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

The Blessing of Being Understood

Anytime I take the risk of putting my thoughts in writing, particularly in a public forum such as a blog, the possibility of readers misunderstanding the intent of my heart is very real. I wish everyone clearly understood WHY I post what I post. If they did, they would see I have no desire for any personal gain, no intention to denigrate people for their views, for I simply wish to make our convention the best organization possible for the most effective dissemination of the gospel. I believe that happens when we begin to talk to each other with respect, listen to one another with patience and do our dead level best to accept one another regardless of our differing views on the non-essentials of the faith.

I also think that we, in our discussions, ought to be able to appeal to Scripture as our ultimate authority (always being conscientious of our own fallible abilities to interpret the sacred text properly), to appreciate the art of logical consistency, and to always apply the Christian principles of grace and love toward those who disagree. Good theology is important, but so is a Christian spirit toward our brothers who may view things a little differently; grace and truth must go together.

But my intentions in writing these posts are sometimes misunderstood, on occasion unintentionally misrepresented, and maybe, just a few times, totally manufactured by others. Again, if those who disagreed with me were to truly see my inner desire to build bridges in the SBC that foster better cooperation across our diverse, conservative theological spectrum, there would be no animosity directed my way --- unless there are some who are more concerned with the politics of the convention than they are the mission of the convention. Then, because they can only think in terms of "politics," they will always question my intentions, regardless.

After reading several comments on a couple of recent posts I once again became a little discouraged, wondering if my writing skills were lacking, because a number of people were totally misunderstanding WHY I posted what I did.

Then I read this post from my father.

He understands.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

55 comments:

IN HIS NAME said...

Wade,

Your Father in Heaven understands also!!! Just carry on with Grace and Truth for the Lord.

A Brother in Christ

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

If you are not good at reading, are a quick tempered and think Wade has unpure motives, check out Wade's sermons online (http://emmanuelenid.org/sermons/index.htm), you'll get a wonderful treat from a man who loves his church, cherishes the Word of God, is committed to true Biblical exposition and you'll learn something to boot.

Of course, if you are ever driving through Ponca City at 9:00 on a Sunday morning, tune into Wade on 88.7 FM. :)

David Rogers said...

Wade,

I believe much "misunderstanding" comes about from not differentiating adequately between the concepts of "Unity in the Body of Christ" and "Unity in the SBC."

I have just posted my thoughts on this subject (which would be too long to post here in the comment section) at Unity in the Body of Christ and Unity in the SBC.

Bart Barber said...

You have the envy of one whose father has already gone on to heaven. What a blessing it must be to blog together! Enjoy every minute of it.

Of course, you entirely faked me out. I thought you were going to say that you had been misunderstood on an entirely different thread of recent posts.

There is nothing wrong with your writing style. Some of us just don't agree with you.

T. D. Webb said...

Wade, in reading Paul's post and re-reading yours, the phrase "Two peas in a pod." came to mind. In any case, when one takes a stand on an important principle, it is all to often that some misconstrue the intent and context of what is said. IMHO, that is what has happened repeatedly with some of your self-appointed critics. As my wise, long since passed away Grandma used to say, "Opinions are like belly-buttons. . .almost everyone has one." To which this Okie would add, "Consider the source and motives as well as the content of those who criticize. On occasion they offer pearls of wisdom, and at other times . . . well . . . that's why we have trash cans. ;^)


In His Grace and Peace,
Tom

Wade Burleson said...

Bart,

My heart goes out to you.

Thanks for your comment. I know you and I disagree on some issues, but I look forward to meeting you, working with you and being part of the SBC with you.

Wade Burleson said...

David,

Dead on. A great post.

You are brilliant.

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Ark. Razor and TD and In His Name,

I owe you guys :).

Lunch on me one day!

wade

blessedman said...

Who won the definition contest? It says the winner will be announced Monday. Did I miss the anouncement? Is that posted elsewhere or do you get an email? I'm curious and want to read the winning definition.

Wade Burleson said...

Blessed Man,

Thanks for asking. The entries were quite numerous and we will be posting the winning definition sometime later this week. The judges have yet to get back with me regarding their votes.

Bro. Robin said...

Bro. Wade

I do agree that you have been misunderstood. I will also add a continuance from my last comment in your previous post. You hit the nail on the head when you wrote, "We must acknowledge that, at times, there has been an unchristian spirit on both sides of the controversy." I have noticed this has continued as people respond on your blog. I don't believe it is your fault for this, but as those who claim to be Christian, we would be better witnesses to debate the issue rather than attack the person whether it is Wade, Patterson, Mohler, Pinson, Floyd,
or one of the commentators.

