Saturday, May 20, 2006

A Confused Stand

I'm sure that I think that I mean this. I do. Am. Sure that is. About thinking. Meaning it. Well, I feel sorry for confused young fundamentalists. To start, they don't know who they are. What is a fundamentalist? Most of them can't figure it out. I have a hard time helping them. The early fundamentalists had a solid thing to stand against. They had to stop liberalism. But what about those who fellowshipped with liberals? But maybe the five fundamentals weren't enough. But we don't want it to be too much. And how exactly should we define these terms? What is inerrancy? What is Scripture?

What's the problem? They know they believe in unity. They also know they believe in separation. But they believe that the church is all believers. If it is all believers, then they have to unify with all believers. They have to be kind, and yet not put up with everything. They can't get along with everyone. So where do they take their stand?

I'm finding that it works sort of like this. And I mean sort of. They can't fellowship with Billy Graham---denial of literal hell, too much. They like Al Mohler, the Calvinistic voice of intelligence in the Southern Baptist Convention. He likes John MacArthur who is cool about exposition, which they like. They don't like Hyles. Oh no. And anyone like him. But Al Mohler fellowships with Billy Graham, and he is in the same convention as Rick Warren. But he isn't a Hyles guy, and that's good. Because the gospel is important. They want to be considered intelligent, intellectuals. That means new versions. All of them are done by people they don't fellowship with, but that's OK, because they found out that there are mistakes, not too many, in the text. But that's good, because it's reasonable. Anyone who says there isn't just doesn't get it. And they do. Multitude of the manuscripts. Perfect preservation. But not any Bible that anyone uses. But no one should worry. And they love evangelism and new converts can't read Elizabethan English. And Piper preaches with passion and wants unity and uses the ESV, easy to understand, but his music is the pits. They like his passion about worship, but not his worship, but they'll defend him until you say they really like him. You can't fellowship with David Cloud. Or anyone who wants to put culottes on every girl they can see. Because that's what those people want, and they hate legalism except with the ones who are legalistic, and for them they are legalistically unlegalistic. So they will fight against the KJVO and the 1-2-3s, and against anyone who says they fight too much, and their women don't wear pants, but they love Together for the Gospel, but not really. And Phil Johnson is the man. They love those guys, not enough for fellowship, but enough to show that they aren't like the old fundamentalists, even though they want to respect them. And they post. They blog. They sharpen. But don't like fighting. Like discussion. Agree to disagree. Except with certain ones. They don't drink but are fine with drinking, but not really, and even though you drink that's fine, but they don't like it. A fine cigar and a movie. Let's talk about it. They'll talk. Not going to commit. Not the theater, but the DVD, so since DVDs are the same, movies are OK. And are very cool with women. Speak up. But all for male authority. They are against the inclusive language version but for including women in the discussion because they're strong but sensitive or the other way around. Moused up hair good, pants hanging down bad, but daycare is good even though its bad. And they don't like the tone of the old fundamentalists, except for slacks, versions, and people who disagree with them.

Are you getting all this?


Anonymous said...

Well, I would commit to say yes or no. However I'm a bit committed to stay within the boundaries of scriptural doctrine and not follow man. But then I need to be more committed to learn the scriptures. It's pretty much a non-committal session. I would write more but I am committed to two churches today so I need to committ to preparing that direction. Being's much easier to do it myself and get going.
The answer? No, I have no idea what you are saying. Have a blessed Sunday.

Jerry Bouey said...

Crystal Clear as mud!!

I am not sure of all you are saying, but I can certainly identify with the frustration and the wishy-washiness of many. Better to stand solely on the Scriptures and with those who stand there likewise.

In reading your post - and looking at modern Christendom - one thing that always comes to mind is this verse:

Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Notice the difference in wording here as compared to the other six churches in chapters 2 and 3. The church of the Laodiceans, not the church in (or of) Laodicea. Laodicea means "the righteousness of the people." Generally-speaking, other church ages were marked by set standards, doctrines, practices, etc. There were distinctive marks to the true churches. Now in this age before Christ returns, there is a definite mark of theological pluralism - there is not even a lot of doctrinal and practical agreement among even the same kind of churches - for example, similarity between IFB churches.

Yes, I do believe in the autonomy of each local church - but in the past, Baptists stood for certain things historically and doctrinally - now it just seems as if anything goes. Sometimes everything goes! Sometimes the Bible goes... out the window...

Anonymous said...

I just don't get it.....

Jeff Voegtlin said...

Hey, you're right on with this one. And humorous too, except you're right, and that makes it sad.

Anonymous said...

What exactly is your point? I think this is the dumbest thing I have read this month.

Don Johnson said...

Hey, Kent,

You're too funny!!

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Joshua R said...

I must admit that was quite refreshing. You have just described me...I think?!?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks for your comments; I'll try to show good blog manners by commenting back. Or maybe I should just threaten to exclude you all unless I find out you don't believe and practice just like me. If you had a hard time catching what I was saying, then you caught what I was saying. I did leave a hint of the problem, if anyone thinks they can get it.

Lisa Z., I appreciate your incisive critique, and I will work on being second or third from the dumbest in the month, perhaps the millennium.

Thanks Jerry, and I know why I called you Joey before, because your last name rhymes with it, sort of. Distinctives, that's a good point. New Testament churches have Scriptural distinctives.

Thanks Titus, thanks Jeff Voetglin, thanks Don, thanks Joshua, thanks Donner, thanks Vixen.

And to all a good night.

Matthew Brasel said...

My mind dost followeth what thou sayest, brother. Thy post dost shew forth great intelligence amongst the posts I have bloggedth this montheth.

Great post and very true points that made perfect sense.

DaCatster said...

