Credit Where Credit Is Due, Part 2

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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]

Quote:First, the men who

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).

Thank you for these two

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

Interesting Side Note

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

Amen

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.

Editor in Chief – Dispensational Publishing House

Bible Teacher, Minister, Educator, Author, Journalist

Fundamentalism a generation ago

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

exactly!

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

How do we stand up?

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.

Editor in Chief – Dispensational Publishing House

Bible Teacher, Minister, Educator, Author, Journalist

Selectively

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.

In tribute to Halloween...

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

Editor in Chief – Dispensational Publishing House

Bible Teacher, Minister, Educator, Author, Journalist

stand forthrightly

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

Response

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.

Editor in Chief – Dispensational Publishing House

Bible Teacher, Minister, Educator, Author, Journalist

not milquetoast

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.

Kinder/Gentler Milquetoastees

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

smiley

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

Paul J. Scharf wrote: Don

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

K and G

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

I do remember the origin of

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.

Clarification

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.

Kinder and Gentler

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.

shepherd first, fight only when one must

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;

What does this have to do with the men Dr. Bauder praised?

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.

Editor in Chief – Dispensational Publishing House

Bible Teacher, Minister, Educator, Author, Journalist

Contrasts

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

Kevin, great history and

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.

Yes Paul, those who aren't.

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.

A kind and gentle yet agressively militant RVC

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

Question

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

RVC

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

On RVC

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!

On RVC

Jim:

On principle only, not my personal fondness for RVC, what, in the name of common decency and all that's Christian, is the point of introducing Doug McLachlan's first tenure at Fourth into this discussion? Because (1) knowing Doug (one of the finest and brightest students I've had, 1st of a small handful of summas from DBTS) as well as anyone, he would eschew vigorously such an act, (2) coming from a former fundamentalist who converted to a conservative evangelical always carries extreme prejudice both in motive and content, and (3) posting a website for the cyber world to see is nonsensical. Your parting shot that "dead fundamentalists were not perfect" was gratuitous, inflammatory and unconscionable. If this is any kind of resemblance to the apparently newly discovered and coveted kind and gentle fundamentalism, you have discredited them and embarrassed yourself. The mean, bad, unholy 'ole fundys usually were not as resourceful as you. This is as kindly and gently as I can put it.

Rolland McCune

RVC

Doug McLachlan graduated from CBTS, not DBTS, with a summa MDiv.

Rolland McCune

This turned ugly. At least

This turned ugly. At least the content was addressed and you weren't responded to bombastically Jim. A discussion on the past personalities is no place to introduce a story about a past personality. Put some ice on that knee.

Fundies turned CE "always carries extreme prejudice both in motive and content."

Thankfully that is never true of Fundies.

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

Where are you coming from? Dr. McCune responded graciously and pointedly to Jim's post, and I would be surprised if anyone else thought that McCune was over the top. I don't see a real problem here, and don't understand why you think "this turned ugly".

Is there something that I'm missing here?

"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

McLachlan addressed the very same thing in his "Musings"

http://sharperiron.org/article/moving-toward-authenticity-musings-fundam...

Quote:
Under his leadership, Fourth Baptist Church grew to be a church of approximately 1100-1200 people. In 1982, at the age of 82, Dr. Clearwaters retired from pastoral ministry. I was the first man to succeed him as senior pastor of the church. I can assure you, he was “a hard act to follow.” The difficulty of following such a man was exacerbated by the fact that he and his wife remained in the church as members of the body after Marie and I arrived. It was difficult for them not to interpret every change that we made as, in one way or another, either a rejection of them or an exaltation of ourselves. This was further complicated by the radical difference in our leadership styles. For a significant minority of lay-leaders in the church at that time, adjusting to McLachlan was more than they could handle. Some of them took covert, and on occasion overt, steps to move us out of the pastoral leadership of Fourth Baptist Church. For us this was an entirely new experience, something we had never faced in our two previous pastorates.

