January 21, 2016

Archival Series: Do Fundamentalists & Evangelicals, “Believe, Preach and Defend the [Same] Gospel?”

Many of you are aware of a long running series by Dr. Kevin Bauder titled Now, About Those Differences. He is publishing this series to clear up what he alleges to be misunderstandings surrounding his incendiary article Let’s Get Clear on This. In the opinion of a number of readers the Differences series has frequently reiterated his lavish praise of Evangelicalism and continues to redefine and/or castigate Fundamentalism just as he did with both movements in the Let’s Get Clear on This article. Nevertheless, the current installment, Part 12 subtitled Together (Only?) for the Gospel contains an element that is highly disconcerting, bordering on a deliberate misrepresentation of a known fact, which is the subject of this article. Dr. Bauder wrote,

Most fundamentally (the word is deliberate), both groups are united in their affirmation and exaltation of the gospel. None of the differences that we have examined to this point results in a denial of the gospel. Both fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals believe the gospel, preach the gospel, and defend the gospel.”
For any objective commentator it is widely known and irrefutable that Calvinistic soteriology in the form of the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel is the Gospel message of the so-called “conservative” evangelicals.

Is it possible that Kevin Bauder refuses to disclose the vast chasm, disagreement and debate in Fundamentalism over what is the true nature of saving faith; what is the Gospel?

His statement above is at best an avoidance of the truth and at worst a deliberate attempt to conceal the disagreement that exists among men in Fundamentalism on the nature of the one true Gospel.

There is wide spread disagreement in Fundamentalism over Calvinism, but for many on both sides of that debate Calvinism does not necessarily mandate a split. Lordship Salvation, however, is an entirely different point of sharp contention in and around Fundamentalism.1 John MacArthur defined the core of Lordship Salvation (LS) when in TGATJ he wrote, “Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.”2 Statements such as that are the focal point of controversy and many fundamentalists consider that to be a defining mark of a works salvation.

Bauder also wrote,
This mutuality in the gospel leads to a question. Since conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists are united in their allegiance to the gospel, should they not be able to cooperate at the level of the gospel? To put it positively, should fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals get together for the gospel?”
There is no universal “mutuality in the gospel” among evangelicals and fundamentalists. “Evangelicals and fundamentalists are [NOT] united in their allegiance to the gospel,” because there is a vast difference between what evangelicals and non-Calvinists in Fundamentalism believe to be the one true Gospel. It is irrefutable, and Kevin Bauder is well aware, that many men in Fundamentalism reject Calvinistic soteriology in the form of LS as a false, works based Gospel. It is, furthermore, indisputable that virtually every man in “conservative” evangelicalism is a passionate advocate for Lordship Salvation, which Bauder is also well aware of. Men in Fundamentalism who reject Lordship Salvation as a false works-based message are as aware as Bauder is that evangelicals are almost universal in agreement on Lordship Salvation as John MacArthur defines it. It is, therefore, impossible for fundamentalists who reject LS to have any kind of fellowship, unity or cooperation with the evangelicals because of their advocacy of Lordship Salvation.

To be honest with his readers Kevin Bauder must add a qualifier, a clarification. The qualifier would be along these lines, “Since [Calvinistic] conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists are united in their allegiance to the gospel…” It is the Calvinistic Lordship Salvation message that Calvinists in fundamental circles are choosing to unite around with their Calvinistic counter-parts in Evangelicalism. This is irrefutable! Dr. Bauder also wrote,
Is it really believable that they [T4G] cannot find a place for Christian statesmen like Charles Ryrie or John C. Whitcomb?
Of course it is believable. Frankly, this is a question any casual observer could answer. T4G is Together for the LS Gospel.3 Then there is the alternating year sister conference The LS Gospel Coalition. Lordship Salvation is the interpretation of the Gospel that they gather around. How could Bauder not grasp that T4G will never have Dr. Ryrie on their platform when he surely knows that Dr. Ryrie in, So Great Salvation rejects John MacArthur’s Lordship Salvation as a false interpretation of the Gospel? The very LS Gospel, which virtually all of MacArthur’s contemporaries across Evangelicalism embrace.

