"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Sunday In Greensboro, North Carolina

Sunday morning Rachelle and I ate breakfast at the hotel with several Southern Baptists. We overhead a few conversations around the breakfast tables near us regarding "blogging" with remarks like "be sure and check the blogs" and "they will be blogging all day," etc . . . Interesting how blogging is now part of conversations of everyday Southern Baptists.

On our way to the room last night a young sixteen year old man from Washington, D.C. named Tim Sweetman asked me in the elevator if I was Wade Burleson. I told him I was and he shook my hand and said it was an honor to meet me. This morning I read where he put on his blog that he had met me in the elevator, and after hearing some of his thoughts about the convention I realized again that blogging is engaging a generation of young people toward involvement in the SBC, young people who without blogging would be oblivious to some of the issues at stake. To me this new generation's involvement in the SBC is one of the great blessings of the blogs.

Calvary Baptist McLeansville, North Carolina

Rachelle and I left at 9:30 a.m. to travel to the Calvary Baptist Church at McLeansville, North Carolina where Terry Larson is the pastor. I had never met Terry before, but he is a reader of this blog and he invited me to speak to his congregation for a Greensboro Crossover Rally at 10:30.

Several people read on my blog last night that I would be at Calvary and showed up! I met Bob Cleveland (a frequent commentor on this blog) and his lovely wife, a professor of North Greenville College who spoke some great words of encouragement to me, students from Criswell College in Dallas, and several pastors who came to the rally from around the country, including several of my good friends from Oklahoma.

A great Christian singing group named LordSong sang for the rally and I preached. We had a great morning of worship! Terry and Donna Larson are doing a fabulous job of ministry at Calvary and this is one of the largest and most vibrant Southern Baptist Churches in the area and will soon be building on 52 acres of prime property. I appreciated the opportunity to speak and the Larson's are new friend to the Burlesons.

The religion editor for the Greensboro paper was in the audience and will be writing a story for the Greensboro paper tomorrow about the effects of blogging on the SBC. She is a wonderful lady with a soft heart, keen mind, and a very professional manner. I look forward to reading the article.

After lunch Rachelle took a nap and i "hobnobbed" with many pastors in the lobby of the hotel. It was good to visit with a few men that I had not seen in many years and to renew acquaintances. I met several people that I had not known previously, but they came up to me because they recognized me from pictures being in the press and spoke some very encouraging words. Sometimes I feel I ought to ask when I shake hands "Friend or foe?", but of course, in the SBC we are all friends and family :). Rachelle and I are staying at the Greensboro Four Seasons hotel, the convention headquarters hotel, and I had some delightful conversations throughout the afternoon.

The Pastor's Conference

At five o'clock Rachelle and I went to the Pastor's Conference at the Greensboro Coliseum. We registered as messengers and went into the arena for the start of the Pastor's Conference. The first speaker really turned me off with a diatribe against people who believe God elected a certain number of people to go to heaven. He said that the number of people who will get to heaven will increase and surprise even God Himself if God's people were simply more faithful.

This type of teaching would not be too bad, even though the theology of it is aberrant, but what makes it unpalatable to me is the way in which "reformed" thinking is seemingly constantly attacked by some in the SBC. Southern Baptists need to preach the gospel and quit castigating each other over soteriological views (Arminanism vs. Calvinism) and I for one really wish anti-reformed diatribes would stop.

Overall I believe the Pastor's Conference is going to be one of the better ones in many years. I commend the officers of the Pastor's Conference for the creativity. Tomorrow morning the entire Pastor's Conference will be breakout sessions in various ballrooms at our hotel. I look forward to attending the dialogue between Al Mohler and Paige Patterson on the doctrine of election.

The Closing Meeting in Our Room

Several bloggers ended the day with a fellowship time in our suite at the Sheraton. Art Rogers, Tad Thompson, Dorcas Hawker, Tim Sweatman, Kevin Bussey, Rick Thompson, Tim Sweetman (different from Tim Sweatman), Gene Bridges, Paul Burleson, Ben Cole, and others gathered after the Pastor's Conference. We also had several non-bloggers who came in for the fellowship as well. One was Sam Hodges, the religion reporter for the Dallas Morning news. He was one of a handful from the traditional media present.

