The ‘Old Axe’ of Fundamentalism at Central Baptist Theological Seminary

In my evangelistic travels I have always enjoyed the opportunity to meet and visit with people and to hear about life in the communities where they live.  Strange stories about how some people think have always caught my attention and stayed with me.  One man related to me that he knew a man in his community that had a prized axe that had been in the family for many years.  The man viewed it as an heirloom.  It was said that as the old man reminisces about the axe, he includes a story about how he had to replace its handle after it had broken.  Then there is also the story about how years ago during the time his father used it the axe head itself had been lost and replaced.  The implication and significance of those two merely incidental replacements were lost upon the old man because in his thinking he had the axe his family had always used.

When the present presidential leadership of Central Baptist Theological Seminary speaks of continuing the heritage and vision of that institution, he can only do so in the same way that the above old man did of his “family’s” axe.  There was nothing original left of the old axe, but since the individual parts had been changed out separately with much time elapsing between the events it was possible to think that the axe was something that it no longer was.  So is the case with CBTS.

Since the institution was founded upon a separatistic Fundamentalist  foundation and firmly set by its founders to maintain that same course, any current claims of continuing in that heritage coupled to an attached statement that expresses a desire to have “careful, limited fellowship” with Evangelicals, albeit those who believe that they are somehow conservative, is nothing more than imaginative thinking.

A quick review of the “changed out parts” of Fundamentalism at CBTS by Dr. Bauder

It is generally acknowledged that Fundamentalism has three essentials.  The first is Biblical doctrine, the second is Biblical militancy, and the third, is Biblical separation.  In each of these three vital areas, Dr. Bauder has made alterations that are inconsistent with and subvert CBTS’ Fundamental heritage.  In order to make these changes seem necessary, he has set on a course to systematically redefine Fundamentalism by changing its history and terms and maligning many of its leaders.  I covered many of the historical issues in my nine part series entitled “Considerations Concerning the Proclamation of a Post-Fundamentalism Era and the Foundations for Paleo-Evangelicalism” [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, and Part 9] so I will refrain from repeating that material in this post.

I subsequently followed up that series with two articles covering his replacement definition of ecclesiastical separation as he narrowed it from being church-purity focused to instead being Gospel-purity focused.  The first of these was “Is Ecclesiastical Separation about a Pure Church or a Pure Gospel?” which was an introduction at my blog to  my article “A Pure Church or a Pure Gospel: Does it Really Matter?” guest published at In Defense of the Gospel blog.  The second piece was “There Is a Difference and It’s a Name Changer.

Fundamentalism’s position on personal separation has greatly suffered as well falling victim to Dr. Bauder’s declared inability for the Scriptures to have any direct application to anyone not personally addressed in the Biblical text thus making any and all of the Bible’s applications totally and undeniable dependent upon the relative strengths or weaknesses of extra-Biblical means.  There is more detail about this further down in this post.

I will not be taking the time in this post to examine what changes Dr. Bauder may have made to CBTS’s educational approach or its understanding of revival or spiritual power.  [BTW, Don Johnson has posted an article which includes a discussion about CBTS's ethos statement on "revivalism" at his blog an ox goad, eh?  in "A New Fundamentalist Manifesto?"]

I do want to add some pertinent remarks concerning a change in emphasis regarding leadership qualities.  Dr. Bauder views with contempt the strong leadership represented by many of Fundamentalism’s leaders and promotes instead servant-leadership.  Dr. Rolland McCune commented on the rising servant-leadership issue within Fundamentalism in his review of Dr. Doug McLachlan’s book Reclaiming Authentic Fundamentalism.  About this leadership issue Dr. McCune wrote,

The idea of “servant leadership” as it is propagated in the New Evangelical community was severely criticized by David F. Wells, a fellow New Evangelical.  He says that the term “has the ring of piety about it.  But it is false piety, or it plays on an understanding of servanthood that is antithetical to biblical understanding.  Contemporary servant leaders are typically individuals without any ideas of their own, people whose convictions shift with the popular opinion to which they assiduously attune themselves, people who bow to the wishes of “the body” from which their direction and standing derive” (No Place For Truth [Eermans, 1993]’ pp. 214-15).  His attack was directed at the lack of convictions and biblical/doctrinal truth that has overtaken the New Evangelical movement and that has displaced theology with psychology and the prescriptions of the modern self movement.  This is not the case with the author of Reclaiming . . . Fundamentalism, but a word of caution is in order.  Without forceful leadership and the aggressive prosecution of a biblical philosophy and agenda, the Fundamentalist will find his vision being challenged by another who is quite militant about his own proposal.  Well’s point is well taken: Servant leadership does not necessitate a benign, non-aggressive stance.  [Emphasis added] 1

