October 24, 2010

Kevin Bauder, It Won’t Fly With Those of us Who Know…

History falls prey not only to revisionism; it also suffers at the hands of those who seek to slant its record to their own benefit. In Kevin Bauder’s current article1 at his In the Nick of Time blog, he relates Dr. Clearwaters’s supposed delay in finally breaking with the Northern Baptist Convention (NBC). Though left largely without explanation, Kevin doubtless relayed the story in order to illustrate the idea that even the great separatists differed as to the timing of separation. While different men arrived at different conclusions at different times, the point that must be emphasized is that all of the separatists ultimately separated.

Was Clearwaters’s separatist impetus flawed because he fought for the “furniture” of the NBC? No! He obviously understood that the legal wrangling was a precursor to his ultimate departure, with the furniture in tow. “Doc,” as he was called, was a separatist through and through. He was also, to his great credit a contender, a fighter. Perhaps his relish for a worthwhile fight delayed his separatism in relation to the NBC, but no one would argue that he held out any hope for the restoration of the convention. Doc fought the good fight, got the furniture, and departed a convinced separatist.

Dr. Bauder would do well to remember Dr. Clearwaters’s “round two” in the separatist battles. I had only been saved a year when I came across a copy of Dr. Clearwaters’s book, The Great Conservative Baptist Compromise.2 I remember reading that classic separatist work as a mere youngster and, though I didn’t understand all of the implications, I set the book down with the understanding that there are some things worth fighting for and that my pastor (Dr. Clearwaters) was a premier warrior of the faith. I’m sure Dr. Bauder will recall that, along with his crack about the furniture, Dr. Clearwaters delighted in saying of the Conservative Baptist Association, “I was the first to join it, and I was the first to leave it.” That being Doc’s personal separatist testimony, I hardly think anyone could fault his separatist impulses.

If Kevin desires to take Dr. Clearwaters’s venerable institution3 a different direction from the founder, he should do so without pretending to be guardian of the legacy. I knew Doc well enough to know that he would not be at all happy with the direction of Central Seminary under Bauder’s leading. It’s bad enough that his school is headed in a decidedly leftward direction.

Please, Dr. Bauder, don’t make it any worse by pretending some affinity with one of the greatest separatist Christians of the last century.

It has become crystal clear to discerning men that Central, Detroit, Lansdale, and Northland4 are making a decisive break from fundamentalism. Are these moves born out love for and loyalty to the Bible? Calvinism is the magnetic attraction, but I also see their new found emphasis on Calvinism as pragmatic. They are riding a theological wave in order to attract a new constituency and thus students. Is it possible these new moves stem, in part, from desperation for students and the operating funds they infuse into an educational institution? These schools have largely lost their constituency. The student numbers simply are not present within their shrinking circle of fundamentalism to continue to perpetuate their institutions. Could this be a reason why they have decided to appeal to a different crowd? When survival becomes the name of the game pragmatism reigns supreme. How do I know? Ask yourself: Would these institutions be making such dramatic changes if they were thriving? No! Their impending failure drives them into compromise as a means of survival. It’s just that simple.

Reacting to Bauder’s previous installment Don Johnson in Show Me the Silent Majority (see link below) wrote,
And I am astonished that credulous readers of Kevin Bauder seem to swallow this revisionism as if it were entirely accurate.”
Dr. Bauder, please don’t cast a shadow over the separatist stance of Dr. Clearwaters. You and I both know he was a man among men. He was a giant of the faith. And he was a premier loyalist to biblical separatism. Do as you like; but don’t use the Clearwaters name to justify it. It won’t fly with those of us who know, and I know.

Pastor Marc Monte
Faith Baptist Church, Avon

1) Now, About Those Differences, Part 19,
 Applying Separatist Principles

2) The Great Conservative Baptist Compromise, Dr. R. V. Clearwaters

3) Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Minneapolis, MN.

4) Northland International University Presents Executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to It’s Student Body

