Beale on Broader Evangelicalism

" ...let’s just zero in on the most significant problem with Dr. Beale’s taxonomy—that there are only two groups in our day, Fundamentalism and Broad Evangelicalism" - Doran

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josh p's picture

I have always had great respect for Dr. Beale but some of his takes here are shockingly bad. Has he even read Naselli's book? This is either a terrible summary or he is ignorant of what he actually teaches. How anyone could read "Let Go and Let God?" for instance and come to that understanding is amazing. By the way, DBTS had Naselli teach on Keswick theology as well but it was prior to his going to Bethlehem (I think). In a few hours of listening a person can get a pretty good idea of what he actually teaches. 

Also this section on the "apostate" OPC is foolish in the extreme. I'll have to go back and read his book so I can learn all about that wicked apostate J. Gresham Machen.

"Covenant Community (Taylors, SC): An Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). On one of their website videos, the pastor poured water on a little child’s head and said, “This is like Abraham’s ‘baptizing his whole house’” (Genesis 17). The pastor substituted the word baptism for the word circumcision and called it regeneration. Augustine and Roman Catholicism devised and standardized this doctrine, which assumes an OT circumcisional regeneration for Jewish males.4 Romanism transformed that doctrine into NT water baptismal regeneration to elect infants. Forms of that doctrine passed into Reformed theology. John Calvin insisted that OT circumcision engrafted the Jewish infant into the covenant [elect] family of God; thus, NT baptism engrafts a newborn child into the body of Christ.5 Reformed doctrine leads many to believe the seed of regeneration is implanted at infant baptism, though salvation might occur later."

Really disappointed in this "expansion." To me, Dr. Beale has discredited himself. 

Don Johnson's picture

josh p wrote:

I have always had great respect for Dr. Beale but some of his takes here are shockingly bad. Has he even read Naselli's book?

Josh, I haven't read Naselli's book either. The content of the book is not the main issue. Andy has clearly identified himself with a movement that fundamentalists find highly questionable, to say the least. I am not sure of Bethlehem Baptist's views of the sign gifts, but Piper clearly embraced them. But that is not all, Bethlehem Baptist is part of a denomination that is (or was) home to Open Theism. As far as I know, they never expelled these false teachers.

What I found "shockingly bad" was to have Naselli speak at lectures held in honour of Dr. Custer. I knew Dr. Custer. He wouldn't have put up with Naselli's compromise for a minute.

You can agree or disagree with Dr. Beale on his positions, but the point of his complaints (and mine) are that BJU has moved away from its earlier positions. I think they've made the wrong decision, and the invitation to Naselli is one example of the problem.

Granted, many here disagree. That's their business. And granted, Dr. Beale's term "Broader Evangelicalism" is the wrong term to describe Naselli. Nevertheless, the issue isn't Naselli (he's made his own decisions), it is BJU and the changes that are happening there.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Craig Toliver's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
But that is not all, Bethlehem Baptist is part of a denomination that is (or was) home to Open Theism. As far as I know, they never expelled these false teachers.

Piper was on the forefront of exposing and rebuking Open Theism!

https://www.desiringgod.org/books/beyond-the-bounds

Also Coverge is no more of a denomination than the GARBC is!

Don Johnson's picture

Did they expel them?

the Baptist General Conference (Converge) is much more of a denomination than the GARBC is, though both are too denominational for me.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

josh p's picture

"Josh, I haven't read Naselli's book either. The content of the book is not the main issue."

It is when you are referencing his positions not just his practice. He specifically addressed his dissertation here: 

"Dr. Andy Naselli, in his 2006 BJU dissertation, scorns independent, Fundamental Baptists for giving invitations to “surrender oneself to God.” Naselli criticizes the practice and calls it a “second blessing.” Naselli unsuccessfully tried to identify the Fundamentalist movement with Keswick extremes on the baptism of the Holy Spirit."

He wrote a PhD on Keswick theology, a book, a popular level book, and has lectured extensively on it. It's not like we have to really grasp to understand what he is saying. He is mischaracterizing his position.
 

Go back and listen to the DBTS lectures from years back and you can hear McCune make the same criticisms of Keswick theology. He appears to not even be trying to understand what he is saying. I don't agree with Naselli's associations either; but how about not slandering the man and actually representing him accurately? Same goes for the OPC. Dr. Beale apparently doesn't understand basic reformed theology but he is criticizing a seminary for fellowshipping with "apostate" OPC churches. 

Don Johnson's picture

First, Dr. Beale has a good grasp of theology. He taught History of Doctrine for years. He knows the theology.

Second, I tend to agree in general with criticisms of Keswick theology, however I wouldn't be as extremely opposed to it as I gather Naselli is. It has great flaws, but some great Christians taught it, or at least forms of it, and did a lot of good for the kingdom. D. L. Moody, Hudson Taylor, and others. So though I don't embrace it myself, I find it hard to make a blanket condemnation.

In any case, Dr. Beale's concerns on that point are rooted in Naselli's dissertation, which he would have access to. I haven't seen the dissertation, so I can't comment on his characterization of that. Perhaps if someone has, they can clarify the point.

I have heard of more strongly Reformed minded young men (mostly young men) criticizing any kind of invitation after a service as either Keswick or Pelagian or Arminian or whatever the "pejorative-du-jour" is. In light of this, I find it plausible that Naselli might criticize them as such.

Anyway, I'm off. Grandkids time.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

josh p's picture

If he has a good grasp on theology he has apparently forgotten it. 
 

"It has great flaws, but some great Christians taught it, or at least forms of it, and did a lot of good for the kingdom. D. L. Moody, Hudson Taylor, and others. So though I don't embrace it myself, I find it hard to make a blanket condemnation."

The same is true of non-separatism and you (rightly) condemn it. The rightness of a theology is not judged by its adherents but by its biblical support. 
 

Naselli's dissertation was turned into the book. Not sure how different it is but it sounded like it was very similar. I've read the book twice and listened to the lectures a couple times as well. I've also compared his arguments with others (McCune, Warfield, etc.) and they seem to be in the same general vein. In any case, the book is quite detailed and has around 2000 footnotes, if I remember correctly. Plenty there to understand. 
 

I'm not here to defend Naselli. I think I stated that I think some of his associations are lamentable. But his positions aren't defined what other "strongly reformed minded men" say. They also aren't defined by the kind of claptrap that Beale is putting out. 
 

More concerning to me is the list of "apostate" churches. I hope that someone who knows and loves Dr. Beale will help him to rethink some of his more outlandish statements. 
 

Enjoy your grandkids! 

Larry's picture

Moderator

MODERATOR NOTE: Keep this thread on BJU and the related issues there.

Bert Perry's picture

I haven't read through all of the allegations against Andy Naselli, but what I have read indicates that a major part of what he's in trouble for is some rather forcible enforcement of a local orthodoxy against those who would dare to question it--which is exactly the pattern that BJU has followed over the years (and may be repenting of in part), and it's exactly the thing that Beale is doing.

Now as someone who separates himself from various parties in the church--liberal churches on the left and the KJVO/Trail of Blood/love them rules people on the right--I'm not totally against the notion that certain arguments and beliefs would place you "outside the acceptable range of views" at seminaries, churches, clleges, and the like.  I think the key trick is to be up front about it, and even more importantly, to be Biblical about the matter.  

All in all, not being a believer in secondary separation, I'm not terribly impressed by Beale's list, to put it mildly.  Not much of it has anything, IMO, to do with the Gospel, and if BJU is indeed walking away from that brand of fundamentalism, all I can say is Halleluiah!

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

AndyE's picture

Bert Perry wrote:
All in all, not being a believer in secondary separation, I'm not terribly impressed by Beale's list, to put it mildly.  Not much of it has anything, IMO, to do with the Gospel, and if BJU is indeed walking away from that brand of fundamentalism, all I can say is Halleluiah!
Just for clarification, do you believe that BJU's separation from Billy Graham was primary or secondary separation? Legitimate or not?

Bert Perry's picture

BJU's separation was clearly secondary, and my take right here is that they missed the major issue with Graham's ministry, which was that they were "getting decisions", but largely failing to follow up and make disciples.  It's more or less a reality that by focusing on secondary and tertiary issues, they missed the big, primary issue.

And really, that's one BIG reason I tend to separate from some on the "theological right".   Little things become fundamentals, and hence the big things--the actual fundamentals--get sidetracked.  It's why Doug MacLachlan used to talk about the left ditch and the right ditch.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Ron Bean's picture

 

Just for clarification, do you believe that BJU's separation from Billy Graham was primary or secondary separation? Legitimate or not?

 

[/quote]

BJU's separation from BG was secondary separation. (Separation from a Christian (BG) who himself refused to separate from apostasy.) Part of the confusion resulted from the fact that a lot of "us" treated it as primary an, in turn, treated BG as an apostate. 

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

AndyE's picture

Got it - BJU's separation from BG was secondary separation.

To Bert (or Ron or anyone else if interested), do you agree that BG gave Christian recognition to those who denied the gospel?  In other words, he regularly promoted people as Christian believers who were not based on their denial of fundamental gospel doctrine?

 

 

Craig Toliver's picture

AndyE wrote:
do you agree that BG gave Christian recognition to those who denied the gospel?  In other words, he regularly promoted people as Christian believers who were not based on their denial of fundamental gospel doctrine?

The great BG error! 

 

Ron Bean's picture

AndyE wrote:

Got it - BJU's separation from BG was secondary separation.

To Bert (or Ron or anyone else if interested), do you agree that BG gave Christian recognition to those who denied the gospel?  In other words, he regularly promoted people as Christian believers who were not based on their denial of fundamental gospel doctrine?

After reading about BG and his history I've come to this conclusion. First, BG had a weak doctrinal foundation influenced strongly by Finneyism (Finney's Systematic Theology was the text for undergrad Bible Doctrines when BG  was briefly at BJU) and was accepted at the places of his education, causing BG to be open to Pelagian and semi-Pelagian influences. In his early years he was comparable to Bob Jones Sr. and his fame surpassed that of Jones and Sunday. His great mistake was brought on by his naive pragmatism as he was willing to accept sponsorship from liberals and modernists to reach more people with the Gospel. I think he over-reacted to the harshness of militant fundamentalism and chose to show "love" by toleration of those that fundamentalists hated, including Roman Catholics. He refused to publicly and loudly condemn false teaching like the fundamentalists and, instead, gave them recognition with his silence as well as speaking positively about them. He did encourage converts to back to their liberal churches in hope (I think) that they would take the Gospel with them instead of "Coming out and being separate!" BTW, that practice was not always doomed to failure. I know of two instances where Graham converts went back to liberal churches and stirred up things enough to see the birth of new churches.

 

 

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

AndyE's picture

Ron, I was hoping for more of a yes or no.  I think you tried to soften what he did with suggestions regarding his motives (“in hope [I think] that they would take the gospel…” and “chose to show love”) and root-causes (“had a weak doctrinal foundation” and “ mistake brought on by his naïve pragmatism”), but when you cut through all that, you finally do land on “gave them recognition with his silence as well as speaking positively about them.”  So, I’m going to take that as a “yes” unless you don’t think that he gave people the impression that liberal and apostate unbelievers were actually Christians who believed the same gospel as himself.

Ron Bean's picture

I agree that BG's actions gave people the impression that it was permissible to work with the enemy to accomplish something good. That is failure to practice 1st degree separation. i would attribute that to BG's ignorance rather than personal malice and to his reaction to to what he perceived as an absence of love from the fighting fundamentalists with which he was familiar.

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

Larry's picture

Moderator

I have long thought that "primary" and "secondary" are bad terms for separation. Separation is based on a person's actions or beliefs, not on someone else's. So separation from Graham was because of what Graham did, not what someone else did. I think this might be the grandfather of the "gospel only" idea of fellowship that is prevalent today. It is insufficient for Christian doctrine and fellowship. There are reasons to separate that have nothing to do with the gospel or being apostate.

It is interesting that even apostates and the dreaded "new evangelicals" are seeing the value of so-called secondary separation though, just as fundamentalists are abandoning it.

Yes, before you chime in with "What about ...", we can all agree that there were lots of abuses of it. And notice how many people separate from people who abused secondary separation or who associate with those who abused secondary separation. It's one of the ironies that the ex-fundamentalists are, in many ways, just as fundamental as the fundamentalists they so despise. They have the same militant and angry spirit; they just have different fundamentals.

I think it is generous to attribute Graham's actions to ignorance. He knew what he was doing and many people had warned him, both lovingly and not so lovingly, about doing it. It was not personal malice to be sure. But it was an intentional act. It was just disobedient and he knew better or at least should have known better. 

Ron Bean's picture

It's a given that we should separate from liberalism./apostasy/false teachers (First degree). Most of the post 50's fundamentalists hold that we should separate from Christian brothers who don't practice first degree separation and are, therefore, disobedient brothers (Second degree).  The question remains, "Are we to separate from those don't practice secondary separation?

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

AndyE's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

It's a given that we should separate from liberalism./apostasy/false teachers (First degree). Most of the post 50's fundamentalists hold that we should separate from Christian brothers who don't practice first degree separation and are, therefore, disobedient brothers (Second degree).  The question remains, "Are we to separate from those don't practice secondary separation?

Well, before we get to that remaining question, should we separate from those like BG, who to use your words, "work with the enemy," or to use my words, "give Christian recognition to unbelievers?"  Bert has said he doesn't agree with secondary separation at all.  But are there legit Biblical reasons to separate from a disobedient brother at all, and in this specific case, one like BG?  I'm not asking if the Fundamentalists who did this were mean, unloving, or sloppy in how they did it. I"m just trying to see what you (and others) actually beleive the Bible teaches in this regard.

