Minnick Reviews 2009 FBFI Fellowship

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HT: MH

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Jay's picture

http://www.mountcalvarybaptist.org/pages/audio/062109p.mp3?download=true

The above link allows you to download the message rather than having to listen to it at your PC [it's in the original blog post ]. I'm unsure if they are giving it away for free; If you follow the link in the OP you need to buy the message for $1.00 from the MCBC store.

"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

BryanBice's picture

Apparently the only way to get the full message is to pay the buck. Makes me appreciate the ministry mentality of DesiringGod and TruthforLife where you can download messages for free :). I guess I'm just a cheapskate. You are able to get enough of the opening to hear about Bethel's "impressive" new 8-10 million dollar gymnasium complex complete with cafeteria, cafe, weight rooms, 3 gym floors, 1/4 mile indoor track....

Matthew Olmstead's picture

BryanBice wrote:
Apparently the only way to get the full message is to pay the buck. Makes me appreciate the ministry mentality of DesiringGod and TruthforLife where you can download messages for free :). I guess I'm just a cheapskate. You are able to get enough of the opening to hear about Bethel's "impressive" new 8-10 million dollar gymnasium complex complete with cafeteria, cafe, weight rooms, 3 gym floors, 1/4 mile indoor track....

No charge on this one. Just follow the link that Jay provided.

Father of three, husband of one, servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. I blog at mattolmstead.com.

BryanBice's picture

OK, thanks...but wonder how he got the workaround.

Matthew Olmstead's picture

BryanBice wrote:
OK, thanks...but wonder how he got the workaround.

It's not underhanded. Following the blog entry (the HT), I clicked the word "available," which took me to a page of recent sermons where I can listen or download for free. Or (back in the original blog entry) click the word "sermon," which will automatically download it for free.

I've notified Greg that maybe he should change the original link on this post.

Father of three, husband of one, servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. I blog at mattolmstead.com.

BryanBice's picture

Matthew Olmstead wrote:
BryanBice wrote:
OK, thanks...but wonder how he got the workaround.

It's not underhanded. Following the blog entry (the HT), I clicked the word "available," which takes you to a page of recent sermons where you can listen or download for free. I've notified Greg that maybe he should change the original link on this post.

Sorry if I implied an underhanded workaround. I wasn't assuming that. I simply assumed there was another way to get the message known to an "insider."

Jay's picture

I've flagged my earlier post [for review by admin/mods ] and also asked the SI mods [in their forum ] to look into whether or not we have to pay the buck for the message.

"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

wdlowry's picture

Last night I talked to Pastor Vincent who oversees the sermon distribution ministry and he said that it would be offered for free. If you download the .m3u file from the front page, this is the file it links to:

http://www.mountcalvarybaptist.org/audio/062109p.mp3

Todd Wood's picture

Thanks for notifying me of this link on SI, Greg!

I payed the $1. I think the sermon will be mailed to me in Idaho.

And then I listened to the whole sermon from the link on MCBC's front page.

It's another thoughtful message from Minnick on this Monday afternoon. Some good things to chew on and think over.

It has been a good past month of iron sharpening iron.

But after listening this afternoon, I do come away with a needful prayer for my heart:

Lord, help me to be careful not to turn into a Christian cannibal through the venue of my public blogging, especially toward fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals in the household of faith.

thinking of heart issues,
et

BryanBice's picture

Overall, I appreciate Dr. Minnick's analysis. Some may take his simplification to task, but he does help bring basic principles to the fore.

Near the end of the message, he discreetly addresses the Sweatt message and its fallout (without naming any names). He suggests that the proper way to have handled the offending preacher would be to deal with him privately, and I would concur with his hypothetical scenario; that is, if I were in the room when the offending message was preached, it would be appropriate for me to confront the preacher privately. Furthermore, he rightly condemns the use of disrespectful, malicious speech on the part of those who were offended by the message as they reacted toward Pastor Sweatt. Apparently, many of us in the blogosphere demonstrated hostile, uncharitable behavior in our communication, and, indeed, that's not right.

What he didn't really deal with, though, is how to handle biblically this whole situation as it actually played out. In other words, Pastor Sweatt took the audio recording of that message & posted it on both his website and SermonAudio account, in effect broadcasting the message for all the world to hear. Insodoing, he opened himself up to having his sermon publically critiqued. In fact, the SermonAudio site itself provides opportunity for feedback--any preacher who posts a sermon on that site must be willing to accept public response. Then, as the message was disseminated, the errors--"sins"-- therein were noted repeatedly by scores of witnesses who heard with their own ears what Pastor Sweatt actually said. At this point, wouldn't 1 Timothy 5:19-20 come into play? I can't speak for Kevin Bauder and the thought processes that went into what he wrote and when, but it seems that his response fit into the category of "them that sin rebuke before all that others may fear."

Again, I want to reaffirm my overall appreciation for Dr. Minnick's appraisal of the current situation in fundamentalism, especially regarding conservative evangelicalism. He seems to have a sane, balanced, biblical approach to the issues.

Jay's picture

wdlowry wrote:
Last night I talked to Pastor Vincent who oversees the sermon distribution ministry and he said that it would be offered for free. If you download the .m3u file from the front page, this is the file it links to:

http://www.mountcalvarybaptist.org/audio/062109p.mp3[/quote]
Thank you for clearing that up!

"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

Dennis Clemons's picture

Dr. Minnick is in good company when he encourages Calvinists and Arminians to remain together in one fundamentalism. On the other hand, I've been wrestling with this issue for several years and I'm convinced that it is just not possible if we intend to maintain biblical integrity because the disagreement is over such foundational (what should be considered fundamental) doctrines of the faith. This is not over the comparatively trite extra-biblical matter of music. These things go to the heart of Christianity: sovereignty, original sin, redemption, soteriology, anthropology, the meaning of grace.

So for that reason, whether we like it or not, we really have 2 fundamentalisms. It would be funny if it weren't so sad that fundamentalists are willing to separate over music, movies and modern translations but the heart of what God did? Eh, that's no big deal. We can tolerate each others' differences over that. Maybe it is time to admit that these doctrines are too important to compromise over and that we are too different to dwell in unity.

