General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (G.A.R.B.C.)

From Separation to Inclusivism

-  The Bible teaches that we are to test all teachings (I John 4:1,6), expose those teachings that are false (Eph. 5:11), confront and rebuke the false teachers (Titus 1:9,13), and then separate from those who persist in false teaching (Rom. 16:17; Titus 3:10), lest in the end, we are disqualified for service (2 Tim. 2:20,21), or worse yet, we are identified with the false teachings and the false teachers themselves (2 John 10,11). But the G.A.R.B.C., rather than separate, has instead chosen to identify itself with a wide range of false teachings and false teachers.

-  The G.A.R.B.C. (GARBC) was organized in 1932 after having been previously known as the "strict separatist" branch of The Baptist Bible Union, which itself was organized in 1923 as a part of an organization that had split-off from the liberal Northern Baptist Convention (since renamed the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.). GARBC began support of Baptist missions in 1935; the Council of Eighteen was instituted in 1938 to coordinate Association affairs; official endorsement of schools began in 1940 (now called "partnering" schools); and the Regular Baptist Press was started in 1951 (now distributing literature in 107 countries). By 1990, there were approximately 1,600 GARBC-affiliated churches, which number has been reduced by defections through the first half of 2002 to approximately 1,400, located in 46 states and one Canadian province (7/15/02, Christian News). [Fifteen churches joined the GARBC in the 6/2001-6/2002 period, but GARBC no longer reports the number of churches leaving each year (which in recent years such defections have exceeded new memberships).]

GARBC was formed as a fundamentalist, and strictly separatist, entity -- a GARBC historian has stated that GARBC was founded "to provide a militant, missionary-minded, Biblically separated haven of Fundamentalism."* Therefore, were there not a willingness and desire to obey God in the matter of Biblical separation, there would have been neither reason nor justification for the existence of GARBC. In fact, in the Doctrinal Statement of the GARBC, as well as in a number of its "official" Literature Items (specifically Item Numbers One, Two, Six, Ten, Twelve, and Thirteen), its long-standing historical position on separation is clear and thoroughly Biblical. [Nevertheless, at GARBC's 1987 Annual Meeting in Anaheim, almost like a Ripley's Believe It or Not, the GARBC's ruling Council of Eighteen rejected (by a 2-1 margin) a motion to formalize its own 15 different Literature Items as the "official position" of the GARBC. The Council even refused to recognize the Literature Items as "accurate commentaries" of the GARBC! All the outspoken separatists were also defeated for the Council in the election that year.] GARBC continues to state a "belief" that it will not follow in practice (2/03, GARBC official Internet web site) -- "The GARBC separates from theological liberalism and compromising accommodation."

-  Dr. Paul N. Tassell has been highly respected in GARBC. In 1979, Tassell was selected to be the new National Representative; he came with an image of a tough-minded supporter of secondary separation. When he spoke at a GARBC Conference in Dayton, Ohio, he said that there are fundamentalists today who shy away from the separatist position of the GARBC. He called them "expedient fundamentalists" because they do not want to get involved in the fight for faith. He went on to criticize them as irresponsible fundamentalists who would invite whomever they wished to their pulpits, even the pope: 

"What you do as a pastor, what you do as a college president, what you do as a missionary agency executive, does indeed matter to the whole fundamentalist cause. Who you invite to speak on your platform says volumes about the seriousness of your dedication to Biblical separation. We must be fundamentalists who realize our responsibility to the whole cause of Scriptural separation from apostasy and compromising evangelicals. It's a matter of Biblical integrity. Let's be obedient fundamentalists." 

In 1983, Tassell even authored a book, Pathways to Power, where he states on page 57: "We must remain true to [the GARBC] separatist position. We must clearly understand and determine to uphold that sacred scriptural purpose."

Yet while serving as GARBC's National Rep, this same man defended Cedarville College (where he was a trustee) when it invited compromising speakers and has a godless psychology curriculum rivaling that of secular colleges! Even more incredible, at the 1986 GARBC Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dr. Tassell became the first National Representative in GARBC history to rebuke GARBC churches for too much separation ! He pled for less separation and for Regular Baptists to cease criticizing other movements and organizations. He said that organizations like Moody Bible Institute and Word of Life should be appreciated more and not criticized. He said he sees the purpose for the existence of the GARBC as primarily "fellowship and ministry." While he wanted the GARBC to be separated from apostasy and infidelity, he no longer warned against neo-evangelicalism. This is the precise area of his and the GARBC's change. Neither any longer think of Biblical separation as including separation from disobedient brethren (cf. Rom. 16:17; Titus 3:10; 2 Thes. 3:6,14,15; 2 Jn. 10,11). Moreover, their position has so shifted on Biblical separation that the GARBC is now separating from those who criticize their compromises.

Tassell officially stated his new anti-separatist position at a 6/25/90 private meeting, just prior to the Niagara Falls Conference, when a group of pastors requested a position clarification meeting with the Council of Eighteen. Tassell publicly stated before the whole group (approximately 100 pastors) that he had changed his position. He admitted that in 1985 he came to the conclusion that he was tired of "scrubbing for surgery" (using Dr. Paul R. Jackson's analogy that likened ecclesiastical separation to a surgeon's sterilization of his instruments and hands before surgery). He had changed his views on separation! He no longer wanted to practice separation. Rather, he wanted to "get to the surgery," which is the preaching of the Gospel. Biblical separation got in the way. It limited and troubled him. He discounted the fact that the success of "surgery" depends on the "scrubbing." (Adapted in part from What Happened to the GARBC at Niagara Falls?, pp. 18-19 & 22-25.) [Tassell resigned as National Representative in late-1994 due to health reasons; his successor, Dr. Richard Christen, a non-separatist, resigned in 7/95, after only one month in office, because he "didn't have peace about it." The current National Rep is John Greening.]

-  In recent years, the examples of the GARBC's inclusivism with modernism, and its somewhat contemporary counterpart, neo-evangelicalism, have become legion. One such indication of the rush of GARBC churches into neo-evangelicalism would be the GARBC-sponsored Ladies' Fall Seminar held at a GARBC-member church in Indianapolis in November of 1989 (through the auspices of its Indiana Fellowship of Regular Baptist Churches [IFRBC]). The keynote speaker (three messages) was Mrs. Doris Jennings, a Christian secondary school administrator and a teacher at neo-evangelical Tennessee Temple Seminary and University (where her husband, Dr. J. Don Jennings, was then president). Mrs. Jennings' general acceptance and teaching of Freudian psychological concepts, her favorable references to Eastern religious techniques and concepts, her apparent sell-out to the false gospel of self-love/self-esteem, and her encouragement in the use of various occultic techniques (e.g., self-talk therapy and visualization) were deplorable.

The Seminar workshops were not much better -- one workshop speaker went so far as to remark that no pastor can understand a woman's problems, so "hurting" women should be referred to a good woman Christian psychologist! When the leadership of the IFRBC was questioned as to the reason for the choice of Mrs. Jennings for an IFRBC conference speaker, the flippant reply was: "There's no way we can control everything that's said; after all, the last perfect speaker [Jesus Christ] lived 2,000 years ago." Furthermore, in the following issue of the IFRBC's monthly church bulletin insert, The Hoosier Baptist, rather than asking forgiveness for scheduling and allowing Mrs. Jennings to speak, the comment was made that "a good time was had by all."

-  In February 1991, the GARBC's monthly magazine, The Baptist Bulletin, refused to run an advertisement for a book by Martin & Deidre Bobgan (Prophets of PsychoHeresy II -- since revised and reissued as James Dobson's Gospel of Self-Esteem & Psychology) that critiqued the teachings of one of today's most popular purveyors of the psychological gospel (Dr. James C. Dobson), stating that The Baptist Bulletin does not accept advertisements for "books on critical issues ... unless they relate to doctrinal matters where our doctrinal statement is our guide," but instead, "the purpose of the magazine is to serve our constituency by reflecting the ministries of our publishing, schools, and agencies." (Is not the psychological gospel a "doctrinal matter"? And would not the psychological gospel fall into the modernism camp from which the GARBC requires separation? One must ask, "How can GARBC people be expected to separate from something they have never been warned of?")

Again in late-1996, The Baptist Bulletin (GARBC) refused another Bobgan ad, this time for Competent to Minister: The Biblical Care of Souls. Vernon Miller, the Executive Editor of The Baptist Bulletin at the time, wrote, "We are returning your check in view of our plan to not be involved in the promotion of material related to the counseling controversy." Miller also believes that running an ad for the current book "could be perceived as an approval for your other writings."

-  Promise Keepers is the gigantic new (1991) "men's movement" among professing evangelical Christians. Its roots are Catholic and charismatic to the core. PK's contradictory stand on homosexuality; its promotion of secular psychology; its unscriptural feminizing of men; its depiction of Jesus as a "phallic messiah" tempted to perform homosexual acts; and its ecumenical and unbiblical teachings should dissuade any true Christian from participating. Promise Keepers is proving to be one of the most ungodly and misleading movements in the annals of Christian history. Nevertheless, some in the GARBC are active promoters of this ecumenical, charismatic, psychologized men's movement.

For example, GARBC's huge Blackhawk Baptist Church in Ft. Wayne, Indiana held a Promise Keepers Men's Ministry Leadership seminar 10/28/94-10/29/94; the church's pastor wrote a letter to BDM in which he strongly supported Promise Keepers and its mission. The Baptist Bulletin, which is the "official organ of the GARBC," must also be a supporter of Promise Keepers as evidenced by its refusal to accept a paid advertisement from PsychoHeresy Awareness Ministries; Dr. Vernon Miller, Executive Editor of The Baptist Bulletin, personally turned down an ad for the Bobgan's "PsychoHeresy Warning Package on Promise Keepers." It is ironic that a professing Christian organization that considers itself to be conservative would fear running an ad that warns against an ecumenical, psychological movement like the Promise Keepers.

-  For many years, pastors had written to the Council of Eighteen and the National Representative objecting to some of the music that GARBC-approved schools presented at the annual GARBC conferences. A number of churches had even left GARBC in protest of the type of music offered on the platform. Recognizing this concern, in 1978 the Council of Eighteen sent a letter to the presidents and music department heads of the approved schools requesting that they no longer present music at conferences contrary to GARBC convictions and doctrinal point of view; i.e., no music that solicits bodily swaying, nightclub type crooning, and immodest dress. By December of 1984, however, conference music was again discussed, and the Council did a 180-degree switch, now declaring music style and words to be mere matter of preference, even suggesting that there is no connection between the GARBC's choice of music and its theological beliefs! A motion to reissue an updated version of the 1978 letter was defeated. (Reported in What Happened to the GARBC at Niagara Falls?, pp. 15-17.) [Reportedly, there is no longer a song leader at the annual GARBC conference, but a "worship leader" instead, with choruses and "praise leaders" who sit on the platform, jump up, and help the people. Clapping, canned music (even rock music), and a synthesizer are used (12/95, OBF Visitor Feature Article, "New Evangelicalism in the GARBC," p. 5).]

-  The official publishing arm of the GARBC, Regular Baptist Press, published a manual for senior high Sunday School teachers titled Surviving Our Society (Vol. 40, No. 2, 1991). The manual covers such social issues as poverty, teen pregnancy, homosexuality, abortion, AIDS, and suicide. In the lesson on homosexuality, under objectives (p. 70), we find the following:

"Introduction -- get students thinking about homosexuality in the Bible ... Conclusion -- give students opportunity to determine their view of homosexuality." (Emphasis added.)

