March 31, 2011

Pastor Marc Monte: Preserving the Separatist Impulse, 2 Thess. 3:6-15

In the previous article, Dr. Clay Nuttall: Platform Sharing & Identification Pastor Steve Rogers posted the following comment.

“I just returned from a great week at [Ambassador Baptist College] ABC’s Spring Bible Conference. I spoke to several of the professors and speakers about the current redefining of separation to be that of Gospel-Driven separation only, as opposed to Biblical separation, which includes separation from a brother that is walking disorderly to the revealed truth of Bible doctrine. There was overwhelming agreement that these men are ignoring the teaching they received by separatists of the past like Pickering and Clearwaters. Pastor Marc Monte preached a tremendous message which renders indefensible the current excuses being proposed by Dave Doran, Tim Jordan, Kevin Bauder, Matt Olson, etc. justifying their move toward the conservative evangelicals like Mark Dever. I hope it will be a help to some.”
The message by Pastor Marc Monte “Preserving the Separatist Impulse” was well received at the Ambassador Baptist College Bible Conference. Upon my request Pastor Monte sent me the outline of his message. For the details, beyond the main points, with brief excerpts, that appear below you will need to listen to the :45 minute audio. In his introduction Pastor Monte said,
“We are living in a day and time when real truths, scriptural separatism has come under attack and questioned. In fact some of the most severe change we are seeing in the fundamental movement today deals with the issue of fellowship, separatism and significant doctrine. In our way of thinking because we have become so careless in some senses about biblical teaching we wouldn’t really think of this issue of some people not working, appealing to the benevolence fund, slumming off of the church, so to speak, we would not think that is such a big deal because see so much of it in our society. Paul said, It is a big deal. If something like that, a particular practice was enough to warrant and illustration and numerous verses, how much more how much more are key doctrinal issues, which are currently being swept under the rug in some circles in order to promote a broader fellowship?”
The complete conference series of messages appears on ABC’s Resources page. Scroll down to March 22 for Brother Monte’s message under the title, Biblical Separatism.

Preserving the Separatist Impulse, 2 Thess. 3:6-15
I. The Principles
A. Separation is not optional (6) “command
B. Separation is not vague (6) “withdraw
Proximity and fellowship imply endorsement.”
C. Separation is not limited to apostates (6) “brother
We struggle sometimes with Christian brethren who want to be disobedient… Separation says I love Christ more than popularity.”
D. Separation is not restricted to theological issues (6)
1. “walketh disorderly”—practical matters
2. “traditions”—includes theological issues (1 Cor. 5:9-11)
E. Separation does not mean animosity (14, 15)
There is a breaking of fellowship that can be painful, but it never has to be done in an ugly, unchristian or unkind fashion…. We separate with a broken heart.”
F. Separation does not function in silence (15) “admonish
II. The Paradigm Shift
A. Discussing “Gospel Centric” Separatism
B. Argument that “other doctrines” frustrate evangelism
III. The Problems
A. Paradigm shift implies a subtle de-emphasis on the Bible (c/f Acts 20:27)
B. Gospel-driven separatism is more inclusive—less separatist (Vol. I The Biblical Faith of Baptists, pp. 35-36)
C. Gospel –driven separatism ignores sound, literalist (dispensational) theology—quoted Clearwaters (The Biblical Faith of Baptists, Vol. 1, p. 216)
D. Gospel-driven separatism is overwhelmingly non-Baptistic
E. Gospel-driven separatism undermines Biblical standards for the sake of evangelism.
1. Music and dress are no longer legitimate issues
2. Standards are a “roadblock” to the winning souls.
Pastor Marc Monte
Faith Baptist Church, Avon


Excerpt from II. The Paradigm Shift
“Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians that we are to conform to apostolic tradition; that is all revealed truth of the New Testament, it is all important. When someone takes a serious deviation from the revealed truth of the Bible it is our duty to admonish that person. If they continue to take that pathway it is our duty to separate…. There is some subjectivity to the approach, but we still have to follow the command.”

“For years Bible believing Fundamental Baptist people have declared that the Word of God, as the whole counsel of God, is our standard for faith and practice…. The New Testament is our charter, and our marching orders for our movement. We have said if it does not conform to the pages of the New Testament we must reject it as error…!”

“There is today a very subtle shift that, on the surface, is very persuasive. I am hearing this in places today that I would not have believed two years ago that I would hear such a message. The idea is essentially this: Rather than base separatism on the Bible, the whole counsel of God, we should use as our test the Gospel. There is a plea that says the only doctrines for which we should contend are those doctrines that impinge directly upon the Gospel…. I do not have the right to pick and choose among clearly revealed truths which ones I will contend for and which ones I will not…. The issue I have is this: That [Gospel-Centric separatism] broadens our fellowship incredibly to include organizations and individuals who are patently disobedient to the plain teaching of Scripture and yet are somehow tolerated, vindicated and even honored in some of our circles.”
Previous articles at IDOTG by Ps. Marc Monte include:
Kevin Bauder, It Won’t Fly With Those of Us Who Know
and Muddying the Clearwaters

March 27, 2011

Dr. Clay Nuttall, Platform Sharing & Identification

SHEPHERD’S STAFF: March, 2011

JOIN ME ON THE PLATFORM
When an evangelical evangelist of the past shared the platform with liberals, modernist and apostates, a conflict erupted. Those who would have identified with neo-evangelicalism argued that being on the same platform with them did not indicate their approval of theological error. In general, separatist fundamentalists condemned the practice as a dangerous direction. At this point in history, we know why it was a disaster.

There was one basic reason for rejection of ecumenical platform identification. The problem was not about denominational affiliation or some superficial category; it was wrong because some of the individuals involved held theological error. Certainly there were other things to be considered, but the heart of the issue was biblical doctrine.

Fast forward to the present debate by a group erroneously named “evangelical conservatives”. Some of our friends of long standing argue that sharing the platform with someone who holds theological error is not wrong. In any case, it has already proven to create a great deal of confusion. What the evangelist of the past did was to give aid and comfort to doctrinal error; he gave credibility and momentum to evangelical ecumenism. The end result is that evangelicalism moved further away from a theology that is biblical.

THE DOWNGRADE CONTROVERSY
It is very clear that the theology of many individuals in the plastic category of “evangelical conservatives” hold a very broad view of theological issues. Many of those views are reformed or covenant and some are liberal. For instance, AMillennialism is a liberal doctrine. You will note that I have not called them liberals, but they do embrace liberal doctrine.

Dave Doran, Tim Jordan, Kevin Bauder, Sam Harbin on platform with AMillennialist Mark Dever
This is where the heart of the problem lies. If AMillennialism is not a liberal doctrine, the ecumenical nature of this new category called “evangelical conservatives” would seem to be less of a problem. At this point, our friends would have to reject the fact that AMillennialism is a liberal doctrine; if, however, they continue to insist that this doctrine is acceptable and not liberal, we have a clear illustration of the theological downgrade.

