"As I read the blogs of Dr. Kevin Bauder, I see an attempt to re-write the history of fundamentalism in America."

13305 reads

There are 96 Comments

Mike Durning's picture

Apparently this brother pastor sees change as that which we should fear. This seems to be a recurrent theme in the article.

The problem is that change is only an enemy if we are fine as we are. Clearly, some of us believe we are not.
Such articles are only useful in rallying the troops who already agree with him, but will not persuade anyone.

We must use the Scriptures to answer questions in a thorough fashion.
What is the Biblical basis of separation? What does true Scriptural unity look like? Is music an issue in and of itself, aside from all other related factors? What is the proper view of the Christian's interactiom with culture?

Many of yesterday's battles were vital. Seeing what Billy Graham says now, who would argue he chose wisely back in the 50's?
But a few of those battles were distractions from Biblical truth, built on tenuous ground, inspired by cultural rather than Christian considerations.

Pastor Glenn Entwistle's picture

I have heard these arguments and concerns before. They were trumpeted from the pulpit of my alma mater again and again as I sat listening. We were warned of the evils that existed on the slippery slopes and how it was better to never get close to the "edge of the cliff" by asking challenging questions. We were told about the great compromises of men in the past and how after they led so many astray after changing their "no pants on women" rule after (fill in the blank years) established by the godly (fill in the blank niche fundamentalist leader). In all honesty, I'm tired of reading about it.

I'm now in my fourth year of my first pastorate in the church which I served as youth leader for ten years. My Bible College no longer exists and I've found that I have far less in common with that school than I tried to convince myself of while attending. I've read just about everything Dr. Bauder has produced as well as many other writings from many other teachers, pastors, church fathers, and scholars. I've even taken the time since graduating to read the creeds of the past which were never even mentioned during our church (Baptist) history class.

I say all of that to say this: That open letter made me feel as if I was sitting through another bible college chapel after the Dean of Students found out someone read a Harry Potter book. I don't like to think of my time in bible college as wasted, and I'm sure it wasn't entirely, but letters like this make me feel as though there was a chance it was.

Andrew Comings's picture

In my increasingly humble opinion, the author needs to read "The Fundamentals"--as close as we Fundamentalists have to a founding document--and take careful note of the names and affiliations of the authors. Then he should ask himself, who is really redefining Fundamentalism?

I was going to write more, but Pastor Glenn expressed my opinion perfectly. I will say this: I find it amazing how the author in one paragraph describes how he removed his church's financial support from his alma mater, and then in the very next paragraph complains of being "blackballed" by said institution.

Missionary in Brazil, author of "The Astonishing Adventures of Missionary Max" Online at: http://www.comingstobrazil.com http://cadernoteologico.wordpress.com

Don Johnson's picture

Andrew, The Fundamentals were written LONG before the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy. They were early, early days, written well before fundamentalist thinking began to look at the Scriptural mandates for separation.

To follow the logic of your claim, those fundamentalists who left the Northern Baptist Convention or the Presbyterian Church (like Machen) would have been the ones redefining fundamentalism. After all, the affiliations of the writers of The Fundamentals didn't mandate any such separation, did it? Was Machen wrong? Was R. T. Ketcham wrong to leave the NBC?

So please spare us specious arguments based on the affiliations of the writers of The Fundamentals.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Pastor Joe Roof's picture

Andrew and Don are not reading the article. Fundamentalism existed in the OT and Isaiah was a fundamentalist. Wink

RPittman's picture

Mike Durning wrote:
Apparently this brother pastor sees change as that which we should fear. This seems to be a recurrent theme in the article.
Mike, I don't think it is change per se but it is the direction of the change. There is a big difference. You're hanging an albatross around his neck rather than interfacing with his objections.
Quote:

The problem is that change is only an enemy if we are fine as we are.

