Let's Get Clear On This

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.

22434 reads

There are 143 Comments

Jay's picture

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

Gerald Priest's picture

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

Todd Wood's picture

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!

Jim's picture

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."

Jim's picture

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!

Todd Wood's picture

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

Aaron Blumer's picture

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.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

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.

Assistant: Dr. John C. Whitcomb — Writer: Regular Baptist Press, Answers Magazine — Associate: IMI/SOS Int'l

Bob T.'s picture

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

Susan R's picture

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".

Joel Shaffer's picture

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........

Matthew Christensen's picture

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.

Joel Shaffer's picture

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.........

Joel Tetreau's picture

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;

Matthew Christensen's picture

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.

Brian Ernsberger's picture

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.

Matthew Christensen's picture

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.

Aaron Blumer's picture

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.

Greg Linscott's picture

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

Matthew J's picture

[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.

Pastor Marc Monte's picture

I wish I had time to post a lengthy comment on Bauder's recent article. However, our church is hosting our annual Bus Ministry and Soul Winning Conference. We had a great service last night with over 300 in attendance and 34 churches represented. Folks are getting fired up about soulwinning. Why mention this in this comment thread? Because, contrary to Kevin Bauder's opinion, it is the fundamentalists who are maintaining both sound doctrine and solid evangelism! And many of us are doing it with not the slightest thought of John Calvin. Imagine that...

Just clinging to my guns and religion... www.faithbaptistavon.com

JohnBrian's picture

Matthew Christensen wrote:
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.
The issue was over the fact that a Baptist who wanted to join a Presbyterian church would have his (credo) baptism accepted, but a Presbyterian who wanted to join a Baptist church would not have his (paedo) baptism accepted, and would have to be (re) baptized. There was a discussion on whether to accept the paedo into membership at Bethlehem, but I don't know what the church finally decided.

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

JohnBrian's picture

Pastor Marc Monte wrote:
...it is the fundamentalists who are maintaining both sound doctrine and solid evangelism! And many of us are doing it with not the slightest thought of John Calvin. Imagine that...
Yeah, fundamentalists have always done an excellent job of getting folks to profess faith, but not all professors are possessors. I used to be a champion soul-winner too, but now I repudiate numbers driven evangelism.

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

Steven Thomas's picture

I consider Kevin a friend. We have crossed paths on more than one conference platform and I have gladly shared my pulpit with him. I always benefit from his ministry of the Word and careful cultural insight. Therefore, it is with some reluctance that I will deviate from the effusive praise that seems to be the dominant theme in most of the previous posts on this page.

“Let’s Get Clear On This” contains much with which I agree, but it also suffers from several problems. First, it is hard to see how the creation of a third category significantly improves our ability to classify accurately brothers on the right or the left. Dave Doran has adequately raised this concern, so I will not waste more ink on it here. Next, the one thing that is most “clear” is the imbalance of the tone in “Clear.” I looked in vain to find value ascribed to fundamentalism, yet the praise for conservative evangelicals was pervasive and enthusiastic. In reality, all of the named CEs bring to the table a dangerous theological perspective—the rejection of the biblical principle of separation from the erring brother. This position guarantees the eventual apostasy of their institutions and organizations.

My greatest concern has to do with the explicit approval given to “shared and targeted” initiatives between conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists. The implication seems to be that shared lecterns/pulpits are necessary in order to display appreciation for and benefit from the contributions these men have made to gospel ministry. Surely this is a false dilemma. I routinely place resources into my people’s hands, including books written by many of the men on Kevin’s list. I express deep appreciation for the contributions these men have made in targeted areas. But I do this in contexts that enable me to balance the appropriate praise with equally appropriate calls to full-orbed biblical discernment. But the moment I choose to share the pulpit with someone—a personal and public alignment, I mitigate (if not sacrifice) my ability to engage their views with critical analysis.

A common theme in SI discussions and other forums is the hypocrisy of separation from conservative evangelicals because heresy gets a pass within fundamentalism. It does not get a pass from all fundamentalists. I have been crying out for decades that inconsistency will damage our credibility. Some of us take this seriously. My ministry has never been discredited by the KJVO crowd because I have been preaching from the NIV for over 20 years. If I ask a speaker to accommodate my congregation by using the text they have in their laps, the problem seems to take care of itself . In 27 years I have never given a revivalist/evangelist a forum to share Keswick error or mysticism. Nor have I ever knowingly shared the pulpit with a preacher who publicly denounces Calvinistic soteriology. We have closed the door on a myriad of other inconsistencies by vigorously upholding the regulative principle of worship. The road to consistency is easy to find if you look for it, but let the traveler be warned: the toll can be costly. My point is that the hypocrisy of some cannot justify the compromise of others; there are other paths to follow.

There is no greater display of affinity than a shared pulpit. As some now display a measure of public unity with conservative evangelicals, unintended consequences are sure to follow. The intent of our leaders might not be “abandoning Fundamentalism” or “embracing conservative evangelicalism,” but a new generation will assume the latter and use it as an excuse to do the former. It is an undeniable certainty that many young men in our circle will view “Clear” as their certificate of emancipation. They are looking for the exit right now and imagine that Kevin is their doorman. The solution to our problems must not be found in broadening our circle (or erasing it), but in tightening it where warranted.

Unintended consequences are, after all, consequential nonetheless.

ST

Steven Thomas

JobK's picture

Regarding Presbyterians, what of those who have real issues with their doctrines regarding baptism and their views on the separation of church and the world (i.e. church and the state and the fallen culture)? Is that a secondary separation issue?

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
http://healtheland.wordpress.com

Greg Linscott's picture

Quote:
Because, contrary to Kevin Bauder's opinion, it is the fundamentalists who are maintaining both sound doctrine and solid evangelism! And many of us are doing it with not the slightest thought of John Calvin. Imagine that...

They are, however, apparently not confident that the emphasis on evangelism and sound doctrine they have might be enough to draw the crowd in itself...

Quote:
Prizes
- New suit to the pastor with the highest attendance point totals
- 10 points for return delegates, 15 points for first-time delegates
- Spin the wheel and win a new Bible, $100 bill, $50 bill and more...

Competitions
- CDL licensed drivers can compete in the bus driving competition
- All men 16 and over can compete in a men’s 3-on-3 basketball tournament following the Monday evening service. Bring your own team or be assigned to one.

See more details here: http://www.faithbaptistavon.com/calendar/Brochure.html

I don't mean to be snarky or dismissive by posting that, BTW. It does illustrate, however, that there is a significant divide in the conception of what constitutes "sound doctrine" (such as http://www.gracebaptistcollege.com/greek.html the example Kevin mentioned in his article). Marc Monte's church conference illustrates that further. There are going to be significant differences in the methodology and approaches between Monte or http://www.hacalumni.com/docs/DrJeffreyFugate.doc ]Jeff Fugate (one of Monte's conference speakers).

I cannot speak for Kevin here, but I will gladly speak for myself and my church when I say I have no desire to be numbered along people who look to Jeffrey Fugate as a champion of sound doctrine and sound evangelism. I see the problems with Piper- and there are several. However, I see that the problems of men like Fugate and his ilk are just as plenteous, if not more so, and on significant doctrinal issues. I, for one, would welcome an article to follow up this one of Bauder's articulating what the appropriate response should be towards people like Fugate and Monte who attempt to share the Fundamentalist label with us, but who hold little if any of the idea and ideals of Fundamentalism in common.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Don Johnson's picture

Greg Linscott wrote:
It does illustrate, however, that there is a significant divide in the conception of what constitutes "sound doctrine" (such as http://www.gracebaptistcollege.com/greek.html the example Kevin mentioned in his article). Marc Monte's church conference illustrates that further. There are going to be significant differences in the methodology and approaches between Monte or http://www.hacalumni.com/docs/DrJeffreyFugate.doc ]Jeff Fugate (one of Monte's conference speakers).

