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

Back to the Past for a Map of the Future

During the 1985 Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas, Texas, I woke up before the crack of dawn in order to reserve twenty seats on the floor of the arena for each day of business. I was a young, motivated pastor. I wanted to be a part of a Convention that believed the Bible to be the Word of God. I wanted to do my part.

Yet, I was confused. I remember hearing Dr. Winifred Moore preach when I was a boy (he pastored the church my father eventually pastored), and I always thought Dr. Moore to be a rock solid evangelical conservative. But I was being told in 1985 that he had compromised his convictions about the Word of God. Rather than calling Dr. Moore and asking him personally (who was I to call such a man and waste his time?), I trusted the word of the people I admired, and thus labelled Dr. Moore "the opponent."

I was further confused because I was told other men like Dr. Daniel Vestal and Richard Jackson were also part of those who wished to lead our convention down the slippery slope of liberalism, from which we would never recover. Again, Dr. Vestal had pastored Southcliff Baptist Church in Fort Worth, the same church that my father eventually pastored while I was in high school. Dr. Vestal was highly respected among the people at Southcliff, and considered a solid evangelical conservative, so surely my confusion as to why he was now considered a "liberal" was simply because I was young and did not fully know how to identify a true liberal of the faith.

Then there were other men like Dr. Clyde Glazener, Dr. Charles Wade, Mr. John Baugh and others who, unlike the preceeding men mentioned, were considered absolute "heretics" by those with whom I associated. I did not know Drs. Glazener, Wade, and Mr Baugh, but I absolutely accepted the word of Bible believing men around me, men that I respected in 1985, and as a result of believing them, I determined to do I could to rescue the convention.

Now I realize I was fighting for the wrong thing. I should have been fighting for Southern Baptists to TALK to each other, to PRAY with each other, to COOPERATE with each other, to LOVE each other, rather than to divide into sides and conquer one another. True, classical liberals need to be removed from any positions of authority in the SBC, but it should be done in a proper manner, following all protocol and procedures established for such an event.

Read carefully. I do not regret any attempt to solidify our respect of the authority and sufficiency of the Word of God. Again, any professor in our seminaries who denies the faith, ridicules the Word of God, or makes a mockery of the person and work of Jesus Christ should be dismissed with haste.

However, I now realize that several good, solid conservative evangelical Christians have been slandered and maligned. Men who are gracious, gentle and gospel believers have been called liberal, heretics, and even worse.

God forbid.

I now have met everyone of the above named men. They all believe the Bible. They all love the Lord Jesus Christ. They all love missions.

They are our brothers in Christ.

There are thousands of kind, gracious, compassionate, Bible believing Southern Baptists in the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Baptist General Convention of Virginia.

In a few months I would hope Dr. Frank Page will be appointing men and women from both the above named Conventions to serve on boards and agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention, just as he said he would.

This time, if I hear that "liberals" are being appointed, I will not remain silent, but will hold accountable that Southern Baptist who seeks to divide us.

This time, if something is said about a brother in Christ that calls into question his character, theology or commitment to Christ, I will call the accused, and if it is untrue, I will then confront the accuser, first privately, then publicly if there is not reconciliation.

This time, I will not allow myself to become emotional or get angry. If some of my fellow Southern Baptists say things about my character, my theology, my commitment to the cause of Christ, I will do what I can to defend my conservative, evangelical credentials, but I will not get angry.

I am prepared. I am not leaving. I will not give up.

The Southern Baptist Convention needs to evaluate the tactics of the past in order to map out a better plan for the future.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

204 comments:

1 – 200 of 204   Newer›   Newest»
Johnny Grimes said...

Wade, thank you so much for this post. I too have just taken the word of man and labeled other Godly men things they are not. I too am guilty of doing that. I pray that I will not let myself fall into temptation anymore. I would encourage you all not to speak against any man, except that it may benefit those who listen. Slandering them would only put you on the other side of them as their enemy. However, you don't want to even stay in the realm of those men who talk bad about and slander another brother. I would encourage you to become the friends of God. You will be hard-pressed to find among many of these men who slander other brothers any who spend extended periods of time (daily) tucked away with the Lord. You will be hard-pressed to find one who considers the implications of Biblical holiness in our day (or one that can even define Biblical holiness).
With that said, become friends of God. I pray that other men and women in this convention will stop the name calling and work out their issues in a way the honors Christ. Again thank you.
Johnny Grimes

Kevin Bussey said...

Amen!

There are many of us who were given the kool-aid too. I would add Dr. Dilday into that list myself. If we can have a pro-choice Presbyterian speak at the SBC Convention, why can't we get along with each other?

CB Scott said...

Wade,

Do you think there was a problem of any kind or was it all made up?

cb

irreverend fox said...

Wade,

there are many people who will support you and pray for you.

davidinflorida said...

Yes and Amen...Jesus Christ is Lord...

David Eldridge said...

Thank you for writing what I have been thinking for the last few years of seminary at Beeson Divinity School (where SBC and CBF supporters both call home) and ministry in the SBC. I do hope that your blog reflects a healthy percentage of pastors in our convention. I can only hope. I am a young pastor who really has only read of what so many of you talk about with personal experience in regards to the conservative resurgence.
But I am wondering, do you feel that there is a chance that evangelicals within the CBF could find a place of leadership with in the SBC in the next couple of years? Is there a place for the moderate voice within the convention, if they held to a high view of Scripture without agreeing on every point of interpretation in the BFM of 2000? Is the tent that wide?

Lee said...

As a staff member of a theologically conservative SBC congregation that has seen no reason to do anything except continue to be supportive of the BGCT, I applaud Dr. Page for making this promise.

I think we could make a long list of names of individuals who have been slandered as a result of the selfish interests of some Southern Baptists related to denominational politics. Thanks for mentioning Richard Jackson and Russell Dilday. I know them both fairly well, Dr. Jackson was my pastor for a while and I attended Southwestern when Dr. Dilday was president. They were only advancing the same cause in the SBC that others, including Wade, have now taken up. May God forbid that the same thing would continue to happen to those who decide to stand up for what is right.

Les Puryear said...

Wade,

Do I understand you to be saying that Daniel Vestal and Charles Wade are "solid conservative evangelical Christians"? I hope I have misunderstood your post. Both of these men have proven to be anything but "solid conservative" Christians.

I agree that we should not rush to judgment nor slander anyone's reputation. But I disagree that either of the aforementioned men can be charcterized as conservative.

Jack Maddox said...

WOW!!!! I commend you Wade for this post...you are in fact showing forth your true convictions and positions concerning the current and apparently the past SBC. We often times change our perspective with time and certainly you are one going through such a transformation. Would you say that your remarks are true for men such as Clark Pinnock, Randall Lolly, Roy Honeycut, Foy Valentine, Ralph Elliot, Glenn Hinson or women like Molly Marshall, or Rosalie Beck?

Blessings
Jack

Mike said...

Wade,
I'm very new to the area and grew up in a Nazarene Church my whole life but after reading your 8/17 post I can't help but get a sense you're a little more then upset. I'll only make a few comments and you can take them however you like.
Who's battle is it really and who will they answer to? My last question is, did any of these men ask you to defend them?
In God's Loving Grace.
Mike Machia

Todd Nelson said...

Thank you, Wade, for this post. No doubt you will hear it from some conservative pastors who think you are being too gracious. Probably the hardest position to be in is the one that resists being pushed to extremes and to demonize "opponents" -- one that is (dare I say it?) "moderate". That word carries a lot of baggage from the last 25 years of SBC life. That's too bad, because moderation is a very important concept.

Moderation is key to finding a balanced tension between two poles: like freedom in Christ vs. legalism, or literalism vs. symbolism, or eternal security vs. apostasy, or God's sovereignty vs. man's free will.

It seems to me that God has been clear enough on the essentials for salvation, but that He intentionally left some other things ambiguous enough in His revelation that we would search them out -- with humility and grace.

Great post, Wade. I'm glad you see the former conflict differently now. And I wholeheartedly agree: there should have been more talking to one another, and praying with one another, rather than drawing battle lines, and dividing and conquering. The methods used previously cannot be undone, but they can be repented of, and we can insist henceforth on wiser, more mature, more Christlike methods for handling disagreements. I hope more pastors and denominational leaders, starting with Dr Page, will join you in doing just that.

With hope and prayers from Malaysia,
Todd

Paul Fries said...

Wade, Do you support that all persons nominated and elected to SBC leadership sign off on the Baptist Faith & Message 2000?

Paul

Johnny Grimes said...

David you ask, "Is there a place for the moderate voice within the convention?"
Will you please define for me what a moderate is?
Thanks,
Johnny Grimes

Pastor Brad said...

Wade,

Incredible. I'm amazed that you would openly identify key leaders of the CBF, who are hardly solid conservative evangelicals.

However, I'm horrified that Dr. Page would consider appointing leaders to the SBC from state conventions that have chosen to identify with the CBF! Did he say this publicly?

What are your sentiments toward the CBF and toward their biblical interpretations? Just curious.

David Eldridge said...

Johnny,

I admit that I have no precise definition to offer. I feel that a moderate, in our SBC context, is one who could agree with the 63 BFM but has reservations about certain changes in the 2000 BFM. I guess at least an openness to the role of women in ministry would be an example of a moderate and not a "liberal."
A moderate holds the scripture as authoritative maybe without feeling the need to use the word innerancy. A moderate would be willing to work and learn from other traditions without always picking apart their theological tradition. There is a certain graciousness at best, an openness within a conservative evangelical tradition. Unity in the essentials, charity in the non-essentials would describe what I would hope could be viewed as a moderate position and not "cursed" as a liberal. Maybe moderates are willing to have a longer list of non-essentials. I recognize that even in this definition I really need to further define a conservative evangelical position and what are the essentials. But for now this will do.

Ellis said...

Thank you, Wade, for this AMAZING post. Charles Wade is my friend and loves Jesus more than anyone I know. I've never met anyone in a position of leadership like his (enormous responsibility) who is more humble and more of a servant-leader.

Dr. Dilday was my president during my seminary years and I have served on several committees with him. I have always been impressed with his integrity and grace under pressure. I have been in private meetings where what was done to him at Southwestern was being discussed and he had every opportunity to berate those who did it to him in front of a very supportive group of men. Most men would have ... HE DID NOT. He refused to say anything negative against any person (even those who were saying terrible and untrue things about him). In my mind, he will always be an example of the spirit of Christ in a time of persecution.

Dr. Clyde Glazener is a good friend. He has one of the sweetest spirits of any pastor I know. He is a wonderful pastor to his congregation and loves the Lord with a depth that is evident in every word he speaks. His life speaks for his Christian walk. Everyone who truly knows him loves him.

I don't know Dr. Richard Jackson well ... I do know his son. We are friends and pastored in the same town together. But calling Dr. Richard Jackson a liberal has to be the biggest joke of the century. If personally leading 100's of people to the Lord every year and baptizing 1000's is liberal, then please label me liberal!!

None of these men are theologically liberal. I may not agree with every theological position they hold (I probably don't), but that doesn't make them theologcially liberal.

How many of you who question these men's theology have ever talked to them about it? How many of you know them? How many of you have read their books? The truth is that most of us just believe what we have been told. I confess that I have been guilty of that as well.

I don't know everything about the whole fight (i was too young), but I do know these men and my witness of their lives is true. If the SBC leadership cannot work with these men and others like them, then something is terrbily wrong with the SBC leadership.

thanks again for your heart and honesty. I know that God will be with you.

ellis

Evangelical Moderate said...

I'm a CBF pastor who proudly wears the evangelical label. I believe wholeheartedly in the authority of scripture (I'll even talk about inerrancy but that's a long conversation that my SBC brothers aren't typically willing to have if it has to be long).

What some people didn't understand that Wade seems to now, is that most of the moderate political leadership (not neccesarily the seminary profs) WERE theologically and biblically conservative, they just weren't willing to go along with a movement that said "you must subscribe to this set of beliefs in order to be embraced by the SBC--in other words be allowed to serve on a committee, or the equivalent).

Wade, you're at the exact same place that Dilday, and Moore, and Jackson were back then (though I suspect you're a little more theologically conservative than all but Jackson).

Here's my question for Wade and the rest of you who are at the same place that he is: Is the willful exclusion of biblically and theologically conservative individuals who may disagree on certain issues as much of a sin/mistake/problem as a incorrect biblical hermeneutic. Or in other words, are you willing to die on the hill of orthodoxy, but not on the hill of orthopraxy? And if so, why?

Roger Simpson said...

Wade:

The moderate - conservative battle left many scars.

In my opinion the battle was worth fighting but it should have been fought in a way that left way fewer casualities.

I think one area that has to be remembered is that there is a difference between "being a nice guy" and being an effective leader.

If a person is leading an organization, and there are problems on his watch and he either refuses to acknowledge them or take action to correct them then he has to go. The organization is more important than the person.

Lets look at history:

1. The NAMB was in significant disarray. The Georgia Index article blew the whistle on the problem and the NAMB BoT took the right action and called the NAMB president to account.

2. Lifeway [which was, I believe, at the time still the Sunday School Board] was going downhill for many years before Jimmy Draper came in and turned it around. Should we just leave the same leadership in there -- even if they are "nice guys"?

3. Pressler in his book has extensive "chapter and verse" citations of liberal stuff going on in the seminaries. He has direct quotes from various professors of their own work. I think if you go back to his list and look at it 90% of everyone reading this BLOG will agree that there was really LIBERAL stuff going on in the seminaries. If a seminary president and/or seminary BoT does not take action then I believe that the "owners" of the SBC (i.e. the guys in the pews who pay the bills) are justified in turning it around. Pressler -- being a trained in the law and a judge -- may have been a pit bull but I think, unfortunately, he did what was necessary when no one else would step up to the plate.

In retrospect, it is too bad that someone couldn't have interviened to soften things so the same ends could have been accomplished with less negative consequences.

This is what I think was the biggest negative aspect of the whole affair: That is that there became two very polarized camps. This made "surgical strikes" to clean things up impossible. Because any attempt to remove any one person was viewed as an attack on a whole group. Using this dynamic the whole thing cascaded out of control quickly into a us/they situation.

This whole thing probably could have been solved in the first few years by firing at most a dozen key liberals.

I am afraid that -- even today -- for many with scars (either side) that there is a predisposition to have an alienation with the other side. I would hope that time has healed these wounds and that some rapproachment is now possible -- especially given that fact that for most of us in the local congregations -- either moderate or conservative -- we are 90% in agreement on what we are trying to do to promote the Gospel.

I just moved to the Bible Belt a few years ago. But I have watched this thing from afar (from Silicon Valley) for the last several decades.

I recall writing a letter to Marv Knox about ten years ago. He wrote an editorial in the Baptist Standard [sorry I can't give the citation as to which issue] that this whole "debate" had taken a life of its own. There was a lot of collateral damage. I agreed with him then and I still do now.

I think Dr. Page could really make progress by reaching out to a number of non-liberal "moderates" in the appointment process. The only criterion is that whoever he chooses should be a member of a "cooperating" SBC church and sign on the the 2000 BF&M. After all, the whole convention by a democratic process approved that document.

One last thing about how I define terms: on a Venn diagram The intersection between "moderate" and "liberal" is at most 20%.

IN HIS NAME said...

I believe That Dr. Frank Page wants more than anything to unite the SBC in the love of JESUS CHRIST. In looking at some history in the SBC and the people that Dr. Page surrounds himself with, they really have a HEART for GOD'S KINGDOM and making Disciples. Most of the Baptist Churches need a Roll Call Up Yonder.

A Brother in CHRIST

Wade Burleson said...

Jack and Brad,

I would encourage you to visit with the people you are seeking to label as liberal.

Do the two of you agree with the comments made by Billy Graham in the Newsweek article last week?

I don't agree with him on every issue, but of course, he is my brother in Christ and has done a great deal more for the cause of Christ than I.

The men I have identified are as orthodox, conservative and evangelical as Billy Graham.

You and I may not agree with them on every interpretation, but I can cooperate with them.

The CBF is not the issue. They have their own seminary, missions sending agency, etc . . . There is room in the kingdom of God for both the CBF and the SBC and maybe we should cooperate with each other, but I am not addressing the CBF, I am addressing people who give money to the SBC.

Some of the men I mentioned are no longer SBC. Could it be it that they are truly conservative and evangelical but were pushed out by people who could not be sweet and gracious with brothers who interpret the sacred text differently?

All I am saying is that we need to be careful making statements about our brothers being liberal, controlled by Satan, heretics, etcc . . .

Wade Burleson said...

CB,

You ask a pointed question.

I believe there were about four or five people in leadership positions at our seminaries that needed to be dealt with.

But the way to deal with them would be personal, loving confrontation, and dismissal if there were no repentance, but wholesale sweeping accusations of liberalism among conservative brothers was unnecessary.

Pastor Brad said...

I did not refer to them as liberal, but that doesn't make them conservative either. I think there are serious flaws in their theology.

I'm afraid I have not seen the Graham article, I'll have to check that out.

I think it is false to say you cannot make a judgment about someone's theology and interpretation until you have met them. I have no doubt that they love the Lord. That does not make them "sound evangelical conservatives."

