Fundamentalism Vs Reformed Theology


In general, most modern fundamentalists take the Bible at face-value within their own socio-political context, and they usually subscribe to a form of premillennialism. However, since the term fundamentalist is often a vilification when used by outsiders, some fundamentalists now call themselves evangelicals.

Fundamentalists are often those who are reclusive and estranged from the religious establishment, which they sometimes perceive as needing an overhaul or even replacement. The first time that any group of Christians proclaimed themselves to be fundamentalists was in a meeting that took place in the early 1900s in the United States. At the time there was not the clear association of fundamentalists with militant or religious fanatics (an association people might often ascribe to them today). The gathering was merely a response, in the Church, to the huge infusion of modernism and the liberalizing trends of German biblical criticism. This tendency of modernism and unbelief in the Church gave rise to a group resistance, among religious conservatives of various stripes, to the loss of influence traditional revivalism experienced in America during the early years of the twentieth century. At this time, the “Fundamentalists” were Calvinists united together with Dispensationalists and other conservative Christians to do battle with this dramatic theologically liberal turn from historic Christian orthodoxy. They distributed a series of pamphlets, free of charge, among pastors and seminarians (published between 1910 and 1915) entitled “The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth”.

These were a set of basic truths to which all the conservatives were united in agreement and still are to this day. The following is what came out of the meeting and what Reformed Theology and Modern Fundamentalism still hold in common:

Fundamentalism and its Similarities with Reformed Theology

1) The inspiration and verbal inerrancy of Scripture
2) The Deity of Christ and the virgin Birth
3) The substitutionary atonement
4) Justification by faith
5) The physical resurrection
6) The bodily return of Christ at the end of the age.
7) Christ performed miracles

But over time the original reasons for uniting began to fall apart and the differences between the Reformed and other camps began to show. The following are significant differences that we can see today between modern Fundamentalists and those with a Reformed heritage:

Fundamentalism (and its Differences with Reformed Theology)

1) The absence of historical perspective;
2) Ignores the Scriptures highly diverse literary genres;
3) The lack of appreciation of scholarship; aversion toward any secondary theological training; anti-intellectual;
4) The substitution of brief, skeletal, superficial creeds for the historic confessions;
5) The lack of concern with precise formulation of Christian doctrine; highly averse to theology;
6) Pietistic, perfectionist tendencies, often moralistic (i.e., major upon “issues” such as protesting Harry Potter movies; separating with Christians who are not KJV only);Guilt-Centered (Fundamentalism) Vs. Gospel Centered (Reformed) Sanctification
7) One-sided other-worldliness – reclusive: church separate from the culture – the holy huddle (i.e., a lack of effort to impact their communities & transform culture);
8) A penchant for futuristic chiliasm (or: dispensational pre-millennialism);
9) They embrace some form of Manicheanism (or Greek dualism);
10) Often demonize their opposition and are reactionary;
11) Envy modernist cultural/political hegemony and try to overturn the powers that be through political brute force rather than persuasion; Thus are often viewed by outsiders more like a political lobby than representatives of Christ;
12) Arminian tendency in theology (synergistic)

Monergism