Dr. Herold Weiss: "You Can Be a Christian Without Being a Fundamentalist."

Perhaps you need to explore – What kind of a God do I want?
Perhaps you might want to join an AA or NA group or groups. Meet your Higher Power first.
I would recommend reading one of the best books I know on Higher Power relationship.
Richard Rohr – Breathing Under Water… Only 128 pages.
The Serenity Prayer encourages one to "accept things I cannot change, be courageous to change the things I can, asking for Wisdom to know the difference."
Galatians 5 says our Higher Power wants to give us Love - affection for others, Kindness - a sense of compassion in the heart, Joy - exuberance about life, Peace - serenity, Patience - a willingness to stick with things, Goodness - a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and others, Faithfulness - involved in loyal commitments, Gentleness - no needing to force my way in life, Self-control - able to marshal and direct my energies wisely [from Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, pg 20].
Both the Old and New T’s are basically this – Love God, Love Self, Love Others, Serve.
It is NOT about 28 FB’s. It is ONLY about GRACE and RELATIONSHIP.
It is Beyond Religion.
Parents can understand GRACE. Even if one’s child has behavior problems, the child [many times Adult child] is still theirs. the person is continued to be loved and part of the family.
We are, by creation, a child of the Creator. GRACE is God’s punishment for us when we get into un-Healthy activities that harm ourselves, or harm others. He says, Start over, Begin again, read directions, and then put the pieces together again.
God’s punishment is a Hug and a Kiss, and wrapping His arms around [as a hen with chicks] us.

If you can PRINT off the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi. Post it on your refrigerator so you can say it when nearby.
Make up your OWN Lord’s Prayer – My Father in heaven. Let me treat your name with honor and reverence. Let your kingdom come into my heart, and let your will be done in my life as it is done in heaven. Give me this day. Give me the food I need for today. Forgive me the wrongs I have done as I forgive the wrongs others have done to me. Don’t let me yield to Temptation. Rescue me from the Evil One. For yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory for ever. Amen.

Romans 8:26,27-- We don’t know what to pray for, or should pray for, but the H.S. Himself prays for us, presenting our Unspoken requests. God knows what is earnestly being asked because the Spirit pleads for what is in harmony with God’s will for us.
*** How does God remove? Sin is a sign that something is missing in our life. All sin is an attempt to fill a void. Only when we know what we are looking for – and pursue it instead – will other people’s admonition to us work. – Joan Chittister, God;s Tender Mercy, pg 29.
**** Love God *** Love Self *** Love Others *** Serve. THIS is Relationship – NOT Religion.
What we have been TAUGHT is God’s Judgment Seat is REALLY God’s MERCY SEAT.
The place where God restores us to Health. [rohr, pg 47].

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I remember my seminary years with Dr. Weiss. He told us a story of his first brush with Sabbath keeping. As a child his parents said that swimming in the River Plata was forbidden Sabbath activity. One day while at the river he and his friends/brothers/sisters (i don’t recall) starting practicing baptizing in the water. They would stand in the water, raise their hand above their heads and pronounce "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and then pile drive the baptismal candidate into the water! His parents had no answer and accommodated their fun as part of their son’s preparation for ministry. Great story, great teacher, sad commentary on the history of our seminary. It has never been quite the same since.


“You Can Be a Christian without Being a Fundamentalist”

The Adventist chruch has taught that, as far as I can tell, from the beginning, and it has never been in dispute. It pracitices open commnion, which many churches do not practice, and thus acknowleges that Christians come in all stripes. If the Pope showed up for communion, claiming to an, he would be served. Catholics now practice this by and large, but Advesntists did it many decades before they thought of it.

Aage says: “I began reading his essays and studies in 2008 out of curiosity, and I was immediately fascinated by his ability to drill down to the exegetical bedrock of the biblical texts so that they could speak freely, unconstrained by the fundamentalist mandate that they speak with one voice in support of creed and tradition.”

I don’t think this is the way Adventists formulate doctrine. They let the Scirpture speak, and accept what it says.

Aage says: “The contents of the Bible make clear that they were written at a particular time by people who were children of their surroundings. To claim that the contents of the Bible were dictated from heaven to secretaries who recorded what they were dictated or shown is demonstrably wrongheaded.”

When did Adventists claim verbal inspiration as their creed? I think it is “thought inspiration” which certainly allows for the use of oral traditions, other sources (such as Luke), and a freer hand by the writer, and a willingness to consider historical issues, etc.

Aage says: “Any claim to the inspiration of the Bible must take the whole Bible into account. Explanations of inspiration that are not applicable to large portions of the texts are unconvincing. It is quite clear that significant portions of the Bible are based on oral traditions that at times run in contradicting parallel courses and at others are obviously literarily dependent on earlier written source.” See above note.

