September 2, 2010

SI Sizzles In & Over the Iron Skillet

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

Aaron Blumer, site publisher of the pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron (SI) has reacted to articles at my obscure blog SI: In the Iron Skillet and criticism of SI various threads at this blog. See this commentary, and this commentary and for example consider the following edited excerpt,
Last night a preacher sent me an e-mail advising me of this recent quote at SI, from one of its leadership, “SI is not trying to redefine Fundamentalism or doctrine.” Is he kidding or incredibly na├»ve? Since its inception SI has been trying to castigate and redefine Fundamentalism (with Kevin Bauder taking SI’s lead in these efforts) and furthermore make fundamentalism compatible and tasteful for the evangelicals whom SI heaps lavish praise on. One guest at my blog asked, “Even if SI gang tackles certain people, aren’t they just acting like so many have in the past?” SI moderators have historically and certainly do gang tackle participants with whom they have issues. The fiasco with Dwight Smith over the “Doc” Clearwaters Letter to Kevin Bauder being among the most recent. From 2009 SI moderators and Blumer piling on John Himes who tried to address Kevin Bauder’s unprovoked attacks on John R. Rice and Bob Jones, Jr. So, YES they act like so many in the past the very attitudes they denounce. The problem is: SI does not even realize that they (moderators and some vocal members) have become the very thing they decry and detest from Fundamentalism’s past.
Aaron Blumer has reacted to the legitimate criticism coming from various sources to the obvious bias and other verifiable issues with SI. Not unexpectedly he does not disclose vital facts that would be problematic to his team and site. Nevertheless, I have two articles, among many more, that detail with archived material from SI, verifying legitimate criticism that Aaron understandably does not want to fully disclose to what is left of SI’s membership and advertisers. I encourage you to, among other examples, carefully read,

Blowing the Whistle on the SI “Referees”

Gratifying Responsiveness of SI

In 2009 Blumer did cook the membership books to his advertisers when he opened the current SI 3.0. He was willfully and wrongfully claiming 4,000 members, with several hundred active, that he knew he did not have and could not produce in June 2009. He was, however, claiming these figures to potential advertisers. Only after I contacted him, drove home the point that he was misrepresenting the true membership count did he reluctantly revise his claims to a more accurate number. Blumer, in his words, “updated the page with more precise wording,” after I explained to him that his misrepresentation of the membership count is commonly known as “cooking the books.” His update was not “more precise wording,” it was more honest wording.

You will also note that Aaron did describe SI as site, “with 4,000 members who identify with conservative evangelicalism of the fundamentalist variety.” The “ little switcheroo misquote” obviously is his own and I am happy to be able to refresh his memory of how he did describe SI. That was verbatim how he defined SI, but again responded to me and changed the wording when I pointed out to him that the statement was accurate and verified who and what SI is for, which is conservative evangelicalism.

Incidentally, in his complaint piece he states, “‘3.0’ does not have members and never will.” Well, I'm happy to refresh his memory again. The quote above about his “4,000 members,” those are his words that he posted at the current SI 3.0! Plus, in the comment threads under the name of every participant is an icon. Go to SI and hold your cursor over any of those check mark icons and you will see this word appear, “MEMBER.” Furthermore, when a member quits SI, his icon (half moon) is changed to “former member.” Aaron, SI 2.0 and 3.0 have always had “members!”

I would encourage the few current or potential advertisers who feel strongly about Fundamentalism to consider if SI is the best place to invest the resources God has entrusted to you. SI is a site that frequently allows for, promotes, and its leadership happily joins in on, the redefining, castigation and besmirchment of fundamentalism. SI, furthermore, heaps lavish praise on the so-called “conservative” evangelicals and can barely tolerate legitimate criticism of it’s star personalities or fellowships. Is this the kind of site that deserves to be sustained with financial support from fundamentalist institutions?

To any fundamentalists who still has their membership with or participates at SI: I understand that you feel you may be posting for the lurkers, posting to represent what the best of fundamentalism has to offer. That is very noble and primarily why myself and others used to participate at SI putting up with the moderator’s bias, shrill complaints and gang-tackling. There comes a time, however, when you have to consider whether or not you can post at a site that does not cherish the fundamentalism you do and instead of building up fundamentalism redefines and besmirches it with impunity. Pastor Brian Ernsberger finally had enough of SI and publicly quit last week. See, SI’s Deplorable Moderator Actions Run Off Another for details.

