What, precisely, is a “Convergent” fundamentalist? That is, what are the “marks” of a “Convergent” fundamentalist?

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TylerR's picture

Editor

Mark wrote (it'll appear above soon):

James White ARDENTLY says he is NOT a fundamentalist. James sees himself FIRMLY as a Reformed Christian. That is his identity. James White mocks and caricatures "fundamentalists" as KJV only dispensational ... and that is being kind. By the way, I think James would agree with everything I wrote.

He's speaking about the movement, not the philosophy and mindset he brings to his theology and ministry. That is an important distinction. Many people who are, essentially, "fundamentalist" in their theology and philosophy to ministry would want nothing to do with "fundamentalism" as a movement because of the excesses of that movement.

I think we really need to distinguish between (a) fundamentalism as a philosophy to ministry and life, and (b) "fundamentalism" as an identifiable movement. 

James White was raised in the GARBC. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Mark_Smith's picture

and credo-baptist. What can you do together with a Reformed person OTHER THAN talk about inerrancy and Calvinism. You can't agree with baptism. You can't agree to end times. Most Reformed have a totally different worship style.

So, we can stand on the stage and wave together, but after the crusade is over, you have the same problem that was present at Billy Graham crusades. Would you send new converts to a paedo-baptist church? Is it REALLY OK for people to teach amillennialism if you are a confirmed pre-millennialist?

That is my problem. I have several Reformed Presbyterian friends, but we can't do much together.

Mark_Smith's picture

I know you like James White. I have learned from him as well. But if you get close to him, you find he is surrounded by some really critical people IMHO. Try joining his special network talk channel. Have you done that? You'll see some interesting things. I did for a while and ...well, I was really disappointed.

TylerR's picture

Editor

You wrote:

What can you do together with a Reformed person OTHER THAN talk about inerrancy and Calvinism. You can't agree with baptism. 

You can with Reformed Baptists!

You can't agree to end times. Most Reformed have a totally different worship style.

I think there are things to learn from their worship style, and vice versa.

So, we can stand on the stage and wave together, but after the crusade is over, you have the same problem that was present at Billy Graham crusades. Would you send new converts to a paedo-baptist church? Is it REALLY OK for people to teach amillennialism if you are a confirmed pre-millennialist?

This is why I want to know more about Reformed Baptists. Regarding the end-times issue, it is not a deal-breaker with me. 

It depends on what your overriding filter or concern is for ministry:

  • If you're a "B"aptist, then you'll tolerate all manner of deviations on soteriology, bibliology, sin, theology proper (really, just about anything) because you're "together" as Baptists. Ecclesioloogy is what matters most, so you'll form associations based on that principle.
  • If you're "R"eformed in your thinking, then you'll tolerate all manner of deviations on eschatology and ecclesiology (e.g. MacArthur) because you're "together" on theology proper and salvation. You'll form your associations based on that principle.

I don't believe fundamentalist Baptists have any leg to stand on when they speak of their track-record on separation. All militant conservatives choose where they want to focus their "seperatism." Until, for example, the GARBC, FBFI and ACCC come out and publicly denounce the re-inspiration views of the KJV, the heresy of semi-Pelagianism, then we simply have a massive double-standard. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Larry Nelson's picture

 

"In a...recent work, six authors contributed to a Zondervan project called Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism (2011), which was designed “to navigate . . . differences and preserve the meaning and mission behind the name we each claim” (p. 17). That name is the label evangelical, and the claimants form a self-described spectrum of evangelicalism under the labels fundamentalist, confessional evangelical, generic evangelical, and post-conservative evangelical. The conclusion of the book encourages a convergence of the first two categories as close theological relatives that should distance themselves from the last two members of the evangelical family."

https://accc4truth.org/2016/06/15/the-doctrine-of-separation-and-the-spectrum-of-evangelicalism/ 

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This is the book mentioned (which I'm sure many, or even most, S/I readers are familiar with):

http://www.zondervan.com/four-views-on-the-spectrum-of-evangelicalism

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Question: Did the book really encourage "convergence" between Fundamentalism and Conservative (aka "Confessional") Evangelicalism (as the ACCC claims)?

dgszweda's picture

I put myself into the camp of a Reformed Baptist, and am a member of a reformed baptist church, as I have had in the past.