I realize your post was not about CBF, I was just curious about your sentiments about those affiliated with the CBF serving in SBC roles, since you threw in that Page said he would appoint some of them (at least as I read your post - I had not previously read that). It just seems to me, someone who has irregularly read your blog, you spend as much time criticizing the SBC as you do arguing in favor of many of the positions the more moderate groups like CBF would espouse. I certainly am not trying to label you one thing or another, just trying to figure out where you stand.

I believe there are many brothers in Christ in the CBF and the United Methodists and the PCUSA, but I would not hold them up as sound biblicists.

Some of those you state were too sour and ungracious to these men are some of the most godly men I have ever met, such as Dr. Patterson, who had a profound impact on me, and is a sound expositor of the Bible, not to mention a man clearly passionate about God.

glenn said...

Wade,

Excellent post. As just a regular layperson in southern baptist church, I struggle with the issues deep down you surfaced. Saw a lot of what you were talking about at the last SBC convention I went to in 1990 (new orleans). very much caught up in conservative sweep, at the same time very convicted that what was going on didn't feel right. thanks

IN HIS NAME said...

Pastor Brad Guenther.

I have to disagree with you about GODLY MEN. No godly man I PERSONNALLY Know would allow a Building to be named after them.

Wade Burleson said...

Brad,

Thanks for your comments.

By the way, I think Paige Patterson is a sound, conservative evangelical who has as much a right to be a part of the missions process of the SBC as anyone else.

I respect him too. Though we do not agree on every interpretation of the Bible, we are brothers.

William Madden said...

Hi Brad,

What's your problem with CBF. I'm an ex-IMB journeyman who got disgusted with the attack and control tactics of the hard-right within the SBC. After my journeyman service was over (Thailand 1990-1992), I re-affiliated myself with CBF and have been happy ever since. For the last several years, I have been leading volunteer teams to work with CBF missionaries in the north of Thailand, and have just returned from observing the work of CBF missionaries in China. Though smaller than the SBC, CBF is a healthy missions fellowship, doing some really creative ministries in some difficult places. Most of the CBF missionaries I know are ex-SBC'ers and are quite conservative by contrast to other denominations, etc. Sadly, I have never read a single positive article or bit of news about CBF in any SBC-produced publication. The funny thing is, I belong to a CBF church that still gives some money each year to the SBC cooperative program because we can still see the good in the work that you are doing. Can you imagine any hard-right SBC'ers giving money to CBF? Why aren't you willing to see the good in us?

sbc pastor said...

Wade,

I think that your post is very interesting and I am sure that it will spark a rather interesting discussion as well. However, I would like to better understand your thoughts and beliefs in order to comprehend the intended meaning of your post.

I noticed that you employed the words “authority and sufficiency” in regard to the Word of God. Do you personally believe in the Inerrancy of the Scripture?

Do you personally believe that the BF&M 2000 is an appropriate statement of faith for the SBC or do you believe that it places too many restrictions on cooperation? If so, which elements do you view as too restrictive?

Do you believe that all employees and trustees of the SBC and its’ entities should affirm the BF&M 2000? Inerrancy?

Also, I applaud your desire to hold accountable those who refer to another brother in Christ as “liberal” by contacting the accused to ascertain whether or not the accusation is true or false. However, this leads to the logical question: How would you personally define the terms “moderate” and “liberal?” What questions would you ask in order to ascertain whether or not the accusation was legitimate or unwarranted?

Thanks for clarifying your position and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Wade Burleson said...

In His Name,

I'm not too sure I would agree with your assessment about buidings, names and godliness. I have a tendency to see godliness in terms of Christ's righeousness in us, and as a result, some godly people can make mistakes, but their righteousness (which is not their own) is not diminished.

I guess what I'm saying is I tend to resist defining godliness in terms "levels" of spirituality and define it more in terms of being "in Christ."

Pastor Brad said...

Would you clear up for me this one question:

When did Frank Page state that he would appoint leaders from the BGCT and BGCV?

I applaud you for being willing to straighforwardly stand behind your ideals of what you think the SBC should be.

Wade Burleson said...

SBC Pastor,

I have no problem using the word inerrancy to define my belief about the Bible, but find that there are other conservative, evangelical brothers, like Billy Graham, who believe the Bible like I do, but resist the word "inerrancy" because of a definition of the word that they do not believe to be of Biblical origin.

The BFM 2000 is strong in many places and weak in just a couple of places. My major problem is that it is used like a "creed" when Baptists have historically been confessional people and not creedal people. What I can't understand is why Southern Baptists could not be accepted if they affirmed the 63 Baptist Faith and Message, or the First London Confession of Faith, or even their own confession if it is ORTHODOX regarding the essentials of the faith. When non-essentials of the faith become a part of a creed, you are asking for problems.

I do not have a problem with people signing the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 if they are allowed to express their personal areas of disagreements before they sign it, so as not to violate their conscience. If the disagreements are not over the fundamentals of the faith, there is no problem. Frankly, ONLY fundamentals of the faith should be in major confessions and not particular interpretations of non-essential doctrines if the purpose is unity and cooperation.

A liberal is a person who denies the deity of Christ, salvation by grace through faith in the work of Christ at Calvary, or the authority and sufficiency of the Word of God to lead people to the only Savior ever given for sinners.

Hope that helps.

Pastor Brad said...

William,

I have no more problem with the CBF than any of the other denominations I named. I'm sure there are many who love and serve the Lord in the CBF.

I'm well aware that most CBF'ers are disgruntled former SBC'ers. I do find the assertion that SBC publications are out to trash the CBF humorous. I regularly read CBF articles and at least half of them are attacking the SBC. Also, wasn't that a big part of the Charlotte meetings. Let us part our ways completely as two different and distinct groups who each serve the same Kingdom.

My problem with the CBF is, from my best and humble understanding, is poor exegesis in some areas - female pastors, weak stances on homosexuality in their affiliated schools, etc. However, it is not for me to critique the CBF since I am not in it. I am concerned about CBF'ers leading in the SBC, as I would be of a Methodist leading in the SBC.

I applaud the missions and outreach that the CBF is engaging in that is reaching the world for Christ.

Pastor Brad said...

In His Name (Mr. Wayne Smith),

You exclude a lot of godly men if you hold to that standard!

William Madden said...

Dear Brad,

Your list of reasons to oppose CBF is very short. Women pastors and CBF's decision not to make the condemnation of gay people a centerpiece of their missions are not (at least not to me) evidence of poor exegesis.Both the OT book of Joel and the book of Acts tell how when the Spirit of Christ is poured out onto his church, both "sons and daughters shall prophesy." If scripture assigns a prophetic role to women, how can we deny it to them? Someone might say, 'Well, the role of the pastor and prophet are not the same," yet in this week's TIME magazine article on Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell states that he essentially equates the role of pastor and prophet. If a believer or a church looks at the above scripture and interprets it as approving women pastors, how is that poor exegesis?

As for not condemning gays, I think there are some different opinions about homosexuality among the participants in CBF, but I think that participants in the fellowship largely agree that a condemnatory approach to gays does not reflect the love of Jesus. So I think it's an oversimplification to try and paint CBF as a 'pro-queer' organization as the last (and almost every other) article about CBF that I have read in an SBC publication has tended to do.
It's clear that the writers of such articles want to taint CBF in the minds of rank-and-file SBC'ers in order to prevent them from considering giving money to CBF or looking more deeply into the good things that are going on in CBF life. I wish to conclude by saying that I am not an employee of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, nor its spokesman, just a Baptist layman with an interest in the issues at hand, speaking for myself alone.

William Madden said...

One additional thought: I think that hewing to a hard-line position that excludes women from pastoral roles (a position that I disagree with on Biblical grounds), if not addressed and corrected is one of the things that will ensure limited growth, and possibly even the decline of the SBC in years to come. In an age when women are driving Indy race cars and riding the space shuttle to the moon, to say that a woman cannot preach or pastor not only defies scripture, it defies common sense. Many women not from Baptist backgrounds will not be interested to participate in a denominational culture that treats them as second-class citizens, and that is one factor that will put a brake on the growth of the SBC. Is holding to the view that women can't pastor really so important as to justify placing that kind of stumbling block between such women and a Christian witness?

IN HIS NAME said...

Pastor Brad and Wade,

I stated No godly man I PERSONNALLY Know would allow a Building to be named after them.

The first President of Westminster Seminary in Phil Dr Edmund P. Clowney 1952-1982.

Dr.Tim Keller Redeemers Church, N.Y. and a HOST of others.

Dr. John Frame RTS Florida.

All of these men are or were very HUMBLE and GIVE THE GLORY to GOD.

http://edmundclowney.com/

A Brother in CHRIST

sbc pastor said...

Wade,

Thank you very much for clarifying your position.

In regard to your comment:

WB: “I do not have a problem with people signing the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 if they are allowed to express their personal areas of disagreements before they sign it, so as not to violate their conscience. If the disagreements are not over the fundamentals of the faith, there is no problem. Frankly, ONLY fundamentals of the faith should be in major confessions and not particular interpretations of non-essential doctrines if the purpose is unity and cooperation.”

Didn’t the messengers of the SBC, an autonomous body, overwhelmingly adopt the BF&M 2000 as an “instrument of doctrinal accountability” because “these are doctrines we hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice” (BF&M, 5)?

Since Southern Baptists overwhelmingly affirm that the BF&M 2000 is an “instrument of doctrinal accountability,” shouldn’t those who are employed by SBC entities affirm all of its contents?

Furthermore, since the contents of the BF&M 2000 are doctrines that the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists “hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice,” it appears that your belief that some of its contents are “non-essential doctrines” would be contrary to that of the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists. Would you agree?

In regard to your comment:

WB: “The BFM 2000 is strong in many places and weak in just a couple of places.”

In which “couple of places” do you believe that the BF&M 2000 is “weak?”

Thanks again for you willingness to discuss these issues and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Dr. Danny Chisholm said...

I never thought I'd see the day when a current SBC leader would make favorable remarks about former SBC leaders who were labelled, libeled, and ran out of town for being liberal. I'm reminded of what Joseph said to his brothers, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Gen 50:20). Is this the beginning of a "kinder, gentler, SBC?"

TruthOfActs said...

Wade,
WOW! I can’t believe it happened so quickly. (I mean the START of more knowledge.) I know you have taken a lot of time and research to write your post yesterday.

You probably haven’t even read my comment of Aug. 16: “I look upon Wade’s blog as an education to the masses, and as more knowledge is known, our leaders will be chosen for fulfilling the Great Commission and all the names of conservative, moderates, fundamentalist will fade into oblivion.”
Rex Ray

TruthOfActs said...

Worst of 2000 Baptist Faith & Message (BFM) By Rex Ray 5-29-03
Most Baptists believe in being controlled only by the Holy Spirit interpreting the Bible because God split the veil of the temple and Jesus said the Holy Spirit would teach us. It’s called “priesthood of the believer” and is in the 1963 BFM as, “The criterion [guide] by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.”

That statement was removed and “priesthood of the believer” was changed to “priesthood of believers” by the 2000 BFM.

A 2000 BMF committee member explained why “s” was added to ‘believer’. Seminary president—Al Mohler: “They believe in the priesthood of believers but not priesthood of believer, because it is dangerous to leave too much freedom for the individual.”

Removing Jesus, as our guide was not enough to take away individual priesthood; they had to add “s” to believer. This changed governing authority from ‘bottom-up’ to ‘top-down.’
The new BFM allows individuals to pray to God, but interpreting Scripture will be recommended by a committee and voted on by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

Individual priesthood was born at Calvary, but pronounced dead by the 2000 BFM. Instead of the Bible being our doctrinal guideline, it has been replaced by the 2000 BFM as stated in our SS quarterlies. It removes independence, self-government, and autonomy of the church.

Would making rules more important than the Bible for our doctrinal guideline enlarge men’s egos? Their pride demands all they have control over to sign their BFM.

After denying missionaries would be fired, Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board, wilted to his legalistic fundamentalist’s bosses’ egos, the SBC Executive Committee.
On May 7, 2003 of the 43 missionaries who would not sign, 13 were fired, 20 resigned, and 10 took early retirement. That makes a total of 77 career missionaries who refused to sign. The 13 that were fired, represents 273 years of service for the Lord. Does “the blind leading the blind” come to mind?

The SBC Executive Committee voted to create its own internationally network of “like minded Christians” to take the place of the Baptist World Alliance. That is bad but not as bad as fundamentalists winning the SBC by stealing the name ‘conservative’ and using the Bible as a political football with ‘inerrancy.’ Why didn’t fundamentalists start their own denomination and leave Baptists alone?

Galatians 2:19 and 1:12, “…by reading the Scripture, I came to realize I could never find God’s favor by…obeying laws… [but] by believing in Christ.” “My message comes from no less a person than Jesus Christ who told me what to say.”
Under new BFM rules, Paul would be forced to forsake his message of Christ to stay “…in line with our thinking…” (Acts 21:24 Living) of Christian Judaisers who were in the majority and were “…all zealous of the law…” (Acts 21:20)
The “in line” thinker’s suggestion got Paul arrested. Their absence in giving evidence (“No man stood with me” II Timothy 4:16) sent him to prison for life. They never visited him, which shows they thought he got what he deserved as their members were angry with him in Acts 21:22.
“I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” (II Timothy 4:16) Paul’s last recorded prayer was what Stephen prayed for him. Was it for the same crime?

Holding coats, withholding evidence, burning at the stake, and firing missionaries, happened because zealous of the law or Bible was greater than zealous for Christ.
As long as good men do nothing, the SBC will never change back to Baptists who had rather win souls than argue the Bible in being “like minded Christians.”

Wade, I’m glad “good men” are starting to do something. Thanks
Rex Ray

Matt Snowden said...

Wade - good post.

David Eldridge - I appreciate your comments. I am a D.Min student at Truett and see the same thing you see at Beeson. Most of the guys in my cohart serve churches that give to the SBC. I would also agree with your working def. of moderate.

Johnny Grimes said...

Man these post can go in totally opposite directions quick!

I conceder myself to be a conservative evangelical Southern Baptist. I do see some problems that I feel needs to be addressed within our great convention. But instead of dropping out and running I choose to stay and promote change. I know I am on differing side of the line when it comes to the CBF guys I know. And at times I have found myself speaking down to and about these men and for that I am wrong. We must act like civilized men in the midst of our disagreements. Thank you guys for doing so.

Evangelical Moderate said... “I'm a CBF pastor who proudly wears the evangelical label. I believe wholeheartedly in the authority of scripture (I'll even talk about inerrancy but that's a long conversation that my SBC brothers aren't typically willing to have if it has to be long).”
-Why would they not be willing to talk to you if it has to be long?

William Madden said... ”What's your problem with CBF. I'm an ex-IMB journeyman who got disgusted with the attack and control tactics of the hard-right within the SBC. After my journeyman service was over (Thailand 1990-1992), I re-affiliated myself with CBF and have been happy ever since. “
-What made you so unhappy with the SBC? Was it the 2000 BFM? If so, what do you see wrong with it?

Also you said, “Sadly, I have never read a single positive article or bit of news about CBF in any SBC-produced publication.”
-I cannot speak for every CBF publication but I have never read any positive article concerning the SBC within the CBF camp. Have you ever read the Mainstream Baptist? Man what a funny paper. All they people do is bust on the SBC and other conservative theological stances.

As for CBF people holding office within the SBC I say no. I know that may upset some of you but that is how I feel. Most of the CBF’ers I know does not give to cooperative program. Most do not hold to the inerrancy of scripture. Everyone I have ever talked to or read has aligned themselves with churches that accept Homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle all for the sake of "priesthood of believers". Please don’t get wrong here I don’t hate homosexuals. I personal have 3 homosexual friends. Also most of the ones I have talked to deny the virgin birth. Thanks for your time and God bless.
Johnny Grimes

volfan007 said...

lets not forget that those good men were for letting liberals like molly marshall green and many others to continue to teach in our seminaries. they were for letting liberals go to the foreign field to spread thier hellish lies. these good men were for the ss board and letting writers write thier liberal trash and spread it to our churches. lets not forget the two devils junk that slipped thru the editors one time. from what i understand, the editors kept a lot of liberal hogwash from getting thru....if they thought it would be too controversial. not that it was error, or even heresy...but their concern was that it would be too controversial.

i was around in the 80's too. thank God for the pattersons and presslers and adrian rogers and dr. criswell who led the charge. thank God for these men who wanted to correct the problem and raise the sinking ship.


volfan007

ps. call me whatever you want. accuse me of whatever you want to. i will stand on the side of men who love the Word and who want to see it taught as it is.....and not with those who think that they can pick and choose which verses they will accept and which one they wont.

Greg Hicks said...

Wade,

I'm glad you didn't include Russell Dilday in your list. I was at Southwestern from 1983-1986 and remember well the lectures on the Presidential lawn where Dr. Dilday was actively campaigning against Charles Stanley for President of the SBC. He said many things that were untrue and unkind, and I lost respect for him as a result. Perhaps his dismissal later on was handled inappropriately (I do not have first hand knowledge about that) -but people do reap what they sow.

