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

A Good Definition of a Christ-Honoring, Theologically Conservative Evangelical

It seems that we as Southern Baptists may be in an identity crises. I have heard different Southern Baptists described in the comments of the last post as either conservative, theologically conservative-moderate, or moderate, and scratch my head wondering whatever happened to the Antioch nomenclature of Christian.

In some things I would love to be considered moderate, or even liberal. I pray that people consider me liberal with grace, liberal in giving, and liberal in my godliness (how's that for a three point message :) ), and then there are other areas where I desire to be known as a conservative (particularly in my view of the Word of God and the person of Christ).

I am wondering if sometimes we get confused and call people "liberal" who are in reality very conservative in their views of Christ and the Word, but may be different from us in their interpretation of the text and their views on the application of the sacred text to our daily lives.

With that in mind, I wonder if there might be a definition for a "Christ-honoring, theologically conservative evangelical" that would encompass a high view of the Word of God and the person of Christ, while at the same time allowing for differences in interpretation of the Bible?

So, let's give it a shot . . .

In your view, what does it mean to be a "Christ-honoring, theologically conservative evangelical"

If possible, let's see if we can use words in the definition that are found in the Bible. It very well could be that we could come up with a description that defines who we are as Southern Baptists and help us restore a sense of identity among ourselves and respect among our evangelical peers.

In His Grace,


P.S. The winner will be announced Monday.


Tyson Wynn said...

I vote for Berean.

Nomad said...

How about "One who seeks to glorify the Father by honoring the Work and Example of the Lamb by sharing the saving grace of God through a pure and non-cluttered witness defined by grace and truth."

Perhaps a little too complicated and maybe a bit lofty.

Greg Cloud said...

Okay, this question was too tempting. I decided to become a blogger instead of just lurking in the shadows.

We spend a lot of time picking apart people's statements trying to find ideological weaknesses to exploit and criticize, especially if those other people are our enemies, or at cross-purposes with us.

What ever happened to "Judge not that ye be not judged" and "You will know them by their fruits"?

'Christian' means, after all, "Christ-like", or even better "Little Christ".

Shouldn't Christians be known by their fruits, by the effect their lives have on others, and not by our interpretations of their gaffs? A Christian isn't a person who calls himself one, but a person who is a follower of Christ, in Spirit and in truth.

I believe that salvation is by faith alone. However, "faith without works is dead" and "I'll show you my faith by my works" (James)

"In this way they will know that you are My disciples, that you love one another" and "My disciple is he who obeys my commandments." (John quoting Jesus)

I can tell by reading blog comments that we put a lot of weight on "doctrinal purity". What about the requirement of living a Christian life? Sure doctrine is important, but what is it that makes one a Christian? Whether I understand the specifics of how salvation works or not? Whether I define inerrant the same way as you do? No, I don't think so. Have you met Jesus Christ? Has your life changed, your sin been washed away by experiencing Christ's holy power? Are you born again-changed from within by the grace and work of Christ? Is He your King, and do you act like it by fearing to disobey Him or dishonor Him?

Okay, I ranted a little bit. But a Christian, to sum it all up, is one to whom Christ is real and he acts like it by being obedient to Jesus teaching. The Sermon on the Mount should matter far more to us than semantics.



Alycelee said...

In calling me out of darkness, he allowed me to see and
believe the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired,inerrant, and only infallible, authoritative Word of God. To see that God is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ was both Divine and human.born of a virgin, sinless, performed miracles,died and through his death atonement through His shed blood,
resurrected, then ascended to the right hand of the Father
and in His present priestly ministry. Christ will return in power and great glory,
and He is now and forever in everlasting dominion.

I believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
I further believe in the keeping power of God.

I believe He allows us to join with Him in the work of advancing the kingdom. He places us in the body of Christ where He choses in order to help us grow and serve.
He gifts us to serve the body and equips us to corporately and
individualy make disciples Mt 28 and the great commission.
This commission is always carried out in our relationships with the agape of God leading us.
For everying must be first done out of the initiative of God, the mandate of the Holy Scripture,
a heart of love, first for God then for our neighbour according
to Matthew 22 and Mark 12.

I believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose
indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life. I believe that sanctification, holiness, and the overcoming life is God's design for the Church,
which is the Bride of Christ.

I believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ with equality across denominational, racial, gender, and class differences.
John 17 and the prayer of Jesus motivates and guides this unity. I believe this is a priority of God and He is at work now tearing down strongholds and accomplishing this.

I believe Christ is the head of the church. I believe he has set in the church apostles, prophets,
pastors, teachers,for the perfecting of the saints, to the work of serving, to the building up of the body of Christ. This remains the government of God in the church.

God through the Holy Spirit teaches me all things and brings me to the truth. All judgements are made according to the word of God and as I mature, I have my senses practiced to discern good and evil. God calls me to look at fruit when I make judgements.

I believe I was called into the kingdom of God before the foundation of the world.
I believe, as all Christians, I have a mandate from God and the holy Scriptures to walk in love,
to love God with all my heart, to be a servant, to seperate myself from the world and renew my mind.

I have a specific mandate from God to be a "spiritual mother" in the kingdom. To mentor, encourage, help, love, teach younger (and some older) women.
I have a mandate to serve those who are in need. I have a mandate to give. God has promised to finished what he began in me.
The seed is incorruptable.
Thank you God!
The scripture says, the goodness of God leads men to repentance. We badly need to exibit goodness and mercy toward one another.


John Alexander said...

First post here.

OK, so there's a word in here that we can't find in Scripture, but the authors seemed to think it important enough to include.

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.


This statement — which some will recognize as the Nicene Creed (with the Filioque clause) — clearly states the correct beliefs of a true Christian. It has done so, in some form or other, since A.D. 325. There is no need to use any other definition.

We in the SBC are facing a huge identity crisis right now, primarily because we divorced ourselves from the Church with the ridiculus Landmark controversy. Now, we can't identify ourselves.

Are we Christian as the Anglicans are? If so, we'll have to ditch some of the quirks we've upheld as doctrine for over a century. Are we Christians as the Pentecostals are? If so, we'll have to re-examine our opposition to certain gifts of the Spirit.

And, dare I say it, are we Christians as Roman Catholics are? If so, we need to realize the necessity of church organization and discipline.

I doubt any of this will happen. Still, many of the questions we face aren't new. Sadly, the Church answered them centuries ago; we simply ignore the answers because the authors didn't call themselves "Baptists."


P.S. Keep up the good work, Wade. You've actually convinced me to follow more closely the activities of the Convention.

Bryan Riley said...

Your phrase has many components, all of which must be defined. First, there is "Christ-honoring." This means a complete submission to Christ as Lord of our life. We must live for Him and Him alone as in Him is all the supremacy. Colossians 1. If we put anything before Christ by self-seeking, then we are guilty of idolatry and lacking love (for love is not self-seeking). 1 Corinthians 13.

