November 7, 2011

Dr. Rolland McCune, “Militancy Has Always Characterized Fundamentalism

We have been considering the timely comments by Dr. Rolland McCune in an expanding series of articles.  Previously we presented and discussed Kevin Bauder’s “Kinder-Gentler Motif...Won’t Carry the Day” and A Kind and Gentle Yet Aggressively Militant Richard V. Clearwaters
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.”

Doc, as a good leader, prudently chose his hills to die on based on several non-negotiable biblical truths and convictions. But in a showdown when these were being challenged, trampled, disobeyed, avoided or neglected, he was militantly aggressive. This earned him a lot of unwanted and unearned opprobrium over the decades, actually to this very day.”
Here now is Dr. Rolland McCune in “A Review Article by Rolland D. McCune, Th.D. of RECLAIMING AUTHENTIC FUNDAMENTALISM” by Douglas R. McLachlan (American Association of Christian Schools, 1992). He wrote:

Militancy has always characterized Fundamentalism. It is not so much a matter of personality as adherence to principle. Militancy has been so fogged over by its detractors that it has become a wholly negative concept, even for many Fundamentalists. Dr. George Houghton, of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, gave an excellent definition of militancy.
What exactly is militancy, anyway? One dictionary says it is to be “engaged in warfare or combat . . . aggressively active (as in a cause).” It springs from one’s values, is expressed as an attitude, and results in certain behavior. One’s values are those things in which one strongly believes. They are what one believes to be fundamentally important and true. From this comes an attitude which is unwilling to tolerate any divergence from these fundamentally important truths and seeks to defend them. It results in behavior which speaks up when these truths are attacked or diluted and which refuses to cooperate with any activity which would minimize their importance. The term is a military one and carries the idea of defending what one believes to be true. [1]
I must confess that I do not hear a clear note of militancy in the book under discussion. Forcefulness in leadership and in defending the faith is simply not there. (The concept of “Militant Meekness” or “a militancy for the meekness of Christ” [p. 140] is a little confusing in terms of historic Fundamentalist militancy.) The idea of “servant leaders” (p.40ff.), while certainly a biblical thought, [2] seems expunged of all notions of aggressiveness. Some of this may be explained by the author’s non-confrontational type of personality. Many of us could identify with this. But again militancy is not a matter of personality. There are many Fundamentalists who are reticent and retiring but who are militant in the fight for truth.

[1] George Houghton. “The Matter of Militancy,” Faith Pulpit (May 1994)

[2] The idea of “servant leadership” as it is propagated in the New Evangelical community was severely criticized by by David F. Wells, a fellow New Evangelical. He says that the term “has the ring of piety about it. But it is false piety, or it plays on an understanding of servanthood that is antithetical to biblical understanding. Contemporary servant leaders are typically individuals without any ideas of their own, people whose convictions shift with the popular opinion to which they assiduously attune themselves, people who bow to the wishes of “the body” from which their direction and standing derive” (No Place For Truth [Eermans, 1993]’ pp. 214-15). His attack was directed at the lack of convictions and biblical/doctrinal truth that has overtaken the New Evangelical movement and that has displaced theology with psychology and the prescriptions of the modern self movement. This is not the case with the author of Reclaiming . . . Fundamentalism, but a word of caution is in order. Without forceful leadership and the aggressive prosecution of a biblical philosophy and agenda, the Fundamentalist will find his vision being challenged by another who is quite militant about his own proposal. Well’s point is well taken: Servant leadership does not necessitate a benign, non-aggressive stance.
Site Publisher Commentary:
I believe that it is fair to say that Kevin Bauder has very little militant principle in him. After all, he has yet to put it on the mat over people like and the doings of Mohler, Piper, Duncan and Dever. His pattern, that of Dave Doran, and men like them is to tolerate, allow for, excuse and/or ignore the doctrinal aberrations, ecumenical compromises and worldliness of their new friends in the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism. That is not militancy!

It’s also interesting that Kevin Bauder has openly castigated men like John R. Rice and Bob Jones, Jr.1 (when he reacted to Danny Sweatt2), but now points out the virtues of his mentors. Sadly, he’s allowed the hype surrounding the leadership of those that he’s criticized to color his comments while allowing his personal relationships with others to hold them in esteem. When the history of fundamentalism is written, there will be those who will look at the acerbic, acrimonious tones3 of the writings of Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran in particular and decide that they simply would never want to associate with or emulate their brand of Christianity.


LM

1 Kevin Bauder: A Call for His Removal From the Platform of the 2009 FBFI Annual Fellowship
Dr. Bauder’s criticisms of Dr. Jones and Dr. Rice was not speech that edifies. It was not a display of Christ-like love. Bauder’s tone was not the sound of humble integrity. The caricatures of Jones and Rice, while barely skirting personal attacks, certainly did not honor the Lord or those men. It is irrefutable that the speech with which Dr. Bauder described Drs. Jones and Rice is antithetical to what the FBFI leadership called for.
2 The IFB & Calvinism: Flashpoint!

3 And the acerbic, acrimonious arrogant tone of SI administrator Jim Peet who seems incapable of being gracious when criticized even when by a kinder, gentler, well-meaning and esteemed man as Dr. Rolland McCune. See Jim Peet: In the Jaws of a Lion

4 comments:

  1. Lou,

    For those who might be interested in better understanding today's popular notion of servant-leadership, they should research the works of Robert K. Greenleaf including his The Power of Servant Leadership. In that work he credits Herman Hesse's The Journey to the East as his inspiration for his studies on servant-leadership. How did he come to read Hesse? He says that he wanted to read what was inspiring the radical college protesters of the 1960's.

    Greenleaf had access to liberal seminaries and promoted in them his servant-leadership notions.

    Gordon

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tony:

    The comment you submitted here belongs in my Iron Skillet blog. Post your comment there and I will reply.

    Thanks,

    Lou

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't have any of those accounts so I can't. I thought it would be okay to post here since it was linked to from here.

    Tony

    ReplyDelete