November 29, 2010

Our Children Learn Not Only What We Teach Them, but by What We Tolerate

In its history Northland International University (NIU), the former Northland Baptist Bible College, has not been in a situation requiring a strong call to separate. In the early days Northland was a refreshing voice because of it’s good conservative stands, refreshing Northwood’s feel, friendly campus, servant’s heart, with a love for revival and the Lord Jesus Christ. Students were being discipled with a demerits system in place and properly emphasized for correction and growth. There are many fine pastors and Christian workers serving the Lord today because of Northland’s ministry to them.

Our children learn not only what we teach them, but by what we tolerate.”

According to NIU alumni Dr. Les Ollila (NIU Chancellor) said that over and over to the student body. With decisions made in recent weeks at Northland a new kind of teaching and tolerance has come to the campus.

In 2005, because of Rick Holland’s inclusion as a speaker, Dr. Ollila pulled out of the God-Focused conference. It is believed that NIU president Matt Olson insisted Ollila withdraw. Just five years later Dr. Ollila along with Matt Olson, Sam Horn and Doug McLachlan reach out to and travel across the country to meet with John MacArthur, Rick Holland and Phil Johnson. Then Ollila/Olson/NIU have this same man (Rick Holland) speak in chapel to impressionable young people.

What changed between 2005 and 2010? It wasn’t Rick Holland. He is today what he was in 2005: an advocate for Lordship Salvation1 and the founder of the Resolved Conference, which merges preaching with the world’s CCM/rock culture and extreme Charismatic style worship.2 NIU embracing MacArthur, Johnson and putting Rick Holland in its chapel pulpit confirms they are willing to teach Lordship Salvation, teach/tolerate a neutered form of biblical separatism, tolerate and allow for the worldly culture of events such as the Resolved Conference.

Regrettably, in just five years, Les Ollila has changed. NIU is being transformed by its president, Matt Olson, and administration decisions. With and because of their change the historical trajectory of NIU has been radically altered.

With the changes at NIU many share concerns over ministry, direction and leanings of NIU. There is a declining interest in maintaining fellowship by many former alums, good Christian leaders and lay workers. Many who have some relationship with NIU are contacting the administration to express their concerns. Others will quietly pull away and encourage their young people to look elsewhere for a Christian college. Now unfortunately, because NIU’s administration wants it both ways their friendship base will have to change just to maintain status quo not to mention growth.

Many alumni view what Northland is doing today as completely contrary to what was taught not long ago. Students were told that they will become in the future based on two things: the friends you have and the books you read. Is it any wonder they have done what they have? If you live long enough, you will have to change your friends or change your doctrine. NIU is changing its friends for new ones in Evangelicalism. Certain doctrines, separatism in particular, is not far from being compromised for the sake of their new friends.

Why do men who claim a heritage and commitment to separatist Fundamentalism take the initiative to reach out to evangelicals who openly repudiate biblical separation in principle and in application? Is it possible that these alleged fundamental separatists want to retain the label they are comfortable with, but have lost the will to contend, to wage the battle for fidelity to the God-given mandates? Is it possible they will redefine the principles and application of separation to accommodate the need to tolerate, allow for and excuse aberrant doctrine and ecumenism for the sake of fellowship with evangelicals?

Have self-described fundamental separatists decided to move toward a safe, non-confrontational middle ground at the expense of fidelity to the Word of God on separation to be accepted and respected by evangelicals?

So called “conservative” evangelicals have not and show no inclination of moving toward a Fundamentalist’s commitment to biblical separation. Someone is moving, someone is changing, and it isn’t the evangelicals.

With recent revelations we are learning a great deal about Northland’s new trajectory. NIU will try to placate alumni and donors while it moves further away from its historic stand. Matt Olson’s recent open letter to Friends in Ministry was just such an attempt that in the opinion of many was an abject failure. If Northland maintains this new direction and discussions among concerned persons are any indication of a national response, I fear Northland’s best days are behind it and the worst is yet to come.

Northland’s new trajectory has a historic parallel. The devastating effects of introducing Evangelicalism’s philosophy and practices into a biblical Fundamentalist setting are no more stark than the demise of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College.3


For previous articles in this series see-

NIU’s Convergence With Evangelicalism: What Does It Mean for Impressionable Students?

NIU Presents Executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to It’s Student Body

1) An Example of Lordship Salvation’s Man-Centered Message

2) The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness, by Dr. Peter Masters

3) Discussion Over the Closing of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College
Although Pillsbury struggled for a number of years to recover itself from the devastating effects of hob-nobbing with Evangelicalism, it never really dealt with (in any real tangible way) its ruined reputation. Although it was repeatedly brought before them by many friends of the college, they never really did what was necessary to regain the trust of the pastors and parents who send students.”

November 22, 2010

IDOTG Now Available Through Bob Jones University’s Campus Store

The management of Bob Jones University’s Campus Store recently informed me that they are now carrying In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation.

