August 12, 2011

Is That The Voice of a “Proud [SI] Fundamentalist?”

Today, at Sharper Iron (SI) site publisher Aaron Blumer has posted a new article in which he attempts to portray himself and SI as if he and the site are loyal and long time friends of historic, balanced Fundamentalism. It is beyond question that from its inception SI has been at best lukewarm toward Fundamentalism and most often hostile toward it and those who post there that have identified with Fundamentalism.

In recent history SI moderators and some of the more aggressive angry former YFs have been especially hostile toward members many of whom finally quit SI such as: Ps. Marc Monte, Brain Ernsberger, Evangelist Dwight Smith, Lance Ketchum, et. al. When these men sought to defend some principle of or assault against their Fundamentalism conviction(s) they were each set upon by what might be best described as mob action with SI moderators in the lead.

This irrefutable pattern at SI, the greatest source of frustration and members quitting the site has been over the bent and bias of SI and especially its moderators actions toward self-identified Fundamentalists (who also reject the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism) who take opposing views to certain favored persons and positions at SI.

IMO, Aaron’s article is reactionary and political in nature. Reactionary because of a growing awareness that SI is biased and plays favorites with personalities, doctrinal positions and fellowships. Political because SI attempts to persuade readers that SI is and always has been for and on behalf of historic, balanced Fundamentalism.

On Friday, August 5 an article was posted at SI that has stirred yet another contentious debate. That debate disintegrated into another example of SI moderators (Jim Peet, SusanR) and Aaron Blumer gang-tackling certain men posting in the thread that were taking legitimate exception to elements of the article. The author Steve Davis was also quite hostile toward several who posted, but he was not approached by moderators for his harshness.

On Aug. 5 Aaron posted a comment (#6) in the article by Steve Davis

Then you have guys like me who would never have considered naming a church ‘independent fundamental...’ in the first place. And a couple decades later, I'm not far from the same place I started.1
Is That the Voice of a “Proud [SI] Fundamentalist?”

 A man, “who would never have considered naming a church ‘independent fundamental’.”

I am not sure what more anyone needs to know to be convinced that the SI site publisher/owner cannot be considered a friend of historic Fundamentalism. He has stated that he would never include “fundamental” as part of the name for a church he would pastor? IMO, it is impossible to be honest on SI’s About SI page claiming that SI is friendly and/or positive toward Fundamentalism with the leadership openly reluctant to even be identified with the term, “fundamental.”

SI is NOT a fundamentalist place, nor a place for fair and open discussions of how the fundamentalist sees the world. SI is in fact a place where fundamentalism is ignored by the leadership and/or routinely vilified, redefined and skewered by the SI moderators when someone attempts to post on behalf or in defense of Fundamentalism. The Steve Davis discussion thread under his article Church Planting Thirty Years Later  is the latest and one of the starkest examples of SI moderator aggression toward those who took an opposing view to Pastor Davis’s legitimizing theories of creation, other than a literal 6 day creation, and non-cessation of the Charismatic sign gifts.

The actions of SI moderators and the numerous articles at SI’s front page, its Forums and Blogroll evidence the truth that SI is primarily hostile toward Fundamentalism. The actions of SI’s moderates have historically been biased and hostile toward participants that attempt to define and defend Fundamentalist principles. SI moderators, including Aaron Blumer have gang-tackled Fundamentalists at SI who have attempted to address and/or criticize articles or personalities that attempt to redefine, besmirch, demonize chip away at Fundamentalism's high-water mark: biblical separation, ecclesiastical and personal.

For two years I have been challenging Aaron Blumer to produce even one article from the many hundreds of front page articles at SI that is thoroughly positive toward Fundamentalism and edifying to Fundamentalists. To reiterate, the qualifier has always been to produce an article from the SI front page that is “thoroughly positive.”

Today, Aaron has offered two articles that he must believe meets the test to produce a SI front page article that is thoroughly positive toward Fundamentalism and edifying for Fundamentalists. The first he offers is his own article, I Learned it From Fundamentalists. I answered that article at length the day Aaron published it, which was in March 2010. The article appears at the SI: In the Iron Skillet blog and I encourage you to read it there. Please see, Aaron Blumer: “I Learned it From Fundamentalists”

Aaron negates the value of his Learned It... article by equating what he learned of Fundamentalism by saying he could have learned the same things in the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism. No objective individual who knows the primary differences between Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism would suggest he could have learned the principles and application of authentic biblical separation from the evangelicals.

