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Robert H. Gundry


A Paleofundamentalist Manifesto for Contemporary Evangelicalism

If Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the remaining books of the Bible offer theologies that vary according to the different circumstances in and for which these books were written (without any negative prejudice I leave aside the question of an underlying theological unity), if we accept the entirety of the Bible as canonical and therefore its various theologies as all divinely authoritative, and if it is not enough for us to know these theologies, if we must also apply them variously to circumstances like those for which they were originally tailored, then we might well ask ourselves whether we North American evangelicals are fast falling, or have already fallen, into circumstances that call for a reinstatement of John's sectarianism with its masterly, totalizing, but divisive Christology of the Word that speaks truth so incisively that as the Word, Jesus is the truth over against the father of lies, Satan, who has deceived all unbelievers. Extreme? Yes, but there are times for extremes.

Habitually, those who recognize the sectarianism of John, in particular the narrowing down of the love commandment, minimize as much as possible that narrowing (if they do not reject it altogether) and then expatiate on its dangers. Those dangers include an isolation from the world that goes beyond separation, makes impossible an effective Christian witness to the world, and hardens the world's opposition to the gospel and oppression of the church. Other dangers often cited are a tendency to let the division of believers from unbelievers degenerate into divisiveness among believers themselves, and a repression of non-Christians in the event that sectarians gain political power: "Christian universalism linked to christological exclusivism, when given the power to enforce its will, can result (and sometimes has resulted) in coercion or repression of all that refuses Christianization."[1] Even those who see in the narrowing some positive values—mutual encouragement, nonassimilation ...

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