reflecting on reflections

Dave Doran offers us four articles for the purpose of justifying himself: “Reflecting on Applications”, “Reflections II”, “Reflections III” and “Reflections IV”.

I’d like to offer some reflections on the reflections. I want to see if others think I am getting Dave’s arguments right and whether they think my criticisms/agreements might be valid or invalid.

So here we go…

Reflection on Article 1: “Reflecting on Applications”

First off, it appears that one of Dave’s major premises is that separation as practiced by Fundamentalists today is largely a matter of matching labels, or identity cards. If you are ‘in’, you are OK, if you aren’t ‘in’, you are ‘out’, even ‘way, way out’.

To remedy this problem, Dave suggests "drawing some theological boundaries for our kind of fundamentalism", but he doesn’t do a lot to define the parameters of his ideal boundaries.

He does refer to some messages he gave at conferences around 2005 and refers to another post where he made some points toward drawing theological boundaries:

  • “This is our historical identity and provided our strongest, best days. …”
  • “A pragmatic-practical core has almost always required compromises that eventually send the movement into decline. The amount of resources needed for cooperative efforts almost always leads to a bigger tent than is wise.”
  • “The pragmatic-practical core faces a couple of significant obstacles: (a) finding something big enough … and (b) all of the already existing activity centers will feel threatened by some new super cause …”
  • “The time is ripe for a clear statement of beliefs to capture the hearts and minds of younger fundamentalists…”

A few questions…

  • If fundamentalism’s historic identity is as a ideological/theological movement, how do you explain the covenant/dispensationalist; Calvinist/Arminian; multi-denominational expressions of it, historically?
  • Are you arguing for a smaller tent? Isn’t that actually more fragmentation?
  • Actually, where is the pressing need for or cry for some kind of unifying fundamentalist principle that will draw disparate groups of fundamentalists together in a noble cause? Is that the question anyone is asking?
  • How will you capture the hearts/minds of younger fundamentalists who largely don’t seem that interested in fundamentalism? How will some kind of narrower parameters of belief energize them for separation, if it is actually separation (and non-Calvinism) that is turning them off?

In any case, back to “Reflections on Applications”… Dave says he came to see that his was not the prevailing view, no one got too excited about his proposals. Dave doesn’t seem to define what his proposals are (the specific theological parameters), just that we should have them – at least, he isn’t doing so on the blog, and I haven’t heard of any such proposals in reporting on his speaking engagements. He just says we need these parameters and hints around at what they should be. I really would like to know what these theological parameters for Fundamentalism would look like.

I suspect that the reason no one is too excited about the proposals is that they think Dave wants to draw the circle too narrowly.

Reflection on Article 2: “Reflections II”

In this article, Dave raises two doctrinal complaints. I am glad there are some specifics, at least. The complaints are that Fundamentalism in general is guilty of tolerating serious errors. The two examples cited are:

  • Jesus blood not human but divine (or something)
  • KJVO issues

Actually, I am with Dave on both of these points. He’s right to criticize them. But… a couple of caveats:

In his complaint about the ‘blood’ issue, Dave cites 1 Jn 4.1-6, applying it to the error and errorists. I’m not sure I want to go that far, unless you want to say that those who taught/teach it are ‘false prophets’ (1 Jn 4.1)? And that those who taught/teach this error are not ‘of God’ (1 Jn 4.2-3)? And are imbued with ‘that spirit of antichrist’ (1 Jn 4.3)? And they are ‘of the world’ instead of ‘of God’ (1 Jn 4.4-5)?

Do we really want to apply 1 Jn 4.1-6 to these men? I’m not sure that I do.

With respect to the versions issues, Dave admits "letters were written; resolutions were passed; and even a video was made" – could more be done? Well, Dave concludes, "at the end of the day, too many people wanted the translation issue to just go back away." He’s right about that, but I have a few criticisms of my own about that:

  1. The video that was made was largely Dave’s idea, no? And it was boring. And then the video wars were over. And we heard not so much about it anymore. So who quit talking? Dave has mentioned it off and on, but it appears to me that he gave up banging this drum himself, pretty well. He gave up his position on the FBF board, where he had a hand in some good resolutions against the versions issues. But no more. So… who quit talking?
  2. Some people who make complaints about the versions issue want to go too far. I don’t know for sure if Dave is in this number, but some want to cut off almost any kind of KJ view. There are many good guys who have a KJO position. While I am willing to let them cut me off by being outspoken for modern conservative versions, why must we deliberately draw the circle so narrow as to exclude all of these men? How does that fit the fundamentalist ethos historically? I don’t think it does.

