Dear Guests of IDOTG:
On Friday, March 5, 2010 Dr. Kevin Bauder (president, Central Baptist Theological Seminary) posted an article Let’s Get Clear on This at his Nick of Time blog. The article will appear at *other sites.
In my response to follow I will not be addressing his article apart point-by-point, but instead address the issues I find most disconcerting from it.
Dr. Bauder’s article is no mere “cannonball in the pool of Fundamentalism,”1 as one pastor has suggested. It is instead the latest from a full magazine of cannonballs fired on Fundamentalism.2
Upon my initial reading of Bauder’s article I hoped to draw some general conclusions and close with one response. Since then I have, however, developed what will be a two-part response. Let us, therefore, begin with the first, which is the more lengthy of the two.
Beginning with getting myself on record I will briefly comment on the following from Dr. Bauder:
“These Fundamentalist critics…are seldom willing to express these same concerns over the excesses of the hyper-fundamentalist Right.”Bauder references unnamed “critics” he cites at the lead of his article. There do exist and are for me elements and/or personalities within the broader Fundamentalist community that I am uncomfortable with. Some, I am highly uncomfortable with. I am certainly willing to and have historically expressed concerns with some of these elements and groups.3
Now I'll engage the body of his article. Dr. Bauder wrote,
“American Christianity never has been neatly divided between new evangelicals and Fundamentalists. Other groups have always existed, and one of them is the group that we now designate as conservative evangelicals.”I am not among those who consider the body of so-called “conservative” evangelicals to be full-blown New Evangelicals. I do, however, believe some of them have the capacity for, the seeds are planted within, are well watered, and have been germinating for the “conservative” evangelicals to sprout into New Evangelicals.
Dr. Bauder wrote,
“Conservative evangelicals are different from Fundamentalists, but they are not new evangelicals. New evangelicals were committed to a policy of re-infiltrating ecclesiastical organizations that had been captured by apostates. They wanted to live in peaceful coexistence with apostasy. They were willing to recognize certain apostates as fellow-Christians and to cooperate with them in the Lord’s work. These are attitudes that conservative evangelicals explicitly reject. To apply this label to a conservative evangelical is completely unwarranted.”
John Piper still affiliates with the old Baptist General Conference, aka- Converge Worldwide.** This denomination he identifies with is a member of the National Association of Evangelicals. His church, Bethlehem Baptist Church, was fully involved with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s 2009 Rock [n-Roll] the River Tour. With these things on his present resume- why would it be “unwarranted” to label Piper a new evangelical? Is this not a form of Infiltration theology, not dissimilar to the historic new evangelicals?
Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan, star personalities in conservative evangelicalism, are willing to work with apostates “in peaceful co-existence.” They have recognized, by extension, “certain apostates as fellow-Christians.” This is irrefutable with their signing the Manhattan Declaration and is just one of Mohler’s many forays into ecumenism. In his article Bauder essentially ignores this pattern of ecumenical compromise with apostates.4 The Bible is very clear!
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them,” (Eph. 5:11).Mohler and Duncan know these God-ordained mandates yet disobeyed the Lord to enter into a cooperative effort with unbelievers and rank liberals by signing the Manhattan Declaration.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” (2 Cor. 6:14-17).
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed,” (2 John 9-10).
Some conservative evangelicals are not full-blown new evangelicals, but they are its first cousin. Piper is in the lead toward new evangelicalism with Mohler and Duncan in very close proximity. Tragically, many who are attracted by Piper’s magnetism will be drawn along with him. Regrettably that number will grow among the young fundamentalists who are enamored with Piper and are being encouraged by Dr. Bauder and other pastors to embrace him.
Dr. Bauder also wrote,
“Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals still do not agree about what to do with Christian leaders who make common cause with apostates.”The problem is quite simple. Conservative evangelicals, by and large, simply refuse to make a personal application of the biblical mandates for separation from apostates and/or disobedient brethren.
