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Ephesian Fundamentalism

March 13, 2012

In Revelation 2:1-7 Christ rebukes the Ephesian church for leaving it’s first love. I’m afraid modern day fundamentalism has reached a point similar to that which the Ephesian church reached at the end of the first century. Fundamentalism has left her first love. Christ does not rebuke the Ephesian church for a diminished feeling or passion. That is our modern definition of love. The Biblical definition of love for Christ is obedience to His commands (John 15:14), rejection of the world (1 John 2:15) and love for one another (1 John 4:8). Fundamentalism has done a pretty good job of rejecting the world.  Obedience to the Word and love for one another have suffered. She still has the right doctrine. She is militant and aggressive in maintaining that doctrine and in separating from those with wrong doctrine. That right doctrine, though, has been divorced from a deep commitment to the Word and personal obedience to the Bible. Many fundamentalists would be screaming at this point that they are absolutely committed to the Word. Yet, the commitment that exists in practice is a commitment to a set of standards, a particular translation, a traditional practice or a well received program. A commitment to the Word is evidenced by more than just holding the right doctrinal statement (the Ephesians had the right doctrine). A commitment to the Word is evidenced by an absolute commitment to obedience to and reliance on the Word in all things. This is not true of much of fundamentalism. For example, expositional preaching has been expressly rejected by many because, according to them, people will grow bored and go else where. That is pragmatism. The response of people to truth should not have any impact on the faithful proclamation of truth. Sadly, large chunks of fundamentalism long ago stopped preaching the Word and began preaching about the Word. They refused the straightforward explanation of what God has said and accepted ear catching homilies that stirred interest and drew crowds. Fundamentalism has left her first love. She has left a complete reliance on the sufficient Word of God and turned to trust in programs, schemes and manipulations. She has replaced the supreme glory of God with a desire for decisions, numbers, influence, tradition or someone’s personal agenda. She has turned aside for pragmatism, ritualism and personism. She is doctrinally straight but doxologically bent.

Christ gives His church the solution to her love problems. It is three fold. Remember where you used to be. Repent, turn from whatever you have been loving. Return, go back and begin doing those things which you did at first. Next week I’ll address how fundamentalism can and should apply this three part solution.

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