Doran: "The 'no changes' mantra can be worse than a distraction in that it can represent a lack of submission to God’s Word"

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RPittman's picture

Dorn wrote:
The 'no changes' mantra can be worse than a distraction in that it can represent a lack of submission to God’s Word
There is one thing that I immensely dislike about the usual course of disagreement and debate among Christians. It is that Christians tend to vilify their opponents rather than give reasons. When another doesn't fulfill one's personal interpretation of Scripture, the other is accused of being unfaithful to Scripture. Well, the bottom line is that it is a differing interpretation with the other party being faithful to Scripture as he or she sees it.

RPittman's picture

In defense of Dr. Arrowood, his supposed position of "no changes" is not accurate, as I have pointed out in another thread. It is not the opposition to change per se that he opposes but the kind of changes that are taking place. Let's be fair and accurate.

MClark's picture

If that's the case, then what kind of changes would be "okay" for Arrowood and others like him?
I do believe that it's a question of change vs. no change as Doran points out, rather than a matter of certain changes that would be acceptable vs. other changes that are unacceptable. In my experience with this version of fundamentalism, including Pastor Arrowood himself, any change is suspect.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Glory & Grace wrote:
Acting as if there have been no changes in the ecclesiastical landscape over the past 60 years is simply ridiculous. To argue that we keep doing the same thing simply because that is what we’ve always done is unbiblical. It elevates the traditions of men over the Word of God. I genuinely doubt that this is what Pastor Arrowood wants to do, but the core of his argument amounts to that. In one sense, he has served us all well by showing exactly what is at stake—will our ecclesiastical relationships be controlled by man-made traditions (Matt 15:3), or we will apply the word of righteousness to the issues of our day so that we can discern between good and evil (Heb 5:13-14)?

This is spot on. No one is being vilified except for those who don't agree with Dr. Arrowood. After all, even discussing his "open letter" is apparently "gossip on steroids". Why should he publish his own set of accusations and opinions on the World Wide Web, but expect no one to respond or question his conclusions?

Jim's picture

I don't want a Christianity that is true to Fundamentalism ... I want a Christianity that is true to the Scriptures

"Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda est secundu Verbum Dei" - ("the reformed Church must be always reforming according to the Word of God"), which refers to the Protestant position that the church must continually re-examine itself, reconsider its doctrines, and be prepared to accept change, in order to conform more closely to orthodox Christian belief as revealed in the Bible.

The man, church or movement that thinks it has arrived is sadly deceived!

RPittman's picture

Susan R wrote:
Glory & Grace wrote:
Acting as if there have been no changes in the ecclesiastical landscape over the past 60 years is simply ridiculous. To argue that we keep doing the same thing simply because that is what we’ve always done is unbiblical. It elevates the traditions of men over the Word of God. I genuinely doubt that this is what Pastor Arrowood wants to do, but the core of his argument amounts to that. In one sense, he has served us all well by showing exactly what is at stake—will our ecclesiastical relationships be controlled by man-made traditions (Matt 15:3), or we will apply the word of righteousness to the issues of our day so that we can discern between good and evil (Heb 5:13-14)?

This is spot on. No one is being vilified except for those who don't agree with Dr. Arrowood. After all, even discussing his "open letter" is apparently "gossip on steroids". Why should he publish his own set of accusations and opinions on the World Wide Web, but expect no one to respond or question his conclusions?
Susan, I dislike debating you because one has to watch careful for the occasional Freudian slip. You are astute and perceptive but I do think you are wrong here. Dr. Doran has no basis for implying that Dr. Arrowood "represent a lack of submission to God’s Word." In Dr. Arrowood's view, he is being submissive to the Word. To suggest otherwise is to misrepresent and vilify. The rub comes in that Drs. Doran and Arrowood interpret and apply the Word of God differently. It seems that when another differs from us, we must assign an unfaithful or sinister motive. It's a fine line between saying they're wrong and saying they have ulterior motives or sinister purposes.

RPittman's picture

MClark wrote:
If that's the case, then what kind of changes would be "okay" for Arrowood and others like him?
I do believe that it's a question of change vs. no change as Doran points out, rather than a matter of certain changes that would be acceptable vs. other changes that are unacceptable. In my experience with this version of fundamentalism, including Pastor Arrowood himself, any change is suspect.
The question is to what are we changing? The opposite extreme of your argument is change for change sake alone.

RPittman's picture

Jim Peet wrote:
I don't want a Christianity that is true to Fundamentalism ... I want a Christianity that is true to the Scriptures

"Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda est secundu Verbum Dei" - ("the reformed Church must be always reforming according to the Word of God"), which refers to the Protestant position that the church must continually re-examine itself, reconsider its doctrines, and be prepared to accept change, in order to conform more closely to orthodox Christian belief as revealed in the Bible.

