something I don’t understand

The big question we are wrangling about in the fundamentalist blogosphere in 2011 (and preceding 5 or 10 years) is our relationship to Conservative Evangelicals.

We are asking:

  • Are Conservative Evangelicals the same thing as New Evangelicals? – varying answers: ‘not at all’, ‘somewhat’, ‘very much like’
  • Should we cooperate with Conservative Evangelicals in some Christian endeavors? – verbal answers: ‘not at all’, ‘maybe’, ‘in some limited arenas’; practical answers: ‘not at all’ … at least up until this last six months or so…

You can debate the merits of these questions, whether they are important to ask or not, whether they are the right questions to ask, whether we are too obsessed with separation and this is evidence of that, or what have you. Regardless, these are the questions we are asking and the central theme around which most discussion on fundamentalist blogs have been obsessed for the last while, maybe since fundamentalists took up blogging at all.

All right then. We are wrangling about these questions. Up until the last six months or so this wrangling has mostly been talk. Now we are seeing some fairly important figures answering the questions practically by involving themselves in some kind of cooperative Christian endeavor with Conservative Evangelicals.

But here is where we  have something I don’t understand.

Dave Doran posted today at his blog a letter he sent to a fundamentalist pastor asking questions about his planned involvement at the upcoming Leadership Conference at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA where Mark Dever is scheduled as the keynote speaker. The letter gives Dave’s rationale for participating:

That said, let me offer my thinking about why I don’t believe my speaking there needs to be justified. For context, I’ve spoken at all of the annual conferences at Lansdale since they started way back when, so it was something of a given that I would speak at this one. In other words, the burden of proof was on the side of why would I not speak (vs. why would I speak). I’ve posted something about my rationale for making speaking decisions on my blog, so you can read that for a longer explanation. The shortened version is simply the answer to these questions:

(1)     Do Mark Dever or CBTS extend Christian recognition and fellowship to those who deny the Faith?

(2)     Do Mark Dever and CBTS oppose the granting of Christian recognition and fellowship to those who deny the Faith?

(3)     Do Mark Dever and CBTS obscure the distinction between the church and the world by denying the transforming power of the gospel, by embracing worldly approaches for the church’s growth and/or worship, or by failing to articulate and practice genuine church membership and discipline?

I suppose someone could disagree with me about these, but my answers to these questions are, respectively, no, yes, and no. Since I believe that Christian fellowship and recognition is limited to those who embrace the Faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3), that we cannot ignore or disregard God’s commands about separation (Rom 16:17-18; 2 Ths 3:6-15), and that the distinction between the church and the world must be guarded (1 Cor 5; 1 John 2:15-17), these are the biblical justifications for and biblical boundaries of ministerial cooperation and fellowship.

I am no fan of the Southern Baptist Convention, but I also will not categorically assign everyone in it to the non-separatist category. Just as there were committed separatists within the Northern Baptist Convention for decades fighting for its purity, and just as there were men who fought for a long time within both the Presbyterian and Methodist churches, there are men of separatist conviction who have been fighting to remove liberalism and compromise with it from the SBC. Mark Dever is one of those men.

Just a few days ago, however, Dave gave his reasons for REFUSING an invitation to speak at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, pastored by Mark Dever. Here is what he said:

“My answer… to go back to Kevin’s [question]… my answer was to Mark [Dever], No, I won’t come and preach and the reason I won’t come and preach is because I don’t agree with stances that you’ve taken and your church might be an anomaly in the fellowship that it’s in, but its not … the, the rest and … and I … I’m not comfortable with that…”

Now, please note this is a transcription of audio, the ellipses indicate hesitations and pauses in speech, not anything that has been left out. And it is something that is off the cuff, not a prepared remark or anything on the same level as Dave’s letter to the fundamentalist pastor. I include the audio below.

Audio clip:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I have some questions about this:

The two venues are different: one is a conference at a seminary, the other is an invitation to speak in a church. What makes speaking with Dever at the conference acceptable and the speaking for Dever in his church unacceptable?

While the one statement is more thoroughly fleshed out and the other contains the briefest of off the cuff remarks, the two statements about the same person seem to be saying two different things. Am I right in seeing this as inconsistent? Does one statement contradict the other? Or am I missing the unifying principle between the two statements?

