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Doran’s Thoughts on Tetreau’s Categorizations

I emailed Dr. Dave Doran, President of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, asking his opinion of Joel Tetreau’s system for classifying fundamentalists. I was especially interested because his name has been referenced frequently. Dr. Doran replied to me with this email, and has given me permission to post it.


This whole approach is driven by anecdotal evidence that cannot be considered objective or conclusive, and often inaccurate (at least when I have been referenced, e.g., the comments about IFBAM). While it may fly in our day, one would hope for a more substantive basis for such serious claims. “Someone once told me” or “I have talked to a bunch of people” may fly for sitting around the beauty parlor or barber shop, but it shouldn’t pass for “critical evaluation of fundamentalism.” Critical evaluation would call for evaluation of actual positions (and there are plenty of them available in print and audio form) and reasoned arguments, not stories and opinions.

Mortimer Adler, in How to Read a Book, makes an excellent distinction between opinion and judgment. In essence, an opinion is something offered without reasons or argumentation, while a judgment is based on reasons drawn from evidence. Joel’s article is 99% opinion, so there isn’t much point to evaluating it or interacting with it since it all revolves around unprovable assertions. Have you noticed that every time a critique is offered, one of three answers is given: (1) I’m or he’s not saying this applies to everyone; (2) I’m or he’s not completely settled in this analysis so it is bound to change and improve; and (3) I’m or he’s just sharing his perspective or assessment of things.

The first two provide nice escape routes-all exceptions and contradictions can be ignored or a bone of token acknowledgment extended. The last cloaks it in the defense shield of subjectivity (“I have my opinion and you can have yours”). I suppose as a tribute to decline of our culture, the ultimate justification for such subjectivity is that frequently offered lines, “A lot of people agree with me” or “I hear from all kinds of people that agree with me.” In other words, shared sentiment is the strongest evidence.

So, I am not going to get into this discussion because it seems ultimately fruitless. There is no way for it to get down to anything substantive. Since it is all opinion, the only recourse is to raise questions about his credibility to offer his opinion, but why engage in that? If people can’t see the inherent contradictions, excessive generalizations, and weakness of anecdotal argument, then they will think it is just a personal attack. And then they will feel confirmed in their type casting, i.e., the A’s are just being A’s. The whole thing has a built in defense mechanism. So, since it is opinion, l am going to following the mantra of the day-everyone’s entitled to their own opinion-and stay out of it.


61 Responses

  1. Chris and Dave;
    Thank you for the analysis. I’ve been surprised by the amount of anecdotal information that is put forth as “proof” in many of the SI forums. Remembering a college experience, a church service, some grade school experience that left a bad taste, etc. are promoted as “proof” and used to decide principles and standards.

    Of course, as anyone who has dealt with a Charismatic knows, you can’t argue with their experience because you weren’t there. At least that’s been my experience. :)

  2. Looks like Dr Doran’s now in it.

  3. What I want to know is where Dave Doran’s beauty parlor is. :)


  4. […] My Two Cents provide’s Dave Doran’s reaction to the Tetreau Taxonomy […]

  5. It went out of business about 50,000 follicles ago!

  6. Well, for a guy that wants to stay out of it because of generalizations, he stubbed his big toe walking into the barbershop! What does that mean? Type A’s don’t like where the B’s and C’s are headed with this.

  7. Although Dr. Doran makes some valid points, I also believe that when so many people make the same experiential observations and come to the same opinions (or judgments), then there is something going on that demands serious consideration.

    As much as I would love to see a serious, comprehensive analysis of fundamentalist sermons and ideas, there are many other elements of fundamentalist culture and atmosphere that can never (and probably should never) be quantified–private conversations, back-room meetings, leadership personalities and styles, etc.

    That doesn’t mean Joel’s opinions and judgments (and I think he’s offering quite a bit more than 1% judgment as opposed to opinion [but then that’s just my opinion ;-) ]) are right or wrong. But when fundamentalism is producing a whole host of people who share similar opinions and judgments, then that perception is a matter I’m convinced needs to be addressed, even by those who think it’s dead wrong.

    So here’s a question: Was Doug McLachlan’s Reclaiming Authentic Fundamentalism critical evaluation, judgment, or opinion? Well, it was a whole lot of biblical exegesis, a solid dose of history, and, as I see it, a big slab of judgment and opinion–judgment and opinion that was grounded in years of observation of fundamentalism. Here’s a good example. Granted, Joel doesn’t yet have as many years as Dr. McLachlan, but he’s documented grounds for observation in his tender years that are rather diverse within the soil of fundamentalism. So I’m disinclined to dismiss his observations out of hand.

  8. Looks like I butchered the html syntax. Here’s another try.

    McLachlan quote

  9. Ben, help me. Are you saying that the majority is right? Since there are so many people who hold the same view as Joel, they must be right? Or at least on to something?

    If yes, then I’d say you must be ‘on something’. [Joke, joke, smile and all that].

    The VAST majority of the world’s population thinks Christians are nuts. Since there are so many of them that think that, maybe they have a point, eh?

