Monday, December 06, 2010

Baptist Killers!!

There is a segment of Independent Baptist Fundy-land that is getting high on Baptist history. Call it a "Trail of Blood" renaissance. But before I go any further, it must be noted that they absolutely don't want to be called fundamentalist. No way, no how. Fundamentalist=ecumenical, they say. But their highest level of ire and vitriol is reserved for the reformers like Luther and Calvin. They killed Baptists!
I might respect this crowd if they weren't so schizophrenic. Actually no I wouldn't. The whole "Trail of Blood"/"Landmark" position is nuts, which is what it boils down to, no matter how tightly you wrap it in the American flag. But back to the schizophrenia. These people, who were quick to call themselves fundamentalists not so long ago, now detest the term. And yet guess what... they are still fundamentalist as ever. Once you get past the semantics of it, it's the same old fundamentalism that has been around for decades. They'll fellowship with a non-denom church that is KJVO and high on standards before they'll stand with any contemporary Baptist church. No love for the Southern Baptists here. (Cue the arcane historical reasons why Southern Baptists aren't REAL Baptists.... no seriously I don't know how they feel about the SBC but I wouldn't be surprised.)
Ultimately this whole movement, to me, is just an exercise in circling the wagons. "Baptist history" is a means, not the end. What's the end? Separation. Being KJVO and no pants on women and conservative worship style and no rock music, etc, etc, etc, "Baptist History" provides a fresh new way to separate from lesser Christianity.
The ugliest hypocrisy of it all is their insistence on King James Only-ism. I quote Bob Ross:

"...the ONLY PERSON who had 'authority' in England to burn anyone in the early 1600's was KING JAMES! The Puritans couldn't have burned anyone if they had wanted to!
[...]
"Not only did James have the only authority to burn people, he did that very thing. In 1611, the year the 'King James Version of the Bible' was published, King James burned a BAPTIST by the name of EDWARD WIGHTMAN at Litchfield. This fact of history is recorded in many Baptist histories, the first being that of THOMAS CROSBY, who authored the first history of English Baptists. Crosby was a member of John Gill's church, the church later pastored in the latter 1800's by C. H. Spurgeon.
"I herewith quote from Crosby: 'The other one [burned] was Edward Wightman, A BAPTIST, of the town of Burton upon Trent, who on the 14th day of December [1610] was convicted of diverse heresies before the bishop of Coventry and Litchfield; and being delivered up to the secular power, was BURNT at Litchfield the 11th of April following.' (Vol. 1, pages 108, 109)."

These decidedly fundamentalist Baptist neo-historians KNOW this, but ignore the implications. If you are prepared to admit that something good can come from a Baptist-burning king, then you also should be prepared to admit that good things can come from Baptist-killing reformers. Otherwise, why in the world would you use the KJV?
Such lack of integrity is not isolated. This Baptist neo-history, for example, has nothing to say about Free-Will Baptists, nor are its purveyors interested in speaking about it beyond the confines of a crowd that has traditionally been KJVO IFB. Additionally there is a complete inability to engage Baptist history on Bible versions (see my sidebar link) which would end up (if one were honest) denying KJVOism, at least as a Baptist particular.
Again, it just seems to prove that such "Baptist history" is a means rather than an end. Increased separation, and yeah I'm going to say it because I also am no longer fundamentalist :) -- increased legalism. That's the thing with legalism. It knows no excess. Sort of like hedonism. Ditch on one side, ditch on the other.

[P.S. I am no fan of Jack Hyles, but as a "man of God" who is revered by such people it seems important that he understood that one could be both fundamentalist AND Baptist with no contradiction. (The link goes to chapter 11 of his book "Enemies of Soulwinning," titled "Let's Be Baptists.") He also is much kinder to those who don't somehow properly fall in whatever Baptist line of succession is deemed true.]

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