Thursday, January 31, 2013

Defining Points

Defining Points

          I have recently received some criticism from my peers over an article I wrote entitled - The Subtlety of “Good Words and Fair Speeches.”  The criticisms are accepted.  I am a big boy.  I can handle it.  I just do not agree they are viable criticisms.  I stand by the article and what I wrote.  There may be a few statements I would like to have clarified because they were ambiguous to some.  Those that know me know I do not like to be ambiguous (maybe verbose, but not ambiguous).  The criticisms have come from a wide diversity of theological positions.  It soon became quite apparent to me that we were all using the same words, but those words had significantly different meanings to different people involved in the discussion.  This is of course a common problem in theological discussions.  I guess it is appropriate to disagree with our peers as long as we do not discredit them in any way.  Yet, criticism is often not intended to be constructive.  My article was not intended to be a criticism.  It was intended to be a rebuke and a call to repentance.  I have received far more calls and notes of agreement and encouragement than I have criticisms. Thank you for those!

Baptist fundamentalism and Interdenominational Fundamentalism

          When independent, fundamental Baptists (I.F.B.) practice separation, most churches that are interdenominational are excluded by that separation without other considerations.  This practice has certainly always included all those believing in paedobaptism and those holding to any sacramental views of salvation.  Therefore, independent, fundamental Baptists would not cooperate with fundamental Presbyterians and Congregationalists without consideration of any other doctrines to which they might agree.  This would be true of fundamental Pentecostals and Charismatic churches as well.  In most cases, this was true of any churches that did not believe in the eternal security of the believer.  These were doctrines that resulted in separation from those believing them. 
          The contradiction of all this is that men like Dr. Kevin Bauder, Dr. Doug McLachlan, Dr. Timothy Jordan, Dr. David Doran, and Dr. Matt Olson all profess to be independent, fundamental Baptists.  However, their new definition of the practice of separation is like that of the interdenominational Fundamentalism.  They want most other doctrines other than the Gospel to be eliminated from the practice of separation.  Independent, fundamental Baptists do not agree and do not like what they are trying to do.  They are convoluting what it means to be an independent, fundamental Baptist.  Certainly we can agree that the Gospel of Presbyterianism, Congregationalism, Pentecostalism, the Full Gospel churches, and the Charismatic Movement is corrupted in numerous ways.  To ignore these differences is just – well it just plain ignorance. 
          The way I.F.B. churches practiced separation is not true of interdenominational Fundamentalism.  In fact, in most part their agreements were more upon the things they opposed than upon the things with which they agreed.  There are certain groups of local churches, such as the Independent Fundamental Churches of America (I.F.C.A.) that held to similar as the practices of I.F.B. churches.  The I.F.C.A. had fundamental Presbyterian and fundamental Congregational churches in the membership of their organization.  They excluded Pentecostals and Charismatics from their organization.  I was a member of the I.F.C.A until 1984.  Dr. Ernie Pickering was a leader in the I.F.C.A. for years.  I left that organization because of the influx of numerous New Evangelicals into the organization.  Dr. Pickering left years before I did.  I personally would consider the I.F.C.A. and the Southern Baptist Convention to be New Evangelical organizations.  Although there is still what would be described as fundamental local churches within those organizations, because those churches do not separate from the organizations, they cease to be fundamental in their practice of separation.  Separation is a fundamental of Fundamentalism.  Dr. George Dollar, one time president of Central Baptist Seminary, spoke of both the S.B.C. and the I.F.C.A unfavorably in his book A History of Fundamentalism in America[1] published in 1973.  The reason for this view of the I.F.C.A was the progressive capture of the organization as the membership became dominated by men moving away from Fundamentalism, to Evangelicalism, and then into New Evangelicalism. 

Clear or Clever

          Sometimes it appears that some in this discussion are trying to be more clever than clear.  I think they know the differences to which I refer above.  These are not uneducated or ill-informed men.  Therefore, their talking points have to be calculated.  They are providing more confusion than they are clarity.  They are trying to draw independent, fundamental Baptists into interdenominational Fundamentalism by redefining how separation is going to be practiced.  They consider their new Fundamentalism to be Authentic Fundamentalism.  What is Authentic Fundamentalism?  Authentic Fundamentalism is now interdenominational Fundamentalism.  Do not fall for this bait and switch.  If this is what Fundamentalism is going to become, then I.F.B. need to abandon the term altogether.  It is a term that has become useless to define anything anymore. 


