keeping our distance

There is some discussion of the differences between conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists and whether we should maintain those differences and, if so, how rigidly we should maintain them.

At least, their purports to be a discussion, but after four weeks nothing of substance has really been discussed.

In some discussions of the topic over the last few years at various online locations, some have alleged that my opposition to closer ties with conservative evangelicals is theological. In other words, since many prominent conservative evangelicals are Together for Calvinism, my opposition is rooted in my non-Calvinistic theology.

Well…

I ran across something this week that puts the lie to that theory. I thought it would enlighten some for me to share it with you.

The thing I ran across was a series of chapel messages by Paige Patterson at Southwestern Seminary, preached through the 2008-2009 school year. You can find the series on iTunes, at the “iTunes U” section. Navigate to Southwestern Seminary and look at the audio offerings. The series is called: “Questions You Cannot Avoid”.1

I don’t think anyone can deny that Paige Patterson is a conservative evangelical. He was president of the SBC in 1999-2000, acting as part of the renowned “Conservative Resurgence” in the SBC. However, he isn’t “Together for Calvinism”, his theological persuasions appear to be much closer to mine than the popular T4C men.

As examples of his conservative views, here is an article he wrote “Concerning Alcoholic Beverages, Fermented Juices and the Believer”. His views here are very close to mine. Here is another article where I find a good deal of practical wisdom as Patterson critiques the apparent weakness of SBC churches in 2007: “FIRST PERSON: Of Grinches, Goblins, Gremlins and Ghosts”. And here is one of those messages I listened to, a truly dynamic chapel message on the holiness and sanctity of sexual purity:

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[Update: This is the Feb 25, 2009 chapel message if you want to find it via the Southwestern chapel site linked above.]

There is a lot to like here. I recommend you listen to the whole series of chapel messages. They are really good. At least… most of them are really good and two of them expose areas of difference with fundamentalism that mean the distinction must be maintained. Even in these two messages I am thinking about, there is still a lot of practical and Biblical wisdom that we can glean from.

Now, what are those two points of difference?

Topic One

In one of the earlier messages, Dr. Patterson reads a column by Richard John Neuhaus, the late founding editor of First Things. The column was perhaps the last thing Neuhaus ever wrote. From a human standpoint, it had some aspects of human wisdom. Patterson read it favorably and spoke of Neuhaus admiringly. Neuhaus was raised Lutheran, the son of a Canadian Lutheran minister who himself became a Lutheran clergyman. However, at the age of 54 he converted to Catholicism and became a Roman Catholic priest. The doctrines of Roman Catholicism are problematic enough, but, according to Wikipedia, Neuhaus even hoped in universalism:

Neuhaus expressed a strong hope in universal salvation, but stopped short of teaching it as a doctrine, emphasizing it as a hope, not a belief. “In sum: we do not know; only God knows; but we may hope.”

Now, it is undeniable that Neuhaus was an intelligent and gifted man. I am sure he said some good things. But why wouldn’t Patterson identify his errors when speaking to his Seminary chapel? If you felt you must cite him, why wouldn’t you make it clear that the man had huge spiritual problems?

As a fundamentalist, it is this kind of easy familiarity with questionable religious characters that makes me want to keep my distance. It is the willingness to be connected with something like the Manhattan Declaration or the connections with Warren and Driscoll and others. As I read 2 John in particular, I find that we are all going to answer for our associations. If these conservative brothers are going to maintain these kinds of connections, then I have to keep my distance.

Topic Two

Later in this series, near the end of it, there is a message about the “Worship Wars”. Patterson joked in the message the week before that they had scheduled an “after chapel meeting” out in the parking lot to settle the question once and for all.

Now, I have to say that even in this message, Patterson has a lot of wisdom that I like. But there is a problem, a divide that holds fundamentalists back from close association with conservative evangelicals. For Patterson, the decisions one makes about ‘worship’ isn’t a question of ‘style’. There are other matters that are critical (and some of his points here are good). But style is largely irrelevant, a praise band is fine, contemporary style is good, and ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’ is awful.

Essentially, I think it comes down to this: the conservative evangelical sees music itself (not lyrics) as amoral. They see style as amoral. The fundamentalist in reply says, “No, music and musical style have meaning. You can’t have music or style that contradicts biblical truth.”

It is ironic that in some of Patterson’s comments and articles he complains about the church too closely imitating the culture and losing its power. Yet apparently he doesn’t see musical style as an issue in that category, except perhaps in the current fad of turning church services into long ‘musical concerts’ with little preaching and no Bible reading.

Fundamentalists approach culture differently than conservative evangelicals do. That is not to say fundamentalists are monolithic and are all exactly the same with respect to the music they use. But the fundamentalist approach is to keep a distance from culture. As a fundamentalist, I think we have good reasons for that. And as a fundamentalist, this difference is one distinction that demands we keep our distance from the conservative evangelicals. This is a philosophical difference, but it determines the whole approach we take to ministry.

~~~

There may be more differences than these two, but they are perhaps the primary distinctions between conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists. It isn’t hard to see these differences. I think that we can show that these two differences are directly connected to the two defining eras of fundamentalist history (the 20s and the fight with modernism and the 50s and the fight with new evangelical compromise). I think we can also show that these differences are significant and must be maintained.

But I have to say I like Paige Patterson. I just wish he was a little more conservative than he is.

don_sig2

Notes:

  1. You can also find the messages on the Southwestern chapel site, although the messages are not identified by series. []

Comments

  1. Jeremy says:

    It certainly seems like you are making conservative music a sine qua non of Fundamentalism.

    • Hi Jeremy

      I think it is a defining aspect of fundamentalism. I am not that good on all those latin terms, but as I understand sine qua non, I think it means “indispensable” as in “you couldn’t have fundamentalism without conservative music”.

      Let me explain why I think that this distinction is tied to the defining eras of fundamentalism and thus is so important to what fundamentalism is today. The New Evangelical compromise said that the fundamentalist movement had withdrawn from culture too much. They decided instead to engage culture and in many cases to embrace culture. That is the whole philosophy behind the downgrade of Christian music over the last 50 years. The conservative evangelicals may be a bit more conservative than some other evangelicals in this area, but essentially their whole philosophy is rooted in the same errors of the New Evangelicals. There is virtually no difference philosophically between 50s and 60s NEs and 2010s CEs. And at this point fundamentalists just simply have disagreed.

      I hope that helps some. Also, don’t forget the other distinction I am pointing out.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  2. Greg says:

    Wow, so I can’t be a fundamentalist unless I believe that music is moral?

  3. I think this is appropriate to the conversation. I tweeted it this morning before I read your article: http://twitter.com/pastorjacklamb/status/16860983108

  4. Don,

    Prediction. Bauder’s series is in only his first of four differences between CEs and Fundies. I think his first was intended to be the least important of the four. I believe that he will get to worship as an important difference, except he’ll say something like orthopraxy. Prediction ended.

  5. Keith says:

    “As a fundamentalist, it is this kind of easy familiarity with questionable religious characters that makes me want to keep my distance.”

    That’s a good one Don. A lot of people use that sentence as a reason to avoid fundamentalitsts!

    On to your next major point . . . you say, “The conservative evangelical sees music itself (not lyrics) as amoral.” Well, this really just isn’t the case. I’ve seen you arguing that dispensationalism isn’t a divide between fundamentalists and Evangelicals — which is true. Well neither are these views of music.

    Speaking broadly — very broadly — it is closer to accurate to say that fundamentalits usually have a simplistic view of music and culture and some of the leading CEs have a more sophisticated understanding. However, musical amorality is not a defining characteristic of CE.

    But seriously, quoting someone without listing off all of the ways in which you disagree with them is “easy familiarity”?

    You say, “If you felt you must cite him, why wouldn’t you make it clear that the man had huge spiritual problems?” Do you really think that anyone in the world is confused about the fact that Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics have different theologies? As the representative of fundamentalist clergy, are you really that patronizing of laymen?

    You say, “If these conservative brothers are going to maintain these kinds of connections, then I have to keep my distance.” Is quoting someone really a “connection”?

    I know plenty of evangelicals who would say, “Music and musical style have meaning. You can’t have music or style that contradicts biblical truth.” They would just admit that determining what musical styles contradict biblical truth is a little more complicated than looking for a publication date pre-1950.

    You say, “But the fundamentalist approach is to keep a distance from culture.” Of course, this is impossible. There is no escape from culture. You can create, influence, or lead culture. Or, you can consume or be influenced and lead by someone else’s culture, but you can’t keep a distance from it. Culture is what humans do.

    Keith

    • First, a quick reply to Greg.

      Yes, I would say that if you don’t believe music is moral you don’t really understand Fundamentalist philosophy and will loosely hold to any other fundamentalist distinctives that you might currently claim.

      Jack, thanks for the comment.

      Kent, I agree.

      And now for Keith:

      OK, I concede the point that my statement is too ‘broad-brushed’. Of course there are some Conservative Evangelicals who hold that music is moral and can communicate sensually, etc.

      But surely you agree that the Conservative Evangelical is much more willing to be tolerant of a wider spectrum of musical styles than the Fundamentalist, do you not? And Conservative Evangelicals will not make music too much of an issue if some of their cooperating partners have a much more worldly style than they themselves hold, do you not? I mean, even John MacArthur, who will make some comments about the current music scene being a bit of a problem will tolerate a pretty worldly sound in his youth department.

      And surely you will see that there is a divergent approach to culture between Conservative Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, will you not? You can sneer and call us simplistic all you want, but there is a difference and we think it is important to maintain.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  6. Keith says:

    Don,

    You say, “Even John MacArthur, who will make some comments about the current music scene being a bit of a problem will tolerate a pretty worldly sound in his youth department.”

    Can you define “worldly sound”? How would you define it? Was a “worldly sound” possible pre-rock and roll? Was a “worldly sound” possible pre-Bach? Might Mozart be a “worldly sound”? How about roller rink music? Carousel music?

    And, I didn’t sneer or call all fundamentalists simplistic. I said fundamentalits USUALLY have a simplistic view of music and culture and SOME of the leading CEs have a more sophisticated view — distinctions matter in these discussions.

    There may be a dividing line resulting from “a divergent approach to culture between Conservative Evangelicals and Fundamentalists,” but I’m not sure that line is a clear or consistent as you are alleging. In fact, I’m not sure it is any more clear or consistent that the line between dispys and Covenantalists. And, I don’t think that cultural approach can be boiled down to “music standards”.

    Sure, most CEs get less worked up over pop music than most fundies — but it is also the case that most fundies are dispys to some degree. In both instances there are significant exceptions. Furthermore, there are plenty of CEs whose church music is as, or more, traditional and churchly than quite a few fundies.

    Ken Meyers, John Hodges, and other evangelicals have done more work on the meaning of music than any fundamentalist I’m aware of — with the possible exception of Scott Aniol, who no doubt read and quotes them.

    Furthermore, in your response to Jeremy I think you reveal a serious historical misunderstanding. You say that the original New Evangelical’s desire to engage culture “is the whole philosophy behind the downgrade of Christian music over the last 50 years.” However, most if not all of the original NEs weren’t thinking or talking about pop music at all when they discussed engaging culture — there were talking about reentering/reclaiming the institutions of cultural leadership. They were talking about political, academic, and artistic participation. They weren’t talking about mimicking pop culture.

    The popification of church music and services surely is more the result of the Jesus Movement (coverted hippies) and the Charismatic Movement (Inter-denominational Pentacostalism) than the New Evangelical Movement. The NE approach was more elite. The Jesus Movement and Charismatic approaches were more populist.

    Keith

    • Hi Keith

      Thanks for making my point. There clearly is a distinct difference between Fundamentalists and Conservative Evangelicals in their approach to culture. I would say that music is perhaps the most visible (or audible) expression of that difference.

      I agree with you with respect to the original sources of the “pop-ification” of church music, but the New Evangelical movement and its altered stance towards culture (and refusal to separate) opened the door for the pretty well universal acceptance of these views in all branches of evangelicalism, including the Conservative Evangelicals we are discussing.

      The expression of this philosophy will have varied applications by varied people, so the line is not absolute or crystal clear, I agree. But there is a difference and it is rooted in a different approach to culture. Those on the Fundamentalist side tend to move in one direction, those on the Evangelical side in another. Their philosophy in these areas is basically incompatible, one of them would have to yield in order for cooperation between them to occur.

      As for worldly, please see my current series on Godliness-Worldliness at gbcvic.org.

      Finally, just a note. I don’t want the discussion here to simply be a platform for you. So… let’s see if others wish to chime in before you jump in again.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  7. Greg says:

    So, can a fundamentalist listen to CCM, of if he does, is he no longer a fundamentalist?

    • Hello Greg

      Perhaps “never was” might be more accurate.

      Look, I don’t think you are asking serious questions. You aren’t dealing with the arguments I am making, you are just asking smart aleck questions. It would be much more useful if you tried to make an argument instead of “drive by smart aleck comments”.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  8. Keith says:

    Wasn’t looking for a platform. Just a discussion. See ya.

    Keith

    • Fair enough, Keith.

      I am just leery given our past history. Perhaps we just grate on each other too much.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  9. Greg says:

    Actually, I am wondering if YOU are serious. What you are proposing is so far out that I just can’t believe it. You really think someone who listens to CCM cannot be a fundamentalist? Tell me seriously and then I will engage your arguments.

    • Greg, perhaps you need to start by telling us what a fundamentalist is. That could explain a lot.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  10. Greg says:

    No, I will pass. I am not interested in parsing definitions and I know what a fundamentalist is. I asked a direct question. If you answer it, I will engage your arguments.

    • Well, I think I made my views pretty clear. If you don’t choose to engage them, that’s your business.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  11. Brian Ernsberger says:

    Greg, do YOU seriously believe a Fundamentalist could listen to music which at its best is a mixing of Biblical truth (the words) with a worldly sound (the music), and at its worse is vague in expressing any Biblical truth and still has the worldly sound? How is it that the lost world understands the nature of their own music (typically sensual, loose morals, etc., etc.) and so many Christians wish to ignore that nature?

  12. Keith says:

    Don,

    After reading your interchance with me and Greg, I’d say that “Engaging” your views seems to mean agreeing with them — Regardless of how well presented or supported.

    Once again, it comes down to — everything bad that is historically down stream from New Evangelicals is their fault in your book. But, bad stuff historically down stream from fundamentalists is the result of individual anamolies. It’s basically “heads I win . . . tails you lose.”

    • Hi Keith

      It should be no surprise that I am convinced of my own views. What kind of schizoid do you think I am???

      I am a little surprised at your defense of Greg. He just wants to post smart aleck questions. What ideas did he advance? What ideas did he truly engage?

      You, at least, have been engaging the discussion. I just didn’t want the thread to become dominated by a back and forth between you and I that could prove frustrating to both of us, as our discussions have in the past.

      However, you are more than welcome to keep discussing and trying to convince me where you think I am wrong. I doubt you will be successful, but you can always try.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  13. Don:

    You wrote, “There is virtually no difference philosophically between 50s and 60s NEs and 2010s CEs. And at this point fundamentalists just simply have disagreed.

    You have good company. In the current edition of FrontLine magazine you will find an article by Dr. Fred Moritz under the title A Certain Sound. The following excerpt appears under the subheading Conservative Evangelicals.

    When men who believe, affirm, preach and unite to defend the gospel sign a declaration that proclaims Catholics and Orthodox as “Christians,” they betray the very gospel they affirm and they negate the good they are trying to accomplish. This kind of action is no different than the compromise we witnessed in the New Evangelical movement forty years ago.

    Dr. Al Mohler serves as president of Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville. We applaud his accomplishments of ridding Southern Seminary of theological liberalism. Yet Mohler signed the Manhattan Declaration, chaired a Billy Graham crusade in his city, cooperated with theological liberals I that effort, and he honored one of his liberal predecessors, Duke McCall, by naming a new building after him. Obedience to Scripture on one hand and disobedience on the other sends an “uncertain sound.” (bold added)

  14. Keith says:

    Of course you’re conviced of your views. Every honest person is conviced of his views — otherwise they wouldn’t be his views. That doesn’t mean that one must dismiss or ignore challenges to those views — especially when one puts those views out in public inviting discussion.

    The question is, can one defend those views with something other than assertion?

    I don’t know who Greg is, and I don’t know anything about his motives. However, I do think he asked a question that could easily be answered by “yes” or “no” and that the answer could be explained.

    If the answer is yes — then it appears you’ve made music a test of orthodoxy. That’s anyone’s right, but if one is conviced of that, then why not own up to it. And, can you defend it against counter arguments?

    Keith

    • Keith, Greg wasn’t making an argument. He was just asking snarky questions.

      But no, music isn’t a test of orthodoxy, unless you think that I think Fundamentalism = Christianity. Music philosophy (a subset of cultural philosophy) is a major marker of the difference between Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism, however.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  15. True worship is a mark of Christianity (John 4:23-24; Philip 3:1-3). Is ungodly music false worship?

  16. Don:

    You wrote, “In some discussions of the topic over the last few years at various online locations, some have alleged that my opposition to closer ties with conservative evangelicals is theological. In other words, since many prominent conservative evangelicals are Together for Calvinism, my opposition is rooted in my non-Calvinistic theology.”

    Well, aren’t there theological reasons for keeping distance from the evangelicals? First is their open disdain for doctrine of biblical separatism. They repudiate in their speech and actions the God-given mandates for separation from the world, unbelievers and the disobedient among their own.

    This is a huge difference between Fundamentalism and the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism, which is absolute fidelity to biblical separatism as God defines it for His own. This is the substantive difference that has not been discussed and IMO is likely to be dodged in certain discussions because that is where the irrefutable difference and true crux of the controversy lies.

    Second, speaking for myself, it is their being Together for the “Lordship Salvation” Gospel that first and foremost demands separation from them.

    LM

  17. Hi Don,

    You said: “Music philosophy . . . is a major marker of the difference between Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism, however.”

    Two quick questions: When did this happen? And who declared it so?

    Have a good one!

    tjp

    • Hi Tracy,

      Well, I posted on 6.22.10, so I think this happened on 6.21.10. And since it was me that posted, I guess it was me that declared it so.

      Kidding!!

      If you note my comments here, I am arguing that the general fundamentalist approach to music is an expression of the fundamentalist philosophy of culture. I grant that there are differences of application among us, but in general the philosophy is the same and is derived from the notion that some aspects of human culture are worldly and not pleasing to God. There are some evangelicals who will share some of the same concerns, but generally they do not draw the lines as tightly as fundamentalists, thus there is a difference here that marks out fundamentalist philosophy in general from evangelical philosophy.

      @Lou

      There are of course theological reasons for keeping our distance, but our differences aren’t only theological. As noted above, philosophy has a lot to do with it. In fact, the divide between Fundamentalists and New Evangelicals in the 50s was almost entirely philosophical, except where the NEs disagreed about separation.

      @Kent

      I’m not quite sure who your question is directed at. If you have time, please clarify.

      @ Greg

      Your comment is deleted. You know, it is amazing that people don’t understand that I am communicating my point of view here and if I don’t like how someone comments, I don’t have to post it. You don’t have to like it, but that is the way it is.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  18. Don,

    You said that music philosophy was a mark of fundamentalism, but not of Christianity. If music is worship and worship is a mark of Christianity, then wouldn’t godly music be a mark of Christianity? Paul seems to make it so in Col 3:16 and Eph 5:19.

    I was responding to this statement by you:

    “But no, music isn’t a test of orthodoxy, unless you think that I think Fundamentalism = Christianity. Music philosophy (a subset of cultural philosophy) is a major marker of the difference between Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism, however.”

    • Hi Kent

      Ok, I get it. Sometimes I’m slow.

      Well, by my comment I meant that I think it is possible to be orthodox theologically (generally speaking, I suppose) while erring to some extent on music/culture. On the other hand, as you say (and I think someone else pointed out with respect to separation — Lou???) music is worship and worship is a mark of Christianity, there is perhaps something of a failure of orthodoxy if your music philosophy is wrong.

      I was just not wanting to say that you can’t be a Christian if you don’t agree with Fundamentalist philosophy of music/culture.

      My main point here is that music philosophy (a reflection of cultural philosophy) is significantly different between Fundamentalists and Evangelicals (generally speaking). As such it marks out or defines the divide between them. I don’t see how cooperation can occur between people who have such definite and grave differences with respect to music philosophy. One or the other is going to have to bend on a defining distinctive and in such cases it usually isn’t the one with the more conservative philosophy.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  19. Greg says:

    Oh no, Don, you have every right to post what you want for sure. And you have the right to misrepresent what I posted if you want. Feel free since I am anonymous on your blog anyway.

    But that does not mean you are not a jerk. And that my friend is how you are perceived by the vast majority of those you would like to influence. It is sad that someone as old as you that wants to influence has learned so little about how to communicate effectively.

    Don’t kid yourself. You are perceived as a jerk not because you delete comments. You are perceived as a jerk by the way you talk to people. How you can obsess about insignificant music preferences and ignore this glaring beam in your eye is beyond me but is not my problem.

    Don’t worry, I already know you won’t post this. I wish you the best in your ministry. I admire the fact that you have been faithful for many years.

    [Note: edited for time-stamp only. Comment actually posted at 4:45 am, PDT, edited to appear at 4:45 pm, PDT.]

  20. So Greg actually isn’t Greg. Well, Greg, what I like about Don is that he doesn’t depend on tickling people’s ears in order to have his influence and impact. He doesn’t needlepoint his message into a fluffy pillow, like some seem to need in order to handle it. In other words, real men like the way Don talks. He reminds them how men once talked when men were men. So, in other words, Don will attract men. Since you aren’t attracted, I’ll let that speak for itself.

    Don,

    It was me who mentioned music is worship and worship is a mark of Christianity. It’s not so much that we decide whether false worshipers are saved or not. God will judge that. However, we regard false worshipers as unsaved for the purpose of fellowship.

  21. Hi Don,

    I was wondering if you could draw up for me a basic outline of your “fundamentalist philosophy” of ministry. What shape does it take in practice, and what are its outstanding principles?

    Have a good one!

    tjp

    • Hi Tracy

      Well, that’s a big topic. Worthy of a book, I am sure (not that I would likely get many takers on that one). Worthy of at least a whole blog post by itself. I’ll do some thinking on it and see what I can do.

      I am assuming you want an idea of how fundamentalism affects how I approach the ministry, is that right?

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  22. Don,

    You said: “I am assuming you want an idea of how fundamentalism affects how I approach the ministry, is that right?”

    Yeah, petty much.

    tjp

    • Just a quick note to all. We are getting comments about Greg’s comment, both from friends and foes. I don’t want this thread to degenerate into a discussion of Greg or his comments. I have received criticism for posting Kent’s comment about it. I think it would have been better to leave that off as well.

      So, friends and foes, if you don’t mind, let’s leave Greg’s comment alone and let it stand for what it is. If you wish to discuss the points I am making in the article, you are welcome, but let’s just leave what Greg said alone.

      I am sure my friends will understand. I am not particularly worried about what my foes think.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  23. PS Ferguson says:

    Fundamentalist historian Ernest Pickering pertinently warned, “Perhaps nothing precipitates a slide toward New Evangelicalism more than the introduction of Contemporary Christian Music.” BIOLA founded by Rueben Torrey evidenced the same change. In the magazine Foundation they published an official statement from the BIOLA Music Department giving the University position on the use of jazz music stating, “… to a great degree, contemporary jazz has become ‘classical.’ It is also true that traditional jazz has to a great extent left its original association with the brothels of New Orleans, social dance, drinking, and other social practices which have represented ‘worldly values.’ Jazz, in effect, must be considered ‘classical’ in the broad sense of the term. It is entirely possible for college students to rehearse and perform jazz purely as another style of concert music.”

    However, early Fundamentalist historians included more. George Dollar in 1966 records that early Fundamentalists opposed worldliness,

    “The fundamentalists of 1875–1900 were very outspoken about the apostasy of their times and the sins from which Christians should separate. Indeed, one is surprised to find in their sermons and lectures such sharp rebukes to saints for their worldliness. They saw the world worsening as we approach the rapture. The particular sins then prevalent were named….card table, horse racing, dancing, stage plays, theater, and wine. The church was condemned for being wholly worldly and worldly holy [a phrase used by A. T. Pierson at the 1886 Prophetic Conference]…. The business of the Spirit was to make him [the Christian] distinct from the unregenerate and this included his enjoyments, recreation, business, and his use of time and money .”

    The editor of Watchword in July 1896 another early Fundamentalist publication openly opposed the theater because its, “chief themes…are now, as they ever have been, the passions of men—ambition and jealousy, leading to murder; lust, leading to adultery and to death; [and] anger, leading to madness.”

  24. Don,

    What do you think about this conference (http://truthconference.org/) and the gaggle of fundamentalists represented?

    Seems even here the lines are beginning to blur, no?

    Have a good one!

    tjp

    • Well, I know of all the speakers but one. As far as I know, everyone listed is at present considered a Fundamentalist, so I don’t see how this represents lines blurring.

      I have heard some chatter about this conference that I have no way of confirming. It may turn out to be something different than it is at present, if any of this “chatter” turns out to be accurate. So… can’t really have an opinion at this point.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  25. Don,

    I think you should call your blog “Bantam Rooster” instead.

    • Now there’s an idea.

      Of course, no one looking at me would think of the word “bantam”….

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jeremiah 33.3

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