Don Johnson on 'The Convergence" and Fundamentalism

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Bert Perry's picture

It strikes me that the response more or less confirms my concerns about the FBFI articles.  In the definition of "convergent", there is a vague hint at "evangelical" theology lumped together with cultural issues like music and Jesus' first miracle, as well as a potshot at new Calvinists.  OK, as I read the five Fundamentals--let's throw in the Solas, the Trinity, and a couple of other things to boot--none of these are Gospel issues, but they're being lumped together as if listening to music with a beat is equivalent to Elephant Room 2.  If we color a little bit with each factor and get close enough to the right color, it's a "convergent" person from whom we ought to separate....

...and I'm still trying to figure out why, because I can't for the life of me figure out a Gospel issue here, or for that matter even a serious theological issue.  The same thing goes with the "Absalom" accusations....given that "change" can refer to "repentance", on what grounds do we make such an accusation without giving some very specific details that make clear that sin is involved?  Let's be a little more specific here, as I can point to a number of changes in fundamentalism that are unalloyed goods--the end of segregation, taking abortion seriously after Schaeffer called us out on it. the end (mostly) of pastor as CEO/dictator, and the exiling of KJVO/Landmarkers to the fringes.

Possibly, another way of describing the matter is that conservative evangelicals are indeed practicing separation; they just happen to be separating from churches and ministries associated with the FBFI.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Steve Davis's picture

Don is right that someone who is “convergent” is not a fundamentalist, at least in the FBFI sense of the word.  Further, I don’t know of anyone whom Don might consider convergent wanting to claim the fundamentalist label. Who are these people? Some examples would be good.  I don't even know that many men who want to called a fundamentalist anymore and the reason for that might. be attributed to articles like this. 

dgszweda's picture

One of the biggest challenges with Don's response is that he classifies convergents as those who are anti-separatist.  If he chooses that as the real definition, than I am not sure why FBFI is being concerned with this movement.  I think the real issue is that convergents are anti-secondary separation or anti-separation among the non-fundamentals. Everyone that I am familiar with in this movement is still separatists, they have just moved away from the error they see in the fundamentalism where the focus is on separation from all sorts of non-fundamental issues.  I do not drink, but I know individuals in my congregation who drink.  Those individuals do not get drunk or drink around those who do not drink.  In addition, the leadership is very clear that drunkenness or disorderly conduct as well as not accommodating the weaker brother is subject to church discipline (therefore there is separation over alcohol - just one that has a stronger biblical mandate, not an artificial line drawn by man).

But again this has been beaten to death.

dgszweda's picture

Steve Davis wrote:

Don is right that someone who is “convergent” is not a fundamentalist, at least in the FBFI sense of the word.  Further, I don’t know of anyone whom Don might consider convergent wanting to claim the fundamentalist label. Who are these people? Some examples would be good.  I don't even know that many men who want to called a fundamentalist anymore and the reason for that might. be attributed to articles like this. 

One example would be Mark Dever and Capital Baptist.  Mark has stated on a few occasions that he is a fundamentalist ("After all, I am a fundamentalist, Calvinistic, separatist Baptist" - J. I. Packer and Pastoral Wisdom from the Puritans, Mark Dever).  Although based on Don's comments, he states that acceptance of certain music styles and acceptance of alcohol in any form would be a disqualifier of calling ones self a fundamentalist.

Bert Perry's picture

Dunno what you would call me.  I am glad to separate (and have) on what I consider major issues--the theological fundamentals, the Solas, the Trinity, probably a few other things--but not on social issues like music or alcohol.  So I'd call myself a "theological fundamentalist" but not a cultural one.  

I would add as well that I tend to view things like KJVO theology as a significant infringement on the first fundamental and Sola Scriptura, so I would note that I can and do separate from what Jim would call hyper-fundamentalism.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Don Johnson's picture

dgszweda wrote:

One of the biggest challenges with Don's response is that he classifies convergents as those who are anti-separatist.  If he chooses that as the real definition, than I am not sure why FBFI is being concerned with this movement.  I think the real issue is that convergents are anti-secondary separation or anti-separation among the non-fundamentals. Everyone that I am familiar with in this movement is still separatists, ...

Christianity Today separates from some. I wouldn't call them fundamentalist. Larry Oats points out that everyone separates to some degree. Fundamentalists attempt to do so following the Bible faithfully. You may disagree with the result, but that is what we attempt to do.

dgszweda wrote:

One example would be Mark Dever and Capital Baptist.