In 2010 Aaron Blumer at the site defined SI this way,
“The site has four thousand members (several hundred active) who identify with conservative evangelicalism of the fundamentalist variety.”
Acknowledging SI as a site for those who identify with conservative evangelicalism was most truthful description of SI to date. Aaron, however, pulled that statement when I: 1) Challenged his cooking the membership count books to reflect 4,000 members SI 3.0 did not have, and 2) Brought to his attention that he had affirmed that SI is for and about the advancement of the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism.

Aaron’s second offering is, Why Stay in Fundamentalism?
My heart goes out to Joe and to his family because it’s evident to me that he or someone in his family (or both) has suffered something very painful at the hands of fundamentalists. (In the talk, Joe doesn’t target Fundamentalism by name but clearly includes it under the “high-control groups” label.) Whether what was painful was also wrong I’m not in a position to know, but it’s certainly possible.
Suffered…at the hands of fundamentalists?” And we are to take this as a thoroughly positive article on behalf Fundamentalism and edifying for Fundamentalists? Hardly!

Furthermore, in 2007, under pressure from Joe Zichterman, SI took down all articles that it had posted on Zichterman’s departure from Fundamentalism for the Willow Creek church. I was also contacted by Joe and asked to remove my article on his departure, I refused. You can read that article today at this blog with an added section in the thread about his contacting me to remove the article. Please refer to, The Joe Zichterman Issue

I would, furthermore, like for Aaron to produce that article from the SI site or the SI 2.0 archive. Is it still open, and accessible or was it taken down as the others on Joe Zichterman were at SI in 2007?

The history of SI is one of open hostility toward Fundamentalism and certain persons from the history of Fundamentalism. One of the most stark examples was the 2009 three part series by Dr. Kevin Bauder in which he besmirched and demonized the legacy of both Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. and Dr. John R. Rice. SI moderators and Aaron Blumer happily published those articles and joined Bauder in the free-for-all at SI to lambaste those men and any in the threads who attempted to speak for or on behalf of them. Especially memorable is the way in which SI moderators and Aaron gang-tackled and their manhandling of Missionary John Himes, grandson of John R. Rice. See- Kevin Bauder: A Call for His Removal From the Platform of the 2009 FBFI Annual Fellowship. There was also SI’s publishing Kevin Bauder’s inflammatory, Let's Get Clear on This. Please see, Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: A Response to Kevin Bauder’s “Cannonball” Cogitations

For what must be the few left participating at SI who are Fundamentalists by conviction, with Bible reasons for identifying oneself as a Fundamentalist, should seriously consider departing SI entirely. For three years I tried to present a voice of reason and conviction for the best of what Fundamentalism can be for the lurkers. Maybe you are there for the same reason. After three years of being ridiculed, vilified and gang-tackled by SI moderators and the angry former yf’s that dominate the threads I had had enough and quit SI on my own terms in June 2009.

Since its inception SI has (its moderators in particular) intimidated, gang-tackled, run off and/or demeaned… virtually every caring Fundamentalist that once did or might have participated in discussions there. That pattern continues today. Then, of course, SI has been allowing for the propagation of aberrant theology. Case in point Steve Davis postulating teachings such as: that beyond a literal six day creation there are valid theories, and that the signs and wonders movement is valid today.

Any church or college that identifies with Fundamentalism that is considering or presently financially supporting SI through advertising might seriously reconsider supporting a site that is hostile toward Fundamentalism from its front page, Forums, Filings and Blogroll. Is it a sound investment of the Lord’s resources to direct funds into a sight that, among other disconcerting issues, has been one of the most aggressive conduits for the tearing down of Fundamentalism’s high-water mark, which is: fidelity to authentic biblical separatism?


1) Aaron Blumer Friday, August 5, Comment 6, Church Planting Thirty Years Later

For more on the “pseudo- fundamentalism” of SI please see my secondary blog, Shaper Iron: In the Iron Skillet:
“SI is a Fundamentalist Place?” The Facade & Veneer Is Stripped Away
The facade that SI exists for and on behalf of Fundamentalism has never been a credible claim. With the latest article at SI [Aug. 5], an open attack on Fundamentalism written by a self-described former Fundamentalist, any legitimacy of the SI statement has been stripped away.”
New Article Today:
“SI May Fit the Description of Being ‘PSUEDO- FUNDAMENTALIST’”

SI’s Deplorable Moderator Actions Run Off Another


  1. Lou,

    As you know I do not identify myself as a Fundamentalist but I do hold to many views of fundamentalists. So I speak outside of those who are fundamentalists and believe that your observations are very accurate.

    Cessationism is a fundamentalist standard (frankly an orthodox Protestant standard for centuries and one of the body of Christ as a whole for two millennia). Articles that are sympathetic to any form of non-cessationism depart fundamentalism and the failure to scrutinize its errors by those publishing such articles at their own blog is at the least, tacit approval and at best, disingenuous to the claims of their own fundamentalism.

    And I am quite familiar with the double standard at SI. I have been gang tackled often and threatened with expulsion but usually because I point out someone's hypocrisy or dare use a polemic style in disagreeing. But I have also found one or two more objective moderators, however they do seem out numbered by the rest.

    SI could be much more. My purpose of posting there, however long that is permitted, is with the hope of bringing what enlightenment by God's grace I may offer in challenge to many of the poor ideas circulated as valid, orthodox and so on.

    I, too, have and no doubt will endure some form of abuse from some Administrators/Moderators at SI. Fortunately I cannot say all of them are guilty, but I will say that ultimately such poor moderation reflects its controlling agent.

    But as to fundamentalism, I do believe, often, it gets blamed for many things that simply are not hallmarks of its current form. I believe for many it is an easy scapegoat instead of dealing with the particulars of an issue.

    It is funny, though, to watch a group of people who complain about personality worship (which did at some points enter into many circles of fundamentalism)spend much of their time as sycophants to their new Gurus. They haven't changed anything other than Gurus while those at many fundamentalists churches, I suspect, have taken inventory and made what appropriate changes were needed.

  2. Alex:

    So very well said on all counts? A few weeks ago I read your participation in a thread and saw how certain mods went after you.

    There is much I want to react to in your comment above and will later. For now I can mention that like you now I endured three years of the same kind of gang-tackling, threatened in threads and in PM's. I violated no rules. The mods simply would not tolerate or stand for dissenting voices on the favorite personalities and positions of SI. After three years I publicly and privately informed SI leaders I quit with immediate effect. That was not good enough for Aaron and Jim Peet. Instead of posting "former member" by my name they posted "banned," which is a serious misrepresentation of my departure and they've ignored my appeals for honesty. Aaron went so far as to change SI policies to cover up their misrepresentation.

    That is just one of many experiences men like you and I and others have had with the SI leadership's.

    Like you I stayed as long as I could to be a voice for the best of Fundamentalism, to challenge men on the departure from authentic biblical separation and embrace/promotion of non-separatist evangelicals. Finally, I felt as though to continue at SI was a second cousin to pearls before swine and quit them.

    More later...

    Thanks again for sharing your experience with SI you aren't alone.


  3. Alex/All:

    I also would like to note that before I quit at SI I communicated with several in leadership, including Aaron, sharing my concerns with SI and suggesting ways to bring SI into balance for the entire readership, especially the FB they had been alienating. These were extended recommendations that if even a few were put in place they would have been very helpful.

    That said, I knew and even told Aaron that I didn't think his moderators, because of their bias and on-going harshness in the threads, would stand for any changes.

    In any event, all of my suggestions were either ignored or rejected by Aaron.

    Even after I quit SI I still sent emails with suggestions. I encouraged and even admonished Aaron to get the mods under control. That sadly never happened.

    Once I was convinced SI was hopelessly unrecoverable, not interested in becoming fair and balanced toward Fundamentalism I began my second blog, Sharper Iron: In the Iron Skillet.


  4. To All:

    The next article in this series will post on or about Tuesday morning. The full length article will appear at the SI: In the Iron Skillet blog.