Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Dave Doran in the 9Marks E-Journal: Why I Think He's Dead Right

When I learned that Dave Doran was writing "Potential and Pitfalls of Together For The Gospel," I was thrilled. I would have been thrilled even if I had disagreed with him, for two reasons. First, Doran is a well-reasoned articulator of his convictions, which are well within the mainstream of theological fundamentalism. Second, I believe evangelicals would benefit from hearing the fundamentalist arguments for separation, even on those occasions when fundamentalist arguments overreach the biblical text and are inappropriately applied.

But I don't disagree with Doran. Not at all. Not one word.

Like Doran, I was a bit disappointed with the absence of an article about separation from false teaching in the 2006 T4G affirmations and denials, and I said so at the time. I suspect that both Doran's and my expectations were raised when we heard John MacArthur talk at the 2006 Shepherds' Conference about T4G and how "there ought to be a price to pay" for an unwillingness to get inside the box of orthodoxy.

I simply cannot think of any way to improve on Doran's proposed addition to the affirmations and denials. I believe it would be an excellent addition, and I hope it's incorporated in 2008. Here it is:
We affirm that all genuine fellowship is in the gospel and that true gospel ministers and congregations must not grant Christian recognition or assistance to those who have denied the faith or turned away from the biblical gospel. We further affirm the biblical responsibility of elders and congregations to be vigilant in watching out for those who teach false doctrine and to turn away from and have no fellowship with them.

We deny that the biblical calls for unity and separation are contrary to one another, and that refusing Christian fellowship to false teachers and false congregations is schismatic. We further deny that confessional subscription necessarily contradicts soul liberty. We also deny that the glory of God and good of the church are properly advanced through theological and ecclesiastical union with those who have denied the gospel.
Now, before I make my main point, I should clarify one thing. Doran calls for conservative evangelicals to repudiate "the 'official' strategy [to] work cooperatively with theological liberals from outside evangelicalism." If that is the official strategy, that is. Now, I think Doran is making a valid rhetorical point, but I suspect he actually knows there is no "official" strategy that is universal to evangelicalism at this time, any more than there is an "official" fundamentalist list of who we're to separate from and what we're to separate over (as he frequently points out in online discussions).

But here's the real point. Read Doran's proposal. Read it twice. Read his whole article ten times. There's something you will find several times: a call for separation from false doctrines and false gospels. There's also something you won't find once: anything remotely resembling a call for secondary separation. Doran's call to conservative evangelicals is to take a clear stand for cooperation around the gospel that excludes all who are unwilling to get inside that box of a biblical, historic, orthodox gospel.

This isn't a new concept. It's historic fundamentalism. It's Gresham Machen's argument in Christianity and Liberalism--that a false gospel is no gospel, that a church with a false gospel is no church, and that a religion without the biblical gospel is a false religion, not Christianity. And it must not be called Christianity.

Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals should find fellowship on these grounds, as Doran has delineated them in the direct opportunity he accepted to define what could make T4G a success. If this is the test of fellowship and biblical faithfulness as fundamentalists now understand it, my hopes that confessional fundamentalists and evangelicals can come together for the gospel are as high as my confidence that the T4G organizers already affirm Doran's proposal.

28 comments:

Bob Hayton said...

Great post here. When I read Doran's article I was impressed. And I agree that his proposal is excellent. Like you, I probably skimmed it twice to make sure it wasn't calling for secondary separation. It isn't. Of course, secondary separation may be good and helpful at times. But we got to start with primary separation.

Bruce said...

"Soul liberty"?

tjp said...

Ben,

Excellent post!

That Doran has made enormous concessions in his revamped affirmation for the T4G gang is as earthshaking as it is groundbreaking. When I first read his remarks, I shook my head in disbelief. I couldn't believe what I was reading. So I went back and reread his statement and; sure enough, it said the same thing.

Unbelievable.

I'm sure his remarks have sent shock waves through certain quarters of fundyism. This is a major shift for separatist fundamentalism, of which Doran is an active participant. For a separatist fundamentalist to offer a statement on separation that doesn't even hint at secondary separation is Copernican in nature.

It'll be interesting how Doran and company manage this new perspective. He's taken a bold step. And one can only hope it's not the one at the end of the plank.

Needless to say, I agree with Dave. Although J-Mac and the T4G gang are not my favorite characters, I fail to see how working with them on certain matters makes the separatist fundamentalist unclean and in need of blood cleansing.

