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.

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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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Announcing Proclaim & Defend

Today the FBFI launches a new ministry, a blog (yes, indeed, a blog) called Proclaim & Defend. The blog is going to be the online voice of the FBFI point of view. We expect to publish articles from our print magazine, FrontLine (I encourage you to subscribe!), as well as regular blog posts from various FBF pastors and other sympathizers. We will also publish as much audio from our various fellowship meetings as possible. We currently have published audio from four fellowship meetings in 2011. Subscribe to our podcast and look for more to come soon (just two weeks to the Northwest Fellowship meeting).

Proclaim & Defend is a little bare just now. We plan to fill it up right away with articles designed to edify the saints, proclaim God’s truth, and take a stand for the purity of the church, as fundamentalists have always done. We begin by publishing a serialization of articles from the recently published Jan/Feb 2012 edition of FrontLine. The subject of this edition is “Protecting Our Children.” We launch P&D with an excellent article by Dave Shumate entitled “What We Are Learning”. Be sure to read it as it comes out over the next three days.

It is my privilege to serve as chairman of the Communications Committee which is charged with the responsibility of coordinating the Proclaim & Defend blog effort. I am glad for the opportunity and trust that these efforts might minister to needs around the world.

defining ‘conservative evangelical’

A couple of my recent reading sources lead me to look at the term ‘conservative evangelical’ from a different perspective other than my normal ‘rabid fundamentalism’. One source is a book edited by Timothy George and David Dockery, Theologians of the Baptist Tradition. The other is an article by Michael Clawson appearing on Roger Olson’s site, “Young, Restless, and Fundamentalist: Neo-fundamentalism among American Evangelicals(HT: Sharper Iron).

Both of these sources come at the question from the evangelical side of the spectrum, in the case of Clawson and Olson, it is on the outside of conservative evangelicalism looking in, whereas George and Dockery are more or less on the inside of the movement. Both sources offer some interesting observations of the so-called ‘conservative evangelical’ movement.

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is it propaganda?

Wikipedia says that propaganda was not originally a negative or pejorative term.

While the term propaganda has acquired a strongly negative connotation by association with its most manipulative and jingoistic examples, propaganda in its original sense was neutral, and could refer to uses that were generally benign or innocuous, such as public health recommendations, signs encouraging citizens to participate in a census or election, or messages encouraging persons to report crimes to the police, among others.

Our church is located in an area of Greater Victoria that was once known as ‘the Western Communities’. Some recalcitrant old-timers (read ‘me’) still sometimes use the old term. The term has some negative connotations – our area used to be considered a little bit of ‘hicksville’, or ‘dogpatch’… not the choicest addresses in town.

All that began to change with rapid property development and population growth in our end of town. That’s when the propaganda machine went into effect.

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the Jakes-shakes continue

Another blog reacting to the TD Jakes invitation and defense by James MacDonald.

What makes this one interesting is…

  • That the author is a pastor in the Harvest Bible Fellowship, James MacDonald’s organization.
  • That the author is a graduate of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary
  • That some of the author’s co-bloggers are also graduates of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary. (One is the son of a very close friend from ‘back in the day’.)

Given those connections, the separatistic bent of the blog post makes a bit more sense. (Although it remains to be seen if actual separation will take place.)

Along with making the post make a bit more sense, these facts raise some interesting questions:

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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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the FBFI Annual Conference

The FBFI Annual Conference was held at Crosspointe Baptist Church in Indianapolis last week. The meeting was a great blessing. The sermons are now available at SermonAudio. I am providing a link to all the messages below.

If you don’t have time to listen to all, I would recommend the following as highlights:

All of Dr. Ed Nelson’s messages. Dr. Nelson was ‘on fire’ as I described it to a friend. He is a tremendous, faithful man of God who the Lord has used to establish many churches. He is in his eighties – 86? – and still a man being used of God.

The message by Brent Floyd, a word to young men from a young man was excellent.

And Tim Berlin brought a fantastic message on unity. Very well done,  had the right focus and is an example of how those who contend must not be contentious.

I’d also like to recommend the workshop by Jeremy Sweatt. Very interesting look at the thinking of younger fundamentalists.

Here is the whole list (in order of appearance):

Messages:

The Church: The Pillar & Ground of the Truth
Dr. Ed Nelson | 2011 FBFI Annual Meeting

Who Will Be Your King?
Dr. John Vaughn | 2011 FBFI Annual Meeting

Hope Deferred
Christopher Williams | 2011 FBFI Annual Meeting

Earnestly Contend for the Faith
Dr. Ed Nelson | 2011 FBFI Annual Meeting

But Continue Thou
Brent Floyd | 2011 FBFI Annual Meeting

Remnant Theology
Dr. Ed Nelson | 2011 FBFI Annual Meeting

Endeavoring to Keep the Unity of the Spirit
Tim Berlin | 2011 FBFI Annual Meeting

Jehoshaphat: Yahweh Judges
Rick Arrowood | 2011 FBFI Annual Meeting

How Do We Arrive at Truth?
Dr. Bud Steadman | 2011 FBFI Annual Meeting

Workshops:

The Heart of a Young Fundamentalist
Jeremy Sweatt | 2011 FBFI Annual Meeting

A Biblical Look at Our Church Music
Dr. Charles Phelps | 2011 FBFI Annual Meeting

Helping Teens in a Changing Culture
Dan Fitzgerald | 2011 FBFI Annual Meeting

~~~

May the Lord make these words profitable to all who hear.

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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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systemic?

The dictionary defines systemic as:

“of, relating to, or common to a system”

“systemic” in Frederick C. Mish, ed., Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed. (Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).

The discussion on the fundamentalist blogosphere lately has been very heated over stories of scandal and sexual abuse in or connected with ministries widely viewed as fundamentalist. (I phrase it that way because some may dispute the fundie credentials of some of these ministries.)

I really don’t want to get into a “fact-finding-fault-finding” scream-a-thon here. But Bob Bixby brings the word ‘systemic’ to the discussion and others have said similar things. By systemic, Bob says he means

I think it is right to say that she was wrongly treated because of a systemic abuse of victims in fundamentalist circles. I insist on the word “systemic” because I do not think that IFB people consciously scheme about how to make people suffer.

I do agree that abuse is systemic in the culture of IFB. It is systemic because of the general IFB understanding of church, discipline, sin, authority, and the Bible.

So… systemic… “of, relating to, or common to a system”

(Now, before we go on, let’s note that Bob is broadening the topic from sexual abuse to ‘abuse of victims’ and that this issue is ‘systemic’ because of the IFB “understanding of church, discipline, sin, authority, and the Bible.” Bob is painting with a very broad brush and using the current scandal to attack his favorite whipping boy, independent Baptist Fundamentalism.)

But is ‘sexual abuse’ and ‘child abuse’ systemic to Christian fundamentalism?

A friend of mine sent me a few links tonight about another very very tragic and disgusting story about another independent Baptist and another scandal. I’m not going to include any links, its just a completely disgusting story. In this case, it appears there is a serious sin issue, this time on the part of a pastor. That’s all the details I’ll give.

But the story gave me pause. Not another one! And then again, this question came to mind: is ‘sexual abuse’ and ‘child abuse’ systemic to Christian fundamentalism?

Because if it is, every right thinking fundamentalist needs to GET OUT, fast.

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