When this controversy first began, the Church leadership dealt with it head on and declared one view, on biblical authority, to be heresy. What changed? If it was heresy then, it is still heresy today. Comparatively speaking, the type of music one listens to is of no consequence over against what doctrine one holds. As separatists, we should do what separatists do and separate over doctrinal error. Maybe that is what the young fundamentalists are really doing.

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Bob T.'s picture

If you read the FBFI doctrinal statement, only 4 point Calvinists can join and be in agreement. Both calling and regeneration precede union with Christ whereby one is Justified. Also, only the elect of God are kept by God. Those who are Arminian cannot join. So there really should not be a problem with unity if those not in agreement with the doctrinal statement will drop their membership. It reads in part:

"Salvation: We believe in the salvation of sinners through Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, Who is the only Savior of men by virtue of His shed blood, i.e., His substitutionary death for sinners. We believe that salvation is completely dependent on the grace of God, is a free gift of God that man cannot earn or merit in any way, and is appropriated by repentance and faith in the person and cross work of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We hold that in salvation the believer is called, regenerated, Spirit baptized into union with Christ, justified, (including the forgiveness of sin and restoration to favor with God through the merit or righteousness of Christ), adopted, sanctified, and glorified. We believe that God secures and guarantees the final salvation of every true believer, and that the genuine believer will continue in his faith and show evidence of his faith in Christ until he meets the Lord. We believe all the elect of God, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are secure in Christ forever (Jn. 14:6; Rom. 3:25; Is. 53:4-6; Eph. 2:9; Jn. 16:8-11; Acts 20:21; Eph. 2:8-10; Jn. 1:13; Rom. 6:3-5; Rom. 5:1; Rom. 8:15; Heb. 10:10, 14; Rom. 8:30; Jn. 6:39; 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Jn. 2:19; 1 Cor. 15:2; Rom. 8:37-37)."

Greg Linscott's picture

A Parochial Perspective

Though I have not had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Minnick, I respect his ministry and reputation, and know a great many young men who love him dearly as a personal mentor figure. Dr. Minnick has shown himself to be wise and a gifted teacher of the Word, and for that we should honor him.

That being said, I believe his institutional and provincial bias shows through here. It is most vividly illustrated when he talks about judging a church not by the pulpit alone, but where they send their young people to school (and what mission boards they support). Now, granted, I think those things may still be a factor- but I don’t think they are as useful a criteria as they might have been 15-20 years ago, even. For one, the children of many mature (and separated) believers are more often choosing to attend local colleges and maintain commitments in faithful local churches. I have seen this be quite common here in Minnesota, even among the families of pastors and professors. In Iowa, many young people attended local schools for career training (though many attended Faith for their one-year Bible program first). In the BJU-influenced world, this option is often unthinkable, especially amongst its alumni I have interacted with (though I realize this is not universally true). It is interesting to me that given the institutional setting there in Greenville, the choice of an actual local church/ pastor at this stage of life is at best secondary and at worst disregarded. I’m not saying that this makes Greenville people “less fundamental,” only that differing priorities in this area don’t necessarily make people “less than fundamental,” either.

Another thing that gets overlooked here in the context of the “Conservative Evangelical” conversation is how the FBF relates or compares to other Fundamentalist organizations. Mission boards were raised. I have seen some in BJU circles recoil at a mission agency like Baptist Mid-Missions or Bibles International (at least before Hantz Bernard, a BJU grad, became more prominent). Minnick speaks of the FBF and Fundamentalism almost as if they are one and the same (though he does stop short of that). Still, I do think it is interesting that he seems to equate “leaving” the FBF with deserting Fundamentalism. I’m definite not convinced that is true- or for that matter, that you necessarily need an over-encompassing entity (be it FBF, GARBC, MBA, or AEIOU…) to make “it” cohesive. When you embrace the “idea,” and you find someone else who does, too, you can’t help but share some degree of affinity. The opposite is true, too- even if your institutions line up.

Now, his instruction makes sense if he is speaking to his church alone, I suppose. However, the rest of the world he is targeting over the internet (as he himself acknowledges) does not operate like Greenville. Furthermore, there are a great many true Fundamentalists who (whether they should or not) have a degree of suspicion, distaste, or discomfort for the way BJU handles these matters (beginning the gauging one’s “Fundamentalness” by institutional loyalties), especially when BJU has in its past deemed some in the Fundamentalist orbit as less than Fundamental for what appear to be institutional differences than those of orthodoxy.

Personal Touch

Dr. Minnick, in his ambiguous (hmmm…?) referral to blogosphere banter, also calls for the personal approach when one is wronged. I would be curious to know whether or not he applied that principle when he mentioned WORLD magazine earlier in the message. Did Marvin Olasky and Joel Belz receive phone calls or a personal visit before he expresses criticism for their music and movie reviews? I doubt it- nor do I expect that Minnick should make those efforts. WORLD is publicly-distributed media, and Minnick is wise to warn his people (and other who listen) in a public fashion.

Dr. Dan Sweatt also made a concerted effort to publicly disseminate his ideas when he made his sermon available on the internet. This was further solidified when he distributed materials on his church’s website refuting Calvinism to accompany the sermon. While I can understand the kind of compassion Minnick is endorsing, I am also left wondering if any of the FBFI men (including Minnick himself) made efforts to contact the “young men” who blog personally if they were grieved or offended (which it seems quite apparent that they are). I can say with transparency that as of this moment, no one on the FBFI board has made public contact with me on these issues if they were concerned at what I have said or posted (though I do know that some have subscribed to my sifilings Twitter feed… Smile ). BTW, if anyone does want to contact me, I am open to discussion and correction, and I mean that sincerely. See http://firstbaptistmarshall.com/contact-us/ if you want to get hold of me.