Wade Burleson said...

Volfan007

I call you a brother.

I also am glad you are a Southern Baptist. I would just encourage you to not be so quick to call others liberal.

I realize that those who have felt excluded from the SBC have said some very ugly things about the SBC as well (and by the way, some ugly things about me too). I am trying to work with some of these men to show them that we can work together, but my challenges to them are the same as with you.

Everyone needs to quit calling each other names.

Wade Burleson said...

Greg,

Here's the problem.

Everyone has a story like yours. Did you talk to Dr. Dilday? Did you try to work things out with him? Could it be that you misunderstood his motives, and that Dr. Dilday was not attemting to protect "liberals" but felt personally that some good people were being hurt by things said about them (i.e. "Winifred Moore") etc . . .

I'm not attempting to defend Dr. Dilday, I'm just saying that the same thing you said about him, could be said about you, me, Drs. Wade, Jackson, Vestal, etc . . . and in fact, has been said already.

My point is this: We are TOO poliitcal as a convention. Instead of saying what we mean, respecting those who disagree as brothers, we end up calling those who disagree our "enemy," "liberals," and a host of other names.

Can we not talk, pray, cooperate, and work together while disagreeing?

Wade Burleson said...

SBC Pastor,

Rex does a pretty good job showing the weakness on the priesthood of the believer portion of the BFM in his comment.

In the history of Baptists, there has never been any attempt to force people to sign confessions, in fact, Isaac Backus of Virginia had some very strong words about any attempts to get Baptist leaders to sign confessional documents (I would prefer not to quote him here, but could send you the quote via email if you desire).

In the environment we are in, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is being used by some as a club.

I believe that there are tons of conservative, evangelical, Bible believing, Christ loving men and women in the SBC who have problems with portions of the BFM 2000.

To call them "liberal," "heretics," non-Southern Baptists, and other choice names is unconscionable, unChristian, and in the end, unproductive for our convention.

Lee said...

I've just seen a few statements here that sound a lot like the same old stuff that has been circulating around to discredit and attack some of the very people Wade is pointing to here.

First of all, neither the BGCT or BGAV are "affiliated" with CBF. CBF should not be part of this debate. The BGCT supports the SBC to a greater extent, church by church and as a convention, than virtually any other state convention, including in total dollar contributions, and does just a little bit better than most in terms of baptisms and new church starts. Likewise, the BGAV holds its own in support of the SBC. These are autonomous bodies, so whether or not they allow member congregations to support other entities is their business, and should not be a test of loyalty to the SBC. Loyalty isn't the standard for cooperation, at least, it was never supposed to be.

I've also seen statements regarding the theology of Charles Wade, Daniel Vestal, Winfred Moore and Richard Jackson as being "liberal." Can anyone show where any of these men hold a belief that can be categorized as "liberal," and prove from an accurate source that they actually made that statement? And when I say categorized as liberal, I mean starting with the "liberal" view of denying the inspiration, authority and illumination of scripture and working from that definition, and not the fundamentalist definition of liberal as being "anyone who disagrees with my own interpretation of the Bible." If you read what these guys have written that is on the record, there is little theological disagreement between Paige Patterson and Daniel Vestal.

Southern Baptists have much bigger problems than differences over interpretations of scripture. The younger side of our churches, the people who represent the future, aren't interested in denominational politics or programs, or even very much in denomination, period. Most of our churches are aging, declining congregations. The younger people, who are for the most part biblically illiterate and uncommitted to the mission and purpose of the church, have either dropped out or, in this post-denominational period, found a non-denominational congregation that is more relevant to them. I think we have a few more serious issues to work on that slandering people who have minor theological disagreements with the BFM2000 will not solve.

Wade Burleson said...

Johnny,

Nobody desires to put leaders from any other denomination into service in the SBC.

However, anyone who gives to the Southern Baptist Convention, loves the Word of God, is compassionate and kind to his brothers in Christ, should be able to serve.

Wade Burleson said...

Lee,

Well said.

Say it more.

You have nailed it and others need to hear it.

Blessings,

wade

davidinflorida said...

Pastor Wade, This may seem a little off topic, but it is related to what Lee just posted. It has to do with the make up of the worshippers that attend REFUGE at Emmanuel....Do you believe that they are a much different group of people than the ones that are there on Sunday mornings?.. Kind of like the ones that Lee was describing. People that want to worship God and stick to the basic word of God , and not the denominational politics.... Do you think that this is where God is leading those that here his voice rather than their own voice?

Johnny Grimes said...

Wade,
I agree 100%. Thanks.
Johnny

Pastor Brad said...

Johnny,

Thank you. Well said. I agree completely.

Wade,

Could you please answer when Frank Page said he would appoint people from the BGCT and BGCV?

William,

I do not hate homosexuals. I don't believe that the SBC has ever done anything that communicated hatred of homosexuality. If homosexuals get offended that we stand on what the Word says about their sexual choices, then they are offended at the Word and not at us. We ought to love homosexuals, and I do.

This forum does not allow space to argue the women pastor issue. While I affirm and love women, and believe that scripture teaches complimentarianism, I believe the letters to Timothy and Titus are clearly not cultural but universal. Additionally, your argument that the SBC and presumably other conservatives, will lose ground in reaching the lost, is not supported by the data. While we certainly can and should do a better job of reaching the lost, study after study have shown that conservative denominations are growing while moderate and liberal denominations are stagnated or declining. I don't say that out of pride (Lord knows we have no room for that), just to say that your point doesn't hold water.

Wade,

How can you sign your name to the BFM2000 if you do not support it in it's entirety. Even if you voice the areas you disagree with to some, don't you think the action of signing it is misleading to those who vote for your position as a trustee, if they are not all informed that you are giving a qualified endorsement?

Pastor Brad said...

This is the issue as it relates to the CBF and the BGCT and BGAV - the CBF has set itself up as contrary to the SBC. I have no problem whatsoever with someone from a church within the BGCT and BGAV that does not also support the CBF leading in the SBC. I realize that some will argue that if they give to the CP then they are SBC, but if they are more in line with the CBF, why don't these churches break out on their own? Why remain a quasi-denomination?

My sense of why they remain, is to stay a fly in the ointment. Perhaps I am wrong and I am open to correction, but as an observer it seems like the same tactic that led my mother to be a registered democrat in the 70s and 80s to try to influence the outcome of primaries, though her convictions were more in line with the Republicans.

Wade Burleson said...

Pastor Brad,

I was in the press conference after the election. Frank Page was asked if he would appoint people from BGCT and BGCV.

His response was that he would appoint conservative, evangelical Bible believing Southern Baptists who were gracious in spirit and committed to missions (I assume he is referring to exemplary CP churches and pastors). There are many of these in the BGCT and BGCV.

volfan007 said...

before the conservative resurgence...we had profs teaching in our seminaries who were calling God a woman...almost all were jedp theory in the ot dept....they were calling anyone who believed in the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus "crass"....and the list goes on and on of documented, liberal teachings at our sbc seminaries until the conservatives took over.
and, men like vestal and moore and dilday and others were not only allowing it to go on, but they stood in defense of these liberals, to let them keep teaching.

shall we talk of foy valentine? oh my goodness! shall we talk about the ss board before dr. draper took over? it was horrible, and thank God for dr. draper straightening it out.

shall we talk about the home and foreign mission boards? the things that were being supported were incredibly liberal and off the wall.

again, you may say that these men were basically conservative, and they got a bum rap, but...they were for letting this liberal garbage continue on and take down our sbc. how can you defend men like that?


volfan007

Wade Burleson said...

Pastor Brad,

I will place my conservative Bible believing credentials next to yours any day. Are you now saying the BFM 2000 is inerrant and infallible?

I don't think so. Since it is not inerrant and infallible then you can disagree with it in some areas, but still affirm it where it speaks to major, foundational issues of the faith --- which I do.

Wade Burleson said...

Volfan007,

If a professor is heretical (a denier of the faith), he should be fired, but it should be done by the institution with the bylaws followed. By the way, there is no disagreement with that from any of the men mentioned in this post.

The problem is when heresy is defined as "charismatic" or "Calvinist" or "amillenial" or "a high view of women" or "the priesthood of the believer" and other interpretations of Scripture that are not essential to the faith.

We must get to the point where we can agree on the essentials but fellowship and cooperate in disagreement over the non-essentials.

Wade Burleson said...

I am leaving the hotel. I will be back in Enid tomorrow. Blessings till then, but no comments from me.

Bryan Riley said...

I find it interesting that it seems like some people simply want to cross examine to a point to get others to say something they can then attack as liberal or moderate or as non-SBC. I think that that is exactly why Wade posted what he did here...to call upon Christians to lay down the battle against one another and to take up the battle that we need to be fighting. But, alas, it seems that by so saying he has become, in the eyes of many of the posters here, the enemy. But, here is what we can rejoice in. When I see this happening, among brothers and sisters in Christ, it reminds me that we are in a war not of the flesh but of the spirit, and Satan would do anything to keep us from focusing on Christ. I hope everyone who has read and/or commented here can all pray together, as one, that we would all be united in Christ so that the world may know that God sent Jesus to this world for their salvation.

Pastor Brad said...

Wade,

I specifically said I was not attempting to label you. I do not, nor have I ever, claimed the BFM to be infallible. I don't see that as the point at all. In my best understanding of scripture, it is an accurate representation of biblical teaching.

I'm simply asking if you were forthright with your qualified endorsement of it before you were appointed, that's all.

Bob Cleveland said...

Sometimes I wonder if any other animals in the world like to debate and argue. Us human beeens sure like to.

First, we're responsible for what we believe and do. Unless I am in a position of spiritual responsibility and accountability for and over you, I'm not responsible for what you believe or do.

In my personal experience, I had a debate with one of the founding pastors of the CBF and several aspects of his statements were troubling, particularly surrounding homosexuality and his allegation that it is "different now, than it was when the bible was written". But that's him.

If I wish to pursue his devotion to the bible, I'd have to do it with him. I cannot debate that with someone else. Otherwise, every misinterpretation we've ever made would have condemned every one of us to exclusion.

All this points out two things to me. One is that what we believe is important to us, and we need to be secure in what we believe, regardless of what anyone else believes.

The second is that we seem to have a need to, or God wants us to, debate and defend our faith. Good. But I think God would have us do that without any attitude of condemnation toward those who disagree with us.

We have an SBC-affiliated church here, with a lady pastor. She was associate pastor, previously, at a church whose founding I had a part in. But none of that is any of my business unless God puts me somewhere with some responsibilities.

He hasn't. And, frankly, I don't wanna go there.

David R. Mills said...

If all Scripture is given by God (II Tim 3:16-17) who determines what is essential or non-essential?

Sandee said...

I, for one, am glad to hear someone who participated in the conservative resurgence admit that it could have been handled better. I was in college in the 80's and remember hearing about a seminary president who was called to a meeting, and while there the locks on his office were changed. It appalled me then and appalls me now. Short of criminal activity, NO ONE should be treated that way. Even if he was a "liberal", he deserved respect. My eyes were open wide to the convention then, and I've spent the last 20 years laying low in a local congregation. I've tried to ignore things that happen at the convention level. But posts like this one give me hope. Just please don't turn tables and start treating the "ultra-conservatives" or landmarkists the same way liberals were treated back then. I believe our actions toward one another; the way we show (or don't show) love; is what we will ultimately be judged on. Not our eschatology or other non-essentials, as Wade puts it.

Ben the Baptist Cat said...

Wade

Excellent work! Scholarly, yet down to earth for those simple minded. Finally, something to sink my teeth into.

Only one fault as you stated:

"In a few months I would hope Dr. Frank Page will be appointing men and women from both the above named Conventions to serve on boards and agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention, just as he said he would."

Wade, you and I both know that is not what he actually said. Stick to the truth. Let it speak for itself. Do not put words in Dr. Page’s mouth. You can do better than that.

Kevin Bussey said...

Wade,

Why must we always be at odds with each other? Do those attack dogs think those men and women will be in heaven or hell? This stuff is why I stayed out of SBC politics for so long.

Thanks for keeping me informed!

Mike Woodward said...

Perhaps some Greek scholars could explain to me how "Contending for the Faith" actually means "Destroying for the Faith".

Alycelee said...

Looks like Wade has left the building.
Cat made a comment questioning that Wade misinterrupted what Frank Page said.
According to news sources I could find here is what he said:

Virginia Newspaper
After his election, Page, 53, said he would seek to create a more open Southern Baptist Convention, but added: “I’m not trying to undo a conservative movement that I have supported all these years.” He said he would continue the trend of appointing leaders who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible but who also have “a sweet spirit.”

“I’m an inerrantist—I believe in the word of God—I’m just not mad about it,” Page said in a post-election news conference.

He said his election signals a victory for grassroots Baptists who have supported the SBC’s conservative movement but not been involved in leadership before. “It means the Southern Baptist Convention belongs to the Lord and his people, ... and we can do together a lot more and a lot better than we can do separately,”


Tennessean.com
Page said yesterday that he would consider on a "case by case" basis appointing people to leadership positions who veered from traditional Baptist theology, such as those who believe in more charismatic worship styles or Calvinism.
Both those practices have been debated in recent months, with Baptist leaders banning the charismatic practice of "speaking in tongues" for overseas missionaries who do so privately. And a small but growing segment of the denomination favors the Calvinist doctrine that God already has decided who is "elect" or saved — a theology their fellow Baptist critics say would undermine the key basis for the Southern Baptist denomination's existence: saving and converting more Baptists.
Page has written a book disputing Calvinism and said yesterday he was concerned that some take charismatic practices too far.
"I'm not talking about a revolution," Page said of his future plans.
But he would undertake a national search for new leaders, many from a younger generation, who want to influence and revive the denomination, he said.

BP NEWS
By expanding the base from which trustees are drawn, Page believes the future of the SBC will be brighter. “If you’re truly involved in something, you’re going to have far more ownership and want it to succeed. If we continue to have the same people, we’ll continue to alienate a large number of godly, conservative Southern Baptists.”

For Page, that doesn’t mean sacrificing the theological standards nominees must meet. “I would never be a part of any movement that would in any way compromise a high degree of integrity and belief in God’s Word,” he told the TEXAN. “If you want to say infallible, inerrant, I’ll use all those words,” he said in affirming the conservative resurgence. “We do need to check and make sure they’re theologically conservative and believe in the integrity of God’s Word. I’d have it no other way.”

Concerned that “the rope that holds us together is becoming frayed and weak,” Page said broadening the base of leadership would provide needed strength. “I’ve said I will allow the tent to be broadened for anybody on three criteria -- a sweet spirit, an evangelistic heart and a deep belief in the integrity of the Word of God.”

He proposed looking beyond “the same names brought forth year after year,” calling for an SBC president who will actively seek to involve younger pastors, as well as those from small and medium-size churches.

Sounds new and improved to me.

IN HIS NAME said...

2. Without Hindering (Rom_14:13-23)
Paul’s warning against judging relates to Christians’ attitudes and actions toward the convictions of other believers (Rom_14:1-12). The other side of the coin is evaluating the impact of one’s own convictions and actions on other Christians. In this section Paul warned against causing other Christians to stumble (hindering their spiritual growth) by asserting that one is free to live in accord with convictions not shared by other believers.
Rom_14:13-14. Paul’s opening sentence is both the final charge on the previous subject and the introduction to the new one: Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on (krinōmen, “condemning”) one another (pres. tense subjunctive, “no longer let us keep on judging or condemning one another”). Instead a Christian should judge himself and his actions so that he does not place a stumbling block (proskomma, lit., “something a person trips over”; cf. 1Co_8:9 and comments on Rom_14:20-21) or obstacle (skandalon, lit., “trap, snare,” and hence “anything that leads another to sin”; cf. Rom_16:17) in his brother’s way (lit., “to the brother”).

John Fariss said...

I have never gotton to know the men you cite, as I became a Christian only about 1979, and heard my call to the pastorate about 1983. But I did get to know men who knew them, as well as others later labeled as liberals and heretics--and I know they are not what they were called. Praise God for your courage.

I haven'thad time to read all the posts to this, but, Wade, while I applaude your sight and your courage, I am sure there will be others who are comfortable in now labeling you a liberal as well as a troublemaker. You will be in my prayers.

I do like what David Eldridge & "Evangelical Moderate" said. Dialogue like this may be what preserves the SBC.

Roger Simpson said...

I don't think we should allow SBC employees to "opt out" of certain provisions of the BF&M.

Wade, I believe you stated that the correct thing to do if a person didn't agree with a given provision of the BF&M would be to sign off on the BF&M and then note areas of disagreement. That is more ethical and honest than just signing off on it even though a person didn't, in fact, agree with certain provisions.

My problem with the "Chinese Menu" approach is that is would be "impossible" to implement. What would happen with next year's recruiting class of missionaries if each one of the dozens of new missionaries each raised unique objections to some particular section of the BF&M. I don't think the IMB could administratively handle it.

FOR ILLUSTRATION ONLY

The 2006 SBC convention in Greensboro just passed by an 85% vote and ammemdment to the BF&M. The new 2006 BF&M is identical to the 2000 version but it contains an additional sentence to the second paragraph of the section VI. "The church."