Mark Dever has always been an evangelical. While he is conservative and may use the label fundamentalist in certain senses, no one is confused to think that he was ever in the fundamentalist movement, as such. Those who are convergents, by definition, are leaving fundamentalism and moving towards evangelicalism (or beyond, I suppose).

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

G. N. Barkman's picture

The arguments about who is a true Fundamentalist will never end as long as we maintain differing definitions for the term, "Fundamentalist."  Don Johnson speaks of the "Fundamentalist Movement" in a manner that indicates he means his own particular segment of Fundamentalism.  Others would think more historically, bringing a much different concept to this term.  As I understand Fundamentalism, it is a defense of the fundamentals of the faith against all who seek to attack or erode them.  I am a committed Fundamentalist because I believe the Bible, including its many warnings against false teachers, and threats to the Faith once delivered to the Saints. 

In this sense, it is apparent to me that John Mac Arthur, Mark Dever, and others of this stripe are also Fundamentalists.  In other words, every Fundamentalist is also an Evangelical (in the historical sense of these terms), but not every Evangelical is a Fundamentalist.  Some Evangelicals are unwilling to defend fundamental Christianity against those who attack it.  Others are bold to do so.  How wonderful if we could all take a deep breath, take a few steps backwards, and look at the bigger picture.  There are many dangerous attacks upon Biblical fundamentalism, and I join my Evangelical brothers who are fighting along side me to expose these attacks.

G. N. Barkman

Philip Golden Jr.'s picture

First of all, I appreciate Don's work in clearly articulating where he is coming from. Based on my own experience within fundamentalism and the FBFI specifically, I think what he wrote is indicative of the views of the men in that movement towards "convergants."

Here are my observations and comments regarding Don's post:

1. dgszweda is right that from the start, Don's post poses a challenge. "Convergents" or "younger fundamentalists" are not anti-separatist or non-separatist. I was going to write that they perhaps do not emphasize separatism but I don't think that is necessarily accurate either. The issue is in their application of separation. The idea that I must separate from the disobedient brother who does not apply separation exactly as I do is just not a compelling argument anymore. Much more could be said regarding this as this is probably the biggest point of disagreement between convergents and fundamentalism proper.

2. Don writes that the second characteristic of convergents is "Embrace of a philosophy of fellowship, social action, cultural relevancy that is at least similar to new evangelicalism." I am not exactly sure what he is referring to here or that it is indicative of "convergents." Personally, cultural relevancy and social action are very low on my priorities as a pastor. As to a philosophy of fellowship, I would agree partially, in as much as that philosophy is shaped by my understanding of the application of separation as discussed in my first observation.

3. I would generally agree here, however, I think that it is more complex than Don stated. For instance, I personally make a differentiation between what I use for public worship (traditional) and what I may enjoy personally (CCM) or what others in my congregation may enjoy personally. I also don't think someone has wandered into error when they choose to put a guitar or drums on the stage. Would I do that? Probably not. But I don't think it is necessary to condemn them for doing it either. I also think that, especially regarding alcohol consumption, the issue is an unwillingness to go beyond the clear teaching of scripture in our teaching on the subject.

4. Regarding "first-love" Calvinism. I think this may be a result of the so called "cage stage" of those who come to an understanding of the doctrines of grace. For many, this is a temporary phase. (This Babylon Bee article, while satire, is strikingly accurate). Again, more can be said here, but this is quickly becoming a book!

5. Regarding his comments on "church polity," some of the men whom convergents look to are decidedly against this philosophy. Even Piper, in his Brothers, We are Not Professionals, calls this out. MacArthur also has done his fair share of being critical of this. This criticism could also be leveled at the garden variety fundamental Baptist church that is run by "comittees."

6. Regarding questionable ethics, it is certainly true that if a man takes a church with the express intention of moving that church to a different position without telling church leadership, at a minimum, then that is sinful. However, I also think that if a pastor is upfront with his desires, there is nothing wrong there. On his second major point, Don says this regarding pastoral ethics: "...it is unethical to hold a pastorate with mental reservations about the founding documents of the church, whether it be constitution or covenant. If a pastor sincerely comes to a new conviction, the ethical thing to do is to resign his position and find a pulpit more conducive to his point of view." I don't think a pastor needs to necessarily resign if his personal convictions begin to diverge from the church's philosophy, core documents, etc. I DO think a pastor needs to inform the church leadership and, perhaps, educate them biblically on why his position has changed. If the leadership is on board, then the pastor should guide the church forward in change. If the leadership is not on board, then there definitely needs to be a consideration of resigning. This cuts both ways as well. I have heard of fundamental pastors taking "new evangelical" churches with the express desire of transitioning that church to a more fundamentalist position. If this is not done properly, the same ethical objections apply.

