Because many things have been done under the guise of Christianity that should not have been so, those who do not believe in the bible are quick to point out anything that appears to be extreme or even anti-Christian in nature. Anyone should be willing to acknowledge that. You find numerous stories in the Old Testament when God ordered His followers to destroy an evil people. All of this was in preparing the world for the coming of His Son, Jesus Christ.
You will find no such orders from Jesus and the Apostles for men to act in such a way. But on the other hand, neither were the prophets mean or fanatical. Their prophesying against a nation was only their obedience to God. And most of it was directed towards Israel, God’s people. One writer, a bible scholar, had the audacity to accuse the prophets of immoderate excitement as they delivered God’s message rather harshly to the Israelites. Immoderate has a similar meaning to that of unreasonable or extravagant. And, those terms also are synonyms of fanatic.
Perhaps one of the best examples I can think to use is that of King Saul and the prophet Samuel. God sent Samuel to the king with a command to destroy the Amalekites. Here is what he delivered to Saul: “Now therefore hearken to the voice of the words of the Lord”
“and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass” (1 Sam. 15:1,3).
Saul took his army and wiped out the populace except for the king Agag and they saved some of the best of the sheep and cattle. And when he came back with all of those, God sent Samuel to rebuke him and here is what transpired between them. Saul greeted Samuel thusly:
“Blessed are you of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” Then Samuel asked Saul, “What is the meaning of this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen that I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed” (1 Sam. 15:13-15).
Then we have Samuel’s answer which might seem fanatical to some but never the less, it was what God inspired him to speak;
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king” (1 Sam. 15:22-23).
This same type of obedience is required of Christians today. When God specifies certain things for us to do, we cannot afford to do most of those things but ignore other things. If we offend some when insisting that certain things are to be obeyed without question, that is not being fanatical. True obedience to the most minute detail is what is required by God, and we have no wiggle room to simply think our way is best and to disobey in what we feel is unnecessary. If, indeed that type of activity and speech is fanatical, then most Christians will gladly accept the term. Extreme obedience is to the point that God’s grace picks up where our inadequacies cause us to falter.
The bible doesn’t leave much out. Jesus told his disciples that men would persecute them and some would kill them, but…
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)
Being called a fanatic, is extremely mild persecution.