Let's Get Clear On This

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NickOfTime

A variety of electronic periodicals reach my inbox regularly. One that arrives nearly every day is published by a retired seminary professor. Most days I derive a great deal of pleasure and often profit from glancing through his cogitations.

Today’s number, however, evoked a bit of concern. The dear fellow was reprinting some criticisms that he had received. Here is what they said.

The oft-repeated mantra coming out of Dr. Piper and Dr. Storms is that it is impossible for human beings to enjoy too much pleasure. We are made for pleasure, but it’s the pleasure of enjoying God. These guys are full-bore new evangelicals and Piper is a hard line Calvinist…. Why are you promoting this sort of thing?

While I can appreciate many things coming out of Dr. Piper’s ministry, are you endorsing such a leading New Evangelical with no disclaimer?…I am sure you do not endorse the New Evangelicalism that is Dr. Piper’s ministry, but when we simply laud a New Evangelical by attending his conference and praising it, that is the result at the practical level.

These responses are typical of the way that some Fundamentalists view conservative evangelicals in general. These men apparently divide all American Christians into only two categories: Fundamentalists and neo-evangelicals. If a Christian leader is not recognized as a Fundamentalist, then he is considered to be a new evangelical, with all the opprobrium that follows.

This binary system of classification is far too simplistic. American Christianity never has been neatly divided between new evangelicals and Fundamentalists. Other groups have always existed, and one of them is the group that we now designate as conservative evangelicals.

Conservative evangelicalism encompasses a diverse spectrum of Christian leaders. Representatives include John Piper, Mark Dever, John MacArthur, Charles Ryrie, Bruce Ware, Bryan Chapell, Wayne Grudem, D. A. Carson, Al Mohler, Tim Keller, John D. Hannah, Ed Welch, Ligon Duncan, Tom Nettles, C. J. Mahaney, Norman Geisler, and R. C. Sproul. Conservative evangelical organizations include Together for the Gospel (T4G), the Gospel Coalition, the Master’s Seminary, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (at least in its better moments), and Ligonier Ministries. 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.

Both mainstream ecumenicals and Left-leaning evangelicals would like to classify these individuals as Fundamentalists. Conservative evangelicals, however, do not perceive themselves as Fundamentalists. Most Fundamentalists also recognize some differences. While there are similarities between them, enough differences remain that Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals ought to be distinguished from each other.

What are those differences? Anti-dispensationalism seems to be more widely characteristic of conservative evangelicalism than it is of Fundamentalism, though it is less vitriolic than the anti-Calvinism of some Fundamentalists. Toleration of Third-Wave charismatic theology is widely accepted among conservative evangelicals but universally rejected among Fundamentalists. Conservative evangelicals are willing to accommodate the more contemporary versions of popular culture, while Fundamentalists restrict themselves to older manifestations. Most importantly, Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals still do not agree about what to do with Christian leaders who make common cause with apostates.

Conservative evangelicals are different from Fundamentalists, but they are not new evangelicals. New evangelicals were committed to a policy of re-infiltrating ecclesiastical organizations that had been captured by apostates. They wanted to live in peaceful coexistence with apostasy. They were willing to recognize certain apostates as fellow-Christians and to cooperate with them in the Lord’s work. These are attitudes that conservative evangelicals explicitly reject. To apply this label to a conservative evangelical is completely unwarranted.

Frankly, conservative evangelicals do seem to take doctrine more seriously today than many Fundamentalists do. Not that the Fundamentalists are unwilling to discuss doctrine! Many of them are at this moment arguing for a “biblical” doctrine of the perfect preservation of the King James Version or of the Textus Receptus. Others have speculated that the work of redemption was not completed until Christ carried His material blood into the heavenly tabernacle, there to abide as a perpetual memorial before the presence of the Father. Still others have engaged in shrill campaigns of anti-Calvinism while defending theories of human nature that almost beg to be described as Pelagian. Such Fundamentalists are too numerous to be dismissed as aberrations—indeed, their tribe seems to be increasing.

Conservative evangelicals have oriented themselves by fixed points of doctrine. They have scoured apostasy from the world’s largest seminary. They have debunked Open Theism. They have articulated and defended a Complementarian position against evangelical feminism. They have rebutted the opponents of inerrancy. They have exposed and refuted the New Perspective on Paul. They have challenged the Emergent Church and laid bare its bankruptcy.

In other words, because many Fundamentalists appear to have lost their doctrinal sobriety, the initiative for defending the gospel has shifted from Fundamentalism to conservative evangelicalism. Conservative evangelicals have majored on the centrality of the gospel and the exaltation of God. Rather than centering themselves upon theological novelties and idiosyncrasies, they have given themselves to a defense of the Faith.

Nevertheless, some Fundamentalists have managed to convince themselves that conservative evangelicals are the enemy. They insist that John Piper is a neo-evangelical. They actually hope to limit his influence—and the influence of other conservative evangelicals—in their churches and among their younger generation.

The apostle Paul insisted that he was “set for the defense of the gospel.” Fifty years ago, that phrase appeared on nearly every Fundamentalist ordination certificate. Today, however, Fundamentalists simply allow others to defend the gospel for them. The sad truth is that the most forceful defenders of the gospel are no longer to be found within the Fundamentalist camp.

To be sure, significant differences continue to exist between Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. Those differences, however, are less serious than the ones that exist between the various camps within Fundamentalism. For example, many Fundamentalist churches and institutions have capitulated to the error of King James Onlyism. Many Fundamentalists are willing to tolerate and even idolize arrogant and egotistical leaders. Many Fundamentalists are willing to live with doctrinal shallowness and trivial worship in their pulpits and in their hymnals. Many Fundamentalists continue to believe that manipulative Revivalism will produce vibrant Christians. Who could deny that these matters are serious?

Of course, many Fundamentalists reject these errors as well. Nevertheless, the errors that are tolerated within Fundamentalism are every bit as great as the errors that were committed by the new evangelicalism. They are certainly greater than the differences that exist between mainstream, historic Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals.

Upcoming young leaders are uncertain about the future of Fundamentalism and about their future with it. And no wonder. One Fundamentalist college recently advertized that it does not teach Greek to theology majors. Why? Because the school has an “absolute conviction that the King James Bible is God’s perfect, preserved Word for the English Speaking World.” Contrast that school’s approach with D. A. Carson’s essays in his upcoming book, Collected Writings on Scripture. If young leaders are forced to choose between these two approaches, I have no doubt which choice they will make.

More and more Fundamentalists are coming to the same conclusion. They are not entering into full cooperation with conservative evangelicals, but they are working together in certain targeted areas. Quiet conversations have been occurring between some Fundamentalist leaders and some conservative evangelical leaders for several years. One seminary recently hosted John D. Hannah for a lecture series, and another hosted Ed Welch. A Fundamentalist mission agency brought in John Piper to challenge its missionaries. A leader who is a Fundamentalist pastor and seminary president has written for a conservative evangelical periodical. A very straight-laced Bible college sent its students to T4G. One elder statesman of Fundamentalism chose to preach in the chapel of a conservative evangelical seminary. Other Fundamentalist schools are slated to host Michael Vlach from Master’s Seminary and Mark Dever from Capital Hill Baptist Church. These steps are being taken, not by disaffected young Fundamentalists, but by the older generation of leadership within the mainstream of the Fundamentalist movement.

