Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Of those called Independent Fundamental Baptists

From The Trail Home blog:

"Fundamentalists love the designation 'independent, fundamental Baptist'. The problem, first, is this:

"They are not 'independent (which to them means non-denominational)'.
The term 'denomination' generally referred to Protestant churches for the sake of 'denominating' themselves from other Protestant churches. 'Independent, fundamental, Baptist' churches are a denomination because it is a name applied ('denominated') to these churches. It has nothing to do with the form of church government. Each church is connected by a 'Bible college' or a 'camp'.

"'Fundamental' refers to the 'fundamentals' of the Christian faith. The problem is that they are rather choosy about what those 'fundamentals' are, taking away fundamentals they disagree with (Sacraments, Eucharist), and adding (Rapture, Premillenialism), 'fundamentals' that have never been a part of the Historic Christian faith.
Fundamentalists are 'anti-creedal', they will not acknowledge the historic creeds of the Church claiming: 'The Bible is our creed', which becomes very subjective. To claim 'sola scriptura' presents problems because each person interprets that phrase, and the Bible, differently. There simply is no authority. Without any authority, many fundamentalists fall into the heresies of the past. For example, many fundamentalists have begun to deny the doctrine of original sin, a heresy the Church dealt with centuries ago. Once you deny the doctrine of original sin, other doctrines follow like dominoes, the Virgin birth, the impeccability and (eventually) the Deity of Christ. Many take a modalistic view of the Trinity, another ancient heresy. Some deny the need for repentance in regard to salvation. Without any doctrinal authority, 'fundamentalism' become very 'non-fundamentalist'. Many fundamentalist churches have a 'doctrinal statement'. The problem comes from the 'doctrines' within it that were never part of Historic Christianity.

"Baptist? Their claim to be Baptist is a problem as well. Baptists originated out of the Reformation. Fundamentalist claim never to have been part of the Reformation and state Baptists predate the Reformation, and in fact, finds its roots in the Early Church. This is accomplished through revisionist history with absolutely no historical foundation. The beginnings of this can be traced back to a 19th century in a book entitled: 'A Concise History of Baptists' by G.H. Orchard.' In the 20th century, this was shortened in a booklet called ''The Trail of Blood' by J M Carroll.
Many Baptists to this day believe this is a historically accurate portrayal of history. Though rejected by historians, many Baptists understand this largely fabricated historical account to be the story of how Christ established the Baptist church (beginning with John the Baptist) and how it remained the one true church loyal to Christ for the past 2000 years. Dr. Carroll seeks to identify the Baptist church of today with nearly every medieval and early heretical group. Some of the ones he cites most often are the Donatists, Montanists, Paulicians, Albegensians, Waldenses, and Anabaptists. His claim is best refuted by simply examining who these heretics were and what they taught. In all cases it is a far cry from what modern Baptists believe.
If the 'true Church' was an 'underground' Church until the Reformation (which they claim not be a part of anyway), there is a problem with the very words of Christ. He said 'the gates of hell shall not prevail against' the Church. Trail of Blood history turns Jesus into a liar.

"In this, only one conclusion can be reached.
'Independent Fundamental Baptists' are neither independent, fundamental, nor Baptist."

Monday, May 05, 2008

Expository Preaching

"What is the evidence of a disconnect between Scripture and theology? First, in many circles of Fundamentalism, the lack of clear expository preaching has left the person in the pew unable to critically examine whether what is stated in the pulpit (or on the website) is biblical. Expository preaching, by its very nature, helps listeners move from the text to theology. A good expositor demonstrates a clear connection between the text and his interpretations and applications. The listener learns to judge every statement by the text in front of him. When expository preaching is absent or weak, the listener cannot see how the sermon comes from the text and is forced to “just trust” that the preacher is right. Rather than being noble Bereans, who have the ability to search the Scriptures and to confirm the “biblicity” of the sermon or lesson, believers must suspend their obedience to “prove all things” and blindly accept the word of the preacher. There have been far too many breaches of trust by now for thinking people (especially those in the younger generation) to continue to offer slavish devotion to those who purport to be speaking for God but cannot or will not provide biblical proof. Many today (rightly) demand to see the connection between the sermon and the text. Sadly, there is more commitment to this principle among many conservative evangelicals today than among fundamentalists who claim to be more biblical."

- Mark Farnham