I encourage everyone who has not yet purchased a copy of IDOTG to make their purchase through BJU’s Campus Store. Portions from every sale of IDOTG will be directed to missionary programs through the University. Go to IDOTG at the CAMPUS STORE to purchase a copy today.

You will also find IDOTG on the shelves at the Campus Store in the Theology section. You might consider purchasing a copy as a gift for a friend, your pastor or a relative. Please do so through the Campus Store.

God bless you,

Lou Martuneac

November 19, 2010

Kevin Bauder Reassigned and Relieved From Administrative Responsibilities

Dr. Kevin Bauder has been reassigned to a newly created position as Research Professor of Systematic Theology. Kevin Bauder “will be entirely liberated from administrative responsibilities.”1

Kevin Bauder’s Fundamentalism worth saving has proven to be a call to embrace the so-called “conservative” evangelicals. To fellowship and co-minister with Evangelicals Bauder has been writing to influence his readers to allow for, tolerate and excuse their aberrant doctrine, worldliness, disdain for biblical separatism and ecumenical compromises. As one writer noted,

Dr. Bauder does often speak on separation issues, yet seems to have blind spots in regard to disobedient brethren and ecclesiastical separation. (Matt. 18:15-18; Rom. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15; Titus 1:9-10) Is there absolutely no separation here with ‘conservative’ evangelicals’? Dr. Bauder is seeking to administer the morphine of ‘Conservative Evangelicalism’ to ailing Fundamentalism to finally put it to sleep…. Militant, Separatist Fundamentalism is anathema to the Non-separatist Evangelical and in their estimation, the sooner it is buried the better.2
Dr. Gerald Priest rightly defined the tone of Bauder’s articles on the Fundamentalism/Evangelicalism discussion.
Kevin has been quite lavish in his praise of conservative evangelicals while castigating so-called fundamentalists. Yet he has spent very little time warning us about the pitfalls and problems of conservative evangelicalism…. What I fear is that we may be allowing a Trojan horse into the fundamentalist camp. And after a while, if we keep going down this track, any significant difference between conservative evangelical and the fundamentalist institutions may disappear. Fundamentalists will become even ‘nicer’ to the conservative evangelicals and they in turn will appear more ‘respectable’ to the fundamentalists. It may be that some fundamentalists desire this. But then, would they not also have to forfeit the label?
On learning of Bauder’s reassignment one pastor said he is more concerned than ever because Bauder’s power is not linked to any ability to gather a large student body or preach dynamic messages. His power is in his pen. More time for him to engage in writing may bring more problems.

Central acknowledges that funding a man to exclusively research and write “involves a substantial financial commitment.” Because of Bauder’s redefining biblical separatism3 to brush aside the obvious reasons to restrain oneself from promoting and embracing Evangelicalism, because he redefines biblical separatism to legitimize fellowship and unity with Evangelicals, because he castigates Fundamentalism with impunity, my hope will be that funding for his new position will dry up quickly.


1) Central Seminary Creates Research Professorship

2) The Convergence of Fundamentalism and Non-Separatist Evangelicalism by Pastor Tod Brainard, The Projector, Fall 2010. (To appear at IDOTG in the coming days.)

3) Kevin Bauder has strayed far from and is trying to influence the current and next generation away from the application of the principles biblical separatism of his CBTS predecessors Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters and Dr. Ernest Pickering.

For related reading see-

Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran to Join Mark Dever at Lansdale: Is This a Fundamentalism Worth Saving?

Do Fundamentalists & Evangelicals, “Believe, Preach and Defend the [Same] Gospel?”

Kevin Bauder, “It Won’t Fly With Us Who Know…”

Excusing the Brother For the Sake of His Sister: Is This the New “Fresh Application” of Biblical Separatism?

A Letter From Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters to Kevin Bauder

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

November 14, 2010

Northland Int’l. University’s Convergence with Evangelicalism: What Does it Mean for Impressionable Students?

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

In September I announced and discussed Rick Holland, executive pastor of John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church, speaking in chapel to the undergraduate student body of Northland International University.1 In recent days I am hearing of and from pastors around the country who once they heard/read about Northland’s opening its student body for the ministry of Rick Holland have contacted the NIU administration, NIU’s president Matt Olson in particular.

