The Fortress

NickImage

Once upon a time, a kingdom was attacked by brigands while the King was absent. The brigands captured much of the King’s territory, at least temporarily. Some of the King’s subjects even made peace with the brigands. One band of hardy yeomen, however, determined to defend the kingdom at all costs.

Perceiving (as they thought) that they could not repel all brigands everywhere, they gathered in the heart of the kingdom. If they could not defend the entire kingdom, they would at least protect its heart. They staked out their territory in the heart of the kingdom, and there they erected a fortress from which to hurl stones and shoot arrows at the King’s adversaries.

Their fortress, however, was small and rather rude, while the subjects who had capitulated often dwelt in cities that were passing fair. Many who hated the brigands thought that they could live safely in these cities while occasionally protesting against the invasion. Others hesitated in between, not liking the cities and wanting to fight the brigands, but liking the look of the fortress even less. That is when a few within the fortress shouted, “If you will not come within our walls, then you are the enemy!” And they threw stones at them.

For many years the situation remained thus. Some who lived in the fortress would speak with some who dwelt in the land, but this, too, was hazardous. To be seen speaking to one who was not of the fortress was to risk a stone to the noggin. Those who lived in the fortress could not always tell the difference between a defender of the heart of the kingdom, a capitulator from the cities, and a person of the land who dwelt in neither place.

As the defenders began to erect the second story of the fortress, a few of them created private chambers of their own. Such insisted that their chamber was the entire kingdom, and its builder was the King’s anointed. These builders provoked conflicts with the builders of other rooms and chambers. Not infrequently, they would assassinate their rivals within the fortress. Because the bodies were buried carefully in a deep dungeon, no one thought that they would ever be found.

Many defenders, however, never gave their allegiance to a builder, but only to the King. They knew that there was an entire kingdom outside of their walls. But they ventured out less and less frequently. Also, they displayed less and less hospitality to those who were outside. So it went as the defenders began to build the third story.

As the third story was taking shape, a youngster named Christopher was growing up in the fortress. He learned the ways of the place and he loved the fortress, but he would also look longingly at the grounds outside of the windows. He reasoned that the purpose of the fortress was to defend the kingdom, and not merely to defend the fortress. And so he began to venture outside.

At first he stayed within the heart of the kingdom, visiting sites that he had heard about in the fortress. Then he began to wander as a visitor through the rest of the kingdom (for was it not still the King’s territory?) and to meet other subjects. Some he found to have made peace with brigands. Some he found to be loyal subjects of the King. He even found a few lifting up weapons against the King’s enemies.

When he re-entered the fortress, he smelt a stink. He remembered noticing this odor often while he lived in the castle, but now it seemed overpowering. He determined to find the source and began to investigate the castle. His researches took him into virtually every room at virtually every level. He found that the foul air came from two sources.

First, the original builders had used some decaying materials in their construction. Christopher realized that these rotten materials were unhealthy and that they would eventually rot away and topple the entire structure. He reasoned that considerable renovation was in order.

He did not find the main source of the stench, however, until he began to poke around in the dungeon. There he began to discover the bodies of those who had been assassinated. Eventually he was able to learn where most of the bodies were buried and who had assassinated them. Most of them had been sacrificed because they had threatened (sometimes quite unintentionally) the supremacy of some builder within his own chamber.

Christopher also found great halls and entire wings of the fortress that were well-ordered and well-maintained. Some served him fresh bread and living water. Some helped him to sharpen his weapons and to shine his armor. He loved those who maintained these bright halls, for their chambers were better than anything else he had found in the kingdom. For the sake of these halls, and for the sake of the kingdom, he determined to do all that he could to make the fortress strong and beautiful.

Outside the fortress, those who had made peace with the brigands were turning into brigands themselves. They represented a new threat, but those who dwelt in the fortress were simply not interested in them. “They are far away,” they said, “and safely outside our walls. Let us build more chambers!”