Let me return to an illustration of how clear this downgrade is. When the Evangelical Theological Society was given an opportunity to brand the Open View of God as heterodox, it chose instead to see it as orthodox. The Open View of God is not just liberal; it is, in my view, heresy. It is an attack on the very nature and character of God. The downgrade of theology is continuing, and one can only wonder what the motive for such thinking is. One thing is for sure - those who defend joining with those who hold erroneous theology have missed the point. It may have to do with the fact that debating elusive categories such as evangelical conservative is like trying to pick up mercury. Continuing the debate in the framework of a theology that is biblical will make things clear, because it forces us to take a stand on specific theological issues that have fallen prey to the downgrade controversy.

PLATFORM IDENTIFICATION
This present discussion clearly demonstrates the false claim that sharing ministry platform does not identify us with the error that other people hold. It also shows how far afield the discussion of separation has gone. Trying to accuse or defend any position by debating denominational categories, etc., is like running in circles. Furthermore, it is one thing to discuss the theological positions of those who hold an error; it is another to make it clear that specific views are unacceptable.

Theological corruption has a common thread that has to do with the hermeneutic used to develop one’s theological views. Many people claim to use the one biblical hermeneutic - the normal, plain, consistent, literal use of language - but the problem is that they cannot produce their errors by using that required biblical system. The erroneous hermeneutical system that produces AMillennialism is the same system that produces other errors. There is no such thing as an independent error; as with a lie, you can’t tell just one.

I confess that I do not know why people protect error. Is it that they do not know better? Is it that they do not believe, or are there other possible motives? In academia, the young theologian is taught to have respect for other people’s views. It would be better to say that we should have respect for the right of other people to hold different views. To say that all views are equal is an affront to God. One of my administrators plainly told me that I was not allowed to say that someone else’s theological view was wrong; obviously, that person was not a biblical theologian. Can you imagine the cowardly attitude and disobedient heart that would fail to say that the denial of the virgin birth is error?

There remains one more point of irritation in this discussion. We are told that it is alright to brand error as error if the doctrine is central. On the other hand, we are told not to do that when the doctrine is peripheral, but who is going to make that determination for you? The farther a person is toward the left, the more likely it will be that the central doctrines are fewer. In the end, if someone chooses to say that the imminent rapture is not a central doctrine for the church, he has told me more about himself and his system than I could have discovered on my own. How anyone can believe that joining error on the platform is right continues to puzzle me.


Reprinted with Permisssion.
Shepherd’s Basic Care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries, and churches. Write for information using the e-mail address, Shepherdstaff2@juno.com

Shepherd’s Staff is prepared by
Clay Nuttall, D.Min

Photo by Darrell Goemaat/Baptist Bulletin. Used by permission.

Site Publisher’s Recommended Related Reading:
Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran [Joined AMillennialist] Mark Dever on the Platform at Lansdale: Is This a Fundamentalism Worth Saving?

Dr. Rick Arrowood: Answering Questions About the Changes We Are Seeing in Fundamentalism

Dr. Ernest Pickering, “The Separatist Cause is Not Advanced by Featuring Non-Separatists”

Talks, Writes, Speaks Like a Liberal by Dr. Clay Nuttall

March 23, 2011

IDOTG: Review: “Its Biblical Accuracy in Answering the Lordship Position.

Every believer in Jesus Christ must be informed about the subject of Lordship Salvation. It is one of the most popular, yet dangerous aberrations of the true gospel in existence today. While it claims to uphold salvation by grace through faith alone, it practically opposes this truth by adding extra-biblical stipulations such as commitment to serve, dedication, obedience, surrender, on-going discipleship, turning from sins, and faithful perseverance to the end of one’s life. All of these become practical requirements for entering heaven’s glory one day according to the Lordship Salvation scheme. In the book, In Defense of the Gospel, Lou Martuneac has provided the body of Christ with a very informative and helpful explanation of this significant difference between the false gospel of Lordship Salvation and the true, saving gospel of God’s grace.

The author knows his subject well. He is battled-tested. He first encountered this false form of the gospel and combated it on the African mission field. Later he had extensive interaction with leading advocates of this view in North America. Martuneac has been indefatigable in defending the truth of salvation by grace alone, and his book reflects this experience through its judicious selection of quotations documenting the Lordship position. One will not find here straw men being erected and then being knocked down all too-easily, leaving the reader without any real help in answering Lordship Salvationists. Instead, one will find that the author is as committed to the truth in fairly representing the opposing viewpoint as he is in his own handling of God’s Word—the Word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).

In this respect, the most important feature of this book is its biblical accuracy in answering the Lordship position. The book’s content is consistent with its subtitle: “Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation.” In Defense of the Gospel opens with an introduction to the problem of Lordship Salvation, and then provides an historical overview of the Lordship controversy up to the present day. This is followed by chapters dealing with each of the main problem areas in Lordship Salvation including the distinction between discipleship and salvation, the reality of the carnal Christian, the real meaning of repentance, the nature of saving faith, and the deity of Christ as “Lord.” These chapter-topics are followed by chapters treating key passages in the Lordship debate, such as Romans 10:9-10, Acts 16:30-31, and the rich young ruler passages in the Gospels.

What are Martuneac’s doctrinal conclusions in each of these areas? Here is a brief sampler to whet the appetites of prospective readers:

(a) In the chapter “Salvation and Discipleship: Is There a Biblical Difference?” the author appropriately distinguishes between the free gift of salvation and the costliness of discipleship in the Christian life for rewards. He writes, “Salvation and discipleship are two separate and distinct issues. Salvation is the gift of God to an undeserving Hell-bound sinner. Discipleship is what ought to flow from the man or woman who through the shed blood of Jesus Christ has been redeemed from sin, death, and Hell. Confusing the cost of discipleship for the believer with the gospel of grace through faith is one of the most disconcerting errors of Lordship Salvation” (p. 85).

(b) In the chapter “Can There Be a Christian Who Is Carnal?” Martuneac proves the reality that a person can be simultaneously born again (“a Christian”) and walking according to the flesh (“carnal”). He uses 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; Romans 7:14-25; and numerous Old and New Testament characters to support this biblical reality. He concludes by stating: “Lordship advocates who struggle with the reality of carnal Christians in the church would do well to read again 1 Corinthians 3:1-4. They would do well to let the Bible say what it says, without the trappings of logic and rationalizations to make it fit their system. They would do well to refrain from trying to force the Scriptures into conformity with the presuppositions of Lordship Salvation. The Bible is clear: a man can be genuinely born again, indwelled with the Spirit of God, and live as a carnal Christian at the same time” (p. 119).

