so is this representative of DBTS?

I follow a blog by a Canadian evangelical who teaches at Southern Seminary in Louisville. He is by all accounts a fine man and godly professor. Of course, we would have disagreements. This post isn’t about him, except that he announced something on his blog just now that is about erstwhile fundamentalists.

Call for papers

By Michael Haykin on Uncategorized

It might seem a tad early to be advertising this, but this post will serve as an initial call for papers to be presented in the parallel sessions of the 3rd annual Andrew Fuller Center conference to be held August 24-25, 2009, on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The theme for the conference is “Baptist Spirituality.” Plenary sessions will be given by, among others: Drs. Robert Strivens of London Theological Seminary; Crawford Gribben of Trinity College, Dublin; Tom Nettles and Greg Wills of SBTS; Greg Thornbury of Union University; and Gerald Priest of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary. [bolded sections mine, for emphasis]

So… where does that leave us? Consider my post ‘parsing Doran’? No one but Dave commented there, and Dave just dismissed my points.

But isn’t this an example of the confusion and disconnect I am talking about? Am I just talking to walls? Am I nuts? Is this what being a faithful fundamentalist is about?

I suppose some might think I relish this. I assure you I do not. I would far rather write about our common salvation.



  1. Greg Linscott says:


    Does this differ, in your mind, from someone publishing in, say, a theological journal (like BibSac) or presenting papers at ETS?

  2. Don,

    Perhaps now you see the reason (or at least part of the reason) why Dave has carefully avoided answering the Dever questions I posed earlier.

    You see, to say Dever is unclean, according to the separatist almanac on 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1, would surely mean MOHLER AND SOUTHERN are unclean. But Dave can’t have that because he now has a leading professor participating in a neo’s conference on “Baptist Spirituality”!

    Where’s the separatist howling? Where’s that dreaded “C” word? Are we now saying that separatist schools are exempt from their own pharisaical nuancing of an “orderly walk” for all others but themselves? Humm.

    It’ll be interesting to see how widespread the lockjaw is among the guardians separatist Christianity on this “slip” in hyper-fundy etiquette.

    I would think, Don, from your perspective a bad moon is rising over the separatist kingdom; and what use to be a movement of extremism has suddenly become somewhat rational and perhaps even balanced.

    It must be terrifying.

    I’ve noted before that separatism is moving toward the old (and honorable) Rice-Jones (Sr.) position. While Dave has denied this, it nevertheless appears so.

    Personally, I’m happy with the change and wish Dave and his cohorts the best. Their new direction certainly has sound fundamentalist practice behind it.

    What troubles me, though, is that Dave and other separatists have resorted to the hypocritical, if not pettifogging, tactic of denying one thing while embracing another.

    This bit of skullduggery should trouble all the brethren who embrace separatist committments. Such conduct reflects poorly on their acknowledged leaders. For it gives the impression, if not the truth, that one thing is being said and another done.

    Have a good one!

  3. Hi Greg,

    It crossed my mind that the ‘academic conference’ dodge would be the likely justification of this.

    For me, the ETS is a fiasco that breeds this kind of cooperation. We have discussed this before.


    I wouldn’t say ‘terrifying’. ‘Depressing’ would be a better word. Discouraging. Troubling.

    I think that especially for those of us in Canada who came here to plant independent Baptist churches, this growing cooperation says, “you invested your life in a meaningless enterprise.” There already are evangelicals here. If there is nothing wrong with cooperating with them, then we shouldn’t have spent the time or effort or sacrifice in trying to establish a fundamentalist voice.

    And I agree, the hypocrisy of saying one thing and doing another is extremely troubling.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  4. tjp says:

    Bro. Don,

    Yes, Don, your situation is certainly a distressing one. And I’m afraid you won’t find much help from your separatist supremes at the FBF or from prince von Doran of Detroit.

    The die is cast; the direction is set. Separatism is now casting amours eyes toward a large body of conservative brethren who share a serious commitment to Biblical truth and a view compromise not unlike the old BJU.

    Again, this flirtation is not without fundamentalist precedent and shouldn’t be dismissed outright, although we shudder at the deceptive way in which it’s being pursued. I would think it’s better to wait and see what shape this dalliance will take before condemning it.

    The Rice-Jones fundamentalism would favor some cooperation with men like Dever. While they would encourage them to separate from unsavory connections, they wouldn’t necessarily kick them to the curb if they didn’t, which is unlike the separatist mentality.

    But you’ve heard all that before and, of course, have found it wanting. Nevertheless, it’s part of your fundamentalist heritage, if not the best part. But it must be disheartening to watch your separatist world crumble around you and to see your efforts at building a city on a hill come to naught, or nearly so.

    Personally, I think fundamentalism should reshuffle its leadership and openly address its shortcomings. I’m no prophet, but it doesn’t take much of an eye to see that fundy institutions cannot continually pump time, money, and resources into students only to have them run off to conservative evangelical camps. Many fundy schools depend on second and third generation students.

    Clearly separatism (and fundamentalism) is in the throes of change. And I’m not entirely convinced, Don, that the present fundy mugwumps really grasp the level of disgust and hostility currently existing within their own ranks.

    I hope things turn out for you, Don. But if the attitude of the present leadership is any indication of the future direction of separatism, you’re in for rocky ride.

    Have a good one!

  5. Greg Linscott says:

    I think the criticism in this case- though well intended- is off. Not only because of ETS, but the fact that many seminary profs hold terminal degrees from institutions such as SBTS or Dallas, etc- and it is not all that unusual for them to contribute to the advancement of their fields in such academic venues as the one Priest will be involved in. Others academics have done things like this for decades, and still maintained their convictions firmly and tenaciously. I have no reason to believe otherwise about Priest. For that matter, you don’t even know what he’s presenting ON- perhaps, similar to Kevin Bauder’s address at “Pilgrims on the Sawdust Trail” several years ago now, he will be presenting a view of Fundamentalist separatist “Baptist Spirituality.”

    I say that there is far too little information to draw any conclusions. “Swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” would be a good principle to remember here.

  6. Greg

    You are a patient man. I appreciate that about you. And in some measure you may well be right.

    However, I don’t agree with this kind of academic cooperation. I don’t personally see much difference between this and a joint evangelistic crusade.

    And… it would be relatively easy to disabuse me of any faulty assumptions. I have had several visits from Allen Park today. But no responses yet.

    But I do appreciate your comments and recognize that it is possible that more information might alleviate my concerns.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  7. Dave says:


    You’re not serious about wondering why you went to Canada, are you? What about God’s call on your life? What about the millions of people who need to be reached for Christ? Are you suggesting that the only reason you went to Canada was the lack of fundamental Baptist churches?

    I hope that was all hyperbole.

    As for the other matter, you know what are position on matters like an academic seminary. You disagree. Fine.

  8. “are position” juxtaposed with “academic seminary” — too funny!

    But seriously, Dave, here’s a thought question. Plan a seminar at Detroit. Invite these same men to speak:

    Drs. Robert Strivens of London Theological Seminary; Crawford Gribben of Trinity College, Dublin; Tom Nettles and Greg Wills of SBTS; Greg Thornbury of Union University

    Then see what happens. Are you up to it?

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  9. Dave says:


    Good catch on the misspelling–actually two of them (are for our and seminary for seminar). Careless on my part.

    Hey, try this one–a Catholic, a Christian reconstructionist, and your standard garden variety new evangelical all part of a conference on religious liberty hosted by a fundamentalist university. Hunch you attended.

    Trust me, Don, we don’t make our decisions on the basis of what might happen in the sense that you probably mean. I think we have a pretty clear track record of doing what we believe is right regardless of the political fallout. A sense of accountability to the Lord carries far more weight that bloggers’ opinions.

  10. Just having fun with the spelling. Jesse Boyd used to say his typewriter was depraved. I am sure you can find a few of the same mistakes in my typing.

    And, Dave, no, you don’t have to answer to me. I don’t recall the conference you allude to, you’d have to give me some names. In principle, I don’t agree with it either, and if it is relation to a famous court case, you and I both wish that it had never been fought. A foolish hill to die on.

    But I still wonder. Why don’t you offer to host an Andrew Fuller conference? Or suggest that, say, BJU host the ETS? Would you do that? If you wouldn’t host such a gathering, why would you go?

    Just asking. No need to answer, you don’t answer to me.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  11. tjp says:


    A few quick questions:

    1. Would you say, given your separatist pandect, that Dave has now compromised his fundamentalist virginity?

    2. Would you now say Dave and his disciples have wilfully formed an unequal yoke with unrighteousness, darkness, demonism, infidelity, and idolatry by their brazen identification with a religious institution fully steeped in compromise?

    3. Also, would it be fair to say from your perspective that, due to Dave’s divisive and deceptive tactics, and his decent into bellyworship, you’ll note his disorderly walk and thus separate from him as a “disobedient brother”?

    Have a good one.

  12. Dave says:

    Last post for me on this subject. First, I would second what Greg said earlier about the value of knowing the full story before drawing conclusions and add that it would do you well to contact Dr. Priest for that fuller story if you’re truly interested in understanding before passing judgment.

    Second, if an historical society like the Andrew Fuller folks asked us if they could use our facility for a conference like this, I doubt that we would do it simply because it wouldn’t be something to which we’d devote those kinds of resources. Since it is very clear what the purpose and focus of that society is and that has nothing to do with ecumenical matters, I wouldn’t necessarily conclude that a fundamentalist school was compromising itself at all if it did host it.

    Third, I think a better parallel, in our case, would be what we actually do host, e.g., the Rice Lectures are an academic lecture series. You can check out our seminary website to get a sense of what we will do in that kind of context.

    Fourth, my point in raising the example of the religious liberty conference is to show that this is not a new phenomenon and that it seems, at least to me, that your position is really a very small minority view among separatists.

    With that I shall return to the joys of working through 1 Peter 3:18-22 in preparation for this Sunday.

  13. Dave, thank you for you response. I have no further questions and nothing to add.

    Tracy, the truth is, I simply don’t know. We will have to wait and see. I don’t think that my assessment and mine alone is infallible, so I won’t make any final conclusion on this matter. That is why I am asking questions. I am not totally satisfied with the answers I am getting, but it could be that I am not seeing this correctly.

    So where we are right now is that it is a fact that Dr. Priest is scheduled to speak at Southern Seminary next summer. Some will likely accept Dave’s view that it is merely an academic matter and not a matter of concern. Others may take a view similar to mine that this fact is evidence of a weakness or a weakening of the fundamentalist philosophy. It will take some time for a consensus to form over this and other facts that may arise over time (or that have already arisen).

    At best, I think one would have to say that such a decision APPEARS confusing and requires explanation if it is to be accepted by the common fundamentalist as legitimate. If it requires explanation, that makes it to some degree a doubtful thing.

    Where that leaves us, I just don’t know.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  14. tjp says:

    Bro. Don,

    Your dilemma is a real one, to be sure. And how you resolve it will surely tax your patience and convictions. Since you run with separatists, I’d be interested in knowing how widespread your feelings are among your fellow travelers. I’m sure they feel the DBTS shift, as well.

    I find it puzzling, Don, that you speak of a “consensus” concerning the DBTS matter. Is that how separatists act on their principles, that is, by consensus? Or is this simply “code language” for, “I’ll have to wait and see what the “University” says about Dave’s new found friends”?

    You say you may not understand the situation correctly. Perhaps so. And yet maybe this hesitancy you feel about DBTS’s decision arises because, in your more vulnerable moments, you really do believe that, all separatist rhetoric aside, there’s room for reasonable concourse among the brethren, even with those who reject separatist peculiarities.

    On a personal level, Don, I’ve longed for the “old days” when fundamental brethren would acknowledge other fundamental brethren and relate to them on the principles of wisdom and prudence and not on some fabricated doctrine of “secondary separation.”

    Of course, as I’ve stated in other posts, I don’t see Dave’s decision as compromise. Not at all. Rather, I see it as a brother trying to work his way through the maze called evangelicalism in such a way that he upholds the best of his principles and yet acknowledges the presence of other soundly orthodox brethren. Personally, I don’t see that as a fault.

    Have a good one!

  15. Hi Tracy

    To quote Roberto Duran, “No mas”… What’s with all the hard questions, eh?

    Ok, actually, I won’t say no mas, I’ll attempt to answer.

    When it comes to separation questions, it does bolster one’s confidence if someone agrees with you. It is possible that one would be called upon to stand alone, but that usually isn’t the case. And, in this case, I know that I am not totally alone in my views.

    But what I am waiting for is really where the movement as a whole will go. It isn’t necessary for my own decision making that the movement as such survive. It could well die a death. I hope not, but if so, so be it. In the meantime, I know I will have to wait to see how this all shakes out. Perhaps I am very much in the minority. We’ll see.

    And you do know that we disagree about “acknowledging fundamental brethren”. The so-called conservative evangelicals are not fundamental brethren. They don’t claim it for themselves and there is still a wide divergence of philosophy between fundamentalists and them. Are they brethren? Yes. Do they do good? Yes. But there are significant differences that preclude partnership. That’s where it stands.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  16. Don,

    I am not as concerned about these academic sessions as you are. My reason for commenting at this late date, however, is to direct your attention (if you haven’t already seen it) to Dr. Priest’s new post on SI:

  17. Thanks Andy,

    Someone sent me an e-mail on it also. I find the whole thing a bit bizarre. I’m thinking of posting a bit more on it shortly. We are off tomorrow to send two more boys to BJU. Don’t know when I’ll post next…

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3