Matthew 12:40-41). When He said that "the scripture cannot be broken," He meant it! If a man says that the Bible is a good book, and that Jesus was the Son of God, but that parts of the Bible cannot be trusted, he is not a logical thinker. We must take God and Christianity and the Bible together, or else reject them together.

Those who deny the deity of Christ or salvation by faith while still claiming to be Christians and to believe the Bible are also illogical. All of the orthodox doctrines are clearly taught in the Bible. The Watchtower Society must retranslate the New Testament to remove the teaching Jesus is God (as in Matthew 1:21-23, John 1:1, and John 10:30). To respect the Bible in any way while denying any facet of orthodoxy is not reasonable.

Orthodoxy Without Separation?

There are evangelicals who loudly declare that they are not fundamentalists! Perhaps some of them make this declaration in order to avoid the stigma the term has gained. However many more say it because they refuse to accept the fundamentalist insistence on separation from false doctrine. After the Second World War, there arose a very public religious movement in America that claimed to be the "New Evangelicalism." This designation was adopted specifically to reject the fundamentalist label. The New Evangelicals and their offspring preach the great "evangelical" (Gospel) doctrines, but do not insist that those who believe them separate from those who don't. This kind of evangelical will support liberal denominational programs and will unite with liberals in religious endeavors. In practice they recognize the unorthodox as Christians. Although this "new" approach is the prevailing policy of evangelicals today, it is absolutely unscriptural and completely irrational.

On the first day of creation, "God divided the light from the darkness" (Genesis 1:4). There is a difference, a clear distinction, between light and darkness. In the realm of truth, this distinction and division is required in all of the Bible.

"And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD." (II Chronicles 19:2)
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:15) "A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject . . ." (Titus 3:10)
If a man must believe in the atoning sacrifice and the justifying resurrection of the God-Man in order to be saved, shall we call him a Christian when he publicly denies these truths? Does not recognizing a man as a legitmate preacher constitute recognizing him as a fellow Christian? Is a preacher a Christian minister who denies fundamentals of Christian faith? Actually the New Evangelicalism was and is casuistry. It follows the morally-bankrupt Jesuit doctrine that the end justifies the means. Evangelicals today will generally do anything to get a new opportunity. Their pragmatism outweighs their principles nearly every time! It is not reasonable to be an evangelical without being a fundamentalist, to profess belief in the saving Gospel but to deny its vital importance!

Reason will draw the mind to one of the two extremes on the spectrum of religion. Either the mind will be drawn toward atheism or to the opposite end and fundamentalism. Both views can be argued logically, but nothing in between will survive reasonable examination. Either God has revealed Himself by the holy scriptures, or we know nothing of a God at all. Either the Bible is what it claims to be, or it is a foul example of religious deception. Either the Gospel is true, or the Bible and Christ and God are false, too. Finally you must end up at atheism or fundamentalism. In this question we thankfully find the evidence for God and the Bible far more convincing than the arguments against them. We will also find that God always guides the humble mind to the truth and to Himself.

"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God . . ." (John 7:17)
"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13)

Monthly Article
June 2003
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.

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