Sunday, June 25, 2006

Grandiose FBCH Memories and Re-Writing History (Part 1)

**Recently it was brought to my attention that Pastor Schaap made some statements in an April 23rd sermon about people who critique and scrutinize his books and/or sermons. He went on to say that he was basically just wingin' it with his sermons and not concerned with who agreed or disagreed with him. He wrapped it all up by advising the critics to write their own cotton-pickin' books so that he could analyze and dissect them.

I personally believe that if you are going to write a book or preach a sermon that you need to be able to back up what you state or write Biblically and in the proper context--to have the attitude that it does not matter or that you do not owe anyone a clarification is nothing but the heighth of arrogance. I am sure that there are many areas where Pastor Schaap and I would agree and find some common ground. We are not attempting to pick on every little mistake or misstatement he makes--we simply want to look at some of the revisionist history that has been going on in Hammond for years and continues to this day.


To listen to a current sermon or to read a recent book by Pastor Jack Schaap is to inevitably hear him chatter about his version of the legacy of the late Pastor Jack Hyles. At this point let me interject that I do cut him some slack since Hyles was his father-in-law, but even with that in mind his adoration of all things Hyles is nothing short of nauseating. As a loyal Hylesite some years ago, this particular proclivity of Pastor Schaap would not have even caused me to "bat an eye". As I now listen to his sermons at Baptist City and read his books from Hyles Publications, I am struck by the similarities between he and Jack Hyles.

Since the LORD removed the cobwebs of cultural fundamentalism from my mind and heart, it has been interesting to notice some of these things for the very first time. When you are entangled in the politics and emotional rhetoric of IFBxdom, it is nearly impossible to see the exaggerations, fabrications, and all out tall tales that are synonymous with HAC/FBCH. Hyles was a master at these home spun stories and anecdotal illustrations, but I do believe that Pastor Schaap has surpassed his teacher and dethroned him as IFBX's newest "Uncle Arthur".

I want to begin looking at a particular chapter in Pastor Schaap's book entitled, "Principles of Church Growth". The title of this particular chapter is "Balancing the Past With the Present" in which he is attempting to motivate his flock to greater goals and higher attendance aspirations! This chapter is chock full of interesting teachings and it will probably take a few posts to look at all of the revisionist history contained in just this chapter. This entire book is based on the book of Acts, but has a good bit of John's Revelation sprinkled throughout. On pages 145 and 146 Pastor Schaap begins to build his case for rejecting the idea that we are living in the "Laodicean Age" by stating:
"When I was a freshman in college, I was enraptured with the teaching of theologians regarding the seven different church ages, and I thought it was very intriguing. However, as I studied the Bible, I found this teaching was a bunch of baloney.

I was relieved when I found out Brother Hyles thought this teaching was a bunch of baloney, too! I felt vindicated. Every theologian I have ever read states that he felt he was living in the Laodicean Age, whether that theologian lived 1,000 years ago or is presently living.

One reason I believe theologians teach this is because the Laodicean Age was a compromised age, and it appears that Jesus is just about ready to return. It appears that not much church building can go on. My personal opinion is that theologians write that because they are too cotton-pickin' lazy to go out and knock on doors and build bus routes. Or maybe these theologians tried building a church and failed, so now they would rather tell everyone that building a church can't be done. They write books instead!

This business of church ages is not in the Scriptures. The reason I do not like or believe this theory is because my heart is set on church growth, not on church excuse. I'm not looking for an excuse as to why First Baptist Church of Hammond cannot go to the next stage of growth. During the fall of 2003, First Baptist Church started 17 new adult Sunday School classes...If I believed that we are living in the "Laodicean Age", starting new Sunday school classes would be the stupidest thing I could ever do. If I believed we are living in the Laodicean Age, I would just get comfortable in my pulpit and tend the flock God has given me and let the law of attrition peel off church members as they die or move away until eventually the church could meet in the two center sections of the auditorium and talk about the glory days of the past and the good old days when Brother Hyles used to be here."

