Conservative Evangelicalism and New Evangelicalism

Is there a difference between conservative evangelicalism and new evangelicalism? Please explain.

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mmarprelate's picture

About 50 years. New Evangelicalism as a concept could be strictly aligned with Harold John Okenga's seminal messages on the topic. He described a new strategy of infiltration rather than separation. Conservative Evangelicalism has largely repudiated that philosophy either explicitly or implicitly. Conservative Evangelicals could be described as separatists, although they clearly do not view their separatism systematically as fundamentalists. In a sense, having repudiated Okenga-ist doctrine relatively recently, their views on separation perhaps mirror that of the fundamentalists of the late 1950's.

We fundamentalists have spent 50 years defining, fighting, arguing, fomenting and gilding the doctrine and have hammered together a number of divergent views, which are relatively consistent internally. The Conservative Evangelicals now have to do that (poor souls). Fortunately for them (or maybe not), they have our example to look at and emulate, or not.

MM

Ed Vasicek's picture

Many conservative evangelicals are simply fundamentalists who do not believe in secondary separation (like myself), and perhaps not even primary separation on non-theological events.

By SI's definition, many conservative evangelicals are fundamentalists but do not know it.

Some conservative evangelicals might define the fundamentals differently, too.

"The Midrash Detective"

Larry's picture

Moderator

Ed,

For clarity for my mind, do you believe that a Christian should separate from a fellow believer who participates in evil deeds?

Ed Vasicek's picture

Larry wrote:
Ed,

For clarity for my mind, do you believe that a Christian should separate from a fellow believer who participates in evil deeds?

It depends upon what you mean by "evil." Certainly not sinful or erroneous, or we would all be separated from one another. So my general answer is that we sometimes separate from "evil" if "evil" means "gross wrong." The I Cor. 5:11 sorts of sins demand separation:

Quote:
But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

But to separate from people who have a different opinion from me or my group, no. 2 John 1:6 says to separate from those who teach falsely, not from those who do not separate from those who teach falsely:

Quote:
And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. 7For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

Notice that Paul does not say "sin in general," but he lists the TYPES of sins that require disfellowship. This is an important point.

So do I believe in separating from those who are in error? Depends on the error. I think a lot of guys on SI are wrong about a lot of things. We can't all be right -- we sprinkle, we immerse, we're secure, we're not secure,we believe Israel has a future, we don't believe Israel has a future, etc. We can't all be right. So, therefore, we are fellowshipping with someone in error. Perhaps there is one of us who has it all right, but probably not. There is one person on planet earth who has it more together than anyone else, but we don't know who that is! But the error of failing to separate, not, that's not big enough, IMO. There are things (like baptism or Israel's future) that are much more clear to me.

"The Midrash Detective"

Larry's picture

Moderator

Ed,

Thanks. That was a long answer to what I intended to be a pretty simple question.

Allow me to press for a moment: 2 John clearly says that if a person (call him A) does not separate from an apostate (call him Cool who denies the gospel, then A is participating in B's evil deeds.

Do you believe that a person C, who desires to be a faithful and obedient believer, must separate from person A who (according to Scripture) is participating in evil deeds?

John seems to use pretty strong language about those who fail to separate. To say that he is "participating in his evil deeds" is not the same as "disagrees about a point of interpretation." It is not a mere "different opinion from me and my group" is it?

Should we, as faithful believers, separate from those who participate in evil deeds as defined by John?

BTW, I have seen many people make the argument that "if we separate from all sin than we have to separate from everyone" is a straw man that borders on absurdity. It often comes up in discussions about qualifications for pastors. I have never seen anyone, not even the most extreme fundamentalist, make that argument. In other words, it answers an argument no one is making anyway.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Larry wrote:
Ed,

Thanks. That was a long answer to what I intended to be a pretty simple question.

Allow me to press for a moment: 2 John clearly says that if a person (call him A) does not separate from an apostate (call him Cool who denies the gospel, then A is participating in B's evil deeds.

Do you believe that a person C, who desires to be a faithful and obedient believer, must separate from person A who (according to Scripture) is participating in evil deeds?

John seems to use pretty strong language about those who fail to separate. To say that he is "participating in his evil deeds" is not the same as "disagrees about a point of interpretation." It is not a mere "different opinion from me and my group" is it?

Should we, as faithful believers, separate from those who participate in evil deeds as defined by John?

BTW, I have seen many people make the argument that "if we separate from all sin than we have to separate from everyone" is a straw man that borders on absurdity. It often comes up in discussions about qualifications for pastors. I have never seen anyone, not even the most extreme fundamentalist, make that argument. In other words, it answers an argument no one is making anyway.

No, I John does not say to separate from one who is participating in evil by refusing to separate. It does not say that. If we take that stance, we must take it ad infinitum, because the one who fellowships with the compromiser is himself a compromiser, etc. If you project it even one level beyond I John, you now cannot stop. If you limit I John to what it actually says (rather than trying to infer), you end up with primary separation.

The issue is about not DIRECTLY aiding a false teacher. It is my belief, for example, that Paul preached in synagogues that did not confess Jesus Christ, and that the early Jewish believers participated in Temple Worship with unregenerate Jews (Acts 21:21ff). Whatever view of separation we embrace should be demonstrated in the Scripture.