Must He Trash Our Own:
One of the most troublesome elements in Bauder’s article is a repetition of a pattern to eagerly trash, often without provocation, our own in Fundamentalism. Bauder besmirches Fundamentalism to in part build up conservative evangelicalism. In this latest article he offers virtually no qualities that exist in a balanced Fundamentalism worthy of special commendation. He is, however, eager to commend the conservative evangelicals in expanded and glowing terms. You would be hard pressed to recognize in his article so much as an unvarnished whisper of admonishment to the conservative evangelicals or “ministry of warning”6 for our younger generation about the obvious doctrinal aberrations, ecumenical compromises and worldliness in methods of ministry in conservative evangelicalism.
IMO, it is irrefutable that Bauder is willingly and with purpose advocating for the conservative evangelicals and leading our younger generation to them. And to fuel the push he needs a demon to be skewered and fled from. Fundamentalism is his demon, which he finds in various historical contexts, personalities and/or forms. He could make his case for close cooperation with the conservative evangelicals while leaving Fundamentalism out of the discussion, but chooses not to.
Among conservative evangelicals there are aberrant doctrines, such as non-cessationism, ecumenical compromises and worldly practices of ministry, including corrupt communication from the pulpit and the world’s Rock/CCM/RAP culture in worship. Theology and practices that are “contrary to the doctrine which we have learned.” They reject admonitions of their brethren and are wholly unrepentant. They are therefore numbered among the disobedient. These things therefore, demand our obedience to the God-given mandates.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them,” (Rom. 16:17).
“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us… And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother,” (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15).These Scriptures are not open to selective application! They cannot be redefined or ignored to escape the force of what is there.8 Yet there appears to be an effort to reinterpret or dismiss these scriptural principles. Have these Scriptures become inconvenient truths?*** Will these passages be redefined or ignored because they interfere with a desire to fellowship and cooperate with conservative evangelicals?
Dr. Dave Doran wrote,
“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; cf. 2 Thess 3:6-15)…. We cannot extend Christian fellowship to those who deny fundamental doctrines of the Faith. We cannot ignore the disobedience of those who do so.”9Will Kevin Bauder heed these biblical obligations? Will Dave Doran heed his own biblically defined terms for Gospel-Driven separation? Will they teach the next generation of Fundamentalists, by their own example, that one cannot be loyal to the Scriptures while simultaneously cooperating with, fellowshipping alongside and hosting men who are among the disobedient as if nothing is amiss? Those who refuse to “admonish” or “withdraw from” the disobedient, to “mark and “avoid” them become disobedient themselves. The Scriptural mandates that forbid hobnobbing with unbelievers, and brethren like Mohler and Duncan who gave unbelievers “Christian recognition and fellowship” are NON-negotiable.
In a personal discussion with one preacher he noted,
“The insidious part is that if one disagrees with the rush to embrace evangelicalism’s star personalities and their conferences, he will likely be painted as ignorant, unloving, divisive and an obstructionist.”Another pastor shared with me that,
“Separation from believers who are disobedient is a loving response to their disobedience. It is a demonstration of our love for the Lord (John 14:15) and it is a demonstration of our love for the disobedient.”The first step toward New Evangelicalism is refusing to live in fidelity to the Scriptural mandates that call for separation when it is clearly warranted.
“The basic problem is this: Many fundamentalists, when speaking of the New Evangelicalism, are referring to the original positions and writings of the early founders of New Evangelicalism such as Carl Henry and Harold Ockenga. They repudiate heartily the thoughts of these earlier leaders, but either in ignorance or willingly they fail to recognize the updated version, the “new” New Evangelicalism. It is always safer to berate the teachings of those historically farther removed than of those who are currently afflicting the church.”10Unfortunately some men in Fundamentalism, who presently identify themselves as biblical separatists, appear to be “either in ignorance or willingly…fail to recognize the updated version, the “new” New Evangelicalism. ” Kevin Bauder appears to be among them.