The man, church or movement that thinks it has arrived is sadly deceived!

Yeah, this applies to both sides including those claiming a pure, direct heritage in the line of Historic Fundamentalism. Sometimes, the battle seems more staking a claim on Fundamentalism than for truth. Who carried the torch for the cause of Christ before the rise of the historical movement that we call Fundamentalism?

Jay's picture

RPittman wrote:
Yeah, this applies to both sides including those claiming a pure, direct heritage in the line of Historic Fundamentalism. Sometimes, the battle seems more staking a claim on Fundamentalism than for truth. Who carried the torch for the cause of Christ before the rise of the historical movement that we call Fundamentalism?

I'm inclined to agree with you on this one, RPittman.

To a certain extent...who actually cares about "Fundamentalism" (the movement)? God doesn't judge me based on my faithful adherence to preacher so and so from the 1800s. He judges me based on my faithful adherence to the principles and precepts of His Word. I would argue that allegiance to those principles and precepts will lead into Fundamentalism (the idea, not the movement). Yet some seem to have confused being in the Fundy movement with obedience to God's Word - an error I want no part of.

Will it really honestly matter to anyone in two hundred years if I was a part of the "Fundamentalist movement"? Really? Do we praise Richard Baxter (for an example) because he was a Puritan, or because he wrote thoughtful and helpful books that were filled with Scripture and therefore still being used some 350 years later?

"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

Charlie's picture

Jay C. wrote:

Do we praise Richard Baxter (for an example) because he was a Puritan, or because he wrote thoughtful and helpful books that were filled with Scripture and therefore still being used some 350 years later?

Neither. We praise John Owen because he was a Puritan, and in his Puritan-ness taught us to scorn Richard Baxter's neo-nomian view of justification. Normally I would apologize for such an off-topic remark, but I seriously doubt that this is A Conversation Worth Saving.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

RPittman wrote:
... Dr. Doran has no basis for implying that Dr. Arrowood "represent a lack of submission to God’s Word." In Dr. Arrowood's view, he is being submissive to the Word. To suggest otherwise is to misrepresent and vilify. The rub comes in that Drs. Doran and Arrowood interpret and apply the Word of God differently. It seems that when another differs from us, we must assign an unfaithful or sinister motive. It's a fine line between saying they're wrong and saying they have ulterior motives or sinister purposes.

Bro. Pittman- there have been more than a few unflattering implications going around, so let's take a gander at a few other things that have been said.

Dr. Arrowood has implied that SI readers and posters are time-wasting gossip mongers, and that SI staff did something underhanded by linking to his open letter. Fact: We do not ask permission before posting ANY Filing. Question: Why be upset about our link when Dr. Arrowood fully supports others linking to his letters?

And what's with publishing all that anonymous support? Here at SI people sign their names to what they say- why don't Dr. Arrowood's brave and intrepid supporters put their names out there like we have? How do I know who wrote those letters unless someone signs their names to them?

Bottom line- I don't agree with Dr. Arrowood that the sharing of platforms, speaking at conferences, using SG's music, and adhering to Calvinistic doctrine represents some sort of dangerous slippery slope into apostasy. I don't see any Biblical support for those specific objections that he has written of being considered grounds for rebuke or separation- in spite of the fact that I'm not Calvinistic, and I'm probably farther to the right on the FundieMeter than even Dr. Arrowood.

I do agree with you that when there are differences of interpretation, it isn't charitable to skip straight to sinister motives unless the evidence of malignancy is compelling.

Don Johnson's picture

Susan R wrote:
Bottom line- I don't agree with Dr. Arrowood that the sharing of platforms, speaking at conferences, using SG's music, and adhering to Calvinistic doctrine represents some sort of dangerous slippery slope into apostasy.

I'll have to go back and read that letter again... later... when I have some time. Are you sure that was what he was arguing? Wasn't the impression I got. But I'll have to have a gander at the letter again.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Don Johnson's picture

Ok, I went back and read again both open letters... I don't see any reference to 'apostasy' in either one of them.

So... while it is quite clear that pastor Arrowood doesn't agree with the platform sharing, SG music, and Calvinism, I don't see where he says it is a slippery slope to apostasy.

Perhaps you are reading something into his arguments?

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

DavidO's picture

Susan R wrote:
And what's with publishing all that anonymous support? Here at SI people sign their names to what they say- why don't Dr. Arrowood's brave and intrepid supporters put their names out there like we have? How do I know who wrote those letters unless someone signs their names to them?

In fairness, I'm sure SI carried the Nick of Time post in which Dr. Bauder included excerpts of emails but identified the senders only generally, similarly to what Dr. Arrowood has done. On the other hand, he included both support and criticism.

