The issue that divides fundamentalism is not compromised unity between denominations, but a “denominational spirit”

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DavidO's picture

Unity for the sake of the movement, because the movement is the important thing, I guess, without the unity of which God cannot send revival.

Help.

TOvermiller's picture

Part 1 here considers the encouraging example of the well-known Moravian revival with some lessons that we might learn from that event today.

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

TOvermiller's picture

David said:

Unity for the sake of the movement, because the movement is the important thing, I guess, without the unity of which God cannot send revival.

Help.

David, the purpose of these two posts is different from your evaluation. Thanks for commenting.

Rather than focusing on the Fundamentalist movement per se, we desire to point out a need for greater humility between each other, between the various "circles" and "camps" etc. that have multiplied within fundamentalism over the past decades. In light of the various differences that may exist among us (and within our local congregations), we see the need for a revived spirit of humility, fellowship, and camaraderie within and among fundamental churches.

God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (Jam. 4:6). As the example of the Moravian revival demonstrates, it is possible and desirable to cooperate with fundamental, orthodox brethren for instance in prayer, worship, and missions despite the smaller differences that may exist between each other. May the Lord deliver us from any pride that stands in the way of this type of genuine Christianity. Where such pride exists, there is a clear need for revival. May we pray to that end.

(I spoke with Jim Hollandsworth just now and, since he is unable to comment directly, I am posting this comment for him on his behalf.)

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

Kevin T. Bauder's picture

David,

I can understand your cynicism. Sometimes it seems that some leaders of "official" Fundamentalism are interested largely in preserving the bases of their power. We've all seen that sort of thing, and it's easy to permit it to color our reading of other situations.

But I honestly did not see that attitude in this article. I took it as an expression of yearning that we could somehow get beyond factionalism to some genuine expression of the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. In fact, I found it convicting in some ways.

I'm pretty sure that I have some differences with the brethren at Falls Baptist, though I've never really got to know them. Nevertheless, there ought to be some level at which our commonality in the faith becomes evident. The things that unite us are still greater than the things that divide us.

One of the glories of denominationalism is that it permits us to honor our perceived commitments to Christ and truth, but also permits us to recognize, and, to some degree, fellowship with, brothers who disagree with us. I think that these articles are arguing for something like that with reference to the divisions within Fundamentalism.

I do wish that the author had spent a bit more time discussing the parameters of this unity. But in a pair of very short, popular articles, that would be an unreasonable expectation.

 

Kevin

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Thomas,

I think it is important to assert that humility does not necessarily equate with compromise (not meant as a pejorative). Moses is described as the most humble man, but you don't see him relaxing his stance and throwing his arms around dissidents in the camp. Certainly the call to humility is well founded, but the call for extended camaraderie and fellowship is not necessarily a good thing - even within the circle of those who self-identify as fundamentalist. For instance, I do not believe that rejection and denunciation of the KJVO movement, fully identified within the parameters of the fundamentalist movement, is inately proud (i.e. lacking in humility). It is important to swing the pendulum so to say, just not to swing it too far the opposite direction.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Mike Harding's picture

One such parameter for unity has been an eschatological updated version of the New Hampshire Confession of Faith.  We have used that confession in Michigan to unite churches in the Independent Fundamental Baptist Fellowship of Michigan (formerly known as IFBAM).  Yes, I take credit for taking the BAM! out of IFBAM.  The confession is Calvinistic without being Hyper; pro-Lordship without falling into works-based justification; strong on Inspiration and Inerrancy without falling into KJVOnlyism.  I would suggest this parameter as a healthy starting point for our Fundamental Baptist movement.  It will pull the easy-believist, Keswick or Arminian of us back to a proper understanding of the Faith while it prevents the pure reformed, anti-dispensational, sometimes hyper-Calvinistic from looking down their theological noses in self-righteous disgust.

Pastor Mike Harding

DavidO's picture

Having taken head to the gentle exhortations of my betters, I have reread the second article (including, this time, the [enlightening] comments) and read part one for the first time. 

I guess I still have objections, which I will try to more appropriately articulate. 

--The Herrnhut community was essentially a local congregation.  It's been a looong time since I fought valiantly for wakefulness against the soothing tones of Dr. Oat's lectures* in Baptist Heritage, but, if memory serves, many of the residents of Herrnhut were refugees from persecution and, as the author of these articles points out, of different denominations from different locales.  I'm not convinced this should be pointed to as normal or normative for either local churches today or coalitions of them.

-- It seems to me that a strong implication of the article is that God is withholding revival today because of disunity among fundamentalists across the board.  That strikes me as weird on its face.  I'm not even convinced that God can do more with a "more united fundamentalism".  God works primarily through the local church, and, most "revivals" have, if I recall correctly, started locally.   

-- I'm fine with limited cooperation between folks of differing beliefs on various "secondary" items.  And I think we ought to be loving to those with whom we disagree (my initial post in this thread notwithstanding) on non-fundamentals, but as one who often finds himself wondering what ever happened to confessionalism in his circle, the notion of the (questionable) needs of the movement coming before vigorous doctrinal commitments gives me pause.  I don't think the author probably intends an either/or between the two, and I recognize in need not be such, but I'm wary.  

But I also have little stake in the whole movement thing anyway.  So that may play into my perspective as well.  It just seems to me that the "movement" is so doctrinally diffuse that all "unity" may get us is a bit more politeness.  Which is great, and all, I guess. 

 

*It really was the tone of his voice, his lectures were actually quite interesting.

Kevin T. Bauder's picture

Mike,

At what levels do you think it is appropriate for Calvinistic, pro-Lordship inerrantist Fundamentalists to fellowship with easy-believist, Keswick, or Arminian believers?

And, are there mediating positions with which even more fellowship might be possible?

More and, are there any hyper-calvinistic (or even just five-pointer) or KJVO people with whom you feel you could fellowship at any level?

Surely you must work with some individuals like this on the board at BJU or the FBFI?

To be clear, I'm not asking rhetorical questions here. I'm interested in listening to your answers. What principles guide you through these choices?

Kevin

Mike Harding's picture

Kevin,

 

In the FBFI and IFBAM board members have to be willing to sign the statement of faith every year.  This allows for fellowship on a board level.  If on an individual level I suspect that an individual is deviating from those positions to a significant degree, then I would not invite that person to speak for me.  That is how I have maintained my relationships through the years.  In both organizations I have had considerable input into the written doctrinal statements.  If the deviation is egregious I have moved to remove the individual from the board.

Pastor Mike Harding

Steve Davis's picture

Mike Harding wrote:

In the FBFI and IFBAM board members have to be willing to sign the statement of faith every year.  This allows for fellowship on a board level.  If on an individual level I suspect that an individual is deviating from those positions to a significant degree, then I would not invite that person to speak for me.  That is how I have maintained my relationships through the years.  In both organizations I have had considerable input into the written doctrinal statements.  If the deviation is egregious I have moved to remove the individual from the board.

Mike:

Question: Do you fellowship outside FBFI and IFBAM? I understand the parameters for those organizations since they are IBF. But since, for example, dispensationalism/pre-trib rapture is part of the statement, it seems that with your considerable input there is little room for fellowship with non-IFBers. Are there any conservative, inerrantist, non-fundamentalist, non-dispensational, non-Baptist, non-separatists with whom you can fellowship and if so at what level if any besides personal fellowship? Or you do consider these egregious deviations? No, I'm not looking for an invitation in January Smile

Steve

 

Kevin T. Bauder's picture

Steve,

I don't mean to answer for Mike, but...

...Doesn't he still fellowship with you?

Kevin

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[Meant as a friendly jab, not a hostile swipe]

Steve Davis's picture

Kevin T. Bauder wrote:

Steve,

I don't mean to answer for Mike, but...

...Doesn't he still fellowship with you?

Kevin

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[Meant as a friendly jab, not a hostile swipe]

Kevin:

That's what I'm trying to find out Smile Not sure he is that open YET! But he's still my friend.

 

Steve

 

 

 

Joel Tetreau's picture

I would fellowship with both Steve and Mike in a Michigan second - especially now that Big Boy in Troy will no longer be Union! Smile Kevin.....you could come too!

Straight Ahead!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Kevin T. Bauder's picture

Joel,

I'm not sure that I would feel comfortable at Big Boy with Steve, Mike, and You. I don't know where each of you stands on the problem of Tabasco. It's a hot issue, a burning question. I wouldn't want to be peppered with objections by a non-Tabasconator.

Kevin

Joel Tetreau's picture

Let's see it's been what.....1300 years sense the last major Church council - wasn't that Chalcedon or Constantinople or something? This could be like the ecumenical council of Troy! We could all sign it together and then be burned at the stake by ...... nope not going to name names - we could be burned at the stake by someone living in the Chicago area!

That's a great idea!

Straight Ahead!

jt

 

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;