"We [fundamentalists] should write more"

"[C]onservative evangelicalism manages to write cris de cœur, jeremiads, and straight up polemics and write an even greater number of books that are simply edifying. We can do the same, and we owe it to Christ’s body to do so." Fundamentalist Scholarship

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TylerR's picture

Editor

A few things:

  • I would really disagree with you about McCune's Systematic. It isn't as exhaustive as Erickson or Strong, but I think it's excellent. The various reviews from Master's Seminary Journal seemed to take a "it's a really good, basic start" kind of attitude towards it. I think that's more than a bit tepid. As far as I know, McCune is the only modern fundamentalist Baptist scholar (ThD - Grace Theological Seminary) who has ever published a systematic. It's a great work, and I have learned a lot from it. That doesn't mean it's the best thing ever written (in fact, Chafer is my personal favorite), but I like it. 
  • Regarding the 21st Century Biblical Commentary Series, it's a lay-level expository commentary. It's not exegetical, and it isn't meant to be. They're the kind of commentaries that would be very helpful for interested church members. That's their niche. It's also important to note that the commentary you mentioned was published recently (2009). I actually emailed Bro. Stallard a few months back to tell him how much I appreciated his commentary. If any self-identified fundamentalist publishes a valuable work, we should take heart.
  • If you're looking for exegesis, I would really recommend Peter Steveson's commentary on Daniel, from BJU Press. He did a very good job. His work stands up to Walvoord, Wood, Pentecost and Archer's commentaries on Daniel. It's good. Check it out.
  • I'd also really recommend Beale's Historical Theology In-Depth. It's good. It's current. It's valuable. It's a real contribution to the field of historical theology. I've found it helpful. If any OT or HT guys read this, and want to chime in with their opinions on these two works, feel free. I'd like to know what you think! 

I don't think this is cause for despair. I think unashamed fundamentalists will be publishing more and more in the future. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Larry's picture

Moderator

Sorry, but the level of scholarship presented is not on par with someone like Erickson, Grudem, or even Ryrie. 

I wonder if you might give us an idea of how you concluded this along with some examples. 

T Howard's picture

Larry wrote:

Sorry, but the level of scholarship presented is not on par with someone like Erickson, Grudem, or even Ryrie. 

I wonder if you might give us an idea of how you concluded this along with some examples. 

Larry, TylerR's comment about the reviews found in Master's Seminary Journal accurately sums up my perspective as well: It's a good, [too] basic start. Several years back I was part of a ministry training class at our church, and it included our pastor, two associate pastors, and two guys like me interested in future ministry. We worked through McCune's first volume together (we chose him because he was dispensational and a fundamentalist) and quite frankly were all disappointed. Instead of going on to volume 2, we switched to Erickson's Introducing Christian Doctrine and were better served. I don't have my copy of McCune's work in front of me to provide specific examples of why we were disappointed.  I'll look for it tonight.

T Howard's picture

TylerR,

These are the two places I go for commentary recommendations when I'm preparing to teach or preach through a book:

http://www.dbts.edu/pdf/booklist.pdf

and

http://www.ligonier.org/blog/top-commentaries-on-every-book-of-the-bible/

I usually pick the top two or three commentaries on these lists. I recognize that DBTS favors dispensational authors while Ligonier shuns them. When I taught through 1 Thessalonians I used PNTC, NIGTC, NAC, EBC, and Stallard's. After the first several weeks, I ended up keeping Stallard's commentary on the shelf.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I did 1 & 2 Thessalonians, I usually looked at Stallard last, along with Matthew Henry and Barnes. They're learned devotional commentaries. Nobody should ever confuse them with exegetical works. That's not the point. The point is that fundamentalists are writing more than ever now, and I think it'll only get better. There is a place for learned devotional commentaries in the church. 

Why didn't you use Hiebert?! His is the best dispensationalist commentary available, I think. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

DaveMarriott wrote:

Let's talk about book availability for a moment. Perhaps I'm an anomaly or perhaps this is strictly generational, but I don't purchase books directly from publishers ever. In fact, if a book is not available on the Kindle Store, to be delivered to my house in two days via Amazon Prime, available as a PDF (free or paid), or ready for download to my Logos library, the likelihood of my reading it is pretty close to zero. One problem, then, that fundamentalist authors have is the distribution and availability of their work. When a worthwhile book is published, in some cases, it's hard to get ahold of a copy easily and reasonably. 

I don't know your age, but I'm 51, and I'm exactly the same as you in this point, so it's not strictly generational.  Even my mother now buys all her books on Kindle and reads them on her iPad, as well as using programs to electronically check-out books from the library.

