Kevin Bauder interviewed by CT: The History of the Fundamentalists Facing a Massive Abuse Scandal

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josh p's picture

Kudos to CT for bringing in a knowledgeable and reasonable fundamentalist to comment. Really pleased to hear them asking good questions about fundamentalism and of course Bauder’s usual eloquent description of fundamentalism. I pray that fundamentalists will be challenged to be more vigilant about preventing abuse and that some non-fundamentalists will take another look at fundamentalism’s strengths. 

JD Miller's picture

Minneapolis not Cincinnati.  I had to chuckle when I noticed how much Kevin sounds like Johnny Fever. 

Jay's picture

Yup, definitely worth your time.  I was very pleasantly surprised at how the discussion went, and fully expected them to go heavy on the scandal and lighter on the discussion of Fundamentalism.  Instead it was almost the complete opposite and they never really dealt with the scandal.

I have to admit that I was curious to see if Dr. Bauder would mention SI.  He did not, and maybe that’s for the better.

 

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

Andrew K's picture

Jim wrote:

 

Jay wrote:

I have to admit that I was curious to see if Dr. Bauder would mention SI.  He did not, and maybe that’s for the better.

 

SI is but a pebble in the pond 

 

Or just a poodle in the pound. Bleah

Bert Perry's picture

It's a great overview of our movement vis-a-vis evangelicalism, and I appreciate that, but given the gravity of what's going on with sexual abuse, a bit more about why many churches and schools in our fold have gotten caught with their pants down would have been really good.  This is especially the case when I consider the Star-Telegram proposes a number of cultural factors that, while they don't necessarily create molesters and rapists, do tend to result in many institutions tolerating them.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jim Welch's picture

Well done and well worth the time it takes to listen.

Jeff Howell's picture

I thought Kevin was outstanding. It seemed to me that the hostess actually was drawn away from the main topic of the scandal by Kevin's outstanding command of 20th century church history, which led to diminished amount of time for addressing the greater scandal issues. His constant spirit of humility, impressive knowledge of historical fact, and proper interpretation and application of biblical truth essentially relegated the hosts to mere listeners with occasional side commentary. I suspect the interview is an eye opener for many who listen and are not a part of IFB or CE backgrounds.

Ed Vasicek's picture

It is such a relief to hear an interview without an agenda, where the interviewers and the interviewed are fair, reasonable, and knowledgeable.  Excellent.  And yes, Bauder did a great job.  

"The Midrash Detective"

TylerR's picture

Editor

Bauder remarked that Baptist fundamentalism has been "decimated" by three different things:

  • Big Man leadership
  • Landmark theology
  • KJVO

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

TylerR wrote:

Bauder remarked that Baptist fundamentalism has been "decimated" by three different things:

  • Big Man leadership
  • Landmark theology
  • KJVO

He pretty much nailed that.

Dave Barnhart

Ed Vasicek's picture

Bauder clarified some things for me.  I have never been part of the Baptist movement, per se, but Bible churches are sort of incognito Baptists.  What made me cringe at the fundamentalist label, I now understand, was its association with Southern-style Independent Baptists, the kind that have "preacher boys" and pastors who stomp and snort and are about making the sale.

I still find myself technically a fundamentalist, but often more at home with conservative evangelicals than some who wear the label.  It wasn't until I became part of SI that I realized there were fundamentalists who valued thinking and appealed to the Biblical texts rather than using (and twisting) the Bible to advance a party line.  So glad to be part of this forum.

"The Midrash Detective"

G. N. Barkman's picture

Ed, your comments are very close to my own experience.  Where I minister in Alamance County, North Carolina, nearly all the Independent Baptists have become strong KJVO.  I used to attend the local fellowship meetings, but increasingly, they became KJVO forums, and I slowly pulled away..  I found fellowship in a Calvinist pastors group, but most of those pastors are not from my area.  I also found fellowship with a few local conservative evangelical pastors.  I never ceased being a fundamentalist in the historic sense, but found it increasingly difficult to find others of like mind.  Then I discovered SI and was re-united to my fundamentalist roots.  I really appreciate SI.

G. N. Barkman

TylerR's picture

Editor

In his interview, Bauder stated the essence of fundamentalism has been separatism. He spent much of his time explaining what this means, and what it doesn't mean. He made this distinction in the context of how to differentiate between right-wing evangelicals and fundamentalists. 

What do ya'll think about this? My own conception of the distinction between the two camps is that fundamentalists are militant for the core doctrines of the faith; they'll fight for the Bible against revisionist attempts. They're aggressive conservatives. On my understanding, separation is a fruit is this, but not the root. 

