kjo = neo-e?

One of my friends posted a link on Facebook to the latest ‘Nick of Time’ article at Central Seminary. I replied that I agreed with the main thrust of the article, but disagreed with a certain paragraph… Well, I discovered that Facebook isn’t a good place for controversy! (I am not sure exactly what Facebook is good for… that’ll be another blog, however…)

In re-reading the article, I think I am a little less enthusiastic about it than I was at initial reading. But on the positive side, let me say that I agree that the King James Only movement is a serious problem, one that hasn’t ever been properly addressed in fundamentalism.

Some of my friends hold that the King James Version is the best version to use for study and preaching. Some might even hold that it is the only version that should be used. But when someone holding those views decides to brand anyone who holds a different view as an heretic or a ‘person of interest’ for the crime of false teaching, well… that is going too far. Such views will inevitably lead to a breach of fellowship. And, I believe, ‘Onlyist’ views of this sort are heretical in themselves, that is, they are an unwarranted and unbiblical source of divisions that ought not to be.

So I agree that the ‘Onlyist’ views are a serious problem, demanding serious rebuke. To the extent that this essay does that, I agree entirely.

However, there are a couple of areas in the essay where I have disagreement.

First, can we equate the ‘Onlyist’ position with the New Evangelical error? Here is a paragraph that gives me pause:

The error of the King James Only movement is opposite but equal to the error of the new evangelicalism. The new evangelicals wanted to remove the fundamentals (i.e., the gospel) as the boundary of Christian fellowship. The King James Only movement wishes to add to the fundamentals (i.e., the gospel) as the boundary of Christian fellowship. Neoevangelicalism could be called “sub-fundamentalist,” while the King James Only movement is hyper-fundamentalist.

Opposite but equal? Is that really true?

Even if you accept the simplification1 of new evangelicalism as “removing the fundamentals as the boundary of Christian fellowship”, is it true that what the KJO movement is doing is “adding to the fundamentals as the boundary of Christian fellowship”?

To me, the new evangelical error is almost on the level of Judas. It is a profound betrayal of our Lord Jesus Christ. We see it repeated again and again in such things as ECT and the Manhattan Declaration. It isn’t simply removing boundaries, it is part and parcel with the human rebellion against God. It isn’t unbelief itself, but it is keeping company with unbelief, toying with unbelief, and making common cause with unbelief.

On the other hand, the KJO view is misguided, but it is only misguided in its zeal for truth, not in its zeal for human approval a la new evangelicalism.

Kevin Bauder criticizes the KJOs as actually being contemptuous of the Word of God.

My second observation is that the attitude displayed by the aforementioned preacher and college is genuinely contemptuous of the Word of God. If I were to declare that the King James Version was not the Word of God, then King James Only advocates would quickly and rightly excoriate me for my contempt of Scripture—regardless of my attitude toward other versions. Yet they themselves refuse to acknowledge the American Standard Version (et al.) as the Word of God.

I wonder what Kevin would say of the New World Translation? Or the Living Bible? Or the Contemporary English Version? Or many others.

Personally, I would describe those versions as corruptions of the Word of God. I wouldn’t recommend them. In fact, I would insist that Christians should only use a select few versions, all others have too many problems. Since I reject all those others, does that make me contemptuous of the Word of God? I don’t think so.

While I don’t think the KJO folks should be so narrow in their views, I find it hard to call this contempt of the Word of God. It is misguided, shortsighted, often ignorant, but not contempt. To criticize them in this way says more about the critic than the ones criticized.

So, in short, I don’t see KJO-ism on a par with new evangelicalism.

However, Kevin’s thesis isn’t really about KJO-ism, it is about playing nice with Conservative Evangelicalism. He is creating this kind of structure:

  • New Evangelicals: really really bad
    • Conservative Evangelicals: slightly flawed
    • Mainstream Fundamentalists: slightly flawed in a different direction
  • KJO kooks: really really bad

Please note, I am not saying all KJO people are kooks – there are plenty of kooks to go around in every movement! But I am getting a sense of Kevin’s views here, and maybe I am putting words in his mouth by doing so. Also note that both CEs and MFs are slightly flawed since no one is perfect.

In any case, Kevin is building this view of things in order to support his thesis that we mainstream fundamentalists should start playing nice with the conservative evangelicals. Here is some of how he puts it:

Furthermore, not all fundamentalists are hyper-fundamentalists, any more than all evangelicals are (or were) neoevangelicals. Several mediating positions exist. Historic, mainstream fundamentalism has been one of those mediating positions. Conservative evangelicalism is another. …

Conservative evangelicals do not want to be recognized as fundamentalists, and they do not belong in that category. At the same time, they are not guilty of the more serious errors that plagued the new evangelicalism.

I have long disagreed with the notion that there has been a long term conservative evangelical position that is a mediating position between fundamentalism and new evangelicalism. I wrote about it in earlier posts, most recently in “show me the silent majority”. I am doing some reading on new evangelicalism lately and am planning to write something further debunking this notion. I think it is historical revisionism at best.

But beyond that, what errors are conservative evangelicals plagued with that distinguish them from fundamentalism? Well, they do have new evangelical type associations in many cases. Mark Dever’s church is listed as affiliated with both the American Baptist Convention and the Progressive Baptist Convention through its membership in the DC Baptist Association. Mark Dever also maintains his ties with J. I. Packer, noted writer and a mover and shaker behind ECT. Al Mohler is one of the early signatories of the Manhattan Declaration. There is also the entanglement of many of these conservative men with the ministry of Mark Driscoll. There is the music… always the music… And no, music is not a fundamental, but even Kevin Bauder asserts that there is such a thing as orthopraxy as well as orthodoxy – right practice along with right doctrine.

Are these differences still not profound? How can fundamentalists find common cause with men who quite clearly have a problem with their “associational discernment”?

And yet Kevin closes with this:

If we believe in separation, we ought to be separating from hyper-fundamentalists more quickly and more publicly than we do from conservative evangelicals.




  1. I question the simplification because I don’t think it says enough about what new evangelicalism is. []


  1. It will be an interesting discussion on Sharper Iron.

    Generally I regard prefixes like “hyper-“, “neo-“, “pseudo-” as less than helpful. Additionally I feel the term “fundamentalist” has morphed so much to nearly useless.

    • I am sure the discussion will be hot on SI, but I predict that most will miss the point. KJO-ism is an illustration, not the main point.

      I disagree about terms. You could say that ‘Christian’ has morphed a little. I still find it a useful term.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  2. You should probably be a little more clear on how Dever is “affiliated” with the American Baptist Convention and the Progressive Baptist Convention through its membership in the DC Baptist Association.” They have no financial or ministry ties to them. They are merely listed on their website. In fact, Dever worked to get the DCBC defunded by the SBC national convention b/c of its liberal associations. Why didn’t you mention that?

    To people who are aware of the actual situation, it looks like you’re grasping at anything to try to discredit him.

    • Hi Ed,

      I suppose that is something. But do you think it is acceptable to remain a member in good standing of the DC Baptist Association? Would you want to be listed with groups you are in profound disagreement with? I have occasionally found our church listed by KJO organizations or web sites. I have asked such sites to remove our name or list me as “strongly opposed to King James Onlyism”. Why would anyone want their church’s name to be listed in company with American Baptist and Progressive Baptist churches? Is their good name not so important?

