Why there was no “evangelical-modernist” controversy

Our Fundamentalist Betters

What separates evangelicals from fundamentalists is that we evangelicals don’t breathe fire, and we have fancy degrees hanging in our studies, instead of pictures of Billy Sunday. We evangelicals are they who cut this deal with the modernists, “We will call you brother, if you will call us scholar.”

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Joel Tetreau's picture

This is yet another example of a conservative evangelical admitting in public that the fundamentalist were right and the newevangelicalis were wrong. And yet.....we'll still have Type A's that will want to say something how this just isn't enough of a mia-culpa.......oh sigh!

I think RC Jr. has said this sort of thing before. Thanks my brother!

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;

Shaynus's picture

Joel,

Can you point me to a summary of these types you're talking about? I think I used to know what it meant, but now it's foggy.

Shayne

Joel Tetreau's picture

Shayne,

SI will post a new presentation of my taxonomy soon - very soon.

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;

Fred Moritz's picture

Joel:

I think it is mea culpa. Smile Maybe a Latin scholar will correct us both.

Fred

To anyone who wants to listen:

This article has been around awhile. I have a hard copy and am thrilled to be able to store it electronically.

I am one of Joel's "Type A" guys, if I understand him right. In my mind I am just an old fundamentalist who believes we should not cooperate with unbelievers (2 Jn 10), and that the believer who does make league with unbelievers becomes "partaker of their evil deeds" (2 Jn 11 KJV) or "takes part in his wicked works" (2 Jn 11, ESV).

I don't want any apology from new evangelicals, conservative evangelicals, or anyone else.

What I really want is for fundamentalists to take R. C. Sproul's words to heart and again act like consistent, loyal to the Word, biblically militant, and sweet-spirited fundamentalists.

Fred Moritz

Joel Tetreau's picture

Mea Culpa on my mea culpa - thx for the help with spelling. If I struggle with English imagine the horrific mess I make of Latin and other languages - wowzers!

Fred.......you are not old....but thx for posting. This gives me a perfect chance to teach and/or illustrate the taxonomy as I see it:

Pay attention class:

For me a type A guy quotes the passages that Fred quotes and says that only Fundamentalists believe and practice those consistently. (And of course Fred would know the verses on separation because he wrote a book on it! Which is a good thing!)

For me a type B guy quotes the passages that Fred quotes and says that many careful Fundamentalists and many militant Evangelicals both believe and practice those consistently.

For me a type C guy knows those passages that Fred quotes but is rather busy living them out and barely knows and probably doesn't care that they are being accused of not knowing or practicing those verses by the people that are accusing them of not knowing or not practicing those verses because they are busy chasing big hairy elephants out of their tent!

jt

ps - One more note - there are lots and lots of young men, middle-age men and old men who are God-loving, Scripture-Following, Hymn-Singing, Biblically Militant and Sweet-Spirited Christians that agree with both RC Jr and Fred Sr, who are found in a variety of ecclesiastical "orbs" - which, I really believe, sort of ...... makes my case. Look if RC Jr and Fred Sr can get along......why can't we all just get along.

Class dismissed! Smile

Straight Ahead!

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;

Shaynus's picture

Joel,

That summary reminds me well of what you mean. Call me a type B. It's not the only way to slice the pie of the movement, but it's a good way to figure out the "idea." I'd be interested in an effort to look at the cultural trappings of fundamentalisms as well (e.g. music, movies, dress, the doctrine of hair) and how that fits into the abc's.

