Now, About Those Differences, Part Twelve

NickOfTimeRead Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, and Part 11.

Together (Only?) for the Gospel

The differences between fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals include considerable disparity in their attitudes toward miraculous gifts. Fundamentalists are almost universally and vigorously cessationists. Conversely, many conservative evangelicals are continuationists, and those who are not can still function comfortably with the ones who are. From a fundamentalist perspective, this difference is rather a significant one.

Nevertheless, fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals do hold much in common. What they hold in common is properly designated as koinonia or fellowship. It would be hypocritical to pretend that this fellowship does not exist, just as it would be hypocritical to pretend to enjoy fellowship where none existed.

Most fundamentally (the word is deliberate), both groups are united in their affirmation and exaltation of the gospel. None of the differences that we have examined to this point results in a denial of the gospel. Both fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals believe the gospel, preach the gospel, and defend the gospel.

This mutuality in the gospel leads to a question. Since conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists are united in their allegiance to the gospel, should they not be able to cooperate at the level of the gospel? To put it positively, should fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals get together for the gospel?

Frankly, I am still thinking through an answer to that question. It is not really an urgent question, though, for two reasons. On the one hand, fundamentalists do not seem to be sponsoring any enterprises that center on the gospel alone. On the other hand, conservative evangelicals (who do sponsor such enterprises) do not seem to wish for fundamentalist involvement. I know of no recognizable fundamentalist leader who has been invited to speak at T4G or The Gospel Coalition.

Consequently, I have the luxury of making a few guesses and testing a few speculations. The following paragraphs are a tentative effort to think through the problem. Should fundamentalists join conservative evangelicals in projects such as T4G and The Gospel Coalition?

A moment ago, I noted that fundamentalists are not sponsoring any endeavors that center upon the gospel alone. Why is that? The answer cannot be that fundamentalists have no concern for the gospel. Every fundamentalist I know—even the most aberrant ones—care deeply about the gospel. In fact, fundamentalists have championed the preaching and proclamation of the gospel. Their most distinctive practice (ecclesiastical separation) is an effort to maintain the purity of the gospel.

So why don’t fundamentalists have an equivalent to T4G or The Gospel Coalition? I think that it is because fundamentalists realize something, although it is so basic that they might even have trouble explaining it. It is this: while our joint profession of the gospel constitutes the most basic form of Christian fellowship, our fellowship is rarely about the gospel alone. Nor should it be.

The gospel is the atmosphere of Christianity. It is the very air that we breathe. It is assumed in and by everything that is genuinely Christian.

Viewed from this perspective, it makes as much sense to have a rally in favor of the gospel as it does to have a rally in favor of air. Do we value air? Are we committed to its centrality for breathing? Of course! Under normal circumstances, however, someone who wanted to focus simply on air would leave us all nonplussed. The same would be true of a Christian who wanted to focus just on the gospel.

Of course, not every circumstance is a normal circumstance. We actually do focus on air under two circumstances. We become deeply concerned when we see someone who needs air. We also become concerned when the air is threatened by harmful pollutants.

Our focus on the gospel is analogous. We concentrate on the gospel when we see someone who needs it (i.e., evangelism). We also concentrate on the gospel when we see someone who threatens it (i.e., polemics). These are the two circumstances under which Christians might band together for the gospel: to propagate it through evangelism, or to defend it polemically. Under neither of these circumstances are they simply together for the gospel.

The task of evangelism does not terminate in the proclamation and acceptance of the gospel. Biblical evangelism includes baptizing. It includes teaching disciples to observe all the things that Jesus has taught.

If baptism and discipleship are part of biblical evangelism, then organizing for the gospel simpliciter is really a truncation of Christian responsibility. To come together for the gospel actually requires us to come together for more than the gospel alone.

The organizers of T4G and The Gospel Coalition seem to realize this. When they get together for the gospel, they actually feature a pretty narrow slice of gospel-believing theology. In fact, whole ranges of conservative evangelicalism have been excluded.

If they simply wanted to get together for the gospel, we might expect to see an outspoken non-Calvinist or two in the lineup. We might expect to see someone who expressed questions about Lordship Salvation. We might expect to see an avowed (i.e., non-leaky) dispensationalist. We might expect to see someone whose theology was not explicitly Reformed.

After all, organizations like T4G and The Gospel Coalition feature continuationists. Their leaders are willing to work with people like Mark Driscoll and Rick Warren. Is it really believable that they cannot find a place for Christian statesmen like Charles Ryrie or John C. Whitcomb?

The leaders of T4G and The Gospel Coalition certainly make choices about acceptable boundaries. Those choices are reflected in the names that are featured on the platform. That is not wrong. In fact, recognizing boundaries is important. In view of the choices that these leaders make, however, it seems a bit facile to think that their fellowship in these meetings is determined by nothing but the gospel.

Lovers of the gospel may band together for evangelism. They may also band together to defend the gospel. The gospel requires defense when it is attacked and subverted by apostate teachers.

The gospel is not defended merely by restating it. It is not defended merely by exploring it. It is not even defended merely by replying to the arguments of those who attack the gospel. Each of these things is necessary, but even together they are inadequate as a defense for the gospel.

The defense of the gospel requires that apostate teachers be exposed and labeled. It requires that Christian recognition be withheld from them. It requires that the Lord’s people be warned against them, much as Paul did in Galatians 1:6-9 or John did in his second epistle.

In other words, being together for the gospel implies being separated unto the gospel. It implies a radical break with those who deny the gospel. Furthermore, I think it involves a refusal to follow the leadership of Christians who betray the gospel by making common cause with apostates.

This is not the time or place to develop these ideas. What I will note here is that these considerations introduce the fourth, and (in my opinion) most serious difference between fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. The bone of contention between us is over the necessity of absolute ecclesiastical separation from gospel deniers.

The gospel is surely the most important thing in the world. It is the most important thing in Christianity. What is of utmost importance in the Christian faith is expressed in, assumed with, or implied by the gospel.