Why Was Rick Holland Invited by NIU?
In my first article on NIU I wrote,

When a man’s shoes are pointed west, he is headed west; pointed east, he is headed east. When you look at a man’s friends, fellowships and conferences he attends; whom a man opens his pulpit, chapel ministry or seminary to, whom he shares platforms with, it tells you something about him. It tells something about an institution. It tells you what he and the institution is now or what they soon will be.”
In April 2010 Matt Olson, Sam Horn, Les Ollila and Doug McLachlan traveled to the Grace Community Church (GCC) to meet with John MacArthur, Phil Johnson and Rick Holland.* After a day of discussions the NIU men came away finding no reason not to have and increase fellowship with them. Inviting GCC’s executive pastor, Rick Holland, to speak in chapel confirms a new alliance for NIU with evangelicalism. That decision means one of two things about the discussions in the meeting at GCC:
1) The Gospel was not discussed or,
2) NIU’s official position and the position of its leadership is that Lordship Salvation, as John MacArthur defines it, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
No one who understands that Lordship Salvation (LS) is a works based corruption of the Gospel, and that it frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21) would ever allow a man who preaches that message to speak in chapel to young people in Bible College.2 Those who recognize the danger and egregious errors of John MacArthur’s LS would have all the compelling biblical reason they need to “withdraw” from, “mark” and “avoid” the leadership of Grace Community Church (MacArthur, Johnson, Holland, et. al.)

The Influence of Impressionable Students
NIU’s administration will defend hosting evangelicals like Bruce Ware in the Doctor of Ministry program, suggesting the men enrolled are mature and established in the ministry. Maturity, however, does not guarantee immunity against error. NIU has, furthermore, presented Rick Holland to a student body of young impressionable undergraduates. Rick Holland is a preacher of LS’s works based, man-centered message. The worldly CCM/Rock culture of the Resolved conference3 is the brain child of Rick Holland. By allowing Rick Holland to preach in chapel before the undergraduate student body NIU endorsed and stamped its approval on his doctrine and practices. Exposing NIU’s undergraduate students to Rick Holland signals that NIU’s administration and board believes Lordship Salvation to be the Gospel, would defend Lordship Salvation as such, and furthermore finds the “extreme charismatic-style worship” of the Resolved conference to be acceptable.
Whom an institution reaches out to and endorses before its student body tells a great deal about what the institution is now or soon will be.
Certain guest speakers and lectures that NIU is reaching out to and presenting to its student body indicate that it is shifting in the direction of evangelicalism in doctrine and practice. When you open your arms and your pulpit to evangelicals you open wide the gate for Calvinism, Lordship Salvation, non-cessationism, ecumenical compromise and worldly methods of ministry all of which, to various degrees, evangelicals bring with them to your ministry and expose your people to. NIU is exposing the student body to men and methods that will influence them to become what evangelicals are in doctrine and in practice.
Many pastors and parents are under the impression that NIU is an Independent Fundamental (Separatist) Baptist Bible college. I do not believe parents are sending young people to NIU to have them put under the influence of Evangelicalism.
Certainty of Fallout
Certainly the NIU administration knew there would be fall-out from their decision to embrace and begin working in cooperation with evangelicals. I am also certain they anticipated the possibility there would be some loss of support and enrollment as a consequence. What I am also certain of is this: The new convergence between NIU and the GCC is not going to end with Rick Holland speaking in chapel. John MacArthur is the bridge to the more disconcerting men and movements in evangelicalism. In time NIU will be opening its chapel to them as well.

Concerned pastors are contacting Matt Olson about this obvious shift in direction for NIU. Pastors and parents are asking themselves if they can in good conscience continue their relationship with NIU. Some have decided to sever long-time relations with NIU and therefore will no longer send students to or host NIU representatives. Others are on the verge of similar decisions.

If a parent rejects Calvinism, Lordship Salvation, the world’s anti-god Rock culture in the form of CCM, ecumenical compromise and loosening standards of biblical separation they will pray for leading to a college where their young person will not be encouraged and/or influenced in the classrooms and chapel to tolerate, receive, adopt and become those things.

If you are one of the concerned over NIU’s new direction, you might pray for and contact the administration to encourage them to rethink and reconsider the path they now trod. IMO, this path is going to lead NIU, and of greatest concern, its students into expanded compromise of biblical truth in principle and application for the sake of fellowship with evangelicals.

A Closing Appeal to Elder Statesman:
Where are the men who are well-known, highly trained and respected in Fundamental circles? Why are the voices of men who recognize the dangers that lay before this and the next generation silent? You know what the problem is, where it is coming from and where this new trend of compromise will all end up. You have the answer from Scripture and a life of personal experience from which to draw and teach. Yet, you say nothing; why? Is there not a cause? Other men who identify with Fundamentalism are using the Internet to influence the young to follow them in a dangerous direction. Star personalities of Evangelicalism are on the Internet wooing impressionable young people. Like the Internet or not, fundamental believers are getting much of their theology reshaped by who and what they are reading on the Internet and the evangelicals own almost all of it.
“Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears,” (Acts 20:29-30).
While you remain silent the next generation is being swept up by the current craze to embrace a brand of evangelicalism, which has at its root neo-evangelicalism and shows signs of resurgence. If the next generation drifts far off the pathway of fidelity to the Scriptures in principle and application and you wonder how it could have happened- look to your silence.


