Fundamentalist Christianity's Philosophical Roots: An Infographic

Fundamentalist Christianity's Philosophical Roots: An Infographic

Growing up in independent, fundamental Baptist churches, I couldn’t figure out why things made sense to the people in charge. Why did the preacher think his explanation of a biblical text made sense? Why did fundamentalist authors say their conclusions were obvious from a bunch of (random to me) “facts”? Didn’t they realize how illogical they were? 

By the time I started writing about fundamentalist music for my doctoral research, I thought (and still think) that faith doesn't have to conform to contemporary American ideals of logic. But I still wondered why fundamentalists often reasoned so differently from this modern norm. 

I soon found out there are clear historical reasons for the ways fundamentalists understand the world and the Bible.

Just as importantly, I discovered why their views and methods made so little sense to me in twenty-first century America: fundamentalists' philosophy and hermeneutics were mainstream in America prior to the 1870s but these approaches were gradually replaced by other perspectives. As a result, “the philosophical outlook that had graced America’s finest academic institutions came to be generally regarded as merely bizarre” (Marsden p. 8). 

Three main philosophical traditions shape how fundamentalists interpret the Bible and how they understand the world: Scottish Common Sense Realism, the Baconian scientific method, and plain reading in the Baptist tradition.

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Singing through the Year: Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

Singing through the Year: Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

"Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart" is a prayer for the Holy Spirit's work in our lives. The fruit of the Spirit is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (from Gal. 5:22-23). These fruit evidence "the newness of life" we have in Christ that this coming Sunday's Gospel reading describes.

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What's So Important About Church Acoustics? An Infographic

What's So Important About Church Acoustics? An Infographic

The acoustics of every congregational worship space—from living room to cathedral—affect how people experience services there. 

In other words, everything shaping the path of sound waves through these spaces—from the kind of flooring to the height of the ceiling to how many people are gathered and whether they are wearing winter coats—mediates the sounds people hear.

If that space was built for church services, then the planners made intentional choices to prioritize certain kinds of sound.

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Pipe Organs: The Real, the Good, and the Beautiful

Pipe Organs: The Real, the Good, and the Beautiful

The American Guild of Organists’ magazine recently featured an electronic organ on the front cover. 

This cover photo validated organists whose primary instruments are electronic, but dismayed others by implying that these instruments are on par with pipe organs.

These feelings arise from basic questions: What is a real organ? And how does being a real instrument relate to what is beautiful and good?

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