While being a firm Fundamentalist myself, I do have friends outside my theological circles. One such friend made an offhand comment how he felt that fundamentalists are so battle-thirsty. That gave me an image in my head of a raging viking landing on the shores of Britain, eager to 'pillage the village!" Are we like that? Are Bible-believing Fundamentalists wild-eyed roaring barbarians just itching for a fight? I hope to answer that in a future article.
Monthly Archives: July 2010
As you have noticed, biblescholar.wordpress.com has moved. The walls are empty, and the rooms have been cleaned out.
Well, before I leave, I want to personally invite you to our brand new site.
BibleBlogger.org has been setup on it’s own domain in order to have more flexibility and expandability. Though we absolutely love WordPress.com, our prayer is that God Himself will allow us to expand our online presence to incorporate more opportunities to minister to the needs of our readers.
So, come on over to BibleBlogger and drop me a note!
Hope to see you soon.
Recently, while visiting several theological sites, I came across Michael Patton’s Reclaiming the Mind Ministry’s blog. Though New Evangelical in doctrine, I respect the individual and use his writing to get me to think about my own positions. While listening to his podcast regarding a [New] Evangelical’s view of Fundamentalism, I started thinking about the differences between New Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism. We both believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. We both hold to the Bible as being the Word of God. So what keeps me from becoming a New Evangelical?
Over the next couple of posts, I would like to lay out the reasons why I am a Fundamentalist. We are going to try and show that while there are two forms of Fundamentalism (Theological and Cultural Fundamentalism), to try and be one without the other usually leads to self-deception.
If I may, I would like start off this series of posts and give you a bit of background about myself. My goal is to be able to explain one of my primary stances, and that of presuppositions.
I was born John Calvin Hall. No, I am not named after the famous theologian John Calvin, but rather, I pick up the names of my two grandfathers: John Lindsey Hall and Calvin Edwin Fuller. My mother was brought up in the Presbyterian Church, under the teaching of the late great Donald Grey Barnhouse, of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA. When she became a teen, she joined a local Baptist church because of their large youth group, where she came to know the Lord as her savior. My father grew up in the Lutheran Church, and was gloriously saved through my mother’s witnessing.
The first few years of my life were at St Pauls United Methodist Church in Willingboro, NJ and was christened there as a babe. My Scottish Presbyterian grandmother laughed every time she would tell me how an Arminian Methodist minister gagged on my name when he christened me. Later on, when our family moved to the town of Indian Mills, NJ I was brought up and catechized at the Indian Mills United Methodist Church under Rev. William “Reb” Yates. So, looking back over my Christian heritage, I have a foundation of Lutheranism, Presbyterianism and Baptist, with a structure derived from the United Methodist Church. In all intents and purposes, I should be rather eclectic. But God had other plans for me.
At the age of 21, I was saved under the ministry of Pastor Robert Dyer Jr. of Shawnee Baptist Church. Since Shawnee was a G.A.R.B. church (General Association of Baptist Churches), I sat under some of the strongest Calvinist teachings I could recall. It wasn’t until almost 6-7 years later that I recognized certain discrepancies in the doctrine of Calvinism and ultimately rejected the whole concept of Reprobation. So, when I entered Bible College, I was pretty much a theological mongrel. I saw nothing wrong with the differing doctrines between these denominations, and I was comfortable with doctrines that I grew up with, even though they conflicted (at that time) with other truths I was learning from God’s Word as a new believer. Yet above all of this mish-mash of dogmas and doctrines, I had personally developed a very important presupposition. This presupposition was that the Bible was the very Word of God, and that mankind in his fallen state does not contain nor is able to possess the abilities to understand nor interpret Scripture without God’s Holy Spirit. As a young child, I saw the creeping liberalism in the Methodist Church. I listened to my godly grandmother weep over the Presbyterian Church’s movement away from Scripture. When I was saved by God’s loving hand, I committed to myself to take a hard line with regards to the Bible. And the stand I took planted my feet on the solid rock of Scripture.
In February 1987, God placed in my heart to go into full time ministry. I didn’t know if He was calling me to be a pastor or a missionary, but I was willing to do anything as long as I could serve Him.
