Straight Talk about Conservative Evangelicals

You need to read this piece by Kevin Bauder. Insightful, courageous stuff.

_____

Update: Here’s a thoughtful response from Dave Doran.

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80 Responses

  1. So great. Too bad it’s so true. So needed. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. Chris,

    I am glad that Doran at least has said “Wait a minute” on this.

    I wouldn’t consider it “straight talk” as it tends to be a cheer session for the “conservative evangelicals” and presents a significantly lopsided look at both CEs and Fundamentalists.

    For instance, it seems to me that he speaks in almost hagiagraphic terms of CEs while presenting the radical fringe of Fundamentalism over and over.

    One example would be in the way that Dr. Bauder praises CEs for taking on Open Theism (for instance), while leaving out that their continued extending of Christian fellowship to its chief proponent muddles the seriousness of any defense against the position that they might offer.

    Maybe I need to re-read this when I am more awake, but my quick reading of it rendered more “red flags” than “attaboys”.

    Frank

  3. Yeah, I am with Frank on my analysis of this. I think Dave Doran really demolished Bauder’s main points.

    Frank mentioned the lopsided view of Fundamentalism… Bauder seemed to just be writing propaganda there. Mentioning all the IFBx foibles as if that is representative of the whole. If it is not fair to call conservative evangelicals “new evangelicals”, then how is it fair to use a similar broad brush tactic against fundamentalism? And Dave does a pretty good job pointing out that it is not a settled argument that conservative evangelicals are not new evangelicals. He points out that they are at least very similar to new evangelicals in many ways.

    FWIW

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  4. Hi, all. It’s an interesting discussion, to be sure.

    I’d not say that Doran “demolished Bauder’s main points,” especially when he said he “agrees with most of what [Bauder] wrote.”

    I think Bauder’s expressing appreciation for the heavy lifting these men have done in defending the faith is refreshing. Overdue, even. There’s a lot of truth to the idea that while Piper and MacArthur have warned against apostasy, fundamentalists have very often warned against Piper and MacArthur. These men may differ with me on some points—perhaps some important points—but they’re certainly not the bad guys. They’re wearing white hats.

    Granted, in arguing against the (very common) oversimplification that says “conservative evangelicals are new evangelicals,” Bauder may have oversimplified in the opposite direction. So Doran offered a correction—one that Bauder may very well agree with. Great.

    Still, the point of both men is that, in the words of Bauder, “binary classification is far too simplistic.” I agree. It’s complicated. Thinking in terms of 2 camps—or even 3—isn’t helpful, especially when many (most?) who identify themselves as fundamentalists are in no place to defend the faith because they are confused about it themselves. We need to determine ecclesiastical relationships on the basis of fidelity to Scripture, not name tags. Both of these men agree on that point.

    If anything, Doran’s suggestion is a bigger “cannon ball” than Bauder’s. Bauder says we should rethink classifications. Doran says we should forget about them.

  5. Well Chris, Dave says this:

    So, I’ll jump right to the place where I slightly differ with what seems to be his main point, which I take to be the claim that conservative evangelicals are not new evangelicals. I’ll state my difference right up front—I believe that this discussion is too complicated to make that assertion at this point.

    Now Dave says he ‘slightly differs’ here. I think that’s just being polite. He proceeds to point out a major difference and major issues with Piper and Mohler over Open Theism, Billy Graham’s Rock the River thing, and the Manhattan Declaration. None of these are “white hat” moves and all of them point out that Bauder’s argument is just not sustainable.

    You can latch on to Dave saying he ‘mostly agrees’ but it is very interesting that he came out the same day with a major post on a subject he would know is controversial and takes a clearly contrary position.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  6. If I may comment on what I wrote to clarify, I believe that Chris has accurately represented my point. I was not merely being polite in expressing the slightness of my difference with Dr. Bauder. I agree with him on virtually everything he says regarding how we’ve compromised our integrity by ignoring the ignorance in our midst while treating CEs as we have.

    Also, I agree that many of the folks he mentions have taken stands and provided resources that have been a blessing to God’s people and an important line of defense against theological error.

    The fact that I have to make explicit these points is symptomatic of the trouble we are in. Open discussion of ideas tends to be immediately turned into a political discussion viewed in relation to “the movement.” I was not taking a contrary position. I was challenging a point that he made, and, as Chris rightly surmised, suggesting something that might be viewed as more radical than what Kevin wrote. He still is talking about them in distinction from us. I am saying that them and us language obscures the real challenge of the day–do we agree with one another or not.

  7. Frank says, One example would be in the way that Dr. Bauder praises CEs for taking on Open Theism (for instance), while leaving out that their continued extending of Christian fellowship to its chief proponent muddles the seriousness of any defense against the position that they might offer.

    Don says, He proceeds to point out a major difference and major issues with Piper and Mohler over Open Theism…

    I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that perhaps Piper has taken on Open Theism in a far more significant and public way than any fundamentalist has.

    I am not sure how one can legitimately accuse Piper of muddling the position he takes. I don’t know how he would be any clearer about it. He has publicly taken it on in a very visible forum, moreso than any fundamentalist I know of.

    You might say he could withdraw from the BGC. Sure, he could. But as I understand it, the majority of the BGC repudiates Boyd’s open theism. So Piper would be withdrawing from people who agree with him on the issue, but disagree with him on how to handle those who disagree on that issue. And I think that is precisely the point that both Bauder and Doran are making.

    One of the major differences is not about how we deal with
    apostates, but about how we deal with those who do not deal with apostates the way we think they should.

    To me, to suggest these men are “enemies of the gospel” (as some have done) is overboard, not to mention uninformed, IMO.

    So I appreciate the comments of both of these men on this topic.

  8. Dave,

    Thanks for the article. It was very helpful. When I attended Bible college, I struggled with the constant pressure to choose one of the two camps of Christianity. Yet, when I got out into the real world, I began seeing that it really is alot more complex than that. There are so many different ministries with different theologies, philosophies, and applications. So the encouragement to evaluate individual men and ministries on an individual basis was very helpful.

    I also agreed with much of what Bauder said. And your cautions regarding his article were very helpful and fair too. Thanks!

    Rick

  9. It’s become very apparent to me in my reading and interaction with men such as Chris, Dave, Kevin, and others in fundamentalism that these guys are building on the foundation of the gospel and have an attitude of love. These are men that I can look up to for wisdom in ministry.

    I also believe that men such as Piper, Dever, Keller, etc. are building on the foundation of the gospel and have an attitude of love. These are also men that I can look up to for wisdom in ministry.

    But as Dave and others have pointed out, there are still some important differences between these men.

    It’s been very healthy for me to see you all interact with one another in a way that points each other to the true foundation, communicates with love, and yet acknowledges the differences rather than just pretending like they don’t exist. It would be great to see this continue in that there is much to learn from each of these men.

  10. The practical point I derive from both Bauder and Doran is that we should not be rushing to summary judgments on associations with people not traditionally thought of as being in “our camp.” I appreciate that.

    That being said, I do think that Paul Hartog’s two part series on “Economic Wisdom as an Analogy to Prudence of Separation” (one, two) also needs to be considered here. Someone may not have to be the “enemy,” per se, in order for us to continue to maintain some level of distinction. I think that as much as both Kevin and Dave are rightly observing that Conservative Evangelicals are not the enemy, neither would they debate that they would be limited in what they would want to do with them on a formal basis. For example, as much as Kevin might thank God for John Piper, Central is not pursuing a merger with the seminary at Bethlehem- they are doing so with another dispensational Baptist Fundamentalist institution.

  11. just replying to Dave,

    Fair enough and thanks for the clarification. I should have left the “polite” comment out.

    However, if Bauder’s main point is there is no such thing as New Evangelicalism any more, so we can’t use that terminology in the discussion and you, Dave, come along and say, wait a minute, look at how “new evangelicalish” these specific conservative evangelical actions look, aren’t you really taking apart his main argument?

    That’s what I took from it. Maybe I am slow, so perhaps you could show me where I miss the point.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jerimiah 33.3

  12. Don,

    I believe that Bauder’s point was not that there is no new evangelicalism anymore, but that the men he listed are not new evangelicals. Those are two distinct claims.

  13. Hi Dave,

    Ok, yes, two distinct claims, I see that.

    But then you are disagreeing with the distinct claim he is making? He is saying (as I understand you) that Piper is not a new evangelical.

    You are countering by pointing out new-evangelicalish behaviour by Piper.

    And I am interpreting that as taking apart his argument.

    So…???

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jerimiah 33.3

  14. Don,

    I am not sure what your point is. It seems, at least to me, that you keep shifting the discussion. No one has denied that I disagreed with him on that very point. That, though, was not what you were saying above. You’ve said that I was largely disagreeing with him, but in fact I wasn’t. You’ve said he said that there was no new evangelicalism anymore, but now acknowledge he didn’t say that.

    My point was very straightforward and actually quite narrow–the lack of clarity regarding what and who constitutes conservative evangelicalism makes it difficult to make the claim that “they” are not new evangelicals. I’ll add that I am convinced that some of the folks that Bauder mentioned in fact do reject the beliefs and practices of new evangelicalism. So, my difference with Bauder was really about the extent to which his assessment could be applied (and whether thinking in categories like this really helps).

    There was a reason why I titled my post “Time for a group hug?” Perhaps it was too obscure, but the point was centered on the word group, i.e., can we hug the whole group or should we address it more case by case? Obviously, I prefer case by case.

  15. Dave, you of course know exactly what you meant by all you wrote, so I will defer my interpretations to you. The things I am saying are how I perceived what you wrote. That might say something about me and it might say something about how you wrote it, and it might (and probably does) say something about both.

    Now as to shifting the discussion….

    Yes, I did say that Bauder’s point was there is no new evangelicalism anymore. You corrected that statement. I go back to Bauder’s article and see this:

    Conservative evangelicals are different from Fundamentalists, but they are not new evangelicals.

    So your correction stands, I accept that.

    However, my perception was that your argument showed how Bauder’s statement here is wrong, at least with respect to some of the conservative evangelicals. Here is one of your arguments:

    John Piper and Bethlehem Baptist Church (BBC), for example, seem to take a position quite similar to many of the original new evangelicals on matters of ecclesiastical separation and social issues.

    You go on to say:

    And if the full original agenda of new evangelicalism (as articulated, for instance, by Ockenga) is used as the standard, then I would suggest that many of these men and ministries are much closer to new evangelicalism than fundamentalism.

    So in my “shifted discussion”, I am saying that it doesn’t really matter that I got Bauder’s argument in this article slightly wrong, because I think your argument demolished his main point.

    Perhaps you are making a different point than I am getting. So… if you are making a different point, then maybe I disagree with you. If you are making the point I thought you were making, then I agree with you.

    One last point on this for tonight, FWIW. Bauder has said in the past that “there isn’t a New Evangelicalism any more, New Evangelicalism died out twenty years ago”. That is a direct quote from his lectures at IBC in Arizona a couple of years ago. I can link you to an audio clip if you like.

    In light of that, I don’t think I am as far off in at least some of my perceptions as you think.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  16. For a fundamentalism that defines itself by the “doctrine” of separation there really are only two groups: US and THEM.

    Such a fundamentalism will need to find new scary words and new comfort words for different groups as time passes and the THEM changes its contours (when “neeeo” and “Billy Graham” stop meaning anything to anyone alive). However, you’re ultimately left with us and them and endless conversations about who fits where in some intricate, roccocco taxonomy.

    I’m totally thrilled with Bauder’s essay, and I don’t often agree with Dave. However, as I read Bauder, even I thought, “Wait a minute, Piper didn’t ‘come out’ of his denomination and he seems to be characterized by a desire to fellowship and influence as widely as possible. That’s a lot like the original neos. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

  17. Don,

    Here’s my sense of what’s happened in this discussion:
    1) KB asserts that all CEs are not NEs.
    2) DMD differs with him about that point by asserting that some of the men called CEs may not be different from NEs.
    3) DJ claims that DMD demolished KB’s argument by showing that all CEs are NEs.

