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Lecture Four: The Four Versions of Baptist Fundamentalism “Standing Firm”

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1 Lecture Four: The Four Versions of Baptist Fundamentalism “Standing Firm”

2 Regular Baptist Fundamentalism Roots in the Grand River Valley Baptist Association, 1909. Key figure 1910-1934, Oliver W. Van Osdel. Key figure 1935-c.1970, Robert T. Ketcham. Early development: GRVBA, MOBA. Middle development: BBU. Full development: GARBC and kindred organizations. Later leaders: Paul R. Jackson; Joseph M. Stowell, Jr.

3 The GARBC Reorganized from the BBU in 1932. Born at Belden Avenue Baptist Church in Chicago. Association of churches rather than fellowship of individuals. Militant and separatistic from beginning. “Come-outers.” Strongly premillennial, generally pretribulational. Emphasis upon little men, shared power, church authority. 1934, created approval system. 1936, created council system and revised elections. 1947, clearly affirmed secondary separation (CBA merger).

4 Regular Baptist Ethos Recognition of universal church. Bible schools and colleges. Dispensationalist, premil, pretrib. Primary and secondary separation. Anti-charismatic, rejection of second blessing theology. Moody/Dallas to Reformed understanding of sanctification (progressive). Strong emphasis upon local church authority in fellowship structure. Rejection of Big Man leadership. Allergic to assoc. politics. Very strong missions emphasis.

5 Conservative Baptist F’sm Begins with the Conference on Baptist Fundamentals, 1920. Early tensions between moderates (Massee) and militants (Riley). Purge-out separatism, but resistance to come-out separatism. Key figure 1930-1944, Earle V. Pierce. Key figure 1945-c.1950, Chester E. Tulga. Key figure c. 1950 on, B. Myron Cedarholm. Early Development: Fundamentalist Fellowship. Middle Development: CBFMS, CBF, CBA, CBHMS, CBTS. Later Development: FBFI, NTAIBC

6 FF CBFFBF(I) 1943 CBFMS 1947 CBA of A 1948 CBHMS 1950 CBTSDenver Seminary 1961 WCBM1966 BWM 1965 NTAIBC

7 CB Turning Points 1943 Elmer Fridell appointed to ABFMS, fundamentalists organize CBFMS. 1946 NBC effectively disenfranchises supporters of CBFMS. 1946-1947 merger talks with GARBC, rejection of separatism as a requirement of fellowship. 1947 CBA of A, accepting churches still in NBC. 1953 Portland Manifesto declares CBA to be separatist in spirit. Mid-1950s through mid-1960s BATTLE.

8 Issues in the CB Battle Separatism: should churches be required to leave the NBC? Eschatology: should the CB movement be premil and even pretrib? New Evangelicalism: how to respond to Billy Graham’s cooperative evangelism? Polity: what measures are permissible as agencies attempt to influence churches? Direct appeals over the pastor? Engineering pastoral placement? Interlocking structure: tended to strengthen denominational spirit and loyalty.

9 The Two Sides Hard CoreSoft Policy Central Regional Some Western Regional CBA of A Office CBF CCBTSM, after 1956 SFBTS, eventually Eastern Regional Some Western Regional CBFMS CBHMS Especially, CBTS

10 Breakup of the Hard Core Left CBA over the rejection of WCBM (BWM). Approach to GARBC—sought merger with guaranteed leadership. GARBC emphasized that churches vote to fellowship one by one. Churches choose leadership. Organized NTAIBC. Immediate falling out among leaders. Division between NTAIBC and FBF. Some went each way. Some went purely unaffiliated. Some went into the Sword crowd. Some went toward the GARBC.

11 Hard Core Ethos Strong emphasis upon primary, secondary separation. Premil, pretrib, young earth, but varied dispensational. Strong critique of platform fellowship. Mixed views on sanctification, emphasis on “standards.” Anti-charismatic, but some “second blessing” theology. Talk about church autonomy, often meaning pastoral autonomy. Big Man leadership was typical. Hyper political. NTAIBC has shifted away from this. Recognized importance of seminaries.

