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THE FUNDAMENTALIST & BIBLICAL SEPARATION

David C. Bennett, D. Min.

 

Being a fundamentalist and a separatist has historically gone hand in hand. Nevertheless, for some younger preachers of today there is no doctrine of the Christian faith that has alienated so many than this doctrine of ecclesiastical separation. Why is this? As one young pastor said My generation didnt go through the Fundamentalist-modernist battle; the fight over the RSV; the Billy Graham issue, etc.[1]

With that young pastors statement in mind we ought to consider firstly, what a Christian fundamentalist is? Professor David Beale wrote Ideally, a Christian Fundamentalist is one who desires to reach out in love and compassion to people, he believes and defends the whole Bible as the absolute, inerrant and authoritative Word of God, and stands committed to the doctrine and practice of holiness. It is not even a mere literal exposition of the Bible. The essence of Fundamentalism goes much deeper than that. It is the unqualified acceptance of and obedience to the Scriptures.[2]

The second thing to bear in mind is; what comprises Biblical separation for a fundamentalist? Dr. H. T. Spence says that Biblical separation contains …two sides: the horizontal, which separates us by the grace of God from sin, error, and compromise; and the vertical, which separates us in the grace of God unto purity, unity, and Christ.[3] If the separation from does not draw us in closer walk with the Lord it is not Biblical separation.

In the 1930 and 40s the battles, of J. Frank Norris, Robert Ketcham and other fighting fundamentalists, were perhaps more evident for the clash was against those who openly proclaimed out and out unbelief and theological liberalism.

Then in the late 1940s a theological name change was made when NEW EVANGELICALISM was coined. This name change was born in 1948 at the convocation message delivered by Harold Ockenga in the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. In that message, which was referenced in the forward to Harold Lindsell's book, The Battle for the Bible, published in 1976, he said the following. Neo-evangelicalism (Neo used interchangeably with New)...While affirming the theological view of fundamentalism, this address repudiated it's ecclesiology and its social theory. The ringing call for a repudiation of separatism and the summons to social involvement received a hearty response from many evangelicals...It differed from fundamentalism in its repudiation of separatism and its determination to engage itself in the theological dialogue of the day. It had a new emphasis upon the application of the gospel to the sociological, political and economic areas of life (Emphasis in the original).[4] Rather than separation, an alliance between liberals and new evangelicals would continue.    

Again it must be stated that the fighting fundamentalists such as J. Frank Norris, Bob Ketcham, W. B. Riley and others knew only too well who the opponent was. The adversary held the leadership positions of many churches, denominational organizations and schools. These liberals were very obvious for in their teaching and preaching they openly denied almost, if not every, cardinal doctrine of the faith. Separation was not a choice but a necessity if one was going to be obedient to the Scriptures.

The term separation can admittedly come across harsh, uncaring, unloving etc. etc. For example Websters 1828 Dictionary defines separation thusly as the act of, severing or disconnecting; disjunction; as the separation of the soul from the body. 2. The state of being separate; disunion; disconection. 3. The operation of disuniting. These definitions set forth by Webster certainly fits the Biblical act of separation.

Undoubtedly one must be careful that their attitude is right toward others and there is not an attitude of superiority but rather an attitude of humility. Of course the personification of humility is the Lord Jesus Christ whom the fundamentalist should be following ever so closely. We read in Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. The Greek word for humbled here is tap-i-no'-o of which Strongs says some of the meanings are to lower, depress, of one's soul bring down one's pride, to have a modest opinion of one's self, to behave in an unassuming manner, devoid of all haughtiness. This certainly describes the Lord Jesus and may it describe those who seek to hold to and practice Biblical separation!

Take a moment and think about it. The separatist position comes from the Bible, the Word of God itself! In the very first Book separation is seen through Gods division of the light from the darkness Genesis 1:4. This separation of light from darkness reminds us of God Himself given in 1John 1: 5 7 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

On the second day God divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament Genesis 1: 7. Again division was necessary. On the third day the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind Genesis 1: 11.  There was the separation of the various kinds of seeds. The term after his kind is important for as the late Dr. Henry Morris wrote The seed which God designed guaranteed reproduction of each plant after his kind. This phrase, repeated nine more times in Genesis 1 after this first occurrence, obviously precludes transmutation of one kind into another. The seed was programmed for stable reproduction of each kind, through a remarkable system known today as the genetic code, the complex information program in the DNA molecule. This system allows wide horizontal variation within the kind, but no vertical evolution from one kind into a more complex kind.[5] As the Lord Jesus said Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit Matthew 7:17.  Every seed produces fruit after its kind.

In Deuteronomy 22: 9 God said Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled. Peter picks up the importance of the seed in 1Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. Mixing the seed will produce unacceptable fruit and mixing spiritual truth and error produces unacceptable or bad fruit as well.   

Following the teaching against mixing diverse seed the Lord then said Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together Deuteronomy 22:10. God follows this Old Testament teaching in 2Corinthians 6:14 -17 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. The fundamentalist HAD to separate not only from the liberal BUT from the new evangelical as they continued to hold hands with the unbelievers and infidels.

As God spoke to the individual heart of such men as Bob Ketcham, J. Frank Norris and others …each realized there were others of the same mind and heart as theirs. The root of their spiritual legacy was the preservation of the fundamentals of the Faith. Such a heart demanded a separation from the liberalism, modernism, and worldliness that had permanently polluted their places of worship and learning. A corporate organism was born; a movement arose across America during the latter part of the nineteenth century and flourished during the first four decades of the twentieth century.

In every Biblical movement there is always the inevitable tendency for a variety of factions to eventually emerge. There is the faction of the mixed multitude that attaches itself to the movement. There are also the individuals who personally leave the movement's legacy. And then there are those who make shipwreck their Faith and thus begin to redesign the movement in accordance to their heart's change. When this trinity of factions surfaces, and begins to erode the heart of the Fundamentalist movement, the term Fundamentalist changes in definition. The fundamentals no longer make the Fundamentalist, the organism becomes an organization, and the Fundamentalist becomes Fundamentalism. Thus the organization becomes more important than the fundamentals themselves. When such a transition is made, purity of practice is lessened in importance. The movement itself becomes a system of greater importance than its original heart. It affects everything: the personal life, the music, education, and the lifestyle in standards of dress and living. The reality of such a transition to take place in Fundamentalism destroys the heart of holiness, which is separation; and results in both the heart and the movement being redefined.

Is Fundamentalism coming to another hour of this concern in its history? Are we to see another change to rise within the camp? (Emphasis added)[6]

There is a movement among some of todays fundamentalists who are mixing the seed of fundamentalism and evangelicalism.  They (we will continue to call them fundamentalists) believe there is to be separation from the unbeliever and new evangelical of course, BUT, according to Central Seminarys Kevin Bauder and some of his brethren, they believe the doctrine of ecclesiastical separation does not apply when it comes to the conservative evangelical[7]. This designation conservative evangelical encompasses a wide spectrum of organizations and preachers.

Surprisingly or not surprisingly a google search led to a blog entitled Is This A Conservative Evangelical Blog?[8] In this blog the blogger says that For most of my life, the words I have used most to describe my set of beliefs have been Charismatic and Evangelical. This man then seeks a definition for what he truly is and writes The only other term I can come up with is Conservative Evangelical. He goes on to say that as the bridges have been built (Emphasis added), and the neoliberal assaults have unfolded, I do think that bible-believing people from many different backgrounds have been finding that we have more in common with each other than we previously realised. The internet and conferences such as Together For The Gospel, The Gospel Coalition, and New Word Alive have all been a major force for that discovery.  So here we have a charismatic evangelical. 

On the same blog a book written by this blogger has the recommendation of Southern Baptist Al Mohler, who Bauder considers a conservative evangelical. Bridges have and are being built and it is worth noting that what brings these conservative evangelicals together is; the GOSPEL! Just as the emphasis on missions, which is the taking of the gospel to others, brought the World Council of Churches into being so these organizations such as Together For The Gospel have been birthed under the banner of THE GOSPEL!

This is not a pick on Kevin Bauder paper but what he writes openly about, he must want people to read and therefore comments and judgments will be made. So therefore, to continue, Bauder says these Conservative evangelicals are different from Fundamentalists, but they are not new evangelicals. New evangelicals were committed to a policy of re-infiltrating ecclesiastical organizations that had been captured by apostates. They wanted to live in peaceful coexistence with apostasy. They were willing to recognize certain apostates as fellow-Christians and to cooperate with them in the Lords work. These are attitudes that conservative evangelicals explicitly reject.[9] IS THAT SO?!

