Dave Cloud: "I challenge anyone to show me where the Scripture encourages the believer to treat some doctrine as 'non-essential"

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Pastor Joe Roof's picture

Bob Hayton did a great job exposing how David Cloud twists things. Unfortunately, people follow Cloud's writings and then tend to believe that they are the last of the holy remnant of fundamentalism.

Bob Hayton's picture

Thanks, Joe. It's one thing to have principled differences of opinion with Mark Dever. It's quite another to exaggerate how bad any fellowship with him would be. A friend of mine noted about this that we need to acknowledge there are degrees of fellowship, and a difference between fellowship and mere association.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

The problem with Cloud's argument is not that with respect to doctrine there is no such thing as "non-essentials", on that he is right but no one is forwarding that argument. The issue is with respect to degrees of fellowship, that is not the same categorically as doctrine itself or our treatment of Scripture. He fails to make the distinction, hence he creates an argument that no one is really making.

Bob Hayton's picture

I contend he's wrong on both points actually. And in my article I do say my main focus is on the latter, but I do point out the former as an error. The original fundamentalist movement was born because of a recognition that certain doctrines are fundamental. It boggles my mind that we as fundamentalists have come so far as to question the very validity of any such "fundamentals"!

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

It all makes the head spin. The problem with being dogmatic on the issue of separation and all its synonyms is that there is just no possible way to be perfectly consistent about it. For example, on Bro. Cloud's site, there is a http://wayoflife.org/directory/oh.html church directory . I have visited and even attended several churches on that list, and can say from personal experience that some of them have serious doctrinal and methodological issues, and the leadership of those churches associate with other even more problematic churches. Am I supposed to take it on faith that all of Bro. Cloud's associations are as pure as the driven snow?

So- those churches are recommended on what basis? Not to mention that this list is as old at the T-Rex. Some of the pastors are dead, retired, and the churches have moved.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Bob Hayton wrote:
I contend he's wrong on both points actually. And in my article I do say my main focus is on the latter, but I do point out the former as an error. The original fundamentalist movement was born because of a recognition that certain doctrines are fundamental. It boggles my mind that we as fundamentalists have come so far as to question the very validity of any such "fundamentals"!
When you refer to certain doctrines being treated as "fundamental" with respect to the fundamentalist movement being formed, it was not, as you appear to be implying, one that included the view that there are non-essential portions of Scripture, in and of themselves, which is the argument against which Cloud is contending (again an argument no one is making in the first place, at least none of those he lists). Rather, it was the expression of essential doctrines with respect to essential Christian orthodoxy, not the value of all Scripture.

Again, Cloud contends rightly, there are no non-essential doctrines but he is speaking with respect to the value of Scripture, in and of itself. This argument he makes is based on either a misunderstanding of the use of "non-essentials" in the context of fellowship by others or a failure or inability to discriminate in his minds the various uses.

But, as to fundamentalism itself, when it treats what one would identify as "essentials" it does not do so with the view there is such things as portions of Scripture, in and of themselves, that are non-essential (again, what Cloud is arguing in his misunderstanding of others and their use of "non-essential) but that with respect to orthodox Christian doctrine and its expression, certain doctrines are the fundamental gatekeepers and if a man or woman fails on these they can go no further in their attempts at integration or fellowship within such.

Bob Hayton's picture

Cloud isn't alone. Others here at SI even have contended that there are no non-essential doctrines. They have further stated that we shouldn't settle for doctrinal error anywhere and thus all doctrine should be separated over. On my blog some of the articles I linked to include comments debating this very point. The very idea that some doctrines are "essential" and "fundamental" and hence worth uniting around is what is being disputed. Al Mohler's concept of theological triage with first-tier, second-tier, and third-tier doctrinal matters is vehemently argued against. In Mohler's construction, everything is still important, but some are more important than others. The hard-core fundamentalists like Cloud and others are denying this. At least that is how I'm reading it from multiple interactions with people on that very point.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Matthew J's picture