Of course, if one can't guess who the "Christian businessman" is . . .

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Don Johnson wrote:
Ok, I went back and read again both open letters... I don't see any reference to 'apostasy' in either one of them.

So... while it is quite clear that pastor Arrowood doesn't agree with the platform sharing, SG music, and Calvinism, I don't see where he says it is a slippery slope to apostasy.

Perhaps you are reading something into his arguments?


I'm trying not to read into his arguments- it's difficult at times not to interpret things through the lens of one's own experiences and preconceived notions. I seriously do not want to do that. I am thinking along the lines of what constitutes Biblical grounds for public rebuke and separation. Those issues (sharing platforms, Calvinism, SG music) seem to be the ones Dr. Arrowood is most concerned about, so he's admonishing Drs. Bauder and Doran... and Northland U... and he does mention separation quite a few times, so why talk about separation if that's not where you are headed?

Of course, all of this is in the context of warning his congregation, but he published it online for the world to read. I'm trying to put all this together as far as what he is hoping to accomplish. Grounds for separation in Scripture is limited to unrepentant sin and heresy, right? So even though I'm not a Calvinist and my music choices are ultra-conservative, I don't see Calvinistic doctrine as heresy or SG music as immoral and separation worthy.

Ministries may choose not to actively cooperate with each other because some of these differences may be problematic, but does Dr. Arrowood's church have connections with Drs. Bauder and Doran that will need to be severed if they continue to rub shoulders with Mark Dever, who rubs shoulders with other 'unacceptable' pastors and teachers like CJ Mahaney? Will he find it necessary to tell the young people of his church not to attend Northland? Again- what exactly is the goal here? Is Dr. Arrowood just warning his congregation, or was he trying to send a message to Drs. Bauder and Doran?

Personally, I think when we make these kinds of things 'separation' issues, we weaken and trivialize an important Scriptural principle. And I'd admit I am very put off by his second letter, insinuating that SI did something wrong by posting a link where we are allowing comments from people who are not anonymous, while another blog posts links to the letter, doesn't allow comments, but publishes emails from anonymous supporters. There's just not enough coffee in the world for that one to make sense to me. Maybe a bagel would help. Because if your arguments are unassailable, why not allow them to be challenged so you can bring out all your concrete arguments and help the folks out?

I definitely need that bagel.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

DavidO wrote:
Susan R wrote:
And what's with publishing all that anonymous support? Here at SI people sign their names to what they say- why don't Dr. Arrowood's brave and intrepid supporters put their names out there like we have? How do I know who wrote those letters unless someone signs their names to them?

In fairness, I'm sure SI carried the Nick of Time post in which Dr. Bauder included excerpts of emails but identified the senders only generally, similarly to what Dr. Arrowood has done. On the other hand, he included both support and criticism.


True- but my thoughts on that are the emails were posted for difference purposes. The identity of the responders to Dr. Bauder's article wasn't important- he was providing a sampling of responses, not attempting to bolster his position. Dr. Arrowood is trying to support his argument with these anonymous emails, and the other blog that I know of that linked to the letters isn't allowing comments. There's just something about that that crawls under my skin and makes me itchy.

I'll just go ahead and put a finer point on it. As a regular ol' congregant, I'm in the position of being required to trust leadership. But leadership needs to prove themselves trustworthy. The "Take my word for it" just doesn't cut it, and there's nothing in Scripture that leads me to believe that I'm to lay myself on the doorstep of church leadership or executive directors of denominational fellowships or Christian university presidents and not be responsible to study and verify what is being presented as truth that I am to act on. And if we are not being called to draw conclusions and act on them, then what exactly was the point of all this?

Now for that bagel.

DavidO's picture

Susan R wrote:
And if we are not being called to draw conclusions and act on them, then what exactly was the point of all this?

I think it was primarily intended for his congregants. Yeah, he posted it "open," but I'm not sure they thought all that through.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

DavidO wrote:
Susan R wrote:
And if we are not being called to draw conclusions and act on them, then what exactly was the point of all this?

I think it was primarily intended for his congregants. Yeah, he posted it "open," but I'm not sure they thought all that through.


Let's assume that the worse thing Dr. Arrowood is 'guilty' of is being naive about the nature of the internet. What do you think he was expecting from his congregation? Do they have ministry ties with Dr. Bauder and Doran, or Central or Northland U, or the conferences where these men are speakers? Do his people read their books/blogs, listen to their messages, or go to these conferences?

I guess I'm asking for a better context for the letter- why did he need to warn his congregation? And is the basis for his warning Scriptural?

Don Johnson's picture

Susan R wrote:
Don Johnson wrote:
Ok, I went back and read again both open letters... I don't see any reference to 'apostasy' in either one of them.