Dave closes this article by saying he could raise more doctrinal controversies, but these are enough to make his point. Well, no, not really. Is that all there is to this complaint? Why is this language always so nebulous? "Some doctrinal controversies" "more that I won’t mention now"… that all sounds ominous. Is it? Is there a “there” there?

Reflections on “Reflections III”

I don’t have that much on this article. Just a couple of points. In the article, Dave posits a young DBTS grad pursuing support for church planting, says Fundamentalists won’t have him because of theological peculiarities, and on the other hand, ‘non-Fundamentalists’ who believe the same as him [including about separation] but don’t wear the label will support him. Well…

  1. How real is this scenario?
  2. Are these ‘non-fundies’ really all that separatist?
  3. If this is real, isn’t it partly because the ball has been dropped on the KJO issue by certain people? (see above)

The above point isn’t a major complaint, just an observation. My anecdotal knowledge of some situations like this is that some DBTS grads have a veritable chip on their shoulder towards Fundamentalism, especially non-Calvinist Fundamentalism, and certainly any kind of KJ position. This is not true of all, one of my best friends (as they say) is a DBTS grad. And, hey, we support him! With real money! Hard currency! Better than the Yankee buck these days! But I digress.

The main thrust of Reflections III, however, seems to be a bit of dismay at Dave’s experience at BJU and the discovery that other fundamentalists are not like William Rice. I heard Rice speak at BJU and in some classes (Church Planting??? can’t remember exactly.) I think he was a fine man, very accomplished. But… his is the only model we should follow? Isn’t that kind of an insular view? Why must everyone conform to Dave’s image of what is right and Dave’s view of how we should practice?

On to article 4:

Reflections on “Reflections IV”

In this article, Dave makes some interesting assertions. He says that fundamentalism was right in 1921 and 1961. But apparently it isn’t right in 2011. Well, actually, he says there is no fundamentalism. A lot of people disagree with him on this point. I think Dave disagrees with himself. If there were no fundamentalism, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. Dave wouldn’t feel the need to justify his position, his changes of application. If there is no fundamentalism, then who cares about all this argumentation?

He seems to be saying that the fragmentation of fundamentalism today invalidates Fundamentalism as such, and that such fragmentation creates ‘shibboleths’ that become the Secret Decoder Rings to getting ‘in’ the right crowd. Well… ‘King James Bible’ is an important shibboleth to some, I’ll agree. And ‘no pants on women’ and on and on.

Dave sees these shibboleths as characteristic, apparently, of all ‘fundamentalisms’, and says that these are examples of fence building way too far away from the edge of the cliff. We look ridiculous standing behind our fences five miles from any hint of a cliff.

Let me concede that this is partly true. See named shibboleths two paragraphs up. And let me also concede that you can build a fence so far away from the cliff that you are smack dab up against the mountainside with no room to breath.

But are we only worried about precipices in our fence building?

Let me say that denial of the fundamentals (list of 5, list of 18, what have you) would be to take a leap into the dark over the cliff edge. That is what fundamentalism was about in 1921. Fundamentalists said, whoa, we can’t go there. A pitched battle was fought and eventually the Fundamentalists emerged with a fence on the edge of that precipice, that sheer drop right off the continent called Christianity.

But not all dangerous hills are precipices.

Do you know about Stone Mountain, GA? Stone Mountain is a hill that is more of a dome. It has sheer edges, but before you can get to them there is a subtle and gradual change in elevation that is very deceptive and dangerous. You can walk out on that slope (past the fences) and get to a point of no return. You’ll start sliding, and you won’t overcome the law of gravity. You’ll obey it.

Well, it seems to me that is the fence of 1961. Were Henry, Ockenga, Graham, Carnell, etc, so far gone theologically? No. They were orthodox. But Dave says the Fundamentalists were right and they were wrong in 1961. That fence was a correct fence.

Alright then… what is the question for 20011?

