Fundamentalism and Elitism


#1

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.


#2

Your comments make me think of the theory that so many evangelicals and fundamentalists hold regarding why Mary went to live in the house of John for the rest of her life. The theory is that Jesus sent her away from her own children because they were not (yet!) believers, and that Jesus would rather his mother live in the house of an unrelated believer than in the home of one of her own children (even though they would become believers later, according to the theory!).

I have asked more than once where we have ever seen such emulation of Jesus, where the Christian community says it is better for a believer to leave her own unbelieving (but otherwise good and loving) children and live in the home of an unrelated believer. I’ve never seen any historical evidence that the Christian community ever taught this, but according to the theory they should have.


#3

Interesting observation. And of course one of the main foundations for that theory is that Jesus had ‘brothers’ to Mary. Without that, the verses make no sense UNLESS Jesus was an only child.
One of the verses constantly quoted by fundamentalists in regard to 'separation is: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us” (1 John 2:19)
I have seen this verse quoted in regard to people leaving an IFB church over the silliest of reasons.


#4

Curious, Jesus was a Jew, he lived as a Jew, and died as one. To instigate and destroy a familial relationship is anaethema to Jews. Would such a claim that Jesus “dissed” his “brothers”, make Jesus a sinner?
The whole idea that Jesus had brothers and sisters by Mary and Joseph has been disavowed and disproven by apologists over and over.

And if the claiims of fundamentalists were true, wouldn’t Jesus want Mary to live in a house with his “brothers and sisters” to bring them to the truth? Sounds more logical to me.

Mary was with the Apostles at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit set in motion the establishment of the early church to which Jesus" brethren would become a part of. Jesus wanted His mother there to be the powerful witness to the early actions of the apostles and disciples, and to the early church. Not home making bagels and lox for the rest of the kids.

Remember, the Church sees that giving of Mary to John and vice versa, as establishing Mary as the spiritual mother of all mankind. And all mankind as her spiritual children.


#5

Hello justaservant, A lot of what you said is true. but let me explain why it would appear to a person who has not been born again that we are separatist. in that true born again believers do separate them selves from the world. Not because we believe we are better but we are set apart for God.We have been transformed by the renewing of our minds, and our view of the world becomes a biblical world view which differs from a world view. Our beliefs and understanding of the world as we become more like Jesus would seem to not fit into today’s view, we would appear to the world as narrow minded, bigoted, judgemental, etc. Also the close intament fellowship of believers is lost with friends and family members who have not yet had the veil removed from there eyes. Jesus said this would happen See Luke 12:51-53. This is one of the cost of discipleship. There’s a lot more to ad but dont want to rant: yawn:


#6

Um…I used to preach this kind of stuff. I know of what I speak.
In a word, its baloney.


#7

The simple reason Jesus never taught this is that it is the mindset of cults. Christianity was to change the world, not separate from it.


#8

And that would be you perspective and not backed up by Gods word i showed you from Luke 12:51-53 to show you that believers would experiance seperation and division between family and friends. You on the other hand proclaim your experiance as Gods word! big differance. How do you respond to scripture?
Also look at Luke 14:26 where Jesus teaches us that when we come to Him our other relationships would appear to look like hate!


#9

The separation Jesus was talking was on the part of unbelievers, not believers. The hate generates from the world, not from christians.
You’re misinterpreting the verse making it fit into a philosophy that decides who is and who is not a Christian.
We can be of this world and still belong to Christ. We do not have to be a part of some exclusive club. To not be a part of this world does not mean total withdrawal from the world.


#10

The separation Jesus was talking was on the part of unbelievers, not believers. Exactly isnt that not we are talking about?

The hate generates from the world, not from Christians. there isnt any hate! Jesus is giving us what other relationships would look like compared to the one we are to have with Him.

We can be of this world and still belong to Christ I would say again your perspectives dont line up with the word of God. See
1 John 2:15-17 1 John 4:4-6.

