Dr. Rolland McCune Message – The Definition and Conception of Fundamentalism

In 1996 Dr. Rolland McCune was president of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary and the first editor of Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal. The journal’s first issue came out in the spring of 1996, and I distinctly remember that. I brought that clean, fresh, crisp journal to work with me and read every word (I worked on a press at a corrugated box company in the area called Laimbeer Packaging). By the time I finished the journal was quite dirty and marked up.

The first article of that first issue was by Dr. McCune titled, “The Self-Identify of Fundamentalism,” and he started right out of the gate:

Dr. William R. Rice was trained for the ministry in the 1930s and 40s at Bob Jones University, a [then] clearly militant fundamentalist institution, and at Grace Theological Seminary, then also an outspoken fundamentalist school. He began his pastoral ministry in the post-World War II era when fundamentalism’s identity was not only self-assured but recognized outside its own confines as well. Over the years he witnessed many of his friends and former classmates leave the ranks of fundamentalism for the more congenial and inclusive camp of new evangelicalism. But his identity as a fundamentalist and that of his ministry of well over forty years were never in doubt nor questioned.

Today, fundamentalism is said to be in an identity crisis. It is allegedly trying to discover what it is. New self-definitions are being heard which say that a fundamentalist is one who is faithful to expository preaching, practices church discipline, repudiates easy believism, and is aggressive in evangelism. Or some imply that a fundamentalist is one who believes in inerrancy and does not cooperate with Roman Catholics, or is one who believes the “fundamentals” but is less militant and separatistic than formerly thought. The truth is that these are things that new evangelicals and self-proclaimed non-fundamentalists also believe and practice, leaving a distinctly fundamentalist self-identity completely vacuous. This all points up the fact that many are simply confused, and this includes would-be leaders as well as followers and well-wishers. Judging by some of the prevalent ambiguity, one is sometimes tempted to ask, Will the real fundamentalist please stand up?

The purpose here is to address some reasons for the present confusion, define fundamentalism as a bona fide religious movement, delineate a complex of doctrine around which the movement has rallied, and demonstrate that there are some other distinctives that make it what it is. In other words, I propose to set forth what I consider to be the real, historic identity markers of fundamentalism and thus to bring some sense of order out of the developing chaos on this question in certain sectors of the fundamentalist ranks.

As I mentioned yesterday, during that spring Dr. McCune gave seven messages on the history of fundamentalism. The second message is “The Definition and Conception of Fundamentalism,” and largely reflects his first journal article. As I also mentioned yesterday, what you get in the audio that is lacking in the journal are his anecdotes, humor, and asides.

Regarding the term fundamentalism Dr. McCune said we ought not to back away from the title; indeed, he said, “I will not give up the title” (4:40).

This message largely relays the historical facts of what led up to and the birth of the fundamentalist movement. I wonder if this history is taught much at all in educational institutions that (at least at one time) are in the vein of fundamentalism. I know I am who I am today because Dr. McCune and others did teach this. He mentions at the end of the message two men who were likewise influential in his life, Alva J. McClain and Richard V. Clearwaters. I thank the Lord for these men.

Alva J. McClain, 1888-1968
Richard V. Clearwaters, 1900-1996

Dr. McCune closes (40:15) by exhorting students to give thanks to God for fundamentalists of the past, and to “pledge in your own heart you’re going to uphold those ideals, you’re going to stand for the thing that they stood for, and you’ll take the heat and you’ll take the abuse sometimes it comes. It may be from your own friends and your own countrymen and your own churchmen, but don’t be afraid to do it.”

Click here to listen or download:

The Definition and Conception of Fundamentalism

Dr. Rolland McCune – The Formation of Liberalism

Today would have been the 86th birthday of one of my seminary professors, Dr. Rolland McCune. Dr. McCune went to be with the Lord June 17, 2019.

There have been many thoughts running through my mind since he died, and today is no exception. Perhaps I will write out those thoughts, but not today.

