WHOSE MAIL ARE YOU READING?
The scriptures were given for the benefit of the reader, but not all scripture is written to every believer. One of the cardinal rules of interpretation is to discover to whom any given Bible text was written; you just may be reading some other person’s mail! To take for yourself the promises or judgments that were actually written to another is a serious mistake. It is a major flaw in the Reformed hermeneutic.
As children in Sunday school, we were taught a number of “praise choruses” that are examples of this error. For instance, the one that says “every promise in the book is mine, every chapter every verse, every line”. Innocent on the surface, but we don’t have the prerogative to claim promises that were made to someone else. In fact, that cute little chorus is a lie and a sneaky way to rewrite the Bible. If we want to know what the scripture says, we need to ask the text what it means, not tell it what we think it means.
The Reformed hermeneutic actually steals promises from other people. This is clearly represented in the textual twisting behind the Replacement Theory. The result of this man-made hermeneutical process says that the church replaces Israel, or that the two have become one. This teaching is blatantly dishonest in that it makes no apology for stealing someone else’s mail. It is the result of false conclusions having been drawn from part of the scripture rather than the whole. The full scriptures teach that there is a great divide between Israel and the church, and there always will be.
STEALING SMALL THINGS
No matter how popular such theories may become, they are erroneous and based on a misguided hermeneutic. There is another problem, which is even more serious. I speak of the theft of small ideas that appears to be the road to a major appropriation of larger issues. Early in my training, I was left with the impression that we could go to the book of Matthew and remove from it anything we wanted and give it to the church, or that we could put the church in Matthew anywhere we might choose. Such error failed to ask to whom the book was written.
This practice has resulted in Kingdom Confusion and the adding of law to the church. The whole book of Galatians refutes such a concept. The text shouts that the book of Matthew is about Israel, and we must be careful about what we claim ownership of.
The lesson here is that taking small things from Israel for the church, or taking small things from the church and adding them to Israel, is serious. At Pentecost, God chose to do many things with the church that had never been a part of Israel. At best it is unwise to take any of those things and add them back into Israel. The Reformed hermeneutic centers on the doctrine of salvation, that which is stereological. The danger is that it makes theology man-centered. All arguments for such a practice are philosophical and use the same methodology as is found in the replacement theory.
The one biblical hermeneutic is doxological and will always see God at the center. In this mode the questions are asked about God, not about man. The Reformed process relies upon human intellectualism and reason; it suffers from the Lucifer Syndrome with a desire to know the answer to everything. It is far better to accept what the text itself says than what we say about the text.
There is no need to rehash the philosophical debate on this subject, but the New Covenant is a perfect example of hijacking small things. The New Covenant was made with Israel, not with the church. The heart of the New Covenant will be fulfilled prior to the Millennium; it is not fulfilled in the church. The church obviously benefits through the blood of Christ, but it is not a partner in the covenant.
Here we find another example of the Reformed hermeneutic with the failure to let the whole text speak for itself. It may be a small matter to mingle Israel and the church, but it identifies the subtle attempt to close the gap between the two. Any large or small decision to narrow the gap that is clearly described in scripture is dangerous, if not downright disastrous.
During the distinct church age, any Jew who is born again is part of the body of Christ. An individual Jew is not Israel. He will always be a part of the Bride of Christ, not the wife of God. The part does not equal the whole. A Reformed hermeneutic puts these two groups together, which is done through the system used by the Replacement theory. This is one reason the term “the people of God” is used. It views the two as one.
The one way to solve this dilemma is to utilize the one biblical hermeneutic given to us through the text of scripture. There is one correct system, but many philosophical theories. The system known as the “normal, plain, consistent, literal” use of language will always produce a theology that is biblical. It cannot, and will not, produce a multitude of theories. The wide use of various theological views is the result of rejecting that one biblical system. For that reason, any idea that makes Israel and the church one, or even chips away at that distinction, is the result of one of the humanly developed hermeneutical theories.
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December 15, 2011
WHOSE MAIL ARE YOU READING?
December 12, 2011
Earlier we considered the timely comments by Dr. Rolland McCune in Kevin Bauder’s “Kinder-Gentler Motif...Won’t Carry the Day.”
“My associations with R. V. Clearwaters, often identified with the ugly side of fundamentalism, would contradict what is too often thought to be the mean and unholy spirit that brought fundamentalism down as a “movement.” My 14 years with ‘Doc’ tell a different tale, which has caused me to respond and correct rumors, innuendos and other barnacle-like rubbish about the man and his ministry and leadership.”Here is Dr. Rolland McCune in “A Review Article by Rolland D. McCune, Th.D. of RECLAIMING AUTHENTIC FUNDAMENTALISM” by Douglas R. McLachlan (American Association of Christian Schools, 1992). He wrote:
Militancy has always characterized Fundamentalism. It is not so much a matter of personality as adherence to principle. Militancy has been so fogged over by its detractors that it has become a wholly negative concept, even for many Fundamentalists. Dr. George Houghton, of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, gave an excellent definition of militancy.I believe that it is fair to say that Kevin Bauder has very little militant principle in him. After all, he has yet to put it on the mat over people like and the disconcerting actions of Al Mohler, John Piper, Ligon Duncan and Mark Dever. Instead of faithfully teaching and especially practicing fidelity to authentic biblical separation he is forging new friendships and alliances with men who act in utter contempt of the God-given mandates.
What exactly is militancy, anyway? One dictionary says it is to be “engaged in warfare or combat . . . aggressively active (as in a cause).” It springs from one’s values, is expressed as an attitude, and results in certain behavior. One’s values are those things in which one strongly believes. They are what one believes to be fundamentally important and true. From this comes an attitude which is unwilling to tolerate any divergence from these fundamentally important truths and seeks to defend them. It results in behavior which speaks up when these truths are attacked or diluted and which refuses to cooperate with any activity which would minimize their importance. The term is a military one and carries the idea of defending what one believes to be true.I must confess that I do not hear a clear note of militancy in the book under discussion. Forcefulness in leadership and in defending the faith is simply not there. (The concept of “Militant Meekness” or “a militancy for the meekness of Christ” [p. 140] is a little confusing in terms of historic Fundamentalist militancy.) The idea of “servant leaders” (p.40ff.), while certainly a biblical thought, seems expunged of all notions of aggressiveness. Some of this may be explained by the author’s non-confrontational type of personality. Many of us could identify with this. But again militancy is not a matter of personality. There are many Fundamentalists who are reticent and retiring but who are militant in the fight for truth.
 George Houghton. “The Matter of Militancy,” Faith Pulpit (May 1994)
 The idea of “servant leadership” as it is propagated in the New Evangelical community was severely criticized by by David F. Wells, a fellow New Evangelical. He says that the term “has the ring of piety about it. But it is false piety, or it plays on an understanding of servanthood that is antithetical to biblical understanding. Contemporary servant leaders are typically individuals without any ideas of their own, people whose convictions shift with the popular opinion to which they assiduously attune themselves, people who bow to the wishes of “the body” from which their direction and standing derive” (No Place For Truth [Eermans, 1993]’ pp. 214-15). His attack was directed at the lack of convictions and biblical/doctrinal truth that has overtaken the New Evangelical movement and that has displaced theology with psychology and the prescriptions of the modern self movement. This is not the case with the author of Reclaiming . . . Fundamentalism, but a word of caution is in order. Without forceful leadership and the aggressive prosecution of a biblical philosophy and agenda, the Fundamentalist will find his vision being challenged by another who is quite militant about his own proposal. Well’s point is well taken: Servant leadership does not necessitate a benign, non-aggressive stance.
Most recently Drs. Kevin Bauder (and Andy Naselli) officially participated in the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) conference. Both were presenters along side Al Mohler in one of the sessions to discuss their new book (Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism). A review and analysis of Kevin Bauder’s presentation and participation at the ETS seminar was produced by Kent Brandenburg. I highly recommend its reading.* Add to Bauder and Naselli in cooperative ministry with an unrepentant ecumenical (Al Mohler) the Seventh Day Adventist church was an official and approved vendor at ETS.
Dr. Bauder was at ETS to speak on behalf of authentic biblical separation that Fundamentalists are recognized for. What a tragic waste of an opportunity to demonstrate obedience to and love for Jesus Christ and a defense of the Gospel. Kevin Bauder refused to take an, albeit unpopular, stand for the God-given mandates to separate from unbelievers and disobedient brethren. That is not militancy!
Kevin Bauder’s recent history is one of castigating Fundamentalism with a broad brush, heaping lavish praise on so-called “conservative” evangelicals and forging new alliances through cooperative efforts with men on a side of the fence who are non-separatists and unrepentant ecumenical compromisers. This clearly indicates it has become more important for Dr. Bauder to forge alliances with men who hobnob with the enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil. 3:18) than to faithfully proclaim God’s Word on authentic separation and call on men to obey the Lord in this regard.
The pattern of Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Matt Olson and Tim Jordan and men like them is to tolerate, allow for, excuse and/or ignore the doctrinal aberrations, ecumenical compromises and worldliness of their new friends in the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism. Dr. Doug McLachlan recently praised those men for what he deems as a “rebirth of historic, mainstream fundamentalism.” (Moving Toward Authenticity: Musings on Fundamentalism, Part 1) There is nothing authentic from historic biblically separatist Fundamentalism here. Instead we are witnessing a resurgence of historic New Evangelical compromise in embryo form.
*My Field Trip to the Evangelical Theological Society Meeting, Part One
Site Publisher Addendum:
It’s also interesting that Kevin Bauder has openly castigated men like John R. Rice and Bob Jones, Jr. (when he reacted to Danny Sweatt in 2009), but now points out the virtues of his mentors. Sadly, he’s allowed the hype surrounding the leadership of those that he’s criticized to color his comments while allowing his personal relationships with others to hold them in esteem. When the history of fundamentalism is written, there will be those who will look at the acerbic, acrimonious tones of the writings of Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran in particular and decide that they simply would never want to associate with their brand of compromised NT Christianity.
December 5, 2011
Dear Guests of IDOTG:
Last week we began with Part One of this two part series by Dr. Manfred Kober from 1989 as it appeared in Faith Baptist Theological Seminary's Faith Pulpit. This series is as compelling an exposure of and polemic against the egregious errors of Lordship Salvation for today as it was in 1989. I encourage you to read and prayerfully consider this important ministry of warning from Dr. Kober.
Several days ago my wife and I were discussing the matter of Lordship salvation. Our eleven-year-old daughter, Christa, overheard us and asked, “Daddy, what is Lordship salvation?” I replied that it is the view that believing in Christ as Savior is not enough. A person also needs to let Christ control every thought and action to be truly saved. Christa's perceptive reply was, “Well, Daddy, then no one can be saved, can he?”
And so it is. If God expects total submission of our body, soul, spirit, heart and mind for salvation, no one can possibly be saved. Total submission like complete sanctification is only achieved when the believer enters the presence of Christ.
It is difficult to conceive of a more crucial question in Christianity than this: What is the condition for salvation? What do I need to do to be saved? The answer that Paul gives to that question in Acts 16:31 is “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Over one hundred times in the New Testament faith is mentioned as the only condition for salvation. Yet a controversy is raging in evangelical circles. Shrill voices are telling us that individuals are not genuinely saved unless they believe and submit. In other words, salvation is dependent on faith plus dedication. One cannot be a Christian, we are told, without being a disciple. Salvation by faith alone is called “a notable heresy” (Tozer, “I Call It Heresy!” p. 9). It is labeled a "heretical and soul destroying practice" (Chantry, “Today’s Gospel Authentic or Synthetic?” p. 68). Men who teach that salvation is by faith alone are “wrongly dividing the Word of Truth” (MacArthur, “The Gospel According to Jesus.” p. 197).
In Part I we discussed I. The Contemporary Problem of Lordship Salvation, and, II. The Crucial Prerequisite for Salvation. Now let us note:
III. Some Compelling Proofs against Lordship Salvation:
MacArthur continually stresses the idea that the call to salvation is “a call to discipleship under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. To respond to that call is to become a believer. Anything less is simply unbelief” (p. 30). This position is easily refuted by Biblical examples.
A. The Example of Uncommitted Believers:
The life of Lot affords an illustration of a life-long rejection of the Lordship of God. If it were not for the references to Lot as a just man in II Peter 2:7-8, one could seriously question his salvation. His continuous disobedience, compromise, and carnality did not prevent him from being positionally righteous.
2. The Ephesian believers:
The saints at Ephesus were unyielding at the time of salvation. As Christians they continued their pagan practices for at least one and a half years before they were willing to submit to the Lordship of Christ and burn their books of magic (Acts 18:19).
The Apostle Peter demonstrates a definite lapse from total dedication. His words in Acts 10:14, “Not so Lord” were a sign of unyieldedness after he had been Spirit filled at Pentecost (Acts 2:4).
Lot, Peter, and the Ephesians are examples of carnal individuals who nonetheless were genuinely saved. In contrast, MacArthur says that “those unwilling to take on this yoke cannot enter into the saving rest He offers” (p. 112). He insists that “‘Faith’ that rejects His sovereign authority is really unbelief” (p. 28). MacArthur not only denies that carnal believers are genuinely saved, but he further accuses dispensationalists of inventing “this dichotomy carnal/spiritual Christian” (p. 30). “Contemporary theologians have fabricated an entire category for this type of person--‘Carnal Christian’” (p. 129).
In fact the Bible speaks of carnal believers. In I Corinthians 3, Paul addresses the Corinthian brethren as “carnal,” as “babes in Christ” who are “yet carnal . . . and walk as men” (vv. 1, 3). Genuine believers are called carnal and described as walking like the unsaved in envyings, strive, and division. Similarly, Peter says that genuine Christians can be guilty of gross crimes (I Peter 4: 15).
Why would MacArthur label this Biblical concept a contemporary invention? Is the category of carnal Christians really one of the “unwarranted divisions of truth” (p. 27) set up by dispensationalists?
B. The Exhortation of Romans 12: 1-2:
The Apostle Paul pleads with believers to submit to the Lordship of Christ. These individuals had been justified by faith (Rom. 5:1), were being led by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:14) and would never be separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:39). Yet these saints were enjoined to “present their bodies a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1) rather than to serve sin or let sin rule them (Rom. 6:6). According to the Lordship Salvation view, these individuals were never genuinely saved. MacArthur says “Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything” (p. 78). “Forsaking oneself for Christ’s sake is not an optional step of discipleship subsequent to conversion: it is the ‘sine qua non’ of saving faith” (p. 135). Paul says that submission, sacrifice, and service are incumbent upon every believer after salvation. MacArthur says they are indispensable for salvation.
Proper exegesis and personal experience do not support Lordship salvation.Thomas L. Constable is correct in observing that while “surrender is certainly God's desire for every Christian, it is not a condition of salvation. If it were, it would be a work” (Walvoord: A Tribute. “The Gospel Message” p. 209).
