Part two of two parts; click here to read part one

All this was accomplished. The conferees left in a happy hopefulness. Unfortunately, the peace began to unravel in less than 24 hours. As most of the leaders caught planes for home, MacArthur and Sproul headed for a tv set to film a prescheduled John Ankerberg show critiquing the ECT statement. When this show was aired nationally, the ECT signers were shocked. They felt that the show renewed the attacks on ECT just as though the Fort Lauderdale meeting had never happened. From that point on, relations have gone from bad to worse.

It is a sad situation—not that the dispute continues, for there are profound and profoundly important theological issues at stake—but that evangelical leaders who share so much have become so alienated from each other. The story is not over yet. Attempts are being made to organize another meeting. But for now, the terrible irony is that an attempt at reconciliation probably made things worse.

It seems that in the flush of reconciliation, the principals thought they had accomplished more understanding than they really had. Those who had signed the ECT statement believed they had resolved misunderstandings. The critics thought otherwise. While they were glad that ECT signers would affirm Reformed orthodoxy, they still did not understand how they could also affirm ECT. As Kennedy told me, "We all felt that was not the full result that [we hoped for]. We would have preferred that they removed their names [from the ECT statement]."

Media exposure broke open these cracks. Michael Horton told me, "For these really sensitive topics, every word needs to be chosen. Emotional rhetoric, which comes easily when you are playing to an audience, needs to ...

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