Shedding Some Light on Conservative Evangelicalism

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dmicah's picture
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Shedding Some Light on Conservative Evangelicalism

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I grew up in Winston Salem, NC, a city of roughly 230,000. Not large, but by North Carolina standards, in the top five. Over the years, I’ve bumped into people from rural towns who have noted, sometimes with genuine deference, “Oh, you’re from the big city.” This makes me chuckle considering Winston would probably fit inside of Donald Trump’s living room. Our worldview is potently molded to our experiences such that it affects our perception of objective data and propositional truth.

If your experience of the Christian faith has been primarily independent, fundamentalist, traditional and conservative, operating in small to medium-sized churches, then your perception of evangelicalism may be similar to a small town resident visiting a large city. Bigger doesn’t mean better, but it is certainly different with diverse and multiple choices. This is not to denigrate traditional conservatives (whom I have affectionately nicknamed Tracons) or small towns. It is to illustrate perceptual distinctions. Why write about this? Let me explain.

Our church staff and elders attended the Gospel Coalition 2011 conference in Chicago this past week. What we experienced was simple, but profound, gracious, yet powerful. The subject matter, Preaching Christ from the Old Testament, was well crafted and delivered from many regions of the older testament by gifted pastors and leaders. Some of you may have read the updates. While writing the updates and ruminating on the spectrum of participants and contributors at SharperIron, I considered the many articles and comments deliberating the topics of conservative evangelicals, culture, cooperation, fences, separation, etc. It occurred to me that “small town/large city” perceptions exist that skew an appreciation of the believers some have termed “fundagelicals.”

My comments are not meant to define nor defend TGC. You can read their confessional statements and theological vision here. I hope to bring some clarity to the ongoing tension between those of you within the Tracon ecosystem, and those like myself, who are fundamentally grounded in orthodoxy, but less traditional in orthopraxy.

At TGC the entire conference pointed the attendees to Jesus Christ. Every introduction, song, message and workshop proclaimed explicitly that Jesus is Lord. His glory and sovereignty over this world and individual lives were woven into the tapestry of events. I write this because when I read certain debates on this site, I often see a black & white, cut and dried viewpoint that imparts to evangelicals some nebulous legitimacy within Christendom while maintaining fundamentalism as the theocentric ministry gold standard. As difficult as it might be for Tracons to hear, TGC leaders preach God’s Word unapologetically. The Bible is their defining source of reference for all things pertaining to life and godliness. Why the negative little zinger?

I think that many conservative folk who have chosen a traditional path of ministry, with traditional personal standards and traditional music assume that those who do not share their specific personal convictions and conclusions in these matters don’t share equal footing in God’s kingdom. Allow me to illustrate. Please note that I respect Dr. Bauder, whom I know only through his writings. I also appreciate the dialogue he has initiated on this subject. In his Reflections article after ATC, he made a couple of statements that I think sum up the general mindset within the Tracon ecosystem.

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.

Later, he writes:

Conservative evangelicalism is on the far side of fundamentalism from me.

Bauder concludes he is a conservative Christian, neither CE or Fundie. Nonetheless, his conclusions are illustrative of the significant divergence between Tracon and CE mindsets. One, somehow there exists a choice between two teams. “You can be a Cowboys fan, or you can be a Redskins fan, but you can’t be both.” Two, my personal position is home base. Every other theocentric ministry style must measure itself against my personal conclusions. In this is the perceptual distinction. CE’s do not think in these terms.

Within CE circles, there is broad and open acceptance of differing points of view, different styles, and different approaches to ministry. TGC doesn’t promote one way as the best way. In fact, you will hear recommendations to form heterogeneous ministry partnerships. What is promoted is the power of the gospel over people’s lives. Everything is pointed back to redemption, the power of the gospel and the sovereignty of God.

I’ve seen Tracons hypothesize in regard to CE’s, “I appreciate this, that or the other, but I couldn’t join in ministry with them.” Or “I like him, but I couldn’t share a stage with him.” OK, please don’t take this the wrong way, but they don’t care. CE’s have no concern whether or not you think they have the right framework for advancing ideas. They are devoted to serving the Lord, advancing the gospel, seeing God work in lives. The leaders of the CE movement are biblical, spiritually minded and servant hearted. Those involved in their ministries love the Lord, long to see Him glorified and work tirelessly to that end. They attempt to avoid the theoretical and operate in the real. Here’s the rub. Tracon ministries are decreasing in influence while CE’s are increasing.

I hope you will think about this deeply. You must recognize the movement and flow of young adults into the CE ecosystem. It started a decade ago and has built great momentum. Events like TGC highlight the influx. ATC drew 500. TGC drew 6000+. Size is not success, but it illustrates the direction of flow for kingdom resources, both capital and human. One only need look at the attendance patterns of the last decade at Bible colleges and Tracon churches to recognize the significance of the changes.

Some think this shift highlights the gravitation to worldliness and attractional ministry, and sadly a Christianized pop culture does exist in some churches. Yet many are gravitating to the power of the preaching, the proactivity of the ministries and the principal emphasis on biblical community.

You’ll have to take my word for this anecdotal evidence. I have spoken with countless men and women in the last five years who have left a traditional ministry setting for our CE church. Two things I hear often. One, “I’ve never heard the gospel preached so clearly, so practically and with such high expectations.” Two, “The people here are authentic believers. Jesus is real to them seven days a week.” There is genuine, humble, loving and biblical ministry outside of the walls of traditional fundamentalism.

In conclusion, the reason I started with TGC is that it represents a nexus of CE’s. It should help us to put into perspective what is happening in our generation. I’m not suggesting Tracons should migrate, I am advocating a recognition of God’s hand at work among his multifarious body, the church.

I hope each of us will rejoice in knowing that God is working in diverse ways through countless individuals and innumerable churches to accomplish His will. The uniting factor is the transformative redemption found only in Jesus Christ. Despite this complex hurricane of a discussion, remember what Paul wrote: “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (ESV, Col. 3:14).

[node:bio/dmicah body]

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Where have I heard this before?

The college sophomore is the most knowledgeable person around. Upon returning home, he begins enlightening his untutored friends and relatives on the wonders of his newly acquired knowledge. He never pauses to consider that he may not yet have it all down pat and the ones whom he lectures have been there before him. IMHO, this article suffers such a weakness.

Micah shows the earmarks of one recently enlightened by his attendance at GC 2011. His zeal and enthusiasm are commendable but his profound understanding of the intricate issues is lacking. First of all, he seems to be talking down to the Tracons. His portrayal of this group is one of limited exposure and understanding. It's the old ignorant, narrow-minded Fundamentalist shoe. Now, Micah never explicitly says this but his whole tone and demeanor makes it clear. No problem. Fundamentalists have borne this stigma, although perhaps undeserved, since the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy. This is the standard caricature of Fundamentalism whether fitting or not. It's the old game of discrediting your opponent with ridicule when your own substance is lacking.

Second of all, Micah is enamored of the new world that he has entered. This love affair makes for blinders to prevent his seeing all sides. He sees all the positive and laudable qualities that no one contests. No one denies that there's much good and praiseworthy in CE. For example, I, for one, am thankful for the conservative resurgence in the SBC. The problem is that apparent success of CE and the commendable things conceal the pitfalls. Although there is neither the time nor space to list and define the pitfalls, I will note one discrepancy.

All is not as well in CE as it appears to the new initiate. The disparity between talk and walk is overwhelming. Having close association with CE young folks, my mind boggles. How can a supposedly devout Christian girl pray such a beautiful prayer and handle such filthy language a few minutes later? How can an unmarried Christian couple have their devotions together in her bedroom before engaging in sexual relations? The list multiplies . . . . There is a disconnect between professed belief and behavior among many young people in CE. This is the kind of attraction for young people that CE holds--the opportunity to profess accepted orthodoxy and live as one pleases.

Third of all, there is a real lack of understanding why Tracons object to cooperation with CE's. Tracons are country bumpkins who have never been exposed to the big world outside. This seems to be the standard pabulum that is spread among those desiring cooperation. I can remember these same arguments being mouthed since the 1960's. It is not a knowledgeable view but it is the misreading of the separatist position. There is no evidence of real understanding in separation issues. Why should we be separate from both worldliness and religious compromise of associations?

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Wow, Roland....could we be

Wow, Roland....could we be any more cynical?

Blasting someone who leaves the front porch of fundamentalism and discovers that there is a world out there in which other brothers and sisters in Christ live, who may not dot their "i's" and cross their "t's" exactly like some in the world of old-school fundamentalism do, is not exactly an effective way to help them discern their experiences. Indeed, I have watched this stereotypical response drive them not just into a visit, but into a residence on the other side of the cornfield.

Perhaps a thoughtful dialogue that acknowledges the good that one can find in C/E or fundagelicals or whatever moniker (pejorative or not) one might hang on them might help them to navigate the dangers (and the blessings) of being part of the Body of Christ as they earn their wings. If I'm not mistaken, you're a college professor or have been? So as a matter of practice, do you see "sophomores" moved toward orthodoxy, growth and Truth by sarcasm and stereotyping?

You scold the author, "All is not as well in CE as it appears to the new initiate. The disparity between talk and walk is overwhelming. Having close association with CE young folks, my mind boggles. How can a supposedly devout Christian girl pray such a beautiful prayer and handle such filthy language a few minutes later? How can an unmarried Christian couple have their devotions together in her bedroom before engaging in sexual relations? The list multiplies . . . . There is a disconnect between professed belief and behavior among many young people in CE."

If he's not thinking it, I am....so how does this differ in substance to what we have going on in various and sundry fundamentalist scandals at this very moment -- many of whom who would not be "young folks", but are or have been actual leaders/movers/shakers? Using anomalies or even anecdotal examples as "prooftexts" of universally-existent corruption/error/heresy in a part of a whole would seem to be as fallacious for one group as the other.

I'm not defending all of Micah's conclusions anymore than I am discounting your concerns. I'm simply saying that as long as we hurl cowchips across the cornfield at those who dare visit the "big city", I'm not sure we will convince anyone to return to the farm and we're likely to get a lot of stuff all over us in the process.

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

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Thanks

Micah, I appreciate your thoughts on this... a perspective I don't think I've heard before.
While it's certainly possible that growing up "inside" fundamentalism/tracon accounts for some of the perspective on non-fundamentalist belief and practice, it might be better to start with the stated reasons for being one and not the other.
In Kevin's case, he's explained at great length why he identifies with fundamentalism (idea vs. movement) and not with conservative evangelicalism. And has written a good bit on his approach to culture as well.
For the former, a good place to read up is http://sharperiron.org/tags/now-about-those-differences

It's worth doing because, while not everyone shares his analysis of the differences, he makes it very clear that some of the differences between fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism are substantial, too substantial from his POV to ignore.
I mostly share his perspective.

As I recall, three points of substantive difference came into focus through that series:

  • Different understanding of and practice of separation
  • Different degree of openness to continuationism
  • Different approach to culture

For me it's not about hanging on to what is familiar and comfortable, but rather there is a thought process behind it and the options have been examined, filtered, and narrowed down to one. I'm sure there are lots of fundies who have not really reflected much on the whys and wherefores, but Kevin is certainly not among them... and he is far from alone.

