Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Third Rail of Fundamentalist Politics

You've heard of the third rail of politics. Social Security. Anyone who deals with the Social Security issue touches the third rail and dies. The third rail, in transportation terminology, is the one that carries the deadly electricity. All around the third rail are warnings not to touch. People don't touch if they know what's good for them. Now and then you read about the guy who touches the third rail and dies, and you just wag your head. If you want to dig your own political grave, touch the third rail, Social Security, and they'll be writing your epitaph.

Fundamentalism is full of politics. Today it is more politics than it is anything else. Everyone has to figure out what to talk about and what not to talk about. Certain subjects are taboo. Some you can't even claim to believe. If you do, you are destroyed. Your opinion won't count. You won't get invited. They won't even talk to you. They won't tell you why, but you know. You get the fundamentalist cold shoulder, the fundamentalists' way of letting you know that you don't belong. It isn't a Biblical manner of separation---no Matthew 18 followed, no nothing followed. After all, this particular third rail issue isn't even an issue. It is, but it isn't, wink, wink.

The third rail of fundamentalist politics is the King James Version. You can't be a textus receptus guy or a Hebrew Masoretic guy. You say, "Well, only if you separate over the issue." Wrong. Look at Ambassador. They get a pat on the top of the head because they don't separate over the issue. They're used against guys who don't separate. People say they respect them more, but they have touched the third rail, so they're useless.

There are certain exceptions. Recently, it seems that Clarence Sexton is a minor exception, but that is only because he seems to be moving their (fundamentalism's) direction. He could be lured over to their side, as seen in the fact that he has in Ian Paisley and he associates himself with C. H. Spurgeon so much. Ian Paisley is another one. He's a star in fundamentalism, and tolerating him looks like Presbyterians are OK still to belong, and fundamentalism looks, well, broad, inclusive, tolerant, even though his KJV position is totally laughed off as hayseed. In the smoke filled back rooms, cross-that, I withdraw that last statement your honor, Clarence Sexton looks like he might be an asset. He has a huge organization and a huge church and a huge following---not that numbers matter. They don't. That's what fundamentalism has always told us. "Numbers don't matter." Numbers matter. Numbers translate to power, political power.

The King James Version is the third rail of fundamentalist politics. You can't destroy yourself faster than using the King James. Look how much space Calvary in Lansdale gets with all the shennanigans they pull. Mixed swimming (nudity). OK. Ipsissima vox. OK. Better than OK. Lots of the OT was a lot of editorial work. OK. Cultural diversity now in worship. OK. Militant fundamentalist pastor Mike Harding says, "I'm not comfortable with that position." Not comfortable?

Al Mohler, John MacArthur, John Piper, David Wells, and D. A. Carson---fundamentalists are more comfortable with them than they are the KJV crowd. Why? They haven't touched the third rail. They get really the pillow treatment about issues. The older fundamentalists know that younger fundamentalists like these. They're all in the fundamentalist libraries. They say something decent and they are salivated over, fawned over, and patted on the back. They are beloved among most fundamentalists for their contributions. "We can't quite fellowship with them, but they have done good work in so many ways."

You could write a good book on music. It might be one of the best ones out there. I know about this. I wrote a book on music and my alma mater, Maranatha, has used it in the classroom to subsidize syllabi on the subject, but you won't find it in the book store or the library. You will find all the works of R. Kent Hughes from Wheaton, but none from one of the few graduates that have even written a book. Why? Because I believe the King James, interestingly enough, like I was taught at Maranatha by Dr. Cedarholm. It could be on the gospel or a helpful commentary. It will NOT be recommended anywhere if you are King James Version. No one will bring it up. How many books do fundamentalists write? Not many. When they do, they promote their books big time, that is, unless the person takes a King James position. He'll need to promote his book on his own. Look at Dave Sorenson. He's written one on the whole Bible, uses languages, and it is even the favored universal church position, but you won't hear a fundamentalist push that commentary. It won't happen. Why? He's King James, ladies and gentlemen.