12 Norris Brand Fundamentalism Originated in the ministry/philosophy of J. Frank Norris. Rejected both Regular and Conservative Baptists. Key figures to 1950: J. Frank Norris, G. Beauchamp Vick, Louis Entzminger. Key figures after 1950: G. Beauchamp Vick, W. E. Dowell, Noel Smith, Wendell Zimmerman, Fred Donnelson. Organizations: World Baptist Fellowship with Arlington Baptist College; Baptist Bible Fellowship with Baptist Bible College (Springfield).

13 Development of the Norris Brand 1926 the Chipps shooting hurts Norris’s influence in the North. In the South, Norris develops his own preachers’ fellowship. 1935 Norris accepts pastorate of Temple Baptist in Detroit. 1936 comity agreement between GARBC and southerners. 1936 Norris attacks John R. Rice. 1938 Norris attacks GARBC leaders and institutions. 1938 Norris organizes the World Baptist Fellowship, takes over Sweet Baptist Mission to China.

14 Development of the Norris Brand 1940 first credible, public accusations of immorality, dating back at least five years. 1944 Norris “retires,” then splits with his son George. 1948 Vick becomes president of Bible Baptist Seminary. 1950 Norris reclaims presidency, resulting in massive division and formation of BBC, the BBF, and the BBT. 1952 Norris dies.

15 BBF and WBF Ethos Differed in their ultimate loyalty to Norris. Both held the same philosophy of ministry (Norris’s). Rejection of universal church. Topical preaching, strong on gospel invitation. Size of church determines success of ministry. Virtual pastoral dictatorship. Big Man leadership. Little pastoral accountability. Predation, coverups. Crisis-driven view of Christian life. Southern standards. Rejection of associations in favor of preachers’ fellowships. Little discipleship, suspicion of biblical exposition.

16 The Sword Crowd 1934 John R. Rice starts The Sword of the Lord. 1936 split between Rice and Norris. 1940 Rice relocates Sword ministry to Wheaton, IL. 1941-1943 Rice becomes key interdenom. evangelist. 1945 first Sword Conference in Winona Lake, IN. 1944 Rice begins private opposition to Lewis Sperry Chafer. 1946 Rice attacks Chafer in the Sword. 1949 Rice publishes The Power of Pentecost. 1956 Southwide Baptist Fellowship organized. 1959 Jack Hyles goes to First Baptist of Hammond, IN.

17 Conflict with Chafer When did the church begin? Pentecost or OT? What is an evangelist? Church planter or revivalist? Where does the evangelist rank? Over or beneath the pastor? Necessity of second blessing or anointing? Necessity of revival? Unusual or usual situation? View of Christian life? Progressive or crisis-driven? What about Calvinism? Biblical or damnable? Permissible persuasion? Appeal to truth or emotion?

18 Sword Crowd Ethos Vitriolic anti-Calvinism. Evangelism covers a multitude of sins. Focus on the invitation, make the (emotional) appeal. Crisis-driven revival a normal state of affairs. Alternate hilarity with hard preaching. Effective ministry requires second blessing (anointing). Value of minister judged by visible effectiveness. Virtual pastoral dictatorship, but evangelists outrank pastors. Big Man leadership.

19 Our Situation Today Four strands of Baptist fundamentalism. There has been significant cross-fertilization. Few can neatly distinguish the ideas and practices. Institutions (especially schools) try to appeal to everybody. The result is real confusion. Young men look at the confusion and see the worst. Officials feel obligated to defend it all, even the worst. Personal loyalties are enmeshed by Big Man leadership. Complicated by changing cultural situation.

20 What Should We Do? Hold no illusions. Realism, not idealism. See virtues and vices for what they are. Don’t cover up unrepented sins. Shine the light. Absolutely reject Big Man “celebrity” leadership in whatever form it appears. Get a clear and biblical theology of salvation, evangelism, and the Christian life, and get a clear philosophy of ministry. Get a clear and biblical theology of Christian fellowship and separation. Operate by principle rather than popularity, personality, or politics. Refuse to be intimidated.

21 A Strong Fundamentalism? Reset your focus upon God. Guard your own heart. Love God, love others. Stay close to the Word. Read it, learn it, preach it. Keep your prayer time sacred. Worship the Lord. Be willing to serve in obscurity. You’re not nobody to God. Tell the truth. Never knowingly misrepresent an opponent. Do justice and show mercy.

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