Tag Archives: Jeff Amsbaugh



A few weeks back I gave some commentary on an article by Jeff Amsbaugh which attempted to answer the question of why the young fundamentalists are leaving.

In counterpoint, Bob Gray has also written a response (which quotes from the article but doesn’t mention it or Amsbaugh by name) and it is a rambling and wild-eyed thing of beauty.

I’ll only post an excerpt here but the gist of this semi-incoherent piece is that

1. The lunatic fringe is really the only part of fundamentalism worth having.

2. The lunatics are not only surviving, they’re thriving.

3. Politics. Amen?

The upshot is that Bob Gray should really not be allowed to write things without an editing staff around to keep him from looking as uneducated as he is unpleasant.

Here’s a sample:

Pharaoh first hardened his own heart. That did not deter God from continuing to use His man in preaching God’s truth to God’s people, and to Pharaoh or his followers. We are free moral agents and God is not going to detour around truth because some are offended by that truth. Neither are God’s men of 2014 supposed to do so.

· People leave because they are not of the ones they are leaving. Human nature.
· I would rather they leave than attempt to commandeer what others lived and died for in fundamentalism in the past.
· To blame the quote “dirty dozen” of sins or standards that are preached, as the reason for an exodus of youth, is as liberal a mind-set as there is and lacks logic.
· Rules and standards do not make rebels they merely expose the rebels.
· The liberals blame guns and not the shooters and the liberal’s desire is to disarm all Americans from that which they despise.
· Liberals always think they are smarter and know what’s best and are not happy to just leave.
· They will not be satisfied until they control the rest of us.
· This small number of new breed of young leaders have a desire to take away all standards thus they must blame certain standards by using such antiquated and ill defined terms like “legalism.”
· Their so-called freedom from standards is a trap set by Satan himself.
· They in turn will define our standards, not theirs, and insulate themselves from such by calling our standards “preferences.”
· They are attempting to separate the youth from the influence of the men of God who built great works for God in the 60’s, 70s, and 80’s
· These men of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s had more people in their bathrooms than these young men have in their church. Yes, I am using the horrible topic of numbers. The Bible does speak of “for the work’s sake” some will believe.
· These young men are opting out of the quest for Holy Spirit power in search of human spirit power.
· When you use Hollywood methods you will receive Hollywood results. Church is to remind us of Heaven not the world. A called out body of baptized believers is the “ekklesia.” We are peculiar and even called a remnant.
· When liberals attempt to re-write the history of these great spiritual men, that God gave us, we are doing exactly what the liberal intellectuals have done and will do with our historical forefathers.
· When I was in high school in the early 60’s our forefathers were revered and not sneered. Then the rebels of the 60’s became our college professors and leaders of our higher education institutions.
· They began immediately to re-write history and make our forefathers look as undesirable as possible. Thus higher education today is smearing the lives of our countries forefathers in the text books as well as the classroom.
· The liberals believe if they can discredit the great men of the past they can alter the direction of the future. That is why Jack Hyles, Tom Malone, Lester Roloff, Lee Roberson, etc., are conveniently absent from some Bible colleges.
· We are in 2014 seeing the same play just different actors both politically and spiritually.
· When those with standards are tagged as “lunatic fringe” by our youth then it is no different than the Tea Party being tagged “lunatic fringe” by the liberal Democrats.
· By the way, that is where the term “lunatic fringe” was birthed.
· The attack on the U.S. Constitution by political liberals could have been easily predicted, much like the attack on the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures by spiritual liberals of our day. One young leader blames our belief of “inspiration of the Holy Scriptures” as part of the problem.
· To tear down what our spiritual and historical forefathers accomplished with scandalizing Internet statements is silly and juvenile. This is grade school stuff.
· I remember at the SOUTHWIDE-BAPTIST-FELLOWSHIP meeting years ago at Dr. Roberson’s church when a national leader renounced his position on standards and soul winning. The struggle was on!
· Many of his peers and some youth followed suit and they produced a public schism and that was fine with me. Just tell us what you believe and we can all move on.
· It appears that in order to build up this new neo-fundamental group we must dispatch with the old guard and do it quickly.
· That is why we have a cancerous soft peddling of a so-called “NEW ROAD.”
· I would suggest that we not mistake “meekness” for “weakness” and let our old and aged voices be heard once again.
· There are still 7,000 out here who have not bowed their knees to the god of this world.
· You can tell more by those who make comments to these blogs of their approval about this silent rebellion.
· Look at the ones who give favorable comments to such illogical, unscriptural verbal diarrhea on these blogs.
· Look at their Face book pics and look at the wives in their skinny jeans along with their listing of their favorite Hollywood movies. That is the elephant in the room that NO ONE wants to talk about.
· A mixed multitude will never get the job done.
· Maybe we should just simply declare where each of us stand on separation and then collate from there. The problem is the youth know where the aged stand because the aged make it clear. Yet the liberal youth tip toe around the subject matter with their books and never do declare specific positions.
If these young bucks are going to bring the fight on in an attempt to do away with OUR forefathers’ legacy and OUR standards, then the fight is on.
· I really do not care what they do or don’t’ do within their realm of their convictions, but do not subtly attack Jack Hyles, Lee Roberson, Tom Malone, John R. Rice and Lester Roloff in an attempt to invade our churches with this non-sense. These mentors of ours were some of the greatest men of God our nation has ever known. PERIOD!
· Dr. Lee Roberson did not give a hoot if another man had his night services at 6 or 7. He was concerned about the “TREND” and where it was headed for those who were influenced by him. The proof is in the “puddin'” and from what I see he was right as to the destination of such changes
· The aged see the big picture better than the youth do. Staying in to correct wrongs did not work for the SBC and it will not work any where else. LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!