A closer look at some other strange “cuts” left by Dr. Bauder’s new axe

Here are some strange “cuts” left from what is supposed to be a Fundamentalist axe.

1.  I do not believe that a Fundamentalist axe speaks of the Gospel as having assumptions and implication as part of its essence.

What is the gospel? Paul described it as the message that Christ died for our sins and rose again (1 Cor. 15:1-8).  The gospel assumes that we have sinned, that our sins have placed us under God’s wrath, and that we cannot save ourselves.  It assumes that Christ is returning to execute God’s judgment upon the living and the dead.  It assumes that Christ is a qualified sin-bearer, i.e., that He is truly divine and truly human, born of a virgin, sinless in His person, and righteous in all His acts.  It assumes that we have an authoritative, inerrant source from which to learn all of these things.  The list of truths that are assumed in or implied by the gospel is quite long, and we do not yet know everything that belongs on it.  What we do know, however, is that these assumptions and implications are extremely important, so important that to deny any one of them is to deny the gospel itself.  These necessary assumptions and implications of the gospel are called the fundamentals.   A fundamental doctrine is precisely a doctrine that is essential to the gospel. 2

With all due respect given to whom it is due, but making such statements in regards to the Gospel on the assumed basis that 1 Corinthians 15 provides the singular, limited, definition of the Gospel reveals an incredibly, ineffective exegesis ability for a seminary president.  The Gospel of Mark itself begins with these instructive words, “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”  Let it be stated without equivocation that the assumptions or implications concerning the Gospel, as Dr. Bauder speaks, are themselves a part of the actual Gospel.

Fundamentalism rejects a theology that says that the Bible contains the Word of God.  It should also reject a theology that places the Gospel on a slippery slope of assumptions and implications.

2.  I do not believe that a Fundamentalist axe would come to these conclusions about the person of the Lord Jesus Christ in response to the Da Vinci Code.

Getting married and begetting children are human activities.  If Jesus had married, He would have been a husband according to His human nature.  If He had begotten children, He would have been a father according to His human nature.  Since the properties of the divine nature do not display themselves in the human nature, Jesus’ children would not have received anything from His divine nature.  They could, perhaps, be called “children of God” in the same sense that Mary can be called “mother of God,” but their nature and constitution would be purely and simply human.  They would not have been miraculous beings.  Since they would have been born from a purely human mother, and since they would not have received Jesus’ divine nature, they would have been sinners, standing in need of salvation.

Some might find it odd to suggest that Jesus’ children (if He had begotten any) would need Him to be their Savior.  Is that really any more unusual, however, than the fact that His mother, Mary, needed Him to be her Savior?  Yet the Bible explicitly states that she acknowledged her need of a Savior (Luke 1:47).

The conclusion seems to be inescapable.  As a genuinely human being, Jesus could have married.  Nothing about His deity would have made a marriage unthinkable.  No moral precept would have prohibited it.  A married Jesus would not be incompatible with biblical Christianity in any way.

Neither would Jesus as a parent.  As a true human, Jesus could have fathered children. Parenthood would not have contradicted His deity.  No moral precept would have prohibited His fatherhood.  His children would have been ordinary human beings, sinners like all others, standing in need of a Savior.  A Jesus who begat children would not contradict biblical Christianity in any way. 3

My Bible tells me,

For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.  He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.  Matthew 19:12

Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.  Hebrews 10:5-7

 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.  Titus 3:9

Years ago while I visited a prominent Washington DC area IFB church, the assistant pastor who led the Sunday School class substituted a video portrayal of the life of Christ in place of a lesson.  The “Christ” in the video was a laughing, prankster type who stepped back out of the reach of a women coming to touch him for healing only then to smile and laugh as he came back close enough for her to be healed.  In the discussion that ensued I noted two important comments.  The first was from a wise old man who said he was offended at such a light, profane portrayal of Christ.  He reminded the class that according to the Scriptures Christ was the Man of Sorrow and also that we are never told in the Scriptures that He laughed.  The second remark was that of a foolish women who retorted, “In my own mind that is how I like to think of Jesus.”  To that retort of hers and to what Dr. Bauder has written I say, “None of us are allowed to think of the Lord Jesus Christ other than as He is revealed in the Scriptures.”