 

TylerR wrote:

You wrote:

What can you do together with a Reformed person OTHER THAN talk about inerrancy and Calvinism. You can't agree with baptism. 

You can with Reformed Baptists!

I agree.  You can talk about a lot of things with Presbyterians, including the preaching to the lost, discipleship of believers, challenges in the ministry....

Quote:

You can't agree to end times. Most Reformed have a totally different worship style.

I think there are things to learn from their worship style, and vice versa.

While Reformed Baptist as a hold do not hold to a single view of the end times, they are also not dogmatic on their view.  Their are a lot of Reformed Baptists that are dispensational, as well as many other views.  They respect other's beliefs and they have more times than not, explained that this was their view, but that they could also be wrong.  For prophecy, this is a pretty good step, and much more gracious than most fundamentalists.  Given the fact that even the Apostles themselves were not entirely clear and accurate in their interpretation of the Old Testament, I am not going to be dogmatic on prophecy.  The Bible provides clear evidence of why prophecy should not be dogmatic.  Its purpose is to allow those individuals  to look back, when prophecy is fulfilled and see the evidence and confirmation of the current situation.

I would also say that the worship style is different, but not that far off some fundamentalists, and is more regulative than most fundamentalist churches that I have been in.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I should add that I am eternally grateful for my professional ministry education in a fundamental Baptist institution - Maranatha Baptist Seminary. I'm not making my comments as a bitter defector from "the cause," but as a member of that movement who is simply making some friendly critiques. There is a large quality difference between those educated in intelligent fundamentalist institutions, and those who are not. In other words, I'm an insider simply thinking out loud about how we can be "always reforming" our own camp to make it more Biblical.  

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

TylerR's picture

Editor

Maranatha has a number of "Position Statements" which accompany the institution's Statement of Faith.

Behold this position statement from Maranatha on Christian liberty. Whoever wrote these is a genius:

The Bible faculty are committed to the biblical practice of Christian liberty. We acknowledge that Scripture binds believers together around non-negotiables such as the gospel, fundamental doctrines, and clear biblical mandates, but allows for a variety of applications of biblical principles to areas not specifically enumerated in Scripture. We encourage all believers through their study of Scripture to establish personal convictions that glorify God in all areas of life and promote unity with fellow believers.

Paul clearly defines in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8–10 that believers are neither to be “despising” nor “judging” others because of different practices in “doubtful things,” but rather are to receive one another as fellow-servants. We reject all attempts to elevate extra-biblical standards to the level of scriptural authority; such attempts often divide the Body of Christ and/or endeavor to establish one’s holiness apart from the work of Christ. Such practices lead to spiritual elitism, pride, and inauthentic holiness that stress the external over the internal. Believers must, therefore, be convinced in their own faith of the rightness or wrongness of a practice through their personal study of the Scriptures and stand before God in assurance of their faith while biblically loving those of differing persuasions. We also recognize the need for submission to institutional standards but acknowledge these do not produce holiness in and of themselves, but can be helpful prior to the formation of personal convictions.

Behold their position statement on "contemporary issues:"

The Bible faculty are committed to transparent interaction with students on contemporary issues. Discernment is a character quality and acquired skill that is necessary for spiritual success. The ability to practice keen insight and judgment in contemporary issues cannot be developed in an environment that limits discussion and hinders transparency. At the same time, open discussion without progression toward biblical answers does not meet the standard of a valid education. It is our desire to provide students a forum for communication so that education in critical thinking and biblical discretion can take place. In particular, we recognize that our students are being impacted by many conservative evangelicals via their writings, speaking, and internet communication. We acknowledge that many of these men and women have made positive contributions to the Body of Christ. We also note that aspects of their teaching and practices fall outside of the boundaries that we believe are biblical. We seek to instruct and model for students to “prove all things, hold fast that which is good.”

