Jeremy Sweatt discusses results of new survey of young fundamentalists

Questions posed to “young fundamentalists” (30 respondents; oldest aged 39). Introduction to that content starts about 8 minutes in.

  • What books have you read recently?
  • Who are your favorite authors and what makes their work appealing to you?
  • If you had the money and freedom to attend any conference you want, where would you go? About half did no respond to the question. “They fellowship in a different way than you and I do. They fellowship every day through…” (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) “The allure of the conference has waned in large part.”
  • If you could sit down with 3 men who have been in ministry for 20 years or more who would they be and what would you ask them? 27 different men. “The number one man named was Dr. Chuck Phelps.”
  • What is a fundamentalist?
  • What troubles you most about fundamentalism as a movement or group (28 minutes in)? Majoring on the minors… judgmental edge… loudness about secondary issues… criticism of men who are Christ centered but have differences in application. Tendency of young fundamentalists to jump from one fad to another. Divide between generations.
  • From your observation of the world today who is best example of a biblical fundamentalist? 16 men listed. Top three: Chuck Phelps, Sam [Unclear: Horn? Harbin? ], Will Galkin
  • How would you describe the ideal pulpit ministry? “Expository preaching.”
  • What does biblical separation mean to you? “From the world… from unrepentant brethren… from disobedient.” No response that indicates “secondary separation.” (Question from the floor regarding what secondary separation is. Sweatt seems to be using an unusual definition.) Discusses why isn’t John MacArthur going to be at T4G 2012? Quotes Phil Johnson on this. Gist: doesn’t like the direction T4G is headed.
  • Under what conditions would you separate?
  • What has surprised you about ministry?
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There are 55 Comments

Jay's picture

Will they be releasing the actual survey data anytime soon, like they did with the Janz study?

"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

Dan Frank's picture

Chuck Phelps is the best example of a biblical fundamentalist?! That is so demoralizing.

RPittman's picture

Dan Frank wrote:
Chuck Phelps is the best example of a biblical fundamentalist?! That is so demoralizing.
What has Chuck Phelps done wrong? How do you know? Do you know him? Quite honestly, Phelps would not be my choice but I do think he has gotten a bad break. I hate seeing people kick a guy when he's down. IMHO, this is a very judgmental spirit and attitude, Dan. Chuck Phelps has been thoroughly discussed and cussed on SI, so this topic doesn't need a stinking resurrection here. BTW, evidently a significant number of people, who may be smarter and more knowledgeable than you, disagree with you. Let's leave the judgment of Chuck Phelps in the hands of his Master (Romans 14:4).

Charlie's picture

Regarding Phelps, we don't know when the responses were collected or what level of knowledge the respondents had of recent events. So, we should be careful what we assume.

I'm more concerned with the small sample size. If I heard correctly, he had only about 30 respondents?

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Charlie wrote:

I'm more concerned with the small sample size. If I heard correctly, he had only about 30 respondents?

If you know something about statistics, you know that 30 is about the smallest statistically *valid* sample size, assuming, of course, that the sample is not self-selected -- i.e. it should be random, which is often hard to accomplish on a survey, as those who respond to a survey are usually motivated in some way. Of course, within reason, a larger sample size is usually better.

All that said to say I agree that if the sample size is only 30, it's value is probably pretty limited. Not that I would be uninterested in seeing the data anyway, of course! Smile

Dave Barnhart

RPittman's picture

Charlie wrote:
Regarding Phelps, we don't know when the responses were collected or what level of knowledge the respondents had of recent events. So, we should be careful what we assume.

I'm more concerned with the small sample size. If I heard correctly, he had only about 30 respondents?

Thirty is the minimal sampling for statistical significance. However, my concern is that this doesn't become another thread for venting on Phelps. Furthermore, these polls are supposedly more about influence but often turn into vanity polls. It's rather like hero worship and heroes are Teflon coated. In sum, this survey does not upon first brush have the look and feel of a scientific poll crafted by a skilled pollster. However, it can have broad general value in showing apparent trends. We just need to recognize its limitations and not try to wring more out of it than what's there.

DavidO's picture

Any chance that SI will poll its readers on these questions?

Any chance that if SI does, 40 would be counted as young? :bigsmile:

RPittman's picture

dcbii wrote:
Charlie wrote:

I'm more concerned with the small sample size. If I heard correctly, he had only about 30 respondents?

If you know something about statistics, you know that 30 is about the smallest statistically *valid* sample size, assuming, of course, that the sample is not self-selected -- i.e. it should be random, which is often hard to accomplish on a survey, as those who respond to a survey are usually motivated in some way. Of course, within reason, a larger sample size is usually better.

All that said to say I agree that if the sample size is only 30, it's value is probably pretty limited. Not that I would be uninterested in seeing the data anyway, of course! Smile

Although it is a limited sampling of unknown selection bias, this is not to say it is NOT representative. It can be very suggestive but we must recognize the limitations and not push our inferences beyond these parameters.

RPittman's picture

DavidO wrote:
Any chance that SI will poll its readers on these questions?

Any chance that if SI does, 40 would be counted as young? :bigsmile:

If you looking for a real scientific poll, I would suggest rewriting the questions. They're too ambiguous and open to individual interpretation. BTW, I consider 40 to be a young whippersnapper . . . Biggrin

Dan Frank's picture

RPittman wrote:
Dan Frank wrote:
Chuck Phelps is the best example of a biblical fundamentalist?! That is so demoralizing.
What has Chuck Phelps done wrong? How do you know? Do you know him? Quite honestly, Phelps would not be my choice but I do think he has gotten a bad break. I hate seeing people kick a guy when he's down. IMHO, this is a very judgmental spirit and attitude, Dan. Chuck Phelps has been thoroughly discussed and cussed on SI, so this topic doesn't need a stinking resurrection here. BTW, evidently a significant number of people, who may be smarter and more knowledgeable than you, disagree with you. Let's leave the judgment of Chuck Phelps in the hands of his Master (Romans 14:4).

Chuck Phelps put a minor on stage in front of his church to ask forgiveness for her part in her forcible rape. That's been PROVEN through court testimony and conviction. It's only still in question if you have no respect for the criminal justice system set in place by the founding documents of our nation.

Joshua Caucutt's picture

30 is a terribly small sample size. Part of the problem might be guys like me . . . I no longer self-identify as a "fundamentalist" - young or old.

formerly known as Coach C

DavidO's picture

Don't you have to so identify to post here?

I'm not a mod or anything, so this is just one Chamber Singer bro to another. . .

Joshua Caucutt's picture

Ha . . . oops . . . forgot about that. If I was in the Chamber Singers, doesn't that qualify me? I also have met Chuck Phelps, Will Galkin and Sam Horn . . .shouldn't that get me in the door? Smile Hmmm . . . I would have called myself a fundamentalist within the last 6 months, is there a statute of limitations here?

formerly known as Coach C

Shaynus's picture

It's one thing to say Chuck Phelps is a good man in a bad situation. It's another to hold him up as the best specimen fundamentalism has to offer. It's a little creepy given the late unpleasantness.

Also, of those who responded that they would like to sit down and talk to Phelps, I wonder how many really see that conversation as a confrontational one or one in which they are seeking advice.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I regret mentioning Phelps in the OP. It's an interesting--and a little odd--feature of the workshop/survey responses, but nothing more since we have no idea what the survey participants were thinking.
I'd suggest we steer away from trying to debate what his prominence in the survey means. Not enough information. But I do think the audio is well worth listening to for what we can learn from it.

I'm itchin' now to do another SI survey!
About six questions came immediately to mind... and with a few months to push it, we should be able to get a few hundred "under age 30" responses. Maybe a good bit more if the survey isn't too long and we managed to get word of it into the right niches.

I should probably also mention that I'm not sure "Sam Horn" was the name he mentioned there. It's a bit garbled there... or my hearing is starting to go. I'm not sure what other "Sam" it would be, but then I never heard of the other two guys either until a couple years ago.

(Edited the OP to show uncertainty about who the "Sam..." is there.)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

RPittman's picture

Dan Frank wrote:
RPittman wrote:
Dan Frank wrote:
Chuck Phelps is the best example of a biblical fundamentalist?! That is so demoralizing.
What has Chuck Phelps done wrong? How do you know? Do you know him? Quite honestly, Phelps would not be my choice but I do think he has gotten a bad break. I hate seeing people kick a guy when he's down. IMHO, this is a very judgmental spirit and attitude, Dan. Chuck Phelps has been thoroughly discussed and cussed on SI, so this topic doesn't need a stinking resurrection here. BTW, evidently a significant number of people, who may be smarter and more knowledgeable than you, disagree with you. Let's leave the judgment of Chuck Phelps in the hands of his Master (Romans 14:4).

Chuck Phelps put a minor on stage in front of his church to ask forgiveness for her part in her forcible rape. That's been PROVEN through court testimony and conviction. It's only still in question if you have no respect for the criminal justice system set in place by the founding documents of our nation.

It seems to me that he thought she was involved in consensual sex and was trying to follow what he thought was Biblical church discipline. He may have made an error in judgment but who hasn't? Also, it appears that his detractors are trying to vilify the man on second-hand information from a distance. BTW, our criminal justice system was not set in place by the founding documents (i.e. Declaration of Independence/U. S. Constitution) of our country. Even the federal court system was not set up by the U. S. Constitution (have you read it lately, I have); it only provided for the Supreme Court and provision to establish a federal system in a bare outline with specific provisions coming with the Judicial Act of 1789. However, this trial was in state court established by the state, not the federal court system, and based on state law. Pardon me but your ignorance is showing and your credibility is slipping. This is plain-spoken but you've not been easy on Chuck Phelps either. Nuff said.

Phil Johnson's picture

A few corrections to the data given in Jeremy Sweatt's message and in the summary above:

1. The material Mr. Sweatt quoted from me was not (as he claimed) from my blog, but from a private e-mail I sent to someone who asked me a private question. Had I written it for public consumption, or had I known someone would quote it in a message to a fundamentalist group and put the message on line, I would have been less elliptical and more careful to avoid all possible ambiguities.

2. To wit: the actual "gist" of my remark was NOT that John MacArthur "doesn't like the direction T4G is headed," but that he is concerned about the tendency toward doctrinal minimalism among EVANGELICALS IN GENERAL.

3. The few reasons I gave for John MacArthur's non-participation in T4G 2012 were by no means an exhaustive list. There are some additional factors that have contributed to his decision to "quietly back away from some of the large coalition meetings" [note: this isn't about T4G in particular, or even mainly ]. For one thing, he isn't comfortable with the rock-star status the Young and Restless seem determined to confer on their heros. I think he is eager to yield THAT place in the spotlight to someone else.

4. I asked him a question about his view of T4G, and he gave a brief answer in a Q&A recorded back in January at Grace Community Church: http://grace.ly/yaspw8

Hope that helps.

Jay's picture

Phil - Thank you for the clarification. I'm very disappointed to hear that your private emails were leaked and used without permission by Mr. Sweatt.

@ Roland and Dan (and anyone else itching to rehash the Phelps/Trinity/Anderson issue) - if you would like to discuss whether or not Phelps is the best example of a Fundamentalist, please take it to a different thread. This thread is about the survey that was taken, not about whether someone is or is not a good example.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Bob T.'s picture

What survey? This is nothing but a small group discussion with but 30 respondents and promoted by some IFBX pastor who opens trying to convince us of his success because of recent church growth.

Put this in the round file of internet nonsense and move on.

SI is becoming a center for internet gossip.

Dan Frank's picture

RPittman wrote:

BTW, our criminal justice system was not set in place by the founding documents (i.e. Declaration of Independence/U. S. Constitution) of our country. Even the federal court system was not set up by the U. S. Constitution (have you read it lately, I have); it only provided for the Supreme Court and provision to establish a federal system in a bare outline with specific provisions coming with the Judicial Act of 1789. However, this trial was in state court established by the state, not the federal court system, and based on state law. Pardon me but your ignorance is showing and your credibility is slipping. This is plain-spoken but you've not been easy on Chuck Phelps either. Nuff said.

I should have said they were "set in motion by our founding documents." Ernie Willis was convicted by a system that has been determined by the highest court to be in keeping with the founding documents.

Per Jay C.'s comment, I'll say no more about Phelps here.

DavidO's picture

For the record, Phil Johnson once again failed to disavow being wild-eyed.

I'd dig up the old thread, but that would leave no fun for the rest of you.

Wink

rogercarlson's picture

Bob,

I understand your concern. But, in this case, it is misplaced. The thread is about a work shop at the FBFI National conference. You are wrong to classify this thread as internet gossip. But I do agree that it's a small sample, so we should just move on.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Shaynus's picture

The size of the sample isn't as concerning as how it was selected. This was among guys who Jeremy knew, or his friends new. I realize this isn't a scientific sample, and it isn't being purported as such. But I'm wondering by what standard Jeremy says "I think it's valid."

To me, a far more interesting survey would be to survey the children of many baby-boomer fundamentalists. It would be interesting to me to find out that, among those who grew up in fundamentalism, still identify as such, and where they went. That would be a survey worth having.

Todd Wood's picture

Jeremy S., thanks for the interesting workshop. Happy 20th with your wife. Over two decades have sped by since our Alpha Theta Pi days at BJU. My 20th is next year with my wife. Maybe, we might go to Hawaii.

Thanks for the time that you spend with younger men. Thanks for your openness to conversation.

et

Todd Wood's picture

Phil J., if there would be a 2011 book that I would like to get in the hands of every young fundamentalist, it would be Uneclipsing the Son by Rick Holland.

Outstanding edification for my heart.

DavidO's picture

Ha!

Also, thanks for dropping by and straightening us out a bit.

Joshua Caucutt's picture

Well . . . I guess I'm okay.

. . . if Phil Johnson is allowed to participate. Wink

formerly known as Coach C

RPittman's picture

Jay C. wrote:
Phil - Thank you for the clarification. I'm very disappointed to hear that your private emails were leaked and used without permission by Mr. Sweatt.

@ Roland and Dan (and anyone else itching to rehash the Phelps/Trinity/Anderson issue) - if you would like to discuss whether or not Phelps is the best example of a Fundamentalist, please take it to a different thread. This thread is about the survey that was taken, not about whether someone is or is not a good example.

I do NOT want to rehash the Phelps/Trinity/Anderson issue! Jay, you will note that I sorta got sucked into this reluctantly. My original response was precisely in agreement that we DON'T need more discussion of Phelps here.
Roland wrote:
Chuck Phelps has been thoroughly discussed and cussed on SI, so this topic doesn't need a stinking resurrection here.
I made a poor choice in responding to what I considered a vindictive spirit. I was wrong and ask forgiveness.

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