On November 30, 2012 Chad Phelps posted this article to his own personal blog.
"One of the most effective, yet illegitimate ways to marginalize the position of your opponent is to set up a straw man of your opponent, and to universally characterize that opponent with your shoddy misrepresentation of him. This seems to have become one of the most effective ways that people have taken to discourse in recent years in order to discredit the ministries of the straw man that has become known as the “angry, ranting fundamentalists.” Now, to be clear, let’s make two simple admissions from the get-go.
Admission #1: There is such a thing as an angry, ranting fundamentalist. We all know what he looks like, don’t we? He cares more about externals than internals. He spends more time on divisiveness than doctrine. He exhibits little to no grace in his interactions with others. He’ll gladly compromise exegetical integrity and hermeneutical accuracy in order to get his point across. His lines of separation fall quickly along the debatable paths of music, dress, bible versions, etc. This is the guy that we’re all familiar with, because he comes to our mind immediately when we consider the distasteful subculture that lurks beneath the surface of the network of angry, ranting fundamentalists.
Admission #2: Nobody wants to be characterized as an angry, ranting fundamentalist. Even those whose opinions on doctrine and deportment line up very closely with the movement known as fundamentalism want little to do with the title, because a straw man looms in the forefront, blocking the way to any legitimate claim to the label. This is understandable. In fact, it’s more than understandable. It may even be better understood to be embraceable. It’s high time, anyways, that we consider allegiances to Christ to be more important than allegiances to labels. In that way, perhaps the straw man known as the “angry, ranting fundamentalist” has been a service to the church.
So where am I going with this? Not long ago, a friend of mine sent out a series of tweets that really got me thinking. In those tweets, he accurately exposed the ironic similarities between angry, ranting fundamentalists, and those who try so desperately to distance themselves from them. His comments challenged and convicted me, and so I’ve expanded on them with one simple purpose. I want you to think and ask yourself this question: In your noble, admirable pursuit to distance yourself from the straw man of the angry, ranting fundamentalist, is it possible that you’re acting just like an angry, ranting fundamentalist?
Here are at least eleven ways that you could know. If there are more, don’t shy away from passing them along to me and I’ll add them to the list.
Posted by Caleb