May 29, 2009

Kevin Bauder: A Call for His Removal From the Platform of the 2009 FBFI Annual Fellowship





Some Would Like Me to be Removed From the Platform of the FBFI this Summer,” (Dr. Kevin Bauder).







In recent days there has been a great deal of controversy and contention among Independent Fundamental Baptists (IFB) within and around the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International (FBFI).

The uproar began over a message delivered by Dr. Dan Sweatt at the FBFI South Regional Fellowship in April. You can read details in my previous article,
The IFB & Calvinism: Flashpoint!

First at the height of, and then later as the uproar over Sweatt’s message began to subside, two articles were published by Dr. Kevin Bauder (
President, Central Baptist Theological Seminary). Both were posted at the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron blog. In order they were: Time to Speak Up & Nuff Said
Both articles contain remarks that many believe to be ill-timed, inflammatory criticisms of several historic Independent Fundamental Baptist preachers. In Time to Speak Up, Dr. Bob Jones. Jr. (among others) was targeted by Bauder.

Dr. John R. Rice was singled out for expanded criticism in Bauder’s second article.

In his
Nuff Said article Bauder raised the issue of calls for his removal from the platform of the FBFI this summer. Dr. Bauder wrote,
Fundamentalism is still home to quite a few people who were willing to burn incense to the emperors. Those people are very unhappy with the way things are going at the moment. They would like to see the FBFI leadership denounce me and a few others in no uncertain terms. Some would like me to be removed from the platform of the FBFI this summer. They have communicated their wishes to the leaders of the FBFI.”
I included the early portion of the paragraph above to exemplify why I believe other men have been moved to call for Bauder’s removal from the FBFI platform. If Bauder wanted to make incendiary comments (more examples of which to follow) to motivate men to call for his removal he did a fine job of it. “Burn incense to the emperors,” is not innocent “Bauderian hyperbole” as some might suggest.

I do not know which men Bauder had in mind above, but I am adding my name to the men who he states have been encouraging the FBFI leadership to excuse him from speaking at the upcoming
FBFI 89th Annual Fellowship.

Through the two articles Bauder, of his own volition,
made himself a lighting rod for controversy in the IFB community. He has become no less controversial than Dr. Sweatt from the other end of the controversy.

What are some reasons why Dr. Bauder should not be a featured speaker at the FBFI annual fellowship? Depending on whom you ask, those reasons might include, but not be limited to:

1) His rhetoric about Dr. Bob Jones Jr. has never been retracted. Dr. Bob Jr. was a big part of the FBF in yesteryear. Should an FBFI speaker be allowed to publicly (as one man noted to me) “
throw Dr. Jones under the bus and nothing be done about it?” What message is sent when an open attack against Dr. Bob Jones is tolerated with no response or consequences whatsoever?

2) His comments about Dr. Rice were highly inflammatory as Missionary **John Himes expressed
in the closed thread at the conservative evangelicalism Sharper Iron site. For example Himes wrote,
Again, I am very disappointed at the language Bauder uses against his fellow fundamentalists, evidently chiefly against Rice: ‘pugilistic and bellicose,’ ‘alpha males,’ ‘the big boys,’ ‘bullies,’ ‘chieftains,’ etc. Is this the kind of language a fundamentalist leader should use?”
Can anyone explain how Bauder’s remarks contribute to healing the rift in the IFB community and promotes reconciliation and growth? How are men edified when in Bauder’s last two articles we are treated to harsh criticisms of men who were Fundamentalist leaders in their generation? In the brochure for FBFI annual fellowship there are no message titles noted for each of the keynote speakers. What guarantees do we have that Bauder will refrain from a continuation these critical themes during his Wednesday morning address to the annual fellowship attendees?

The difference before us is that Sweatt’s message in April apparently took the FBFI membership by complete surprise. The reaction, however, was swift from the offended parties and the FBFI responded in an appropriate official manner. With Dr. Bauder, however, he has prior to the annual fellowship given a public offense and refuses to publicly discuss or retract his statements. Instead of being a calming influence Bauder reignited passions with stinging criticism and incendiary remarks in regard to men from our Fundamentalist heritage. In light of those remarks why should men not be just as troubled with Bauder retaining a platform presence at the annual fellowship as men who were offended by Dr. Sweatt’s remarks would be if he (Sweatt) were seated there as well?

With an opportunity before him to promote unity, healing and reconciliation in the IFB community Dr. Bauder chose to pursue a different tact. Instead he further polarized factions, alienated many and fueled further division among men in and around the FBFI. I can’t imagine a more unnecessary, unwise and ill-timed moment as this juncture in the chain of events for Bauder to publish sharp criticism of widely respected men from our own IFB heritage.

The FBFI’s official response
Speak the Truth in Love to the tumultuous discussion and disagreement that followed the message by Dr. Sweatt included the following statement,
We must honor our biblical responsibility to use speech that edifies and displays Christ-like love. We must demonstrate an unwavering commitment to humble integrity. Caricatures and personal attacks do not honor the Lord or advance His work. Neither pulpit nor keyboard exempt us from these biblical obligations.”
Dr. Bauder’s criticisms of Dr. Jones and Dr. Rice was not speech that edifies. It was not a display of Christ-like love. Bauder’s tone was not the sound of humble integrity. The caricatures of Jones and Rice, while barely skirting personal attacks, certainly did not honor the Lord or those men. It is irrefutable that the speech with which Dr. Bauder described Drs. Jones and Rice is antithetical to what the FBFI leadership called for.

How does Kevin Bauder’s rhetoric about Fundamentalists of yesteryear serve in the best interest of the FBFI and a potential healing of the widening fracture in the broader IFB community?
In my opinion the most honorable thing Dr. Bauder can do would be to excuse himself from speaking at the 2009 FBFI annual fellowship. He would do well to acknowledge his sharp criticisms of Dr. Jones, Jr. and Dr. Rice were ill-timed and harmful to the efforts of the FBFI to restore calm and charity among IFB men just ahead of the annual fellowship. In the best interest of the overall body of IFB believers Dr. Bauder should acknowledge his remarks were not helpful, apologize for and repent of them. Realizing the high improbability of that decision coming from Bauder I will close with the following.

Kevin Bauder’s recent actions justify calls for his being relieved from any speaking assignments at this year’s FBFI annual fellowship. That action will be a strong signal to any man, regardless of stature and/or theological pedigree, that there will be no tolerance for any man who intends to follow Bauder’s example and tone, which at present is contributing to the polarization of the IFB community.

Unless Dr. Bauder retracts his inflammatory rhetoric in regard to Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. and Dr. John R. Rice, men are justified in calling on the FBFI leadership to remove him from the platform for the upcoming annual fellowship. To reiterate from above: In light of Dr. Bauder’s
Time to Speak Up and Nuff Said men are completely justified to be just as disturbed by his being given a platform presence at the FBFI annual fellowship as men who object to Dr. Sweatt’s remarks at the FBFI South Regional Fellowship would be if Dr. Sweatt were to be featured.

In the best interest of balance and encouraging all FBFI members toward, “
speech that edifies” and “an unwavering commitment to humble integrity” I am joining other men in calling on the FBFI leadership to prayerfully consider removing Dr. Kevin Bauder from the platform for the upcoming annual fellowship.


LM

UPDATE: Kevin Bauder has (incredibly) fanned the flames and accelerated the controversy by publishing yet another article at his own site, which SI has also republished and enthusiastically supports. Over the weekend I may be posting details in the thread of this article.

Please continue to- Kevin Bauder: Even More Than “Nuff Said” For His Removal From the National Platform of the FBFI Annual Fellowship

**Brother Himes is the grandson of Dr. John R. Rice.

NOTE: For more commentary on this subject, see the Appendix entry that appears at the beginning of this thread.


Update (2/11/10):
This is well after the fact, but an important follow-up to this series.

I was at the FBFI Annual Fellowship in 2009. During the Q&A Symposium fears that Kevin Bauder might once again launch another unprovoked attack against historic Fundamentalism were realized.

Toward the end of the Q&A Bauder dodged a direct question put to him by symposium moderator Dr. John Dr. Vaughn about the conservative evangelicals, which was the subject of the Q&A. His dodge extended to an open attempt to besmirch Bob Jones University for its having hosted various candidates for political office.

Bauder just could not let his three previous attacks on the legacy of Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. and John R. Rice be “Nuff said.”

The irony is that current BJU president Stephen Jones was ill and, therefore, could not appear in the Symposium as scheduled. So, Bauder lowered the crosshairs on the most recognized personality from BJU that was available to him on the panel: Dr Mark Minnick.

