Home > Brandenburg, Culture > Questions for Non-Revivalist Fundamentalism

Questions for Non-Revivalist Fundamentalism

April 7, 2009

The goal in mowing the lawn is to get all the grass cut.  If it gets long and grown over with weeds, sometimes the cutting becomes a little random.  This post will be like mowing an over-grown lawn.   It reminds me a little of the problem for the mosquito at the nudist colony:  “Where do I begin?”  I don’t want to try to figure out where to begin.  I just want to get the grass cut, so this might go all over the place.  I’ve got some things in my mind, but they’re not organized so I’ll write about them in the order I think of them until I think this has gone on long enough.  Some of the questions are going to be a series of questions all on the same subject.  Then I’ll comment on the questions.   I’m not even going to number them, just bullet point.  Here goes.

  • Are fundamentalists reverting to the origins of fundamentalism to make room for conservative evangelicals (new-evangelicals)?  Should militancy over the gospel be the only criteria for being a fundamentalist (even if it were true that fundamentalists were militant over it)?

The original fundamentalists (the guys who wrote “The Fundamentals”) apparently did not separate over dress, music, the Charismatic movement, or complementarianism, so neither should fundamentalists.  After all, neither did they, it seems, separate over the “bigger” issues of church government, mode of baptism, versions, or Calvinism versus Arminianism, so fundamentalists today shouldn’t fuss over those “smaller” things.  Conservative evangelicals point this out.  They add to that the observation that fundamentalists were little on big issues like “justification.”  And fundamentalists haven’t contributed in the defense of the “important” doctrines of scripture by writing any substantial books.

That first paragraph is the basis for many young fundamentalists shifting to new-evangelicalism.  You might bring up something about their fellowship with Billy Graham.  They’ll bring up your fellowship with easy-believism and no-repentance factions of fundamentalism.  You might bring up Charismatics.  They’ll bring up infant sprinkling.  It goes like that tit for tat.  They’ll argue that certain evangelicals are more militant about the gospel than actual fundamentalists, which, they will argue, was the original point of the fundamentalism.  On top of that, they’ll argue that the preaching is more substantive among conservative evangelicals than the fundamentalists, that there has been more care for the Bible among the conservative evangelicals than the fundamentalists.  You point out the cultural compromise and the worldliness, and they’ll point out that these weren’t issues with original fundamentalism and that you’re adding this criteria.

Are they right?  Are true fundamentalists actually paleo-evangelicals?  That’s what some young fundamentalists contend and what Phil Johnson says.  I think this manifests the problem of being a fundamentalist.  What difference does it make if you’re a fundamentalist if you are disobedient to Scripture?  I contend that culturally today almost all non-revivalist fundamentalists would be a good deal to the left of the original fundamentalists culturally and that those original fundamentalists would separate over the cultural issues that they see today—they would gasp at the pants on women, the nudity in the way of mixed swimming and shorts on women, and they would go bonkers over the music.

I don’t hear ANYONE talking about this, except me, but at the recent Shepherd’s Conference in Southern California, Phil Johnson, as one of the main speakers, officially opened up far more than the gospel into the separating factors for conservative evangelicals.  They don’t separate, but he sure did bring that into the equation.  His message was an expositional (Titus 1-2)  expose of smutty pulpit speech.  He said that conduct that does not adorn the gospel is a gospel issue.  That opens up the door for separation over a lot of practices, doesn’t it?  So where do we stop in the determination of what wrong practices actually do adorn the gospel?  Sounds like everythingism to me.

  • How is SharperIron still fundamentalist?  How is it that real fundamentalists still associate with SharperIron?

This is curious to me.  I am not intending to offend anyone, by the way.  I know I will, but I’m not intending to.  Why don’t fundamentalists themselves point this out?  They push and endorse a tremendous amount of new-evangelicalism on that blog.  They don’t practice separation.  On their blogroll they have the Southern Baptist Ben Wright, who is in Mark Dever’s church.  They have the new-evangelical, Andy Naselli, the assistant to D. A. Carson, who attends a new-evangelical church.   When you read the rest of their blogroll, including Joe Fleener, The World From our Window, and the Jay Adams blog now, they either constantly endorse new-evangelicals, or in the case of Jay Adams, he is one.   On Joe Fleener’s blog, he had links to Psalms set to blatant rock music.  I commented to point that out.  He didn’t say a word to me; just deleted the comment.  SharperIron is infatuated with, and I mean in the way of loving, conservative evangelicals.  They rarely bash an evangelical and are always smacking fundamentalists.  I sense a disdain for the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship there.  How is it a fundamentalist blog?

SharperIron still gets the kind participation and endorsement of big name non-revivalist fundamentalists—Mike Harding, Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, and Mike Sproul.  I know that the internet has changed things relating to associations, but I would think that SharperIron would have been off-limits to me when I was in college and grad school.  Yet, many of the major Bible colleges in fundamentalism advertise on there.  They advertise on a site that smacks them around.  Are all these people afraid of SharperIron?

  • Where did fundamentalists learn the cold-shoulder method of separation and why do they use that method?

This isn’t every fundamentalist, but it is common.  They would rather take a cheap shot from a distance than confront someone face on and deal with an issue.  The only major figure that I know isn’t this way is Dave Doran.  I have to applaud him for this.  I can’t call it courage, because what is there to be afraid of?  But he will talk right to you about issues.   If you point out an error, they’ll either ignore you, delete you, say a smart personal comment, or ban you.  They seem to be too afraid to comment here or at our blogs.  I know they read us.  I think there is fear among them to engage here.  They will easily associate with new-evangelicals though, engage in “dialogue” with them.

  • Is the King James Version issue the most unifying factor for contemporary fundamentalism?  Why?

KJVO often gets raised as something as serious as a false gospel by fundamentalists.  Separating from a KJVO has been elevated to the level of an essential with many fundamentalists.  I recognize that we separate over it too, but that is how we operate.  They don’t—not in their stated objectives.  Let me give you a for instance.  Let’s say that Calvary in Lansdale was KJVO.  What would their national leadership conference look like?  Would they have Detroit and Central and Maranatha and BJU show up?  Not a chance.  However, they do get together despite differences on how they view the gospel and the doctrine of sanctification, among many others.   Look at Ambassador, a KJVO school.   See how they are treated by non-revivalist fundamentalism.  By observation, I see KJVO as the most signficant factor of unity for non-revivalist fundamentalism.

  • Why do non-revivalists fundamentalists go back to the 1920s or perhaps only to the 1890s with Warfield at Princeton to get their history of bibliology?  In other words, why do they ignore history on the doctrine of preservation and then say that they have some kind of tradition they’re defending?

I added this after I posted this whole article, because of reading someone about conservative Christianity depending on a tradition that has been passed on.  The multiple versions, several Bible, position is brand new historically.  Post-enlightenment based upon evidentialism or empiricism.   They fully trust man’s sin warped faculties to interpret external data to extrapolate a text of scripture, a position that has no tradition and no history.  They should just admit that they’ve got a brand new position that they’re comfortable with, even though it clashes with how Christians have believed and practiced through history.  Of course, they’d have to say that there was a total apostasy of the correct position for centuries, but at least it would be honest.

  • Has anyone noticed that the long time systematic theology instructor at Detroit and I both have the same position on ranking doctrines?  Does that mean my position is “in” now with fundamentalists?  Or will he be “out”?

It doesn’t seem to me that one could be in and another could be out.  It seems that we must both be out or both be in.  Read this from Rolland McCune.

Essentials and non-essentials pose a monumental difficulty from the human perspective. One of the basics of theology is the pervasive Creator-creature distinction, i.e., nothing exists in man as it does in God. Confusing this principle via human autonomy is the fundamental basis of sin (to worship the creature rather than the Creator, Rom 1:25); it is a controlling rubric of all thinking about God and truth. This distinction between the Creator and the creature puts the two in totally unmixed categories. The chasm between them can be bridged only by the Creator, from the top down, and thankfully has been crossed, for example, in the incarnation of the God-man and the divine message of the Bible in purely human languages

That being the case, a two-tiered approach is mandated for all the difficulties of theology that involve the compatibility of the infinite and the finite, the eternal and the temporal, including the essential and non-essential. On the one hand, there is no non-essential proposition, datum, or doctrine in God’s mind. Being omniscient, for example, all truth in God is infinitely exhaustive and interlocking, and anything lacking or in any way diminished therefrom denies the person of God, especially His simplicity as well as His “intellectual attributes.” God does not have attributes as such; He is what His attributes are. In that case there are no non-essentials in the Bible and theology.