If we are Christians, then we live and move and have our being in the gospel. Precisely because of its sweeping importance, however, it comes into focus only when it needs to be proclaimed or when it needs to be defended. Both of these activities, however, turn out to entail more than just the recognition of the gospel message.

If my musings come anywhere close to the truth, then evidently we are never simply together for the gospel. For Christians, other factors will necessarily be at work in decisions about fellowship and cooperation. Some of these factors appear to be recognized in practice by the planners of T4G and The Gospel Coalition.

So what about fellowship and cooperation between fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals? I suggest the following considerations.

First, when conservative evangelicals get together for the gospel, they appear to use more than simply the gospel as their basis of fellowship. Perhaps they are wrong to do so, but I am inclined to think that they are right. Whether it is proclaimed or defended, the gospel points beyond itself.

Second, if conservative evangelicals are right to base their cooperation upon more than the gospel, then it becomes difficult to criticize fundamentalists for doing the same thing. The factors that fundamentalists consider are sometimes different than the factors that conservative evangelicals consider. We can weigh each factor for its merits. What we cannot do, however, is to suggest that fundamentalists must strip aside everything except the gospel as a basis of cooperation—unless we are willing to demand that conservative evangelicals do this as well.

Third, if both fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are weighing factors that go beyond the gospel, then an additional possibility opens up. That is the possibility that the two groups are not necessarily obligated to cooperate for the sake of the gospel. They are not obligated to cooperate in its proclamation and they are not obligated to cooperate in its defense. They will need to determine the extent of their cooperation, not simply on the basis of their mutual allegiance to the gospel, but also on the basis of the other factors that they are weighing.

Fourth, if these two groups choose not to cooperate, then their non-cooperation must not be construed as opposition. Choosing to work separately is not the same as antagonism. It is possible to love one another, be grateful for one another, pray for one another, and wish one another success without necessarily working together. Possibly (remember, I am simply testing the idea) such fraternal non-cooperation might be the best course for fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals at more than one level.

Up-Hill
Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.


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.

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There are 74 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

"Whether it is proclaimed or defended, the gospel points beyond itself."
...and another:
"Choosing to work separately is not the same as antagonism."

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Joel Tetreau's picture

Kevin,

Excellent point that our T4G friends seem to exclude the Ryrie's and Whitecomb's of the Type C world! For the record - I can see a point were moderate fundamentalists - conservative evangelicals - reformed & dispensationalists should & could come together for the gospel. I understand the points you make - and you make them well. I still say 80 years ago these "orbs" had enough in common for baseline ministry. I might even say they were probably working well together in the early church 2k ago. Smile I enjoyed the article. You have me thinking through this idea about the possible legitimacy of Gospel + for an acceptable sphere of fellowship. I also love the idea that it would be possible for A's/B's and C's to not work together and yet not have the attitude of antagonism. I don't think either side has done a good job with that one yet. Perhaps that's changing.

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;

Eric R.'s picture

I have greatly enjoyed and benefited from this series. In this post I particularly appreciate the concluding paragraph; We need more of this non-binary thinking in our pursuit of ecclesiastical purity. However, I am surprised to find some disturbing (but not uncommon) perspective on the gospel, which permeates his argument and the article.

Quote:
We actually do focus on air under two circumstances. We become deeply concerned when we see someone who needs air. We also become concerned when the air is threatened by harmful pollutants. Our focus on the gospel is analogous. We concentrate on the gospel when we see someone who needs it (i.e., evangelism). We also concentrate on the gospel when we see someone who threatens it (i.e., polemics). These are the two circumstances under which Christians might band together for the gospel: to propagate it through evangelism, or to defend it polemically.

This view of the gospel is precisely the problem with much of the Fundamentalism I know: We think the gospel only needs to come up in the context of evangelism or militancy. We completely fail to see that believersneed the gospel preached to them regularly; that the gospel needs to be the motivation for Christian living (as opposed to guilt and fear); that the gospel isn't just something that happened in my past and I move on from. What many YF's find so refreshing about the CE's is that they get the centrality of the gospel, and they actually preach it. Unfortunately, many are willing to put up with a lot of other baggage to get that kind of preaching. But this narrow understanding of gospel implications belies at least a partial misunderstanding of what many CE's are trying to say and do.

Quote:
fundamentalists do not seem to be sponsoring any enterprises that center on the gospel alone.

Maybe that's because for the last sixty years or so we've been too busy having conferences and writing articles and signing resolutions about all the stuff we're against.

Quote:
Lovers of the gospel may band together for evangelism. They may also band together to defend the gospel.

Really? Those are the only two reasons? How about increasing in our understanding and appreciation of the gospel? Or, learning how the gospel should be affecting my life today? Or just celebrating and reveling in the gospel? (BTW, that's called worship, and it's a great reason for believers to get together.) Furthermore, if evangelism and defense are the only two reasons to talk about the gospel, then the Apostle Paul (and the Holy Spirit) wasted a lotof time and ink extolling the glories of the gospel to believers! The "Romans Road" was written to Christians, right? Let's use Colossians as another example: Fundamentalists love to preach from Chapter 3 all the things Christians are supposed to be doing and not doing. But sadly, we tend to skip over the foundation and basis of those commands: the glory of the gospel and it's implications, enumerated in Chapters 1 and 2. Then when someone has a conference to focus, essentially, on the first halfof Colossians (and Romans, and Ephesians, and...) we chide them for uniting around too simple and mundane a concept?

Quote:
The gospel is the atmosphere of Christianity. It is the very air that we breathe. It is assumed in and by everything that is genuinely Christian.

And it is exactly because it is so "assumed" (taken for granted) that the need to focus on it is so great. Frankly, I'm weary of the attitude in our camp that seems to say "Yes, yes, yes, gospel this, gospel that! Of course we think the gospel is important, but we've got more important things to move on to; like standards, and music, and numbers, and programs... Is a call back to the gospel really such a worthless thing as a conference on air?

