Friday, August 14, 2009

Hansen Reform Resurgence Series - The Fundamentalist

The latest post in the series from Collin Hansen - Christianity Today writer - at the Resurgence Blog site on the renewed interest in Reformed Theology, concerns "Fundamentalism." In particular, the softening position of the classic Fundamentalism towards the key players in the Reform Resurgence.

Personally, I find this issue the most interesting of the series, as it is this group that I supposedly would be most linked with (at least the school that I teach at would be). Thus, most of my observations are from young people that have moved out of this camp to the RR. And I would add, as Hansen points out in the article below, that more and more "Fundamentalist" Pastors (and Bible College Profesosrs) are slowly but surely using, embracing, and even promoting, the writing and preaching of the RR movement. Thus, it should not surprise that the young people of those churches will be drawn to the theology of the RR. Read more below . . .

The Reformed Resurgence Series - Part 7:
The Reformed Resurgence: Fundamentalists
Collin Hansen

The Liberal-Fundamentalist Controversy

Even as the Second World War raged around the globe, the American religious landscape began shifting. The National Association of Evangelicals set a new course in the early 1940s between Protestant liberals on the one side and fundamentalists on the other. Carl F. H. Henry rallied evangelicals to engage politics, academia, and other cultural spheres with The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism in 1947. He delivered a stinging rebuke to fundamentalists who had withdrawn from these public arenas that so recently became inhospitable to Bible believers.

After years of tension, Billy Graham delivered the decisive break between evangelicals and fundamentalists in 1957. Graham turned down invitations to preach in New York City under the sponsorship of fundamentalist churches before accepting one from the liberal Protestant Council. Fundamentalists have never let Graham or his evangelical sympathizers forget the snub.
Fundamentalist Shift

Fundamentalists have at times focused their critique on Calvinists. They have accused Reformed believers of manipulating Scripture and undermining biblical authority with rationalism. That argument is alive but not so well these days, as seen in response to a recent fundamentalist diatribe against John Piper, C. J. Mahaney, and several other leading Calvinists. While intending to rally like-minded pastors against this threat, the message actually drew out the growing network of young adults who have abandoned fundamentalism for the Calvinist ranks.

Since I wrote Young, Restless, Reformed, several students have contacted me to say they have been expelled from fundamentalist schools for embracing Calvinism. I have met many other students training for academic and pastoral work who started at fundamentalist schools but migrated toward seminaries where prominent Calvinists teach. Their stories often bear striking resemblance to one another. While appreciating the godly legacy of their parents, these students have read Piper and experienced refreshing delight evoked by a vision of God’s glory as revealed by the grace of Jesus Christ.

Fundamentalist Defense
Even some older fundamentalists have stepped in to defend Piper and those who love him. Kevin Bauder serves as president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, which trains fundamentalist pastors in the same Minneapolis/St. Paul region where Piper lives. His response marginalizes fundamentalists who caricature Calvinism. But Bauder’s defense also points toward the possibility that the growing Calvinist influence on evangelicals could help heal their decades-long dispute with fundamentalists.
3 John 8
Bill H.

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