September 29, 2011

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

We have been discussing the ecumenical spirit of certain signatories of the Manhattan Declaration 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 John Piper, 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. More recently we have seen a pattern among some men, who claim a heritage to biblical separation, who are redefining the terms and boundaries of separatism to allow for fellowship and cooperative efforts with non-separatists in the evangelical camp. The definition and application of separation, the lines of distinction between separatist fundamentalism and evangelicalism are being blurred. The blurring of the lines are not because evangelicals are moving toward obeying the God-given mandates for separation from unbelievers and the disobedient among us. Sadly, the lines of distinction are being erased because we have men who circulate in fundamental circles and claim to be militant separatists moving toward doing separation the way evangelicals do.

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.


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

September 22, 2011

Is Kevin Bauder the Right Choice to “Argue for Biblical Separation” in Fundamentalism?

Earlier this month I was directed to a pair of blogs* that are promoting a new book.  The book is titled, Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism (Author/Editors: Andrew Naselli, Collin Hansen). Normally, I would not have been drawn to the, Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism.  What caught my attention, however, was that Dr. Kevin Bauder is one of the four contributors.  Still I was not particularly interested until I found that Dr. Bauder’s primary contribution is in the form of an essay on Fundamentalism. My concern heightened when I read that Dr. Bauder intended to “argue for biblical separation.”

Dr. Bauder’s track record in recent years of redefining and/or castigating Fundamentalism with a broad brush would, for many in Fundamental circles, disqualify him from speaking for or on behalf of them. Especially disconcerting would be his speaking on behalf of the fundamentalists’ application of separation principles defined in Scripture. Dr. Bauder has, furthermore, been highly allergic to presenting and especially applying the principles of biblical separation to his new acquaintances in evangelical circles.

Kevin Bauder is one of a select few men who have introduced and aggressively advocated a redefinition of one of the hallmarks of historic Fundamentalism, which is authentic biblical separation. Dr. Bauder is attempting to influence a paradigm shift away from separation, for the sake of a pure church, long practiced as taught from the Scriptures by balanced Fundamentalists.1 Instead his replacement theology is one of tolerance and accommodation for those who reject in practice the God-given mandates for separation. Men who share and likewise propagate Kevin Bauder’s new “gospel driven separation” and/or “gospel-centric fellowship” paradigms are becoming more like evangelicals in principle and the application of separation.  A theology, which in his own practice of, he repeatedly allows for, tolerates, excuses or ignores doctrinal aberrations, ecumenical compromises, cultural relativism and worldliness in ministry of the evangelicals. He gives great leeway for evangelicals who run rough shod over the Scriptural principles of admonishing, withdrawing from, marking and avoiding (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15; Romans 16:17-18) the disobedient among us and separation from unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14-17; Eph. 5:11; 2 John 7-11). Another example would be the new twist on separation known as “separation in academic contexts.”2 Hence, the reasons why one editor of the new book (Collin Hansen) notes very little difference between Kevin Bauder and Al Mohler who has gone well beyond any “single episode” of ecumenical compromise.

Following are select examples of why many men would have a genuine problem with the selection of Kevin Bauder to write on behalf of and speak for Fundamentalism.
1) His incendiary article, Let’s Get Clear on This.
Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: A Response to Kevin Bauder’s “Cannonball” Cogitations

2) A pattern of castigating Fundamentalism while heaping lavish praise on the star personalities of the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism apart from any serious discussion of or admonition to them for the numerous doctrinal aberrations, ecumenical compromises, cultural relativism and worldliness in ministry among them.

3) His 2009 three part attack (jointly from his blog and Sharper Iron) on the legacy of Bob Jones, Jr. and John R. Rice.
Again, I am very disappointed at the language Bauder uses against his fellow fundamentalists, evidently chiefly against [John R] Rice: ‘pugilistic and bellicose,’ ‘alpha males,’ ‘the big boys,’ ‘bullies,’ ‘chieftains,’ etc. Is this the kind of language a fundamentalist leader should use? With an opportunity before him to promote unity, healing and reconciliation in the IFB community Dr. Bauder chose to pursue a different tact. Instead he further polarized factions, alienated many and fueled further division among men in and around the FBFI.”(Kevin Bauder: A Call for His Removal From the Platform of the FBFI Annual Fellowship)
4) His unprovoked attack on Bob Jones University policy from the platform of the 2009 FBFI Annual Fellowship.