In any case, I don’t understand how it would be acceptable to preach in a conference with a fellow when you have refused to speak for him in his church. Perhaps Dave will have time to comment. I don’t want this to be an attempt to ‘bash Dave’, so I would like commenters to be extremely limited in putting editorial comment into their responses. I think the questions we are wrestling with are important and this situation offers a case in point.

It would be nice if we could really get some clarity that could aid us all in understanding how fundamentalists should proceed.

don_sig2

Comments

  1. Give me the change to speak with Mark Dever I would in heart beat.

    As to your last question, “how fundamentalist should proceed.” Truly there is not one kind of fundamentalist! How can it ever be possible to have unity in the body with so many bodies?

    And I agree, if you can speak with Mark at a conference and not at his church, there is something wrong here. It would be like saying I will speak for him, but he can not come to my church and speak.

    I will read his books, but I can let him preach in my church? That is strange don’t you think.

    How in the world is God going to let any of us into heaven like we are? I really think we better work all this out now.

  2. Don:

    You wrote, “I don’t understand how it would be acceptable to preach in a conference with a fellow when you have refused to speak for him in his church…. The two venues are different: one is a conference at a seminary; the other is an invitation to speak in a church. What makes speaking with Dever at the conference acceptable and the speaking for Dever in his church unacceptable?

    I can provide some help on this from Dave Doran. IMO, Dave has created two types of separatism: one for the church and another for the academic context, even if that academic setting is a ministry of a local church.

    In his Feb 2010 article, Separation in Academic Contexts Doran wrote, “Since the local church is the pillar and support of the truth, guarding the gospel through biblical separation is primarily at the level of relationships between churches, ministries that serve churches, and those who are recognized as ministers among the churches.”

    LM

    PS: I’ll be posting a related article in the morning with a link to this one of yours.

  3. If you read Doran’s response in its entirety, I think part of your question is answered. Why speak at the conference and not at the church? B/c he always speaks at the conference, so there would need to be a compelling reason not to, whereas he’s never spoken at CHBC, so there would need to be a reason to do so.

    Also, I think you have before admitted various levels of fellowship/separation. Couldn’t speaking at someone’s church create closer ties than both of you speaking at another ministry’s conference? IOW, to speak at an SBC church might be more problematic than to speak with an SBC pastor at a fundamentalist seminary conference.

    As a side note: I think Lou has spoken at a conference with Charles Ryrie…would he have been willing to speak at Dallas Seminary? I doubt it…

  4. Dave Doran says:

    Not much time and won’t be engaging the conversation, but, Don, you’re not far from the answer with these words–“The two venues are different: one is a conference at a seminary, the other is an invitation to speak in a church.”
    The little bit of distance you need to go for my answer to your question is that it was not just any church, but it was a SBC church and that stands in distinct contrast to Calvary Lansdale. Further, speaking along side of a pastor in a third context is markedly different in my mind than speaking for that pastor in the church of which he is a pastor.
    A passing note on this would be to say that I did not say that I would not speak there because it would violate Scripture, but, if I were filling out my answer, would have made clear that it was a prudential decision. I told Mark and folks listening at the time (2007) that I thought it would be an unwise thing to do.

    • Dave, thanks for taking the time to add your comment.

      A while back, in the midst of another conversation we had here at oxgoad, you stated that you would not invite Dever to speak at your church. I don’t remember exactly which post it was in reference to… I am sure I could find it if we took the time to dig it up.

      Would you still take that position? Or, from another perspective, would you be willing to invite a Dever, for example, to speak to the Seminary, but not to the church? (Given your view of the local church, I’m not sure what difference this would make.) Or is joining in a Christian endeavour with a Dever only acceptable at a neutral third location? No home turf, so to speak? Further, if you aren’t comfortable speaking at CHBC, or having Dever speak at ICBC, what does that say about bro. Jordan’s invitation of the same to speak at his church/seminary?

      I think these are natural questions to ask, perhaps you think I am merely being impertinent. But we are being taught that there is room for some kind of ‘careful limited cooperation’. Well, those of us who don’t understand this really could use some help in seeing how this works. It appears that so far your two rationales, one for speaking, the other for not speaking, are still raising questions.