Now, this is where your argument is off track. It is not change but the nature of the change that the pastor is critiquing. So, it is a red herring to portray him as opposing change simply because it is change. You may disagree with him but be fair to the guy and argue against what he specifically opposes. Even if we are not happy where we are, it is not a foregone conclusion that change, any change, will improve the situation. Thus, the debate is not between change and the status quo but it is between what are the acceptable parameters of cooperation and separation. And we may not agree on where the boundaries are.
Quote:

Clearly, some of us believe we are not. Such articles are only useful in rallying the troops who already agree with him, but will not persuade anyone.
Well, I don't think we are where we ought to be but I am not necessarily persuaded that we need to compromise separation and form entangling associations for sake of change alone. The infatuation with change for change sake alone is what helped elect Obama who doesn't know what to do now. Yes, we do need to rally our troops who still believe that Scriptural separation is more than separation from apostates and unbelievers. And I do believe some, although not all, who are wavering, being moved by the apparent intellectualism and appeal of Bauder, Dorn, & company, may be persuaded to hold to a strict separatist stance.
Quote:

We must use the Scriptures to answer questions in a thorough fashion. What is the Biblical basis of separation? What does true Scriptural unity look like? Is music an issue in and of itself, aside from all other related factors? What is the proper view of the Christian's interactiom with culture?

Even though we reference Scripture as our authority, we may not end up in the same place. Rather than bicker or compromise our convictions, would it not be better to separate? Separation, sometimes, is not always bad because it may be the only means of bringing peace. Furthermore, separation may be based on dress, custom, music, etc. The Amish do it to preserve their way of life; what is wrong with Fundamentalist Christians using cultural or human distinctions to steer us clear of a worldly lifestyle and many sinful temptations? Other than the irrational emotional cries of legalism, I have not heard reasonable and persuasive argumentation that separation must be specifically outlined in Scripture. All that we do and say is NOT explicitly outlined or commanded in Scripture but some things are derivative from Scriptural principles.
Quote:

Many of yesterday's battles were vital. Seeing what Billy Graham says now, who would argue he chose wisely back in the 50's?
But a few of those battles were distractions from Biblical truth, built on tenuous ground, inspired by cultural rather than Christian considerations.

And our battles are vital today. Also, have you considered that the cultural was inspired by the Christian rather than the culture inspiring the Christian? Some cultural considerations may be Biblical or derived from Biblical principle. Unfortunately, most people do not have a balanced view on this. It's rather like the French Revolution that got carried away and went too far in overthrowing the establishment.

RPittman's picture

Pastor Glenn Entwistle wrote:
I have heard these arguments and concerns before. They were trumpeted from the pulpit of my alma mater again and again as I sat listening. We were warned of the evils that existed on the slippery slopes and how it was better to never get close to the "edge of the cliff" by asking challenging questions. We were told about the great compromises of men in the past and how after they led so many astray after changing their "no pants on women" rule after (fill in the blank years) established by the godly (fill in the blank niche fundamentalist leader). In all honesty, I'm tired of reading about it.

I'm now in my fourth year of my first pastorate in the church which I served as youth leader for ten years. My Bible College no longer exists and I've found that I have far less in common with that school than I tried to convince myself of while attending. I've read just about everything Dr. Bauder has produced as well as many other writings from many other teachers, pastors, church fathers, and scholars. I've even taken the time since graduating to read the creeds of the past which were never even mentioned during our church (Baptist) history class.

I say all of that to say this: That open letter made me feel as if I was sitting through another bible college chapel after the Dean of Students found out someone read a Harry Potter book. I don't like to think of my time in bible college as wasted, and I'm sure it wasn't entirely, but letters like this make me feel as though there was a chance it was.

Pastor Entwistle, this is your personal experience expressed from your own personal perspective. Whereas I am sure that it is cogent and important to you, what is the value for the rest of us? It follows the same pattern of one emerging from a limited perspective into a larger world. Too often, we are bedazzled by the glitter of that expanding world. With time and maturity, one often returns and find profundity in what he or she left. The intellectualism of the emerging Fundamentalism is not necessarily the same as being intellectual or profound although it appears to offer that attraction. Instead, it is usually swallowing the current academic Christian political correctness.

I have just two questions for you. Were the stories true of the men on the slippery slopes of ruin? Are men replicating those same errors today?

As for your Bible college, they were not necessarily wrong in their position but they should have taught you to think instead of simply following leadership as you continue to do today--just different leadership. . . . .

Pastor Joe Roof's picture

Roland Pittman wrote:
Furthermore, separation may be based on dress, custom, music, etc. The Amish do it to preserve their way of life; what is wrong with Fundamentalist Christians using cultural or human distinctions to steer us clear of a worldly lifestyle and many sinful temptations? Other than the irrational emotional cries of legalism, I have not heard reasonable and persuasive argumentation that separation must be specifically outlined in Scripture. All that we do and say is NOT explicitly outlined or commanded in Scripture but some things are derivative from Scriptural principles.

