Bixby's take on Northland

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TylerR's picture

Editor

Yes, from what very little I know of the SBC, the consensus is that Al Mohler has achieved a remarkable thing. 

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?

Jeff Straub's picture

TylerR wrote:

Yes, from what very little I know of the SBC, the consensus is that Al Mohler has achieved a remarkable thing. 

I know Mohler having earned my Ph.D. from Southern 2000-04. A remarkable thing happened at SBTS in the 1990s with with Mohler at the helm. But you need to remember that he did not single-handedly slay 1000 liberals with the jaw bone of an ass (KJV). He was a part of a grand readjustment within the SBC that saw the reclamation or better yet the readjustment of a major denomination. They came back from the brink of theological collapse.

His presence on campus was enough to drive out some of the worst of the progressives. His actions led to the departure of others. I am not sure how many were actually fired but I think most left of their own accord when they saw which way the wind was blowing. To be sure, he paid a heavy personal price in the earliest days as he was severely opposed and bitterly assailed by his foes, verbally at least.

I want to be fair and give Al his due. But what happened at Southern would not have happened without a major changes at the denominational level from Adrian Rogers to James Merritt and a plethora of others.

Jeff Straub

Ben Howard's picture

Tyler,

Jeff is right.  If you get some extra time (I know probably not until after seminary!), I would encourage you to read David Beale's book, "S.B.C. House on the Sand" written in the 80's, which paints a very accurate picture of our Southern Baptist Seminaries, Colleges and boards; and then in juxtaposition to that history read Paul Pressler's, "A Hill on Which to Die: One Southern Baptist's Journey."  Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson originally came up with the political grassroots strategy that came to be known as the Conservative Resurgence that eventually returned every Southern Baptist Convention Agency, Board and Seminary to theologically conservative roots.  It is the reason that I had the incredible education I had at Southeastern Seminary, which was at one point, the most liberal Seminary in the SBC!  God used these men and thousands of local Southern Baptist pastors all across the United States to fight to restore to Biblical foundations to the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.  Even if they don't consider themselves fundamentalists, they risked much more personally and professionally than any fundamentalist in the last 50 years fighting over music, and today I get to reap the benefits of their militant stand for the truth.

Blessings,

Ben

TylerR's picture

Editor

God used these men and thousands of local Southern Baptist pastors all across the United States to fight to restore to Biblical foundations to the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.

Apparently Al Mohler and his predecessors have achieved something that so many of the early fundamentalists could not. I'll pick the book up when I have a chance. I truly appreciate it!

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

Don Johnson's picture

PhilKnight wrote:

Don Johnson wrote:

Fundamentalism at its heart is a commitment to militancy for Biblical truth which sometimes results in separation. 

 

Albert Mohler's courageous purge of liberalism from Southern Baptist Theological seminary demonstrated that he has a Christian belief system that, "at its heart is a commitment to militancy for Biblical truth which sometimes results in separation."   (Calling out liberal professors and forcing them to either resign or face a heresy trial is quite militant.)  Mohler, however, would not consider himself to be a fundamentalist, and neither would the overwhelming majority of fundamentalists. 

I'm not trying to be argumentative.  Just pointing out that militancy leading to biblical separation is not exclusive to fundamentalists.  More definition is needed.  (And I've read enough of your correspondence here to know you already know that.)

first, I am thinking of Curtis Laws original statement where he coined the term in making my statement. 

Second, I agree that neither I nor Al Mohler would define Al Mohler as a fundamentalist though he is militant to a point, at least. To that extent my simple definition is too simple.

Third, my point, however, is that fundamentalism isn't simply defined by "separation". It is the militant mood as opposed to the cooperative mood. Mohler, for example, maintains the cooperative mood as evidenced by several incidents since the recovery of the seminary. Perhaps we could say he was selectively militant... But not in the way a Fundamentalist would be.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

iKuyper's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
Perhaps we could say he was selectively militant... But not in the way a Fundamentalist would be.