Please continue to the next in this series, Our Children Learn Not Only What We Teach Them, But By What We Tolerate

*Interesting to note that men who claim to be Fundamental Baptists and separatists are reaching out to Evangelicals, who disdain biblical separation in principle and/or application. Fundamentalists going out of their way to Evangelicals to increase fellowship and cooperation between them. Evangelicals are not moving toward, reaching out to Fundamentalists. This pattern of movement will be discussed in a future article.

1) NIU Presents Rick Holland, Executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to Its Student Body
When Northland adopted its new name, Northland International University, it was IMO a sign telling the Christian community that Northland would be moving in a new and different direction, which is just now coming into full view.”
2) Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page

3) “One of the vaunted new conferences is called Resolved, after Jonathan Edwards’ famous youthful Resolutions (seventy searching undertakings). But the culture of this conference would unquestionably have met with the outright condemnation of that great theologian. Resolved is the brainchild of a member of Dr John MacArthur’s pastoral staff [Rick Holland], gathering thousands of young people annually, and featuring the usual mix of Calvinism and extreme charismatic-style worship. Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere…. Worldly culture provides the bodily, emotional feelings, into which Christian thoughts are infused and floated. Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. (Pictures of this conference on their website betray the totally worldly, showbusiness atmosphere created by the organisers.)” (Dr. Peter Masters: The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness)

November 8, 2010

Excusing the Brother For the Sake of His Sister: Is This the New “Fresh Application” of Biblical Separation Principles?

The principles of separation as God communicated them to man through Inspiration are eternal, timeless truths. These truths have certain, non-negotiable applications in any generation. God said,

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” (2 Cor 6:14-17).

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them,” (Eph. 5:11).
Those are the Inspired principles that carry with them a clear application. There is no subjective decision to make. God meant, for all time, that believers are not to unite with unbelievers. God meant that we are to “reprove,” i.e., expose, rebuke, not be partakers in works of darkness or partner with those who do. Unless the intent is to force those passages into conformity with an agenda or contemporary trend there is no other way to redefine or reinterpret them to negate their clear and obvious meanings. When God said,
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us…. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother,” (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15).

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple,” (Romans 16:17-18).
There are applications of the principles of separation that transcend all labels. We have the Lord’s immutable mandates for how we, as a body of believers, are to address the disobedient and teachers of contrary doctrine among us.

When we find men who name the name of Christ hob-knobbing with unbelievers, who compromise the Gospel, who give Christian recognition to the enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil. 3:18) they are in rebellion against God’s Word. When we follow the mandates to “admonish him as a brother” to convince him that he has erred and he refuses that admonition, remains unrepentant we are mandated to withdraw from, have no company with, mark and avoid him. We are obligated to obey the Bible commands toward the disobedient no matter what label, camp, denomination or seminary they are known by or identify with.

With the signing of the Manhattan Declaration1 so-called “conservative” evangelicals Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan and Kevin DeYoung (as well as a number of lesser-knowns in evangelicalism) irrefutably compromised the Gospel. To reiterate, they have rejected the admonition of brethren who love them in the Lord and remain unrepentant.

Pastor Dave Doran wrote (11/4/10) that his, “central concern is that faithfulness to the biblical principles of separation demands fresh application of those principles to the present challenges we face.” Is this how one begins to redefine the application of the eternal “biblical principles of separation?” Is this how one begins to accommodate contemporary trends for fellowship with men who have a track record of ecumenical compromises and doctrinal aberrations? I have identified several mechanisms being floated to redefine the application of separation. They are:

1) Redefining Separation for Alleged “Academic Contexts”
Do the Scriptures allow for two sets of standards for the definition and application of biblical separatism? Is there one standard for the God ordained mandates for believers in a local church and a different, moderated, redefined standard for believers in a ministry under the auspices of a local church?” (Is There a Second Definition for “Separation” in Academic Contexts?)

2) Unity Around a So-Called, “Pure Gospel
This, of course, is uniting under Calvinistic soteriology in the form of the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel. The trend appears to be as long as there is agreement on Calvinistic soteriology allowances will be made for aberrant doctrines and unholy ecumenical alliances.
Have we and do we as Fundamentalists practice ecclesiastical separation because of concerns for a pure church or a pure Gospel? Does it matter which it is and is there any appreciable difference between the two? Is it possible this may be a purposeful narrowing of the definition of ecclesiastical separation, which if widely adopted by Fundamentalists would result in a paradigm shift in our practice of and fidelity to the God-given mandates?” (A Pure Church or a Pure Gospel: Does It Really Matter?)
Certain men in fundamental Baptist circles have reduced the criteria for cooperative efforts and ecclesiastical unity to “purity” to the gospel (exclusively to the LS interpretation) rather than the faith, the body of Christian truth, once delivered. Thus a mechanism is in place to allow for cooperation with everyone they can place in the so-called “pure gospel” box, while at the same time widen the sphere of aberrant doctrines, worldly methods of ministry and ecumenical compromises they will tolerate and excuse among their new friends in evangelicalism.

3) Separation From Those Who Deny “Essential” Doctrines
Certain Baptist men are assuming the role of chief arbiters for what will be defined as “essential” doctrines. The issue here is not whether we believe in principle and application that the Bible is the Word of God from cover to cover, every book, chapter and verse. Decisions are being made, however, on what will be reduced to non-essential Bible doctrines to allow freedom to pursue fellowship with evangelicals. These decisions are being presented to this and the next generation to influence them toward filtering the Scriptures through a prism fashioned by men like Dave Doran and Kevin Bauder to close the loop on what should be considered the essentials for cooperative fellowship and ecclesiastical union with evangelicals.
Believers and churches must separate from those who deny essential doctrines of the faith.” (Dave Doran: Contemporary Challenges for Biblical Separatism.)
When you read the articles by and watch the movement of men like Dave Doran, Kevin Bauder, Tim Jordan2 and schools like Northland International University3 you begin to recognize, which doctrines have thus far been reduced to non-essentials. Doctrines such as:
• Separation has become a non-essential in spite of an apparent resurgence of new evangelicalism’s refusal to apply the obvious principles of separation from unbelievers and the disobedient.
• Cessationism of the Charismatic sign gifts.
• “Love not the world” (1 Jn. 2:15) will not be an essential when you can wink at and excuse the CCM/Rock-n-Roll concerts such as John MacArthur’s Resolved Conference.4
• Eschatology becomes a non-essential such as amillenialism, which is Mark Dever’s position who also said, “You are in sin if you lead your congregation to have a statement of faith that requires a particular millennial view.
When men who claim a heritage in biblical separatism allow for, tolerate and excuse these things they have become non-essential doctrines.
“This ‘essential doctrine’ doctrine is invented for the purpose of fitting in with more people. It isn’t at all some kind of development of doctrine from scriptural exegesis…. It’s popular for selling more books, for being bigger, for opening up more speaking engagements, for a fake peace…. This is a subtle, new, and dangerous attack. I am reading the same kind of attack coming from professing fundamentalists. We should get our doctrine from the Bible. It’s ironic, but evangelicals and now fundamentalists are saying that, if it isn’t stated in scripture, we should allow liberty….” (Kent Brandenburg at his JackHammer blog, The “Essential Doctrine” Doctrine Is Just Being Assumed with No Proof, Oct. 2010.)
We do not raise a question on a man’s belief in the verbal, plenary Inspiration of Scripture. We do, however, question why in this debate over fellowship with evangelicals that new lines of definition between essentials and non-essentials are drawn. This is not meant to be a clear, definite analogy, but it is worth asking: Does the Bible contain the Word of God, or is the Bible the Word of God?

4) To Castigate and Discredit Fundamentalists as “inconsistent.”
…Kevin [Bauder] has been quite lavish in his praise of conservative evangelicals while castigating so-called fundamentalists. Yet he has spent very little time warning us about the pitfalls and problems of conservative evangelicalism.” (Dr. Gerald Priest, in reaction to Bauder’s Let’s Get Clear on This, March 2010).
Some fundamentalists have been known to have some untidy alliances. Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran and some who have been influenced by them have begun translating that into justification for allowing evangelicals the same untidiness. Of course they do not clarify that the ecumenical compromises of the evangelicals are intentional, frequent and directional, while the sad associations with the extremists in fundamentalism are typically infrequent, often un-intentional and incidental. At the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron5 Frank Sansone posted the following comment, which gets to the heart of the current strategy.
“His [Doran’s] comments [in Preserving Movements or Practicing Truths] on Vaughn speaking with Schaap and the Baptist Friends Conference are a separate issue from the T4G resolution. To use that connection to criticize the ACCC for the T4G resolution sounds an awful lot like the little boy caught in disobedience who excuses what he does by saying ‘but my sister did bad things too.’ Whether the sister did bad things is irrelevant to the issue at hand, namely, the brother’s disobedience.
Bringing up the sister’s errors does not excuse the brother’s errors-
and it does not invalidate the one pointing out the brother’s errors… The one-time connection of JV and JS at a conference does not make for a pattern. Is it concerning? ABSOLUTELY!!! Does it rise to the same level as an ongoing movement [evangelicalism] that has consistently showed itself to be negligent in the area of Biblical separation? Not yet…. Should some speak up about JV and JS at the Baptist Friends Conference? Sure. I think it needs to be addressed - and Dr. Doran has rightly addressed it in other places. However, it is wrongheaded to use one error as a cover for another error.”
Let the Bible say what it says without the trappings of logic, redefinition or a “fresh application” to fit contemporary trends. Let us, without partiality, apply the principles of biblical separatism and hold accountable men who run rough-shod over the principles in their practice. Let us reject the new trend toward bringing up the sister’s errors to excuse the brother’s errors.


