evangelical, fundamental, pentecostal

I read these terms in these forums all the time, but really don’t know who they are or what they stand for.

Are they types of Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc.?

Do they bicker amongst themselves like Catholics? Or do they use Catholics for target practice?

I would especially like to hear from former evangelicals, fundamentalists, and pentecostals who can give me unbiased info and not the usual Catholic spill.

Thanks

mark a is in the “Deeeeep south” and is Catholic. I assume that is in a southeastern state in the United States (and not deep southern Ireland).

I feel somewhat obligated to answer even though I now think a little more like a Catholic (I’m in RCIA).

I have been an evangelical, a fundamentalist and I have also attended pentecostal churches.

First of all, I firmly believe that “no two are alike”. No two anything. No two Churches. No two Baptist Churches. No two people.

Evangelicals can include any Protestant denomination that belongs to the “National Association of Evangelicals”.

See this web site addressing “Evangelicalism”, “Fundamentalism” and “Pentacostalism”:
wheaton.edu/isae/defining_evangelicalism.html

So why am I in RCIA (Catholicism)?

a) These Protestantisms do not have the Holy Eucharist. My home Methodist Church lately does have a “prayer of consecration” and the ministers do say body and blood of Christ. But John Wesley thought transubstantiaion was so Romish and repugnant to the words of scripture. So my home Methodist Church is not being true to its Methodist roots.

b) Protestant Churches do not have the sacrament of reconciliation (confession and penance). To me, this seems to be a much better practical way to keep honest with oneself and with the Lord. Compare this to confessing privately – in my own life there was really no accountability and I was just leaning on God’s grace.

c) Despite the name “Evangelical” – the very sad fact is that the vast majority of all Christians do very little when it comes to effectively sharing their faith in everyday life situations. In the Roman Catholic Church, I think there is a great need to have increased degree of Christian discipleship. RCIA is part of that. And in my RC Parish Church, there are also some weekly talks, books and tapes.

Mark,

These terms don’t describe denominations per se. To explain them, I’ll have to sketch quite a bit of Protestant history. But I promise I’ll try to keep it brief!

“Evangelical” was originally the term that Lutherans and other early Protestant used about themselves. In Germany, Protestants in general are still referred to as “evangelisch,” and in the U.S. the largest Lutheran denomination is called the “Evangelical Lutheran Church.”

But in the 17th and 18th century certain Protestants criticized established Protestantism as being too focused on right doctrine and not enough on experience. These “Pietists” believed that having an experience of conversion–repentance for your sins and personal trust in Christ–was at the heart of the Christian life. The Puritans in England and America had a similar emphasis. So in the 18th century, especially in the English-speaking world, there was a widespread “evangelical revival” in which various kinds of Protestants began preaching the importance of personal commitment to Christ. Methodism is the most important example of a whole denomination that came out of the evangelical revivals, but the revivals affected many denominations–Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists.

In 19th-century America, evangelicalism dominated the Protestant scene. Methodists and Baptists were the two most evangelical denominations, and they became the biggest Protestant churches in the country (they still are, actually). By the 1850s Protestant denominations were working together more and more on the basis of this evangelical consensus. Evangelical Protestantism–that is to say, a Protestant consensus that played up the importance of personal experience and the reading of Scripture, and put less emphasis on doctrinal points that divided Protestants from each other–dominated American culture (and that’s the background for the widespread anti-Catholicism of the era).

However, in the late 19th century many of the large denominations began to be influenced by intellectual currents like Darwinism, the Higher Criticism of the Bible, etc. By the early 20th century, many evangelical Protestants had come to believe that the liberal elements were taking over and needed to be resisted. So in the 1920s, there was a split between the “fundamentalist” and “modernist” wings of what had been an evangelical consensus. The “modernists” emphasized scholarship and social activism. The fundamentalists emphasized a strict interpretation of the Bible and a lifestyle that ruled out “worldly” amusements. The modernists dominated the big denominations (at least in the North); the fundamentalists were stronger in the South, but for the most part they either hung on as a minority in the big denominations or formed conservative denominations and independent churches of their own. They essentially became a ghettoized subculture, and “mainline” Protestants treated them as an ignorant crowd of hicks who would die off as society became more educated and enlightened.