And under conclusion (p. 71), the teacher is told to: "Encourage students to avoid homophobia."!! Also, the AIDS lesson suggests letting the senior high students "role play" Jesus' disciples encountering a leper. (Reported in the 3/1/92, Calvary Contender.) This to us sounds like "values clarification" and compromise with the world's views on a subject that God specifically speaks to in His Word. [There is also a lesson on "Dysfunctional Families" in the manual  (pp. 17-22), that parrots New Age and Freudian psychobabble in discussing such topics as codependency/12-step programs, self-esteem, abuse, buried childhood memories, etc.]

The 1993 Regular Baptist Press catalog has a book by Sherwood Wirt, I Don't Know What Old Is, But Old Is Older Than Me. Wirt is editor-emeritus of Billy Graham's Decision magazine. He approvingly quotes, with no warning, liberals, neo-orthodox, etc., such as Soren Kierkegaard, John Mott, C.S. Lewis, J.B. Phillips, and John Stott. He says of Graham: "Billy Graham ... is setting an example for elderly people everywhere. He [is] ... still winning souls in the magnificent worldwide ministry that God has given him. What a man!" (p. 144). This is but another example of why the GARBC's Regular Baptist Press can no longer be trusted either (James 3:11).

-  GARBC sponsored, affiliated, supported, approved, and/or cooperating Bible colleges and universities, mission agencies, and social service agencies provide other excellent examples of just how far the Association has strayed from its original adherence to the principles of Biblical separation# [Part of the problem is that salaried personnel of approved agencies and schools are allowed to serve (and, thereby, vote) on the GARBC ruling Council of Eighteen, which has approval power over the same agencies; so instead of local churches leading and controlling the GARBC (historically, fewer than a third of the 18 Council members come purely as church representatives), the approved agencies effectively do that instead! The agencies control the very Council that approves them, like the "proverbial fox that guards the chicken coop!" This obvious conflict of interest would never be allowed in secular organizations. The GARBC has, thereby, become an association of agencies instead of an association of churches. (In an effort to correct this obvious conflict of interest, an amendment was placed on the GARBC's June 1990 National Annual Meeting agenda -- "No salaried servant of the approved agencies shall serve on the Council of Eighteen" -- it failed to receive the necessary two-thirds vote, thus removing all hope of the churches ever regaining control.)]:

[#GARBC messengers voted at its June 2000 National Conference in Ames, Iowa to replace its Approval System with a "partnering and network policy." It will now be interesting to see what (if anything significant) happens concerning new-evangelical compromise at Cedarville, Grand Rapids, ABWE, etc. That is, will "networking" with new evangelicalism be any more Scriptural than "approval"? Will the GARBC leadership (National Rep and Council of 18) now be more inclined to stand as separatists, and will churches have a stronger voice? As of year-end 2002, no changes are evident; partnering has proved no better than the approval system, and has only served to deflect criticism of the GARBC.]

[Note: Grand Rapids Seminary and Cornerstone College elected NOT to "partner" with the GARBC when the change from "approved" schools to "partnering" schools was made in June of 2000. Nevertheless, items for those schools are still listed below, because the schools were GARBC-approved at the time.]

(a) ABWE (Association of Baptists for World Evangelism) missionary to Bangladesh and author of Daktar I and Daktar II, Viggo Olsen, admits to cooperating with many neo-evangelical organizations (MBI, Wheaton, BIOLA, Trinity College, Radio Bible Class, and Christianity Today), and with ecumenical groups (M.A.P., IVCF-Urbana student conferences), as well as with liberal and apostate groups (Christoffel Blinden Mission, Bangladesh National Council of Churches, Roman Catholics, the United Nations, etc.), all without a word of protest from either ABWE or GARBC.

(b) A former ABWE leader lost his job for speaking out against the influence on GARBC-approved mission agencies coming from the compromising NAE (National Association of Evangelicals).

(c) ABWE has also worked closely for years with the neo-evangelical organization, Samaritan Purse, in Bangladesh. Samaritan Purse is headed by Billy Graham's son, Franklin Graham.

(d) ABWE missionary, Dr. David Bennett, after formally resigning as an ABWE missionary to Australia (14 years of faithful service), was instead retroactively terminated by ABWE for "insubordination." [Bennett had previously written a letter of resignation, stating as his reasons (a) ABWE's lack of practice of its indigenous policy in Australia, and (b) ABWE's softening in practice of Biblical separation.] Bennett was never given any of the times, dates, places, or categories of his alleged "insubordination," plus ABWE refused to pay Bennett his earned severance pay and the remaining funds in his account. (Reported in the July-August 1993, Bible For Today NEWSREPORT.)

(e) ABWE president Dr. Wendell Kempton, in a 1996 address to "the ABWE family," took pot shots at fundamentalist "zealots," "gangs," and "swat teams" he accused of "abuse and bashing." He listed seven verses, including "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant?," and "why dost thou judge thy brother?" [Misusing these verses to silence exposers of the "spiritual adultery" and/or compromise of a "fundamentalist" brother is wrong, and is much the same as misusing these verses to ignore a physical adultery or drunkenness sin of an erring brother. We are to "judge righteous judgment" (Jn. 7:24). Conspicuously missing from Kempton's list were verses (e.g., 2 Th. 3:6, 14-15) which command withdrawal from compromising new evangelicals with whom ABWE consorts.] (4/15/96, Calvary Contender).

(f) Grand Rapids Bible College/Seminary advertised for a new president in the 4/91 Moody Monthly, but never once mentioned the words "fundamentalist" or "separatist," either in identifying the school or in listing "desirable qualifications" for a president. Dr. Rex Rogers was eventually hired, whose education is in the so-called social/political sciences and in administration, not in Bible/theology! [Dr. Rogers (born 1951 -- 6 yrs. at Cedarville, followed by 3 yrs. at King's College: BS Cedarville; MS Political Science from Univ. of Arizona; Ph.D. Political Science from Univ. of Cinn.), when hired stated that: "I'd like to establish its [GRBC&S's] reputation as a solid academic institution. It is no longer a Bible college and we don't intend for it to be" (The Grand Rapids Press, 8/91). [Rogers, in a 3/13/92 presentation to GRBC&S's Board, recommended a "New Niche" to: "Broaden the student and supporting constituency to include all conservative evangelicals, eliminate vestiges of 'anti-attitude,' 'negativism,' withdrawal and isolation; ... de-emphasize denominational walls; develop a Moody Bible Institute or Word of Life model ..." True to his word, the College's name was changed to Cornerstone College in 3/94.]