Perhaps this is a better descriptor for this day and age - an aggressive theological conservative. That doesn't sound catchy, but it gets the point across better than "fundamentalist" does. It also puts the emphasis on fidelity to doctrines, not separation from compromisers. I think this is more than semantics; the distinction is important. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ed Vasicek's picture

Tyler asked:

What do ya'll think about this? My own conception of the distinction between the two camps is that fundamentalists are militant for the core doctrines of the faith; they'll fight for the Bible against revisionist attempts. They're aggressive conservatives. On my understanding, separation is a fruit is this, but not the root. 

Sometimes it is merely an issue of where people are in the separation spectrum. Conservative evangelicals will usually separate over essentials, but are not as fearful of a little erroneous doctrine if the errors are not about the essentials.  Issues like levels of fear,  how long a leash to allow, how protective shepherds should be of their sheep, how much leaders trust their people, and guilt by association all come into play. So does the intelligence level of a congregation (even though there is variety within a congregation), and how "chill" leaders are about secondary issues. More mainstream evangelicals (center and left) often do not even understand the concept of separation (although the CT people doing the interview, who don't separate, do understand where we are coming from, esp. Galli).   

All that to say that I think it is unfair to paint conservative evangelicals as non-militant -- the difference is often more about what they are militant about and how often they are militant.

Whether you consider MacArthur a conservative evangelical or fundamentalist, he comes across as having a chip on his shoulder and militant, while a Warren Wiersbe would not come across that way, but would stand up to heresy.

 

"The Midrash Detective"

TylerR's picture

Editor

Ed wrote:

All that to say that I think it is unfair to paint conservative evangelicals as non-militant -- the difference is often more about what they are militant about and how often they are militant.

You're right. To my own way of thinking, Mohler, MacArthur, Dever (et al) are historic fundamentalists. There are typically two kinds of fundamentalism at play, and you always have to define your terms on this:

  • Historic fundamentalism = characterized by militancy against theological revisionism
  • Post 1948/1956 (draw whatever line you wish) fundamentalism = characterized by opposition to neo-evangelicals. 

I agree with the first category, and don't much care for the second. So, in my own definition (see previous post), I would consider James White, MacArthur, Dever (et al) as historic fundamentalists, even if they don't want anything to do with the label. I'm not sure it's a label worth claiming anymore, to be honest. I would never tell anyone at work I'm a "fundamentalist." I'd tell them I'm a conservative Christian; an evangelical. 

I believe the post 1948/1956 stripe of fundamentalism characterizes much of "Baptist fundamentalism," and has for a long while. I'm more comfortable with "self-identifying" as a very hard-right evangelical than a fundamentalist. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Craig Toliver's picture

I listened and appreciated your explanation of the history of fundamentalism. My comments:

  1. Fundamentalism has become too binary, meaning
  2. Either one is or one is an evangelical who doesn't believe in separation! What about the CE's?
  3. It's (fundamentalism) more frequently, it seems, more about this (below) than separation from BG (the past) and the future BGs
    • It's often about (and you speak of this), the KJVO movement
    • It's often about list-based sanctification (some call this legalism)
    • It's often about what I regard as non-essentials: Music, et cetera (perhaps the teetotalism issue)
    • It's often about "the schools" and what school a preacher has graduated (like a school-based gravitational-pull where the school is the center)
  4. There's been some hypocrisy about separation:
    • Where was the separation when BJ had (thankfully corrected) racist policies?
    • Ditto over semipelagianism? When the Calvinists were excoriated
G. N. Barkman's picture

Since you asked for my opinion, I'll chime in here.  My understanding of historic Fundamentalism includes those who fought vigorously for the fundamentals and against apostasy, but did not always separate from their denominations.  W. D. Riley comes readily to mind, who never separated from the Northern Baptist Convention.  In today's climate, that would make him a New Evangelical.  In his day, he was a militant Fundamentalist.

So, Bauder's definition probably fits the past forty years pretty well, but not the whole history of Fundamentalism.  In the early years, men  like Mac Arthur would have been included in the Fundamentalist camp.  I think he should be so included today, but many Fundamentalists disagree.  In my opinion, modern Fundamentalists have made separation the ultimate test of fidelity rather than militant defense of the Faith.  In their minds, you cannot militantly defend the Faith unless you separate from anything and everything that does not agree 100%.  Our Fundamentalist forefathers would not have seen it that way.  Many early Fundamentalists were more like today's courageous conservative evangelicals.

The Southern Baptist Convention of 1971, before BJU decided to separate from all things SBC, was more firmly under control of apostates than the SBC of today.  Yet today, Fundamentalists are expected to separate from all elements of the SBC.  Consistent?  Not hardly.  Today's Fundamentalism is too subjective.  I would like to see a return to the principles of historic Fundamentalism.

G. N. Barkman