November 30, 2011

Archival Series- Manfred E. Kober, Lordship Salvation: Forgotten Truth or a False Doctrine?

If you were Satan, which doctrine would you want to undermine? Which area of theology would you pervert, to prevent people from being saved? An individual may be wrong about the doctrine of the church or deny the millennial kingdom and yet doubtless be gloriously redeemed. However, if a person is wrong on the doctrine of salvation, specifically, the prerequisites for salvation, he misses the very heart of the gospel. One would expect Satan to attack in the area of soteriology. Indeed, he has! The informed and discerning believer soon realizes that there is a battle raging among evangelicals and fundamentalists over the matter of the conditions for salvation.

I. The Crucial Problem of Lordship Salvation:

A. The problem:

On the one hand there are those who insist that salvation is God's gift and that trust in Christ is the only requirement for salvation. On the other hand, there are respected pastors and theologians who teach that unless an individual submits also to the Lordship of Christ at the moment of salvation, he is not really saved.

B. The positions:

1. Salvation by grace through faith alone:

a. Curtis Hutson in his book, “Salvation Crystal Clear”, has a chapter entitled “Lordship Salvation, A Perversion of the Gospel.” He begins with the following warning: Lordship salvation is an unscriptural teaching regarding the doctrine of salvation and is confusing to Christians, Hutson calls Lordship salvation “another gospel which contradicts the teaching of salvation by grace through faith” (p. 302).

b. Charles Ryrie cautions that “To teach that Christ must be Lord of life in order to be Savior is to confuse certain aspects of discipleship and confuses the gospel of the Grace of God with the works of men.” (Balancing the Christian Life, p. 178).

c. Lewis Chafer writes that Lordship salvation is a seemingly pious but subtle error that in addition to believing in Christ “the unsaved must dedicate themselves to the will of God” (Systematic Theology, III, 384).

d. *Zane Hodges clearly distinguishes between salvation and discipleship. Eternal life is free. Discipleship is immeasurably hard. The former is attained by faith alone; the latter by a faith that works (The Hungry Inherit. p. 114, underscore in the original).

2. Lordship Salvation:

a. J. I. Packer rejects the idea that all men have to do is to trust Christ as sin bearer . . . they must also deny themselves and enthrone him as their Lord. (Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, p. 89).

b. Walter J. Chantry says that salvation without Lordship is impossible: Practical acknowledgment of Jesus’ Lordship, yielding to His rule by following, is the very fibre of saving faith. It is only those who ‘confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus’ (Romans 10:9) that shall be saved . . . Without obedience, you shall not see life! Unless you bow to Christ’s sceptre, you will not receive the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice. (Today's Gospel Authentic or Synthetic? p. 60, underscore in the original). His words concerning those who preach simple faith in Christ are very strong: This heretical and soul-destroying practice is the logical conclusion of a system that thinks little of God, preaches no law, calls for no repentance, waters down faith to ‘accepting a gift,’ and never mentions bowing to Christ’s rule or bearing a cross (p. 68).

c. John R. Stott suggests that it is as unbiblical as it is unrealistic to divorce the Lordship from the Saviorhood of Jesus Christ (Eternity, Sept. 1959, p. 37).

d. A. W. Tozer labels the view of salvation by grace alone a notable heresy and a false teaching (I Call It Heresy! p. 9,19).

e. James Montgomery Boice calls the concept of salvation through faith alone A defective theology. This kind of faith is directed to one who is a false Christ (The Meaning of Discipleship, Moody Monthly, Feb. 1986, p. 34, 36).

f. John MacArthur champions Lordship salvation in his recent book, “The Gospel According to Jesus”. He attacks dispensationalists in general and Chafer, Hodges, and Ryrie in particular for wrongly dividing the Word of Truth (p. 197). No one can come to Christ on any other term than full commitment (p. 197). In his book, “The Parables of the Kingdom”, MacArthur writes that there is a transaction made to purchase salvation, but it’s not with money or good works. The transaction is this: You give up all you have for all He has (p. 108). How does one receive salvation? You give up all that you are and receive all that He is . . . A person becomes saved when he is willing to abandon everything he has to affirm, that Christ is the Lord of his life (p. 109).

Even in our Regular Baptist circles Lordship salvation has become an issue.

g. John Baylo equates the saviorhood of Christ with His Lordship. He holds that saving faith properly understood always involves trusting Christ with one’s life. . . confidence in Christ to both save and manage one’s life . . . superficial faith never saved anyone (Baptist Bulletin, February, 1987, p. 7). In contrast, Paul Tassell pleads that we not confuse the instantaneous act of salvation with the long process of sanctification . . . we must not make saviorship and lordship synonymous (Baptist Bulletin, February, 1989, p. 46). Ernest Pickering in his incisive review of MacArthur’s book states that Well over 100 times in the New Testament we are told that salvation is by faith or through believing. It is a very serious matter to add an ingredient to the gospel of salvation which is not found in the New Testament (Lordship Salvation, Central Baptist Seminary, p. 7). Ryrie cautions that the message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life cannot both be the gospel; therefore, one of them is a false gospel and comes under the curse of perverting the gospel or preaching another gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). As far as sanctification is concerned, if only committed people are saved people, then where is there room for carnal Christians? (p. 170).

Which of these positions is right, which is wrong? They cannot both be scriptural. In theology we do not count noses. In many areas, such as this controversy, able men can be marshalled to support either position. The correctness of a position must be substantiated by a clear grammatical exegesis of the Biblical text.

II. The Crucial Prerequisite for Salvation.

What is the necessary condition for salvation, faith in Christ as Savior or faith plus commitment of life? It is true that some believers dedicate their lives to the Lord at the moment of salvation. The Apostle Paul immediately asked the question: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? (Acts 9:6). With most believers, dedication takes place after a fuller understanding of their spiritual responsibility. Key soteriological passages such as Acts 16:31 and Ephesians 2:8-9 teach that faith in Christ alone is the prerequisite for salvation. Ideally, every saint should recognize the Lordship of Christ from the moment of salvation, but there is a great difference between being a saint and a disciple. It costs absolutely nothing to be a Christian. It costs everything to be a disciple. In Luke 14 the Lord distinguishes between salvation and discipleship while teaching two parables, side by side. In Luke 14:16-24 he related the parable of the great supper into which the entrance was free and unrestricted for all who followed the invitation. In Luke 14:25-33 Christ taught that discipleship was only for those who gave up all.

Being a Christian means following an invitation. Being a disciple means forsaking all. To confuse these two aspects of the Christian life is to confound the grace of God and the works of man, to ignore the difference between salvation and sanctification. The gospel of grace is Scriptural. The Gospel that adds the works of man to salvation is a counterfeit Gospel.

If it was ever necessary for believers to rightly divide the word of truth, it is now, and it is in this area!

Reprinted by permission from the March and April/May 1989 editions of the Faith Pulpit, a publication of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, Ankeny, Iowa. (bold added)

Faith Pulpit, Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, March '89 - Manfred E. Kober, Th.D.


Please continue to Part 2 of this compelling series

Site Publisher’s Addendum:
*Zane Hodges, had since the 1989 publication of this article, originated and introduced an extreme reductionist assault on the Gospel. Hodges’s interpretation of the Gospel has come to be known as the Crossless and/or Promise- ONLY gospel. The reductionism of Hodges is almost universally rejected in the NT church outside the small cell of theological extremists in the Grace Evangelical Society (Bob Wilkin, Exec. Director) and a very few friends who still identify with GES.

November 22, 2011

Does Sharper Iron Allow for the Name of Christ to be Sullied?