I trust a more rational and Biblical separatism will emerge from this new spirit to rethink the legitimacy of separating from those who refuse to separate from those who refuse to separate from unbelief.

Bruce said...

One thing I've noticed as a difference between Fundamentalists and Evangelicals is that not only do Fundamentalists believe in separation, but they put it in their doctrinal statements as well. Evangelicals hardly ever include it, even if they hold to some level of separation. I think it's debatable as to whether or not separation is a key article of faith or if it is an entailment of it.

Here's a question, from a guy who's been out of the Fundamentalist loop for a while: If separation is in your doctrinal statement, aren't you obligated to practice secondary separation, since a failure to practice primary separation is a failure to adhere to the doctrinal statement?

Keith said...

Ben,

I also am quite happy to see fundamentalists like Doran and Minnick interacting with evangelicals (neo-evangelicals even).

Further, I do not think that his proposed additions are unorthodox or "out of bounds". Their main points are beyond contention -- 1) Genuine fellowship is in the gospel, and 2) Unity and Separation are not mutually exclusive. I am thrilled to agree.

In addition to sharing your quibble about the non-existence of an "official" strategy of evangelicalism. I had these thoughts:

Doran began by begging the question: “New Testament Christianity, because of the gospel itself, is separatistic.”
Yes, Christianity requires some form of division or separation from false religion and sinful behavior. The question, though, is whether or not the fundamentalist conception of “separatistic” accurately represents the biblical teaching.

Doran criticized the new evangelicals for something equally true of the fundamentalists: “[New Evangelicalism’s] members strove to build the broadest possible coalition, which meant that a reductionist approach to doctrine became the controlling mindset. As a result of this ‘lowest common denominator’ approach, the confessional nature of Christianity began to erode, ultimately producing a debate about what the term evangelical really means and who can rightly claim to be one.”

He knows, or ought to know, that the BJU branch of fundamentalism (if not others) tried for years to maintain a broad non-denominational approach – offering Sunday School classes for a wide spectrum of denominations, etc. Furthermore, until recently (if not still) BJU forbade open teaching, discussion, or debate on specific tenets of Calvinism vs. Arminianism – beyond the university creed there was no confessional document or commitment. The independent Baptists, along with a few baptistic Bible churches and Free Presbyterians, came to predominate over time. However, this did not occur as a result of confessionalism.

Furthermore, anyone acquainted with fundamentalism knows that fundamentalists are hugely preoccupied with proclaiming, debating, and obsessing over who is and is not a fundamentalist – what’s required to deserve the term, can someone do x and still call himself a fundamentalist, and other similar questions occupy much of the fundamentalists’ time. There is most definitely a debate about what the term fundamentalist really means and who can rightly claim to be one.

The fundamentalists’ separatism may have successfully closed the gate to “liberals” but it has had absolutely no success in preventing many other kinds of heterodoxy and heresy from using its name.

Next Doran says: “Christian leaders should draw lines where the Bible does.” Again, this is a question begging statement -- where does the Bible draw the lines? The reason many desired to reform fundamentalism in the middle of the 20th century was its characteristic habit of drawing lines where the Bible does not.

Doran then draws the fundamentalist “line in the sand”: “We also deny that the glory of God and good of the church are properly advanced through theological and ecclesiastical union with those who have denied the gospel.”

He admits that the statement is not perfect. But, it is worse than that. It appears to be unworkable for anyone who does not accept that the only way of separating is to come out of a denomination or fellowship. The statement seems to betray the second and third generation fundamentalists’ inability to think outside of the independent congregationalist form of church. To many, this approach does not allow for reformation, it allows only for abandonment. This issue is the heart of the disagreement many of us have with the fundamentalists’ “separatistic” worldview.

Ben said...

Bruce,

On your question about separation in doctrinal statements, I think it depends on how the statement is worded. What Doran has done is to continually tie the necessity for separation back to the advocacy of a false gospel. He clearly seems to be on board with the T4G idea that the gospel is the center of our grounds for fellowship and cooperation.

So Doran seems to be arguing that we can disagree on issues that are not directly tied to the gospel (music, head coverings, the Rapture, etc.) and still have some meaningful level of fellowship together for the gospel. I think that's different from what you (and I) might be used to.

Dave said...

