Are New Covenant Christians Fundamentalists?
Q. Are you [New Covenant Christians] fundamentalists?
If by "fundamentslist" you mean 'Bible-thumping preachers', 'uneducated bigots', and other such similar popular definitions, then we would give a straight 'no'. But if you mean by "fundamentalist" as, to use C.S.Lewis' definition, "the rules of faith of the New Testament Church" or the "fundamental facts of Christianity", then we would of course say that we are.
At the end of the 19th century evolution and the new "higher" biblical criticism began to challenge biblical authority. This assault affected even the great theological institutions such as Princeton Seminary which, though once orthodox, began questioning fundamental doctrines such as the Virgin Birth and inerrancy of Scripture. Meanwhile, a lively social gospel was also surfacing. Strong in good intentions, it was weak in biblical doctrine and orthodoxy.
So between 1910 and 1915 a group of theologians, pastors and laypeople published a series of volumes titled, "The Fundamentals", which defined what had been the non-negotiables of the faith since the Apostles' Creed:
These were then, as they are today, the backbone of orthodox Christianity. If a fundamentalist is a person who affirms these truths, then there are fundamentalists in every denomination -- Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Brethren, Methodist, Episcopal, Seventh Day Adventist, etc.. Everyone who believes in the orthodox truths about Jesus Christ -- in short, every Christian -- is a fundamentalist. New Covenant Christians consider themselves orthodox and fundamentalist within these definitions though they have sought to define more clearly the words "infallibility" and "Scripture" within a biblical context.
(1) The infallibility of Scripture;
(2) The deity of Christ;
(3) The Virgin Birth and miracles of Christ;
(4) Christ's substitutionary death; and
(5) Christ's physical resurrection and eventual return.
There are, however, within this broad definition radical sects who extend the meaning of the term "fundamentalism" to include other teachings peculiar to them with whom the general public has come to associate the word "fundamentalist". New Covenant Christians do not consider themselves "fundamentalist" in this sense.
These are ultimately semantic problems but ones which need to be faced. We have answered similar questions in the past regarding such terms as "evangelical" and "orthodox" which are applied in different ways by different groups of Christians.
This page was created on 8 April 1998
Last updated on 8 April 1998
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