what one wishes DMD said

A friend of mine recently gave me a set of CDs containing the messages from the 2007 Mid-America Conference on Preaching, a conference hosted every year at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.

Unfortunately, none of the sessions from the 2007 conference appear to be available on-line, but I would encourage you to seek out a copy for yourself. In particular, I would like to draw your attention to a workshop by Dave Doran on this subject:

Conservative Evangelicals and Fundamentalists:

Recognizing the Differences

I have been critical of Dave for his message this summer at the FBF. If he had presented the material in this workshop at the FBF meeting, there would have been nothing to criticize.

I am going to include a few clips below. Dave’s presentation on this occasion was extremely clear and helpful. What mystifies me is how he can be so clear on some occasions and so confusing on others.

Be that as it may, I want to give you a summary of Dave’s presentation, taken directly from the accompanying pdf notes file that must have been included at the workshop itself.

The meat of this presentation is its second half. This is how the issue is set forth in point 2 of Dave’s outline:

The Question: Are conservative evangelicals really fundamentalists? If not, what are the differences between conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists?

Precisely. That is exactly what I have been driving at in all these many posts this summer and in all my contending with young fundies on the internet.

A corollary is then offered before Dave begins answering the question posed in the point above:

What basis is offered for concluding that they are (historic) fundamentalists? (1) They hold to and promote the fundamentals of the faith, and (2) they believe in and practice separation. What should we make of this claim?

This is the argument we are hearing ad infinitum, ad nauseum from the young fundies. The conservative evangelicals are no different from fundamentalists, we should embrace them. That is the essence of their mantra.

Dave differs with that reasoning. Here are his three points in the outline provided:

A. It is true that these men embrace the fundamentals of the faith, but that really is irrelevant in terms of telling the difference between a fundamentalist and a neo-evangelical.

B. There is indeed a growing interest in the subject and practice of separation, but it is very unclear whether there is anywhere close to a consensus on this subject.

C. The differences between new evangelicalism and fundamentalism cannot be reduced to the issue of separation.

Of course, these points need to be fleshed out by the lecture, but let me see if I can add a little clarity to this bare outline.

A. The issue between fundamentalism and new evangelicalism had nothing to do with theology. As late as 1982, Harold Ockenga, the grand-daddy of New Evangelicalism insisted that the NEs never intended to abandon the fundamentals. The fact that today’s Conservative Evangelicals are orthodox is irrelevant.

B. While CEs are becoming more interested in drawing boundaries, there are a host of examples which demonstrate that they can’t agree where those boundaries should be drawn and they certainly don’t intend to draw them where fundamentalists draw them, especially when it comes to personal separation from the world.

C. The thing that exercised the sensibilities of fundamentalists so much was the NE failure to separate from apostasy, but the NE agenda wasn’t about separation as a primary issue, it was about adopting a new paradigm towards culture so that the evangelical church could have a greater impact on culture as Kingdom work now. In general, CEs have not cast off this paradigm – they are still pursuing it.

Until CEs decide to abandon their cultural agenda and break ties they have so far refused to break, we cannot call them fundamentalists and our participation with them is impossible.

~~~

Now some of that summary is probably my interpretation of what was said and/or my own philosophy poking through. I’ll try to provide enough clips below for you to get a sense of whether I am summarizing this well. I hope that the whole recording might be made available on-line for you to listen to it yourself. I assume that it can be obtained from DBTS if you would care to order the CDs.

Please note: my discussion of these issues is not a matter of personalities – it is an effort to seek clarity from men esteemed to be leaders in fundamentalism. It is my view that there is either too much confusion or too much concession towards the errors of young fundamentalists going on. We really need fundamentalist leaders to lead in a fundamentalist way.

Clip: 33:29 T4G ‘separation’ resolution – they won’t draw the line

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Clip: 36:54 Separation simplified – BG, Mohler, Conservative Es – that’s the problem

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Clip: 41:04 Conservative Es agree with New Es lack of personal separation

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Clip: 45:36 Social agenda of kingdom now marks CEs different from Fundies

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Clip: 52:45 fundamentalism was right and we shouldn’t surrender

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Comments

  1. Don,

    I think you are being fair in this. Dave Doran is much clearer in this and much, much clearer than Mark Minnick was in his interview. You were looking for something that was very clear when it was very public. I understand. In fairness to Dave Doran, he wrote a stiffer separation stand to the TG4 guys in some online publication. I just don’t understand what difference it makes with those guys. There is some real heavy-duty problems with them that goes beyond whether they even separate from those who won’t separate based on the gospel. Those should be mentioned much more.