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 Was Jesus a Fundamentalist?
A rebuttal of Christian Fundamentalism

 

First and foremost this article is a rebuttal to the unbiblical traditions, culture norms, and legalistic practices that make up much of the Christian Fundamentalist movement. This article is in no way a character attack on Fundamentalists. I have met many loving and Christ-like Fundamentalists who have taught me so much about christian love. These type are not hyper-judgmental, and look at people the way Christ does. They would not seperate from me because I have problems and imperfections. But unfortunately these types tend to be in the minority (in my experience) but none the less what I write in this article is not a representation of all Fundamentalists. In some ways, my exposure in Fundamentalist cultures has been a rebuke of my past as I too have been ultra critical and judgmental on others, just like how the Fundamentalists have been to me. I was once a Fundamentalist but those days are over as I have recognized the legalism and realized that the Bible speaks against it in so many places (Gal 5,Col). Many Fundamentalists love legalism and legalism is a position strongly opposed to grace because it emphasizes a system of rules and regulations in achieving both salvation and spiritual growth. Legalists believe that strict obedience to rules, regulations and codes of conduct is demanded of all Christians. I was saved in the Christian & Missionary Alliance and as I grew spiritually, began to recognize the failures of the denomination and of New Evangelicalism in general. So, I became a legalist towards my evangelical brothers and sisters in Christ. My spiritual growth led me out of the Alliance; and to an evangelical conservative church where I attended John MacArthurs Shepherds Conference (a national meeting where Evangelical conservative pastors, ministers and students get fed the Word of God), and later to a Fundamentalist university. No doubt, I have been challenged and have grown in the Lord because of this decision in so many different ways. But on the flipside, I have experienced legalism and rigid unbiblical traditionalism. Some have been very judgmental of me because I have not fit into their rigid limited frame of mind, nor have I easily adapted to their 15,000 culture and social norms. Not all Fundamentalists have been judgmental Pharisees, but the Pharisee experiences have been difficult to forget. Legalistic Fundamentalists in my opinion are the most judgmental of all believers I have ever dealt with. But at the same time the gospel is a message of grace, and these legalistic Fundamentalists need that as much as anyone does. The Bible says that there is none who understands or seeks after God (Psa 14:3). CERM does not endorse legalism and is Fundamental in DOCTRINE only. As Hank Hanegraaf often says that in the essentials of the Christian faith there needs to be unity, secondary issues liberty, and in all else charity. CERM does not teach that those that wear suits and ties to church are more holier than evangelicals, nor does CERM teach that going to "movies " is a sin, or listening to CCM is wrong. CCM can be wrong, but the issue is the lyrics and if they give glory and honor to God. Martin Luther once said that "music is a servant created and given by God." He is right in that the issue is not the beat, the issue is the lyrics. Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church wrote an article on worship and it is here. Jesus himself was no traditionalist or a legalist. There are many ways in which Jesus strongly distanced himself from the unbiblical traditions and culture norms of his day and in doing so set an example for believers not only in his day but our day as well. Believers do not need to follow unbiblical tradition/culture, but the Word of God. In this article, I will address ten reasons why Jesus was not a Fundamentalist. Unless otherwise indicated all scripture quotations will be from the New International Version (NIV) or the English Standard Version (ESV).

 

Ten reasons why Jesus was not a traditionalist

 

1.       He associated with tax collectors and sinners-Mt 9:10-12

2.       He was relevant with the culture (various)

3.       He broke unbiblical Sabbath traditions of his day -Mt 12:9-13, Mt 12:1-2

4.       He associated with Samaritans (Woman at the well)-John 4

5.       He allowed his disciples to eat with unwashed hands-Mk 7:5

6.       He nor his disciples practiced fasting-Mt 9:14

7.       He declared all foods clean-Mk 7:14-19

8.       He liberated Women-Lk 8:1-3

9.       He advocated freedom from powerless religion-Mk 1:22

10.   He showed Grace towards others-Jn 8:3-11

 