Later on page 148, Pastor Schaap describes this conversation:

"I was talking to a man about our church recently. He said, 'Name your top men.' I gave him the names of my men who are great producers and loyal helpers in our ministry. He then asked, 'What kind of man do you have in your bus ministry?' I said, 'I could pick up the phone and make one phone call and have 5,000 more people next Sunday.' "
Initially, I would ask readers to take notice of the mysterious absence of any mention of the glory of God. This is nothing new to anyone even marginally familiar with this ministry, however. I will stop now and open this one up for some discussion. Later on we will look at the rest of the chapter as Pastor Schaap waxes eloquent on the demise of churches once pastored by Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, and Charles Finney. You will see the predictable ploy of attempting to compare these men to Jack Hyles--Finney is actually a great comparison, but the attempt to link C.H. Spurgeon and D.L. Moody to Hyles is a quantum leap!

I could not help but chuckle as I read Pastor Schaap correcting theologians for their teaching that was obviously tainted by their laziness and lack of evangelistic zeal! He goes on to assume that many of them probably had never built a church or tried and failed miserably so they teach and write books now! The irony here is that Pastor Schaap never pastored a day in his life until he was given his father-in-law's church! The person at FBCH considered an "expert" on church building is none other than a man, Bob Marshall, who has not pastored a second in his life!

I also noticed that Pastor Schaap assumes that anyone who believes we are living in the Laodicean Age is obviously not concerned about souls or seeing their church grow. Why do these folks always have to cast others in this light? In their eyes it seems anyone who disagrees with their methodology or theology is obviously a lazy rascal who cannot or will not be a witness for the LORD Jesus Christ.

Any other takes on what you have read? I started the ball rolling now someone else needs to take over...


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Assuming the KJVO Position

Judging from the turn that our last post took towards the canker of what is commonly known as exclusive King James Onlyism, we decided to attempt to flesh out some more thoughts on this crucial topic. **********************************

Knowing full well that we will be accused of beating a dead horse so to speak, I'd like to again address the topic that so pervades the teachings and philosophies of FBCH/HAC---the new doctrine of King James Onlyism. It is one that will no doubt be touched upon often here as it is one of the most prominent "new doctrines" espoused by both First Baptist Church of Hammond and Hyles-Anderson College.

What we have seen exhibited lately here at Bread and Circuses can only be described as "assuming the position" of the proverbial ostrich with its head buried firmly within the sand of hysteric fundamentalism. We do not say this to condemn those caught in this error--both Matthew and I were at one time King James Only nuts as wide-eyed knuckleheads at FBCH. Sadly many who are in the KJVO camp admit that they have never even read any books that give the other side of the translation story--in their mind there is no need to investigate this matter any further--Riplinger, Ruckman, Grady, Fuller, and Hyles said it and that is good enough for them.

I still struggle to process this fact but during my last semester at HAC, I took Bible Doctrines class. I reckon that they saw the need to at least pretend that they teach these doctrines, hence the class. The very first "doctrine" that the instructor presented was that of KJVOnlyism. To state it mildly, I was aghast. It is well-known that they not only dogmatically proclaim this new doctrine but that they will and do separate regarding it.

In the recent comment sections of our blog, the topic has been brought to the forefront by some well-meaning pro-FBCHers. Concurrently, much misinformation has been displayed at the forefront as well. We have noticed remarks from these folks who would equate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with the KJV that they carry to church via the first chapter of John's gospel account...? Both Matthew and myself have sustained verbal injury by those who would label us as "liberal" by our view of Biblical inerrancy. Basically, since we are not KJVOnly, therefore in the minds of some we deny the inerrancy of Scripture...? My brethren, misinformation abounds, indeed.

It has been stated by some commenting here that "Fundamentalists have always believed that the Bible was without error." Who would deny this fact? The Bible, as given to the original penman was without error and given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Where in the New Testament or Old for that matter are we reminded that it would be exclusively without error and perfectly translated in the Authorized Version of A.D. 1611? We at Bread and Circuses have yet to find this passage in our Bibles, King James Version or otherwise. Perchance it is contained in the apocryphal books of the original 1611 AV?