Dr. Minnick was obviously uncomfortable with Bauder ambushing him with criticism of BJU administration decisions and calling on him to explain it. Dr. Minnick graciously tried to leave the discussion for the BJU administration to answer since he (Minnick) it not a BJU administrator and cannot speak for the administration, but Bauder kept up the pressure.

IMO Bauder, with that final performance, gave all the reason necessary to ensure he should never again be given a platform presence at an FBFI sponsored event.


LM

16 comments:

  1. APPENDIX to Article:At SI the following comment was posted. I present here for your consideration.
    



    My response to missionary John Himes:


    Dear John,



    Hi! I am a missionary pastor doing inner-city work. It is indeed a privilege to meet the grandson of Dr. John R. Rice. I had the blessing of meeting him in Norwich, NY at a Sword of the Lord Conference, early in my ministry. I had read some of Bro. Rice's books previous to that, with the opinion that they were a bit on the harsh side. After I had met and heard him personally, I saw a man with a big heart for God and for people. My reading of his works thus became alive with his marvelous personality.




    I have to agree with you wholeheartedly over the abysmal treatment by Dr. Bauder of Dr. Rice. I’ve read about J. Frank Norris, written by one of his old friends, Dr. John W. Rawlings, and by other comments from the Baptist Bible Fellowship. I had personal contact with Dr. Carl McIntire, who tried to draw me into his fellowship. Both of these men were feisty, mean-spirited individuals by all that I could gather. This was not the way the Lord Jesus taught, nor is it the instructions of God’s Holy Word. So I distanced myself from that crowd.




    Yet that was not the manner of your Grandfather. I was drawn to His kind and compassionate heart. For Dr. Bauder to put him in the same category with Norris and McIntire, is reprehensible. Then, of course, all the accusations, in Bauder’s article, applied to Dr. Rice as well. His criticism of Dr. Sweatt, although I had not known him till now, actually shows a far more contentious attitude than the one he had criticized. I listened to Dr. Sweatt, and although he said some things against Calvinism, I would say the same to my Calvinistic colleague. “If you can’t stand the heat…” Oh well!

    


These, who are touchy about criticism of Calvinism, ought to look at Calvin’s ensnarement of an old friend, then executing him for disagreeing with his doctrine.




    I frankly believe that Bauder, Central Baptist loyalists and company have a high opinion of themselves as the bastion of fundamentalism, while they take potshots at those who are fundamentalists with studied convictions. While Bauder may not officially be a part of SI, his articles and his seminary are often represented. They all need to examine 1 Cor. 13, realizing their falling short of Biblical charity. The Bema seat will be too late.




    Sadly, SI closed the thread prematurely. I would have submitted some of the material, which I have said here, but the Central Baptist crowd, of whom (Jeff) Straub and other SI staff are a part, would still give their illogical conclusions. When clear alignment of Bauder’s remarks were indicated as direct criticism of Dr. Rice, the decision was made to cut it off.




    God’s rich blessings,



    Rev. Silver

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  2. Missionary John Himes, who I reference in the article, e-mailed and asked me to post the following comment on his behalf.


    Dear Lou:

    Thanks so much for your support for my comments on the Sharper Iron (SI) thread about the article by Kevin Bauder, “Nuff Said.”

    Until that article, I had a very good impression of Central Baptist Theological Seminary and Dr. Bauder. I’m saddened by the direction Dr. Bauder is taking. Surely Dr. Bauder didn’t need to slam great fundamentalists of the past while lamenting the actions of present day fundamentalists! And of course among those Dr. Bauder slammed was my grandfather, John R. Rice.

    Contrary to what some on the SI thread speculated, I don’t object to thoughtful criticism of my grandfather. But I do object to intemperate language about him such as was used by Dr. Bauder.

    God bless you.

    In Christ,


    John R. Himes
    Asahikawa, Japan

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  3. Lou,
    You seem to be proving Dr. Bauder's point: Some in fundamentalism will not allow ANY type of discussion of what might have been a problem with past leaders. Having that mentality will drive people away from that kind of fundamentalism. My hope is that a better fundamentalism will emerge - one that can learn from the past; one that is willing to take off the blinders; one that keeps the focus on Christ - off of man.

