Monday, February 26, 2018

Placing Myself in Tyler's Report Card On Baptist Fundamentalism

I have three blog posts I've really wanted to write, but they are difficult to write without spending a lot of time.  I'm a percentage done on all three and can't finish any of them.  I've been in this condition for three weeks.  I'm still writing posts though.  Today, I make it easy on myself for another day by attempting to put myself in a chart done by Tyler Robbins on SharperIron, which he has titled, "A REPORT CARD ON BAPTIST FUNDAMENTALISM IN 2018."  People at SharperIron have attempted to do this on various occasions and I knew that comments would explode for this post.

What I'm going to do here is attempt to put myself in his chart where I fit and see which category I must be of his four categories:  fundigelicals, "movement fundamentalists, cultic fundamentalists, and reformed-ish fundamentalists.  I have said that I'm not a fundamentalist, but I'm sure most would say that I am.  I really am not, but there isn't another category for me by Tyler Robbins.  He doesn't have evangelical, fundamentalist, and then whatever.  I think I'm whatever, but I'd be happy to hear explained why I'm not.  I'll use his descriptors in the left hand column to place me in a category.

Leadership and Style

Here our church is dual elder and collaborative approach, which he has as reformed-ish.  We have two pastors and I don't consider the other pastor my assistant.  I don't see "assistant pastor" in scripture, but I do see multiple elder.  We have two.  We work together at this.  In a typical month six different men will preach/teach.

Education

Here "movement" fundamentalist and reformed-ish are the same, excellent, systematic doctrine emphasized.  I don't think anyone who listens to me preach or our other men, watches our conference, or reads my blog would think we're characterized like the other two categories, fundigelicals or cultic fundamentalists.  I know we're not uneven quality, shallow, and indoctrinating.

Ecclesiology

I would have to understand what the descriptions mean here.  I'd be glad to take the scripture, biblical and systematic theology, to any ecclesiology of any of the four categories.  Inbred Landmarkism?  I have to guess that he means men who have mimicked each other in their view of the church, apparently proceeding from mid-nineteenth century Southern Baptist church leaders, not the Bible or even historic.  English separatism isn't cultic?  I would debate this any day.

Does parachurch fall in here?  What kind of authority do these institutions have?  Why are they so powerful in fundamentalism?

Soteriology

On his chart, I have to be "movement" fundamentalist, to be honest.  I don't see them fight for the gospel like our church does.  They also don't emphasize lordship, that I see.  I've been generally attacked by "movement" fundamentalists on the gospel.

Separation

Tyler misses it here.  I don't see cultic fundamentalists today with a major emphasis on separation, if he's including Paul Chappell, Clarence Sexton, and that crowd.  I don't see Detroit as exemplary.  Central is better as fundamentalists go. Hobby horses, I would guess, would include music.  Central has that hobby horse too, so where does music come into play?  I can't find myself in this category.

Does church discipline fall under separation?  I was in movement fundamentalism and I never saw it practiced, ever.  Ever.

Central Concern

I could only be reformed-ish fundamentalist here.  We are building the kingdom through biblical evangelism, making disciples -- no gimmicks.  Our concern is glory to God through faithfulness to His Word.

Sanctification

I could only be reformed-ish fundamentalist here, based on his description.

Preaching

I could only be with his reformed-ish fundamentalist description --- our preaching is 90 percent exposition.

Perhaps two other categories could be added, the so-called cultural issues, which could include complementarianism, or no?   You could also include worship.  Which of the four categories keep a high view of God in the worship?  I wouldn't put all of the reformed-ish in that description.  Not all of movement fundamentalism is either.  Does that mean nothing?  Or is it a hobby horse?

Tyler did the best he could.  It's a tough task that will be criticized by others.  Everyone has a bias.  I think he's open to correct where others point out that bias.

On most of these, Tyler would have me, our church, at reformed-ish fundamentalist.  He might feel the necessity to call us cultic.  We use and defend the King James Version.  We separate over every teaching of scripture.  We are local only in ecclesiology.  Where do you think we fit?  Use your name and give an explanation.  Most anonymous comments will be deleted.

24 comments:

Bill Hardecker said...

Since in your church you have a multiplicity of pastors, are you the presiding elder (pastor)? Is that even a good or proper way of classifying you or your role in your church?

Tyler Robbins said...

Kent:

I've updated the chart to reflect some of the good criticism I've received. A bit about terms.