Aage says: “To absolutize one of these culturally conditioned understandings of creation, at the expense of all the others, is to do violence to the integrity of the biblical canon.”

As far as I can tell, there is no creation story that would allow for ages and ages. And besides, to ignore one, very important one, would also do injustice to the text.

Aage says: “Bultmann repeatedly confessed “that” God raised Christ from the dead while following the apostle Paul’s notion that the resurrection does not bring out from the grave the perishable material body that had been buried. The glorified resurrection body is a spiritual body. He also said that he could not describe “how” God raised him from the dead. I am in full agreement with that.”

Bultman’s attempt to “demythologize” the NT has been more or less abandoned even by the more liberal theologians. His technique could not even be applied to the whole NT. Where do you stop with demytholgizing? Bultman had a certain place, but his critics have questioned why he stopped there. And as far as Jesus’ body goes, he did eat fish and had a wound that could be felt. But is that supernatural or not?

Aage says: “The ecclesiastical authorities are doubling down on an anti-scientific cosmology, a patriarchal social order and a concentration of political power.”

Appaernly Weiss has not been to Adventist chruches for a while. Most of the MEMBERS hold to a “anti-scientific” cosmology, a patriarchal social order (the recent vote was by the members, not the ecclesiastical authorities). And the vote agaisnt WO was by secret ballot by the members after a day’s discussion of the matter. Liberals are unhappy with the outcome, but that does not mean it was forced on the membership by the leaders. The members voted it themeselves in a free referendum. See the comments on this in a sister thread about Roberst being the person fo the year.

Aage says: “To claim that theology is built on nonsense is absurd”

On the contrary, it will always seem absurd to the worldly mind. There is not way that there can’t be some absurdity to it. Job suffers and God does not comfort him, but displays his power with not a word of empathy. isn’t that absurd? But, no, it answers every question.

When Jesus came into the world angels announced the birth to shepherds, who were not allowed to testify in Jewish courts at the time because they were felt to be untrustworthy. Why did God send them? Because their testimony could be easily ignored unless you saw the animation and conviction in their voices. even then you could ignore it if you wished. But wisdeom would whisper that it should be examined. God does not force us to beleive, but offers beleif to us. It is a precious gift.

I am sorry it is not treasued by all.


Allen, I’m a bit mystified. Did you think I was interviewing myself?

PS. Comment added to your answer (put here not to clutter up the thread):The only thing I wrote were the questions. Dr. Weiss needs no editing and none was inflicted upon his text.


“Most of the MEMBERS hold to a “anti-scientific” cosmology.”

What ever do you mean?

No, but I am on an I pad in a place that cannot copy part of your article to my comment area. I could have siad Weiss, but it was you writing, so I said you. It was the best i could do to quote the article. Think of it as an answer to both of you.

I was thinking on the title of this article last night while taking a shower, and a question came to my mind,
“Can a Fundamentalist be a True Christian?”

My conclusion was that a fundamentalist can sure be a “religious person” (whatever this means…) but not a true Christian. A ‘fundamentalist Christian’ is an oxymoron - it cannot exist. Just let’s remember what the fundamentalists did to Jesus! Yes, they killed Him!!!

Look what one segment of the fundamentalists, the LGTarians, are doing today; they are striping Christ from part of His exclusive merits by denying that when He said “It’s finished” it really meant it was finished. For them, it was not finished until 1844, and they also believe that they will reach perfection before Christ’s return.

Perfectionism (now aka LGT) is a dangerous weed growing in the Church at this very moment. But I am not surprised that the fundamentalists are embracing it so strongly!..


“You Can Be a Christian Without Being a Fundamentalist" but can you be a Fundamentalist and still be a Christian…


“My advice to them is to recognize that the community of faith is not sustained by doctrines but by a serious desire to do God’s will. The Gospel is not about knowledge, but about power, and the power of the Spirit that blows from whichever direction it wishes is the agent that energizes the life of Christians.”

Doctrine simply means “teaching,” and it is hard to see how the Christian community could be sustained without it. Since Weiss, by all accounts, is a superb teacher, and this present post is evidence of that, I assume he means “doctrines alone.” Any attempt to explain or present the teachings, the life, the death, and the resurrection (I’m surprised at Weiss’ dependence on Bultmann), of Jesus is doctrine. Of course one can have doctrine without Jesus, and that’s tragic, but Jesus without doctrine is meaningless.

In his essay “Tell Me Why I Should Become a Christian” I seem to recall Aage Rendalen asked for reasons why he should stay around. Even if the peripheries are as near as he can tolerate us, I beg him to stay there and not drift off beyond a communicable range for I for one enjoy his prods and pokes at my Adventist faith.

Grace to you [both] and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 1.7)


I am sorry that Dr. Weiss got caught up in this discussion of fundamentalism.