God Bless

Bro. Robin

irreverend fox said...

Wade,

so what you are really saying is that liberal and moderates should either leave the convention or out-vote all conservatives in our seminaries and boards?

Ok, now I think I understand what you're saying.

Bob Cleveland said...

I had a barn-burner of an observation on this, and the prior, posting, but it got way too long for a comment. So I posted it on my own blog, if anybody'd like to see it.

Bottom line: we act as the Christianity is about us. It's not. It's about lost mankind.

David R. Mills said...

I am really bothered by the term "non-essential". Could it be that we have yet to develop a conviction on a particular issue, and therefore cop out by calling it "non-essential"? If it is in the text, it was given for a purpose - true? Why would the Holy Spirit communicate to us in the Bible something that we cannot figure out? I would think with all the tools we got to study the Word we could come close to the truth, don't you think? I wish the Holy Spirit would have listed the "non-essentials" and the "essentials".

Alycelee said...

David Rogers,
Now that's inspirational, not to mention truth.
I came back from a women's ministry meeting last night in my small Southern Baptist church where one in our group talked to us about going to Mexico on a medical mission trip. Turns out a co-worker from the hospital where she works invited her. She and 16 other nurses and doctors went to serve this medical mission sponsored by First United Methodist Church in Benton. They were thrilled to have her with them. And after hearing her testimony, God did great things.
I feably attempted to say this in my post yesterday. The kingdom and the body of Christ are much bigger than "us".
Thanks so much for your post and your inspiration.
Alyce

volfan007 said...

there can never be true unity until we all agree to center on the Lord Jesus Christ and on the essential, clear teachings of the Word of God. how can there be unity with people who dont even believe that the Bible is inerrant and infallible? how can we be joined with people who dont believe that miracles happened? or who dont beleive that its important to believe in the literal, physical resurrection? or who dont believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven?

i thank God for men like dr. adrian rogers and dr. criswell and all the others who led us out of the hands of liberals. and, may the Lord deliver us from ever going back.


conservative and lovable,

volfan007

Kevin Bussey said...

Wade,

Others may not understand you, but I think I do. There are more of us like you, I think. We just want to love God and love others. We want to work with anyone we can to reach people for Jesus. Thanks for your posts and your heart!

Lee said...

I think you hit it right on the head when you suggest that those who consistently seem to misinterpret what you say are more interested in the politics of the SBC than they are in the mission of the SBC.

What I've seen in your writing, and your responses, is consistent pointing to scripture as the ultimate authority for everything related to the Christian faith, including the way it is practiced in SBC denominational life, an allowance for reasonable disagreement over the interpretation of scripture especially in matters of secondary importance, and a desire to have open discussion of those differences in order for people to be able to work together to advance the mission and ministry of the SBC. Did I get that right?

That only becomes a threat when loyalty to a cause, a specific interpretation, or specific individuals replaces the authority of the scripture and the grace of God as requirements for serving in the denomination. Disagreements over the interpretation of the scripture can always be worked out according to the principles of scripture. Even if there cannot be a reconciliation of the disagreement, the resolution doesn't have to be hostile.

Keep blogging! You are an encouragement to many conservative, Bible-believing Christians who still have scars from wounds they received for no reason other than wanting to follow the dictates of scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit in their denominational service.

curmudgeon said...

Wade,

Your posts are clear and understandable. The problems some have understanding you are often due to the nature of using this format for exchanging thoughts and ideas.

When you post something for comment, you cannot work out every possible inference, application, or connection. In a conversation, questions can be quickly raised and addressed, but in this format, you make your statement, wait for the inevitable reactions (some of which are negative) and try to correct some of the grossest errors.

Of course, some folks are determined to be offended. I once made a comment re a woman who kept coming to Mr. Spurgeon questioning him about salvation. She would end each interview with "Mr. Spurgeon, please pray for me!" Finally, CHS said to her, "No madam, I will not pray for you. You know what you must do to be saved. Do it." She was shocked, but it worked. She was converted.

A lady in the congregation, whom I had I been trying to encourage through some difficult circumstances, caught me after service and said, "You aimed that at me didn't you? You think I'm a pest!" I assured her she hadn't even crossed my mind when I used the illustration. But she left and never returned.

Some folks insist on being dense.

Cliff4JC said...

Does anyone remember that all this used to be about a policy change at the IMB by the BOT? Just wondering...

Les Puryear said...

Wade,

I have to agree with Bart and volfan. We're not misunderstanding your posts. They're very clear. What disappoints me is that you are more "moderate" than I thought you were. I disagree with you as it is my right to do so. And unlike some others, I don't post here just to advertise my blog.

Coming to grips with my disappointment,

Les

cameron said...