On the other (human) hand, I do not like to venture into the essential/non-essential briar patch. Part of the problem with this is how does one determine what is essential or non-essential to what? David’s mighty man who killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day (2 Sam 23:20) may be deemed by some as a non-essential, but to what, and why? Certainly not to God. If it is in the Bible, I must believe that everything there is essential or it wouldn’t have been put there by God via inspiration. Such a proposition or datum may well be ultimately incomprehensible to a finite mind—even forever, but it is necessary nonetheless. Which is all to say, I don’t believe finite humans have the necessary criteria or propaedeutic to declare with any certainty on this issue and others like it. This is not to say that 2 Sam 23:20 should be an article of saving faith, so in that sense would not be as essential to the kerygma in our minds, but since it is in the Word of God it must be ultimately essential and is something that the God of infinite and exhaustive truth, knowledge, wisdom, purpose, et al. cannot do without.

He uses, albeit with some loftier rhetoric, the same arguments we used in our recent months to attack the ranking doctrines position.  I get attacked all over, even to the point of ridicule, on my defense of no non-essentials.  By the way, as of this writing, in the comment section where this was posted—no criticism of the no non-essential position.  Zero.  Zilch.  Well, Roland McCune and I.  Here we are.  Two peas in a pod on this subject.  Has he been reading Jackhammer and What Is Truth?

Categories: Brandenburg, Culture
  1. Anvil
    April 7, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    This statement, in the SI section of your post:

    “I know that the internet has changed things relating to associations, but I would think that SharperIron would have been off-limits to me when I was in college and grad school.”

    demonstrates exactly why SI exists and why fundamentalists go there. It’s been that whole atmosphere of “hush hush” and “off limits” that gave fundamentalism a bad name. If fundamentalists are so sure they have the truth, what does it hurt a college student, someone who is presumably entering adulthood and is trying to firm up beliefs and convictions that may last a lifetime AND is under good teaching and supervision from his Bible instructors, to be exposed to ideas that may be different from what he has heard before? Is it because the college and school he attends has no answers and realizes it, or is it uncertainty? If the college is so sure everything it is teaching is right, it ought to have an answer to every “wrong” or different doctrine being espoused on a site like SI, and it ought to encourage its students to examine some ideas there, write papers on them, and demonstrate what is wrong with those alternate ideas.

    SI does tend (in my view) to lean a little left with respect to traditional fundamentalism, but the fact it has allowed and even encouraged discussions on items that previously could not even be brought up (like music, Bible versions, dress issues, etc.) without others being suspicious that anyone who asks such questions must not be a true fundamentalist is what has made it flourish. And if some new Evangelicals or “conservative” Evangelicals say some things worth listening to, especially when some fundamentalists seemingly have nothing to say, or what they say is a problem, why shouldn’t readers be exposed to and consider some of their ideas? — there might be a lot of bones, but the meat might make it worth the time.

    After all, that is the same reason I come here — it’s no secret I don’t have all the views of the men who run JackHammer, but sometimes I find some things that justify (to me anyway) the time I spend here.

  2. April 7, 2009 at 4:27 pm


    Evil communications corrupt good manners. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

    It’s not that SharperIron is a place to freely discuss issues (it actually isn’t, IMO, perhaps free for some), but that it is a place that is biased toward new-evangelicalism. It pushes new-evangelicalism. It isn’t critical of new-evangelicalism. Show me one article on there in the last year that has criticized new-evangelicalism. I’ll show you dozens that are uncritical. It disdains criticism of new-evangelicalism and even mocks the criticism of it. At the same time, it leaves almost no holds barred in going after fundamentalism. If anyone argues anything in the ways of fundamentalism when I was college aged, he won’t survive there. He will barely be given the time of day. It really is like what was said when SI canned me—we don’t want people that believe and think like you espousing your positions here.

  3. Jay C.
    April 8, 2009 at 5:46 am

    They seem to be too afraid to comment here or at our blogs. I know they read us. I think there is fear among them to engage here.
    Kent, et al…I disagree with you on this sentence. If SI was afraid to engage with you or the others at JackHammer, then they wouldn’t be cross-linking to your blog, which they have done several times. Furthermore, if I recall correctly, most of the guys on JackHammer were originally SI members who have left as well. I think that might bear mentioning in your article. I know that Kent was.

    Finally, I think that there is a difference between conservative evangelicals and new evangelicals, but I’m not prepared to discuss that right now, since I don’t have the time to. None of the “conservative evangelicals” that I know of – MacArthur, Piper, Carson [just to name just a few] support New Evangelicalism. MacArthur calls himself a Fundamentalist, and I have no issues with him taking the name although he’s not a typical IFB.

    Fundamentalism is unfortunately a name with little to no meaning anymore, which is why you, I and others can look so different and hold different doctrinal positions. My challenge to you, the readers of this blog, and anyone else who is concerned about the term is this – define the term.

  4. Larry
    April 8, 2009 at 6:15 am

    It is hard to fathom the irony of someone who complains about “smutty pulpit speech” (and speaks approvingly of Phil Johnson’s recent presentation on it) manages to work in a joke about mosquitoes in a nudist colony.

    That was classic.

    • cmarkle
      April 8, 2009 at 7:26 am

      Brother Larry,

      I guess there are many “gotcha moments” in the Blogosphere and you may have identified one, but do you have anything to say regarding the substance of Brother Brandenburg’s article?

      Brother Brandenburg,

      I think you raise some legitimate concerns. However, I think you have had much more publicity on SI than you might have expected when you departed. In addition, you do have commenters that are at both sites. Some of us do not seem to agree with either of the poles you appear to set up; but I assure you that there are a few SI members that are not afraid of your blog nor of calling out error at SI. On the other hand, I will admit that I do not see myself as the SI-police (nor the JH-police) so I feel very little compulsion to seek out the evil wherever it may be lurking (iow, I choose to ignore some things which I do not agree with both here and there). If God “calls” me to the ministry of the FBI (Fundamentalist Bureau of Investigation), I will try to make sure I flash my badge enough in your direction so that you know who I am and Who I am working for. 🙂 But until then, I have enough trouble policing myself (including the discipline of my time- 1 Corinthians 9:27) to get all upset by everything I read on the Internet.

  5. James
    April 8, 2009 at 7:06 am


    I’m not entirely understanding the direction and end game of your questions. They are all good/fair (yet random) questions and complaints that have been asked before and I as the reader come away with the question for you: “Okay, what was the point to those questions?” In my honest opinion, there are different and deeper issues that define the rift with fundamentalism.

    Jay addressed the statement “why don’t they (N-R Fundy’s) comment here”-my question is if you think that the internet has opened up new avenues for seperation-why would you want to have their dialogue or discussion here, if you question, say SI’s, fundamental stance? (isn’t that what you are questioning in the first place?)

    From my limited time of study, fundamentalism has always had a big umbrella, other terms were used to identify more specifically where a church body/pastor stood in the areas of theology, polity, etc, etc. I have found it interesting that many have taken umbrage with the dilution of the “fundamentalist” name, yet no one has taken umbrage with the long standing dilution of what it means to be a baptist. I think the historical nature to the call for the “original fundamentals” is an attempt to show the wideness of the umbrella of fundamentalism in it’s origins, and the scope of the internet has opened people up to “camps” within fundamentalism that have existed for years, yet people didn’t realize they existed due to a lack of medium to engage in discussion. Thus, this has brought about a “you are not one of us” or a “you are not what you say you are” when exposed to these camps within broader fundamentalism.

    Just my thoughts.

  6. Steve Davis
    April 8, 2009 at 7:31 am

    Perhaps it’s true as you state the matter: “I don’t hear ANYONE talking about this, except me….” Why is no one talking about this about you (with great authority I might add)? It may be what you are talking about has little importance in the great scheme of things or everyone else has their heads in the sand. It could be that the issues you raise are legitimate personal areas of concern and conviction but others have greater biblical concerns centered on Christ and the Word. As long as you see disagreement with your views as disagreement with and disobedience to Scripture then there is not much to talk about. BTW, I am associated with SharperIron. I don’t know if I am in your words a “real Fundamentalist” whatever that might be. I imagine you could tell me what you think a “real Fundamentalist” is and in that case I might be glad not to be one.