(As for Roland, he speaks for Roland. I think he and I would agree on that point, though not many others. Biggrin )

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thanks

first, thanks for reading. i think we all understand the parameters of length of articles that limit context. So, i believe a host of Roland's responses would be answered if i wrote a small book, but this was a few words. I know there are some culture issues. It is naive to assume i'm sophomoric on these matters. My main emphasis is that there is a lot of value on the CE side of the fence, that some, like Roland don't want to acknowledge. I really don't want anyone to think i am being snarky about conservative fundamentalists. The rural vs. city thing is an illustration of options, not an assumption of incompetence. Tracons themselves take great effort in announcing their remnant and its resistance to change. So by default, it's smaller, less options. There is no doubt 5 years ago, i spoke with hubris on this topic and employed reverse legalism; "when will they be enlightened?" But God took me through some deep waters to purge that sin. I see great value in the Tracon world and recently spoke at one of their schools. There is value on both sides. In fact, our church is continuing to build a relationship with Piedmont Baptist in WS which is still a very conservative place.

Aaron, thanks for breaking down those points by Dr. Bauder. I did read all of his articles. I agree that the thinking part is a big deal. One of the issues that is definitely a concern in the CE movement is a lack of deep thinking. Not at the leadership level. Certainly DA Carson, Mahaney and Piper have given thought to their beliefs. But there are a lot of young bucks running around planting churches like it's some kind of entrepreneurial franchise. As to separation/culture, I have some opinions of course, but that's for another day.

I recognize i can't have an opinion without personal bias, but i've given this whole thing a lot of consideration. My church is also on the conservative side of CE with most of the staff having graduated from Piedmont, Moody and Trinity. Perhaps a book project would be in order.

Also I could write a fairly clear Devil's Advocate article poking fun at CE's. For instance, TGC was like a Christian hipster convention. Everyone trying to be as cool as the next semi-affluent middle class cat in the room with their man purses & messenger bags, Macs and Moleskins, tattoos and piercings. Every group has its idiosyncrasies. But i still contend that many of us are quite fundamental.

Regards,
micah

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What's a few darts hurled among friends?

Dan Burrell wrote:
Wow, Roland....could we be any more cynical?
Yes, Dan, one could have been much more cynical. Cynicism and sarcasm are effective tools if wielded properly. Do you think more pabulum would have made the statement?
Quote:

Blasting someone who leaves the front porch of fundamentalism and discovers that there is a world out there in which other brothers and sisters in Christ live, who may not dot their "i's" and cross their "t's" exactly like some in the world of old-school fundamentalism do, is not exactly an effective way to help them discern their experiences. Indeed, I have watched this stereotypical response drive them not just into a visit, but into a residence on the other side of the cornfield.

Well, you're speaking in hyperbole now. This is hardly blasting someone over dotting "i's" and crossing "t's" and it is not quite the stereotypical Fundamentalist response. There was no heat or anger in my post. I used literary devices to help make my points. In the world of published opinions, don't expect to be soft-soaped or handled with kidskin gloves. If one's ideas won't hold up to critiques, then something is lacking. I don't think one need apologize for being plainspoken. In fact, Christ was quite candid and offensive when He said, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. . . . (John 8:44)."
Quote:

Perhaps a thoughtful dialogue that acknowledges the good that one can find in C/E or fundagelicals or whatever moniker (pejorative or not) one might hang on them might help them to navigate the dangers (and the blessings) of being part of the Body of Christ as they earn their wings. If I'm not mistaken, you're a college professor or have been? So as a matter of practice, do you see "sophomores" moved toward orthodoxy, growth and Truth by sarcasm and stereotyping?

Well, I thought that I found good in the CE, which I balanced with the pitfalls. Read my post again. On the matter of balance, one is not always helped by positive affirmation. Rebuke, correction and reproof are prominent themes of Scripture. It is our total infatuation with the positive that blinds us to our weaknesses. And we're not arguing orthodoxy or truth. We're trying to establish some markers on the continuum for separation by pointing out the inadequacies of the post. Otherwise, we follow the primrose path into a compromised mire. Micah is saying it sound great and feels good so it must be right and good. He doesn't see the corrosive flip-side of the coin. Perhaps it takes a little cynicism and sarcasm to deflate his euphoria. I'm simply playing hardball without rancor or malice. Yes, sophomores are quickly disabused of their grandiose illusions outside of the ivory tower in the nasty gritty world.
Quote:

You scold the author, "All is not as well in CE as it appears to the new initiate. The disparity between talk and walk is overwhelming. Having close association with CE young folks, my mind boggles. How can a supposedly devout Christian girl pray such a beautiful prayer and handle such filthy language a few minutes later? How can an unmarried Christian couple have their devotions together in her bedroom before engaging in sexual relations? The list multiplies . . . . There is a disconnect between professed belief and behavior among many young people in CE."

Dan, I hardly call "as it appears to the new initiate" to be scolding. Again, this was nothing more than a literary device. It is carrying on the theme of the stereotypical sophomore. As Micah stereotyped the Tracons, I stereotyped him. The message is that as stereotyping is repugnant and unfair to him, so it is to the Tracons. The rest of the quoted material is observation of young folks in CE circles. Are you saying that my observations are wrong?
Quote:

If he's not thinking it, I am....so how does this differ in substance to what we have going on in various and sundry fundamentalist scandals at this very moment -- many of whom who would not be "young folks", but are or have been actual leaders/movers/shakers? Using anomalies or even anecdotal examples as "prooftexts" of universally-existent corruption/error/heresy in a part of a whole would seem to be as fallacious for one group as the other.

Well, both are sinful. The scandals are hypocrisy when compared to what we preach and believe. Are these individual failures or failures of our beliefs and principles? Our beliefs and principles are right and are not refuted by high profile failures. Even of the twelve, Judas was a devil (John 6:70). However, there is a distinguishing difference between the Fundamentalist failures of individuals and the disconnect between belief and practice among the CE youth. Fundamentalist beliefs/principles condemn the painful scandals and immorality in its midst whereas the disconnect between faith and practice is promulgated by the beliefs of CE. Without being stated explicitly, their tolerance of diversity and emphasis on uncritical acceptance fosters the idea that it doesn't really matter what you do as long as you love Jesus. Whereas Fundamentalism may err to exclusiveness, CE errs on the other side to inclusiveness. This happens when we fear to put up road signs.
Quote:

I'm not defending all of Micah's conclusions anymore than I am discounting your concerns. I'm simply saying that as long as we hurl cowchips across the cornfield at those who dare visit the "big city", I'm not sure we will convince anyone to return to the farm and we're likely to get a lot of stuff all over us in the process.

I'm not criticizing Micah's trip to the "big city" but I'm just trying to deflate his infatuation with all the bright lights and glittering tinsel that conceal the dangers and corruption. I made my trip more than 40 years ago to a much more dangerous and corrupt city.

As for cow-chips . . . . well, back on the farm, cow-chips were a nasty fact of life and we just had to shovel the manure . . . . ;-)

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Did you read my post?

Roland wrote:
He sees all the positive and laudable qualities that no one contests. No one denies that there's much good and praiseworthy in CE. For example, I, for one, am thankful for the conservative resurgence in the SBC.

Micah wrote:
My main emphasis is that there is a lot of value on the CE side of the fence, that some, like Roland don't want to acknowledge.
What did I fail to acknowledge? Would you care to retract?

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Limits of time and space . . . .

[quote=Micah ] i think we all understand the parameters of length of articles that limit context. So, i believe a host of Roland's responses would be answered if i wrote a small book, but this was a few words.[quote]Granted, but I wrote under the same limitations, perhaps more so, of time and space. So, what does this mean? That you could refute me if you had the time and space to do it? That I took unfair advantage of your time and space constraints? What is your point?

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Snarky . . . .

Micah wrote:
I really don't want anyone to think i am being snarky about conservative fundamentalists.
Well, that was precisely my take on it. But, don't let it bother you because I was smirky over your apparent sophomoric understanding. ;-)

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Agreement . . . perhaps . . . tentatively . . . .

(As for Roland, he speaks for Roland. I think he and I would agree on that point, though not many others. Biggrin )

Yup, agreed . . .

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I have to echo much of what

I have to echo much of what Roland stated, not because I am a traditional conservative (because I certainly hold to enough views that would disqualify me as such) but because he rightly identifies the jejune approach by the author. One of the most telling is the author's expression in the article (bold mine):

Quote:
The leaders of the CE movement are biblical, spiritually minded and servant hearted. Those involved in their ministries love the Lord, long to see Him glorified and work tirelessly to that end. They attempt to avoid the theoretical and operate in the real. Here’s the rub. Tracon ministries are decreasing in influence while CE’s are increasing.

I hope you will think about this deeply.

Then in his follow-up he restates this position (bold mine):

dmicah wrote:

I recognize i can't have an opinion without personal bias, but i've given this whole thing a lot of consideration. My church is also on the conservative side of CE with most of the staff having graduated from Piedmont, Moody and Trinity. Perhaps a book project would be in order.

This reflects a certain vanity in his position which assumes (whether he realizes it or not) that others (what he calls Tracons) have not thought "deeply" about what he is proposing. A rather grandiose assumption.

Now he does states some facts but does a poor job of characterizing those whom he labels Tracons with his use of the least flattering contexts and comparisons. And he does seem to manifest a certain infatuation with his associations.

Because, in the end he suggests this:

Quote:
I’m not suggesting Tracons should migrate, I am advocating a recognition of God’s hand at work among his multifarious body, the church.

The news for the author is that most of what he calls Tracons do recognize that God works outside of their associations, they simply reject certain aspects of their theological expressions both in faith and practice (again I am not a traditional conservative, in fact many of my views would place me squarely as a CE).

It mostly seems like an article written to affirm his group but certainly not to treat the topic with supreme objectivity as if to appeal to those outside of his circle.

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They have some good points... but....

Growing up in fundamentalism, I heard about people outside the movement one of two ways. 1) They're bad, or 2) They have some good points, but...

When groups like T4G and TGC started, when Sovereign Grace started gaining traction, and when the PCA started kicking up its church planting and urban ministry efforts, I heard #2 increasingly. It was obvious that lots of good things were going on outside. So, in order to prevent young people from jumping ship en masse, increasingly sophisticated variations of #2 became offered. The more "good stuff" was readily visible, the longer and pickier the "but" became. After a while, it becomes a lot like saying, "Yes, your NASCAR driver may have won the championship 4 out of the last 5 years, BUT mine...." Does anyone buy that?

I know my perspective is limited. How could it not be? But I see the CE's as almost overwhelmingly good, and fundamentalism as not so good. In fact, most of the good in fundamentalism is caused by the good stuff from CE's spilling over the borders. Expository preaching, multi-elder congregations, rejecting revivalism, etc. all came primarily from influences outside fundamentalism. The people regarded as brains in Fundamentalism - Bauder and Doran - received their education from CE's. Who are the people who remain most stringently separated from conservative evangelicalism? The Hyles types. The Jack Schaaps. The crazy KJVO's (as distinguished from the sane ones). The Finney-esque revivalists.

It's good here in CE-land. Not perfect, not even close. But it's way healthier than the baggage I grew up carrying. So when you want good commentaries, you'll read CE commentaries. When you want good pastoral advice, you'll read CE books. When you want PhD's, you'll go to CE schools. And the few fundamentalists you look to for leadership are themselves products of CE influences. But, most fundamentalists will still go back and say, "They have some good points, but..." Ironically, that's how I refer to fundamentalism now.

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Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

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What to think . . .

This is an issue I've been thinking about for some time. I grew up in the IFB world and went to IFB schools and colleges. Many of the kids & students I grew up with have left the IFB and went "liberal" by going to new evangelical churches.

This was many years ago, but back then most of the students I refered to above that didn't like the IFB would openly mock and ridicule them and flaunted their "liberty." This included students and certain teachers to disobey direct instructions from an organization's leadership about the attending of a CCM concert in another city. Even back then as a college student I was turned off by their "sophmore know-it-all" arrogance, their selfish attitude, and a complete disregard for their heritage. Sure, the IFB had problems, I could see that. But I couldn't understand why they needed to carelessly throw the baby out with the bath water, laughing as they did it without a single thought for the hurt it would cause many a parent. I think I can safely say these people were lead by their own spirit and not of the Holy Spirit.

At the same time in the churches and organizations I went to would speak against the NE world saying they were soft on doctrine and had a very pragmatic attitude towards separation, standards, music, and personal liberty. Frankly, there is a lot of truth to that. Obviously with the recent 20/20-IFB abuse scandal plus other problems the IFB has their issues too.

But now over time as I rub shoulders from time to time I defintely see how that most of them love the Lord, want to serve Him & others, want to be challenged in their walk with the Lord and to be held accountable. In other words, most of them are genuinely Godly people that I would enjoy fellowshipping with.

Honestly, the IFB could learn a lot from the NE world. But I also think the reverse is true too. Both groups have their strengths and weaknesses. I think we're starting to see the distrust that both sides have had for each other in years past starting to disolve.

So, how far do I go with this? Still thinking through it all. On the one hand I think I can say I would fellowship with the NE group, but on the other hand, could I become a member of a NE church? I don't think so for basically the three reasons Blumer mentioned above.

Hopefully both my friends and myself have grown and matured over the years.

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Roland

Roland...
as to length...i think if i wrote a book, i would explain that i recognize many of the dangers you are claiming i don't see. I try to approach this topic even handedly. Stereotyping is not a negative word. There is a general understanding of what traditional conservatives think and how they operate. There is nothing negative in speaking on terms we understand. I only use the term Tracons, b/c it shortens my typing and Star Trek fans can identify with it. Smile

What i can't figure out is why you keep assuming that i just woke up like Rip Van Winkle, stumbled into McCormick Place, listened to speakers at TGC and suddenly abandoned all notions of traditional conservatism. Aaron actually hit it on the head, i spent 31 years including a college education inside an IFB environment. I am intimately aware of its workings. Further, i spent about 3 years thinking and praying before I chose to follow a different path.

You are actually making my overall point. You judge/discern CE's based upon your standards, your system of thought. You judge Christian practice and faith by your personal understanding of the Word and your perception (real world experience) of how things should be. You stated without documentation and support that

Quote:
the disconnect between faith and practice is promulgated by the beliefs of CE
So you assert that not only am I misguided and infatuated with the CE movement, but I'm wrong.

But I say that I as a fundamentalist CE have come to my own conclusions and biblical convictions about separation, culture, cooperation, music, etc. The difference is that I don't say you're wrong, I say you are operating within your personal conviction. Obviously i think my system of thought is best practice, or i wouldn't be doing it, but i believe in freedom in Christ, autonomy of the local church and personal spiritual accountability at a judgment seat one day. Please don't mistake this line of reasoning for "everybody's right as long as they love Jesus" nonsense. I am referring to reasonable disagreements on faith and practice by thinking men and women.

Again, it goes back to experience and perception shaping our worldviews. I am sure you could point out numerous examples of CE's gone wild. Then i would pull out my little rolodex of fundies gone wild and we could perceive that our mutual theocentric ecosystems were fundamentally flawed. But it is not the systems that are flawed, but the humans. And that is the rub.

I bid you well. I have to go get things in motion for our Good Friday service. Perhaps something you could address in a response is my article's assertion that conservative fundamentalists are losing traction and influence. Is that a legitimate assertion, or have i simply lost touch with all things conservative? I base my statement on the attendance i have witnessed at independent conservative churches and the perpetual shuttering of small Christian bible colleges.

Regards,
micah

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alex

i'd love to respond, but i have to head out...later.

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Micah, thanks for your post.

Micah, thanks for your post. I enjoyed the conference as well.

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I agree with you Micah.

I agree with you Micah. Never heard the angle of small-town/big town quite before. It seems helpful. Like you, I have matured over the last five years in thinking about this. I enjoyed TGC this year and it was my first time that I was able to go to TGC or T4G.

From my vantage as a blogger, I have had countless people tell me of their own journey which led them out of fundamentalism proper into CE-land. It hasn't been easy for them, but the reactions you list seem to be common upon their trying a CE church (I'm referring to your third to last paragraph in the main post).

I was just chatting by Facebook last night with someone who recently found my blog & read my story. He is agonizing over a difficult break with a church he's been in all his life. He has half his deputation funds raised and there is absolutely nothing to be gained by him leaving that IFB church. But he and his wife are compelled to follow their conscience and the Lord's leading. They can't continue acting like they really hold the positions which are so prized in their church.....

This story is multiplied countless times over. And as these decisions are broached, stones are hurled as they pass through the door. They're the next sermon illustration, and most in that church will suspect the worst and imagine evil motives, etc. And families will stand apart over this.

From this perspective, I'm thankful for Micah's charge and his thoughts here, and for SI being willing to give him the platform to share this concern.

BTW, I enjoyed meeting you, Micah at TGC. And I also met Greg & discovered he works for my uncle at his church! Small world....

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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Unimpressed

I went to Biola, I've served at Church of the Open Door in LA, and been in Swindoll's church and Macarthur's church. I've seen the "big city" of CE from the inside -- and I've seen where lack of separation ultimately leads. No thank you.

Of course, I'm happy to continue to serve in a tiny little church in a town in Scotland which will perhaps never be able to support me. So maybe I'm just a country bumpkin, after all. Smile

I wanted to respond to a couple specifics:

Quote:
Why the negative little zinger?

I heard so many negative little zingers towards fundamentalists in my conservative evangelical days that it made me sick, even when I thought the country bumpkin fundies deserved it.
Quote:
Within CE circles, there is broad and open acceptance of differing points of view, different styles, and different approaches to ministry.

Yes, there is broad and open acceptance. Broad and open acceptance of ministries like Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral (his music minister was invited to Western Conservative Baptist Seminary when I was there). Broad and open acceptance of various errors of the charismatic movement, and its musical apostles. Broad and open acceptance of Fuller Theological Seminary's compromises and drift towards serious error. I could go on.

But that "broad and open acceptance" was never extended to those who felt certain types of associations were inappropriate or dangerous, or to those who felt that some types of music were not appropriate for worship, or to those who felt that "broad and open acceptance" ought to actually have some limits. If such people were noticed at all, it was with dismissive attitudes or negative little zingers.

I joined the crowd and had the same dismissive attitudes and said some of those negative little zingers myself. I could have written Brother Micah's article myself back in those days. When a speaker said the only thing that mattered in music was the lyrics, I applauded along with the crowd -- I certainly wasn't one of those narrow-minded people who thought that the music itself mattered. I certainly wasn't a Fundie who would do nothing but fight. There was a whole world out there that was open and broad. I would never be judgmental -- well, except towards those who felt that there should be some discernment in some of these matters.

I lost friends when I decided to leave Western and go to Bob Jones. That's broad and open acceptance, I guess.

Does "broad and open acceptance" include bringing in someone like Dr. Bauder to ask him to explain why there should be limits on music, and actually giving him a fair hearing, with the acknowledgement that actually we might have missed something here? I seriously doubt it.

Maybe conservative evangelicalism has changed over the years, and the snarky comments and dismissive attitudes towards those more conservative than them have been banished. If so, that would be a blessing. But this article gives the opposite impression. The implication is that we don't know what is on the other side, we don't understand, we haven't thought deeply about it.

My response, Brother, would be that for at least some of us, we do know what is on the other side, we've lived in the big city, and we've left precisely because we have thought deeply about it. Your article shows that for some of us, at least, you don't know what is on the other side or understand. Maybe we're just country bumpkins, but maybe you're just a clueless city slicker. ;)

I hope you'll think deeply about that. :bigsmile:

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On target, JG!

Thanks, JG! You're right on target. So, you are old enough to remember hearing this same kind of stuff before? I remember hearing it when I was in the SBC, when I was at ultra-liberal Furman University, and when I mixed and mingled with the NE/OE crowd. It's nothing new and the lines have changed little. As it surfaces in each succeeding generation, folks hail it as something new and amazing. They must either be too young to remember or have forgotten. You and I must be the last two of an older generation with our memories intact. Biggrin

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Why Micah you

Why Micah you said:

Quote:
If your experience of the Christian faith has been primarily independent, fundamentalist, traditional and conservative, operating in small to medium-sized churches, then your perception of evangelicalism may be similar to a small town resident visiting a large city.

Why Micah, seems like yous desciben yous xpeeryunce.

You went to big ole Chicago an saw all them thar big buildins an the big lake. Then you saw a big meetin where they had a fancy sound system an some fancy seats an a big platform an there werent any straw on the floor, an some guys preached that were usin big words an sayin fancy things about the OT that you aint never hurd before. It was just so dazzlin an breath takin that it just must be better than all that thar simple stuff you hurd growen up. Yes sir them Kunservutive Eevangelizers are so much better at dazzlin and speekun that they just gotta be better. They just aint so fussy as all them who yell they are Funnymentalists.

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Misreading metaphors

Several responses to this thread have totally misread Micah's town/city metaphor. The point isn't that a country bumpkin gets educated by the cosmopolitan urbanites. Rather, Micah's pointing out that from the outside, "the city" seems like a homogenous construct. In reality, it contains a diverse array of cultures and lifestyles that resist being reduced to a single label. The lesson is that many Fundamentalists pigeonhole CE's as if they were all the same, but they aren't.

But by all means, continue mocking the article that you didn't even read correctly.

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Misread metaphors?

Hi, Charlie, we haven't "talked" in a long time!

Yes, I had fun with his metaphor, but that's hardly the substance of my response, is it? The point of the metaphor was that fundies don't really understand CE-dom, and that fundies think they are right and CEs are wrong where there are differences. CEs, on the other hand, are broad and accepting.

We need to think deeply about it. What's the implication? We haven't thought, and we don't really understand all there is on the other side, and we are the uncharitable ones.

I think I answered that. The "country bumpkin" vs. "city slicker" thing is just playing around, but with a point. You shouldn't actually make a big deal of people with a different view not really understanding and having flawed perceptions unless you actually understand where they are coming from yourself. Perhaps your perceptions are at least as flawed as theirs.

I don't have much use for those who trash CEs and see no value in their service for Christ. I know CEs who have a commitment to the Lord and to personal purity that outshines the majority of fundies I have known. I certainly know that they are an extremely diverse group.

But I have to part with CEs in some significant ways because of decisions they make that I cannot endorse, and it isn't because of flawed perceptions, or because I haven't thought deeply about it.

Mr. Pittman, you sound like you've got me with one foot in the grave, but Dr. T. thinks I'm just a young whippersnapper. Perhaps both are correct, in a way. Anyway, I hereby separate from you and SI because they allow a former Furman guy and two former Biolans (me being one of them) to post here. What a mess.

The real problem with the article was not that it extolled the benefits of the conference, which I'm sure had great value. The problem was that it made assumptions about those who aren't prepared to adopt the CE path which, at least in some cases, are not well-founded. It has nothing to do with perceptual problems, and everything to do with a desire to apply the Scriptures faithfully in every part of life and ministry, and the conviction that the CE approach violates that.

If only the conference had been in Greenville (and NOT at Furman), it might have received our blessing. Or something. ;)

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Interesting...

A couple of folks seem to be a wee bit touchy on this subject... which makes their critics appear even more likely to be right. (Hmm... maybe getting hot and bothered is not a good strategy?)