Wade,

As one who typically finds himself in disagreement with your opinions, allow me to take this chance to throw out a compliment. I do not think that your writing skills are lacking in any way. In fact, it seems clear to me from your writings that you are a highly intelligent and capable individual. You have repeatedly claimed to have the purest of motives, and I for one, have no desire to call that into question.

Yet, we often disagree. I suppose I could be wrong, but I think I usually understand your meaning. When I am unsure, I ask, as I did yesterday. Disagreement does not indicate misunderstanding. When two people with different opinions, priorities and desires look at a given issue, it is entirely possible that they both understand it, yet disagree on it. Neither of them is the lesser for it.

I would encourage you to continue sharing your thoughts on your blog. There will be those who disagree with you, but everyone will know where you stand on the issues you feel are important.

Professor X said...

volfan,

Let me first ask for some forgiveness. I have ardently disagreed with some of your posts, and especially the tone, and thought many a thing in my own head about what you should do with those posts. Forgive me for that, I shouldn't do that. As for your most recent post, I very much agree with the heart of it. I think you are right on. You knowingly, or unknowingly hit the very meat of what I believe Wade and many of the other bloggers have been trumpeting in their posts.
After months of silent observance of these blogs I truly believe that not a single person that is commenting or posting on this site, or outpost, or baptist blogger, or many of the others I read would discredit the inerrancy of Scripture. What is at the heart of the debate and concern is the elevation to inerrant of one's own personal interpretation of the Scripture. If one reads a verse and is convinced by the Holy Spirit of its application to your life it does not automatically cement that application for everyone else. For instance, a dispensational view of eschatology cannot and should not be forcibly applied to everyone else. Likewise, an amillenial should not either. Those questions you listed pointed out what all of us would deem "essentials" of the faith. Wade and others included. The jist of much of the problem stems from some who would like their understanding of "non-essential" matters of faith to apply universally. What is truly tragic is the labeling of a man by some people as "moderate" only because he does not esteem the "non-essentials" as high.
Vol - I don'think you have done this as far as I have seen and read. but many others have.
Unfortunately, much of what we are broadcasting to the world about our denominational faith has to do with the "non-essentials." The subtle change in BF&M to "priesthood of believers" has forced us as a denomination to argue the "non-essentials" because it has allowed certain people to not only politically control the denomination, but doctrinally control it as well. We have lost our God-given focus, which is telling the world the good news of Jesus Christ, His miracles, His love for every person, His death, burial, and resurrection, His substitutionary death as atonement, and our ultimate imputed righteousness because of Him and Him alone. Wow, I think that was a run-on.

Bob Cleveland said...

Did someone change the definition of 'conservative" to include "doesn't like, think highly of, or cooperate with, people who are less conservative than they"?

Has someone issued an 11th commandment "Thou shalt speak ill of those whom thou feel are moderate or liberal"?

I think you're as conservative as ever, Wade. But that's only because I don't think all the intolerant uncooperative conservatives in the world could make you change.

And no I am not referring to anybody in particular.

Lee said...

To volfan007, who are the people who don't believe in the authority of scripture, who don't believe the miracles happened, who don't believe in the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus and who don't believe Jesus is the only way to heaven that Wade is suggesting be brought back into the SBC? I haven't read a single thing Wade has written that has remotely suggested this.

Clearly the question related to being qualified to serve in a leadership position in the SBC is not simply a matter of holding to some doctrines considered to be essentials of the faith. If that were the case, then there would be no reason at all to exclude individuals from the BGCT or BGAV from leadership positions. I can't speak for the BGAV, but I can speak for the BGCT, to which my church belongs, and whose leaders I am familiar with to the point of knowing several of them personally. There isn't anyone I know who would not consider any of the things in the above list to be essential, primary doctrines of the faith. So there must be a political, not a biblical or theological, reason for their exclusion.

I've slowly realized, over these past 25 years of ministry service, that there are people in the SBC for whom the label "conservative," and loyalty to the leaders of the "cause" have become more important than anything else, to the point where ignoring Biblical principles is acceptable in order to defend the "cause" and its leaders from perceived threats.

That's why duly elected trustees who have signed the BFM2K can still be singled out for exclusion and punishment for nothing more than simple dissent.

Sonya D said...

Wade,
Sometimes it seems from reading on here that some people just feel so threatened by any interpretation that is different from what they were taught. Even in things that are a non-essential.
I know I used to be pretty prideful in thinking that everything my pastor taught me when I first became a Christian was the only right way. If you had a different interpretation, well, you were just wrong. God began to show me how sinful my pride was to Him.
I was further convicted when that same pastor divorced, left the ministry and pretty much "shelved God." It was a strong reminder that he was only a man and was not infallible. Over the years, I've learned that I don't have all of the answers, and I will never be able to fit God into my "neat, little box."
Aren't there somethings Scripture is just not clear on? A different interpretation from mine on a non-essential doesn't affect or damage my faith in a Holy God. So why all the fuss?

