July 26, 2010

Maneuvering the “Differences” for Unity

Dr. Kevin Bauder is in the midst of a multi-part series under the title, Now About those Differences. This series is alleged by him to be a needed clarification of his incendiary, Let’s Get Clear on This (March 2010), which he believes was misunderstood.

In the eighth installment of Dr. Bauder’s on-going “Differences” series there is one very telling statement. He closes his article with this,
In both groups [Fundamentalism and Conservative Evangelicals], however, a small but increasing number is beginning to exempt itself from the pursuit of popular culture and relocate itself within the worship and ministry of ‘historic Christianity.’
I believe Dr. Bauder has started to make his case for a blending together of Fundamentalists and Evangelicals. In this effort he has sought pre-emptively to try to stake the high ground for this blended group by claiming that they are the ones who are seeking the “historic Christianity” position.

As if Dr. Bauder understands that this blending will cause a stir amongst Fundamentalists, he seems to have gone back in time eighty-eight years ago and taken a play from the liberals’ playbook. In the early twenties the Fundamentalist/Modernist-Liberalism battle was raging in the Northern Baptist Convention. The Fundamentalists sought to rid the convention of the modernists by seeking to adopt the New Hampshire Confession of Faith (1833) at their 1922 Convention in Indianapolis. The liberals used parliamentary procedures and introduced a substitute resolution, “that the New Testament is the all-sufficient ground of our faith and practice, and we need no other statement.” With a swift stroke the liberals had made it appear that a vote for the Confession was a vote against the New Testament. The liberals resolution won resoundingly keeping their unbelief firmly entrenched in the Convention (Dr. David Beale, In Pursuit of Purity, p. 206). Dr. Bauder has followed that same tactic by using the phrase, “historic Christianity” as if to imply that any that do not follow into this proposed blending is somehow not part of “historic Christianity.”

This coming together is nothing more than the compromising/undermining of the doctrine of separation. To this point in his series Kevin Bauder has not once spoken of the glaring doctrinal differences of the Conservative Evangelical crowd. Evangelicalism (conservative or otherwise) has consistently caricatured the Fundamentalist’s militant separatism (Dr. David Doran, Frontline, In Defense of Militancy, vol. 5, num. 5, p. 25).

Romans 16:17 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6 are still in the Bible. We are still commanded to avoid those who “cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned” and to “withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” We must be ready and willing to do “battle royal” in our day as our Fundamentalist forefathers did in their day.

Pastor Brian Ernsberger, Lincoln Park Baptist Church in Wenatchee, WA.

For Related Reading:
There is a Difference and It’s a Name Changer!

Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: A Response to Kevin Bauder’s “Cannonball” Cogitations


  1. Thanks for sharing your perspective, brother.

    I wonder if you aren't a little quick to toss out Rom. 16:17 and 2 Thess. 3:6 (which refer to two different kinds of people)? The only church which Bauder alludes to in this essay is CHBC in DC. Are you suggesting that that church falls into one of these two categories?

    Anyway, Bauder is critiquing both Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism. I seriously doubt that his agenda includes the blending of one flawed network with another flawed network for the purpose of creating a bigger flawed network. No, what he's suggesting is that a small minority within one will grow fed up with the pop culture of 80 years ago, while a small minority within the other will grow fed up with the pop culture of today, and that both will explore the value of traditional (as in pre-Fundamentalism) worship.

    Any kind of "convergence" which Bauder would ever be interested in (which simply is not his point in this essay) would be quite distinct from the one that is currently taking place. The convergence that is currently taking place has more to do with concessions that my generation is thoughtlessly making to popular culture--assuming that cultural expressions do not embody meaning--than with Bauder's kind of conservatism.
    It seems plain that Bauder is not suggesting any "blending" as things currently are; rather, he is entertaining the dream of a Christianity that conserves everything it was meant to be. Any "blending" he envisions would hinge on that conservative reform.
    In the unlikely event that Fundamentalism returned to actual, historic Christianity, and that the rest Evangelicalism also returned to actual, historic Christianity, wouldn't "blending" be a good thing?

    Shifting gears to my own, private opinion--
    Being the kind of conservative that Bauder is within the better parts of Fundamentalism (as he is) is not very different than being the kind of conservative that Bauder is within the better parts of Conservative Evangelicalism (or within some combination of the two).
    But, Bauder would probably disagree with me on that point.

  2. I would encourage both the dissenters and those in agreement with Brother Bauder to read the whole article with discernment. By this I mean what Jesus intended in John 7:24.

  3. Christian:

    Thanks for the Scripture reference. There is, however, plenty of documented evidence to demonstrate irrefutably that Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran are not just themselves, but are furthermore influencing others to embrace the so-called conservative evangelicals (ce).

    There is an established pattern with them to tolerate, allow for, ignore or dismiss the doctrinal aberrations, cultural relativism, worldliness in ministry and ecumenical compromises of ce’s star personalities.

    Through eight installments of his Differences series I see Bauder focusing primarily on what I will categorize as jazz, haircuts and bell-bottoms. I am hopeful, but do not expect him to address the real differences such as Al Mohler’s latest ecumenical compromise when he signed the Manhattan Declaration, which compromised the gospel and gave Christian recognition to the enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil. 3:18). An act that Mohler has been unrepentant of, having swept aside the admonitions from his brothers in Christ.

    I’d like to read where Bauder discloses Piper’s charismatic theology or Piper’s invite of Rick Warren to DG. If he does plainly address these differences then the mandates of Rom. 16:17; 2 Thess. 3 come into play and that would put a big dent in his push for increased fellowship and unity with the ce camp, IMHO.