Reason #1- Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners

 

Matthew 9:10-12

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick…”

 

The traditionalists/legalists in Jesus’ day taught that the righteous would not hang out with unbelievers, but would only hang out with their own kind. None of this is what the Bible taught, but was only the traditions of the leaders. In the same way, there are traditionalists in our day that do not hang out or associate with unbelievers. This is also wrong because Jesus commanded that we go out into the world and proclaim the good news to all of the creation (Mk 16:15). We cant be like the teachers of the law and the Pharisees whom thought they were superior to everyone else, so associating with sinners was below them. The Bible says “accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters” (Rom 14:1). Movies, Contemporary Christian Music, dress; associations with evangelicals, dancing and such are disputable matters. Mature Christians disagree over music, bible translations and convictions about going to movie theaters. The Bible does not teach that refraining from going to movies, wearing a suit and tie to church, nor listening to traditional music makes one holy. The issue is about the heart and not about the external (1 Sam 16:7). Fundamentalists sometimes misunderstand grace. “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Being graceful to others means being able to forgive. God is full of grace and mercy, and we should be also. We need to minister to unbelievers in their culture. I am not saying that we need to watch the same movies or go to the same parties. What I am saying is that we need to not be so “holier than thou” that we wont hang out with them. I am involved heavily in soul winning to the lost in the streets of my city. Sadly not much effort from my own Fundamentalist church nor others in the area is made to reach the lost in this area. So my question then would be. Are these Fundamentalist churches more interested in gaining church members, than in evangelizing the lost? Because there is a distinction between evangelizing and proselytizing. In evangelism the goal is to tell the lost the good news of Jesus Christ, while in proselytizing the goal would be to convert someone over to another's way of thinking. Obviously an evangelist wishes that people will turn to Christ and be saved, but an evangelist does not FORCE THE GOSPEL on others, as he is a witness of Jesus Christ charged to bring the good news to the lost.

 

Reason #2-Jesus was relevant with the culture

 

Jesus knew his culture inside and out and could tell stories that would relate with the people via culture bridges and connections. Jesus was not like many traditionalists of today who sly away from the culture and separate themselves from it. No Jesus was not like that, because he was the redemptive force within the culture. Traditionalists of today that sly away from the culture are not abiding by the teachings and example set by our Lord. For Jesus said, “I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15, NKJV). Christians that want to evangelize to the world must minister in a way that the world understands, but must not subtract from the message. So many people believe that once the methods are changed, so the message is altered. I used to be a strong proponent of traditional churches, and a strong opponent of contemporary worship. But know I am beginning to see that neither traditional worship nor contemporary worship is perfect. All have strengths and weaknesses. Sadly, many well-meaning Fundamentalists scare away unbelievers from their churches by their rigid legalism. I go out soul winning weekly and on one occasion did I have a conversation with a man mature in the Lord whom told me that unbelievers are not interested in a system of rules and regulations, but in a relationship with Jesus Christ. There are traditionalists that know the Lord well and are used of him, so what I say does not reflect upon all traditionalists. When we minister to the world, we need to do it in a way that the world understands.

 

Consider this quote by Dr. David Jeremiah of Shadow Mountain Community Church;

 

Does that mean that we become like old fogies, cast into the culture of a generation and look as if we have not had a modern thought in years? No, it’s not about the methods or the style but the substance and the message. When we believe what the Word of God says then we will be relevant in our culture, but will not alter the message.

