Are Conservative Southern Baptists Fundamentalists?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Greg Linscott, Feb 18, 2004.

  1. Greg Linscott

    Greg Linscott
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    Just got the latest edition (Jan/Feb 2004) of the Faith Pulpit today. If you're not familiar with it, it's a publication from Faith Baptist Theological Seminary in Ankeny, Iowa. (http://www.faith.edu) The headline asks the question "Are Conservative Southern Baptists Fundamentalists?" After recent movements at Cedarville University and Western Baptist College (historically fundamental in the GARBC tradition) to procure SBC approval, this is quite a current and interesting topic.

    Dr. George Houghton makes his case in the article that conservative SBC are NOT fundamentalists- he builds his case on these 6 points:
    I. Conservative SB Disavow the Fundamentalist Label
    II. Conservative SB Disavow Biblical Separation
    III. Conservative SB Are Committed to "Conventionism."
    IV. Conservative SB Still Tolerate Great Theological Diversity
    V. Conservative SB Endorse Doctrinal Latitude in Some Areas.
    VI. Conservative SB Are Sympathetic to Aspects of New Evangelicalism.

    Dr. Houghton's conclusion: "No." He states, "This answer does not mean that Southern Baptists are not good people who genuinely want to serve the Lord or that the conservatives have not made advances within the Convention. Rather, the answer reveals that the conservatives are not going in the same direction as fundamentalists."

    IMHO, it's something well worth reading. I am interested to see if you agree w/Dr. Houghton's assessment.
     
  2. LadyEagle

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    I think Cedarville made a big mistake.
     
  3. cdg

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    I am from a Southern Baptist church that probably could be considered Fundamental. The majority of Southern Baptists are probably not Fundamental though. But are those 6 reasons mentioned the defintion of a conservative Southern Baptist church? Because my church holds to none of those reasons(if I am not mistaken) and we are conservative. We send our dues to the convetion but we are not committed to "convetionism". So what is a conservative Southern Baptist church exactly? I tried to find the headline but could not.
     
  4. tinytim

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    To me it is just another slip on the slippery path most IFBs has taken toward being more cult like.

    To be fundamentalist means you believe in the fundamentals.

    The same thing happened around 2000 years ago.
    The Pharisees wasn't always bad.
    They started out good holding to the fundamentals of the jewish faith and fighting against the modernism of hellinistic culture.

    But, slowly they added more and more extra-biblical rules that they became cult-like.

    What organizations were the original fundamentalists involved in?

    Were all the Fundamentalists between 1890 and 1940 Independant Baptists.

    To make it a rule that you have to now be an independant Baptist in order to be a fundamentalist is absurd.

    I consider myself fundamental because I believe in the fundamentals. I'm also American Baptist.

    If Christ tarries another 100 yrs, what other rules will be added in order to be considered fundamental?
     
  5. go2church

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    There not any "dues" for being Southern Baptist, it is based on mission's giving and in some states now affirming the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

    To answer the question, it is amazing how comfortable many within the Indy Fundy groups are among SBCers. Who has moved? I say the SBC
     
  6. All about Grace

    All about Grace
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    Based upon his criteria, I am glad to say this SBCer is not a fundy as he defines the term.

    Too bad he is not the determiner of what is fundamental and what is not.
     
  7. Greg Linscott

    Greg Linscott
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    If I'm not mistaken, point VI covers that area of your objection regarding "absurdity." Historically, the New Evangelical movement as it began in the 1940s had nothing to do with a desertion of the fundamental doctrines, but everything to do with the practice of separation over doctrinally related issues. The New Evangelical label was not something created by renegade IFBers quibbling over women in pants. The New Evangelicals applied it to themselves to differentiate from the fundamentalists who refused to compromise or cooperate with those rejecting or downplaying cardinal truths of Scripture.

    Comparatively speaking, its like the difference between the Pilgims and the Puritans. A Fundamentalist (like the Pilgrims) is historically one who departs a group when error arises, while a New Evangelical (or Conservative SBC, in this discussion) is akin to the Puritans, attempting to purify the convention from within. It is not necessarily a condemnation of the conservative SBCer (or even ABCer)-- but it is a point of distinction in defining what the difference is in the movements and the directcions which they are going.

    That is not how the conservative SBCers have chosen to identify themselves. Dr. Houghton's article quotes from Jerry Sutton's book The Baptist Reformation (The Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention) :
    "from a historian's vantage point, I reject the term 'fundamentalist" as not only pejorative, but also inaccurate... Although conservatives might share some similarities with fundamentalists, they are not identical, and to assert that they are is to misread history." This is not a fundamentalist writing, but the perspective of a conservative SBCer.
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    This is one of the biggest misconceptions of the modern day. Being a fundamentalist was not only about believing in teh fundamentals. It was also about taking a separatist stand for them. SBCbyGrace is right that Houghton does not determine what a fundamentalist is. That was determined long ago in the 20s and 30s and solidified in the 40s by those who left fundamentalism to be a "new evangelical" (in contrast to the old evangelicals, now known as the fundamentalists).