For related reading see the following articles:
Show Me the Silent Majority by Don Johnson. For example,
Kevin Bauder’s latest installment [Differences, Part 18] tells the history of separation from a point of view totally foreign to me…. And I am astonished that credulous readers of Kevin Bauder seem to swallow this revisionism as if it were entirely accurate…. Kevin seems to be leading us to a conclusion that the conservative evangelicals are good fellows, really, and people whom we should cooperate with. Their heritage isn’t the heritage of compromisers and betrayers of the gospel, it is the noble heritage of the moderate middle. The moderate middle cost the fundamentalists their denominations, schools, mission boards, etc., in the 1920s and 1930s. The moderate middle cost the Christian church most of its impact on the culture of our day through the new-evangelical compromise. What is the moderate middle going to cost us today?”
Muddying the Clearwaters, by Pastor Marc Monte.
Kevin’s charge that ‘the most forceful defenders of the gospel are no longer to be found within the Fundamentalist camp’ constitutes nothing short of slander. Perhaps Dr. Bauder does not know the fundamentalists I know. I can name scores of pastors who regularly and rigorously defend the gospel…. Dr. Clearwaters understood that the local church was charged with the propagation of the truth. He founded a seminary, not to undermine local church authority, but to bolster the prestige of pastors in their efforts of defending the faith.
A Letter From Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters to Kevin Bauder, by Evangelist Dwight Smith.
It is astounding to me that in many of your recent writings on a professedly fundamental, Baptist site, you seem to constantly extol the ‘virtues’ of evangelical Protestants while, at the same time, deriding the ‘vices’ of Fundamental Baptists…. I have observed an inordinate affection towards pseudo-intellectual teaching and a disdain for old-fashioned, confrontational, Bible preaching…. I am grieved when I see you lauding extreme Calvinists who are not even Baptists. Brother Bauder, they and their ilk are not responsible for founding the school called Central…. Dr. Bauder, all given appearances seem to indicate you are intentionally trying to lead those who follow your writings, the students of Central, and even Central itself away from the Testimony upon which it was founded and into the compromising orbit of protestant evangelicalism.”


  1. Thanks, Bro. Lou and Bro. Monte,

    It would be most appropriate for Central alumni to stand up and voice their concern over the changing direction of Central under the helm of Dr. Bauder. The same would hold true of these other insitutions as well.
    It is time that these "soft core" men stop with their flowery words of redefining and revisioning of Fundamentalism and admit to themslves and the rest of us that they no longer are, if they ever really were, living in the realm of historic Fundamentalism.
    Move on as others who have gone before you, like Falwell. He was not pushed out as Bauder tries to make us believe, he deliberately left the separatist position, all the while trying to maintain a claim to the name Fundamentalist, and mainline Fundamentalists rightfully denounced his move. History has shown that those who stood and called Falwell's move as neo-evangelicalism in embryonic form were prophetic. His ministries are squarely of a neo-evangelical bent.
    Men and ministries had best be aware that Bauder's sowing of this seed will bear a disasterous reaping in the coming generations.

  2. From a Friend via e-mail:

    In reading Dr. Bauder of late a couple of thoughts come to mind. One, he is employing a pattern of questioning and uncertainty as a basis for establishing his position. That is worth keeping in mind.

    Second, for a man who in the past refused to "burn incense to the ghost of Fundamentalism" the smoke is getting thick now that he can use some of their foibles (i.e. Dr. Machen honoring a liberal at Union Seminary) to make hay.

    The pattern Bauder has adopted of using good men's foibles, mistakes, etc. to advance a position is exactly what the Neo-Evangelicals did to sell their ideas. Dr. Robert Ferm's book Cooperative Evangelism: Is Billy Graham Right or Wrong? is a prime example in using selected actions and words of men like Sunday, Moody, and Finney to justify Graham.

  3. Brothers,

    I am sadended that the battle which should be fought with sword and shield is being fought instead with stones of mud and paper castles with men's names (1 Corinthians 3:1-15).

    Both sides of this discussion are too preoccupied with historical truth/error and seem to have little to do with biblical truth (2 Corinthians 10:4).

    Now that I have said thsi, I anticipate that some will take time to recheck the arsenal of biblical truth but if they are true to form they will fail to remove it from the closet and do battle with it.

    The scriptures remain our most powerful weapon (Hebrews 4:12). UNSHEITH it and WEALD it with the power of the Spirit.

    For the glory of His Truth,
    Pastor Christian Markle
    (Ephesians 6:10-18)

  4. Christian:

    Thanks for the comments, I appreciate your concern, but let’s face it, revisionist history to gain an advantage needs to be challenged and corrected such as Pastor Monte has. There are, however, numerous examples (articles) at this blog where the Scriptures have been brought to bear on various issues pertaining to the gospel and separation. In many of my articles I have repeatedly introduced and discussed the biblical principles of separation. Other contributors have as well.

    From Bauder’s current series I don’t recall reading any Scripture whatsoever on separation being brought to bear on the obvious disdain for it by the evangelicals. Curiously the obvious major difference between fundamentalism and evangelicalism is separatism. IMO, there is an obvious reason for his refusal to engage and bring the Scriptures on separation to bear on the evangelicals.

