- In both instances it is a group of conservatives within a larger body seeking to make the entire body conform to their own understanding of core beliefs.
- The "10 Principles" and "5 Fundamentals" are both lists designed to function as litmus tests for membership. The choice is subscription or exclusion.
- Both of these lists are historically myopic - they are not actually representative of the tradition they claim to be expressing. The "10 Principles" would be unrecognizable to a conservative from 50 years ago, and the "5 Fundamentals" include oddities like the virgin birth, inerrancy, and substitutionary atonement, instead of the trinity, or the Golden Rule, or the communion of saints, or grace, or resurrection, or ... I don't know something actually important.
- Neither of these lists represent accurate distillations of their tradition because they are occasioned, inspired, and utterly determined by opposition to specific contemporary issues rather than genuine timeless concerns. The "10 Principles" are a reaction to the defeat of the Republican party in the 2008 general election. The "5 Fundamentals" are a reaction to modernist thought becoming dominant in the church.
- Both of these lists are the expression of a fearful minority, whose anxiety is sparked by a perceived loss of control. These lists are hubristic attempts to regain power and authority, but in actuality they will accomplish only the further alienation and isolation of that minority until it falls away from the main body entirely and sinks into irrelevance.
And what is the progressive equivalent? What do we do when our power is taken away from us and we see ourselves as an embattled minority? Doubtless our responses are just as fearful and futile, but I'm having a hard time thinking of what that looks like.