If it were not for a few of you left at SI their discussion threads would nearly grind to a halt. Presently if it were not for Blumer and a few of his moderators staying very active in the threads, SI’s threads would surely grind to a halt. So, to those of you who have considered, but not yet quit SI: Is commenting there, keeping its threads active the best use of your time; is that the best way to redeem the time?

Here is the real irony in Blumer’s current complaint piece about the legitimate criticism of SI. In virtually every issue I’ve raised with Aaron, some of which he references in his complaint piece, his reaction to my addressing him resulted in his making changes to the site or its descriptions.

FWIW, twice I offered to buy SI from Aaron. Once when he was trying to raise operating funds in 2009, the first offer was right after I quit SI in June 2009. I offered to give him everything he paid Jason Janz for it. My offer was declined. Too bad, I had a solid business plan for SI.

Incidentally, on Tuesday, September 7th, there will be a new article appearing at my primary blog In Defense of the Gospel. The article is from another pastor who recently quit SI and he will detail, with examples, why he quietly left. They are irrefutable examples of the bias that is routine at SI and has been from its inception.

If there are any readers who have also quit SI and would like to share your experience you may e-mail your story to me at indefense06@gmail.com. Or if it is brief you may post it in this thread.

Kind regards,


LM

For an additional critique of SI see, I Had to Ask: “Does This Sharpen Me?” For example,
Increasingly, the threads are filled with intimations of “serious doctrinal error” hurled toward fellow fundamentalists, while the compromise and errors of Conservative Evangelical personalities are glossed over as praise is lavished on their ministries, as in a recent series of articles by Dr. Kevin Bauder.... If homogeneity was their goal at SI, they have very nearly accomplished it.... I find that SI is not a place that welcomes my viewpoint, nor is it a place that holds the Conservative Evangelical camp to the same standard it holds my “camp.”
*This article is reproduced at Sharper Iron: In the Iron Skillet, where you can read several more articles on SI.

32 comments:

  1. Just posted at SI by Pastor Marc Monte-

    Obvious Bias
    From time to time I read sharperiron, particularly if there is an article afoot that has caused a stir among the brethren. I have also posted comments from time to time, with varying responses. I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with me, but some of the responses have been a bit condescending. I happily represent an older form of fundamentalism that isn't fooled by John Piper, Rick Warren, and that crowd.

    I have also noticed the attitude that the older preachers take toward SI. Whenever it comes up at pastors' fellowships or just around the lunch table, most of the old guys roll their eyes and express discouragement over the lack of discernment so prevalent among the young. They not only dislike the left-leaning position of SI, but they also dislike the attitude. SI has the reputation of defaming godly men of the past in preference for "non-cessationist" (please read "charismatic") compromisers of the present. (To even consider the possibility that one can be a fundamentalist and question creationism is absurd.)

    One final thought about SI bias: Your [Aaron's] diagram of evangelicalism and fundamentalism reveals your bias. You drew a clear oval separating "conservative evangelicalism" from "evangelicalism," but you DID NOT draw any lines of separation between "conservative evangelicalism" and "fundamentalism." Aaron, a picture is worth a thousand words!

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  2. Interesting that you put Marc's post on here. Let me respond from my point of view. First, I come from the left-leaning side of the GARBC and sorry, but Kevin Bauder and Aaron Blumer would be far right of where many of us from Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana come from.

    Christian Fundamentalism is diverse including your conservative leanings, more middle of the road people such as Sharper Iron and more left-leaning people such as myself and the 48% of the GARBC that didn't believe that Cedarville should have been dropped from the GARBC.

    Marc gives the impression that Sharper Iron and others that are left of him are not discerning about Conservative Evangelicals. That is so far from the truth! Bauder, almost all the moderators, myself, and others have disagreements with CE's such as Piper and Dever, or middle of the road evangelicals such as Rick Warren. Its just the degree of disagreement that differ.

    Oops I gotta go and help my family......I will get back to this discussion soon.

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  3. Joel:

    I can’t speak for Marc, but I will say this. I’m not certain that the SI folks are undiscerning. I think they are well aware of the doctrinal aberrations (charismatic theology), worldliness in methods of ministry and the ecumenical compromises of the so-called “conservative” evangelicals. They simply have chosen to tolerate, allow for and excuse these things for the sake of fostering greater fellowship with them.

    In any of Bauder’s articles have you seen him raise any of the Scriptural mandates on separation that come to bear on the issues with evangelicals? For him this is about unity around Calvinistic soteriology in the form of Lordship Salvation. Therefore, all other considerations, including Mohler signing the Manhattan Declaration, are brushed aside.

