October 28, 2011

Archival Series: Let’s Get CRYSTAL Clear on This: Evangelicals, “The Foremost Defenders of the Gospel Today?”

We have arrived at the final stage of this series [March 24, 2010]. Over the last two weeks this series has included two previous articles by me that review and react to Kevin Bauder’s Let’s Get Clear on This. See-

Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: A Response to Kevin Bauder’s “Cannonball” Cogitations

Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: A Response to Kevin Bauder’s “Cannonball” Cogitations Part 2

You may also read the special contributions to this discussion A Letter from Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters to Kevin Bauder submitted by Evangelist Dwight Smith and Muddying the Clearwaters submitted by Pastor Marc Monte.

In this series we have thoroughly reviewed Let’s Get Clear on This by Dr. Kevin Bauder who has become conservative evangelicalism’s chief apologist in and to Fundamentalism. We have discussed a series of disconcerting issues with the so-called conservative evangelicals. While all of the issues are highly troublesome there is a single great danger that trumps all of the others combined. In this article we are going to discuss conservative evangelicals and a segment of Fundamentalists, “converging around a particular interpretation of the Gospel.” Dr. Bauder wrote,

The sad truth is that the most forceful defenders of the gospel are no longer to be found within the Fundamentalist camp.”
Pastor Monte answered this from one perspective, for example.
“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.” (Muddying the Clearwaters)
Prior to and following Bauder’s broadbrush besmirchment of Fundamentalism’s defenders of the gospel he refers to *evangelicals such as John MacArthur, John Piper, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, et. al., in terms of, “their vigorous commitment to and defense of the gospel.” Bauder thinks the conservative evangelicals, “…are the foremost defenders of the gospel today.” Are they? Do they defend the Gospel? This is the area of my primary concern and what follows is my response to it.

I. Conservative Evangelicals Have Compromised the Gospel.

In November 2009 it was disclosed that Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan had signed the Manhattan Declaration (MD), which is the first cousin of Evangelical & Catholics Together. See- Al Mohler Signs the Manhattan Declaration. In part 2 of this series I wrote,
Compromising the Gospel through ecumenism- giving Christian recognition to the “enemies of the cross of Christ,” (Phil. 3:18) is NOT what genuine “defenders of the Gospel” do. This is, however, exactly what Mohler and Duncan did, which was an affront to the Gospel and treason to the Lord Jesus Christ…. The problem for men like Bauder, who crave closer cooperation with conservative evangelicals, is this: If Dr. Bauder recognizes what was done in the Manhattan Declaration and acknowledges it was an act of disobedience, which it is, then he is duty bound to obey the biblical mandates to “withdraw from…admonish, mark and avoid” the disobedient brethren who do these things.
With this betrayal of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which makes these men disobedient brethren; how can Kevin Bauder conclude that these men are “defenders of the gospel?” Surely Bauder has not forgotten that it was conservative evangelicals, not Fundamentalists, who eagerly signed the Manhattan Declaration. Surely he understands the Gospel was compromised and Christian recognition was given to the “enemies of the gospel.
While on the one hand ‘the Fundamentalist label is no guarantee of doctrinal fidelity,’ neither is the conservative evangelical label a guarantee either. Indeed, this supposed fidelity to the gospel in their various associations is undermined by their lack of separation from that which compromises the gospel. Al Mohler, for example, is considered one of the darlings among conservative evangelicals, yet he has caused great harm to the gospel by his endorsement of men and movements that have confused and corrupted it (e.g., Billy Graham, Duke McCall, and most recently the Manhattan Declaration). Fundamentalists should rightly separate from him as a disobedient brother. And although MacArthur, Sproul, and others have courageously criticized such endorsements, they still invite Mohler to their platform, because, they say, he speaks for the gospel, even after he has endorsed the social gospel. (If the Manhattan Declaration does advocate another gospel is this not a heresy from which we should separate and likewise from those who endorse it?). And I might add that there are plenty of conservative evangelicals that promote some form of the social gospel, which, as we well know, was a major plank in the neo-evangelical agenda.” (Dr. Gerald Priest, June 2009 in reaction to Kevin’s Bauder’s Let’s Get Clear on This.)
Cooperative efforts with the deadly “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18) are inexcusable.

The Bible mandates withdrawal (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15) from brethren who have been disobedient, who do not respond to admonishment of their brothers in Christ and will not repent. To disobey the Lord's clear commands is disobedience to Him. To excuse ecumenism (signing the MD) as an “occasional inconsistency... a single episode” (Kevin Bauder) to dismiss it as merely, “a wrong decision based on bad judgment” (Dave Doran) and then continue endorsing and promoting that man’s ministry and conferences is wrong and itself disobedience. There is, however, a greater and more grievous issue confronting the NT church coming from the influence to converge with evangelicalism.

II. Together for the “Lordship Salvation” Gospel.

When have Evangelicals ever converged as Lordship Salvation/Calvinists? One pastor shared with me that the old evangelicals were followers of Billy Graham who was certainly no proponent of Calvinism. , Regardless of how revisionist historians wants to redefine the history, today’s evangelicals are by and large the heirs of the old new-evangelical empire. They are converging around a “particular” interpretation of the Gospel that defines well the tenants of Calvinism, while allowing non-cessationists1 and ecumenicals2 to be part of their coalition platform. That interpretation of the Gospel is commonly known as Lordship Salvation.
The Lordship Salvation controversy primarily revolves around the requirements for salvation, NOT the results of salvation. A genuine conversion should evidence itself in genuine results. New believers will vary in levels of growth, but growth should be evident to some degree. The primary focal point of controversy, however, is Lordship’s requirements for the reception of eternal life, i.e., how to become a Christian. (IDOTG: [Revised & Expanded Edition], p. xvi.)
Following are examples of Lordship Salvation as it is defined by some of its best known advocates.

Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything…. Thus in a sense we pay the ultimate price for salvation when our sinful self is nailed to a cross. . . . It is an exchange of all that we are for all that Christ is. And it denotes implicit obedience, full surrender to the lordship of Christ. Nothing less can qualify as saving faith.” (John MacArthur, TGATJ, p. 78, 140.)

And he needed to be willing to submit to the Lord Jesus, even if it meant he had to give up all his earthly possessions. He might not ask, but the requirement for eternal life is the willingness to give it all up if he does.” (John MacArthur, Hard to Believe, p. 9.)

One of the most comprehensive invitations to salvation in all the epistles comes in James 4:7-10 ... The invitation in 4:7-10 is directed at those who are not saved...” (From the 20th Anniversary edition of TGATJ, p. 250).
Pastor Steven Lawson from the 2007 Resolved Conference,
If you want to receive this gift it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many here who think they are saved, but are not; they have never really done business with God…“You need to make terms of peace with this king or you will be subjected in damnation forever…. His terms are this: you must love Him more than anything. If you cannot do this, you will meet Him in the final judgment and glorify God in your destruction.” See- An Example of Lordship’s Man-Centered Message
These and many more statements like them have never been edited, explained or eliminated. In fact, they have been reiterated and reinforced. At the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron site the following thread comment excerpts were posted.
John Piper advocates both an initial justification and a final phase of justification when the believer stands before Christ as seen at 2 Cor. 5:10. He [Piper] clearly states its purpose is our final examination of works involving our salvation. He states our works will be examined to determine if we were and are truly justified (go to his sermon on that passage on the Desiring God website). He states our salvation is the issue…. He [Piper] endorses Puritan oriented Calvinism that includes a false doctrine of assurance and Justification that must be proven by works before Christ. We are witnessing the silent disintegration of Grace alone, by faith alone, through Christ alone….
Examples of a final phase of justification includes,
There is no doubt that Jesus saw a measure of real, lived-out obedience to the will of God as necessary for final salvation.” (John Piper, What Jesus Demands From the World, p. 160).

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.)
All of these examples above, and there are many more, are irrefutable evidence that the message most conservative evangelicals teach, Lordship Salvation, is antithetical to the Gospel of grace.
A change of life through submission to the lordship of Christ should come as a result of salvation. It is antithetical to the Scriptures to take what should be the RESULT of salvation and make the resolve to perform those things in discipleship the REQUIREMENT for salvation.... Lordship Salvation places demands on the sinner for salvation [justification] that the Bible does not. (In Defense of the Gospel, [Rev. & Exp. Edition] pp. 98, 259).
Lordship Salvation changes the terms of the Gospel!

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” (Dr. Ernest Pickering: Lordship Salvation: An Examination of John MacArthur’s Book, The Gospel According to Jesus)
Lordship Salvation is a man centered, non-saving message that corrupts “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3) and frustrates grace (Gal. 2:21).3

The message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life [LS] cannot both be the gospel; therefore, one of them is a false gospel and comes under the curse of perverting the gospel or preaching another gospel (Gal. 1:6-9), and this is a very serious matter.” (Dr. Charles Ryrie, Balancing the Christian Life, p. 170)
Lordship Salvation is a perversion of the Gospel! Its spread must be resisted. Its advocates must be marked and avoided in defense of the Gospel and to protect the unsuspecting from falling into the trap of Lordship’s man-centered message.

III. Are Kevin Bauder’s Conservative Evangelicals, “The Foremost Defenders of the Gospel Today?”

No, They are not! Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, et. al., erred grievously when they signed the Manhattan Declaration. Al Mohler sat as chairman for the 2001 Billy Graham crusade in Louisville, KY. These things are not done by “genuine defenders of the gospel.”

Men like Kevin Bauder, for the sake of fellowship with and promotion of conservative evangelicals, have ignored, tolerated, allowed for and/or excused these acts of disobedience to the biblical mandates. (2 Cor. 6:14-17; Eph. 5:11; 2 John 9-11). Is this not also an act of disobedience?

Dr. Bauder closes Let’s Get Clear on This by stating, “We must do nothing to weaken their hand in the face of the enemies of the gospel.” The Inspired Commentary speaks to us today from the apostle Paul’s first century admonition.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:28-31)
Hobnobbing with unbelievers through the MD opens the door for “grievous wolves [to] enter in among you.” Furthermore, “of our own selves” men have arose “speaking perverse things” in the form of Lordship Salvation’s assault on the Gospel of grace.