Others of the King’s men, however, men who were not of the fortress, took up arms against the new brigands. They fought valiantly, and they began to build a fortress of their own. Some within the first fortress became jealous. It was whispered that the new fortress had capitulated to the enemy, but this was a slander. It was also whispered that the builders of the new fortress (which was near at hand) had stolen the land upon which they built. “Only we have a right to that land,” said some within the first fortress, forgetting that the kingdom belonged to the King and not to them.

Each time the new soldiers drew near to the first fortress, they were pelted with rocks. Some commanders of the fortress began to pronounce imprecations against these new soldiers. “They are not of our fortress,” they intoned. “Therefore, they must be of the cities. They must be capitulators. Those who do not live in our fortress are all capitulators. Let us curse them lest our young warriors see the splendor of their banners.”

But Christopher was heartened by these new soldiers. Many of them he knew personally. He had met them during his travels throughout the kingdom. He understood that they loved the King and would die for Him. “Let us cheer them!” Christopher exclaimed.

Many dwellers in the chambers glowered at Christopher. “How can you speak well of men who are not in the fortress?” they asked. “If those men were fighting for the kingdom, they would join us in our chambers. All those who are not of our chambers have made peace with the brigands! That includes you.” But Christopher knew these nay-sayers from his investigation of the castle. He knew that they were heirs of the assassins, and he fully expected them to become assassins, too.

Even as these dwellers fulminated, however, young warriors began to stream from the fortress. These young men were nauseated by the stench within the fortress and they yearned for fresh air. They felt confined by the narrow chambers, in which they had witnessed too many assassinations. Most of all, they wished to strike a blow for the King. They flocked to the banners of the new soldiers.

“There is still a place for the fortress,” said Christopher. “We must make it a fortress worth saving. Let us open the windows and let in the light and air! Let us remove the victims from the dungeon and give them a decent burial! Let us tear out the rotting materials and build anew—and well! And let us remember that we are defending the kingdom—all of it! and not just a few rooms in a fortress.”

Many agreed with Christopher. Indeed, some of the more spacious halls and wings of the castle had been built by those who were trying to do just what Christopher suggested. They had begun to replace the decaying materials. They had opened their windows, and in the clear light of day they perceived many wonderful views. They treated the new soldiers with fairness and honesty. The odor was less in these rooms, though it could not be avoided entirely.

To many, however, a single chamber was more important than the kingdom. They had spent many years decorating the decayed building materials. Furthermore, they beheld with dismay the men who were leaving. “There is no stench,” said some, “And besides, we like this smell.” “There were no assassins, only great builders, and they are our heroes,” intoned others. Still others objected, “You just want to run the castle.” And still others claimed, “What we really need to do is to build more chambers.”

They began to cast stones at Christopher and at the maintainers of the bright halls. And the stench grew, until it filled parts of the fortress like a noxious Cloud. And it was a Cloud of Untruthing, and its name was INNUENDO, and its method was slander, and in its heart was murder (for whoever assassinates a man’s character assassinates the man), and it multiplied suspicion wherever it drifted. And from the pits of the dungeon, where lay the bodies of the slaughtered, arose great laughter, as the laughter of a dragon.

And the more men ignored the stench, and the more they hurled stones within the fortress, and the more the Cloud cast its shadow, the more the young warriors abandoned the fortress.

Confession of Sin
The Book of Common Prayer

Almighty God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
maker of all things, judge of all men:
We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins
    and wickedness,
which we from time to time most grievously have committed,
by thought, word, and deed, against thy divine Majesty,
provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us.
We do earnestly repent,
and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings;
the remembrance of them is grievous unto us,
the burden of them is intolerable.
Have mercy upon us,
have mercy upon us, most merciful Father;
for thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,
forgive us all that is past;
and grant that we may ever hereafter
serve and please thee in newness of life,
to the honor and glory of thy Name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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

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There are 48 Comments

Forrest's picture

An apt and poetic description.

Thank you Dr. Bauder.

Forrest Berry

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

But I'm hanging on this...