The ammended section is as follows. ". . . .and tongue, and people, and nation. To be properly constituted each local autonomous congregation must meet in a building having blue pews."


Consider different responses:

1. Missionary candidate "A" refuses to sign the revised BF&M on principle.

2. Missionary candidate "B" signs the revised BF&M and ignores the stupid language regarding buildings with pews.

3. Missionary candidate "C" signs the revised BF&M but includes a notation that he specifiacally disagrees with the last sentence of the last paragraph of Section VI.

4. Missionary candidate "D" signs off with the BF&M without reservations. He thinks that the provision is crazy but he acknowledges that any organization operating by a democratic process has a right to make its own rules and if he is going to accept employment from them he has to abide by them. [When he gets to the field later he installs blue pews in his jungle church in Bongaland.] For the sake of cooperation candidate "D" does not raise issues on stuff that is non-essential if the majority has already supported it. {In the background a group of pastors and demoninational leaders get toteher to draft a motion to present to the 2007 SBC annual meeting to delete the stupid sentence}

END OF ILLUSTRATION

My comments:

#1 - A principled stand by a person who won't work for the SBC pending a change to the BF&M.

#2 - A person who is ethically challenged.

#3 - A person making a stand but such individualized posturing is not feasible to accomodate by any SBC agency.

#4 - This would be me. If I accept employment I would honor the rules of my boss.

Wade, I think a logical extension of your position is that option #3 is "feasible" to implement?

In the real world the "blue pews" are "women in ministry" etc.

Wesley Shotwell said...

Wade,

You are absolutely correct about the men you have mentioned. Charles Wade is a good friend of mine, and Clyde Glazener is one of my best friends. In fact, I had breakfast with him this morning. He very much enjoyed getting to know you and was very complimentary of you. They are godly men who are concerned about missions. They are NOT liberals.

Thank you for this latest post. This kind of attitude goes a long way with me in helping to heal some old wounds. I was in Dallas 1985 as well sitting on the other side of the issue from you. We were far apart then, but your spirit of kindness helps me draw a little closer. I will look forward to meeting you one day.

David L. Miller said...

The SBC controversy was primarily a battle between Bible-believing, evangelical Christians.

One group saw a real problem of advancing and creeping liberalism in our schools and in other areas of church life - known as "conservatives" (pejoratively - fundamentalists).

The other side saw no real problem in the schools or elsewhere that needed to be corrected - the "moderates" (pejoratively - liberals).

What we often forgot was that the division was not between those who believed the Bibe and those who didn't, but those who believed we had a problem that needed to be corrected, and those who did not.

Both sides, I believe, made errors. The conservative side painted with a broad brush stroke and identified anyone who did not get on board politically as an enemy of the Bible. Those moderates who believed the Bible stuck their heads in the sand and refused to see a very real problem in seminaries.

But, there was real problem. Many of these posts make light of it - as if the problem was not real. There was liberalism in our seminaries. I am a graduate of an SBC college an an SBC seminary.

My college Hebrew professor said, "Let's face it men. Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed - they are all just different flags under which God flies his name." He once told me I needed to watch the "Oh, God" movies to get my theology straightened out.

When my Baptist college finally pushed him out, he went to teach at one of our seminaries. In 1979, when the controversy started, he was an SBC seminary professor.

There was a real problem that needed to be dealt with. Many of our tactics may have been wrong, but the battle was noble. It was essential to the future of our denomination.

I have been very supportive of this "young leaders" movement. I have agreed with you that there is a danger of excessive narrowness in the SBC today. I have made contact with the IMB BOT folks who have been persecuting Wade asking them to reconsider.

But I am getting a little nervous now about the direction this group is taking.

sbc pastor said...

Wade,

I greatly appreciate your willingness to dialogue on these issues.

In regard to your comment:

WB: “In the history of Baptists, there has never been any attempt to force people to sign confessions… In the environment we are in, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is being used by some as a club.”

Would you equate using the BF&M 2000 as an “instrument of doctrinal accountability,” which is what the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists voted to do, with “forcing” someone to sign it or using it “as a club?” BTW, don’t all employees of SBC entities have the option to either affirm our statement of faith or seek employment elsewhere?

In regard to your statement:

WB: “I believe that there are tons of conservative, evangelical, Bible believing, Christ loving men and women in the SBC who have problems with portions of the BFM 2000.”

I am sure that there are some within the SBC that do not hold to the BF&M 2000. However, it does not appear that there are “tons” of them as the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists voted in favor of the BF&M 2000. Wouldn’t you agree?

Also, it appears that you may have only answered the last question from my previous post and not the first three:

Didn’t the messengers of the SBC, an autonomous body, overwhelmingly adopt the BF&M 2000 as an “instrument of doctrinal accountability” because “these are doctrines we hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice” (BF&M, 5)?

Since Southern Baptists overwhelmingly affirm that the BF&M 2000 is an “instrument of doctrinal accountability,” shouldn’t those who are employed by SBC entities affirm all of its contents?

Furthermore, since the contents of the BF&M 2000 are doctrines that the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists “hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice,” it appears that your belief that some of its contents are “non-essential doctrines” would be contrary to that of the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists. Would you agree?

Thanks for your willingness to share your personal beliefs and convictions in regard to the BF&M 2000. I greatly admire anyone that stands up for what they believe, whether I agree with them or not. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Ben the Baptist Cat said...

Dear sweet Alycelee,

I agree with you. It is a new day with Dr. Page at the helm of our convention. I believe it is a great and glorious new day.

I simply do not want Wade to become entangled in misstating Dr. Page’s comments. Can you find anywhere that Dr. Page has stated that he would nominate persons from the BGCT?

Wade has unfortunately allowed his desire for a more blended convention to impair his ability to accurately quote people. I hope this is a problem which he will correct and not allow it to become his pattern for life.

The Cat
(as you refer to me)

Mike Woodward said...

Whenever someone says that Baptists overwhelmingly affirm something, I have to roll my eyes a bit, with one obvious exception.

At least 50-60% of Baptists affirm that corporate worship with the church body is irrelevant by their lack of attendance.

Other than that large voting block (prospects?),it's primarily a small percentage of the professionals who affirm anything at the convention.

Most laypeople could care less what the SBC affirms. Which brings us back to the 50-60%...

RM said...

I think when people (pastors especially) on both sides of the aisle get their focus back on Jesus there will a whole lot of apologizing and making things right for the messes we have made.

I was President of the Board of Directors of the SBTC for 2 years and on the board for over years and I admit openly and unashamedly that we were AWFUL. I'm not responsible for what the "other side" did but I do know we slandered many a brother and assassinated many a reputation--all in the battle cry of inerrancy. The sad thing is that it had absolutely nothing to do with inerrancy...

I share a lot of intimate details about the SBTC and some of the "secret meetings" we held with the BGCT during those formative years on my blog. Check it out if you would like:

www.sbobserver.blogspot.com

Pay special attention to the blog entitled "I've Paid My Dues So I'm Entitled To Apologize." You might find it interesting...

Hopefully the Lord will forgive us all for the ridiculous things we have said and done to each other.

RM said...

I think when people (pastors especially) on both sides of the aisle get their focus back on Jesus there will a whole lot of apologizing and making things right for the messes we have made.

I was President of the Board of Directors of the SBTC for 2 years and on the board for over years and I admit openly and unashamedly that we were AWFUL. I'm not responsible for what the "other side" did but I do know we slandered many a brother and assassinated many a reputation--all in the battle cry of inerrancy. The sad thing is that it had absolutely nothing to do with inerrancy...

I share a lot of intimate details about the SBTC and some of the "secret meetings" we held with the BGCT during those formative years on my blog. Check it out if you would like:

www.sbobserver.blogspot.com

Pay special attention to the blog entitled "I've Paid My Dues So I'm Entitled To Apologize." You might find it interesting...

Hopefully the Lord will forgive us all for the ridiculous things we have said and done to each other.

IN HIS NAME said...

SBC PASTOR(Jeremy L. Green) Waco,TX,

Without Hindering (Rom_14:13-23)
Paul's warning against judging relates to Christians' attitudes and actions toward the convictions of other believers (Rom_14:1-12). The other side of the coin is evaluating the impact of one's own convictions and actions on other Christians.

Alycelee said...

Cat,
I attempted to find what Dr. Page said in print hoping to be helpful to this conversation.
What I found, is what I posted here.

This blog, from what I can discern, is about getting to the truth (ie the name) and in a gracious way.
I am attempting to do the same.

The concern I had, was not to dispute you, but to quote what Dr. Page did say and therefore get to "the truth."

However, your post said and I quote "Wade, you and I both know that is not what he actually said. Stick to the truth. Let it speak for itself. Do not put words in Dr. Page’s mouth. You can do better than that."

You did not, however follow with what Dr Page did say, but implied Wade was far from the truth offering no proof of that to any of the readers here.

I seldom post here. We don't know each other. Perhaps the jest of your post was humorous, but the "dear sweet" sounded condesending. I hope not.
I remain, after all, a sister in Christ and long to see the body rid of all malice and judgements about things that don't matter and do not advance the kingdom of God.

It was not my intention to offend you.

I actually would have emailed you this responce, but impossible to do so with your profile.


PS RM I enjoyed going to and reading your blog.

Larry said...

The comment of SBC Pastor regarding the "overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists" voting is a bit of an exaggeration. Only a small percentage of Southern Baptists attend the convention, and most churches do not control how their messengers vote.

Roger Simpson said...

RM:

I went and read the entries in your BLOG. This should be required reading for everyone since you were not only close to the action but part of the action. I sincerely hope that somehow there can be a thawing of relationships between the leadership in the BGCT and SBCT.

When my wife and I retired from Silicon Valley and considered moving to the Bible Belt the last place we even considered was TX because we are and have "always" been Baptist and you guys in TX fight like tigers down there. So here we are in OK.

David L. Miller:

I agree with you commentary on the "moderate" vs. "liberal" fight 100%. Wow, you are way up there in IA, my wife's home state. Interesting to note that if I take highway 77 north out of OKC and follow it to the end -- there I am in Sioux City.


I

Ben the Baptist Cat said...

Alycelee,

I left off the cordial greeting (dear sweet) as to not offend you. I was sincere in my earlier greeting, but will be more careful in the future. In response to your most recent post, I quote Wade from his original post:

“I was in the press conference after the election. Frank Page was asked if he would appoint people from BGCT and BGCV.

His response was that he would appoint conservative, evangelical Bible believing Southern Baptists who were gracious in spirit and committed to missions (I assume he is referring to exemplary CP churches and pastors). There are many of these in the BGCT and BGCV.”

There may be “many of these in the BGCT and BGCV”. However Wade made an illogical leap from the truth of what was said and superimposed his own personal desires in place of accuracy.

Later Wade inadequately attempts to explain his dilemma (in his comment above), yet he exacerbates the situation with the following statement:

“There are thousands of kind, gracious, compassionate, Bible believing Southern Baptists in the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Baptist General Convention of Virginia.

In a few months I would hope Dr. Frank Page will be appointing men and women from both the above named Conventions to serve on boards and agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention, just as he said he would.”

Once again Wade has failed to provide proof that Dr. Page ever made any such statement or that he even desires to make such appointments. “All I am saying is give truth a chance”

The Cat

Wade Burleson said...

Cat,

I refuse to make private conversations public, regardless of your repeated insistence, but will only refer you to Dr. Page's public statements which are clear, at least to me, regarding his intentions to appoint conservative, compassionate Southern Baptists, refusing to exclude anyone who qualifies, including those in the BGCT and BGCV.

Why don't you call and ask Dr. Page yourself, and then you can speak authoritatively on the subject instead of conjecture.

Wade Burleson said...

On the road again. Thanks Starbucks.

Bryan Riley said...

Kevin Bussey noted that this is why he avoided convention politics in the past. I can ditto that. I really am amazed at the attitudes taken. And, because blogs allow for very quickly written notes, without even having to take the time to write it out, think about it, pray over it, and without having to look anyone in the eye, it creates a situation where Christian love is often not displayed. That isn't a slam on blogging, by the way, it is a slam on our human hearts, deceptive and shallow and self-focused. WHY do people who claim to have the power and love of Christ in their lives fight in the ways they do?

Disagree?? sure. But do so graciously and without resorting to worldly tactics. Someone earlier asked what scripture is non-essential. None of it. Obviously. But that isn't the point. I may be wrong but i think part of the point trying to be made here is that us frail humans who are interpreting and applying that scripture aren't infallible or inerrant and furthermore that, when corrections need to be made, they should be done in a Christ-like way.

Ben the Baptist Cat said...

Wade,

As usual you have skirted the issue. I stop by because in the past your blogs have been intelligent and thought provoking. Yet as of recent days they are lacking truth, insight, and intelligence. Frankly I am becoming as bored with your slurp, slurp, slurp, as I am Dr. Brad Reynolds blah, blah, blah. You guys should get together and maybe come up with one decent blog.

The Cat

William Madden said...

Dear Johnny,

You asked why I decided to withdraw from the SBC. It wasn't a single reason, but a series of things:
1) During my journeyman appointment process (1989), an IMB administrator made a false allegation of immorality against me; I never expected to be attacked by a fellow Baptist who didn't even know me; later I realized that I had been attacked because I was member of a church that was perceived as moderate. After much wrangling, I was appointed as a journeyman, but the IMB administrator never apologized. After the attempt to smear me, I began to look more closely at the way that other Baptist leaders of integrity were being smeared.

2) As described earlier (above in this blog) I disagreed with hardcore conservatives on the issues of women's ordination and pastoral roles for women. Because there are good Biblical arguments for both sides, I thought it should be left to local churches.

3) I did think the changes that were made resulting in the 2000 BF&M were not necessary and taking everyone down the road to creedalism, which I considered un-Baptist.

4) I disagreed with the use of the BF&M as a tool to judge the character of missionaries and fire them if they disagreed with the new parts of it. Them getting fired or resigning is what happened.

5) After serving as a journeyman during Gulf War I, I remember the sickening feeling that I got when the conservative leaders of the SBC invited George Bush (the elder) to address the Southern Baptist Convention at a time when Muslim violence against missionaries was one the rise in the region in which I was serving. I don't think that the gradual transformation of the SBC into a dependable arm of the Republican party has done much good for the image of Baptist people in Muslim lands, and has probably made Baptist missionaries less safe than they were at one time.

6) The promulgation of a culture of conformity which seemed to valued unquestioned obedience to certain religious leaders (Criswell, Paige Patterson, etc.) smacked of idolatry to me. Frankly, I didn't know it was necessary to have faith in all of those men in order to be saved or to be properly led in one's Christian life. I thought it was supposed to be sufficient to have faith in Christ alone.

You see, the problem that I have is not with the idea of the inerrant Bible; the problem I have is with the notion of these men as the Bible's inerrant interpreters, which is the unstated premise beneath their claims of Biblical inerrancy. If I wanted to have a Pope, I would convert to Catholicism, but my understanding was that in Baptist life, we didn't believe in Popes.

7) Lastly, I guess you could say that I was disappointed that the followers (such as many who are posting here) of the so-called conservative leaders didn't seem to see any problem with any of the above. It left me feeling that the SBC was heading in the wrong direction and lacked a mechanism for correcting itself. The politics of personal destruction, creedalism, witch-hunting, un-Biblically narrow positions on important topics, topped of by a stubborn refusal of rank-and-file Baptists to look into the facts and confront these negative trends all contributed to my decision to affiliate with CBF.

I get very tired of arrogant comments from self-appointed conservatives who talk about CBF people as if they had lost their minds and are the worst kind of liberals. If you are one of those, then you need to understand that most CBF people are who they are because they cherish historic Baptist principles. To such persons I pose the following questions:

1) If conservatives twisted the truth about the character of leaders they replaced in order to make that happen, why doesn't that concern you?

2) If the Bible allows for more than one position on certain topics (women pastors or abstinence from alcohol) why not leave the question to the local church or individual believer?

Ultimately, I affiliate with CBF because it's an organization whose values I can defend when sharing with a non-believer. In this regard, I am close to Wade's position--I affirm the deity of Christ, the authority of scripture, and the efficacy of Christ's atonement and resurrection. I can do without the baggage of all of the add-ons.

The unsaved with whom I interact are familiar with the infighting and legalism that have characterized SBC life for the last twenty years or so, and want no part of it. When they hear that there is a different way of being Baptist, and that you can be a Christian without having to carry all of the add-ons that comprise Southern Baptist baggage of recent years, their interest is renewed.

Friends, my position is very simple: you can win the culture wars and still lose a lost world.

In China, from which I just returned after meeting with Christian leaders and touring the churches there, I met a fine young theological educator named Zhang and his wife. He directs a lay-training center and she, being gifted to preach, preaches in different churches around their region each Sunday. This system is working just fine for them and is quite acceptable to Chinese Christians.