 

Don,

So is this an admission that Fundamentalists are "selectively militant"? This is one of the many inconsistencies that ex-fundies or historic fundies have a problem with--Fundamentalists separate from minor things and/or don't separate from error...

 

iK

Ecclesia semper reformanda est

Jay's picture

Third, my point, however, is that fundamentalism isn't simply defined by "separation". It is the militant mood as opposed to the cooperative mood. Mohler, for example, maintains the cooperative mood as evidenced by several incidents since the recovery of the seminary. Perhaps we could say he was selectively militant... But not in the way a Fundamentalist would be.

So what exactly does 'Fundamentalism as a movement' militate against currently?  The battles of the 20's and 30's are over.  What are we known as being militant against now, and how does that show up?

Please don't give me boilerplate like we're opposed to modernism, charismaticism, materialism, etc.  The reason why I ask is because it seems like Conservative Evangelicals do the same thing, yet Fundamentalism militates against them.  So there must be something different there other than were we decide to draw the lines of when to be militant. Please give me specifics, if possible, because I really don't know what Movement Fundamentalism is standing against anymore.

For the record, I do still consider myself as a Fundamentalist and not as a Conservative Evangelical.  I'm sure some would disagree and drop me into the C/E camp.

"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

Jeff Straub's picture

iKuyper wrote:

Don,

So is this an admission that Fundamentalists are "selectively militant"? This is one of the many inconsistencies that ex-fundies or historic fundies have a problem with--Fundamentalists separate from minor things and/or don't separate from error...

iK

So what else is new? But then so am I! And so is Al Mohler and Mark Dever. Now I do not wish to bash either man who I respect. They are both men of accomplishment. Despite the fact that Al is a 5 pointer, he co-chaired the BGEA meeting in Louisville, in 2002. Sounds inconsistent to me. I heard Mark's say that he likes the SBC cooperative program because it works in sending missionaries to the field. Sounded very pragmatic and utterly inconsistent with Mark commitment to a robust theology.

Who among us is consistently consistent? We are all inconsistent at many levels.

Evangelicals are consistently inconsistent. Some claim to major on the majors and not separate over minor issues, but when is the last time you saw a dispensationalist  on the Gospel Coalition page?

John Piper wanted to pastor a Baptist church that did not require immersion for membership. Sounds pretty inconsistent to me.

Bruce Ware will separate from Clark Pinnock (does this make him a militant separatist?) He even tried to rally the ETS to kick Pinnock out. But Ware disavows fundamentalist separatism. Sounds inconsistent to me.

In fact I only know of one consistent man . . . my wife's husband. He is consistently inconsistent. What a jerk!

So hammer Don again because he is inconsistent! While you are at it, hammer me too!

Before you do, though ponder the text John 8:7. Might not be in the text . . . but pretend it is.

Let's ask for someone who is consistently consistent to post the next post. On second thought . . .

Jeff Straub

Mike Harding's picture

Tyler,

 

I was in Mohler's office a few years ago.  He has a large oil painting of Spurgeon hanging on the wall and it looks exactly like Jeff Straub. In fact, it is Jeff Straub!! I commend Mohler for cleaning up Southern.  He did so at great personal sacrifice.  I also commend Mohler for retracting his signature on the Mahattan Declaration.  Mohler humbly admits that what a big mistake.  Mohler would not want to be called a fundamentalist, however.  They still have monuments on campus to folks like
Billy Graham et. al.

 

 

Pastor Mike Harding

Joel Tetreau's picture

Jeff - OK that was funny.

Before I post - please I'm not claiming the mantle of "consistency."

I remember when I was about 27 and serving as senior pastor in my first lead pastor "gig" I spoke to Dr. Singleton (my mentor) about some item. I remember complaining to him that "so-in-so" was very inconsistent with "this" or "that." Dr. Singleton - smiled, placed his hand on my shoulder and said with that grin of his, "Joel - no one is consistent!" I don't think I appreciated that at the time. I laugh out loud today when I remember that.