"Theologically conservative." This is one part of the phrase I struggle with. I suppose it is because of what you say in your post about conservative versus liberal and how those words can really skew people because they carry with them a lot of stereotypes and prejudices. And, this is only a natural happening as God warns us that our "heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17. (And, given the blogging comments I have read, such prejudice quickly is apparent.) But, I would say that I would define that as someone who believes God's promises and Word at His word. A theological conservative should be someone who is interpreting scripture based on an understanding of who God is. It is someone who trusts in Him with all his or her heart (not his or her own understanding) rather than on his or her life experiences.

This means really believing that the Word of God is living and active, penetrating through your very soul, able to judge the thoughts and attitudes of your heart. Hebrews 4:11-12. It is someone who prays as David did "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24. If you doubt God at all, or if you trust in your own understanding at all, you are a double-minded man and aren't theologically conservative as I define it.

An "evangelical" is someone who trusts God in such a way that they can become the fragrance of Jesus (2 Corinthians 2:15), the salt of the earth, and the light to the world (Matthew 5). They are an ambassador of Christ and a new creation (2 Corinthians 5). It is someone who is one with Christ, just as He was one with the Father, and seeks to be a peacemaker and bring oneness to the body of Christ "so that the world may know that" Jesus was sent by the Father. John 17. It is someone who is following God's will by being still and knowing that God is God so that God can be exalted among the Nations and exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10. It is a Christian who desires to see God made known and not themselves, just as John the Baptist understood that he must become less.

Kelly Reed said...

Wade, I thought this was simple.

A Christ-Honoring, theologically conservative evangelical" is obviously defined as anyone who agrees with me. If you don't agree with me, you're a liberal.

At least, that's how it's been defined. I remember in my days at SWBTS what the differences are btw. a conservative and a moderate--for every person I asked, I got a different answer. Personality Conflicts and Battle scars seem to be driving much of it now days.

I'll be checking back in to see if anyone can come up with anything.

Bryan Riley said...

Because I was wordy above, here is a summation: "A completely submitted follower of Christ who takes Christ at His word, living by faith (alone) in Him and His word, and who tells others that He is the reason for the hope within." Man, I still struggled to make it simple. How about "A person who lives by faith in Jesus and not by sight"? :)

Oh, and I like what Kelly said. Nice. :)

Sandee said...

I recently watched an old episode of the Andy Griffith show. It was the one where Andy makes Otis a deputy. Andy hands him a uniform, and then swears him in with the traditional oath of office. After the appropriate "I do", Andy declares "That's all there is to it!" But, lurking in the background is Barney Fife. He doesn't like the idea of Otis being a deputy. You see, Otis doesn't fit the mold. And so Barney says, "Wait a minute. I have some more". Barney tells Otis to again raise his right hand, and begins a litany of "do's and don'ts" that Otis must uphold (in Barney's opinion).

I mention this because, though it's just a silly little sitcom, it is a good illustration of what I believe we have done for years as Baptists. The Bible tells us "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved". There are of course many places where we're are told to be "transformed", "new creations", and to "bear fruit". These cannot be overlooked. But adding things like:

You can never take a drink again.
You can't send your child to public school.
You can not serve in certain positions, regardless of the Spirit's leading.
You cannot possess certain gifts of the Spirit.
You must fully accept an extra-biblical document (BFM).

and then calling people "liberal" and removing them, if they don't, goes against everything Christ taught.

Lee said...

There's a little passage in Luke 9 that comes to mind as a good definition of a Christ-honoring, Theologically Conservative Evangelical.

[i]An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all--he is the greatest."
"Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him because he is not one of us."
"Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you." [/i]

Instead of seeking the top, and looking at the church and denomination as a place of personal gain and advancement, I think becoming childlike in these matters, and seeking to serve others by working behind the scenes is pretty good advice when it comes to being Christlike.

The second example applies to being a "theologically conservative evangelical." Follow Christ, but be sensitive to the fact that there are others out there who also follow Christ but who are not "one of us." In the passage I quoted, the important thing was to get the demons cast out, not who did it. In a more modern application, the important thing for us is to bring people to Christ, and then teach them to be disciples so that they understand what following Jesus really means. Anything else, including church, denominational or secular politics, eschatology, homeschooling or not, Christian school or not, preference of Bible translation, Bible cover color, car color, or sanctuary carpet color, is secondary to that.

Alycelee said...

simple, clear, direct and so sadly true.

irreverend fox said...

We believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into the grave. The third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Universal church,  the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

This is the Southside version of the Apostles Creed. I will not fellowship with any church or group that denies of this. This is my test of fellowship.

irreverend fox said...


This is my PRIMARY or FIRST test. I have two others. Sola Scriptura (by default, belief in inerrancy, infalibility) and sola fide.

irreverend fox said...


if a more detailed description of a "conservative" why not just use the BF&M2000?

Why do we even have a BF&M? It seems like a worthless thing, we don't appeal to it for anything so why even have it?

Roger Simpson said...

I agree with "Nomad". His definition is right on.

Bart Barber said...

Well, I would number among "Christ-Honoring, Theologically Conservative Evangelicals" such historical figures as:

John Calvin, brilliant theologian and devout pastor, yet murderer of Anabaptists.

John Cotton, who exiled Roger Williams into the frozen winter of New England.

Benjamin Bogard, who led a schism out of the Southern Baptist Convention to form the ABA.

All of these men were Christ-Honoring, Theologically Conservative Evangelicals. I expect to see all of them in heaven. I have learned something from studying the writings of each.

I would not vote for any of them for any position whatsoever within the Southern Baptist Convention. For me, you have to be something more than a Christ-Honoring, Theologically Conservative Evangelical to hold such positions.

Bryan Riley said...

Bart, what more? And, I think Wade asked us to define it, so you can define it as you see fit, not as you think someone else is defining it. I'm sure many would be interested in your ideal definition.

davidinflorida said...

Pastor Wade...I believe it means to be PAUL...He put on Christ daily......If Paul had a blog, I am sure he would stir up the established church of today...Do some of us , as southern baptists, look like Paul , pre or post Damascus Road ?

Bob Cleveland said...

Maybe we could point out someone who actually IS a Christ-honoring, theologically conservative evangelical, and then point at him or her and say "There ... like that..".

Anybody know any?

Alycelee said...

You may just be on to something.
Looking at the fruit, why not define a Christ honoring, theologically conservative evangelical the same way? James says: 1:26-27 - If anyone appears to be "religious" but cannot control his tongue, he deceives himself and we may be sure that his religion is useless.
Religion that is pure and genuine in the sight of God the Father will show itself by such things as visiting orphans and widows in their distress and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.
James 2:12-13 - Anyway, you should speak and act as men who will be judged by the law of freedom. The man who makes no allowances for others will find none made for him. It is still true that "mercy smiles in the face of judgment."

These scriptures talk about looking at what it "looks" like to be religious, and the fruit of that. It also talks about judgements and finding mercy in the same.

Many people God has used in my life to be pivotal in increasing my faith and leading me to a more intimate relationship with the Father.

