by Clay Nuttall
While here in Egypt, I have made some observations about the people, aside from their approach to worship. Denominations here exist along similar lines to those of my country. The truth is that, aside from the separate traditions and history of the two groups, they both have the same basic approach to the Bible. That could be good, or it could be tragic.
In our movement, an inherent weakness is apparent in our mental and spiritual approach to subjects. When a denomination is mentioned, our collection of intellectual data and considerations often causes us to view that denomination negatively; for that reason, I will not name any particular one. As soon as we hear a denominational name, we naturally think of our differences. We ought instead to consider our similarities so that, when a denomination is identified, we will ask questions rather than just making assumptions.
Obviously, there are wide varieties of theological views represented within any religious group. There are always those on the left or right, conservative or liberal, orthodox or heterodox. The problem is that people tend to take it for granted that any conservative person in such a movement is associated with the birds on the liberal side.
REALITY HAS SET IN
Why should we complain about such identification? If we associate with any group that has apostates in it, we are going to be viewed as at least giving credence to their beliefs. The answer, of course, is to put some distance between you and those who hold heretical views and also those who feel comfortable having any official tie with them. This is reality, where life is really lived. In fundamentalism, those who wanted to cuddle up to the liberal theological agenda have found a thousand reasons why it is okay to give aid and comfort to the bridge builders who take pride in constructing six-lane highways to apostates through folks who are theologically broad in their tolerance.
Some fundamentalists want to have their cake and eat it too. They sign up with every group that comes along, despite the apostates’ reputation in that association. It is not for me to judge their motive, but could it be numbers, or money, or prestige, or possibly a desire to be named with the intellectual elite?
BE HONEST – TAKE YOUR LUMPS
If you associate with those who tolerate full-blown liberalism, then don’t whine when you are suspect. If you lie down with people who believe that Adam and Eve were not real persons, but only ideas, what do you expect will happen? If you go around applauding those who are preterists, or who believe that God changes and does not really know everything, then how can you be surprised when you are tagged as believing such theological error yourself?
The tolerance now being lauded by some fundamentalists is the very reason that fundamentalist organizations, agencies, and institutions are now giving approval to liberal doctrines. This once great movement has become the playground of trends and fads based on human reasoning and relativism.
SAME SONG, SECOND VERSE
What is really behind all this corruption and confusion? In Egypt, as well as in my country, the real source is an allegorical-based approach to Scripture. This false standard lets man create any theological position he chooses. Using this system, one can generate anything from an adjusted conservatism to blatant apostasy.
In eschatology, the allegorical base may be used to “prove” anything from an imminent rapture to amillennialism. This is the problem in both countries to which I am referring. It is also the problem in fundamentalism, which is why the theological landscape has become so broad for people who still want to be identified with it.
On the other hand, when one holds a literal interpretation that rises from the text, rather than from some dogma, the results are very narrow. Using the hermeneutical system that comes directly from the Bible, one is limited to a very fine line. A Biblical system of interpretation allows one interpretation – an imminent rapture, period, and nothing else. It views Israel separate from the church, period, and nothing else. Any mixing of the two is a clear indication that the interpreter has left the system that rises from the Bible. A literal interpretation grounded firmly in the Word cannot possibly produce a post-tribulation rapture, let alone an amillennial theory.
We would be wise to stop making excuses for people who hold doctrinal error. It is not just that they have another view, or believe something else, or think another way. God does not care what they think; He cares about what He has said. Each text has one right interpretation, and all others are wrong. They are error, if not downright heresy. If something is not orthodox, it is heterodox; so stop changing the definition of orthodox to include liberal theology.
BACK TO DENOMINATIONS
The fact that all denominations in this country have the same base should be something we can learn from. The fact that most denominations in my country have the same base is something we should flee from. With the help of sly communicators in evangelicalism, ecumenism is winning the day; and the average Christian doesn’t have a clue. Neither do pastors who advertise to their people the twisted humanism found in most of today’s popular religious books.
For some, a theology that is Biblical has fallen on hard times. There is, however, a new day dawning in Egypt now that the literal interpretation, lost in the second century, has returned with power to Alexandria some 1,800 years later. Is it possible that what has been lost in America can also return? Let us pray that it will!
by Clay Nuttall
Original article can be found at http://literalhermeneutics.blogspot.com/2006/03/bids-of-feather-dr-clay-nuttall.html