The bottom line is that we spent five very difficult years in that position, and found it necessary to leave.

I'm at 4th. I wasn't born yesterday. RVC was a tough act to follow and people know about it

I am not trying to sully anyone's name!

In response to:

Quote:
what, in the name of common decency and all that's Christian, is the point of introducing Doug McLachlan's first tenure at Fourth into this discussion?

It's completely on topic!

To:

Quote:
gratuitous, inflammatory and unconscionable. If this is any kind of resemblance to the apparently newly discovered and coveted kind and gentle fundamentalism, you have discredited them and embarrassed yourself.

Call it what you want! I am not embarrassed at all!

Jay, see Jim's post.

Jay, see Jim's post.

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.

Thank You, Dr. McCune

Thank you, Dr. McCune, for your kind words about my personal hero, Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters. Many outsiders remember him for his militant stance against apostasy and compromise. But there was also a side of Doc that his congregation knew: a kind-hearted pastor who loved the souls of men. Allow me one illustration:

It was our first time to attend a Baptist church. My father had passed away the previous year, and my mother was searching. Mom had enrolled my twin brother and me at Fourth Baptist Christian School in order to satisfy a last request of my dad who had been a public school teacher and didn't like the direction of the schools. We had absolutely no idea what a Baptist was--let alone an independent, fundamental one. Mike and I persuaded mom to take us to church several weeks after we started the school year. We had never done this as a family before. We were nervous that first Sunday. We parked in the large south lot and entered through the main entrance. There was a flight of stairs and a large lobby just ahead. When we got to the top of the stairs, an elderly gentleman met us, recognized us as first-time visitors, spoke kindly to us, and led us to seats on the back row of the front section (the auditorium seated 2,500 or so). He made sure we were comfortable, and then he went on his way. I remember my mother commenting on how nice the church was--that it even had ushers! Well, when the service began, our "usher" walked out onto the church platform. You guessed it: it was Dr. Clearwaters himself! My mother was absolutely amazed that the pastor of such a large church would recognize us as visitors and take a personal interest in us. From that moment on, she was hooked! We were all saved through the ministry of Fourth Baptist Church. Mom is 83 now, but she still recalls with a tear in her eye the kindness of an "usher" that would ultimately point her to Christ.

I am saved and serving the Lord today because of the love, vision, burden, and plain old hard work of my pastor and hero, Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters. His fundamentalism was the most authentic I've ever seen! The critics may say what they want. I knew Dr. Clearwaters as a man among men--a man who loved Christ and the souls of men. Thank you, Dr. McCune, for your kind remarks.

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

context

In listening to the audio that accompanies the "musings" of Dr. McLachlan that were posted here on Sharper Iron, one will hear him state that he is not intending anything to be a pejorative against Dr. Clearwaters or demeaning of Fourth Baptist Church.

Quote:
Doc was highly educated. He possessed a brilliant mind both legal and theological. He was a committed Biblicist which is still my favorite term for what I’d like to be. . . . I love the term Biblicist. He was a militant separatist and he was a strong Baptist. . . . His leadership style as we all know was autocratic and authoritarian. He was a child of his time . . . he led his generation very well. I don’t mean that he didn’t have a gentle side to him – he did. . . . He was gentle with me on more than one occasion. But he was a strong, autocratic leader and in his day and time I think he probably had to be [because ] of the battles he had to fight. . . . I do not fault Doc and Mrs. for remaining at [Fourth after his retirement ]. . . . I am not suggesting that the problems I faced in those first five years [at Fourth ] were altogether the fault of other people. In my relative youth . . . I managed to open my mouth and insert foot on more than one occasion making some significant proposals without having first adequately prepared our people. . . . These were blunders of my own, and such blunders provided certain [lay ] leaders with the kind of data that they felt they needed and they were quick to exploit them. . . . These were my own blunders . . . some of the weight rests on me. . . . I hope nothing I say here is interpreted as demeaning this church . . . this was a glorious church all the years of Dr. Clearwaters’ ministry.