The fundamentalists love the baby-baptizing patristics. They'll quote them and quote them. They love Dallas, Trinity, and Masters. They'll quote and quote these guys. Non-separatists all. Not separating, I repeat, not separating is not a third-rail issue. You don't have to separate anymore, to see separation in Scripture, to practice it. You are still genius if you miss separation. You can be a dufus of the first degree, but know a couple of clever ways to mock the KJV and you will shoot up the charts. Look over at Sharper Iron if you want to see a couple cromagnums who have made it to the top of the food chain. What you can't miss is the superiority of the Critical Text. In the club, that's knowing how to order in French and how to tie your ascot. Daniel Wallace is a particular favorite. But they will never, ever consider a KJV guy in anything he's written, no matter how scholarly. He, my friend, has touched the third rail.

24 comments:

Bill Hardecker said...

Ouch...that was an electrifying article. Keep up the good work!

Greg Linscott said...

I think you'd be surprised, Kent, at how much that isn't the case. The issue is not so much the KJV as in how much leeway the one holding the KJV position is able to give to those who don't "match up," so to speak.

Jason said...

I think you've missed it completely. There is a reason why people steer clear of you but it's not just your position on the KJV. It's the thinking and mentality that lead to your position on the KJV. That same thinking and mentality shows itself in your book on music as well (and by the way, I purchased your book on music at the BJU Campus Store). I recently finished reading "Thou Shalt Keep Him." Frankly, your hermeneutic and your exegesis are scary, but your epistemology is even more scary.

It works both ways. Try coming from a TRO background and favouring the other position. The book you edited recommends church discipline in such a case. I wonder if you understand how much damage such an approach is causing.

Your painting yourself as a victim just doesn't ring true. No, I think
you've earned the credibility you have, and with me, that's not much.

I'm sure you are a believer and a very sincere one at that. I'm sure the Lord is using you in many ways. I'm saddened that you have created several new doctrines and set them up as fundamentals. If I felt that discussing it would help either of us, I'd be open to doing so, but I don't think it would.

Don Johnson said...

Now Kent...

You know you are only partly right.

I think fundamentalist politics are much more complicated than you are making out in this article. Is there just ONE third rail?

I will grant you that the KJV issue is somewhat like a third rail issue, but it works both ways, eh? There are some who won't have a non-KJV speaker either. (PS, I am not asking for an invitation!!!)

But Calvinism or not, conservative music or not, and several other issues act the same way. The same fellows who would distance themselves from you over the KJV would distance themselves from me over areas where we agree.

We are both non gratis on the blog that shall not be named!

So while I think you are partly right, I think you are overstating the case on this one. Things is just a bit more complicated than that!

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Sam Hanna said...

Kent,

An excellent piece.

One problem, as I see it, with Baptists overall, as someone who came from Presbyterian roots, is that frankly very few of them have written anything of doctrinal or spiritual significance. I know this will upset many but the reality is that despite the fact that the Baptists have had most of the money, people and resources for the last 150 odd years in the USA they have been incredibly inept. Most Fundamentalist Baptists glory in being unlearned and "hill-billy" preachers. If you wanted traditionally to sell your book in Baptist Fundamentalism, then write about your evangelistic campaigns and street corner brawls but don't write like a AW Tozer or AB Simpson.The few Baptist writers or scholars that impress historically are men like AT Robertson and CH Spurgeon.

Regarding Clarence Sexton, he is currently flavour of the month by the greasy polers who lead so-called Fundamentalism because he is seen as the heir apparent to Lee Roberson and has huge resources. He has also the advantage of being attached to Ian Paisley who has wielded his considerable influence in santitising Sexton to the FBF/Bob Jones Crowd. It is ironic that Sexton is being introduced and popularised to his American Baptist neighbours by a British Presbyterian.

It was interesting on "Duller Iron" among the chattering classes of Neo-Fundamentalism the visceral response to a dreaded "Sword of the Lord KJVite" being invited to speak at an FBF meeting. Mike Harding, who has no problem in hanging out with the CCM worship team gang at Lansdale patronised, "There are some very fine men out there who are KJV/TR. Some very fine men have not had the opportunity to learn about these issues at that level. They love the Bible but are misinformed about some particulars as to how we got our Bible. As long as they are willing to be charitable in this regard, I believe we can work together and get along. However, when someone becomes divisive, schismatic, or heretical, then I draw the line."

