Church Planting Thirty Years Later

In 1982 my wife and I planted our first church in Philadelphia – Faith Independent Baptist Church. The long church name seemed awkward back then but I wanted to be sure people knew up front where I stood. Fresh from eight years of ministry training at fundamentalist schools, I was a committed independent, fundamental Baptist. As extra insurance to validate my IFB credentials, I often added “militant and separatist” as well. The church’s doctrinal statement enshrined a dispensational hermeneutic essential for correct interpretation, the pre-tribulational rapture as the next event on the prophetic calendar, and the King James Version as the official translation. As a church we were known more for what we were against than for who we were.

Fast forward to 2011 where in the same city I am now working with a team of elders to plant another church in a spiritual wasteland where we parachuted in with a few families but without a significant core group. After thirty years of church planting I claim no special expertise, offer no guarantees of success, and sense an even greater dependency upon the Lord to build His church. Similar struggles, resistance to the gospel remain.

This one-year-old church is elder led, non-denominational, non-dispensational, and uses the English Standard Version. Much has changed. Most remains the same. I would venture to add that what is essential has not changed. In areas where change has occurred, thirty years of ministry, of study, of relationships, and of experiences have conspired to bring me to the place I am today. For many years IFB was all I knew or cared to know. Now I find myself rarely at home in this fragmented movement of competing networks. I find myself increasingly on the outside looking in. This is my journey, but I’m glad I was not alone.

After planting a church in Philadelphia from 1982-1987 my family and I went to France and then Romania in church planting and pastoral training ministry. Those years spent overseas provided opportunities for fellowship with believers from different horizons and spared me the need to engage in many of the needless conflicts being fought in the States. There was less need to conform to others’ expectations of what it meant to be safely within the fundamentalist orbit.

During that time overseas I pursued further studies with Reformed Theological Seminary’s extension in Budapest and in time completed a degree in theological studies. For the first time I was challenged from a different theological perspective by men with whom I had strong disagreements. Yet I was persuaded of their evangelical commitment, their love for God, and their commitment to God’s authoritative Word. I began to see that we could differ interpretatively and still enjoy fellowship in the gospel. I was moving away from former positions for which I could still argue but could no longer support biblically with integrity.

In late 1998 we returned to the States where I began a short residency in Deerfield, IL at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and where in 2004 I completed a DMin in Missiology. Once again I was struck by the combination of scholarship and godliness among the professors. There were differences in some areas but the centrality of the gospel transcended those differences.

From 1999-2008, I was missions pastor and director of church planting at a well-known suburban church. I travelled frequently and taught overseas in Russia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Peru, China, and several other countries. There were opportunities to teach in the area of missions and church planting at several schools and seminaries and invitations to preach at various conferences. My visits to China were especially revealing as we looked for house church leaders with whom we could partner for training purposes. I found myself looking for “significant compatibility” and agreement with the historic Christian faith rather than agreement with my convictions. My time in Lebanon among Arab believers caused me to look at Scripture afresh and contributed to modifications in my views on eschatology.

Some might find it surprising that personal experiences have influenced my theology to such a degree. In reality our experiences or lack of them have a great part to play in how we read Scripture. We read it with the eyes of those around us, those who trained us or those we look to for guidance. Our experiences should not determine our theology yet how we read and understand Scripture cannot be separated from our outside influences and experiences. Some may consider it a badge of honor to hold the same beliefs and convictions they held thirty years ago. While I can say that for the fundamentals of the faith, I must confess that second and third-tier commitments and interpretations are held loosely and are no longer a cause for separation or hindrance in partnership in the Lord’s work. Perhaps it’s partly due to the fact that I recognize it is His work not mine and that I labor in His vineyard not one of my creation.

On one hand, I have no argument with fellow believers who affirm their identity as independent, fundamental Baptists. I have no difficulty in seeing them as legitimate representatives of the diverse body of Christ. I have no reason to demean them or to expect them to cease being what they are. I have no desire to avoid fellowship and friendship with IFB men of integrity who are sound theologically and choose to remain within an IFB framework. On the other hand I find after all these years in ministry, with experiences and exposure to global Christianity, that IFB fails to describe how I see myself in my relation to the Lord, in relation to other believers, and in relation to the mission of the church.

The last few years have been especially decisive in the direction I have taken. When I returned from Romania in 1998 I knew that both I and the spiritual landscape that I knew had changed. Then in 2008, while temporarily living in France and helping to plant a new non-Baptist church, I wrote an opinion article on Fundamentalism. It was my way of signaling at that time that although I was on a journey out of Fundamentalism as I had known it, I wanted to remain friends with Fundamentalists. I began to write, to challenge conventions and traditions. I have not always been irenic and have not avoided controversy.

When I described myself as a “soft cessationsist,” questioned elements of dispensationalism, took issue with unbiblical separation, did not clearly espouse literal six-day, twenty-hour creation days, expressed my dismay at the paucity of resources committed to church planting, or challenged traditional thinking in the church’s engagement with culture, I found more criticism than interaction with the ideas. The criticism wasn’t about the gospel. It was mostly about culture, tradition and even personalities who thought I was out of line and should keep a lower profile.

Whether or not I should’ve written some of those articles for publication is another story although I have few regrets. I know there are some who are so much surer in many areas where I have questions. I know others who do not want to rock the boat and, to mix metaphors, prefer to fly under the radar. I suppose that would’ve been a safer route for me but that bridge has already been crossed. I must confess that I have found somewhat amusing the wide range of men who have disagreed with me, attacked me, or separated from me. There has been something for many to dislike although certainly not the same things.

I have no one to blame but myself although these experiences reinforced in my mind how important agreement is to Fundamentalists in areas where I believe we have scriptural latitude to disagree charitably. The agreement demanded by many IFB gatekeeper leaders, churches, and institutions in order to play in their yard far exceeds biblical teaching. The loyalty required by many in order to be safe requires submitting to traditional rather than biblical standards. It is not a virtue to have an inquiring mind in much of Fundamentalism. I had to decide whether I would shut up or speak out knowing that speaking out might marginalize me.

There are a few glimmers of hope as some IFB brethren have begun to break out of their isolation. I think particularly of Northland University which has invited professors from outside IFB circles and of Calvary Baptist Seminary with Mark Dever at their ATC Conference. Of course these moves have triggered substantial criticism from within IFBdom which comes as no surprise. Many IFB factions, which contribute little to theological reflection, brook nothing which deviates from their long-held conventions. I encourage those who choose to stay within the movement to continue their pursuit of God-honoring unity with those outside the IFB pale.

