I think it was Lester Roloff who coined the term “the fraternity of the free” in reference to our independent Baptist crowd. That is exactly what I found it to be when I left the Southern Baptist Convention over forty years ago. I have enjoyed that fraternity and recommend it to all without the slightest hesitation and without reservation.
When Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32), He gave us a foundational principle on which we can build for time and eternity.
Because of God’s truth we are a “fundamental fraternity.” With a Bible in our hands, we stake our claim on all that we find therein. From the awesome creation of Genesis to the amazing apocalypse of Revelation and all that is in between, we affirm and declare the Scripture’s authenticity and its accuracy. We believe it. We attach ourselves to it. We endeavor to live by it.
Because we are fundamentalists, we are “a focused fraternity.”
We are, first of all, focused on faith. We are saved by faith (Eph. 2:8) and we live by faith (Rom. 1:17).
We are also focused on faithfulness. “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (I Cor. 4:2). A solid Christian demeanor and deportment will always be the norm of the faithful.
We are focused on fruitfulness. Going through the motions and merely keeping the aquarium are not the trademarks of the fruitful. Jesus said,
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”—John 15:5,8,16.
Consequently we plant churches and we win people to Christ.
We are focused on fervency. As we “stir up the gift of God, which is in thee” (II Tim. 1:6), we gain an excitement that puts us to work. For all the Lord has entrusted to us we are fervent in the discharge of our responsibilities.
We are focused on fellowship. The family of believers who are fundamentalists fellowship with one another. Because we are anchored in the Word of God, we have our fellowship get-togethers.
Whether in our own local churches or in great national gatherings such as our National Sword Conference, we enjoy the camaraderie of our fellow laborers in the Lord’s work. We are independent, but we are not isolationists. We will never yield to ecumenism, but we will always fellowship with like-minded believers.
We are focused for the fight. You remember the instruction to “fight the good fight of faith” (I Tim. 6:12).
Sometime after that the apostle Paul wrote his own epitaph when he said, “I have fought a good fight” (II Tim. 4:7). It is here at this point that we lose a lot of good people.
Their convictions are soft and their courage is scarce. They have no stomach for opposing the Devil and his minions. Consequently, they will not fight for what’s right.
As for me, I will do whatever I have to do to defend and protect my family, my church and my country—they are worth the fight.
We don’t get up every morning looking for a fight; but if in the process of the day there is cause, we will not retreat in cowardice.
We are focused toward the future. If we waffle today; if we fail to stand; if we become spiritually dysfunctional; if we sidestep the Great Commission; if we weaken the pulpit; if we turn our churches into nightclubs; if we find it expedient to surrender to the culture; if we allow the networks, Hollywood and the universities to define us; if we give ourselves to the world, the flesh and, yes, the Devil; if we turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the revealed Word of God, then the future will not be pretty.
Oh, my fellow workers, we must keep the focus. Amen!
Every human arena including our fundamentalist fraternity will have human problems. We know that and we expect that, but there is a difference.
In this fraternity we can stand even if we must stand alone.
In this fraternity we do not pay the bills for the bad guys.
In this fraternity we hold the banner of the Lord high to exalt Him and preach His Gospel.
In this fraternity we stand without apology on the grand old Book, the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God, the Bible.
In this fraternity we make ado about church.
In this fraternity we honor those who honor the Lord.
In this fraternity we are grateful to the Lord for His goodness and mercy and we are excited to serve Him.
My friend, our door is open. Welcome to the fundamentalist fraternity.