    I’m with Athanasius. “Then it is I against the world.”

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  10. Against my better judgment, I would like to make one clarification that I hope will be quick and clean.

    The point I was trying to make is that I do not believe that the article makes any assertions which can be debated on the basis of evidence, so the only options really left are: I agree or I disagree. There is no single idea or proposition being set forth, and the attempt to establish boundaries for the three categories has clearly been demonstrated to have irremedial flaws. Basically, what is there here to discuss? My experiences differ from Joel’s, so we disagree. Others have similar experiences, so they agree. But to say that either sets experiences are proper from constructing a classification system moves the discussion outside the realm of profitable engagement. Does anyone doubt this based on the discussions that have followed the articles?

    And, because some (at SI) seem unable to distinguish between disagreeing with an article and bashing someone, please note that I don’t believe I have said anything against Joel and, in fact, explicitly said that there would be no point to doing that. I don’t agree with his article(s), and I don’t see any reason to debate them or that doing so would produce much profit.

    I have had someone ask me if I would refute his charges of DBTS being essentially a clone producing institution, but the fact that he is a DBTS grad making that charge seems to answer all by itself. Or perhaps I could ask the president of one of the Type B seminaries who happens to be a DBTS grad to write on our behalf. Or one of the faculty members at a couple of the other schools mentioned that graduated from here. Or … You get the point.

  11. As I said, “Although Dr. Doran makes some valid points, I also believe that when so many people make the same experiential observations and come to the same opinions (or judgments), then there is something going on that demands serious consideration . . . . That doesn’t mean Joel’s opinions and judgments . . . are right or wrong. But when fundamentalism is producing a whole host of people who share similar opinions and judgments, then that perception [emphasis added] is a matter I’m convinced needs to be addressed, even by those who think it’s dead wrong.”

    Please tell me where I’m suggesting that right is determined by the majority. Or do you subscribe to the “perception is reality” and “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” schools?

  12. Oops. That reply was to Don.

  13. Thank you Dr. Doran. I appreciate your response. However, you didn’t give enough harsh and dictator-type attacks in your response to qualify for the Type A stereotype. You might want to rewrite it so you fit in appropriately. :)

    On a side note, I talked with your son a bit at the gym last night. He seems to be doing well.

    Matt Herbster

  14. I also thought that Dr. Doran’s post [I can’t bring myself to refer to him as “Dave”, esp. since I had him for a class at NBBC] above was pretty insightful-
    [b]The point I was trying to make is that I do not believe that the article makes any assertions which can be debated on the basis of evidence, so the only options really left are: I agree or I disagree. There is no single idea or proposition being set forth, and the attempt to establish boundaries for the three categories has clearly been demonstrated to have irremedial flaws.[/b]

    So I guess we should consider Joel’s article as an ‘op-ed’ piece in the local newspaper. If you like it, good for you. If not, well, there’s always a place in the litter box for it. But I am fairly sure that there is some merit, at the very least for me, in what Joel is saying.

  15. Oops. Apparently Ben isn’t the only one who can butcher HTML.

  16. Ben

    You quoted the relevant section of your post. You said:

    “I also believe that when so many people make the same experiential observations and come to the same opinions (or judgments), then there is something going on that demands serious consideration.”

    The number of people subscribing to these judgements is totally irrelevant to their value. It is simply meaningless.

    It is exactly the same argument that supports the majority text view of the manuscripts.

    Perhaps I am not communicating very well, but I don’t see how the number of people making the same experiential observations has a relevance on truth.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  17. Jay C.
    One of my main concerns with this type of “article” is that it is mislabeling people. Now anyone who is strong on separation does the following:

    1. They are harsh and handle their leadership as a dictator. They don’t work with people well.
    2. They are not good exegetes.
    3. They are more concerned with Fundamentalism than Christ.
    4. They are more concerned about building nice buildings than they are about building people.
    5. They judge holiness based on externals.
    6. They have poor biblical application to music, divorce and remarriage, evangelists and church polity.

    I could list a few more. This is the serious problem I see with what Joel is doing. He actually is being more divisive than helpful. Why not just say “I am against mean-spirited fundamentalism?” I’d say “Amen!” Why not say “I’m against poor preaching?” I’d say “Amen.” Why not say “holiness is not based on externals?” I’d say “Amen!” In this way you can go after what bothers you about fundamentalism without putting everyone in one category and causing unecessary divisions.

  18. Dr. Doran, thank you for presenting your thoughts in a clear and direct way, emphasis on clear and direct. I read the other articles (“Three Letters in the Alphabet”)-unfortunately. I do not agree with his point (whatever that may be). There is nothing there. It is all blah, blah, blah!

    [By the way, it’s John ROACH Stratton (1875-1929), pastor Calvary Baptist Church, NYC].

  19. Matt, that’s exactly what I’ve been saying. Address errors. We need that. I’m all for being critical of fundamentalism’s blind spots. But don’t ascribe those errors indiscriminately to a particular “type” you’ve created and labeled people with.

    Maybe if we keep repeating that point, it will stick.

