Archives for June 2009

fundamentalism defined

Among the many false charges raised against fundamentalism by the neo-experts is the notion that fundamentalism is undefined. Some argue that it is hard or impossible to define [how post-modern is that?]. Others say, ‘Which fundamentalism?’ as if there is more than one. Some say that the definitions have never been really offered, or, if offered, they have been inadequate.

I am undertaking a little project to examine the resolutions of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International over the last 30 years. I have simply copied all of the resolutions from the FBFI website into a database for ease of reference and sorting. My plan is to write articles based on these statements highlighting the view of a significant fundamentalist body. Perhaps there are fundamentalist groups who might quibble over some of the FBFI resolutions at points. That isn’t really relevant. This project is intended to show that the charges laid against fundamentalism by its most recent and most vocal critics are really baseless.

We start with the definition of fundamentalism. I find in my survey of thirty years of resolutions that statements intended to define fundamentalism have been offered at least1 ten times in the last thirty years.

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  1. If you consult the FBFI website, you will note that resolutions for some years are not posted. I don’t know the reason for this, or if they are available elsewhere. []

more on the FBF symposium

In my earlier assessment of the FBF National Conference, I posted the following in summary on the symposium session held on the last day of the conference:

Symposium – a good start. Maybe too long in defining terms, or too short a session. We need to have more on this line next year, to flesh out the FBF position more clearly. I thought most panel members acquitted themselves well. I’ll want to listen to this again and give some detailed analysis.

I’ve now listened twice. If any venue at the meeting had the potential for fireworks, this one did. I thought Dr. Vaughn did a good job conducting the session and several important subjects were addressed.

Of course, the announced subject was only all too briefly addressed, much to the disappointment of many. The subject, as I understood it, was Conservative Evangelicalism and Fundamentalist relationship with the same. Several observations come to mind:

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6.28.09 gbcvic sermons

Justifying the Ungodly [Romans]

Rm 4.5

A tremendous phrase is found in this text: ‘him who justifies the ungodly’. Justification by faith alone is the subject of Romans 4, but this phrase highlights the miracle of God’s grace in a magnificent way. It gives all the glory for justification to the one who justifies, because of who is justified (the ungodly!), because of how they are justified, and because of who is doing the justification. And the marvelous thing is that the one being justified cannot work because the work has been done. He just must believe in him who justifies the ungodly.

The Facets of Man (1) [Basic Theology]

In this lesson we discuss the spiritual nature of man. We discuss the basic difference between dichotomy and trichotomy and come out solidly in favour of the former. Man is both material and spiritual, but there is no real division in the spiritual realm between soul and spirit (or any other designations of the inner man).

Beloved Be Not Ignorant [Growth]

2 Pt 3.8-9

The word of God reveals the God of the word. He is unlike any god of men’s imagination. He is eternal. He is the creator. He is sovereign and supreme. He is the last judge. He is the one you must answer to. As such, your spiritual growth must begin in the word and must be toward the God of the word.

exhibit A


See this follow up and this one as well. See a response to the original article at 9Marks and one at another blog. Finally, see here Dave’s excellent response (and he says, hopefully, his last word) on the subject. Hear, Hear! Exactly right, Dave.

A little kerfuffle between Fundamentalists and Conservative Evangelicals erupting over Dave’s quite reasonable questions illustrates perfectly why we have two groups of men, Fundamentalists on the one hand and Conservative Evangelicals on the other. Fundamentalists don’t get why CEs are willing to be collegial and congratulatory of those who betray the faith. CEs don’t get why Fundies question their respect for their ‘moderates’.

Hence the divide.

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cornbread and caviar

I am reading Cornbread and Caviar: Reminiscences and Reflections by Bob Jones, Jr. I think this is the first time I have read it, though it was published during my last year working at the BJU Print Shop where I would have seen it as I ran the folders… maybe it came out after I left that year.

Reading it is like listening to Dr. Bob talk. Witty, erudite, bold, cultured, and ready to stand for the Lord.

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suppose they gave a war and nobody came

This sixties anti-war slogan (a dim memory of my childhood) seems to fit the mood of the horde wanting to storm the gates of the FBFI at the recent national conference.

They were out for war and are doing their best to find one, somewhere, in the supposed continuing indiscretions of their chief whipping boys. In spite of that, my assessment is that the men leading the conference and speaking at the main sessions came with a different agenda in mind, that of peace, not war. No one took up the challenges of the last month to any great degree, the previously stated position of the FBFI was upheld, several Biblical messages in keeping with the theme were presented, and it seems, at last, that a careful conversation has commenced, something I have desired for a long period of time.

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a good post on holiness

I’d like to call your attention to a blog by Marty Colborn, ‘What About Holiness?’ Marty writes very thoughtful pieces on the Christian life, but this one is particularly timely. I think he gets it exactly right. You don’t produce holiness by works, but you holiness will produce works in keeping with itself.

Many who accuse fundamentalists of an over-emphasis on externals assume that fundamentalists believe that conformity to outward standards will produce holiness. I haven’t found that to be the case in my experience in numerous fundamentalist churches. What I have heard taught is essentially what Marty highlights in his post.

Here’s a sample:

In thinking about my own life, I can say that I need to be more holy, and that there are many things that distract me from that pursuit of holiness. I am sure that some of these things show up externally, in behaviours, and not simply in my innermost being where no one else can see.

I encourage you to read the whole thing.


6.21.09 gbcvic sermons

To Him that Worketh Not [Romans]

Rm 4.4-5

Proposition: Justification by faith is a ‘works-free’ zone.

We are still answering the question, “What then shall we say that Abraham has found?” (Rm 4.1). In our text today, we are expanding on the clinching Scripture (Gen 15.6) by examining two contrasts: the one who is working and the one who is not working. The one who is working is an illustration from life that explains why Abraham (and no one else) can be justified by works. The one who is not working explains what it means to not work and how that justifies.

Men Making a Difference [Christian Growth]

Philemon 1-25

This lesson was prepared for a separate men’s session at Family Camp last week. Since many of our people were unable to attend, we reprised it in our Bible Study session.

In the lesson, we look at the spiritual qualities of Philemon and consider how those qualities make him one whom the apostle is willing to make an amazing counter-cultural request. These qualities made Philemon a Christian of influence in his local church and are publicly demonstrated by the occasion of Onesimus’ conversion.

The Greatest Family of All Time [Christian Home]

This message also comes from our week at camp. Our theme at camp was “Families Making a Difference”. In this message we look at what I call ‘The Greatest Family of All Time,’ that is, the family of our Lord Jesus Christ. I propose that if we want our families to make a difference in this world, we need to emulate the mindset of the men from his physical family whose influence continues to this day.


what does it mean to be a fundamentalist?

A lot of the discussion swirling about our fundie blogosphere lately contains talk of “staying in”, “going out”, or other prepositional relationships to “Fundamentalism.”

It is unclear to me exactly how we are “in, out, under, behind” and so on with respect to a ‘movement’. We can be in an organization like the FBFI by paying our annual fee. You may or may not think it is worth it to be in the FBFI, but that is how it is done. You can be in the GARB by being a member or pastor of a GARB church. You can be in the OBF the same way.

But how are you “in” Fundamentalism?

It seems to me that this is the wrong way of looking at the question. The question really is, “Are you a Fundamentalist?”

In other words, it is a state of being question. To be a fundamentalist is to adopt a fundamentalist philosophy. I might argue later what I think that philosophy is. I think we have argued it before in many places, but for this post, I’d like to argue instead something of what it means to be a fundamentalist as a pastor of a local, independent Baptist church.

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you so wise

I don’t know if you are aware that blogs get spam too. I have a plug-in on ours that catches almost all of it. Moderation of course gets the rest. Some of them are obscene, but this one caught my eye:

You know so many interesting infomation. You might be very wise. I like such people. Don’t top writing.

A very discerning spammer! My sentiments exactly! I don’t think I can top that one! (I probably could spell it better, though…)