- Orthodoxy? The word orthodox means, “correct teaching.” Orthodox religion (i.e., Greek) originated centuries this side of the Lord’s church (Acts 2). Orthodoxy in the New Testament would be “sound doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 4:3; Tit. 1:9, 13; 2:1); “The form of sound words” (2 Tim. 1:13), or, “sound speech” (Tit. 2:8).
- Conservatism? This is the disposition to preserve and adhere to existing conditions, institutions, laws, etc., and to oppose change. If one is Biblically orthodox he is generally conservative. New Testament orthodoxy is to be preserved for all time (Mt. 28:20). There is extreme “right wing” conservatism – human legalism (anti-ism). It restricts in those areas wherein God has given us freedom.
- Fundamentalism? This is adherence to that which is considered fundamental or basic. Fundamentalism was a religious movement in various Protestant denominations that began after the turn of the 20th century in reaction to evolutionary theories and Biblical criticism of the late 19th The movement emphasized such Biblically fundamental teachings as the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures, creation and miracles of the Bible (virgin birth and literal resurrection of Jesus).
- Liberalism? It is opposed to conservatism. It is not so much a school of thought as it is a spirit. It almost defies definition. Liberalism is an attitude that shows itself in actions, doctrines and words that affect the lives and spiritual welfare of all.
Liberalism rejects the Bible as God’s pattern authority by labeling it a “paper Pope” and ridiculing the use of New Testament authority as “line-item theology” (Rubel Shelly & Randall J. Harris, The Second Incarnation, p. 57). Liberalism says that truth is relative – that we are pilgrims in search of it, but we never really land on the Plymouth Rock of truth. Liberalism says that one can know only what he may personally experience. Liberals speak of “personal encounter with God,” “encountering God,” or, “experiences of confrontation.”
- Modernism? Modernism is a rejection of the miraculous element of the Bible; a rejection of Bible inspiration; a rejection of the deity of Christ; over all, a rejection of the fundamentals of faith in Christ. It is the name of a procedure that, because of an anti-supernatural bias, endeavors to re-interpret certain historical material in the Bible. Everything in the Bible of a supernatural nature is considered myth, legend, fable or folklore. All modernism is liberalism. Not all liberalism is modernism.
- Scriptural? Some people object to the use of such titles, and though sometimes abused they are good when applied within their proper context. If we are scriptural we will be orthodox (doctrinally sound), conservative (opposed to unauthorized change), fundamental (adhering to all fundamental truths), and liberal in our giving (2 Cor. 9:13). To be scriptural is to be right in Christ regardless of man’s label.
by Dennis Gulledge