Not A Fundamentalist but Not A Liberal

So my church finally ended up on discernment Youtuber  Bezelt3's radar.  I was not surprised but a little taken aback.  I know Bill Bush can be serious, but not everyone will like his laid-back style and how he weaves his own stories into an exposition of scripture.  He has rebuked selfish reactions in lockdown and how feeling has come to dominate over truth.  W  He preached a series in which talked about the danger of idols but in a different way.  The previous series emphasized complete allegiance to God. If we genuinely see heaven as our home, our focus will be there.  He also said in another series   We tend towards our view of  God.   This got me thinking while I have many conservative  Christian beliefs, I am not firmly in the fundamentalist camp. Here is why

Practicality is refined as long as the message is biblical.  While we should understand the essential doctrines and what is to come, we also need advice on living.  This is why I like reading the epistles.  They are immediately applicable.   Paul always divided most of his letters between the theological and practical in varying proportions.  He wanted people to understand how to live as a result of what he just taught. Interestingly these commands mainly were about how to relate to others. 

A little appropriate levity and illustrations are ok as long as it is not the entire focus of a sermon or service.  The chicken wing bit was in the announcements. I might have been more concerned if it was a whole sermon. Appropriate illustrations reinforce the sermon points; they are not the points in themselves. I have watched other videos of preachers whose entire sermon is one great illustration with no mention or connection to scripture.   I believe it also should be understandable but, of course, not watered down.   Relevance is a two-edged sword in that respect when you lose the true essence of the gospel.   I

  I believe the Bible is authoritative but was written to a people originally in a particular time and place.  We must be aware of that, especially when dealing with strictly contemporary topics such as dating.

Speaking of which, I believe people can go to extremes in any direction when they fail to look at both sides of an issue.  For example, love preached to the exclusion of truth and holiness is dangerous because it creates confusion outside and laxness inside.  However, there is a danger of relying too much on external religiosity rather than actual heart change.  Jesus opposed the Pharisees for this reason, especially in Matthew 23.  He redefined some of the commandments in  Matthew 5  to focus more on the internal.     As we abide, God produces the fruit in us, as John 15  says, and that inner motivation changes.  Even Paul talks about works in  Romans 6 in the context of overcoming sin. 

Another more personal reason is the veneer of perfection they portray.  I realize that it could be deadly sometimes because we cannot accept grace or forgiveness from  God. It can make us hard and proud.    Peter stumbled in the beginning because he overestimated his strength.   But again, God transformed him into the leader  Jesus said he would be. The main difference between a saint who stumbles and a chronic sinner is the saint reacts when called out.   When Nathan made it clears that the sheep parable was about his murder of Uriah and taking Bathsheba.  He repented without making excuses and with genuine contrition. 

After the triumph of  Mt Caramel, Elijah immediately despairs and hides when Jezebel threatened to kill him.  A proud and perfect person may judge him wimping out now when he bravely faced the prophets of Baal and the wicked queen before. The passage doesn't indicate how much time passed before this happened or why it did.   Priscilla Shirer posits that Elijah was tired, and he suffered from misplaced expectations.     Idolatry was so entrenched that it might have been unrealistic to expect an immediate and mass revival.  God comforted him but did not allow him to stay there. God gave him a new assignment and reminded him there were still those loyal to him. If  God did not want us to learn from these moments, he would have excluded them.   

I will not call the fundamentalist a Pharisee, especially when they stand for the truth.  However, I do have slight disagreements with them in terms of style and attitude. 


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