ACCC warns on the "Danger of Neo-fundamentalism," Kevin Bauder, Sharper Iron

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Jim's picture

"Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism, a book promoted by the managers of the Sharper Iron website"

 

Jay's picture

...and the Fundamentalist Civil War continues.

edit

Taken from the IFBNA letter:

With blushed face he apologizes for his position’s failure to produce “a critical history of fundamentalism.” Ashamed he admits, “Nor is any sustained, scholarly, theological explanation of core fundamentalist ideas available” (19). The apologies are so sweeping, each requires a footnote explanation that attempts to disallow reasonable exceptions to his claims.

Um...he has to 'apologize' because it's true.  I'm not sure what or why this has to be looked on as some sort of 'disgrace' or 'apology'.   Bauder isn't writing to IFB Pastors (although I am sure many will read it).  He's writing primarily to a more academic audience, who would legitimately ask for further reading.  It is to our shame that there is no such thing.

And frankly, if there were a 'sustained, scholarly, theological explanation of core fundamentalist ideas available', we might not see a lot of the foolishness that exists in 'fundamentalist' (WTMA*) circles.  Foolishness like marking Dr. Bauder as someone who is to be warned against or shunned or whatever.

He correctly explains that Roman Catholicism “is a system of religion that mixes faith with works in the application of salvation”
(31), and that confusion created by efforts, like the Manhattan Declaration, is “alarming” (33), but he is careful to temper these critical remarks by admitting, “Traditionally, its [Roman Catholicism’s] view of God and its understanding of the person of Christ are correct” (33).

Again, Dr. Bauder is correct.  Look at the Vatican's website statement on Christ.  To admit that they have a correct understand of the person and work of Jesus is fact.

Perhaps the most damaging conclusion to fundamentalism, a theme that runs throughout the contributions of Drs. Bauder and Mohler to the book and is best expressed in the book’s final chapter, is that there should be a convergence of fundamentalists with confessional evangelicals in spite of their differences regarding separation over separation.

I'd be really interested in how a convergence of "fundamentalists" (WTMA*) with "confessional evangelicals" (WTMA*) is a threat to anyone.  I'm not saying that we should be undiscerning in our fellowship and efforts, but I really don't understand this paradigm of them vs. us.  I'd love to see a serious treatment of that topic in light of 1 Cor. 1, Eph. 2, and a few other passages.

 

*WTMA - Whatever that means anymore.

"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

DavidO's picture

If memory serves, wasn't the ACCC a fundamentalist "stream" previously identified as healthy by Dr. B? 

Huh. 

How much hope is there for a Christian movement that cannot rejoice in an orthodox expression of Trinitarianism when noted alongside serious reservations as to the expressor's other errors?

I'd say not much, but there is still a Primitive Baptist Church in my town- a good reminder of how tenacious the last strands of a lost/muisguided cause can be.

 

Pastor Joe Roof's picture

As a member of the ACCC, I am saddened to see a resolution like this where concerns are addressed by taking pot shots at people.  It does not have my support.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

I followed the second link, but didn't really see a response by Dr. Bauder, just an announcement of the resolution on religious affections. 

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

dmyers's picture

From the IFBNA review of Bauder's chapter in Four Views:  "He condemns utilization of the King James Bible as the only acceptable English version as anti-biblical, whereas fundamentalists with a correct view of preservation have understood historically that misunderstandings in this area are misguided attempts
to defend the inerrancy of scripture."  

I guess that leaves BJU's revered Dr. Panosian outside the group of "fundamentalists with a correct view of preservation."  I recall from an upper level history/philosophy class his one-word summation of the KJVO position:  "bibliolatry."