Quote:
Christopher also found great halls and entire wings of the fortress that were well-ordered and well-maintained. Some served him fresh bread and living water. Some helped him to sharpen his weapons and to shine his armor. He loved those who maintained these bright halls, for their chambers were better than anything else he had found in the kingdom. For the sake of these halls, and for the sake of the kingdom, he determined to do all that he could to make the fortress strong and beautiful.

G. N. Barkman's picture

Brilliant allegory.

G. N. Barkman

Pastor Joe Roof's picture

Great story with honest observations. What is most sobering is to consider that the King is fully aware of the conditions of the fortress as well as the hearts of His defenders. The thought of His return under such conditions ought to frighten all. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).

Joshua Hawn's picture

Some would say it is gratuitous to say that this fortress was even IN the kingdom, let alone in the heart of it.

How ironic as well that those who are pictured as "cloistered" in the fortress are the ones who brag about the supposed biggest number of brigand-converts?

Steve Newman's picture

Generally workable allegory..but missing the fact that the King's men who made peace with the brigands aren't afraid to lob shells at the fortress as well. There's plenty of "stink" outside the fortress also!

Dan Miller's picture

Written this way, the new fortress sounds really nice. The old fortress sounds horrible. Dead bodies in the basement, rotting materials, and current residents that don't want reform? Starting over sounds like a better idea.

What compels Christopher to want to save this fortress instead of starting over?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Because the old fortress is in the right place, though the new one is "not far" from it.
(And because it's a crying shame it ever got so messed up... a wrong that ought to be righted)

Michael Riley's picture

Dan Miller wrote:
Written this way, the new fortress sounds really nice. The old fortress sounds horrible. Dead bodies in the basement, rotting materials, and current residents that don't want reform? Starting over sounds like a better idea.

What compels Christopher to want to save this fortress instead of starting over?

I think the answer is found in the story itself:

Kevin Bauder wrote:
Christopher also found great halls and entire wings of the fortress that were well-ordered and well-maintained. Some served him fresh bread and living water. Some helped him to sharpen his weapons and to shine his armor. He loved those who maintained these bright halls, for their chambers were better than anything else he had found in the kingdom. For the sake of these halls, and for the sake of the kingdom, he determined to do all that he could to make the fortress strong and beautiful.

Mike Harding's picture

I was in the middle of an FBFI board meeting when this article came out. Judging from the reaction I think it would be helpful to many, including myself, to have a detailed interpretation of the parable by the author. I fear that this article is vulnerable to misinterpretation and misapplication. Even if the authorial intent is painful, I would rather know it than have to guess.

Signed,

Perspicuity

Pastor Mike Harding

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Probably you'll get Kevin's interp better via phone. I think he's probably not watching this thread anymore.

(Then again, maybe Mr. Riley is? Kevin's got an assistant now... must be nice. Biggrin )

Brent Marshall's picture

Mike Harding wrote:
I was in the middle of an FBFI board meeting when this article came out. Judging from the reaction I think it would be helpful to many, including myself, to have a detailed interpretation of the parable by the author. I fear that this article is vulnerable to misinterpretation and misapplication. Even if the authorial intent is painful, I would rather know it than have to guess.

Signed,

Perspicuity

Hmmm. The picture and the point of the story seem pretty clear. Consequently, I am left puzzled, wondering what I may be missing.

I think it would be helpful to have a more specific statement of what the concerns and questions are. The request is susceptible to a misunderstanding of what the inquirers really want to know, and it would be more conducive to profitable discussion to have it stated clearly than to guess.

(Yes, I know that my observation parallels the one that I am quoting. No, I am not trying to be cute.)

I anticipate that great benefit could be realized by serious time spent contemplating the story and how it might be applied, and I fear that much of that benefit would be lost if that contemplative process were short-circuited.

Things That Matter

As the quantity of communication increases, so does its quality decline; and the most important sign of this is that it is no longer acceptable to say so.--RScruton

Mike Harding's picture

It appears that the entire parable is wrought with the very thing it condemns: "INNUENDO"

Also, since the Lord in one his more allegorical parables, the parable of the sower and the seed, was gracious enough to specifically identify the seed and the various kinds of soils and ravenous birds, perhaps Kevin will be equally helpful and give us "the interpretation thereof." The burden is on the author in this case, not the reader.

I have no problem if one wants to publicly and justly criticize a segment of Christianity. However, I think clarity not only helps to identify the problem or problems, but it also protects those are endeavoring to be part of the solution.

Pastor Mike Harding

Jim's picture

Mike Harding wrote:
It appears that the entire parable is wrought with the very thing it condemns: "INNUENDO"

From article:

Quote:
And it was a Cloud of Untruthing, and its name was INNUENDO

http://wayoflife.org/files/f612d71124c95d3a0b119a654a8031b8-689.html

Quote:
Kevin Bauder, president of Central Baptist Seminary in Minnesota, praises “conservative evangelicals” in his blog and promoted the “non-essential” philosophy as follows: “Conservative evangelicalism encompasses a diverse spectrum of Christian leaders. John Piper, Mark Dever, John MacArthur, D. A. Carson, Al Mohler, R. C. Sproul ... These individuals and organizations exhibit a remarkable range of differences, but they can be classed together because of their vigorous commitment to and defense of the gospel” (In the Nick of Time, Bauder’s blog, March 2010).

AND

http://www.wayoflife.org/files/2a0c0488a9b85837a134b1c583d7cad5-721.html

Quote:
This year Kevin Bauder of Central Baptist has used his blog to praise “conservative evangelicals” such as Southern Baptist Seminary head Al Mohler, John MacArthur, John Piper, D.A. Carson, and R. C. Sproul. Central recently invited Bill Edmonson, a graduate of the New Evangelical Gordon Conwell Seminary, to lead a workshop in February 2011. Central graduate David Sorenson observes: “Dr. Clearwaters, the founder of Central, would roll over in his grave if he knew this. They are becoming new-evangelicals in fundamentalist clothing. They want the support of both the northern fundamentalist movement as well as that of what Bauder calls ‘conservative evangelicals’ (i.e. new-evangelicals). They are kind of like the guy in the civil war who wore gray pants and a blue jacket. He won the support of neither side. But nevertheless, that is what Central is trying to do.”

Do the "Jeopardy!" thing .... "What is the author of the articles?"

Bob Hayton's picture

Jim's last post got me thinking. Why is a name given in this post? Why "Christopher"? Could it be that this is the name of David Cloud's son?

I don't know if any reference to Cloud is really intended by the article. But its interesting to wonder. Still the main points are clear.

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.

Brent Marshall's picture

Mike Harding wrote:
It appears that the entire parable is wrought with the very thing it condemns: "INNUENDO"
Really? How is that? (It seems a rather serious charge.)

Mike Harding wrote:
Also, since the Lord in one his more allegorical parables, the parable of the sower and the seed, was gracious enough to specifically identify the seed and the various kinds of soils and ravenous birds, perhaps Kevin will be equally helpful and give us "the interpretation thereof." The burden is on the author in this case, not the reader.
Burden to do what? Clarify? Suppose there is such a burden. Why is it on one side only and not both?

Mike Harding wrote:
I have no problem if one wants to publicly and justly criticize a segment of Christianity. However, I think clarity not only helps to identify the problem or problems, but it also protects those are endeavoring to be part of the solution.
Are you looking for clarity or specificity? Clarity is desirable: without understanding, the points are lost, and effective communication does not occur. Here, I find the allegory is quite clear as to various behaviors described. I wonder whether you are asking, not for clarity, but for specificity, especially as to persons. Based simply on my reading, it strikes me that Dr. Bauder may be trying to focus on behaviors rather than simply on persons. In that case, specificity is likely unhelpful.

What I fear is our propensity to facile analysis in which we look to separate the sheep from the goats, to divide everyone into one of two categories: the "bad guys," who are the problem, and the "good guys," who are endeavoring to solve it. It is not that simple. A major complication is that, because of our sinful flesh, even those that are endeavoring to be part of the solution will, at times, engage in behavior that is part of the problem.

This is why I think that that great benefit could be realized by serious time spent contemplating the story and how it might be applied. Along the lines of the admonition regarding the mote and the beam (Matt. 7:3-5), first we need to consider the application to ourselves. Second, we need to consider the application to others we consider "good guys." Notwithstanding our good motives, we need to be seeking to judge ourselves and learn. If we too quickly start naming names, I fear that this contemplative process will not take place.

Things That Matter

As the quantity of communication increases, so does its quality decline; and the most important sign of this is that it is no longer acceptable to say so.--RScruton

Mike Harding's picture

Brent,

I will give a charitable interpretation to this allegorical parable. More than likely the Fortress represents "Fundamentalism" at large--not a particular aspect per se. If I am wrong, then the author or his representatives are free to correct me. I will certainly honor the authorial intent of the author. Thus, the Fortress has some healthy aspects and some unhealthy aspects. In particular parts of the Fortress there has been some poor construction with poor materials. I freely admit that segments of fundamentalism have been weak doctrinally, and some aspects have even been heretical (Hyles, etc.). The tactics of those within the fundamentalist ranks have at times been unacceptable. The reference to Cloud is unmistakable. Even the FBFI passed a resolution against so-called "ministries" such as Cloud's as divisive and unhealthy. There are others who have followed suit. "Christopher" more than likely is a typical young man who has genuine appreciation for fundamentalism (historical, biblical kind) and its leaders. At the same time Chris has some appreciation for the CE men who are fighting for the cause of the Gospel and to some degree has established a relationship with them. Those who have forgotten the original cause of fundamentalism and biblical separatism have been too harsh in their criticism of both Christopher and the CE men while ignoring some of the problems in their own castle, and they have wittingly or unwittingly set up a double standard. Mike or Kevin: Is that a fair and accurate summation?

Pastor Mike Harding

AndrewSuttles's picture

Perhaps the men who built the fortress ran away from the front line of the battle and built a fortress of safety far rearward of the front line. Perhaps these men split and split and split until there became an innumerable number of fortresses each poised to fight the others. The men fight and battle and wound, not realizing that they aren't actually engaging in the real war at all, but rather have a warped vantage point and only see each other as enemies. Of course, each fortress is the one true fortress that has it all right as the story implies.

Quote:
Christopher also found great halls and entire wings of the fortress that were well-ordered and well-maintained. Some served him fresh bread and living water. Some helped him to sharpen his weapons and to shine his armor.

Don Johnson's picture

Unless Kevin will clarify his intention, all kinds of spins on this can be taken. The parable can be taken to slander worthwhile efforts of fundamentalists and the author can sit back and say, "Oh, I never meant that, it's just a parable."

In the middle of a struggle for 'saving fundamentalism', stories like this aren't helpful. They are more divisive than preservative.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Larry's picture

Moderator

Isn't part of the genius of writing something in this manner is the ability to make a point without calling names and unnecessarily dividing people over personalities? I have no idea, but perhaps that is Kevin's point. Perhaps he does not see the need or usefulness of directly naming names, and he views naming names are more harmful to beneficial because it will cause people to line up behind their favorite personalities rather than considering the point of the parable. Isn't that what so often happens? People see a name and instantly react positively or negatively, without regard for the point being made. It's almost Pavlovian.

In fact, isn't part of the point of a parable or allegory is not to directly name names?

It may be the the things Kevin writes about are so patently transparent that he needs not name names. Virtually all will know the type of stuff he is talking about. BTW, that's why parables that worked well in Jesus' time without explanation have to be explained today. Things that were obvious back the are not obvious today.

It is interesting that Jesus sometimes used the phrase, "He who has hears to hear, let him hear."

Some, in commenting on this article by Kevin, invoked the parable of the sower where Jesus identified some of the parts. (Ironically, they did not identify the majority of parables where Jesus identified almost nothing.) Jesus says this very thing at the end of that very parable. He did not names names as some are wanting Kevin to do. He did not go around the crowd identifying who was which soil. He simply said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

I think the point is, Listen carefully and apply this yourself as needed. The unfortunate thing is that it is likely that those who need to hear this most are the least likely to see themselves in it.

