January 25, 2011

Rick Arrowood’s Editorial Accompaniment to Answering Questions About the Changes We Are Seeing In Fundamentalism

With Dr. Rick Arrowood’s permission and enthusiastic support, and in the sprit of bringing a balance to the Christian blogosphere, that you will not find at Sharper Iron, I am reproducing Dr. Arrowood’s new editorial note that accompanies his original, Answering Questions About the Changes We Are Seeing In Fundamentalism. His editorial commentary below is followed by a sample of encouraging contacts received by Dr. Arrowood since the publishing of the original. God is using a simple local church article for His glory.

EDITOR’S NOTE – January 24, 2011

Dear Reader,

I love my callingHow then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” (Romans 10:14-15a).

I love my title Pastor (my favorite), Under-shepherd, Overseer, Bishop, Elder.

I love my local church Crosspointe Baptist Church of Indianapolis -- The Church That Believes the Bible and Loves People!”

I love my duty as an under-shepherdFeed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock,” (1 Peter 5:2-3).

I love my people (the sheep of the CBC fold) – It is a privilege to serve them, feed them, lead them, protect them, love them, pray with them, cry with them, counsel them, and answer their questions. My focus and ministry is Crosspointe Baptist Church. Never have I sought to be any type of national spokesman for fundamentalism, just a good pastor to the people the Lord has entrusted to my care.

As you may know, on January 19, 2011, SharperIron, without my permission,* put up a link to our website, making available to their readers My Burden for Fundamentalism,” which gives access to my open letter that was written as a Postscript to the two timely messages that I preached on January 9, 2011. Be assured, I put it on our website for our people and anyone who would visit our site; however, the Lord had other plans that I did not know. When SI linked to our website, “My Burden” expanded into another dimension of the world-wide-web.

As of this morning the link has had 1,715 reads, with 36 comments having made by 17 different bloggers. I must say I was overwhelmed that it would be read that much. Most of the bloggers did not focus on the context of “My burden,” but rather chased rabbits on the teaser that SI used on their Filings Column. While some felt it necessary to instruct and/or correct me, others sought to correct the correctors. I was amazed at the mindsets of the bloggers, and found myself chuckling at the threads and the stitching of them.

I do not have the time (or the desire) to enter into the blogosphere. Remember, my focus and my responsibility is to be a good pastor to the sheep in the CBC fold. Personally, I am amazed at the amount of time some people give to what Dr. O rightly calls -- “gossip on steroids!

Because SI and their bloggers do not see my inbox, text messages, and/or have the privilege of listening in on the phone calls I have received, I thought it would be fair and balanced to share a selected portion of the scores of communications I have received. Below are 17 e-mails from men around the world (some I do not even know) that will allow our readers to see a more balanced response to “My Burden.” I have withheld their names, and any personal message out of respect for them.

Pastor Rick Arrowood
Crosspointe Baptist Church
Indianapolis, IN

*The irony here is that SI, without waiting for the permission that Aaron Blumer requested from Dr. Arrowood prior to posting the original, has for some unknown reason not posted the new editorial. Why is it that SI will not allow for this editorial edition and the letters to follow appear at SI? It this yet another example in the long history of bias at SI? Details and commentary to follow in an article at Sharper Iron: In the Iron Skillet.

LETTERS (bold added)

A seminary professor wrote:
Dear Brother Rick,
I found your article on SharperIron this morning. I have already heard from some folks about it. It is well written, well reasoned, and exhibits a godly spirit and a pastoral heart. Thanks for being a biblical shepherd to your people.
A pastor from Georgia wrote:
Brother Arrowood,
Very brave, bold, and accurate article. Be prepared to be “thrown under the bus” [by some]. I am glad to see a few others speaking up and even stating the obvious, which seems so far from the consciousness of those who believe Bauder’s present reality. Ridicule from the New Fundamentalists is not at all surprising, but most of our friends are keeping their head down hoping all this will pass over. In five years you will hear a large collective “Oops” after we have lost an entire generation of our preacher boys.
(Site Publisher’s Note: Pay close attention to the bolded portion above, this man is right! While many of you say and/or do nothing the next generation, some of those in your own sphere of ministry are presently being influenced by Bauder, Doran, NIU and Lansdale to embrace evangelicalism with tolerance for its aberrant doctrine, worldly methods of ministry and ecumenical compromises. (Acts 20:30-31)