7. Regarding supernatural gifts, I would say most convergents are decidedly cessationist. Now, they may read and enjoy and even suggest to their congregants what the more theologically astute non-cessationists write, but, that does not mean an open embrace of the charismatic movement.

8. The final point is spot on. There is a dangerous preoccupation with the "star" evangelical. I will say that this is something that the FBFI does well in keeping away from "star" preoccupation through their local fellowships. I have had the privilege of hearing sterling messages from a local pastor of a church of less than 50 at a local FBFI meeting.

Regarding Don's suggestions for younger fundamentalists. They are all great. As I mentioned above, the regional FBFI fellowships have been very useful. But, there can be a mixed bag here as well. I personally remember sitting in regional and national meetings where there were speakers who used careful exegesis and stayed away from hobby-horse issues and in the same meeting I've heard men get up with what could be described as shaky exegesis at best and rambling against Calvinism or music, etc. At times, the negative experiences far eclipse the positive. This has provided a frustration with some of the regional fellowships with younger guys.

Finally, the importance of personal fellowship with local, like-minded pastors is crucial. The difference is what those fellowship look like now. I personally fellowship with guys who are in the SBC, GARBC, PARBC (PA's GARBC), BP, RP, IFCA, and FBFI guys, etc. I think the difference is that I am not going to write off a guy based on whether or not he has applied separation just as I have. With the increasing secularization of our society, we need to focus on the basics of the faith that bring us together, and then aim our attacks at the true enemy and stop turning our guns on each other.

If you read all of this, congratulations. Contact me for your cookie!

 

Phil Golden

TylerR's picture

Editor

I'll respond to Don's article next week, when I have more time!

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

 

Based upon the "marks of a 'convergent' fundamentalist" given by Don in the OP article (and moreover upon the previous threads discussing convergence), would these actual examples from IFB churches (of seemingly impeccable IFB pedigree) indicate that they are (to at least some degree) convergent?:

 

1. Regarding their music, an IFB church makes this statement on their website: "To serve our diverse congregation, we try to strike a balance between conservative and progressive musical styles. Our singing is energetic, and we love to sing both old and new songs that have biblical substance."

2. An IFB church hosts these individuals as the keynote speakers at their annual Bible conference (in successive years):

  • A prominent Southern Baptist theologian
  • A professor of theology from a non-denominational, evangelical college

3.  An IFB church has a man on its pastoral staff who completed the pastoral internship program at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, under Mark Dever

4. Any IFB church which has ever sung the Getty Music hymn "In Christ Alone" in its worship services?

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Philip Golden Jr. wrote:

Regarding Don's suggestions for younger fundamentalists. They are all great. As I mentioned above, the regional FBFI fellowships have been very useful. But, there can be a mixed bag here as well. I personally remember sitting in regional and national meetings where there were speakers who used careful exegesis and stayed away from hobby-horse issues and in the same meeting I've heard men get up with what could be described as shaky exegesis at best and rambling against Calvinism or music, etc. At times, the negative experiences far eclipse the positive. This has provided a frustration with some of the regional fellowships with younger guys.

Conferences (or "fellowships"), by their very nature, can be a mixed bag.  I have been to five 9Marks conferences now, and I can say that not all the messages are the same quality there either, and I've definitely heard some things I was not in complete agreement with.  However, I don't yet remember a 9Marks conference where the negatives ever came close to outweighing the positives.  I think if you go to an FBFI fellowship, knowing what they stand for, you should be ready to maybe hear some things you might disagree with, even strongly.  If, however, the negatives tend to outweigh the positives, your time would probably be better spent elsewhere, and it might be an indication that the FBFI is not the place for you!

Dave Barnhart

Jay's picture

I can't wait for the answers to Larry's post.  That ought to be fascinating discussion.

"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

dgszweda's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

Christianity Today separates from some. I wouldn't call them fundamentalist. Larry Oats points out that everyone separates to some degree. Fundamentalists attempt to do so following the Bible faithfully. You may disagree with the result, but that is what we attempt to do.