In The End…

After all was said and done, Dr. Minnick observed that there were still men (perhaps even in the FBFI, though perhaps I was reading into that) whom he would not enjoy close fellowship with, though he would enjoy FBFI membership with them. And that, to me, is what remains confusing. Dr. Minnick did an adequate job of describing what the FBFI is. However, he did not do a particularly convincing job of telling people why they should join or what they will get out of it. If what he says about the diversity of positions in the fellowship (and his evident discomfort with some in the membership), what value does being listed in their directory have? It’s still hit or miss, with no guarantees that a good match will be found.

In the end, I see much that is to be admired about Dr. Minnick, even in this address. He is committed to his ideals, committed to his church, committed to his institution(s). That’s something I can respect and admire. However, he did not do a particularly convincing job in helping me see why I (or others outside of the Greenville orbit) should emulate those commitments. If Fundamentalism (and the FBFI) wants to make a case- and I say this as humbly as I can- it will need to be done better than this.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Julie Herbster's picture

Greg Linscott wrote:
A Parochial Perspective
That being said, I believe his institutional and provincial bias shows through here. It is most vividly illustrated when he talks about judging a church not by the pulpit alone, but where they send their young people to school (and what mission boards they support). Now, granted, I think those things may still be a factor- but I don’t think they are as useful a criteria as they might have been 15-20 years ago, even. For one, the children of many mature (and separated) believers are more often choosing to attend local colleges and maintain commitments in faithful local churches. I have seen this be quite common here in Minnesota, even among the families of pastors and professors. In Iowa, many young people attended local schools for career training (though many attended Faith for their one-year Bible program first). In the BJU-influenced world, this option is often unthinkable, especially amongst its alumni I have interacted with (though I realize this is not universally true). It is interesting to me that given the institutional setting there in Greenville, the choice of an actual local church/ pastor at this stage of life is at best secondary and at worst disregarded. I’m not saying that this makes Greenville people “less fundamental,” only that differing priorities in this area don’t necessarily make people “less than fundamental,” either.

Greg, I could be wrong, but I think you might have been reading into what Dr. Minnick was saying here. I don't think Dr. Minnick was talking about community colleges/local churches, but state schools and more liberal Christian universities. (And I admit that I could be reading my own experiences as a "conservative evangelical" into his sermon as well, in accordance with that background. The conservative evangelical churches I attended sent their students to public high school and then to either state schools or MidAmerica Nazarene College.) Dr. Minnick didn't specify exactly what he meant, but left it open-ended. I believe he was talking about "conservative evangelicals" at that point in his message, not fundamentalists. Again, I could be wrong.

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Another thing that gets overlooked here in the context of the “Conservative Evangelical” conversation is how the FBF relates or compares to other Fundamentalist organizations. Mission boards were raised. I have seen some in BJU circles recoil at a mission agency like Baptist Mid-Missions or Bibles International (at least before Hantz Bernard, a BJU grad, became more prominent). Minnick speaks of the FBF and Fundamentalism almost as if they are one and the same (though he does stop short of that). Still, I do think it is interesting that he seems to equate “leaving” the FBF with deserting Fundamentalism.

I must have missed that equation. I think it was clear that Dr. Minnick does not believe that the FBF and fundamentalism are one and the same. He did state the fact that the FBF is the largest association of fundamentalists, made up of clergy as well as laypersons. (I have no reason to disbelieve that statement.)

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I’m definite not convinced that is true- or for that matter, that you necessarily need an over-encompassing entity (be it FBF, GARBC, MBA, or AEIOU…) to make “it” cohesive. When you embrace the “idea,” and you find someone else who does, too, you can’t help but share some degree of affinity. The opposite is true, too- even if your institutions line up.

Right...I'm pretty sure Dr. Minnick would agree with these statements of yours. In fact, I believe he said as much (or at least implied as much) in a couple of his illustrations.

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Now, his instruction makes sense if he is speaking to his church alone, I suppose. However, the rest of the world he is targeting over the internet (as he himself acknowledges) does not operate like Greenville. Furthermore, there are a great many true Fundamentalists who (whether they should or not) have a degree of suspicion, distaste, or discomfort for the way BJU handles these matters (beginning the gauging one’s “Fundamentalness” by institutional loyalties), especially when BJU has in its past deemed some in the Fundamentalist orbit as less than Fundamental for what appear to be institutional differences than those of orthodoxy.

Did I listen to the same sermon as you did, Greg? I didn't get the idea that the issues centered around BJU or Greenville at all. I believe I can say that Dr. Minnick is not blindly loyal to any institution, although as a BJ alum and faculty member, he is definitely respectful of BJU and other likeminded institutions. Again, maybe each of us interpreted his remarks according to our own preconceptions and experiences. Maybe I live too close to Greenville to understand your perspective...

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Dr. Dan Sweatt also made a concerted effort to publicly disseminate his ideas when he made his sermon available on the internet. This was further solidified when he distributed materials on his church’s website refuting Calvinism to accompany the sermon. While I can understand the kind of compassion Minnick is endorsing, I am also left wondering if any of the FBFI men (including Minnick himself) made efforts to contact the “young men” who blog personally if they were grieved or offended (which it seems quite apparent that they are). I can say with transparency that as of this moment, no one on the FBFI board has made public contact with me on these issues if they were concerned at what I have said or posted (though I do know that some have subscribed to my sifilings Twitter feed… Smile ). BTW, if anyone does want to contact me, I am open to discussion and correction, and I mean that sincerely. See http://firstbaptistmarshall.com/contact-us/ if you want to get hold of me.

Did Dr. Minnick call the name of any one blogger out personally in his message (even though all bloggers' remarks were made publicly)? No. This is the difference, IMO, between the recent feeding frenzy and what Pastor Minnick had to say. I agree 100% with his assessment of the blogosphere's reaction to Pastor Sweatt's message. (And, yes, I have communicated personally and privately with specific people whose responses I felt were uncharitable, whom I will not name publicly.) Look, I know I'm nobody; I'm in waaaay over my head in any discussion about Calvinism and Arminianism, or about the FBF (don't have a dog in that fight), or about fundamentalism. But I will say that, as a former evangelical who has had continual exposure to fundamentalism throughout the years (and who has grown to embrace it), I see just as much (and the same kind of) infighting going on with the "young fundamentalists" as with the "old fundamentalists" they try so hard to distance themselves from. Nothing has changed in fundamentalism in that respect, as far as I can see. Dr. Minnick's call for ethical behavior, charity, and unity were right on target, and were correctly--and charitably--applied to the situation at hand.

