Credit Where Credit Is Due, Part 2

NickImageRead Part 1.

After graduating from college, I had the providential fortune to arrive at seminary just as William Fusco took up the presidency. In addition to the burden of leadership, Fusco was caring for an invalid and dying wife. Through the deep trial of his (and her) faith, the character of Christ shone with uncommon clarity. Without ever abandoning the key principles of his fundamentalism, Fusco consistently displayed a gentle spirit of kindness and personal sacrifice that I have rarely seen matched and have never seen surpassed. He was a man who overflowed with love of the Lord and love for people.

During my first year at seminary, I also met two professors whose teaching has marked me for life. The first, Charles Hauser, taught me more about dispensationalism and Christian living than anyone else. His most important contribution lay in his example. He modeled stability in the middle of trials, and his steadiness was as instructive to me as his classroom content.

The second, Myron Houghton, was George’s twin brother. Myron’s grasp of systematic theology exceeded anything that I had ever seen or thought possible. It seemed that he conversed with nearly every theological perspective, from multiple varieties of evangelicals to Roman Catholics to Adventists. He was constantly learning and constantly thinking. He significantly influenced my soteriology, but his real impact was on my ecclesiology. He made the case for ecclesiastical separation, including what is sometimes called “secondary separation.” Incidentally, it was substantially the same case that appears in Ernest R. Pickering’s book, Biblical Separation, of which Myron was later to become the editor. The key points of my understanding today do not depart from his ideas in any significant way.

My second year at seminary brought two more professors whose influence was both instant and profound. To this day, I consider Robert Delnay to be the best-rounded model for the life of the mind I have ever known. As a historian, he told a coherent story that provided a framework for understanding the current state of Christianity. As an exegete, he made the text of the Greek New Testament come alive for his students. As a homiletician, he taught a theory of rhetoric that could reach the affections without stooping to manipulate the appetites. From the beginning it was clear that he held the convictions of a fundamentalist, but he had a wonderfully sardonic and irreverent way of deflating the pompous self-appointed gatekeepers of the faith. Beyond all of this, he introduced a kind of spiritual urgency and intimacy with God that one can only label (as A. W. Tozer did) mysticism.

My second year also brought Ralph Turk to teach on our campus. Turk had spent most of his ministry as a pastor, but his intellectual curiosity took him into some unusual places. Ours may have been the only fundamentalist seminary ever to offer a seminar course on the thought of Kierkegaard—much of it taught in Turk’s living room. I’m grateful to this day.

Other professors on that campus were also influential. Robert Myrant taught me to love historical theology in addition to church history. R. Bruce Compton not only taught me Greek and Hebrew, but also modeled valuable lessons in the meaning of friendship. Gary Gordon was the friend who first drew me to the lectern and who guided me through the faltering early stages of teaching.

As I reflect back upon those formative years, I can see where my experience of fundamentalism differed from the experience that I hear so many describe. In fact, it differed in several ways. Among the most important are the following.

First, the men who most influenced me were utterly honest. They hid nothing, either about fundamentalism or about themselves. They were willing to admit their own faults and weaknesses, just as they were willing to admit the faults and weaknesses of the fundamentalist movement. Since they created no illusions for me, they left me little room for disillusionment.

Second, these were people who valued the life of the mind and the broad pursuit of learning. They loved and pursued an increasingly deep grasp of the Scriptures, of the system of theology, and of the life of faith. They also displayed and fostered an inveterate curiosity about ideas with which they did not agree. They were willing to travel outside of their own intellectual neighborhoods in order to make sense of other points of view. They showed me that dispassionate understanding was fundamental to a strong and clear defense of the faith—the only dividing line between polemics and mere propaganda.

Third, these people were genuinely humble. They might be gripped by big ideas, but they never aspired to be big names. They were not climbers, politicians, gatekeepers, or power mongers. Somebody once pressured me to name my heroes. In a sense, that’s what I’m doing now. The problem is that my heroes are all people who are unknown to the people who want to know who my heroes are. My heroes were content to be who they were and to minister in the calling that God had given them.

Fourth, my mentors gave genuine evidence of the fruit of the Spirit and of a personal walk with God. Since the institutions that they served were smaller, I had the opportunity to observe them in a very personal way. Where I went to seminary, the faculty and staff were constantly subject to real hardships and afflictions. They proved themselves in the midst of adversity and displayed the character of Christ with all sincerity.

