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Posts Tagged ‘Fundamentalism

Oh Bother!

There is a medium sized KJV only Baptist church not too far from my home.  I enjoy visiting the church from time to time.  I have even considered attending there though there are several things that keep me from attending (and one will surprise you).  First, the church is KJV only.  I am not.  Far from it.  Secondly, the church is very premillennial, pre tribulation.  I am not.  Thirdly, the church is anti-Calvinistic.  I am not.  While I am not a Calvinist, I don’t teach that Calvinism is a heresy or that Calvinists are worshiping a false God.  That may surprise some folks.

That said, the church is a joy to me.  The preacher preaches the Word of God (albeit from the KJV Bible) and he is not ashamed to preach hard against sin.  The church does many out reaches to prisons, schools, etc. including street preaching.  They even have a men’s class devoted to theology on Saturday evenings and then they take the men to the streets to share the gospel.  The preacher strongly preaches that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) and he preaches hard against works to save us (John 6:29).  I rejoice in that.  While the gospel presentation is not always to my liking (they often do the sinner’s prayer for salvation), they do preach against sin and preach repentance including the Lordship of Christ (which is debated in KJV only churches often times).

I visited there tonight and listened to an evangelist teach on Noah’s ark.  It was good.  Not earth shaking.  Not too technical but on an average Christian level, it was informative.  The brother was an older brother (71) and said he had a Ph.D.  He clearly taught a young earth creationist view which is my own as well.  Along the way in his teaching he made two remarks about the KJV being the only Bible and he said that Noah’s ark would be discovered by the act of God during the tribulation period to awaken the Jews to the truth of the Bible and point them to Jesus as the Messiah.  He did say that was his opinion but he preached it as gospel.  Again, his presentation was good.  I appreciated him much.  I wish more churches would tackled the issues of the flood, evolution, etc.  We need to know that Genesis is true.

At the end, I approached the brother to ask three questions about his presentation.  He answered them all but he made another comment about the KJV Bible being the only Bible and how he couldn’t recommend Answers in Genesis because of this issue.  I told him I disagreed with that view.  He looked at me like I had grown another head.  He begin to ask me why I denied the Bible?  I told him I didn’t come to debate him and as a visitor, I wanted to respect him.  He continued to ask me questions so basically the following conversation happened like this:

Me:  So which Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God?

Evangelist:  The 1611 is.

Me:  Do you use the 1611 edition?

E:  No.  I can’t read the old English.

Me:  So you use the 1769 edition?

E:  Well yes.

Me:  And why is the 1769 edition the Word of God compared to the 1611?

E:  They are the same.

Me:  If that is true why not use the 1611?

E:  The English is different but the Bible remains the same.

Me:  Which edition of the KJV is the Word of God?

E:  Mine is.

Me:  On what basis?  How do you know your Bible is the Word of God?

E:  Why do you want to cast doubt on the Word of God?

Me:  I’m not but if the KJV is the Word of God then which edition is the Word of God and who now publishes the inerrant and infallible Word of God?

E:  My KJV Bible is the Word of God.  Period.  As long as it is a KJV it is the same and is the Word of God.

Me:  Not true.  The Cambridge edition differs from the Oxford and the Oxford differs from the Trinitarian Bible Society and the TBS differs from the Zondervan.  They all differ.  So again, who is right and by what authority do you determine who is right?

E:  This is pointless.  I will not listen to you cast doubts on the Word of God.  You need to lay aside these arguments and do the work of the Kingdom.

The conversation ended with him doubting my salvation.  I told him that we are not saved by faith in a Bible translation but faith in Christ.  We also disagreed over the deity of Christ in the modern translations as I told him that the ESV was stronger on the deity of Jesus than the KJV.  He disagreed but had no answer.  I pointed him to one passage such as Romans 9:5 and told him to compare the modern “corrupt” translations with the KJV.  The ESV is stronger both there and in many other New Testament texts on the deity of Christ.

I admit that I was shaken leaving and so was he.  I didn’t mean to disrespect him.  The pastor of this church knows where I stand on this issue.  He knows that I don’t hold the KJV to be the only Bible to be used today.  I respect the KJV and praise God for the truth of the gospel found there.  I don’t deny that God used the KJV powerfully for His glory.  That said, I am not KJV only.  I love the KJV but I don’t hold that the KJV is the only Bible in the English speaking language.  That is a ridiculous claim.

Sadly, many will hear this brother teach on Genesis and tear him apart not because of his views on science or creationism but because he is dogmatic on the KJV Bible.