    The resurgence in the SBC, for which most of us are glad, is towards theological conservatism, not fundamentalism. Theological conservatism is a step along the way towards fundamentalism. While fundamentalists are far from perfect, the ideal of fundamentalism is what the NT portrays. I wish that we as fundamentalists could attain to that ideal.
     
  9. donnA

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    There are people who will go to any length to be able to slam someone, even to the point of making stuff up. I'm curious if it makes them 'feel' righteous by doing it. Becasue 'feeling' righteous is as close to it as they get.
    It's a very ugly thing.
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    what do you mean by that, donna??
     
  11. mioque

    mioque
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    What a load of TRIPE!!!


    Ooh. You want some more in depth response?
    ok.


    II. Conservative SB Disavow Biblical Separation
    what does that mean in practice?
    My church officially doesn't have ties to any other church. We fund some zendelingen (you would say missionaries, but that is an extremely RC word in Dutch) in Indonesia, that's about it.
    Much of the private life of our members is churchrelated, to the point that we even organize the vacations of many of our members. This is not as creepy as it sounds, there is simply a committee in our church that each year organizes an interesting and uplifting holiday to some interesting spot somewhere on the globe.
    On the other hand our churches headpastor has good informal contacts with the mainstream churches in our area and some of the friends of the churches custodian/verger (me) are something out of a conspiracy theory.
    http://www.companysj.com/v184/asiseeit.htm

    IV. Conservative SB Still Tolerate Great Theological Diversity
    The history of Dutch hypercalvinism is dominated by folks who decided that tolerating Great Theological Diversity is a very bad thing.
    The endresult has been that the movement got splintered into 20+ different churches that often strongly dislike eachother. To outside observers the theological reasons for such churchsplittings are often completely incomprehensible.

    V. Conservative SB Endorse Doctrinal Latitude in Some Areas.
    The baptist distinctives basically force an organisation of the size of the SBC to take such a position.

    VI. Conservative SB Are Sympathetic to Aspects of New Evangelicalism.
    So if you are a fundie, you are not allowed to be positive about aspects of another movement you like?
     
  12. Pastor Larry

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    The Bible command us to separate from false teachers (i.e. people who teach false doctrine) and disobedient brothers. Even teh conservatives have failed to do this.

    Theological diversity is fine in non-fundamental doctrines. But therein lies the rub. Soem in the SBC are willing to tolerate diversity in other areas ... That is problemmatic (see point one above).

    If you are a fundamentalist, you are allowed to be positive about aspects of another movement. That is not the issue. It goes far deeper. The NE movement was a movement that was willing to sacrifice theological precision and clarity on the altar of "getting along." True fundamemtalists would say there is nothing wrong with "getting along," but truth must not be the cost of it.
     
  13. Daniel David

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    Pastor Larry, can you give me an idea of what the SBC NEEDS to correct to become correct? Exactly what theological position are you thinking about?
     
  14. cdg

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    Well, I think that the Southern Baptist could correct some things. Like instead of wanting the minority moderates to stay, help them get out as soon as possible. I am not an authority or anything but I think the leadership, wants just that to lead as many as possible. So they are tailoring themselves to some people. Not in everything though. And the conservative swing in the convention is good, but still not perfect.

    Missionary giving to the convetion, cuould be considered like "paying dues". Because they want you to pay them. You dont have control where your money is going. It may go to a group that you dont agree with. My church sends some to the convention, but then we have our own missionaries we support outside of the convention. With them we know where our money is going.
    Those six things mentioned are probably true in many southern baptist churches. But that doesnt seem to be conservative. Just less liberal than some.
     
  15. gb93433

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    Just to show you how bad it can get: I was a pastor in an SBC church that okayed the Mormon bishop to come and preach at the local Chrisitian meetings with other Christians. Even the other churches voiced their opposition to this. But the deacons of the SBC church said that they thought the bishop was a Christian. When I first heard that for myself I was shocked. I thought that kind of thing never happened in an SBC church. But it did and I had to deal with it. The local association told me there was nothing they could do. The real fact was they didn't want to get involved.

    So I worked together with the other pastors to try and prevent this from happening. It did as long as the pastors had input. But the Baptist church did nothing except get mad at me telling me about how all I wanted to do was to stir up the community. Oh how I wanted to stir up that community. Imagine Christians not standing for what is right.