This is one of the chief problems I have experienced with WOL literature by Cloud. It is not that he always plays fast and free with facts (although that has happened at times) but that he misrepresents the context, purpose, and intention of those stating the facts. I agree with Alex that there is no "non-essential" doctrine or teaching in Scripture. Every part of Scripture is essential to growth in godliness but not every part of Scripture is essential to the system of faith. For example, if we did not have the book of Leviticus, the faith would not be destroyed. Is Leviticus essential, yes! otherwise God would not have given it to us, but is it essential to "the faith"? (to take one of the examples) I don't disagree with Cloud (and other fundamentalists) concerning the dress standard of women not wearing pants because I think it is a "non-essential" but because I believe he is wrong and his interpretation and application of the texts used to prove that "doctrine" are in error. I don't think that men with long hair is okay because it is "non-essential" but because I think that we need to have an honest interpretation of Corinthians noticing that the one verse about long hair on men is given in incidental format and the whole of the text is speaking of women in worship. Cloud himself contradicts himself and shows that he has an erroneous concept of what the vast majority of fundamentalists and evangelicals mean by "essential" when he says that "not all doctrine carries the same significance" that is what we mean by "essential" or "non-essential." ???? Sadly, I am not sure if Cloud is mistaken or simply polemically and intentionally misrepresenting these facts and terms. But I have to say, his article hardly seems essential.

Bob Hayton's picture

I used to be a member at a church that seriously demanded conformity on almost every imaginable point of doctrine possible. That much uniformity was demanded to have any kind of meaningful separation. Short of absolute uniformity, they expected at least a trajectory of getting closer to "the truth". "The truth" included courtship only, KJV only, skirts only, non-beaty music only, etc. etc. etc.

The original fundamentalists didn't teach that some doctrine is totally optional as in "who cares". They taught that some is more foundational and fundamental than others. So as a Presbyterian scholar, Machen could unite with some uneducated Baptist preachers because they shared an allegiance to fundamental doctrines. And that unity was for a mission of defending the true Gospel from unbelieving modernists of the day.

I can be in a fellowship with churches with whom I don't agree on every single point of doctrine, if that fellowship is about mission work or reaching the city or just being in a directory so other Christians can more easily find my church. But for Cloud, every point of doctrine is so essential to fellowship that he couldn't join that fellowship in any sense.

I do think Cloud is unclear and others are as well. I'm having a hard time making sense of their argument, arguing on their behalf. But I've been challenged to show that the very idea of fundamental doctrines is historical even. Here's a quote that I had received from my blog in the past:

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God’s truth sanctifies us. It separates us. It isn’t for us to choose what is important to separate over.

You are taking this essential and non-essential doctrine out of thin air. It is neither in Scripture, and it isn’t even historical doctrine. It’s an invention by modern evangelicalism to keep fake unity.

~from http://www.fundamentallyreformed.com/2008/01/30/minimizing-the-gospel-th... this post

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Mike Durning's picture

David Cloud wrote:
Some try to use Romans 14 to support this philosophy, but Romans 14 does not say that some Bible doctrine is non-essential. It says that we are to allow one another liberty in matters in which the Bible is silent! The examples that Paul gave were eating meat and keeping of holy days. Those are things that the New Testament faith is silent about. There is no doctrine of diet in the New Testament, so it is a matter of Christian liberty.

Actually, Romans 14 does support this philosophy. It is a logical outgrowth of Romans 14. Brother Cloud is mistaken in saying that "eating meat and keeping of holy days" are issues on which the New Testament was silent. It is full of instruction on both -- and yet, the instruction yields a diversity of application of the same body of truths, based on differing circumstances, intentions, background, and audiences. I would argue that this is exactly what is going on in many Separation discussions.

I would add that a careful inspection of Dr. Cloud's associations would doubtless result in someone with whom he fellowships or partners who has a different view about something. His argument cannot possibly be taken to the ultimate extent, since there are so many passages with differing interpretations within the tent of orthodoxy. Nephilim in Gen. 6? Are we really going to fight over what it means?

Alex is right in saying the crux of this is differentiating doctrine from other affirmations of Scripture. David Cloud clearly does not want us to do that. But if you can't do that, where does your separation end? You disagree with me on the doctrine of how many pin-feathers were on the wings of the covering cherubs of the ark of the covenant? You disagree with me on the number of stops in Gabriel's trumpet? I am aghast.

It is possible to construct a Scriptural case for cardinal doctrine, based upon Scriptural affirmations about such doctrines. I have put much work into this lately. But nowhere does Scripture use the term "doctrine" for what we mean by "cardinal doctrines" in this discussion.

Bob T.'s picture

From the Website of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention under history they state:

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"The D.C. Baptist Convention has always been related to the American Baptist Churches USA, and Southern Baptist Convention. The Northern Baptist Convention (precursor of the ABCUSA) was organized at the Calvary Baptist Church building in 1907. When the Southern Baptist Convention was founded in 1845 in Augusta, Georgia, representatives were present from Baptist churches in Washington. In 1998 the D.C. Convention became triply aligned by affiliating with the Progressive National Baptist Convention."

