Watch and Pray

for you do no know when the time is (Mark 13:33)

The Prize-winning Oxymoron of the Week

Posted by Tom Lessing on April 24, 2009

Can you spot the oxymoron in the paragraph below which was taken from Rev. Cobus Wyngaard’s blog here? The oxymoron, in this particular case, may be defined as follows: “Fundamentalism is to know nearly nothing of the Bible” which suggests that “non-fundamentalism is to know nearly everything of the Bible.”

I haven’t really blogged on Easter this year, as I usually do (2007, 2008), but I’ll be preaching on the Easter events again this Sunday, since I know that most of the kids sitting in that service wouldn’t have been to church over Easter weekend. But my preparation is a struggle! I know the kids in this service: They know nearly nothing of the Bible. Many haven’t been to church for a number of years now. And they are very prone to fundamentalism. Their fundamentalism worries me. But broader than the fact that I need to preach to these kids, I also need to find a way of talking about the cross; for myself. This has obviously not started today, but I’ve been theologizing about the cross probably for at least 9 years now, since the first time I led a small group of 13 year olds at a camp. (Emphasis added)

I truly and humbly believe that the anti-fundamentalist non-fundamentalist fraternity do not have a clue what the meaning of fundamentalism is. Is that a good enough reason to exonerate them from their non-fundamentalist ignorance? I really don’t think so because Wikipedia and other excellent sources of information are at their disposal. Now, let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about Christian fundamentalism here.

The term “fundamentalism” has its roots in the Niagara Bible Conference (1878–1897) which defined those things that were fundamental to belief. The term was also used to describe “The Fundamentals”, a collection of twelve books on five subjects published in 1910 and funded by Milton and Lyman Stewart. This series of essays came to be representative of the “Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy” which appeared late in the 19th century within the Protestant churches of the United States, and continued in earnest through the 1920s. The first formulation of American fundamentalist beliefs can be traced to the Niagara Bible Conference and, in 1910, to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church which distilled these into what became known as the “five fundamentals”:

  • The inspiration of the Bible by the Holy Spirit and the inerrancy of Scripture as a result of this.
  • The virgin birth of Christ.
  • The belief that Christ’s death was the atonement for sin.
  • The bodily resurrection of Christ.
  • The historical reality of Christ’s miracles.

By the late 1910s, theological conservatives rallying around the Five Fundamentals came to be known as “fundamentalists.”

Since then, the focus of the movement, the meaning of the term Fundamentalism, and the ranks of those who willingly use it to identify themselves, have gone through several phases of re-definition, though maintaining the central commitment to its orthodoxy.

Though some of our distinguished non-fundamentalist friends may find it very difficult to associate the above five fundamentals with the Bible, I have it on very good authority that they are indeed biblical fundamentals. The very little remaining grey matter I have in my head tells me that anyone who upholds these five fundamentals must at least know something of the Bible. In fact, the feared fundamentalist kids in Rev. Wyngaard’s church whom he claims know nearly nothing of the Bible seem to know more of it than what he does. Not to worry, this is evidently ample proof of the veracity of Jesus’ words in Matthew 21: 16: “and [they] said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus *said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself’?”