C. The Meaning of the title “LORD”:
The term “Lord” can indeed mean Master, but in the New Testament it has various meanings. When used in the salvation passages, Lord especially emphasizes the deity of Christ. Paul’s statement in Romans 10:9-10 is “misunderstood when it is made to support the claim that one cannot be saved unless he makes Jesus Lord of his life by a personal commitment . . . Paul is speaking of the objective lordship of Christ, which is the very cornerstone of faith” (Everett F. Harrison, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Vol. X, 112).
Those who insist on Lordship salvation maintain that our position is one of “easy believism” or “cheap grace.” Ryrie rightly objects to this charge by noting that “it is not easy to believe, because what we ask the unsaved person to believe is not easy. We ask that he trust a Person who lived 2,000 years ago, whom he can only know through the Bible, to forgive his sins. We’re asking that he stake his eternal destiny on this” (Basic Theology, p. 339, emphasis in the original). Salvation is free. Lordship is very costly. Faith is a gift bestowed by God upon unbelievers. Discipleship is a commanded work of obedience for believers. Both faith and discipleship are absolutely important, the one for salvation, and other for sanctification. To deny the difference between saviorhood and lordship is to distort the gospel--and that is dangerous!
Reprinted by permission from the March and April/May 1989 editions of the Faith Pulpit, a publication of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, Ankeny, Iowa. (bold added)
Faith Pulpit, Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, April/May '89 - Manfred E. Kober, Th.D.
For related study see- John MacArthur's Discipleship Gospel
Posted by Lou Martuneac at 12:10 AM
November 30, 2011
If you were Satan, which doctrine would you want to undermine? Which area of theology would you pervert, to prevent people from being saved? An individual may be wrong about the doctrine of the church or deny the millennial kingdom and yet doubtless be gloriously redeemed. However, if a person is wrong on the doctrine of salvation, specifically, the prerequisites for salvation, he misses the very heart of the gospel. One would expect Satan to attack in the area of soteriology. Indeed, he has! The informed and discerning believer soon realizes that there is a battle raging among evangelicals and fundamentalists over the matter of the conditions for salvation.
I. The Crucial Problem of Lordship Salvation:
A. The problem:
On the one hand there are those who insist that salvation is God's gift and that trust in Christ is the only requirement for salvation. On the other hand, there are respected pastors and theologians who teach that unless an individual submits also to the Lordship of Christ at the moment of salvation, he is not really saved.
B. The positions:
1. Salvation by grace through faith alone:
a. Curtis Hutson in his book, “Salvation Crystal Clear”, has a chapter entitled “Lordship Salvation, A Perversion of the Gospel.” He begins with the following warning: Lordship salvation is an unscriptural teaching regarding the doctrine of salvation and is confusing to Christians, Hutson calls Lordship salvation “another gospel which contradicts the teaching of salvation by grace through faith” (p. 302).
b. Charles Ryrie cautions that “To teach that Christ must be Lord of life in order to be Savior is to confuse certain aspects of discipleship and confuses the gospel of the Grace of God with the works of men.” (Balancing the Christian Life, p. 178).
c. Lewis Chafer writes that Lordship salvation is a seemingly pious but subtle error that in addition to believing in Christ “the unsaved must dedicate themselves to the will of God” (Systematic Theology, III, 384).
d. *Zane Hodges clearly distinguishes between salvation and discipleship. Eternal life is free. Discipleship is immeasurably hard. The former is attained by faith alone; the latter by a faith that works (The Hungry Inherit. p. 114, underscore in the original).
2. Lordship Salvation:
a. J. I. Packer rejects the idea that all men have to do is to trust Christ as sin bearer . . . they must also deny themselves and enthrone him as their Lord. (Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, p. 89).
b. Walter J. Chantry says that salvation without Lordship is impossible: Practical acknowledgment of Jesus’ Lordship, yielding to His rule by following, is the very fibre of saving faith. It is only those who ‘confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus’ (Romans 10:9) that shall be saved . . . Without obedience, you shall not see life! Unless you bow to Christ’s sceptre, you will not receive the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice. (Today's Gospel Authentic or Synthetic? p. 60, underscore in the original). His words concerning those who preach simple faith in Christ are very strong: This heretical and soul-destroying practice is the logical conclusion of a system that thinks little of God, preaches no law, calls for no repentance, waters down faith to ‘accepting a gift,’ and never mentions bowing to Christ’s rule or bearing a cross (p. 68).
c. John R. Stott suggests that it is as unbiblical as it is unrealistic to divorce the Lordship from the Saviorhood of Jesus Christ (Eternity, Sept. 1959, p. 37).
d. A. W. Tozer labels the view of salvation by grace alone a notable heresy and a false teaching (I Call It Heresy! p. 9,19).
e. James Montgomery Boice calls the concept of salvation through faith alone A defective theology. This kind of faith is directed to one who is a false Christ (The Meaning of Discipleship, Moody Monthly, Feb. 1986, p. 34, 36).
f. John MacArthur champions Lordship salvation in his recent book, “The Gospel According to Jesus”. He attacks dispensationalists in general and Chafer, Hodges, and Ryrie in particular for wrongly dividing the Word of Truth (p. 197). No one can come to Christ on any other term than full commitment (p. 197). In his book, “The Parables of the Kingdom”, MacArthur writes that there is a transaction made to purchase salvation, but it’s not with money or good works. The transaction is this: You give up all you have for all He has (p. 108). How does one receive salvation? You give up all that you are and receive all that He is . . . A person becomes saved when he is willing to abandon everything he has to affirm, that Christ is the Lord of his life (p. 109).
Even in our Regular Baptist circles Lordship salvation has become an issue.
g. John Baylo equates the saviorhood of Christ with His Lordship. He holds that saving faith properly understood always involves trusting Christ with one’s life. . . confidence in Christ to both save and manage one’s life . . . superficial faith never saved anyone (Baptist Bulletin, February, 1987, p. 7). In contrast, Paul Tassell pleads that we not confuse the instantaneous act of salvation with the long process of sanctification . . . we must not make saviorship and lordship synonymous (Baptist Bulletin, February, 1989, p. 46). Ernest Pickering in his incisive review of MacArthur’s book states that Well over 100 times in the New Testament we are told that salvation is by faith or through believing. It is a very serious matter to add an ingredient to the gospel of salvation which is not found in the New Testament (Lordship Salvation, Central Baptist Seminary, p. 7). Ryrie cautions that the message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life cannot both be the gospel; therefore, one of them is a false gospel and comes under the curse of perverting the gospel or preaching another gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). As far as sanctification is concerned, if only committed people are saved people, then where is there room for carnal Christians? (p. 170).
Which of these positions is right, which is wrong? They cannot both be scriptural. In theology we do not count noses. In many areas, such as this controversy, able men can be marshalled to support either position. The correctness of a position must be substantiated by a clear grammatical exegesis of the Biblical text.
II. The Crucial Prerequisite for Salvation.
What is the necessary condition for salvation, faith in Christ as Savior or faith plus commitment of life? It is true that some believers dedicate their lives to the Lord at the moment of salvation. The Apostle Paul immediately asked the question: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? (Acts 9:6). With most believers, dedication takes place after a fuller understanding of their spiritual responsibility. Key soteriological passages such as Acts 16:31 and Ephesians 2:8-9 teach that faith in Christ alone is the prerequisite for salvation. Ideally, every saint should recognize the Lordship of Christ from the moment of salvation, but there is a great difference between being a saint and a disciple. It costs absolutely nothing to be a Christian. It costs everything to be a disciple. In Luke 14 the Lord distinguishes between salvation and discipleship while teaching two parables, side by side. In Luke 14:16-24 he related the parable of the great supper into which the entrance was free and unrestricted for all who followed the invitation. In Luke 14:25-33 Christ taught that discipleship was only for those who gave up all.