I don't get what's so offensive about being told basically that you're only a fundie/tracon because you don't get out enough. (I know several fundies I'm pretty sure are only fundies because they don't get out enough!). It's an idea worth reflecting on. It's not like a little self examination will kill anyone.

But JG and some others have (or are) a valid point here: Micah's thesis is hard to sustain when you consider the fact that there are some evangelicals (conservative and otherwise) who have found their way into fundamentalism. True, these are not numerous (though there are more if you go back far enough). But it's enough to suggest the main idea needs tweaking a bit. I think it's fair enough to say that many fundamentalists are only under that banner because they've never really looked thoughtfully at the choices they have. But it's necessary also to point out that this is not universally true and manifestly not true of Kevin Bauder.

As for me, it's true, I don't get out much. (But I can read, watch youtube, and listen to mp3's... so I think I'm not completely in the dark on what I've been missing. ;) )

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Thanks...

As someone who grew up conservative evangelical and now attends an independent Baptist church, I appreciated Micah's reminder that "there is genuine, humble, loving and biblical ministry outside of the walls of traditional fundamentalism." At the same time, I respect the concerns that others have raised. To be honest, I struggle at times with the details of what biblical separation should look like in my life.

Still, I can't help but feel that some -- certainly not all -- within fundamentalist circles are missing out on the fellowship, blessing, and perspective that comes with seeing God work in and through those with whom we might not necessarily agree. This discussion only makes me more eager for the day when our differences are forgotten and we bow together before our risen Lord!

Full disclosure: The church I grew up in was a former brethren assembly in Scotland (JG, I'd love to know what church you serve in), I attended that "ultra-liberal Furman University", and I'm a complete newbie to SI. I'm also an former city girl who now lives down the street from a cow field. Smile

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Welcome, Sus! So glad to

Welcome, Sus! So glad to have your perspective here. Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts here at SI!

Matthew

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A final word

I am grateful for Aaron allowing this dialogue. I appreciate those who took the time to read and comment. I think there is much to be gained from this discussion.

Let me clarify two things, I really did not intend to imply anyone in the Tracon world is a bumpkin. Perhaps i should have used an illustration like growing up in England, and then moving to the states. The US is much larger and more diverse, but not superior. It's a culture distinction that affects life experience. Those who thought i was looking down from the enlightened halls of the CE ecosystem misunderstood, probably my lack of clarity. For those who included sarcasm in their response, thank you for speaking to one of my love languages. Smile

When i emphasized "thinking deeply", in the article, i was specifically referring to the apparent exodus of young people from the traditional conservative setting. It is something to consider, especially in light of what i believe the CE world has to offer, i.e. biblical community, authentic daily walks of faith, solid expositional teaching, etc. I was not assuming fundies don't think. It's obvious, Dr. Bauder thinks. i could have made that clearer.

Lastly, i am not challenging anyone to leave the Tracon ecosystem. I am challenging those in it to consider the breadth of our faith and the sovereign control of the Lord to work in and through different people. If you are firmly in the CE world, remember that perception and experience affects everyone. We can quickly resort to reverse legalism. It may sound like I'm crying, "Why can't we all just get along?" But I'm really saying that God's creative track record includes a diverse multi-layered world full of exotic locales, environments, climates, animals and beauty. Why should we expect his people to be monolithic? ...from every tongue, from every nation, from every culture.

So glad He rose from the grave and now acts as the holy advocate for those He is unashamed to call family. It's so humbling.
Happy Easter!
Micah

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Touchy

Hey, all, if I sounded touchy, please forgive me. I meant it to be humorous.

I think I'm the one who originated the term "bumpkin". I was teasing. I didn't think Micah implied that fundies/tracons/whatever are bumpkins -- just that people have limited perspective/perceptions. I don't think it was a well-founded premise, but I certainly don't feel touchy about it.

I'm quite happy with where I am, because I'm convinced (for good Biblical reason) that where I was when I was in the CE camp is not where God wants me. While no doubt I have much to learn about exactly where and what He wants me to be, I'm pretty confident I'm on the right path.

I'm thankful for my time in CE-dom, though. I learned a lot in those days. A lot of Scripture, a lot of the errors and compromises of evangelicalism, a lot of the danger in those things, but also a lot of appreciation for godly people who are seeking to please Him.

For many in conservative evangelicalism, the worst that can be said is that their heart is towards the Lord but they haven't quite got an understanding from the Scriptures of all that would please the Lord. That is undoubtedly true of me, too. I'm thankful for II Chronicles 30:17-20. It makes it very clear -- purity matters, but the good Lord is gracious to those whose hearts are prepared. We need to seek purity with all our hearts, for that is the mark of one whose heart is truly prepared, but should we fail in purity despite a heart desire for God, the Lord is good and heals.

The fundamentalist attitude towards conservative evangelicals, all too often, doesn't match up very well to Hezekiah's attitude. In my experience, CEs can be just as inappropriate, or even worse, towards fundies, but that doesn't excuse us.

Sus, I've sent you a message.

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Bob, I think your comment was

Bob,

I think your comment was one of the most hilarious things I have read in a long time. Satire can be quite effective.

Mike Harding

Pastor Mike Harding

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JG wrote:Hey, all, if I

JG wrote:
Hey, all, if I sounded touchy, please forgive me. I meant it to be humorous.

It was probably just my touchy reading glasses.... actually I can't remember now if I was thinking of you or not!

Sus wrote:
'm also an former city girl who now lives down the street from a cow field. Smile

Welcome... and let's hear it for the cow fields!
(I occasionally hear a horse to two trot by my office window... not unusual around here)

dmicah wrote:
I am challenging those in it to consider the breadth of our faith and the sovereign control of the Lord to work in and through different people.

Writing that communicates what you really mean it to is hard work, isn't it?! Well, there was (still is, I'm sure) a segment of the "tracon ecosystem" (that actually sounds pretty cool. I'm picturing it on a T shirt) that is eager to think of and portray everyone outside it as an evil just about equal to the Devil himself. I didn't grow up thinking that way, mostly because we read all the books of our nearest evangelical neighbors (and some not so near ones). So the reasons for being the Tracon Collective (sorry, it's cooler than "ecosystem") don't--in my case--include thinking that God is doing nothing important among those outside it.

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Can't help it...

[img=433x430 ]/sites/default/files/images/11_04/teshirt.jpg[/img ]

I'll take orders... if we get a hundred or so, we'll have a batch made. Biggrin

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Aaron Blumer wrote: I'll

Aaron Blumer wrote:
[img=433x430 ]/sites/default/files/images/11_04/teshirt.jpg[/img ]

I'll take orders... if we get a hundred or so, we'll have a batch made. Biggrin


Count me in!

That is so funny.

You ought to put an add on the front page, and make it a prize for the writing contest too!

lol

Forrest Berry

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Fundies can't spell

Micah, just so you know, I'm not mocking your pov here. Just having a little fun w/the sound of "Tracon Ecosystem." It really does have a sci fi ring to it.

("fyoo tile" has a double purpose: first, you don't get the right effect unless you pronounce futile the British way and second, everybody knows fundies can't spell)

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aaron

thanks, man...those t-shirts are amazing...

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Some of us have thought about this...a lot!

Micah,

Thanks for this article...I have definitely met a lot of people that fit the description you present and hope would give you a hearing. I don't post much here anymore simply because I do not define myself anymore as a fundamentalist, and this is where my response to Roland comes in. There are many of us who have thought long and hard about our intentional decision to move out of our fundamentalist upbringing. You can call me young and inexperienced- compared to many on here I am; but I have been in full time ministry for the last 12 years, since I was 24, all of it in a Southern Baptist context. What caused me to leave was becoming convinced theologically that unity within the body of Christ is an imperative for the church; and while I believe in separation from sin and false doctrine, those two areas encompass far smaller realms of actions and beliefs than what the fundamentalism I grew up with in the BJU orbit espoused. Are there issues in the CE world and even in my SBC world that I am not comfortable with - yes. Do they meet the definition of sin or false doctrine? In my opinion, based on my study of Scripture, no.

Roland, you brought up some examples of CE young people and their attitudes towards sin. Those attitudes are reflections on those people and possibly their churches and parents, not CEs as a whole. As someone who grew up in fundamentalist churches and schools all my life, I can tell you about the exact same scenario's among BJU students. Its not right for a fundamentalist teenager and its not right for a CE teenager - both are in sin. However, in neither scenario do their actions reflect on the church unless the church is teaching that the Bible says that is correct and holy action. I can positively say that I have never yet been in a CE church that says immorality isn't sin. I have been in a church that didn't deal well with it and gave the wrong impression, but I have seen fundamentalist churches do that as well.

Charlie demonstrated my thoughts for me when he said,
[quote]Who are the people who remain most stringently separated from conservative evangelicalism? The Hyles types. The Jack Schaaps. The crazy KJVO's (as distinguished from the sane ones). The Finney-esque revivalists.

Those are the people who have pretty well defined fundamentalism, especially around the military bases where I serve. In my opinion, those views represent far more serious doctrinal deviations from Scripture than the fact that a fellow pastor fellowships with someone who may be somewhat to the left of where I am theologically.

You are more than welcome to disagree with our beliefs and opinions, but at least give us the benefit of the doubt that many of us have spent much time in thought, prayer, and study as we have expanded our associations and left behind some teaching of our youth.

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What does 'I thought about it' prove?

Ben Howard wrote:
You are more than welcome to disagree with our beliefs and opinions, but at least give us the benefit of the doubt that many of us have spent much time in thought, prayer, and study as we have expanded our associations and left behind some teaching of our youth.

So you thought about it. I also thought about it. That makes at least four of us on this thread. I come to different conclusions than you, more along the line of Roland. So what does that prove? So we all thought about it. Big deal.

I think you probably agree with me on that, at least. Perhaps we should just give up statements like "I've thought seriously about it" and assume that those who disagree with us also have brains that occasionally think and may have thought over our points of disagreement, eh?

Better to simply make Biblical arguments for our conclusions, if we can.

BTW, I think Charlie's statement is completely untrue. He can't possibly know all fundamentalists everywhere and has no basis for making the assumptions he makes in that statement.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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I'm no sophomore

Easter Sunday morning I attended a CE church. Next to me sat a young man in jeans and sporting dreadlocks. As an "old fundie", you can probably guess what thoughts were going through my mind. My imagined sterotype of someone from outside my "village" (please excuse the movie reference) started to disappear as we sang "Look Ye Saints! The Sight is Glorious" to Bryn Calafaria and this guy was singing with an enthusiasm I hadn't seen on a young person in years. The sermon was over an hour and included a brief but bold denunciation of those who would deny the fact of the resurrection and a wonderful exposition of the resurrection account and its application. The church is more than people who go to hear a sermon and then spend their week trying to get other people to come and hear a sermon. Service opportunities in the church are more than being an usher, working in the nursery, teaching Sunday School, and singing in the choir (they don't have one and I didn't miss the annual Easter cantata).

Would someone please tell me what's wrong with this church and why I should give it up for one of the churches in my area that are decidedly non-CE but are noted more for what they're against than what they're for.

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

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Don Johnson wrote: Ben

Don Johnson wrote:
Ben Howard wrote:
You are more than welcome to disagree with our beliefs and opinions, but at least give us the benefit of the doubt that many of us have spent much time in thought, prayer, and study as we have expanded our associations and left behind some teaching of our youth.

So you thought about it. I also thought about it. That makes at least four of us on this thread. I come to different conclusions than you, more along the line of Roland. So what does that prove? So we all thought about it. Big deal.

I think you probably agree with me on that, at least. Perhaps we should just give up statements like "I've thought seriously about it" and assume that those who disagree with us also have brains that occasionally think and may have thought over our points of disagreement, eh?

Better to simply make Biblical arguments for our conclusions, if we can.

BTW, I think Charlie's statement is completely untrue. He can't possibly know all fundamentalists everywhere and has no basis for making the assumptions he makes in that statement.


C'mon, Don, you completely missed his point. He wasn't saying he's the only who thought about it. He's reacting to Roland, who seems to indicate that the only reason people leave fundamentalism is because they are starry-eyed sophomores who are enraptured by CE. Ben was simply saying that this is not true of him, that his decision to leave fundamentalism was a careful and sober one. Again, he didn't make any suggestion that those who stay in fundamentalism aren't thoughtful. I'm not sure why you reacted so sarcastically to his post.

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it's a chain reaction

Greg Long wrote:

C'mon, Don, you completely missed his point. He wasn't saying he's the only who thought about it. He's reacting to Roland, who seems to indicate that the only reason people leave fundamentalism is because they are starry-eyed sophomores who are enraptured by CE.

Well, as to missing the point, that is entirely possible. However, I thought Ben was reacting to Roland who was reacting to Micah who started the ball rolling.

My point, however, is that the value of our decisions doesn't depend on how long we think about something, or how deeply. The value of our decisions depends on conformity to God's will as revealed in the Scriptures and nothing else.

P.S. It is also possible that you missed the point, no?

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Don, you did miss the point.

Don, you did miss the point. Most if not all of us who leave fundamentalism think and pray long and hard about the decision - as I'm sure you and Roland did about your decision to move towards or stay within fundamentalism.

As to conforming to God's Will, I would not be where I am theologically and denominationally today if I didn't believe this was God's Will as revealed in the Scriptures.

Ben

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no, I don't think I did... but does it matter?

Ben, I am not denying that you thought long and hard. I am saying that the long hard thinking doesn't mean anything as it is stated here. I can't say, "I've thought long and hard about it and all those Presbyterians should become Baptists." My thinking long and hard about doesn't mean anything.

So I'm just saying that as far as the argument goes, it really is irrelevant how long and hard we think about it. What matters is whether we are right or not.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Don Johnson wrote: Ben, I am

Don Johnson wrote:
Ben, I am not denying that you thought long and hard. I am saying that the long hard thinking doesn't mean anything as it is stated here. I can't say, "I've thought long and hard about it and all those Presbyterians should become Baptists." My thinking long and hard about doesn't mean anything.

So I'm just saying that as far as the argument goes, it really is irrelevant how long and hard we think about it. What matters is whether we are right or not.


AGAIN, Don, I don't know what you're saying has to do with what Ben wrote. He didn't say, "I thought long and hard, so I'm right and you're wrong." Did he?

He was responding to Roland who implied that those who leave fundamentalism haven't truly thought it out. Ben was saying he made a thoughtful, prayerful, and (here's the key) Scripture-based (in his opinion) decision. He said ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about those who choose to stay in fundamentalism. He did not state, imply, suggest, or hint that those who stay in fundamentalism are not thoughtful. Of course he agrees with you that the final decision should not be based on his thoughtfulness, but on on Scripture itself. That seemed to be pretty clear to me from his post.

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Playing the game . . . . .

When I was a kid, there was a game that youth groups or other gatherings played. The group would sit in a circle and the first person would whisper something into the ear of the person beside him who in turn would tell it to the next person. By the time that it has traveled the full circle, it was usually entirely different or greatly modified from what the first person said. Something similar must have happened between posts # 1 and #40.

Greg has gotten it all wrong. My points, I thought, were pretty clear and straightforward but folks insist on finding new meanings. Why can't things be left alone at face value?

Here's what I said:

  1. Tracons are wrongly characterized as being of limited world view, experience, understanding, or knowledge.
  2. Tracons have reasons for their objections and separation from CEs.
  3. The writer's arguments are nothing new. The same type of arguments were espoused by the NEs 30-40 years ago. It's a well-worn path of inclusivism and liberalization (i.e. accepting a wider range of variance and tolerance).
  4. The author's glowing report of the CEs is a halo effect by not recognizing the many problems of CEs. It is an uneven comparison in juxtaposition with the problems of Fundamentalism, which we well know because we are better acquainted.
  5. The report is heavily biased by the author's enthusiastic endorsement of CEs.

So, where is the justification to say that ". . . Roland . . . seems to indicate that the only reason [emphasis added ] people leave fundamentalism is because they are starry-eyed sophomores who are enraptured by CE?" Again, Greg is wrong in saying ". . . Roland . . . implied that those who leave fundamentalism haven't truly thought it out." I did not say or imply this. Yes, I did imply that article was sophomoric in what I considered the writer's deprecating attitude toward Tracons by depicting them as limited in world-view and perspective meanwhile giving a glowing account of a larger world of the CEs. But, one cannot legitimately generalize this into "the only reason people leave fundamentalism is because they are starry-eyed sophomores who are enraptured by CE" or "those who leave fundamentalism haven't truly thought it out." Greg, don't go beyond what someone states. You can't read their thoughts.

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The criteria of experience . . . .

Ron Bean wrote:
Easter Sunday morning I attended a CE church. Next to me sat a young man in jeans and sporting dreadlocks. As an "old fundie", you can probably guess what thoughts were going through my mind. My imagined sterotype of someone from outside my "village" (please excuse the movie reference) started to disappear as we sang "Look Ye Saints! The Sight is Glorious" to Bryn Calafaria and this guy was singing with an enthusiasm I hadn't seen on a young person in years. The sermon was over an hour and included a brief but bold denunciation of those who would deny the fact of the resurrection and a wonderful exposition of the resurrection account and its application. The church is more than people who go to hear a sermon and then spend their week trying to get other people to come and hear a sermon. Service opportunities in the church are more than being an usher, working in the nursery, teaching Sunday School, and singing in the choir (they don't have one and I didn't miss the annual Easter cantata).

Would someone please tell me what's wrong with this church and why I should give it up for one of the churches in my area that are decidedly non-CE but are noted more for what they're against than what they're for.

So, Ron, are you saying that this experience is what changed your view?

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RPittman wrote: The author's

RPittman wrote:
The author's glowing report of the CEs is a halo effect by not recognizing the many problems of CEs. It is an uneven comparison in juxtaposition with the problems of Fundamentalism, which we well know because we are better acquainted.
This is exactly what Ben was referring to. He was stating that in his case there was no "halo effect," but rather a decision that he arrived after much thought based on what he believe Scripture states on the matter. That's exactly what I was referring to as well. You assume that anyone who gives a positive recommendation of CE or who has left fundamentalism has done so because of a "halo effect." That may be true in some cases but it is not true in all cases.

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RPittman wrote: Ron Bean

RPittman wrote:
Ron Bean wrote:
Easter Sunday morning I attended a CE church. Next to me sat a young man in jeans and sporting dreadlocks. As an "old fundie", you can probably guess what thoughts were going through my mind. My imagined sterotype of someone from outside my "village" (please excuse the movie reference) started to disappear as we sang "Look Ye Saints! The Sight is Glorious" to Bryn Calafaria and this guy was singing with an enthusiasm I hadn't seen on a young person in years. The sermon was over an hour and included a brief but bold denunciation of those who would deny the fact of the resurrection and a wonderful exposition of the resurrection account and its application. The church is more than people who go to hear a sermon and then spend their week trying to get other people to come and hear a sermon. Service opportunities in the church are more than being an usher, working in the nursery, teaching Sunday School, and singing in the choir (they don't have one and I didn't miss the annual Easter cantata).

Would someone please tell me what's wrong with this church and why I should give it up for one of the churches in my area that are decidedly non-CE but are noted more for what they're against than what they're for..

So, Ron, are you saying that this experience is what changed your view?

RPittman, what I'm saying is that in my repeated experience at this CE church I have seen or heard nothing contrary to the Bible but I have seen and heard things that have strengthened and encouraged me Biblically.

What I asked is highlighted.

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

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impossible to answer

Ron Bean wrote:
RPittman wrote:
Ron Bean wrote:
Would someone please tell me what's wrong with this church and why I should give it up for one of the churches in my area that are decidedly non-CE but are noted more for what they're against than what they're for..
So, Ron, are you saying that this experience is what changed your view?

RPittman, what I'm saying is that in my repeated experience at this CE church I have seen or heard nothing contrary to the Bible but I have seen and heard things that have strengthened and encouraged me Biblically.

What I asked is highlighted.

Ron, surely you don't really expect an answer to that question in a forum like this. How could such an answer be meaningful? If I were to attend that church with you and examine in detail each facet of its ministry, the theology and philosophy of the pastors, etc., I might be able to point out some serious errors or ramifications of your participation in such a church. Or maybe not. But you surely don't expect anyone to give you such an answer based only on your one paragraph description, do you?

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Will you ever learn?

Greg Long wrote:
RPittman wrote:
The author's glowing report of the CEs is a halo effect by not recognizing the many problems of CEs. It is an uneven comparison in juxtaposition with the problems of Fundamentalism, which we well know because we are better acquainted.
This is exactly what Ben was referring to. He was stating that in his case there was no "halo effect," but rather a decision that he arrived after much thought based on what he believe Scripture states on the matter. That's exactly what I was referring to as well. You assume that anyone who gives a positive recommendation of CE or who has left fundamentalism has done so because of a "halo effect." That may be true in some cases but it is not true in all cases.
Greg, don't tell me what I assume because I don't. Read your own statements. They are groundless. How hard is it to understand that I may have said or implied about the one post DOES NOT GENERALIZE to everyone. You are making the wrong inference. You have admitted my argument when you said, "That may be true in some cases but it is not true in all cases." Okay, so what's the problem. You're the one who keeps saying it applies to all; I made comment on one case.

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another CE vs IFB thread?

Thanks for the article Micah. You'll soon realize that these posts and responses will all bring up the same issues over and over again. Its starting to become pointless. It'll take the grace of God for ifbdom to realize that the energies spent debating each other on whats "worth saving" and "who's in or out" is a dead horse that needs to be picked up and buried.

If the historical fundies could peak down from heaven, who would they see as carrying the torcch of their message?

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"The many problems of CE's"

For the sake of summary, simplicity and specificity could someone (perhaps RPittman, who last used this phrase) list some of these many problems of CE's?

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

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@Ron

Ron, you asked a good question. The only complaints that I've seen about CE's on this site boil down to two things:

1. Separation that doesn't look like Tracon separation and therefore isn't taking place in the way that Tracons would deem appropriate.

2. Affiliations are taken as actual endorsements of everything that CE's do. So MacArthur is evil because he's associated with the Resolved Conference, and Mohler is unforgivable because he signed the Manhattan Declaration, despite the fact that he's said signing it was a mistake. Nevermind that MacArthur or Mohler stand or fall before the Lord based on what he's done with the works in his own body.

Of course, the critics usually don't boil it down that easily.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Greg Long wrote: C'mon, Don,

Greg Long wrote:
C'mon, Don, you completely missed his point. He wasn't saying he's the only who thought about it. He's reacting to Roland, who seems to indicate that the only reason people leave fundamentalism is because they are starry-eyed sophomores who are enraptured by CE. Ben was simply saying that this is not true of him, that his decision to leave fundamentalism was a careful and sober one. Again, he didn't make any suggestion that those who stay in fundamentalism aren't thoughtful. I'm not sure why you reacted so sarcastically to his post.

Ben's observation is valid, because every person that I know of who has left Fundyville for CECity has either been turned off by Tracons behavior or has found enough Scriptural deficiencies in the Tracon practice that the whole system collapses.