I think the challenge here Don, is that both feel that they are doing so faithfully.  And I am not talking about the seeker style churches.  But the convergents would say that secondary separation is not Biblically faithful, and fundamentalists would argue that separation over things like alcohol and music are faithful.  You see many that believe many of the elements that are in alignment with fundamentalism, but because they don't believe in the same level of separation or secondary separation they are pushed out by fundamentalists, therefore they move toward conservative evangelicals.  This constant separation gets tiring, especially when many don't believe there is enough biblical evidence to support it.  I sometimes wonder if fundamentalists view of heaven is a heaven that is segmented.  Fundamentalism would rather separate over someone who thinks alcohol is not a sin (regardless of whether they drink or not), but would be accommodating to people with all types of views on creation.  Fundamentalists would separate over those who are not dispensational, even though the very apostles themselves looking into the face of Jesus Christ, living out the fulfillment of the OT prophecy did not even fully get it right or comprehend it.  Fundamentalists are more accommodating to militant dispensationalists, but would separate over someone who fellowships with someone who believes Scripture teaches that Christians drank alcohol in the NT.

Don Johnson wrote:
Mark Dever has always been an evangelical. While he is conservative and may use the label fundamentalist in certain senses, no one is confused to think that he was ever in the fundamentalist movement, as such. Those who are convergents, by definition, are leaving fundamentalism and moving towards evangelicalism (or beyond, I suppose).

I would agree with this, but most convergents would leave fundamentalism for a model that looks like Dever and Capitol.  Strong Biblical teaching, with a focus on theology and discipleship, separation over those elements that are clearly outlined in Scripture as points on separation, and a mixed music style with a focus on theologically strong worship music (not a rock concert).  So when someone asked what does it look like, most convergent churches look more like Capitol than Tri-City.

Jay's picture

I can't speak for all of the convergent brethren, but I think Don puts his finger on it here:

Mark Dever has always been an evangelical. While he is conservative and may use the label fundamentalist in certain senses, no one is confused to think that he was ever in the fundamentalist movement, as such. Those who are convergents, by definition, are leaving fundamentalism and moving towards evangelicalism (or beyond, I suppose).

I've never - ever - worried about whether or not a person was fundamentalist or evangelical.  Either they're fellow brothers and helpful, or they aren't.  The only time I've ever even thought about where they fit in the 'spectrum' of Christianity is on this website.  So when Don says "Dever has always been an evangelical", I wave my hand and say that is completely irrelevant to me.  I never worried about that with MacArthur either, but I did think about it with Piper when I first started reading his books and such.  Now I don't worry about it, and I know we don't agree on everything.

Edit: I guess what I'm really saying is that we would be honored if you would join us.

"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

Ron Bean's picture

 

"I would agree with this, but most convergents would leave fundamentalism for a model that looks like Dever and Capitol.  Strong Biblical teaching, with a focus on theology and discipleship, separation over those elements that are clearly outlined in Scripture as points on separation, and a mixed music style with a focus on theologically strong worship music (not a rock concert).  So when someone asked what does it look like, most convergent churches look more like Capitol than Tri-City."

It did for me. After years of being battered and bruised by hyper-fundamentalist type separation, a fundamentalist friend suggested that I visit Capitol Hill Baptist Church. We were refreshed, revived, and encouraged.

I have no problem if the FBFI is content to restrict their fellowship with boundaries that they believe are important. They shouldn't be surprised that a younger generation that questions their "my way or the highway" attitude decides to travel. They're not going into apostasy; they're still your brothers. They're not Absalom. In fact they may just be Paul and you may be Peter.

 

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

JBL's picture

I think FBFI's attempt to define fundamentalism in its resolutions is praise-worthy.  I have especially appreciated the preamble below.

A fundamentalist is a genuine believer in the Person, Work, and Doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ who:

  1. Regards the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, as the verbally inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God;
  2. Recognizes the Bible as the authoritative voice of God on all issues pertaining to life – civil, social, and spiritual;
  3. Endeavors to practice Biblical conduct in all areas of his life;
  4. Believes in all the foundational truths of historic Christianity, including:
    • The inspiration of the Bible
    • The virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ
    • The Deity of Christ
    • The bodily resurrection, ascension, and literal return of the Lord Jesus Christ
    • Salvation by grace through faith and regeneration by the Holy spirit
    • The eternal destinies of Heaven or Hell
    • Man is a sinner by nature and by choice
  5. Earnestly contends for the faith, which includes a militant defense and proclamation of the faith and separation from all forms of heresy, apostasy, unbelief, and inclusivism, direct or indirect.
  6. Is compelled by love to expose error, within and without the household of faith.

 

I feel that Dever meets all six criteria, but is clearly not regarded by some as a fundamentalist.

So the issue here is -

Can fundamentalism be objectively defined, or will its definition and practice always be subject to personal whim?

John B. Lee

Bert Perry's picture

Didn't historic rules fundamentalism say something about movies?  :^)  

Seriously, I can go with what John cites from the FBFI, though I disagree with the application of a couple of the points about holy living that the FBFI would make.  One big thing I'd add to the list is the Trinity--as far as I can tell, you really can't even get out of Genesis 1 and understand the Scriptures properly without a Trinitarian view of the Godhead, and sad to say--Elephant Room 2 and a host of churches listening to every word MacDonald and Jakes say and Moody Press--a lot of people are waffling on this critical doctrine.  I've left a church in part because they were soft on the Trinity in exactly this manner.

To be very blunt about the matter, if fundamental churches of all "rings" or stripes left the social issues aside for a while and concentrated on the theological Fundamentals, the Solas, and the Trinity, I would dare suggest that there would be a massive revival as people realized we were serious about God.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Barry L.'s picture

Which, I guess, is Mark Dever's blemish? Holding to the fundamentals, but associates himself with some who are not 100% holding to the fundamentals?

Just trying to learn here.

It seems that a number of FBFI churches have pastors that attend seminaries that have the same associations as Dever, like SBTS, for instance. Why are those churches not considered evangelical?

Jim's picture

Barry L. wrote:

Which, I guess, is Mark Dever's blemish? Holding to the fundamentals, but associates himself with some who are not 100% holding to the fundamentals?

Just trying to learn here.

It seems that a number of FBFI churches have pastors that attend seminaries that have the same associations as Dever, like SBTS, for instance. Why are those churches not considered evangelical?

Some Fundamentalists failed to separate from weird personalties with completely unBiblical views. To name a few:

  • Racists and wrong views on anthropology (think Miscegenation)
  • Wrong views of the Scriptures - KJVonlism
  • Heresies such as Hyles/Schaap
  • Plus some wrongly defamed others (Bob Jones III / John MacArthur over the "blood")  - did the FBFI disassociate with him? No!

When Bob Jones attacked MacArthur in their magazine, Faith for the Family, I already knew what MacArthur's position was on the blood of Christ. Fundamentalist leaders said that MacArthur denied the blood. I knew that wasn't true, because I had read through his Hebrews commentary. The type of argumentation used against MacArthur was so superficial and silly that I was mystified. To start, MacArthur did not deny the blood, but even if he did, his error should have been pointed out from scripture. Bob Jones and its surrogates really did argue a strawman at the time. Once they saw that they had misrepresented MacArthur, they should have recanted right away, but they dug in for over a decade in typical fundamentalist fashion. As the winds toward MacArthur began to change among young fundamentalists, Bob Jones came out with a weak apology many years later.

 

 

dgszweda's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

To be very blunt about the matter, if fundamental churches of all "rings" or stripes left the social issues aside for a while and concentrated on the theological Fundamentals, the Solas, and the Trinity, I would dare suggest that there would be a massive revival as people realized we were serious about God.  

Here is the root of where I struggle with this issue.  If we think about this carefully, this is where I struggle:

  • We would all agree that someone like Mark Dever is a Christian, and we will fellowship with him in heaven
  • We would agree that someone who is aligned with the FBFI, such as Don, are Christians, and despite the fact that Don would separate from Mark, we will fellowship with Don and others in heaven
  • When we all die and are in heaven, is it Mark that needs to change his position or the FBFI member?

If it is the FBFI member, than why do we have to live out an extrabiblical separation on earth?  Why do we create something on earth, that is neither taught in Scripture, or will not be the reality of eternity?  I struggled with this, and in the end, I just couldn't justify it.  I got tired with an image created on earth, that if lived out in heaven would result in a very special group of a few thousand that sit closer to the throne of God than any of the other Christians.  I am not sure David or even Peter would have made it in the FBFI.  This is not about separation, but the degree of separation.  Few would argue that Mark Dever does not have one of the most well thought out and well structured views on church discipline and separation, the argument is only rooted in the fact that he doesn't practice enough degrees of separation, which most convergents would argue will be mute on our last breath. 