Being a Christian means following an invitation. Being a disciple means forsaking all. To confuse these two aspects of the Christian life is to confound the grace of God and the works of man, to ignore the difference between salvation and sanctification. The gospel of grace is Scriptural. The Gospel that adds the works of man to salvation is a counterfeit Gospel.
If it was ever necessary for believers to rightly divide the word of truth, it is now, and it is in this area!
Reprinted by permission from the March and April/May 1989 editions of the Faith Pulpit, a publication of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, Ankeny, Iowa. (bold added)
Faith Pulpit, Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, March '89 - Manfred E. Kober, Th.D.
Please continue to Part 2 of this compelling series
Site Publisher’s Addendum:
*Zane Hodges, had since the 1989 publication of this article, originated and introduced an extreme reductionist assault on the Gospel. Hodges’s interpretation of the Gospel has come to be known as the Crossless and/or Promise- ONLY gospel. The reductionism of Hodges is almost universally rejected in the NT church outside the small cell of theological extremists in the Grace Evangelical Society (Bob Wilkin, Exec. Director) and a very few friends who still identify with GES.
November 22, 2011
Bob Jones University (BJU) has posted a position paper. You may read it at the BJU site under the title, The Position of Bob Jones University Regarding the Membership of Dr. Chuck Phelps on Its Cooperating Board of Trustees. We will consider excerpted portions of the BJU position statement. From these excerpts we will demonstrate a pattern of disconcerting actions of Sharper Iron (SI) site publisher Aaron Blumer, SI administrator Jim Peet and the SI team for what has been to date their providing for and participating in an Internet lynching of a Christian brother. My commentary will follow the excerpts.
For this discussion please continue to my secondary blog Sharper Iron: In the Iron Skillet to consider the question, Does Sharper Iron Allow for the Name of Christ to be Sullied?
Posted by Lou Martuneac at 11:30 PM
November 14, 2011
In 1998 Dr. Douglas McLachlan wrote an article titled, Theology, Community and Naming Your Church. The following is an excerpt.
Dr. Kevin Bauder, in a recent article On Not Singing (9/19/11), introduced the term “community.”In recent years there has developed a “tendency toward generic Christianity.” (Millard Erikson and James Heflin in Old Wine in New Wineskins, pp. 50-ff.) The trend, these authors say, is toward a “doctrinally generic Christianity” where the “specifics” of doctrine are dismissed or unimportant. One of the most visible symbols of this trend is the deletion of denominational tags from the church name. In my mind this is a dangerous trend.
Community is being elevated above theology, growth becomes more important than truth.In earlier times the theology of a church was reflected in its name. To me, that approach still has great merit. The reason is this: generality in name often leads to a loss of specificity in belief. Covering our beliefs, hiding our theology by masking our identity and camouflaging our name may indeed attract a larger crowd (most contemporary consumers think little of “brand loyalty”), but it has great potential to jeopardize and weaken our doctrine, our truth-claims. It produces an environment where beliefs tend to be minimized, changed and in some cases even abandoned as irrelevant to mission, unimportant to ministry (Erikson and Heflin).
Whatever their liabilities (and there are some), names reflect our belief-system. They say something about us. They announce to others who we are and what we believe. Even today, in our postmodern world, names like Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and baptist alert us to a basic set of beliefs. The name becomes a summary statement of certain basic theological commitments. One of the reasons our name “Baptist” still has merit is because it identifies for honest seekers who we are and what we believe. And it represents our belief-system, the theological bedrock which is the enduring ground of our belonging. (The President’s Page, 1998, Italics his.)
Clearly, from his expanding ministry with non-separatists and ecumenical compromisers, Kevin Bauder has personally “elevated community above theology.” The true danger, however, is in his writing to influence this and the next generation to join him in a “community” of compromise. Along with Kevin Bauder men like Dave Doran, Matt Olson, Tim Jordan have “elevated community above theology.” They are blurring the lines of denominational and/or doctrinal distinctions, to jointly minister with so-called “conservative” evangelicals for whom certain specifics of doctrine are dismissed or unimportant, primarily authentic biblical separation. Yet, Dr. McLachlan recently named these men as leaders in birthing an authentic fundamentalism. (See, Moving Toward Authenticity: Musings on Fundamentalism, Part 1) Based on what they are doing to expand “community” at the expense abandoning absolute fidelity to the doctrine one is hard pressed to recognize any authenticity to a historic, balanced separatist Independent, Baptistic Fundamentalism.“Three times Kevin Bauder calls for tolerance of evil. Kevin Bauder is telling us that we need to tolerate what we think to be evil for the sake of fellowship. Isn’t that exactly the new way of doing separation being advocated by Kevin Bauder these many months now? Tolerance of evil for the sake of fellowship.” (See, Are We Forced to Tolerate Evils Within the Community?)
From Dr. McLachlan’s 1998 article above it appeared he held a similar position to that of Dr. Pickering noted here, but does he still? Dr. McLachlan stated that dropping denominational tags “is a dangerous trend”. Did he feel that way at the former Northland Baptist Bible College (NBBC) when the administration discussed dropping the denominational tag “Baptist” from the name of the school? Did Dr. McLachlan voice opposition to that proposal, did he advise the NBBC administration that it would be a visible sign of the trend where specifics of doctrine are dismissed or unimportant?(Dr. Ernest Pickering , Shall We Abandon the Name “Baptist?”)
Dr. McLachlan, furthermore, accompanied Matt Olson, Les Ollila and Sam Horn on the April 2010 trip to meet and confer with Dr. John MacArthur, Phil Johnson and Rick Holland. The result was opening the doors of the NIU classrooms and chapel pulpit to non-separatist, compromised, worldly evangelicals. Recent news out of Central Baptist Theological Seminary indicates that the “trend toward generic Christianity” has become the fashion at Central. See- Will Central Seminary Continue the Drift Away From It’s Historic Moorings?
Comparing Dr. McLachlan’s 1998 Theology, Community and Naming Your Church to his recent Moving Toward Authenticity: Musings on Fundamentalism, Part 1 we recognize that Dr. McLachlan has drifted. He is drifting away from the firm convictions he articulated in the 1998 article.
Dr. McLachlan wrote, “Community is being elevated above theology, growth becomes more important than truth.” Tragically we are seeing unmistakeable signs that he is becoming an advocate for community and growth at the expense of theology and truth. His unqualified endorsement of Kevin Bauder (Doran, Olson, Jordan) and consequently their compromised theology for the sake of community confirms an unfortunate change of conviction and direction.
Is the former Northland Baptist Bible College, “Unchanged?” See Is NIU “Unchanged?” Northland Baptist Bible College Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity
Calvary Baptist Seminary (Lansdale) to Host Dr. Haddon Robinson
November 10, 2011
In my reading and research for the recent series of articles citing Dr. Rolland McCune and especially his extended references and commentary about Dr. Richard V. “Doc” Clearwaters I came across a web site that I think will be a personal blessing to many of you. What I discovered was an electronic copy of the Central Baptist Theological Seminary’s Central Bible Quarterly, volume CENQ 09:3 (Fall 1966). The article of particular interest is titled Ten Years by Warren Vanhetloo.
What I discovered was an electronic copy of the Central Baptist Theological Seminary’s Central Bible Quarterly volume CENQ 09:3 (Fall 1966). The article of particular interest is titled Ten Years by Warren Vanhetloo.