  20. I have had someone ask me if I would refute his charges of DBTS being essentially a clone producing institution, but the fact that he is a DBTS grad making that charge seems to answer all by itself. Or perhaps I could ask the president of one of the Type B seminaries who happens to be a DBTS grad to write on our behalf. Or one of the faculty members at a couple of the other schools mentioned that graduated from here. Or … You get the point.

    Now this was funny … and very instructive to the particular charge at hand.

  21. Matt Herbster makes a valid point about mislabeling people through clustering in groups but he gives away the store by agreeing in principle with Joel’s stereotypically and “political correct” criticisms of Fundamentalism. For example, Matt wrote: “Why not say ‘holiness is not based on externals?’ I’d say, ‘Amen!'” This is a truism and Matt is correct in a limited sense. However, Fundamentalism has been flogged to death with this scourage without considering its ramifications. Externals do not make us holy but we cannot be holy without externals. I mean that a person cannot say, “I have a pure and holy heart” meanwhile fornicating and sinning. In my younger days, I recall a hippie college student saying that his prostitute girlfriend was a virgin because she was pure in his mind and in her heart. I John 1:5-7 effectively refutes such nonsense.

    I would not agree that Matt’s proposed criticisms accurately protray the breadth and scope of Fundamentalism although these are often voiced as being representative.

  22. I attended BJU at the same time Dave Doran did. While I appreciate his comments, they really are misleading. Joel is arguing for A, B, and C type fundamentalists in primarily with regard to secondary separation and how people are treated within fundamentalism for the postion they take on this issue.

    More anecdotal information:

    Not being allowed to reenroll for one’s final semester at BJU because one applied to Dallas Theological Seminary is an example of the spirit that has existed in fundamentalism. Because DTS was considered to be a new evangelical institution, a student was not allowed to graduate at BJU!

    A NBBC music group was not allowed to minister to a Baptist church because it was part of the BGC. This attitude is pervasive in fundamentalist circles.

    As time goes by . . .

    Later BJIV can study at Notre Dame without being labeled a new evangelical.
    Dave Doran can earn his D. Min. at TEDS without being labeled a new evangelical.

    Did the position change? When? Was anyone informed of the change? Were any apologies extended to those who were labeled previously?

    Anecdotal? Yes. Real events? Yes. Did this happen alot? Yes.


    Dr. Don Sailer

    P.S. I use my title whenever others use theirs. Since Dave was referred to as Dr. Doran, I am signing off as Dr. Sailer. I would make a smiley face but I don’t know how to!

  23. Paidogogos,

    Do you believe that holiness is based on externals? If I keep all the externals but am internally corrupt – am I holy? Of course not. I agree with you whole heartedly that internal holiness will result in proper externals. I’m not sure who you are, but if you know me or the organization I work for (wilds) you will know that we believe in externals. We just believe that the internal has to be right too. (which I’m sure you believe too) I hope that clears some things up for you a bit. I’m sorry if I was not clear.


  24. Matt,

    Your reply (above) to Joel’s article was right on. I agree that it would be better to address the problems instead of placing them all into one category. Thanks for saying it graciously and well.

  25. Dr. Don,
    re: academic titles–that was Chris who referred to him that way, Dave’s just a normal guy…really…seriously…all of us just come up to him, slap him on the back and say “Dave, wha’hattnin’?” Or we might even use colloquial terms from this century too… :D Ok, so we all do the “Dr. Doran” thing–but I have yet to hear him say, “hi, I’m Dr. Doran…” :D

  26. It’s funny……

    I’ve been watching the blog thing for a few years now. I have seen many of these types of discussions when information was based on sources not given…..I can never remember the amount of energy that has been directed as this has produced. I understand that the nature of this discussion and the length of time that it has taken to spit it out has contributed to the energy. I also understand anytime you name names – even if you are careful and respectful – energy often is released.

    A few other thoughts:

    1. Appreciate Dave’s thoughts – he’s brilliant and it’s always good to consider his analysis.

    2. I still am confident in my view here.

    3. I’m OK if none of you do/are. I’m happy for you to choose to believe whatever you want to believe. I’m not responsible for your conclusions.

    4. I have resended my statement about Type A’s having a Patton-like militancy for a year…..that may have been over the top…..We’ll see how you do over the next year. I’m thinking reading some of you guys…..I might be winning “the bet.”

    5. While I’m not ready to re-post this thing with all of the sources – why don’t you guys write me privatley and ask what source I might have on whatever topic you didn’t like. And then I can give the reasons why I said what I said. We (all types of fundamentalism) have said for years that newevangelicalism is partially “a mood.” That’s what I’ve done here – taged 3 internal and partially subjective “moods.” Much of this is subjective….but there are things experienced, lived and read that are behind that.

    Chris, I like your blog – I even enjoyed your state last week.

    Blessings boys!

    Joel Tetreau

  27. When I was at BJU with Dave, I used to call him Doran Doran.

    Remember the rock group by that name? I think he liked it!

