January 6, 2011

The Leapfrog Directly to non-Fundamentalist Evangelicalism

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

In the current (12/31/10) discussion thread at the paleoevangelical blog, Dr. Kevin Bauder posted a comment that included the following statement:

Perhaps I am mistaken, but I believe that I have seen a tendency to reject Fundamentalism in all its versions tout court, and to leapfrog directly to some version of non-Fundamentalist evangelicalism. To me, this is a disappointing trend.”
In part I replied to those remarks as follows:
In my opinion, you are not mistaken. Brother Kevin isn’t it possible that, from within IFB circles, you are a significant contributor to the ‘disappointing trend’, the ‘leapfrog’ that is happening as you describe it?”
I believe Dr. Gerald Priest’s remarks help us evaluate the legitimate concern Kevin Bauder raises. Following is an excerpt from Dr. Priest who was reacting to Bauder’s (3/10) article Let’s Get Clear on This.
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…. Like Kevin, I would give credit to the conservative evangelicals where credit is due. I say ‘Amen’ to everything they have done well in defense of the gospel of Christ. But not at the expense of discrediting fundamentalism for the valiant battles it has fought against some of the very things many conservative evangelicals are espousing which compromise the gospel, yet which many of the current generation do not seem to take very seriously.”
The following review by Dr. Rolland McCune would IMO be another very helpful consideration to Kevin Bauder’s wondering why there is a “disappointing trend…to reject Fundamentalism in all its versions” what he called a “leapfrog” effect.
Dr. Rolland McCune, in the Spring '95 Sentinel, reviewed Dr. Douglas McLachlan’s Reclaiming Authentic Fundamentalism. After crediting McLachlan with offering many good insights and saying some needed things about the shortcomings of Fundamentalism, McCune says: “There are some concerns, questions, and suggestions that should be raised. The tone of the book comes across as decidedly negative for the most part, almost anti-Fundamentalist at times. It bears the marks of frustration and reaction. One would think that Fundamentalism today has been led into a wasteland of spiritual declension and practical ineffectiveness. It would have been better to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of past leaders than to imply they were a cadre of name-seeking ladder-climbers. It would also seem to be more appropriate to call for some in-house self-corrective measures than to cast Fundamentalism into an ‘us-them’ configuration that could easily facilitate a breakaway mentality....” (Source, Calvary Contender, July 1995.)
Please take a moment to carefully, objectively consider the review excerpt above by Dr. McCune. Does it have relevance, merit and application in the current day Fundamentalist community? I have great personal regard for both Drs. McCune and Priest and have benefited greatly from their commentary above as applied to the dialogue, new direction and influences being offered by Drs. Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran.