Dear Dr. Bauder:
No doubt you are a bit familiar with me and the ministry God gave me in the not too distant past. I had humble beginnings, being born in Kansas into a Christian home. However, I turned from God in my teenage years. He lovingly brought me to Himself through the tragic loss of my brother and through an old fashioned, three week evangelistic meeting in Washington State.
God led me to train for ministry at the Moody Bible Institute. It was there I learned the essentials of Bible Institute training – The English Bible, gospel music, and personal evangelism. At this school, I heard the men who shaped my philosophy of ministry – men like R.A. Torrey, Billy Sunday, G. Campbell Morgan, and Griffith Thomas. From here, I received further training at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kalamazoo College, and the Chicago University.
From my early days as a Christian, I knew God had called me to the pastorate. As you may know, The Lord allowed me to pastor in Wilton Center, IL, Kalamazoo, MI, Cedar Rapids, IA and then Minneapolis, MN. My last pastorate spanned over four decades and was certainly full of God’s rich blessing. Many great revivals took place during my tenure as the pastor! Many people were saved! God even allowed me to found the Pillsbury Baptist Bible College and the school which you now lead.
It may seem strange that I am writing to you since my decease, but it is not nearly as strange as some of your recent writings are to me. I have noticed with great consternation, the e-posts you have placed on sharperiron.org and other places. As the founder of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, an Independent Baptist Seminary, it is not a little troubling to me.
I want to appeal to a sense of love for and loyalty to the Scripture. When Central Baptist Theological Seminary was founded, we chose Isaiah 8:20 as the theme verse. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Do you believe this, Kevin? I am certain that you do. Allow me to bear my burden to you.
It is astounding to me that in many of your recent writings on a professedly fundamental, Baptist site, you seem to constantly extol the “virtues” of evangelical Protestants while, at the same time, deriding the “vices” of Fundamental Baptists. Reading your posts would lead some to wonder if you weren’t just writing a resume for some “conservative evangelical” seminary to read and then hire you. No doubt, Fundamental Baptists have their “flaws,” as do others in a different theological orbit, but must you constantly point these out with little or no qualification? It is hard to read even one of your tomes without hearing you constantly jab at the perceived flaws of some past and even present Independent Baptists. Could this constant derision of Fundamental Baptist preachers be sourced in bitterness toward those who have disappointed you in the past? Is this generalization of the movement, of which you “claim” to be a part, healthy? Do you think it is possible that your constant diatribe against “your own” is one of the main reasons some young people are leaving sound churches for “greener pastures?”
Also, while reading your articles, I have observed an inordinate affection towards pseudo-intellectual teaching and a disdain for old-fashioned, confrontational, Bible preaching. Make no mistake, old fashioned, confrontational Bible preaching is exactly why I founded Central Seminary. My burden was to train men with an airtight understanding of the Scripture, with the ability to stand in pulpits across the land and preach “thus saith the Lord,” with the desire to start churches and win souls to Christ. To the contrary, I did not start the school over which you preside, for men to flounder in unbelief, for them to wonder for decades where they stand, or for them to be given to counseling, teaching, and academic idolatry. I often told the men I was training, “We use the mind here, but we do not worship it.”
On another count, I am grieved when I see you lauding extreme Calvinists who are not even Baptists. Brother Bauder, they and their ilk are not responsible for founding the school called Central. Extreme Calvinists were not the ones who funded its inception. They did not show up each week to knock on doors and tell people about Christ. They were not the sacrificial givers who willingly gave to make God’s vision possible. I could not depend upon them to start and operate the WCTS radio station. They were not the ones who yielded themselves to make a Baptist camp possible. They did not give to support the cause of missions around the world. Yet you cannot seem to praise them enough? You call them an ally, when historically they have proven to be opponents of Fundamental Baptists? Is this right? These, that you laud, include the Aaron’s who have compromised in areas of separation. They include the Jehoshaphats who “love them that hate the Lord.”
