January 22, 2013

Archival Series: Has Converging With Evangelicals Been a Dangerous and Failed Experiment?

This article originally appeared in March 2011.  I have revised and edited portions to reflect the current mood.

In April (2011) The Gospel Coalition (TGC) convenes in Chicago. If you were visit the TGC site, the schedule of speakers, you will find names such as:
•Al Mohler- who is known for ecumenical compromise with Roman Catholics, honoring liberals and his chairmanship of the 2001 Billy Graham crusade in Louisville.1

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

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

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

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

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

In 2008 Dave Doran wrote,
This was the reason for my disappointment with the first T4G conference. In many respects, it was one of the most spiritually beneficial conferences I’ve attended—the message by John Piper alone was worth the time and cost of the conference.8
Would Brother Doran publish a similar accolade for the message that John Piper is communicating today through his joint ministry with Rick Warren and recognizing Roman Catholics as born again Christians? Of course not.  Isn’t it then worth the time and cost to retract earlier accolades for the messages of John Piper and replace those with a warning to avoid Piper today?
Isn’t it high time for Dave Doran to “mark” John Piper and admonish brethren to withdraw from and “avoid” him?
Next month (April 2011) the evangelicals will converge in Chicago under the umbrella of The Gospel Coalition (TGC). This event is the alternating year sister conference of Together for the Gospel (T4G). Will men such as Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran Matt Olson, Les Ollila, Tim Jordan, et. al., attend and/or encourage others to attend TGC? Or have they finally seen enough to withdraw from the so-called “conservative” evangelicals and their fellowships?

Drs. Bauder, Doran, Olson, Ollila and Jordan claim to be committed to authentic biblical separation in principle and application. The pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron and Kevin Mungons suggested on behalf of Bauder, Doran and Jordan that they are no different in their commitment to biblical separation than that of Dr. Ernest Pickering. If that is so, hasn’t enough of evangelicalism’s non-separatism been revealed to awaken these men to restore their fidelity to authentic biblical separation for the sake of a pure church? Unfortunately, (Jan. 2013) these men have edged closer to embracing compromising evangelicals in joint ministry, shunning fidelity to the God-given mandates.

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

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

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

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

Brothers Bauder, Doran, Olson, Ollila, Jordan- each of you have a wide influence. The current and next generation you minister to listen to you.
Today (2012-ff.) you men are the progenitors of the new wave New Evangelicalism winding its way through once Baptistic separatist circles.
There may still be time time to repent and recover from the ruinous pathway you trod and have encouraged others to follow you on. You can begin to restore some of the casualties and give those who are uncertain reason to pause and withdraw from the “winding road” of the new “New” Evangelicalism that, in part, your efforts in recent years have set them upon. We pray that you will.


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

2) The “Corrupt Communication” of Mark Driscoll

3) Tim Keller: Recommending Roman Catholic Mysticism

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

4) the discernment deficit

5) ASPIRE: 2001 Pastor’s Conference

2011 Regional Conference - Lake Forest

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

7) Andy Naselli: Conservative Evangelicals Are Not New Evangelicals

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

9) Andy Naselli just announced (Jan. 2013) his joining the faculty at John Piper’s Bethlehem College and Seminary. Andy has been featured at Northland International University (NIU) as a conference speaker and lecturer. Naselli and Bruce Ware’s appearances in NIU classrooms and/or conferences further confirms the new trajectory and radical change from NIU's separatist roots. They bring baggage with them to NIU and expose impressionable students to that baggage: Ware brings the SBC with him; Naselli the new “New” Evangelicalism of men like John Piper and Tim Keller whom he (Naselli) strongly supports and recommends from his blog. See, Is NIU “Unchanged?”

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


  1. The praise of Piper by Bauder and Doran at this point where at least strong qualifiers ought to be released are inexplicable in light of their claim to historic fundamentalism. There are ample numbers of Evangelicals who have sense enough to identify Piper's exegetical/hermeneutical negligence and injurious forms of his novel and bad theology and the inconsistent or contradictory logic in hus propositions at critical pounts that they know to be fearless in pointing out and warning against the damage Piper can inflict.

  2. Thanks Lou for bringing this back with the updated information. One would hope and pray that the praise of personalities will give way to submission to the principles and precepts of the Word of God.

  3. Alex/Brian:

    Thanks for sharing some thoughts here.

    IMO, the likelihood any of the younger men in particular, like Andy Naselli, who is among the star-struck over Piper, are even recoverable any longer. Almost any current/new, odd, aberrant teaching Piper puts out, these younger men take it as if it is new revelation. Not out of the realm of possibility with Piper being one of the leading lights for the modern day Charismatic movement: signs and wonders.

    Doran, Bauder, Olson and Jordan- even if they they can still recognize any of the dangers in the teaching and ministry of John Piper, aren’t about to raise any serious words of caution about or advise brethren to avoid Piper (Rom. 16:17; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15). They’d be run out of the T4G, TGC movement they have heaped “lavish praise” on, embraced and obviously want to be accepted by.


  4. I believe this is a good place to remind readers of the following statement, which is an excerpt from Dr. Gerald Priest who was reacting to Kevin Bauder’s (3/10) article *Let’s Get Clear on This.

    “Kevin 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.”


    Related Reading:
    *Let’s Get Clear “CRYSTAL” Clear on This

    1. Dana Everson1/25/2013 3:05 PM

      Dr. Priest's statement is concise , accurate, and powerful. I keep returning to it to help keep balance in my thinking on these troubling issues. Lord, come quickly!

    2. "Dr. Priest's statement is concise , accurate, and powerful."

      That is why I often bring it back for a fresh reminder. And Kevin Bauder has not done one thing to negate the analysis that Dr. Priest gave those three years ago. In fact, Bauder has doubled-down since then.


  5. AS a graduate of both Pillsbury and Central Seminary, I am not shocked that Central and some of the other schools have moved away from militant position. The current leaders of once solid schools never have been involved in the "fights" that the old leaders, such as Dr. Clearwaters, were involved with. Dr. Clearwaters used to teach about the liberals in the Northern Baptist Convention "laid" their "eggs" of liberalism in the NBC schools. Maybe the New Evangelicals have done the same as the as the liberals of the old NBC. I was told once that Dr. Mclauglin did not want to take a militant stand when he was a pastor in Michigan, but was basically forced to by Dr. Harry Love. The new generation of "fundamentalists" inherited schools which were once solid, but now have turned against militancy. Very sad!

  6. There's more money in compromise.

    I knew Pickering - was saved at his church and discipled by him.

    In the end the very groups/people that he helped and taught turned on him. Why? Did he change? Did he modify the Word of God to fit the times?


    There's just more money and popularity in accommodating to the popular culture.

    The GARBC is a pseudo baptist group now.

    The church's and seminaries that stood firm - gone, closed, changed, renamed.

    In 1 generation this has all come to pass.

    If the Lord tarries? In 2 more years?

    His old church in Toledo will be . . . . I don't even want to think about it.