Let us first identify that which is fundamental to the Christian faith:

  1. God, the Elohim, Theos (by the Greek), is the Author (Logos) and Creator of all that is, visible and invisible.

  2. Man, His final - and crowning - creation, denies this, claiming that he, 'adam, creates his own reality, and is thus distinct of God, refuting the God-given Life, embracing un-life, death, the knowledge of good and evil, over which he has no power or authority.

  3. Being that Creator which most rightfully seeks to enjoy - to love - His creation, He willingly and anxiously submits to become 'adam, to overcome that death, that disaffection of God now known as sin, death. This IS done by the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus the Christ, His Only-begotten Son, as is witnessed by many which attended the Passover, ca. 30 a.d., of those disciplined (by the death-dealing law) to be His Chosen Generation: the Jews.

  4. Those, willingly admitting their un-knowing - ignorance - of the Life-giving Love of God which desire it, may have it restored unto them by faith given to them of the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who is in all things and is everywhere present, unto the believing on Him, that continue in His word (Jn. 8:31) shall have His everlasting Life, that is, the Life that IS of the great ‘I AM’.

  5. By this shall men know that ye are my disciples: that ye have Love one to another.

I have no reason to believe that @Oriental34, or even @aage_rendalen, has no other incentive than to know Christ and Him Crucified, for our salvation, unto Life Eternal.

So: YES! One will be a ‘fundamentalist’ to be Christian.

Equating fundamentalism with legalism is far from accurate. Legalists have positioned their application of the law as god, which of course it cannot be, for as Paul says the law is given as the taskmaster to humiliate us into recognition of the Law-giver, yet as legalists they have not the compassionate benevolence of God in mind, but shame and ridicule, virulent tools of the Accuser.
(Thus the deleted smear of ‘bad semantics’: forgive me, mortal that I am.)

There is much I would say to other comments on this thread (and shall: in the Lounge).

But for now: May you glory in the principles of the Prince of Peace:
Peace be to all.


Actually, George, the Sadducee’s also played a part in killing Christ; which Tim Keller refers to as the “educated, liberal, upper class.” The high priest was a Sadducee. And Pilate seemed to be more secular if anything. So, in other words, Everyone killed Jesus - conservatives, liberals, and secularists.


Doc, my friend Sigve Tonstad says my DNA has been “contaminated” by theology. Although not a believer, I’m still fascinated by the puzzle that is life and I shall always be happy to sit down and talk to anybody about their thoughts on the subject, whether expressed in theological or philosophical or scientific terms. As I have said before, the mystery of life is not the property of any community of faith, unfaith or philosophy; it is common property, intellectual and spiritual public land. When I intrude here on Spectrum, it is because–like Dr Weiss–it is a community I know and in many ways, what I write is addressed to the Adventist I used to be. When I speak about those Christians who are fundamentalists, I’m talking about myself a generation or so ago. For me to denigrate the intelligence of fundamentalists would be to saw off the branch I’m sitting on. I’m no smarter now than I was then. It is just my perspective that has changed. So I have no issues of “toleration,” as you implied and I have been both surprised and gladdened by the fact that most of you don’t either.

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Norman Young’s observations about doctrines make me realize that I did not express myself well. I fully agree that one needs to have some definite understanding of God’s will in order to live in obedience to God’s call. I took for granted that it would be understood that the Christian Gospel is not matter of “knowledge” but of “faith,” and faith is not related to the possession of the right doctrines. The truth of any doctrine is determined by the kind of conduct it engenders, whether it leads to the fulfillment of the words of Jesus to the effect that the true disciples “love one another.” Faithfulness to God is not a matter of knowledge but of praxis. I was concerned to make clear that Christianity is not gnostic, as most fundamentalists seem to insist. It seems to me that the Judgment is not about the profession of orthodoxy, but about the realization of God’s will under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Gospel.


Besides, that I agree with Bultmann on a point in answer to a question that brought Bultmann in does not mean that I “depend of Bultmann.”


Recently we had a 13-week alternative S.S. class on “Salvation”. It was to be a study of the Book of Romans. Turned out to be taken out of Romans, but wasnt a study of the book of Romans. We did
kinda go through it chronologically.
BUT through my listening here, and my other reading, I was REALLY able to HEAR what the pastor’s
13-week presentation was really saying. And I heard the attendees’ responses to his questions, and they were the typical canned answers one hears.
It made one want to interject, but it was his class. I did speak up several times, but it wasnt what he
wanted interjected.
It is like Jesus said – Hearing we don’t hear. Seeing we don’t see. AWARENESS is a difficult thing to have. So is WISDOM which is beyond Knowledge.
One asks – “Why didnt I see that?? It was there all the time.” It is HOW we were TRAINED to See, to Hear, to Read.
A new Teacher helps us change our focus, to see what else is there.