It was not God’s will for Christ to marry; therefore, it is foolishness to discuss its pros or cons.

Furthermore, while Christ was in the flesh, in no way was He given to the experience of being in the flesh.  Being in the flesh was for Him a humiliation not any what a fulfillment.  Yes, He ate food like we must eat food, but I doubt that He ever remarked that anything He ate was exquisitely good.  Things which pertained to His flesh were things to be endured not things to be sought after.

Finally about this subject, there is a direct contradiction in thought to assert as true both that Christ had to be born of a virgin to be sinless and that if He were to reproduce His offspring would be sinful.  If the second part is true, then Christ’s own sinlessness is brought into question because the same thing that would make His own children sinners would have made Him a sinner though He were born of virgin with no earthly father.  If the first part is true, then stating that He would produce sinful offspring likewise brings direct questions against His own sinlessness because that sinful nature in His offspring could only come from Him.

3.  I do not believe that a Fundamentalist axe would opine like this on same-gender attraction.

As we conduct that conversation, one distinction needs to be made clearly. Same-sex attraction is a different matter from homosexuality.  Being tempted with the sin and being a sinner are two different things.

The same is true of opposite-sex attractions, of course.  Married people may find themselves being drawn to individuals other than their spouses.  Such temptations are not in themselves necessarily lustful, nor are they necessarily sinful.  The temptations become sin when they are harbored and acted upon.

and this

My response is that same-sex attractions by themselves are no disqualification from church membership.  They are no disqualification from church office.  They should be no disqualification from the friendship of God’s people.  In fact, same-sex attractions by themselves should not even hinder Christians from entering the marriage covenant and bearing children.

Attractions are things to be managed.  They can be rejected, or they can be dwelt upon and acted upon.  They can be learned and unlearned.  Those who reject them and seek to unlearn them are not to be judged as if they had acted upon them. 4

The Bible clearly states that to arrive at such a place men have first walked a long way from God and so corrupted themselves that God has given them up to a reprobate mind to do things they otherwise would not do.

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. Romans 1:26-28

Dr. Bauder appears to be giving credence to evolutionary science whose consensus is that people are born with same-gender attractions.  The Scripture gives no support to the notion of natural same-gender attraction.

Furthermore, sin is not to be managed and indeed it cannot be.  It is a master over men, and never mastered by them.  Christ’s death and resurrection are the basis for present victory over sin for believers because the power of sin has been broken.

4.  Finally, I do not believe that a Fundamentalist axe denies the ability of the Scriptures to be authoritative in respect to its applications.

Without second-premise arguments, we would not be able to apply Scripture at all.  Because our names do not occur in the text, the applicability of virtually every biblical promise, command, prohibition, and principle depends upon some version of the second-premise argument.  This is true even in the matter of salvation.  Here is an example.

Biblical principle: God commands all humans everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).
Outside premise: I am a human.
Conclusion: God commands me to repent.

This argument is so natural for us that we do not even realize that we are making it.  Unless we did, however, we could not apply the text to our own situation.  The strength of the argument depends upon the certainty of the assertion that we are humans.  Since our confidence in this assertion is unshakable, we regard the application of the text as certain.

Precisely because they do not come from Scripture, second premises are always subject to evaluation.  To question a second premise is not to question biblical authority.  Second premises can and should be examined. 5

Let us pay strict attention to what is being said.  If the Scriptures cannot be applied at all without some second premise arguments, if all second premise arguments are formed extra-Biblically upon mere human frameworks whether that is our faulty human reasonings, our imperfect human sciences, or our deceitful human experiences, and if all applications made thereby are necessarily always subject to human re-evaluation, does it all amount to nothing more than a novel way of undermining Biblical authority?  Confessing that the Scriptures are authoritative but then hedging all of its applications upon human weaknesses makes the confession useless in the end.  Where is the “old axe” whose “cut” left a confident “Thus saith the LORD” in its preaching and teaching?

