This link on The Death of “Fundamentalism” was written by a student at The Master’s Seminary who is working on his Master of Divinity. (We both finished our undergraduate degrees from BJU at the same time.) His article traces the question of whether the term Fundamentalist has outlived its usefulness for many who still bear the title. While not completely original, it is well worth reading and digesting.
In the end, I think that we ought to use whatever terms or titles accurately communicate who we are to the audience we are then addressing. Thus, as Mark Dever once pointed out to me, we should not merely pick one label and wear it everywhere. Instead, we must know our audience and then select the label that communicates what we intend to communicate to them. Dever illustrated this from his Ph.D. studies at Cambridge. In his first meeting with his liberal Roman Catholic advisor, Dever stated, “I am a fundamentalist Protestant, so nothing I say or write will ever please you.” Point made–message communicated. Dever may not run around waving the fundamentalist banner, but it was a useful term for him in that conversation with that audience.
Not every label works this way. For example, I am a Protestant Christian regardless of my location or audience. But when we move to subgroups within subgroups, we must be careful how we describe ourselves. Let’s not be so caught up in a title that we fail to communicate accurately who we are and what we believe.