February 25, 2010

“Conservative” Evangelicalism: Threading a Frame Work for Discussion, Final

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

We have reached the final in this series drawn from a thread discussion with Pastor Will Dudding at Scott Aniol’s Religious Affections Ministries blog. You may read or go back to review Part 1; Part 2 and Part 3 at your convenience.

In the previous I cited Dr. Mark Minnick.

What is this paragraph [Romans 16:17-20] talking about? If you would look at verse 17 you will see that it is a paragraph dealing with people who are teaching contrary doctrine. . . . “If you take those terms [v. 17] and you ponder them for just a moment, what becomes apparent is this: our response in the first place is mandated. We have no subjective decision to make. The decision has already been made and the mandate is objective; it is in print! It has been in print for centuries! I exhort you, ‘mark’ them and ‘avoid’ them. . . . The response that we are given is a mandated response…. We are obligated to obey what is here!1
Furthermore, I also included:
For the sake of the clarity of the gospel, believers and churches must separate from those who compromise the faith by granting Christian recognition and fellowship to those who have denied essential doctrines of the faith (Rom 16:17; Phil 3:17-19; 2 Thess. 3:6-15).” (Dr. Dave Doran from his series, Gospel-Driven Separation.)
Among “conservative” evangelicals we have some of the nation’s most influential instigators of charismatic theology, worldly methods of ministry (especially to their youth at Resolved and Passion) and ecumenical compromise with deadly “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18). We have discussed the Charismatic theology, disgraceful speech and ecumenical compromise of certain conservative evangelicals. These things are “unbiblical, contrary” doctrine and/or practices. They are, “antithetical to the doctrines that are taught in Scripture.” I asked Brother Dudding if we agree on that point. John Piper, C. J. Mahaney, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Driscoll, et. al., have been admonished by their brethren, but steadfastly refuse to respond to correction and are unrepentant.

At the Glory & Grace blog Dr. Dave Doran posted an article (2/24/10), which in part appears to be a rehash of elements from his Gospel-Driven Separation series. This new article is titled, Separation in Academic Contexts, which includes this opening paragraph.
*DBTS is committed to perpetuating and practicing biblical separatism to guard the gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that there must be a clear line of distinction between those who embrace the gospel and those who deny it. Granting Christian recognition and fellowship to those who deny fundamental doctrines of the faith is contrary to the Scriptures, harmful to the church, and dishonoring to God. We believe that we can, therefore, extend Christian recognition and fellowship only to those who hold fast to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We further believe that compromising the gospel through fellowship with unbelief is a matter of such serious disobedience that faithfulness to the gospel requires separation from those who practice it. (bold added)2
This is a clear, uncompromising biblical statement on the necessity of separation from those who deny the gospel and from those who extend to them “Christian recognition.”3 It is grounded in the Scriptures that every believer has the responsibility to obey. Yet one is left to wonder:

Why are there virtually no admonitions coming from men, who would draft and/or sign on to that statement without hesitation, to “avoid” and remain “separate” from the very men who have granted “Christian recognition… to those who deny fundamental doctrines of the faith?”4

I, of course, speak of Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan who joined Roman Catholic priests, rank theological liberals and full-blown ecumenicals to sign the Manhattan Declaration (MD). Which is, of course, “a matter of…serious disobedience.”5 With Mohler, however, signing the MD was not his first or only **foray into ecumenical compromise.

In the coming weeks there are two prime opportunities to practice, separation from those who practice fellowship with unbelief.6 To demonstrate a genuine application of the biblical obligations of Gospel-Driven Separation; to demonstrate “our separatist commitments.”7 To, “remain committed to the practice and perpetuation of biblical separatism.”8

Those two opportunities are John MacArthur’s Shepherd’s Fellowship (Mar. 3-7) and even more so Together for the Gospel (T4G) in mid-April. Both of these conferences are lead by and/or are hosting as keynote speakers Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan. If we are serious about obeying the Scriptures that forbid fellowship with men who are among the disobedient then we would refuse to attend or encourage others to sit under the teaching/preaching ministry of those men. We would, furthermore, openly call on those within our sphere of influence to refrain from endorsing or attending these conferences.

This is a difficult decision for some who crave the fellowship they find at these conferences. But one must ask where does his first loyalty lie: To the “biblical obligations” or to my friends and their fellowships?

Tragically with the growing disinclination to “admonish” or “withdraw fromconservative evangelicalism the likelihood of becoming desensitized to the evangelicals’ aberrant doctrine, practices and worldly methods of ministry increases. IMO the day is coming when some who presently claim the label “biblical separatist” will evidence little resemblance to what they once were in the best tradition of historic Fundamentalism. Instead they will have become themselves what evangelicalism is today, which they embraced apart from heeding the biblical “ministry of warning.”