A young evangelist wrote:
Dear Pastor Arrowood,
Thank you so much for your open letter that you posted on your church website recently. Its truths and its spirit were a welcome breath of fresh air. There was a time when I asserted that in the battle between New Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism, the battleground had shifted from being ecclesiastical separation to being personal separation. I believe that the training I received in the churches in which I was reared was very weak on personal separation while it was strong on ecclesiastical separation. It was not until college that I began to really understand personal separation enough to be able to defend it from Scripture. It seemed that many Fundamentalists of my generation (I am 34) knew all about the dangers of ecumenical evangelism, but they saw no problem with filling their minds with wicked entertainments through film or music. An evangelist friend of mine warned me, however, that the issues of ecclesiastical separation have not gone away; your letter has provided the evidence that his warning was accurate. So much of what is available to read on the internet written by men who claim to be Fundamentalists is discouraging, so much so that many my age are gladly jettisoning the name “Fundamentalist” because of its modern associations with men like Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Tim Jordan, Matt Olson, et al. If these vocal men represent Fundamentalism, then the young men want something new. But not something that compromises, something that takes a right stand. In short, your letter has been a huge breath of fresh air in a cyber-world of discouragement. It has reminded me that not all of the old guard are capitulating. (My apologies for the term “old guard,” but when you were on your knees deciding to live a life of separation, my mother was changing my diaper; I was only a few months old.) As a Baptist historian, I have come to appreciate the fact that the stand I take today is not some doctrinal anomaly, but is essentially the same field of lentils for which Baptists have fought for centuries. Your article only adds to the assurance that not all hoary heads are surrendering, not all seasoned warriors have tired of the fight. Thank you, and may God bless the ministry of Crosspointe Baptist Church.
A missionary from Africa wrote:
Dr. Arrowood,
This brief message is to commend and to thank you for your recent open letter to your flock concerning the changes going on in fundamentalism right now. I was recently faced with a decision concerning an issue of separation (directly related to your letter) regarding some men that I deeply love, and my decision was not easy. Perhaps living so far from the controversy and not realizing that others were seeing and facing the same issues led me to feel kind of like the lonely Elisha of Romans 11:3. However I know this feeling is wrong. If I keep my eyes on Christ, instead of the raging waves and wind around me, I will never sink or be discouraged (Matt 14:30-31). Your letter was a HUGE encouragement to me last night! You reminded me, by your personal testimony and by your boldness to put it in print, that there are still 7,000 who have not bowed their knee to the idol of compromise (Rom. 11:4). God bless you, your family and your church, Dr. Arrowood. Your testimony was a tremendous blessing to me this week and I felt I should let you know. I am sure you will receive a backlash for your public position, but I assure you that your letter was written in a Biblical, loving and meek spirit. Thank you again.
A pastor from Minnesota wrote:
Dear Dr. Arrowood,
I today read your paper posted on SharperIron regarding rewriting the history of fundamentalism and Kevin Bauder in particular. I whole-heartedly agree with you and congratulate you. You have said what has been needed to be said. Kevin Bauder is like the guy in the Civil War who put on grey pants and a blue jacket. He won the support of neither side. But that is what he is trying to do — garner support from both the old northern fundamentalist movement as well as his beloved ― “conservative evangelicals.” You may or may not be aware that he has stepped aside as president to be a ― “research professor,” whatever that is. I attribute the change at Central (as well as at Detroit and Calvary et al.) to be rooted in two related issues. (1) The open pursuit of the critical text which usually leads to; (2) the exaltation of intellectualism. Both are closely related. These schools and others in their orbit virtually worship at the shrines of scholarship, academia, and intellectual reputation. Concomitantly, most of them have abandoned any interest in personal evangelism and openly disdain vocational evangelists. But, as Bob Jones Sr. once said, ― “Evangelistic unction is necessary to make orthodoxy function!” I believe that the tap-root of the compromise of Central and its sister schools began when they long ago embraced the critical text. It has taken a full generation to reach fruition, but we are witnessing that sad compromise of separation before our eyes. It started 40 years ago when they compromised on the textual issue in the name of scholarship and superior academics. We see the results today. I will guarantee that if any of these schools or men upheld the traditional texts of the Bible (i.e., the Received Text), there would be no dialogue between them and Southern Baptists. And the separation would be mutual.
A Christian businessman wrote:
Dr. Arrowood,
I just finished a careful read of the letter to your church family. It is the most biblical, eloquent, graceful and powerful response to what is happening in our circles that I could have ever hoped to read. In these pages you have identified the danger at our door and the tragic results of similar compromises from our past. There is much more I could express my appreciation for in every paragraph. Your message to your church family is sorely needed to be read by the entire NT church family especially our young people in Fundamentalism who are being influenced to change and move in a new direction, i.e. evangelicalism with all of its doctrinal and practical ramifications. If I may, what is needed sorely in the current day are more voices that articulate the very questions and answers that you have in that address. Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran and SI, which is a friend of evangelicalism, almost completely dominate the Internet discussion and many of our young people are having their thinking and theology reshaped by those men, as well as the scores of evangelicals that have sites and/or blogs. Again, I truly appreciate how you have answered the issues for those under your watch care.