I know it's an ongoing struggle to define fundamentalism properly, but if Hobi's definition is the correct one, he can have fundamentalism.  It's dead, even if he doesn't know it yet.  I certainly hope Hobi is, or turns out to be, completely wrong.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I guess should comment? The resolution says we "promoted" the four views book. ... but it's four views. Which view did we promote? Clearly, somebody is not clear on the concept of a multi-view book or on what makes books valuable in general. There does not need to be any agreement with a book at all to find it valuable or to recommend it. But certainly a multi-view book is a study of themes and positions and not an endorsement of any one of them.

I should be past surprise by now, but--I still find it amazing to see people identify open discussion of opposing ideas as some kind of compromise.

Andrew Comings's picture

The next ACCC resolution will be against the ACCC, because there are clearly men with whom it disagrees within its ranks, and therefore it cannot be trusted as a bastion of pure fundamentalism.  Come out and be separate...from...er...us.

Missionary in Brazil, author of "The Astonishing Adventures of Missionary Max" Online at: http://www.comingstobrazil.com http://cadernoteologico.wordpress.com

Ron Bean's picture

The question is no longer whether one practices separation from apostasy and false doctrine. 

The question is no longer separation from brethren who don't practice separation from apostasy and false doctrine.

It seems to be that we should practice separation from brethren who aren't as separated as we are.

Fundamentalism was originally a movement primarily marked by separation from false doctrine.

Then it became a movement primarily marked by separation from Christians who had contact with those who held false doctrine.

Now it seems that fundamentalism is separating from itself and becoming the "fractured fundamentalism" I heard predicted at a Bible Conference at BJU in 1976.

And, as Aaron said, I should be past surprise by now, but--I still find it amazing to see people identify open discussion of opposing ideas as some kind of compromise.

Some consider any contact with those outside The Village compromise.

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

Bob Hayton's picture

Two thoughts

1) It wasn't Bauder who promoted a convergence of fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals in the book - that was more Mohler and the editors of the book: Colin Hansen (a conservative evangelical) and Andrew Naselli (who is now teaching at a conservative evangelical institution but has fundamentalist roots).  So they should really mark and avoid Naselli not Bauder. 

2) Someone mentioned that GARBC is better than the ACC because its resolutions are more sane. The implication is that they don't attack others.  I was a bit disappointed to see them come after the "redemptive historical" hermeneutic as a grievous error in their resolution on biblical hermeneutics. That seems in step with the fundamentalist mentality of painting other views as black as possible and promoting their own position with a remnant-mentality that all other groups are wrong. If you read Graemesworthy or some of the material from Dennis Johnson or Edmund Clowney, from Westminster Theological Seminary (on either coast), you would see a careful, literal approach to hermeneutics that just differs on some of the interpretations of prophecy and that does find more typology in the OT - very much like the NT writers did. They espouse a literal hermeneutic that is actually grammatical and historical - emphasizing the study of history to learn what genres were used and how they functioned as we apply that to our literal hermeneutical efforts.

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.

Jim's picture

* Link to Religious Affections has gone dead. But in it Dr Bauder mentioned that he is both a member of the ACCC and an ACCC chaplain.

The ACCC process on membership

http://www.amcouncilcc.org/aboutus.html

Section 5. Expulsion from Membership: Expulsion from membership may occur when a Constituent Body, local church or individual member does not maintain a separatist position in harmony with the ACCC doctrine and practice.  Expulsion will require prior notification of the proposed action followed by a three-fourths vote of the Executive Committee and majority approval of the Council Members at an Annual Meeting. 

Expulsion of Dr Bauder would be incredibly short sighted!

dlhanson's picture

To find the original material usually using google and going to the cached version works.

I copied the original URL from above into google search.  Google retrieved a link to the article and the first 10 words or so.   There is a little green mark to the right of the text.  Click on the little green mark and a small popup shows cached and share.  Click on cached and there is the article which was deleted  (or whatever Religious Affections did to it).

