1980 was a pivotal year in Fundamentalism

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by John of Japan, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    In another thread I mentioned 1980 as a pivotal year in Fundamentalism, and Mexdeaf asked me why I thought so. I'm not sure how much interest there is on this, but I'll give it a try and see where this thread goes.

    In the spring of 1980 John R. Rice sickened. It was fascinating to watch how a great man of God faced death. As they wheeled him past me in the hospital he gave a cheery, "Hi, Johnny," as if we were headed out for a walk together. In the hospital room he once told a nurse who came in to give him a shot, "You want to earn a quarter?" When she bit, he said, "Go stick that needle in the doctor!"

    I remember staying up with him one night in the hospital and hearing him quote Tenneyson's poem about Heaven, "Crossing the Bar." Later he heard a voice I couldn't hear and looked up to Heaven and talked with the Lord for awhile. But enough of my memories.

    I have had a number of Fundamentalist leaders and pastors tell me that Fundamentalism changed with the passing of John R. Rice. Curtis Hutson, who followed him at the helm of the Sword of the Lord, was a great preacher, and I was privileged to have him on my ordination council. However, he was nowhere near the scholar and apologist John R. Rice was. I know little about Shelton Smith, since I will have been in Japan for 25 years on May 6, and don't keep up much with things in the States. I have met Dr. Smith and he was gracious to me and my family (our son was impressed with his baseball memorabilia ;) ), but once again he is his own man--not John R. Rice.

    So how did Fundamentalism change in 1980?

    (1) Some key leaders drifted from the John R. Rice type of Fundamentalism to a more separatist version, or in the other direction--out of Fundamentalism. I remember one Fundamentalist leader saying in a private conversation in 1986, I believe it was (our first furlough), that he was at a loss about many things without John R. Rice to advise him. This man later left the movement.

    (2) The KJVO movement gained steam, since John R. Rice was not there to write reasoned, scholarly articles against its radical elements in the Sword. I remember Lee Roberson in about 1975 forbidding further discussion of the KJVO issues on campus at Tennessee Temple. These men kept the issue under control.

    (3) In recent years I do see a positive trend in the IFB movement, and that is the growth of a great missions movement. This began with Lee Roberson rather than John R. Rice, though Rice was a great personal supporter of missions. (He once gave $1000 to my ministry.) Roberson gave this missions thrust its start in the 1970's at Tennessee Temple and through BIMI, and new young leaders have been expanding it.

    I don't think these observations come simply from a fond and proud grandson. What do you think? [​IMG]
     
  2. Plain Old Bill

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    We now see what the loss of one Great man can mean to a movement.I for one would like to see an organization of Baptist Fundamentalist such as it existed in the 70"s up to 1980.Where is God's man that could make this happen?
     
  3. John of Japan

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    Bill, when considering who should follow him at the Sword, Grandad said to me one day, "God doesn't ordain institutions, He ordains men." I agree with that. I am content that God has raised up in these days a quieter brand of men who are leading Fundamentalism into being an international missions movement rather than just an American phenomenon.

    To give just one example, I have a friend who was fired from the Bible printing ministry he himself founded (long story which he would not want told here) for daring to dream that folk could be saved overseas through a good Bible which is not a KJV-type. He is still pretty much KJVO. However, though hurting, he founded a new ministry to get good Bibles (TR based, of course) into languages that need them.

    May God give us many more men who put reaching the entire world as the Great Commission commands right up there with standing up for the Bible against liberalism.
     
  4. Plain Old Bill

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    John, I understand and appreciate what you are saying but there you are overseas and here I am. :D
     
  5. Mexdeaf

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    double post
     
  6. Mexdeaf

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    I think you're right! [​IMG] </font>[/QUOTE]
     
  7. John of Japan

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    You got me on that! [​IMG]
     
  8. mima

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    The little booklets that John R. Rice published were for me very easily understood, scriptural and straight to the point. When you find a man who has a clear mind(not cluttered or confused, or iffy) you generally find someone who can speak clearly, and such a man was John R. Rice. When I worked as a pilot on the Mississippi River, I used to take one little booklet a day to the pilot house with me, there to study and digest what it had to say. I think of myself as a street preacher and while I have actually stood on street corners and preached that's not what I usually do. I easily walk around at fairs and festivals and carnivals can ask people a question, and given the opportunity present the message of salvation to them. I believe my little ministry is a direct outgrowth from my reading John R. Rice'S booklets.
     
  9. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    John:

    I loved your grandfather and although you have heard it many times here is one more preacher who he influenced greatly. I heard him speak many times at sword conferences and at Curtis Hudson’s church in Atlanta where I was a member. My signed Rice reference bible is a prized possession.

    Fundamentalism has changed a great deal since 1980 but I would not put all of the blame on John R. Rice’s death. He was a great man and still has tremendous influence through the many books he left behind but he was still only one man. He had a great ministry but he was 85 years old right? How long would you have liked him to live? That is a terrible question to ask a grandson, I wish my grandfathers were still around also but there had to come a time when he passed on and I am glad God handles those things instead of men.

    Many other issues caused the change in fundamentalism over the last 25 years. I believe the most important of these was that fundamentalists in the United States took there eyes off the kingdom of god and became more concerned with the kingdoms of men. What I mean here specifically is that we stopped winning souls to Christ and became politicians trying to win voters for conservative causes. We stopped asking, “If you died today do you know for certain you will go to heaven?” and started asking, “Are you a republican? Are you against abortion? Are you against gun control? Are you for the death penalty?” Many of our ifb preachers fell. Many great institutions collapsed.

    Yes, you should be proud of your grandfather and should continue his legacy. No, fundamentalism did not pass away because the ministry of one man ended.
     
  10. John of Japan

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    Praise the Lord for this good word, mima.

    The problem nowadays is, I don't know of anyone in Fundamentalism nowadays writing such pamphlets and books on difficult doctrines with such clarity.
     
  11. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Thanks for the kind words about my grandfather, NC Tentmaker. I am always encouraged to hear of someone else blessed by him. Over here in Japan I have sometimes wondered how much he was remembered in the homeland, but I am encouraged by words like yours and the fact that most church history books since his death talk about his influence.

    I agree with you that the emphasis on politics among Fundamentalists is not necessarily positive. The old time fundamental evangelists would go to a town for weeks or even months, and the entire town would change for the better because of folks getting saved and cleaning up their lives. The current Fundamentalist preoccupation with politics may mean that we have forgotten what true revival is and embraced a kind of Fundamentalist version of the Social Gospel.

    I also agree with you that many in Fundamentalism have stooped to kingdom building instead of building Christ's kingdom. However, as per my OP, I believe that the IFB movement is currently in the midst of a great missions movement. I have read that the IFB movement is the only segment of American evangelicalism in which the missions force is increasing instead of decreasing. I can document that from my own field of service here in Japan through the JEMA 2006 Directory of all Evangelical missionaries in Japan.

    In many ways this means to me that, in spite of the negatives of my (1) and (2) points in my OP, Fundamentalism has reached its maturity in the sense that it has lifted up its eyes unto the fields of the world rather than just being Americo-centric.

    Furthermore, if the positive influence of the world missions movement continues to affect Fundamentalism, the negatives of my (1) and (2) points may fade in influence. When a person learns more about the realities of the mission fields of the world, he tends to change his world view from a nationalistic to a Heavenly world view.

    That's my hope for Fundamentalism in the 21st century: increased burden for missions, more maturity through interaction with the whole world, and growth past the negatives. [​IMG]
     
  12. Tom Bryant

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    John and North Carolina have hit on 2 major reasons why fandamentalism changed.

    I graduated from TTU in 1980and served my first 9 years in indepentdent baptist churches. I now pastor an SBC church. But when I first got acquainted with fundamentalism, the leaders were talking about planting churches, helping existing churches to be effective in reaching people, sending our missionaries. As time went by the emphasis did begin to change. We talked more about politics and KJV only.