I believe many who were once students, faculty or staff at Central Seminary will receive a blessing from reading the 1966 Quarterly and viewing the photographs. You can read portions on line, but for the full journal the site requires a paid subscription. If you know any Central Seminary alumni who might appreciate seeing this site, pass it along.
Nor did the amazing growth in the ministries of Central Seminary come as any surprise to its Founder. During the first year, he predicted to the Dean, Warren Vanhetloo, that he anticipated the student body to double in size the first five years and to double again the second five years. Looking back at the end of the decade, the fulfillment of such a prediction is amazing. Few other seminaries have enjoyed such growth. Central Seminary had an unusual beginning, with an initial enrollment of 31.
Please visit, Ten Years by Warren Vanhetloo
November 7, 2011
“My associations with R. V. Clearwaters, often identified with the ugly side of fundamentalism, would contradict what is too often thought to be the mean and unholy spirit that brought fundamentalism down as a “movement.” My 14 years with ‘Doc’ tell a different tale, which has caused me to respond and correct rumors, innuendos and other barnacle-like rubbish about the man and his ministry and leadership.”Here now is Dr. Rolland McCune in “A Review Article by Rolland D. McCune, Th.D. of RECLAIMING AUTHENTIC FUNDAMENTALISM” by Douglas R. McLachlan (American Association of Christian Schools, 1992). He wrote:
“Doc, as a good leader, prudently chose his hills to die on based on several non-negotiable biblical truths and convictions. But in a showdown when these were being challenged, trampled, disobeyed, avoided or neglected, he was militantly aggressive. This earned him a lot of unwanted and unearned opprobrium over the decades, actually to this very day.”
Site Publisher Commentary:Militancy has always characterized Fundamentalism. It is not so much a matter of personality as adherence to principle. Militancy has been so fogged over by its detractors that it has become a wholly negative concept, even for many Fundamentalists. Dr. George Houghton, of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, gave an excellent definition of militancy.What exactly is militancy, anyway? One dictionary says it is to be “engaged in warfare or combat . . . aggressively active (as in a cause).” It springs from one’s values, is expressed as an attitude, and results in certain behavior. One’s values are those things in which one strongly believes. They are what one believes to be fundamentally important and true. From this comes an attitude which is unwilling to tolerate any divergence from these fundamentally important truths and seeks to defend them. It results in behavior which speaks up when these truths are attacked or diluted and which refuses to cooperate with any activity which would minimize their importance. The term is a military one and carries the idea of defending what one believes to be true. I must confess that I do not hear a clear note of militancy in the book under discussion. Forcefulness in leadership and in defending the faith is simply not there. (The concept of “Militant Meekness” or “a militancy for the meekness of Christ” [p. 140] is a little confusing in terms of historic Fundamentalist militancy.) The idea of “servant leaders” (p.40ff.), while certainly a biblical thought,  seems expunged of all notions of aggressiveness. Some of this may be explained by the author’s non-confrontational type of personality. Many of us could identify with this. But again militancy is not a matter of personality. There are many Fundamentalists who are reticent and retiring but who are militant in the fight for truth. George Houghton. “The Matter of Militancy,” Faith Pulpit (May 1994) The idea of “servant leadership” as it is propagated in the New Evangelical community was severely criticized by by David F. Wells, a fellow New Evangelical. He says that the term “has the ring of piety about it. But it is false piety, or it plays on an understanding of servanthood that is antithetical to biblical understanding. Contemporary servant leaders are typically individuals without any ideas of their own, people whose convictions shift with the popular opinion to which they assiduously attune themselves, people who bow to the wishes of “the body” from which their direction and standing derive” (No Place For Truth [Eermans, 1993]’ pp. 214-15). His attack was directed at the lack of convictions and biblical/doctrinal truth that has overtaken the New Evangelical movement and that has displaced theology with psychology and the prescriptions of the modern self movement. This is not the case with the author of Reclaiming . . . Fundamentalism, but a word of caution is in order. Without forceful leadership and the aggressive prosecution of a biblical philosophy and agenda, the Fundamentalist will find his vision being challenged by another who is quite militant about his own proposal. Well’s point is well taken: Servant leadership does not necessitate a benign, non-aggressive stance.
I believe that it is fair to say that Kevin Bauder has very little militant principle in him. After all, he has yet to put it on the mat over people like and the doings of Al Mohler, John Piper, Ligon Duncan and Mark Dever. His pattern, that of Dave Doran, and men like them is to tolerate, allow for, excuse and/or ignore the doctrinal aberrations, ecumenical compromises and worldliness of their new friends in the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism. That is not militancy!
It’s also interesting that Kevin Bauder has openly castigated men like John R. Rice and Bob Jones, Jr.1 (when he reacted to Danny Sweatt2), but now points out the virtues of his mentors. Sadly, he’s allowed the hype surrounding the leadership of those that he’s criticized to color his comments while allowing his personal relationships with others to hold them in esteem. When the history of fundamentalism is written, there will be those who will look at the acerbic, acrimonious tones3 of the writings of Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran in particular and decide that they simply would never want to associate with or emulate their brand of compromising Christianity.
1) Kevin Bauder: A Call for His Removal From the Platform of the 2009 FBFI Annual Fellowship
Dr. Bauder’s criticisms of Dr. Jones and Dr. Rice was not speech that edifies. It was not a display of Christ-like love. Bauder’s tone was not the sound of humble integrity. The caricatures of Jones and Rice, while barely skirting personal attacks, certainly did not honor the Lord or those men. It is irrefutable that the speech with which Dr. Bauder described Drs. Jones and Rice is antithetical to what the FBFI leadership called for.2) The IFB & Calvinism: Flashpoint!
3) And the acerbic, acrimonious arrogant tone of SI administrator Jim Peet who seems incapable of being gracious when criticized even when by a kinder, gentler, well-meaning and esteemed man as Dr. Rolland McCune. See Jim Peet: In the Jaws of a Lion
November 3, 2011
Dr. Rolland McCune has continued commenting at Sharper Iron (SI). I want to make excerpts of what he is sharing available to readers here, many of whom do not and would not visit or participate at SI. We began with his initial comment, which you can read at Kevin Bauder’s “Kinder-Gentler Motif…Will Not Carry the Day.”* Please now consider the following by Dr. McCune as he remembers “Doc” Clearwaters.
I trust those remarks have been encouraging to those who appreciate what the best of Fundamentalism has been, can be and still looks like.One last thought/clarification (I trust). From my 14 years of association with R. V. Clearwaters he and I never had a cross word between us, and I left for DBTS with his disappointment, but none the less his “blessing.” We were especially close during my last six or seven years. I participated in his funeral in 1996 and unashamedly wept as I hugged his daughter Jane farewell as we left Crystal Lake Cemetery.
Doc, as a good leader, prudently chose his hills to die on based on several non-negotiable biblical truths and convictions. But in a showdown when these were being challenged, trampled, disobeyed, avoided or neglected, he was militantly aggressive. This earned him a lot of unwanted and unearned opprobrium over the decades, actually to this very day. Some of the opponents mused out loud that they hoped for the day they would see RVC in his casket. Fortunately he outlived most of them.