The Pharisees did it to preserve their way of life and failed miserably. There have been plenty of failings in the Amish community as well. There are also plenty of examples in fundamentalist circles that this way of thinking did not stop immorality, other wrong behaviors, and false teaching.

The grace of God teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts so that we can live soberly righteously, and godly in this present world (see Titus 2:11-12)is the way to teach people to be right before God.

RPittman's picture

Andrew Comings wrote:
In my increasingly humble opinion, the author needs to read "The Fundamentals"--as close as we Fundamentalists have to a founding document--and take careful note of the names and affiliations of the authors. Then he should ask himself, who is really redefining Fundamentalism?

I was going to write more, but Pastor Glenn expressed my opinion perfectly. I will say this: I find it amazing how the author in one paragraph describes how he removed his church's financial support from his alma mater, and then in the very next paragraph complains of being "blackballed" by said institution.

Many who believed The Fundamentals never became Fundamentalists. The Fundamentalists were identified at some point by separation. As for being "blackballed", this seems to be the MO when one's separation or standards are questioned. Is not this worst than the separatists?

Jay's picture

Don wrote:
Andrew, The Fundamentals were written LONG before the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy. They were early, early days, written well before fundamentalist thinking began to look at the Scriptural mandates for separation.

Don, I thought that they were concurrent as well. Wikipedia has these dates and articles:

The Fundamentals tracts http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fundamentals ]were printed from 1910 to 1915 .

The Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalist%E2%80%93Modernist_Controversy ]was from (roughly) 1920-1930, although it had roots in the 1800's . Is that what you were referring to when you say that Andrew was wrong?

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not sure what incident/incidents would be the basis for your definition of the F-M Controversy.

Roland,

You said:

Quote:
Many who believed The Fundamentals never became Fundamentalists. The Fundamentalists were identified at some point by separation.

So are you saying - and I'm asking because I'm not sure, not to bait a trap - that Fundamentalists and the Fundamentalist 'movement' are distinctly different from the set of Fundamentals books and that the two streams are different? If so, what are the historical roots for the 'Fundamentalist movement' that you describe above?

I have more questions, but I want to be sure I understand the underlying premise first.

"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

Pastor Glenn Entwistle's picture

Quote:
I have just two questions for you. Were the stories true of the men on the slippery slopes of ruin? Are men replicating those same errors today?

As for your Bible college, they were not necessarily wrong in their position but they should have taught you to think instead of simply following leadership as you continue to do today--just different leadership. . . . .

To answer your first question it depends on your definition of ruin. If you believe that allowing changing the pants policy in your church is the equivalent of allowing Satan in the front door of your church the answer is yes, the stories are true and 5000 churches close down every year because the Devil is in the details. Specifically the Devil is in the details of whatever cultural phenomenon is disliked by the pastor (and sometimes this is not a bad thing). Does Faithful Ways Baptist Church (I'm making this name up) now sing from a new hymnbook that includes something other than hymns? Ruin. Does the current pastor use, own, or reference a version of the bible other than the KJV? Ruin. Woman in pants (again)? Ruin. Do they use stringed instruments that are not placed on the shoulder? Ruin. I'm not making this up nor am I exaggerating. I am also not

The second question should be answered by the first.

As for the position of my school I do not believe they were wrong for maintaining the beliefs or convictions. While attending school I agreed to adhere to whatever was written in the school manual. I do not begrudge them for holding those standards and was aware of them when I signed up. However teaching us to think is where they fell very, very short. Again, thinking was akin to wasting time as I was told (and I understand I am quoting him and not referencing context).

You ask what use my comment is to you and I'll answer: Perhaps nothing. I was just expressing my thought on an open letter. You are right in saying that it is my own personal experience expressed from my personal perspective. Please understand however that what you refer to as bedazzling is more in line with my overall experience as a person and pastor than a growing perspective gained post-college. While you are correct in stating the reality of current academic Christian political correctness not all current academic Christianity is to be categorically avoided.

Andrew Comings's picture

Good to "see" you again.

Don Johnson wrote:
Andrew, The Fundamentals were written LONG before the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy. They were early, early days, written well before fundamentalist thinking began to look at the Scriptural mandates for separation.

My point is simply this: many of the writers of The Fundamentals (which did indeed serve to define the doctrines over which Machen, Ketcham, etc. separated) would not be allowed to preach in Fundamentalist pulpits today, because of disagreement over some area or another.

