As time goes on I will add things here and there to my testimony. Here are some thoughts I have had recently reflecting on my days in among independent fundamental baptists:
My world became smaller when I was a fundamentalist. That was because fundamentalists find it difficult to “fellowship” with those different from themselves.
I once heard a fundamentalist preacher say this about any association with Catholics:
“Ignoring their lost state, being tolerant of their false doctrine, and **pretending they are one of us **is not going to help them get saved.”
The bolded statement is an eye-opening glimpse into the dark pit of the fundamentalist soul. If one believes that he or she has experienced what no other has (being “born again”), and possesses what others other than them could not possibly have (the Holy Spirit), it creates an elitist world-view that allows only those to whom we agree with, to enter.
Over the years I have heard “that person is now a (insert opposition group here), so I had to ’break fellowship’ with them” This is the fundamentalist doctrine of “separation”. A superior, elitist attitude of belonging to a privileged group. Those who do not belong to the group are called “unrepentant brothers and false teachers”
The problem is, that encompasses quite a population if one takes that to its logical conclusion. This encompasses people far beyond hated Catholics and liberals. It also includes people within their own ‘circle’ with whom they disagree. To belong to this ever shrinking circle becomes the object they strive for.
In rationalizing that Christians who don’t agree with you are all “compromisers,” they assume that is the indicator of true spirituality.
They truly believe they are superior. This theological “rigidity” is more important than all other factors. And sadly, there is a trail of broken relationships in their past that is blamed on the actions of the people they “separated” from. Tragically, these broken relationships include family members and former friends.
This completely went against how I was raised by my parents. We did not abandon family and friends based on disagreements or world-view. Jesus taught us to love one another, not to pick and choose whom we love.
I believe one of the reasons fundamental Baptists think this way has to do with living in a fantasy world of their own making. They look to a reality that never existed, and hope for a Utopia that never will exist. When struck by the fact that it does not, it destroys their illusions and they lapse into cynicism and depression. They deal with this by altering reality through ‘separation’ from whatever or whoever is not like themselves and an end-times fairy tale which allows them to press on in world that does not accept them.
“Fellowshipping” with a group who truly believe they are better than others can be a surreal experience. It leads logically to exclusion based on reasons that hardly fit into their “Biblical world-view”. Many times it is based on race, class, education, and sex.
The sad part is, the longer one “fellowships” with fundamentalists, “separation” from them becomes a relief.