Fundamentalism, according to Rev. Cobus van Wyngaard, also seems to be the outcome of “not having been to church for a number of years.” I’m not too sure whether he sees this as a positive or a negative thing. Nevertheless, I personally believe that the kids’ propensity for biblical fundamentalism would have been dealt a death-blow if they had loyally attended his church. Any pastor of a flock who claims to be “the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?” (John 3:10) will obviously say things such as “I also need to find a way of talking about the cross; for myself. This has obviously not started today, but I’ve been theologizing about the cross probably for at least 9 years now, since the first time I led a small group of 13 year olds at a camp.” Why does he need to find a way to to talk about the cross and why does he need nine years to theologize about it when the fundamentals about the cross are given to him on a platter in the Bible? Could it be that he needs more time to theologize about the cross because he has rejected the fundamental biblical facts about the cross? Once Paul of Tarsus understood and believed the power and wisdom of the cross of Jesus Christ, he immediately preached it without having to wait another nine years before he was assured that he had at last found a way to articulate the meaning of the cross. In fact, he was so certain about the meaning of the cross that he was “determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Rev. Cobus van Wyngaard is obviously searching for a new take on the cross, “a reading of the Bible which calls for something else. I try and find the answer to the question “Why was Jesus crucified?” That’s an excellent question and I sincerely hope that he finds the correct answer before he meets his Maker. Perhaps the following question will make it much easier for him in his quest for the real meaning of the cross: “Why was Jesus crucified before the foundation of the world?” (1 Peter 1:20)

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11 Responses to “The Prize-winning Oxymoron of the Week”

  1. Thomas

    Goeie vraag,

    “Why was Jesus crucified before the foundation of the world?” (1 Peter 1:20)

    Glo jy ook dat Jesus gekruisig was voor die grondlegging van die wereld….? Dit beteken dat Jesus (die Rots) twee keer “geslaan” moes word… dubbele straf…?

    (Rom 1:4) And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

    Hy moes voor die grondlegging uit die dood opgewek word anders sou God die Vader Hom nie as Seun van God aan die mensdom kon bekendmaak nie….

    Die kruisiging van Jesus Christus op Vrydag 1 April 33 AD was dus ‘n tweede keer wat Hy as Seun die straf moes verduur….!

    WOW groter liefde kan mens eenvoudig net nie kry nie, twee keer dieselfde straf. Die tweede keer net om aan ons te demonstreer hoe Hy voor die grondlegging reeds betaal het vir die sondeskuld van diegene vir wie Hy betaal het….!

    Ondenkbaar….!

    Aan God al die eer en wel soos in Sy Woord asvolg verklaar:

    (Openb 5:11) Toe sien ek, en ek hoor ‘n stem van baie engele rondom die troon en van die lewende wesens en die ouderlinge; en hulle getal was tien duisende van tien duisende en duisende van duisende;

    (Openb 5:12) en met ‘n groot stem het hulle gesê: Die Lam wat geslag is, is waardig om te ontvang die krag en rykdom en wysheid en sterkte en eer en heerlikheid en lof.

    (Openb 7:12) Amen! Die lof en die heerlikheid en die wysheid en die danksegging en die eer en die krag en die sterkte aan onse God tot in alle ewigheid! Amen.

  2. cobus said

    Dankie dat jy geleer het om links te gebruik.

  3. Amanda said

    The merging church’s take on fundamentalism, curtesy Ds. Guillaume Smit:

    – as a general rule – it seems fundamentalism isn’t about the exact issue, but more about the need to destroy fellow Christians who do not exactly agree with any given fundamentalist’s viewpoints on biblical issues and current ethics.

    And:

    Still, the common denominator is the fact fundamentalistic people vilify anyone who dare to differ from them, attack their opponents’ integrity and salvation, and generally use verbal bullying techniques more appropriate on a fourth grade playground than between adult Christians.

    Somewhere there is a disconnect between Thomas’ understanding and Ds. Smith’s.

    Ds. Cobus, ek hoop die term ‘merging church’ stel jou tevrede? Ek het dit by Lighthouse Trails gekry.

  4. Amanda said

    Thomas, in die inskrywing waarna jy geskakel het, së Ds. Cobus dat hy weer Crossan lees. Ek neem aan hy verwys na John Dominic Crossan wat hoeka die UP besoek het en wat sê:

    If we are to believe that God deliberately sent his only son into the world to be brutally tortured and crucified, then I take that to be transcendental child abuse, and I will not have it.

