Reformed Fundamentalism

Reformed fundamentalism (fundamentalist Calvinism) arose in some conservative Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Reformed AnglicanReformed Baptist, and other Reformed churches, which agreed with the motives and aims of broader evangelical Protestant fundamentalism. The reactionary movement was and is defined by a rejection of liberal and modernist theology, the publication (1905-1915) and legacy of The Fundamentals, and the intent to progress and revitalise the fundamentalist movement. The Fundamentalist–Modernist controversy, and the Downgrade controversy in the United Kingdom, shaped reformed fundamentalism in the United States and United Kingdom. Reformed fundamentalists lay greater emphasis on historic confessions of faith, such as the Westminster Confession of Faith, as well as uphold aspects of Princeton theology, and more recent reformed thought (e.g. neo-Calvinist).

Some of the recent and better known leaders who have described themselves as both Calvinist and fundamentalist have been Carl McIntire of the American Bible Presbyterian Church, Thomas Todhunter Shields of Jarvis Street Baptist Church, D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Ian Paisley of the Northern Irish Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster and J. Oliver Buswell of Wheaton College. Other evangelicals with connections to reformed fundamentalism would be J. Gresham Machen, Arthur Pink, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, J. I. Packer, and R. C. Sproul.

Those in the reformed fundamentalist tradition drew upon the lives and works of evangelical ministers, particularly from the Anglosphere. John Calvin, Matthew Henry, John Gill, Charles Spurgeon, J. C. Ryle, John Burgon, George Whitefield, John Knox, Jonathan Edwards, John Bunyan, F. B. Meyer, and G. Campbell Morgan, were inspirations for McIntire, Paisley and others. In English reformed Baptist circles, the men who backed Spurgeon’s stance against modernism and theological liberalism, Archibald G. Brown, E. J. Poole-Connor and Thomas Spurgeon, are noted among some.

The oft repeated dictum of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, ‘We preach Christ crucified,’ taken from 1 Cor. 1.23, is a unifying maxim for those in this conservative evangelical movement. Reformed fundamentalists have sought to maintain the authority and accuracy of the Bible, the doctrines of grace, purity of doctrine and the unique person of Jesus Christ. Fundamental Reformed liturgical praxis emphasizes the practices of congregational singing and headcovering. It teaches the importance of family prayer in the home.

Theological positions

The teachings of the Protestant Reformers, Puritans, non-conformists/dissenters, and classic fundamentalists have shaped reformed fundamentalist theology. ‘Bible Protestantism’ was a commonly-used epithet to describe the movement. The points or doctrines of fundamentalism have been stated as biblical infallibility, nature divine of Jesus Christ, and Christ’s virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, ministry of miracles, bodily resurrection and return.

Reformed fundamentalist beliefs strongly defended

  • Christology – the pre-existence, supremacy and deity (Jn. 8. 38), co-equality and consubstantiality (with the Father and the Spirit) (Jn. 10.30), authentic and sinless humanity (2 Cor. 5. 21), virgin birth, incarnation (Jn. 1), ministry of miracles, substitutionary and expiatory death, bodily resurrection of Jesus, physical ascension of Jesus, exclusive mediatorial intercession and the visible, audible and bodily second coming of Jesus.
  • The supernatural element of Christianity. God has and does intervene in human history, and supernatural kingdoms exist (kingdom of God, and the kingdom of darkness). Manifestations of the supernatural include plagues, the Exodus, healings, visions, angels and demons, the wicked being called Satan, Christ’s incarnation, bodily resurrection, common grace and the preservation of individuals, prophecy, miracles, upholding of the cosmic constants and laws of the universe etc.
  • The infallibility and verbal inspiration of the scriptures and an inspiration of the same substance, of faithful translations (ancient and modern).
  • The centrality of the Gospels and the Epistles of Paul to an active, lucid faith in Jesus Christ.
  • The historicity of the persons and events in the Pentateuch and particularly the Book of Genesis (e.g. Adam and Eve, Noah and the Deluge, Tower of Babel, the lives of the patriarchs, the exodus and desert wandering etc.). Covenantal theology rests upon Pentateuchal history.
  • The Protestant (old perspective) doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone
  • Reformed theology such as covenantalism, election, predestination and preordination, Kingdom theology, eternal security, and the sovereignty of God. The covenantalism of reformed fundamentalism stands in contrast to the dispensationalism of wider Christian fundamentalism.
  • The authority of Jesus Christ not considered separate from the authority of God’s written revelation, a revelation that includes Christ’s divine words; scripture is Christ’s Word, and bears his full authority.