In spite of all we have considered a growing number of self-professed separatists, including men who are years into their pastorates, are becoming:
  • Increasingly passionate for fellowship with the so-called conservative evangelicals, and…
  • Rarely find their voice to even do so much as “admonish” them openly.
For many men who are embracing conservative evangelicalism, its star personalities and fellowships, the “biblical obligations” to “withdraw from,” to “mark them…and avoid them” (Rom. 16:17) to “separate” at the moment appears to be completely out of the question.

Whatever else Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan have to offer they have, through signing the Manhattan Declaration, granted “Christian recognition and fellowship to those who deny fundamental doctrines of the faith is contrary to the Scriptures, [which is] harmful to the church, and dishonoring to God.” The final question then becomes:

Will those, claiming a “heritage as separatists,” who rightly call for separation from those who practice fellowship with unbelief make a personal application of that biblical principle without partiality?

Closing the Series the Way it Opened:
Dr. Peter Masters wrote an article to address numerous problems in and among “new” Calvinism’s conservative evangelicals. I chose this particular excerpt in regard to the T4G conference because it convenes just a few weeks from now.
A final sad spectacle reported with enthusiasm…is the Together for the Gospel conference…. A more adult affair…this nevertheless brings together cessationists and non-cessationists, traditional and contemporary worship exponents, and while maintaining sound preaching, it conditions all who attend to relax on these controversial matters, and learn to accept every point of view. In other words, the ministry of warning is killed off, so that every error of the new scene may race ahead unchecked. These are tragic days for authentic spiritual faithfulness, worship and piety. (Dr. Peter Masters, The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness)

LM

*DBTS- Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.
**See thread for listing of Mohler’s known forays into ecumenism.

Footnotes:
1) Dr. Mark Minnick, The Scriptural Response to Teachers of Doctrinal Error, Mid-America Conference on Preaching, Nov. 1997.
2) Dave Doran,
Separation in Academic Contexts (accessed 2/24/10)
3) Ibid.
4) Ibid.
5) Ibid.
6) Ibid.
7) Ibid.
8) Ibid.

UPDATE (3/2/10):
Because this article, and the series from which it is drawn, continues to attract widespread attention I am going to leave it up as the home page article for an extended period. I do have a number of new articles in various stages of production for publication, but I am going to hold them for the moment. One of the upcoming articles is an additional review and discussion of the Glory & Grace blog article, Separation in Academic Contexts.

Editor’s Note:
None of what I have shared in this series, or in any related article, should be misconstrued into calls for loyalty to any movement. The sole consideration for any believer must be fidelity to the Word of God. That is our first and only consideration. All the rest must bow and/or respond to what is there. Please continue to Thread Comment #10 (posted 3/1/10), which is an important appendix entry to this Editor’s Note.

22 comments:

  1. Al Mohler's forays into ecumenism include:

    ∙Naming the SBTS School of Evangelism after, and in honor of Billy Graham

    ∙Chairman of the 2001 (Louisville) Billy Graham Crusade

    ∙Dedicated a new SBTS pavilion in honor of past president Duke McCall- a rank liberal

    ∙Original signatory to the Manhattan Declaration

    ∙Board member- Focus on the Family

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. It's all just lipstick on the Harlot.

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  4. Could you elaborate on that? Not sure of your meaning.


    LM

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  5. When Jezebel was exposed and about to come to here doom, she painted her face (2Ki 9:30). Was she a harlot prior to that time? Yes. Her painting of her face was an attempt to make her more acceptable, but in reality it only exposed her for what she really was, a harlot.

    These men, in doing what they are doing, only expose themselves for what they really are, and who they belong to. It is not like they have just fallen into error, but rather that they belong to the Harlot, and the signing of the documents is only the painting of their faces, exposing this fact.

    Rev 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

    The one-world harlot religion is indeed alive and well today, and picking up speed for its culmination in the tribulation period. These men have only shown that they already belong to it.

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  6. Look-Up:

    I nearly did not allow for your comment to post, but I did, so that I can react to it.

    I want to be very clear that I believe that many of the men like Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan are genuinely born again. I do, however, believe they are willfully disregarding the clear biblical mandates that forbid cooperative efforts with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14-ff; Eph. 5:11). They have given Christian recognition to the enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil. 3:18) and this is a serious matter.

    Mohler, Duncan and any born again man who would sign a document like the Manhattan Declaration and chair a Billy Graham Crusade is without any doubt among those that would be identified as a disobedient Christian. They are not, however, (to my knowledge) unsaved men, but have erred knowingly and grievously.

    I do also believe that their actions on behalf of the MD and similar compromises of Scripture are incremental steps toward ushering in the coming supra-religion of Rev. 17-18.