    At my ordination, one man asked about where I stood about the KJV. My pastor broke in and said that I could answer but that we were not going to make my ordination about the KJV. That started a discussion between these pastors about it. I just sat up front and kept quiet. :D

    Like I said, I now pastor a SBC church. I still consider myself a fundamentalist... but many of my one time friends do not. [​IMG]
     
  13. 4His_glory

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    Sorry Bill, I will have to disagree with you on that one. We don't need a fundamentalist "movement", we need men who are fundamentalist in principle.

    Throughout the history of fundamentalism as a movement there has been too much emphasis on being followers of certain men (though this would be denied by most). One was classified as a fundamentalist if they were in the "in crowd". For example, Jack Hyles wrote some things that we would consider heretical, he also was involved in numerous scandels, yet not once did you hear a "big name" fundamentalist point these things out or "separate" from Jack, because he was "in the movement".

    Because of this exclusivness many who where and are, fundamentalist in principle, were considered New evangelical, when in reality they are throughly orthodox as well as sepratists.

    I appreciate JoJ's thoughts regarding Dr. Rice. No doubt he has found memories and who wouldn't of their family members! But I think that some of the things he describes in his post show how much many fundamentlaist Baptists followed certain individuals.

    I consider my self a fundamentalist and an evangelical- i.e. fundamentalist in principle and evangelical in principle. I hold to the ideals of doctrinal integrity and separation from apostasy that the early fundamentalists did.
     
  14. John of Japan

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    I agree that this is a problem in Fundamentalism, 4His_glory, but I really don't think this problem is endemic to Fundamentalism. It goes way back to 1 Cor. 1 and the Paul, Apollos and Peter and "Christ" Parties within that church. It exists today in all denominations and movements. Just try to even suggest on the BB that Billy Graham or Rick Warren or James Dobson has ever made an error and see what you get! You'll be lucky to get out with your theological skin intact!! :eek: :eek:

    Concerning the Hyles controversy, it is not true that Fundamentalists did not take Jack Hyles to task. There were a number of influential Fundamentalists who spoke out asking him for a reasonable defense of the accusations against him: Walt Handford, Ed Nelson, George Godfrey and Bob Sumner, to mention some.

    For my own tiny part in that controversy, Bro. Hyles wrote me as a missionary supported by FBC and asked me to sign a statement saying I completely supported FBC and HAC, and I had to tell him I couldn't do it. For crying out loud, I don't even support ME 100%!! [​IMG]

    To give Bro. Hyles credit for graciousness, he said they would not drop us until our furlough. ;)
     
  15. Plain Old Bill

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    4His Glory,
    I guess what I am saying is there was a time when someone told you they were IFB or BBFI you knew who you were talking to.That is not true any more.Nowadays we have the KJVO's , Calvinists,and liberals sprinkled in.We even have some mid-trib,post-trib, and amillineal folks sprinkled in amongst us.

    There was a time if you were IFB people knew you were pre-trib,pre-mil,OSAS,Bible believer cover to cover,soul winning and sin hating.I think we need to get back to that.
     
  16. go2church

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    Just a thought here, but could some of the "problems" be rooted in the fact that the IFB churches have lost the apperance of distinctiveness with the rise of fundamentalist thought in the SBC?
     
  17. 4His_glory

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    Ahh... Now I see what you are getting at. Not all early fundamentalists were pre-trib etc.

    Many of them were, some were not. Many were Calvinists, many were not, the things they did agree on were the essential doctrines of Christianity which are relativly few. To be on the "in crowd" of IFBdom or the BBF, is still a movement based fundamentalism, which I do not beleive we need today.
    This is the statement that as fundamentalist we should live by:
    "In Essentials, Unity; in Non-essentials, Liberty; in All Things, Charity,"

    Saddly this is forgotten. For example, John MacArthur is a sepratist, he is soundly fundamental in his theology, yet because he is not one of the "in crowd" of fundamentalism as a movement, he is unjustly called a New evangelical.
     