Do you think those Chinese Christian leaders really need an IMB missionary standing over their shoulder to tell them that the woman should not preach? Or to tell them they cannot receive any funding if they disagree? Or to tell them that a woman cannot be in a position of spiritual authority over a man? Do you think the Chinese pastor should call Paige Patterson or one of his students to get the final word on this question? That would be kind of nutty wouldn't it? But that seems to be the way the SBC has operated for some time.

Alycelee said...

W. Madden,
Amen and amen

Mark Spence said...

"Excellent work! Scholarly, yet down to earth for those simple minded. Finally, something to sink my teeth into."

"As usual you have skirted the issue. I stop by because in the past your blogs have been intelligent and thought provoking. Yet as of recent days they are lacking truth, insight, and intelligence. Frankly I am becoming as bored with your slurp, slurp, slurp, as I am Dr. Brad Reynolds blah, blah, blah. You guys should get together and maybe come up with one decent blog."

Rather than have 9 lives, the Cat seems to have 9 personalities.

Cat, were you genuine in your first post to call this discussion scholarly or merely condescending and facetious?

How you say something is as important as what you say.

Would the real Ben Cole please stand up?

Christopher Redman said...

Where are the men you mentioned who were labeled liberal today? Did they leave the SBC? If they did, are they currently aligned with the CBF?

If so, I believe the CBF has obviously taken the broad road to liberalism.

I don't know any of these men personally. I'm simply curious if they left the SBC and if they aligned with the CBF.

CR

Roger Simpson said...

William Madden:

You say,

" The politics of personal destruction, creedalism, witch-hunting, un-Biblically narrow positions on important topics, topped of by a stubborn refusal of rank-and-file Baptists to look into the facts and confront these negative trends all contributed to my decision to affiliate with CBF. "

I am not sure that your term "stubborn refusal" applies to most rank and file Baptists. I think you are painting with a pretty wide brush.

Are you saying that tatics of "personal witch-hunting" and "personal distruction" were clearly evident to the average person in the pew making each quilty of "sins of omission"?

I'm conservative. I think that actions of certain conservative leaders -- which for me at least are only now coming to the light of day -- were reprensensible.

blessedman said...

Wade:

I think you will be disappointed in Page's appointments. I do not believe he will appoint as broadly as you hope. He will broaden the tent to include conservatives of SMALLER churches, but these appointments will NOT reflect much, if any, change in direction as you might hope. The mindset of the persons he will appoint will be consistent with the mindset of appointments for the last 20 years. If he appoints too broadly, he will risk being opposed for his second term, and losing the presidency to whoever Vines and Hunt decide to run next year. If they support his appointments, I do not think they would nominate an opponent. In reading published reports from Page thus far, it is very clear where he stands on alcohol, baptism, and charismatic issues. The biggest change I see coming down the pike is simply appointing pastors and laymen from smaller churches and getting away from political connections of the leadership from the past 20 years. It's all good, and I think you'll be very disappointed. In fact, my guess is not only will you be disappointed in Page's appointments, but you'll probably end up disappointed with the final recommendation from the special committee appointed to deal with the issues you've raised.

Peace!

sbc pastor said...

Here is a link to an article entitled, "The Fullness of Time: A Map that Leads Nowhere." It is a commentary on this particular post:

http://nathanfinn.blogspot.com

I have provided it just in case anyone is interested. Thanks and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

davidinflorida said...

Pastor Wade.....As I watch this discussion, it appears to be a microcosm of some of the leadership in the SBC, past and present...Lack of love and alot of condescension......Agree with me or else......A couple of troubling studies by George Barna and Bill Bright (I know a few of you probably do not agree with their theology , its just a study) found that about 50 percent of protestant church goers are not Christian.... Could this percentage be the same in the leadership? Could this be the problem?

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

William Madden,

In my state those who are active in the CBF are both theological and political liberals.

Jack Maddox said...

Gee Wade, I do not recall saying that any of these folks are liberal. Why are you so quick to attach blame on me without asking my own 'interpretation'? Maybe it is because of my track record concerning issues I have comented on and remarks I have made. You see, just like these good folks, I do have a record. In all fairness I believe some may be liberal and would have no problem being id'd as such. But again I ask you because you have not answered my question. Would you say that your post apllies to the folk I mentioned?

Blessings
Jack

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

That being said we don't have many CBF ers in Arkansas. We do have a lot of diverse SBCers

Tim said...

Dear Wade,

I don't know what to say. Actually, I'm a little shocked. I both envy you, and a little sad. I envy you because you currently have the credentials (conservative, that is) to be able to say something like this and the fundamentalists will have a hard time pinning you as a liberal. Simply put, you currently have credibility.

I'm also saddened, because I already see the arrows flying your way. It's a shame that baptist brothers treat each other this way, but old habits are hard to break I guess. I'll be praying for you this week. Not that I agree with you in everything. But, that you were strong enough to take a stand, call sin-sin, and in some sense - set the record straight.

Tim

TruthOfActs said...

Wade,
The BFM 1925 had: “A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is…GOVERNED BY HIS LAWS.”

The BFM 1963 removed “Governed by His laws as ‘dangerous’, and changed it to “A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is…COMMITTED TO HIS TEACHINGS.”

The BFM 2000 reinstated “… GOVERNED BY HIS LAWS” as the 15 member BFM committee appointed by Patterson, saw it as a gold mine to rule as a hierarchy.
Churches are “governed” when committees interpret Scripture for churches to follow. An example: “The office of the pastor is limited to men.”
The BFM 2000 has removed the autonomy of Baptist churches.
Rex Ray

jimeditor said...

Since 1989, Virginia Baptists have given to the SBC through the Baptist General Association of Virginia $160 Million. In that time, however, not a single BGAV friendly SBC Executive Committee member has been appointed. In Virginia, as in Texas I understand, churches are given the freedom to support, beyond the state, the SBC exclusively, the CBF exclusively, a combination of the two, or they can choose their own. That's freedom. I would not suggest that a church not supporting the SBC should have a member serving on the SBC Executive Committee, but to exclude all is grossly unfair. This kind of heavy-handed mentality is what caused many loyal SBCers to affiliate with the CBF and it continues to do so. Wade, I have been praying for some SBC insider to have the courage of conviction to say what you have said.

Jimeditor

TruthOfActs said...

Jimeditor,
Good observation and good comments. I think you are saying for the bottom line is ‘taxation without representation.’
Rex Ray

TruthOfActs said...

Wade,
The LARGE committee of the BFM 1963 was composed of the presidents of the state conventions. (This did away with any ‘special interest.’)
The SMALL BFM 2000 committee of 15 people was hand-picked by Patterson.

The LARGE committed was open to the public and welcomed suggestions.
The SMALL committed was secrete behind closed doors.

The LARGE committed gave time as required for major motions to be voted on the following year.
The SMALL committed kept their changes secrete until church messengers came to vote.

Wade, I suggest since churches had no say in accepting the BFM 2000, the vote was not legal and the BFM 2000 should be ruled null and void until it can be voted on properly.
Rex Ray

JUSTAMOE said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JUSTAMOE said...

I think that this blog and its blogger, fortunately, have come a long way since last December.

This might be a good time to say it again: "Any year's version of the Baptist Faith & Message (1925, 1963, 2001) is REPRESENTATIVE of the personal theological persuasions of EVERY KIND OF BAPTIST ever walking on the planet, and can be the basis for our cooperation IF we will cooperate. Not to agree with this notion is not to understand either the BF&M statements or Baptists, or both. Everyone, permit everyone else to choose his/her version, and keep moving forward cooperatively."


David Troublefield
JUSTAMOE
Wichita Falls, TX

TruthOfActs said...

Wade,
One more point: The BFM 2000 is deceitful, since it says: “Baptists deny the right of any secular or religious authority to impose a confession of faith upon a church or body of churches” and then imposes: “The office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.” Duh
Rex

Ray said...

thank you for this post. i'm glad that you are pushing for the "big tent," and are seeing it through.

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

For those who are sqemish about this post don't be...consider the source. If you have visited this blog with any frequency over the past few months, you know Wade's heart. He has endured a lot at the hands of people he has admired and yet has remained full of grace and truth.

He may be one of the most gracious men we know. We would all be a lot better off if everyone, crusaders, cooperators, mainline conservatives, the few moderates left, were to follow his lead. A lot could be accomplished in the Kingdom.

Greg Cloud said...

I have to admit, I don't know any of these folks ya'll are talking about on a personal level. I do know, though, that I must not judge or do harm. "Touch not the LORD's anointed". I have learned this the hard way. The Lord disciplines His own.

Let's trust and pray that Jesus keeps all His servants safe, upholds them, disciplines them when they err, and protects them by His love.

Don't we serve an omnipotent God? His will is always done. (There's a bold doctrinal statement. ;)) He will discipline those who violate His trust. I don't need to do it by human means. You reap what you sow.

Blessings!

TruthOfActs said...

To 143!
You’re saying “You reap what you sow and the Lord disciplines us”, also applies to pastors.
My brother-in-law was on channel 8 last night explaining why the pastor of FBC, Colleyville, TX resigned this week.
His pastor had kicked him and three others out of church about a year ago for opposing him in wanting to move the church to another town. The church decided something had to be done when their 4,700 membership dropped to 1,600.
This pastor had completed his Drs. Degree in the shortest time at SWBTS.
Members wondered how he was building a million and a half dollar house and about a shady land deal where he paid 25 thousand for a 75 thousand dollar lot.
I was at his church once, and I heard more about his golf problems than I did about Jesus.
For three minuets, I tried to counsel him about him possible causing a church split, but he called me “Evil.”
He hired a golf coach about a week before entering the HOOTER’S GOLF TOURNAMENT this month. He had shot in the 60’s but didn’t make the cut as his score (83) was the highest of the tournament.
He may be an example of ‘Knowing the Bible by heart, but his heart not knowing the Bible.’
Wonder which he regrets most, resigning or his golf score?
I hope this former atheists uses this as a ‘wake up call’ to get on the right trail for the Lord as he has led many to Christ with his gifted speaking abilities.
Rex Ray

Bart Barber said...

So, accusations of liberalism must be backed up by five primary sources and DNA evidence that has been kept hermetically sealed in a mason jar under Funk & Wagnall's porch....

But, accusations of credalism may be made with no substantiation or documentation or definition whatsoever...


Is that about it?

Was it credalism in 1678 when Baptists actually adopted a document with the word "Creed" in the title, The Orthodox Creed?

Was it credalism in 1707 when the Philadelphia Baptist Association required all of its member churches to allow as preachers only those who met with the theological approval of the association? In 1742 and after when all churches and preachers had to affirm the Philadelphia Confession in order to remain within the PBA?

Was it credalism in 1770 when Dan Taylor and the New Connexion of General Baptists required all churches and pastors to affirm the "Articles of Religion" in order to be members of the Connexion?

Was it credalism when, starting in 1859 (that's right, not 1979, but 1859), professors at SBTS were required to sign the Abstract of Principles? Was it credalism in 1879 when the soon-to-be-Unitarian C. H. Toy was dismissed for failure to adhere to the Abstract of Principles?

Was it creedalism when SWBTS required professors to affirm the seminary's articles of faith (which became the BF&M when the convention adopted it in 1925) from its founding?

Were all of those Baptist confessions of faith that were far more specific and demanding than the BF&M on such questions as Calvinism/Arminianism actually creeds for being too doctrinally narrow?

And if these occasions were credalism, spanning several centuries, continents, and theological niches in Baptist life, then how can you claim that credalism is contrary to the historical Baptist tradition?

But if these occasions were not credalism, including doctrinal requirements placed upon people for mere service as a pastor within the association, then how on earth can the much, much less stringent application of the BF&M 2000 today be considered creedalism?

Bryan Riley said...

If you haven't checked it out, the Razorbaptist does a good job of speaking to this post in a very succinct way at their blog at http://arkansasrazorbaptist.blogspot.com.

Bart Barber said...

The "taxation without representation" argument is intellectually vacant and untenable.

First, there is no "taxation." Taxes are compulsory. Contributions to SBC ministries are voluntary.

Second, EVERYONE who voluntarily contributes has "representation" through their MESSENGERS. Nobody anywhere has a birthright to a seat on a board of trustees or a committee. The messengers have full freedom to control the makeup of these bodies.

Wade Burleson said...

Blessed Man,

It might not hurt to share with others a little of the blessings you indicate you have instead of using words that tear down and destroy.

Imprecation has a way of returning and redounding upon one's own head in the spiritual realm.

I would be careful.

Dave said...

This blog has gotten rather long so I want to remind us of some of what Wade wrote:

"However, I now realize that several good, solid conservative evangelical Christians have been slandered and maligned. Men who are gracious, gentle and gospel believers have been called liberal, heretics, and even worse.

God forbid.

I now have met everyone of the above named men. They all believe the Bible. They all love the Lord Jesus Christ. They all love missions.

They are our brothers in Christ.

There are thousands of kind, gracious, compassionate, Bible believing Southern Baptists in the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Baptist General Convention of Virginia."

Wade, I believe you mean what you say. With your words above, you have just brought about some much-needed healing to many who fall into the category of the slandered.

Thank you, brother. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." How nice it is to be among a peacemaker!

May your tribe increase!

William Madden said...

Disappearing Post? Hey what happened to the post by "blessed man" in which he threatened Wade and said that because of this blogging thread, Wade's influence in the SBC would be finished. I think "blessed man" needs to identify himself. Did he delete this post himself? In the original listings, it would have been around #112 or so.

blessedman said...

Wade:

Blessings include salvation through Christ, a most beautiful, precious, outgoing and supportive wife whom God has given many gifts, 3 adorable children, and a heritage of Godly faithfulness passed down from my parents serving in SBC ministry of music.

Another blessing is being a part of a stronly conservative convention with leaders throughout the years that I have come to admire, respect and appreciate greatly. The Criswells, Rogers, Stanleys, Vines, Hunts ... The Henrys, the Welchs ... I love these men and am thankful for every expression of their leadership in our convention. I'm also thankful for Page, for three reasons. First, for his cooperative program allegiance. Second, because I am certain he will continue to appoint in the tradition of these great giants who have gone before him. Third, because he will appoint pastors and layleader from smaller churches. I really think that's about all he means by broadening the tent.

Do you really believe that Page will apoint from the two splinter groups you've mentioned? I don't. I would be very, very surprised. What is it that makes you think he will appoint from the splinter groups you mentioned? He's conservative, supportive of resurgence, just not mean about it. Well, if you give him a year or two, I'm sure he will be accused of being "mean-spirited" by the ethics daily, abp folks.

Imprecation? That's a strong word for my words, don't you think? I'm merely trying to point out that it doesn't sound to me like you're are too thrilled with the political direction of the sbc. That, in turn, naturally, would then leave you out in the cold. That's just politics. That's not about your heart, your spirit, your walk with God ... it' just politics. You can't avoid that. But that's a far cry from the Davidic imprecation for wanting your teeth to fall out, to incur the wrath of God, or to fall into your own trap. That's stuff we want for the terrorists, not moderates, or even liberals.

Peace!

Rzrbk said...

Wade,

Thank you for this confession and statement of repentance. May your tribe increase. There are many others who know what you are saying is true and should have the courage to make similar statements. I have wondered if I would ever hear someone in a place of leadership in our convention make such an honest and insightful statement. I remember the first article I read by you was an excellent blog titled Compassionate vs. Battling Conservatives, however, in it you said that the liberals had met their Waterloo in 1985. I had a lot of trouble with that statement. I can see now a little better where you were coming from.

Everyone who knew Charles Stanley and Winfred Moore were aware the Moore was as conservative theologically as Charles Stanley. The main difference was that Moore had been a strong supporter of the convention and its missions programs and Stanley had not. Also Moore was committed to appointing theological conservatives and Stanley was going to appoint followers of the resurgence political organization. I believe the conservative resurgence has always been about ego, pride and selfish motives.

Back in the early 80s I heard men who I had looked up to make statements such as you mentioned, attacking the beliefs and integrity of some of our convention leaders. I began to look at these statements and found them to be without merit. I promised the Lord then that when I heard attacks such as this made, whenever possible, I would challenge the person making it to give his proof. In 9 out of 10 cases I found the statements to be wrong or exaggerated or had the person admit he had no proof.

I have asked several times that a SBC president from the podium apologize on behalf of the convention to those who have been slandered and ostracized in the name of the conservative resurgence. You have mentioned several names. Some of us are old enough to remember when our soldiers returned from Vietnam many were criticized and maligned even though they had been serving our country. However, in time we recognized this was wrong and built the Vietnam Memorial and made other efforts to show our appreciation for their sacrifice. Maybe it is time to have a similar ceremony at the annual meeting to recognize those who from the beginning of the resurgence, as you have stated about yourself now, were willing to support the authority and sufficiency of the Word of God but were not willing to support unethical practices to achieve their goals. These are people who recognized that the conservative resurgence was leading us away from our Biblical base even before Ben Cole, CB Scott, David Montoya and others inside the movement saw the light. We could call it the Have Never Bowed Their
Knees to Baal Award. I think the first group of recipients should include Russell Dilday, Richard Jackson, Keith Parks, Ron West and maybe a few others you have mentioned. I remember attending the 1990 convention and seeing the first religious liberty award presented by the SBC to Jesse Helms. This might make up for that embarrassment.
Ron West

blessedman said...

I did not remove my post.

William Madden said...

Blessed Man,
If your post was not deleted, then it was altered. There was a post by you which said that Wade's influence in the SBC would be finished because of this particular blogging thread, and you suggested that he (Wade) should leave the SBC and go to CBF. What I am writing here is true (I saw it with my own eyes here just a few minutes ago--it was up for a minute, and then down) otherwise Wade's reply to your post, still here on the board, makes no sense.

Wade's reply was:Blessed Man,

It might not hurt to share with others a little of the blessings you indicate you have instead of using words that tear down and destroy.

Imprecation has a way of returning and redounding upon one's own head in the spiritual realm.

I would be careful.
>
>
>
I ask again: Blessed man, who are you?

Bryan Riley said...

Let's all pretend two different scenarios. One is this: Pretend that I am a brand new Christian and I eagerly open up your blogs, hearing that they are the blogs of mature pastors who can help me grow in the faith. Then, imagine me, excited to read the wisdom of such men, finding comments like what has been written here and in other posts. What would be my reaction? The second one would be to pretend the same thing, except I am a young man who is not yet a Christian, but I am reading these comments because I am seeking.

What would be my likely reaction???

Bryan Riley said...

Add to the above question I ask, whose commments might I find more loving? More gracious? More Christ-like? Remember that Christ talks about coming to Him as a child. And that we are told to walk just as we received.

blessedman said...

God bless the CBF! May God use them and may many people come to know Christ through their ministry. I got no problem with CBF, I'm just saying that it sounds to me like Wade would be happier cooperating with them.

This is all new to me, so I'm very apprehensive about revealing my identity. Maybe I should just keep my thoughts to myself.

Wade Burleson said...

William,

I removed Blessed Man's post because I do not appreciate men who try to cause trouble by dividing us against each other. He had two statements that were highly inappropriate and offensive.

His next post, which remains, was of a better spirit.

Wade Burleson said...

Blessed Man,

All I can add to your last comment is that men of courage and conviction say what they mean, mean what they say, and do not hide behind anonymity.

I do desire the Lord's blessing to you, your family, and your ministry. But you better get used to having to deal with me, because I am in the SBC for the long haul and will not be joining the CBF or any other denomination.

cameron said...

Bart - I think you make an excellent point in your comment regarding accusations of credalism.

Wade (and anyone else willing to level charges of creedalism against the SBC and it's entities) - I would encourage you to formulate a response to Bart's comment. It would be a great chance to transition from accusations to dialoge.

Roger Simpson said...

Blessed Man:

On a scale of 1 to 10 -- with 1 being a joyful Christian and 10 being imprisioned with fatalism -- you get an 11.

Is it etched in stone that a positive wind of fresh air can't possibly blow in the SBC -- since after all -- POLITICS are POLITICS and that's just the way it is?

Well, I am one guy in the SBC who doesn't bow to the idol of politics. I don't adhere to the self fulfulling prophecy that there is an unalterable vortex of politics that is going to keep the SBC mired down in back room deals and "good old boy -- business as usual" scenarios. My eyes are not closed to the call for a "gentle spirit" that is sweeping across the SBC.

If I ever need therapy to cheer me up I am not going to look you up.

Instead I'll travel with the new breed of leadership in the SBC that is committed to maintaining a spirit of cooperation and cordiality.

Bryan Riley said...

Blessedman, when I first started blogging I felt myself struggling mightily with a desire to be argumentative and take everything personally. In fact, I wrote at one point that I felt like I was too weak to continue to blog and needed to stop because I wasn't sure I could honor Christ and do it. Through prayers of others and my own, God gave me strength and wisdom as to this medium. I definitely fail often, and it is hard not to want to convince, cajole, argue, put down, etc., but, through God's grace, and prayerfully, I hope occasionally we are all edified through our reading and writing (and, hopefully, through actual in person and phone contact as we continue to get to know one another because this medium lacks that personal touch). God bless you!!!

Wade Burleson said...

Cameron,

I think we have been in dialogue.

Bart's comment is interesting on several fronts but I would like to point out just one and ask for your response and Bart's as well. . .

If, in Bart's argument, the Abstract at Southern and the Philadelphia Confession WERE creeds, WHAT HAPPENED?

On the whole Southern Baptists WOULD NOT affirm either one of them today, particularly as it relates to the strong five point Calvinism. Right?

So, following your line of reasoning, one of three things has happened . . .

(1). Either the Confession and the Abstract were full of untruth . . .

(2). Or Southern Baptists of today are full of error . . .

Or, as I would propose, we are living in a day when theological preciseness is not as necessary to win the world to Christ, and there is a desire for all conservative, evangelical Christians to cooperate with each other for the Kingdom's sake.

As a result, any confession that moves to a more rigid, precise definition of cooperation in missions is inappropriate for our convention.

We must keep the faith regarding the essentials of the faith, but recognize that people who believe the gospel can disagree on other doctrines that are non-essential to the Christian faith.

Why don't we go back to our creed of "No creed but the Bible" and argue over our interpretations of minor doctrines, but unite around Christ, the cross, and salvation by faith in Him?

Bart Barber said...

Bro. Burleson,

In no way am I arguing that these earlier confessions were creeds. Rather, I am saying that if the BF&M 2000 is a creed, these others must be creeds as well. But I do not regard the BF&M 2000 as a creed; therefore, I am under no obligation to regard the Abstract or the Philadelphia Confession as creeds. I am not the one making the accusation of creedalism; I am the one responding to your accusation in an earlier comment. Are you retracting that accusation now? I do hope that you will.

With regard to your trilemma, I suppose that I would affirm all three points. None of our confessions of faith has been inerrant—only the Bible rises to that standard. Southern Baptists today are absolutely chock full of error, each one of us. And there certainly are people around today with the desire you have expressed.

What is important to note is that the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention have affirmed, not the desire that you have cited, but the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 as the theological standard for those who voluntarily choose to take our money. There is nothing creedalistic about that. And those who differ have equal access to the mechanism for adopting a new, looser statement of faith. And you can do so without insulting those who went before you by accusing them of creedalism.

By the way, If I were wanting to dust off my degree and teach rather than preach, I would never apply at Southern. I am not a five-point Calvinist. I don't belong at Southern. But I can say that without pouting or bitterness or demanding that they change. I proudly support them through the Cooperative Program. They are doing a good job for Southern Baptists (although, of course, a far inferior job to that being done at SWBTS :-) ... had to add that part), and I offer them my benediction in what they are doing. Let them teach according to their statement of faith. There is nothing creedalistic about that.

Finally, I encourage you to look into the story of Dan Taylor and the New Connexion of General Baptists. They were trying to fix the problems that came following the reunion of the General Assembly of General Baptists and the General Association of General Baptists. These two groups, unable to find agreement around any statement of faith, adopted the idea of "no creed but the Bible" and focused their attention upon Hebrews 6:1-2.

Within forty years, they were entirely Unitarian. It was only the vigorous application of a confession of faith, Taylor's "Articles of Religion" that rescued the General Baptists from oblivion.

Wade Burleson said...

Bart,

Thank you for acknowledging that the confessions are not creeds.

We agree.

Also, thank you for acknowledging that you support with CP funds an institution that requires signature adherence with a document with which you disagree (in parts).

You have now affirmed that it is possible for Southern Baptists to support one another financially, governmentally (you do vote on matters related to Southern at the SBC do you not?) and missiologically, yet not be in total agreement with the adopted confessions of the institutions and agencies of the SBC.

You have proved the point I have been trying to make for months.

No creed but the Bible.

Thank you.

Bart Barber said...

Bro. Burleson,

I'm so glad to have brought you such delight.

I must say, however, that I am not delighted in the fact that you have not addressed the central point of my comment. I do not regard these confessions as creeds because I do not regard the BF&M 2000, as employed today in the Southern Baptist Convention by all of our agencies, as a creed.

You, apparently, do regard it as such. But your view is untenable in light of your belief that these earlier documents were not creeds. If I misunderstand you here, it is simply because you refuse to explain yourself. Can you please respond to that point. Do you dispute that the documents mentioned in my first comment were used precisely as I have stated? Do you dispute that these uses were far more vigorous than those employed by the SBC today with regard to the BF&M 2000? Or do you retract your accusation of creedalism?

I intend to be every bit as vigorous at this as you have promised to be with regard to accusation of liberalism.

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

Cousin Bart,

More emoticons please. Not knowing the spirit with which you write makes us think you are a little peeved, perhaps not.

Bart Barber said...

:-)

Roger Simpson said...

What a riveting discussion!

At what point does a statement of shared beliefs (or a confession) become a "creed".

I have an auxilary question? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? I mean a #10 size pin like we used to use to make a pinhole camera in Boy Scouts.

Bart Barber said...

The emoticon really didn't help much, did it, Razorbaptist?

Bart Barber said...

Roger-

Actually, I think it is a very important question. I think that our host agrees with me.

In Christ,
Bart

Roger Simpson said...

How sophomoric of me to ask the question I raised in my last post.

Since "creed" traces to the Latin word for "belief" [credo = I believe] then I guess a "creed" must be the same thing as "a statement of beliefs" by definition.

How stupid of me to even raise this issue and expose my lack of sophistication regarding the etymology of words in the discussion on the table.

Will said...

Amen. Amen. AMEN!

Bless you Wade, I am praying that more of our leaders will come to the understanding you so eloquently state here.

Bart Barber said...

Roger,

I did not accuse you of being sophomoric. In fact, I said absolutely nothing about YOUR opinion, your intelligence, your knowledge of English, Latin, or any other languages, your relationship with Christ, etc.

Instead, I merely said that I thought it was an important question...speaking for myself.

And although I would share some quibbling about the terminology involved, I do think there is a very important reality that lies underneath. Baptists do hold beliefs about proper vs. improper ways to use a statement of faith. I will not dismiss as unimportant that which has taken my forebears to the stake.

cameron said...

Wade,

I'm not convinced that the point you've thanked Bart for making is the same one you yourself have been advocating.

No one is required to "be in total agreement with the adopted confessions of the institutions and agencies of the SBC" in order to give to the cooperative program, govern SBC entities by way voting as a messenger, or to to support one another missiologically (unless by "support one another" you mean to be a paid employee of the mission board), and prior to now I have not see where you stated or implied that they were.

What I have understood you to advocate, is that individuals with a much more intimate relationship with SBC entities (i.e. missionaries, professors, trustees, etc.) should not be required to "be in total agreement with the adopted confessions of the institutions and agencies of the SBC." That has been the whole basis for the "narrowing of participation" critique, has it not?

Since you yourself have pointed out that previous confessions that Baptist entities have used in the same way that the BFM 2000 is now being used would be less acceptable to Baptists today, how can the BFM 2000, which was overwhelmingly approved by messengers to the convention, qualify as a "narrowing" of the parameters for participation?

sbc pastor said...

Bart,

It appears that Wade may view the BF&M 2000 as a “creed” simply because the SBC overwhelmingly voted to employ it as an “instrument of doctrinal accountability” (BF&M, 5) for those EMPLOYED by our convention and its entities.

However, the BF&M 2000 is not binding upon any participating SBC church or any individuals within those churches. Rather, the BF&M 2000 is an “instrument of doctrinal accountability” to ensure that those who are EMPLOYED by our convention and its entities are in doctrinal agreement with the statement of faith that was overwhelming approved by Southern Baptists (the BF&M 2000).

ACCOUNTABILITY is the issue! As a convention, we only desire to employ those who share our most commonly held beliefs, those “doctrines we hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice” (BF&M, 5), which are expressed in the BF&M 2000.

Contrariwise, it appears that Wade personally believes that EMPLOYEES of the SBC and its entities should NOT be held doctrinally accountable to the SBC (at least not in the way that the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists desire – with the BF&M 2000). It is at this very point that his view is in OPPOSITION with the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

sbc pastor said...

Wade,

I greatly appreciate your willingness to dialogue on these issues. However, it appears that you may have overlooked my previous reply to you (it was way, way, way back there). :0)

In regard to your comment:

WB: “In the history of Baptists, there has never been any attempt to force people to sign confessions… In the environment we are in, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is being used by some as a club.”

Would you equate using the BF&M 2000 as an “instrument of doctrinal accountability,” which is what the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists voted to do, with “forcing” someone to sign it or using it “as a club?” BTW, don’t all employees of SBC entities have the option to either affirm our statement of faith or seek employment elsewhere?

In regard to your statement:

WB: “I believe that there are tons of conservative, evangelical, Bible believing, Christ loving men and women in the SBC who have problems with portions of the BFM 2000.”

I am sure that there are some within the SBC that do not hold to the BF&M 2000. However, it does not appear that there are “tons” of them as the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists voted in favor of the BF&M 2000. Wouldn’t you agree?

Also, it appears that you may have only answered the last question from my previous post and not the first three:

Didn’t the messengers of the SBC, an autonomous body, overwhelmingly adopt the BF&M 2000 as an “instrument of doctrinal accountability” because “these are doctrines we hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice” (BF&M, 5)?

Since Southern Baptists overwhelmingly affirm that the BF&M 2000 is an “instrument of doctrinal accountability,” shouldn’t those who are employed by SBC entities affirm all of its contents?

Furthermore, since the contents of the BF&M 2000 are doctrines that the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists “hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice,” it appears that your belief that some of its contents are “non-essential doctrines” would be contrary to that of the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists. Would you agree?

Thanks for your willingness to share your personal beliefs and convictions in regard to the BF&M 2000. I greatly admire anyone that stands up for what they believe, whether I agree with them or not. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Mark Spence said...

JLG,

Just because a majority of SBC delegates voted on an issue, does it make their position correct?

Are SBCers wihout error?

Shouldn't we be able to question decisions made even if a majority of the delegates to a convention agree?

Mark Spence said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark Spence said...

Sorry, somehow I deleted my comment...

I was going to tag on the question-

Or is this an issue of priesthood of the believers vs. priesthood of the believer?

sbc pastor said...

Mark,

I definitely agree that a majority does not determine truth. I also agree that an individual church, or person, is free to disagree. However, neither of those are the issue. The BF&M is not binding on individual churches or persons. Rather, it is an "instrument of doctrinal accountability" (BF&M, 5).

The issue here does indeed appear to be that of ACCOUNTABILITY. The SBC, an autonomous body, has both the right and the responsibility to ensure that those who it employs are in agreement with its statement of faith (BF&M 2000). It appears that Wade, contrary to the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists, does not believe that EMPLOYEES of the SBC and its entities should be accountable to the convention in the way that the convention has already determined with overwhelming support – the BF&M 2000. Do you agree?

Thanks and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Roger Simpson said...

I apologize for being caustic earlier.

I think part of the problem is that the BF&M is being treated in at least two ways. Employees of the agencies have to sign off on it as a conditon of employment while it is not binding on those who draft it or enact it.

No one ever asked me to sign on to the BF&M (2000, 1963 or any other version).

I personally don't have a problem with employees signing a statement saying they are in concert with the beliefs of the organization as a condition of employment.

I don't know if the BF&M is a "creed", a "confession", a "statement of beliefs" or what. The BF&M is being loaded up with topical stuff and changing every few decades. This suggests to me that there is stuff in there besides "bedrock" stuff.

I'm 63 right now. I'm not going to get too upset about the BF&M right now since it could change again in my lifetime and the stuff I think is second order stuff might be removed.

Bryan Riley said...

I feel like i need to ask my scenarios above again.

TruthOfActs said...

Wade,
First I’d like to say again how wonderful this post of yours is, so I don’t like to add fault to what you’re getting. I know you expected it but you went ahead and opened your heart.

If I said, “I will not be joining the Catholics or any other denomination”, that would refer that Catholics are not Baptist. Right?

If I said, “I will not be joining the CBF or any other denomination”, that would refer that CBF is not Baptist? Right?

But that is what you said in a comment on August 19. Right?
English communication is difficult, and I don’t think you meant what you said. Right?

By the way, I have blamed you for not posting many of my comments in the past until I tried posting my own and they would not show up because I thought q was g in the word verification. I still have to post more than once to get it to go sometimes.
Rex Ray

IN HIS NAME said...

SBC PASTOR(Jeremy L. Green)Waco,TX
said
The issue here does indeed appear to be that of ACCOUNTABILITY. The SBC, an autonomous body, has both the right and the responsibility to ensure that those who it employs are in agreement with its statement of faith (BF&M 2000).

WHAT ACCOUNTABILITY, DON'T MAKE A MOCKERY OF GOD'S WORD???

So you and/or your Friends can do what you want to do on the LORD'S DAY/SABBATH!!!

Isa 58:13 "If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;

Wade Burleson said...

Cameron and Bart,

Why are you not requiring all employees, trustees, professors and "intimate" (your word, not mine) leaders of Southern Seminary who are NOT five point Calvinists to resign? Southern's Abstract, a document in force to this day, is strongly Calvinistic (all five points?).

Before you answer, please know that I AM NOT ADVOCATING this. I am just showing that their can be "intimate" governance without agreeing with every jot and tittle of confessions, abstracts, creeds or whatever else we desire to call them.