As for me, the time has come to seek to identify with men and movements which demonstrate greater generosity with dissent and challenge than I have found in my IFB experience, to identify with those interested in productive gospel-centered, church-planting partnerships, and God willing, to seek teaching opportunities to train men for next generation church planting. I have no illusions that moving on will bring greater resources or guarantee success in church planting. I’m not looking for greener grass. At this point any grass will do. I still welcome friendship and even partnership with my IFB brothers who have not drawn unreasonable lines in the sand. But I’m too old to jump through all the hoops, too ornery to kowtow and prefer relative obscurity and a few warm relationships to playing ingratiating politics and pleasing men.

Much has changed over the years but God has not. He is faithful and He remains the Lord of the harvest in these challenging and needy times, the ultimate Judge who knows the hearts, and the Accomplisher of His divine purposes. Before Him only I lift my hands, bend my knees, and bow my head.

[node:bio/steve-davis body]

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DaveMarriott's picture

Dr. Davis writes,

Quote:
As for me, the time has come to seek to identify with men and movements which demonstrate greater generosity with dissent and challenge than I have found in my IFB experience, to identify with those interested in productive gospel-centered, church-planting partnerships, and God willing, to seek teaching opportunities to train men for next generation church planting.
[Emphasis mine ]

But this church planter, half his age, challenges his article with a dissenting voice, and I get the following reply:

Quote:
There are fundamentalists who represent fundamentalism well. You do not and I would suspect that most would disavow your tone and caricature of what I wrote. You put words in my mouth about "fundamentalists [who ] are prideful, smelling of dogmatism in their positions." I may've just met one like that but I don't think you represent anyone but yourself. And yes I will happily fellowship with IFB men who so desire. Sue me.

Can anyone else see how this new m.o. defeats itself? Or perhaps it's nothing more than smoke and mirrors, deflecting the attention from the real separation issues at hand.

Dr. Davis writes,

Quote:
BTW, I haven't left the "fundamental world” and hold unashamedly to every fundamental doctrine of the historic Christian faith.

Follow-up question for Dr. Davis: Do neo-evangelicals hold to" every fundamental doctrine of the historic Christian faith?"

I think we both know that what you've written is reductionistic at best. From my understanding, fundamentalism concerns itself with not only the belief of those doctrines essential to the gospel (fundamentals) but also with separation over those doctrines that extends even to those who refuse to separate.

I am saddened that you do not believe that I represent fundamentalism well. I can honestly say that I rejoice that the gospel is going forth through your efforts in Philadelphia, even if I have significant disagreement with you and the article(s) you have written, and even if I'd not be able to pursue a ministry partnership with you.

On the flip-side, I think your writing me off because of my disagreement (and perhaps the tone of my disagreement) to be rather absurd in light of your cutting comments towards others.

Bob T.'s picture

Andrew K. wrote:
I'm a bit confused here.

I don't see anything in Steve's article that could be taken as a rejection of historic fundamentalism or even a willingness to work with those who reject the fundamentals of the faith. And yet some here seem to be dropping unsubtle hints toward slippery slopes and ready to commence a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shunning ]shunning .

Way to prove his point.

This is why the younger (and sometimes older) generation leaves you in name, Fundamentalism. Sometimes we really don't understand who you are and what you're talking about.

Well Andrew it is all rather clear historically. If you need to rely on Wickepedia then I would recommend further study of the issues from reliable sources. Fundamentalism is a label that has been defined by multiple historians and books as more than just adhering to the Fundamentals of the faith. It is Evangelicalism plus separation. That separation is to involve all that would be a threat to the flock of God (Acts 20: 17-35) To some is a false issue to speak of so called first degree and second degree separation. Today it also involves a movement that has come to represent those who believe in the inerrancy of scripture and a literal interpretation of key parts such as creation. Such conservative Evangelicals as John MacArthur openly and clearly reject the label of Fundamentalism for themselves yet take a much stronger stand on the issues as just outlined by Steve Davis. So surely there should be no confusion here as to the present application of the label of Fundamentalist. As for holding onto the so called younger generation, that is in the hands of God. Our first task is to glorify God through obedience to his word. To the Fundamentalist that obedience to scripture involves issues that are minimized by the Evangelical who is moderate or open. These meet the definition of the historic NEW EVANGELICAL as they described themselves in 1947 and after.

If you have not done so please read Rolland McCune's book, "Promise Unfulfilled."

Bob T.'s picture

jpdsr51 wrote:
[quote=Bob T It is said without any hate or animosity but with a realization that all that Steve Davis has written has been with an apparent desire to drag other younger Fundamentalists and Conservative Evangelicals into his world of increasing doctrinal doubt

And now Bob has the privelged insight in being able to judge one's motives, but at least he does it without any hate or animosity. Really, Bob?[/quote]

Since the purpose of Steve's prior articles were all questioning some widely held doctrines among Fundamentalists, such as 6 day creation and cessationism, along with arguments to persuade others to his new more open position; and since such articles were written and posted on SI, a professing Fundamentalist internet site, then the only obvious conclusion was that Steve Davis (your brother) had a purpose of seeking to reach Fundamentalists and challenge many of their doctrines. It is also well known that many who post on here are younger than 40. I have not judged any motives that are not made self evident by Steve Davis himself.

The accusation of judging motives as being wrong is a false concept. Motives often are an issue in scripture and may be an issue where the evidence reveals the motives. Motives are often revealed at law by the circumstances.

Andrew K.'s picture

Quote:
Well Andrew it is all rather clear historically.

Yes, but you haven't made it clear.

I wanted an explanation of where Steve diverges from historic fundamentalism, and instead you ramble on about John MacArthur for a bit (whom I honestly know very little about), take a swipe at my Wikipedia link (which was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek reference, not being utilized as some kind of serious reference), and gave me a book recommendation (which I might pick up sometime when I am back in the States, though the title be a trifle depressing Smile ).

You also referenced the distinction between New Evangles and Fundies as being that Fundies hold to separation from, "...all that would be a threat to the flock of God." Doesn't every wise minister attempt to do this? Are we to understand that Steve is soon to be sending out welcoming invitations to all his local wolves? I don't even see how this makes sense as a standard.

Clearly, my continued lack of understanding makes me a New Evangelical.

神是爱

JG's picture

Andrew K. wrote:
Quote:
Well Andrew it is all rather clear historically.

Yes, but you haven't made it clear.