I own lots of paper books.  In fact, my shelves are not only full, they are overflowing with everything from fiction to non-fiction, reference works, devotional works, coffee-table books, etc., and that is the problem.

However, since about 5 years ago, with very rare exceptions, I now buy everything only in electronic form.  In fact, I have even replaced a bunch of books I already owned with electronic copies.  I even got rid of 20 years of National Geographic and purchased their electronic copy of all their magazines, stopped taking the magazine, and now just purchase their yearly electronic update.  In short, I not only want to go forward with electronic format only, I'm slowly converting as many paper works as I would actually use again into electronic.  Since getting an iPhone in 2009, I no longer use paper Bibles for church or study (I also have a number of computer tools) either, and if we do a study together at church I always buy the electronic version.

Like you, I find it frustrating when many works are stubbornly published in paper format only.  With the exception of works that are in the hundreds of dollars like the work mentioned above, I don't find say a $30 price to be an obstacle if it's a work I really want to read, though I hate the fact that some of that $30 is expense that would not be present in an electronic version.  But as you say, the likelihood that I will read a work that is not available in electronic format is much less than for works that are.

I suspect that in another 5 years this will likely not be an issue for even fundamental authors and publishers, but I wish that most of them would take initiative in this area to change more quickly.

 

Dave Barnhart

Bert Perry's picture

Just for fun's sake, I'm going to assume that the views indicated here indicate a level of scholarship that doesn't lend itself to presentation on a comment here in 2000 characters or less.  And so, I've got to double dog dare some of y'all to get some things out there like Ed Vasicek has.  I would LOVE to be forced to take back my earlier comment about fundamental writing needing to be better, but not necessarily more voluminous.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

When I self-publish something on Amazon through CreateSpace, I'll let you know! Maybe it'll even sell 5 copies. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

T Howard's picture

TylerR wrote:

I did 1 & 2 Thessalonians, I usually looked at Stallard last, along with Matthew Henry and Barnes. They're learned devotional commentaries. Nobody should ever confuse them with exegetical works. That's not the point. The point is that fundamentalists are writing more than ever now, and I think it'll only get better. There is a place for learned devotional commentaries in the church.

I agree about the need for this level of commentary, but where are the more scholarly works like Dr. Decker's. He actually wrestled with the text of Scripture, made significant contributions in his field of expertise, and produced some very helpful works before he died that are valued and used in conservative evangelical seminaries.

Temporal Deixis of the Greek Verb in the Gospel of Mark with Reference to Verbal Aspect

Koine Greek Reader: Selections From The New Testament, Septuagint, And Early Christian Writers

Reading Koine Greek: An Introduction and Integrated Workbook

Along with his contribution to the Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament series

 

TylerR wrote:
Why didn't you use Hiebert?! His is the best dispensationalist commentary available, I think.

At the time, I was looking for resources that I could purchase via Logos. (Any more I rarely buy a commentary that isn't available on Logos.) I don't think Hiebert's commentary on 1 Thessalonians was/is available. I purchased the hardback of Dr. Stallard's because he is the dean of my seminary and I had recently taken a class of his on premil dispensationalism.

 

Jay's picture

Jim wrote:

It was a Filing on S/I 6 years ago:

I don't want to reopen this issue again, but my recollection is very much in line with Jim's.  People were angry that they were buying a book from BJU that might actually open the door to a position other than total abstinence from alcohol.  And BJU allowed and then participated in that to happen instead of going to bat for Dr. Jaeggli and exegesis.  That was why I was so disappointed in their position.

We say we value careful exegesis and biblical study.  Then something like this book came out and it completely proves that we don't love exegesis as much as we say we do because it challenges our precious orthopraxy.

If you don't believe me, take a look at part of the opening paragraph from the link Jim referred to:

Recently, however, I came across a book published by Bob Jones University Press: The Christian and Drinking by Dr. Randy Jaeggli, a professor of Old Testament at Bob Jones Seminary. In his book, he advocates and defends social and moderate consumption of wine. Although, Dr. Jaeggli believes the Bible teaches that excessive drinking and drunkenness is wrong, he advocates that alcoholic drink, and especially fermented wine, may be received with the blessing of God as long as it is consumed in moderation. Needless to say, I was appalled and taken aback with this open admission from Bob Jones University and Seminary, a respected school in many Baptist circles. After this open admission toward a position, which advocates the moderate drinking of fermented wine, I would think that good, Biblical Baptists would rethink and reevaluate their relationship with Bob Jones

Not Dr. Jaeggli.  There's NO interaction with the arguments or the texts at all.  Instead, the readers "should rethink and reevaluate their position" with Bob Jones.  Add to that his misappropriation of Habakkuk, and... well, there you go.  That's what's wrong with Fundamentalism.