The audio can be heard here
http://centralseminary.edu/pastors-dayfall-conference-audio-available

My question...

is how responsible are we, especially those in leadership, for the 'impressions' we leave with others? It may be true that someone's actions are not characteristic of their ministry- IOW, they misspoke or did something that 'seemed like a good idea at the time' only later to realize with regret that it was another bad idea in the long sad history of bad ideas.

But is it fair to allow good men to be mischaracterized by those actions? And then, is it not fair to acknowledge that these same men did do some things that were very questionable and at times downright imprudent, rash, and misguided? Sadly, there are also those whose rowdy behavior IS the hallmark of their ministry. If at any time a man's ministry is reduced to being powered by the force of his presence and personality, it's time to step away or step down.

When I was a kid, Lester Roloff was everyone's hero. We took a day off school after his death because everyone was shattered. I still have the Bible that he autographed for me. The soft spot I have in my heart for him is as big as Nebraska. But I am allergic to the idea of 'spiritual heroes'. No man should be on a pedestal so high that we can't see and learn from their flaws. I think that since many of these men are on the other side, they would be absolutely fine, if not ecstatic, with today's leaders correcting their follies, whether many or few.

In the end, the criteria for judgement of any man is the Word of God, not our affection or nostalgia. But with what measuring stick we judge others, we are also judged.

Rolland McCune

Susan:

Your point about acknowledging that leaders made missteps, et al., is well-taken. But to me all that can be taken for granted in ordinary discourse of this nature. The need to add that "he was not perfect" and such is not really relevent, and is often so pedantic as to lose its point, somewhat on the order of the self-evident warning labels mandated for products on the market.

By the bye, the four men in the above pic are Dennis Whitehead, Gil Seddon, Doug McLachlan, and myself--all CBTS and Fourth Baptist comrades who first came together in 1967, and we're all still very good friends after 44 years, albeit sinners all.

Rolland McCune

Yes sir

Rolland McCune wrote:
Susan:

Your point about acknowledging that leaders made missteps, et al., is well-taken. But to me all that can be taken for granted in ordinary discourse of this nature. The need to add that "he was not perfect" and such is not really relevent, and is often so pedantic as to lose its point, somewhat on the order of the self-evident warning labels mandated for products on the market.


I agree that "No one is perfect" is a meaningless cliche. I'm thinking more along the lines that we can learn specifically what to do and not do based on examples of faithful leaders, both past and present. Just as we learn from examples in Scripture... we know the mistakes David made that led him into sin, for instance. It isn't an attack on David's character to talk about what he did and how to avoid that in our own lives.

I believe that sometimes when we are considering the successes and failures of men and women who have served the Lord faithfully, discussing their faults or failures is often viewed as 'disloyal' or an attack on their ministry. David's moral failings didn't negate his reputation as a man after God's own heart, and it is notable that he didn't make that mistake again.

Jay, to be more specific,

Jay, to be more specific, consider what was being discussed.

Rolland was giving his experiences with Doc. Jim posted a story that may or may not be true that gave another side to who the man was. What was the response? It was ridicule and suspicion not only on the original storyteller, but also Jim.

These kinds of hits are all too familiar, frequent, and expected.

Doug has clearly sided with Kevin on these issues related to the kinds of fellowship one can have with the CEs. Given Doc's stand on secondary separation, I wonder where Rolland thinks Doc would have sided. At the same time though, I understand the fear or need some have to not publicly say certain things.

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.

Houghtons, William Fusco, et. al.

This almost seems off topic now but...
I didn't encounter the ministries of the Houghtons and William Fusco until pretty recently. So the effect was, "Well, well, there even more of these kinds of leaders than I thought." I expect there are many, many more who faithfully labor day by day and leave an enduring blessing on the lives of those they reach.
And I look forward to meeting more of them.