    Can you imagine what the reaction would be if say Marc Monte had signed the MD? He be slaughtered by the SI crowd just like they kill Ron Hamilton every time he shows at 1st BC Hammond, which I'd rather he didn’t as well for the record. But Mohler…?

    He can chair a Billy Graham crusade, honor rank liberal Duke McCall, sign the MD, which compromsied the Gospel and gave Christian recognition to the RCC enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil. 3:18), sit on the board of Focus on the Family for years and all of this is essentially ignored.

    Mohler signing the MD dismissed by Dave Doran as merely a “wrong decision based on bad judgment.” Bauder says it was nothing more than an “isolated mistake, single episode, and occasional inconsistency,” which he knows is absolutely not true. Mohler has an established tack record of ecumenical compromise.

    Thanks for stopping by.


    LM

    PS: You should also reply to Marc at SI, but be careful, you mods are under real scrutiny now. Don't gang tackle him, don't delete his comments and chide him like Jim Peet did to two pastors last week, or Aaron's complaint article is shattered, not that much of it isn't already.

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  4. Today at 11:13am GregH, whom I do not know posted this to the SI leadership. This is an excerpt.

    Here is one big reason why I [GregH] do not post [at SI] any more. If I post something a moderator doesn't like, he/she can publicly attack me and my motives but give me no voice to defend myself. Your policy is that people can only question moderators privately about forum policy issues even though moderators can/do blast people publicly. This actually happened the last time I posted

    Another example of SI moderators bullying, gang tackling, chiding and blasting with impunity those they disagree with.


    LM

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  5. Brian Ernsberger9/02/2010 1:42 PM

    In all the heat that is being radiated from this, I am reminded that owners of websites are free to do whatever they will, just like a "brick and mortar" establishment (to use the contrast between the virtual world of the internet and the physical world). And just like consumers in the physical world we are enabled to frequent those establishments we deem as acceptable. If I go to a restaurant and receive terrible service from the waiter, do I return? Probably not and no one thinks otherwise concerning that decision and we don't have a problem if that customer voices his dissatisfaction. Nor should we think otherwise when some move on from actively interacting at websites.
    Interesting days we live in.

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  6. Lou, you are on target with your criticisms of SI. A litte more than a year ago before BJU pulled their book on alcohol, I tried to keep the discussion going in the appropriate threds. (I did this primarily to keep the heat on BJU.)The moderators kept moving the discussion threads around to the point that it was almost impossible to follow or continue the discussion. I could not help but feel that that was done in order to take attention from some of the very specific facts I was bringing to the conversation. Even if all the moving of the theads wasn't a high-handed attempt to bury my posts, that is the impression left by their actions. When you alienate your constituency--whether in fact OR in impression--you have a problem.

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  7. Ps. Monte:

    Thanks for stopping by with the support and sharing that account.

    Ps. Brian Ernsberger (from the comment just above yours) can share with you his first hand encounter with the SI moderator Jim Peet, and his (Peet's) heavy handed tactics, including burying posted comments. This happened last week and if you take the link to SI's Deplorable Moderator Actions... you can read his account of it. The link is midway through my article above.

    Thanks again,


    Lou

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  8. Brian Ernsberger9/02/2010 6:33 PM

    While I realize memberships within anything will ebb and flow, I do find it rather interesting that the previous SI boasted 4,000 but when it became necessary to "resubscribe" way less than half choose to do so. Rhetorical question here, why?
    Watching the thread at SI on this has been a bit sad. Legitimate criticisms are leveled and never really addressed by mods or admins, only rebuttals/sidesteps/denials to the criticisms, never an honest look at the criticism to see if it actually is valid. Sad, truly sad.

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  9. Brian:

    You asked why, “way less than half choose to” resubscribe. Pretty simple if you were around for a while.

    By 2007 SI had stagnated member growth and it was already beginning to shed participants. I think those who remember in 2007 when the left-lean of SI discussion was raging you could see that members had enough and were departing over the left-lean of SI. In the current thread I saw someone refer to that very left-lean that has been part of SI’s history.

    I had a PM box with messages from several former members who were quitting. By 2007 they saw SI was biased and hopelessly in the tank for Calvinism, LS, Piper and the evangelicals en masse. Its moderators then as now had a pack dog mentality just like Susan and JayC showed again today with Ps. Monte.

    So the exodus was well underway when the migration took pace. Many had already quietly quit. In the migration Aaron got all that was left, a 75% departure rate.