Let me start by saying that I won’t be able to hang around for debate, but I did want to make a few clarifying comments:

1. Regarding the matter of an “official” strategy, I beg to differ with those who have said none existed—here are Ockenga’s position on this matter from his press release: “Dr. Ockenga pointed out … that the strategy of the New Evangelicalism has changed from one of separation to infiltration.” That seems like an official strategy to me. I thought it was clear from the context of my article that I was referring to the new evangelical philosophy since that’s what I was calling on evangelicals to repudiate—I gladly acknowledge that there are conservative evangelicals who don’t believe like that, but that wasn’t my point. I believe that the NE philosophy must be rejected.

2. Regarding the matter of secondary separation, my answer is quite simple: if the new evangelicals had not abandoned separation from false teachers and teaching, then there would not have been a need to separate from them. It was their disobedience to this clear teaching of Scripture that necessitated a further separation—to grant Christian fellowship to gospel deniers is to betray the gospel. This ties back into point 1, namely if the conservative evangelicals will repudiate the philosophy of new evangelicalism then we really have come to a major turning point.

3. It is wrong to read my statement as demanding that one pull out of one’s church associations. What it demands is that one cannot be passive about apostasy, so one must either engage fully in the task of removing it or must remove oneself. I don’t believe that my statement leaves room for what Machen called “indifferentists” (which, in my mind, became the movement known as new evangelicalism). For the record, while I rejoice in the conservative resurgence in the SBC, I am not convinced that recapturing the political machinery fully meets my concern on this point. Taking a passive stance toward apostate pastors and congregations within the convention is short of what I think the NT teaches. Perhaps that’s the next phase of the resurgence. If so, I’d rejoice even more (as if that matters to anybody in the SBC).

4. So, basically, I’ve attempted to draw a line that is more clear and definite than may be normal, but I don’t believe that I’ve drawn it anywhere differently than where it was drawn at the start of the evangelical-fundamentalist divide. As Minnick pointed out in his response to the question, the real issue comes down to the answer to this question, “Does Scripture, either by its directives, examples, or good and necessary inferences tolerate, let alone encourage, our uniting for spiritual endeavor with teachers of another gospel?” I remain committed to the fundamentalist answer to that question.

Don Johnson said...

Dave, to the surprise of all, I have refrained from making comments. I hesitate even now.

I do have a question, and I hope you will have the time at some point to clarify.

Your last statement in the proposed resolution says:

We also deny that the glory of God and good of the church are properly advanced through theological and ecclesiastical union with those who have denied the gospel.

Keith has taken this one way. I understood it in an entirely different way, although I am really not sure that I understood it at all. (Perhaps because of the double negatives?)

When you have time, I would really appreciate clarification of that statement.

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Ben said...

Dave,

Just a few quick (hopefully) comments on your four points.

1. I certainly agree that there was a new evangelical strategy. I agree with your summary of it. I'm not sure if you're intending to respond to my comment or not, but I say that there is no universal evangelical strategy at this time. Evangelicalism is no more monolithic than fundamentalism.

2. That's a discussion worth having, but I don't see where it's a point you address in your expression of what T4G needs to do to avert its pitfalls. It would be great if they added your proposal, but whether they do or not, many of them are already repudiating the new evangelical strategy. A classic example is how Mohler refused to adopt the ecumenical infiltration strategy of the Graham crusade he chaired. I don't like the fact that he did that, but in insisting that liberal Protestants be excluded, he took a different path from the early NEs who did all they could to maintain their ties to the mainline denominations.

3. Amen, and amen. Though I don't think the SBC is constituted in quite the same way you suggest it is. That would be a good discussion for a later post.

4. Again, a hearty amen. Not all the people who wrote in this issue of the e-journal would agree with you on that point, to be sure (ECT signatories leap to mind). Not all would disagree either. And not all those who agree are within the traditional understanding of the fundamentalist camp. I think that's part of what makes this moment in time groundbreaking.

Bob Roberts said...

Ben,
This has been an encouraging read. Thank you for edifying me!
Bob

Anonymous said...

What a thrill if the "Doran clause" get's added. If T4G guys would add this point, I could see the making of real progress for what my buddy Bixby calls "The Emergent Middle." What a thrill!

By the way, this would also demonstrate that this alliance between Type A,B and C Fundamentalism is not the new - new evangelicalism. Wow, do I ever get tired of hearing that one!

Please guys put a nail in the heart of that arguement. It needs to die a quick death.

Straight Ahead!

Joel Tetreau
Gilbert AZ

Keith said...

Dave,

Upon rereading your article, in light of your clarifying comments here, I want to immediately acknowledge that (1) you are correct in stating that your article clearly indicated "New Evangelicalism" and (2) there was an official "New Evangelical" strategy.