What the apologists for unity with Evangelicalism who join Kevin Bauder at sites such as the pseudo- fundamentalist Sharper Iron do not fully disclose, try to negate and blur is that Bauder’s so-called “pure gospel” rallying point is Calvinistic soteriology in the form of the Lordship Salvation. This is exactly why no man who rejects Lordship Salvation will ever be invited to the platform of events like T4G and The Gospel Coalition.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the sole test for fellowship with the evangelicals is whether or not they can agree on a Calvinistic soteriology. Kevin Bauder is willing to find agreement and base fellowship with evangelicals solely on Calvinistic soteriology, which is undeniably the LS interpretation of the Gospel. This “pure gospel,” as we may examine in future articles, has become the sole test for fellowship in Bauder’s approach to them. Virtually all other considerations among the evangelicals such as ecumenical compromise, worldliness and aberrant doctrine have been tolerated, ignored, negated or excused. [A pattern that continues at time of this republishing, 01/2016]

Kevin Bauder acts irresponsibly when he attempts to portray Fundamentalism as though all fundamentalists accept and agree with the evangelicals interpretation of the Gospel. This is an inappropriate caricature of the whole of Fundamentalism. According to Kevin Bauder,
Both fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals believe the gospel, preach the gospel, and defend the gospel.”
The truth is that many men in Fundamentalism do NOT “believe, preach or defend” the Lordship Salvation Gospel of the evangelicals. Instead they reject LS because it “corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3) “frustrates grace” (Gal. 2:21). They biblically resist the spread of Lordship Salvation as fervently as they would Roman Catholicism’s sacramental system because both are works based, non-saving interpretations of the Gospel.

IMO it is disingenuous and irresponsible for Kevin Bauder to speak of the Gospel in his article as if there is wide spread unanimity in all of Fundamentalism for agreement with evangelicals on what constitutes the Gospel, the nature of saving faith. His failure to disclose the well-known, demonstrable division in Fundamentalism over the LS interpretation of the Gospel, the open rejection of the LS gospel of the evangelicals, is in fact the practice censorship by omission. I am calling on Kevin Bauder to be honest with his readers. To publicly recognize that many men in Fundamentalism reject Calvinistic soteriology and especially the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel, which the evangelicals “believe, preach and defend.”

Close on a Personal Admonition to Kevin Bauder:
Brother Bauder you do not speak on behalf of and are no more the voice of Fundamentalism than I am.

As I have documented in this article you are perpetuating a fallacy on unity in the Gospel. It is intellectually dishonest to declare, without qualification, there is unanimity on the Gospel between fundamentalists and evangelicals. It is an egregious misrepresentation. Scores of fundamentalist pastors, teachers and evangelists reject Evangelicalism’s Lordship Salvation as a false interpretation of the Gospel and you know this to be true. To reiterate, you do not speak for Fundamentalism. Fundamentalists speak for themselves and many of them passionately reject Lordship Salvation and would have every right to be offended by your suggesting Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism believe, preach and defend the [same] Gospel.

I am calling on you to immediately publish a correction of this misrepresentation. Be honest with your readers. Tell them that a select group of Calvinists in Fundamentalism agree with evangelicals on Calvinistic soteriology in the form of the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel. Tell your readers that Calvinistic soteriology is the “pure gospel” you speak of and around which you are trying to influence others toward unity in the Evangelical and Fundamentalist camps.

Originally published August 24, 2010

1) What is the Fault Line for Fracture in Fundamentalism?
How can there be unity within a fellowship when two polar opposite interpretations of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ are accepted as legitimate? Reasonable men can get along over differences of opinion over Reformed theology. Many men who reject Calvinism have cordial personal friendships with IFB men who are Calvinistic in their theology. There is the desire to work in cooperative efforts and I understand that desire. It is, however, antithetical to the Scriptures to call for unity in any fellowship at the expense of compromise with Lordship’s message, which has changed the terms of the Gospel.
2) For a brief definition of Lordship Salvation by Dr. John MacArthur see, Summary of Lordship Salvation From a Single Page

3) Let’s Get “CRYSTAL” Clear on This: A Response to Kevin Bauder’s “Cannonball” Cogitations: “Foremost Defenders of the Gospel Today?”