"Hobby horses" means an imbalanced, reflexive, and un-thought through obsession with a particular topic.

"Inbred Landmarkism" means somebody who has Landmark ideas, but no idea what J.R. Graves actually believed. Kind of like somebody who claims to be a Calvinist because he's watched James White's YouTube videos, but doesn't own Calvin, Hodge or Berkhof.

I'm disappointed nobody has interacted with the article. The chart is getting all the attention.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Bill,

You bring up a good point as it relates to multiplicity of elders. As far as I have ever seen, and what I see in scripture is that the buck stops somewhere. There is always the Timothy in the midst of the other elders. We do function that way. So someone might ask, what is the difference? That would take longer to describe.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Tyler,

I'll interact later with everything not the chart.

If a church has no problem with nudity, is that a hobby horse? Is that a gospel issue? Some churches just don't deal with it. Why is that not a hobby horse, keeping nudity, and only the ones against it are charged with having one? This is the problem when you call people "balanced," as you do. Some people are balanced and others have hobby horses. It's subjective and hobby horse is a pejorative. I think English separatism is a hobby horse and is unbalanced. It wasn't invented until the late 19th century by someone trained in Germany. He got his method for inventing such a new doctrine from Germany. That sounds "cultic" to me. What do you think? If you are not in with German rationalism, you're cultic.

You're also saying all local only ecclesiology comes from Graves, are you not? That is wrong AND speculative. I can prove it's wrong. Local only preceded Graves. It's again, just a pejorative. I think your ecclesiology is Platonic and Catholic. It's not exegetical. I can prove it.

JMark said...

Pastor B,

You don't fit the mold. Those who claim to seek balance lack consistency of mind. When I attended West Coast it was all the rage. In this chart I would actually classify West Coast as a mixture of cultic, movement and fundigelicals. Many staff are Hylesites. Yet, Pastor Chappell is. PCBBC grad, which was more Fundigelical. Far too many voices with different doctrine and Soteriology...

Its frustrating to see the chart. The world just laughs because it all is just ridiculous.



Tyler Robbins said...

Kent, you know you don't fit into a neat box! Many folks who take the Landmark concept of ecclesiology aren't like you at all - you know this. You're thoughtful, and what you believe is based on a substantive analysis of the Bible (even if I disagree with it). You know a whole lot of folks can't say that.

So, when it comes to the chart, I have to say to everybody, "if the shoe fits ..." I don't think it fits with you. Generalizations can't be avoided with the chart; I get that. Still, I think it does an adequate job of broadly capturing the various flavors of Baptist fundamentalism. I understand nobody fits neatly into any box. But, for every outlier, there are many, many more who generally fit the categories.

Joanne said...

Thank you for pointing out what my gut and considered opinion is. What makes one the authority to define and label "hobby horse", "cultic" and the like. And on the flip side to pat others on the back with "balanced" etc. Just because one is more Reformed-ish does not mean they are not culpable of hobby horses, or that their teaching isn't cultic. I guess I'm trying to see how this is even helpful except to reveal that those who think they are the "better ones" seem to act very cultic fundamentalist about it :)

I, also, would like to understand the listing if certain colleges in glowing terms. Some of these have been heavily criticized as to their need or necessity or cultural separation decisions. Are these colleges now okay because they have shifted enough to not be associated with "cultic" ones and not have the hobby horse of dress standards? In other words, they now meet someone's approval for their own reasons. Maybe some of us think that the downgrading of separation is actually the cultism and biblical imbalance.

Anyway, thank you, Pastor Brandenburg for taking it head on. I, too, wondered where you found yourself on the chart or not :) and why.

James Bronsveld said...

Bro. Brandenburg,

Tyler just admitted that you don't fit on the chart. That makes you a marginalized pastor/church. I am enthusiastically waiting for all the SI chart readers to celebrate you and to hear what you have to say in this day of such celebrations!

Joanne said...

What makes me lol also is that SI has been the soapbox of "too much separatin' goin' on 'round fundamentalism"--yet here is a chart pragmatically going chop, chop, chop.

Tyler Robbins said...

James - not sure what you're getting at with your comment! If Kent feels marginalized, I'm sure he can find a sympathetic shoulder to cry on somewhere.

