January 27, 2013

An Open & Critical Review of Kevin Bauder’s Open Letter

On Jan. 25, 2013 from his In the Nick of Time blog Kevin Bauder published An Open Letter to Lance Ketchum. This Open Letter is Kevin Bauder’s reaction to a Nov. 2012 article by Dr. Ketchum titled, The Subtlety of Good Words and Fair Speeches.”1

“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…. Like Kevin, I would give credit to the conservative evangelicals where credit is due. I say ‘Amen’ to everything they have done well in defense of the gospel of Christ. But not at the expense of discrediting fundamentalism for the valiant battles it has fought against some of the very things many conservative evangelicals are espousing which compromise the gospel, yet which many of the current generation do not seem to take very seriously…. 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 reacting to Dr. Kevin Bauder’s Let’s Get Clear on This, March 2010)
In the nearly three years since Dr. Priest’s evaluation above Kevin Bauder has gone far beyond simple “lavish praise” for so-called “conservative” evangelicals. He has doubled-down! Furthermore, it has come to pass that significant differences between conservative evangelical and certain former fundamentalist institutions has disappeared. None more stark than the former Northland Baptist Bible College2 and Calvary Baptist Seminary3 (Lansdale).

Kevin Bauder publicly praises evangelicals for the things he agrees with. However, neither from his blog or the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron does he offer serious public criticism of the evangelicals. He does not warn readers of the doctrinal aberrations, ecumenical compromises, “pitfalls and problems” of conservative evangelicalism.  He has not publicly “reproved” or “rebuked” them. (2 Tim. 4:2) He will not publicly “admonish” them. (2 Thess. 3:15) He does not “mark” them or caution believers to “avoid [any of] them,” (Rom. 16:17).  Instead Kevin Bauder has tolerated, allowed for, excused or ignored the major errors in theology and practice of the evangelicals.  He has, furthermore, embraced them in fellowship and cooperative ministry efforts.4

I invite you to read and consider each of the following articles.  Each has a direct correlation to Dr. Bauder’s defense of, silence or indifference toward the aberrant theology and non-separatist practices of the evangelicals. For example, since first we learned that John Piper would join Rick Warren in joint ministry Kevin Bauder has apparently said nothing from his blog to address this matter.

It was widely agreed that when Al Mohler signed the Manhattan Declaration, which he has never apologized for or repented of, he gave Christian recognition to the deadly “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil 3:18) and compromised the gospel. 
“The ‘Conservative Evangelicals’ have a great articulator in Dr. Bauder. Dr. Bauder gives a positive overview of the movement but says nothing as to their position on ecumenism and Biblical Separation. Read again Dr. Bauder’s definition of neo-evangelicalism. According to his definition, New Evangelicals of the past would qualify as ‘Conservative Evangelicals’ today…. Dr. Bauder’s “Conservative Evangelicals” repudiate the doctrine of separation, they are for greater social involvement, and they are determined to engage in theological dialogue with liberalism as is seen by their associations with what are considered liberal religious organizations.”
The Trojan horse of evangelicalism is being brought into the fundamentalist camp and it is Drs. Bauder, Doran, Jordan and Olson that are holding the gate open and leading it in. All doubt has been removed on the direction of Dave Doran and Kevin Bauder toward cooperative ministry with non-separatist, compromising evangelicals. Is this a fundamentalism worth saving?”
Should there be genuine surprise that CBTS would participate in the Desiring God conference? From what Central’s former president Dr. Kevin Bauder (2004-2011) has written and with whom he has been in fellowship and cooperative ministry with it is no mystery that Kevin’s feet are pointed toward the compromising evangelical orbit that is cloaked under the guise of a so-called ‘conservative’ evangelicalism. Unfortunately, it now appears as though Central Baptist Theological Seminary, as an institution, is headed in the same direction as Kevin Bauder.”
The Minnesota Baptist Association has announced that Phil Johnson, of John MacArthurs Grace to You, will be the featured speaker at its September 2013 Men’s Fellowship.
When professed fundamentalists such as Dr. Kevin Bauder, Dr. Douglas McLachlan, Dr. Timothy Jordan, and Dr. Dave Doran begin to defend men like Al Mohler, John Piper, Ligon Duncan, John MacArthur, Phil Johnson, Mark Dever, C.J. Mahaney, and Rick Holland (to name a few), it becomes very apparent that there has been a considerable change in direction regarding the practice of militant separation. This goes one step further when they invite these men to preach for them.”5
(Dr. Lance Ketchum’s The Subtlety of “Good Words and Fair Speeches”)
Beginning Tuesday we will examine and consider a number of excerpts from Kevin Bauder’s Open Letter to Lance Ketchum.  Does Kevin address the crux of Dr. Ketchum’s article? We will examine some of Kevins criticism, claims for himself and on behalf of conservative evangelicals. We will determine, which if any pass the smell test and a reality check.

Yours faithfully,

Lou Martuneac

Please continue to, Kevin Bauders Open Letter: Where Do I Find Agrement?

New Critical Review: Please see Kent Brandenburg's new article,  A Really Nice, Gentle, Loving OpenLetter, Because That's What I'm Calling It, to Kevin Bouder (sic)
“Do you [Kevin Bauder] have available a similar kind of criticism of any evangelicals like you have criticized Lance Ketchum? I could appreciate your wordsmith applied to John Piper, instead of what seems like only glowing praise… Piper doesn’t believe and practice like you.   Ketchum doesn't believe and practice like you.  It seems that perhaps the deciding difference between Piper and Ketchum is that Piper doesn't criticize you at all.  He's only praised you that I have read… And your guys would be upset about criticism of Piper, diminishing your legendary status with them.”