This article reflects a phenomenon I've observed in many other instances where Fundys and CE's are talking right past each other about the gospel. The CE cries "Let's be all about the gospel" and the Fundy retorts "There's a lot more in my Bible than just the gospel." The former is probably an overstatement, but the latter is a serious misunderstanding of how the gospel relates to all of Scripture and all of the Christian life. If our message is not the gospel, for all people, saved and unsaved, then what isour message?

Now obviously there are many considerations when it comes to determining fellowship, which has been addressed in other articles. But if we're going to rightly assess conferences and fellowships centered around the gospel, we better be sure we understand what we, and they, mean by "the gospel."

Ted Bigelow's picture

I concur with Eric.

The Gospel is the life blood for broken sinners who are Christians... those saved by grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

By the gospel we understand not merely salvation, which is a relatively small thing, but God Himself.

To get together for the gospel is to get together to know God as He has revealed Himself.

Here's the difference, Kevin, as I see it, between the CE that hold these ubiquitous conferences, and Fundamentalism.

Fundamentalism has a love affair with the gospel as a message of salvation, but not so much with the God of the gospel. God's exquisite glory as Trinity is rarely taught except in the most minimalistic ways. Yes, I broad brush, but in the main, I'll stand by it.

This is why so many will accept continuationism (which is error, I believe) from men who love the gospel as the message that reveals God. These Christians are being taught God, and learning He is more than a message of salvation, or a means to an end.

The failures of Fundamentalism has never been its shallow methods, but its shallow theology of the gospel. Address these issues with boldness and clarity, and then you'll be saying something.

You wish for certain men to speak at these conferences, but we are not amiss to ask, "what will they bring to the pulpit about God?"

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I'm in agreement with Kevin about the gospel here. He is not in any way reducing its importance. Rather, he is mirroring the New Testament, which does not simply repeat the gospel over and over. "The gospel points beyond itself."
Part of the confusion might be over definitions? KB is using "gospel" in the sense of death, burial, resurrection + necessary inferences. Everything about Christian living is "gospel" in a sense. Our transformation into the likeness of Christ is all part of the gospel purpose as is the redemption of the creation (Rom. 8). But we usually use "gospel" to describe the core message Paul refers to in Rom.1:16.
Romans alone is a perfect example of what I mean. About five chapters develop the gospel specifically, then eleven deal with what flows out of or builds on that gospel--i.e., where it points (beyond itself).

The importance of the gospel can hardly be said better than this:

Quote:
The gospel is the atmosphere of Christianity. It is the very air that we breathe. It is assumed in and by everything that is genuinely Christian.

But I've long felt that certain flavors of gospel centeredness popular today are reductionistic--they fail to give enough enough attention to where the gospel points.

Ted wrote:
The failures of Fundamentalism has never been its shallow methods, but its shallow theology of the gospel. A

Ted, I've grown up in fundamentalism and have sampled many of its flavors. I have not observed this to be the case. It's really pretty hard to accidentally botch the gospel... Jesus died for sinners, was buried, and rose again. I have never heard a fundamentalist get this wrong.
And when we move into the necessarily implications of the gospel, fundamentalists have fared well also: I have almost never heard a fundamentalist communicate the gospel without saying "by grace alone through faith alone."

Perhaps by "gospel" many mean "Calvinistic soteriology"?
But surely this is not being fair with the term. I'm sympathetic, believe me. Whatever I am, it's not Arminian, and I'm no fan of the kind of emotionalism and decision-drama that characterizes many of the flavors of fundamentalism I've been involved in. But we're beyond the gospel itself when we start working through that set of theological questions.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Ted Bigelow's picture

Hey Aaron,

I don't want to be snide! But is it possible to grow up in Fundamentalism and thus be unable to see its problems beyond its askew methods?...

Here's a fundamentalist dilemma: a preacher tells someone they can receive Christ by walking an aisle and praying a sincere prayer. He also tells the same people that salvation is "by grace alone through faith alone." The former is a Pelagian denial of the gospel. It that it puts a process on how to be saved, robbing salvation from the hand of a Triune God, and assuming man has the power to get saved. The latter formula of "grace alone through faith alone" was right, but yet the gospel was denied.

For the natural man who is at enmity with God, walking an aisle and saying a prayer to "get saved" makes sense. It makes sense to him and lines up with the the catch phrase "by grace alone through faith alone." But he is left a natural man.

Please don't relegate this comment as an effort to merely bash the altar call system. Bashing is not drastic enough. The altar call system, and its proponents, need to be exposed and discarded, branches and roots together. Fundamentalism, though, is impotent to see past its methodological errors to its theological errors. And there are vast regions of Fundamnetalism shaped by such error.

So i say it again. Fundamentalism needs not a reform of methodology, but theology. It needs the gospel of the triune God.

Fundamentalism, and those who love its shibboleths, don't need Calvinism. They need the Trinity.

Don Johnson's picture

Kevin Bauder wrote:
If they simply wanted to get together for the gospel, we might expect to see an outspoken non-Calvinist or two in the lineup. We might expect to see someone who expressed questions about Lordship Salvation. We might expect to see an avowed (i.e., non-leaky) dispensationalist. We might expect to see someone whose theology was not explicitly Reformed.

Exactly right. That's why I refer to T4G and TGC as "Together for Calvin" and "The Calvin Coalition".

Subsequent comments in this thread would be exhibit A. We see the dreaded "P" word raised. We see the claim that someone who has called on Christ to be his saviour is still a natural man.

What an attitude!

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

JobK's picture

1. Rick Warren is a Calvinist? Rick Warren believes in Lordship Salvation? When did that happen?

2. "The gospel is surely the most important thing in the world. It is the most important thing in Christianity."

