I’ve been credentialed as a fundamentalist by the FBFI, although I have reason to suspect that may have not been their intention. Nonetheless, a snippet from a 1998 article of mine was selected from among the pearls of twenty years of outstanding writing on fundamentalism and evangelicalism to represent the straight talk about the issues of interest to fundamentalists that the magazine is proud of. I am quoted right after Bob Jones Jr. and in a list of five men who, other than yours truly, were stars in the fundamentalist orb. Twenty years ago I could not have been more flattered.
Today I’m amused.
The quote I actually stand by. Still. Thirteen years later. With some minor qualifications and time-sensitive applications. The magazine I do not stand by and dismiss as mostly irrelevant, partly because of the chicanery and gamesmanship of many in the leadership of the FBFI, largely because of its complete irrelevance highlighted by the fact that of the five men that they quoted in that particular section, I am the youngest by at least three decades among those yet still alive; and mostly because it is poorly written* as illustrated by the fact that even though I am a bad and uneducated writer I am among the best of twenty years of writing they could cull for their twentieth year celebration.
Now for the 1998 quote.
To clarify the issue for the third-generation Fundamentalist who might be asking “Who am I?” it might be best to explain that there are nominal Fundamentalists with New Evangelical moods. There are also New Evangelicals in distress over the rapid decline of virtue and spiritual integrity who have exhibited the mood of Fundamentalism but lack the courage of complete expression of this mood by separation. Such books as Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology?, The Coming Evangelical Crisis, and others groan over the chaos of present-day Evangelicalism, yet none mention separation from the unclean thing as a viable solution. They are in anguish over the condition of their movement, but are too weak (and disobedient) to detach themselves from it — just like many young nominal Fundamentalists today who are nauseated by separatism, but too afraid (and deceitful) to declare themselves for what they really are – - closet New Evangelicals.
I’ve been invited back into the conversation. I intend to address both the article and the themes in a lengthier post now that I have been duly credentialed by the FBFI organ along with Bob Jones Jr., J.B. Williams, and others as an articulate voice on the subject. I suspect that I will be invited to speak at one of their annual meetings shortly, but in the meantime I will opine instead on this humble little blog.
More to come.
*Except for the often-helpful insert “Sound Words.”