About his past he says:
"I was reared in a Fundamentalist church, and we were incredibly proud of it. We were strident, largely uneducated (even dismissive of education), theologically censorious, separatistic, intolerant, and accusatory of every smidgeon of slight alteration. There were no questions; there were answers — and we had them. We saw our abrasiveness as a sign that the rest of the world couldn’t count the cost; rejection proved we were right. I’m embarrassed today mostly about what we were like as humans - we were ungracious if not unchristian."I can relate to being arrogantly ignorant and abrasive. I look back and am ashamed of my fundie thinking and behaviors.
Scot critiques the movement and prognosticates by saying:
"There is a conviction among Neo-Fundamentalists that one can’t err if one gets too conservative, but that is the sin of what I called “zealotry.”
What I can’t understand is why people want to go there: its history is predictable. Though I’m no prophet, this is what I think might occur:
Do what you think is right, but let me say this: Those of us who are 50 and more have seen what Fundamentalism was like; it wasn’t pretty."
- It will become insular and separatistic,
- it will become divisive and accusatory from within,
- it will lack grace,
- it will create Christians who are not free in the Spirit but who will be rigid and intolerant,
- it will become socially withdrawn,
- it will lose a prophetic voice because it will lose contact with culture,
- it will attract angry, defensive, and mean-spirited individuals… I could go on.
As one of those 50+ ex-fundamentalists I have to agree with Scot on each point.
In a follow-up article Scot writes:
"Here’s my thesis: the core driving force of Neo-Fundamentalism (like the old) is a remnant mentality. That is, it believes the following:The major struggle for me is recognizing the subtle ways that my fundie past resurfaces in my thoughts and attitudes. Reading Scot's posts helps to keep them in check. Check out Scot's blog for more information.
I am aware that “Fundamentalism” in and of itself is inflammatory to some — but there are good reasons to use a term like this because not only is it embraced by some but it has a well-known profile that is useful for helping each of us understand the Church today."
- That it alone remains true to the fullness of the gospel and the orthodox faith.
- That the Church worldwide is hanging on a precipice and will soon, if it doesn’t wake up, fall from the faith.
- That the solution to this nearly-apocalyptic church situation is to tighten up theological stands and clarify what is most central and most important for the Church today.
- That the major problems are theological drift, church laxity, and evangelical compromise with either modernity and/or postmodernity.
- That it is “Neo” because it arises within Evangelicalism today and will either break from it or seek its widespread reform — and therefore its particular characteristics are determined by contemporary Evangelicalism. E.g., it isn’t really concerned about dancing and movies and “mixed bathing.”