Mackey Faulkner, who for 36 years has been my rock, my helper, my encourager and my faithful friend.
Bob Mumford, The Agape Road, my spiritual "papa"
Beth Moore- always inspires me.
Priscilla Shirer, always directs you back to God.
Wade demeanor here has been exemplary, and while my interaction with him has been limited, he has thus far stayed above the fray.

Wade Burleson said...

Some of the best comments in the history of this blog are on this post. Good job folks. I have begun to notice that when things are requested that involves a positive reinforcement of what we stand for, and not necessarily what we are against, several regular commentors are silent.

Why's that?

David Eldridge said...

A conservative evangelical Christian believes in the sufficiency of Christ’s death and resurrection as the only basis for salvation and the supreme authority of God’s Word as the basis of loving God and His people.

Thanks Wade for giving this young pastor hope in regards to the state of our convention.

David Eldridge said...

I need to change one word in my above definition. Instead of "His people," "this world." Sorry.

Bart Barber said...


As to "what more?", first I would want you to be a Baptist. That would rule out my first two examples.

I have not speculated as to how anyone else might have defined these terms. The suggestion that I have done so is not well-taken. Rather, I have offered a definition in precisely the format that two others have now advocated: I have given examples of people whom the terms fit well.

Alycelee said...

Off subject a little,
but may I say, God never called us to bring people to the church.
He called us to bring them into the kingdom.
I find, as I speak to people about Jesus, they almost always ask where I go to church. My usual responce is to tell them where I go, and then follow with "it's not about where I go to church" God placed me in the body where he chooses. He will do the same with you.
I invite them to go, if they are close. If they accept the Lord, I try and stay connected to mentor/disciple them. I encourage them the importance of being "plugged" into the body amd follow the Lord in baptism. However placement into a particual local church body is not my choice, or theirs. It's His.
I tell my pastor, I don't recruit for our church, I recruit for the kingdom. He seems to be fine with that. I'm certain God is too.
I'm not worried about being Baptist. I'm kingdom focused. Everything else God will work out.
At the risk of being stoned here, demoninational life, as we once new it, is over. God is calling His people together to a real unity. All I need is the word of my testimony and the blood of the lamb.
To Him be the glory forever and ever amen.

Bryan Riley said...

Bart, in your comment you said that "I would want you to be a baptist." I'm not sure if that "you" was meant to me directly or just in a euphemistic sense. I say this not because I consider it of great import, but because I am responding to what I think you were saying: I am a member of a SBC church. But, having said that, I don't understand why you would think someone needs to be baptist (i assume you mean Southern Baptist) to be a "Christ-Honoring, Theologically Conservative Evangelical" (CHTCE). I know a lot of SBC-ers who aren't Christ-honoring or theologically conservative, and, personally, I'd rather be called a Christian than a baptist if I had to choose one. I'm not degrading your comment, I'm just explaining how I read it and asking you to explain the baptist part. Also, I'm still curious what your definition is, not examples thereof. Nevertheless, clearly you can write whatever you desire. I really was just trying to gain a better understanding of your comment. I apologize that attempt was not well taken. Thank you for taking time to reply to my question.

Les Puryear said...


I believe there's no better definition than the BF&M 2000.

By the way, nice little diversion from the issue of your Thursday statement. Could it be that you're a fox in the hen house?

Time will tell.



Bob Cleveland said...

I don't like to do long posts, but I guess I need to give a definition. In the process, an interesting thing seems to have happened.

"Christ-honoring, theologically conservative evangelical."

Christ: we know that refers to.

Honoring: To regard with honor or respect; to confer honor upon. There's also a definition that's a stretch, but it's "living up to" as in honoring a commitment. I think it fits.

Theology: The study of religious faith and practice, and experience.

Conservative: A disposition to preserve what is established. Preferring existing or traditional situations, over change.

Evangelical: Of, or relating to, or being in agreement with the Christian gospel, especially as it is presented in the four gospels.

That's what the words mean. If I guess correctly, being a Christ-honoring theologically conservative evangelical isn't good enough for some folks, when they get bent out of shape by things like baptism, wine, eschatology, calvinism, etc etc ad nauseum.

Wade, you sneaky guy, you. Guess I need to get rid of my rocks.

Wade Burleson said...


A fox in the hen house wants the hens, the eggs, and other things that are not his.

I don't think the analogy fits.

I want us as Southern Baptists to be focused on a lost world and to quit calling each other names.

Jack Maddox said...

Again, a very thought provoking post. As far as a identity crisis in the SBC...I would say that is a gross overstatement. Why do you feel that this is the case? Because you disagree with some policy issues? Because there are some who feel likewise? If there is a identity crisis Wade it would seem to be with you. I say this with no malice and certainly no ill will intended. We all seem to morph somewhat theologicaly through the years. When I first ran out of the blocks I would have had no problem with being labled 'reformed'...however I have found that through the years I have learned that I do not have to throw out the baby with the bath water...I am not reformed, I am a Baptist that understands to the best of his human hindered mind the doctrines of grace...I also understand that I must do all I can to reach all I can anyway I can...I am simply a Christian who holds to the fundamentals of the faith. Yes we can agree to disagree, yes you are my brother, yes we are on the same team..PRAISE GOD...but one wonders how the events of the past year or so have begun to wear a little on you. I am not so sure even you know. Please do not take my comments as undue critisism, it is simply that many of those you seek to now defend were men who refused to take action when we were dealing with folks who were on our boards, in our classrooms and who were producing a generation of pastors who would have led our church's, and they (Thos ewho ere liberals)were attacking the very essentials of the faith. Those who you defend not only would not take action but villified those who would. Sadly, it seems you now are doing the same. I hope you will reproove me of my assumption. Again, you have not commented on the men and women I mentioned in a previous post...what would you say of a Clark Pinnock, a Foy Valentine, a Ceicil Shermam? It seems you are trying to paint those of us who hold to a high view of scripture and are WILLING TO FIGHT FOR IT on a denominational level as unkind or 'uncooperative'and that is simply not the case and I cannot help but believe you know that.

Again you know me...I am in complete agreement with you in regards to concerns you have over the IMB...but this has become something else all together and one simply wonders what the next port of call is for our friend Wade Burleson


Bart Barber said...


I'm sorry. We're really missing each other here somehow.

The entire point of my comment is precisely that you can be a Christ-Honoring, Theologically Conservative Evangelical without being a Baptist. Two of the three people I stipulated who fit into this category were not Baptists. The third was not (for very long) a Southern Baptist.

For these reasons, I have clarified that, in addition to being a Christ-Honoring, Theologically Conservative Evangelical, one must possess many other attributes before I am willing to entrust the SBC to one's care.

I have not written a definition, but it is not because I am elusive. It is because of a fault of mine that I readily acknowledge. I am completely incapable of writing such a definition without writing fifty pages of text with a twelve-page bibliography. A quick visit to my blog will confirm for you my verbosity. I just don't have the heart to start it in a Blogger comment, because I know that I could never in a million years finish it within the limitations of that format.

Bryan Riley said...

