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The answer to "Who Said This?"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

In my last post, I posted a comment that I had recently read and asked people to guess who was the author. I also asked whether you agree with the comment or not.

The quote was:

"Separation is not isolation, it is contact without contamination."

No one guessed it, although some of the guesses were pretty good. Andy Efting's guess of J. Vernon McGee was pretty good, I thought, as both individuals had significant radio ministries and commentaries on every book and the commentaries from both are more on a "popular" level than on a "deep" level.

A couple of you commented that you would like more context in determining whether you agreed with the statement or not. I think there is wisdom in that, so I will give the context for the three places I found it.

The quote is from Warren Wiersbe and shows up in a discussion on 1 Peter 2, Psalm 1, and in a book entitled God Isn't In a Hurry.

The first place I found this was attributed to Wiersbe in a discussion of 1 Peter 2:5. Unfortunately, there was no context to this use.

After looking it up, I found this quoted in a discussion on Psalm 1:1

The context of the quote in Psalm 1:1:

First, we must be separated from the world (v. 1). The world is anything
that separates us from God or causes us to disobey Him. Separation is not
isolation but contact without contamination. Sin is usually a gradual process.
Notice the gradual decline of the sinner in verse 1. He is walking (Mark 14:54),
standing (John 18:18) and then sitting (Luke 22:55).

The last place I found it was quoted from Warren Wiersbee's book, God Isn't In a Hurry.
A church on the move must confront reality and meet people where they are.
Separation is not isolation--it is contact without contamination. Jesus
was the friend of publicans (tax collectors) and sinners. Many church
members don't have any unsaved friends, or if they do, they keep them at a
distance. Jesus was crucified outside Jerusalem, where the crowd was so
cosmopolitan that the inscription on his cross had to be written in three
languages. Many churches today have abandoned the marketplace and spend
their time reminding one another of the gospel. -- Warren Wiersbe, God Isn't in
a Hurry
(Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994), p. 89.

In the lack of context of the first quote, I would have to say that I have concern for the statement without any context.

I would obviously agree with the idea that we can impact the world without being contaminated by the world.

I do wonder about a couple of things regarding the quote, however.

1. The picture of Haggai 2 seems to point out that connecting something holy to that which is unholy does not make the unholy thing holy, but instead makes the holy thing unholy. (The example is of the priest's garment and dead bodies.) This would clearly indicate that the type of contact is definitely in play in regards to this concept.

2. I am not sure that "contact without contamination" is really an accurate description of "separation." While it may be true that we need to have appropriate contact with those that are lost, etc., I really don't see how this relates to separation. In other words, I think by juxtaposing the two ideas "separation" and "contact with contamination", he is bringing into the idea of separation that which is not really relevant.

The NT idea of separation seems to be more restrictive than simply "don't be contaminated." For instance, in 2 Corinthians 6, where we are told to be separate, the same context includes "touch not the unclean thing." And the question of "what fellowship hath light with darkness"?

Anyway, thanks for participating. I may add more later, but I need to get to bed.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

Who Said This? Plus some

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

From time to time some blogs I visit include a little game of "Who Said This?" or "Name that Quote" or whatever you want to call it.

I came across a quote today that I thought was worthy of being used in such a situation, but with a twist.

First, the quote.

"Separation is not isolation, it is contact without contamination."

Second, the game.

Who said the above quote? (No goodsearching, googling, etc.)

Third, the "Plus some"

Do you agree with this quote? Why or why not?

Have some fun,

Frank

My Thoughts on a Glorious Concert

Monday, November 17, 2008

My family and I recently enjoyed a great concert with the Bob Jones University Symphonic Band. I wrote this post the next day, but I have not had the right computer connected to the internet since then to post this article.

Recently, on a Tuesday night, my family and I had the privilege of attending a concert by the Bob Jones University Symphonic Band at Faith Baptist Church in Salisbury. We had a great time as we were able to enjoy the majestic sounds of the band as they played such great numbers as Crown Him with Many Crowns, Like a River Glorious, How Great Thou Art, and The King of Love My Shepherd Is. The music was excellent and filled the auditorium. It was also neat at some points to be able to sing with the symphonic band, although the nature of the band in the setting was such that you could sing as loud as you desired and no one was probably going to hear you (a good thing for those surrounding me.)

