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Fundamentalism, Legalism, Mark Driscoll, and Faith

By March 8, 2010June 20th, 20144 Comments

It’s interesting how certain things intersect. Mark Driscoll on the Resurgence blog has an eight-minute video about “fundamentalists” and their problems: “7 Ways to Know If You Are Becoming a Fundamentalist.” Personally, I think a better choice of word would be “legalist,” but who am I? 🙂 I do think he makes some good criticisms of “religious” types.

Also, just recently Faith Baptist Bible College’s newest Faith Pulpit came out with an article by Dr. Rick Shrader. In it he argues against using the “fundamentalist” label in a popular context and argues for a stricter definition of legalism and liberty than used in evangelical circles. I’m not sure I always agree with him either, but I do appreciate the more careful use of terms and argumentation that Dr. Shrader supplies.

Dr. Shrader refers to a great quote from Charles Spurgeon in the Downgrade Controversy: “Many good men lament the fact that liberty is, in certain instances, degenerating into license, but they solace themselves with the belief that on the whole it is a sign of health and vigour; the bough is so fruitful that it overruns the wall. . . . It is a pity that such loyalty to liberty could not be associated with an equally warm expression of resolve to be loyal to Christ and his gospel. It would be a grievous fault if the sons of the Puritans did not maintain the freedom of their consciences; but it will be no less a crime if they withdraw those consciences from under the yoke of Christ.”

See Faith Pulpit page 1 and page 2 PDFs (since it’s not online yet).


  • Andrew says:

    Driscoll seems to take special pleasure in knocking Fundamentalists. I don’t know why, but I can guess that some Fundamentalists probably reacted forcefully to the more “innovative” aspects of his ministry, and it left a bad taste in his mouth.

    On the other side of the coin, John Piper wrote an article entitled “20 Reasons I Don’t Take Pot Shots at Fundamentalists”. The Fundamentalist movement at large has yet to return the favor…

  • Greg Long says:

    Interestingly, Driscoll is being attacked as a “fundamentalist” for his church’s relief efforts in Haiti:

    …and called just about everything but fundamentalist by CT for his comments about the movie Avatar:

  • Nat Kealen says:


    I think Christianity Today is wrong. Avatar in no way has Christian undertones. It has New Age undertones. Just because something is “spiritual” and advocates “spiritualism” does not make it Christian.

    I may not have gone as far as Driscoll does about Avatar. I would think that LoTR movies would be more “demonic” in Driscoll’s terms. However, even that’s demonic in the worldly sense. These were beings created by God. Would their “look” have changed?

    I actually think that Driscoll is trying to distance himself as far as possible from the term and what it implies to the world and secular media.

    (Oh, and thanks for the link. I have a new youth site to read.)

  • Russ Boone says:

    I think that Driscoll is attacking an extreme form of fundamentalism. The issue is not so much about what standards one holds, but about how one holds them. It would not be wise to assume someone is a Pharisee just because they have strong convictions on some issues. They become Pharisaical when their convictions become judgmental accusations against others. I would unashamedly call myself a fundamentalist because I hold to strong convictions, but not in a Pharisaical way.

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