Why I Am Still a Fundamentalist
(And How I Am Not)
Perhaps it would be best to begin this document with a warning. This is going to be a long discussion. If you only read part of it, or if you only focus on a statement here or there, you are going to come away with a distorted impression. Consequently, I ask that you either read it carefully or not at all.
This past week, I participated in a conference on “Advancing the Church,” hosted by Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Over the years I have spoken many times at the National Leadership Conference held by the same institution. The difference this time was the involvement of Dr. Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Capitol Hill is Southern Baptist and Pastor Dever is one of the most prominent voices within conservative evangelicalism.
Also participating in the conference were Dr. David Doran (pastor of Inter City Baptist Church in Allen Park, Michigan, and president of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary), Dr. Tim Jordan (pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Lansdale, Pennsylvania), and Dr. Sam Harbin (president of the host seminary). Several other fundamentalist leaders were present and participated in some of the closed-door conversations that took place with Pastor Dever.
One of the purposes of the meeting was to explore differences and similarities both between independent Baptists and Southern Baptists, and between fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. Part of that conversation took place publicly on the platform of the meeting. More of the conversation took place in private meetings. As might have been expected, much of the conversation was about biblical separation.
Whether in public or in private, the conversation developed in ways that I had not expected. These developments were made possible partly by the candor and transparency of Pastor Dever. He is a generous conversationalist. He seeks to understand his interlocutors and to grasp their arguments before responding. When he responds he does so graciously and cogently. In these respects, participation in the discussion was a pleasure.
Now that the meeting is over, I wish to reflect upon the larger orbit of concerns that affect fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. In doing so, I am not attempting to set an agenda for anyone else. I have my own responses to the matters that have come to the surface. Others may have different responses. The one thing that seems rather clear is that we shall all have to respond.
What the Meeting Was Not About
Some rather amusing speculations have been voiced as to why “Advancing the Church” was held in the first place. One is that the speakers were hoping to make a favorable impression so that they could move out of fundamentalism and into evangelicalism. Another was that the speakers were somehow aiming to capture one or more of the institutions of fundamentalism. A third was that they were simply plotting the overthrow of fundamentalism.
The ironic element in all these speculations is that they represent goals that the speakers have already rejected. Consider, for example, the accusation that people like Doran, Jordan, Harbin and I are looking for a way into conservative evangelicalism. What this accusation overlooks is the fact that the way into evangelicalism has been open to us for years—indeed, for decades.
Each of us holds at least one doctorate from an evangelical institution. Jordan and Harbin have degrees from Westminster Theological Seminary. Doran and I have degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I also have a degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. We all have a pretty good grasp of the evangelical landscape. We each have known prominent evangelical leaders for years.
Over the past twenty-five years, I have developed relationships with many evangelical leaders. In the course of these relationships, I have been offered many opportunities to pull up stakes from fundamentalism and to make my way in the larger evangelical world. I am pretty sure that people like Doran, Jordan, and Harbin have been offered the same opportunities.
We chose—all of us—not to forsake fundamentalism. We made our choice with full awareness of how small the world of fundamentalism really is (I’ll never forget having to explain to one evangelical professor what Bob Jones University was—the name did not even show up as a blip on his radar screen). From a certain point of view, we doomed ourselves to obscurity. And we did it willingly, even enthusiastically.
Why? The reason is very simple. Whatever its faults, fundamentalism still retains and defends an idea that is fully instanced nowhere else. As somebody once said, “Fundamentalism is a great idea. It may have been the last great idea.” And it is an idea of which we are fully persuaded. The idea of fundamentalism is not only true, it is important. We have all taken a good look at the evangelical world, and we can find nowhere else that this idea is even fully understood, let alone implemented. We chose to stay in fundamentalism because we are fundamentalists, in what I hope is the best and most responsible sense of that term.
Since we have been willing to spend our lives in fundamentalism, it hardly seems likely that we would be plotting its overthrow. If we disdained fundamentalism, then we would find it far easier simply to leave (perhaps banging the door and throwing a few rocks) and to ignore fundamentalists forevermore. Far from wishing that fundamentalism would die, however, we want it to grow stronger.