In addition to the great music, conductor Dan Turner did an excellent job of both keeping the evening very balanced and interesting. In the early beginning section, the music featured a selection of patriotic numbers such as This is My Country and God Bless America. During this time, Dr. Turner kept things light-hearted as he took some time to help educate the listeners by going through and introducing all the different instruments and having the band members demonstrate the various instruments. The whole presentation of the various instruments was done in such a way that it was enjoyable - tidbits were included, the few seconds of each instrument playing were generally of things funny and/or familiar (the Flintstones, Mario, etc.). The tidbits about the instruments were also a mix of interest and humor. For instance, he explained the way that a clarinet makes its sound and talked about the reed that is used, which is only grown in a place in France. He also talked about the fact that if you stretched out the French Horn (I think) it would be 18 feet long - although he commented on it with humor to this effect: "If you were to take the French Horn and connect it to the bus and drive the bus so that it stretched out the instrument, that would probably be a good thing - and it would reach about 18 feet." (Not an exact quote, but close.)

When the group moved towards the sacred numbers, an appropriate change in tone took place and explanations regarding some of the truths of the messages of the songs were given. At times we were encouraged to read the words in the hymn book as the band played the song so that we could get a fuller effect of the message being played. It was very well done and very appropriately done.

My children liked it so much that my nine-year old daughter used her hard-earned money to buy a CD which she has played which she has regularly played as she went to bed since then -and they begged me to bring them back to the school the next day as the BJU Symphonic Band was going to give another concert for Faith Baptist Academy on Wednesday morning. I let them talk me into it and we went and the band played a completely different selection of music and did another wonderful job. They even introduced all of the instruments again, but even that varied in a lot of ways from the presentation the night before to keep up interest of those (like us) who were there for both concerts.

It was a great night and a great morning. Thank you, BJU for your willingness to send out a team like this to be a blessing and encouragement. Thank you, Faith Baptist Church, for you ability to and willingness to host such a group. We enjoyed it very much.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

Some Veteran's Day Thoughts

Monday, November 10, 2008

Today, November 11, is the day in the United States of America when we celebrate Veteran's Day.

Over a year ago, I started an extra blog entitled, Daily Quotes and Illustrations. This blog is an attempt to put together quotes from a variety of sources and on a variety of topics together in a place where I and others could easily access them. Each quotes is catagorized by topic (or topics) and speaker. (And yes, unlike here, there are advertisements from Google ads on that site - I established it when I was trying to figure out if I could find a way to make some extra income - I would still like to do so, but it doesn't look like blogging is going to be able to accomplish that).

Anyway, I posted this comment from President Ronald Reagan in regards to Veteran's Day and thought I would share it here as well. There are also a number of other patriotic quotes from various sources among the many quotes over at Daily Quotes and Illustrations.

It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our
country in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers
in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers,
grave and gray-haired. But most of them were boys when they died; they gave up
two lives — the one they were living and the one they would have lived. When
they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and
grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up
everything for their county, for us.All we can do is remember.- Ronald Wilson
Reagan Remarks at Veteran's Day ceremony, Arlington National Cemetery,
Arlington, Virginia, November 11, 1985.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has a nice Veteran's Day site that includes a lot of good information about Veteran's Day - including a History of Veteran's Day.

Thank you to all who have served and to who all the families of those who served.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

The American Republic voted today

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I may have some of my own thoughts regarding the election in an upcoming post, but I wanted to share this for now.

Michael Hammond, a lawyer with Cramer, Price and de Armas in Florida who is the brother-in-law of my former Youth Pastor and has served as Special Counsel to the Florida House of Representatives (1991-2001) posted these words in a note on Facebook yesterday. I thought some of my readers may appreciate these words.

The American Republic Voted Today

On a cold day in January the most powerful political figure in the world, The President of the United States of America, will voluntarily relinquish the reigns of power and become, once again, an ordinary citizen. At the same time the most powerful political figure in the world, The President of the United States of America, will take up the reigns of power.

Perspective is a powerful thing. The founders had it. We have a republic in which the peaceful transfer of power occurs every 4 to 8 years. We are blessed.

I have a friend who was born and raised in Zimbabwe. Her mother still lives there. My conversations with her reinforce my appreciation for the great country in which we live. Unlike other countries, we follow an idea, a philosophy of limited government controlled by the governed. We do not follow personalities or demagogues.

Whether your candidate wins today or not, the Republic will go on. Our reasoned discourse can continue as long as we commit ourselves to it. We have the power to reject the shouting heads on TV (they used to be talking heads, now they mostly shout) and converse constructively with each other about the important issues of the day. We have that power because we live by founding principles that give us that power.

