Self Defense from a Fundamentalist Attack
12 Scriptures No Fundamentalist Believes
(Part 8 “Let us leave the elementary teachings”)
Fundamentalism teaches that scripture is to be understood at the literal level, and that all scripture is inspired at the same level. When we see texts that seem immature, cruel, or just wrong, fundamentalism tells us to close our hearts and minds and obey scripture as if it were literal instructions from God.
Today we are looking at a place where Paul admits that some of his earlier teachings were scaled down because of the immaturity of his listeners. “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, because you weren’t ready for it.” Paul is saying his earlier teachings were put in an immature form and now he wants the church to grow up. He says in Hebrews, “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,”
Amazing! Paul is telling us to outgrow what he has taught us!
Fundamentals are like the roots of a plant. They are the foundation, but they are not the “point.” The plant is fulfilled by its fruit not by its root. So religion must begin simple enough for children without trapping us at that level. In fact, Jesus compared his own teaching to seeds. The seed is set of instructions, but also a catalyst that begins a chain reaction of growth in the soil. The seed dies in the soil and the plant is born. Literalism is like trying to eat the seeds.
So Paul tells us to “grow up,” but grow up into what? Corinthians makes it clear that all religion is to aim at love. “When I was a child, thought as a child, I reasoned as a child, but when I became an adult I put aside my childish ways. “ Paul says the law was a kind of babysitter given until we could grow up and take responsibility. “Therefore the Law was our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”
Paul further says the law is only a reflection of what God is calling us to, which is love. “The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves.” In other words, it’s okay to outgrow what we have been taught. In fact, Paul is frustrated with people who keep returning to the basics when it is time to let go of fundamentalism and grow up into love.