Kevin Bussey said...

Sonya,

That will preach! I have been saying that for years. Every time I put God in box--He shatters it!

Roger Simpson said...

Lee et. al.:

I agree. There are some who are using "conservative" in a dual sense:

(1) They hold to the basic tenets of the Christian faith

AND

(2) They use the term "conservative" as a code word to mean that they share a common understanding of about a half-dozen non-essentials AND everyone not sharing a common understanding on these non-essentials is a "moderate" or "liberal"

It will probably require kriptonite to break the bond between #1 and #2 so people won't be able to hide behind being and "conservative" while espousing #2.

The practical result is that for some "conservatives" non-essentials and essentials have been fused together into an inseparable package.

I think some people may be allowing "conservatives" to get away with labeling "non-essentials" as "essentials". The net result "conservatives" are hijacking the meaning of the term CONSERVATIVE. I suggest that the term "conservative" should not be descriptive of whatever a person believes about non-essential stuff.

I am a conservative but I don't loose sleep about whether some church has a woman pastor or not. It is not a big deal to me. I don't anticipate that I'll ever be a member of a church having a woman pastor -- my current congregation is looking for a new pastor right now and he will be a MAN -- the chairman of our pulpet comittee has stated that is the case. Which, of course, is fine with me.

The pastor of my former church was saved in an evangelistic meeting where a women was the evangelist. This was back in the 1940s. That church wouldn't even think of having a woman pastor -- it is probably more right wing than most SBC churches (if that is possible). However, this is one anecdotal picture of how women are used in the kingdom of God.

By the way, I am not arguing for women pastors. I have no problem with the BF&M 2000 (or any other BF&M either for that matter).

There are only a few commentators on this BLOG that I disagree with in terms of basic non-negotiable tenets of Christianity.

volfan007 said...

lee,

in the cbf, there are many who hold to very liberal, unbiblical beliefs. i dont know how you dont know that, but they do.

also, some of the men and women in the cbf were for allowing profs in our seminaries to teach some of the things i mentioned. they may not have believed that way, but they were for allowing this heretical junk to be taught. they stood for these profs, and they stood for them under the banner of priesthood of the believer. the false teachings and liberal beliefs is well documented in many, many places.

from conversative, kind, loving, lovable,

volfan007

ColinM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
IN HIS NAME said...

I posted the following comment over at

http://journal.biblicalrecorder.org/br/page/ej?entry=a_fresh_breath

Brother Tony,

I have never seen anything on Wade Burleson's Blog Post that doesn't show his Love for the LORD. Wade has always demonstrated what his Blog name is called (Grace and Truth). He has always stood for the Truth of the Bible. If he ever stepped out of the Bible-Truth, I would have been on him like Fleas on a Dog. (Pardon the Bun). I have never met Brother Wade and I have a Big Hug for him,when I get to meet him.

I'm a 70 year old ultra conservative Christian who was (Born again) at 40 years of age, raised in church for the first 40 years. When one guards the Truth (Bible) they are attacked right and left. We as Christians are known by our walk to the Non-Christian and when we take our eyes off of Jesus Christ Crucified we have a Big Big Problem, which is why we are called Hypocrites. I find it funny that one of the Blogger even calls his Blog as Paul said to be crucified in Jesus Christ.

A Brother in Christ

Lee said...

Volfan007,

I'm well aware of the spectrum of beliefs that exist in CBF. Are you? But as I said before, CBF shouldn't be part of this debate. Wade used Daniel Vestal as an example, but the reality of the situation is that Daniel Vestal isn't seeking a leadership position in the SBC.

By the time the conservative resurgence consolidated its power in 1979, most of the "liberal" (and I mean truly liberal in the classic sense of the term and not the fundamentalist definition of "anyone who disagrees with what I have already concluded) professors, the few that did make it to teaching positions in SBC schools, had been removed or resigned. I think, if you'll check that documentation you are talking about, you'll see that to be the case. What the conservative resurgence did was fire a nuclear bomb to kill a gnat. Wade is calling for a reconciliation with the people who were part of the collateral damage from that nuclear blast.

Wade Burleson said...

Lee,

Well said. Daniel Vestal neither wants leadership in the SBC nor have I ever advocated that either. I used him as an example of someone that is disparaged by people who don't personally know him. I'm advocating that we all be very careful about making judgments about brothers in Christ with whom we have not taken the time to sit down and get to know. That's all.

