Me with my lovely wife, Kathy:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Some Further Thoughts on Fundamentalists and Evangelicals:

In a recent post I referred to a series of articles by Kevin Bauder. My knowledge of Dr. Bauder is limited. He is the president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Minneapolis. He is a self-described Fundamentalist. A friend of mine who moves in those circles indicated as much. Reading the articles I am referring to will confirm this. I make this point, because what he has to say is much more significant because of who he is.
While Dr. Bauder espouses historic Fundamentalism, he levels some much needed criticism at some of the misdirected rancor, and foolish distinctions within the movement. I thank him for writing about a subject that needs to be carefully and bravely explored--. My previous post gives some of my thoughts on the matter. Though I applaud the gist of Dr. Bauder’s series and appreciate the courage that it took for a person in his position to write this series, I do have some problems with some of his thoughts. Apparently Dr. Bauder doesn’t even entirely agree with himself. If I understand his most recent post in the series, it is a rebuttal of the post prior. I guess arguing with one’s self is a sure way of assuring that you have a worthy opponent.
My intention had been to write somewhat of a critique of Bauder’s series. I have since given up that idea. I encourage others to read the series. Perhaps this blog can be the venue for a conversation about the ideas the series raises.
Here is one thought, another seasoned servant who observed the same problem but proposes a slightly different corrective:
A fellow pastor who has also raised this issue is Charles Wood (Woodchuck). He sends out a daily email, The Woodchuck’s Den, with content of interest to guys like me. For decades Pastor Wood identified himself as a Fundamentalist. He is a Graduate of Bob Jones University and he pastored churches aligned with Fundamentalism. In a recent email Wood identified himself as follows, “I consider myself a conservative evangelical, with that position delineated by the wall of Biblical inerrancy and authority.” This is not the first time Wood has used this description. In previous emails he has articulated an observation that I have made as well. Those who call themselves Fundamentalists but who live close to the boundary that separates them from the Evangelicals near the line on the other side have much more in common with their near neighbors on the other side than they do with many who also identify themselves as Fundamentalists. The same can be said from the other side. Like Wood, I frequently use the Conservative Evangelical nomenclature.
I hope I am not misrepresenting my cyber-friend, Pastor Wood, but I think he proposes forming a new group out of the Fundamentalists and Evangelicals who live close to the border. In my thinking I have already done that. Bauder wants to maintain the distinction. He sees the differences as important enough to do so. But he very much wants us to ratchet down the name-calling. He praises the Conservative Evangelicals for their defense of sound doctrine in recent decades. He speaks with approval of some within his own camp who have reached out to Conservative Evangelicals in constructive ways. “They are aware that historic, mainstream Fundamentalism has more in common with conservative evangelicals than it does with many who wear the Fundamentalist label.”
I sincerely hope that others will add their voices to these men’s. These posts on this blog represent my attempt.

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