The failure of the second premise argument can be seen even in the simple, undisputable example provided by Dr. Bauder.  Being a human according to extra-Biblical standards is not as certain as he suggests.  African-Americans (and Native Americans among other groups) were not viewed as humans during a shameful period of American history.  The Constitution did not view them fully human.  There was published science which affirmed they were not.  Sadly, many churches and Christians felt the same way,  If African-Americans were to have relied on Dr. Bauder’s second premise argument to know whether they could be saved, they would have had no confidence in the matter.  (By the way, even today evolutionary science teaches men that they are only a type of animal rather than created in the likeness of God.)  As for me, I am completely confident in my own humanity but not because of science, the testimony of others, or even self-awareness.  I know beyond a shadow of any doubt that I am human in need of salvation because the Bible itself and the witness of the Holy Spirit to the Bible’s truth tell me that I am.

What do all these strange “cuts” by his axe reveal concerning its nature?

Affirming that the Scriptures have absolutely no authoritative application is a “cut” left from an axe, though eerily familiarly to me, it is definitely not the axe of Biblical Fundamentalism.  I remember who it was that taught that the Scriptures were to be subjected to human reasoning, do you?  I also remember what the reaction to that premise was, do you?  Now that some men, who desire to creep in unawares within Biblical Fundamentalism, are attempting to attach a sanitized human reasoning to a novel “ideal” Fundamentalism and promote its prudent use in theology, discerning men see it for what it really is.  It is not the axe that used to be wielded at CBTS and there are more than a few people who knew that this is true.

My brethren, these are serious matters that the faithful Christian cannot ignore.  A fervent and robust defense of the Biblical Faith is still in order especially in light of certain men now publicly declaring that they want the pens and voices of the critics to be silenced.

  1. Dr. Rolland McCune, “A Review Article by Rolland D. McCune, Th.D. of Reclaiming Authentic Fundamentalism by Douglas R. McLachlan (American Association of Christian Schools, 1992), Detroit Theological Baptist Seminary,  Allen Park , MI,  November 1994.
  2. Dr. Kevin T. Bauder, “The Importance of Separation,” In the Nick of Time, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Minneapolis, 4 August 2006.  Viewed at http://www.centralseminary.edu/publications/20060804.pdf.
  3. Dr. Bauder, “The Da Vinci Code, Part EightCould Jesus Marry?” In the Nick of Time, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Minneapolis, 28 April 2006.  Viewed at http://www.centralseminary.edu/publications/20060421.pdf.
  4. Dr. Bauder,”A Brief Interruption: Reflections on an Outing,” In the Nick of Time, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Minneapolis, 2 July 2010.  Viewed at http://www.centralseminary.edu/resources/nick-of-time/222-reflections-on-an-outing.
  5. Dr. Bauder, “Now About Those Differences, Part 7 -Second Premise Arguments,” In the Nick of Time, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Minneapolis,  16 July 2010.  Viewed at http://www.centralseminary.edu/resources/nick-of-time/226-now-about-those-differences-pt-7.

16 Responses to “The ‘Old Axe’ of Fundamentalism at Central Baptist Theological Seminary”

  1. Brian Ernsberger Says:

    Thanks Gordon for the article.

  2. lamentans Says:

    Yes, Gordon, thanks. If ever I doubted Dr. Bauder, I doubt him no longer. As a result of your essays, I am seriously considering increasing my financial support to the seminary under his leadership. Rest assured that he is the primary reason I’m giving the support in the first place.

    Good grief, man, if you’re going to disagree with somebody, at least try to understand him first. Either you don’t understand Dr. Bauder (which just makes you look silly) or you do understand him but you are constructing straw-men to knock down for the benefit of those with more interest in fighting than thinking (which makes you look insidious).

    You are unwittingly making Bauder’s case even better than he can. I thank God that he is standing between men like you and the students there at Central.