 

David Jeremiah-- Hope in the Midst of Future. Radio Broadcast, June 6, 2008

 

Being relevant with the culture does not mean to compromise doctrine as many of the liberal churches do. Being relevant means to communicate in a way that unbelievers can understand. One way to accomplish this is to preach/teach from a Bible translation that a layman can understand. The New International Version (NIV) is an excellent choice that is sadly rejected by many Fundamentalists. The English Standard Version (ESV) is another quality readable translation that is more faithful to the exact wording of the authors than the NIV, but in doing so sacrifices readability. I strongly encourage traditional churches to move away from the King James Version, and to a translation that the commoner can understand such as the English Standard Version (ESV), the New International Version (NIV) or the New King James Version (NKJV). Nothing at all wrong with the KJV, but do realize that the archaic old English, can be a barrier for many people, especially those with learning disabilities that have a hard time with reading comprehension. I know a brother in the Lord with severe learning disabilities, and he loves the NIV for its readability. I have recommended that he continue to read and study from the NIV. But one day I may introduce him to the ESV to see how he likes it.

 

Reason #3- Jesus broke unbiblical Sabbath traditions of his day.

Jesus healed on the Sabbath

 

Matt 12:9-13

Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

 

The Pharisees and the other religious leaders in Jesus’ day taught that healing on the Sabbath was against the law and those that want to be holy would not do anything on the Sabbath. This teaching was not biblical as Jesus points out in verse 12. The religious leaders had twisted the meaning of the word of God and came up with doctrines that the Word of God did not teach and enforced this teaching on the people. In the same way do many Fundamentalists of today force man made teachings on their people. For example many Fundamentalists do not allow their people to listen to Contemporary Christian Music, go to movies, mix swim, grow long hair, grow beards, dance, chew bubble gum in buildings, play video games and other such ridiculous man made rules. They claim that in order to be holy and righteous before God, then these man made rules and regulations are necessary. Fundamentalists often will claim that disobedience to these rules affects one’s testimony. I strongly disagree, as the Word of God is grey in these areas. Sure Christians, need to be obedient to God’s word and live as set apart from the world (2 Cor 6:17). But this separation does not include endorsing man-made rules and regulations that the bible does not teach. Jesus strongly opposed legalism and religious traditionalism.

 

Jesus allowed others to eat on the Sabbath

 

Matthew 12:1-2

At that time, Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.”

 

The Pharisees thought that Jesus was breaking the law (Ex 20:8-11) and accused his disciples of working on the Sabbath. According to Jewish tradition in the Mishnah, harvesting was a forbidden act on the Sabbath day. The Jewish leaders had made their own set of rules of conduct apart from the word of God and misinterpreted the word of God in their Mishnah. In the same way, many traditionalists set rules and regulations that are not biblical, and impose these rules on others. The Pharisees thought that their Mishnah was based on the Word of God, but it violated and added to the word of God. Traditionalist Christians do likewise in so many other ways. The best example of this violation that comes to mind are the Seventh Day Adventists. Those involved in this movement are loaded with traditions on what to eat and what not to eat. I remember once I was visiting a friend at his Adventist College. Both me and my friend and one of his friends took a drive to a Taco Bell. My friend offered to buy me lunch, and so I ordered tacos and a Pepsi. Once my friend’s friend discovered that I had ordered a Pepsi the man just about had a heart attack. He was angry that someone would drink a Pepsi in his car, and gave me a mini lecture on health, and then sternly warned me never to drink a soda in his car again. That man is an example of a hyper traditionalist that was so caught in the yoke of the law that he did not see the freedom that we have in Christ. The Bible says “all who rely on observing the law are under a curse..(Gal 6:10), and that no one is justified before God by the law, and the righteous will live by faith (Gal 6:11). Christ redeemed mankind from the curse of the law and therefore there is no longer a need to observe its traditions.