The trend of some Fundamentalists toward the “conservative” evangelicals appears to be how can I foster fellowship with them instead of what are the “biblical obligations” for me in the face of their aberrant theologies, compromising the Gospel through blatant ecumenism and worldly practices in ministry. (Revised excerpt from Are We Recognizing the “New” New Evangelicalism?)
Is everything coming from conservative evangelicalism aberrant or destructive; of course not. Is everything coming from Fundamentalism the ideal; of course not. There is, however, more than enough in contrary doctrine and practice of the conservative evangelicals to cause a balanced Fundamentalist, who longs for unity in the body, to step back and instead,
In my second response to Kevin Bauder’s Let’s Get Clear on This I am going to address his numerous expressions along the theme that the conservative evangelicals,
“…are the foremost defenders of the gospel today… their vigorous commitment to and defense of the gospel …a coalition of Christian leaders who have directed our focus to the centrality of the gospel.”Are they; have they? I will answer that question in the next.
Please continue to Part Two in this Series.
For a related discussion please continue to- “Conservative” Evangelicalism: Threading a Frame Work for Discussion, Final
Today, with Don Johnson’s assistance, I am able to post the electronic periodical from Bauder’s “retired seminary professor” that triggered his (Bauder’s) cannonade. It was Dr. Warren Vanhetloo from his Cogitations. Vanhetloo’s remarks were wise, balanced and charitable; much better than Bauder’s gun powder reaction. Please go to the thread (appendix) under this article for Vanhetloo’s cogitation.
Site Publisher’s Note:
In well over three years of publishing at IDOTG I do not recall having asked my guests to share the link to this blog with others in their circles of friends, family or in their sphere of influence. The issues we are dealing with, however, are no small matter. This for me is not about saving or slaying movements. It IS about fidelity to the Scriptures, warning the church about those among us who are “speaking perverse things” (Acts 20:30) and ultimately a defense of the Gospel, will I will address in Part 2. That said, I encourage each of you to share a link to this article, or any related articles with anyone with whom you believe might be encouraged and/or edified by what is here.
1) Dave Doran: Time for a Group Hug, Glory & Grace blog, (accessed 3/7/10). Curious title for an article that addresses what can be consider Bauder’s strangle-hold (in print) on Fundamentalism.
2) Kevin Bauder: A Call for His Removal From the Platform of the 2009 FBFI Annual Fellowship
3) If the occasion arises from the hyper-fundamentalist Right and the need is clear I would raise an alarm. Presently, however, there is no effort I am aware of that compares to the wide spread efforts to embrace the hyper-fundamentalist Right such as exists to embrace conservative evangelicalism.
4) Al Mohler’s pattern of ecumenical compromises includes:
- 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
6) Dr. Peter Masters, “In other words, the ministry of warning is killed off, so that every error of the new scene may race ahead unchecked.” The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness
7) With Bauder’s increasing published hostility toward Fundamentalism, the only kind of Fundamentalism he appears to see is “A Fundamentalism Worth SLAYING.”
8) Kevin Bauder does not hesitate to obey the mandates to “admonish, mark, withdraw from…avoid” in regard to the so-called, “hyper-fundamentalist Right and vocalize these things with great gusto. When he comes to the contrary doctrine and practices of the conservative evangelicals, however, he seems to contract a serious case of laryngitis for the mandates.
9) Dave Doran: From his Gospel-Driven Separation series: Starting at the Right Spot, Part 1, Glory & Grace blog, (accessed 3/7/10).
10) Dr. Ernest Pickering, The Tragedy of Compromise, p. 159.
*Shortly after this response was published Dr. Bauder’s article was reproduced by the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron site.
**The Swedish Baptist Conference became - The Baptist General Conference, which became - Converge Worldwide.
***In an upcoming article I will be discussing a trend to subdivide and redefine the “biblical obligations” for separatism. This new effort appears designed to clear the way for evangelicals to minister within the ministries of a local church that alleges commitment to the heritage and principles of biblical separatism. I would have posted this week had it not been for the need of a timely response to Kevin Bauder’s article.