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.
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.