Reflections after the Encounter: Considering the Current Situation of Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism

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Reflections after the Encounter: Considering the Current Situation of Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism

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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.

My Sermon

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.

[node:bio/kevin-t-bauder body]

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Two Options

I'm sure this will get serious quickly, but either I'm still chuckling at the Patch the Pirate reference or I'm chuckling because I'm dumb enough to read Patch the Pirate references into discussions of fundagelicalism.

kirk_williams's picture
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Thanks for your thoughts.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Aaron Blumer's picture
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Culture

I don't think I'll ever be quite the culture snob Kevin is (I mean that the nicest possible way), but I'm probably hopelessly deep in snob territory. I increasingly feel that conservative is becoming the more important category (vs. fundamentalist) as the western world continues to move the direction it's been moving. That direction's been obvious since about the 60's but I think some of Kevin's prior writings are pretty persuasive that these trends began in more like the 17th Century, if you look really close.

In any case, I'm deeply convinced that culture matters and that both evangelicalism and much of fundamentalism have erred in sort of tying it off as though the Bible had nothing to say to it (beyond the superficial "we like how it was 30 years ago" response with some key verses attached as proof texts). So we have the attitude that the cultural stuff doesn't matter and the attitude that only the most recently offensive stuff matters.
Not much else.
I'm not completely convinced that Kevin's take the cultural issues is the right answer (I've yet to hear most of that answer), but at least it's something else.
(and I'll definitely keep listening with interest)

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Thank you

Dr. Bauder,

Thank you for this summary and analysis of the conference. I grew up at Bob Jones University, and also was a member of Capitol Hill Baptist. I'm glad he is working so hard to understand you, and you him. This is really exciting.

I'm now in a church plant full of young people who would probably understand themselves to be "young fundamentalists" in the sense that you mean. We're tired of the double-standards, but we love our fundamentalist heritage in many ways. I'm really glad for what you're trying to do.

Shayne McAllister

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Standpoint Conference

Kevin,

Great article.....one of your best, and you've had some good ones. At some point in time I'll take the 4 hrs to craft a response. Just a quick statement about our Standpoint Conference. Even with Bixby's presentation, "The emergent middle" I'm fairly sure that most of us who have been connected with Standpoint, would also agree with Mark's concept of fences and shaking hands (Of course I'll let the other guys respond for themselves - which I'm sure they'll want to do). Speaking only for myself - Type C's are C's; Type B's are B's - they don't merge to make a permanent "Type Z" (for an ecclesiastical kind of zebra? A fundegelical maybe?). At least for me, Type B's and C's have occasions for some cooperation, some fellowship. I would say that in some ways B's and C's can have a single identity when our mission is singular (So call me skitso here - on some occasions when a gospel setting brings us together under one mission we are "type Z" - when the mission is no longer centralized and we are a bit more "denominational" we go back to being "B's" and "C's"). Of course this is how the first generation of fundamentalism was able to get along. I know you've given your answer to this in other writings - my hypothesis still stands - Not sure why we can't have a similar relationship with militant and responsible "separatists" fundamentalists (what I call Type B) and militant "non-conformist" conservative evangelicals (what I call Type C) that they had in the first generation of fundamentalism. Especially when the Dever's of the world repudiate ecumenicalism. These views are furthered by what I see in the NT - namely an assumption - when brethren have the same gospel and the same commitment to truth, the assumption of the Scriptures is we are merged in a single mission (at least at some level - and that level goes beyond a simple organic connection via Spirit Baptism). You seem to agree with on the one hand, but then you come back and say, "the identity is still too different." So this is "the point" where I'm still not following you here. I'm sure this is not your fault - I'm sure you have that outlined here, so I'll read this a few more times to let it wrap around my thinking. I guess a good question is "talk to me about these fences." What do those barriers look like? Do you want to construct these castle-protecting-war-making fences like our beloved "Sheriff Joe" has here in Phoenix and the ones he wants to put down south of Tucson on the border with Mexico.....or the nice little flimsy white fences they have down South in Dixie?

Kevin, I really appreciate what you've done here and what you and Dave and Tim and other men like Sam and Matt at Northland are doing just now. I know you guys have to be getting some energetic communication from some of your "Type A" friends/constituents. Please remember this however, you will have a far greater potential ministry with our brother Shayne who posted before me - look closely at his profile - he graduated from BJ, went to Dever's church for a while and is now a YF. You know how much of that is "out there?" At the end of the day, you are far closer to him than the Type A's who are going through the roof just now because you shared a platform with a conservative Southern Baptist.

To be honest, I don't really think we have a substantial difference in what you did at Lansdale and what we were trying to do at Standpoint. I'll need to wait and hear from Dave, Tim and Sam to see how you guys agree. I know that with the guys who have been connected with Standpoint in the past or present, we have had a large percentage of agreement with some diversity. I would guess you'll have the same thing between you men. I will say this in regard to what you said about Standpoint - I'm delighted you were willing to come (also grateful for the boards willingness to let you come). I can also respect the need to be careful when some of your "other" friends were not sure of our "platform." While we missed you, we were able to put together a conference that considered some of what you discussed at Lansdale. This certainly did not impact our appreciation for you or for that matter our relationship with you. The thought does occurs to me however -I wonder if all of your friends at the FBF who were your friends two years ago are still your friends today? I know your friends at Standpoint are! Smile

Just sayin'!

Straight Ahead!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Baptist Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

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a sense of disappointment?

As I read this, I get a sense that KTB is somewhat disappointed in his reflections on the conference. Perhaps he expected more? Or something different? I wonder if he might care to write, 'where do we go from here'? in his next piece.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Excellent discussion of the

Excellent discussion of the conference. I especially appreciated Kevn's three reasons for going:

Kevin Bauder wrote:
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.
Even if one believes that CEs are hopelessly off the doctrinal path, how can they be convinced of the truth if there is no positive interaction with them?

MS
--------------------------------
Luke 17:10

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Culture snob

I am a 'culture snob' too, if you must put it that way- in the sense that culture is essentially formed by society-at-large, and societies are composed mostly of unregenerate people. Therefore, many if not most cultural practices are questionable if not outright corrupt. Since I also believe that there is no such thing as a division between secular and sacred (in the sense that everything we do and think has eternal implications) we cannot dismiss various aspects of culture as not being spiritually meaningful or influential in some way.

If we truly want to be holy in all manner of conversation, then we must stop wanting to hang out with and be accepted by the 'cool' kids, and embrace our role as the nerdy grown-ups.

My dh and I are definitely in the conservative Christian category. We love the idea of Fundamentalism and believe it offers a necessary distinction, but as Dr. Bauder pointed out- Fundamentalism often fails in the area of critical self-evaluation. They/We may have, back in the day, rejected blue jeans, Hollywood, multiple piercings, and rock music, but didn't have a problem with 40 ft. long hot dogs, carriage and hot air balloon rides, skits with cross-dressing youth pastors, easy believism, and staffing a church via nepotism instead of 1Timothy 3? There are few more obtuse than an old-fashioned Fundy.

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Dr. Bauder has declared that

Dr. Bauder has declared that he is still a fundamentalist. I accept that. Unfortunately, there's a battle brewing on the Jolly Roger. Some want him to walk the plank for going to Lansdale. Some want to by-pass the plank and throw him overboard.

Rough seas ahead.

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I feel a song coming on

Pastor Joe, I have this strange feeling of a song coming on. If a forum can be turned into a musical, this would be the time. . . HA!

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In good conscience

What some Fundies choke on is the idea that good men can come to different conclusions in good conscience. It's where I partr with some of my KJVO friends on the versions issue- I can be a KJV perservationist and still acknowledge that others can come to different conclusions in good conscience, because essentially I'm following my own conscience as well. And I certainly am not going to be in any KJV fan club where the VIPs are men of questionable character. That is straining at a gnat and swallowing the Hindenburg.

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Advancing the Church or Catching Up?

As I read Kevin’s comments on the conference I realize that most of his concerns are not my concerns as church planter. I was only able to attend ATC for one night when Dever spoke and laud the direction that Calvary and others are taking. I do think it is a new direction but in line with better understandings of biblical separation. That is, much of what has been called biblical separation had little to do with the Bible.

Whether Dever’s presence is caressed and explained in whatever way it is undeniable that he would not have been invited 5 years ago and that many of these men would not have shared a platform with him. This was not just about listening to Dever and engaging in conversation although that happened. No, this is institutions and men in prominent leadership positions recognizing what has already been happening on the streets, in churches and with pastors where many fine lines have been erased and a new map drawn that conforms more closely to Scripture. This map is gospel-centered and fellowships and partners around the gospel.

These men have already had private conversations. They didn’t need a meeting “to explore differences and similarities both between independent Baptists and Southern Baptists” although the conference made that more public. Of course much of the conversation took place behind closed doors. No conference was needed for that to happen.

Kevin continues to speak of fundamentalism as a movement, of something that he and others did not forsake for evangelicalism, of moving from one thing to another, pulling up stakes from fundamentalism, spending lives in fundamentalism, etc. Likewise to talk about “true conservatives” and the choice between fundamentalism and conservative Christianity perpetuates categories that are no longer helpful especially when musical choices are labeled as sinful and whose side is what.

I find disconcerting this statement: “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.” What does “throw in my lot” mean and who’s asking that be done? And when is enough “far enough”? I don’t know what it would mean for Kevin and others to throw in their lot with Dever and “his crowd.” The language itself is troublesome. Kevin recognizes that Dever is a separatist” but not separated enough. That astounds me!

It is here that I think there is a disconnect from life on the streets. I am attending an Acts 29 gathering in Philadelphia this afternoon. There will be church planters and pastors from around the area who are connected with different “movements.” With our fellowship centered on Christ and the gospel, we will not care much about what music others use or need to approve it, or who they invite into their churches. And each one can make decisions about fellowship and levels of partnership without scrutiny from others. There may be fundamentalist pastors and church planters in Philadelphia although I don’t know any. I would like to meet them at conferences like this and enjoy fellowship with them. There may be places where fundamentalism as a movement exists or cares to exist but not here!

All-in-all I applaud what Kevin, Dave, Matt, Tim, etc. are doing. But make no mistake. This is not only advancing the church but also catching up to what has been happening outside many of these institutions and with many who were at one time associated with fundamentalism as a movement or an idea. Now, I’m wondering who will be invited to ATC in 2013.

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Don Johnson wrote: As I read

Don Johnson wrote:
As I read this, I get a sense that KTB is somewhat disappointed in his reflections on the conference. Perhaps he expected more? Or something different? I wonder if he might care to write, 'where do we go from here'? in his next piece.

Thought I saw a little of that, too. I think the disappointed may mostly have to do with the CE's continuing cultural blindspot. Maybe he was hoping a bit to find some glimmers of hope there. Speculation, though.

As for "catching up," ... catching up to what, exactly?
- great commission: ancient
- holy living: ancient
- cross cultural evangelism: ancient
- reaching cities: ancient
- reaching people out in the countryside: ancient
Best of all...
- gospel: ancient

What is there to catch up with? All the really really good ideas were handed down by the apostles (and those before them).

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Heart of the Matter

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I don't think I'll ever be quite the culture snob Kevin is (I mean that the nicest possible way), but I'm probably hopelessly deep in snob territory. I increasingly feel that conservative is becoming the more important category (vs. fundamentalist) as the western world continues to move the direction it's been moving. That direction's been obvious since about the 60's but I think some of Kevin's prior writings are pretty persuasive that these trends began in more like the 17th Century, if you look really close.

In any case, I'm deeply convinced that culture matters and that both evangelicalism and much of fundamentalism have erred in sort of tying it off as though the Bible had nothing to say to it (beyond the superficial "we like how it was 30 years ago" response with some key verses attached as proof texts). So we have the attitude that the cultural stuff doesn't matter and the attitude that only the most recently offensive stuff matters.
Not much else.
I'm not completely convinced that Kevin's take the cultural issues is the right answer (I've yet to hear most of that answer), but at least it's something else.
(and I'll definitely keep listening with interest)

In my opinion Dr. Bauder's identification of the spectrum of positions on the issue of culture is critical to understanding the differences in fundamentalism and the difference between some fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. I think the "conversation" or dialogue or meeting at the Lansdale conference could more easily help people on all sides if it simply was a debate between those that take a conservative biblical principled approach to discerment in culture vs. those that are relativistic, contemporary, hip, amoral, discernment is not necessary because the Bible doesn't apply or speak folks.

Basically, you are either "conservative" as Bauder defines or look conservative (type A) but not really standing on principle only cultural prejudice, or you are a fundamentalist who really stands with conservative evangelicals in your underlying belief that many areas cannot have a moral evaluation (i.e. music genre), but are permissible and desirable when seen as sanctified or christian-ized. The second category is populated by many so called young fundamentalists who are rejecting the conservative music standards and dress standards (just a few examples) as a logical outcome of their shift to the Bible principles do not apply to culture in these areas approach.

It would be interesting to see Dr. Bauder or any other fundamentalist who takes a similar position debate Pastor Dever or any of the other "conservative evangelicals or young fundamentalists" on the area of Bible principles and how they apply or do not apply to specific issues. The cultural apologetic has been stated in the past, but not followed consistently in some areas, but I believe it still applies. This needs to be pressed more polemically. Press Pastor Dever on the basis for and implications of saying Hip Hop music is neutral, could be right for worship, should not be criticized by Christians etc.

Conversations are ok, but argument is more profitable for the person in the pew. The young fundamentalists need to be won over by strong polemics not simply a small reference to the cultural apologetic.

DJung

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Aaron Blumer wrote: Don

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Don Johnson wrote:
As I read this, I get a sense that KTB is somewhat disappointed in his reflections on the conference. Perhaps he expected more? Or something different? I wonder if he might care to write, 'where do we go from here'? in his next piece.

Thought I saw a little of that, too. I think the disappointed may mostly have to do with the CE's continuing cultural blindspot. Maybe he was hoping a bit to find some glimmers of hope there. Speculation, though.

As for "catching up," ... catching up to what, exactly?
- great commission: ancient
- holy living: ancient
- cross cultural evangelism: ancient
- reaching cities: ancient
- reaching people out in the countryside: ancient
Best of all...
- gospel: ancient

What is there to catch up with? All the really really good ideas were handed down by the apostles (and those before them).

Ha! "...catching up..." to the contemporary trends of worldly culture brought into the churches. The root bears fruit. The root issue is that the new evangelicals do not define worldliness in practice the same way conservatives (Dr. Bauder), or some fundamentalists do, they do not want to be seen as "old-fashioned" and in the process have compromised or ignored the application of Bible principles and truth to culture.

DJung

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and another thing...

Is Kevin's assessment/reflections what the young fundy/emerging middle/Type B guys were hoping for? It seems to me that this article does an about face and dashes the expectations of those wanting to push fundamentalism into a closer relationship with conservative evangelicals. I wonder if KTB will be interested in pursuing a repeat of this conference?

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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A correspondence

I don't have time to interact on this thread today. It looks like this could turn into a wonderful discussion.

I would love to see a series of letters by Dr. Bauder and Dr. Dever posted here on SI walking through the weaknesses they see in each other's positions (as well as the strengths). Perhaps Aaron can put the full force of SI behind the effort and pull some strings. ;)

Look forward to the conversation on this thread.

Forrest Berry

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DJung wrote: The root issue

DJung wrote:
The root issue is that the new evangelicals do not define worldliness in practice the same way conservatives (Dr. Bauder), or some fundamentalists do, they do not want to be seen as "old-fashioned"

DJung

I wonder how a person can be a person of strong moral values and ethics and not be considered somehow "old fashioned" in this day and age. How does a person get around it? if you believe in strong families (not just cohabiting couples), good marriages, and making your word count (speaking the truth and keeping your word), you fall in the "old-fashioned" category--regardless of too much else. These seem like basic Christian principles that Young and Old Fundamentalists ought to be embracing.

Thanks for the article. I've been away from SI since I got a computer upgrade and came back for the first time today. I appreciated KB's summary. I'd wondered about the conference, so appreciated getting the update.

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Inevitable

As yet another of the Standpoint Conference sponsors, I want to thank Dr. Bauder for his willingness to discuss joining us last year. He made clear his concerns at the time, and we respect them. [Let me shamelessly plug Standpoint by mentioning we are now moving on to even more important issues -- see www.standpointconference.com ]. But I would like to defer in one key way: I think that our position would be not that we support an "emerging middle", but that it is inevitable. The reasons why are clear. One element wants to leave behind the toxicity of some of the more loony strands of Fundamentalism. The other wants to leave behind the "anything goes" mentality of Evangelicalism and take a clear stand. As those on the right flee to the left, and those on the left flee to the right, a delightlful collision is taking place.

Missing from the Fundamentalist contingent has been the idea of "teaching". By which I mean that we were always quick to denounce someone as disobedient for not practicing our brand of separation, but not so quick to communicate with them about the value of such separatism.
Missing from the Evangelical contingent has been, at times and among some, a concept of separation at all.

The conference Dr. Bauder reports on is exactly what this inevitable emerging middle should be expected to produce: a conversation in which the Fundamentalists get to realize there was a lot more doctrinal clarity among the Conservative Evangelicals than we might have expected, and in which the Conservative Evangelicals are given a chance to hear a thoroughly thought-out and well articulated defense of separatism.

Add time (perhaps 20 years) to this mix, and there will be a common movement, healthier in all respects. Some will be left on the outside of this: The most factious of the Fundamentalists whose separatism exceeds Biblical authority by creating an ever-growing list of essentials, and the more thoughtless Evangelicals, who will continue to mutate toward theological liberalism by affirming an ever-decreasing list of essentials.

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Audio?

Are any of the sessions available on audio for download?

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Mike Durning wrote: As yet

Mike Durning wrote:
As yet another of the Standpoint Conference sponsors, I want to thank Dr. Bauder for his willingness to discuss joining us last year. He made clear his concerns at the time, and we respect them. [Let me shamelessly plug Standpoint by mentioning we are now moving on to even more important issues -- see www.standpointconference.com ]. But I would like to defer in one key way: I think that our position would be not that we support an "emerging middle", but that it is inevitable. The reasons why are clear. One element wants to leave behind the toxicity of some of the more loony strands of Fundamentalism. The other wants to leave behind the "anything goes" mentality of Evangelicalism and take a clear stand. As those on the right flee to the left, and those on the left flee to the right, a delightlful collision is taking place.

Missing from the Fundamentalist contingent has been the idea of "teaching". By which I mean that we were always quick to denounce someone as disobedient for not practicing our brand of separation, but not so quick to communicate with them about the value of such separatism.
Missing from the Evangelical contingent has been, at times and among some, a concept of separation at all.

The conference Dr. Bauder reports on is exactly what this inevitable emerging middle should be expected to produce: a conversation in which the Fundamentalists get to realize there was a lot more doctrinal clarity among the Conservative Evangelicals than we might have expected, and in which the Conservative Evangelicals are given a chance to hear a thoroughly thought-out and well articulated defense of separatism.

Add time (perhaps 20 years) to this mix, and there will be a common movement, healthier in all respects. Some will be left on the outside of this: The most factious of the Fundamentalists whose separatism exceeds Biblical authority by creating an ever-growing list of essentials, and the more thoughtless Evangelicals, who will continue to mutate toward theological liberalism by affirming an ever-decreasing list of essentials.

How can there be this emerging middle group when the philosophical underpinnings of cultural choices are vastly different between Dr. Bauder and Pastor Dever? The choice to adopt a principled approach consistently to cultural discernment vs. adopting a culture is neutral approach (i.e. music is neutral, one example) cannot be reconciled...will the emerging middle just ignore this and adopt the latter thus simply being a more separated version of CE? I believe for this not to happen Dr. Bauder must become more polemical concerning the education of YF's on biblical principle and constantly encouraging them to appropriate application by way of practical example. Urge consistency.

DJung

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Not about morality, but "grey areas" that become "b and w"

Becky Petersen wrote:
DJung wrote:
The root issue is that the new evangelicals do not define worldliness in practice the same way conservatives (Dr. Bauder), or some fundamentalists do, they do not want to be seen as "old-fashioned"

DJung

I wonder how a person can be a person of strong moral values and ethics and not be considered somehow "old fashioned" in this day and age. How does a person get around it? if you believe in strong families (not just cohabiting couples), good marriages, and making your word count (speaking the truth and keeping your word), you fall in the "old-fashioned" category--regardless of too much else. These seem like basic Christian principles that Young and Old Fundamentalists ought to be embracing.

Thanks for the article. I've been away from SI since I got a computer upgrade and came back for the first time today. I appreciated KB's summary. I'd wondered about the conference, so appreciated getting the update.

Areas in contention:
1. Music used in worship.
2. Dress standards.
3. Separation from disobedient brethren.
4. View of culture in general. Biblicist - generally sees culture as evil, CE-culture is good or bad but redeemable. Let world in...diversity.

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Graphic might help

I was trying to sort out the various relationships as Kevin describes them in the essay.
This is what I've got so far. I'm sure it needs adjustments.
For one thing, it should probably be flipped horizontally so that conservative christianity is on the right and evangelicalism on the left.
And some of the lines look bad and some of the colors are pretty yucky.
OK, that out of the way, maybe it's kind of close to what he's saying as far as the fundagelical landscape is concerned?
[img=374x299 ]/sites/default/files/images/10_02/fundagelical.jpg[/img ]

Edit: I see here that I've got the CE's holding a bigger chunk of the "conservative Christianity" real estate than the fundamentalists. That was not intended... I think it would have to be even w/"fundamentalists" at best, but the "idea" of fund is completely within the CC sphere. That's intentional.

Don, on the idea of convergence. I do think Kevin is clear that he thinks convergence between fundamentalism and CE would not be a good thing, but it's also clear to me that he believes there is continued value in meeting together and talking: keep the fence, but keep it low and shake hands often. I think the metaphor works well.

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I appreciated the article as

I appreciated the article as well. Dr. Bauder's assesment of Dever's understanding of his relationship to the SBC (like a mission board) is consistant with what I have found. I have an SBC church right next door to my church. We are seperated by an alley and a dumpster. The current pastor and I have discussed the SBC associations. I am have suprised at how independant that they are. He told me, the convention only really has power if the local church allows it. Outside of the cooperative program, there is no difference in how his church interacts and ours does wth our state assoc of Fundamental churches. I thnk this is a by-product of Dever's involvement in leadership.

Djung,

As far as your list goes, I am not sure tha you have it completely right. You are right on number 1. Number two, I am not so sure. For instance, My SBC pastor friend wheres a suit even on Wednesday. Many fundamentalists dont do not any longer. As far as number 3 goes, somes we do and sometimes we dont. The same would go for th CE's. I think you are mostly right on number 4 with a few caveats.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

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Graphics

Aaron,

I think you misunderstand Bauder's labels. All of his labels would fall in "Evangelicalism" because that is the boundary of the gospel. Then the CEs and Fundamentalist would be circles within Evangelicalism. As far as Bauder has explained in his "A Fundamentalism Worth Saving" and his series on Conservative Christianity, I wonder if "Conservative Christianity" and "The Idea of Fundamentalism" wouldn't be the same circle.

Father of three, husband of one, servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. I blog at mattolmstead.com.

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DJung wrote: How can there be

DJung wrote:
How can there be this emerging middle group when the philosophical underpinnings of cultural choices are vastly different between Dr. Bauder and Pastor Dever? The choice to adopt a principled approach consistently to cultural discernment vs. adopting a culture is neutral approach (i.e. music is neutral, one example) cannot be reconciled...will the emerging middle just ignore this and adopt the latter thus simply being a more separated version of CE? I believe for this not to happen Dr. Bauder must become more polemical concerning the education of YF's on biblical principle and constantly encouraging them to appropriate application by way of practical example. Urge consistency.

DJung

DJung,

I think you oversimplify the views of Pastor Dever and other Conservative Evangelicals on the matter of culture and our relationship to it. This is surely one of the most discussed topics in Fundamentalism that still somehow misses the bullseye. In order to answer the questions about music, dress, etc (per your list in another post), we need to thoroughly understand the Bible's teaching on the Christian and his relationship to culture. It is not a sufficient answer to say the Bible says separate from the culture. That is an answer that, if carried to its logical conclusion leads to monasticism ("for then must ye needs go out of the world" I Cor. 5:10 KJV), which is not our Lord's intent.

Clearly, there is a gap on the issue between Dr. Bauder and Pastor Dever. But neither Dr. Bauder's nor Pastor Dever's positions on this issue are the same as those of most who call themselves Fundamentalists. The fact that Dr. Bauder ends at an answer on, for instance, the "rap" question, with which most Fundamentalists agree is only secondary. How he got there is critical, and it is not the way many Fundamentalists would.

Mike D

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To get more perspective on

To get more perspective on this conference and the journey of Calvary Seminary one must read that posted by Brian Mcrorie on the "EVENT BLOG" of the front page of SI. It is titled Did the ATC advance the church?

IMHO Bauder, Doran, et. al. speaking at the same conference as Dever is not an issue at all. That does not indicate their endorsement of him or his positions or doctrine. There should be no attempt to defame or blame them for such an act. They were with all other Fundamentalists at a traditional Fundamental conference. They should not need to apologize or explain.

The proper issue is the journey of Calvary Seminary as a traditional, historic Fundamentalist related institution. What made them invite a Reformed Baptist who is amillennial, who militantly advocates Reformed doctrine and Reformed Baptist polity, to come and influence their students and constituency. Most all have been completely exposed to Mark Dever through his books and blogs. Why do that which implies some sort of endorsement? They allowed the emphasis and tenor of their major conference to be centered on, and set by, the appearance of such a speaker. Is this another evidence that where there is scholarship there is not necessarily discernment? Liberalism and New Evangelicalism evidenced such in the past. Are we to now witness the same phenomena in some historic Fundamentalist Institutions. Why is it that such phenomena appears to occur over and over again among second and third generation Christians who endorse their heritage but then soon find they must change it according to their superior wisdom? All things are rightly subject to examination and proposed change for the better. However, it appears the second and third generation inheritors of the faith may often lack the spiritual discernment to do such a proper examination and then properly set forth that which is needed change for more Biblical ministry V. personal taste and rebellion.

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Bob, I appreciate your

Bob,
I appreciate your warning here as I am still sorting this out. But I do have a question for you as a man with great experience. Why do you imply that a 5 pointer cannot be a fundamentalist when they have always been among us? And I guess I would ask the same question reguarding Covenant Theology? A clear example of a Fundamentalist who is both would be my BJU professor, Dr. Mike Barrett. No one ever questioned him being a Fundy (eventhough he is/was in the minority), nor should they. I am not saying Dever is one. But you seem to think Dispensationalism is a fundamental of the faith. Am I wrong in my assesment? If I am, please show me. If I am right, please explain why I am wrong for disagreeing with you.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

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Will it even matter?

I'm just waiting to find out how 2 John 7-11 teaches separation from believers

Kevin Bauder wrote:
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.

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.

If Kevin fails to establish that 2 John 7-11 teaches separation from believers, and it doesn't, will it even matter?

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rogercarlson wrote: Bob, I

rogercarlson wrote:
Bob,
I appreciate your warning here as I am still sorting this out. But I do have a question for you as a man with great experience. Why do you imply that a 5 pointer cannot be a fundamentalist when they have always been among us? And I guess I would ask the same question reguarding Covenant Theology? A clear example of a Fundamentalist who is both would be my BJU professor, Dr. Mike Barrett. No one ever questioned him being a Fundy (eventhough he is/was in the minority), nor should they. I am not saying Dever is one. But you seem to think Dispensationalism is a fundamental of the faith. Am I wrong in my assesment? If I am, please show me. If I am right, please explain why I am wrong for disagreeing with you.

The subject is Calvary Baptist which is fundamentalist not all Fundamentalism and certainly not the Fundamentals of the faith. It may be possible for some Reformed to be saved. :bigsmile:
The issue I posted to was not all historic Fundamentalism but that of Fundamental Baptists. It is also specifically the Baptist Fundamentalism heritage of Calvary Baptist seminary. They, Detroit, Central, Faith, and Bible Baptist, Maranatha, NIU, and some others represent Dispensational non Reformed Baptist Fundamentalism. Theirs is a varied non Reformed Calvinism. It was and is moderate in emphasis and modified by being combined with Dispensationalism. Few were 5 point Calvinists but some were and are. However, they were not in agreement with Reformed (covenant) theology. The "Reformed Baptist" position of Dever and others was, and is, a separate group of Baptists founded on the Reformed theology. Dever happens to be in the SBC instead of one of the Reformed Baptist associations or fellowships such as FIRE. But his theology and emphasis are the same as the Reformed Baptists. He is not in any way in agreement with the Dispensational, Premillennial, Pre-Tribulational, doctrinal statement of Calvary Baptist Seminary or church. IMO BJU has its own non Baptist niche of theology and Fundamentalism which involves their own home grown faculty.

There may be some Reformed around who call themselves Fundamentalists. However, the process of history and present reality is that Dispensationalism is the prominent theology of what we today call Biblical Fundamentalism. The popularity of PreTrib Dispensationalism was a constant complaint of the New Evangelicals. My impression is that those who have now recently embraced Reformed theology are usually in the process of leaving behind the Fundamentalist label or have already done so. Many have gone back to indefinite-ism on creation and eschatology, rejecting revivalism, and other characteristics that are the same as the 1947 list that characterized the New Evangelicals who also left Dispensationalism in their journey to ever increasing indefinite-ism and indifferentism.

As evolved today Biblical Fundamentalism appears to be a label that involves those who are Dispensational and also embrace some other doctrines such as 6 day 24 hour creationism as well as a well defined doctrine of separation. However, I would agree that by strict definition limited to basic doctrines and separation it can and is used of others. But I am posting regarding a specific group and their heritage in doctrine and practice.

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Conservatism vs. Fundamentalism

Kevin T. Bauder wrote:
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.

In many ways I can identify with Dr. Bauder. Although I have now been directly involved with fundamentalism for more than half of my life, and (like him) deliberately chose it over conservative evangelicalism – believing it to be the best available alternative – I have no real connection to “the movement” by heritage.
I still struggle with my own identity and acceptance within fundamentalism at times, and there are many facets of it that I would likewise not appreciate.
I am not sure if this relates to Dr. Bauder’s point about conservatism or not, but in my case I am still deeply influenced by my conservative Lutheran upbringing. I often think, “If only there were someplace that brought together the best of all worlds.” (Yes, I do think that some of the practices I learned in Lutheranism were more Biblical and/or more conservative than their counterparts in fundamentalism.)
The closest place I have found to that personally was the seminary I attended (FBTS, Ankeny). I am very grateful for my time there.
Thank you, Dr. Bauder, for articulating what at least some of us fundamentalists have been feeling for a long time.

The views I express are purely my own. However, I am happy to promote the great ministries with which I work: I minister for www.SermonAudio.com/Whitcomb. I do freelance writing for www.RegularBaptistPress.org. I speak through www.IMISOS.org.

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Young Fundamentalists

Joel Tetreau wrote:
Please remember this however, you will have a far greater potential ministry with our brother Shayne who posted before me - look closely at his profile - he graduated from BJ, went to Dever's church for a while and is now a YF. You know how much of that is "out there?" At the end of the day, you are far closer to him than the Type A's who are going through the roof just now because you shared a platform with a conservative Southern Baptist.

jt

There are a lot of others like me. In fact, I can't think of a single person I graduated with at BJU (and I think this would hold true at Northland ect) that would be classically fundamentalist in the way that the last generation is/was. They may exist. I just don't know about them. I've been out of college almost six years. I am continually shocked by by graduating class who I thought would be strict-fundamentalists-even-unto-death, who now are in the same place I'm in. So I know several categories of people I graduated: those who have unfortunately totally apostatized from the faith, those who are now in broad evangelicalism, or those who are stuck in limbo between fundamentalism and CE.

I guess my point is this: look 20 years down the road.

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Will it even matter?

Ted Bigelow wrote:

If Kevin fails to establish that 2 John 7-11 teaches separation from believers, and it doesn't, will it even matter?

Nothing like poisening the well or not having an open mind.

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Bob, Thank you for your

Bob,

Thank you for your response. It seemed your language still was more inflexible than i think you wanted it to be. Brandenberg posted on his blog how Ian Paisley would preach at Maranatha when he was there. So my point is even within the Baptist wing, they still allowed men like Barrett in (Free Pres same as Paisley). Not trying to strain at gnats, but lately I have seen others imply that non-dispensationalism and reformed soteriology is new to our movement. That is simply not accurate. I think it is accurate to say that it (Reformed Theology) is new for IFB. We disagree on if that is good or bad. Smile For the record, I know many on that side that believe in a literal Creation account as well. Thank you for responding.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

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Mike Durning wrote: DJung

Mike Durning wrote:
DJung wrote:
How can there be this emerging middle group when the philosophical underpinnings of cultural choices are vastly different between Dr. Bauder and Pastor Dever? The choice to adopt a principled approach consistently to cultural discernment vs. adopting a culture is neutral approach (i.e. music is neutral, one example) cannot be reconciled...will the emerging middle just ignore this and adopt the latter thus simply being a more separated version of CE? I believe for this not to happen Dr. Bauder must become more polemical concerning the education of YF's on biblical principle and constantly encouraging them to appropriate application by way of practical example. Urge consistency.

DJung

DJung,

I think you oversimplify the views of Pastor Dever and other Conservative Evangelicals on the matter of culture and our relationship to it. This is surely one of the most discussed topics in Fundamentalism that still somehow misses the bullseye. In order to answer the questions about music, dress, etc (per your list in another post), we need to thoroughly understand the Bible's teaching on the Christian and his relationship to culture. It is not a sufficient answer to say the Bible says separate from the culture. That is an answer that, if carried to its logical conclusion leads to monasticism ("for then must ye needs go out of the world" I Cor. 5:10 KJV), which is not our Lord's intent.

Clearly, there is a gap on the issue between Dr. Bauder and Pastor Dever. But neither Dr. Bauder's nor Pastor Dever's positions on this issue are the same as those of most who call themselves Fundamentalists. The fact that Dr. Bauder ends at an answer on, for instance, the "rap" question, with which most Fundamentalists agree is only secondary. How he got there is critical, and it is not the way many Fundamentalists would.

Mike D

Mike,
If you read my post carefully, I didn't say that my position or Dr. Bauder's position was to "separate from the culture" and therefore my position would never lead to "monasticism" which is basically isolation from the world. Rather, I advocate biblical discernment of culture, which means applying Bible truth to culture to reveal the evil therein and to discover moral positions which honor God. The problem I see with Conservative Evangelicals is that they are not consistent in application of Bible principle. We all fall short and some fundamentalists clearly are shorter than others in application but this is not a valid reason to excuse Conservative Evangelicals (fundamentalist failures). I think that most fundamentalists and CE's would agree on Bible truth but differ on Bible application. What I observe is that Young Fundamentalists are gravitating toward CE because of the lack of a compelling urgency toward application of the Biblical discernment to culture.

DJ

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Christ in Culture

I'm watching the conversations here about culture. I do think that many of the internal spats within fundamentalism do come down to issues of how Christianity relates to culture. This is one part of fundamentalism that wasn't there from the very beginning (aka the first part of the 20th Century). I see some diversity within the movement on this subject, and it has such far reaching implications as to what fundamentalism actually looks like from church to church. Some of the options are:

Christ in Culture
Christ against Culture
Christ over Culture

In my mind many fundamentalists (but not all) are in the Christ against Culture camp, while many (but not all) Conservative Evangelicals are in the Christ Over Culture camp. The broader Evangelical movement could be classified as Christ in Culture. Anyway, I think some of the arguments in this thread and in fundamentalism will hinge on what you think Christ's basic attitude towards culture is. It's one of these three, or a mix.

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DJung wrote: Mike, If you

DJung wrote:
Mike,
If you read my post carefully, I didn't say that my position or Dr. Bauder's position was to "separate from the culture" and therefore my position would never lead to "monasticism" which is basically isolation from the world. Rather, I advocate biblical discernment of culture, which means applying Bible truth to culture to reveal the evil therein and to discover moral positions which honor God. The problem I see with Conservative Evangelicals is that they are not consistent in application of Bible principle. We all fall short and some fundamentalists clearly are shorter than others in application but this is not a valid reason to excuse Conservative Evangelicals (fundamentalist failures). I think that most fundamentalists and CE's would agree on Bible truth but differ on Bible application. What I observe is that Young Fundamentalists are gravitating toward CE because of the lack of a compelling urgency toward application of the Biblical discernment to culture.

DJ

DJ,
You are correct. I did mis-read your post. My apologies.
I tell our congregation all the time that on non-cardinal issues, I don't necessarily want to know whether someone agrees with us, but I want to know WHY they agree or disagree. Frequently, that is more revealing. The issue of how one applies Scripture to the situation is, in my opinion, more important than what they conclude as they do. This is why both extremes in this discussion scare me. The Fundamentalist who would grasp at any proof-text to stand by a tradition, or the Evangelical who will say the Bible has nothing to say about vast areas of life and culture are equally disturbing. And this is why the "thinking Fundamentalists" like Bauder and some of the CE's have some compatibility -- they both try to think Biblically about everything.
Mike

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Conservative Culture

Hmm . . . I can see that I am not quite the conservative as Dr. Kevin Bauder.

But here is my encouragement to those who are strong cultural conservatives: move to the I-15 Corridor and church plant. I haven't yet seen any from the Acts 29 network take on the giant of cultural conservatism in the Intermountain West. Smile Our universities make national news when the Honor Code is broken.

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Why is the answer to everything "separation"?

Many thanks to Dr. Bauder for sharing his perspective at length. I hope it will silence some critics of his. It definitely reveals him as a solid fundamentalist, but it brings up concerns to me.

I guess I'd be a YF or now a Type C, not sure, really. Anyway, this concerns me:

Dr. Bauder wrote:
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.

Everything boils down to separation. Period. The answer for any difference of opinion or matters of conscience? Separation. What do you do if you have a wide network of Baptist/autonomous churches who try to work together for a common cause, and some of them don't agree with you? Separate.

What do you do if you differ over how to apply the same, mutually held Biblical prinicple regarding worship or music? Separate.

This goes on and on.

I really wish that Dr. Bauder would have interacted with Aaron Blumer's post on " http://sharperiron.org/article/intentional-ugliness-of-separation ]the ugliness of separation ". Is mere limitation of fellowship a censorious separation? Do we have to have COMPLETE AGREEMENT in order to not have to separate?

This is the Achilles Heel of Fundamentalism. Most fundamentalists aren't willing to allow for much differences at all. We suspect that differences of any type are a denial of the gospel or a rejection of the faith. For some it is conservatism, others it's dispensationalism, others its the KJB. Can we allow any latitude? I think that is what is killing fundamentalism.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

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There is a ray of hope!

C.J. Mahaney recently preached at Capitol Hill Baptist Church and wore a suit and tie! Smile

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

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Whew!

Brother Hayton,

Now that you have that out of your system, let me ask you a question.

How many Arminians do you have in your church?

Kevin

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And Mark Dever wore casual clothes

Ron Bean wrote:
C.J. Mahaney recently preached at Capitol Hill Baptist Church and wore a suit and tie! Smile

And Dever wore casual clothes just because he knows CJ doesn't like suits in order to mildly mock CJ. That man has a sense of humor.

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Culture...options

Shaynus wrote:

Christ in Culture
Christ against Culture
Christ over Culture

In my mind many fundamentalists (but not all) are in the Christ against Culture camp, while many (but not all) Conservative Evangelicals are in the Christ Over Culture camp. The broader Evangelical movement could be classified as Christ in Culture. Anyway, I think some of the arguments in this thread and in fundamentalism will hinge on what you think Christ's basic attitude towards culture is. It's one of these three, or a mix.


Kevin's thesis is that most fundamentalists and evangelicals both are closer to culture over Christ... or maybe Christ beside culture? In the case of fundamentalists, his view is that our "against" culture posture has been very superficial (we absorb culture as long it's a few decades past). The idea fits a whole lot of what I've seen.

I suspect just about every flavor of Christian claims 'over' or 'in' to some extent. The problems arise in fleshing out what that means and then in the execution.

Bob... and Kevin: maybe Kevin's use of "separation" there is more the sense of "non fellowship" (mostly because of differing emphases and methods) vs. an intentional condemnation and rejection? But I do think that some fundamentalists do already condemn and reject cultural conservatives (and vice versa) just not under headings like "disobedient brother" or "apostate."
(I personally don't think that is separation)

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Arminians....

Kevin T. Bauder wrote:
Brother Hayton,

Now that you have that out of your system, let me ask you a question.

How many Arminians do you have in your church?

Kevin


At the church where I'm a deacon, I'm sure we have many. We don't require assent to the 5 points. We do teach them.

The question could be rephrased, though. "How many Arminians have we kicked out of our church?" Or, "How many Arminians do we separate from?" Again, I'd think none. Being an Arminian-ish Baptist doesn't earn our censure.

I'm assuming (perhaps incorrectly), that you're referring to any old "Arminian". A strict Arminian as in classical Arminian which believes you can lose your salvation, I don't think we have those. Even then, I think they're wrong, and need teaching. My fellowship would be limited, but I'm not prepared to exercise censorious separation from them.

But more to my original point, and I probably did come off too strong, I really am curious if you would be willing to comment on Aaron's post I linked to. Doesn't separation in Scripture have more of a censorious tone to it? Limiting of fellowship seems to not be everything that separation is. It can be a natural outcome of me living on this side of the Metro area, and you living on yours....

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

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Bauder's Rubicon?

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I don't think I'll ever be quite the culture snob Kevin is (I mean that the nicest possible way), but I'm probably hopelessly deep in snob territory. I increasingly feel that conservative is becoming the more important category (vs. fundamentalist) as the western world continues to move the direction it's been moving. That direction's been obvious since about the 60's but I think some of Kevin's prior writings are pretty persuasive that these trends began in more like the 17th Century, if you look really close.

In any case, I'm deeply convinced that culture matters and that both evangelicalism and much of fundamentalism have erred in sort of tying it off as though the Bible had nothing to say to it (beyond the superficial "we like how it was 30 years ago" response with some key verses attached as proof texts). So we have the attitude that the cultural stuff doesn't matter and the attitude that only the most recently offensive stuff matters.
Not much else.
I'm not completely convinced that Kevin's take the cultural issues is the right answer (I've yet to hear most of that answer), but at least it's something else.
(and I'll definitely keep listening with interest)

merely a snob? you are quite generous.

Yes, Aaron, i too have yet to hear his answer on culture. i, as a reader, feel sort of "strung along". contra Dever who has a "thus saith the Lord" and is quiet on issues the Bible is quiet on. Bauder will give me a 30 part series and still leave me wondering about his answer on any number of topics. he has pretty much lost me as a listener despite his many admirable qualities. his "true colors" have now come out and i call on him to repent.

In two ways Bauder's posting represents a significant and momentous step:

1. His use of a the moniker "Conservative Christianity" as better than "Fundamentalism".

2. Bauder's classifying certain musical styles as sin.

this second point is very serious, and frankly, i am surprised no one has raised any questions about it.

Aaron, as publisher of this site which features much of Bauder's writing you claim to "yet hear most of that answer" regarding his take on culture. i am not very well versed on Dr. Bauder's views but will take an avid reader's word for it (you) that he has yet to fully articulate the answer.

Kevin claims to have been surprised by Dever's question but answered affirmatively that rap music is sin. he could have said many other things than "yes", but he has not backed away from this stance and, by including it in this blog, is obviously comfortable and confirming in this, his now stated position. am i the only one offended?

Galations 2 tells us that Peter "stood condemned" because of his hypocrisy of falsely separating himself from other Christians. but here we have Bauder calling millions of Christians "sinners" by their use of a style of music which does not agree with his. unbelievable!

Give to the wise and they will be wiser. Instruct the righteous and they will increase their learning. Proverbs 9:9

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Dever is not always silent on

Dever is not always silent on the things the Bible is silent on. I'm sure he has made application at one point or another to, say, motion picture media at various points in his ministry.

I'm frankly surprised that music has been raised twice now (at least) as something one cannot make a definitive judgment on without being called to repent.

I must suppose that both gentlemen use Christian Death Metal--yes there is such a thing, I've heard it--in their worship services, or would if the culture within which they ministered embraced it.

(edited to correct grammatical error)

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Repent? ... and silence

Alex, I thought your post was pretty thoughtful, but this part had be scratching my head

Quote:
Bauder will give me a 30 part series and still leave me wondering about his answer on any number of topics. he has pretty much lost me as a listener despite his many admirable qualities. his "true colors" have now come out and i call on him to repent.

A little humor? Or irony?

I don't think we've ever seen anything but his true colors.

As for having not yet heard his full answer on culture... this would be the work of a lifetime, I suspect. And he's been a little busy presidenting a seminary. We'd have to ask Kevin, but I think he'd agree that what he's put in writing in Nick essays on the subject of culture is more like a rough framing in of the topic.

I'm working a set of questions, though. Maybe we'll do an interview on subject and post at SI... but at the very least, I have questions I'm looking for my own answers to.

About the silence of Scripture.
This is where much of the culture -disconnect occurs. People mistake the lack of direct reference for silence, but this is not the case. Where is a direct reference to abortion, pornography, or robbing banks?
In these examples, we understand that they are specific cases in categories the Bible talks about.. murder, sexual immorality, theft.

So we do this all the time. We claim that what the Bible says about a category, it also says about items that we judge to be in the category.

But when it comes to cultural matters like dress, music, speech, entertainment, people stop exercising judgment at all... "It's just culture." Why should cultural choices be in some kind of "It doesn't matter" bin? We are still obligated to evaluate and see what biblical categories these matters fall into... all the while recognizing that our judgments are our judgments, and there are going to be differences--and these are not usually matters that call for the fully punitive kind of separation we see in Scripture.

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The Problem of Definitions

Bob (Hayton),

I meant strict Arminians, but go ahead and limit it to moderate Arminians. Your church officially teaches unconditional election--so would you have an elder who held (let's say) Geisler's views on the doctrines of grace? If not, that is separation.

You, and not I, keep adding the word "censorious." To be sure, there is some small element of censure in all disagreements over the faith (each party, by thinking that he is right, necessarily thinks that the other is wrong--and by disagreeing he says so). It seems that your use of "censorious" goes well beyond that, implying some sort of denunciation.

I would argue that every limitation of fellowship is in fact a separation. In accepting this understanding, I am following the best of Protestant ecclesiology. This is a point that received significant attention from theologians beginning with the immediate post-Reformation period. You can find it in thinkers as diverse as Arminius and Turretin. It is all through Princeton ecclesiology--they got it mainly from Turretin.

If you're looking for a biblical definition of the word "separation," good luck. You've got passages as diverse as 2 Cor. 6 (Come out and be separate) and Acts 15 (where Paul and Silas are specifically said to have separated from one another). The former is required for the preservation of the faith. The latter is not rebuked in the text--though I've heard many preachers who dared to go where the text does not.

Apparently the concept of separation can be used for any limitation on fellowship. Separation can occur for reasons of geography, chronology, linguistic differences, and ministry goals (Acts 15). There is no reason to suppose that it should not occur over differences in theology and practice when those differences actually do make a difference in the way that we do Christianity.

I do not begrudge a Presbyterian the privilege of organizing a church according to his understanding of Scripture. For myself, however, I will seek out a church with a different pattern of order, because I think the New Testament requires a different pattern of order. In my use of the word, that is separation. Furthermore, I believe that this is a biblically acceptable use of the term.

Separation occurs in different ways at different levels, just as fellowship occurs in different ways at different levels. Some levels do require explicit censure in the sense of denunciation. Other modes of separation require little or none (as when geography or chronology separates us).

So I have no problem with your church requiring teachers to affirm unconditional election. I could even participate in such a church. But I would prefer a church that did not have this requirement, and all other things being equal, I would choose the other church.

Kevin

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Here's a question.

Alex,

Would you say that it is a sin to feed someone arsenic until they die?

Can you think of a biblical text that addresses the proper use of arsenic?

Kevin

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Worldliness

So it is somewhat difficult to pin down exactly what is 'worldly' and what is not in our modern era, but we have enough principles that IMO allow us to form a fairly clear picture.

Quote:
Titus 2:11-15 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

Much of modern culture may appear on the surface to be detached from any measurable spiritual influence, its underpinnings are anchored in lust and frivolity and selfishness, deflecting our focus from eternal matters and diminishing our ability to truly be a pure and peculiar people. When the medium corrupts the message, the medium needs to get the heave-ho. These things can be taught and rebuked with authority- and we are commanded to do so. That is where it seems many CEs and Fundamentalists/Conservatives part ways philosophically.

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Thanks for clarifying

Dr. Bauder,

Thanks for clarifying. I agree definitions are often the sticking point. When people hear of separation over musical choices and cultural conservatism and then also hear (often in the same breath) separation from liberal theology and those who make common cause with deniers of the faith, confusion is bound to result.

I can affirm and support the second kind of separation above. But the first seems qualitatively different. I can allow limitation of fellowship and even church structure, but to use Al Mohler's categories, such are third level or second level issues only. The separation I affirmed is on the first level and concerned with it.

Personally, I see Scripture as encouraging a separation over first level doctrines -- over the heart of the gospel. And many Conservative Evangelicals agree. But they aren't willing to "go far enough" when it comes to separation, apparently. This is the part I'm not so sure about. Is there a biblical compulsion to go as far as you want them to go?

Local church discipline and obedience/sin issues are more clear. But limitation of fellowship over more minor issues -- here we start running aground when it comes to other Biblical commands. Romans 14 and 15 come to mind. 1 Cor. 1-3 comes to mind. If we're going to label every difference of opinion and resulting limitation of fellowship as "separation", are we not unnecessarily limiting "the unity of the faith"?

Can't someone be considered a "biblical separatist" if they are willing to separate over the first level doctrines? Or only if they are willing to go as far down (and deep) as we want them to? At what point are we to blame for reserving the right to change the definitions to match our tradition and preferences? Are they separating in a biblical fashion or not?

Many young fundamentalists trip at this point. The "idea of fundamentalism" doesn't seem to require such minute separation. Separating for gospel-centered reasons makes sense and fits Scripture. Separating for preference issues doesn't.

The case remains to be made for treating differences of methodology and preference as carefully as one treats differences of faith and fundamental doctrine. The original historic fundamentalists who birthed our movement had no problem in prioritizing doctrines to work together for unity in a common cause. That is what seems to be missing today in fundamentalism. At least that is how it appears to me at this juncture in my journey.

Blessings in Christ,

Bob Hayton

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

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Conservative culture

"These things can be taught and rebuked with authority- and we are commanded to do so. That is where it seems many CEs and Fundamentalists/Conservatives part ways philosophically."

But what if the conservative culture is the idol that is dragging people down to the pit of hell?

How does the fundamentalist respond?

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In a sense

Todd Wood wrote:
"These things can be taught and rebuked with authority- and we are commanded to do so. That is where it seems many CEs and Fundamentalists/Conservatives part ways philosophically."

But what if the conservative culture is the idol that is dragging people down to the pit of hell?

How does the fundamentalist respond?


everything bad is just a good thing twisted. Any time some aspect of our spiritual lives is out of proportion, we are going to have problems. That is why it is so important to exercise spiritual discernment.

The bottom line is that any time we engage in work for the Lord or abstain from a behavior or activity, people are going to be offended. It doesn't even matter why you've decided to reject a musical style or fashion accessory or the media, or go to church instead of a ball game- eventually you have to make a choice as to what brings you personally closer to God- and the social waters will part accordingly. It's unavoidable. It isn't censorious by default, as some want to portray it. Some 'separation' happens as a natural by-product of exercising one's conscience before God.

It isn't just conservative Christianity that ends being idolized, and every system of belief has a cliff that people can jump off of when they go to the extreme. Much of the CE culture is very personality driven and exceedingly foolish and has no Biblical basis- unless of course the argument from 'silence' is engaged... kind of like a doctrinal Oort Cloud.

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Just another thought . . .

I enjoy my conservative culture in S.E. Idaho. I enjoy our conservative politics, our conservative Sunday Sabbath expectations on dress and businesses, our conservative modesty, our conservative architecture, our conservative Sunday music piped over the radio from BYU-Idaho, our hymns sung by the Mormon Tabernacle choir striving for the highest of musical standards, our conservative stance on the family -- and the list goes on and on and on. That's me. I am most comfortable within conservative culture.

But it is always good when an uncompromising, courageous, biblically-reasoning evangelical comes in and kicks the conservative moralism all to pieces.

Shayne lists earlier:

Christ in Culture
Christ against Culture
Christ over Culture

I can see where at times it must be "Christ against Culture". That is, unexpectantly to we fundamentalists, Christ against Conservative Culture. Of course, we can look in the gospels to see this.

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DavidO wrote: Dever is not

DavidO wrote:
Dever is not always silent on the things the Bible is silent on. I'm sure he has made application at one point or another to, say, motion picture media at various points in his ministry.

I'm frankly surprised that music has been raised twice now (at least) as something one cannot make a definitive judgment on without being called to repent.

I must suppose that both gentlemen use Christian Death Metal--yes there is such a thing, I've heard it--in their worship services, or would if the culture within which they ministered embraced it.

(edited to correct grammatical error)

DavidO,

So here's your logic as I understand it:

You've heard Christian Death Metal in an evangelical worship service
Dever and Mahaney are evangelicals
Therefore you "must suppose" they both use it in their services.

That's just ridiculous logic. You have illustrated perfectly how the rumor mill in fundamentalism gets going. As a member of Dever's church for years, there was never an electric guitar, or a drum, or men with big hair, or screaming or any such thing. In fact worship was largely MORE conservative than many fundamentalist churches I've been to. We would sing hymns that no one else had heard of from the 1500s far more often than anything written since 1975. In fact, so against loud music is Dever, that they don't even use their organ for fear it would drown out the congregation.

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Attitude

Bro. Wood,

I don't see Christ as against conservative culture in the Gospels. What He opposed were those who were 'faking holiness' by adhering to the outward aspects of holy living while being inwardly wicked. They used the law to dominate, manipulate, and control. It wasn't the law that was evil, but their use of it and their motivations.

Christ calls us to holiness in all manner of conversation. There are aspects of our culture that are not spiritually significant in and of themselves. For instance, owning a car is part of American culture. But how we think of and use that car- did we go upside down into debt for it? Were we fulfilling a lust for luxury/speed/status? Do we use it to run over little old ladies? It is our motivations that often define what is and isn't permissible.

Someone around here- Bro Durning I think? often says that it isn't necessarily one's conclusions that are significant, but how they arrive at those conclusions. If http://religiousaffections.org/?s=rap+music ]someone has , through study and meditation, come to the conclusion that rap is an objectionable style of music/communication that has no place in the life of the Christian, then I respect that. I don't support the idea that "Scripture doesn't forbid any specific musical style so anything goes", because that conclusion doesn't require any thought or spiritual discernment whatsoever. Furthermore and in my experience and opinion, the usual underlying motivation for such adoptions of modern culture is simply to fit in and get to hang out with the 'cool' kids. Some people never recover from high school. Calling John Hughes.

Not sure what you mean about courageous CEs who kick conservative moralism, but I have no use for anyone who mocks high moral and ethical standards or those who hold them. God is the author of all that is just and pure and holy, and fakers do not diminish the necessity of high moral standards, they diminish themselves. Those that think they are attacking Phariseeism by attacking morality and ethics are misguided at best and possibly wolves.

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Opposite

Shaynus wrote:
DavidO wrote:
Dever is not always silent on the things the Bible is silent on. I'm sure he has made application at one point or another to, say, motion picture media at various points in his ministry.

I'm frankly surprised that music has been raised twice now (at least) as something one cannot make a definitive judgment on without being called to repent.

I must suppose that both gentlemen use Christian Death Metal--yes there is such a thing, I've heard it--in their worship services, or would if the culture within which they ministered embraced it.

(edited to correct grammatical error)

DavidO,

So here's your logic as I understand it:

You've heard Christian Death Metal in an evangelical worship service
Dever and Mahaney are evangelicals
Therefore you "must suppose" they both use it in their services.

That's just ridiculous logic. You have illustrated perfectly how the rumor mill in fundamentalism gets going. As a member of Dever's church for years, there was never an electric guitar, or a drum, or men with big hair, or screaming or any such thing. In fact worship was largely MORE conservative than many fundamentalist churches I've been to. We would sing hymns that no one else had heard of from the 1500s far more often than anything written since 1975. In fact, so against loud music is Dever, that they don't even use their organ for fear it would drown out the congregation.

Shaynus, you've gotten the opposite meaning. David is saying that they don't use it in their services, and still would not do so even if it were embraced by the general culture. Therefore, they do discriminate regarding culture.

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I think polka music is sin

I think polka music is sin with its association with beer drinking and dancing. I also have my doubts about those waltz rhythms of John Petersen (Coming Again) because they remind me of the roller skating rink that was anathema to me as a teenager. ;)

BTW, like Shaymus, I've found that the music at Capitol Hill Baptist was much more conservative that that in many conservative fundamentalist churches. Eight or nine congregational hymns, all the verses, last verse acapella, and sung with smiles on the faces of the congregation. And no choir, praise band or soloist.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

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must be my bad...

I must have worded that poorly.

My point in the Christian Death Metal post was that neither Steve Davis or Alex K (the two who criticized the OP's mention of musical conservatism) could refuse the inclusion of it (CDM) in a worship service if all musical styles discussions were off the table and any "line" asserted must be something to repent of.

Sorry I didn't make that clearer.

Edit: Also, the Christian Death Metal I heard wasn't in a service. It was on the radio.

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Conservative Culture

Susan, I wouldn't equate Conservative Culture as synonymous with God's holy law. The problem is the Pharisees could not see that crucial issue.

And I would readily admit that my blindside is not replacing Christ with an immoral, wicked culture. I am more sensitive this, especially with my upbringing. My problem could be replacing Christ with conservative culture.

Are there dangers to "Advancing the Church" with conservative culture? Hmm . . . yes, I think so. In the Corridor, the "Church" is advanced by the Conservative Cultural Honor Code.

The biblical truth is "Advancing the Church" through Christ and the Gospel.

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Todd, I think we have to be

Todd,

I think we have to be careful to define fundamentalist cultural conservatism. One version of that is merely trying to retain a culture you prefer on the basis of your preferences-- hair length, women in skirts only, movies on VCR ok but theater bad, etc. Another might be more politically based--Republicanism equals godliness. I think what Dr. Bauder calls cultural conservatism is different. He would, as I read him, seek to prevent elements of the larger culture from entering Christian culture if they are imaginations that distort a proper understanding of God, or promote improper feelings about God (in which case Second Advent Roller Rink music would truly be suspect). This seems to me to be different from the types of conservatism you seemed concerned about.

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DavidO wrote: I must have

DavidO wrote:
I must have worded that poorly.

My point in the Christian Death Metal post was that neither Steve Davis or Alex K (the two who criticized the OP's mention of musical conservatism) could refuse the inclusion of it (CDM) in a worship service if all musical styles discussions were off the table and any "line" asserted must be something to repent of.

Sorry I didn't make that clearer.

Edit: Also, the Christian Death Metal I heard wasn't in a service. It was on the radio.

My apologies. I did misunderstand. I guess guys like Dever would have the discussion on music in terms of helpful/unhelpful rather than purely right/wrong. It's a lot easier to make the argument first that CDM is unhelpful for a congregation, and then talk about it's inherent morality. So I could definitely say that Christian Death Metal in a church worship service would make it difficult to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to one another without making an absolute judgment on Christian Death Metal from a moral standpoint (even though I think the case could be made that it is immoral).

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Agreement

But, David, I just don't see clearly the presented boundaries as Kevin or let's say, brother Scott A. declare. Yet I am giving Scott a good hearing and reading through all his lectures and resources in the latest Preserving the Truth conference.

I hope to discern and grow by God's grace in what is essential to the Tradition.

grace, peace, and love,
et

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by the way

And by the way, I just like lots of qualifiers when we have discussions on conservatism.

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Carts and horses and chicken and eggs

Bro. Wood- maybe we have been talking past each other, and if so, please forgive me.

As I read these posts and consider this topic as it has come up over the years in my own life, some thoughts come to mind. Our culture doesn't come out of thin air. That which we practice as an outward expression of inward belief forms our culture. Our lifestyle choices as Christians should be based on what Scripture is teaching us through doctrine, example, or principle.

Some do practice 'conservative culture' with no spiritual understanding whatsoever. Maybe they are mimicking their pastor, a respected author, their parents... but that never negates Biblical underpinnings of those practices in the lives of those whose example they are following, blindly or not. Of course, we don't want people to follow blindly or because they are being subject to some kind of emotional blackmail, which is, I am assuming, what you are talking about with the 'Conservative Cultural Honor Code'.

The damage is done, IMO, when nearly everyone who practices something associated with Christian conservative culture is labeled as being a Pharisee or a legalistic or the latest denigrating label du jour. And angels forfend if a bunch of those people who have come to the same conclusions of Scriptural faith and practice actually are part of the same church. It is natural, IMO, if some people who've adopted similar lifestyle choices find each other and enjoy fellowshipping with folks where they can relax and take a few things for granted. Which, incidentally, looks like 'separation' to some people, but IMO it's more like freedom of association.

I wonder though- Why do I often hear Christ and the Gospel repeatedly divorced from holy living? I don't believe in salvation by works, by for crying in a bucket if we can't stand up and say definitely that we should endeavor to be holy as Jesus is holy because someone might confuse that as coming before the acceptance of the Gospel.

What is getting confused is the balance of what is of the heart and what is visible to others. It seems that many a CE's favorite verse is 'man looketh on the outward appearance but the Lord looketh on the heart.' So let's just forget for a second who was talking to whom and about what, and take that verse as a Scriptural principle. The part that people love to emphasize is that the Lord looks on the heart, so that apparently, regardless of what you do, God sees what you really meant, you receive a "Get Out of Jail Free" card, you pass "Go", and you get $200. This completely ignores the fact that people are only able to examine the visible evidence of inward change- what we say and do is important, and we have a responsibility to exhibit outwardly what we say we believe.

About Phariseeism- Christ didn't condemn what the Pharisees did per se- at the time there was nothing wrong with keeping every jot and title of the law. Why did He tell folks they needed to exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees?What He condemned were their priorities and motivations-

Quote:
Mat 23:23-26 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

This is where my CE and IFBX friends jump off a cliff. One side dons their WWJD bracelets and chants about heart issues, while the other side is obsessed with how many coats of paint are on the outhouse.

As much as I tend to associate 'middles' with mediocrity, on this issue we really are supposed to find a sensible and Biblical in-between-ish balance of inside and outside.

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Shayne, I appreciate your

Shayne,
I appreciate your thoughts and I have to echo what you said about Capitol Hill. I have only been to one service, but I was suprised at how much better and more conservative their music was compared to most Fundamental churches.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

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Aaron Blumer wrote: Alex, I

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Alex, I thought your post was pretty thoughtful, but this part had be scratching my head
Quote:
Bauder will give me a 30 part series and still leave me wondering about his answer on any number of topics. he has pretty much lost me as a listener despite his many admirable qualities. his "true colors" have now come out and i call on him to repent.

A little humor? Or irony?

I don't think we've ever seen anything but his true colors.

As for having not yet heard his full answer on culture... this would be the work of a lifetime

Bauder had to have his now-definded position "surprised out" when asked by Dever. i could have read Bauder for years without knowing this position. this is the "stringing along" i spoke about, but now i see his position clearly: true colors.

no humor or irony in my statement only seriousness.

I love the old hymns because of their content, the best have remained with us because of their words not the style. Rap music can be an expression of worship to God just like the hymns if the content is Biblical. Bauder has now said i have a poisonous way of worshiping God. the poison is in Bauder's pen!

repent and silence? the content of WHAT Bauder needs to repent of is what i said in the post. if Bauder has not worked out HOW it is sin, then he should keep quiet. now he has been charged by me.

study Galatians 2 carefully. very applicable to fundamentalists to avoid "scandelons" and false separation.

Give to the wise and they will be wiser. Instruct the righteous and they will increase their learning. Proverbs 9:9

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Quote: Someone around here-

Quote:
Someone around here- Bro Durning I think? often says that it isn't necessarily one's conclusions that are significant, but how they arrive at those conclusions. If someone has, through study and meditation, come to the conclusion that rap is an objectionable style of music/communication that has no place in the life of the Christian, then I respect that. I don't support the idea that "Scripture doesn't forbid any specific musical style so anything goes", because that conclusion doesn't require any thought or spiritual discernment whatsoever. Furthermore and in my experience and opinion, the usual underlying motivation for such adoptions of modern culture is simply to fit in and get to hang out with the 'cool' kids. Some people never recover from high school. Calling John Hughes.

I am curious Suan, what about Christians that have done just as much study and mediation and come to the conclusion that rap is an acceptable style of music/communication and for those who would forbid it are equivalent of teaching "doctrine of demons" since Paul says they were teaching that aspects of culture (marriage and food) were evil(I Timothy 4:1-5) since they were denying God's good creation, Would you respect them?

And just because your experience and opinions have shown that the underlying motivation for adoptions of modern culture (which I am guessing would apply to rap since that was the topic of conversation earlier) is to simply fit and get to hang with the cool kids, doesn't mean that your experiences and opinions are right. I can point to many ministers of the gospel that utilize Christian hip-hop for far deeper reasons than what you've mentioned.

For me this topic is not just theory, its my life and ministry in the inner-city. I have spend almost two decades as a missionary reaching out to those within the hip-hop culture, preaching the gospel, making disciples, training leaders to reach their world for Christ. At the same time, I have spend many years studying this topic of culture from a Biblical perspective in regards to rap/hip-hop, so that I would not teach doctrinal error. I can assure you that to fit in or be with the cool kids has nothing to do with why I utilize Christian Hip-Hop. Viewing culture through the lens of the major turning points in Scripture, that being Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation has kept me from blindly accepting the "neutrality of culture" when we know that original sin and total depravity have permeated all aspects of culture. Yet at the same time, realizing God's common grace on his image-bearers after the fall. It might be good to go back to Genesis 4 to realize that it was the ungodly line of Cain, full of rebellion and wickedness, where God's depraved, fallen image bearers were developing aspects of culture such as music, tools, and ways of having dominion over the animals in order to enhance their ways of life.

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Alex K. wrote: Bauder had to

Alex K. wrote:
Bauder had to have his now-definded position "surprised out" when asked by Dever. i could have read Bauder for years without knowing this position.

http://religiousaffections.org/articles/articles-on-worship/worship-wars... Really?

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Conservative Culture

Susan, we are hitting on different concerns and talking right over each other. You are concerned about antinomianism. I am concerned about legalism and Pharisaism that multiplies like cancer within a conservative, religious, cultural environment. And they are both good concerns.

My societal conservative culture is riddled plum through with legalism. Witnessing to a religious conservative is very, very difficult. Praise God for His Spirit, who through the Holy Law can shatter the entrenched conservative moralism residing rebelliously within the human heart. The Holy Spirit did that very miracle in my life. But I am thankful for the prodigals (which I never was). Often one has more reception for the gospel among the antinomian prodigals, the runaways from my conservative culture.

And by the way, our conservative cultural Honor Code in the northern I-15 Corridor, includes no swearing, no immodest dress, no sex outside of marriage, no drinking beer, no drinking anything that contains the drug -caffeine, and mandatory church attendance, etc. and etc. It is deeply embedded within our conservatism. It is a part of the gospel in my conservative culture, but it is all logically and autonomously reasoned on conservatism and not true gospel. It is the only place in America where town after town the culture is more conservative than American Christian culture. The conservatives in my popular culture look down on the unholy ones.

But I know I am jumping into something that is not connected to Dr. Kevin Bauder's intent in his post, so back to Dever's question on rap music . . . .

cheers to all . . . it has been fun chatting,
et

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Bauder and Conservative Christianity

Todd,
I believe Kevin Bauder means something other than legalistic rules, etc. by "Conservatism." He is basing his definition on the likes of T. S. Eliot, Roger Scruton, Jacques Barzun, C. S. Lewis, et al, with specific emphasis on what this means for a believer. Not all of these men were believers, but all were or are conservatives. The so-called "Conservatives" of your neck-of-the-woods are not even in their ballpark. They really are a modern kind of Pharisee. What Bauder is talking about is the conservation of transcendent realities and the conservation of them in our day. What are your "conservative" neighbors trying to conserve?

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It's ironic

Some of these men are highly esteemed, Bill.

In fact, the apologists in the Corridor love C.S. Lewis. Paper after paper has been written about this man. But a lot of it is trying to piggyback the astute Englishman.

It is the conserving of Christian externals, standards, morals and American conservative culture as it once was in the past. The writing is prolific. The publishing engines are churning constantly.

Unlike Bauder, it is difficult for me to describe myself first of all as this - "Conservative" above and beyond the word "Fundamentalist". Of course, that word, fundamentalist, has its own connotations up and down the Corridor (chuckling).

If one calls himself a Christian conservative in the Corridor, there is another word that he or she must sing louder. The word is Grace.

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Conservative Christianity

Matthew Olmstead wrote:
As far as Bauder has explained in his "A Fundamentalism Worth Saving" and his series on Conservative Christianity, I wonder if "Conservative Christianity" and "The Idea of Fundamentalism" wouldn't be the same circle.
No, they are not the same. Fundamentalism, the idea (as distinguished from the movement) is one aspect of Conservative Christianity but not the whole. Dr. Bauder addressed that in an earlier In the Nick of Time article, http://centralseminary.edu/publications/Nick/Nick204.html Understanding Conservative Christianity, Part 2: The Integrity of the Gospel . As the title suggests, that is part of a series articles on Conservative Christianity. You can find them all in the In the Nick of Time http://centralseminary.edu/resources/nick-of-time/132-nick-archives ]archives ; look in the period Feb-Apr 2009.

Brent

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"As the quantity of communication increases, so does its quality decline; and the most important sign of this is that it is not longer acceptable to say so." —Ro

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Linguistic view of music

I have to agree with Bauder's:

Quote:
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.

It's certainly refreshing not to hear a fundamentalist apologist go to David's harp exorcising Saul's evil spirit as proof that music is intrinsically "moral."
Far better to recognize that music, though composed of amoral rhythms and pitches, carries messages through symbols, much as human languages do. The amoral English alphabet of 26 letters, for instance, can communicate anything from the exaltation of larks or the most vulgar of four-letter words. They carry, as Bauder put it, idioms--structures that don't look pertinent or powerful on surface but carry larger, unsuspected implications beneath.
While the lyrics of a song may be perfectly noble or even biblical, denoting submission or obedience even, the idiom of the music could be quite the contrary, connoting rebellion and such.
Wonder if anyone remembers the pop song http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rivers_of_Babylon ]"By the Rivers of Babylon" ?
Sure can't say much against the lyrics there; they're straight out of the Bible, pretty much KJB even, if you will. But the musical idiom did less to communicate allegiance to Yahweh, mourning for sin, and the Messianic hope than, say, a rastafarian rejection of western values and strictures.
Sure, connotations and denotations move on, dare I say on this 400th anniversary of the revered Jacobian Bible, and someday this rastafarian tune might find its way into a Fundamentalist hymnal like those beer songs that became Reformation hymns or national anthems. But let's not jump the gun--if the Lord tarry, He it is who will raise the remnant generation to discern the appropriateness of the idiom. For now, it's perhaps not an entirely bad idea to pick an idiom, a psalm, to sing with our children in the face of the anti-Christian culture.

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a little catching up

Bob wrote:
I can affirm and support the second kind of separation above. But the first seems qualitatively different. I can allow limitation of fellowship and even church structure, but to use Al Mohler's categories, such are third level or second level issues only. The separation I affirmed is on the first level and concerned with it.

I like the phrase 'qualitatively different.' To me, it is so different we just breed confusion by calling them both "separation."
Of course, it's linguistically sound that whenever I go east and someone else goes west, we've separated (assuming we were near eachother first). But this is nothing like either the response to apostates in Rom16 or the response to disobedient brethren in Matt18/1Cor5/2Thess

So for the sake of clarity, we need better terms. The Reformation theologians may well have used "separation" very broadly (and I'd suggest loosely). But we live in a time when confusion abounds on the subject both inside and outside of fundamentalism.

Alex K. ... I think very, very few regular readers of Kevin's writings are surprised at all to hear that he believes using rap music is sinful.
Especially the series on the trends from Victorian sentimentalism to the advent of "popular culture" and then the Jazz Age and the Counter Culture. It's pretty hard to read that attentively and not see the trajectory he's describing--even if you don't agree w/his analysis. Rap is one more step on the same trajectory.
So only a tiny bit of dot connecting is required.
(But I'm pretty sure he's blasted rap in writing somewhere a couple of times)

But I shd probably add that in the context of Dever's question, I think he was referring to rap used for worship. Maybe that distinction would be important to Kevin, or not... I don't know.

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Conserving what?

Looks to me like what Kevin has talked most about conserving is a view of the world that was upended during the Enlightenment and has been disintegrating ever since.
The surface stuff is just symptomatic of deeper shifts in values and worldview.

I think what most folks have a hard time seeing is how things like dress styles and music styles express values systems, theologies and philosophies. But it would be hard to see how they are related if we aren't aware of the values systems, theologies and philosophies they express.

He really has his work cut out for him!

(Edit: got curious about that phrase... http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-wor1.htm)

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specificity

This is probably for another thread. But I have long contended that music can communicate meaning, but it lacks the specificity that the alphabet and writing/speaking have. Music can carry meaning, and shape emotions to a certain extent. Even then, it is culturally influenced and dependent on associations. In contrast, the written word and human language/speech can communicate such that it can be translated across cultures and languages even. The emotive connotations of the minor key, for instance, don't translate well across cultural boundaries, as just one example.

Sure the form of rap music can convey rebellion and sensuality, but it is mainstream enough now, that white boys all around the evangelical landscape have had their turn at imitating it in jest. Such imitations are not evil, are they? So why couldn't a use of the music itself set to Christ-honoring lyrics work? I've heard several artists that succeed at delivering content-rich, lyrical meditations on Scriptural themes in a manner that, frankly, other musical styles are incapable of matching.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

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And one more note . . .

. . . before I hit the sack here in Idaho.

Dr. Bauder, I pulled out of a home file an old article from the Baptist Bulletin, "Should Fundamentalists and Evangelicals Seek Closer Ties?" by Ernest Pickering. I read that. And I have compared notes with what you have written in this day and age, "Considering the Current Situation of Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism." I appreciated Pickering's spirit and graciousness. And I appreciate your graciousness in today's climate. I am thankful for your contemporary contribution to our Baptist heritage in America. May the Lord richly bless for His glory your writing endeavors in the days ahead.

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In jest

Quote:
Sure the form of rap music can convey rebellion and sensuality, but it is mainstream enough now, that white boys all around the evangelical landscape have had their turn at imitating it in jest. Such imitations are not evil, are they? So why couldn't a use of the music itself set to Christ-honoring lyrics work?

Personally, if a particular music style is questionable, then the use of it, even in jest, would fall under the category of 'fools making a mock at sin', and is along the lines of men cross-dressing to perform a skit. The fact that it is 'in jest' doesn't make it acceptable for men to wear a bra and skirt, or act like he is gay, and quite frankly the sight of either portrayal to attempt to communicate a Biblical truth is rather disturbing. IMO, some things should never be given a humorous or light-hearted spin.

Scott Aniol's picture
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Is music a separation issue?

I think part of the problem with regard to separation and music is defining of terms. It seems like many on this forum use the term "separation" very narrowly to refer to issues directly related to theological orthodoxy. I think Dave Doran has this in mind when he talks about separation, although he would also, I think, extend separation to those who recognize as believers those who deny the gospel as well.

Kevin, on the other hand, uses the term much more broadly to mean any kind of lack of cooperation (Kevin, correct me if I'm wrong). So, for example, since Kevin and I are not members of the same church (for reason of geography at very least), we are separated to a certain extent. There are all sorts of things that will limit cooperation on this level.

I'm not suggesting either is the only way to define separation, but I think many are assuming Kevin means the former when he really means the latter.

So when it comes to music, is this an issue of separation at the same level as, say, denying the virgin birth of Christ? Of course not. If you define separation in the narrow sense, then music is not an issue of separation.

But if you define separation (or, call it what you wish) more broadly, then of course music is going to be an issue that limits cooperation on certain levels for those who consider it an important issue (or even whether one thinks it is an issue is going to limit cooperation with someone who does not).

So I don't think Kevin is suggesting that his differences with Dever and other theologically conservative evangelicals over culture, which in his view necessitates withholding cooperation on many levels (he calls that "separation"), is the same kind of problem as a denial of the gospel. In fact, he makes that very clear by pointing out that he has many of the same problems with many fundamentalists who have adopted certain pop musical forms in their own worship.

For what it's worth, I articulate this very perspective in this article: http://religiousaffections.org/articles/articles-on-church/is-music-a-se... "Is Music A Separation Issue." I think it would summarize Kevin's last section fairly well for those who would like to see it fleshed out a bit more.

Having said all that, the next question is whether music does indeed affect the integrity of the gospel. It's interesting what kinds of issues the T4G and TGC folks insist affect the gospel and yet are not part of the gospel itself. They cite things like gender roles, a Calvinistic understanding of the gospel, necessity of repentance in salvation, etc. These things are not the gospel itself, and yet they defend them fervently and, yes, even separate with others over these issues. I happen to agree with them that each of these issues is important and that we must withhold cooperation over them in certain circumstances. But they are not the gospel.

In other words, the T4G/TGC guys get to pick and chose what issues they consider important enough to separate over, but when we dare raise the issue of our worship as another one of those issues, we are labeled as legalists of the worst sort.

So I ask you, what is more significant to the integrity of the gospel than the aesthetic forms we choose to present the gospel? What is more important to the integrity of the gospel than our worship?

Scott Aniol 
Executive Director Religious Affections Ministries
Instructor of Worship, Southwestern Baptist

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Hold on just a second, Scott

Scott Aniol wrote:
Having said all that, the next question is whether music does indeed affect the integrity of the gospel. It's interesting what kinds of issues the T4G and TGC folks insist affect the gospel and yet are not part of the gospel itself. They cite things like gender roles, a Calvinistic understanding of the gospel, necessity of repentance in salvation, etc. These things are not the gospel itself, and yet they defend them fervently and, yes, even separate with others over these issues. I happen to agree with them that each of these issues is important and that we must withhold cooperation over them in certain circumstances. But they are not the gospel.

In other words, the T4G/TGC guys get to pick and chose what issues they consider important enough to separate over, but when we dare raise the issue of our worship as another one of those issues, we are labeled as legalists of the worst sort.

So I ask you, what is more significant to the integrity of the gospel than the aesthetic forms we choose to present the gospel? What is more important to the integrity of the gospel than our worship?


Now that this thread is well and truly hijacked by music...maybe we should steer the conversation to http://sharperiron.org/comment/24208#comment-24208 ]this old thread ?

I don't think that any of the T4G/TGC guys have ever argued that worship isn't important or that using conservative music equals legalism, and while I'm not a T4G/TGC guy myself, I don't believe that they would say anything like that at all based on what I have read; maybe Kevin or others can weigh in on this aspect of the discussion. Observations by others on this thread would indicate that you (in particular) would have no problem with worship styles at Capitol Hill, as they are very conservative.

What I am noticing, Scott, is that this is the third or fourth time you're arguing that the aesthetic forms by which we present the gospel are critical to preserving gospel truth. I listened to some of your sessions from the Preserving The Truth conference, but I'm having a really hard time buying into your argument. Could you please explain this further and provide scriptural support for this? To be frank, I don't see this concept at all in the New Testament...although there are certainly instructions to sing and praise the Lord in Ephesians and elsewhere.

-----------
"It is not because the culture is always changing...but because we are always in need of being re-oriented to the Word that stands over us...that the church can never stand still." - M. Horton

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Kevin T. Bauder (#48)

Kevin T. Bauder (#48) wrote:
Bob (Hayton),

I meant strict Arminians, but go ahead and limit it to moderate Arminians. Your church officially teaches unconditional election--so would you have an elder who held (let's say) Geisler's views on the doctrines of grace? If not, that is separation.
...

So if his church admitted man with Geisler's views to church membership, but did not make him an elder, that is separation?

When the body calls an elder, surely they need to do so partly on the basis of observed excellence in defending doctrine. So what he teaches is a potential barrier to entry for eldership. But surely that isn't in your definition of separation, or is it? Even when the church continues to receive him in membership?

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Scott Aniol wrote: So I ask

Scott Aniol wrote:
So I ask you, what is more significant to the integrity of the gospel than the aesthetic forms we choose to present the gospel? What is more important to the integrity of the gospel than our worship?

A glance 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 answers this good question:
- Boldness to speak the gospel even in the midst of suffering and persecution.
- Speaking the gospel with no selfish and other impure motives and not being deceptive
- Speaking the Gospel with no greed in the heart to enrich oneself from "gospel" ministry and using flattering words to do so
- Seeking the glory of God instead of seeking the glory of people
- Giving of ourselves as we share the gospel
- Willingness to not be a burden to the people even if it means labor and toil
- Holiness and blamelessness in the ministry of the gospel
- And there are other things

Without these, you have churches, who have great aesthetic forms but no gospel. They suppport false doctrines, have lesbians, homosexuals, and other unqualified people as their ministers and a host of other problems.

You've got to have the things Paul described in this passage first and foremost.

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Audio is up

This was posted in a different place, but the ATC 2011 audio is now online.

http://www.advancingthechurch.org/audio.html

Steve Davis's picture
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Aesthetic forms

Pastor Joe Roof wrote:
Scott Aniol wrote:
So I ask you, what is more significant to the integrity of the gospel than the aesthetic forms we choose to present the gospel? What is more important to the integrity of the gospel than our worship?

A glance 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 answers this good question:
- Boldness to speak the gospel even in the midst of suffering and persecution.
- Speaking the gospel with no selfish and other impure motives and not being deceptive
- Speaking the Gospel with no greed in the heart to enrich oneself from "gospel" ministry and using flattering words to do so
- Seeking the glory of God instead of seeking the glory of people
- Giving of ourselves as we share the gospel
- Willingness to not be a burden to the people even if it means labor and toil
- Holiness and blamelessness in the ministry of the gospel
- And there are other things

Without these, you have churches, who have great aesthetic forms but no gospel. They suppport false doctrines, have lesbians, homosexuals, and other unqualified people as their ministers and a host of other problems.

You've got to have the things Paul described in this passage first and foremost.

Thanks to you and Jay C. for responding to Scott's comment. All forms are cultural forms. I'm so glad that God accepts worship in forms that others would not choose.

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Huh?

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Without these, you have churches, who have great aesthetic forms but no gospel. They support false doctrines, have lesbians, homosexuals, and other unqualified people as their ministers and a host of other problems.

Nobody seems to deny the problem of a 'form of godliness' absent the power. But this argument seems to be either a non sequitur (If one has great aesthetic forms, he will support the wrong agendas) or a faulty dilemma (Either we can have great aesthetic forms or the gospel, but not both).

Most of the 'great aesthetic forms' were in the liturgies of such churches long before they went astray.

But I agree that forms of such churches in no way mitigates their guilt before a holy God.

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All forms are cultural forms.

Nobody denies this. The disagreement is over the moral value of cultural forms.

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wow, pretty big files

Shaynus wrote:
This was posted in a different place, but the ATC 2011 audio is now online.

http://www.advancingthechurch.org/audio.html[/quote]

They should have converted them to 16kbps for download purposes. Quality suffers a little, but good enough.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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You can have the character

You can have the character qualities described in 2 Thess 2 and great aesthetic forms. You can also have the character qualities of 2 Thess 2 and have some variations in aesthetic forms. You can't have great aesthetic forms and the absence of these character qualties. You can also lack these qualities have some absolutely pathetic aesthetic forms.

I know a number of examples, in fundamentalism, where God's people have made the aesthetic form more important than the character qualities described in 2 Thess 2.

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Don Johnson wrote: Shaynus

Don Johnson wrote:
Shaynus wrote:
This was posted in a different place, but the ATC 2011 audio is now online.

http://www.advancingthechurch.org/audio.html

They should have converted them to 16kbps for download purposes. Quality suffers a little, but good enough.[/quote]

So you want them to compress the audio from 128 to 16, but you also say the quality suffers. That's classic Don!

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Thanks David!

David S. wrote:
Ted Bigelow wrote:

If Kevin fails to establish that 2 John 7-11 teaches separation from believers, and it doesn't, will it even matter?

Nothing like poisening the well or not having an open mind.

You are right - thanks David! I should have written "in my opinion."

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