Books for Your Consideration
Dr. Seat's book, "Fed Up with Fundamentalism: A Historical, Theological, and Personal Appraisal of Christian Fundamentalism" (FUF) was published by 4-L Publications in December 2007.
The sequel, "The Limits of Liberalism: A Historical, Theological, and Personal Appraisal of Christian Liberalism" was published in August 2010.
For information about either book, or to purchase a discounted copy ($17.95 including postage), contact the author at 1307 Canterbury Lane, Liberty, MO 64068, or by e-mail at 4-LPublications@4-L.org.
You can also read about the book, and order it, at Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com. ("Limits" will not be available until the end of August.)
Comments about FUF:
Career Southern Baptist missionary, preacher, professor and university administrator Leroy Seat addresses one of the most pressing religious issues of the modern era: fundamentalism. Seat approaches a heavily-trafficked topic in a refreshing and lucid, yet scholarly, manner. This meticulously-researched work is an excellent introduction to Christian fundamentalism, with emphasis upon the Baptist variety and informed by personal experience. Readers will appreciate Seat's ability to tackle religious complexities in digestible portions that make this volume one of the most readable surveys of Christian fundamentalism yet produced. – Bruce T. Gourley, editor, The Baptist Studies Bulletin
Leroy Seat, a retired SBC missionary to Japan and seminary professor, has written a comprehensive critique of fundamentalism. With an irenic spirit, he chronicles its history and exposes its theological assumptions. As the Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, I especially appreciate Dr. Seat's chapter on fundamentalism's attitude toward religious liberty and church-state separation. He covers history, current issues and and common fundamentalist misconceptions about church and state from his Baptist perspective, but in a way that speaks to all Christians. This important book articulates to the secular culture that one can be a Christian without subscribing to the tenets of fundamentalism. In that sense, this book is a valuable apologetic for the Christian faith. Pick it up and read it! - Dr. Brent Walker, Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
Review of FUF:
Without bitterness or acrimony, but with penetrating insight and scholarly analysis, Leroy Seat gives thoughtful, biblical and personal reasons for being “Fed up with Fundamentalism.” The leaders, issues and styles of warfare used by Christian fundamentalists are weighed and found wanting on ethical, biblical and logical grounds.
He has seen enough and knows enough about the nature of the Christian life, the biblical materials and the claims and strategies of fundamentalism that he can no longer remain silent about the shortcomings of this powerful but misguided social and religious movement.
Seat was for thirty-eight years a professor and then chancellor of Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka City, Japan, and thus brings an international perspective to his analysis of fundamentalism in America. He also notes similarities with other fundamentalist movements: Islamic, Jewish and Hindu. Seat was educated among Southern Baptists to whom this book is primarily addressed. He grieves over the injury to fellow Christians and the negative impact on evangelistic efforts of this movement designed more to garner power and oppress certain groups than to proclaim the good news of God’s grace and truth in Jesus Christ.
Few books so succinctly and insightfully summarize the factors at work in American fundamentalism, and especially among Southern Baptists. Seat provides a useful historical background as he traces the takeover of the Convention by fundamentalist forces allied with Republican politicians. He names the ring leaders and identifies their coercive and belligerent strategies in both religious and political circles.
Seat is not a Liberal. But he is “fed up” with fundamentalism for several reasons. Ethically, fundamentalism lacks integrity, using problematic means to accomplish their social and political goals. Biblically, they are dishonest, claiming an infallible Bible while using bogus and forced interpretations to justify harsh attitudes and actions. He is fed up with their misrepresentation of religious liberty and the separation of church and state. They run roughshod over everyone’s rights to freedom of conscience while claiming it is their “freedom of religion” to do so.
Seat is also fed up with fundamentalism’s militant patriotism in spite of Jesus’ clear call for his followers to be peacemakers, and their attitudes toward women when Scripture portrays men and women as equals in creation and calling. The SBC “Baptist Faith and Message” of 2000 flagrantly misuses passages such as I Tim 2 and Eph 4 in order to justify their insistence that men are to be in authority over women and that women are not to teach without a man’s approval.
Baptists were birthed as champions of both religious and political liberty. But fundamentalism has turned them into an arrogant and oppressive movement toward everyone except those of the inner, arrogant circle. Where women and gays are concerned, bigotry has become an article of faith.
Every Southern Baptist, those who were but are now embarrassed by them, and people curious about what has happened to Baptists in the past two decades should read this book. Readers are introduced to the rogue’s gallery of fundamentalism and to the features of their style of leadership and political goals. This book is a succinct survey of and a Christian response to the leaders and issues in America’s culture wars.
Paul D. Simmons
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40291