I think we all recognize that there are times to name names (and remember how much grief Kevin got for naming names previously, particularly by the very types of people who deal in the INNUENDO that Kevin refers to here). I think we also all recognize that there is a time not to name names.

I am not sure there are any clear biblical guidelines, though perhaps some of the more creative among us can find one and identify everyone else as disobedient for failing to follow them.

Specifically to Don, why should we desire to save fundamentalism? I am not sure I see the value in it. I am probably as separatist if not more separatist than most people here. But I don't feel the need to try to save fundamentalism, mostly because much of what is known as "fundamentalism" are people that I separate from based on what I believe is the biblical teaching about relationships and the truth. But I don't wear that on my sleeve, and don't see the need to convince everyone to agree with me. I might be wrong and I would rather be wrong quietly than loudly.

What is the need for fundamentalism as a movement? I suppose that is off topic, and perhaps interested people might chime in elsewhere about it.

I think there are many who need to "have ears" for Kevin's article. There is an awful lot of innuendo going around that has little basis in fact, and there is much that has passed "innuendo" and gone on to clear statements. I have no problem with clear statements or parables. But we need a greater commitment to truth than we do to the movement.

Recently a man wrote an article with demonstrable falsehoods in it. This article was linked to in several places. When the falsehoods were identified, both to the author and to those who linked to it, there was no correction taken. The essence of the response was, "Well, whatever." I found that troubling. In fact, I was troubled by some of the very issues that were pointed out in the article. But I was even more troubled by the cavalier response to falsehood, even in pursuit of a good cause. For many, I fear that truth has become a casualty in fight for a movement. Truth has been sacrificed on the altar of the battle for something that is good. And I reject that whole-heartedly. Truth has to matter, particularly if we are going to do battle for the truth.

If you have to engage in dishonesty, partial truths, and innuendo to gain traction for your point or your movement, you need a better point, a better movement. The truth needs no shading. It can stand on its own.

Jay's picture

Mike Harding wrote:
...More than likely the Fortress represents "Fundamentalism" at large--not a particular aspect per se. If I am wrong, then the author or his representatives are free to correct me. I will certainly honor the authorial intent of the author. Thus, the Fortress has some healthy aspects and some unhealthy aspects. In particular parts of the Fortress there has been some poor construction with poor materials. I freely admit that segments of fundamentalism have been weak doctrinally, and some aspects have even been heretical (Hyles, etc.). The tactics of those within the fundamentalist ranks have at times been unacceptable. The reference to Cloud is unmistakable. Even the FBFI passed a resolution against so-called "ministries" such as Cloud's as divisive and unhealthy. There are others who have followed suit. "Christopher" more than likely is a typical young man who has genuine appreciation for fundamentalism (historical, biblical kind) and its leaders....

Mike and Jim Peet-

I bolded the above sentence, because that's what I'm specifically referring to for this post. I don't think that Bauder specifically addressed Cloud by name in this allegory. While it may be a guess of Jim's (with which I disagree), I don't think that we should automatically assume that this mysterious 'cloud' in Bauder's allegory is actually Dr. Cloud; at least, I didn't when I read the parable, and I've read it several times. In short, making assumptions that Bauder is specifically referring to Cloud like this is very dangerous, especially when the conversation begins to revolve around said assumption (as it has begun to do), and I wouldn't take anything as a specific and explicit reference to anyone unless Bauder (or a representative) says that Jim's guess is actually right.

In short, when Paul commands us to believe and hope all things (I Cor 13), I'm taking that verse to mean that we should always hope for and assume the best until proven otherwise (which is why I am cautioning not to assume that Cloud is actually "The Cloud"). I think that's the best course of action for this discussion.