 

Reason #4- Jesus associated with Samaritans

 

Samaritan’s were not looked at with favor in Jesus’ day. There were a number of reasons for this. But the biggest reason perhaps to explain the Jewish animosity towards the Samaritans was an event that happened about twenty years before Jesus’ ministry. Some Samaritans defiled the temple by scattering human bones in the courtyard during the Jewish Passover (Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 18:30). In John 4 does Jesus risk defilement (4:9) by associating and even speaking with a Samaritan woman. Jewish leaders usually did not speak with women in public (IVPNTC). Jesus became very popular (4:1) and so was watched closely by the Jewish leaders. After departing from Judea on his way to Galilee Jesus chose to go through Samaria (normally Jews do not go through Samaria). Jesus went through Samaria because he sought out this Samaritan woman at the well and he sought those that would worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). Jesus was not afraid to speak with a Samaritan woman, because Jesus saw beyond culture and traditionalism. The unbiblical ness of the Jewish culture traditions did not bind Jesus, because Jesus had a much bigger goal. In the same way, there are some Fundamental Christians groups that do not associate with certain kinds of people that they believe are inferior to themselves. But Jesus was not this way and was willing to associate with everyone. Jesus not only associated with Samaritans he even made one the hero of one of his parables (Lk 10). Jesus strongly disliked unbiblical traditions, and not associating with Samaritans was a tradition that Jesus opposed. I believe that Jesus set an example for us to follow. Just as Jesus was willing to associate with outcasts we should do likewise. When I say associate, I do not mean to be best friends or to constantly hang out with those that live in sin. Some may read this and think that I am condoning hanging out with homosexuals. I am not, because this is wrong and unbiblical. But we must minister to others, including those we feel superior too.

 

Reason #5- Jesus allowed his disciples to eat with unwashed hands

 

Mark 7:5

And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?”

 

This is another example of the Pharisees nullifying the word of God for the sake of their tradition. The Pharisees thought that they were clean by washing themselves after making contact with Gentiles. The Pharisees thought that that by cleaning the outside, they were clean on the inside, but this was false. I find it interesting how Jesus would allow his disciples to openly break the unbiblical traditions of his day. In a modern vernacular, Jesus was a radical and would suffer the cost for standing for the sake of God and his word. I wish there were more Christians like this today. I give praise to the many faithful Fundamentalist brothers and sisters that stand for the truth and do not compromise. Fundamentalists are heights ahead of contemporary evangelicals in this area. Many evangelicals compromise the Word of God to make it popular for the masses and as a result are many of the New-Evangelical churches a mile wide but only an inch deep in theology. For more on this read John MacArthur’s book Hard to Believe. But on the other hand, there are many fundamental brethren that unfortunately load themselves with traditions and rules not found in the Bible. Once I got invited to a brothers house for dinner, but I got lectured a day or two later because I had failed to wash before going. He said that I gave a bad testimony because I stunk. I did not consider myself dirty, and I had no idea how he came up with such an assumption. But regardless Jesus nor his disciples were completely clean before the religious leaders, because they had failed to ceremonially wash before they eat.

 

Reason #6- Jesus nor his disciples practiced fasting

 

Matt 9:14 (NKJV)

Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?”

 

Many Christians have taken fasting completely out of context. I’ve visited the website of a evangelical/charismatic minister and on it does he boast of his multiple 40 day fasts. To me this is complete hypocrisy and disobedience of Jesus’ teaching on fasting. Jesus did not want his followers to boast about their fastings to make themselves look proud. Jesus made it clear that there was no reason to fast in order to hold unbiblical traditions. In the historical context of the passage, “fasting” was not required by law, but it was part of the religious tradition and what one did if he wanted to appear holy. In the same way are there Fundamentalist Christians today that hold all kinds of external traditions that have no biblical merit. For example, many Fundamentalist believe that going to church three times a week makes them righteous and closer to God. Also in some Fundamentalist churches women must wear head coverings. If a woman does not wear a head covering in such a church, then they are usually frowned upon, ignored, neglected, and not pursued. But in the eyes of Jesus there needs no external to make one righteous. God cares about the heart and when one turns from they’re past sins does the Lord give them a new heart. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Eze 36:26, NKJV). Sadly, many traditionalists do not understand that God cares about the heart, and this is more important to him than good works. For one cannot be saved by doing good works (Eph 2:8-9).

