What would you have done in 1957?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by John of Japan, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I am going to simplify the history here a little bit, but in essence it is accurate. If you answer this, please do your best to keep the emotionalism out of it, and answer with Scriptural principles.

    It is 1957. You are an influential evangelical pastor in New York. Billy Graham's advance man is sitting across from you in your office, trying to get you to add your influence to the upcoming New York Crusade by joining a committee. There is only one problem. Graham is insisting on a wide theological spectrum being included on the committee, including at least one avowed theological liberal. You know that a liberal such as this man is likely to deny any or all of the following doctrines: the virgin birth of Christ, the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement, the verbal inspiration of the Bible, the second coming of Christ.

    This is a crucial year for the history of evangelicalism. Later in the year influential pastor Harold John Ockenga, who invented the term "New Evangelical" ten years earlier, will issue his famous news release stating a new direction for evangelicalism, a distinct policy of dialogue and cooperation with liberals. Ockenga would write in that news release, "The New Evangelicalism has changed its strategy from one of separation to one of infiltration."

    Later, noted theologian Millard Erickson (sympathetic to Graham) would write in The New Evangelical Theology, "Billy Graham's evangelistic work is 'cooperative evangelism.' He has shown a desire to work with ministers of varying theological stripe, whether liberal or conservative. In his city-wide campaigns, he prefers that the invitation and planning be done by a group representing the various positions of the theological spectrum" (p. 37). In other words, Graham insisted from 1957 on that theological liberals be included in the planning and execution of all of his crusades.

    According to this new position of Graham's, you can't stay on the fence. It is time to decide. Will you join the New Evangelicals in their quest to dialogue and cooperate with liberals? Or will you take your stand with the old-style evangelicals, often called Fundamentalists? Either way you may be excoriated. Much will be said on both sides that perhaps Christians shouldn't say. The historical ramifications for many decades will be staggering.

    What stand will you take? What scriptural principle will you base your stand on?
     
  2. Gold Dragon

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    I would have chosen to heed the prayer of Jesus and the imploring of Paul and joined the committee.

    I would choose to please God rather than men.

     
  3. gb93433

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    Fundamentalism has made some wide changes compared to what it once was. I am not sure many evangelicals who preach the word and do not compromise their faith would want to associate with some others who are mean spirited and call themselves fundamentalists. Too often the fundamentalists of today are mean spirited and much like concrete--all mixed up and permanently set. I have noticed they are nothing like the fundamentalists of the past. Today many who call themselves a fundamentalist really do not know their Bible very well.

    Not too many years ago I pastored a church that had quite a variety of folks. The church had one major problem. It was nearly extinct. The church was nearly dead because of the people who sat around and argued doctrine without any practice other than having a nice building until they lost their pastor and building and had no money. Not one of them were leading people to Christ and discipling anyone. Then I came and preached about the proof of our faith. Many quieted up. Some left. Some stayed and God gave a tremendous increase. That church was a high point in my life. The church began to pray and ask God for incredible things–often beyond what we thought possible.

    When I preached from the gospels and pointed out how Jesus led, some of them didn't like it too well. I had one requirement that all knew about. Before someone would even be considered for any leadership person they must have started their own Bible study and discipled at least one person. Some of those with a big mouth just left and others who wanted to be leaders worked to learn and grow.

    James talks about the proof of their faith not just a written statement of faith.

    It is easy to recognize the leaders. Leaders lead people. They are noted by those who are being discipled.
     
  4. John of Japan

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    This doesn't answer the thread at all, as well as being very simplistic. You have just lumped together 10,000 churches into one blob--backward, ignorant Fundamentalism. However, there are many factions in Fundamentalism. Actually, both Fundamentalism and evangelicalism have had much growth and change since 1957. There are still many "historic Fundamentalists" who believe just like the Fundamentalists of 1957.

    On the other hand, who do the evangelicals have to associate with? They too have their problems: so-called evangelicals who believe in neotheism, universalism, errors in the Bible, neo-orthodoxy etc.

    I believe that these problems in evangelicalism stem from 1957. You prefer to bash Fundamentalism? Fine, have at it. Just clean your own house, too.

    Personally, I would rather associate with those who truly believe the Bible, even if they are mean-spirited sometimes, than with those kind, gracious liberals who believe that Christ is just a man, who did no miracles, did not rise from the dead and can save no one. "I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts" (Ps 119:63).

    This means I reject those who do not bring the correct doctrine of Jesus Christ. "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine (the doctrine of Jesus Christ, according to the context), receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 John vv. 9-10)
     
  5. John of Japan

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    I would have chosen to heed the prayer of Jesus and the imploring of Paul and joined the committee.

