November 1, 2011

Kevin Bauder’s “Kinder-Gentler Motif...Will Not Carry the Day.”

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 Ago
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
To one SI member’s complaint Dr. McCune replied as follows.
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.”

Kinder/Gentler “Milquetoastees”
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!

Related Reading:
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


  1. Yes! Dr. McCune told the whining side of IFB to get over it years ago, and they still haven't. Thank God for solid men who still make a distinct sound.

  2. NOt much to say except, AMEN!

  3. What should McCune's actions be then? He is teaching at a seminary with Doran that is favorable to Bauder. Most true fundamentalists don't really read SI anyway.

    Joe King

  4. I just had a pastor write to me, For McCune – this is ‘out of the box!’”

    Dr. McCune’s academic pedigree alongside his published works on New Evangelicalism makes him the best choice to say something.

    Only my guess, but maybe with Dr. McCunes 14+/- years at Central Seminary and relationship with Doc Clearwaters he finally had enough of Kevin Bauder trying to appropriate and/or demonize the names of Central predecessors and/or Fundamentalists from previous generations to accomplish his attempt at a paradigm shift away from what they believed and practiced in separation for the sake of a pure church. Seems to me like Dr. McCune may have had a Popeye moment, “Its all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more.”


  5. Joe:

Good question. Dr. McCune just did plenty by posting on the issue in a public forum.

My understanding is that Dave Doran considers Dr. McCune his mentor. Dr. McCune considers Dr. Clearwaters and Alva J. McClain to be his mentors.

    And you’re right in that most fundamentalists don’t read SI. We don’t need the message that Dr. McCune just sent loud and clear at SI to the let's all get along evangelical wannabe’s. Those under the influence of Bauder there do need that message and it was delivered to them. Furthermore, the SI team will be very hesitant to go after McCune they way they do any of the lesser knows who have been saying much the same thing.


  6. I am disappointed that you failed to quote Dr. McCune accurately in your title.

  7. Careless of me, Christian. Two spelling errors and no ellipses. All corrected now. Hurriedly put together late last night. Literally fell asleep at the keyboard a couple times.



  8. Thanks Lou. I guess what I am driving at though is that shouldn't McCune do something in relation to Bauder and Doran? I just read through all the comments and they both kinda make it seem like they are on the same page as McCune. I don't know if we misread his posts or if he isn't taking his call to separation seriously. Personally I think he should leave DBTS and publicly reject the invasion of evangelicals both Central and Detroit are caving to.


  9. It is continually interesting that we separate, build up institutions and associations and then liberalism takes over. In reality the liberals, who do not agree with the doctrinal standards are the ones who should leave.

    Like most things though, those who do not agree will not be honest that it is they who have moved. The continual cry is that men or women who are separatists are 'outdated' or obsolete in some way. Things must need change, to which I reply, "Thank God he doesn't change." Change in some things can be good, but change in doctrine is never good.

    Simple minded that I am, I wish McCune would be able to stand and fight and purge that which is invaded, but history is against him. Separation will come, but when is my current cry. I see it looming on the horizon for many churches and institutions and of course individuals.

  10. Thank you for the post, Lou. I do not think that Bauder, Olson, McLachlan, and Jordan have an appreciation for early battles faced by Fundamentalists against modernism and New-Evangelicalism. Somehow they think that "nice" wins battles for truth. The 2nd & 3rd generations need to go back and study the issues and the conflict before they write off the first generation as "unloving."
    Tod Brainard

  11. LG:

    A great many share your frustration.

    You might be surprised at how many men will sign agreement with position statements at various schools and ministries that by their own words they obviously do not fully agree with. This is true at Dallas, the IFCA and other organizations.

    I can't speak for Dr. McCune or what efforts he should or might even have undertaken to address issues before us. I will remind you, however, that for him to post what he did publicly was no small matter.

    I would encourage you to do what you can to alert folks in your sphere of influence.

