the danger of theological drift

We are in a series of posts which serve as commentary on Kevin Bauder’s tenth lecture on the subject of Biblical Separation, delivered at International Baptist College September 15-17, 2008. This is post number 5. Earlier posts on the lecture series can be found here:

Posts specifically regarding Lecture 10:

  1. is separation a fundamental doctrine
  2. indifferentists defined
  3. not indifferent, but not allies
  4. how should we proceed

We come now to my fifth post on Bauder’s tenth lecture [having fun with numbers, aren’t we? – ed.] I’ve given this one the heading “the danger of theological drift”. When I was learning to drive, my dad taught me that when approaching an oncoming vehicle on the highway at night I should keep my eyes on the white line at the shoulder on my side of the road. The idea was that you tend to steer in the direction your eyes are looking. If you become transfixed with the oncoming lights on the other side of the road… well, let’s just say it is better to watch your own side of the road!

In this post, I will replay two previous clips from previous posts and add one more. These clips raise the concern of theological drift. This is a concern for the CE crowd and their upcoming generations and it is also a concern for our own Fundie crowd.

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how should we proceed

We are in a series of posts which serve as commentary on Kevin Bauder’s tenth lecture on the subject of Biblical Separation, delivered at International Baptist College September 15-17, 2008. This is post number 4. Earlier posts on the lecture series can be found here:

Posts specifically regarding Lecture 10:

  1. is separation a fundamental doctrine
  2. indifferentists defined
  3. not indifferent, but not allies

This is my fourth post considering Kevin Bauder’s tenth lecture at International Baptist College. This post is entitled: ‘how should we proceed‘.

Our analysis of the situation is essentially similar (see especially post #2 and post #3). The New Evangelical Indifferentism that now characterizes the majority of evangelicalism is a travesty that demeans the gospel. The Conservative Evangelicals are not Indifferentists, but they remain closely connected to Indifferentists and even see themselves as ‘indebted’ to them. They are willing to endorse Indifferentists. This attitude constitutes a significant difference between Fundamentalists and Conservative Evangelicals. It precludes unfettered fellowship between them.

Nevertheless, Bauder is going to suggest that some fellowship with Conservative Evangelicals (CEs) is possible for Fundamentalists (Fundies). I will let Bauder speak for himself, but it is here where his viewpoint and mine begin to diverge.

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not indifferent, but not allies

We are in a series of posts which serve as commentary on Kevin Bauder’s tenth lecture on the subject of Biblical Separation, delivered at International Baptist College September 15-17, 2008. This is post number 3. Earlier posts on the lecture series can be found here:

Posts specifically regarding Lecture 10:

  1. is separation a fundamental doctrine
  2. indifferentists defined

This is the third in my series of posts concerning Kevin Bauder’s tenth lecture. The clips in this section are going to mark out a distinction between conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists. In the last post, we defined indifferentism, the attitude of New Evangelicalism, which thinks it is just fine for true Christians to cooperate with people who deny the essential doctrines of Christianity and to accredit them as ‘our Christian brothers’. Bro. Bauder says the activities of Indifferentists are very serious and very damaging to Christianity itself. I agree with him!

The next point, and the subject of this post, describes the distinctions between the Indifferentists (formerly known as New Evangelicals), Conservative Evangelicals, and Fundamentalists.

I appreciate one aspect of these clips in particular. Bauder makes it clear that there is a distinct difference between Conservative Evangelicals (CEs) and Fundamentalists. He will say that this difference amounts to an insurmountable barrier which precludes almost all fellowship. I agree in the main, but likely see the barrier as larger and the opportunities for fellowship as much, much smaller. [Read more…]

indifferentists defined

We are in a series of posts which serve as commentary on Kevin Bauder’s tenth lecture on the subject of Biblical Separation, delivered at International Baptist College September 15-17, 2008. This is post number 2. Earlier posts on the lecture series can be found here:

Posts specifically regarding Lecture 10:

  1. is separation a fundamental doctrine

The term ‘indifferentist’ is revived by Kevin Bauder in his discussion of Biblical Separation. The term comes from J. Gresham Machen, a warrior in the 1930s for the orthodox cause. He is a man much admired by fundamentalists, though he himself didn’t like the label. My impression is that he was somewhat embarrassed by the shenanigans of some purported fundamentalists. We share his embarrassment, but don’t share his eschewing of the label.

What is an ‘indifferentist’? An indifferentist is a Christian who holds to orthodox doctrines, but is quite willing to work with professing Christians who deny those same doctrines. In other words, though an indifferentist is ‘in the circle’ of Christianity, he is willing to work with some of those who are clearly ‘outside the circle’, and is even willing to call them good Christian brothers.