    I would choose to please God rather than men.
    QUOTE]
    </font>[/QUOTE]So, does this mean that you have no problem cooperating with that liberal? He's just a brother in Christ to you? One of God's children? What about a JW, would you invite them onto the platform, too? Please tell me, how is the liberal who denies the deity of Christ better than the JW? They both do great damage to the cause of Jesus Christ. "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine (the doctrine of Jesus Christ, according to the context), receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." (2 John vv. 9-10)

    Also, I fail to see your point about pleasing God, not man. Those who sorrowfully decided not to join the crusade did not feel that they were pleasing men. They were very much in the minority, and therefore rather than pleasing men they felt they were pleasing God.

    Near as I can tell, you believe that unity is more important than the doctrine of Christ. Am I mis-characterizing you here?
     
  6. Pickerel

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    It is my belief that Christianity has enough of it's own wishy washy Fence sitters, who hold to the attitude that "I'm alright, your alright" frame of mind...! Sometimes it is not popular to stand for the truth...Nor is it edifying to compromise the Gospel for the sakes of "Unity"!

    Rom 3:4 By no means: verily let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mayest be justified in thy sayings, and mayest overcome when thou art judged.

    Only Christ Saves!
     
  7. Gold Dragon

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    Correct. I'm sure if you ask most on this board, they will label me as one of those liberals, even though I proclaim the following fundamentals.

    1) Inspiration, trustworthyness and authority of the Scriptures
    2) The virgin birth and the deity of Jesus
    3) The doctrine of substitutionary atonement through God's grace and human faith
    4) The bodily resurrection of Jesus
    5) The authenticity of Christ's miracles

    I changed the inerrancy statement not because I believe the bible is errant, but because I believe my statement about the bible is more biblical and accurate than the usual inerrancy statement.

    I would not include the premillenial second coming as a fundamental I believe (as some fundamentalists do). I believe his second coming may be premillenial, but that is simply one of many valid interpretations of the relevant passages.

    Definitely. While I believe in the above fundamentals, I don't consider belief in my understandings of doctrine to be what makes one a brother in Christ and a child of God. I would call liberals in direct opposition to those fundamentals to be sincerely wrong and hope to dialogue with them biblically as brothers to help us both be more biblical and orthodox in our doctrine. Part of seeing the wrong doctrine of others is being open to the fact that I am also wrong about many things.

    If a liberal straight out denies the deity of Christ, I agree that they are in as much error as JWs. I would say that while there are some liberals who hold this position, I would never label all liberal Christians as holding to this position. I would have serious reservations about inviting such a person to the committee. I have no problems with liberals who are willing to challenge concept of the deity of Christ and do not consider that equivalent to denying the deity of Christ.

    I would say that the cultural context of this passage warns of folks more like fundamentalists than like liberals. Folks who add extra requirements to being a "brother in Christ" or emphasize legalistic requirements over the grace of the gospel of Christ.

    I agree. That was the point of my statement. On both sides, folks felt they were pleasing God rather than men.

    Yes you are mis-characterizing me. No, unity is not more important than the doctrine of Christ. Unity is more important than the doctrine of man. Notice John 17:23. Jesus prays for unity so that the world will know that God sent Jesus. Christian unity is a witness to Jesus' diety.

    I agree that at some point, separation is required. But biblical separation in the body was always taught with the intent of future reconciliation of the unity of the body. Not the washing of hands and drawing of battle lines that actually happened in the fundamentalist-modernist controversy.
     
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  8. TexasSky

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    I like Golden Dragon's answer.
     
  9. Gold Dragon

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    I have a question. I have heard that the denial of Christ's deity is a common position among Christian liberals from fundamentalists.

    Having not read many Christian liberal authors, and definitely none who have ever denied the deity of Christ, I would like to know some examples of Christian liberals who have actually held this position and their words describing why. I would also like to know of statistics about the prevalence of this position.

    I'll try to dig up some research in Barna and other places. Thanks.
     
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  10. swaimj

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    Excellent question, John of Japan. BTW, I much appreciated your information and insights on another thread (whose title escapes me now) on the relationship of John R. Rice and the Bob Joneses. I think that Jones, Rice, as well as Wyrtzen made the correct decision in separating from Billy Graham at that point. That doesn't mean that everything Graham or anyone who ever supported him has done since has been bad. It doesn't mean that Jones, Rice, et al are infallible because they made that one correct decision. However, that decision was correct and I think that history will eventually bear this out even as it is doing so now.
     
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  11. jw

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    I would not join. Those who teach error are to be avoided and separated from. (2 Cor 6, 2 John 10, etc.)

