Talk:Fundamentalist Christianity/Archive 1

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Right off the bat, first sentence: "Fundamentalist Christianity is the collection of Christian movements advocating intolerant and radical practices..."

This statement portrays any Christian who takes the Word of God literally--as accurate historical narrative--as some ignorant, crazy racist/sexist/bigot/homophobe.

This rank anti-Christian bias is truly intolerable. Just what are you trying to prove here?


NPOV

The sentance In particular, Fundamentalists reject the the documentary hypothesis -- the theory held by a decreasing number of historians that the Pentateuch was composed and shaped by many people over centuries. has the unneccessary mention "decreasing number of historians", which patently seeks to discredit the hypothesis. This is not neutral. As to whether more or less people support the theory, that ought surely to be in the artical about the documentary hypothesis?
Furthermore, neglecting to mention that the reason that the documentary hypothesis is being discredited is because people are moving favour to more recent but similar theories, gives very clear evidence that the insertion of that part of the sentance is an attempt to support the point of view of Fundamentalists about the whole principle of the theory being wrong. This is not neutral, it ought to be changed --Anonymous 16:29, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Concerning ["decreasing number of historians"] it is merely the reflection that, over the last century, the amount of historians publishing in peer review journals that consider this matter a valid point to make has considerably diminish. I understand your concern about the statement, and some people would be more worried about what it really implies (something that the text itself is not implying, merely stating a fact). AskewMind 12:20, Feb 23, 2005 (UTC)

Definitions

Just a start mostly to provide a format for the link to the Movie Hell House. This has considerable potential for further development, both its history and denominations as well as information on the religious right. User:Fredbauder


Fundamentalists also tend to reject recent versions of the Bible in favor of the King James Version.
Important early Christian fundamentalists included William Jennings Bryan, John Nelson Darby, Cyrus I. Scofield?, Charles Caldwell Ryrie?, Lewis Sperry Chafer?, John Walvoord?, B. B. Warfield?.

It may not be strictly correct to put either, William Jennings Bryan or B.B.Warfield in a list of fundamentalists if fundamentalism is defined in such a way that it necessarily rejects macro-evolution.

B.B.Warfield was important to the movement because of his work in textual criticism of the Bible, upon which the Fundamentalist movement was widely dependent for answering the Modernists. However, some say that he was undecided about evolution, but was inclined to accept it as a demonstrated observation of the Providence of God.

William Jennings Bryan is also important to the Fundamentalist movement, because of his involvement in the Scopes trial. However, some claim that he was not himself convinced of an incompatibility between the Bible and macro-evolution. The evolutionist Stephen J. Gould says this somewhere in one of his books - it might have been The Mismeasure of Man.

I'll see if I can confirm those assertions about these men but, I wonder if the whole story of Fundamentalism could be told more helpfully:

The short story is that with reference to Protestant Christians, Fundamentalism (upper F) is distinguishable from fundamentalism (lower f). In the latter case, it's a kind of pejorative term, indicating that the labler doesn't approve of the wooden or presumptuous way that his opponent claims that God vindicates an attitude or opinion. When it's used that way, Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons are often called "fundamentalists", which would certainly exasperate an 'upper F' Fundamentalist.

In the other case, it's a movement that spread through the Protestant denominations especially in the United States, in reaction to Modernism. This was a militant defense of Protestant Christianity as that had been historically held. It is the antithesis of Modernism. The movement branched out into three distinguishable movements: separatist Fundamentalists, New Evangelicalism, and conservative Confessionalism.

Is this a helpful way to look at Fundamentalism? mkmcconn.


In the past many Christian nations were led by Christian fundamentalists.

I am willing to see this sentence put back, if any connection can be drawn between what the article means by "Fundamentalists" or "fundamentalism", and leaders of Christian nations in the past. If all this sentence means to say, is that there have been Christian religious states, it still needs to be proven that there has ever been a fundamentalist Christian state (as opposed to the Holy Roman Empire, Caesaro-papism, the national Church arrangements, and so forth: for which "fundamentalism" would not only be an anachronism, but in some cases a total distortion of history, and useless in determining the difference between fundamentalism and virtually any other kind of Christianity except those which make it central to their faith to have nothing to do with the ruling of nations (some of which, ironically, ARE fundamentalist).