Who are some of these that Dr. Bauder considers conservative evangelicals and not new evangelicals? Conservative evangelicalism encompasses a diverse spectrum of Christian leaders. Representatives include John Piper, Mark Dever, John MacArthur, Charles Ryrie, Bruce Ware, Bryan Chapell, Wayne Grudem, D. A. Carson, Al Mohler, Tim Keller, John D. Hannah, Ed Welch, Ligon Duncan, Tom Nettles, C. J. Mahaney, Norman Geisler, and R. C. Sproul. Conservative evangelical organizations include Together for the Gospel (T4G), the Gospel Coalition, the Masters Seminary, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (at least in its better moments), and Ligonier Ministries. These individuals and organizations exhibit a remarkable range of differences, but they can be classed together because of their vigorous commitment to and defense of the gospel.[10]

Al Mohler is one of Bauders conservative evangelicals and is a well known name among fundamentalists and evangelicals. Admittedly Al Mohler is a sought after speaker and is quoted by both religious and non-religious news outlets. However, remember, the key point of the new evangelical was repudiation of separatism. It would seem this is also the path of the conservative evangelical as well.

For example, Dr. Mohler wrote in his blog http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/04/23/this-man-was-no-moderate-the-legacy-of-cecil-sherman/ concerning Southern Baptist Cecil Sherman who died April 17th, 2010 at the age of 82. Mohler wrote Dr. Sherman has not been coy about his own beliefs. As far back as 1975 he had preached a sermon in Asheville in which he affirmed the theory of evolution. In that sermon he told his congregation, If you want the answer to religious questions, the Bible is still your best source, if you take your mind with you when you go. If you want answers to scientific questions, go see the right scientist.  Note Shermans affirmation of evolution rather than Biblical creation?  In 1981, Sherman declared in a debate with Paige Patterson, that he did not believe in an inerrant Bible but in ...a dynamical view of the Bibles inspiration and then pointed to what he saw as contradictions in the biblical text. Then he dropped a bombshell: I actually do think parts of the Bible are more valuable than others, more inspired than others. In fact, I think that some parts of the Bible have been put aside by the Christian revelation. This dynamical view of the Word of God is what the translators of the modern versions believe and that is the Bible is ever changing rather than being settled and finished once for all!

Mohler then adds that Cecil Sherman ...then pointed to specific texts from the Old Testament and the New Testament and suggested that the passages made reference to different Gods. One is a tribal god, vindictive and cruel. The punishment that is to be inflicted upon even the innocent is low and mean by any standard. On the other hand, the picture of God in the sayings of Jesus is lofty, beautiful, exalted. He proceeded to argue that the Old Testaments view of God is often distorted and grotesque. HOW LONG WOULD YOU HAVE STAYED IN A DENOMINATION WITH A MAN WHO BELIEVED SUCH HERESY OR YEA, APOSTASY!?

After his debate with Paige Patterson Mohler writes that ...Dr. Sherman would tell Christianity Today that he would not want to see any professor removed from a teaching position in one of the seminaries simply because he denied the Virgin Birth. While affirming the Virgin Birth himself, he offered one of the most remarkable statements of recent Baptist history: A teacher who might also be led by Scripture not to believe in the virgin birth should not be fired. Led by the Scripture not to believe in the Virgin Birth? By then, Sherman was serving as Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a group of moderate Baptists who separated from the Southern Baptist Convention. Here we have an out and out liberal working within a group that Al Mohler calls moderate Baptists!

It would seem the liberals are now the moderates and the moderates are the conservative evangelicals. Not once in this article did Dr. Mohler mention separating himself or the seminary of which he is president from the unbelief of Cecil Sherman!  Not once was it mentioned that separation was necessary for spiritual and Biblical purity! Not once did Al Mohler question the fact as to whether Cecil Sherman was or was not disciplined by his local Southern Baptist church for his unbelief. Al Mohler and Cecil Sherman were both Southern Baptists and both knew what the other believed and did not believe. Cecil Sherman, as liberal as he was, as far as this editor knows, died a member of a Southern Baptist church and Al Mohler, as a conservative evangelical, continues to support the Southern Baptist Convention. These two men, Al Mohler and Cecil Sherman, understood the resolutions made by the Convention but neither seemed to understand Biblical separation. Making resolutions and obeying the Scriptures on separation in ones life are two different things!

Was this just a one off for Dr. Mohler?  Not according to the following.

