Doctrinal Non-Issues In Historic Fundamentalism -- By: Rolland D. McCune

Journal: Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal
Volume: DBSJ 01:2 (Fall 1996)
Article: Doctrinal Non-Issues In Historic Fundamentalism
Author: Rolland D. McCune


Doctrinal Non-Issues In Historic Fundamentalism

Rolland D. McCune

* Dr. McCune is President and Professor of Systematic Theology at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary in Allen Park, MI.

Historic fundamentalism has always been characterized by a core of biblical, historic, orthodox doctrines.1 Those concerned mainly the Scriptures and Jesus Christ. Coupled with the doctrine of ecclesiastical separation and the practice of a militant propagation and defense of those beliefs, they have given fundamentalism its identity. The precise number of explicit doctrines or an “official” list of fundamentalist beliefs would be difficult if not impossible to ascertain since the agreement among fundamentalists has been somewhat general. Most fundamentalists would be content with terms like “major doctrines” or “cardinal doctrines” to describe their consensus.

Periodically, other doctrinal issues, usually on matters peripheral to the basic orthodox core, have arisen and have caused concern and controversy. In some cases efforts were made to make a particular insight an article of fundamentalist faith. Historically, these attempts have not been successful and the movement has not been characterized as a whole by these kinds of views. They remain non-issues in that regard. Fundamentalist individuals and groups have almost always gone beyond the general doctrinal consensus so as to positionalize more definitively their own local church, association, or cause but have not insisted on those same distinctives for fundamentalism as a movement.

Bible Versions, Texts, And Text Types

Historically, fundamentalists have held that the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible pertained to the autographs only and that copies, translations, and reproductions of the Scriptures derived inspiration from the original manuscripts insofar as they faithfully reproduced those

originals. Historic fundamentalists did not accord any special, much less miraculous, protection to any particular reproduction of the biblical text. They held that God preserved His Word providentially in the various manuscripts, copies, and reproductions of the original biblical text, and by diligent study and comparison, the original words of the Scriptures are available for translation into the English language.

The biblical evidence indicates that inspiration proper is confined to the autographs. Paul categorically affirmed that the things which “I write” are the Lord’s commandment (1 Cor 14:27). In Acts 1:16 Peter said that t...

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