March 11, 2013

Let’s Get Clarity on This: Kevin Bauder, T4G & Lordship Salvation

In recent days Dr. Kevin Bauder has made some peculiar statements about the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the gospel that we will be giving special attention. We will be seeking clarification, while recognizing that he (Bauder) will in all probability refuse to clarify his remarks. Pastor Don Johnson initially asked Kevin to stay on topic and answer a specific question he put to him involving Lordship Salvation, which for five days Kevin refused to answer. Don, however, decided to drop the subject. See, Kevin Bauder to Choose Between Ernest Pickering and John MacArthur

In preparation for our upcoming article(s) I share with you a statement from Kevin Bauder in the fundamentalist, evangelical debate. His statement is one of the most egregious misrepresentations to date, which he refuses to edit, explain or eliminate. For your consideration, from the archives (August 24, 2010) we present, 
Do Fundamentalists and Evangelicals “Believe, Preach and Defend the [Same] Gospel?”
Many of you are aware of a long running series by Dr. Kevin Bauder titled Now, About Those Differences. He was publishing this series to clear up what he alleges to be misunderstandings surrounding his incendiary article Let’s Get Clear on This. In the opinion of a number of readers the Differences series has instead frequently reiterated his lavish praise of Evangelicalism and continues to redefine and/or castigate Fundamentalism just as he did with both movements in the Let’s Get Clear on This article. Nevertheless, Part 12 subtitled Together (Only?) for the Gospel contains an element that is highly disconcerting, bordering on a deliberate misrepresentation of a known fact, which is the subject of this article. Dr. Bauder wrote,
Most fundamentally (the word is deliberate), both groups are united in their affirmation and exaltation of the gospel. None of the differences that we have examined to this point results in a denial of the gospel. Both fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals believe the gospel, preach the gospel, and defend the gospel.”
For any objective commentator it is widely known and irrefutable that Calvinistic soteriology in the form of the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel is the Gospel message of the so-called “conservative” evangelicals.

Is it possible that Kevin Bauder refuses to disclose the vast chasm, disagreement and debate in Fundamentalism over what is the true nature of saving faith; what is the Gospel?

His statement above is at best an avoidance of the truth and at worst a deliberate attempt to conceal the disagreement that exists among men in Fundamentalism on the nature of the one true Gospel.

There is wide spread disagreement in Fundamentalism over Calvinism, but for many on both sides of that debate Calvinism does not necessarily mandate a split. Lordship Salvation, however, is an entirely different point of sharp contention in and around Fundamentalism.1 John MacArthur defined the core of Lordship Salvation (LS) when in TGATJ he wrote, “Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.”2 Statements such as that are the focal point of controversy and many fundamentalists consider that to be a defining mark of a works salvation. Kevin also wrote,
This mutuality in the gospel leads to a question. Since conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists are united in their allegiance to the gospel, should they not be able to cooperate at the level of the gospel? To put it positively, should fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals get together for the 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. It is irrefutable, and Kevin Bauder is well aware, that many men in Fundamentalism reject Calvinistic soteriology in the form of LS 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 Kevin is also well aware of. Men in Fundamentalism who reject Lordship Salvation as a false works-based message are as aware as Kevin is that evangelicals are almost universal in agreement on Lordship Salvation as John MacArthur defines it. It is, therefore, impossible for fundamentalists who reject LS to have any kind of fellowship, unity or cooperation with the evangelicals because of their advocacy of Lordship Salvation.

To be honest with his readers Kevin Bauder must add a qualifier, a clarification. The qualifier would be along these lines, “Since [Calvinistic] conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists are united in their allegiance to the gospel…” It is the Lordship Salvation message that Calvinists in fundamental circles are choosing to unite around with their Calvinistic counter-parts in Evangelicalism. This is irrefutable! Dr. Bauder also wrote,
Is it really believable that they [T4G] cannot find a place for Christian statesmen like Charles Ryrie or John C. Whitcomb?
Of course it is believable. Frankly, this is a question any casual observer could answer. T4G is Together for the LS Gospel.3 Then there is the alternating year sister conference The LS Gospel Coalition. Lordship Salvation is the interpretation of the Gospel that they gather around. How could Bauder not grasp that T4G will never have Dr. Ryrie on their platform when he surely knows that Dr. Ryrie in, So Great Salvation rejects John MacArthur’s Lordship Salvation as a false interpretation of the Gospel?* The very LS Gospel, which virtually all of John MacArthur’s contemporaries across Evangelicalism embrace.