    Shouldn’t that be disconcerting since we are talking about a highly trained seminary president who does not under grid his polemic for embracing the evangelicals with Scripture, but instead has resorted to revisionist history and as another contributor posted above, “using good men’s foibles, mistakes, etc. to advance a position [which] is exactly what the Neo-Evangelicals did to sell their ideas?”


  5. Christian:

    After some thought, I have an offer for you. You wrote that, “the battle which should be fought with sword and shield.”

    I’d like for you to demonstrate which Scripture(s) and how you would, “unsheathe it and wield it with the power of the Spirit” to the current controversy over formalizing ties and fellowship with the evangelicals.

    Having the history and current status of the evangelical’s doctrinal aberrations (charismatic theology) and ecumenical compromises in mind; Are there any Scriptures that give the Christian guidance on whether or not the evangelicals should be admonished and withdrawn from or instead embraced?

    IMO, what you would produce would be a helpful read and likely article length. Therefore, if you will write it I will post here for you as a main page article. OK?


  6. Christian: I appreciate your emphasis on Scripture. The point of my article was simply to defend history--both the facts and the atmosphere. As regards formal affiliation with evangelicalism, they have enough problems (the Charismatic question being just one) to easily make appeal to II Thess. 3:6-14. That passage, by the way, is strangely absent from the current discussion. These men have made an appeal to the "authority of the Gospel" the test of fellowship. Notice the subtle shift--the Bible is no longer the authority; the Gospel is. The Bible contains the Gospel; but it also contains a lot more. The other teaching is important as well, but it doesn't allow for the wiggle room that would justify formal affiliation with evangelicalism. Therefore, the Bible is set aside, and the "Gospel" becomes the final authority. For a grand example of this shift, listen to the message preached in BJU chapel on October 20 by noted New Evangelical James Crowley. He attempted to convince the students that only doctrines that impinge upon the Gospel deserve militant defense. He also proposed fundamentalists drop their convictions regarding musical style in order to foster cross-cultural ministry. It's a shocker! If, however, the Gospel (and doctrines that impinge upon it)is your only concern, you can do anything you want. Sounds like re-heated Billy Graham to me.

  7. To All:

    From the same friend who sent comment #2 above. He wrote,

    An important thing to keep in mind is that Dr. Bauder primary attack is not so much on the exegesis of separation passage (though he is redefining and revising even these) but more on the application of the principle wanting to cast doubt upon the certainty of any one application. He does not outright question Biblical principles, but he accomplishes the same thing by denying the Bible of sure and, therefore, authoritative applications.

  8. Lou: Let's strike the words "noted New Evangelical" from my post above. I had some information given me about another Crowley, not the speaker at BJU. The critique of his message stands as given. Thanks.

  9. Pastor Monte:

    Thanks for the clarification and correction.


  10. Brother Monte,

    I also thank you for the correction. I was struggling with that description.

    As time affords I will try to listen to the message you suggest.

    Brother Martuneac,

    I have read your offer and understand it. I am certainly interested in such an endeavor. Frankly, I think I would love to tackle a few (IMO) critical passages on the doctrine of unity as well as about 9 passages on separation. I have studied them before, but unfortunately at this time have only a table seeking to answer specific questions from each passage.

    My approach may not please you or the Bauder crowd. I believe too many times we study a passage for a certain reason (seeking to answer a small scope of applications for the moment) and then we abandon the study when these are answered and miss what is being said. Then as life continues we canonize our limited view (read: concluded application) of a certain passage or subject never to return to the bedrock study. From this we often miss how we should deal with new/different issues. We even fail to identify the differences.

    For instance, 2 Thessalonians 3 is an amazing passage that for me lays out principles of separation and application to a specific problem. But if we have failed to realize how this problem was dealt with previous to the writing of the this particular epistle we risk failing to apply properly.

    Disorderliness is clearly grounds for withdrawal (3:6). This demands that disorderliness needs to be defined. It cannot be defined as simple disobedience for that would lead to ultra separation to the extent that we should separate from ourselves. It must be nuanced. Unrepentant disobedience will also not do for that would have called for withdrawal of Paul from the Corinthian church (the first epistle should have been notice of withdraw). But instead we have powerful teaching and confrontation which motivated repentance (as evidenced in the second epistle). I suggest that the first epistle to the Thessalonians (ie 1 Thessalonians 2:6-12; 4:11) refers to the example of Paul and gave inspired teaching about idleness. The approach was not a constant drive to find out who we should separate from, it appears to be an effort to graciously help those who needed to grow to do so.