Joanne - truth be told, I nearly didn't include the chart, because I suspected everything else I wrote would be ignored. But, I wanted to briefly sketch what I believe are the major flavors of Baptist fundamentalism today. I can't do that, and discuss what I believe the future of these strands of fundamentalism are, unless I first identify them in some way. So, we have the chart. It's not perfect, clearly. It's my own opinion, which anyone is free to disagree with. I have no authority to "decide" anything, so give it the weight you think it deserves. No worries!

Another note - the regular contributors at SI don't have our articles "pre-approved." You shouldn't assume Aaron Blumer (the owner) agrees with everything that's posted. You'll likely not find another fundamentalist taxonomy chart in print again; people are generally too afraid of what people think to put something like that out there. I've adjusted the original chart about seven times since it was posted, yesterday morning. I've been advised I should get rid of the "cultic" label. I'm not sure I should. It describes some of the worst offenders (e.g. Steven Anderson, Hyles, etc.) so well. I may change it yet, however - stand by.

The substance of the article are the strengths and weaknesses.

James Bronsveld said...

Tyler,

It was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the trendy love that the social justice movement has for people who they feel are not included in accepted norms.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Tyler,

I've read these charts before and they are always interesting. They are thought provoking. I don't take it personally, although I did burst into tears akin to spontaneous combustion, but I found a safe place and they were extinguished.

I write the same type of material all the time here, just not all in one post. Just one issue at a time creates enough fervor.

Someone in the comments at SI seems to view West Coast, etc. different than your cultic group. It shows you the kind of discernment out there. I would say that he likes them because they've moved to something more worldly, which shows "liberty," so they must understand salvation better.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Joanne,

I agree with your "balanced." It's something I heard all the time in fundamentalism. You also get, "don't burn bridges." And, "choose the hill you will die on." It's very fortune cookie-ish.

I can't look at all the passages, all the doctrines, of the Bible and preach them exactly the same amount, the perfect balance, not to give away a pet peeve or a hobby horse. Paul put a major emphasis on separation, because he talked about it in every epistle. Paul said in Galatians 5:12, "I would they were even cut off which trouble you," referring to another kind of separation. That's very extreme.

If the ship is sinking, it affects what you focus on.

Bill Hardecker said...

Thank you, Pastor Brandenburg. I get what you mean (concerning the pastorate and dual or multiple pastors) and I agree with you, btw. Where do you fit in the chart? Well, I have to say you are off the charts! HA!

Pastor Robbins, Why don't you label your brand of Fundamentalism "Eccentric?" I do take a bit of an umbrage with your chart. Fairhaven is far from "cultish." I know their pastors, church, and college. I also have a good idea of the landscape of Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism including bordering movements on the left and on the right. They don't deserve that label.

Jeff Voegtlin said...

Ha!!

I see that in a later edition of the chart, I'm now Vice President, Dean of Education, of a "cultic" Bible college :)

Anyone want any Kool-aid? If you have Prime, you'll get it in two days without paying the shipping charges. :)

Brother Robbins, I invite you to come to our "cult" for some first-hand experiences. I promise...we won't spike your drinks.

A great time to come would be April 22-26. Here's a link to a little bit more information: http://church.fairhavenbaptist.org/event/preaching-conference

I was a little humorous at the beginning, but I'm serious. You should come visit. You would be my guest.

Jeff Voegtlin
Associate Pastor
Fairhaven Baptist Church (and College)

KJB1611 said...

There are wacko cultic "Baptist" fundamentalists, but Fairhaven is not cultic.

Tyler Robbins said...

Jeff:

If you've moved your school away from where its been, then I salute you. If you haven't, then I'll pray for you. Regrettably, I can't get back to the Midwest in April. But, if it makes any difference, I'm likely going to the Northwest Regional FBFI meeting. Not 100% sure yet, but I'll probably go.

Your school has historically been seen as far, far right by other fundamentalists. Of course, depending on where you sit, that might not be a bad thing. From my perspective, it is. Your school may well have changed in recent years. I am aware some ... key people have left the bible college and school, so change may well be in the air.

But, since its inception, Fairhaven has been regarded by even FBFI guys as to the right, and not in a good way. If the shoe doesn't fit anymore, then the word just hasn't filtered out far enough yet. I wish you the best.

Tyler Robbins said...

Jeff:

I've updated the chart ... again (https://goo.gl/NxX2TE). I rounded off some of the edges, and I'd appreciate your feedback. Your college's statement on the KJVO is particularly disturbing to me. You can contact me directly (https://goo.gl/Hhp8qL), and we can chat offline, if you wish. I understand if you don't want to bother. If I were you, I wouldn't be particularly interested in chatting with a loser who posted a chart on SI. The choice is yours! No worries, either way.