Two of their virtues stand out. One is that they were temperate men, not given to bombast or overstatement. The other is that they were gentle men. Even when standing firmly for the truth, they evidenced a commitment to the care of souls. The consequences of their words and deeds mattered to them, and they were deeply concerned to use power judiciously and rightly. They refused ever knowingly to manipulate people, let alone to coerce them.

Through the years I have met more of their kind: Donald Brong in Iowa, for example, or Douglas McLachlan in Minnesota. Because God graciously brought such men to me at the crucial decision points in my life, my experience of fundamentalism has been dramatically different than the stories that I hear other men tell.

To be sure, I’ve seen my share of power-hungry, manipulative, idiosyncratic, truth-twisting, unethical, and even pathological fundamentalists. Ever since that conversation with George Houghton, however, I’ve believed that they do not genuinely represent what fundamentalism is. Rather, they are like an infection within the body of fundamentalism.

Such men stand under the judgment of the idea of fundamentalism. If fundamentalism is a biblical idea (and I believe it is), then they also stand under the judgment of the Word of God. They are best dismissed with incredulity, held at a distance, and otherwise ignored. You might call that “separation.”

The genuine leaders of fundamentalists do not go to extremes. Instead, they go back to basics. They do not huff and puff. They do not romp and stomp. They are not given to full-auto verbal assaults. If they bare their teeth and draw their swords, it is only when the innocent and powerless need to be defended. Rather, they faithfully and quietly minister in the callings that God has given them.

Hold such in esteem.

Psalm II
John Milton (1608-1674)

Why do the Gentiles tumult, and the Nations
Muse a vain thing, the Kings of th’ earth upstand
With power, and Princes in their Congregations

Lay deep their plots together through each Land,
Against the Lord and his Messiah dear?
Let us break off, say they, by strength of hand

Their bonds, and cast from us, no more to wear,
Their twisted cords: he who in Heaven doth dwell
Shall laugh, the Lord shall scoff them, then severe

Speak to them in his wrath, and in his fell
And fierce ire trouble them; but I, saith hee,
Anointed have my King (though ye rebel)

On Sion my holi’ hill. A firm decree
I will declare; the Lord to me hath say’d,
Thou art my Son I have begotten thee

This day; ask of me, and the grant is made;
As thy possession I on thee bestow
Th’ Heathen, and as thy conquest to be sway’d

Earths utmost bounds: them shalt thou bring full low
With Iron Scepter bruis’d, and them disperse
Like to a potters vessel shiver’d so.

And now be wise at length, ye Kings averse,
Be taught ye Judges of the earth; with fear
Jehovah serve, and let your joy converse

With trembling; kiss the Son least he appear
In anger and ye perish in the way,
If once his wrath take fire like fuel sere.

Happy all those who have in him their stay.

[node:bio/kevin-t-bauder body]

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Quote:
First, the men who most influenced me were utterly honest. They hid nothing, either about fundamentalism or about themselves. They were willing to admit their own faults and weaknesses, just as they were willing to admit the faults and weaknesses of the fundamentalist movement. Since they created no illusions for me, they left me little room for disillusionment.

Growing up in fundamentalism, this is what I remember my pastors, and most other leaders I knew, being like. The other kind showed up now and then just long enough to be a marked contrast. Then, in college, the other kind seemed to dominate--at least it felt that way. But by then I already knew too much of reality to be fooled into an idealistic view of fundamentalism that would later collapse.

Quote:
Second, these were people who valued the life of the mind and the broad pursuit of learning. They loved and pursued an increasingly deep grasp of the Scriptures, of the system of theology, and of the life of faith. They also displayed and fostered an inveterate curiosity about ideas with which they did not agree.

Though BJU days featured a whole lot of the "Be Loyal to the Sum of Perfection Which Is Fundamentalism" types, it's also where I met several of the kind Kevin describes here. Enough to really stimulate a part of my thinking I didn't know existed (and not all of these were men either, and that was enlightening).

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.

Greg Long's picture

Thank you for these two essays, Dr. Bauder. In addition to Drs. Houghton, Delnay, and Turk (whose widow allowed me the tremendous privilege of choosing some books from his personal library to take for my own after his passing), I would add the Hartog family as primary influencers on my life and ministry. Thankfully I never personally experienced much of the "hyper" side of fundamentalism. It's too bad that the hyper side of family has come to dominate what many people view as "fundamentalism."