 

Reason #7- Jesus declared all foods clean

 

Mark 7:14-19

Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.’” After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)

 

In this statement, Jesus declares that all foods are clean. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law in the day taught that some foods were unclean and if one were to eat them, then they would not be clean. One of the teachings of the false teachers both in Jesus’ day and in ours is that one has to abstain from certain foods. In 1 Tim 4:3 Paul speaks of the false teachers in the last days that will forbid people to eat certain kinds of foods. Paul says in this verse that God created this food, which is to be received with thanksgiving. In today’s religious world, there are certain groups that forbid people to eat certain kinds of foods (meat, etc..). Below is a list of some of these groups.

 

From
http://www.faqs.org/nutrition/Pre-Sma/Religion-and-Dietary-Practices.html

 

Mormonism-The law of health—the Word of Wisdom—contains the laws for proper eating and the rules of abstinence for tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, chocolate, and illegal drugs. Mormons must choose foods that build up the body, improve endurance, and enhance intellect. Products from the land, such as grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, are to take the place of meats; meats, sugar, cheeses, and spices are to be avoided. Reason and self-control in eating is expected in order to stay healthy.

 

Roman Catholicism-The dietary practices of devout Catholics center around the restriction of meat or fasting behaviors on specified holy days.

 

Judaism- Pork and shellfish prohibited. Meat and dairy at same meal prohibited. Leavened food restricted. Fasting practiced

 

Seventh-day Adventists-The Seventh-day Adventist Church advocates a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, including moderate amounts of low-fat dairy products and the avoidance of meat, fish, fowl, coffee, tea, alcohol, and tobacco products (though these are not strictly prohibited). The church's beliefs are grounded in the Bible, and in a "belief in the wholistic nature of people" (Seventh-day Adventist General Conference Nutrition Council).

 

I have had my experiences with Seventh Day Adventists, and can say that their views on diet are not biblical. The man I mentioned earlier in this article that had a hissy fit over me drinking a Pepsi in his car was a example of a legalist. The man may have been and probably is saved, but that obsession with foods was not appropriate. The Bible does teach that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19) and by all means do we need to take care of it. However, this does not mean that we cannot drink Pepsi or eat meat from time to time, for in Christianity exists liberty.


Reason #8- Jesus liberated Women

 

Luke 8:1-3

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him,and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

 

In Jesus' day, women were not looked at with great favor. Women had little if any rights and often were looked at with degradation and as servants. In Jewish culture women were not supposed to learn from rabbis (LAB). But Jesus went right up against the culture and allowed these women to travel with him, once again breaking a culture norm. These women not only traveled with Jesus but they supported him and his ministry out of their own finances. I have met some Fundamentalists who look at women as servants. Once when I was doing street evangelism I asked a woman to pray for the group, but a certain man butted into my request and said that women cant pray out loud. I challenged him, but he never gave me scripture support, so I let him pray for the group. But its abuse of women like this that makes me angry. Also, at another well-known church in the area do women wear head coverings. Women that do not wear head coverings at this church are few in number, and probably are looked at as bearing a bad testimony. The Bible says that a Woman shall not teach, preach or have authority over a man for she must be silent (1 Tim 2:12). This means that women cant be pastors over men, or hold spiritual authority over men. However this does not mean that women cant give their testimony's, cant lead children's ministries, cant lead women's ministries, cant pray out loud, cant lead worship, or even counsel men in some areas. I have personally learned allot from women. In my many years in Evangelicalism have I met many women who have taught me so much about social/people skills, mannerisms, and in other areas that Fundamentalists say that a woman cant teach a man. Of course, there are some areas that it would be wise for a woman not to counsel a man, but these are obvious.


