THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE FAITH

 

It would seem today that few church attendees give much attention to what has been often described as "The Fundamentals of the Faith."  To be labeled as a "fundamentalist" has not been in good company in the last few years as it is often a term referring to radical Islam, specifically "terrorism."  So, instead of the word "fundamentalist" we have substituted the word "evangelical."  However, the "evangelical" of today is NOT the "fundamentalist" of past history.  Many folks are included in the word "evangelical" that strips it of any significance as it relates to sound Biblical belief and doctrine.  Let’s stop for a moment, and look back into church history, and ask ourselves, who was the "fundamentalist"?  Some think that it referred to those who were always against others.  They were often called the "fighting fundamentalists."  But, the words "fundamentals of the faith" need to be restored to our Christian vocabulary. 
 
Here is what past history taught us about "fundamentalism".  It referred to the following points of doctrine, and avoided any "denominational" connection:

 
1.The inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible
2. The deity of Jesus Christ
3. The virgin birth and sinless life of Jesus Christ
4. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
5. The literal, visible, physical return of Jesus Christ from heaven
6. Salvation by grace through faith apart from any human merit, worth or performance (works)
7. Regeneration (born again) by the Holy Spirit
8. A literal heaven for the believer and a literal hell for the unbeliever

 
There were many other beliefs that various groups of believers felt were essential and should have been added to the list of so-called "fundamentals" such as the baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, the security of the believer, the issue of total depravity, method and mode of water baptism, communion, etc.  However, genuine believers in the past marked out what they felt were essentials that determined real faith and an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  It is a part of our history that believers often divided in their fellowship with one another over minor issues that did not guarantee one’s relationship with God.
We have arrived once again at a disturbing and deceptive time for God’s people; for those who call themselves "Christian" (a term that is often devoid of any real doctrinal understanding or godly living).  The "brand names" on the doors of our churches do NOT guarantee that the message being preached and taught is indeed dependent upon the "fundamentals of the faith."  It is also becoming quite evident that many churches have chosen to eliminate their traditional "names" and have selected a name for their church that really does not say much nor guarantee the kind of teaching that takes place within its walls. 
 
It is time to return to the "fundamentals"!  The false teachings of our day have led us astray, and many professional speakers and preachers have ignored what is most important and substituted a compromising gospel that attempts to be "user-friendly" and "contemporary," but lacks serious doctrinal integrity.  May God help us all to define clearly what is "essential" and what is not.  Non-essentials are certainly important to Christian life and growth, but should not divide us from one another.
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