Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Implications of Bauder on the GARBC

This first paragraph is tangential, but this entire post is about to bore most of you out of your minds, so I'll make this observation at the beginning: I have a suggestion for every Baptist association: Hire Kevin Bauder to write your annual resolutions. Did anyone else wonder, after reading his summary of the GARBC-Cedarville discussions, whether the issues might not have been more clear to the delegates if he had defined the history and the issues rather than the GARBC itself?

A couple observations:
First, based on Bauder's argumentation, The Master's College and Seminary and some SBC seminaries should not be considered neo-evangelical institutions. This will come as a great surprise to many fundamentalists.

Second, Bauder has once again demolished the prevailing fundamentalist theology of separation via his "levels of fellowship" argumentation. Perhaps the most obvious relevant implication of Bauder's arguments is that separation need not always be complete and total; however, there is another significant implication as well.

One common and articulately-defended fundamentalist argument on separation is that all separation is "primary" (contra "secondary separation"). This means that even though an individual or institution may not associate with apostasy itself (Cedarville in this scenario), it can become disobedient by maintaining associations with others that do maintain associations with apostates (the SBC in this scenario).

The argument goes that the theologically-sound-but-compromisingly-affiliated individual or institution (SBC) becomes an object of primary separation because of its failure to observe biblical mandates to withdraw from apostates. Fundamentalists who adhere to this argument extrapolate the requirement for primary separation to other individuals and institutions (Cedarville) that are theologically sound and have no affiliations with apostates but that do have affiliations with those that have affiliations with apostasy.

It seems inescapable to me (if one holds to this logic) that anytime an entity is supposed to separate and does not, it has failed to uphold its own biblical responsibility and thereby becomes an object of primary separation itself. However, Bauder has acknowledged that "the individual churches of the GARBC will make their own decisions about Cedarville University, and it is right that they should."

In other words, Bauder assumes that the GARBC should not censure or separate from GARBC churches that maintain some level of association with Cedarville. In this statement, he denies that Scripture demands disassociation from entities (GARBC churches) that maintain affiliation with other entities (Cedarville) that maintain affiliation with still other entities (SBC) that maintain affiliation with apostates (liberal churches within the SBC).

I understand that this whole discussion sounds rather convoluted, but it is an argumentation that pervades the fundamentalism in which many of us have lived our lives. Bauder's piece contains nothing other than a devastating repudiation of it.


Andy Rupert said...

Do you agree?

Ben said...

With Bauder?

Andy Rupert said...

Yes. Do you agree with his article?

Chris Anderson said...

Good luck with this conversation, fellas. It should be fun to watch.

I'm not sure Bauder agrees with Ben's Bauder. :-)

Ben said...

For the most part, yes. Some minor points of difference or nuance, but nothing substantial leaps to mind. The vast majority of Bauder's piece is simple finding of fact, not opinion, laced of course with incisive analysis that cuts to the heart of the issues.

I sense that you're fishing for something specific. Care to elaborate?

Ben said...

Nice pictures guys, by the way. Does the OBF have some sort of affiliation with GlamourShots?

Chris Anderson said...

Nice. At least I haven't posted a picture of my scalp. That was WAY too much information.

Greg Linscott said...


I'm sure the ladies must find your scalp glamorous.

Andy, I agree with Bauder's article. Wholeheartedly.


Let's be clear, though. Bauder would also not claim the institutions you named to be Fundamentalist institutions, either.

Ben said...


Yep, you learned that one the hard way. ;-)

But that's where he's different from (and more accurate than) the binary fundamentalists—to them you're either a fundamentalist or you're a new evangelical.