These leaders are neither abandoning Fundamentalism nor embracing conservative evangelicalism. They are simply recognizing that the Fundamentalist label is no guarantee of doctrinal fidelity. They are aware that historic, mainstream Fundamentalism has more in common with conservative evangelicals than it does with many who wear the Fundamentalist label.

Even such mild and narrow recognition, however, provokes panic from the Fundamentalist opponents of conservative evangelicals. Like the two critics at the beginning of this essay, these opponents express concern that any level of involvement with conservative evangelicals will constitute a blanket endorsement of their errors. These Fundamentalist critics, however, are seldom willing to express these same concerns over the excesses of the hyper-fundamentalist Right.

We Fundamentalists may not wish to identify with everything that conservative evangelicals say and do. To name these men as neo-evangelicals, nonetheless, is entirely unwarranted. To treat them like enemies or even opponents is to demonize the very people who are the foremost defenders of the gospel today. We do not have to agree in every detail to recognize the value of what they do.

If we did not have conservative evangelicals to guard the borders, the real enemy would have invaded our camp long ago. Fundamentalism has exhibited a remarkable freedom from Open Theism, evangelical feminism, New Perspective theology, and other present-day threats to the gospel. The reason is not that Fundamentalists have kept the enemy at bay. The reason is that other thinkers—mainly conservative evangelicals—have carried the battle to the enemy. Conservative evangelicals are the heavy artillery, under the shelter of whose barrage Fundamentalists have been able to find some measure of theological safety.

So let’s get clear on this.

Conservative evangelicals are not our enemies. They are not our opponents. Conservative evangelicals have proven themselves to be allies and even leaders in the defense of the faith.

If we attack conservative evangelicals, then we attack the defense of the faith. We attack indirectly the thing that we hold most dear, namely, the gospel itself, for that is what they are defending. We should not wish these brothers to falter or to grow feeble, but rather to flourish. We must do nothing to weaken their hand in the face of the enemies of the gospel.

If we believe that we must respond to conservative evangelicalism, then let us begin by addressing the areas in which they have exposed our weakness. Let us refocus our attention upon the exaltation of God. Let us exalt, apply, and defend the gospel in all its fullness. If we were more like what we ought to be, perhaps we would feel less threatened by those whose exploits attract the attention of our followers.

Whatever our differences, I thank God for John Piper. I thank God for Mark Dever. I thank God for John MacArthur. I thank God for D. A. Carson. I thank God for a coalition of Christian leaders who have directed our focus to the centrality of the gospel and the exaltation of God. May their defense of the biblical faith prosper.

Penitentiall Hymns. II.

Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667)

Great God, and just! how canst thou see,
Dear God, our miserie,
And not in mercy set us free?
Poor miserable man! how wert thou born,
Weak as the dewy jewels of the Morn,
Rapt up in tender dust,
Guarded with sins and lust,
Who like Court flatterers waite
To serve themselves in thy unhappy fate.
Wealth is a snare, and poverty brings in
Inlets for theft, paving the way for sin:
Each perfum’d vanity doth gently breath
Sin in thy Soul, and whispers it to Death.
Our faults like ulcerated sores do go
O’re the sound flesh, and do corrupt that too.
Lord, we are sick, spotted with sin,
Thick as a crusty Lepers skin,
Like Naaman, bid us wash, yet let it be
In streams of blood that flow from thee:
Then will we sing,
Touch’d by the heavenly Doves bright wing,
Hallelujahs, Psalms and Praise
To God the Lord of night and dayes;
Ever good, and ever just,
Ever high, who ever must
Thus be sung; is still the same;
Eternal praises crown his Name. Amen.


This essay is by Dr. Kevin T. Bauder, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth, MN). Not every professor, student, or alumnus of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with every opinion that it expresses.

nice

Growing up within the Hyles regime I couldn't agree more. I am always amazed at the latitude given those who "look" fundamental (frumpy skirts and tapered haircuts) and the complete opposite attitude towards the conservative evangelicals by some within my circle of fundamentalism. I appreciate Dr. Bauder's observations here.

Matthew Richards

Dr. Bauder speaks with clarity

Kevin T. Bauder wrote:
This binary system of classification is far too simplistic. American Christianity never has been neatly divided between new evangelicals and Fundamentalists. Other groups have always existed, and one of them is the group that we now designate as conservative evangelicals.

Thanks, Dr. Bauder, for speaking with clarity from the courage of conviction. As I have said before about your essays, I wish someone had been speaking this way 20 years ago.
As I read the article, the only clarification I would personally make is that I would put more weight on someone's theological convictions (or, possibly, his expertise in one particular area) than whether or not he is accepted as a fundamentalist or a conservative evangelical, etc.
In these -- perhaps final -- days of apostasy in the church, my goal is to find the people who are the most fiercely committed to the exposition of Scripture.
Sadly, I have definitely met some people within "fundamentalism" who do not fall within that category.

Editor in Chief – Dispensational Publishing House

Bible Teacher, Minister, Educator, Author, Journalist

Quote: These responses are

Quote:
These responses are typical of the way that some Fundamentalists view conservative evangelicals in general. These men apparently divide all American Christians into only two categories: Fundamentalists and neo-evangelicals. If a Christian leader is not recognized as a Fundamentalist, then he is considered to be a new evangelical, with all the opprobrium that follows.
....
To be sure, significant differences continue to exist between Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. Those differences, however, are less serious than the ones that exist between the various camps within Fundamentalism. For example, many Fundamentalist churches and institutions have capitulated to the error of King James Onlyism. Many Fundamentalists are willing to tolerate and even idolize arrogant and egotistical leaders. Many Fundamentalists are willing to live with doctrinal shallowness and trivial worship in their pulpits and in their hymnals. Many Fundamentalists continue to believe that manipulative Revivalism will produce vibrant Christians. Who could deny that these matters are serious?

Of course, many Fundamentalists reject these errors as well. Nevertheless, the errors that are tolerated within Fundamentalism are every bit as great as the errors that were committed by the new evangelicalism. They are certainly greater than the differences that exist between mainstream, historic Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals.

These thoughts are truly precious to me. They describe the thinking that led me away from movement Fundamentalism to confessional Presbyterianism. Obviously, I first and foremost came to believe Presbyterian doctrine, contained in the [URL=http://www.pcanet.org/general/cof_contents.htm Westminster Confession of Faith[/URL ] as received in my denomination, is true or at least better than any competitor out there. However, I don't think I gave up any of my separatism when I left. Rather, three things became more and more apparent to me from my time in movement Fundamentalism:

1) It is not true that Fundamentalists practice separatism and others don't.
2) It is true that there are differences among Christians about what constitutes error and how the church should handle it.
3) Historic confessionalism provides a guideline for handling error, as well as a platform for deep fellowship between institutions and for substantive theological engagement; "Biblicism" and autonomy do not.

Numbers 1 and 2 are really to the point of Bauder's essay. Something that continually strikes me as amusing is that my "evangelical" denomination (PCA) requires much stricter doctrinal conformity in many areas than did BJU, where I did my undergrad. In a single week at BJU in chapel, I might hear a speaker who was quite obviously anti-Calvinist, followed by one who was clearly a 4- or 5- pointer. I might hear a message on sanctification from a McQuilkin/Ryrie-esque Keswick perspective followed by one that sounded as if it were culled from John Owen. Tuesday speaker sounds like he just got done reading The Gospel According to Jesus, whereas Thursday is on a Zane Hodges kick. However, +90% of them agreed on the pre-trib rapture. My denomination follows our confession in taking a very clear line on all those issues except eschatology, which it leaves rather open-ended. So, the point is, it's not realistic to think that evangelicals allow all this latitude on doctrine whereas Fundamentalists follow in lock-step. Rather, Fundamentalists and confessional Presbyterians (for example) differ on where they allow doctrinal latitude. It is a difference concerning what constitutes serious error.

