March 29, 2013

Dr. Matt Olson, “I Apologize to You for...,” What?

On Thursday, March 14 Northland International University (NIU) held its annual Day of Prayer. The theme was, “Whole Life Worship Day.” On Monday, March 25 Dr. Matt Olson addressed the student body about the Day of Prayer.  The following (beginning at 5:48 of the video and MP3 recordings) is a verbatim transcription of Dr. Olson’s remarks given on Monday, March 25, 2013.
“We have done a Day of Prayer the last seven or eight years…. I didn’t want it to get to routine where you get into the same ol’ same ol’ all the time. So, this last year I thought I really want to tie this to a right view of God and worship because I think that is so woven in with prayer. So, I had met Jason and Drew earlier this year and was impressed with their teaching on worship and I invited them to come to join us, same with Josh Beers. I think for many of you it was a real blessing Day of Prayer. 
Some expressed to me concerns that you were not comfortable with that day. And I just want to say to you I apologize for that. The last thing I ever want to do (indiscernible) is someone, especially students to be uncomfortable about something. That is not my intent. My intent is completely that we are united to worship God and learn to pray. It was probably different than we normally do and I know for most of you you’re thinking, “what is he talking about?” I think for some of you, you understand what I am saying. It was different. 
I go back to this; these principles have almost always driven when it comes to music in worship. Music is not going to be a controversy at Northland in the future. We are not going to let it [music] be. We are just not going to fight over that. It [music] is going to look different not that we’ve changed our core values and principles, but as you reapply those to the times it will look different. Most of our alumni that I am with look different than me…. 
People ask where is Northland heading in the future? I will say we are catching up with our alumni because I think they get it. When it comes to worship and music here is what I am committed to:
1) It’s Doxological. In other words, passionate pursuit of the glory of God above all things. 
2) It’s Biblical: The commands and teachings of the Scriptures are the principles that guide us. 
3) That it’s spiritual. That it’s in the heart. It is in the heart level and it manifests love. 
4) Where it’s in the proper context. 
I just want to say to you as students there are going be things that you may really love and really not love as much or feel uncomfortable, but if there’s ever a time like in a service you’re not comfortable with something, two things: 1) You feel free to step out and I’ve said even if God’s working in your heart you need to go and pray, you feel free to step out. I don’t want you to feel trapped by anything. 2) You know the door is always open to come and talk. I am not going to try to twist or change or convince. I just hope that you feel we can talk through these things. 
And I believe this with all my heart: If you live committed to these principals, what I’ve talked about: God’s glory, to be guided by the Scriptures in your life and do everything in love that God is going to bless that kind of life and ministry. 
As we lead Northland we don’t do things perfectly, but I want you to know the heart in that and the heart behind the Day of Prayer is to be unifying and I think for many of you it was. I don’t want to create a controversy of some saying, “did you think it was good or not?” I don’t even want to get there. How you feel matters. It matters to me. It matters to all of us here and we want your experience at Northland to thrive and be a real, real authentic Christianity that’s rooted in Scripture, the Word of Christ.”
No, we do not doubt Matt Olson’s sincerity – we doubt his wisdom. He brings in Josh Beers and other men, possibly including Jason Janz for a “Day of Prayer.” Matt leads the young people to mix, that which is most holy (Prayer) with that which is profane (the world’s CCM/Rock music) and then renders an apology. Why doesn’t he inform and apologize to their parents and pastors? The students who are learning how to be involved in mixed-worship may not want to come home to the old ways.

