October 14, 2014

Kevin Bauder: Revisiting The "Rant & Tirade" of 2009

A few weeks ago Pastor Brian Ernsberger posted an article titled, So, Who Exactly is Critical of Allegory? Really!

On July 18, 2014, Dr. Kevin Bauder posted an article critiquing the national FBFI conference held a little more than a month before in June. Now, right up front I want to note that I too was at the conference…. Towards the closing of his article, Dr. Bauder gets to the real reason for his writing, the criticism of Calvinism. Now, I give him credit for coming to this in a much better tone than he did back in the early summer of 2009 when he ranted and ran off on his tirade against about five minutes of Pastor Danny Sweatt’s message at the southeast regional FBFI conference in the spring of that year. Back then, Dr. Bauder didn’t just tirade and rant in one article but did so in two articles and finished with snippets from his inbox about his self-made brouhaha.
From the archives is a three part series, a record of and reaction to Kevin Bauder's "tirade, rant, self-made brouhaha." From June 2009 please read, Even More than "Nuff Said" to Warrant Kevn Bauder's Removal from the FBFI Annual Fellowship Platform.

Some Would Like Me to be Removed From the Platform of the FBFI this Summer,” (Dr. Kevin Bauder).

In recent days there has been a great deal of controversy and sharp contention among Independent Fundamental Baptists (IFB) within and around the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International (FBFI).

In my previous article I issued, A Call for Dr. Kevin Bauder’s Removal From the National Platform of the FBFI Annual Fellowship. That followed The IFB & Calvinism: Flashpoint!, which at the time I thought would be a single treatment of that particular issue.

Among other reasons given in my two previous articles for recommending Dr. Kevin Bauder’s removal from the national platform of the 2009 FBFI Annual Fellowship included:
1) His rhetoric about Dr. Bob Jones Jr. has never been retracted. Dr. Bob Jr. was a big part of the FBF in yesteryear. Should an FBFI speaker be allowed to publicly (as one man noted to me) “throw Dr. Jones under the bus and nothing be done about it?” What message is sent when an open attack against Dr. Bob Jones is tolerated with no response or consequences whatsoever?

2) Missionary John Himes (grandson of John R. Rice) wrote,
Again, I am very disappointed at the language Bauder uses against his fellow fundamentalists, evidently chiefly against Rice: ‘pugilistic and bellicose,’ ‘alpha males,’ ‘the big boys,’ ‘bullies,’ ‘chieftains,’ etc. Is this the kind of language a fundamentalist leader should use?”
3) And as I noted,
With an opportunity before him (Bauder) to promote unity, healing and reconciliation in the IFB community Dr. Bauder chose to pursue a different tact. Instead he further polarized factions, alienated many and fueled further division among men in and around the FBFI. I can’t imagine a more unnecessary, unwise and ill-timed moment as this juncture in the chain of events for Bauder to publish sharp criticism of widely respected men from our own IFB heritage.
4) And contra to the FBFI’s call for men to Speak the Truth in Love,
“Dr. Bauder’s criticisms of Dr. Jones and Dr. Rice was not speech that edifies. It was not a display of Christ-like love. Bauder’s tone was not the sound of humble integrity. The caricatures of Jones and Rice, while barely skirting personal attacks, certainly did not honor the Lord or those men. It is irrefutable that the speech with which Dr. Bauder described Drs. Jones and Rice is antithetical to what the FBFI leadership called for.”
If Dr. Bauder had limited his commentary to the first article, Time to Speak Up,  there would be some degree of just cause for his removal from the national platform. His second Nuff Said, a continuation and expansion of the same themes as the first, raised grave concern over his appearing on the national platform and legitimized calls for serious consideration that he be removed.

Following Bauder’s second article, Nuff Said, one might have assumed enough had been said by Bauder, but he had not yet, Said Nuff.
On Friday (5/29) Kevin Bauder, at Nick of Time published another and third installment of what has become a series. The title is, From the In Box.

In Bauder’s From the In Box, after some opening commentary, he published a long series of private correspondence he received in regard to his two previous articles, Time to Speak Out & Nuff Said. Bauder stated that he,
…believes in giving one’s opponents a hearing…that I (Bauder) would give my opponents the final word in any discussion. For this series, I am doing the same thing. I have made a point of including words of opposition from both sides—and I will offer no rejoinder.”
I did an informal content count of the e-mails Bauder presented. You will find 35 responses that support Bauder’s two previous articles. There are 4 that object and 5 others I felt were neutral. How does that kind of lopsided numerical make up constitute a sincere effort to give his opponents a hearing and/or the final word?

Making matters worse some letters continue Bauder’s critical themes of historic fundamentalists. Some are a continuation of angry reactions to the message by Dr. Sweatt. Calls for greater censure of Dr. Sweatt by the FBFI were included. Following are examples of the more egregious letters Bauder posted,
As a young fundamentalist and a Calvinist, I cannot thank you enough for going to bat against the big talkers who are spoiling fundamentalism. It is refreshing to see a man in leadership such as yourself speaking out against what I perceive to be atrocities committed in the name of Christ.” (bold mine)

The Calvinism issue is definitely one of our questions, and I thank you for addressing it. But, I believe that the greater issue at stake is how long will this ‘duplicitous and abusive leadership...pulpit tirades, doctrinal tomfoolery, and political gamesmanship’ be allowed and tolerated in mainstream fundamentalism?” (bold mine)
How does Bauder’s inclusion of incendiary and vitriolic commentary such as that contribute to a constructive, healing discussion of the issues? Why would Bauder include statements as extreme as these?

Occasionally, I receive articles for my blog that include statements I feel are excessive and needlessly inflammatory. In good conscience before God, to protect the character of men I disagree with and to avoid needlessly stirring emotions I revise or remove inflammatory commentary. If Bauder had any thought that the e-mails cited above might be over-the-top he would not have included them. Is it possible he let those anonymous men say for him, what he could never get away with saying himself?

Dr. Bauder publishing anonymous correspondence from other men perpetuates controversy. Why does Bauder bolster his views and flank himself with others men’s private e-mail? Does he think piling on more rhetoric legitimizes his own? Is he lobbying to keep his seat on the FBFI Annual Fellowship platform?

It has become clear through various on-going blog discussions that most of the men who were offended by Dr. Sweatt’s message are not satisfied with the FBFI’s Speak the Truth in Love response. In Nuff Said Bauder did acknowledge, “We need to give credit where credit is due.... The leadership did what they needed to do for this moment. They took a step that was intermediate but adequate.” There are, however, others who are agitating for stronger more immediate punitive measures to be taken against Dr. Sweatt, to IMO make an example of him. For example from the e-mails,
The FBFI statement is either arrogance or timidity. And I think they’re bed partners, frankly.”

When I read the FBFI statement, I thought that it was a non-statement that was laughably vague, yet here you describe it as courageous!”
No other recognized “leader” I am aware of in the IFB community or featured speaker for the upcoming FBFI Annual Fellowship is at the present publicly airing grievances (his own and those of others that were meant to be private). No other IFB leader is stirring the pot of controversy, taking on a political tone and essentially ignoring the FBFI’s recent attempt to calm the waters. Kevin Bauder is the only recognizable leader perpetuating controversy in the public forum. Other men who are slated to speak at the annual fellowship surely have a position on current events. They are, however, keeping out of the public fray most likely preferring private prayerful discussion. However, we have in Bauder, a high profile seminary president, engaging in public blog commentary (blog warfare as some call it).

Calls for Kevin Bauder’s removal from the national platform are not doctrinally motivated. Instead we have a pattern of behavior from Bauder that is working against unity, harmony and reconciliation in the IFB community.
Kevin Bauder’s on-going commentary has fostered hard feelings and is contributing to a polarization of factions within the broad base of IFB believers and the FBFI membership in particular.

Dr. Bauder has fashioned himself into a lightning rod for controversy! He has done nothing less than *increase the voltage being introduced into the atmosphere of the IFB community. On his own initiative he has made himself a flashpoint of controversy. Bauder’s perpetuating and expanding controversy is a major contributor to what is becoming a “toxic climate” for fundamentalism. In my opinion Bauder’s From the In Box, his third foray into controversy, erases any lingering doubt as to the necessity of his being relieved of any speaking responsibilities at the 2009 FBFI Annual Fellowship.

I do not envy the difficult position that Bauder has put the FBFI leadership in. The FBFI is at a crossroads. Whatever the FBFI decides on Bauder’s appearance at the annual fellowship there will certainly be some level of fallout. Concerns over potential political fallout must be set aside. Name and reputation must be set aside. The only question is: What is the right thing to do?

With his third article Dr. Kevin Bauder has Said (way more than) Nuff to warrant his removal from the national platform of the 2009 FBFI Annual Fellowship. There is sufficient reason...to call for and/or agree that Kevin Bauder must be removed from the platform of the [2009] FBFI Annual Fellowship.


*I chose the photo of lightning bolts over the Chicago skyline for a purpose. In Bauder’s Time to Speak Out article speaking of, “a more historic species of fundamentalism” he wrote,
Fortunately, I do not have to look very far to find a better, more biblically faithful, and more historic species of fundamentalism…. It shows up here and there in the toxic climate of Illinois….
Kevin Bauder is creating a highly charged “toxic climate” in Chicago, Illinois for the FBFI Annual Fellowship.