This is the real rub, isn't it? It's not as if most of these people are saying, "Oh, I know the guy next to me on the stage is spouting shameful heresy, but whatever, we're best buds." There are genuine differences not only as to what constitutes error, but as to the relative seriousness of various errors. Now, it is true that some evangelicals have not effectively dealt with theological error in their churches and institutions, but many do. My own denomination, in the last 5 years or so, has waged a mostly successful warfare against a particular aberration, the Federal Vision. This was done through the stated operation of our ecclesiastical courts, including a thorough review of evidence and the opportunity for the accused to defend themselves. How is this anything other than Fundamentalism in the best possible sense? In fact, is this not much better than Fundamentalism, which has no method or mechanism for prosecuting error? In a collection of "independent, autonomous" churches and institutions that are not bound by any stated confession or principles of procedure, what method can there be other than influential players leveraging opinion to get a substantial segment to shun another segment?

In conclusion, I believe that in my move to the PCA, I took with me the valuable elements of my Fundamentalist heritage, leaving the silliness behind.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

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

Good article

Excellent article. Thanks for writing your thoughts for us to share.

Neo or not

I don't know if these CE's are "neo evangelicals" or not. What I do know is that in many places, "neo evangelical" has long meant nothing more than "guys who say and do things I don't approve of." I'm not sure it's really all that helpful to debate what we call them. But maybe that's the real point of the essay. Let's not recklessly lump everybody who's not a fundamentalist under one heading and require disclaimers to accompany any positive reference to them, regardless of whether the heading is "neo evangelicals" or "leo gevannelicals" or whatever.

I too find more and more the

I too find more and more the taxonomy of Fundy vs Neo to be outdated and unhelpful in discussing the current situation.

Charlie ][quote wrote:
In a collection of "independent, autonomous" churches and institutions that are not bound by any stated confession or principles of procedure, what method can there be other than influential players leveraging opinion to get a substantial segment to shun another segment?

I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the non-denominational approach to the church for this very reason. While denominations have their problems they seem to pale in comparison to everyone doing their own thing with no form of accountability or corrective other than what they voluntarily put themselves under.

Jon Bell
Bucksport, ME
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and

Pendulum swings

I can't convince myself that the solution to the ills of Fundamentalism is to abandon local church autonomy.... not that I've tried very hard. Smile
But it strikes me as an overreaction to problems that leads to an equal (or greater?) number of slightly different problems.

Regarding Charlie's post

Charlie,

Post #5 is very interesting, and you make a number of good points. I guess we have taken opposite paths -- I went from a strong, centralized denomination (Lutheran in my case) to fundamentalism.

I cannot fully give an educated comparison of my Lutheran denomination to the PCA. However, I think most people who have ever been part of a strong denomination would definitely say that it offers some tangible advantages.

However, for me the question on that issue would be, Is denominationalism taught in Scripture? (Obviously, a side question in this case would be, Is Presbyterianism taught in Scripture?)

I know those are big, big questions which would take this thread in a whole new direction, so I am not looking for detailed answers -- just reminding us that you are not offering an easy solution.

I am glad for you that you have found contentment in the PCA. Perhaps those of us who still believe in, or at least work among, "independent, autonomous churches and institutions" could gain quite a bit of food for thought from your post. Specifically, how can our associations and groups of churches implement some of the best examples of what a group like the PCA might have to offer?

I also agree, Charlie, that fundamentalism at its worst can resemble a self-selecting "good ol' boys club" where "who's in" relates more to personalities (I think the proper term is "constituencies") than to doctrinal fidelity.

As has been hashed out thoroughly on SI in times past, one of the problems with the movement of fundamentalism -- perhaps the reason we are seeing it splinter apart now -- is that it is difficult (impossible?) to build a movement on a negative ("what people are not doing," i.e., associating with new evangelicals). One obvious downside to it is that it allows for oddballs -- people we might no more want to associate with than the man on the moon -- to become bona fide, influential members of the "movement" as long as they do not run with new evangelicals. Thus, we end up trying to somehow distinguish ourselves (Type A, B, C; "historic fundamentalist," militant, moderate, modified). But the average person in our churches hasn't a clue what any of that means.

Editor in Chief – Dispensational Publishing House

Bible Teacher, Minister, Educator, Author, Journalist

sure, they're neo: they're neo-neo-evangelicals...

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I don't know if these CE's are "neo evangelicals" or not. What I do know is that in many places, "neo evangelical" has long meant nothing more than "guys who say and do things I don't approve of."

Aaron, I really, really, really, REALLY don't want to get into this debate.

But I will urge readers to read Dave Doran's response to this article on his blog, Glory & Grace. I agree with what Dave wrote there, and he can't stand it. He disagrees with me disagreeing with him. Amazing.

But I urge that people read Dave's response and compare it to Bauder's article. Dave points out that several of the men Bauder names do exhibit several characteristics that are typical of new evangelical philosophy. (At least, I think that is what Dave is saying. Dave disagrees with me agreeing with him, so please take that into consideration.)

For my part, I think that these men may not be exactly like the new evangelicals. I think that they see some of the problems that new evangelicalism caused. However, I think that what they are trying to do is preserve the best of new evangelicalism. Some of them are willing to admit that the fundamentalists had a point in the initial controversy, but they also defend the basic premise that fundamentalism was the wrong answer to the question. As a result, they typically will say these kinds of things:

- We think new evangelicalism went too far
- However, we appreciate the corrective new evangelicalism provided to fundamentalism
- And we want to build on the best aspects of new evangelical thought

If you read these fellows enough, you will find remarks to that effect.

That's why I used the term 'neo-neo-evangelicals' in my header. It's kind of a joke, but only kind of. The conservative evangelicals, in my opinion, are trying to conserve the best parts of neo-evangelicalism while avoiding its errors and excesses. I think the neo-evangelical is hopelessly flawed and the conservative evangelicals will be unable to maintain their 'conservativism' beyond a generation. That is, when Piper, et al, pass off the scene, their heirs in their ministries will flounder just as the old neo-evangelicals did.

That's my opinion, anyway.

I expect this thread will continue on in its merry way in an explosion of comments in the next few days, but I think I will mostly leave it alone.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Woah, not so fast.

This is an article and response that has too many generalities and inaccuracies.

First John Piper would not be classified as a Conservative Evangelical. He is a classic Neo evangelical. Unlike MacArthur and some others he remains in a left of center evangelical denomination. The Baptist General Conference (now Converge Worldwide) has refused to rebuke or censure the doctrine of open theism. They accept the ordination of women, the possible errancy of scripture, and several other practices and doctrines contrary to scripture. Piper also is repeatedly involved in associations and practices that indicate a lack of discernment in protecting the flock. Also, he endorses Puritan oriented Calvinism that includes a false doctrine of assurance and Justification that must be proven by works before Christ. In light of the overall practices and doctrines that Piper has endorsed or become associated with, he fits the classic historical description of the Fuller Seminary 1947 self described Neo Evangelical. Since Piper was the sole subject of the responses conveyed in the article, it only clouds the subject to make such a broad response.