    • Gordon Says:

      Lamentans,

      I am not so much interested in gaining a greater understanding of Dr. Bauder as I am of Scriptural truths. If my meeting and getting to know Dr. Bauder is all it would take to change my mind about what he is promoting, I would be a respector of persons rather than faithful to God and His Word. Truth not men’s person is the element of conviction for me.

      Please refrain from derogatory labels in the future as it reveals less than sobermindedness.

  3. Lou Martuneac Says:

    Gordon:

    I have been immensely busy of late, but I do want you to know how much I appreciate your efforts here. This is a needed discussion and uncloaking of what is coming from Kevin Bauder.

    LM

  4. Gordon Says:

    Update:

    I am aware that since January 2011 this post has been getting renewed attention with most reading it via RSS syndication.

    Just today there was an article in the New York Times on MSNBC.com entitled “Gays fight for identity at religious colleges.” There are some important things to note from that article.

    First, the SBC’s largest university Baylor allows open homosexuals to be enrolled.

    “It’s like an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object,” said Adam R. Short, a freshman engineering student at Baylor University who is openly gay and has fought, without success, for campus recognition of a club to discuss sexuality and fight homophobia. . . But the more typical response has come from Baylor, which with 15,000 students is the country’s largest Baptist university, and which has refused to approve the sexuality forum. “Baylor expects students not to participate in advocacy groups promoting an understanding of sexuality that is contrary to biblical teaching,” said Lori Fogleman, a university spokeswoman. Despite the rebuff, more than 50 students continue to hold weekly gatherings of their Sexual Identity Forum, and will keep seeking the moral validation that would come with formal status, said Samantha A. Jones, a senior and president of the group. “The student body at large is ready for this,” said Saralyn Salisbury, Ms. Jones’s girlfriend and also a senior at Baylor. “But not the administration and the Regents.”1

    So much for today’s SBC being a place of conservative evangelicalism where the liberalism of the past has been driven out.

    Second, I find it very telling that the exact principle that Dr. Kevin T. Bauder of CBTS advocates is the same universally recognized and practiced principle of evangelical educational institutions which is that there is a real difference between attractions and behavior.

    Most evangelical colleges say they do not discipline students who admit to same-sex attractions — only those who engage in homosexual “behavior” or “activity.” (On evangelical campuses, sexual intercourse outside marriage is forbidden for everyone.)2

    How long will it be before “Fundamental” academic institutions that have adopted this unbiblical evangelical principle on homosexuality which attempts to make a distinction between same-sex attraction and behavior have the same problems now facing the colleges and universities mentioned in this article?

    1. Erik Eckholm, “Gays fight for identity at religious colleges: Students worry if holding hands could jeopardize scholarships or risk expulsion,” The New York Times, updated April 19, 2011. Retrived on April 19, 2011 from The New York Times on MSNBC.com at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42656837/ns/us_news-the_new_york_times

    2. Ibid.

  5. Lou Martuneac Says:

    Gordon:

    Thanks for keeping this updated along with the trends.

    Lou

  6. Gordon Says:

    Update 2:

    Here ia a link to an AP story about Dr. Albert Mohler of SBTS speaking about homosexuality at a SBC meeting in Phoenix recently- “Mohler says Baptists must repent of homophobia.”

    The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said June 15 that Southern Baptists need to repent of a “form of homophobia” that keeps gays and lesbians out of their churches.

    and

    Writer Jonathan Merritt, a Southern Baptist minister and well-known social critic, quoted Mohler as saying “We’ve lied about the nature of homosexuality and have practiced what can only be described as a form of homophobia,” and “We’ve used the choice language when it is clear that sexual orientation is a deep inner struggle and not merely a matter of choice.”

    Mohler said at the convention “there is no way anyone in fair mindedness can be confused about what I believe about homosexuality,” because he has written more than 200 articles about it, but that “the reality is that we as Christian churches have not done well on this issue.”

    “Evangelicals, thankfully, have failed to take the liberal trajectory of lying about homosexuality and its sinfulness,” Mohler said. “We know that the Bible clearly declares – not only in isolated verses but in the totality of its comprehensive presentation – the fact that homosexuality not only is not God’s best for us, as some try to say, but it is sin.”