A few weeks back you wrote an article called Conundrum and with amazing transparency told of your journey to where you are now. You listed several authors, left, center and right, who have helped shape who you are today. While I appreciate your honesty, it saddened my heart to hear how men, some of whom have little regard for the Law and Testimony, so influenced your life. I sought in vain to read where Paul, John, Peter, Matthew, Elijah, Michaiah, Samuel, or any others of the many Bible servants influenced you. I looked to no avail, for some of the godly, Fundamental Baptist men of the past to have molded your life. Why, Kevin? Why allow these new-evangelical, left-leaning men to have such sway in your heart? Surely you must know this is not what will build character in your young ministry students. Do you know that? Certainly you have heard the axiom, “What the parents do in moderation, the children will do in excess.” Doesn’t this give you pause to weigh carefully the consequences of your published e-words? Where is your caution as a preacher-training “parent?” Why do you continually laud men who violate Bible truth and systematically reject what we tried to teach in the early days of Central?
Lastly, I must say, that I preached my entire ministry from the KJV. Was that wrong, outmoded, or ineffective? You seem to loathe anyone who does preach from this Bible and won’t preach from another? With the help of God, I was able to see Fourth Baptist grow through old-fashioned preaching, soulwinning and discipleship. While this may contradict the conservative evangelical code, is this unacceptable or a violation of the Word of God? I preached the Bible faithfully, stood for it vigorously, and opposed the liberals, modernists, and evangelical protestant compromisers of my day. Did I miss some verse that contradicts these paths? Did I fail in my ministry in these areas? Be sure, I made some mistakes, and could elaborate them quite clearly, but in these matters, did I disobey God? We experienced real revival at our church, in our youth group, and at our schools. Is this out of date and no longer en vogue for the 21st century?
Dr. Bauder, all given appearances seem to indicate you are intentionally trying to lead those who follow your writings, the students of Central, and even Central itself away from the Testimony upon which it was founded and into the compromising orbit of protestant evangelicalism. As Samuel of old who, after his death, confronted Saul in his error, I plead with you to turn back “to the Law and to the Testimony.”
Richard V. Clearwaters
*Written by Evangelist Dwight Smith who for several years attended Fourth Baptist Church, was challenged by Richard V. Clearwaters and whose dad was trained directly under his ministry. He may be contacted at the Evangelist Dwight Smith website.
Addendum from the Author:
For some time I have avoided posting on SI because of the condescending tone and critical spirit displayed by many of the contributors and moderators. Last fall, I signed up, and last Friday posted my first message. Their reaction indicates that the brothers at SI, in large part, are open to criticism as long as it is not directed at them.
Site Publisher Note: First appeared at the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron site (3/12/10) in a thread under Kevin Bauder’s Nick of Time, article, Let’s Get Clear on This (3/7/10). Permission was received from Dr. Clearwaters, I mean Evangelist Dwight Smith, to reproduce his thread comment here as a main page article.
For my series, which reviews Kevin Bauder’s Let’s Get Clear on This see- Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: A Response to Kevin Bauder’s “Cannonball” Cogitations
Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: A Response to Kevin Bauder’s “Cannonball” Cogitations, Part 2
For an extended discussion of SI’s handling and deletion of the Clearwaters letter see, SI Gang-Tackles “Doc” Clearwaters! Well Sort of
I have furthermore produced a second companion article to review an article related to Kevin Bauder’s Let’s Get Clear on This. The article I review is written by SI site publisher Aaron Blumer titled, I Learned it From Fundamentalists.
It is a genuine well written and heart felt depiction of his life’s journey in and around historic Fundamentalism. I commend him for this article and his expression of it. It does, however, raise some legitimate questions and comments that I would put to Aaron in his capacity as SI site publisher.
See my review of Aaron’s article at Aaron Blumer: Learned it From Fundamentalists for your consideration.
March 14, 2010
Dear Dr. Bauder: