June 4, 2009

Kevin Bauder: Even More Than “Nuff Said” For His Removal From the National Platform of the 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 sharp contention among Independent Fundamental Baptists (IFB) within and around the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International (FBFI).

In my previous article I issued, A Call for Dr. Kevin Bauder’s Removal From the National Platform of the FBFI Annual Fellowship. That followed The IFB & Calvinism: Flashpoint!, which at the time I thought would be a single treatment of that particular issue.

Among other reasons given in my two previous articles for recommending Dr. Kevin Bauder’s removal from the national platform of this years FBFI Annual Fellowship included:
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 has never been retracted.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) Missionary John Himes (grandson of John R. Rice) 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?”
3) And as I noted,
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.
4) And contra to the FBFI’s call for men to Speak the Truth in Love,
“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.”
If Dr. Bauder had limited his commentary to the first article, Time to Speak Up, there would be some degree of just cause for his removal from the national platform. His second Nuff Said, a continuation and expansion of the same themes as the first, raised grave concern over his appearing on the national platform and legitimized calls for serious consideration that he be removed.

Following Bauder’s second article, Nuff Said, one might have assumed enough had been said by Bauder, but he had not yet, Said Nuff.
On Friday (5/29) Kevin Bauder, at Nick of Time published another and third installment of what has become a series. The title is, From the In Box.

In Bauder’s From the In Box, after some opening commentary, he published a long series of private correspondence he received in regard to his two previous articles, Time to Speak Out & Nuff Said. Bauder stated that he,
…believes in giving one’s opponents a hearing…that I (Bauder) 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.”
I did an informal content count of the e-mails Bauder presented. You will find 35 responses that support Bauder’s two previous articles. There are 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?

Making matters worse some letters continue Bauder’s critical themes of historic fundamentalists. Some are a continuation of angry reactions to the message by Dr. Sweatt. Calls for greater censure of Dr. Sweatt by the FBFI were included. Following are examples of the more egregious letters Bauder posted,
As a young fundamentalist and a Calvinist, I cannot thank you enough for going to bat against the big talkers who are spoiling fundamentalism. It is refreshing to see a man in leadership such as yourself speaking out against what I perceive to be atrocities committed in the name of Christ.” (bold mine)

The Calvinism issue is definitely one of our questions, and I thank you for addressing it. But, I believe that the greater issue at stake is how long will this ‘duplicitous and abusive leadership...pulpit tirades, doctrinal tomfoolery, and political gamesmanship’ be allowed and tolerated in mainstream fundamentalism?” (bold mine)
How does Bauder’s inclusion of incendiary and vitriolic commentary such as that contribute to a constructive, healing discussion of the issues? Why would Bauder include statements as extreme as these?

Occasionally, I receive articles for my blog that include statements I feel are excessive and needlessly inflammatory. In good conscience before God, to protect the character of men I disagree with and to avoid needlessly stirring emotions I revise or remove inflammatory commentary. If Bauder had any thought that the e-mails cited above might be over-the-top he would not have included them. Is it possible he let those anonymous men say for him, what he could never get away with saying himself?

Dr. Bauder publishing anonymous correspondence from other men perpetuates controversy. Why does Bauder bolster his views and flank himself with others men’s private e-mail? Does he think piling on more rhetoric legitimizes his own? Is he lobbying to keep his seat on the FBFI Annual Fellowship platform?

It has become clear through various on-going blog discussions that most of the men who were offended by Dr. Sweatt’s message are not satisfied with the FBFI’s Speak the Truth in Love response. In Nuff Said Bauder did acknowledge, “We need to give credit where credit is due.... The leadership did what they needed to do for this moment. They took a step that was intermediate but adequate.” There are, however, others who are agitating for stronger more immediate punitive measures to be taken against Dr. Sweatt, to IMO make an example of him. For example from the e-mails,
The FBFI statement is either arrogance or timidity. And I think they’re bed partners, frankly.”

