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The re-emergence of Fundamentalism

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : September 26, 2006

Though I think of myself as a very biblical, Jesus-centered, Spirit-filled kinda guy, apparently I am within the wicked clutches of new age spiritualism, rabid liberalism, and damnable heresy. At least that is the impression I get when visiting sites like Slice of Laodicea. Sites like these are evidence of a strong fundamentalist re-entrenchment. I posted on their site a couple times, simply asking people to be gracious with their words, but there are so many angry, frustrated, fundamentalists that post on the site it is like asking a pack of rabid dogs to calm down.

I understand that there are some scary things about the emerging church. Not everything is good. But not everything is bad either. Lots of evangelicals I know are simply misinformed about what the emerging church phenomenon is. In the spring, when I was interviewed by the two evangelical talk stations in town about the Conference on Christianity in a Consumer Conference, both host brought up the emerging church as examples of consumerism run amok in the church. Considering that many within the emerging conversation are among the most critical of consumer capitalism, I was surprised by such an indictment. Sure, many emerging churches are driven by the consumer impulse, but not all. And many emerging church believe dumb things, but not most. It is as though the emerging church has become the scape goat d’jour for anything scary to fundamentalists.

I suppose that is only fair. After all, the emerging church is certainly anti-fundamentalist. I am afraid of churches that try to squeeze out all uncertainties and messiness. Yet some folks seem to like their faith to fit in neat little cubbies. Though emerging types like to be critical of fundamentalists, I hardly ever meet emerging folks that are nasty about it. Most of the nastiness seems to come from the defenders–as though being a nasty defender helps the cause of fundamentalism.

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One Response to “The re-emergence of Fundamentalism”

  1. blind beggar on September 28th, 2006 10:32 pm

    Van S: Nice post and spot on. I do find it interesting that the emerging church is so often accused of accommodation with the culture, when in fact, IMHO, it is the typical American Christian who daily accommodates this countries twin cultural values of individualism and consumer capitalism.

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