I wanted an explanation of where Steve diverges from historic fundamentalism,


I'll try.

I think it was three years ago that Steve Davis was published in the Lausanne World Pulse (I didn't find the article to nail down the date, but it's out there). Unless there are no new evangelicals anywhere anymore, that is a new evangelical publication. From their http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/about.php ]About page :

Quote:
The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (Lausanne) is an international movement that seeks to energize churches, mission agencies, networks and individuals to respond with vigor and courage to the cause of global evangelization. Lausanne grew out of the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization called by a committee headed by the Reverend Billy Graham. For more than three decades, through the work of Lausanne, global Christian leaders have participated in regional, national and international consultations and conferences to develop biblical and strategic approaches to evangelism.

The very least that can be said is that our brother (and I do consider him a brother) is and has been moving in new evangelical circles.

Most definitions of new evangelicalism or neoevangelicalism would include accommodation/dialogue with liberals. Those definitions would also include a markedly different approach from fundamentalists to separation. I don't see Steve adopting the first of those right now, and hopefully never. He certainly has adopted the second. Is he a new evangelical then? It depends on how you define it. Having lived on both sides of that line, I see him as more on the new evangelical side than the fundie side, and moving that direction.

New evangelicalism was a label the new evangelicals chose themselves, to distinguish themselves from fundamentalism, and to describe a direction they themselves were taking. In large part, Steve Davis is describing that he is moving away from something, and his description of his direction bears many similarites to the neos.

If you pressed him for a name for it, he'd probably say he's moving to conservative evangelicalism. He's going to find himself surrounded by what might be called soft evangelicalism. It doesn't matter what label you put on it, though. What matters is the new positions he is taking. In many regards they are not biblical, but he presumably thinks they are.

I did ask if he's now being a missionary to the fundies to show us a better way. I agree with those above who suggested that this article gives that impression, though whether he thought of it in that way is another question. I also wonder why it was published on a fundamentalist site, at least with that title. It's really, "How and Why I've Left the Fundamentalism I Knew". At least then we'd know what we're getting. This article isn't about church planting at all, and everyone knows it.

If you think there is no difference between conservative evangelicalism and fundamentalism, then Steve probably hasn't left fundamentalism, at least not yet. But there is a difference.

Ron Bean's picture

Quote:
"separation from all that would be a threat to the flock of God."

It's what some consider "threats" to the flock of God that concerns me. Take your pick:
Music
Calvinism
Movies
Helping the needy
Bible versions
Non-Baptists
Dress standards
Etc.

I've seen fundamentalists separate from these "threats" and then separate form those who didn't.

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

Steve Davis's picture

JG wrote:
I think it was three years ago that Steve Davis was published in the Lausanne World Pulse (I didn't find the article to nail down the date, but it's out there). Unless there are no new evangelicals anywhere anymore, that is a new evangelical publication.

The very least that can be said is that our brother (and I do consider him a brother) is and has been moving in new evangelical circles.

Most definitions of new evangelicalism or neoevangelicalism would include accommodation/dialogue with liberals. Those definitions would also include a markedly different approach from fundamentalists to separation. I don't see Steve adopting the first of those right now, and hopefully never. He certainly has adopted the second. Is he a new evangelical then? It depends on how you define it. Having lived on both sides of that line, I see him as more on the new evangelical side than the fundie side, and moving that direction.

Is this the best you can do? I think this will come as a surprise to many Fundamentalists that if you write in a publication you are moving in NE circles. BTW, I also had at least one maybe two articles in the FBF magazine AFTER THAT.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Quote:
If you have not done so please read Rolland McCune's book, "Promise Unfulfilled."

Many of us have, and even though I find it quite valuable when it comes to research and information, one of its glaring weaknesses seems to be the same as yours, Bob.....that it generalizes, stereotypes, and broad-brushes evangelicals as all the same, when there is some serious differences among them on the issues that Steve has brought up (Dispensationalism, age of the earth, cessationism, and separation). For instance, there is a world of difference between the beliefs of separation of self proclaimed evangelicals D.A. Carson and Tony Campolo, yet there doesn't seem to be any acknowledgement of nuance when we end up lumping them all together as the same.

McCune seems to do the same even with fundamentalists as well, as if his particular stripe of fundamentalism when it comes to separation issues is the correct and long-standing one, when there is quite long history of the different views among self-identifying fundamentalists when it comes to how the doctrine of separation is applied. For instance, McCune's view is different than how Bob Ketcham (one of the founders of the GARBC) applied separation.......Ketcham preached at founders week at Moody, preached in the pulpit of Moody Church when Warren Wiersbe was its pastor and kept a very close friendship with the Wiersbe's until the day he died. Wiersbe was yesterday's equivalent to today's conservative evangelical with long historical ties to neo-evangelical groups. McCune attacks this type of lack of separation using John MacArthur as an example for not using discernment because MacArthur regularly speaks at Moody's founders week which often features new evangelicals. Yet at the same time, Dr. Ketcham was known for his strong stances on separation, being one of the first to warn of and then separate from Billy Graham because of Graham's regular practice of including liberal churches as part of his crusades.

Also, McCune bemoans the fact that the Evangelical Baptist Missions, a fundamentalist Baptist missions agency would have John Piper speak at one of their conferences, especially since Piper belongs to the BGC (now converge), since open theism Greg Boyd's church is still part of this denomination. The open theists in Converge comprise a very, very small minority and have been publicly denounced by the conference. However, Dr. Ketcham had no problem speaking at Dr. Riley's church that was part of the Northern Baptist Convention and at conferences with Dr. Riley despite the fact that Northern Baptist Convention's apostasy was much, much more serious at that time than the toleration of Open Theists by Converge. So was Dr. Ketcham one of the "disobedient bretheren" because he applied separation differently than McCune has deemed the right way? Or maybe there is room for some disagreement because independent baptists have always embraced the baptist distinctive of individual soul liberty...........

By the way, even though I have some serious disagreements with McCune and even you Bob, when it comes to applying the doctrine of separation and your view of new evangelicalism, I respect why came to your conclusions and your historical context (Fuller, Biola, GARBC, IFCA), and etc.....

jpdsr51's picture

Bob T. wrote:
jpdsr51 wrote:
[quote=Bob T It is said without any hate or animosity but with a realization that all that Steve Davis has written has been with an apparent desire to drag other younger Fundamentalists and Conservative Evangelicals into his world of increasing doctrinal doubt

And now Bob has the privelged insight in being able to judge one's motives, but at least he does it without any hate or animosity. Really, Bob?