  4. Brian,

    Thank you for your outstanding and astute evaluation of what Drs. Bauder and Doran are really up to. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out, yet most of the so-called "Young Fundamentalists" really don't get it, and really don't seem to want to get it.

    I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I will make a prediction. Since the new mantra being heralded by the Bauder/Doran club is that we must now unite around the Gospel (even Chris Anderson said the same thing on his blog today), and since their Gospel is really synonymous with Calvinism/Lordship salvation, I predict that in the near future, this will be the rallying point for a new coalition made up of disaffected former Fundamentalists and co-called Conservative (read that as "New") Evangelicals.

    It is becoming increasingly clear that Biblical separation will be trumped by unifying around a Calvinistic soteriology. The day that happens will be tragic indeed, but at this point, the train has already left the station and is rumbling down the track. We are fixin' to have a train wreck of massive proportions.

  5. Gary:

    You wrote, “...since their Gospel is really synonymous with Calvinism/Lordship salvation, I predict that in the near future, this will be the rallying point…

    It is IMO irrefutable that the rallying point IS around a Calvinistic soteriology in the form of Lordship Salvation. It is not a “near future” rallying point; the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel IS the rallying point and has been for quite some time. I have been voicing this for well over a year because it is obvious to any objective and honest observer who is headed in that “compass” direction.

    Thanks for the input.


  6. Brian Ernsberger7/26/2010 8:16 PM

    You are right Bro. Small. I came to the conclusion a while ago that we are in the birth pangs of another split within Fundamentalism like the departure of the New Evangelicals in the 1950's. The doctrine of separation was the issue then and it will be the issue again. Romans 16:17 and II Thess. 3:6, 14, 15 are the key.
    Those falsely so-called fundamentalists who wish to fraternize with the CE crowd should just go ahead and leave. Most of them don't like the term fundamentalist anyway so nothing really is stopping them, go! and don't let the door hit you on the way out. Are these brothers, yes, the Scriptures make that clear but that doesn't stop or mute our denunication of their departure from the historic Fundamentalist position which is historic Christianity.
    Thanks for stopping by and reading.

  7. Gary/Brian:

    I just remembered that I wrote an article in June 2009 titled, What is the Fault Line for Fracture in Fundamentalism? I wrote this at the time Kevin Bauder was, without provocation, besmirching the legacy of Bob Jones, Jr. and John R. Rice from his own blog and at the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron site.

    Here is a sample-

    “All of the friction in recent weeks in the IFB camp is of course troublesome. There has been talk of a split over Calvinism or possibly the ‘worldliness’ of the so-called ‘conservative’ evangelicals, which despite those trends many of our Reformed brethren are growing increasingly fond of close fellowship with the evangelicals. These are important discussions, but for some men these things are not clear issues that necessitate separation. IMO, those are not the clear fault lines for an Acts 15:39 type of parting of the ways between men in the IFB community and/or the FBFI, but Lordship Salvation is!

    How can there be unity within a fellowship when two polar opposite interpretations of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ are accepted as legitimate?”

  8. I can assure you that the concerns being raised at times about problems in fundamentalism are NOT isolated to the reformed/Lordship Salvation crowd. At risk of being labeled, I see problems. I am drawn not to Evangelicalism (oh, no!) but to the Bible. Even one of your own has referred us to Philippians 3:18. The passage suggests we should follow Paul's example of which when he brings up what is used as a pejorative by some("enemies of Christ"), he tells us his immediate emotion. For too many of us Fundamentalists we have warred, warned, and wrung our hands, but how much weeping have we done? You see we have no corner on biblical Christianity. None of us have arrived. Is separation taught...absolutely. I and I aim to practice it, but I fear it will not be lock step with those who cannot not weep regarding the enemies of the Cross. (If I err in pre-judging without knowing of the tears spent on the enemies of the cross, then I beg both forgiveness and a more transparent communication of such emotions regarding the cross and/or its enemies whichever you believe Paul to be weeping about.)

    Frankly, if it were not for the local church I pastor, I would feel like a man without a country. I do not feel comfortable with the evangelicals (conservative or liberal), but I am less and less comfortable with the fundamentalists (reformed or non). I am very comfortable being conformed to the image of Christ; I love the sheep over the which the Holy Spirit has made me overseer. I have some level of acquaintance to the right and to left of me. In this post I risk loosing some to the right of me--which is sad.

    I must stand on the Bible...sadly I find disobedience in the 2 Thessalonian sense on both sides of the isle. Would any of the astute men of fundamentalism offer me advice as to how I should proceed? Do I compromise separatism toward the evangelicals or do I compromise separatism with the fundamentalists? Help me choose...

    For now I will be content with Christ and evaluate every brother on an individual basis. His alma mater will not determine my fellowship, his past immature statements will not determine my fellowship. His weeping, humility, repentance, growth in submission to the revealed will of God will determine my fellowship. Doctrinal fidelity is a very real factor, but I fellowship with new converts all the time who have very unhealthy doctrinal views. I think we have an overrated sense of our own (and others) progress toward Christ-likeness. Compared to Christ we are all beginners. But I digress...His teaching on the Gospel whether lordship or easy-believism will be of concern. His passion to follow the Word despite where it takes him (warring or weeping; losing friends/family or gaining them). His commitment to every portion of scripture in a balanced way not one preferred doctrine/command over others will commend him to me. His desire for the glory of God (evidenced in a refusal to be man-centered and self-focused)and his perspective on the impact of the true Gospel (not a Lordship Gospel)on the every day life of the believer will knit my heart to his. If he is willing to be confronted about sins of attitude, tongue, behavior, or belief and willing to risk my friendship to do the same for me, he will be my friend.