Ron Bean's picture

AndyE wrote:

 

Ron Bean wrote:

 

It's a given that we should separate from liberalism./apostasy/false teachers (First degree). Most of the post 50's fundamentalists hold that we should separate from Christian brothers who don't practice first degree separation and are, therefore, disobedient brothers (Second degree).  The question remains, "Are we to separate from those don't practice secondary separation?

 

Well, before we get to that remaining question, should we separate from those like BG, who to use your words, "work with the enemy," or to use my words, "give Christian recognition to unbelievers?"  Bert has said he doesn't agree with secondary separation at all.  But are there legit Biblical reasons to separate from a disobedient brother at all, and in this specific case, one like BG?  I'm not asking if the Fundamentalists who did this were mean, unloving, or sloppy in how they did it. I"m just trying to see what you (and others) actually beleive the Bible teaches in this regard.

 

 

We are all free to do do what we want regarding these levels. The Bible says that we are to be separate from false teachers. It also says that we may have to separate from disobedient brethren after we have confronted them and deduced that their disobedience is willful. As an aside, I've always found it difficult to separate from people with whom I have no personal relationship and who do not know that I exist.

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

Don Johnson's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

We are all free to do do what we want regarding these levels. The Bible says that we are to be separate from false teachers. It also says that we may have to separate from disobedient brethren after we have confronted them and deduced that their disobedience is willful. As an aside, I've always found it difficult to separate from people with whom I have no personal relationship and who do not know that I exist.

A few corrections. We are free to do what God wants, not what we want.

Second, I think you are being a little fast and loose with what the Scriptures say. Mt 18 talks about personal offenses and calls us to meet with our brethren to try to reconcile the matter, but that isn't the "one passage to rule them all." Paul demanded they put the man in 1 Cor 5 out of the church, no confrontation, no debate, get rid of him. His problem wasn't that he was a false teacher as such. Those are two examples where your statement clearly doesn't comprehend the whole teaching on dealing with disobedience.

Last, we've been over this over and over again, and partly its due to our sloppy use of the term "separation," but we all are aware of well known preachers who we would urge people to avoid, not buy their books, not watch their TV/internet shows or what have you. We might differ on which ones those are, but that is so. If someone in your own church is drifting away and visiting around to other churches, there are some churches in town (not just liberal churches) where you would be concerned and would warn against if you had a leadership position. Its just the way it is. Is that separation? Maybe not, but some will call it that. But it all falls under the question of what to do about other ministries that are in disagreement with our own ministries. How do we relate to them? Some of them we stear completely clear of, even though we acknowledge they are believers.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

AndyE's picture

Ron Bean wrote:
We are all free to do do what we want regarding these levels. The Bible says that we are to be separate from false teachers. It also says that we may have to separate from disobedient brethren after we have confronted them and deduced that their disobedience is willful.
If it really is "the Bible says" in certain circumstances, then how can it be "to each his own" and "we are all free to do what we want"?  The specific circumstance is BG's actions and if they justify Biblical separation for walking out of step with apostolic authoritative instruction. People have stated on this thread that secondary separation is wrong. I'm trying to explore this specific situation. You said he worked with the enemy.  Does that justify separation? What does the Bible instruct us to do in this situation?

Quote:
As an aside, I've always found it difficult to separate from people with whom I have no personal relationship and who do not know that I exist.
In this particular situation, local churches were often asked to partner with his evangelistic crusades.  They probably didn't know BG personally but the separation issue would have been relevant.  Same goes if you wanted to support a ministry financially, you may not know the person, but the separation issue comes into play.  Even though you may have not any relationship with a big high-profile player within evangelicalism, you may have opportunities with local pastors who do the exact same types of things on a smaller stage, and the same principles would apply.  It's just easier to talk about someone with whom everyone is familiar.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Paul demanded they put the man in 1 Cor 5 out of the church, no confrontation, no debate, get rid of him.

I don't think this is evident at all. The assumption I would make is that he had been confronted and failed to repent. To put him out without confrontation would disobey other passages such as Matthew 18 or Titus 3 or others which both require and show confrontation prior to any action. It seems unlikely that Paul would require a church to do something that would contradict what he has commanded elsewhere.

Having said that, I don't agree with Ron that we must confront someone like BG personally. His actions were public, not private and not confined to a local church. I don't know that we need to say something about it publicly, although we might. 

Ron asks,

The question remains, "Are we to separate from those don't practice secondary separation?

While I reject the category, the question is, Are we commanded to separate from disobedient brothers? If the answer is "Yes," then this question has been answered, at least in principle.

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