I became a Christian in the Navy in 1959. I knew nothing. I was Baptized in and joined an American Baptist Church. In 1960 I withdrew my membership. I had read and learned a few things. I discerned that some things were not right with the church and the American Baptists. I was puzzled to lear that Jusitzu Morikawa, the new President of the AB Missions believed that everyone was already saved it was our duty to try and let them know. Soon there was the shock of learning the denials of the deity of Christ, the inspiration of the Bible, etc. Berkeley Baptist Divinity school and other seminaries denied Christ and the efficacious atonement. This was classic liberalism that ruled the ABC as far back as the 1950s.

I then later learned of the Fundamentalist Battles in the old Northern Baptists (now ABC). I also learned of those who had left as far back as 1932 to form the GARBC. Those more moderate remained in but then many again left in 1947 to form the CBA. What was left were classic unregenerate liberals and some moderate, but very indifferent, Evangelicals. However, when the ABC accepted the ordination of Homosexuals a few years ago there was an exit of many more churches. The entire Pacific Southwest Regional and the churches in the regional departed. Some remained together and changed the regional name. Other churches became totally independent.

The American Baptist Churches consists of regionals today. A church is in a regional and through the regional is a member church of the American Baptist Churches. To withdraw from the ABC you would withdraw from the regional. To stay in the regional you stay in the ABC and any other groups the regional is associated with.

This regional is proud of its heritage and history of the ABC. They also are now aligned with the liberals who left the Southern Baptist Convention but also are still a regional aligned with the SBC. They evidently will accept all comers but are indifferent to those who deny Christ and the Gospel.

Here on the west coast there were a fairly large contingent of churches that were broadly Evangelical yet in the regionals of the ABC. They had Fuller graduate pastors and even a few Western CB pastors who crossed back over. However, much of that changed with the homosexual issue. Even those pastors who were not exercised to leave when liberalism ruled everything in the organizations became challenged by members over the homosexual issues. They were able hide the doctrinal issues from laymen but the laymen knew and became finally alarmed over the moral issue of homosexuality.

Th American Baptist Churches and all regionals of their organization still affiliated are blatant and clear advocates of Christ denying, Bible denying, and immorality. If an individual cannot be aware of these issues and the implication and consequences of affiliation with these groups and churches, then they are guilty of sinful ignorance or wholesale indifference to God, Christ, and the Bible. This affiliation with apostasy and apostate leaders who are the blind leading the blind into damnation. There is no issue of essential V. non essential doctrines here.

As most on SI know I am not a fan of the KJVO crowd or the Hyper fundamentalist mentality. However, i have been through, and seen first hand, the battles for truth and the consequences of unwise associations and relationships involving ministry. I am for being alert to that which may involve unforeseen consequences. All change that may involve public ministry involvement, including speaker invitations should be done with purpose and discernment.

I was alarmed that a school like Calvary would invite a hard line 5 point Reformed Baptist like Dever to speak. The first dean at and professors at Calvary Seminary were my professors at Central Baptist Seminary. I believe i knew what they represented in doctrine and separation. I would think that inviting a speaker like Dever would require good reason and good discernment. I was disappointed that Mark Dever was an invited speaker. However, I had no idea that Mark Dever was a pastor of a church with affiliation through a regional to both the American Baptist Churches and the Progressive Baptist Convention. These are church groups dominated by classic liberals. I had read that Dever was Southern Baptist. I assumed that was his, and his churches, only affiliation.

It has been my experience that churches that remained in the ABC had boards that were indifferent to doctrine and the truth of God. Many were just giving assent to truth. The Pastors who did not educate, prod , and eventually overtly seek, to lead these churches out of such blatantly God dishonoring affiliations were often those who may speak loudly, even write evangelically, but carry no stick at all. Mark Dever and Capitol Hill Baptist church appear to not be so indifferent. However, by remaining in such ministry affiliation they support heresy and Gospel indifferentism.

The reality is that if a person joined the Capitol hill Baptist Church they become affiliated through the church and regional with both the ABC and PBC. They become affiliated with the church and through the church to that which the church is affiliated with. Affiliation implies support. There are many of Fundamentalist like convictions who would never join a church so affiliated. There are many Conservative Evangelicals, and moderates, who would not join churches so affiliated.

I rarely read David Cloud. I would not have been aware of this statement of his except for the referral here on SI. I am thankful for this being pointed out. His statement regarding the affiliations of Mark Dever through the church he Pastors is not a twisting of facts. The affiliation is true and can be verified on the Regional website. The regionals affiliations are also factual. In terms of Baptist church organizations this is a direct line affiliation in ministry.