Not all Fundamentalists degrade women to servants, but those that do really sicken me. Women in these kinds of churches have never experienced their freedom in Christ, because slavery and degradation is all they know. In my experience at a Fundamentalist university, I can sadly say that I have met few women who would agree with me here. The exception is a former evangelical/Pentecostal woman whom I met at a summer childrens ministry. But she thinks the way she does, because God has opened her eyes to the truth and she did not grow up in a Fundamentalist background. I have met others at this university, but they are few in number. I am not arguing in favor of women pastors over men, I am arguing against abuse of women that some Fundamentalists dish out, and unfortunately women that have grown up with this abuse cant see beyond it. The Bible is clear in that a woman shall not teach, preach or have authority over a man (1 Tim 2:12). But besides these roles, women can lead worship, pray publicly, give their testimonies, counsel men and use their gifts to the full in the body of Christ. Praise the Lord for women that are used by the Holy Spirit.

 

Reason #9- Jesus advocated freedom from powerless religion

 

Mark 1:22

And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

 

The English Standard Version (ESV) as quoted above uses the word "astonished" but the New International Version (NIV) uses the word "amazed" instead. The verse indicates that the people were amazed/astonished at the teaching style of Jesus because his style was so much different from the scribes/teachers of the law. The authority of Jesus is what amazed the scribes for he taught as a Spokesman for God himself and not as the scribes. For they simply reflected the authority of the law, and nothing else. The contrast between Jesus and the religious leaders was most pronounced here (BKC). In the same way, there are Fundamentalists that load their people with laws and rules, and teach nothing but powerless religion. Some people think that I am attacking Fundamentalists in this article, no, I am not attacking them, I am simply stating what the Word of God says. On one hand are Fundamentalist scholars the most educated and intellectual of all protestant scholars I have ever experienced. The churches in my area are filled with bible educated and intellectual man. Sermons are filled with rich and powerful Bible preaching. I am so blessed to live in such an area and to have such powerful preaching and teaching within reachable distance. But on the other hand, if the preaching/teaching has little if any application what is the point? If the men and women in these churches just acted out of duty rather than a love for God, then the sermons are powerless. Jesus wanted a heart change leading to application of his teachings rather than just intellectual wisdom. In Matt 7 does he state in verse 24 that everyone who hears his teachings and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Jesus wants people to do what he commands for these are his friends (Jn 15:14). Unfortunately, there are many Protestants (not just Fundamentalists) that do not abide by the teachings of the Lord (I myself am guilty of this sin) and they act out of duty. They may attend schools that require weekly evangelism and soul winning, but they only fulfill the requirements out of duty. But take them away from the school, and you will rarely see them witnessing for the Lord or doing His work. Those that act out of duty and not love for the Lord are victims of powerless religion and Fundamentalists as well as Charismatics and Evangelicals are guilty of this. Christians need to be like the Bereans who tested everything that Paul said with the scriptures (Acts 17:11). All pastors and teachers must submit to the authority of the Word of God. Unfortunately in my experience and research I have found some Fundamentalist pastors and teachers to be the most dogmatic and self-righteous of all. Heaven forbid that they could ever admit they made a mistake or make mistakes.

 

Reason #10- Jesus showed Grace towards others

 

John 8:3-11 (KJV)

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

 