Important Related Reading:
In February 2013 Kevin Bauder incredibly annouced that he believed it is his "duty" and "responsibility" to clean up the FBFI. His self-declard duty to clean up the FBFI included "hauling out the trash." This is typical elitist, arrogance laced rhetoric from the pen of Kevin Bauder. See, Kevin Bauder: Haul Out the Trash in Your Own Home, First!

Updated (2/11/10):
I attended the FBFI Annual Fellowship in 2009. During the Q&A Symposium fears that Kevin Bauder might once again launch another unprovoked attack against historic Fundamentalism were realized.

Toward the end of the Q&A Bauder dodged a direct question put to him by symposium moderator Dr. John Dr. Vaughn about the conservative evangelicals, which was the subject of the Q&A. His dodge extended to an open attempt to besmirch Bob Jones University for its having hosted various candidates for political office.

Bauder just could not let his three previous attacks on the legacy of Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. and John R. Rice be “Nuff said.”

The irony is that current BJU president Stephen Jones was ill and, therefore, could not appear in the Symposium as scheduled. So, Bauder lowered the crosshairs on the most recognized personality from BJU that was available to him on the panel: Dr Mark Minnick.

Dr. Minnick was obviously uncomfortable with Bauder ambushing him with criticism of BJU administration decisions and calling on him to explain it. Dr. Minnick graciously tried to leave the discussion for the BJU administration to answer since he (Minnick) it not a BJU administrator and cannot speak for the administration, but Bauder kept up the pressure.

IMO Bauder, with that final performance, gave all the reason necessary to ensure he should never again be given a platform presence at an FBFI sponsored event.


  1. Kevin Bauder's words just seem to come back and bite him. While this is getting a bit off point I thought I would add yet another incident highlighting Bauder's blunders. In an SI posting a while back Kevin Bauder made a passing snide remark about your book IDOTG being published by a "vanity press" (his words, not mine). Well here we are in 2014 and we find Bauder's name on a book which fits more perfectly his "vanity press" remark. The book, A Conservative Christian Declaration. Scott Aniol has truly "self-published" this book, for his own Religious Affections Ministries is the publisher. I am really having a hard time taking Kevin Bauder seriously when he speaks outside his mantra of affection for the conservative evangelical crowd.

  2. Pastor Ernsberger:

    Yes, he did refer to my book as being through a "vanity press," which it is. So what? That said, I did have an opportunity to react to his remark in the context of an article I produced on Al Mohler's false repentance over having Signed the Manhattan Declaration.

    Kevin Bauder had been adamant that Mohler had indeed repented. Within his defense of Mohler he (Kevin) spoke of the co-authored Four Views book. Kevin described his book as, "a major volume, issued by one of the most significant evangelical publishers. It is not an obscure work form [sic] some vanity press." I had some fun pointing out that his alleged "major volume, not an obscure work" was very difficult to even locate at the "significant evangelical publisher" web site.

    For the complete article see, An Interim to the Critical Review of Kevin Bauder's Open Letter: The Manhattan Declaration.

    For a related article see, A Critical Review of Kevin Bauder’s Open Letter to Lance Ketchum: Kevin Bauder, Al Mohler and the Manhattan Declaration

    Thanks for stopping by.


    PS: I hope the link to your article from the lead of this brought some traffic to your excellent blog, The Parsings of a Preacher.

  3. I know many pastors in fundamentalism who have joined ranks with Bauder to make fundamentalism look more like New Evangelicalism. I'm thankful for bold, godly men in the FBFI who are confronting the heresies of New Evangelicalism/Calvinism. I've witnessed two churches that have been hijacked by pastors and church leaders. They have deceived their congregations to accept the views of Calvinism through deceptive methods and call it God's will for that church. People need these men, like Bauder, called out.

    1. Thanks for expressing your concern, which is widely shared.

      For a good many years now men such as Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Matt Olson, Tim Jordan, and lesser knowns who gather online at the pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron , have on behalf of the so-called “conservative” evangelicals, tolerated, allowed for, excused and/or ignored the many examples of aberrant doctrine, ecumenical compromises and cultural relativism.

      I too am grateful for faithful men who will not sit idly by while some of the next generation is ruined for the cause of Christ. The pathway to “New” Evangelicalism is the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism, and its star personalities such as John Piper, Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler, Mark Dever and John MacArthur. It is from within fundamentalism, primarily through the efforts of Kevin Bauder, that many of our young men have been shown the pathway to and consequently some fallen into the trap of New Evangelicalism.

      Finally, and fwiw, after Bauder’s 2009 rant, tirade and then symposium ambush at the FBFI conference, I am hopeful the FBFI leadership never again allow for Kevin Bauder to appear in any speaking or official capacity at any FBFI sanctioned events. If they do, the FBFI risks becoming complicit in the ruin of young fundamentalists who fall under the corruptive influences of Kevin Bauder and go the way of the evangelicals.