    Finally , I like to remind myself that throughout the Bible we find that God has always been in the remnant business.


  12. Lou, thanks for bringing this out for others to see. Your last statement, "Finally , I like to remind myself that throughout the Bible we find that God has always been in the remnant business." Reminded me of a message Dr. Nelson gave at this year's national FBFI conference. He spoke on the remnant, that fundamentalism is a remnant movement.
    Though I would disagree with Bauder's list of "bellicose, alpha males" of a previous generation to which he positions these "kinder, gentler" men; I would acknowledge that there were a few (and I mean a few) men who were of this stripe and which caused problems. But with that said, as in most things, there is to be balance and McCune brings this out in his postings while Bauder tends to put down strong leadership, period. This is telling in his closing comment where he paraphrases a teacher of his; "Some men have such power of character, such clarity of vision, such strength of will, such personality and presence, that they speak and people obey. They assert and people agree. They denounce and people recoil. They confront and people quaver. Gentlemen, some of you in this room may very well have that gift. If ever you discover that you are one of those few, then I entreat you, fall on your face before God and ask Him for grace never to use it."(emphasis mine) Never to use? Really, NEVER?
    Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore..."(emphasis mine)We are to stand, which means there will be many times we are targets and will be misunderstand, maligned, attacked wrongfully, but we are to stand. Leaders can't lead if they are sitting down.

  13. Pastor Brainard:

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

    I think there is a need for finding a balance between "nice" and lock and load for battle. We want to be Christian gentlemen, but zealous in our propagation and defense of doctrine.

    Dr. McCune spoke of the time when we need to "bare our teeth and draw our swords," which is the right biblical response at times. The only time I see something akin to teeth and weapons from Bauder and Doran is when their paradigm shift away from biblical separation for the sake of a pure church and/or increasingly questionable ministry partners come under legitimate scrutiny.

    With Bauder, Doran, Olson, Jordan it is irrefutable that these men are in the mood of tolerating the aberrant theology, worldliness and ecumenical compromises of their new friends in "conservative" evangelicalism.

    Btw, I am not going to accept or use the new term "confessional" for these evangelicals like Al Mohler. More on that another time.

    Thanks again


  14. Lou,

    Perhaps McCune isnt' the champion you think him to be.

    If I recall correctly, he is perfectly content to have M-Div grads study at Master's or any other conservative evangelical seminary. His only concern is that one's M-Div work be done at a recognized fundamentalist school.

    T. Pennock

  15. TP:

    What I appreciate is his current participation at SI. It is most welcome and his message there sorely needed.

    The rest I have no personal knowledge of and therefore no comment on it?


  16. Lou, your mentioning of "confessional" brought a thought to mind. "Confessional"? I'm thinking it comes from the refomed emphasis which has premeated conservative evangelicals. Those of reformed persuasion always harp back to the "confessional" statements/creeds of bygone years, again, the emphasis seems to be on what man has said in regards to Scriptural truth rather than an explicit acceptance of the Scriptural truth itself regardless of what man accepts it.
    Just some thoughts.

  17. Pastor E,

    Baptists, particular and freewill alike, have traditionally been confessional. Most Baptist churches, perhaps even yours, have a confession, often embedded in their constitution.

    Confessions, like systematic theologies, attempt to organize essential truths in succinct statements. To be confessional is not (necessarily) equivalent to emphasizing or unduly elevating the words of man. Although surely some/many confessions have unscriptural elements.

    To illustrate, I'm certain that when you preach you do more than merely read scripture after scripture, pray, and give an invitation. The words you add to make up your sermon, insofar as they accurately explain the text, are not adding (or elevating)the thoughts of man to (the level of) God's thoughts, are they?