What the apologists for unity with Evangelicalism who join Kevin Bauder at sites such as the pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron do not fully disclose, try to negate and blur is that Bauder’s so-called “pure gospel” rallying point is Lordship Salvation. This is exactly why no man who rejects Lordship Salvation will ever be invited to the platform of events like T4G and The Gospel Coalition.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the primary test for fellowship with the evangelicals is whether or not they can agree on a Calvinistic soteriology. Kevin Bauder is willing to find agreement and base fellowship with certain evangelicals solely on Calvinistic soteriology, which is undeniably the LS interpretation of the Gospel. This “pure gospel,” as we may examine in future articles, has become the sole test for fellowship in Bauder’s approach to them. Virtually all other considerations among the evangelicals such as ecumenical compromise, worldliness and aberrant doctrine have been tolerated, ignored, negated or excused.

Kevin Bauder attempted to portray Fundamentalism as though all fundamentalists accept and agree with the evangelicals interpretation of the Gospel. This is an inappropriate caricature of the whole of Fundamentalism. According to Kevin Bauder,
Both fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals believe the gospel, preach the gospel, and defend the gospel.”
The truth is that many men in Fundamentalism do NOT “believe, preach or defend” the Lordship Salvation Gospel of the evangelicals. They instead reject LS because it “corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3) and biblically resist its spread as fervently as they would Roman Catholicism’s sacramental system because both are works based, non-saving interpretations of the Gospel.

IMO it is disingenuous and irresponsible for Kevin Bauder to speak of the Gospel in his article as if there is wide spread unanimity in all of Fundamentalism for agreement with evangelicals on what constitutes the Gospel, the nature of saving faith. His failure to disclose the well-known, demonstrable division in Fundamentalism over the LS interpretation of the Gospel, the open rejection of the LS gospel of the evangelicals, is in fact the practice censorship by omission. I am calling on Kevin Bauder to be honest with his readers. To publicly recognize that many men in Fundamentalism reject Calvinistic soteriology and especially the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel, which the evangelicals “believe, preach and defend.”

A Personal Admonition to Kevin Bauder:
Brother Bauder you do not speak on behalf of and are no more the voice of Fundamentalism than I am.

As I have documented in this article you are perpetuating a fallacy on unity in the Gospel. It is intellectually dishonest to declare, without qualification, there is unanimity on the Gospel between fundamentalists and evangelicals. It is an egregious misrepresentation. Scores of fundamentalist pastors, teachers and evangelists reject Evangelicalism’s Lordship Salvation as a false interpretation of the Gospel and you know this to be true. To reiterate, you do not speak for Fundamentalism. Fundamentalists speak for themselves and many of them passionately reject Lordship Salvation and would have every right to be offended by your suggesting Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism believe, preach and defend the [same] Gospel.

I am calling on you to immediately publish a correction of this misrepresentation. Be honest with your readers. Tell them that a select group of Calvinists in Fundamentalism agree with evangelicals on the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel. Tell your readers that Calvinistic soteriology is the “pure gospel” you speak of and around which you are trying to influence others toward unity in the Evangelical and Fundamentalist camps.


Please continue to: Let’s Get Clarity on This: What is Kevin Bauder’s “Strongly-Worded Lordship Salvation?”

Related Reading:
A Pure Church or Pure Gospel: Does It Really Matter?

*Site Publisher’s Update: 
In recent days Kevin Bauder now finds it believable, “that they [T4G] cannot find a place for Christian statesmen like Charles Ryrie or John C. Whitcomb,” and might even exclude him.

1) What is the Fault Line for Fracture in Fundamentalism?
How can there be unity within a fellowship when two polar opposite interpretations of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ are accepted as legitimate? Reasonable men can get along over differences of opinion over Reformed theology. Many men who reject Calvinism have cordial personal friendships with IFB men who are Calvinistic in their theology. There is the desire to work in cooperative efforts and I understand that desire. It is, however, antithetical to the Scriptures to call for unity in any fellowship at the expense of compromise with Lordship’s message, which has changed the terms of the Gospel.
2) For a brief definition of LS by Dr. John MacArthur see, Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page

3) Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: A Response to Kevin Bauder’s “Cannonball” Cogitations: “Foremost Defenders of the Gospel Today?”


  1. Very good article!


  2. Lou,

    Not to beat a dead horse, but I find it ironic that in the past week SharperIron has run nine "Filings" on the Pope and Catholicism and ZERO on Northland International University.

    Apparently, Blumer's digital rag believes fundamentalists are better served by the goings-on at the Vatican than they are by the shape-shifting of fundamentalist school in northern Wisconsin.

    In the new-world order of "a fundamentalism worth saving," we now learn that "The 8 Worst-Dressed at the Papal Conclave" is of more importance to fundamentalists than, say, Northland's newfound love affair with Charismatics and CE's. Moreover, the new fundamentalism thinks the words of Luis Palau about the Pope--"he has great respect for Bible-believing Christians... he basically sides with them"--carry far more interest than those of Matt Olson about a charismatic-oriented ministry--"They get what matters most."

    It's shameful to see what's happening at Northland. And it's more shameful still to see how those pushing "a fundamentalism worth saving" have suddenly come down with lockjaw when it comes to Northland's antics. They seem to find their tongues when it comes to Jack Shaap but not when it comes to Olson. Humm?