    Ds. Cobus is ook ‘n bewonderaar van Brian McLaren wat in ‘n onderhoud die volgende gesê het:

    McLaren: This is, one of the huge problems is the traditional understanding of hell. Because if the cross is in line with Jesus’ teaching then—I won’t say, the only, and I certainly won’t say even the primary—but a primary meaning of the cross is that the kingdom of God doesn’t come like the kingdoms of the this world, by inflicting violence and coercing people. But that the kingdom of God comes through suffering and willing, voluntary sacrifice. But in an ironic way, the doctrine of hell basically says, no, that that’s not really true. That in the end, God gets His way through coercion and violence and intimidation and domination, just like every other kingdom does. The cross isn’t the center then. The cross is almost a distraction and false advertising for God.

    Hansen: Oh, Brian, that was just so beautifully said. I was tempted to get on my soap box there and you know—Because as you and I know there are so many illustrations and examples that you could give that show why the tradition view of hell completely falls in the face of—It’s just antithetical to the cross. But the way you put it there, I love that. It’s false advertising. And here, Jesus is saying, turn the other cheek. Love your enemy. Forgive seven times seventy. Return violence with self-sacrificial love. But if we believe the traditional view of hell, it’s like, well, do that for a short amount of time. Because eventually, God’s going to get them.

    McLaren: Yeah. And I heard one well-known Christian leader, who—I won’t mention his name, just to protect his reputation. Cause some people would use this against him. But I heard him say it like this: The traditional understanding says that God asks of us something that God is incapable of Himself. God asks us to forgive people. But God is incapable of forgiving. God can’t forgive unless He punishes somebody in place of the person He was going to forgive. God doesn’t say things to you—Forgive your wife, and then go kick the dog to vent your anger. God asks you to actually forgive

    And there’s a certain sense that, a common understanding of the atonement presents a God who is incapable of forgiving. Unless He kicks somebody else.”

    Dit is geen wonder dat hy nie van beter weet nie.

    Ds. Cobus:

    Want toe ons nog swak was, het Christus op die regte tyd vir die goddelose gesterwe. Want nouliks sal iemand vir ‘n regverdige sterwe vir ‘n goeie mens sal iemand miskien nog die moed hê om te sterwe maar God bewys sy liefde tot ons daarin dat Christus vir ons gesterf het toe ons nog sondaars was. Veel meer dan sal ons, nou dat ons geregverdig is in sy bloed, deur Hom gered word van die toorn. Want as ons, terwyl ons nog vyande was, met God versoen is deur die dood van sy Seun, veel meer sal ons deur sy lewe gered word nou dat ons versoen is.Rom 5:6-10

  5. Amanda said

    I try and find the answer to the question “Why was Jesus crucified?”

    Dit is nou wat gebeur wanneer die Evangelie verlore gaan. Prof. Stephan Joubert spekuleer oor die betekenis van Paasfees en wat die Evangelie is, in sy preek by die Klipkerkbyeenkomste op 2009-04-07. Hier is enkele aanhalings uit die preek. Ek vra om verskoning indien daar foute in is. Die klank is baie sag. Luister gerus self na die preek. 3.83MB:

    Sy [Maria Magdalena] het alles gegee wat sy gehad het. Wat sy kon het sy gedoen. Dit klink half ironies. Sy het baie gedoen. Sy het te veel gegee. Dit is al wat sy kon doen. Sy het tot op die rooi, in die rooilyn in gegee. Niks anders nie as die weduwee wat nou die dag in Luk 21 toe Jesus by die tempel was, wat ook haar laaste muntstuk gegee het, gee hierdie vrou al haar geld. Dit is wat Jesus bedoel. Sy het twee jaar se geld gegee in een oomblik op Jesus uitgegooi. Wat sy kon het sy gedoen.

    Dit is die boodskap van Paasfees dat as jy met Jesus in aanraking kom, dit wat jy kan doen, doen dit.

    Maar wat jy kan moet jy doen vir Jesus. En jy moet dit doen totdat dit jou in die rooi indruk. Totdat dit jou vat tot by die punt van geen omdraai. Totdat dit jou vat tot op ‘n punt waar jy nooit gedink het jy sal kom.

    Jesus herinner ons aan hierdie vrou. Miskien is dit die hoogtepunt. Nie Sy groot lering oor die eindtyd nie. Nie Sy groot gelykenis oor die boer en die wingerd nie. Nie Sy gelykenis oor die meisies met die olie in hulle lampe en die wat nie het nie. Miskien nie Sy groot wederkoms gelykenis oor die skape en die bokke nie. Die eenvoudige daad in die binnekring, die vrou wat alles gegee het, wat haar lewe gegooi het op Jesus se voete, wat haarself gegee het. Miskien is dit die Evangelie.

    Miskien is jy en ek blind, miskien, ek definitief. Wat ek partykeer nie verstaan hoekom mense sekere dinge doen nie. Soos die dissipels nie verstaan het hoekom sy dit daai aand gedoen het nie. Dat daar juis in die dwaasheid van die Evangelie wysheid is.

    Miskien in ‘n mens wat alles het en dan dwase keuse maak om vir veel minder agter Jesus aan te stap. Wat ‘n groot werk het en dit los, of beter beter kanse het in die lewe en dit los om agter Jesus aan te stap. Maak nie saak wat dit ookal is nie, Paasfees, die laaste Dinsdag sê vir jou: ‘Wat jy kon, moet jy doen vir Jesus. Wat dit ookal van jou vra.”

    ‘n Ruk gelede voordat Jesus in Jerusalem aangekom het, het Hy op ‘n dag daar in Mat 10 vertel dat diegene wat Sy helde is, wat op Sy pad loop, dat die Engele en Hy van hulle kennis neem. Dat hulle name bekend is in die hoogste raadsale van die hemel. Sal dit nie wonderlik wees nie as ons by die Here aankom, dat ons soos ou vriende ontvang sal word. Dat die engele en die Here sal sê: “Ons weet al lankal van jou. Wat jy kon, dit het jy gedoen. Ter herinnering aan jou, swaai ons die deure van die hemelse sale oop.”

    Die Bybel waarsku dan so ernstig oor die Evangelie:

    Ek verwonder my dat julle so gou afvallig word van hom wat julle deur die genade van Christus geroep het, na ‘n ander evangelie toe, terwyl daar geen ander is nie; behalwe dat daar sommige mense is wat julle in die war bring en die evangelie van Christus wil verdraai. Maar al sou ons of ‘n engel uit die hemel julle ‘n evangelie verkondig in stryd met die wat ons julle verkondig het, laat hom ‘n vervloeking wees! Soos ons vantevore gesê het, sê ek nou ook weer: As iemand julle ‘n evangelie verkondig in stryd met die wat julle ontvang het, laat hom ‘n vervloeking wees! Soek ek dan nou die guns van mense, of van God? Of probeer ek om mense te behaag? As ek nog mense behaag, dan sou ek nie ‘n dienskneg van Christus wees nie. Gal 1:6-10

    Die skape en lammers moet baie versigtig wees:

    Maar ek vrees dat, net soos die slang Eva deur sy listigheid bedrieg het, julle sinne so miskien bedorwe kan raak, vervreemd van die opregtheid teenoor Christus. Want as iemand kom en ‘n ander Jesus verkondig as wat ons verkondig het, of as julle ‘n ander gees ontvang as wat julle ontvang het, of ‘n ander evangelie as wat julle aangeneem het, laat julle jul dit goed geval. 2Kor 11:3-4

  6. Magda Kopp said

    Mense ek weet nie eers of ek al kommentaar gelewer het of nie maar sjoe al die bogenoemde skrywes laat my dink aan wat my Pa gese het voor hy oorlede is 20 jaar gelede. Hy het gese my kinders die afval gaan begin in die huis van die Here. Was dit dalk profeties?

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