Before Mark Dever writes another book or preaches another sermon he should put any convictions into action and endeavor to lead his church out of this DC Regional. This would be honoring to Christ.

Bob Hayton's picture

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However, by remaining in such ministry affiliation they support heresy and Gospel indifferentism.

The reality is that if a person joined the Capitol hill Baptist Church they become affiliated through the church and regional with both the ABC and PBC. They become affiliated with the church and through the church to that which the church is affiliated with. Affiliation implies support. There are many of Fundamentalist like convictions who would never join a church so affiliated. There are many Conservative Evangelicals, and moderates, who would not join churches so affiliated.

I realize I am your junior. And I respect your different take on this. But that being said, this is exactly what I was alluding to in my post. People of my generation fail to see how being a non-paying member of an organization somehow makes one involved consciously in any and every affiliation of that organization. Especially when Dever lead the charge to prevent one dime from the national SBC fund making its way into the liberal DCBC coffers.

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Before Mark Dever writes another book or preaches another sermon he should put any convictions into action and endeavor to lead his church out of this DC Regional. This would be honoring to Christ.

I'm glad you're making Dever have to play by your rules in this too. Why isn't his national charge to defund the DCBC enough to show he's honoring Christ? There may be a good reason for staying in the membership listing of the DCBC since it doesn't cost them anything. I don't know, but to say he's dishonoring Christ by staying in a formal organization made up of autonomous Baptist churches which can choose to contribute to the organization or not is a bit much.

Now you also say you are unhappy about Dever's Calvinism. I suppose you wouldn't have cooperated with someone like J. Gresham Machen either or the likes of Cornelious Van Til? Many of the original fundamentalists purposely stayed in their ecclesiastical organizations to try to help influence them for good. How do we know that isn't Dever's goal?

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Bob T.'s picture

Bob Hayton said:

Quote:
I realize I am your junior. And I respect your different take on this. But that being said, this is exactly what I was alluding to in my post. People of my generation fail to see how being a non-paying member of an organization somehow makes one involved consciously in any and every affiliation of that organization. Especially when Dever lead the charge to prevent one dime from the national SBC fund making its way into the liberal DCBC coffers.

Bob, This is a statement that I hope is not true. First, I will give credit to both Conservative Evangelicals and many Fundamentalist young adults for having sufficient conviction that I believe would make them see that separation from a Pastor or church affiliated with Apostasy is not alleviated by single actions that may be meritorious. The men who formed the CBA first formed the CB Missions in 1945 to keep funds from liberals in the AB missions. However, this was insufficient and it was necessary to actually break affiliation with Apostasy in 1947.

By your standards there would have been no Fundamentalist movement. Your position and argument here is classic 1950s and 1960s New Evangelical. You mention J. Gresham Machen. He considered liberalism a new religion and not Christianity at all. Any affiliation with a regional like the DC Convention or the ABC is the same as affiliation with a Buddhist group. This is the Fundamental of Fundamentalism. No approval of Apostasy and no common ministry with those who do. That is not some sort of secondary separation but the practice of watch care demanded by Acts 20:17-35. We avoid that which may give impression that no affiliation with Apostasy is only an option.

Bob also said:

Quote:
Now you also say you are unhappy about Dever's Calvinism. I suppose you wouldn't have cooperated with someone like J. Gresham Machen either or the likes of Cornelius Van Til? Many of the original fundamentalists purposely stayed in their ecclesiastical organizations to try to help influence them for good. How do we know that isn't Dever's goal?

You allude to my age, interesting. Old men do tell old stories. I heard Van Til lecture for a week back at about 1964 or 5. He was on the Biola campus to lecture at Talbot and I was allowed to attend. Also at Northwest Baptist Seminary I took advanced Greek from Marchant A. King who graduated from Princeton in 1929. That was the year of the great split and founding of Westminster. King was taken by Machen to Westminster as an instructor in Greek and he was mentored by Machen. He told countless stories about Machen and the split and Reformed theology and Fundamentalism. Just a side bar.

Both Van Til and Machen broke all affiliation with liberalism and started a new Presbyterian denomination. They were good men. Van Til was invited to Talbot, a Dispensational Seminary that was non denominational but offered classes in different church polities. They offered Presbyterian church polity. The President of Biola at the time was Sam Sutherland who was a graduate of Princeton and was ordained a Presbyterian but had left the liberal leaning United Presbyterians. However, Baptist schools should shy away from a 5 point Reformed theology Pastor who publicly states that only 5 point Calvinists may preach at Capitol Hill Baptist Church.
That kind of hard militant Calvinism must be avoided by Dispensationalists who are often moderate Calvinists. A Reformed Baptist merely attempts to attach believers Baptism to English Puritanism as expressed in the Modified Westminster Confession called the London Baptist confession.

As I have said before, many who post on SI appear to possibly be New Evangelical by their stance but who post on SI under the camouflage of Fundamentalism as they look back and move on.

However, let us stay on subject. The issue here is not Calvinism. No Dispensationalist, Calvinist, Arminian, Wesleyan, or Charismatic should be involved with Buddhism or false Christianity called Christian liberalism.

AndrewSuttles's picture

BT -

You criticize Dever for not separating enough from a group he seems to have little contact with and yet you criticize him for keeping his pulpit pure from those that exalt the flesh. Is it not enough separation or too much?

Regarding Dispensationalism, I wondered how long it would take for that to be brought up...

Larry's picture

Moderator

Quote:
No approval of Apostasy and no common ministry with those who do
What sort of approval or common ministry does Dever have with apostates?

Bob Hayton's picture

I think you're failing to hear my point. I contend that a minor affiliation with a group that you don't respect, and don't financially support does not amount to an approval of Apostasy and common ministry with those who do approve Apostasy. This is further coroborated by Dever's actions to defund teh DCBC.

Faced with his church's membership in the liberal DCBC. Upon hearing of the liberal leanings of that group, Dever moved to work with the SBC denomination to defund the group. That was his form of cutting ties with them. Obviously you would have just left the DCBC and severed membership, that would be your decision of how to oppose the liberalism. Dever is more of a convention man, and he worked through the convention means to defund the group.

Dever's decision is different than how a typical fundamentalist would handle this. But I would contend that is all it is, just different, not wrong. In his good conscience he can keep his church a member of the DCBC and possibly work toward it's restoration. A similar tack was chosen by John Piper too with his involvement in the Baptist General Conference, but that is another can of worms to open here.

The original fundamentalists didn't all just walk up and leave. Many stayed put and tried to reform. In fact, wasn't it Dr. Clearwaters or someone else who boasted of saving the Minnesota Baptist Convention rather than having to walk away from it?

I would contend that what Dever and other conservative evangelicals are doing today is nothing compared to the blatant liberalism of Graham. I don't see their actions as "new evangelical", although I'm not entirely sure what to think of the original new evangelicals (they all weren't as blatantly bad as Graham). You can call me a young fundamentalist, or use Joel Tetrau's "Type C" for me, I don't know. I think there doesn't need to be a hard and fast line demarcating "fundamentalists" from non-fundamentalists. I think we need to stand for God's word and for the unity emphasis as much as the separation. When Paul speaks of separation, he does so with tears not glee. It seems that many fundamentalists jump at the chance to find something new to peg on someone like Mark Dever. Good, another excuse not to have any fellowship with him! Oh he must be really bad! This doesn't jive with the verses in my tagline below. That spirit is similar to what the Puritan, Thomas Manton was speaking out against. I'll share that quote again here.

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…when men give themselves up to separating and narrow principles, the power of godliness is lost, and all their zeal is laid out upon their petty and private opinions, and so religion is turned into a disputacity…. Observe it where you will, and you shall find that separation and distance from the rest of believers, doth not befriend godliness, but undermine it. A regiment fighting apart from the rest of the army of Christ, is always lost through their own peevishness; at least, they lose great advantages of promoting the kingdom of Christ.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

JobK's picture

I am a 5 point Calvinist non-dispensational myself who adheres to the London Baptist Confession until I can find a better one. It is appalling that Dever himself will speak before the very people that he himself will not allow in his own pulpit. What is that, some "one way evangelicalism" that forces others to give you acceptance that you are not willing to reciprocate? And in Dever's unwillingness to leave the DCBC, with that you are simply defending the indefensible. "In his good conscience he can keep his church a member of the DCBC and possibly work toward it's restoration." Sorry, but there is someone's "good conscience" versus what the Bible says. If there is Biblical command, warrant, precedent, or justification for what Dever is doing, state it. And the fact that "Dr. Piper, Dr. Clearwaters, and the original fundamentalists" didn't do it ... again where did the words and actions of people have the authority of scripture? (And what is the relevance of listing Dr. Piper, who is open and proud in his disavowal of the fundamentalism of his youth? This helps Dever and his defenders how?) And the fact that some bodies like the SBC and the MBC were rehabilitated doesn't mean that battling for those conventions were the right thing to do. Christianity isn't an "outcome based/results based" religion, it is a scripture-based one. As a matter of fact, a lot of those who ran the race before us bore fruit by adhering to the Bible even when it DIDN'T (initially) bear fruit, or more to the point when they were persecuted for it. Compare Dr. Clearwaters' fight to rehabilitate the MBC in an American religious landscape that offered PLENTY of other good churches as alternatives for those seeking them , to what William Carey had to endure in India (poverty/opposition/ridicule, the deaths of 2 children, 2 wives and a number of coworkers, the loss of irreplaceable manuscripts and the years of painstaking work creating them in a fire, etc.) in a ministry that for many years had only a few converts to show for it.

Ultimately David Cloud's being wrong does not mean that Dever is right.

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
http://healtheland.wordpress.com

Bob Hayton's picture

Job,

Where does Scripture directly adress this issue? The DCBC is not a group of sons of Belial. And being a non-paying member of the DCBC is not the same as full-fledged fellowship and support.

The Bible says to seek to win your brother first before rejecting him as a heretic. And particularly with Baptist associations being build so as to preserve the autonomy of the churches that are members (autonomy being Baptist after all), the matter of fighting for truth and doctrinal purity from within a fallible organization vs. leaving an organization for dead is up for debate.

Standing for truth takes many forms, and separation is the last resort. Paul wasn't gleeful when he separated, he was tearful. He didn't look for the worst in people so he can be assured of who to avoid, he wished the best and was saddened when he had to break it off.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Bob T.'s picture

Bob Hayton,

You are evidently twisting history a great deal. I also knew Doc Clearwaters (remember I'm old). He was president of Central when I was there. He criticized the "stay iners" many, many times. He left the NBC along with most churches of the MBC (Minnesota Baptist Convention). He stayed in the MBC but they all left the NBC. Any delay had to do with "keeping the furniture" such as Pillsbury. Also, by your reference you give an admission to the blatant wrongness of Dever. Doc and those churches left the then Northern Baptist Convention, now the American Baptist Churches, in 1947. Thats 63 years, and many more Apostate actions by the ABC, ago! The ABC has now formally voted to approve of homosexuality and holds many other bazaar doctrines. All this time Capitol Hill Baptist has been indifferent to such actions and remained in the DCBC and therefore the ABC. However, the DCBC is also Apostate in and of itself. In 1996 the DCBC accepted the Apostate Progressive Baptist Convention. This was formed by those Liberal (self named moderates for public relations) churches which protested the increasing Biblical stance of the SBC. The DCBC approved of a church group formed in apostasy. And still Capitol Hill Baptist church did not withdraw. In view of the facts of the long and firm apostasy by the ABC and the fact that that the PBC was formed in apostasy, one would have to be in total ignorance of scripture principle to think that they can be reformed. Also one would have to be in direct violation of scripture to stay in affiliation. It is self evident that 2Cor. 6:14 -18 applies clearly and directly here or it cannot be applied anywhere.

You're quoting the English Puritan Thomas Manton has little relevance here except to prove that you may not really be a separatist in any sense. Thomas Manton was a dissenter against the Anglican Prayer book and orders of worship for which he suffered. However, like most Puritans he was not a separatist but advocated "purifying" the Anglican church. In spite of seizing the government by revolution of force at one point, they utterly failed. Manton's statement is directly contrary to scriptural doctrine and part of the history of the failure of English Puritanism and the non separatist position. The Pilgrims were Puritan in theology but separatist and independent in church practice. They would eventually influence those Puritans that migrated to the Colonies and would form the Congregational churches. It would take the Wesley revival to rescue England from the dead spiritual churches and the blatant immorality.

If a person holds to the philosophy of Thomas Manton they are not a separatist and not a Fundamentalist in any sense. That appears to be the reason for the differences here.

An action of withholding funds, or influencing others to withhold funds, from an apostate group is a good first step but is not sufficient. 2Cor. 6 obviously demands a clean and complete separation from apostasy and false religion. However, I have never seen any statement or evidence that Mark Dever actually did that. If he did that is commendable but far short of the scriptural demands.

In reality, when one realizes the Satanic influence and false religion that Liberal Christianity is, to have your church affiliated and listed by such groups without protest is like having your Bible Church or Baptist church listed with a Buddhist or Hindu group. And then when asked about it one merely says "Oh yes, but we give them no money, were just listed by them as affiliated."

Bob T.'s picture

Bob Hayton said:

Quote:
Where does Scripture directly adress this issue? The DCBC is not a group of sons of Belial. And being a non-paying member of the DCBC is not the same as full-fledged fellowship and support.

You surely know that the principle applies to all false religion. Belial was used in apocalyptic literature of Satan. Paul is referring to Satan here. Belial is also behind liberal Christianity.

There is no such thing as church affiliation that is less than full because no money is given. There is affiliation and non affiliation. Are you just making this stuff up as you go?

Bob Hayton's picture

Quote:
There is affiliation and non affiliation.

That's your take, yes. Others view it a bit more complex than that. There are degrees of fellowship.

And just like it took some quite some time before they eventually broke away from the conventions, and we allow that was okay. Others didn't necessarily receive the bulletin that all true Bible believers are forty or more years away from the break and so should only find themselves outside those conventions.

People like Dever and others are disconnected from the legacy of Clearwaters and others like him. They are going through some of the same things in trying to rescue the SBC, which they have largely done, and other organizations. Some have broken away from conventions, I bet. And some will in the future. Can we grant them latitude to take this journey one step at a time? Or do we look at them with a smirk and say nothing they do is enough unless they come to the conclusions that many original fundamentalists felt were so sad and painful to take.

Having an attitude that upholds righteousness and fights for purity, but also that prizes unity is not the same thing as an unequal yoke and supporting of error. This militant attitude can express itself in a variety of ways, and separation is one of them but not the only one. I see Dever on a Biblical trajectory and he may well eventually cut off the DCBC. But no one on this thread has asked Dever why they are in the DCBC. Cloud and that other guy he quoted didn't either. Instead we just impugn motives and judge him from the sidelines. And this is somehow more Christian than how someone like Thomas Manton would have assessed the situation?

It's sad but the words of Manton have proved true for a good many in fundamentalism, I'm afraid. And if standing apart from people like Manton is part of what fundamentalism is all about, I'm not really all that interested, thank you.

I think I'm going to move on from this paticular back and forth, Bob. You and I have said our peace.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Jay's picture

Bob-

If you were approached by a church about becoming a pastor, and that church was in the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Baptist_Churches_USA ]ABC-USA but they wanted to leave, would you consider taking it? Or would you ask that the church pull completely out first and then take it? Or would you just go a different direction entirely?

I'm just asking, because I know of a situation like that and I'd like to get your input on the right way it should be done.

"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

Bob T.'s picture

Jay C. wrote:
Bob-

If you were approached by a church about becoming a pastor, and that church was in the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Baptist_Churches_USA ]ABC-USA but they wanted to leave, would you consider taking it? Or would you ask that the church pull completely out first and then take it? Or would you just go a different direction entirely?

I'm just asking, because I know of a situation like that and I'd like to get your input on the right way it should be done.

I would first look at the ruling church board which may be Deacons or Elders. I would kindly probe the depth of their convictions and level of theological understanding and Bible knowledge. I would then seek to determine the same of the congregation. Visit a service anonymously. Ask any staff questions, such as the church secretary. You can find out everything from a casual conversation with a church secretary. If there were a sufficient level of normal spiritual knowledge and conviction I may then consider being one who would go through candidacy. During the candidating process there should be a time of question and answer with the congregation. I would openly and dogmatically state that if called as Pastor it should involve a separation from the ABC. I would inform them if they were to vote for me to come as pastor, then they should also have a vote to withdraw from the ABC. Both results with the number of yeas and nays should be included in any letter requesting me to come as Pastor.

The problem I have seen is that churches who have stayed in the ABC all this time have become weakened in convictions and spiritual understanding. They have experienced the ministry of weak pastors with minimal convictions. There may very well be dissidents who would make an issue and split the church shortly after a new pastor comes with convictions and wanting separation.

In 1971 I helped a Presbyterian church withdraw from the United Presbyterian churches. I taught their weekly Wednesday Bible study and preached in the pulpit until they brought a regular conservative Pastor. I was not an interim pastor but took on some duties. This church had about 90% unity in withdrawal and had to take legal action to prevent seizing the property by the Presbytery. However the new pastor lasted but 5 years with constant dissension. The church had many solid folks but enough people who were unregenerate and/or immature spiritually to cause problems. This is often a problem in churches who were too long in liberal or liberal going denominations. In 1972 I left that area (Seattle) to go off to Central Baptist Seminary at the Arctic Circle. I was in the process of becoming both a Fundamentalist and more Baptist or "Plymouth Brethren Baptist."

