On Tuesday, February 8 the Sharper Iron1 (SI) site posted an excerpt from Dr. Ernest Pickering’s Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church. The excerpt was submitted by Brother Kevin Mungons of Baptist Bulletin and Regular Baptist Press. In his introductory remarks Mungons wrote,
“Several bloggers have recently addressed the subject of separation, suggesting that current leaders such as Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, and Tim Jordan are moving to a position that contradicts the teaching of an earlier generation of fundamentalists…. Disappointed with the rough-and-tumble disagreements of his era, Pickering concluded his seminal Biblical Separation with a critique of fundamentalism’s well-documented foibles—advice that would have saved us a lot of grief, had we listened. A portion of the book’s conclusion follows.” (bold added)We can all appreciate the outstanding teaching within the pages of Dr. Pickering’s Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church. Sharper Iron did not include any portion from Dr. Pickering’s classic that speaks plainly to the efforts of Drs. Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Tim Jordan and Matt Olson to embrace, feature and cooperate with non-separatist evangelicals. Dr. Pickering’s advice to them would have saved us a lot of grief, had they listened.
“Some leaders operate on the principle that they will use speakers who are well-known even though they may be shaky in their convictions in some areas-because they have special abilities that are helpful and thus can be a blessing to their congregations. The wisdom, however, of following this course of action is very doubtful. For instance, the president of a separatist school may be asked to consider using some outstanding Bible preacher in his chapel or Bible conference. The man may have expertise in the Scriptures, be fundamental in doctrine and possess a tremendous gift of communication. He may also be one who goes everywhere, evidencing little discernment in the choice of places he ministers, speaking one week at the separatist college and perhaps the next at a Bible conference controlled by new evangelicals or their sympathizers. Some see no harm in using such a man. They look only at the messages he delivers from the platform which, in themselves, may be without fault.This week Dave Doran and Kevin Bauder have joined non-separatist SBC pastor Dr. Mark Dever on the platform with Tim Jordan at the Calvary Baptist Seminary, Lansdale (CBS) Leadership Conference. They are sharing the platform with Dr. Dever and working in a cooperative ministry effort with him. Mark Dever is an SBC pastor, teaches at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which is a leading institution for New-Evangelical compromise and the home of the Ockenga Institute2 and he sits on the board of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (home of the Billy Graham School of Evangelism & World Missions).
Mark Dever brings to the platform with him, amillenialism. Additionally, he brings all of the baggage of the Southern Baptist Convention with him to the platform. Knowing all of this CBS invited Dever to their platform. This week, without reservation or seeing any need to justify speaking there, Dave Doran and Kevin Bauder happily share the platform with the man who brings that baggage with him to it. Is this the manner of biblical separation that Dr. Pickering taught or practiced?
In 2010 Dave Doran and Matt Olson featured non-separatist evangelicals in their church, seminary and college pulpits.3 From 1979 Dr. Pickering warned against compromise and fellowship with non-separatists.
Words fitly spoken to men and SI, who are reaching out to and advancing the cause of non-separatist so-called “conservative” evangelicals. Convicting words from a Fundamentalist on the principles and application of authentic biblical separation. We see men who would be accommodating rather than militant, appeasers rather than separatists, unifiers at the expense of fidelity to the doctrine. Dr. Pickering’s commentary clearly reveal Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Tim Jordan and Matt Olson practice that which is antithetical to his teaching on a specific application of separation- platform fellowship. They have moved to a position that contradicts the teaching of an earlier generation of Fundamentalists, Dr. Ernest Pickering in particular.“The separatist cause is not advanced by featuring non-separatists.”
In recent days Dave Doran wrote very clear, unambiguous statements indicating what would constitute for him grounds to withhold fellowship from brethren. These are documented in The RAP on Mark Dever series.4 However, when faced with Dever’s obvious crossing the boundary that Doran set for himself, it is as if he (Doran) suddenly developed amnesia. He refuses to apply his own principles for separation. This begins to make one wonder why believe what Dave Doran writes or says about separatism, when his being at Lansdale with Mark Dever this week confirms that he personally ignores what he writes/says about separation. I see Dave Doran (as well as Bauder, Olson, Jordan) moving his fellowship increasingly toward non-separatists. I see a pattern of selective application of the timeless principles.