Fantastic reminder!

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;

Joel Tetreau's picture

And Tyler......

While some militant evangelical types have monuments to men like Graham........some fundamentalists have monuments to men like
Finney and Hyles and ....... worse.

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;

Mike Harding's picture

Phil,,

Thanks for your comment and kinds words. 

Pastor Mike Harding

iKuyper's picture

Jeff,

My point is this: When evangelicals are inconsistent, fundamentalists cry out "anathema!" But when Fundamentalists fail to apply their own principles, it's "Oh well, we can extend grace."

So then, since you're recognizing that both "sides" fail to apply separatistic principles, let's remove "separation" from the debate... Which side, then, majors on the majors, especially in light of all the music talk?

iK

Ecclesia semper reformanda est

iKuyper's picture

Joel Tetreau wrote:

And Tyler......

While some militant evangelical types have monuments to men like Graham........some fundamentalists have monuments to men like
Finney and Hyles and ....... worse.

Straight Ahead!

jt

 

who's worse than Finney and Hyles? In jest, but serious!

Ecclesia semper reformanda est

Mike Harding's picture

Joel,

 

I think you secretly have Paterno's miniature statue in your office.  It's time to let it go.  Let's not use bad behavior to justify more bad behavior.  I have to leave for New York.

 

Straight up!

Pastor Mike Harding

Joel Tetreau's picture

Mike,

The only statue I have on my desk is a small Greek statue of Achilles - it's a reminder that eventually....."everyone limps."

Fair winds my friend.......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;

Todd Bowditch's picture

KD Merrill wrote:

He's wrong about separation being the primary assertion of fundamentalism. 

As I understand it, fundamentalism's primary assertion is that man's chief end is the glory of God.  Everything else falls into line based on that premise.  

Evangelicalism's primary focus, however, is gospel-centric and missional in philosophy.  An article in the Christian Post stated, "Rather than being program-focused, the missional church prides itself on being people-focused."  In other words, evangelicalism is humanistic in its very nature, thereby contributing to its high degree of comfort with pragmatism and compromise.

Just my two cents.

Doug

 

 

Doug, your two cents wouldn't buy much in my church. We are evangelical. We are doxological (and we will explicitly say as much a dozen times in a service). But the God that I see in the Bible has given his people a mission. It is far from humanistic to minister to the needs of people. The two great commandments are Love God and Love Others. I'm just not sure how you split the two up and say that you can have one without the other.

The citation from the Christian Post doesn't really prove your point (or even have the intention of saying what you say it does). It is a good thing to focus on people rather than programs, isn't it?

May Christ Be Magnified - Philippians 1:20 Todd Bowditch

Don Sailer's picture

KD Merrill wrote:

He's wrong about separation being the primary assertion of fundamentalism. 

As I understand it, fundamentalism's primary assertion is that man's chief end is the glory of God.  Everything else falls into line based on that premise.  

Evangelicalism's primary focus, however, is gospel-centric and missional in philosophy.  An article in the Christian Post stated, "Rather than being program-focused, the missional church prides itself on being people-focused."  In other words, evangelicalism is humanistic in its very nature, thereby contributing to its high degree of comfort with pragmatism and compromise.

Just my two cents.

Doug

 

 

What could be more pragmatic than this? See below:

Kevin Bauder stated, “In view of some of the speculations about Scott Aniol's current work and theology, I have taken the liberty of getting a few clarifications from him. What follows is what Scott said to me, with his permission to share it as I saw fit” (Thu, 05/02/2013 - 5:39pm).

6. I recognize and appreciate the difficulty some fundamentalists may have with the fact that I am teaching at at Southwester Baptist Seminary. It has already hindered some fellowship with a few churches, and while I am saddened by this and disagree with their decision to break fellowship with me, I understand their reasons and appreciate their caution. I made this decision with much prayer and counsel from men like Pastor Harding, who enthusiastically encouraged me to teach at Southwestern. He told me that while it may cause some to break fellowship with me, he didn't think it would be many, and my decision to teach here would in no way hinder my relationship with him or with FBC Troy. He even consulted his deacons who shared that sentiment.