Confessions are NOT infallible and inerrant.

Jesus Christ is.

wade

Bryan Riley said...

Here's another way to say what Wade said by closing with Jesus Christ is.

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

John Fariss said...

Just an question/observation--both as to some comments here and elsewhere: isn't there a difference between being "hired" and being "called"? I notice that some of the folks who utter unwaivering support for the BF&M 2000, especially those who emphasize it as a "document of doctrinal accountability" (which I can only interpret as a binding creed), tend to speak of employees, bosses, and hiring people. Something about that terminology bothers me.

Years ago, when I was a police detective, we were allowed to take part-time jobs in security-related fields. Then there was a policy change. The Chief of Detectives called me into his office one day and told me about the change, then gave as an illustration that it would be wrong for an officer taking his police vehicle and use it as a taxi-cab on his off-time (we were allowed to drive the vehicles home). He then asked me if I didn't agree with his illustration. I looked him right in the eye and said, "No sir, I don't agree." Let me tell you, he got mad--he wasn't used to people disagreeing with him, and at the end of a chewing out, he told me that I WOULD obey the directive OR ELSE. I again looked him in the eye and said, "Oh, I don't have any problem obeying it. But you asked me my opinion, and I gave it." I continued that I was an employee, and I had no problem obeying the (lawful) orders of the department.

But the ministry is different. We are not employees (the IRS and some Deacon Boards not withstanding) and we were not hired. This I believe to be true whether we are speaking of pastors, ministers of youth or music or whatever, missionaries, or professors at SBC and state convention affiliated institutions. We were called. God did the calling, and the institution (be it a local church, state convention, institution, or the SBC) affirms the call. We are paid so that we can afford to do that which God calls us to do. Granted, the institution does the paying, and there are therefore accountability issues; but those issues are not as simple and straightforward as "pickle theology." (Does everybody remember Adrian Rogers, back in the 70s or 80s saying that if the SBC votes that pickles are divine, the next morning professors at SBC seminaries better start teaching that pickles are divine?) Covenants are more complicated than contracts, but then we are called into a covenant relationship. So before we start talking about "employees" obeying the rules of "their employers" be had better settle who is hired and who is called, and be consistent dealing with all the ramifications.

IN HIS NAME said...

SBC PASTOR(Jeremy L. Green)Waco,TX

As a Church Planter, isn't your Salary paid by CP Funds???

Mark Spence said...

John Fariss,

AMEN!

I do not have a problem with the SBC requiring its employees agreeing with the creed, er..., I mean the BFM 2000. Actually, it is unBaptist of me, but I believe we do need creeds. However, I do not think the creed needs to have any unnecessary material. Also, I believe that the creed should not keep us from cooperating with another like-minded organization if we disagree on a mundane detail. (cessationism, for example)

A creed needs to encompass only what is absolutely necessary for the orthodox faith. Requiring anything else is recreating the problems of the Pharisees (turning 10 laws into 600+).

Reggie McNeal has said that the Pharisees tended to look at the world and yell at everything it was doing wrong. Jesus came for the sick not for the righteous. He ministered to the unrighteous demonstrating how to love a neighbor. I am afraid that as we further create more and more rules and laws defining who we are and what we can't do that we are becoming more and more like the Pharisees.

This is why I want the right to dissent and witness. Dissent against adding any laws to what it is necessary to be considered orthodox. Witness the love of Christ to a lost and dying world (not yell at them for behaving like who they are- LOST).

PS. JLG- you didn't comment on the change from priesthood of the believer to priesthood of the believers...do I need to create a blog about YOU not answering all my questions?

I ask this only for you to be consistent with what you argue against with Wade Burleson.

Love God Love People,

Mark

David Flick said...

Wade, they're coming out of the woodwork at you now. I'm sorry to see this happening to you. You deserve better than what you received from several bloggers today. One blogger wrote: "The SBC blogging revolution is officially over--Mr. Burleson's post will destroy any shred of credibility that the movement ever had. And in a strange twist of irony, everyone is cheering for Mr. Burleson today--conservative leaders are glad he has "shown his true colors," thus killing his movement, and moderates are glad he is so dog-gone critical of SBC leadership, egging him on just like they always have."

I believe that you have lost credibility at all. Those who write these blogs, such as the one I cited above, tell that you are making headway in affecting much needed change in the SBC.

Count me as a Moderate CBF Oklahoma Baptist who believes you are doing a good work. I failed miserably in my attempt to affect change in the SBC. I pray that you will succeed. I believe you will...

TruthOfActs said...

(Truth of Acts said…)
To SBC Pastor (GLG),
You keep repeating how the BFM 2000 was overwhelming accepted by churches messengers.
Would you answer these questions?
1. Did ANY churches, including Southern Baptist, know what was going to be voted on?
2. Did ANY church messengers know what DELETIONS and ADDITIONS would be done to the BFM 1963 before they went to the convention?
3. WHY WERE CHANGES KEPT SECRET?
4. Major motions are to be voted on the NEXT year—why was the rule BROKEN?
5. WOULD THIS VIOLATION MAKE THE VOTE ILLIGAL?

I can already anticipate your silence.

John Ferris—GREAT COMMENTS
Rex Ray

Bart Barber said...

Gee, Wade. You won't answer my questions. Why should I answer yours?

The basis of polite conversation is a willingness at least to acknowledge what the other person is saying. Talking right past each other to get out our talking points ought to be reserved for political pundit programs, and not for Christian dialogue.

Dave said...

Gee, Bart. All Wade's doing here is trying to bring some much-needed healing to this whole situation of slandering one's brother. A process that has gone on unabated for much too long! He makes some very positive comments and points out that there were those who were wrongly slandered. He states that this should not be. His words are intended to help bring reconciliation and unity. What problem do you have with that?

Thank you, Wade. Keep speaking the truth. You are not alone.

volfan007 said...

bringing unity is not attacking imb trustees every chance you get. unity is not calling dr. bobby welch a liar. unity is not demanding that everyone agree with you, or else you are somehow bad. unity is not demanding that you get your way about everything. unity is not siding with liberals.

volfan007

volfan007 said...

also, unity is centered around Jesus Christ, and around His Word. the only realy unity that we can have is when everyone is committed to believing and following the clear teachings of the bible.

volfan007

Bryan Riley said...

Volfan, I agree, but who's telling us what those clear teachings are in your opinion? Or can you explain what they are?

blessedman said...

As I re-read Wade's post, it's as though he is getting geared up to defend Page's appointments. The assumption is that as soon as Page makes appointments, the smear campaign will begin from the right, the fundamentalistic leadership of the SBC.

But why this assumption? What is that makes Wade think Page's appointments will be so broad that it will attract arrows from the bad guys? (bad guys, meaning, the giants who have led us for the last twenty years)

I submit that Page's appointments will NOT be broad. Somebody please explain why you expect Page to appoint from BGCT and BGCV. Wade argues that Page "said he would." When and where did he say this?

Bryan Riley said...

Hmm, I didn't read the post to try to determine what the vast [insert modifier of choice here] consipiracy was behind it. :)

Wade Burleson said...

Blessed Man,

There are Southern Baptists who are conservative to the core, cooperative in missions, and members of the BGCT and BGAV and the Southern Baptist Conventon and CBF. On what basis should they be excluded from appointments by Dr. Page. In fact, I heard him say with my own ears he would NOT exclude them if they met his qualifications. You seem to want to exclude them BECAUSE they are BGCT or BGAV.

IN HIS NAME said...

THOSE with eye's to see or ear to hear. What I said or did 20 years ago may be a little different than how I would address it today.
GOD'S HOLY WORD Never Changes, People change with time, Yet we change the BF&M to fit our needs.

The 1689 London Confession of Baptist Faith was adopted from The Westminster Confession of Faith, which has withstood the test of Time. That's when we stated down the slippery Slope. This Confession is all covered by GOD'S HOLY WORD.

A Brother in CHRIST

blessedman said...

Wade:

Are there currently trustees on our boards and agencies from the BGCT and BGCV? I guess I assumed from your post that this was not the case. The tone of your post made it sound as though pastors from the BGCT and the BGCV have been left out of the appointment process because of their affiliation with those state convention organizations. And your hope is that Page would appoint persons from those two organizations, implying that such appointments would, in your mind, "broaden the tent." I'm assuming they've been left out for the past twenty years, but maybe I'm wrong. Straighten me out!

Also, when will know how his appointments panned out?

Wade Burleson said...

Blessed Man,

There is one person from the BGCT and BGAV on the IMB --- Bob Graham, the brother of former President Jack Graham.

I know of no others who have been appointed, though the BGCT gives $15 million to the CP, the same as the SBCT.

We will know of his appointments, by bylaw, at least 45 days prior to the SBC in San Antonio, but it could be sooner.

cameron said...

Wade,

I hesitate to post another comment before you've had a chance to respond to my last one, but in blogosphere time this discussion is nearly as old as the hills already, so I've decided to go ahead and throw it out there.

How exactly is it that someone can be "conservative to the core" (in the Southern Baptist sense no less) and be a member of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship? I'm really lost on that one. Are we not talking about the same CBF who unashamedly refer to themselves as "moderates" (which I respect - they're willing to use words with clear meaning to describe what they believe), who reject biblical inerrancy, who support women in the office of pastor, etc.? How can a "conservative to the core" Southern Baptist fit in with this group, without redefining what it is to be "conservative" until it no longer carries any meaning at all?

Bart Barber said...

Dave, how does it bring healing for him to accuse people of creedalism?

William Madden said...

Cameron,
The answer is simple. The message of scripture itself is not as conservative as the beliefs of you "conservative to the core" Southern Baptists. One can make a very good argument--from scripture--for women in leadership roles. Try to focus on being Christian and not just being conservative. In Japan, 10% of pastors are women, in the Phillipines 20%. In China from which I just returned from visiting with missionaries, I met a very capable woman preacher, and the Chinese find her leadership role to be quite acceptable. If God is using these women to reach the lost, are you really going to say that they shouldn't preach or pastor. "For freedom, Christ has set us free. Let us never again submit to a yolk of slavery." --including the slavery of a carnal conservatism masquerading as a higher form of righteousness. Moderates have not rejected the authority of scripture, they have just rejected the SBC's conservative clique's too-narrow interpretation of it.

Wade Burleson said...

Cameron,

I do not know how we are moving to a discussion of the CBF because this is not about CBF, it is about the BGCT and the BGAV.

However, it is very possible for an individual to be participating with CBF and be individually conservative.

I know a couple of them myself personally --- one pastors in the town I pastor and I have prayed with him, discussed Scripture with him, worshipped with him and call him a friend. He is conservative to the core.

I have no desire to participate with CBF, but I want us to stop assuming liberalism and assigning the "liberal" tag BEFORE we get to know the people we are labeling.

cameron said...

William,

I can accept and respect your opinion, but I wholeheartedly disagree.

I'll assume that the beliefs you are referencing are those in the Baptist Faith and Message. Allow me to go on the record and say that I am convinced that they are not more conservative than the Bible itself is. In my opinion (and you are, of course, free to disagree) they are a good reflection of Biblical teaching. That is why I, when I was an ISCer with the IMB, had absolutely no qualms about signing my name as being in agreement with the BFM.

"If God is using these women to reach the lost, are you really going to say that they shouldn't preach or pastor." Preach? Let them preach the gospel! Pastor? No, I would not support that. Does one need to hold the office of pastor in order to reach the lost for Christ? Of course not! Am I saying that these women are somehow lesser Christians than people I would support for the pastorate? No! It simply means that I (and the majority of the SBC) believe that the Bible does in fact give guidelines to who should and should not be the pastor. As a side note, let me also point out that just being a man does not qualify someone to be a pastor, it is not a mere question of gender.

Finally, allow me to point out that I have made no qualitative judgements about people who disagree with me in their biblical interpretations. I have simply asserted that the disagreement does in fact matter. For this you have directly implied that I am a slave "of a carnal conservatism masquerading as a higher form of righteousness." Your slur simply just does not fit. I know you were not the one seeking dialogue, and you may not be interested in it, but to those who are, is this the language of the highly touted dialogue that you feel the SBC is in such dire need of?

cameron said...

Wade,

Allow me to remind you of how the discussion turned to the CBF:

In your above comment to Blessed Man, you wrote "There are Southern Baptists who are conservative to the core, cooperative in missions, and members of the BGCT and BGAV and the Southern Baptist Conventon and CBF." (emphasis mine)

If you did not want to discuss the CBF and would like to retract your comment, you have the right to do so (after all, it's your party). If your comment stands however, I would still insist that any "conservative to the core" Southern Baptist would be highly out of place in the CBF. There is absolutely no way to deny this without redefining what it means to be a conservative Southern Baptist.

Unless you want to cut the leadership of the BGCT out of your discussion, then you can not ignore the CBF issue. The connection between BGCT leadership and the CBF is too close to seperate.

As for your last remark, I have not applied the label "liberal" to anyone, so I'll assume you're not talking about me when you say "us". I did label the CBF as "moderates" but I didn't pull that out of thin air, that is what they refer to themselves as in their own publications.

It seems that I have distracted you from replying to my earlier comment. This I regret.

William Madden said...

Cameron,

I think your point about my carnal conservatism comment being too-heavy-handed and unfair is well-made, and for that I do apologize.

About beliefs, I had no problems with BF&M 1963, but did disagree with the changes made for 2000.

I can agree to disagree with you on the idea of women pastors. I think there are good arguments for both sides, but that it should be left to the local church.

With so much else in common, I'm still hopeful that "moderate" and "conservative" Baptists will find a way to focus on their common beliefs and goals.

Thank you for your thoughtful response.

Respectfully,

William

Bart Barber said...

William Madden,

Frankly, as far as the SBC is concerned, the question of women pastors HAS been left to the local church. The BF&M 2000 is not binding upon local churches in the SBC.

Of course, if you want to teach seminary, plant churches through IMB or NAMB, or otherwise work for the SBC, you must respect the beliefs of the majority, very clearly expressed not only in the BF&M 2000 but in the OVERWHELMINGLY predominant practice of churches in both the SBC and the CBF where virtually every church has a male pastor.

cameron said...

William,

I humbly accept your apology. I know all to well how easily passions can be inflamed by blogging. I consider the offense to be no more.

I am familiar with and understand the arguments in support of your position on women in the pastorate, and as I said before, I can respect your opinion on the matter, but I remain unconvinced by the arguments. So with that, I too can agree to disagree with you.

I do think that it is possible for us to work together toward common goals. However, I do not think that the majority of SBC churches should be forced to compromise on their beliefs. They have approved the BFM 2000 as their statement of faith, and until such time as they choose to revise it, it should be considered normative as a basis for cooperation. That is, afterall, how democratic organizations work. Part of the freedom that we enjoy by organizing ourselves as a democratic body is that we can propose anything to the body. But part of the responsibility we have is that we must abide by the majority's decision. The majority will not always side with me, but if I desire to continue to be apart of the group, I must respect the process.

Thanks again for the kind words in your comment.

Jerry Pierce said...

blpWade, there's no doubt that careless and reckless words were used during the conservative resurgence that did not always apply. I'm sure the same is true within every movement.
I heard Paige Patterson admit his regret of occasionally using "intemperate" language during the controversy years. His admission was during a meeting in 2000 that drew the SBC entity heads together. Most conservatives would admit as much. It's also probable that some of the political alignments that occurred were fueled because of hurt feelings. One strain of moderates emerged from a few conservatives whose moderate friends were injured during the theological battles. But such pain doesn't excuse theological compromise.
Those who ran to the CBF are aiding and abetting—some are endorsing—a theological path that will lead to what is now seen in much of United Methodism and in the Episcopal church. I don't doubt Daniel Vestal loves Jesus too. But where is his ship headed?
I too believe in charity and I think we should exercise it vigorously. But I also believe in towing a firm theological line on essentials—not out of meanness but out of love. That's what it means to be conservative. That's what it means to take seriously the belief that holy men of God wrote as they were moved.
Wade, a question: When you say four or five were worthy of the labels they were given, are you counting seminary professors? I've heard anecdotes from some credible people who could count more than that. Plus tenure allowed some to continue, even recently, if they agreed not to teach in the areas where they were less than conservative.
In 1962, former Western Recorder editor C.R. Daley made this statement regarding the firing of neo-orthodox Midwestern professor Ralph Elliott, who denied the historicity of Genesis 1-11: If Elliot is a “heretic, then he is one of many.… Professors in all our seminaries know that Elliott is in the same stream of thinking with most of them, and is more in the center than some of them” (James Hefley, The Conservative Resurgence, p. 30).
In 1984, during the heat of the resurgence, Daley commented in an address at Southern Seminary: “Doctrinally or inerrancy wise, the poison [conservatives] claim [today] is biblical criticism. That’s what they are after.… When the seminaries started teaching biblical criticism and started talking about documentary hypothesis and other conclusions, that’s when the poison started. When I came to [Southern] seminary [in the 1940s], I can remember only one professor who stood up strongly for the Mosiac authorship of the [first five books of the Bible] … The seminaries have been moving in that direction” (ibid, p. 27).
Daley freely admitted what some wished he would have kept to himself. His honesty was not so welcomed.
If you read the first chapter of Paul House’s Old Testament Theology, you’ll see that OT theology as a discipline was dominated by liberals, then by neo-orthodox thinkers well into the 20th century. Conservative evangelical scholarship in this area is relatively new, so the influence of more liberal thinking has affected the SBC in Old Testament studies since at least the 1940s, according to Daley, and has just only recently recovered.
Was language used during the resurgence sometimes over the top? Sure. Was the battle over something substantive? Did it involve more than a handful of theologically inadequate people? Yes.