So... while it is quite clear that pastor Arrowood doesn't agree with the platform sharing, SG music, and Calvinism, I don't see where he says it is a slippery slope to apostasy.

Perhaps you are reading something into his arguments?


I'm trying not to read into his arguments- it's difficult at times not to interpret things through the lens of one's own experiences and preconceived notions.

Well, all I can say is that it looks like that's what you're doing from this corner.

Susan R wrote:
Grounds for separation in Scripture is limited to unrepentant sin and heresy, right?

No, not right. Separation, as we loosely use the term, encompasses a good deal more than this. Bauder talks about levels of separation, saying it is not a black and white, on and off issue. It's not 'binary', he would say. It seems like that's the way you are taking it here. There is such a thing as breaking fellowship and not walking together. Paul and Barnabas would be an example. And they had a sharp contention with one another. The Scripture doesn't rebuke either of them.

Susan R wrote:
Ministries may choose not to actively cooperate with each other because some of these differences may be problematic, but does Dr. Arrowood's church have connections with Drs. Bauder and Doran that will need to be severed if they continue to rub shoulders with Mark Dever, who rubs shoulders with other 'unacceptable' pastors and teachers like CJ Mahaney? Will he find it necessary to tell the young people of his church not to attend Northland? Again- what exactly is the goal here? Is Dr. Arrowood just warning his congregation, or was he trying to send a message to Drs. Bauder and Doran?

Are you judging motives? Pastor Arrowood has a ministry wider than his own church and is concerned about the direction of erstwhile compatriots. He may have more direct connections with some of these ministries than you realize. Regardless, does he not have the right to speak up if he thinks something is wrong, whether he has direct connections or not? If we were to go through your posts here on SI, it is possible we might find you criticizing something you don't have any connection with, correct?

Susan R wrote:
And I'd admit I am very put off by his second letter, insinuating that SI did something wrong by posting a link where we are allowing comments from people who are not anonymous, while another blog posts links to the letter, doesn't allow comments, but publishes emails from anonymous supporters.

Is it the fact that he doesn't like SI that has you steamed? If so, I'd say just get over it! There are lots of folks who don't like SI. I agree that he should not protest about a link. It appears he doesn't have a firm grasp of netiquette. What does it matter in the long run?

I am in agreement with his concerns. I think his letters are not that articulate, but I share his point of view. And I think he has the perfect right (and responsibility) to express his concerns. I hope more men of like mind will decide to do the same.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

DavidO's picture

Susan R wrote:
...why did he need to warn his congregation? And is the basis for his warning Scriptural?

He thinks there's a problem based on his understanding of Scripture, the situation, and history. Pastors do this every Sunday, even if they don't hang it on the internet for the world to see.

RPittman's picture

Jay C. wrote:
RPittman wrote:
Yeah, this applies to both sides including those claiming a pure, direct heritage in the line of Historic Fundamentalism. Sometimes, the battle seems more staking a claim on Fundamentalism than for truth. Who carried the torch for the cause of Christ before the rise of the historical movement that we call Fundamentalism?

I'm inclined to agree with you on this one, RPittman.

To a certain extent...who actually cares about "Fundamentalism" (the movement)? God doesn't judge me based on my faithful adherence to preacher so and so from the 1800s. He judges me based on my faithful adherence to the principles and precepts of His Word. I would argue that allegiance to those principles and precepts will lead into Fundamentalism (the idea, not the movement). Yet some seem to have confused being in the Fundy movement with obedience to God's Word - an error I want no part of.

Will it really honestly matter to anyone in two hundred years if I was a part of the "Fundamentalist movement"? Really? Do we praise Richard Baxter (for an example) because he was a Puritan, or because he wrote thoughtful and helpful books that were filled with Scripture and therefore still being used some 350 years later?

Jay, at various times, Fundamentalism had an unifying purpose (e.g. opposition to Modernism-Liberalism, opposing Neo-evangelicalism) that identified us. What we need to ask today is our purpose for calling ourselves Fundamentalists.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Don Johnson wrote:
Susan R wrote:
I'm trying not to read into his arguments- it's difficult at times not to interpret things through the lens of one's own experiences and preconceived notions.

Well, all I can say is that it looks like that's what you're doing from this corner.

Fair enough, and you're probably right. I'm looking at this through the lens of 30+ years in IFB churches. I can't get that particular pair of glasses off long enough to be objective. I'll just plead "Guilty" and try to do better.
Don Johnson wrote:
... Separation, as we loosely use the term, encompasses a good deal more than this. Bauder talks about levels of separation, saying it is not a black and white, on and off issue. It's not 'binary', he would say. It seems like that's the way you are taking it here. There is such a thing as breaking fellowship and not walking together. Paul and Barnabas would be an example. And they had a sharp contention with one another. The Scripture doesn't rebuke either of them.