In my opinion, I do not have to do anything to destroy fundamentalism. It presently appears to be far down the road toward self-immolation. The symptoms have been growing worse for years. If I really wanted fundamentalism to die, the thing that I would do is simply to step out of the way. The reason I stay, and the reason that I address the problems, is precisely because I would like to see fundamentalism brought to health (not that I am likely to have much actual influence). And, while I do not pretend to speak for them, I think that other fundamentalist participants in “Advancing the Church” feel about the same way.
What about the accusations of an attempted coup? Is it true that the speakers from “Advancing the Church” want to take over fundamentalism? After all, that would be one way of controlling the movement, would it not?
The short answer is that all of us have been offered positions of power that we have refused. Several years ago John Vaughn came to me with a request that I join the board of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship, International. He later renewed this request. I responded that it did not seem right for me to join the board of an organization of which I was not even a member. I also explained that the extreme stands the FBFI and associated organizations had taken during the 1970s and 1980s led me to have real reservations about that organization.
Dr. Vaughn was kind enough to assure me that the direction of the FBFI had changed since then. He specifically repudiated the past antics of the FBF board and assured me (for example) that the resolutions from those years were retained on the website only as a matter of historical interest. He stressed that the success of the new direction of the FBFI required the involvement of young leaders like me. This conversation was repeated on at least two occasions.
To be sure, Dr. Vaughn was very persuasive. Truthfully, I was encouraged by signs of change that I saw in the FBFI, specifically its apparent rejection of King-James-Onlyism, its openness to having Calvinists and non-Calvinists get along peacefully within its ranks, and a new emphasis on expository preaching (some of the best expositors I know have been aligned with the FBFI). I did not agree to serve on the board, but because of Dr. Vaughn’s commitments I did join the organization. Incidentally, that is why I felt that I could not ignore the attack upon some of these very changes when (about two years ago) that attack came from an FBF platform.
The bottom line is this. I do not desire institutional power. True, I have accepted the presidency of a seminary, but that is only because it was a job that needed to be done. Fundamentalism has no use for political enforcers in positions of leadership. We had lots of that in the 1970s and 1980s. The healthiest versions of fundamentalism are the ones that have outgrown their dependence upon strong-arm politicians—or, who never had them in the first place. At any rate, we do not need more strong-arm leadership. We need less.
Then what do I want? To put it simply, I wish to exercise a different sort of leadership. It focuses upon two things. First, I want to explore and articulate ideas. Second, I want to tell the truth. Because I am committed to that kind of leadership, I applaud those who are willing to challenge specious thinking. I applaud those who are willing to expose falsehoods, half-truths, and innuendos. I applaud those who are willing to peel back the rug so that we all see what was swept under it.
Some people see these activities as an attack upon fundamentalism itself. In my opinion, however, if fundamentalism can be destroyed by clear thinking and by telling the truth, then it does not deserve to survive. The failure to think clearly and to deal with our own weaknesses has led to much disillusionment. I do not believe that the answer is to prop up the illusions. The only way of guarding against being disillusioned is never to entertain illusions in the first place. So by all means, let us tell the truth.
Why I Went
Each of us made a choice about participating in “Advancing the Church.” The different speakers may have been motivated by a variety of concerns. I chose to participate because I believe that fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals must engage in serious, public conversation about the issues that divide us. I thought that the conversation at Lansdale would be useful in several ways. First, I hoped to have an opportunity to defend the distinctive ideas of fundamentalism. Second, I wanted to explore a couple of areas that I thought were weaknesses in the conservative evangelical approach. Third, I thought that it was important for fundamentalists to be seen submitting their position to first-hand, public inspection, while also subjecting an alternative position to first-hand, public inspection.
A few years ago, I was invited to participate in a different conference that wanted to promote a conversation with conservative evangelicals: the “Standpoint Conference.” The organizers of the Standpoint Conference wanted to place several fundamentalist and conservative evangelical leaders on the platform together for (among other things) a full discussion of their differences and similarities. I was asked to join Dr. Daniel Davey as one of the representatives of fundamentalism.
At that time, I weighed seriously the desirability of being involved in such a conversation. I also sought counsel from several fundamentalist leaders. While some encouraged my involvement (in fact, the Central Seminary board urged me to go), others expressed reservations. They agreed that the conversation itself was desirable, but they were unsure of the goals or purpose of the Standpoint Conference. Its planners, they said, appeared to be committed to an “emerging middle,” which they took to mean some sort of merger between fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism.
A couple of my counselors (both prominent in the FBFI) said that their concern was not so much about appearing on a platform with conservative evangelicals as it was about the agenda of the Standpoint Conference itself. They suggested that my appearance in the Standpoint Conference would in some way endorse the agenda of a merger between fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. I asked whether this objection would still apply if a similar conversation were held in a more committed fundamentalist environment. They replied that the difference in venue would be critical.
These were men whom I respect, and their counsel seemed correct to me. Consequently, I declined to participate in the Standpoint Conference, not because I objected to a conversation with conservative evangelicals, but because I did not want to appear to endorse the notion of a wholesale merger between the two groups. When I was invited to “Advancing the Church,” however, it seemed to meet these concerns perfectly. “Advancing the Church” was being sponsored by an organization whose fundamentalist credentials were impeccable. Indeed, in its National Leadership Conference, Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary had made one of the most important contributions to the health of fundamentalism for the decade of the 2000s.
So why did I go? Positively, because I thought that the conversation was necessary for both fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. Negatively, because I did not think that persons of charity and good faith would misunderstand or mistake the purpose of the conversation. I am still convinced of that.
Conversation about Polity
The conference on “Advancing the Church” had two sides, both of which revolved around Dr. Dever. On the one hand, Dever has built his reputation upon his understanding and implementation of Baptist polity. His public addresses were assembled around that theme. On the other hand, Dever is a source of controversy among fundamentalists because of his connection with conservative evangelicalism and the Southern Baptist Convention. Those connections prompted much public and private discussion.
Pastor Dever’s grasp of New Testament polity is both biblically grounded and historically informed. He is not inventing ideas, but resurrecting old ones. In this respect he performed a valuable service to a generation of Baptist fundamentalists, some of whom had never heard a full-orbed discussion of matters relating to church membership and government.
What struck me most about Dever’s discussion was how close it came to the principles that I was taught in both college and seminary. These historic, Baptist distinctives are the same ones that I still teach to my students. Some of these emphases have been forgotten by certain independent Baptists. I found it refreshing to hear them articulated clearly.
The most controversial aspect of Dever’s polity involves the plurality of elders. On this point, his views are often confused with those of John MacArthur, but the two are markedly different. Dever made it clear that the terms pastor, bishop, and elder all refer to the same office. He specified that each pastor/elder was to be called by the congregation, not merely by the other elders. He also emphasized the point that pastors can be dismissed by the congregation—indeed, the whole business of receiving and dismissing members must be performed by the church, not by the elders. All of this should be Baptist boilerplate, but much of it has been forgotten in some circles of fundamentalism.
Pastor Dever believes that a plurality of elders is “normal” for a New Testament church. When asked, however, he conceded that a small church with a single pastor was not necessarily sinning. He does think that even small churches should work toward training and calling new pastors when qualified men became available. He also agreed that desire for the office was one of the qualifications for a bishop, so a small church might proceed with a single pastor if it had no other men who desired the office.
When asked about “lay elders,” Dever sought to distance himself from this expression. He emphasized that he preferred to talk about paid and unpaid elders, all of whom were equally pastors and bishops. In public conversation he conceded that he had not thought sufficiently about 1 Corinthians 9 as a text that might indicate the right of ministers to be supported financially.
Pastor Dever also acknowledged that he was, in a sense, the most authoritative pastor at Capitol Hill. In another sense, all of the elders have equal authority, for each gets only one vote. While he only gets one vote, however, everyone knows that both elders and members are likely to take what he says more seriously than what some other elder might say. He believes that it is appropriate for one pastor to exercise this kind of leadership, but he also believes that a pastor who carries this extra honor must restrain himself in its use.
Conversation about Separation
Discussions of biblical separation took place both in public and behind closed doors. In private meetings, Dr. Dever frequently returned to this subject. He admitted that he did not understand the fundamentalist position and took pains to explore it. Hours were spent in offering definitions, illustrations, and examples.
To say that the particulars were interesting would be an understatement. On the one hand, Dever evidenced considerable sympathy for separatist convictions. He appeared to be pleased to explain the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention. He was particularly emphatic that the liberals had been removed from the institutions. (He later qualified this point, as I shall point out in a moment.)
Surprisingly, Dever shared some of the same complaints that many fundamentalists make about Southern Baptists and conservative evangelicals. He bluntly stated that he thought Billy Graham’s cooperative evangelism was wrong. He expressed disappointment with conservative evangelicals who had signed the Manhattan Declaration and considerable frustration with evangelicals who had lent their names to Evangelicals and Catholics Together.
Nevertheless, Pastor Dever is definitely a Southern Baptist. His perception of the convention, however, is not what an independent Baptist might assume. He sees the convention as a service organization, much in the same way that many fundamentalists would view Baptist World Mission or Bob Jones University. For him, to be a Southern Baptist is to be a consumer of the services that the convention provides.
Dever is willing to acknowledge the weaknesses of the Southern Baptist Convention. He admits that there is no way to keep a liberal messenger from voting in the convention (though he thinks it unlikely that any liberal would want to do this). He also acknowledges that, in very few cases, elderly liberal professors have been retained in the seminaries until they retire. Nevertheless, he insists that liberalism has been soundly defeated within the SBC, and that its return is highly unlikely. He sees a larger problem in trends like consumer Christianity and seeker-sensitive churches—and, he would point out, those trends are not the sole problem of Southern Baptists.
Capitol Hill shapes its public worship by the regulative principle. Pastor Dever made a strong case for including in worship only those elements that are authorized by the New Testament. Capitol Hill is far more scrupulous in this way than many fundamentalist churches. Also, the worship at Capitol Hill is much more traditional than that in many fundamentalist churches. The church does use some Sovereign Grace music, for example, but it also uses many older hymns (though few or none from the era of gospel songs).
Some of the liveliest conversation surrounded Capitol Hill’s membership in the District of Columbia Baptist Convention. In personal conversation, Dever admitted with evident repugnance that the DCBC was controlled by liberals. What he stressed, however, was Capitol Hill’s opposition to liberalism. “Liberals have no right to it. If we can’t put them out, the next best thing will be to make them throw us out.”
Pastor Dever was asked repeatedly about his participation in the cooperative program. He indicated that it was a great arrangement for Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Since Capitol Hill sends out many missionaries, it draws more from the cooperative program than it puts in. Dever said that he was more than willing to accept money from a variety of churches to plant strong ones.
At that point in the conversation, David Doran replied that it might be a good situation for a church like Capitol Hill, but a small church that had none of its own missionaries would end up giving more than it drew. Such a church would necessarily be supporting works with which neither it nor Dever really agreed.
Since I am usually the worst judge of my own preaching, I can only mention what I was trying to do. Others will have to evaluate whether or not I accomplished my purpose.
From the time that I accepted the invitation to “Advancing the Church,” my purpose was to make as strong of a case as I could for a mainstream fundamentalist understanding of biblical separation. I wanted to do this, not merely because I believe that separation (including separation from some believers) is correct, and not merely because it is characteristic of fundamentalism. I wanted to address this issue because I believe that it is essential to “Advancing the Church.” Without separation, healthy churches will soon begin to decay as the infection of error sets in.
While I was aware that some non-fundamentalists such as Dr. Dever would hear the presentation, my main concern was for the younger fundamentalists in the audience. These young men have usually seen separation—especially separation from believers—practiced and defended rather badly. To some of them, separation seems like mere irascibility. I believed that “Advancing the Church” would put me in a strong position to discuss this topic. It should have been clear from the outset that I was not arbitrarily classifying all non-fundamentalists as “disobedient brethren” who ought to be treated like apostates.
As I envisioned it, the presentation needed to be strongly based in the exposition of a text of Scripture, paying full due to the historical and grammatical context of that text. In the process of developing the text, I wanted to show its relevance to fundamentalist history and terminology. I wanted my listeners to come away with the impression that a separatist position (one that includes separation from brethren) was not only biblically defensible, but also biblically mandated.
For my text I chose 2 John 7-11. As a foil for the text, I introduced the example of Oliver W. Van Osdel and the Grand Rapids Baptist Association as it was being invaded by liberalism in 1909. I attempted to get my listeners to work through the problem of fellowship and separation for themselves, with the biblical text providing the resources for making the right decisions.
My desire was to strengthen Christian leaders in their understanding of and commitment to biblical separation. Of course, a certain number of non-fundamentalists were also present and they, too, heard the presentation. I hope that they found it persuasive. If anecdotal responses are any indication (and sometimes they are not), then at least some in the audience were helped by it. It should be available on the internet when the conference addresses are posted.
Why I Am Still a Fundamentalist
With respect to the issues under discussion, I both remain a fundamentalist and encourage others to adopt fundamentalism. I agree that fundamentalism is a great idea. It is a biblical idea. It is a necessary idea. It is an idea that addresses a complex of questions. I remain convinced that no other answer deals with those questions as well as fundamentalism.
As far as I am concerned, Mark Dever is a friend. I enjoy his self-depreciating attitude, his sense of humor, his willingness to challenge, and his careful treatment of ideas. As a Baptist theologian, he is articulating many old ideas that too many fundamentalists have forgotten.
Furthermore, I believe that it is appropriate to call Pastor Dever a separatist. He has been part of a great purging of Southern Baptist institutions. He rejects cooperative evangelism and believes that Billy Graham was wrong to practice it. He is critical even of his friends when they send out confusing signals (such as signing the Manhattan Declaration) on the gospel.
At the same time, I cannot see my way clear to throw in my lot with Pastor Dever and his crowd. While they have taken the first steps in basic separatism, I do not believe that they are prepared to go far enough. The decision to retain some older liberal professors in Southern Baptist seminaries is one example. The new administrations could have treated these men fairly without continuing to give them an opportunity to confuse future students.
The lack of a doctrinal test for participation in the Southern Baptist Convention is an even greater concern. While the convention points to the Baptist Faith and Message as a summary of its convictions, that statement is not binding. A church can fully identify with and send messengers to the convention while denying fundamentals of the gospel. In other words, the institutions have been mostly purged, but no mechanism exists for removing an apostate church or barring an apostate messenger from participating in the decision-making process. Pastor Dever is optimistic that, with the Baptist Faith and Message in place, liberal churches will simply leave the convention alone. I do not share that optimism.
Participation in the conservative evangelical movement forces one to work closely with people who hold charismatic views. True, the more moderate versions of charismatic theology do not directly affect the gospel. That does not mean, however, that they are minor or incidental. This issue was not much discussed at “Advancing the Church,” but I do not believe that close cooperation with charismatics is desirable under most circumstances.
To be clear, Dr. Dever is not on a campaign to attract young men away from fundamentalism. He will accept fundamentalists into his internship program, but his goal is not to talk them out of their heritage. With three fundamentalist seminary presidents in the room, Dever asked, “Are we [conservative evangelicals] a threat to your institutions?” I replied with a question: “Why should anybody go to Central Seminary and read Bruce Ware when he can go to Southern and hear Bruce Ware teach?” Without blinking, Dever shot back, “Smaller classes. Better student-teacher ratios. More personal attention.”
My conclusion? On the one hand, I applaud all that Pastor Dever and his friends have accomplished for the sake of the gospel. On the other hand, the differences that remain are of sufficient gravity to create an ongoing limitation in our ability to work together at many levels. While careful and limited cooperation is possible in narrow ways, an “emerging middle” between fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism is not a desirable phenomenon. As Dever himself noted, there is nothing wrong with fences, though we ought to keep our fences low and to shake hands often. I think that we can do that without attempting to straddle the fence.
How I Am Not a Fundamentalist
One point of disagreement was highlighted when Dr. Dever turned to me and asked, “So, is rap music sinful?” While I was taken aback by the question, my answer was, “Yes.” Naturally, that answer led to a longer discussion that I hope will turn into a longer one still.
In affirming the sinfulness of rap music, I am not disagreeing with Dr. Dever alone. Virtually all conservative evangelicals and a growing number of self-identified fundamentalists are on his side. Furthermore, if the question is expanded to include other idioms in pop music, even more fundamentalists will end up on Dr. Dever’s side.
I am most concerned with the question of what music may be offered in worship. Most fundamentalists fall into one of two camps. One camp has concluded that issues of music and culture are secondary, unimportant, or unaddressed by Scripture. This camp has reached a position in which virtually any popular expression can be modified to become useful in addressing God.
The other camp believes that these issues are addressed and are important, but is willing to critique only the most recent trends. This camp will rail against the worldliness of rap or rock (or Sovereign Grace or Getty), but it will have nothing to say about the accommodations that it has made to popular music for more than a century.
I have come to believe that issues of imagination, affection, and culture are extremely important, even crucial. I think that these issues are amply addressed by biblical principle. Furthermore, I also believe that a proper critique will lead to the rejection of some dearly-held fundamentalist habits.
When I make this case, however, I have to recognize that I am no longer speaking as a fundamentalist. My position goes beyond anything that most fundamentalists are willing to embrace. To be sure, I do not deny that they are good fundamentalists according to the idea of fundamentalism. Rather, I judge fundamentalism as an historical phenomenon to be deficient in this area.
From the beginning, fundamentalism has been a rather populist movement that has tended to absorb the surrounding commercial culture. The result is that fundamentalism has rarely critiqued its own forms and methods. Because fundamentalists have aggressively attacked trends that they don’t like, however, they have created the appearance of a double standard. Impatience with that double standard has led the current generation of young fundamentalists into a massive shift toward contemporary forms and expressions.
I have written elsewhere about the importance of conservative Christianity. Conservative Christianity is more conservative than fundamentalism, and far more conservative than most of “conservative” evangelicalism. I do not believe that either conservative evangelicalism or fundamentalism has within itself the resources to foster a genuinely conservative Christianity. On the one hand, I must object when Pastor Dever defends the legitimacy of Christian Rap. On the other hand, I also have to object when my fundamentalist friends believe that the life of faith and the pursuit of Christian virtues is somehow analogous to the swashbuckling adventures of a predatory buccaneer.
Nor is the problem simply about music. In a sense, the problem concerns the totality of ways in which we think and speak about God and the world. Years ago I tried to articulate some of my vision in a document entitled “A Fundamentalism Worth Saving.” Subsequently, I have expanded it in documents on Christian conservatism and on the moral imagination. In those documents, I have attempted to sketch what I thought a truly healthy fundamentalism would look like. Today, years later, I find very few places in which fundamentalists are actually interested in implementing the kind of ideas that I have described.
That leaves me in a very uncomfortable position. To the extent that fundamentalism is committed to populism, revivalism, obscurantism, and shallowness, I have little appetite for it. In fact, viewed from this perspective, I do not see myself as a fundamentalist at all. I am simply a conservative (or, if you like, a conservative Christian), and most of fundamentalism as it exists today is a threat to conservative ideals.
On the other hand, viewed from the perspective of the questions that distinguish fundamentalism from other forms of evangelicalism (including, to some degree, the phenomenon that is called “conservative evangelicalism”), I think that fundamentalists are generally and importantly right. If someone is choosing between fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism, then fundamentalism is the right choice. And if one is looking for a movement that offers structures through which to advance ideas, it may be the only choice.
Those who wish to live as true conservatives, however, are not likely to be welcomed by most fundamentalists, nor will they feel as if they belong. They will hold the idea of fundamentalism, for that idea is actually integral to the idea of conservative Christianity. They will also find that they must separate from much or most of the fundamentalist movement in order to retain the integrity of their conservatism. If they do not, fundamentalists will likely separate from them.
On the one side of fundamentalism is conservative evangelicalism. On the other side is actual conservative Christianity. I consider it progress when someone in the conservative evangelical camp grasps and affirms ideas from fundamentalism. I do not, however, consider it a triumph. Conservative evangelicalism is on the far side of fundamentalism from me. As I see it, both movements need to move in a more genuinely conservative direction.
Prayer for the Church
The Book of Common Prayer
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.