Bob Jones University (BJU) has posted a position paper. You may read it at the BJU site under the title, The Position of Bob Jones University Regarding the Membership of Dr. Chuck Phelps on Its Cooperating Board of Trustees. We will consider excerpted portions of the BJU position statement. From these excerpts we will demonstrate a pattern of disconcerting actions of Sharper Iron (SI) site publisher Aaron Blumer, SI administrator Jim Peet and the SI team for what has been to date their providing for and participating in an Internet lynching of a Christian brother. My commentary will follow the excerpts.

For this discussion please continue to my secondary blog Sharper Iron: In the Iron Skillet to consider the question, Does Sharper Iron Allow for the Name of Christ to be Sullied?

Yours faithfully,


LM

November 14, 2011

Dr. Douglas McLachlan, “Community is Being Elevated Above Theology

In 1998 Dr. Douglas McLachlan wrote an article titled, Theology, Community and Naming Your Church. The following is an excerpt.

In recent years there has developed a “tendency toward generic Christianity.” (Millard Erikson and James Heflin in Old Wine in New Wineskins, pp. 50-ff.) The trend, these authors say, is toward a “doctrinally generic Christianity” where the “specifics” of doctrine are dismissed or unimportant. One of the most visible symbols of this trend is the deletion of denominational tags from the church name. In my mind this is a dangerous trend.

It seems to me that the engine driving such name change is the belief that specific labels inhibit church growth i.e., the expansion of community.
Community is being elevated above theology, growth becomes more important than truth.
In earlier times the theology of a church was reflected in its name. To me, that approach still has great merit. The reason is this: generality in name often leads to a loss of specificity in belief. Covering our beliefs, hiding our theology by masking our identity and camouflaging our name may indeed attract a larger crowd (most contemporary consumers think little of “brand loyalty”), but it has great potential to jeopardize and weaken our doctrine, our truth-claims. It produces an environment where beliefs tend to be minimized, changed and in some cases even abandoned as irrelevant to mission, unimportant to ministry (Erikson and Heflin).

Whatever their liabilities (and there are some), names reflect our belief-system. They say something about us. They announce to others who we are and what we believe. Even today, in our postmodern world, names like Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and baptist alert us to a basic set of beliefs. The name becomes a summary statement of certain basic theological commitments. One of the reasons our name “Baptist” still has merit is because it identifies for honest seekers who we are and what we believe. And it represents our belief-system, the theological bedrock which is the enduring ground of our belonging. (The President’s Page, 1998, Italics his.)
Dr. Kevin Bauder, in a recent article On Not Singing (9/19/11), introduced the term “community.”
“Three times Kevin Bauder calls for tolerance of evil. Kevin Bauder is telling us that we need to tolerate what we think to be evil for the sake of fellowship. Isn’t that exactly the new way of doing separation being advocated by Kevin Bauder these many months now? Tolerance of evil for the sake of fellowship.” (See, Are We Forced to Tolerate Evils Within the Community?)
Clearly, from his expanding ministry with non-separatists and ecumenical compromisers, Kevin Bauder has personally “elevated community above theology.” The true danger, however, is in his writing to influence this and the next generation to join him in a “community” of compromise. Along with Kevin Bauder men like Dave Doran, Matt Olson, Tim Jordan have “elevated community above theology.” They are blurring the lines of denominational and/or doctrinal distinctions, to jointly minister with so-called “conservative” evangelicals for whom certain specifics of doctrine are dismissed or unimportant, primarily authentic biblical separation. Yet, Dr. McLachlan recently named these men as leaders in birthing an authentic fundamentalism. (See, Moving Toward Authenticity: Musings on Fundamentalism, Part 1) Based on what they are doing to expand “community” at the expense abandoning absolute fidelity to the doctrine one is hard pressed to recognize any authenticity to a historic, balanced separatist Independent, Baptistic Fundamentalism.
The current infatuation with abandoning the name “Baptist” is but part of a larger problem in the church today—the effort to minimize differences and magnify similarities. It is also propelled by the enormous pressures of the evangelical ecumenical movement which is gathering people of various denominational persuasions in large meetings with the express purpose of breaking down denominational prejudices (a la “Promise Keepers”). True Baptists cannot and ought not be part of such efforts. The convictions we hold are not merely “denominational prejudices.” They are divinely—revealed truths rooted in the Holy Scriptures.
From Dr. McLachlan’s 1998 article above it appeared he held a similar position to that of Dr. Pickering noted here, but does he still? Dr. McLachlan stated that dropping denominational tags “is a dangerous trend”. Did he feel that way at the former Northland Baptist Bible College (NBBC) when the administration discussed dropping the denominational tag “Baptist” from the name of the school? Did Dr. McLachlan voice opposition to that proposal, did he advise the NBBC administration that it would be a visible sign of the trend where specifics of doctrine are dismissed or unimportant?