If Mohler were a novice Christian signing the MD might be excusable. He is, however, a seasoned pastor with an established track record of missteps, such as have been documented in Al Mohler Signs the MD: Was This a First Time Foray Toward Ecumenism. Missteps such as:

Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism
Al Mohler became president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in 1993. In all fairness, therefore, arrangements for honoring Graham, the high-priest of ecumenical evangelism, by naming the school for him in 1994 probably preceded Mohlers presidency.

Honoring a Liberal Theologian
In June 2009 SBTS celebrated its 150th anniversary. Following Dr. Mohlers message, the seminary honored its seventh president Duke K. McCall by announcing the dedication of its new pavilion in his honor.

Billy Graham Crusade in Louisville, KY.
Dr. Al Mohler served as chairman for the 2001 Billy Graham Crusade in Louisville, KY. Billy Graham has turned thousands of (alleged) converts over to Roman Catholic and modernistic churches.[11]

Now why do Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, Mark Minnick and others like them desire to broaden their fellowship? Only they know the real reason but from an outsider looking on it seems that extending ones fellowship opens the door for more speaking engagements. For instance the following is an excerpt from a recent conference of an open discussion between Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran and Mark Minnick. The discussion goes thusly:

D: Yea I was saying… I think based on what I said… Some of them are thinking they are.

B: And when it comes to T4G and the Gospel Coalition there they are. And I dont know, Mark, have you… have you been invited to preach at T4G, Gospel Coalition? (Emphasis added)

M: No.

B: Dave, have you?

D: No.

[laughter]

D: But… but I dont think thats because of my fundamentalism. They, ah…

Moderator (?): Its your goatee.

B: Wed like the list!

D: No, Im just… I mean… whos?.. Theyre not going to ask me to speak it, theyre going to look at the list, and go Dave Doran, who is that? You know…

M: No but… but listen… thats part of my viewpoint on this. I really share this with Kevin. Almost… almost all of the overtures in the last 10 years have been made from our side. In other words, we… we have been the ones…

D: I think you… you were invited to preach at Capitol Hill Baptist Church [Mark Dever's church], werent you?

M: Yes.

D: So was I. So theres at least one overture that…

M: Yea, but that was after we made the overture to him. In other words..

D: Not, not in my case.

M: And I would only use that…

D: He sought me out. We were in the same place, and he sought me out because he was trying to figure out fundamentalists.[12]

Overtures, seeking out, speaking engagements! Dr. David Nettleton was a pastor and then president of Faith Baptist Bible College, Ankeny, Iowa for many years. He is now deceased but what he wrote years ago is still so very applicable today. Dr. Nettleton wrote Today we are choosing between two alternatives. A LIMITED MESSAGE OR A LIMITED FELLOWSHIP. If we preach all of the Bible truths, there are many places where we will never be invited. If we join hands with the crowds, there will be limiting of the message of the Bible. Bear this in mind--it is the Baptist who lays aside the most! It is the fundamental Baptist who makes the concessions! Think this through and you will find it to be true. We believe in believer's baptism. We believe in separation. We preach eternal security. We believe in the imminent coming of Christ. We consider it an act of obedience to reprove unbelief in religious circles. The Sadduccee and the Pharisee are to be labeled. But according to a present philosophy we must lay these things aside for the sake of a larger sphere of service.[13]

So it might seem that these fundamentalists, Bauder, Minnick and Doran, may desire a wider fellowship for at least the purpose of more speaking engagements even though it would in all probability limit their message. However, any preacher working out a separatist position whether ecclesiastical or personal should be motivated by the desire to …do all to the glory of God 1Corinthians 10:31c. Our separatist position should be leading us to personal holiness for (1) God is holy and (2) He calls us to be holy, 1Peter 1:15, 16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 

Kevin Bauder is the president of Central Seminary, Mark Minnick is a professor at Bob Jones University and Dave Doran is president of Detroit Baptist Seminary. Each of these men is a leader and example to up and coming preachers. They are the example and the mentor. Does it matter where they speak and with whom they share the platform? If Bauder, Minnick and Doran are looking to expand their field of fellowship how far afield will the preachers training under them expand theirs? If history is any indication theirs will be ever so much wider.  

For instance Dr. Al Mohler is a Southern Baptist and the Southern Baptist International Board of Missions has been confronted with some of its missionaries and leaders practicing what is called a private prayer language.  The International Board has attempted to deal with the matter saying In terms of general practice, the majority of Southern Baptists do not accept what is referred to as private prayer language. Therefore, if private prayer language is an ongoing part of his or her conviction and practice, the candidate has eliminated himself or herself from being a representative of the IMB of the SBC.[14] Thus if one practices this private prayer language and is truthful about it they are disqualified from serving with the Southern Baptist foreign missions.

