A Brilliant Distinction Between Historic and Hysteric Fundamentalism
Just when we thought it was safe again to call ourselves "fundamentalists" yet another person trying to cling to the subculture of hysteric fundamentalism has risen from the ashes to "warn" of the "evils" of younger fundamentalists falling into the clutches of Calvinism. While it is not surprising to hear this type of rhetoric from those trying to cling to the already dying movement of the militant brand of fundamentalism of yesteryear, it was a bit surprising to hear this coming from a meeting of the Fundamentalist Baptist Fellowship International where Pastor Dan Sweatt of Berean Baptist Church in Lilburn, Georgia gave a message entitled "Young and Restless". This message has been critiqued, applauded and dissected by others within in the blogosphere so that will not be my aim here. I only know a couple of men associated with the FBFI movement. Both of whom I hold in high regard and both represent what I would call the historic brand of fundamentalism.
I will, however, focus on what I feel was a brilliant assessment by Dr. Kevin Bauder of the sermon and an unveiling of the message's weaknesses and characterizations of young fundamentalists who lean Calvinistic. You can read the essay in it's entirety here.
Allow me to post a couple of excerpts from the article that I thought were insightful:
If you are a younger person listening to Pastor Sweatt, please do not think that you have to accept his perspectives in order to be considered a fundamentalist. Furthermore, if you are a Calvinist listening to Pastor Sweatt, please do not think that fundamentalism has no room for you. On the contrary, fundamentalism has always had a strongly Calvinistic strand, and it always will.
Nevertheless, Pastor Sweatt has placed us in a very difficult situation. In a public venue, as a spokesman for fundamentalism, Pastor Sweatt has impugned the doctrinal integrity of his brethren. He has made charges without evidence and uttered recriminations that are simply false. Those of us who are leaders within fundamentalism have a stewardship, and we cannot afford simply to sweep this scandal under the rug.
You can hear Pastor Sweatt's message here. I realize that I am one of many who have blogged on this message. Blogs transcending lines from young fundamentalist, a couple with fundamentalist ties in the past here and here and even someone who is considered evangelical have all taken notice of Dr. Bauder's take on this. So I'm certain that I am not offering anything new here.
But what baffles my mind as someone who considers himself a young Calvinist fundamentalist (who some would call a "former" fundamentalist) is how this movement over the years still fails to humbly learn the lessons that needed to be learned over the past several decades that showed the isolated sects of the movement completely abandoned the principles of historic fundamentalism for a "shock and awe" and cult of personality movement that settled for aberrant theology, shallow methodology and a dictator structured ecclesiosology.