Dr. McLachlan, furthermore, accompanied Matt Olson, Les Ollila and Sam Horn on the April 2010 trip to meet and confer with Dr. John MacArthur, Phil Johnson and Rick Holland. The result was opening the doors of the NIU classrooms and chapel pulpit to non-separatist, compromised, worldly evangelicals. Recent news out of Central Baptist Theological Seminary indicates that the “trend toward generic Christianity” has become the fashion at Central. See- Will Central Seminary Continue the Drift Away From It’s Historic Moorings?

Comparing Dr. McLachlan’s 1998 Theology, Community and Naming Your Church to his recent Moving Toward Authenticity: Musings on Fundamentalism, Part 1 we recognize that Dr. McLachlan has drifted. He is drifting away from the firm convictions he articulated in the 1998 article.

Dr. McLachlan wrote, “Community is being elevated above theology, growth becomes more important than truth.” Tragically we are seeing unmistakeable signs that he is becoming an advocate for community and growth at the expense of theology and truth. His unqualified endorsement of Kevin Bauder (Doran, Olson, Jordan) and consequently their compromised theology for the sake of community confirms an unfortunate change of conviction and direction.


LM

Related Reading:
Is the former Northland Baptist Bible College, “Unchanged?” See Is NIU “Unchanged?” Northland Baptist Bible College Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity

Calvary Baptist Seminary (Lansdale) to Host Dr. Haddon Robinson

November 10, 2011

Central Seminary Ten Years (1966) by Warren Vanhetloo

In my reading and research for the recent series of articles citing Dr. Rolland McCune and especially his extended references and commentary about Dr. Richard V. “Doc” Clearwaters I came across a web site that I think will be a personal blessing to many of you.  What I discovered was an electronic copy of the Central Baptist Theological Seminary’s Central Bible Quarterly, volume CENQ 09:3 (Fall 1966).  The article of particular interest is titled Ten Years by Warren Vanhetloo.

What I discovered was an electronic copy of the Central Baptist Theological Seminary’s Central Bible Quarterly volume CENQ 09:3 (Fall 1966). The article of particular interest is titled Ten Years by Warren Vanhetloo.

This ten-year report seeks to set forth areas which have remained constant during the ten year period and also areas where change has taken place. Facts and figures and photographs give evidence to the constant change. That area which has remained constant can be best expressed by noting the purpose for the existence of the school and the convictions which have characterized the testimony of the school through this decade. The Founder and President of Central Seminary, Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters, carefully charted its course and personally directed its progress.

Nor did the amazing growth in the ministries of Central Seminary come as any surprise to its Founder. During the first year, he predicted to the Dean, Warren Vanhetloo, that he anticipated the student body to double in size the first five years and to double again the second five years. Looking back at the end of the decade, the fulfillment of such a prediction is amazing. Few other seminaries have enjoyed such growth. Central Seminary had an unusual beginning, with an initial enrollment of 31.
I believe many who were once students, faculty or staff at Central Seminary will receive a blessing from reading the 1966 Quarterly and viewing the photographs. You can read portions on line, but for the full journal the site requires a paid subscription. If you know any Central Seminary alumni who might appreciate seeing this site, pass it along.