Iam not saying we are not in the world Iam writing to you right? What Iam saying is we are not of the world. We are ambassadors for Christ and are to witness to a lost world. Look to Jesus as an example Jesus went out and ministered to a lost world. He did not befriend the world He chose 70 disciples and out of those 70 He chose 12 and out of those 12 He chose 3 He was truly close to We can show love and kindness to the world without becoming part of the world. See Philippians 3:20. And Iam sorry friend but i believe it is you and your philosophy judging others isnt that what your doing by your obvious perspective of bitterness.


#11

No it isn’t what he’s talking about. For example - in the time of the Roman persecutions, the pagans hated Christians and did all sorts of horrible things to them. Did the Christians stop being part of Roman society in as far as they were able? Did they stop living and working in Rome, among the pagans, for example? Did they not participate in society on its terms as fully as possible for as long as they possibly could? Didn’t Paul, for example, use the fact of his Roman citizenship to get a proper trial and keep himself alive longer?

Of course Christians didn’t separate from the society around them, unless and until the Romans themselves kicked them out or arrested them or otherwise made it absolutely impossible for them.

Same with Jesus - he spent 18 years of his life in Nazareth among the unbelievers of his town. There’s no indication that He ever kept Himself separate from them, even though they were unbelievers. He never, for example, denied His family when in Nazareth. Not even the unbelievers among them.

Final point - Jesus loved all, even the sinners (and in some ways He especially sought out the sinner). You don’t love someone by separating yourself from them, rather you try to keep connected as much as possible. Jesus NEVER would have preemptively rejected or separated Himself from ANYONE - rather he would stay with them until such time as THEY made it absolutely impossible for Him to stay.

Remember His saying ‘I stand at the door and knock, and if ANYONE hears and lets me in I will eat with Him’. Even AFTER separation Jesus would never cut off communication with ANYONE.


#12

Friend were are you getting this stuff from? what do you think the word saint means? ( set apart ) Show me one instance from the scriptures not your perspective where there was none believers living in close proximity with Jesus our His disciples Jesus called them publicly, and they lived separate lives apart from non believers. Why do you think the bible tells us not to be unequally yoked together with nonbelievers. it doesnt say we cant spend time with or work with them It says dont become intimate with them. Jesus always withdrew from the crowds. And just to put things in perspective it is RC who took this and interpreted as separation from the world were do you think monistary’s come from.One of the first manifestations of new life is separation from the world. See 1 Corinthians 2:12
James 4:4 1 John 2:15-17 1 John 5:5


#13

I’m curious, if you were going to die and you had the power, would you order your believing mother out of the home of her other good but unbelieving children to live in the home of an unrelated believing male?


#14

I’ve only ever heard ‘unequally yoked’ used in regard to MARRYING non-believers, I’ve never before heard it taken to this ridiculous extreme where you’re not even supposed to be intimate with them.

As for Jesus, how about the unbelieving ‘brothers’ who he lived with for 18 years of his life before his public ministry? You think He wasn’t intimate with His own family? To not be so would have been a sinful breaking of the commandment to honor father and mother (which Jews certainly understood to apply to the whole family).

There’s no indication whatsoever that Mary and Joseph kept Him apart from His relatives, or that He specifically ignored ANY nonbelievers in any way. On the contrary the ‘crowds’ He withdrew from usually were crowds OF those very same belivers who were becoming too demanding upon Him.

The people of Nazareth claimed that they knew Him, and knew Him not to be the Messiah because they knew His family, if He’d been separated from them they wouldn’t have said this.

And the church allows SOME, namely its religious, to withdraw, yes. Most priests do not, quite on the contrary they live in and are part of the communities they serve, believers and nonbelievers, and not separate from them.

Our Church, by the way, also has what are called ‘lay’, ‘secular’ or ‘third order’ religious orders, whose members follow a particular rule of life but IN the world - they are charged to be part of the world and incorporate their spirituality into their work, marriages and families, and to seek out all people and bring Him to them. Not to separate themselves from anyone.