Joel Tetreau's picture

Shayne,

Good job! By and large there is almost no difference between Type B and C on the cultural issues you refer to - music, entertainment, hairology, etc.....Type A's are often more strict than their B/C brethren - or - brethriem. Type B's almost always have come out of Type A or A+ (A+ = KJV onlyism; Hyles stuff) fundamentalist ranks. Type C guys have come out of the main of evangelicalism. The B and C guys are bumping into each other trying to figure this "new world" out. At first everyone is careful because the B guys remember the A guys accusing the C guys of being "compromisers." The C guys remember their non C evangelical friends warning that A or B fundamentalists are idiots because they are fundamentalists. I stand in the gap.....telling everyone to just shut up and hug each other all ready....but not in a mean sort of way. It's a hard job.....but I'm way OK with it now. Man I've enjoyed not talking about this ABC thing for several years. I'm really going to try not to comment much more on this. This topic is so 2007! Smile

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;

G. N. Barkman's picture

It became clear to me several years ago that many conservative evangelicals practice Biblical separation. I think Joel called them militant evangelicals above. We see recent examples of this in regard to T4G and The Elephant Room, but this is not new.

When those who are classified as Evangelicals practice separation, what "separates" them from Fundamentalists? What it usually boils down to is that they don't practice separation in exactly the same way in every detail that we think they should. This is a slippery slope. We can too easily lose the original premise of Fundamentalism, namely a clear stand for truth, and separation from apostasy, and degenerate into endless nit-picking and in-fighting over less consequential matters. That is why Fundamentalism, as a movement, has lost its way. Too often, it has become a defense of my circle of influence rather than a defense of the Gospel.

Statements like this one by R. C. Sproul are refreshing and enlightening. It demonstrates that conservative Evangelicals can recognize weaknesses in their "camp" and speak out against them. When Fundamentalists do the same, perhaps some measure of restoration of historic Fundamentalism will come. As it is, too many Fundamentalists are still picking the mote out of the Evangelical's eye, and failing to recognize the beam in their own.

G. N. Barkman

Shaynus's picture

Joel,

I grew up at Bob Jones all my life, then went to DC and was a member at Capitol Hill Baptist for a few years under Mark Dever. Now I'm at a church plant from a more fundamentalist church, but we look a lot like Capitol Hill meets Greenville Fundamentalism, except with more denim. I didn't see a great difference between CHBC and reasonable fundamentalists, and I'm really glad for your impulse to have everyone hug each other, as long as it's manly.

Shayne

Joel Tetreau's picture

Shayne dude,

The hug is way manly!

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;

Ron Bean's picture

Shaynus wrote:
Joel,

I grew up at Bob Jones all my life, then went to DC and was a member at Capitol Hill Baptist for a few years under Mark Dever. Now I'm at a church plant from a more fundamentalist church, but we look a lot like Capitol Hill meets Greenville Fundamentalism, except with more denim. I didn't see a great difference between CHBC and reasonable fundamentalists, and I'm really glad for your impulse to have everyone hug each other, as long as it's manly.

Shayne

There are still a few holdouts who haven't yielded to denim.

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

Shaynus's picture

Yeah, Ron. That's because they don't make skinny jeans in your size. Wink

Pastor Joe Roof's picture

Shayne,
I did not realize you were Bruce's son - love your Dad and appreciate him greatly.

I do question the future of fundamentalism if it does not include navy blue sport coats and tan pants.

Biggrin

Joel Tetreau's picture

So Shayne,

Who is your dad?

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;

Joel Tetreau's picture

Shayne,

In the words of Dr. Bob Jr. - "Oh....you're Bruce's Boy!" I'm looking forward to seeing your dad and the BJU thing we'll do here soon at the Phx Airport Hilton. Thanks for being a Type B fundamentalist. You give my taxonomy more credibility than it probably deserves. Stay around here bro.....I'll need you in a few days! Smile

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;

Shaynus's picture

Disclaimer:

Nothing I say here should be construed to mean that my dad would agree or disagree Wink

Thanks gentlemen for your kind words to my dad. He's the real deal.

Todd Wood's picture

Shayne, I appreciate your dad. Appreciate you, too.

I think every church family can have a mixture of A,'s, B's, and C's. I could say this about my own family blood-line.

et

Joel Tetreau's picture

Lord Todd of the House of Wood speaketh Truth my brethren......or brethriem!