I cannot speak for Kevin here, but I will gladly speak for myself and my church when I say I have no desire to be numbered along people who look to Jeffrey Fugate as a champion of sound doctrine and sound evangelism.

Hi Greg

Likewise, I have no desire to be numbered in company with such foolishness.

But isn't that what KB is attempting to do with these paragraphs?

Kevin Bauder wrote:
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.

Yes, he has a little weasel room with the line: "Of course, many Fundamentalists reject these errors as well."

Yes we do reject these errors, but the way this is presented is that we don't reject them enough. We 'tolerate' them. Right... sure we do.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Todd Wood's picture

Let Fugate and Monte keep the label, Greg.

The largest, independent Baptist fundamentalist church in Idaho ( http://tvbc.org/index.htm ) can continue to keep the "independent Baptist fundamentalist" label.

I can acknowledge Pastor Rick DeMichele in Idaho (or Pastor Marc Monte or Fugate) as brothers that love the Lord as I do and fellow soldiers in the trenches, but we just won't ever share pulpits because of ministry differences. But I will also acknowledge Paul Thompson, SBC Idaho pastor who was released from Haiti, as a brother who loves the Lord and as a fellow soldier in the trenches, too.

I intently desire for the Mormon community to genuinely see and know my love for my brother. This is the greatest Christian apologetic for a Christian movement of any sort and a future fundamentalism that I want to be a part of.

thinking of heart issues,
et

Joseph's picture

The criticism of Bauder's article to the effect that it's unsufficiently appreciative of Fundamentalism is baseless.

It is a necessary result of the limitations of writing, particularly in polemical contexts, that "balance" is never going to characterize a single, few-hundred word essay. Most essays are not intended to be balanced because they do not (unless their author is stupid or a very bad writer) intend to express everything he or she thinks. If they are good, they will make one point very clearly.

So, if you move the criticism to its proper context, viz. Bauder's writings as a whole and his ministry as a whole, and then say, "Bauder is insufficiently appreciative of Fundamentalism" the criticism is seem for what it is: a baseless and absurd descrption of a man who has devoted his life to pastoring Fundamentalist churches and now running a Fundamentalist seminary as well as defending historic Fundamentalism in his writing, speaking, and teaching.

People on SI have a general sense of my cast of mind towards much of Fundamentalilsm, and they know I disagree with Dr. Bauder on some issues, as I'm sure everyone does, but I think it's imperative to be fair critics. Most authors know their work will be badly criticized, with the most common bad criticism directed at something the original essay was never meant to accomplish. So, I'm sure Bauder is unsurprised, but I find it impossible to sit back and watch this particular criticism, coming from good and well-intenioned people, no doubt, stand; it's baseless, and we ought to know better.

People should better learn to understand the context and genre and attendant limitations of the writings they assess; we would all be better off for it. So, to that end, perhaps we can put to rest the idea that the president of a Fundamentalist seminary is not sufficiently appreciative of Fundamentalism because he does not sing its praises or add long caveats (which ruin good writing, as any essayists knows) in every popular essay he writes.

Jay's picture

Pastor Marc Monte wrote:
I wish I had time to post a lengthy comment on Bauder's recent article. However, our church is hosting our annual Bus Ministry and Soul Winning Conference. We had a great service last night with over 300 in attendance and 34 churches represented. Folks are getting fired up about soulwinning. Why mention this in this comment thread? Because, contrary to Kevin Bauder's opinion, it is the fundamentalists who are maintaining both sound doctrine and solid evangelism! And many of us are doing it with not the slightest thought of John Calvin. Imagine that...

Because you're either pro-witnessing and pro-discipleship, or you're liberal. Gee, I was thinking that John MacArthur doesn't witness either, especially not on Larry King Live. Or because John Piper pleads with people to be saved at the closing session of Resolved 08 because it fattens his paycheck.

"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

Pages

Help keep SI’s server humming. A few bucks makes a difference.