Bill:

I chose to call my website "eccentric fundamentalist" because I'm a nerdy guy who's eccentric. That's it. Not a very moving story, I know - but there it is.

Theophilus Chilton said...

In recent months, I've been moving away from the label "fundamentalist/ism" and moving toward that of "historic Baptist." This is for three reasons:

1) "Fundamentalism" is becoming too associated with the Hyles-Andersonesque "no repentance/1-2-3-pray-after-me" mentality, which is a drastic break from actual historic 1st century Christianity,

2) The term "fundamentalism" in nearly all cases is actually false - many men using are not actual "fundamental" in a truly denotative sense of the word, and

3) "Historic Baptist" emphasises the fact that the 1st century apostolic churches were baptistic in their doctrine and practice, and therefore Bible-believing Baptists who seek to faithfully follow the Word of God are the ones who are genuinely "historic" in their faith - not the Catholics, not the Eastern Orthodox, not the Calvinists and other Protestants. You read men like Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Barnabas, Mathetes, Theophilus, etc. and you see men who believed in salvation by grace through faith, who believed in repentance, who essentially assumed local ecclesiology, etc. etc.

Jeff Voegtlin said...

Bro. Robbins, first, I have always enjoyed reading your interactions with Kent. I don't think of you as a "loser that posted a chart on SI."

Second, I was surprised by your statement about our KJVO stance until I read what we have online. I admit that it leaves a lot to be desired. I am pasting from our church constitution. This is what we believe, practice, and teach:

"We believe in the plenary, verbal, Divine inspiration of the sixty-six canonical books of the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible (from Genesis to Revelation) in the original languages. (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:21; I Thessalonians 2:13)

"We believe in God's promise to preserve His Word. The Bible says, "Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever." (Psalm 119:152) Also, "The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." (Psalm 12:6-7)

"We believe that the King James Version (or Authorized Version) of the English Bible is a true, faithful, and accurate translation which in our time has no equal among all of the other English translations. The translators did such a fine job in their translation task that we can without apology hold up the Authorized Version and say, "This is the WORD OF GOD!"

I would summarize our KJVO position as very, very, very close to the Brandenburg (TSKT) position.

Third, I don't know if Pastor Ben Jaquith would be attending the FBFI Northwest Regional meetings, but if he is, you could probably get his assessment of us. His son graduated from here, and he was recently on campus to speak to us. That is... if you'd like to. You may not be interested in learning about a small local church college with a loser, cultic reputation :)

Finally, the headers of your chart are rounded out nicely. Personally, I was more interested in what you wrote than in the chart. I did look at it so I could reference what you were talking about, and then since so many were obsessed with it and you mentioned adjustments, I saw the addition of Fairhaven. I'm flattered that Fairhaven, which has never had more than 212 students at one time, gets on a list like that. But I suppose that some of our positions and some of our critics have gotten us some notoriety.

Thanks, and you still have an open invitation to visit. Let me know if you are ever in our area.

Jeff Voegtlin

Jim Peet said...

Linked to you here

https://sharperiron.org/comment/98555#comment-98555

Tyler Robbins said...

Jeff:

Places change, some for the better, some for the worse. MBU has changed; just ask Kent! I say it's for the better; he would likely disagree. Fairhaven may be changing for the better. So, I am genuinely interested in some feedback on whether I'm wrong.

You can contact me privately if you wish to respond, but my reasons (so far) for not removing Fairhaven from the KJVO category (still a bad term, but it works as a shorthand - everyone knows what I'm talking about when I use it) are because I believe it would largely agree with Providence and Hyles-Anderson on what "being a Baptist" is, about the finer points of soteriology and sanctification, Bible versions and because I believe ya'll see eye to eye on a great deal.

If I'm wrong, then I'm open to correction. As I said, things change. I asked folks at SI for some correction on this one, too. I didn't get any negative feedback there about Fairhaven but, unsurprisingly, I didn't expect to get any from SI on that score.

Lance Ketchum said...

So, those that denigrate labeling/categorizing then bitterly and angrily accuse certain segments of Baptist Fundamentalism of being bitter and angry.

Tyler Robbins said...

Lance:

I never said anybody was bitter or angry. Could you be more specific?