    Lou

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  10. Brian:

    When SI 3.0 opened Aaron was cooking the SI membership books to potential advertisers.

    I exchanged several e-mails with him about claiming to adversities, right after June 2009 migration, that SI had 4,000 members with several hundred active. You can read his article today where he tries to explain 2.0 and 3.0 that he still does not understand the seriousness of what he did, that what he did was highly unethical.

    When time to resubscribe came it was WAY less than half choosing to do so. At the time I was admonishing him on the 4,000 claim SI had about 900+/- registered. He did finally revise his claim.

    Aaron either 1) Did not know any better; 2) He had advertising rates based on the 4,000 at SI 2.0 and leads me to wonder if Aaron/SI could not stand the loss of ad revenue if he had made the adjustment. If you drop 75% of your target audience then you have to drop your ad rates to reflect that. I used to work in the professional media with these things. This is how it works- You set your ad rates based on the numbers you can deliver to an advertiser. This is why rating sweeps are crucial to the media.

    That leads me to this question: Is SI/Aaron charging the same ad rates for the 1,000+/- members they have now that they charged when he could claim 4,000 members? If they are charging the same rate, then the advertisers are being grossly overcharged.

    Legitimate criticisms are leveled and never really addressed by mods or admins, only rebuttals/sidesteps/denials to the criticisms, never an honest look at the criticism to see if it actually is valid.

    That is SI. They have no real interest in becoming unbiased. FWIW, I don’t think Aaron ever had control over the moderators. I will say this, even though Susan and JayC went after Marc Monte right away, which has been noted there, for the most part the SI leadership is being very cautious today. Much scrutiny right now.

    Although I just read a very disturbing and particularly venomous personal ad hominem, Blumer appears to have no problem with it because the target is not one of his own camp. Nothing changes.


    Lou

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  11. "SI is not constantly under attack. As far as I know, the site’s enemies are few, and critics of the distorting or dishonest sort are even fewer. I don’t get angry phone calls (which kind of surprises me—but I certainly don’t mind!)."

    Considering Luke 6:26, this is probably the most concerning of all the statements made there.

    A preacher with few enemies in an apostate time such as this simply cannot be commissioned of God.

    Lest he think he has no enemies because his site is filled with 'brothers', the greatest enemies of a man of God are always to be found among those with the highest profession of religion.

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  12. Further...

    Considering Matt 5:11-12, a godly man ought count it a blessing if one speaks evil against him falsely. If what is being said against him is false, he should not feel a need to defend himself, he should count it a blessing.

    The job of a preacher is to defend Christ at the expense of self.

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  13. To All:

    Acknowledging that the "venomous personal ad hominem" rhetoric has been edited at SI.

    Hopeful sign.


    LM

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  14. To All:

    I want to begin winding this thread down with excerpts and my commentary from the thread under Aaron Blumer’s article in which he complains about legitimate criticism of SI.

    First, I just read a comment from Susan, an SI admin. In her extended comment she included the following,

    Perhaps we should ask ourselves sometimes if we aren’t doing the exact thing we despise so much in others.”

    At least one SI team member finally gets it and was willing to be transparent. Finally seems to grasp what has been observable for years about the attitude and methods of SI moderators. What in part accounts for SI’s massive losses in members and active participants. What has been obvious for years toward those who take an opposing view to SI’s favoritism and defense of Calvinism, lavish praise of evangelicalism, its star personalities, its fellowships (T4G) and SI’s incessant bent on castigating fundamentalism (officially and unofficially).

    Of course both Susan and JayC gang-tackled Ps. Marc Monte yesterday, which others recognized in the thread. Learning, yes- but a long way to go.


    LM

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  15. The second comment I’d like to address was submitted by Alex G, who wrote,

    SI is fundie. The site is exceptional with respect to fundie sites and probably CE sites. SI is faithful to attempting give a hearing to all legitimate Christian voices that may contribute to our welfare.”

    Before I quit SI in June 2009 I was a very active member for over three years. I posted over 1,100 comments, wrote two main page articles and opened numerous discussion threads, several of which went to the 20 page limit. With that close participation at SI in mind I want to ask an open question for any and all to respond with what I’m looking for.

    I would like for anyone to link to where SI has consistently linked to and gives voice to a decidedly fundamentalist (non-Calvinistic) site or blog. A site that is linked to from SI that is promoted and treated with respect at SI by its leadership. A site that is positive toward fundamentalism. A decidedly fundamentalist site or blog that would counter-balance the incessant attacks on fundamentalism by and through SI Blogroll sites such as Bob Bixby’s Pensees and Ben Wright’s Paleo-evangelcal.