The question is put forth, "Have you ever seen the originals?" Quite simply and honestly the answer is an obvious "no". Howbeit, I have utterly failed to recognize the connection that this question shares with the issue that is at hand. Again, what does the Bible say about its own preservation and inspiration? Please do not hesitate to return your answers with Scripture references. There is one hitch---context WILL count. This will no doubt serve as a devastating blow to the "Jesus= 1611 KJV" crowd.

What part of "God has preserved His Word in the totality of extant manuscripts and resulting translations" do we not understand? Is our God so small that He can no longer use even the errors of fallen man to ultimately preserve His written Word for believers today? Indeed, he can and has, and I rejoice greatly in this fact.

We claim the original autographs to be perfect due to the Scripture's own teaching on inspiration. The original human authors wrote their respective portions of Holy Writ under direct influence of the Holy Spirit of God. Edward, et al, THIS is the historic position regarding the Holy Scriptures.

In one recent exchange, a pro-FBCHer stated "If I honestly believed the way some of you do here about the Scriptures, I would throw in the towel and live it up." What great faith verbalized! I would advise this gentleman against reading the Da Vinci Code---if we here at B&C have shaken your faith, Dan Brown's heretical novelty most certainly will! I praise God that He is bigger than our all too often little faith.

Here are some questions to ponder...Where did God promise to preserve a 17th century English translation in Scripture? Is there a perfectly translated Bible version in every known language? Is the LORD a respecter of persons--favoring only English speaking peoples with His "perfect" man made translation in the KJV? Are there any Bible scholars with well respected earned degrees or sound Bible expositors that espouse this teaching of King James Onlyism? If your answer is "yes", please list them for us. Do you believe that the King James Version of the Bible is perfectly translated and free of any error? If your answer is "yes", which edition of the KJV is the perfect one?

Any takers?


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Well Fed???? Part 2 Conclusion

Here is the second part and conclusion to the "Well Fed" post. In Part 1 I explained that Pastor Schaap goes to great lengths to emphasize the fact that the FBCH congregation was and still is very well fed from the Word every week. As I read this passage in his book, I was wondering how he came to this conclusion--I do, however, realize this is a very general claim that any pastor would claim concerning his respective church. Pastor Schaap goes on to explain how he defines a "well fed" church. This is how Pastor Schaap came to these conclusions regarding the flock in Hammond and the extended FBCH flock across the globe. On page 11 of "Principles of Church Growth", Pastor Schaap opines:

"I think of all the soul-winning teaching of Brother Hyles through the years. How many times he pounded his fist on the pulpit, thundering out to the First Baptist Church members to be soul winners. Two of Brother Hyles' greatest messages, "If You Can't Be A Soul Winner, Be A Soul Warner" and "The Four Calls To Soulwinning" were filled with powerful, powerful truths.

Again and again Brother Hyles thundered out the truths about soulwinning, the King James Bible, separation, the body of Christ, and the blood of Jesus Christ. His studies of the Proverbs, and the Song of Solomon gave us teachings that helped us with our marriages, our child rearing, and our families. These truths make us more accountable because we have received much.

The First Baptist Church people continue to be very richly nourished from Brother Hyles' many tributaries: his books, his Bible studies, his preaching, and his counseling. First Baptist Church and Christians across the world are recipients of a rich, flavorful menu as we have our libraries stocked with Brother Hyles' materials; our minds and our memories are filled with his voice and his teachings. We have been well fed."
Did anyone else notice how Pastor Schaap describes being "well fed"? In his world the foundational truths that need to be "thundered" from a pastor's pulpit ministry are:

1. Soulwinning
2. King James Bible
3. Separation
4. The body of Christ
5. The blood of Christ

These are the ingredients of a well fed church flock according to the leader of IFBxdom. I don't think that anyone would disagree with the last two, but even these would be considered foundational doctrines that all Christians regardless of their maturity would need to embrace. I believe that we see here what truly motivates FBCH whether Hyles is pastor or Jack Schaap--they can try to say that things have changed for the better--statements like these are what cause me to doubt the veracity of those claims.