          Dr. Bauder wrote a number of articles from his blog defining what he calls Hyper-fundamentalism.  Part of one of the articles is quoted below. 

      “Of course, the King James Only movement is only one species of hyper-fundamentalism.  Hyper-fundamentalism may revolve around personal and institutional loyalties, idiosyncratic agendas, absurd ethical standards, or the elevation of incidental doctrines and practices.  The thing that characterizes all versions of hyper-fundamentalism is the insistence upon draconian reactions for relatively pedestrian—or even imaginary—offenses.
“Hyper-fundamentalism and the new evangelicalism are mirror images of each other.  The old neoevangelicalism damaged the gospel, not by denying it, but by attacking its role as a demarcator between Christianity and apostasy. The hyper-fundamentalist does the same kind of damage by adding something else alongside the gospel.  If anything, King James Onlyism is worse, for it shows contempt for the Word of God. It attacks the heart of Christianity by sitting in judgment over its source of authority.
“Neoevangelicalism and hyper-fundamentalism are equal errors. Whatever we should have done in response to the new evangelicals is the same thing that we should do now in response to hyper-fundamentalists. Historic, mainstream, biblical fundamentalism has no more in common with Pensacola, Crown, and West Coast than it had with Ockenga, Carnell, and Graham.”[2]

          Is this statement, Dr. Bauder has declared me to be a hyper-fundamentalist, along with thousands of other pastors just like me.  In the same breath, he equates hyper-fundamentalists to be synonymous with neoevangelicals.  So I guess I, and all those that believe like I believe, are now both hyper-fundamentalists and neoevangelicals.  That is his right.  I only use the King James Bible in my preaching and I believe God has preserved His inspired Words in the Received Text.  However, such a belief has never been an exclusion from historic independent Baptist fundamentalism.  In fact, in most part, it has been a tenet of historic independent Baptist fundamentalism.  For the most part of history since A.D. 1611, it has been a basic tenet of historic Protestantism.  It was never any different until the Anglo-Catholic influence of such men as Tischendorf, Westcott, and Hort came on the textual scene and Eclectic Textual Reconstructionism (Lower Criticism) began to infiltrate Protestant Christianity.  In the book One Bible Only, Bauder refers to those defending the preservation of God’s inspired Words in the Received Text as controversialists[3] because they believed this translation was the only English translation that was actually translated from the Received Text.  Although there are many Seminaries and Bible Colleges that pay lip service loyalty to the KJV, behind the scenes they use and promote the Eclectic (Reconstructed) Greek text.  They did this to keep pastors who were loyal to the KJV recommending students to their schools.  I think this manifests a real lack of moral integrity.  I do give Bauder credit for being honest regarding his position on the Eclectic Text and Textual Reconstructionism.  That has not been true of many theological schools. 
          I think Eclectic Textual Criticism and Textual Reconstructionism essentially abdicate the practical aspects of verbal, plenary inspiration since no one can be sure they have ever reconstructed the original texts.  If Reconstructionism is true, than Preservationism is false and no one can be sure of the jots and tittles of the Words of God any longer.  This certainly explains why these same men are willing to except translations by the methodology of Dynamic Equivalency.  Men can believe what they want to believe about these things.  They can even declare men like myself to be hyper-fundamentalists if they so desire.  However, if they do, they are declaring a very large number of independent, fundamental Baptists to be hyper-fundamentalists.  Are those who are declared to be hyper-fundamentalists then wrong to declare the Textual Reconstructionists as hypo-fundamentalists?  Or, is it just a one-way street?


