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

May 19, 2009

The IFB & Calvinism: Flashpoint!

Dear Friends of IDOTG:

My apologies for the lack of significant personal involvement here of late.

I have been heavily engaged in an important discussion/debate at various blogs in the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) movement, which I primarily identify with. The debate is swirling around Calvinism and good men who differ on the theology of Calvinism.

This issue, which has been bubbling just under the surface for about 10 years, has come to a flash point.

The trigger was pulled in April at the *Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International (FBFI) regional conference. At this conference one of the main speakers delivered a message in which he expressed his rejection of Calvinism in very stark terms. The message was titled, Young & Restless by Dr. Dan Sweatt. You can listen to the audio and/or download a transcript by clicking on the message title. Many of our Reformed IFB brethren were stung to fury by this message, reacted sharply and with great indignation.

Today the FBFI President and Chairman of the Board published a response, which predictably did little to quell the uproar coming from the Reformed community. This current controversy is going to continue to play itself out. IMO, it will be a hot-button topic for discussion at the June 2009 FBFI National Conference that I will be attending, Lord willing.

In the opinion of some, the IFB camp is close to a split across lines drawn over Calvinistic theology. There is way too much for me to share and further clarify, but the issue is a serious one in the IFB camp. Passions are running high with some and this fueling the debate to sometimes harsh personal levels.

Just before I publicly dropped my membership (06-08-2009) at the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron (SI) site I contributed nearly 50 comments to various threads. The original threads were:

I Cannot Help But Hear His Message…

Time to Speak Up

Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals

Remembering Who the Enemy Is

Many of you who visit here frequently may not be very familiar with the current debate and SI in particular. A preliminary thought for your consideration. SI alleges to be a place for IFB people. SI is, however, dominated by participants and moderators who are Calvinistic in their theology and strongly biased in that direction. You will note a heavy preponderance of comments for and on behalf of the Calvinist view in the current controversy. Most are fair, balanced and charitable, others not so. You will furthermore note that the SI site is heavily skewed toward to promotion of the so-called conservative evangelicalism- its star personalities and fellowships. This is a fact based observation of SI for your information if you choose to lurk and/or read there.

In the next few days I will be posting two or more new related articles. One is going to be in regard to the current IFB Calvinism controversy and what some may consider the best and possibly inevitable solution. A possible solution that has great potential to further the cause of Christ through the Fundamentalist community more so than we are seeing today in its present (sometimes volatile) form.
For a continuation of this discussion please read, A Call for Removal of Dr. Kevin Bauder from the Platform of the FBFI Annual Fellowship.


LM

*I am an active member of the FBFI.



May 17, 2009

Men Consistently “Saw the Light” of Zane Hodges’s Reasoning, Conclusion

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

I am going to continue Ron Shea’s series by combining Part 4 & 5 into one concluding article.

For Parts 1, 2 & 3 respectively see-
What Turned Zane Hodges to This Profound “Deconstructionist” Error?

The “Deconstructionist” Gospel: Its No Coincidence

Regarding the Crossless Gospel Mantel

Part 4, Regarding Us

As I noted, most men will only receive reproof from one older than they are . . . especially when it is in matters of theology. IMO Bob Wilkin regards few men (if any) as his equal as a theologian. If he begins to return to orthodoxy, whether it be a result of God’s reproof, God’s blessing, God’s conviction of his error and illumination of Scripture, or a man of Dr. Earl Radmacher’s stature confronting Bob for a serious chat, each of us should keep his place in humility.

Imagine if you changed your interpretation of some particular verse (albeit, not as serious an error as the
Crossless Gospel), and an immature Christian who had held the proper interpretation before you basically presented himself to the world as your mentor. It would be rather offensive. It would, in fact, almost insure that you remained in his error.

The credit should first and foremost, go to the one who displays the integrity, intellectual honesty and humility to acknowledge his or her error, and return to the truth. The credit should not go to some little narcissist who had been saved six months earlier, but by chance, happened to have arrived at the more orthodox interpretation first.

If Bob Wilkin is ever to return to the clarity on repentance that he expressed in his doctoral thesis, and clarity on the gospel of Christ crucified for the sins of the world, great credit should go to him for the humility and the intellectual honesty it will require of him after painting himself in to one heck-of-an extremist corner. The credit should not go to us. And if we seek to position ourselves as the “
savior” of Bob, or MacArthur, or any other such brother, we will be held accountable at the bema for our own massive ego, which only served to anchor our brother in his erroneous doctrine.

Let’s try to keep our own egos out of it, and not make Bob feel he is “
acquiescing” to men of inferior intellect and theological ability. Our actions, including our demeanor and attitude, should, first and foremost, be humble. They should be, in every way, geared to restoring him, not glorifying ourselves.


Part 5- A FINAL ADMONITION

We all seek approval and validation. And it is a stark warning to each of us. Each of us is torn by a myriad of emotions. And to us, many of these emotions are invisible and unseen by us . . . because we are in the middle of them. They can taint our view of reality. Whether it is the pain of recognizing that someone we loved is probably in Hell, or the need for validation, or any other emotional motive, Satan stands ready to seduce each of us from the purity of the gospel, one inch at a time.

This
Crossless Gospel is not the only heresy we will see in our lifetime. Throughout our lives, each of us will be target by the enemy. And he will seek to sift each of us like wheat in a moment when we are weak. A moment when we deeply need an income to support our family, and a church or teaching job comes available, but at a cost. A moment when our dignity as a theologian has been abased, and we covet the validation of another. A moment when we have been rejected, and covet the love and acceptance of someone we can see and hear and touch.

Stand strong my brethren. The battle is not behind us. It is in front of each of us. And we do not know where the ambush for us has been set.


Ron Shea

May 11, 2009

Men Consistently “Saw the Light” of Zane’s Reasoning, Part 3

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

We are continuing the series by Brother Ron Shea with this third installment:

REGARDING THE “CROSSLESS” GOSPEL MANTEL

For Part 1 & 2 respectively see-
What Turned Zane Hodges to This Profound “Deconstructionist” Error?

The “Deconstructionist” Gospel: Its No Coincidence

Zane Hodges has gone to be with the Lord. Bob Wilkin is the heir-apparent of the “Crossless” gospel mantel. If Bob were to return to the purity of the gospel, I believe the “Crossless” gospel would evaporate in a matter of a few years.

I believe Bob is in his early to mid fifties. As one ages, one is less likely to receive reproof from one younger than he, and more likely to respond only to an elder. This is human nature for all of us even if we don’t have a serious pride problem. Being in his early 50’s, there are likely very few men left toward whom Bob Wilkin looks up.

Just as significantly, there is a natural pride component that would be true of any of us. Bob Wilkin did not advance this heresy in a poorly thought out footnote consisting of ten words. He has articulated his position with clarity and specificity. He cannot save face by saying,
That is not what I meant. That was a poor choice of words. Yes, I agree with what you are saying about the content of saving faith.”
It is too late for that. With the paper trail Bob has left behind him, the only way he can say that is to say, “I was wrong.”

These words do not come easily to most men. Far less to a man of intelligence who has
labored to advance an errant argument and cannot dismiss his error as a poor choice of words. For example, I try to pray for John MacArthur daily, that he would repent of his error, and proclaim the true gospel. (I confess, I do not pray for him daily, but I do pray for him often.) Yet, I realize that MacArthur is a tough nut to crack. Not because his logic is so compelling. Not because his exegesis is sound. But because he is already on record, and would look ridiculous to many if he jumped ship. Pride is typically the biggest anchor holding a man in false doctrine.

And, for those of us who have known Bob, virtually every person I have ever known has perceived deep spiritual pride in Bob. He sought to
make himself the epicenter of free grace… . He did not present himself as a servant to advance the ministry of others, but to get them to serve him to advance his ministry. I can’t recall meeting anyone who knew Bob and did not come away with this perception of him.

When GES was first founded, I received a letter from Bob explaining that the only way it would get off the ground was by co-operation and “
networking.” He asked for referrals so that the exposure and circulation of GES would be expanded.  I mailed him the address of EVERY SINGLE PERSON I knew who was a Christian, and many who I hoped might be inclined to hear the truth.

Several years later, after
The Gospel Booklet was published, I sent a copy to Bob, and asked if we could mail a copy to every one in the GES, making them aware of it if they wanted to order some for evangelism or discipleship. He wrote me and advised that “GES did not give out their mailing list.” 

I wrote Bob back explaining,
No, you don’t need to give me the addresses. I would prepare letters and envelopes with a copy of The Gospel Booklet, and ship them to you along with the money necessary to mail all of them. You would not need to give me their addresses.”
I received Bob’s reply, telling me:
1) The members of Grace Evangelical Society would not be interested in it,
2)
It was not very well written anyway, and
3)
If I wanted to write a good tract, I should contact the American Tract Society and get help with it.
Of course, it is always possible that Bob was sincere in the three comments he wrote to me. That is up to each person to judge for themselves. But I perceived it as a consistent pattern and practice of Bob seeking to make himself the sole epicenter of grace. And this was not the only incident with Bob that served to persuade me of this. And I am not alone in this perception of Bob.

Nevertheless, we have a moment in time, and we should labor in prayer ten hours for every hour we spend on the “
front lines” (blogging). Nebuchadnezzar was certainly a prideful man. But after being brought low, eating grass and braying like a donkey for several years, he humbled himself and acknowledged the God of Daniel.

