August 30, 2010

John MacArthur Refreshes Kevin Bauder’s Short Term Memory: “Conservative” Evangelicals Extended Christian Recognition to Romans Catholics

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

In the last week I have posted two penetrating articles. They are: Do Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, “Believe, Preach and Defend the [Same] Gospel? and its companion article Cogitations Stemming From the Central/Bauder Ethos Statement. Today we are continuing with much the same theme as the above have addressed.

Earlier this year I transcribed Dr. Kevin Bauder’s recorded remarks on Al Mohler signing the Manhattan Declaration (MD) at the April 2010 Foundations Conference. This was the first public statement from Bauder on the MD that I am aware of. In that statement he excused and brushed aside Mohler’s the signing the MD as merely an “occasional inconsistency, a single episode” of ecumenism. See- Kevin Bauder Discussing: Al Mohler’s “Occasional Inconsistency?”

Dr. Bauder knew in April just as he knows today that signing the MD was NOT Mohler’s first time foray in ecumenical compromise. I documented past episodes of Mohler’s ecumenism in the article, Al Mohler Signs the MD: Was This a First Time Foray Toward Ecumenism?

Last week this issue arose at the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron (SI). There was an exchange on the MD between Kevin Bauder and Pastor Brian Ernsberger. The exchange took place in a thread under the article on the Central Seminary Ethos Statement. The exchange began with KB stating to another participant,

Do you personally know of conservative evangelicals who are knowingly extending Christian recognition to open theists, Roman Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Hindus, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc? No? I didn’t think so. Neither do I. I do know of evangelicals who do some of these things, but not of conservative evangelicals.”
Pastor Ernsberger engaged Bauder’s statement above with this question/comment,
Does Dr. Bauder have short term memory loss? He answered a question given, with this statement earlier in the thread,

Do you personally know of conservative evangelicals who are knowingly extending Christian recognition to open theists, Roman Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Hindus, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc? No? I didn’t think so. Neither do I. I do know of evangelicals who do some of these things, but not of conservative evangelicals.”

Incredibly Kevin Bauder suggests he knows of no conservative evangelicals who have extended Christian recognition to Roman Catholics. I believe we can turn to John MacArthur to help refresh Bauder’s memory.
The [Manhattan] Declaration therefore constitutes a formal avowal of brotherhood between Evangelical signatories and purveyors of different gospels. That is the stated intention of some of the key signatories, and it’s hard to see how secular readers could possibly view it in any other light…. Instead of acknowledging the true depth of our differences, the implicit assumption (from the start of the document until its final paragraph) is that Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant Evangelicals and others all share a common faith in and a common commitment to the gospel’s essential claims…. That seriously muddles the lines of demarcation between authentic biblical Christianity and various apostate traditions.” (Dr. John MacArthur, The Manhattan Declaration, 11/24/09 at Shepherd’s Fellowship web site)

Conservative evangelicals Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Tim Challies, et. al. signed the Manhattan Declaration. They knowingly joined Roman Catholics in that cooperative effort. They have, therefore, knowingly granted Christian recognition to purveyors of a different gospel and thereby have compromised the gospel.

On April 27, 2010 at the Foundations Conference Kevin Bauder had dismissed Al Mohler’s signing the MD as merely an “occasional inconsistency…single episode.”

Statements like these from Kevin Bauder is how fidelity to biblical separatism, the hallmark of Fundamentalism, is slain for the sake of fellowship with full-blown ecumenical (ce) compromisers. The ethos statement saying, “that careful, limited forms of fellowship are possible,” is the proverbial camel’s nose in the tent. The aberrant doctrine of the CE men I want nothing of in my tent.
The real irony here is that Brother Ernsberger used John MacArthur, no genuine separatist, to remind and instruct Kevin Bauder, a self-described fundamentalist/separatist, that alleged “conservative” evangelicals had compromised the gospel by constituting, “a formal avowal of brotherhood between Evangelical signatories and purveyors of different gospels…” when they signed the MD. That is Mohler and Ligon Duncan knowingly gave Christian recognition to the “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18). Later Kevin Bauder replied as follows,
Mr. Ernsberger, Should Mohler, Duncan, etc., have signed the Manhattand [sic] declaration? Absolutely not! It was a bad *mistake, or, if you prefer, a rather serious error. It was, however, rather an isolated error committed by men who had already paid a heavy price for their separatism. While it cannot be overlooked entirely, it must not become the only defining factor with respect to these men’s ministries.