  18. Plain Old Bill

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    We both believe the same thing regarding fundamentalists in general. I have no problem with that whatsoever.

    I am speaking of IFB and BBFI types of 25 years ago.At least these were the things being preached and taught by those I knew and was familiar with.
     
  19. John of Japan

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    This is a good point and I agree with it to a degree. ;) Disaffected IFBer's see an alternative in the conservative wing of the SBC. However, IMO the SBC still has a ways to go. The damage is deep on the mission fields of the world from years of ignoring liberalism in the missionary ranks.

    I've been told here in Japan that the SBC missionaries are having a hard time interacting with the Japanese version of the SBC since there is such a strong strain of liberalism in it (in particular neo-orthodoxy). In our town, a Japanese pastor recently preached that the idea of Hell was old-fashioned and no one believes it anymore. :eek:
     
  20. TheWinDork

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    Howdy Bill,

    I was sitting here reading this thread, and buddy, you couldn't be more right! [​IMG]

    Nowdays, the Fundamental Baptist movement is overran with False Doctrine out the Wazoo! :eek: :eek: I mean, You've got Ruckman and his False Dcotrines, I'm sorry, but *ANY* man who says he's gotten personal revelations out of the KJV and that the KJV corrects the original greek and hebrew is in error, just that simple. Because the Bible says VERY CLEARLY:

    Yet, Ruckman *CLAIMS* he has recieved his own private revelations about scriptures, and Yes, I've seen his supposed personal revelations and quite frankly, I don't know who's more goofier, the person writing the stuff or the people the really believe what he writes! :rolleyes: [​IMG] ;) I mean, I've read his "scandal rag" he writes, even though it's supposed to be available by password only, only thing is, it's not behind a secure server, so, anyone that knows how to use google toolbar, can read it with ease... anyhow, I've read the stuff and I came away with the general feeling that the guy is, 1.) Goofier than a box of rocks. 2.)A hyper-dispensaionalist 3.) Spiritually in Apostasy 4.)A True-Blue KJV Cultist

    I mean, don't get me wrong, I use KJV myself, But I also use commentaries, Dictionaries, and I even look at other versions for comparison! :eek:

    Now I'm not about to toss my KJV in the trash, But Ruckman takes that stuff a little too far. It's all a matter of language... He teaches that the KJV is the INSPIRED Word of God, which is, truthfully bunk, and the doctrine of double inspiration. But the truth, and It's there if you know where to look, is that the KJV is the Preserved Word of God. It follows a line of 7 different Bibles, starting with tyndale and ended at the KJV, of Preservation, and that's it! All that other bunk that Ruckman, Jack Chick and other people throw in there is just stupid foolishness. Jesus didn't speak in KJV english, he spoke in Aramaic. Too bad alot of people don't know this.

    Further more, I believe in the KJV, but I'm not about to tell someone their not saved if they don't read it, that's foolishness, and further more, what about the spanish speaking people? and other people in other countries? Like Napal? Russia? What about those Christians? are they lost too?

    And we that believe that about the KJV, we trust in the KJV, that God has preserved his Word well enough for us to be able to understand it, However, It would be foolish for me to just read KJV, and never look at anything else, that's just plain inmaturity.. I believe that the Lord gave us wise men, like Matthew Henry, Matthew Poole, Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, David Brown, Dr. John Gill, John Nelson Darby, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, Johann (C.F.) Keil, Franz Delitzsch, Cyrus Ingerson Scofield, David H. Sorenson, and host of others that have given lives to the teaching of the Word of God. and one can lord alot from reading thier commentaries... Not that there words are infallable, but they do help!

    It's just sad to see that Dr. Hyles followed in Ruckman's footsteps after Rice died and turned into Apostasy. Equally sad to see, is his son-in-law, is doing the very same thing.

    The real funny thing is, is who Dr. Sheldon Smith has turned the Sword of the Lord into a KJV movement paper... that's the real sad part.

    Well, enough of this man's rambling... :D
     

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