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Evangelical, Charismatic, Fundamentalist Etc - Definition Of Terms?

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I often get confused by some of these terms - and there is a tendency to lump them together. So I just wondered:

 

Evangelical?

 

Charismatic?

 

Pentacostal?

 

Fundamentalist?

 

Do they mean the same thing? Or are there differences to those different terms? If so, what are the differences?

 

I think that charismatic refers to all that speaking in tongues, falling over, laying on of hands stuff. Fundamentalist presumably refers to taking the Bible literally. And I think evangelical refers to pro-active methods of preaching to people (preaching in the street etc) and the emphasis on being 'saved' by the 'holy spirit'.

 

Pentacostalists from what I understand are a specific sect - and they seem to be charismatic, evangelical and fundamentalist.

 

But help me out here. Am I right about those definitions? It can be very confusing to someone from a more liberal christian background who doesn't have a lot of experience with those particular forms of christianity.

 

Also about my childhood experiences with the Salvation Army - are Salvation Army a bit evangelical? I know we weren't fundamentalist because taking the Bible absolutely literally was not a requirement (although there were some fundamentalists amongst us).

 

But those 'open air' meetings, the emphasis on being 'saved' (you're not automatically saved by believing in christianity or being born into it - you have to 'let Jesus into your life' and become 'saved' by the 'holy spirit') and those long devotional bits at the end of meetings with soppy devotional music and people being encouraged to 'come to the mercy seat' and pray to let Jesus enter their lives.

 

All that stuff seems a bit evangelical doesn't it? It's not like what you'd get from a Catholic or Anglican church.

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Good question and lots of confusion to what they are. I'll start with the hardest one first:

 

Evangelical

 

The word simply means it has an emphasis on community outreach, to bring the message of the church out to others in ministry, involvement, activities, etc. You can have conservative and liberal churches both be considered evangelical, and it has nothing to do with a set of doctrinal beliefs, such as biblical innerancy, young earth creation, or a literal hell. You have Lutherans and Catholic churches as well that can be considered evangelical.

 

The confusion comes in that those evangelicals who are of the more theologically conservative leaning have been spoken about by that term Evangelical, to the point that it's become closely associated with that type of Christianity. Strictly speaking, the term is not limited to them.

 

Fundamentalist

 

These are Christians who believe in the "fundamentals" of Christian faith in direct opposition to Christians who are more theologically liberal. What distinguishes them from mainstream Christianity is that they oppose modernization of religious thought. "Give me that old time religion" is a phrase that came out of American Fundamentalism when it was born in the beginning of the 20th Century at the hands of William B. Riley. See here for a great history of how fundamentalism was born here: http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/f...amentalism.html

 

Pentecostal

 

This is one of many Christian-based religious groups that sprung up at the begging of the 20th Century in the wake of The Great Disappointment. That period of time had many new cults arising, especially taking root on the West Coast. Pentecostalism got it's biggest push happen at the Azusa Street Revival, which is where Pentecostals got their really start - even though the first idea of it, the practice of tongues speaking began in Topeka, Kansas with some Bible students in the early Holiness Movement.

 

They were outside mainstream churches, yet did not wish to form any denomination until they were forced to through a controversy surrounding the doctrine of the Godhead. The dividing lines formed the Assemblies of God as a result on the Trinitarian side of the controversy, and a couple other Oneness groups that later joined to form the United Pentecostal Church in 1945. What distinguishes Pentecostals from the mainstream, is the practice of the gifts of the spirit: tongues speaking, healings, miracles, etc. They are separate denominations that hold these things as distinct matters of faith.

 

Charismatic

 

What distinguishes Charismatics from Pentecostals is that the practice of these gifts of the spirit from the Pentecostal denominations, started filtering it's way into the mainstream Protestant churches starting in the 1960's. It was largely practiced in private Bible study groups of people who remained in their Baptist, Lutheran, and other various denomination, gradually finding itself being practiced even within some of those churches. It's more of a movement in this regard. The Jesus People Movement is an example of this, being essentially the hippie movement that existed inside the mainstream churches. Some churches that have split away from their parent denominations remain independent, and would be considered Charismatic churches by the fact they practice these gift of the spirit.

 

 

So to muddy the waters... Not all Evangelicals are Fundamentalist. Not all Fundamentalists are necessarily Evangelical. Not all Fundamentalists are Pentecostal nor Charismatic. Not all Pentecostals or Charismatics are Fundamentalists. Pentecostals are distinct denominations and organizations. Charismatics exist within mainstream churches, or are independent churches with an emphasis on the gifts of the spirit in their practices. Some independent churches may be Pentecostal, having broken away from a Pentecostal denominational history while carrying their traditional doctrines and practices with them.

 

Does that help?

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Good post. Since that question comes up occaisionally, you should pin that somewhere for future reference.

Oh, and they're all nuts.

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I agree with the "all nuts" assessment. I'm happy someone has posted this, thanks AM. I for one grew up in a VERY conservative, mainstream, protestant church that began a charismatic reform in the 1970s, corresponding directly with the Jesus Movement. Then in the 80s the charismatics broke away (largely due to the church deciding to ordain homosexuals) and now the church is VERY liberal and all about social justice. Well, social justice and old ladies... depending on the church.

 

So when I tell people I was raised in the United Church of Canada, they don't get that in my day, and in my church, things were pretty holy rolling.

 

Can I just say that as a kid and a young teen, the Jesus Movement rocked! LOL

 

Heather

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Fundamentalist - 1) One who believes the Bible to be literally true in spite of massive amounts of evidence to the contrary and no credible evidence whatsoever in support of such a belief ; 2) One who subscribes to a religious belief system founded upon and supported by ignorance, fear, and sheer idiocy; 3) A brainwashed religious believer; 4) A certifiable imbecile

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Does that help?