Until FBCH changes her philosophy of ministry those who attend will NOT be Biblically well fed. As long as their ministry focus follows the above list, the dear people in the congregation will continue to be malnourished. Members of FBCH may believe sincerely with all of their hearts that they ARE well fed--I believe they are sincerely wrong--unless they go elsewhere (radio preachers, good books, the Word of God without the IFBx filter, etc...) they will never grow up into Christ. I certainly do not wish to imply that I have arrived in my spiritual walk--nothing could be further from the truth. I am still daily learning and studying so that I might bring forth fruit to the glory of God. I am burdened by the delusional statements that emanate from the pulpit of FBCH on a regular basis--let's pray that eyes will be opened and the ship will be righted or that folks will abandon ship and seek a Christ-centered church.

Here are some questions: Is a "powerful truth" sometimes different than a Biblical truth? Is a church only well fed when they hear the topics of soulwinning, separation, KJB, the blood of Christ, and the body of Christ thundered from the pulpit on a regular basis? Can a church truly be well fed outside of regular and systematic expository preaching? Is it possible for a man-centered and numbers driven church to be well fed? We would love to hear your thoughts on this--maybe I am way off base and just don't realize it yet.

Colossians 1:3-6;9-14 ESB "We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing —as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth...And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Well Fed???? Part 1

As a young person I can remember vividly an illustration that Pastor Hyles gave on numerous occasions regarding the Biblical literacy of his parishioners. Here is a brief summary of the story--you will get the gist. A pastor (obviously a BJU or Master's Seminary educated "deeper- lifer") told Bro. Hyles that he basically had a church full of busy Christians who knew very little Bible doctrine--Hyles proceeded to challenge the pastor to a Bible knowledge showdown. Bro. Hyles offered to write up some questions for this other pastor's flock and the other pastor was to do likewise--only one church would be crowned Bible Bowl Champion! Of course the other pastor (he will remain nameless since he probably was invented for this story) declined the challenge and at this point the raucous FBCH Sunday evening crowd would erupt into wild shouts of "Glory!" and "Come on, Preacher!" This was one of my favorite bits that Pastor Hyles would regularly entertain us with.

Fast forward 20 years to 2004--Pastor Jack Schaap is now at the helm of the USS Sibley and he has obviously bought into the bit about FBCH and her "well fed" flock. I was recently thumbing through a book written by Jack Schaap entitled, "Principles of Church Growth", and found some gems that go along perfectly with this idea of IFBxers and their "well fed" and "well watered" congregations. What initially caught my attention was the very first chapter, "Rich, Fat, Salty, Lazy, and Dead". Here are some highlights--this will take a couple of posts:

Pastor Schaap begins with some interesting facts about the Dead Sea also known as the Salt Sea. He points out that this body of water is well fed but does not flow anywhere--apparently this is what causes it to be toxic and unable to sustain life. Pastor Schaap goes on to relate this story to the First Baptist Church of Hammond and the "fact" that she is now and always has been "well fed". On page 10 of his book, Principles of Church Growth, Pastor Schaap writes:

"The congregation of the First Baptist Church of Hammond has been and continues to be well fed. I do not apologize for that statement. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a student of the Bible, I study it diligently, and have been studying and preaching it for nearly 30 years. When I first began teaching at Hyles-Anderson College, my wife can testify to this, there was rarely a night that I went to bed before 1:30 in the morning because I was studying and laboring. With my books all around me, I had no idea that I was gathering into the storage files of my mind the tools necessary to bring to the First Baptist Church congregation the truths that I teach and preach week after week.

I was a student of Brother Hyles and other good men. I love good books. I have been a reader of good books and a student of good men for these nearly 30 years that I have been in the ministry...I say all of that to say this: First Baptist Church was well fed by Brother Hyles. First Baptist Church continues to be well fed from the pulpit--that is important to me. I work hard at it. I want the First Baptist Church congregation to be well fed, and they will continue to be well fed."

Those of you who currently attend or have attended FBCH in the past--would you agree with Pastor Schaap's unbiased assessment? I certainly do not listen to every message preached at FBCH, but judging from the sermons I have recently listened to his statements are somewhat curious. Part 2 will tell us how Pastor Schaap comes to this conclusion and what his definition of a "well fed" church actually is.



