December 12, 2011

ReDux: “Militancy Has Always Characterized Fundamentalism

Earlier we considered the timely comments by Dr. Rolland McCune in Kevin Bauder’s “Kinder-Gentler Motif...Won’t Carry the Day.”

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.”
Here 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.
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 disconcerting actions of Al Mohler, John Piper, Ligon Duncan and Mark Dever. Instead of faithfully teaching and especially practicing fidelity to authentic biblical separation he is forging new friendships and alliances with men who act in utter contempt of the God-given mandates.

Most recently Drs. Kevin Bauder (and Andy Naselli) officially participated in the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) conference. Both were presenters along side Al Mohler in one of the sessions to discuss their new book (Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism). A review and analysis of Kevin Bauder’s presentation and participation at the ETS seminar was produced by Kent Brandenburg. I highly recommend its reading.* Add to Bauder and Naselli in cooperative ministry with an unrepentant ecumenical (Al Mohler) the Seventh Day Adventist church was an official and approved vendor at ETS.

Dr. Bauder was at ETS to speak on behalf of authentic biblical separation that Fundamentalists are recognized for. What a tragic waste of an opportunity to demonstrate obedience to and love for Jesus Christ and a defense of the Gospel. Kevin Bauder refused to take an, albeit unpopular, stand for the God-given mandates to separate from unbelievers and disobedient brethren. That is not militancy!

Kevin Bauder’s recent history is one of castigating Fundamentalism with a broad brush, heaping lavish praise on so-called “conservative” evangelicals and forging new alliances through cooperative efforts with men on a side of the fence who are non-separatists and unrepentant ecumenical compromisers. This clearly indicates it has become more important for Dr. Bauder to forge alliances with men who hobnob with the enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil. 3:18) than to faithfully proclaim God’s Word on authentic separation and call on men to obey the Lord in this regard.

The pattern of Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Matt Olson and Tim Jordan 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. Dr. Doug McLachlan recently praised those men for what he deems as a “rebirth of historic, mainstream fundamentalism.” (Moving Toward Authenticity: Musings on Fundamentalism, Part 1) There is nothing authentic from historic biblically separatist Fundamentalism here. Instead we are witnessing a resurgence of historic New Evangelical compromise in embryo form.


*My Field Trip to the Evangelical Theological Society Meeting, Part One

Site Publisher Addendum:

It’s also interesting that Kevin Bauder has openly castigated men like John R. Rice and Bob Jones, Jr. (when he reacted to Danny Sweatt in 2009), 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 tones of the writings of Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran in particular and decide that they simply would never want to associate with their brand of compromised NT Christianity.

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