What’s Wrong with Fundamentalism?

But I am concerned with why young Bible-believing pastors are not as militant as some of my generation. (Of course, some young pastors are more militant than older preachers.)


A dedicated young pastor, who basically takes the position of this writer, has suggested that while my message is valid, my approach may be alienating people. He provided an example that he agreed with but thinks I could convince more people if I were less abrasive.

I have reflected long upon his comments since I have great respect for him and since I am not the font of all wisdom. (Surprise!) I surely don’t want to lose adherents to our cause simply because of the way I express myself. It is also generally believed that “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

But who wants to catch flies? I’m at war with some diabolical “isms” of our day.  We are in a cultural war with the non-thinkers of the left. So I must reject his suggestion that I’m too militant. In fact, I may be too kind, too patient, too concerned with lifetime friends, too concerned with my professional standing especially when one considers the determination of the “enemy.”

But I am concerned with why young Bible-believing pastors are not as militant as some of my generation. (Of course, some young pastors are more militant than older preachers.)

My young friend suggested that the reason may be because “My generation didn’t go through the Fundamentalist-modernist battle; the fight over the RSV; the Billy Graham issue, etc.”

Bingo! I believe he scored. Now the question, “Is that good or bad for the cause of Christ?” I believe it is bad. It seems that younger pastors are better trained than my generation; however they don’t seem to have the same sense of urgency, the necessary sense of history, the same respect for tradition that I believe makes a preacher  better able to articulate the total message of truth. Of course, it is not a person’s fault he was born at a certain time in history.

When I was a young evangelist, I sensed that the “old timers” were passing from the scene and I made a point to hear Dr. Bob Jones two or three times just before his death. I treasure those messages.

I knew evangelist Mordecai Ham in his last years and even preached for him during his tent campaign in Huntington, West Virginia. My conversations with him were more valuable than his preaching, and I believe I “caught” some of his militancy as a very young preacher. That Huntington meeting was one of the last meetings  in a very  long,  colorful and fruitful career of an evangelist whose ministry went back to the late 1800s.

I had known Dr. Billy McCarroll during my school days in Chicago, and count those services in the Cicero Bible Church (and other services) as a bright light in a dark world. At that time I sat under the teaching of Dr. Wilbur Smith, another link with the past who challenged me to purchase and read good books.

I had come into contact with The Sword of the Lord as a very young preacher and met Dr. John R. Rice when I lived in Indianapolis. He published my first book, Liberalism: A Rope of Sand and many of my articles in the Sword. I believe he will be remembered as having made the greatest impact on Bible churches of any man in this century. He made a great impact on my life and my attitude toward the things of God. I caught some of my militancy from him.

Dr. Ford Porter, who pastored in Indianapolis, was founder of the Indiana Baptist College and authored God’s Simple Plan of Salvation, a gospel tract used around the world. Dr. Porter became my friend in 1960 when I, as a young pastor taught in his college (now merged into Heritage Baptist University). He prayed for me daily and we often talked of his battle to lead his church in southern Indiana out of the Northern Baptist Convention (now American Baptist Convention).

Dr. G. B. Vick was another link with the past who affected my life. After I had resigned my small Indianapolis church to enter evangelism, he gave me national exposure to pastors by inviting me to preach at two or three national BBF meetings and a World Baptist Congress that was held in his Detroit church. From him I learned that one could be a militant fundamentalist and still be a gentleman and show kindness to people.

I caught responsible militancy from these men. It’s often missing in preachers today.