When I read the FBFI statement, I thought that it was a non-statement that was laughably vague, yet here you describe it as courageous!”
No other recognized “leader” I am aware of in the IFB community or featured speaker for the upcoming FBFI Annual Fellowship is at the present publicly airing grievances (his own and those of others that were meant to be private). No other IFB leader is stirring the pot of controversy, taking on a political tone and essentially ignoring the FBFI’s recent attempt to calm the waters. Kevin Bauder is the only recognizable leader perpetuating controversy in the public forum. Other men who are slated to speak at the annual fellowship surely have a position on current events. They are, however, keeping out of the public fray most likely preferring private prayerful discussion. However, we have in Bauder, a high profile seminary president, engaging in public blog commentary (blog warfare as some call it).

Calls for Kevin Bauder’s removal from the national platform are not doctrinally motivated. Instead we have a pattern of behavior from Bauder that is working against unity, harmony and reconciliation in the IFB community.

Kevin Bauder’s on-going commentary has fostered hard feelings and is contributing to a polarization of factions within the broad base of IFB believers and the FBFI membership in particular.

Dr. Bauder has fashioned himself into a lightning rod for controversy! He has done nothing less than *increase the voltage being introduced into the atmosphere of the IFB community. On his own initiative he has made himself a flashpoint of controversy. Bauder’s perpetuating and expanding controversy is a major contributor to what is becoming a “toxic climate” for fundamentalism. In my opinion Bauder’s From the In Box, his third foray into controversy, erases any lingering doubt as to the necessity of his being relieved of any speaking responsibilities at the 2009 FBFI Annual Fellowship.

I do not envy the difficult position that Bauder has put the FBFI leadership in. The FBFI is at a crossroads. Whatever the FBFI decides on Bauder’s appearance at the annual fellowship there will certainly be some level of fallout. Concerns over potential political fallout must be set aside. Name and reputation must be set aside. The only question is: What is the right thing to do?

With his third article Dr. Kevin Bauder has Said (way more than) Nuff to warrant his removal from the national platform of the 2009 FBFI Annual Fellowship. I believe there is sufficient reason for any objective man to call for and/or agree that Bauder must be removed from the platform of the FBFI Annual Fellowship.

Yours in His service,


LM

*I chose the photo of lightning bolts over the Chicago skyline for a purpose. In Bauder’s Time to Speak Out article speaking of, “a more historic species of fundamentalism” he wrote,
Fortunately, I do not have to look very far to find a better, more biblically faithful, and more historic species of fundamentalism…. It shows up here and there in the toxic climate of Illinois…”.
Kevin Bauder is creating a highly charged “toxic climate” in Chicago, Illinois for the FBFI Annual Fellowship.

For an appendix entry to the article see the first thread comment. It is one of the e-mails that Bauder included in From the In Box.

Please read, Theological Pedigree to Gain a Hearing for another view of Dr. Kevin Bauder that has a degree of relevance here.

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

11 comments:

  1. APPENDIX Entry: Originally appeared in Dr. Bauder’s, From the In Box…

    I have suggested to Drs. Vaughn and Smith that they need to cancel you as a speaker at the National Meeting. I do so because of your statement concerning Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. that he was one of the very heavy burdens that fundamentalism has had to bear. I do not believe that Dr. Sweatt should have included Dr. Bob Jones along with the others that he called “giants”. Therefore it would follow that I do believe that, *in your reply to Sweatt’s message, you should have differentiated between Dr. Jones, and Drs. Hyles, Gray, and Roloff. I doubt that those three, Hyles, Gray, and Roloff, were ever members of FBF or the fellowships out of which it grew, CBF and The Fundamental Fellowship of the ABC. (Not sure of the name when it was associated with ABC).

    Dr. Jones was vitally connected with the FBF and was a strong fundamentalist. Dr. Rice was not particularly involved with the FBF, but should be differentiated from the other three—the only reason for not differentiating them is that Dr. Rice did promote the ministry of the other men in The Sword of the Lord—though I do believe Dr. Rice was different. But you grouped them all together as men you did not count as authentic fundamentalists. Therefore I am not sure you should be in a speaker’s position at the National Meeting, particularly in the light of your blog.

    I recognize that I know you only by name. I am not sure that I have ever heard you speak. I recognize you as a leader by virtue of your position with Central Seminary. Further I recognize that Dr. Bob Jones, Jr., being a man, probably made some mistakes. But to say that he was a liability to fundamentalism that caused you to consider not being identified with fundamentalism cause me to wonder just what type of fundamentalism it is that you espouse.