While finishing my first college degree at a local community college, I prepared myself for the ministry, by building a theological library that would suffice my thirst for knowledge. Even though I wasn’t very fond of learning while growing up, all of this changed after I was saved. I became veraciously hungry to learn as much as I could realting to the Bible. I found one book store, just on the other side of the state line, where I spent all of my earnings on books. One day, I bought several copies of the Greek New Testament. Though at the time I didn’t know a thimble-full of Greek, I had a burning desire to study it. In my excitement, I bought several copies of the dark blue book, and gave them out to my friends and pastor. I did n’t mind the loss at that time: I would just purchase another copy when I could. Upon later returning to the bookstore, I found the dark blue copies were all gone, and the only one left was a burgundy colored copy. So I gladly bought that one.
When I got home, I discovered that the burgundy copy was much nicer than the dark blue copy I had purchased earlier. The font was nicer; it had a beautiful golden ribbon bookmark, and at the bottom of the page were special notes and comments. Well, that dark blue copy didn’t have all of this, so I took a shining to this copy. It was then that my friend, of whom I gave one of the original books to, returned his dark blue Greek New Testament to me. He didn’t read Greek and he knew I could use it when I went off to Bible College. That night, while stretched out on the family room rug, I opened both copies and compared the two.
It is important to keep in mind, I knew extremely little about Greek at this time. I could read the letters, and make out the spellings, but nothing more. When I opened to the first book, I was horrified at what I saw! I look back now and laugh over the relative insignificance, but to me as a new Christian who was completely sold out to stand for the Bible, it rocked the very core of my world! In the dark blue book, The Gospel of Matthew was spelled, ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΝ. In the burgundy book, the gospel was spelled, ΜΑΘΘΑΙΟΝ! Now, though I didn’t know much theologically, I believed with all of my heart and soul that the Bible was God’s Word. I believed that God Himself preserved His word throughout the ages. Yet when I saw the slightest of misspellings of ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΝ vs. ΜΑΘΘΑΙΟΝ, I realized that one of these books was wrong. And I didn’t know which one.
That night, while on my face before God, I pleaded with Him to reveal His truth to me. I didn’t want to promote a book that had errors. I didn’t want to have continual doubts about the words of the Bible. I knew that we had the Words of God preserved completely. I just didn’t know which one to trust.
Was God silent over this matter? At the time, I thought He was. But was He inactive? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
When I was preparing to look for a Bible College to attend, I had several criteria I wanted to meet. My pastor at Shawnee Baptist tried to encourage me to attend Cedarville, Wheaton, or even Philadelphia College of the Bible, but they were expensive. My parents told me that they would not be able to help me with the expenses, so I had to find the most cost effective school I could find. Another factor was distance. I had lived in New Jersey for the first 23 years of my life, and I wanted to flee as far away as possible! Another criteria was discipline. I sure didn’t want to go to a school where they had no disciple or structure. In the end, my choice of schools had boiled down to only two. The first one was Bob Jones University. Though I had heard a lot about BJU, I had never visited there. It was a good school, and it had the firm rules I was looking for. Yet, the tuition was high. If I recall correctly, it was around $6,000 per year. The other college I was looking at and praying over was an unknown school in Florida. I knew nothing about it and my pastor didn’t think much of the college, but tuition was only $4,000 a year! So I sent in my application and was approved to attend Pensacola Christian College (PCC), majoring in Bible.
Bear in mind now, I did not know what the stance was at Pensacola regarding the Greek Text. I knew it was strong on the issues relating to the Bible, the tuition was the best I could find, and it was 1,200 miles away from New Jersey. All of that was fine by me! Yet, God Almighty knew exactly what He was doing. And He directed me, as I later on found, to be one of the most fundamental Bible-believing colleges in the United States.
Bible majors at PCC usually waited for NT Greek (BL-101) until their Sophomore year. I was so excited about learning the language that I dove right in while only a Freshman. And even though they didn’t talk about the issues of textual criticism during this time, I camped out in the library and absorbed every single volume I could lay my hands on. By the end of my first year, I had come to my own conclusions on which Greek New Testament was the correct one. I rejected the burgundy colored book which is put out by liberal theologians from the United Bible Society, and embraced the Traditional Text: also known as the Textus Receptus.
Several factors brought me to this conclusion. Though the college was filled with godly men such as Dr. Joel Mullinex, Jerry Lucas, Dr. Mike Bere, and Brian Bucy, I had come to my own conclusions regarding the text, because of core presuppositions.
Down through the ages, Satan has time and time again, sought to create a division between God’s Word and man. Even back in the very Garden of Eden, his first question is, “Hath God said…?” (Genesis 3:1). That devil has tried to turn man away from Scripture, as with what he did with Israel. He has tried to pollute Scripture with Gnostic writings. He had tried to stamp the Bible out through the persecutions of Rome, the Catholic Church, and now through liberals and progressive theologians. Yet, that vile serpent has failed in the end, every single time.
I am a Fundamentalist because I believe:
1. The Bible is the Final Authority. Psalm 138:2 states, “…for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” The Bible doesn’t just contain the words of God; it IS the Word of God.
2. God, actively and divinely preserved His Word Himself, as He promised in Scripture. God used fallen man not because of who he is, but in spite of who he is, with all of his errors and short-comings, to preserve the very words, even the very jots and tittles down throughout the ages.
3. When an issue comes up that is divided between what the Bible says and what man teaches, the Bible wins out every single time. Man is completely corrupted by sin, and this includes his intellect. For an intellectual to critique the Bible, and claim it to contain errors, or to reject the spiritual impact of God’s Word is fatal. It’s not that they are judging the Bible, but ultimately the Bible is judging them.
I believe that the New Evangelical movement contains many beloved brothers and sisters in Christ. On the most part, the vast majority of them claim to believe that Jesus Christ is the resurrected Son of God. If they are truly trusting in Christ alone for their salvation, they are my brethren! Yet, the core differences between being a New Evangelical and a Fundamentalist are very distinct. As a whole, they have demonstrated that they embrace liberal and progressive theologians. They welcome into their churches those who claim to be Christian, yet deny the authority and truths of the Bible. They sit on podiums with theologians who believe in praying to Mary and saints rather than going directly to the Throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:16). Numerous New Evangelicals walk like the world and talk like the world, believing that marketing tools and media gimmicks is the way to promote the Church, while Scripture tells us that though we are in the world, we are not of the world (John 17:14). Are many of them saved? Yes, I am convinced I will spend eternity with these beloved brothers and sisters, worshiping at the feet of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but they are wrong for their compromising.
Someday, John Calvin Hall will stand before a righteous and just God, and will be asked to give an account for what came out of the classroom and pen of this redeemed child. I will not have Bart Ehrman standing next to me, nor Bruce Metzger explaining to God why I taught doctrines that contradict the Bible. I will stand alone, and answer for my beliefs. When that time comes, my only response is that I taught the Bible to be the Word of God because it claims to be the Word of God. I take the Bible completely and unadulteratedly literal, unless otherwise told from Scripture itself. This is one of the reasons why I am a Fundamentalist.
“Unless I am convinced by the testimonies of the Holy Scriptures or evident reason…, I am bound by the Scriptures adduced by me, and my conscience has been taken captive by the Word of God, and I am neither able nor willing to recant, since it is neither safe nor right to act against conscience.
God help me. Amen”
– Martin Luther, Diet of Worms, 1521
Last Wednesday, a fringe cult group, who attempts to claim to be “true christians” went through all the major churches parking lots here in Twin Falls, and left behind a 14 page document, entitled The Higher Calling, on each of the vehicles in the lots. While all the papers left at Cornerstone Baptist Church (CBC) were gathered up, other churches in the area were less fortunate. One pastor friend of mine didn’t find out about these documents until it was too late and everyone in his church had a copy.
I was given the privilege to review this paper. If they have a legitimate point, I would very much be interested in hearing it. Yet, if the document contained errors, it was my responsibility to bring them out for others to see.
