Rearranging Chairs….


Recently there has been much discussion about the musings of an invited guest at the regional FBFI meeting.  This speaker, Pastor Sweatt, challenged young fundamentalists [YF] believers with a Calvinistic view using the usual straw man, frayed arguments found in a freshman college theology class.  His point, apparently, was to connect the belief of Calvinism to the Conservative Evangelical [CE] (Piper, MacArthur, e.t al) and thereby provide a foundation for why the YFs are exiting the Fundamental movement.  Sweatt reminisces about the giants [my word] of Fundamentalism past throughout the message; he speaks of men such as Jack Hyles, John R. Rice, Bob Jones, Jr., Lester Roloff, and Bob Gray. He calls his listeners stop listening to the misrepresentation of these past giants of our movement, for we did not live in their time.  Sweatt’s message received a swift reply from Kevin Bauder, another Fundamentalist, accusing him of deflecting the criticisms of the YF and engaging in an astonishing diatribe against Calvinism.
I certainly echo Kevin’s comments to Sweatt, but I believe he missed the main issue at hand.  Jason Janz’s comment bears at least part of the heart of the issue:

Any movement or organization carefully thinks about the message it is portraying to their constituency/desired constituency. Usually, no more important venue exists than the national conference to establish and communicate your message.

From the sidelines, from what has been heard at the last two national conferences, one can only assume that Phelps/Sweatt rhetoric and philosophy is allowable in key addresses at the national conference and obviously applauded by some. This would mean there is a philosophical difference between the FBF and the majority of young guys.

If it is a mistake and an oversight, then the problem is a crisis of leadership, not of philosophy. This speaks to David’s point. It doesn’t matter whether or not it is indicative of the whole. When you hear it from the horse’s mouth (national conference addresses), the toleration of it is at least indicative of the whole.

Either way, it should not take rocket science then to figure out why the FBF has not and probably will not garner a serious following in the 20 and 30-somethings generation.

Posted by: Jason Janz at May 14, 2009 03:45 PM [Read the postHere]

Most YFs know that Fundamentalism as a movement is dead.  They have moved on mainly becasue they know the power structure and philsophical foundations of the current movement are too much to overcome. Why would they want to take up that fight when they are energized to start churches, inner city work, and foreign missions? They make decisions about college, seminary, church attendance, and theolocial reading based on content and philosophy/focus of ministry, not historical battlelines.  They now understand Fundamentalism as an idea. An idea that is found in much that Piper, Mohler, Dever, MacArthur, e.t. al are saying.  The idea of Fundamentalism is alive and well, we should rejoice that the YFs are taking the truths of the movement without the baggage of a movement.

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