  7. Larry
    April 8, 2009 at 8:21 am

    I guess there are many “gotcha moments” in the Blogosphere and you may have identified one, but do you have anything to say regarding the substance of Brother Brandenburg’s article?

    That’s just about the most substantive thing that can be said about this. According to many, if we don’t take a stand against this smutty speech and sexualization of the culture, we are guilty of it. I simply pointed it out. It was not a gotcha moment. It seemed more an instance of hypocrisy. Over at SI, that kind of stuff would be edited out as unfit since we don’t need references to immoral living in the public domain of those who claim to be following Christ.

    The article has some fair points that I don’t think anyone would deny. But those points have been made by credible sources for a long time, including at SI long before they were made anywhere else. There’s nothing new here, except perhaps the assertion that Kent Brandenburg and Rolland McCune are somehow similar.

    Kent seems to think we should be scared of SI, as if good teaching can’t win; it merely has to shut up the opposition. Why can not we, as fundamentalists committed to separation, interact with those who disagree? Because of my commitment to separation, I started not to even comment here because I don’t want to be associated with the stuff that been said on this blog (the few times I have read it).

    But at the same time, we don’t have to be worried that truth will somehow lose if we read something by men like Dever, Carson, and MacArthur (all of whom are probably more doctrinally sound than Kent). Why should we be scared of it?

    I don’t think we should.

  8. cmarkle
    April 8, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Kent seems to think we should be scared of SI, as if good teaching can’t win; it merely has to shut up the opposition. Why can not we, as fundamentalists committed to separation, interact with those who disagree?

    Is there a limit to your willingness to interact? It appears to me like the scope of willing interaction with disagreement seems to have grown significantly of late. I am hoping that there is some limit and possibly that the walls will tighten back up. What makes what you have said here significantly different from the following quote.

    It differed from fundamentalism in its repudiation of separatism and its determination to engage itself in the theological dialogue of the day.

    Can you guess who said this and where?

    For the glory of His Truth,
    Christian Markle

    • Larry
      April 8, 2009 at 9:40 am


      Limits to interaction? Yes … When such interaction is approving interaction, or when such interaction is based on disingenuous, or when such interaction takes more time than it is worth. Perhaps some others. I don’t think putting our heads in the sand is a viable response.

      The quote you give is a different type of theological dialogue. It was dialogue seeking for consensus and respectability. It was not dialogue for understanding and refutation.

      When we tell people, “You can’t talk about that,” we are not helping the issue. They will talk about it, and if they do not get sound reasons from fundamentalists, they will get reasons elsewhere and they might not be so sound.

      So I think, by and large, that topics should not be off limits provided they are entered into with the right demeanor and right guidelines. I don’t think everything at SI fits that category, but I don’t think everything at SI is outside of that category.

      I think we also make a mistake if we think “historic fundamentalists” (whoever they are) always drew the lines in the right places. They may not have. While the “historic fundamentalists” of the 20-30s may not have separated over the right things, it is entirely possible the the “historic fundamentalists” of the 60-70s separated over the wrong things.

      The error goes both ways, and some don’t seem to acknowledge that.

  9. April 8, 2009 at 9:29 am

    I sensed anger in some of the comments. Maybe I’m wrong. I wonder if when neos confront fundamentalism there is the same anger? I don’t think that is true. The new fundamentalism gets riled up when they are confronted by the right of them. They get a kind of hushed respect that seems reserved for celebrities for the left.

    And much of what I hear isn’t very substantive. It doesn’t defend the actual points, doctrinally-theologically, that I would expect. Or maybe I shouldn’t expect, because it doesn’t matter any more. Of course, some would say, in good cold shoulder style, that they don’t need to, because, sigh, they don’t have the time and that isn’t worth the effort, especially for such neanderthals. I’m not talking about me personally, but people in general that believe in the older fundamentalistic way.

    I don’t think SharperIron needs to be a fundamentalist blog. It’s just that it is identified as one. I was attempting to know why. Is it because it supports fundamentalism? Is it because the owners are fundamentalist? So you guys are totally defensive of it? I really haven’t gotten any solid evidence of it in the way of pointing out the errors of evangelicalism. Is that not of interest to fundamentalists? Why be a “fundamentalist” then? If you are going to spend most of your time acting like an evangelical, then just go all the way and be one. Or is there something that holds you back? Is it tradition?

    There are plenty of self-confessing evangelical blogs out there to read. What actually behaves and acts like a fundamentalist? I have meant everything here. If fundamentalism holds no meaning, why continue the charade? Or is there something worth hanging on to?

    As far as the personal stuff, I enjoyed the hits. I don’t very well think that the mosquito-nudist thing was a problem. If I offended you Larry and Christian, I apologize. I recognize that it may have had to be an offense for Larry in this instance. Denish D’souza used it in his opening in his debate against Christopher Hitchens at The King’s College. The audience didn’t take it as smutty there. They really laughed, because they understood the irony of it. The mosquitoes, by the way, are after blood. Maybe Marvin Olasky, underneath all that Christian worldview stuff, has a smutty side to him maybe. I think there is plenty of rhetorical sensibility there. That’s what fundamentalism seems to be left with though, and that is, the art of taking offense with little explanation.

    Jay C.

    Hello and thanks.


    The sense that I have is that you and I take some very similar positions biblically, but they don’t exactly end in the same conclusion or practice. And I’m not talking about different personalities here. Maybe you just haven’t landed yet. I had a long phase where I was sorting through this and it occurred to me about 7 or 8 years in that I wasn’t practicing consistent with my theology and big changes occurred. Thanks for your comment.


    I did not have any clear kind of end game in view. Some of what occurs here is the provoking of thought about different matters. This centers on some of the distinctions of fundamentalism. SI was one question in the conversation. I think Greg linked here because it is something about fundamentalism. There really are few commenting on it from my side or my perspective. He would link if it were Phil Johnson or Mark Dever or John Piper talking about it as well.

    Steve Davis,

    I know what fundamentalists say that fundamentalism is. They say that it separates over at least the gospel. Perhaps I’m thinking about how non-revivalist fundamentalism has operated in my lifetime. They separated from new-evangelicals and told you why. Is that good? If you don’t think so, then you would be consistent in not being a fundamentalist. Your National Leadership Conference seems to cater to fundamentalists. I would think there is some reason for that. Do you think fundamentalists should separate from that crowd of people that still retains fellowship with Charismatics, with open theism, Fuller, Billy Graham, the Southern Baptist Convention, etc.?

    Steve, perhaps you were offended by my “except me.” That was a little tongue in cheek in that I would be one talking about this issue, as anyone in the regular audience here would know. However, obviously Andy thought it to be a good question to ask McCune. Why? Because this subject is being talked about. And consistently when I have talked about it, what I’ve said is disagreed with. This is very important, I believe, if you are a fundamentalist. Aren’t we to judge matters based on their individual merit, not on who says it.


    I don’t think it is so much interacting with evangelicalism, but the incessant promotion of it. That defies the militancy of fundamentalism. It’s not even a matter of who you read. No one here has said you can’t read these guys. The reading of them seems to be having an influence toward a change in fundamentalism though. Just because you comment here doesn’t mean you are associated with it, especially if you disagree. I comment everywhere, but no one would think I associate with the places I comment. That’s very clear, don’t you think?

    What I’m thinking is that in the old days, fundamentalism would have called out SI for new-evangelical/evangelical, that is, non-separatist practices. Maybe I’m wrong and that wasn’t what once took place. I think that the same kind of fundamentalists see it, but they don’t say anything any more. I’m making that observation.

  10. bob
    April 8, 2009 at 9:40 am

    I’m not a member of SI and therefore can’t even comment there, so this is nothing personal. What I don’t like about the place is the arrogance of some of the posters, especially when it comes to subjects like “fundamentalism” and “scholarship.” Some users there basically call fundamentalists complete morons and seem to have a degree of arrogance that is completely stunning. Yet, no one says anything because it’s a “scholarly” debate. And some other poor poster will make a light-hearted joke and get scolded left and right. It seems as if complete arrogance is allowed, but a little light hearted humor is anathema.

  11. Jay C.
    April 8, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Bob, I’d appreciate it if you could email me – si.jayc@gmail.com. I’d like to discuss your complaint with you.

