Preserving the Truth: An Interview with Mike Harding about the January Conference

A Fresh Look at Biblical Separation

Q: My impression is that the Preserving the Truth conference is a brand new event. Am I right about that?

A: Yes!

Q: Where did the idea for a “Preserving the Truth” conference come from and why that particular emphasis?

A: The idea for this conference originated with myself and a group of pastors that I have worked with over the years. We are concerned that the next generation of young ministers appreciate the principles and applications of biblical separatism without falling prey to the doctrinal error that exists in some quarters of fundamentalism and evangelicalism. Every other year Dr. Doran has an excellent missions conference for young people entitled SGI (Students for Global Impact) which we strongly support. We thought this conference could provide a complementary emphasis for our college students, singles, and ministerial students during the off years.

Q: There are already lots of conferences going on. What’s different about this one (in addition to differences you may have already mentioned)?

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Confused about Catholicism, Part 2

(This series on evangelical confusion about Roman Catholicism originally appeared as one article in JMT, Fall, 2008. Read Part 1).

Areas of agreement

Another area in which honesty is needed and which is sometimes a stumbling block for evangelistic outreach to Roman Catholics is the fact that Catholics and evangelicals really do agree on quite a few theological points. So here a review of some of the most important agreements will be given before the areas of disagreement are brought forward.1

First, Roman Catholics and evangelicals agree on the nature of God. At the most basic level, both view God in the sense of classical theism. What is meant by classical theism is that there is one Creator God2 who is personal, transcendent, and immanent. Note the following declaration from the Vatican I council (1869-70) which is still official church dogma:

The holy, Catholic, apostolic Roman Church believes and professes that there is one true and living God, the Creator and Lord of heaven and earth. He is almighty, eternal, beyond measure, incomprehensible, and infinite in intellect, will and in every perfection. Since he is one unique spiritual substance, entirely simple and unchangeable, he must be declared really and essentially distinct from the world, perfectly happy in himself and by his very nature, and inexpressibly exalted over all things that exist or can be conceived other than himself.3

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Confused about Catholicism, Part 1

Editor’s note: this article first appeared in the Journal of Ministry & Theology, Fall 2008. Some of the content and footnotes are a bit dated now, but the state of confusion in evangelicalism has changed little and the article still speaks well to the issue today in 2010.

Part 1: the issue explored

One of the greatest shocks in the history of the Evangelical Theological Society occurred in May 2007 when the president of the organization, the respected Francis Beckwith, resigned his position and membership because he had become a Roman Catholic.1 Beckwith, currently Associate Professor of Philosophy and Church-Studies at Baylor University (traditionally a Baptist school), had left the Catholic church when he was fourteen years old and was now returning to his roots after many years in evangelical churches.

The official response from the ETS Executive Committee was cordial, thanking Beckwith for his past work for the society, but highlighting the necessity of a parting of the ways largely because “we wholeheartedly affirm the distinctive contribution and convictional necessity of the work of the Evangelical Theological Society on the basis of the ‘Bible alone and the Bible in its entirety’ as ‘the Word of God written and…inerrant.’”2 The response goes on to highlight that this distinction involves the use of a different Bible, the Catholic Bible which “posits a larger canon of Scripture than that recognized by evangelical Protestants.” Beckwith apparently affirmed that he could sign the ETS statement since it does not enumerate the particular books of its Bible (although its tradition does), but he decided not to pursue continuance with the society because it would have produced a major debate that could possibly hurt the organization.3

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Fighting the Bantam Roosters: Baptist Fundamentalism Still Grapples with Its Colorful Heritage

Ninety years ago we gave ourselves a name: Fundamentalists.

“We suggest that those who still cling to the great fundamentals and who mean to do battle royal for the great fundamentals shall be called ‘Fundamentalists,’” wrote Curtis Lee Laws in the July 1, 1920 issue of the Watchman-Examiner, a Baptist newspaper with loose ties to the Northern Baptist Convention.

And 90 years later, we still discuss the implications of the Fundamentalist label. Back then, the issues seemed crystal clear: either you believed the Bible was true, or you didn’t. Simple to articulate and easy to defend, the idea of Fundamentalism was expressed as core doctrinal beliefs. Lines were drawn. Positions were staked. Ink was spilt, often.

But language is elastic, meaning is elusive, and sometimes words just wear out.

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"If [our definition of heresy] is unwatched, it turns into radical sectarianism. If it is unwatched in the other direction, it turns into pomomush."

Doug Wilson offers an interesting perspective on separation issues (“pomomush” = postmodernist mush) at Blog and Mablog

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Is Error in Doctrine Always Sin?

“If I feel that my friend is being sinful by teaching that we should baptize infants, I will want to go to great lengths to show him that he is sinning and to see him repent and correct his error. But if I believe that his belief in infant baptism is something less than sin, I can appreciate his conviction while not feeling the need to emphasize repentance and correction.”
Challies reflects on error that is sin and error that is just error.

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