    Therefore I have suggested to Drs. Vaughn and Smith that they not use you to speak at this National Meeting at this time will be the best for the FBFI. I am not saying you are not a fundamentalist, but I do have questions as to whether you are the militant type fundamentalist as those were with whom I had fellowship in the founding days of the FBF.

    You may be the very fundamentalist of whom I speak as a militant fundamentalist. But I would think that before you be allowed to speak there should be an apology given to the leadership at BJU. You see, you, as an Administrator at Central Seminary, speaking of a former President and Chancellor of a companion institution, are making a statement about that institution and those of us who stand with it.

    It may be that our paths may cross some day and that we can sit down and talk about these things.
    Retired pastor and FBFI emeritus board member

    *to date Bauder still has not agreed to publicly draw this distinction.

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  2. The part that really jumped out at me was your response to the comment alleging: "pulpit tirades, doctrinal tomfoolery, and political gamesmanship".

    You seem to be arguing that such allegations should be silenced and suppressed, and you are basing this demand on both temporal and scriptural authority? Do you not see a problem here?

    Regardless of the merit of the original allegation, one normally doesn't respond to allegations by proving them true, lock, stock, and barrel.

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  3. Lou,
    I appreciate your willingness to stand for what you believe; however, being a graduate of BJ, and often feeling left out of fundamentalist circles BECAUSE I'm a Calvinist, it's nice to see people standing up against agression.
    Dr. Bauder was simply showing that (wheter publicly or privately) many people have had serious problems with what was said, and I am glad that people are willing to challenge the status quo.
    It would have been interesting to see how fundamentalism would have developed had people stood up against things that Fundamentalists had said in the 60s and 70s.
    As to Bauder being dropped as a speaker, Lou, I've heard preachers bad mouth central South Carolina far worse than a "toxic climate". :)

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  4. Hello Joshua:

    Sorry I am late in replying, I have been out on family business. I appreciate your concern.

    You noted, “The part that really jumped out at me was your response to the comment alleging: ‘pulpit tirades, doctrinal tomfoolery, and political gamesmanship’.”

    I do want include the following because it as also reason for my reaction, the portion reads, “atrocities committed in the name of Christ.”



    If you look back to the article you will see that I asked, “How does Bauder’s inclusion of incendiary and vitriolic commentary such as that contribute to a constructive, healing discussion of the issues? Why would Bauder include statements as extreme as these”?

    Then you asked, “You seem to be arguing that such allegations should be silenced and suppressed…?



    As I have done for folks at other blogs I can assure you that I do not demand silence. The problem is not so much over what was said, but how it was said, the timing and that is essentially a blanket condemnation.

    With tensions running high on both sides I am confused why Bauder had to include rhetoric that is not his own, which he surely knew would be offensive knowing it was, at least in part, directed to Dr. Bob Jones. Jr. and Dr. John R. Rice

    I you have seen my articles, not to mention my book, you would know that I am at times highly critical of men's doctrine and/or behavior at times. For example see:

    Mark Driscoll

    John MacArthur

    Zane Hodges/Bob Wilkin

    Antonio da Rosa

    I am occasionally criticized and I welcome it, as long as it is offered with good intentions and to help me grow in Christ. If, however, someone comes at me with “atrocities, tomfoolery and tirades,” I am not likely to be very receptive.

    I’d like to share more, but I have to head out again.

    I hope this is helpful and I really do appreciate your expressing the concerns that you did.

    If I may ask you (in closing):

    How does Bauder’s inclusion of incendiary and vitriolic commentary such as that contribute to a constructive, healing discussion of the issues?

    God bless you,


    Lou

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  5. Brandon:

    Real quick on this one from you, “As to Bauder being dropped as a speaker, Lou, I've heard preachers bad mouth central South Carolina far worse than a ‘toxic climate’.”

    Briefly, as for Bauder’s “toxic climate” comment, I know what he meant and why he said it. It was IMO unwise, untimely and not helpful. And I do believe he is adding to the alleged toxicity in the air with the last two of three articles he wrote.

    I have heard that too, and I NEVER appreciated it. Legitimate, charitable criticism is valid and we all need to receive it when it comes our way or to our colleges, but bad or mean mouthing I won’t tolerate.

