Sunday, November 28, 2021

Yes and Then No, the Bible with Mark Ward (part one)

My last post of last week, the shell game with Bible words, if you followed the links, referred to a session Mark Ward did at Bob Jones Seminary, where he did refer to Thomas Ross and myself.  Someone sent that to me, and in my path to watching it, I became curious in another of his videos.  I'll deal with both here.  One I essentially agreed with, and the other, no.


Chronologically, Mark Ward first made a podcast from his greenhouse about attending an IFB meeting close to where he lived.  An IFB pastor invited him because R. B. Ouellette was going to preach on the King James issue.  He didn't say which church this was.  It was surely revivalist in the Hyles/Sword realm.  Ward started out ready to deal with KJVOnlyism, but it turned into something else.  Here's the podcast.

Ward traveled to a special meeting at a revivalist IFB church to interact with KJVO.  Based upon a heads-up from its pastor, he expected something promoting KJVO.  Ward reported much he liked about the service all the way up to the Ouellette sermon.  Ouellette opened to Job 31:35-36 to defend KJVO.  A plain reading of Job 31 does not appear to do that.

Ward and Ouellette both graduated from Bob Jones University.  In his criticism, Ward distinguished between using the Bible for what a man wants to say and preaching what the Bible does say.  By his account, Ouellette did the former.  He was not a herald, who delivers the Word of the King.  Ward titled his podcast, "The Biggest Step the IFB Needs to Take."  He treats IFB with generosity, more than what I would.   Instead of the KJVO issue, he found a "preaching" one instead.


Bad Preaching

I wrote, "Yes," in this title.  I agree with the criticism of this typical, popular IFB preaching.  If IFB apparently cares for the perfection of its Bible, then preach the Bible.  Its leaders very often preach like Ward described.  He reported loud "Amens" shouted all around, which supported a message that twisted the Word of God.  Ward exposed a reason for someone to separate from IFB churches and men.  I say "Yes" to Ward.  I agree with him.

What causes a man to preach like Ouellette?  It's not that he is unable to preach the Bible.  Why would he settle for something entirely not what the passage says?  Underlying doctrinal problems exist especially regarding the Holy Spirit.  Keswick theology, second blessing theology, or revivalism, all similar error but with a nuance of difference, affect preaching.

Many IFB believe the preacher becomes a vessel for a message from the Holy Spirit.  They believe that through the Holy Spirit God gives the preacher something others can't even see in a text.  This is called "preaching."  God uses "preaching," but by that they don't mean the Bible.  The Bible is used, but the preaching is something unique.  They trust the man of God has been given something they haven't ever seen and can't see.

However, I dispute preaching as the biggest step for IFB. It isn't the "I" (independent) or the "B" (Baptist) in IFB that's the problem.  "F" for Fundamentalism is at the root of the problem.  Actual preaching of the Bible isn't a fundamental of fundamentalism.  In general, IFB does not confront bad preaching.  It allows it and even encourages it.  If someone spiritualizes or allegorizes a passage and reads something into a text, it doesn't bring condemnation.  However, the biggest step for fundamentalism isn't its preaching.

False Gospel

Fundamentalism is rife with a corrupted gospel.  Ward commended the evangelism of IFB.  What is the evangelism of IFB?  Look all over the internet at the gospel presentations.  Most IFB removes biblical repentance and the Lordship of Christ.  Let's say Ouellette rejected KJVO and started using the ESV, or even just the NKJV.  Would he become acceptable to Ward, reaching his primary goal?  Ouellette argues against repentance as necessary for salvation (I write herehere, and here).  When you read doctrinal statements and the plans of salvation of those churches most associated with Ouellette, they're the same.

A few years ago, James White participated in an interview with Steven Anderson.  In White's many criticisms of Anderson, he never mentions his false gospel.  Anderson hosts an anti-repentance website.  Anderson is worse than Ouellette, but both fall short of a biblical gospel.  As White ignores Anderson's gospel, Ward does Ouellette's.  This diverges from the often stated emphasis of evangelicals, the gospel of first importance.  The version issue stokes greater heat than the gospel does.

Some IFB churches preach a true gospel even as some preach biblical sermons.  Yet, a false gospel subverts IFB unrelated to the version of the Bible it uses.  Years ago IFB allowed and even promoted the introduction and then acceptance of a false doctrine of salvation.  I am happy Ward noticed the bad preaching Ouellette, but his focus harms his ability to see the biggest IFB problem.  Ward doesn't mention the wrong gospel.

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