Fundamentalism

A Report on the IFCA Annual Convention (Part 3)

Read Part 1, and Part 2.

Another topic that received almost as much attention as the main theme at this year’s IFCA International Annual Convention, which was held in Lincoln, Neb., from June 28 to July 2, was social justice as well as the related subjects of critical race theory, intersectionality and wokeness.

In this final installment of a series about the convention, I will attempt to sum up a great deal of discussion that occurred on this topic.

First of all, on Tuesday morning, it was the subject of the first theological panel called, “Race and the Social Justice Issue.” Panel participants were as follows:

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A Report on the IFCA Annual Convention (Part 2)

In the previous installment, I began to share a report on this year’s IFCA International Annual Convention, which was held from June 28 to July 2, in Lincoln, Neb.

The convention theme was “The Soon & Coming King—Biblical Eschatology.” Convention attendees ratified a resolution that complemented that theme, titled, “Resolution on Dispensational Premillennialism.”1

The convention afforded plentiful opportunities for teaching and discussion. In addition to the four general sessions, there were two theological panels, and 23 workshops in six different timeslots.

There were also five business sessions and three women’s conference sessions, along with children’s programs.

Additionally, there were specialized meetings for chaplains.

Dr. Richard Bargas, executive director of IFCA International, set the tone for the week with his general session message on Monday evening.

“Dispensational premillennialism was the majority view,” Bargas said. “But with the rise of the ‘Young, Restless, Reformed’ crowd … there was a backlash against dispensationalism. Now the popularity of the Left Behind series is used to mock dispensationalists.”

However, Bargas emphasized: “Those who reject our view cannot do it on exegetical grounds.”

He said that the theological opponents of dispensationalism do simply end up mocking it.

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A Report on the IFCA Annual Convention (Part 1)

During the week of June 28 to July 2, I attended the annual convention of the IFCA International, where I oversaw the exhibit for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry.

The theme of this year’s convention was “The Soon & Coming King—Biblical Eschatology.” General session speakers were Dr. Richard Bargas, executive director of IFCA International; Dr. Thomas Ice, executive director of the Pre-Trib Research Center and professor at Calvary University; Dr. Michael Vlach, who was in the process of moving from The Master’s Seminary (where he taught for 15 years) to Shepherds Theological Seminary (where he is now professor of theology); and Dr. Larry Pettegrew, research professor of theology at Shepherds.

“We need to plant flags as IFCA members,” Bargas told the crowd of more than 300 that assembled for the first general session on June 28. “We have some convictions.”

“The name ‘IFCA’ means a lot to us,” Bargas added during the first business session on June 29, referring back to the adoption of a 2020 “Resolution on Dispensational Theology and Hermeneutics.”* “We didn’t do anything new,” he stated regarding that resolution. “We just put a flag up to say, ‘This is who we are.’”

Bargas said that the IFCA’s bold stand has made it more attractive to some who are looking at the options along the ecclesiological landscape—especially those who are “tired of the sliding, tired of the compromise.”

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On Ken Ham and Fundamentalism

I opened the mail the other day to discover a letter from Answers in Genesis (“A Note from Ken Ham”). This wasn’t unusual. What was unusual was what Ken wanted. A color brochure fell out of the envelope. A new “Statement of Faith” from AiG. What was this about?

Ken had a challenge for me. He asked me to review “our updated statement of faith.” Then, he asked me to compare it to “your church’s/college’s statement of faith.” Ken encouraged me to provoke a discussion with leaders about why the church’s Statement didn’t match AiG’s. To be fair, Ken warned me “this could result in some hostility.” But, he declared, such a sacrifice was necessary to “help uncover compromise.”

My first reaction was purely ecclesiastical. Why does a man who runs two amusement parks believe it’s proper to incite doctrinal strife within local churches? His parachurch organization is not an agent of the Gospel. His organization disciples nobody. It baptizes nobody. It marries nobody. It eulogizes nobody. Ken is not there when a marriage is on the rocks, or when a family has no money and needs a new washing machine. Yet, here his letter sits, inviting Christians to accuse their churches of “compromise.”

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