Author Archives: Kevin T. Bauder

Submitting to Each Other: A Response to Denny Burk

Submitting to Each Other: A Response to Denny Burk

Kevin T. Bauder Denny Burk is one of the leading voices for biblical complementarianism, a perspective that claims that, according to Scripture, men and women can be genuinely equal while nevertheless existing in certain structured relationships (such as the home and the church) that require male leadership. Needless to say, biblical complementarianism runs counter to… Continue Reading

Tried with Fire: Lest I Should Be Exalted

Tried with Fire: Lest I Should Be Exalted

Kevin T. Bauder The apostle Paul was not given to self-aggrandizement. He understood himself to be the chief of sinners, rescued only by God’s grace. Only when forced to defend his ministry and apostleship was he willing to talk about his gifts and attainments—and even then he spoke with a kind of wry embarrassment. Nowhere… Continue Reading

Thoughts on Baptists and Independence

Thoughts on Baptists and Independence

Kevin T. Bauder [This essay was originally published on September 25, 2015.] Sometimes things that look alike are actually quite different. One mushroom cooks up into a delectable repast, while another that appears almost identical can kill. A gold nugget will buy a new car, but a pyrite crystal is a mere curiosity. Careful minds… Continue Reading

Vocation and Vocations

Vocation and Vocations

Kevin T. Bauder [This essay was originally published on February 5, 2016.] The Reformers erected the doctrine of calling in reaction to the Romanist distinction between clergy and laity. At the time, Catholics recognized only two vocations: the calling to consecration (which typically involved joining an order) and the calling to ordination (priesthood). In other… Continue Reading

Tried with Fire: Suffering and Glory

Tried with Fire: Suffering and Glory

Kevin T. Bauder How perplexing! Christians are supposed to be children of God, heirs and joint heirs with Christ. We are no longer under condemnation—God’s wrath has been cancelled for all our sins. We have received unimaginable privileges in Christ. Yet we ache when we get up in the morning. We need glasses and antacids.… Continue Reading

Tried with Fire: The Things On the Earth

Tried with Fire: The Things On the Earth

Kevin T. Bauder Our greatest temptation is not to treat evil things as if they were good. Our greatest temptation is to treat good things as if they were God. We were created to worship. We can’t help ourselves. The most earthbound among us are compelled to look upwards toward something outside ourselves, to give… Continue Reading

Tried with Fire: The God of All Comfort

Tried with Fire: The God of All Comfort

Kevin T. Bauder To all appearances the apostle Paul was less than average. He was probably so short that he couldn’t see over the heads of a crowd. He was no golden-tongued orator—in fact, his preaching was known to put people to sleep. Many believe that he had an ocular disease that forced him to… Continue Reading

Tried with Fire: Want Wisdom?

Tried with Fire: Want Wisdom?

Kevin T. Bauder On our first Thanksgiving in Denver, my wife and I wanted to drive to Iowa to see her family, then to Wisconsin for my parents’ silver wedding anniversary. The problem was that a snow storm was blowing in from the Rockies. Snow swirled the whole night before we were supposed to leave,… Continue Reading

Tried with Fire: Consider It All Joy

Tried with Fire: Consider It All Joy

Kevin T. Bauder The temperature hovered in the nineties as the August sun beat down on the practice field. We had been running through a combination of calisthenics and drills in full gear for nearly two hours. This was our first two-a-day of the season. I’d thought I was in decent shape, but I was… Continue Reading

Elders Rule! But Congregations Decide

Elders Rule! But Congregations Decide

Kevin T. Bauder [This essay was originally published on February 7, 2014.] Those who think that churches should be governed by a self-perpetuating boards of elders have two main arguments. The first is that the sheep (i.e., ordinary believers under the care of shepherds or elders) are not competent to make church-wide decisions. This argument… Continue Reading

Tried with Fire: Teaching a Lesson

Tried with Fire: Teaching a Lesson

Kevin T. Bauder It was the best day of his life. He had been blind from birth. One day as he sat begging he heard himself being discussed. Men were asking a rabbi whether the blindness was because of his sins or his parents’ sin. The teacher replied that it was neither: instead, God wanted… Continue Reading

Tried with Fire: Those Who Cannot Believe

Tried with Fire: Those Who Cannot Believe

Kevin T. Bauder The missionary was well stricken in years and ready to see her Lord. She didn’t regret the decades that she and her husband had spent pushing into the jungle to bring the gospel to unreached peoples. She didn’t resent the bouts of disease or the other hardships they had endured navigating the… Continue Reading

Tried with Fire: Why Us?

Tried with Fire: Why Us?

Kevin T. Bauder The early chapters of Genesis trace death to Adam’s sin. Along with death came an entire brood of calamities. Alienation from God, suspicion of and hostility toward other people, grinding labor, sorrow, and physical pain all began with the sentence of death. At that time the created order was altered so that… Continue Reading

Tried with Fire: Death and Its Brood

Tried with Fire: Death and Its Brood

Kevin T. Bauder God did not create human beings to suffer or die. Nothing in the Bible teaches that pain had any place in the world God made. God fashioned humanity, both male and female, as part of His good creation. He gave them His blessing. He put them in a place of shelter and… Continue Reading

Tried with Fire: The Way Things Used to Be

Tried with Fire: The Way Things Used to Be

Kevin T. Bauder Human suffering is universal. We all feel pain. We ought to expect it, but usually we don’t. When suffering intrudes, we default to self-pity. Rather than saying, “It’s my turn,” we ask, “Why me?” Perhaps we ought to remember why people suffer at all. We should recall that God did not hardwire… Continue Reading

Tried with Fire: When Pain is Personal

Tried with Fire: When Pain is Personal

Kevin T. Bauder For just a moment, Carlos’s tearless gaze turned defiant. “I don’t understand it,” he said. “What I do know is that I’m just so angry. And I have no answers.” This conversation took place beside the casket of Carlos’s adolescent son. The teenager had been tinkering with the family car in an… Continue Reading

Tried with Fire: The Suffering of the Righteous

Tried with Fire: The Suffering of the Righteous

Kevin T. Bauder Discussions about the problem of evil quickly become abstract and theoretical. Skeptics raise questions about how a God who is supposed to be all-wise, all-powerful, and all-loving could permit evil to exist. Religious thinkers offer certain stock responses. Perhaps God permits evil in order to achieve greater good. Perhaps He permits evil… Continue Reading

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Nine: Reflections

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Nine: Reflections

Kevin T. Bauder Over the past several years I have read a number of books and articles about “growing up fundamentalist.” Almost without exception these works have been written by people who are trying to justify their life choices by pointing to the oppressiveness of their fundamentalist upbringing. In some cases they claim to have… Continue Reading

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Eight: Seminary

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Eight: Seminary

Kevin T. Bauder At the time my father enrolled in Bible college, few fundamentalist pastors went to seminary. That was beginning to change a decade later as I approached my senior year. Some of my professors were encouraging me toward seminary. One evening our church hosted a seminary president at a special event, and he… Continue Reading

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Seven: Vocation

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Seven: Vocation

Kevin T. Bauder One of the rituals of life at Bible college was the daily chapel service. In chapel we heard preaching by local pastors and other Christian leaders. We sang hymns—usually better ones than the hymns I’d grown up singing. Part of chapel was also devoted to community life. Chapels were like student assemblies… Continue Reading