Likewise, statements are made in the entry which suggest that politically active Christian fundamentalism is a new thing, beginning with William Jennings Bryan and the "monkey trial". This is a preposterous stereotype, with no foundation in fact on any level. Bryan had tried a number of times to be elected President and but the Scopes trial tainted his career. Neither did he subscribe to a literal interpretation of the Bible: is he a fundamentalist at all? Or, is he just important to the fundamentalist cause? But if Christians being involved in politics is what fundamentalism is, is Jessie Jackson a fundamentalist? The entry has to stick to one definition, and go with it; or, it will just become a repository for half-baked political statements and a place for taking out frustrations on the whole Christian religion. Mkmcconn 22:33 Oct 20, 2002 (UTC)


By adding the latest statement, adding to the definition of Fundamentalism the "King James Only" distinction, the list of "fundamentalists" (which in my opinion was flawed even under the old definition), is now obsolete. There are more in the list who reject this distinctive than accept it. Maybe it would be a good idea to list "King James" Fundamentalists separately, just as it would be a good idea to list "anti-Darwin" evolutionists like Warfield separately from "creation science" fundamentalists (who are dominated by the Seventh-day Adventists, by the way - who are not fundamentalists according to the definition in the article). As it stands, the entry seems to include in one monolithic group defined by specific distinctives, people who do not fit together under these distinctives. In my opinion, the entry is still superficial, confusing and does not ring true. Mkmcconn


I have tried to round out this article a bit, as suggested above. I consider myself a fundamentalist, but found that I would not fall into that group by the definition of the previous article. I have not removed anything, but have generalized the definitions some, in accordance with the last comment, and my beliefs. I did add a reference to the "King James Only Movement", and a brief explanation of where it came from, including some information on textual criticism, which should probably be moved to a different article eventually, but is relevant to the discussion. The idea is to give an indication of why some less dogmatic fundamentalists favor the KJV over other translations (of course some fundamentalists are simply convinced that it is the KJV itself which is the word of God, rather than autographs. Many, including myself, would dispute this STRONGLY). Kpearce

In order to set up the articles on textual criticism, I changed the link titles to read "text-type", which is the technical terms for this types of text. Stephen C. Carlson
Our edits conflicted as I tried to fix my mix-up of where the Majority text belongs. You are right. Thank you. Mkmcconn
No prob. Stephen C. Carlson

I'm a bit concerned that someone who doesn't know the proper name of the United States' largest protestant demonination: Southern Baptist _Convention_, not Southern Baptist _Conference_ would fein to know something about the doctrine of most so-called fundamentalists. And I quite agree with Kpearce on the issue of KJV -- most self-described fundamentalists revere the KJV for its beauty and its time-testedness, but not as the final "Word of God." That's reserved for the original texts. S. Mejia


I think we should say something about the relationship between fundamentalism and legalism, but I don't have enough historical background to write it myself. Other than what I've written in the new legalism article, this is what I know: fundamentalists (obviously) don't consider themselves legalistic, but outsiders do, and this claim has been made against them from the beginning. Even some evangelicals see fundamentalism as by definition requiring belief in a list of doctrines (rather than just belief in salvation through Christ alone and acceptance of that salvation) for salvation. Some fundamentalists really believe this, others would reject it if explicitly asked, but act as though they believed it, and still others really truly reject it. For myself (as a self-labeled fundamentalist), I give this explanation: for the liberal, societal norms and generally accepted beliefs (e.g. science, secular history, etc.) are a higher authority on truth than Scripture. For the conservative, the traditions of the Church are a higher authority on truth than Scripture. For the fundamentalist, there is no higher authority on truth than Scripture. This definition does not seem to me to entail any sort of legalism whatever, but others disagree. I think this discussion is relevant and should be included somewhere with the addition of some historical information. - kpearce