I do agree that the complaints may be unwarranted as one need not issue a disclaimer every time they are quoting or referring to a person that has some questionable doctrine.

Second, John MacArthur has propagated an errant Gospel which defines saving faith as including submission and obedience and places our assurance of Justification on our self examination of our own lives rather than focusing on Christ.

Both Piper and MacArthur promote doctrines regarding Soteriology that are contrary to the Reformers and mainstream Reformed faith today while claiming to be appealing to the Reformed faith. The best analysis of this subject is presented in the book "Christ The Lord," edited by Michael Horton and with chapters written by all Reformed Calvinist Theologians. They take apart MacArthur's Gospel and claims that it is that of the Reformers or most contemporary Reformed theologians.

Also, the graduates of Masters Seminary are not Of Fundamentalist orientation. Some go into churches of moderate and left evangelical orientation. Some go into the the IFCA, which on the West coast is not even Conservative Evangelical. The one common thread in most (but not all) Masters graduates is a Militant, on your sleeve, Calvinism.

It seems that Bauder is hastily rushing to castigate Fundamentalism without giving due consideration that discernment needs to be exercised in what he labels as "conservative evangelicalism." There has been a hasty acceptance by frustrated young fundamentalists of some doctrines and emphasis that have been taught by Piper and MacArthur.
MacArthur could be classified as a conservative evangelical because of his stand for 6 day creation, cessationism, inerrancy, and male headship in the family and church. He also has some discernment on relationships, though very inconsistent. However, there must be a warning about his errant Gospel and militant Calvinism. Piper is simply not a conservative evangelical at all. We may think some throw around the label of " New evangelical" too hastily. However, Piper fits the old 1947 label perfectly.

Third, it a hasty generalization to say "conservative evangelicals" are not our enemies. Some here on the west coast have become wary of Masters Seminary graduates and some of the convictions and attitudes they bring to ministry. This growing awareness of problems goes to the ministry of John MacArthur and his personal ministry and influence. John Piper has written some good things. But they come with baggage that must be unpacked carefully. These ministries may have good things, but they do not past the friendship test.

The label Fundamentalist is now taken by many that are a detriment to sound premise for faith and bibilical Christianity. The KJVO movement brings a false epistemology to Christianity. Nouthetic Counseling has caught on among some Fundamentalists and Masters Seminary and college and Westminster seminary. This brings a false approach to biblical anthropology, science, and wrong application of the sufficiency of scripture. Fundamentalism has many problems and some Fundamental schools amy have a problem sustaining a viable student body.

Some have enthusiastically received this article. I believe more thought and discernment is needed before accepting all that was written.

Thanks, Dr. Bauder. A great

Thanks, Dr. Bauder. A great article.

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

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Thank you Dr. Bauder! For

Thank you Dr. Bauder!
For some time, I have thought that there are differences between conservative evangelicals and new evangelicals. I have even asked questions about this here at SI.

Finally, your article brought some answers to my questions.

Thanks again.

Quote: What I do know is that

Quote:
What I do know is that in many places, "neo evangelical" has long meant nothing more than "guys who say and do things I don't approve of."

I've seen this daffynition used repeatedly in some circles. I'm not referring to those who would labeling as neo-evangelical those who who use translations other than the KJV or those who are Calvinists. I've heard the neo-evangelical label applied to those who:
- participated in charity efforts like disaster relief
- used any form of CCM
- used music from the WILDS and SoundForth
- pursued advanced theological degrees.

Historically, neo-evangelicalism sought to unite theological liberalism and conservatism and I don't see MacArthur and the rest embracing that kind of unification.

Personally, I appreciate what Dr. Bauder has written.

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

Great Job

I appreciate Dr. Bauder's willingness to expose the fact that Fundamentalists have not typically practiced what they've preached and to reinforce the fact that MacArthur et al aren't really that far from where we are, and in some ways are far more sober-minded than we have been. I'd never heard of church discipline [for example ] until I'd seen it done by an IFCA-Int'l church or heard about it from...Dr. MacArthur.

I guess for me, it's not a matter of "us" vs. "them" as a matter of "who is heading in the right direction theologically and eccelesiastically?". We've been hearing warnings from Fundy leaders for at least 4 years now that the movement was (to put it kindly) adrift, and even Phil Johnson got into the act at a Shepherd's Conference in 2005. Yet we haven't really seen any real semblance of change or desire for theolgical seriousness, as last summer's Sweatt kerfuddle proved. Is it really all that surprising that young fundamentalists are abandoning the Fundy culture in droves for something that seems to be more Biblically grounded and Christ focused as a result?

I guess only those with the eyes to see will see after all.

"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

@ Bot T. re the BGC

Bob T. wrote:
The Baptist General Conference (now Converge Worldwide) has refused to rebuke or censure the doctrine of open theism. They accept the ordination of women, the possible errancy of scripture, and several other practices and doctrines contrary to scripture.

I'm not thoroughly familiar with the BGC but:

Re: The Scriptures. The organization's doctrinal statement (http://www.scene3.org/content/view/2144/162/#three) states:

Quote:
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.

The BGC isn't a denomination (with any hierarchy or denominational structure). It's simply a free & voluntary association of locally-autonomous churches. The BGC doesn't "speak for" or on behalf of any of the churches which choose to associate with it.

I understand that Jerry Sheveland, the current president of the BGC, adamantly rejects open theism, is wholly complementarian, and absolutely believes in inerrancy.

Good Stuff

Greatly appreciated the article. Thanks, Dr. Bauder.

It's another example why labeling can be dangerous. Though these labels identify SOME of the characteristics of these men, no label does anyone full justice. In addition, there is no consensus on what these labels mean. Fundamental means one thing to one person and something different to another...of course the same is true of Conservative Evangelical. We too quickly disregard someone's ministry because someone else labeled them. I, for one, am not content with most labels. I would prefer to listen, read, and evaluate a person's ministry than trust a label someone else gave them.

Doran's post

Don Johnson wrote:
...But I urge that people read Dave's response and compare it to Bauder's article. Dave points out that several of the men Bauder names do exhibit several characteristics that are typical of new evangelical philosophy. (At least, I think that is what Dave is saying. Dave disagrees with me agreeing with him, so please take that into consideration.)

I would also encourage folks to read Doran's post (http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GloryGrace/~3/sRahfsZ2JgE/). Saw it in the blogroll.
He's got some good information there, but his observations partly motivated my post earlier in this thread: it's not terribly important what we call these guys and given the changed and still shifting landscape, the historical term "neo evangelical" is fast losing its usefulness (probably is past having usefulness).
But I appreciate the way Doran lays out some important facts regarding what some of them have been involved in of late.

Don's observation that the CEs may be something like neo-neo-evangelicals sounds kind of goofy, but there's merit to the idea... as in modified neo-evangelicalism.

I'm a bit distracted at the moment, so sorry if my post is a bit incoherent.

An obsession with labels and taxonomies

Fundamentalists have an obsession with labels and taxonomies.

The old canards of "He's a neo ... " should be eschewed!

Do the hard work and understand that the world is not black and white.

Fundamentalists have historically given "their side" a pass for their side's peccadillos and infractions; but if someone who does not name the name (self declare) and wave the banner, ever flaw is magnified.