    No, I’m not going to be mad at you – I’m curious and would like more details. Thanks.

  12. Larry
    April 8, 2009 at 9:50 am


    I am not angry about what you said. I perhaps am more apathetic in that it doesn’t affect my ministry (which is my main concern), and it has already been said by many others. I am just not bothered by it.

    My point about the mosquito-nudist thing wasn’t that I was offended. I think it’s a great line. I also think it is somewhat hypocritical to complain about Driscoll while rolling out that kind of line even if D’Souza did use it. That was my point.

    You say that participation doesn’t equal endorsement, but surely you recognize that Harding, Doran, Bauder, and Sproul comment very rarely at SI, and I think little of what they say could be construed as an endorsement. So I think that was a bit misleading.

    As for promotion, I am not sure what you mean by that, so I won’t comment on it except to say I don’t see SI as promoting anything really. It is a coffee-house sort of place, for better or worse. There are discussions of all kinds of things. As an analogy, I am posting here in disagreement with your position. The fact that you allow me to say something doesn’t mean you are promoting what I am promoting. It is simply a discussion.

    Perhaps in the old days, fundamentalism would have called at SI. Perhaps not. But the bigger question is would they have been right to do so. It seems like you are arguing that if the “old days fundamentalism” would have done something, it was the right thing to do and therefore we should do it as well. I disagree (and perhaps you do). I think we need to rethink and come to our own convictions. Nothing is less firmly held than a position you inherited from someone else. “They always did it” isn’t a good reason to do it, though it may be a good thing to do.

    Again, I come back to the centrality and importance of local church ministry. While I want to be aware of what goes on out there, I feel less of a need to be involved in polemics against everyone who doesn’t do things the way I would. I don’t think the “ministry of watchblogging” is a good thing necessarily, and some good comments were made on that recently elsewhere (by someone I can’t remember and am too lazy to look up). In the end, I will answer for my local church, not someone else’s. So I don’t feel the need to speak out against everything.

  13. April 8, 2009 at 9:51 am


    I happen to agree with you, but that is my opinion on it, since “arrogance” is hard to register. There is an ill-will toward fundamentalism though that you feel there at SI and you are registering it here.

  14. April 8, 2009 at 10:00 am


    Thanks for the heads up on the no-offense at the mosquito joke (or was it a nudist joke?). And your official non-anger and ambivalence. And kudos to the local church or as I would say, the church.

    I think calling SI on scriptural violations would be good coming from the aforementioned guys. SI is influencing people and they could throw some influence back. Some might resent it. Maybe the resent factor is it. Or maybe that don’t think it is a problem.

    To show you SI’s promotion, I’d have to do some kind of scientific study, which I would rather not, so I’m keeping it at my opinion level. I’m sure Greg as a filer is going to add more fundamentalism to the filings. He likes being one. I’m not against that. So does my friend, Don Johnson. He liked being a fundamentalist too. I like it when it is for good reasons. I think I know why they do, so I appreciate the good points about that in them.

    Thanks for the comment.

  15. bob
    April 8, 2009 at 10:03 am

    To be fair to SI, we need to remember that this site and SI are written mediums and therefore of course we can’t always ascertain a person’s spirit and attitude. I fully recognize that fact and therefore am willing to give a person the benefit of the doubt that they may be having a perfectly kind conversation with no caustic attitudes intended and I the reader am misinterpreting it.

    Jay, I don’t really mean to raise a ruckus, but if I have time I may actually take you up on your offer. But on the other hand, it’s not something that I worry about too much, either. 🙂

  16. cmarkle
    April 8, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Brother Brandenburg,

    Trust me change has already taken place . . . and is consistently in the works. Christ-likeness is a lifelong process with which I am committed. The steps you have taken may be different than mine or in a different order (and I believe for different reasons regarding SI), but I believe as we keep our eyes on the One who died for us and pursue the prize; we will make it — and we might even agree on a few things in the process.

    It may be that I need to ask you to patiently wait for me to catch up to you. . .on the other hand, it may also be that you have not yet arrived yourself and we might help edify each other as we run the race together (Hebrews 3:13). I suspect that this may lead to some sparks flying, head wagging, and deeply concerned prayers for each other. There may come a time when we may need to part company for the sake of the Truth, but until then I am willing to keep going to the mat for truth whether it be with you as an opponent or an ally. Due to higher priorities I may not show up for very match. I suspect you would rather I fought more at SI — you may be right, but I have others closer to me and more concerned about my immediate ministry, time, and health who wish I did not “fight” as much as I do.

    My time at SI has been greatly diminished recently and will likely continue to diminish in the next few months.

    BTW, I was not offended by the mosquito joke (notice the word “may” in that comment). I just wanted to get Larry to engage at a different level.

    For His glory,
    Christian Markle

  17. cmarkle
    April 8, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Brother Larry,

    The coffee house concept of the Forums is one thing, but the choice of filings, authors and subjects for the blog (front end) is another.

    Paul was concerned about the Corinthians bearing with false teachers in 2 Corinthians 11:1-4. I fear the same for SI.

  18. Larry
    April 8, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Paul was concerned about the Corinthians bearing with false teachers in 2 Corinthians 11:1-4. I fear the same for SI.

    So what false teachers do you have in mind that are being posted approvingly at SI?

    • cmarkle
      April 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm

      So what false teachers do you have in mind that are being posted approvingly at SI?

      Brother Larry,

      The suggestion that whether we have 6 literal 24 hour days or some other means of creation is not important as long as we believ God created it is in my mind awful close to teaching falsely. If the words of Genesis 1-2 are not important then what about the other chapters of the Bible. Now I know that one will respond with they are important they just do not mean what they seem to mean. I fear that we are allowing science is not just dangerously equal to the absolute truth of Scripture but at times we appear to allow it to trump the truth of scripture. The ramifications of this approach along with the hermeneutic requirements for such openness to possibilities in Genesis 1-2 and Exodus 20 have been historically damaging for many institutions in the past.

      For His glory,
      Christian Markle

  19. April 8, 2009 at 12:54 pm


    I am definitely thinking I have room for growth. For sure. I can say that you have helped that growth at various junctures in our time of interaction. What I’m talking about is consistency in those unique beliefs that you and I share, scriptural ones. I want more people to know them and believe them so I go outside of my circle to do that. I spent very little time doing that the first ten years of my pastoring. Of course, the internet wasn’t around then. I don’t know that in the first ten years I would have had much to say that would have been worthwhile.

    I don’t have the corner on growth or recognition of it, but as an older guy, I’ve noticed growth with you. To me, that’s increased truth telling like Jesus. None of us have arrived, to state the obvious.

  20. reglerjoe
    April 8, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I confess I haven’t read all the comments on this thread…after about 10 lengthy comments I get disinterested in the conversation (A.D.D.?)

    I would like to know if anybody has responded to the point Kent was making about Rolland McCune and non-essential doctrine. Point me in the right direction – I’d like to read some of the reactions.

  21. April 8, 2009 at 1:36 pm


    I may have missed it, but quoting McCune as you do, have you interacted with his writings here?


  22. April 8, 2009 at 2:37 pm


    No reactions. No one biting. Wrong bait, I guess. The only reactions I know of are right here. As I said, “except me.” Steve Davis says no one else cares. It seems like you care.


    You are either the sensei of google or you have an encylopedic memory of fundamentalist journals. I had actually read McCune’s article you linked too, and thanks. I knew McCune and I weren’t theological twins. But he really dealt only with the threshold to meet in order to be a fundamentalist. I did consider the fact that he doesn’t separate over what even he calls essentials. God would kill over an essential, but we won’t separate over it does seem to be an inconsistency.


    I would be in your corner, your column, your category on the creation issue. I don’t know if it is modernistic or post-modernistic to pooh-pooh that issue.

  23. Anvil
    April 8, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Obviously, you don’t really believe that verse applies to all forms of mocking, otherwise you wouldn’t use such lines as “Pants/skirt issue for *DUMMIES*” or “Sharper Spatula,” “Duller Iron,” etc. God even mocks the wicked. I don’t believe you will see God or His Word mocked at SI, unless you are counting some comments from individuals who do not represent SI in any way, and even those don’t last.