I've read a few historians recently, who think that what is called "legalism" (popularly, by the way - not theologically) emerged among fundamentalists as the consensus eroded. Summarizing, as the culture changed around them, they had to decide from among those changes which seemed compatible with faith and a faithful way of life, and which could be interpreted as symbolic of the world from which they sought to be separate. So, card playing, dancing, drinking, smoking, hair over the ears on men, short-haired women in slacks, pierced ears, movie going, makeup, casual dress at church, inter-racial dating, jazz and rock music, abstract painting, familiar address of elders and superiors - all marks of simple change in style and society, at least as much as change of cultural faith - became taboo not because they were deemed requirements of salvation, but because they were symbolic of the fashions of the world. A Christian (who ought to desire to separate from the world and from worldliness) it was assumed should be comfortable condemning things like this, since such things were not typical of fundamentalist Christians. Such things weren't supposed to be a rule imposed on Christians, but an observation derived from the Christian experience - descriptive, rather than legislative. As the fundamentalist culture has change, its list of cultural distinctives also has changed. Mkmcconn
Perhaps, then, the way I defined legalism was too narrow. It should include any system that makes demands, rather than suggestions, which are beyond any Scriptural injunction. For example, there is no "thou shalt not watch R-rated movies" in Scripture, but there is a "whatever is noble, whatever is true, etc. meditate on these things" command. So, a non-legalistic approach would be to say "many people find that watching R rated movies prevents them from focusing on the things the Bible says we ought to focus on", whereas a legalistic system might go so far as to excommunicate someone who viewed R rated movies. At any rate, I think it's significant that outsiders generally view fundamentalists as legalistic. IMHO, this is an accurate description of SOME, but by no means ALL fundamentalist groups. As to the history, I don't know where the word comes from, but it is generally believed that, while the term may be fairly new, the heresy it describes goes back to the Judaizers (on account of whom Galatians was written) at the dawn of Christianity and further, if one considers pre-Christian Judaism. Some of this discussion should probably be moved to talk:Legalism. kpearce
The current definition is just wrong. Fundamentalist christianity is NOT a single movement and I don't think American versions deserve special mention in the intro.

Fundamentalists and the Religious Right?

This section needs work for accuracy and POV. Fundamentalists may be a part of the religious right, but are far from synonymous with it, as they make up only a small part. The religious right is a broad amalgamation of Evangelicals, Pentecostals, conservative mainline denomination Christians, conservative Roman Catholics, conservative Jews, and some Fundamentalists.

Fundamentalists are strongly separatist, and inherently suspicious of anyone with a doctrinal disagreement, and thus are broken into many splinter groups that can hardly get along with each other, often even to the point of having only family or house churches. Many Fundamentalists are also suspicious of the political process, and do not even vote. Others vote but will not get involved too heavily in politics for fear of contamination with the world. In and of themselves, Fundamentalists have little political clout.

Jerry Falwell is an example of a Fundamentalist who briefly achieved some political power, but got too fundamental for the traditional Christian base he was trying to appeal to, and he has dropped to a political bit player.

Furthermore, while the term fundamentalist has a historical meaning, and fundamentalists have their historical strengths and weaknesses, the term in modern use, especially when broadly and frequently applied to all traditional Christians by their enemies, has become a negative pigeonhole, and a pejorative. At best it is a mocking accusation of being narrow minded and rigid, and at worst an attempt at guilt by association with extremists, flat earthers, abortion clinic bombers, homophobes, white supremicists, terrorists, or Taliban. Whenever the term Fundamentalist is used in a discussion against Christians, as here, or in discussions of creationism, abortion, homosexuality, politics, etc, one's "spin detectors" should be operative, because a negative spin is inherent in the labeling. Pollinator 05:00, 26 Nov 2003 (UTC)


"In addition, Fundamentalism has also been used to describe similarity in beliefs across different religions such as with Islamists.". I think you need to be clear what similarities you are referring to. The differences between these two groups are enormous; they just happen to be given the same name. Remember the answer that Josh gave on the West Wing episode to the question "Islam is to Fundamentalist Islam as Christian is to ___"? DJ Clayworth 21:59, 10 Dec 2003 (UTC)

What is the answer? Remind me ;-) A more or less correct answer would depend upon the comparison intended. "...as Christian is to the Apostles of Jesus" might be the way that Fundamentalist Christians would understand themselves: that is, "original Christianity". This does not imply any further connection or similarity in the self-perception of Fundamentalist adherents of Islam and Fundamentalist adherents of Christianity. "...as Christian is to Paul Jennings Hill" has another comparison in mind; which likewise implies no further comparison, than the reference to their acceptance of violent means to achieve their goal. Etc.. Mkmcconn 23:31, 10 Dec 2003 (UTC)