The most important thing in the world and in Christianity is Jesus Christ and our view of Him. A "gospel-centered" Christianity requires a false Christ as its object. The reason for this is that Jesus Christ commanded us to evangelize, baptize and make disciples, but He also told us to do a lot of other things. The "gospel-centered" focus is designed to diminish those "other things" in favor of evangelism and church planting, and then accuse the people who believe that the "other things" are important of being "opponents of the gospel." I have to say that Mark Driscoll is a great example of why the "other things" are VERY important, so important that one cannot have a legitimate gospel in the first place - let alone be "gospel-centered" - without them.

I guess my position on this places me in the "fundamentalist" camp, but far too many compromises have been made for the sake of a gospel that purports to be about the Jesus Christ who accepts no compromises.

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

Ted Bigelow's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
We see the claim that someone who has called on Christ to be his saviour is still a natural man.

What an attitude!

Better yet, what a theology!

Ignorant men and women are led through an invitation system to a false faith by men proposing themselves as shepherds. The natural man uses such men to gain his selfish goals. After all, the natural man loves nothing more than to be assured that salvation can be his by exerting his own efforts so that he can continue living in the vanity of his filthy mind (Eph. 4:18). Defending such practices serves the one who steals the souls of men by converting them to a false faith. The natural man loves the idea of inviting a god of his own making down to his level and calling on him for salvation. He avoids repentance and Christ's demands of death to self.

Yes, many will call on Christ, but a non-existent Christ who is only to be magically added to their life of self-love and self-admiration. Their faith in the true Christ is only as deep as shallow soil. They receive no Christ, no Trinity, and no salvation. Hence hear the word of the Lord:

Matthew 7:22-23 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

Don Johnson's picture

Quote:
NAU Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."

Actually, the Scriptures are not in conflict. In Mt 7.22-23, Jesus doesn't say these whom he never knew had EVER called on him. They acted in his name, but they did not call on it.

I say again, what an attitude!

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Ted Bigelow wrote:
I don't want to be snide! But is it possible to grow up in Fundamentalism and thus be unable to see its problems beyond its askew methods?...
A fair question. I think what I'm going to post below will probably help answer it.

Ted Bigelow wrote:
Here's a fundamentalist dilemma: a preacher tells someone they can receive Christ by walking an aisle and praying a sincere prayer. He also tells the same people that salvation is "by grace alone through faith alone." The former is a Pelagian denial of the gospel. It that it puts a process on how to be saved, robbing salvation from the hand of a Triune God, and assuming man has the power to get saved. The latter formula of "grace alone through faith alone" was right, but yet the gospel was denied.

I'm no fan of the altar call system but I think there are cases where we are holding altar-calling pulpiteers to a standard of verbal precision that we do not consistently hold ourselves (or others we're more in agreement with) to. I grew up hearing altar calls but
a. Rarely, if ever, did they say "praying a sincere prayer will save you" in so many words
b. When that was said, there was no confusion on my part about what was meant
c. Doesn't Rom.10:13 say you'll be saved by calling on the name of the Lord? (presumably this would be "sincerely" calling)

Now we know Paul was not teaching that the call itself is what saves. How do we know? Because of what he teaches elsewhere. The same is usually true of the "Come forward and be saved" preachers.

Ted wrote:
For the natural man who is at enmity with God, walking an aisle and saying a prayer to "get saved" makes sense. It makes sense to him and lines up with the the catch phrase "by grace alone through faith alone." But he is left a natural man.
It is really not possible for a person to believe the gospel and confess with mouth and remain a natural man. Rom.10:9-10

Quote:
So i say it again. Fundamentalism needs not a reform of methodology, but theology. It needs the gospel of the triune God.

Well... I maintain that it has never lacked that gospel, nor has it lacked the Trinity though there are plenty of cases inside and outside of the movement where there has been much neglect of doctrine.

The altar call as practiced by many is problematic, but it is not a defacto denial of the gospel by a long shot.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Joseph Leavell's picture

One thing I really appreciated about this article was Bauder's humility in writing it. He wasn't saying conclusively, he basically was saying that this is where his ponderings have taken him. He said "frankly, I'm still working through an answer to that question" in reference to fundamentalists and CEs getting together for the Gospel. I appreciate that spirit and I commend him for it.

I'm going to echo Eric R. and say that I believe a lot of times in fundamentalism, the Gospel is more assumed than clearly placed in the center of our teaching. Bauder himself used the words, "It is assumed in and by everything that is genuinely Christian." He then gives his example about the air that we breathe.

He says,

Quote:
"Viewed from this perspective, it makes as much sense to have a rally in favor of the gospel as it does to have a rally in favor of air. Do we value air? Are we committed to its centrality for breathing? Of course! Under normal circumstances, however, someone who wanted to focus simply on air would leave us all nonplussed. The same would be true of a Christian who wanted to focus just on the gospel."

I was honestly taken aback by this statement. Why? Because I never think about the air that I breathe. While the Gospel IS to be the air that I breathe, in the sense that I couldn't live without Christ just as I couldn't live without air, every day I just naturally assume that the air is there and that my lungs will breathe it in and out. Yet, in Scripture, we are commanded to think upon the Gospel, to reflect on what Christ did for us, and the fact that the Gospel changes us (sanctifies and makes us holy). One of the primary reasons we worship Him is because of the Gospel! Anyone ever read the words, "in remembrance of me" somewhere? We're commanded to reflect on the Gospel message. Our gathering on the first day of the week is because of the Gospel. Our freedom from the law is because of the Gospel. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is because of the Gospel. Shoot, even how I love my wife is expressed in Scripture to be a reflection of the Gospel (as Christ loved the church). And yet Bauder states that the only time to come together for the Gospel is when "we become deeply concerned when we see someone who needs air. We also become concerned when the air is threatened by harmful pollutants."

I'm glad that he balances it out a little bit by stating:

Quote:
The task of evangelism does not terminate in the proclamation and acceptance of the gospel. Biblical evangelism includes baptizing. It includes teaching disciples to observe all the things that Jesus has taught.