Philippians 1:9-11 ESV "And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Label of "Fundamentalism" Part 2 by Dan Davey

Here is the second part of the post we made a couple days ago--a message delivered by Dr. Dan Davey who is pastor of Colonial Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. If you have not had a chance to read Part 1 I would encourage you to read it before jumping into the second half. I trust that this will be a catalyst for some good discussions on fundamentalism.


The Label of "Fundamentalism" Part 2 by Dr. Dan Davey

The second category is made-up of conservative evangelicals. These are well-written men who take a strong stand on certain--—and I underscore "“certain"--—cultural and theological issues. They are well-respected men and speak with an air of authority. This group includes such men as John MacArthur, John Piper, Philip Graham Ryken, R. Kent Hughes, D. A. Carson, and a few in the conservative movement of the Southern Baptist Denomination. These men speak with one accord on the integrity of Scripture and the necessity of this written truth being foundational in the church today. They are decrying the culturally-relevant church as the modern-day Laodicean church, and are calling all evangelicals back to the Word. However, this group--as powerful as it is--—finds itself with major flaws, of which one of their own, David Wells, has carefully crafted in an extensive and well-written expose entitled No Place for Truth, subtitled, Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? Their major problem is actually a crisis of implementation--—the effecting of boundaries, or better termed, ecclesiastical separation. For example, John Piper takes a proper and strong stand against "“open theism."” He forcefully takes on Greg Boyd, a fellow pastor just a few miles away from his church in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Though Piper says Boyd'’s view is scriptural heresy and a direct attack on the God of Scripture, he stays in the same Baptist denomination with Greg Boyd who openly espouses Piper'’s theological aggravation. Piper is to be commended for his public debate and well-written position, but his lack of Spurgeonic conviction allows him to remain in a denomination that, in his words, holds a view that is a direct attack on the God of Scripture. This category of evangelicalism does not seem willing to follow the apostle Paul's directive which concludes his most formidable statement on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, when he plainly writes, "Now I urge you brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them." Therefore, the net result is that this category has some excellent proponents who write eloquently on certain subjects, but confuse an innumerable host of followers because their written word is not precisely illustrated in their daily word. In sum, the disciples of their ministries and works have not been able to clearly mark the difference between anaginosis and epiginosis.

The final category relates to our question today, and is the category in which most of us in this auditorium find ourselves. As a formal term, "Fundamentalist"” was first put into literary usage on July 1, 1920--—exactly 84 years ago this month. Curtis Lee Laws wrote in the Watchman-Examiner:

"We here and now move that a new word be adopted to describe the men
among us who insist that the landmarks shall not be removed...… We suggest that those who still cling to the great fundamentals and who mean to do battle royal for the fundamentals shall be called 'Fundamentalists'’."

Laws' definition has marked our movement by three distinct pillars: First, fundamentalists hold to the integrity of Scripture. Second, they will do battle royal over these biblical truths. Silence is not an alternative. Interestingly, the conservative evangelical group finds great commonality with fundamentalism on these first two pillars. By way of illustration, I would submit to you John MacArthur'’s article, "“What are the fundamentals of Christianity", in his 35th anniversary anthology entitled, Truth Matters. Clearly, in this article he embraces these two historic pillars.

The third pillar is actually the inevitable outgrowth of Laws'’ penmanship. Those in the major denominations who "“did battle royal"” for the truth in the first half of the 1900s, eventually were forced to embrace the New Testament doctrine of separation. After the Bible Conferences were over, and the denominational floors sat silent from debate, and small church prayer meetings asking for God'’s wisdom were concluded, many denominational fundamentalist men did what only what was left for them to do--—much like Spurgeon did before them with his beloved Baptist Union--—and that was to separate from those who practice doctrinal inclusivism. If heresy was to be tolerated by their denomination, then, with tears and sackcloth, they slowly but methodically left their beloved denominations, colleges, seminaries, in some cases, life-long friends, and most excruciatingly, their pulpits.