    Regarding criticism of NE, fundamentalism has done lots of that. What fundamentalism has not done, by and large, is to do a really good evaluation of itself. SI has allowed that to take place, and yes, quite some criticism has taken place of the different abuses or extreme individuals in fundamentalism, as well as problems with the movement itself. Unfortunately, the ideal of fundamentalism, i.e. biblical Christianity, is not always what results in practice. In that sense, fundamentalists are in the best possible place to critique themselves and fix the problems. We don’t expect to be able to fix the New Evangelicals, because they are not us, their problems have already been repeatedly pointed out, and they generally do not listen to fundamentalists anyway.

    As you pointed out, fundamentalism has done a lot of the cold-shoulder type separation. At SI, the posters would rather examine the differences, and yes, criticize where necessary. If we interact, we can actually learn, in spite of the sparks.

    On the differences between your version of everythingism and McCune’s version, it is quite obvious from his statement that not every difference is to be approached in the way that differences over the Gospel should be approached. You still haven’t answered the questions I had from those articles on how practice meets theory when the men you associate with, either here or in real life don’t have exactly your position on every issue, but you still don’t separate. Yes, you mentioned that there is time and room for growth, etc., but the end result is the same — you don’t separate over every doctrine equally. So while you may believe that every doctrinal difference is a separation-worthy difference, you don’t stick to that in practice. So, maybe you really are no different from McCune or any of the rest of us that believe that everything God said is important, but is not all treated in the same way.

  24. Larry
    April 8, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    The suggestion that whether we have 6 literal 24 hour days or some other means of creation is not important as long as we believ God created it is in my mind awful close to teaching falsely.

    Without rehashing that debate here, I doubt that there are few that are more strongly 6/24 YEC than I am (thougth there are many equally committed). But when we say “false teaching” we certainly have to qualify that, don’t we?. None of us are completely right (except for me, but I don’t tell anyone that). Therefore, all of us are false teachers at some level. But not all false teaching is equal. Furthermore, those who suggested something other than 6/24 were soundly refuted with serious interaction and subsequent articles are being published. I don’t think 6/24 YEC’s have anything to be afraid of. We don’t need to shut the discussion down because the facts can be presented and can stand up to the test. No one from “the other side” took a serious run at the text of Scripture. So I probably wouldn’t have published the article in question, but I am not sure that rises to the level of what has historically been labeled “false teaching,” thought it is certainly wrong.

    In any discussion, you are going to have two sides, and most of the time, one of them is going to be wrong. There was, for a time, people on SI pushing “local church only” doctrine. That is also false teaching, but it was tolerated for a time, and eventually people were banned for their demeanor over the issues rather than the issues themselves. I think there are still some local church only proponents there, which is fine.

    With respect to the question on the comments on Dr. McCune, I started to comment on the absurdity of comparing Kent to Dr. McCune but took it out because I didn’t want to appear snarky. I don’t think Kent and Dr. McCune have much in common. One is a very serious Bible student and scholar; the other does not seem to be as serious.

    I don’t think fundamentalism has many minds of the caliber of Dr. McCune with a corresponding commitment of character and longevity in ministry. When Dr. McCune says “essential to what” I think he is making an entirely different point than I understand Kent to be making. So I thought that, at one level, that comparison was so absurd as not to be taken seriously, and on another level, I did not want to appear overly harsh–like a real fundamentalist who calls out error when he sees it.

    Guess I blew that, didn’t I …

  25. April 8, 2009 at 3:05 pm


    I actually did answer you. I wrote a very detailed answer that was this post: https://jackhammer.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/separation-and-ranking-doctrines/

    I noticed there were no comments from you in the comment thread. I’ll await your retraction.

    What verse are you talking about as it relates to mocking? Did someone mention that in this post or thread?

    Part of the self-critique of fundamentalism is why and how it separates from new evangelicalism. When there are almost only kudos for new evangelicalism/evangelicalism, it seems that will be difficult.

    I listen to what Bauder says in other places about separation. He did his doctoral work on that. I can’t wrap my brain around big chunks of it, because they are unsubstantiated by scripture. I understand why they are unsubstantiated at this point—there is no scripture to explain—but there isn’t a criticism for the most part about that because he is already on the right side of non-revivalist fundamentalism. I really do appreciate him trying. He is someone doing that.

    I appreciate the anvil metaphor, but with all these other SI guys over here and the water fine, maybe you can drop the pseudonym.

  26. Larry
    April 8, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Correction — The initial paragraph of my preceding post is a quote from Christian Markle. Sorry for the formatting mess up. I am blaming it on the mosquitoes I am shooing away.

  27. April 8, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Larry said:

    With respect to the question on the comments on Dr. McCune, I started to comment on the absurdity of comparing Kent to Dr. McCune but took it out because I didn’t want to appear snarky. I don’t think Kent and Dr. McCune have much in common. One is a very serious Bible student and scholar; the other does not seem to be as serious.


    I know that Dr. McCune and I don’t see eye to eye on everything, but you don’t have to say that he isn’t a serious Bible student and scholar. I recognize that he hasn’t preached through the entire Bible, studying them in the original languages, but give the man some credit for some of what he’s done.

    And for anyone keeping score, I was not banned at SI for taking a local only position. I wasn’t officially banned, just put on guest status, which is a different title with the same loss of “privileges.” There was one guy that I know of who was banned for how he argued not just that, but every position that he took. And I’m not talking about Bobby. So, I guess I don’t know how accurate you’re representing what happened, Larry.

  28. Larry
    April 8, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    I know you weren’t officially banned, and it wasn’t for the local church only position. That was my point. That position was tolerated and even argued for, much moreso than non-literal creation was argued for. By and large, demeanor has been considered more important than crossing the Ts and dotting the Is the same way everyone else does.

  29. April 8, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    And Larry, I’m sure your demeanor stood and stands as an example to everyone there at SI for how it is to be done. I think that there are many that might say that they feel safe there at SI knowing that you and men like Joe Roof are watching over the discussion, making sure that those on the left and those on the right of yourself and Joe are treated equally. No biting, gouging, or hitting below the waist, just come out fighting.

  30. April 8, 2009 at 5:21 pm


    The responsible portions of fundamentalism is comfortable with SI because fundamentalism (when healthy) is militant when Scripture is militant and gracious when Scripture is less than militant. SI tries to be the same way.

    I don’t think people at SI are afraid of you Kent. You’re probably reading more into the silence than you should. Some of them probably just don’t like you….. Of course you know me….I love everyone, even guys like you. Of course that probably makes me a poor fundamentalist. Like you, I’m not too worried about that.

    Keep Smilen!

    Straight Ahead!


  31. Larry
    April 8, 2009 at 6:26 pm


    I fail quite often in my own demeanor. I have edited myself often, but not often enough I am afraid. My energy is too often aroused by things I disagree with.

    We don’t do a lot of editing, but we do do some. We try to guard against personal attacks and the like. We don’t always do it well, but we do try. There is a great deal of disagreement even among the moderators.

    I don’t mind discussion and disagreement, even when it is heated. It is always hard to know where to draw the line, and we don’t all do it in the same place.

    Like every place else, SI isn’t perfect and is very frustrating at times. But it is a discussion forum, not a local church. And more disagreement is tolerated there, for better or worse.

  32. RodneyKing
    April 8, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Can’t we all just get along???!!!

  33. Bobby
    April 8, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    OK, I’ll admit that I typed the Rodney King comment.


    The point of your article rang very true with me.

    To all the SI guys,

    Unlike SI, you can come here and disagree and you won’t have “tone” thrown at you and you won’t be made a “guest” when your arguments can’t be refuted. I hope you enjoy the liberty here! I don’t have much time to join in because of a lot of stuff the Lord is doing here. He is wonderful and I’m happy to be in His service. I hope to be found faithful to Him.

  34. April 8, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Ouch Joel on people not liking me. Do you charge for this therapy? This post was very stream of consciousness and I should have stopped wondering out loud before I typed “afraid” or at least “afraid of commenting here.” I still do think it is true and could illustrate it, but I’m sure it isn’t true in several instances.

    Larry, I’m guessing you do your best. It probably is a tough job for the gang with such a wide variety of characters.


    Thanks for dropping in.


    Your “rang very true” was very cliche-ish. Your comment about “tone” I thought hit every cylinder though.

  35. Don Johnson
    April 8, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Re Greg and ‘sensei’ or whatever…

    Greg is truly amazing. I think he singlehandedly keeps the internet going.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  36. Anvil
    April 9, 2009 at 4:36 am

    I guess I need to clear up a few things.

    First, I don’t know how to do good quotes here, so the verse I was referring to was the one in your first answer to me on this thread — you didn’t give a reference, but it was Psalm 1:1. I should have just taken the time to use the reference or re-quote it, but I was too lazy and didn’t take the time. Sorry.

    Second, as I mentioned before, the reason I use the pseudonym is so that discussions can remain dispassionate, not because I am at SI (which I am, and which I mentioned in my first post here, a couple years ago). If you require that I stop using it, I will, but I would prefer the arguments be about what is discussed, not who I am, or where I attend church, etc. If you wish no further posts from Anvil, there will be none, though I would at least like the opportunity to answer any questions to me that are outstanding.

    Third, I think you must have sent the wrong link in your last comment to me above — I went to that link, and I have a (fairly long) comment there with a bunch of questions, which I believe are the ones I was referring to above. You answered saying you would come back later because mine was so long, and then you said in a later comment that you would come back tomorrow and answer, but I don’t see any later answers from you there. Maybe I’m just blind. If I’m wrong, I will happily retract my claim above that you didn’t really answer my questions.

    In the link you posted, one of your comments asked for patience, and I’ve been patient. I only brought it up because you were saying there was silence over the differences between you and Dr. McCune on that point.

  37. Larry
    April 9, 2009 at 5:06 am

    Unlike SI, you can come here and disagree and you won’t have “tone” thrown at you and you won’t be made a “guest” when your arguments can’t be refuted.

    Assuming you are the Bobby I think you are, your arguments (that I can recall) were well refuted on SI. Perhaps there are some I don’t recall.

    And “tone” is something that is a part of common civility, not to mention Christian decency. So it is unfortunate that it has to be moderated, and it is strange that the absence of it seems almost lauded by you. I don’t really want to be a part of those kinds of conversations. I think we can disagree without being jerks about it, and while recognizing that other people who love God fully might come to a different conclusion about things.

    • cmarkle
      April 9, 2009 at 5:50 am

      Larry has a point. . .I would have said it differently :). . .but the Bible is pretty clear about how we should speak to each other. It is no virtue to be ungracious in speech (Colossians 4:6), unloving in our truth telling (Ephesians 4:15), or contentious in our methods of seeking repentance in others (2 Timothy 2:24-26). Meekness remains a virtue (even a fruit of the Spirit) against which there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). Is there a time to be sharp? Absolutely, (2 Corinthians 13:10), but Paul here seems to be seeking every opportunity to avoid it recognizing the danger of his use of authority for that which it was not intended.

      On the other hand there is a danger also in being unloving by not confronting sin (Hebrews 12), there is a requirement for those who are filled with the Spirit to restore the fallen (Galatians 6:1). and there ought to be no soft peddling with evil communication nor tolerance of false teaching. This balance is not always struck perfectly by any of us. Some of us justify leaning one way and others praise themselves for leaning the other. I think we are all lacking in Christ-likeness in how we communicate (either not enough force or too much). A “sense of arrival” in this area is more likely a sign of carnality than it is maturity.

      Should we be able to agree to disagree at times–I think so. Should we call every person who does not agree with us on a particular interpretation of a verse or scriptural phrase a heretic–probably not. Should we allow the truth of God’s word to be dragged through the mud of worldly secular philosophy without some sense of outrage, absolutely not. Should we be so dogmatic about our personal discoveries in the Word that everything we think we understand from scripture rises to the level the Gospel — I think not. Should we be so uncertain about everything the Holy Spirit has taught us that we are not willing to press our brothers and sisters in Christ to comprehend the same truths for their own edification – again, I think not. Should we be willing to be tested in our discoveries and when demonstrated that we have little basis for our interpretation other than our personal impression, release our tight grip for the sake of the truth — I think so. Should we sacrifice the truth on the alter of the opinions of others (even really smart “others”) — I am sure the answer is no! However, we all need to recognize that we are not the sharpest knife in the drawer (only One person holds that position) and keep allowing the work of the Spirit, the objective truth of the Text, and the ministry of our brothers and sisters to sharpen us into Christ-likenss (Ephesians 4:13).

      For His glory,
      Christian Markle

  38. Bobby
    April 9, 2009 at 5:50 am


    Assuming you are the Larry I think you are, you have not and cannot refute the Biblical doctrine of the church. I agree that a proper tone is important. I’m sorry if it seems that I have “lauded the absence” of Biblical tone, but I have not lauded an absence of Biblical “tone.” However, it seems that at SI disagreement with the left leaning = poor tone. People may reach different conclusions about doctrine, but it is impossible that they are both right. One is the Scriptural doctrine on the subject and the other is not.


    Sorry about the cliche. I didn’t want to just come into the conversation like a bull in a china closet. With all the SI theologians here I was actually as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. So, I tried to be cool as a cucumber. Anyway I went to bed and slept like a baby, but, I woke up feeling like a spring chicken. Well, keep on the firing line, buddy.

    • cmarkle
      April 9, 2009 at 6:03 am

      I agree that a proper tone is important. I’m sorry if it seems that I have “lauded the absence” of Biblical tone, but I have not lauded an absence of Biblical “tone.”

      Thank you, Bobby for clarifying. I think I was working on my post while you were working on yours. I guess I went on. . and . . on . . and on. Have great day!

      Christian Markle

  39. Bobby
    April 9, 2009 at 6:22 am


    I said last night I don’t have much time for this, but here I am this morning for a few minutes. I want you to know that I appreciate you more than you will ever know. Though i don’t know you other than online, you are a blessing in many ways. Someday I’d love to meet you in person. We would have sweet fellowship, I’m sure.

  40. Larry
    April 9, 2009 at 7:47 am

    Assuming you are the Larry I think you are, you have not and cannot refute the Biblical doctrine of the church.

    I have not tried to refute the biblical doctrine of the church. I fully affirm it.

    I agree that a proper tone is important. I’m sorry if it seems that I have “lauded the absence” of Biblical tone, but I have not lauded an absence of Biblical “tone.”

    Fair enough.

    However, it seems that at SI disagreement with the left leaning = poor tone.

    I don’t think that is true at all. People on both sides are both privately and publicly admonished on this. Lately, I think it has has been mostly directed towards “left-leaning people.” But I don’t think idealogy/theology really plays a role in that much (though perhaps it does some). It is mostly about demeanor, and whether or not someone is communicating with common civility even in disagreement. Obviously, words on pages/screens, particularly in informal contexts with quick responses are easily misread, so it is often hard to know. Furthermore, significant disagreement with a position is not the same as getting personal.

    I imagine that most people on SI, and even here, agree on the fundamentals even though they might be applied differently in a local church context. I am okay with that. No one here or there will answer to me or answer for me. We must all do that ourselves.

  41. Sam
    April 9, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Excellent article – well written and the reaction only delineates how true you claims were. The reason Doran, Bauder et al parade around SI as well as hang out with the NE is that they have the same common enemy – KJVO crowd. There is nothing that sets Larry and the heresy hunters over there wild like the “obscurantist” who dares to state that may be we such take God seriously when He promised to perfectly preserve His Words. Witness the full on attack when JG (a non KJVO) made the quite reasonable observation that the Detroit Baptist Statement was full of logical fallacies (which it was). It reminds me of how people like Richard Dawkins react when he comes across a scientist who believes in creation.


    SI swoon over the NE in the hope of getting a crumb of mention by “JMac” and at Piper’s blogs. I don’t know why they don’t save costs by merging with Phil Johnson and be done with it. Doran, Bauder, McCune et al should hang their heads in shame in being associated with it. They have lived long enough to see the dangers of flirting with the NE yet they seem to be either tacitly supporting the left shift or turning a blind eye for popularity and acceptability. Bauder’s latest article on Canonicity bearing in mind his arguments on Biblical preservation should have made all the readers hold their noses because of the stinkof hypocrisy. Yet, he gets a free pass.

