Fundamentalists Divided

by Pastor J. C. O'Hair

For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.

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Who are the Fundamentalists? The Fundamentalists are the orthodox Christians who have assumed the responsibility of contending earnestly for the faith once-for-all delivered unto the saints, in obedience to Jude 3. But there is considerable commotion in the camp, because Fundamentalists are not agreed among themselves on all the points concerning the faith. Therefore the several different groups are spending much of their time and energy contending against one another for or against some special phase of Bible truth, which some claim is part of that faith delivered unto the saints and which others say is not.

The intelligent student of the Bible might ask, “to which saints do you refer” and “to which faith, or spiritual program do you refer?” The Lord had more than one company of saints and different programs for the different companies.

All Fundamentalists are agreed on some fundamentals. They are not divided as to the plenary inspiration of the Bible, the eternal Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Deity and personality of the Holy Spirit. They are agreed concerning the need of redemption and regeneration on the grounds of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are agreed as to the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are agreed that God’s grace is sufficient for the salvation of any kind of a sinner and is likewise sufficient for the believer’s spiritual walk and life of victory, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

All Fundamentalists claim that they believe that the believing sinner is saved by grace and by grace alone, by nothing but the gospel of the grace of God; and that the believing sinner, justified by God’s grace without a cause (Romans 3:24), is complete in Christ; that he needs nothing to aid toward this completeness except the redemptive work of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Colossians 2:10.

It is sad to relate that some leaders among Fundamentalists are making false claims concerning some other Fundamentalists with whom they disagree in some points. They are enemies of other Fundamentalists who are preaching and practicing what all Fundamentalists claim to believe; namely, that Christ is sufficient, without religion. These friendly enemies have added to Christ and grace. In contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints, they are contending for a mixture of grace and religion. They not only refuse to have fellowship with those who are satisfied with Christ, without religion; but they persecute them, malign them, and give them the choice of their religious mixture or their religious condemnation.

I have just returned from an eastern city where I enjoyed fellowship with a company of devoted saints who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth. They are spiritual, but not religious. There is a great difference. They are members of the Body of Christ, identified with Him in death, burial and resurrection; seated with Him, complete in Him, blessed with all spiritual blessings, seeking those things which are above as they endeavor to walk worthy of their vocation or calling. There are a number of “Fundamentalist” preachers and workers in that same city who claim to be “grace” preachers and “grace” teachers. They are filled with religious zeal because they have failed to obey II Timothy 2 :15. Their “church” programs are mixtures of God’s orders to Israel and His high and holy truth for members of the Body of Christ. Their opposition to the messengers of grace is so subtle that it seems to be directed by one who is superhuman. They apparently have ceased their attacks upon the Modernists, Christian Scientists, Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Unity, New Thought, the cults that deny the Book, the Blood and the Blessed Hope; and are concentrating on a little company who are standing uncompromisingly, valiantly, and sacrificially for all three. What’s the matter? Why are the leaders of Fundamentalists in Chicago doing the same thing? Such opposition is from one who is very religious, but who has long kept the saints of God from the highest and most blessed truth in the Word of God. “We are not ignorant of his devices.” It is the old spirit in a new movement, “except ye be circumcised and keep the law of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” Here it is up-to-date; “Except ye agree with us about water baptism, as to when the Body of Christ began (historically), and agree to keep quiet with us about the “Acts” Church program and the sign gifts of I Corinthians so our followers will not see the fallacy of our dispensationalism, we’ll have to disown you, disqualify you and disfellowship you.” Many of these men of God are so determined in their bitter opposition that they do not hesitate to resort to ungracious, unjust and in some cases, untruthful statement to prejudice their followers against fellow-members of the Body of Christ who refuse to include their religious planks in their “grace” platform.

Down through the dark ages of church history and down to the present time church leaders have wanted their followers to look upon them as Job did upon his counselors; but not in the same satirical spirit: “No doubt but ye are the people and wisdom will die with you.” Job 12:2. Moreover, these leaders have insisted that their followers accept their interpretations of the Scriptures, discouraging those who would continue their search for Divine truth beyond the knowledge of those in control of the denominations, circles, or movements with which they are affiliated. Few have been more intolerant than are some of the recognized leaders in Fundamental circles today, who, unable to disprove the teaching of other Fundamentalists by an appeal to the Holy Scriptures, resort to the use of carnal weapons. Religious people have ever done this.