The letter of the law required that a woman be stoned for committing adultery. However, the law required that both parties be stoned and the Jewish leaders had disregarded that part of the law in bringing this woman before Jesus (Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22). The Jewish leaders were simply using this as a trap for Jesus. If Jesus had said that the woman should not be stoned then he would have been guilty of breaking Moses' law, but if he urged them to execute her than he would have been reported to the Romans, who did not permit the Jews to carry out their own executions (Jn 18:31). Jesus instead said that if anyone was without sin, then let him be the first to cast a stone at her. No one was without sin but Jesus, and He forgave the woman and told her to leave her life of sin. This example sets a perfect illustration on how we should treat others and that is that we should forgive them. Sin must be judged, but God is the one who should judge it and those he places in authority. Unfortunately in my experience in Fundamentalist culture have I met a number of judgmental men and women who do not forgive and cannot tolerate those who are imperfect. I am not perfect and have a number of faults, but boy have I met some judgmental Fundamentalists who cannot stand me because of my faults. Perhaps these men and women would have stoned me if I was the woman caught in adultery. There is a way to speak the truth in love and to speak with gentleness and with respect (1 Pet 3:15). Regardless my experience with some of these Fundamentalists has been a rebuke of me and my sometimes-judgmental spirit. In matters of doctrine that are compromising the essentials of the Christian Faith are we to be judgmental and to expose. However in secondary issues their needs to be liberty and in all else charity communicated in love towards those we disagree with. There are some Christians that do not forgive the sins of others, but in my opinion some Christian Fundamentalists are the most judgmental of all believers I have ever experienced. However, as I said earlier in this article, Fundamentalists are sinners like Evangelicals, and Charismatics, and they also need Christ and have fallen short of the glory of God. I believe that when Christ judges the Church will he praise and condemn Fundamentalists as well as Evangelicals and Charismatics. All followers of Christ are right and wrong in different areas.

Conclusion

 

Jesus was in no way a traditionalist or a legalist as he sought to deliver people from powerless religion. He came to this earth to die for the sins of man, and in order to reach men, he had to get beyond his comfort zone. Jesus in the flesh was both fully man and fully God, so he knew all the unbiblical ness of his culture. Jesus set an example for believers today because he ate with the low life’s, and the neglected. Jesus wanted so much to draw all men to salvation he was willing to die for all of mankind. This was Jesus’ primary mission on earth, but he also had a ministry of healing and teaching. But when Jesus taught he taught with power and authority. He did not speak in a technical language to the people, but spoke in the common vernacular of the day, and made his sermons easy to understand because he was relevant with his culture as he told parables, and other stories making things easier to understand, as people learn better via illustrations and stories. Jesus advocated that people think for themselves and he advocated that they move away from the teachings of the religious leaders. In his healing and teaching ministry did Jesus frequently break the unbiblical traditions and culture norms. He often would heal on the Sabbath and this angered the religious leaders. But Jesus knew what was best and was willing to offend for the sake of the kingdom of God. Jesus also allowed his disciples to eat with unwashed hands, did not practice fasting, declared all foods clean, and broke many other traditions. Jesus set the ultimate example for believers today to follow. Jesus was concerned about the truth and was willing to sacrifice himself for the truth. Christian Fundamentalism is loaded with traditions and culture norms that are not biblical. Fundamentalists may be very loving and kind people, however some may heighten their traditions to the same weight as scripture. The Bible does not teach to refrain from meat in order to be holy in Gods eyes. The Bible does not teach that music must always be traditional and be without human emotion. Music can be contemporary, but the words must be biblical. Nor does the Bible teach that women should remain silent and cannot pray out loud nor give their testimonies to men. This is not how it should be and people need to get back to the Bible. Women cant be pastors or spiritual leaders over men. However they can lead children's ministries, and they can teach men much in a number of different areas. I personally as mentioned earlier have learned a ton from women. They have taught me social skills, mannerisms, mathematics, History, and a ton of other things I have failed to mention. Women also can be very serving and far more so than men. Once around believers that practiced ceremonial foot washing, did a woman volunteer to wash my feet. She acted in servitude as Christ did to his disciples and as Paul instructed (1 Tim 5:10). My point being is that Fundamentalist/Traditionalist churches (that teach women to be completely passive) should let their women use their spiritual gifts to serve the saints.

 

Sources Used

 

http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-Christian-legalism.html, accessed July 06, 2008.

http://www.faqs.org/nutrition/Pre-Sma/Religion-and-Dietary-Practices.html, accessed July 21, 2008

Zondervan NIV Study Bible

IVP New Testament Commentary Series

Bible Knowledge Commentary

Life Application New Testament Commentary

Life Application Bible Notes

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