The Nature of Fundamentalism

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Paul33, Apr 5, 2005.

  1. Paul33

    Paul33
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    In an exchange between Dave Doran of DBTS and Phil Johnson of Grace Community Church - The Master's Seminary, the following definitions within Fundamentalism emerged. You may not agree with these definitions, but for the sake of argument, please humor me.

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    David Doran:

    But your whole premise misses the real point. Eliminate all the labels and boil it down to what a person believes on the fundamental doctrines and about ecclesiastical separation. You come away with two groups—separatists and non-separatists. Among the separatists, there seems to be another division into two groups. On one hand, there are those who will separate from apostasy and those who compromise with it. On the other hand are those who will separate from apostasy, but not from those who compromise with it (or at least not consistently do so). Here’s the big question: which of these belief systems best fits Grace Community Church and the Master’s Seminary? I would love a direct answer to that question.

    Phil Johnson:

    You won't like my answer, but it's direct. We're in that important third category you refuse to recognize: the true independents. We don't fit your paradigm. Nonconformists. We are separatists; we are harsh critics of the evangelical mainstream; we are militants who don't like compromise. We also care deeply about truth from biblical, historical, and practical perspectives; we recognize the supreme authority and absolute inerrancy of Scripture; and we are therefore not willing to join any movement where matters of conscience are decided by a few men who are high in the hierarchy of the movement. That makes us outsiders as far as both evangelicals and fundamentalists are concerned, and yet both groups insist that we belong to the other.

    Dave Doran:

    But we can’t act as if the problems of separation sprang up out of nowhere—they sprang up precisely because of the rise of a group of non-separatist fundamentalists. And since the rise of that group, fundamentalists have been divided on how to respond to them.

    My point is that there are limited options in terms of your beliefs regarding separation: (1) no ecclesiastical separation; (2) separation from apostates, but not from those who fellowship with them; and (3) separation from apostates and those who fellowship with them. Can you really think of any other options? I can’t.

    Phil Johnson:

    Sure: (4) Separation from apostates, from those who fellowship with them, from those who fellowship with others who fellowship with them, and from everyone else who is associated with any of those people.

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    By separatists and non-separatists, Doran means Fundamentalists and New Evangelicals. I think Doran is wrong in his assessment of who constituted the New Evangelicals. I think history will show that the majority of New Evangelicals were fundamentalists who wanted to practice primary separation only, and not secondary or extended separation. There were also those who did not separate from apostates (did not come out) who were classified as new evangelicals. So yes, there were those who fellowshiped with apostates in denominational settings, the non-separatists.

    Using their definitions of 1. Non-separation - failure to separate from apostates; 2. Primary separation - separating from apostates only; 3. Secondary separation - separating from apostates and from those who fellowship with them, 4.Hyper-separation - separating from those who fellowship with those who fellowship with apostates, we can construct a chart of Fundamentalism.


    1920s Fundamentalism = 1 transitioning into 2.

    The fundamentalists and modernists co-existed within the major denominations. Unable to regain control of their denominations, they began to practice separation from apostates by withdrawing from the denominations.


    1940s Fundamentalism = 1, 2, 3, 4 in two branches.

    As fundamentalists began to withdraw, they began to criticize those who took too long in "coming out." Soon those who were practicing 2 began to practice 3 against those who were still practicing 1. As the conflict turned inward and progressed to 4, a group of fundamentalists sought to return to a more moderate position in regards to separation. This group of fundamentalists, self-identified as "new evangelicals" practiced only 1 and 2. The remaining fundamentalists continued to practice 3 and 4.


    2000s Fundamentalism/Evangelicalism

    Evangelicalism splintered into progressive evangelicals (doctrinal error) resulting in new "apostates" and those who fellowshiped with them (1). Conservative evangelicals continued to practice 2 against the old and new apostates. Hyper fundamentalists practiced 4, but they called it 3, not wanting to admit the true nature of their practice. A new breed of fundamentalists from the younger generation, calling themselves "historic fundamentalists" practiced 3. They separated from apostates and those who fellowshiped with apostates, but they were no longer willing to separate from conservative evangelicals who were practicing 2. Conservative evangelicals did not fellowship with apostates, but they weren't overly concerned about fellow believers who did. It seems that conservative evangelicals (2) and historic fundamentalists (3) are making a rapproachment. There is considerable fellowship taking place between these two causing quite a cocnern among the older generation of fundamentalists as represented by DBTS, NBBC, BJU, etc.