TylerR's picture

Editor

I wonder if a conservative Christian who wasn't raised in a fundamental Baptist atmosphere would read this entire exchange and think to himself:

These guys are really crazy. What losers.  

 

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

 

Jay wrote:

I can't wait for the answers to Larry's post.  That ought to be fascinating discussion.

 

Jay's picture

The FBFI defines a Fundamentalist as:

A fundamentalist is a genuine believer in the Person, Work, and Doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ who:

  • Regards the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, as the verbally inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God;
  • Recognizes the Bible as the authoritative voice of God on all issues pertaining to life – civil, social, and spiritual;
  • Endeavors to practice Biblical conduct in all areas of his life;
  • Believes in all the foundational truths of historic Christianity, including:
    • The inspiration of the Bible
    • The virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ
    • The Deity of Christ
    • The bodily resurrection, ascension, and literal return of the Lord Jesus Christ
    • Salvation by grace through faith and regeneration by the Holy Spirit
    • The eternal destinies of Heaven or Hell
    • Man is a sinner by nature and by choice
  • Earnestly contends for the faith, which includes a militant defense and proclamation of the faith and separation from all forms of heresy, apostasy, unbelief, and inclusivism, direct or indirect.
  • Is compelled by love to expose error, within and without the household of faith.

Mark Dever does all of this - every bit, although maybe not as 'militantly' as some would prefer, which is a subjective criteria anyway - and Don or the FBFI is still going to argue that he's not a fundamentalist?

Can someone please explain this to me, because clearly there's some other hoop that has to be jumped through to live in 'our' good graces?

Mark probably doesn't want to be affiliated with us - and who can blame him if this is the way we 'do theology'?  Sheesh.

"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

TylerR's picture

Editor

If fundamentalists considered the amount of time they spend in inter-family sniping, then re-directed this energy towards actual productive ends, then this movement would be much, much healthier.

  • Daniel Kirk, a heretic NT guy from Fuller, has just released a book about denying Jesus' divinity.
  • Nobody knows what the Trinity is.
  • Young people are being indoctrinated with pagan views of human sexuality and identity.
  • Matthew Vines' book continues to confuse and seduce Christians.
  • Inerrancy is being increasingly denied by moderate evangelicals.
  • A reader-response hermeneutic is increasingly dominant in Western Christianity ("this is what it means to me!").

There is work to be done. Too bad we're letting other people do that work, while we're busy arguing with each another over labels. I think this conversation is necessary because I feel the FBFI is wrong, and their energies are misdirected in this case. But, I still don't like the conversation. I'd rather talk about the Trinity or the use of the law for the Christian. 

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?

Jim's picture

https://centralmn.wordpress.com/2016/11/16/what-is-a-convergent/

Because I know the boys in the FBFI (I am a member), I think I know what they mean when they talk about “convergents.” If I didn’t already have a good idea, though, I don’t believe that either the organization or Pastor Johnson would give me much help in figuring it out. And I honestly have no idea who might actually fit all of the items on Pastor Johnson’s list. I’m generally sympathetic to the concerns of the FBFI, or I wouldn’t retain membership. I Still, I wish they’d do a better job of explaining themselves

AndyE's picture

TylerR wrote:

  • Daniel Kirk, a heretic NT guy from Fuller, has just released a book about denying Jesus' divinity.
  • Nobody knows what the Trinity is.
  • Young people are being indoctrinated with pagan views of human sexuality and identity.
  • Matthew Vines' book continues to confuse and seduce Christians.
  • Inerrancy is being increasingly denied by moderate evangelicals.
  • A reader-response hermeneutic is increasingly dominant in Western Christianity ("this is what it means to me!").

Tyler,

Suppose you are in fellowship with a church across town.  Perhaps you’ve done some joint mission work together or something.  You feel that church, though not exactly the same, is basically in agreement with your core principles and you view them as a sister ministry in many ways.  Then, one day you look at their website and see they have Daniel Kirk scheduled for a Bible conference, or TD Jakes, or Matthew Vines, or Robert Gundry.  I’m assuming you would try to talk them out of it but let’s say they persist?  Will you stay in fellowship with that cross-town church?   To me, that’s the primary issue.

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