Does the Bible teach that man must add to faith in whom Christ is and what He did to provide salvation a “commitment of life,” or a promise of submission to the lordship of Christ in order to be saved? Or does the Bible teach that man’s salvation is by grace through faith, apart from any work, promised or performed? Dr. Robert Lightner wrote,
Salvation is either by God’s grace or by human effort, commitment, or work. It cannot be by both, anymore than law and grace were both means of salvation in Paul’s day.” (Sin, the Savior and Salvation, p. 203)
Lordship Salvation as it is defined by men such as John MacArthur, John Piper, Steven Lawson is a departure from and a corruption of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When Together for the Gospel (T4G) and The Gospel Coalition events converge in alternating years they converge around Lordship Salvation. For the sake of clarity these conferences should come to be better known as:

Together for the Lordship Salvation Gospel, and
The Lordship Salvation Coalition.

Those are terms that accurately define the message that conservative evangelicals and a segment of IFB men are converging around in those fellowships.  The egregious errors of Lordship Salvation’s works-based salvation (justification) trump all of the other aberrant theology (Charismatic teaching), ecumenical compromises and worldliness in conservative evangelicalism combined.

IV. Conclusion to the Series:

Kevin Bauder insists, “We must do nothing to weaken their hand.” There is little more we can do to weaken the hand of the conservative evangelicals beyond what they have done by their own hand already. Their hands and their voices are severely weakened in defense of the Gospel for reasons, which we have given evidence of today. Yet, Kevin Bauder encourages and calls upon Fundamentalists to sit at their feet and learn from them.

At the pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron site Dr. Gerald Priest posted a comment that included the following,
Kevin [Bauder] has been quite lavish in his praise of conservative evangelicals while castigating so-called fundamentalists. Yet he has spent very little time warning us about the pitfalls and problems of conservative evangelicalism…. What I fear is that we may be allowing a Trojan horse into the fundamentalist camp. And after a while, if we keep going down this track, any significant difference between conservative evangelical and the fundamentalist institutions may disappear.
A Trojan horse is being allowed into the fundamentalist camp. Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Matt Olson, Sam Horn and Doug MacLachlan are opening the gates to allow the poison pony free roam in IFB circles and leading the next generation to within its reach. Dr. Bauder’s actions on behalf of conservative evangelicalism and repeated castigation of Fundamentalism has all the earmarks of an effort to define conservative evangelicalism as if it is the embodiment of true, historic Fundamentalism. He is wrong!

Among men in Fundamentalism who are encouraging increased acceptance of conservative evangelicals, we are seeing any number of patterns develop, which include:
Tolerate, allow for and excuse the aberrant theology, ecumenical compromise and worldly methods of ministry in conservative evangelicalism for the sake of fellowship with them around Calvinism and Lordship Salvation.

Endorse and attend events such as T4[the LS]G where these men are in leadership and/or are its keynote speakers apart from any genuine “ministry of warning.”

Welcoming conservative and new evangelicals to the lecterns of our **Bible colleges and seminaries putting our next generation in harm’s way by exposing impressionable students to compromised Christian leaders and scholars, which is not only dangerous, but is an act of disobedience.

Refrain from teaching or obeying the biblical mandates to admonish, withdraw from, mark and avoid in regard to their aberrant theology, ecumenism and worldliness in ministry. (Rom. 16:17)

Articulate, but highly reluctant to make a personal application of the “biblical obligations” for Gospel-Driven separation.
Ecumenical compromise and Lordship Salvation’s assault on the Gospel of grace are NOT the works or doctrine of genuine, “defenders of the gospel.”


1) John Piper and C. J. Mahaney believe and teach that the Charismatic sign gifts (tongues, the gift of prophecy) are active and should be sought after today.

2) The message of ecumenism is that doctrinal differences are not so great that they can’t be set aside to work together for some common cause. Similarly, ecumenism can be defined as the setting aside of theological differences to work in cooperation towards mutually shared goals.

3) Examples of Lordship Salvation’s works based message can be read at:

Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page

Lordship Salvation: Charles Spurgeon's Personal Testimony Speaks Against It

Lordship’s Man-Centered Message

John MacArthur’s Mandatory Performance Guidelines for “Lordship” Salvation
With excerpt from Dr. J. B. Hixson’s Getting the Gospel Wrong.

*Incredibly Kevin Bauder links Charles Ryrie and John MacArthur as co-defenders of the Gospel. Is Bauder unaware of the sharp divide between MacArthur and Ryrie on the nature of saving faith?

**The irony following Dr. Priest’s caution about the Trojan horse is Pastor Dave Doran announcing in Separation in Academic Contexts he will be and has in fact begun hosting evangelicals (Michael Vlach, Conrad Mbewe, Dr. Bryan Ferrell) for “academic lectures and presentations” at DBTS and in his church pulpit.  Matt Olson has opened NIU classrooms and chapel pulpit to a variety of LS advocates, evangelical, compromised speakers.  Tim Jordan, at Calvary Baptist Seminary (Lansdale), has hosted Dr. Mark Dever and will host (Spring 2012) new evangelical Haddon Robinson. Central Baptist Theological Seminary (MN) has invited Dr. Larry Pettigrew.

First published 3/24/2010

October 24, 2011

Should We Abandon the Name “BAPTIST?”

Many colleges and seminaries were brought into existence by the prayers and sacrificial giving of fundamental Baptist people. There has developed in some of these schools an “itch” to distance themselves as far as possible from their Baptist roots (the “denominational walls” as some have called them), become more broadly “evangelical” in their posture, while retaining, insofar as possible, the support of their Baptist constituency.  One such school, long part of the Baptist movement in the United States, embarked on a course to change its name.  While publicly asserting they were not really changing anything essential, and while “pushing the right buttons” so as to assure their long-time constituents that everything was all right, the president of this institution had a definite agenda in mind which did not coincide with the historic position of the college. It was the president’s intent to move the school away from the separatist Baptist position it had historically occupied.

In a set of notes distributed only to the Executive Committee of the institution, the president, who had only recently come from a position in an interdenominational, new evangelical school, lamented that for all these years the college had been cut off from the “conservative evangelical community” due to its Baptist image.  Since he believed this “evangelical community” needed a liberal arts college to which they could send their students, he proposed to his Executive Committee (and later to the Board of Trustees) that the Baptist school make the changes necessary in order to enable them to fill that need.  One of his principal declared goals was to “broaden the student and supporting constituency to include all conservative evangelicals.” He suggested the school pattern itself after the Moody Bible Institute and “de-emphasize denominational walls.”  In other words, for all practical purposes, the school would cease to be a Baptist institution in the sense that its founders originally intended.  Those who began the school never envisioned it to be training ground for “evangelicals.”  They purposed for it to be a center for the training of people who would have Baptist convictions to serve in fundamental Baptist churches.
The entire purpose of the founders has now been perverted.
Part of the plan to change the institution involved the creation of a special board of reference apart from the regular governing board.  Members of this board would not have to meet the same doctrinal and ecclesiastical requirements as members of the regular board, so that “prominent evangelical Christians whose church membership might otherwise exclude them from the Board of Trustees” could serve.  The name of the college was to be changed and the name “Baptist” removed from the publicized title in order to give it the desired broader image.  The proposed program has now been completed. The name is changed, the college is moving in a broader sphere, and yet it still retains its approval as an official Baptist training institution by a national body of Baptist churches.

The current infatuation with abandoning the name “Baptist” is but part of a larger problem in the church today—the effort to minimize differences and magnify similarities.  It is also propelled by the enormous pressures of the evangelical ecumenical movement which is gathering people of various denominational persuasions in large meetings with the express purpose of breaking down denominational prejudices (a la “Promise Keepers”).  True Baptists cannot and ought not be part of such efforts.  The convictions we hold are not merely “denominational prejudices.”  They are divinely—revealed truths rooted in the Holy Scriptures.  Let us not apologize for them, but preach them and teach them in the power of the Spirit so that future generations may continue to faithfully stand by them.

Dr. Ernest D. Pickering, Th.D.
Copyright 2004 by Baptist World Mission
Reprinted by permission (excerpt pp. 6-8, 12; bold added)
Site Publisher Commentary
From nearly 20 years ago Dr. Pickering, in seemingly prophetic imagery, was articulating what we see unfolding in fundamental Baptist circles today.  An example such as: Under the direction of Dr. Matt Olson the former Northland “Baptist” Bible Collegeembarked on a course to change its name while publicly asserting they were not really changing anything essential.” See, Is NIU “Unchanged?” Northland Baptist Bible College Position Statement on Contemporary Issues in Christianity

Dr. Pickering concluded his article with this statement, “…a larger problem in the church today—the effort to minimize differences and magnify similarities.”

Minimize differences and magnify similarities.”  Isn’t that exactly what Matt Olson, Tim Jordan, Doug MacLachlan, Sam Horn, Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran and others like them have been attempting these many months with the “conservative” evangelicals.  Kevin Bauder’s 24 part Now, About Those Differences series was nearly an exercise in futility for readers trying to discern first, where he was noting any real differences, and second, identify any differences that might preclude cooperative efforts between fundamental Baptists and evangelicals.  Al Mohler signing the Manhattan Declaration was excused by Drs. Bauder and Doran.  John Piper’s embrace of Rick Warren has been ignored by both men.  Catchy phrases and ideas such as, “separation in academic contexts, it’s all about the gospel, gospel-driven separation and gospel-centric fellowship” are the rallying cries for minimizing the differences.  Men who have adopted the new paradigm shift toward a “gospel-centric” fellowship seek common ground with non-separatist evangelicals by magnifying similarities they share, which at its core is Calvinistic soteriology in the form of the Lordship Salvation* interpretation of the gospel.  When, however, they come to aberrant theology, worldliness, cultural relativism and ecumenical compromises of the evangelicals those differences are minimized, tolerated, allowed for, ignored and/or excused for the sake of  “community.”

Community” the very word that Dr. Pickering cited as the motive for a course change that included abandoning the name “Baptist.” And away with the name went the application of a core fundamentalist Baptistic principle, namely biblical separation.  They very same course change Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Matt Olson, Tim Jordan, et.al., have embarked on and attempting to influence others to follow.  The difference today is simply a reverse order. With the exception of Matt Olson at Northland “International” University they, their institutions retain the name “Baptist, but the principles and application of fundamental, separatist Baptists are going away ahead of the name for the sake of “community” with non-separatist, compromising so-called “conservative” evangelicals.

In the face of a growing mood for change among certain men who claim a heritage to biblical separation we thank God there are men who are going to put God and His Word first and ahead of the influence to adopt the new fashion compromise.  To the purveyors of compromising Scripture for the sake of community: We will not follow you down the jagged path of tolerance for the sake of “community” with non-separatist, compromised and erring believers in evangelicalism. We will instead continue to “admonish” our brethren in evangelicalism to obey the Scriptures and remain withdrawn from (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15) them until they move toward obeying the Lord and His eternal mandates. We will, instead, “preach them (divinely revealed truth [including biblical separation]) and teach them in the power of the Spirit so that future generations may continue to faithfully stand by them.

* See, Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page

Related Reading
Has God Changed the “Old Paths” for a new “Radical Center?” by Dr. Lance Ketchum.
Apparently, there are now certain acceptable deviations from the pathway of righteousness and doctrinal purity. These new degrees of acceptable deviations are not based upon an accusation regarding the fallibility of Scripture, but the fallibility of theological dogmatism. Apparently, we can never be certain about anything any longer. Oh yes, there are certainly theological absolutes, but they fall into a very narrow category we will call the fundamentals. Apparently, now the only real fundamental worth separating over is the Gospel. Of course, this Gospel Only view must be very broadly defined to include Lordship Salvation, Easy Believism, Only Believism, Monergism, and even the Pentecostal Full Gospel. These New Centrists are no longer going to separate over unimportant doctrines such as false Ecclesiology, false Eschatology, false Cessationism, or even over what defines acceptable spiritual music in the worship of God.
Is This Really Authentic? by Pastor Brian Ernsberger.
Dr. McLachlan is laying down the claim that these men “and others like them” are bringing about what he wrote in his book. I would disagree. What these and others are doing is what Dr. McLachlan is articulating in his article, not what he articulated in his book. Dr. McLachlan has shifted his criteria for reclamation.
Has Converging With Evangelicals Been a Dangerous and Failed Experiment?

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

October 21, 2011

Moving Away From the Separatist Baptist Position

In the present climate for change, please consider the following.

Many colleges and seminaries were brought into existence by the prayers and sacrificial giving of fundamental Baptist people. There has developed in some of these schools an ‘itch’ to distance themselves as far as possible from their Baptist roots (the ‘denominational walls’ as some have called them), become more broadly ‘evangelical’ in their posture, while retaining, insofar as possible, the support of their Baptist constituency.  One such school, long part of the Baptist movement in the United States, embarked on a course to change its name.  While publicly asserting they were not really changing anything essential, and while ‘pushing the right buttons’ so as to assure their long-time constituents that everything was all right, the president of this institution had a definite agenda in mind which did not coincide with the historic position of the college. It was the president’s intent to move the school away from the separatist Baptist position it had historically occupied.
Come back on Monday for more from the excerpt and discussion of the article from which it is drawn. For the weekend I encourage you to read the following articles from the archives:

Related Reading
Has Converging With Evangelicals Been a Dangerous and Failed Experiment?

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

October 17, 2011

Where Have All The Bible Colleges Gone?

We should begin with this question: “Is the day of the Bible college over?”  In the past, this phenomenal movement produced huge numbers of ministry servants who then flooded the mission fields and filled the pulpits of our land.  Many of those people have already retired or have been promoted to Glory and received a “well done” from the Master.  A lot of well-known mission fields benefited from the service of these men and women who have left a major mark on mission history.  Men trained in Bible colleges were used of God to build some of the largest and most effective local churches we have known.

It has been argued by some that the quality of Bible college students is no longer sufficient for the day we live in.  The culture may be different today, but the Word of God has not changed; and that was the heart of the Bible college movement.  Most of these institutions came into existence for the sole purpose of training pastors and missionaries.  Theirs was meant to be a foundational training, and there always were institutions that could provide advanced training for those who chose specialized service.  The idea that a Bible college education was not good enough to prepare people for ministry is seriously flawed, if not downright arrogant!  A look at the thousands of servants who were trained, and the ministries that have been established, definitely settles this question.

This is not about the fact that some of those schools failed; the same is true of every movement.  Even our Lord had one disciple who flunked the course!  Not every Bible college graduate made a serious mark on the ministry, but the same is true of any level of training.  A degree, after all, is no guarantee of success.

As the years have passed, many Bible colleges have faded from the scene.  There are a lot of reasons for this: some were poorly constructed and failed because of finances, leadership, and constituency.  Some of them merged with other schools, while others left their original goal of training missionaries and pastors and broadened into other fields.  Many in this category continued their new direction until they were no longer even Bible colleges, either in practice or in name.  They had every right to follow this path, but the progression demands some honesty.  If a school is no longer a Bible college, or doesn’t really want to be one, then the right thing to do is to move on.  If they are not Baptist, if their main driving ministry is not the Bible, then the best thing to do is to openly confess their new goals.

Confusion arises, however, because of those who claim to hold onto the old even though they have chosen a new direction.  To claim that they still are now what they had been leaves much to be desired. 

There is nothing wrong with admitting that the change is based on funding, enrollment, or even prestige in academia; there is something wrong with a shell game.
 Over the last forty years, I have heard those who have obviously moved away from the Bible college model argue that they still teach the same doctrine and still have the same statement of faith; that is absolutely irrelevant because of what is really being taught and allowed in the classroom.  My favorite saying is, “We teach more Bible now than we did when we were a Bible college!”  Of course you do, because you reached your goal of a larger enrollment; but being one of the “big boys on the block” doesn’t mean you still have the same theology you once taught!

Now we arrive at one of the major reasons why the Bible college has been left behind. As our movement has progressed, there has been increasing pressure for us to become respectable in our academics, like the “elite.”  Both old and young fundamentalists have become enamored with the intellectuals and want to be like them at all costs; they even talk like them and walk like them.  This is the same mistake that Israel made when they wanted to be like the other nations around them who had kings.  So, where there once was a true Bible college, now the leaders mainly want to be respected by the intellectual pagans.

