There are basically 4 types of Christian organizational groups that exist in a general sense. Only one of the four seeks to make/change culture for the benefit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Today, I will discuss the first pitfall:
(Church + Gospel – Culture = Hyper-Fundamentalism)
This sounds good at first, but this is the group that is so overly religious that they try to stay away from the world thinking they are righteous and everyone else can just go to hell unless, of course, I run into them on “Outreach Night.”
The attitude is that the world is dark, there is no hope, so huddle up and hide. Its premise is based on paranoia that the world will always beat the Christian if the Christian is in the world. So they say, “lets do what we can to leave this world while we’re here because that’s what Jesus would do.” – for example: giving up opportunities to further the Gospel on the internet, tv, movies, music, politics, fashion, secular employments, and other things that “Make” culture.”
BUT if you study people like Joseph(Gen. 37-), Nehemiah(Nehemiah), and Daniel(Daniel), you will see that these guys served the Lord faithfully as missionaries right dab in the middle of corrupt cultures such as Egypt, Babylon, and backsliding Jerusalem. They did so through the power of the Spirit. These men: loved their city, served the common good without compromise, worshipped through their secular vocations, and ultimately suffered for their faith. They lived for Jesus, proclaiming Jesus, resisting sin in sanctification and brought God to the culture they were sent to. (and yes, OT people believed in Jesus as the coming Messiah)
(Hyper-Fundamenatlists) They are typically people that love Jesus but have a skewed view of sanctification which actually is our growth as Christ followers and as missionaries wherever God has us, and we need to know that our communities are “training grounds” and “battlefields.” Our sanctification is based on that we have flesh, we are dark and evil apart from Jesus, and the closer we get to Jesus, the more prepared for battle we are. This is also why sheltering ourselves, our children, and others becomes faulty- because even though we do these things out of love and concern, we are not producing innocence but naivety. We are not teaching Missional values but “bomb shelter” values. For example, homeschooling (though not always bad) can be done from a paranoia-driven conviction that I don’t want my child to see that corruption until later. While this is generally understandable, we need to be training our kids at a very early age what is wrong and what is righteous and WHY. It is ok to keep them from grotesque sin in the world, but they need to be educated for missional purposes on why things are the way they are and what our responsibilities as missionaries are. They need to be trained as missionaries here much like “foreign-missionary kids” are trained to adapt to foreign cultures.
For us to understand grace, we need to first understand the depravity of our world – heck, the 1st three chapters of the Bible are dedicated to this teaching. Not everyone is saved by growing up in church, and hyper-fundamentalists sometimes refuse to remember what they were saved from. That employee, that public-school kid, that secular musician, that lawyer, that college student, that single-mom working two jobs – they all need us to be IN Culture living missional lives in obedience to Jesus.
The Pharisees were similar to the hyper-fundamentalists in that they were very serious and devout but were more about spreading the law rather than the love of Jesus. They simply added to the scriptures what was not there, they avoided culture where Jesus was needed most, they extricated themselves to keep their piety and reputation clean, and they sinned grievously because of these practices.
Jesus Himself desires that we abstain from becoming hyper-fundamentalists:
I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.
Even though we are NOT of this world and we will be hated, we must understand that it is unbiblical to do everything to leave the world without actually leaving the world. Study Joseph, Nehemiah and Daniel.
The sin of hyper-fundamentalism is a sin of omission – not being missional in a dark world and not loving their neighbor.
(to be continued…) Next Post: Liberals
for more info: check out Mark Driscoll’s Vintage Church