 

Erm... sort of.

 

Thanks for the links also.

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Does that help?

 

Erm... sort of.

 

Thanks for the links also.

Basically those are the general categories and there's going to be crossover. Then when you add the flavors of the more liberal churches and the crossovers going on, and the country it exists in... well pretty much you almost need to say it like "American conservative evangelical charismatic" to really put a finer point on it.

 

That's the difficulty of our language. Many times we call people fundamentalists who really aren't. Conservative doesn't always mean theologically fundamentalist. That's why I generally like to ask what church they attend. If it's a particular denomination, then it's much easier to make certain general assumptions, but then from there you need to ask where they as an individual may differ. No simple lines. :(

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I looked at the article you linked, AM. The name William B. Riley is given as being foundational to fundamentalism. I don't remember the name from doing my thesis in the history of fundamentalism. Other names that I do remember don't show up in the article. I searched three books as listed below, and conclude that Riley is nowhere near as important to fundamentalism as that particular article portrays. I will explain.

 

I searched Mark A. Noll's History of Christianity in the United States and Canada, and Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, and also George M. Marsden's Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism. I have all three books on my computer.

 

Noll and Marsden were primary scholars in fundamentalism in the late 20th century, possibly still writing. Both wrote a paragraph, or brief section in a chapter, in which Riley's name was mentioned along with others such as Billy Sunday. The real information I found was in Noll's Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, P. 114 in Footnote 6.

 

In that footnote, Noll lists books in which one can learn about fundamentalism. He also lists books in which one can learn about fundamentalism in specific regions. He lists a book by William Vance Trollinger about God's Empire: William Bell Riley and Midwestern Fundamentalism, University of Wisconsin Press, 1990.

 

Apparently William B. Riley was important in the Midwest. That does not make him THE fundamentalist. Fundamentalism was a continent-wide movement. Actually, world-wide. The Fundamentals were distributed world-wide.

 

Here you can read some of them if you're interested. (I stumbled across the site when looking for the wikipedia article.)

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Re definition for fundamentalism. When I was doing my papers on fundamentalism I could not find two scholars who agreed. I am now finding there are scholars who think they have THE definition. However, I still don't know if any other scholar agrees with them. One promised me information when he gets back from wherever he went but he is gone at the moment.

 

I don't know the religious position of this person. I do know the religious position of one person who thinks he knows exactly what fundamentalism is. He calls himself an evangelical and he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is NOT--repeat, NOT--a fundamentalist.

 

My personal definition of fundamentalist is anyone who believes in a literal hell. I think that makes for a mindset that is of necessity intolerant and also evangelical. By evangelical I mean that they are obligated by sacred duty to spread the word and convert nonreligious people, esp. apostates who supposedly "know better."

 

The word "evangel" comes from the Greek word meaning "good news." So I was taught in seminary. Sometimes I also find intolerance among people who do not believe in a literal hell, or who do not even believe in an afterlife. They just think it makes for a better life so they think they need to impose it on others. At that point it is not good news for the victims.

 

The word "fundamentalist" has taken on seriously negative connotations. I think for this reason, the label often gets slapped on anyone who is nasty regarding religious belief, even if it is a moderate or liberal person imposing his/her belief on others.

 

Historically, though, I understand the name was taken from The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth (linked in my post above). I have also encountered people on the internet who carry the name with pride. I think Dallas Theological Seminary might be among those people, but I first noticed it among individual private citizens when someone said something along this line to me: You seem not to like people who believe in the fundamentals of the faith.

 

I think they believe they have returned to the pure unadulterated truth. Naturally, if we think we have a monopology on Truth we feel good about it. And these people seem to have willingly applied the term "fundamentals of the faith" to this "truth" they think they have found.

 

AM's description of the term "charismatic" fits my experience. For about a year and a half I attended a modern Mennonite church that I later found out was considered charismatic. They were VERY laid back compared to what people here describe because Mennonites are not demonstrative people. However, compared to other modern Mennonite congregations in the area they were totally "off the wall." The others would go out of their way to avoid being mistaken as charismatic and refuse to use an overhead projector for songs. Me being a naive horse and buggy girl found these arguments kind of silly. However, it seems this charismatic church may have split from a larger congregation over the disagreement. I was never clear on these things. My point is that charismatics can/do exist inside larger mainline denominations.

 

I don't know anything about Pentecostalism. I thought it was the name of a denomination. But on here I sometimes see it used with a lower-case p, and with reference to "pentecostal type church." So I assumed it must be a type of service or worship or gifts of the spirit, or belief or whatever, that is not the formal name of a denomination. I hope we hear from someone who uses it that way. I'm interested to know.

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Re definition for fundamentalism. When I was doing my papers on fundamentalism I could not find two scholars who agreed. I am now finding there are scholars who think they have THE definition. However, I still don't know if any other scholar agrees with them. One promised me information when he gets back from wherever he went but he is gone at the moment.

Good post and information. In looking over that article I don't think he was directly attributing it to Riley as "the" founder of fundamentalism. He does say that the ground work was laid by two more prominent figures, John Nelson Darby and Dwight L. Moody. Memory served me poorly when I said it began with Riley. I appreciate the correction. Where the article attributes origination with him, it was his being the one who invented the label "Fundamentalist". My memory blurred the two together.

 

The salient point of the fundamentalist movement however is that it was a reactive movement against modernity.

 

From the home page of that book The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth you linked to above:

 

"
The articles presented in The Fundamentals were written as a response to the modernism and liberal theology of the latter part of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th
. They were written in order for ministers of the gospel, missionaries, Sunday School superintendents, etc. (see volume prefaces) to have at their disposal articles which would be useful in affirming and reaffirming the fundamental truths of Christianity in the face of ever increasing attacks against it. Those who funded the writing and publishing of the series did so at their own expense and all the books which were printed in the original twelve volume series were given away free of charge as a service to the recipients.