C. D. Cauthorne Jr.'s picture

Dmyers,

Just for the record, I hope you are not associating KJVO churches, Crown College, and West Coast Baptist College with the strange teaching that you mentioned in your post.  Most people who are KJVO and supporters of those two particular institutions would strongly disagree with how that pastor handled the issue of divorce and remarriage.

dgszweda's picture

Don Sailer wrote:

 

 

6. I recognize and appreciate the difficulty some fundamentalists may have with the fact that I am teaching at at Southwester Baptist Seminary. It has already hindered some fellowship with a few churches, and while I am saddened by this and disagree with their decision to break fellowship with me, I understand their reasons and appreciate their caution. I made this decision with much prayer and counsel from men like Pastor Harding, who enthusiastically encouraged me to teach at Southwestern. He told me that while it may cause some to break fellowship with me, he didn't think it would be many, and my decision to teach here would in no way hinder my relationship with him or with FBC Troy. He even consulted his deacons who shared that sentiment.

 

This to me is where Bixby's 2nd point resonates and why we see young people leaving fundamentalism.  Even Dr. Harding mentions above, and what appears to have already happened, is separation within circles of fundamentalism over Scott Aniol.  Has Aniol erred?  Is he teaching a different gospel?  I don't believe he is.  But because some people don't agree with the SBC, and because Scott is associated with the SBC they practice second degree separation.  Instead of focusing on the overwhelming teaching of the body of Christ, there is the focus that if you don't look like me, or you put your arms around someone who doesn't look like  me, we must separate.  Many in fundamentalism practice a sloppy form of discernment.  It is based on outward conditions instead of looking at the details and understanding them.  It is easier to just link Scott with the SBC and throw him out, than to focus on and truly understand the details, and what it really means to separate.  It is a shame that fundamentalists don't inject themselves more into conservative evangelicism.  I applaud Scott, and I hope he does have a positive impact.  The more moderate side of fundamentalism continues to put up walls of fellowship with conservative evangelicals, and the truth is that many young people are just tired of the wall after wall after wall and are jumping ship (maybe jumping too far), but they have no other option.  They are faced with "either look like this" or "leave".

dmyers's picture

C. D. Cauthorne Jr. wrote:

Dmyers,

Just for the record, I hope you are not associating KJVO churches, Crown College, and West Coast Baptist College with the strange teaching that you mentioned in your post.  Most people who are KJVO and supporters of those two particular institutions would strongly disagree with how that pastor handled the issue of divorce and remarriage.

C.D.:  I wish I were more confident that what you say is true, though admittedly my engagement with KJVO folks is limited.  The KJVO person with whom I've had the most contact is my former father-in-law (call him "L"), who shared the KJVO pastor's conviction that pornography = adultery = biblical grounds for divorce and remarriage.  L has been KJVO since the '60's, is divorced but never remarried, and teaches Sunday School at a different KJVO church that likewise supports Crown.  I have no way to know, but I assume his church likewise subscribes to this conviction.

C. D. Cauthorne Jr.'s picture

Dmyers,

The different positions on divorce and remarriage within the KJVO camp are just as varied as the differing positions within Evangelicalism.  They range from an absolute "No" to both divorce and remarriage to a very loose position of once the divorce goes through you can remarry -- and there are plenty of variants in between.

I had a friend who heard a Crown student sing in a local church with taped accompaniment.  He came to me and said, "I don't like Crown's music standards."  Little did he know that NO ONE at Crown College uses taped music to sing.

It bothers me when people lump all KJVO people together.  There are godly people and nuts within the KJVO camp -- just like within any other group.