In considering the unhappy divisions that exist among present-day Fundamentalists, we are not referring to the differences designated “premillennialism” and “postmillennialism.” To be sure that is deplorable. Neither are we thinking of the differences of interpretation and practice concerning Holy Spirit baptism (whether it is an experience separate from and subsequent to salvation), with the speaking in tongues and fanatical physical healing, visions, signs, etc. Any true messenger of the grace of God knows that these religious preachers and teachers are ignorant of God’s message and program for this “Grace” dispensation, notwithstanding their boast of orthodoxy, their sincerity and enthusiastic zeal and the apparent success of their movements. We are referring to the unpleasant, although perhaps not unprofitable, discord and controversy found among Fundamentalists, who preach the finished work of Christ as the sinner’s only need and only hope, the eternal security of every sinner saved by pure and unadulterated grace. These Fundamentalists are divided into two general camps, the “so-called dispensationalists”, and the “so-called ultra-dispensationalists.” Their differences concerning the interpretation, appropriation and application of the Bible are “dispensational” and not “inspirational”.

Other differences which exist between these two camps of Fundamentalists are because of their differences concerning the beginning and program of that dispensation of the grace of God to which the Apostle Paul referred to in Ephesians 3:1 and 2.

The dispensationalists declare that the dispensation of the grace of God began on the day of Pentecost, several weeks after Christ; that the commission of Mark 16:15 to 18 introduced that dispensation of the grace of God on the day of Pentecost, and which has continued to the present time and which dispensation will close with the rapture of the Body of Christ, in accordance with I Thessalonians 4:13 to 18. The dispensationalists are not only warm hearted but hotheaded, in their determinate opposition to the ultra-dispensational teaching, that God caused the Apostle Paul, after the close of the “Acts” period, to prevent a revised Church program; after that period not only to present Divine truth that supplemented the truth of the “Acts” period, but some new truth of that period. The dispensationalists give no Scriptural explanation for the absence in present-day Church programs of the program of the Church in the Book of Acts. Neither the dispensationalists, nor the ultra-dispensationalists are proclaiming or preaching the instructions of Christ in Mark 16:15 to 18, or the message, order and program of Acts 2:22 to 43. Neither of them are making any attempt to preach or practice the order of Acts 19:1 to 7. Neither of them are trying to duplicate, perpetuate, or recover, for the church today the signs, ceremonies, visions, miracles and gifts of the Acts period. Not one of the leaders in either camp is trying to exercise any of the gifts of I Corinthians 12:8 to 10, except as preachers may be called prophets. Without any intelligent Scriptural explanation the dispensationalists arbitrarily select from the “Acts” period, water baptism and the Lord’s supper, to the exclusion of the signs, gifts, imposition of hands, divine judgments, visions, etc. In defense of this inconsistency their appeal is more to “Church history” than obedience to II Timothy 2;15. In their camp quite often is heard, “after all these years,” instead of submitting their dispensationalism to the Berean test. Of course it requires a reformation, or a revolution, to substitute “what saith the Scriptures” for “after all these years”. “Do you mean to say, after all these years Christians have been wrong?” This is not the test.

The ultra-dispensationalists declare that they cannot harmonize the message of Ephesians 2:8 and 9; Titus 3:5 and 6; II Timothy 1:9 and Romans 3:24 with Mark 16:15 to 18; Acts 2:38; Acts 8:5, 12 and 15; Acts 10:34 to 37; Acts 19:3 to 6. This dispensationalists declare that they can, but they never do. In their futile attempt to do so they do that which they are forbidden to do; they change the Word of God. We quote the Scriptures above mentioned:

Ephesians 2:8 and 9:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

“Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Titus 3:5 and 6:

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

“Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;”

II Timothy 1:9”

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”

Romans 3:24:

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”

Mark 16:15 to 18:

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;”

“They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

Acts 2:38:

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 8:5, 12, 15:

“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.” “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”

“Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:”

Acts 10:34 to 37:

‘Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:”

“But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”

“The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)”

“That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;”

Acts 19:3 to 6:

:And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.”

“Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.’

“And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”

Let us repeat, that not a “grace” preacher among Fundamentalists preaches to any sinner Acts 2:38, repentance and baptism, for the reception of the Holy Spirit. What student of the Word of God cannot see, by comparing the second chapter of Acts with the second chapter of Ephesians, that the messages are different messages addressed to different people, offering them different blessings and different hope? Are we not to test the things that differ? Philippians 1:10 (R.V.). Here is a simple test.

Not one of these “grace” preachers among Fundamentalists preaches Mark 16:16 to any sinner; “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”; “and signs shall follow.” Does it not seem ridiculous that they will claim they are working under this commission and then refuse to preach the message and observe the order of the commission? Who has the right to preach “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved?” Where are the signs following? They are not found following the preaching of the grace of God gospel in the first century after Paul’s declaration in Ephesians 3:1 to 11. Where is the verse of Scripture that instructs a believer already in the Body of Christ to baptize another believer already in the same Body?

For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.