20 Reasons I Don’t Take Potshots at Fundamentalists

20 Reasons I Don’t Take Potshots at Fundamentalists

A regular reader of this blog and frequent commenter, brought this item by John Piper to my attention.

He commented, “With reference to the Norwegian massacre, this little treatment of ‘fundamentalists’ is very kind, and it does ring true of many I know. We may laugh at some of the quirkiness…….but where have all these faithful people gone?”

Written by: John Piper

1. They are humble and respectful and courteous and even funny (the ones I’ve met).

2. They believe in truth.

3. They believe that truth really matters.

4. They believe that the Bible is true, all of it.

5. They know that the Bible calls for some kind of separation from the world.

6. They have backbone and are not prone to compromise principle.

7. They put obedience to Jesus above the approval of man (even though they fall short, like others).

8. They believe in hell and are loving enough to warn people about it.

9. They believe in heaven and sing about how good it will be to go there.

10. Their “social action” is helping the person next door (like Jesus), which doesn’t usually get written up in the newspaper.

11. They tend to raise law-abiding, chaste children, in spite of the fact that Barna says evangelical kids in general don’t have any better track record than non-Christians.

12. They resist trendiness.

13. They don’t think too much is gained by sounding hip.

14. They may not be hip, but they don’t go so far as to drive buggies or insist on typewriters.

15. They still sing hymns.

16. They are not breathless about being accepted in the scholarly guild.

17. They give some contemporary plausibility to New Testament claim that the church is the “pillar and bulwark of the truth.”

18. They are good for the rest of evangelicals because of all this.

19. My dad was one.

20. Everybody to my left thinks I am one. And there are a lot of people to my left.

Desiring God


  1. SDG

    Hi Don,
    I came to ‘discover’ Piper quite late on really, and I find his ministry so helpful. He deals with his subjects (and what a range!) so fairly, and he touches the heart of the matter. I read his excellent little book, ‘Don’t Waste Your Life’ on holiday, and it set so many things in context for me, as I am at another one of life’s crossroads.

    This little piece on Fundamentalists is just another example of how your attitude to others can be transformed once it is soaked in the word of God. The problem we have in the contemporary church scene is that we are being marinated in the spirit, values and attitudes of this age. For that there can be only one answer – the one Piper gives us so consistently – to become systematically and thoroughly immersed in our ONE AND CERTAIN guide, God’s own inspired and holy Word.

    Thanks for your helpful and thought provoking articles, Don.


  2. Don

    And thank you, SDG.

    I, too, have undergone a change in my outlook – or perhaps more correctly, a return to the influences of my younger years, particularly the training of my father.

    Slowly through our child-rearing years under the subtle influences of ‘evangelical’ churches that took a ‘middle road’, my theology became less robust, less Bible-based. I truly wasn’t aware of this liberal drift, so like the proverbial frog in the pot on the stove, I would have boiled to death without knowing it.

    God, in His graciousness, rescued me by bringing an incident into my life that caused be to suddenly become aware of just how far I had drifted away from the biblical foundations of my faith.

    The solution was right there all along – before my eyes – His Word, preached and read (1 Tim 4:13); no fancy programs, no latest fads and trends, just the Word of God applied to the life of a sinner by His gracious Holy Spirit.

  3. Simon

    Hi Don, this is a really good little reminder from Dr Piper. I especially appreciate his last point; “Everybody to my left thinks I’m one, and there’s a lot of people to my left.” I also really appreciate no. 10 – how underrated is that point!?

  4. Don

    Talking about my favorites in this list, given my age, 12 & 13 apply automatically 😉

    As I indicated in my response to SDG, my father was a wonderful godly influence in my life, so I suppose the one that I relate to most is #19.

    Thanks for your comment, Simon – come back soon!

  5. jeff

    Thanks for this link. I thought #1 was good–the fact that they are funny! There’s something about over-seriousness among religious folks that is a mask to cover up something, I don’t know what, it’s not always the same, but over-seriousness is not always a good thing. Nor is clowning around and flippancy, but there’s something about funny that smacks of truthfulness. People frequently say that a joke is “Funny cuz it’s so true.” Exactly.

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