This is the whole point of our preaching! Ephesians says that pastors are to edify the body until we come to the full stature of Christ. This point was made by Bauder but it was more a side note of concession than the central theme of our teaching. This is again why I believe the Gospel is simply assumed in much of fundamentalism. Not that it isn't preached, but that it is a side show of "yeah, of course that's true. We all know that, and it you don't, someone will tell you about it in the wings of the church if you come forward. Now, lets talk about separation and why we can or can't fellowship with so and so, and why we can't do such and such..." To assume that we all just "get it" is a grave mistake.

I like how CE Matt Chandler puts it in his message about how we got the dechurched in America, he says, "the first generation loves the Gospel. The second generation assumes the Gospel. The third generation hates the Gospel." When we just assume that everyone just 'gets it' and put the Gospel as the sideshow, it comes with grave consequences to those we disciple. They observe that we get enthusiastic when talking about creation, prophecy, pants vs. dresses, translations, music, etc - but when we talk about the death, burial, resurrection, and the saving power of Christ, it's relegated to, "of course we believe that" and as Bauder states it, we are left "nonplussed" by the Gospel. So, what happens is that these other realms of doctrine are elevated to the scope of the Gospel. You wonder why KJVO proponents are so forceful? What has been emphasized in their churches? The Gospel? That is relegated to a side issue. Matt Chandler calls this mentality of simply having a list of do's and don'ts stated with as much passion as the Gospel as "Moralistic Deism at its best." This is where issues and sanctification get confused and interwoven with the importance of justification and redemption.

You see this reflected in our conferences. As Bauder admits, our focus on the Gospel is merely analogous, not central to everything we do and are. You see this in that we believe we have the luxury of oodles and oodles of prophecy conferences, conferences on creationism vs. evolution, conferences centered on issues within the different fundamentalist subgroups, associational conferences, fellowship conferences, Bible conferences, music conferences, separation conferences,...but when was the last time we saw a conference making plain the centrality of the Gospel? You know why I believe we don't see it and when they do occur, they're not well attended? It's because fundamentalists don't really go to conferences all about the Gospel - we would find it boring because we all just "get it." But do a conference centered on when Gog and Magog will happen? Now we're excited! Do a conference on why so and so is apostate? "Preach it brother!" The conferences that do talk about the Gospel is reflected in Bauder's article on when "someone does not have air." We do a good job of having missions conferences, focusing on sharing the Gospel...but even again, many times the command to share the Gospel can overshadow the centrality and message of the Gospel itself.

One thing Bauder reflects on that I thought was interesting was that no non-calvinistic fundamentalist has ever been asked to speak at the T4G conference, which he deduces indicates that they're not really concerned about truly being "together for the Gospel" but limiting it to outside the Gospel reasons for inviting or not inviting speakers. A couple thoughts - one is, what non-calvinistic Fundamentalist pastor or professor would ever GO to the T4G conference, let alone accept an invitation to speak? In an era where people can barely even go to the Shepherd's Conference without having an 'X' put on them, do we really think anyone would accept an invitation to speak at the T4G conference? They'd be finished! It wouldn't be seen as an olive branch by the CE group, it would be seen as (whoever the person might happen to be) a sad compromise that they would speak at a New Evangelical conference. Sad, so sad...especially if they have a drum set on the platform! Am I really wrong here? The blogs would have a field day with the compromiser!

Beyond that, perhaps they understand better than we do that our movement is no longer characterized by the Gospel but by what we are against. For that reason, if they invite someone to speak from a fundamentalist group, could they be assured that it will be a sermon on the centrality of the Gospel and the importance of defending it, living it, and sharing it rather than an issue oriented sermon, or worse yet, a sermon dedicated to refuting Calvinism? Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think that the Gospel is not what defines our movement to those outside the movement and that is why they are not invited to speak.

Don said,

Quote:
Exactly right. That's why I refer to T4G and TGC as "Together for Calvin" and "The Calvin Coalition".

Subsequent comments in this thread would be exhibit A. We see the dreaded "P" word raised. We see the claim that someone who has called on Christ to be his saviour is still a natural man.

What an attitude!

Perhaps they simply agree with Charles Spurgeon who said, " [T ]here is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation."

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Now we know Paul was not teaching that the call itself is what saves. How do we know? Because of what he teaches elsewhere. The same is usually true of the "Come forward and be saved" preachers.

I believe that we know that "Paul was not teaching that the call itself is what saves" because that is not what he is even talking about in Rom. 10:13.
His emphasis here is on "whoever" (Jew or Greek, rich or poor), not on "call."

Paul is quoting Joel 2:32, where the "call" is a physical cry for physical salvation during the coming tribulational Day of the Lord. By application, this future call serves as an illustration of the present availability of the gospel -- not the methodology by which we are saved.

And you not only won't get that from most fundamentalists, you won't get it at T4G either Wink

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
Quote:
NAU Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."

Actually, the Scriptures are not in conflict. In Mt 7.22-23, Jesus doesn't say these whom he never knew had EVER called on him. They acted in his name, but they did not call on it.

I say again, what an attitude!

Don, a very good point and passage misused and stumbled on by many. The reference in Matthew is about those who, by their works, attempted to claim relationship with and salvation in, Jesus. These ones Christ said he never knew were saying look at all we did in your name as if their works would save them. These are Cain's children. Borrowing the name of God for their own concocted means of salvation, namely works.

Joseph Leavell's picture

The parallel passage of Luke 6:46, "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?" indicates that they had "called" on His name, "Lord, Lord." Just saying the words doesn't save you. "The prayer" is not a magic formula.

Ted Bigelow's picture

Here's a question for discussion:

The main reason for the Son coming to earth was to A) reveal the Father; Cool glorify the Father; C) save sinners.

No fair answering with cop outs!! - like, "they are the same" or "they aren't exclusive." We all know that already! Make a choice and rank them in order. That will reveal your theology. My answer is at the bottom.

Now, after answering that question, ask yourself, which answer dominates your preaching, or your church's preaching?