The GES has by all external, observable evidence, lost membership and likewise significant financial support. In my opinion the GES will probably implode within two or three years. “
Whom the Lord loveth, He chaseneth,” (Hebrews 12:6).

I have no doubt of God’s love of Bob Wilkin, and no doubt of Bob’s potential service to God
if he returns to a biblical view of the gospel.

We should pray, not for God's reproof of Bob, but that He would work in His infinite judgment and knowledge, in the manner best suited to return Bob. This may be to bring Bob low in reproof, and it may be to bless him. (After all, “
The goodness of God produces repentance” also!) The method is God’s choice. We should pray for the outcome, not the method.

If Bob returns to the gospel message, I believe the other circles emanating outward, who came under the influence of the
Crossless gospel, will begin to do likewise. As I noted, Bob Wilkin is the heir-apparent of Zane’s reductionist theology.

Finally, regarding the
Crossless gospel crowd, it is important that someone Bob respects will step up to the plate and confront him as Paul did Peter.
But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed,” (Gal. 2:11).
At Bob’s age, as I said, that pretty well limits the options to those 60 or over. I believe Earl Radmacher could be the man Wilkin might respond to. I recognize that his (Radmacher’s) love of Zane, his respect for Zane, and their longstanding friendship of many years, might have prevented him from taking such action while Zane was alive.

I realize the Free Grace movement has not been limited to the
Dallas Theological Society (DTS) crowd. The Florida Bible College, and many of the Independent Fundamental Baptist tradition were at the forefront long before Radmacher or Ryrie stepped into a visible position on the stage.

Nevertheless, the most visible defense of the Free Grace gospel has shifted, in very high proportion, to a handful of
DTS graduates. And, more than any other men living today, the mantel “Elder Statesman of the Free Grace Movement” is clearly shared by Earl Radmacher and Charles Ryrie.

Earl Radmacher may be the only living person to whom Bob Wilkin looks up. We must labor in prayer that Earl would be willing to set aside his irenic personality, and sit down with Bob for a serious talk. And if not Earl, that God would raise up someone else whom Bob respects as an equal.

If all of us who love the truth do our part, in prayer, or in confrontation (only when profitable, and only in love), the Crossless gospel movement can become a thing of the past, and the vanguards of this movement can be restored to usefulness in the spread of the gospel.


End Part 3, Please continue to Parts 4 & 5.

May 9, 2009

Men Consistently “Saw the Light” of Zane Hodges’s Reasoning, Part 3...

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

Over the past week my family and I have been out of town to attend the college graduation of one of my children.

This weekend I am preparing the third installment from Ron Shea’s on-going series. Here is a sample,

the Crossless gospel movement can become a thing of the past, and the vanguards of this movement can be restored to usefulness in the spread of the gospel.
Find out how in Part 3, which will be posted on Monday morning.


LM

May 3, 2009

Men Consistently “Saw the Light” of Zane’s Reasoning, Part 2

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

We continue with part two of the new series by Ron Shea. For Part 1 see- What Turned Hodges to this Profound (Deconstructionist) Error?


The “Deconstructionist” Gospel: Its No Coincidence

Brethren:

Excerpt from Part 1,
Hodges’s position on repentance is illogical, and lexically and theologically indefensible.
Zane’s Crossless/Deityless, “deconstructionist” gospel is likewise indefensible. Few (if any) men who were NOT of Zane’s inner circle of friends read his arguments and came away convinced. But his inner circle was!

In every case, when Zane Hodges adopted a position that left most free-grace advocates in stunned disbelief, the same group of inner circle men consistently “saw the light” of Zane’s reasoning. And in every case, they were men approved by Zane, and who therefore had a motive to perpetuate that validation, and not short-circuit it.

This is not a coincidence. Zane’s inner circle, many being men of able minds consistently “saw the light” . . . because IMO they sought the approval of Zane more than the approval of God.

As the waves spread outward from a pebble thrown in a pond, the “second circle” were those who may have met Zane, but more significantly, enjoyed the friendship and/or validation of one of Zane’s inner circle.

When Peter played the hypocrite, and would not eat with the gentiles, Paul saw it as no small matter.
But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed,” (Gal. 2:11).

When leaders are in error, those who respect their leadership will often follow their error. Paul withstood Peter, “to the face,” called him out, and as we would say in the Navy, “dressed him down.”

Very few believers outside of the GES group have come across Bob Wilkin’s writings on the web, or in print and walked away persuaded of the logic. But those with an emotional stake in Zane, or Bob, John Niemela, or others, have been seduced (or blinded) by the approval they receive from men whose approval they covet.

This really brings to mind two different groups of people, the “Crossless” gospel crowd in the GES, and the rest in the Free Grace camp who on biblical grounds have rejected and taken a stand against the errors and spread of the “Crossless” gospel.


END Part 2, Please continue to Part 3