(g) Grand Rapids Bible College/Seminary 's drama department put on a production November 21-23 of 1991 titled "The Beams are Creaking," a play by Douglas Anderson extolling the "virtues" of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Instead, GRBC&S 's theology department should have held a conference exposing Bonhoeffer. (Bonhoeffer was a neo-orthodox, rank apostate, who denied or questioned nearly every major doctrine of the historic Christian faith! He was also one of the fathers of the "Death of God" theology.)

(h) Grand Rapids Bible College/Seminary had Wheaton College (neo-evangelical, at best) professor Arthur Holmes speak at a lecture series, and claims a "mentor relationship" with Calvin College (apostate?), where some professors have openly endorsed evolutionary theories. (For more information on GRBC&S 's many neo-evangelical compromises, see Fundamentalist Digest's Dr. Don Jasmin's 17-page paper on this subject.)

(i) Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary had a full-page ad in the 5/20/96 Christianity Today (New Evangelicalism's main magazine) for a 5/17/96-5/18/96 Ministry and Worldview conference, which lists Thomas Oden, Richard Middleton, and Brian Walsh as "facilitators." Oden is Prof. of Theology and Ethics at Drew University, a liberal Methodist school, and a CT Contributing Editor. He is for female ordination, and very ecumenical (5/6/96, Christian News). Walsh has also used neo-orthodox terms to deplore "propositional theology" (i.e., verbal inerrancy, etc.), and Middleton has said: "Even the truth of the gospel ... is a human construction (7/1/95, Calvary Contender). Middleton and Walsh reject any identification of Scripture as revelation (6/1/96, Calvary Contender).

(j) Cornerstone College/Grand Rapids Seminary hired ecumenical psychologizer Warren Wiersbe as Writer-in-Residence and as Distinguished Professor of Preaching, respectively. He was hired to teach in the Seminary's Doctor of Ministry program, to speak at the annual Bible conference, to speak periodically at the one-day Ministry Enrichment Renewal conferences, and to participate in other educational opportunities as they become available" (5/95, Baptist Bulletin). [Speakers at Cornerstone College's 37th Annual Bible Conference (held 2/19/96-2/23/96) included Warren Wiersbe along with neo-evangelical psychologizers Joseph Stowell, Ed Dobson, and Knute Larson. (Larson derided fundamentalists in a 3/94 address at the NAE.)]

(k) Cornerstone College again sponsored Project Angel Tree (PAT) for children during the 12/95 Christmas season. PAT is headed by CCM singer Steven Curtis Chapman and is a ministry of Catholic-promoting Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship (2/1/96, Calvary Contender). (Chapman embraces "high energy rock" and blends country, pop jazz, and soul music with elements of rap.) The 7/95 issue of Something Better News, a religious publication based in Southwestern Michigan, contained a large advertisement for Cornerstone College. The advertisement for the Adult Degree Completion Program did not contain a single word anywhere, or even a hint, that the college purportedly was a Christian institution. Given the secular trends at Cornerstone, it was not surprising to read in the 7/95 Baptist Bulletin that the College faculty had just approved a new major in "sports management." The new major will supposedly "equip students to work as managers in health, fitness and sports organizations" (p. 30). (Reported in the 7/8/95, Fundamentalist Digest.)

(l) Western Baptist College (Salem, OR) has included CBA members (the highly inclusivistic and neo-evangelical, Conservative Baptist Association) on its Board of Trustees and faculty; when another CBA member was added to the Board in late-1990, GARBC's ruling Council still approved the school, with no contingencies, and on a unanimous vote at that! At GARBC's 1991 Annual Meeting, then National Rep. Paul Tassell made the incredible claim that the CBA men on Western's board were "fundamentalists" and "separatists." The CBA was also accepted for membership in the neo-evangelical NAE in 1992. At the 1993 GARBC Annual Meeting, the Ruling Council again refused a [messenger/delegate] proposal to purge Western of CBA board members and faculty.

(m) The three largest Bible colleges approved by GARBC (Baptist Bible College and Seminary of Pennsylvania; Cedarville College [Ohio]; and Cornerstone College and Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary) frequently enlist neo-evangelical/non-separatist speakers for special events [e.g., leftist ecumenical Dr. Vernon Grounds spoke at a Cedarville College conference 9/25/92-9/27/92. Grounds is president emeritus of Denver Seminary (CBA) and president of the left-wing Evangelicals for Social Action], and have a vast number of course offerings in anti-Christian fields of study (e.g., Psychology, Sociology, etc.). In 1994, a "spring break team" from Cedarville College helped build a homeless shelter in Mexico with the ecumenical, apostate Habitat for Humanity. (See next section.)

(n) Cedarville University entered into a partnering relationship with the State Convention of Southern Baptists in Ohio. This was formalized in 11/02 during the 49th annual session of the state convention when SBC messengers overwhelmingly approved the agreement and committed to recommend Cedarville to all "Southern Baptists as an accredited, quality, four-year university that embraces Southern Baptists." Cedarville has for years been a top feeder school for Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY. "We're thrilled with the alliance with Cedarville," said Jack Kwok (executive director of the Ohio convention). "Cedarville is a quality Baptist school. They wholeheartedly embrace Southern Baptists. A significant number of our pastors are Cedarville graduates. We're looking to them as a resource for future church leaders. They embrace our theology, our polity and our missiology. [That is sad, because the theology and polity of the Southern Baptist Convention allows for great compromise of, and disobedience to, the Word of God.] We would recommend Cedarville not only to Ohio Baptists but all Southern Baptists." Cedarville president Paul Dixon likewise voiced excitement for "growing a relationship with Southern Baptists." [This "growing relationship" now includes putting Paige Patterson (a "conservative" Southern Baptist) on Cedarville's Board.] Fundamentalist schools should now be even more wary of being a Cedarville partner. (Source: 2/03, Calvary Contender.)