Thanks!! I did miss it and it is for some of the same reasons that you struggle with writing a comment that would capture all your thoughts. I understand. I apologize. Also, I'm trying to chase my three kids, mow the lawn, weed eat, and have a drink of water while blogging while my wife is out with her mom. :) That can result in too quick of scanning others' comments and a failure to write prayerfully and thoughtfully. Thank you again.

Wade Burleson said...


Do you know for a fact those men refused to take action? Have you asked them?

Dr. Clyde Glazener told me very specifically that good men, now considered "liberal" took very strong steps to correct problems in the Elliot controversy that preceeded 79. In addition, he was very vocal about the need to have orthodox men teaching at our seminaries. Nobody is arguing FOR true LIBERALISM, I am saying that we better be careful about slandering men who are not.

Bart Barber said...


Glad that we connected.

In Christ,

BTW, move to Texas where we never get any rain, and you won't have to worry about that mowing and weed-eating.

ColinM said...

Evangelical Conservative, imho, is first one who views salvation as by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Second, one who views the Scriptures (OT & NT) as authoritative, there basis of authority being in God alone as the source of the Scriptures, "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." The Bible is viewed as the revelation of God, as a record of His working in and among His creation and message to believers for all time. A conservative submits to the authority of Scripture, seeking to view imperatives as binding, and not seeking to find compromises based on the cultural climate when the Scriptures were penned. An evangelical conservative seeks to use the written revelation for instructions on how to live, behave, act toward others, and structure the church.

More specifically in contrast to moderates and liberals, a conservative views doctrinal issues tiered in imprtance to faith, practice, and church health. As a result, secondary issues to salvation may still remain primary in the recognition of church leaders, church governance, evangelism, and missions. For example, an issue that can be classified as secondary in salvation may be viewed as detrimental to church health, such as ordination of women.

This is certainly not an exhaustive definition, just a contribution.

ColinM said...

In practice, I would expect an evangelical conservative to exhibit the following qualities: ready submission to authority, primarily to the local church; elevation of the purity of the body of Christ and devaluation of autonomy of the local church (i.e. responds to broad accountability); respect for offices and gifts ordained by God (like pastor/teacher) and minimization of defaulting to priesthood of believer as means of skirting accountability and rendering prideful behaviors; desire to remain ABOVE REPROACH to all and maintain a pure witness to the lost and babes in the faith. He will desire to live in purity, and desire others to point out everywhere he may be compromising with the intent to repent and change. He would also desire to be a servant and reject means to profit on God's work in His life.

Examples imho not swayed by anything else but the desire to be get it right for God's glory: Mark Dever, Elisabeth Eliot, David Brainerd

TimMarsh55 said...

I think that the issue today is the definition of what it means to be Christian period. That begins with the earliest known confession of faith found in Romans 10:9-10 and Philippians 2:5-11: "Jesus is Lord." This means three things for me:

1. Jesus is my master/teacher. I am his student. It is my life's duty and desire to embody his teachings and the Word of God because all of Jesus' students are on mission (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:6-8).

2. Jesus is my political authority. Jesus is Lord is a confession that is in direct opposition to the claim that Caesar is Lord. My life has a purpose politically and that is to bear witness to the reality of the coming Kingdom of God in the present age. Not only that, but it is my responsibility to be a part of a community that does the same (Matt. 5:13-16).

3. Jesus is the Word of YHWH embodied. When we encounter Jesus in Scripture, identify with him in baptism, celebrate him in communion, we are doing so as the encarnate Word of God. In other words, Jesus is to receive Worship (Revelation 4-5).

Therefore, a Christian is one who who embodies the reality that "Jesus is Lord." I think that we have assumed for too long that a Christian is one who intellectually assents to a body of doctrine rather than one who seeks to embody the Living Lord revealed in Scripture through the power of the Spirit for the glory of the Father.

This should be the starting point for any discussion for any type of Christian identity.

Thank you Pastor Burleson for the influence that your "blog" has had on many Baptists looking for another way.

Jack Maddox said...


I know that 3 of the men you mentioned ran against the resurgence candidates and thus I would qualify that as 'refusing to take action' The Elliot issue was old news by this time...we were then dealing with the Glen Hinsons Randal Lolly's and MOlly Marshal Greens of the convention...just to name a few. I do interpret their resitance and convictions againt the resurgence as "refusing to take action" How would you define it? And once againb, and I will not trouble you any nmore with this question after stating it for a third rime here...What about the good folks I mentioned in another post? Let me state the question this way...would you say that a failure to endorse their removal by running and campaingning against resurgence candidates and members equates a failure to take action?


Roger Simpson said...

Jack Maddox:

If people and/or groups in the SBC identify themselves in terms of "liberal" vs. "conservative" vs. "fundamentalists" vs. "moderates" then I agree -- there is an identify crisis.

Enough "shop talk"! I think it is time we be more customer focused.

When I managed a microcode development group in Silicon Valley I could argue with my guys about the merits or "structured design", "top down software development", "functional boundaries", "object oriented architecture", "off the shelf software modules" etc. ad nausium.

My customers were more interested in "does this thing fit my need . . does it work".

God gave a us a "product" to share. I think we are going to have more traction in sharing it if we focus on being Christians rather than some other label.

There is no law that says part of the price of entry into Christianity is that one must necessarily suscribe to a template that requires staking out a spot in a multidimensional moderate / conservative / fundamentalist / liberal / Armenian / Calvinist / . . . . grid.

I'll gladly give up any other label and just be a Christian.

Jack Maddox said...

My definition before Wade has to fuss at me for skirting the original post

"Christ Honoring" -One who honors Christ

"Theologically Conservative" - One who is conservative in there theology.

"Evangelical" - One who considers the nesesity if faith in Christ alone for salvation"

This is a great starting point for fellowship, but sorry Wade for many of us it is not sufficient for denominational leadership and mutual kingdom work around a common soteriology (Misiions and Evangelism) You can label us narrow and short sighted all you want...we are kind of used to it.

This kind of 'tag line' labeling kind of reminds me of many who state...I am against the war but I support the troops


Wade Burleson said...


Once again, I answer.

Problems needed to be addressed, and they were --- but sometimes ungodly tactics were used.

I am asking for us to get to the place where we talk to each other in love without calling one another names.

Wade Burleson said...


I call you a brother and look forward to working with you in the future.

Jack Maddox said...


Can't say I disagree with you, except to mention that the whole point of this post was a label...and Wade is the one that brought it forward...he is asking for a definition of the label and really, although what you say is appropiate for kingdom citizenship and fellowship, it does not apply to denominational stewardship and the safegaurding of our institutions and seminaries


Bible Discernment said...

For more info on Bible Versions go to www.biblediscernment.com

Jack Maddox said...


You know you and I agree on the wonderful truth of our common love for our Father as we seek to sojourn in this place which is not our home. I look forward to that day when you and I will both stand before the one who redeemed us and here His "Well Done"


Jack Maddox said...

I also look forward to the day that I can spell



Jack Maddox said...

