A Confessional Evangelical Response
“At face value, [secondary separation] would seem to imply that orthodox believers would never seek to rescue or redeem wayward institutions and wavering Christians. Had this principle been strictly followed, there would have been no conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention and no reformation of its institutions.
“Perhaps I misunderstand how this principle would operate, strictly applied, but I think I have observed enough to know that some fundamentalist leaders might even charge Kevin with violating this principle by participating in this project. Thanks for taking the risk, Kevin. . . .
“If fundamentalism does survive, it will owe a great debt to Kevin Bauder and others who share his concerns and courage. I believe that fundamentalists like Kevin and conservative evangelicals are experiencing a convergence of concerns. This will encourage many but frighten both hyper-fundamentalists and the evangelical left.
“Kevin has convinced me that distinctions remain between conservative evangelicals and our fundamentalist friends. A few quick changes to our cultural context could render those distinctions to contain little difference.”
—R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
A Generic Evangelical Response
“I’m glad to see that Brother Kevin tries to distinguish among levels of fellowship corresponding to levels of doctrinal agreement. Ironically, however, without a clear discussion of what the gospel actually is and the methodological grounds for determining what the gospel is, it isn’t clear how fundamentalists are supposed to follow his advice about making good ‘judgment calls.’ Alas, judgment calls, therefore, are likely going to be referred to popular leaders who will decide on behalf of everyone else. Each of the other essays in this volume asserts that evangelicalism has no magisterium. But that is true only at the most general levels. All over evangelicalism, thanks to its populist nature, there are little popes deciding these things for the people. . . . I hope Brother Kevin will succeed in educating his flock as to just how we can properly sort out these matters without resorting to mini-magisteria.”
—John G. Stackhouse Jr., professor of theology at Regent College
A Postconservative Evangelical Response
“It seems to me the main difference between Bauder’s ‘moderate’ or ‘mainstream’ fundamentalists and postfundamentalist evangelicals (labeled ‘neo-evangelicals’ by fundamentalists in the 1940s) lies in how much doctrine they pack into ‘the gospel’ and exactly when and how they practice separation from apostates and heretics—people who claim to be Christians but reject the gospel or perceived orthodox doctrines—and from other evangelicals. Virtually all evangelicals practice some degree of separation; that is not unique to fundamentalists. And even fundamentalists do not agree among themselves about how exactly to believe in or practice it.
“Some evangelicals, including probably most fundamentalists, consider me left of center if not outright liberal. However, even I do not have Christian fellowship with those I believe to be apostate or heretical. The difference seems to me to lie in who is considered apostate and heretical and how one should treat them.”
—Roger E. Olson, professor of theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University
- Read more on this topic from the Nov/Dec Baptist Bulletin:
“Marking the Boundaries,” a Baptist Bulletin interview with Kevin Bauder and Al Mohler
“Defending the Idea of Fundamentalism,” an excerpt from Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism
“The Consequences of Populist Revivalism”