(o) Cedarville University was the site for the GARBC's annual convention in 5/2002. We have a flyer for Cedarville's "2002 Instrumental and Vocal Jazz Conference" 2/15/02-2/16/02, featuring "a variety of jazz concerts," "clinics on drumming, improvising, jazz piano," and a festival and jam session. CU's own jazz band and vocal jazz ensemble are listed. CU’s president Paul Dixon plans to retire in 2003. We wonder if he would now revise his good article in the 12/84 Baptist Bulletin where he rightly warned about "the devil's" and the world system's music. Sadly Cedarville's new-evangelical/ecumenical speakers, associations, and practices over the past couple of decades have placed it squarely in the new evangelical camp. (Source: 3/15/02, Calvary Contender.)

(o) Vision For Youth was formed in 1985 by some men attending the Teen Leadership Conference at Baptist Bible College. Two of the founders were Mel Walker, who is current youth editor for Regular Baptist Press (and for years taught at BBC), and VFY director Tim Ahlgrim (teaches youth ministry at Crossroads Bible College, Indianapolis). VFY sponsored the 17th Annual National Youth Ministries Conference in Columbus, OH, in 2002. Bo Boshers, Director of Student Ministry at Bill Hybels' Willow Creek Community Church was a main speaker. Other listed speakers were: Ahlgrim, Walker, Ken Rudolph (at BBC and a member of the GARBC's “ruling” Council of 18), and John Colyer (staff member of new-evangelical Grace Church, Des Moines). Listed speakers for VFY's January, 2003 NYMC include: Ahlgrim, Rudolph, Colyer, GARBC National Rep John Greening, and Vice President of Youth for Christ/USA Ministries David Rahn! Turn on the audio at VFY's Web site and you will hear rock music. This is all sadly indicative of the GARBC's downward spiral to New Evangelicalism. (Source: 12/02, Calvary Contender.)

(p) Baptist Children's Home and Family Ministries, an approved agency of the GARBC, readily cooperates with secular agencies, and provides "Christian" counseling for children that is (aside from the "Christianized" terminology) virtually indistinguishable from the secular/psychological variety.

(q) Baptists For Life is a social activism, pro-life, crisis pregnancy counseling and referral agency approved by the GARBC; yet its pre- and post-abortion counseling methodologies are virtually indistinguishable from the same humanistic psychological methods and techniques used by non-church affiliated pro-life organizations.

-  Habitat for Humanity, an international religious organization based in Maericus, Georgia, describes itself as an "ecumenical Christian ministry that is dedicated to the elimination of poverty housing from the earth," and its founders state that their "'theology of the hammer' brings an incredible array of folks together -- people who disagree on all sorts of things, both political and theological, but who can all agree on a hammer, the instrument of Jesus the carpenter."

Habitat for Humanity has on its official international board of directors and board of advisors leaders from all shades of Christendom, including the American Baptist Church, United Church of Christ, Southern Baptist Church, Roman Catholic Church, United Methodist Church, Seventh Day Adventists, Episcopalian Church, and the Unitarian-Universalist Church. From these apostate, ecumenical denominations represented on these boards are such radicals as Anthony Campolo of the American Baptists, Robert Bracher of the Southern Baptists (known for his translation of "Good News for Modern Man," which eliminated the blood of Christ in the atonement), Amy Grant of Contemporary Christian Music fame, and liberal politicians Jimmy Carter and Andrew Young.

Cooperating with Habitat for Humanity is Cedarville College, an approved school of the GARBC, which in 1994 sent a spring break team of students to cooperate and help build a Habitat for Humanity home in Mexico.

-  The following resolution was passed by the Ohio Bible Fellowship (OBF) on 1/8/88, concerning the GARBC-supported and approved Cedarville College [now Cedarville University] in Cedarville, Ohio. We report it here because it amply details the compromise at a prominent GARBC-approved school:


Cedarville College (CC) is conveniently located for prospective students from OBF churches and enjoys a reputation of being a good Baptist school with a Fundamentalist tradition. (Several young people from OBF churches have in the past and do currently attend Cedarville College.)

Cedarville College has had such pseudofundamental and new evangelical speakers in chapel services as Warren Wiersbe, Jerry Falwell [CC's president Paul Dixon received an honorary degree from Liberty Univ. in 1984], Ed Hindson, Tim LaHaye, Jack Wyrtzen, James Custer of Grace Brethren Church, Columbus, and a host of other compromisers plus Gary Collins, Mart DeHaan, Lehman Strauss, Charles Ryrie, and Ron Blue; thus Cedarville College's stand against new evangelicalism is virtually non-existent. [Leon Rowland told students that the message of Jesus and the Bible was to help the poor and widows, and challenged young people to become socially involved in behalf of the needy.]

Cedarville College is wholly committed to [and promotes] contemporary Christian music as evidenced by guest performances on the college campus by Sandi Patti, Karla Worley (the soloist and background vocalist for the Bill Gaither Trio; and whose credits included appearances on Robert Schuller's "Hour of Power" and Charles Stanley's "In Touch" programs), and the Jeremiah People. In addition, the campus bookstore features such contemporary Christian artists as Evie, Steve Green, Amy Grant, Dino, and Larnelle Harris. Cedarville College continues to cooperate with the Communist government of Red China by providing English teachers for communist students at People's University in Beijing. [The Red Chinese do not need English teachers, but they do need American Christians in support of an American foreign policy that says cooperation with Communists is a good thing.]