    I would take issue with one aspect of Kent’s anaylsis. Fundamentalism has also been historically committed to holiness. George Dollar wrote in 1966,

    “The fundamentalists of 1875–1900 were very outspoken about the apostasy of their times and the sins from which Christians should separate. Indeed, one is surprised to find in their sermons and lectures such sharp rebukes to saints for their worldliness. They saw the world worsening as we approach the rapture. The particular sins then prevalent were named….card table, horse racing, dancing, stage plays, theater, and wine. The church was condemned for being wholly worldly and worldly holy [a phrase used by A. T. Pierson at the 1886 Prophetic Conference]…. The business of the Spirit was to make him [the Christian] distinct from the unregenerate and this included his enjoyments, recreation, business, and his use of time and money.”

    Another early Fundamentalist openly opposed the theater because its,

    “chief themes…are now, as they ever have been, the passions of men—ambition and jealousy, leading to murder; lust, leading to adultery and to death; [and] anger, leading to madness.” (Editorial, “The Theater,” Watchword, July 1896)

    With regard to CCM, Fundamentalism has always been opposed to it. Moody Bible Institute quietly mutated into a Neo-Evangelical institution without ever officially renouncing Fundamentalism. In an article in Moody for February 1979 music instructor David Brackley stated, “We are trying to span as many musical tastes as possible…we use a few classical numbers, but our music is mainly more contemporary gospel music .” BIOLA founded by Rueben Torrey evidenced the same change. In the magazine Foundation was published an official statement from the BIOLA Music Department giving the University position on the use of jazz music stating,

    “… to a great degree, contemporary jazz has become ‘classical.’ It is also true that traditional jazz has to a great extent left its original association with the brothels of New Orleans, social dance, drinking, and other social practices which have represented ‘worldly values.’ Jazz, in effect, must be considered ‘classical’ in the broad sense of the term. It is entirely possible for college students to rehearse and perform jazz purely as another style of concert music.”

    In the BIOLA Chimes for May 25, 1988 the University went further and removed its historic prohibition against dancing arguing, “Under the latest revision of the code, first written in the 1920’s, students will be allowed to decide for themselves whether to dance, drink, smoke or gamble off campus during vacation periods.”

  42. April 9, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I didn’t get guest status at SI for tone but for beliefs. I was told that clearly. I’m not trying to get back. I just think the truth is what should be known. My beliefs are the same as B. Myron Cedarholm’s (read about here, here, here, and here), a part of all of your fundamentalist history. We wouldn’t practice the same, but I don’t know of a belief that we hold differently. If my beliefs were like an evangelicals, I would still be there.


    I apologize if you had a comment on that post. And you can keep Anvil. I was just seeing what your reaction would be. Your name doesn’t change anything for us three because I don’t know you. It might change things for you, but it as anonymous as Anvil. Keep Anvil. No trouble. We actually do kind of know you now as Anvil. Your real name would be anonymous. It is possible that I missed that comment long ago for some reason. I’ll review the comment thread there and come back to you. I don’t think that you get to conclude that I’m the same as you in how I practice separation, however. For one, it isn’t true. I know I’m not like fundamentalists in the matter of separation. It isn’t a point of being different, just that we come from two different outlooks, which is why there is any debate.


    I don’t remember some kind of conquering of the local only position. I see it otherwise. I don’t call huffing, saying someone doesn’t have time for this, throwing hands on the hips, and directing someone to a theology book real arguments. I remember asking for some answers to points that I made and I got silence. The only one that I remember giving a real argument was one of the professors at Detroit, whose name presently eludes me, but when an answer was given, he did not engage. That is a loss in my opinion. His argument was one verse and perhaps two lines. I didn’t believe or support a universal church position, and on SI, that constitutes sharp tone for someone to the right of them. My opinion is that our belief embarrasses SI types before their heroes, conservative evangelicals, whose books they study from.

    On the tone question, Larry. Your tone isn’t offensive to me, but does belie the standard that SI says they have, IMO. You have a tone, for instance, like Don Johnson, who was banned for tone.

  43. April 9, 2009 at 9:23 am


    Thanks for the historical material. Very interesting. I appreciate that.

  44. Don Johnson
    April 9, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Kent, I should clarify that last comment … I was banned from SI many long moons ago for something that I said inappropriately. I agreed that I should not have said what I said, and I agree some kind of punishment was warranted. Jason chose banning. His call, his blog (at the time). I believed then and believe now that if I were less militant the punishment might have been different. But then I might not have made the dumb comment! (Actually more than dumb, but I’m not going to go into it any further!)

    In general, I agree, however, that there is a left-lean to SI (although that seems to have improved somewhat with recent changes) and that those on the leftish side seem to be given more or less free rein… but that is of course a subjective opinion!

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  45. Larry
    April 9, 2009 at 10:21 am


    I don’t recall the huffing (whatever that is), and the throwing up of hands. I do recall not having time to keep repeating things. I do recall there being very substantive arguments that the LCO crowd couldn’t deal with. As for referencing theology books, it is a very good way to argue, particularly in a forum where brevity is nice. Referring to those who have made a sustained argument is an excellent way. That way you know someone isn’t just sucking it out of their thumb. As far as I am concerned, the doctrine of the church is pretty cut and dried on that issue. I don’t think you have a leg stand on. You disagree. I am fine with that. It doesn’t bother me. If you want to rehash that conversation, count me out.

    As for your guest status, I am not privy to the conversations you had with Jason. I know that your tone was much more the concern than your doctrine for many.

    It really doesn’t bother me. I am fine for people to disagree with me. I disagree with myself quite often.

    I have to remind myself that the only reason I commented here to begin with was the hilarious irony of nudist colony mosquito references. I was intending to be involved in the rest of this.

  46. April 9, 2009 at 10:27 am

    I’ve just been scanning all this and trying to decide what, if anything, of profit I can add.
    Maybe the following stands a chance of being helpful.

    1) It’s true that SI doesn’t aim alot of criticism directly at neo-evangelicalism. I can’t speak for why that’s been the case in the past. …and I can’t even say that it will continue to be the case in the future. But there are several reasons that fact doesn’t keep me lying awake at night.

    a. Many of us grew up hearing neothisandthat bashed with great fervor and frequency while problems equally serious in fundamentalism were pretended to not exist. So it may help to think of the seemingly greater degree of criticism of fundamentalism at SI as a kind of affirmative action.

    b. Many of the most serious problems in evangelicalism are also problems in fundamentalism so when we talk about these problems without reference to “neo…” we really are going after them too… whomever the shoe fits.

    c. I do believe the landscape is changing, and we are increasingly not dealing w/a generation that can quote the whole “what’s wrong w/neovangelicalism” litany in it’s sleep. So there is a growing need for critical evaluation of evangelicalism… but without repeating the kind of superficial repetitive finger pointing and self-back-patting that so often characterized the effort in the past. So, of the two, I’d rather see criticism of “those lousy neo’s” left undone than see it done badly.

    d. It’s increasingly hard to see how “neo” can properly describe anything that happened sixty years ago and has gradually ceased to have any distinct identity.

    2) Kent’s ouster from SI. It was before my time and I can’t account for it in detail. Realize though that sometimes the difference between “tone” and “content” is nonexistent. If someone posts in a farmer’s forum and the essence of what he has to say is “I’m a real horticulturalist and all the rest of you aren’t,” it doesn’t matter if he appends it with “But I mean that in the best possible sense. 🙂 🙂 :)” The tone problem is inseparable from the assertions. I’m not saying that’s what happened in Kent’s case, but it’s possible that when people say “He was ousted for tone” and “He was ousted for his message” they are really saying the same thing.
    In any case, this was years ago, which on the web is like millennia. I don’t think it can really say much about what SI is now or what it’s becoming.

    Aaron Blumer
    si site publisher

  47. Anvil
    April 9, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Pastor Brandenburg,

    You are correct about my last statement about your separation being the same — it was intended as hyperbole and as an accent to my point, and I should have just let it go.

    And regarding “Anvil,” I appreciate your letting me continue to use it. Truth be told, if SI allowed anonymous IDs for membership in general, I would do it there too. Anonymous IDs can take more moderation, because some will use them to hide behind while making scandalous charges they would never make if their name is attached. However, in my experience from years on usenet/internet when they are well used, a lot of the personal aspect is taken out of comments, and ad hominem attacks become much harder, thus making arguments much cleaner and more focused. Jackhammer is your Blog, and if you didn’t allow it, that would be that — I wouldn’t take offense.

    No worries on the comment/responses. You were probably pretty busy with that whole set of posts on separation, so it is easy for comments to be overlooked. I do think that answers to the questions I posed would have quite a bit of bearing on the differences between you and Dr. McCune on “everythingism” and separation.

