Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 25, 1951
NUMBER 37, PAGE 8-9b

Was Jesus A Fundamentalist?

Pat Hardeman, Tampa, Florida

In raising the question which heads this article a contrast is intended between "fundamentalism" on the one hand, which accepts the creation of the world by God, verbal inspiration, the miracles of the Scriptures, the resurrection and judgment to come, and on the other hand, "liberalism" and "neo-orthodoxy" the first of which openly denies the "fundamentals" while the second speaks in fundamental terms but actually is differentiated from the liberalist only by professing to believe in the supernatural.

Jesus Not A Fundamentalist

Jesus was most assuredly not like the modern fundamentalist in some ways. Most modern fundamentalists contend for the scripturalness of denominationalism, the very opposite of that for which Jesus prayed. (John 17:20-23) Further, most fundamentalists claim an ability to distinguish between essential and non-essential commandments of God.

To be specific, who among modern fundamentalists believes that baptism for the remission of sins as a command of God (Acts 2:38; 47-48) is necessary? Certainly Jesus believed it to be essential. (Mark 16:16; Luke 7:30; Mark 11:28-32)

Again, modern fundamentalists take great liberties with the Scriptural teaching on the Lord's Supper. Jesus looked upon it (and so did the apostles—I Cor. 11:20-34) as a thing to be kept sacred. (Matt. 26; Luke 22) It is the same thing if we consider the way fundamentalists view the addition of human elements to the scriptural pattern of worship. Witness such innovations as instrumental music, money-raising schemes and special programs at the hour of worship. Contrast with this Christ's scathing rebuke in Mark 7:6-13; Mt. 15:3-9. "In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men."

"Stirrings In Fundamentalism"

I readily grant that there are "stirrings in contemporary fundamentalism," and there are signs of renewed interests in Christian unity. For example the Eerdman's Evangelical Book Competition Prize Winner of 1948, E. J. Carnell's Introduction to Christian Apologetics, contains some good statements as to the need for fundamentalists to do something about the "scandalously disorganized" religious world. But, brethren, "the points of contact" we are to seek with these fundamentalists, are not the "new," and liberal and compromising contacts which Box, Beam, and other "Liberals" of one kind or another among us would suggest. Rather we should seek the same points of contact with them that our believing fathers sought—i.e. contact them by preaching to them the pure Gospel of Christ in all of its power, challenging their errors, debating the issues, and wielding the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17) that "maintains its relevance" to the present situation by its own eternal nature, (Heb. 4:12; Mt. 24:35) May the God of our fathers deliver us from all invitations to Ono and help us to stay on the walls and fill up the breaches. The Lord Jesus was not a denominationalist; we must not be.

Jesus Was A Fundamentalist

As distinguished from a "liberal" or even from the kind of "conservative" indicated by S. A. Cartledge's; A Conservation Introduction to the Old Testament (University of Georgia Press, 1944), Jesus certainly believed the fundamentals these deny. It seems impossible that the most casual reader of the New Testament could claim Jesus as a modernist, yet C. F. Kent, in The Origin and Permanent Value of the Old Testament, makes just such a claim. Kent thoroughly misrepresents Jesus in asserting: "The great critic of Nazareth again set the example. As we have just seen, certain of the Old Testament laws he distantly abrogated; others he quietly ignored; others, as, for example the law of love (Deu. 6:5; Lev. 19:19) he singled out and gave its rightful place of central authority." (pp. 30, 31) I wonder; would Kent accept the "Great Critic of Nazareth" on the authorship of both parts of Isaiah? (See John 12:38-41)

Now as for those fundamentals that are the antitheses of Kent's views— Jesus embraced them, and condemned all who did not. Therefore, whatever else modernism may claim to be, it cannot claim to be Christian, since it opposes Christ in every single fundamental. Consider the contrast between Christ's recorded teachings, and those of the modernists.

1. Christ believed in creation, not evolution. "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female." (Mark 10:6)

2. Christ believed in the Trinity—not Unitarianism. "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the father, the son and the Holy Ghost." (Mt. 28:18-20)

3. Christ taught the plenary inspiration of both the Old and New Testaments. "One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." (Matt. 5:18). "The Scripture cannot be broken." (John 10:35) "For it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost." (Mk. 1.3:11)

5. Modernists should not forget that Christ accepted the record of Old Testament miracles. (Lu. 17:32) "Remember Lot's wife." "If the mighty works which have been done in thee (Capernaum), had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day." (Mt. 11:23) For Christ's testimony concerning other Old Testament miracles plus the genuineness and authenticity of Old Testament books, see a later article.

6. Jesus taught that He was the Christ, the Son of God. (Matt. 16:16-18) Peter said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him... flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my father which is in heaven." See also Lu. 22:66-71; Jno. 6:38; 8:58; 10:24; 17:5.

7. Jesus insisted that his death and resurrection were the foundation for the salvation preached to every creature. (Lu. 24:46, 47) "He said unto them; Thus it is written and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations beginning at Jerusalem."

8. Christ declared that he will come again, and there will be a final resurrection and judgment day "I will come again." (Jno. 14:3) "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." (Jno. 5:28, 29) "The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him at the last day." (Jno. 12:48)

In the light of this unequivocal testimony from the Greatest of All Witnesses, it is nothing short of blasphemy for the unbelieving critics to claim Jesus as their founder or even claim a connection with the faith Christ inaugurated. Is it not still worse when, brethren in the Lord's church yield to liberalism's pernicious influence? God give us strength to "stand fast."


Virgil Bentley, Cordell, Okla., Jan. 12: "One baptized and one restored recently. Attendance at Bible study has been a little below normal."