    Furthermore, men who claim to be “biblical separatists are NOT when they personally attend and/or encourage others to attend conferences where Mohler and Duncan are in the leadership and/or on the platform as a keynote speaker. When these men claim to be a biblical separatist and then do that which is antithetical to the Scriptural mandates (2 Thess. 3:6; 14-15; Rom. 16:17) they are likewise disobedient to what is in the Scriptures.

    I may have more to say on this shortly.


    LM

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  7. One is either for this group or against it.

    http://www.oikoumene.org/en/member-churches.html

    Those who signed the MD have made a clear choice for it.

    "A house divided against itself cannot stand." If they are for this, they have to be against Christ. It will only take a little more time for it to become obvious to everyone.

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  8. They did what they did, and do what they do because they have neither rudder nor backbone.

    Nothing was in ignorance, it was purely a denial of Christ.

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  9. Look-Up

    I sincerely appreciate your passion about this. The coming supra-religion is a series matter.

    I have been clear about my feelings. You have been clear about yours. The Lord will sort all of this out.


    LM

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  10. By way of an appendix item to the Editor’s Note at the conclusion of the main article above- the following originally appeared in Part 1 of This Series, which needs to be reiterated, expanded and reinforced.


    One pastor (Larry Rogier) who presently identifies himself with Fundamentalism posted a statement at his blog suggesting there is a mindset that,

    The men on ‘our side’ (Fundamentalism) we must say nothing bad about; the men on ‘the other side’ (Evangelicalism) we must say nothing good about.” (accessed, 2/4 & 2/25/10)

    Broad-brushed misrepresentative caricatures like that do not manifest integrity in these important discussions and must be necessarily dismissed.

    The sole and primary consideration must and will be fidelity to the Scriptures.

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  11. To All:

    Because this article, and the series from which it is drawn, continues to attract widespread attention I am going to leave it up as the home page article for an extended period.

    I do have a number of new articles in various stages of production for publication, but I am going to hold them for the moment.

    One of the upcoming articles is an additional review and discussion of the Glory & Grace blog article, Separation in Academic Contexts.

    Kind regards,


    LM

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  12. Lou,

    As you know, I started a blog series entitled Considerations Concerning the Proclamation of a Post-Fundamentalism Era and the Foundations for Paleo-Evangelicalism over at my Faith, Theology, and Ministry blog. Could be something followers of this series might have interest in.

    To the Praise of His Glory,
    GDP

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  13. Gordon:

    Thanks for providing the link to your blog and the series you have initiated. It does have some relevance to what I am discussing in this series.

    I'll look back in on this one and again as each new installment is published. Send me an e-mail as each appears.


    LM

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  14. Quote: "Furthermore, men who claim to be “biblical separatists are NOT when they personally attend and/or encourage others to attend conferences where Mohler and Duncan are in the leadership and/or on the platform as a keynote speaker. When these men claim to be a biblical separatist and then do that which is antithetical to the Scriptural mandates (2 Thess. 3:6; 14-15; Rom. 16:17) they are likewise disobedient to what is in the Scriptures."

    What if they speak from the pulpit at Hammond, and fail to rebuke those there, but simply do what they normally do in their ministry (ala Binney, Hamilton)? What shall we do with that? Seems like a pattern is in place, and a public one--not simply attending. BTW, it seems a weak argument to describe attendance as approval, as you do above, based on your texts. Not much different than listening to the MP3s.
    Sam Hendrickson

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  15. Sam:

    I’m not certain I fully understand the dynamic of the concern you raised about Hammond, but I truly do appreciate that you raised it. And if you will come back after reacting to what I have for you here to explain more fully what you’re driving at I’ll engage it more thoroughly; OK? They are, however, genuine concerns and it is disconcerting that men who IMO ought to and I thought knew better participate at Hammond.

    IMO, attendance at many of the conservative evangelical conferences is at least tacit approval of what many of its leadership stands for and/or do. The Bible, as I’m sure you will agree, is VERY clear and there is no just cause for selective application. “Withdraw from…avoid,” the disobedient, those who teach that which is contrary to the doctrine.

    I trust you read Dr. Minnick’s remarks on Romans 16:17 at the head of this and in the previous article. Powerful exposition that is not easily dismissed.

    In Mohler and Duncan then Piper and Mahaney we have men who are the prime instigators of ecumenism that comprised the Gospel and Charismatic theology respectively. This is irrefutable. They are unresponsive to the admonitions of their peers and wholly unrepentant. So, why then would a believer, who claims fidelity to the biblical mandates, attend and/or endorse a conference where these men are in the leadership and/or keynote speakers. I think of T4G immediately.

    And FWIW DITTO for the obvious problems with the Hammond camp and those who would look past those things to participate in or attend that conference.

    The situation we find ourselves in is this: We have IFB men who would never tolerate or attend the Hammond conference and for good reason, but will ignore the obvious doctrinal and/or practical aberrations of Piper, Mahaney, MacArthur, Driscoll, Mohler, Duncan and then pay good money to be part of their conferences. Why?

