Today I listened to Kevin Bauder’s June 17, 2007 sermon recently posted at Fourth Baptist church’s website. The sermon is from the epistle of Jude* on “The Warfare the New Testament Requires.” In my opinion, he provides an excellent call to the cause of fundamentalists–to defend the Gospel and to do battle against those false teachings that stand contrary to the good news of Jesus Christ.
As I listened and contemplated recent fundamentalism’s track record on this matter, I was reminded me of a few paragraphs in his Fundamentalism Worth Saving:
At one time, fundamentalists were the leading voices in responding to the drift of secular and liberal ideologies. For some time now, we have been happy to abandon that task to other evangelicals who, for whatever reason, were happy to engage the secularists and liberals. The results for fundamentalism have been manifold.
First, our younger leaders have been forced to look outside of fundamentalism for serious responses to the latest threats. Whether we are discussing Open Theism, New Perspective on Paul, the move toward Catholicism, or the hermeneutical problem, we have difficulty finding fundamentalists who are competently addressing the issues. This leaves the unfortunate appearance that fundamentalist leaders are not competent to address the issues.
Second, because some evangelicals are speaking to these issues with boldness and clarity, younger fundamentalists have come to perceive them as more militant than their own fundamentalist elders. They find themselves puzzled as to why we disagree with John MacArthur and John Piper when these men are concretely and publicly doing more to defend the fundamentals than most fundamentalists. This leaves the unfortunate appearance that fundamentalist leaders are simply sniping at personalities, perhaps out of jealousy.
Third, because fundamentalists have been so negligent in speaking competently to the issues, no one really expects to hear from us any more. Please understand that most evangelicals do not hate or despise us. Rather, they barely know that we exist. We pop into their consciousness only when some news report highlights a bit of bizarre fundamentalist behavior. We simply are not on their radar screen. This is because of the unfortunate appearance that fundamentalist leaders have nothing to say.
Fourth, the failure to address the issues clearly and competently has left some doctrinal and practical boundaries unguarded, even for fundamentalists. This should not surprise us. We tell our people not to go to evangelicals for answers, but we don’t give them answers either. Yet secularism, liberalism, and evangelical concessiveness have a way of trickling down, eventually reaching even fundamentalists. This results in the unfortunate tendency for fundamentalism itself to become liberalized—and which of us is prepared to say that he sees no signs of this?
Sobering words, no?
*In the sermon, I was glad to hear him briefly deal with the prophecy of Enoch in vv 14-15.