I would say most rank-and-file Southern Baptists even today would not believe some of the foolishness they were paying for with Cooperative Program dollars 30 and 40 years ago.
When I told my dad about a CLC pamphlet from 1976, which I have in my office, stating the Southern Baptist position on abortion as sometimes God’s will, he was dumbfounded. I was too the first time I saw it—in 2004. There were the Foy Valentines, who headed the CLC and was a founding member of the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights, and there were those who protected him and his cadre (For a taste of the then-CLC, get a taste of the current Baptist Center for Ethics, headed by a former Southern Baptist CLC staffer.)
The problem was always with those who were unwilling to do something about the weak theological links. There has always been that portion who would rather have unity at almost any cost than wage an occasional worthy battle over essential doctrines, the inerrancy of Scripture as necessary dogma in SBC entities and schools being the most important of them.

Jerry Pierce said...

Wade, there's no doubt that careless and reckless words were used during the conservative resurgence that did not always apply. I'm sure the same is true within every movement.
I heard Paige Patterson admit his regret of occasionally using "intemperate" language during the controversy years. His admission was during a meeting in 2000 that drew the SBC entity heads together. Most conservatives would admit as much. It's also probable that some of the political alignments that occurred were fueled because of hurt feelings. One strain of moderates emerged from a few conservatives whose moderate friends were injured during the theological battles. But such pain doesn't excuse theological compromise.
Those who ran to the CBF are aiding and abetting—some are endorsing—a theological path that will lead to what is now seen in much of United Methodism and in the Episcopal church. I don't doubt Daniel Vestal loves Jesus too. But where is his ship headed?
I too believe in charity and I think we should exercise it vigorously. But I also believe in towing a firm theological line on essentials—not out of meanness but out of love. That's what it means to be conservative. That's what it means to take seriously the belief that holy men of God wrote as they were moved.
Wade, a question: When you say four or five were worthy of the labels they were given, are you counting seminary professors? I've heard anecdotes from some credible people who could count more than that. Plus tenure allowed some to continue, even recently, if they agreed not to teach in the areas where they were less than conservative.
In 1962, former Western Recorder editor C.R. Daley made this statement regarding the firing of neo-orthodox Midwestern professor Ralph Elliott, who denied the historicity of Genesis 1-11: If Elliot is a “heretic, then he is one of many.… Professors in all our seminaries know that Elliott is in the same stream of thinking with most of them, and is more in the center than some of them” (James Hefley, The Conservative Resurgence, p. 30).
In 1984, during the heat of the resurgence, Daley commented in an address at Southern Seminary: “Doctrinally or inerrancy wise, the poison [conservatives] claim [today] is biblical criticism. That’s what they are after.… When the seminaries started teaching biblical criticism and started talking about documentary hypothesis and other conclusions, that’s when the poison started. When I came to [Southern] seminary [in the 1940s], I can remember only one professor who stood up strongly for the Mosiac authorship of the [first five books of the Bible] … The seminaries have been moving in that direction” (ibid, p. 27).
Daley freely admitted what some wished he would have kept to himself. His honesty was not so welcomed.
If you read the first chapter of Paul House’s Old Testament Theology, you’ll see that OT theology as a discipline was dominated by liberals, then by neo-orthodox thinkers well into the 20th century. Conservative evangelical scholarship in this area is relatively new, so the influence of more liberal thinking has affected the SBC in Old Testament studies since at least the 1940s, according to Daley, and has just only recently recovered.
Was language used during the resurgence sometimes over the top? Sure. Was the battle over something substantive? Did it involve more than a handful of theologically inadequate people? Yes.

I would say most rank-and-file Southern Baptists even today would not believe some of the foolishness they were paying for with Cooperative Program dollars 30 and 40 years ago.
When I told my dad about a CLC pamphlet from 1976, which I have in my office, stating the Southern Baptist position on abortion as sometimes God’s will, he was dumbfounded. I was too the first time I saw it—in 2004. There were the Foy Valentines, who headed the CLC and was a founding member of the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights, and there were those who protected him and his cadre (For a taste of the then-CLC, get a taste of the current Baptist Center for Ethics, headed by a former Southern Baptist CLC staffer.)
The problem was always with those who were unwilling to do something about the weak theological links. There has always been that portion who would rather have unity at almost any cost than wage an occasional worthy battle over essential doctrines, the inerrancy of Scripture as necessary dogma in SBC entities and schools being the most important of them.

Bart Barber said...

Jerry,

Worth reading twice! Good words, sir.

Bart Barber said...

For what it is worth, I count at least three BGCT affiliated nominees serving in this year's committees and boards.

Wade Burleson said...

Jerry,

I don't disagree with your post.

We are in agreement.

I am simply saying that we can be nice about disagreements.

I will fight all I can to avoid any theologial compromise that shipwrecks the faith. Those who wish to deny the authority and sufficiency of Scriptures, the deity of Christ, salvation by grace through faith, and the other essentials of the Christian faith, are better NOT being a part of the SBC.

I am saying, however, that it may be possible, as you acknowledge, that some good, godly conservative people were falsely maligned, mislabeled, and bore an offense on behalf of others.

I encouraging us to maintain our conserative beliefs in the essentials of the faith, practice moderation in the acceptance of different interpretations of non-essential doctrines, and by all means, even when others disagree, be Christian.

sbc pastor said...

Wade,

In regard to your comment:

WB: "I encouraging us to maintain our conserative beliefs in the essentials of the faith, practice moderation in the acceptance of different interpretations of non-essential doctrines"

Since the contents of the BF&M 2000 are doctrines that the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists "hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice," it appears that your belief that some of its contents are "non-essential doctrines" would be contrary to that of the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists.

Would you agree?

Thanks in advance for answering and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

blessedman said...

Wade:

What's the record so far for the number of comments in response to a post? This one is definitely up there.

To Everyone Else:

Wade's assumption is that Page will appoint from the BGCT and the BGCV. Is that what you expect Page to do as well? Do you think Page will appoint from the CBF? Do you think he would appoint a female pastor? Say, Julie Pennington-Russell, Senior Pastor of Calvary Baptist in Waco and affiliated with the BGCT?

Somebody straighten me out if I am wrong, but I have this idea that Page will appoint in the same tradition as our previous presidents, only including representation from SMALLER churches. (That would be the only difference) I think we're trying to pull away from the mega church pastors dominating the direction of the sbc, but I don't think we're tyring to "broaden the tent," and I don't think that's what Page will do or was elected to do.

What do you think? How do you expect Page to appoint? If you expect him to "broaden the tent," how broad? What would be Page's "essentials"? At some point, there would be a line in the sand for him. Maybe a practicing homosexual church member? Maybe an ordained woman on staff of the church? Maybe a church that practices tongues publically? The reality is, even Page has limits. At some point, there is a line he will not cross. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that line is the most recent BFM. Help me out! Straighten me up! Tell me what Page will do! Better yet, let's just get Page to weigh in here and tell us straight up what he plans to do.

blessedman said...

Hey Wade:

Why do you think Vestal left us? Name calling or doctrine? I always thought it was doctrine. But maybe it was name calling. From your post, it sounds like the cbf formed, not because of honest theological differences they held with conservatives in the sbc, but because of the name calling. A third option is that they left simply because they were mad they lost. But I definintely don't really think that's it. I think it's doctine. Do you think it's name calling?

SBC IS BAPTIST said...

Do I detect a snake in the grass

posing as ben the baptist cat or

sbcpastor

Streak said...

However, I now realize that several good, solid conservative evangelical Christians have been slandered and maligned. Men who are gracious, gentle and gospel believers have been called liberal, heretics, and even worse.

Yes, by all means. Perfectly fine to exclude liberals from the convention, but perfectly awful to call conservatives liberal. I am a liberal, and you people are the reason I am no longer a Southern Baptist.

volfan007 said...

streak,


if you are a liberal, then we are glad that you left the sbc. we dont want liberals in our sbc, unless they are willing to repent of their unbiblical beliefs.


volfan007

Jim Paslay said...

I believe there were theological problems within our convention back in the 70's and 80's and I'm not the only pastor who thought so. We were clearly heading as a convention toward a neo-orthodox approach to Scripture in several of our seminaries. And the leaders in charge of our boards didn't seem to be alarmed.

Dr. Robert Alley, a former professor at Richmond University, recently passed away. Back in 1977, he said to a group of atheists in a Universalist church, "I see Jesus as really a Jew. I don't imagine for a moment that he would have had the audacity to claim the deity for himself. I think the passages where he talks about the Son of God are later additions--which the church said about him." That doesn't sound like a mainstream Baptist professor!

Do any of you remember finding out that James Dunn, head of the Baptist Joint Committee of Public Affairs was a board member for the "People for the American Way?" Do any of you remember Foy Valentine, head of the Christian Life Commission being on the "Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights?" These were not made up stories. These were leaders who were clearly out of touch with the rest of Southern Baptists.

The theological problems were real! I'm not sure those who disagreed with the course correction of our convention has ever admitted to it. There must be honesty on both sides.

Did conservatives call moderates liberals? Yes! Did moderates call conservatives fundamentalists? Yes! And they still do. I've heard more venom from those who have gone to the CBF than I ever did from those who were leaders in the conservative resurgence. For those who seem to have forgotten some of our history, I suggest reading James C. Hefley's books "The Truth in Crisis" on the SBC controversy.

If there is ever to be healing within our convention, there will have to be honesty and integrity on both sides!

Pastor Brad said...

I'm not sure if anyone is still reading this posting, but in case you are, let me say that Mark Driscoll posted today an outstanding article relating to mainline denominations at resurgence.com.

I know some of you will say, but are you calling the CBF, BGAV, and BGCT liberal? No, I'm not, but can anyone doubt that the same liberal professors that left to find a more comfortable home in the CBF would not have taken the SBC down the same road? Thank God for the Conservative Resurgence!

Rick said...

to Jim Paslay,

While you remember the quotes of Alley and the affiliations of Dunn and Valentine, do remember

that our beloved Dr. Criswell "affirmed the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision permitting abortion. Religious News Service quoted Criswell as saying, "I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had life separate from the mother that it became an individual person, and it always has, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed."

When Valentine was agreeing with RvW, so was Criswell.

My point is that we can all find something to use against our opponents, especially if we do not look contextually at their whole life, thought and progression of their beliefs.

Let's be more careful.

Ricky said...

Dear Friends,

I would wonder if we are confusing the autonomy of the local SBC church with the belief that the convention itself is autonomous. It is not.

Overwhelmingly, the convention voted to accept the BF&M 2000. Any employee, mission appointee or trustee should abide by the current BF&M. If they cannot in good conscience sign the declaration then they have the freedom to seek employment or ministry elsewhere.

God recently moved us to another church. Over a weekend we discussed doctrinal issues, expectations of the pastor and family, challenges that we would need to overcome to reach our community and other misc. items. The vote to call us as pastor was 98%. We accepted the call. Before we did so the church and I went through their personnel manual. I signed the back of the manual to show my support of these policies. If I could not agree with the handbook then I could then choose to lie and sign it hoping to change it in the future or seek to minister elsewhere.

One other thought...I do not have to cooperate with someone to love them. I love those who are hold to the Islamic faith...I do not cooperate with them. I love the pastor of a local church who believes that homosexuality is just another lifestyle and that the Bible is sufficient for living but not inerrant)...but I do not cooperate with him or his church. I can love those who would be called moderate or liberal within our denomination, but I do not have to cooperate with them.

Thank you,

Ricky Le’Mons

John Fariss said...

Another stray thought hit me while reading this string in depth. A number of respondants mention Southern Baptists "overwhelmingly" voting for and supporting the 2000 BF&M. Unless you are playing a semantical game, that is untrue.

I will grant you that a majority of messengers attending the 2000 Southern Baptist Convention voted for it, and if want to say it was an overwhelming majority, maybe so. But the most there have ever been to a Southern Baptist Convention was--what, 40,000 messengers? And we claim to have over 16 MILLION SOUTHERN BAPTISTS?

My point is: if someone says, the Convention overwhelmingly voted for it, that is true. But don't claim that Southern Baptists overwhelmingly did, because the great majority of Southern Baptists have never voted on it, pro or con, and we couldn't find half to two-thirds of them to get them to vote, even if the logistics could be worked out. And of the remainder, a significant number of them are so uninterested in the theological aspects as to make any vote they cast a mockery.

I would be curious to know, however, if there is any record of how many of the individual churches affirm which BF&M, '63 (as does the church I pastor) or 2000. I even ran across one recently (via webpage) that says its affirms only the 1925 version!

sbc pastor said...

Who elected George Bush as President? The citizens of the United States of America elected him as President. You could say, “Well, some didn’t go vote!” However, that is irrelevant. He was elected by the citizens of the United States. This fact is true and it is not dependent upon how many showed up at the polls.

It is also true that Southern Baptists overwhelmingly voted to adopt the BF&M 2000. Again, you may say, “Well, some didn’t go vote!” Again, your statement would be irrelevant. In fact, Southern Baptists did overwhelmingly vote to adopt the BF&M 2000. Again, this fact is true and it is not dependent upon how many messengers voted at the convention.

God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Jim Paslay said...

To Rick:

I believe I was being careful. My point is in reference to the convention as a whole. There were many who were troubled about the direction of our convention but did not realize there were men in positions who were clearly not in touch with most Southern Baptists. I quoted Alley and used Valentine and Dunn to prove that point. I could have given many others.

Wade's original post talked about conservatives who had been maligned or slandered because they identified themselves with moderates. That certainly happened. But so were the moderates guilty of maligning and slandering conservatives by using the term "fundamentalist" to describe what we believe. There is enough blame to go around. But the point is that there were real theological problems in our convention and the course correction kept us from sliding down the same path as Methodists, Presbyterians and other mainline denominations whose theological schools became a breeding ground for liberal theology.

Was Winfred Moore a theological liberal? No. Did he allow himself to be used by people who saw no theological problems in the convention? Yes, and so did Richard Jackson and Daniel Vestal. The day I hear people of the moderate persuasion admit that there were theological problems is the day that healing can begin. Otherwise this will go on until Jesus comes!

Wade Burleson said...

Jim,

Clyde Glazener, current pastor of Gambrell Street Baptist Church in Fort Worth, former professor of at SWBTS and a self-affirmed political moderate, and called by most in the SBC a "liberal" told me the very thing you long to hear from a "moderate." There were some theological problems that needed addressed. It was quite interesting to hear Clyde, a man who believes the Bible from "the cover to the maps," recount how he led the BGCT as chairman of the Executive Board, to disfellowship from a BGCT that ordained a confessing homosexual.

I really appreciated his stand, but his gracious spirit.

By the way, the church I pastor called Clyde to be the pastor in the 1970's (a call he did not accept). There is no way my church calls a "liberal" to be pastor.

They would only call a man who believes the Bible and longs to see people come to faith in Christ.

volfan007 said...

yea, i remember the moderates and liberals calling me and others like me a fundamentalist....and they acted like it was a cuss word. i remember the venom coming from thier eyes and tongues in dallas and atlanta and at other conventions. i remember my friends from southern seminary telling me that the profs and students were calling dr. adrian rogers the devil back in 79 and in the 80's.

sounds like a real loving bunch.

volfan007

Wade Burleson said...

Volfan 007

Have you become that which you despised?

volfan007 said...

wade,

no, i dont think i have become what i despised. i am trying to stand for truth and common sense amidst all the errors and ridiculousness that is being espoused these days. and, i am a fairly young man...well, i'm in my mid 40's.

wade,
i dont hate anybody. i am not mad at anyone. if you, or any of the bloggers in here, want to be conservatives, or moderates, or liberals....life goes on. i will still be me....the man that God has made me to be. i dont hate anyone, but i do hate heresy and false teachings. i dont like extreme doctrines and off the deep end theology that will lead others to all kinds of confusion and strife and division and sinful living. no, i dont like that a whole lot. thus, i speak out. and, i know that sometimes i speak bluntly...so did john the baptist. and, i do believe i remember Jesus calling the pharisees a bunch of white washed tombs with stinking bodies inside....and, a brood of snakes.

therefore, i agree with you about broadening the tent to include all truly bible believing, conservative, sound, baptist christians in leadership positions in the sbc. but, i dont like the sound of you including men who not only allowed false teachers and heretics to teach in our schools and lead our organizations, but they fought for them to be there under the guise of priesthood of believer. i saw the men you mention do this. i was there.


volfan007

IN HIS NAME said...

volfan007,

Do you know what Sanctification is and when it begins and ends?

A Brother in Christ

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