  18. Lou,

    Thank you for the correction. Agendas often move us to slide the evidence (quotes) in the favor of such agenda. Those assuming we have nefarious agendas will tend to fixate and discredit any worthy cause with public or personal accusation when we even mistakenly slip up in our quoting (Titus 2:8). We should always check our heart first for such nefarious agendas and then be certain our communication matches a gracious (Col 4:6) edifying (Eph 4:29), love for truth (1 Corinthians 13:6) kind of speech that speaks truth lovingingly and accurately even when we must correct our failures or identify the failures of those we understand as worthy examples (which Philippians 3:17-18).

    For the glory of God and exaltation of His Truth,
    Christian Markle

  19. Dear Christian:

    I sincerely appreciate your genuine care and concern for honoring the Lord and His Word.


  20. Dave, please read my statement again. I am not saying that "confessions" (statements of faith/creeds) are wrong. My previous comment is a “thinking out loud,” pondering what I see and trying to come to a conclusion; it is not a definitive statement. Even your opening statement alludes to what I am referring to. You state, “Baptists, particular and freewill alike.” What makes these two segments? Man’s “confessions” make one a “particular Baptist” or “freewill Baptist.”
    Yes, the church I pastor has Articles of Faith which articulate certain truths which we believe. When the need arises to proclaim a truth, let's say Justification, I don't haul out our statement of faith and read what we have; I go to the Bible. My lament in the previous comment is that I see too many running to man's words about the truth (the Bible) instead of running to the Truth Itself.
    You mention my preaching, yes, I do say words beyond the reading of Scriptures, prayer, invitation. Yet, as I have often said from my pulpit, it’s not my words or powers of persuasion that change lives, it is the Word of God used by the Spirit of God in the hearts of men that change takes place. As such, I typically have sermons that are saturated with Scriptures. I have a couple in our church who came from an evangelical church here in our town, they have on a couple of occasions given testimony to the fact that the Bible is read here; that we have to open our Bibles and read it during the service. This is said in stark contrast to Its lack in the other church’s services.
    Hopefully I have helped and not hindered someone’s understanding of my thoughts.

  21. What makes these two segments? Man’s “confessions” make one a “particular Baptist” or “freewill Baptist.”

    No, they don't. Their reading of the scriptures do.

  22. I don't know how to read McCune's point in all this. He apparently buys into the idea that separation does not have to exist in academic circles like it does in the church. I think Doran was the one who pushed that idea.

    Lou, how do you see all this working out? Are we on the verge of another fundamentalist split? Would McCune be someone who would help spearhead what we so desperately need in fundamentalism?


  23. Joe:

    Good questions. I don't have the time I need for the length of reply I would like to give here. Just two items for now.

    1) The new way of doing biblical separation in academic settings was first mentioned by Dave Doran from his blog. If you will look down the left column to my top/favorite pick articles you will find one that the title includes, "separation academic contexts. " That is my article in which I discuss Doran's paradigm shift away from authentic biblical separation.

    2) You asked, "Are we on the verge of another fundamentalist split?" IMO, it has already happened. The symptoms are evident and in time will become more obvious. You don't need an up and down vote at a convention to have a split, or on the other hand a dangerous convergence.

    More later.


  24. Dave, if two men read the same Scriptures they ought to come to the same understanding (barring any spiritual maturity differences). If they don't, one or both are wrong. They cannot both be right. Somewhere, somehow, someone has skewed his reading of the Book. My efforts in reading the Scriptures is to seek and know the truth, not find out whose belief system best fits what God says.
    Sorry, this is getting off topic but I thought I would respond to Dave.

  25. Brian/Dave:

    We'll close your discussion here.


  26. I agree with Lou that we are at least semi-split. When we're at a point that one member of a fundy fellowship couldn't host another member at his church, I don't know what else to call it.

    But frankly, we're but observers. This will be played out over time and distinct streams will emerge even more clearly. Just what we need.

    I will say this whole thing has caused me to focus my energies at my own church. Even as a laymen, I want to do the most I can to edify and influence those I'm covenanted with.