    My stake has been set in the sand, and Lou you get the scoop. If alone I stand, then I will be comforted by the Lord whom I believe stands with me (2 Timothy 4:16-17). I welcome the taunts and confrontations regarding which if I am wrong, I trust to have the humility to change; however, if I am right, I pray to have the fortitude to stand firm in the faith.

    For His glory Alone!
    Christian Markle

  9. Brothers all,

    I deeply appreciate Christian's attitude. He's been a dear friend and brother...one who happens to affirm your theological distinctives, I think, yet in appropriate proportion and with charity. If he and I were even further apart than we are, theologically and practically, I would count him no less dear a friend!

    Anyway, I'll go out on a limb with relative confidence and say that Bauder simply is not part of any "emerging middle." Sure, some fundamentalists are secure enough to admit the flaws of their own network and the good qualities of those who aren't in it... and some are not. This hardly defines an "emerging middle-ist" though.

    In other venues Bauder has made quite clear his opinions about some of Piper's and Mohler's decisions.

    As to the emphases of his recent writings-- bear in mind his aims. He's got one life to live; will he spend it reassuring you of his disagreements with Piper, or speaking honestly with the next generation in hopes that they will consider his kind of conservatism as an alternative to pop evangelicalism?
    Because, I assure you, those are the two most realistic options on the table. I'm 24 and still living on the campus of a Fundamentalist Bible college, and I can tell you that the kind of Fundamentalism that's been typical simply will not, ever, be embraced by my peers. It isn't an option. They're currently immersed in popular CE and for a more conservative option to stand a chance of capturing their minds and hearts, it'll have to be a lot older than either network. Honestly, even it doesn't stand much of a chance-- a generation raised on Nintendo can't be expected to choose the less cool option.

    A critique of Piper or Mohler or anybody else presupposes some things. If those things are not presupposed by my generation, then Bauder would be wasting his time on those critiques. So, he's investing his time in laying foundations, for the few among the next generation who will listen, so that standing on those foundations, they may themselves be discerning about Piper & Co.

    Critiquing the big names just looks like sour grapes to my peers (I'm not saying that it is...I'm just making you aware of the perception). Such critiques may keep you happy, but does the future of our faith ride on you more than on the next generation? A compelling alternative needs to be offered, and I for one am very glad that Bauder is offering it, because it has recently made a big difference for me. I have difficulty understanding your claim that Bauder is encouraging the shift toward CE, because precisely the opposite is true in my case. I've attended T4G, DG, etc. I was listening to Shai Linne and pushing for drums in my church. I had every intention of ministering in the CE network. And no typical fundamentalist was going to change my mind-- I had heard it all... or so I thought. The tradition and rationale espoused by Bauder is the first thing in a long time to make me reevaluate my trajectory.
    I'll still probably wind up with a foot in CE, but it'll look more like Dever than Driscoll.

  10. I would again suggest that even if 2 Thess. 3 has some application to some CE leaders, Rom. 16 is a stretch, AT LEAST for most.

    Brother Brian,
    Even pretending that a movement's purity is worth getting bent out of shape about (the purity of churches-as-churches is the only thing that I'm terribly concerned about), and even pretending that certain kinds of fellowship with some CE brothers constitutes a breach in that purity, I simply cannot imagine a Christian maintaining the attitude that you've expressed.
    I assume that you're not a pastor. If you were, you'd have experienced the heartbreak of some dear brother leaving the fold and maintain different sentiments than you do.
    I'm so glad for men like Bauder, whose influence keeps me from fully taking you up on your offer.

    Now, concerning this unexpected attention you're all giving to "Lordship Salvation"...
    I'll give the benefit of the doubt and assume that nobody here is involved in the worst manifestations of Easy Believism.
    I'll also try to be sympathetic to your theological perspective. Truly, biblical conversion could seem like self-righteousness to anybody who rejects monergistic regeneration resulting in the gifts of faith and repentance.
    So, I'll simply say this-- If you truly believe what you apparently do about those who expect to see a "Calvinistic" kind of repentance wherever the Spirit is saving a person, then you can simply ignore this whole concern over the Fundamentalism/emerging-middle/CE issue. Your grid is much simpler than that. You simply denounce those who expect supernatural conversion to look like more than mental assent, whether the ones you denounce are Fundie or CE. Simple.

    Until we all attain to the unity of the faith,

  11. Christian:

    I appreciate your thoughtful comments and transparency above. May God bless you and your fidelity to His Word.


  12. SBC:

    Thanks for your extended comment. I’ll leave any lengthy reply to our author, Ps. Ernsberger, but I do want to comment on this from you

    In other venues Bauder has made quite clear his opinions about some of Piper’s and Mohler’s decisions.

    I am aware of and published Bauder’s only public reaction to Mohler signing the Manhattan Declaration. He dismissed it as merely an “occasional inconsistency…a single episode.” See- Kevin Bauder Discussing Al Mohler’s “Occasional Inconsistency?”

    It is absurd for him to dismiss Mohler’s ecumenical compromise that he (Bauder) knows was the latest in a string of ecumenical compromises by Al Mohler.

    The other mention I have is in the form of a question: Can you provide the source from KB where he discloses that John Piper is a Charismatic and furthermore without qualification stated that Charismatic theology is an egregious error, that Piper is wrong, needs to be admonished, to repent of it and until he (Piper) does repent that he should marked and avoided because of this “contrary doctrine” (Rom. 16:17)?

    And where can you link to the source that Bauder has spoken of Piper's invitation of Rick Warren to DG? Neither he or Dave Doran have uttered any public comment on Piper’s invite to Rick Warren; why?