David Doran wrote: I guess I

David Doran wrote:
I guess I find myself back at a spot where most of these discussions end for me these days. I think they are all handicapped by the use of labels from the 20th century which no longer fit and, therefore, don’t serve the discussion well. By thinking of three circles—new evangelicalism, conservative evangelicalism, and fundamentalism—all of the energy of the discussion goes into who’s in and who’s out. The unavoidable problem, though, is that nobody can define in and out at this stage of the game. So, where I differ with Bauder is that I don’t think that we can say anything definitive about a group. We need to look at individual men and ministries, find out what they believe and how they apply those beliefs, and then draw our conclusions.

Good stuff!

Regarding Converge Worldwide.

Jim Peet wrote:
Bob T. wrote:
The Baptist General Conference (now Converge Worldwide) has refused to rebuke or censure the doctrine of open theism. They accept the ordination of women, the possible errancy of scripture, and several other practices and doctrines contrary to scripture.

I'm not thoroughly familiar with the BGC but:

Re: The Scriptures. The organization's doctrinal statement (http://www.scene3.org/content/view/2144/162/#three) states:

Quote:
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.

The BGC isn't a denomination (with any hierarchy or denominational structure). It's simply a free & voluntary association of locally-autonomous churches. The BGC doesn't "speak for" or on behalf of any of the churches which choose to associate with it.

I understand that Jerry Sheveland, the current president of the BGC, adamantly rejects open theism, is wholly complementarian, and absolutely believes in inerrancy.

Jim,

The doctrinal statement is simply not reflective of many of the Pastors in churches of "Converge Worldwide" (the old BGC). The old name indicates it was a conference. This is a tighter, more centrally controlled, form of Baptist organization of churches rather than an association. It is a denomination by the common definition. It does have denominational executives (directors) and offices. It is tightly controlled.

It is filled with numerous Bethel Seminary and Fuller Seminary graduates who do not hold to the full inerrancy of scripture and who compromise on other doctrines. It has been so for decades. As you are aware Bethel University just had a conference of sorts where they had invited Buddhists monks to discuss common ground and meditation techniques. The denomination has had those with doubtful doctrine for decades. I discussed the inerrancy of scripture with one of their Pastors of a church in Federal Way, Washington in 1967. My wife and I were visiting churches looking for a church home. He was under the auspices of the denomination planting a new church and a Bethel seminary graduate. He was what was then a typical New Evangelical. John Piper continues an association with "Converge Worldwide" and Bethel University. I personally could never be involved with a "Converge Worldwide" church.

2-fold

Pastor Joe Roof wrote:
David Doran wrote:
I guess I find myself back at a spot where most of these discussions end for me these days. I think they are all handicapped by the use of labels from the 20th century which no longer fit and, therefore, don’t serve the discussion well. By thinking of three circles—new evangelicalism, conservative evangelicalism, and fundamentalism—all of the energy of the discussion goes into who’s in and who’s out. The unavoidable problem, though, is that nobody can define in and out at this stage of the game. So, where I differ with Bauder is that I don’t think that we can say anything definitive about a group. We need to look at individual men and ministries, find out what they believe and how they apply those beliefs, and then draw our conclusions.

Good stuff!

Amen and amen.

Correction.

Both Piper and MacArthur promote doctrines regarding Soteriology that are contrary to the Reformers and mainstream Reformed faith today while claiming to be appealing to the Reformed faith. The best analysis of this subject is presented in the book "Christ The Lord," edited by Michael Horton and with chapters written by all Reformed Calvinist Theologians. They take apart MacArthur's Gospel and claim that it is [not ] that of the Reformers or most contemporary Reformed theologians.

In my post #12 above I left out the "not" in this paragraph. Seemed important to correct.

Is Bauder being inconsistent?

Quote:
Let us refocus our attention upon the exaltation of God. Let us exalt, apply, and defend the gospel in all its fullness. If we were more like what we ought to be, perhaps we would feel less threatened by those whose exploits attract the attention of our followers.

I agree with this statement from Dr. Bauder. However, I'm afraid that he does not apply it towards those within "the hyper-Fundamentalist right."

There are many godly people who would hold to what he would define as the King James Only position. Yet, Dr. Bauder constantly derides them.

Dr. Bauder belittles a stand on the blood of Christ which the World Congress of Funamentalists took in 1986 when they unanimously affirmed: "The precious Blood is indestructible. It cannot be anything else because of its permanence. The Blood is eternally preserved in heaven. Hebrews 12:24."

Dr. Bauder believes that those who question five-point Calvinism engage in "shrill campaigns" and "defend theories of human nature that almost beg to be described as Pelagian." Isn't that too broad of a characterization?

Does Dr. Bauder need to use such abrasive rhetoric? Does he feel "threatened by those whose exploits attract the attention of [his ] followers?"

I do not view Conservative Evangelicals as the enemy. However, I also do not believe "the hyper-Fundamentalist right" is the enemy either. In fact, I would probably be classified by Dr. Bauder as a part of the later group.

IMO, If Dr. Bauder got to personally know some of the folks in "the hyper-Fundamentalist right" (especially those nameless soldiers of the Lord serving in the trenches), he would realize that we both love and serve the same Savior.

@ Bob: BGC on Openness of God

Bob T. wrote:
The Baptist General Conference (now Converge Worldwide) has refused to rebuke or censure the doctrine of open theism

Bob, you are just plan wrong here!

http://www.scene3.org/content/view/1589/64/

Quote:
From the Edgren Fellowship to the 2000 Annual Meeting(introduced by Larry Adams)Passed by a large majority on 6/28/2000

Whereas the Bible reveals and affirms that God knows all of the past, present and future exhaustively, and

Whereas both Presidents Ricker of the BGC and Brushaber of Bethel College and Seminary have made it clear that the BGC and Bethel are no "safe havens" for open theism and that no new professors espousing such a view would be hired, and
Whereas an increasing number of districts and churches have taken action to affirm God's exhaustive foreknowledge and rejection of open theism, and

Whereas Dr. Ricker and the entire BGC Executive Ministry Team (Jerry Sheveland, Ron Larson, Ray Swatkowski, Lou Petrie and Steve Schultz) have already unanimously stated that open theism is not consistent with the BGC's biblical or historical understanding of God's omniscience, and

Whereas the Bible teaches there can be no real unity apart from the unity of the truth of God's person.

I therefore move that the following resolution be adopted by the delegates of the BGC annual meeting.

Be it resolved that we, the delegates of the Baptist General Conference (who are also the delegates of Bethel College and Seminary)* affirm that God's knowledge of all past, present and future events is exhaustive; and, we also believe that the "openness" view of God's foreknowledge is contrary to our fellowship's historic understanding of God's omniscience.

Can we be even clearer?

Kevin has been quite explicit in his criticism of “some fundamentalists” for incorrectly stereotyping conservative evangelicals as neo-evangelicals. However, two areas, I believe, need to be addressed. First of all, if it is improper to call conservative evangelicals neo-evangelicals, is it not also improper to refer to KJV-Only types as fundamentalists? By embracing the heresy of KJV-Onlyism (which usually carries with it the baggage of anti-Calvinism), do they not discredit themselves from being considered legitimate historic fundamentalists, even though they continue to claim the title? Furthermore, do we not have biblical grounds for separating from them? Indeed, many of us have.

Second, Kevin has been quite lavish in his praise of conservative evangelicals while castigating so-called fundamentalists. Yet he has spent very little time warning us about the pitfalls and problems of conservative evangelicalism. Dave Doran does a good job with this on his blog. Kevin commends fundamentalist institutions for welcoming conservative evangelical speakers, but offers no warning regarding the baggage some bring with them that could endanger our movement. While on the one hand “the Fundamentalist label is no guarantee of doctrinal fidelity,” neither is the conservative evangelical label a guarantee either. Indeed, this supposed fidelity to the gospel in their various associations is undermined by their lack of separation from that which compromises the gospel. Al Mohler, for example, is considered one of the darlings among conservative evangelicals, yet he has caused great harm to the gospel by his endorsement of men and movements that have confused and corrupted it (e.g., Billy Graham, Duke McCall, and most recently the Manhattan Declaration). Fundamentalists should rightly separate from him as a disobedient brother. And although MacArthur, Sproul, and others have courageously criticized such endorsements, they still invite Mohler to their platform, because, they say, he speaks for the gospel, even after he has endorsed the social gospel. (If the Manhattan Declaration does advocate another gospel is this not a heresy from which we should separate and likewise from those who endorse it?). And I might add that there are plenty of conservative evangelicals that promote some form of the social gospel, which, as we well know, was a major plank in the neo-evangelical agenda. Furthermore, has sufficient warning been sounded regarding what is at stake in welcoming men who are non-cessationists? Does permitting the continuation of revelation in the form of sign gifts not do harm to the gospel? Turning to still another example, is it really conducive to the health of fundamentalism by inviting John Piper to one of its meetings after he welcomed to his Desiring God conference the foul-mouthed Mark Driscoll? (not to mention the other problems with Piper that Doran cites). Does this not send a mixed signal of just what “desiring God” means? Do these things not matter any more, as it did to our fundamentalist forbears, who vigorously attacked them? And should we overlook the almost rabid contempt many conservative evangelicals express toward dispensationalism (which, as Kraus and Sandeen have noted, was born “from within the womb of orthodox Calvinism”)?

What I fear is that we may be allowing a Trojan horse into the fundamentalist camp. And after a while, if we keep going down this track, any significant difference between conservative evangelical and the fundamentalist institutions may disappear. Fundamentalists will become even “nicer” to the conservative evangelicals and they in turn will appear more “respectable” to the fundamentalists. It may be that some fundamentalists desire this. But then, would they not also have to forfeit the label?

Like Kevin, I would give credit to the conservative evangelicals where credit is due. I say “Amen” to everything they have done well in defense of the gospel of Christ. But not at the expense of discrediting fundamentalism for the valiant battles it has fought against some of the very things many conservative evangelicals are espousing which compromise the gospel, yet which many of the current generation do not seem to take very seriously.

Gerald Priest

More on Greg Boyd and BGC

Greg Boyd is no more representative of the BGC as a whole than Ruckman is of the IFB movement. Has Bethlehem Baptist ever invited Boyd to speak? (Answer = no!)

I'm not trying to be BGC defender here, but is it ethical to paint the BGC as some hotbed of Open-Theist apostasy.

Clearly known for . . .

Dr. Priest,

I ask myself . . .

1) What is fundamentalism clearly known for in Idaho? What is the flagship "independent, fundamental" church promoting?
2) What is fundamentalism clearly known for in the Intermountain West?
3) What is fundamentalism clearly known for in the West? What are the flagship churches in California promoting?

And then I ask myself what sources in the last five years have provided me the strongest encouragement and support that I desperately need for doing royal battle for scriptural inerrancy, for the distinctiveness and essense of the Triune God, for penal-substitutionary atonement, etc. and etc.

It has been one wild battle out here in the I-15 corridor. I take very seriously the battles that have been fought in the past. But at the same time I value those brothers today who build me up, who edify me in the fundamentals, while there is smoke and blood all around me in my trench.

thinking of heart issues,
et

What?

C. D. Cauthorne Jr. wrote:
Dr. Bauder belittles a stand on the blood of Christ which the World Congress of Fun[d ]amentalists took in 1986 when they unanimously affirmed: "The precious Blood is indestructible. It cannot be anything else because of its permanence. The Blood is eternally preserved in heaven. Hebrews 12:24."

The WCF took a specific position that the physical blood of Jesus has been moved to heaven and is secure there? And we're wondering why so many leave for the Conservative Evangelical orbit? Wow.

I'm glad that I've never had any reason to get involved with the WCF if this is what they come up with and do.

"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

Can we be more clear?

Todd:

I couldn't agree with you more on the edification part. I'm not that familiar with fundamentalism in your neck of the woods, but perhaps you could use your influence to strengthen it.

Best wishes!

Gerald Priest

Thanks Dr. Priest. I am just

Thanks Dr. Priest. I am just a foot soldier in the woods, but I do pray daily for discernment in the midst of all the smoke.

P.S. - I think that Dr. Bauder is speaking soon in a conference in SLC, right in the heart of the Corridor. I think it is a good thing. Iron sharpening Iron.

Best wishes to you in your service for the King!

Time machine ..... 1986

Jay C wrote:
The WCF took a specific position that the physical blood of Jesus has been moved to heaven and is secure there?

http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/blood.htm

Quote:
During the World Congress on Fundamentalism, which met on the BJU Campus, August 4-8, 1986, they passed a resolution declaring that Christ's actual blood is eternally preserved in heaven, where it is by some mystical means literally applied to each believer. According to the World Congress, such a rigidly literal view of Christ's blood is now to be considered a fundamental doctrine of Christianity, and they will break fellowship with anyone who denies it:

Quote:
The precious Blood is indestructible. It cannot be anything else because of its permanence. The Blood is eternally preserved in Heaven.

and furthermore,

Quote:
This congress . . . Rejects every attempt either to deny the literalness of the Blood or to minimize its efficacy and the necessity of its shedding in Christ's death on the cross. Such denial is a dangerous and devilish deception.

"Rejects every attempt . . . to deny the literalness of the Blood"? Do they now agree with Rome's insistence that "blood" in John 6:54-56 is to be understood in a literal sense? Notice that there is no exception to their rule; they reject "every attempt . . . to deny the literalness of the Blood."

When Bob Jones threw John MacArthur "under the bus"

http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/blood.htm

Quote:
The controversy was originally ignited by a supposed "news" item written by Bob Jones, Jr. in the April 1986 issue of Faith For The Family (a Bob Jones University-sponsored magazine). Jones quoted some remarks MacArthur had originally made in a live Q&A session at Grace Community Church sometime in the early 1970s. MacArthur's comments had been transcribed and published in the May 1976 issue of the Grace Church newsletter "Grace Today." The Jones article cited the comments without any documentation, and without noting that they were from a ten-year-old source.

In the BJU article, Jones quoted MacArthur as saying, "It is not His bleeding that saved me, but His dying." Jones then cited Hebrews 9:22 ("without shedding of blood is no remission") and intoned, "MacArthur's position is heresy."

On June 13, 1986, MacArthur wrote to Bob Jones III, complaining that the magazine had taken snippets of his remarks out of context and deliberately made them seem sinister. MacArthur assured the magazine's editors that he absolutely affirms the necessity of the shed blood of Christ for atonement and explained that the point he was trying to make in the quoted excerpt was merely that the saving efficacy of Christ's blood is not because of some property in the blood itself, but rather because Christ had poured it out in death as a substitute for sinners.

Some are still waiting for Bob Jones (the institution) to retract and recant. But if the timing of their segregation statement is any indication, it may take another 20 years or more!

Ouch, Jim

Clear communication and love is always very helpful in the midst of controversy.