Please visit, Ten Years by Warren Vanhetloo


LM

November 7, 2011

Dr. Rolland McCune, “Militancy Has Always Characterized Fundamentalism

We have been considering the timely comments by Dr. Rolland McCune in an expanding series of articles.  Previously we presented and discussed Kevin Bauder’s “Kinder-Gentler Motif...Won’t Carry the Day” and A Kind and Gentle Yet Aggressively Militant Richard V. Clearwaters
My associations with R. V. Clearwaters, often identified with the ugly side of fundamentalism, would contradict what is too often thought to be the mean and unholy spirit that brought fundamentalism down as a “movement.” My 14 years with ‘Doc’ tell a different tale, which has caused me to respond and correct rumors, innuendos and other barnacle-like rubbish about the man and his ministry and leadership.”

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

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

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

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

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


LM

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

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

November 3, 2011

A Kind and Gentle Yet Aggressively Militant Richard V. Clearwaters

Dr. Rolland McCune has continued commenting at Sharper Iron (SI). I want to make excerpts of what he is sharing available to readers here, many of whom do not and would not visit or participate at SI.  We began with his initial comment, which you can read at Kevin Bauder’s “Kinder-Gentler Motif…Will Not Carry the Day.”* Please now consider the following by Dr. McCune as he remembers “Doc” Clearwaters.

One last thought/clarification (I trust). From my 14 years of association with R. V. Clearwaters he and I never had a cross word between us, and I left for DBTS with his disappointment, but none the less his “blessing.” We were especially close during my last six or seven years. I participated in his funeral in 1996 and unashamedly wept as I hugged his daughter Jane farewell as we left Crystal Lake Cemetery.

Doc, as a good leader, prudently chose his hills to die on based on several non-negotiable biblical truths and convictions. But in a showdown when these were being challenged, trampled, disobeyed, avoided or neglected, he was militantly aggressive. This earned him a lot of unwanted and unearned opprobrium over the decades, actually to this very day. Some of the opponents mused out loud that they hoped for the day they would see RVC in his casket. Fortunately he outlived most of them.

Included in his non-negotiable truths was the primacy of the New Testament local church. Thus he opposed the movement that tried to hijack the New Testament Association of Independent Baptist Churches (NTAIBC) from an association of churches to a pastor's fellowship (at Eagledale Baptist Church, Indianapolis, 1966) contrary to the minutes of the call to form an association (passed at Beth Eden Baptist, Denver) one year earlier. The NTAIBC became an association of churches. He also opposed self-perpetuating boards of Baptist institutions who generally wanted him and Fourth Baptist to “pray and pay, but not to play.” This was the case in the formation of the Baptist World Mission** in the 1960s. On the grounds of local church ideology/doctrine he expected first loyalty to Fourth Baptist by paid servants of a Baptist institution whose membership was at Fourth, rather than their first loyalty elsewhere. The same went for paid servants of Central Baptist Seminary, church staff, the Christian school, custodians, et al, as well as all the membership in general. He was loyal to people and he expected the same from them. It was not “my way or the hi-way.” These incidents all became controversial to the point of public resolution with him being blamed in one way or another for the disturbance, usually on ecclesiastically political or pietistic notions.

The local church rubric caused Doc to vigorously oppose interdenominationalism, especially after its failure to sustain Northwestern Schools in the late 1950s when it’s Bible College and Seminary closed down, leading to the founding of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College and Central Baptist Seminary as Baptist, not interdenominational, schools. He was on the board of Northwestern and a confidant of W. B. Riley, and went through the rough waters after Riley’s death.

Ecclesiastical separation was a non-negotiable, both “primary” and “secondary.” Thus Doc participated heavily in the fight within the old Northern Baptist Convention against liberalism, and within the Minnesota Baptist Convention/Association and the Conservative Baptist Association of America against New Evangelicalism. In these controversies, Fourth Baptist Church and the MBA “kept the faith and the furniture.” But of course, RVC took heat for not being loving, kind, gentle and Christ-like when push came to shove and straight talk finally took precedence over quiet, emotional, pietistic diplomatic discussions.