          Undoubtedly there are all kinds of Calvinists in the world today.  We have many people who say they are Calvinists simply because the word election is in the Bible and because they believe in eternal security.  Personally, I reject all points of Calvinism as defined by Theodore Beza.  However, many consider Beza’s Calvinism to be hyper-Calvinism, because they do not find limited atonement in Calvin’s Institutes (yes, I have read his Institutes and have many of Calvin’s commentaries).  This is how I define hyper-Calvinism.  Therefore, by brother Bauder statements, he would not be a hyper-Calvinist in my opinion.  However, there are many extremes of Calvinism that go far beyond where Calvin went.  According to my understanding, John MacArthur does believe in limited atonement (I have read almost every book he has written).  He has therefore gone beyond Calvin’s Calvinism. 
          Is MacArthur being a Calvinist or a Hyper-Calvinist really the big issue?  It is to me.  However, when it comes to separation, I would separate from MacArthur simply because of his Resolve Conference if nothing else.  I would separate from him because of his Lordship Salvation.  I would separate from him because he rejects Congregational Polity. 
In the doctrinal statement of the Midwest Independent Baptist Pastors’ Fellowship[4], we have excluded pastors who hold to Calvin’s Soteriology, Ecclesiology, and Eschatology from leadership or preaching.  However, they are welcome to attend and be encouraged in their ministries.  Our next preaching conference will be August 12th and 13th, 2013 at Ravenwood Baptist Church in Chicago, IL.  The subject of the preaching will be – The Local Church: the Pillar and Ground of the Truth.  Dr. Clay Nuttall will be the main speaker.  By the way, Central Baptist Theological Seminary will not be allowed to set up a display there either. 

Theological Reactionism against Extreme I.F.B. Pastors

          There are undoubtedly many Baptist Popes in many pulpits in I.F.B. churches.  Some of them deserve this aberrant title as they lord over God’s sheep.  Most of the other I.B.F. pastors are just trying to hold the line in the church “over the which the Holy Ghost hath made” them “overseers” (Acts 20:28).  Unfortunately, the Young Fundamentalists tend to lump most I.F.B. pastors into this Baptist Pope category.  That is painting with a very broad brush.  Almost all the I.F.B. pastors I know (I have over 7,000 in my data base) are just humble, godly men struggling to survive in their ministries while being resisted by many of the very people they love dearly.  I do not like it when some Academian gives people ammunition to shoot at these men and harm them.  Apply the label where it is due.  Just do not use a spray gun to put it on all I.F.B. pastors.  This kind of broad brush labeling is unfair and unjust.  Doing so manifests a real lack of biblical ethics and character. 

[1] Dollar, George W. A History of Fundamentalism in America.  Greenville, S.C.: Bob Jones University Press.
[2] Bauder, Kevin.
[3] Bauder, Kevin. One Bible Only?. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001, page 15.
[4] Midwest Independent Baptist Pastors’ Fellowship Doctrinal Statement. Pages 3, 4, 5, 5, 8, and 11.

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.


  1. Dr. Ketchum:

    I appreciate that you've published this informative response to the Kevin Bauder's Open Letter. I will continue to run my critical review of Kevin's Open Letter. To date, the three published articles have garnered over 3,000 hits. There will be more.

    This is, for me, the money quote,

    "The contradiction of all this is that men like Dr. Kevin Bauder, Dr. Doug McLachlan, Dr. Timothy Jordan, Dr. David Doran, and Dr. Matt Olson all profess to be independent, fundamental Baptists. However, their new definition of the practice of separation is like that of the interdenominational Fundamentalism. They want most other doctrines other than the Gospel to be eliminated from the practice of separation. Independent, fundamental Baptists do not agree and do not like what they are trying to do. They are convoluting what it means to be an independent, fundamental Baptist."

    I have linked to this article from all three of my critical review articles.

    Your friend and co-laborer in this effort,


  2. If I may link to a new article on Bauder's Open Letter, I encourage folks to read Kent Brandenburg's- A Really Nice, Gentle, Loving Open Letter, Because That's What I'm Calling It, to Kevin Bouder (sic)


  3. Hi Lance

    I am sympathetic with a lot of what you say, but I think you make a mistake in lumping Doran, Jordan, Bauder, and Olson together as if they represent a monolithic point of view. While they share some things in common, I don't think they are all the same.

    On another point, are you making the Received Text a test of fellowship? In other words, if someone holds to the eclectic approach, do you consider them someone who should be marked and avoided? If yes, how would you prove that from the Scriptures? It is one thing to have a preference for the Received Text and it is another thing to insist that holding to the Received Text is a fundamental of the faith. If you do the latter, then you are indeed a hyper-fundamentalist.

    Finally, please don't think that I am attacking everything you have said here. I am sympathetic to a lot of what you say. I have disagreed publicly with brother Bauder on many points.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  4. I was introduced to your ministry a while back in a more detailed manner but have been aware of your name among independent baptists for some time. I participate at SI and have my own blog, mostly a vanity blog for developing thoughts on Biblical matters and social issues. Thus, the matter is of great interest to me.