Sam's grandfather was the founder of the Baptist Television hour way back in the days of M.E. Dodds. His mother often sang as part of the Baptist hour broadcast, and though Sam is not a Southern Baptist, he sure is familiar with our convention.

The other day Sam unintentionally distorted my views on the two new policies of tongues and baptism. He read to me yesterday a correction he was giving to his editor to run in the Morning News. The correction succinctly, precisely and clearly hit the nail on the head. I really appreciate a reporter who is as diligent in wanting to get the facts straight as Sam.

The Southern Baptists who met during the Fellowship time have played a very key role in the direction of the convention this year. As of today I have heard of at least three candidates for President, six candidates for 1st Vice President and at least four candidates for 2nd Vice-President. For someone to have said six months ago there would be that many running would have been a laughable proposition. It just goes to show you how things can change so quickly during this informational age.

One of the things I appreciate about this loose knit group is it's unparalleled transparency. Nothing is said behind closed doors. Everything is open for all Southern Baptists to see. All you have to do is read their respective blogs. One statement made last night was this: "If you don't want all Southern Baptists to hear or read what you intend to say, then don't say it, because it shouldn't be said." How refreshing is that?

All in all the first day of being in Greensboro reminded me of why I am a Southern Baptist. There are thousands of sharp, dedicated, evangelical Christians who are committed to the Great Commission and identify themselves as Southern Baptists. I enjoy being identified with them! Today I spent time with some wonderful individuals and I go to bed tonight with the thunder echoing outside the hotel window thankful for the friends I have in the SBC.

More tomorrow.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

P.S. You MUST read SBC Outpost today. What an example of courageous leadership from the IMB.

22 comments:

Kevin Bussey said...

It was so great to meet you and Rachelle in person!

martyduren said...

Surprise God?

Whether intended or not, recognized or not, that statement reflects Open Theism.

And he is worried about Calvinists?

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

Thank goodness. I thought I was the only one (besides Peggy) with flared nostrils during the first sermon last night. Didn't spoil the day, though.

It'd started out too well for that to happen.

David J. Sanders said...

Thank you for your friendship.

It was pleasure to meet the bloggers who have energized a new group concerned of Southern Baptists. As one who writes for the mainstream media, (there were a couple of us there) I appreciate the level of openness and transparency displayed last night.

Anonymous said...

We just wanted to let you know we are on our way driving from Emmanuel Enid and will be seeing you tomorrow. As we left from church yesterday people kept coming up to us offering prayers and support. We have an "e-prayer" chain going and last night as Emmanuel met for their "FRIENDS" small groups in homes they were praying for you and for us.
John, Mona, Carolyn, & Sherman

charliemac said...

Bro. Wade,
Please allow a long time Southern baptist layman to make a couple of troubling observations.
You write that the SBC should be more inclusive, yet decry preaching of the belief that Jesus died for all, not an elect few. You write you are looking forward to a dialog between two men who pull the strings, while kicking in the traces. I am praying for all who are involved in this particular annual meeting of the SBC. Praying that this does not continue the disassembly of one of, if not the greatest, world wide missionary efforts ever put together by God working through human efforts. There are a large number of Southern Baptist who strongly support our missionaries and mission efforts with our prayers and cooperative monies, but who are getting frightenly close to diverting our monies to other worthy missionary efforts. Efforts that may be less Southern Baptist and more Christ centered. (This is a little different to those who are in powerful positions and who spend most of their mission monies funding their own private mission efforts.) Of course if it be God's will to dismantle the SBC mission machine and begin a fresh and a new effort, I for one believe it will happen.

Wade Burleson said...

CharlieMac,

I don't decry the preaching of those who believe God does not know who will be saved, I decry the publicly disparaging of those who believe in election. That must stop.

dlfj said...