1) The Manhattan Declaration

2) Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran to Join Mark Dever at Lansdale: Is This a Fundamentalism Worth Saving?

3) NIU Presents Grace Community Church Executive Pastor Rick Holland

4) “Resolved is the brainchild of a member of Dr. John MacArthur’s pastoral staff [Rick Holland], gathering thousands of young people annually, and featuring the usual mix of Calvinism and extreme charismatic-style worship. Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere.... Worldly culture provides the bodily, emotional feelings, into which Christian thoughts are infused and floated. Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. Pictures of this conference on their website betray the totally worldly, showbusiness atmosphere created by the organisers.” (Dr. Peter Masters: The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness)

5) I Had to Ask: Does This Sharpen Me?

November 5, 2010

Archival Series: Al Mohler Signs the Manhattan Declaration

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

Today I am reposting this partially updated article nearly one year after the announcement and release of the Manhattan Declaration (MD). The MD is the stepchild of Evangelicals & Catholics Together and brought with it new and disturbing implications for the Gospel and furthermore signaled a resurgence of new-evangelicalism. It is a genuine tragedy that men who claim a heritage of biblical separatism, in principle and application, cannot find their voice to “admonish,” rebuke evangelical signatories to the MD, and to furthermore counsel believers to “withdraw” from disobedient brethren who signed the MD alongside Roman Catholic priests and apostates.

In recent years Roman Catholics and evangelicals have made common cause in the political arena, uniting forces in struggles over the abortion issue, homosexuality, etc. These joint efforts have brought together leaders from both sides who had never worked together previously. Personal friendships have been formed, and, as a result, serious doctrinal differences have begun to be down-played. Since there is agreement on some social issues, and since these issues are so important in the life of America today, many leaders on both sides are willing to minimize doctrinal conflicts on the plea that we need to cooperate in ‘saving America’.

The revelation of *Rev. R. Albert Mohler and a number of other so-called “conservative” evangelicals signed the Manhattan Declaration, which signals disturbing implications for the Gospel and new signs of a resurgent neo-evangelicalism.  This event is significant on several levels, first and foremost for the cause of Christ. Second this development is significant for the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) community, the Reformed IFB faction in particular. Mohler’s controversial action is concurrent with and highly relevant to Dr. Dave Doran’s on-going blog series on what he believes are the “biblical obligations regarding separation” for every believer. “Obligations” for what Doran has defined as, “Gospel-Driven Separation.”

Upon reading the opening quote to this article you might have thought it was published in the last week and it was in regard to the Manhattan Declaration. You would be wrong. It was written by Dr. Ernest Pickering and appears in, Holding Hands with the Pope: The Current Evangelical Ecumenical Craze, which was published nearly 16 years ago. You would, however, also have been right. Dr. Pickering’s commentary is as applicable today as it was in 1994. The “Evangelical Ecumenical Craze” then was over **Evangelicals and Catholics Together; today the application fits just as perfectly to The Manhattan Declaration.

What is The Manhattan Declaration?

The Manhattan Declaration (MD) has been defined by its chief architect Chuck Colson as,
a wake-up call—a call to conscience—for the church…a crystal-clear message to civil authorities that we will not, under any circumstances, stand idly by as our religious freedom comes under assault.”
Al Mohler is among the original signatories of the MD, which was released to the public at the National Press Club on Nov. 20, 2009. From his personal site under Why I Signed The Manhattan Declaration. Mohler offers a lengthy explanation for why he signed the document.

Signatories to The Manhattan Declaration include evangelical leaders, as well as leaders from the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches. In addition to Mohler other notable evangelical signatories include: Dr. Mark L. Bailey- President, Dallas Theological Seminary; Dr. J. Ligon Duncan- Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church; Rev. Jonathan Falwell- Senior Pastor, Thomas Road Baptist Church; Dr. Wayne Grudem- Research Professor of Theological and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary; Dr. J. I. Packer- Board of Governors, Professor of Theology, Regent College; Dr. Joseph Stowell- President, Cornerstone University; Dr. John Woodbridge- Research professor of Church History & the History of Christian Thought, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Dr. Michael Easley- President Emeritus, Moody Bible Institute; and many more. These added their names alongside a host of Roman Catholic signatories.

Signing on to the MD in fact has these men, including Mohler, Packer and Duncan holding hands with the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). This action is a betrayal of the Scriptures that forbid ANY such an unholy alliance (2 Cor. 6:14-17). Joining hands with the RCC does not honor the Lord or His Word. For sake of unity in defense of vital social issues of the day Mohler signed the MD. The Bible says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers...” That is a mandate from the Lord God and it is not open to selective interpretation or application.

Just where does Mohler’s first loyalty lie; to God and His Word or
to a well-intended social agenda?

