Friday, July 09, 2010


Bob Bixby discusses functional charismaticism masquerading as fundamentalist cessationism. As critiques of moderated forms of contemporary continuationism continue to multiply among preservationist fundamentalists, I have to wonder why fundamentalists have for so long tolerated the sort of stories Bob alludes to and the sort of claims that fit the same mold (God spoke to/told me . . .).

Are these critiques really about preserving a theology, or are they about circling the wagons and perpetuating a culture? As long as the guns are pointed at enemies on the outside and not the inside, the evidence for the former seems minimal.


Scott Aniol said...

wrong, ben. We preservationists have been critiquing this of stuff right along with soft continuationism. Revivalism and Charismaticism are kissing cousins.

ben said...


Who's "we"? I think you're telling me that some fundamentalists have been publicly rebuking the sort of thing Bob describes and the sort of "revelationist" language I describe. Presumably that would also include rebuke of the camps, colleges and churches that tolerate and promote such things.

I know well that you've personally agreed with me on some blogposts, but is there more out there that I'm not aware of? I hear conservative evangelical associations (T4G, TGC) and names (Piper, Mahaney) get thrown around all the time. Has a fundamentalist publicly made the argument for separation from an evangelist or a missionary or a camp or a college that tells these stories or uses revelationist language? Has anyone even identified and criticized them?

I'm genuinely curious. I'd be surprised if it's out there, but I suppose it's possible.

And just for the record, I don't personally hold the position that miracles couldn't have happened. I just don't know how a cessationist fundamentalist can overlook what's inside and criticize what's outside..

Shayne McAllister said...

Without getting into the history. . . I would just like to make the point that if enough fundamentalists lodged objections of bad theology with churches/schools/camps, then those institutions would see their error. However the culture within fundamentalism is to not stir up the pot within, and attack those without. If I may say, that's Ben's primary point, and it is well taken.

(Ben would it be appropriate to bring up Abraham Lincoln's quote about certain bodily functions from positionally in and out of tents?)

d4v34x said...

To corroborate Scott at least a little, MBBC never had the fire-walking missionary back (at least to my knowledge) after he told that story.

Shayne McAllister said...

And did you then announce to the congregation that you didn't think this was a good story to tell? Probably not. Therefore perpetuating the culture.

ben said...

Shane, I don't know the quote so use your own judgment. At least e-mail me.

Dave, I'm with Shane. I can think of a raft of quotes that were at best Pharisaical rules spoken from that same pulpit, and I'm sure there was more abusive exegesis that I can't remember. Good for the school not to welcome the guy back, if it insists on a view that calls him a liar, but if if I'm a pastor and I'm convinced a guest lied in my pulpit, I'm not protecting the sheep if I don't warn the sheep that they heard lies.

Now, if a school's not really cessationist at heart (as Bob suggests in his comments), but merely uncomfortable with sensationalism in preaching, then MBBC did the right thing. They just need to recant the cessationist position.

Shayne McAllister said...

"Better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside pissing in."

Abraham Lincoln, speaking of rouge generals quoted by many, applicable in most situations.

Many fundamentalists (functionally) would rather have bad teaching inside the tent, than outside.

d4v34x said...

Shayne, I was in (MBBC's) High School at the time; it really wasn't my place.

For my part, I believed every word; that it might be part of an abberrant theology wasn't even on my radar screen.

I did stipulate it was only "a little" corroboration. ;^)