This is the kind of fundamentalism which is worth propagating.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Larry Nelson's picture

 

Baptist Streams Converge in the Arizona Desert:

CHANDLER, Ariz.—“As leaders confront the challenges of the present, the benefits of a shared testimony and collective gathering around gospel fundamentals, hermeneutic principles, and Baptist church distinctives are as needed today as they have ever been,” wrote Pastor Greg Linscott in his Baptist Bulletin article “Independence Is Not Isolation.” In that article he reported that Dr. Michael Sproul and Tri-City Baptist Church would host a national conference “involving several leaders from across the spectrum of Baptist fundamentalism.” The conference would be a venue “to explore the possibilities and benefits” of fellowshipping, working, and standing together.

On March 7–9, that conference, called The Gospel Proclaimed, became reality. Attenders represented a variety of geographical locations, Baptist associations and fellowships, institutions and agencies, and individual congregations. They rejoiced together at the unity they found in gospel truth and ecclesiastical principles. That unity was a key goal of the conference. “Now more than ever, it is vital for distinct groups of independent Baptists to demonstrate that we are just as committed to the unity of those who love truth as we are to separating from those who distort the Gospel,” says the conference website. “We must avoid the disasters of the past that led to the destruction of sound doctrine and practice, while effectively communicating the unchanging gospel of God in a changing world.”

Sproul introduced the conference, and several Baptist fundamentalist leaders preached on pertinent questions, such as “Why a Baptist?” Nineteen men and two women led workshops on subjects such as evangelism, administration, Baptist history, ladies in ministry, and various church outreach ministries.

John Sauser of Baptist Church Planters expressed delight at the hope the event offered. “I’m rejoicing, seeing God’s hand at work bringing these different streams together in this setting. There’s a sense that this mutual awareness and fellowship around God’s truth provides strength to advance His agenda for our various churches.”

http://www.garbc.org/news/network-news/baptist-streams-converge-in-the-arizona-desert/

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Or is it "convergence" only when Conservative Evangelicals are involved?

TylerR's picture

Editor

Here is the fundamental linchpin - which part of your systematic theology is most definitional to you, and how does this impact your doctrine of separation? Consider this excerpt from Larry's post:

On March 7–9, that conference, called The Gospel Proclaimed, became reality. Attenders represented a variety of geographical locations, Baptist associations and fellowships, institutions and agencies, and individual congregations. They rejoiced together at the unity they found in gospel truth and ecclesiastical principles. That unity was a key goal of the conference. “Now more than ever, it is vital for distinct groups of independent Baptists to demonstrate that we are just as committed to the unity of those who love truth as we are to separating from those who distort the Gospel,” says the conference website. “We must avoid the disasters of the past that led to the destruction of sound doctrine and practice, while effectively communicating the unchanging gospel of God in a changing world.”

Sproul introduced the conference, and several Baptist fundamentalist leaders preached on pertinent questions, such as “Why a Baptist?” Nineteen men and two women led workshops on subjects such as evangelism, administration, Baptist history, ladies in ministry, and various church outreach ministries.

This is a very healthy example of the doctrine of ecclesiology as the most definitional area of systematic theology. Represented at this meeting are men who are Arminian and Calvinistic, Textus Receptus and Eclectic Text, Chaferian sanctification and Reformed sanctification, who have different views on something as fundamental as the New Covenant and the church, and probably on also the work of the Holy Spirit in the OT, etc. In other words, they're together on "Baptist," but agree to disagree on a whole host of other issues. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. But, perhaps some Baptist fundamentalists should realize this:

  • Men do exist who simply have a different definitional area of systematic theology which informs their doctrine of separation. This doesn't mean they're not fundamentalists. It just means they're fundamentalists who are a bit different than you.  

Food for thought. This stems from my own conviction that "fundamentalism" is less an identifiable movement, but a more militant philosophy and approach to the truth of the Gospel and the Scriptures. This entire discussion from Frontline's latest issue has clarified my own thinking in this area.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Don Johnson's picture

First, no one can deny that historically fundamentalists have been drawn mainly from the dispensationalist ranks. That is not to say ALL have been dispensationalists, but dispensationalism was and is a huge factor in fundamentalist history, especially Baptist fundamentalist history.