Would you say that because Scripture doesn't rebuke either of them, they were both right, both wrong, or it was a draw? Smile

I agree there are levels of cooperation and separation, and this is true of every aspect of our lives. When we're talking about rebuking sin and calling for some kind of action from others, though, I think we need to be very careful where we set that standard, or we could very well be guilty, however inadvertently, of sowing discord. That scares me personally- I want to know how to make these decisions in my own life without ending up in one extreme or other.

Don Johnson wrote:
Are you judging motives? Pastor Arrowood has a ministry wider than his own church and is concerned about the direction of erstwhile compatriots. He may have more direct connections with some of these ministries than you realize. Regardless, does he not have the right to speak up if he thinks something is wrong, whether he has direct connections or not? If we were to go through your posts here on SI, it is possible we might find you criticizing something you don't have any connection with, correct?

I'm not judging motives per se, but asking questions- questions that do cast light on motive, and I don't think than when we discuss someone's actions we can get away from considering motives, so I've just gone and totally contradicted myself. Oh well, it's been that kind of week.

It's possible that my questions are moot because Dr. Arrowood never intended for the world at large to view, meditate on, and discuss his opinions on the matter. But it seems that he did approve for his letters to be disseminated to some degree, so that leaves me with my random ponderings.

This isn't about whether or not we should voice our opinions, but who, how, and in what manner. Sure I voice my opinions, some of them critical in nature, here at SI and on the WWW. I have different reasons to voice them- to connect others to a different train of thought, as a sort of FYI, and occasionally to inspire change. And sometimes I really hoover in the clarity, tact, and diplomacy departments, but then heads cooler than mine usually nudge me back in the right direction. I'm OK with with. AAMOF, it's why I'm here. I learn alot, even when I'm chomping on shoe leather.

My question as to what Dr. Arrowood hopes will happen as a result of his letter is because I'm very curious as to how those in leadership decide which hills they want to die on- so here's an inquiring mind who wants to know what he/we want to see happen, or what he/we think should happen.

Don Johnson wrote:
Is it the fact that he doesn't like SI that has you steamed? If so, I'd say just get over it! There are lots of folks who don't like SI. I agree that he should not protest about a link. It appears he doesn't have a firm grasp of netiquette. What does it matter in the long run?

I am in agreement with his concerns. I think his letters are not that articulate, but I share his point of view. And I think he has the perfect right (and responsibility) to express his concerns. I hope more men of like mind will decide to do the same.


"Steamed" isn't the word I'd use. I'm not concerned with who does and doesn't "like" SI. But if someone presents their view of A, while on the other hand inaccurately portraying B, I'm going to be less inclined to seriously consider criticisms of A. I agree that we have every right and even responsibility to voice our concerns, but as someone mentioned earlier- some of this kind of criticism misses the mark, in that there are pastors and teachers in our own 'circles' who have all their Fundy ducks in a row as far as who they rub shoulders with and what music they use, but are sadly lacking in other areas- the scariest of which is preaching that lacks sound doctrine but is soaked in the ministry pedigree, charismatic personality of the speaker, and the humor of his many anecdotes. Are we calling these guys out too? If so, where?

As for the concerns you share with Dr. Arrowood, where do you think sharing a platform with Mark Dever could lead? Why is Dr. Doran's reasoning on this faulty?

RickyHorton's picture

Susan R wrote:

Those issues (sharing platforms, Calvinism, SG music) seem to be the ones Dr. Arrowood is most concerned about, so he's admonishing Drs. Bauder and Doran... and Northland U...

Susan, that is the thing that scared me most when reading his letter. He seems to focus more on the side issues than he does on the fundamentals, all the while calling himself a fundamentalist. That is where the slippery slope lies. I am sure we could agree on many things in Scripture that we cannot back down on, but one sentence in his letter simply made me shudder:

"We have a history of writing articles, books, and resolutions admonishing and urging each other to be cautious about compromise and the dangers of it! At the top of this list is ecclesiastical separation and music."

Separation is certainly biblical (to what degree is debatable), but music has been debated for centuries. Neither one of these would be "at the top of [my ] list." Go back to the fundamentals....they should be at the top of the list. Harping on debatable topics to the point of splintering the church as a whole doesn't seem to mesh with Scriptural teaching about quarreling over opinions. Most people have no problem if he doesn't like Sovereign Grace music or doesn't want to share a platform with Dever. I think a line has been crossed though when those particular items are pressed onto others.