    Does this apply to Dr. Bauder yes, I think it does. Right or wrong he is practicing the pattern of example, teaching, then I can only presume response to disobedience. I do not agree with his method of teaching for he has no apostolic authority so his failure to reference Scripture is and aught to be of concern. His style is methodical and logical which is helpful and compelling, but I am disturbed that he spends too much time away from the authority of scripture. This should not cause us to assume he could not defend his position from scripture, all we know is he does not often do so.

    Does it however also apply to us who have concerns. Yes, we look at 2 Thessalonians 3 and see separation from New Evangelicalism written all over that chapter, but it really is only the principle of separation after a lot of ministry preparation by Paul. We are too quick to reference a command (ie 2 Thessalonians 3:6) and miss the setting of the command. This is what I encourage each to work harder at.

    I am willing to entertain the idea of writing a full article on a particular passage. However, honestly, I am in the midst of a myriad of time, mental, and emotional consumers and am not sure how to balance these with this request. I hope that what I have written can be useful for the sake of edifying.

    For His glory,
    Christian Markle

  11. To All:

    In an exchange of e-mails a friend shared the following with me and with his permission I offer it for your consideration.

    We need to be careful. To those who side with Bauder and speak from his position, there is no longer any such thing as “new-evangelicalism.” Calling a person a “new evangelical” in the debate we’re now facing will immediately turn off some readers. It is appropriate to say, “the arguments of those seeking convergence are the same arguments made by the new-evangelicals of the last century, etc.”

    I’ve been reading Ernest Pickering’s, The Tragedy of Compromise. Chapter 2 - speaks of “Fence Straddling.” The parallels in Ch. 2 (Pickering exposes the thinking that led to new evangelicalism) to today’s situation are striking.

  12. Christian:

    Thanks for getting back to me on the proposal. I’d like to suggest a way to pare it down so that you could zero in on the true crux of the controversy we face in Fundamentalism. As my friend noted above, “the arguments of those seeking convergence are the same arguments made by the new-evangelicals of the last century, etc.” Does the Bible speak to this?

    I don’t think there is any debate over the biblical principles or application of separation in regard to unbelievers among Fundamentalists. The application of those God-given mandates (2 Cor. 6:14-17; Eph. 5:11; 2 John 7-9) are, however, a problem among the evangelicals as evidenced in recent months by Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan and many other lesser known evangelicals signing the Manhattan Declaration (MD). Many agree that signing the MD gave Christian recognition to the deadly enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil. 3:18) and compromised the Gospel. The signers, such as Mohler who has a track record of ecumenical compromise, is unrepentant.

    Where our controversy lies is that men like Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran are trying to influence this and the next generation to relax the application of biblical separatism, to encourage tolerating, allowing for and excusing the aberrant theology, worldliness in ministry and ecumenical compromises of the evangelicals to have their convergence, fellowship and cooperative efforts with them.

    Another friend wrote above, “The pattern Bauder has adopted of using good men’s foibles, mistakes, etc. to advance a position is exactly what the Neo-Evangelicals did to sell their ideas. Dr. Robert Ferm’s book Cooperative Evangelism: Is Billy Graham Right or Wrong? is a prime example in using selected actions and words of men like Sunday, Moody, and Finney to justify Graham.”

    Now, IMO we should look at passages such as 2 Thess. 3:6-14 and Romans 16:17 and see if those passage have a definite principle that can be applied by believers toward other brethren who hobnob with unbelievers and apostates, which Mohler for example, without question has.

    I’d be very interested in what you can unpack from 2 Thess. 3:6-14 and Rom. 16:17 and show us how the principles there can and should be applied in this day to the current controversy.

    Thanks for considering this,


  13. Great article by Pastor Monte. I know my dad, if he were alive today, who was a Pillsbury and Central grad from the early 70's would give this analysis a hearty Amen! I have been listening to sermon tapes of my dads of Clearwaters and E. R. Jordan and these men knew how to love and knew when to fight. It shone through in their sermons. These are the men that I want to follow. They knew that Bible truth was worth separating over and did whatever it took to hold fast to the faith of God's Word. As a young pastor I am greatly encouraged by this blog and the pastors speaking out on these very vital issues to Independent Fundamental Baptists. Thank you. It is a breath of fresh air in response to Sharperiron.

  14. Jeremy:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this article by Ps. Monte. I's gratified to know that this blog has been an encouragement to you. May I humbly suggest that you share a link to it with folks you believe might be edified and encouraged by what we are doing here on behalf of the Word of God, the cause of Christ and the NT church.

    I especially appreciate what you've shared about the heart and fire of Clearwaters and Jordan. And Kevin Bauder has the nerve to claim a kinship to Clearwaters on separatism.

    I'll make sure Ps. Monte reads your comment here.

    Thanks again,