Thursday, 19 September 2013



What is a #Neo? If a Fundamentalist is said to be “an Evangelical looking for a fight,” then a #Neo (short for Neo or New Evangelical) is an Evangelical not looking for a fight. He wants to live in peace with every heretic going, no matter how modernist and Christ denying that false teacher may be. The #Neo poster boy for decades was Billy Graham who brought all kinds of unclean birds into his cage (including the Pope of Rome) and paraded them as spiritual leaders to be listened to and sent his converts back into their grasps.

Another slightly tongue-in-cheek definition of a #Neo is simply someone who disagrees with your position, particularly if he is to the left of you. After you have branded him a compromiser, but maybe don’t want to damn him in Hell as an apostate (why crack a nut with a sledgehammer?) then accuse him of being a #Neo and that should sort him out.

It is a word that comes up regularly among my #IFB friends on Twitter. The above tweet by #Coop and RTed (effectively seconded) by #McG and others is standard fare. 

The trouble is, though, that these folks never really give you a serious definition of a #Neo. I suggest that the reason for such neglect is strictly practical and pragmatic. Learn to see beyond their "principles" talk. The tweet below, again with the usual suspects RTing it (including some of my erstwhile friends) shows the problem.

 Maybe the problem is that we need to identify the "Fundamentalist" first and then if you fail to measure up there, then you can be pigeon holed into the #Neo box and avoided. 

Can a Calvinist be a Fundamentalist? I claim to be both, although I feel more comfortable with the first and find myself having to qualify myself more and more on the second. I am a classic Fundamentalist in the line of Calvinists like Gresham Machen and BH Carroll and non Calvinist, but Calvinist appreciating preachers, like Harry Ironside etc., but nowhere near this crowd. Please. (Start about 2 mins and 30 secs in and keep going) If Calvinists can be identified as Fundamentalist, then obviously the "Satanic Calvinism" bit cannot be true. It defies everything the God honoured Fundamentalist is said to stand for. See tweet below for classic example of the old hatred by #Delp: 


Does a man need to be a Non Calvinist to be a Fundamentalist? Must he be a Baptist and in particular an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (#IFB) in order to be a Fundamentalist? Can he be a Fundamentalist without being #KJVO? Can he be a Fundamentalist without giving long drawn out appeals to come to "warm and full altars"  every meeting? 

I accept it is easy to ask questions. Answers take a little more time, but they are needed. It is one thing to run the "#oldpaths" flag up the pole (another subject I must blog on when I get time) - it is another to abominate those who refuse to doff their hat to you. If you are going to abominate folk, then you need to state why and show how you live out your own tightly drawn creed. 

Spurgeon gets positively quoted often in the anti #Neo crowd. I am unaware if he ever called himself a Fundamentalist and he was certainly a Baptist, although only an Independent one when he separated from the Baptist Union late on in his life. I suggest to you that had they not have gone off the rails, then he would have remained a fully paid up member. He did not only preach in Baptist churches, but for the baby baptising Presbyterians (he preached at the opening of John Kennedy's church in Dingwall in Scotland) and others. He brought a Paedobaptist Congregationalist in to be principal of his Bible College. He was not strictly #KJVO, preaching a sermon entitled: A Jewel from the Revised Version, where he became a "Bible corrector" (to use a #KJVO in house phrase). Worst still, the man was a full 5 point Calvinist - Satanic variety  - mocking and spitting (to quote Delp above) into the lovely face of Jesus.  If Spurgeon didn't qualify as a Fundamentalist - #McG said that he wouldn't have him near his pulpit -  then do we brand him as a #Neo? 

BH Carroll is hardly as well known. My friend #Wylie gushed a fair bit about him with words like "#Goldmine" for his commentary and sermons and #Genius and "#Baptist #Giant." On the latter, once the word "#BAPTIST" (yes, he SHOUTED) came flying at us through the air like an Exocet missile. For all this, I don't see BHC's name used much, apart from #Wylie.  Again, I am unaware if BHC ever called himself a Fundamentalist. He was certainly a Baptist, although (in his own words) technically a Protestant too (which has the stench of #Neo all over it). BTW: Spurgeon declared a number of times himself to be a Protestant. I am unaware if BHC ever went solo or stayed within the Convention. I suspect that he remained a member, but I might be wrong. BHC was not #KJVO. He "much preferred" the ASV and again (to use the cutting phrase - if you excuse the pun) "corrected the word of God" from the Vaticanus text etc. He stated that he would not use 1 John 5:7 to establish the doctrine of the Trinity.  BHC was a Post Millenialist. Do you have to be a PreMill or even better, a chart carrying Dispensationalist to be a Fundamentalist? He also suggested that teaching the imminence of Christ's return led to people doubting God's word (It's all documented). Worst still, (again) he is one of those spitting in-the-face-of-Jesus Calvinists. Was he a Fundamentalist?  Or a #Neo? Would you quote him? If so, the lady above wants you to get off the fence and pick a side.

The silhouette of Billy Sunday in one of his dramatic poses comes up from time to time. He preached plainly - not necessarily shoutin' and hollerin' - and took on the booze industry in America. Was he a Fundamentalist? He was ordained a Presbyterian minister which made him, at least on paper, a baby baptizer. He insisted that all (not just #IFB's) the evangelical churches in the area back his crusade. If the writer of the article on him in Wikipedia is right, he sent (Billy Graham like) some of his converts back into Rome and Unitarian churches (Disappointed if this is right). I am unaware of where he stood on the #KJVO issue. If he signed the dread Westminster Confession of Faith, there is little trace of its Calvinism is his preaching, but he did co-operate with them. Fully. Was he a Fundamentalist? Or should we keep the silhouette blacked out? Or, really, was he a #Neo compromiser, ticking few of the boxes? Even a #Neo can do right things occasionally. 

The lady above uses an interesting word though i.e. "constantly" RTing #Neos. Nice one there. You can get away with the occasional one, but don't let your timeline be filled with those who have sold the pass. What would she say then of those great Fundamentalist #oldpaths heroes who are working pretty hard (fair play to them) in preparing books written by Calvinists and about Calvinists or those who happily worked with them for Kindle? If a Fundamentalist writes a book describing the Calvinist translators of the 1599 Geneva Bible as "exceptional Christian leaders and scholars" - then  has he put himself beyond the Fundamentalist pale? Is he a classic example of a compromising  #Neo? A wicked fencesitter? Has he picked the wrong side? 

Or maybe we shouldn't go there and continue to play blindman's bluff. Just a thought from a Fundamentalist Calvinist. 


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