Since the purpose of Steve's prior articles were all questioning some widely held doctrines among Fundamentalists, such as 6 day creation and cessationism, along with arguments to persuade others to his new more open position; and since such articles were written and posted on SI, a professing Fundamentalist internet site, then the only obvious conclusion was that Steve Davis (your brother) had a purpose of seeking to reach Fundamentalists and challenge many of their doctrines. It is also well known that many who post on here are younger than 40. I have not judged any motives that are not made self evident by Steve Davis himself.

The accusation of judging motives as being wrong is a false concept. Motives often are an issue in scripture and may be an issue where the evidence reveals the motives. Motives are often revealed at law by the circumstances.[/quote]

Bob: I don't need to speak for Steve but I think he would stand with Paul on this:

4:1 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

church - www.gracechurchphilly.com blog - www.thegospelfirst.com twitter - @johnpdavis

Steve Davis's picture

Bob T. wrote:
Since the purpose of Steve's prior articles were all questioning some widely held doctrines among Fundamentalists, such as 6 day creation and cessationism, along with arguments to persuade others to his new more open position;

The only reason I reply at this point is to show how you misrepresent my positions. I don't think you do it intentionally but do it constitutionally.

1. Concerning 6 day creation. If you read my article I simply wanted to show that there were other interpretations that were faithful to the authority of Scripture and held by men with impeccable evangelical convictions. I was criticized by some that I didn't make clear my position but there was no new position except maybe not taking the position others thought I should. As I understand the text now, if I were to teach the traditional 6 day 24 hour creation interpretation I would present it as a valid interpretation but not as the only legitimate way of understanding the text and remaining faithful to Scripture. Personally I find much to commend the view that the 6 days were revelatory days but it’s only a view. If I have to say clearly and loudly that I am convinced beyond all doubt that one position is the only acceptable position along with YEC and make it a test of orthodoxy, that I can’t do that and am guilty of whatever. Here's how I ended the article because if people read what you write about what I wrote (and my motives) and what I wrote they will have a better picture.

"Though the Bible does not claim to be a scientific textbook, when and where it speaks, it speaks with God’s authority. That authority extends to the veracity of the Genesis account of divine creation whether in the recent or distant past. That authority does not extend to all interpretations of the creation event and to the methodology used for determining the age of the earth. On the one hand we must refuse to capitulate to the changing waves of scientific theory and conflicting viewpoints within the scientific community. On the other hand we must not go beyond what is written (1 Cor. 4:6). The Bible clearly teaches that creation is the work of God’s hands and offers no refuge to those who seek a compromise with biological evolution. According to Hebrews 11:3, we affirm that “we understand that the universe was created by the word of God.” There can be no question as to what God did. There may be no resolution among Christians about the “how” and “when.”

2. Concerning cessationism: There was a search for balance while I do not claim that I found it.

"A word of caution is in order. According to Schnabel, ‘The assertion that the miracle promotes faith and should thus be an integral part of the mission and evangelism of the church is neither confirmed by Paul, by Luke’s narrative of the apostles’ missionary work in the book of Acts, or by the history of the church.’ Many have erred in building whole movements on the expectation of the miraculous. The aberrations of the signs and wonders movement and the spiritual warfare movement reinforce opposition to any whiff of the spectacular. The condemnable extremes of experience-driven movements often lead to affirming a rigid cessationism and to relegating the miraculous to another age, no longer needed after a period of transition and the completion of Scriptures."

"Can we find middle ground between extreme positions? Personally, if I have to categorize my view on the possibility of God’s supernatural interventions in the progress of the gospel, I would prefer to characterize myself as a “soft” cessationist—that is, open to the possibility that God may in fact use dreams and visions today. I must admit my reticence for many years, both dispositionally and dispensationally, to espouse this position. My theology—or better, my “theological environment”—did not allow for what seemed to be incontrovertible evidence that God freely chose at times to reveal Himself in Cornelius fashion to those who have no access to the gospel. Furthermore, I see no biblical warrant to not remain open to the possibility of God’s using dreams and visions if He so decides. As in the book of Acts, this act might be expected in unique pioneer situations or where there is no access to the gospel or no Scriptures in the vernacular. This does not lead to seeking visions and dreams as integral and common occurrences in mission. After all parsimony was the rule for dreams and visions in that God used them sparingly. Yet neither should the possibility of present-day dreams and visions be categorically and dogmatically denied because we don’t experience them. We should remain cautious and affirm the primacy of the cross and preaching while recognizing that God can break the rules, our rules, that He is not limited to our theological precisions, and that He cannot be manipulated."

This is what you call “questioning some widely held doctrines among Fundamentalists.”

JG's picture

Steve Davis wrote:
Is this the best you can do? I think this will come as a surprise to many Fundamentalists that if you write in a publication you are moving in NE circles. BTW, I also had at least one maybe two articles in the FBF magazine AFTER THAT.

I'm not shooting at you, friend. You're doing what you think you should do.

World Pulse IS neo-evangelical. They aren't conservative evangelicals, Joel T's Type C. They are well to the "left" of that. You chose to write for them. It's not a capital offense. They and the people they work with are, for the most part anyway, believers. It shows a comfort with, but not necessarily a joining of, neo-evangelicalism circles. You are willing to look past some of their most dubious associations and say, "I'll write for them anyway." That's fine, it's your choice.

I don't think you'll find many fundamentalists writing in that publication, though. If you waste your time researching it and find I'm wrong, I'll readily admit it, but I would be surprised. I do think you'll find lots of soft evangelicals writing there. You might even find some that are barely evangelical at all. Certainly you'll find them willing to work with people who aren't evangelical at all. There's no question on that point.

Is this the best I can do? Of course not. On this thread you've told us where you are going. The Evangelical Frees are not fundamentalist, never have been, never claimed to be. But asking if it's the best I can do is entirely the wrong emphasis. You don't answer to me anyway. I'm just one of the wackos you disagree with. Smile And I certainly am not going to take the time to try to chase down any other articles or associations or whatever of yours that might look neo. Perhaps I could "do better", but what's the point or profit?

It's ok. The labels don't really matter that much. I don't really care what you call yourself, and I don't see any great need to label you myself. In the 50s, the neo-evangelicals created a divide between themselves and fundamentalists. In some ways, you've moved in their direction. As I said previously, in other ways you undoubtedly haven't, and I'm glad for that. I don't have to peg you in the neo camp. I wouldn't be camping with you, anyway (every time I go camping it rains), so who cares? You're doing some things that, since the 50s, fundies wouldn't have felt comfortable with and evangelicals of all stripes would. Maybe we could call it neo-conservative evangelicalism, or neocongelism for short. Biggrin (I'm lousy at inventing new labels). Maybe trying too hard to find broad labels isn't such a good idea.