(c) In the chapter “What Is Biblical Repentance?” the author humbly acknowledges that he has made significant changes to this chapter on repentance from the original edition of the book (p. 123). It is clear that his doctrine of repentance is the same as traditional Free Grace stalwarts such as C. I. Scofield, Lewis Sperry Chafer, and Charles Ryrie. These men of God all taught that saving repentance is the change of mind about God, sin, the Savior, and salvation that is inherent to faith in Christ for eternal life. Martuneac defines saving repentance the same way, as “a change of mind where one recognizes he is a hopeless, Hell-bound sinner before a just and holy God. When he agrees with the convincing and convicting work of the Holy Spirit that he is a sinner (John 16:7-9) and transfers his dependence to the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation—he has biblically repented. Biblical repentance is a change of mind that should produce the fruit of a change in direction from self and sin toward God. The fruit that should follow is distinct from repentance itself” (pp. 145-46). This is contrary to the Lordship Salvation position which defines repentance for eternal life as a turning from sin that will necessarily lead to a changed life and changed behavior pattern. In distinction to the Lordship view, Martuneac states that the “evidences of a changed life” are “not automatic or the necessary result of a person having initially repented about Jesus Christ at the time of new birth” (p. 147).

(d) In the chapter on “What Is Biblical Saving Faith?” Martuneac defines faith as “a child-like trust in God, which accepts the record He has given of His Son” (p. 150). He goes on to demonstrate how Lordship proponents load the word “faith” with meritorious concepts such as obedience, full surrender, paying the price, and exchanging self for salvation. Martuneac rightly objects to this “barter-system” of salvation, saying “the faith that saves man from the penalty of his sin cannot include any kind of meritorious works. . . . Salvation is obtained through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Man is saved by faith plus nothing!” (p. 151, ellipsis added).

In Defense of the Gospel continues to present the clear truth of salvation by grace through faith alone in Christ alone by examining one-chapter-at-a-time three key passages that frequently arise in the Lordship debate. The chapter on Romans 10:9-10 shows that submission to the lordship or mastery of Christ is not being required for salvation, but belief and acceptance of Christ’s deity as sovereign are being taught. Likewise, to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” in Acts 16:31 does not make believing synonymous with surrendering all areas of the life to the lordship of Christ in order to be born again. Nor did Christ require the rich young ruler to be good and to keep the Ten Commandments in order to enter into eternal life, which is the Lordship interpretation. Instead, Christ was seeking to show the man his sinfulness, self-righteousness, and self-reliance, which was standing in the way of his faith in Christ.

Finally, the book contains three concluding chapters exhorting the reader to stand strong for the truth of the gospel and that this is an issue of biblical separation if there ever was one. This subject of separation is rarely addressed in the Lordship debate, and I am grateful that Martuneac’s book offers this distinctive appeal that is so sorely needed in our day.

There are also eight insightful appendixes at the end of the book on various subjects relating to Lordship Salvation, including the especially important connection between Calvinistic Reformed theology and the doctrine of Lordship Salvation.

The book contains endorsements on the back cover from notables such as Drs. Robert P. Lightner, Ron Comfort, and Charlie Bing, as well as evangelist John R. Van Gelderen. The book is sturdy, well-constructed, and reasonably priced for a standard-sized paperback.

It is also important to note that though this book is consistent with a Free Grace position on salvation in its opposition to Lordship Salvation, In Defense of the Gospel does not hold to the Grace Evangelical Society’s version of “Free Grace.” Sometimes Lordship Salvationists wrongly assume that all Free Grace people adhere to the unbiblical views of the G.E.S. regarding (1) repentance not being a necessary condition for eternal life and (2) not needing to believe in the deity of Christ and His finished work to be born again (i.e., the “crossless gospel”). Martuneac thankfully maintains the biblically balanced view of the nature and content of saving faith in his book by expressly opposing these excesses of Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, and the teachers of G.E.S. theology (pp. 31-35).

So where does In Defense of the Gospel fall among the various good books currently on the market that are opposed to Lordship Salvation? In comparison to Charles Ryrie’s So Great Salvation, Martuneac’s book is beneficial in addressing the subject of Lordship Salvation more directly and more thoroughly. (Martuneac’s book is roughly twice the length of Ryrie’s.) On the other hand, it is not as technical and exegetically “heavy” as Charlie Bing’s book, which was originally his doctoral dissertation. In Defense of the Gospel is geared to the average person and is quite readable. Martuneac is to be commended for providing believers with another very valuable resource on this critical subject. I strongly recommend this book.


Pastor Tom Stegall
Word of Grace Bible Church
Author: The Gospel of the Christ: A Biblical Response to the Crossless Gospel Regarding the Contents of Saving Faith

See, IDOTG: Revised & Expanded For all endorsements in and reviews about the book.

March 18, 2011

Archival Series: Are We Recognizing the “NEW” New Evangelicalism?

We have been discussing the ecumenical spirit of certain signatories from the so-called “conservative” evangelical camp. Some of the “conservative” evangelicals like Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan who signed the Manhattan Declaration (MD) apparently did not intend, “to forge an ecumenical relationship which compromises the gospel by giving Christian recognition to people without a credible profession of the gospel. That wasn’t the intent, but it is the result.”1

Reading and research has shown that the current trend toward ecumenism by the likes of Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, et. al., is eerily similar to a previous generations slide toward New Evangelicalism. There may be some greater measure of restraint in this generation, but nevertheless there is tangible evidence of a slide toward New Evangelicalism.

If there is one book I would recommend to help contemporary Fundamentalists get a handle on the danger at their doorsteps it would be The Tragedy of Compromise: The Origin and Impact of the New Evangelicalism, 1994 by *Dr. Ernest D. Pickering. For their consideration I am going to share select excerpts from Pickering’s classic on the subject. The following excerpts come from Chapter Seven, Gray Hairs Are Here and There. Afterward I will close with some personal commentary.



The Subtle Drift Toward the New Evangelicalism, p. 155.

The ancient prophet Hosea was concerned about gray hair also, but for a different reason. In a brokenhearted lament over his beloved nation, Israel, he wrote: “Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth it not” (Hos. 7:9). Gray hairs are a mark of aging, of deteriorating strength, and, in the spiritual sense employed by Hosea, of a loss of spiritual vitality. The saddest note in this lament was the fact that the nation did not realize it was losing its spiritual moorings.

