In The End of Religion, Bruxy Cavey suggests that the problem with Christian fundamentalists is that they are not fundamentalist enough:
The problem with many Christian fundamentalists is that they are not fundamentalist enough when it comes to Jesus. Please understand, whenever the Christian church has become violent or intolerant or just plain uncharitable, it is not because of a fundamentalist adherence to the teachings of Jesus, but precisely the opposite. It is because Christ’s teachings have been patently ignored. Many Christian fundamentalists do not follow Christ, but have replaces his teachings with the prevailing conservative ethos of the day masquerading as religious dogma…
Real Christ-followers are those who, having been on the receiving end of God’s gracious love for Jesus, pour out this same embracing love to others in ways that mend broken relationships, heal inner wounds, and offer practical care for the helpless and hurting.
Tim Keller says the same kinds of things in The Reason for God:
The God of Jesus and the prophets…saves completely by grace. He cannot be manipulated by religious and moral performance – he can only be reached through repentance, through the giving up of power. If we are saved by sheer grace, we can only become grateful, willing servants of God and of everyone around us…In Jesus’ and the prophets’ critique, self-righteous religion is always marked by insensitivity to issues of social justice, while true faith is marked by profound concern for the poor and marginalized…
What is the answer, then, to the very fair and devastating criticisms of the record of the Christian church? The answer is not to abandon the Christian faith, because that would leave us with neither the standards nor the resources to make correction. Instead we should move to a fuller and deeper grasp of what Christianity is.
Some have rightly criticized Christians who pursue right doctrine, because sometimes it looks like rightness is the final goal. This critique can be helpful, as long as we realize the solution to Christians who major on doctrine but fall short in praxis is not less doctrine. It’s actually more and better doctrine. When we have a fuller and deeper grasp of the Gospel, we will become the most gracious people, the most humble, the most ready to serve. The problem is not too much doctrine; we actually need more of the right kind of doctrine so that we become the kind of people characterized by love for sinners, deep personal humility, service to others around us, and concern for the people that God cares most deeply about.
Bring on the doctrine that makes us this kind of people.