    Kind regards,


    LM

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  16. What if you had to pay to listen to or read what a Conservative Evangelical wrote or said? Is that tacit approval? While your presence is not given, your approval through monetary means gives a derivative approval of sorts. How would it differ from being there, in your way of viewing these categories?

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  17. Sam:

    With your previous it appears to me you are missing the crux of what I have been communicating in this series and especially in this final edition to it.

    Nevertheless, I’ll briefly entertain your issue. I mentioned “pay good money” primarily because I think $300 to attend Shepherd’s (saw this $$$ at their site) for example is very pricy. But cost is not the crux of the discussion here; is it?

    Buying a book to read in one’s own home or office is hardly the same scenario, now is it? When I bought all three editions of MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus so that I can better understand how he arrives at Lordship Salvation's works based, man centered false interpretation of Gospel. Believe me when I tell you it grieves me that some of my money when to his ministry, but not much choice if I want to read the book. But I certainly did not participate with or give him any tacit approval such as those who are right now at his Shepherd’s conference as we speak. And definitely not in the position of supporting the disobedience of Al Mohler like some of our men will be later tonight while they are sitting under the preaching ministry of Al Mohler when he speaks at Shepherd’s.

    Participation and/or fellowship at conferences with those who compromise the Gospel, no matter what the price to do so, is the chief concern because it is a violation of the biblical mandates to “withdraw from” to “mark” and “avoid” (2 Thess. 3:6; 14-15; Rom. 16:17) men who are disobedient. Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan are irrefutably among the disobedient.

    So, let’s drop the price of books and conferences for the moment. Let’s focus on the cost in lost blessing and grieving the Spirit when we ignore His commands to “mark” and “avoid” men who teach and behave in ways that are “contrary to the doctrine which we have learned.” OK?

    You should read my new article that I just posted a few moments ago. Dangerous Influences…


    Lou

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  18. Lou,
    this is where I was trying to go with this--I do lack eloquence and rhetorical skills.

    My point was to lead to this question: who gets to define (for someone else) every detail about what constitutes an unbiblical amount of fellowship (participation in common) with an indifferentist or non-separatist?

    Some fundamentalist brethren take the idea of removing fellowship, withdrawing from, marking, and avoiding to mean even not buying their books. Going to a conference hosted by indifferentist/nonseparatist leaders, let alone sitting on a dais, or appearing as one of the speakers with such men, would be well beyond “out of the question.”

    That’s what is interesting about your “attendance is complicity somehow” idea: some good men would look at the fact that someone held their nose as they bought these books, and they would consider such money as being a derivative or tacit approval of these men's ministries. Because in doing so, some of the earnings may well encourage them to continue publishing and preaching the very things one disagrees with. Some would say, it's as bad as being in the same conference as a speaker, with a Neo-evangelical or Conservative Evangelical...
    That is what I was trying to say. It's worth saying because it speaks to consistency.

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  19. Sam:

    Thanks for the follow-up. We’ve hashed out the cost of books or listening to MP3’s and what are the implications for some.

    Bottom-line for me on our discussion is this. We have Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan compromised the Gospel by signing the Manhattan Declaration, which was also granting Christian recognition to the (RCC) deadly enemies of the cross of Christ.

    Piper and Mahaney are teaching that the Charismatic sign gifts are active and should be sought after today.

    In each case these men reject correction and are unrepentant. Nevertheless, some Reformed pastors, leaders in IFB circles will tolerate, excuse and allow for these things to have the fellowship with the ce men and invite them into their Bible college and/or seminary.

    To cooperate, fellowship with the disobedient, which the Bible forbids, is to condone and possibly participate in their sin, IMHO.

    The loving Brother will “admonish” and “withdraw from” the unrepentant disobedients so that they may reconsider their ways and be recovered from their errors.

    Last and most importantly for many men such as myself- we believe the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel is a works based, man centered, non-saving message that frustrates grace. On that primary reason alone I could never fellowship with men such as MacArthur, Piper, Lawson, Sproul, et. al., because they are among are the prime instigators of Lordship’s false gospel.


    LM

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  20. You might find the following blogs of interest about C.J. Mahaney and the group he leads, Sovereign Grace Ministries:

    www.sgmsurvivors.com
    www.sgmrefuge.com

    They tell another side. Hope this helps.

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  21. Steve:

    Thanks for stopping by. I am very cautious about links from my blog. I put yours after a very brief look at these.


    LM

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  22. Dear Lou,
    in all seriousness, what if one appears on the dais, or is in the same conference as a New Evangelical, or Conservative Evangelical? And the message one brings is not anything related to rebuke over separation regarding Gospel purity issues? What about that? Could such an one be considered consistent in separatism?

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