    I appreciate that Alex feels SI is exceptional with respect to fundamentalist sites, but can anyone give a clear-cut example from SI?


    LM

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  16. And just one more request:

    SI claims to be unbiased. Let’s leave the obvious bias of its moderators out of the discussion for now and focus on this.

    Can anyone point to any main page article at SI that was exclusively a positive commentary on fundamentalism? In SI’s 5+ years is there even one example from their main page of a positive, uplifting article on Fundamentalism?

    If it exists I'd be happy to acknowledge at least one example of balance at SI in five years.


    LM

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  17. Brother Martuneac,

    Gang-tackled may be a correct term in this instance (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gang-tackled), but you usage appears to assume intent to gang tackle or an organized attempt to jointly shut down posters who dissent. JayC claims that is not the case. (http://sharperiron.org/article/few-answers-to-sharperiron-critics#comment-18008) I am aware that two people can indeed be writing simultaneously and post very similar comments; this may add credibility to his claim. One thing that might help (on a practical level) is if the moderators were assigned shifts or sections of the site to moderate. They have tried to clarify when moderators are taking action and speaking as mods and when they are just speaking as themselves. This is an improvement from the old days.

    While I understand how it appears to the reader (especially the poster who is being "tackled"), I have seen this same thing happen by non-moderators just because there are two or three people on simultaneously reading and writing. I have experienced the challenge of reading and trying to respond to multiple posters. It takes discipline, patience and time (all of which I find my self all too often in short supply). It is unfortunately easier to respond with frustration and interpret the circumstances more nefarious than reality permits.

    Just trying to keep every one objective (John 7:24). In full disclosure: I am not a moderator, or in any way on staff at SI. I am not even a member. I used to post there (all too often I am afraid.) I am one of those who has not rejoined since 3.0 and that was a conscious decision based only in part by my time constraints as well as my concerns about where the site was going. I am presently paying attention to the discussions as a lurker and have had private conversations with some of the team there (Ephesians 4:3 comes to mind).

    For His glory,
    Christian

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  18. Christian:

    Thanks for the comments. Dynamics of their moderating infrastructure aside there is ample evidence that SI moderators and select passionate members gang-up up on posters with whom they disagree.

    We need look no further than the way they piled on Dwight Smith over his “Doc” Clearwater’s letter to Kevin Bauder. Dwight posted the very clever letter, it was deleted, but not before he was gang-tackled by Rogier and Linscott. Then Blumer joined the public pile on and rebuked him as well. It was obvious Dwight did not try to deceive anyone that is what genuine from "Doc", but I think I saw JayC this week suggest again that Dwight was unethical and intentionally tried to deceive. The real problem is that the content hit the mark, which was Bauder. SI had to dispose of it because it hit the mark. So, instead of dealing with the facts in the message, SI simply decided to kill the messenger and the message.

    See Dwight’s, A Letter From Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters to Kevin Bauder Also see- SI Gang-tackles “Doc” Clearwaters

    Another example and an especially egregious one is when they piled on John Himes last year; you remember that one don’t you? Shameful that they clearly pulled together to shut him down. Blumer was also in on that one publicly in the thread.

    Last week same kind of moderator bullying was done to Brian Ernsberger by Jim Peet. See SI's deplorable Moderator Actions…

    Of course Blumer stepped in to continue the deletions of Ernsberger’s and Pittman’s comments that Peet had begun. Effectively burying the proof of the heavy-handed methods Peet brought to that discussion.

    There you have it. These are examples of the long time pattern of moderating at SI.

    BTW, compare those reactions to how SI leadership happily received and fervently defended Kevin Bauder’s three consecutive (summer 2009) unprovoked attacks on the legacy of Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. and John R. Rice and his incendiary Let’s Get Clear on This. Bias and double-standards? No question about it.

    Susan (quoted above) is right, “Perhaps we should ask ourselves sometimes if we aren’t doing the exact thing we despise so much in others.” Recognize is one thing, but change is another. IMO they will never change their methods and bias. Their personal positions, fences and methods are to strongly ingrained in them.

    Thanks again,


    Lou

    PS: On Tuesday another preacher is publicly quitting SI. Here at my blog you’ll be able to read his detailed explanation of why and how SI and its moderators drove him away as they have so many before him.

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  19. BTW, I have also had numerous private conversations with the some of the SI team over the past 12+ months.