Don Johnson's picture

Susan R wrote:
I agree that we have every right and even responsibility to voice our concerns, but as someone mentioned earlier- some of this kind of criticism misses the mark, in that there are pastors and teachers in our own 'circles' who have all their Fundy ducks in a row as far as who they rub shoulders with and what music they use, but are sadly lacking in other areas- the scariest of which is preaching that lacks sound doctrine but is soaked in the ministry pedigree, charismatic personality of the speaker, and the humor of his many anecdotes. Are we calling these guys out too? If so, where?

As for the concerns you share with Dr. Arrowood, where do you think sharing a platform with Mark Dever could lead? Why is Dr. Doran's reasoning on this faulty?

As for the Fundy ducks, I'd say that this is partly urban legend and partly true. There is a tendency to say "There are lots of Fundamentalist pastors who do XXXXX" as if that is an argument against the question at hand. It sounds true, because we know some "Fundy ducks" and there are "probably" lots of them. But it really isn't an argument, it's an attempt to change the conversation.

But, alas, it is true that Fundy pastors sin at times also. That's why people use such 'arguments' to change the conversation.

As for where the association with Dever will lead, it is hard to say. Historically, when Fundamentalists have begun to join hands with non-Fundamentalists, they have eventually left Fundamentalism. (See Jerry Falwell, Jack Van Impe and other less prominent names.) Who is to say where this will lead? The question can't be determined by that, we each have to decide if the decision is right or wrong.

As for why Dave's reasoning is faulty, I have written a post about it at oxgoad " http://oxgoad.ca/2011/01/24/something-i-dont-understand/ Something I Don't Understand ". I don't quite get Dave's reasoning on this. He has responded to the post a couple of times, but I remain unconvinced.

(Note, I am putting in a link to the post, but I am unsure if it is appropriate to link to myself. Put on your moderator hat and remove the link if you think I shouldn't put it in. Thanks.)

**** Mod Note *****
ok to link to own blog
No issues
****************

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

RPittman's picture

RickyHorton wrote:
Susan R wrote:

Those issues (sharing platforms, Calvinism, SG music) seem to be the ones Dr. Arrowood is most concerned about, so he's admonishing Drs. Bauder and Doran... and Northland U...

Susan, that is the thing that scared me most when reading his letter. He seems to focus more on the side issues than he does on the fundamentals, all the while calling himself a fundamentalist.

You think these are peripheral issues but evidently Dr. Arrowood doesn't. Can you castigate him because the two of you disagree on priorities?
Quote:
That is where the slippery slope lies.
So, where does this slippery slope slide?
Quote:
I am sure we could agree on many things in Scripture that we cannot back down on, but one sentence in his letter simply made me shudder:

"We have a history of writing articles, books, and resolutions admonishing and urging each other to be cautious about compromise and the dangers of it! At the top of this list is ecclesiastical separation and music."

Why is this so threatening? Explain.
Quote:

Separation is certainly biblical (to what degree is debatable), but music has been debated for centuries. Neither one of these would be "at the top of [my ] list." Go back to the fundamentals....they should be at the top of the list. Harping on debatable topics to the point of splintering the church as a whole doesn't seem to mesh with Scriptural teaching about quarreling over opinions.
And the church has never agreed on what constitutes grounds for separation--music or otherwise. Each group must determine its own. Should not Dr. Arrowood and his church be accorded this prerogative?
Quote:
Most people have no problem if he doesn't like Sovereign Grace music or doesn't want to share a platform with Dever. I think a line has been crossed though when those particular items are pressed onto others.
In the USA, we have freedom of association. We are free to leave any group at any time. Does not a pastor have the option of setting standards for his church and those following his leadership. Could you tell me what line has been crossed?

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

RickyHorton wrote:

Separation is certainly biblical (to what degree is debatable), but music has been debated for centuries. Neither one of these would be "at the top of [my ] list." Go back to the fundamentals....they should be at the top of the list. Harping on debatable topics to the point of splintering the church as a whole doesn't seem to mesh with Scriptural teaching about quarreling over opinions. Most people have no problem if he doesn't like Sovereign Grace music or doesn't want to share a platform with Dever. I think a line has been crossed though when those particular items are pressed onto others.

I don't disagree that music, calvinism, and separation should be farther down the list than the fundamentals. However, I think the reason they are fought over so strongly is that there is mostly wide agreement on the fundamentals, so the focus then changes to the areas in which disagreement occurs. That's just the nature of the beast. Although I disagree with a lot of what Arrowood wrote (making Bauder and others the leaders of a "new" New Evangelicalism), I doubt he would have much (if any) disagreement with either Bauder or Dever on the fundamentals. That tends to bring the lesser issues to the top of things he wants to deal with, as there's no point in chastising them on areas in which they all agree. I'm sure he sees the issues he is writing about to be more important than opinion, but labeling opposition as "gossip" obviously goes too far.

