SCRIPTURE DEMANDS STRICT BIBLICISM
Updated August 28, 2006 (first published November 1, 2004) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org) -
Through the years many have written to fuss at me because I believe that fundamentalism (or a biblical strictness by whatever name) is a necessary part of scriptural Christianity. These claim that I judge everything on the basis of my own “fundamentalism” and reject anything that differs.
While I do believe that fundamentalism (meaning biblical strictness) is a necessary part of scriptural Christianity, I do not judge things on the basis of my or anyone else’s fundamentalism. My sole authority for faith and practice is the Bible, not Fundamentalism or Baptistism or independent Baptistism or fundamental Baptistism or any other man-made system.
I realize that it is very difficult if not well nigh impossible to rid ourselves of all preconceptions as we study the Bible, but God being my witness, my goal since I was converted has been to take the Scriptures as my sole guide and authority and to test everything by it and conform myself, my doctrine, and my ministry to it.
When I got saved in 1973 at age 23, I didn’t know anything about fundamentalism.
I was led to Christ by an old-line, godly Pentecostal brother that I met while traveling. In those days I was a drifter and made my living at times by selling drugs. I had hitchhiked out to California not long before I met the man who led me to Christ. We traveled together for four or five days, I don’t remember exactly how long, but long enough to travel from near Hollywood, Florida, to Mexico, crossing the border at Brownsville, Texas, and then back to Daytona Beach, Florida. All along the way he reasoned with me out of the Scriptures and at one point we stopped at a Christian bookstore and he bought me a King James Bible without any notes or comments. At the time I met him, I was a member of the Self-Realization Fellowship Society and my Hindu guru was Paramahansa Yogananda. I believed in reincarnation and meditation as the path to enlightenment. The Pentecostal brother explained me to continually that the Bible is the infallible Word of God to man and that it and it alone is the divine Authority for our lives. He urged me to receive Christ and to make the Bible the Book of my life, and I made the first step on that royal road when I repented and believed and yielded my life to Jesus Christ in a motel room in Daytona Beach, Florida, the last night we were together on that memorable journey.
The next day he went his way and I went in a different direction and I have never seen him again. I drove to my hometown to make things right with my Dad, against whom I had been in rebellion for many years.
At that point I knew that I was going to follow Jesus forever and I realized that I needed to find a good church, but I didn’t know where to go. I knew about Southern Baptist churches but I didn’t have any inclination to go back to them, since I had grown up in them and in general I hadn’t seen the power of God and the zeal for the Word of God there that I had seen in the man who led me to Christ. I visited some Pentecostal and Charismatic churches and meetings. I visited various other kinds of churches. I listened to many different preachers on the radio, including Herbert W. Armstrong and even ordered some of his materials. I studied some Seventh-day Adventist books.
Though I was confused about churches and wasn’t sure about which way to turn, I knew that the Bible has a lot to say about the church and I desired Christian fellowship; so I earnestly sought God’s will in this matter. I had the following two promises from Scripture that I clung to:
“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
John 7:17 says that I can know the truth if I am willing to do God’s will. John 8:31-32 says I can know the truth if I continue in God’s Word. Desiring earnestly to know the truth and never to be deceived again, I took hold of these promises. I prayed continually that God would help me be obedient to everything I found in Scripture so that I could be led into further truth. I would often pray, “God, I know that my heart is deceitful; if in some matter I am unknowingly being stubborn about your will, please show me this and make me willing.”
Understanding that I had to continue in God’s Word, I began to search the Bible diligently, hours a day, reading it and studying it and memorizing it. I read it through probably five or six times the first couple of years. I wrote down everything I was learning and created my own topical study guide, organizing Scriptures under subject headings. I looked up every word I did not understand. I used the Strong’s Concordance and other tools to research dozens of Bible words every day. (After 20 years, these studies would result in the publication of the Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity.)
For a couple of months I wandered through the maze of churches, visiting various kinds and praying for God’s enlightenment. The first church the Lord led me to join was Bartow Baptist Church in Bartow, Florida. It was started by the Gerald Hoovner family, who had left First Baptist Church, the prominent Southern Baptist congregation in town, with the desire to turn their backs on compromise and lukewarmness and worldliness and to be serious about the Scriptures. God had blessed them and a number of young people had been saved and were growing in the Lord. One by one these were going off to Bible College and were entering the Lord’s service in various fields. I knew that this was where God wanted me, and I, too, went off to Bible College. Though the church is now defunct, it had a lot of fruit in its day.