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After all was said and done, Dr. Minnick observed that there were still men (perhaps even in the FBFI, though perhaps I was reading into that) whom he would not enjoy close fellowship with, though he would enjoy FBFI membership with them. And that, to me, is what remains confusing. Dr. Minnick did an adequate job of describing what the FBFI is. However, he did not do a particularly convincing job of telling people why they should join or what they will get out of it. If what he says about the diversity of positions in the fellowship (and his evident discomfort with some in the membership), what value does being listed in their directory have? It’s still hit or miss, with no guarantees that a good match will be found.

I don't think that recruiting for the FBF was the purpose of his message at all. His purpose was simply to clarify some issues, including the recent concerns surrounding Pastor Sweatt's message and the reaction to it. I've noticed a few people making this sort of comment recently (like, what's in it for me if I join the FBF?). I'm not sure the purpose of any discussion (that I've read this comment in) has been to convince people to join the FBF. I've been puzzled by this comment every time I've seen it, because it seems out of place.

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In the end, I see much that is to be admired about Dr. Minnick, even in this address.

I agree...except I would substitute the word "especially" for "even." Smile

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He is committed to his ideals, committed to his church, committed to his institution(s). That’s something I can respect and admire. However, he did not do a particularly convincing job in helping me see why I (or others outside of the Greenville orbit) should emulate those commitments. If Fundamentalism (and the FBFI) wants to make a case- and I say this as humbly as I can- it will need to be done better than this.

Again, I don't think his message was about commitment to anything but the truth of God's Word and the practice of the same.

Greg Linscott's picture

Quote:
Greg, I could be wrong, but I think you might have been reading into what Dr. Minnick was saying here. I don't think Dr. Minnick was talking about community colleges/local churches, but state schools and more liberal Christian universities.
There are those who send their children to those, even. I have the son of a seminary professor who attends my church while residing at Southwest Minnesota State University. Another young lady whose parents are members of an MBA church attended our church while attending SMSU (and brought her roommates). Though our church doesn't have many HS and college age (who have grown up here) at the moment, very few of the one who did whose parents are still here in the church had kids who ended up in traditionally Fundamentalist schools. Some went to state universities, some went to Bethel in the Twin Cities (Baptist General Conference school). Does that make my church less than Fundamental? I'm sure I'm not alone in seeing these experiences.

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I must have missed that equation. I think it was clear that Dr. Minnick does not believe that the FBF and fundamentalism are one and the same.
He speaks often of how the two are interconnected, right from the beginning. He speaks of the fact that people are considering leaving the FBF, and then immediately after that says leaving Fundamentalism. If he doesn't make the connection tightly, he leaves it open for one to be left with that impression.

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I didn't get the idea that the issues centered around BJU or Greenville at all.
When you lead with gauging by "institutions" rather than churches, that is the impression I get.
Quote:
Did Dr. Minnick call the name of any one blogger out personally in his message (even though all bloggers' remarks were made publicly)? No. This is the difference, IMO, between the recent feeding frenzy and what Pastor Minnick had to say. I agree 100% with his assessment of the blogosphere's reaction to Pastor Sweatt's message. (And, yes, I have communicated personally and privately with specific people whose responses I felt were uncharitable, whom I will not name publicly.)
That's wonderful for you and Minnick and the bloggers in question, if that is the case. But in my assessment, that lack of public response coupled with the general leveling of charges against the "blogosphere" does a real disservice with its ambiguity. For all the talk of the kerfuffle in blogs and all, I think I can count on two hands the number of bloggers who actually posted on the FBFI issues. So, who is included in the "feeding frenzy" assessment (or similar terminology) and who is not? If you don't specify (or more on target, if Minnick levels broad charges against "young men who blog"), then you lump us all together- me, Andy Naselli, Ben Wright, Bob Bixby, Phil Johnson, Chris Anderson, Lou Martuneac... It's ridiculous to do that. Either get specific in your own communications, or take the time to respond to someone you think might be problematic publicly on there blog- not just for his benefit, but that so others can know who you're talking about and learn, too.

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I don't think that recruiting for the FBF was the purpose of his message at all.
Recruiting- Maybe not overtly. But he certainly was justifying why he and others belong to the FBF. I'm just saying that his justification remains unconvincing.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Julie Herbster's picture

Greg Linscott wrote:
There are those who send their children to those, even. I have the son of a seminary professor who attends my church while residing at Southwest Minnesota State University. Another young lady whose parents are members of an MBA church attended our church while attending SMSU (and brought her roommates). Though our church doesn't have many HS and college age (who have grown up here) at the moment, very few of the one who did whose parents are still here in the church had kids who ended up in traditionally Fundamentalist schools. Some went to state universities, some went to Bethel in the Twin Cities (Baptist General Conference school). Does that make my church less than Fundamental? I'm sure I'm not alone in seeing these experiences.

No, you're not alone. Surely there are kids from fundamental churches who attend state schools. But EVERYONE from my CE churches attended state schools, or more liberal Christian colleges. It was the default position; attending a conservative Christian college wasn't even considered at all. Sermons never addressed these issues, and no one agonized over these decisions for their kids. The atmosphere in the CE churches regarding higher education was totally different than it has been in every fundamentalist church I've been a member of since then. So, again, its our experiences that we're using to interpret Dr. Minnick's comments. (I admit its my experience, anyway.)

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He speaks often of how the two are interconnected, right from the beginning. He speaks of the fact that people are considering leaving the FBF, and then immediately after that says leaving Fundamentalism. If he doesn't make the connection tightly, he leaves it open for one to be left with that impression.

Maybe so...I thought the "history lesson" about how the FBF has been connected with fundamentalism from the beginning was interesting. I have no reason to disbelieve that history. And I know for a fact that Dr. Minnick includes non-FBF members in "fundamentalism." But maybe that's because I'm more familiar with Dr. Minnick and his personal associations than you are. If one were to judge just by this message, maybe they would come away with the same impressions you did.