    Not trying to put you in the hot seat, I truly want to know where Bauder has done these things.



  13. SBC:

    You wrote, “I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and assume that nobody here is involved in the worst manifestations of Easy Believism.

    The following three paragraphs appear in my book under A Note From the Author and should be the answer you’re looking for.

    This is not a question of a weak gospel verses a strong gospel, but of the one true gospel standing apart from all other false gospels. If the weak gospel erred by omission, the strong gospel equally errs by addition. All witnesses for Christ desire true conversions. In my zeal to secure more genuine conversions, however, I do not have the liberty to alter the terms of the gospel. Any alteration of the gospel either by omission or addition must be rejected. In the evangelical community there are two polar opposites in the debate over what constitutes the gospel message that leads to eternal salvation. These extremes are commonly known or referred to as “Easy-Believism” and “Lordship Salvation.”

    Many have been alarmed at the increasingly meaningless presentation of a gospel that seems to ignore the person of Christ, the sinfulness of man, the finished work of Christ and the pending judgment of God. This gospel calls men to salvation when they have been given only a vague idea of just what they need to be saved from, who Christ is and what He did to provide salvation. This is a reductionist interpretation of the gospel, i.e. the content of saving faith with which I strongly disagree. This is the so-called “Easy-Believism” gospel, which in one of its most extreme forms is propagated by the Grace Evangelical Society (GES) Dr. Bob Wilkin, Executive Director. The GES gospel is commonly known as the “Crossless” or “Promise-ONLY” gospel, which was originated by Prof. Zane Hodges (1932-2008). Later we will take a closer look at the teaching of Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin.

    While I do not hold to any reductionist approach to evangelism and would admonish those who seek quick uninformed decisions for Christ to repent of their error, this document has been produced to address the opposite extreme, Lordship Salvation.

  14. SBC

    ‘Critiquing the big names just looks like sour grapes to my peers’

    In an apostate time one does not get to be a ‘big name’ by preaching the truth.

  15. SBC,

    You should know that I have heard Bauder's comments quoted here before they were published regarding Mohler...they do disturb me. I am open to Bauder's thoughts privately or publically on Piper. While I understand that the ministry of warning is biblical, it in my opinion has been practiced foolishly in latter days.

    I would encourage Bauder not to be foolish, but to continue his work (if this is truly his intent) in such a way as to fulfill the biblical commands to edify the people of God (Hebrews 3:13, etc) (thus, I believe protecting them from errors on both sides).

    I believe Doran needs to be true to his beliefs and tell us where he is on the Lordship issue...this would certainly explain his decisions recently. I do not believe that we should expect a man to be inconsistent with his belief and expect him to separate over an issue to which he disagrees with us. Whether he accepts a man from Master's Seminary or not does not in and of itself constitute grounds for separation. I can think of fundamentalist colleges to which I disagree, would be concerned about, but would not write off any and all from them (teachers or students). I guess I am saying more information needs to be gathered before a rightful accusation can be made in this regard.

    One can predict away as to where this is going but there are biblical truths that should temper communication (ie Proverbs 18:13). Should we be concerned, and communicate such...maybe, but James 1:19-20 is hard for bloggers in the flesh to heed. Oh, to be like Him!

    For his glory,
    Christian Markle

  16. To All:

    Brother Markle uses the phrase, “ministry of warning.” The terms was not coined by, but was used by Dr. Peter Masters in his 2009 article, The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness from Summer 2009.

    It is an article that Dr. Masters gave me permission to reproduce HERE at my blog. Incidentally, he followed with a note of thanks and three of his books in appreciation for my presenting his article with image enhancements to State-side believers.

    Masters’s article is IMO a MUST read for every believer on either side of the debate over closing ranks with the evangelicals. FWIW, Masters does address John Piper’s Charismatic theology. Please link to the article through the first link above that will take you to The Metropolitan Tabernacle’s Sword & Trowel web site.

    Here is the pertinent excerpt from that article.

    “A final sad spectacle reported with enthusiasm in the book is the Together for the Gospel conference, running from 2006. A more adult affair convened by respected Calvinists, 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.” (bold added, italics his)

    I’d make special note that Dr. Masters, a Calvinist is writing to Calvinists and his “ministry of warning” is about the doctrinal aberrations and worldliness of Calvinists such as C J Mahaney, John Piper, Mark Driscoll, John MacArthur, Mark Dever, and Al Mohler, all of whom he (Masters) identifies by name in his article.

    My Calvinistic brethren in IFB circles might prayerfully consider Dr. Masters expanded “ministry of warning” before they follow the influence of Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran to close ranks with and embrace the star personalities of the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism.


  17. To All:

    The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness is a clarion call to “young people in the USA” and especially timely for young American Fundamentalists. This is a sermon in print, a “ministry of warning” that has been nearly non-existent in American (Calvinistic) IFB circles in regard to the evangelical community. This is a much needed “ministry of warning” to men in Fundamentalism who are rapidly moving toward increased dialogue, fellowship with and tolerance for the “new” Calvinism of “conservative” evangelicalism.

    On Friday, for the Weekend Archival series, I am going to republish The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness in its entirety.


  18. Thanks for helping me understand your take on this "Lordship" thing.

    I'd be labeled "Lordship" by many, and so long as my thoughts are not grossly misrepresented, the label doesn't bother me.
    Conversion is supernatural and I expect to see more than mental assent when the Spirit is truly saving a person.

    Depending on the situation, I may or may not take my cue from Jesus and call on those I evangelize to count the cost. My most recent evangelistic encounter, the other day, did not include a "Lordship" element, for instance. The situation did not call for it. At other times, it does.

    Having said that, I'm not unrealistic. Some "Lordship" guys seem to be living on another planet regarding our imperfect condition. They sound as though any new convert who isn't an elder-candidate one day after his profession must have spurious faith!

    Anyway, I don't get bent out of shape by your approach. You obviously recognize the dangers of Easy Believism and want to avoid them. Good enough.

    I simply do not buy this notion that your gospel and mine are different. I'm glad! I'd have to treat you very differently if that were the case. We both depend on, and preach, the death and resurrection of Jesus. We're both sola fide. We differ only in what we expect an authentic work of the Spirit to include, but our expectations are not so different that we can't deal with each other.

  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  20. Back to our discussion--

    God places as high a premium on unity as He does on holiness, and I want to radically value both. This leads me to "put myself in others' shoes," and try to understand how a sincere brother can make this or that mistake without it evidencing flagrant rebellion. If I just cannot conceive of how a brother could do a given thing apart from flagrant rebellion, then I'm not afraid to say so. But, if I can, that will have to temper my approach. Does that make sense?
    I had a personal conversation with Mohler about our differing applications of "separation." We're from two different worlds... we're both applying the same Scriptures within different orbs. He understands the church discipline passages (from which we extrapolate "separation" applications), and he's applying them within another structure. Some of his applications I agree with, some of them I disagree with but can understand (given his background, etc.), some I think are just wrong... but I can't cast the first stone.
    In the case of the MD, I'm personally against any evangelical signing it. The language of the document does imply the legitimacy of the Christianity of Catholics and Orthodox. Having said that, I can understand how an evangelical may distinguish between political and religious activity, and sign the MD while denouncing Catholicism and Orthodoxy. I don't think that such an evangelical is thinking very clearly in so doing, but I do try to understand, and I do try distinguish the MD from a joint ecclesiastical statement, etc.

  21. Now, this is where the rubber meets the road-- You disagree with me... you won't be quite so understanding... that's legitimate--I understand that. But here's the question: is my mistake (assuming that it is a mistake) as described above, the same KIND of mistake as Mohler's in signing the MD? In other words, is my mistake of being more understanding toward Mohler (while strongly disagreeing with him) AS BAD as his mistake of actually signing the MD?
    I ask because you seem as upset with Bauder as you are with Mohler himself. Maybe Mohler is wrong (I think he is); maybe Bauder is wrong for being more understanding (I think his approach is just about right); but if they are both wrong, they are both wrong in two different ways. Do BOTH ways call for "withdrawl"?

  22. Moving on to John Piper... Bauder has publicly read a paper to at least two different Fundamentalist colleges that I'm aware of, discussing Piper. To my knowledge, that paper is not available online. As I recall, the three points of that paper had to do with Piper's involvement with the BGC (now CWW), his openness to charismaticism, and his non-dispensationalism.
    Why that reading was unrecorded, and why that paper is not available online, you'd have to ask Bauder yourself. Maybe he does not want to be misunderstood. Maybe he does not want to turn people away from the benefits of John Piper's messages and books. Maybe he needs to over-correct the tendencies of his network.
    The point is that he has been public about these things in certain venues.

    You seem to assume that a failure to let the whole world know your disagreements with somebody else is a flagrant sin of omission. Warning is an important ministry, but when, where, how, and to whom it takes place is a wisdom issue. Is it alright for Bauder and Doran to handle the when, where, how, and to whom issues differently than you?

  23. "Look Up" said,

    "In an apostate time one does not get to be a ‘big name’ by preaching the truth."
    Alright, the little pond that we swim in is not the whole of humanity, bro. By "big name" I do not mean "known and loved by the masses like Tom Cruise." I mean an author who is read by many conservative Christians.
    Your remark would not apply to any of the CE guys (unless you want to include Driscoll, to whom it would apply, some), but I'll be the first to admit that it DOES apply to Rick Warren. A little gospel would have dropped those sales drastically.

  24. I've read bro. Masters essay before.
    A year ago, I would have written it off. But, since reworking (and adding to) some of my mental furniture (thanks, again, to the influence of Bauder), I now find myself agreeing with much of it, except in harshness.
    I now share his vision of ordinate NT worship and Christianity; but, I'm not personally going to respond as strongly to most of the figures he lists (Driscoll might be the exception).
    I would not always apply our mutual separatism in precisely the same way, but the rationale behind our differences would be another discussion.

  25. SBC:

    Scott Cline who attends Northland; is that right?.

    I'd appreciate it if you'd slow down a bit, focus on an item at a time and express your views in succint terms. OK? That works best in these thread discussions.

    There are replies and additional commentary coming to this thread shortly, check back often.


  26. Yes, that's my name and I've attended Northland.

    Have we met?

  27. Scott:

    No, we've never met, I'm just well connected in IFB circles and in your case to a mutual acquaintance. At times I just like to know whom I'm hosting and investing time in when in your case I believe we are having a profitable discussion.


  28. Yes, Brother Martuneac, Scott is well worth investing time! [tongue in cheek] and in such great need of such investment! [/tongue in cheek] ;-) Love ya, Scott!

    Actually, I have found Scott to be somewhat of an anomaly in his generation. He is thoughtful about spiritual things in ways that have blessed me. When he is convinced of something from scripture, he is willing to make colossal changes to conform to the truth--often no matter what the cost.

    Do we always agree? no! but I trust that we have both found our times of fellowship to be fulfillments of the need for sharpening and edification laid out in Scripture (Proverbs 27:17; Hebrews 3:13). He is not just well worth our teaching investment; the perspective and thought he brings to the table should be valued as well--even when we cannot agree.