#15

I would rather my children be raised by believers, than my non believing family yes! do you have any idea what Jesus has come to do? He has come to call us out of darkness into His marvelous light. What fellowship has a non believer with a believer?
here’s the thing My family are all none believers. i love them and I suspect they love me. but the relationship is different. There life consist of the flesh mine spiritual. the two oppose each other. Iam a new creation the bible says. That means everything about me has changed. Iam not the same person I used to be. The way I act what i believe my view of the world is a biblical one there’s a world view and the two contradict each other. So what has happened I have been taken from one kingdom to another kingdom. There world is veiled they dont understand nor can they, because they are spiritually discerned. You need to be adopted into Gods family. if you are comfortable in the world you better find out why!!!


#16

Youve totally lost it. First of all go find out what a yoke is. secondly Ive given plenty of scripture to back up what Iam saying .
thirdly who ever implied that Jesus was disrespectful? The bible is silent about Joesph but Mary was part of the fellowship of believers Dugh!! here lets read an exchange with Jesus and His brothers. His brothers therefore said to Him depart from here and go into Judea, that your disciples also may see the works that you are doing.For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If you do these things show yourself to the world. FOR EVEN HIS BROTHERS DID NOT BELIEVE IN HIM.John 7:3-5. And Jesus clearly states you must be willing to forsake all for His sake See John 14:26. And Jesus says clearly who His family is See John 8:19-21 And also see Mark 3:31-35. And as you can clearly see Jesus is making a comprehensive statement on true christian discipleship. It involves a spiritual relationship that transcends the physical family and is open to all who are empowered by the holy spirit of god to come to Christ in repentance and faith. know Ive shown you scripture several times to show the difference between the spiritual family and the physical. of course we love are families but when we are born again and are called into gods marvelous light we are changed for ever we are new creations in Christ. You RC call these people priest we are a royal priesthood of believers being transformed into the image of God. and I wont argue the fact anymore Gods word speaks for itself. Your opinion is just that. Gods word is the measure for all truth and you have heard it spoken loud and clear. And for the last time no one is advocating separatism!!! We are to “Go” make disciples of all nations. that the command. Jesus told us a new commandment i give you to love the Lord with all your heart mind and strength and the second is like the first to love your neighbor. And Jesus also said the world will know you are my disciples by the love you have for each other. If you claim to be a believer and I doubt you are sence you would realise there is a difference between believers and nonbelievers since you dont I’ll consider you religious! Read Titus 3:1-5. We have been saved and washed clean we were once disobedient but by Gods mercy and kindness He saved us. Where not special just set apart for god hopefully others through the power of the gospel to salvation for everyone who believes they tocan come into the family of God those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Do you believe?


#17

Thanks for proving the OP.
:cool:


#18

This kind of thinking is a direct result of the doctrine of “sola scriptura”, that the individual can correctly interpret scripture. Thus protestants in general, and the baptists in particular are forever subdividing and separating in an effort to find a more “pure” church based upon a more “correct” interpretation of scripture. As a result, we have thousands of denominations and huge variations in theology among them.


#19

You’re saying we’re not permitted to be intimate with non-believers - that absolutely sounds like separatism to me. Living with someone necessarily means you’re intimate with them. Conversely, if you’re not intimate with your unbelieving family as you say you’re not supposed to be with any unbelievers, then you can’t possibly still be living with them. Not living with people because they don’t believe = separatism.

Secondly - read the Bible. Properly. Paul says many an unbelieving wife is saved BECAUSE OF living with their believing husband, and many an unbelieving husband is saved BECAUSE OF living with their believing wife. Sounds like he’s advocating precisely the opposite of what you’re blathering on about.

There are so many opportunities for conversion you and your like are missing our on by cutting them out of intimate contact with you that I could weep to think of it.


#20

Excellant point.
Amos 3:3: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”. This is often the verse IFBs pull out to justify thier separatism. What is sad is that one cannot just ‘separate’ from one’s family. There is a connection there that goes much deeper than the person doing the ‘separating’ realizes. When family members become simply a commodity to ‘sell’ their fanacitism too, it produces a wedge that, in many cases, cannot be repaired. What is sadder still, is that thier children often follow in the footsteps of their parents. Fundamentalists homes are often broken homes because of this ‘separatism’.


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