Then, in the 1940s and 50s, the picture changed. Fundamentalist evangelists like Billy Graham began to have huge success even outside the normal limits of fundamentalism. Many fundamentalists became unhappy with the lack of intellectual life among fundamentalists, and with the teaching of the strict fundamentalists that “true Christians” should separate from all non-fundamentalists. As a result, these people began referring to themselves as “evangelicals” (sometimes called “neo-evangelicals”) rather than "fundamentalists. Initially, they believed the same things fundamentalists did (inerrancy of Scripture, for instance), but were less dogmatic in their style. However, over time many evangelicals took relatively more liberal positions (many, for instance, would say that Scripture is infallible in matters relating to the Faith, but not necessarily inerrant in all points of history or dogma).

So today there is a broad spectrum, from moderate evangelicals who are commited to ecumenism and often belong to “mainline” denominations all the way to fundamentalists who think that Catholicism is a pagan cult and the King James Bible is the inerrant Word of God. All of these would call themselves evangelicals. Ideas vary on where to draw the line between fundamentalist and non-fundamentalist evangelicals, but everyone agrees that fundamentalists are more dogmatic and believe in separation from those who hold more liberal views, whereas non-fundamentalist evangelicals are willing to grant that non-evangelicals can still have a real relationship with Christ.

Pentecostalism originated around the turn of the century. It was influenced by the “holiness movement” within the Methodist tradition. These were people who believed strongly in the possibility of becoming holy in this life through an experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Pentecostals came to believe that this experience involved “speaking with tongues” and other supernatural signs such as healing and prophecy. Pentecostals founded many new churches, but in the mid-20th century “charismatic” movements arose within Catholicism and mainline Protestant denominations. Charismatics had the same kinds of experiences as Pentecostals, but were less dogmatic and felt free to remain within non-Pentecostal denominations. This makes Pentecostals sound like fundamentalists, and many of them have fundamentalist beliefs and a very fundamentalist attitude toward separation from those who don’t think like them. But most of the major Pentecostal denominations (the Assemblies of God, for instance) would say that they are evangelicals, not fundamentalists. And many writers would argue that Pentecostals can’t be fundamentalists, because fundamentalists’ understanding of Scriptural authority is incompatible with the Pentecostal belief in prophecy and private revelation. It’s certainly true that many fundamentalists denounce Pentecostalism, especially the charismatic movement, which they see rightly as bringing Protestants and Catholics together.

To return to your specific questions.

Members of all the traditions you mentioned can be evangelicals, although Lutherans are less likely to (they would point out that they were the original “evangelicals,” and they often see modern “evangelicalism” as short-changing the sacraments and substituting experience for solid doctrine). Many Baptists are fundamentalists (indeed, the solid core of fundamentalism is largely Baptist), but by no means all are. Fundamentalist Baptists are often found in independent churches, but many Southern Baptists are also fundamentalists (or at least would usually be described that way, though they often don’t like the term). In most other traditions, though, members of the large “mainline” denominations are not going to be fundamentalists, because fundamentalists by definition believe in separation from liberals. The Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. has a powerful evangelical wing, as does the United Methodist Church. Conservative Presbyterian denominations are by definition evangelical, and some (like the Bible Presbyterians) are clearly fundamentalist. But others (Orthodox Presbyterians, Presbyterian Church in America) would reject that term because it’s become associated with anti-intellectualism and extremism. There are a few tiny fundamentalist Methodist churches (Independent Methodists, Evangelical Methodists), and there are a number of “holiness” denominations that are solidly evangelical and might have some fundamentalist elements (Nazarenes, Wesleyans, Free Methodists).

Members of all the denominations you mention might be charismatics, although the charismatic movement is much stronger in Anglicanism and Catholicism. Presbyterians and Baptists, especially, tend to be hostile to Pentecostalism.

I hope this is helpful and wasn’t too long-winded. Ask any further questions you like!

