January 29, 2013

Kevin Bauder’s Open Letter to Lance Ketchum: Where Do I Find Agreement?

On Sunday we began with more than just an introduction to a review of Kevin Bauder’s Open Letter to Lance Ketchum. Let’s continue with where I find some agreement with the Open Letter.

1) Hegelian Dialect
I am not familiar enough with Hegelian Dialect to know with certainty whether Dr. Ketchum’s assessment is correct or not. I will, therefore, refrain from commenting on that issue.

2) Is John MacArthur a hyper-Calvinist?
My definition of a hyper-Calvinist appears in my book In Defense of the Gospel.
“I am uncomfortable with, and reject all five points of Calvinism. There are Calvinists who are uncomfortable with the extremes of the so-called hyper-Calvinism, but what is hyper-Calvinism? I have found that people vary in their definition of what constitutes a hyper-Calvinist. Some believe, for example, that if a man holds to the Limited Atonement position (Christ’s blood was shed only for the elect) he is a hyper-Calvinist. Although I believe that Calvinism’s limited atonement is out of balance with and contradicts the Scriptures, I do not agree that holding to that position necessarily makes one a hyper-Calvinist. So how do I specifically define hyper Calvinism? For me there is one historically definitive mark of hyper-Calvinism. This identifying mark of a hyper-Calvinist is when he refuses to preach the gospel to every sinner, when he has little concern for missions and evangelism, when he refuses to offer an open and universal invitation to every sinner.” (IDOTG: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation, pp. 275.)
So, is John MacArthur a hyper-Calvinist?  In my opinion, John MacArthur does not fit the widely accepted definition of a hyper-Calvinist.

3) Is John MacArthur a “New” Evangelical?
A significant number of fundamentalists believe Dr. John MacArthur is a potential bridge to New Evangelicalism. The reason being that among the so-called conservative evangelicals MacArthur had been thought to be the most like fundamentalists. He has, therefore, been the most widely accepted.  

Today, based on verifiable evidence that any objective reader can examine, I believe it has become clear that there is a more direct bridge for the next generation of fundamentalists to move toward New Evangelicalism than John MacArthur. The bridge is Kevin Bauder, as well as Dave Doran, but even more so at present are Matt Olson and Tim Jordan. What they’ve written, how they’ve abandoned authentic “militant” separation, with whom they are in cooperative ministry with and the influence they exert is paving a glide path for the current and next generation to New Evangelicalism. Having just announced (Jan. 16) his joining the faculty at John Piper’s Bethlehem College & Seminary Andy Naselli is IMO a loss to New Evangelicalism.  How long will it be before we read Andy heaping “lavish praise” not only on John Piper and Tim Keller, which he has from his blog, but for Rick Warren as well?1

Is John MacArthur a “New” Evangelical? In my opinion he does not fit the classic definition of a “New” Evangelical.

We’ll be back on Thursday with the more critical review of the Kevin Bauder’s Open Letter to Lance Ketchum.


Please continue this series with, Kevin Bauders Open Letter: Expanding Our Reach

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) Andy has frequently promoted and endorsed the teachings of Tim Keller, who among other concerns, Recommends Roman Catholic Mysticism. Will the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron retain Andy’s Thoughts on Theology blog on the SI Blogroll when he begins writing positive reviews of Rick Warren’s ministry and/or theology?

Related Reading:
What is Hyper-Calvinism?


  1. Just wondering who Heleg was.

    1. As I say, I am not very familiar with the man or the teachings. I'd suggest starting here.


  2. "Is John MacArthur a “New” Evangelical? In my opinion he does not fit the classic definition of a “New” Evangelical."

    How would you explain the difference between "New" Evangelical and "Conservative" Evangelical?

    1. Nate:

      Good question. In today’s climate and culture I would answer by what we can observe.

      I would have John MacArthur under the label “conservative” evangelical.

      The man (representative of more like him) who I see having moved to a form of New Evangelicalism is John Piper. His latest example is his cooperative ministry with and embrace of Rick Warren’s ministry and theology.

      The next group would include men like Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Matt Olson and Tim Jordan. They are what has become known in IFB circles as “new wave” New Evangelicals. The Sharper Iron site is their chief conduit in a cooperative effort for influencing the current and next generation toward New Evangelicalism.

      I urge you to read Dr. Ernest Pickering’s articles:

      “A Mood of ‘Broadmindedness’.” The NEW “New” Evangelicalism

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

      See if, from those dated writings, you don’t see a resurgence today of what he warned us of then.

      Yours faithfully,


  3. I would recommend that if someone is trying to understand a history of New Evangelicalism to obtain a copy of Dr. McCune's book of the failed strategy of New Evangelicalism. Another source is to go to the WCTS web site, the radio station of Central Seminary, click on the "evening Challenge" part, and find a sermon by Dr. Clearwaters from many years ago titled "New Evangelicalism" Hopefully, the above mentioned information is useful. Thank you.

  4. Lou,

    I can say emphatically that Kevin Bauder is dead wrong about Lance Ketchum's use of Hegel. Hegel was a philosophical idealist who did, in fact, believe in the synthesis of two opposing ideas which he considered always viable for attaining truth in a matter. That is classic Hegel. I believe Kevin Bauder owes a clear argument if he is going to assert LK misunderstands Hegel. He does not, at least not how he used him and that is what KB is referring to in saying he is out of the ball park. There are several good volumes of work on Hegel which echo just what Ketchum observes.