We can appreciate many of the sentiments Blumer expresses for Fundamentalism. It is, however, irrefutable that Aaron presides over a site that has been-
A conduit for inflicting great harm to the legacy and men of Fundamentalism.Harm to those men and elements that would not be identified with what Blumer defined as “alot of fundamentalist ugliness.”
Blumer close his article by stating,
I don’t know what all this “goes to show,” if anything.What it shows is that there is a huge gap between the appreciation he expresses for Fundamentalism and what he allows for at SI (including the SI Blogroll) from men like Kevin Bauder and any number of angry YF’s to vilify and besmirch Fundamentalism with impunity. This makes one wonder just who is in charge at SI. Is it the site publisher or SI moderators and remaining members who gush over “conservative” evangelicalism and furthermore vilify Fundamentalism, which is about all SI has left of its membership.
IMO, Blumer is in a tough spot. After 5 years of SI allowing for its moderators and/or members to besmirch and vilify Fundamentalism with impunity, passionately endorse conservative evangelicalism’s star personalities with virtually no cautions whatsoever, Aaron has almost no one left in his membership who have not been driven off that would represent the best of what Fundamentalism is.
If Aaron were to attempt to be transparent about and allow for open criticism of the conservative evangelical camp, and genuinely embrace Fundamentalism most of what is left of SI’s membership would have none of it and they’d leave. Furthermore, the damage done to Fundamentalism through and by SI guarantees that virtually no balanced Fundamentalist would ever come back again even if Aaron did take these steps. It’s too late!
Aaron Blumer had a chance to bring some balance to SI that it never had when he bought SI from Jason Janz. Aaron, however, let the angry YF’s and others hostile toward Fundamentalism have free run of the forums and Blogroll, which ensured SI would never be balanced. Even at the beginning of Aaron’s tenure as site publisher he allowed for and authorized this description of SI.
The site has four thousand members (several hundred active) who identify with conservative evangelicalism of the fundamentalist variety.That was and still is an accurate depiction of what SI is about and for. Once I raise awareness of that statement’s implications on two levels it was suddenly revised to appear as follows.
The site has over a thousand active* members who identify with Fundamentalism (more than four thousand archived members).While some might appreciate the revision it is way too little and way too late. A statement buried deep in the site does not change what SI truly and primarily is: A place for the advocacy of conservative evangelicalism’s star personalities and their conferences and furthermore a conduit for the vilification of historic Fundamentalism. There is the rare bone thrown to appease Fundamentalist at SI, but it is merely window-dressing.
If Aaron were truly serious about getting some balance at SI he could start by dealing with his most high profile contributor Kevin Bauder. He could instruct Bauder to cease with the incessant attacks on Fundamentalism. Aaron could refuse to post any more articles from Bauder that take needless potshots at Fundamentalism. He could openly admonish or remove Bauder’s Let’s Get Clear on This article just like he *yanked Dwight Smith’s Richard V. Clearwaters Letter to Kevin Bauder. Aaron can’t do any of that. If he did what is left of SI membership and most of his moderators would pounce on and/or leave him.
These things may seem harsh but, I believe Blumer is in a corner that he inherited. He never tightened his belt to make the difficult decisions to get SI under control, break out of that corner if he ever had it in mind to do in the first place.
*That recent incident exemplifies the obvious two way bias of SI and Aaron Blumer when it comes to the conservative evangelicals and SI's chief apologist for them, Kevin Bauder.
Return to A Letter from Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters
Addendum: This is an excerpt from an e-mail I received that is in regard to the subject matter of this article. The writer is a pastor of a local IFB church.
Lou, regarding Blumer’s post this morning at SI, which you correctly critiqued [here] at the Skillet: I agree with your assessment totally. To me, he was trying to payback those of us who have been run off from SI. Reminds me of a basketball game in which the referees realize they made a bad call, so they call another foul to payback the offended team. In Blumer’s case, it's too little too late.
What surprised me about Blumer’s post is what he didn’t say about what Fundamentalism taught him. My Fundamentalism training taught me to be a separatist, to be militant at it, and to do it for the cause of truth and the glory of God. My training taught me to rightly divide the Word of truth and to guard my associations and alliances lest I besmirch the glory of God. I could go on, but you get my drift.