Cedarville College participates in a program providing their employees with the opportunity to financially support the United Way Charities, which in turn have such affiliated agencies as Catholic Social Services, Lutheran Social Services, YWCA, and YMCA [and the Salvation Army], stating the reason as "public relations." [No one is opposed to helping the needy, but why give through an organization immersed in humanism and false religion?]

Cedarville College has joined an association of Liberal Arts Colleges all "... committed to the Word of God, Christian values and goals, and excellence in higher education," which includes such compromising schools as Bryan College, Houghton College, LeTourneau College, Moody Bible Institute, Nyack College, and Trinity College. [Cedarville officials also recommend GRBS, NWBS, and DTS.]

RESOLVED: that OBF pastors and churches warn their people of the compromise of Cedarville College, and strongly discourage parents from sending their young people to Cedarville as students. [Cedarville College is one of compromise and pragmatism. To encourage a young person to attend Cedarville is to encourage them to compromise with sin. A Christian young person would be far better off going to OSU [Ohio State University] than a compromising Christian College like Cedarville. Blatant hedonism is far less dangerous than compromised Christianity. Otherwise, we are giving our young people a drink from a cup of worldliness labeled Christianity.] (Printed in the Ohio Bible Fellowship Visitor; bracketed comments are theirs.)

-  The Cedarville University Web site listed Alistair Begg and Jim Cymbala as January 2001 speakers. Begg has spoken there before, and also in conferences featuring ecumenicals such as Franklin Graham, Anne Graham Lotz, Tony Evans, Kay Arthur, and Greg Laurie. He has been scheduled for Gordon-Conwell Seminary and the Billy Graham Training Center. Jim Cymbala is pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle whose huge choir is led by his wife. He is identified as a charismatic and his new book (Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire) is favorably reviewed in the 2/01, Charisma Cymbala is indeed highly charismatic in doctrine and extremely ecumenical in practice. How can Cedarville make alliance with the charismatic/ecumenical Cymbala and the Brooklyn Tabernacle? The answer is that the school has been captivated by the philosophy of neutralism and spiritual pragmatism and is well down the path of ecumenism. The Bible warns that two cannot walk together except they be agreed (Amos 3:3). This means that Cedarville agrees with Jim Cymbala, and by their uncritical association with him, they are supporting the wide charismatic ecumenical movement which is doubtless the glue of the end times apostate one-world church.

-  One of the most disgraceful developments in the GARBC slide was the revelation some years back of theological heresy having to do with a denial of literal heaven and literal fire in hell. Some time in July, 1992, there was a heretical seven-page document entitled "Christian Worldview: Humans and Creation in the Plan of God" that somehow made its way out of the classroom of Assistant Professor Michael A. Van Horn of the Grand Rapids Baptist College & Seminary (GRBC&S), a GARBC-supported school at the time.

Included in Van Horn's paper were statements such as, "Heaven is the presence of God. It is not a celestial city somewhere on the fringes of the universe ... it is simply God Himself -- His special presence." [Is this not a pantheistic view of the third heaven?] Regarding the Scriptural terminology about the "colorful images of golden streets and gates of pearl," Van Horn called them "metaphors" which "express the beauty and majesty of the relationship that will exist between God and humanity." Van Horn also wrote that in John 13:36-14:6, Christ was referring to the cross instead of heaven as to where He was going -- "Jesus is not building mansions in heaven for His followers as some sort of Cosmic Carpenter. ... The preparation by Jesus of a 'place' in the Father's household took place on the cross, not in heaven." Concerning hell, Van Horn stated: "To be separated from God for eternity is merely the realization of one's choice to exclude God and His will from this life. This is Hell. ... all the relational brokenness willfully chosen during this present age."

Twenty pastors called for and got a meeting with the President of GRBC&S, Dr. Rex Rogers, on 8/31/92. Other GRBC&S personnel at the meeting included Dr. Ronald Mayers, the Bible Department head, and professor Michael Van Horn, the accused. At the meeting, Mayers supported Van Horn and classified those who hold to literal "streets of gold" and "gates of pearl" as "materialistic." Van Horn also repeated and "tenaciously" defended his heresies concerning a non-literal heaven and his belief that the fire in hell was not literal fire. At the meeting Van Horn also called the Bible "an authority" rather than "the authority." [However, this weak view of inerrancy is nothing new for Van Horn. In a letter written over 15 years ago (dated 5/28/84), Van Horn stated: "Some of my dearest friends at GRBC&S do not accept inerrancy and yet have a deep trust in Jesus Christ and accept the authority of His Word."] Dr. Rogers also expressed his concern about the circulating of letters by preachers with regard to the Van Horn controversy, but did not seem concerned about the alleged controversial material given to Van Horn's students. This would indicate that the GRBC&S president's major interest in the controversy is not the purity of Scriptural instruction, but the promotion of the school's image -- a distorted priority at best.

Van Horn later wrote a 2-1/2 page "revised" paper supposedly to clarify his beliefs as orthodox (but he never admitted to any error in the original paper). In effect, he merely affirmed his previous heretical position, yet in much more cute and clever verbiage -- Van Horn reworded his position, while still holding to his erroneous beliefs outside of orthodox, historic Christianity.

In an apparent effort to put the matter to rest, GRBC&S Academic Vice President, Dr. Robert C. Suggs, in a letter dated 9/18/92 wrote: [Suggs holds degrees in counseling from the State Univ. of N.Y., and a B.A. in philosophy from Barrington College. He is listed in Who's Who Among Black Americans. He came to GARBC in 1991 from Messiah College where he was Dir. of Personnel, professor of psychology, and chairman of the Dept. of Behavioral Sciences. Messiah College is a "Brethren in Christ school" (New Neutralism II).]