Second, Tyler mentions the Gospel Proclaimed Conference. I attended half of it and was privileged to hear Mike Harding preach on "Why Dispensationalist." It was an outstanding message, delivered in full "fire hose as drinking fountain" mode, as only Mike can do. We ran the manuscript on P&D in three parts. If you are interested, here they are:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

I wouldn't say dispensationalism is a distinctive of fundamentalism, exactly, but it certainly is a mark of the FBFI and most Independent Baptists.

Finally, I'd have to agree with this comment Tyler made above:

TylerR wrote:
This stems from my own conviction that "fundamentalism" is less an identifiable movement, but a more militant philosophy and approach to the truth of the Gospel and the Scriptures. This entire discussion from Frontline's latest issue has clarified my own thinking in this area.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Philip Golden Jr.'s picture

When I think of Fundamentalism proper, I think of it as a big tent that is both denominationally and theologically diverse.

When I think of Baptist Fundamentalism, I recall significantly less diversity. One would assume that this would limit those who do not hold to Baptist distinctives, however, at least in Baptist Fundamentalism, it seems that dispensationalism has been made a distinctive. My question is this: is it possible to change this? I think many younger fundamentalists find the mantra "Premil, Pretrib, Baptist" a little off-putting, especially understanding that you can be an ardent Baptist and not be dispensational, that there is room for discussion on issues such as the timing of the rapture, maybe even the nature of the millennial reign of Christ.

Now I understand that the FBFI is committed to a dispensational hermeneutic. That's great for them! But for those who either disagree with that system, or do not make that system a distinctive for themselves or their ministry, is there any room for them to fellowship within the FBFI? Would it be possible for the FBFI to be theologically diverse among evangelical, separatist, Baptists? If not, my next question is why not?

I think another thing that is attractive about "converging" with conservative evangelicals, is that they have fellowships that operate on the very basic tenants of the Christian faith. You have MacArthur speaking at Ligoner, Ligon Duncan speaking at the shepherds conference. I mean, they have even embraced Joel Beeke (Dutch reformed). And the draw of their conferences and fellowships is the big tent. Not a tent big enough to let error in on the fundamentals, but a tent big enough to allow organized and coordinated fellowship and cobeligerance (sp?) over the things that really matter.

While dispensational theology may still hold sway with the majority of fundamentalists, making that a distinctive of fundamentalism is quickly becoming the position of yesterday.

Phil Golden

TylerR's picture

Editor

You wrote:

You have MacArthur speaking at Ligoner, Ligon Duncan speaking at the shepherds conference. I mean, they have even embraced Joel Beeke (Dutch reformed). And the draw of their conferences and fellowships is the big tent. Not a tent big enough to let error in on the fundamentals, but a tent big enough to allow organized and coordinated fellowship and cobeligerance (sp?) over the things that really matter.

I'll take this opportunity to beat an already dying horse, but I think you see this level of cooperation because, for these men, being Reformed is the most definitional area of systematic theology for them. That means they're willing to tolerate different approaches to ecclesiology (for example) in favor of being "on the same page" with soteriology and theology proper. This is precisely the same as Baptists at the "Gospel Proclaimed" conference being able to tolerate all kinds of other doctrinal deviations in favor of a shared eschatology and ecclesiology.

I believe many in the younger generation of Baptist fundamentalists do not see being "B"aptist as the definitional area of their systematic theology. Instead, for many of them, the definitional area is being "R"eformed in their soteriology and theology proper. They implement the doctrine of separation accordingly. Some Baptist fundamentalists seem to take exception to this.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Jay's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
First, no one can deny that historically fundamentalists have been drawn mainly from the dispensationalist ranks. That is not to say ALL have been dispensationalists, but dispensationalism was and is a huge factor in fundamentalist history, especially Baptist fundamentalist history.

I don't know if this comment is aimed at my earlier one, but yes, that is true.  Dispensationalism is a huge part of traditional Baptist Fundamentalism, which is the 'stream' that I would place myself in.