We'd all be better people if we did that.

Alycelee said...

volfan,
I've heard you mention, I believe a couple of times, "heretical junk" being taught in the past and how we have been saved by that with the conservative resurgence.
Would you mind elaborating for me a what exactly you mean, perhaps examples of "heretical junk"
Thanks,
Alyce

tim rogers said...

Lee,

When "inerrency" was defined by the Chicago Statement the sitting President at SEBTS, at that time, stated that not one Professor at SEBTS would affirm such a statement.

Aycelee

I do not presume to answer for volfan, but I can tell you that in 1989 I was taught 4 authors for Isaiah and also was taught JPED. I had no problem with that being something that is needed to learn, but it was taught in a context truth of scripture. I also was made fun of by the professors because I believe the first 11 chapters of Genesis were written by one man and they were true. I was told in a Systematic Theology class that anyone that believed Adam was a real man and Eve was a real woman was ignorant. Ignorant was not taught as someone who lacked knowledge, but someone who had knowledge but refused to believe the way the Prof taught.

Blessings,
Tim

William Madden said...

Dear Friends,

Now that my new semester has started, I'll be taking a break from the blogosphere to focus on teaching and spending more time with my four year-old daughter and two year-old son.

I recently joked with a friend that blogging with SBC'ers has been like going back to a high school reunion and seeing a high school girlfriend. You remember why you loved her, but she doesn't look the same and you don't feel the same.That's not really true though--there is a genuine feeling of fellowship in the blogosphere, and I still feel a strong kinship with fellow Baptists, even those who consider me a liberal or would call me a moderate.

Regarding the blessing of being understood, although there have been some thoughtful replies to my postings, there were some issues I raised to which no one gave clear answers.

For example, I was called a liberal because my church has women deacons. This is confusing to me; since the book of Romans contains the clear example of Phoebe, a "deaconess", I don't understand why anyone would argue that having women deacons is un-Biblical.

I suppose someone might argue that my understanding of the text is wrong, or that the text doesn't mean what I interpret it to mean. My own honest impression is that although partisans of the fundamentalist takeover (the term that I prefer to the "conservative resurgence") of the SBC have made a stand on the inerrancy of the Bible, they don't mind ignoring parts of the Bible if it doesn't fit their preferences.

Thus a partisan of the fundamentalist takeover will argue that women deacons in the Bible were not really women deacons. Wine (oinos) was not actually wine, etc. (Doesn't anyone among you feel uncomfortable with multiplying and teaching reasoning of that sort?) If one interprets the resurrection of Christ literally (as one should)--why fudge and twist the text on women deacons and wine? To me that is just not honest or particularly healthy.

Several postings were directed at me arguing that because majority decisions supported the 2000 BF&M, that therefore the prohibitions and revisions in it should be accepted as normative. Well, the majority has been wrong before. An extreme example would be that a majority voted to crucify the Lord. Or more recently, in the 1960's, a majority of Southern Baptists supported segregation. In the 1850's a majority elected James Buchanan, now considered to be one of the worst Presidents in American history.

In the South, of course,a majority of Southerners convinced themselves that the Constitution of the U.S. should be interpreted to mean that slavery could be expanded into the territories without any limitations by federal authority, although Lincoln, in his Cooper's Union speech, proved rightly that the framers had clearly believed and voted in way that showed that slavery could be limited or abolished by federal authority.

Many majority decisions don't hold up well over time. I assert that the majority decisions supporting the BF&M 2000 are not as meaningful as some would like to believe. I attended the 2000 GA Baptist Convention and it was clear that despite a significant dissenting vote, the convention leadership was intent on ram-rodding the BF&M 2000 through. Thus there was little debate and the no-vote wasn't even recorded because the leadership preferred not have the large #'s of people who opposed it on record.

Henry Blackaby is an authority on church polity and church growth whom I respect. His opinion (stated in his EXPERIENCING GOD discipleship manual) is that majority-rule decisions in which the result splits just to the right or left of 50/50 are not a good way to make decisions for a church's future. His view is that there needs to be real consensus before changes are made. If 80% or better are not ready to go in that direction, maybe it would be better to wait before going down that road.

Wade, as you know, I think your efforts to broaden the tent of Baptists a little is a step in the right direction. Thank you for getting the conversation started.
In conclusion, Wade (and others), you might enjoy the poem by Kipling that begins, "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming you for it..." The rest of it can be found at:

http://www.speroforum.com/site/print.asp?idarticle=3048

Blessings to all,

William

Mark Spence said...

Professor X,

AMEN!