Please continue to Cogitations Stemming From the Central/Bauder Ethos Statement

January 12, 2016

Now Ye Are Clean

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” 
(John 15:3-5) 

Many of those who are seeking spiritual revival today have been touched by revival fires in the past.
Dr. Rick Flanders
Our experience, for the better or for the worse, seems to affect the Christian’s attitudes about revival. Some are motivated and others perplexed by powerful spiritual events which they have experienced in a corporate way that seem connected to real revival. We talk about prayer meetings that lasted long into the night, about public confessions of sins, about deep emotion in meetings, and about planned sets of services that were extended beyond the original plans for many days. What actually were these experiences? Do we have light from the Bible about them? Were they real revivals, and if so, why have they not been repeated in some cases? What’s the real story here?

We can be grateful that we do have extensive light on revival matters from the words of the Lord Jesus Himself. The night before He died, He met with His disciples (at least the apostles and probably some more of His followers), first in the Upper Room and then on the walk to Gethsemane, and talked with them (and us) about life under the New Covenant. These exquisite and important words from our Lord are recorded in the book of John, chapters 13 through 17. And in them we find the answers to our questions.

In chapter 15, Jesus boils down what He was saying about the abundant life (the real Christian life, which is His gift to us) by giving us the metaphor of the vine and the branches. The key to that life from our perspective is to “abide” (“continue,” “remain”—verses 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11) in Him as a productive branch must stay connected to the life-giving vine. The “abide in Me” life is described as a life of continual dependence (verse 5) and absolute commitment (verses 9-10). Such a life is called friendship with Jesus (verses 13-16), and promises the experience of peace, love, joy, victory, and productivity. It is appropriately described by the Lord back in John 10:10 as having life “more abundantly” (beyond measure).

In verses 2 through 5 we find Jesus describing the processes by which a believer is brought into and up to such a productive life. He is purged in order to bring forth more fruit. Having been purged (the word for “clean” in verse 3 comes from the root of the word translated “purgeth” in verse 2), he is ready to “abide in Me” for the abundant life. This is the process we often see working in revivals. The Father purges branches of the Vine in order to bring them to a new level of productivity. Once purged (the Greek word means “cleansed”) they are “clean through the word” and are prepared to abide in Christ and bear His fruit. Often in revival efforts, the Word of God is preached to the saints, and purging happens (remember what we read in John 13:1-11 and Ephesians 5:25-27). Then they are ready to surrender for service and reproduction (it is clear from verse 16 that the “fruit” of John 15 is not the fruit of repentance, nor the fruit of the Spirit, nor the fruit of the heart, but rather the fruit of the Christian, as in John 4:34-36, Romans 1:13-15, and Philippians 4:15-17: others becoming Christians through our Spirit-empowered witness). What is going on among Christians in revival is purging and then abiding.

There aren’t a lot of significant spiritual victories happening in Bible-believing churches today, and when anything does happen, we tend to think it is full-blown revival! Revival in scripture is the work of God in which He lifts His people up to the level of faith and commitment where He can bless them as He promised He would (James 4:8-10). In some sense therefore, any part of the revival process can be called “revival.” Reviving someone is a process, and therefore the term is relative. But God is going somewhere with us, and is taking us somewhere. When powerful things happen to start the process, it doesn’t mean that we “have arrived.” And God starts with purging.

This is true about revival, both personal and corporate, everywhere in the Bible. Take a look at Second Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 51:7-15, Malachi 3:1-3, Mark 1:1-8, and James 4:8-10. God’s people are confronted by God’s Word with their many sins. When they respond by repenting, they are purged. But it’s only the beginning! When a group of believers in a church or at a conference or in a youth rally or at a camp cooperate with the Spirit of God by turning from their sins, there is a significant and powerful and often public purging. However wonderful (and unusual) such a thing is, it is a means to a more wonderful end. The goal is the miraculous harvesting found in the book of Acts, which is the need of the world, and the goal of revival.

We can’t be filled with the Spirt until we deal with our sins. Purging is indeed Step #1, but it is not the final destination for seeking believers. Those great experiences of the past may well have been the beginning of greater things, and the fuller victory may have been somehow thwarted. One way revival is derailed is by Christians being content with the progress so far.

It is a sad fact that many and perhaps most Christians never really feel “clean.” But that night, Jesus made it clear that he wants His followers to get fully clean, and then to consider themselves clean. The words He used earlier were “clean every whit” (read John 13:4-11). The talk began with a visual lesson taught in the washing of the disciples’ feet. As He washed their feet, He told Peter, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.” Partnership with Jesus (later called abiding in Him) must be preceded by purging. Then He assured them that a believer (one who has legal forgiveness before the justice of God by faith in the Lord Jesus) who confesses his sins (obtaining practical forgiveness before a holy God by the thorough confession according to First John 1) will be “clean every whit,” and ready to labor with Christ.

This is why He assured them in chapter 15 that they were “clean through the word.” He wants us to know that confession can “cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (First John 1:9). Contrite King David found that when he confessed his sins, he was made “whiter than snow” and had “a clean heart” before God (read Psalm 52 again). He wants you to feel clean. And the work of confessing your sins can bring any believer the cleansing he wants and needs.

But we must learn that purging, as we said, is Step #1 in the reviving of a saint or a church. After John 15:3, where the believer is told he is clean, the imperative verb is used in verse 4 to command him to abide in Christ. The truth is that the cleansed Christian will fall back into the same problems unless he learns to abide in Christ. The reason we sin at all is that we fail to abide in Christ. Study the words of First John 2:28 through the startling statement in 3:6. The way we receive eternal life is by coming to Jesus (John 6:35-37). Then the way we live for Him after we are saved is by abiding in Him (John 15:1-8). It is only a life of partnership with Jesus Christ, committed to doing His bidding and depending on Him for the power we need, that will give the Christian victory over himself and his sin. And if you just admit your failure and get clean, but go back to living a life of self-dependence, you will also go back to failure. So every purged believer must be taught to commit his life to follow Christ and depend on Him for victory, day after day.

Do not separate purging from abiding. This is also a truth for corporate revivals. When a group has come through a season (long or short, intense or less emotional) of thorough purging, they need immediately to enter the phase of Step #2. Now it is time for surrender and filling. Now we need, as the Jerusalem believers on the day of Pentecost, to partner with God for the work of evangelism. We must pray and we must begin to speak (review Acts 2:1-4, and then compare the revival at Pentecost with the next one recorded in Acts 4:29-33). Let the Lord fulfill in us His stated program of Acts 1:8, revival and evangelism. Abide in Him, and bear His fruit. Go all the way, and don’t get stuck in the process. Let Him cleanse you thoroughly and then unite with Him to reach the world!

Dr. Rick Flanders
Revival Ministries

January 3, 2016

The Bible on Crime & Punishment

The Bible speaks to everything in one way or another. Where it does speak directly, it is correct even if the pagan culture in which we live disagrees or thinks that God’s way is too simplistic or idealistic. The criminal justice system in our country is seriously flawed and corrupt, and this is because the system does not represent the basic model presented in God’s Word.

The fact is that during the establishment of our nation much of the foundational law represented the Judeo-Christian principles. It wasn’t perfect, but the years of judicial, administrative, and legislative adjustments have stripped our law of its value. A majority of these changes were in violation of the original documents, without the permission of the people.