RVC’s style of church administration was summed up in two words, as he constantly told the Seminary students—“through channels.” Anything major that affected Fourth church was first taken to the deacons, after that to the “official family” (composed of all people elected by the church), and finally to the floor of the church. This happened on many occasions while I was there.

Other of RVC’s leadership principles included “take the historical approach,” giving him an uncanny insight to people and proposals that came along. His ability to size up a situation and know of the right, or a good, solution was amazing. He relied heavily on “documents” when in battle, pulling out minutes, resolutions, etc, because “documents don’t lie.” This happened when he was contradicted, whether in court fighting to retain the MBA’s control of Pillsbury Academy or as an expert witness on Baptist polity in suits to prevent the Northern Baptist Convention from stealing the property of churches who voted to withdraw from it, or simply during the formation of a new association.

This has droned on far more than intended, typical of the “few minutes” that Baptist preachers promise to audiences. I did not take space for anecdotes of his life as a pastor, friend, counselor, family man, and others. There his kind and gentle side always showed, whether for a student finding a job, those needing food and raiment, a pastor looking for a church, or churches looking pastors. For funerals he would ask for the Bible and “life verse” of the deceased and conduct a very meaningful service. He was willing to be called back from his annual vacation in Florida (in February/March usually, naturally) for emergencies.

I hope that these vignettes put the man in a better light than is too often forgotten or ignored.
__________________
Rolland D. McCune
I trust those remarks have been encouraging to those who appreciate what the best of Fundamentalism has been, can be and still looks like.

Related Reading:
*Kevin Bauder’s “Kinder-Gentler Motif…Will Not Carry the Day.”

**In October Baptist World Mission celebrated its 50th anniversary at the church where it was founded, Marquette Manor Baptist Church.
SI Administrator, Jim Peet, posted  a particular comment in the thread.  Dr. McCune rebuked him for it.  For example,
If this is any kind of resemblance to the apparently newly discovered and coveted kind and gentle fundamentalism, you have discredited them and embarrassed yourself.”
Go to Jim Peet in the Jaws of the Lion

November 1, 2011

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

Rarely is there any article or comment worthy of mention at the pseudo fundamentalist Sharper Iron (SI). A comment that would be encouraging and uplifting for Fundamentalists. SI and its contributors frequently besmirch and castigate Fundamentalism with the broad brush, most notably and frequently by Dr. Kevin Bauder. Those who sought to speak for and on behalf of Fundamentalism at SI were/are routinely gang-tackled by the site publisher, its moderators and evangelical wanna-bes that frequent the site. Today, however, a comment has been posted that will encourage fundamentalists.


Under Kevin Bauder’s Credit Where Credit Is Due, Part 2 Dr. Rolland McCune submitted the following (comment #5). I reproduce his comment in its entirety here, for your consideration.
Fundamentalism a Generation Ago
I appreciated Dr. Bauder’s autobio; it was interesting, informative and legitimately idealistic. He apparently came to a kinder-gentler fundamentalism that could be found in Mr. Roger's neighborhood but not many places else. That is certainly commendable. I personally knew and enjoyed ministry with almost all the personalities he mentioned and enjoined as worthy of all acceptation, and still count them as close friends and comrades-in arms. I would not object to Bauder's description of them. I would even vaingloriously wish to count myself of their ilk.

However, when it comes to public leadership in battle, leading gently must on occasion “bare their teeth and draw their swords” in defence and propagation of truth itself along with doing so for the innocent and defenseless. And in so doing, an inordinate number of the saints (and non-saints) immediately cry out at the lack of love, lack of the spirit of Christ, let’s pray about it some more, etc., etc. These most often come from the young and immature in the faith, the overly pietistic, or who simply will never understand the dynamics of “the strife of truth with falsehood for the good or evil side.” Leaders in the smoke of battle must contend with them as well the advancing problem. Christ’s gentility would probably be characterized as romp and stomp by some, but I find it impossible to fault the incarnation of love, lowliness, and gentleness. Paul was brutally frank on occasion with both believer and unbeliever, seemingly to counter the meekness rubric.

My associations with R. V. Clearwaters, often identified with the ugly side of fundamentalism, would contradict what is too often thought to be the mean and unholy spirit that brought fundamentalism down as a “movement.” My 14 years with “Doc” tell a different tale, which has caused me to respond and correct rumors, innuendos and other barnacle-like rubbish about the man and his ministry and leadership. He had a very gentle side with sincere people, but admittedly did not suffer fools very gladly, as it were. He was a strong natural leader (among the hated SNLs), and did not see himself as one who “leads from behind” as I myself would be prone to do. But I stood with him, and observed that his experience and wisdom won the day as far as truth and the fortunes of fundamentalism were concerned. Most would argue that his types brought fundamentalism to its present impasse, but it could also be argued that the vacuum in leadership caused by their passing has not seen much of their caliber replaced.

My point is that the kinder-gentler motif in and of itself will not carry the day in the end. It too often seeks ground with the opposition that is not very common when the devilish details and scholastic fine print see the light of day.

Dr. Rolland McCune
Fundamentalism a Generation Ago
To one SI member’s complaint Dr. McCune replied as follows.
David: I totally fail to see what is inflammatory about the term Kinder/Gentler, and regret that it injured your sensitivities. Even more baffling is the etiology of your “milquetoast” query (talk about inflammatory!). True, one can certainly be gentle, meek, humble, kind, honest and earnest. To describe the past and present fundamentalist contenders for truth, the Scriptures, separation, et al, as simply “earnest” is probably a little too flaccid, given the enormity of the stakes then and now. The personalities and controversies have changed, as life and events always do, but I wonder if the bottom line issues and polarities differ absolutely from what they were with the New Evangelicalism. Lowell’s dictum that “new occasions teach new duties; time makes ancient good uncouth” seems to be unfolding before us in some corners of the fundamentalist idea/movement. Calls went out several years ago now for new, fresh, in-depth and scholarly analytical penetrations of the doctrine of ecclesiastical separation and an overhaul of sorts of the history of fundamentalism for our changing times. These appear to have yielded a somewhat confusing and conflicting set of ideas, at least to some of us a little longer in the tooth. Fundamentalist leaders of old were always informed that their proposals, parliamentary procedures, preaching, writing, voting and the like in preserving the faith of our fathers could be done much more nicely, positively and Christ-like. But Jesus on many an occasion was more than “earnest” and seemingly much less than the “holy Jesus meek and mild.” As RVC was wont to say, somewhat parabolically, “Don’t try to be more Christian than Christ.”

Kinder/Gentler “Milquetoastees”
Dr. McCune’s academic pedigree alongside his published works on New Evangelicalism makes him the best choice to say something. Dr. McCune, believers in pulpits and the pews of fundamental churches across America who are deeply concerned with a redefined Fundamentalism “that will not carry the day,” which Kevin Bauder (Dave Doran, Matt Olson, Tim Jordan and Doug MacLachlan) propagate appreciate your timely remarks. We thank you!

Related Reading:
A Letter from *Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters to Kevin Bauder

“Kevin Bauder, It Won’t Fly With Those of us Who Know…”
If Kevin desires to take Dr. Clearwaters’s venerable institution a different direction from the founder, he should do so without pretending to be guardian of the legacy. I knew Doc well enough to know that he would not be at all happy with the direction of Central Seminary under Bauder’s leading. It’s bad enough that his school is headed in a decidedly leftward direction. Please, Dr. Bauder, don’t make it any worse by pretending some affinity with one of the greatest separatist Christians of the last century.
Muddying the Clearwaters by Pastor Marc Monte

This series continues with, A Kind and Gentle Yet Aggressively Militant Richard V. Clearwaters