The journey from Bible college to a pursuit of prestige and intellectualism always takes a toll, and this sad declension is almost always represented by a change in theology.  It is not always deliberate; in some cases, it may occur out of ignorance of a biblical theology.  The journey always demands a change in leadership; and when the new main leaders are not biblical theologians, the slide becomes more rapid.  The truth is that sometimes this change is deliberate, even as it is in churches that have left the Bible and Baptist out of their identification.  It is not that the leaders are heretics, but rather that they are swept away by motives that differ from their foundational standard.

It appears that the further an individual or institution moves on this journey in order to have the respect of human leaders, the further they also move from a theology that is biblical.  Every change has its cost, and those who protest this maxim only prove the point.  I am not opposed to higher education; much of my ministry has been there.  I am opposed to teaching and defending error.  Of course, some Bible colleges have problems with academic and theological issues. That is to be expected because we are all human.

While dozens of Bible colleges have gone out of business, and some have moved on to other areas of emphasis, others have stood firm in their majority purpose of training men and women for the mission field and church ministry.  The great thing is that God today is raising up new Bible colleges that have returned to the foundational goals of training.  While these schools have gotten their share of criticism, they have come to life to fill a gap left by those who have gone on to different things.  One of those new colleges gets my thumbs-up; it is Grace Baptist Bible College of Winston Salem, North Carolina.  Not only has it successfully put together a program that looks like that of the Bible college of old, but a number of well-respected saints in our movement have come to join its ranks.  Perhaps God will raise up some more of these fine institutions to take the place of the departed.

Clay Nuttall, D.Min, October, 2011

A communication service of Shepherd’s Basic Care
For those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible
Shepherd’s Basic Care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries, and churches. Write for information using the e-mail address, Shepherdstaff2@juno.com

October 14, 2011

What is Happening Among Believers in the Local Church?

There is much focus of attention on the high profile personalities in the current craze to forge alliances between a certain segment of men in Fundamental circles and non-separatist Evangelicals. We are, furthermore, seeing cooperative ministry efforts being formed between once fundamental Baptist, biblically separatist schools and full blown New Evangelical schools.1 This is the newly defined separation in academic contexts2. It is not a separation that can be drawn from the Bible. It is in fact a definition that brushes aside the scriptural principles for an application that shrouds oneself with a veil of divine authority for the sake of “community3 with non-separatist, compromised believers.

I thought we might like to consider what is happening in the hearts and minds of believers at the local church level. Just regular, faithful folks who are becoming aware of the mood of compromise that is making serous inroads into Baptist separatist churches, school and fellowships. Today, with his permission I am sharing a portion of an e-mail a gentleman from the Midwest sent to me just a few weeks ago.

Dear Lou, My wife and I recently made the decision to resign our membership from a church that we have attended for the last 17 years. This church was founded over seventy years ago by a former Presbyterian pastor who “came out” of the denomination. Our church for years preached and practiced both personal and ecclesiastical separation. In recent years, however, we began to see indications of compromise in the separatist stance it once took. Two examples of this would be the introduction of Sovereign Grace (SG) music and the attendance of the Together for the Gospel (T4G) conferences by the pastors and elders. For the past two years I have been heavily researching these ministries and select others similar to them. I see red flags everywhere! The compromise that is prevalent in their teachings and associations is disheartening. What is even more disheartening is that I am the only one of a handful of people at my former church that has ever heard of SG or T4G. So since we are not being warned of the dangers of compromise that exist in these groups, people are blind to the dangers or assume that because of the church’s separatist heritage and their trust in the leadership that there must be nothing wrong with them. More needs to be done to publicize and reveal what these para-church organizations are and the danger they pose to authentic New Testament Christianity. Thank you for your efforts in this regard. In Christ,
There are many others like the family this letter represents. They see the shift of once IFB separatist churches, men and schools breaking toward non-separatist evangelicals.


1) Calvary Baptist Seminary (Lansdale) to Host Dr. Haddon Robinson

2) Is There a Second Definition for “Separation” in Academic Contexts?

3) Kevin Bauder: Are We Forced to Tolerate Evils Within the Community?

October 9, 2011

Calvary Baptist Seminary (Lansdale) to Host Dr. Haddon Robinson

In my (Sept. 2010) article on Dave Doran and Kevin Bauder joining Mark Dever on the conference platform at Calvary Baptist Seminary (Lansdale, PA)1 I included this statement.
“Anyone believing this cooperative fellowship with Dever is going to be the full extent ‘limited form of fellowship,’ is mistaken. Dever is just the latest step toward greater compromise of genuine biblical separatism for expanding the boundaries of limited fellowship.... Compromise is a learned behavior. It typically progresses this way: Crawl, then Walk, then Run. Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran have...outgrown the crawling stage.”
In less than a year Calvary Baptist Seminary (CBS) under Tim Jordan and Sam Harbin have achieved the running stage of compromise. They are running to open wide the seminary doors to embrace and welcome New Evangelicalism. The following promotional announcement appears at Calvary’s website.
Spring Forum: Save the date, Monday, March 19, 2012, for the Spring Forum with speaker, Dr. Haddon Robinson, Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and author of several books, including Biblical Preaching.  Dr. Robinson was recognized by Christianity Today in the top 10 of its “Top 25 Most Influential Preachers” from 1956-2006.  We are honored to have him as our guest speaker.  Make plans now to attend this thought-provoking event.2
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is the Wheaton College of the Northeast!  No one could possibly dispute the parallel trajectory of the two schools.  Board members of Gordon Conwell include Chuck Colson. Haddon Robinson3 is touted from the Gordon-Conwell website as the “Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching; Senior Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program.” Dr. Robinson was President of Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary in Denver, CO. (1979-1991).

Gordon-Conwell is New Evangelical at its core.  Lifestyle choices of students are, of course, not to be confronted. It’s blatantly interdenominational to the point of ecumenical.  Gordon-Conwell is the institution that led New Evangelicalism to kill fundamentalism in New England. Gordon-Conwell is home of the Harold John Ockenga Institute (est. 1985). Women training for ministry would have been in Robinson’s classes. In Robinson’s book Biblical Sermons you will note that he has published one by Nancy Hardin!  (Noted as a Woman’s Conference speaker).  It can at least be stated that Dr. Robinson’s tenures at Denver Baptist Theological Seminary and Gordon-Conwell teaching woman in preparation for pastoral ministry and his publication should cause those who are careful to question where Dr. Robinson stands on the matter of feminism in the evangelical community.

In announcing Haddon Robinson as its Spring Forum speaker CBS gushes over Robinson’s resume, which includes his teaching at the New Evangelical Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS). The New Evangelical flagship publication Christianity Today honors Robinson.4 CBS is “honored to have” a New Evangelical as their guest keynote speaker. CBS may be honored to host one of the lead names and faces of New Evangelicalism, but many see hosting Robinson as a badge of dishonor, compromise and betrayal of the biblical principles of separation. 

In February 2011 CBS hosted Dr. Mark Dever for their ATC conference.  Dever is a SBC pastor; amillenialist, and he embraces worldly approaches (RAP, Hip/Hop) for church growth and/or worship. Mark Dever is adjunct faculty at Gordon-Conwell.   In my series of articles on Dever with Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran together in cooperative ministry at Lansdale I noted that that convergence would not be the end of compromise.  Under what rationale does CBS bring in Haddon Robinson? It is irrefutably clear today that CBS is not half done with its repudiation of authentic biblical separatism and growing its cooperative efforts with New Evangelicals. Do you recognize the drift, the slide, the trajectory of CBS?

The invitation of Haddon Robinson marks CBS’s nearly complete departure from the principles and practice of authentic biblical separation. Calvary Baptist Seminary would not extend an invitation to New Evangelicals unless its leadership has already become or are determined to move into the New Evangelical realm. The invitation to Haddon Robinson is CBS’s rebirth into what will surely transform the seminary into a full orbed New Evangelical ministry.


For Related Reading:
Sharper Iron: Censorship by Omission?

Will Central Seminary (MN) Continue the Drift Away From It's Historic Moorings?

1) Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran to Join Mark Dever at Lansdale: Is This a Fundamentalism Worth Saving?

2) CBS Ministry Forum Page, Calvary Baptist Seminary, Lansdale, PA., accessed Oct. 6, 2011

3) Gordon Conwell’s Faculty Page

4) Christianity Today’s “Top 25 Most Influential Preachers,” in addition to Haddon Robinson includes: Mark Driscoll, Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, John Piper, Barbara Brown Taylor. Tragic that CBS gushes over their guest speaker’s top ten appearance among names such as these.

October 5, 2011

The Invitation to Larry Pettegrew: Will Central Seminary Continue the Drift Away From It’s Historic Moorings?

From the website of Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Minneapolis:

Larry Pettegrew, who was originally scheduled to be our keynote speaker, had to withdraw from this year’s conference for emergency surgery. His surgery went well, and we look forward to scheduling Dr. Pettegrew for a future conference at Central Seminary. (2011 Fall Pastor’s Day & Conference)
You may have been aware that Dr. Larry Pettegrew was scheduled to speak at Central Seminary’s October 2011 Fall Conference and Pastors Day. Dr. Pettegrew was recently on faculty at The Master’s Seminary and is now at Shepherds Seminary in Cary, NC. Neither position would bolster a fundamentalist resume at this point in Pettegrew’s new progression. Given his leaning toward Progressive Dispensationalism and New Covenant theology legitimate concerns may be raised over the Pettegrew invitation from Central.

With Dr. Sam Horn’s recent inauguration as the president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, many are mindful that he occupies a place of influence once occupied by fundamentalists like Dr. R.V. Clearwaters, Dr. Ernest Pickering and Dr. Roland McCune. While Dr. Horn was the Vice-President of NIU, Rick Holland (then executive pastor of Grace Community Church) was invited to speak. Dr. Horn has recently received a doctoral degree from Master’s Seminary. Will Dr. Horn’s leadership at Central demonstrate a drifting away from Central’s strong Baptist heritage? Will there be a never-before experienced tolerance for progressive dispensationalism and new covenant theology? While it is assumed that Dr. Pettegrew was invited to speak long before Dr. Horn was invited to be the president of Central, there are many who hope that the new president will bring the seminary back to its historic moorings and away from the drift that has been seen under the direction of Dr. Kevin Bauder.

