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Fed Up with Fundamentalism [Paperback]

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Pages   283
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.69"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 17, 2007
Publisher   4-L Publications
ISBN  1595268596  
EAN  9781595268594  

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Item Description...
Forthrightly, but without rancor, in this book the author elucidates the major weaknesses of and problems with Christian fundamentalism. Rather than condemning or rejecting fundamentalism, though, the book forwards a theological understanding of the Christian faith that is truer to the message of Jesus-and one that will be more appealing to readers who are "fed up" with the faults of fundamentalism. Since many people are considering leaving-or have already left-Christianity because of fundamentalism, this book seeks to help such people find and embrace a different, more genuine expression of the faith. The book encourages non-Christians who feel negative toward the Christian religion because of fundamentalism to take another look at Christianity to see that there is a form of that faith which does not include all the odious aspects of fundamentalism. Those who read this well-researched and insightful book, partly based on the author's experiences, will not only gain a fuller understanding of fundamentalism but will also see that it is possible to be a faithful follower of Christ without being a fundamentalist. About the Author Leroy Seat (b. 1938) has been a Christian preacher for over fifty years and a university and seminary teacher for more than forty years. He and his wife, June, served for thirty-eight years as missionaries in Japan. From 1968 to 2004 he was a full-time faculty member at Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka City, teaching mainly in the Department of Theology. During his last eight years in Japan he served as chancellor of Seinan Gakuin, a school complex with more than 10,000 students. The author received his Ph.D. degree from The Southern Baptist TheologicalSeminary, when it was still a moderate institution.

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Fundamentalism Exposed  Jun 13, 2008
For more than 35 years, Leroy Seat served as professor and later chancellor at Seinan Gakuin University (SGU), a university complex of more than 10,000 students in Fukuoka City, Japan. Currently he is a Lecturer in Theology at Rockhurst University in Kansas City.

Seat was sent to Japan in 1966 to teach at SGU under the auspices of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). After many years of faithful service to his denomination and the university, Seat found himself caught up in the fundamentalist controversy that raged in the 1980s and 1990s among Southern Baptists. And after the dust had settled, those of a more moderate theological persuasion, such as Seat, found themselves on the outside looking in. The culmination of this process that began in 1979 was the adoption by the SBC of a new confession of faith in 2000 that positioned the denomination in a much more rigid theological framework. Because Seat refused to agree to be bound by the parameters of that new document, he was forced into retirement in 2004.

While the topic of this book is broader than simply Baptists and fundamentalism, Southern Baptists do form the context out of which Seat writes. This personal contextualization provides a real advantage for the reader, because Seat's book illustrates that the type of militant fundamentalism that emerged from the "new" Southern Baptist Convention was not simply an innocuous theological sparring among academicians and pastors, but rather had real impact on real lives and livelihoods.

Fed Up With Fundamentalism is neither a diatribe against the "new" Southern Baptist Convention, nor a lament for the "old" SBC. Throughout the book the author's love and appreciation for his Baptist background are evident. Yet, Seat's pain and dismay over what has occurred in his beloved denomination are equally evident throughout. The book is not written out of anger but out of loss--loss of a tradition and heritage that has traded freedom for authoritarianism, diversity for uniformity, autonomy for centralization, cooperation for coercion, personal faith for civil religion. The fundamentalist theology forced on Southern Baptist theologians not only threatened to strip them of their theology but also their denominational home. Seat was faced with the option of losing his soul or his job. He chose the latter, and this book chronicles why.

Fed Up With Fundamentalism has many strengths, not the least of which is its concise and helpful survey of the rise of Christian fundamentalism in America. As a reaction to the emergence of biblical criticism and liberalism in the 19th century, the fundamentalist movement originated as an attempt to recapture the basic, fundamentals of the faith. After the debacle of the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925, however, fundamentalism began to position itself as a militant movement, characterized by anti-intellectualism, obscurantism, and extremism. A more moderate form of fundamentalism would evolve into the "evangelical" movement of the 1960s and beyond, but the more strident form of fundamentalism would reappear in the 1980s and become the predominant theological perspective in such groups as the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Southern Baptist Convention. Many Southern Baptist theologians, including Seat, who had been trained in the broader perspective of mainline Christianity, found themselves marginalized by this embracing of a more rigid theology. Southern Baptist educational institutions began to purge their faculties of those who would not conform to the new theological parameters. Seat was caught up in this purge.