And speaking of clarity . . . I might be confused with being a KJV only fundamentalist. And I might be confused with being a conservative evangelical. And I might be confused with being a Calvinist.

But none of this concerns me nearly as much as being confused with the "fundamentalists" displayed on the front cover of the February 2010 National Geographic. (chuckling)

et

KB and far right

CDCauthorneJr wrote:
IMO, If Dr. Bauder got to personally know some of the folks in "the hyper-Fundamentalist right" (especially those nameless soldiers of the Lord serving in the trenches), he would realize that we both love and serve the same Savior.
I'm sure he knows a few... and has not denied that they love and serve the same Savior.

Should MacArthur be called a fundamentalist?

Bob T. wrote:
First John Piper would not be classified as a Conservative Evangelical. He is a classic Neo evangelical. Unlike MacArthur and some others he remains in a left of center evangelical denomination...Both Piper and MacArthur promote doctrines regarding Soteriology that are contrary to the Reformers and mainstream Reformed faith today while claiming to be appealing to the Reformed faith. The best analysis of this subject is presented in the book "Christ The Lord," edited by Michael Horton and with chapters written by all Reformed Calvinist Theologians. They take apart MacArthur's Gospel and claims that it is that of the Reformers or most contemporary Reformed theologians.

I think most of us are familiar with the subtleties of difference which exist with regard to the soteriology taught by both MacArthur and Piper, and many of us have expressed our disagreement with aspects of it -- whether it is in line with mainstream Reformed thought or not. Some in our camp also agree with MacArthur and Piper on these points.

I agree with Bob, however, in that I would draw a significant distinction between these two men, and wonder why we would have ever classified MacArthur as a "new evangelical" to begin with. By definition, he is a member of a "fundamentalist" association of churches (IFCA Int'l). If you read the VOICE magazine, you will see MacArthur's picture sprinkled through every issue -- right next to advertisements from institutions we would be quite familiar and comfortable with.

Perhaps the debate over MacArthur should not be whether he is a new evangelical or a conservative evangelical, but whether he is a conservative evangelical or a fundamentalist.

To me, that is a good example of why this kind of labeling is arbitrary, unhelpful and unwise -- at least to the extent that we base anything on it.

Editor in Chief – Dispensational Publishing House

Bible Teacher, Minister, Educator, Author, Journalist

A MESS IS A MESS BY ANY OTHER NAME !

Jim Peet wrote:
Greg Boyd is no more representative of the BGC as a whole than Ruckman is of the IFB movement. Has Bethlehem Baptist ever invited Boyd to speak? (Answer = no!)

I'm not trying to be BGC defender here, but is it ethical to paint the BGC as some hotbed of Open-Theist apostasy.


Jim,
Their resolution was to please concerned laity. The BGC has been a hotbed of Pastoral views regarding errant scriptures, egalitarianism, various creation views including the creation account being poetry or allegory, and yes some pastors who do endorse open theism. They specifically turned down a resolution to rebuke and or exclude the open theism view and those who hold it.. The BGC has been classic New Evangelical since the days of Millard Erickson teaching at Bethel in the 1970s, and before. When it comes to New Evangelical mentality you must watch both hands. One gives while the other performs the magic tricks. Biola University, in the 1980s had some who complained that there were history, sociology, Psychology, and Nursing professors who advocated abortion. They passed a strong resolution against abortion for the constituency and concerned alumni. However, no faculty were dealt with and some new faculty were later hired that endorsed abortion. The subject went under the radar as they pointed to their strong resolution. Same thing essentially happened on evolution in the science dept. However, I believe Biola is conservative when compared to Bethel. Greg Boyd remained teaching at Bethel after the resolution you referred to. Today he is Senior Pastor of one of the five largest BGC (Converge Worldwide) churches. It is right there in the Twin Cities area. There are a few even questioning whether Christ is the only way to salvation and some without the gospel may be saved by responding to God through general revelation. This is becoming a popular discussion in Evangelicalism today. Such schools as Azusa Pacific and Seattle Pacific (both Free Methodist) have some who hold such views.

John MacArthur issued a general warning about the Evangelical mess just last week that was noted here on SI. However, he did so while ignoring the fact his major errors regarding faith and the gospel are part of the mess.

Evangelicals were called a mess by an Evangelical. Fundamentalism has been called a mess by a Fundamentalist. Some Fundamentalists believe there is a big vase in heaven with some literal blood that we all need to be sprinkled with. KJVO Fundamentalists hold forth a Bible that is the only one for us to read in English. Nouthetites hold forth the bible as sufficient for everything that may effect human behavior and deny or suspect any science that threatens their view. Maybe we are in a big mess. Where do we go from here?

Well, we are going to Pismo Beach for a few days. Cool

I third the motion

Jamie Hart wrote:
Pastor Joe Roof wrote:
David Doran wrote:
I guess I find myself back at a spot where most of these discussions end for me these days. I think they are all handicapped by the use of labels from the 20th century which no longer fit and, therefore, don’t serve the discussion well. By thinking of three circles—new evangelicalism, conservative evangelicalism, and fundamentalism—all of the energy of the discussion goes into who’s in and who’s out. The unavoidable problem, though, is that nobody can define in and out at this stage of the game. So, where I differ with Bauder is that I don’t think that we can say anything definitive about a group. We need to look at individual men and ministries, find out what they believe and how they apply those beliefs, and then draw our conclusions.

Good stuff!

Amen and amen.

And they all said "Aye".

I find it interesting that we

I find it interesting that we can so easily judge the motives of why the BGC passed the resolution against open theism in 2000........

By the way, one of my friends who happens to be more liberal as an evangelical and a graduate of Bethel has bemoaned the fact that the BGC (Converge) has gotten much more conservative in their theology because of the likes of John Piper. He also is frustrated that the church planting arm of the BGC are not recruiting primarily from Bethel, but rather conservative evangelical institutions such as TEDS, Cedarville, and Cornerstone/GRTS. Jerry Sheveland, the president of Converge grew up in a GARBC church and went to Grand Rapids Baptist College (now Cornerstone) for his undergrad. The picture that Bob paints of the BGC might have been more true 15 years ago, but not today........

Joel Shaffer wrote: By the

Joel Shaffer wrote:
By the way, one of my friends who happens to be more liberal as an evangelical and a graduate of Bethel has bemoaned the fact that the BGC (Converge) has gotten much more conservative in their theology because of the likes of John Piper. He also is frustrated that the church planting arm of the BGC are not recruiting primarily from Bethel, but rather conservative evangelical institutions such as TEDS, Cedarville, and Cornerstone/GRTS. Jerry Sheveland, the president of Converge grew up in a GARBC church and went to Grand Rapids Baptist College (now Cornerstone) for his undergrad. The picture that Bob paints of the BGC might have been more true 15 years ago, but not today........

My wife graduated from Bethel College in 1999 and Bethel Seminary in 2007. She can tell you first hand that they gone astray from orthodox Christianity over the recent years. Many "conservative evangelicals" will also testify to this and often do on Saturday morning radio. Jan Markell and Bob Dewaay come to mind. Bethel is now known for producing emergent church leaders, having professors teaching evolution and promoting eastern mystical practices.

Matthew, What has happened at

Matthew,

What has happened at Bethel is why Converge (BGC) is recruiting from more conservative evangelical seminaries for all the church planting that they do....I am not denying that Bethel is more liberal than their denomination. I am maintaining that the churches, especially their church planting movement (which is one of the most aggressive in the nation) are more conservative than their school....and that the leadership of Converge and the churches have moved in a more conservative evangelical direction in the past 10-15 years.........