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  3. Brian Ernsberger says:

    Thanks Don, Kevin Bauder tries (unsuccessfully in my opinion) to make out that we (Fundamentalists) must be as vocal against the hypers as some are with CEs. Two things that need to be brought out. First, the hypers have for the most part separated from mainstream Fundamentalism because of their particular doctirne du jour (be in KJVO or whatever). Their attitude has typically been, “you don’t believe as I do then I have nothing to do with you.” Saw this first hand in the 90s when I was on deputation and came across a KJVO pastor when scheduling meetings. No meeting because I did not believe as he did. It did not matter that we both used the KJV. Fundamentalists have spoken against the KJVO position so I don’t see the double standard.

    Second, in this comparison of CEs with the hypers, the hypers are not exerting any perceptable influence on our younger generation to come their way. This cannot be said about CE. They are exerting a strong influence upon the younger generation and must be called out.

    To put it in an illustration, these two groups are like two bears that have raided a camp, one has moved on and all you see is his backside. The other is still in camp creating havoc. Personally, I don’t care one bit about that bear who has left, but I care greatly about that one that is here causing havoc. My crosshairs are on him not the other bear.

    • I think the fact that the hypers have largely separated from us already is a good point, one I missed in my article.

      Just a note, though, Bauder is comparing the hypers with the neos, not the CEs.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  4. When you work to get an organization defunded, can you really be considered a member in “good standing?”

    Regarding influencing the younger generation: you don’t think PCC, Crown, West Coast, Ambassador, etc. are influencing the younger generation? Then who attends those schools? The older generation?

    • Ed,

      According to the information I have, for a church to be listed by the DC Baptist Association, it must be in good standing. My understanding is that the DCBA considers Capitol Hill to be in good standing. If it were me, I’d want to make sure I wasn’t in good standing with them.

      I don’t understand your second question. If I have ever given the impression that I support any of those schools, let me disavow it immediately! I oppose the ministry of those schools and would discourage anyone from attending.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  5. Brian:

    You wrote,

    Second, in this comparison of CEs with the hypers, the hypers are not exerting any perceptable influence on our younger generation to come their way. This cannot be said about CE. They are exerting a strong influence upon the younger generation and must be called out.”

    Right, but not only that, we have men from within IFB circles (Bauder, Doran, Jordan, NIU) are assisting the ce men and furthermore exerting a strong personal influence on the current and next generation to embrace theconservative evangelicals.

    “Personally, I don’t care one bit about that bear who has left, but I care greatly about that one that is here causing havoc.”

    Well said! I articulate my concerns toward the termites on the inside. Those who are chipping away at the biblical foundations of separatism principle and application, that served the NT church well for 2,000 years, to close ranks with evangelicals.


  6. Brian Ernsberger says:

    Thanks for the clarifying Don, but like you, I do not follow Bauder’s line that there is a definitive distinction between Neos and CEs, so while yes, I agree that Bauder’s comparison was as you say, but I disagree with his assessment in the first place so I will keep to my original thoughts.

    • In thinking this over, I have decided to drop the complaint about Dever being listed by the DC Baptist Association. You will see the sentence in “strike-through” font in my post above.

      Personally, as I said, if it was me, I would not want to continue to be listed by such an organization or would at least insist their listing included a disclaimer of my choosing. But the reality is that this does become pretty small potatoes after awhile.

      I have other complaints about Dever which can be found in the archives of my blog. These complaints are not meant to indicate any attempt to impugn the character or godliness of Mark Dever in any way. However, they are meant to point out that in philosophy and practice he is still quite a distance from Fundamentalists and is not one that, in my opinion, Fundamentalists should be cooperating with.

      But in all fairness, we need to avoid hysterics in our objections to these ministries. This particular point is likely one of those, so I withdraw it.

      Don Johnson
      Jeremiah 33.3

  7. Thanks for the strike-through. I think that is an appropriate action.

    My comment about the younger generation was related to Brian’s comment: “Second, in this comparison of CEs with the hypers, the hypers are not exerting any perceptable influence on our younger generation to come their way. This cannot be said about CE. They are exerting a strong influence upon the younger generation and must be called out.” I find it hard to believe they hypers are not exerting any influence on the younger generation since there are several large colleges/universities holding that position, filled with the younger generation.

  8. Keith says:

    “On the other hand, the KJO view is misguided, but it is only misguided in its zeal for truth, not in its zeal for human approval a la new evangelicalism.”

    The KJO view that Bauder is critiquing is not truth. It is ignorance and/or superstition. Therefore, it cannot be characterized as a zeal for truth.

    Adding superstitious pronouncements of the “doctor” or “man of God” to God’s actual word is equall to subtracting from God’s word.

    • Keith,

      Ignorance and superstition are not sins. What is needed to counter them is patience, instruction, and truth. There is a truth that the KJO crowd has, the importance, centrality, and inspiration of the Bible. Most of them have misunderstood the arguments and are motivated by fears of perceived threats to the Bible, the source of their hope in Christ.

      Some of them are not ignorant and there is an element of heresy in the more extreme elements of the propagators of this error. But it isn’t the same as the betrayal that the neo evangelicals perpetrated.

      The new evangelical error wasn’t subtracting from the word, but disobeying the word.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  9. Keith says:

    “The new evangelical error wasn’t subtracting from the word, but disobeying the word.”

    That’s a quible over semantics. If I subtract from it, then I’ll be disobeying that portion that was subtracted.

    “Ignorance and superstition are not sins.”

    Ignorance isn’t a sin, but it also isn’t a “zeal for truth.” Superstition quite often is sin. And even when it isn’t, it also is not a “zeal for truth.”

    “There is a truth that the KJO crowd has, the importance, centrality, and inspiration of the Bible.”

    Is that what they have? Or, isn’t a desire for simplistic, talismanic certainty? (The KJOs that Bauder is critiquing — no one has any problem with the KJV or those who use it).

    “There is an element of heresy in the more extreme elements of the propagators of this error. But it isn’t the same as the betrayal that the neo evangelicals perpetrated.”

    So, some heresies are ok? Hmm.

    • Keith, I’m not going to get into a contest of straining at words on this one. The vast majority of KJO people I know are sincere believers who are afraid of the new versions based on ignorance and misinformation. They are zealous for the truth of inspiration and for the integrity of the Bible. I don’t have a problem with that zeal, although I think it is misguided and misinformed.

      And don’t put words in my mouth! I didn’t say some heresies are ok. I am ambivalent to the majority of KJO people. I am willing to fellowship with them as long as they are willing to fellowship with me. But I am not OK with the heretics (i.e., Ruckman, et al). I won’t have fellowship with them or their followers.

      The impression one gets from Bauder’s article is that he would just as soon we jettison the majority of KJO people. I don’t think that is right.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  10. Brian Ernsberger says:

    To Ed,
    When I say that CEs are doing more influence, I am referring to what we see broadly throughout our college age young people. They are reading books by the CE crowd. The hypers for the most part are one, not writing books, or two, what books are being written are not found in the broad circle of Fundamentalism and therefore are not as influential. To answer your statement about the colleges of the hypers being filled with young people, yes, and where are they coming from? Again, for the most part they are not coming from mainstream Fundamental churches. They are coming from the churches which are part of the hyper crowd. Living as I do in the Pac NW, WCBC (which some consider to be a hyper type college with their KJVO stance) is really not that far away and to my knowledge not one of my fellow mainstream Fundamentalist pastors has any young person going there. I do know that many of the hypers in this region do support that college and send their young people there. This is not to say that no mainstream Fundamentalist church sends students to these colleges, just that in comparison of influence the CE crowd far outdistances the hypers.

  11. I note that the discussion of the extreme of double inspiration in the KJV is one of disdain, and rightly so.

    However, why no discussion of the other extreme in Textual Reconstructionism in statements like: “We do not believe that God has preserved His Word perfectly and miraculously in any manuscript or group of manuscripts, or in all manuscripts.” (from W. Edward Glenny, Larry Pettegrew, and Roy Beacham, The Bible Version Debate, Central Baptist Seminary, Mpls., MN, pages 99 & 131)

    If this statement is true, we have NO FOUNDATION FOR OBJECTIVE FAITH OR PRAXIS! If this statement is true, everything we have in any original language text or derivative translation of such texts must be in question and therefore subjective. Therefore, the only avenue left to moral praxis is rationalism.

  12. Who decides who is part of mainstream fundamentalism and who isn’t? I believe Dwight Smith, a KJVO, has posted on Lou Martuneac’s blog recently promoting his position. Isn’t Lou’s blog designed to appeal to mainstream fundamentalists? Are there CE’s posting on his blog, or only KJVO folks?

    You say you don’t think “mainstream fundamentalist” young people are going to hyper schools b/c none of them in your area are. How many young people from your churches and the ones in your area are going to CE schools?

    One final thought: even if you could conclude that the CE’s are more influential than the hypers, would that be a valid reason to separate from CE’s and not hypers? Is separation about influence, or about biblical truth?

    • Ed,

      Brian can reply to your post if he likes, but I think Bauder would consider the ‘mainstream’ of fundamentalism to include the supporters of the schools in the BJU/Maranatha/Northland/Central/Detroit realm of fundamentalism. That would generally be my perception also. Of course, ‘mainstream’ is a relative term, it depends on who is using it.

      Everyone who agrees with me is mainstream! Heh, heh.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  13. Brian Ernsberger says:

    To Ed,
    To answer the CE school question, amongst those I know, no one has students at CE schools. As Don stated I would agree with his “mainstream” list of schools.

    As far as separation goes, my push for separation from the CE crowd is not based on this influence that I see happening. It is based on my Scriptural understanding of passages like Romans 16:17 and II Thess. 3:6, 14, 15 and comparing the CE crowd and the hypers with the Scriptures. As Don has pointed out there are some KJVO who must be separated from because they have aberrant doctrine. The same holds true with the CE crowd and their aberrant doctrine which Dr. Bauder continues to gloss over and ignore. From Lordship Salvation to the sign gifts to worldly music, the CE crowd is decked out with doctrine that is contrary to what I have been taught. As such, Paul writes in Romans to mark them and avoid them.

    Dr. Bauder has done his best to avoid using Scriptures in this lengthy paper on our differences, even going so far as to say in part 22, “These fundamentalists correctly insist that certain Scriptures do require the limitation of fellowship with professing brothers who sin (1 Cor. 5:11; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14; et al.—my present purpose is not to expound these texts). These passages must not be dismissed, nor may they be limited to the disciplinary process of the local congregation.” He does not expound those texts and says that they must not be dismissed yet dismisses them. Especially the II Thess. passage is pertinent to the issue at hand and here he is silent.

    This whole thing (the differences between CE and Fundys) could have been handled in one article expounding the separation passages and applying it to the doctrinal differences that do exist. End of story. Instead he has gone on ad infinitum about really nothing of substance.

  14. So is it ok for Lou Martuneac to gloss over the aberrant doctrine of evangelist Smith? Why are you not vocal over that issue? Shouldn’t 2 Thess 3 come into play here?

    • I assume you are talking about the article Lou posted of Dwight Smith’s. If not, please advise.

      In any case: I think the article is rubbish. I can’t imagine why Lou thought it might be helpful. Publishing rubbish like that certainly does nothing to advance the argument against Bauder’s article. As someone said on SI, it tends to make Bauder’s case.

      However, my article isn’t about Lou, Smith, or the KJO position. It is about weaknesses in Kevin’s article itself. Please see for further reference the comments of JG on the SI thread. He does a much better job than I at dealing with the errors Kevin makes.

      Now, lest anyone else get tempted to defend Smith or Lou in this thread, please don’t. The post on Lou’s blog has nothing to do with my argument… other than perhaps an example of the ignorant zeal that I refer to.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  15. d4v34x says:

    “From Lordship Salvation to the sign gifts to worldly music, the CE crowd is decked out with doctrine that is contrary to what I have been taught.”

    Brother E., what are the passages supporting the doctrine of music which the CE’s have violated so egregiously they must be separated from?

    As for the three watershed issues you listed, your first is embraced by lots of mainstream fundamentalists (in which category I would probably find myself although prefer a different term). Your second isn’t a historical doctrine (for instance, I can’t find a doctrine of music in my Ryrie systematic. Grudem might have one, but I haven’t bought that yet.) As for the charismatic issue we agree.

    But I think this illustrates the great divide(s) in fundamentalism that I am less and less optimistic will be overcome. I can’t budge on Lordship (although I’ll discuss it with you without separating over it) and neither can you budge. How do we go forward if one of us feels they must separate from the other on this?

    Personal anecdote: I grew up in a hyper fundy church and floundered spiritually for almost three decades. When I moved to a mainstream fundy church, the pastor’s teaching, counseling, and reading recommendations helped me, for the first time really, realize the power of the Gospel in my life. The books he recommended were 3:1 CE:Fundy. (I don’t use fundy as a pejorative, btw; its just tough to write the whole word every time). I contend that, despite some sharp differences, mainstream, evangelical (in the technical sense) fundies really do have more in common with the CEs than with the hyper-Fs.

  16. d4v34x says:

    Also, we’re really going to assert that John Piper, John MacArthur, Don Carson, etc are unruly (II Thes 3:6) people?? Come on.

  17. Sorry Don. Not trying to hijack the thread, but I wasn’t necessarily responding to your article. Rather, it was the sentiment of Brian that CE’s are more dangerous than hypers, that we need to be more vocal against CE’s than hypers, b/c they are influencing mainstream fundy’s more than hypers.

    However, I do think Lou’s publishing of Smith’s article demonstrates what Bauder is talking about: Fundy’s will work with hyper’s all the time, overlooking their heretical doctrine. Yet they villify CE’s over lesser things (e.g., the doctrine of music…I don’t think I’ve seen that doctrine covered in many systematic theologies.)

    So, I think this question is related to your article. Would you say that the error of hypers is at least as significant as the error of CE’s (if not as bad as the error of Neo’s)? If so, then doesn’t it seem hypocritical to be so vocal about interacting with CE’s while never condemning the interaction with hypers?

  18. Keith says:

    No intention of starting a contest of straining at words Don. But let me try to explain my point a different way:

    Billy Graham and the “Neos” claimed a zeal for evangelism, for spreading the gospel didn’t they? It was just misguided and misinformed zeal, right? Why is that misguided zeal unaceptable but the misguieded zeal of the KJO acceptable?

    Both groups have zeal for a word that, properly understood, describes important Christian teachings.

    The rub is that “properly understood” part. Is there no chance that the KJOs understanding of inspiration and integrity of the Bible is so far off that it is really zeal for something entirely different than what those terms actually mean?

    • @Keith

      No, I don’t think BG and the neos (the 50s band) were misguided. They deliberately betrayed the gospel. In BGs case, it seems particularly ego driven (my view of his Just As I Am bio). I would put Ruckman on that level, but the vast majority of KJOs that I know are earnest Christians who are misguided.


      Well, I agree that Lou’s publishing of Smith’s article plays into Bauder’s hands as I said earlier. I think it is an example of errors many people are too willing to make. That is, when someone agrees with me in my fight on one point, I’ll work with them in spite of other egregious errors. I have complementarian friends who will use J I Packer, for example, in that fight, in spite of their objections to his involvement with ECT and other errors. The same error occurs with the love-in with Driscoll. He is a bad boy, but he’s a Reformed bad boy, so errors are excused.

      However, as a concession to Lou, I believe Lou himself holds to some kind of preference to the KJV (don’t know exactly where he is on that spectrum), so his distance from Smith may not be as far as my own. In any case, it hardly makes his case against Bauder to utilize Smith’s diatribe.

      To your final question, I would agree that the error of hypers is as significant as the error of CEs, but their errors aren’t the issue we are talking about. In large measure, that issue has settled itself out. It was the talk of the town some time ago, it got so that many pastors were tired of hearing about it and simply wanted it to go away. I don’t think, overall, that it was handled properly, but it isn’t the current debate.

      As such, those who want to support the CEs use it to inflame the question about whether the CEs are worthy of support or ‘some level of fellowship’. That is the issue we are wrestling with today.

      So, in short, no, I don’t think it is hypocritical to be vocal against these changes. My views about the KJO errors are fairly well known (in my limited circle of influence), I have fought that fight, but it isn’t the current fight.

      @Dave (d4)

      I guess most of your post is directed to Brian, so I’ll let him answer if he likes. But I would like to point out that there is a long list of errors for most of these men that should preclude fellowship. Refusal of fellowship (ministry partnership) even in an undefined “limited” way, is necessary because of errors either of doctrine, association, or practice, or a combination of all three.

      I appreciate your testimony, and I am embarrassed by the misguided approaches of men who will claim the fundamentalist label such as your ‘hyper’ background implies. The solution, in my mind, is not in eschewing fundamentalism (I wrestled with that as a young pastor myself), nor is it in endorsing the writings of men (as you reference the books that were a help to you). Insofar as such books helped correct your thinking and approach, praise the Lord. But ultimately, it is the Bible and the Bible alone that is our guide. I honestly think over much is made about books. Apart from reference books, I find most of the books published to be so much vanity that I weary of them. Books are no substitute for personal, in depth Bible Study.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  19. I’m sure you have made your position clear on the issue of KJVO. I imagine your position on charismatic theology, worldliness, etc. has also been made clear. I’m not talking about being vocal about those issues, but being vocal about the intermingling of relationships between those groups and mainstream fundys.

    For example, you’ve been very vocal and critical of NIU and their relationship with Holland (a CE). You’ve said you would stop supporting their ministry as a result. What will you do in response to BJU’s inclusion of Sexton speaking in chapel (a hyper)? Or in response to Lou’s partnership with Smith (a hyper)? Will you stop supporting BJU? Will you stop supporting Lou’s church (Marquette)?

    If the error of the hypers is as significant as the error of CE’s, then why should you respond differently to ministry entanglements with each? That’s the issue that can appear hypocritical.

    • Hi Ed

      Ok, I see what you are saying.

      First, I don’t see Sexton as a hyper-fundamentalist. He does have ties with people who seem too extreme to me, but I am hopeful that he might break some of those ties over time. (And BTW, I think Sexton spoke at Bible Conference, not chapel, not that it makes much of a difference.)

      Second, I don’t know exactly how I support Marquette at the moment, nor Lou? We tend to travel in the same circles and support similar things, but I don’t see how we are in any direct entanglement.

      Last, I guess in answer to your last question, I don’t see a monolithic block of ‘hypers’ who are all in the same kind of error and are equally in error with the CE error. I would see Ruckmanism as a serious error. I see others who might over-emphasize some externals (women’s dress in particular) as errant, but it falls under autonomy and soul liberty for me. We might not have close ties, nor work together in joint ministries, but I don’t see a huge danger to the church in general or my church in particular with these decisions.

      One of the reasons the positions a school like NIU takes are so critical is because we all want our young people to get good Christian education. We want to be sure that the schools we recommend are in the main compatible with our own ministry philosophy, not going to undermine what we teach. Up until now, that is what we thought NIU was. When these changes come to light, it is disconcerting, and we wonder what we will be left with. Or will we have to find some like-minded men and start all over again, trying to build new Bible colleges. Or just recommend our young people get their education at local community colleges and stay in their own local church.

      It’s not the CEs that I am so concerned about, they operate in their own world. It is the erstwhile fundamentalists that are the focus of my attention.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  20. d4v34x says:

    “First, I don’t see Sexton as a hyper-fundamentalist. He does have ties with people who seem too extreme to me, but I am hopeful that he might break some of those ties over time.”

    Come out from among them and be ye separate!

    If someone obeys not the word of the Apostles by their epistles, you are to keep no company with them.

    Are these not also to be marked and avoided?

    • So, Dave, do you want to play the ‘ring around the rosy’ game Ben was talking about at his blog the other day?

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  21. d4v34x says:

    No, I don’t. Nor do I want to mark and avoid based on Calvinism/non-pelagian Arminianism, a doctrine of music, pants/skirt issues, A-/pre-millenianism and alot of other secondary (sigh) issues.

    Billy Graham and the Neos don’t come close to what we’re talking about her. John MacArthur has not betrayed the gospel. Don Carson has not betrayed the Gospel. Al Mohler, John Piper, Wayne Grudem, RC Sproul, Jay Adams, and on and on–none of these has done what Graham and the neos did.

    In fact, in many (most?) have a more robust, vibrant gospel than much of (broad) fundamentalism.

    Let’s all not play “ring around the rosy” or “ID cards, please.”

    • OK, so in your ideal world, what should happen? Should we erase the line between conservative evangelical and fundamentalist? Should we invite John MacArthur to speak at the next FBF meeting? Do you think he would invite anyone from the FBF or BJU orbit to speak at Masters College?

      Or pick any of these other examples, tell me what you think the future should look like.

      Please note that in asking this, I am not agreeing with the premise that the difference between CE and fundy is insignificant. I think there is a significant and incompatible philosophy difference, one that is quite different from the difference between ‘mainstream’ and ‘hyper’ (so-called) in fundy-ism.

      But please do explain what the future should look like.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  22. Though I don’t have a grand vision for the future, I think you’re last post betrays the mindset that many find hard to swallow. “I think there is a significant and incompatible philosophy difference [between fundys and CEs], one that is quite different from the difference between ‘mainstream’ and ‘hyper’ (so-called) in fundy-ism.”

    It sounds like the doctrine of Scripture (difference between mainstream and hypers) is less significant than the doctrine of separation (or, in many cases, the application of separation. After all, Phil Johnson has supported both primary and secondary separation, but doesn’t apply it the way most mainstream guys do; and Dever has argued for and acted on principles of separation, but again not the way maintream guys do).

    Most guys would see the exact opposite: One’s understanding of the doctrine of Scripture is more important than ministry relationships.

    One thing that the future should look like would be a greater concern for doctrinal issues than the concern for camps, labels, or associations (not that those are unimportant, but definitely less important)

    • Hi Ed,

      Thanks for your reply. Well, I see KJO types as mainly having a misapplied doctrine of Scripture, not as a false doctrine of Scripture. Unfortunately their misapplication often makes them sympathetic to those who do have a false doctrine of scripture, the Ruckmanites and the Hylots (a Dave Malinak term). I just don’t see the issue of versions as grounds of separation or breaking fellowship.

      Now, as far as the vision for the future, I would be willing to post as a main article a well written post outlining what ‘limited fellowship’ with CEs means and also an apologetic for why ‘limited fellowship’ is legitimate as opposed to full fellowship. Such an article would of course be subject to my rebuttals as well as others, but I really would like those who are agitating against the status quo to speak plainly and tell us what they envision for our future. Surely they wouldn’t be expected to be prophets or sons of prophets, but just as surely these agitators should have some idea of where they want to take us. It is all very well to carp and criticize the mainstream fundamentalists for their various errors and paranoia, but if your vision is so much superior, please share it with us.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  23. Brian Ernsberger says:

    For those who brought up my “doctrine of music” thought, sorry poor sentence structure. Was not implying that there was some definitive doctrine on music just adding their that their use of worldly music is cause for me to view them with grave concern.

  24. d4v34x says:

    Odd as it may seem, I’m not advocating for as big a difference going forward as it may seem. Differences in practice (from musical styles to Westminster Confession style infant baptism–the latter of which I disagree with but don’t condemn like I would condemn a Catholic doctrine of justification) will result in limitations in cooperation.

    Nevertheless, I can (and did) sit at a NANC conference and listen to Lou Priolo and Paul Tripp (Presby) or James Macdonald (Evangelical Cool Dude) or Stuart Scott (SBC, I think) without a qualm.

    So, my ideal future? In no particular order: No one would flip out about Bruce Ware at NIU. No one would bash Calvinism at the FBF conference. Fundamentalism would become more broadly enthralled with the gospel. Johnson and MacArthur would not be seen as sinister figures despite some minor differences we have with them. Conservative Evangelicals would be more concerned about choosing music that reflects the honor and glory of God. Truly evangelical Christians (fundy or otherwise) would act more like brothers and sisters.

  25. What I don’t get in the argument is how that how bad hyper-fundies are gives reason to fellowship with certain conservative evangelicals. It’s definitely a move being made, but does it have to be made to show you aren’t a hyper-fundie? That doesn’t make sense to me at all.

    I also very much get what Bauder is doing. He is saying that KJVO guys are worse than conservative evangelicals in some way. He isn’t clear on what that way is. Certain KJVO do have faulty bibliology, but some don’t. Why not just tell us what wrong bibliology he will separate from? Be clear about that.

    I separate from folks who hold to errors in the Bible. I won’t fellowship with them. Mike Harding would say that is schismatic on my part. He would separate from me because I am separating from others. Too late. I’ve already separated. But I like my basis of separation—a biblical bibliology—better than his basis—separate from people who separate.

    • @ Kent

      I agree, I think the KJO error is just brought up to provide cover for what is really wanted, i.e., an erasure of the lines between CE and Fundy. Don’t hold your breath waiting for KB to be clear, though.

      Kent, regarding your separatism, I think you probably wouldn’t have me in again given the differences we have, but if I were to invite you to come our way, would you accept? Just wondering if it cuts both ways! I think we can have good personal fellowship, regardless.

      @ Dave

      The question is, are the differences minor or not? Would you accept the evangelicals who give a pass to charismatism, or those who actively support it? And being more broadly enthralled with the gospel, I think, is a term a lot of people would raise their eyebrows at. Personally I think that I am broadly enthralled with the gospel. I am not enthralled with Calvinism. When you state it that way, it makes me think you want the rest of fundamentalism to become more sympathetic to Calvinism. I don’t think that we should bash Calvinism or anti-Calvinism at fellowship meetings. I would rather that men would live and let live on that point AND on the versions. I see them both in the same category. Believe what you believe, promote it as passionately as you like in your own ministry, but if cooperating on a broader basis, be as broad as you can without making an issue about points that can’t be resolved with the information we now have.

      BTW, I don’t think attending a conference is a problem. Participation in some conferences as a speaker could be a problem.

      Finally, it seems that the problem is that some see the differences with the CEs as significant and serious, while others minimize them. Until we can resolve that question OR each side go their separate ways, we are going to continue having conflict on this point.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  26. I find it interesting (ironic) that your description of what you want to see regarding broad fellowship in fundamentalism (i.e., “be as broad as you can without making an issue about points that can’t be resolved with the information we now have”) is what a lot of guys point to as a positive for T4G or the Gospel Coalition. They are willing to set aside the issue of charismaticism (at least a more cautious and careful version) because they are seeking to cooperate on a broader basis. Yet you criticize them for setting aside that issue (perhaps because you think it’s clear…but then again, a lot of people think the versions issue is clear.)

    IOW, they would be willing to work together in limited ways on the basis of the common belief in the gospel, but they aren’t asking each other to come in and do workshops on church polity, eschatology, or pneumatology. They recognize they differ in those areas (and Dever even calls Lig Duncan a sinner for not practicing believer’s baptism). Therefore they aren’t forming mission boards or church planting agencies.

    (NOTE: And since I imagine you’ll bring this up anyway, most of them do hold to a more Calvinistic understanding of soteriology. But I don’t think that is true of everyone who attends, nor does it negate the point I’m making: they are willing to live and let live on those issues, exactly what you want fundys to do on other issues. Yet you criticize them for it.)

  27. d4v34x says:

    Accept them (certain charismatics) how? Into my pulpit if I were pastor of a church? Probably not.

    But accept the idea of my fundy pastor shouldn’t speak alongside him at a conference? Potentially, depending.

    Accept (without bemoaning) him speaking in a seminary class (not pertaining to charismatic gifts) at my alma mater (MBBC), probably, even though that’s highly unlikely.

    Accept him as an imbiber of the same gospel as I am? Absolutely.


    @Bro. Brandenburg, a false doctrine of preservation is a false Bibliology. Or, perhapes, a mistaken doctrine of preservation is an erroneous Bibliology.

    And I realize this means you won’t have me in to your school for a poetry reading. ;^)


    Moderator note: merged two comments into one.

    • @Dave

      Dave: Accept them (certain charismatics) how?

      Not what I asked. You show by your response that the charismatics remain somewhat problematic to you. But I asked:

      Don: Would you accept the evangelicals who give a pass to charismatism, or those who actively support it?

      In other words, is it problematic for you to accept a MacArthur, a Dever, a Piper who give a pass to the Mahaney’s and Laurie’s, for example, or in the case of Piper, are much more supportive of charismatism. These differences remain significant and a huge problem for me. Charismatics like Mahaney have a huge problem with their doctrine of the Bible, they either have to dumb prophecy down to mere urges and feelings (and call Agabus mistaken) OR they have a problem with ongoing revelation. See Grudem’s The Gift of Prophecy and lectures on the Sovereign Grace site by Bob Kaufmann [ed. should be KAUFLIN] for examples.

      My question relates to those supporting such errors, not just to those making the errors.


      The T4C and TCC conferences are specifically oriented around Calvinism. That is the distinctive rallying point and it seems, for them, that the word ‘gospel’ = ‘Calvinism’. I find that schismatic because it is not at all a settled doctrine of the church whereas charasmaticism is a huge problem and a 20th century innovation, itself schismatic. It is unfortunate that the NAE had morphed from the National Association of Evangelicals to the National Association of Excitables. To offer support to those who persist in the errors of Charismatism (Mahaney et al) for the sake of an equally schismatic approach to soteriology is not the direction we should go.

      Our perceptions of who attends these conferences differs. I think these conferences, especially T4C, are specifically Calvinistic. The preaching certainly is. It seems to be the raison d’etre of the whole thing.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  28. I think I admitted that Calvinism was a key component of T4G and TGC. But apparently you missed my comment that it is irrelevant to my point. “they are willing to live and let live on those issues[e.g., charimaticism; paedobaptism], exactly what you want fundys to do on other issues [Calvinism; versions]. Yet you criticize them for it[i.e., for being willing to live and let live]”

    Your sentiment seems consistent with the tendency to allow for and tolerate doctrinal diversity among those who are “in” while decrying the toleration of doctrinal diversity from those who are “out.” You can’t have it both ways: either believers should be willing to overlook certain doctrines when seeking fellowship on a broad basis, or they shouldn’t. Whether or not they are fundys or CEs shouldn’t matter.

    • Hi Ed

      Well, I may well have missed that. But the difference, as I see it, is that charismatism is a pernicious denial of a fundamental, one way or the other. It either denies the completion of the canon or denigrates the biblical gift of prophecy. I think that is a serious issue.

      The other differences can affect denominational or local fellowship (Calvinism, paedobaptism, and even versions) but need not affect broader Christian fellowship since I think that, although I am convinced of my position on these issues, they do not preclude fellowship. I think that when we define our fellowship by things like these, that is schismatic (other than on a denominational or local church level). While I suppose it is all right to have conferences promoting Calvinism, say, if you are a Calvinist, when you do so and call it a conference for the ‘gospel’, that is a real problem.

      And finally, it isn’t these issues, primarily, that are my issues with these guys. It is the consistent new evangelical philosophy that tolerates serious error … Driscoll, egalitarianism, charismatism, etc. That is the problem.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  29. I assumed that was your position, and it seems Bauder’s point is that KJVO denies a fundamental as well (one way or the other): the nature of inspiration.

    Regarding charismaticism: I agree that many forms outright deny the completion of the canon, but the group associated with the CE’s explicitly deny an open canon.

    Granted, it may well denigrate the biblical gift of prophecy, but I don’t think I’ve heard of people making the gift of prophecy a fundamental before. Would that make you a hyper (by adding something as a fundamental of the faith) :)

    • Hi Ed, I think the problem with the KJO view is that it is first schismatic (when people make it the basis of separation) and then Ruckmanism makes the KJV the locus of inspiration, thus becoming heretical.

      With respect to the Mahaney/Grudem view, they are attacking inerrancy by saying Agabus erred in his prophecy. This is the centerpiece of their doctrine, everything they teach on this point seems to hinge on Agabus. The Bible says Agabus was speaking by the Spirit. So I think there have a huge problem, at least with their stated doctrine. In practice, I think they actually do believe in ongoing revelation, though they say they don’t. This is an equally huge problem.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  30. Don,

    I have very, very few people preach/teach at our church. I have a particular view of fellowship—I think its usage in the Bible says that it is partnership in God’s work. You and I could get together to talk. You and I have more in common than most.


    A biblical doctrine should come from the Bible, not post-enlightenment forensics. Conservative textual criticism says ‘no’ to theological presuppositions. And then we should see what a biblical bibliology is. I’ve talked about Muller’s Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 2. God’s people believed in perfection in the apographa. I get crickets on this. And then people talk about history—I’m to the point of disgust with it.

    And things that are different can’t be the same. We have an entirely different text, with 7% differences, and if I say it is corrupt, something is wrong with me. If I don’t call it the Word of God, something is wrong with me. You can’t play this kind of game unfortunately except with the Bible.

    Ditto on what I wrote Don. I would probably organize a poetry reading by you separate from the church.

  31. d4v34x says:

    @Kent, you didn’t get crickets on Muller. We disagreed on interpreting his words. You read them in your favor, I read them to say less than you asserted. Discussion for a different time and place, or rather, one we already had. I probably shouldn’t have brought it up here since KJVO was not the issue just the illustration.

    @Don, Sorry I didn’t answer the question you asked, I should have been more careful. But you are asking me to play ring around the rosy again, something you refuse to do with Crown/Sexton. Either we are both right to decline to do so, we are both wrong to decline to do so, or the errors of the third parties are of a different character and on of us is justified in declining to do so.

    Furthermore, I don’t accept the notion that the CE’s give charismatics and other problematic theologians a pass by appearing at conferences with them. I point to Warren and Driscoll as men who have been criticized/confronted by CE’s (I think Piper blew it on Warren and will not repeat that mistake–we’ll see). I saw Dever take MacDonald and Driscoll to task (mildly) over problematic ecclesiology. I don’t think the short video was the extent of that conversation.

    I think MacArthur, Dever, etc are as cautious about who they host and in what forum as I stated I would be above.

  32. Keith says:

    “In practice, I think they actually do believe in ongoing revelation, though they say they don’t.”

    And I wonder why the conversations don’t go anywhere.

    • @Dave

      I think MacArthur, Dever, etc are as cautious about who they host and in what forum as I stated I would be above.

      MacArthur has had Mahaney in to speak in his church several times. I don’t know if he has hosted Greg Laurie, but he did speak for Laurie at a conference in Laurie’s church (across town from MacArthur) where I believe Anne Graham Lotz was also speaking. MacArthur spoke fairly recently at Graham’s conference center in Asheville, NC, “The Cove”. He also recently wrote an article that appeared in Graham’s Decision magazine.

      Dever is probably more careful than MacArthur, but he spoke a couple of years ago for an egalitarian group. He actively supports Driscoll’s Acts 29 group.

      So it isn’t just the conferences like T4C that I am complaining about.


      You could say, “what do you mean by that?” instead of trying the snark approach.

      But what I am referring to by:

      In practice, I think they actually do believe in ongoing revelation, though they say they don’t.

      is Bob Kaufmann [ed. should be KAUFLIN] . I have listened to him lecture on the gifts (a recording from some class at his church) where he parrots the Grudem line of prophecy as an impression, but not necessarily accurate. But then when he describes how he gets his songs, he uses the old charismatic lingo of “I got it from the Lord” that smacks of ongoing revelation.

      As I pointed out, either way they have a serious problem with inspiration. But they also seem to be only giving lip service to the “Agabus made a mistake” point of view, because I think they do see there is a problem with ongoing revelation.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  33. I’ve heard lingo like “I got it from the Lord” or “God told me to do such and such” in fundy chapels…does that mean they really believe in ongoing revelation too? Or should I separate from those schools b/c they let people speak who believe in ongoing revelation?

    • Hi Ed

      Well, that’s a good question. I don’t like such talk. However, in spite of the errant speech, these aren’t people who espouse continuing supernatural gifts. I don’t like it and would discourage anyone from using such language if I had the opportunity, but it isn’t the same thing as what Bob Kaufmann [ed. should be KAUFLIN] means. He say his songs are prophecies. He says he gets them from the Lord, and he promotes ongoing charismatic gifts. So he means more than others who have loose talk about their songs or their impressions.

      In any case, my illustration of the use of that lingo by Kaufmann [ed. should be KAUFLIN] is simply to say that I don’t think he has entirely divested himself of the old charismatic notion of ongoing revelation, no matter what he teaches when he is discussing his doctrine.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  34. Kent:

    You wrote, “What I don’t get in the argument is how that how bad hyper-fundies are gives reason to fellowship with certain conservative evangelicals. It’s definitely a move being made, but does it have to be made to show you aren’t a hyper-fundie? That doesn’t make sense to me at all.

    Some fundamentalists have been known to have some untidy alliances. Some have begun translating that into justification for allowing evangelicals untidiness. Of course they do not clarify that the ecumenical compromises of the evangelicals are intentional, frequent and directional, while the sad associations with the extremists in fundamentalism are typically infrequent, often un-intentional and incidental.

    At SI, Frank Sansone posted the following comment, which I think is very helpful,

    “His [Doran’s] comments [in Preserving Movements or Practicing Truths] on Vaughn speaking with Schaap and the Baptist Friends Conference are a separate issue from the T4G resolution. To use that connection to criticize the ACCC for the T4G resolution sounds an awful lot like the little boy caught in disobedience who excuses what he does by saying ‘but my sister did bad things too.’ Whether the sister did bad things is irrelevant to the issue at hand, namely, the brother’s disobedience.

    Bringing up the sister’s errors does not excuse the brother’s errors and it does not invalidate the one pointing out the brother’s errors… The one-time connection of JV and JS at a conference does not make for a pattern. Is it concerning? ABSOLUTELY!!! Does it rise to the same level as an ongoing movement [evangelicalism] that has consistently showed itself to be negligent in the area of Biblical separation? Not yet…. Should some speak up about JV and JS at the Baptist Friends Conference? Sure. I think it needs to be addressed – and Dr. Doran has rightly addressed it in other places. However, it is wrongheaded to use one error as a cover for another error.”


  35. d4v34x says:

    Bob KAUFLIN, if we’re talking about the GLAD member/Sovereign Grace Music guy.

    • Oohhh…. colour my face red!

      Sorry about that. All these Germanic names look alike to me! My apologies to Bob KAUFLIN, who I hold to be an errant brother and one with whom I could not work in ministry partnership, but would be glad to have personal fellowship with ANY time.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  36. Keith says:


    Sorry if I offended. But I still really can’t figure you out. Is it ok to be an oxgoad or not? Or is it only some people who are allowed to goad? Is plain speech good or not? Or, is it demanded sometimes and rebuked at other times?

    Your clarification — your “what do you mean by that” doesn’t do anything to change the point of my plain speech that you took to be a “snark”. A guy says he doesn’t believe something, but you say he does. That won’t lead to a very productive conversation. I think that you maybe ought to ask Bob what he means instead of telling him what he means.

    I don’t use the “The Lord gave it to me” lingo. However, you don’t have to extend very much grace at all to know that such Christianese has a semantic range that is quite large. In addition to the “ongoing revelation” meaning you infer, it also includes things as simple as, “I am thankful to God for the musical gifts he’s providentially given me — and this song is one exhibit of those gifts.”

    If these guys have “a serious problem with inspiration,” then the KJO (of the type critiqued by Bauder) have one of equal concern.

    • Hi Keith,

      My annoyance is at the appearance that all you want to do is make snide points. Maybe that isn’t the case. I acknowledge that I am blunt and often sarcastic, but I hope that I am not doing so just for the sake of being blunt and sarcastic.

      Anyway, I agree there is a wide semantic range for the lingo, but Kauflin specifically attributes his songs to his spiritual gift, so I think his meaning is quite specific.

      Yes, some KJO types have serious problems with inspiration, but not all of them do. The problem with Bauder’s illustration is that he overstates the case against KJOism and unfairly equates them with neo-evangelicals. That is my opinion. And using the illustration actually only adds noise and fury to the conversation, because his series of articles isn’t about KJOism, its about the conservative evangelicals and what we should do about fellowship with them. To add in the KJO issue at this point only serves to distract from the direction he appears to be going.

      Don Johnson
      Jeremiah 33.3

  37. Keith says:

    “My annoyance is at the appearance that all you want to do is make snide points.”

    Don, that is what your approach often looks like — you attack Bauder, Ollila, Olson, etc. and that’s ok in your mind because you aren’t “doing so just for the sake of being blunt and sarcastic.” Well neither am I (In this case I didn’t even intend to be sarcastic or snide. I did intend to be brief and to the point so perhaps that is blunt).

    In your head you have a point that you are trying to make. You have an agenda. And, you use your bluntness and sarcasm to make your point and further your agenda. But that is not obvious outside your head.

    It would seem that you could sympathise and understand your own practice when you see it in others.

    Of course, maybe it is our own faults with which we have the least patience.

    Anyway, my point was that as long as opposing sides can’t trust one another’s words, it is unlikely that any progress will be made.

    Again, I’m sorry that message did not come across.

    • Fair enough. Maybe we can call a truce. I’ll try to be less testy.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  38. Larry says:


    You say Dever, “actively supports Driscoll’s Acts 29 group.”

    I know I brought this up before, but your readers need to know that this is not true, unless you have something new to support this with. When I brought it up before, I think your evidence was that he spoke for them one time in Chicago where he expressed his disagreements on a wide range of issues where he thought they were wrong and admitted that he was out of place and creating potential for confusion by speaking there. Those comments are hardly “active support.” I also have it on good authority that in private conversations he has been much more harsh about it.

    So while there may be many problems with Dever, he does not appear to actively support Acts 29. Unless you have some actual evidence of that that you haven’t given, I would urge you to quit saying that.

    Note: Edited time to keep replies in sequence

    • Larry, here is what Dever said publicly following his participation in the Acts 29 boot camp meeting:

      Our differences are enough to separate some of my friends—your brothers and sisters in Christ—from you. And perhaps to separate them from me, now that I’m publicly speaking to you. And I don’t want to minimize either the sincerity or the seriousness of some of their concerns (things like: humor, worldliness, pragmatism, authority).

      But I perceive some things in common which outweigh our differences—which the Lord Jesus shall soon enough compose between us, either by our maturing, or by His bringing us home. I long to work with those, and count it a privilege to work with those whom My Savior has purchased with His blood, and with whom I share the gospel of Jesus Christ. I perceive that we have in common the knowledge that God is glorified in sinners being reconciled to Him through Christ. This is not taught by other religions, nor clearly by the ancient Christian churches of the East, or by Rome, by liberal Protestant churches, by Mormons, the churches of Christ, or by groups of self-righteous, legalistic, moralistic Christians. And not only do we together affirm the exclusivity of salvation through faith alone in Christ alone—we agree on the sovereignty of God in life and salvation, the regenerate nature of church members, the importance of church membership and discipline, the priorities of expositional preaching, and evangelism, the importance of authority and a growing appreciation for the significance of complementarianism. These are not slight matters. And they only fire my desire to encourage you and cheer you on, until you cross that finish line that the Lord lays down for us.

      These remarks were made in 2008. They were reported on 9marks at this link (which no longer exists):


      Here is the updated link:


      A video was recently posted with Dever and Driscoll and one other fellow in a panel discussion. I believe this was in connection with Acts 29 also.

      As far as I know, if Dever has distanced himself from Acts 29, he has not done so publicly. Your ‘private conversations’ are really meaningless, especially if you think that supporting Acts 29 would be problematic. The quote above is what Dever said publicly about them. That is very supportive. If he has changed his opinion, it might be wise for him to make that more public also.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  39. Larry says:


    First, I am not sure how your response to me got posted before my question to you, but that’s fine. It makes you look prescient. And that’s cool …

    Second, all I can say that it is a strange world indeed where a single speaking engagement where differences are publicly highlighted is “active support.” It’s thinner than the Dever/DCBC connection I think.

    I appreciate your quoting him. It saves me the trouble of transcribing it. I think it is helpful because I think Dever’s own words demonstrate that you are overreading Dever’s position on them.

    In his single encounter with them, he begins by clearly acknowledging their differences and the fact that given the nature and severity of their differences it is somewhat strange for him to be there. In fact, He further specifically identifies those differences so that there is no confusion about what the issues are. Is that not a model of disagreement? Tell people you disagree, and tell them what you disagree about. Elsewhere he has given reasons for his disagreement.

    Everything that he praises them for is probably stuff that he would praise you for and hopefully stuff that you would rejoice in someone standing for. Do you really disagree with any of that? I hope not. They are common beliefs of the faith.

    You speak of Dever distancing himself from Acts 29? Where would he go to distance himself? He already has nothing to do with them except for one speaking engagement where he publicly spoke of their differences. As you quote it above, it would be very hard to take that as an approval of what they are doing, much less a glowing one. He plainly says he doesn’t want to minimize the differences. Now we can discuss whether or not he minimized them. But you make it sound like people need a running list of everyone that they disagree with. I know that is overstating it, but seriously, Dever had one speaking engagement where he began by acknowledging the differences and the problems.

    But he sees Acts 29 as a gospel preaching group (which they are) with whom he differs in significant areas (which they do). But they are a serious church planting organization and they can surely benefit from a serious church guy, and Dever is surely that.

    Had he not acknowledged their differences, I think your complaint would be a little more substantive. But I think your own quotation of it shows that your statement is not entirely accurate.

    But a one time speaking engagement two years ago can hardly qualify for “active support.” Surely you admit that don’t you? Question whether or not he should have spoken to them. But I don’t see how that is “active support.”

    I have nothing to do with Acts 29. I would be tempted to distance myself from them, but I don’t know where I would go to get farther away. Of course, I jest a bit (though in the interest of full disclosure, I did actually attend a Boot Camp once just to see what was going on).

    I rejoice that Acts 29 preaches the gospel, is serious about doctrine, and serious about church planting. I think there are a number of problems, but as I understand Acts 29, they aren’t systemic problems. I think a conservative church could be an Acts 29 church because most of the problem stuff is open handed stuff to them.

    BTW, The Dever/Driscoll/MacDonald exchange had to do with The Gospel Coalition, not Acts 29. And as for private conversations, it wasn’t mine.

    So IMO, you should back off the complaints about Dever and Acts 29 unless you have more than this to go on.

    Thanks Don, for the space.

    BTW, I do appreciate the fact that, unlike some, you take all comers and post disagreement, even multiple times.

    • Ok, sorry about that timing thing… I thought I had your time fixed so that it would appear after my last reply to Keith, but I must have put it too far forward.

      All right, my mistake on the panel thing. I thought it had something to do with Acts 29. I may have mis-read some commentary on it. I have an impression that there is some kind of continuing support, but without evidence, I’ll drop it for now.

      I don’t think that you can read the 9marks posts from Jan 2008 as other than glowing enthusiasm. It is rather astonishing that, given the known problems, they would consider speaking at such a venue. It seems that there is much of that ‘edginess’ in their camp. They seem to like it. Check Dever out at the White Board Session as well, I think I linked to it in one of my posts on him, check my archives.

      One instance of a thing may be nothing, but it is a string of ‘one instances’. Eventually there is a cumulative effect.

      As for taking on all comers… well, I do delete some. I want people to argue substantively. I have been hard on Keith in particular because he gets my back up. He pounded me a good one today, so I am going to have to adjust… But Keith isn’t my most deleted person! I tend to be harder on guys on my ‘side’, because I want the discussion to be productive.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  40. Keith says:

    Don, has very rarely deleted me, and when he has I’ve taken no offense — it’s his blog. However, I do agree with Larry’s appreciation of Don’s “take [almost] all comers” approach.

  41. Larry says:



    I think he is “glowingly enthusiastic” only about the issues of the faith that he mentions, and I am glad for those things as well, whether it be you, Dever, or A29. Whatever we might say about A29, they are doctrinally sound.

    I also think a conservative church could be an A29 church. The problematic things are “open handed” issues to them, I think. I am not a fan of A29, but I appreciate their doctrinal stand, their passion for church planting (that leads to 10% of offerings going for church planting from day one of a church plant), their straightforwardness about doctrine and sin.

    I think the key issue here is who to speak for and how to make those decisions. It’s easy for me because I don’t get many invites. But is there ever a time to speak for someone that we don’t agree with on something? I think there is, and it may be different for different situations. Here’s some thoughts from Stetzer that I think are interesting on this topic: http://www.edstetzer.com/2009/10/why-i-speak-to-other-groups-an-1.html

    But in the end, I doubt I would speak to A29 (not that there’s any danger of an invite for me). But I am not sure we should lean on a one time speaking engagement too heavily as a sign of anything.

    • Larry,

      Well, we will just disagree. A one time speaking event is not something to be brushed off entirely, it means something about underlying philosophy. Surely there are some venues where you would never agree to appear. (Mouw and Zacharias in Salt Lake City, anyone?) And a pattern of ‘one time speaking events’ also mean something.

      In this case, I think we have an evangelical immersed in new evangelical philosophy while stoutly trying to hold the line against new evangelical drift. That is, to my mind, exactly what a conservative evangelical is.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  42. Keith says:


    I wasn’t trying to “pound you”. Here’s what I’ve been trying to get at with you a few times:

    I think that “gloves off” discussion among brothers is ok — if the brothers involved can all handle it and agree/understand that’s the style of discourse. In other words, goading and snarking and zinging have a place — within a group that understands those are the rules and that can play that way.

    However, the goading has to be able to fly in every direction without causing offense for that style to be a good thing. If it can only fly in one direction. Or, if some involed can’t handle it without too much pain and suffering, then it is an unproductive and/or unhelpful style.

    I run into this all the time with young guys (I don’t mean young fundamentalists, I mean guys of all sorts who are under 18). Some guys have a group of friends in which names like “stupid,” “slow,” “ugly,” “lame,” etc. have actually become terms of endearment and belonging. Without knowing it, these guys trust that they are liked and they belong. They take insults and prods as challenges to either prove they aren’t those things or to change (or as meaningless banter). Other guys, who for whatever reason don’t have has many friends or don’t feel as secure, get really hurt by the first type of guy when their paths cross, but the first type is clueless as to what he’s done wrong.

    I end up working with the first type to help them clue in to how they ought to interact with people who aren’t their “buddies,” and the second type to help them understand a wider style of interaction.

    Anyway, enough of my blah, blah, blah. I guess my point is that if snarks can fly in every direction without causing offense, often quite a lot can be learned. It can help open one’s eyes to ways of seeing that one has never considered. However, if snarks can only fly in certain directions or people are getting hurt by them, then other more polite and careful ways of interaction are called for.

    I thought that part of the fun here was the “open season goading.” Sorry if I’ve misunderstood.

    • Well, Keith, my by-line says ‘Fundamentalism by blunt instrument.’ So your evangelicalism by blunt instrument is a shock to my system. Shouldn’t be unexpected, but I’ll try to be more tolerant of it.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  43. Larry says:


    There may be a place where I would never agree to appear, but I am not sure. I don’t know anything about SLC, but I would be much more concerned speaking with either Mouw or Zacharias than I would speaking to Mormons. I think I would accept an invitation to speak to Mormons in order to preach the gospel to them, and I would directly go after their false gospel. But to the point, I am not sure what basis there is for refusing an invitation to preach the gospel to a bunch of people trapped in a false religion. If they are willing to have me knowing what I would say, then I see no biblical reason to say no.

    I am not sure that the recent fundamentalists (say 70s onward) has always parsed this correctly. But having never been faced with that kind of opportunity, I haven’t had to think that much about it. To me, the issue is not so much where as what to say and who to speak with, although I think Kevin gave a good synopsis on the issue of pulpit fellowship.

    Which is where most of the discussions on separation take place … in the abstract. Most of us are just ordinary guys who may be asked not to preach at our own churches next week.

    • The abstract has relevance in guiding our people, especially our young people, on who to listen to and where to go to school. Not that we have the final say, of course, but we lead by influence.

      We do our people a disservice to ignore the issues with respect to the position of various people in the Christian world. It is not that we should harp on it all the time, but we need to be aware and point out the flaws and benefits of various Christian teachers as their names arise in conversation or in the news. We need to help folks think biblically about all this. We have to have done the same thinking first.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  44. Larry says:

    On that, I completely agree. It is interesting, as I talk to people outside of fundamentalism, [how] many of them have no clue … They have no category for the kinds of things that we talk about. That is a serious problem.