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Christian Fundamentalism. Who are Christians?. About 1/3 of the world’s population is Christian, with Christianity being the world’s largest religion (more than 1.7 billion people)

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who are christians
Who are Christians?
  • About 1/3 of the world’s population is Christian, with Christianity being the world’s largest religion (more than 1.7 billion people)
  • Christianity is the dominant religion in the Americas, Europe, and Australia; there are significant Christian populations in Africa and Asia as well
  • Christians share: Christ, creed, church
    • Christ as savior; teachings of the New Testament, especially the Incarnation and the Trinity; belonging to the Church as a community of believers who celebrate the “good news”
medieval christianity the schism between east and west
Medieval Christianity: The Schism between East and West
  • Constantinople v. Rome
  • Eastern Church/Greek v. Western Church/Latin
  • 1054: Pope Leo IX excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople because he did not accept the pope’s authority; the Patriarch then excommunicated the pope
  • Eastern Orthodoxy v. Roman Catholicism
the protestant reformation
The Protestant Reformation
  • Martin Luther: Used exegesis of Paul’s epistles to claim that humans are made worthy of salvation through faith in Christ alone
  • Wanted to reform the corruption he saw within the Church
  • 1517: Wrote the Ninety-five Theses and nailed them to the door of the church he served at
  • Defended his views with the Bible
  • People had to choose between Protestantism (new movement was called this because it began as a “protest”) and Catholicism
protestantism today
Protestantism Today
  • Main Protestant denominations = Anabaptist, Anglican, Baptist, Congregational, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, Quaker, Reformed
  • Evangelicals v. Fundamentalists
  • Evangelicals = stress the preaching of the gospel, personal conversion experiences, Scripture as the sole basis for faith, and active evangelism
  • Not all Evangelicals are Fundamentalists
  • About 30 million Fundamentalists in the U.S. today (10.6%)
  • About 70-80 million Evangelicals in the U.S. today (25-30%)
christian fundamentalism1
Christian Fundamentalism
  • Began in the late 19th century and early 20th century among Protestant Christians
  • It is a movement rather than a unified denomination or theology
  • Formed as a response to the rise of theological liberalism and modernism’s belief in scientific theories
    • Biological evolution/Darwinism seen as a threat to the message of the Bible
    • Biblical criticism seen as a threat as well; the Bible was being re-interpreted as a historical, human-made text and its supernatural elements, such as miracles, were being questioned
1910 15 the fundamentals
1910-15: “The Fundamentals”

1. The divine inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture

2. The deity of Jesus Christ, including his virgin birth

3. The substitutionary, atoning work of Christ on the cross

4. Christ’s literal, physical resurrection from the dead

5. The literal, personal bodily return of Christ to the earth (Second Coming)

the fundamentals
“The Fundamentals”
  • A conversion process must occur when people place their salvation in the hands of Jesus Christ alone
  • The Bible is infallible in matters of science and history, as well as theology
  • Following a mighty battle,

the physical return of Christ to

Earth will establish a kingdom

where peace and righteousness

will reign


Video: Christian Fundamentalism in America

Video: Jesus Camp

1920s and 30s
1920s and 30s
  • Fundamentalists used the legal system/court and control of schools’ curriculum to expand their theological beliefs
  • Created their own network of schools, colleges, seminaries, and missionary agencies
  • Created groups to meet the social needs of people (youth, veterans, unmarried people, etc.)
  • After WWII, the movement experienced a “divide” between fundamentalists and evangelicals regarding how to apply the “fundamentals” to the modern world
1970s and 80s
1970s and 80s
  • Fundamentalism experienced a very public resurgence due to backlash against the radical cultural movements of the 1960s
  • Cultural revolutionist movements such as Civil Rights and Women’s Liberation were seen as signs that the Second Coming was imminent
  • Rise of televangelism
    • United millions of American Christians and called for a national revival through Christian social activism
    • Gave hope to many Christians and transformed them into a powerful political force
fundamentalists today
Fundamentalists Today
  • Very publicly involved religiously and politically in issues of sexuality
  • Use language of the “family” when speaking of these issues
  • Two most well-known Fundamentalist organizations:
    • Focus on the Family
    • American Family Association
    • (labeled as hate groups by human rights organizations)
pastoral statement for catholics on biblical fundamentalism
“Pastoral Statement for Catholics on Biblical Fundamentalism”
  • National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1987
  • They understand why Fundamentalists search for all direct answers for living from the Bible in today’s world of many sins
  • They respect Fundamentalists’ “proper emphasis on religion as influencing family life and workplace” and see biblical fundamentalism as usually being accompanied by “a spirit that is warm, friendly, and pious”
  • However, they disagree with teachings that personal conversion through Jesus can occur without the “universal teaching Church”
  • They view biblical fundamentalism as giving simplistic answers to complex issues

They disagree with the Bible being presented as inerrant without regard for its historical context and development

  • The Church produced the New Testament, not vice versa
  • Salvation and God’s revelation come from the total Gospel (the Spirit-guided Church tradition + the inspired books)
  • The New Testament came not before the Church, but from the Church
    • The Bible did not come down from heaven whole and intact from the Holy Spirit
    • Importance of discipleship and community + the Bible as the living word of Jesus across time periods until He comes again

Video: For the Bible Tells Me So

  • Video: Gay Conversion Therapy
  • Gender roles and God’s glory
  • Why God hates divorce
  • Cohabitation and Domestic Violence
  • Weight loss and God (Bod 4 God)
  • Sexual purity before marriage
  • The Bible says flirting is bad for men and women
  • The way you dress = who you are

You must include direct quotes from your author and from the Bible passages they include in their writings in your presentations.

  • Introduce your author and book/article title.
  • How does your author view the body/sexuality/family?
  • How is your author’s view in #2 influenced by her/his religious beliefs?
  • Where do you see the importance of biblical exegesis in your author’s writings?

5. Why do you think Christian Fundamentalists find it important to be so involved in issues of sexuality/family?

6. Provide your own opinions and reflections on the research.