Here is an example of essential vs. non-essential debate:

Substitutionary Atonement- Essential

Dispensational Eschatology - non-Essential

If some one disagrees that Jesus died as a substitutionary atonement for sin, they should not (in spite of the recent Christianity Today article) be considered evangelical.

If one disagrees with Tim LaHaye they can be considered evangelical.

Can we spell it out any clearer??

irreverend fox said...

I'm going to say this again, and again, and again.

there are only two types of Southern Baptists (two types of people as well). There are saved and unsaved.

If you deny the deity of Christ, you're unsaved.

If you deny justification by grace ALONE through faith ALONE by Jesus Christ ALONE...you're unsaved.

If your local church denies any portion of the Apostles Creed, you're in a CULT...not a liberal church...A FALSE CHURCH.

This is not difficult. I don't know what a moderate Christian is, seriously. Maybe I'm a naive 28 year old church planter...I just don't know what a liberal or moderate Christian is. You're in or out.

Believing that women can pastor does not make you a liberal.

Believing that Christians have liberty to drink alcohol in moderation does not make you a liberal.

Maybe my problem is that there is no set definition to any of these words. They only mean what the person saying them means. To Joe, a believer who drinks wine is a liberal...but to Bob, that person is just a moderate.

You're either saved or unsaved.

volfan007 said...

alcylee,

tim rogers has told you some of the heretical, liberal junk that was being taught. but, when you have a prof at southern saying that anyone who believes in the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus is crass...thats heresy. when you have a women theology prof telling the class that God is a woman....thats liberal hogwash. when you have profs teaching the jedp theory and four isaiahs and adam and eve werent real people and that genesis 1-11 wasnt true....thats liberal....and its heretical. the list could go on and on of the junk that these profs were teaching. not to mention where our leaders were going before richard land and jimmy draper. before jerry rankin. we were going the way of the methodist and the other liberal denominations.

btw, i used to be a methodist. we left the methodist church due to thier theological liberalism...due to thier departure from the bible. we had pastors who didnt believe the miracles happened. didnt believe in the virgin birth. the last two pastors we had before leaving didnt believe the bible at all. but, the literature for the little children...that my mom and dad were teaching....said that Jesus failed and messed up like all the other children, so you didnt need to feel bad about messing up. well, that was it. my family left the methodist church. we became southern baptist. i do not want to see it go the way of the methodist.


from lovable, huggable, conservative,

volfan007

Alan Cross said...

cliff4jc said,

"Does anyone remember that all this used to be about a policy change at the IMB by the BOT? Just wondering..."

Yes, Cliff. I remember. And I won't forget it either. Despite the delaying tactics of the IMB Board of Trustees, this is one blogger who will not forget. As long as those policies stay on the books, we have a stain upon our convention. It is a wedge that will drive many of us away if it is not dealt with. We are all just waiting and praying that something is done. It obviously took them 5 minutes to come up with the defense of the policies. It shouldn't take them a year to reverse them. Unless they think we've just forgotten. I'm glad you haven't. I haven't either.

But, I do understand that Wade does continue to talk about the root causes that allowed those policies to be adopted in the first place. They are just a symptom of a greater disease. I'm all for curing the disease. But, I hope we don't get so "big picture" that we lose sight of the symptoms. There are people RIGHT NOW that can't go to the mission field because of those policies. I pray they change quickly.

Roger Simpson said...

William Madden:

I don't have a steel-trap mind so I don't know who around here called you a "liberal" for having deaconesses in your church. I think at least 80% of the commentors on this BLOG, including me, would not call you a liberal.

Regarding the BF&M: Of course I agree that just because it was "democratically" enacted does not make it perfect. To the extent it has flaws those that object to certain aspects should work to change the offending verbage.

As far as I know the only clauses that are in contention with the BF&M regard deltas between the 1963 and 2000 versions. All these changes relate to "non-essential" stuff -- such as role of women in ministry, etc. So for me at least, I don't see the big deal. Personally, I would sign off on any version of the BF&M.

As I said earlier, I don't have any problem with employees of SBC agencies having to sign off on the BF&M. If they don't like what it says they don't have to work for any SBC agency. I think the guy in the pew paying the bills should have an expectation that employees are in agreement with what the BF&M says.

My guess is that relative to the BF&M Pareto's rule applies: 90% of the "complaints" about the BF&M is over -- at most -- 10% of the stuff in it.

VolFan007:

You are the most lovable, huggable, and kind guy to ever wear the conservative mantle. I'll stipulate that at least 90% of the stuff you raise regarding "liberals" puts them way outside the bounds of any definition of evangelical Christianity.

Bryan Riley said...

Be careful at calling all Methodists (or other denominations) liberal when you are using the the term "liberal" as a euphemism for infidel/unbeliever. Not only is it prejudice, but it is also incorrect. I know many Christ-honoring, theologically conservative evangelical Methodists. It is in part the name calling of entire groups as "liberal" or other such tags meant in a derogatory fashion that casts a poor light on Christians, the SBC, etc.

Bryan Riley said...

I still wish we could get away from the tags altogether. But, I understand we have to communicate and sometimes it is done in a rash way. Perhaps we can all try to pray for wisdom as we read and write so that our words will reflect the spirit of Christ within us. I have definitely failed to be a good mirror many times.

volfan007 said...

i would agree that there are a few....a very few....God fearing, bible believing, Jesus loving methodists out there....but mostly, they are in the pews, and they are leaving the denomination fast. i would agree that there are a few, and very, very few methodist pastors out there who really love the Lord and believe His Book.

but, the majority do not. and, the denomination is sinking. just look at the stats.

i dont want the sbc to go the way of the methodists, or the presbyterians, or the episcopalians. i want us to stay true to the Word of God and be blessed by the Lord.


volfan007

Mike Woodward said...

volfan,

by Presbyterians, you of course mean PCUSA not PCA.

They happen to be growing. Apparently you've been recruiting for them over on Founders...;)

Bryan Riley said...

The good news for Christians of all denominations is that God knows who is saved and neither volfan nor I decide how few they are.

volfan007 said...

mike,

i dont comment on founders anymore. tom ascol wont let my posts be seen. i guess i was making too much sense, and he was afraid that some of his five pointers would come out of the system. i dont know.

besides, they just wanted to fight and argue over there. they didnt seem to be interested in hearing anything besides five pointer talk.
so, i dont go there anymore.

bryan,

i dont choose who is saved and who is not, but we can tell who is and who aint. if you put your faith in Jesus, and your life is changed, you bear fruit, then you arae saved. if you havent put your faith in Jesus, and if your life is not bearing spiritual fruit, then you are lost. thats what the bible clearly teaches.



volfan007

Elizabeth said...

Volfan,
Just curious as to how old you are.

Mike Woodward said...

volfan said, "i dont choose who is saved and who is not, but we can tell who is and who aint."

I don't want to put words in your mouth, but this comment seems to imply that you would count those who are members of Baptist churches, yet do not darken the doorsteps of the church (50% of all SBC?) as lost.

Do you support lost people being members of the church?

volfan007 said...

elizabeth,

i am 44 yrs old.

mike,

you are putting words in my mouth. i consider someone saved who has put thier faith in Jesus, and they are bearing spiritual fruit in thier life to back up thier profession.

i would have to say that i would really wonder about that 50% that dont ever come to church. it would make me think that they are either lost or else they are backslidden.

volfan007

John Fariss said...

volfan007,

You speak a good deal on the subject of agreement on the essentials of the faith. But have you addressed what you see those essentials to be? Maybe you have, and with al the wordiness on blogs, I have just overlooked it. If so though, could you direct me to where that is; and if not, would you comment on what they are?

Then too, in what way or ways do you see those essentials as inter-connected? I ask because some people see them as completely interdependent, so that if you deny/disprove/disagree with any one element, you do so with all. Logically then, such people are painted into a corner, and are unable to modify any part of their belief system, because to do so would jeopardize their entire belief system.

Two other questions occur to me: one, who does the interpretation? Or to ask the same question another way, what is your criteria for interpretation? Everyone has one, whether it is articulated or not. There has to be an authoritative interpreter (whohas a criteria for interpretation) or a commonly held and agreed upon criteria, else some passages of the Bible would be seen to contradict other parts. Second additional question: what do you see as the limits of fellowship for those who disagree? How is that determined and who does it?

I hope these questions don't come off as beligerent, because I am simply and honestly inquiring.

volfan007 said...

john,

the essentials are not what i see them to be. they are the essentials to our christian faith. the virgin birth of Jesus. the sinless life of Jesus. the atoning death of Jesus. the resurrection of Jesus. the ascension of Jesus back into heaven. Jesus is the Son of God. and, there are many other things that would be the essentials of our faith...the fundamentals( oh my, there's that word) of our faith. these things you must believe to be saved.

the non essential doctrines are those that would not make you lost if you didnt believe them. but, there are some clear teachings of the bible, that are non essentials, but we must believe them in order to be right with God. things that are clearly taught as Gods will for our lives. things like not ordain women to be pastors. or, to not be drunk on alcohol. or, to not lie, etc. doing these things will not make you lost, but they will make you not right with God. that's clearly taught in the bible.

