I haven’t listened to the audio from Calvary Baptist Seminary’s Advancing the Church conference yet, as it wasn’t available until yesterday or so. I started listening to the panel sessions, and plan to listen to most of the messages. I have been reading several reactions to the conference, however, and I wanted to make my readers aware of the conference and the discussion it has generated.
The conference featured fundamentalist leaders Dr. Dave Doran (pastor of Inter-City Baptist Church and president of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, both in Allen Park, MI), Dr. Kevin Bauder (president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Minneapolis, MN), Dr. Tim Jordan (pastor of of Calvary Baptist Church in Lansdale, PA) and Dr. Sam Harbin (president of Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary in Lansdale, PA). The guest of note, and the keynote speaker, however, was Dr. Mark Dever (pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC and president of 9 Marks Ministries). Mark Dever, is a leader in the Southern Baptist Convention and is not a fundamentalist (in the sense of the fundamentalist movement common in independent Baptist churches). Mark Dever is a leader among the conservative evangelicals, and his ministry focuses on equipping local churches and promoting historic Baptist church polity.
So at ATC, we had Fundamentalists and Evangelicals Together! Well, at least one evangelical, together. I don’t know if the acronym FET will work as well as the one which marks another contemporary Church phenomenon (ECT)**. And furthermore, I am not sure what we have here is any kind of official convergence bringing opposing factions closer to a mutual agreement. But I, for one, am encouraged by the participation of Mark Dever in the ATC conference, and the fellowship that was shared publicly and in private between the fundamentalist leaders mentioned and Mark Dever.
To help understand what happened at ATC, the following news reports will help.
Baptist Bulletin has three articles reporting on the conference:
- “Shake Hands Often”: Mark Dever at Calvary Baptist Seminary, Lansdale, Pa.
- “Why Are You Here?”: Panel Discussion at Advancing the Church Conference
- “Less about Doing, More about Being”: Reflecting on What Has Changed
Brian McCrorie and a few others, contributed several summaries of the panel sessions and individual sessions on the Sharper Iron Event Blog. Click here for all the Event Blog posts, and click here for Brian’s concluding thoughts about his experience at ATC.
Dr. Kevin Bauder gave his reflections, which amounts to a very long blog post detailing his own personal conclusions, presently, about Fundamentalists working together with Evangelicals. For those wondering if Kevin is ready to eject from fundamentalism, this should answer your question with a resounding NO. Personally, I think Kevin Bauder is defining separation to broadly and ready to apply it to quickly — but that’s my general take on most of fundamentalism in general. If you’re interested you can see a bit of an exchange between yours truly and Dr. Bauder in the comments under that long post. I think Dr. Bauder clarifies himself but I still disagree.
Here is the link to where you can freely download the conference audio. Warning the file sizes are quite big.
Let me know if you have any thoughts on this. I’m interested to hear if anyone attended this conference or has listened to some of the audio/followed the blog conversation thus far. Are we looking at an eventual collusion between conservative evangelicals like Mark Dever and fundamentalists? Personally, I think both groups could be improved through such a scenario.
**I should note, that I am not in favor of the goals of Evangelicals and Catholics Together.
~cross-posted from my personal blog, FundamentallyReformed.com