Yeah Verily .... many conservative congregations will have a mixture of ABC in the ranks and sometimes even within the leadership of a local church. Even evangelical churches that would never claim to have any official connection to fundamentalism will have self-professing fundamentalists in their congregations that will send their kids to BJ, or will use aBeka books for home schooling and/or who will in their minds always be a fundamentalist in one way or the other. The reason many self-prof Type B or C fundamentalists go (or in some cases "settle") in/or to the evangelical church in town is that the Type A or A+ fundamentalist church is so very bad with its spirit of legalism or pastoral dictatorship/onlytatorship or because of the decisional-regeneration heresy or because of the really bad preaching, or because of what I call an "almost amish fundamentalist baptist sub-culture" that they are willing to put up with the one or two elements of the evangelical church that they might not prefer for the better theology, better preaching and all around better Christ-like atmosphere. Typically these are gentle brothers and sisters who just believe they need to find the most consistent Christ-honoring church in town and so they end up in the evangelical (often Type C) congregation. On the other hand you'll have self-tagging churches that are proud to call themselves fundamentalists and who will sing only Frank Garlock songs (plus the hymns, many written by really-not-fundamentalist-baptist-folk) who will have families within their ranks of leadership that will be at the Casting Crowns concert on Friday night at the Evangelical Free church in town or who will occasionally enjoy a beer during October Fest! Sure.....I've said, "Wow" myself lots of times! So....I understand how we're all a little confused but in asking the question, "how does that work?" I think we have in part an answer with doctrines such as "individual soul liberty" and to some degree even "priesthood of the believer." Please don't read into that my having a beer during October Fest. Far from it - however, if congregations can have unity without unanimity on all the ecclesiastical and social issues within the ABC spectrum, we ought to assume that there can be some kind of a healthy koinonia outside of the local assembly ..... despite said variety!

Well......that's at least how I see it for now.......

But I am no "writer" - so that probably didn't make sense to a few people.....I'm sorry ahead of time.

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;

Shaynus's picture

Sadly, all too often, you have kids that had every good teaching opportunity but ended up apostate. I can name a dozen kids of the top of my head who grew up with the best teaching but now are apostates, homosexuals, heretics and every shade in between. Parents: your safety and hope is not an environment of Christian teaching. It's Jesus Christ the Righteous. Those who think that spiked hair, or music with beats on the wrong syllable are the enemy, have no clue. I went recently to the 10 year reunion of my Bob Jones Academy class. It was a mix of great joy and great pain. It would have been hard to predict which students would have turned out a certain way. It comes down to commitment to Jesus Christ, not the trappings of fundamentalist culture.

Shaynus's picture

Todd Wood wrote:
Shayne, I appreciate your dad. Appreciate you, too.

I think every church family can have a mixture of A,'s, B's, and C's. I could say this about my own family blood-line.

et

Todd, my dad is at this moment two miles from the Idaho border in Thayne WY, loving the scenery and snow. If I were a betting man, he would be your neighbor in a few years. Wink

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Joel Tetreau wrote:
The reason many self-prof Type B or C fundamentalists go (or in some cases "settle") in/or to the evangelical church in town is that the Type A or A+ fundamentalist church is so very bad with its spirit of legalism or pastoral dictatorship/onlytatorship or because of the decisional-regeneration heresy or because of the really bad preaching, or because of what I call an "almost amish fundamentalist baptist sub-culture" that they are willing to put up with the one or two elements of the evangelical church that they might not prefer for the better theology, better preaching and all around better Christ-like atmosphere.

Joel, I agree with you here. Since coming to this point of view, I haven't had to "settle" as you put it, as I've been able to be a part of a fundamental church that doesn't look like the A++ churches you mention. However, as I have in the past been a part of one of those, and I can now see the damage it's done to some families I knew well (not to mention how judgmental I saw myself become), I've come to the decision that I would also rather settle for an Evangelical church with solid preaching than be a part of a church where they have the right "externals," but where the preaching is either lacking or even if expository, goes off into bad theology (like KJVO or local-church only). Those types of churches also tend to develop a "remnant" mentality that is also unhealthy. This was certainly true in the church I was in.

Dave Barnhart