 

There is still a great need today to reaffirm the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, especially when we consider "The Jesus Seminar," "Evangelicals and Catholics Together," the current push by the Mormons to present themselves as just another Christian denomination, and a host of other groups claiming to be Christian who deny these core truths. John MacArthur's book Reckless Faith, published by Crossway Books is an excellent, brief analysis of present day
doctrinal compromise
."

 

And from the article I linked to:

"Riley threw himself into politics. Seeing liquor as the source of most urban problems, he became an outspoken advocate for prohibition. Following the adoption of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919,
Riley devoted full attention to another threat to Christian life: “the new infidelity, known as modernism.” Opposition to modernism, both in the form of liberal theology and trends in modern culture, became the core of his new movement.
The cultural clashes of World War II had intensified tensions between theological liberals and conservatives, and the time seemed right for a national anti-modernist crusade. Riley deeply resented the frequent suggestion that only modernists were “men who really think,” and his bitterness left him itching for a fight. (GE, 35)"

 

His role from what I understand from this article was that of thrusting this kernel of "fundamentalist" thought, as he coined the term according to this, into the political and social realm of American society. But again the salient point is that what defined fundamentalism was it being a movement that was reactive to modernity in society and within Christianity itself.

 

I don't know the religious position of this person. I do know the religious position of one person who thinks he knows exactly what fundamentalism is. He calls himself an evangelical and he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is NOT--repeat, NOT--a fundamentalist.

And if true this underscores what I said above how that not all evangelicals are fundamentalists. Many churches are considered evangelical, but are hardly fundamentalist, or even conservative by modern standards.

 

My personal definition of fundamentalist is anyone who believes in a literal hell. I think that makes for a mindset that is of necessity intolerant and also evangelical. By evangelical I mean that they are obligated by sacred duty to spread the word and convert nonreligious people, esp. apostates who supposedly "know better."

This tends to be what happens with our language. Words evolve to being applied in more sweeping general terms, or as derogative terms until the actual meanings change or get added to. That's one reason why you have multiple definitions of words in dictionaries. Take the word "myth" for a really great example. People use the word "myth" to mean "a lie", whereas it's anything but that. Certainly not in academic circles, and so the terms fundamentalist and evangelical are becoming that as well.

 

From the wiki article you cited:

"Religious fundamentalism refers a "deep and totalistic commitment" to a belief in the infallibility and inerrancy of a holy book, absolute religious authority, and
strict adherence to a set of basic principles (fundamentals), away from doctrinal compromises with modern social and political life
.[1][2][3][4]

 

The term fundamentalism was originally coined to describe a narrowly defined set of beliefs that developed into a movement within the US Protestant community in the early part of the 20th century. Until 1950 there was no entry for fundamentalism in the Oxford English Dictionary;[5] the derivative fundamentalist was added only in its second 1989 edition.[6]

 

The term fundamentalist has since been generalized to mean strong adherence to any set of beliefs in the face of criticism or unpopularity
, but has by and large retained religious connotations.[6] The collective use of the term fundamentalist to describe non-Christian movements has offended some Christians who desire to retain the original definition.

 

Fundamentalism is often used as a pejorative term, particularly when combined with other epithets (as in the phrase "Muslim fundamentalists" and "right-wing fundamentalists").[7][8] Richard Dawkins used the term to characterize religious advocates as clinging to a stubborn, entrenched position that defies reasoned argument or contradictory evidence
."

 

This where I have problems with the use of the word fundamentalist as in how Dawkins is described to use it above. "Stubborn", strictly speaking is not 'fundamentalist', it's just stubborn. You can have believers who are quite liberal in their theology, but would be quite stubborn in relenting on their belief that God exists - even to the point of being utterly illogical in the face of reason. That's simply the nature of human beings who cling to a view tenaciously, whether it's religious or not. To me it is inappropriate and inaccurate to call this "fundamentalism".

 

Personal rant here: Why do people like him feel the need to heap inaccurate pejoratives on them? Isn't it more pointed to just say they're stubborn? I hate politicizing terms like this. Isn't the argument strong enough on its own without needing to spice it up like that? /rant

 

 

I don't know anything about Pentecostalism. I thought it was the name of a denomination. But on here I sometimes see it used with a lower-case p, and with reference to "pentecostal type church." So I assumed it must be a type of service or worship or gifts of the spirit, or belief or whatever, that is not the formal name of a denomination. I hope we hear from someone who uses it that way. I'm interested to know.

I do know quite a bit about Pentecostals as I was one. The lower-case p pentecostal seems to be referring to what is known as the "Pentecostal Experience", following the 2nd chapter of the book of Acts, which describes the events of the birthday of the church on the day of Pentecost where it speaks of the 'outpouring' of the Holy Ghost with them all speaking in tongues. Technically it shouldn't be a lower-case p in that it refers to a holiday, but again... usage. A "pentecostal type church" is used to describe both Pentecostals and Charismatics. The Charismatic experience is synonymous with the Pentecostal experience. I honestly don't know the etymology of how the word "Charismatic" became applied to them. I imagine it was more because they were so 'passionate' and 'expressive' in their faith?

 

But again what defines a Pentecostal church is really more it being a tradition of doctrines. The Assemblies of God is a Pentecostal denomination for instance. Charismatics are not so affiliated, and more just mainstream practitioners of the 'Pentecostal Experience".

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Re definition for fundamentalism. When I was doing my papers on fundamentalism I could not find two scholars who agreed. I am now finding there are scholars who think they have THE definition. However, I still don't know if any other scholar agrees with them. One promised me information when he gets back from wherever he went but he is gone at the moment.