    Very gracious men, like Doran (a 4 who thinks that he's a 3), are trying to address this issue.

    Will there be a coming together of conservative evangelicals and historic fundamentalists into a new movement?
     
  2. Paul33

    Paul33
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    Was this post too long for most fundamentalists to read, or do you find this issue irrelevant? ;)

    How separated do we have to be to remain fundamentalists?

    Are fundamentalists still fundamentalists if they fellowship with conservative evangelicals?
     
  3. Scott J

    Scott J
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    Depends on how you define an apostate. :D
     
  4. Scott J

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    In all seriousness, it does depend on what you think you must separate from.

    If women pastored churches represent apostasy, don't we all have to separate from the SBC since such a church can belong to the convention?

    What doctrines can we legitimately agree to disagree on without separation?

    The original fundamentalists were fairly broad in their theological positions and united primarily on the notion of the authority of scripture. I know IFB's today that would have separated in a second from the men who wrote "The Fundamentals".
     
  5. 4His_glory

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    I consider my self a historic fundamentalist. I practive 3, some call me a young fundamentalist, and consider my generation to be a problem.

    They have a fear that we will slide into compromise, by being to inclusive, I doubt this however, as I am a strong sepratist, as are others within in my generation.


    I do not forsee a coming together of conservative Evangelicals, and historic (or "young") fundamentalists. I do think we are on the verg of a huge shift. What will happen? Who can tell, but it is obvious that there are those within fundamentalism that are displeased with short falls of their preceeding generation, and that group is growing at a rapid rate. When this generation begins to fulfill positions of leadership, I think the flavor of fundamentalism will change.
     
  6. Paul33

    Paul33
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    4,

    Tell me more.

    Describe what the potential shift looks like.

    Define for me, historic fundamentalism. You practice 3. Do you believe 4 exists and is part of the problem that young fundamentalists have?

    What are the shortfalls?

    I come from the NBBC and BJU type of fundamentalists.

    Two grandsons of the founder of NBBC serve as pastors in the EFCA. A son-in-law of the founder's son who works at NBBC attends Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    What do you make of this?
     
  7. 4His_glory

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    I think that we will see chuches, colleges, etc. look more like historic fundamentalists. They will be less concerned with issuses, and more conserned with the truth. They will be God-focused, instead of man-focused. Disciplship will be a big part of their ministries, not just evangelism.

    4 does exist, and it is one of the shortfalls of fundamentalism.

    Historic fundamentalism, simply focuses on the fundamentals of the faith, which are few, and avoids the other issuses that have hijacked the orignal movement. They are willing to fellowship with brethren who may use a differnt version, have varying theolgical prospectives in some areas (those not related to the essentials of the faith), and display a spirit of unity.

    Historic fundamentlaists do not show divine devotion to certain leaders, but concern themselves with the truth.

    As far as the two grandsons of NBBC's founder goes, that is news to me. That is their perogative, they probably have experienced some friction in the family as a result of their choice. Many professors of fundamentalist Bible colleges will seek advanced degrees from other institutions. I think primarily, because the academic standered in "main line" fundamentalism, is rather week. I see nothing wrong with this personally.
     
  8. Paul33

    Paul33
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    As you have defined historic fundamentalism, how is that different from conservative evangelicals who practice 2 and even 3 in some cases?

    How strong is historic fundamentalism right now in fundamental circles?

    Would you consider NBBC and BJU types historic fundamentalists or are they type 4 separatists?
     
  9. 4His_glory

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    There still seems to be a level of toleration amongst conservative evangelical's that is not healthy. I dount there are very many 3's, most I would say are 2's.

    I believe historic fundamentalism is growing, primarily amongest my generation, but in the next 10-15 years it is my generation that will start taking places of leadership, so I expect there to be more influnce then.

    Some NBBC and BJU types are 4 some are 3. The 3's usually are the ones labled as "young fundamentalists" and they are the one whom the older generation fusses about. The 4's are just lemmings, they follow along with the crowd because it seems safer to do so. As soon as you begin to raise concerns about certain things in fundamentalism you are in danger of being labled a compromiser, when nothing could be further from the truth.
     
  10. 4His_glory

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    This is a good topic Paul, I am not sure why others don't chime in
     
  11. Paul33

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    The founder of NBBC was a 2. He rented his camp to any religious group that wanted a camp to rent. When the college started, his son, refused to be a part of it if they wouldn't separate from Billy Graham. So the founder went along with his son to keep him involved.

    The founder's oldest daughter graduated from Northwestern in 1959, I believe.

    When NBBC started it quickly came under the influence of type 4 and rejected much of the family that started it, although it didn't reject their money!

    Until recently, a board member was a member of a BGC church. But they didn't separate from him because he was paying the bills. But a grandson, who started a BGC church was off limits to their music groups performing in his new church! What hypocrisy.
     
  12. 4His_glory

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    I really do not know a whole lot about NBBC, so I must hestitate from commenting, but what you say is interesting.

    When separation becomes a 4, I think that it ceases to be separation and becomes issolation. I think this happens because of the pendulum swing of inbalance. There was a rightful reaction to the new evangelicals and the mondernists, however, that pendulum kept swinging further to the right to become an unhealthy extreme.
     
  13. Scott J

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    Are you referring to Northland?

    If so, I know people who went there but not much more... however these folks represent the school well.

    BTW, do you think you can really make generalizations about schools like that?
     
  14. 4His_glory

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    Scott,

    It depends, certainly you do not want to judge a person just because of where they went to school, but many times you can get an idea of what a person believes because of the school they went too. There are a couple of colleges that practically all of the graduates I met were arrogant clones of the leadership.
     
  15. Dr. Bob

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    Could care less (no offense) of Northland (NBBC). It is a non-issue school and linking it into the discussion seems ludicrous. 99% of Baptists haven't even heard of it.

    Okay. That said, I am a 2.5, with a genuine disgust for those BJU types who have pushed the extremist 4 agenda among fundamentalists. I see the most vocal fundamentalists (like Doran, a 4 and the whole BJU mentality) NEVER finding agreement with the 2+ of the MacArthur type. I would sure feel more comfortable at Grace than at BJ.

    But everyone here knew these opinions from me already. I'm pretty outspoken and don't hide my views!! [​IMG]
     
  16. 4His_glory

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    Dr. Bob, do you feel that the younger generation of fundamentalists are a bit disgusted with the 4s as well?

    What do you see possible happening in the future?
     
  17. IfbReformer

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    I agree with you Bob, I am definitely a 2.5 as well, although as you know I would never invite MacArthur into my church.

    Not because of his seperation views(because I would mostly agree with him there), but because of his Soteriological views.

    IFBReformer
     
  18. IfbReformer

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    I am not Dr. Bob, obviously, but as one of those younger generation of fundamentalists I would say we are definitely disgusted(many of us) with the 4s as well.

    I was recently talking with a elder Pastor friend of mine who noted all the good discussions that are not going on at fundamentalist seminaries. So someone may say attend Bob Jones(a 3 or 4) but end up going to a Seminary that is 2.5 and they are exposed to the error of BJUs ways.

    He said he is hereing of many great discussions at seminaries along these lines that we are discussing. We are revaluting stances, standards and doctrines, testing them by the scriptures, and not by our prejudices and traditions. Praise God!

    IFBReformer
     
  19. IfbReformer

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    I grew up in IFB churches in southeastern MI, the only colleges they supported were Northland, Maranatha, BJU and Pennsacola. All these colleges(which are 4s) do some very inconsistant things with regard to seperation as you discuss - it is just always swept under the carpet and kept quite.

    I have found growing up in Churches that were 4's, that they have a very difficult time maintaining consistancies in their stance. When they are inconsistant, it is quitely swept under the rug.

    IFBReformer
     
  20. Paul33

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    I'm glad that there are people out there who realize that Doran is a 4. He is so gracious that you like him. But he is still a 4 who thinks that he is a three. And there are many who follow his thinking that aren't gracious at all.

    I like Dr. Bob's 2+ category. That would describe me.
     

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