In closing, I highly recommend people to read Dr. James White’s book The King James Only Controversy for more information.  We can trust the modern translations.  While some are better than others, we can trust that God has preserved His Word.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/17/2016 at 9:52 PM

Short Thoughts on Independent, Fundamentalist Baptists (IFB)

In many ways I would describe myself as a fundamentalist if by that definition you mean that I stand for the essential doctrines of the faith such as the doctrine of the Trinity, the virgin birth of Christ, His sinless life, His vicarious atonement, His bodily resurrection.  I believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible, in justification by faith, and in the second coming of Christ.  I would gladly stand with anyone who teaches these truths including my many Calvinist brethren.  In this way, I am a fundamentalist and I am willing to fight for the truths of Scripture.  I don’t believe the modern evangelical approach to trying to stay in the middle on all issues is helpful.  We should stand for the Word of God and be willing to defend the essential doctrines of the faith (Jude 3).  Titus 1:9 says, “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able to both exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (NASB).  This would be true of all true disciples of Jesus who love His Word and fear Him.

I also believe in biblical separation.  I believe that, at times, we can separate and should separate from those who deny the essentials of the faith (2 John 8-11) or who cause divisions (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15).  I would not, for example, serve in a ministry with Roman Catholics or with cultists.  I would not serve with Word-Faith teachers.  I believe there is a place for separating from those who do not hold to sound doctrine or who serve openly with false teachers.

That said, many IFB people go too far in my estimation with regard to separation.  They separate for ridiculous reasons such as the use of a Bible translation other than the KJV.  Before his fall into sin, Jack Schaap was being attacked by his own IFB folks for making a few comments about how he believed the KJV was not a perfect translation (or something to that effect).  In fact, when Schaap fell into sin, some IFB folks claimed it was the judgment of God for his denying the KJV as the inerrant Word of God (and it alone!).  The IFB is splintered with groups over here who will not associate with groups over there because they associated with this man over here.

This is how IFB separation works.  Let’s take Mr. Smith.  Mr. Smith is pastor of Calvary Baptist, an IFB church.  He is disassociated by other IFB churches because he is friends with an evangelist named Mr. Tucker who once visited Dr. Albert Mohler in Louisville who once spoke at a Billy Graham Crusade and as everyone knows, Mr. Graham allows Catholics to attend his meetings.  Therefore, since Mr. Smith is friends with Mr. Tucker who is friends with Mr. Mohler who is friends with Mr. Graham, we must separate from this dangerous man.  And if you attend Mr. Smith’s church, you are a neo-evangelical as well and to be cut off from your IFB brethren.

Do you see how ludicrous such separation is?  My wife and I have tried to be friends with an IFB pastor and his wife here in our town.  They are always nice to us and since I am a fundamentalist at heart, I enjoy, at times, visiting their church.  Yet this pastor wants little to do with me.  I believe the large part is that I am not an IFB member, do not hold to the KJV only position and even oppose it, and I attend an openly charismatic church.  This requires separation.

Frankly, I would love to see a reformation movement started where the core doctrines of the faith are held in high esteem, where we abandon the fads of the evangelical movement, and where we preach and defend the truths of Scripture with passion.  There is a place for separation especially from the world (1 John 2:15-17).  Yet the IFB goes too far in their separation thinking.  There are hopeful signs. Just last week I visited Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC and was blessed to see their wide range of books in their bookstore from Puritans to a few Arminians to shelves of ESV, NASB, and NKJV Bibles.  Their doctrinal books were wonderful!  So there is hope and I praise God for that.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/25/2013 at 11:52 AM

My Prediction for the Church and the Culture Wars

I am no prophet nor do I claim to be a son of a prophet.  I am simply looking at what I see in the Church landscape and where our culture is heading here in the United States.  I want to offer four predictions I believe you will see from the Church here in the US over the next few years.  What got me thinking about this was the issue with the Boys Scouts of America (BSA) and the issue of homosexuality.  SBC Voices has a piece today by Alan Cross on the issue and he makes some great points about the Boy Scouts and the issue of what it means to be morally straight.  His piece is well worth reading and you can find it here.  Dr. Mohler’s insights are good as well.