The end result of pagan intellectualism has given us a prison system that multiplies the criminal element and moral perversity. The present practice celebrates and rewards the violator and punishes the victims, who are the core of our society. The rejection of capital punishment mocks a holy God and encourages murderers, rapists, and other evildoers to continue committing their crimes. The unequal application of the law ends up punishing the little guy while the elite go free and even run for high office. In the courtroom, the defense is expected to get the guilty off. While the family of the victim lives with the grief of the crime, our legal system bankrupts a nation, encouraging a violent society.

The end of this spiral comes when those in charge do away with real punishment because they say that “the system is flawed,” but then go on spreading evil by moving further away from the answer God has given. This pagan philosophy is based on folly – the idea that man is basically good and society has the power to change the criminal into a good citizen through re-education. How has that worked out? The bottom line is that evil things are made good and good things are made evil. This nonsensical system murders the innocent child in the womb, but rewards those who are guilty and sets them free.


God’s plan is clear and simple. Cities of refuge and temporary confinement were only for the purpose of making sure that judgment was served honestly and with alacrity. The goals were restitution and retribution. For the criminal, there was always an end to the dealing with evil. The pagan mind tells us that capital punishment doesn’t work, but the truth is that no murderer who died for his crime has ever murdered again. The liberal mind complains that capital punishment is “cruel and unusual punishment”. The record, however, makes it clear that prison is a cruel and unusual punishment, while execution is actually merciful and quick. God’s plan shuts the door on the manufacture of the criminal element. The growth and respectability given to sodomy at this hour is a by-product of a useless prison system. The answer to crime from frustrated leaders is simply to make things legal, no matter how evil the practice is in God’s sight. The problem is that making things legal doesn’t make them right, but it does reveal the serious lack of wisdom in the present system. Pagan philosophy counters with the argument that moral people want to establish a “theocracy.”  The truth is that God’s plan works; it is what is needed, no matter what you may choose to call it.


The saddest point in all of this is that some of those who name the name of Christ are siding with the seared mind of the unregenerate. There are several reasons for this. One reason is the philosophy of the state educational system in our nation, which has been adopted by so-called Christian institutions. The liberal mindset has no valid authority base. That mindset has taught a whole generation to use human reason as the highest authority. God gave us the ability to reason, and that ability, when properly used, will end up in agreement with God’s wisdom. Man’s wisdom ends up working full-time to prove that God is wrong.


Yesterday a friend of mine was sentenced to jail time for lying to the IRS. None of us would approve of any deliberate and clear violation of the law. In this case, however, he did not owe anyone anything, so restitution had taken place and there was no evidence of deliberate violation. It was not a capital crime, so retribution was not an issue. In God’s plan, the issue was settled. So, what is going on here with the imposition of jail time? Most of us have taken deductions that were disallowed, and many have not included so-called income that was questionable. It would be very easy for the current vacillating system to put us behind bars; in fact, this system has been used many times by a vengeful administration to punish those who disagree with them.


Corruption is a very strong word, but it is true and is the point of this discussion. When the little guy is punished for something, he is judged harshly. At the same time, those at the top use power and money to avoid justice. Some of the most public figures owe huge amounts of taxes and have avoided paying them. This is corruption. If lying to the IRS is a crime - and it is - then why are major leaders so often shielded from responsibility? If lying is a crime, then half of Washington should be indicted given the fact that liberalism lives on lies.

The argument used to protect the elite is that nothing has been proven, and they are innocent until proven guilty. That may be true of the court, but it isn’t true in the real world. If someone murders and a corrupt defense attorney gets them off, they are still guilty. It seems, however, that if you have enough power, influence, and money, you can get away with murder. It may all be legal, but it still is corrupt. So, while the average citizen has no “real” protection, he can be incarcerated for questionable charges. Meanwhile, the guilty run for the highest offices in the land and may never even be charged even if their crime was treasonable, such as rewriting the founding documents of our nation!


This is the real story of flawed justice. In the end, it doesn’t work because it flies in the face of what the sovereign creator God has given us. His way is perfect and always works. Man’s way is flawed and produces injustice. So who should be behind bars?

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

SHEPHERD’S STAFF – December, 2015 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 or Shepherd's Staff.