I don't know Arrowood at all (or Bauder or Dever for that matter), but my theory is that the new methods of communication have outpaced many or even most of the men from his generation, and although I disagree with Arrowood's portrayal of the role of SI, I believe him when he says he genuinely didn't understand what could happen when papers or other forms of communication "go viral." Even though to those who are comfortable with the speed of communication today such a position seems hopelessly outdated or even willfully ignorant, I've met far too many who just haven't "gotten it." I hope that as one of the prominent figures in the FBF, he'll figure this out over time.

As to his contention that "the way things have always been done" is "the right way for them to be done," well, that's another matter entirely. I understand concern when change appears, but the nature of the change needs to be better understood rather than writing it all off as the same old, same old. That may not have been his intent, but the paper certainly makes it appear that way.

Dave Barnhart

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Don Johnson wrote:
Susan R wrote:
I agree that we have every right and even responsibility to voice our concerns, but as someone mentioned earlier- some of this kind of criticism misses the mark, in that there are pastors and teachers in our own 'circles' who have all their Fundy ducks in a row as far as who they rub shoulders with and what music they use, but are sadly lacking in other areas- the scariest of which is preaching that lacks sound doctrine but is soaked in the ministry pedigree, charismatic personality of the speaker, and the humor of his many anecdotes. Are we calling these guys out too? If so, where?

As for the concerns you share with Dr. Arrowood, where do you think sharing a platform with Mark Dever could lead? Why is Dr. Doran's reasoning on this faulty?

As for the Fundy ducks, I'd say that this is partly urban legend and partly true. There is a tendency to say "There are lots of Fundamentalist pastors who do XXXXX" as if that is an argument against the question at hand. It sounds true, because we know some "Fundy ducks" and there are "probably" lots of them. But it really isn't an argument, it's an attempt to change the conversation.


The question isn't an effort to change the subject, but to advocate that we attempt to be fair, consistent, balanced . That whole beam/mote thing. I don't think it's urban legend at all- you hear a lot when you are washing dishes, sweeping floors, emptying trash cans, and scrubbing toilets after conferences and revivals. It certainly isn't my fault that so many preachers consider the 'help' invisible. I think we are naive to be more concerned about the dangers from without when we are being consumed from within.

I agree that we can't expect to reach perfection before we can point out serious error wherever we find it, but I'm having a hard time understanding how the issues that concern Dr. Arrowood and yourself (whose opinions and insights I very much respect and usually agree with btw, so I hope I don't sound like an argumentative shrew), represent serious error or a dangerous detour...?

And if Fundamentalism is an idea, how does one 'leave' it, except to deny the fundamentals?

I'll head on over to your link in a bit- gotta take the crumbcrunchers and the dog to the library.

RPittman's picture

dcbii wrote:
RickyHorton wrote:

Separation is certainly biblical (to what degree is debatable), but music has been debated for centuries. Neither one of these would be "at the top of [my ] list." Go back to the fundamentals....they should be at the top of the list. Harping on debatable topics to the point of splintering the church as a whole doesn't seem to mesh with Scriptural teaching about quarreling over opinions. Most people have no problem if he doesn't like Sovereign Grace music or doesn't want to share a platform with Dever. I think a line has been crossed though when those particular items are pressed onto others.

I don't disagree that music, calvinism, and separation should be farther down the list than the fundamentals. However, I think the reason they are fought over so strongly is that there is mostly wide agreement on the fundamentals, so the focus then changes to the areas in which disagreement occurs. That's just the nature of the beast. Although I disagree with a lot of what Arrowood wrote (making Bauder and others the leaders of a "new" New Evangelicalism), I doubt he would have much (if any) disagreement with either Bauder or Dever on the fundamentals. That tends to bring the lesser issues to the top of things he wants to deal with, as there's no point in chastising them on areas in which they all agree. I'm sure he sees the issues he is writing about to be more important than opinion, but labeling opposition as "gossip" obviously goes too far.

I don't know Arrowood at all (or Bauder or Dever for that matter), but my theory is that the new methods of communication have outpaced many or even most of the men from his generation, and although I disagree with Arrowood's portrayal of the role of SI, I believe him when he says he genuinely didn't understand what could happen when papers or other forms of communication "go viral." Even though to those who are comfortable with the speed of communication today such a position seems hopelessly outdated or even willfully ignorant, I've met far too many who just haven't "gotten it." I hope that as one of the prominent figures in the FBF, he'll figure this out over time.

As to his contention that "the way things have always been done" is "the right way for them to be done," well, that's another matter entirely. I understand concern when change appears, but the nature of the change needs to be better understood rather than writing it all off as the same old, same old. That may not have been his intent, but the paper certainly makes it appear that way.


