Paleofundamentalism and John's Gospel
Working through 1 John 1 this week I've been reminded of this article (click through to avoid the paywall) written by Robert Gundry way back when. I found it a couple of months ago as I was researching a word that sounds awesome: paleofundamentalism. Initially, I had hoped it would be brand new, a word I could coin and really make my own. Turns out, it's been around a while. But that only speaks to its value as a description of a way of being a Christian in 21st Century America. Fundamentalism, it turns out, hasn't always been a dirty word. The earliest fundamentalists cared more about theological issues than political ones. They adopted a militant, separatist attitude and drew sharp distinctions over things that matter.
Gundry argues that this period of fundamentalism was on to something. Something most evangelicals have forgotten. Drawing on the dichotomies throughout John's Gospel, Gundry was asking, way back in 2001:
Whether we North American evangelicals are fast falling, or have already fallen, into circumstances that call for a reinstatement of John's sectarianism with its masterly, totalizing, but divisive Christology of the Word that speaks truth so incisively that as the Word, Jesus is the truth over against the father of lies, Satan, who has deceived all unbelievers. Extreme? Yes, but there are times for extremes.
If 2001 seemed to indicate that evangelicals were riding a wave of cultural acceptance, 2015 shows us that they'll do anything to stay on it. Whatever social phenomenon comes along, you can expect hip pastors everywhere to walk out on historic Christianity and stay in the mainstream of the cultural river. And even those who aren't are so set on "transforming" culture, they're hardly distinct from it.
Which is why I think we should ask the same things Gundry was asking 14 years ago. You should really read the whole thing. link