So, you can be pro-CCM, ardent Piper fan, pro-mixed bathing like Tim Jordan and all you get from Harding is "Tim's my golf buddy and we will not be separating" but if you simply believe the KJV is providentally the preserved Word of God you must be treated as a leper!

http://www.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=5160&page=2&pp=7&highlight=clarence+sexton

Ian Paisley is still fawned over by the BJU Crowd and they still sell his book on the KJV in their bookstore because of a historical loyalty with Bob Jones I and II. They ridicule his beliefs in the Classroom but they need him on the BJU Board for credibility as he is one of the few links to historic Fundamentalism and has the advantage of being a Member of the European and British Parliaments as well as the current prime Minister of N.Ireland.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Bill. Thanks Sam, very interesting, and I'll probably comment more later.

Greg and Don, Your comments will be answered while I answer Jason's. I don't know who Jason is---there are many Jasons. I cut and pasted his comment to answer it. I first say thanks for the comment Jason.

I think you've missed it completely. I KNOW I DIDN'T MISS IT COMPLETELY, SO THIS RENDERS YOUR COMMENT INVALID. IT IS AN OPINION, BUT A VERY WRONG OPINION. There is a reason why people steer clear of you but it's not just your position on the KJV. NO ONE STEERED CLEAR OF ME UNTIL I WENT TO GROUND ZERO IN FELLOWSHIP. I HAVE STEERED CLEAR OF THEM. It's the thinking and mentality that lead to your position on the KJV. I'D BE GLAD TO KNOW WHAT THE THINKING AND MENTALITY IS THAT LEAD TO MY POSITION ON PRESERVATION. I KNOW IT IS BECAUSE SCRIPTURE TEACHES PERFECT PRESERVATION. That same thinking and mentality shows itself in your book on music as well (and by the way, I purchased your book on music at the BJU Campus Store). THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW THIS. I DIDN'T KNOW BJ HAD MY MUSIC BOOK. I THINK IT IS VERY BALANCED OF THEM TO HAVE IT IN THE BOOKSTORE. I recently finished reading "Thou Shalt Keep Him." Frankly, your hermeneutic and your exegesis are scary, but your epistemology is even more scary. SCARY, SCARY, SCARY. I DON'T GET THIS KIND OF CRITICISM. I JUST PREACHED AT A FAMILY CAMP IN UTAH AND ON MY WAY OUT, I LISTENED TO MACARTHUR'S LATEST FREE SERMON. HE PREACHED ON INSPIRATION. I'M GOING TO QUOTE HIM VERBATIM IN AN UPCOMING BLOG TO SHOW THAT HIS EXEGESIS OF CERTAIN VERSES MATCHES OURS IN THOU SHALT KEEP THEM. HE WASN'T TRYING TO "DISPROVE" PRESERVATION, SO HIS VIEW OF THOSE TEXTS CRASHED RIGHT INTO EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID. I IMAGINE ALL THE YOUNG FUNDAMENTALISTS AMENING HIS INTERPRETATION. ISN'T THAT SCARY?

It works both ways. Try coming from a TRO background and favouring the other position. I STILL READ CT BOOKS. AT ROBERTSON WAS CT, AND I TEACH FROM HIS THIRD YEAR GRAMMAR. IT IS MUCH DIFFERENT. IT IS AMAZING HOW PETTY AND POLITICAL THE CT PEOPLE ARE. IT MANIFESTS THEIR VANITY. The book you edited recommends church discipline in such a case. THIS IS THE KIND OF SOUND BYTE THAT WORKS FOR THE CT CROWD. UNITY IN DOCTRINE ON A LOCAL CHURCH LEVEL. INERRANCY OF SCRIPTURE. ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU GUYS ARE FINE WITH AN ATTACK ON INSPIRATION LIKE IPSSISSIMA VOX. I GET SILENCE WHEN I BRING IT UP. THAT IS SCARY!!!! I wonder if you understand how much damage such an approach is causing. AN APPROACH??? I EXEGETE TEXTS OF SCRIPTURE. I DON'T HAVE AN APPROACH, EXCEPT TO SORT OUT WHAT SCRIPTURE SAYS AND DO IT. THE CT CROWD THEN ATTACKS PERSONALLY.