What I am saying is that it is possible for true Fundamentalism to exist with all kinds of dispensational positions.  A cursory review of the original Fundamentals volumes will bear that out...I seem to recall an article arguing for the AMillennial position by an author, but I didn't see that one in the articles that ran on SI

"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

Bert Perry's picture

I'm noticing that people are still asking what a "convergent" person is.  Again, you want to argue against something, or for something for that matter, it helps to define it.  

 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Don Johnson's picture

Philip Golden Jr. wrote:
the very basic tenants of the Christian faith

Sigh. I hate this! You've pushed my button.

TENETS!!!!!

TENETS!!!!!

TENETS!!!!!

TENETS!!!!!

TENETS!!!!!

TENETS!!!!!

We aren't renting the Christian faith out to anyone.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jay's picture

We aren't renting the Christian faith out to anyone.

'We' aren't responsible to rent the Christian faith out to anyone.  

It's becoming pretty obvious that the big issue between the FBFI and the 'Convergents' / 'young fundamentalists' is that some in the FBFI seems to think they have a lot more control and power over people than they actually do (or even should).

"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

Jim's picture

Jim wrote:

Fundamentalists arguing is like ...

What they fight over ...

"I'm the real Historic Fundamentalist"

"No you're not ... I'm the real Historic Fundamentalist"

"No you're not ... I'm the real Historic Fundamentalist"

Ad nauseam

TylerR's picture

Editor

I wrote this above:

I believe many in the younger generation of Baptist fundamentalists do not see being "B"aptist as the definitional area of their systematic theology. Instead, for many of them, the definitional area is being "R"eformed in their soteriology and theology proper. They implement the doctrine of separation accordingly. Some Baptist fundamentalists seem to take exception to this.

Of course, not all younger fundamentalists are Reformed, but you get my point. What think ye, my brethren? 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

I'll try and help Unruh out.  "Covergent", more or less, means those who say they're fundamental, but reject portions of FBFI resolutions on what constitutes Biblical separation.  Per comments above, that indicates that one ought to separate from those who use music disapproved by the FBFI, those who read John 2:1-11 in its ordinary sense (per ordinary dispensational hermeneutic), and also from those who do not separate from things like open theism--though I'm not sure that this is a big issue anymore, even within "Converge", the old BGC.  (Steve?)

Sound close to right?  And yes, Unruh is correct that many churches are examining these assumptions, some openly (e.g. Piper), some quietly.  The question, IMO, is whether a pastor who chooses to do this quietly qualifies as an "Absalom", a usurper of what ought to be. And the first thing that needs to be repeated with that is that Absalom would never have gotten to the place he did if his father had not slept with Bathsheba and killed Uriah, breaking the covenant of trust with his people.

That fact should, ahem, temper anyone's enthusiasm for calling our opponents "Absaloms", don't you think?  It implicitly associates the accuser of grievous sins like those of David--really it's like the old proverb that when you point one finger at another person, you've got four pointing at yourself.

So let us back away from Unruh's rather counter-productive ad hominem and instead ask ourselves the question "are there pastors who sneakily come in and nudge churches away from FBFI positions?".  It would be silly to argue otherwise.  Certainly there are.  And why do churches fall for this?

 It's because the church isn't capable of seeing the change in theology, or because the church quite frankly views the old theology as somewhat repugnant.  Whether it's music, wine, open theology, or whatever, the church is only going to go the direction of the "new guy" because the "old guy" didn't make a compelling case for "how things used to be."  And it's worth noting that in my experience, it wasn't a duplicitous "Absalom" that nudged me away from some of the positions some of my friends held.  It was rather the clear testimony of the Scriptures and the often nasty nature of the arguments for those positions.

Word to the wise, no?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Philip Golden Jr.'s picture

@Don- sorry for my lax spelling. I have never been too good with spelling and have become too dependent on Spell Check, which doesn't flag "tenants" because, well, its correctly spelled, just the wrong word!

