January 19, 2011

Dr. Rick Arrowood: Answering Questions About the Changes We Are Seeing in Fundamentalism

UPDATE (1/24/11): At the Crosspointe Baptist Church web site Dr. Rick Arrowood has published an editorial follow up to his Open Letter, Answering Questions About the Changes We Are Seeing in Fundamentalism. In addition to his personal commentary he has posted several letters of appreciation, support and encouragement he has received in recent days. I encourage all readers to visit Rick Arrowood’s Editorial Accompaniment for his editorial and the letters that follow. Also available at the CBC site, click on the link under Pastor’s Burden for Fundamentalism, scroll down to UPDATE! Response to Pastor’s Open Letter for the PDF.
Dr. Rick Arrowood is senior pastor at Crosspointe Baptist Church (CBC) located in Indianapolis, IN. Pastor Arrowood recently preached a sermon series highlighting his concerns for Fundamentalism. There are three relayed media types you can access via the Upcoming Events page at the CBC web site.

The two part sermon was titled Prove All Things,1 which can be accessed at Sermon Audio. Power Point slides accompanied the two part sermon. Both Prove All Things and the Power Point slides are downloadable at the CBC site.

In an open letter to his church family Dr. Arrowood offered a pastoral perspective on the issues that confront Fundamental Baptists. At the CBC site there is a downloadable (PDF) copy of the open letter by Dr. Arrowood titled, Pastor’s Burden for Fundamentalism: Answering Questions About the Changes We Are Seeing in Fundamentalism.

Answering Question About the Changes…in Fundamentalism is well written, sensible, and helpful. Fundamentalists, the younger generation in particular, need to give serious consideration to the things Dr. Arrowood is saying because very few others are saying them. His article poses with clarity and precision thought provoking matters that most are no longer thinking about. For example, the fact that just as today, there were “conservatives” in the Southern Baptist Convention when our independent fundamental Baptist forefathers left it. That was never our issue. Association with known error was the issue then as it should be today.

There will be no comments allowed under this article. I do, however, encourage each of you to visit the CBC site, download the PDF and share it with as wide a circle of friends and family as possible. With Dr. Arrowood’s permission are sample excerpts from Answering Questions About the Changes We Are Seeing in Fundamentalism for your consideration (bold added).

Excerpt 1:
Is there a difference in a man who makes a mistake or bad judgment call, and the development of a man’s patterns that turns one onto the slippery slope of compromise? When we see those obvious changes, especially by our friends, why is it that we talk more about our friends than to our friends? (We all know that many of us, especially preachers, are often “walking news in shoes”!) When we discern that compromise is driving our friend’s ministry decisions, how long do we allow the changes to go on without speaking to him about our concerns? As we pray about when and how to address these tender issues, we should always do it as the Lord leads, and in the spirit of Galatians 6:1. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted, keeping in mind: (Proverbs 17:17) A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 27:6) Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Excerpt 2:
As I read the blogs of Dr. Kevin Bauder, I see an attempt to re-write the history of fundamentalism in America. No one has that privilege. Are we not hypocrites when we deprecate the secular intellectual for attempting to re-write our American history, only to set ourselves up to do the same with the history of Baptist fundamentalism? We are who we are, regardless of how some may want to re-define or re-name us. These types of changes have a way of lowering personal standards of holiness, and will change our music, our worship, our dress, and even our choices of entertainment. I recognize that in the fragments of fundamentalism, there are some who may push an envelope, over-emphasize, and/or become imbalanced (even heretical) from whom we distance ourselves. Therefore, I loathe being lumped together with those who take hyper views in regards to the text issue, Calvinism, and dispensationalism.
Excerpt 3:
The most recent changes that concern me are the messages on music and the letters sent to me by Dr. Matt Olson, who is also my friend. I have spoken to Dr. Olson about my concerns, and we agreed to agreeably disagree as to his reasons for having Dr. Rick Holland who serves as Staff Elder at Grace Community Church, where Dr. John MacArthur is Pastor-Teacher, Staff Elder) speak in chapel at Northland International University. We came to another impasse when he explained his reasons for having Dr. Bruce Ware, a professor from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary teach a block course to the graduate students. My heart breaks! Never did I believe that we would be placed in such a corner in our fundamental circle as we are being placed in today.
Excerpt 4:
Who really is changing as we see this new wave of picking and choosing, applying and justifying, defending and mitigating, “mixing and mingling”? If it is right for us to “platform fellowship” with new-evangelicals and those in the SBC, why have we not had them preach in our colleges, seminaries and fellowships over the past sixty years? A Southern Baptist teaching theology in a fundamentalist church, college or seminary has his roots in Southern Baptist soil, and when transplanted temporarily to a fundamental church or school brings that soil with him. If our position has been wrong, then we have missed the placating of well-organized denominationalism with its comforts and retirement benefits. Perhaps we should go to those retired fundamental Baptist missionaries, who have sacrificed term after term on a foreign field, who may be physically and financially struggling in some nursing home, and apologize to them, admitting the Lottie Moon Missions Program would have been a better choice for them. Can you see the shifting of the sand and how it strikes at the foundation of our fundamental Baptist history?
Please continue to, Rick Arrowood's Editorial Accompaniment

1) Sermon Audio, Prove All Things, Part 1 and Prove All Things, Part 2