Jay's picture

Jim wrote:
The ACCC process on membership

http://www.amcouncilcc.org/aboutus.html

Section 5. Expulsion from Membership: Expulsion from membership may occur when a Constituent Body, local church or individual member does not maintain a separatist position in harmony with the ACCC doctrine and practice.  Expulsion will require prior notification of the proposed action followed by a three-fourths vote of the Executive Committee and majority approval of the Council Members at an Annual Meeting. 

Expulsion of Dr Bauder would be incredibly short sighted!

If the executive leadership of the ACCC thinks that Bauder is that much of a threat, then why not expel him?  Either you're a serious threat to fundamentalism or you aren't.

I'm waiting - with bated breath - for speculation of why RAM decided to pull their blogpost.  Esp. in light of the motives ascribed to NIU for doing so.

"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

DavidO's picture

I'm waiting . . . for speculation

 

Why wait?  Start right in.

 

 

SamH's picture

Not even "mostly dead..." The link works fine...

SamH

Greg Linscott's picture

Bob Hayton wrote:

Someone mentioned that GARBC is better than the ACC because its resolutions are more sane. The implication is that they don't attack others.  I was a bit disappointed to see them come after the "redemptive historical" hermeneutic as a grievous error in their resolution on biblical hermeneutics. That seems in step with the fundamentalist mentality of painting other views as black as possible and promoting their own position with a remnant-mentality that all other groups are wrong. 

Bob,

I would observe here that the GARBC uses a resolution like that to help clarify to its own constituency where they are and aren't- what is "in bounds" for the parameters of their Association  and what is not. It is not at all unlike the statement they make when they label themselves "Baptist"- they are very openly trying to distinguish themselves from other legitimate believers (and in that example, would consider a congregation who practiced something other than credo-baptism to be in error). In their case, a dispensational, pre-tribulational, pre-millennial approach to the Scriptures is something still at the core of their identity, a principle on which the affiliate churches unite.

I would also observe that GARBC churches have found ways to have limited partnerships with those they would determine to be in some form of error over the years. RT Ketcham, GARBC National Representative of some note back in the day, also served as president of the organization we are discussing in this thread (the American Council of Christian Churches), and shared a partnership with Presbyterians, Methodists, and so on, as did many GARBC congregations in years past.  Many Regular Baptists have been active in the Biblical Counseling movement, alongside a broad range of people who were not Baptist or explicitly Fundamentalists As We Use The Term (Jay Adams, Wayne Mack, John MacArthur, etc etc). I know many GARBC congregations utilized D. James Kennedy's Evangelism Explosion program over the years. On we could go.

So, just make sure you understand what is said and what is not being said, and what the implications are and aren't.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Joel Tetreau's picture

So I want to say about 8 things to you - but I don't think I have the right spirit to say all that I want to say. I have to just share a few thoughts as one who is historically appreciative of the ACCC.

So it's time for you to be warned - You men are in danger of taking secondary separation to the place where you come off as elitist and you wrongly cut yourself off from men who you really should not. It's kind of like we've already taken Gideon's troops down to 300 and you've decided to chop that number down to 73 men - because of fears from your fathers?

1.  neofundy's did not change the definition of fundamentalism - you have. Historically it was indeed orthodoxy plus militancy - militancy could be lived out as either a separatist approach or a stay-in-and-fight approach. You in the second or third generation changed the definition - not the neo's. 

2. The reason some see you as not being loving or committed to unity is not because of the compromise of others but because you men too often come off as not loving and not very unified.

3. Case in point - Bauder is your chaplain and you put him in the same category as Northland or Calvary or guys like me? Look I'd love to have Kevin solidly in my "camp" but he's much closer to your camp. When he does hang with a conservative evangelical - he often speaks of how the differences that remain are still significant. Uh.......apparently you guys missed all that? Don't you think the loving and unified thing to do would be to make sure you represent Bauder carefully? He is your guy!? Maybe you aren't as unified and loving as you think you are! Let me help you - You aren't as unified and loving as you think you are.