All over America and the world at this hour there are churches that are drifting into New Evangelicalism without the remotest knowledge that they are doing so. They are being carried along with the shifting winds of compromise and have long since departed from the solid biblical position established by their predecessors. Young pastors, many without firm doctrinal underpinnings, have led their churches to believe that in order to reach the masses they must abandon the strict biblical principles of yore and embrace more fluid and attractive positions. They have changed, but they do not realize that they have changed.
The Appeal of New Evangelicalism to the Fundamentalist, p 156.
Many contemporary fundamentalists are being wooed by the siren call of New Evangelicalism. It seems especially compelling to younger men (though not exclusively so). Born in a different generation and without personal involvement in the battles against the early forms of New Evangelicalism, some are impatient with the fray, do not see the relevance of the conflict, and are inclined to adopt the attitude “a plague on both your houses.” What is there about the New Evangelicalism that seems to attract some from within the fundamentalist camp?2
Gradually Sliding into New Evangelicalism, p. 159.
David Beale warned against those who bear the label fundamentalist but whose personal philosophy is essentially New Evangelical. “Unlike present-day Fundamentalists, they refuse to regard the militant defense of the faith and the full doctrine and practice of holiness as intrinsically fundamental.”3 In other words, there are fundamentalists who are either becoming or already are New Evangelicals. Some are actually adopting New Evangelical philosophies while still proclaiming that they are not New Evangelicals. The basic problem is this: Many fundamentalists, when speaking of the New Evangelicalism, are referring to the original positions and writings of the early founders of New Evangelicalism such as Carl Henry and Harold Ockenga. They repudiate heartily the thoughts of these earlier leaders, but either in ignorance or willingly they fail to recognize the updated version, the “new” New Evangelicalism. It is always safer to berate the teachings of those historically farther removed than of those who are currently afflicting the church.
One of the first steps toward New Evangelicalism is refusing to live in fidelity to the Scriptural mandates that call for separation when it is clearly warranted. Unfortunately some men in Fundamentalism, who presently identify with biblical separatism, appear to be “either in ignorance or willingly” not recognizing new breed New Evangelicals such as Al Mohler, Tim Keller  and John Piper. The trend of some Fundamentalists toward so-called “conservative” evangelicals appears to be how can I justify and keep my fellowship with them instead of what does the Bible mandate for me.

Some pastors and Bible college leaders have begun laying out in stark terms to their congregations and student bodies the dangers of ecumenical compromise, and are referencing both the MD and its signatories as a prime example of it. I am grateful for men who have marked certain signatories to the Manhattan Declaration. When we speak of to “mark” we must, however, speak of it in terms of mark ANDavoid” (Rom. 16:17).
Paul admonishes believers to ‘avoid’ those whom we have marked. The form of this verb indicates that it is a present imperative, which indicates that this avoidance is neither a suggestion nor advice, but, in fact, a command. We are commanded by God to continually avoid the person who has been marked!4
Today, we are witnessing a new and genuine Tragedy of Compromise. With each step of tolerance for the disconcerting actions of evangelicals mature Fundamentalists are setting the example for and showing the younger generation the way to the new breed New Evangelicalism. Men must determine to set the right example (Phil. 3:17) putting fidelity to Scripture ahead of tolerating doctrinal aberrations, ecumenical compromise and worldly methods of ministry among the evangelicals. Otherwise they will work their way down the winding road of closer to New Evangelicalism.


LM

Updated and revised from the original posted December 2009.

1) Dr. Dave Doran, A Bronx Declaration, Dec. 2009.

2) Pickering goes into detail as he answers that question under the subheadings of: A Lessening of Tensions; A Wider Working Relationship; A Greater Attractiveness to the Masses; The Perception The New Evangelicals are More Loving; etc.

3) In Pursuit of Purity, pp. 261-ff.

4) In Defense of the Gospel, p. 212.

*Dr. Ernest D. Pickering (1928-2000) “was a fundamentalist pastor, author, college administrator, and mission board representative…. Pickering criticized the ecumenical neo-evangelism of Billy Graham in print as early as 1957, and his chief contribution to twentieth-century evangelical Christianity was as a Baptist theoretician of separatist fundamentalism.” I recommend three more works by Dr. Pickering that may be helpful to those who are concerned over modern day compromise with evangelicalism. They are:

Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church

Holding Hands With the Pope: The Current Evangelical Ecumenical Craze

Are Fundamentalists Legalists?

Previous Articles in this Series Include:
Al Mohler Signs The Manhattan Declaration: Is This a Clear Case for (Dave Doran’s) “Gospel-Driven Separation?”

Al Mohler Signs The Manhattan Declaration, Part 2: Was This a First Time Foray Toward Ecumenism?

Al Mohler Signs TMD, Part 3: Tolerance & Compromise Will, In Its Wake, Leave Casualties

March 14, 2011

Has Converging With Evangelicals Been a Dangerous and Failed Experiment?

In April (2011) The Gospel Coalition (TGC) convenes in Chicago. If you were visit the TGC site, the schedule of speakers, you will find names such as:

•Al Mohler- who is known for ecumenical compromise with Roman Catholics, honoring liberals and his chairmanship of the 2001 Billy Graham crusade in Louisville.1

•Mark Driscoll- whom there is much to be alarmed with.2

•Tim Keller- a “New Calvinist” who recommends Roman Catholic Mysticism.3

•Michael Horton- who recently went to Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church and participated in a church growth forum where Horton did speak against pragmatism and posed for this photo.

•We Are Unashamed
Come join Lecrae and the rest of the Reach Records artists as they exalt Christ through the medium of hip hop and display how cultural renewal is taking place through urban music.
Any lingering doubt about evangelicalism’s embrace of the RAP/Hip Hop medium is now erased. The TGC/T4G leadership, including Mark Dever, has by this event officially endorsed the RAP, Hip Hop medium for ministry and worship. See, The RAP on Mark Dever, parts one and two.
The concerns above are highly disconcerting. In particular, however, I want to draw special attention to,
•John Piper- who on March 3, 2001 at his blog wrote, “This is my small tribute to another Christian killed for Christ’s sake. I read his story with great admiration. Extremists wanted to kill him because of his opposition to the blasphemy law and to Sharia legislation, and because of his work for ‘the oppressed and marginalised’, the Catholic politician said somberly into the camera.4
Furthermore, on June 12-13, 2011 the annual Southern Baptist pastors conference takes place in Phoenix. Sharing the stage with Rick Warren will be John Piper. Prior to that meeting John Piper is holding his West Coast Desiring God conference at Saddleback in April. In a promotional video Piper says, “We are so thankful that we have been invited to do our regional [DG] conference at Saddleback church…and I want you to come.5

In his Let’s Get Clear on This6 Kevin Bauder wrote, “Whatever our differences, I thank God for John Piper.”7 He also wrote,
Nevertheless, some Fundamentalists have managed to convince themselves that conservative evangelicals are the enemy. They insist that John Piper is a neo-evangelical. They actually hope to limit his influence—and the influence of other conservative evangelicals—in their churches and among their younger generation.”
Brother Bauder in light of these latest revelations of Piper’s direction; have you finally seen enough of his decent into “New” Evangelicalism to “withdraw from, admonish…have no company with,” and especially to “mark” John Piper? In addition to his Charismatic theology is this finally enough for you to openly warn the “younger generation” under your influence to “avoid” John Piper (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15; Romans 16:17)? Have you finally seen enough to do what you can to “limit his influence?”