Evangelicalism

Conservative evangelicalism

Conservative evangelicalism is a term used in the United Kingdom to describe a theological movement found within evangelical Protestantism and is sometimes simply synonymous with evangelical within the United Kingdom. The term is used more often in the first sense, but conservative evangelicals themselves tend to use it in the second. Conservative evangelicals are sometimes called fundamentalists, but typically reject that label and are keen to maintain their distinct identity, which is more Reformed. In this sense, conservative evangelicalism can be thought of as being distinct from liberal evangelicalism, open evangelicalism, and charismatic evangelicalism. Some conservative evangelical groups oppose women ministers or women preachers in mixed congregations.

Pertaining to salvation and the gospel

Further information: The gospel

  • Christocentric (a special emphasis upon Christ in preaching, interpretation and practice), and ‘crucicentric’ (a special emphasis on the atoning work of Christ on the cross). Christ as preeminent.
  • The perspicuity or clarity of scripture for salvation (2 Tim. 3. 15)
  • The distinction of mankind from the rest of the created order, as mankind is created in ‘the image [tselem] and likeness [demuth] of God’ (Gen. 1. 27)
  • The original sin of Adam and Fall of mankind (Gen. 3), and the subsequent pervasive sinfulness of all humans.
  • Two eternal realities and destinations: the eternal life that is realised in the present by faith in Jesus Christ and that ends with the believer in the presence of the Lord (Heaven) after bodily death, and spiritual death that is realised in the present through slavery to sin and spiritual blindness and that ends with the unregenerate being outside the presence of God after bodily death in eternal perdition. Only the grace of God in Christ through faith can rescue a sinner from eternal death. Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:13-14 distinguishes between the ‘broad way that leads to destruction,’ and the ‘narrow way that leads to life.’
  • Christian exclusivism/particularism – salvation in Christ alone (Acts 4. 12). Jesus is considered as having sole access to God the Father (John 14. 6)
  • Emphasis is placed upon the prophetic fulfilment of the scriptures in Christ Jesus
  • Regeneration by the Holy Spirit and the indwelling of the Spirit
  • Salvation is received through the appropriation of the saving work of Christ, not by any personal deeds or efforts (Tit. 3. 5). Jesus’ perfect obedience to the Law (active obedience), and atoning death in place of law-breakers, is positively affirmed.
  • Justification by faith alone in Christ alone. Saving faith has Jesus as its object.
  • Faith as a gift from God (Eph. 2. 8)
  • Soul winning and evangelism

Other fundamental Protestant and biblical theology

Further information: Protestantism

  • The Protestant canon (39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament) and Scripture as the supreme and final authority in faith, practice and life
  • God as Triune (Trinitarianism)
  • Church invisible and Church spiritual
  • The believer’s necessary dependence on the Spirit (Gal. 5. 25), and the evidence of the works of the Spirit on the believer (e.g. conviction of sin, confidence of forgiveness in Christ, assurance of adoption, renewed hope of heaven)
  • The action of Christian faith through the means of grace (Protestant) to spiritually soften and cleanse the inner parts of the believer. The Puritan notion of “heart work.”
  • The goodness and grace (unmerited favour) of God, particularly the saving grace and forgiveness that comes through the redemption that is found in Christ Jesus. The Old Testament ‘grace formula’ (Psa. 103.8) is consistent with the grace of God in the New Testament.
  • The severity of sin and a high view of the eternal righteous Law of God (Rom. 3. 31): a higher view of grace comes from a high view of Law.
  • The practice of believers to contend against evil and the ‘deeds of darkness’ (Eph. 5.11). See the Church Militant. Christians are encouraged to hold their governments to righteous account.
  • Gymnobiblism – the belief that the bare text of the translated vernacular Bible, without commentary, may be safely given to the unlearned as a sufficient guide to religious truth. Good teachers are valued, but by gymnobiblism are to an extent judged, evaluated and corrected. The common church-goer can attain salvation, grow in faith, and fulfil a regulative function in the local church.
  • The five solae of the sixteenth century Reformation – scripture alone (sola scriptura), grace alone (sola gratia), faith alone (sola fide), Christ alone (solus Christus), glory to God alone (soli Deo Gloria)
  • The ordination of human government (Rom. 13.1), government that ought to be respected and obeyed in so far as it is not at variance to the law of God and Christian conscience.
  • The judgement seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5) – all persons will appear before the judgement seat of Christ.
  • The resurrection of the dead; the resurrection of believers is distinct to the resurrection of those who died without faith (Dan. 12; 1 Thess. 4; Rev. 20)
  • The rapture, or gathering, of God’s elect (1 Thess. 4; 1 Cor. 15)
  • The millennial reign of Jesus Christ (Rev. 20. 6)
  • Protestant non-conformism and ecclesiastical separatism, and an adherence to a doctrine of separation (2 Tim. 3)
  • Priesthood of all believers – the believer can go to God directly because of the mediatorial intercession of Christ, and a priestly class is not needed for direct communion with God.
  • The ‘good works’ of believers (Eph. 2; James 2) – the good deeds of believers show the new life received in Christ.
  • The absence of contradiction between true scriptural interpretation and authentic scientific findings
  • The “chief end of man” to glorify God, and enjoy him forever (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q1)
  • Creation from nothing (creatio ex nihilo) and Gen. 1 and 2 as ‘narratively-tied’ within the single account of creation. Unlike more mainstream fundamentalism, some reformed fundamentalists influenced by later Calvinists, have been open to a non-solar ‘day’ interpretation of Genesis 1 and forms of Young/Recent Biosphere Creationism (YBC) (e.g. Gap Creationism).
  • Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch
  • Monogamous heterosexual marriage. In Pauline literature, single believers who desire marriage, are exhorted to marry only believers (2 Cor. 6.14-16).