The Question for 2011

It seems to me that it is all right to look at a reflection if you want to straighten up the one producing the image. Do we have things in and among fundamentalism that needs correcting? Sure. We’ve got quite a bit of hair out of place. A good combing job is in order. (I’d say a shave too, but everyone knows that fundies don’t wear beards.)

But we are talking about direction here. Where should fundamentalists be heading? Should we now be associating and joining in ministry with conservative evangelicals? That is THE question!

While we reflect on needed correctives of ourselves, let’s offer the same kind of scrutiny of the beckoning evangelicalism. Let’s offer serious scrutiny to specific proposals for a ‘theological parameter’ by which those like Dave would suggest for us. Let’s really look carefully at where we are going, not just where we are and where we have been.

Dave closes with this: "will the self-professing fundamentalists build a fence that excludes people who won’t limit their fellowship to only those who claim the label of fundamentalism? Is that label so tied to the essence of the biblical position that to not wear it means you fall on the wrong side of the fence?"

That’s really not a fair question. It isn’t a label game. The question is, are conservative evangelicals any different now than they were in 1961? If so, how?


P.S. My dad used to say, “Don’t look back unless you want to go that way.”


  1. A few reflections on your reflecting on the reflections.

    1. Regarding the blood issue: I think the reason Doran quotes 1 Jn 4 is that 1 Jn is dealing with people who were denying Christ’s true humanity, and that is what people were doing with the blood issue–denying Christ’s true humanity by claiming he did not have human blood. John seemed pretty concerned about denying Christ’s humanity.

    2. Regarding KJO: I think you misunderstand Doran’s point about what more could be done. He wasn’t arguing that more talking, resolutions, and videos should have been made. He was arguing for action to be taken, but instead everyone just wanted it to go away. This is what I’ve pointed out a few different times in my comments here: there is an inconsistency on this issue. I would imagine you’d have a problem if the FBF puts out a resolution against T4G, but then several of the board members go to it and partner with people involved in it. But that’s exactly what happened with the KJO issue. Resolutions were passed, but by and large everyone kept catering to that crowd and refused to actually break fellowship. You can argue that you would simply want to speak out for newer versions and let the KJO break off from you, but I don’t think you’d take a similar approach to the other side (i.e., simply arguing for separatism and waiting for the non-separatists to get tired of you). And, again, is separatism more important than the doctrine of inspiration?

    That’s why for many YF’s, it’s not separation itself that is the issue, it’s how separation was hypocritically and wrongly applied. That’s why there’s a call for a theologically based separatism.

    3. Regarding your 3 questions:
    “1. How real is this scenario?
    2. Are these ‘non-fundies’ really all that separatist?
    3. If this is real, isn’t it partly because the ball has been dropped on the KJO issue by certain people? (see above)”
    Your third question seems to indicate you agree that the KJO issue was not handled right, thus contradicting your criticism of the 2nd reflections.

    Your second question shows you are bound to separatism by the labels (i.e., if you are not a “fundamentalist” then you cannot be a separatist). Thus, you are simply illustrating Doran’s point.

    And related to both your first and second question, I think it is a real scenario, based on actual happenings (or at least loosely based on them). I think I’ve heard at some place that ICBC started its own mission agency b/c there were no mission agencies that would accept some of their grads based in large part on the translation issue (i.e., the mission boards required the use of the KJV). I don’t know of any Fundy board that lets you use something other than the KJV (except BMM), so even if it wasn’t a real scenario, it’s definitely a possibility. And there are people who are wary of DBTS (you yourself even expressed concern), so again, Doran lays out a very plausible explanation.

    • Hi Ed

      Some reflections on your… oh, never mind…

      1. I understand why Dave cites 1 Jn 4.1, it is related to the orthodox doctrine of Christ. But you just can’t use a passage like that unless you are prepared to say that those you are criticizing are not brothers.

      2. I thought I said that I agreed with the criticism of folks ‘just wanting the KJO issue to go away’. I think that there has been a systemic failure in handling this. However, I don’t think the KJO issue per se is the same as new evangelicalism. I don’t have a problem with fellowship with a KJO man as long as he is willing to not make the versions an issue of fellowship. I do have a problem when people won’t break with Ruckmanites. But KJO itself is a fairly broad term and not all of them are denying inspiration.

      In any case, I don’t see how you justify a ‘theologically based separatism’ against many KJO men who are completely orthodox but prefer the KJV or even think it is the only version that should be used. They are wrong in their understanding, but they aren’t denying inspiration.