    Lou

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  20. Lou,

    I think you are wrong in your assessment of Sharper Iron. While SI is not perfect and doesn't in general reflect my point of view, they are more conservative than you make them out to be.

    The difference between the new membership list and the old is not unusual for internet forums. Many forums have a lot of dead wood members who subscribed once upon a time, but no longer post or even visit. I think I have a membership in the Baptist Board and others, for example, but never visit and never post. Attempting to make hay about changing membership numbers is really foolish.

    Finally, if SI is declining as you say, it will soon not be a problem for you at all, will it? I am not sure what you gain by writing posts like this.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

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  21. Here are two examples of main page uplifting articles on Fundamentalism

    http://sharperiron.org/article/i-learned-it-from-fundamentalists

    http://sharperiron.org/article/i-learned-it-from-fundamentalists

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  22. Ben:

    Thanks for the links, but they appear to go to an article that is one and the same. OK, so you’ve produced an article on fundamentalism. I’d guess that in 5 years SI has published about 1,300 main page articles.

    You know Aaron closed an otherwise uplifting article with, “What I do know is that though I could have learned all these things from Conservative Evangelicals (and a few from not-so-conservative ones), I didn’t.”

    Could be interpreted as a parting shot across the bow of fundamentalism. And just couldn’t resist an atta-boy to the evangelicals, which the article one would think had nothing to do with. Maybe that is why biblical separation did not appear as one of the main points of the article. As a matter of fact, not even a mention of separation anywhere in the article. If it had appeared his parting atta-boy to the evangelicals could not be included. Kind of puts a wet blanket on the idea being this was to be an example of a positive uplifting article on fundamentalism.

    BTW, I did react to that article by Aaron, forgot about it until now. You can read Aaron Blumer: learned it From Fundamentalists. Here is an excerpt, which I’ll end with:

    We can appreciate many of the sentiments Blumer expresses for Fundamentalism. It is, however, irrefutable that Aaron presides over a site that has been a conduit for inflicting great harm to the legacy and men of Fundamentalism. Harm to those men and elements that would not be identified with what Blumer defined as “alot of fundamentalist ugliness.”

    Blumer close his article by stating, “I don’t know what all this ‘goes to show,’ if anything.”

    What it shows is that there is a huge gap between the appreciation he expresses for Fundamentalism and what he allows for at SI (including the SI Blogroll) from men like Kevin Bauder and any number of angry YF’s to vilify and besmirch Fundamentalism with impunity. This makes one wonder just who is in charge at SI. Is it the site publisher or SI moderators and remaining members who gush over “conservative” evangelicalism and furthermore vilify Fundamentalism, which is about all SI has left of its membership.


    LM

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  23. Don:

    I appreciate your visit. Too bad you don’t come by more often to discuss with me the things we agree on.

    You wrote, “The difference between the new membership list and the old is not unusual for internet forums.”

    Of course it’s not unusual unless, of course like Aaron did, you present the old membership numbers to advertisers as if it is your current/new membership count. If it was not a problem then he did not need to revise downward his claim of 4,000 but he did revise to an accurate current count, to his credit.

    My assessment of SI is to a great degree fact based on observable evidence at the site and documentation.

    If SI declines to the point it goes away that will IMO be a good thing. One less site publishing articles and featuring blogs trying to tear down fidelity to balanced biblical separatism as fundamentalism has been faithful to it; one less site influencing YF’s to embrace evangelicals; one less site influencing the next generation to tolerate, allow for and excuse the evangelicals charismatic theology, worldliness in ministry and ecumenical compromises.

    As for my assessment of SI, I am comfortable with describing it as a pseudo- fundamentalist site. The site certainly does not reflect the fundamentalism that you or I would identify with; does it? And don’t forget, Aaron in the summer of 2009 defined SI this way,

    The site has four thousand members (several hundred active) who identify with conservative evangelicalism of the fundamentalist variety.”

    The bolded portion is the most accurate description of what SI is today, I agree with it. There are of course some members left, such as you, who do not identify with so-called “conservative” evangelicalism.

    What do I gain? Nothing. Not interested in gaining. I did not want to write this particular article. But I could not let Aaron’s complaints (some with gaping holes of vital information) over legitimate and verifiable criticism go unanswered.

    FWIW, there are many former members or who never joined SI (for the reasons we’ve detailed) that do not appreciate SI especially because of the lavish praise for the star personalities of evangelicalism, while providing for and encouraging the castigation of fundamentalism. There are many who are grateful that there are some who are not encouraging and helping SI along with its direction, who are not sitting idly by while SI is influencing our next generation to abandon fundamentalism’s biblical separatist principles and to embrace the evangelicals.