5) His misrepresentation that fundamentalists and evangelicals “believe, preach and defend the [same] gospel.”
“There is no universal ‘mutuality in the gospel’ among evangelicals and fundamentalists. ‘Evangelicals and fundamentalists are [NOT] united in their allegiance to the gospel,’ because there is a vast difference between what evangelicals and non-Calvinists in Fundamentalism believe to be the one true Gospel. Kevin Bauder is well aware, that many men in Fundamentalism reject Calvinistic soteriology in the form of Lordship Salvation as a false, works based gospel. It is, furthermore, indisputable that virtually every man in “conservative” evangelicalism is a passionate advocate for Lordship Salvation, which Dr. Bauder is also well aware of.”( Do Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, “Believe, Preach and Defend the [Same] Gospel?)
6) Excusing Al Mohler signing the Manhattan Declaration, which gave Christian recognition to the deadly enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil. 3:18) and compromised the gospel as nothing more than a “single episode…occasional inconsistency.”**

Kevin Bauder Discussing: Al Mohler’s “Occasional Inconsistency?”

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

7) In a sometimes bloviated 20+ part Differences (between fundamentalism and evangelicalism) series Dr. Bauder never made a serious attempt to present the principles of separation and make a decisive application of them to any of the evangelicals who disregard biblical principles to hobnob with unbelievers, apostates and those who preach/practice egregious forms of aberrant theology and worldliness.
Those things are not representative of one who would presume to champion separatist Fundamentalism! Those things are what unbiased editors would consider non-starters for consideration of an author to argue for biblical separatism in Fundamentalism.

What we do know is that those things are representative of a man who has set in motion a paradigm shift away from that kind of authentic biblical separation preached and especially practiced by godly, balanced Fundamentalists for decades. If one would like to become familiar with the kind of biblical separatism that balanced, charitable Fundamentalists have practiced I would refer any reader to two books by Dr. Ernest Pickering. Those books are: 1) Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church, and 2) The Tragedy of Compromise: The Origin and Impact of the New Evangelicalism. I would also recommend three additional books for your consideration. They are: Be Ye Holy: The Call to Christian Separation and Contending for the Faith by Dr. Fred Moritz and The Dividing Line: Understanding and Applying Biblical Separation by Dr. Mark Sidwell.  For the best of what the Fundamentalist would define, from the Scriptures, as his stance on and for separation those volumes by Drs. Pickering, Moritz and Sidwell are a must read.

Gospel driven” separatism or “Gospel centric” fellowship is the new mantra coming from men who circulate in Fundamental circles, some of whom claim to be “militant” separatists. When like-mindedness on a particular interpretation of the gospel becomes the near sole reason for fellowship and/or separatism the whole counsel of God is seriously negated, and the door is opened to tolerate, allow for, ignore and excuse all sorts of aberrant theology, ecumenical compromise, cultural relativism and worldliness.

Dr. Bob Jones III in the Spring 2011 BJU chapel shared these timely remarks with the student body,
We have been talking in some of the last messages about the error that can result from those whose credo is, ‘Well, it’s all about the gospel, as long as a man is preaching the gospel I can go to that church…and I don’t have to worry about all the rest of it….’ If we take the attitude that it’s only about the preaching of the gospel and that makes everything else acceptable we’re going to embrace a lot of error.” (March 3, 2011- The Faith of the Gospel)
Tolerating, ignoring or excusing “a lot of error” for the sake of the so-called “gospel centric” fellowship is not representative of genuine fidelity or militancy to the God-given mandates for separation.

Many Fundamentalists do not appreciate, do not accept and will not recognize Kevin Bauder as an appropriate ambassador for genuine, balanced Fundamentalism especially on the principles and practice of separation. In what I still consider being one of the most concise and cogent responses to Kevin Bauder’s incendiary article, Let’s Get Clear on This Dr. Gerald Priest wrote,
Kevin has been quite lavish in his praise of conservative evangelicals while castigating so-called fundamentalists…. 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. Priest’s fear is well founded. We are well down that track. The primary significant difference is fidelity to biblical separatism. “Significant differences” are being blurred and beginning to evaporate. I’d like to tell you that lines are blurring because evangelicals are at long last beginning to obey the God-given mandates, but sadly that is not the case. Instead we have certain men who identify with and circulate in Fundamental circles who through their colleges, seminaries, through their blogs, through Sharper Iron and by their actions are influencing this and the next generation of Fundamentalists to relax on militancy in separatism.