I wonder if the FBF knew you had written for World Pulse when they had you write for them. I suspect they may not have, but it doesn't matter, unless we think the FBF is God's anointed and inerrant judge of where lines should be drawn. Since neither you nor I think that, we could probably leave them out of it.

I don't know if you remember, but I'm convinced your "soft cessationism" article had some valid Biblical points. I appreciated it. Perhaps you might go back and look at that thread before deciding I'm your "enemy", or out to do my "best" to label you with the bad guys. You're like everyone else, I'm convinced you are right when you agree with me and wrong when you disagree with me. For some reason, nobody seems to understand that. Wink

Teri Ploski's picture

Andrew K. wrote:
I'm a bit confused here.

I don't see anything in Steve's article that could be taken as a rejection of historic fundamentalism or even a willingness to work with those who reject the fundamentals of the faith. And yet some here seem to be dropping unsubtle hints toward slippery slopes and ready to commence a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shunning ]shunning .

Way to prove his point.

This is why the younger (and sometimes older) generation leaves you in name, Fundamentalism. Sometimes we really don't understand who you are and what you're talking about.

I totally agree. And now you know why I come away from this site so discouraged instead of encouraged in my walk with the Lord. To see and *hear* pastors dissing each other, using oh-so-lofty phrases is sad. I've refrained from saying anything in response to this pattern in several other threads, but this one finally nails it. Pastor Davis, if we ever are in the Philly area, I would love to visit your church! I guess I'm a new evangelical also. Oh well. I don't much care how you label me. The only one who truly matters is God, and I already know that I'm accepted by Him, warts and all.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Quote:
I don't think you'll find many fundamentalists writing in that publication, though. If you waste your time researching it and find I'm wrong, I'll readily admit it, but I would be surprised. I do think you'll find lots of soft evangelicals writing there. You might even find some that are barely evangelical at all. Certainly you'll find them willing to work with people who aren't evangelical at all. There's no question on that point.

Wow! I guess I better put away the article that I am working on and was going to submit to Lausanne World Pulse in a month on Evangelism and Mission in the early church because most fundamentalists aren't writing in this publication. What was I thinking! I might be labeled a new evangelical just like Steve has! By the way, can you give me examples of soft evangelicals and those who aren't evangelicals at all that are connected to Lausanne? I am not necessarily doubting you, I just get the impression that alot of fundamentalists have written off Lausanne as some neo-evangelical organization that is fastly going down the tubes of liberal compromise (you know, that slippery slope fallacy that many of us seem to employ at times). They may be neo-evangelical, but I don't necessarily see them getting more liberal as time goes by.... You would consider the late John Stott as an evangelical, wouldn't you? How about Christopher Wright? What about Dr. Ralph Winters? These 3 have probably had the most influence on Lausanne thinking when it comes to theology, mission, and unreached people groups. Are they considered soft or barely evangelical? You are right that it may not be filled with mostly conservative evangelicals, but in Wright and Stott, you will find some of the staunchest defenders of substitutionary atonement.........

JG's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:
Wow! I guess I better put away the article that I am working on and was going to submit to Lausanne World Pulse in a month on Evangelism and Mission in the early church because most fundamentalists aren't writing in this publication. What was I thinking! I might be labeled a new evangelical just like Steve has! By the way, can you give me examples of soft evangelicals and those who aren't evangelicals at all that are connected to Lausanne? I am not necessarily doubting you, I just get the impression that alot of fundamentalists have written off Lausanne as some neo-evangelical organization that is fastly going down the tubes of liberal compromise (you know, that slippery slope fallacy that many of us seem to employ at times). They may be neo-evangelical, but I don't necessarily see them getting more liberal as time goes by.... You would consider the late John Stott as an evangelical, wouldn't you? How about Christopher Wright? What about Dr. Ralph Winters? These 3 have probably had the most influence on Lausanne thinking when it comes to theology, mission, and unreached people groups. Are they considered soft or barely evangelical? You are right that it may not be filled with mostly conservative evangelicals, but in Wright and Stott, you will find some of the staunchest defenders of substitutionary atonement.........

Indeed, I might ask what you were thinking (when you wrote this). Wink I didn't really label him at all, I said maybe he's a newcongelical. I admit my label isn't catching on. Sad

Thank you for mentioning John Stott. He was a classic case of a neo-evangelical. Certainly evangelical in theology, and much to be appreciated. Yet, he was willing to remain in direct fellowship with unbelievers. You do know what the Church of England is like these days? As far back as the 70s, he spoke at the World Council of Churches. You do think that includes non-evangelicals, don't you? Furthermore, he encouraged others to join in ministry with unbelievers. I have a personal letter from an evangelical leader, in defending his joining with the apostate Church of Scotland, in which he cites John Stott as saying that the thing that mattered is the "formal and official doctrines" of the Church, even if "senior leadership" denies "Christian faith, morality, and convictions." "Yes, sir (or ma'am), I know you and everyone else running your denomination are apostate, but since you haven't bothered to change your denominational documents, I can still give credibility to you by coming along to your conferences or making joint statements with you."

That is a complete denial of any kind of Biblical separation. I suspect it would turn the stomach of conservative evangelicals like Mohler, Dever, etc. It is a far cry from what those men believe, I think. Call it what you want, "soft" or "new", I don't care. It's a mar on evangelicalism, whichever prefix you label it with.

What did I say? They are willing to work with non-evangelicals. That is fact. Stott always was. Graham, who was a founder of Lausanne, was willing to do so as well.

I did not say they were fast going down the tubes, nor getting more liberal, nor anything about them being on a slippery slope. I hope your exegesis of Scripture is better than your reading of my words. Smile

They are neo-evangelical. Perhaps you missed what came after the first three letters, that "evangelical" part. It doesn't mean "going down the tubes" or "slippery slope" or "apostate". It means true doctrine on the Gospel. The "neo" means they are also compromising in some important ways that fundies have never compromised. That's Lausanne. If Lausanne isn't neo-evangelical, there is no such thing. If you think it isn't, please tell me who that is left on God's green earth is neo-evangelical.

Neo-evangelicalism is unfortunate, but it is not apostasy. For some, it has led to apostasy, but it isn't liberalism and apostasy. It is accommodation and fellowship with apostasy.