"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

Don Johnson's picture

Larry wrote:
Isn't part of the genius of writing something in this manner is the ability to make a point without calling names and unnecessarily dividing people over personalities? I have no idea, but perhaps that is Kevin's point. Perhaps he does not see the need or usefulness of directly naming names, and he views naming names are more harmful to beneficial because it will cause people to line up behind their favorite personalities rather than considering the point of the parable. Isn't that what so often happens? People see a name and instantly react positively or negatively, without regard for the point being made. It's almost Pavlovian.

In fact, isn't part of the point of a parable or allegory is not to directly name names?

Well, I was in the same meeting Mike was. Most seemed to take the same general impression, and, I think, it parallels the impression you see in this thread. However, it is possible that Kevin means something different than we think he means. If the impression I have is correct, I would take the article to be an attack by innuendo that smears not only those parts of fundamentalism that are problems, but also those parts that have value. By taking this approach, he is guilty of the same thing he condemns in others.

Larry wrote:
It may be the the things Kevin writes about are so patently transparent that he needs not name names. Virtually all will know the type of stuff he is talking about. BTW, that's why parables that worked well in Jesus' time without explanation have to be explained today.

Jesus told parables to obscure his meaning. It appears that Kevin has the same goal.

Larry wrote:
Specifically to Don, why should we desire to save fundamentalism?

I'm using Kevin's own words: "A Fundamentalism Worth Saving". I don't think we have a cohesive movement as such that can be or should be or needs necessarily to be saved. But Kevin coined the phrase, that's why I used it in this context.

He uses curious methods to save things, I think.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Mike Harding's picture

Jay,

I genuinely appreciate the spirit and motivation of your comments. Certainly, I could be wrong in my interpretation of the reference to a capitalized, bold type literary Cloud. However, I have yet to be corrected by the author or his representative. Frankly, I wouldn't deny Kevin the right to defend himself from some of the public accusations/distortions that have been levied against him. Overall, I think Kevin's contribution to Fundamentalism has been beneficial and needed. I have had him speak at our church on several occasions. He always does an excellent job and is personally a very gracious man. Nevertheless, I still maintain that an interpretation by the author to accompany the allegorical parable protects against misunderstanding and misapplication. The Lord often interpreted his parables to the disciples and not to the hardened unbelievers.

Larry,

"Innuendo" is a subtle, indirect, often derogatory implication. The attacks upon Kevin have been anything but that. They have been bold assertions. The one thing I couldn't accuse Kevin's detractors of is innuendo. I believe that Kevin has the best of intentions when he writes. At times, however, I think he unnecessarily alienates the very people he wants to help or reform. There are many sincere, godly fundamentalists who believe in the ideas and organizations associated with fundamentalism, and they have great appreciation for the movement and its leaders. Rolland McCune, though critical of fundamentalism at times, always made it clear that he believed in the ideas and the movement. He did everything he could to strengthen the cause of fundamentalism. Unfortunately, his age and health prohibit him from speaking in public a great deal. He leaves us his books as a great legacy. As Dave Doran said a number of years ago to Phil Johnson, let's not conduct the funeral yet.

Pastor Mike Harding

Jay's picture

Hi Mike-

Thanks for the kind words.

I would just like to note that because you haven't been corrected yet doesn't mean necessarily mean that you are correct or incorrect. It just means that the author, for whatever reason, has not responded. That could mean anything to you and Jim are absolutely right to claim that, that he didn't want to dignify this discussion with a reply, doesn't feel the need to reply, or simply that hasn't had the time to respond. So I would reiterate caution before deciding what exactly the author meant when he wrote what he did and then assuming that you're either right or wrong about said assumption.

Also, this isn't about Bauder, in my opinion...it's about taking what is written at face value and safeguarding against mis-assumptions, which is very difficult to do sometimes on an online discussion board. In any case, I since I have no desire to make this a major issue - wouldn't want any proverbial "clouds" gathering in the thread Wink - I'll bow out of the discussion.