Included in his non-negotiable truths was the primacy of the New Testament local church. Thus he opposed the movement that tried to hijack the New Testament Association of Independent Baptist Churches (NTAIBC) from an association of churches to a pastor's fellowship (at Eagledale Baptist Church, Indianapolis, 1966) contrary to the minutes of the call to form an association (passed at Beth Eden Baptist, Denver) one year earlier. The NTAIBC became an association of churches. He also opposed self-perpetuating boards of Baptist institutions who generally wanted him and Fourth Baptist to “pray and pay, but not to play.” This was the case in the formation of the Baptist World Mission** in the 1960s. On the grounds of local church ideology/doctrine he expected first loyalty to Fourth Baptist by paid servants of a Baptist institution whose membership was at Fourth, rather than their first loyalty elsewhere. The same went for paid servants of Central Baptist Seminary, church staff, the Christian school, custodians, et al, as well as all the membership in general. He was loyal to people and he expected the same from them. It was not “my way or the hi-way.” These incidents all became controversial to the point of public resolution with him being blamed in one way or another for the disturbance, usually on ecclesiastically political or pietistic notions.
The local church rubric caused Doc to vigorously oppose interdenominationalism, especially after its failure to sustain Northwestern Schools in the late 1950s when it’s Bible College and Seminary closed down, leading to the founding of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College and Central Baptist Seminary as Baptist, not interdenominational, schools. He was on the board of Northwestern and a confidant of W. B. Riley, and went through the rough waters after Riley’s death.
Ecclesiastical separation was a non-negotiable, both “primary” and “secondary.” Thus Doc participated heavily in the fight within the old Northern Baptist Convention against liberalism, and within the Minnesota Baptist Convention/Association and the Conservative Baptist Association of America against New Evangelicalism. In these controversies, Fourth Baptist Church and the MBA “kept the faith and the furniture.” But of course, RVC took heat for not being loving, kind, gentle and Christ-like when push came to shove and straight talk finally took precedence over quiet, emotional, pietistic diplomatic discussions.
RVC’s style of church administration was summed up in two words, as he constantly told the Seminary students—“through channels.” Anything major that affected Fourth church was first taken to the deacons, after that to the “official family” (composed of all people elected by the church), and finally to the floor of the church. This happened on many occasions while I was there.
Other of RVC’s leadership principles included “take the historical approach,” giving him an uncanny insight to people and proposals that came along. His ability to size up a situation and know of the right, or a good, solution was amazing. He relied heavily on “documents” when in battle, pulling out minutes, resolutions, etc, because “documents don’t lie.” This happened when he was contradicted, whether in court fighting to retain the MBA’s control of Pillsbury Academy or as an expert witness on Baptist polity in suits to prevent the Northern Baptist Convention from stealing the property of churches who voted to withdraw from it, or simply during the formation of a new association.
This has droned on far more than intended, typical of the “few minutes” that Baptist preachers promise to audiences. I did not take space for anecdotes of his life as a pastor, friend, counselor, family man, and others. There his kind and gentle side always showed, whether for a student finding a job, those needing food and raiment, a pastor looking for a church, or churches looking pastors. For funerals he would ask for the Bible and “life verse” of the deceased and conduct a very meaningful service. He was willing to be called back from his annual vacation in Florida (in February/March usually, naturally) for emergencies.
I hope that these vignettes put the man in a better light than is too often forgotten or ignored.__________________Rolland D. McCune
*Kevin Bauder’s “Kinder-Gentler Motif…Will Not Carry the Day.”
**In October Baptist World Mission celebrated its 50th anniversary at the church where it was founded, Marquette Manor Baptist Church.
SI Administrator, Jim Peet, posted a particular comment in the thread. Dr. McCune rebuked him for it. For example,
“If this is any kind of resemblance to the apparently newly discovered and coveted kind and gentle fundamentalism, you have discredited them and embarrassed yourself.”Go to Jim Peet in the Jaws of the Lion
November 1, 2011
Rarely is there any article or comment worthy of mention at the pseudo fundamentalist Sharper Iron (SI). A comment that would be encouraging and uplifting for Fundamentalists. SI and its contributors frequently besmirch and castigate Fundamentalism with the broad brush, most notably and frequently by Dr. Kevin Bauder. Those who sought to speak for and on behalf of Fundamentalism at SI were/are routinely gang-tackled by the site publisher, its moderators and evangelical wanna-bes that frequent the site. Today, however, a comment has been posted that will encourage fundamentalists.
Under Kevin Bauder’s Credit Where Credit Is Due, Part 2 Dr. Rolland McCune submitted the following (comment #5). I reproduce his comment in its entirety here, for your consideration.
Fundamentalism a Generation AgoTo one SI member’s complaint Dr. McCune replied as follows.
I appreciated Dr. Bauder’s autobio; it was interesting, informative and legitimately idealistic. He apparently came to a kinder-gentler fundamentalism that could be found in Mr. Roger's neighborhood but not many places else. That is certainly commendable. I personally knew and enjoyed ministry with almost all the personalities he mentioned and enjoined as worthy of all acceptation, and still count them as close friends and comrades-in arms. I would not object to Bauder's description of them. I would even vaingloriously wish to count myself of their ilk.
However, when it comes to public leadership in battle, leading gently must on occasion “bare their teeth and draw their swords” in defence and propagation of truth itself along with doing so for the innocent and defenseless. And in so doing, an inordinate number of the saints (and non-saints) immediately cry out at the lack of love, lack of the spirit of Christ, let’s pray about it some more, etc., etc. These most often come from the young and immature in the faith, the overly pietistic, or who simply will never understand the dynamics of “the strife of truth with falsehood for the good or evil side.” Leaders in the smoke of battle must contend with them as well the advancing problem. Christ’s gentility would probably be characterized as romp and stomp by some, but I find it impossible to fault the incarnation of love, lowliness, and gentleness. Paul was brutally frank on occasion with both believer and unbeliever, seemingly to counter the meekness rubric.
My associations with R. V. Clearwaters, often identified with the ugly side of fundamentalism, would contradict what is too often thought to be the mean and unholy spirit that brought fundamentalism down as a “movement.” My 14 years with “Doc” tell a different tale, which has caused me to respond and correct rumors, innuendos and other barnacle-like rubbish about the man and his ministry and leadership. He had a very gentle side with sincere people, but admittedly did not suffer fools very gladly, as it were. He was a strong natural leader (among the hated SNLs), and did not see himself as one who “leads from behind” as I myself would be prone to do. But I stood with him, and observed that his experience and wisdom won the day as far as truth and the fortunes of fundamentalism were concerned. Most would argue that his types brought fundamentalism to its present impasse, but it could also be argued that the vacuum in leadership caused by their passing has not seen much of their caliber replaced.
My point is that the kinder-gentler motif in and of itself will not carry the day in the end. It too often seeks ground with the opposition that is not very common when the devilish details and scholastic fine print see the light of day.
Dr. Rolland McCune
Fundamentalism a Generation Ago
David: I totally fail to see what is inflammatory about the term Kinder/Gentler, and regret that it injured your sensitivities. Even more baffling is the etiology of your “milquetoast” query (talk about inflammatory!). True, one can certainly be gentle, meek, humble, kind, honest and earnest. To describe the past and present fundamentalist contenders for truth, the Scriptures, separation, et al, as simply “earnest” is probably a little too flaccid, given the enormity of the stakes then and now. The personalities and controversies have changed, as life and events always do, but I wonder if the bottom line issues and polarities differ absolutely from what they were with the New Evangelicalism. Lowell’s dictum that “new occasions teach new duties; time makes ancient good uncouth” seems to be unfolding before us in some corners of the fundamentalist idea/movement. Calls went out several years ago now for new, fresh, in-depth and scholarly analytical penetrations of the doctrine of ecclesiastical separation and an overhaul of sorts of the history of fundamentalism for our changing times. These appear to have yielded a somewhat confusing and conflicting set of ideas, at least to some of us a little longer in the tooth. Fundamentalist leaders of old were always informed that their proposals, parliamentary procedures, preaching, writing, voting and the like in preserving the faith of our fathers could be done much more nicely, positively and Christ-like. But Jesus on many an occasion was more than “earnest” and seemingly much less than the “holy Jesus meek and mild.” As RVC was wont to say, somewhat parabolically, “Don’t try to be more Christian than Christ.”Dr. McCune’s academic pedigree alongside his published works on New Evangelicalism makes him the best choice to say something. Dr. McCune, believers in pulpits and the pews of fundamental churches across America who are deeply concerned with a redefined Fundamentalism “that will not carry the day,” which Kevin Bauder (Dave Doran, Matt Olson, Tim Jordan and Doug MacLachlan) propagate appreciate your timely remarks. We thank you!