Now, as I fast forward the fundamentalist movement to the present day we find our beloved movement facing two clear issues--—one of international concern and the other more germane to our conference. Internationally, the term "“fundamentalist"” has militant, cultural overtones. Often, missionaries prefer to delete this term from their vocabulary since the nationals with which they work do not have the mental strength to understand the difference between a "“theological fundamentalist"” and a "“Moslem fundamentalist."” In such cases, we must allow our missionaries the freedom to use or strike this term from their vocabulary depending on their cultural judgment. Such an international challenge may cause us pause in American terminology, but not abandonment--—at least as of today.

However, the other issue facing our beloved movement and more relevant to our current discussion, is the polarization of American fundamentalism into two distinct factions. This divide has rocked fundamentalism to its core so that now some are asking if we should throw off the old label and find a new one--—as if a new garment will somehow heal our festering sores. I contend that just as a bandage will not heal a physical wound, so a fresh garment (i.e. a new label) will not heal the deep lesions of fundamentalism. I humbly, but strongly submit to this body of fundamentalists not to cast off our identifying historic label--—at least not now. What is needed is to clearly dissect our current problem in fundamentalism, and, in Pauline metaphorical terminology, "“cast out the bondwoman."” In simple terms, I offer this short analysis.

Fundamentalism is viewed today through the eyes of not just the younger generation, but many in the evangelical movement, as a group of small thinkers, loud talkers, and silly teachers. Yet, what they really see is not, I repeat, not, those who identify themselves as "“historic fundamentalists"” but a loud, nt, vocal group of "“cultural fundamentalists."” This narrow subset of fundamentalists equates any change or moderation from the past as synonymous with spiritual compromise and worldliness. They are suspicious of anyone in their movement who reads from a different English translation, sings from a different hymnbook, embraces a different methodological principle for church visitation or church worship, or reaches out to someone of a different ethnicity. They are quick to denounce, and they emphasize a militant separation from those who do not see eye-to-eye with them on the external issues of culture. These have little regard for the significance of Spirit baptism--—which is the judicious placement of all believers into the Body of Christ--—and all its attendant blessings; rather, they quickly write off good brothers without personal investigation, personal contact, and personal prayer. In short, cultural fundamentalists treat anyone who does not agree with them on their cultural issues as an enemy of the faith. Therefore, they may be found immersed in their own form of Galatianism, or pure legalism; hence, they are identified by what they abrasively emphasize. Their self-created brand of fundamentalism is less than true to their historic roots, and they operate in an exegetical vacuum. They talk of Scripture, but they most often speak around the text or above the text, and not the full and accurate exposition of the text in its context. These non-exegetical, issue-orientated men have boldly, but wrongly hijacked our beloved term. They speak vociferously, but they do not speak for us.

Historic fundamentalism, on the other hand, functions as did their historic ancestors. Time will not allow me to identify all that this movement has done and is now doing, but it is my prayer that this conference will clearly identify who we are, and deal fully and accurately with the text of Scripture and the history of our movement so that like the men of Issachar, "“we will have an understanding of our times."” Yet, I cannot conclude without giving you seven words that have marked historic fundamentalism and will I pray continue to do so. These words are Christ, Scripture, church, grace, holiness, separation, and love. When these words are fully understood in their biblical framework and their historic application within our movement, one can easily distinguish between cultural fundamentalists and the historic fundamentalist. Simply put, one is marked by their dogmatic discussion of issues and their insistence that all true fundamentalists accept their position, while the other is marked by their insistence upon the exposition of Scripture and how it properly applies within its context to the full Body of Christ.