"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

josh p's picture

I too believe we will see a change in this area over the next generation. A big part of the reason for lack of fundamentalist books is that none of the schools really have a peer reviewed journal so there is little opportunity for scholarship to be encouraged and honed. I consider Detroit's journal to be excellent but I wonder how many non-fundamentalists (or fundamentalists for that matter) even know it exists. 

Bert Perry's picture

....it does appear that the core of the detractors were the KJVO, IFB fringe, no?

But on the flip side, a quick Google search reveals that the book has not been re-released yet, as far as I can tell.  Obviously I don't know what the internal discussion was regarding this, but I can say that if I were a scholar considering where to send  my resume/curriculum vitae, this would not encourage me to send it to BJU.  There are reasonable boundaries for discussion in a Christian college setting, but this case makes it appear as if SOTL and such were setting them.

And quite frankly, that's a big deal (going back on topic I hope) in terms of whether fundamentalists are going to make a bigger impact in theological work.  If you set your boundaries for discussion far more tightly than The Fundamentals and such would do, you're shooting yourself in the foot because you're effectively telling scholars to be happy with the kiddie pool.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

josh p wrote:

I too believe we will see a change in this area over the next generation. A big part of the reason for lack of fundamentalist books is that none of the schools really have a peer reviewed journal so there is little opportunity for scholarship to be encouraged and honed. I consider Detroit's journal to be excellent but I wonder how many non-fundamentalists (or fundamentalists for that matter) even know it exists. 

Well, I don't know about that, but I do know that both Phil Johnson and Dan Phillips have heartily recommended DBTS and Dr. Bauder.  I think John Piper has as well, and I know he has been open about his relationship and love for BJU...he talks about that in his book "A Tribute To My Father"  So I do think that it does exist.  And I think, as much as we ought to, we should reciprocate it back to them for the greater glory of God.

"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

Greg Long's picture

dcbii wrote:

 

DaveMarriott wrote:

 

Let's talk about book availability for a moment. Perhaps I'm an anomaly or perhaps this is strictly generational, but I don't purchase books directly from publishers ever. In fact, if a book is not available on the Kindle Store, to be delivered to my house in two days via Amazon Prime, available as a PDF (free or paid), or ready for download to my Logos library, the likelihood of my reading it is pretty close to zero. One problem, then, that fundamentalist authors have is the distribution and availability of their work. When a worthwhile book is published, in some cases, it's hard to get ahold of a copy easily and reasonably. 

 

 

I don't know your age, but I'm 51, and I'm exactly the same as you in this point, so it's not strictly generational.  Even my mother now buys all her books on Kindle and reads them on her iPad, as well as using programs to electronically check-out books from the library.

I own lots of paper books.  In fact, my shelves are not only full, they are overflowing with everything from fiction to non-fiction, reference works, devotional works, coffee-table books, etc., and that is the problem.

However, since about 5 years ago, with very rare exceptions, I now buy everything only in electronic form.  In fact, I have even replaced a bunch of books I already owned with electronic copies.  I even got rid of 20 years of National Geographic and purchased their electronic copy of all their magazines, stopped taking the magazine, and now just purchase their yearly electronic update.  In short, I not only want to go forward with electronic format only, I'm slowly converting as many paper works as I would actually use again into electronic.  Since getting an iPhone in 2009, I no longer use paper Bibles for church or study (I also have a number of computer tools) either, and if we do a study together at church I always buy the electronic version.

Like you, I find it frustrating when many works are stubbornly published in paper format only.  With the exception of works that are in the hundreds of dollars like the work mentioned above, I don't find say a $30 price to be an obstacle if it's a work I really want to read, though I hate the fact that some of that $30 is expense that would not be present in an electronic version.  But as you say, the likelihood that I will read a work that is not available in electronic format is much less than for works that are.

I suspect that in another 5 years this will likely not be an issue for even fundamental authors and publishers, but I wish that most of them would take initiative in this area to change more quickly.

 

Interesting. I've gone there and come back again. During my doctoral work I bought as many books for Kindle as I could just to save funds. After reading thousands of "pages" on the Kindle, I HATE reading on it. Now I choose paper over electronic every time. Reading on the Kindle isn't enjoyable for me, and I don't think I retain as much.

Now, my kindle of choice was the Fire (chosen more as a multipurpose tablet rather than as a strict reading device), and I've heard others say the regular and especially the paperwhite Kindles offer a much better reading experience. But I think the tactile experience of turning actual pages and physically highlighting/writing notes is extremely valuable to my reading experience and information retention.

