Monday, May 08, 2006

Mohler on Second Degree Separationism and Fundamentalism

Mohler discusses these ideas in his daily radio program from last Wednesday as a response to a caller. The question begins 18:35 into the program, and the discussion continues for about six minutes.

The short story is that Mohler acknowledges "a real danger" in both fundamentalism and evangelicalism. With evangelicalism, before long "you can't tell the difference" between liberals and the evangelicals who cooperate with them. With fundamentalism, "you wind up talking to yourself" because you have no fellowship with people who share the same beliefs but are in liberal denominations.

He says that fundamentalists "think they're more separated than they are," which raises an issue with which fundamentalists need to grapple, even though Mohler explains it awkwardly, illustrates it poorly, and does not acknowledge the difference between merely existing in culture and willingly cooperating with unbelief.

5 comments:

NeoFundy said...

Very interesting comments...I wonder why it has to be either/or...

Jason Janz said...

I think he's probably referring to the same thing that R.Kent Hughes would say. We are separate on certain things, but we let the far more dangerous things - hedonism, materialism, voyeurism, etc. - have full reign.

I think a guy on Minnick's staff quoted a letter that he received from Hughes that detailed his concerns.

Hughes published a book on the topic entitled, Set Apart. Great book.

tjp said...

Ben,

I think Mohler is right. Fundies too often talk to themselves and forget the larger audience.

Perhaps I've missed it, but have any separatist schools ever sponsored a major forum to discuss the issues of ecclesiastical separation with such evangelicals as the T4G men?

I think it'd be instructive, and certainly an expression of goodwill, if the best of the separatist thinkers could sit down with men like the T4G guys and address publicly and candidly the issue of ecclesiastical separation.

To say the least, the audience would be huge for such a confab. To have two groups of brothers who hold very different views sit down face to face before thousands of other brothers and clarify, refine, defend their differences would be priceless.

Such a forum would serve up a smorgasbord of historical perspectives, theological nuances, hermeneutical liberties, exegetical peculiarities, and reasoned (hopefully) affirmations. It'd be more than a body could stand to watch, say, MacArthur cross-examine Minnick on his application of 2 Thess. 3 or to watch, say, Bauder question Mohler on separation from disobedient brothers or to watch, say, McCune address Dever on separation from denominational unbelief.

But such a scenario probably won't happen. Fundies are too busy with themselves and conservative evangelicals are too busy talking to a world that isn't listening.

Ben said...

I agree that Mohler has a good point. I just think that he explains and illustrates it poorly. But then I don't think it's entirely fair to heap criticism on extemporaneous comments from a live radio program, especially when the topic is "Ask Anything Wednesday."

The event you describe would be unbelievably absorbing for folks like us, but I don't think it would attract much of anybody who's never been associated with fundamentalism. Frankly, I would be thrilled just to know that the conversation took place because of the benefit for both groups, regardless of whether or not I got to watch.

It's too much to hope that it would ever happen, but I've been surprised before

Ben said...

I deleted the previous comment, not because of inappropriate content, but because the author is banned from commenting here. I have notified him of what needs to take place for his commenting privileges to be reinstated.