What does the open invitation to Dr. Pettegrew tell you about Central Seminary’s own new progression?


Related Reading:
Northland Int’l University Presents Executive Pastor of Grace Community Church to It’s Student Body

NIU’s Convergence with Evangelicalism: What Does it Mean for Impressionable Students?
In April 2010 Matt Olson, Sam Horn, Les Ollila and Doug McLachlan traveled to the Grace Community Church (GCC) to meet with John MacArthur, Phil Johnson and Rick Holland.* After a day of discussions the NIU men came away finding no reason not to have and increase fellowship with them. Inviting GCC’s executive pastor, Rick Holland, to speak in chapel confirms a new alliance for NIU with evangelicalism.
Is NIU “Unchanged?”

October 3, 2011

Are We Forced to Tolerate Evils Within the Community?

In a previous article Is Kevin Bauder the Right Choice to “Argue for Biblical Separartion?” we discussed the selection of Dr. Kevin Bauder’s contribution to an essay in the new book, Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism.

“Dr. Bauder’s track record in recent years of redefining and/or castigating Fundamentalism with a broad brush would, for many in Fundamental circles, disqualify him from speaking for or on behalf of them. Especially disconcerting would be his speaking on behalf of the fundamentalists’ application of separation principles defined in Scripture. Dr. Bauder has, furthermore, been highly allergic to presenting and especially applying the principles of biblical separation to his new acquaintances in evangelical circles. 

Kevin Bauder is one of a select few men who have introduced and aggressively advocated a redefinition of one of the hallmarks of historic Fundamentalism, which is authentic biblical separation. Dr. Bauder is attempting to influence a paradigm shift away from separation, for the sake of a pure church, long practiced as taught from the Scriptures by balanced Fundamentalists.1 Instead his replacement theology is one of tolerance and accommodation for those who reject in practice the God-given mandates for separation.”
I followed that article with a timely repeat of excerpts from Dr. Ernest Pickering’s classic, The Tragedy of Compromise in, Are We Recognizing the “NEW” New Evangelicalism? For example Dr. Pickering wrote,
The basic problem is this: Many fundamentalists, when speaking of the New Evangelicalism, are referring to the original positions and writings of the early founders of New Evangelicalism such as Carl Henry and Harold Ockenga. They repudiate heartily the thoughts of these earlier leaders, but either in ignorance or willingly they fail to recognize the updated version, the “new” New Evangelicalism. It is always safer to berate the teachings of those historically farther removed than of those who are currently afflicting the church.”
Later I will address a few items that appear in Dr. Kevin Bauder’s article The Book is Out from the In the Nick of Time blog. Today, however, I am going to highlight and discuss a paragraph from another article by Dr. Bauder from the In the Nick of Time blog. The following excerpt is from Kevin Bauder’s On Not Singing (9/19/11).

Still, whenever believers live in community, they find that they are forced to tolerate what they regard as evils within the community. Tolerating a (perceived) evil in another is not the same thing as practicing evil. If we have not a category for tolerable evils, then we shall not be able to live in community at all.”
The article was a good piece right up until that last paragraph. Three times Kevin Bauder calls for tolerance of evil. Bauder is telling us that we need to tolerate what we think to be evil for the sake of fellowship.  Isn’t that exactly the new way of doing separation being advocated by Kevin Bauder these many months now?  Tolerance of evil for the sake of fellowship. This from Kevin Bauder is one of the most clear examples of what Dr. Ernest Pickering warned of from his book The Tragedy of Compromise.  Dr. Pickering warned of, “the subtle drift toward new evangelicalism.” He went on to write, “…there are fundamentalists who are either becoming or already are New Evangelicals. Some are actually adopting New Evangelical philosophies while still proclaiming that they are not New Evangelical.” (p. 159)

From On Not Singing Kevin Bauder essentially calls for men to come up with a category of “tolerable evils” for the sake of fellowship with those who believe, preach, defend and practice what are to be reclassified as “tolerable evil.”  I know of no greater example of new evangelical compromise than that.  In that brief paragraph, Bauder uses the words “tolerate” and “community” in conjunction three times.  Of course, with “community” he means not just expanding fellowship, but cooperative ministerial efforts in the NT church.

In my opinion, the tolerate evil for fellowship statement by Kevin Bauder demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that he is drifting into New Evangelical philosophy for the sake of establishing and influencing others to join him in fellowship with the non-separatist evangelicals.  

This is the new paradigm.  This is the “New” New Evangelicalism. This is the “winding road which ends up in a theological wasteland” and ultimately New Evangelicalism.  Is there any wonder why men cannot accept Kevin Bauder as a legitimate spokesman to “argue for biblical separation” among Fundamentalists?

Bauder’s recent statement seems quite seminal.  It does, however, show a mindset that is probably foundational to his willingness to excuse Al Mohler’s signing of the Manhattan Declaration and ignoring Mohler’s leading a Billy Graham crusade. (See Al Mohler Signs the Manhattan Declaration, which will be discussed in a future article with Mohler having briefly mentioned of his signing the MD in this new book.)

It is increasingly obvious that Dr. Kevin Bauder has morphed into some kind of evangelical hybrid.  Clearly he is bent on breaking down the barriers that preclude a true biblical separatist from heaping lavish praise on, embracing and working in cooperation with non-separatists, who hold to aberrant doctrine, practices worldliness in ministry and are known ecumenical compromisers.