    For His glory,
    Christian Markle

  29. Brian Ernsberger7/27/2010 5:42 PM

    To SBC,

    You say this in reference to Dr. Mohler, "He understands the church discipline passages (from which we extrapolate "separation" applications), and he's applying them within another structure."
    I desire some clarification. When you say "from which we extrapolate 'separation' applications," who is your "we" referring to? The church discipline passages are for the hopeful restoration of that erring brother within the context of a church. Romans 16:17; II Thess. 3:6, 14, 15 and many others are not church discipline passages. Sadly, many men have sought to limit their application to church settings only.

  30. Well said and thank you Christian.


  31. Bro. Ernsberger,

    I'm not among those who limit the application of these passages to the church alone. Doing so is a sneaky cop-out, IMO. We invent Christian structures that the NT never envisioned, and then claim that since the NT never envisioned them, it cannot regulate them.
    In this way, some seminaries get around women teaching Bible to men, some denominational leaders get around allowing Liberals in the ranks, etc.

    So, why do I remind us that these are church discipline passages first, and "separation" passages second?
    Because the further removed we are from the context in which these passages were initially meant to be applied, the more elbow room there is in application. Not infinite elbow room... but some.

    A friend of mine once asked Abraham Piper (JP's son) to give account for their fellowship with Open Theists. Abraham was flabbergasted, and assured him that this was misinformation. My friend clarified that he was referring to the BGC, and Abraham, looking confused, simply explained that this was not fellowship.

    Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not suggesting that participation in the BGC is a good idea. I am suggesting that the world looks different through others' eyes. It's easy for us independent separatists to make pot shots, but it's very difficult for us to understand others' denominational structures, and the self-perceptions of those involved. Since we're applying church discipline passages to extra-Biblical situations, we're all bringing extra-Biblical assumptions about what does and does not constitute fellowship to the table.

  32. Bro. Markle,

    My tongue is not even close to my cheek when I admit that I AM "in such great need of such investment!"

    You don't know how right you are. I genuinely appreciate the patience of men like you with young jerks like me!

  33. Scott:

    I'm having to assume that when you submit a comment twice with the second being a revision of the first you want the second to be what shows here. Right?


  34. Haha, I just shot you an email about that.

    Yes, Blogger told me that my first attempt was too long, and I thought I lost that comment. So, I tried again, and was more succinct I think. Feel free to delete the first.



  35. I guess we just did the Internet version of it crossed in the mail.

  36. For a blogging discussion there does not seem to be enough heat in the last few hours so I am going to make a rash and yet well founded (but I am withholding all the evidence until we get a crowd--anecdotal evidence, that is). Here it is for all to know and see....

    BLOGGER IS A LIAR! I have seen it before! He is untrustworthy and it makes me sick to know that LM (you know who I mean) keeps fellowship with such a deceitful entity.



  37. Well Christian, I'm to tired to figure that out, but I let it post knowing your good character and the smiley face guy. Fill me in later.

    If I had to guess- does this have anything to do with former IL governor Blago?


  38. Brian Ernsberger7/27/2010 9:13 PM

    To SBC,

    You said, "I can tell you that the kind of Fundamentalism that's been typical simply will not, ever, be embraced by my peers. It isn't an option. They're currently immersed in popular CE and for a more conservative option to stand a chance of capturing their minds and hearts, it'll have to be a lot older than either network. Honestly, even it doesn't stand much of a chance-- a generation raised on Nintendo can't be expected to choose the less cool option."
    Illumine me please, by defining the phrase,the kind of Fundamentalism that's been typical. Fundamentalism is not monolithical. There are segments of Fundamentalism that I do not embrace and have never embraced. Because they have diverged on various issues, causes, etc., I don't consider them as Fundamentalists, even though they may use the term.
    You present a disturbing picture of the younger crowd. For the Christian life is not about choosing the "coolest" option. You see, as a pastor of a Fundamental Baptist church in the town where we are located I am not competing with the alternatives. I can't win that game. To quote from Dr. Beale's book, In Pursuit of Purity: American Fundamentalism since 1850, his opening sentence is, "Ideally, a Christian Fundamentalist is one who desires to reach out in love and compassion to people, believes and defends the whole Bible as the absolute, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God, and stands committed to the doctrine and practice of holiness." This is how I define a Fundamentalist, whether they wear that term or not. For sake of illustration, I have on several occasions seen cars with no make or model labels on them yet knew by their body what make and model they were. On the flip side, I've also seen cars with labels which were completely contradictory to the what the body declared it to be.
    You also state, "Critiquing the big names just looks like sour grapes to my peers (I'm not saying that it is...I'm just making you aware of the perception). Such critiques may keep you happy, but does the future of our faith ride on you more than on the next generation?" I am aware of the perception that the younger crowd has. I am not happy to critique. It grieves me to see brethren move doctrinally.

    I digress here for a moment. I had posted an earlier comment about some earlier statements you had but it somehow got lost in the transmission. My stating my grief brought back some of those thoughts. I am a pastor and yes I have experienced the heartbreak of some dear brother leaving the fold. That heartbreak goes back all through my Christian life which spans now 36 years of my 48 on this earth, not just as a pastor. In that earlier post you voice concern about a Christian having my kind of attitude. What kind of attitude have I expressed that causes you concern?