On Thursday, March 28 I emailed the following questions to Dr. Olson and NIU’s Director of Marketing Jonathan Bailie. I indicated that these questions are being asked for the record and that an article on Dr. Olson’s remarks about the Day of Prayer would be published shortly.
1) Matt apologized for a portion of the Day of Prayer that was not normal saying that something was done that “was not what we normally do.” Would you please clarify for us what it was that wasn’t “normal?” (Those who will be listening could come to any number of uncomfortable conclusions.) 
2) There are those who are saying that some students walked out of a segment of the Day of Prayer because of the style of worship being introduced. Is that your impression of why they would walk out? 
3) Dr. Olson said, “Some expressed to me concerns that you were not comfortable with that day. And I just want to say to you I apologize for that.” What exactly about the Day of Prayer made some students “uncomfortable,” and brought about Matt’s apology to them? 
4) We understand that Jason Janz was recently invited to campus. His appearance on campus was noted at the NIU site. Was he part of the leadership or platform presence overseeing the Day of Prayer this year? What other role(s) did Jason Janz have with the student body in addition to and/or if not with the Day of Prayer? 
Later in the day in an ad hominem laced reply Jonathan refused to answer any of the questions. At time of this publishing Matt Olson has not replied to the questions.  Maybe you have questions for Dr. Olson about the Day of Prayer or another concern. You can find contact details for Dr. Olson (and Jonathan Bailie) at NIU’s website. 
Bible College students don’t walk out of a Day of Prayer when they are lead in the singing of Sweet Hour of Prayer.”*
Dr. Olson acknowledges that it was something “new” that concerned their conscience.  What was this “new” thing that concerned students to the point of walking out?  Dr. Olson said, “I Apologize to you for that.”  We ask, apologize to them for what?”


Dr. Olson’s remarks on the Day of Prayer begin at 5:48 of this video, 3:50 in length. The video may not remain on line for an extended period. If it is no longer viewable, you can refer to the transcription above.
*Sweet Hour of Prayer
Words: William Walford, 1845
Music: William B. Bradbury, Golden Chain (New York: 1861)

Pastor Brian Ernsberger has just published an article that has direct bearing on our discussion here.  Please see, Is NIU Fundamental?
Do fundamentalists recruit students at rock concerts? Do fundamentalists attend evangelical churches and charismatic churches and promote both? Do fundamentalists have evangelicals preach in their chapels? Do fundamentalists promote camps that teach our daughters to dance? Do fundamentalists reproduce Broadway musicals in chapel, even if done in parody?  Personally, to answer the above questions, I give an unequivocal, NO!”
In his remarks Dr. Olson said, “People ask where is Northland heading in the future? I will say we are catching up with our alumni because I think they get it.”

There are alumni that have gone over to the world's CCM/Rock styles for their worship services. There are NBBC alumni that have gone over to the C. J. Mahaney Sovereign Grace, Charismatic movement. From all indications, which have been documented, it is these kinds of alumni that Matt Olson thinks “get it” and is racing to catch up to. I dare say the vast majority of NBBC alumni are not going in the direction of CCM/Rock worship methods or the modern Charismatic movement.

March 22, 2013

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

Earlier we consider Kevin Bauders peculiar statements on Lordship Salvation. Please see, Let’s get Clear on This: Kevin Bauder, T4G & Lordship Salvation

There is a theme in Kevin Bauder’s series, Why I Do Not Join Popular Gospel-Only Organizations. Seven times in the series Kevin makes reference to the interpretation of the gospel commonly known as “Lordship Salvation.”The recurrent theme articulated by him first appears as follows.
“I admit that I do not know every person on the council, but of those I do know, none appears to be an Arminian. All affirm a fairly strong [strongly-worded] version of Lordship Salvation. None definitely holds (for example) a Chaferian or Wesleyan rather than a Reformed understanding of sanctification.”
Sanctification is Not the Crux of the Lordship Salvation Debate
Sanctification is not where the controversy and true danger of Lordship Salvation’s theology lies. Your experience might be different, but in many of my discussions with Lordship Salvation (LS) advocates I find them very reluctant to define and discuss LS in terms of justification, how the lost man is born into the family of God. LS advocates typically try to keep the discussion focused on sanctification, to the near exclusion of justification. We see that trend repeated by Kevin. In any discussion that you have about Lordship Salvation it is imperative that you get on the subject of justification and stay on that subject. You’ll find the LS advocate trying to redirect away from justification to discuss sanctification, the growth in Christ of a born again believer.
“The major issue and crux of the doctrinal controversy is over Lordship’s definition of how the lost are born again. Concerns in regard to the discipleship of genuine believers are an important discussion, but…that is not where the main controversy lies. The crux of the Lordship debate is over the requirements for salvation, not the results of salvation.” (IDOTG, p. 47.)
“Lordship Salvation’s repentance confuses sanctification (growth of a believer) with justification (God declaring/ making a sinner righteous).” (IDOTG, p. 127.) 
“As we begin look at ‘saving faith’ in light of Lordship Salvation we must remember when the Lordship advocate speaks of ‘saving faith’ you must determine if he is speaking in terms of what he believes is required for salvation or what should be the result of salvation…. Lordship advocates confuse sanctification with the event of justification, which is why they define ‘saving faith’ in terms of commitment and surrender. There is little disagreement that true faith in Christ for salvation should result in a genuine desire to live for Christ. James 2:14-26 is very clear; a genuine conversion should evidence itself in genuine results.” (IDOTG, pp. 151-152.) 
“…the Lordship debate revolves around the requirements for, not what should be the results of salvation. Lordship Salvation places demands on the sinner for salvation that the Bible does not. A new life through submission to the lordship of Christ should come as a natural result of salvation, but the Scriptures never identify submission as a requirement for salvation, justification.” (IDOTG, p. 259.)
What is T4G’s “Strongly-Worded Version of Lordship Salvation?”
In 2010 Kevin Bauder declared the evangelicals to be the “foremost defenders of the gospel today.”2 Kevin Bauder says, “fundamentalists and evangelicals believe, preach and defend the [same] gospel.” We have already discussed how this was and remains a distortion of known facts in the Lordship salvation debate.3