I've done a rewrite of the page to correct some blatant errors and bring it to a more neutral article. In addition I removed the following text but save it here, because there is some useful information that is applicable to conservative Christianity, but hardly to Fundamentalism:

The abortion debate is an example of a still-active issue where the religion-based beliefs which in the past have underlain many laws, are being deliberately replaced by naturalistic assumptions and agnosticism more in keeping with the modern temper and a more pluralistic populace. Fundamentalists believe, and argue militantly, that this drift will end in ship-wreck: for proof of which, they point to the "tragedy of abortion" and its supposed attendant causes in nihilism and moral laxity. Their sometimes aggressive interference, and tendency to use military metaphors to describe this as a "culture war", and a "war against the culture of death", leads some alarmed abortion rights advocates to argue that religious beliefs have no place in political discourse.
Christian fundamentalists tend to be very active within the United States Republican Party and have been formatively influential in a political movement known as the religious right. Within American politics, fundamentalists can be very powerful because they tend to be extremely committed and well-organized. At the same time, fundamentalists are often politically limited by their difficulty in compromising with other groups and their general lack of interest in issues that do not have a religious connection.

I did not realize that Wikipedia signed me out, but I did the previous edit and will need to do some more work. There is still a considerable "anti" bias - for example the wording of this statement, For example, the Southern Baptist Convention has had persistent conflicts instigated by fundamentalists attempting, successfully, to resist a drift of their denomination away from commitment to historical Christianity, toward control by liberal factions. which somehow *blames* Fundamentalists, rather than "denominational drift."

BTW, I am not a Fundamentalist, but I have tried to treat it in a more neutral fashion than the rather hostile article that it was. Pollinator 06:25, 11 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Regrettably, I'm not very enthusiastic about the new edits; but, I'll let them sit for a while and think it over. Generally, I think that recent edits do not reflect what most people want to identify, when they use the word "fundamentalism". I don't think that Wikipedia should be interested in fixing popular perceptions; but rather, should strive to provide perspective, with the ideal in mind that all readers should agree that they are reading about the same thing. With that in mind, my preliminary assessment is that the new edits are too interested in a narrow range of distinctions. For example, it comes off badly to imply that fundamentalist Christianity has nothing or little to do with right-wing politics, when they see "it" busy all around them.
But, as I've said, I'll sit on it for a while, and see if my opinion of the new edits changes. Mkmcconn 07:21, 11 Dec 2003 (UTC)
It's a difficult subject because, as I noted there are several different meanings of the term. I was trying to offer the same courtesy to Christians who do NOT wish to be called by the term, as one would want to do with terms negatively applied to racial or ethnic groups. Some accept the term and wear it proudly, others wish to distinguish themselves and I think they have this right. At best, the broad application of the term Fundamentalist to conservative Christians in general, is rather unsophisticated, because it refuses to recognize the broad range of differences. Have at it; perhaps we can come to something together that will make us both happy.... Pollinator 07:32, 11 Dec 2003 (UTC)
I don't think that we should worry about offending those to whom this label is commonly applied &emdash; it's not as though we are doing something novel. And anyway, speaking as an "old school" fundamentalist of purest pedigree, I am more irritated with definitions which narrow the term to exclude those to whom it most naturally ought to apply, and grant it to those to whom it hardly seems to me to be appropriate. And, I should add, for that reason I loathe being called a fundamentalist. The problem here is that, the term has been brutally misused - but this misuse is part of its given meaning. We would wear ourselves out trying to set the record straight; and it's simply not our job. my2x.01 USD Mkmcconn 07:44, 11 Dec 2003 (UTC)
-Just checked in from work for a few minutes to see that you've been hard at work here, Mkmcconn. I think you are doing a good job. I was afraid that sound bytes and cant would win over scholarship, as it has on these topics here in the past.
Your kudos are warmly appreciated. Mkmcconn 20:54, 11 Dec 2003 (UTC)