    I resume where I left off. The future of our faith as you term it relies on our adherence to the Scriptures. At times that means that men must stand up and herald a warning. Isaiah did, Jeremiah did, did their listeners heed their warnings? Sadly, no. I am not making a direct comparison here of myself with these two prophets, just using them for illustrative purposes. Do we view Isaiah or Jeremiah's ministry effectiveness based on the next generation's acceptance or rejection of their message? I for one don't. Were they successful? Yes, they did what God wanted them to do. But did the next generation listen to them? No To take the illustration of the OT prophets back through their history were any "popular" in their day? No, even when Israel was closer to living the way God wanted them to live those prophets were not popular, their messages were not well received. Should I expect my day to be any different when someone seeks to herald the Word of God's warnings? I pray that people will hear and heed. Even Christ reminded us with this phrase, "he that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Not everyone will receive the message, but some will.

  39. No, nothing to do with politics... if you read it again (along with the previous few posts between you and Brother Cline) in the morning, I think you will "get it."

    Rest well, my friend!


  40. Pastor Ernsberger,

    The attitude I referred to, earlier, was associated with your invitation to anyone who "fraternizes" with any CE's not to let the door hit them on the way out.

    Yes, I do present a disturbing picture of my generation. The Christian life is not about what's "cool"-- I could not agree with you more. In fact, I've recently begun to think that the degree to which a thing is "cool" is the degree to which it is inauthentic.
    But, my generation has not been equipped to distinguish among kinds of feeling, or to acknowledge meaning in form, etc. So, conservative critiques fall on deaf ears...and I was among them, and cannot blame them...So much foundation has been lost. Even those of us raised to see truth as absolute, are nevertheless conditioned by everything to think that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to think that a claim to cultural superiority is ridiculous and "elitist." It took years of reading the right resources before enough pieces of the puzzle fell together for me. For a person of my era to recognize meaning in form, etc., is quite an epiphany!

    You're right-- the truth is the truth no matter who likes it. You can't ditch it in order to "win" younger guys, because what would you then be winning them to? I really do agree with you.
    But, you need to understand the degenerate society we've been raised in, and the influence it's had on us. Unfortunately, you cannot assume that guys my age share with you the mental foundations upon which your positions rest. There is hope for us, but it consists in beginning at the beginning.
    Demonstrating how this or that style of music means something negative cannot possibly make sense to guys my age, since they presuppose that meaning exists in propositions alone (and of course even that is being attacked).

    So, hopefully you can understand why I appreciate Bauder, Aniol, Riley, and similar folk-- they saw that they needed to begin at the beginning, and lay philosophical foundations that made it possible for other things to eventually make sense to me.

    I'm simply asking for a little more understanding toward guys my age. We are culturally underprivileged, and our only hope for redemption (in this arena) rests in patient, wise men.

  41. Just wanted to tell you that I took some time to re-read Peter Master’s article and I am totally in support of everything he is saying. This is the kind of belief I want to see come back into Fundamentalism. Believe it or not, the Calvinism that Peter Masters is talking about fits very well with the other beliefs of Fundamentalism. This is where we should be in IFB circles. Just wanted to share that with you. Though we may not see eye to eye on the LS position, I can assure you that we see eye to eye on this one brother! I am going to do all I can to encourage those in my generation (the young fundamentalists) to read this article so that they know there is a place for good and proper Calvinistic theology, and I am hoping that place is Fundamentalism! No need to go to the CE camp IMHO.

  42. Thanks Ben. The article Ben refers to is The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness by Dr. Peter Masters.


  43. SBC

    Here is a list (by no means complete) of many of those who became 'big names' and some of the methods used to gain their 'big names'.


  44. Look Up,

    Thanks for that link. I've checked out that resource before.

    I'll confess to being personally irked by it. Some of my irritation is well founded; some of it, I'm sure, is not.

    When I see Martin Luther and John Wimber on the same list... R.C. Sproul and Jack Schaap... it's tough to take seriously.
    I know-- nobody's saying that these men have much in common-- only that they all have issues of some sort.

    Some of the information is simply misleading. For instance, there are strong proponents of Nouthetic Counseling on that list who are accused of "psychoheresy"

    It gives the impression that all "issues" are created equal. I'm strongly opposed to many elements of secular psychology; but, a man who is slightly influenced by it is not as problematic as Benny Hinn!

    It gives the impression that we should not benefit from imperfect men. I feel so sorry for those who will never benefit from Lewis and Packer (or on another level, Macarthur or Sproul, etc.). I benefit from greater heretics than these! (Chesterton, etc... There's a BIG baby in that bathwater.)

    Finally--and I want to say this tentatively--I'm not personally endeared to those who's calling in life is the knocking of other men. It's one thing for a pastor to critique this or that negative influence as necessary, within the broader context of his shepherding ministry...but if that IS your ministry? eeehhh.... maybe...

    Anyway, your point was that these men became big names by pandering to the masses and minimizing truth. That is true for some of the men on that list, but could not be further from the truth for some others (Luther wasn't exactly popular in his day...Macarthur preaches a very offensive gospel...)

    Among CE leaders, none are popular for minimizing truth.
    Driscoll is unfortunately lumped with the others (which is largely Piper's fault, and I'm not happy about it), but he should not be. He's not a CE leader as far as I'm concerned. Even he is not popular for minimizing propositional truth, but for disregarding aesthetic meaning in order to be the "bad boy"

  45. Brian Ernsberger7/28/2010 1:41 PM


    To answer you attitude concern, my use of that phrase is used in the same sense as Joshua's charge to the Israelites in Joshua 24:15 or Elijah's charge on Mt. Carmel in I Kings 18:21. There are many within Fundamentalism who openly espouse a coming together of Fundys and CE. They are enamored by the CE. By my statement I am just saying if you are going to go then go.

