Christian Fundamentalism –6

This concludes our series by Professor Malan on Christian Fundamentalism. The previous installments dealt with:

Accountability to God. Man should guard against becoming his own god who sits on the throne of his heart. We were created by God and are called to become conformable to the image of His Son. For this reason, we are accountable to Him for what we have done with our lives. All unsaved people are living in a state of rebellion towards God and will appear before the great white throne where they will be condemned to the eternal lake of fire because of their sins (Rev. 20:11-15). Christians will appear before the judgement seat of Christ where they will receive rewards for their service to the Lord (2 Cor. 5:10; Luke 19:15-17). On that day it will be evident that many of them were not filled with the Holy Spirit, and consequently did not bear fruit that befits repentance. When their works are tested by fire they will burn like wood, hay and straw: “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Cor. 3:15). Prepare yourself for this appointment and make sure that you do not appear before the Lord empty-handed.

Fundamentalism and radicalism. Christian fundamentalism should in no way be confused with radical actions or violent behaviour. Although we have a faith and principles which differ radically from that of the world, we do not use radical or violent means to promote it: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord” (Zech. 4:6). We don’t demonstrate in the streets, we don’t threaten people and never take up arms offensively against others – only defensively when it is absolutely necessary. As a small minority group we are not in a position to make demands. We can only, in a civilised way, make requests to society and government in which we motivate our case well.
A wrong image is often portrayed of fundamental Christians, for instance, to liken them with fundamental Muslims. The latter group is, as far as the Bible is concerned, not occupied with the truth and they also justify violence by waging a jihad against Israel and Christianity. The Koran often calls them to become engaged with such a war. In this dispensation, Christians are never called to make war, so we refrain from radical actions. We belong to a heavenly kingdom which cannot be defended by military means – only by the word of our testimony. We are called upon to proclaim the saving grace of Jesus Christ to all people, also to the enemies of Christianity, whose minds have been blinded by the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4).

Persecution. The gospel of Jesus Christ was never meant to make us acceptable to the world, but actually prepares us to be rejected, hated and persecuted by the world (John 15:18-20; Acts 14:22). We know that we won’t take over the world during this dispensation. Wherever the gospel is correctly proclaimed without lowering its standard and mixing it with sensational kingdom promises, only a minority of people will be saved (Luke 13:23-24; Matt. 7:14). It is in our best interest to stick to the full truth of God’s Word – that means to be fundamental, evangelical believers – and to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).

Conclusion. Always remember that a fundamental Christian’s life is built upon the foundation, Jesus Christ: “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). If our lives have been built upon this firm rock we will never falter when the storms of life are unleashed against us. The sureness of this Rock, the certainty of our trust in Him, and the unchangeable nature of His Word offer us a hopeful future in His everlasting heavenly kingdom. The Lord Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Luke 21:33).

Prof. Johan Malan, South Africa (February 2008)