Culture: May 2005 Archives

In going through last week's Christian Carnival (yes, I'm still working on that), I found Blake Kennedy's fascinating discussion of whether the Plymouth Brethren fit better within fundamentalism and evangelicalism. He wants to say the latter. I think his argument might lead to thinking of them as a borderline case, recognizing that the term 'fundamentalist' is somewhat loose and can include people who aren't at all like the paradigm cases. It's also possible that someone or some group might be a member of both categories.

What interested me most was his careful delineation of what's commonly associated with fundamentalism by those who want to distance themselves from that label by calling themselves evangelical. There is some overlap in some of these, but I think it's worth being explicit about some elements that are aspects of other, more general, traits. Many of these also admit of degrees, and thus someone or some group might be more fundamentalistic or less fundamentalistic than some other person or group. Fred Phelps and the GodHatesFags crowd will probably be among the most fundamentalistic, and I would say someone like Zane Hodges (most known for being KJV-only, hyper-dispensationalist, and antinomian) is more moderate in comparison with Phelps but still solidly a fundamentalist. John MacArthur is still a fundamentalist too, I would say, but he's much less so and is also an evangelical, albeit a more conservative one than most on these issues. I'm not sure someone who is KJV-only would be evangelical except if the person is really moderate with all the other features of fundamentalism (and there are such people).

What do John Paul II and Campus Crusade for Christ have in common? If you don't know the answer to that, you might be interested in reading about the very evangelical-like revival in Poland in the 1970s in the latest Christianity Today. [Hat tip: McRyanMac] As an undergraduate, I questioned the Crusade stance on Catholicism when I first encountered it, thinking they were smoothing over some truly important theological distinctives, but over the years I've gradually come to agree with them, though that agreement has come in stages. See my posts here, here, here, and here for some of my justification for this (no pun intended). I'm still working on a post dealing with issues besides justification, which I made some progress on yesterday after not touching for a week or two. I keep saying I'll be getting to it, and I have been working on it.

While I'm on the subject, one more little tidbit on the relation between Cardinal Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) and the Joint Declaration with the Lutherans has been brought to my attention.

Nowheresville, USA has a nice post about some bad arguments for not sending your kids to public schools, followed up by an equally good second post.

There's also a third post, but his skill in responding to the arguments against public schooling doesn't manifest itself in his arguments against homeschooling, which seem to me about as bad as the arguments he's responding to against public school (note the false empirical claims about what homeschooled kids turn out to be like; see my comment). This is one of those issues where it's just overreaching to claim you have a conclusive argument for or against any of the major positions. I can think of about four or five major views you could take about schooling, and each one of them is false if taken as the only legitimate way or even as the best way for all parents and all kids.

Apparently The Dane is planning at least three or four more posts, so this will be a major series. [Hat tip: Jollyblogger]

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