Well known evangelical Dr. John MacArthur expressed public opposition to the MD and by inference frustration with, “a few men whom (he) loves and respects (who) have already affixed their names to it.” You can read his extended commentary at The Shepherd’s Fellowship blog. This is one of those times I can appreciate John MacArthur for taking a stand on the right issue to take a public stand over. I posted several comments there on this issue and in those comments I referenced…

Dave Doran’s: “Gospel-Driven Separation

At his Glory & Grace blog Dr. Dave Doran has been posting a series addressing The Gospel and Separation. One of the latest installments in his series is highly relevant to Mohler joining the Roman Catholic signatories to the MD. I draw your attention to Starting at the Right Spot, Part 1 (Nov. 23, 2009) Pay particular attention to the bolded sections.
My goal through these posts on gospel-driven separation has been to lay out what I believe are the biblical obligations regarding separation that are explicitly stated in or implied by clear biblical texts. I’ve tried to summarize these obligations with the following three statements:
1) For the sake of the purity of the gospel, believers and churches must separate from those who deny essential doctrines of the faith (Jude 3; 2 John 9-11; Rom 16:17).
2) For the sake of the clarity of the gospel, believers and churches must separate from those who compromise the faith by granting Christian recognition and fellowship to those who have denied essential doctrines of the faith (Rom 16:17; Phil 3:17-19; cf. 2 Thess 3:6-15).

3) For the sake of the credibility of the gospel, believers and churches must strive to reflect God’s holiness and to live differently than those who have not experienced the saving grace of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:15-16; Eph 4:17-19).
Dr. Doran followed his three obligations above with this powerful statement, which IMO could not be improved upon or more clear in its meaning,
It is important to note the difference between what I am calling obligations and other decisions regarding the extent of our ministerial cooperation and fellowship. My understanding of these obligations is that they are necessary for our church’s obedience to Jesus Christ—we don’t have any other option if we desire to be obedient to our Lord. We cannot extend Christian fellowship to those who deny fundamental doctrines of the Faith. We cannot ignore the disobedience of those who do so. We cannot blur the line between the church and the world.”
As Dr. MacArthur noted from The Shepherd’s Fellowship- The Manhattan Declaration itself (and furthermore with Mohler adding his signature) essentially:
1) “obscures both the importance of the gospel and the very substance of the gospel message…
2) “
tacitly relegate(s) the very essence of gospel truth to the level of a secondary issue
3) “
constitutes a formal avowal of brotherhood between Evangelical signatories and purveyors of different gospels
All of which makes a perfect test case for a clear and determined application of Dave Doran’s 2nd of three Scripture based mandates for Gospel-Driven Separation toward those, “who compromise the faith by granting Christian recognition and fellowship to those who have denied essential doctrines of the faith.”

With Mohler being counted among the star personalities of the so called “conservative” evangelicals, whom Reformed IFB men have been eager to formalize fellowship with, his signing the MD must surely be problematic. Mohler’s signing The Manhattan Declaration to essentially hold hands with the Roman Catholic Church for social justice irrefutably “compromise(s) the faith by granting Christian recognition and fellowship to those who have denied essential doctrines of the faith.” The only question is whether or not Doran himself would follow through on his own defined “biblical obligations” toward exactly what Mohler has done.

Will Dr. Doran (Kevin Bauder, et. al.) make the application of his own counsel on Gospel-Driven Separation? Does he “admonish” (2 Thess. 3:15) Mohler? With Mohler refusing correction and unrepentant will Doran warn men to “withdraw from and avoid” him (2 Thess. 3:6; Rom. 16:17)? Or will Mohler’s action be allowed for and the “biblical obligations” ignored for the sake of fostering fellowship around the “contemporary fundamentalist-evangelical spectrum?”

In the next installment we will review the history of Al Mohler in regard to similar questionable decisions. Please continue to, Al Mohler Signs the MD: Was This a First Time Foray Toward Ecumenism?


In spite of articulating fidelity toward a Gospel-Driven separation and the fact the signing the Manhattan Declaration (MD) gave Christian recognition to the deadly “enemies of the cross of Christ,” (Phil. 3:18) which compromised the Gospel, in later articles, Dr. Doran ultimately excused Al Mohler signing the MD as merely, “a wrong decision based on bad judgment.” IMO that reaction is a betrayal of the God-given mandates (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15) for separatism, in principle and application, from the unrepentant disobedient brethren among us.

Dr. Kevin Bauder recently made a brief mention of Mohler signing the MD and brushed it aside a nothing more than an “occasional inconsistency...single episode.” The facts, however, prove that this was no mere “single episode” of ecumenical compromise by Al Mohler and Kevin Bauder knows it was not. See- Kevin Bauder Discussing Al Mohler’s “Occasional Inconsistency?”

For related reading see, Kevin Bauder & Dave Doran to Join Mark Dever at Lansdale: Is This a Fundamentalism Worth Saving?

*Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., serves as the ninth president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary-the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention.

**A group of Roman Catholics and Evangelical joined together in 1992 to seek unity between their two groups. They decided this step as “essential for continued missionary expansion into the third millennium.” They viewed past conflicts as crippling the progress of the Gospel. “Involving, as it did, both evangelical and Roman Catholic leaders, it was truly a monumental was an ecumenical document of supreme importance since it represented a combined effort by leading spokesmen to ‘bury the hatchet’...and work together as ‘teammates’ instead of antagonists...It laments the division between them and proposes a moratorium on Catholic / evangelical conflict.” (E. Pickering: Holding Hands with the Pope) Mohler has embarked on the slippery slope toward compromise with the RCC for sake of unity in opposition to social issues of the day.

First published Nov. 27, 2009

November 1, 2010


Hardly a day goes by without my hearing something from the liberal mentality. This is what I would expect from a crowd that is about to deconstruct our society. The main-stream media greases its wheels on liberalism, and the education monopoly continues to turn out liberal clones at an awesome rate. The court system has set its face to destroy any vestige of conservative thought; but then, you already knew all of that.

The shock, however, does not come from the expected purveyor of non-truth. I am talking about the liberal thought, speech, publication, and public discourse in Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism. In front of me are a number of articles that in some way represent a liberal mentality. Some of them are written by our crowd. While this may sound offensive, it is true; and those who practice this compromise shouldn’t be upset when their feet are held to the fire. If a Fundamentalist talks, writes, or speaks like a liberal, he should expect to take it on the chin.

One can only wonder from whence this liberal infection has been passed on. From my perspective, the main source has been education. In an attempt to write, talk, and communicate like liberals, some have succeeded in mimicking their ideas and positions. This can be observed among those who are responsible for what I call the theological error of the month. Just how close do you want to get to these self-reliant individuals who depend on human reason for their authority? The old adage says that “if you lay down with the dogs, you will get up with the fleas.”


Scripture leaves no doubt about whom we are to follow and how we are to think. When it comes to the mind, the Bible tells us to “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). This guideline extends to every thought we may have: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5). God even gives us warning about this: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

Liberalism is the exact opposite of all that God instructs us to be and do. So why do we want to think and talk like liberals? This horrible drive to be like them appears to be an affront to all that we know about loving and obeying God. I do know that all men have factual information that is valuable, no matter who has it. On the other hand, we must be able to tell the difference between fact and fiction. Evolution is part of religion, not factual science; and much of what liberalism teaches is what they believe, not what they know.

So why are today’s young fundamentalists enamored with these self-acclaimed intellectuals and scholars? The answer may lie in the fact that Evangelical and Fundamentalist leadership individuals have become their pattern. This wild desire to copy the liberal mind and language is simply rooted in pride. The idea is to be recognized, accepted, respected, and included in the intellectual community. The younger men may not have any idea what they are doing as they race away from biblical authority. They have been taught how to make a theological pretzel out any text they choose so that they, too, can be dubbed “scholars”. This makes me ask a question about the mature leadership. Is this a deliberate decision? Are they so taken with the liberal mind that they will leave the imperative behind?


First, let me say once again that I am not opposed to honest scholarship or natural intelligence. I am opposed to letting human reason be the standard. I am opposed to acceptance of any compromise that denigrates scripture, just so we can be placed alongside the elite who have a low view of scripture. I am not opposed to education; I have spent most of my life in this field, at one level or another. I am not opposed to true academic excellence or rigor in any discipline. I am opposed to any thinking or teaching that leaves the authority and sufficiency of scripture behind.

Over the past few years, educational institutions in our circles have been caught in one flap after another. It is amazing how liberal thought and communication has been a part of these. I don’t name names in this journal, because it is about principles, not liberal mental gymnastics. You may remember the issue of “certainty” that has risen in several schools of late; that one is straight out of the liberalism playbook.

Now we are embroiled in a new game football, on an ice-covered field. It is called “Who can we ‘hug’ over the liberal line?” I have made it plain that, if theology is the test on this issue, we are safe; if we are going to use philosophy, the battle is lost.


Any agencies or institutions that make the mistake of having professors who teach suspect theology in their classrooms, or speakers in their chapels, shouldn’t whine when they are caught. There is no such thing as an independent error. If reformed theology is taught, that is who you really are. If progressive dispensationalism is taught, that is who you are. If liberal kingdom theology is taught, that is who you are. The list is too long for this article but, like it or not, these things are all on the road to liberalism, because they have to use the liberal hermeneutic to reach any of their flawed conclusions.

Dr. Clay Nuttall is the Vice President of Academics – National Theological College and Graduate School.

Reprinted by permission, SHEPHERD’S STAFF October, 2010.
A communication service of Shepherd’s Basic Care. For those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible. Shepherd’s Basic Care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries, and churches. Write for information using the e-mail address, Shepherd’s Staff is prepared by Clay Nuttall, D.Min