On my previous read, I missed the distinction you were trying to make between "conservative evangelical" and "new evangelical." I did not pay close enough attention to notice that you were using those labels as technical terminology. So, I was wrong to agree with Ben's quibble. I hope you'll accept my apology.

I do agree that much of what happened in time and space as a result of the flesh and blood new evangelicals has not been for the good. However, I still lean strongly toward viewing the men referred to by the technical term "New Evangelical" as brothers who were attempting to correct some real problems created by the fundamentalists. I also view those fundamentalists as brothers, but some of what they set in motion was also definitely not for the good.

I believe that the new evangelicals' original intention was to infiltrate in order to influence and reform the denominations and re-establish the influence of Christianity in America. The very fact that they called it infiltration says something about their motives. If they had just wanted to become theological liberals ("modernists") they would not have needed to infiltrate they could have just joined. No, they wanted to accomplish something good.

I guess I'm just saying that I don't think the new evangelicals "overreacted". I think a reaction was warranted. In hindsight, it is easy to say that the failed portions of their strategy resulted from overreactions. But we can't forget some of the successes -- they did help to produce real evangelical scholarship to name but one.

Bruce said...

Help me understand this, Ben and crew:

Pastor A and Pastor B agree on the gospel and are in fellowship together under a shared statement of faith (either within a denominational or an interdenominational fellowship). Then Pastor B has some sort of cooperation with Pastor C who does not affirm all of the gospel affirmations of the statement of faith that A and B share.

If primary separation is in the doctrinal statement, isn't A required to separate from B, since he would have failed to uphold their shared commitment to separation? Is secondary separation something different than this?

If primary separation is not in the doctrinal statement, I would think that A could and should plead with B to remain consistent with the nature of the gospel by ministering apart from C, but A wouldn't be obligated to separate from B if they couldn't agree on application of separation.

How can we affirm primary separation without creating the chain reaction of multiple degrees of separation?

Larry said...

Keith,

You say, But we can't forget some of the successes -- they did help to produce real evangelical scholarship to name but one.

Are you suggesting that these men would have not been scholars and encouraged scholarship had they remained fundamentalists?

Ben said...

Bruce,

Hope to hit your question later.

Larry,

Have you read Kevin Bauder's series on fundamentalists and scholarship in his weekly "In the Nick of Time"? Last week Bauder described a fundamentalist professor who had to leave fundamentalism to have "the chance to have greater opportunity to pursue the work of scholarship" because he was simply overloaded in the classroom.

Dave said...

Ben,

But that deals with the current situation (post-split). The historical fact is that Dallas, Westminster, and Grace all sided with the fundamentalists against the new evangelicalism in the 50s and much of the 60s. Certainly no one is saying that these men were not scholars and that the tradition of scholarship wouldn't have continued, are they?

I guess the real test would be to do a comparison between how many men were lost to orthodoxy through the new evangelical-style pursuit of scholarship, i.e, one that submitted biblical authority to the supposed neutrality of unbelieving scholarship.

Larry said...

Keith,

I have read all of them as they came out. However, I am referring to the historical situation. Had those men stayed fundamentalists, would the state of fundamental scholarship be different? You seem to be saying it wouldn't ... that they are scholars only because they are evangelicals, not because they are scholars first.

I can't help but wonder if those men had stayed fundamentalists, would the state of fundamental scholarship be markedly different.

Keith said...

Larry,

Ben is the one who asked if you had read Bauder, not me.

I don't really know how to answer "What might have been?"

What I am saying is this:

One reason the New Evangelicalism was launched was that the New Evangelicals thought fundamentalism had become too commonly characterized by reactionary and anti-scholarship attitudes. At the time, "fundamentalist" and "evangelical" were largely interchangeable terms -- and the groups referred to by those terms had come to be known as angry, harsh, populist, and anti-scholarship. These characteristics were, of course, not universally true of fundamentalists, but the New Evangelicals thought that they were characteristic of the movement. Therefore, they professed that they were going to be a new kind of evangelical -- a kind that among other things would encourage, support, and value scholarship. And, this they did.

As an aside: These men were using "new" only in a short-term sense. What they wanted was "new" compared to what went imediately before. But, they argued, what they wanted was really authentic, historic evangelicalism of the kind that existed before the fundamentalists drove it off course.