    You might, furthermore, consider how your participation at SI is helping SI to influence that next generation to embrace the evangelicals.

    Don, if you did not post in the SI threads they’d just about grind to a halt because almost all they’d have is Blumer and the moderators talking to each other, which is pretty close to what is happening now. After them there are a few members posting, but seems that most of them have already gone over to evangelicalism, just not taken on the label.

    SI needs you alot more than you need it. Think about it; OK?


    LM

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  24. Aaron Blumer claims he wants to hear from critics, but when wide spread legitimate concerns with SI were posted in the thread by a fundamentalist pastor (Marc Monte) SI moderators immediately set upon him.

    Blumer responded to the shared concerns with, “It’s not like everybody has to like SI. If a few dozen or a few hundred don’t see much value in it (or worse yet, think it’s toxic) that’s OK. They have no obligation to even care about what happens here. But if they do, the contact form is there. I have nothing more to say than that…. And we’ve given folks lots of opportunities to communicate. Until they do, the whole matter is moot. I’m not going to chase ghosts

    So, it appears if one does not use an official private SI contact form, then Aaron can’t be bothered, complaints are moot.

    On Tuesday, Aaron will be hearing from another former, long time member of SI who shares his experience with SI. An experience which typifies what is commonplace at SI and why so many have quit SI or would never join in the first place.


    LM

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  25. Lou,

    Again, I don't know if you are acknowledging the diversity within fundamentalism when there are hundreds and hundreds (perhaps in the thousands) of GARBC and IFCA churches that are even far left of the the fundamentalism that is represented by Sharper Iron(Blumer would be on the more conservative wing of the GARBC). Most of them acknowledge their fundamentalism roots and have various disagreements with the CE's.

    It seems as if you are only acknowledging your stripe of fundamentalism (IFB?) as the real fundamentalists, when there are many other groups of fundamentalism that differ with you in what worldliness is and how to apply separation. They were always different from your viewpoint, even 40 years ago...... Correct me if I am wrong.......

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  26. Hi Joel:

    Without a doubt there is diversity in Fundamentalism. I don’t dispute that. There are elements that make many of us cringe, including me. What I am explaining and documenting to readers is what is easily seen at SI.

    I’ll remind you that the following is how Blumer used to define SI, which is still accurate (except for the super-inflated membership claim, which he revised downward to an honest count) even though he revised it,

    The site has four thousand members (several hundred active) who identify with conservative evangelicalism of the fundamentalist variety.”

    SI through its articles by Bauder and certain sites at its blogroll castigates and besmirches the whole of fundamentalism with the broad-brush. And while SI will rarely and reluctantly acknowledge “various disagreements with the CE’s” they will tolerate, allow for, run interference for and excuse those doctrinal aberrations and ecumenism. SI, on the other, hand pounces on any foible one might find in fundamentalism.

    A recent example by Bob Bixby, an SI blogroll site, who lumped Jack Schaap, John Vaughn and Brad Smith into a one and the same comment. Then in 2009 Bauder’s three unprovoked attacks at SI on Bob Jones, Jr. and John R. Rice equated those two men with Jack Hyles and Bob Gray. Where was SI on that? No where! Instead Blumer, Peet and every moderator stands by that kind of broad brush, disingenuous rhetoric. And when John Himes, Rice’s grandson, while acknowledging worthy elements, but objected to certain elements of Bauder’s rhetoric toward Rice and Jones the SI moderators, including Blumer, gang-tackled him.

    SI claims to be a site for and about fundamentalism, but in its 5 years you cannot find any main page article that is a thoroughly positive story for Fundamentalism. See my comment above to Ben who offered one, and the only example in SI’s five year history, that almost was fair to Fundamentalism. Instead you have series after series from Bauder and others to redefine, castigate and reshape fundamentalism and the apparent reason is to remake themselves into a type of fundamentalism the ce’s will accept. The problem is that to be accepted by the ce’s our men will have to lose their alleged heritage and commitment to biblical separatism and have show a very strong proclivity to do so.

    The obvious bias of SI from Blumer right through every one of his staff is toward conservative evangelicals. They constantly publish lavish praise of and gush over the ce camp.

    FWIW, tomorrow you will read another pastor’s experience with SI. It is an important contribution to and documents irrefutable examples of SI’s know bias.