"All of the faculty members in the Bible, Religion, and Ministry division of GRBC&S were asked to read and comment about Mr. Van Horn's original draft. In addition to his divisional colleagues on the college faculty, a selected group of seminary faculty were also asked to review his paper. The consensus of the faculty readers of the original document was that there was no basis upon which to consider any of the ideas in the document unorthodox in nature." (Emphasis added.)

It is amazing that not a single one of the above detailed statements by Van Horn could be seen by those at GRBC&S as being "unorthodox in nature"!!! Nor could they see them as in any way unbiblical, heretical, or false teachings. [There were other heresies in Van Horn's paper, all of which the authorities at GRBC&S evidently view as orthodox: (1) He denied that believers will be clothed with a spiritual body during the intermediate state (cf. 2 Cor. 5:1-4); (2) there was the neo-evangelical idea of a cultural mandate which plays up the concept of social activism and a "social gospel"; and (3) he viewed the Biblical position of the tri-unity of man (body-soul-spirit) as pagan -- "This concept is totally pagan and unbiblical."] (All of the above material was adapted from Bible For Today NEWSREPORT s (11/92 & 7/93-8/93); BFT report #2250 of 11/92; and the 9/10/92, Fundamentalist Digest.)

(In Van Horn's office "sits a statute of St. Francis of Assisi, the Catholic patron saint of animals. 'I admire him because he represents the peacefulness and harmony often lacking in Christianity.'")

[Resolution of the Van Horn Situation: (born c.1963 -- M.A. Calvin College; Th.M. GRBS; Ph.D. candidate in philosophy and religion @ Univ. of Wales, UK). At the June 1993 GARBC Annual Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, the Council of Eighteen refused to drop GRBC&S from GARBC-approved status. Instead, they allowed Dr. Rogers to make an impassioned defense of both the college and Michael Van Horn. In addition, the Council of Eighteen, in an apparent effort to cover-up for GRBC&S, suggested a resolution on heaven and hell that eliminated "literal." An observer requested the word "literal," and it was put in, but the Council refused to put in the words "literal fire in hell," because "many of the people in our fellowship do not believe the fire is literal"!! The resolution was passed. 

Van Horn resigned from GRBC&S as of the end of the 1993 Spring term. Van Horn said he was resigning "to prevent further damage to the reputation of the college." Dr. Rogers said Van Horn was not forced to resign. Even after Van Horn's departure, the College still had at least one faculty member that denied a literal hell. Professor David Turner (Prof. of New Testament & Systematic Theology) responded on PastorTalk, an electronic bulletin board, when asked about his beliefs on hell: "... the biblical descriptions of the place (hell) are metaphorical ... I prefer describing it as 'real' to describing it as 'literal' ..." He also said the same thing about heaven in Chapter 9 of Blaising & Bock's book on progressive dispensationalism -- "Perhaps the absence of oysters large enough to produce such pearls (a gate of the city) and the absence of sufficient gold to pave such a city (viewed as literally 1,380 miles square and high) is viewed as sufficient reason not to take these images as fully literal."]

-  More GRBC&S tidbits from the past: 

-  An MARBC-GARBC event drew considerable national attention. On 3/6/91, the First Baptist Church of Stanton, Michigan sponsored a massive "Christian rock" party. It was attended by more than 1,300 teens, and included sensuous dancing and lewd behavior during the party activities. The party was part of a national "teen evangelism project sponsored by Sonlife Ministries and [self-love proponent] Josh McDowell Ministries." An estimated one million teens participated in the nationwide event called "Operation Powerlink -- utilizing churches and civic centers across the country ... [billed as] the world's largest pizza party."

The "party" had a definite ecumenical and charismatic flavor, with 60 participating denominations. The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), a hyper-charismatic, predominately blasphemous "Christian" TV network, "aired a one hour special in connection with the party [which] included a simultaneous broadcast via satellite linking teens from across the country," including the Stanton party. The special featured CCM artists Petra, Michael W. Smith, and Carmen, "along with dramatic vignettes and the testimony of Josh McDowell."

One observer at the Stanton "party" reported that the live band's "music was so loud that it hurt to breathe," and that it "was just like any other rock concert" with rising smoke, an elevated rotating drum section, and an incredible light show. [The female vocalist in the band even taught the crowd "dance moves to make with God"!] The associate pastor at the Stanton GARBC-affiliated church defended the "party" on the basis that (a) the church youth group had grown from 25 to over 100 in two months since the church "began playing Christian rock at their youth activities"; (b) there were "decisions" for Christ at the party [15 out of 1,300 in attendance]; (c) the GRBC&S had supported and commended the "party" by sending 50 students as counselors; and (d) the church was experiencing the beginnings of a mighty revival. (Reported in the July-August 1993, Fundamentalist Digest.)

-  Even more serious charismatic leanings are being manifested in GARBC churches. Calvary Baptist Church of Muskegon, Michigan, pastored by William J. Rudd, advertised that "there are now three different ways to worship." He established three services at Calvary that manifest these three ways. Moreover, in Calvary's 2/18/96 church bulletin, "Physical Healing and Prayer" are listed for all three of the services. This has to be considered more than just an isolated incident when one realizes that Rudd is on GARBC's Council of Eighteen and was the chairman of the Search Committee for a new GARBC National Representative! (Reported in the 4/1/96, Calvary Contender.)

-  Baptist Bible College and Seminary of Clarks Summit, PA, is a GARBC-"partnering" school. The 6/92 Roman Catholic publication, The Catholic Answer, said that Roman Catholic Marywood College of Scranton, PA, allows BBC students to borrow books from Marywood's library by showing their college/seminary ID cards (this was verified by BBC&S back in 1/89). A questioner asked The Catholic Answer if this was an appropriate form of cooperation between two opposing theologies, since BBC teaches that Catholics preach a false gospel. The Catholic paper's answer was:

"Under normal circumstances, I would see this as a completely acceptable form of academic and ecumenical cooperation. What surprises me, frankly, is not that Marywood is open to the Baptist college but that, in spite of their negativity toward Catholicism, they would want to use a Catholic college library. Aren't they afraid of being tainted with the 'Antichrist?' There's an obvious inconsistency here, but I think Marywood has taken the higher road. Perhaps the Baptist students, through regular contact with Catholics, will come to see that we're not as bad as their professors claim. By the way, is the library use reciprocal?"