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When you lead with gauging by "institutions" rather than churches, that is the impression I get.

Churches are institutions as well, no? I would have to listen to the message again (which I don't have time to do) to understand what you're saying here.

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That's wonderful for you and Minnick and the bloggers in question, if that is the case. But in my assessment, that lack of public response coupled with the general leveling of charges against the "blogosphere" does a real disservice with its ambiguity.

Or maybe its a "surgical strike" delivered by a man of God and ministered by the Holy Spirit directly to those who need to hear it. It's like any sermon. Does the preacher need to call specific people out in order for them to be convicted of sin? Or can he speak generally and let God work in the hearts of those who need it? Where is the willingness to self-evaluate? Why must a blogger or forum commenter be "confronted" or challenged publicly before he is willing to go back over what he has written and honestly and prayerfully evaluate whether it is charitable or not? I honestly do not have anyone in mind as I say this; to be honest, after the first couple of days of the Sweatt frenzy, I tuned out. It could be that the bloggers you speak of (that can be counted on two hands) have already done this kind of prayerful evaluation.

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For all the talk of the kerfuffle in blogs and all, I think I can count on two hands the number of bloggers who actually posted on the FBFI issues. So, who is included in the "feeding frenzy" assessment (or similar terminology) and who is not? If you don't specify (or more on target, if Minnick levels broad charges against "young men who blog"), then you lump us all together- me, Andy Naselli, Ben Wright, Bob Bixby, Phil Johnson, Chris Anderson, Lou Martuneac... It's ridiculous to do that. Either get specific in your own communications, or take the time to respond to someone you think might be problematic publicly on there blog- not just for his benefit, but that so others can know who you're talking about and learn, too.

Greg, when someone talks about a "feeding frenzy," they're not just talking about a few blog posts. ("Feeding frenzy" is my terminology, not Pastor Minnick's.) By "feeding frenzy," I'm talking about the cyberactivity that would provoke the title "Blogosphere Breaks a Sweatt" (can't remember where I saw that one, but I did). It's not just the bloggers, but the numerous commenters piling on, the non-commenting readers who are affected, etc. Obviously, Pastor Minnick wasn't referring to just anyone who commented, but those who commented negatively without first contacting Pastor Sweatt personally. Again, I don't see the need for Pastor Minnick to get any more specific than he did. The Holy Spirit can do that.

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I don't think that recruiting for the FBF was the purpose of his message at all.
Recruiting- Maybe not overtly. But he certainly was justifying why he and others belong to the FBF. I'm just saying that his justification remains unconvincing.[/quote]
Fine...I don't think he was trying to convince anyone why they should join the FBF. Justifying one's own actions is not the same as convincing others to act in the same way. That's why my puzzlement remains as to why these kinds of comments pop up.

Jay's picture

As someone who also lives outside of the BJU-Greenville orbit [although I did graduate from there with my MA in 2004 ], I will also say that Greg picked up on a lot of what I did.

I am continually troubled by the position that the response to Pastor Sweatt is "overhyped" or "a feeding frenzy". While I do know that some [a couple ] who went too far, I am most disturbed at the tendency to write it off as a 'misjudgment' or 'misspeaking'. I listened to the entire Sweatt message, and took very careful notes w/ timestamps for the more notable sayings, so I find it impossibly hard to write off his message as a lapse in judgement. My perception of the issue was reinforced when he was asked to take the message off of his website and he 'doubled down' by adding a PDF reinforcing his point to the front page alongside the sermon itself. Sweatt was contacted by the SI leadership [I believe on more than one occasion, but I'm not positive on that. ] about having the opportunity to clarify or restate his thesis but refused. The offer, as a matter of fact, still stands.

Furthermore, I am disappointed in what I see as a massive inconsistency in IFB practice here. I wrote on SI 2 that if John MacArthur got up and gave the exact same message, the IFB community would be burning him in effigy. As a case in point, when BJU attacked MacArthur on the 'blood issue', no one communicated with him that there would be a publication by the University that would, in essence, say that MacArthur denied the efficacy of the blood of Christ prior to its publication. It took MacArthur several years - possibly decades - before one of the Jones [don't recall who ] finally called him and admitted that they were wrong. Even then, there has been no retraction or public apology, and it's a chain that STILL hangs around his neck and ministry - so much so that Phil Johnson had to write a good sized article saying that the whole thing is bogus about three years ago. The thing that is especially troubling to me about it is that while BJU was the source of the rumor [via its publication ], it continued to use some of his materials in their various classes. It would be much, much easier for me to sign on to second or third degree separation that is taught when it's consistently practiced by the people who teach it. You can see the same pattern of behavior now with the whole "Lordship" controversy [although I am more of a "Lordship" person than probably most ]. I think that the failure of BJU to handle the matter in private [like Minnick says ] has contributed to what, in my opinon, is the largest and most destructive rift in American Christianity.

Finally, Greg is right to note the inconsistency in Minnick addressing bloggers on the controversy without naming names. Bob Bixby was the one who kicked off the storm, SI reported it [in keeping with our mission statement ], and others weighed in, including John Piper. So which one of us is he 'embarrassed for'? He attacks bloggers but uses the exact same methodology that he condemns. If you are going to warn people of trouble or wrong behavior, you HAVE to tell them who to avoid. If he had come out and said my name, for example, that would be right because all of my comments have been made in a public forum and are easily verifiable by the standard of 'two or three witnesses'. But to just say 'don't read blogs' does very little good, esp. since the BJU/MCBC audience is very highly connected to the Internet and blogs. I get the distinct impression sometimes that the standard IFB leadership would prefer blogs and forums like SI go away so that they don't have to deal with sticky issues or hard questions.

Greg is also right in noting that:

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After all was said and done, Dr. Minnick observed that there were still men (perhaps even in the FBFI, though perhaps I was reading into that) whom he would not enjoy close fellowship with, though he would enjoy FBFI membership with them. And that, to me, is what remains confusing. Dr. Minnick did an adequate job of describing what the FBFI is. However, he did not do a particularly convincing job of telling people why they should join or what they will get out of it. If what he says about the diversity of positions in the fellowship (and his evident discomfort with some in the membership), what value does being listed in their directory have? It’s still hit or miss, with no guarantees that a good match will be found.
If Minnick is troubled by members of his association, why should I be interested in joining a group that a Board Member himself has trouble supporting?