Self-described “militant” separatists are moving away from the principles of separation by redefining and loosening the boundaries. They will not admonish compromisers in evangelicalism whom they are seeking out to fellowship and cooperate with in ministerial settings. That segment of men within fundamentalist circles is moving toward evangelicalism and consequently, whether they recognize their shift or not, are becoming non-separatist evangelicals.

The convergence of Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran and Tim Jordan with SBC pastor Mark Dever at the 2011 Advancing the Church conference (Calvary Baptist Church & Seminary, Lansdale, PA) is stark relief of the shift toward the murky waters of the new paradigm on separation. Northland International University’s new trajectory away from its historic Baptist, Fundamentalist separatist roots is another stark example.3

Do we wait for the release of Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism before rendering a final judgment on Kevin Bauder’s contribution? Of course!  All things considered, including the personal bias of the editors: The choice of Kevin Bauder gives the appearance of a political move to advance the cause of blurring the lines of distinction between separatist Fundamentalism and so-called “conservative” evangelicalism.

Many Fundamentalists reject Kevin Bauder as an ambassador for or a personal representative of Fundamentalism. If Dr. Bauder champions authentic biblical separation in this book and calls on the evangelicals to obey God’s mandates for separation we will be grateful. We would, however, then have a huge disconnect between what he wrote for this book and what we have observed him advocating and doing in practice. What we expect instead is another attempt to force authentic biblical separation into conformity with the new mantra of a paradigm shift toward a “Gospel-Driven” separation and/or “Gospel-Centric” fellowship.4  We expect an on-going attempt to blur the lines of distinction of a clear divide along Scriptural lines of separation between Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism.

The selection of Dr. Kevin Bauder to represent separatist fundamentalism raises legitimate questions about the credibility of this volume. The book will suffer among many in IFB circles primarily due to Kevin Bauder being chosen to represent what he has often been redefining, castigating, insensitive and/or hostile toward with a broad brush.


Update: For another critical review of Kevin Bauder’s contribution to this new book I urge you to read This Does Not Bode Well by Pastor Brian Ernsberger.

1) A Pure Church or a Pure Gospel: Does It Really Matter?
I see at least two possible gaps created by focusing on a pure Gospel as opposed to a pure church. First, it seems that it would encourage far ranging fellowship and unity with all groups and sects within professing Christianity. While it is true that all professing believers would by default be on record concerning the Gospel, we are not even remotely rowing in the same direction after that point.... Secondly, if ecclesiastical separation is focused on the purity of the Gospel, then it would seem that believers could join with non-believers in endeavors under a larger religious banner where the purity of the Gospel is perceived to not be at risk.”
2) Is There a Second Definition for “Separation” in Academic Contexts?
Should men be any less militant about ‘guarding the gospel through biblical separation’ in the ministry of a local church than guarding the church itself? The desire to have scholarship presented and/or accepted by others in your field has the potential to pull one away from the local church and toward an institutional focus. My concern is that this completely opposed to the biblical focus, which centers on the church’s role in maintaining sound doctrine and separation from error or disobedient brethren. Unfortunately, there can exist a natural tendency in the institutional setting to make scholarship preeminent, creating an ongoing temptation toward tolerance of error in the pursuit of credentials, academia and recognition.”
3) See- Is NIU “Unchanged?”
Has NIU remained unchanged? In 2010-11 school year would NIU hand the Northland Baptist Bible College Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity to a visiting pastor and/or parent and state that the university still abides by the philosophy and practice it defines? Is the NBBC Position Statement still in force, or has it been set aside to allow for what has the appearance of a change in direction for NIU? Did the name change from NBBC to NIU negate and dissolve the Northland Baptist Bible College Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity?”
4) In the early pages of Dr. Bauder’s essay there are several indications that the new paradigm of Gospel Driven separation and Gospel Centric fellowship will be the main theme of his essay. See the subsection, The Idea of Fundamentalism and Minimal Christian Fellow

