The Not the Fundamentals series was far from exhaustive. There are many other things we could have examineds: Should women work outside the home? Should Christians go to college? Should the internet be allowed in the home? Dating, courtship or something else entirely? Public, private or home school? Are the seven days of creation literal or figurative? All of these topics and more are discussed passionately throughout the blogosphere and in books, magazine articles, radio shows, podcasts, etc.
But I think we’ve covered enough and that my point is clear. There are definite commands that Christians are called to live out. I don’t dispute that. What I do stand against is legalism. Insisting on a certain style of dress, a certain way of schooling, a certain type of entertainment or any number of things as evidence of Christian faith is nonsense. Anyone can conform to a list of rules. Anyone can play the game. Being “good” doesn’t equal salvation at all.
What is also apparent is that the legalism found in today’s fundamentalist circles is particularly aimed at women. If an adult woman wants to have a lot of kids and be a stay-at-home wife and mother, more power to her – as long as it’s her choice. Men are not the priests and rulers over women. How this blatantly pagan idea has worked its way into Christian circles is beyond me. Throw certain proof texts around all you want; the understanding that men are to rule women and that this was God’s design before the fall is built on a nineteenth century view of the world. Women are accountable to God for their lives. We have free will. We stand before Him, reflecting something of His image, completely on equal footing with men.
I hope you come away from this series with a desire to live your life in complete surrender to God, rather than to the dictates of humankind.
For all the posts in the Not the Fundamentals series, go here.
3 thoughts on “Not the Fundamentals: Conclusion”
Being “good” doesn’t equal salvation at all.
That’s an interesting statement. Of course, I’m taking it out of context, but I would expect someone who is saved and living a life devoted to Christ would display behavior that reflected their status and devotion. I think being “saved” is a good and necessary first step, but the Christian laser-like focus on “getting saved” sometimes seems a little self-centered. Jesus said “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven (or alternately, Kingdom of God) is at hand (Matthew 3:2 and in several other places in the Gospels), not repent and save your own soul.
There’s a lot to be said about the Kingdom of Heaven, but one point I read recently is that we each are part of the realization of a Kingdom that has started coming but not yet arrived. What we do to serve God and people matters. There’s a reason Jesus outlined the two greatest commandments, the two commandments that are the big “buckets” containing all the rest of the commandments (Matthew 22:36-40). We love God and serve people or better put, we love God *by* serving other people.
This doesn’t require wearing certain clothing, using a particular translation of the Bible and so forth, but is does require us, not necessarily always to *be* good, but to *do* good. People in the Bible didn’t spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about being saved, they focused on what they were doing to serve God. You see this pattern from Abraham to Jesus to Paul and among the other devoted ones in the Bible.
Does the rest of the minutia really matter?
“What we do to serve God and people matters.”
Totally agree. The Apostle James wasn’t kidding when he said that faith without works is dead. What I’m trying to get at is the works with faith mean nothing. Just because someone wears a certain style of clothing or reads certain books because it is expected of them doesn’t mean that they are in Christ.
Agreed, Marie. Christians can be very legalistic. 😉