There were many tributes and accolades given leading up to and following Dr. McCune’s death. I was surprised (or maybe I shouldn’t have been) at the relative lack of notice of his commitment to fundamentalism. (I will be the first to confess my lack of omniscience and will gladly be corrected on this point.) His devotion to biblical fundamentalism was essential not only to who he was, but to his ministry in the seminary.

I was an M.Div student at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary from 1994-2000. It was during those six years that Dr. McCune completed his tenure as seminary president and full-time professor. Half-way through my seminary career in 1996 Dr. McCune took seven chapel sessions to address the topic of fundamentalism because he wanted to make sure that students knew what it was. He said,

“We need to be reminded of our roots. You’re sitting this morning in a fundamental, separatist Baptist seminary. How did we get this way? We need to be reminded of that….One of the reasons that fundamentalism is somewhat in disarray in certain quarters is that people are simply not aware of their roots. They’ve not been told these kinds of things. For that reason we go through this every now and then.”

I purchased the cassette tapes of those messages and have since listened to them many, many times. I can’t thank God enough for his continued ministry in my life through these. I’ve subsequently digitized them and will post them over the next few days.

If you buy his first book, Promise Unfulfilled: The Failed Strategy of Modern Evangelicalism, you can read what he taught in these messages. What you’ll miss in the book are the interesting and invaluable rabbit trails, applications, anecdotes, and of course his personality. You’ll hear his devotion, scholarship, seriousness, and his humor.

Dr. McCune was committed to biblical fundamentalism, to teaching and educating seminary students to not only know what it is but to convince them that they should be such.

With this introduction, here is Dr. McCune’s first message of the series on fundamentalism. It is titled, “The Formation of Liberalism.”

Lydia Update!

We’re all thankful to our Lord for His grace and help today. It was a long but good day.

We left at 6am, arriving at the hospital in Cleveland about 7:30. They prepped her, and then came her most dreaded moment: Getting the IV.

HOWEVER, while talking with the anesthesiologist, he said they could give a light anesthesia and then once she’s asleep put in the IV. “Lydia,” he said, “would you like to do that?” Uh, YEAH!!! She had a pretty big grin for someone about to have surgery!

The surgery took a good three hours. They got started maybe 9-9:30, finishing around noon. We were able to see her 30-45 minutes later in her foggy state. We then left for home, arriving around 3-3:30.

After we made sure she was comfortable, it was back in the car for me to get her antibiotic perscription refilled. Back in the day when we had a pharmacy in Orwell that was a quick run, but it closed, so it’s now a 25 minute drive to Middlefield, wait 30 minutes for them to fill it, then drive back home.

Life in the country!!! 🙂

We praise the Lord for His help, and for MANY who have been asking Him for that help today.


Please Pray for Lydia! :-)

As many of you may know, Lydia had her first cochlear implant surgery last July (she has a form of congenital hearing loss in both ears). She has done extremely well learning how to hear with that.

Consequently, tomorrow morning she’ll be having her second cochlear implant surgery for her other ear. We would greatly appreciate your asking our kind and gracious God for help, mercy, wisdom, and a faithful testimony for Christ to those we meet.

We’ll arrive at the hospital tomorrow morning at 7:30, with surgery set for 9:30.

If you don’t know or remember about cochlear implants, watch this video. It is excellent.

Following the surgery she’ll have a month to recover, then they will turn her new cochlear implant on. It will take several months of fine-tuning to get it right.

Thursday and Friday, January 30-31, 2020

Well it’s time to go home. I thought about using my new Uber skills, but as it’s 5,753 miles as the crow flies, that wasn’t realistic 😁

I went down for breakfast at my normal time, but the dining room was considerably different than the past week and a half.

Bags are packed and the safe is pretty much cleaned out 👍

Boarding at Puerto Montt for the first leg of the journey to Santiago.

My life for the next 20 or so hours!

Beautiful scenery of Puerto Montt. The big lake is what we toured around this past Sunday.

Upon arriving at Santiago I enjoyed a good four or so hours or so of fellowship with Mark Perry, a fellow seminarian and co-laborer in Ohio for the last 20 years. A few years ago he and his wife Bekah went to Antofagasta serving as missionaries. He got a cheap flight to come down. That was a gracious gift on his part. It was good to learn more of their work there and how things have progressed the last two years. Pray for this dear couple!