    I'm am 100% against secondary separation, but this is primary separation. You would be working directly with a liberal who denied the fundamental doctrines of the faith in the same work.
     
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  12. StraightAndNarrow

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    I would ask the "liberal" what he believes and that act accordingly rather than labeling all of those who don't exactly agree with my theology liberal. That word has been misused to the extent that it doesn't have much meaning anymore except to decribe anyone you don't like or agree with.

    Personally, I wouldn't be associated with an evangelical crusade led by people who denied that Christ was devine. To me that's an absolute requirement. Other theological differences might be ignored but not this one.

    It's interesting that you chose this scenario because I accepted Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade in 1956 in Louisville.
     
  13. jshurley04

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    The balance of eternity is too great to gamble with men's souls. I cannot knowingly engage in any kind of evangelistic service in which others are going to deny the plain plan of salvation when a person comes to make a decision. I would also be lumped in with those who are theologically wrong and it may bring harm to my church and the work that Christ is attempting to accomplish. Simply put, if I cannot fellowship with them, then I could not be a part of this crusade. Billy Graham or not.
     
  14. gb93433

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    There are over six billion people in the world that makes over 6 billion flavors.

    The proof is in the puddin'

    Mean spirited people do not believe the Bible. They are in direct disobience to it. Why would anyone other than a fool want to associate with those kind of people.

    My Bible says in 1 Cor. 15:33, "Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals."

    My Bible also says in Jn 13:35, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

    It also says in Phil. 2:3-8, "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

    When you make the statement, "On the other hand, who do the evangelicals have to associate with? They too have their problems: so-called evangelicals who believe in neotheism, universalism, errors in the Bible, neo-orthodoxy etc.' I have to wonder where have you been? There are many godly Christians living for Jesus Christ and discipling others. If you do not know many then start by introducing them to Jesus.

    You write as though there are only mean spirited fundamentalists and sweet liberals. I would rather be with those who believe the Bible and love God.

    Sometime read http://www.bibleteacher.org/Dm118_8.htm

    [ October 20, 2005, 02:54 AM: Message edited by: gb93433 ]
     
  15. gb93433

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    A real fundamentalist

    George Mueller's Secret:

    "There was a day when I died:

    • Died to George Mueller: to his tastes, his opinions, his
    preferences and his will.

    • Died to the world—its approval or censure.

    • Died to the approval or blame of even my brethren and friends.

    Since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God."
     
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  16. Craigbythesea

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    Some years ago I held a high position in the ministry of a fundamentalist evangelist who preached all over the world to crowds that were much larger than most of Billy Graham’s crowds. This man was an expert at preaching what the crowds wanted to hear and they loved him. I, however, worked with him at his international headquarters and I, like all the rest of those near the top, knew the man for what he really was—an evil, egotistical fool, liar, and thief.

    I did not have the pleasure of working directly with Billy Graham, but I did have the pleasure of working with his staff. Billy Graham is a prince among men—Christian men—and I can only wish that I was as faithful to God and His calling as has been Billy Graham. Had I been there with Billy Graham in 1957, I would have made the same decisions as he did, and history has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that his decisions were in accord with the will of God. But, of course, there will always be those who choose to find fault in others.

    It has been my personal observation that fundamentalist Christians tend to be very conservative in their love for God and His people, and that liberal Christians tend to be very liberal in their love for God and His people. But of course there are the ultraliberal freaks who do not know God—men and women with whom neither Billy Graham nor I would have anything to do.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Craigbythesea

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    I would have chosen to heed the prayer of Jesus and the imploring of Paul and joined the committee.

    I would choose to please God rather than men.

    </font>[/QUOTE]Thank you for this excellent post!

    [​IMG]
     
  18. John of Japan

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    Forgive me, gb93433, I really don't know what you are getting at here. You are not answering the thread, you are not interacting with me, you are not reading my posts very carefully.

    (1) I believe and have said that there are many good Christians among evangelicals. So what is your point? The question of the thread still stands: "What would you have done in 1957?" Please don't get off topic.
    (2) You write, "Mean spirited people do not believe the Bible." Huh? What does that mean? Maybe you need to define "mean spirited" for me. Do you really mean a person who believes the Bible will never be mean spirited? All Bible believers walk in the Spirit all the time?
    (3) What is the point of your Bible quotes? I really don't understand why you are quoting these verses. Do you believe Graham was right in loving the liberals as if they were brothers in Christ, or don't you? Do you yourself believe that someone who denies the deity of Christ is a believer?
    (4) You say, "You write as though there are only mean spirited fundamentalists and sweet liberals. I would rather be with those who believe the Bible and love God." Huh? I too would rather be with those who believe the Bible and love God. So what is your point and how does it tie in with the thread?
    (5) That's a great link from the Navigators, but hey, I believe in discipling. In fact I think Daws Trotman wroted good stuff. I'm a missionary. I wouldn't have a ministry if I didn't disciple! So what is your point?
     
  19. John of Japan

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    Correct. I'm sure if you ask most on this board, they will label me as one of those liberals, even though I proclaim the following fundamentals.

    1) Inspiration, trustworthyness and authority of the Scriptures
    2) The virgin birth and the deity of Jesus
    3) The doctrine of substitutionary atonement through God's grace and human faith
    4) The bodily resurrection of Jesus
    5) The authenticity of Christ's miracles

    SNIP

    If a liberal straight out denies the deity of Christ, I agree that they are in as much error as JWs. I would say that while there are some liberals who hold this position, I would never label all liberal Christians as holding to this position. I would have serious reservations about inviting such a person to the committee. I have no problems with liberals who are willing to challenge concept of the deity of Christ and do not consider that equivalent to denying the deity of Christ.

    SNIP

    Yes you are mis-characterizing me. No, unity is not more important than the doctrine of Christ. Unity is more important than the doctrine of man. Notice John 17:23. Jesus prays for unity so that the world will know that God sent Jesus. Christian unity is a witness to Jesus' diety.

    I agree that at some point, separation is required. But biblical separation in the body was always taught with the intent of future reconciliation of the unity of the body. Not the washing of hands and drawing of battle lines that actually happened in the fundamentalist-modernist controversy.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Thank you for your good interaction, Golden Dragon. You show an excellent attitude, though you disagree with me. By the way, I love your name--maybe the Lord will allow us to have "dim sum" together someday--if not here than in Heaven!

    Forgive me for mis-characterizing your position. I am glad that you believe in the fundamental doctrines and that at some point separation may be necessary. And by the way, Golden Dragon, by what you stated that you believe, there is no way in the world that you are a liberal!

    Rather than try to answer everything you've said I am going to concentrate on the "What is a liberal?" aspect here. I get the impression that you and some of the young whippersnappers on this forum don't really understand what a liberal was in 1957. Let me give you some examples.

    Harry Emerson Fosdick was a noted liberal of the day who believed Jesus was nothing more than a man. He had a famous sermon, "The Peril of Worshipping Jesus," in his book, The Hope of the World. He called himself a Christian, yet believed that to worship Jesus was idolatry!

    John R. Rice included his correspondence with a liberal preacher in his book, Is Jesus God? This liberal did not believe in salvation by faith and denied the deity of Christ. In those days, that was the very definition of a liberal: someone who denied the deity of Christ with all the doctrines that pertain to it: the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection, etc. Rice did not "dialogue" with this liberal, he attempted to win him to Christ. That is real Bible love.

    Bishop James Pike of the Episcopal Church was notorious for his rejection of basic Christian doctrines such as the deity of Christ. Read about how Francis Schaeffer witnessed to him in The Great Evangelical Disaster. Again, Schaeffer showed true Biblical love.

    John Hick wrote a book entitled, The Myth of God Incarnate. Schaeffer wrote about him in the book I just mentioned, "How can a man who holds that the Incarnation is a myth call himself a Christian? Yet he was recently received into the Presbytery of Claremont, California, as a minister in good standing" (p. 79).

    Nels Ferre was a liberal theologian who very clearly denied the deity of Christ in his book, The Sun and the Umbrella, and showed that he didn't think Jesus was sinless in his book, The Christian Understanding of God. Ferre also had a theory that Jesus was the son of Mary and a blonde German soldier.

    I could go on and on. Were these liberals truly Christian? I don't see how they could be. What say ye?

    To all of you who feel we must "love' the liberal and not rebuke him or try to win him to Christ, Schaeffer says, "If we use the word love as our excuse for avoiding confrontation when it is necessary then we have denied the holiness of God and failed to be faithful to him and his true character. In reality we have denied God himself" (p. 69).
     
  20. John of Japan

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    Forgive me, Craigbythesea, but I find your whole post ironic.

    (1) After finding a whole lot of fault with some Fundamentalist evangelist, you say, "But, of course, there will always be those who choose to find fault in others." Huh? No one here has called Billy "evil, egotistical fool, liar, and thief," as you have called this man. And you may be right, for all I know--so what? What does that have to do with this thread?

    (2) I am not attacking Billy's character, nor did any Fundamentalist that I know of (there are always rotten apples). I have never met him, but those I know who knew him say he is a gracious, good man. Note: This whole post is about Graham's position on cooperating with liberals, NOT ON HIS CHARACTER!!!
     

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