then, there are non essential things that are not clearly taught in the bible,and we have freedom to do as we think best. these are the gray areas of the bible. like, smoking cigs is not in the bible. i dont smoke, nor would i smoke. its unhealthy and financially costly. but, if you did smoke, then puff away. thats between you and the Lord, and thats left up to you to decide if you think its the best for your life or not. i would not puff away due to the reasons i mentioned before, but i would not condemn you for smoking. i might encourage you to not smoke, but i wouldnt call you lost, nor would i break fellowship with you over cigs. its not clearly taught in the bible.


to answer your question about the essentials being intertwined....yes, you must believe in all the essentials in order to be saved. you couldnt, say...believe in the virgin birth, yet deny the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus and still be a saved person. that would be a sign that you are lost.

also,no one can just interpret the bible as they want to. we must let the bible teach us what is true and what's not. no one can just claim that they can interpret the bible anyway they want to.


God bless yall,

volfan007

Bryan Riley said...

This seems pretty essential, as one example. Interesting comment, volfan.

9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."[e] 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

John Fariss said...

volfan007,

Thanks for the reply. You have a very interesting perspective. I would really like to dialogue with about it. As Proverbs 27:17 says, "Iron sharpeneth iron."

You say that the essentials are not what you see them to be, implying that they are clear-cut. The Bible says, in Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." That is clear and plain. Unless someone can show me where, with equal clarity and straightforwardness, the Bible says, "You shall believe these things in order to be saved," I must conclude that the essentials for salvation are what a given individual sees them to be. And that is not a liberal, moderate, OR conservative view, but a simple Biblical one.

It appears that your understanding of salvation is very much fact-based, or perhaps doctrinally-based, an it-is-necessary-to-believe-these-doctrines-to-be-saved sort of thing. Is this a fair summary of your position? I have heard this called propositional Christianity, the thesis that Christianity is based on the intellectual acceptance of certain facts or beliefs. Can you really read Acts 8 and tell me that the Ethiopian eunuch understood all this before he was saved? How about the Philippian jailor in Acts 16: 25-31? I can tell you that I was evangelized and made a profession of faith at age 19, and was converted, baptized, and came into the church at age 25. Were someone to say that I was unsaved between those ages, I might disagree, but could cite no concrete data to the contrary. And although it was quite a while after my conversion experience that I even knew OF some of the doctrines you mention as essential to salvation, I tell you, I was saved.

I would point out that culture plays a significant role in what any of us believe to be important. When I was taking classes for my doctorate, several of us were discussing the virgin birth one day (outside of class), and how important it was in Christianity. Our professor joined in, and actually with one comment, ended the conversation. This professor was an (Asian) Indian Christian, and he simply said, "In my country, 75% of the people are born outside of marriage. When they hear that Jesus' mother and father were not married when Mary became pregnant, they think, 'Just like me.' It is a point of entry to evangelize them." Do I believe that Jesus was concieved of a virgin? Yes. That comment helped me to see that the importance that we attach to it is more a matter of our culture than anything else.

I understand that salvation is not a system of belief, but a relationship with Jesus as Lord and savior. I would agree that the Jesus with whom one must have a relationship is the Jesus of the Bible. But isn't doctrinal understanding a part of discipleship, not a pre-requestite of salvation? Scholars of the Greek New testament used to refer to something called "the kerygma," which is simply the Greek New Testament word for preaching (1 Cor. 1:21). One of the definitive works on it was written back in 1936 by an Englishman named C.H. Dodd (who, if my memory serves me correctly, was both a Baptist and an inerrantist). He suggested that New Testament preaching was centered around several points which are most clearly and completely given in Acts 2: 14-39 and 3: 13-26. But even so, these are not facts to which one must ascribe in order to be saved, at least not in a propositional sense. They are rather an identification of who Jesus is. Note also that these points are not inter-dependent, but each is stand-alone.

What do you think?

volfan007 said...

i think that people are saved when they truly call on the Lord in humble, simple, surrendering faith.

but, one of the evidences of your being truly saved is that you will love the Lord and obey His commands. your life will be changed.

i doubt that anyone who denies the miracles has been changed....truly saved. i doubt that anyone who denies the inerrancy and infallibility of Gods word has been really changed...truly saved. for them to be able to have such a low view of the bible...or to say that it doesnt matter if you believe in the virgin birth, tells me a lot about that persons heart. for people to doubt the bible and have a low view of God makes me think of the apostates mentioned in jude and 1 john and in other passages of the nt. they profess to be saved, but are not really christians.

also, if you cant believe genesis 1-11..how can you believe that romans 10 is true? if you cant believe in jonah and the great fish, how can you know that john 3:16 is true?

i hope that answers your questions.

volfan007