 

Good post and information. In looking over that article I don't think he was directly attributing it to Riley as "the" founder of fundamentalism. He does say that the ground work was laid by two more prominent figures, John Nelson Darby and Dwight L. Moody. Memory served me poorly when I said it began with Riley. I appreciate the correction. Where the article attributes origination with him, it was his being the one who invented the label "Fundamentalist". My memory blurred the two together.

 

The salient point of the fundamentalist movement however is that it was a reactive movement against modernity.

 

From the home page of that book The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth you linked to above:

 

 

 

"
The articles presented in The Fundamentals were written as a response to the modernism and liberal theology of the latter part of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th
. They were written in order for ministers of the gospel, missionaries, Sunday School superintendents, etc. (see volume prefaces) to have at their disposal articles which would be useful in affirming and reaffirming the fundamental truths of Christianity in the face of ever increasing attacks against it. Those who funded the writing and publishing of the series did so at their own expense and all the books which were printed in the original twelve volume series were given away free of charge as a service to the recipients.

 

 

I find myself getting excited all over again with this topic. I thought I was exhausted after having completed my thesis but maybe I just needed a bit of a break.

 

Yes, fundamentalism is introduced everywhere (so far as I know) as a reactionary movement against modernity. George Whitefield's Great Awakenings and the writing of Jonathan Edwards in the middle of 18th century, the Keswick Holiness Movement (late 19-early 20th centuries) in England, Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles in 1906, and Princeton Seminary theologians (19th-early 20th centuries) were some very highly influential figures and events in the formative history of fundamentalism.

 

As you can see, this crosses denominational lines. I studied Charles Hodge, a Presbyterian theologian of Princeton Seminary, who wrote his three-volume Systematic Theology in the early 1870s. He died in 1878. Darby and Moody were of another tradition. The Mennonites of yet another tradition. All were affected by the fundamentalist movement. So far as I know, the only thing on which all of these theological traditions agreed was the fundamentals of the faith. Perhaps the most important of these was the doctrine of an inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God. When the Bible was seen as the final authority on all matters of faith and practice, all other doctrines was automatically included and sealed by divine authority.

 

Charles Hodge argued that it was possible to logically prove Christian theology in the same way that the naturalist logically proved science. Hodge believed the Bible contained the facts for the theologian in the same way that the natural world contained the facts of nature for the scientist. With Systematic Theology he set out to do exactly that. Where he failed, in my opinion, is that he did not question the word of authority. Scientists do question the word of authority. THAT specific difference remains potent to the present day, i.e. fundamentalists refuse to question the word of authority and science continualy questions authority.

 

Another thing that differs between fundamentalist religion and science is self-critique. By "self-critique" I mean to ask oneself the question: Could I be wrong? Hodge does not ever critique his own conclusions; he never asks whether he might have arrived at a wrong conclusion. I thought perhaps in his day this was the way things were done by scholars. Just to be sure, I compared his work with that of Charles Darwin. Immediately I saw that Darwin self-critiqued at every turn. He would say, "If my theory is wrong, then..." I also read a quote from a liberal theologian of about 1812. This was Joseph Stevens Buckminster.

 

That theologian self-critiqued, too. Without doing a more thorough search of the literature of the nineteenth century, I conclude that Hodge ommitted self-critique because he had so much confidence in his authority (Westminster Confession of Faith and the Bible) that he did not feel the need for self-critique. What he, and fundamentalists today, fail to realize is that he/they personally interpret what is read. For example, Hodge prided himself that Princeton never came up with any new ideas. Ernest Sandeen, writing in the middle of the 20th century, charges Hodge and his successors with inventing the inerrant infallible inspired Word of God doctrine.

 

It seems Darby has also been credited with that. It is probably impossible to tell who said what first. As stated, though they fought tooth and nail on many other items, they did agree on this one. The liberal churches disagreed very strongly on it. If I remember correctly, it was the liberal theologian of 1812 Joseph Stevens Buckminster who believed such literal hermeneutics would lead to atheism. I made the argument in my thesis that he was right.

 

What Hodge did was use the Common Sense philosophy of Francis Bacon of the 17 century. Some of Hodge's greatest opponents were Scottish Enlightenment thinkers. So I read up on the Scottish Enlightenment. Bottom line: Aside from evangelical theology, I see so many similarities between the thought patterns and presuppositions of Scottish Enlightenment Common Sense Philosophy and today's fundamentalist/evangelicals that it is impossible for me to ignore the possible connections.

 

Common Sense philosophy seems to have developed in reaction against hard-to-understand philosophies such as those of Hume and Voltaire.

 

To illustrate Common Sense philosophy as used by Christians in the United States right after the Revolution, here are some quotes from Noll in History of Christianity in the United States and Canada (bold-face emphasis added):

 

Even if arguments of so talented a skeptic as David Hume were hard to answer, it still was the case that normal humans everywhere presupposed basic realities such as the connection between causes and effects and the existence of the external world....[and that] God...would one day judge good and evil (p. 154).

 

Americans found the Scottish philosophy useful...for reestablishing the truths of Christianity in the absence of an established church (pp. 154-155).

 

American Christians called on principles of Common Sense Philosophy to defend their faith and promote social order (p. 156).

 

When the principles of Newton (or, even more, the principles of scientific induction championed by Sir Francis Bacon, whom Americans believed had paved the way for Newton) were applied to politics, social ethics, or Christian apologetics, then scientific reasoning could be put to use to ensure political peace, social morality, and even Christian orthodoxy (p. 156). They worked diligently constructing appeals to neutral reason, grounded in universal moral sense and in science, in order to prove the existence of God, the need for public morality, and the divine character of Scripture (p. 157).