In 2008 Dave Doran wrote,
This was the reason for my disappointment with the first T4G conference. In many respects, it was one of the most spiritually beneficial conferences I’ve attended—the message by John Piper alone was worth the time and cost of the conference.8
Would Brother Doran publish a similar accolade for the message that Piper is communicating today through his ministry with Rick Warren and recognizing Roman Catholics as born again Christians? Of course not.  Isn’t it then worth the time and cost to retract earlier accolades for the messages of John Piper and replace those with a warning to avoid Piper today?

Next month the evangelicals will converge in Chicago under the umbrella of The Gospel Coalition (TGC). This event is the alternating year sister conference of Together for the Gospel (T4G). Will men such as Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran Matt Olson, Les Ollila, Tim Jordan, et. al., attend and/or encourage others to attend TGC? Or have they finally seen enough to withdraw from the so-called “conservative” evangelicals and their fellowships?

Drs. Bauder, Doran, Olson, Ollila and Jordan claim to be committed to authentic biblical separation in principle and application. Sharper Iron and Kevin Mungons suggested on behalf of Bauder, Doran and Jordan that they are no different in their commitment to biblical separation than that of Dr. Ernest Pickering. If that is so, hasn’t enough of evangelicalism’s true colors been revealed to awaken these men to restore their fidelity to authentic biblical separation for the sake of a pure church?

Isn’t it high time to acknowledge that praising and converging with evangelicals has been a dangerous and failed experiment?

Isn’t it high time for self-described separatists to cease from reaching out to evangelicals for cooperative ministry efforts, putting these men into their pulpits and classrooms to influence impressionable college students?
Kevin [Bauder] has been quite lavish in his praise of conservative evangelicals while castigating so-called fundamentalists. Yet he has spent very little time warning us about the pitfalls and problems of conservative evangelicalism…. What I fear is that we may be allowing a Trojan horse into the fundamentalist camp. And after a while, if we keep going down this track, any significant difference between conservative evangelical and the fundamentalist institutions may disappear.” (Dr. Gerald Priest, March 3, 2010)
Men, wake up! Brothers, castigate Fundamentalism if you must, but stop this craze to embrace, heap lavish praise on the men and conferences of evangelicalism. Evangelicals have not changed! Evangelicals historically eschew authentic biblical separation. They have not changed or relented. Brothers Doran, Bauder, Olson, Jordan, Ollila you have changed and are personally moving in the direction of, as well as encouraging others to accept, tolerate and become what the evangelicals are.

We are witnessing a revival of the old “New” Evangelicalism. It is being lead by John Piper, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Tim Keller, et. al.  Those of you who range in fundamental circles barely raise any warning of the evangelicals, John Piper in particular. Your silence is very near becoming complicity in the spread of his errors and, furthermore, culpable for the loss of our young people who go to him, his books and conferences, and consequently adopt his aberrant theology and egregious methodology.
I am calling on you to reconsider, repent and return to the moorings of biblical separation that has protected the church from the egregious doctrinal errors and compromises that are rife and in resurgence among the evangelicals.
Some of our younger generation John Piper/Evangelicalism tragedies I think of include Andy Naselli9, Bob Bixby and Ben Wright. They have embraced evangelicalism. They were in part shown the way to the new breed “New” Evangelicalism by Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran (and late comers Matt Olson, Les Ollila and Tim Jordan) who lighted the way there through praise for evangelicals and hesitancy to clearly articulate from the Bible the dangers of modern day New Evangelicalism. They would have done much better had they followed the example of a truly committed biblical separatist.
“David Beale warned against those who bear the label fundamentalist but whose personal philosophy is essentially New Evangelical. ‘Unlike present-day Fundamentalists, they refuse to regard the militant defense of the faith and the full doctrine and practice of holiness as intrinsically fundamental.’ In other words, there are fundamentalists who are either becoming or already are New Evangelicals. Some are actually adopting New Evangelical philosophies while still proclaiming that they are not New Evangelicals. The basic problem is this: Many fundamentalists, when speaking of the New Evangelicalism, are referring to the original positions and writings of the early founders of New Evangelicalism such as Carl Henry and Harold Ockenga. They repudiate heartily the thoughts of these earlier leaders, but either in ignorance or willingly they fail to recognize the updated version, the “new” New Evangelicalism. It is always safer to berate the teachings of those historically farther removed than of those who are currently afflicting the church.” (Dr. Ernest Pickering, The Tragedy of Compromise, p. 159)
If we see a continuation of the next generation joining the new “New” Evangelicalism of Piper, Mahaney, Duncan, Mohler, Keller, et. al. we will look to you Brothers Bauder, Doran, Olson, Ollila and Jordan for having encouraged them to find the way there. In your desire to embrace, praise and cooperate with evangelicals did you ever pause to consider that there might be casualties among the younger generation? Did you consider younger men lacking the discernment that comes with maturity, younger men who did not see/live the history of past waves of New Evangelicalism and its ecumenical compromises might fall prey to its allurements? You might look to yourselves for the answer as to why they would end up becoming what you surely must hope would never befall a young fundamentalist.

Is it possible you will continue to chart and follow a course of tolerance for the aberrant theology, worldliness in ministry and ecumenical compromises of the evangelicals to have your convergence with them? Is it possible you are willing to accept the losses already sustained and more that are sure to follow if you continue to pursue fellowship and cooperative efforts with increasingly non-separatist evangelicals? Will you instead become a modern day Paul and cry out with tears to those whom you minister to and have been influencing through the Internet?
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears,” (Acts 20:30-31).
Brother Doran, sixteen years ago you wrote an article that concluded with the following powerful and prophetic admonition,
It seems to me that those who want to rid contemporary Fundamentalism of its alleged belligerence should watch the pathway carefully. The last group of people to take that path found it to be a winding road which ends up in a theological wasteland.” (In Defense of Militancy, Sentinel 11:2 Spring 1995)
Brother Doran for want of militancy and belligerence, in regard to the evangelicals, there have been casualties among us, but must there be more?

Brothers Bauder, Doran, Olson, Ollila, Jordan- each of you have a wide influence. The current and next generation you minister to listen to you. There is still time to repent and recover. You can begin to restore some of the casualties and give those who are uncertain reason to pause and withdraw from the “winding road” of the new “New” Evangelicalism that, in part, your efforts in recent years have set them upon. We pray that you will.


LM

Footnotes:
1) Al Mohler: Sign the Manhattan Declaration: Is this a First Time Foray Toward Ecumenical Compromise?

2) The “Corrupt Communication” of Mark Driscoll

3) Tim Keller: Recommending Roman Catholic Mysticism

Redeemer Presbyterian Church: School of Gospel Foundations 2009 class schedule included The Way of the Monk, “taught by Susan Castillo sometimes know as the ‘Retreat Lady,’ she has been fleeing to monasteries to ‘honeymoon with Jesus’ for over ten years.”
“SEEKING GOD: The Way of the Monk, a fascinating examination of the strange life of the Benedictine monks at New Mexico’s Monastery of Christ in the Desert, presents the traditional chants, seasonal rituals, and heartfelt prayers, as well as penetrating interviews with the monks themselves about their choices and lifestyle.”
“The Way of the Monk” at Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church

4) the discernment deficit

5) ASPIRE: 2001 Pastor’s Conference

2011 Regional Conference - Lake Forest

6) Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This A Response to Kevin Bauder’s “Cannonball” Cogitations

7) Andy Naselli: Conservative Evangelicals Are Not New Evangelicals

8) Dr. Dave Doran: Potential and Pitfalls of Together For The Gospel, March/April 2008, 9Marks

9) Andy Naselli is featured at Northland International University (NIU) as a conference speaker and lecturer. Naselli and Bruce Ware’s appearances in NIU classrooms and/or conferences further confirms the new trajectory and radical change from NIU's separatist roots. They bring baggage with them to NIU and expose impressionable students to that baggage: Ware brings the SBC with him; Naselli the new “New” Evangelicalism of men like John Piper and Tim Keller whom he (Naselli) strongly supports and recommends from his blog. See, Is NIU “Unchanged?”

Related Reading:
T4G/TGC, “A Final Sad Spectacle”
“A final sad spectacle reported with enthusiasm...is T4G…. it conditions all who attend to relax on these controversial matters, and learn to accept every point of view. In other words, the ministry of warning is killed off, so that every error of the new scene may race ahead unchecked. These are tragic days for authentic spiritual faithfulness, worship and piety.” (Dr. Peter Masters, The Merger of Calvinism With Worldliness)
John Piper, “I’m Going to Need Help to Know Why I Should Feel Bad About This Decision”

March 10, 2011

The Kings James Men: Understanding Where They Take Their Stand & Why

In December 2010 Evangelist Paul Crow sent me an article with a request for its publication at IDOTG. I like the idea of allowing for good men with an opinion on the translations debate to have an on line venue to share their views. What follows is Evangelist Crow’s offering on the KJV debate for your consideration.
Those who would take the name Fundamentalist are bantering back and forth today on the issue of the English Bible. The issue is perhaps best seen as a spectrum with those on the one end insisting that every version other than the King James Version is wicked and ungodly. Indeed, they assert, God inspired the translators of 1611 in the same way that he inspired the original writers of the Old and New Testaments so that whenever a question of the original text arises, the King James Bible is the final arbitrator. On the other end of the spectrum are those who would rather the King James Version fade into the pages of history. They maintain that its archaic language, its blatant mistranslations, its inferior text, its cultic following, and other flaws, while rendering it tolerable when nothing else was available to English-speaking people, make it a very poor choice in the light of modern scholarship. In between these two extremes are all kinds of different variants, some closer to one side and others closer to the other.

Because this debate is one among men who claim to believe the Bible—as opposed to battles between liberals and evangelicals or Muslims and Baptists—a careful explanation of this matter is helpful. Any contemporary reading on the issue will reveal two important observations: first, that there is a definite line of demarcation in the spectrum, and second, that both sides tend to misunderstand and/or misrepresent the beliefs of the other.

This article is an attempt to delineate a position in favor of the Traditional Text of the New Testament (with the Masoretic Hebrew Text of the Old Testament assumed) and therefore for the King James Version of the Bible as the Bible of choice for English readers. Some of the points of this article will be different from points that others who use the same Bible try to make. In fact, the author could mention men who claim to take a stand for the King James whose arguments are completely illogical, unscriptural, and thus, untenable. But the current flood of literature most readily available now on the Internet finds the opposing side labeling all those who stand for the King James with the broad brush of the radicals. It is possible to stand for the King James Bible, to reject so-called “double inspiration,” to be intellectually honest, and logically consistent all at the same time. The existence of radicals who sometimes arrive at the same conclusions as sane men should not cause opponents to lump both groups together as if they were one. Such lumping together is a common error, occurring both in political debates today and theological ones. Because some man wants to make spurious claims about the King James Bible, all who use exclusively the King James are assumed to be automatically in agreement with every spurious claim. This practice of painting the entire group in the light of a few vocal lunatics is hardly a sterling example of scholarship, though it is practiced by seminary professors today.1

If Grady and Ruckman as a minority have misrepresented the KJV crowd, what do the majority of those KJV men believe? This article attempts to answer this very important question.

First of all, in contrast to the Grady’s of this world, most KJV men choose this English version for textual rather than translational reasons. The issue is not whether the translators of days gone by were any better or worse than they are today. The issue is not whether the KJV is on a sixth grade reading level while the NIV is on a tenth grade reading level. The issue is not that the KJV has undergone seven revisions corresponding to Psalm 12:6. The issue is not whether James I was good, bad or ugly. The issue is the text on which the translation is based. All modern versions, to one degree or another, forsake the text from which the King James was translated. KJV men simply affirm that no structure (in this case, a translation of the Bible into English) can be built upon a faulty foundation. Regardless of the translational scruples of the men who gave us the ESV, NASB, NIV or any other version, the reality is that they all come from a corrupt foundation. Many opponents of the KJV position fail to recognize this salient truth.

Second, the Bible clearly promises its own preservation. In the 1980’s, many children in Fundamental Baptist churches were led to memorize Psalm 100. In this Psalm that so many, including this author, committed to memory as a child lies a precious promise of Bible preservation. Three eternal truths conclude the hymn of praise: “The LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” Years later, when our Lord walked as a man among men, He revealed in His high priestly prayer, “Thy word is truth.” A synthesis of these two passages makes the final promise of Psalm 100 extend to Scriptural preservation (and that to every generation). While God’s truth is found in more places than just His Word (Romans 1:20), any generic statement about God’s truth must necessarily include His Scriptures. Another great promise of preservation surfaces in the writings of the Prince of Prophets (Isaiah 59:21). Other promises could be included from the Scripture, but will be omitted for the sake of brevity.

A few years back, an academic from a Fundamental Baptist seminary claimed that God nowhere promised to preserve His Word.2 Why there was not a greater barrage of outcry from Fundamentalist academics remains a mystery, because the claim of this professor flew in the face of statements in the Word of God.

Third, the Bible gives indications as to how God would preserve His Word. This point is one that enemies of the King James position seem to either miss completely or else deny outright. Paul told his son in the faith, “Hold fast the form of sound words.” Somehow in the minds of those who prefer the critical text, this injunction to protect the very form of the words has been interpreted to mean merely clinging to the general concepts of right doctrine. They would maintain that while the doctrines of the New Testament have been perpetuated, the form of the words elucidating those doctrines has been lost.

Again to the same young ministerial protégé, the Apostle to the Gentiles wrote of the “church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” As the ancient edifices of Greece and Rome rested upon mighty pillars, so God has ordained that His truth rest on the local church. Once again, in the minds of critical text men, the idea of the truth including the Bible seems foreign to their thinking. Jesus Himself taught His followers to equate God’s truth and God’s Word. If the local church is to hold up the truth and the truth includes the Bible, then the local church will somehow hold up the Bible in a very crucial way. God gave the task of preserving His Word to Biblical local churches in the same way that He gave the task of writing His Word to holy men. Holy (but not perfect) men actually did the human work of penning the words, but God was writing through them so that what they wrote was God’s Word, not their own. Similarly, the local churches of history have done the human work of copying and preserving the manuscripts, but God has been the one who has been at work the whole time preserving His Word through men. The question only remains: Which text has been available to the most number of local churches for the longest time? The answer can only lead to the family of texts underlying the King James Version.

Fourth, KJV men recognize that there are questions from history whose answers they cannot give. Critical text men love to make much of Erasmus and the many different texts he used, the textual criticism he employed, the different editions of the Textus Receptus that exist and other facts from history. Without a doubt, any man who takes any position on any subject would love to have all the answers to all the questions that pertain to that subject, but such a luxury is hardly ever possible. The critical text men look to history as their ultimate authority. They reason that since they cannot see evidence of something in history that it therefore did not occur. The inability of King James men to answer some of the often repeated queries from history satisfies many a CT man causing him to feel as if he has won the debate and skillfully silenced the opposition.

History is a marvelous study in any time period of human existence. The trouble with it, though, is that most of it comes to its readers by means of fallible human sources, a great many of whom had no qualms about altering or omitting information to fit their needs. The author is a student of the Second World War as a personal hobby. The myths perpetuated about that conflict are ongoing and no one seems too interested in setting the record straight. (Without going into details, the reader is referred to the Allied raid of Dieppe.) There is textual criticism of Chopin, Handel, Shakespeare, the Church fathers, and a host of other facts from history because there is some degree of uncertainty about all of those men and events. Furthermore, if the reader were to sit down with another member of his family and discuss the details of last week, there would be times when disagreements would arise regarding the mundane or even important events. If mankind struggles to recall with perfect clarity the events of last week, can men be reasonably expected to get the details right for events hundreds of years ago? Is it not somewhat presumptuous to assume that modern man is in complete possession of all the facts of bygone centuries when he quibbles about the events of last week? Yet many men in the critical text camp take their most authoritative arguments on such an important subject as the Word of God from history, never stopping to wonder if their understanding of it might be less than perfect. So when a King James man reacts in silence to a question from history, that silence does not mean that his argument completely falls apart. The truth is that for every question from history that the KJV man cannot answer, there is a Scriptural matter that the critical text man cannot answer. One is forced, then, to choose his set of problems. Either he chooses to let the Bible speak plainly for itself and wrestle with an imperfect understanding of history, or he chooses to assume a perfect knowledge of history and execute exegetical gymnastics when dealing with plain passages of Scripture. Those in the KJV camp choose to admit their lack of facts from uninspired history while standing in faith upon the Word of God.

Fifth and finally, King James men insist that the underlying text of Scripture is a big deal. Statisticians from the critical text side would remind those KJV men that 93% of the two texts are identical. According to them, there really is no significant difference in the remaining seven percent because many of these differences are merely in spelling. No major doctrine of the Bible, they assert, is affected by the omissions of the other text. On the surface, this argument sounds really good and seems to push both sides in the direction of “Can’t we all just get along.” The problem lies when the revealed character of Satan is juxtaposed with the numbers. Satan from the very beginning was good about knowing exactly what God said and then questioning it. He proved his own Scripture memory ability to no less than God the Son in his temptation from the pinnacle of the Temple. He quoted a verse almost perfectly, leaving out only one phrase. The Scriptures reveal his attack on God’s Word from the beginning of the Bible in Genesis to the end of the Revelation. Furthermore, there are doctrinally significant passages that can easily tip one way or another based upon what text of the Bible is considered authoritative. Some may say that the subject of 1 Timothy 3:16 is known, but the Traditional Text removes all doubt in saying that it was not some unnamed masculine person that was manifested in the flesh, but God Himself. During the First Century, the doctrinal attacks in Christology did not focus on the deity of Christ, but rather on His humanity. In later years, however, the tactic would change and men would readily admit to His humanity while rejecting His deity. Seeing through the corridors of time, God knew this attack would occur and so inspired Paul to write that it was God in the flesh of a baby in Bethlehem, God immersed in the waters of Jordan, God healing the sick, God raising the dead, God bleeding on Golgotha, God rising from the dead. To weaken this eloquent statement of Christology is to pick a fight with many KJV men.

Likewise the door to a major Catholic and Protestant heresy swings on the omission of Acts 8:37, where both the meaning and mode of Christian baptism could not be clearer.

Other examples could be cited, but there are omissions in the seven percent that are doctrinally significant indeed. For all who believe in God’s divine inspiration of His Word, every repetition of every doctrine is of utmost importance. If God wanted to repeat something five times, who can reduce the number to four repetitions without risking His wrath (Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-19)?

While there are some that would not agree with every point of emphasis in this article, many KJV men would heartily echo its claims. The hope of the author is that those are now on the fence in this important issue would see that fanaticism or lunacy is not a prerequisite for taking a King James position. Many, if not most, who hold to the King James do so for the reasons listed in this article. Those who hold to the KJV for other reasons, Kevin Bauder on one hand and Bill Grady on the other, will separate of their own accord. Let it be known, however, that men who take their stand on the Traditional Text of Scripture and the King James Version stemming from that text will not be intimidated by such pressure. Torrents of words in blogs, books, theological journals, or other media will not dissuade them. Any are welcome to agree or disagree, but let none criticize King James men without a proper understanding of where they stand and why they have taken their stand where they have.


Evangelist Paul Crow

Paul Crow Evangelistic Ministries

1) See Kevin Bauder’s article Now, About Those Differences, Part 23, citing William Grady as the spokesperson for those who take a King James position.

