Catholicism and Fundamentalism
By: Karl Keating
The real history of Fundamentalism is far more prosaic. It is mainly an American phenomenon influenced by British evangelicalism, and it would be difficult to trace its antecedents beyond the Great Awakening of the 1720s, by the end of which, two decades later, perhaps a third of the adults in the Colonies had undergone a religioous conversion. The Great Awakening might be credited with making the larger number of Americans consciously religious, and a widely spread religious sense meant a fertile ground for what would come to be fundamentalism. (p. 18)
The fundamentals identified in the series have been tallied variously, some listing as many as fourteen points. Most commentators agree on at least these five: (1) the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture; (2) the deity of Christ, including his Virgin Birth; (3) the substitutionary atonement of his death; (4) his literal resurrection from the dead; and (5) his lliteral return in the second coming. Dobson writes, "although some have expanded this list to include such issues as  a literal heaven and hell,  soulwinning,  a personal Satan, and  the local church, nevertheless, the doctrinal character of fundamentalism still centers around the five fundementals listed." (p. 17, numbers in square brackets added by me)
There are two points to be made.
- I) The Great Awakening was not a continuation of the Reformation.
It was an incomplete Counter-Reformation.
If you can imagine a Counter-Reformation without Eucharist, Blessed Virgin and Papacy, that is about what the Great Awakening was.
It was not a movement against the Eucharist, the Blessed Virgin or Papacy. That movement had happened about two hundred years earlier and was called Reformation.
It was a reversal of Reformation insofar as Reformation actually denied several of the Catholic claims on personal holiness.
Reformers said "don't pray the Rosary", and Wesley brothers prayed as long as if praying the Rosary.
Reformers said "don't fast on fridays or during Lent", Great Awakening and its successors have recommended fasting before great decisions, in a Novena, like the Apostles.
Reformers said "works don't get you saved", Great Awakening said "without these works, you are probably not saved".
Reformers said "a married man setting affections on his wife is probably better than a monk pretending to set his affection on God and necessarily (or close to) failing because of Adam's sin", Great Awakening said "sure, have affection for your spouse, but put affection for God before it".
Reformers said "Romanism is superstitious with its exorcisms", Fundies today (perhaps since later than Great Awakening) are claiming the power to exorcise demons.
Reformers said "age of miracles is past, it ended with death of last Apostle", Fundies today often claim to have the power to perform miracles.
Reformers said "Antichrist has been reigning for centuries, each pope being that", Fundies today often agree with Catholics (at least like Medievals and Counter-Reformation) that Antichrist and False Prophet are two specific human persons whose reign of terror will rest in force for 3 and a half years. When 7th Day Adventists try to paint it out we should be dealing with as many calendar years as there are days in 3 years and 6 month, they are not just fighting Catholics, they are in fact fighting other Fundies.
Calvin at least (if CSL was not relying on hearsay) was ready to consider Book of Jonah a religious novel, and all Fundamentalists I know of describe, like the Catholic Church of Reformation times, Book of Jonah as valid historic fact.
Probably Calvin back then and Modernist Catholics now are both getting their doubts from same source, namely Rabbinic Judaism. A heresy back then and a heresy now.
- II) All of the five Fundamentals and most of the rest added by Dobson are in fact Catholic doctrine.
I may agree that Fundamentalism as part of Evangelical movement has the base of:
- Christianity from before the Reformation
- Great Awakening
- Defense of Fundamentals in tradition of Great Awakening.
But if Keating tries to tie the defense of fundamentals down to the couple Reformation and Great Awakening, I do instead tie the attack on these fundamentals down to Reformation and its logical conclusions like Freemasonry, Enlightenment, Freethinkers, Idealist rather than Dogmatic clergies.
And the Defense of the Fundamentals is largely simply a defense of what was already there since back before Reformation.
It is basically not a Protestant but a Christian thing.
It is also a thing which largely borrows intellectually from Catholics, from early Fundamentalists taking Pascal's Wager into their soul winning up to recent nods of agreement to Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Let's take the five fundamentals:
- (1) the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture - Fundamentalists agree with Trent against Socinians and with Leo XIII against Loisy.