 

[T]hey stressed...that a rigorous, "scientific" chain of reason demonstrated the truth of revelation (p. 157).

 

The quote from p. 156 about Sir Francis Bacon shows the connection with science that conservative (they weren't called fundamentalist at that time) Christian theologians saw. The final quote describes what Hodge tried to do in Systematic Theology. (If I had realized this stuff when I was writing my thesis I could have done a much better job; it's just coming to me now, unfortunately.) I think we still see the occassional fundamentalist trying to do it today.

 

While I'm quoting Noll, here's something to support what I said above about the fundamentalist movement crosssing denominational lines:

 

Other religious leaders (outside Princeton) who adopted Common Sense Philosophy:

  • Congregationalists Timothy Dwight at Yale College and Nathaniel W. Taylor at Yale Divinity School,
  • Unitarians Henry Ware, Jr., and Andrews Norton at Harvard, Baptist Francis Wayland at Brown, Alexander Campbell of the Disciples (who helped found Bacon College)
  • and many others (Noll, p. 156).

 

Denominations throughout the United States and Canada were splitting in the middle-to-late nineteenth century. New denominations were born. I suggest that the trend has not yet stopped. Today we have the ecumenical movement, the house church movement, the megachurch movement. I think all are forms of religious reform.

 

Antlerman said:

 

And from the article I linked to:

"Riley threw himself into politics. Seeing liquor as the source of most urban problems, he became an outspoken advocate for prohibition. Following the adoption of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919,
Riley devoted full attention to another threat to Christian life: “the new infidelity, known as modernism.†Opposition to modernism, both in the form of liberal theology and trends in modern culture, became the core of his new movement.
The cultural clashes of World War II had intensified tensions between theological liberals and conservatives, and the time seemed right for a national anti-modernist crusade. Riley deeply resented the frequent suggestion that only modernists were “men who really think,†and his bitterness left him itching for a fight. (GE, 35)"

His role from what I understand from this article was that of thrusting this kernel of "fundamentalist" thought, as he coined the term according to this, into the political and social realm of American society. But again the salient point is that what defined fundamentalism was it being a movement that was reactive to modernity in society and within Christianity itself.

 

Agreed. The part you highlighted agrees with what Noll and Marsden say. I didn't quote those parts, but they list others alongside him who were doing the same work. Based on what I found in that footnote, I'm thinking perhaps Riley was the leader to bring fundamentalim to his part of the country, i.e. the Midwestern US.

 

From the wiki article you cited:

 

<snip>

 

Fundamentalism is often used as a pejorative term, particularly when combined with other epithets (as in the phrase "Muslim fundamentalists" and "right-wing fundamentalists").[7][8] Richard Dawkins used the term to characterize religious advocates as clinging to a stubborn, entrenched position that defies reasoned argument or contradictory evidence
."

 

This where I have problems with the use of the word fundamentalist as in how Dawkins is described to use it above. "Stubborn", strictly speaking is not 'fundamentalist', it's just stubborn. You can have believers who are quite liberal in their theology, but would be quite stubborn in relenting on their belief that God exists - even to the point of being utterly illogical in the face of reason. That's simply the nature of human beings who cling to a view tenaciously, whether it's religious or not. To me it is inappropriate and inaccurate to call this "fundamentalism".

 

Personal rant here: Why do people like him feel the need to heap inaccurate pejoratives on them? Isn't it more pointed to just say they're stubborn? I hate politicizing terms like this. Isn't the argument strong enough on its own without needing to spice it up like that? /rant

 

If I may I will respond to your rant. Please don't get angry with me but I have yet another official authority from which to quote. R. Scott Appleby, one of the directors for the ten-year-long Fundamentalist Project out of Chicago University. He, along with others, updated part of that project after 9/11 and published it as a separate book.

 

Title: Strong Religion: The Rise of Fundamentalism Around The World,

Publisher: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Authors: Gabriel A. Almond, R. Scott Appleby, and Emmanuel Sivan.

 

I skimmed the introduction just now. They definitely apply the term fundamentalism to political action. It seems they apply the term to political action that is inspired by conservative religion. I have not yet read the book. However, if we take the Bible literally, it is very difficult (at least for me) to see how the separation of church and state is possible. If government authorities are accountable to God for their decisions, as we are taught in the OT and by Peter in the NT that all of us must be, then there can be no separation. It is easy to come find evidence--hard, soft, scholarly, informal, legal, anecdotal--that strong religion is part and parcel of normal proceedures in the White House. Also inside George W. Bush's brain. I don't think anyone questions that the same applies to the Islamic element of the present conflicts.

 

I attended my first class for sociology of religion on Sept. 10, 2001. The professor asked whether we think Holy Wars still happened. No one really knew; probably not but who really knew...we were just students and what did we know. Two days later, Sept. 12, 2001, the class met the second time. We all know what happened in the day between those two classes. The Twin Towers fell and thousands were killed; the world as we had known it died. The professor reminded us of his question the first day. He pronounced it a Holy War.

 

I know some (possibly a lot) Christians will not admit it but that does not change facts. Fundamentalist religion by definition means fundamentalist politics. Not to mention that you show in your quote about Riley that he took fundy religion to the political level. He was motivated by his religion to act politically. As was Jerry Falwell, and as is Pat Robertson et al. When laws are made and wars are fought to serve a religious agenda, it is seriously difficult not to call it political, in my opinion.