My flight out of Santiago left at 10:00 p.m. providing a spectacular view of the city.

Arriving in Atlanta. Getting there at 5:15 a.m. was actually a nice benefit as immigrations and customs had just opened. I flew through them and TSA in about 15 minutes!

Look who was waiting for me at the Cleveland airport! 😘😁

Driving home there was snow on the ground and the thermometer was in the thirties, welcome back to Northeast Ohio, hehheh!

I praise the Lord for his grace and mercy over the last two weeks! There are so many other things I could say but I probably should just sign off right now 🇨🇱🇨🇱🇨🇱

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Well, today is the last day of the ICCC Congress! I am looking forward to being home and having breakfast at my own table, looking out at my backyard, but the breakfast view I have had while here is beautiful!

I had a second speaking opportunity today, participating in a panel discussion with brothers Brad Gsell and Ken Olson on the upcoming World Council of Church’s theme for it’s 11th world Assembly in 2021. That theme is, “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity,” which is essentially advocates for the social gospel. If you’re interested, you can read my presentation here.

We had a break during the afternoon, which I used for taking a nap (my famous 18 minute nap of course!) and packing for the return trip home.

I enjoyed a last dinner at the arena where the Congress was held. I was an observer of an interesting and stimulating discussion among these brothers 😁

The final service of the Congress featured a number of encouraging hymns by a large choir. Though it was all in Spanish, I knew most of their selections; it was a joy to listen to. The floor was pretty well packed, I would guess attendance for the service around 1,000 people.

ICCC executive committee

In William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” Juliet said goodnight to Romeo with the words, “parting is such sweet sorrow,” thinking about the next time they would be together. The goodbyes mutually relayed with so many new friends I made truly were “sweet sorrows.” Contact information was exchanged, Facebook friends added, pictures taken, and tokens of love exchanged. I will truly miss my brothers and sisters here, but am thankful that because we are all in Christ we have a unity and future expectation that nothing in creation can sever.

Of course, the time here in Chile could not just end peacefully (heh heh). Some Chilean demonstrators decided to burn a bunch of tires and demonstrate just down the road from our hotel, so we got to spend a couple extra hours at the Congress. Getting on the bus to head there was a great joy, I was hoping to get some kind of decent nights rest before my flight home!

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
Our comforts and our cares.

We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

When for a while we part,
This thought will soothe our pain,
That we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.

This glorious hope revives
Our courage by the way,
While each in expectation lives,
And longs to see the day.

From sorrow, toil, and pain,
And sin we shall be free;
And perfect love and friendship reign
Thro’ all eternity.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Well, today did not start out the best for me. I went to bed last night with an increasingly sore throat, and it pretty much plagued me all night. I woke up not feeling too great and very fatigued. Thankfully I was encouraged by God’s word by Rev. David DiCanio, a missionary in Liberia.

Later in the morning several resolutions were read and considered by the ICCC. The way they did it is the guy from the pulpit read it in Spanish, and ICCC president Brad Gsell came down and read it to us English speaking folks.

During lunch I sat down with a pastor named Daniel from Kenya, I forgot to get a picture with him! We had a stimulating discussion about ministry challenges that we face in our respective areas. The similarities are striking, as well as the differences! A good brother. I will try to remember to get a picture with him tomorrow and post that.

After lunch my body was ready to call it quits, so I went back to the hotel and got some rest for a good hour. Following the rest and a lot of water I felt considerably better, praise the Lord.

Tonight’s message was given by Rev. Dr. Nadir Carreño, ICCC first vice president. He has been in leadership in the ICCC for decades; his message was on point and edifying.

One of my main goals in attending the ICCC Congress was to try to be a help and encouragement to Christian brothers and sisters. It has been a great blessing to receive testimonies from a number of folks to that effect. I am really looking forward to being home, but with tears I’m so thankful for so many dear saints who have been a great encouragement to me showing tremendous love and hospitality.