One of those deficiencies is the skewed understanding of separation, which leads to people being 'separated from' when they have never been Scripturally confronted in the first place about their "error", or why it's really not a big deal that when leaders of the FBF go and fellowship with the heretics and apostates of Hammond.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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my problems with CEs

Ron Bean wrote:
For the sake of summary, simplicity and specificity could someone (perhaps RPittman, who last used this phrase) list some of these many problems of CE's?

Ron, let me first acknowledge that there are many valuable contributions to Christian thought and life by Conservative Evangelicals. I think most of us who have problems with them do appreciate their ministries (to varying degrees).

Here are some of the problems from my perspective:

  1. The growing influence of charismatism - the charismatics have major problems when it comes to inspiration, inerrancy and the canon. They either believe in ongoing revelation (denying a closed canon) or they believe the Bible is in error when it expressly says that Agabus spoke his prophecy by the "Spirit". The influence of charismatism has widely altered the shape of evangelicalism at large. Next year at 9Marks, one of the Sovereign Grace men will be teaching from 1 Cor 12-14. What do you suppose will be the topic of discussion?
  2. The tolerance of worldliness on many levels, including the widespread tolerance of men like Mark Driscoll, and such discussions as you see here on SI where gambling and drinking are openly approved. In moderation, of course.
  3. The continuing relationship between CEs and the Billy Graham organization itself. The most conservative CE of them all, John MacArthur, has spoken in recent years at Graham's training center, the Cove, and has published articles in Graham's Decision magazine. The connections between Southern Seminary and the Graham organization are well known. Mark Dever is chairman of the board at Southern.
  4. The widespread use of worldly music undermining the gospel message that is preached. Almost all the CE ministries that are usually touted here are affected by this.

    You might not find these things problematic. Regardless, these things are huge stumbling blocks for me and preclude ministry cooperation with these men. They are not trivial differences.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Glad to oblige . . . . . .

Ron Bean wrote:
For the sake of summary, simplicity and specificity could someone (perhaps RPittman, who last used this phrase) list some of these many problems of CE's?
Okay, Ron, I can give two examples that quickly come to mind. I have association with some fine CE college-age young folks. They are theological orthodox, concerned about others, serious about serving God, and zealous. The problems are the points of tension between their professed faith in Christ and their behavior. Oh, they're very kind, sweet, polite, understanding, and amiable enough but there's really little difference in many areas between them and their unbelieving counterparts in the world. Although there are many other areas, I will choose only to address two--modesty and language--that are easily observed. Although my comments are NOT applicable to every young person on the CE (I am not stereotyping) I have observed enough to say that these behaviors are pervasive.

As to modesty, the concept is foreign to many. For young women, modesty is shown by how they handle their bodies as well as how they dress. For many CE young women, they seem think nothing of displaying their bodies. Just in case someone is getting the wrong idea, I am not defining modesty as wearing a dress or skirt to the knee. These CE women wear clothing that leaves little to the imagination. This includes sheer tops, low-cut tops, short-shorts, etc. Also, they show little concern in changing outer garments when males are around. How they sit or flout their bodies is often sensuous or seductive. I could be more graphic in my descriptions but I don't want to offend the sensibilities of the readers on SI. Although I am no prude, I have had to avert my eyes to avoid seeing more than I ought.

Also, there is the language element. Sometime ago, I was shocked after hearing a wonderfully prayed prayer by a young woman to hear an explicit discussion of sex and vulgar language coming from her mouth. They talk of God, Christ, love, grace, obedience, etc. and discuss the most foul things a short while later. The F-word and S-word along with a host of other vulgarities and profanities are no strangers to the lips of many professing CE young folks.

My point is simple. I am saying there appears to be a disconnect between belief and behavior in CE circles. IMHO, this may exist because of an over-reaction to what they view as legalism. Their view of tolerance, acceptance, diversity, etc. contributes. They say as long as you believe that behavior is not important. Ultimately it's a personal separation issue, which follows having denied the corporate kind, from worldliness.

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corporate worldliness?

RPittman wrote:

Also, there is the language element. Sometime ago, I was shocked after hearing a wonderfully prayed prayer by a young woman to hear an explicit discussion of sex and vulgar language coming from her mouth. They talk of God, Christ, love, grace, obedience, etc. and discuss the most foul things a short while later. The F-word and S-word along with a host of other vulgarities and profanities are no strangers to the lips of many professing CE young folks.

My point is simple. I am saying there appears to be a disconnect between belief and behavior in CE circles. IMHO, this may exist because of an over-reaction to what they view as legalism. Their view of tolerance, acceptance, diversity, etc. contributes. They say as long as you believe that behavior is not important. Ultimately it's a personal separation issue, which follows having denied the corporate kind, from worldliness.

Hi Roland,

F-words i think, agreed by all, is vulgar and often used by the vocabulary challenged. the S-words sound sort of vulgar to me too. i was surprised though when looking at Phil. 3:8, Paul seems to employ it.

the bolded part of your post had me scratching my head a bit also. worldliness, for the most part, is a heart problem for the Christian: it's the "lust of the flesh", "the lust of the eyes", and the "pride of life". so the corporate separation would be: don't go to movies, don't drink, don't wear short shorts?

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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No, not exactly . . . . .

Alex K. wrote:
RPittman wrote:

Also, there is the language element. Sometime ago, I was shocked after hearing a wonderfully prayed prayer by a young woman to hear an explicit discussion of sex and vulgar language coming from her mouth. They talk of God, Christ, love, grace, obedience, etc. and discuss the most foul things a short while later. The F-word and S-word along with a host of other vulgarities and profanities are no strangers to the lips of many professing CE young folks.

My point is simple. I am saying there appears to be a disconnect between belief and behavior in CE circles. IMHO, this may exist because of an over-reaction to what they view as legalism. Their view of tolerance, acceptance, diversity, etc. contributes. They say as long as you believe that behavior is not important. Ultimately it's a personal separation issue, which follows having denied the corporate kind, from worldliness.

Hi Roland,

F-words i think, agreed by all, is vulgar and often used by the vocabulary challenged. the S-words sound sort of vulgar to me too. i was surprised though when looking at Phil. 3:8, Paul seems to employ it.

the bolded part of your post had me scratching my head a bit also. worldliness, for the most part, is a heart problem for the Christian: it's the "lust of the flesh", "the lust of the eyes", and the "pride of life". so the corporate separation would be: don't go to movies, don't drink, don't wear short shorts?

No, there's punctuation that makes "which follows having denied the corporate kind" a sort of parenthetical expression. The sense of the sentence is that one having discarded separation from groups of different practices or beliefs often translates into doing away with personal separation from worldliness as well. Corporate separation simply referred to groups or associations. And whether we will admit it or not, we are very much influenced by our associations.

As for Scripture, it does use some plain-spoken language but I wouldn't call it vulgarity.

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Roland, I've never heard any

Roland, I've never heard any CE use that kind of language.

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A Broad Brush

Quote:
The F-word and S-word along with a host of other vulgarities and profanities are no strangers to the lips of many professing CE young folks.

Sweeping generalizations like this aren't helpful to the discussion.

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

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Endemic to CE's?

RPittman wrote:
Although there are many other areas, I will choose only to address two--modesty and language--that are easily observed. Although my comments are NOT applicable to every young person on the CE (I am not stereotyping) I have observed enough to say that these behaviors are pervasive.

As to modesty, the concept is foreign to many. For young women, modesty is shown by how they handle their bodies as well as how they dress. For many CE young women, they seem think nothing of displaying their bodies. Just in case someone is getting the wrong idea, I am not defining modesty as wearing a dress or skirt to the knee. These CE women wear clothing that leaves little to the imagination. This includes sheer tops, low-cut tops, short-shorts, etc. Also, they show little concern in changing outer garments when males are around. How they sit or flout their bodies is often sensuous or seductive. I could be more graphic in my descriptions but I don't want to offend the sensibilities of the readers on SI. Although I am no prude, I have had to avert my eyes to avoid seeing more than I ought.

Also, there is the language element. Sometime ago, I was shocked after hearing a wonderfully prayed prayer by a young woman to hear an explicit discussion of sex and vulgar language coming from her mouth. They talk of God, Christ, love, grace, obedience, etc. and discuss the most foul things a short while later. The F-word and S-word along with a host of other vulgarities and profanities are no strangers to the lips of many professing CE young folks.


RPittman,

The problems that you noted are hardly confined to CE's. If you don't believe me, check the Facebook pages of the kids in Fundy churches or even check the pictures that the kids take of Fundy camps and church activities.

My guess is that the kids / adults that practice what you talk about above claim to be Christian, but really demonstrate little, if any, relationship to Jesus. Otherwise, they'd know better.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Worldliness and CEs

Don Johnson wrote:

Here are some of the problems from my perspective:

  1. The growing influence of charismatism - the charismatics have major problems when it comes to inspiration, inerrancy and the canon. They either believe in ongoing revelation (denying a closed canon) or they believe the Bible is in error when it expressly says that Agabus spoke his prophecy by the "Spirit". The influence of charismatism has widely altered the shape of evangelicalism at large. Next year at 9Marks, one of the Sovereign Grace men will be teaching from 1 Cor 12-14. What do you suppose will be the topic of discussion?
  2. The tolerance of worldliness on many levels, including the widespread tolerance of men like Mark Driscoll, and such discussions as you see here on SI where gambling and drinking are openly approved. In moderation, of course.
  3. The continuing relationship between CEs and the Billy Graham organization itself. The most conservative CE of them all, John MacArthur, has spoken in recent years at Graham's training center, the Cove, and has published articles in Graham's Decision magazine. The connections between Southern Seminary and the Graham organization are well known. Mark Dever is chairman of the board at Southern.
  4. The widespread use of worldly music undermining the gospel message that is preached. Almost all the CE ministries that are usually touted here are affected by this.

    You might not find these things problematic. Regardless, these things are huge stumbling blocks for me and preclude ministry cooperation with these men. They are not trivial differences.


Don, your items 1 and 3 represent doctrine and separation from men who won't separate over doctrine. I don't think many at SI find those to be trivial, even if they wouldn't always be applied exactly the way you do. Your points 2 and 4 are more related to definition and application, and I don't think our generation of fundamentalists really handled this well in most cases other than saying "don't."

Because of the differences in definition of "worldliness" and applications taken from it, different positions are reached, and not only by CEs. I'm personally a little uncomfortable with the current discussion on gambling, for example, but I think it's a discussion that should be had (rather than just ignoring it outright) because it helps (at least in my mind) to hash out what it means biblically to be worldly, and then what actions and applications we should make from that. If you've kept up with that discussion, you might have noticed that it's a CE (Phil Johnson) whose writings are being referenced as taking a very strong position against gambling. This helps demonstrate my point -- because fundamentalists have for years decried worldliness, with good reason, but without really delving into what it means other than "being like the world" (and that hasn't been well-defined), today's generation of CEs and YFs are having to wrestle with this, and they are coming to conclusions that make the old guard uncomfortable. Worse, the old guard is just saying things like "Well, that's the SI crowd," rather than wanting to tackle the issue more than just repeating the old mantra of "don't."

I've never understood, for example, why Christians think the "dress for success" look (representing greed and lust for power) is better than the biker look (rebellion). Why shouldn't Christians be different from both? If we divorce the power look from the sins of those who dress that way, why don't we do the same for leather and chains? This is just one of the issues that was never dealt with in the fundamentalism of my day; it was just assumed, but it's representative of the larger issue -- today's Christians don't really have a good handle on worldliness, and it seems the leadership is loathe to go into this too deeply because they haven't really studied it out all that well themselves and they don't relish the idea of not having all the answers, which might lead those under their leadership to come to different conclusions on some of those areas and practices. So it's either ignored, or worldliness ends up representing whatever the preacher's convictions are against. Then the people assume there is no good scriptural backing for his position on those issues (because one isn't given or if it is, taught well), and start taking positions on those "worldly" activities that you associate with CE, or even leave to go to a CE ministry, where the problems are much more than different applications -- there could be the separation and doctrinal issues you refer to.

As a final example, when I asked about a piece of music and why it was considered wrong (or at least, we couldn't listen to it) at my Christian college, the answer I got was: "You're a junior; you should already know this." If today's western Christians need any special teaching, it would be a serious examination of what it means to be worldly, and not just have that topic brushed off as "You 'claim' to be a Christian; you ought to know better."

Dave Barnhart

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hear, hear

Dave, I can't really disagree with anything you say. There is no doubt we have been much too glib and ready to give 'pat' answers when various topics come up. There is no doubt we need more instruction in this area. FWIW, I did a series on godliness-worldliness in our church last summer (I think that's the time frame). If you go to gbcvic.org, click on the Our Sermons link, then filter by series and you can find it. I post pretty detailed notes if you don't want to spend the time listening.

As to my post, I wrote in response to Ron Bean's question. I think we need to do a better job educating our people on all of these topics. But they do remain reasons why I can't enter ministry cooperation with conservative evangelicals regardless of any weakness we may have had in teaching these subjects to our own.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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@Don

Don -

Thought you might be interested in a book edited by CJ Mahaney titled " http://www.amazon.com/Worldliness-Resisting-Seduction-Fallen-World/dp/14... ]Worldliness " that is on the market. I bought a copy two years ago, and it's been a fantastic and helpful work for referencing on this subject; so much so that I've given a second copy out to someone in my church who is working on this. Mahaney and the others do a good job articulating the "why" behind traditional Fundamental cultural mores.

I'd also agree with Dave that I'm not comfortable with the discussion on gambling either, but I do think that if we don't have those kinds of discussions, then people aren't going to be able to explain to others why gambling is wrong, and people will dive into it without realizing that there are good, strong, Scriptural reasons not to do so.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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yeah, but...

But I wouldn't want to put any $$$ in Mahaney's pocket. Maybe if I find it used somewhere I'll look at it.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Limited experience?

Greg Long wrote:
Roland, I've never heard any CE use that kind of language.
Perhaps you ought to circulate on some CE college campuses.

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Quote: I've never understood,

Quote:
I've never understood, for example, why Christians think the "dress for success" look (representing greed and lust for power) is better than the biker look (rebellion). Why shouldn't Christians be different from both?

I understand your point, but this is a difference in dress that even non-Christians would agree to. There is a reason why most businesses around the world hiring for professional positions or positions that deal with customers or vendors look much more favorably on people that "dress for success" as opposed to the "biker look."

Someone who looks sharp and is well presented is far more likely to make an immediate favorable impression that someone who looks sloppy.

I feel outward appearance and actions are often a reflection of the inward heart and level of spiritual maturity. Certainly outward appearance and behavior is NOT a fail-safe litmus test regarding spirituality, but I will say that we can't say that it doesn't matter either.

In my personal experience both in fundyland and with being around Evangelicals from time to time, it is my observation that in general fundies tend to think that rules and standards for church or personal life are everything. If you follow the rules and obey the standards then you are OK. However, evangelicals seem to think that anything goes as long as you believe in Jesus - so to that point I would agree with RPittman.

Both viewpoints are wrong.

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Christian "Liberty"

One other point / question I would like to make is regarding Christian "Liberty."

In my personal experience, the farther left (towards CE-land) you go from the right (fundyland) the more likely a person is to be much more negatively reactive regarding challenges to their "liberty."

Seems to me a kind of test regarding spiritual maturity is when someone's liberties are challenged. Show me someone who puts aside their liberty so it isn't a distraction to others or for the greater good of an organization and I'll show you someone who has a definite level of spiritual maturity.

I went to a fundy college. The students and teachers there that were much more predisposed to Evangelicalism were way, WAY more likely to openly flaunt their personal "liberty" no matter what the institutional handbook or administration said. They were also significantly more likely to very open about their "liberty" no matter the pain or hurt it caused their parents or others. Their liberty or what they thought of as their rights took precidence over their God-given authorities, heritage, church, Pastor, etc.

I have just witnessed a fundy church taking a reasonable stand regarding the issue of drinking. The people opposed to it were incredibly over-the-top rude, obnoxious, and were extremely hurtful to the pastor. These people led about 70 people out of around 200 to leave the church to start their own. Pastor's of CE-type churches in the area called this fundy pastor and told him off saying he was wrong.

Not saying that all fundies are mature and that all CE's aren't, but I think I am making some reasonable observations and assumptions based on years of experience.

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Appearance vs. motive

JoeM wrote:

I understand your point, but this is a difference in dress that even non-Christians would agree to.

Emphasis above mine.

That's just my point, though. Of course NON-Christians would see dress-for-success as better, but then they don't see anything wrong with seeking riches, pride, or power, and in fact they would see those as "noble" goals, whereas Christians should see those as no more noble than being anti-establishment. The lust of the eyes and the pride of life are just as wrong as the lust of the flesh. Why should we as Christians resemble power brokers any more than we should bikers? We could be neat and orderly without being either. I think the reality is that many Christians tacitly desire riches and power as well, they are just not as blatant about it as the characters in "Wall Street."

Dave Barnhart

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Series notes

Don Johnson wrote:
FWIW, I did a series on godliness-worldliness in our church last summer (I think that's the time frame). If you go to gbcvic.org, click on the Our Sermons link, then filter by series and you can find it. I post pretty detailed notes if you don't want to spend the time listening.

Thanks, Don. I started downloading these, but you may want to check if there is a problem on your site. After the 6/20 installment, the next 3 weeks' PDF files appear to me to be the same as the 6/20 one, even though the filenames are different. The 7/18 one appears to be OK. Haven't checked the others yet.

On my response, I was trying to distinguish between reasons you couldn't cooperate from reasons something is wrong. Doctrine and separation over doctrine are certainly both, but there can be disagreement between godly men on the applications. Simply calling those who hold a different application worldly, without a good agreement on what the definition of that term is, and what it encompasses, puts those differences in a whole different category from direct biblical teaching.

I've noticed that those that "lean left" tend to put pretty much anything beyond direct scriptural command in the Romans 14 bin. However, those that "lean right" tend to put almost nothing in there at all beyond choices in pew styles or color of carpet. The truth is somewhere in the middle, otherwise there would not have been a recognition from Paul that there will be really strong differences between the two sides, and strong teaching from him that these differences should be accepted, even when they make us extremely uncomfortable.

Dave Barnhart

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I Agree

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Why should we as Christians resemble power brokers any more than we should bikers? We could be neat and orderly without being either. I think the reality is that many Christians tacitly desire riches and power as well, they are just not as blatant about it as the characters in "Wall Street."

I agree. Thanks!

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thanks and a note re Rm 14

dcbii wrote:
Don Johnson wrote:
FWIW, I did a series on godliness-worldliness in our church last summer (I think that's the time frame). If you go to gbcvic.org, click on the Our Sermons link, then filter by series and you can find it. I post pretty detailed notes if you don't want to spend the time listening.

Thanks, Don. I started downloading these, but you may want to check if there is a problem on your site. After the 6/20 installment, the next 3 weeks' PDF files appear to me to be the same as the 6/20 one, even though the filenames are different. The 7/18 one appears to be OK.

Those would be weeks where we got bogged down in discussion and I didn't finish the material. I have since started to break my outlines apart or otherwise note that the notes are the same for several lessons. These were done in our Bible study session where we try to involve a lot of discussion and thus proceed at a slower pace. I'll have to go back and make it clear what is available for those sessions.

dcbii wrote:
I've noticed that those that "lean left" tend to put pretty much anything beyond direct scriptural command in the Romans 14 bin. However, those that "lean right" tend to put almost nothing in there at all beyond choices in pew styles or color of carpet. The truth is somewhere in the middle, otherwise there would not have been a recognition from Paul that there will be really strong differences between the two sides, and strong teaching from him that these differences should be accepted, even when they make us extremely uncomfortable.

Well, not to get off into another discussion, but I think that is a key difference. Romans 14, as I see it, is clearly about indifferent matters, not matters that have a real moral component. It is not the same as 1 Cor 8-10, although some of the language is similar to 1 Cor 8. Some want to broaden the application of Rm 14 much further than is warranted.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Seems like we're a bit off track here on a few points.
Isn't it obvious that professing (and actual) Christians of all flavors have some who are worldly, use foul language, etc.? I saw plenty of sinners in the student body at BJU during my years there (one showed up in the mirror occasionally, even.)

The better set of questions was one that appeared much earlier in the thread: Do all or even most who choose fundamentalism over CE do so because they haven't had enough exposure and don't know what they're missing? What reasons have several thoughtful fundamentalists given for why they choose the doctrine and practice they do? Let's remember that we're not just talking about claiming labels--at least, thoughtful people are not just claiming labels--rather, we're talking about actual differences in belief and practice on some points.

What the differences are can't be settled once for all for everybody for several reasons. For one, we're talking about groups that do not have strictly controlled "memberships." Nobody is rigorously testing applicants for the right to claim the term and nobody is counting heads or performing exit interviews to maintain precise numbers and tallies of "reasons why." In other words, anecdotal evidence of one thing or another is not going to persuade anybody because their experience is different. Exercising one's own personal judgment on what the differences are is unavoidable and differences of opinion should be both expected and accepted.

That said, there are a few differences that are pretty generally agreed, aren't there? Most CEs have a different view of the practice of separation than most fundamentalists. Most CEs also have a different view of the forms, expresions, etc. of worldliness (and relationship to culture) than most fundies. Most CEs are more open to continuationism than most fundies.
Are these really in dispute?

And if they are agreed, then don't we have to admit that some of these differences might actually be a little bit important?

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What's wrong with this question . . . . . .

Aaron wrote:
Seems like we're a bit off track here on a few points.
Isn't it obvious that professing (and actual) Christians of all flavors have some who are worldly, use foul language, etc.? I saw plenty of sinners in the student body at BJU during my years there (one showed up in the mirror occasionally, even.)

Yes, Aaron, there's are sinners everywhere, including churches, but you are more likely to find them in taverns than churches. Also, there are many good questions to discuss but what's wrong with this one? Does the CE lack of separation in the ecclesiastical realm with its inclusiveness carry over into lack of personal separation from worldliness?

Furthermore, in all that you've said, you've never contradicted my assertion that CE's are experiencing a disconnect between belief and practice. I think this is a PRETTY IMPORTANT issue. Don't you?

BTW, the "plenty of sinners in the student body at BJU" probably were not doing it openly with the full knowledge of the school. They were living double lives, no doubt, which is hypocrisy. Now, someone has noted that hypocrisy is testimony to the rightness of truth.

Aaron, I wish that you would try to deflect some of the criticisms against Fundamentalists as you do for the CE. If it's open season, then all game should be fair game, not just some species.

Now, I've been to both Fundy schools, CE schools, state schools, etc. and I can assure you that many, many more people are living ungodly lives (profanity/vulgarity, partying, carousing, etc.) more openly at the CE schools than at BJU. The reason that it stands so much at BJU is because our expectations are higher and the behavior is rarer. However, I do think that the incident rate may be increasing in our more conservative and fundamental schools. Can you contradict any of this?