Dave, you show good insight and understanding here. We must be able to put ourselves in the poster's perspective and understand his POV. And, yes, the new digital age does make havoc of older etiquette, manners, politeness, privacy, civility, courtesy and rules of communication. Perhaps we have lost something that's worthwhile. Even so, we must bear with and understand those who still retain older standards.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

RPittman wrote:
We must be able to put ourselves in the poster's perspective and understand his POV. And, yes, the new digital age does make havoc of older etiquette, manners, politeness, privacy, civility, courtesy and rules of communication. Perhaps we have lost something that's worthwhile. Even so, we must bear with and understand those who still retain older standards.

I would give Pastor Arrowood the same respect I would give anyone in trying to understand their perspective and POV before giving answer. That's simply biblical. That's not to say that I agree with him. Yes, we don't want to go down the road that leads to apostasy. What fundamentalist would argue with that? That doesn't mean the issues he discusses will get us there, though he is certainly entitled to have his view and present it to others. That doesn't automatically mean it will be accepted because of any position(s) he holds.

I also understand that the digital age has played havoc with the older rules of communication. I think politeness, courtesy and civility should still be present, though I don't equate either posting a link or egalitarian communication with a lack of communication etiquette, as many of the older generation might. When I said I hope he'll figure it out over time, I meant that although he might not change his views in the face of all the opposition, he needs to learn how to deal with the new information landscape. Posting something on a public web page is essentially giving up any expectation of "privacy." And a good defense of one's ideas has always been necessary for them to be more widely accepted, not just recently as part of the advent of email and the internet.

The real difference is that the audience has changed. We no longer have just the pastor to interpret the Bible for us and feed us our convictions and opinions, and we no longer just blindly accept them. We expect more from our leaders, especially those with national exposure, and the "internet democracy" we have means that one does not need to have the stature of someone else to be able to challenge their ideas. We now have more resources to enable us to be "Berean" in our thinking than we have ever had, and I believe it is unsettling (at best) to those from a slower time. It is exactly this unexpected challenge to ideas that I'm afraid is being written off as gossip in an attempt to distract from the weakness of what has been presented, and a later, fairly self-serving 2nd post with lots of anonymous "support" for "telling it like it is," again, without good arguments or defense of the ideas only reinforces my conclusion.

I believe that Pastor Arrowood is sincerely concerned about what he sees, not just stirring up dissent. Until I know otherwise, I would continue to give him the benefit of the doubt. However, I still see what he has written as representative of the "old guard," who did not like their ideas challenged, and did their best to keep any challenge from coming to light or be considered credible. He might be right in his conclusions (though I don't think so), but what he wrote did his side no favors.

Dave Barnhart

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

From the comments at oxgoad-

Dr. Doran wrote:
I hope we can all agree that there is a difference between saying I won’t do that because I don’t like the potential outcomes versus I can’t do that because it would violate God’s Word. I would contend that some have turned the former into something more authoritative than the Scriptures themselves. The fence to protect us from the cliff of disobedience now is treated as if it in fact is the line between obedience and disobedience. And we now have fences to protect us from getting to close to the fence.

IMO that is an important distinction. There may be decisions that to some do not seem prudent, but that is not the same as being in violation of Scripture.

The neutral-third-party argument makes sense to me, because I agree that there is a tremendous difference between sharing a platform at a conference and inviting someone into your church to teach your sheep. The premise is different, the audience is different, the purpose is different... thus the implications of the nature of that sort of limited fellowship/cooperation is different.

That's why I said that separation- as in labeling someone a heretic or disobedient brother- is reserved for apostasy and unrepentant sin. Limited fellowship and cooperation IMO are not the same as separation. Whether someone else agrees with that interpretation or not is not my point- I'm simply laying out context for my assertions here. Even in the uber-conservative circles I hang out in, the boundaries of fellowship and cooperation are elastic. We allow for differences that others might be concerned about- and that's fine if Dr. Arrowood et al are concerned about Bauder-Doran-Dever-SG music-Northland... and wants to express his concern- but I think his grounds for concern are very weak.

DavidO wrote:
Susan R wrote:
...why did he need to warn his congregation? And is the basis for his warning Scriptural?

He thinks there's a problem based on his understanding of Scripture, the situation, and history. Pastors do this every Sunday, even if they don't hang it on the internet for the world to see.


True, but I was thinking about the average congregation that doesn't know Bauder from Band-Aids. Seriously- how many laymen have any kind of deep knowledge of the officers and staff of the FBFI, IBFI, CBTS, DTS, etc... for many layfolk those names have no meaning. They think "Oh, ok- I don't know who these guys are you are warning me about, but if you say there's a problem, I believe you". They look around at others with raised eyebrows, people shrug... the warning only has meaning if you know who/what you are being warned about.

That's some framework for my questions.

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