Your painting yourself as a victim just doesn't ring true. VICTIM IS A CODE-WORD. I AM NO VICTIM. HOWEVER, IT SHOWS THE SHEER POLITICAL NATURE THAT IT IS WITH THE CT CROWD. THEY ARE NOT CONSISTENT IN THEIR APPROACH TO SEPARATION AND DOCTRINE. No, I think
you've earned the credibility you have, and with me, that's not much. CREDIBILITY? I COULD REALLY GO ON AND ON ABOUT THAT. I AM CONSISTENT WITH WHAT I BELIEVE IN PRACTICE. I'VE FOUND THE OTHER SIDE PRETTY MUCH SHOOTS FROM THE HIP. LOOK AT WHAT SAM WROTE BELOW. HE GETS IT RIGHT ON THE CONSISTENCY OF THE OTHER SIDE.

I'm sure you are a believer and a very sincere one at that. I'm sure the Lord is using you in many ways. I'm saddened that you have created several new doctrines and set them up as fundamentals. NEW DOCTRINES? YOU NEED TO GET A LITTLE MORE INTO HISTORIC THEOLOGY. THE NEW DOCTRINE THAT PROVIDENTIAL PRESERVATION EQUALS TEXTUAL CRITICISM WAS INVENTED OUT OF THIN AIR BY BENJAMIN WARFIELD, AND YOU GUYS SUCKED IT UP SO THAT YOU COULD FEEL CREDIBLE (THERE'S YOUR CREDIBILITY) WITH THE NE0-ACADEMIA. If I felt that discussing it would help either of us, I'd be open to doing so, but I don't think it would. IT IS DIFFICULT TO GET INTO A SUBSTANTIVE DISCUSSION ABOUT SCRIPTURE WITH YOUR TYPE, BECAUSE NORMALLY YOU HAVE TO CHECK IN WITH THE SACRAL SOCIETY TO MAKE SURE YOU KEEP FITTING IN. I HAVE COMPLETE FREEDOM IN MY POSIION. IF YOU DISCUSSED IT, YOU COULD BE ON THE OUTS WITH YOUR GROUP. IT IS VERY SIMILAR TO THE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS MOVEMENT---THEOLOGICAL CORRECTNESS HAS RESULTED IN SKEWED DOCTRINES GALORE.

AGAIN, THANKS FOR COMMENTING, JASON. YOU'LL NOTICE THAT WE HAVE REAL DISCUSSION OVER AT OUR BLOG, JACKHAMMER. WE LOVE THE BIBLE.

Greg Linscott said...

Kent,

You are demonstrating the point. In this case, the language you are using and the spirit you are demonstrating toward "THE CT CROWD" makes it obvious that you would put up just as many obstacles (if not perhaps more) were such a discussion to be proposed. And, I would daresay the men whom you count as friends and likeminded co-laborers in ministry would likely apply some "political" pressure if you began to deviate in some way from the principles and practices you hold in common (say, failing to put a disclaimer on a "baby baptizer's" book or hymnal).

This article seems like a bit of posturing to me- no more, no less- because I don't detect that you are particularly interested in having any constructive conversation with those in the "fundamentalism" whom you seem to have in mind. You seem to give the impression that you (and those who agree with you) are the only ones who have anything to offer, and the only kind of constructive conversation anyone could have with you is the one that would conclude "You know, you're right. Why didn't I see it before?"

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Greg.

I don't feel an ounce of political pressure from the people with whom I fellowship. I'm serious about that. I put a disclaimer on our psalter for our own sake. The people with whom I fellowship wouldn't look for it, but I appreciate the thought. It actually isn't something I thought of. I think that some ignorant people might think at first that it might make a difference, hence the disclaimer, and only for people at our church.

If you look at my comment above to Jason, and you have talked to me many times, you know I read more than just people who agree with me. I love constructive conversation. I haven't had it on this issue with CT people. I believe it is because the conversation is affected greatly by politics. You can see that in the consistency of the other side in their applications of separation, etc. I believe we should be able to talk about this issue with them like they would talk to those who are "left" of them theologically, whom they claim they would not fellowship.

Greg Linscott said...

Kent,

I do think from what I've seen you read widely- and that's generally a good thing. I don't think that's quite the same thing as a level of fellowship and constructive conversation, though. Maybe I'm wrong here, but I don't get the sense that you'd be particularly interested in developing any kind of friendship with some of the people you read or on whose blogs you might comment- even if it meant you would remain on decidedly contrasting sides of a particular issue.