Hey Wade

Can you 'here' me now?


Wade Burleson said...


I love your spirit in the last few posts.


and "Thanks."

tim rogers said...

Brother Wade,

You said; "I have begun to notice that when things are requested that involves a positive reinforcement of what we stand for, and not necessarily what we are against, several regular commentors are silent."

Is this not a tacit dig to antagonize those that do not believe the same as you?

I did not know if you would allow a comment from me seeing that you told me; Tim, you have blinders on. You have added to the simplicity of the gospel. You are in error and teaching a distorted gospel. You have added man-made prohibitions and culteral biases to distort the beautiful gospel." Though you say that you intended it for illustration purposes, you ended your comment with; "I don't like saying what I said in the comment above, but what choice do I have if I choose to believe I am standing on absolute truth."

Well, I just wanted to post a comment if you would allow it. I agree with Bob. I think if we pointed to a person that we would be able to define as a "Christ honoring Theologically Conservative Evangelical" I would point to the Late Adrian Rogers. Also, Dr. Jerry Vines would be another one, along with the late Bill Bright. Dr. Tony Evans fits this bill also along with Dr. John Piper. Come to think of it Dr. David Jeremiah and Dr. Rick Warren would probably fit this standard.


Robert Hutchinson said...

my attempt at a definition of a “Christ-honoring, theologically conservative evangelical”…

...a sinner who has found no greater peace and no greater joy in life save for the complete and unconditional forgiveness of all their sins from Jesus of Nazareth, the very Son of God, and who by the leading of the Spirit of God delights in telling others about the kindness of God.

humbly submitted,


IN HIS NAME said...


Isn't that the reason GOD came Down as JESUS CHRIST and died to Foregive SIN. If a True Believer in JESUS asks!!!

Luk 23:34 And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments.

Acknowledge God's intentions.

Forgiveness is God's gift to you and His intention for you. He has forgiven each disciple of all confessed sins.

His forgiving compassion inspires Christians to forgive others and gives us the freedom to do so.

Those not experiencing the grace, love, and joy of God's salvation may have greater difficulty forgiving (Mat_18:23-35).

A reading of the following Blogs will tell a story about JESUS'S LOVE for our and HIS Brothers and Sisters. Remember some are Pastors.




A Brother in CHRIST

PS: please also read (Mat_18:23-35).

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Wade,

Yes, many Southern Baptists do have an identity crisis. Our convention was formed by Baptists with a relatively uniform belief system. But over the last 150 years there has been an amazing collision of belief systems within our convention, and within American Christianity in general:

-revived semi-Arminianism crashes into established Calvinism
-new Dispensationalism crashes into traditional Covenant Theology
-feminism crashes into traditional role ideas
-evolution crashes into six-day creationism

We have held together, for the most part, but we are indeed in the midst of an identity crisis. Your willingness to open this forum of discussion is helping both to make the identity crisis worse, and to help work toward a solution.

I will add my definition of your phrase, in hope that it will help the process a little bit.

Christ-honoring: the way in which we live reflects the holiness of life that Jesus models and commands.

Theologically Conservative: we study the theological system that has characterized the Reformation, English Baptists, American Baptists, and Southern Baptists (at the time of our founding) and seek to uphold it.

Evangelical: we emphasize the sharing of the Gospel locally and in missions.

Thank you, Brother Wade, for inviting us to give our definitions.

Love in Christ,


sbc pastor said...


This is an excellent discussion and it is extremely pertinent to your last post (which I highly recommend that everyone take a minute to read, including the comments).

I would have to agree with Les that the BF&M 2000 is a great definition of a "Christ-Honoring, Theologically Conservative Evangelical" as it is a statement of faith that Southern Baptists overwhelmingly agree to be thoroughly Scriptural without being too restrictive in regard to cooperation. Thus, it is employed as an “instrument of doctrinal accountability” (BF&M, 5) by our convention to ensure that EMPLOYEES of the SBC and its entities (it is not binding upon individuals or individual churches) are ALL “Christ-Honoring, Theologically Conservative Evangelicals.” Do you agree?

Also, Paul's description of the qualifications for a Pastor would likewise appear to be descriptive of a “Christ-Honoring, Theologically Conservative Evangelical” (Titus 1:7-11):

"...not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.”

Great discussion and God bless!!!

In Christ,

Sandee said...

I'm sorry that this post doesn't answer your question. But since "In His name" has directed me to sbcpastor.blogspot.com, I'm going to add to his train of thought. This is what I found posted on sbcpastor's blog as a rebuttal to Wade's posts here:

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?

I have to take issue with the "overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists" accepting the BF&M 2000. I've been a Southern Baptist for almost 40 years and the member of several different churches (due to moving, marriage, etc.) I don't know ANY Southern Baptists who agree 100% with the BF&M 2000. On the contrary I know MANY who have no idea what it says. Most churches I have been a part of don't ususally send the full number of messengers they are alloted. Us little guys tend to lay low. Now you may say, "Shame on us" for not participating in the denominational political process. But who wants to send dissenters to the convention? Even if the church was among the most theologically conservative - the pastor and/or church would be labeled moderate. Any member of a church like that who worked for a state or national convention would have their jobs in jeopardy.

I'm sorry to burst SBCPastor's bubble. But the national convention has set up a nice little system of "Yes Men". And the emperor has no clothes!

No, we laypersons would rather worship and serve God in our local church and stay far, far away from denominational politics. In fact, around here, we work hard to keep our church out of the politics.

Kevin Bussey said...


I believe it means to love God and Love people! What more can you do?


If Jesus were in the flesh here today, He would be considered a liberal by many!

Tim Sweatman said...

Here's my attempt. As usual, it's not brief:

Being a "Christ honoring, theologically conservative evangelical" means that Jesus is truly our Lord as well as our Savior. Not only are we trusting in His atoning death to pay the penalty for our sins, but we are also following Him in every area of our lives. We show our love for Him by obeying His commands, and we pattern our lives after His example of loving God and loving others.

Being a "Christ honoring, theologically conservative evangelical" means that we believe the Bible is the Word of God. As God's Word the Bible is true in everything it says. As God's Word the Bible is authoritative in our lives and in our churches. As God's Word the Bible is sufficient to guide and govern us in matters of doctrine and practice; it trumps human tradition, history, culture, and reason in these matters. Where the Bible speaks clearly we do not compromise, but where the Bible does not speak clearly we allow for differing interpretations, NOT because the Bible means whatever we think it means but because in some areas God has chosen not to reveal the clear meaning to us.

Being a "Christ honoring, theologically conservative evangelical" means that we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people, both through our words and through our actions. We affirm that faith in Christ is the only way that anyone can be saved, and we affirm that through faith in Christ anyone can be saved. We are not called to give people religion, make them live moral lives, or make them members of a church. We are called to tell others about Jesus, support our claims about Him through how we live, and allow God to do His work of regeneration, conversion, justification, and sanctification in their lives.

Bryan Riley said...