    I have apprecciated your openness and honesty. I do understand where you are coming from. The younger generation has been adversely affected, IMO, by who they have looked to for answers. This would apply to anyone in any generation. I have heard the constant blaming of some from bygone years for the "problems" we have now and I don't buy that argument. It is trying to place our own failings at the feet of someone else. And I am thankful that to what degree you have changed your understanding of things to a more Scriptural understanding because of Bauder. But that doesn't stop my concern for what Bauder is proposing. I will go back to the OT again for illustrative purposes only, I am not saying or implying that Bauder is following Balaam. But in the account of Balaam in Numbers when he is called upon to curse the Israelites he instead blesses and gives prophetic utterances concerning Israel. Yet he is condemned throughout Scriptures and eventually dies amongst God's enemies. I bring this out to illustrate the point that we may find good, right, Biblical teaching in many places but that doesn't give carte blanche status to the source. Regardless of our age we must exercise discernment. I understand the inexperience of youth, I was once your age 24 years ago. To some extent every generation faces the same challenges as the previous one. Names may change, modes of gathering information change but the bottom line is still the same, taking the statements of any man and examining them with the lens of Scripture. I will give another illustration and turn to other things. I like olives. What I don't like are pits. Olives are packaged in one of two ways, with pits or without pits. Even pitted ones have warning labels about the possible presence of pits or pieces of pits. I can benefit from eating either one, pitted or unpitted, but I am benefited far greater by consuming the unpitted ones. I am not having to constantly remove the pits while I eat. The principle applies to whom I wish read or listen to. Sure there may be benefit with many men that you have mentioned and other men, but do I want to have to stop on numerous occasions and filter out the "pits" of wrong doctrine, etc. Personally, I seek out those unpitted olives, they are far less of a hassle to consume.
    Through this thread we have diverged a bit from my original article. You had mentioned that you did not think Bauder was actually proposing a blending of CE men and Fundys. Let me draw our attention back to his closing sentence.
    “In both groups [Fundamentalism and Conservative Evangelicals], however, a small but increasing number is beginning to exempt itself from the pursuit of popular culture and relocate itself within the worship and ministry of ‘historic Christianity.’” The parenthesis is mine for clarification of the groups he is referring to. Bauder is indeed speaking of a blending, a coming together of segments from CE and Fundys. You may disagree with my assessment but these are Bauder's words not mine.

  46. Scott,

    May I humbly address some of your earlier comments regarding the serious matters being discussed here.

    To be honest, I am grieved at some of your observations, not only because you were compelled to say them, but for their content.

    I have been a Christian for 45 years and the pastor of the same church for going on 35 years. I was "born and bred" in Biblical Fundamentalism. I knew some of the great men of the past who paid a great price to stand for the truth against great compromise. Were they perfect? Of course not. But they understood what was at stake if we were to join up with New Evangelicals and make common cause with them.

    Sadly, second and third generations don't comprehend the tremendous battles that were waged and the great price that was paid to defend truth.

    The further we get away from those battles, the greater the danger that we ill be unwilling to keep holding the banner high.

    Earlier, you wrote: "I'm 24 and still living on the campus of a Fundamentalist Bible college, and I can tell you that the kind of Fundamentalism that's been typical simply will not, ever, be embraced by my peers. It isn't an option. They're currently immersed in popular CE and for a more conservative option to stand a chance of capturing their minds and hearts, it'll have to be a lot older than either network. Honestly, even it doesn't stand much of a chance-- a generation raised on Nintendo can't be expected to choose the less cool option."

    Scott, may I make an appeal to you? I am probably just a dinosaur to you and your generation. But you are in the best possible position to influence your peers to retain and maintain the right stance for Biblical (not redefined) Fundamentalism. Could you not use your influence to encourage your friends to take a serious look at the grave errors of John Piper and the T4G crowd. These are simply New Evangelicals dressed in different clothes. Theologically and in other ways, what they are promoting it dangerous.

    Might I also encourage you to put aside what you might consider the warts of Fundamentalism (and there are a few) and concentrate on the Word of God as your sole authority.

    I can assure you that the answer does not lie with the CE crowd...they have a lot of warts too. We need to encourage one another in the Word as we defend the faith, contend for the faith, and extend the faith.

    You also wrote about such matters as: "popular CE," "a lot older than either network," and "the less cool option."

    If I understand you here, you seem to be confessing that your heart is more interested in what is popular, a place to network, and something that is "cool."

    But God's Word says that our fellowship with one another is based on our fellowship with God (1 Jn. 1:3). Furthermore, John tells us that we fellowship with God when we walk in the light. Walking in the light is never to be about seeking after what is popular. Nor is it about having a network to operate from. Walking in the light is contrary to the flesh and more demanding to my soul and spirit to be expressed as something cool.

    Please hear my heart: abandoning Bible-centered Fundamentalism (which is where those such as Kevin Bauder seem to be heading) would be tragic and unnecessary. We need your generation to stay in the battle, not go over to the other side.

    I fear that should the current generation desert the Bible-focused Fundamentalism worth maintaining, there will be a train wreck from which we may never recover.

    Please understand my heart and the spirit in which I write these words.

    May God be glorified in our choices and stance for the glorious Word of God.

  47. Gentlemen:

    I’ve appreciate the interaction here, but due to special circumstances I have to close off comments for this and all IDOTG articles for a few days.

    As I noted earlier The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness by Dr. Peter Masters will be posted on Friday. Then, on Monday morning, the article I wrote for and appeared in the Mar/Apr 2010 FrontLine magazine will appear. That article is titled, The Manhattan Declaration: Is This Another Step Toward the Supra-Religion?

    Yours in His service,