4. To say that the dialog between some fundys and some evangelicals today is the same as during the Falwell thing is in my view either disingenuous or historically unaware. The motivations for cooperation then was driven largely by a quasi "ecclesastical-political" thing. I've not seen any of that in any dialog between fundy's and evangelicals today. BTW - today when there has been meaningful dialog between fundy's and conservative evangelicals - it's typically on the basis of the Gospel and Theology vis-a-vis politics - which makes these discussions God-honoring.

5. So I will hit this one as gentile as I can. Many of you men are not Baptist. You keep refering to returning to the teaching of your fathers or the  position of "militant separatism convictions." You see we Baptist believe in the Bible as the sold authority of faith and practice. So we are more concerned with what "it" says that the testimony of a multi-denominational magesterium (spelling?) view of it's ecclesiastical position - even when it's been upheld by good men. Our authority base is the Scriptures - not consistency with what a few men say is consistent twice or three times removed for the clear teaching of Scripture. By the way - I would like to return the challenge to you men - yes, let's do return to the Scriptures clear teaching on Unity first and separation when we must. I get the idea you guys focus on the separation passages and ignore the unity ones.  

6. Last - friends in the ACCC - you need to understand that there have been massive changes in both the world of fundamentalism and in the world of evangelicalism in the last 50 years. I know it's comfortable for some of you to pretend this is still 1950 or 1960 but it isn't. In today's world we have fundamentalist who are heretics and evangelicals that are Godly and God-blessed.

Please consider this counter Biblical appeal my Methodist, Presbyterian, Bible Church ....... Brothers.

Straight Ahead!

jt

PS - to my friend Kevin Bauder - Kevin - bro - I'm sorry you got dinged by your friends. Just to remind you that would never happen from your Type B friends. I have a juicy apple with your name on it! Smile

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;

Jim's picture

Dr Colas is the executive secretary of the ACCC. I appreciate Ralph and I appreciate the ACCC. But I think this resolution as it touches Dr Bauder is absolutely wrong. 

I used the contact form on the ACCC website to express this today

(This is minor but we support the ACCC financially for a small annual amount. I do think this ministry is worthy of support. I hope I won't need to revisit that view)

Ron Bean's picture

Joel's admonition to the ACCC was well stated, true, kind, and spot on. I join him in praying that somebody will read what he wrote and take it to heart, I know it was a hard journey for me but it was worth it.

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

Larry's picture

Moderator

If you read Graemesworthy or some of the material from Dennis Johnson or Edmund Clowney, from Westminster Theological Seminary (on either coast), you would see a careful, literal approach to hermeneutics that just differs on some of the interpretations of prophecy and that does find more typology in the OT - very much like the NT writers did. They espouse a literal hermeneutic that is actually grammatical and historical - emphasizing the study of history to learn what genres were used and how they functioned as we apply that to our literal hermeneutical efforts.

Not to detract from this thread, but this is not entirely accurate, and there is a point to the long paragraph that follows. These three, (Johnson particularly) say that a literal-grammatical-hermeneutic is too restrictive because it does not go as far as biblical theology. They don't "just differ on some of the interpretation of prophecy" and "find more typology." It is, as Johnson calls it, "way of viewing the Scripture and its witness to what God has done, is doing, and will do to redeem and recreate his people and his kingdom" (Johnson 2007, 198, emphasis his). He says, "Johnson says, "I am arguing that if the New Testament itself affirms a symbolic-typological interpretation of an Old Testament feature (for example, that the multiethnic church "is" the Israel with whom God makes his covenant), we are on safer ground to follow the New Testament's lead rather than clinging to a different, 'literal' reading that might seem, in the abstract, to be more objectively verifiable" (Johnson 2007, 140). In this statement, Johnson effectively undermines the literal grammatical historical method as the pursuit of objectivity instead of the pursuit of the apostolic example. So he says, "We are not apostles, of course. We have not been taught be Jesus on the road to Emmaus or in an upper room in Jerusalem; nor have we been inspired to write Scripture as they were. For these very reasons, a humble recognition of our limitations in contrast to the revelatory insights of the apostles should lead us not to depart from but to follow the apostles' hermeneutical example particularly as we interpret those Old Testament texts on which the New Testament writers have not commented" (Johnson 2007, 163; emphasis his). Again, notice how he undermines literal grammatical historical exegesis in the naem of a "humble recogntion of our limitations." For him, the exegesis of the text takes a back seat to preaching Christ, particularly when the NT does not use the text to preach Christ.

