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Just a Fundamentalist
January 16, 2008
Yesterday Andrew Sullivan saw fit to link to my article on Biblical Inerrancy. Sullivan writes The Daily Dish for The Atlantic and is one of the most widely-read bloggers out there with at least 150,000 daily readers. You will not be surprised to hear that he did not like my article and linked to it with just one word of description, and an inflammatory one at that. “One fundamentalist makes the case,” he said. There’s no name and no description. Just that: one fundamentalist.
It seems that Sullivan prefers an article Michael Spencer wrote in response to mine. Michael was afforded the dignity of a name rather than a mere one-word description. “To my mind, this is Biblical fetishism. And absurd on its face, since there are far too many direct factual internal contradictions in the Bible to uphold this standard. I agree with Michael Spencer.” Speaking candidly, I don’t see that Spencer said anything with enough clarity to know whether a person could agree with him. It seems to be something like “God got what he wanted without demanding perfection of Himself.”
But no matter. This little incident somehow seemed significant to me as I thought about it last night. In a sense, this is really where the rubber meets the road for me as a blogger. The majority of people who read this blog tend to agree with me on issues of theology. But then Andrew Sullivan links and brings in thousands of readers who know nothing about me except that I’m apparently a fundamentalist (and who no doubt suppose all kinds of things about me based on that term). Of course fundamentalist is such a lazy term to use. Most people just assume that if I believe something more strongly than you do or if I believe something deemed more conservative than you do, I must be a fundamentalist. Because I believe that God did not communicate anything contrary to fact when He gave the Bible to men, I must be a fundamentalist.
Here is what I had to ask myself last night. Do I believe what I do enough to be unashamed when people mock me? Am I afraid to be called a fool and to be looked down on for believing what the Bible says is true? Am I ashamed to have all these people show up who probably think I’m heading out today to picket the funeral of a homosexual or a solider killed overseas? Or can I be unashamed, undignified even, as I hear or read what people say about me? Here is a comment that showed up on one site: “Respectful of Mr. Challie’s passion, his reasoning is not of the level to pass a freshman philosophy class.” I suppose that may be true. I’ve never studied freshman philosophy nor, at this point in life, am I likely to. But it still digs just a little bit.
This morning I turned to Psalm 19 and drank in the words of the Lord:
The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
They were good words to hear and they refreshed my soul. It’s not philosophical arguments that make a man wise. Rather, it is the testimony of the Lord. It is not the praise of men that makes a man joyful, but the precepts of the Lord. It is the law of the Lord that revives the soul and the commandments of the Lord that enlighten the eyes. The rules of the Lord are true and righteous and are to be desired more than anything else, no matter how sweet, no matter how fulfilling they may seem. So laugh and mock if you must, I guess.
The link from Sullivan’s blog did not result in the veritable flood of traffic one might expect from the link from a superstar blogger. Then again, I suppose the majority of his readers would have no real interest in biblical inerrancy. But if you’ve come to this site through his, I welcome you, and hope you’ll look around a little bit. If you’ve come thinking I’m Jerry Falwell or Fred Phelps, well, maybe you’ll even find something that surprises you.