Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Scot McKnight on Fundamentalism

Photo Credit: Curtis Gregory Perry
Scot McKnight, who writes at the Jesus Creed blog, offers his take on fundamentalists and anti-fundamentalists:
"One the best things about growing up fundamentalist is that we absolutely knew we were on God’s side or perhaps it is better to say that God was on our side. Knowing God is on your side breeds confidence as well as other things … and I want to have a conversation today about those other things. I’m not concerned today about what a fundamentalist believes. Facts clearly show that fundamentalists and evangelicals and Catholics and orthodox Christians believe many of the same things. What I’ve tried a number of times to do is to think my way into why it is that many get upset with fundamentalists. What is it?

Zeal, too much of it. Relentless zeal. Imposing zeal. Absolute confidence in everything they think is important.

Here’s what I have observed: my experience shows that former and anti-fundamentalists can be just as fundamentalistic — zealous and absolute — about their anti-fundamentalism and new-found beliefs. In other words, they [are] absolutely confident liberalism is another form of fundamentalism.

These anti-fundamentalists (and anti-evangelicals) can be just as confident and cocky that they’ve got it all figured out. That they stand high above the rest in their perceptions of truth. They can be just as zealous for their new convictions, some of them petty. Once they saw all non-fundamentalists in danger of perdition, now they find everyone who doesn’t fight for the cause they believe in as hopeless or apathetic or non-Christian. I call this fundamentalist flop-flipping, from being a pro-fundamentalist fundamentalist to being an anti-fundamentalist fundamentalist.

There’s some good news here. I don’t believe we need to say “once a fundamentalist always a fundamentalist.” No, God mercifully grants us grace to find a different way, a third way, the way of grace and love that can hold firmly to one’s viewpoint and yet treat the other with respect and dignity."
You can read the rest of Scot's post here.

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