A key word that describes our society and the heart of its character is violence. Violence also marked the days of Noah:
Today, murder is often accompanied by an unusual mark of intense and cruel violence. The Charles Manson killings of the late 1960s would make headlines only for a day or two when one considers the multitude of bizarre killing sprees in society today.
Several English words are dedicated to describing the various forms of murder. Fratricide is the killing of a brother; this was the first death in history—Cain’s killing of Abel. Homicide is the killing of one human being by another. Infanticide is the killing of an infant. Matricide is the killing of a mother. Patricide is the killing of a father. Parenticide is the killing of both parents. Regicide is the killing of a king. Sororicide is the killing of one’s sister. Suicide is the killing of one’s self. Vaticide is the killing of a prophet. Sainticide is the killing of a saint (e.g. the killing of Thomas à Becket). And genocide is the systematic exterminating of a national, political, cultural, religious, or ethnic group. Moreover, if these words are not enough, Altizer and Hamilton in the 1940s gave us writings concerning the killing of God. This killing was called Radical Theology, Theothanatology, or let us call it deicide.
Fundamenticide: The Killing of Fundamentalism
In recent years we have been witnessing what could be termed Fundamenticide, the exterminating of biblical Fundamentals, biblical separation, and the historical identification of the Fundamentalist movement. Certain growing trends and proclivities today are foreshadowing this approaching death. God raised up a remnant of voices, which warned that when certain changes would begin to take place, inevitably a slow killing of Fundamentalism would result. Nevertheless, these voices were often quelled by the powers of ecclesiasticism and religious politics. We have witnessed in the past thirty years the public death of true Christianity in America; we are now witnessing the public death of historic Fundamentalism. Did we see it coming? Will it be part of the end-time apostasy?
What Is Apostasy?
As it deepens in its position away from the Word of God, the contemporary church today is redefining the term apostasy. From its biblical perspective apostasy is the final resolve of the principle of sin; it is the final outpost of sin; it is the link between the natural world of man and the demonic world of Satan. Apostasy is the permanent uniting of these two worlds.
However, apostasy is also a defection from one side to the antithesis; it is a revolting or falling away. How does apostasy arise and what is its outcome?
The first recorded apostasy in the Bible is the fall of Lucifer from heaven. Adam’s fall was not as deep and permanent as the fall of Lucifer. Although Redemption can bring recovery to man, fallen angels have no recovery provided for them. This is apostasy; God’s only answer for apostasy is judgment. Isaiah 14:13,14 links Lucifer’s fall with the power of the will against God; Ezekiel 28:16,17 links it with the power of pride against God. When these two ingredients come together, apostasy is born.
The Bible predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 that a global apostasy would take place just before the Rapture. Although Paul speaks of the day of Christ as “at hand” (the Rapture, 2:2), he also clarifies that it would not come except there come a falling away first (2:3). In the Greek the expression “falling away” includes the definite article—“the falling away.” Before the Rapture, according to Scripture, global apostasy will be a pervading principle in all compartments of life throughout the world.
The Core of Apostasy
Just as the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima had at its core Uranium 235, there is likewise a core to the power of the end-time apostasy. We have many religions today such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, the cults, paganism, and the occult. Some declare that these religions are the apostasy of which Christians must be aware. Although these will certainly feed the apostasy, these religions did not “fall away”; these religions were already far away from God.
The term apostasy deals with a religious position that is singularly presented in the Bible in affiliation with God’s people. True apostasy must have something from which to fall. It is the identification more specifically with a “defection from truth” or a turning from truth.
The one necessary ingredient for the final world apostasy is the globalization of Christianity. How often we have thrilled under missionary messages emphasizing Matthew 24:14,
However, this passage does not mean that the world will believe the gospel or accept it. The gospel taken universally will simultaneously give opportunity for apostasy to expand; apostasy results from rejecting or falling away from this gospel. There can be no false prophet without first a true prophet. There can be no false Christ without first the true Christ. There can be no false gospel without first the true gospel. There can be no apostasy without first a true Christian faith. Yes, there can be no global apostasy without the gospel going to the ends of the earth to be rejected or outwardly accepted and then turned away from.
Matthew 24:15 warns of the coming “abomination of desolation” that will take place in the Holy of Holies of the temple made by the Antichrist during the Tribulation Period. We see today the Jews coming back to their land; we see nations rising with perplexities; we see violence filling the earth. But to the Christian the greater insight to the coming of Christ is what is happening in the falling away of Christianity in the churches, our present-day holy places.
Today we are witnessing wholesale compromise; we are witnessing the power of carnality ruling in the hearts of professing Christian men and women; we are witnessing the falling of truth from the pulpits; we are witnessing the music of the world taking over the churches. Spirituality and holiness are mocked and ridiculed by the leaders of denominations, fellowships, and movements. Oh, dear reader, what is happening in the holy places is that which moves us to deep grief and wailings. The nearer we are to the coming of Christ the greater this will be! In 1 John 2:18-19 we read,
Who is this group, identified as they, among God’s people? They are antichrists. Yes, this is part of the true “falling away”; it is to be found within the camp of God. The antichrists found within and among true Christianity will become the core of the globalization of apostasy.
We are told by Christ in Luke 17 and in the Olivet Discourse that the end time will be as the days of Noah. One of the marked characteristics of those days was the coming together of seeds: the ungodly seed of the Cainite line mixing with the godly seed of the Sethite line. Such a mixture of spirituality and sin brought about aggressive powers. This was a merging of true religion with sin. It produced a power greater than plain old sin. This same product of mixed seeds will become the core power to produce the Antichrist. The Judas among God’s people will be the power for the great end-time betrayal.
Last fall we witnessed among various prayer meetings across our country a classic service at Yankee Stadium in New York City. That which brought all these religions together was the cry of hurt and bereaved people. Many grieving people will turn to anything for consolation and sympathy in time of a crisis. It is one thing for Hinduists, Buddhists, Muslims, and all other religions to come together; this is the godless religious seed. However, putting Christianity’s Billy Graham and gospel music into this melting pot produces a power that is far different from ordinary sin and false religion. This powerful mixture produces a deception that is greater than any deception that has ever come to man.
Consequently, giants of men and women appear because of this power; men of renown are the offspring of such mixings. We view with wonder such examples as Rod Parsley, Benny Hinn, Marilyn Hickey, Kenneth Copeland, and John Hagee. These are powerful people with coffers full of money and auditoriums filled with followers. Such individuals would have never come into existence without the converging of spirituality and carnality, without a large populace turning away from the truth, and without wholesale falling away within Christianity. And God has sealed this merger with delusion (2 Thess. 2:11,12). This is where the core of the world end-time apostasy will be found.
Will Fundamentalism Be a Part of This Core?
Such a question is staggering! Will the movement that God raised up in the latter part of the 1800s against the powers of Liberalism and Modernism be part of this core? Will the very movement God used against the false ecumenical movements, against the Charismatic movement, and against the Neo-Evangelical movement be sucked into the vortex of this core? The Fundamentalist movement has truly been honored by God to be the sword used against the foes within Christianity. It has been as a standard raised when the enemy came in like a flood. It has been the bastion and Masada for the remnant, for the puritans, for the pilgrims, and for the separatists. Yes, it has been most honored by God!
Dr. David Beale gave a classic observation concerning Fundamentalism in his book In Pursuit of Purity. He declared:
Historic Fundamentalism has changed. The historian of the movement must not, therefore, be found guilty of presentism, that is, projecting the values, goals, and methods of the present on the past. One must interpret any such movement in the light of its own religious and cultural context—not in the prejudices of what he would like for it to have been. Historically, Fundamentalists have striven progressively for what they regard as biblical purity. This does not imply a belief in perfectionism, but it means their goal has been a position as consistent as possible with the doctrine of holiness. Such a doctrinal distinctive has consistently positioned historic Fundamentalism away from the center of organized religion. The present study reveals that pre-1930 Fundamentalism was nonconformist, while post-1930 Fundamentalism has been separatist. Like the English Puritans, most early American Fundamentalists attempted to purify or purge the denominations from within. Like the English Separatists, the succeeding generations came out and started afresh. The separatist position itself, however, did not completely solidify as a distinct, militant movement until the 1950s (p. 5).
Could the death of public Fundamentalism become the final, necessary element for the core of the end-time, global apostasy? Will the last bastion of truth on the planet “fall away” and go the way of all flesh? Will it become what it so tenaciously condemned? Will the very movement that stood against all of the onslaught of hell throughout most of the twentieth century become the final triumph of the Devil to destroy publicly the only voice remaining with any global influence? Will the very Christian universities and colleges that led us with biblical armament and discernment now become the leaders to take us into Neo-Evangelicalism, Charismatism, and eventually back to Rome? These are most sobering questions to face!
Fundamenticide: A Slow Killing
“Historic Fundamentalism has changed.” Although not all changes are wrong, some changes are costly! For certain changes redefine and redirect the heart, the soul, and the spirit of a movement, an institution, or the legacy of a college or church. Such changes early in the history tend to be subtle. But once the momentum is evident, the changes become more aggressive, bolder, more intimidating to the remnant. Once the spirit of change takes over a leader or a people, the pace of the changes quickens. Such a spirit will even convince those forwarding costly changes that such changes are of God, that they will be most productive to accommodate the world’s commendations.
The changes quietly begin with a few leaders, privately meeting behind closed doors, in a restaurant over a steak dinner, or in a car driving to a meeting. With true communion with God lost a long time ago, the powers of professionalism and administration take control of ministries. Scholasticism takes the place of prayer, and personality takes the place of the Spirit’s anointing. Certain trends then become vogue and fashionable in belief and practice. Once the changes are talked among the elite, they are then implemented in their various quarters of influence. Once enough leaders have joined the rising tide, the changes then sweep over the laity. At this point, the laity volitionally either get in harmony with the changes or are forced into the new mold. Ecclesiastical politics is the same whether it is found in a denomination or among independent churches.
Eventually the common man, who has been intimidated for not being like the leaders, awakes to find the legacy of his forefathers mocked, dismantled, and torn apart. This destruction never happens overnight. History has proven that if any biblical movement dies, it is the result of a two-fold reality: the progressive falling away of the people within the movement, and God eventually giving the movement up due to that falling away. What was once a place of His glory could become the place of His judgment.
Fundamenticide: The Public View
For several years the term Separatist has been slowly but surely leaving the Fundamentalist movement. For many decades the terms Separatist and Fundamentalist were synonymous within the movement. When the Neo-Evangelicalists left the Fundamentalist movement in the latter part of the 1940s, they set out to intimidate the separatist position. In recent years the Neo crowd has been pounding away at this part of the Fundamentalist foundation.
Sadly, it must be acknowledged now that many in the Fundamentalist movement today have become Neo-Evangelical in heart. Perhaps this has happened because of their secret attractions to the expositional preaching of the Neo-Evangelicals; perhaps it is because of the popularity of the Neo-Evangelicals; perhaps they secretly have been listening to their music; perhaps they have become friends with them; perhaps it is because they have become tired of the battle. Nevertheless, the symptoms of Fundamenticide are evident. The stark reality is that Fundamenticide is a killing from within.
Let us note the progress of this slow killing that is taking place publicly. First, there has been the growing dislike for the Separatist principle. This term has left the pulpit; it has been removed from dress standards of churches and schools. Sports have now been made intercollegiate with many questionable schools. Neo-Evangelical speakers now are sprinkled throughout the year participating in seminars, special classes, and various conferences. Either such guests have become more separatist in their identification or the ones inviting them have compromised their own standards to bridge the gulf between the two. There is one thing that must be acknowledged about the Neo-Evangelicals: they left the Fundamentalist movement rather than stay in and try to subtly redefine Fundamentalism as we are witnessing today by a number of prominent leaders.
Secondly, it has been the Neo crowd that has paved the way in the guise of scholarship to introduce multi-versions of the Bible to the Evangelical world. They are the ones who made the NIV the most purchased Bible over the past two years. Now many in the Fundamentalist camp are joining the Neo-Evangelical multi-version emphasis; it truly has become the next step for the crossover.
Thirdly, Christian universities are contracting Neo-Evangelicals and Charismatics to write the music for Fundamentalism. We have had to hire the enemy to write the music for us. This is making the crossover to Neo-Evangelicalism easier for the people. Yes, the killing is slow, but sure.
The final ingredient has been to take the very term itself, Fundamentalism, and begin to mock it just as we have heard the intimidation leveled against the Authorized Version. We now are hearing the rumblings of a need to rid our legacy of the term Fundamentalist under the pretense of our name being misunderstood by the world. Why not clarify the term before the world rather than discard the term as if it is no longer usable? Men have fought the Neo’s under this banner for over a century. Is this our final change to sever the past? No doubt, there are all kinds of ingenious, pragmatic reasons that could be given to discard the term Fundamentalist, just as there have been to discard the Authorized Version.
Fundamentalism has so subtly synthesized into itself a form of Neo-Evangelicalism that the last vestige to be discarded is merely our name, already hated by the liberals and Neo-Christianity. The crossover is coming; the stage is being set! Separation has become both an archaic word and manner of living; the Philistines are now being contracted to write our music; we have now joined the Neo-Evangelicals in the acceptance of the multi-versions of the English Bible; we have joined them with a manifesting distaste for the Authorized Version. The final distinction that needs to be extinguished is the identifying term of our legacy.
Presently, what are the differences between Neo-Evangelicalism and contemporary Fundamentalism? When will the final deathblow be given to Fundamentalism? Will heaven rejoice and be thankful for the changes, or will heaven turn its back upon us? Once a man leaves truth, he will even believe the changes he initiates are of God. It is part of the delusion from God Himself upon those who have lost their love for truth. What brings the greatest sadness is that the movement will not be destroyed from without. Fundamenticide will be the work of “mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, [and who] hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9).
God raised up a remnant over these years that lifted up their voices to warn us. Their pens unveiled the subtle changes taking place. Will we now call them troublemakers? Will we stand aloof from them because they have been strongly persecuted by the changers who are boldly stepping forward? It is time for preachers, musicians, missionaries, teachers, and laymen to rise up and declare with honorable hearts, “We have gone too far in our changes! If we want to spiritually survive with God’s favor, we must return to the heart and spirit of our legacy! Oh God, send us a mighty soil-shaking revival that will bring repentance for what we have done and are doing!” May we say as Naboth said to Ahab, “The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee” (1 Kings 21:3).
The true spirit of the Fundamentalist will never die in the hearts of the remnant, even if the public face of the movement dies. God may be using the present distress within Fundamentalism to manifest all hearts. And those who have desired to leave the legacy will do so and coin another term, as the Neo-Evangelicals did. Yet, we plead for God’s Word and grace to save us as teachers, preachers, Christian churches, and institutions of learning from becoming an instrument to bring about the public Fundamenticide of this great legacy. May our Lord have mercy on the last bastion against the Apostasy: the Fundamentalist movement.