Author Archives: Kevin T. Bauder

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

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Six: College and Conviction

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Six: College and Conviction

Kevin T. Bauder My parents always stressed the importance of college education. My father actually modeled his commitment to higher education by going to college during my teen years. He graduated the same spring that I graduated from high school. As commencement drew near, the question was not whether I would attend college, but where… Continue Reading

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Five: Adolescence

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Five: Adolescence

Kevin T. Bauder During my childhood my father was a rising manager with a national airline. When I was thirteen, however, he moved us from Michigan to Iowa so he could attend Bible college. He continued to work for the airline, but he had to take a demotion to do it. It didn’t matter to… Continue Reading

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Four: Special Meetings

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Four: Special Meetings

Kevin T. Bauder When I was growing up our church held at least four public meetings every week. During Sunday school the children would be taken to graded classes for instruction while adults remained in the church auditorium for a Bible lesson. Sunday school was followed by the morning service, which featured singing, prayers, giving,… Continue Reading

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Three: Camp

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Three: Camp

Kevin T. Bauder One aspect of growing up fundamentalist was going to summer camp. Every fellowship of churches seemed to have a camp of its own. There were also a number of independent camps. Ours was a Regular Baptist camp located west of Traverse City, Michigan. The site had been one of Al Capone’s hideouts… Continue Reading

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Two: Pastors and Church

Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part Two: Pastors and Church

Kevin T. Bauder During the years following my parents’ conversion, our little church went through a series of pastors. Some were more qualified and some less so. The congregation finally called a church planter from the Fellowship of Baptists for Home Missions. He is the pastor who baptized me and who began to instruct me… Continue Reading

Most Interesting Reading of 2018: Part Two

Most Interesting Reading of 2018: Part Two

Kevin T. Bauder In last week’s “In the Nick of Time” I began listing my most interesting reading from 2018. Here that list continues. Both submissions should be read together as a single list. Let me state that these are not necessarily the best books that I read (though some of them are). Nor am… Continue Reading

Most Interesting Reading of 2018: Part One

Most Interesting Reading of 2018: Part One

Kevin T. Bauder Every now and then I try to provide a list of the books I’ve found most interesting during the preceding year. These are not necessarily the most useful books or the books that I think everybody ought to read. They are simply the titles that I found intriguing for one reason or… Continue Reading

Incarnation and Inculturation

Incarnation and Inculturation

Kevin T. Bauder The incarnation of Jesus Christ is a fundamental of the gospel. Essential to our salvation is the teaching that the Second Person of the Godhead laid aside his visible divine glory and added to his eternal person a complete human nature. From the annunciation onward God fully entered into the human experience,… Continue Reading