When terms like vicarious atonement are used, and when it assumed that everyone understands what is meant, you write for your own parish and not for an encyclopedia. Furthermore, the concept on "fundamentalist christianity" is as described overwhelmingly USA centric. Which is OK up to a point. When the sensibilities of these "fundamentalists" make the text so political as not to offend anyone, people outside religion or outside the USA, have no hope in understanding what is meant. I do not (am from outside the USA). GerardM

As I said in my edit note, the term is a problem. Here's the explanation of why it is important:
In Protestant Christianity, there are many meanings of atonement, some of which are compatible with one another, and some of which are not. The fundamentals stipulate not "just any idea of reconciliation with God" is acceptable. Instead, merest Christianity places confidence in Christ's death on the Cross, as being in some sense "for me", or "in my place". That's what is meant by "vicarious". The death of Christ is a sacrifice, offered on my behalf, in order to effect reconciliation between God and sinners.
In contrast, for example, might be an idea of reconciliation that does not envision any necessity for the shedding of Christ's blood, and certainly not on account of my violation of God's commandments. In such a scheme, the atonement is a divine gesture of sympathy with men in their miserable condition. It is not acceptable to a Fundamentalist if you profess such a belief, which amounts to suggesting that God is the party in need of acceptance, rather than sinful people being in need of acceptance by God.
The view in mind, in the Fundamentals, is called "vicarious atonement", because it refers to belief in Christ's death on the Cross as a sacrifice offered to propitiate God's wrath, his life in the place of my life.
I hope that helps. And if you can think of another, more concise way of putting this, you are welcome. Mkmcconn 23:55, 11 Dec 2003 (UTC)
I should add, in answer to your frustration with understanding the US-centric terminology and references, that the story of Fundamentalism is an almost exclusively English-speaking one, and predominantly US-centric. That said, if you have suggestions aimed at making the article more understandable, I'm sure that would be helpful, and would be appreciated. Mkmcconn 00:05, 12 Dec 2003 (UTC)

I am bothered by the tendency to remove things that are interesting to read, and informative; and in their place substitute vague generalizations and colloquialisms. I don't think that the opening paragraphs are an improvement. Mkmcconn 18:25, 16 Dec 2003 (UTC)

I'm reverting to replace the section that discusses the development of the connotative meaning of the terms, which I think is crucial for explaining how the colloquial use of the term has come to be so negative. Mkmcconn 19:54, 16 Dec 2003 (UTC)


I've removed the part in the King James Only section where they prefer "King James Version and the New King James Version" over other translations and replaced it with "King James Version". The NKJV translation is a brand new translation in the style of the KJV and is probably based on the critical text, though I am not sure. But I'm very certain about KJV-only advocates' rejection of the NKJV.


OK Mkmcconn, here it is: "An important part of the political discourse of the United States (and some other countries) is the notion, often touted by political liberals in the U.S., that Fundamentalist political activity in some cases contradicts the doctrine of the separation of church and state."

It's a spurious charge. How to deal with it in a wikkipedia-way? Churches have been involved in politics since the beginning of US history, but liberals are quite selective about whom they charge with violation of church-state separation. Martin Luther King, for example, got their approval. Liberal candidates are visiting black churches in South Carolina, as we speak, and quite often black pastors blatantly tell their congregations for whom to vote.

Personally I think that being involved in a religious faith of any kind does not mean one gives up freedom to comment on or be involved in politics; in fact I admire those who get involved. It's just that the charge mentioned is applied by liberals quite selectively.

Secondly the charge is quite inaccurate. I'm not a fundamentalist, but they are decent, salt-of-the-earth people. They are not politically powerful, nor are they a threat to America as often portrayed in broad-brush liberal attacks.Pollinator 06:04, 22 Jan 2004 (ETC)


I have added one paragraph, clarifying that "Fundamentalism" does not mean quite the same things in all English-speaking countries. As this is an international encyclopedia, not exclusively an American one, I think some clarification is sometimes needed when it comes to terminology. With respect to what I said in the article, the Pentecostal movement to which I personally belong, is considered distinct from Fundamentalism in the United States, despite holding to similar views on the Five fundamentals. In New Zealand, where I come from, that line of demarcation is far less clear - to the extent that the head of our largest Pentecostal denomination (my own church, actually) publicly uses the Fundamentalist label to describe himself. The main distinction between Fundamentalism (as defined by its self-styled followers in the USA and in New Zealand) is that in New Zealand, most Christians holding to a literalist interpretation of the Bible are likely to describe themselves as "Fundamentalists," whereas in the USA, self-declared Fundamentalists are more of a subset of the wider Biblical-inerrancy movement.