The inspiration and preservation of the Scriptures

Further information: Biblical inspiration

Biblical inspiration is the doctrine in Christian theology that “the human authors and editors of canonical scripture were led or influenced by the Deity with the result that their writings many be designated in some sense the word of God” (B.M. Metzger & M.D. Coogan, “The Oxford Companion to the Bible”, 1993, pp302-3).

Plenary inspiration

Further information: Verbal plenary inspiration

Reformed fundamentalists believe in the ‘organic’ inspiration (theopneustia) and conservation of the scripture entire. The forerunning debates in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries resulted in the formulation and clarification of the doctrine of the superintended plenary (full) inspiration of the scriptures, a doctrine confused and derided as ‘mechanical’ inspiration.

Since the scriptures are the work of God, the doctrine of the scripture ‘terminates in mystery,’ not unlike the doctrines of the Trinity and the incarnation. The contentment in spite of hermeneutical limitations, and care not to claim perfect comprehension, favours an emphasis upon the salvific end of the scriptures (2 Tim. 3.15) and recognition of the Divine activity involved in the authorship. The truth of inspiration rests upon the scripture itself. Whether all the writers knew they were writing scripture is not revealed. The canon is the collection of inspired books that God alone intended to be the rule of faith, and imposed on the consciences of men as truth: likely inspired works, such as the Epistle to the Laodiceans (Col. 4. 16), were unintended to become a rule of faith for the entire Church.

Verbal inspiration, upheld by various Protestant churches, maintains that the individual backgrounds, personal traits, and literary styles of the writers and compilers were authentically theirs, but had been providentially prepared by God for use as His instrument in producing scripture. The normal exercise of endowed abilities was unhindered. God superintended the process so mysteriously, that every word written was the exact word God wanted to be written, free from all confusion. The words in the infallible autographs, as well as the concepts, were given by inspiration, an inspiration unable to be dissected (e.g. into substance and form). The original autographs are considered inspired, and apograph copies, when known to be freed from copyist erratum, are treated as God-breathed and as a veritable rock of translation foundation. The scripture is unfailable and exempt ab intra from accusation of final blunder and flaw. Even the biblical writer/prophet’s scriptural familiarity was providentially prepared. “Speculation into the “how” of inspiration is a prying into what is not revealed, and therefore unwise and unbecoming. We are not told how God inspired the writers of the scriptures. It is probable that none could know save those who were so energized” (William Kelly, God’s Inspiration of the Scriptures, p. 44). For reformed fundamentalists, inspiration does not cease with the autographs. Additionally, the languages in which the writing was completed, are considered as being perfectly adapted to the expression of God’s ‘divine thoughts.’ (Edward F. Hills)

The translations of the Greek New Testament and Hebrew Old Testament are considered the inspired word of God to the extent that they are a close, accurate rendering of the scriptures. Wherever the English version of the testaments lies fairly within the confines of the original, the authority of the latest form is as great as that of the earliest. In other words, inspiration is not considered as ‘limited to that portion which lay within the horizon of the original scribes’. Additionally, the Bible’s inspiration is made immediately apparent by the Holy Spirit to the believer only, who has been gifted the Spirit at salvation.

Verbal preservation

Further information: Verbal plenary preservation

Verbal preservation is defined by the retention of every inspired canonical word in the original languages that God intended for future generations: no single word, letter, accent, or character, in the autographs has been lost forever. The preservation of scripture is considered complete and singular (special).

The preservation of God’s written word is considered a faith position, one that Christ held (Matt. 5.18). “We add that the whole scripture entire, as given out from God, without any loss, is preserved in the Copies of the Originals yet remaining; What varieties there are among the Copies themselves shall be afterwards declared; in them all, we say, is every letter and Tittle of the Word” (John Owen, Of the Divine Original, Authority, Self-Evidencing Light, and Power of the Scriptures, p. 173-174). Other scriptures that have been cited as proof texts of God’s preservation of His written Word are Matt. 5.18, Matt. 24.35, John 10.35, and 1 Pet. 1.25. Chapter 1:8 of the Westminster Confession of Faith speaks of the scriptures as being ‘by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, [and] are therefore authentical.’

Faithful textual study is considered to confirm true textual recognition, and that diligent and devotional study renders the Christian’s access to God’s Word identical to what God’s Word is ontologically. It is held, that as God providentially entrusted the transmittance of His Word through human scribes, God has allowed His elect referential textual usage..

An example of an institutional acknowledgement of preservation is that of the Trinitarian Bible Society, which advocates Scrivener’s Textus Receptus and the Ginsburg-ben Chayyim Masoretic Text. Conservative Christians have tended to favour the sixteenth century ecclesiastical recension of the Byzantine Majority Text.

Principles of biblical interpretation

Further information: Biblical hermeneutics

  • Prayer for illumination by the Spirit
  • Christocentrism and typological interpretation
  • Historical-grammatical method and appropriate consultation of the original languages (Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic) through lexicons, grammars, concordances, and Hebrew and Greek testaments.
  • Contextual grounding by searching in concentric circles (e.g. verse, paragraph, chapter, book, genre, testament etc.)
  • The analogy of faith (scriptura sui ipsius interpres) and scripture interprets/informs scripture
  • The principle of non-contradiction. The diverse motivations of canonical books, place in the unfolding of progressive redemptive history, and re-casting of events and details, dissolves the validity of charges of textual variance.
  • The preference for the literal-historical interpretation over less concrete tropological, allegorical, and anagogical interpretations Criticisms of the literal method often confound literalism for letterism.
  • Sensitivity to literary genre (e.g. prophetic, poetic, apocalyptic, Gospel etc.)
  • Law/principle of first mention
  • Dr. David L. Cooper’s “Golden Rule” of interpretation.
  • The mediation of scripture through secondary and tertiary authority (e.g. tradition, human experience, spiritual discernment etc. ) and the guiding rule of Vincent of Lérins, quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est (‘what (is) always, what (is) everywhere, what (is) by everybody (believed)’)
  • Scripture as ‘finitely plastic,’ and not as a ‘wax nose.’

The classical creeds and reformational confessions

  • Creedal: Nicene Creed, Apostles’ Creed, Athanasian Creed (and Chalcedonian Definition). The first four ecumenical councils of the early Church are therefore acknowledged.
  • Confessional: Westminster Confession of Faith (1646)

Whilst received and used, they are not considered as carrying the same authority as the Bible.

Opheusden Restored Reformed Congregation

Opheusden Restored Reformed Congregation

Congregational practices

  • Expository preaching
  • Prayer (private and communal)
  • Congregational singing
  • Traditional eldership/governance and complementarian understanding, with the observance of head covering for women
  • The two sacraments/ordinances of baptism and communion