As for the old how good/bad were the first generation fundamentalists and how similar/different should we be compared to them... I don't really get where the controversy is there. I mean, I've been reading and I can't seem to identify what is actually in dispute.
We're all agreed that the front line fighters of old were flawed but accomplished a great deal....aren't we?
We're all agreed that their successors are also flawed--and that it's too soon to tell what's been accomplished, but "a great deal" is certainly theoretically possible.
So where's the rub?
I suppose it may be where some have located the flawedness of the front line fighters of old (FLFOO?)... and where we locate the flawedness of the later generations. ("Locate" as in what kind of flaws and who had them.)
But I really think we're talking about nuances there, too.
Nobody thinks RVC's style, for example, was absolutely never overly muscular. And I doubt anybody would claim that the generation that is reacting to that generation's machismo is never overly conciliatory or passive.

So... for my part, the remaining nuances don't seem to amount to much. I think we all know that generations tend to overreact to the perceived excesses of their predecessors and, as a result, create new excesses and so on. And we don't usually get to see the excesses clearly until we have hindsight.
So how about if we just learn what we can from the past and do our best in the present?

In the meantime the CE's over

In the meantime the CE's over at TGC are teaching us what we can expect from fellowship with them:

http://apprising.org/2011/11/01/thomas-merton-and-the-gospel-coalition-b... Thomas Merton and the Gospel Coalition Blog

http://apprising.org/2011/11/02/gospel-coalition-contributor-mike-cosper... Gospel Coalition Contributor Mike Cosper Defends Retreat with Roman Catholics

Right, Merton the Mystic taught:

Quote:
At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God,…the pure glory of God in us…as our sonship… It is in everybody,…

And this is not quoting a source simply for the sake of a man making an observation and then using it to illustrate a Biblical truth, no this is Cosper, a TGC contributor, using Merton as a source of spiritual enlightenment.

This is the kind of fellowship you can expect from CE's, you know, like TGC where they have no objections to such instruction, at least apparently so.

I am no fundamentalists but I get far more what Dr. Rolland McCune says and what Dr. Clearwaters stood for and why than I get from the Fraternal Order of Kind and Gentle Theology Group.

Alex, who said anything about

Alex, who said anything about wholesale endorsement of CE? There is obviously a reason why you aren't a Fundy. I guess that would lump you in the CE group, to which McCune applauded. Pure gold.

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.

Huh? What does your comment

Huh? What does your comment have to do with this post, Alex?

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

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

James:I frequently surf SI

James:

I frequently surf SI for things that interest me, and quite infrequently post a comment on things I think I understand. But your responses on this thread cause me nothing but frustration because they come across, to me at least, as one of the biggest collections of convoluted nonsense I've ever seen. How a story, which "may or may not be true," purporting to give "another side" to a previous post or account of a deceased fundamentalist leader and his ministry (Response # 43), ever be justified or commended is indeed troubling. Response # 47 is so esoteric and apocryphal that it defies untangling. I've been told that my intelligence is normal but I'm stumped on this one. I guess I'll have to stay on the porch for a while and ponder the "gold" in the thought of "McCune applauding a CE group." At this point it appears to be nothing but good old fashioned iron pyrite. If I ever understand these things, I may sally forth again on SI.

Rolland McCune

Rolland, 1. Saying the story

Rolland,

1. Saying the story "may or may not be true" had to do with the fact that I do not personally know anything about it.

2. It was certainly another side or perspective on the ministry of Clearwaters from what you personally experienced.

3. Response 47 was pointing out the irony of you, a secondary separationist, applauding a self identified nonfundamentalist.

As for your intelligence, I have no doubt that it is amazing. Anyone with the knowledge to put together the works you have is an incredible feat. I hope you didn't get the impression I was calling that into question.

I hope that clears things up and we can all move along.

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.

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