When I began to hear about separation at this church, I knew instinctively that it was right because I was reading about it in the Scriptures. When I learned that separatists were called fundamentalists, I knew that I was going to be a fundamentalist because I wanted to be faithful to the Scriptures, including to those parts that are commonly neglected in evangelical Christianity today.
Thus, I am convinced that my fundamentalism comes from the Bible.
Though the term “fundamentalism” encompasses many different things and comes in many varieties -- such as non-denominational fundamentalism, Presbyterian fundamentalism, and Baptist fundamentalism -- at its heart is a strictness toward the Scriptures, a desire to take the Bible seriously in all matters.
SCRIPTURES THAT DEMAND FUNDAMENTALISM
I am convinced that the Bible demands fundamentalism, that if a believer takes the Bible seriously he will be some sort of fundamentalist today. Following are some of the Scriptures that demand fundamentalist type strictness in Christianity:
THE BIBLE DEMANDS STRICTNESS IN DOCTRINE
Matthew 28:20 -- “Teaching them to observe ALL THINGS whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Acts 20:27 -- “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”
Ephesians 4:14 -- “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with EVERY WIND OF DOCTRINE, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
1 Timothy 1:3 -- “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach NO OTHER DOCTRINE.”
1 Timothy 6:13-14 -- “I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; that thou keep this commandment WITHOUT SPOT, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Timothy 1:13 -- “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 2:2 -- “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, THE SAME commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
Titus 1:9 -- “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”
THE BIBLE DEMANDS THAT WE TEST ALL THINGS
Isaiah 8:20 -- “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
Matthew 7:15 -- “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
Acts 17:11 -- “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
Romans 12:2 -- “... that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:15-16 -- “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
Ephesians 5:10 -- “Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.”
Philippians 1:10 -- “That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.”
1 Thessalonians 5:21 -- “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
1 John 4:1 -- “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
Revelation 2:2 -- “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:”
THE BIBLE DEMANDS CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
Galatians 2:5 -- “To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”
Philippians 1:7 -- “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
Jude 3 -- “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
THE BIBLE DEMANDS PLAIN EXPOSURE OF ERROR
Psalm 119:128 -- “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.”
Romans 16:17 -- “Now I beseech you, brethren, MARK THEM which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”
Galatians 2:11 -- “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.”
1 Timothy 1:19-20 -- “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”
2 Timothy 2:16-18 -- “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”
THE BIBLE DEMANDS SEPARATION FROM ERROR AND APOSTASY
Romans 16:17 -- “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and AVOID THEM.”
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 -- “BE YE NOT UNEQUALLY YOKED TOGETHER WITH unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. WHEREFORE COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, AND BE YE SEPARATE, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
2 Thessalonians 3:6 -- “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye WITHDRAW YOURSELVES from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.”
1 Timothy 6:3-5 -- “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: FROM SUCH WITHDRAW THYSELF.”
2 Timothy 3:5 -- “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: FROM SUCH TURN AWAY.”
Titus 3:10 -- “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition REJECT.”
2 John 10-11 -- “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, RECEIVE HIM NOT into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”
Revelation 18:4 -- “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, COME OUT OF HER, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
THE BIBLE DEMANDS STRICT SEPARATION FROM SIN AND WORLDLINESS
Matthew 6:24 -- “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON.”
Romans 12:2 -- “And BE NOT CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
2 Corinthians 6:3 -- “Giving NO offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed.”
Ephesians 5:11 -- “And have NO fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
1 Thessalonians 5:22 -- “Abstain from ALL appearance of evil.”
Titus 2:11-14 -- “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, DENYING UNGODLINESS AND WORLDLY LUSTS, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from ALL INIQUITY, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
James 1:27 -- “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and TO KEEP HIMSELF UNSPOTTED FROM THE WORLD.”
James 4:4 -- “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the FRIENDSHIP OF THE WORLD IS ENMITY WITH GOD? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
James 4:8 -- “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. CLEANSE YOUR HANDS, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”
1 Peter 1:15 -- “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in ALL MANNER OF CONVERSATION.”
1 John 2:15-17 -- “LOVE NOT THE WORLD, NEITHER THE THINGS THAT ARE IN THE WORLD. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
1 John 5:19 -- “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.”