Bible translation and usage

Further information: The Bible translations

Some discussion surrounding the dominant usage of an English translation exists, but largely centres on the New Testament. However, despite the common textual sources of the ”ben Hayyim-Bombergiana” and modern Biblia Hebraica editions, namely the Ben Asher Leningrad Codex, some slight differences are observed in the body text. Only recently (i.e. the twentieth century onwards) has the Daniel Bomberg 2nd edition (also the Mikraot Gedolot) conceded ground, yet not without disputation. The Bomberg edition has been one of the most used printed Masoretic texts in the world, along with the formatted and styled edition of Max Letteris. In 1972, a reprint of Bomberg’s 1525 Venice edition (with an introduction by Moshe Goshen-Gottstein) was published in Jerusalem by Makor Publishing, and the Trinitarian Bible Society print the Ginsburg edition, the ben Hayyim-Bombergiana furnished with a comprehensive Masorah (notes on the Masoretic Text by the Masoretes). The Old Testament of Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible (1902) is based upon Ginburg’s edition. The Aleppo Codex is an incomplete Masoretic Text, considered alongside the Leningrad Codex.

The fundamentalist discussion primarily concerns formal equivalence translations since dynamic equivalence translations (also known as “functional”) and “optimal equivalence” translations are considered eisegetical and unduly interpretive.

The King James Bible and the Byzantine Tradition

Traditional conservative evangelicals exalted the King James Version, and held that the Textus Receptus (TR) was the honoured and restorative Greek text of the Church, first to the Western Church. It must be noted, the TR is now generally applied to the family of similar Byzantine-text Greek New Testaments, for example, the editions of Erasmus (first edition, Novum Instrumentum omne, 1516), Beza (first edition, Octavo, 1565) and Stephanus (notable third edition, Editio Regia, 1550). The editions published by Abraham and Bonaventure Elzivir, almost identical to the texts of Beza, became known as the Textus Receptus (‘Received Text’) due to a note in Heinsius’ preface (‘Therefore, you have the text now received by all in which we give nothing altered or corrupt.’), but Textus Receptus has also been applied to the 1550 Stephanus edition. The 47 translators of the 1611 KJV (AKJV) used the New Testaments of Erasmus, Stephanus and Beza, yet augmented with the Vulgate, Tyndale, Geneva, Complutensian Polyglot, Coverdale, Bishops’ and Matthew Bibles. Scholars have reconstructed the Greek text edition that lies behind the Authorised Version. The 1611 KJV was revised in 1612, 1613, 1616, 1617, 1629, 1630, 1634, 1638, 1640, before the revisions of 1762 (S. F. Paris, Cambridge Edition), 1769 (Benjamin Blayney, Oxford Edition), 1873 (F. H. A. Scrivener, Cambridge Paragraph Bible) and the Third Millennium Bible (1998). Despite historical linguistic editorial changes, the 1611 text has been materially unchanged. Defenders of the Authorised Version call to attention that the early modern English grammar reflected the use of singular (e.g. ‘thou,’ ‘thee,’ ‘thy’ and ‘thine’) and plural (e.g. ‘ye,’ ‘you,’ ‘your’ and ‘yours’) second person pronouns in the Hebrew and Greek languages, Hebrew possessing separate masculine and feminine forms. Norton’s New Cambridge Paragraph Bible (2005) is a modern revision of Scrivener’s 1873 edition. Blayney’s 1769 Oxford edition remains the most printed KJV.

The New King James Version and Modern Versions

The publication of the New King James Version (1982) has been a minor development within fundamentalism. The Revised Authorised Version is the British edition, published by Samuel Bagster & Co. The preface to the NKJV states that the New Testament is based upon the same New Testament selection behind the KJV; the translation removes older English words and detaches from some of the ‘damnation language’ and titles of Divinity. The text for the Old Testament deviates from that of the KJV, the translators preferring the Biblia Hebraica and in places, readings from ancient translations of the Hebrew Scriptures set aside the Masoretic reading. However, the Bomberg edition was consulted according to the preface. The NKJV includes in the footnotes where the translated Greek text differs from the critical text (minority text) and recent majority text: the accommodation to include references to critical editions of the New Testament continues to divide opinion, and source discussion, as do the minute departures from the Old Testament Masoretic text. A small number of New Testament readings questionably approach eclectic readings. Lately the MEV has been viewed as an alternative to the NKJV. In congregational teaching and preaching, ministers have used Received Text translations with an informed awareness of modern translation and versions, and have utilised the KJV and its language in personal devotional study and prayers.

Some fundamentalists do use translations based upon the earliest dated extant manuscripts, such as the NRSV, ESV and NASB (the NASB being very stylistically similar to the NKJV). Such translations are considered serious renderings of the critical text. The proliferation of the New International Version (NIV) has been observed with censure, but the ability for various translations to lead an individual to saving faith in Christ is freely admitted. Many affirm the stylistic standard of prior versions. The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster uses the Authorised Version, ‘[b]elieving it to be the most reliable translation’ and the Calvary Chapel Association prefer the NKJV and KJV.