- (2) the deity of Christ, including his Virgin Birth - Fundamentalists agree with Nicea I against Arians and with all tradition against Jewry.
- (3) the substitutionary atonement of his death - Fundamentalists may be narrowing down on one aspect of redemption but one which is there. Confirmed by St Thomas Aquinas and by Trent.
- (4) his literal resurrection from the dead - Fundamentalists are Christians and not "Deutsche Christen" or Muslims.
- (5) his literal return in the second coming - Fundamentalists believe the Creed.
So, what exactly is un-Catholic about Fundamentalism?
There may be lots that is un-Catholic about such or such a Fundamentalist "Church", but that is not their Fundamentalism, that is their Protestantism, the thing they have in common with Tony Palmer and "Archbishops" of Canterbury or Uppsala. Who are most usually not Fundamentalist.
What about the other items?
-  a literal heaven and hell - yes please! Ideally not just literally extant, but literally localised in relation to more mundane parts of the universe.
-  soulwinning - in what exact way?
St Theresa of Child Jesus knew certain ways were appropriate for the priest and not for her as a nun, while others were very appropriate especially for her.
Now, soulwinning is an action which Evangelicals tend to streamline.
But on some occasions some at least of their methods might be appropriate. Pope Pius XI thought a Catholic Action was necessary for winning the souls who would never ever see a priest, as long as not converted first.
-  a personal Satan - well, it was NOT the Catholic Church they had to defend THIS doctrine against!
-  the local church - local in what way?
So as not to be part of a regional see or patriarchy or of a universal Church? No. If so, they are wrong.
However, on sites dedicated to inerrancy of the Bible, they are NOT usually lambasting Catholic Church. At least not on the ones I frequent and recommend.
So, when Karl Keating says (p.15):
True, there have long been people who are strict Calvinists, and Fundamentalism is nothing if not Calvinistic.
When he says that, he is wrong.
Next words merit attention, more in fact than he gave them:
Yet, until a lifetime ago, fundamentalism as we know it was not a separate movement within Protestantism, and the word itself was unknown.
It was unknown because Protestant confessions were generally going Modernist in great masses and whoever disagreed was simplya conservative within his own confession. It was also unknown because the equally fundamentalist Catholics were even more at home in their Church, in ours. The one which Popes like Leo XIII and St (Bl?) Pius X defended. The one which modernists have attacked.
People who today would be called fundamentalists where then just Presbyterian or Baptist, or whatever ...
Karl Keating forgets that "whatever" includes Roman Catholics. Ken Miller did not quite forget it.
When he wrote "Finding Darwin's God" he admitted that the priest who prepared him for First Confession and Communion was ... in fact a Fundamentalist. Hence my reply to Ken Miller "Saying with Father Murphy's God".
As for me, I am a bit tired of Catholics in France lapping up each word from Karl Keating as if it were Gospel Truth and weighed on a goldsmith's balance. I am tired of being thought Protestant (as in denying Holy Mass or Seven Sacraments or the Honour given by God and by Church to the Blessed Virgin Mary) because I consider Heaven and Hell literal places.
I am tired of being considered as involved in soul winning of the Evangelical type because I consider God made the world 5199 before Christ.
I am tired of being considered as even moving in that direction. I am tired of Catholics telling their Pentecostal friends over Ecumenism "we can't do anything, maybe he'll listen to you, since you are Protestant". I know exactly how much I have in common intellectually with an Evangelical; but I also know exactly how much I do NOT have in common with him.
And I am tired of Catholics considering I must (unless insincere) be Protestant because I am Geocentric, while Protestants with somewhat greater realism hope I would denounce the judgement of 1633 against Galileo as soon as I ceased to be a Papist. I am not going that way. Was not going that way etn years ago, am not going that way now.
I am also getting tired of Modernists getting away with posing like Catholics, despite my denouncing them, or even more their stance, as incompatible with Tradition. I am tired of paying their good reputation of being Catholics with having an undeserved bad one myself as not being so.
Hans Georg Lundahl
St Philip, Deacon
and St Norbert, Priest