Resurgence roundup, 5/24/13
Fri May 24, 2013
The places grace empowers us
Thu May 23, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
‘Each next risk is the biggest one’: James MacDonald talks with Mark Driscoll
Wed May 22, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
From prison to ReTrain: Russell’s story
Mon May 20, 2013
The Reformed Resurgence: Fundamentalists
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 Fundamentalismin 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 He delivered a stinging rebuke to fundamentalists who had withdrawn from these public arenas that so recently became inhospitable to Bible believers.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.
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.
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.