 Al Mohler has stated he does not believe a private prayer language has any Biblical foundation. Here is his answer to Adrian Warnock who asked As a Southern Baptist, you cant get away from an interview like this without being asked about the recent decision of the SBC IMB to exclude tongues-speakers from all future missions appointments. What is your perspective on this? At first sight, it would seem to be contrary to the spirit of together for the Gospel or is this in some way different because it is taking place back in the world of denominational relationships where I assume you would want to hold more tightly to some of the distinctives? Dr. Mohler answered Your last statement is precisely where I am headed. I must also stipulate that the decision to exclude those who speak in tongues from mission appointments is not actually a new policy at all. The new policy relates to what some have called a private prayer language, but is not, in the main, associated with what most people consider speaking in tongues. I do not consider this practice to have any adequate biblical foundation. NEVERTHELESS, I AM ABLE TO WORK TOGETHER WITH PERSONS WHO MIGHT PRACTICE SUCH THINGS IN THE CAUSE OF THE GOSPEL. (emphasis added)[15]

Note Al Mohler is able to work with those who practice a private prayer language all in the cause of the gospel!  Can the fundamentalist Bauder, Doran and Minnick do the same? What about those young preachers who attend Central, BJU and Detroit Seminary? What type of fundamentalist will these schools produce if they can still be called fundamentalist?

As stated earlier Bible separation doesnt mean one hates the new or conservative evangelical but it does mean to withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us 2Thessalonians 3: 6.  There is another passage not often used in the discussion on separation but is, I believe, very appropriate for the day in which we find ourselves. Luke 9:46 -50 Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. 47 And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, 48 And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great. 49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

The passage here in Luke and also in Mark doesnt give a lot of detail concerning this man of whom John speaks other than he was casting out devils. This man was not in the band of disciples to which John belonged, the fundamentalists. He was an outsider, conservative evangelical? Jesus simply said if this man is not against us he is for us. HOWEVER, Jesus did not go and invite the man to come and join them nor did Jesus go and join him. The Scriptures do not tell us everything concerning this incident but as one reads the Scriptures no more is said of this unnamed man. The Lord Jesus nor did His disciples cooperate in any campaign or share any speaking event with this unnamed man BUT they were separated from him for whatever reason!!

Because I would not ask any of the men Bauder mentioned earlier as conservative evangelicals, to speak in my pulpit nor would I accept their invitation to speak in theirs, doesnt mean I am better than they, nor that I do not appreciate their public stand on many issues BUT it does mean there are important doctrinal areas which prohibit such a public relationship between them and me.  

As a missionary I must ask Is the difference today between the Southern Baptists and the independents so miniscule separation is no longer an issue? After awhile, one wonders why these independents continue to be independent if there is not that much difference. Why would one stay independent when you could be part of the largest Protestant organization in the USA? Why not do what Jerry Falwell did and lead your church into the Southern Baptist Convention?

AS A MISSIONARY I wonder why any of the students from Central, BJU or Detroit would go as a missionary with an independent Baptist mission board and travel all over the USA begging support when they could go with the Southern Baptist International Board of Missions and be sent to the field almost immediately.  If a man can work with a Southern Baptist as so many independent mission board missionaries do why not become a Southern Baptist?  

What do these men such as Bauder, Doran and Minnick have in common with Mohler and the other conservative evangelicals? Is it the Reformed theology? Or is it any Bible version other than the King James? Al Mohlr uses the English Standard Version and even though Bauder touts the fact he uses the King James Bible for ministry he has written enough for all to know what he really thinks of it. As far as Minnick and Doran they are not lovers of the King James Bible or its Greek Text either.  

Dr. Bauder says Other fundamentalists do not necessarily draw the lines where I do…. [and] might very well choose to separate from me. That, too, is part of the judgment that they must make, and I must grant them liberty to make it. I am not the one to whom they will answer. For my part, the dictum is pretty simple. Let us separate where we must. Let us fellowship where we can. Let us love one another withal.[16]

It is to be admitted that fundamentalists have in all probability never agreed on every issue or person with whom they should separate or cooperate. It was interesting to read that in 1959 John R. Rice …and Bob Jones, Sr. held a series of one-day rallies in different parts of the country in an attempt to explain the separationist position to the wavering, and Jones urged that the Sword be made the official organ of separatist fundamentalism. Meanwhile, Rice made new, younger, friends. One was Jack Hyles, who in 1959 had become the pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana; another was Curtis Hutson, who eventually became Rice's successor. A third was Jerry Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.

In 1971, Rice planned a great world conference on evangelism that would bring together the various strands of fundamentalism. But Bob Jones, Sr. had died three years earlier, and his son and successor, Bob Jones, Jr., objected to the inclusion in the conference program of two Southern Baptists, W. A. Criswell and R. G. Lee, whom Jones considered compromisers and traitors to the cause of Scriptural evangelism. (It did not help that shortly before Jones, Sr.'s death, Criswell had referred to him as a senile old fool.) Jones also opposed Rice's insistence that there be no criticism of Billy Graham (and presumably, neo-evangelicalism) at the conference. Rice argued that his position on separation was the same as that held by Bob Jones, Sr. and that there was nobody living in this world who was more intimately acquainted with the late evangelist. Not surprisingly, Jones, Jr. disagreed, and he and Rice engaged in an exchange of views about separation--Rice in The Sword of the Lord, Jones in a pamphlet, Facts John R. Rice Will Not Face. To Rice the importance of soulwinning trumped what he considered minor disagreements among Christians about biblical separation. (Emphasis added)

The upshot was that Rice's planned conference was postponed and then canceled. In November 1971, Bob Jones, Jr. and Bob Jones III were dropped from the cooperating board of the The Sword to be replaced by Jerry Falwell and Curtis Hutson. In 1976, Jones, Ian Paisley, and Wayne Van Gelderen organized their own "World Congress of Fundamentalists" in Edinburgh. Unlike the split with Billy Graham, however, Rice's refusal to agree with separationist fundamentalists like Bob Jones, Jr. and Ian Paisley only enhanced the growth of The Sword. By the mid-1960s, the paper had more than recovered its losses after Rice's criticism of Billy Graham; in 1974, circulation of The Sword of the Lord was over 300,000. Rice had been a major participant in shaping the two most important divisions of late twentieth-century fundamentalism, the split between fundamentalists and neo-evangelicals and then the creation of two fundamentalist factions: Rice's more sentimental and irenic; Jones's more academic, doctrinal, and confrontational.[17]

Note soulwinning was John R. Rices emphasis as to whom he would fellowship just as the Gospel is Mohlers. For Clarence Sextons Independent Baptists Friends International it is worded as …an effort to promote…World Evangelism.[18] Kevin Bauder and supposedly Dave Doran and Mark Minnick are much the same for they would fellowship with any who have a vigorous commitment to and defense of the gospel.[19]

Whether it is called soul-winning, preaching the gospel or world evangelism all three actually are covered under the term proclaimed as the Great Commission. History has shown that working together for the sake of the Great Commission leads to ecumenism and the eventual surrender of certain Biblical principles, of which one is surely to be Biblical separation.

John R. Mott in all probability would have been considered an evangelical in his day but his desire for world missions led to the eventual formation of the World Council of Churches.[20] Note; In 1910, Mott was one of the organizers of the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. This conference ultimately led to the formation of the World Council of Churches and marked the beginning of the modern ecumenical movement. He became honorary president of the World Council of Churches in 1948 when 147 churches from over 40 countries claimed membership.[21]

Time marches on! Separatist men, schools, mission organizations and churches sadly all too often with the passing of years throw aside Biblical ecclesiastical separation for the high and lofty goal of reaching the lost with the gospel. However, the Bible is not fluid and the passages teaching separation continue the same. Consider John 15:19; 17:14; Romans 12:2; 16: 17; 2 Corinthians 6: 14 18; Galatians 6:14, 16; Ephesians 5:11; 2 Timothy 2:22; Titus 2:11-12; James 1:27; 4:4; 1 Peter 2:11-12; 4:1-4; 1 John 2:15-17; 5:19; and Proverbs 4:2, 14-15. 

In closing we must remember the Bible path of separation, both personally and ecclesiastically, will be both narrow and much less travelled! NEVERTHELESS IT IS THE ONLY PATH of true obedience where sweet fellowship is found with the dear Saviour and His small flock!


[5] http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=home&action=submitsearch&section=&f_context_any=any&f_keyword_any=genesis 1&f_constraint=&f_search_type=bible&f_submit=Search

[8] 

[15]  

 
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Missionaries David and Pamela Bennett

The Bennetts Serving the Lord in Australia Since 1979.

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