  28. Joel,

    You see to be contradicting yourself here in your post. You first seem to indicate that you appreciate everyone’s posts, but then you say that after reading everyone’s posts you think we are all militant Pattonites after all. Which is it? Do you appreciate the posts or do you think we are all “over-the-top militant Pattonites?”


  29. I think Dave is essentially correct in his criticisms of Tetreau’s ABC Fundamentalism. Yet his pooh-poohing the testimonies of refugees from the “movement” is disheartening Clearly where there’s smoke, there’s fire; and where there are refugees, there are problems. If history tells us anything, it tells us where there are exiles, something’s not right at home.

  30. Chris,

    I am listening….I think some of the response to what I’ve done is not warrented. But these men are grown men….they will believe and say what they feel they must. I will do the same…. I will say that I am very disapointed in my using the schools and the names of the men the way I did. That has really backfired on me. I was simply trying to use the schools and men as a way of demonstrating the variety between and in many cases within our schools. I was trying to use them to demonstrate my view of my view – It clearly didn’t work. Your concerns earlier about my comments about the “nasty” side of Type A was plastered in the minds of many in my comments about the schools. That was never my intent. I have posted a second apology for tomorow’s post…..I’ve also posted that I should have been more thoughtful about my whole approach here. I don’t apologize for my basic thesis – I’m confident in my basic A, B C model. The way I communicted didn’t work. I’ve appreciated your spirit throughtout this whole ordeal Chris


  31. Let me apologize in advance that this will have to be quick (need to teach this morning):

    1. Lest I be misunderstood, Joel, I have no interest in the sources or citation of your anecdotes. That’s not my point. My point is that we all have them and they can’t be definitive in the manner that you are claiming. I could give ones from my time at TEDS that counter yours or show that the same problems exist in every circle of fellowship. If anyone thinks that I don’t think there have been genuine examples of what Joel has pointed out, then I haven’t communicated very clearly. There have, but, as others have pointed out, they can’t be restricted to one Type since they are the evidence of depravity. I just don’t see any value to going back and forth about who did what and what that means. E.g., do I dispute the illustrations that the Dr. Don Sailer presents? No. The question is, “Do they serve as sufficient warrant to conclude that there is a Type cast for a subset of fundamentalists?” I don’t think so, and the problem is compounded when other traits suggested by Joel run counter to this one.

    2. Also, I certainly hope that I haven’t pooh-poohed the testimony of any refugees. First, I didn’t think that was what this was about, so my mind wasn’t even considering that. Believe me, I have very close friends who have departed from the kind of fundamentalism that I adhere too and I understand the dynamic of which you speak. Second, and I hesitate to say this, contrary to the impression that could be gleaned from this discussion, I would venture that I have taken more flack from Joel’s “Type A” crowd than Joel or most of the people involved in this conversation. Remember, I am a poster boy for the Leaven in Fundamentalism, have been on the sharp side of the political sword several times, etc. If we want to offer stories, I think I can compete. But that’s not the point here and nothing much is accomplished by it.

    Carry on.

  32. Dave,

    Your good points here are noted, received and appreciated. As I have stated on both SI and here, it was poor form to list out institutions and leaders the way I did. I was careless with my approach and I’m hurting over the result of that. You have my respect and I remember your standing in the gap over that Leaven thing. You have character, integrity and I’m grateful for your place in my life and the life of others.

    I’m sorry for any extra pain this has caused you personally. That was not my intent but I can see this was the result of my approach here. I will try to figure out how to hold my views without necessarily cutting or offending others who may not agree. The deal is I’m 38 – not as experienced as you Dave. But if the Lord tarries and he gives me another 30 years of ministry, I desire to be as clear as I can as to direction. I’m explaining that trajectory. For those who can’t go with me on part of that, I respect, but I’m headed where I’m headed. I’ve spent two years cooking and thinking on this A, B, C distinction….Not to say I’m not open to ideas and interaction. It is to say I’ve not yet been convinced that the A, B, C thing isn’t accurate and/or helpful. But am respectful that you are convinced it’s neither.

    Straight Ahead!


  33. My head is spinning. It seems like a debate of opinions over opinions now.

    Sorry, that was just my opinion. :)

  34. Joel,

    Please don’t misunderstand what I have said. I have not been hurt by anything that you have written in the articles or on the blogs. You have committed no personal affront that you have not corrected already (i.e., the misrepresentation of the details regarding our church’s departure from the IFBAM). As I said in the initial post above, you are entitled to your opinions on these matters. This has nothing to do with pain or hurt or anything like that. Remember, I am a Type A, so such things don’t matter to me. It’s not about people or the Lord, it’s about the Fundamentalist flag! :)

    What I am upset about (not really) is that you have carried on this discussion like I am an old man! Joel, I am only 45, so that makes me a mere 7 years your elder. I am not enough ahead of you and you are not far enough behind me to warrant the conclusion that our age or experience makes the difference in our views on this.

    But, that last sentence presumes too much since I really have no idea, based on what I have read thus far, what difference there is in our views other than I have been informed that I am Type A in spite of all of the things in your lists that seem like I am Type B. I really am at a loss as to why I am Type A. Perhaps if you could be more specific, rather than less so, that would help me understand what you are saying. My impression, as it stands, is that the only real difference between the categories is the application of separation. N.B., I didn’t say “belief in separation;” I said application of separation.

    So, Joel, help me out here. Tell me why I am an A and not a B given what you know to be my belief and practices?

  35. Dave,

    I thought you might have taken joy in remember Doran, Doran!

    The Dr. Don Sailer! :)

  36. Don,
    you’re asking a type A to be fun publicly, and they simply aren’t. :D

  37. I don’t know, Sam- looks like he could be having a little too much fun

  38. Shhhh!

  39. I don’t know what you linked to, Greg, but my filter blocked it.

    Come to think of it, I don’t want to know.


    Here’s a summary of my thoughts on this sprawling discussion (I think):

    It has been suggested that fundamentalists shouldn’t be so resistant to being labeled since we’ve labeled others for years. Frankly, I think that even our characterizing of non-fundamentalists can be less-than-helpful. For too long fundamentalists have lumped MacArthur with Warren with Piper with Graham, etc. That’s not accurate or fair.

    I think we should think more in terms of individual issues & positions: what is so-and-so’s position on separation? soteriology? cessationism? etc.

    I think that’s been happening more and more. I think it should happen with those addressing fundamentalists, as well. Deal with substantive issues, not broad categories. Issues (worship, leadership, separatism, sanctification, versions, etc.) can be addressed objectively, with biblical texts. Generalizations cannot, so we’re left to experience & opinion.

    I agree with much of what Joel has said in principle…just not with his assigning it to particular segments as he defines them. I hope this much is clear: I’ve not been arguing against being self-critical; I’ve been arguing against being inaccurate in our self-criticism. As I’ve said, if Joel writes an article against abusive leadership (which we’ve all seen), I’ll cheer him on. There’s plenty of biblical data to draw from. Just don’t connect that particular sin to one’s view of separation, worship style, etc.

    The complexity of these issues demands that they be addressed individually, not collectively, especially when there is no clear correlation between one issue and another.

  40. Chris, I don’t quite agree with that last. My objections are two fold.

    One, Joel seems to be reacting against fundamentalism because of fundamentalists. Yes, a number of fundamentalists have been idiots, but as was said above, that is a human problem, not a specifically fundamentalist problem.

    Second, Joel (and others) seem to be trying to redefine fundamentalism into a ‘kinder gentler’ approach which really isn’t fundamentalism at all.

    I don’t think we have really been guilty of lumping MacA/Piper in with Graham/Warren. They are usually criticised for their own sins, such as Piper’s rap video, etc. We disassociate with MacA/Piper on the grounds of the philosophy of fundamentalism, but usually for different reasons than the disassociation from Graham/Warren. The ‘lumping together’ occurs after the fact, because disassociation is still disassociation.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  41. Dave,

    You asked for it,

    Let me start out with two items and will see where this goes,

    1) Having sat at DBTS and for nearly 5 years, the sense I picked up in classes, chapels, books assigned and “coffee-cup” discussions was a view of fundamentalism that is a single basic identifiable “group” without “varieties of separation and unity” from non-“like us” fundamentalists. We’ve herd often from leadership there that there is no such thing as “hyphenated fundamentalism.” That carries with it the idea of a single, monolithic group. Yes you have fundamentalists that are too different than we’re we are coming from….but we’re still one “legitimate” group. That’s why you were given Type A classification. I understand you might talk about varieties within the “orb.” Now I’ve been gone from Allen Park for a few years. If that has changed I’d have a hard time balancing that with what I’m reading from Dr. McCune in his book. Coupled with that is Dr. McCune’s classifying Mac as a newevangelical. That fits in well with the Type A. I agree with much of McCune’s book……I think overall it’s the best book dealing with the historical failure of newevangelicalism; and I would say same thing if he had accused Dever or others that I would call Type C, as newevangelical. That is, in my system, an indication that one is A. When a historic fundamentalists, who practices some form of separation (primary and secondary) can still in any arrangement be called a newevangelical….than you are in Category A in my book.

    Frankly that’s what the exegetically and responsible A’s have in common with A+ group. You carry with this an approach of a monolithic fundamentalism…..allowances are made for a variety….but it’s still one group.

    So, if you are ready to distance yourself from Dr. McCune’s use of newevangelicalism for the Mac’s and Dever’s of the world…..I’m ready to distance you from Type A fundamentalism.

    2) One of your prof’s there at DBTS when teaching on Fundamentalism maid the following point, ” We are fundamentalists that spell that word with capitols in those letters”… “….We fly the flag of fundamentalism here…..” My all time favorite quote from the class when he was talking about not being like newevangelicals or evangelicals. (I’m not making this up and if you want confirmation I will give you names and numbers of guys in that class – you can call them yourself Dave to make sure I’m not making this stuff up.) a statement was made that fundamentalists should watch out for having a “nice” attitude…..I just about fell out of my chair…..Now, I was trying to assume the best….but he said it again……something like newevangelicals are always worried about being nice…..”

    Dave, I know what I think he was trying to say…..but you have to understand that statements like this are just way too much Type A’ish…..and when you hear statements like above from a single institutution you make judbments based on that. I’m sorry to have not sent you a questionere first. Because this was a blog article, I didn’t think I needed that sort of thing….I’ll do it differently next time!

    So if you compare my statements about militancy of view A with militancy in view B…..these statements fall at least in my scale on the A side. Dave it was funny…..this same instructor…..who I love…..looked at where I was setting and with a smile said…..I’m OK if some of you spell fundamentalism with small letters…..I spell it with capitol letters.

    So perhaps I unfairly lump you in with what I’m hearing from DBTS…..


    PS – there is more on Type A and you IMO – Dave I might also call you Type A because of your approach to polity. On the polity question, I’m tempted to call you Type A because I’m not sure you have an equal at Inter-City. Dave, I’m not trying to be “mean” here – it’s your view of pastoral leadership and perhaps coupled with the sub-culture of ministry at Inter-City Baptist Church. In my scale or approach Type A fundamentalism are lead by ministries that are more centralized in pastoral leadership – i.e. – there is a limited or missing commitment to a real plurality of leadership…..I wouldn’t do this hear except that you asked for it……If you want me to continue after you respond we can…..I know you will tell me it’s not fair because I have “founder power.” I would counter I have equal elders who I am accountable to and we lead together…..yes I lead them….Yes this makes me the first among equals…..but I’m still equall in the functon of elders. Over the years as I’ve watched your pastoral style…..I’ve never seen with any of the associate pastors at Inter-City anything like an equal….Hey…..I’m not saying your sinning by this……It’s just again an indication of a “Mood A” approach to fundamentalism in my scale.

    PPSS – I recal know I called you a B+ after declaring Dever an “almost original fundamentalist….so your right Dave…..You must have made it over!

  42. Joel, I suppose this is somewhat off subject, but since for you it seems to be a primary issue of “Type” characterization, where in Scripture do you see a mandate for plurality of elder leadership? I agree that there may be wisdom in plurality leadership, but I fail to see a biblical mandate. Furthermore, even with a plurality, it seems to be that biblically one person always has the final authority.

  43. Don, I think we’re making distinctions now. However, I think Mac has been labeled a typical new evangelical for years and lumped in with “all the rest.” I’m not saying I agree with his understanding of separation, etc. Not at all. But I do think he was characterized unfairly for quite a while, and probably still is by some.

    Of course, you know that I’m not excited about all the changes yf’s, B’s, “whatever’s” are espousing. I do think we should be as kind & gentle as possible…certainly in our personal character and demeanor (II Tim 2:24). But IMO, that’s really a separate issue from militancy, which I obviously believe in (II Tim 2:25, et al).

    Hope that clarifies my thoughts.

  44. Scott,

    It would be easier for me to send you my Doctoral Project from Central. I have it on my memory stick. I’ve noted the evidences for the NT pattern and practice of a plurality of eldership. 17 times in the NT the world elders are coupled with the context of a church – the church is always in the singular and elders is always in the plural. Scott, the NT did make have an office for a single pastor who would start a church and lead it until elders were apointed – that was the office of an evangelist.

    Again, if you want this, I can zip you my deal.

    Bach forever!


    PS – Scott – my wife has a head statue of Beehtoven in our music studio. I’ve started calling hims “Scott” when I see him.


  45. Oh my, Scott. Now you’ve done it.

    “LLLLLet’s get ready to RUM-BUUUUUUUUUUULLLLLLL!!!!!”

  46. Chris,

    The last few days haven’t had enough “rumbul” for you?

    Man, you OBF boys are serious!


  47. Actually, that was an “Oh, no” response, not a “Oh, boy” response.

    Let’s save the plurality issue for another time.

  48. No problem…..just answring Dave’s question


  49. Bummer. I was just going to ask Joel if he bases his view merely on narrative examples without any explicit mandate, but I guess I’ll have to save that for another time. The plurality thing does seem to be the main issue in his article.

  50. Scott,

    Happy to discuss those issues….I think Chris is tired of this just now….I know how he feels. Perhaps Ill take this later over to your blog and we can go after it there. Of course that might mess up the affections ….or emotions……!





  51. Joel,

    Now we have actually gotten somewhere. You have stated what you think the issues are (a certain kind of application of separation and church leadership). Wouldn’t it have been easier just to address those from the start? Why create all the conclusion by trying to lump people into groups when it really comes down to what you disagree with about their stance on specific issues of application.

    It seems that the one constant issue, however, is separation since some other who agree with your theory of leadership still get labeled by you. It may come out as separation plus, but the plus seems to change from person to person while the separation stays the same. Why not just cut the label murkiness and address the issues?

    At the risk of being a little blunt, Joel, it is comments like the one about observing my pastoral style that are irritating. You have never been a member of our church, and, to my knowledge, have not attended very many services of our church. You have never watched our pastors interact in any ministry context in which you could observe this. You simply have no basis for making this kind of comment. Please be clear–I’m not hurt by it, it doesn’t pain me, etc. I am not looking for an apology or whatever.

    It is just irritating in that you offer opinions which you are not qualified to offer. This is what you did with the IFBAM comment, and, truly, with the comment about DBTS clones (of the 100+ grads, how many do you even know? I would venture to say that I could offer a list as long of men who don’t even come close to the clone model you have suggested). It is just terribly over-reaching on your part. It would be like me offering opinions on your church or pastoral style–I am not qualified to do either since I do not have enough knowledge to do so. It’s just funny to read you, and some of the guys who have agreed with you, pass judgment on things so glibly. I can understand my crowd doing it (after all we are big F fundies), but it is a tad ironic when the Kumbaya crowd does it.:)

  52. Dave,

    All things being equal you might be right…..in this case…..all things are not equal. Let me remind you that I sat in your pastoral theology classes – All three of them – I have your words in you notes. So Dave…..I have heard you on church leadership. Furthermore, if you had sat in my seminary for 5 years, don’t tell me you wouldn’t have had an idea as to how the other pastors function when I was at the campus 3 or 4 days a week. You think I didn’t develop friendships with families from Inter-City. You think they never talk about your pastoral style? You have to be kidding!

    You think I never asked Tracy Fresel about his working relationship with you while I was there? You think that we, the seminary students who didn’t attend Inter-City couldn’t deduce by asking questions of people around you about your style. You think we couldn’t pick up on this being with you for 5 years – even part time?

    Come on Dave.

    I would know about the other graduates because I bump into them…..I talk to them….I’m not God….so obviously I don’t know everyone….but out of the 50 or so DBTS grads I know of…..only about 4 of us are different than everyone else….IMO.

    Also for seeings how we’re here, it might be of an interest that about every other time someone finds out I have my M.Div and part of a Th.M. from Detroit – and these people understand my view on eldership, praise music, Baptistcostalism or whatever….they look at me like I’m from Mars and say….How in the world can you be from Detroit Seminary? Dave…..I hear this all the time…..And I defend you all the time….even in this post I tried to defend you ….even though I accused you of being A……And you might now be B+…..and I called you all Pattonites….that I’m taking back for one year!

    As far as my comments being insulting….you asked specifically reasons why I see you as A? Don’t tell me afterwords your hurt or offended – It’s part of the answer.

    With Kumbaya!


  53. By the way, how many angels do dance on the head of a pin?

  54. Joel,

    I never said that anything you said was insulting. I said irritating. You haven’t insulted me at all (at least that I know of).

    I will let your comments stand as you have made them. I believe that, if the question were put to those who serve along side of me, they would not agree with your assessment. If you would like, I will email you a list of DBTS grads that can expand your vision of what we produce. I would love to see the list of the 46+ clones so I can start hitting them up for support for the seminary!

    So, here we are where I didn’t want to go: Joel says, Dave says. No point to it. I would be glad to discuss the accuracy of your statements further either here or offline, but feel no need to do so. I am content to do what I should have done from the beginning–throw away my keyboard.

    Again, to be clear, I don’t think you have insulted me. You have not hurt my feelings or caused me grief or pain. I find your style of communication and the way you arrive at conclusions irritating. But that may just be the manifestation of my sinful nature and no problem with you at all. If it is, then just ignore me.


    P.S. I meant to say this earlier, but since I am venting now…please don’t make it seem like I am some old codger and you’re the young kid. We are only 7 years apart and that makes us virtual peers age-wise. Harding’s old. I am still a young fundamentalist (sorry about that, I mean Fundamentalist).

  55. Hey, Harding graduated from DBTS, didn’t he? Joel, I dare you to tell Harding that he’s a cookie cut! Harding fits into no one’s mold! :)

  56. Hey “Scotty B” (for Beethoven)

    Where do you think Doran learned all his tricks from – Of course Harding is his own mold.


    You know…..you remind me of an old girl friend I once was going with a few years before Toni rescued me singlehood. She used to get mad at me for not kissing her….so I finally tried once (over summer break…didn’t break those IBC rules!). Talk about a break of a lifetime. You know what she did? Yeah, she tried to hit me!

    You remind me of that chick! you set me up man. You tell me “Hey your too general.” Get specific. So I get specific and you say, “you insult me” oh yeah…..I mean “you irritate me.” Well you irritate me more…..so there!

    Why don’t we really get it on – I’ll list all the ways you irritate me….and then you can try to think of one or two ways I irritate you. Remember I’m 7 years younger than you….you have to be nicer. You’re national…..have a reputation and all….you have to be nice…..oh I forgot….Type A fundamentalism …..your prof’s teach only newevangelicals are nice (Ha! that was funny).

    Dave, blessings……go in peace……

    You are loved!


    PS – as to your comment I should have listed these various issues between Type A and B – I did list them – I listed 5 specific areas. These two – leadership and the scope of secondary separation was on that list.

    PPSS – based on his declaration the Dever is close to a 1920’s fundamentalists and because he is a co-attender at Shepherd’s conference, I do declare the David M. Doran be granted the status of B+ Fundamentalist. Be it know here and now that DBTS is no longer a Type A seminary – she is now a A/B seminary and joins the proud ranks of other A/B institutions! Congratulations

    Ohhhh, I forgot …..Latin is appropriate at these sorts of occasions:

    “Credidi me felem vidisse!”


    “I tought a taw a puddy tat!”

  57. The good news is, all this categorizing, this labeling, this staring at our own navels is going to bring about clearer communication. It’s all about producing unity.


  58. Is it just me, or did Joel still miss the point about being specific? By that, I mean, Dave asked for specifics, but he did not say, “make it personal.” This has been one of my issues with the article in the first place, there are things mentioned that he seems to think are so vital, but the point could have been made in higher level ways. Sorry, Joel, but it has a Maury Povich feel to it sometimes…I feel like I’ve been Oprahized…

    Dave, I miss WRIF, and you rockin’ in the afternoons! They played some great praise music… :D

  59. This is my last comment and then I am out. I do not have any problem with the specificity of Joel’s statements about the matters of separation and pastoral leadership. That helped me understand what is really driving his assessment.

    The one comment I made that expressed irritation was because I felt like he was passing a judgment which he was not qualifed to make, not because it was a statement about me. I know this will sound hard to believe, but it really doesn’t bother me that Joel said this about me. What bothered me is that he offered an opinion which I don’t believe he is qualified to offer given the limited amount of exposure he has had. Obviously, he disagrees with me on that point. So be it. At the risk of a goofy illustration–if Joel proceeded to offer his opinion on what it is like to slam dunk a basketball, I would have the same reaction. How does he know that? That’s basically my point.

    The amazing part of all this to me is that anyone would think that this is a personal issue. Good grief. None of us are really this important. What Joel has said about DBTS and me is nothing compared to what others have said, written, etc. And I would expect that anyone trying to do something for the Lord (whatever letter they bare) will experience this. Big deal. I spent last week in a country where you can go to prison for witnessing, and this stuff bothers us? I hope no one is offended on my account or by me.

    Before this all started, my first response to Chris’s request was, “Friends don’t ask friends to blog.” Sadly, I gave in to the dark side (probably an OSU plot). But, I can say it now: My name is Dave, and I have a problem. That’s the first step to recovery. I’m moving on. One day at a time.

  60. That’s it: 20-page limit. Thread closed.

  61. Guys,

    I was trying to be both detailed as to a few differences between Dave and I as well as having fun……

    I was trying to point out a few differences of view on separation and leadership as it relates to type A and B. I was trying to joke and make lighter a topic that was too heavy spirited for me (that’s what the Latin phrase at the end was – just trying to bring some fun. This was not an added shot – I can’t even believe that someone would think that – that’s not my style nor my character. )

    I thought I had permission to specifically tell Dave where I thought he was still type A’ish. That’s why I went that way……when he responded to that note, I thought I had an open door to take it further. I even tried to bring levity in the discussion because I thought we were turning a corner to resolution. I was hoping to arrive at a conclusion so we could deflate the issues finally. Once again by trying to clarify issues – I’m just made it worse.

    I regret that the conversation went further than I should have taken it. I have apologized that I named names….I have apologized for not fully understanding the IFBAM thing. Let me apologize also for saying that DBTS had only four guys that think differently than Dave. On private notes it has been pointed out to me that I am wrong. There are numerous men who have graduated from DBTS who have a different perspective. I should have known and thought through that. What I have stated here and elsewhere has been what I believed was right at the time. It frankly is not my style to purposely undermine anyone. DBTS is a great institution. What saddens me is that by pointing at a few items I might disagree with somehow that has somehow come off as if I’m against the seminary and Dave altogether – and I’m not.

    I have always appreciated Dave (even when I have disagreed with him) and DBTS and will be more careful in the future with any statements about them.

    I love Dave, and the rest of you. I think we need to stop this thread…..I’m afraid that energy, emotion and vigour have hijacked this thing and that we are being targets of and perhaps participants of something a kin to spiritual battle. I think Satan want’s to divide us. My whole intention as stated by Riley on his blog was to explore the possibilities of including C men in A and B fellowship. By taking as much time as I have on pointing out differences with A’s in general and now DBTS and Dave (in a hope to clarity and rel-eave) I have apparently once again helped steer this thing in a bad direction.

    At first I really didn’t think I had done that. I can see now that is exactly what we have ended up focusing on. Leadership has to do better than this…..I have to do better than this….I’m blaiming only myself here.

    I need you men to forgive me. I’ve asked God to forgive me. I’m asking Dave to forgive me. He and I have had some exchanges off line, but I need to continue that conversation. Chris, please my brother, forgive me for allowing this thing to go as long as it has over hear on your blog. The rest of you pray for me tonight. If I have been the Jonah that has caused the storm…..I want to know that and make it right to God and everyone I have sinned against…..If I haven’t been that guy and someone else has I’m prayerful they’ll make it right.

    Pray that the last instalment of Line in the Sand comes off better and that finally we can get past this dark cloud. It’s choking my heart……I never intended this to be this way at all…..this is a wierd deal.

    Your brother,


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