Keeping Young Fundamentalists In The Camp: A Response


Last week fundamentalist pastor and writer Jeff Amsbaugh created a stir with his article entitled “Keeping Young Fundamentalists In The Camp.” In this article Jeff opines that the reason young fundamentalists are fleeing from the IFB movement is due to the inability of fundamentalists to draw a distinction between mainstream fundamentalism and the “lunatic fringe” which is defined by its perpetual scandals and its pursuit of ever-stricter standards. He then takes on the issues of hyper-separation, pastor worship, isolationism, standards, and pride.

I’ve seen many people both in and outside of fundamentalism who are pleased with Amsbaugh’s article because they see it as a sort of Agrippian Declaration: “almost thou persuadest me to be a [mainstream] Christian.” To be sure it is refreshing to see any kind of indictment against the IFB movement from one of their own instead of the usual response of Deny, Deflect, and Defend.

Yet, for all that Jeff has written here there remain three unanswered questions that will determine whether or not this article is effective or just so much more noise.

1. Who are these “normal” fundamentalists?

If we’re going to try to draw lines between mainstream fundamentalism and the “lunatic fringe” in trying to keep young fundamentalists “in the camp” then it’s important to define exactly which camp they should stay in. As fundamentalism shrinks, the lines are growing increasingly blurry between the fringe and the supposed middle.

BJU now has speakers on its platform that are also welcomed at Hyles-Anderson. West Coast administrators like Paul Chappell (for whom Jeff Amsbaugh writes) are also making the journey to the Fundamentalist Mecca in Hammond, Indiana. Sword of the Lord conferences are full of the very worst of fundamentalism who are roundly embraced by those we’re told are reasonable. Tony Hutson is still out there being paid to prance and scream at churches; so is John Hamblin. And so are many, many others of their ilk. Can anybody point me to the border between “Normal Fundyland” and “Crazy Town”? Does one even exist?

Since nobody seems to be able to tell exactly where the crazy stops and normalcy begins, every fundamentalist who reads this article can heartily agree with the notion that “lunatics are bad.” As long as each person ascribes to some other group the title of “lunatic fringe” then nothing has to change. Which, I suspect, is rather the point.

2. What causes the lunacy?

It’s all well and good to point out that there are abuses, sex scandals, ridiculous standards, and the glorification of pastors to the point of idolatry but if you’re not going be honest about the root cause of these problems then you can’t possibly hope for positive change.

Here’s the truth: when you centralize the power in one man and isolate your congregation from the world outside then abuses inevitably follow within a generation. We’ve seen this model since days of J. Frank Norris and down through the next generations. If fundamentalism keeps doing the same things they cannot possibly hope for a different result.

Amsbaugh pays lip service to the notion that “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” If he really believed that then what would be the result?

3. What is the call to action?

I’ve sat in Jeff Amsbaugh’s former church and listened to him speak. In those sermons I’ve heard him give a very clear call to action for some wrong that he thought needed to be addressed. In fact, one Father’s Day I heard him preach an entire sermon from a text on the Crucifixion about turning our backs on our children and abandoning them if they insist on living in sin. His point was wrongheaded and his exegesis was abysmal and yet nobody there that day could say he wasn’t clear in his call to action. In this article, however, it remains unclear exactly what needs to be done to fix fundamentalism.

His big finish ends with “God help us to keep the baby but get rid of the bath water, for the bath water is indeed dirty.” I suppose we can then add “keep on keeping on” and “stick by the stuff” and a thousand other platitudes and powerless cliches.

I challenge Jeff to name the names of who the crazies are instead of just alluding to their misdeeds. Let him tell us that he will no longer attend conferences or be part of associations where these people are honored. Let us hear him say that he will practice his own standard of separation against actual evil instead of against the bugaboos of Calvinism and beer and then I believe that he may be part of a camp that young fundamentalists may find worth staying in.

Until then, I hope to see both young and old fundamentalists fleeing as if their lives depended on it. The truth is that their souls very well may.