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  4. Brother Lou:

    Thanks for the post on your blog about removing Bauder as a speaker at the FBF conference. It was written charitably and forthrightly. My sentiments exactly.

    I think true colors are coming to the surface in this matter. Some of these men are quite intolerant, as you pointed out in various blog posts.

    Kuddos, my brother. I hope the leadership of the FBF is paying attention to the real agenda of these people and will heed your challenge to remove Bauder.

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  5. Hi Bob:

    You wrote, “…one that is willing to take off the blinders; one that keeps the focus on Christ - off of man.”

    A very good thought that Dr. Bauder might have prayerfully considered before fixing his sights on and assaulting the names and reputations of good men from our IFB heritage.

    His damage being done he needs to do the honorable thing, whish is to excuse himself from the FBFI annual conference platform lest he further en flame men in IFB circles with more of the same rhetoric.

    Thank you for sharing it.

    Kind regards,


    Lou

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  6. But Lou, in his statement that is his point, that we exalt the leaders too highly. I do not believe he is trying to "assault" these men. In his article he just does not do that - I don't see it.

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  7. Hello Gary:

    Thanks for stopping by and the helpful comment.

    IMO what Bauder did is no small matter, no less controversial than what his (Bauder’s) opinion of Sweatt’s message was.

    I am truly hopeful the FBFI will take what I have suggested very seriously. If Bauder’s commentary is ignored, there will most likely be a very unhappy and definite reaction from a base constituency of members in the FBFI.

    I don’t think we’ll hear/read the level of outrage that came from men like Bauder and a number of our Reformed brethren over the Sweatt’s message. It will IMO be more of a quiet, but devastating fall out for the FBFI.

    These recent events have IMO set in motion what is going to very quickly decide the future direction of the corporate IFB movement, especially where the FBFI in particular is headed.

    I cannot underestimate the importance of how the FBF leadership responds to Bauder’s inflammatory commentary about historic IFB men.

    Thanks again,


    Lou

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  8. Susan:

    I’m sorry, but IMO elements of your comment strayed OFF-topic and took a personal tone.

    In consideration of unbiased application of my blog rules I removed your comment.


    LM

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  9. Hi Bob:

    You write, “But Lou, in his statement that is his point, that we exalt the leaders too highly. I do not believe he is trying to ‘assault’ these men. In his article he just does not do that - I don't see it.”

    I appreciate your view, but many do see it and are disturbed by Bauder’s remarks especially at this crucial juncture in the IFB community.

    Kind regards,


    Lou

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. To All:

    It is sad that there is an on-going sentiment being floated.

    Suggesting that Himes, myself and unnamed others, “…will not allow ANY type of discussion of what might have been a problem with past leaders,” is unfortunate and a broad-brush misrepresentation.

    There may well be men like that, but Himes is not, I am not one of them and I do not personally know of any.

    The problem is that Bauder’s criticism of the ministry of these historic IFB men was not only over-the-top, but all the more so because it was exceedingly poorly timed.

    I can understand why men, faced the impossible task of justifying Dr. Bauder’s untimely (inflammatory) criticism, might try to redirect the discussion or inadvertently demonize the messenger(s).

    Any new broad-brush commentary will be moderated.


    LM

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  12. Hi Lou

    I am still amazed at the reaction to all this. It reminds me of the mob mentality at Ephesus:

    NAU Acts 19:32 So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in confusion and the majority did not know for what reason they had come together.

    What exactly is the issue that we are risking dividing Fundamentalism over?

    Calvinism? i.e., in order to be acceptable you must agree to Calvinism, or to at least never say anything negative about it?

    Bad preaching? i.e., only one side is ever guilty of bad preaching?

    Dictatorship by the Big Personality? i.e., who is the big personality here, and who is dictating? (Hint: it isn't a largely hitherto unknown pastor named Sweatt)

    Seriously, is it one of these issues that is so critical that we just aren't going to take it any more?

    I think everyone needs a cooling off period.

    It seems, however, that Bauder has chosen this hill to die on, for whatever reason. He posts on the subject again today at his site. He could let it go, he was the one that said, 'nuff said, right? But he keeps banging the drum.

    I ask again, who is dictating here?

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

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  13. To All:

    I have verified as Don as noted that Kevin Bauder has published yet another, his third article, on the same issue.

    UPDATE: Kevin Bauder has (incredibly) fanned the flames and accelerated the controversy by publishing yet another article at his own site. Over the weekend I will be posting brief details in the thread of this article. Next week I will post an article (tentatively) titled, More than “Nuff Said” by Kevin Bauder: The Growing Case for Bauder’s Removal from the National Platform of the 2009 FBFI Annual Fellowship.

    More to follow on the question: What good purpose does it serve to have Bauder yet again fanning the flames of controversy?


    LM

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  14. Don (All):

    I just read through Bauder’s third article. A brief introduction is followed by a compilation of letters he has received with various reactions to his two previous articles.

    Let me draw your attention to this statement at appears just before the letters he received are posted.

    I believe in giving one’s opponents a hearing. Leadership that tries to control followers by restricting who gets a hearing is not ethical leadership…My standing offer in that review was that I would give my opponents the final word in any discussion. For this series, I am doing the same thing. I have made a point of including words of opposition from both sides—and I will offer no rejoinder.

    In light of his (to date) refusals to answer legitimate questions about the critical elements of his articles I was hopeful Bauder would present some balanced commentary. I was hopeful he would in fact, “give my (his) opponents the final word in any discussion.” Once you read through the series of reactions you will find that Bauder’s commitment is in fact shallow at best.

    I did a count of the letters Bauder presented. For the two articles you will find 35 responses that support Bauder’s articles, 4 that object and 5 others I felt were neutral. How does that kind of lopsided numerical make up constitute a sincere effort to give his opponents a hearing and/or the final word?

    Maybe Bauder received no more than four objections. Fine, then he might have presented four letters supporting his articles and the four that objected. At least one might have come away believing he made a sincere effort to strike some balance.

    Don, you wrote: “He could let it go, he was the one that said, ‘nuff said, right? But he keeps banging the drum.

    I believe your concern about why Bauder has to keep banging the drum is legitimate. His continuation of the same theme may be an indication that he has taken up an offense to the point of having an axe to grind over it.

    More to follow on the question: What good purpose does it serve to have Bauder, publishing the private correspondence of others, to yet again fan flames of controversy?


    LM

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  15. By Way of Update:

    I am continuing to develop a review and response to Dr. Bauder’s latest article/efforts, which have identified him as a lightning rod for controversy and a polarizing influence in the IFB community.

    As I noted in this article, “With an opportunity before him (Bauder) to promote unity, healing and reconciliation in the IFB community Dr. Bauder chose to pursue a different tact. Instead he further polarized factions, alienated many and fueled further division among men in and around the FBFI. I can’t imagine a more unnecessary, unwise and ill-timed moment as this juncture in the chain of events for Bauder to publish sharp criticism of widely respected men from our own IFB heritage.

    That was in response to his second of two articles. Thinking Nuff Said was enough, we now have a third compelling reason from Bauder to conclude he must be excused from appearing as a featured speaker at June’s FBFI Annual Fellowship.

    I will explain in the upcoming review and commentary of, From the In Box.


    LM

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  16. Update: This is well after the fact, but an important follow-up to this series.

    I was at the FBFI Annual Fellowship in 2009. During the Q&A Symposium fears that Bauder might once again launch another unprovoked attack against historic Fundamentalism were realized.

    Toward the end of the Q&A Bauder dodged a direct question put to him by Dr. Vaughn about the conservative evangelicals, which was the subject of the Q&A. His dodge extended to an open attempt to besmirch Bob Jones University for its having hosted various candidates for political office.

    Bauder just could not let his three previous attacks on the legacy of Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. and John R. Rice be “Nuff said.”

    The irony is that current BJU president Stephen Jones was ill and, therefore, could not appear in the Symposium as scheduled. So, Bauder lowered the crosshairs on the most recognized personality from BJU that was available to him on the panel: Dr Mark Minnick.

    Dr. Minnick was obviously uncomfortable with Bauder ambushing him with criticism of BJU administration decisions and calling on him to explain it. Dr. Minnick graciously tried to leave the discussion for the BJU administration to answer since he (Minnick) it not a BJU administrator and cannot speak for the administration, but Bauder kept up the pressure.

    IMO Bauder, with that final performance, gave all the reason necessary to ensure he should never again be given a platform presence at an FBFI sponsored event.


    LM

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