On the broader question that Tyler addressed, I agree that many (maybe even most) younger fundamentalists have embraced a moderate Reformed soteriology. Tyler is on to something when he pointed out above that "the fundamental linchpin" is "...which part of your systematic theology is most definitional to you, and how does this impact your doctrine of separation?" So, yes, I think that we have a seen that kind of shift among younger Fundamentalists who are less about being "BIG B" Baptists and more concerned with fidelity to the "Doctrines of Grace." Younger fundamentalists are more defined by reformed theology. But, is that or should that be what impacts their doctrine of separation?

I don't personally view someone with variance on the doctrines of grace as someone I would need to Ecclesiastically separate from. From a doctrinal standpoint, I don't think separation should be impacted by my theological system. This was, I believe, the focus of "historic" fundamentalism and why The Fundamentals were published. To define the Basic Tenets of Fundamentalism and, for that matter, the basic tenets of the Christian Faith.

What I believe has happened in fundamentalism proper that has discouraged "younger fundamentalists" is the elevation of other matters to become distinctive tenets of Fundamentalism. They range from theological matters (such as Dispensationalism) to cultural matters (music, dress, etc) to practical issues (particularly determining to separate from someone because they do not apply separation just like you would).

So what I think would be helpful is a serious rethinking of where fundamentalism stands on these issues. This is the reason I asked why dispensational theology is a defining characteristic of the FBFI. We need to ask why something has become a distinctive tenet of fundamentalism, and if the explanation is found wanting from a biblical perspective, then we need to really rethink if that tenet should be distinctive of fundamentalism.

Hopefully I spelled "tenets" correctly throughout. Smile

 

Phil Golden

Don Johnson's picture

Jay wrote:

We aren't renting the Christian faith out to anyone.

'We' aren't responsible to rent the Christian faith out to anyone.  

It's becoming pretty obvious that the big issue between the FBFI and the 'Convergents' / 'young fundamentalists' is that some in the FBFI seems to think they have a lot more control and power over people than they actually do (or even should).

Jay, you appear not to understand. Look at my post again. Consult a dictionary. The light will turn on.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TylerR's picture

Editor

I believe Bro. Golden is a master of succinct and weighty statements. If you're drafting a statement of faith, call Bro. Golden to accurately compact difficult issues into a single paragraph! He wrote:

What I believe has happened in fundamentalism proper that has discouraged "younger fundamentalists" is the elevation of other matters to become distinctive tenets of Fundamentalism. They range from theological matters (such as Dispensationalism) to cultural matters (music, dress, etc) to practical issues (particularly determining to separate from someone because they do not apply separation just like you would).

This is spot on. Rather than recognize that fundamentalism has historically been a "big-tent" philosophy to ministry based on militant fidelity to the Scriptures and it's implications for everyday life, some flavors of fundamentalism have drawn the circle ever tighter (based primarily on shared Baptist ecclesiology and premillennial eschatology), and criticize those whose circle isn't the same as their own. I believe this is a mistake. 

There is plenty of inconsistency in Baptist fundamentalism, but it is generally tolerated. See, for example, what I wrote earlier about the recent Gospel Proclaimed conference:

This is a very healthy example of the doctrine of ecclesiology as the most definitional area of systematic theology. Represented at this meeting are men who are Arminian and Calvinistic, Textus Receptus and Eclectic Text, Chaferian sanctification and Reformed sanctification, who have different views on something as fundamental as the New Covenant and the church, and probably on also the work of the Holy Spirit in the OT, etc. In other words, they're together on "Baptist," but agree to disagree on a whole host of other issues. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. But, perhaps some Baptist fundamentalists should realize this:

Men do exist who simply have a different definitional area of systematic theology which informs their doctrine of separation. This doesn't mean they're not fundamentalists. It just means they're fundamentalists who are a bit different than you.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Don Johnson's picture

Philip Golden Jr. wrote:

@Don- sorry for my lax spelling. I have never been too good with spelling and have become too dependent on Spell Check, which doesn't flag "tenants" because, well, its correctly spelled, just the wrong word!

ah, you've put my mind at ease!

actually, technically it's called a malapropism, not a misspelling. The term comes from a play by Edmond Spenser called The Rivals, something I had to read on high school. Of all the malaprops that bug me, "tenants" for "tenet" is the worst.

as for your post, lots of good thoughts there, I will get back to you shortly, now that we have the weightiest matter settled!