Not all of the men who wanted this "new" approach were scholars themselves. Some were (these became such, or began their work toward becoming such, prior to the fundamentalist-new evangelical split, and they might have maintained scholarly careers even if the split had not ocurred). However, others were pastors and evangelists. What they all had in common, though, was that they wanted (among other things) a movement that was committed to producing and respecting scholarship. Their movement did accomplish this. Fundamentalism as a movement, mostly, did not.

Keith said...

Dave,

I don't know a lot about the specifics of what Dallas or Grace did in the 50s and 60s. Although what I do know would support your claims, they were basically fundamentalist in personality and trained many of the fundamentalist leaders at the time (Pickering comes immediately to mind, and there are many, many others).

However, I find it quite a stretch when fundamentalists try to claim Westminster. I am sure that Westminster shared some of fundamentalism's disagreements with the New Evangelicals. So do I for that matter. I have tried to be clear in stating that much of their strategy was wrong and has produced bad results.

Nevertheless, Westminster would have had just as many -- though different -- disagreements with fundamentalism. The true fundamentalists left Westminster not long after its founding (shortly after Machen's death) over the oh so fundamental issues of teetotalism and premillenialism. Westminster, like Machen himself, has never been comfortable with fundamentalism -- even when making common cause against a shared enemy.

Francis Schaeffer left Westminster with Macintire and the fundamentalists (he was a student at the time). Over time, Schaeffer came to realize how petty, nasty, and reactionary his fundamentalist group had become, and he left it. He repudiated fundamentalism, yet he did not agree with the totallity of the New Evangelical approach -- he had huge disagreements with Billy Graham's strategies.

All that is beside the point though. I never claimed that scholarship would have died were it not for the New Evangelicals. I just said that they set out to support and encourage scholarship and they succeeded -- in spite of many other failures.

As to your desire to test "how many men were lost to orthodoxy through the new evangelical-style pursuit of scholarship", I'm all for it. But can we also test how many men were lost to orthodoxy through the fundamentalist-style neglect and disparagement of scholarship?

Anonymous said...

Sorry Keith, I didn't catch who asked that question.

Larry said...

Previous post by "anonymous" was by me, Larry

Ben said...

Bruce,

I don't claim to know how this is going to play out, though I have my suspicions. I know the "chain reaction of multiple degrees of separation" of which you speak. But I think what Dave Doran has articulated in the E-Journal is markedly different from that. Fundamentalist statements of faith, as I've encountered them, usually have, in their article on separation, a specific statement that leads to the chain you describe.

I'll offer a couple examples, with emphasis added to the relevant portions. Here's the separation article from the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship" a organization that is representative of the sphere of fundamentalism that we're talking about:

"Separation: We believe in the biblical doctrine of separation which encompasses: (1) separation of the local church from all affiliation and fellowship with false teachers who deny the verities of the Christian faith, and from those who are content to walk in fellowship with unbelief and inclusivism (from Christian individuals or organizations that affiliate with those who deny the faith or are content to walk with those who compromise the doctrine and practice of Scripture (2 Thess. 3:6; 1 Cor. 5:1-11; 1 Tim. 1:18-20; Mt. 18:15-17; (2) separation of the individual believer from all worldly practices (philosophies, goals, lifestyles, amusements, habits, and practices) that dishonor the Savior; and, (3) separation of church and state (2 Tim. 3:1-5; Rom. 12:1-2; 14:13; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11; Matt. 22:21)."

From the Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, which Doran serves as president:

"Article 15: Separation
We believe in both personal and ecclesiastical separation. The doctrine of separation is grounded in the character of God Himself. Holiness carries the basic idea of separation or apartness. God is holy in that He is separate or apart from all that is created and finite and from all that is sinful or morally unclean and He demands that His people be holy or separated. God constituted the nation of Israel a holy or separated people who were to be separated from the customs and practices of the surrounding heathen. God commands His people today to be personally separated from the world, the transient system of evil led by Satan, organized against God and His will, that has its own philosophies, goals, life styles, amusements, habits, and practices. Ecclesiastical separation is the refusal to collaborate with a church, ecclesiastical organization, or religious leader which does not hold to the fundamental, cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith, and a like refusal concerning those who maintain connections or are content to walk with those who do not hold to the fundamental, cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith."

A statement of faith or a set of affirmations and denials that only requires us to separate from those who teach a false gospel, as Doran has advocated, should not lead to the chain. I think it recognizes what is at most the principial nature of the notion of secondary separation, and this should permit a variety of applications. On the other hand, I'm sure there will be some who would try to make it function just like the statements that include the wording on secondary separation, even though it clearly doesn't say that.

Dave said...