The heart of this book explores the many reasons why the author is fed up with fundamentalism. He includes such general reasons as fundamentalism's tendency toward indoctrination, coercion, intolerance, and obscurantism. Seat also offers specific chapters on fundamentalism's attitudes toward the Bible, religious freedom, war, women, abortion, homosexuality, and capital punishment. Seat concludes that the answer to fundamentalism is not to embrace liberalism, which has its own limits, but rather to go beyond fundamentalism to embrace the true message of Christ.

The subtitle of Fed Up with Fundamentalism alerts the reader that this is not only a historical and theological appraisal of fundamentalism but is also a personal one. The reader might be tempted to dismiss this book as rooted too much in the personal disputes of the author with his denomination, but such is not the case. While the book does make an important contribution to the growing literature of Southern Baptists who have been marginalized by the regnant leadership of that denomination, its examples and illustrations are broader than Southern Baptists. The issues Seat touches on are not peripheral but are central in the debates among most, if not all, Christian denominations today.

I recommend this book for those who would like to know more about the roots of fundamentalism, its theological perspectives, it strategies for expansion, and more importantly, the ways in which it cleverly packages and promotes not the "gospel of Christ" but a "different (hetero) gospel" (Gal. 1:6 ).
An Irenic Critic   Apr 11, 2008
Without bitterness or acrimony, but with penetrating insight and scholarly analysis, Leroy Seat gives thoughtful, biblical and personal reasons for being "Fed up with Fundamentalism." The leaders, issues and styles of warfare used by Christian fundamentalists are weighed and found wanting on ethical, biblical and logical grounds.
He has seen enough and knows enough about the nature of the Christian life, the biblical materials and the claims and strategies of fundamentalism that he can no longer remain silent about the shortcomings of this powerful but misguided social and religious movement.
Seat was for thirty-eight years a professor and then chancellor of Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka City, Japan, and thus brings an international perspective to his analysis of fundamentalism in America. He also notes similarities with other fundamentalist movements: Islamic, Jewish and Hindu. Seat was educated among Southern Baptists to whom this book is primarily addressed. He grieves over the injury to fellow Christians and the negative impact on evangelistic efforts of this movement designed more to garner power and oppress certain groups than to proclaim the good news of God's grace and truth in Jesus Christ.
Few books so succinctly and insightfully summarize the factors at work in American fundamentalism, and especially among Southern Baptists. Seat provides a useful historical background as he traces the takeover of the Convention by fundamentalist forces allied with Republican politicians. He names the ring leaders and identifies their coercive and belligerent strategies in both religious and political circles.
Seat is not a Liberal. But he is "fed up" with fundamentalism for several reasons. Ethically, fundamentalism lacks integrity, using problematic means to accomplish their social and political goals. Biblically, they are dishonest, claiming an infallible Bible while using bogus and forced interpretations to justify harsh attitudes and actions. He is fed up with their misrepresentation of religious liberty and the separation of church and state. They run roughshod over everyone's rights to freedom of conscience while claiming it is their "freedom of religion" to do so.
Seat is also fed up with fundamentalism's militant patriotism in spite of Jesus' clear call for his followers to be peacemakers, and their attitudes toward women when Scripture portrays men and women as equals in creation and calling. The SBC "Baptist Faith and Message" of 2000 flagrantly misuses passages such as I Tim 2 and Eph 4 in order to justify their insistence that men are to be in authority over women and that women are not to teach without a man's approval.
Baptists were birthed as champions of both religious and political liberty. But fundamentalism has turned them into an arrogant and oppressive movement toward everyone except those of the inner, arrogant circle. Where women and gays are concerned, bigotry has become an article of faith.
Every Southern Baptist, those who were but are now embarrassed by them, and people curious about what has happened to Baptists in the past two decades should read this book. Readers are introduced to the rogue's gallery of fundamentalism and to the features of their style of leadership and political goals. This book is a succinct survey of and a Christian response to the leaders and issues in America's culture wars.
Paul D. Simmons
Louisville, KY 40291
A Timely & Helpful Book!  Jan 3, 2008
In this age of fundamentalism across the globe, I found this book to be very helpful in understanding the problems of fundamentalism in general, and Christian fundamentalism in particular. The author has done painstaking work in researching the history of fundamentalism, and gives concrete examples of the leaders who have revived the fundamentalistic movement at various times in history. He does not give fundamentalism a blanket condemnation, but tries to show the disadvantages of it, which may cause even fundamentalists themselves to stop and think a little deeper about their attitude, if not their beliefs.

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