Hosted by Fundamentalists

waiterThis June is a month of changes for SharperIron. Several design changes are planned by month’s end. A restructuring of the Forums is in the works. Today we’re officially making a change that we’ve been describing for a while as “the identity tweak.” (See “Seven Years and Counting” and the ensuing discussion.) The key phrase in this adjustment is “hosted by fundamentalists.”

For some years—probably since ‘05—SharperIron has characterized itself as “a fundamentalist place” existing “for fundamentalists.” Though the language predates my involvement at SI, the intent was that those who register and participate in discussions should be people who consider themselves to be, in some sense, fundamentalists. Since we didn’t precisely define what a fundamentalist is, or put much effort into policing members’ fundamentalist status, we’ve always had some participants who were not fundamentalists in the estimation of some other members. As everyone knows, opinions expressed here have not always been “fundamentalistically correct” either.

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SharperIron Has a New Facebook Page

sifbAs of today, SharperIron has a new Facebook page. The story of why we need a “new” page is a bit technical, boring, and personally embarrassing. (I broke an important feature of the old one, and it happened to be one of those One-Click Facebook Mistakes You Cannot Reverse… Even in a Hundred Clicks.) So we’ll just move on to the fun part.

If you’re a fan (or “liker,” or whatever they’re calling it this week) of the current SI Facebook page, please “like” our new one. If you’ve not been involved with the SI Facebook presence before—and have a Facebook account—please like the new page.

(Maybe we’ll even start posting “let’s play celebrity” stuff like “SharperIron is now grocery shopping—Puffs or Kleenex?! Stay tuned to find out!”)

The new Facebook page is at

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Coming Soon: "The Fundamentals" at SharperIron?

The Fundamentals was a series of articles first published between 1910 and 1915 as the fulfillment of an oil millionaire’s (Marsden, 118) dream. He didn’t dream of becoming a Christian publishing magnate. Rather, Lyman Stewart aimed to fortify Christian leaders in the fundamentals of the faith against the tide of unbelief—specifically the unbelief of higher criticism.*

Accordingly, Stewart and his brother Milton distributed the series, one volume at a time, free of charge “to every pastor, evangelist, missionary, theological professor, theological student, Sunday school superintendent, Y. M. C. A. and Y. W. G. A. secretary in the English speaking world, so far as the addresses of all these [could] be obtained” (Vol. I, Foreword). By the time Volume V rolled off the presses, the Stewart brothers were able to claim they had sent series volumes to “more than 275,000” of these Christian leaders (Vol. V, Foreword).

The full title was The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth.

Over the coming months, it’s our intention to republish The Fundamentals one chapter at a time here at SharperIron. And, though we lack Stewart’s millions, we’ll follow his tradition and make them available for free.

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Seven Years and Counting

SharperIron launched in January of 2005 and is now seven years old.

For me, the experience has been broadly—and sometimes intensely—educational. In the early years, that experience involved writing monthly, reading weekly and dropping into the forums once in a while. In the spring of ‘08 my involvement increased steeply. SI quickly became a technical, financial, and interpersonal challenge. Though I’ve often felt a bit out of my league, the challenges have never failed to be interesting. They have also rarely failed to teach me things. I’m grateful for that.

The site has been on a journey from day one. The question I ponder fairly often lately is, where has it been headed and where is it headed now? If I can borrow a phrase from a real leader (George H. W. Bush), “the vision thing” often eludes me.

As with any new thing, a website only gets to make the Really Big Splash—the everybody quickly discovering it splash—once (if at all). And SI did have quite a splash in ‘05 and ‘06. We’re well past those days now and have to think more in terms of what long term contribution we can make to conservative Christianity in general and fundamentalism in particular.

Your thoughts on what that contribution should be are most welcome.

In its unique and relatively small way, the site can encourage (and has encouraged) accessible, thoughtful writing and discussion—as a means of believers sharpening one another. Beyond that, it isn’t clear to me what a website like this one can do. But I remain open to discovering more.

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2011 Writing Contest: And the Winner Is...

The long-awaited 2011 Writing Contest restuls are in. Many thanks to all of you who contributed articles!

Per the announcement earlier this year, we narrowed the winners to four. The winners will receive $114 each ($75 plus donations to the contest fund—thank you donors!).

The winning articles

1. Suffering in Light of the Gospel by Stephanie Ludlum

2. “Net-working” in the Local Church by Joseph Leavell

3. Faith and Babies by Hannah Anderson

4. We Shall All Be Changed by Gordon Scott Jones

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SI Has a New Reviews Editor

SharperIron has featured book reviews since it’s first year on the ‘Net. (This one may have been the first.) Since February of ‘07 we’ve enlisted the aid of volunteer book review editors, beginning with Jason Button. In ‘08, Jason shifted his energies in a different direction and Ken Largent rose to the occasion. We’ve been blessed by the work of both of these men as well as the many reviewers who have contributed. (Take a look at the “books” tag to browse their output.)

Starting officially today, SI’s new Reviews Editor is Bob Hayton.

Bob has been active at SI since at least the spring of 2006 and has been blogging at Fundamentally Reformed and KJV Only Debate Blog for several years as well. During that time, he has shown an active alertness to new and important books, many of which are of special interest to SharperIron readers. He has reviewed over one hundred books, some of which we have posted here in recent months. Bob has also shown a high comfort level with Web techologies and savvy in putting them to good use.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s also young, a family man and a Minnnesotan.

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SharperIron's Doctrinal Statement: Questions from Readers

The SharperIron Doctrinal Statement is available here.

Salvation and regeneration

This one came to us via the site contact form in July of 2011.

I would be interested in joining your group and adding to the discussion, however, you require that a person believe your Doctrines Statement and I have a problem with statement #8, which defines “Salvation” as being the result of the inner transformation of the man. This is not Salvation. Your statement is a fine example of the error of Roman Catholicism, which fails to understand the difference between, and relationship of, what Jesus has done FOR us and what the Holy Spirit is doing IN us. Salvation (which is the promise of the believers resurrection from the dead) is what Jesus has done FOR us, outside of us. The new-birth is what the Holy Spirit is doing INSIDE of us (it comes to every believer as a RESULT of trusting the the Gospel of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection). The new-birth is not the Gospel itself and it is not a biblical definition of Salvation.

Would I be allowed to join dispite my refusal to accept your false definition of Salvation?

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