I have reworded a few other sentences also, to remove what I consider to be unfair reporting. For example, the original text said that Billy Graham is now shunned by most Fundamentalists. Indeed he has been, but I believe there has been a thawing in recent years. In the early 1980s, for example, Jerry Falwell published a book very critical of Billy Graham. His comments in recent years, however, have been much more positive, and, as you'll see if you read Falwell's online sermons, he has occasionally quoted Billy Graham as an authority in support of his own positions. He invited Graham to give the keynote address at Liberty University last year (or was it 2002?). A timeline of his (Falwell's) statements about Pentecostalism also indicates a thawing: in the 1970s, he strongly condemned the movement. In recent years, however, his comments about the Pentecostal movement have been warm and positive. Admittedly, Falwell does not speak for all Fundamentalists, but the fact that such a major figure in Fundamentalism has had such significant shifts in his thought-paradigm over the last two decades indicates, in my opinion, that a reproachment may be underway between Fundamentalists and other Christians who hold a similar doctrine of Biblical inerrancy.Davidcannon 11:36, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)

These all seem to me to be valid observations, and good additions. Mkmcconn 21:31, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Yes it's better written now. But I wonder about one underlying assumption. Fundamentalists are uniformly strong on Biblical inerrancy. But are all conservative Christians this way? I find that many, while definitely not subscribing to the Biblical "hatchet jobs" of the liberal side, are not bent out of shape by perceived small errors. They rather accept the Bible as authoritative in their lives in all key points, but are more relaxed about the scribe somewhere that missed a letter. As I have noted, the different movements cross pollinate each other, and you can find a variety of thought within some of the movementsPollinator 01:28, 4 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I agree with you here, Pollinator. None of these movements are monolithic. As I pointed out, the word "Fundamentalist" would appear to carry somewhat different connotations depending on what part of the world the person so-describing himself/herself comes from. Those who, as you put it, "accept the Bible as authoritative in their lives in all key points, but are more relaxed about the scribe somewhere that missed a letter" would most likely not describe themselves as "fundamentalists" in the United States, whereas in New Zealand (and Australia) many of them would. I personally don't see it, and neither do most of the self-identified fundamentalists that I know, as a denial of Biblical inerrancy to believe that although the Scriptures were written without error in their original form, textual errors may have crept in since that time (it is well-known that there are certain verses in the New Testament that appear in some ancient manuscripts, but not in others - and in modern English translations, they sometimes appear and sometimes not, depending on which manuscripts the translators regarded as authoritative. The last part of Mark 16 is a case in point). As these "disputed texts" do not affect any significant doctrine, however, I don't know any who are particularly bothered by them. I suspect that American self-styled Fundamentalists would be more likely to deny that such discrepancies exist, or try to explain them away. (That doesn't mean that Fundamentalists are less strict in New Zealand than in the United States, but only that somewhat different groups of people in the two countries have appropriated the term).
Perhaps it would be fair to say that "fundamentalism" itself comprises a number of streams, each with its own particular emphases, as do other conservative movements, and that in some cases, the placing of a particular stream within a particular movement may be more a matter of self-definition and the network of relationships to which its members belong, than of any objective criteria. I have to admit that when I try to categorize some movements and individuals rigidly, I come up with more questions than answers.Davidcannon 11:53, 4 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I am surprised that there is no mention of T. T. Shields the important Canadian fundamentalist. Also J. N. Darby predates the coining of the word fundamentalism by 30 years. I know that he may have some of the traits but his appearance seems out of place. Ian Paisley from Ulster would also show that fundamentalism exists outside of America. He already has a Wikipedia article.