A Letter from *Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters to Kevin Bauder
“Kevin Bauder, It Won’t Fly With Those of us Who Know…”
“If Kevin desires to take Dr. Clearwaters’s venerable institution 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.”Muddying the Clearwaters by Pastor Marc Monte
This series continues with, A Kind and Gentle Yet Aggressively Militant Richard V. Clearwaters
October 28, 2011
Archival Series: Let’s Get CRYSTAL Clear on This: Evangelicals, “The Foremost Defenders of the Gospel Today?”
We have arrived at the final stage of this series [March 24, 2010]. Over the last two weeks this series has included two previous articles by me that review and react to Kevin Bauder’s Let’s Get Clear on This. See-
Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: A Response to Kevin Bauder’s “Cannonball” Cogitations
Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: A Response to Kevin Bauder’s “Cannonball” Cogitations Part 2
You may also read the special contributions to this discussion A Letter from Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters to Kevin Bauder submitted by Evangelist Dwight Smith and Muddying the Clearwaters submitted by Pastor Marc Monte.
In this series we have thoroughly reviewed Let’s Get Clear on This by Dr. Kevin Bauder who has become conservative evangelicalism’s chief apologist in and to Fundamentalism. We have discussed a series of disconcerting issues with the so-called conservative evangelicals. While all of the issues are highly troublesome there is a single great danger that trumps all of the others combined. In this article we are going to discuss conservative evangelicals and a segment of Fundamentalists, “converging around a particular interpretation of the Gospel.” Dr. Bauder wrote,
Pastor Monte answered this from one perspective, for example.“The sad truth is that the most forceful defenders of the gospel are no longer to be found within the Fundamentalist camp.”
Prior to and following Bauder’s broadbrush besmirchment of Fundamentalism’s defenders of the gospel he refers to *evangelicals such as John MacArthur, John Piper, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, et. al., in terms of, “their vigorous commitment to and defense of the gospel.” Bauder thinks the conservative evangelicals, “…are the foremost defenders of the gospel today.” Are they? Do they defend the Gospel? This is the area of my primary concern and what follows is my response to it.“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. Ah, but therein lies the rub. Note, I said ‘pastors.’ You see, Bauder’s concern is that professional scholars defend the gospel, not lowly pastors.” (Muddying the Clearwaters)
I. Conservative Evangelicals Have Compromised the Gospel.
In November 2009 it was disclosed that Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan had signed the Manhattan Declaration (MD), which is the first cousin of Evangelical & Catholics Together. See- Al Mohler Signs the Manhattan Declaration. In part 2 of this series I wrote,
With this betrayal of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which makes these men disobedient brethren; how can Kevin Bauder conclude that these men are “defenders of the gospel?” Surely Bauder has not forgotten that it was conservative evangelicals, not Fundamentalists, who eagerly signed the Manhattan Declaration. Surely he understands the Gospel was compromised and Christian recognition was given to the “enemies of the gospel.”Compromising the Gospel through ecumenism- giving Christian recognition to the “enemies of the cross of Christ,” (Phil. 3:18) is NOT what genuine “defenders of the Gospel” do. This is, however, exactly what Mohler and Duncan did, which was an affront to the Gospel and treason to the Lord Jesus Christ…. The problem for men like Bauder, who crave closer cooperation with conservative evangelicals, is this: If Dr. Bauder recognizes what was done in the Manhattan Declaration and acknowledges it was an act of disobedience, which it is, then he is duty bound to obey the biblical mandates to “withdraw from…admonish, mark and avoid” the disobedient brethren who do these things.
“While on the one hand ‘the Fundamentalist label is no guarantee of doctrinal fidelity,’ neither is the conservative evangelical label a guarantee either. Indeed, this supposed fidelity to the gospel in their various associations is undermined by their lack of separation from that which compromises the gospel. Al Mohler, for example, is considered one of the darlings among conservative evangelicals, yet he has caused great harm to the gospel by his endorsement of men and movements that have confused and corrupted it (e.g., Billy Graham, Duke McCall, and most recently the Manhattan Declaration). Fundamentalists should rightly separate from him as a disobedient brother. And although MacArthur, Sproul, and others have courageously criticized such endorsements, they still invite Mohler to their platform, because, they say, he speaks for the gospel, even after he has endorsed the social gospel. (If the Manhattan Declaration does advocate another gospel is this not a heresy from which we should separate and likewise from those who endorse it?). And I might add that there are plenty of conservative evangelicals that promote some form of the social gospel, which, as we well know, was a major plank in the neo-evangelical agenda.” (Dr. Gerald Priest, June 2009 in reaction to Kevin’s Bauder’s Let’s Get Clear on This.)
II. Together for the “Lordship Salvation” Gospel.
When have Evangelicals ever converged as Lordship Salvation/Calvinists? One pastor shared with me that the old evangelicals were followers of Billy Graham who was certainly no proponent of Calvinism. , Regardless of how revisionist historians wants to redefine the history, today’s evangelicals are by and large the heirs of the old new-evangelical empire. They are converging around a “particular” interpretation of the Gospel that defines well the tenants of Calvinism, while allowing non-cessationists1 and ecumenicals2 to be part of their coalition platform. That interpretation of the Gospel is commonly known as Lordship Salvation.
Following are examples of Lordship Salvation as it is defined by some of its best known advocates.The Lordship Salvation controversy primarily revolves around the requirements for salvation, NOT the results of salvation. A genuine conversion should evidence itself in genuine results. New believers will vary in levels of growth, but growth should be evident to some degree. The primary focal point of controversy, however, is Lordship’s requirements for the reception of eternal life, i.e., how to become a Christian. (IDOTG: [Revised & Expanded Edition], p. xvi.)
Pastor Steven Lawson from the 2007 Resolved Conference,“Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything…. Thus in a sense we pay the ultimate price for salvation when our sinful self is nailed to a cross. . . . It is an exchange of all that we are for all that Christ is. And it denotes implicit obedience, full surrender to the lordship of Christ. Nothing less can qualify as saving faith.” (John MacArthur, TGATJ, p. 78, 140.)
“And he needed to be willing to submit to the Lord Jesus, even if it meant he had to give up all his earthly possessions. He might not ask, but the requirement for eternal life is the willingness to give it all up if he does.” (John MacArthur, Hard to Believe, p. 9.)
“One of the most comprehensive invitations to salvation in all the epistles comes in James 4:7-10 ... The invitation in 4:7-10 is directed at those who are not saved...” (From the 20th Anniversary edition of TGATJ, p. 250).
