Fundamentalism of all kinds seems to rear its ugly head from time to time and in this case it is doing it in the Word of Faith movement out of Spindale, NC. Commentary on the Word of Faith movement itself has been done in many forms by many authors so I will not be speaking specifically here about that. My concern is in the fundamentalist associations that are in view here in this article.
If you follow the link I will provide below you can read an article that was posted to WRAL today in regards to former members of this movement in Spindale speaking out against the cultic atmosphere and extreme legalistic regulations that seem to be in place over congregants.
"Newcomers to the Word of Faith Fellowship live by a list of strict rules for daily life, which sect leader Jane Whaley says God revealed to her, former members say." - Mitch Weiss, Associated Press
What usually goes with these "standards" or new regulations or rules that man made religions attempt to impose is the claim that they come from or are revealed from God in addition to what He has already revealed; if in fact the group believes in what has been revealed already.
This case seems to be no different from your standard run of the mill fundamentalism that finds itself infesting most every form of religion to one degree or another. Within Christian circles especially in the Baptist tradition fundamentalism is like one of those pesky rodents that finds its way into your house and no matter how hard you try you just can't seem to find it and eradicate it.
As you can see from the article the specific rules that were claimed to have been added or put in place are not much different than the types of rules basic baptist fundamentalism has attempted to put in place on its members.
1. Not watching television or hollywood movies.
2. Not celebrating holidays that are not "approved."
3. Men not growing beards.
4. Limitations on women's dress.
5. Not allowed to purchase any product that has a symbol or attachment that the particular church says is "pagan."
Now, in fairness to this group I would like to also post from their website the article they posted refuting this and making their counter claim based on what has been said about them. You can make the decision for yourself. However, I must advise that in most cases where there is smoke, fire is usually not too far behind.
Now, that is strictly my opinion on the matter, and this particular Word of Faith movement from Spindale seems to have and continues to aggressively refute these claims both in and out of court, so I think it fair to consider both sides of the story. My main point in all of this is that when I see fundamentalist smoke then fundamentalist fire is usually not far from it and it burns pretty hot.
Word of Faith Press Release
I will be saying more about fundamentalism and legalism in the upcoming days and weeks. Suffice it to say for now specifically from a baptist or reformed baptist point of view which is where I come from we should refute and eradicate any form of legalism or fundamentalism from our midst. If you find it in your church please attempt to engage in a peaceful, biblical and practical way to remove it, and if you are unsuccessful, then RUN! Find another body of believers to be in fellowship with.
Very soon I will be posting an article dealing with the vast difference between fundamentalism and what it means to adhere to the fundamentals of the historic Christian faith. So stay tuned.
If you would like to do some further reading for context from the author of the Associate Press article that WRAL posted you can find that information at the following link:
Mitch Weiss Associated Press