My friends, let the journey continue.

Just someone else's thoughts,

Frank

Some more reflections - in response to a question

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Andy Rupert, a friend and OBF member who blogs over at Isle Kerguelen, made a comment on my post regarding the Pillsbury situation and then followed up his comment with an email request for me to elaborate. Since the comments of old posts often get ignored and since the length of this is really more of a post than a comment, I thought I would go ahead and make this comment a post (as well as including it in the comments of the Reflections post).

Before I do so, I would remind you of two things I said in the post in which Andy's comments are found.

I am saddened to hear of the demise of Pillsbury. It has had a great heritage and I am concerned for the students, faculty, and staff members of the institution. I imagine it is especially difficult for some who have poured their hearts and lives into this ministry and have prayed for them during this time.

and

Historically it has often been the institutions of the movement who have been used of God to propagate, promote, defend and expand the idea. While I recognize that God does not need a particular institution, I believe it would be wise for those of us who hold to the idea of Fundamentalism to seek to do what we can to pray for, encourage, support and strengthen (including providing correction where necessary) those institutions that also hold to the idea.
Now for the comment and the reply.

Andy's comment was the following:

From my quick read through Dr. Bauder's article, I think I agree with his assessment. For instance, when he writes about the idea being greater than what the movement created, I think he has it right. See the following quotation:

"If we are going to talk about saving fundamentalism, then let us be clear that the thing we need to save is the idea. All of our associations, colleges, seminaries, mission agencies, preachers’ fellowships, networks, alignments, and coalitions are of value only to the extent that they maintain and perpetuate the idea. If they are not propagating the idea, then let them perish."

In the follow-up email, he asked about my concerns regarding the Bauder article on Pillsbury Baptist Bible College. Below is my response (with some slight alterations).

Andy,

I think a couple relevant quotes may help here.

From my post: Even though I would agree with Dr. Bauder that the "idea" is more important than the "movement", I think we may be jumping the gun on the movement.

To use the Pillsbury demise as a chance to claim even the "movement" is dead is a stretch that seems unsupportable in light of the three evidences I included in my post.

Also, from my post that I linked to in this post:

I am not arguing for the movement, so much as the idea, as properly understood. I would say, however, and this is important, that those who genuinely subscribe to the idea of Fundamentalism will not find themselves without some fellowship within the "movement" of Fundamentalism (as broadly understood). I would also say that often (not necessarily always) those guys who claim to be retaining the "idea" of Fundamentalism while shedding the "movement" tend to reveal that they have abandoned more than the "movement" when one examines their ministries and considers the associations that they do make.

While Bauder is not an example of this personally, my experience has been that the YFs are eating up the "anti-movement" comments from Bauder and others, while not holding to the idea - resulting in the worst of both worlds.

My initial reading of quotes like the one you gave by Bauder was also favorable, until I begin to think through them more.

It sounds great and elicits an initial "Amen" when Bauder writes, "If we are going to talk about saving fundamentalism, then let us be clear that the thing we need to save is the idea. All of our associations, colleges, seminaries, mission agencies, preachers’ fellowships, networks, alignments, and coalitions are of value only to the extent that they maintain and perpetuate the idea. If they are not propagating the idea, then let them perish."

However, upon further reflection, I think statements like this may actually be part of the problem, because of what it implies and what it leaves out.

First, the implication of the statement:

It implies that Fundamentalists are interested in saving Fundamentalist institutions no matter whether they support the idea of Fundamentalism or not. This seems to be creating an animal that doesn't exist - or at least exists so rarely as to be listed on the endangered species list. Are people in the OBF clamoring for Cedarville to be preserved? Of course not? Fundamentalist are not interested in saving the historically Fundamentalists institutions that are no longer Fundamentalist - either the ones like Cedarville that have headed in the direction of repudiating Biblical separation or the ones like HAC that are off on a KJVO/easy believism tangent. There may be interest in RESCUING them by some, but not just in preserving them in their current wrong direction. I would hope that there is interest amongst those in the OBF of strengthening the OBF and of preserving the Visitor, etc., not because the OBF wants to be "king of the hill of Fundamentalism", but because it recognizes that it has an important role in presenting a united and outspoken voice for Biblical Fundamentalism. No one fits the description that Bauder is arguing against - no one in "mainstream Fundamentalism" is clamoring to save the bad institutions just for the sake of saving them.

