What Is the Difference Between Fundamentalist Christianity and Evangelical Christianity?

What Is the Difference Between Fundamentalist Christianity and Evangelical Christianity? July 7, 2022

What Is the Difference Between Fundamentalist Christianity and Evangelical Christianity?

What Is the Difference Between Fundamentalist Christianity and Evangelical Christianity?

When people hear about a Fundamentalist Christianity and Evangelical Christianity, many think they are the same thing. Yet, Christianity is on a spectrum. Christianity is like the political spectrum. In politics, you move from right to left, you go from conservative, to moderate, to liberal. Democrats are on the left (with the Democrat Socialists being on the far left). Republicans are on the right. There are moderate Republicans. Yet, as you move further right Republicans become more conservative. This side of the political spectrum ends with right-wing Republicans who espouse more Trumpian views.

The same is true in Christianity. There are liberal Christians (the Christian Left) who is make up many mainline Christian faiths. As you move to the right, you become more moderate and then conservative. Those on the right are considered Evangelical Christians. Yet, as you move further to the right, you go from Evangelical to Fundamentalist. The Fundamentalist movement spans many different denominations, including Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and even Catholics.

FIVE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIANITY AND EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANITY

1. Biblical inerrancy

By inerrancy, fundamentalists mean two things. First, they believe that the Bible is without error in the original manuscripts. As a result, they believe in the verbal plenary form of inspiration. Second, a Fundamentalist has a narrow view about Bible translation. You can spot a Fundamentalist today because they read out of the King James Bible. Many of these churches call themselves “King James Version Only” churches.

Evangelical Christians believe in the same Biblical inerrancy. They may not be as strict as Fundamentalists. Evangelicals are willing to read more translations, including the New King James Version, the English Standard Version, as well as the Christian Standard Bible.

2. Biblical separation

Fundamentalist Christians believe that every Christian should refuse fellowship who are not Christian, and who are not as doctrinally pure as themselves. Fundamentalists would emphasize the “separation” of the Christian from others who might corrupt a Fundamentalist’s view of Christianity. These Christians like to separate from anything that the world presents that would be considered evil.

Evangelical Christians believe in doctrinal purity. However, they believe in working together with other Christian groups. To share the Gospel with more people in the world, they are willing to work with others.

3. Biblical education

This separation therefore extends to education. Fundamentalist Christians believe that what the schools teach is in total opposition to what they believe in their faith. They see secular education as something that would corrupt the mind of a Christian. This is the reason why many homeschoolers follow Fundamentalist Christian ideas.

Evangelical Christians believe in Christian schools. However, they also believe that Christians are called to make an impact in the public school system. “See Ya at the Pole” is an example initiative from Evangelical Christians.

4. Biblical traditions

There are traditions from the Bible that Fundamentalists hold dear. For example, they believe in a literal seven-day creation, and American exceptionalism as important elements of the Christian faith. They teach that there are “traditional values” which is code for certain Christian beliefs that have to do with how people should relate to others. For example, Fundamentalists believe in clearly defined sex roles, and the roles of the husband and the wife in the home. Fundamentalist Christians tend to exalt the men as the leader of the home. They have limiting views about hair, clothes, entertainment.

Many Evangelical churches in recent years have been willing to adapt traditions to reach more people for Jesus Christ. They would adapt the music to include praise and worship, along with traditional hymns. Many Evangelical Christians still believe in traditional marriage. However, they believe that the husband and the wife can share the roles. While Fundamentalists are complementarians, Evangelicals are egalitarian.

5. Biblical enemies

Fundamentalist Christians identify enemies very easily. Fundamentalists see everyone as in competition. They are anti-evolution, anti-communist, anti-ecumenical. Because they have such views of opposition, people think Fundamentalists are against everyone.

Evangelical Christians get lumped in with Fundamentalist Christians on this point. However, many Evangelical Christians are willing to work with other churches to accomplish the work of sharing the Gospel. EC churches believe in cooperation. They are also willing to come together with other churches in different ministry efforts.

Photo by Alicia Quan on Unsplash


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