It is widely known and indisputable that almost to a man the so-called “conservative” evangelicals “believe, preach and defend” the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the gospel. Kevin, therefore, lauds them as defenders of Lordship Salvation. Now, however, he finds some discomfort with an undefined “strongly-worded version of LS.” Until Kevin shows us where and how the T4G men define what he considers a “strongly-worded version of LS” we are not going to know what that is and why he lauded them for being the foremost defenders of what we all know is Lordship Salvation.

T4G Affirmations & Denials
The T4G Affirmations & Denials (A&D)4 were drafted by J. Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler, Mark Dever and C. J. Mahaney (April 2006). Kevin Bauder has worked in cooperative ministry with Mark Dever and Al Mohler. Kevin suggests he may not be welcomed into T4G because of a “strongly-worded version of LS.” If that is the case why is Kevin participating in cooperative ministry with the men who wrote T4G’s “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation?”

Al Mohler: Kevin Bauder co-wrote a book, Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism, with Dr. Mohler. Kevin shared the platform with Dr. Mohler at the 2012 Evangelical Theological Society’s annual meeting to discuss/hype his rather obscure book.5 Al Mohler is co-author of the T4G Affirmations & Denials. Does T4G’s A&D contain the “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation?”
KB has been in cooperative ministry with Mark Dever. Mark Dever is co-author of the T4G Affirmations & Denials. Does T4G’s A&D contain the “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation?” Surely, Kevin has discussed the gospel with Mark Dever. Has Kevin asked Dever for clarification on the alleged “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation?” Can Kevin show us in T4G’s Affirmations & Denials where he finds a “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation?”

Kevin says T4G, “effectively excludes non-Calvinists and (evidently) even moderate Calvinists who might dispute a strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation.” Kevin Bauder might not join and/or be unwelcomed by T4G for various reasons. It is, however, clear he has no problem working in cooperation with and heaping lavish praise on men who founded T4G and drafted its Affirmations & Denials.

The Rallying Point is Lordship Salvation
Make no mistake about it: The rallying point for the Calvinistic segment of men in fundamentalism with the so-called “conservative” evangelicals is around the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the gospel. Lordship Salvation is the magnetic attraction for both groups. Men such as Dave Doran, Matt Olson, among others have advocated a new “gospel-driven separation6 and/or gospel-centric fellowship. Because they base their fellowship with evangelicals around LS Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Tim Jordan and Matt Olson have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to tolerate, allow for, ignore or excuse aberrant doctrine, ecumenical compromise and cultural relativism for the sake of that LS fellowship. We have men who once were committed to the Biblical principles of separation, who would not compromise for the sake of fellowship with the non-separatist evangelicals. That is all changed now. We see men like Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Matt Olson and Tim Jordan working in close cooperation with a collection of non-separatists, including New Evangelicals.

For your consideration I offer the following quotes from some of the better known advocates of Lordship Salvation.
“Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.” (John MacArthur: TGATJ, p. 78.)
“That is the kind of response the Lord Jesus called for: wholehearted commitment. A desire for him at any cost. Unconditional surrender. A full exchange of self for the Savior. It is the only response that will open the gates of the kingdom.” John MacArthur: TGATJ: What is Authentic Faith? p. 150.)
“If you want to receive this gift it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ…. Have you submitted to the Lordship of Christ? Have you really come to the end of self? Because Jesus does not begin until you end.” (Steve Lawson: The Cost of Discipleship, It Will Cost You Everything, Resolved Conference, Feb. 2007.)  
“If you want to receive this gift it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ…. Have you submitted to the Lordship of Christ? Have you really come to the end of self? Because Jesus does not begin until you end.” (Steve Lawson: The Cost of Discipleship, It Will Cost You Everything, Resolved Conference, Feb. 2007.) 
“There is no doubt that Jesus saw a measure of real, lived-out obedience to the will of God as necessary for final salvation.... What God will require at the judgment is not our perfection, but sufficient fruit to show that the tree had life-in our case, divine life.” (John Piper: What Jesus Demands From the World, pp. 160, 221). “Endurance in faith is a condition for future salvation. Only those who endure in faith will be saved for eternity.” (R. C. Sproul, Grace Unknown, p. 198.)
Those are among some of the most strongly-worded versions of Lordship Salvation I am familiar with. Do statements like those appear in T4G’s Affirmations & Denials?

Kevin Bauder does not define for or link us to where he finds T4G’s “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation?” Why doesn’t he define for us what he feels is a “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation?” Does he have a definition of his own that he feels is a fair representation, less “strongly-worded” Lordship Salvation that we can compare to T4Gs version?
Kevin Bauder, Would you do us the courtesy of defining Lordship Salvation in your own words to show us why you believe T4G’s LS is a “strongly-worded version?”
In Dr. Ernest Pickerings critical review he defined what must have been for him John MacArthur’s “strongly-worded version of Lordship Salvation.” He wrote,
“John MacArthur is a sincere servant of the Lord, of that we have no doubt.... We believe in his advocacy of the so-called lordship salvation he is wrong. He desperately desires to see holiness, lasting fruit, and continuing faithfulness in the lives of Christian people. This reviewer and we believe all sincere church leaders desire the same.... But the remedy for this condition is not found in changing the terms of the gospel.” (Lordship Salvation: An Examination of John MacArthurs Book, TGATJ, p. 7.)
Changing the terms of the gospel,” is about as blunt in gracious terms as one can be when you tell a man that he has corrupted the gospel of Jesus Christ, which Lordship Salvation in fact does. Lordship Salvation does change the terms of the gospel.  Lordship Salvation corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3) and LS frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).
“Kevin’s charge that ‘the most forceful defenders of the gospel are no longer to be found within the Fundamentalist camp’ constitutes nothing short of slander. Perhaps Dr. Bauder does not know the fundamentalists I know. I can name scores of pastors who regularly and rigorously defend the gospel. Ah, but therein lies the rub. Note, I said ‘pastors.’ You see, Bauder’s concern is that professional scholars defend the gospel, not lowly pastors.”
“Pastor Doran says that ‘gospel separation is primarily at the level of relationships between churches, ministries that serve churches, and those who are recognized as ministers among the churches.’ Doran leaves the door open to violate his own premise when he allows for a broadening of fellowship in order to allow some form of academic freedom or scholarly exposure. The Premise is Violated in Three Ways: •DBTS is a ministry of ICBC, •DBTS is a ministry to serve local churches, •Dave Doran is a recognized minister in and among the churches. Remember, it’s one thing to read a book critically. It’s another thing entirely to tacitly extend the hand of fellowship because a person is a ‘scholar.’ Exposing impressionable students to compromised Christian leaders and scholars is not only dangerous it is an act of disobedience.”

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?”

March 5, 2013


The very idea of a unified Fundamentalism brings forth a chuckle of derision.  Having been personally involved in Fundamentalism for over forty-four years, I find the very notion of unity within Fundamentalism ridiculous. Fundamentalism has always been divided into numerous theological taxonomies. In most part, these various taxonomies had little or no identification or cooperation with one another other than a general taxonomy in that they agreed there were certain fundamentals of the Christian faith. They did not even necessarily agree on the details of those fundamentals. Therefore, Fundamentalism was always divided by adjectives such as Presbyterian Fundamentalism, Methodist Fundamentalism, Congregational Fundamentalism, Pentecostal Fundamentalism, Baptist Fundamentalism, or varying associations or groups of fundamentalists like the F.B.F., I.F.C.A., G.A.R.B.C., and ad infinitum. The point is that divisions have always been a defining factor within the nomenclature known as the Fundamentalist Movement. Separating from various groups within the movement has also been a descriptor of Fundamentalism. Perhaps this is what defines the word movement.  

There are those that have given the analogy that Fundamentalism is like an ocean liner that has developed huge holes in it caused by divisions. These people postulate that those dividing are actually taking big pieces of the ship with them causes the holes. Instead, I would postulate that the divisions have been attempting to deal with the holes innate to Fundamentalism by using rescue boats to escape the originally corrupt movement. It is those that have escaped the ambiguous nomenclature of Fundamentalism with definitive doctrinal positions that are the hopes for giving it any real and lasting hope and purpose. Those postulating that the divisions are the problem simply do not understand that such evolving taxonomy is normal.  

From the beginning of the Fundamentalist Movement, there has been a continual evolution of divisions that no longer cooperated with one another. Divisions within divisions even developed. Were some of these divisions nonsensical? Probably, but those within those new divisions did not think they were unimportant. They believed they would answer to Jesus at the Judgment Seat and felt compelled to act upon what they believed to be important. These new divisions acted upon convictions or preferences they thought important. I want to understand what they believe and I want to talk with them to discover why they think a new division is essential. I may persuade them or they may persuade me, but I will listen and hear what they have to say. These are conversations in which I regularly participate, especially with young pastors just going into the ministry.

The latest unity craze within Fundamentalism is really a form of Ecumenicism between various professing Fundamentalists, Conservative Evangelicals, Evangelicals, and even many New Evangelicals. Within this New Ecumenicism are included almost all forms of Reformed Theology, Covenant Theology, and those holding to non-cessation of miraculous gifts such as tongues and healers. Ecumenicism is defined as dialogue between diverse theological beliefs in order to set aside many doctrinal distinctions in order to promote a common good. Those within Ecumenicism are those willing to cooperate together in the common good. This common good within broad, or universal Ecumenicism, has evolved into political and social activism in promoting the social gospel and the advancement of Socialism in the world.  

Most New Evangelicals immerse themselves in Ecumenicism. This Ecumenicism became apparent in the formation of Ministerial Associations in cities all over the country. In the city of Hutchinson, MN (about 13,000 people), almost every pastor in town (but me) belongs to the Ministerial Association.  

Old Fundamentalism completely rejected Ecumenicism. New Fundamentalism has developed its own form of Ecumenicism within their newly redefined parameters. These New Fundamentalists are no longer content with having considerable and uncooperative divisions within their Fundamentalist Movement. These New Fundamentalists want a new Ecumenicism that promotes some kind of pseudo-unity for the common good. This never existed in any real way within the Fundamentalist Movement before. There were a few organizations that attempted conferences promoting such unity, but they never achieved it in any practical way. They got along fairly well as long as no one started talking about theology.  

The very idea of unity within the broad stream of Fundamentalism is ludicrous. It is not ludicrous because we should not discuss differences in beliefs with those with which we disagree. It is ludicrous to think that there can be some kind of unity within diverse theological divisions just for unity's sake. The very notion is bizarre. Unity is the outcome of unifying beliefs, unifying practices, and unifying attitudes/emotions. We cannot simply create a taxonomy called Unity and put within it anyone willing to be included. How would such taxonomy be defined? - All Those That Do Not Care about Doctrinal Unity. This defines New Fundamentalism as New Ecumenicism.  

Old Fundamentalism has always been divided into numerous uncooperative theological divisions. New Fundamentalism condemns that, even calling what has historically been normal to be now abnormal. There is an uncertain trumpet being sounded here. These New Fundamentalists are speaking in a language of words that have no meaning. How can one have unity where there are doctrinal divisions? How can that happen without changing areas of disagreement? Unity within disunity - really, is there anyone gathering to the sound of that uncertain trumpet?

Dr. Lance Ketchum
Reprinted by permission

March 1, 2013

THE BIG LIE by Dr. Clay Nuttall

The unregenerate heart holds few surprises.  While it may not be as evil as it might be, one can only wonder at the amount of sinful activity it produces.  We are always surprised when a child of Satan actually participates in something good, because that is not his nature.  The world of communication is filled with man’s efforts to cover sinful attitudes and actions.  The use of “turn-speak” is only one example.  Using new words with cloudy meanings in order to cover old words that hold harsh reality is certainly nothing new.   Claiming good intentions in an effort to hide heinous perversions has simply become a way of life.  When Jesus was faced with the question of good, however, He said “…there is none good but one, that is, God.”  (Matthew 19:17)  Only the true child of God has the capacity for true good, and this is because the God who is good dwells in each believer.