These and many more statements like them have never been edited, explained or eliminated. In fact, they have been reiterated and reinforced. At the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron site the following thread comment excerpts were posted.“If you want to receive this gift it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many here who think they are saved, but are not; they have never really done business with God…“You need to make terms of peace with this king or you will be subjected in damnation forever…. His terms are this: you must love Him more than anything. If you cannot do this, you will meet Him in the final judgment and glorify God in your destruction.” See- An Example of Lordship’s Man-Centered Message
Examples of a final phase of justification includes,“John Piper advocates both an initial justification and a final phase of justification when the believer stands before Christ as seen at 2 Cor. 5:10. He [Piper] clearly states its purpose is our final examination of works involving our salvation. He states our works will be examined to determine if we were and are truly justified (go to his sermon on that passage on the Desiring God website). He states our salvation is the issue…. He [Piper] endorses Puritan oriented Calvinism that includes a false doctrine of assurance and Justification that must be proven by works before Christ. We are witnessing the silent disintegration of Grace alone, by faith alone, through Christ alone….”
All of these examples above, and there are many more, are irrefutable evidence that the message most conservative evangelicals teach, Lordship Salvation, is antithetical to the Gospel of grace.There is no doubt that Jesus saw a measure of real, lived-out obedience to the will of God as necessary for final salvation.” (John Piper, What Jesus Demands From the World, p. 160).
“Endurance in faith is a condition for future salvation. Only those who endure in faith will be saved for eternity.” (R. C. Sproul, Grace Unknown, p. 198.)
Lordship Salvation changes the terms of the Gospel!A change of life through submission to the lordship of Christ should come as a result of salvation. It is antithetical to the Scriptures to take what should be the RESULT of salvation and make the resolve to perform those things in discipleship the REQUIREMENT for salvation.... Lordship Salvation places demands on the sinner for salvation [justification] that the Bible does not. (In Defense of the Gospel, [Rev. & Exp. Edition] pp. 98, 259).
Lordship Salvation is a man centered, non-saving message that corrupts “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).3“John MacArthur is a sincere servant of the Lord, of that we have no doubt.... We believe in his advocacy of the so-called lordship salvation he is wrong. He desperately desires to see holiness, lasting fruit, and continuing faithfulness in the lives of Christian people. This reviewer and we believe all sincere church leaders desire the same.... But the remedy for this condition is not found in changing the terms of the gospel” (Dr. Ernest Pickering: Lordship Salvation: An Examination of John MacArthur’s Book, The Gospel According to Jesus)
Lordship Salvation is a perversion of the Gospel! Its spread must be resisted. Its advocates must be marked and avoided in defense of the Gospel and to protect the unsuspecting from falling into the trap of Lordship’s man-centered message.“The message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life [LS] cannot both be the gospel; therefore, one of them is a false gospel and comes under the curse of perverting the gospel or preaching another gospel (Gal. 1:6-9), and this is a very serious matter.” (Dr. Charles Ryrie, Balancing the Christian Life, p. 170)
No, They are not! Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, et. al., erred grievously when they signed the Manhattan Declaration. Al Mohler sat as chairman for the 2001 Billy Graham crusade in Louisville, KY. These things are not done by “genuine defenders of the gospel.”
Men like Kevin Bauder, for the sake of fellowship with and promotion of conservative evangelicals, have ignored, tolerated, allowed for and/or excused these acts of disobedience to the biblical mandates. (2 Cor. 6:14-17; Eph. 5:11; 2 John 9-11). Is this not also an act of disobedience?
Dr. Bauder closes Let’s Get Clear on This by stating, “We must do nothing to weaken their hand in the face of the enemies of the gospel.” The Inspired Commentary speaks to us today from the apostle Paul’s first century admonition.
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:28-31)
Does the Bible teach that man must add to faith in whom Christ is and what He did to provide salvation a “commitment of life,” or a promise of submission to the lordship of Christ in order to be saved? Or does the Bible teach that man’s salvation is by grace through faith, apart from any work, promised or performed? Dr. Robert Lightner wrote,
“Salvation is either by God’s grace or by human effort, commitment, or work. It cannot be by both, anymore than law and grace were both means of salvation in Paul’s day.” (Sin, the Savior and Salvation, p. 203)
When Together for the Gospel (T4G) and The Gospel Coalition events converge in alternating years they converge around Lordship Salvation. For the sake of clarity these conferences should come to be better known as:
Those are terms that accurately define the message that conservative evangelicals and a segment of IFB men are converging around in those fellowships. The egregious errors of Lordship Salvation’s works-based salvation (justification) trump all of the other aberrant theology (Charismatic teaching), ecumenical compromises and worldliness in conservative evangelicalism combined.
Kevin Bauder insists, “We must do nothing to weaken their hand.” There is little more we can do to weaken the hand of the conservative evangelicals beyond what they have done by their own hand already. Their hands and their voices are severely weakened in defense of the Gospel for reasons, which we have given evidence of today. Yet, Kevin Bauder encourages and calls upon Fundamentalists to sit at their feet and learn from them.
At the pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron site Dr. Gerald Priest posted a comment that included the following,
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…. 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.
Among men in Fundamentalism who are encouraging increased acceptance of conservative evangelicals, we are seeing any number of patterns develop, which include:
Tolerate, allow for and excuse the aberrant theology, ecumenical compromise and worldly methods of ministry in conservative evangelicalism for the sake of fellowship with them around Calvinism and Lordship Salvation.
Endorse and attend events such as T4[the LS]G where these men are in leadership and/or are its keynote speakers apart from any genuine “ministry of warning.”
Welcoming conservative and new evangelicals to the lecterns of our **Bible colleges and seminaries putting our next generation in harm’s way by exposing impressionable students to compromised Christian leaders and scholars, which is not only dangerous, but is an act of disobedience.
Refrain from teaching or obeying the biblical mandates to admonish, withdraw from, mark and avoid in regard to their aberrant theology, ecumenism and worldliness in ministry. (Rom. 16:17)
Articulate, but highly reluctant to make a personal application of the “biblical obligations” for Gospel-Driven separation.
1) John Piper and C. J. Mahaney believe and teach that the Charismatic sign gifts (tongues, the gift of prophecy) are active and should be sought after today.
2) The message of ecumenism is that doctrinal differences are not so great that they can’t be set aside to work together for some common cause. Similarly, ecumenism can be defined as the setting aside of theological differences to work in cooperation towards mutually shared goals.
3) Examples of Lordship Salvation’s works based message can be read at:
Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page
Lordship Salvation: Charles Spurgeon's Personal Testimony Speaks Against It
Lordship’s Man-Centered Message
John MacArthur’s Mandatory Performance Guidelines for “Lordship” Salvation With excerpt from Dr. J. B. Hixson’s Getting the Gospel Wrong.
*Incredibly Kevin Bauder links Charles Ryrie and John MacArthur as co-defenders of the Gospel. Is Bauder unaware of the sharp divide between MacArthur and Ryrie on the nature of saving faith?
**The irony following Dr. Priest’s caution about the Trojan horse is Pastor Dave Doran announcing in Separation in Academic Contexts he will be and has in fact begun hosting evangelicals (Michael Vlach, Conrad Mbewe, Dr. Bryan Ferrell) for “academic lectures and presentations” at DBTS and in his church pulpit. Matt Olson has opened NIU classrooms and chapel pulpit to a variety of LS advocates, evangelical, compromised speakers. Tim Jordan, at Calvary Baptist Seminary (Lansdale), has hosted Dr. Mark Dever and will host (Spring 2012) new evangelical Haddon Robinson. Central Baptist Theological Seminary (MN) has invited Dr. Larry Pettigrew.
First published 3/24/2010