I really don't have much time to do this, so I'm going to be very quick about it, hopefully maintaining accuracy and courtesy in the process.

1. Since I must not be being very clear, I have in no way rejected the concept of secondary separation. I: (a) attempted to produce what I believed to be a better expression of separation than the original T4G affirmation and denial; and (b) answered the question as to why it didn't include something about "secondary" separation by saying that there would be no need for it if believers did not abandon separation from unbelief.

2. Making this the point of discussion with the folks associated with T4G does not eliminate the question of "secondary" separation, it simply focuses on the main problem. The failure to obey what God says about separation from apostasy always will provoke a further problem.

3. I do not agree that the FBF and DBTS statements necessitate an unending chain of separations. I will grant that this effect has happened at times, but it is not a necessary consequence of them. Mindless application does not invalidate what are, from my perspective, valid statements of biblical concern. It doesn't follow to argue that making a specific type of disobedience the trigger for separation leads to an unending string of separations.

4. Let me state unequivocally, as has been recently noted elswehere in the blogosphere, that I do not reject the concept of secondary separation. I have been attempting to make the case that, for me, there are two clear lines in the sand: (a) separation from those who deny essential elements of the faith; and (b) separation from those who grant Christian recognition and fellowship to such deniers.

Ben said...

Dave,

I'm really working hard to understand here. I'm taking your statements at face value. Help me understand, then, why a fundamentalist would have any reason to withhold fellowship from John MacArthur. What teacher of a false gospel does he have fellowship with?

One other comment/observation/question. Again, taking at face value that your position has not changed. If I were, in comparison to you, part of the traditional right wing of the fundamentalist movement, I think I would have significant concerns about your "better expression of separation," to use your terminology. Your rearticulation reminds me of theological moderates over the past century who preferred to describe the Bible as infallible rather than inerrant. They essentially argued, as you have, that they were defending the main thing, but in doing so they opened the door for broader interpretations of the nature of inspiration.

Please understand, I'm in no way making you the moral equivalent of the indifferentists or the moderates, whatever we call them. I think your rearticulation is a helpful thing. I'm just saying I can see why people to the right would interpret this as a change, as well as those to your left. Do you see the parallel, or am I just muddying the water? What's your response if you do hear that criticism?

Dave said...

Ben,

Let me apologize in advance for not engaging in much discussion here. I think I've stated my view clearly, so I am not sure how much more needs to be said on it. And, quite, frankly, this past week has reminded me why it is best to stay out of the blogosphere, particularly comment sections. They demand too much time and the forum is too susceptible to unprofitable interaction.

I don't think your comparison to the use of infallibility vs. inerrancy is either accurate or helpful. They didn't like the term inerrancy because they rejected the concepts it entailed. I've neither rejected the terms nor concepts of primary or secondary separation.

I have no doubt that I will be charged with some kind of change since that's already happened. My answer is simply that I am still articulating the same principles that I've always articulated, but (as I've been saying for a few years) the ecclesiastical landscape is in flux, so those principles must be reapplied to the new landscape. People who do not distinguish between principles and their applications will no doubt accuse me of change and contradiction; those who do make that distinguish, I hope, will not.

On that note, I retire more important things (like family, church ministry, and seminary teaching).

Keith said...

I'm still trying to understand, but statements like, "The ecclesiastical landscape is in flux," really make it hard to avoid frustration.

It admittedly may be the weakness of blog communication, but that sounds like the line from the old Joe Walsh song: "Everybody's so different I haven't changed."

Yes, the ecclesiastical landscape is in flux, but it seems to some of us like the flux is in some fundamentalists willingness to interact with non-fundamentalists. We've known guys like MacArthur, Mohler, Dever, Piper, etc. for years and years.

Now on to more important things.

Lou Martuneac said...

One man here wrote, "I also am quite happy to see fundamentalists like Doran and Minnick interacting with evangelicals (neo-evangelicals even)."

Men:

Keeping watch this. Holding hands with the likes of MacArthur is going to lead the younger IFB men right into New Evangelicalism.

MacArthur is the bridge to greater compromise with and ultimately becoming a New Evangelical.


LM

Lou Martuneac said...

Ben:

You wrote, "Help me understand, then, why a fundamentalist would have any reason to withhold fellowship from John MacArthur. What teacher of a false gospel does he have fellowship with?"

MacArthur's Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel defines him as a teacher of a false, non-saving message that frustrates grace.

IMO, that alone is reason enough to separate from and avoid him (Rom. 16:17).


LM