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

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

J. Baillet's picture

One step toward advancing Fundamentalist scholarship is to dispense with the argument:  "My position is based on a plain, literal hermeneutic, and others are not, and therefore, my position is ipso facto right."  Proceed to sound exegesis.

JSB

josh p's picture

Jay wrote:

 

josh p wrote:

 

I too believe we will see a change in this area over the next generation. A big part of the reason for lack of fundamentalist books is that none of the schools really have a peer reviewed journal so there is little opportunity for scholarship to be encouraged and honed. I consider Detroit's journal to be excellent but I wonder how many non-fundamentalists (or fundamentalists for that matter) even know it exists. 

 

 

Well, I don't know about that, but I do know that both Phil Johnson and Dan Phillips have heartily recommended DBTS and Dr. Bauder.  I think John Piper has as well, and I know he has been open about his relationship and love for BJU...he talks about that in his book "A Tribute To My Father"  So I do think that it does exist.  And I think, as much as we ought to, we should reciprocate it back to them for the greater glory of God.

Yeah I know there have been some good exchanges back and forth which is why I think fundamental works will increase and be a help to all of conservative Christianity. Those of us with children should be careful not to impart an "us against them" mentality. If we do it right the next generation of fundamentalists can be serious about properly handling God's word and making right applications that bring God glory. Ultimately it is the Holy Spirit who will accomplish it though so this would be a great thing to regularly pray for.

T Howard's picture

Larry wrote:

Sorry, but the level of scholarship presented is not on par with someone like Erickson, Grudem, or even Ryrie. 

I wonder if you might give us an idea of how you concluded this along with some examples. 

Larry,

I have gone back and reviewed my notes on McCune's Systematic. For our ministry leadership class, our pastor required us to write a five-page summary of what we read and learned for each chapter (or group of chapters) that we covered. This morning, I went back and reviewed some of my summaries.

In the conclusion of my summary of his prolegomena,  I commented that "Overall, McCune’s prolegomena provides a cursory introduction and understanding of systematic theology. Much of what McCune has written in his prolegomena is also found in other conservative evangelical systematic texts. On some topics (e.g. the source of theology), it would have been helpful to the reader for McCune to provide additional rationale or explanation for his particular position instead of just quoting from various sources as examples. As the reader continues working through A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity, he hopes McCune will provide a more robust proclamation of the various doctrines of Scripture."

In the conclusion of my summary of chapter 2, I commented that "Overall, this chapter on the doctrine of Scripture would have been more helpful had it been clearer in places. Sometimes McCune will make an assumption without fully supporting it, and other times he will make statements that seem confusing if not contradictory. For example, in his discussion of the nature of inspiration, he does not clarify his exact position until the second excursus. However, what he calls concursive inspiration is also considered by some to be a form of dynamic inspiration. This was confusing at first because McCune denounces dynamic inspiration as denying propositional truth, but then later he appears to hold to a form of dynamic inspiration. Again, additional clarity and explanation from McCune would help the reader to better understand McCune’s positions in chapter two."

In the conclusion of my summary of chapter 3, I commented that "In summary, McCune spends most of his time in chapter three quoting and paraphrasing Charles Ryrie. While this chapter, with its brief (and, to me, unsatisfying) explanations may be somewhat helpful to those not familiar with dispensationalism or covenant theology, the reader would be better served to read Dispensationalism by Charles Ryrie along with God of Promise: Introducing Covenant Theology by Michael Horton. And, although McCune views progressive dispensationalism as “an unwelcome aberration and wholly unsatisfactory as an approach to understanding Scripture,” the reader would also be well served to examine Darrell L. Bock and Craig A. Blaising’s Progressive Dispensationalism. In working through all the issues involved in theological and hermeneutical method, this reader found it helpful to get the various perspectives of all the theological systems from their proponents rather than rely on the characterizations of their opponents. While it was outside of the scope of this chapter to exhaustively compare and contrast classic dispensationalism with covenant theology or even progressive dispensationalism, there could have been more effort given to at least framing these two alternative approaches. On the whole, McCune is once again brief to a fault in chapter three."

When discussing one of his later chapters, I wrote, "One of the most frustrating things about McCune is that he does not adequately explain the terms he uses or the positions he takes. Here again, McCune fails to explain exactly what ethical monism is, why Strong advocated it, and the problems associated with it. Instead, the reader is left either scratching his head or heading off to other sources to fill in the gaps."

Larry, my intent here is not to bash Dr. McCune.  My point was just that his Systematic did not exhibit the level of depth and scholarship that conservative evangelical commentaries usually do. As we studied his systematic, I remember all of us in the ministry leadership/training class feeling McCune left out a lot of helpful and needful information.

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