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