    As a missionary to South Africa several churches in SC supported us very generously. My oldest daughter is a BJU graduate and is serving the Lord in China today. Her training at BJU has given her academic and spiritual tools to be an effectible witness for Christ, see some recent conversions to Christ, through her profession as an elementary school teacher.

    Both of my church’s pastors are BJU grads and I thank God for them and the training they received at BJU when they were there.

    I spent a week of ministry together with Dr. Bob III at a Christian camp about 7 years ago and we hit it off real well.

    I can cite more reasons why I appreciate SC. I do have a concern about something I am seeing at BJU. I have expressed my concern to a member of BJU’s administration. We exchanged several letters and my concern was graciously received.

    More later; OK?


    Lou

    PS: South Caroline is renowned for fine golf courses. God help the man that blasphemes SC’s dedication to excellence when it comes to golfers from professional to the hackers and sandbaggers. ;-)

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  6. Thanks Lou,

    No argument from me about the use of the word "atrocities". I personally wouldn't be afraid to publish it, but that's just me. Letting it stand with a gentle rebuke would be more likely to avoid causing escalations, and perhaps even get an apology. People often know and regret when they act hot-headed, and appreciate an opportunity to save face and de-escalate.

    On the other hand, I don't think it's fair to say that someone is spreading "vitriol" by characterizing Sweatt's sermon as a "tirade" and "political". It's no more vitriolic than (for example) calling someone "mean mouthed", as I've seen done here. I found Sweatt's sermon to be big on vitriol, sorely lacking in humility, ignorant about Calvinism (I am not defending Calvinism, just pointing out that his criticisms showed serious ignorance about what Calvinists actually believe), and political. That is just a factual assessment -- I listened to the whole thing twice.

    Anyway, it's not a big deal; just an observation. I'm reading through the materials on your site about "Lordship Salvation" and some of the related theological discussions, and finding it quite interesting. Whether I agree completely with all of your points or not, I find it does help me appreciate where you're coming from, and helps me to avoid mischaracterizing you.

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  7. Joshua:

    Fair nuff' on your observations.

    Glad to read you are finding my articles on "Lordship Salvation and related theological discussions...interesting." There is quite a bit here on LS and the related discussions.

    You are, of course, welcome to post comments and/or questions in any of those threads.

    Kind regards,


    Lou

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  8. Joshua:

    Would you do me a favor? Since you are reading some of my articles on LS, would you please read, How Does the Lordship Advocate Define Repentance? and leave some reaction to it in that thread?

    Then, if you like, give this one a read.

    Lordship’s “Turn From Sin” FOR Salvation.

    I am not looking for a debate, just your reaction to the articles.

    If you would do that I’d appreciate it.

    Thanks,


    Lou

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  9. Lou,

    you said:

    "I did an informal content count of the e-mails Bauder presented. You will find 35 responses that support Bauder’s two previous articles. There are 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?"

    Dr Bauder said:

    "All of the following responses are from Christian leaders who are identified as fundamentalists. I have removed, not only their names, but any references that could be used (in my judgment) to identify them. I list them only by the positions of responsibility that they hold. No editing has been done that would change the meaning of the response. I have also tried to remove the responses that were simply "attaboys," except in cases in which the respondent held some significant position of leadership within fundamentalism."

    You insinuate that Bauder cherry-picked his inbox for the best possible responses to reflect favorably on his position. You don't know, you merely assume that more people would disagree with him. Is this something that you're attempting to pass off as Christian charity? Maybe his informal selection accurately represents the proportion of people who agree with him AS REPRESENTED IN HIS INBOX. Perhaps you should lead the way and offer him a formal apology for misrepresenting his character.

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  10. Sorry Chris, but you have either read into and/or misunderstood my commentary. I think it is a little of both. Maybe I did not express my sentiments as clearly as I had hoped to.

    FWIW, I commented with the perception that he posted everything from his In Box.

    Now, if you would, please answer this question. No one who supports Bauder' actions (that I am aware of or recall) has offered or attempted an answer.

    "How does Bauder’s inclusion of incendiary and vitriolic commentary (e-mails) such as those I cited above contribute to a constructive, healing discussion of the issues?"


    LM

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  11. 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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