2) “The doctrine of the preservation of Scripture was first included in a church creed in 1647. As we have argued above it is not a doctrine that is explicitly taught in Scripture, nor is it the belief that God has perfectly and miraculously preserved every word of the original autographs in one manuscript or text-type. It is a belief that God has providentially preserved His Word in and through all the extant manuscripts, versions and other copies of Scripture. … not only does no verse in Scripture explain how God will preserve His Word, but there is no statement in Scripture from which one can establish the doctrine of preservation of the text of Scripture. … it is also obvious from the evidence of history that God has not miraculously and perfectly preserved His Word in any one manuscript or group of manuscripts, or in all the manuscripts.” (W. Edward Glenny, The Bible Version Debate: The Perspective of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, 1997, pp. 93, 95, 99.)

Site Publisher’s Note:
There are good reasons for embracing the Majority Text, which I do. My personal preference for preaching/teaching and study is the KJV, believing it to be the most reliable version of God’s Word today. I do, however, allow for other believers soul liberty and autonomy of the local church to choose as they feel lead. I recommend reading Dr. Fred Moritz’s position on the preservation of Scripture in his book, Contending for the Faith, pp. 78-ff. You might also consider, The Revision, Revised by Dean Burgon.

March 7, 2011

In Defense of the Nation

This week my oldest son, Lcpl. Peter Martuneac (USMC), will be home with our family for pre-deployment leave. Later this month his battalion will deploy to Afghanistan. During the next week I want to give Pete and the family my full attention.

Over the next 7-10 days I will post one or more new and/or archived articles for your consideration. Comments will be uploaded. Later this month I will begin a new series with the Gospel as the main theme.

Pray for our all of our fighting forces who serve in defense of our nation.

March 3, 2011

Dr. Ernest Pickering: “Should Fundamentalists and Evangelicals Seek Closer Ties?”

My copy of Dr. Ernest Pickering’s pamphlet, Should Fundamentalists and Evangelicals Seek Closer Ties has been a helpful resource for many years. It was first published by Baptist Bulletin in 1986. At the conclusion there is a personal word from Dr. Pickering originally meant for Dr. Ed Dobson who was then the associate pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA. Dobson had just written In Search of Unity. The pamphlet, including Dr. Pickering’s personal word, has bearing today on the movement by certain men in fundamental Baptist circles who desire, seek and are engineering closer ties with evangelicals.

A Personal Word
Permit me a personal word in conclusion. I have been involved in places of leadership in the separatist movement for over thirty years. I have been editor of a leading separatist magazine, dean of a separatist seminary, president of two separatist schools, pastor of some great separatist churches, and presently am serving as chairman of the executive body of a separatist association of churches. I have enjoyed fellowship with hundreds of separatists belonging to various bodies (and some to none). Their lives and ministry have touched my own and I have benefited thereby. While not pretending to speak officially for them, I believe I know many of them well enough to be their spokesman on this occasion.

Dr. Dobson, we want to say that we love you and those who espouse your position as brothers in Christ. We are not “hatemongers.” We do not view ourselves as “extremists.” Our hearts ache as does yours for the fractured state of the visible Body of Christ We desire growing and vital churches. We are concerned for the lost souls of men. We are not sour, dour, pugnacious persons who always are looking for someone to attack.

Many of our friends probably would number themselves among those “new image fundamentalists.” While not agreeing with their position, we nevertheless seek to maintain our friendship and respect them as Christian brothers. Many of them pastor sizable churches, head Christian schools or organizations, and are articulate, winsome and influential. We thank God for all the good things about them. It is hard for us to disagree with them, to take an opposite position, and to risk lifelong friendships and much misunderstanding by doing so. We do not enjoy it. We shrink from it. But we must be true to the Word of God and to our own consciences. We do not take our stand against our Christian brethren carelessly or with a frivolous spirit. We do it with grief and struggle and, yes, even tears.

I, with others, was involved in the original conflicts over ecumenical evangelism. Some of us raised the first cries against the principles of the “new evangelicalism.” We have labored for years to defend our young people, our churches and our educational institutions against the watered-down theology and middle-of-the-road philosophy held by many of those with whom you would have us unite. The arguments we hear now we recall very vividly hearing thirty years ago from those who wanted us to move “beyond the fundamentalist-modernist controversy” to a more “centrist” position. The new evangelical movement began years ago with what one astute observer aptly called a “mood.” Moods are difficult to define sometimes, but they nonetheless can be real and potent forces. Theirs was a mood of toleration, an acceptance of widely varying theological concepts—a mood of “broadmindedness.” We fear such moods since we have seen, within our lifetime, their final outcome—a full-blown movement steeped in compromise. We believe we sense such a mood abroad today among those who, in all sincerity no doubt, think we should broaden our bases and reshape our image.

What we say, Brother Dobson, to you and others of your viewpoint is this: We cannot walk the “road back” with you. Our refusal arises out of no personal animosity or out of a desire to have a “good fight.” Many of us fervently wish we could quit the battle but we dare not. We want to be loyal to God, to His Word and to His standard of holiness. Painfully conscious of our many shortcomings, nevertheless it is our aim to imitate the balanced life of our Lord Who was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). We want to be “speaking the truth in Love” (Ephesians 4:15). We have tried to do it here. Pray God we have succeeded. (Excerpt from Should Fundamentalists and Evangelicals Seek Closer Ties? by Dr. Ernest Pickering, first published in the Baptist Bulletin, March 1986.)
There is a “mood” today among certain men in fundamental Baptist circles. The mood of “toleration, broad mindedness” toward the aberrant doctrines, ecumenical compromises and worldliness in ministry of the so-called “conservative” evangelicals.

It becomes increasingly clear that Dave Doran, Kevin Bauder, Tim Jordan and Matt Olson have made up their minds that it’s better to tolerate the troubling inconsistencies of the Evangelicals than to stay with the inconsistencies of certain Fundamentalists. After all, Kevin Bauder has eloquently explained that all of us are inconsistent sinners, fundamentalists and evangelicals. The obvious problem is this- while all are inconsistent sinners (at best) some are advocating for the right biblical position and some are not. In this case, the inconsistent fundamentalists are fighting for the right cause, authentic biblical separation.
The new “mood” is the old mood just with new names in the mood for “tolerance” and “broadmindedness” where there should be none.
The “final outcome” of the new mood has at its end “full-blown” compromise. And Brothers Doran, Bauder, Jordan, Olson: We cannot walk that road with you.


LM

For Related Reading:
John Piper to Feature Rick Warren at 2010 Desiring God

Is Northland International University “Unchanged?”

Al Mohler Signs the Manhattan Declaration: Was This a First Time Foray Toward Ecumenism?

The RAP on Mark Dever

SBC Decides Against Expelling Pro-Homosexual Baptist Alliance