For what it's worth, kudos and two thumbs up (or should I say a "hearty amen") to the following comments/definitions: timmarsh 55, david eldredge, robert hutchinson, kevin bussey, and tim sweatman. For those of us who might recognize the names of people but have never met such people, citing examples doesn't define much for us. It seems more like name dropping, which could even make the reader think it was being done pridefully. I'm also unsure how a statement of faith defines an indivdual.


Kelly Reed said...


Previously, I posted that a "C-H, TCE" was anyone who agreed with me and everyone who didn't was a liberal.

I won't take this topic in a new direction but I got to thinking about why we do that so I posted it on my site.


I called it--"The Mindset of Biblical Interpretation & Labeling".

I would appreciate your thoughts.

Kelly Reed said...


those who are trying to answer this topic are providing some great insight into our faith and what it means to be a true disciple of Christ.

Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life,


Roger Simpson said...

There's a lot of mature thinking around here on what Evangelicalism really is. And surprizingly, I couldn't wedge a razor between most of the definitions.

In this spirit is would be cool to lock everyone up for a while and have designated sub-groups come up with position papers on various subjects with the proviso that everyone in the sub-group had to agree on the product of the paper.

If I was Bill Gates I would charter the Love Boat and invite all of you on a 90 day cruise around the world. I would prohibit cell phones and TVs. You could use your laptops but I'd not allow any connection to the internet.

Hey don't get excited, since I'd be chartering the whole boat I'd shut down the casino!

Different subjects would be assigned to various working groups and anyone could volunteer to be on one or more groups. At the end of the 90 day period a group would have to come up with a ten page position paper on some given subject.

My guess that there would be 99% consensus. Too bad I'm not Bill Gates.

Holy Toledo, maybe a mini version of this is possible at Glorieta.

This would be dangerous - laymen of various backgrounds, pastors, seminary professors all sharing one common attribute: a desire to move the SBC forward and bury past hatchets. There does seem to be a common "locus of energy" that draws people to these BLOGS. I bet there is quite a bit of coherent energy waiting to be tapped.

Roger Simpson said...

To my previous post add
" missionaries "

TheMDude said...

Maybe we should ask Rick Warren for one of his one liners? (:>=

TruthOfActs said...

How could I win a contest, when it’s flawed or what ever from the start? I mean the words; ‘Christ-honoring’, ‘theologically’, and ‘evangelical’ are words we Baptist agree on, but not the word ‘conservative.’
In my opinion, the word ‘conservative’ in politics and the word ‘conservative’ in religion have opposite definitions. “By their fruits, you will know them.”
By the way, Moderates are the real conservatives that were named by those declaring them enemies because they wouldn’t follow.
Those that declared war, STOLE the name ‘conservative’ as shown by Webster’s definition of conservative as the “RESISTANCE TO CHANGE.”
Moderates are the ones that resist changing, while Conservatives, once they got in power, have changed everything they can get their hands on.
There is no end in sight. You can hardly turn around and they have a new rule. At the rate they’re going, they’ll pass the number of Pharisee rules in no time.
Leaders keep trying to change our name of “Southern Baptist”, and like Catholics, they want Baptists to boycott public schools. So far, they’ve been unsuccessful.

Wade, have you notice if you saying something they think is out of line, you’re jumped on, but if I say something even worse, they don’t say a word. I think it’s because there’s not much GLORY in squashing a worm.

If you want to define what a good Christian is; it’s obeying God when nobody’s looking.
Rex Ray

Wade Burleson said...


You bring up a couple of interesting points in your posts. In fact, I will post soon regarding your assessment that some people are never the recipients of criticism for various reasons that I hope for us to discuss.

Bob Cleveland said...

If our faith is a living thing, how could we ever pin it down to a definition?

I've been married 48 years and I can tell you my relationship with my wife grows, matures, changes continually. So does my relationship with Jesus.

The term "Christ-Honoring Theologically Conservative Evangelical" is a string of adjectives which describe. They do not define.

The point, in my opinion, is that I ought to welcome folks to whom that string applies, but not expect them to look like me, act like me, or always agree with me. To expect that would be egotistical and self-centered.

IN HIS NAME said...


It's because your over 70 and more GRACE to YOU.

A Brother here in Bonham.

Jack Maddox said...


With all respect due..I dont respond because you obviously have your mind made up and the truth is I find 95% of what you say so out of bounds and misrepresentative of reality that it is hardly worth the effort. But hey, one thing we do have in common besides our love for the Lord...I served in your neck of the woods...I was in Baily in the early 90's


mark sims said...

Not a blogger, but an avid reader.

A Christ-honoring, theologically conservative evangelical..."one who affirms the deity of Christ, salvation by grace through faith in the work of Christ at Calvary, the authority and sufficiency of the Word of God to lead people to the only Savior ever given for sinners (this part stolen from you, Bro. Wade, in a comment on your last post -- not trying to brown-nose, just thought it was simple and to the point)...and who in his/her flesh does his/her share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions - the presentation of those afflictions and the glory of Christ to a lost and dead world by means of the foolishness of the message preached (that part stolen from Paul)."

Mark Sims

kevin said...

"Christ Honoring, Theologically Conservative Evangelical"

I prefer to keep it simple.

Conservative--Someone who believes the Bible is truth without mixture of error (yes, borrowed from the BF&M).

Evangelical--Someone who believes we can only be saved by genuine faith in Jesus Christ.

Christ Honororing--Someone who lives out the two I just mentioned.


Greg Cloud said...


Great comments. I love the discussion.

I still think, though, that Christianity is something you DO, not something you THINK.

I know that I avoided the 'CH-TCE' label definition---twice now. It just feels like too much of a philosophy thing. Christianity is not a philosophy, it is a relationship with a living, risen King: Jesus Christ. Labels mean nothing to me. (Neither do politics.) What does the King want of me...and you?

We may have a different understanding about certain issues, the how's and why's of some items of theology. Why do these things divide us? Why all the polemic stuff?

1. The Scripture is God's Word. God is God, the all powerful, all knowing authority. What He says is the way it is.

2. Jesus Christ is a Person, King, Son of the Living God, that you meet and give an oath of loyalty to, not just Someone you read about. Remember the stuff in Sunday School about a Personal Relationship with Christ? It's true. Why crow so much about our own opinions? Ask Him. He's the One you are responsible to, not the majority of messengers at the SBC, CBF or whatever. The Kingdom of God is a monarchy, not a democracy.

3. A Living Lord is at work in this dying world. He still saves sinners. He still meets people where they are.

Sin has its consequences. (Polemic and bickering are a couple of them.) Hey! Folks are dying out there without Christ! We've heard this so much that we become non-chalant. We've lost the fire of urgency. And there is the problem... These things we argue about are really just symptoms of coldness and a need for revival. Are we really fighting a valiant fight for doctrinal accountability here...or are we just arguing because we can't make other people see things the way we do, and our self esteem/reputation is at stake. I think there's a lot of folks out there more interested in exhalting their own agenda, because Christ is not in view when they speak.

Let's get revived for Christ!