 

Thank you for your explanation of Pentecostalism. :)

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Sorry, Antlerman. I'm looking at your Post 2 and I see you talked about the Holiness Movement and provided a link. I had not seen or acknowledged it. I'm reading the wikipedia article you linked. Very interesting. It shows me how a lot of other events and situations hang together. I mentioned Keswick. It seems what happened in Keswick, England, grew out of things that started on this side of the Atlantic. The Spirit was moving both ways across the Atlantic, it seems, sending Darby hither and yon, according to something I read--maybe the article discussed above...I'm still reading and yeah they're really in a frenzie trying to follow god's will and spirit. Sorry for the sarcasm. I'm trying to figure out why my people were so solidly set against anything remotely spiritual like this. My mother would say those churches are too spiritual.

 

I just don't get it. What is more spiritual than denying the concrete observable reality to the point where you won't even consider other people human just because they dress and live differently? We have no tv or radio. Let's say Dad comes home from town with the news that there has been a major accident. Mom asks "Was anybody hurt?" Dad says, "No. There wasn't anybody involved. Only some city-slickers. I hear there are two dead. A few others were taken to the hospital in critical condition. It happened last night after everyone was home so there was no one in town." Mom is relieved. Topic closed. Life goes on like it never happened.

 

I can't quite put it away like that. Aren't city-slickers people, too? Don't they have feelings just like we do? Why don't we care how they feel? I know better than to ask. I grow up and learn to put up a wall between "us" and "them." As I learn to know individuals through forums like these bits and pieces of the wall come down.

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Fundamentalist = someone who believes in the core fundamentals of the "faith." Meaning, the Biblical flood literally happened as described in the Bible; the earth is 6000-7000 years old; Noah and the patriarchs each lived for hundreds of years, etc.

 

Evangelical= These believe it is their role to "evangelize," to spread the "good word." They carry on the "great commission."

 

Pentecostal= They believe that the gifts of the spirit are for this time and age as well. They think they can heal, speak in tongues, etc. And in some cases like Benny Hinn, they claim to have risen the dead.

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Guest kcdad
Fundamentalist

 

These are Christians who believe in the "fundamentals" of Christian faith in direct opposition to Christians who are more theologically liberal. What distinguishes them from mainstream Christianity is that they oppose modernization of religious thought. "Give me that old time religion" is a phrase that came out of American Fundamentalism when it was born in the beginning of the 20th Century at the hands of William B. Riley. See here for a great history of how fundamentalism was born here: http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/f...amentalism.html

It should be added that fundamentalism of any kind relies on an external objective authority... such as The Q'uran or The Bible, Mao's Little Red Book, The Constitution or any other such foundational document. In some cases the external unquestionable authority is a person, such as Adolph Hitler or J Edgar Hoover. In any case, the doctrines are sacrosanct and can not be questioned. "God said it, I believe it, that settles it"... is the pat response whether God spoke through a person, a book or a rust stain on a highway underpass.

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It should be added that fundamentalism of any kind relies on an external objective authority... such as The Q'uran or The Bible, Mao's Little Red Book, The Constitution or any other such foundational document.....In any case, the doctrines are sacrosanct and can not be questioned. "God said it, I believe it, that settles it"... is the pat response whether God spoke through a person, a book or a rust stain on a highway underpass.

 

I wonder what this does to an ideology in the long run, I doubt they could have the longevity of a system such as Hinduism. One would think it would render them impaired when it comes to adapting to changes in culture and demographics. Hence the driving need to remain in control of elements of society I suppose.

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in Lutheran circles which has the longest history of unbroken evangelism in the world .

 

evangelical simply means -------- tellers of the good news --------that Jesus has won forgivness of sins.

 

 

Lutherans do not believe a person can decide to believe in Jesus, They believe a person can only decide "not to believe in Jesus " . They believe it is only to God's complete credit that any one believes in the true God at all.

and that faith and trust in Jesus God the Son -- is God work alone . through the good news about his forgivness of sin's found only in Jesus.

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It should be added that fundamentalism of any kind relies on an external objective authority... such as The Q'uran or The Bible, Mao's Little Red Book, The Constitution or any other such foundational document.....In any case, the doctrines are sacrosanct and can not be questioned. "God said it, I believe it, that settles it"... is the pat response whether God spoke through a person, a book or a rust stain on a highway underpass.

 

I wonder what this does to an ideology in the long run, I doubt they could have the longevity of a system such as Hinduism. One would think it would render them impaired when it comes to adapting to changes in culture and demographics. Hence the driving need to remain in control of elements of society I suppose.

 

 

Lutheran are fundamentalists but not in the same sence the so called fundementalist Christians are. As Lutherans are-- A millenial.

 

Lutherans would say the whole world could burn up and every one of them with it. But Gods word would still abide. They would laugh at hinduism as a young up start

since they believe Christianity has been around since God created the world . The very first promise of Jesus to come is Gen 3:15. and is the start of Christianity

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They would laugh at hinduism as a young up start

since they believe Christianity has been around since God created the world .

:rotfl::lmao::funny:

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They would laugh at hinduism as a young up start

since they believe Christianity has been around since God created the world .

:rotfl::lmao::funny:

 

even one lutheran such as me can laugh harder than that .

come on now ----add some more laughter.

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Re definition for fundamentalism. When I was doing my papers on fundamentalism I could not find two scholars who agreed. I am now finding there are scholars who think they have THE definition. However, I still don't know if any other scholar agrees with them. One promised me information when he gets back from wherever he went but he is gone at the moment.

Good post and information. In looking over that article I don't think he was directly attributing it to Riley as "the" founder of fundamentalism. He does say that the ground work was laid by two more prominent figures, John Nelson Darby and Dwight L. Moody. Memory served me poorly when I said it began with Riley. I appreciate the correction. Where the article attributes origination with him, it was his being the one who invented the label "Fundamentalist". My memory blurred the two together.

 

The salient point of the fundamentalist movement however is that it was a reactive movement against modernity.