Since then I have been involved in helping a few Pastors and churches going through problems. Some involved problems in churches that had left liberal groups but still had those who had the regrets of leaving their heritage. As they use to say in the military, there are always the 10% who don't get it. Most churches have the ten percenters. In some they have the voice of fifty percenters. In many traditional clergy calling North American Churches the Pastors need Circus wild animal training. Hold a whip in one hand and a Bible in the other and pray they don't all attack at once. :bigsmile:

Yes, I believe a man may cautiously consider the traditional Pastorate of a definite come out church.

Greg Long's picture

The whole debate as to whether all doctrines are "essential" or if some are "non-essential", as others have pointed out, is unhelpful. I think it is much more helpful to realize not every doctrine is of the same level of importance. Yes, that's what I said. And do you know where I got such an idea? Not from Hayton, or from Dever, or from Mohler, but from the apostle Paul himself.

He said the Gospel is of "first importance" (1 Cor. 15). Obviously not everything can be of first importance, so if the Gospel is of first importance, other things are not. That does NOT mean those secondary or tertiary doctrines are not useful, profitable, helpful, or even important, as everything in Scripture is (2 Tim. 3:16-17). But when every doctrine rises to the level of "first importance," there is a serious problem.

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

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Bob Hayton's picture

I couldn't agree more, Greg. Still, some will disagree. A prominent critic at my blog a few years back, said: "I’ve written a whole post on your 1 Cor. 15, first importance, interpretation. It’s a new interpretation to back up this new doctrine."

Admitting some are more important than others, let's us have meaningful fellowship with fellow humans impacted by the Fall. It doesn't have to entail the view that some doctrine is optional or up for grabs.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Bob T.'s picture

Hypothetically: You have a Pastor Friend who it turns out is listed affiliated with the "Southern Beneficent Rangers." This it turns out is a group that is affiliated with the Klu Klux Klan. You have this pointed out to you so you ask the Pastor about this. He states he does not agree with the group and has not given them any money in years.

Is it OK to overlook this affiliated listing? Or should you not advise this Pastor that for his own general reputation and for the reputation of Jesus Christ and his church he must break all necessary affiliation to get his name removed?

If after warning he still fails to act do you not think it that it would be wise and in the best interest of your church to make sure he never speaks at your church?

Is it not much more grievous to God for one to be in any way affiliated with an organization that denies the Deity, death, burial, resurrection, and efficacious atonement of Christ, than to a racist group? The racism is sin and terribly wrong. Apostasy is even more wrong and with greater consequences.

We need to recognize the gravity of what is being discussed here.

Bob T.'s picture

Regarding the essential nature of Biblical doctrines: I have always taught that all doctrines are equally essential but not to equal consequences. There are some doctrines that are essential to salvation and to not believe or to deny has the consequences of eternity in hell. There are other doctrines essential to Sanctification and if wrongly held may hinder Christian living but may not halt all progress. Then there are doctrines of many other subjects. Each may bear certain consequences in seeing them truthfully of seeing them wrongly. The consequences are not the same.

It is best to believe all doctrines truthfully and without error. Those in heaven do so.

Jay's picture

Bob - thanks for the reply; I appreciated your insight. As for post #27:

Quote:
Hypothetically: You have a Pastor Friend who it turns out is listed affiliated with the "Southern Beneficent Rangers." This it turns out is a group that is affiliated with the Klu Klux Klan. You have this pointed out to you so you ask the Pastor about this. He states he does not agree with the group and has not given them any money in years.

Is it OK to overlook this affiliated listing? Or should you not advise this Pastor that for his own general reputation and for the reputation of Jesus Christ and his church he must break all necessary affiliation to get his name removed?


The significant difference here is that the KKK has a reputation with believers and nonbelivers that would merit breaking the relationship with them entirely. I don't think being the head of a church that is affiliated in name only with a denomination that has a liberal program, especially when the Pastor is leading the charge to defund said program, is anywhere nearly close to having ties to the KKK, whether one is a Southern Ranger or a Southern Baptist.

Also, Susan brought up a good point when she said in post #5;

Quote:
For example, on Bro. Cloud's site, there is a church directory. I have visited and even attended several churches on that list, and can say from personal experience that some of them have serious doctrinal and methodological issues, and the leadership of those churches associate with other even more problematic churches. Am I supposed to take it on faith that all of Bro. Cloud's associations are as pure as the driven snow?

So shouldn't Cloud be dropping his affiliations with those churches? Seems to me that Cloud is practicing (selective separation) what he's arguing against.

"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

AndrewSuttles's picture

Bob T. wrote:
Or should you not advise this Pastor that for his own general reputation and for the reputation of Jesus Christ and his church he must break all necessary affiliation to get his name removed?

I agree 100%.

I missed the part where that happened in this case.

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