      3. I do agree that the KJO issue wasn’t handled right. Said it all along. Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. But in questioning the ‘support scenario’, I am suggesting that the difficulties a DBTS grad may have in raising support isn’t because of a difference over separation or theology but because everyone basically dropped the KJO issue. The consequence is that many men and churches have become more influenced by the error, not less, hence making raising support more difficult.

      In asking if the ‘non-fundies’ are really separatist, I am not playing the label game. Dave has said that Dever is a separatist, for example. Well… sorta… I view his separatism as too little and too late. I have an issue with his understanding and practice of separation. It isn’t merely quibbling about labels. It is disagreement with thinking and practice. So I question whether there are many non-fundies who really believe in separatism in the Biblical sense.

      Last, I don’t know about ICBC and its mission agency. I think you are mistaken about mission agencies, however. BWM doesn’t require exclusive use of the KJV in English speaking countries.

      Well, I’ll leave it there, don’t know if I have answered all of your points or not, but hope I have cleared up some misunderstandings.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  2. Keith says:

    “Do we really want to apply 1 Jn 4.1-6 to these men? I’m not sure that I do.”

    You don’t think this applies to someone who denies the humanity of Christ? What would it apply to then?

    • Keith, you need to read this carefully. I don’t think the men who teach this error deny the humanity of Christ. They have an oddball teaching that Jesus’ blood was ‘divine’, not human. But they don’t deny his humanity. At least that is the way I understand it. I would be happy to be corrected and agree with Dave’s use of the passage if I am misunderstanding the error he is talking about. But if I understand it properly, it is an error, not a heresy.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  3. Keith says:

    If they teach that his blood was divine, then they are denying the human, physical nature of Christ. Blood is physical.

    They may not realize they are doing this. They may not mean to do this. But they are doing this. Peter didn’t think he was being heretical either — until God straightened him out with a vision.

    I’m not saying that there is no room for discussion or education. I’m not a jump to excomunication — separate early and often — kind of guy. Nevertheless, if someone were to persist in denying the humanity of Jesus’ blood, they deserve to be separated from at least as much (if not more than) someone like Mark Dever.

    [edit note: the following is added from a second post, just to keep it all in one]

    It also comes across very much like this: “Our guys'” errors are just errors and we don’t need to separate. “The other guys’ errors” are inexcusable and must be come out from to be separate.

    • Well, I am going to hold off on this because Dave didn’t give enough specifics to go on. I know of several people who are said to be the ones Dave is talking about, including a very well known evangelical. If I am right about who he is talking about, I am not sure that Dave would want to go so far as to apply all of 1 Jn 4.1-6 to these individuals. Maybe I am wrong, it would be nice to have specifics rather than generalities.

      Whoa, just re-read your second paragraph… Peter heretical? That’s a stretch.

      Anyway, my question on this is who are these people, what exactly did they teach, how did we tolerate it? I’d like to know. It is all very well to throw the accusation out there, but without specifics, you are just making noise.

      I think Dave might be on vacation though, so we will have to wait and see if he will give us more.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  4. Taken from the BWM website:


    Recognizing that honest differences of conviction exist among us regarding Bible texts and versions, we believe we should balance soul liberty with Christian charity in these matters, and therefore, agree not to magnify these differences. Because the King James Version is the most commonly used translation among Baptist fundamentalists, and is acknowledged to be the greatest translation produced in the English language, we require the King James Version to be used by our missionaries in their preaching in the United States. Also, we require our preachers in our Baptist World Mission meetings and conferences to use the King James Version.”

  5. And I would be interested in getting your thoughts on my previous question (with an addition):

    “And, again, is separatism more important than the doctrine of inspiration?” [or the doctrine of Christ regarding his humanity]

    • First, with respect to the BWM policy, that isn’t a restriction outside the USA. I also believe there is some latitude for church planters, but I can’t cite chapter and verse on that. If a guy is so rigid for a modern version that he can’t work with that, then maybe the problem is with him?

      Anyway, as to your question, is separatism more important than the doctrine of inspiration, the answer is ‘that depends.’ If you mean can a person fail to practice separation, but still be a Christian, then of course separation is less important than inspiration. If you mean that as long as one is ok on inspiration then it doesn’t matter if he practices separation, then, no, both are equally important.