 

From the home page of that book The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth you linked to above:

 

"
The articles presented in The Fundamentals were written as a response to the modernism and liberal theology of the latter part of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th
. They were written in order for ministers of the gospel, missionaries, Sunday School superintendents, etc. (see volume prefaces) to have at their disposal articles which would be useful in affirming and reaffirming the fundamental truths of Christianity in the face of ever increasing attacks against it. Those who funded the writing and publishing of the series did so at their own expense and all the books which were printed in the original twelve volume series were given away free of charge as a service to the recipients.

 

There is still a great need today to reaffirm the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, especially when we consider "The Jesus Seminar," "Evangelicals and Catholics Together," the current push by the Mormons to present themselves as just another Christian denomination, and a host of other groups claiming to be Christian who deny these core truths. John MacArthur's book Reckless Faith, published by Crossway Books is an excellent, brief analysis of present day
doctrinal compromise
."

 

And from the article I linked to:

"Riley threw himself into politics. Seeing liquor as the source of most urban problems, he became an outspoken advocate for prohibition. Following the adoption of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919,
Riley devoted full attention to another threat to Christian life: “the new infidelity, known as modernism.†Opposition to modernism, both in the form of liberal theology and trends in modern culture, became the core of his new movement.
The cultural clashes of World War II had intensified tensions between theological liberals and conservatives, and the time seemed right for a national anti-modernist crusade. Riley deeply resented the frequent suggestion that only modernists were “men who really think,†and his bitterness left him itching for a fight. (GE, 35)"

 

His role from what I understand from this article was that of thrusting this kernel of "fundamentalist" thought, as he coined the term according to this, into the political and social realm of American society. But again the salient point is that what defined fundamentalism was it being a movement that was reactive to modernity in society and within Christianity itself.

 

I don't know the religious position of this person. I do know the religious position of one person who thinks he knows exactly what fundamentalism is. He calls himself an evangelical and he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is NOT--repeat, NOT--a fundamentalist.

And if true this underscores what I said above how that not all evangelicals are fundamentalists. Many churches are considered evangelical, but are hardly fundamentalist, or even conservative by modern standards.

 

My personal definition of fundamentalist is anyone who believes in a literal hell. I think that makes for a mindset that is of necessity intolerant and also evangelical. By evangelical I mean that they are obligated by sacred duty to spread the word and convert nonreligious people, esp. apostates who supposedly "know better."

This tends to be what happens with our language. Words evolve to being applied in more sweeping general terms, or as derogative terms until the actual meanings change or get added to. That's one reason why you have multiple definitions of words in dictionaries. Take the word "myth" for a really great example. People use the word "myth" to mean "a lie", whereas it's anything but that. Certainly not in academic circles, and so the terms fundamentalist and evangelical are becoming that as well.

 

From the wiki article you cited:

"Religious fundamentalism refers a "deep and totalistic commitment" to a belief in the infallibility and inerrancy of a holy book, absolute religious authority, and
strict adherence to a set of basic principles (fundamentals), away from doctrinal compromises with modern social and political life
.[1][2][3][4]

 

The term fundamentalism was originally coined to describe a narrowly defined set of beliefs that developed into a movement within the US Protestant community in the early part of the 20th century. Until 1950 there was no entry for fundamentalism in the Oxford English Dictionary;[5] the derivative fundamentalist was added only in its second 1989 edition.[6]

 

The term fundamentalist has since been generalized to mean strong adherence to any set of beliefs in the face of criticism or unpopularity
, but has by and large retained religious connotations.[6] The collective use of the term fundamentalist to describe non-Christian movements has offended some Christians who desire to retain the original definition.

 

Fundamentalism is often used as a pejorative term, particularly when combined with other epithets (as in the phrase "Muslim fundamentalists" and "right-wing fundamentalists").[7][8] Richard Dawkins used the term to characterize religious advocates as clinging to a stubborn, entrenched position that defies reasoned argument or contradictory evidence
."

 

This where I have problems with the use of the word fundamentalist as in how Dawkins is described to use it above. "Stubborn", strictly speaking is not 'fundamentalist', it's just stubborn. You can have believers who are quite liberal in their theology, but would be quite stubborn in relenting on their belief that God exists - even to the point of being utterly illogical in the face of reason. That's simply the nature of human beings who cling to a view tenaciously, whether it's religious or not. To me it is inappropriate and inaccurate to call this "fundamentalism".

 

Personal rant here: Why do people like him feel the need to heap inaccurate pejoratives on them? Isn't it more pointed to just say they're stubborn? I hate politicizing terms like this. Isn't the argument strong enough on its own without needing to spice it up like that? /rant

 

 

I don't know anything about Pentecostalism. I thought it was the name of a denomination. But on here I sometimes see it used with a lower-case p, and with reference to "pentecostal type church." So I assumed it must be a type of service or worship or gifts of the spirit, or belief or whatever, that is not the formal name of a denomination. I hope we hear from someone who uses it that way. I'm interested to know.

I do know quite a bit about Pentecostals as I was one. The lower-case p pentecostal seems to be referring to what is known as the "Pentecostal Experience", following the 2nd chapter of the book of Acts, which describes the events of the birthday of the church on the day of Pentecost where it speaks of the 'outpouring' of the Holy Ghost with them all speaking in tongues. Technically it shouldn't be a lower-case p in that it refers to a holiday, but again... usage. A "pentecostal type church" is used to describe both Pentecostals and Charismatics. The Charismatic experience is synonymous with the Pentecostal experience. I honestly don't know the etymology of how the word "Charismatic" became applied to them. I imagine it was more because they were so 'passionate' and 'expressive' in their faith?

 

But again what defines a Pentecostal church is really more it being a tradition of doctrines. The Assemblies of God is a Pentecostal denomination for instance. Charismatics are not so affiliated, and more just mainstream practitioners of the 'Pentecostal Experience".

 

 

a revolt against religious modernism ?

 

Is that why they use women preachers ? And rely on their Subjective feelings and works and experiances that they have the Holy Spirit .

 

sounds like modernism to me even if they dont want to put that Glove on.

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Lutheran are fundamentalists but not in the same sence the so called fundementalist Christians are. As Lutherans are-- A millenial.

 

Lutherans would say the whole world could burn up and every one of them with it. But Gods word would still abide. They would laugh at hinduism as a young up start

since they believe Christianity has been around since God created the world . The very first promise of Jesus to come is Gen 3:15. and is the start of Christianity

 

in Lutheran circles which has the longest history of unbroken evangelism in the world .

 

evangelical simply means -------- tellers of the good news --------that Jesus has won forgivness of sins.

 

 

Lutherans do not believe a person can decide to believe in Jesus, They believe a person can only decide "not to believe in Jesus " . They believe it is only to God's complete credit that any one believes in the true God at all.

and that faith and trust in Jesus God the Son -- is God work alone . through the good news about his forgivness of sin's found only in Jesus.

 

Well kiddo, it seems you need to speak to my highly esteemed and officially ordained Lutheran clergy professors of theology and correct them on what Lutherans actually believe since you've got it straight.

 

On another thread you talked about brains. Seems you got plenty--you know how to bridle cows and milk horses, or was it the other way around--one never knows because humans do, or have, lived off mare's milk and they have also yoked cows to the plow. I doubt the profs know these things. Better get yourself to the classroom and educate the profs!

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Guest jlt1977

As one thoroughly educated in modern evangelical/fundamentalist theology with a pedigree to show it...the discussion above is really quite good. I would quibble with some of the discussion of the term "evangelical". Yes, it literally means to speak the gospel, to tell the good news, yet as a descriptor for a type of theology or "school" of Christianity it is somewhat distinct from fundamentalism. Evangelicalism is conservative theologically while being more inclusive in its reach. Fundamentalism is exclusionary by its definition. Evangelicals are far more open to debate and education, while fundamentalism is all hard lines and black and white. For example, not all evangelicals believe in biblical inerrancy, but all do believe in biblical authority. Inerrancy is a bedrock of fundamentalism and it suffers no deviation. Many conservatives in mainline denominations ( I was one of these ) are evangelicals, but almost none are fundamentalists.

Good discussion...

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Evangelical? - Emphasis on witnessing, mission work and being ready to "share" your testimony at the drop of a hat. Usually emphasized the "Great Commission" of Matthew 28:

 

Charismatic? - Antlerman's explanation of Charismatic/Pentecostal reflects my understanding of the difference.

 

Pentecostal?

 

Fundamentalist?

Adheres to the "Fundamentals" of the christian faith, first crystallized at the turn of the 20th century. The lists of what constitutes the "fundamentals" varies, but these are essentially them:

 

1. Inerrancy of the Scriptures

2. The virgin birth and the deity of Jesus (Isaiah 7:14)

3. The doctrine of substitutionary atonement by God's grace and through human faith (Hebrews 9)

4. The bodily resurrection of Jesus (Matthew 28)

5. The authenticity of Christ's miracles (or, alternatively, his pre-millennial second coming)

 

Scrupulous literalism is at the heart of both the theology of fundamentalism as well as the often self-righteous, arrogant, and smug attitude that has come to be associated with fundamentalists. With the belief that each word of the original texts of scripture are divinely inspired by god, believers tend to build this great chain of truth statements, each one depending upon another, even if one text was written centuries before a subsequent text being "expounded." If any part of that great chain fails, the whole system fails. Coupled with a firm belief that at all costs, the text must be interpreted as literally as possible, fundamentalists experience a radical intellectual disconnect with the rest of modern culture. This is interpreted as a good thing because of biblical exhortations to "come out from among them and be separate."

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a revolt against religious modernism ?

 

Is that why they use women preachers ? And rely on their Subjective feelings and works and experiances that they have the Holy Spirit .

 

sounds like modernism to me even if they dont want to put that Glove on.

 

It is a revolt against modernism (form criticism, documentary hypothesis and darwinian evolution) yet it applies a modern approach to history to the bible, which was not written by modern historians with modern historical priorities in mind.

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Guest adham

I often get confused by some of these terms - and there is a tendency to lump them together. So I just wondered:

 

Evangelical?

 

Charismatic?

 

Pentacostal?

 

Fundamentalist?

 

Do they mean the same thing? Or are there differences to those different terms? If so, what are the differences?

 

I think that charismatic refers to all that speaking in tongues, falling over, laying on of hands stuff. Fundamentalist presumably refers to taking the Bible literally. And I think evangelical refers to pro-active methods of preaching to people (preaching in the street etc) and the emphasis on being 'saved' by the 'holy spirit'.

 

Pentacostalists from what I understand are a specific sect - and they seem to be charismatic, evangelical and fundamentalist.

 

But help me out here. Am I right about those definitions? It can be very confusing to someone from a more liberal christian background who doesn't have a lot of experience with those particular forms of christianity.

 

Also about my childhood experiences with the Salvation Army - are Salvation Army a bit evangelical? I know we weren't fundamentalist because taking the Bible absolutely literally was not a requirement (although there were some fundamentalists amongst us).

 

But those 'open air' meetings, the emphasis on being 'saved' (you're not automatically saved by believing in christianity or being born into it - you have to 'let Jesus into your life' and become 'saved' by the 'holy spirit') and those long devotional bits at the end of meetings with soppy devotional music and people being encouraged to 'come to the mercy seat' and pray to let Jesus enter their lives.

 

All that stuff seems a bit evangelical doesn't it? It's not like what you'd get from a Catholic or Anglican church.

 

hey

 

jesus was a good prophet

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