Sorry this is so long, Wade. I can only blog at night, and don't get much of a chance to take part in the discussion.



Chuck Goldsmith said...

We should be the mirror of Christ. Chuck Goldsmith. goldsmith10@yahoo.com

TruthOfActs said...

In His Name,
Your saying I’m not jumped on because I’m over 70, really burst my bubble. I thought it was because my statements were so profound—like Peter’s “…all saved by the free gift of Jesus” had brought the arguing multitude to silence.

To Jack Maddox,
Hey neighbor—Baily was the only team to beat us in basketball (Ector) in 1950. I still hold a grudge. Ha

I was all set to chew on you, but us being neighbors and Christians and all, I’m going to try (it’s hard) to take the high road. Keep serving Jesus.
Keep loving us infidels. (My trying didn’t last long did it?)
Rex Ray

volfan007 said...

i know what took place in the 80's. i was there. i saw some basically conservative men who not only allowed liberalism to flourish in all of sbc life, but they defended thier right to do so under the banner of the priesthood of the believer. i heard them speak...read thier comments in publications....saw them take the moderate/liberal side.

i call a moderate someone who is basically conservative in thier theology, but they allow liberals to remain a part of leadership. they have a dont rock the boat mentality. let's just all get along viewpoint.

anyone joined with the cbf is clearly not someone i would want in any leadership position in the sbc. i would not want anyone who is sympathetic with the cbf to be in any leadership position. the cbf is clearly a liberal, nonbiblical association who would want to take us back to the pre-79 era where liberal profs in our seminaries were telling students that to believe in the literal, physical resurrection are crass. where they told students that God is a woman. where they told students that Jesus must have been lying, or else the bible has errors, because the jedp theory was right. where ss writers were writing shallow, i'm ok...you're ok..lessons, or else they were just plain ole liberal junk.

i am praying that dr. page will not go that direction. i voted for him as a statement about the cp, and in hopes that more pastors of small churches would be included in leadership. if he goes the direction of putting liberals on boards and committees, then i will vote against him at the next sbc. i dont think he will. i pray that he wont do it.

a conservative evangelical is someone who believes the bible...all of it, and he should be able to agree with the 2000 bf&m. he is someone who will not allow liberals and off the deep end people to be in leadership positions. he will stand on the clear, essential, fundamentals of the faith.


Mark Spence said...

I agree with volfan007 on this one. An alliance with the CBF should preclude someone from serving with the SBC.

However, I don't agree with his assertion that you must agree with everything in the BFM 2000 to be considered evangelical. I do not think that the BFM 2000 is inerrant and contains only the "clear, essential, fundamentals of the faith."

BFM 2000 - Priesthood of the believers (souls competency)

BFM 1963 - Priesthood of the believer (soul competency)

One little "s" makes a world of difference.

Bro. Robin said...

Bro. Wade

I just saw your post. I try my best to have a life outside of bloggerville so I didn't keep up with you yesterday.

I don't have a definition, but I believe a good starting point would be:

Rom 1:16-17
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
17 For in it {the} righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS {man} SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."

I don't know if this helps or confuses the matter more, but I believe any conservative should trust in the sovereignty of God to see His will accomplished.

Thanks again,

Bro. Robin

Jack Maddox said...


Hey Bro...we can disagree to the point of insanity and still eat out of the same bannana pudding bowl at the pot luck...WE ARE BAPTISTS! Gods lovable, useable, disfunctional family...I love ya man...and as far as an infidel...I did not know you were an OU fan!

Baily and Basketball....now that was while back!!!! I was told they were a real BB powerhouse back in the day!


Wayne Hatcher said...

There has been some mention of the BF&M2000 in these comments. Coming from a personal church history of using the 1689 for twenty-five years, I at first had a natural aversion to the dilute nature of the BF&M2000. Six years now, back into SBC life, I have come to appreciate the beauty of the relative brevity of the BF&M2000. It is narrow, precise, conservative enough to sufficiently define us as Christian in general and distinctively Baptist, yet it is broad, general, yes even liberal enough to include the greatest possible number in order to carry out with the greatest possible impact, the stated reason which first brought us together in 1845.

Brother Wade, the middle phrase of your question makes an objective definition virtually impossible. Theologically conservative to me is considered liberal to those on my right, and ultra-conservative to those on my left. Perhaps orthodox would be a better choice, which the Oxford American Dictionary defines as: conforming to what is generally or traditionally accepted as right or true; established and approved.

My definition: Jesus said "My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me." We honor Christ by listening to His voice and following Him. We do that by faithfully reading and studying His word, with earnest prayer for illumination from the Holy Spirit, in order to learn how to obey. We are orthodox by standing on the shoulders of the giants that have come before us, by conforming our faith and practice to the solid, established and approved creeds and confessions, and by avoiding the new and novel unless persuaded with a general consensus by sound scriptural evidence. I think that our BF&M2000 falls into this category. We are evangelical when we have as the centerpiece of our faith and practice Paul's declaration in 1 Corinthians 2:2: For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Christ, and Christ alone should be on our lips, in the pulpit, on the job, in the market place, across the street, and across the oceans.

4whatitsworth said...

OK, I’ll take a shot:

In your view, what does it mean to be a "Christ-honoring, theologically conservative evangelical"?

In order to be a “Christ-honoring, theologically conservative evangelical” let us make "our own attitude[s] that of Christ Jesus, who, . . . empited Himself by assuming the form of a slave" (Philip. 2:5-7, HCSB) and who "humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death" (Philip. 2:8, HCSB). Let us love the Lord our God with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our minds, and with all our strength and let us love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). Let us "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything" the Lord commanded (Mat. 28:19-20, HCSB). Let us view all Scripture as God-breathed and "profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16, HCSB) and as such constitutes our "sole authority for faith and practice" (BFM 1925, 1963, and 2000).

William Madden said...

Pardon me, but don't be rude to us conservative CBF folk who still take an interest in SBC life and still give to the cooperative program. I'm not running for SBC office, but don't consider myself unfit to lead, doctrinally, theologically, etc.

Readers of these posts should remember that CBF doesn't have seminaries, CBF is a missions organization only. The "partner schools" as they are sometimes called were started by concerned individuals in the various states who wished to preserve biblical scholarship as process of serious scholarly inquiry.

Speaking as someone who has taken some classes on a part-time basis at the McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta GA, I can say that none of the nutty theological trends that you have referenced were encountered by me there. I did meet and study with some knowledgable and quite conservative (by any standard) Biblical scholars there.

As regards CBF, based on your comments, I can't help but think that you are just repeating pejorative stuff similiar to what I have read in the SBC press. Your comments are not particularly fair, or particularly nice.

Pastor Brad said...


Lest you think I only reply when I disagree...Here is a working definition of a biblical follower of Christ. I realize there are many holes, but I don't think you are looking for something the length of the BFM. So, here goes:

A follower of Jesus Christ is a person who holds the scripture to be inerrant, infallible, and authoritative over our lives – God’s very own breathed words for our lives. He exercises great care and effort in interpreting and applying God’s Word. His life models the outward results of an inward transformation accomplished by God’s work of grace on their spirit, and a submission to the Lordship of Christ. He believes that Christ is both fully God and fully man, who died to pay for our sin, as only He could. He has the heart of Christ for the lost world – viewing himself as a missionary to his community.