Get got and been spewing the same stuff your saying for the last few years on the net, even been banned of of forums because I refuse to compromise my standards and associate with people that do. But

I'm a women and what I say don't matter anyway, at least according to the new Fundies.(I would love to have the eye rolly smile about now)

Terry McGovern said...

Great Post! Very funny.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I will say first that you are a talented writer. Very talented in fact.

I also do not question your motives.

However, I do question the common fallacy in your profession that you have to know where you stand on everything. What is so wrong with the magic three words I DON'T KNOW?

If you have a strong opinion on everything, that just means that you are very wrong on a lot of things. Not to mention, probably pretty arrogant to boot.

Hey, I just figured it out. That is why approximately 99.37% of independent fundamental baptist pastors are perceived as arrogant.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks David. Love is not puffed up, arrogant, big headed. But I'm wondering then why my head says, inflate to 12 lbs. I don't know. No. I do know.

Michael McNeilly said...

Great post. In college studying who the fundamentalists were I am not so sure I align myself with them. IT seems that Baptist united with them to fight the cause of liberalism and they never separated back from them. Great post.

Mike Hess said...

We would have stayed in fundamentalism (as you know it) but it left us, but wait, they added to what it meant to be a fundamentalist - KJVO, culottes, fellowship, and music styles. Having been personally to a Piper conference I can honestly say that I love the worship there and found it to be very Christ-exalting. But wait! He's a Calvinist and actually proclaims a Gospel that is not based on "decisional regeneration" but proclaims a Gospel that is based on the orthodox belief that God is God and man is incapable.

One of the problems with fundamentalism today is no one is quite sure what makes one a fundamentalist. That is not due to the original intent of fundamentalism, rather, it is due to the movement being hijacked by the wackos who made Bible versions and dress standards the litmus of being a true fundamentalist.

Overall, I enjoyed the post!

Jay said...

Now if only I could identify myself as easily as you did, I think I might just be OK after all!

Seriously, I think that the 'new, young, fundamentalism' is, at best, an attempt by Christians - especially those of us who are young - to work out this passage:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."
-Philippians 2:11-13

paidagogos said...

Well said--kudos!

Even So... said...

Now that was funny, Kent.

Joel Tetreau said...


Very good my Philistine friend. You tagged us perfectly!

You da man! (a KJV man - but still - you da man!)- right along with Phil!


PS - I'm working on an apologetic of Type B fundamentalism (which you would include in the YF category) to help you work through "our issues." But I'm not going to try and give you any of that now - for the moment bask in the sun - this was a really fun read!

Prayerful ministry goes well for you.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I admit the sheer magnitude of the SI audience linking here resulted in this kind of traffic. But you are welcome back anytime to check out what else I have going on here. Just come out of sheer curiosity if for no other reason.

Joel, I think I'm AB positive. The Philistine hospitals aren't as well equipped.

David, I do know where I stand on most things, but I also recognize it can take some time.

Mike, I think I have some understanding of fundamentalism, and much about it I like, but no verse says anyone has to be in it, except, I think, in the background of a Van Gogh.

Hey again, even so. Thanks paidagogos. And Jay. And M. Lee. And Michael McNeilly. See i didn't ignore you. Hello Bro. McGovern, and Brasel. And the regulars.

Anonymous said...

Good description of the waffling today. Funny, but sad.

By the grace of God I am a New Testament Baptist. The term "fundamentalist" is too broad. God help us to get back to the Book.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I too am fine with Baptist. I would think we are about where each other is.

Ruth said...

"Much to do about nothing?" Didn't someone say that Pastor? While I have a great appreciation for all your writings..even the ones I don't understand..I do question IF you have a sense of humor? Now if I could I would put a smiley face about....ahhhh..HERE I suppose. Quite a blog; lots of things here and I see a lot of people are interested in making a "confused comment". I am curious to know if you have read or heard of a book called "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart D. Ehrman. His is described as being a "world class biblical scholar." I am neither author or scholar, but his description of how some words are changed from their original meaning in translation is a bit more than I can follow. But, then was this Blog.
Blessings from the Hill,

Anonymous said...

Amen. I know that we are "birds of a feather." Some would say we are birdbrains or loons.

By "us" I meant the "movement" (whatever that is) as a whole.

Keep on the firing line!

Dave Mallinak said...

Speaking of movements, I feel a need to move on. Not move on from New Testament Baptists. I'm glad to be that. I'm glad I don't have to be a fundamentalist. But I am. But not like them. But I need to move on. Have work to do. Melons to thump. You should write for Sharper Irony. Oh wait, you do, don't you. And good job. Feel free.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ehrman has written a previous book about the translation of early scriptural manuscripts from the Greek and/ or Hebrew I don't recall. I am sure some things might have changed in the translation but I am just as sure the original meaning is the same. If you stay with the word; in the word and live the cannot possibly be a "misquote"..But, I do think Pastor B is the authority on "Perfect Preservation". What do you think Pastor. And BTW..what is the movement??

Anonymous said...

that last paragraph was a doozy...hello hard return!

Anonymous said...

I think the key issue is: be able to back up what you believe with the Bible. Give someone a good reason to believe it, not just cuz the church teaches it, but God's Word.

Anonymous said...

I think one of the pitfalls of this new phenomenon called blogging is the "need" to have something to say, and to participate in sharing our thoughts on this and that to the whole world. The danger in all this is that people can tend to blog things without thinking carefully through on a given topic. So their opinion just gets thrown into this massive and growing pile of ideas. Half these ideas are actually sound, and half are just "shoot from the hip" contributions to a subject. I think as Christians, we need to walk carefully in this process, and not just throw our $.02 out there without first pausing to consider what we're saying and how it will be ingested.
"If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God."