Aaron, I told you my post wasn't about the altar call system! Its the Trinity, bro. The altar call was just a useful tool to show that Fundamentalist lambaste themselves about their methods and their ineffectiveness, but do so in part becasue it protects them from examining their Theology. That's my challenge to Kevin Bauder. Deal with the theology, not the effects of the theology.

OK. I've been beat up by two guys on Romans 10:13. Sheesh. Its genuine there. Its a promise. Its awesome!

But you guys are beating me with a red herring. The human call in Rom. 10:13 has as much to do with the present day invitation system as air does with the gospel (oops, that one has been used). OK. As much as apples do with oranges.

The call in Romans 10:13 is a fairly rare word for a calling on the Lord in the NT, but could be used in the OT (LXX) for the call of a person turning to God in worship. Isn't that beautiful! So Psalm 50:15 "call on Me in the day of trouble, and I will rescue you"). I used to think this call was legal (like calling a defense attorney) but I was wrong. Its used in 2 Tim. 2:22 - "Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." It the call of a person turning to God in worship. That'll preach, no?!

The invitation system is all about what to do to get saved, not worship. It leaves man in the center, just as the unregenerate like it.

Yes, Paul, the human call of Rom. 10:13 and Acts 2 and Joel 2 will be there in the tribulation too! MacArthur would preach it if it were his text. Just to get things riled up a bit.

My answer: Cool to glorify the Father - John 17:1-5. Then A, and then C.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Joseph Leavell wrote:
The parallel passage of Luke 6:46, "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?" indicates that they had "called" on His name, "Lord, Lord." Just saying the words doesn't save you. "The prayer" is not a magic formula.
It indicates they "called" him Lord with their lips but never believed. Which is why he asks the question. And it is true, just saying words saves no one. The point remains that this is about those who do everything but believe.

Joseph Leavell's picture

Alex, my post was in response to Don who said,

Quote:
Actually, the Scriptures are not in conflict. In Mt 7.22-23, Jesus doesn't say these whom he never knew had EVER called on him. They acted in his name, but they did not call on it.

My response was basically, yes...they did call on Him. In one passage they were using Jesus' name thinking their works would save them, the other they were thinking that just naming Jesus' their Lord was enough to save them - and He calls them on it and says they had never laid their foundation on Christ (the Rock).

Don said,

Quote:
We see the claim that someone who has called on Christ to be his saviour is still a natural man. What an attitude.

Both you and I just demonstrated from Scripture how it is possible to "call on Christ to be his savior" and still be a natural man through unbelief which as Jesus reflects in Luke, never resulted in an active faith. My question is, how is this an unBiblical "attitude?"

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Joseph Leavell wrote:
Alex, my post was in response to Don who said,

Quote:
Actually, the Scriptures are not in conflict. In Mt 7.22-23, Jesus doesn't say these whom he never knew had EVER called on him. They acted in his name, but they did not call on it.

My response was basically, yes...they did call on Him. In one passage they were using Jesus' name thinking their works would save them, the other they were thinking that just naming Jesus' their Lord was enough to save them - and He calls them on it and says they had never laid their foundation on Christ (the Rock).

Don said,

Quote:
We see the claim that someone who has called on Christ to be his saviour is still a natural man. What an attitude.

Both you and I just demonstrated from Scripture how it is possible to "call on Christ to be his savior" and still be a natural man through unbelief which as Jesus reflects in Luke, never resulted in an active faith. My question is, how is this an unBiblical "attitude?"

I do realize it was Don to whom you were responding. But I do believe you are mistaken if you believe calling Jesus, "Lord, Lord" (kurie/kurios) is equivalent to believing on him as Savior. This appears to be how you have interpreted their calling him, Lord, Lord.

They indeed call him Lord, Lord, but from the text it is not because of or for conversion but as a flattering appeal to Christ that not only with their works but with their lips even, they attempt to point to their outward acquiescence without ever having believed. Now, if you are pointing to the possibility that a person can believe on Christ and never really believe or be born again, I do not accept such contradictory statements. But I do not know. I see where you stated that they may have believed that "just naming" the name of Jesus as Lord was enough but then you go on to equate it to calling on Christ as Savior, I believe these two are quite removed from one another.

In any event, the reference to their calling Jesus, Lord, Lord was not as an indication they are calling on him as Savior because merely calling or referring to Christ as Lord simply is not treated as synonymous to one believing on Christ as Savior in any biblical text that I can recall. There is no possibility that a man can believe on Christ or call on Christ as Savior (here we assume their belief or call is in response to the gospel and not a false gospel which then still would not be a case of one either believing on Christ or calling on Christ) and not be born again. It is automatic. Either they have believed or have not.

And here the case of the identical texts is pointing to those who by their works, their outward acquiescence from their lip service to their deeds, attempt to appeal to Christ that by these and not their faith they are his and he says, "I never knew you".

Eric R.'s picture

Aaron wrote:
I'm in agreement with Kevin about the gospel here. He is not in any way reducing its importance. Rather, he is mirroring the New Testament, which does not simply repeat the gospel over and over.

Granted, the NT does not only repeat the gospel over and over. But it does do just that quite a bit, does it not? Show me a Christian-living imperative that is not somehow linked by the author to a gospel indicative. We tend to jump to the imperatives, but devoid of the proper foundation of the indicatives. This is what Paul is denouncing in Colossians 2. Many preachers (F and CE perhaps) fail to properly "mirror the New Testament" in adequately repeating the gospel message over and over as both the means and the motivation for Christian living. We don't need more "try harder, be better" virtue preaching. We do need to come to a deeper and clearer understanding of the power of gospel and how it motivates and enables me to obey. We forget the gospel. We disbelieve the gospel. We need to be regularly reminded of and exhorted to hold to and live in the gospel every day.

Aaron wrote:
Our transformation into the likeness of Christ is all part of the gospel purpose as is the redemption of the creation (Rom. 8). But we usually use "gospel" to describe the core message Paul refers to in Rom.1:16.

So, in Romans 1:16, do you take "salvation" to refer only to justification (the one-time, past occurrence) and not to the other components of salvation, namely progressive sanctification and ultimate glorification? Is the message of Christ crucified, buried and risen merely "the power of God unto" my justification? Is not that same gospel truth the power of God unto my daily sanctification? If so, then I see the dichotomy of the "core message" vs. "the implications" as a false one.

Aaron wrote:
we usually use "gospel" to describe the core message... (emph. added)

This is exactly the point I was trying to make earlier. The problem in the debate is partly in the definition of terms. Each party assumes they're talking about the same thing and they're not.Because many Fundamental preachers think of the "gospel" and "salvation" as only something that happened in my past, something that only needs to be preached to unbelievers, they conclude that we mostly need to "move on" from the gospel to other things. Call them implications, applications, whatever; the problem lies in the moving on. We should never get past or over the gospel. It is our message. And furthermore, that gospel is not merely a story or a series of facts. The message of the gospel is a person. That's why Paul says "HIM we preach" (Col. 1:28) and "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (I Cor. 2:2). If we can move on from the Person and Work of Christ to other things, I don't know what they would be and still be called CHRISTian.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I'll have to try to catch up w/some of the others later

J Leavell wrote:
Kevin Bauder wrote:
The task of evangelism does not terminate in the proclamation and acceptance of the gospel. Biblical evangelism includes baptizing. It includes teaching disciples to observe all the things that Jesus has taught.

This is the whole point of our preaching! Ephesians says that pastors are to edify the body until we come to the full stature of Christ. This point was made by Bauder but it was more a side note of concession than the central theme of our teaching. T

I'm a bit unclear on what you're saying, Joe. Is the gospel "the whole point" or are the things Kevin said we need to pursue in addition to the gospel "the whole point"? The part you quoted there is not the gospel but part of where it points.

Paul Scharf: you made the observation that Rom.10:13 is not "about" calling but about who may call. This is true enough, but try reading it without the "call." My point is that "whoever shall call ...shall be saved" is still there and the fact that the larger argument has to do with including both Jew and Gentile does not make it go away.
If we only had this verse, we would not know that it's not the calling itself that saves. We learn this from other passages.

My contention is that everything people say or write must be understood in a context and this is as true of revivalist style preachers as it is of anything else, including Scripture. So if we are going to fault alter-calling preachers for their view of the gospel, we need to establish what they mean when they invite sinners to come and be saved. If we go to the trouble, we will find that with few exceptions, what they clearly do not mean is that coming = saving, ergo I save myself by coming. Even Finney wouldn't have gone that far.

Speaking of--he's a good case in point. We know Finney was off on the gospel because of what he wrote and taught as theological context for his revivalistic innovations. Quite simply, he got the nature of sin and fall wrong and it's hard to get the solution right if you haven't grasped the problem.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Don Johnson's picture

The endless argument pro and anti Calvinism that has sprung up is typical. It involves a lot of sophistry, and it is definitely a red herring because it completely diverges away from Bauder's article.

But it does illustrate the enchantment many have with the Together for Calvin crowd. Calvinism is the operative ground for fellowship in these minds, not the fundamentals. And not really 'the gospel', unless you define Calvinism as the gospel (as some are doing).

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I'm sure I'll still miss a few but, will chip away.

Eric R wrote:
Granted, the NT does not only repeat the gospel over and over. But it does do just that quite a bit, does it not?
Absolutely.
Eric R wrote:
Show me a Christian-living imperative that is not somehow linked by the author to a gospel indicative. We tend to jump to the imperatives, but devoid of the proper foundation of the indicatives
I'm not sure who "we" here is, but I'm not for that. If we preach and teach through epistles sequentially, we follow the argument of the epistle which always relates in some way to the gospel.
I don't think that's in dispute here.

Quote:
Fundamental preachers think of the "gospel" and "salvation" as only something that happened in my past, something that only needs to be preached to unbelievers, they conclude that we mostly need to "move on" from the gospel to other things. Call them implications, applications, whatever; the problem lies in the moving on. We should never get past or over the gospel.

"Move on" as in "abandon"? Certainly not. "Move on," as in preach the whole counsel of God? We better be sure we do! Let's be clear if we can. "Let him who stole steal no longer" is not the gospel. So if we're going to preach that, it will be because we have moved on. Of course, it is addressed to people who have believed the gospel and the reason for the imperative is the gospel, but the instruction is distinct from the gospel.

Now about "salvation" being something that happened in the past. There are two errors to avoid here. One is the view that tends to see everything as ongoing and nothing as completed. The other is to see everything as completed and nothing yet to come. Nobody really does either of these per se, but it happens as a matter of emphasis. Paul speaks to believers often as those have been saved (e.g., Eph. 2:8) Something done. But also he speaks of future adoption and redemption. And he speaks of salvation as something we work out with fear and trembling (Php 2.12). Peter speaks of it as something ready to be revealed on the last day. So there is a past, present and future aspect.
So it's not either-or; it's both-and. Salvation is something that is completed at the moment of faith in one sense, and ongoing for our lifetimes in another sense.

In general, I think we're all better served by not overreacting to the errors of emphasis and terminology that are out there. As much error comes from overreaction as from the problems themselves.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Joseph Leavell's picture

Quote:
And here the case of the identical texts is pointing to those who by their works, their outward acquiescence from their lip service to their deeds, attempt to appeal to Christ that by these and not their faith they are his and he says, "I never knew you".

Quote:
I see where you stated that they may have believed that "just naming" the name of Jesus as Lord was enough but then you go on to equate it to calling on Christ as Savior, I believe these two are quite removed from one another.