In order to understand the term more fully, I have assembled a series of clips from Kevin Bauder’s lecture. I’ll summarize Bauder’s argument, then offer a few comments. You will find me generally in agreement with this portion of Bauder’s argument. [Read more…]

is separation a fundamental doctrine

This post commences a series of posts I intend to produce with respect to Kevin Bauder’s lectures at International Baptist College, delivered September 15, 16, and 17 of 2008. I posted earlier about my disagreement with Bauder’s view of history. (So far I have had no one challenge my recollection of the period, but that could only be a measure of the point of view of my paltry readership.) I also posted on a point Bauder made in the lectures that I thought was quite helpful.

The critical lecture in the series at IBC is lecture 10, the final lecture. In this lecture, I found several points of agreement on analyzing the current state of affairs, whatever one might think of the history that led to this point. In consequence, I do want to give credit for a very clear analysis of the essential difference between Fundamentalists and Conservative Evangelicals. It is essential that our people understand the difference and know that there is a difference! (It seems that some wish to deny a difference entirely. I submit that they are entirely wrong, and I think Bauder does, too.)

Now, from the critical tenth lecture in this series, I have twenty clips — a bit unwieldy for one post. I am planning a series of six posts using these clips as illustrative/foundational material for a discussion of what Bauder is saying. I agree with a most of what Bauder says in this lecture. I have some philosophical differences at some points, more with respect to some of his conclusions and present attitude towards what are called Conservative Evangelicals. We will have to work our way up to that.

This first post has to do with one clip and a mild objection to one of bro. Bauder’s assertions. Here is the clip.

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In this clip, [04:26] Is Separation a Fundamental, bro. Bauder is asserting that separation is not a fundamental doctrine, not a defining doctrine. A good deal of this lecture series is spent on defining ‘the circle’ or, ‘is you is, or is you ain’t a Christian’. The doctrines defining the circle would be gospel centred doctrines. Doctrines like the doctrine of sin, the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement, the doctrine of Christ as the perfect substitute (including doctrines of deity, impeccability, active atonement – death, burial, resurrection, return in judgement, etc.). The doctrines of heaven and hell, the doctrines of inspiration and so on are going to be related tangentially, at least, to this fundamental question, ‘who is a Christian?’ The doctrines that define the answer to that question must be considered a fundamental doctrine. These doctrines define the circle. If you answer one way, you are inside the circle, if you answer the other way, you are outside the circle.

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the fundamentalist from the X dimension

That, I think, would be me…

In my universe, the history of the New Evangelical compromise is apparently vastly different from that of the universe I currently inhabit. I am not certain how I managed a paradigm shift. I haven’t visited any time portals or experienced warp drive that I know of, but apparently it has happened.

I know this is true because I am at the moment thinking about what I am hearing out of the Keven Bauder lectures at International Baptist College. I mentioned them earlier and also mentioned that I had a few critical things to say concerning them. The more that I think about this, however, I am coming to an inescapable conclusion. I must be from a parallel universe. I am not sure how I got here, but I really would like to go back to my own time and space. (And I am wondering what in the world kind of havoc my altar ego from this universe is wreaking on my own universe.)

The best way to explain this is to offer you some audio clips from Bauder’s lectures, then to explain ‘what really happened’ as I understand it. (Bear in mind that my recollections are undoubtedly from an alternate version of reality, so you can carry on as you were… these are just the meanderings of a man caught in a time wrinkle, desperately hoping to find his way out!)

First, the audio clips. The first is from near the end of Lecture 7, then several from Lecture 8. The whole presentation up to this point is a lengthy discussion of the church, its nature and boundaries. This took a total of 7 hours, 38 minutes, and 43 seconds of talking on the first two days of the seminar (3:34:34 on day 1, 4:04:09 on day two), but who’s counting? All of that got to the end of lecture 7 and finally to some of the whole reason for gathering, to talk about the Biblical Doctrine of Separation. Perhaps some of that time was necessary, but even Bauder noticed his student’s eyes glazing over as he ponderously worked his way through his subject.1

As for the contents of the clips, I would have you think of clip one, from lecture 7, separately from the others. This is my first parallel universe experience. The succeeding clips should be considered together. They sum up my parallel universe experience from lecture 8. I will have other commentary later on a few more clips, but these will suffice to point out a major problem in fundamentalism. [Or else a major problem in the space/time continuum, I’ll leave you to decide which alternative is the real reality.]

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Notes:

  1. The third day of the seminar, by the way, took another 4 hours and 3 minutes (1:28:37 for lecture 8, 1:25:39 for lecture 9, and 1:08:54). I include all this information for two reasons: 1. If you decide to work your way through this material, be prepared for a long listen. 2. It is no easy task to sift through this amount of material. If it had all been on the topic at hand, it would have been more interesting. []