Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
-- 2 Corinthians 9:15, ESV
I am a Fundamentalist, but not that kind. At least not the kind I was shown as a young college student who had just accepted Christ. I slowly walked away from it when Bible translations other than the KJV were denounced (I had tested positive for NIV at the time), males were actually asked to leave the church if their hair fell over their collar (I had long hair before it started falling out), girls' skirts were measured with a ruler (I think the old pervs just wanted to get a good look at the girls' legs), and the preacher proudly declared that Jesus miraculously turned water into Welch's grape juice (which I do admit would have been a double miracle, since the pasteurization and refrigeration which prevents fermentation was not a realization at the time).
No, the kind of Fundamentalism I am talking about was developed in the early 20th century to combat Liberalism, which veritably shredded Scripture, and Neo-orthodoxy, which sought to restore sound theology without inspired Scriptural support. So, some conservative leaders got together to make a statement, which in summary accentuated what became known as the five fundamentals of the evangelical Christian faith. For them we should be eternally thankful.
I am thankful for the Verbal Plenary Inspiration of Scripture. From Moses onward, a special gift of writing prophetically, the ability to speak for God purely, in writing, without error, was given to certain prophets of the Old Covenant, and to some Apostles of the New Covenant. This was done to make God's will and God's word plain for all generations. Simon Peter participated and praised the gift of the Bible (ref. 2 Peter 1:20-21). The last and most widely used of all the Apostles, Paul, gave the definitive word, "God breathed" (ref. 2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible is, word for word, the word of God.
I am thankful for the Virgin Birth of Christ. The purpose of Holy Scripture is to show us, through narrative and poetry and commandments and revelations, the salvation God gives by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The first step was the miracle of the virgin birth of Christ (ref. Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:31, 34). In a metaphysical mystery that cannot be totally explained by man, Christ was born of a union between Heaven and earth. This makes Him fully God and fully human, a salvific necessity, as it relates to His life and death.
I am thankful for the Victorious (Sinless) Life of Christ. Because Jesus came to us fully God and fully man, He could lead a man's life with the sinless perfection of God. This was asserted by the Old Testament (ref. Isaiah 53:9) and the New Testament (ref. 1 Peter 2:22). Jesus Himself admitted His sinlessness (ref. John 8:29). I wish I could please God every second of every day, but although I am saved, I am still a sinful person. So are you. That's why the sinless Son of God came. For a holy God to save unholy sinners, a perfect holy sacrifice is required.
I am thankful for the Vicarious (Substitutionary) Death of Christ. It is predicted in the Old Testament (ref. Isaiah 53:4-6) and presented in the New Testament (ref. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21). The cross of Jesus Christ is the intersection of the holiness and the love of God. In holiness, judgment, and wrath God punishes sinners. In love, grace, and mercy, He puts the sins of His chosen ones upon the Son. The great transaction, the double imputation, takes place. By grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord forgives our sin and considers us right with Him.
I am thankful for the Visible Resurrection and Return of Christ. For various reasons, this last fundamental of the faith gives Liberalism and Neo-orthodoxy the most problems. They like the Bible. They love Jesus. They consider His life exemplary and His death tragic. However, they don't believe Christ literally, visibly, rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven, and that He will return from whence He went. I do. There were eyewitnesses (ref. John 20:18; 1 Corinthians 15:5-8)! And when Jesus Christs returns to each, we will all be eyewitnesses (ref. Revelation 1:7). People saw Him and people will see Him again. Thanks be to God! "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (ref. Revelation 22:20).
Chuck DeVane is the pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church in Hot Springs. Call him at 501)-525-8339 or email [email protected]