Rev. David Quisbert from La Paz, Bolivia.
Rev. David Horta of Santiago, Chile, and a young man from his church.
Thomas and Augustine, from Santiago. Their mom wanted a picture of their sons with me, they are very interested in missions. Pray for these young men!
One of the churches at the Congress, this one also from Santiago, Chile. For some perspective, that is about an 11 hour drive!

Monday, January 27, 2020

I woke up quite tired after a short night’s sleep. I read Genesis 29 for prayer and devotion. God fulfills his promises (cf 28:3), whether through human affection (29:20), lack thereof (29:31), or deceit (29:23).

ICCC devotions were led by Rev. Dominique Épo from Yaounde, Cameroon.

Part of the morning was given to testimonies from some young people, followed by a group picture of them. May they seek the Lord and he send them out into his harvest field!

Rev. David Horta from Santiago, Chile spoke on God’s love manifested in the believer’s praise, worship, and obedience

This young man is Jhoss Mondragon, and we’ve developed a good friendship. He wants to study to be a pastor or missionary, and it’s been a great blessing to encourage him.

Technology helped me yesterday communicate with these friends! Google translate has an amazing app that has helped bridge the gap. It’s not 100% but it’s waaaaay better than my 1% Spanish (and that’s probably being generous)! We had a lot of laughs “talking” with each other 😁

Last but not least is Rev. James Mwangangi from Isovya, Kenya. We talked for a good hour about ministry blessings and challenges. I’m thankful for this brother’s perseverance, encouragement, and zeal for the Cause of Christ.

I have appreciated the friendliness and hospitality so many folks have shown. The love of Christ is truly manifested by such dear saints of God!

The Lord’s day, January 26, 2020

I woke up this morning to see this out my window! It was interesting watching a cruise ship come so close to the shore. There must really be a steep drop off as it was not far away from us.

The first thing we had today was an evangelistic service in the town square. This is organized by the local ICCC committee and involved choir and orchestra members from different churches. There were testimonies by several ICCC individuals, and I was asked to give a testimony of what the Lord Jesus did in my life. If you have Facebook you can watch my testimony here (at the 44:00 mark).

This is Rev. David Huamantinco from Ayacucho, Peru. We’ve had some good talks through a translator as well as our stumblings without one 😁

Rev. Brad Gsell is president of the ICCC and a member of the ACCC executive committee he has done a tremendous job over the last two years planning for this Congress. I cannot imagine the logistical details involved with something like this!

Following the meeting we had lunch with several American and South American pastors at a beautiful little park. No, that is not the Texas flag 😁

Following the lunch they directed us to a bus, so striving to be a humble and obedient servant (hehheh) I obliged.

They first took us to see the volcano Osorno. It last erupted in 1961. It was gorgeous!

We drove around the second largest lake in South America, Lake Llanquihue. I loved the rural, farming countryside, a lot like Ohio!

Baled hay all wrapped up
Well past knee-high and it’s well before the 4th of July!

We got back to the hotel about 11:00 p.m., considerably later than I thought we would be back, but it was a nice tour. Praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Today is a day off for everyone so I am obliging the schedule 😁

After breakfast and time for the Word and prayer, I took a nice half hour walk along the lakeshore. Today was foggy but very nice out, about 60° f.

There is much evidence throughout the city of the unrest that has been occurring throughout Chile. It is a sad scene. I am trying to imagine how beautiful things would have looked before all the wanton destruction.

Evidently the circus is in town too! This is just a 5-minute walk from my hotel.

Tomorrow there will be an evangelistic service in downtown Puerto Montt. It was originally scheduled for the afternoon, but the city officials moved our service to 10:00 a.m. due to lesbians and homosexuals who during the afternoon demonstrate in the same area by taking off all their clothes. I have been asked by one of the local pastors to give a five minute gospel testimony so I am preparing for that today. Please pray for the Lord to powerfully and graciously use his Word!

I did a bunch of odds and ends during the afternoon and evening, including laundry!

Overall an unexciting day, but it was good to catch up on adminstrative tasks, study, and pray to God for His manifold blessings.

I’ll close this day’s post with a picture of my new grandson and his family!