everything has meaning, so…

What does this mean?

Ben Wright thinks it means something. Notice carefully Ben’s headline. Then consider the full schedule of events. Notice the place and prominence given to what Ben calls a "special guest lecturer".

I would suggest, "featured speaker," would be more accurate.

But, dear reader, what do you think it means? I have an opinion. Of course. I’ll share it with you shortly. But I’d like to see if anyone would care to "pontificate", as Ben calls it, before I charm you with my opining.



  1. Don,

    I don’t know enough about Ed Welch. Is there an association, infiltration, separation issue here?

    • I had a bit about Welch a few posts back. He is a counseling guru, I have read a good bit of what he writes and like him a lot, although he is somewhat different from the Nouthetic approach. We had a bit of a discussion in those previous posts.

      He is involved with CCEF, a counseling institution/school that is connected with Westminster Seminary (I think). He regularly appears in the evangelical circuit. I would have to classify him as new-evangelical (even though they don’t exist any more). Saying that, though, doesn’t mean he is a heretic or a liberal or any such thing. But clearly he is involved with a much broader and more open movement than fundamentalists have traditionally been comfortable with. His colleague at CCEF, Paul Tripp, spoke recently at the Desiring God conference. There is apparently a video of Tripp using pretty vulgar speech at some event prior to that. You can find a link for that over at Steve Camp’s blog where he is also taking Mark Driscoll to task. Driscoll also was a speaker at Desiring God.

      Now, Welch isn’t Tripp, neither of them are Driscoll, etc. But this is the circle in which Welch operates.

      So, with all that in mind, what does this conference at Calvary mean? What does it mean for the other speakers involved? And of course, what does it mean for fundamentalism?

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  2. I have believed for awhile that they are changing to a new paradigm on separation, rejecting the old. Calvary wants to see this happen.

    I think in a lot of ways, older fundamentalists have capitulated to all of it. They feel the growing number of the new fundamentalism that is comfortable with the Southern Baptist Convention. They won’t come right out and say something because they know there would be a huge backlash. That’s why you see Kevin Bauder very carefully laying it out in different places—that recent five part series on SI.

    These men would also argue that, “hey, what about Binney and Hamilton, the Garlocks? Hyles has a worse soteriology than the guys we’re including in our fellowship, and isn’t it about the gospel?” That’s where we’re at in this. Even a Mike Harding, who is among the strongest in this way, has way softened his approach, perhaps having his finger on the pulse of things.

    I could say much more, but I think fundamentalism, as you knew it, Don, is essentially gone. I believe fundamentalists are the new conservative new-evangelicals, the conservative evangelicals are the old moderates.

    People that stand otherwise, like yourself, and no offense, older dinosaurs, might have their shingle still hanging, but they are not respected by most of the Bob Jones, FBF, brand of fundamentalism.

  3. Here’s a review of Welch’s book on depression by an associate of Jay Adams: http://www.nouthetic.org/blog/?p=293

    I haven’t read the book, but the review paints Welch as an integrationist. I am currently reading a book by Welch “When People are Big and God is Small.” It has been a helpful look at the fear of the Lord vs. the fear of man…

    As for Calvary, they don’t appear to be concerned about being fundamental or baptist…

    • Thanks for the comment, Jack. We actually discussed that review earlier. One of my friends thinks Donn Arms goes too far in his criticism of Welch.

      I have read most of When People are Big. There is some excellent material there, I have used and found especially helpful his chart on the fear of God. Overall, though, I thought Welch was better in his book on Addictions. He also has another book on the various medications used in psychology. It is out of print, but it is a handy resource for giving a layman a bit of an understanding of what is going on. So… I like Welch in some ways, but think he is a little too willing to medicate.

      As for this conference, I’ll be posting my thoughts in a day or two. Thanks for chiming in.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  4. We are definitely in a time of transition. I wonder where we will end up. The Fundamentalist establishment is clearly rethinking many of its taboos. Everything is on the table it seems, from associations, to dress, to versions, to entertainment, to music, to what have you. Some of these changes I am on board with (like versions) but some I am not. The whole area of personal holiness and separation from the world is an issue that I am fairly disheartened about. We’ve discussed my thoughts on participation in ETS, so that is one thing. Bringing in conservative evangelicals to teach and minister at our schools is a new development; at least I think it is. If I was in charge of a school, I don’t think I would be doing that. One the other hand, I don’t think the question is completely cut and dried. I see a distinction between church associations and educational associations. Where it gets complicated to me is when the educational aspect is an arm of the church, like it is for several of our seminaries.

    I would not look at Calvary, though, as the benchmark. They seem to intentionally to push boundaries.

    • Thanks for the comment Andy. As in all these things, nothing is cut and dried. And we do have to allow soul liberty to some extent.

      Also, we will all have to figure out how the Lord would have us respond to changing circumstances. Hopefully we’ll make the right choices.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  5. Andy,

    History will show that the change to new versions will be a terrible mistake. The slide in personal holiness and new versions are connected.

    • Well, brother, I think you know several of us will disagree with that assertion. Surely it is unprovable!

      But let’s not get into that debate on this point. It will sidetrack us from the issue of what is happening with the conference in Lansdale.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  6. I think it is provable and I wouldn’t mind showing that, but I wasn’t at all planning on it. I know your position, Don. I was lightly addressing Andy’s assertion that he liked the change to new versions without liking the others. I’m fine with keeping it on the subject of Lansdale, who is also involved in Biblical criticism much further than textual criticism.

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