Despite having been in a former lifetime a God/Satan/Heaven/ Hell fundamentalist myself, I am still amazed by the apparent ease with which fundamentalists dismiss any and all discussion of the Bible which suggests an alternative understanding. Even as a “fundamentalist” I could not help but entertain the questions which naturally arise from that theology. If I was supposed to be the instructor of my neighbor, I felt compelled to really understand my subject and to be able to explain it adequately. That was my undoing as a fundamentalist. No amount of study or indoctrination could ever make me feel adequate to the task. Naturally enough, my feeling of inadequacy showed itself in a tremendous reluctance to evangelize.
Bouncing from one passage of the Bible to another, stringing together widely separated texts to prove a theological point, just seemed too uncertain and contrived. Then, there was the confusion of all the ill defined terms the preachers throw out, usually assuming that the people in the pews know what they mean or at least should- things like salvation, reconciliation, justification, atonement, redemption, sanctification, repentance, confession, baptism, faith, love, mercy, grace, judgment, soul, spirit, flesh, free will, incarnation, trinity, the word, transformation, sovereignty, death, resurrection, eternal life, sin, transgression, iniquity, Satan, devil, angel, heaven, hell, kingdom, the grave. The list goes on and on.
Maybe every other Bible believer has all of these subjects down pat, and I was the only one who couldn’t get it. If so, I am still puzzled by it all. Some may ascribe my failings to a resistance to the Holy Spirit, which I guess means it is my own fault. It’s easy and maybe comforting to dismiss another’s doubts as unfounded or sinful, but no one really knows the mind and heart of another. Maybe the message is veiled, so only those with a special calling can understand it. Pity the rest of us then.