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

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Kevin Subra's picture

Both Houghtons have been very instrumental in my life and understanding. However, I have completely different views of two of the men that Bauder refers to (namely Domokos and Delnay). It is amazing how we are able to perceive these people so differently, and yet come to similar conclusions on others. I would not question the character of these two men. It's just that the influence they had on me was quite the opposite than what Bauder experienced.

I spent 4 years in the Army in Georgia, and had my eyes opened widely as I was exposed to some slivers in the hyper-fundamentals plank, seeing both strengths and weaknesses of the movement. This exposure definitely helped me to study more deeply and sort many things out, which helped in the long run. Many "up north" or in the Midwest haven't been exposed to the hyper-fundy movement that is/was much more prevalent in the South.

George Houghton definitely helped me to "reintegrate" where needed, and Myron Houghton is almost in a class of his own regarding his ability to teach people to understand the Word. I am indebted to both (and several other teachers that I had).

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Kevin Subra wrote:
Myron Houghton is almost in a class of his own regarding his ability to teach people to understand the Word.

I say a hearty amen to that! I have actually heard people listing the greatest fundamentalist systematic theologians without including http://www.faith.edu/seminary/faculty.html Dr. Myron in the discussion. That is simply absurd.

He had a profound impact on my thinking -- and probably the thinking of most people who have studied under him. His classes are among the best I have ever been a part of.

His academic credentials in theology may be unrivaled -- even in the evangelical world. With the cost of higher theological education today, I wonder if they will ever be duplicated. (BTW - His bio only lists his degrees and certificates -- not every place where he has studied.)

I had Dr. Turk for a professor and perceived him to be a very competent and likeable man. But it was when he ministered to me during a crisis that I came to respect him and hold him in the very highest esteem. We sorely miss him. What an interesting career he had in ministry!

Dr. Delnay held an independent study course for me and showed me his passion for the academy as well as for preaching the Word. His influence on several institutions has been profound.

I dare say that if fundamentalism had been built on the ideals these men aspired to, its story would have been far different. These men and their colleagues are the reason I would stake a claim to being a fundamentalist today in any sense of the word. Barring their influence, I probably would have exited long ago.

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

Rolland McCune's picture

I appreciated Dr. Bauder's autobio; it was interesting, informative and legitimately idealistic. He apparently came to a kinder-gentler fundamentalism that could be found in Mr. Roger's neighborhood but not many places else. That is certainly commendable. I personally knew and enjoyed ministry with almost all the personalities he mentioned and enjoined as worthy of all acceptation, and still count them as close frfiends and comrades-in arms. I would not object to Bauder's description of them. I would even vaingloriouisly wish to count myself of their ilk.

However, when it comes to public leadership in battle, leading gently must on occasion "bare their teeth and draw their swords" in defence and propogation of truth itself along with doing so for the innocent and defenseless. And in so doing, an inordinate number of the saints (and non-saints) immediatelyd cry out at the lack of love, lack of the spirit of Christ, let's pray about it some more, etc., etc. These most often come from the young and immature in the faith, the overly pietistic, or who simply willl never understand the dynamics of "the strife of truth with falsehood for the good or evil side." Leaders in the smoke of battle must contend with them as well the advancing problem. Christ's gentility would probably be characterized as romp and stomp by some, but I find it impossible to fault the incarnation of love, lowliness, and gentleness. Paul was brutally frank on occasion with both believer and unbeliever, seemingly to counter the meekness rubric.

My associations with R. V. Clearwaters, often identified with the ugly side of fundamentalism, would contradict what is too often thought to be the mean and unholy spirit that brought fundamentalism down as a "movement." My 14 years with "Doc" tell a different tale, which has caused me to respond and correct rumors, innuendos and other barnacle-like rubbish about the man and his ministry and leadership. He had a very gentle side with sincere people, but admittedly did not suffer fools very gladly, as it were. He was a strong natural leader (among the hated SNLs), and did not see himself as one who "leads from behind" as I myself would be prone to do. But I stood with him, and observed that his experience and wisdom won the day as far as truth and the fortunes of fundamentalism were concerned. Most would argue that his types brought fundamentalism to its present impasse, but it could also be argued that the vacuum in leadership caused by their passing has not seen much of their calibre replaced.

My point is that the kindler-gentler motif in and of itself will not carry the day in the end. It too often seeks ground with the opposition that is not very common when the devilish details and scholastic fine print see the light of day.

Rolland McCune

Don Johnson's picture

Rolland McCune wrote:
My point is that the kindler-gentler motif in and of itself will not carry the day in the end. It too often seeks ground with the opposition that is not very common when the devilish details and scholastic fine print see the light of day.

thanks very much for that, Dr. McCune.

I think we need to be careful not to be just flame-throwers (I tend in that direction!), but we must be ready to stand up and be counted when needed.

I have been writing lately about the danger of moderates, which you highlight here: "It too often seeks ground with the opposition that is not very common when the devilish details and scholastic fine print see the light of day."

Very good word!

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
I think we need to be careful not to be just flame-throwers (I tend in that direction!), but we must be ready to stand up and be counted when needed.
I have been writing lately about the danger of moderates, which you highlight here: "It too often seeks ground with the opposition that is not very common when the devilish details and scholastic fine print see the light of day."

How do we stand up as fundamentalists? With bluster, over-hyped rhetoric, group-think mentality and strong natural leadership? Or with the doctrines of the Word of God?

How often, in a theological context -- even when debating with liberalism -- is flame-throwing really required or even helpful?

Granted, there is lots of latitude for different types of personalities, and there are (a few) preachers who have the rare gifts that allow them to be both fiery and edifying. However, that is actually pretty rare, and probably not something most of us should aspire to.

But fundamentalists went way overboard on the "vapid bluster" approach for decades. Perhaps, because they were fighting liberalism, they assumed the ends justified the means. Thankfully, those days are mostly over. The market has made that determination, if you have not noticed.

I thank God that men like Drs. McCune, Houghton, Turk, Delnay and Domokos have modeled an entirely different approach -- even when it was perhaps a minority position within fundamentalism. They all went to leading, mainstream academic institutions and showed us that there was a theological understanding of fundamentalism that was worth following.

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

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

How to stand up: selectively and judiciously.
The more stuff you fight over the less each fight matters and the less power each victory carries (do it often enough and the "victories" start to actually be self defeating).
I think the 'kinder-gentler' KB is talking about here is feisty enough when it's time to contend for the faith.

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

I will quote one great Fundamentalist pastor, who made his call to arms thusly:

"It's time to take off our funny nose and glasses and go SOOOUULL WINNINGGGG...!!"

Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool

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

Don Johnson's picture

Paul J. Scharf wrote:
But fundamentalists went way overboard on the "vapid bluster" approach for decades. Perhaps, because they were fighting liberalism, they assumed the ends justified the means. Thankfully, those days are mostly over. The market has made that determination, if you have not noticed.

Paul, I am not for 'vapid blustering' but I think that what you say here is largely a caricature. As I read McCune's comment, he seems to be saying that if leadership had been left to the kindler/gentler souls amongst fundamentalists there wouldn't have been any fundamentalism at all.

The way to stand, however, is to stand for Bible truth regardless of the slings and arrows that come your way, realizing that most of the slings and arrows will come from your 'friends'. Try criticizing Driscoll/MacDonald and see how many 'friends' will leap to their defense and call you unloving and narrow-minded. Note how many of John MacArthur's 'friends' have done just that.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
Paul, I am not for 'vapid blustering' but I think that what you say here is largely a caricature.

Don,

You have a lot here in a short space that would take lots of time to unravel, and I do not have time to respond line-by-line.

I just want to respond to the line above and say that -- oh, no -- this is most certainly not a caricature. Do you know how many chapel sermons I heard in college by fundamentalist evangelists -- usually with a B.A. and a D.D. -- who fit this caricature?

Sadly, many of them were not only uncouth, but also unbiblical -- with the ability to lead vulnerable young people into any number of doctrinal deviations.

Praise God, we have seen great progress on these fronts, but we have to remain vigilant.

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

DavidO's picture

I find the term kinder/gentler ironically inflammatory. At any rate it carries baggage unwarranted here.

I think some are engaging in a bit of false dichotomy above. Can one not be both kind, honest, humble, meek, and still earnest in contention for the faith?

Are those described above necessarily milquetoast types? I'd guess not.

Rolland McCune's picture

David:

I totally fail to see what is inflammatory about the term K/G, and regret that it injured your sensitivities. Even more baffling is the etiology of your "milquetoast" query (talk about inflammatory!). True, one can certainly be gentle, meek, humble, kind, honest and earnest. To describe the past and present fundamentalist contenders for truth, the Scriptures, separation, et al, as simply "earnest" is probably a little too flaccid, given the enormity of the stakes then and now. The personalities and controversies have changed, as life and events always do, but I wonder if the bottom line issues and polarities differ absolutely from what they were with the New Evangelicalism. Lowell's dictum that "new occasions teach new duties; time makes ancient good uncouth" seems to be unfolding before us in some corners of the fundamentalist idea/movement. Calls went out several years ago now for new, fresh, in-depth and scholarly analytical penetrations of the doctrine of ecclesiastical separation and an overhaul of sorts of the history of fundamentalism for our changing times. These appear to have yielded a somewhat confusing and conflicting set of ideas, at least to some of us a little longer in the tooth. Fundamentalist leaders of old were always informed that their proposals, parlimentary procedures, preaching, writing, voting and the like in preserving the faith of our fathers could be done much more nicely, positively and Christ-like. But Jesus on many an occasion was more than "earnest" and seemingly even much more than the "holy Jesus meek and mild." As RVC was wont to say, somewhat parabolically,"Don't try to be more Christian than Christ."

Rolland McCune

DavidO's picture

I wasn't genuinely offended. But my first exposure to kinder/gentler in an ironic and/or derogatory connotation came in Neil Young's "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World" (1989), and I have rarely heard in used in an unmitigatedly denotative sense since.

And now everybody knows in which direction my musical interests formerly wended! :O

Pastor Joe Roof's picture

What areas is Bauder being too kinder and gentler about that he should be more militant on?

Don Johnson's picture

Paul J. Scharf wrote:
Don Johnson wrote:
Paul, I am not for 'vapid blustering' but I think that what you say here is largely a caricature.

...
I just want to respond to the line above and say that -- oh, no -- this is most certainly not a caricature. Do you know how many chapel sermons I heard in college by fundamentalist evangelists -- usually with a B.A. and a D.D. -- who fit this caricature?

Sadly, many of them were not only uncouth, but also unbiblical -- with the ability to lead vulnerable young people into any number of doctrinal deviations.

Well, I could be snide and ask you to remind us where you went to college...

Please note my term "largely". Of course there were and are some who fit the description. But really, the leaders of fundamentalism have been much different than that, by and large, including a man like Dr. Clearwaters, mentioned in the article. I don't think he was 'vapid'. He was strong and determined (from what I have read, no personal experience), but 'blustering'??? 'Blustering' implies a certain emptiness. I'm not sure I would characterize him that way.

We live in an age where fundamentalists in particular seem to have very sensitive ids. One wonders how they would have handled a Luther, say.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Rolland McCune's picture

DavidO wrote:
I wasn't genuinely offended. But my first exposure to kinder/gentler in an ironic and/or derogatory connotation came in Neil Young's "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World" (1989), and I have rarely heard in used in an unmitigatedly denotative sense since.

And now everybody knows in which direction my musical interests formerly wended! :O

David:

My use of kinder/gentler alludes to those words attributed to George H W Bush at the time of the 1988 election. The Bushies tried to draw a contrast between GHWB and the RR style of confrontation. Unfortunately for them, the Democrats gave GHWB's words, "Read my lips: no new taxes" a very kind and gentle hermeneutic, got him to sign a tax bill raising taxes, and hijacked his one-term presidency neither kindly nor gently. Now, I'm not saying there are Reaganites and Bushies in current fundamentalism, as it were. On second thought, there may be a very dim resemblance ...

Rolland McCune

DavidO's picture

I do remember the origin of the term. My only point was it is now difficult to use that phrase and have it be heard with simplicity.

Anyway, my "inflammatory" post, again, was 3/8ths tongue-in-cheek. I should have used an emoticon.

DavidO's picture

Since this article and comment stream has drawn attention from another blog I should clarify and expand my comments above.

It seemed to me that a distinction was drawn in the comments between what Bauder was expressing admiration for (and calling for) vs. what is and was required in order to "carry the day".

In part this is hypothesis contrary to fact in that we have no way of knowing what would have carried the day in the past, we only know what was done. Of course, asserting that a kinder gentler fundamentalism would have carried the day faces a similar problem. All this begs the question as to whether the day was sufficiently "carried" in the first place (something I'm not qualified to say, although I have my inklings).