Does Dr. Hunt actually believe that God does not know who will be saved?
What kind of God is that? Does that mean that some may get in that He doesn't want in?

If we worship a God who does not perfectly know everything, past, present and future, then we are worshipping the wrong God.

God MUST know everything or He is no God at all.

Charles said...

Wade, Hello!

You wrote, "Southern Baptists need to preach the gospel and quit castigating each other over soteriological views (Arminanism vs. Calvinism) and I for one really wish anti-reformed diatribes would stop"

I don't hear you complaining when your friend Tom Ascol and the Founders trashes Southern Baptist practices such as the public invitation.

I don't hear you complaining when the Founders and Southern Seminary promote a theology of being "born again before faith in Christ," a theology that nearly all Southern Baptist churches reject.

I checked the Founders blog, and I didn't see you complaining about Tom Ascol when he publicly trashed Bailey Smith.

The "anti-reformed diatribes" comes from a reaction to false theology which produces small, dead churches.

Personally, I wish the anti-anti-Reformed diatribes would stop. Why don't you contract your fellow blogger Tom and see what you can do.

Charles

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

I missed the first preacher got in time to see the lest few moments of Dr. Hunts message. I am just glad that Johnny did not lob any our way...or did he?

I thought the breakout session with Patterson and Mohler was very good

I got to meet your dad today! What a wonderful brother in the Lord! We shared I40 tunnel roadblock stries!

Blessings
Jack

GeneMBridges said...

Brother Wade,

Sorry I couldn't make it today. I had car problems on the way back home last night and spent the greater part of today w/o a car and tracking down my mechanic and arranging transportation so I could make it tomorrow.

GeneMBridges said...

I don't hear you complaining when your friend Tom Ascol and the Founders trashes Southern Baptist practices such as the public invitation.

Actually, what we dispute is the abuse of the invitation system. Many of us give invitations at the end of our services, but not every sermon lends itself to an invitation. When that happens, we have a question and answer time about the sermon or doctrine in general.

I don't hear you complaining when the Founders and Southern Seminary promote a theology of being "born again before faith in Christ," a theology that nearly all Southern Baptist churches reject.

What Charles fails to disclose here is that he and his friend Bob L. Ross have been, for the past several years attacking James White, Al Mohler, the Founders, myself, and numerous Reformed Baptist bloggers, and even Tom Nettles on this issue and we have responded to them each time. They continue to distort our words. Any and all statements that state "regeneration precedes faith" are immediately taken to mean, "Hardshell Doctrine," in which a man can be regenerated and then walk around for quite some time before repenting and believing in Christ.

We do not deny means. We deny that men can believe in the gospel apart from the effectual call of the gospel, and that men are regenerated in order to believe and repent from sin, a process that is so close together in time as to be simultaneous. The relationship is logical and causal, but not temporal. We have explained this to Charles and Bob in excruciating detail, with numerous quotes from Spurgeon, Boyce, and many others, but they refuse correction.

To be even more blunt, Charles runs "the Calvinist Flyswatter" and i Charles, I would strongly advise you not to make this your alternative universe for discussing your conflicts with others unless you wish all of this to fully come into the light of day. As expected he has certainly linked to his blog in order to promote his oft refuted criticisms.

Wade, Charles has been banned from several blogs now for co-opting comment threads, because he refuses to comply with correction and he has consistently turned comment sections into his personal placespace to attack anybody and everybody with whom he disagrees. Reformed theology is his whipping boy. You are his latest victim. I strongly advise you to ban him.

I checked the Founders blog, and I didn't see you complaining about Tom Ascol when he publicly trashed Bailey Smith.

No, he criticized the "Soul a Month Club" run by Mr. Smith, not Bailey Smith. If you gave x dollars a month, Mr. Smith said that x persons would be converted. Since then, the Soul A Month Club has been removed from their website and the kind gentlemen that administrates the ministry agreed that it was a poorly chosen fund raising program.

Timmy said...

