separation

Kevin Bauder critiques my recent post “Response to Tyler Robbins” beginning this way:

In Pastor Don Johnson’s description of “Convergent” evangelicals, the first item is “Anti-separatism (or at least non-separatism).” This descriptor is so vague as to be nearly incomprehensible, and to the degree that it can be comprehended it is misleading. To know what Pastor Johnson means by “anti-separatism,” we would first have to know exactly what he means by separatism. Presumably he is thinking in terms of some version of ecclesiastical separation, though exactly what his theory of ecclesiastical separation is, I have never quite been able to understand. At any rate, assuming that he is accusing “Convergents” of rejecting (or at least not implementing) ecclesiastical separation, the accusation is terribly unfair.

Even the Neoevangelicals were not completely anti-separatistic. They never argued for engaging in Christian fellowship with Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Shintoists, Jainists, Sikhs, Bahaists, Theosophists, Spiritists, Atheists, Satanists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Millennial Dawnists, or Mormons. They clearly understood that no Christian fellowship was possible with adherents of these gospel-denying systems.

It is true that I did not define what I meant by anti-separatist, but I think brother Bauder is well aware of what I mean by separatism as he goes on to describe it later in his post. I think his opening, however, is an odd attempt to muddy the waters as he argues that the New Evangelicals were somehow still a kind of separatist. If everyone is a separatist, no one is a separatist. Clearly the New Evangelicals were not for separation from theological liberalism, rather they sought to infiltrate and cooperate with liberalism for various ends, some of which Bauder lists in his post.

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Northland Today (2013.4.23)

I am not going to load this post up with a lot of commentary. Just three points:

I guess that is what this means:

It has been our desire to reach out to scripturally solid churches who in the past have not been familiar with Northland as well as continue to serve our current constituents.

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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.

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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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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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elephantine update

Thabiti Anyabwile comments on the Mark Driscoll / James MacDonald / T. D. Jakes love-in. You need to read it.

Money quote:

 And we kid ourselves if we think the Elephant Room invitation itself isn’t an endorsement of sorts.  We can’t downplay the associations by calling for people to suspend judgment and responding ad hominem against “discernment bloggers.”  We certainly can’t do that while simultaneously pointing to our association at The Gospel Coalition as a happy certification of orthodoxy and good practice, as Driscoll seems to do here with MacDonald. [emphasis added]

What a blessing it would be if men like Thabiti and the more conservative evangelicals would finally see that this is the crux of the fundamentalist-evangelical divide, and then get on the right side of it.

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together for ?

Yes, it’s the Rick and John show once again. Appearing at your favorite popularizer of Reformed theology web-site or your favorite popularizer of Purposeful theology web-site. So says Baptist Press.

Frankly, I’m appalled at the kinds of slanders that have been brought against this book by people whose methods of critique, if they were consistently applied to the Bible, would undo it as the Word of God.

Which book? Purpose Driven Life.

Who said it? John Piper … see the video at one of the links above.

When and Where? May 1, 2011, during the Desiring God Regional Conference at Saddleback Church.

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what do you think about apostles … today?

I grew up in Alberta, Canada, for any who might not know. Alberta is one of the wealthiest provinces in Canada due to huge oilfields. The oilfields were mainly discovered after World War II. Prior to that, Alberta was largely an agricultural economy subject to the ups and downs of world markets. And of course, the Great Depression was a huge downer.

During those years, a radio preacher got interested in the theories of Social Credit. He lobbied the government to adopt these policies, but when rebuffed formed the Social Credit party and became Premier of the province in 1935. He was Premier for eight years, but died suddenly, to be replaced by his right hand man.

The preacher’s name was William Aberhart. He was a complicated individual, very insecure as a person in some ways, and very eclectic in his theology, although we would probably think of him as basically orthodox.

When I say eclectic, I mean that he would pick up new theology as he went along, becoming an enthusiast for some new quirk as it came to his attention. He mostly served as a lay preacher, but at one point he led a Baptist church in Calgary to designate him as its “apostle”. Under him, there served a pastor, but he was the “apostle.”

What do you think of that?

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kjo = neo-e?

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

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

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

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

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

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show me the silent majority

Kevin Bauder’s latest installment tells the history of separation from a point of view totally foreign to me. Essentially, he seems to be arguing that there has been a silent majority within evangelical Christendom that never was actually new-evangelical.

  • This silent majority was at first willing to be identified as fundamentalists but had little stomach for the fight the fundamentalists waged against the liberals.
  • This silent majority wasn’t new-evangelical, but it sided with the new evangelical forces on the left of the NAE against the fundamentalists. (??)
  • The silent majority didn’t approve of Billy Graham’s cooperative evangelicalism, but they didn’t break with Graham over it. (???)

You know, I’d really like to see some evidence of these last two points especially. I see many ‘attaboys’ on SI about it, but really, shouldn’t we demand some evidence and not just rely on Bauder’s say-so?

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