Don Johnson wrote:
To follow the logic of your claim, those fundamentalists who left the Northern Baptist Convention or the Presbyterian Church (like Machen) would have been the ones redefining fundamentalism. After all, the affiliations of the writers of The Fundamentals didn't mandate any such separation, did it? Was Machen wrong? Was R. T. Ketcham wrong to leave the NBC?

That would be to follow my logic where it never intended to go. Of course Machen and Ketcham were not wrong. But I get the feeling that even Machen and Ketcham would not be welcome in the pulpit of men like the author of the above article. And today, while men like Mohler, MacArthur, et al are standing up for the truth in a dark world, and within their own denominations, the best we Fundamentalists can do is take potshots at them in what amounts to a brilliant fifth-column maneuver. And what is our justification for doing so? For the most part, secondary issues about which good and godly men should be able to agree to disagree.

Don Johnson wrote:
So please spare us specious arguments based on the affiliations of the writers of The Fundamentals.

When I think of one I will refrain from using it! Wink

Missionary in Brazil, author of "The Astonishing Adventures of Missionary Max" Online at: http://www.comingstobrazil.com http://cadernoteologico.wordpress.com

Jim Barnes's picture

It is absurd to thnk that Bauder is attempting to "re-write the history of fundamentalism in America." I suggest that we totally disregard brother Arrowood's "open" letter. That's all I have to say about it.

Mike Durning's picture

Roland, regarding your "Different Perspective", all I can say is one of us is having a bad day. Either I'm not communicating clearly, or you're not understanding well. I hope it's not me.

Much of what you say doesn't seem to match what I thought I was saying.

Oh well. No problem. Others are saying what I was trying to say much better.

gdwightlarson's picture

I read SharperIron articles to gain perspective and ponder the weight of different perspectives.
Too often it ends up in fruitless arguments. Having been through the same background and
having been in close contact with Tennessee Temple, Cedarville, Cornerstone (formerly Grand
Rapids Baptist College), I observed changes. Some were good and some were not. Some may have
led in directions unforeseen and unintended and regreted. Who can claim a perfect track record, except those who were too afraid to question or change ANYTHING! Still, I listened to those who were concerned. I attended
the GARBC conferences, Southwide Baptist Fellowship Conferences, Northland's Heart Conferences,
the first annual conference of the split off of the GARBC--the IFBNA, "Men For Christ", conferences
at Detroit Seminary, etc. I've listened to countless stories of fundamentalist brethern who are tired
of those who make "tests of fellowship" based on insignificant and non-biblical issues. It's obvious that those who agree with Dr. Bauder are a growing, healthy, no-axe-to-grind group who don't reject fundamentalism or separatism. They (and I) wholeheartedly reject the reasonings and conclusions of this writer. I do not consider him an enemy!

gdwightlarson

"You can be my brother without being my twin."

Todd Wood's picture

I like Bauder's articles and his openness to your challenge and inquiry. You can disagree with him and not be considered a heretic.

His writings stimulate my own spiritual growth in the fundamentals of the faith and a love for church history. Most importantly greater love for God. The poetic devotional writings at the end of his articles sharpen my affections for the Holy Lord God of all.

Hoping that Bauder has more time carved out to pursue more ministry in writing (some of this stuff needs to get into book form for even better scrutiny of ideas),
et

James K's picture

Something that is demonstrated time and again on this site is that fundamentalism has failed. It has crashed and burned.

Books are written talking about how evangelicals failed in there antiseparatism, but so has fundamentalism. Well, what fundamentalism became.

First it was the fundamentals.

Then it was the Fundy-Modernism controversy where the fundies lost and had to withdraw. Their goal was not to separate. Their goal was to purge.

Then there were the various factions who leeched on the separatists.

Then you have the separation from the new evangelicals and fundamentalism is morphed into yet another aspect.

Then we see the SBC go through their own Fundy-Modernist battle and surprisingly, the Fundies (historically speaking of course) won. They didn't have to leave. The liberals did. In a way they became a Fundy Baptist Convention. The SBC to the FBC.

And now we see article after article of the various splinter groups of fundamentalism that never really came together prior to the New Evangelicals are still positioning for power.

This open letter is nothing more than sour grapes. He is upset people just aren't listening to the message of separation for the purpose of separation. The open letter serves as marching orders to the foot-soldiers to continue the kneecapping.

Mod note: removed one objectionable line after discussion with poster. -Jay C.

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.

Todd Wood's picture

My concern is not Bauder's writings but things like the latest popular book on the shelf, published by Glenn Beck and his psychiatrist friend - The Seven: 7 Wonders That Will Change Your Life.

This is "common sense" American spirituality that is seeking to tear at the foundations of the fundamentals of the faith:

http://heartissuesforlds.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/the-7-seven-wonders-th...

James K. - not all foot soldiers in the trenches have their eyes on an Arrowood vs. Bauder controversy. That is just a side curiosity. Their main attention is on the bombs exploding right in front of them.

James K's picture

Todd, two things real quick:

1. Glenn Beck is a threat to biblical christianity that the CEs would recognize.

2. The foot soldiers I was referring to are not the same as what you are referring to.

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.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Quote:
That would be to follow my logic where it never intended to go. Of course Machen and Ketcham were not wrong. But I get the feeling that even Machen and Ketcham would not be welcome in the pulpit of men like the author of the above article.

You are quite right. For instance, not many people realized the deep friendship that Dr. Ketcham had to Warren Wiersbe. Dr. Ketcham frequently spoke at the Moody Memorial church where Wiersbe was pastor for several years. Moreover, right before Ketcham died, Wiersbe would regularly spend time reading scripture and praying with him. Warren Wiersbe was no fundamentalist. He had ties to the broader evangelical movement, yet held to conservative theology. Back 3 or 4 decades ago, Wiersbe was today's equivalent of a conservative evangelical (Mohler, Dever, etc....), yet Dr. Bob Ketcham fellowshipped with him personally and ecclesiastically. Also, Dr. Ketcham had a few other ties with conservative evangelicals throughout his past, such as speaking at MBI's Founders week on occasion. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I remember my history right, Dr. Jones II had condemned Wiersbe as a compromiser with New Evangelicals in BJU's "Faith and the Family" periodical, warning those who would associate with him.

Therefore, I believe if there is any revisionist history of fundamentalism, it is the one that Rick Arrowood claims. Even from its beginnings, Fundamentalism hasn't been unified on the issue of separation. In fact, the association that my church belongs to, the GARBC, many churches have different views of how to apply separation, yet live with this tension. Pastor Arrowood is dismayed by Bauder and Doran sharing pulpits with conservative evangelicals as "a mix that we have never seen until now." But this has happened with large segments of fundamentalism (GARBC and IFCA) throughout its history. It may be something that He hasn't seen in his fundamentalist circles, but the fragmented "movement" of fundamentalism is much more diverse than what some groups of people would like to admit.

Don Johnson's picture

Andrew Comings wrote:
Good to "see" you again.

Don Johnson wrote:
Andrew, The Fundamentals were written LONG before the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy. They were early, early days, written well before fundamentalist thinking began to look at the Scriptural mandates for separation.

My point is simply this: many of the writers of The Fundamentals (which did indeed serve to define the doctrines over which Machen, Ketcham, etc. separated) would not be allowed to preach in Fundamentalist pulpits today, because of disagreement over some area or another.

First, before I get to your comments, I need to note that I was not remembering the time frame of The Fundamentals well. My "LONG before" couldn't be considered accurate, so maybe a little revisionism on my side for that comment, eh?

Nevertheless, we have to state that the writers of The Fundamentals and the Fundamentalists were clearly not one and the same. For example, one contributor to The Fundamentals was Charles Erdman, a professor at Princeton along with Machen. He was orthodox (and wrote some excellent commentaries, if I recall correctly), but he was a moderate. He refused to leave Princeton and was in conflict with Machen over the Fundamentalist/Modernist controversy.

So, yes, it is quite true that many of those who wrote the Fundamentals wouldn't be welcome in Fundamentalist pulpits today.

But I am not sure that you prove anything by that. There are men who I would acknowledge as Fundamentalists today who I wouldn't have in my pulpit for one reason or another.

Andrew Comings wrote:
And today, while men like Mohler, MacArthur, et al are standing up for the truth in a dark world, and within their own denominations, the best we Fundamentalists can do is take potshots at them in what amounts to a brilliant fifth-column maneuver. And what is our justification for doing so? For the most part, secondary issues about which good and godly men should be able to agree to disagree.

So which is it, primary issues or secondary issues? You said, "for the most part, secondary issues..." If there are primary issues, then we have every justification for refusing fellowship.

Regardless, these men are not fundamentalists. It is surprising that so-called fundamentalists don't see the difference when they themselves quite clearly do. For their part, from what they have said, I gather that they wouldn't want to cooperate with fundamentalists unless the fundamentalists made changes. The same is true from the other side of the fence.

The ones who are having difficulty are those who claim to be fundamentalists but want to dismiss the beliefs and behaviours of fundamentalism.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

CLeavell's picture

Joel Shaffer ][quote wrote:

Therefore, I believe if there is any revisionist history of fundamentalism, it is the one that Rick Arrowood claims. Even from its beginnings, Fundamentalism hasn't been unified on the issue of separation. In fact, the association that my church belongs to, the GARBC, many churches have different views of how to apply separation, yet live with this tension. Pastor Arrowood is dismayed by Bauder and Doran sharing pulpits with conservative evangelicals as "a mix that we have never seen until now." But this has happened with large segments of fundamentalism (GARBC and IFCA) throughout its history. It may be something that He hasn't seen in his fundamentalist circles, but the fragmented "movement" of fundamentalism is much more diverse than what some groups of people would like to admit.

I wanted to comment on this thread, but your post says it so much better than I could. Very good points. Thank you.

Don Johnson's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:
Warren Wiersbe was no fundamentalist. He had ties to the broader evangelical movement, yet held to conservative theology. Back 3 or 4 decades ago, Wiersbe was today's equivalent of a conservative evangelical (Mohler, Dever, etc....) ... Jones II had condemned Wiersbe as a compromiser with New Evangelicals in BJU's "Faith and the Family" periodical, warning those who would associate with him.

I can't comment on the relationship between Ketcham and Weirsbe, don't know anything about it. But you are making an assertion about Weirsbe that doesn't seem in accord with the facts.

I gleaned the following from the Wikipedia article on Weirsbe:

wikipedia wrote:

  • From September 1957 to 1961, Wiersbe served as Director of The Literature Division for Youth for Christ International.
  • Between August 1979 and March 1982 he wrote bi-weekly for Christianity Today as “Eutychus X”.

Link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_W._Wiersbe ]here .

Now, would you say Youth for Christ is an example of a new evangelical institution or not? Not sure where it was exactly between 1957 and 1967, but I would hazard a guess that it was supportive of Graham in the new evangelical controversy of those years.

How about Christianity Today? A decidedly new evangelical periodical if there ever was one. It was one of the three pillars of new evangelicalism, along with Graham and Fuller Seminary. Yet we see Wiersbe writing regularly for them.

I would say that Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. (not "II") was correct.

Joel Shaffer wrote:
Therefore, I believe if there is any revisionist history of fundamentalism, it is the one that Rick Arrowood claims. Even from its beginnings, Fundamentalism hasn't been unified on the issue of separation. In fact, the association that my church belongs to, the GARBC, many churches have different views of how to apply separation, yet live with this tension. Pastor Arrowood is dismayed by Bauder and Doran sharing pulpits with conservative evangelicals as "a mix that we have never seen until now." But this has happened with large segments of fundamentalism (GARBC and IFCA) throughout its history. It may be something that He hasn't seen in his fundamentalist circles, but the fragmented "movement" of fundamentalism is much more diverse than what some groups of people would like to admit.

The GARBC was not really considered fundamentalist for at least a couple of decades beginning in the mid 80s. Their national leadership publicly stated they had been wrong on separation. The IFCA is so fundamentalist that they changed their name so they wouldn't have the word "Fundamentalist" as part of it any longer.

It is just this sort of misinformation and revisionism that Pastor Arrowood is complaining of.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Joel Shaffer's picture

Don,

My point was that Wiersbe held to conservative theology, but did not separate when it came to new evangelicals. (isn't this what you are saying or are you calling him a new evangelical?) Similar to Mohler who holds to conservative theology, but did not separate from the Billy Graham crusade, and etc....

The story about Dr. Ketcham and his relationship with Dr. Wiersbe is not just word of mouth, but documented in Paul Tassel's book "Quest for Faithfulness."

As for your view of the GARBC, you error by painting it with a broad brush. GARBC churches even among themselves hold generally to the doctrine of separation, but differ in its application. Therefore, you could get one leader stating that they were wrong about how they applied separation, but then the next leader coming in and officially cutting ties with Cedarville like they did in 2006 (which I did not agree with). To imply that it is really isn't fundamentalist is nonsense. I think you'd be quite in the minority here on Sharper Iron on that opinion......but probably in the majority with churches in the IFB......