I wish that Minnick would write something for SI on this topic of separation, because I am having a very difficult time reconciling this in my mind.

"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

Greg Linscott's picture

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No, you're not alone. Surely there are kids from fundamental churches who attend state schools. But EVERYONE from my CE churches attended state schools, or more liberal Christian colleges. It was the default position; attending a conservative Christian college wasn't even considered at all. Sermons never addressed these issues, and no one agonized over these decisions for their kids. The atmosphere in the CE churches regarding higher education was totally different than it has been in every fundamentalist church I've been a member of since then. So, again, its our experiences that we're using to interpret Dr. Minnick's comments. (I admit its my experience, anyway.)
Ok... in some ways, that's disparaging a Nazarene church for not considering a Baptist college like Faith at all... When they do promote, they promote the schools that reflect their (denominational) idealogy. If we are judging the whether or not one is Baptist or Nazarene, Minnick's idea is better. But Fundamentalism is not inherently a denomination.

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Churches are institutions as well, no?
Not in this context when we're talking about institutions a church supports (colleges, mission agencies...)

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Does the preacher need to call specific people out in order for them to be convicted of sin? Or can he speak generally and let God work in the hearts of those who need it? Where is the willingness to self-evaluate? Why must a blogger or forum commenter be "confronted" or challenged publicly before he is willing to go back over what he has written and honestly and prayerfully evaluate whether it is charitable or not?
Maybe not every blogger... but Minnick called out specifically names like MacArthur, Mohler, Dever, and WORLD Magazine- so we know he is not against identifying specifics. How is this different?

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Jay's picture

Julie Herbster wrote:
Greg, when someone talks about a "feeding frenzy," they're not just talking about a few blog posts. ("Feeding frenzy" is my terminology, not Pastor Minnick's.) By "feeding frenzy," I'm talking about the cyberactivity that would provoke the title "Blogosphere Breaks a Sweatt" (can't remember where I saw that one, but I did). It's not just the bloggers, but the numerous commenters piling on, the non-commenting readers who are affected, etc. Obviously, Pastor Minnick wasn't referring to just anyone who commented, but those who commented negatively without first contacting Pastor Sweatt personally. Again, I don't see the need for Pastor Minnick to get any more specific than he did. The Holy Spirit can do that.

Julie, you saw that title at this website, and Greg is the person who wrote it. Did you approach Greg first about the title and explain your problems w/ it? Furthermore, the Mission Statement of SharperIron is to:

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Our mission is to sharpen our fellow Christians through articles and forum discussions, providing ideas and news from a Christian, biblical, fundamentalist worldview. We desire to bring fundamentalist Christian brothers and sisters together for mutual edification.

"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

Adam Blumer's picture

Thanks, Julie, for your comments. For what it's worth, I agree with you. I've long had great respect for Dr. Minnick, and I believe he was spot on.

Adam

Julie Herbster's picture

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I am continually troubled by the position that the response to Pastor Sweatt is "overhyped" or "a feeding frenzy". While I do know that some [a couple ] who went too far, I am most disturbed at the tendency to write it off as a 'misjudgment' or 'misspeaking'.

Did Pastor Minnick refer to Pastor Sweatt's message only as a misjudgment or misspeaking? No. If I remember right, he used the term "unethical." While he did not mention any names, I think that anyone who knows what is going on understands what he meant by his statements.

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I think that the failure of BJU to handle the matter in private [like Minnick says ] has contributed to what, in my opinon, is the largest and most destructive rift in American Christianity.

And when any fundamentalist acts in this way (not handling matters in private), it only adds to the divisiveness in Christ's body. Condemning BJU does not absolve those who have acted in the same way in the recent issues.

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Finally, Greg is right to note the inconsistency in Minnick addressing bloggers on the controversy without naming names. Bob Bixby was the one who kicked off the storm, SI reported it [in keeping with our mission statement ], and others weighed in, including John Piper. So which one of us is he 'embarrassed for'? He attacks bloggers but uses the exact same methodology that he condemns. If you are going to warn people of trouble or wrong behavior, you HAVE to tell them who to avoid. If he had come out and said my name, for example, that would be right because all of my comments have been made in a public forum and are easily verifiable by the standard of 'two or three witnesses'. But to just say 'don't read blogs' does very little good, esp. since the BJU/MCBC audience is very highly connected to the Internet and blogs. I get the distinct impression sometimes that the standard IFB leadership would prefer blogs and forums like SI go away so that they don't have to deal with sticky issues or hard questions.

Jay, there was no inconsistency. Pastor Minnick remarked that before calling erring brethren out publicly, we should go to them privately. Remaining consistent with his statement, he did not call anyone out publicly. As far as who to avoid (which I don't think he was talking about, really), anyone listening would know that they should avoid (or at least not listen to) anyone in cyberspace or anywhere else who doesn't follow the biblical admonition to go to a brother privately before calling him out publicly.

Am I the only one who sees that the "young fundamentalists" seem to be doing the very thing that they despise the older fundamentalists for doing? I would need more than two hands to count the number of times I've seen older fundamentalists called on the carpet for uncharitable speech, for not going privately before going publicly. I'm really not defending anyone here; just noting that young fundies seem to be doing an admirable job of carrying the grand tradition of "fightin' fundamentalism" into the 21st century.

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Greg is also right in noting that:
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After all was said and done, Dr. Minnick observed that there were still men (perhaps even in the FBFI, though perhaps I was reading into that) whom he would not enjoy close fellowship with, though he would enjoy FBFI membership with them. And that, to me, is what remains confusing.

Confusing? Is Dr. Minnick more inclusive than you are? (I ask because I don't know.) Is there not enough room under the "fundamentalist" umbrella for those who differ in doctrine (slightly) and practice (widely)? If anything, this shows graciousness on the part of older fundamentalists that (perhaps?) young fundamentalists could emulate.

