Dr. Lance Ketchum, director of Midwest Independent Baptist Pastors’ Fellowship, laid out some “defining points” for distinguishing between various expressions of “Fundamentalism” and “who” and “what” any good IFBer worth his salt should separate from. He writes,
However, when it comes to separation, I would separate from MacArthur simply because of his Resolve Conference if nothing else. I would separate from him because of his Lordship Salvation. I would separate from him because he rejects Congregational Polity.
I certainly am speaking only for myself, and in no official capacity, but as one who attends Grace Community Church and has worked closely with John MacArthur’s ministries for at least 20 years, I believe I can confidently say we would welcome his separation.
That is because Dr. Ketchum represents that crude form of fundamentalism that we at GCC have come to recognize is insidious, producing nothing but disaster for any genuine spiritual growth and maturity.
Sadly, the adherents to Dr. Ketchum’s form of “Fundamentalism” have been duped into embracing a largely phony spirituality that weighs a person down with personal preference convictions that masquerade as genuine holiness.
Additionally, individuals who practice his “Fundamentalism” have created an imaginary “concentration camp” of sorts that is governed by pastoral strong men who rule over souls with an iron fist insisting folks adopt and work out every one of those preference issues or face the severe displeasure of God almighty.
Ultimately, this view of sanctification leads the practitioner to paranoid despair, because it is believed that if a person doesn’t read the KJV 1611, or dress a certain way, or spend every moment of free-time attending church, or listens to any “unapproved” preachers, or reads any “banned” authors, etc, God will scowl down at him from heaven and the person risks a nasty smiting or a severe divine wedgie.
Regrettably, a number of those individuals who have the fortitude to free themselves from such sanctified tyranny, grow into bitterness. They abandon Christianity all together, or develop a proctologist view of fundamentalism by either joining the ranks of disgruntled survivor blogger types or adopting heterodox views of the Faith that is found among the so-called Emergent “fellowships.” Of course, those groups are just as damaging to their souls as the Independent Fundamentalism they fled, but years of scarring by their legalistic shackles have desensitized them to that reality.
Thankfully, there are others, however, who realize Dr. Ketchum’s view of “Fundamentalism” doesn’t truly reflect biblical “Fundamentalism” and so they strike out to where they can find true solace in the teaching and preaching of sound men. They have a lot of detox to go through in order to retrain their minds for thinking rightly, but God graciously helps them.
Knowing a handful of those folks who came from that level of oppressive spirituality and seeing the significant toll it has taken upon their lives and that of their families, you can understand when I say to Dr. Ketchum, “Don’t let the fellowship hall door bump your bottom on the way out.”