My copy of Dr. Ernest Pickering’s pamphlet, Should Fundamentalists and Evangelicals Seek Closer Ties has been a helpful resource for many years. It was first published by Baptist Bulletin in 1986. At the conclusion there is a personal word from Dr. Pickering originally meant for Dr. Ed Dobson who was then the associate pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA. Dobson had just written In Search of Unity. The pamphlet, including Dr. Pickering’s personal word, has bearing today on the movement by certain men in fundamental Baptist circles who desire, seek and are engineering closer ties with evangelicals.
A Personal WordThere is a “mood” today among certain men in fundamental Baptist circles. The mood of “toleration, broad mindedness” toward the aberrant doctrines, ecumenical compromises and worldliness in ministry of the so-called “conservative” evangelicals.
Permit me a personal word in conclusion. I have been involved in places of leadership in the separatist movement for over thirty years. I have been editor of a leading separatist magazine, dean of a separatist seminary, president of two separatist schools, pastor of some great separatist churches, and presently am serving as chairman of the executive body of a separatist association of churches. I have enjoyed fellowship with hundreds of separatists belonging to various bodies (and some to none). Their lives and ministry have touched my own and I have benefited thereby. While not pretending to speak officially for them, I believe I know many of them well enough to be their spokesman on this occasion.
Dr. Dobson, we want to say that we love you and those who espouse your position as brothers in Christ. We are not “hatemongers.” We do not view ourselves as “extremists.” Our hearts ache as does yours for the fractured state of the visible Body of Christ We desire growing and vital churches. We are concerned for the lost souls of men. We are not sour, dour, pugnacious persons who always are looking for someone to attack.
Many of our friends probably would number themselves among those “new image fundamentalists.” While not agreeing with their position, we nevertheless seek to maintain our friendship and respect them as Christian brothers. Many of them pastor sizable churches, head Christian schools or organizations, and are articulate, winsome and influential. We thank God for all the good things about them. It is hard for us to disagree with them, to take an opposite position, and to risk lifelong friendships and much misunderstanding by doing so. We do not enjoy it. We shrink from it. But we must be true to the Word of God and to our own consciences. We do not take our stand against our Christian brethren carelessly or with a frivolous spirit. We do it with grief and struggle and, yes, even tears.
What we say, Brother Dobson, to you and others of your viewpoint is this: We cannot walk the “road back” with you. Our refusal arises out of no personal animosity or out of a desire to have a “good fight.” Many of us fervently wish we could quit the battle but we dare not. We want to be loyal to God, to His Word and to His standard of holiness. Painfully conscious of our many shortcomings, nevertheless it is our aim to imitate the balanced life of our Lord Who was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). We want to be “speaking the truth in Love” (Ephesians 4:15). We have tried to do it here. Pray God we have succeeded. (Excerpt from Should Fundamentalists and Evangelicals Seek Closer Ties? by Dr. Ernest Pickering, first published in the Baptist Bulletin, March 1986.)
It has become increasingly clear that Dave Doran, Kevin Bauder, Tim Jordan and Matt Olson have made up their minds to tolerate, allow for, ignore or excuse the troubling inconsistencies of the Evangelicals. After all, Kevin Bauder has eloquently explained that all of us are inconsistent sinners, fundamentalists and evangelicals. The obvious problem is this- while all are inconsistent sinners (at best) some are advocating for the right biblical position and some are not. In this case, the inconsistent fundamentalists are fighting for the right cause, authentic biblical separation.
The “final outcome” of the new mood has at its end “full-blown” compromise. And to Brothers Doran, Bauder, Jordan, Olson: We cannot, we will not walk that road with you.The new “mood” is the old mood just with new names in the mood for “tolerance” and “broadmindedness” where there should be none.
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