Return of Fundamentalism?

I don’t know if anyone else is noticing this in the school system here in the U.S. but recently and at steadily increasing numbers since i’ve grown up (I finished high school this year) there have been a lot more hardline Protestants and Catholics then before and “Luke-warm Christians” have been less numerous as well. I don’t know if this is the result of the Mega-Churches and Protestant Evangelicals or just a general shift from the steady degradation of morality since the 70’s. Thoughts?

In my opinion, it has to get worse before it gets better. I sincerely hope that Fundamentalism dies in the next 10 years (no offense to Fundamentalists on here) because I have serious beef with their theology.

I think it also has to do with a lot of high-powered Christian youth groups springing up, like Young Life, Student Life, Campus Crusade for Christ, Student Venture, etc…
They are drawing all kinds of people in and if people are hearing the Good News spread then I have little problem with it.

Laudetur Iesus Christus.

All Catholics who understand the Faith are, “fundamentalists,” in the original, narrow meaning of that word. As I understand it, this concept arose when certain Protestant thinkers tried to define the minimum beliefs on which they would insist in order to acknowledge a given, “version of doctrine,” to authentically represent the gospel. Technically, since the Church teaches each and all of these proposed, “fundamentals,” any believing Catholic would meet this criterion – of course, since one of the unspoken criteria was probably understood to be opposition to the Catholic Church, the original Protestant thinkers would probably not acknowledge that Catholics are, “fundamentalists,” in this sense.

Of course, since this idea was minimalist in conception, it is inherently inconsistent with the faith of the Church. All of the doctrines of the Church are organically united and none can be, “dispensed with,” in the manor of the Protestant notion of, “mere Christianity.” Nevertheless, the fact that the organic unity of the Faith demands that each of the, “fundamentals,” be believed results in a certain resonance between, “fundamentalist theory,” and Catholic doctrine.

In a sense this consonance is unfortunate, since, “fundamentalism,” is inherently incomplete and therefore incoherent. It cannot hold together under the light of careful reasoning. However, being a significant reduction of the gospel message, it may have a character like Islam or Rabbinic Judaism, being a sufficiently self-consistent reduction so as to gain a sort of solidity which will bear up for a long while under the less rigorous test of time. In the span of our life times, this may make it tenacious.

So, in this broad sense your suspicion seems logical. The Church is certain to endure, resting on the foundation of Truth. “Fundamentalism,” is liable to endure temporally because of its compact conceptual structure. All other less stable forms or, “systems,” of belief are likely to come apart relatively quickly in comparison to these two – and in comparison to Islam and Rabbinic Judaism.

It may be that you are noticing the playing out of this logic.

Pax Christi nobiscum.

John Hiner

I also have an issue with their theology as a whole.

Here’s a question: How do you define fundamentalist? Classically, it referred to the five fundamentals, but how should it be defined in a modern context?

The reason I ask that is I agree with the five fundamentals, but I’m not a “fundamentalist” in the modern context of the term.

Please enlighten us on the “5 Fundamentals.” :confused: I am not aware, and perhaps others also, what these fundamentals are supposed to be. Thanks!!! :tiphat:

Laudetur Iesus Christus.

The original, “five fundamentals,” are cast as follows in the Minutes of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (1910):

*]The Holy Spirit did so inspire, guide and move the writers of the Holy Scriptures as to keep them from error. . .

*]Our Lord Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary. . .

*]Christ offered up “himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and to reconcile us to God.” . . .

*]“on the third day he arose from the dead, with the same body in which he suffered; with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father, making intercession.” . . .

*]The Lord Jesus showed his power and love by working mighty miracles. This working was not contrary to nature, but superior to it. . .

(Minutes of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1910, page 272-273, ( ).)

Pax Christi nobiscum.

John Hiner

I think you are confusing evangelicalism and fundamentalism. The current breed of young evangelicals may look like fundamentalists to secular/liberal folks, or even to Catholics, but they aren’t. Much less dogmatic, much less willing to pontificate about who is going to hell, but with a basic, not very sophisticated or thoughtful attachment to the truth of the Bible and to what they perceive as essential Christian teaching.


and I love to point out to the “hardcore” anti-Catholic fundamentalists that Catholics believe all 5 of these!

In Christ,


I guess you’re right. If there are differences between Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, then I can’t see them.

Thanks! I appreciate your quick response, too. :thumbsup:

Catholics also believe in these five fundamentals.

Perhaps other Protestant churches have their own list of fundamentals for their particular denominations. I would guess that for some denominations that one of their fundamentals would be “Scripture Alone” and another one would be “Faith Alone” which Catholics do not believe in because we believe that they contradict both Scripture/Written Tradition Word of God and the Oral Tradition Word of God handed down by Apostolic Succession.

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