As for the IFCA, wiki had this to say: "The shift to the use of initials rather than its original name reflects a rejection of much of what is currently described by the label fundamentalist [1 ] and a rejection of any nationalist focus rather than a softening of its message." Quite different than what you imply. More about not wanting to be associated with how the media has associated fundys with the crazies such as the Fred Phelps of the world, not because they don't believe the fundamentals of the faith or hold to the doctrine of separation. In fact, check their doctrinal statement! They call ecumenicism, ecumenical evangelism, neo-orthodoxy, and neo-evangelicalism as "movements contrary to Faith." Looks like you broad-brushed the IFCA as well.

I don't know where I have shown any revisionism or misinformation (except for not getting Bob Jones Jr. right :bigsmile: ) On the contrary, I have shown how diverse fundamentalism has been and still is because of GARBC and IFCA still claims its historical fundamental roots. IFB churches and their history are not the only ones that can claim historical fundamentalism.

RPittman's picture

Pastor Joe Roof wrote:
Roland Pittman wrote:
Furthermore, separation may be based on dress, custom, music, etc. The Amish do it to preserve their way of life; what is wrong with Fundamentalist Christians using cultural or human distinctions to steer us clear of a worldly lifestyle and many sinful temptations? Other than the irrational emotional cries of legalism, I have not heard reasonable and persuasive argumentation that separation must be specifically outlined in Scripture. All that we do and say is NOT explicitly outlined or commanded in Scripture but some things are derivative from Scriptural principles.

The Pharisees did it to preserve their way of life and failed miserably. There have been plenty of failings in the Amish community as well. There are also plenty of examples in fundamentalist circles that this way of thinking did not stop immorality, other wrong behaviors, and false teaching.

The grace of God teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts so that we can live soberly righteously, and godly in this present world (see Titus 2:11-12)is the way to teach people to be right before God.

Yes, I agree with qualifications. The Pharisees perverted and subjugated the Law to their own selfish desires, intents, and purposes. My reference to the Amish was neither a critique nor an endorsement of their beliefs and methods but it was to point out that they have been highly successful in retaining approximately 80% of their young people in face of modern attractions. No, we know that standards and restrictions will not prevent sin, immorality, and wrongdoing but it may be a deterrent for some. Yes, the best way of teaching is by sincere example.

When all is done and said, all these things do NOT preclude the use of standards and cultural mores to help us along the path of righteous living. Although righteousness is a matter of the heart, it is expressed in outward behavior. The church today, even the Fundamentalist kind, seems to be drifting toward the attitude that it doesn't matter what you do (i.e. behavior isn't important) as long as you love God in your heart. That, my friend, is completely false.

RPittman's picture

Jay C. wrote:

Roland,

You said:

Quote:
Many who believed The Fundamentals never became Fundamentalists. The Fundamentalists were identified at some point by separation.

So are you saying - and I'm asking because I'm not sure, not to bait a trap - that Fundamentalists and the Fundamentalist 'movement' are distinctly different from the set of Fundamentals books and that the two streams are different? If so, what are the historical roots for the 'Fundamentalist movement' that you describe above?

I have more questions, but I want to be sure I understand the underlying premise first.

Jay, you are astute enough to realize that Fundamentalism as a movement is relative to time. As the situations developed, the face of Fundamentalism changed. The first generation Fundamentalism of Riley, Shields, et. al. differed from the later Fundamentalism of those opposing Billy Graham. It was the result of development and changing situations. Fundamentalism in the South was different from the northern brand. It is a mistake, I believe, to speak of Fundamentalism, sometimes called Historical Fundamentalism, as if it was a static thing. It was not. Fundamentalism was very diverse and changed with time, place, and circumstances.

There were many contemporary with the publication of The Fundamentals, who generally agreed with the concepts, but they never became identified with the Fundamentalist movement. These included the Orthodox (i.e. Machen, et. al.) and the Old Evangelicals. The line of demarcation, IMHO, was eventual separation, although all did not immediately separate.

MarkClements's picture

I appreciate Dr. Arrowood's concern over direction. I don't agree with what he sees as bad but I'll take the warning that we need to be careful. However, the statement from the article used to get us to get us reading was dealing with revisionist history of fundamentalism that he saw in Dr. Bauder's series. I saw several anecdotes of disappointments with former ministries and I saw his disagreement with some associations of Dr. Bauder and others but I didn't see the series lauding any of those guys as being currently great fundamentalists that all of us should emulate. I also didn't see him cite any points where he thought the historical revision had taken place.