A pastor from Nebraska wrote:
Bro. Arrowood, Thank you for the article that I saw referenced on the SharperIron web site. I appreciate your stand and your spirit. Your message is very timely today. I realize that some might criticize you but I wanted you to know that I appreciate the article and agree wholeheartedly. Keep up the good fight. While those who are changing seem to be high profile, I believe that there are many pastors and others who will resist this realignment of fundamentalism. Dr. Bauder calls us hyper-fundamentalist. Call me what you will – I will keep on standing where I have always stood. I appreciate what you wrote and want to encourage you to keep writing.
A servant of Christ wrote:
Dr. Arrowood,
May God richly bless you for ‘Crying aloud’ in this day of compromise and falling-away. A voice raised in warning is a blessing; many of us are perplexed by the silence that has characterized the average response to the current departure from Fundamentalism. It seems alleged Fundamentalists have forgotten what a Fundamentalist is and does. As I read your open letter I saw in you a Fundamentalist of the kind that was once commonly seen in America, but now has become an endangered species. A great softening has descended on the religious landscape of America. As in the 1940’s so in the 2010’s good men are turning from militant to soft. Thank you for being faithful to our Lord.
A pastor from Indiana wrote:
Dear Pastor Arrowood,
I am SO GLAD SharperIron has posted a link to your good article. I hope a lot of people wake up and take notice. God bless you!
A Bible college president sent a brief text message:
Pastor Arrowood,
Your article on the Conservative Evangelical drift in fundamentalism is right on! Amen!
A missionary wrote:
Dear Dr. Arrowood,
I want to thank you for the open letter you wrote on Dec. 20th. I read it yesterday for the first time and was very encouraged to have someone voice a concern like unto my own in such a good way. I am sure you will receive much flack for what you wrote. So, I wanted to write to encourage you and help lift up your hands. Your perceptions are wise, your discernment is precise, your love is evident and your boldness is to be commended. May God bless you. I am praying for you.
A pastor from Illinois wrote:
Dear Pastor Arrowood,
A fellow pastor directed my attention to your ― “Open Letter” on your church’s website. I read it and was greatly encouraged. I want to thank you for your position and stating it so clearly. I pastor a small church in Illinois and have become greatly concerned with what I see taking place in fundamentalism. It appears to be a capitulation of militancy. It seems to be a longing for some sense of legitimacy on the Christian landscape. In my limited experience, I fear that many fundamentalist leaders are becoming more hesitant to speak out about separation, or they are choosing going along with the current tide of compromise. It is a grief when dear brethren begin to make poor choices. Anyway, thank you for your letter and thank you for your time. My heart has been strengthened by your ministry. May the Lord continue to bless and use you.
A mission director wrote:
Thank you, Bro. Rick, for the article on the changes in Fundamentalism. I am greatly encouraged by the many true Fundamentalists who are standing up and saying “Enough is enough!” and setting the record straight. I am with you brother!
A pastor from Washington wrote:
Dr. Arrowood,
I want to thank you for your excellent Open Letter of concern which you recently released to your church family. I appreciated the spirit in which you wrote it and I agree wholeheartedly with its sentiments. In spite of the fact that the pseudo-fundamentalists over at SharperIron are hammering you for it, I am thankful for your courage to say what needed to be said. I have downloaded the two companion sermons that you preached and will listen to them soon.
An evangelist writes:
Pastor Arrowood,
I just read your open letter “Answering Questions about the Changes We Are Seeing in Fundamentalism” and wholeheartedly agree with what you have said, and at the same time am thankful for the awareness you have brought with the naming of names and to their associations of compromise. I will look for your articles in the future; continue to “fight the good fight of faith!”
A pastor from New York wrote:
Dear Dr. Arrowood,
I received an email from a pastor who referenced your open letter, so I just went to your web site and read it. Thank you. These things do need to be said, in the spirit with which you said them. I am just a little guy in a big city, trying to be a pastor, much like you, and wondering what in the world is going on. I want to stand on the truth of Scripture with you, and I agree with you. May the Lord continue to give you grace in the fight.
A Blogger wrote:
Dear Pastor Arrowood: I’ve just read the article on your website “Pastors Burden for Fundamentalism;” thank you for taking this stand. I’m a long ways from your church - several states away. I was encouraged that there is a Pastor somewhere who is willing to stand. Just wanted to say it was an encouragement.
Site Publisher Addendum:

From his blog Pastor Dave Doran reacted to the original open letter by Dr. Arrowood. Pastor Don Johnson from his blog An Ox Goad, eh has posted and responded to Doran’s reaction. Please see, Something I Don’t Understand

Brother Johnson asks, “I don’t understand how it would be acceptable [for Dave Doran] to preach in a conference with a fellow when you have refused to speak for him in his church…. The two venues are different: one is a conference at a seminary; the other is an invitation to speak in a church. What makes speaking with Dever at the conference acceptable and the speaking for Dever in his church unacceptable?