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RPittman wrote: BTW, the

RPittman wrote:
BTW, the "plenty of sinners in the student body at BJU" probably were not doing it openly with the full knowledge of the school. They were living double lives, no doubt, which is hypocrisy. Now, someone has noted that hypocrisy is testimony to the rightness of truth.

Aaron, I wish that you would try to deflect some of the criticisms against Fundamentalists as you do for the CE. If it's open season, then all game should be fair game, not just some species.

Now, I've been to both Fundy schools, CE schools, state schools, etc. and I can assure you that many, many more people are living ungodly lives (profanity/vulgarity, partying, carousing, etc.) more openly at the CE schools than at BJU. The reason that it stands so much at BJU is because our expectations are higher and the behavior is rarer. However, I do think that the incident rate may be increasing in our more conservative and fundamental schools. Can you contradict any of this?


Rpittman-

External actions do not indicate the holiness / righteousness of the human heart. The Pharisees had all their acts together...until Jesus ripped off their hypocrisy.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Not necessarily true . . . . .

Jay C. wrote:
RPittman wrote:
BTW, the "plenty of sinners in the student body at BJU" probably were not doing it openly with the full knowledge of the school. They were living double lives, no doubt, which is hypocrisy. Now, someone has noted that hypocrisy is testimony to the rightness of truth.

Aaron, I wish that you would try to deflect some of the criticisms against Fundamentalists as you do for the CE. If it's open season, then all game should be fair game, not just some species.

Now, I've been to both Fundy schools, CE schools, state schools, etc. and I can assure you that many, many more people are living ungodly lives (profanity/vulgarity, partying, carousing, etc.) more openly at the CE schools than at BJU. The reason that it stands so much at BJU is because our expectations are higher and the behavior is rarer. However, I do think that the incident rate may be increasing in our more conservative and fundamental schools. Can you contradict any of this?


Rpittman-

External actions do not indicate the holiness / righteousness of the human heart. The Pharisees had all their acts together...until Jesus ripped off their hypocrisy.

Jay, this is simply not true! You are simply spouting the standard party line without giving thought to what you're saying. Jesus condemned their actions when He condemned them for their hypocrisy. Obviously the Pharisees didn't have "all their acts together . . . ." Furthermore, I don't see what your comment had to do with my points. Would you please connect and explain?

However, Jesus did say, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it (Matthew 7:16-27)."

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RPittman wrote: Jay C.

RPittman wrote:
Jay C. wrote:
RPittman wrote:
BTW, the "plenty of sinners in the student body at BJU" probably were not doing it openly with the full knowledge of the school. They were living double lives, no doubt, which is hypocrisy. Now, someone has noted that hypocrisy is testimony to the rightness of truth.

Aaron, I wish that you would try to deflect some of the criticisms against Fundamentalists as you do for the CE. If it's open season, then all game should be fair game, not just some species.

Now, I've been to both Fundy schools, CE schools, state schools, etc. and I can assure you that many, many more people are living ungodly lives (profanity/vulgarity, partying, carousing, etc.) more openly at the CE schools than at BJU. The reason that it stands so much at BJU is because our expectations are higher and the behavior is rarer. However, I do think that the incident rate may be increasing in our more conservative and fundamental schools. Can you contradict any of this?


Rpittman-

External actions do not indicate the holiness / righteousness of the human heart. The Pharisees had all their acts together...until Jesus ripped off their hypocrisy.

Jay, this is simply not true! You are simply spouting the standard party line without giving thought to what you're saying. Jesus condemned their actions when He condemned them for their hypocrisy. Obviously the Pharisees didn't have "all their acts together . . . ." Furthermore, I don't see what your comment had to do with my points. Would you please connect and explain?

However, Jesus did say, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it (Matthew 7:16-27)."


You're wrong, Roland. Over and over and over again Jesus said that the Pharisees were by all accounts outwardly "righteous", but inwardly they were sinful. They were whitewashed tombs full of dead men's bones. They strained at gnats while swallowing camels. They ceremonially washed their hands but were defiled by what went out of them from within. I'm surprised you would even dispute this. It's seems fairly obvious to me.

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Faked Righteousness

RPittman wrote:
...Furthermore, I don't see what your comment had to do with my points. Would you please connect and explain?

Roland, it's very simple. You seem to prefer Fundy schools and churches because of the bad experience that you had with the one CE woman, and point to the fact that immoral behavior like that of the one woman isn't displayed at schools like BJU or elsewhere. You argue that those schools are better than CE schools because of this. My point is simply that there is no law or rule that can possibly restrain the wickedness of our hearts, and that what you see at a school or in an church doesn't mean anything about that that person meditates on, desires, or finds worth emulating in their heart or mind. That is the whole point that I was making in post #71 - I was specifically thinking of Matthew 23:23-28. The Pharisees looked like they had their act together, like they were really close to God, that they were holy and blameless when it came to matters of sin and judgment. Jesus destroyed their charade, pointing out that it was all just a giant act and that their hearts were full of greed, slander, and lies.

This passage is also apropos to the discussion:

Matthew 15:1-20 wrote:

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

What Defiles a Person
And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Disputing what?

Greg Long wrote:
RPittman wrote:
Jay C. wrote:
RPittman wrote:
BTW, the "plenty of sinners in the student body at BJU" probably were not doing it openly with the full knowledge of the school. They were living double lives, no doubt, which is hypocrisy. Now, someone has noted that hypocrisy is testimony to the rightness of truth.

Aaron, I wish that you would try to deflect some of the criticisms against Fundamentalists as you do for the CE. If it's open season, then all game should be fair game, not just some species.

Now, I've been to both Fundy schools, CE schools, state schools, etc. and I can assure you that many, many more people are living ungodly lives (profanity/vulgarity, partying, carousing, etc.) more openly at the CE schools than at BJU. The reason that it stands so much at BJU is because our expectations are higher and the behavior is rarer. However, I do think that the incident rate may be increasing in our more conservative and fundamental schools. Can you contradict any of this?


Rpittman-

External actions do not indicate the holiness / righteousness of the human heart. The Pharisees had all their acts together...until Jesus ripped off their hypocrisy.

Jay, this is simply not true! You are simply spouting the standard party line without giving thought to what you're saying. Jesus condemned their actions when He condemned them for their hypocrisy. Obviously the Pharisees didn't have "all their acts together . . . ." Furthermore, I don't see what your comment had to do with my points. Would you please connect and explain?

However, Jesus did say, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it (Matthew 7:16-27)."


You're wrong, Roland. Over and over and over again Jesus said that the Pharisees were by all accounts outwardly "righteous", but inwardly they were sinful. They were whitewashed tombs full of dead men's bones. They strained at gnats while swallowing camels. They ceremonially washed their hands but were defiled by what went out of them from within. I'm surprised you would even dispute this. It's seems fairly obvious to me.
What am I disputing? You said, "The Pharisees had all their acts together...[emphasis added ]" My dispute is that the Pharisees were cheats, frauds, and petty-fogging hypocrites whose ACTIONS differed from their professed piety! Don't you see your own internal contradiction of your own statements. You said, "[They ] were defiled by what went out of them from within." What went out was their wicked behavior.

The point of argument here is simple. Most certainly an ungodly and wicked heart defiles a man but wicked and evil behavior proceeding from that heart defiles him as well. Contrariwise, no man is ever justified by outward behavior but professing godliness and a love for God is not necessarily a testimony of a right relationship with God if accompanied by ungodly behavior. I think we call the later hypocrisy--at least, that's what Jesus called it. Now, it seems to me that there's a parallel between the Pharisees who professed an obedience and love for God meanwhile doing ungodly deeds and the modern CE who just as fervently professes to love God and lives ungodly. BTW, there's no excuse for a professing Fundamentalist who does the same.

Maybe you should begin again, get the thing straight, and tell me what you think. I would be interested to know.

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Rally round the flag boys . . . . .

Jay C. wrote:
RPittman wrote:
...Furthermore, I don't see what your comment had to do with my points. Would you please connect and explain?

Roland, it's very simple. You seem to prefer Fundy schools and churches because of the bad experience that you had with the one CE woman, and point to the fact that immoral behavior like that of the one woman isn't displayed at schools like BJU or elsewhere.
Jay, you do try to shade the argument in your favor. Whatever gave you the impression that it was "one woman?" I was summarizing what I observed as a trend among dozens of college age CE's. Apparently contrary to your preconceived notion, I do move regularly among CE's. Furthermore, it has little to do with my preferences. Again, you are psyhologizing and trying to read thoughts behind my words. There are my own tensions with Fundamentalism. I have arrived at my own fundamental, separatist, independent Baptist views while being exposed to a wide variety of viewpoints. I'm no neophyte with respect to understanding other points of view. In fact, I find it amusing that so many who want to enlighten an old troglodyte are so stereotypical of their own small circle. LOL.
Quote:

You argue that those schools are better than CE schools because of this.

Did I say better? Seems that you're adding to my statements.
Quote:

My point is simply that there is no law or rule that can possibly restrain the wickedness of our hearts, and that what you see at a school or in an church doesn't mean anything about that that person meditates on, desires, or finds worth emulating in their heart or mind.
I am not arguing there are no hypocrites at church or in Fundy schools--I've seen my share over the years. Jay, flip the coin. Do you suggest that the one professing love for Christ and openly exhibiting ungodly behavior is better off than the hypocrite who covers his sin? Are you saying that one showing ungodly language or behavior really is righteous of heart and loves God? It seems that Christ said the test of love was obedience. How can people love Christ and willfully disobey Him? Is it not incongruous to you that a boy and girl have their devotions together before going in the bedroom to have sex together? There seems to be an underlying attitude that one can do whatever satisfies self (i.e. the flesh) and still be right with God and love Him. This is the disconnect that's appearing in CE circles. Now, does it have something to do with the idea of repudiating separation? Is there a carryover? So, quit the nitpicking and face up to the tough questions.
Quote:

That is the whole point that I was making in post #71 - I was specifically thinking of Matthew 23:23-28. The Pharisees looked like they had their act together, like they were really close to God, that they were holy and blameless when it came to matters of sin and judgment. Jesus destroyed their charade, pointing out that it was all just a giant act and that their hearts were full of greed, slander, and lies.

So, are you saying they were totally righteous in behavior? If you look closely enough, I think you will find condemnation of their wicked behavior too. The Pharisees believed that performing certain religious acts would make them righteous but they were unrighteous in other behaviors.
Quote:

This passage is also apropos to the discussion:

Matthew 15:1-20 wrote:

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

What Defiles a Person
And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

Well, thank you for supporting my point. These wicked behaviors indicate a wicked heart. The antecedents of "these" in the statement, "These are what defile a person," are the behaviors. This comes right down to my basic question: How can CE's conscience the apparent disconnect between their beliefs and behavior?

Now, Jay, if you want a discussion of substance, quit picking chaff and address the real question. All the arguments, so far, have been oblique approaches:

  1. Fundy schools have individuals who do this too . . . but it's not a a trend . . . you can find hypocrites everywhere . . . . (It's the same old childish argument: "But everyone else is doing it . . . )
  2. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees who had it all together . . . no, they didn't . . . anyway, it would not necessarily follow that ungodly behavior endemic among the CE's is justified
  3. It's the heart that matters . . . true . . . but, how do you know the heart? . . . it does seem that Christ said that wicked behavior defiles, does it not?
Aaron Blumer's picture
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Deflecting...

Quote:
Aaron, I wish that you would try to deflect some of the criticisms against Fundamentalists as you do for the CE. If it's open season, then all game should be fair game, not just some species.

What I try to do is deflect criticism that is unfair or untrue... I'm not really for "open season" on anybody.

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