Site Publisher’s Update (2/1/13):
Dr. Lance Ketchum publishes a response to Kevin BauderOpen Letter.  See, Defining Points
The contradiction of all this is that men like Dr. Kevin Bauder, Dr. Doug McLachlan, Dr. Timothy Jordan, Dr. David Doran, and Dr. Matt Olson all profess to be independent, fundamental Baptists.  However, their new definition of the practice of separation is like that of the interdenominational Fundamentalism.  They want most other doctrines other than the Gospel to be eliminated from the practice of separation.  Independent, fundamental Baptists do not agree and do not like what they are trying to do.  They are convoluting what it means to be an independent, fundamental Baptist.
1) The Subtlety of  “Good Words and Fair Speeches.”

2) Northland Students RAP to Jesus Loves Me, and It's Blasphemy!

Is Northland Opposed to the Modern Charismatic Movement?

3) Calvary Baptist Seminary Hosting New Evangelical Dr. Haddon Robinson

4) The same tolerance for and cooperative ministry with non-separatist evangelicals is true of Drs. Dave Doran, Matt Olson and Tim Jordan.

5) The Subtlety of Good Words and Fair Speeches by Dr. Lance Ketchum originally appeared at his Line Upon Line blog


  1. Dr. Bauder and the other "fundamentalist" leaders of our current, once militant schools inherited the schools from stalwarts who fought for seperation from liberals and New Evangelicals. The current leaders, except for Dr. Jordan, have no emotional or historical ties to the schools. Therefore, moving away to a non-militant position is in reality an easier task than one might imagine. Dr. Clearwaters, who was my instructor at Central Seminary, used to tell the story about how he was heckled at The Norhtern Baptist Convention meeting in the 1940's when he would ask the question, "what Jesus are talking about." Paul said to adhere to sound doctrine thirteen times in the Pastoral epistles. Thank you.

    1. I appreciate that you have shared your perspective. You are one of many alumni from schools like Central, Calvary and Northland who are disappointed and sad over how current leadership at those schools have uprooted them and have steered them far from their fundamentalist, biblical separatist roots.


  2. Militant separation from doctrinal error and compromise is a theme that today's "fundamentalist" is afraid off. It is not a popular position to point out doctrinal deviations. Dr. Clearwaters and other past fundamentalist fought for the existence of even their churches when the NBC tried to say the church property belonged to the denomination, not to the local congregations. "Doc" was not a perfect man, but fought for what was biblical correct! It is too bad he is not alive today!

  3. Thought I would place my comment here since you have a link to Dr.Mohler and the Manhattan Declaration. Dr. Bauder has addressed that in a comment over at SI that quite frankly leaves me dumbstruck. Dr. Bauder has cheapened the word metanoia, by his declaration that Dr. Mohler has "repented" of his signing of the Manhattan Declaration because he (Dr. Mohler) stated this in a book,
    Fifteen years later, I did sign the Manhattan Declaration, a statement of common concern on the issues of the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage, and the defense of religious liberty. I had been present in meetings leading up to the document’s release, and I was thrilled with its masterful defense of those three endangered affirmations. I was moved by its affirmations that we will not bend the knee to any earthly power that calls us to deny the faith. I was instructed by the quality of the document’s theological, biblical, and moral thinking.
    I had great hope that the document and the movement would steer a new path that would accomplish a brave moral, consensus with confusing the theological issues at stake. Nevertheless, in light of subsequent statements, I came to believe that the Manhattan Declaration had also crossed the line into unwarranted and unbiblical recognition of the Roman Catholic Church. {What about the unbiblical recognition of the Orthodox Church? My thought not Dr. Mohler’s} We should not be embarrassed to state that we stand together when indeed we do—and on these crucial issues of concern it is especially important that we stand together with courage. But no sense of cultural crisis should blind us to the priority of the gospel. The moral arguments presented in the Manhattan Declaration are eloquent and powerful statements of Christian moral conviction and discernment. The statement is a brave call for men and women of conviction to defend life, marriage, and religious liberty with courage. When it comes to evangelicals and Roman Catholics, the difficulty lies in crafting a statement that acknowledges the Christian truths that are expressed and commonly cherished without requiring a mutual recognition of churches. (taken from pp. 85, 86 of Four Views on The Spectrum of Evangelicalism)
    Really! That’s biblical repentance? This one sentence encased in two paragraphs raving about the declaration? It is to be noted that at the MD website on their list of signatories is Dr. Mohler’s name on the bottom of page 9. One would think that if a man had indeed come to the conclusion that signing something was wrong that he would then do what he could to have his name removed from said document, yet that is not the case with Dr. Mohler and the MD. This being presented as an illustration for biblical repentance is quite laughable if it were not of a serious nature. I would trust that we would agree that Judas Iscariot was NOT repentant, yet even he returned the money given him to betray Jesus Christ. Dr. Mohler has a weak statement in an obscure book which has nothing to do the MD and Dr. Bauder lifts this up as an example of biblical repentance. Dr. Bauder, do you really want to be taken seriously? Then please stop straining at gnats and swallowing camels when it comes to evangelicals.

  4. Brian:

    Literally took words out of my mouth. I am well into addressing Bauder's absurd claim that the p. 85 comment by Mohler is genuine biblical repentance. If ever we needed an incontrovertible proof that Kevin is in the tank for evangelicals, will redefine Scripture and/or excuse them all together, this was it.