For Related Reading:
Are we Recognizing the “NEW” New Evangelicalism?
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”.
Kevin Bauder, “It Won’t Fly With Those of Us Who Know by Ps. Marc Monte.
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.
A Letter From Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters to Kevin Bauder
It is astounding to me that in many of your recent writings on a professedly fundamental, Baptist site, you seem to constantly extol the ‘virtues’ of evangelical Protestants while, at the same time, deriding the ‘vices’ of Fundamental Baptists…. I have observed an inordinate affection towards pseudo-intellectual teaching and a disdain for old-fashioned, confrontational, Bible preaching…. I am grieved when I see you lauding extreme Calvinists who are not even Baptists. Brother Bauder, they and their ilk are not responsible for founding the school called Central…. Dr. Bauder, all given appearances seem to indicate you are intentionally trying to lead those who follow your writings, the students of Central, and even Central itself away from the Testimony upon which it was founded and into the compromising orbit of protestant evangelicalism.”
*Portions of the above are drawn from comments I posted at the blogs I refer to above. They are Roger E. Olson and Justin Taylor’s Between Two Worlds.  The former I never heard of until this month, but Roger E. Olson is one of the four men who contributed an essay/chapter to the book.  Taylor’s blog I have visited rarely. Kevin Bauder posted an article at his blog (In the Nick of Time) regarding the upcoming release of this new book.
** I am aware that in the new book Dr. Al Mohler included a statement on his having signed the Manhattan Declaration. He expresses some regret, but has he repented? That is a subject for an upcoming article.

September 16, 2011

A Moment of Inspiration: Lordship Salvation by Dr. Larry Hufhand

Following is a new review of my book In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation. The reviewer is Dr. Larry Hufhand and you will find this review in his weekly newsletter, The Hufhand Report.

In reviewing Lou Martuneac’s book entitled, “In Defense of the Gospel,” I found it to be very informative relative to the subject of Lordship Salvation. This may not be a classic or the last word on the subject, but it is very good and very helpful.

So what is Lordship Salvation? From what Lou states in his book, he strongly suggests that it is not a matter of semantics, but rather a serious flaw in certain people’s theology. If I understand Lou right, a clear definition is hard to come by, but from all his correspondence relative to the subject, this is a close definition:
Lordship Salvation conditions salvation (justification) on the sinner’s upfront promise and/or conscious commitment to God that he is willing to give up anything and everything, including his life, thus making Jesus the Lord of his life, before he can receive God’s free gift of salvation.”
He states also that in evangelism, the LS crowd make little difference between salvation and discipleship. If that be the case, this book is a must read for all young, impressionable pastors, lest they be led astray thru intellectual subtlety. The position Martuneac takes rejects so called “easybelievism” and presents a perfect balance between how people get saved and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ...what it means to know the Lord and what it means to have Christ be the Lord of your life. Again, it is a must read! Some of the other things he deals with in this book are Repentance, Regeneration, and Calvinism, and he is right on target on all of them. This book has my strong recommendation.

MY TAKE ON THE SUBJECT: I’m not sure that the men who are propagating this view really believe what I understand it to be. Sometimes men take positions that in reality are neither tenable or practical, simply because it fits into their theological position. The idea of putting anything before repentance by the sinner and his faith in Jesus Christ for salvation is to inject human effort, and my Bible rejects that straight out. Frankly, I can’t imagine a fundamental Bible believing pastor doing this. Sometime pastors take a position that fits well into their theology, but in practice, it doesn't work.

Having been a pastor for 46 years, I was totally consumed with the responsibility of being a pastor, and was totally unaware that ideas like this were floating around. I simply went about winning people to Christ using the simple plan of Salvation that I learned while I was a student at Bob Jones University, and then I followed them up with a new convert course trusting that they would grow in the Lord and one day make Christ the Lord of their life and serve Him faithfully. And I can’t help but think that has been the history of most fundamental, Bible believing, Baptist pastors. I don't think I’ve been doing it wrong all these years.