Additionally, I used the word earnestly (vigorously) advisedly, drawing from Jude. I did leave out contending/fighitng figuring the implication would be there. It seems to me though, that heart of what Bauder gets at above is not the fact that swords were drawn, but how often and against whom.

In short, I stand by my suggestion that there need be no dichotomy between humility, honesty about the flaws of our movement past and present, gentleness, etc., over against earnest contention when appropriate.

EDIT: Forgot this one. Regarding my use of milquetoast. My reading of the use of kinder/gentler in this conversation was that those uses connoted a sort of squishiness when something firmer was required. Hope that clarifies my objection.

Kevin T. Bauder's picture

In defense of Dr. McCune, I should point out that I was the one who first used the words “kind” and “gentle.” These are virtues, not signs of weakness. Both are listed among the fruit of the Spirit (chrestotes and prautes). I am absolutely certain that Dr. McCune does not mean in any way to position himself against kindness and gentleness. We would indeed have reached a nadir if the fruit of the Spirit were to be dismissed as Pollyannaish.

While I do not presume to speak for him, it seems to me that Dr. McCune is suggesting that these virtues are not the only ones that a Christian leader needs to possess. If so, then I heartily agree with him. Virtues like loyalty, courage, justice, and prudence are also necessary. Would any of us really wish to position himself against those?

As Dr. McCune states, we are called upon to defend the truth itself. This is exactly the point that the apostle Paul makes in 2 Corinthians 10:1-6. Paul stresses that he is speaking meekly and gently in the hopes that he will not have to speak sternly at a later point. He makes it clear that he possesses mighty weapons with which he pulls down strongholds. These strongholds he defines as false reasonings (false systems of belief) that rear themselves up against the knowledge of God. These he casts down so that he may capture every manner of thinking and make it obedient to Christ.

Paul was very clear, however, that he did not conduct his warfare in a fleshly way or with fleshly weapons, and that is the crux of my contention (for we ought to contend for the faith, both on our left hand and on our right) with a certain kind of Fundamentalism. There was little of the politician about Paul. He, too, was a temperate man, not given to bombast or overstatement. Even when standing firmly for the truth, he evidenced a commitment to the care of souls. The consequences of his words and deeds mattered to him, and he was deeply concerned to use power judiciously and rightly. He refused ever knowingly to manipulate people, let alone coerce them. I doubt that Paul would have recognized any distinction in practice between defending the truth and defending the innocent and powerless.

I do not see a significant difference between Dr. McCune and myself over principles. To be sure, there may be wrinkles in application, as often occurs between two brothers. We may perhaps differ in our reading of some parts of the present situation. Supposing that these differences exist, I do not know whether they would bother him. They do not bother me.

Concerning Dr. McCune himself, let me say this. I came to know him too late for him to qualify as one of my models, but he has certainly earned the right to be heard and respected. He has both mastered and taught the system of faith. His perseverance has encompassed not only his commitment to Christ but also his endurance in ministry, of which he has made full proof. Throughout the years he has displayed remarkable consistency, focus, and determination. He is the sort of individual whose disagreement is a more valuable treasure than the praise of many friends. Let none of us simply dismiss his words, but rather ponder and weigh them.

Just a word about so-called “Strong Natural Leaders.” Scripture nowhere seems to indicate that God is looking for such natural leaders. There are a few references to the natural man. There are other references to a kind of wisdom that is natural. I do not suppose, however, that these are exactly what Dr. McCune has in mind, since his own ministry runs so clearly in the opposite direction.

One of my aforementioned teachers once gave a memorable warning to a class of pastoral students. I can’t quote it exactly, but it went something like this.

“Some men have such power of character, such clarity of vision, such strength of will, such personality and presence, that they speak and people obey. They assert and people agree. They denounce and people recoil. They confront and people quaver. Gentlemen, some of you in this room may very well have that gift. If ever you discover that you are one of those few, then I entreat you, fall on your face before God and ask Him for grace never to use it.”

Hold such in esteem.