I'd be curious as to what Dr. Arrowood thinks was being revised. Is he saying that acknowledging that there have been changes in methodology over the last 80+ years is inaccurate? Is he saying that Fundamentalists do not change and that Fundamentalists have never been willing to accept brothers who do things differently? (Yes, we've gotten that stereptype somewhat deservedly.) If he thinks that Dr. Bauder is purposely trying to water down the militancy of Fundamentalism I'd love to see where he disagrees. Maybe I missed it in the article but I didn't see him substantiate the statement with evidence. I appreciate his concerns about very popular Conservative Evangelicals. We've all seen groups, schools (even mentioned above), etc. that do drift very far away. I'm just not sure that I read any revision or encouragement to revise in Dr. Bauder's articles. This letter sounds vaguely reminiscent of a "prophetic discourse" given in the NC mountains a year or two ago.

I will qualify this by saying that since this was a letter to his church we may not have all the context. He may have used this as the end of a series or in response to an ongoing discussion in this area. I'd like to think more information has been made available for the immediate audience. But, as it stands here by itself, I need to disagree and say that Fundamentalism is broader than Dr. Arrowood is portraying it to be.

Jay's picture

RPittman wrote:
Jay, you are astute enough to realize that Fundamentalism as a movement is relative to time. As the situations developed, the face of Fundamentalism changed. The first generation Fundamentalism of Riley, Shields, et. al. differed from the later Fundamentalism of those opposing Billy Graham. It was the result of development and changing situations. Fundamentalism in the South was different from the northern brand. It is a mistake, I believe, to speak of Fundamentalism, sometimes called Historical Fundamentalism, as if it was a static thing. It was not. Fundamentalism was very diverse and changed with time, place, and circumstances.

There were many contemporary with the publication of The Fundamentals, who generally agreed with the concepts, but they never became identified with the Fundamentalist movement. These included the Orthodox (i.e. Machen, et. al.) and the Old Evangelicals. The line of demarcation, IMHO, was eventual separation, although all did not immediately separate.


OK, that makes sense and I agree with you.

I suppose that the Fundamentalist movement has always - to me - been about one thing / concept that I can understand, but you are right in that the original goals/movement did have separate and very specific aims that have since had to change since the early 1900's because of new threats/theories. So thanks for the reminder.

"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

KevinM's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
The GARBC was not really considered fundamentalist for at least a couple of decades beginning in the mid 80s. Their national leadership publicly stated they had been wrong on separation.

Don, I'm not sure I fully agree with your summary here. While the GARBC had disagreements over the meaning and extent of secondary separation in the 1980s, none of the GARBC's leaders ever repudiated the position articulated in our constitution ("...to raise a standard of Biblical separation from worldliness, modernism and apostasy; to emphasize the Biblical teaching that a breakdown of divinely established lines between Bible believers and apostates is unscriptural and to be a voice repudiating cooperation with movements which attempt to unite true Bible believers and apostates in evangelistic and other cooperative spiritual efforts.")

If a person were to evaluate the GARBC on the basis of what we printed during the era--say, Ernest Pickering's Biblical Separation and a boatload of toe-the-line Baptist Bulletin articles--one would at least ask if your statement lacks balance.

Yes, the GARBC leaders disagreed over the meaning of secondary separation--and I'll offer a further opinion that the debate was marred by power struggles and chest-thumping personality conflicts. But be honest--isn't that a description of Baptist Fundamentalism in the 1980s?

[Joel's example of Warren Wiersbe is a good test case. Wiersbe was ordained by a GARBC church and was frequently invited as a guest speaker in GARBC churches. The GARBC Council of Eighteen invited him as the featured speaker at the 1995 GARBC Conference, though he did not embrace or practice secondary separation. Some thought it was a good idea, some didn't. All of us bought his books. ]

Don Johnson's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:
My point was that Wiersbe held to conservative theology, but did not separate when it came to new evangelicals. (isn't this what you are saying or are you calling him a new evangelical?) Similar to Mohler who holds to conservative theology, but did not separate from the Billy Graham crusade, and etc....

What does it take to be a new evangelical?

What was wrong with the theology of new evangelicals, other than repudiating separation from apostasy?

Was Christianity Today separated from apostasy, yes or no?

Would you describe the theology of Carl Henry, Harold Ockenga, Billy Graham [especially in the 50s/60s ] et al as conservative or liberal?

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Pages