    “But we as evangelicals have a very sad history in dealing with this issue,” he continued. “We have told not the truth, but we have told about half the truth. We’ve told the biblical truth, and that’s important, but we haven’t applied it in the biblical way.”

    “We have said to people that homosexuality is just a choice,” Mohler said. “It’s clear that it’s more than a choice. That doesn’t mean it’s any less sinful, but it does mean it’s not something people can just turn on and turn off. We are not a gospel people unless we understand that only the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ gives a homosexual person any hope of release from homosexuality.”

    Mohler said churches have not done their job until “there are those who have been trapped in that sin sitting among us.”

    How do these two statements go together? “We have told not the truth, but we have told about half the truth. We’ve told the biblical truth, and that’s important, but we haven’t applied it in the biblical way.” and “We have said to people that homosexuality is just a choice,” Mohler said. “It’s clear that it’s more than a choice.” How is his statement that homosexuality is “more than a choice” a change in Biblical application towards homosexuals rather than an actually change of the Biblical truth about homosexuality? Where did he and any other person learn that homosexuality was clearly more than a choice? The Scriptures or “science”?

  7. Michael Dunlop Says:

    I believe your comment about black people considering their humanness actually strengthened the point that Bauder was making. Maybe you should read that again, and try to think logically.

    • Gordon Says:

      I disagree.

      I did not suggest that because of a previously faulty second premise African Americans or any others should now consider their humanness on the basis of a different second premise that now affirms it. I said that they should look at the Scripture and rely on the Spirit.

      Let’s think Biblically instead of logically.

      Its the Holy Spirit that affirms God’s truth and its proper personal application to us not our human reasoning of it all.

      • Michael Dunlop Says:

        I stand corrected. I guess I should have read your comment more carefully!

        Nevertheless, I believe Bauder’s point was that we often make decisions with the text too quickly, subconsciously using second-premises that may or may not be accurate. In the case presented, the second premise WAS accurate on the authority of the BIble.

        Bauder’s purpose was not in any way to undermine the authority of the Bible, but to help us accurately interpret and apply it’s authoritative message. Not understanding the fact that we often make subconscious second-premise decisions can lead us to mistakes in application. I think it is silly to call it a “novel way of undermining Biblical authority.” Just saying, “thus says the Lord” is not very helpful if we are misapplying what the Lord says.

        • Gordon Says:

          I must disagree again.

          Let me be clear, I completely reject the idea that second premises are the means to apply Biblical truth. I affirm that the Holy Spirit is the singular means for arriving at the proper application of Scripture.

          You said, “Nevertheless, I believe Bauder’s point was that we often make decisions with the text too quickly, subconsciously using second-premises that may or may not be accurate.” If it is freely admitted that we often make decisions with a text using a second premise that may be inaccurate, what confidence could there ever be that we are now making the right decision with a text in light of a different second premise? If one can be faulty, isn’t it admitting that the next one could be too? When does it end with complete assurance that this time we’ve got the application right because we are finally using the right second premise?

          I do not believe that the application of the God-breathed Scriptures is left to the faultiness of human logic. The Holy Spirit witnesses to the truth and its application.

          My pointing out the serious error of certain men who are directing believers away from a dependence upon the Holy Spirit to human reasoning is by no means “silly”.

        • Michael Dunlop Says:

          Your position seems rather idealistic. People misinterpret and misapply Scripture everyday. Even Spirit-indwelt, Spirit-led people. I agree that it is through the Holy Spirit that we can come to understand Scripture, but He does not illuminate it in a mystical way, but through the human use of thought (logic).

          2 Tim 2:7 “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”

          I believe this “thinking” includes investigating what second premises we are using, and whether or not they are false. We are told to think; to use our minds to find the correct understanding/application of God’s words. Yes, that is subjective, and opens the door for error in our thinking, but it is necessary. That is why God so strongly tells us to THINK throughout Scripture! Logic in interpreting is unavoidable; the question is, how good will your logic be?

          “I do not believe that the application of the God-breathed Scriptures is left to the faultiness of human logic.” It will be to some extent whether or not you want it to be. Even your understanding of interpretation is based on (possibly faulty) logic.

  8. Gordon Says:

    “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things,” means quite obviously to consider the Scriptures not anything else including man’s useless, extra-biblical second premises.

    Timothy was not to waste his time being consumed with his own personal thoughts about what was written, but he was to be consumed with thinking God’s thoughts as there were revealed in the very words Paul wrote.

    I encourage you and all others to do the same.

    Finally, (and I do mean finally) thanks for helping others see and understand with clarity that the second premise means is unequivocally a means that accepts error and a lack of confidence as normative and the best Almighty, Omniscient God could do when it came to how believers, though indwelt by God’s own Spirit, would arrive at the proper applications of His plenary verbal inspired, inerrant, preserved Word.

  9. Gordon Says:

    Mike,

    My “finally” in my previous comment was meant to be a polite way of informing you that I considered the conversation between us on this subject over.  I am not going to allow the comment feature of this blog to be a means for others to promote their unbiblical ideas.  You don’t seem to be interested in learning but instructing.  I did not begin this blog as a means for me to interact with others and learn from them.  It is meant as a place for me to teach some of the things that I have learned to be a help to others.

    For the record again, no matter what example you want to bring to bear upon the subject I do not concede the acceptability of the second premise means as the God-intended means for properly applying His Scriptures.  Your subtle juxtaposing of sugar and tobacco in advancing your argument obviously would beguile some to accept that human reasoning is unavoidable, but you err in it.  A believer doesn’t need “science” to know whether or not to use tobacco.  Isaiah 65:5 makes it fairly plain that smoke is an unwelcome irritant not a sought after pleasure to the nostrils.

    If we want to be honest about the use of second premises as it pertains to applying Scripture, let’s find its actual use in Scripture.  I find that it is the means that led Eve through the beguiling and urging of the subtle serpent to err in her application.  When she turned her thoughts away from the simplicity of what God commanded and began to judge it by other means, she sinned.  (By the way, could it be said that the best “science” of her day assured her that eating the fruit wouldn’t result in her death?  How did that work out for her?  Applications can have consequences for people that can leave them scarred which is exactly why God would not leave it up to us!)

    I believe that in the New Testament the Corinthians would be a good example of a church where second premises would be promoted.  It was by this fleshly-puffed-up-knowledge means that they convinced themselves to eat things offered until idols and accept fornication in their midst among many other things.

    The use of the second premise means while stated as necessary to protect God’s people from error is actually a means to promote error and to cause believers to depart from the proper application of Scriptures in regard to separation from worldliness.

    The Bible is a spiritual book-the very words of God and, therefore, not in any way like the rest of literature produced by man.  The higher critic rejects this truth.  Second premise advocates, in my estimation, are promoting the same kind of error.  This means promotes man’s place and his wisdom and diminishes the place and wisdom of the Spirit.

    1 Corinthians 2:10-14:

    But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

  10. Gordon Says:

    Update 3

    The issue of an evolving position on homosexuality within Evangelicalism continues unabated.

    Here is a link to an AP news story about another change this time with Exodus International.  Here are a few important excerpts:

    The president of the country’s best-known Christian ministry dedicated to helping people repress same-sex attraction through prayer is trying to distance the group from the idea that gay people’s sexual orientation can be permanently changed or “cured.”

    “I do not believe that cure is a word that is applicable to really any struggle, homosexuality included,” said Chambers, who is married to a woman and has children, but speaks openly about his own sexual attraction to men. “For someone to put out a shingle and say, ‘I can cure homosexuality’ – that to me is as bizarre as someone saying they can cure any other common temptation or struggle that anyone faces on Planet Earth.”

    It is impossible for a man to cure himself or another person of homosexuality, but nothing is impossible with God.  There is a reason why things in the Bible don’t work for people, but the problem isn’t the Scriptures.  The problem is a lack of faith in what God has said.  It is so predictable for men to make God at fault for what is solely man’s lack of faith.

  11. Gordon Says:

    I read an article today at the FBFI’s blog about homosexuality.  The author referenced material from Life Ministries of NY.  Here is an article written by Joanne Highley on the subject on homosexual desire.  You can read it here.  Here are a few snippets for your consideration.