Fundamentalists recognise the strong commitment to scriptural inspiration and sound orthodox doctrine of earlier translators, and the need for the Christian to be a regular reader of the Bible. Unnecessary division over translation has been internally condemned. It is emphasised that the written word is a means by which Christians know the incarnate Word (Christ Jesus) more intimately.

Evangelical and missional apologetics

Further information: Christian apologetics

A combination of evidences, Bible apologetics, and pre-suppositional arguments for Christian faith within the framework of a conservative theology have been common to fundamentalists. Apologetics are not purposed to appeal to the ‘natural man’ (1 Cor. 2. 14) and are neither independent of gospel proclamation.

  • Each person’s perception of the creation leaves them without an excuse regarding the Creator’s existence (Rom. 1.20)
  • The Law has been ‘written on the hearts’ (Rom. 2. 15), giving humans active conscience, such that they know within God’s moral standard
  • The transformation of ‘born again’ individuals
  • The remarkable preservation and survival of the Jewish people since the birth of the Christian Church
  • Evangelical revivalism is often used as an argument for the authenticity of Christian faith, due to the social reforms it often brought (e.g. Factory Acts, abolitionist etc.)
  • Gospel missionary zeal led to the formation of many charities and associations for the poor and unrepresented
  • Committed life-long marriage engenders demographic stability and replacement, and provides children with greater consistency. The institution of Christian marriage as an effective vehicle for knowledge transfer.
  • The unparalleled reforming impact of the Bible on individuals, law-making, literature and liberty
  • The fine-tuning of the universe for life in relation to the Earth, and the stability and regularity of cosmic constants. The observance of cosmic laws correlates with God as law-giver in the Mosaic Pentateuch.
  • A common faith and Christianity generates social cohesion and trust, and churches provide a venue for community, gathering and relationships

Bible apologetics

  • The scriptures are said to be ‘self-authenticating’ (autopiston)
  • Fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, including Messianic prophecies fulfilled in Jesus (Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Micah 5.2 etc.), and fulfilment of prophecies given by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse (siege and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, emergence of false messiah-claimants, continuance of war, increase in famines and pestilences, and the acute persecution of believers, etc.).
  • Archaeological finds compatible with scriptural accounts (e.g. Pilate stone, Vardar Gate ‘Politarch’ inscription, Tel Dan stele, Merneptah Stele, Ketef Hinnom scrolls, Lachish letters, Siloam tunnel, Kurkh Monoliths, Nimrud Tablet K.3751, Azekah Inscription, Sennacherib’s Annals, Cylinders of Nabonidus, Nabonidus Chronicle, Mesha Stele, Elephantine papyri, Arch of Titus, Nazareth Inscription, Hittite cuneiform etc.)
  • The intellectual insufficiency of humans, and the reluctance of critics to affirm authentic external verification, and internal textual suggestion
  • The Gospels as following best ancient historiographical practice
  • The unity of the Bible
  • The Bible as faith-producing

Attitudes to biblical criticism

John 7:53–8:11 (Pericope Adulterae), Mark 16:9–20, and 1 John 5:7–8 (Comma Johanneum) are three passages often conservatively defended. Contemporary eclectic textual supports have caused some deliberation and discord since the theories and methods of eclectic scholars are seen as defective and ill-informed to traditional text scholars.

Reformed fundamentalist pastors and theologians saw radical higher criticism as proceeding from unbelief in the Divine activity behind scripture, and considered it one of the chief culprits behind the decline of conservative scholarship in Western theological colleges and churches, and Bible preaching. Ian Paisley strongly associated it with infidelity. Fundamentalists see rationalistic methods combined with unscientific linguistic criticism as fatally flawed, and affirm the Bible was faithfully transmitted without the alleged gross interpolations of the critics, containing no inauthentic works. The works and commentaries of well-known and outspoken conservative biblical scholars such as William Henry Green, Frédéric Louis Godet, William Ramsay, Carl Friedrich Keil, Franz Delitzsch, and Robert D. Wilson, have been cited by conservatives.