    LM

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  27. I meant to include this link as the second:
    http://sharperiron.org/2007/05/07/why-stay-in-fundamentalism

    So, I found 2 positive articles on Fundamentalism within the last 5 years without looking too hard. How many articles have been completely uplifting of "New and/or Conservative Evangelicalism"?

    (And as a FWIW, most of the front page articles don't deal with Fundamentalism directly anyway, so to throw out the idea that there have been 1,300 main page articles is a red herring. To determine "balance" you'd have to compare "positive articles on Fundamentalism" and "positive articles on 'New and/or Conservative Evangelicalism."

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  28. Ben:

    You miss the point. SI claims to be a site for fundamentalism; right? Aaron says SI as, “The site has over 1300 members who identify with Fundamentalism.” Then surely we can find many examples of main page articles that would be supportive and uplifting for Fundamentalists; right? But another reminder is in order. Blumer once rightly defined SI this way:

    The site has…members who identify with conservative evangelicalism of the fundamentalist variety.” (dropped membership count claims that have been removed by Blumer)

    And it is irrefutable that SI goes way out of its way to heap lavish praise on the ce camp; isn’t that right. So, which is it: SI is for fundamentalism or evangelicalism?

    I asked a simple question, Can anyone point to any main page article at SI that was exclusively a positive commentary on fundamentalism? In SI’s 5+ years is there even one example from their main page of a positive, uplifting article on Fundamentalism?

    You come back with two examples. Positive? Hardly! I have already explained how Aaron disqualified his article, which you must have overlooked and missed addressing.

    Then your second article, also by Blumer, addresses Joe Zichterman, which I also addressed here at my blog. See- The Joe Zichterman Issue, which still gets a steady pattern of hits.

    In his article Blumer speaks about a “sick Fundamentalism,” 17 times he references a “sick fundamentalism.” There is, I will agree, some balance in it, but if this is your idea of an article that is positive and uplifting for fundamentalism you are mistaken and your search is still on for even one from the 5 years of SI.

    The SI site is for fundamentalism? No, Aaron’s former description of SI is the accurate description. A site for those who identify with conservative evangelicalism, which is just about all SI has left in its membership.

    Blogs such as Ben Wright's and Bob Bixby's, both promoted by SI in its blogroll, typify the anti-fundamentalism of SI, the besmirching of fundamentalism with the broad brush.

    Thanks for stopping by and reaffirming SI can’t produce any positive, uplifting articles on fundamentalism in its 5+ years existence.


    LM

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  29. Ben:

    I have revised the comment above, now realizing that you do not operate a blog in SI's blogroll. Thanks for the clarification. I trust you understand that your last comment submission will not be posted here. I may have to put up with my motives being called into question elsewhere, but I don't have to put up with it here.


    LM

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  30. Thanks for adjusting the comment so as to not cause confusion. And you're obviously more than welcome not to publish my comment. However, I find it ironic that you are upset at SI for deleting comments and have no problem questioning their motives and yet refuse to publish comments at your site that question your motives.

    Obviously, you don't have to publish this comment either. Thanks for your time (and I sincerely mean that.)

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  31. Ben:

    Thanks for the follow-up.

    Blog owners are benevolent dictators.

    The difference between me and SI is that I do not allow anyone to malign, demean or attack anyone, including myself and those I disagree with vehemently. You really ought to read the article and especially the thread in the current article. Those are personal testimonies from pastors all telling the same personal story of being on the receiving end of gang-tackling and bias at the hands of the SI moderators. I won’t even bother to relate some of the aggression I had to put up with in my 3+ years at SI. You can’t make this stuff up. With so many telling the same story isn’t it possible that bias is being practiced by SI moderators and they simply will not come to grips with it?

    In any event, the biggest concern with SI is not its moderator’s abuses, its bias against non-Calvinists, non-LS and those who reject evangelicalism, all of which is irrefutable. The biggest problem is that SI is a conduit for this and the next generation to grind an axe against fundamentalism and instead tolerate, allow for and excuse the aberrant theology and ecumenism of the evangelicals to increase fellowship with them. That more than anything is why I’d be delighted to see SI fold.

    No hard feelings.


    LM

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  32. Ben (All):

    If you’re still looking in I’d like for you to read, Esteeming Others Better Than Ourselves at Brian Ernsbergers’s blog, The Parsings of a Preacher.

    You’ll find this quite the opposite of what comes from those at SI who prefer to harp on and besmirch these men of God who have laid their armor down. It is this kind of tone toward men from our fundamentalist heritage that has NEVER (to my knowledge) in its 5 years of existence appeared at SI and IMO never will.


    LM

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