All of which is to say (1) that these guys are not as Bob describes them, good examples of people committed to literal-grammatical-historical exegesis and interpretation, and (2) that they are fairly harsh, "paint as black" those who disagree with them.

So to paint the ACCC as overly harsh on this in contradistinction to others is to selectively read, or at least selectively report, what others have said. Johnson, again, says that the position that many hold is "seriously amiss."

The reason why this is important is because it goes to the issue of authority, namely, where is it? If the authority is in the Bible, then we must use the Bible as the authority, and undermining that, even in a "good pursuit" is to undermine the authority and to use the Scripture to risk saying something God hasn't said. And the point of a resolution is to highlight a danger, here, the particular danger of undermining the authority of Scripture through a hermeneutical method that minimizes what the text says.

BTW, my point is not to argue that harsh language, or "painting as black" should be used by either side. I think it shouldn't be. I think we should not minimize the important issues, but should discuss them as Christian brothers.

Mike Harding's picture

Dr. Bauder,

 

I assume you are reading this thread.  Thank you for your contribution to a healthy fundamentalism, as you often define it.  The author of the article must not know you very well, at least as well as I do.  I would not compare you at all to Jerry Falwell and his Moral Majority movement.  It is a comparison of apples and let's say bowling balls.  You are unashamedly a biblical fundamentalist and a biblical separatist.  This article in respect to its comments concerning you is an example of the old adage that the difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.  Dr. Ralph Colas, a personal friend of mine who has spoken several times in my pulpit, is a fine and gracious fundamentalist.  I don't think he would write such an ill-advised article.

Pastor Mike Harding

Bob Hayton's picture

Mike Harding wrote:
Dr. Ralph Colas, a personal friend of mine who has spoken several times in my pulpit, is a fine and gracious fundamentalist.  I don't think he would write such an ill-advised article.

@Mike

Dr. Colas is on the executive committee which drafted the article in question. So if he didn't write it, he had to have agreed with it, since it is from the executive committee of which he is the executive secretary.

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.

Bob Hayton's picture

@Larry

Obviously a full discussion of this takes us far afield from the original post that started this thread. I would just say that advocates of redemptive historical interpretation self-identify their position as "literal, grammatical, historical interpretation." They would agree with VanHoozer's statement: "Taking the Bible literally means reading for its literary sense, the sense of its communicative act."

Progressive dispensationalists like Blaising and John S. Feinberg admit that the distinction does not center on literal vs. non-literal. But how to define and apply literal, when and where. Dispensationalists by and large, are quick to spiritualize the passages about "Lucifer" in Ezekiel and Isaiah as referring ultimately to Satan. But doing so is not a consistently literal approach. They easily allow that the seven headed beast (or is it ten heads) in revelation is not a literal being, but represents (symbolically) the antichrist. The question is not whether literal interpreation allows for symbolism and allegories, metaphors and poetry and the like.  The question focuses mainly on 1) how to interpret prophetic language that often includes cosmological terminology and 2) how to properly allow the New Testament use of the Old Testament to influence one's interpretation of the OT.

To interpret Revelation primarily literally, could be to ignore its genre - and it's own designation of its contents (1:1).  When Jesus said that "this is the blood of the new covenant" that means something and we have to relate that to the OT teaching of the new covenant. The different systems do this differently and apply literal and symbolic understandings appropriately in their attempt to unravel what the text is literally saying.