I believe the Church of Jesus Christ must stand for truth no matter what may come.  We must resist the urge to preach a watered down message that avoids confronting people about their sins.  Sadly, I see this narcissistic message already at work and the Church is losing her will to fight nor even to preach sound doctrine.  Entertainment now dominates the Church.  Happiness now is the focus.  Rather than having an eternal, kingdom focus, the Church is focused on the “here and now.”  The seeker church continues to wrap its tentacles around the Church as methodology now is the focal point above theology.  I believe this is going to have wretched consequences as the Church will raise up a new breed of converts who embrace the culture with all its sins.  There will be no repentance preached other than to repent of your bad feelings toward yourself.  God will be viewed much as He now is by the liberals, a God who always loves and always forgives without any wrath toward sin nor even a focus upon His glory.  The Lord Jesus Christ will become the champion of civil rights as He will be created (yet again) in our own images with our own culture in mind.

So here are my four predictions based on where I see the culture heading.

1.  The Liberal Church.

The liberal church will actually see some growth.  They have been losing numbers over the past 100 years as their purpose was gone after they abandoned historic Christian doctrines and embraced a social gospel that had no power from God.  Their inability to see people truly saved led to their own demise.  Yet I believe the liberal church will gain a new crowd as people in the evangelical church will leave to find new homes where sins such as homosexuality are embraced openly.  Further, the liberals will fight for the civil rights of all no matter the issue.  The social gospel will play right into the culture and the mindset of many people here in the West.

2.  The Evangelical Church Will Largely Embrace the Culture.

I look for many evangelicals to embrace the culture.  As I stated above, the seeker church has led to a low view of doctrine where few people even know what they believe nor how to defend their faith in Christ (1 Peter 3:15-16).  The seeker church has led to low view of holiness where sin is not only not preached against  but in some cases embraced as a normal way of life.  The seeker church has made preaching focused on “us” instead of God.  Rather than exalting the glory of God, preaching the doctrines about God, focusing everyone upon God, making God the One who is worthy of all praise, etc. the seeker model is all about us, mankind, humans, our glory, our ability, our passions, our goals, our lives.  This means that seeker “Christians” are very shallow, know little to no doctrines of the Bible, have little discipline, and their view of sharing their faith is to invite people to their hip churches.  They will not be able to resist the culture and the entire seeker church will embrace the culture.  Without the Word of God, they cannot fight (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12-13).  They will become Nicolatians (Revelation 2:14-15).

3.  The Fundamentalist Churches Will Continue The Same Path.

The Fundamentalist movement grew out of the early 20th century and the battle with modernity.  Their reaction was to retreat and be among themselves.  This separation ideal has continued among the fundamentalist to this day.  I would regard myself very much a fundamentalist if you mean doctrine but not in their view of separation.  Many of them have now gone to various levels of separation.  For example, Brother Smith will not worship with Brother Tanner because Brother Tanner once had a guy in his church named Brother Daniels who once preached at a conference where another speaker there was friends with a Roman Catholic.  Do you see how deep that separation goes?

I believe the IFB churches will just continue as they are.  They will continue to preach against sin and against the culture.  The problem with many of their preachings on sin is that their ideas of sin are such things as the length of a man’s hair, whether you have tattoos or not, whether a woman should wear a dress or work outside of the home, all music but Southern gospel music is a sin, etc.  We must be careful to preach sin as God has revealed it in Scripture and not based on our views of separation from the world.  Sin is a violation of God’s Law (1 John 3:4).  Many times in the IFB churches, sin is what they deem as sin and not so much what God says is sin.  They violate Romans 14 in this regard.  Some IFB churches I know are very legalistic.  I know of one IFB man who makes the issue of the King James Version an issue of salvation since he holds that Revelation 22:18-19 applies to Bible translations and only, in his view, the KJV preserves the words of God.  While this view is not true of all IFB churches, it does reflect many in their thinking and they will simply avoid the culture altogether.

4.  The Biblical Response from the Church.

I pray that many will be here though I fear most will be with #2.  The Church must stand for the truth of God as I stated at the outset.  This means we must A) know what we believe in regard to orthodox faith (1 Timothy 4:16; Titus 2:1) and B) we must remain faithful to Christ despite the culture around us embracing sin (John 8:31-38; 15:1-11).  The Church must continue to focus upon the glory of God and preach the utter sinfulness of mankind.  We will be persecuted for our stand against the culture (Matthew 5:10-12) but our response should not be anger but loving our enemies and doing good to those who seek to hurt us (Matthew 5:13-16, 38-48; Romans 12:19-21).  Paul tells us how to respond to a pagan culture in Titus 3:1-7.  We must remember that the world is full of the devil and these are his children (Ephesians 2:1-3).  Our duty is to live for Christ among the pagans and to preach Christ among the pagans (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15).  The Spirit of God will set people free and He will open their eyes to their sins and He will regenerate people for the glory of God (John 3:1-7; 6:44-45).  Our focus both now and forevermore should be upon the glory of Christ and His kingdom to come (Matthew 6:9-10).  We must remain faithful to the Word of God (Luke 11:28; Acts 14:22-23).  The culture will mock us but we must stand firm (Romans 1:29-32).  We must be like Lot (2 Peter 2:6-10).  We must be a holy people (1 Peter 1:15-16).  We must be an evangelistic people who preach Christ without fear.