It would be good if you found a better place to publish your article. Most fundies would think that Lausanne's organizations and publications should be given a wide berth, and for good reason. It doesn't mean we hate them or think they aren't doing some good things. They are evangelicals, after all. They are together for the Gospel, for crying out loud.:) Let them serve the Lord as they see fit, and pray that He'll use them for His glory and the salvation of souls. But don't join in, because the errors matter too much and dishonour the Lord. Their ministry will go forward just fine without us, and ours can go forward just fine without them. There is no Biblical warrant for joining with that kind of compromise, but it doesn't mean they are our enemies. Nor does it mean someone hates them if he mentions the problem.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

There is really nothing new here, is there? Haven't we pretty much had all of this before from Steve, just in different terminology?
To be frank, there are no Biblical insights here. Nothing that makes iron sharpen iron, in my opinion.

Aaron Blumer wrote:
One thing that struck me is how often it's the guys who are really fervent "IFB" flag wavers who later become the most enthusiastic IFB departers. Then you have guys like me who would never have considered naming a church "independent fundamental..." in the first place. And a couple decades later, I'm not far from the same place I started.

Amen! Twenty years ago I would have been to the left of Steve, as I was to most of my friends at college. Now I am on the right of almost every one of them. Funny thing is I haven't changed much since leaving Lutheranism about 25 years ago. One college friend is now an Episcopal priest. Many are in the church growth/seeker sensitive/emergent movements. One former campus leader who made school rules virtually synonymous with sanctification now cheers for Willow Creek with that same enthusiasm.

Perhaps it was because I was not raised in the IFB that I never considered looking to The Movement as The Source of all things Good (except during a few weak, peer-pressured moments in college). Only God deserves that kind of allegiance. Thus, I am not disenchanted to find that it is not so.

And yet, unlike Steve, I am still a fundamentalist -- at least in essence, though I would not use the word in very many contexts.

To me, the problem with the article -- it is sad really -- is the sense of restlessness and frustration that it gives. I also find a condescending tone in the very post-modern, self-contradictory idea that there has to be some etherial middle ground that contains the real truth on issues like age of the earth, charismatic gifts, etc.

The bottom line is that if Steve would be happier in the EFCA or some other movement, he should go there as we bid him God's blessings. But the problem is that when he arrives he may still be bothered by the same sense of uncertainty that drives this article.

Church Ministries Representative for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry

Bob T.'s picture

Steve Davis:

In your effort to show that I misrepresent you stated regarding creation:

Quote:
if I were to teach the traditional 6 day 24 hour creation interpretation I would present it as a valid interpretation but not as the only legitimate way of understanding the text and remaining faithful to Scripture. Personally I find much to commend the view that the 6 days were revelatory days but it’s only a view.

Concerning cessationism you stated:

Quote:
I would prefer to characterize myself as a “soft” cessationist—that is, open to the possibility that God may in fact use dreams and visions today.

You then stated:

Quote:
"This is what you call “questioning some widely held doctrines among Fundamentalists.”

Yes, this is part of questioning the widely held doctrines of Fundamentalists. It is also the method of the classic New Evangelical as now used at most all New Evangelical schools. It does not set forth a definite interpretation but merely sets forth several and requests that one take a pick between valid options. Such openness is usually presented in a context of superior scholarship and an alleged more objective approach. Some even claim that such lack of dogmatism is a result of greater spirituality.

By your own admissions I have not misrepresented you.

On creation, In the 1960s Biola taught 6 Day creation in both the Bible department and the science department. Dr. Davidheiser, PHD, Johns Hopkins was the department head. He was author of an extensive book on the Christian and evolution and was a convert from Evolution to 6 day creationism. In 1966 and 1967 a new professor in the science Department was teaching that other theories of creation were valid. A meeting was held with Richard Chase, then VP of academics. Chase refused to let the new teacher go. Davidheiser and another professor, Micah Leo, PHD Rutgers in Physics, both resigned. The new teacher, Urton, MA, Denver University, was retained. Thus two fine creationists with superior credentials and scholarship were allowed to resign and a new teacher with mediocre credentials was retained. This is the historic march of New Evangelicalism with its alleged scholarship and openness. Today, in light of all that has transpired academically, many now feel that if one does not embrace 6 24 Hr day creation they open the door to all sorts of non literal interpretation.

You may disagree with those who are dogmatic about literal 6 day creation. However, please be consistent and understand that you are taking the position of the classic New Evangelical on this subject. You are not a present day defined Fundamentalist on this subject. Many find your open to conjecture approach not acceptable.

Joel Tetreau's picture

Steve,

It's always been fun when we've bumped into each other. It's been a thrill to read you from time to time. God bless you my man as you follow the dictates of Scripture and conscience. You'll be blessed to minister with different sections of the body of Christ. The good news for you is that you are not the only guy that will reach out to the IFB world while at the same time will reach out and be willing to work with different sub-groups of the body of Christ. We don't need it to be the case but more good news is that the approach you are openly taking here is quickly becoming the approach by a "silent majority" within the non-KJV only orb of fundamentalism. This is really good news indeed! It is really the only way to go if one wants to embrace the spirit and I'd even say the teachings of the NT. You're not going to be able to reason or work with a few who have placed their ecclesiastical grid over that of the spirit of Jesus or the teachings of Scripture. However, if you and I and others will be patient for those who are teachable and considering this approach, others.....many others will follow. Of course all of that is in God's hands.

Straight Ahead and God Speed!

Joel

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

Joel Shaffer's picture

Quote:
Indeed, I might ask what you were thinking (when you wrote this). Wink I didn't really label him at all, I said maybe he's a newcongelical. I admit my label isn't catching on. Sad

Yes I quoted you but I was also including those who are picking at Steve as well. Maybe not you, but a few others have labeled Steve as a neo-evangelical.

Quote:
I have a personal letter from an evangelical leader, in defending his joining with the apostate Church of Scotland, in which he cites John Stott as saying that the thing that mattered is the "formal and official doctrines" of the Church, even if "senior leadership" denies "Christian faith, morality, and convictions." "Yes, sir (or ma'am), I know you and everyone else running your denomination are apostate, but since you haven't bothered to change your denominational documents, I can still give credibility to you by coming along to your conferences or making joint statements with you."

Love to see a primary source, rather than a secondary source in this situation. I have seen too many fundamentalists quote other people quoting other people in order to separate from certain evangelicals when it didn't turn out to be true........Not saying you are not telling the truth about Stott, by the way.......

