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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getting what matters most

I have great confidence in this next generation. They get what matters most.

So says Matt Olson, president of Northland International University, here: “Confidence in the Next Generation”. Matt is infused with this confidence after spending a Sunday at Grace Bible Church of Philadelphia, PA. From the way he writes, it sounds like several Northland grads are involved in the ministry of this church and a NIU staffer will continue to be on the staff of Northland while moving to Philadelphia and becoming part of this church.

Matt describes the church this way:

My soul was refreshed and encouraged as I saw a variety of things taking place at Grace. At Grace they focus on Christ in all that they do. This was evidenced by their worship, expository preaching, and deliberateness of their service. This is a church that is multi-ethnic, has a heart for the city, thriving with young people, and getting ready to launch a church plant in the next 9-12 months into another part of the city. They get what matters most.

One would expect a Christian college president to be pleased with graduates who are busy serving the Lord. No surprise there! But there is something surprising for a fundamentalist who formerly included Northland International University among his recommended colleges and universities.

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Slavery and Alcohol

Seemingly two disparate topics, no? I don’t know of a direct connection, but I’d like to examine current Christian reactions to both. This post is prompted by remarks made by D. A. Carson at the EFCA Theology Conference and transcribed for us here. In these comments, Carson notes the difference between the American slave trade and slavery in the ancient Roman empire. The American slave trade was basically ‘men-stealing’ (Ex 21.16; 1 Tim 1.10), whereas the Roman system functioned in many ways as a social safety net for the insolvent (men-stealing was also involved, but was not the primary source of Roman slaves).

Is there anyone today who would argue that Christianity allows for any legitimacy to slavery at all? We don’t deny that Christians, sadly, have made such arguments. It’s more than sad, its an embarrassment that otherwise respected Christians of the past could not see the evil of the slave trade.

What is the Christian argument against slavery?

We agree that slavery is an evil. We stand together against it. On what basis do we take this stand?

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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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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

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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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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

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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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young? conservative? Hold on!

My on-line friend, Jon Gleason, wrote me in response to the current controversy. I thought it would be worth reposting here with his kind consent. His embrace of separatistic principles is not unlike mine. Both of us came out of evangelical backgrounds. Those who are moving leftward are perhaps naïve about the problems they will encounter as they join up with evangelicals. May this current controversy be a “Hold on!” moment for them as Jon describes below:

Dear Don,

I am glad you commented on your blog on Thabiti Anyabwile’s recent article. I’ve been watching events with great interest, because Pastor Anyabwile is saying many things I was saying and thinking some 22 years ago. While some may think nothing is going to come of this, I’m not so certain.

As a student at Biola University and then at Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, I held a position which is virtually identical to many who would today be called “conservative evangelicals”. If I could sum up what I believed back then, it would be thus: “I’ll hold to the truth of God’s Word; I’m absolutely committed to it. I oppose apostasy – but I’m not one of those wacky second degree separatists.”

God’s Word is powerful, and so is obedience. If you obey, you occasionally have those “paradigm shifts” as new areas of obedience open up to you. We might call them the “Hold ON!” moments. That can happen when you realise, “I’m in fellowship with those who are dabbling with heretics!” My “hold ON!” moment came when Biola invited a music minister from the Crystal Cathedral to speak at a music seminar. I couldn’t overlook the fact that he was aiding the propagation of Robert Schuller’s heresy, and Biola thought it was acceptable to bring him in.

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