Originally published in 1947, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism provided a manifesto for evangelical Christians who are serious about bringing their Christian faith to bear in contemporary culture. In this classic book, Carl F. H. Henry, the father of the modern evangelical movement, pioneered a path forward that avoids, on the one hand, the error of disengagement and apathy towards today’s social ills, and, on the other hand, the error that is the social gospel. In our current cultural climate, in which evangelicalism is still wrestling with how to engage social matters, this book is as relevant as ever.
Let me be frank; my goal in this post is to inform you that “fundamentalist” and “fundamentalism” are pejorative terms and connote things with which I hope many of us would not want to associate. Therefore, to those whom it applies, unless you want to associate with the things these terms connote, at best I would like to convince you to stop calling yourself a fundamentalist; at minimum I’d like you to at least realize what your doing if you choose to call yourself a “fundamentalist.”
But let’s start out by getting a few things straight.
Let me start out by saying that this is a response to Dave Marriott’s blog post entitled Guarding What Is Primary: Second Degree Separation which was posted today on The Gospel Toolbox. But with that said, let me add that I say “response” for lack of betters words. “Response” makes it sound like I am arguing with him, which is not what I’m doing. (For all I know, he may agree with me!) I am more so continuing the conversation.
In somewhat recent times, attacks have been leveled by “liberal” scholars against the belief in scripture’s inerrancy, that the Bible is infallible and without error in its original writings. Many have claimed that early 1900’s Christian conservatives, evangelical-fundamentalists, such as the “Princetonians” B.B. Warfield and Charles Hodge, “invented” the doctrine of inerrancy. One incredible text that refutes this re-writing of history comes from Augustine’s work Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, book XI, chapter 5. Read Augustine’s absolutely incredible testimony.
As regards our writings, which are not a rule of faith or practice, but only a help to edification, we may suppose that they contain some things falling short of the truth in obscure and recondite matters, and that these mistakes may or may not be corrected in subsequent treatises. For we are of those of whom the apostle says: “And if ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” Such writings are read with the right of judgment, and without any obligation to believe. In order to leave room for such profitable discussions of difficult questions, there is a distinct boundary line separating all productions subsequent to apostolic times from the authoritative canonical books of the Old and New Testaments. Continue reading