"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

Larry's picture

Moderator

Quote:
"Innuendo" is a subtle, indirect, often derogatory implication. The attacks upon Kevin have been anything but that. They have been bold assertions.
Thanks for your kind response, Pastor Harding. You are correct that there has been not much subtlety or indirectness in these matters. They have, however, been pretty derogatory and attached to them all sorts of unflattering conclusions, or at least suggestions of conclusions.

It seems to me like there are some subtle games being played by some about this whole matter. I see the concerns of both sides, and sympathize with both sides to some degree. But I have no sympathy for the tactics that, whatever name we attach to them, are being used to castigate men who disagree about where the lines should be drawn. I can only hope that Dr. Pickering's word from pp. 230-35 will show up somewhere and begin to be heeded. We would do well to listen carefully.

As for the funeral, as I think I told you a few weeks ago personally, I think one of the concerns for people like me is that in the kind of ministries we have, these kinds of questions have no meaning to people in our sphere of ministry. It's not a matter of planning a funeral. It's more like thinking about George H. W. Bush: "Oh yeah, I had forgotten about him. Good guy, well meaning, but a bit weak in some places." Or Richard Nixon: "Oh yeah, crook, bozo, mean, angry old man."

I think that is one reason why the "fundamentalist movement" is lacking young men. There is no compelling reason for them to be a fundamentalist. To many young men fundamentalism has, whether fairly or unfairly, is no bigger vision than "stay away from those guys over there." (And it is often done by innuendo, or flat out misguided statement, such as the very godly guy who told me Al Mohler was a liberal).

And this is competing with the perception that John Piper exalts the glory of God and raises our view to another level, that Mark Dever loves the local church and doesn't shy away from making it central, that Al Mohler took a painful stand and separated the liberals from their employment and pensions at Southern and has resurrected some cultural commentary, that John MacArthur diligently explains the Word, that Tim Keller connects with unbelievers in incredibly apologetic ways, that C.J. Mahaney is very transparent, that R. C. Sproul and Don Carson are ... well R. C. Sproul and Don Carson. In other words, young people hear these men and are fed by them, and in many case they aspire to be like them in some way. They don't listen because they agree with these men all the time, or even most of the time (all though I think there is a concern of uncritical listening), but because they hear the Word explained by people who they perceive as taking it seriously. And yes, I think there is some "hero worship" for some of these guys and I think that is dangerous. But I am not sure the alternative is let me make sure no one wants to be like me by being a jerk to everyone, and let me shut off the conversation about it by labeling it disobedience. (And I know that you don't either, so this is not really directed to you at all.)

In my view, fundamentalism needs leaders who will paint a compelling missionary vision in a new generation. And that means we will not be trying to make fundamentalists. We will be trying to make self-denying missionary people who are content to go to the end of the earth and never be heard from again for the sake of the gospel, not the sake of separating from whoever we can find.

I think trying to preserve separatism by trying to preserve separatism is probably not going to work. There are good and biblical reasons for robust separatism, but that is not the goal. Making disciples who follow Jesus is the goal. And I think young men need a bigger vision of the goal of making disciples.

Thanks again for your comment. None of this is directed at you, of course. This is just general thinking out loud, most of which I think I said to you personally.

DavidO's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
Well, I was in the same meeting Mike was. Most seemed to take the same general impression, and, I think, it parallels the impression you see in this thread.

I'm curious. Was this a "Stop the meeting you guys gotta read this!" moment?

DavidO's picture

Mike Harding wrote:
Nevertheless, I still maintain that an interpretation by the author to accompany the allegorical parable protects against misunderstanding and misapplication. The Lord often interpreted his parables to the disciples and not to the hardened unbelievers.

Do authors of allegories owe an interpretation? I think not. Especially if they are well written, which this is. Literary devices help us interpret the world around us. Yet our interpretations are our own responsibility even if the author is desiring to press the reader in a specific direction. With all respect, requesting an interpretation of this is sort of like standing up at the premier of Mozarts 16th piano Sonata and saying, "Wait! You recapitulated in the subdominant key, not the dominant, what are you doing??"

We're supposed to make of it what we can with what's given.

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