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Ron Bean's picture

 The FBFI seems to be a fellowship of dispensational IFB's to whom music and certain cultural matters (alcohol, dancing, movies, pop music) are seen as major issues and whose membership, while voiceless, is assumed to be in accord with the statements of its self-perpetuating leadership. That's fine and what they want.

 Convergents, while united on Biblical truth and its defense, are not drawn to that particular brand of narrowness.

 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jay's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

Jay, you appear not to understand. Look at my post again. Consult a dictionary. The light will turn on.

Ah, I see what you were saying now.  Thanks.

"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

TOvermiller's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

... cultural matters (alcohol, dancing, movies, pop music ...

... Convergents, while united on Biblical truth and its defense, are not drawn to that particular brand of narrowness.

FBFI and Convergents aside, your allusion to alcohol, dancing, movies, pop music, etc. raises an important question. Are these topics altogether irrelevant? An older generation of fundamentalists expresses concerns over trending views on 'cultural' topics like this. John MacArthur (one example who is not an FBFI member) has a lot to say about these things, for instance. As a fundamentalist who is younger (34 yrs.), I do not consider myself a 'young fundamentalist.' Nor do I consider myself a guardian of a historical movement or group of one kind or another. But I am a Bible-believing Christian who believes the fundamentals of the faith. The issues you have mentioned are not fundamentals of the faith, but they are important.

Here's what I've noticed, if I'm correct, which is not always the case :) Fundamental believers in the younger spectrum tend towards a Chuck Swindoll Grace Awakening sort of view towards anything that is not a fundamental doctrine, which I consider aberrant. (Then we often include Reformed convictions as a near-fundamental of our essential beliefs.) We live by the letter of the law of grace, and do not give serious attention to matters of worldliness, application and the heart which may admittedly be subjective. We struggle with giving priority to what is best and prefer to swear allegiance to anything that does not have a law against it. Perhaps we should challenge our own thinking in a different way. Just because there isn't a law against certain behavior, does that mean God is unconcerned? I consider, for instance, the impassioned plea against alcohol drinking by John Mac Arthur here. Perhaps you don't align with his perspective, but his concerns should be considered carefully nonetheless. And many other older men share this view. I am listening.

Conversely, men in the older spectrum tend towards an overly-dogmatic approach, against which men like Swindoll reacted. Perhaps they have forced a rigid separation over subjective areas, stating these topics as clear and apparent, when in fact they require more careful, thoughtful explanations. But perhaps these concerns also rise out of an understanding of God in a personal way, to which we should still pay attention.

Regardless of any past experience, hurts, bitterness or frustration we may have faced in our communication of the Christian life across generations, we must wisely continue to listen. There is wisdom in listening carefully to an older generation. They may have flaws, but we do too. And just because an older man argues that certain music is worldly and inappropriate for church worship, but employs unconvincing arguments, doesn't mean that his conclusions are wrong and worthless. At the very least, there is wisdom to considering the concern, if for no other reason than he is older than me.

I appreciate men like Kevin Bauder who challenge us to pursue what is best in thought and in life, whether in music or otherwise. Not all older fundamentalists are able to do this in the same way, but we still need to listen. Someday another generation will be listening to us and pointing out our failures. Perhaps we will look back and realize that we should have listened more carefully, reflectively and prayerfully. Perhaps our children will ask us why were were not more careful. Or perhaps we'll ask this question of ourselves.

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | www.studygodsword.com
Blog & Podcast | www.shepherdthoughts.com

Ron Bean's picture

I guess I'm an old (69) convergent but my experience with convergents is that they do not see those cultural issues I listed as irrelevant. I know many who are abstainers and conservative in their music and tastes in art. And I don't know any who pay attention to Swindoll or Dobson, etc. 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

TOvermiller's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

I guess I'm an old (69) convergent

And I'm guessing I'm a young non-convergent. Is there such thing as an old convergent and a young non-convergent? Apparently so Smile

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | www.studygodsword.com
Blog & Podcast | www.shepherdthoughts.com

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