I have been asked to address the Annual Fellowship of the Foundations Baptist Fellowship International in June, 2018, in Troy, Michigan, on this topic: “The Legitimate Concerns of the Next Generation (An Objective Analysis).”
Now, every Christian worships within some tradition or other, even if some don’t like to admit it because it threatens their claim to be the only true tradition! The tradition I was handed in God’s providence has often been one such tradition, but I don’t think it has to be: independent Baptist fundamentalism. To be clear, because that tradition has split over the KJV, I’m in the 25% (?) of that tradition that values education* and is decidedly not KJV-Only.
No one wants to take the title “fundamentalist” in public (good thing this blog is so obscure), and I’m not unaware that the title is both fraught and fought over—and despised by almost everybody. I’m all too aware that the label lumps me in with sectarians and other people I’m not proud of, and puts an artificial gap between me and other believers whose books and blogs I actually read. Please find me a label that avoids all these faults and still lets me love the people who nurtured me and carry on what’s valuable in our tradition, and I’ll happily take it, and probably already do. (There is, yes, the added problem that the label is associated with Muslim terrorism—and that’s why I helped [a little] move my “denomination” toward a new moniker, the Foundations Baptist Fellowship.)
But as I’ve explained before, I can’t deny the good I got out of this tradition. And I not infrequently hear evangelicals lamenting that they lack the very things my tradition has given me (here’s another example). I’d like to see a revitalization of my tradition, and that requires some shoptalk for those of us who have been shaped by it. Other readers are welcome to listen in, but I’d ask that only those who know what I’m talking about already and fit the intended demographic would take the survey I’m about to describe.
I’m running the informal survey below because I want to represent the “The Legitimate Concerns of the Next Generation.” I’ve been asked to do so—which speaks well of the previous generation(s). So this survey is meant for people who have been shaped by American Protestant Christian fundamentalism and still find themselves either within or not too far from that tradition. But I make no attempt to be scientific; I won’t be presenting stats (the last effort to do this ten-plus years ago was, in my judgment, a failure when it tried to do that but was still valuable for other reasons). I’m just trying to listen. I am asking that no one submit an anonymous survey—for your sake: I find it is not healthy. But I promise I will not use your name in any article or presentation without your permission. Please feel free to be honest, but I encourage you to aim for persuasion, not venting. Write with an audience of older (non-KJV-Only) FBFI members in mind. Write in a gracious and godly way calculated to influence them and appeal to them, because you may.
*To say we value education more than our KJV-Only brothers is not an insult; it is an empirical observation of the credentials of their Bible college faculty vs. ours, and I’ve done the study to back it up. Contact me privately if you’re interested in seeing the stats.