    1. TJP:

      SI's history is one of double-standards, playing favorites and censorship by omission. For those who want to explore through further reading I suggest the following articles.

      SI & NIU: Censorship by Omission

      “The story of NIU president Matt Olson praising and initiating a fellowship with a Charismatic church is highly relevant to a wide cross–section of believers in fundamentalism. So, why didn’t SI carry its own report of this widely known development? The liberal mainstream media heaps lavish praise on liberalism, but besmirches and demonizes conservatism. The mainstream media protects their liberal friends by refusing to report on and/or will censor negative stories about them. SI is no different than the liberal mainstream media when it comes to praise, bias, censorship to protect and favoritism on behalf of non-separatists in “conservative” evangelical circles and/or the new wave New Evangelicals circulating in fundamental circles.
      SI’s media style is the first cousin of liberal mainstream media bias!”

      SI May Fit the Description of Being ‘PSEUDO- FUNDAMENTALIST’

      “Because you [Aaron Blumer] have failed to properly recognize the errors, misjudgments, and harmful attitude and dangers of Steve Davis and his opinions, as expressed on published articles at SI. As I said before, I have no objection to the publication of these articles. However, your attitude and the attitude of the moderators appears to be that those who sought to challenge, expose, and rebuke the opinions were overly harsh and lacking the apologetic of Christian love. In so doing you have gone against every admonition and warning of scripture regarding confronting dangerous error.”

      “SI a Fundamentalist Place?” The Facade & Veneer are Stripped Away

      “The [Steve] Davis article exemplifies in stark relief what SI is and has been from its inception. Aaron Blumer authorized its publication on the front page knowing full well the meaning and intent of the article.... Never at SI has any positive or uplifting ‘stuff’ been published on Fundamentalism ‘to think about.’ Why? Because SI is NOT a Fundamentalist site. SI does not exist to promote Fundamentalism in a positive light or to edify Fundamentalists. SI has NEVER has been either of those things.”

      SI: Playing Favorites Again

      “The history of SI has always, always been to play favorites; to gang-tackle, bully and/or marginalize anyone who does not toe the SI party line, attack and chide anyone who dares to confront [Kevin] Bauder or one of the stars of evangelicalism. The SI moderators pounce on, malign and impugn others at will with no admonition from Aaron Blumer or whatsoever.”

      Censorship by Omission: SI Ignores Haddon Robinson at Calvary Baptist Seminary

  3. TJP,
    The double standand, the hypocrisy of many commenting at SI is seen quite starkly with a comparison of filings and such between the slamming/condemning of Chuck Phelps and what they are doing concerning C. J. Mahaney and the debacle at SGM. The justifications that some bring up for the differences are quite imaginary to say the least.
    It's quite shameful what has been said, all in the name of Christ.

    1. Pastor Ernsberger:

      I published an article along the lines of what you've said here. See,

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

      “Aaron Blumer has been derelict as a Christian publisher and sinful in his approach to addressing the entire tragic situation. There has been no 'attitude of forbearance' whatsoever. Aaron has shown no inclination of forebearance. Aaron (and Jim Peet) have repeatedly allowed for the publication of 'reckless accusations of crime or cover up,' which as SI site publisher and owner makes him complicit in the doing of it.
      Aaron Blumer and Jim Peet have been enablers of sinful gossip, hurtful innuendo and rumor mongering.”

      It is incredible to me why any man, who appreciates the best of what fundamentalism has been and can be, would lend their support to SI by participating there or worse yet supporting SI through advertising dollars.


  4. Lou,

    You said, "It is incredible to me why any man, who appreciates the best of what fundamentalism has been and can be, would lend their support to SI by participating there or worse yet supporting SI through advertising dollars."

    Apparently, not too many fundies even read SI, much less support it.

    In that special forum "for Leaders" to discuss fundyism, only a few participated. Evidently, those truly concerned about fundamentalism don't think much of Blumer's little forum or website.

    Apparently your wish has come true. Most fundies appear to be avoiding the "fundamentalism worth saving" charade as bellowed at SI.


  5. TJP: Many have departed SI for a variety of good reasons. If it weren't for their moderators propping up the threads the site just might grind to a halt. Why Don Johnson participates, IMO to the hurt of fundamentalism in recent weeks, I do not know.


  6. I have several good fundamental blogs bookmarked that I enjoy visiting regularly. SI is NOT one of them. I used to read SI when Jason Janz first founded it in 2004 but over time found the inconsistencies frustrating. I have not visited it since. Right now I have around 13 fundamental blogs that I read, including IDOTG. I am always looking for more if anyone has a list. Thanks Lou for your willingness to stand for truth!

    1. Very kind, thanks for saying so. On SI, if you are not familiar with it, see my second blog, Sharper Iron: In the Iron Skillet