Straight Ahead!

Kevin,

Outstanding!

Straight Ahead!

jt

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

Joel Shaffer wrote:
Matthew,

What has happened at Bethel is why Converge (BGC) is recruiting from more conservative evangelical seminaries for all the church planting that they do....I am not denying that Bethel is more liberal than their denomination. I am maintaining that the churches, especially their church planting movement (which is one of the most aggressive in the nation) are more conservative than their school....and that the leadership of Converge and the churches have moved in a more conservative evangelical direction in the past 10-15 years.........

That may be true for some BGC churches but my wife was on staff for years at a BGC church and her parents are currently on staff at a different BGC church. Before we left my wife's BGC church people like Brian McLaren were quoted in a positive light from the pulpit. Also, there were may emergent materials being promoted by members of the church. This may have changed since because we brought this up with the pastors and they were looking into the emergent movement and where they should stand. Also, the staff would deny open theism but overall the church was not very conservative. As for my inlaw's church they currently use emergent and emerging material for study groups. As far as I know they would reject open theism but I wouldn't consider their church that conservative as well. I love my family and the members of our former BGC church but I certainly felt uncomfortable with where the theology was heading and feel more at home at Fourth.

Dr. Bauder seems to want to create a new measure for fellowship?

Is Dr. Bauder calling for a new measure for fellowship? As he closes this essay, he seems to be saying that if someone defends the gospel that they are okay, don't say anything against them, never mind their other errors, they are defending the faith. Sounds like the second, or third or fourth verse of a song that has been playing for decades. We once heard, don't say anything against Billy Graham he's winnings souls, don't you know. Or, don't say anything against Jerry Falwell, he's trying to bring together a moral majority for the good of America.

Others have posted well against what Dr. Bauder has stated. I will a bit here. Dr. Bauder states, "If we did not have conservative evangelicals to guard the borders, the real enemy would have invaded our camp long ago. Fundamentalism has exhibited a remarkable freedom from Open Theism, evangelical feminism, New Perspective theology, and other present-day threats to the gospel. The reason is not that Fundamentalists have kept the enemy at bay. The reason is that other thinkers—mainly conservative evangelicals—have carried the battle to the enemy. Conservative evangelicals are the heavy artillery, under the shelter of whose barrage Fundamentalists have been able to find some measure of theological safety."

Of course Fundamentalism has exhibited a remarkable freedom from those threats, they are heretical and Fundamentalists have seen them for what they are. The Conservative Evangelicals have been the ones to issue the books denouncing those errors because they came up in their camp (new evangelicalism, that is, I do not buy into Dr. Bauder's idea that the CEs are not part of New Evangelicalism) and needed to be addressed. Their doing so did nothing to keep me safe from these errors. I found out about these errors in Fundamentalist publications (an example would be from his own undergraduate alma mater). Which kind of leads me to something. If Bauder is so lauding the CEs for their sounding the alarm on these things, where was Dr. Bauder's pen? He readily lashes out at his fellow Fundamentalists for their lack, but what about his own lack? I find that he was a contributing editor to a book on the King James Only Issue. An issue he seems to hold in contempt amongst Fundamentalists in his essay. The old saying is still applicable, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

By the way, as a side note,

By the way, as a side note, one thing I found odd with BGC churches was the trend they took to remove "Baptist" from the name of the church. With the conference also making this step it makes me wonder if they would really consider themselves Baptists any longer. Also, I always questioned how tight of ties Piper's church has with the rest of the BGC churches. I never had a sense there being a strong bond. Also, I knew a person that attended Piper's church for a while and I question how much conviction Piper has to Baptist essentials such as Believer's Baptism. There was discussion for a while to allow membership to those that never had a Believer's Baptism.

"Don't say anything against them"?

Brian Ernsberger wrote:
As he closes this essay, he seems to be saying that if someone defends the gospel that they are okay, don't say anything against them, never mind their other errors, they are defending the faith.

This is not what he is saying. There's nothing even close to "never mind their other errors" and "don't say anything against them."

But I do think it would be fair to say that we do not know what would have happened in Fundamentalism without the CE's. Though there is evidence of doctrinal weakness in Fundamentalism in a number of places (and here & there some extremes), there was never any chance that institutions like Faith in Ankeny, DBTS, CBTS, BJU and others were going to embrace open theism, double-inspiration, new perspective on Paul, etc.
So I do think there's a bit of hyperbole going on there. But I believe KB is right that the CE's have been very helpful in general (and also to Fundamentalism) by tackling these issues head on with courage and clarity.

Note on BGC: might be good to move that discussion to another thread, though it is somewhat related.

Quote: Is Dr. Bauder calling

Quote:
Is Dr. Bauder calling for a new measure for fellowship? As he closes this essay, he seems to be saying that if someone defends the gospel that they are okay, don't say anything against them, never mind their other errors, they are defending the faith.

That is a misinterpretation. Even in the address Kevin made to Fundamentalist Presbyterians in 2006 (http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?currSection=sermonsspeaker&ser...), he noted that there were limits to their fellowship, and that there would be things that he would "say against them," at least doctrinally (as would they of him). Similar points would apply here, though I would note that Kevin would have more in common with Barret and the company there than he would with Piper and co. Kevin isn't arguing that nothing should ever be said negatively. However, he is arguing that we shouldn't put these conservative evangelical in the same category we might, say, a Roman Catholic, Jehovah's Witness, or Muslim. He is saying that there is room for favorable assessment and appreciation of people we have (significant) disagreements with. He is saying that principled disagreement ought not equate open hostility.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Should be interesting

[URL=http://www.graceutah.com/fc/ Foundations Conference[/URL ] in Salt Lake City in April should be interesting as Kevin Bauder will be speaking about the fundamentalist's relationship to conservative evangelicals. (How is that for a shameless plug?) The Q&A time will be extra fun.

I am not sure why it is that we cannot view these men as co-laborers and still not agree with them on some important doctrine. John Piper has been a tremendous encouragement to me to be zealous for the Glory of God and delight of Christ in all areas of life. John Macarthur has encouraged me to be a diligent careful expositor of the Word, Dave Doran has taught me to seek to interpret and apply Scripture in a practical and clear manner. Tim Jordan has been a blessing to teach me to be transparent and open with the Word of God and pastoring. Mark Dever has helped shape my thinking regarding the supremacy of the local church and a healthy membership. CJ Mahany has influenced to be a real man of God standing for purity and holiness. Kevin Bauder has lifted my spirit with the thrill of the fine points of the Gospel message (I heard an excellent series by him on the particulars of the Gospel at a family camp). What do all these men have in common? Probably a lot and as we have already seen, they have a lot not in common. None of them are in my camp! I say that because I don't know which campground I am in. By the grace of God and his Holy Spirit I have heard things preached by each of these men I have disagreed with. Some of it, I have changed my thinking on because of their serious, thoughtful approach to Scripture. Others things, I have not changed my thinking on. But I praise God that in this information age, I can utilize these men's hearts and minds to better shepherd God's flock. They aren't my enemies, they are my brothers and my co-laborers, even if I have never met some of them. Why do I have to feel so uncomfortable if we disagree on important issues? I am God's servant and so are they, they and I will account to God for the lifetime of ministry. I praise God when the gospel is preached, regardless of which campground they are standing in when it is given.

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