The operative word in my statement was “knowingly.” I do regard the Manhattan Declaration as a compromise of the gospel. Having said that, if we take seriously the words of Mohler himself, he does not believe that it requires him to extend Christian recognition or cooperation to Roman Catholics. The same can be said of other situations, for example Bethlehem Baptist's ongoing involvement with Converge.

I do take these men seriously. I think they are wrong, but their error is the error of a mistake and not of deliberate disobedience to our Master. Still, it would be more difficult to be involved with a Mohler or a Duncan than it would be with a Dever or a MacArthur. The range of possible fellowship is more restricted. (bold added for later commentary below and in part two of the series)
To which Brother Ernsberger responded with,
Dr. Bauder let’s look a bit more closely at Dr. Mohler and his “isolated error.” If the signing of the MD were indeed his “first” offense I might concur with you, but it is not. To take from a paragraph of Dr. Fred Moritz’s article, A Certain Sound, in the May/June FrontLine magazine, he states, “Yet Mohler signed the MD, chaired a Billy Graham crusade in his city, cooperated with theological liberals in that effort, and he honored one of his liberal predecessors, Duke McCall, by naming a new building after him. Obedience to Scripture on one hand and disobedience on the other sends an ‘uncertain sound’.”

Sorry, Dr. Bauder, so much for an “isolated error.” And for Steve Davis, the above excerpt can apply to you who questioned the ecumenical statement. How much more ecumenical can you get when working with a Graham crusade?
To Ernsberger’s laundry list of Mohler’s ecumenical compromises we can add that he (Mohler) is a long time sitting board member of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. Furthermore, one of Al Mohler’s first official acts as president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was to inaugurate the Billy Graham School of Missions & Evangelism. Al Mohler became president of SBTS in 1993. In all fairness, therefore, arrangements for honoring Graham by naming the school for him in 1994 probably preceded Mohler’s presidency. Nevertheless, Honoring Graham’s legacy of ecumenical evangelism is a giant leftward step away from the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism with which Mohler is presently identified.

For complete documentation of Al Mohler’s track record of ecumenical compromise, which Kevin Bauder is fully aware of, I refer you again to Al Mohler Signs the MD: Was This a First Time Foray Toward Ecumenism.

In part two of this series I am going to excerpt elements from Kevin Bauder’s reply to Brother Ernsberger for specific scrutiny, commentary, comparison and closing remarks.


*Very similar to Dr. Dave Doran’s excusing Mohler signing the MD as merely, “a wrong decision based on bad judgment.”

Site Publisher’s Addendum:
On Sunday evening (8/29) Pastor Ernsberger informed SI’s Aaron Blumer that he was quitting SI with immediate effect and requested his subscription be promptly removed. In his resignation to Blumer, pastor Ernsberger noted,
…the way in which ad hominem attacks have been leveled against individuals who would challenge the claims of an article published is just deplorable. It is one thing for other members to attack this way, but to see moderators get into the melee is just beyond the pale. This truly sickens me.
Pastor Ernsberger wanted to make his resignation and reasons for it public. His complete resignation, SI’s Deplorable Moderator Actions Run Off Another, with additional commentary, can be viewed at my secondary blog, SI: In the Iron Skillet.

Furthermore, another pastor who quit SI, for reasons much like that of Pastor Ernsberger, has sent me an article detailing why he quit. This is an expanded exposé on the bias and attitudes of SI, its site publisher, admins and moderators that have run off so many. This to will appear at the Iron Skillet blog in the near future.

1 comment:

  1. To All:

    At his Faith, Theology & Ministry blog, Evangelist Gordon Phillips has published a new article. It is titled, The ‘Old Axe’ of Fundamentalism at Central Baptist Theological Seminary and this is an excerpt,

    When the present presidential leadership of Central Baptist Theological Seminary speaks of continuing the heritage and vision of that institution, he can only do so in the same way that the above old man did of his “family’s” axe. There was nothing original left of the old axe, but since the individual parts had been changed out separately with much time elapsing between the events it was possible to think that the axe was something that it no longer was. So is the case with CBTS.

    Since the institution was founded upon a separatistic Fundamentalist foundation and firmly set by its founders to maintain that same course, any current claims of continuing in that heritage coupled to an attached statement that expresses a desire to have “careful, limited fellowship” with Evangelicals, albeit those who believe that they are somehow conservative, is nothing more than imaginative thinking.