Not only is it possible for the redeemed one to have good in his/her life; it is expected.  The surprise comes when a believer chooses to speak or do evil, because that is not the nature of the God who dwells within.  The saint is out of character when attempting to cover up his sin and disobedience.  We call this the “Adam syndrome.”  Never in my lifetime, though, have I seen such a prevalent practice among those who profess salvation as is evident today.  This attitude has become epidemic, but remember the old spiritual that said “everyone talking about heaven ain’t goin’ there”!

The covering up of sin has become a much-used tool in both evangelicalism and fundamentalism today, and we need to focus on one particular aspect of this practice.  There is a well-worn but foolish phrase being used constantly which tries to convince us that methods do not relate to belief:  “We have changed our method, but not our message.”  That is impossible, and down in their hearts, they know it.  Denying the link between methods and faith is part of the Adam Syndrome; it is “The Big Lie.”


Jesus taught that all issues, both evil and good, flow out of the heart. (Matthew 12:35)  Any attempt to divorce action from motive in the normal life is impossible.  For both the children of God and the children of the devil, the source of any action or method comes from the heart.  The inner man represents what we believe, and every word or deed in your life today comes from what you believe.  This is not a light matter; men want to be free to do their own thing without any interference from a holy God.  There is only one real reason why the pseudo-scientist pushes the folly of the Big Bang theory and evolution - it has to do with what they believe. The first chapter of the book of Romans details this motive: it is the motive of fools, both in what they believe and in what they refuse to believe.

Paul writes that God expects better things from believers, because actions do come from what they believe.  When trying to cover a rebellion of the flesh, a believer is acting out of character and violating his new nature.  The practice of covering one’s own base desires by trying to separate them from what he believes is nonsense.  It is dangerous to try and cover actions that rise from anything but the true faith detailed for us in the Word. (Proverbs 28:13-14)


It is impossible for a person to do anything that does not rise from his belief.  There is a positive side to that.  A person who changes his method because of greater understanding of the Word finds it beneficial.  We never really arrive; we just continue to grow.  As a result, positive changes that rise from our belief are good for us.  The whole point of this article, however, is that to say there is no relationship between method and message is a statement without merit.  It is impossible, since all our actions rise from our beliefs.

Many of today’s changes in methodology result from a lowering of theological standards.  The opposite is also true in that the change in methodology may affect our view of biblical authority. Francis Schaeffer rightly pointed out that a society is affected by art, music, literature, media, law, science, and medicine.  It is also true that a society is reflected in these categories.  That is why, when you see or hear something in an area, you are often able to tie it to a certain historical cultural setting.

The question is, “Why would anyone deny that methods and messages are joined by a silver cord?”  It is because this is the nature of the flesh.  We want our own way, even if it means we have to attempt to tell God what to do.  So strong is our lust for the present cosmos that it becomes easy to say that “God has not spoken to this” or “He is not interested in that area of life.”  The truth is that God desires to supervise our “every thought to the obedience of Christ.”  (II Corinthians 10:5)  That is true of both what we do and how we do it, particularly in ministry. Defending an unsupervised methodology is like telling God to mind His own business… and He will; you can be sure of that!


It is very interesting to note the sources of some of these new approaches for which so many of today’s leaders seem to be clamoring.  In the majority of cases, the ideas are not coming from trusted biblical theologians; rather, they come from people who may know about the Bible, but who demonstrate that they do not know the Bible.  On the receiving end, we can only wonder why people in our circles are so quick to swallow ideas that have not been tested by the text of scripture.  In many cases, it may be that they are unfamiliar with basic Bible theology and therefore are not wary of adopting things that do not rise from our basic beliefs.

This discussion is similar to the defense that left-leaning leaders offer in academic institutions. They tell us that they still have their original statement of faith, but it is neither taught nor practiced; it is nothing but paper and ink.  This flawed model is where a lot of flawed method comes from.  It makes no difference where the error is born; denying the connection between practice and faith, method and message, is downright dangerous.  It is not only a lie - it is the Big Lie.

Shepherd’s Staff is prepared by Clay Nuttall, D. Min

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