Edwin

In addition to the replies it is hard to keep up with all the different denominations that have branched out since the reformation. An excellent source to start understanding some of the major offshoots would be at this web site and in the document they put out called “The Truth”. Check it out its great! :slight_smile: scborromeo.org/index2.htm

To put it briefly and simply:

Evangelicals beleive in “gettin saved” it is alone what makes a person a Christian. Baptism and the other sacraments are stirctly symbolic and have nothing to do with becoming or being a Christian. Evangelicals usually believe that they are the only Christians. So they call their bookstores, schools, tv and radio stations simply Christian.

Fundamentalists also beleive in “gettin saved”. They also beleive that the Bible was directly written by God (not inspired by God) through human robots divinely protected from making any mistakes even in historic or scientific matters. Fundamentalists usually but not always insist on the KJV being the only Bible to be used.

Pentecostals also beleive in “gettin saved” and add the "Baptism of the ‘holy ghost’ speaking toungues, and divine healing. Pentecostals usually differentiate between what they call “water baptism” and the “baptism of the holy ghost” and think that the latter is much more important, “water baptism” being symbolic only.

Hi, Mark,

I was confirmed in the Lutheran church as a teenager, and then quite a bit later I became nondenominational evangelical. I’ve attended churches that leaned towards fundamentalism, as well as churches that were liberal in their interpretation and application of the Bible.

It is not uncommon in nondenom churches for a group of members to leave and start their own church because they disagree with the pastor or for the pastor to be kicked out by the elders because they don’t like his preaching. It’s also not uncommon for people to hop from one denomination to another, just because their friends go there or because one church in town has a really dynamic minister.

I didn’t notice any Catholic bashing in the churches I attended. Although there definitely are Catholic bashers out there (some on this forum), I would say most protestants don’t know much about Catholicism and don’t care – although considering Karl Keatings book, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, it’s likely that Catholic bashing is more common among fundamentalists.

Tricia Frances

Wow not caring about a Church which claims to be the Church Christ founded? this indifferentism is in some ways worse than the fundies on the attack they at least make an attempt to know their is a differnce. Of course what they know is a parroting of the Jack Chick tracts. I think all protestants owe it as a duty to know the differnces that sepearte us. After all Jesus final prayer was that we may be one. I don’t think we can do that through ignorance of the divisions which sepearte us and why.
But I suspect in your expericne many where not searching for the truth per say but a neat Jesus experience with some groovy pop christian music, nice dare care center for the kids, dynamic pastor, and good social activities for the parents. They are looking for a church that suits their needs rather than the Church Christ intended. How sad and what a sad commentary of evangelical Christianity.

posted by Maccabees

Wow not caring about a Church which claims to be the Church Christ founded? this indifferentism is in some ways worse than the fundies on the attack they at least make an attempt to know their is a differnce. Of course what they know is a parroting of the Jack Chick tracts. I think all protestants owe it as a duty to know the differnces that sepearte us. After all Jesus final prayer was that we may be one. I don’t think we can do that through ignorance of the divisions which sepearte us and why.
But I suspect in your expericne many where not searching for the truth per say but a neat Jesus experience with some groovy pop christian music, nice dare care center for the kids, dynamic pastor, and good social activities for the parents. They are looking for a church that suits their needs rather than the Church Christ intended. How sad and what a sad commentary of evangelical Christianity.

Have you ever considered the fact that there are those out there that don’t realize that the Catholic Church claims to be the Church Christ founded? That the concept is so foreign that they would say Huh?

I know when I felt God calling to me, I didn’t sit down and research different churches, I just went to the Church that friends had invited me to. And once there, all I wanted to do was to get “deeper into the word” and learn more about Christ. All Churches were pretty much on the same level in my book. Maybe they had different spin on things, but they are all Christians. And I knew what had separated Christians, man’s sin.

While in the end, Protestant Christians do tend to search for the group that “meets their needs”, I think writing it off as a shallow “neat Jesus experience” is harsh. While in those Churches, I saw nothing wrong with finding a church with good child-care. How could I worship if I worried about my kids? Good activities? The best way to stay a good Christian is to surround yourself with like-minded people. Dynamic pastor? Why not? If I can’t stay awake for the Word of God, how can I get deeper into my faith and walk with Christ?

Frankly, I think you have unrealistic expectations of non-Catholic Christians. You are veiwing it from the side that has the Fullness of Truth, not the side that believes that the Luther has a good point but I agree with Calvin.

Lutherans

Lutherans do as one person put it, “consider themselves to be the original evangelicals.” However, we are quite a bit different from what most people consider evangelicals today.

If someone had to group us with most resembling another faith I would have to say that we are closest to either Catholicism or maybe Presbyterian. Presbyterian is a Calvinist church though so there are some major differences.

Where do we stand on some issues…

We believe in the true presence.
Although we do not refer to Sunday service as Mass we celebrate it and defend it every Sunday and on holiday occasions when the Eucharist is administered.
We believe in infant baptism and it is not symbolic.
We love liturgy.
We do not believe in Once Saved Always Saved.
Our Confession states that Mary was, is, and will always be a virgin… although we are allowed to disagree if we wish on this issue.

What we argue about amongst ourselves….

Who should receive the Eucharist? Closed vs. Open Communion
Who can be ordained? Women… Homosexuals
Mary and her virginity.
How contemporary a Church service should be…
Etc…

Sorry Shibboleth,

I should have said something more like John Wesley. I did not mean to lump Lutherans in with evangelical, fundamental, and pentecostal.

My point was that to most of the evangelical, fundamental, and pentecostal people I know do not see a problem with picking and choosing whose interpretation they want to believe. I had a conversation with a baptist who said that she could see that Calvin had a point on the other hand so did Luther. Scripture in her opinion, is open to reinterpretation, not just new understanding of Scripture, but a whole new interpretation. She did not feel it neccessary to look at Scripture in light of what people believed 2000 years ago. The idea of looking to Church Fathers to help guide interpretation of Scripture is just not there for many Christians of the newer churches.

God Bless

p.s.
On the other hand, I do know others who will not admit that there ever was another way to interpret Scripture. They have the truth and all others have been misled. But neither do they look at history to form their opinion.

Hey, Contarini, thanks for the information!

[quote=MariaG]Have you ever considered the fact that there are those out there that don’t realize that the Catholic Church claims to be the Church Christ founded? That the concept is so foreign that they would say Huh?
[/quote]

You’re right. When I was a kid, I had a friend who thought that his church (Baptist) was started by John the Baptist.

[quote=mark a]I read these terms in these forums all the time, but really don’t know who they are or what they stand for.

Are they types of Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc.?

Do they bicker amongst themselves like Catholics? Or do they use Catholics for target practice?

I would especially like to hear from former evangelicals, fundamentalists, and pentecostals who can give me unbiased info and not the usual Catholic spill.

Thanks
[/quote]

EVANGELICALS: a catch-term for a variety of Protestant fellowships which are essentially conservative in their theology, rather strict in their personal piety and spirituality, lay some emphasis upon the proclamation of the Gospel to others, and emphasize the inerrancy of Scripture.

Originally this term was applied mainly to Lutherans; it came into popular use largely as a result of the periodical “Christianity Today”, which is still a flagship publication of evangelicalism. It was favored over the term ‘fndamentalist’ which became a pejorative in the 1940’s. Karl Keating’s magnum opus is widely deemed to be deliberately inflamatory, because he favors the term ‘fundamentalist’ over the term ‘evangelical’. Evangelicals will happily evanglize marginalised Roman Catholics, although most evangelicals deem the Catholic Church, in it’s ‘offical’ doctrine, to be (barely) within the pale of orthodoxy. Evangelicals tend to feel much the same way about most of the older, established Protestant denominations such as the United Methodists, Presbyterians, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Disciples of Christ, United Church of Christ, etcetera. Often, the Evangelical wing of established denominations have broken away from the older denomination–hence, the Reformed Episcopal Church, the Lutheran Church/Missouri Synod, Independant Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, and so forth. In other cases, they have formed associations within established denominations.

Typically the Evangelical pastor will be seminary-trained or at least have had a BA in theology plus several years of service as an associate pastor or youth pastor: they will therefore be fairly well educated and sophisticated, pretty genteel in their manner. Their congregations, likewise, are apt to be composed largely of educated, middle-class people. However, the evangelical churches differ from what are sometimes deemed the ‘mainline’ denominations in that absolutely NO tampering with basic theology is tolerated: no ‘higher criticism’ of Scripture, no ‘open theism’, no speculation that the Second Coming might be an allegory, etcetera.

[quote=mark a]I read these terms in these forums all the time, but really don’t know who they are or what they stand for.

Are they types of Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc.?

Do they bicker amongst themselves like Catholics? Or do they use Catholics for target practice?

I would especially like to hear from former evangelicals, fundamentalists, and pentecostals who can give me unbiased info and not the usual Catholic spill.

Thanks
[/quote]

FUNDAMENTALIST: Originally referred to those Christians and Christian fellowships which were signatory to a series of expositions on Christian doctrine called “The Fundamentals”: this series of booklets were an attempt to drive modernism–Higher Criticism, the 'Social Gospel", and liberal theology–out of mainstream denominations in the period of 1880-1920. In most cases this endeavor was only marginally successful: some denominations were ‘saved’, other denominations suffered splits, and new denominations were born.

In the 1920’s the Fundamentalist movement began experiencing a number of setbacks: the Scopes’ Trial depicted fundamentalism as a backwoods, ‘redneck’ sort of phenomenom born of ignorance and obscurantism. Moreover, the ‘tent revivals’ so popular among some fundamentalists were fraught with abuses, as depicted rather clearly by the novel “Elmer Gantry”. Fundamentalists reacted by largely withdrawing from visibility for some forty years. Often, they abandoned their denominations and even the seminaries and colleges which those denominations had established and created their own, much less-prestigious alternative schools. Only in the 1950’s, with the rise of Evangelicalism-and with the advent of television, did some fundamentalists make tentative steps into the larger world again.

Some fundamentalist churches fit the bill of a ‘rural, redneck’ stereotype: the pastor is largely self-taught and opinionated, not always sound in his doctrine. Some fundamentalists are thoroughly well-educated, and a few have gone through mainstream universities or seminaries to earn advanced degrees. Fundamentalism tends to be more of a racially-diverse movement than is Evangelicalism: while evangelicals tend to be largely white middle-class or working class, with only a smattering of non-white or poor members, fundamentalist churches come in all racial and social class varieties. Fundamentalists ‘bait’ almost everyone who is not part of the fundamentalist movement-often they consider their denomination only to be the ‘true’ church of Christ. They are especially antagonistic towards Roman Catholicism.

PENTECOSTAL: Those Protestant denominations, born largely since the late 1800’s/early 1900’s, which stress what Roman Catholicism calls the ‘charismatic’ gifts of the Holy Spirit: speaking in tongues, healing, prophetic utterances, visions, dreams, word-of-knowledge, and so forth. Pentecostals can be fundamentalist or evangelical; the sister movement, the ‘charismatic movement’ of the late 1960’s and 1970’s, was found in all mainstream denominations–Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and even Roman Catholic. The two main pentecostal denominations are the Assemblies of God and the Church of God. (Actually, there are a number of denominations known as the Church of God, some of which explicitly reject pentecostalism, and some of which are explicitly cultic–the “Church of God, International”, an Arian spin-off of the Armstrong movement being the best-known of the cultic variety).

Pentecostalism should not be confused with the “United Pentecostal Church”, another cultic church which teaches modalism. Some Pentecostal churches, of the fundamentalist variety, are boldly anti-Catholic. The movement is largely anti-intellectual, it’s members preferring to be ‘led by the Spirit’. However, pentecostal groups often live very strict and ordered spiritual lives, praying and studying Scripture regularly, helping the poor and those in need, living by clear moral codes. They are much more likely to have female clergy and women evangelists heard on the radio or seen on television are nearly always associated with some sort of pentecostal fellowship. Pentecostalism is very vulnerable to excesses and to fads and they have dominated the Protestant Christian scene for some 20 years: nearly everything seen on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, for instance, presupposes a Pentecostal worldview.

posted by Maccabees

And yes I may be harsh on the lazy prots. But I am hard on catholics and the hierarchy as well. I don’t pull punches its not my style. But if you read Saint Paul it wasn’t his style either. And it wasn’t Christ style in dealing with lukewarm christian he vomits them out. THose are the type of Christians I am ultimately. challenging.

Fair enough. As long as it is not the new and seeking Christians you are speaking about, or even up to a point, the Christians who DO seek out more knowledge about different churches, but are misled by bad sources.

Although not my style, God made us all a way for a reason. While reading your post I was reminded of an article from “This Rock” (ages ago can’t remember what issue). Basically, the person in the article had been trying to Evalgelize (wait they were already Christian, so it was prothelyze? How do you spell that? Where’s my dictionary?)Trying to help a Christian see the fullness of the Truth in the Catholic Church. She ended up yelling at her friend. It worked. God uses all different styles of people to talk to His people. ( BTW the article in no way endorses yelling at people to try to help them see the truth!)

So you keep to your style, I’ll keep to mine, and to God all the Glory. Amen.

Your Sister in Christ

:Pentecostalism should not be confused with the “United Pentecostal Church”, another cultic church which teaches modalism.:

I presume by “cultic” you mean “a church you disapprove of.” If you mean “heretical” why not say so. It’s a much clearer and more traditional word. “Cultic” really means nothing because it gets thrown around so loosely.

More to the point, the UPC are a branch of Pentecostalism. Most Pentecostals are fully orthodox on the Trinity–the UPC and other modalist groups (there are a number of African-American and Hispanic churches that hold to the same theology) split away from the rest of the Pentecostal movement in the early decades of the 20th century. But they are certainly part of the movement historically, and their theology and practice is similar to that of other Pentecostals except for their Trinitarian heresy and the baptismal practices that flow from it (they baptize only in the name of Jesus). Also, many Pentecostals tend to emphasize experience over dogma, so in a number of cases Trinitarian Pentecostals have trouble seeing anything very terrible in the UPC, since they obviously love Jesus and seem to be “full of the Spirit.” However, you’re right that the mainstream Pentecostals did anathematize the modalists quite early and the UPC is a clearly separate branch of Pentecostalism. (Of course, this yet again gives a lie to the Catholic canard that Protestants can’t teach authoritatively or detect and deal with heresy.)

In Christ,

Edwin

[quote=Contarini]:

[quote=flameburns623]Pentecostalism should not be confused with the “United Pentecostal Church”, another cultic church which teaches modalism
[/quote]

:

I presume by “cultic” you mean “a church you disapprove of.” If you mean “heretical” why not say so. It’s a much clearer and more traditional word. “Cultic” really means nothing because it gets thrown around so loosely.
[/quote]

My training and academic degree is in sociology. The term ‘cult’ has a specific and fixed set of meanings within that discipine which does not convey a value judgement on any group so designated. I despise the use of ‘cultic’ as a synonym for ‘heresy’. However, Contarini, you are the only other human being on the Internet who gives a rat’s whiskers about the issue. I am told every time I make the same point you have raised that the term ‘cult’ has also been accorded a THEOLOGICAL definition which, among other things, excludes as ‘Christian’ any group which denies the Trinity or any of the doctrines of the major creeds. Therefore I use the term commonly accepted and understood.

[quote= Contarini]: More to the point, the UPC are a branch of Pentecostalism. Most Pentecostals are fully orthodox on the Trinity–the UPC and other modalist groups (there are a number of African-American and Hispanic churches that hold to the same theology) split away from the rest of the Pentecostal movement in the early decades of the 20th century.
[/quote]

The UPC are not Christians because they deny the Trinity; ergo they are not part of the Pentecostals, which are a Christian movement. Oneness Pentecostalism is a pseudo-Christian parallel to Pentecostalism but it is not synonymous with Pentecostalism. For the same reason that Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, properly and strictly defined, are not Christians.

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