Conclusion

I would add that I wanted to add another point and that being the cults.  Most of the cults will see a growth as they will take parts of the culture and parts of Christianity and try to unite them.  Some cults will grow, however, because they will be like the IFB above and seek to go outside of culture to live their faiths.  We must resist running away from culture while preaching the gospel to the culture and not embracing it.  The world needs the gospel as the gospel alone will set sinners free from sin and the grasp of the devil (Romans 1:16; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8).  The gospel can transform our culture (2 Corinthians 5:17) like nothing else for the gospel alone is the truth of God (John 14:6; 17:17).

May we preach Christ and exalt Him!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/31/2013 at 10:16 AM

Recognizing More and More Where I Belong

A few months ago I posted a couple of posts about fundamentalism and why I could and could not a part of them.  I mentioned that I use to visit (though never joined or attended on a full time basis) a large fundamentalist church.  I enjoyed the church for a few reasons.  They had good music and they preached hard the Word of God.  I didn’t agree with them on every issue such as the King James Version only issue nor did I hold to eternal security and I am not semi-Pelagian in my evangelism.  I don’t beg people to get saved and play, “Just As I Am” fifteen more times hoping that one soul will decide to repent.

Yet I am finding in my talks with people in the evangelical world that I am not part of them either.  I have posted before about how I don’t view myself as part of the evangelical church though I would agree with evangelical doctrines much of the time.  I simply think that the term “evangelical” has become so broad now that it is nearly everyone from Rob Bell on up claims to be evangelical.  It is a popular term.  I prefer the term “disciple” to describe myself (Matthew 28:19; Acts 11:26).

What amazes me is that within evangelicalism is a broad spectrum from conservatives such as Dr. Al Mohler to liberals such as Brian McLaren.  In between we have people such as John Piper and John MacArthur to Rachel Evans and Tony Jones.  On one side are evangelicals who hold to inerrancy while on the other side we have people who reject inerrancy.  We have people who believe Genesis 1-11 is to be read as literal history and we have people who claim that Genesis 1-11 is poetry and should be read as such.  On the one hand we have people who claim that Jesus is the only way to God and that no one can be saved apart from personal faith in Him and the gospel all the way to Rob Bell who believes that all will be saved either in this life or the next because of the great love of God.  I even received an e-mail from a Bible college student saying that he knows many students in Bible college who say that we can’t even know that there is even a God or not but they claim to be evangelicals.

This is why more and more I am finding that I am leaning toward the fundamentalist movement.  I admit that I will never fully become a fundamentalist in the full term because I think the KJV-only teaching is wrong and lacks clear, logical thinking on the issue.  I reject their semi-Pelagian and sometimes Moral Governmental views.  I reject their teaching of eternal security.  I reject their emphasis on the clergy/laity system.

But theologically I could claim to be a fundamentalist.  I believe the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  I believe in the doctrine of the Trinity.  I believe in the sovereignty of God in both His creation and in salvation.  I believe that the gospel is necessary for eternal life.  I believe in the penal substitutionary work of Christ on the cross.  I believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ to this planet in His perfect timing.

If all of this (and more) means that I am a fundamentalist then so be it.  I accept the term.  I have been called many things by so called believers.  Three times I have been accused of “loving the Bible too much.”  I have been called “narrow minded” by people in the church.  I have been attacked for teaching that Jesus is the only way to God and that anyone not in Him is lost.  I have been attacked for teaching that every miracle in the Bible is true and happened in time.  I once was even accused of praying too much.

But I admit that I would rather go forth and preach the gospel with a bunch of KJV-only folks than with dead liberalism.  I want to see Jesus exalted.  I want to see His gospel preached.  I want to see souls saved.  I want to see people living in the security and peace that comes from being close to the Father through the Son.  I want to see the Church arise in power and take the gospel to the hurting, the dying, and the lost.  God has promised that if we proclaim His Word, He will come in power (Hebrews 2:4).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/21/2011 at 11:50 PM

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