Forever, I have told people that getting saved is easy. It’s the Christian life that's hard. I’ve often said, if a person has enough sense to eat a piece of bread when he’s hungry, he has enough sense to get saved, because Jesus is the Bread of Life. If a person has enough sense to walk thru a door, he has enough sense get saved, because Jesus said, “I am the door, by Me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and go in and out and find pasture.” It really is that simple. God has made salvation so simple that even a little child can get in on it. If Lordship Salvation involves even the slightest amount of human effort then it is “false teaching.”

If I understand it correctly, we have a serious problem in fundamentalism...a problem beyond contemporary music, beyond the issue of versions, beyond the problem of compromise, to the most fundamental of all issues.... What is the Gospel and how do people get saved?

In studying Genesis 4, there are only two ways that people have tried to connect with God through out the ages, either thru the blood or by human effort. And God made it clear in the very beginning of time, salvation must be exclusively by the blood. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone....and it’s not of ourselves in anyway. If it is true that there is an ever increasing number of people who claim that we can and must thru human effort demonstrate our sincerity, by making a commitment to God that we will honor and obey Him in all things before the free offer of salvation can be received, we have a serious problem. Believe me folk, this is not a Biblical position, regardless of who propagates it, or how high up the theological ladder they go. Your comments are appreciated.

Dr. Lawrence Hufhand, State Rep. for the Indiana Fundamental Baptist Fellowship.
You may contact Dr. Hufhand and/or subscribe to the Hufhand Report through his web site Hufhand Ministries or e-mail him at:

From the Hufhand Report
The second part of the “Hufhand Story” will be aired this Sunday, Sept. 18, on the world famous Unshackled Program produced by the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, IL. To get the times and stations go into the UNSHACKLED WEB SITE: and follow the directions. It’s really quite simple.

For additional endorsements and reviews of In Defense of the Gospel please see, IDOTG: Revised & Expanded. IDOTG will soon be available in Kindle and Nook formats.

September 14, 2011

Archival Series: William Carey Refutes the Grace Evangelical Society’s “Crossless” Gospel

The following is taken from: Terry G. Carter, The Journal and Selected Letters of William Carey (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 2000), 148-49. The {bracketed statements} were inserted by the publisher and copied here verbatim from the book.

William Carey’s Letter to Andrew Fuller, November 1800

{Carey had a conversation with three Hindus about the Gospel.}

You will laugh, but I am totally unable to recollect so much of the conversation as to write any thing connected about it, so must leave it, as this is the case with so many disputes, conversations, and conferences held with the Hindus. They appear important while they last and I trust are really so but sometimes the sameness of one to another, renders them unimportant when written in English. Often the apparently little quibbles, tho really important in our situation don’t appear sufficiently so to send to England. We know nothing of the disputes which you in Europe are engaged in; ours bear a nearer resemblance to those of the Protestants with the Papists at the Reformation but a nearer still to those of the old Fathers, with the Heathen, and Gnosticks, such as you will find in Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus.
{Carey and Bro. Brunsdon went to the villages about 3 or 4 miles from town and encountered an old Brahman. Carey had asked if anyone knew how sins could be pardoned. The people referred him to an old Brahman who was wise. He replied that “profound meditation and acts of Holiness would answer the purpose.” Carey shared the Gospel. Here is a sample of the great missionary in action.}
You and I, and all of us are Sinners, and we are in a helpless state but I have good things to tell you. God in the riches of His Mercy became incarnate, in the form of Man. He lived more than thirty years on the earth without Sin and was employed in doing good. He gave sight to the Blind, healed the Sick, the lame, the Deaf and the Dumb—and after all died in the stead of Sinners. We deserved the wrath of God, but he endured it. We could make no sufficient atonement for our guilt but he compleatly made an end of Sin and now he has sent us to tell you that the Work is done and to call you to faith in, and dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, leave you vain customs, and false gods, and lay hold of eternal Life through him. After much discourse of this sort we presented him with a copy of Matthew’s Gospel and three more to three other persons. He promised to read and make himself well acquainted with its Contents and then to converse more about it. It was now dark. I, therefore, prayed with them and we returned home.

Nov. 2. This has been a good Day on the whole. In the morning I went out, and after several efforts to collect a few People together, I got a greater number than I expected….The people are so moveable, some going, and others coming that often the Congregation is quite changed before we have done. I think it desirable that all should hear of the incarnation, and death of Xt (Christ) and the reasons thereof, but as that account am often obliged to repeat those circumstances several times even at one standing that all may hear the Gospel.
{Mr. Thomas and Carey went to Calcutta and visited Mr. Wilcox}
There were a great number of Merchants, Sailors, &ct. perhaps thirty or more at his house. I entered into a conversation with one of them, a Man of great wealth and respectability. The others listened after a few preliminary questions and answers, I sensibly got into a preaching mood, and discoursed with them upon the Way of the Life by Christ, and the insufficiency of all other Ways. They objected to the Death of Christ saying that God could not die. I told them twas true God as the divine nature could not die, but God incarnate could and that he was incarnate for that very purpose, “made lower than the Angels for the suffering of Death.” They acquiesced and wondered. The great man to whom I principally directed myself at first told me that he had that day or the day before received a Gospel by Matthew. We have dispersed near 500 copies of Matthew’s which are read by many.
In October 2007 there was a team of Crossless” gospel advocates in Carey’s India. These “Crossless” advocates teach and believe any “misconception” about, even open rejection of, Jesus Christ’s Deity, Death and Resurrection should be put on the “back burner,” if the lost man objects to any of these vital truths.

Following are some observations on Carey’s comments above. Consider these observations in light of the Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin GES reductionist “Crossless/Deityless” interpretation of the Gospel.

1) Carey translated and distributed the Gospel of Matthew first, not John’s Gospel. Apparently, Carey had not come to the GES conclusion that the Gospel of John “is the only evangelistic book in the Bible!”

2) Carey’s disputes and conversations with Hindus more closely resembled those of early church history, revolving around the Person of Christ (deity, humanity, “the Heathen, and Gnostics”), and then also of the Reformation era, dealing with the Work of Christ!

3) When dealing with the Brahman, he made the problem of how sin can be forgiven the central issue, not just eternal life. He prefaced that by teaching the Deity of Christ; the Son of God was God in the flesh “God in the riches of His Mercy became incarnate”

4) He, like the apostle Paul, preached and emphasized to the lost Christ crucified and the sufficiency of His work on their behalf.

5) William Carey did not treat their “vain customs and false gods” as harmless additions to the “saving message” of Christ as the guarantor of eternal life. He did not put their “misconceptions” on the “back-burner.” Carey viewed them as hindrances to “faith in, and dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Clearly in the context, what Carey means by “leave your vain customs, and false gods, and lay hold of eternal Life through him” is to reject faith and dependence upon empty, worthless, and false objects of faith and transfer their faith/dependence/trust to the only worthy of object—the Lord Jesus Christ.

6) When objections were raised about the death of Christ, His deity, and the incarnation, Carey, unlike the “Crossless” advocates, did not say, “Let’s agree to disagree on that for now, the real issue is the simply the guarantee of eternal life.”

The teachers of the “Crossless” gospel who are in India today are not preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are sowing seeds of false doctrine and discord among the brethren. Their “contrary doctrine” has caused “divisions and offences” (Romans 16:17-18). The only thing more tragic than the division and offense they have brought to the body of Christ is the spread of this reductionist non-saving message to the lost.

May God help us continue to stand in defense of the Gospel. With God’s help the teaching of the “Crossless” gospel will continue to be exposed and refuted. May we do all that we can to recover the deceived and identify Crossless advocates so that the unsuspecting may be forewarned and protected from the GES’s egregious reductionist assault on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Originally published October 2007.

September 2, 2011

The Netherlands: In Defense of the Gospel

Over the past few years I have received multiple contacts from foreign countries in which the writers express appreciation for what they find here at IDOTG.  The Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel attracts the most world wide attention because its insidious spread and corruption of the Gospel of grace is not limited to the church in America. For example I have heard from believers in Germany, Zambia, England, Ireland, Pakistan, Japan, South Africa, Hungary and even a few from Alabama.*  This week I heard from Mr. Robert Bezemer who lives in the Netherlands.  What follows are samples from his recent e-mails to me that I am sharing with you with Robert’s permission.

My name is Robert Bezemer, I am 23 years old and I live in the Netherlands. I need to testify of the gracious work of God through your blog (and other websites) that clarify the serious errors of Lordship Salvation (LS). I did listen to sermons preached by John Piper and John MacArthur and recognized they have compromised the gospel of grace. I also own a book written by A.W. Pink, called Studies on Saving Faith in which he gives the impression that simple, childlike faith in Jesus Christ is not enough for salvation. Now I know it is better to warn of and even avoid such books. I know it is wrong to make an idol of certain preachers, and it was a great blessing to know that my salvation is fully accomplished! But I think certain American Lordship advocates are regrettably quite popular in Holland.

LS really frustrates the Gospel, there is nothing that can be called “Grace” in the LS theology! It is shocking, but I think we can state something like this: “The teaching of LS implicates that Christ’s death was of no worth, because if I do NOT make a commitment, I will be lost forever, even though Christ paid for my sins!”

The danger of LS is that we don’t look to the blood of Christ, His death, burial and resurrection, but that we are asking, “Do I forsake enough for the sake of Christ?” I have found great rest, especially through the articles and teachings of the Middletown Bible Church and now I can understand what you are saying at your blog IDOTG. There is a distinction between SALVATION and DISCIPLESHIP and LS fails at this point. I will also put a link on my blog to your website and I will remove the links to HeartCry and Desiring God.
Robert posted a comment under one of the most read articles at IDOTG, Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page, which is one of the most read articles at this blog.  In comment #136 he wrote,
I live in the Netherlands and I can testify of the gracious work that God has done through this blog and through the website of the Middletown Bible Church. The Gospel presents Jesus Christ and Him crucified, buried and risen on the third day. His blood is all-sufficient for anyone's salvation. The great error of Lordship Salvation is that it fails to distinguish SALVATION and DISCIPLESHIP. It claims someone gets saved because of his COMMITMENT to Christ, but that is NOT salvation, it is discipleship. When I make a commitment in order to get saved, I can boast in something else than the work of Christ on the cross. The danger of LS is that we don’t look to the blood of Christ, but that we are asking “Do I forsake enough for the sake of Christ?” I hope it will encourage others to trust in Christ just like a little child and that there will be taken away such a great burden no one can bear.
In a new e-mail Robert wrote,
I just want to share with you a passage I read from John Piper’s book What Jesus Demands from the World, in the footnote on page 161: I just want to share with you a passage I read from John Piper’s book What Jesus Demands from the World, in the footnote on page 161: “Though it may cause confusion, it is possible to use the word ‘justify’ to describe how the fruit of good behavior works in the day of judgment. The fruits can ‘justify’ us in the sense of proving that we are believers and belong to Jesus and have a right standing with God in him. That is how I understand Matthew 12:37, ‘By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.’ It is as though the Judge said, ‘The evidence is compelling: Your words warrant the judgment that you are a true believer in my Son and have rested your case with him and banked on his righteousness for acceptance in this court.’ Or: ‘Your words justify [warrant, validate] the conclusion of this court that you have trusted in the righteousness of Jesus Christ for your justification in this court’.”
Other quotations Robert shared from from Piper’s What Jesus Demands from the World include,
But though our lived-out perfection only comes in heaven, Jesus really does transform us now, and this transformation is really necessary for final salvation” - page 160

There is no doubt that Jesus saw some measure of real, lived-out obedience to the will of God as necessary for final salvation.” - page 160

Subheading: “Some measure of real, lived-out obedience is required.” - page 160

This is the meaning of self-denial. Renounce everything on earth in order that you might have the Kingdom.” - page 85
Robert went on to say,
There is NO word from Piper on the atoning work of Christ, NO word about His blood, NO word about “It is finished!” It is still the message, ‘you have reached a degree of righteousness.’ If there is 100% truth in that, it would mean that NO Christian can have assurance of salvation, except before the throne of God/Christ! Piper is making the FRUIT of faith the basis for salvation, not the faith in Christ itself.
We thank God for men like Robert who, in his corner of the world, has discerned that Lordship Salvation is a false,non-saving, works-based message that corrupts the simplicity that is Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21). Robert told me that he and fellow believers in the Netherlands are doing what they can to slow and reverse the spread of Lordship Salvation where they are.

You may visit Robert Bezemer at his Salvation in God blog.


*I trust my good friends in Alabama will forgive me, I just had to, with Oregon a close second.

For Related Reading:
John MacArthur’s Position on Lordship Salvation, by George Zeller.

John MacArthur’s Discipleship Gospel