Charles,

It is obvious that you have hit the blogosphere with your rhetoric again. I have noticed that you and Bob Ross have taken a little reprieve from slandering folks over at your blog, so I guess you thought it would be better to take it to others. You are sowing dischord, my friend, and those of us who are more familiar with your shenanigans do not appreciate your trolling on other folks blogs without having anything relevant or substantial to say. You have an agenda plain and clear.

Wade,

Please do not feel like you have to respond to Charles. For months now, he has attacked people on his blog in attempt to get them to come on to defend themselves and also draw attention to the erroneous things Bob Ross is saying. If Charles and Bob Ross cannot be removed, the best thing for all us to do is to ignore them and not give them the response they are itching to receive.

SavedandSure said...

Charles? Is this the clone of Bob Ross of Houston, publisher of the great sermons of Bible believing Calvinist Charles Haddon Spurgeon?

Jim Stratton said...

Dear Wade,

My grandmother and Mom Char would be so proud of you! Please do not be too easy on the fellow's comments from the Pastors' Conference. Marty Duren is right. It is indicative of a hermeneutic that is anthropocentric rather than theocentric. Just started blogging, Baptistreflections.blogspot.com.

Thank you for your service!

Dan Paden said...

There are differences between diatribes, disagreements, and demonizations.

I don't mind disagreement, especially thoughtful, reasoned disagreement.

Diatribes can be annoying, but as long as they address valid concerns, they're not too bad.

Demonization--or marginalization, some would say--is a tactic I've seen used by people on both sides of most debates, and Calvinism is no exception. There's no thought involved and almost everything attacked is a straw man. That's not even fun to read for entertainment, let alone edification.

For what its worth, I don't see anything objectionable in stating concerns with someone's practices and beliefs, or refuting those practices and beliefs, as long as it is out of genuine concern for everyone involved and for the truth. It's a capital mistake to see such statements as demonization or diatribes. Were we to take that approach, we would have to chuck out the majority of Christian literature through the ages.

Anonymous said...

MAJOR FRUSTRATION!!!

This morning the live video streaming worked pretty good. But with the business and elections coming up, it seems not enough bandwith was acquired by SBC to handle all of us in the U.S. and around the world desiring to see it live. So we are DEPENDING on the bloggers for the details.

Thanks,
M

Rev. Don said...

Twenty six years ago I sat in Houston's Summit arena, watching in utter amazement as the new leadership began the systematic dismantling of the foundations of the Baptist tradition. As an exile from the SBC, I am still saddened by all that has been lost (and all those who have been lost) in the years since. But I am cheered by your report of this week's news. Perhaps the long slide toward totalitarian doctrine is coming to an end. Keep up the good work.

situational ethics said...

It's kind of fun to tune in the Southern Baptist conference every year. Always a good laugh. Never have so many fought so hard and bitterly over so little. Kinda reminds me of the WWF, but with different costumes.

Midwestern Grad said...

Hi Wade:

I'm one of those liberals that you so valiantly "killed" years ago (your terminology, Dec. 10). Anyhoo, I'm happy to report that there's life after the SBC and, contrary to the bumper sticker, we liberals do succeed and enjoy happiness.

With regard to your current situation, allow me to paraphrase the words of the late Rev. Niemoller:

In the Southern Baptist Convention they came first for the liberals and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a liberal. Then they came for the moderates, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a moderate.

Then they came for women pastors and I didn’t speak up because I am not a woman.

Then they came for me, because I drink wine, but no one was left to speak up for me.

You've enabled this kind of behavior for years and now ask it to stop when you're on the receiving end. There are many of us who would have stood up for you, but you drove us out.

For your sake, I hope it does stop and that you are shown more grace and love than many of us experienced. I'm pulling for you -- I know how it feels.

DRBrumley said...

martyduren said...

[quote]Surprise God?

Whether intended or not, recognized or not, that statement reflects Open Theism.

And he is worried about Calvinists?[/quote]


My question is so what?

DRBrumley said...

martyduren said...

[quote]Surprise God?

Whether intended or not, recognized or not, that statement reflects Open Theism.

And he is worried about Calvinists?[/quote]


My question is so what?