Contemporary western society and modern unbelief

Further information: Apostasy in Christianity

Paisley, E. J. Poole-Connor and others, believed that the Anglosphere evangelical church was entering into apostasy, apostasy that might culminate in the coming of the ‘man of sin’ (2 Thess. 2). The increase in the departure from ‘Bible Protestantism’ and Christian moral teachings, has led Christians to anticipate the coming again of Christ. The return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel has further excited an expectation of the close of the age.

Reformed fundamentalists oppose the classical heresies, salvific teachings of Church of Rome, and liberal and modernist theology (e.g. universalism, modern Pelagianism, unitarianism, pantheism, Social Gospel, Adamic evolution/anthropological evolutionism and anti-special creation, vast antiquity of Adamic man, rationalistic biblical criticism, panbabylonianism, Jesus mythicism, psilanthropism, biblical minimalism, humanistic optimism, neo-orthodoxy/Barthianism etc.).

Culturally, reformed fundamentalists have often aligned themselves against scientism and are opposed to and sceptical of the methods of a small segment of scientists (e.g. Carbon-14 dating),. Romanism, Marxism, Communism and organised social propagation of moral liberalism (e.g. divorce, fornication, abortion and abortifacient contraceptives, re-definition of marriage, state-infringement upon law-abiding Christians etc.) have all been assailed.

Prominent scholar-ministers and other affiliated scholars

Influential scholars with reformed/Calvinistic fundamentalist propensities, or sympathies:

  • R. A. Torrey (1856–1928), known for The Fundamentals
  • A. C. Dixon (1854–1925), known for The Fundamentals
  • James Orr (1844–1913), known for The Fundamentals
  • Robert Anderson (1841–1918)
  • Thomas Newberry (1811–1901), known for the Englishman’s Bible
  • William Edwy Vine (1873–1949)
  • T. C. Hammond (1877–1961), known for In Understanding Be Men (1936) and The One Hundred Texts – A Manual of Theology (1952)
  • Charles Henry Waller (1840–1910), known for The Authoritative Inspiration of Holy Scripture (1887)
  • Wilbur M. Smith (1894–1976), known for Therefore Stand (1945)
  • J. I. Packer (1926–2020), known for Fundamentalism and the Word of God (1958) and Knowing God
  • Jack Bartlett Rogers (1934–2016)
  • J. Edwin Orr (1912–1987)
  • Gleason Archer Jr. (1916–2004), known for Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (1982) and A Survey of Old Testament Introduction
  • Wick Broomall (1902–1976), known for Biblical Criticism (1957)
  • Harry Rimmer (1890–1952)
  • Edgar Andrews (1932–), known for his opposition to evolutionary theories, and his advocacy of creatio ex nihilo
  • Rienk Kuiper (1886–1966)
  • Edward John Carnell (1919–1967)
  • Bernard Ramm (1916–1992), known for Protestant Biblical Interpretation (1956)
  • John Wenham (1913–1996), known for Christ and the Bible and the Easter Enigma
  • J. Sidlow Baxter (1903–1999), known for Explore the Book
  • Robert H. Stein (1935-)

Appeals have often been made to the works of the following scholars:

  • James K. Hoffmeier (1951–)
  • Jack Finegan (1908–2000)
  • Bastian Van Elderen (1924–2004)
  • William Mitchell Ramsay (1851–1939), known for The Bearing of Recent Discovery (1915) and St Paul the Traveller and Roman Citizen (1895)
  • Thomas H. Horne (1780–1862), known for Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, Vol I-IV
  • William F. Albright (1891–1971), known for Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan: An Historical Analysis of Two Contrasting Faiths (1968)
  • Kenneth Kitchen (1931–), known for The Bible In Its World (1977) and On the Reliability of the Old Testament (2003)
  • G. Ernest Wright (1909–1974)
  • Archibald Sayce (1845–1933)
  • Samuel Colcord Bartlett (1817–1898)

Affiliated denominations, churches and colleges

  • American Council of Christian Churches
  • Bible Presbyterian Church
  • Certain sections of the Confessing Movement present in Reformed denominations
  • Faith Theological Seminary
  • Free Presbyterian Church of North America
  • Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster
  • Foundations Baptist Fellowship International
  • Grace Community Church
  • Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America
  • International Council of Christian Churches
  • Life Bible-Presbyterian Church
  • Ligonier Ministries
  • Orthodox Presbyterian Church
  • Protestant Reformed Churches in America
  • Whitefield College of the Bible
  • North China Theological Seminary
  • Geneva Reformed Seminary

Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia