Response to Tyler Robbins

This article is to respond to a lengthy piece by Tyler Robbins reacting to an article in our most recent FrontLine magazine. Tyler is unhappy with the article by Dan Unruh entitled, “Why I Left My Fundamentalist Church.” Dan’s article is among a collection of articles in this issue dealing with what we are calling “convergence,” that is, the phenomenon of individuals formerly connected with the fundamentalist movement who are now embracing certain aspects of the Evangelical movement. This change of position really is a new thing, it isn’t fundamentalist and perhaps it isn’t strictly evangelical either. Dan is writing about one part of that phenomenon where convergent pastors have decided to move their formerly fundamental churches into a more evangelical position. I wrote an article on this myself some months ago, entitled “What to do when your church leaves you.”

I should also say that my answers here are my personal opinions. I am not speaking for the FBFI at all, the only individual who speaks for us is Dr. John Vaughn, otherwise when the board speaks, we speak through position statements adopted in our meetings.

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He’s a separatist! He’s a separatist!

Isn’t he?

So much for the rumor that John MacArthur separated from Piper over his connections to Mark Driscoll, C J Mahaney, et al.

Yet some of our leaders are fine with cooperating on platforms with fringe members of this crowd… are they really coming our way?

what shall we do with this?

Perhaps you remember an educational game called Amazon Trail. Part of the game involved ‘fishing’ so you could survive on your trek up the Amazon. Whenever you speared a fish, the program would tell you what kind of fish you had captured and a voice would ask, “What shall we do with this?” Over and over and over… as my kids played it, this line kept repeating itself from our kitchen. Enough to drive you batty (short trip for some of us).

Recent happenings in the ecclesiastical world make me ask that question: what shall we do with this?

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the fundamental evangelical problem

Amidst all the pressure to make nice with evangelicals, there are some key issues that are often overlooked. You can pick up these key issues occasionally in commentaries, less often in bold clearly stated articles or sermons. To put it in a nutshell, I think the issues I am talking about can all be summed up in one word: inerrancy.

  • Do we believe in inerrancy or not?
  • Do we believe the Bible is without error, or not.
  • Do we believe the Bible never utters an errant word in fact or principle from cover to cover, or not?

I would say most who call themselves fundamentalists would say “Yes” to inerrancy and many evangelicals would also. In fact, many evangelicals have gone so far as to sign an official statement on inerrancy, The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Search for it on the web and you will find many references to this document.

So far so good, but only so far.

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hoorah, I guess

Something blew by today that makes me wonder. Should I comment? Big announcement, excitement, pleased with accomplishment… I’ve seen some of the work, it’s pretty good, I guess. But…

Does it mean collaboration with Mr. Grace Awakening? It would appear so…

When the word collaboration is used… ok, “collaborated”… with a ministry that is skewed, some say antinomian… one has to wonder at the level of discernment.

It is disheartening. The upcoming musical release will be well done, no doubt. We will have little to criticize about content and style, I am sure.

But man… what are we to make of this level of cooperation?

I hope some of the fellows coming out of fundamentalist institutions are learning what fundamentalism means and why its important. Many of the most noticeable ones just don’t seem to get it.

Still, one of our best and brightest has been noticed by a prominent church with an internationally known pastor and has produced something. Hoorah, I guess.


is your conscience uneasy? (part 1)

Carl F. H. Henry. The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism, Kindle Edition
First of a series of posts reviewing the book by Carl Henry.

An oft mentioned but possibly neglected book, Carl Henry’s The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism is often credited as a seminal work in the development of evangelicalism. Al Mohler calls it “a manifesto of a movement later to be known as the ‘new evangelicalism.’” (Albert F. Mohler, Jr., “Carl F. H. Henry, Theologians of the Baptist Tradition, Timothy George and David S. Dockery, eds., p. 283.)

In my opinion, every fundamentalist should read Henry’s book. Newly reprinted with a foreword by Richard Mouw, it is highly instructive of the evangelical mind that was to become the ‘new evangelicalism’ and of the evangelical mind that continues to this day. I read it in the Kindle edition, which suffers from an unfortunate limitation on copying and note-taking imposed by the publisher. (One sympathizes with the desire of publishers to prevent piracy, but this is the first Kindle book where I ran into this limitation. Other commercially published works I have purchased haven’t been so restrictive.)

In any case, as I said, I think all fundamentalists should read this book. The generation of fundamentalists who faced the challenge of new evangelicalism are passing off the scene. Those of us who follow in their footsteps need to be aware of the challenges they faced. We face very similar challenges today. The challenges to orthodoxy today are not the frontal attacks of blatantly heretical modernism as in the era of the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy. They are much more subtle than that. The challenge is no longer called ‘new evangelicalism’ (it is hard to stay ‘new’ for long), but the essential arguments and values of those challenging fundamentalism are basically the same. So read Henry’s Uneasy Conscience. It is worth considering what it meant to the fundamentalists of its day as well as what its philosophy means for fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals today.

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discerning the discerners

Kent Brandenburg has an excellent analysis of recent comments by Todd Friel and Phil Johnson at a “Discernment (?) Conference.” Part 2 really lays it out, but you need Part 1 to get the context.

Part 1

Part 2


the brandenberger reports on ETS

Kent Brandenburg has a commenter who frequently addresses him as Pastor Brandenberger, so I hope Kent will forgive my liberties with his name.

I commend to you his recent series of blogs reporting on goings on at the ETS. Very interesting. You might not agree with everything Kent says about it (I don’t disagree with much, if any of it), but if you are interested in the issues we usually address in this space, you will find Kent’s reports quite interesting. Here are the links:

My Field Trip to the Evangelical Theological Society Meeting part one

My Field Trip to the Evangelical Theological Society Meeting part two

My Field Trip to the Evangelical Theological Society Meeting part three

My Field Trip to the Evangelical Theological Society Meeting part four

My Field Trip to the Evangelical Theological Society Meeting part five

My Field Trip to the Evangelical Theological Society Meeting part six


when is a link not a link?

A friend of mine posted an article to which I objected. I objected privately, so I’m not going to post a link. We had a brief and I think courteous exchange of views. But the whole discussion gets me thinking about the whole paradigm shift that the new media is. That is, I think we are still getting used to the internet (or, as one of my hockey bloggers calls it, “the AlGore”).

It is common practice in the blogosphere to link to other blogs or articles online. This is part of the ‘netiquette’ of blogging, especially when you are writing a contrary opinion. The link provides context, your readers can go to your online ‘opponent’ to see what they said in context in order to decide whether they will agree with you or him or neither.

It is also common practice to link to news items of interest with a brief comment suggesting why the link was interesting to you.

I have occasionally linked to Christianity Today when I see articles of interest there, or when I wish to take issue with something said there. Some of my fellow fundamentalists have commented when I have done that without much of a disclaimer. I guess I don’t think a disclaimer is all that necessary when I am critiquing an article. It is pretty clear that I am not agreeing!  (Does anyone think I am ambiguous when I disagree?) And I don’t think a disclaimer is always necessary when I am just passing along a link to say: look at this, it’s interesting.

But what if I was writing an article listing a whole host of sites as “good resources for church planting” or “good resources for spiritual growth” or “good resources for theology”?

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why not join the CEs?

On SI, regular commenter Ron Bean asked the question:

For the sake of summary, simplicity and specificity could someone (perhaps RPittman, who last used this phrase) list some of these many problems of CE’s?

I responded with a list of four items that came to mind immediately, but I’d like to expand on that list a bit here.

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