  48. Bobby
    April 9, 2009 at 10:42 am

    What about absence of any tone? What about Kent totally ignoring my cliche-ridden post? Not even a chuckle, LOL, or smiley face. This hurts.


    I read your response and I appreciate it.


    Just when we were starting to warm up to Joel’s campfire . . .


    Great point about B. Myron Cedarholm. Last time I saw him was at a national FBF meeting and he was called up to the platform and honored for his years of service. Oh, and he was TR/KJV, Local-only, etc. Again, great point. My how times have changed!

  49. April 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm


    I’m sorry. LOL. And 🙂


    p.s. Are we still friends? You, me, and Barney. (not Frank)


    It is big of you to come over and talk to us here. I thought you were very honest in your 2) observation. I think it is true. I have a hard time making my, “you’re not right,” sound nice. “You’re right,” sounds a lot nicer. I have my analysis of Jason’s ‘banning’ of me at SI that I think many would find very interesting. I actually don’t dislike Jason. I hope the best for him. I don’t want many of his views about the Bible and the church to survive, but I’m not against him.

    Here’s something about neo-evangelicalism/evangelicalism (I’ve noticed others not knowing how to label anymore either) that I think you should consider, Aaron. There doesn’t seem to be a clear understanding of why we aren’t neo, a scriptural one, asserted at SharperIron. I’m not talking about the cold shoulder, no due process, magisterial pronouncement, but breaking down the scripture and naming names. Fundamentalists did that at one time. I am talking about exposition with application that relates to these separation issues. I think that I know why it is difficult, and I think my solution should be given the time of day, not just ignored because it doesn’t fit the fundamentalist magisterium (which is becoming harder to distinguish from an fundagelical one).

    By the way, on the KJV issue. The defense that I see of the KJV in the English version debate is almost non-existent. I think it is David Norris, something Norris, cuts and pastes large sections of research to support his view. I would just as soon see it close down. It seems to be, with all due respect, a farce. No one is there to argue the other side, and it seems by design. What is ironic is that you have Ruckmanites there arguing and accepted. You get a far better representation of the historic defense of preservation at the Puritanboard. Those guys know their stuff and would totally whip up on a Norris or anyone else that argues it.


    Sorry if I gave you an unnecessary defense. You made a mistake and you were banned for it into the ether of fundamentalist internet oblivion. You’re a dangerous man.


    I watched the debate between Hitchens and the four Christian apologists the other night. They whipped up on him. They gave 10 unanswered arguments and he gave very persuasive rhetorical flourish. It would go well with the choir, but it wouldn’t win a debate. You win with arguments. If arguments do not get answered, the one with the arguments wins. It might not be the right position, but actual arguments must be answered. The authority is the Bible for these and so doing your own work with the text is the way to show that your position is right. I did not get that at SI on the local church issue. I got the Hitchen’s rhetorical flourish, name-calling. I recognize this will be taken as my opinion.

    We can all learn. I think that a lot would say that they have even learned more about the gospel and sanctification in the past decade because of the theological attention as been given. I don’t like the—“they’re landmarkers”—approach to dealing with theology. In the end, we’ll stand before the Lord.

  50. April 9, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    One more thing Aaron, before I go teach a class in our seminary.

    You are stating a direction when you post an old earth creationism article, albeit with follow up by young earth, but still stated as a legitimate article. That at least presently is to the left of the conservative evangelicals. If it is true, great. Scriptural, great. But it seems to be patently unscriptural with more an evidentialist apologetic. Maybe you just want men to learn how to give answers, but that can be done in a way that doesn’t legitimize the old earth position. You welcome that, which is a challenge from the left. Are there challenges from the right? Why are right wing challenges unscholarly and left wing ones scholarly? It reminds me of the scholarliness of postmodern nuance. Is the lack of conviction more intellectual? You don’t have to post right wing schlock.

    At the same time, you did post chapters from Scott Aniol’s book. That’s pretty conservative.

    I’m thinking out loud here.

  51. April 9, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    “You are stating a direction when you post an old earth creationism article, albeit with follow up by young earth, but still stated as a legitimate article.”
    It was not an old earth article in sense of advocacy. Just a survey of views. The writer does not hold to old-earth, though a few who posted in the thread do.

    KJV forum… Nothing that happens there is “by design” except for efforts to weed out “double inspiration” views. Some who post there seem very close to this, but when asked deny that they hold to it.
    Anyway, whatever is not defended there is the result of nobody bothering to defend it. For most of us it’s an extremely tiresome topic.

  52. Sam H
    April 9, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Is it possible you actually want back in SI? Methinks thou protesteth too much? Maybe if you sent your wife, kids, and camel loads of presents before you… Some of us left voluntarily.

    BTW, I think you have far too high expectations for SI, and most other weblog forums–including the ones you’re involved in. The blog format (screened or no) is generally a poor instrument for well-thought-out answers. (Take my comment for example…)

    There are better ways, but few are going down those paths.

  53. Larry
    April 9, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    You win with arguments. If arguments do not get answered, the one with the arguments wins. It might not be the right position, but actual arguments must be answered. The authority is the Bible for these and so doing your own work with the text is the way to show that your position is right. I did not get that at SI on the local church issue.

    Actually, I think the biblical arguments against your position were well documented and persuasive. The arguments were there. You simply didn’t accept them. I think the Bible was used very well to show that LCO is not taught in the Bible. But that’s where we differ. You can say (as you did here) that the arguments weren’t answered. But you would actually have to show that to be the case, not simply assert it.

    And this is not the place for it, but I simply point out that your are engaging in the very type of thing that you said existed there (rhetorical flourish with no substance). I do think there was substance and it was against your position.

  54. April 9, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Sam H,

    I can see how you would think what you’re thinking, but I am truly saying “no.” So there will be no caravans. I get plenty of traffic here. I’m just making observations. And you were somehow in my head, because you caught the thing that matters to me, and that is that people hear the arguments. That’s what I would want. I don’t think it is arrogance, but I don’t think that people have heard the arguments because there is so much of the theology comes out of the same vat and then gets put into different bottles, like Avon perfume. Plus, I do want more biblical belief and practice, not less. It isn’t an “I want back on SI” thing. How many blogs have I written on that here? We had a month on SI two years ago about rhetoric—not my category that month—and we hit SI then. And then this one. In this case, I cobbled together a bunch of things to get one post out of it. There we go.


    I never ever argued preservation there at SI. It was off limits at the time. I don’t think the other side will hold up. Again, nothing like what is seen on the Puritanboard (which I’m not a member and have never commented) is seen there. The only person who I’ve gone after it with is Frank Turk on his blog in a ten part series.

    I don’t understand “being tired” of any theological issue. Would this mean that you now know what the Words of Scripture are? You are settled on that? For instance, if you use the ESV, you’re convinced that is identical to the original manuscripts? Or you’ve settled on 5-7% differences without certainty of what the original Words of the NT were?

    You’re the owner. It would seem that some issues get your heart thumping.

    OK Larry. Thanks.

  55. April 10, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    KB – “That opens up the door for separation over a lot of practices, doesn’t it? So where do we stop in the determination of what wrong practices actually do adorn the gospel? Sounds like everythingism to me.”

    Me – Easy…it ends where the Bible ends. If the Bible doesn’t say anything specific about it, then we are gracious in our applications and don’t make every application that we hold to as a separation issue.

  56. April 10, 2009 at 9:31 pm


    We believe the same way on that. I don’t think Phil does though. And the way Phil is applying it, the Bible doesn’t say what the particular words are that are foul language or smutty speech, so he’s talking about application of what the Bible teaches in our culture.

  57. Bob m
    April 14, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    The “Neo-evangelicals” at SI banned me for calling Lou Martuneac on the carpet for his harassing a woman online. They will not answer my questions and refuse to allow Lou to be questioned. To me, they have become a little world to themselves and I am done with them.

  58. T. Pennock
    April 14, 2009 at 9:06 pm


    I see SI is running a writing contest. I was wondering if you’re planning a submission. Or have they barred all the banned from submitting papers?


  59. April 15, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Hi T,

    I saw that writing contest. I’m sure I could participate if I wanted. I would guess that they would publish if I won. That’s a pretty subjective type of contest, isn’t it? What are the criteria?

  1. April 8, 2009 at 4:58 am
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: