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New Evangelicalism

 2 Peter 2:1-3

"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."

The trademark theology behind Fuller was called New Evangelicalism 1, which eliminated the Biblical doctrine of separation, Biblical inerrancy and dispensationalism and sought and continues to seek acceptance and approval of the world. It was born in 1948 at the convocation message delivered by Harold Ockenga in the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. In that message, which was referenced in the forward to Harold Lindsell's book, The Battle for the Bible, published in 1976, he said the following. 

"Neo-evangelicalism (Neo used interchangeably with New)...While affirming the theological view of fundamentalism, this address repudiated it's ecclesiology and its social theory. The ringing call for a repudiation of separatism and the summons to social involvement received a hearty response from many evangelicals...It differed from fundamentalism in its repudiation of separatism and its determination to engage itself in the theological dialogue of the day. It had a new emphasis upon the application of the gospel to the sociological, political and economic areas of life."9 

Biblical truth invariably shows whether a person's stand is sound doctrine. The view being propagated was that fundamentalists were harsh, lacking in love, filled with strife and were uncaring. The modernist "new Evangelicals" viewed themselves as "honest scholars, repentant liberals, compassionate social activists and great preachers."10  Not withstanding that all Christians are to be humble, gentle, compassionate, feed the poor, and exhibit other Scriptural social behaviors. Regarding social action required for the  "sociological, political and economic areas of life" preached by "New Evangelicalism",

2 Timothy 2:4 "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."

Regarding separation from those who teach false doctrine as truth:

Romans 16:17-18 "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." 

Also 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 2 Corinthians 6:17-18; Ephesians 5:11; 1 Timothy 6:3-5 and 2 John 9-11

"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

The New Evangelicalism goal for Christians to be accepted by the world is not something new. However, it is not something that is possible, according to the infallible Word of God. 

John 15:19 "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."

2 Timothy 3:12 "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

William E. Ashbrook stated on page 2 of The New Neutralism

"New Evangelicalism, beyond any question, is seeking middle ground with respect to the theological controversies...In the realms of things moral and spiritual one must be either right or wrong...the showdown at the close of the age will come in realms of black and white, not in the fog of a confused grey. In the great fight of faith there is no middle ground on which the neutralist can complacently stand for long...There can be no middle ground for Bible believing Christians....These are testing times when the dividing line between truth and error becomes ever more distinct..." 11

Revelation 3:15-16 "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."

From page 4, of New Neutralism II, written by his son, John E. Ashbrook, he is quoted to say, 

"Bible believing Christians would do well to beware of the New Evangelicalism for four valid reasons. First, it is a movement born of compromise. Second, it is a movement nurtured in pride of intellect. Third it is a movement growing on appeasement of evil; and finally it is a movement doomed by the judgment of God's Holy Word. Strong language, this? Let us face the facts."

Hebrews 4:2 "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it."

Dr. Ockenga also declared that their strategy was changed from " of separation to one of infiltration...Instead of attack upon error, the New Evangelicals proclaim the great historic doctrines of Christianity...the positive proclamation of truth in distinction from all errors without delving in personalities which embrace error."12

Jude 3-4 "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."

Jeremiah 48:10a "Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully,..."

In a 1957 press release, Dr. Ockenga announced another deviation from Biblical truth into error and trusting man's wisdom over God's. From page 8 of New Neutralism II, 

"The New Evangelicalism differs from Fundamentalism in its willingness to handle the social problems which Fundamentalism evaded...The New Evangelical is willing to face the intellectual problems and meet thin in the framework of modern learning...The evangelical believes that Christianity is intellectually defensible, but the Christian cannot be obscurantist in scientific questions pertaining to the creation, the age of man, the universality of the flood and other moot Biblical questions."

"Moot Biblical questions"? God's Word has far more to offer than what this writer could even begin to say. 

Regarding 'man's intellectual wisdom, please read 1 Corinthians 1-2. Note verses 1:19-21  "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."

We're to earnestly contend for the faith with the weapon which cuts to the very marrow. That is, the Word of God. Facts are worthless unless weighed against the Word of God which will reveal the concept of truth or error behind the intent of an action or statement.

Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Ephesians 6:10 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:"

Regarding the "creation, the age of man, the universality of the flood", which those who doubt God's word teach as evolution, local flood and millions of years of evolving, the Bible tells us certain things. The Genesis account in chapter 1-2 is stated --day by day. God was quite able to understand the concept of day/month/year evident by the seasons---He created those too. 

Paul wrote in Hebrews 11:3 "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."

Those words discount the concept that the worlds, evolved, were made out of Chaos, or the Big bang theory, etc. If one discounts the universality of the flood, which many are doing, and these other issues, they are denying the Scriptures such as: 2 Peter 3:3-7

"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."

And 2 Peter 2:5 "And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;'

Regarding the need to deal with these things "intellectually" including scientific arguments, Paul addressed that also in 1 Timothy 6:20-21  

"O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen."

The "oppositions of science falsely so-called" is referring to gnosticism, which is why they have erred from the faith. Those who contend that the Bible and faith must be defended intellectually- meaning according to intellectual arguments and secular standards- have fallen prey to gnostic arguments and thinking.

For further discussion of Christians trying to intellectually and scientifically agree with non-Christians about these issues, thereby denying Scripture, please see: Good Fruit From Evil Trees: The Millstat Forum 

New Evangelicalism also, for the most part, eliminated the teaching of the pre-millenial rapture of the church in favor of a-milleniallism or post-millenialism. This theology can allow for the teaching of Kingdom Now, Dominionist and Reconstructionist heresy. Why? Because with those concepts the truth that there is imminent judgment coming and that many will face eternal damnation can be ignored by suggesting all mankind has "time" to come to know the Lord, and all eventually will. All are given opportunity, but not all will accept Him. Fundamentalist doctrine focuses on the imminent return of Christ, and adheres to the Scripture to watch and pray, knowing that Christ can return "as a thief in the night." Please see: Lying Signs and Wonders

2 Peter 2:9 "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:"

2 Peter 3:7 "But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."

By the 1960's Fuller's primary focus was peace, justice, and sociological concern. Timothy Rutt wrote of Fuller's theology.

 "During the 1950s and ‘60s, along with evangelist Billy Graham, who became a Fuller trustee in 1958, the school helped define the "new evangelicalism."...The most profound change,...was accepting a new view of the basic fundamentalist doctrine of biblical inerrancy. For many years, Fuller faculty annually signed a statement that the Bible was without error in whole and part. But, writes church historian Marsden, "the most dramatic moment in the seminary’s history" came during a 1962 planning conference. In the midst of a search for a new president, some faculty -– led by Dan Fuller, Charles’ European-educated son and a student of neo-Orthodox theologian Karl Barth  – endorsed the idea that the Bible, while the infallible guide to faith, was not necessarily authoritative on scientific and historical matters...Some of the influential trustees, who were also major benefactors of the school, sided with Dan Fuller. In the midst of much internal struggle over this new direction, the seminary hired a more progressive president, David Hubbard. Under Hubbard, Fuller’s courses expanded beyond its roots in the Reform – mostly Presbyterian – wing of Protestantism to incorporate evangelical ideas from Pentecostal, Anabaptist, and Anglican traditions..." 13

* David Hubbard was President and teacher for over 30 years. His Fuller bio states "...undergraduate at Westmont College, as a bachelor of divinity student in the Fuller Seminary class of 1952, as a doctoral student in Old Testament at St. Andrews University in Scotland, and as a young faculty member at Westmont from 1957 to 1963...He...would take it beyond traditional theological degrees into Christian psychology and missions as well....He not only shaped theological education, as president and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Theological Schools--he also contributed to it"14

* Karl Barth [1886-1968] was ordained in the Reformed Church of Switzerland and then moved from Liberal theology. His associates viewed his theology as Christocentric with everything he wrote believed to be grounded in Jesus Christ.15  However, by others he is viewed as the father of "neo-orthodoxy" and by some an "inconsistent evangelical." 16

The rejection of Biblical truth resulted in the need to present new Bible versions which would support their new theology. Hence the various new versions, which, when compared to translation from the original Greek such as the Textus Receptus, not the Nestle/Aland or Westcott/Hort revisions, reveals disturbing doctrinal changes. Regarding the elimination of the concept of Biblical inerrancy:

2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"

Psalm 12:6 "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times."

Psalm 19:8 "The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes."

Proverbs 30:5 "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him."

Besides being the greatest influence on the theology of New Evangelicalism and it's followers, Dr. Ockenga boasted of the movement in a six-point organizational front in a December 8, 1957 press release. Consider the implications of these statements based on an understanding of what is meant by New Evangelicalism and what is Biblical truth.

"Since I first coined the phrase "The New Evangelicalism' at a convocation address at Fuller Theological Seminary ten years ago, the evangelical forces have been welded into an organizational front. First there is the National Association of Evangelicals which provides articulation for the movement on the denominational level; second, there is World Evangelical Fellowship which binds together these individual national associations of some twenty-six countries into a world organization; third, there is the new apologetic literature stating this point of view which is now flowing form the presses of the great publishers, including Macmillans and Harpers; fourth, there is the existence of Fuller Theological Seminary and other evangelical seminaries which are fully committed to orthodox Christianity and a resultant social philosophy; fifth there is the establishment of Christianity Today, a bi-weekly publication, to articulate the convictions of this movement; sixth, there is the appearance of an evangelist, Billy Graham, who on the mass level is the spokesman of the convictions and ideal of the New Evangelicalism." 17

Hebrews 3:12 "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God."

2 Peter 3:17 "Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness"

1 Timothy 4:1 "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;"

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9. Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, 1976, as cited in New Neutralism II, p.5, John E. Ashbrook, Here I Stand Books, 1992

10 New Neutralism II, John E. Ashbrook; p2 

11. Ibid, p.6

12. Ibid

13. op.cit, Rutt



16. op.cit,  Ashbrook, p.2

17. Ibid, p. 14

Copyright . All articles are the sole property of and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.

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