Musings on …. Fundamentals of Christianity


Hi Council Members and new readers to my little blog, happy reading!

I was visiting a church today and they spoke of how the word fundamental was originally intended, so I had to come home and look it up:


fundamentalist (adj.) Look up fundamentalist at Dictionary.com1920 in the religious sense (as is fundamentalism), from fundamental + -ist. Coined in American English to name a movement among Protestants c.1920-25 based on scriptural inerrancy, etc., and associated with William Jennings Bryan, among others.

Fundamentalist is said (by George McCready Price) to have been first used in print by Curtis Lee Laws (1868-1946), editor of “The Watchman Examiner,” a Baptist newspaper. The movement may have roots in the Presbyterian General Assembly of 1910, which drew up a list of five defining qualities of “true believers” which other evangelicals published in a mass-circulation series of books called “The Fundamentals.” A World’s Christian Fundamentals Association was founded in 1918. The words reached widespread use in the wake of the contentious Northern Baptist Convention of 1922 in Indianapolis.

Fundamentalism is a protest against that rationalistic interpretation of Christianity which seeks to discredit supernaturalism. This rationalism, when full grown, scorns the miracles of the Old Testament, sets aside the virgin birth of our Lord as a thing unbelievable, laughs at the credulity of those who accept many of the New Testament miracles, reduces the resurrection of our Lord to the fact that death did not end his existence, and sweeps away the promises of his second coming as an idle dream. It matters not by what name these modernists are known. The simple fact is that, in robbing Christianity of its supernatural content, they are undermining the very foundations of our holy religion. They boast that they are strengthening the foundations and making Christianity more rational and more acceptable to thoughtful people. Christianity is rooted and grounded in supernaturalism, and when robbed of supernaturalism it ceases to be a religion and becomes an exalted system of ethics. [Laws, “Herald & Presbyter,” July 19, 1922]

The original opposition to fundamentalist (within the denominations) was modernist.

A new word has been coined into our vocabulary — two new words — ‘Fundamentalist’ and ‘Fundamentalism.’ They are not in the dictionaries as yet — unless in the very latest editions. But they are on everyone’s tongue. [Address Delivered at the Opening of the Seminary, Sept. 20, 1922, by Professor Harry Lathrop Reed, “Auburn Seminary Record”]

Applied to other religions, especially Islam, since 1957.


fundamental (adj.) Look up fundamental at Dictionary.commid-15c., “primary, original, pertaining to a foundation,” modeled on Late Latin fundamentalis “of the foundation,” from Latin fundamentum “foundation” (see fundament). Fundamentals“primary principles or rules” of anything is from 1630s.


What are the Christian Fundamentals?

The idea of Christian Fundamentalism first emerged as a movement in the 19th century within various Protestant bodies, who reacted against the rising tide of evolutionary theories and modernist Biblical criticism. From a Bible conference of Conservative Protestants meeting in Niagara in 1895, a statement was issued containing what came to be known as the five points of fundamentalism: The verbal inerrancy of Scripture, the divinity of Jesus Christ, the virgin birth, a substitutionary theory of the atonement, and the physical resurrection and bodily return of Christ.¹

from here

~~ Even in these 5, they are differences…

The inerrancy of the Bible
The literal nature of the Biblical accounts, especially regarding Christ’s miracles and the Creation account in Genesis
The Virgin Birth of Christ
The bodily resurrection and physical return of Christ
The substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross

1. The virgin birth and deity of Jesus.

2. The substitutionary death of Jesus.

3. The resurrection of Jesus Christ.

4. The verbal inspiration of the Scriptures.

5. The second coming of Christ.

1. The Trinity: God is one “What” and three “Whos” with each “Who” possessing all the attributes of Deity and personality.

2. The Person of Jesus Christ: Jesus is 100% God and 100% man for all eternity.

3. The Second Coming: Jesus Christ is coming bodily to earth to rule and judge.

4. Salvation: It is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

5. The Scripture: It is entirely inerrant and sufficient for all Christian life.

1) The inerrancy and full authority of the Bible.

2) The virgin birth and full Deity of Jesus Christ.

3) The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

4) Christ’s atoning, vicarious death for the sins of the world.

5) The literal second coming of Jesus Christ.

1. The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8-9).
2. The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27).
3. The Blood Atonement (Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Ephesians 1:7;
Hebrews 9:12-14).
4. The Bodily Resurrection (Luke 24:36-46; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 15:14-15).
5. The inerrancy of the scriptures themselves (Psalms 12:6-7; Romans 15:4;
2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20).  See my next post for the scriptures to accompany.

Inerrancy of the Bible.
Literal truth of the Bible.
The virgin birth and divinity of Jesus Christ. Fundamentalists hold this against encroaching materialism which denies the supernatural.
The doctrine of atonement through substitution, a Calvinist doctrinal innovation according to which Christ inserts his own perfect record, in place of ours, into the divine retributive mechanism. This fundamental is held in opposition to the early Church’s “ransom” and “moral uplift” theories of atonement.
The bodily resurrection of Jesus and the imminent personal return of Jesus Christ. This is a critical building block for Christian fundamentalist movements that deny responsibility for global warming, since the end of the world is near.

Infallibility of the Bible. The fundamentalist views the Bible as a divinely-inspired work authored by men acting under the direction of God, and as such is entirely error-free.
Biblical literalism. Biblical literalism is an approach to Biblical interpretation; literalists hold that the meaning of the text is given by the plain meaning of the author(s). Only those passages which are clearly allegorical or symbolic ought to be understood as allegory or symbolism. That said, discerning which passages are clearly allegorical is exceedingly difficult.
The virgin birth of Jesus Christ. Fundamentalists hold this against encroaching materialism which denies the supernatural.
The doctrine of substitutionary atonement. Christ inserts his own perfect record, in place of ours, into the divine retributive mechanism.
The bodily resurrection of Jesus and the imminent personal return of Jesus Christ. This fundamental is held in opposition to those who say Jesus appeared to Peter as a spirit, or that He will return only in a symbolic sense.


I believe in these 5. I’m a Christian fundy!

Addl reading…

From here

and here

a Study of Denominations here


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