The younger generation of historic fundamentalists eagerly awaits our immediate action, and properly demands from us a unified, articulate voice--—in both written and oral forms. Therefore, we must not abandon either our rich history nor our full label. In contrast with the past few decades, let us properly and resoundingly defend and promote historic fundamentalism with one heart and one voice. We stand at an incredible cross-roads within our movement, and we cannot pretend that silence will erase our problems. In addition, we must not allow our movement to be hustled by weak-thinking culturalists. Let us resolve here and now to stand together--—shoulder-to-shoulder, church-to-church, ministry-to-ministry--—on the theological issues of biblical truth. Make no mistake, neither open or conservative evangelicals properly understand us, and I strongly submit to you that cultural fundamentalists are in the same unlettered--—or more directly--—ignorant position. Surely, we fundamentalists will see cultural accessories in different lights--—let'’s accept this about one another, and move on. These cultural issues do not divide us nor define us--—either in history past or history present. Like our initiating forefathers, Jesus Christ, Holy Scripture, and pure theology inseparably bind us together.

I beg you, as a body of thinking fundamentalists, let us capture and master this opportunity history has handed to us. We must not fail, indeed, if I speak the truth and by the grace of Jesus Christ, we will not fail. May God help and empower us--—as a Body of historic fundamentalists--—to fully flesh-out Romans 15:5-6, which says, "Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Jesus Christ, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Amen.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Label of "Fundamentalism" Part 1 by Dan Davey

In July of 2004 I heard Dr. Davey deliver this message concerning what he believed to be the current condition of Fundamentalism. He communicated the lecture with passion and an obvious burden for a return to historic Fundamentalism. No doubt there will be some things here that we all will not agree on, but I believe that this is a great conversation starter in regards to true Fundamentalism. Feel free to share your concerns and/or observations. BTW, I sent Dr. Davey an email asking for his permission to post this and he responded within 24 hours with a very gracious and humble spirit--much more than I can say for some others.

We will post this in two installments since it is rather lengthy--please do not let that keep you from reading it as I believe it is worth your careful consideration. You can check out Colonial Baptist Church and Central Baptist Theological Seminary for some more background on the ministry that the LORD has entrusted to Dr. Davey.

Phineas Taylor Barnum

I, too was present when this lecture was given in Indianapolis. It was and still is like a refreshing breath of spring to see articulated what I have now come to realize regarding "hysteric fundamentalism". For me personally, this was one of those conferences and lectures that will most likely never be forgotten, which is more than I can say for the many Hammond Pastors' Schools that I attended as a youth.

Would to God that many would read this and be willing by God's grace to reconsider what they have always assumed to be true fundamentalism and the Biblical philosophy of ministry.

Joshua Richards

The Label of "Fundamentalism"”
Dr. Daniel K. Davey
Presented: Young Fundamentalists Conference, July 2004
Indianapolis, Indiana

I have been assigned several questions that relate to the use or nonuse of the label "fundamentalism." There seems to be swirling around in our orbit a surface discussion of how we should or should not label ourselves; however, the deeper issue remains dormant. The real discussion is not the label as much as it is the definition of that label. Who we are as fundamentalists is not determined by how we verbally cloak ourselves, but how we publicly and privately exercise our biblical convictions. Labels are inescapable--—whether in a grocery store or in a theological discussion--—but the authentic matter is how we understand our history, and how we define and implement our biblical persuasion.

I have been at Colonial Baptist Church for the past 22 years, and very early in my ministry I came to the realization that people hold labels and titles without understanding a proper definition of that label or title. In effect, they may call themselves a fundamentalist, but they are unable to articulate what that means to their neighbors and friends, and more importantly, they do not seem to fully comprehend the core beliefs of their assumed title. This has been heightened for me since I assumed the Presidency of CBTS of Virginia Beach. For the past eight years I have dealt with Christian college graduates preparing for formal ministry of the Gospel who, like many in our orbit, seem unable to accurately identify the historic movement to which they ascribe. This has been a great shock, and I am saddened by what I witness.

Since I live in a town that houses the world's largest naval base, our church--—like our town--—must deal with the constant flow of military personal being moved into or out of our city. Many folks who move in are looking for a local church that has certain comfort markers. They want a church to be independent, fundamental, Baptist, pre-millennial, and, of course, have the red AWANA letters somewhere on its literature. Though many are looking for a church which embraces these necessities, few will agree on how these theological and historic terms are to be circumscribed. For some, a church that is "“independent"” means that there are to be no ties of any kind to any other local church, group of churches, or church fellowships (incredibly, some churches refuse to even accept another church'’s baptism); however, for others, they seem to understand the term "“independent"” in light of the term "“autonomous." So, as long as a church retains its self-government it is independent. Some arrive at our church with a view that all Baptists are like their former church. This means that the KJV of the Bible will be in constant use and that all dynamic equivalent translations or, for some, all other formal equivalent translations, are not the Word of God. Also, some will come with the idea that an independent Baptist church will always sing from the same hymnbook, and that hymnbook--—be it green, blue, or red on its cover (a matter of long debate and church vote)--—will be titled, Great Hymns of the Faith. Any thought that another hymnbook would be used, or that a hymn or chorus might be projected on a screen from a powerpoint presentation is a sure sign that this church is succumbing to neo-evangelicalism--—whatever and however they see fit to define that term. Happily, others in the church, hold an entirely different view of these subjects.

Again, some view their theology, and especially their eschatology through the lens of their former Baptist church. Some, however, view the word "“eschatology"” much like the German term angst--—in both cases it is a foreign term. In short, what is not related directly to them is put into the box marked "“inconsequential."” Others, however, view theology as the rudder which guides the ship, and are vitally interested in the doctrinal stance of the church, and if the church'’s viewpoint is fully adopted by the pastor.

Finally, we come to the term "“fundamental."” Is this not why we are all here at this conference? Again, though this term is necessary on the sign of the church and somewhere on its letterhead for one to feel comfortable in his pew, a teaching, practice, or belief system from the past may cause an emotional cloud to pass over their hearts, and doubt begins its negative control when things are done differently in the "“new church."” Yet, what is often the case is one'’s belief system about the historicity or core values of fundamentalism is nothing but a sham, or a mere shell of the term'’s depth and embodiment. Sadly, their view has eroded fundamentalism from its oak-like reality into a fragile flower which is scarcely supported by the roots of historic and exegetical truth.

Now, having set the field in which I view with incredible sadness at the historic ignorance that is displayed by us who have such a high regard for the name, I must say that this question is not to be merely waged by academicians who write eloquently, but pastor none. The battle is to be fought one new member at a time in our local churches which are committed to orthodox, historic truth, and can truly say with Jude, "“I earnestly contend for the faith"--—and I emphasize the necessity of including the last prepositional phrase, "“for the faith."”

So, let me define for you my redactionist understanding of the Christian world in which we live. This is somewhat guided by the fallible "“lamp of experience"” a phrase which Patrick Henry made famous in his "“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death"” speech. Yet, my lamp has been lit by biblical truth and its light illuminates certain facts of history--—so I want to "“stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance."” Again, I preface my words from the same speech of Patrick Henry I referred to before. As Henry rose to speak before the Virginia Convention of Delegates on March 28, 1775 he began with these words:
"Mr. President: No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism and well abilities of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope that it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen, if, entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony."
In like manner, I esteem others in our movement to be good men with unsullied motives, and I have malice toward none, so I may speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. Indeed, this is no time for ceremony.

I see our current evangelical world in three manageable and distinct categories. These categories are as follows: The broad or open evangelical, the conservative evangelical, and the Fundamentalist. The fundamentalist category actually is made-up of two sub-groups: cultural fundamentalists and historic fundamentalists.

The open evangelical category is made up of men who affirm their personal salvation in Jesus Christ as outlined in Romans 1:16-17, but refuse to go further, especially when it relates to others--—both pagans and Christian brothers. It includes the Clark Pinnocks who depending on the day has a new view, the John Sanders and the Greg Boyds with their open theism heresy, the Christianity Today circle which cannot determine if ordained women in the pulpit are acceptable or not, or if Seventh Day Adventism fits their biblical framework or not, and finally the Willow-Creek gang which sees no such thing as cultural worldliness--—publicly embracing movies, and opening their churches to unprincipled theologies of grace. These broad evangelicals distinctly match their label. They revel in their expansive, non-confrontational, soft and pliable theological stance. Many wonder how their light is actually guided, or if it is really lit at all.
Stay tuned and we will post the remainder of the message in the next couple of days--comments or thoughts anyone?