The basic premise of this paper was that 40 years (after the start of the church), Satan crept in and convinced the church elders and pastors to change certain meanings of key words. Because of this deception, 99.9% of all churches today are not following Scripture. If this is true, then the believer still living on this Earth is in serious trouble. Not only do we have an unreliable and ignorant pastors, but we also have a God who has abandoned us. While the document itself contained many points that were unScriptural, I just want to just focus on this one single point: did God abandon the body of believers called the church to its own end?
In order to answer this question, we must first establish the authority of our answer. The foundation a Bible-believing Christian will always use is not his intellect, nor contemporary opinions. The Christian will not make his foundation on traditions, but will rest entirely on the Word of God. This is our foundation, and the stone of our authority.
Fact: God Will Not Abandon the Saved
Here are some promises that come directly out of the Bible:
The material handed out on July 14th, was not of God, nor was it distributed by God-fearing believers. Their methods were disrespectful and filthy. If they were truly seeking to obey God’s Word, they should have first handed the paper to the church’s pastor for he is God appointed to be the shepherd of that flock (Acts 20:28; Titus 1:7; Hebrews 13:17). Yet they snuck around like wolves themselves, and tried causing division in other’s churches, which is nothing short of disgraceful. My friends, there are many churches that I personally disagree with. They run after fads and marketing scams, rather than stand on the pure Word of God. But I am not going to sneak into their churches and hide in corners seeking to draw away their flock. This action is wicked. No wonder the author wouldn’t put his name on the paper, but signed it as Anonymous.
Hopefully, I will have the time to address further errors of this document. I thought about posting a copy here on BibleScholar, but I don’t want to promote such heresy, and besides, I don’t have the author’s permission.
This morning, OneNewsNow came out with an article reporting how an American town is attempting to enforce the pagan Sharia Law in their hometown of Dearborn, MI.
According to this article, four missionaries were passing out leaflets about Christianity in Dearborn, which has a large Muslim population. One of the missionaries was engaging in peaceful conversation with several Muslim youths, while the other three were videotaping the dialogue before they were all arrested on June 18.
Sharia Law is a pagan canon of laws adhered to by Muslim countries, protecting these countries from various violations to Islam. While America allows the freedom of religion within our borders, we specifically do not allow our governments to promote one religion over another. This is what the police of Dearborn, MI are attempting to do.
Though America guarantees both the freedom of religion and the freedom of free speech, Christians in our culture should prepare themselves for more events similar to what is happening in Dearborn.
God’s Word tells us:
John 15:18-20 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
For several hundred years, Christians had found the shores of our country to be a safe haven from serious persecution. Even though minor confrontations with those opposed to God’s Word have been prevalent, the Bible teaches us that the World hates you. You are a real life reminder to the lost that Jesus Christ is alive, and that He will return to judge man. Since Satan and those who fall under his domain cannot strike at God Himself, the devil will focus on the believer. Since our nation has entered a Post-Christian culture, and the return of Christ is drawing closer, events like the one here in Dearborn, will become more common. But don’t become discouraged. Remember what Christ told us:
John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
After some juggling and tinkering, class notes from my Bible courses will start to be available. Since September 2005, God has given me the joy and privilege of opening God’s Word to my students at Cornerstone Baptist Church. While in the past, much of my notes had been Outline based, the class notes provided here are direct translations from the original Greek using the Traditional Text.
You can find the link to these Class Notes off to the right, entitled Class Notes.
May God continue to use them as He sees fit, to His glory and honor.
John Calvin Hall
While prepping for my class, I ran across Revelation 16:7
Revelation 16:7 – And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
…altar – The word altar in Greek is θυσιαστηρίον (“thoo-see-ah-stey-ree-on”) is a combination of two words: θυσία
“a sacrifice” + ἵστημι “to stand, to place”. Therefore, an alter is a place of sacrifice.
* There are many things in life, we need to lay on the alter and sacrifice it. We all need places of sacrifice.
Romans 12:1 says, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Hebrews 13:15-16 also tells us, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
As we travel through this journey called life, let me encourage you to always have an alter, in order to offer up sacrifices of praise, or possessions, and even of your own person.
Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Your heart does the Spirit control?
You can only be blest,
And have peace and sweet rest,
As you yield Him your body and soul.