    Within the past month on the television broadcast of 20/20 there were three ministries that help people out of homosexuality represented and they put forth the message that people who have homosexual desire for the same sex will always have that desire and the need then is only to learn to choose not to act on those inherent desires. This is departure from the scriptures in that we are called to be holy as He is holy, to be purified, to be washed, sanctified ( set apart for holy use) and justified (made as if we had not sinned). As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

    What is causing this radical departure from the scriptural model of Christian sexuality? A man came to our ministry and had been to the Exodus conference. (Exodus International is an umbrella agency of many Christian ministries who are working to set people free from homosexuality. L.I.F.E. is not a member of Exodus.) This man was told that he would always have homosexual desires and would have to learn to resist them. One of our women from L.I.F.E. was invited to a “pajama party” of women who are working to be set free from homosexuality in an Exodus ministry. Another man in our ministry was told at an Exodus ministry that he would have to hug all the men in the group when he arrived for the meetings. These are unthinkable stances here at L.I.F.E. But we have seen the seeds of this false view for many years. The teaching of Elizabeth Moberly began this trend to address homosexuality as a development deficit caused by not getting healthy same-sex parental relationships. She went further to the belief that this deficit could be taken care of by healthy same-sex relationships. She went ever further in her book, “Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic: “At this point it may be asked why, if the homoemotional drive is the solution to the problem, the problem is not often actually resolved in homosexual relationships. The first point to note is that such resolution can take place, and may well have done so more often then is known.” Her extremely false premise is that the homosexual drive is entirely made up of positive needs that are unmet leaving out the entire sin aspect of this problem. If her premise were true then healthy same sex relationships could address the problem. But sin enters in the ungodly reactions to pain in childhood that want to do something bad because of being so hurt. There is demonic power as well that makes suggestions when the countenance falls. Just like Cain of old, sin crouches at the door, but we must master it. Homosexuality is relationship addiction in which the relationship becomes god and that is the sin of idolatry. 1

    Further down in the article she wrote this.

    Yes, there is an intoxication involved in sexual desire and this scripture shows us that there is a trap to sin and it is Satan’s trap. They need to come to their senses, meaning they had temporarily gone out of their mind with ungodly desires. We who have known the irrationality and unreality of homosexuality understand this condition. Our thinking does become futile (worthless, useless,frivolous, incapable of producing any results) as it states in Romans I, and our foolish (absurd, ridiculous, irrational) hearts are darkened (made devoid of light and truth) as we contemplate ungodly desires. If homosexual desire is not sin, why do the scriptures say so often that God searches the thoughts and the heart. In Genesis 6:5 it says, “The Lord saw the wickedness of men was great in the earth and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually.” So the Lord destroyed all mankind in the Flood. In I Samuel 16:7 it says,”…for the Lords sees not as man sees, for man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart.” Revelation 3:23 states, “Then all the churches will know that I am He who searches hearts and minds and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Luke 2:35 says,”This child (Jesus) is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be spoken against so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.” I Chronicles 28:9 states “…for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.” I Peter l:22 says,”Since by your obedience to the Truth through the Holy Spirit you have purified your hearts for sincere affection of the brethren, see that you love one another fervently from a pure heart. ( Amplified Version)

    This teaching of freedom from both the activity and the evil desires of homosexuality that we at L.I.F.E. espouse is thoroughly substantiated in scripture and is truly the central position from which people can be set free. We must not deviate from it in the least because in all addiction the feelings of the person seem too strong to be overcome. But that is the lie in the emotions and it is constantly reinforced by demonic suggestion. “Go ahead, you’ll never be free anyway” is the devil’s whisper in your ear. God stands with you in clear opposition to that trap by saying “For nothing is impossible with God!” (Luke 1:37) “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) 2

    Not being any what knowledgeable of Life Ministries beyond what is presented here, please don’t take from this a recommendation of them.  I included these quotes to show that there is a real and distinct difference between the position this article sets forth and that of Dr. Bauder and Dr, Mohler and a growing chorus in “conservative” Evangelicalism.  However, what matters more to me is the difference between this growing chorus of voices and the Scriptures.

    1. Joanne Highley, “Is Homosexual Desire a Sin?” L.I.F.E.: Living in Freedom Eternally (Life Ministry blog), published November 2007, accessed at http://www.lifeministry.org/homosexual-desire-sin on 20 August 2012.
    2. Ibid.

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