The Fundamentalist's Bible

Topic: Bible Type: Article Author: A. Allison Lewis  

The Christian Fundamentalist believes that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and accepts its teachings without reservation. The Fundamentalist differs basically with the New Evangelical by obeying the Scripture to separate from unbelief and earnestly contending for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints [JUD 3]. The secular communications media commonly designate snake-handlers, Charismatics, "faith-healers," and a host of "right-wing" reactionaries of ANY religious or philosophical group as Fundamentalists, when there is really no connection whatever. The term Fundamentalist arose at the beginning of this century to designate the Bible believers in what is known as the Modernist -- Fundamentalist controversy over the Bible and its teachings. The Fundamentalist defends the verbal inspiration of the Bible and accepts what the Bible teaches whereas, the Modernist rejects the verbal inspiration of the Bible and anything in the Bible which involves the SUPERNATURAL, such as the miracles and prophecy. Some well known Fundamentalists would be: Presbyterians -- J. Gresham Machen and Robert Dick Wilson; Baptists -- John Roach Stratton and T. T. Shields and Methodist -- Bob Jones, Sr.

Fundamentalism is simply historic, orthodox Christianity. Dr. Kirsopp Lake, the noted Modernist professor of Harvard University ably pointed this out when he wrote:

It is a mistake, often made by educated persons who happen to have but little knowledge of historical theology, to suppose that Fundamentalism is a new and strange form of thought. It is nothing of the kind: it is the partial and uneducated survival of a theology which was once universally held by all Christians. How many were there, for instance, in Christian churches in the eighteenth century who doubted the infallible inspiration of all Scripture? A few, perhaps, but very few. No, the Fundamentalist may be wrong. I think that he is. But it is we who have departed from the tradition, not he, . . . The Bible and the corpus theologicum [body of theology] of the Church is on the Fundamentalist side [The Religion of Yesterday and Tomorrow, 1925, by Kirsopp Lake, pp. 61, 62].

Today, as for the past two centuries, the battle that rages over the Bible centers on the question of infallibility and authority. Denying the infallibility of the Bible, as history shows, leads to disaster in the churches. It will lull the congregations to sleep and undermine their belief in the truth of the Bible. It will produce spiritual decay and apostasy. Apostasy in belief leads to corruption in moral conduct.

Fundamentalists believe that the Bible is

the result of the extraordinary, supernatural influence exerted by the Holy Spirit on the various writers, by which their words were rendered also the words of God, and therefore, absolutely infallible in the original autographs [The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible by B. B. Warfield, 1948, p. 420].

Someone may object that we do not have the original autographs, and this is true, however, we believe that the evidence of history, archeology and prophecy plainly show that God, in His providence, has preserved the Bible so that the copies and translations that we have today are, for all practical purposes, the same as the original writings, AND ARE TRUSTWORTHY.

We are fully aware that many poor copies and translations have been produced. Watch out for these and avoid them. Remember also that a paraphrase of the Bible is someone’s commentary and not the Bible itself. Also bear in mind that the notes added in Bibles are not the Bible and should be given no authority. We recommend the New American Standard Bible (1995 edition) for English readers. The New American Standard Bible is the MOST accurate (though by no means perfect) English translation available today.

We urge the reader to be like the Bereans of old, of whom it was said, These … searched the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so [ACT 17:11].

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This Page Last Updated: 06/05/02 A. Allison Lewis