Alleged separatists in IFB circles will keep walking the pathway of compromise. They are on this winding road to have their fellowship with non-separatist evangelicals. They are on the same slippery slope that men like Jerry Falwell chose years ago. They must believe they can succeed where Falwell, and many other lesser known who took the same steps, failed. They are headed, by choice, in that direction. Just like Falwell, van Impe, et.al., they are going to wind up in some kind of tragic “theological wasteland.”There is a disconnect between what Dave Doran writes on separation and what he does in practice.
What does Dr. Ernest Pickering say to men who claim to be separatists and unchanged in separatist convictions, who are increasingly featuring and cooperating in ministry with non-separatist evangelicals?
Dr. Pickering’s message from Biblical Separation is clear. The actions of Bauder, Doran, Olson and Jordan to embrace, feature and converge with non-separatist evangelicals demonstrates movement away from and what is contradictory to the teaching of earlier fundamentalists, in particular Dr. Ernest Pickering.“The separatist cause is not advanced by featuring non separatists.”
There is still time for the evangelicals’ apologists, who still circulate in Fundamental circles, to listen to Dr. Pickering’s advice and to heed his admonitions for biblical separation for the sake of a pure church. Lord willing these self-described biblical separatists, some who claim to be unchanged militant separatists, will rethink the direction they are headed toward and cease from influencing impressionable young people to follow them into compromise with so-called “conservative” evangelicals.
With the prayers and admonition of God’s people those men might be recovered and reverse course before much longer. I am hopeful they will one day repent and invest the balance of their lives undoing the damage they are presently doing to authentic biblical separatism. The kind of militant, consistent, balanced separatism that Dr. Ernest Pickering defined in Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church.
Site Publisher Addendum:
In the next we will excerpt portions from another of Dr. Ernest Pickering’s works. In that article we will once again recognize certain men in IFB circles are acting in ways that undeniably “contradicts the teaching of an earlier generation of fundamentalists.”
1) For various discussions in regard to SI please visit, Sharper Iron: In the Iron Skillet
2) The Ockenga Institute in honor of early new evangelical leader Dr. Harold J. Ockenga (1905-1985) a founder and the first president of Gordon-Conwell, member of the board of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. This new evangelical inspired Gordon-Conwell is where Mark Dever chooses to teach and cooperate.
3) In 2010 Dave Doran hosted in his seminary or church pulpit Michael Vlach, Conrad Mbewe and Bryan Ferrell. Matt Olson at NIU hosted non-separatists Rick Holland, Wayne Simien and will feature another non-separatist SBC theologian, Bruce Ware, in a summer module.
4) The RAP on Mark Dever, Part 1
Dead Man's Curve
Dr. Rick Arrowood: Answering Questions About the Changes We Are Seeing in Fundamentalism
1994 & 1995 FBFI Resolutions: Southern Baptist Convention
“Those who call for cooperation in pulpit ministries between Fundamentalists and Southern Baptists either misread the nature of the conservative movement in the Convention, or themselves have compromised the cause of Biblical separation.” (Dave Doran, 1994).Is NIU “Unchanged?” NBBC Position Statement on Issues in Contemporary Christianity
“…we [Doran, Olson, Jordan] do not see how independent fundamental Baptists can make common cause with Southern Baptists.” (Dave Doran, Tim Jordan, Matt Olson, 1995).
Kevin Bauder: It Won’t Fly With Those of Us Who Know
NIU’s Convergence With Evangelicalism: What Does it Mean for Impressionable Students?
Kevin Bauder & Dave Doran to Join Mark Dever at Lansdale: Is This a Fundamentalism Worth Saving?