      If cooperation is OK on neutral turf, why not on home turf? I guess that is what this all boils down to.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  5. Dr. Doran:

    I’ve read your comment above and, like Don, it leaves me with some questions.

    At the Calvary Baptist Seminary site History page you will read the following,

    The need for a theological seminary on the east coast to serve separatist Baptists had been a concern of Dr. E. Robert Jordan, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church of Lansdale, and of leaders in the church for over a decade. In the summer of 1975, they were constrained to consider the advisability of undertaking the establishment of a seminary. On September 17, 1975, the church voted to proceed, and on September 21 a temporary Board of Trustees was chosen.

    At the DBTS site this statement appears,

    Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary has faithfully prepared men for the gospel ministry since its founding in 1976. As a ministry of the Inter-City Baptist Church in Allen Park, Michigan, it provides graduate level training with a balance between strong academics and a heart for local church ministry.

    Both CBS and DBTS were founded by and remain a ministry of their respective local churches.

    So, I am wondering if we can be faithful to explicit statements of Scripture while allowing for two sets of standards for the principle and application of biblical separatism? Is there one standard for the God ordained mandates for believers in a local church and a different, moderated, redefined standard for believers in an academic setting under the auspices of a local church?

    LM

  6. Dave Doran says:

    Lou, I did not say anything in my response about a distinction between a church and a seminary. That was something you posted about. I pointed to the difference between speaking in a SBC church and speaking at Calvary.
    If an action means something, which is the point of this discussion, then the discussion is about what it means. I said no to the invitation to speak at CHBC because I felt like it would might be interpreted as meaning something about the SBC which I don’t want to communicate. I will grant that others believe speaking at Calvary with a SBC pastor does that too, but I don’t (and I’m the one who had to make a decision about whether to speak or not).

    I’ve spoken in conferences along side of Presbyterians and never considered it an endorsement of the Free Pres church or of their views at those places where we disagree. I’ve spoken along side of plenty of men at conferences with whom I have (and they likewise have) serious disagreements and did not consider it full mutual endorsement. I think we all basically agree on this point.

    Ryrie, Dever, people who are experts on creation issues–these are the kinds of context specific decisions we all make.

    • Dave,

      I am not sure that I see the difference between speaking in an SBC church vs. speaking at a neutral site with a prominent SBC pastor. Those who are clamouring for an end to fundamentalist “isolation” from evangelicals are applauding your decision to speak at Lansdale. I think it thus communicates essentially the same thing as your speaking at CHBC would have, but I grant that is my opinion. The applause of the anti-separatists seems to bolster my opinion, but let’s leave that as it is for now.

      I also grant your point about “context specific decisions we all make”. The “expert on creation issues” story to which you refer has had some interesting ramifications. I have ended up with a new brother-in-law as a direct result of it… certainly not what we were after, but it is the main consequence of that meeting as it turned out.

      Your reply to Lou, however has got me to thinking about these issues from another angle. Maybe they will turn into a full blown post at some point.

      I think fundamentalists all agree that the Fundamentalists were right in the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy. We tend to agree that the resultant separation was the final right move and the battle was worth fighting. We might criticise individuals and specific actions along the way of that fight, but in the main, the fight was right and the ensuing separation was the right thing to do.

      Would you agree so far?

      I think fundamentalists also all agree that the Fundamentalists were right and the New Evangelicals wrong in the New Evangelical compromise. We agree that it was right to break with Billy Graham et al and to aggressively and publicly contend with them for the hearts and minds of Evangelicalism. (We also probably agree that we mostly lost that fight… most of Evangelicalism bought the New Evangelical line to some extent or other.) In any case, fundamentalists agree that the Neos were wrong and that we were right to fight that fight.

      Would you agree with this second point?

      Today, we are faced with the phenomenon of the Conservative Evangelicals. These are men who will say that the New Evangelicals went too far in cooperating with Liberalism, but they will also say that the New Evangelicals brought about a necessary corrective to the excesses of Fundamentalism. (I have read something by Dever specifically to that point, unfortunately I didn’t save the quote at the time.)

      Here Fundamentalists are divided, apparently. Some are saying that we shouldn’t fight the Conservative Evangelicals, others are saying we should… or at least saying that we should not bridge the gap with them and join with them in cooperative efforts.

      You said above that your cooperation with Free Presbies doesn’t imply full endorsement of their views, and everyone gets that. But at the same time, your cooperation with Dever at CHBC might communicate something about the SBC that you don’t want to communicate. How can both things be true?

      They are true because it is the issue of new-evangelical style cooperation that is the question in terms of these alliances. Fundamentalist Baptists and Fundamentalist Presbyterians have been in agreement about the New Evangelical question. We obviously have some polity differences, but they are not germane to the issue of cooperation, they define our distinctiveness as differing groups.

      But Dever and the SBC still hold to the New Evangelical paradigm on cooperation, albeit in a modified form, as noted above. The reason that your speaking at CHBC might (I would say “would”) communicate something about the SBC that you don’t want to communicate is that the New Evangelical question has not been settled. They still hold that the New Evangelical approach was essentially right (though flawed in some respects) and Fundamentalists have held that the New Evangelical approach was wrong (although we admit that Fundamentalists have been flawed in some respects).

      It would be wonderful if we could roll back the clock to say, 1940, and enjoy the cooperative efforts of all Bible-believing Christians. But if the Fundamentalist response to New Evangelicalism was right in 1957 and beyond, I don’t see how it has suddenly become wrong.

      When Fundamentalist groups begin to relax and renege on their response to New Evangelicalism, the result is increasing worldliness and cooperation with error. As evidence, I would point out Jerry Falwell and Liberty University and the GARBC and its Sunday School Curriculum. Yes, they are ‘conservativish’. The GARBC is even ‘fundamentalish’, especially in recent years, which decisions we applaud. Yet we have not been comfortable with their Sunday School materials beyond the primary years – music, topics of discussion, etc… not acceptable at all.

      I don’t think you would be advocating that we as Fundamentalists should heal the breach with Falwell’s heirs and LU and Thomas Road, are you? Why is Dever essentially any different?

      And, by the way, let me point out that the ‘fundamentalish’ moves by the GARBC were met with criticism from the anti-separatists at Sharper Iron just as much as they applaud your decision to speak with Dever in Lansdale. That seems to bear out my point of view on this question.

      I would be much more comfortable with cooperation with the more conservative evangelicals if we could get an admission that the new evangelical compromise was wrong.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  7. Dave Doran says:

    Sorry for the outlinishness of this reply, but it helps with speed and that’s valuable to me today:

    (1) Ultimately, I don’t care what the suppose anti-separatists at SI or anywhere else think of my decision to speak at Calvary’s conference. I am concerned about committed separatists think.
    (2) The point of contrast, which keeps getting squashed, is between speaking at a church which is committed to something with which I am not comfortable and at a church/conference which is not committed to the same thing. Moving Dever or Paisley to a neutral location changes the meaning communciated. I get that someone might not agree with me, but I think if we are going to talk about messages being communicated then we need to be more precise in interpreting them.
    (3) The difference, at least for me, between what Rice, Falwell, and Van Impe said and did and what I am saying and doing is that they rejected secondary separation and I do not. What people seem to struggle with here is the contradiction which they assume is represented by speaking with Mark Dever, i.e., you can’t believe in secondary separation and do that. They are assuming something which really needs to be proved, i.e., that Dever is committed to ecumenicism and therefore a disobedient brother on that point (and I state it that way on purpose because that was and ought to be the difference between fundamentalists and new evangelicals). The fact is that Dever rejects ecumenism and cannot be truthfully called a new evangelical.
    (4) While there is wisdom in evaluating where things might lead, I hope we can all agree that there is a difference between saying I won’t do that because I don’t like the potential outcomes versus I can’t do that because it would violate God’s Word. I would contend that some have turned the former into something more authoritative than the Scriptures themselves. The fence to protect us from the cliff of disobedience now is treated as if it in fact is the line between obedience and disobedience. And we now have fences to protect us from getting to close to the fence.

    • Thanks for the reply, Dave. The outline format is fine with me, and I appreciate demands on time. I’ll leave this alone myself for the rest of the day!

      1. Fair enough, but don’t think your words and actions don’t have influence on the anti-separatist crowd, or those leaning that way.

      2. On this point, for clarification, are you saying you would speak with Paisley (at say, BJU Bible Conference) but not at his church or have him at your church? That would explain the consistency question. I’ll have to mull it over, but if your answer to this question is Yes, then it explains how you see yourself as consistent for speaking with Dever at Lansdale but not for him at CHBC.

      3. I think this point is the point we really need to work at. Is there a solid biblical reason for refusing cooperation with Dever? My prejudice is yes, and I think I have some reasons for it, but that is what we need to be able to articulate. Not now, though. Later.

      4. I agree with this one. As I think that over, I said something similar on SI today. We can’t predict the future, so it really isn’t all that germaine to the question. The question is, is a given action right or wrong, wise or unwise, at the present moment, judged on its own merits.

      Ok, now I have some drywalling to do! (Sermons are all ready for Sunday, and it is just drudgery the rest of the day…)

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  8. Dave Doran says:

    Just to pop in and tie of my part–my answer is in fact Yes (with a minor caveat for the possibility that our church [or theirs] is hosting a conference versus meeting together in our assemblies for regular worship).

  9. Dave:

    Above you wrote, “I did not say anything in my response about a distinction between a church and a seminary.”

    But you have from your blog, which is what I was and am driving at. See Separation in Academic Contexts Feb. 24, 2010.

    I have documented from each respective site that both your seminary (DBTS) and Lansdale are ministries of a local church. You have redefined separation to allow for a differing kinds of separatism depending on whether you are speaking in the church or in an academic ministry of the local church.

    Pastor Doran you wrote “guarding the gospel through biblical separation is primarily at the level of relationships between churches, ministries that serve churches, and those who are recognized as ministers among the churches.” IMO you leave the door open to violate your own premise when you allow for a broadening of fellowship in order to allow some form of academic freedom or scholarly exposure.

    The Premise is Violated in Three Ways:
    •DBTS is a ministry of ICBC,
    •DBTS is a ministry to serve local churches,
    •You are a recognized minister in and among the churches.
    • Ditto Calvary/Lansdale.

    Remember, it’s one thing to read a book critically. It’s another thing entirely to extend the hand of fellowship and join in cooperative ministry efforts because a person is a “scholar.”

    If I may close with a question: Should men be any less militant about “guarding the gospel through biblical separation” in the ministry of a local church, such as its seminary, than guarding the church itself?

    LM

    • Lou,

      I think we should take Dave at his word that he is not offering the “academic setting” defense. He is instead giving the “neutral third party location” defense.

      However, given the quote you offer, I think he is being inconsistent in this case. The “neutral third party location” is in fact a ministry of another local church, Dave is, I think, going in his capacity as a recognized minister of a particular kind of church, and will be serving in that ministry with an officer of another local church (Dever) whose local church connections Dave considers unwise to support by appearing at Dever’s church or having Dever at his church.

      Whew… that’s complicated. But I think you get into quite an illogical conundrum when you try to figure this out.

      Bottom line: I don’t think there really is much difference because of the location. If it would be unwise to speak for Dever at CHBC, I think it is equally unwise to appear with him at Lansdale. Either move communicates essentially the same thing.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  10. Dave Doran says:

    But Don, you’ve admitted that the real issue is whether it is wrong to speak with Dever–to quote you: “I think this point is the point we really need to work at. Is there a solid biblical reason for refusing cooperation with Dever? My prejudice is yes, and I think I have some reasons for it, but that is what we need to be able to articulate. Not now, though. Later.”
    Your choice of words here is I think quite accurate–“My prejudice is yes, and I think I have some reasons for it…” The venue question is clearly a secondary one. I doubt think it is wrong (i.e., contrary to Scripture) to speak for or with Dever, but I have made choices based on what I think is a wise course of action (and my choices in this case are parallel to other choices I’ve made in what I consider similar circumstances).
    Does Dever deny any fundamental doctrine of the faith? Does Dever embrace the ecumenicism of new evangelicalism? Does Dever deny the distinction between the world and the church? All of these are answered no. I’d even go further: does Dever embrace the social agenda of the new evangelicalism? does Dever reflect the new evangelical quest for intellectual acceptance by the academic world? Again, the answers are no.
    About the only evidence that Dever is a new evangelical is that he has friendships that we don’t like and will speak in contexts that we’d prefer he not do so. And so we’re back to the debate that broke out in the late 60s and early 70s. One side decided to drop secondary separation and the other side decided to get extending its application farther and farther. I’m arguing that we need to reject both of those mistakes.

    (Lou, I’ve never found it profitable or edifying for us to interact with each other–no accusation intended, just owning my part in that. You’ve made your point. I don’t agree with it. I don’t see any benefit in us arguing about it. I’m content to let others evaluate the respective positions.)

    • Hi Dave

      Just a quick comment. It is 6:42 am here and I am off for final preparations for our monthly men’s breakfast.

      I don’t know that Dever denies any fundamental of the faith. I don’t think that is the question. Does he embrace new evangelicalism? Well, I think he does. I’ll have to leave off giving evidence of that for later when I have some time. But let me give you some questions to consider in turn:

      If it can be shown that Dever indeed embraces new evangelicalism, would you withdraw from speaking at Lansdale?

      You say you thought it unwise to speak at CHBC. You offered Paisley as a parallel. Presumably that means you would refuse an invitation to speak for Paisley in Belfast, or say, Alan Cairns in Greenville. What unwise thing would you be communicating by speaking for a Free Presbyterian church in their venue? How would that unwise thing compare with the unwise thing of speaking for Dever at CHBC?

      Ok, I’m off to the kitchen and “Eggs Benedict Strata” and bacon and pancakes and of course, cafe, the Baptist staple.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  11. Don:

    Bottom line: I don’t think there really is much difference because of the location. If it would be unwise to speak for Dever at CHBC, I think it is equally unwise to appear with him at Lansdale. Either move communicates essentially the same thing.

    Agreed, widely agreed, with what the message of this convergence with an SBC pastor, Dever, and his baggage/inconsistencies communicates. To reiterate, based from what I read from his own blog, it is the “acedemic context” venue that Doran sees as justification.

    Lou

    • Lou, you are nothing if not dogged. This does not help you to win friends and influence people. Dave has not made the ‘academic context’ argument in this thread but has in fact specifically denied it. For you to keep beating this drum seems rather rude. So please don’t continue attempting to make that argument. Further posts making that claim will be deleted.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  12. Dave:

    On behalf of Dever you wrote, “Does Dever deny the distinction between the world and the church?”

    Isn’t it possible to blend the world and the church in such a way that there is a blurring of the lines and tacit denial of the distinction?

    LM

  13. Dave Doran says:

    I would not want to send the message that the matters that divide us (me as a Baptist and them as Presbyterians) are insignificant. Others don’t agree with my view on this and that’s really okay by me. I’m not looking for people to agree with me, just to see that I’m acting consistently with what I’ve always said about these things.

    Inside the circle of permissible fellowship, we make decisions about when, where, for whom, and with whom we will speak as matters of prudence that take into consideration a wide range of factors.

    Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that I have not looked into the issue of where Dever stands on new evangelicalism. We’ve talked personally about it. He has read McCune’s book and voiced his agreement with it and purchased copies to hand out to his friends. I’ve asked pointed questions about his views as it relates to the positions articulated by the early new evangelicals and his answers stand in contrast to theirs. Does he have more fondness for early leaders like Carl Henry? Certainly, but he is not blind to the problems. Like anyone raised under the influence of flawed leaders (all of us), those who were used by God to shape our lives are generally held in high regard even in spite of their foibles. I think the same is true across the board (although, probably showing my prejudice, I am inclined to think the foibles of those who shaped my life are much less significant than the foibles of others).

    • Hi Dave

      Have you asked Dever if he thinks New Evangelicalism was a good or a bad thing?

      I will admit that it would likely be hard to prove that Dever embraces new evangelicalism: 1. We would argue about the definition; 2. We would argue about the historical context – new evangelicalism as such is essentially over, although, in my view, evangelicalism has almost completely adopted its values and philosophy; 3. Dever does exhibit characteristics that are not new evangelical (how many characteristics of similarity would it take to prove the point?).

      Earlier, you said:

      About the only evidence that Dever is a new evangelical is that he has friendships that we don’t like and will speak in contexts that we’d prefer he not do so. And so we’re back to the debate that broke out in the late 60s and early 70s. One side decided to drop secondary separation and the other side decided to get extending its application farther and farther. I’m arguing that we need to reject both of those mistakes.

      I am presuming that you would object to speaking at the Acts 29 bootcamp as Dever did just a week or two before his interview of Minnick. (Not that I think you are probably on their radar screen!) But, if asked, I am guessing you would find such a conference unacceptable for your participation. Or you wouldn’t participate in a session involving Emergent types as participants. I mention these two as examples that I know about (they are now from several years ago). I don’t make a practice of scrutinizing Dever’s itinerary to see what the rascal is up to lately! But it is situations like this that I assume you are referring to when you say “he has friendships that we don’t like and will speak in contexts that we’d prefer he not do so.”

      It is precisely these sorts of things that make me think he has imbued very much the new evangelical philosophy and doesn’t understand the importance of associations. It is the entanglement in the SBC and Southern Seminary with its ‘Graham Center’ and so on. I can’t see how these sorts of things are helpful.

      You seem to think that your presence at CHBC would tend to lend support to these things whereas your cooperation at Lansdale would not. I don’t see how that can be true, you really can’t have it both ways. Dever is who he is and represents these positions and ideas. If we shouldn’t be entangled in them as fundamentalists, I don’t see how sharing a platform at a ‘neutral’ site truly makes any difference.

      I suppose we are getting to the point where we will just be repeating ourselves. Not sure if there is much more to be said.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  14. d4v34x says:

    Brother Doran,

    If you’re still around reading this, you raised an interesting distinction here, specifically that, beyond the rightness/wrongness issues your decisions in these matters have been motivated by “the wisdom” of speaking certain places and maintaining a consistency with your own personal history of decisions.

    Would you be willing to expand on those latter two?

  15. Dave Doran says:

    Don–I have stated very clearly that my point re: speaking at CHBC is very specific–it is a SBC church and I am not favorable toward the SBC. None of the other things about Dever’s other speaking engagements factored into my answer at all. Basically, what I said was, “I know you folks are an anomaly in the SBC, but the SBC itself does not hold positions that I believe are very important.” They acknowledged that they were in fact an anomaly.

    D4–I have, as far as I can recall, believed that there is a boundary line between permissible and impermissible ministry relationships, but that being inside the permissible realm does not obligate you to do everything that is possible to do (and I doubt anybody disagrees with me on that last point). We all make decisions about what we will do in terms of what we believe is the wisest course of action. There are a lot of factors which play into deciding a wisest course and seldom will everyone agree on what constitutes the wisest decision. It is important, though, to recognize the difference between decisions which violate clear biblical truth and those which fall within permissible grounds although debated as to the wisdom factor.

    I am not sure what you mean by “maintaining a consistency with [my] own personal history of decisions.” I don’t think I’ve said anything like “I won’t do that now because I didn’t do it before.” I think I did say something like “I have always tried to make decisions in this way.” I have also considered whether a decision would be inconsistent (or appear to be so) with things that I have taught. I guess I’m not clear about what you’re asking, so if I’ve not answered the right question, sorry.

  16. Don Johnson says:

    Hi Dave,

    I read through the thread and I think you have been fairly consistent in saying the problem with CHBC is their connection to the SBC. I’m not sure I would say you have been clear, but having now made that clear and definitive statement, as I read back through your comments, I can see that is what you are saying.

    Your comment at the Preserving the Truth Conference was “I won’t come and preach is because I don’t agree with stances that you’ve taken and your church might be an anomaly…”

    I grant that this was an off the cuff response so I won’t hold you to any kind of inquisitory parsing, but I am sure that you can see this answer seems to imply a problem with Dever personally and with the church as a body in the SBC.

    If the wisdom of speaking at CHBC is settled solely and only by its SBC affiliation, I do wonder if you would now be willing to have Dever speak at Inter-City, something you previously held you would not do. He is, after all, an officer in some SBC denominational roles, is he not? On the board of Southern Seminary, I think? (I can’t find a list of board of directors at their site, so perhaps I am wrong on that.) If the SBC affiliation is the sole objectionable issue with respect to the church, how is the pastor himself unconnected from that objectionable affiliation?

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  17. d4v34x says:

    Brother Doran,

    thanks for that clarification. In my haste I think I misread your statement about being consistent with past decisions as a criterion rather than a present assessment.

    I have two further questions, I’m probably going to sound like I’m playing both sides here, but I beg the benefit of your doubt as I ask them. Of course either you or Don can decide if they are apprpriately pursued in this comment stream.

    1. If in considering the wisdom of various speaking engagements the opinions of FBFdom and DTBS “constituency” come into play (and I do not assert they do–this is hypothetical), is that necessarily a “fear of man” issue?

    2. Do you agree with the 1994 FBF resolution posted recently by you-know-who that states that the conservative parties “within the SBC still accept the ecumenical evangelism of Billy Graham which makes them New Evangelicals…”?

    Again, even if you decide not to engage these points now, thanks for your earlier clarification.

  18. Dave Doran says:

    I don’t necessarily think that considering the impact of your decisions on those you serve involves the fear of man. If, however, you don’t do what you believe you ought to do because you fear backlash, then it probably is the fear of man. If you have no stronger reason than people will be upset, then you’re probably guilty of it as well.

    I agreed with it at the time, but that was almost 17 years ago. It seems impossible to deny that there have been changes all across the board in the past 17 years. FWIW, a very godly man who spoke at that FBF meeting expressed his disappointment to me the day that resolution passed because he felt it was too broadly stated and did not leave room for the fact that there were men and churches in the SBC that didn’t fit that description. I think his exact words included the phrase “broad brush.” His assessment caught me completely off guard, but it did get me thinking more carefully than I had been.

  19. d4v34x says:

    I appreciate your taking the time to discuss those points. Thanks.

  20. d4v34x:

    I am the “you-know-who” that posted the FBF resolutions Dave Doran assisted in the drafting and approval of.

    You wrote, “Do you [Dave Doran] agree with the 1994 FBF resolution posted recently by you-know-who that states that the conservative parties “within the SBC still accept the ecumenical evangelism of Billy Graham which makes them New Evangelicals…”?
    Today, you will find some SBC men who support the Billy Graham crusades. And we can go back to 2001 and find Dr. Al Mohler serving in the leadership of the 2001 Billy Graham crusade in Louisville. We can go back to 2009 and find Mohler as well as a significant number of lesser known SBC men signing the Manhattan Declaration, which gave Christian recognition to the Roman Catholic Church and undermined the Gospel. Then there is the RAP/Hip-Hop culture making inroads in the SBC as well as movements such as Charismatic theology firmly set in the SBC community.

    BTW, this morning you added two earlier FBF resolutions from 1981 on the SBC and Fundamentalism to the current thread. They were very helpful, thanks.

    Kind regards,

    You-Know-Who

  21. Dave:

    You wrote, “I agreed with it at the time, but that was almost 17 years ago. It seems impossible to deny that there have been changes all across the board in the past 17 years.”

    Certainly, there have been changes all across the board, some in the SBC. Have your views on the SBC changed from what you co-drafted in the 1994-95 FBF resolutions?

    LM

  22. d4v34x says:

    Brother Lou, those quotes are helpful in various ways to various people, I think. I’m sure you feel they serve your purpose. I’ve made it clear on your blog, I disagree with at least some of your goals. Thankfully, I feel you are more helpful in thwarting certain of them then accomplishing them. For whatever that’s worth.

  23. Brian Ernsberger says:

    Dave,
    You bring up an observation that I believe needs clarification. As has been already noted, you stated that in the 17 years since the FBF resolution concerning the SBC that there has been changes across the board. Would you articulate specifically what changes you are referring to? You seem to imply (and I may be reading this into your words so if I am wrong please let me know) that the changes are for the better, how so?

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