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]Dr. Minnick did an adequate job of describing what the FBFI is. However, he did not do a particularly convincing job of telling people why they should join or what they will get out of it. If what he says about the diversity of positions in the fellowship (and his evident discomfort with some in the membership), what value does being listed in their directory have? It’s still hit or miss, with no guarantees that a good match will be found.
If Minnick is troubled by members of his association, why should I be interested in joining a group that a Board Member himself has trouble supporting?

Here's that comment again...I'm still puzzled as to why it is popping up again. The message was not about "why you should join the FBF." Do you think it is possible to join any association with which you agree with all other associates on all matters, or in which an associate would never make errors? Why must consideration of joining the FBF be a part of these discussions? Maybe I don't get it because none of the fundamentalist men in my immediate sphere are or ever have been memebers of the FBF, that I know of. My father-in-law isn't; my husband and brothers-in-law aren't. I'm not sure whether my pastor is or not, but I don't think he is. Again, I'm way over my head in discussions about the FBF and fundamentalism. I could be missing something huge. In this forum, I am just responding to analyses of Pastor Minnick's message.

Julie Herbster's picture

Jay C wrote:
Julie Herbster wrote:
Greg, when someone talks about a "feeding frenzy," they're not just talking about a few blog posts. ("Feeding frenzy" is my terminology, not Pastor Minnick's.) By "feeding frenzy," I'm talking about the cyberactivity that would provoke the title "Blogosphere Breaks a Sweatt" (can't remember where I saw that one, but I did). It's not just the bloggers, but the numerous commenters piling on, the non-commenting readers who are affected, etc. Obviously, Pastor Minnick wasn't referring to just anyone who commented, but those who commented negatively without first contacting Pastor Sweatt personally. Again, I don't see the need for Pastor Minnick to get any more specific than he did. The Holy Spirit can do that.

Julie, you saw that title at this website, and Greg is the person who wrote it. Did you approach Greg first about the title and explain your problems w/ it? Furthermore, the Mission Statement of SharperIron is to:

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Our mission is to sharpen our fellow Christians through articles and forum discussions, providing ideas and news from a Christian, biblical, fundamentalist worldview. We desire to bring fundamentalist Christian brothers and sisters together for mutual edification.

Jay, I think you've misunderstood. I had no problem with the title "Blogosphere Breaks a Sweatt," or the article itself, necessarily. (I honestly don't remember whether I read it or not, or if I did read it, what it contained.) My point was that there were not just a few "young men who blog" posting things about Pastor Sweatt's message. Otherwise, the title "Blogosphere Breaks a Sweatt" wouldn't have made sense. The very fact that there was such a title indicates that there was (my terminology) a "feeding frenzy," not just a handful of isolated people commenting on the issue.

Julie Herbster's picture

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Does the preacher need to call specific people out in order for them to be convicted of sin? Or can he speak generally and let God work in the hearts of those who need it? Where is the willingness to self-evaluate? Why must a blogger or forum commenter be "confronted" or challenged publicly before he is willing to go back over what he has written and honestly and prayerfully evaluate whether it is charitable or not?
Maybe not every blogger... but Minnick called out specifically names like MacArthur, Mohler, Dever, and WORLD Magazine- so we know he is not against identifying specifics. How is this different?

How is it different? Honestly, it surprises me that you ask this question. To answer it, we have to consider the context and purpose of the naming of names (and the non-naming of names). OK, that last sentence was ridiculous...sorry. You have to remember that I am constructing my posts between performing various household tasks and motherly duties. (So far, I've washed the dishes, swept the floor, and run Matt down to camp in the midst of all of this. Now my three year old is crying about something he wants...) Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, yes, context. In what context(s), and for what purpose(s), did Pastor Minnick name MacArthur et al? And in what context(s), and for what purpose(s), did Pastor Minnick NOT name the names of offending bloggers? Any ideas?

Julie Herbster's picture

OK, guys, after completing my daily run and starting to get the kids' gear together for our all-afternoon trip to music lessons and shopping, and in anticipation of overnight guests (my three year old is crying again...), I must bid this discussion adieu. Real life is calling. Thanks for the conversation. (If I missed any posts, I apologize...No time to say "hello"--goodbye! I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!)

Todd Wood's picture

Greg, when it comes to real, serious, heart correction among brothers in the household of faith, I think that public blogging is the worst medium to do that.

Young fundamentalists, the next generation, have only one badge that marks them as true disciples among the unbelieving world . . . it's their love for one another. Our Lord exhorts us over and over and over again with this in His farewell discourse in John's Gospel. This is the main idea. This is fundamental to Christianity.

There must be loving correction one-on-one. There must be loving correction through preaching. There can be loving correction through letters. But for brothers to jump immediately into Christian correction through blogging opens up a world of sloppy agape and the potential for a ton of hurt to the hearts of brothers and sisters (both fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals).

For the future of American Christianity surviving in an increasingly pluralistic culture, we must take every measure to guard this precious love.

(And good brother, consider lowering the raised eyebrow. (chuckling) I might find it humorous. But my daughter might think you are on a mission to correct the world. Smile

et

Greg Linscott's picture

In matters of personal interaction, Todd, you may have a point. Personal contact is certainly always best when settling disagreements of a personal nature.

However, the personal relationship is not the only thing in view here. This isn't the same thing as correcting someone because they were rude, or slothful, or negligent, or caught in immorality, or in impugning one's character. This is a matter of public teaching, and since the matter was communicated and distributed before everyone over the internet, an internet response is not an inappropriate response. To be blunt, it is a mistake to think of this as a simple message in a small regional conference to a limited audience. When Dan Sweatt made the message available (and the http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=56091910360 ]link clearly shows that to be the case, since 1) the message is on his church's Sermon Audio account, and 2) no other messages from the regional conference are available there. In other words, this puts the message, if not in the exact same category as a blog entry, certainly a similar one as far as potential audiences go. The consequences of the action are far greater, and the warranted response is, too. Restoring a relationship with Dan Sweatt is only one consideration. Error has been taught, and in this case, a wrong perception has been perpetuated (or continued to be perpetuated, one might argue). A public correction is not intended so much for Dan Sweatt as it is for those who heard Sweatt's message and were left with the impression that it reflects Fundamentalism consistently and accurately- something, BTW, that Minnick seems to downplay the significance of in his address. However, I will say that it also strikes me that Minnick defies his own counsel by making this message available as he has. The sermon is sure to get widespread distribution, and many who hear it will not know if Minnick has approached sweatt personally or not.

Regarding the eyebrow- to be quite transparent, the avatar is a way for me to take something in my appearance I can allow to get me discouraged and turn it into something humorous. I have to discipline myself not to scowl or be dissatisfied when I look at that eyebrow in the mirror (which is currently fixed in that position because of my accident last summer). I'm sorry if it bothers you daughter- tell her she at least has it better than my daughters, who see it all the time... Biggrin

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Jay's picture

Julie Herbster wrote:
Did Pastor Minnick refer to Pastor Sweatt's message only as a misjudgment or misspeaking? No. If I remember right, he used the term "unethical." While he did not mention any names, I think that anyone who knows what is going on understands what he meant by his statements.

Actually, Minnick did use the term 'misspeak' [a couple of times ] - 57 minutes and 24 seconds into it. Perhaps he was setting off a hypothetical, but when you listen to what he says in context, esp. since he 'wants to address a few very, very specific things', it sounds like he's talking about Sweatt.
Julie wrote:
me wrote:
I think that the failure of BJU to handle the matter in private [like Minnick says ] has contributed to what, in my opinon, is the largest and most destructive rift in American Christianity.
And when any fundamentalist acts in this way (not handling matters in private), it only adds to the divisiveness in Christ's body. Condemning BJU does not absolve those who have acted in the same way in the recent issues....Jay, there was no inconsistency. Pastor Minnick remarked that before calling erring brethren out publicly, we should go to them privately. Remaining consistent with his statement, he did not call anyone out publicly. As far as who to avoid (which I don't think he was talking about, really), anyone listening would know that they should avoid (or at least not listen to) anyone in cyberspace or anywhere else who doesn't follow the biblical admonition to go to a brother privately before calling him out publicly.

Julie - this is the entire problem in a nutshell. What is the right way to respond when a message like Sweatt's is preached? That's been the whole point of the discussion. Most of us have decided that the proper way to respond is to stop supporting the agency that he spoke at, even though [as Dr. Minnick noted ] he spoke as himself and not for the FBFI. Greg's corollary is why should we join the FBFI entirely, especially in light of this? The question is not if I am personally offended.

I didn't bring up BJU to throw it under the bus. I brought it up to point out a perceived inconsistency; I am asking ~anyone~ for clarification or explanation from the people that taught me. I hardly think that I'm dividing the body of Christ by doing so. Sweatt's message, as I noted above, is on the internet. It was preached at a very public gathering. He has not shown any sign of apologizing for what he did and has re-affirmed his position at his church's website. So how do I respond to that? If I had been there in person, I would have tried to talk to him.

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Am I the only one who sees that the "young fundamentalists" seem to be doing the very thing that they despise the older fundamentalists for doing? I would need more than two hands to count the number of times I've seen older fundamentalists called on the carpet for uncharitable speech, for not going privately before going publicly. I'm really not defending anyone here; just noting that young fundies seem to be doing an admirable job of carrying the grand tradition of "fightin' fundamentalism" into the 21st century...

Confusing? Is Dr. Minnick more inclusive than you are? (I ask because I don't know.) Is there not enough room under the "fundamentalist" umbrella for those who differ in doctrine (slightly) and practice (widely)? If anything, this shows graciousness on the part of older fundamentalists that (perhaps?) young fundamentalists could emulate.

I think I get what you're saying.

As a hypothetical example - If there are members who preach the divine inspiration of the KJV in the FBFI [I don't know if there are or not, but it's possible ], and Dr. Minnick finds out and then chooses to remain [not that I think he would ] then yes, Dr. Minnick would be 'more inclusive' than I am. I could not participate in such a fellowship.

My concern is that some of the practices that have been tolerated within the FBFI constituency should not be tolerated. I realize that Dr. Minnick and the FBFI do not have time or probably the desire to go looking for people that don't agree. My other concern is that when things like this do pop up, how do they handle them. Do they smooth everything over, which is what seems to be how they are handling this? Or do they admonish their members who do not agree with their own positions?

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Here's that comment again...I'm still puzzled as to why it is popping up again. The message was not about "why you should join the FBF." Do you think it is possible to join any association with which you agree with all other associates on all matters, or in which an associate would never make errors? Why must consideration of joining the FBF be a part of these discussions? Maybe I don't get it because none of the fundamentalist men in my immediate sphere are or ever have been members of the FBF, that I know of. My father-in-law isn't; my husband and brothers-in-law aren't. I'm not sure whether my pastor is or not, but I don't think he is. Again, I'm way over my head in discussions about the FBF and fundamentalism. I could be missing something huge. In this forum, I am just responding to analyses of Pastor Minnick's message.

So am I, and I think now I'm a little clearer on what you're asking. Hopefully, this post clears up my position as well.

Hope your errands / lessons / shopping went well. Looking forward to speaking with you some more.

"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

Jason Boling's picture

I thought these three quotes from the sermon might help balance Greg's (and possibly others) impression about the matter of equating the FBF & fundamentalism:

“The FBF and fundamentalism are being increasingly scrutinized and even criticized.”

“... there are folks within fundamentalism today who don’t want to be associated with the FBF, and in some cases they are even prepared to leave fundamentalism as a movement.”

“It is the single largest fellowship of Christian workers within fundamentalism. There are thousands of members of the FBF. It’s the most visible fellowship, presence, within fundamentalism. And so, it ends up being the focal point of a great deal of attention.”

Based on these, he clearly identifis the FBF as a part (he does say a large part) of fundamentalism as a whole. There is a distinction between someone who wants to leave the FBF (or never join it) and who does not want to be associated with the movement. Obviously, the latter being the main issue.

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