I must add, that I think it is important for us to define this, though I hope it is not an attempt to pigeon-hole those of us who often disagree with you - because that would be missing the point of what many of us have been saying - which is that we are not talking here about the Kingdom as a whole, but the SBC as one piece of that kingdom. While these differences do not divide us into different kingdoms, they are important differences, and I see no sin in that.

I am interested to hear your reply.

volfan007 said...

william madden,

the things that i mentioned that were taught in class came from southern baptist seminaries in the 70's and 80's when the liberals still had control of the seminaries. the quotes came straight from thier classrooms and from thier books. sbc seminary profs were teaching this stuff. it was not conservative propaganda...lol.

also, the moderates...men who were basically conservative but who allowed this to continue...stood for the right for these liberal profs and liberal sbc leaders like foy valentine to continue under the guise of priesthood of the believer.

i would ask you, if you are truly conservative...why would you join with people who question the authenticity of the bible....believe in abortion...dont know where they stand on the homosexual issue, etc.? why would you want to join with them and with the feminists who make up the cbf? if you are conservative?


William Madden said...


You seem like a good guy, and I'd buy you a beer (except of course I don't drink beer, and I suspect you don't either), but I'm sincere in saying that it's always a pleasure to meet someone who really knows what they believe. As for why I decided not to pursue a career missionary appointment with the IMB after serving as a journeyman (1990-1992), I have tried to explain that as best I could in Wade's blogging thread of several days ago, "Back to the Past for a Map of the Future."

Honestly, it just doesn't upset me as much as it does you to think that there were some liberals on the faculty of the seminaries back in those days. My own views on the scriptures are conservative, but to me, an education, by definition, entails being exposed to more than one point-of-view about something. To be challenged, even by a liberal seminary professor, would, in the end only strengthen one's faith. You will probably disagree with me on that, but that is my point-of-view.

Certainly, in CBF, we take a view of women in ministry as a healthy part of our Christian culture. The Bible (Romans) affords at least one example of a woman deacon (Phoebe) and even a female apostle (Junia--although I am aware that hardright scholars dispute that). Both the OT books of Joel and the NT book of Acts state that "your sons and daughters shall prophesy." Though there are some scriptures to the contrary, these scriptures do seem to support the idea of women in ministry.

In my church, which gives to CBF and to the Cooperative Program (although it gives more to CBF), we have had (we don't have one now) female associate pastors. We do have women deacons, and have recently had a woman serve as deacons' chair (She has a Ph.D. in psychology and served on the faculty of Emory University, researching and teaching in the area of addiction counselling and recovery--she was and is a highly respected member of her church and community). The apostle Paul stated: in Christ there is neither slave nor free, Jew nor Greek, male or female. In a nutshell, I see affirming women in the freedom to serve in the ministry roles that they would choose for themselves to be an appropriate expression of the working of the Spirit in them. I don't see any negative aspects of secular feminism at work in the life and ministries of CBF.

Frankly, I'm just not sure why you seem to think that every nasty and unwished for trend in modern life has somehow come to rest in CBF? You haven't ever attended the CBF assembly have you? What do you think we do at the CBF Assembly--hold a gay orgy, sacrifice some children, and then step on the Bible? (I'm just messing with you :)

For myself, I have led volunteer teams to assist CBF missionaries in the north of Thailand for the last six years, and have just returned from visiting with other CBF missionaries in China. They're all fine people who all got started as journeymen in the old SBC. None of them are liberal theologically, but I think it would be accurate to say that they are non-conformists and independent thinkers by nature. That's part of what makes them good missionaries, but it also is part of what made them feel that there was no room for them in the culture of conformity and the increasingly rigid pecking order that seems to have become a hallmark of SBC life.

Volfan007, God bless you, brother. Even in a conversation such as this one, I can tell a brother by his spirit. I know you love the Lord Jesus. Do you want us truly conservative CBF'ers to come back into the SBC or don't you? If you do, stop making it sound like we lost our minds when we went to CBF in the first place, okay?

Dave said...

To answer the question of a good definition of a Christ-Honoring Theologically Conservative Evangelical I'd simply say, "Billy Graham."

texasinafrica said...

How about "One who acts justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with the Lord our God"?

volfan007 said...

william madden,

you are not a conservative evangelical. i am afraid that you are more liberal than you let on. i dont know if i would even call you a moderate. i hope that this doesnt hurt your feelings too much, but i would not want someone like you in any leadership position in the sbc.


William Madden said...


Your reply is kind of startling in its rudeness. I'm really not sure what you mean about me being "more liberal than I let on." Why would I want to misrepresent myself or mislead anyone? I shared with you my comments in a spirit of openness and good fellowship, and you just reply with rude statements. Surely, you can do better.

One point that I'd like to make is that although you stated your opinion, you haven't actually answered any of the questions that I posed, or successfully refuted my argument from scripture.

Personally, I think that you just can't admit you might be wrong or apologize for making rude and inaccurate statements because then you'd be seen as "uncool" by other so-called conservatives visiting this board.

When I served as journeyman in Thailand, I had a successful evangelistic ministry there. Five of my Bible students received Christ, were discipled, and baptized. Those five brought seven more persons to Christ. If I am in theological error, why did the Lord bless my ministry of Bible teaching?

Based on your criteria, I never would have been appointed as a journeyman with the IMB. Do you think it would have been better if I had not gone to Thailand and led those people to Christ?

As someone who has served honorably on the foreign field, I do believe I deserve a little more respect from you.

Bryan Riley said...

Let us all remember that none of this is about us. It is about God and His glory. So, praise God that there were people saved in Thailand. Praise God that we have men who are convicted regarding their faith. Let's set aside the need for personal acclaim and pray that our words and deeds point others to Him.

William Madden said...

Hi Bryan,
I didn't mean to boast. Volfan007 said I wasn't evangelical. I was just trying to provide a concrete example of the fact that in my life, I have taken taken the responsibility of sharing the truth of the gospel seriously. In saying such, I am not seeking personal acclaim, just trying to defend myself from an unfair attack.

volfan007 said...


well, lets see...women deacons..women ministers...allow liberals to teach in our schools, and liberals are those who deny the clear, essential teachings of the bible...your church gives to the cbf...what am i to think about you? you sound liberal to me.

a moderate...in my thinking..is a person who basically believes the bible and agrees with the essential, fundamentals of the faith. but, he would have a dont rock the boat, lets all get along, let the liberals teach and write ss lessons, mentality. i dont see you as a moderate.


William Madden said...


You're a good sport--and a good arguer. I'd still by you that beer, but of course, we don't drink. So next time you're in Atlanta, let me know, and I'll buy you a Coke.



volfan007 said...

i do enjoy coke. might there be a piece of pie with that?