    BTW their current pastor is a former SBC employee. How much better can it get! So much for the conservative take over.
     
  16. Karen

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    The Bible command us to separate from false teachers (i.e. people who teach false doctrine) and disobedient brothers. Even teh conservatives have failed to do this.

    Theological diversity is fine in non-fundamental doctrines. But therein lies the rub. Soem in the SBC are willing to tolerate diversity in other areas ... That is problemmatic (see point one above)..............
    </font>[/QUOTE]Speaking as a member of a conservative SBC church, we must be doing something right! :D
    Those who have left say we are too fundamentalist; many fundamentalists say our main problem is we are too tolerant.
    But, in my opinion, a reading of the Baptist Faith and Message will show that we are sound on basic doctrines of the faith.
    But it is true that there are panmillennial, amillennial, partial preterist, historic premillennial, and dispensational Southern Baptists, often in the same church.
    In the same SBC church you can often find Arminians, Calvinists, and every shade of Calminian in between.
    Conservative Southern Baptist churches generally have both a very high view of Scripture and of the idea of the priesthood of the believer.

    Karen
     
  17. mioque

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    "I was a pastor in an SBC church that okayed the Mormon bishop to come and preach at the local Chrisitian meetings with other Christians. Even the other churches voiced their opposition to this. But the deacons of the SBC church said that they thought the bishop was a Christian."
    :eek: :eek: :eek:
     
  18. gb93433

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    The Bible command us to separate from false teachers (i.e. people who teach false doctrine) and disobedient brothers. Even the conservatives have failed to do this.

    Theological diversity is fine in non-fundamental doctrines. But therein lies the rub. Some in the SBC are willing to tolerate diversity in other areas ... That is problemmatic (see point one above)..............
    </font>[/QUOTE]Speaking as a member of a conservative SBC church, we must be doing something right! :D
    Those who have left say we are too fundamentalist; many fundamentalists say our main problem is we are too tolerant.
    But, in my opinion, a reading of the Baptist Faith and Message will show that we are sound on basic doctrines of the faith.
    But it is true that there are panmillennial, amillennial, partial preterist, historic premillennial, and dispensational Southern Baptists, often in the same church.
    In the same SBC church you can often find Arminians, Calvinists, and every shade of Calminian in between.
    Conservative Southern Baptist churches generally have both a very high view of Scripture and of the idea of the priesthood of the believer.

    Karen
    </font>[/QUOTE]I could not disagree with you more. I would say the SBC is much too liberal cloaked in believing the fundamentals of the faith. I had many of the former professors that left SWBTS. Some that left had been hired since the conservative takeover and were disgusted.


    Speaking as a member of a conservative SBC church, we must be doing something right!

    The SBC churches where I live are nearly extinct. Perhaps some of those good folks from OK should come and show them what a good SBC church looks like and how it's done. The SBC church in the town of 24,000 that I live in is at 11 people in attendance each Sunday. The average age is about 75. In the next town over of about 26,000 the SBC church is about 60 each Sunday. Each of these churches is less than they were 30 years ago.

    Their theology is proving itself.
     
  19. Greg Linscott

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    A reminder: The article that inspired me to begin this discussion was written from a fundamentalist/GARBC viewpoint. The author was attempting to show fellow Fundamentalists there still is a distinction between the two movements (SBC and GARBC). This is my view as well- it is possible to understand and even appreciate the variety in views and positions within the "Baptist community," if you will. However, it does not necessitate 1. Blanket condemnation of the other "camp," or 2. Unquestioning surrender of your convictions for the sake of "unity."

    To recognize the progress being made in the SBC is a wonderful thing. I hope and pray that it continues, and that God will be glorified through it. I don't think that it requires me, however, to identify myself as a conservative SBCer, nor them "fundamentalists." I can rejoice with and benefit from the ministries of many Presbyterians- but they call themselves Presbyterian and I called a Baptist for a reason. The same principle applies here.
     
  20. Pastor Larry

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    I think Greg's comments here are good. Houghton's article is designed to show that there is still a distinction. I don't think there was an attack going on. The point is that SBC's do not stand where fundamentalists have historically stood. The SBC knows that. The true fundamentalists also know that (and no, true fundamentalism is not marked by KJVO, no pants on women, etc; I am talking about true historic fundamentalism).

    DD asked for an example. Southern has a Billy Graham School of Evangelism. Think what you will about BG, he is not a fundamentalist and fundamentalism, for more than 50 years has separated from him over his methods. Remember, I am not talking about whether Graham or the fundamentalists were right (although I do have a position). I am saying that is one evidence that disqualifies the SBC from being fundamentalist.

    They are conservative and that is good, as far as it goes. They are, in the words of Karen, doing something right. I, for one, wish they would do more right ...
     

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