      If, by asking the question, you mean every KJO person has a problem with inspiration, I would say, no, you slander a lot of good KJO people if you do. When a KJO man says the KJV is inspired just as the Hebrew and Greek were, then they have a problem with inspiration, but they aren’t all saying that. If they say that only the KJV is the Word of God, all other versions are not the Word of God, then they are getting pretty close to the inspiration error, if they haven’t crossed the line.

      Again, I’d just like a little more precise definition here. I agree that the KJO issue is one that needs to be handled better, but you can’t throw all of them under the bus.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  6. “If a [mission board] is so rigid for a [particular] version that [they] can’t work with [other versions], then maybe the problem is with [the mission board]?”

    For one thing, it’s not really the place of a mission board to determine that kind of thing (what version a missionary can preach from during deputation/furlough)–it should be the role of a sending church. And let me be clear–I don’t have a problem with a person/church deciding “we want to use the KJV” and if you want to preach there, then fine, use the KJV. But if that is really their position, then they should have no problem with someone else using a different version in another church. If it’s a conviction that the KJV is the only English Bible to be used (thus, making other versions sinful), then they are wrong on the doctrine of inspiration. Thus, BWM’s policy really has nothing to do with people who prefer the KJV, but is designed to not offend those who are truly KJO (and, thus, get inspiration wrong).

    And in your answer to the question regarding the importance of separation/inspiration, it doesn’t seem that you think both are equally important. If getting one wrong makes you a non-Christian, it is the more important one. That doesn’t mean the other is unimportant, but it clearly means it is less important. So you agree that inspiration is more important than separation.

    So, BWM (and basically all other fundy mission boards) have set up policies to cater to groups that are wrong on inspiration (remember, if it’s merely a preference, then a church should have no problem with what a missionary uses when they are not speaking at that church). But they would not set up any policy to cater to people who are wrong on separation.

    And you never really dealt with the issue of the doctrine of Christ. That’s a pretty important one too (more important than separation?)

    [edit: two posts combined… second post follows]

    “In asking if the ‘non-fundies’ are really separatist, I am not playing the label game. Dave has said that Dever is a separatist, for example. Well… sorta… I view his separatism as too little and too late.”

    Wanted to briefly touch on this. Couldn’t this same thing be said about most (almost all) fundy’s and the KJO issue–too little, too late.

    And, I don’t think you realize it, but you really are playing the label game (though you might actually see it more as the connection game). If you are connected to BJU/FBF, then you are a separatist. If you’re not, then we’re suspicious of you and you have to prove you’re a separatist by separating like I do.

    Which, is why you make this statement: “So I question whether there are many non-fundies who really believe in separatism in the Biblical sense.” IOW, if you aren’t a fundamentalist (label) you aren’t a separatist (practice). If you’re not playing the label game, then the first (being a fundy) really has nothing to do with the second (being a separatist).

    • Inspiration is more important than separation only in certain senses.

      As far as BWM’s policies are concerned, I think you are putting your own definition into KJO. As I have repeatedly said, all KJOs are not the same. The policy doesn’t exist to cater to Ruckmanites, but to avoid needless offense among brethren who differ.

      I think I’ve said all I need to say on the doctrine of Christ. I await more specific information from Dave as to what he means on this point. If any reader knows specifically what he is saying about it, feel free to enlighten us. I am not questioning the error, but whether it is appropriate to apply 1 John 4.1-6 to those teaching it.

      Finally, with respect to the label game, I just don’t think that’s so. I am suspicious of everyone. It’s my own private paranoia, and I’m quite comfortable with it.

      On your last paragraph:

      Which, is why you make this statement: “So I question whether there are many non-fundies who really believe in separatism in the Biblical sense.” IOW, if you aren’t a fundamentalist (label) you aren’t a separatist (practice). If you’re not playing the label game, then the first (being a fundy) really has nothing to do with the second (being a separatist).

      So how else should I write that sentence? Not all self-professing fundamentalists are separatists. That is quite clear. But I am dealing with the scenario Dave proposed. He suggested a DBTS grad finding churches that agreed with him on doctrine, separation, etc, etc, but weren’t labelled fundamentalist are eager (eager, mind you) to support said DBTS grad. So… given the parameters Dave set up, how else would I word the sentence? I question the validity of such a church’s actual commitment to and understanding of biblical separation. There might be some who fit the category, but I think most Biblical Separatists also don’t mind the label Fundamentalist.

      Any more, Ed? I think we are going around in circles.

      Don Johnson
      Jeremiah 33.3

  7. I don’t believe a “Divine blood” view means “deny the humanity of Christ.” This seems to be another pendulum swing. One side says that MacArthur denies the blood, which is not true, and the other side says that that they deny the humanity of Christ, which is not true. Perhaps both sides aren’t really listening to each other.

    I believe, as do many others, that because of Acts 20:28, there was something Divine to Christ’s blood through the hypostatic union. I’m not saying that His blood was only Divine, but both Divine and human. How? I don’t know. However, the blood cleanses from sin somehow. This is a matter of faith. MacArthur seems to make it only a metonym for death, which falls short of both biblical and historical teaching, it seems, to me. I’ve written on this.

  8. Regarding bibliology, I understand that certain fundamentalists think fundamentalists should separate from KJVO, for one or two reasons (or both): (1) Unorthodox, unscriptural view of inspiration, (2) the heresy of the KJVO (i.e., factiousness, divisiveness). I’ve answered both counts, as it applies to me and those like me, in the past. On number one, we believe in the inspiration of the original text, but also in the preservation of that original text. That isn’t unorthodox or unscriptural. On number two, we believe that heresy is a church issue (Titus 3), the dividing of a church. I believe on number one, fundamentalism should be consistent on all its separation on bibliological issues then—for a denial of historic inerrancy, for ipsissima vox, etc.

    Now for my opinion. First, it’s true many KJVO have already separated from the fundamentalists. Why? Because they, like me, separate over bibliology. Separation is a biblical means to protect or preserve true doctrine. And what is the doctrine violated? The historic doctrine of preservation, which was changed by Warfield at Princeton and the new doctrine embraced by many, including fundamentalism. Fundamentalists won’t admit this, but I get zero answer to refute what I’m saying. Instead they show how fundamentalists have taken their position—that’s the history and it’s 100 years. Well, fundamentalists don’t like getting separated from (that doesn’t happen too often), so now they’ve got to separate, and so they lump all KJVO into the same Ruckmanite pot. And then they call it heresy, because fundamentalists haven’t separated over versions. It’s true. They haven’t. The other part of this is the influence of evangelicalism on fundamentalism. This relates to your Lloyd-Jones video. The KJVO are too anti-intellectual, who believe the Bible from “cover-to-cover” (words from Jones).

    And Don, I’m not feeling snarky at all recently. If I was feeling snarky, it was over ten years ago, when the events I have written about, actually happened.

    • Hey, Kent, I think you prove my points about the versions.

      I personally don’t mind your separation from Fundamentalism. We each have to give an answer to God, not to man.

      But what I am arguing here is that the ‘left wing’ (if you will) of Fundamentalism keeps crying and moaning that we have done nothing about the versions issue, that we are tolerating false doctrine, etc. That’s what you call “lumping all KJVO into the same Ruckmanite pot”. I think this complaint is completely illegitimate and is being used as a tool to try to force non-KJO Fundies of the right into a defensive posture.

      Don Johnson
      Jeremiah 33.3

  9. Don,

    Not trying to run in circles, but just a couple of brief (ok, maybe not that brief) comments.

    I don’t think I’m putting my own definition into KJO. If someone says they believe the KJV is the version they should use but don’t believe it is the only English inspired version, then they are not fully KJO. They prefer the KJV. If someone believes the KJV is the only version any English speaking church should use b/c it is the only version of the Bible in English, then they are KJO.

    If you are the first (believe it is the one you should use but there are other versions), then you should have no problem with other churches believing differently, and thus, the policy of BWM would not address you at all. If you are the second (believe that no one should use any other version b/c they are not the Bible), then BWM’s policy matches up well with you. However, you have an unorthodox view of inspiration if you hold that view.

    So, I recognize that sometimes both categories get lumped in as KJO, but the first is not really KJO. (NOTE: If you are Majority Text and/or TR only, you should have no problem with the NKJV. You may not think it is as good of a translation as KJV, but it still comes from those text types. Thus, the policy would need to be “BWM missionaries will only use KJV or NKJV.” But it’s not. That’s why it caters to KJO).

    “So I question whether there are many non-fundies who really believe in separatism in the Biblical sense.” “So how else should I write that sentence?”

    I’m not quibbling with the way you wrote the sentence. I’m simply pointing out that the fact that you wrote this sentence shows you are tied to labels. The sentence shows that you equate separatists (practice) with fundys (label.) IOW, you can’t really be a biblical separatist unless you are also a fundy. Thus, the label is what is governing your understanding of separatism. I don’t disagree with the way the sentence is phrased. Just with the belief that leads to the sentence.

    Hopefully that was at least more of an oval than a circle :)

    • If someone believes the KJV is the only version any English speaking church should use b/c it is the only version of the Bible in English, then they are KJO.

      Yes, but that doesn’t make them Ruckmanite.

      I believe both groups you pose fit with the BWM policy. And as long as we are going to be in this ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ period with respect to the KJO issue, I think it makes perfect sense. I personally would prefer that we get a little more settled on this issue, but I am not holding my breath at this stage of the game.

      On my sentence, please note the word “many”. I think it demolishes everything you are saying about my playing the label game. I think you are not reading me carefully and trying to make me say what I am not saying. Let me say it again: the LABEL IS NOT THE GOVERNING FACTOR IN UNDERSTANDING SEPARATISM. ACTUAL PRACTICE IS WHAT MATTERS.

      In my observation, most who are happy to wear the label fundamentalist have a fairly biblical understanding and practice of separatism (not uniform, but close enough). Many who won’t wear the label but claim to be separatists show by their practice that they haven’t much of a clue about separation.

      Note: that is my observation. It is totally anecdotal and should not be construed as the conclusion of any sort of scientific study. That there are some Biblical separatists who aren’t fundies by label is possible as a concept. I just don’t know of any.

      Don Johnson
      Jeremiah 33.3

  10. Keith says:

    Re: “Anyway, my question on this is who are these people, what exactly did they teach, how did we tolerate it? I’d like to know. It is all very well to throw the accusation out there, but without specifics, you are just making noise.”

    Please note that I said, “If they teach that his blood was divine, then they are denying the human, physical nature of Christ.”

    This is an “If . . . then . . .” statement. If no one claims that the blood is divine (meaning non-physical), then we don’t have any problem.

    Re: “Peter heretical? That’s a stretch.”

    What would you call his refusal to abandon the ceremonial law? Call it what you will, God thougth it was sufficiently problematic to send him a vision, and Paul thought it was worthy of some harsh rebuke.

    Could it be that your “too little too late” type rhetoric reveals a bias against the possibility of real change in people?

    • Re: “If…then…” … Well, if he is speaking of who I think he is speaking of, you will find very positive affirmations of very God, very man in one way or another in their writings. So? What do you do with all that?

      Re: Peter as an heretic, I can’t think of any definition of heretic that fits the situation. He wasn’t dividing the church, such as it was, the original meaning of heretic, by keeping to his Jewish prejudices. None of them had really seriously thought about it up to that point. There wasn’t even a church in Antioch yet. And he wasn’t denying the faith, our modern view of heretic. So I don’t think the label fits.

      It is clear that he was in error and needed correction/training. That’s all the vision was, I don’t read it as a harsh rebuke at all.

      As for my biases, I am awash with biases. I am awash with rhetoric. I am a walking, bigoted, cliche. So sue me. I’m a fundamentalist!

      Don Johnson
      Jeremiah 33.3

  11. Don,

    I am sympathetic with much of what Dave has written. The one thing, though, that I would love to see him clarify is who are all these churches that believe in separation but are not self-proclaimed fundamentalists. I can’t figure out who he has in mind.

    Regarding the KJV and mission boards, I remember looking at this once a few years ago and being very disappointed. I think this is an issue that needs to be addressed. On the positive side, though, I’m assuming GFA allows their state-side church planters to use versions other than the KJV….because, I know of at least two that are doing so.

    • Hi Andy,

      I am sympathetic also, in a general sense. In a way, it is appalling how slow we are to deal with some issues.

      However, in spite of agreement with the complaints in general, these complaints aren’t the real problem. No one is talking about them, except as an excuse to ‘depart’ from Fundamentalism. The thing we are all talking about, and have been talking about for the last 6 or 7 years almost constantly is ‘what to do with the conservative evangelicals?’

      It is all very easy to take shots at Fundamentalism and say, see, it has this problem and this problem and this problem. And then one looks away and sees the supposedly greener grass of Conservative Evangelicalism. Man, talk about a group not dealing with things! They won’t deal with charismatism, which has real inspiration problems, they won’t talk about ecumenical cooperation like Piper and Lausanne, they won’t talk much about the ongoing problems in the SBC, just claim there are no liberals anymore! (But look at the state conventions!)

      So what I am seeing in this effort is just more of the same. See, we have our warts, so lets just forget those ‘funny-mentalists’ and join up with the good and the pure. Sure, that’ll fix everything.

      OK, I’ll take off my Bixby hat and stop ranting! (I had it on backwards so the direction of the rant would be opposite to his!)

      Regarding the KJV issues, this is a thorny thorny problem. Given the independent nature of fundamentalist churches, it seems a very difficult problem to solve because so many churches (plus individuals in other churches) have bought into the emotional “they’re coming to get our Bibles” arguments. I hope we can really work to make a positive difference in this area. We do need to get it somewhat resolved.

      Don Johnson
      Jeremiah 33.3

  12. “Dave closes with this: ‘will the self-professing fundamentalists build a fence that excludes people who won’t limit their fellowship to only those who claim the label of fundamentalism? Is that label so tied to the essence of the biblical position that to not wear it means you fall on the wrong side of the fence’? That’s really not a fair question. It isn’t a label game.”

    No, it is not a label game. Dave has, however, been attempting to make the debate over labels. The true crux of the controversy and debate lies exactly where you noted it is above,

    But we are talking about direction here. Where should fundamentalists be heading? Should we now be associating and joining in ministry with conservative evangelicals? That is THE question!

    Don, that is indeed THE question! The direction is toward embracing and ministering alongside an expanding circle of evangelicalism’s personalities.


  13. Roger Carlson says:


    Just and FYI about BWM. There policy is such that one of their missionaries is not allowed to use the translation that a local church uses even if that church’s policy is something other than KJV. I know of one church who asked BWM about this.
    My sentence is confusing, so let me illustrate. Joe the missionary has a meeting scheduled with xyz Baptist church. XYZ soley uses the NASB – that is the only translation allowed in their pulpit. With BWM’s current policy Joe would not allowed to preach at XYZ because he is not allowed to use the NASB. Now should XYZ be a little more flexible? Maybe, maybe not. But I find troubling is that by having this policy, BWM is not taking this into account and they are in essence dictating to local churches.

    I know for a fact the above scenario did happen. And my church does support BWM missionaries. The Board’s are in a tough position. But if our friends that are KJV in the sense you describe (I think most are, but we are catering to those who are not), they should have no problem with BWM allowing their canidates to preach from a conservative translation if that is what the church uses. Para church organizations should respect the autonomy of the local church.

    • Hi Roger

      First, do you know that I am a BWM missionary? So I don’t really want to get too much into discussing BWM policy specifically. I would suggest that you take it up with Dr. Steadman who is our director.

      Are you serious that a church has adopted a NASB-only policy? Isn’t that counter-acting one wrong with another?

      In any case, I think that in a situation like this, the missionary and the church should talk things over with BWM officials. I think they would find BWM to be emphatically for local church autonomy. I don’t know what the outcome of any discussions would be, but I would be surprised if there was any attempt to over-rule a local church. They might agree to disagree, don’t know.

      Anyway, this is leading us off the general theme of my post, so perhaps we could leave off discussing BWM policy here?

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  14. Roger Carlson says:

    Sorry Don,

    It was an unintentional Rabbit Trail. I do love BWM – like I said we do support missionaries from there. In answer to your question, I could have been a little more clear. The particular church had a policy that they used a particular conservative translation in their church. So anyone preaching in their church was to do so from that translation. That is the churches right to do so. The church did was not against other conservative translations but in their local church only a particular translation was used. I think any mission organization should be fine with that policy.

    Ok, off the rabbit trail and I will go back to oberving the discussion. Have a great day of ministry.

    • Well, we all have sort of got off, you aren’t the only one!

      I think that little rabbit trail might be worth a post of its own. I’ll think about it, maybe put something up tonight.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3