In a classic case of poisoning the well (a logical fallacy), Kevin Bauder concludes that "thoughtful fundamentalists" will be "OK" with Clarence Sexton preaching at their FBFI conference, because he's now got an acceptable KJO position. I'm not kidding: if you don't agree with Bauder, you are not a "thoughtful fundamentalist," which, of course, he is, along with anyone who agrees with him.
Bauder's view here represents an intellectual vacuum in fundamentalism. His kind of thoughtful reminds me of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 18, as he considered allying with Ahab. His father Asa had been in utter separation with the north, but the perceived benefits (18:2,3) of a northern alliance, perhaps lofty images of coalition grandeur, the man who reunited a divided kingdom, influenced his thoughts. I'm sure he was thinking, but his thinking was patently wrong. Bauder's is too.
Thoughtfulness for Bauder is looking at the wording of Clarence Sexton's school website for minutiae on the Crown College use of the King James. Like Ahab, Sexton knows how to tweak a statement in order to attain an alliance. But Bauder, like Jehoshaphat, can't see through it. He digs into butchered sheep and oxen served by Ahab and decides everything's OK now.
Bauder crawls over 1-2-3 pray with me, the false gospel, the silly carnival atmosphere, the irreverence, the superficial theology, Jack Schaap, hero worship, the lack of church discipline, rank pragmatism of the highest order, Jack Trieber, Tony Hudson, and all the rest of the fragmented and unrepentant remains of the Hyles coalition to find subtle wording in one version of a statement on the use of the King James. This is his "thoughtful fundamentalism."
Quite a few people would agree with Bauder. KJO is their major separating issue. With this criteria, Bauder concludes, Sexton OK, KJO bad. I was enlightened by Bauder's article, because I had never heard explained how that KJO had risen to the level of a false gospel. Now we can see it's worse than a false gospel, but I had never heard an explanation. From Bauder, we get one.
He says KJO is a serious error because it denigrates the Word of God by saying that other versions are not the Word of God. As I see it, many KJO, such as myself, believe (for the dreaded doctrinal reasons) that there is only one Bible, one set of Words, like Christians have believed for centuries. I wouldn't say about other versions, "This isn't the Word of God," because a biblical position is more sophisticated than that. In other words, those versions do contain the Word of God. However, words that contradict each another can't both be the Word of God. Only yellow is yellow. Red isn't yellow. Bauder, I guess, expects people to accept contradictory words. This should help you understand how messed up fundamentalism is. Unless you agree that red is yellow, you've reached a level of serious error.
Knowing what Bauder has said and written about separation in the past, his explanation in this post somehow means that KJO undermines the gospel. Now Sexton actually undermines the gospel by, well, encouraging a false gospel, but Sexton is now approved by Bauder solely because he's cleaned up his act enough on the King James. If you didn't think before that the King James wasn't the third rail of fundamentalist politics, you should now. This is not just unthoughtful. You're required to park your brain at the door. It's no wonder that men have complained that fundamentalism isn't very mental.
I don't care if fundamentalists separate from me because I believe in the perfect preservation of scripture. If they think that's false doctrine, they should separate. But fundamentalists don't separate from false doctrine. They're not even separating in this case over a false gospel, among many other good reasons to separate from Sexton.
Bauder's post doesn't surprise me about fundamentalism. I watched the online video introduction of Steve Pettit as the new president of Bob Jones University. Pettit has introduced many fundamentalists, bridged the gap, to Getty, Townend, and Kauflin. Pettit was there when Northland went where it did. He worked with Matt Olson for many years while Northland was tanking. What hope does anyone have that Bob Jones won't continue its slide? I write this, knowing it really is just shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. These are not institutions either in the Bible or that God has promised to preserve. They have zero biblical authority.
I was reading comments about the transition to Pettit, and one fundamentalist complained that he was one of those guys who believed women shouldn't wear pants. Not long after, someone produced a picture of a woman working with Pettit wearing blue jeans. Instant relief. All is well again among thoughtful fundamentalists. Pettit's women wear pants. Phew!
Perhaps here is a thoughtful question. What has Sexton done to merit an FBFI national conference speaker status? What does anyone do to get that slot in a national conference? Is it because he has been faithful to the Word of God? Is it because his church is a model of biblical obedience? Is he a model of biblical preaching? Bauder concludes by saying that a good reason to allow Sexton on your platform is to encourage him for having his feet pointed in the right direction on KJO.
Let's think through this in an attempt to be thoughtful. If someone is bound in horrible, deceiving, gospel undermining error and you think he might be changing, because he's tweaked one point in one of his doctrinal statements on one of his websites, you would do well to have him preach in a national meeting in order to encourage him to go further with these types of moves. Go straight to the national meeting with him. Dangle that carrot to make him move further. Is this a good motivation for change? Isn't this just politics? Isn't this really just more fundamentalism?