Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 121:484 (Oct 1964)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

Lloyd J. Averill, “Political Fundamentalism In Profile,” The Christian Century, August 12, 1964, pp. 1009-12.

Subject of this study is the rising political conservatism, which the author dubs “political fundamentalism.” It is the latest—but I am sure it will not be the last—in the Centurys open opposition to Senator Goldwater, which began with the editorial “Goldwater? No!” (July 1, 1964). The author sees a direct kinship between this political dispute and the liberal-fundamentalist theological struggle which has gone on sporadically through most of this century. He sees in this movement “a profile which differs from its religious alter ego only in detail.”

What he presents, however, is not “a profile.” Charitably it could be called a caricature. The explanatory headline summarizes his four points in the statement, “Like religious fundamentalism, it shuns reality, submits complex issues to simplistic formulas.” Concerning the judgment “shuns reality,” one might ask who is calling whom crazy.

Only one really valid fact can be drawn from the article. This is the insight of affinity between theological and political conservatism. In recent years, numerous political conservatives have been realizing that kinship and have left theologically liberal churches and pastors to join evangelical churches with a Biblical message and ministry. Obviously, not all political conservatives are theological conservatives, nor are all theological conservatives also political conservatives; but coexistence is frequent and normal. The reverse likewise is true—political and theological liberalism go hand-in-hand. Witness the Christian Centurys (religious liberalism’s mouthpiece) attack against Goldwater and political conservatism.

Underlying this affinity between political and theological conservatism is the belief in each field that certain principles endure as valid despite the passage of time. Theological conservatives, therefore, accept the fundamentals of the Christian faith as the eternal truth of God. These fundamentals are revealed in the Bible, which is the verbal message of God to men. Political conservatives, in similar fashion, believe that the form of government embodied in the Constitution of the United States of America is the best practical system for men to govern themselves.

Political and theological liberalism also have certain presuppositions in common. One is that all truth is relative and temporal. Another is that man is the measure of all things. A third is the operation of the principle of dialecticism in human affairs. These concepts have their modern philosophical ad...

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