During the last year or so there has been a concerted effort by several men advocating the premise that while there are fundamentalists there is no longer a movement of fundamentalism.

One of the reasons put forward in support of this premise is the “fractured state” of said fundamentalism.

We are then encouraged to consider the necessity of “making fresh applications” of our understanding of separation to the current milieu. Examples of such “fresh applications” involve limited endeavors with “conservative evangelicals.”

It’s interesting, then, to listen to one such conservative evangelical, John Piper, talk about “all kinds of movements” many of which “don’t know the other exists” yet all fall under the umbrella of the “Gospel-Centered Movement.”

Note that Piper calls this a “movement” both at the beginning (0:36ff) and end (3:37) of this video. Despite the fact that such individuals don’t know each other and are across a variety of theological and ecclesiological grids, they are yet constituted a movement.

This, however, is not the point of this video clip. Piper’s point is that there is a disconnect that exists in many who rejoice in the majesty of God as they study Scripture and worship but not in various aspects of their personal lives (he hits things like movies and immodest clothing–hey, wait a minute–I thought only “fundies” hit on those things?).

This disconnect occurs because of a failure in the doctrine and application of God’s holiness, i.e. separation. Separation is inherent in the doctrine of God, but its necessary practical ramifications (some of which are correctly noted by Piper) are either ignored or dismissed by such “Gospel-centered” adherents and followers. This is probably one of the primary concerns I’ve had when hearing the “gospel-centered” mantra for the last couple of years.

This failure in the area of separation (both personal and ecclesiastical aspects) is one of the main problems that I have with my separatist brethren entering into endeavors with such men.

Back to my initial point–while I do agree in principle that we should be concerned with Scripture and not movements per se, I do not agree that one can act as if no movements exist. It almost seems as if by getting the “movement” idea out of the way, that opens up and/or justifies the “fresh applications” approach.

One comment

  1. Interesting post.

    The idea of movements and how personal holiness is manifested within a particular movement seems to be pretty diverse. It appears that many will unite around the tier one ideas but after that things fall apart pretty quickly. But can we still unite when a movement does not adhere to the same separation standards? In theory sure but in practicality, it doesn’t always play out that way. Our understanding of grace really gets pushed on…

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