Joel Tetreau's picture

I appreciated the article. I like the way it ends - these men who influenced Kevin were gentlemen and the prefered to influence and minister - and the teeth and swords only came out when they absolutly had too. I also agree that one is militant with the result of being strident only when one has too. Frankly I worry about men who seem to enjoy the fight. They remind me of David who when he wanted to build the Temple could not because he had too much blood on his hands. Personally I hate fighting. I'd rather just have earnest fellowship, sincere prayer, a warn embrace, a liitle decaf coupled with some enthusiastic Bible teaching! (Amen and amen!). Most of the time when I've gone to battle it is because I see that the body is being sinfully wounded and it has to stop. Someone has to stand up and say, "enough." I'd rather someone else who is stronger, smarter, and for sure someone with better writting skills do the wrok. From time to time, there is a cause...and as much as I don't want to...I have too. The ballance I think is key. Dr. Bauder is right, our leadership must come from a genuine character of what we are. Dr. McCune is right, at times we have to stand up, fight, be unpopular - but say what must be said......even though we'll pay a price.

Straight Ahead friends!

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;

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Somewhere in this discussion, we came to a fork in the road and, to quote Yogi Berra, decided to take it.
I am not sure what kind, gentle or milquetoast have to do with the good doctors that Dr. Bauder praised in his article.
One of them in particular, Dr. Turk, was certainly not a milquetoast!
In light of the excellent starting point Dr. Bauder presented us with -- and especially thinking about those reading who may not know these men and may get a false impression about them -- I am concerned that some of these comments have little to do with the subject matter at hand.
As for me, my initial comments were intended to praise these men for standing Biblically on proper and academically-developed theology -- as opposed to some of the false doctrine that was passed off as being politically correct within some sectors of fundamentalism.

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

Dave Doran's picture

Paul,

I believe that these terms have come to be a focal point because the OP--if certain fundamentalists are to be praised and contrasted with other professing fundamentalists precisely because they were kind and gentle, that means, doesn't it, that the others are being faulted for lacking these traits. To raise concern about the difficulties of assessing these traits from a distance and in the midst of conflict is legit, I think. To point out that one man's kindness is another man's compromise and one man's tenacity is another man's unkindess is also valid, I think.

For my part, I wonder if these two traits are very helpful in assessing leaders on a large stage precisely because the nature of that stage and the kinds of discourse and decisions that need to be made. Congregations certainly can and must look to this matter, and it should be easily observable over the long haul of pastoral ministry. To the contrary, a sermon on a conference platform, a positon paper written in the midst of debate, etc., don't supply enough context for judgment. My observation is that the story gets re-told and re-shaped according to the prejudices of the teller. Just look at the differing interpretations of Dr. Bauder's weekly articles--some have accused him of harshness for his plain speech, while others think he soft-pedals some issues. Frankly, I don't find the kind and gentle issue to be that significant in evaluating fundamentalism. Too much smoke to see it all clearly.

I certainly am thankful for kind, gentle men with firm convictions who helped shape my life and ministry. They firmly drew lines while communicating their views plainly. I am also thankful for the men who were not hesitant to say what needed to be said when it needed to be said, even though those men were often judged as unkind and lacking gentleness.

DMD

James K's picture

Kevin, great history and thanks for sharing it.

Does anyone actually doubt that if these men were alive today that they would also agree with the way Kevin has handled the extreme pseudo fundamentalists always screaming for attention? Ignoring these factions has apparently only served to put hot coals upon their heads. Even this thread has caused some to make fools of themselves.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

James K's picture

Yes Paul, those who aren't.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Rolland McCune's picture

One last thought/clarification (I trust). From my 14 years of associaion with R. V. Clearwaters he and I never had a cross word between us, and I left for DBTS with his disappointment but none the less his "blessing." We were especially close during my last six or seven years. I participated in his funeral in 1996 and unashamedly wept as I hugged his daughter Jane farewell as we left Crystal Lake Cemetery.

Doc, as a good leader, prudently chose his hills to die on based on several non-negotiable biblical truths and convictions. But in a showdown when these were being challenged, trampled, disobeyed, avoided or neglected, he was militantly aggressive. This earned him a lot of unwanted and unearned approbium over the decades, actually to this very day. Some of the opponents mused out loud that they hoped for the day they would see RVC in his casket. Fortunately he outlived most of them.