Second, the omission of the statement:

While Bauder supports the idea of letting the institutions that don't hold to the idea of Fundamentalism perish, he makes little argument for supporting those institutions that do continue to hold strongly to true Fundamentalism. This omission leaves us with a vacuum. While the internet is starting to change some of this by giving the little guys a voice, the reality is that it has been historically the institutions of Fundamentalism that have had the "bully pulpit" to expound, promote, and encourage others in their understanding of the idea of Fundamentalism. It is the united voice of the OBF - a Fundamentalist institution - allows for this idea to be sounded out with a louder sound than the solo pastor of a small church would be able to sound it out. Historically, it has been those who have had a voice - either because they were representative of something larger than themselves (such as an institution like the OBF, the FFBC, the ACCC, or the mission boards or the various colleges or seminaries) or because their voice was somehow promoted and spread (e.g. Luther and the press - or even Ashbrook and Here I Stand) that have been able to promote the idea of Fundamentalism - or at least to have had effectiveness in doing so. Surely there have been plenty of small church pastors who have preached messages and taught their people the Biblical doctrine of separation, but which of those influenced you or the other young men out there? In general, no one even hears of these warriors and instead it is the ones who are somehow involved with an institution that have been used to articulate the position to a greater audience. I was influenced by Pastor Ashbrook through his writing long before I ever met him in person. I was influenced by Dr. Pickering even though I never met him personally. These men were able to make an influence on me, in part, because they had a voice - and it was, in part, their involvement with the institutions of Fundamentalism that gave them that voice - or at least allowed that voice to be able to be spread where I could hear it. When we make an argument that the institutions are not that important, we should think a little about the implication of such a point. Even Kevin Bauder, who writes much that I generally like and appreciate is being heard because of his role in a Fundamentalist institution.

Now that I have rambled, let me get back to my specifics in regards to the Pillsbury article.

I believe that Bauder's whole premise in the article is fatally flawed. Dr. Bauder wrote, "Pillsbury Baptist Bible College is a microcasm of what is happening within institutional fundamentalism everywhere." Really? He does not support this idea at all in his article, he just lays it out there as though it is self-evident. The problem with that is that ignores the facts right in Pillsbury's "back yard" - Maranatha and Northland have grown incredibly during the same time that Pillsbury has dwindled. Rather than use the Pillsbury situation to address the real issues with Pillsbury, it was used as an evidence that "the mainstream of historic fundamentalism is dwindling."

I don't have a problem with him not going after the issues that seem to have led to Pillsbury's demise - I probably would not have touched on them if I had been in his situation and would not have commented here or at SI if it were not for Dr. Bauder's article. I do have a problem with using that demise as an evidence for something that it is not.

If we were to see a similar pattern at the other schools, he may be able to make the case he tried to make. But as it stands, I think his premise is way off.

BTW, I seriously meant what I wrote about praying for the folks at Pillsbury. One of my groomsmen was a former teacher there and I believe the later presidents really tried to do a good job of turning the ship back around. Clearly there were multiple reasons for the demise of Pillsbury. I think Dr. McCune (or was it his son) is correct that part of the problem was probably the vacuum of leadership created by Clearwaters' departure. I think a large part of it was the alienation of its support base due to the (at least perceived) leftward lurch under Potter (which is not all on Potter, btw, it also raises questions about the board in general in selecting him). I am sure part of it was the fact that there was healthy competition nearby. I imagine some of it may have been due to various financial pressures - especially with the upkeep of a campus that was as old as Pillsbury.

For those who have tried to deny the effect of the leftward lurch, I think they need to recognize that this did play a key role. If we as a church gave out copies of The Visitor and then all of the sudden Chris started using it to espouse Open Theism, I would not put out copies of The Visitor anymore and I would be very wary of ordering it again unless I had complete confidence that Chris had gotten the axe and someone I really knew I could trust (e.g. Pastor Ashbrook himself) was back at the helm.

The same principle works the other way, btw. Notice the Democrats response to Joe Liberman. Eight years ago, he was their Vice Presidential nominee. Two years ago he was defeated in his own party's primary because he did not agree with the Dems radical anti-war sentiment. Now that he spoke at the Republican Convention and has campaigned for McCain, they are talking about putting him out of the caucus (unless they need his vote to prevent a filibuster). What do you think the chances would be of him speaking at the Democratic Convention in four years? Let alone being their Presidential or Vice Presidential Nominee.

Anyway, I have probably said too much. I hope this clarifies. Feel free to ask me if I did not answer part of what you were asking.

In Christ,

Frank Sansone