    I want to say I recognize the principle you are defending, whether one agrees or disagrees with its parameters and that is much of what is missing with those protesting against you. I say this having been denominational (LCMS and WELS) in the past and both denominations being Evangelical (particularly WELS) and supposedly on the enlightened and academic end of theological and ecclesiastical concerns would make many fundamentalists blush regarding how to practice ecclesiastical separation. You are more of their template, by far, though with different parameters.

    In LCMS and WELS pulpits and their various district and Synod meetings are not polluted with those who do not share their specific LCMS or WELS interests. And if a foreigner (non LCMS or WELS) is given a formal platform in such meetings it is of the rarest occasions with the proper qualifications. They really do understand the nature of ecclesiastical separation whether one agrees with their theological and ecclesiastical formation.

    Thus, I admire this greatly in them (there are efforts here and there to transform the LCMS to a more generic and less defined Evangelical body).

    I believe this effort of yours is founded in such a principle. I believe that principle is being under-appreciated and say to anyone offended by your definitiveness, this is what a minister should be doing. You should be that defined.

    The arguments toward you, Pastor Ketchum, ought to be in principle. I have read most of the responses at SI and they fall very short.

    One last word. I did disagree with Keven Bauder on the Hegelian Dialectic. The label, Hegelian Dialectic is quite right. Though Chalybaus used the terms, the formula is Hegelian, thus the Hegelian Dialectic. It was a shot by Kevin Bauder which failed to understand the use of Hegel's name. Hegelian means "like Hegel". Not necessarily that Hegel, himself, uttered these words but it is based in Hegel's use of ternary constructs which the Marxists adopted and of course Chalybaus did in his formula.

  5. “The contradiction of all this is that men like Dr. Kevin Bauder, Dr. Doug McLachlan, Dr. Timothy Jordan, Dr. David Doran, and Dr. Matt Olson all profess to be independent, fundamental Baptists. However, their new definition of the practice of separation is like that of the interdenominational Fundamentalism.”

    It truly does appear that these men have switched over into something more interdenominational. I don’t believe they are very concerned about being Baptist at all. They may care more about their Reformed style gospel. For them, I would have to believe that fundamental Baptist views would get kicked to the curb much faster than their various beliefs concerning Calvinism or Lordship Salvation.

    Bauder said,

    “The hyper-fundamentalist does the same kind of damage by adding something else alongside the gospel.”

    This is a problematic statement in that it presumes that so called hyper fundamentalists indeed add anything to the gospel. It implies that sepearation is only really truly important when the gospel is concerned. However, what about the addition to the gospel by Reformed theology? (IE, turn from sins for salvation, Lordship salvation, regeneration before faith, unconditional election, commitment to Christ in discipleship for salvation etc) Even if separation were all about the gospel only – which it is not- then wouldn’t men and churches have to separate on from one another if their gospels are different? (Say non-reformed, non-calvinist, non-Lordship, free grace vs Reformed, turn from sins repentance, discipleship commitment, Lordship Salvation, Calvinism)

    I think what we have had for a long time is the seeds of Reformed theology taking root. Now we are seeing the fruit in this generation and the coming generation. When are we going to see more people attempting to be Biblicists that are not afraid to go against the common most popular trends? Even if it means they stand virtually alone. I mean, it is crazy to think of the backlash one can receive even from “Christian circles” if one stands for the truth that the way of salvation is simply to: come to understand that you are a lost sinner, understand that Jesus Christ the Son of God came in human flesh being fully man yet God, lived a perfect sinless life, bled and died on the cross, was buried, rose again and that by trusting in Him alone we can have eternal salvation never to be lost. The charges of easy believism and non-lordship would come raining down – along with much puffed up scoffing. (I have witnessed this.) So back to my point, where and how is it really possible to be separated unto the true gospel if so many complicate the true gospel with Calvinism and other things? Could it be that some run to fellowship with new evangelicals because they prefer to more closely aligned with their brand of reformed theology? Nitpicking on side issues really dodges this question.

    “However, when it comes to separation, I would separate from MacArthur simply because of his Resolve Conference if nothing else. I would separate from him because of his Lordship Salvation.”

    I think this is exemplifies where the real battleground is. No brand of fundamentalism is worth saving if the gospel is tarnished. In reality the ugly truth is that a false gospel does not save sinners and burdens believers. So the believer is left with a decision whether or not to separate from those that teach error and falsehood recognizing that there are different degrees of importance depending on the issue form salvation and the gospel on down to practical questions of Christian living. Think of what is at stake.

    Jim F