Mark V McCullagh 19 Apr 2004

I haven't seen in the past any objections to bringing these observations to bear on the article; and personally I have none. Feel free. Mkmcconn 23:15, 19 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Difference with literalism (copy form fundamentalism talk page)

I have reinstated the following paragraph.

Yet another criticism of fundamentalism is the claim that fundamentalists are selective in what they believe and practice. For instance, the book of Exodus dictates that when a man's brother dies, he must marry his widowed sister-in-law. Few (if any) fundamentalist Christians adhere to this doctrine

It was deleted by Pollinator on the principle that it was "totally irrelevant to any Christian belief, whether fundamentalist or other. This is Levitical law, not Christian.". Given the paragraph that states

"Christian fundamentalists (major separate article) see their scripture, a combination of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, as both infallible and historically accurate. The New Testament represents a new covenant between God and man, which is held to supersede the Old Testament where contradictions arise"

I do not see how the paragraph is a strawman, as it occurs in the Old testement and is not contradicted in the new. -- Chris Q 15:13, 26 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Frankly, it strikes me as a silly criticism. The reasons that Levirate marriage would not be practiced are at least as clear to the Christian fundamentalist, as the reasons that dietary laws would not be binding. The paragraph should be deleted. There are plenty of other, more solid criticisms to choose from. Anyway, it doesn't belong in a general article on Fundamentalism. There is a separate article for Christian fundamentalism. Mkmcconn 16:29, 26 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I agree with the second point - unless similar examples can be found for Jewish, Islamic, and Hindu fundamentalism - but I'm curious; what Scripturally literalist arguments are there against the levirate? Certainly it's not the case that the whole of the Jewish law was abrogated by the New Testament (after all, "till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.") - Mustafaa 17:51, 26 Apr 2004 (UTC)
For Christian fundamentalists, the Old Testament ceremonial and civil laws are not binding for Christians. They are subject only to those laws which have a universal, moral application. There are basically two different ways that this is understood. Dispensationalism holds that the particular laws continue to be valid, but not for Christian believers. They are binding upon Jews, according to the covenant that God made with them in particular. They will be reinstated when the Temple is rebuilt, near the end of the age. For some others, the "general equity" of the laws abides, but the particular statutes were a "schoolmaster" by which God's people in former times were instructed in justice, in anticipation of the Messiah's appearing. After the Messiah has come, it is no longer the national Israel which is the model of justice, but Messiah himself. Thus, the civil and social statutes are abrogated. Other schemes are offered by Catholics, Adventists, and others, to explain why Christians are not converts to Judaism. Mkmcconn 18:03, 26 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Yet Christian fundamentalists have used these same laws to condemn homosexuality. The same chapter which says a man must marry his widowed sister-in-law also says that homosexuality is an abomination. Hence the accusation of selective application of the bible.
In their view, a universal, moral principle which is not tied to the land of Israel, a local prophetic role, the king and his offices, or the sacrificial and ceremonial laws of the religion of the Jews: it is condemned, because it is wrong. Mkmcconn 17:59, 29 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Thanks! That works - well, at least dispensationalism works, given that so many of the Old Testament commandments are specifically addressed to Jews, although I'm not too clear on how you weed out the ones that still apply in that case. The other solution seems reasonable, but not entirely literalist. - Mustafaa 18:14, 26 Apr 2004 (UTC)
By the way, that's a good example of the reason that "literalist" is a very sloppy equivalent to "fundamentalist". Fundamentalists may choose a more literal interpretation on some particular point, than their non-fundamentalist counterpart; but that doesn't mean that if they have a non-literal interpretation, they are not a fundamentalist. For example, no Protestant fundamentalist interprets literally, "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you." Rather than this being an inconsistency, it is more the case that literalism is not a reliable distinguishing characteristic. As a matter of fact, their liberal critics sometimes adopt the more literal interpretation - saying, for example, that the Bible indicates belief in many gods, a flat earth, a solid sky, and the existence of a physical abyss under the earth where hell is located. No fundamentalist believes that these views are intended in Scripture. Yet, "literalism" continues to be used, improperly, as though it were equivalent to "fundamentalism". Mkmcconn 19:03, 26 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Mkmcconn, this should be stated in the article because this is not clear at all for outsiders. Andries 18:30, 29 Apr 2004 (UTC)