The library arrangement reportedly was related to BBC accreditation, and two Roman Catholic priests were part of the spring of 1989 Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools team that evaluated BBC's curriculum! (6/15/92, Calvary Contender). [Why would a supposedly fundamentalist college seek or be pleased with the approval of Roman Catholics. If BBC consistently follows this library use policy, shouldn't BBC students logically be permitted to take classes for credit at Marywood? If BBC&S really practiced Biblical evangelism, as well as taught and preached against the heresies of Roman Catholicism, no Roman

Catholic college would actively assist in any way! In fact, one of the churches in Clarks Summit most frequently attended by BBC&S students repeatedly urged caution not to make any public statement against the institution of Roman Catholicism; this in spite of the fact that the town of Clarks Summit is overwhelming Roman Catholic (The Bible For Today, Report #1784, pp. 3-6).]

-  The 4/17/94 issue of the national weekly Catholic paper Our Sunday Visitor disclosed a shocking surprise, revealing the unwise blunderings of a noted GARBC theologian into the internal affairs of the pagan Roman Catholic religion. The disclosure was made in a weekly column written by Roman Catholic priest, Robert F. Griffin, at the University of Notre Dame. In the article entitled "Waiting for Myron to come East" (p. 18), Griffin revealed and discussed the friendship that he had maintained for several years with Dr. Myron Houghton, a professor at GARBC-approved Faith Baptist Theological Seminary in Ankeny, Iowa.

What was Houghton's blundering error? Their friendship ties apparently became so strong that Houghton wrote a letter (of which Griffin had NO knowledge at the time) to Edward Malloy, president of Notre Dame University urging the Notre Dame president to intervene with Pope John Paul II when he would meet with the pope during his 1987 visit to America and see if Griffin could "celebrate the mass with the Pope," one of Griffin's lifelong aspirations. In Houghton's letter to the Notre Dame president (most of which Griffin quoted in his article), Houghton stated, "If you could arrange Father Griffin's participation, it would ... place Father Griffin forever in your debt." Houghton unwisely also used the term "His Holiness" (without any quotes) in referring to the pope when seeking the favor from the Notre Dame prelate.

The ecumenical advantage gained is that Griffin has exploited this friendship for every bit of ecumenical gain possible. In his annual trip "east," Houghton (with some other "fundamentalists" accompanying him) once again stopped in South Bend, Indiana in 3/94 to see Griffin. Griffin described their dinner engagement as "enjoying fellowship with the shepherds of Christ," terming them "separated brethren." In the final paragraph of his article, Griffin expressed hope that as his "interfaith friendship" with Houghton continues, their "laughter" together would eventually "bear fruit, if Christ wills it" into an "ecumenical sacrament shared by churches that believe grace is everywhere." Lest there be any misunderstanding about Griffin's goal, a large picture of a liturgical communion cup with hand breaking the wafer in two pieces, accompanied his article. The picture was entitled "Cup of Joy: The Eucharist is key." [Adapted and/or excerpted from the May/June 1994, Fundamentalist Digest.]

-  Because of GARBC's lack of adherence to the Biblical principles of separation, some of the GARBC brethren and churches organized a new fellowship [the Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America (IBFNA)], dedicated to the principle of true Bible separation without compromise. (The GARBC's National Representative at the time, Paul Tassell, accused the leaders of the new IBFNA of "denominationalism.") The IBFNA was officially organized in October of 1990 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The list of GARBC churches exiting for the IBFNA is growing steadily; over 200 GARBC-affiliated churches have left the Association since 1990 (a net 13 churches left the GARBC in 2000) . Since most of the leading conservative churches have now left the GARBC, there appears to be little hope for this once bastion of fundamentalism. Some notable comments from the pastors of departing churches include: 

-  The reaction of one man may be helpful concerning the entire issue of separation (and the lack thereof in the GARBC). In a letter, he wrote as follows:

"I have come to the conclusion that the real problem in the GARBC is not just compromise in the area of secondary separation, but that many are bordering on idolatry. The organization has become the first love of many of its leaders. If a choice must be made between loyalty to Christ and loyalty to the GARBC, it is far more often the latter that wins out. Loyalty to its agencies, its leadership, its programs is the determining factor as to whether we are good GARBC'ers.

"The only way to protect against falling into this kind of denominational idolatry and be a true Baptist with true commitment to Jesus Christ is to insist on Baptist independency. Independent pastors need to realize the price they will have to pay to be a part of this system where loyalty is determined by your willingness to approve all things coming from 'headquarters' and its agencies. I, for one, will not sacrifice the precious freedom of giving leadership to my flock in order to have their [GARBC] approval. Nothing is worth such a sacrifice." (Excerpted from What Happened to the GARBC at Niagara Falls, p. 60.)

-  The GARBC would have us go by its official statements rather than upon the actions of its membership -- but "how can we legitimately restrict our judgment of religious groups to their official statements only, ignoring the true state of things in the lives of their leaders and members? Our Lord ... could care less about what the churches claim to be. He is interested in what they actually are ..." [see Revelation 2 & 3]. (Ernest Pickering, Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church, p. 213. Pickering himself was slandered from the platform and in the Council of Eighteen at the June 1987 GARBC Annual Meeting, reflecting Pickering's "narrow position" on ecclesiastical separation.)

* "A fundamentalist is one who adheres with strong conviction to the fundamentals ... of the Christian faith, and who insists on separation from worldliness, apostasy, and disobedient brethren. ... it is a necessary prerequisite for being called a fundamentalist -- separation must be seen as a defining element of fundamentalism" (Ken Pulliam).

Biblical Discernment Ministries - Revised 2/2003