Included in his non-negotliable truths was the primacy of the NT local church. Thus he opposed the movement that tried to hijack the New Testament Association of Independent Baptist Churches from an association of churches to a pastor's fellowship (at Eagledale Baptist Church, Indianapolis, 1966) contrary to the minutes of the call to form an association (passed at Beth Eden Baptist, Denver) one year earlier. The NTAIBC became an association of churches. He also opposed self-perpetuating boards of Baptist institutions who generally wanted him and Fourth Baptist to "pray and pay, but not to play." This was the case in the formation of the Baptist World Mission in the 1960s. On the grounds of local church ideology/doctrine he expected first loyalty to Fourth Baptist by paid servants of a Baptist institution whose membership was at Fourth, rather than their first loyalty elsewhere. The same went for paid servants of Central Baptist Seminary, church staff, the Christian school, custodians, et al, as well as all the membership in general. He was loyal to people and he expected the same from them. It was not "my way or the hi-way." These incidents all became controversial to the point of public resolution with him being blamed in one way or another for the disturbance, usually on ecclesiastically political or pietistic notions.

The local church rubric caused Doc to vigoriously oppose interdenominationalism, especially after its failure to sustain Northwestern Schools in the late 1950s when its Bible College and Seminary closed down, leading to the founding of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College and Central Baptist Seminary as Baptist, not interdenominational, schools. He was on the board of Northwestern and a confidant of W. B. Riley, and went through the rough waters after Riley's death.

Ecclesiastical separation was a non-negotliable, both "primary" and "secondary." Thus Doc participated heavily in the fight within the old Northern Baptist Convention against liberalism, and within the Minnesota Baptist Convention/Association and the Conservative Baptist Association of America against New Evangelicalism. In these controversies, Fourth Baptist Church and the MBA "kept the faith and the furniture." But of course, RVC took heat for not being loving, kind, gentle and Christ-like when push came to shove and straight talk finally took precedence over quiet, emotional, pietistic diplomatic discussions.

RVC's style of church administration was summed up in two words, as he constantly told the Seminary students--"through channels." Anything major that affected Fourth church was first taken to the deacons, after that to the "official family" (composed of all people elected by the church), and finally to the floor of the church. This happened on many occasions while I was there.

Other of RVC's leadership principles included "take the historical approach," giving him an uncanny insight to people and proposals that came along. His ability to size up a situation and know of the right, or a good, solution was amazing. He relied heavily on "documents" when in battle, pulling out minutes, resolutions, etc, because "documents don't lie." This happened when he was contradicted, whether in court fighting to retain the MBA's control of Pillsbury Academy, or as an espert witness on Baptist polity in suits to prevent the Northern Baptist Convention from stealing the property of churches who voted to withdraw from it, or simply during the formation of a new association.

This has droned on far more than intended, typical of the "few minutes" that Baptist preachers promise to audiences. I did not take space for anecdotes of his life as a pastor, friend, counselor,family man, and others. There his kind and gentle side always showed, whether for a student finding a job, those needing food and raiment, a pastor looking for a church, or churches looking pastors. For funerals he would ask for the Bible and "life verse" of the deceased and conduct a very meanigful service. He was willing to be called back from his annual vacation in Florida (in February/March usually, naturally) for emergencies.

I hope that these vignettes put the man in a better light than is too often forgotten or ignored.

Rolland McCune

Jay's picture

Dr. McCune-

Do you know of any biographies or other places where I could get more information on Dr. Clearwaters? Sounds like he lived his life well and is someone worth reading about / emulating.

Even if there isn't anything readily available, I appreciate your vignettes since I 'came to the scene' a couple years after his passing and consequently know the name and little else.

"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

Rolland McCune's picture

Jay:

Dr. Michael Windsor, now teaching at Central Baptist Seminary in Virginia, wrote his doctoral dissertation at Central Seminary, Mpls. on the life and ministry of RVC. An autobiography of RVC, On the Upward Road I'm sure is available, as well as Windsor's dissertation, at Central Seminary or Fourth Bookstore. There are other, shorter accounts of his life, but I've lost track of names and titles.

Rolland McCune

Jim's picture

One always has to be careful when a younger critiques an elder and a basic nobody in fundamentalism (me) critiques a notable one!

That being said, every man has his flaws. One who seems to know something about RVC commented here: http://www.thewoodchucksden.com/?p=18

Quote:
Doug tried to do the almost impossible – to follow an iconic pastor who had been in one church for more than forty years. The difficulty of doing such was exacerbated by the fact that the former pastor stayed in the church, became critical of the new pastor and even appears to have influenced a number of other long-time members with his criticisms of Doug, largely based – if my memory serves me correctly – on Doug’s lack of sufficient militancy and related issues. After several years of internal personal and church strife, Doug left

From: Not afraid to acknowlege that dead fundamentalists were not perfect!

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