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FUNDAMENTALISM is not the dirty word it is portrayed to be in our Post-Modern Culture. Fundamentalists are not an organized movement of semi-literate, right-wing radicals dedicated to bombing abortion clinics, denying rights to homosexuals, and otherwise dragging the United States into the Dark Ages.
The meaning of the word fundamental is that which is basic or essential. Fundamentals exist in all human and scientific realms. There are fundamentals to the games of basketball and football. Musicians understand that there are fundamentals of music, and without these fundamentals, music is not music, it is only noise. It should be no surprise that there are fundamentals of Christianity without which a religion would not be Christian.
Fundamentalism in Christianity did come to the forefront in the early Twentieth Century as a movement opposing the liberalization of the Christian faith. This movement received its name from a set of twelve books edited by R. A. Torrey entitled The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth. These books were written by several conservative theologians to define what the believed to be the central doctrines of the Christian faith.
Christian fundamentalist agree that there are five doctrines essential to the Christian faith, which are:
THE TRINITY. God is one God and only one God, who is eternally existent in three divine persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
THE INCARNATION. The Second Person of the Godhead, the Son, became man in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit so that He is fully God and fully man.
THE RETURN OF CHRIST. Jesus Christ lived life on the same basis as all mankind; was crucified and died; was buried; on the third day was resurrected from the dead; and ascended to heaven from whence He will return. Some fundamentalist believe that Christ will reign on the earth for one-thousand years from Jerusalem when He returns; other fundamentalists do not believe in a millennial reign but that the Return of Christ will immediately usher in the final judgment. But all are agreed that Christ will return.
SALVATION THROUGH GRACE BY FAITH IN CHRIST. Salvation is not earned through personal good words or by following any religious law and it is not granted to people by the church or through the rituals of any church. Salvation from sin is the gracious act of God for the penitent believer who places his faith in the work of atonement performed by Jesus Christ on the cross.
INERRANCY OF THE SCRIPTURE. The Scriptures are without error in the original manuscripts. They are inerrant in all that they affirm, whether in historical, scientific, moral, or doctrinal matters. Inerrancy extends to all Scripture and it is not limited to certain teachings of Scripture.