Bauder’s Report after speaking at Beason Divinity School on Biblical Separation
“Some Christians do believe the fundamentals, but they do not believe that acceptance of the
fundamentals should be made a test of Christianity or of Christian fellowship. Such people do not deny the
gospel. Indeed, they may even defend the truth of fundamental doctrines. In the nature of the case,
however, they demean the gospel. They remove the gospel from its position of definitive centrality for
Christian faith and fellowship. They knowingly seek to extend Christian fellowship and recognition to
A professing Christian who robs a liquor store or commits perjury will ruin a testimony. A Christian
leader who has an affair will ruin a ministry. But a Christian who knowingly extends recognition and
fellowship to an apostate imperils the gospel itself. Such a Christian is guilty of doctrinal indifference, of
spiritual apathy, of disobedience to Christ, and of grave unfaithfulness to the gospel.”
I don’t think that there is any better representation of my perspective on Fundamentalism than Bauder’s article A Fundamentalism Worth Saving. I include a summary but I would plead with you to read the article if you have never done so.
- A fundamentalism worth saving will be a fundamentalism that takes doctrine seriously.
- A fundamentalism worth saving will be a fundamentalism that takes the human condition seriously.
- A fundamentalism worth saving will also be a fundamentalism that takes learning seriously.
- Moreover, it will be a fundamentalism that takes meaning seriously.
- A fundamentalism that is not serious about meaning will not be serious about obedience. Neither will it be serious about the religious affections.
- The only way to be a historic, biblical fundamentalist is to be a cultural fundamentalist.
- A fundamentalism worth saving must be sober. And it is this: we must take piety seriously.
- It is our fundamental duty (and our delight) to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Everything else grows out of this.
- A fundamentalism worth saving will be a fundamentalism that takes separatism seriously.
- Fundamentalists have done separatism too badly too often. We have sometimes made it the excuse for political posturing and power grabbing. We have sometimes tolerated unchristian conduct and even error to our Right while excoriating the smallest deviations to our Left. These abuses have cast a pall of opprobrium over separatism. The young leaders who are training in our schools are aware of that opprobrium, and they are waiting for us to make the case for a legitimate separatism that that can be defended theologically and implemented deliberately.
I felt compelled today to review the biography of C.H. Spurgeon and was struck by the final lines of his final sermon preached at the Tabernacle June 7,1891:
“If you wear the livery of Christ, you will find Him so meek and lowly of heart that you will find rest unto your souls. He is the most magnanimous of captians. There never was His like among the choicest of princes. He is always to be found in the thickest part of the battle. When the wind blows cold He always takes the bleak side of the hill. The heaviest end of the cross lies ever on His shoulders. If He bides us carry a burden, He carries it also. If there is anything that is gracious, generous, kind, and tender, yea, lavish and superabundant in love, you always find it in Him. His service is life, peace, joy, Oh, that you would enter it at once! God help you to enlist under the banner of JESUS CHRIST!”
This man knew something of the weight of the cross. As one of God’s choice servants God called him to suffer physically and emotionally for the cause of Christ. Yet, as the end of his earthly ministry was approaching, what filled his heart was adoration of his Savior Jesus Christ. A true manifestation of God’s grace.
Presently, I am reading/rereading a book by Bryan Chapell titled Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon. The following is a brief extract that conveys my most heartfelt desire for my preaching and teaching:
In one of the key debates during the formulation of the Westminster Confession of Faith, one scholar spoke with great skill and persuasiveness for a position that would have mired the church in political debate for many years. As the man spoke, George Gillespie prepared a rebuttal in the same room. As they watched him write furiously on a tablet, all in the assembly knew the pressure on the young man to organize a response while the scholar delivered one telling argument after anohter. Yet when Gillespie rose, his words were filled with such power and scriptural persuasion that the haste of his preparation was not discernible. Gillespie’s message so impressed those assembled as the wisdom of God that the opposing scholar conceded that a lifetime of study and just been undone by the younger man’s presentation. When the matter was decided, the firends of Gillespie snatched from his desk the tablet on which he had so hastily collected his thoughts. They expected to find a brilliant summary of the words os masterfully just delivered. Instedad, they found only one phrase written over and over again: Da lucem, Domine (Give light, O Lord).
Over and over Gilespie had prayed for more light from God. Instead of the genius of his own thought, this valiant Reformer wanted more of the mind of God. His humble prayer for God to shed mroe light on the Word is the goal of vevery expositor. We pray that God will shed more light on his Word through us. We know that what we say must be biblically apparent, logically consistent, and unquestionably clear if we are to be the faithful guides God requires. It is not enough for our words to be true or our intentions to begood. To the extent that our words obscure his Word, we fail in our task. To the degree that our words illuminate the pages of Scripture, God answers our and our listeners’ prayers.