If there is one thing that has harmed Christianity over the years, that’s fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is the concept that Christianity ought to be reduced to small asinine maxims that are based less on Scripture than they are based on cultural innovations from Western civilization. It has opened the faith of the Bible up to well deserved ridicule and criticism, and has turned the greatest source of human progress (the Bible) into a regressive ideology fit for people that have no interest nor ability to engage with any kind of critical thinking.
Interestingly enough, I’ve spent the last seven years with a group of people that seemed to have perfected fundamentalism to an artform and truly have somehow obtained the patent of all the worst parts of fundamentalism. Oh yes, my friends, the hounds of fundamentalism have been loosed on the world, and they are armed with anti-scholarship sentiments and the internet. These people have transcended the need for any scholarship that exist beyond their personal reading of their English Bibles and Google searches. This group is known as the Hebrew Roots Movements.
The Hebrew Roots Movement is a hotbed for fundamentalists of the most fashionable sort. These people, while claiming to be people committed to the text of Scripture, oftentimes couldn’t be more contrary to the text of Scripture. They decry Biblical scholarship and Christianity as a whole. They soothe their own ignorance by making the claim of being led only by the Holy Spirit, and often these “leadings” lead them to reject any sense of orthodox doctrine or modern scholarship. They are, in many cases, either anti-Christian or antisemitic. They believe themselves to be “voices in the wilderness” much like John the Baptist, but are much more akin to the early Gnostics. There is certainly such a thing as a healthy skepticism of institutions, but this healthy skepticism has been overturned in favor of outright pseudo-scholarship. This anti-intellectualism isn’t limited to theology, but extends to nearly every institution that one could conceive of. You name it. The Hebrew Roots Movement has replaced medical institutions with “natural medicine”, politics with conspiracy theories, and science with… well nothing.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. Proverbs 15:2
Is the Torah great? I offer my most hearty and sincere “absolutely”. The Torah is awesome and has dynamized my theology in ways that crushes any conceptions of antinomianism. Pronomianism is the only nomianism that jives with the entirety of Scripture from start to finish. That said, those rushing to the consistency of pronomian theology have no prepared ecclesiastical leadership to receive them and disciple them once they’ve arrived. Needless to say, when a mass of laymen arrive to this newfound theological position, the only ones there to foster their theology are those lacking everything except zeal. Ignorance + zeal = bad… very bad. What results, ladies and gentleman, is a train wreck of cults, heresy, and congregations with the lifespan of the average birthday candle.
What do we do about this? Well, first off, we’d do well to stop listening to any teacher or leaders that have no real qualifications to be making the claims that they are. We stop building fellowships and ministries around personalities and people that simply have the “gift of gab”. That’s a good start. Secondly, we build institutions and actually train our people. Imagine with me, if you will, a Torah movement that has people formally trained in hermeneutics, history, and Biblical languages. Now I want you to imagine that these people coming out of these colleges with their training are assisting us in building organizations that disciple, counsel, and grow communities that are advancing the ideologies and purposes of our awesome and powerful Creator. I’m having fun just thinking about it, aren’t you?
I love the Torah. I love pronomian theology. I believe in the Torah/Pronomian movement. God’s law is “perfect, reviving the soul”, as the Scripture reads. But, we have to do better. We have to expect better. We must resist those poisoning this movement. We can continue to push Christianity forward with this awesome theology. We can share this theology with our Christian friends and neighbors, and have intelligent and amicable conversation. We just have to stop being crazy, and tolerating crazy people. Say no to fundamentalism, my friends.