It is easy to do what GARBC does and just say your interpretation is "biblical" and the other position isn't. And holding on to the term "consistently literal" gives you a sense of the "high ground" - that "remnant" idea I mentioned. That simplifies the debate incredibly and makes it seem like those in the "redemptive historical" camp don't care what the literal text says at all. That they are going to find Christ anywhere no matter what.  When in fact they carefully exegete passages and refrain from wild allegorizing and unwarranted typology.

The vast majority of the good exegetical commentaries that help interpreters do the pain-staking literal hermeneutics, are written by people who are not classic or revised dispensationalists. Yet their commentaries often evidence a care to be literal in their understanding of the text.

John Gerstner points out this very thing ably in the excerpts I provide in this post:

http://www.fundamentallyreformed.com/2010/10/08/quotes-to-note-19-john-gerstner-on-literal-interpretation/

 

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.

JD Miller's picture

If we are to have a fundamentalism worth saving, we must not repudiate separation.  Sadly I have seen a number of so called fundamental separatists repudiating separation to the right (from heretics) while calling for separation from conservative evangelicals who are much more Biblical in both their beliefs and practices (I'm talking about conservative evangelicals with high standards of morality, conduct, and even dress and music).  Do not misunderstand me, there are some conservative evangelicals we should separate from, but it seems like there is this idea that we no longer need to look at the Bible when deciding who to separate from, we just need to look at what association the other person belongs to.  If that is really the attitude out there, then I have to lay down the line and separate from those who refuse to use the scripture as their standard for separation.

If fundamentalism is to survive as a Biblical position, I fear we will need to have more separation in our movement, but we may end up being surprised about who we are forced to separate from.  Let us just make sure we have a Biblical basis for our separation and not a political one.

Joel Tetreau's picture

So - at the threat of being drawn deeper into a discussion I'm really not wanting to be drawn deeper into - of course we must be separate! How in the world is that something that is relegated to "fundamentalism?" Our Lord commands, "Be ye Holy as I am Holy." Linguistically "holiness" is connected to "separate-ness." The Scriptures are clear we must be separated from sin, false teachers and even self-identified believers who persist in unfaithfulness. This has more to do with "mere Christianity" than it does fundamentalism! Here's the point - the problem is that the ACCC and groups like this will judge one as a non-separatist - if there is not complete agreement with "whom" we separate and to the "degree" we separate. So - in this case - if a "neofundamentalist" separates with 90% of the same people that the ACCC separates from, because of the 10% difference, apparently they have the ability to make the accusation that "so-in-so" have repudiated separation.

Sad.

Straight Ahead friends!

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;

Larry's picture

Moderator

Bob, Now that this thread has died down a bit, let me return to it. You are correct that this is more than should be done here, and my point is not about dispensationalist or non-dispensationalist, though I think you have a too generous assessment that doesn't even match what they themselves say. And there are other things in your post worth a response because I think you misrepresent some key things. But that would take us away from this point.

You say, It is easy to do what GARBC does and just say your interpretation is "biblical" and the other position isn't.

But that is exactly what the people you speak of above do (Johnson, Clowney, Goldsworthy, etc.; I just finished Johnson for the second time last week; I have also read Goldsworthy, and Clowney twice and listened to a number of his lectures; so I am not speaking out of nothing here). Gerstner (who, as I recall, did a poor job in the book you cite), does the very same thing in his title, claiming that his position is biblical and the other is unbiblical. You can't have it both ways. If you don't think it should be done, then you can't do it.

The point is that you jump on the GARBC for doing something that everyone does, and defend the people who do it back as if they were mistreated.

Clowney, Goldsworthy, Johnson, etc. do it because they think it is an important point. Fine.

So does the GARBC. So does Gerstner.

And so do I. And so do you.