I guess I don't understand the difference then. You say this passage isn't talking about salvation but then say that the people here are appealing to "Christ...by these and not their faith they are his." So, they're claiming to be saved, and Jesus is saying they're not, they have lives built upon the sand and not the Rock. How is this not a salvation passage then if Jesus is saying that just saying the words "Lord, Lord" doesn't save you? But then you get to Romans 10 and it says "whoever confesses Jesus Christ is Lord shall be saved." It says a few verses earlier "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

I'm not making a case for Lordship salvation here - I'm just saying that I don't get saying that these passages aren't talking about salvation because it doesn't refer to Jesus as "Savior" but it does refer to Him as "Lord" when a primary passage for salvation in Romans 10 calls Him "Lord" and not "Savior." Just a little confused how they are "removed" from one another and how they cannot be equated if they ARE equated in Romans 10...

Alex wrote:
Now, if you are pointing to the possibility that a person can believe on Christ and never really believe or be born again, I do not accept such contradictory statements.

Yeah, I agree. I've never met anyone including Calvinists who would disagree with you as long as the belief on Christ was not based on a false Gospel. Don seemed to be indicating that some people believe that you can genuinely accept Christ as Savior and still not be saved because you're not elect. That's a misrepresentation of Calvinism if that's what he's saying. I hope I'm wrong and that he meant something else, but that's what I took from it anyway.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Quote:
Don seemed to be indicating that some people believe that you can genuinely accept Christ as Savior and still not be saved because you're not elect. That's a misrepresentation of Calvinism if that's what he's saying. I hope I'm wrong and that he meant something else, but that's what I took from it anyway.

He was reacting to statements by Ted that seemed to suggest a person could call on the name of the Lord and not be saved... I guess because a preacher said "Walk the aisle and pray and prayer to be saved." But there's no way to make Rom. 10:13 fit a scenario where a person truly believes and calls and is still unregenerate afterwards.

ed wrote:
The human call in Rom. 10:13 has as much to do with the present day invitation system as air does with the gospel (oops, that one has been used). OK. As much as apples do with oranges.
...
The invitation system is all about what to do to get saved, not worship. It leaves man in the center, just as the unregenerate like it.

I guess I'm not sure what exactly this "invitation system" is you're talking about. Having grown up hearing a whole lot of invitations, I cannot recall a single one of them in which the event was about teaching people that aisle walking and prayer praying is how people save themselves.
Oddly, these churches (and other types of meetings) were the very places where I learned that there is nothing anyone can do to save himself and he must cast himself on the mercy of God alone. It's true that there was occasionally some murkiness about exactly how necessary the prayer was (I'm still not sure that's entirely clear... can a person really believe and repent without communicating something to God about that?). But there was never, ever, any teaching to the effect that it's my prayer that has the power to save or my walking an aisle that merits my forgiveness.

So whatever the "invitation system" is you're referring to, it must be one I've never seen. Perhaps it dates back more to the time of Finney or maybe it's more common in Nazarene or Free Will Baptist churches?

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Paul Scharf: you made the observation that Rom.10:13 is not "about" calling but about who may call. This is true enough, but try reading it without the "call." My point is that "whoever shall call ...shall be saved" is still there and the fact that the larger argument has to do with including both Jew and Gentile does not make it go away.
If we only had this verse, we would not know that it's not the calling itself that saves. We learn this from other passages.

Aaron,
I respectully disagree. We can know what Paul is talking about from the context and from the fact that he is quoting Joel 2:32.
Otherwise we are just loading "call" with a random meaning from our fundamentalist culture and experience. I do not believe that an "altar call" or a "sinner's prayer" are found in Rom. 10:1-13.
Paul, in the larger context of Rom. 9-11, is dealing with the past, present and future of Israelite salvation. His use of OT quotations here, then, is highly siginificant to the meaning of what he is talking about. We need to unpack the meaning of those quotations in their OT contexts to know what Paul is stating in Rom. 10. He is not just using some kind of a play on words.

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Quote:
I do not believe that an "altar call" or a "sinner's prayer" are found in Rom. 10:1-13.

So are you asserting that Rom.10.13 has nothing to say to sinners at all? Surely we're agreed that there is a calling and a saving there. Who is being saved? Someone already saved?

(For for clarity, I'm not saying there's an altar call there. I'm not a proponent of altar calls.)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Joseph Leavell's picture

Don wrote:
The endless argument pro and anti Calvinism that has sprung up is typical. It involves a lot of sophistry, and it is definitely a red herring because it completely diverges away from Bauder's article.

I agree...but...I believe it was you brought it up in the first place, wasn't it?

Don wrote:
Calvinism is the operative ground for fellowship in these minds, not the fundamentals. And not really 'the gospel', unless you define Calvinism as the gospel (as some are doing).

So...I assume you didn't like the Spurgeon quote as Spurgeon fits that category?

Eric R.'s picture

Don Johnson wrote:
But it does illustrate the enchantment many have with the Together for Calvin crowd. Calvinism is the operative ground for fellowship in these minds, not the fundamentals.

Whether or not one agrees with Calvinism (by which I assume you refer specifically to Calvin's understanding of hamartiology and soteriology), the denouncement of their gathering around those doctrines is revealing. One group says: "We think these things are important: man's sin problem and God's glorious solution to it." Another group says: "We think these things are important. We call them " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fundamentals ]The Fundamentals " - they are outlined in a series of 90 articles, precious few of which are about Justification by Faith or Salvation by Grace. Most are about Higher Criticism, Creation vs. Evolution, Modern Philosophy, Science and Christian Faith, Romanism, Sunday School, etc." I encourage anyone to take a look at the table of contents and see if it strikes you as a list of the most important things, the things that are truly fundamental to the faith.

Maybe the emphasis of our movement has been a little off since it's birth and we're just seeing the symptoms of that now.

Ted Bigelow's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
The endless argument pro and anti Calvinism that has sprung up is typical. It involves a lot of sophistry, and it is definitely a red herring because it completely diverges away from Bauder's article.

But it does illustrate the enchantment many have with the Together for Calvin crowd. Calvinism is the operative ground for fellowship in these minds, not the fundamentals. And not really 'the gospel', unless you define Calvinism as the gospel (as some are doing).

C'mon Don. If Calvinism were the "operative ground for fellowship" among some of us in this post, we wouldn't be dispensational, or pre-trib.

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