Quote:

I did not say they were fast going down the tubes, nor getting more liberal, nor anything about them being on a slippery slope. I hope your exegesis of Scripture is better than your reading of my words. Smile

was not referring to you.....probably got on a soapbox that I didn't need to get on. Sorry about that.......

Quote:
It would be good if you found a better place to publish your article. Most fundies would think that Lausanne's organizations and publications should be given a wide berth, and for good reason. It doesn't mean we hate them or think they aren't doing some good things. They are evangelicals, after all. They are together for the Gospel, for crying out loud.Smile Let them serve the Lord as they see fit, and pray that He'll use them for His glory and the salvation of souls. But don't join in, because the errors matter too much and dishonour the Lord. Their ministry will go forward just fine without us, and ours can go forward just fine without them. There is no Biblical warrant for joining with that kind of compromise, but it doesn't mean they are our enemies. Nor does it mean someone hates them if he mentions the problem.

When it comes to publishing articles about missions there aren't a whole lot of choices that are much different than World Pulse. Lets see.... you have Evangelical Missions Quarterly......they are connected to the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton. I guess that eliminates them. Missions Frontiers.....they are the magazine for the U.S. Center for World Mission started by Dr. Ralph Winters, which eliminates them because Dr. Winters taught for many years at Fuller Seminary, the neo-evangelical flagship seminary. How about Global Missiology? too neo-evangelical because they have Chuck Van Engen from Fuller on their advisory board....... There are many more missiological journals and missions magazines around in evangelical land, but not in fundy land. What about fundamentalist magazines such as the Baptist Bulletin (GARBC), The Voice (IFCA), Frontline (FBFI)? Well, I am not apposed to it. I actually wrote a magazine article for the Baptist Bulletin that was published in the May/June. I especially enjoyed connecting with the editors from the GARBC and found them incredibly supportive and helpful. However, the the missions articles that I am writing don't necessarily fit the topics that they want for their magazines. I understand this because they aren't set up as a missiological journal. That brings us back to World Pulse, EMQ, Missions Frontiers and the plethora of missionary journals that are led by neo-evangelicals.

I don't necessarily see it as a problem interacting with neo-evangelicals by writing a journal article published by them. I guess I reflect my mentor's attitude, Dr. Paul Beals. Dr. Beals was comfortable as the chairman of Evangelical Missions Society, writing for EMQ and other neo-evangelical publications, yet held fast to the fundamentals of the faith while serving Christ...first as a Baptist-Mid Missions missionary in the Central African Republic, then as the missions professor at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary as well as in his GARBC church of Northland Baptist Church in Grand Rapids.

JG's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:
Love to see a primary source, rather than a secondary source in this situation.

I could look for a primary source, but does it matter? He appeared to be referring to either a personal conversation or something Stott had said during speaking. We can see, by Stott speaking for the WCC and staying in the Church of England, that the quote was consistent with his practice. And I have no reason to question the honesty of the man who wrote me. He certainly wasn't trying to say something bad about Stott, he was using Stott to support his own accommodation practices. The sense was, "Stott says this is ok, so I'm sure it's fine." Even if Stott never said it, his actions did say that practice was "fine". I didn't question his assertion, because if he was looking to Stott for approval, he was going to find it in Stott's actions.

Here's a source mentioning his evangelical/liberal dialogue (that's the original neo- manifesto), his dialogue with Roman Catholicism (that's an additional step for many neo's), his drift towards social gospel (they don't call it that, this is a hagiography ;)), etc. http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=645 "He was loyal as an Anglican and against any separatist movements." That fits with the quote I was given.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Quote:
Gives new meaning to "death by fishing."

There was an old meaning?

Enjoyed that.

I was a bit busy and couldn't keep up with the thread but a quick scan suggests that while there is a good bit reacting going on, there is some reflecting also.
For those who are fond of intimating that SI has "gone neo" and the like, just a reminder that the aim here is to give you stuff to think about.
And there's nothing to think about if all you ever read or here is what you already know and agree with.

I know most of you already get that.

For me, all of IFB's problems were old news by the time I was 14. So there was not much that could disillusion me later! But at the same time, always in the mix, were these ideas that were being well articulated, well defended, well lived. These are very likely to go with me to my grave.

Edit: I mean not "die with me" but "still be with me with I die" Smile

Gotta toss this in: for me, attending BJU broadened my horizons. I met a fair number of non-Baptists there as well as students who did not have the kind of upbringing I did. Several of these were miles further than me down the road of what a Christian ought to be.
(And of course, if one reads even a little bit, one discovers that not everything of worth God is doing is happening among fundamentalists!)

Greg Long's picture

I am a pastor at a non-fundamentalist church, but count me in with those who struggle to find the value of this article. Steve, brother, I think by now most of us know you are no longer a fundamentalist, and you seem to enjoy letting us know that. Your articles on here seem to be mostly about stirring the pot (although the pot does need stirred sometimes).

But I join those who wish God's blessing upon your church planting work, and would love to visit it should I visit Philly. (My dad grew up in Coatesville, so we are HUGE Phillies fans. Now that they have another bat in the lineup they just might go all the way again this year.)

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Don P's picture

Historic fundamentalism was an ecumenical movement of believers in mainline denominations who banded together for the fundamentals of the faith. They were alarmed by the falling away that was taking place in their respective denominations. [Together for the Gospel seems to be a similar movement among conservative evangelicals/historic fundamentalists today. ]

Only after some "fundamentalists" came out of their denominations (withdrew, resigned, forced out) did separation rise to the issue that it is today. Those who stayed in were accused of not being "come outers." Yet, as has already been mentioned in this thread, Riley stayed in until just before his death. Those who left and railed might have been called "bitter." [Ironically, anyone who points out his disagreements with fundamentalism today is accused of being bitter. But I wonder who was bitter first. ]

For whatever reason, those who came out made it their number one goal to rail against their former fundamentalists friends for not coming out as quickly as they did. As this effort reached a fever pitch, some of the younger fundamentalists became uncomfortable with this approach. They accepted the fundamentals of the faith but they did not see any reason to separate from their friends who remained inside the mainline churches. They could understand why a fundamentalist would remain within instead of coming out. [A lot of fundamentalist did remain inside their denominations. Otherwise, there would be no fundamentalist opposition in the Episcopal church, American Baptist Convention, etc. as there is today. ]

When a group of fundamentalists decided to dialogue with liberals, the name they took for their movement was neo-evangelical. Their mission or strategy was a clear break from the battles waged a few years earlier.

On one side, there were the separatistic fundamentalists, on the other side, the neo-evangelicals. But there was also a vast middle group consisting of fundamentalists who held to the fundamentals of the faith, separated from apostasy, refused to dialogue with liberals, but also refused to separate from those who continued to fight for the fundamentals of the faith within the mainline church. These fundamentalists chose to band together with all who would stand together for the fundamentals of the faith wherever they might be found, both within and outside the mainline denominations. Their position reflected the early ecumenism of the fundamentalist movement in the late 1800s!

Today, this appears to be the position of the conservative evangelicals and the "historic" fundamentalists of the fundamentalist movement. The EFCA is a movement that bands together for the fundamentals of the faith and separates from apostasy while giving latitude on secondary interpretive issues. It is fundamental through and through and reflects the non-separating fundamentalist position.

Those who argue that separatistic fundamentalism (practicing secondary separation) is the only true fundamentalist position is arguing against history. It appears that the larger movement within fundamentalism is the non-separating branch. This branch is conservative evangelicalism. And it is to this branch that self-identified fundamentalists trained in fundamentalist institutions are moving to in droves.

They band together for the gospel. They fellowship around the fundamentals of the faith. They work together where they can in unity. They appreciate the diversity that exists in the body of Christ and take real encouragement from the fact that there are ardent believers in every denomination. Perhaps this is the purpose of the article. That we miss opportunities for growth and service when we demonize those we disagree with. Steve appears to be saying that he longs for unity among the brethren and sees this as a possibility if we would only stop dividing over secondary issues.

Personally, I am grieved when brothers and sisters in Christ separate from me and reject my presence because I don't agree with them on every issue even though I hold to the fundamentals of the faith. It hurts, and I am man enough to cry over it. Jesus prayed that we would reflect the unity that we have in Christ by being one.

Steve Davis's picture

Come on Greg. I thought you were brighter than that. Seriously, I don't expect that everyone will find the same value or any value. It seems some have. It's not a popularity contest. One has to decide whether to not write anything which is of no value or write something of maybe some value to some. I choose the latter. For those who find no value I await something of value other than their no-value findings.

Steve

James Bliss's picture

This is off topic, but some of the comments on this thread are disgraceful. These little side insults and slights which do anything but address the point being discussed are solely aimed at insulting or personally undermining an individual in a feeble fashion to discredit their position. I would not appreciate going to a church, whether newly planted or in existence for an extended period of time, which is lead by anyone who talks in this fashion. It is far from Christian although the attempt is occasionally made to wrap the insult in nice flowery language or make it slightly less obvious.

Sorry for the off topic post, but this is one of the worse threads I have read in a while.

Steve Davis's picture

Joel Tetreau wrote:
Steve,

It's always been fun when we've bumped into each other. It's been a thrill to read you from time to time. God bless you my man as you follow the dictates of Scripture and conscience. You'll be blessed to minister with different sections of the body of Christ. The good news for you is that you are not the only guy that will reach out to the IFB world while at the same time will reach out and be willing to work with different sub-groups of the body of Christ. We don't need it to be the case but more good news is that the approach you are openly taking here is quickly becoming the approach by a "silent majority" within the non-KJV only orb of fundamentalism. This is really good news indeed! It is really the only way to go if one wants to embrace the spirit and I'd even say the teachings of the NT. You're not going to be able to reason or work with a few who have placed their ecclesiastical grid over that of the spirit of Jesus or the teachings of Scripture. However, if you and I and others will be patient for those who are teachable and considering this approach, others.....many others will follow. Of course all of that is in God's hands.

Straight Ahead and God Speed!

Joel

Joel:

Thanks for your affirmation. It makes up for all the grief I've gotten from others Smile Really I do appreciate what you wrote and am looking for more fellowship, more unity, more partnership in the gospel, not less.

I don't claim to speak for anyone but myself. However I have received emails from guys who agree with much of what I say but for one reason or another would rather not write on a forum. For those who strongly objected to what I wrote there were few surprises. I could've prophesied who'd they be since they are so predictable. I don't think there's any question that Fundamentalism will continue its decline or at least those segments which insist on separation that goes beyond what is written.

Grace & Peace,

Steve

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I think if folks really believe that Bro. Davis needs to be 'corrected' and 'restored', there was a better way to do it. The lack of compassion and humility in church leadership of any stripe is astonishingly lacking.

Quote:
Gal 6:1-5 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.

Funny how Scripture tells us in one verse to bear one another's burdens, and then two verses later tells us that every man has to bear his own.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Steve, I don't think Greg said "no value." He said he struggled to find the value.

James: there's really nothing insulting about that. It's just more direct. Steve has been pretty clear about what he thinks lacks value in much of "IFB." It's OK on both sides.

As for value, I don't usually link to this place because I'm not fond of increasing the traffic there but I think there is a segment of our readership that wonders if he's right:
http://sharperironintheironskillet.blogspot.com/2011/08/si-is-fundamenta...

A brief response, because I don't have time for a longer one:
SI has posted a wide variety of views on things from day one. We had an extended back and forth with Phil Johnson (look up "Dead Right") way back in 2005. And the same week we published this perspective from Steve, we also published John Whitcomb's call to avoid the central error of neo-evangelicalism (divorcing truth and love).
But the conservative stuff we're posting all the time is never noted by the Skillet crowd. These people see what they choose to see not only here at SI but in the world they live in and, not infrequently, in Scripture as well. I personally find it hard to believe that they are always unaware that they are distorting the truth.

If I can help it, SI is not going to be a place where people only see what they already agree with... at least not all the time. There are already plenty of venues for fundamentalists to get together and hear how wonderful fundamentalism is and how messed up everyone else is and sort of silently jeer together. When you're 20 or 30, that's indescribably boring. Now, at 45, I still can't fathom where the appeal in that is. I'd still rather fill out tax forms or get my teeth cleaned.
Maybe it will have some appeal when I'm 65, but I kind of doubt it.

It's been just about universally affirmed in this thread that Steve is a good guy who loves the Lord. So why not try to understand where he's coming from? It might be a shocker to some to consider this but--you can understand without agreeing. And understanding how people you disagree with think is one of the best ways to sharpen your own thinking.

OK, that's my rant for the day (and it's only 7:30!)

JohnBrian's picture

...started to read the post and my first thought was "someone has nothing better to do with their time than write Anti-SI articles."

THEN I got to the end of the article, saw who the author was, and it all made sense!

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