I imagine your disappointment is more about the fact that the resolution took a side against your position. That may also explain why you call out the GARBC but not these others who do the same thing. You agree with them. Now, I am not defending a resolution, or condemning it. I don't care.  And I am fine with agreeing with some people and disagreeing with others. I am merely pointing out that people on both sides believe there is actually something at stake, and they think the other side is unbiblical. 

You speak of Blaising and Bock admitting that the real issue isn't literal vs. non-literal. You cite Gerstner (whose book was not a good one). But this is commonly known. Kevan said the exact same thing in Revelation and the Bible in 1958, about the same time Ryrie was saying it in Dispensationalism Today. That was more than fifty years ago, Bob. The issue is not even how to define and apply "literal." Literal means normal. It doesn't mean literalistic, but there is too often a caricature that dispensationalists think literalistically. The question is about how we determine something is symbolic or figurative. And there is certainly room for debate about that. It has been going on for a long time, and not just between dispensationalists and others, but between the others themselves.

You mention the typical (no pun intended) dispensationalist view of Isa 14 and Ezek 36. The irony is that this is usually an appeal to typology not spiritualizing--it is argued that the King of Tyre is intended as a type of Satan and the point is heightened in the actual truth about Satan. (With your bent towards typology (as I perceive it), I am surprised you would pick on this one. I would think you would applaud them and question why they don't do it more.)

You speak of refraining from wild allegorizing and unwarranted typology. But who disagrees with that. Does anyone think we should have wild allegorizing and unwarranted typology? I doubt it.  But a strong argument can be made that they don't refrain such as when Keller preaches the story of Leah and Jacob's wedding as "In the morning, it's always Leah," and he says, "When God saw that Leah was unloved, he loved her. He was saying "I am the real bridegroom." Now, is that literal, grammatical, historical exegesis? Or is that even typology of a remotely legitimate sort? How is that not wild allegorizing and unwarranted typology? How is that the point of the text? I would say that is unwarranted. Or how about when Esther gives 10 or more things that Jesus is the true and better (Driscoll). Now, it's easy to pick on the blatant cases, like these, but these and others show that there is a lot of wild allegorizing and unwarranted typology going on. What is the warrant? How do we know when something is unwarranted? As it currently stands, there is a wide wide spectrum. Until there is a more robust discussion of what warrants typology, and how that relates to the sufficiency of Scripture, there will continue to be significant differences.

You cite your citation of Gerstner about "is": [i]"There is no non-arbitrary way (nor can there be) of saying that the word cannot mean something other than its usual meaning."[/i] But it's not arbitrary. "Is like" or "represents" is a common usage of "is" in descriptive or illustrative contexts. If a coach draws up a play and points to an X and says, "John, this is you," no one thinks that's odd. Only in a hypercritical view would John say, "What do you mean by 'is'?" Because no one would misunderstand. Or if you go to traffic court and use the board to illustrate where your car was, and say, "Here's my car and there's the other car," the judge won't respond with "You're commiting perjury because that's not your car." He understands exactly what you mean.

There's nothing "literal" hermeneutically about seeing that saying that the piece of bread was actually the body. No one sitting there would have been confused by that, and if there's any doubt, just read John 6 where Jesus said to have eternal life they needed to eat his body and drink his blood, and no one actually tried to do that. Why? Because they understood he meant something else by that. Gerstner makes an argument that doesn't need to be made.

It is true that a lot of non-dispensationalists are careful with the text. Again, that's not the point.

The point is that both sides think that the other side has problems biblically, and both tend to identify as problems things that are not really problems. For the most part, Gerstner's comments are good. They just don't get practiced in his book very well. For one side to call the other out is not uncommon, and passing a resolution should not be disappointing, but the manner in which it is done should be carefully considered.

If the GARBC is saying we should separate from people over this in a pejorative sense, then they probably shouldn't. But neither should you. To offer warnings, or statements of disagreement? Sure. But let's handle the discussion as brothers and sisters in Christ.

So my point is mainly to exercise caution and grace in how we talk about others. It's something I am not always successful at, but we should make the effort.

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