Jeff Straub's picture

iKuyper wrote:

Jeff,

My point is this: When evangelicals are inconsistent, fundamentalists cry out "anathema!" But when Fundamentalists fail to apply their own principles, it's "Oh well, we can extend grace."

So then, since you're recognizing that both "sides" fail to apply separatistic principles, let's remove "separation" from the debate... Which side, then, majors on the majors, especially in light of all the music talk?

iK

iK

you seem to think music is adiaphora. Not everyone agrees.

now Tetreau is using Straight Ahead to sign off; Harding, Straight up, what should I use? Hummmm

I'll be back? Nope that one's been used. Go ahead, make my day? That too. Win one for the Gipper? Naw. Frankly, my dear, oooops, not on SI. Live long and prosper? May the force be with you? I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse? Better, but not quite. Hummmm

Goodnight, Johnboy!

Jeff Straub

G. N. Barkman's picture

So let me get this straight.  Secondary separation is correct because even conservative evangelicals do it.  But we can't fellowship with conservative evangelicals who practice secondary separation because they don't always practice it exactly the way we do.

Am I missing something here?

G. N. Barkman

Bob Hayton's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

So let me get this straight.  Secondary separation is correct because even conservative evangelicals do it.  But we can't fellowship with conservative evangelicals who practice secondary separation because they don't always practice it exactly the way we do.

Am I missing something here?

This is really the issue, I believe. It also stems from a movement mentality - they are not "us" so we can't fully join or support them. Groups like the FBFI, Ohio Bible Fellowship and American Council of Christian Churches (a fundamentalist association) have gone on record opposing the SBC and calling for separation from Together for the Gospel and other evangelicals.

Here are the statements of OBF and ACCC.

Here is the approval of FBFI, and another statement here from FBFI. I also look in vain here to find any retraction of FBFI's consistent call to separate form the SBC.

Harding is a board member in the FBFI, and his admission that he doesn't need to separate from Scott Aniol is going against the practice of fundamental groups like those listed above.

Some have said this points to music being more important than doctrine now, for fundmaentalist movement groups when it comes to drawing lines of separation. Others have highlighted that this illustrates the inconsistency because as was stated by others here on SI, Scott gets a pass but so many other young men who join the SBC or BGC or some other non-fundamentalist group, get shunned and separated from. Yes the cooperative program and the very nature of the SBC and even the BGC for that matter, is more complex than many people know (as Harding had stated). But that just proves why you can't rush to wirte off every young man who leaves fundamentalism as a traitor to the very ideal of fundamentalism. And then they still love Scott, though.

My position is that the longstanding separation from groups like the SBC is not healthy for fundamentalism. I think they could have more influence if they more consistently and readily integrated with other Type C people (as Tetreau would dub them). So ironically, I'm happy at these developments. But I'm also sad that no one in movement fundamentalism seems ready to own up to the fact that things are changing, and that this is okay - oh and that we were wrong in our former position. The only one who's done that lately is Matt Olson who was summarily shown the back door, or at least his direction had something to do with his departure as Bixby claims in this post.

I wholeheartedly agree with Bixby's assessment. But I guess since I'm outside fundamentalism in a Type C kind of church, my thoughts won't necessarily count. I think that for too long the modus operandii of fundamentalists (of a wide assortment of stripes) has been to preserve our movement and inculcate (whether intentionally or not) and "us vs. them" mentality. Fundamentalists are quick to say who's in and who's out, and a fear of Dr. so-and-so keeps many in the movement with their mouths shut and their feet in line. That aura has permeated fundamentalism from BJU to PCC to Crown to WestCoast to Hammond and everywhere in between. And yes I'm defining the movement by institutions and colleges, because that is how fundamentalism has aligned itself over the years - since they so firmly eschew denominations and are leery of too much control in any associations.

I do wish Northland the best, and am hopeful that their trajectory of change will continue. Turning some fundamentalist schools into conservative evangelical schools would have a good effect on evangelicalism as a whole. Or it could.

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.

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