"The Midrash Detective"

Larry's picture

Moderator

Quote:
No, I John does not say to separate from one who is participating in evil by refusing to separate.
So you think John would encourage fellowship and Christian recognition of someone who participates in evil deeds? Why do you think John uses such strong language (i.e., "evil deeds")? Because you seem to think it is not all that evil, that it is certainly not evil enough to avoid. I don't want to misrepresent you, so please help me understand.

Furthermore, why is church discipline appropriate against the evil deeds of things like "an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler" (1 Cor 5:11) or a lazy person (2 Thess 3), but not appropriate against the evil deeds of calling a false teacher a brother in Christ? Aren't you in the position of saying that it is much worse to be covetous than it is to call a false teacher a "brother"? Again, I don't want to misrepresent you, so please help me understand how you put these things together.

Quote:
If we take that stance, we must take it ad infinitum
Why? Can you give us anyone who has ever actually made this argument? The only people I have heard it from are those who are arguing against it. but I have never heard or seen anyone actually argue for it.

Quote:
If you project it even one level beyond I John, you now cannot stop.
Again, why? What forces us to keep going? I don't see that need, and I don't understand any reasoning behind it? No one that I know of suggests that all sins are equal in consequence and response, or that all levels of association are equal. Isn't that a straw man?

Quote:
If you limit I John to what it actually says (rather than trying to infer), you end up with primary separation.
But you put John in the context of the whole Bible, you end up not being able to argue only primary separation. Think about 1 Cor

Quote:
The issue is about not DIRECTLY aiding a false teacher.
That's exactly what it's about in 1 John. To "give him a greeting" or "receive him into his house" most likely has to do with church functions (because the church met in the house). I don't think John was forbidding saying "Hi" to him on the street. He was talking about recognizing him as a Christian and/or giving him a platform to speak and teach.

Quote:
It is my belief...
But the Scripture doesn't say that right? So you are fine inferring things from Paul to support your view, but not from John. Isn't the Bible clear that when Paul went into the synagogue he was confronting them with the message of Christ and not recognizing them as Christian brothers?

Quote:
Whatever view of separation we embrace should be demonstrated in the Scripture.
It would probably be more correct to say that our view of separation should be taught in Scripture. It is impossible to "demonstrate" from Scripture some response to ecumenical evangelism since it didn't exist back then.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Ed,

Let me put a bit more shape or definition on this from my thinking. Go back to A, B (the apostate), and C (though perhaps A should be the apostate ... nevertheless), here is what seems the implications of what you are saying:

If person B lies about who they are (saying "I (B) am Christian brother and teacher" when he isn't), we should separate from B.
If person A lies about who person B is (saying "B is a Christian brother and teacher" when he isn't), we should not separate from A.

It seems that we are drawing a distinction between the kinds of lies that require separation. In other words, we condemn a lie from one person, but condone the exact same lie from another person.

Tell me where my fallacy is there.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Larry wrote:
Ed,

Let me put a bit more shape or definition on this from my thinking. Go back to A, B (the apostate), and C (though perhaps A should be the apostate ... nevertheless), here is what seems the implications of what you are saying:

If person B lies about who they are (saying "I (B) am Christian brother and teacher" when he isn't), we should separate from B.
If person A lies about who person B is (saying "B is a Christian brother and teacher" when he isn't), we should not separate from A.

It seems that we are drawing a distinction between the kinds of lies that require separation. In other words, we condemn a lie from one person, but condone the exact same lie from another person.

Tell me where my fallacy is there.

Well, Larry, if they are intentional lies, then I don't want to hang around either one. If we disagree as to what makes a Christian, however, then differing definitions a liar does not make. If you look at the differing definitions of a Christian based on Zane Hodges, Charles Ryrie, S. Lewis Johnson, and John MacArthur, we can see a big difference between Hodges and MacArthur. But they are disagreeing, not lying. True, some or all in this equation are inaccurate somewhere, but lying -- no.

From now on, to keep things clear, how about making A the bad guy, B the gullible guy, and C the more discerning guy?

"The Midrash Detective"

Larry's picture

Moderator

Quote:
Well, Larry, if they are intentional lies, then I don't want to hang around either one. If we disagree as to what makes a Christian, however, then differing definitions a liar does not make.
In the case of 2 John, it is not disagreement though, is it? John is pretty clear about the issue. He does not believe and teach the doctrine of Christ. It is not disagreeing about worship styles or something like that.

Quote:
If you look at the differing definitions of a Christian based on Zane Hodges, Charles Ryrie, S. Lewis Johnson, and John MacArthur, we can see a big difference between Hodges and MacArthur. But they are disagreeing, not lying.
Hodges is/was lying about the gospel, based on the revelation of Scripture. So I think that one is pretty easy. The others could perhaps be mere disagreements, but I don't really want to get them in this conversation because they are not about apostates.

Quote:
From now on, to keep things clear, how about making A the bad guy, B the gullible guy, and C the more discerning guy?
mmmm ... food for thought.

Thanks

Larry's picture

Moderator

BTW, Ed, you didn't say why one step requires an infinite number of steps. Still curious as to the reasoning there.