I’d like to comment on myself this time. In my post on ‘the vision thing’, I made this comment:
Another complicating factor in making these comparisons is that the ‘competing’ ministries are represented by ministries strongly identified with a popular individual on the conservative evangelical side as opposed to more institutional or group oriented ministries/organizations on the fundamentalist side.
Others have noticed this difference also. The Conservative Evangelical brand is largely led by ministries centered around prominent individuals. The Fundamentalist brand, these days, really has no star power in its leaders and it tends to find whatever leadership it has in collective efforts, rather than in individual ministries.
That is a generalization, of course. There are, I suppose, some exceptions to the rule, but I think the generalization holds.
For example, when you think Conservative Evangelical, you think of a list of names: Dever, Piper, Mahaney, Mohler, MacArthur, etc. Some of these men represent institutions and work closely with a number of other men, but there is a sense that they are the focal point of the brand.
On the other hand, when you think Fundamentalism, what comes to mind? Bob Jones University, the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship, Maranatha, Detroit, Central, the Wilds, etc. Of course, individuals lead these ministries and fill up their staffs, but I would suggest that even fairly well informed observers would have to think a bit to get the individual leaders of ALL of these ministries. On the CE side, if we simply named 9Marks, Desiring God, Sovereign Grace, Southern Seminary, Grace to You… most observers – regular readers of this blog – would be able to put the names to those ministries without any effort.
Isn’t that a curious difference? It wasn’t always so in Fundamentalism. And that involves both an irony and a sign of generational change.