    But I’ve not claimed what you suggest I’ve claimed, neither in the original post or in any of the follow ups. I think I’ve made this very clear and you even quoted a portion of what I wrote that demonstrates this (i.e., “many of these men” clearly implies not all of these men). Don, it seems like you’re trying to use my post to say what you want to say, not what I actually said.

    Also, what Kevin Bauder said in another context does not change the fact that you misrepresented what he said here. I could understand if you had said something like, “Given what Kevin said in Tempe, I wonder if what he means is…” That’s not what you did. And, frankly, wonder is all we can do unless Kevin connects the dots for us. It seems completely reasonable to me that Kevin’s point in Tempe is not different than what I said in my post (and follow up), namely that the movements (aka the ISMs of Fundamentalism and New Evangelicalism) are basically non-existent at this point. The ideas are still around, but there are no coherent movements at this point (and haven’t been for a while). I don’t know if that’s what he meant, but it seems as reasonable to conclude that as your proposal. I can’t speak for Kevin, so I’ll say for myself what I’ve said a number of times in different places—I think there is no fundamentalism, but there are fundamentalists; I think there is no new evangelicalism, but there are new evangelicals. The movements have no wind in their sails, but it does not follow from that no one believes and practices the ideas which were central to the movements when they were vibrant.

  18. Dave says “I can’t speak for Kevin.” Funny. Don doesn’t even want you to speak for yourself. :)

    Authorial intent is so overrated.

  19. Most of this discussion is way over my head. But I know this, I spent most of my life in a very solid, conservative, fundamental, church. I went to a conservative fundamental christian school. So did my wife. She also went to a conservative fundamental college. I went to a college that would probably would have been labeled “conservative evangelical.”

    I don’t know what the Manhattan Declaration is, or what hagiagraphic terms are, or much about Pelagius, but I do know the men listed in Bauder’s article have been a tremendous blessing to me and my family. And while I don’t know them personally, I haven’t heard any scandal linked to them. So I’m for them because they preach/write about the Word without apology and God is certainly growing me partially through their ministries (this blog is also a big help). Does that make me a conservative evangelical?

    I think in a Venn diagram, the circles of fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism would be almost the same. Maybe I’m just showing my ignorance of the definitions of fundamentalism and evangelicalism, but I wonder if we don’t spend a little too much time and effort on labels.

    Whatever “camp” they’re in, I’d love to have lunch with those men listed and talk about God and the Bible; as I would you who have contributed to this discussion. I am jealous of your knowledge of the Scriptures and church history.

    My God bless all of your ministries. Now to go google Pelagius. :)

  20. Sigh….

    Ok, let’s look at Dave’s assessment so far:

    Here’s my sense of what’s happened in this discussion:
    1) KB asserts that all CEs are not NEs.

    I agree that is what he said. I mistakenly in the midst of the conversation stated it as “there are no NEs”.

    2) DMD differs with him about that point by asserting that some of the men called CEs may not be different from NEs.

    I agree. DMD stated that in making this disagreement, he was disagreeing with what he took to be KB’s main point. I agree it was KB’s main point.

    3) DJ claims that DMD demolished KB’s argument by showing that all CEs are NEs.

    No, no, no! That is not what DJ claims.

    DJ claims this: DMD demolished KB’s argument by showing how KB’s argument was wrong.

    I agree with DMD’s argument. I think KB is wrong on this point and DMD is right.

    It is amazing that even when I agree with DMD he has to find a way to disagree with me. Sheesh.

    I think that is all that needs to be said.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  21. Like a previous poster has already alluded to, much of this is beyond my scope as well. About the only thing I’m pretty sure of is that the term “New Evangelical” is no longer a term used. I am not trying to be smart or critical or funny, but I actually doubt if about 99% of the population of the world has even heard the term “New Evangelical,” much less actually know what we mean by it!

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought the original debate was over the authority of Scripture and if we trust Scripture alone. I get my info from secular sources such as this: collections.mnhs.org/MNHistoryMagazine/articles/52/v52i01p016-026.pdf It’s a very interesting article and worth the read (it helps to enlarge it).

    From what I understand, and I could be wrong, the term “New Evangelical” has come to mean someone who secretly (or evenly openly!) has a Gaither tape or goes to a church where they use modern technology to publish words on a large screen. This is where I’m confused. We have lost the meaning of words and there seems to be confusion now over the issue: the authority of Scripture. It would help people like me to understand the issue better if we would at least use more concise terms so we know now whether the debate is over hidden Steve Green tapes or whether we affirm Scripture or not.

    I found this historical article very enlightening. What does anyone else think?

  22. Dave,

    Aren’t you redefining historic neo-evangelicalism when you imply that Piper is one?

    Classical NEs (universally, as I’ve encountered them) believed a scholarly academic dialogue would recover apostate denominations through the force of better arguments. They deliberately remained in thoroughly apostate mainline denominations for the purpose of recovering them. They believed unregenerate minds would respond to superior intellectual arguments. They unabashedly pursued academic prestige. They wanted to make the gospel attractive to the world in order to make it more likely to be accepted. They elevated social action to a priority near or equal to evangelism, ultimately hoping to redeem culture. (And this is a bit of a side issue, but Garth Rosell’s The Suprising Work of God documents how Ockenga was not as consistently anti-Catholic as you seem to suggest.)

    But here’s my point: I don’t think Piper is much at all like the classical NEs. Are there points of similarity? Maybe, but the evidence you offer isn’t convincing to me. Are you arguing that the BGC is apostate in a comparable way to the mainline denominations in the 50s? Do you know whether the BGEA campaign BBC participated in was co-sponsored by apostate Protestant denominations and RCs? And if so, has this been a primary strategy in his ministry, or even a consistent pattern, as it was with classical NEs?

    I simply don’t think the pattern of his ministry is anything remotely comparable to classical NE, unless you reduce NE to failure to separate fully from believers who don’t separate from false teachers. And we both know that if we follow that definition, we’ve just made wide swaths of contemporary fundamentalists into NEs. So you and I may disagree on some or many of his cooperation choices, but IMO that does not a NE make.

  23. Ben, ok, so let’s see… first we redefine fundamentalism with the term “historic fundamentalist”, then we redefine new evangelicalism with “classical new evangelicalism”.

    You are trying to narrow the definition too much. Billy Graham was the classic new evangelical. He is the poster boy. One wouldn’t confuse him with scholarly academic dialog.

    Yes, of course, Carl Henry and Carnell and many others would fit that term, but that isn’t all there was to it. It is much broader than you are trying to suggest.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  24. For the record, I have Steve Green and Gaither tapes. They are both great blessing to me! (In case you thought I was being sarcastic) ….”Tapes?” Now I’m the one being anachronistic! Anyway, I was just making a note that the debate and the terms seems to have switched from what I understand as the core issue: Biblical authority. In the process the debate has seemed to switch over what style of music people listen to, whether to have bongo drums in church or not, etc. The initial debate seems to have been supplanted by other, much less serious, in my humble opinion, issues.

  25. Don, Billy Graham was a strong advocate of the academic dialogue strategy and a thoroughgoing supporter of that ideal as it was manifested at Fuller Seminary. The fact that it wasn’t the mark of his personal ministry doesn’t mean he didn’t support Ockenga and the rest. Garth Rosell’s book that I cited above would be worth a read, as well as Marsden’s Reforming Fundamentalism. Wait, let me take that back. Rosell actually isn’t worth the time, but it does document my point.

  26. Ben, I just think you are being much too narrow. I agree BG supported the infiltration idea, but that isn’t all there was too it. There was a multi-pronged strategy including academia, churches, evangelists, and a whole host of para-church ministries. That’s all.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  27. Don, I never said it wasn’t a multi-pronged strategy. I simply named a bunch of things that were characteristic of classical NE that aren’t true of Piper, IMO. You actually named some more. And of course you shifted the discussion again, but that may actually serve my point.

  28. Somehow I think this is going nowhere fast.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  29. Chris:

    Is my earlier submission to this thread being passed over? You posted Ben’s and Don’s, both of which were submitted just moments after mine? Especially since I’ve given an answer to Ben’s request to show how Piper is much like the classic new evangelical. Please advise

    LM

  30. Chris:

    You wrote, “So Doran offered a correction—one that Bauder may very well agree with. Great.”

    I’ll watch with great anticipation to see if Bauder comes to agree and backs down on this one.

    For the Ben/Don exchange>
    The nearest to full-blown new evangelicalism among the conservative evangelicals is John Piper.

    Piper still affiliates with the old General Association of General Baptist Conference, aka- Converge Worldwide. This denomination he identifies with is a member of the National Association of Evangelicals. His church, Bethel Baptist Church, was fully involved with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s 2009 Rock [n-Roll] the River Tour. With these things on his present resume- why would it be “unwarranted” to label Piper a new evangelical? Is this not a form of Infiltration theology, not dissimilar to the historic new evangelicals?

    LM

  31. Chris:

    You wrote, “So Doran offered a correction—one that Bauder may very well agree with. Great.”

    I’ll watch with great anticipation to see if Bauder comes to agree and backs down on this one.

    To Ben/Don’s discussion- The nearest to full-blown new evangelicalism among the conservative evangelicals is John Piper.

    Piper still affiliates with the old General Association of General Baptist Conference, aka- Converge Worldwide. This denomination he identifies with is a member of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) His church, Bethel Baptist Church, was fully involved with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s 2009 Rock [n-Roll] the River Tour.

    With these things on his present resume- why would it be “unwarranted” to label Piper a new evangelical? Is the tie with the NAE not a form of Infiltration theology, not dissimilar to the historic new evangelicals?

    FWIW, I just published a comprehensive response to Bauder’s article, just to make things Crystal clear on this.

    Yours faithfully,

    LM

  32. Chris:

    Figured it out, my first try had three links and I think WP captures a comment with links, more than one anyway.

    Ben:

    I’ll look in later to see if you have any reaction to Piper’s affiliation with the NAE.

    Lou

  33. Lou,

    It was “Baptist General Conference” not General Association of General Baptist Conference.

    I think that you are convoluting the BGC and the GARBC in your terminology.

    Also, Piper’s church is Bethlehem Baptist not Bethel Baptist.

    Not that any of this matters.

    This is just a weird conversation. I’m thinking it’s weird maybe because guys like Ben (who I more often agree with) hear “boogey man” when they hear “New Evangelical” and they hear “Solid Guy” when they hear “John Piper”. So, they want to distinguish Piper from the neos.

    Guys like Don (who I more often disagree with) on the other hand, aren’t all that impressed with Piper so they don’t have a problem noticing the similarities between him and the neos (who, in agreement with Ben, he thinks of as boogey men).

    But a guy like me, who doesn’t think the neos were all bad, ends up at a similar conclusion to Don for a totally different reason.

    Guys, Piper is very much in line with the classic Neos. So are Al Mohler and Mark Dever — on some but not all of the points of their strategy.

    The fact that down stream in history we can see how the classic neos strategy failed in certain ways, doesn’t mean that they were wrong in reacting to the problems in fundamentalism that, again down stream in history, we can see also failed in certain ways.

    Am I totally off?

    Keith

  34. Keith:

    Thanks for corrections. Gave myself a self-imposed really tight deadline and missed the obvious. They’ve been corrected.

    LM

  35. Lou,

    Went over to your site and read some of your stuff on all of this. Looks like you’ve missed the obvious on a lot more than the names of Piper’s church and denomination.

    In your world somehow challenging John R. Rice and Bob Jones Jr. are unpardonable sins? Good grief.

    Keith

  36. Keith, my one sentence assessment of the NEs is that they were right in many of their criticisms of fundamentalist withdrawal but proposed a corrective strategy that was astonishingly flawed in its optimistic man-centeredness (not to mention ecclesiologically bankrupt and inconsistent with their confessional Calvinism). I don’t see they guys you name making those same mistakes.

  37. Keith:

    You can relax. Bauder’s got in “sweatt” last spring and part of his reaction was to launch an unprovoked incendiary set of attacks against those me who have long since gone to their reward. I’m not going to rehash the whole thing apart from saying that there issues of genuine concern in the ministries of those men just as we can find glaring issues in the doctrine and ministries of a Piper, Mohler, Mahaney, Driscoll, MacArthur, et. al.

    My sub point is that Bauder is bent on promoting the star personalities and fellowships of conservative evangelicalism, including Piper its new evangelical in residence. Bauder obviously, and again with this new article, believes Fundamentalism must be demonized to achieve his goals for promoting of the ce camp. You said your read my article, then you read this,

    IMO, it is irrefutable that Bauder is willingly and with purpose advocating for the conservative evangelicals and leading our younger generation to them. And to fuel the push he needs a demon to be skewered and fled from. Fundamentalism is his demon, which he finds in various historical contexts, personalities and/or forms. He could make his case for close cooperation with the conservative evangelicals while leaving Fundamentalism out of the discussion, but chooses not to.

    Kind regards,

    LM

  38. Lou,

    My blog filter thought you were spam.

  39. Chris,
    last comment… :D

  40. Brian and H.smith, reading a book on the history of new evangelicalism would provide background for the conversation. I’d recommend McCune’s Promise Unfulfilled. It’s not an apple-to-apple description of what’s going on today (hence the discussion), but it’s the history behind it. FWIW. :)

  41. All of this very confusing, not at all surprising conversation makes Doran’s point all the more desirable. We need to learn to discern the positions of individual men. A 2 or 3 drawer filing system won’t work. Lou lumps MacArthur and Driscoll together, though they’re famously in conflict. And Don won’t even let Dave interpret Dave. It would be funny if it weren’t so frustrating. Ugh.

    I repeat what I said earlier: We need to determine ecclesiastical relationships on the basis of fidelity to Scripture, not name tags.

  42. Chris:

    Thanks for that. I’ve been called worse. ;-)

    Lou

  43. To the MTC readers:

    Whatever else anyone might conclude about Kevin Bauder, Mr. Martuneac lays a false accusation when he states that Kevin is “…bent on promoting the star personalities and fellowships of conservative evangelicalism, including Piper its new evangelical in residence.” Observing that CE men are not the enemy and critiquing Fudnamentalists who treat them as such is not the same thing as being their PR man. Lobbing bombs as Lou is doing is easy from a distance, but a one who labors in the same state as the seminary where Kevin serves, I can assure you that there is a clear distinction in principles between the constituency that Central Seminary serves and the one Bethlehem Baptist and its associated ministries does. While there may be things that are appreciated on either side for the other, those principles that separate are clear and understood. To illustrate, Central is not pursuing a merger with the fledging Bethlehem Seminary, though if Lou’s observations were “spot on,” it would make perfect geographical sense to do so. Instead, they are seeking to partner with another separatist, Baptist, dispensational institution.

    I do not intend to get into any kind of exchange with Lou, here or elsewhere. I have found that trading exchanges with him accomplishes little of profit to anyone, myself included. However, I do hope that those of you who might read his comments here will consider what I have said, and that they will help round out your perspective as you process the charges being leveled by Martuneac against Bauder.

    Thanks, Chris, for the venue,

  44. Chris:

    You wrote, “Lou lumps MacArthur and Driscoll together, though they’re famously in conflict.”

    Not exactly. I reference a variety of the men generally identified with the ce camp because they are a variety of disconcerting issues with them, but not all in common. FWIW, however, Driscoll and Piper are not in any real conflict are they?

    You also wrote, “We need to determine ecclesiastical relationships on the basis of fidelity to Scripture, not name tags.”

    Thats is right! And if we are going to faithful to the Scriptural mandates for (ecclesiastical) separation then the pastor of a local church would not have two different sets of separation standards: One for his church and a second different set of standards for a ministry of his local church, say a seminary for example; would he?

    LM

  45. Thanks, Greg.

  46. Lou,

    The comment of yours that I’ve copied below, is IMO just plain ridiculous and probably fairly easy to refute.

    Keith

    “IMO, it is irrefutable that Bauder is willingly and with purpose advocating for the conservative evangelicals and leading our younger generation to them. And to fuel the push he needs a demon to be skewered and fled from. Fundamentalism is his demon, which he finds in various historical contexts, personalities and/or forms. He could make his case for close cooperation with the conservative evangelicals while leaving Fundamentalism out of the discussion, but chooses not to.”

  47. Chris:

    I don’t concern myself much with drive-by posting and geography lessons such as Greg’s. He is prudent to dodge getting into an “exchange” with me “here or elsewhere.” His previous attempts did not go well for him, on issues like this one, since his preferences are not well supported from the Scriptures, which should be evident.

    LM

  48. Chris

    Regarding this:

    Don won’t even let Dave interpret Dave.

    This is absolutely false. Please see my post above where I go through Dave’s summary of the argument. I accept what Dave says.

    Please note that Dave will not give me the same charity. He insists on interpreting me – and then making the argument about me.

    What is astonishing and amazing is that I agree with Dave here and he apparently can’t stand it so has to disagree with me agreeing with him. That’s what’s funny.

    So let me be very very clear:

    I accept Dave’s interpretation of what he wrote. I think Dave is RIGHT. I have no argument whatever with what Dave said. I agree with him. He was disagreeing with KB on KB’s main point (according to Dave’s own words). I agree with him disagreeing with KB.

    I am sure you and he will both find fault with that. So be it.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  49. I’ll leave it to readers to determine who’s being reasonable and who’s derailing profitable conversation.

    “We distort. You decide.”

  50. Lou,

    Though I disagree with pretty much everything you say, and your posts essentially amount, in my opinion, to conversational terrorism, I personally want to encourage you to keep posting as fast as you can. You, better than Bauder or Chris or me or anyone else, make Bauder’s point undeniably clear:

    “To be sure, significant differences continue to exist between Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. Those differences, however, are less serious than the ones that exist between the various camps within Fundamentalism.”

    It’s long past time for fundamentalists to make hard choices. You make them easier.

  51. Greg and Ben take game, set, and match.

    Ben, to productively discuss your comment that the NE’s were “right in many of their criticisms of fundamentalist withdrawal but proposed a corrective strategy that was astonishingly flawed in its optimistic man-centeredness (not to mention ecclesiologically bankrupt and inconsistent with their confessional Calvinism). I don’t see they guys you name making those same mistakes,” we’d need to get into specifics. If you have time, and would find it helpful, I might be able to find some time this week — you name the place.

    However, I am also fine dropping it. I don’t think we have a major disagreement really. I think we have academic quibbles (For example, I’m not sure that the NE’s would rightly be labeled “confessional” calvinists, the heavy lifters were calvinists, but they were evangelical THEN calvinist not the other way round). Also, I think that I am willing to show a bit more sympathy to the original NE’s than you and so to be more than willing to acknowledge, “Yeah, that practice of that CE is the same as part of the practice of the NE’s.”

    I mean, Mohler stayed in the SBC and helped turn it around, and he’s helped Billy Graham. Piper is staying in the BGC, he’s helped Billy Graham, and he’s even having Rick Warren in to speak next year. Dever is at Capitol Hill Baptist (I know I’m not telling you anything here), a place of some influence and prestige. All of these guys have Ph.Ds from prestigious schools (academic respectability). None of these guys think eschatology is a fundamental issue. Etc.

    Where all of the CEs are perhaps most different from the NEs is in their interface with the political sphere.

    Nevertheless, I’d argue that the CE’s wisdom, doctrinal priorities, and influece are all the results of the good parts of the New Evangelical strategy. There’s a reason, these guys are as influential as they are while no one down the fundamentalist stream has such influence.

    In sum, the CE guys are down a good branch of the NE river, and guys like Bauder are down a good branch of the Fundamentalist river, but both rivers also have bad branches. Which, back to what started all of this, may just be a different way of saying what Bauder was trying to say.

    Peace,
    Keith

  52. Hey Guys,

    I’m a newbie to the blogging world so forgive the brevity.
    Aside from a caveat stating, “I’m not a fundamentalist, they kicked me out, and they eat their young…” John MacArthur preached a sermon that would seem to place him squarely inside of KB’s broad ranging praise of CEs. It was in the first session of shepherds 2010.

    You all should listen. Again, aside from his caveat, I don’t think I ever heard such a defense of separation from any fundamentalist while at MBBC…and I was there a long time.

    Mark

  53. I’m not goign to get into this other than to say that, Bryan, your comment (#21) was refreshing. Refreshing like a quick breeze on your face while mowing your lawn on a stifling 95-degree day. As a seminarian, I personally do understand the terms and refrences being bandied about here; however, you help provide perspective. I recognize that this conversation about separation is necessary, but your focus on keeping “the main thing the main thing” is a joy to read. As pastors or pastors-to-be, we have to make sure we don’t focus so much on the other shepherds that we forget about the sheep. I’d love to have lunch with *you* to talk about God and the Bible.

  54. This is all very intriguing to me and I am looking forward to having Dr. Bauder out to speak at a conference our church is hosting in April. One of the topics will be dealing with conservative evangelicals. The Q&A time should be interesting. I find myself agreeing with both Dr. Bauder and Dr. Doran. I could not really tell where they were in disagreement with each other, it seemed more like they Dave was tweaking what Kevin was saying. Either way, Dave has made it perfectly clear what he is talking about. Having a conference with Bauder as the keynote speaker has had an affect on me that I did not expect. I am in 100% agreement that we ought to examine individuals on a case by case basis (interestingly we had Doran at our conference last year), but I have noticed that some of the individuals I felt I had pleasant fellowship with in our local are looking at me cross-eyed because Bauder is coming to speak and he has not “separated enough” from some other individuals. Honestly, I did not expect that kind of “wariness” of me and my ministry. But I guess it proves the point that many fundamentalists want to shoot first ask questions later. I think I may become the product of separation because I am not separated from someone who has applauded some work of conservative evangelicals who have not separated enough from new-evangelicals who have not separated from liberals. Confused?!?! I am!

  55. Chris:

    I noted that one of your guests above (Keith) wrote John Piper is hosting Rick Warren (to preach) at Bethlehem BC next year. I am going to confirm this to be sure it is genuine.

    If this is true I don’t think anybody can reasonably claim that John Piper is not a full-blown New Evangelical. And, furthermore, is so far outside even the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism that he has become a dangerous outsider to them, and most assuredly to Fundamentalism.

    FWIW, and in my opinion, even the hosting of Rick Warren will still not be enough to give some of the self-described Fundamentalists just cause to refrain from promoting the ministry of John Piper to Fundamentalism’s next generation.

    LM

  56. Lou,

    I said that Piper is having Warren “in” to “speak.” I did not say to his church, and I did not say to preach. I have been told — by sympathetic inside sources — that Warren will speak at next year’s Bethlehem Conference. These are held at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

    Personally, I don’t have any pressing desire to hear Warren. But, I’ve gotta say, Piper’s an equal opportunity slummer. He gives praise where it is due -Driscoll, Wilson, and even fundamentalists!

    I hope you are right, though, that none of this will stop folks from promoting the ministry of John Piper to fundamentalism’s next generation — you all need a little love.

  57. Chris,
    you can tell me if I am trolling, and remove this if you like:

    Lou,
    would you agree with Bauder that Ryrie is to be ascribed the label of Conservative Evangelical? If so, in your and Ryrie’s concurrent participation in a Grace Conference, [as ref’d by you elsewhere] where does that leave you in terms of consistency in your arguments against Bauder, Doran, et.al? If Ryrie is to be grouped with such men, would this not leave you in a position of needing to state a public agreement with Bauder somehow? If Ryrie is to be described as a fundamentalist, would he accept that moniker, and could he be described as such?

    This seems an important question, and speaks to consistency I think. Or maybe I just don’t get the subtleties–it wouldn’t be the first time.

    BTW, I am not using this to pin any specific kind of tail on Ryrie, as to whether he falls into this “camp” or that. The issue is not Ryrie, but rather the legitimacy of your statements made re: Bauder, Doran, etc.

  58. Keith:

    You wrote, I said that Piper is having Warren “in” to “speak.” I did not say to his church

    I understand, but made a reasonable assumption. This is why I noted that I am going to independently confirm this report you’ve made here.

    LM

  59. Chris:

    Sam posted the same query to me at my blog, which I answered there. Assuming it is OK with you, here is my reply posted to Sam at my blog exactly as it appears there with a one word revision for Keith’s sake..

    Sam:

    I read some suggesting we need to not be worried so much about labels, so let’s give that try (as best we can) here by focusing on the men and what they do; OK?

    As soon as Dr. Ryrie disobeys the Scriptures to hobnob with unbelievers like Mohler and Duncan have…

    As soon as Ryrie begins teaching the Charismatic sign gifts are active today like Piper and Mahaney do…

    As soon as Ryrie brings in a man like Driscoll for an earful of disgraceful filth speech and next Rick Warren into his church (ministry) like Piper is reported (unconfirmed) to be doing in 2011…

    As soon as Ryrie tolerates, allows for and excuses the obvious doctrinal aberrations and ecumenical compromise of the conservative evangelicals the way Bauder and Doran are doing and encouraging others toward…

    As soon as Ryrie begins to preach the false, works-based Lordship Salvation like MacArthur, Piper, Lawson, et al., do…

    As soon as Ryrie opens a blog and begins to speak on behalf of the so-called, “conservative” evangelicals to reshape and/or to malign balanced historic Fundamentalism the way Bauder (primarily) and Doran are doing…

    Then I’ll be as consistent with Ryrie as I am with the “conservative” evangelicals and with Bauder and Doran who want Fundamentalists to embrace them in spite of all of the above and almost completely apart from the “ministry of warning.” OK?

    Nice try at a redirect, but I’m not having any of it, or any more of it.

    I trust I have been CRYSTAL clear

    LM

  60. Lou,
    Motion to redirect? Anyway, my question is still unanswered, it has been avoided, and the inconsistency remains…(bolding, all caps, and italics notwithstanding.) [was looking for red font too, but did not see it :D ]

  61. Chris,
    [flips coin on table] “sorry for the mess.” I’ll stop for now.

  62. Ugh. Please carry this on at Lou’s blog. We kind of agreed that he’d blog there and I’d blog here…

  63. I feel your pain, Chris…but on the bright side – at least you’re keeping up with SI in the number of comments on the topic :-)
    The conservative evangelicals might just consider separating from fundies as they observe some of the conversation!

  64. “As soon as Ryrie tolerates, allows for and excuses the obvious doctrinal aberrations and ecumenical compromise of the conservative evangelicals the way Bauder and Doran are doing . . .”

    Are you serious, Lou?! You are talking about the Ryrie who used to be at Dallas Seminary right? The Dallas Seminary that was considered so “compromised” as far back as the mid ’80s by Bob Jones University that BJU students thinking of heading there after graduation had to keep the thoughts to themselves? That kind of involvement by Ryrie is not as bad (according to your calculus of good and bad) as that of the guys mentioned by Bauder?

    Seems like this might not be about “ecumenical compromise” but about anti-calvinist, pro-dispensationalist partisanship.

    Keith

  65. I’m sorry too Chris.

    Keith

  66. You should be, Keith. ;)

    All , this is really not that difficult. If I determine that Piper is disobedient in an ongoing and significant way, I won’t fellowship with him. (Whatever that means.) But it won’t be because I’ve put him in a catch-all junk drawer entitled “new evangelicalism.” And it won’t be because Lou or anybody else has deemed it improper. It will be on his own merits or demerits as I consider the Scriptures. Which was the point of the original discussion. (Remember that?)

    One more time, just for kicks: “We need to determine ecclesiastical relationships on the basis of fidelity to Scripture, not name tags.”

  67. And for those just dying to offer a rebuttal, please use your own blog to do so. Or start one.

  68. I’ve never really understood the need for me to make a public announcement that I have separated from a man whom I have never met that lives a few thousand miles away.

    In any case, this thread definitely serves to illustrate that you can’t divide all of Christianity into two clearly defined and monolithic movements.

    My guess is that some of the fundamentalists in this discussion would have more in common with men such as Dever than with some of the other fundamentalists in this discussion.

  69. Rick, I don’t think this discussion is about making public announcements of separation from men at great distances from us, or even from those at relatively close distances to us.

    The question most of us are wrestling with seems to be this: to what extent is it appropriate to use, endorse, attend, or fellowship directly with men and ministries that have doctrinal or associational issues from a fundamentalist perspective?

    I think that is a bit wordy, maybe someone could improve on it.

    But if you put our answers to this question on a spectrum, some would be more willing to closer relationships with problematic people/ministries than others.

    Before anyone jumps on my word ‘problematic’, one example that has been given is John Piper. Clearly, from a fundamentalist perspective, his ties to Mark Driscoll, Billy Graham, the Toronto Blessing, and (reportedly) Rick Warren, would undoubtedly be problematic from a fundamentalist perspective, would they not? Does anyone disagree with that statement? Remember, I am talking about ‘from a fundamentalist perspective’.

    In spite of these kinds of problems, some are quite willing to enthusiastically endorse Piper’s works, attend meetings where Piper is billed as a ‘draw’, and some would even be willing to work with him if opportunity arose. Others here would be much less inclined to do any of these things. [BTW, I am not saying that mere attendance at a meeting is a horrible compromise.]

    Given that difference, the even bigger question that is looming, and has not yet really been addressed at all, is can fundamentalists who disagree so profoundly find sufficient common ground for continued mutual ministry/cooperation with each other?

    I think that all the main participants in this argument truly want to serve the Lord faithfully. And I think that we all have some vested interests in the outcomes – we care about how all this is going to fall out. Hence the strenuous argumentation.

    I am guessing that within the next 5 years or so, much of this current drama will have settled out. Maybe some of us won’t be cooperating with each other at all anymore… I hope not, but that is a possibility.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  70. Don (All):

    You are well articulated some of the crux of the on-going controversy, which Kevin Bauer ratcheted up this week.

    This was very helpful, “The question most of us are wrestling with seems to be this: to what extent is it appropriate to use, endorse, attend, or fellowship directly with men and ministries that have doctrinal or associational issues from a fundamentalist perspective?”

    Then your paragraph on the obvious issues with Piper’s issues. There is, however, the bigger concern which is how some of these ce men (Mohler & Duncan) have compromised the Gospel by granting Christian recognition to the deadly “enemies of the cross of Christ. (Phil. 3:18). And still this is not enough, even for some men who claim to be committed to biblical separatism, to withdraw from or even so much as to openly admonish and rebuke them. Peter Masters is right when he said that to fellowship at T4G with these men the “ministry of warning [must be] killed off.”

    So, what we have here is more than a problem “from a fundamentalist perspective,” this is a problem from a biblical perspective. And we have Fundamentalists men, who claim fidelity to the biblical obligations for Gospel-Driven separation who refuse to make a personal application of these very biblical mandates when they are clearly warranted.

    This is where the true crux of the controversy lies.

    Finally, I began discussing last year what you just intimated here, which is how, “…can fundamentalists who disagree so profoundly find sufficient common ground for continued mutual ministry/cooperation with each other?” IMO, Bauder’s article just brought the possibility of a parting of the ways over commitment to the God-given mandates for separatism a real possibility and may signal the time for that has come. And that split will not be over who one fellowships with, it will be and should be over loyalty to the Scriptures.

    LM

  71. Don,

    I actually don’t want to discount your last point. I want to reiterate what I believe is a foundational observation:

    Fundamentalists who fellowship and cooperate with the mainstream of “fundamentalism” have no business criticizing conservative evangelicals for failure to separate from this or that.

    Why?

    Because fundamentalism as a movement or post-movement or whatever is shot through with things that compromise the gospel: legalism, man-centered and no-repentance soteriology, works-based sanctification, manipulative evangelism, preaching that misrepresents of what God actually said, and I’m forgetting other things that are just about as bad.

    Let me put it this way: I know personally Roman Catholics who can articulate a better understanding of justification and sanctification by grace through faith in Christ alone than many fundamentalists could. When you and those who believe what you do about separation decide to rebuke and separate from all those elements of fundamentalism, let me know and then we’ll talk about the conservative evangelicals. I won’t hold my breath.

    Now, you might disagree with me (and the conservative evangelicals) on the basic theological issues I’m talking about. Of course, if that’s the case, then it illustrates what has been my point for years and is precisely Kevin Bauder’s point:

    “To be sure, significant differences continue to exist between Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. Those differences, however, are less serious than the ones that exist between the various camps within Fundamentalism.”

  72. Ben, if by your list of general statements you mean “they’re not Calvinists”, then, to be sure, we will never agree. I am not sure if that is what you are saying, perhaps you could clarify.

    Would you say those things you list are less serious than having a Mark Driscoll in to preach or teach a seminary class?

    If Dave, for example, were to invite Driscoll in so that his seminarians could have an “academic experience”, do you think the rest of fundamentalism (including Central Seminary) would simply say, “oh, that’s interesting” and move on?

    Please note, I don’t think Dave would do any such thing!

    Finally, I think I should say that you are right that there is an additional question that is being decided. That is, are the differences between various camps of fundamentalism as serious as the compromises made by the conservative evangelicals?

    Personally, I don’t think they are, with perhaps a few exceptions. (I won’t cooperate with Ruckmanites, for example.)

    In a way, that was the difference between Machen/Van Til and the fundamentalists, was it not? Perhaps that is where we will end up.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  73. Don, I don’t know where you got the notion that I’m speaking code for Calvinism. Perhaps you could identify which of my charges you identify with Calvinism. On second thought, that’s not my point, and I’m not inclined to a debate over it.

    Finally, I appreciate your candor in admitting that the differences between various camps of fundamentalism don’t seem that great to you. Your disagreement with me (and Bauder) on this point is the root issue in this whole conversation.

    Arguing over this or that decision by a CE to participate with this or that person or ministry is going to be unproductive and exasperating as long as fundamentalists disagree fundamentally both on their soteriology and on how serious their soteriological differences are.

  74. Fair enough on question one, Ben. Simply put, given the known theological differences, some of the things you were objecting to often come down to Calvinism or non-Calvinism.

    I wouldn’t say “the root issue”, but certainly it is an issue that may end up in an impassable divide.

    When you close with “soteriological differences, though, it does again seem like code for Calvinism. Are you sure that isn’t what it is?

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  75. Don, I think the most widespread gospel compromise/distortion in fundamentalism is a legalistic view of sanctification, and I don’t see that as anything remotely related to Calvinism. It has everything to do with a low view of substitutionary atonement, imputed righteousness, and divine initiative/empowerment/enabling (which does NOT preclude human responsibility) in transforming the believer.

  76. Hi Ben

    Ok, thanks for the clarification. I think in general I would be pretty much in agreement with you on sanctification, although I am sure we could find things to argue about.

    But that will take us off topic here. Maybe another time and another place, eh?

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  77. Ugh. I scanned through some of the comments. A few people who have posted here, seem to be electronic examples of why fundamentalism is so fragmented. We’ve lost the ability to really listen to one another, and be more concerned with what’s right than who’s right. I mean good grief gentlemen!

    Follow Dr. Doran’s advice to “restore the local assembly to the center where God intended it to be. When your local assembly engages in Great Commission work outside its walls, find some folks you agree with and get busy doing it.”

    I know he’s a conservative evangelical who is probably a heritic to some here, but Tim Keller’s advice to bloggers is really helpful.

    http://www.fallenandflawed.com/tim-kellers-blogging-guide/

  78. […] to revert to trench warfare between “them” and “us.” As I’ve said (here and elsewhere), I think the fundamentalist and new evangelical categories are so outdated and […]

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