Put it another way- let's imagine that there was a pastor in the next town from yours who was basically alike with you in every area of doctrine and practice except the Bible version issue. Let's imagine on this, he was pretty conservative for a CT guy- maybe even a NKJV man. He sang hymns and psalms, was local church only, was open to geocentrism, spanked his children for every offense, avoided many of the same people you did... let's say this was the ONLY thing that was substantially different. Furthermore, this man was actively seeking to have his church join in fellowship with yours in some formal, meaningful way- maybe missions support, church camp, exchanging pulpits.

What would your response be to such a man? I'm not asking to goad you- I really would like to know.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Greg,

I would truly attempt to have constructive conversation. I would like to do that with our book, Thou Shalt Keep Them. I wrote a review of God's Word in our Hands and sent it to all the authors. Ultimately PCC started selling it in their bookstore. I made legitimate points, both positive and negative and I didn't get any constructive conversation from them. I would like us to come to the truth on the issue honestly. I believe it is a very serious issue.

To answer the last question, no, we wouldn't get together in the "meaningful way" you explained. Personally, I think it would be meaningful to sit down at a table with some food and coffee and sort it out with our Bibles open. I would do that, and have. I would do it more than once, but I would stop the moment I didn't think we were serious any more. I don't cut people off.

People can change. I have on many issues. I just listened to Mark Minnick's presentation on head coverings. I listened to it very, very carefully with an open mind, with the idea that I was ready to change if he proved himself to me. At this point, he hasn't, and I know exactly why. He wouldn't give me the same kind of hearing, I don't believe, on this issue. I don't even think he could.

Greg Linscott said...

Then what you call "politics" in Fundamentalism is, at least in some instances, sincere efforts to work together in spite of differences on issues. If you are, as you have already told us, unwilling or unable to have the type of meaningful fellowship I described in my last comment, I'm really not sure of the point of your post. If they don't end up drawing the same conclusion as you have on the text issue, you ostracize them. If there are those on the other side who were willing to form a closer relationship with you, you would be unwilling to anyway. Why lament this so called "third rail" if you yourself would not seize the opportunity were it offered?

Don Johnson said...

Hey Kent

In this conversation, I am hearing you say things like this:

Fundamentalism is full of politics. Today it is more politics than it is anything else. Everyone has to figure out what to talk about and what not to talk about. Certain subjects are taboo. Some you can't even claim to believe. If you do, you are destroyed. Your opinion won't count. You won't get invited. They won't even talk to you.

So what I am hearing you say is that you are in effect 'black-balled' because you are on the "wrong" side of the KJV issue from "their" perspective.

In my early posts, and I think in Greg's posts as well, I think what we are trying to say is that this cuts both ways.

Quite a few years ago, I spoke in your church from 1 John 1, as I recall. In the years since, we have only had intermittent contact, although the internet has made it easier to have a sort of regular contact. I know you read my blog, you know I read your blog. I hope we both profit from one another's writing, I know I do from yours. But I don't think you would invite me to speak again, would you? I honestly don't think the issue is that we have changed all that much in the intervening years, but that politics are such that it might be imprudent for you to have someone like me.

And I am not asking for a meeting!

I am quite comfortable with such differences existing. We all have to answer to the Lord for ourselves and our ministries. We have to answer to the Lord for who we will have in our pulpit, I believe. So I am quite comfortable 'not being invited.' It is totally understandable, and I think it is commendable that men would seriously safeguard their pulpits according to their own understanding of the Lord's mind on these issues.

But my point is that the politics works both ways. Yes, you may be excluded for political (as well as theological) reasons. But you do the same.

And you have every right, and in my mind, the responsibility to do so.

Anyway, brother, I count you as a friend, even though we don't see eye to eye on everything. God bless.

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

William D said...

I have used one of Sorensens commentaries, and it is one of the worst pieces of literature. It has nothing to do with KJV...it has to do with the quality of his writing.

The book: "Changed into His image" is KJV in all it's references, and it has sold big time! People from Paul Chappell to John MacArthur endorse this book. Why? It's excellent spiritual insight! The quality of writing is stellar...and oh ya, he uses the KJV in that book...so it's ok for us fundies to read.

Bill Hardecker said...

Pastor B,
What is "Ipsissima vox?"

Kent Brandenburg said...

OK, thanks for the comments. William D, it may not be the greatest of commentaries, and I don't have a copy myself, mainly because I want something more thorough than what he did, but compared to anything that any other fundamentalist has written, it is amazingly good. I think that Berg's book, which I've read, has good material on sanctification, and he deals with that subject in a way that it could be used by a wide variety of people.

Alright, now to Greg first. I thought you weren't goading me? :-) I don't think they are sincere efforts to get along with one another, Greg. I am going to write a blog here, and I don't know why I haven't done it yet, on how I left the FBF. I think you'll find it interesting, but also informative, on this very subject. I left in a Scriptural fashion. Regarding "meaningful" fellowship, notice that I put your word "meaningful" in quotes. I fellowship based on doctrine and practice, what I see taught in the NT, and I would be glad to have you show me different, Greg. I expect people to be willing to discuss, but that isn't the case with the preservation issue. I would love to sit down with some of these men, and I wish I could say it wouldn't be affected by their circles (what I called sacral societies; I'm sure you didn't like the term, but I believe that is what they are).

I think you understand the point of my post. The KJV is not treated the same by fundamentalism as other doctrines. They buy almost any book of any man that has no fellowship with them (R. Kent Hughes, D. A. Carson, etc.), but they won't a KJV guy. They make it a special point of fellowship. I know I do too, but I do that with everything I believe. It is political with them. That's what I'm saying. The point is to provoke thought about what we believe about separation, and why.

Don, I know you're not asking for a meeting. I know that. You're a very intelligent man that knows these types of things. Don, I'm drawn to you, like I am in everything else I have fellowship, by our similarities.

This is not essentially a personal thing with me. People should know it is political though. Someone might offer a Douglas Wilson book, but he wouldn't offer one of mine because I'm King James. With Maranatha, it is more than that; there it is very personal, and I should lay that one out in a blog sometime too---some very serious politics and personal things there. I'm just exposing it. Is it personal? Yes, by the fact that they won't put books in their library, that could be more useful than some of their liberal books in their library. And I mean liberal.

I'm like you Don, not expecting to speak somewhere. I get more than enough speaking engagements. I don't like leaving home, for the most part. I will do what God wants me, but three or four times a year is about max, and that seems to be what I do about every year. This year it was seven, which was way, way too much.

Do you really think it is theological reasons, when they overlook vox, mixed nudity, etc.? The KJV is a political issue, and I could get into the nuances of it, but you and Greg both understand it. Does it work both ways? I don't think so. From my perspective, it is one of belief and practice. This is not the same with fundamentalism. I'm open to be wrong on this, but I don't think I am.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Bill,

Thanks. You asked this somewhere else of me, and then I lost it.

It is a fancy Latin word. It means "the very voice." Versus Ipsissima Verba, which means "the very words." Calvary Lansdale and Larry Oats at MBBC for that matter, teach that in the Gospels we do not have the very words of Christ, but the voice. They teach that the gospel writers just wrote down the jist of what Christ said, not the actual words he said. This is a problem inspiration-wise, because those passages say, Jesus said. They say that He said it. This is an attack on inspiration. It is also a position influenced by liberalism.

Don Johnson said...

Hey Kent, FWIW, I wouldn't give anyone a Douglas Wilson book for any reason. There are a whole host of issues! To quote that great theologian, Bugs Bunny, I would have to say of DW, "What a maroon."

As for one of yours, I've never seen them, so couldn't say. (I may not be looking for meetings, but I am not above blegs for free books!)

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jason said...

Kent,

If I'd had to guess your response, I'd have written just about what you wrote word for word. You say you don't understand what "mentality" I'm talking about. I don't have time to explain it, but you really ought to wrestle with it until you do understand it. There are some basic epistemological, hermeneutical, and historical issues that colour just about everything I've read from you. I agree that you are consistent. If others in the TR-only movement were as consistent as you, they would believe what you believe. And that means the problems are at a much more fundamental level.

You suggested that people like me are prone to "theological correctness." Fact is, I've suffered broken ties with church, friends, and family over the very things you discuss in "Thou Shalt Keep Them." There was nothing theologically correct about the conclusions I was compelled to draw.

I find it amazing that the book has a whole chapter calling for separation from us (to the point of saying we aren't fundamentalists and calling for church discipline and ecclesiastical separation), but then you come up with this post.

Your positions, for better or for worse, call for distinct separation from us and rightly so. If you are right about your doctrine of verbal, plenary accessibility, then we should all be separating from BJU and those like them. But if your doctrine is wrong, and I have spent hundreds of hours in coming to the conclusion that it is, then your ministry is dangerous and divisive.

Jason Harris

Kent Brandenburg said...

Jason,

I'm going to comment in CAPS again to what you've said. I don't know who you are. Have we met?

Here's your comment with my response to it in CAPS.

If I'd had to guess your response, I'd have written just about what you wrote word for word. OK. SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME WELL, OR AT LEAST SAY YOU DO. You say you don't understand what "mentality" I'm talking about. I don't have time to explain it, but you really ought to wrestle with it until you do understand it. YOU DON'T HAVE TIME TO EXPLAIN IT. HMMMMM. MY MENTALITY IS TO TAKE WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS AND DO IT, TO FOLLOW IT, NOT TO STAGGER AT THE PROMISES OF GOD. There are some basic epistemological, hermeneutical, and historical issues that colour just about everything I've read from you. YOU BRING UP EPISTEMOLOGICAL AND MOST PEOPLE DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. WITH THE HISTORICAL AND EPISTEMOLOGICAL, YOU ARE BRINGING IN SOURCES OUTSIDE OF SCRIPTURE. TRUE KNOWLEDGE, EPISTEMOLOGY, IS, WELL, TRUE. WE TAKE SCRIPTURE AS TRUTH, NOT SOME DEGREE OF TRUTH. I SEE THE POSITION THAT TAKES SCRIPTURE AT FACE VALUE AS HOW GOD WANTED US TO APPROACH IT. THIS IS WHAT I READ IN HISTORY ON THE PRESERVATION ISSUE---NOT UNTIL SCIENCE CAME ALONG AND WAS ADDED TO SCRIPTURE DID PEOPLE STOP BELIEVING IN PERFECT PRESERVATION (AS WELL AS MANY OTHER DOCTRINES). I agree that you are consistent. If others in the TR-only movement were as consistent as you, they would believe what you believe. And that means the problems are at a much more fundamental level. MANY BELIEVE WHAT I BELIEVE. THERE ARE MANY INDEPENDENT BAPTIST, NON-FUNDAMENTALISTS, BUT HISTORIC BAPTISTS (NOT HYLES-TYPES INCIDENTALLY) ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, THAT ARE NOT IN THE BJ AND FBF ORBIT, WHO BELIEVE LIKE I DO.

You suggested that people like me are prone to "theological correctness." Fact is, I've suffered broken ties with church, friends, and family over the very things you discuss in "Thou Shalt Keep Them." There was nothing theologically correct about the conclusions I was compelled to draw. I REALLY CAN'T JUDGE THIS, BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW YOU. I HAVEN'T READ WHAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN.

I find it amazing that the book has a whole chapter calling for separation from us (to the point of saying we aren't fundamentalists and calling for church discipline and ecclesiastical separation), but then you come up with this post. THIS POST WASN'T INTENDED TO BE TAKEN AS PERSONAL. IT IS WHAT I SEE. TAKING A TR/KJV POSITION IS THE WORST POSITION FOR YOU IF YOU WANT TO BE A FUNDAMENTALIST OF THE BJ STRIPE. YOU CAN BE ALMOST ANYTHING ELSE IN THE REALM OF THEOLOGICAL AND PRACTICAL ERROR AND YOU WILL BE OK. I'M JUST CALLING IT AS I SEE IT. JUST LIKE THE SOCIAL SECURITY ISSUE IN POLITICS, IT DOESN'T MEAN THAT PEOPLE DON'T TOUCH THE THIRD RAIL. WE DON'T ACTUALLY SAY MUCH ABOUT FUNDAMENTALISM, SO YOU WOULD BE WRONG ABOUT THAT ASPECT OF THE BOOK. WE HAVE ONE QUOTE ABOUT FUNDAMENTALISM IN THE PREFACE, BUT THE SEPARATION IS ABOUT LOCAL CHURCH UNITY IN DOCTRINE. CHURCHES SHOULD BE UNIFIED IN DOCTRINE.

Your positions, for better or for worse, call for distinct separation from us and rightly so. If you are right about your doctrine of verbal, plenary accessibility, then we should all be separating from BJU and those like them. But if your doctrine is wrong, and I have spent hundreds of hours in coming to the conclusion that it is, then your ministry is dangerous and divisive.
THE DIVISIVE PART, I UNDERSTAND. WE HAVE A DIFFERENT VIEW OF THE BODY OF CHRIST. A LOT IS WRITTEN ON SEPARATION IN SCRIPTURE. I WOULD BE INTERESTED AFTER HUNDREDS OF HOURS, WHY IT IS THAT YOU WON'T BELIEVE THE PLAIN TEACHING OF SCRIPTURE. I'M GOING TO GUESS THAT HISTORY AND YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE COME IN, WHICH IS THE WHOLE EPISTEMOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL ASPECT. HERMENEUTICALLY, READ MY POST AFTER THIS ONE. YOU PROBABLY HAVE. NOTICE THE STATEMENTS MADE BY MACARTHUR. THOSE ARE TAKING THOSE PASSAGES AT FACE VALUE, BECAUSE HE DOESN'T HAVE TEXTUAL CRITICISM TO PROTECT IN THOSE MESSAGES. I COULD DO THE SAME THING WITH THINGS MARK MINNICK WROTE BEFORE THE KJV ISSUE BECAME BIGGER, AND IT WAS IMPORTANT TO BE A NASB, ETC. MAN.
Jason Harris
THANKS AGAIN JASON.

Bobby Mitchell said...

Greg,

You are off base here.

I don't have a disclaimer in my Psalter.

Kent and I have more than one area in which we disagree and even spend time "arguing" the issues. I sense no pressure from the guys I fellowship with. Maybe that is because we don't get involved in the organized groups with their moderators, reps, presidents, etc.

We don't use politial pressure, we do the Scriptural thing and discuss our differences with open Bibles and then act on what we are persuaded of.

It is good to be free and have a divorce from public opinion.

Michael said...

Well, if I may, I happen to be one of those Independent Baptists, and to make Jason's point, YES we should separate from BJU.

I find it interesting to listen to the critics of those who believe God when He said He would preserve His word to all generations, which happens to include mine. To me, the preservation issue is simple, you either believe God preserved His word, ON EARTH, or you do not.

I stand in dismay at times when I see people running to and fro trying to learn some new thing, trying to justify their own scholarship by discovering some hidden meaning that no one ever saw before. Reminds me of what Paul said about the Greeks.

Dr Brandenburg, your post was just above average. You can do better.

By the way, I think I will SLEEP INN tomorrow.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Michael,

I will strive for slightly above average, but only with your prodding. I stayed at Settle In on the way back, but only stayed a day---so much for settling in.

CD-Host said...

Kent --


You indicate you are interested in discussion. If you would like to debate

I SEE THE POSITION THAT TAKES SCRIPTURE AT FACE VALUE AS HOW GOD WANTED US TO APPROACH IT. THIS IS WHAT I READ IN HISTORY ON THE PRESERVATION ISSUE---NOT UNTIL SCIENCE CAME ALONG AND WAS ADDED TO SCRIPTURE DID PEOPLE STOP BELIEVING IN PERFECT PRESERVATION

My position is that was not the position of historical Christianity at all. Rather the position was that the bible contained new revelations given by Jesus and the Holy Spirit to the apostles and that these revelations were perfectly preserved. A much weaker statement than the one you are asserting.

The truths of Christian revelation were made known to the Apostles either by Christ Himself or by the Holy Ghost. They constitute what is called the Deposit of Faith, to which nothing has been added since the Apostolic Age. Some of the truths were committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost and have been handed down to us in the books of the New Testament.

Or as Dei Verbum is even more direct asserting that what is preserved within scripture is the preaching of the apostles. That is not the words.

I see no evidence that your position was held by any substantial group prior to about 500 years ago. And not held by any large group prior to about 200 years ago.

Carrie said...

It would seem as if we as Christians have become part of the "falling away". If maybe we have, "left our first love".

It seems the more I read the more discouraged I become with the "Bible schooled - educated" crowd.

When did it become Biblical to tear down a believer. When did it become acceptable to debate a third view of the possiblitly of one ministies struggle.
When it become "spriritual" for you to side step the Holy Spirit and pinpoint each others faults.

Yes, we must use Godly discerment. Yes we must make educated decisions and support those who understand the importance of holding up the Scripture, for there is only one.

However, when Peter got his eyes off the Lord and looked at the turmoil around him or listened to the skeptics behind him.... he sunk.

We are here for one reason and one reason only. I don't need to spell it out for you.. you all seem like very educated people... maybe I do.
Keep your eyes off each other and put them back on the Lord and work in the field he has put in front of you.