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

I Have a Question and Am Interested in Your Answer

I am an inerrantist.

I believe the Bible to be the authoritative, sufficient, and infallible Word of God. It is without error and unable to deceive.

I am a Southern Baptist in heritage and by personal choice.

I believe in the fundamentals of the faith (the deity of Christ, substitutionary atonement, salvation by grace through faith, the final judgment, etc . . . ).

I love the Southern Baptist Convention.

I have been a two term President of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, a two term Chairman of the Denominational Calendar Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, a member of the Nominating Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, and currently serve as a trustee of the International Mission Board.

But more than just loving the SBC, I love the people of the SBC. I love Dr. Paige Patterson. I love Judge Paul Pressler. I love Dr. Jerry Rankin. I love Dr. Morris Chapman. I love Dr. Al Mohler. I love these men and the Christ who has made them all my brothers.

I also love the men and women of the Southern Baptist Convention that are not in the limelight.

I love the Southern Baptist waitress I met last week in Spartanburg who is the President of her local WMU. I love the Southern Baptist taxi cab driver I met in Tampa Bay, a man who patiently listened to me share the gospel, and when I asked why he didn't tell me he was a Southern Baptist deacon at his local church before I shared the gospel with him he just grinned and said he enjoyed hearing 'the good news' as often as possible.

I love our missionaries. I will do anything to help them. I love my family members who served decades in Santiago, Chile with the IMB and my family members who currently serve in Hong Kong with the IMB. I love missionaries live David Rogers, Ron West, and others who unashamedly, and with erudite passion, help us think critically about the way we do missions. I love the security three zone missionary who joined our church by proxy this past Sunday, making it nearly a dozen IMB units that are affiliated with our church in some form or fashion.

I love our SBC leadership. I have enjoyed getting to know Bobby Welch and Frank Page. They both bring different gifts to the table and each was the man God anointed for the particular hour. I particularly love Frank's openness, honesty, graciousness, and vision.

I'm excited about the future of our SBC. I am optimistic by nature, but my optimism about the SBC is more than just inherent in me. If God is good, and He is, and if He has promised to build His church, and He has, I can't help but get excited when Southern Baptist get serious about the gospel --- really serious.

I have tried in the last year to draw attention to what I believe to be a problem within the SBC that has escaped the attention of most. I believe that we have begun to narrow the parameters of cooperation within the SBC to exclude good, conservative evangelical Southern Baptists because they disagree on third tier doctrines that, at least historically, Southern Baptists have refused to divide over. As a result, we are losing sight of the main thing (the gospel) and fracturing over lesser doctrines.

The interesting thing is I probably agree with the majority of Southern Baptists on their interpretation regarding these lesser doctrines, but I am increasingly concerned that we are excluding the minority of Southern Baptists from the joy of participating in service for the cause of Christ through the Southern Baptist Convention.

Now here is my two-fold question:

Why are some in the Southern Baptist Convention so angry toward me? And, why is it that a very vocal few now insist on calling me a liberal?

Early last year I told my wife and my father that I would covenant with them not to become angry or bitter, or seek to retaliate against those who sought to ruin my ministry or career by character assassination, theological labeling, or outright slander. For nearly eight months, I have kept my vow.

I sure want to continue keeping it. It might help me if someone out there could give me an idea on why there is such a reaction against one small effort to stop the narrowing of the parameters of cooperation in the SBC. I need some wisdom on why it is that some Christians treat their brothers so poorly.

In His Grace,

Wade

118 comments:

Mike said...

Wade,
Eight months has allowed some to read and discern and formulate opinions about you. You write well and make a fine preacher. And you would make a good politician also.

RM said...

I don't think you're a liberal and shame on those in the convention who have attacked and maligned you. Remember--they are very very resistant to change and openness. Keep up the good work--you have many friends out here!

Tim Cook said...

Wade,
People are reacting out of fear; they always do, don't they? What you are asking them to do is to be OK with people they disagree with serving with them. That takes, to begin with, someone who is completely at home in their own convictions and beliefs; someone who has built their beliefs on the Word of God, and not on someone else's beliefs. We have been defining ourselves in terms of what we are against for so long that, without an "enemy" to root out, to narrow cooperation with, we have no identity. You are asking people who have only been trained to fight to put down their swords. What else will they do? The idea of cooperation with people not totally like themselves scares some people to death. As you and others have said, the conservative resurgence needed to happen; liberalism is a real danger. But this situation, the one you are in right now, is the natural by product and consequence of the TACTICS involved in the resurgence. We have a whole generation of Christians that was mobilized into and army, complete with militaristic thinking. You are trying to take away their enemies to fight, and with it their purpose and identity. The simple thing to do to rectify that situation is simply to make you the new enemy. That's my two cents; it may not offer any comfort, but there it is.

In Christ,
Tim Cook

Wade Burleson said...

Gentlemen,

Good start. I have already been helped. Thanks.

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

Why would you care? With that, I am...

Peter

Alycelee said...

Please do not think of this as a small effort.
This is not a small thing at all, for I believe this
is a God thing.
The name calling really shouldnt surprise you, because labeling you as a liberal is the only thing they can do to limit the influence you are having.
And by the way, you are having great influence!

Some time ago, I listened to a sermon by someone dear to me who said, we need Martin Luther to stand up in the churches. We need reformation, every bit as much now, as the church did back then.
It won't just be one man, Wade, it will be many, but finally men are standing up and thank God you are one of them.They are standing up and saying NO MORE. No more, saying one thing and doing another, (read Ben Coles blog this morning)
No more power brokering.
I received an email this morning from someone who reads this blog. I have never seen her post here, however she agreed to pray for you, because she understands the pressures of the calling on you.
So, I hope to encourage you this morning and say that what you have done it right, spiritual, scriptural, godly, and bringing down strongholds is not easy, but when God is with you, who can be against you.
I pray for you every day, you and your family.

David R. Mills said...

Who said "If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen?"

Dale Huckabay said...

Leap for joy and rejoice when you are attacked for Jesus'sake!
It is a great thing to be counted worthy to share the same type of mis-statements about you that were (and, of course, still are) so often applied to our Savior. I am praying for you.

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

That's why I am still cooking.

:)

Hershel said...

Wade,

As I have observed Christians relate in the church over the years, I have noticed that much of the conflict is over influence or power. It is one of the three great temptations along with possessions and pleasure (yes that is the outline of a three point sermon).
You have suggested that a small group of very influential Christians share their influence with a much larger segment of the leadership base of the SBC. These folks have worked hard and given their sacrifices to get the SBC where it is today. Now they must protect what God has done through their influence.
You are suggesting they give up control to people they do not know and whom they are unable to control. I believe they fear all they have worked for over the years could be lost if others gain influence over the direction of the SBC. Therefore you must be marginalized so that your influence is limited. The charge of "LIBERAL" has worked for years, why not use it on you?
I am not saying this is the only factor, but added to those posted above I think it has it place in the answer to "Why?"
Thanks for your courage to stand in the gap.

Aquila Staff said...

I learned in local church ministry that when people (not all, but some) felt that their grip on power was threatened, then they lashed out at those they assigned blame for the threat.

There have been those within our convention who have undoubtedly had "power". Evidently they feel threatened by the thought of inclusivism.

The old adage, "absolute power corrupts absolutely", may lead those who feel "power" slipping away to assigne blame to you and lash out. Remember, those out front are often easy targets.

Don't play the "blame game". Serve the Lord with gladness, come before His presence with singing.

Thanks Wade for your authenticity.

Davd R.

Bry said...

Our fundy friends are good at name calling when they can't give a reasoned argument for their position. There is a lot worse than being called a liberal however. You could have said something to anger the radical Muslims. They shoot nuns in the back to get even. Keep up the good work. I read your blog everyday and most of the comments. Even when I don't agree with you I am forced to think because of your well reasoned posts.

John Fariss said...

Wade, I believe you are a person of integrity and passion, and I apprecite you. Why are there some who are calling you a liberal?

Well, first the disclaimer: you and I agree on some stuff and might disagree on others, even some theological issues. For instance, I would affirm substitutionary atonement, as do you, but I am not convinced that the doctrine completely exhausts the meaning of what Christ did on the cross. I am not a 5 point Calvinist, though maybe 4, sometimes 3.5, occasionally 4.5, but not 5. I would (and have) affirmed that the original manuscripts of the Scriptures are inerrant in matters of faith and practice, but don't commonly use the word "inerrant" because I try to be a precise person in terms of language, and I believe that to use the word without qualifying it (which is not always possible) is misleading and imprecise. I am not comfortable with the 2000 BF&M and would not serve a church where ita affirmation was required, though I have no such problems with the '63. I say all that to say that "some" would call me liberal, although I do not agree with it.

That's me, call me what you will. Why do some call you liberal? Because the issue is NOT theology, it is Christian maturity. Immature people feel threatened by differing opinions; immature people often compensate by erecting walls to seperate them from other opinions, and those walls often take the form of control. Immature people feel the need for control--and personality type may play into this, but a mature Christian with a Type A Driven Personality will "subdue" their tendency to try to control evetryone and everything around them. Maybe the resurgence was a needed corrective to some tendencies in the SBC, although I still do not believe "the liberal threat" was as severe, extreme, or immanant as some others do; but needed or not, much of it was carried out lacking Christian maturity. And many of the folks behind it are as immature today as they were in 1980, and consequently, still feel threatened by differing opinions, and still compelled to control everyone and everything around them.

Back in the early 80's, before I heard my call into the pastorate, there was a new governor elected in my home state of Alabama. One morning, on the news, there was an announcement of his appointment of a new head of the state's ABC board. This fellow said, in an interview, that the state stores were not run very business-like, and that the reason was that "We have employees who have been with us 20 years or longer. But they don't have 20 years of retail experience. They have one year of retail experience that they have repeated 20 times." Some Christians are the same way: they may have been in the faith 20, 30, 50 years or more. But they don't have 20, 30, or 50 years of Christian growth, they have one year of growth they have repeated many, many times. Could that be why some are calling you names? I suspect it is.

davidinflorida said...

P R I D E .....

art rogers said...

Wade,

Because the word "liberal" has a very specific history among our denomination. It has been used to successfully remove many people from our fellowship and pave the road for those who use it to move into positions of power and influence with their opponents out of their way.

Why use it on you? In hopes that it will have the same effect.

Unfortunately (for them), those who use it are more open to the label than you are. What I mean is (and I will not use that label here) on certain issues, I see those throwing around the word themselves to be eisegeting Scripture and ignoring its fullest contexts. I am not talking "Higher Criticism," here - but an honest and plain reading of the Word. That's why the label will not stick. Moreover, that is why men of conviction will not run from this label.

By brandishing it in so cavelier a manner, those who use the term run themselves headlong into a wall.

Hang tough. I know you will.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

I think you asked a rhetorical question there, my friend. I say that for several reasons.

One is, you know all the possible answers. Protecting their turf, natural upset at their pet theology being threatened, argumentativeness, etc etc ad nauseum..

Second, I suppose to really know, you'd have to have some of whatever it is that's controlling them. Maybe God's done a work in your life where you don't think like that any more. I doubt you'd want to think like they do.

Third, if anyone is working on some secret agenda .. something that goes beyond simple obedience and always (and I mean always) doing the right thing ... then you aren't part of it. How could you understand it?

My dad always said "No good deed goes unpunished". So ... welcome to the "Living Proof Division" of Emmanuel-Enid ministries.

ps: If you needed to know, God would have told you loooooong ago.

He didn't. If that's true, do you really want to know?

Tim said...

I think it is part of the fundamentalist mindset. I'm speaking generically here, not calling any specific person a "fundy."

We see it horrifically clear in Islamic Fundamentalist. They are the posterchildren for this kind of thing. They narrow the parameters excruciatingly so, and then try to kill anyone that disagrees with them. They vilify the USA, and other countries they disagree with.

Now, thankfully, the fundamental extremists in our convention aren't as bad as the fundamental extremists in other religions. But, the same basice idealogy holds true. They can't but help to continue to narrow the parameters of cooperation. That is the very nature of the beast!

Since you seem to be the most visible pointman for the corrective against them, that makes you the guy with the biggest bullseye on his chest.

I'm sorry. Our best and greatest prophets are usually hurt the worse.

I'm praying for you.

Tim Dahl

Robert Hutchinson said...

What a ridiculous question. Isn't it obvious...because you are a liberal!

You'r crying in the desert for...

...a liberality of Christ's Lordship.
...a liberality of freedom of conscience.
...a liberaltity of open dialogue and healthy debate.
...a liberality of principled dissent.
...a liberality in the interpretation of 3rd tier doctrines.
...a liberality of cooperation with one another.
...a liberality of accountablity to the messengers of the SBC.
...a liberality of integrity in service to God and His people.

and it seems, a liberal amount of people are going out to the desert to hear what you're preaching. and that probably concerns the 'some & few.'

we need more liberals like that.

robert

phariseebuster said...

your over use of the word love for one. you use it so much about everything that it feels insincere.

Even thought you insist that you want to hear all sides etc you are very dismissive of opinions that differ from your own.

Must you tell is with every post how important you are and all the important people you hang out with?

Wade Burleson said...

Pharisee Buster,

It is your words that ring hollow behind anonymity.

If the phrase "I love ___ " sounds insincere to you, then I'm sorry.

I mean it.

LivingDust said...

Brother Wade,

Having been a reader and infrequent poster at your Blog for several months I have noticed that in all things you strive to take the "high road" and seek the "gentle and patient way" in handling the many posters who have visited your Blog. I have watched as some posters have "challenged" your patience and good will (me included). I do not recall you ever lashing out with bitterness and contempt for any of those who have thrown down stumbling blocks or made accusations.

You have been consistent in your motives for starting this blog. Your concern regarding the "narrowing of the parameters of cooperation in the SBC" is legitimate. Your desire to shine light on this issue and work towards it being properly and promptly addressed is legitimate. If you had any false and alterior motives they would have certainly come into the light after these many months.

It appears that you have been firm, yet gracious, in working through the difficulties and challenges that you have encountered in your work as an IMB trustee. On the floor of the SBC in Greensboro you did not lash out, expressing anger or resentment, you simply asked for an honest examination of the facts.

Based on my view from afar, all of this points to one thing - a Christ-like attitude and character.

You asked,"Why are some in the Southern Baptist Convention so angry toward me?" - Because you are insistent that we examine our motives and possibly face the conclusion that we, as a corporate body of believers, have instituted policies that are not scriptural and are wrong. Admitting that we are wrong and have made a mistake is painful. Even more, we are then obligated to identify a means to correct our mistake. Some folks get angry when someone comes along and insistently demands that we examine our motives, admit to honest mistakes and implement corrective action.

You asked, "And, why is it that a very vocal few now insist on calling me a liberal?" If they can get folks in the SBC family to believe that you are a "liberal" they can "neutralize" your influence and hinder your objectives. Why they would want to do this is only known to them.

Brother Wade - Press on, in love.

phariseebuster said...

Sorry you think my words seem hollow

i really mean them

Jeff Brock said...

Hey Wade,

I believe it's misuse of the word "liberal". By definition, to be a liberal, your views and actions would need to contradict the body, spirit, and sufficiency of scripture. To be a political liberal would mean to contradict the Constitution. The TEXTS are the basis for discerning what is liberal or conservative. However, the basis has been changed in the eyes of those who label you. The basis for their label is now their own belief system, which is much less scripture, and increasingly more tradition or private understanding. I was recently labeled a "heretic" and "cultic" at a former church because I taught the youth doctrines of grace, which competed against the teaching coming from the pulpit. When addressed by concerned parents, I shared with them that I taught their children "Biblical grace", in which they responded "we don't teach that in our home". I was perplexed. But the standard must be scripture, and we all must use the same standard, or labels become hollow, reactionary, and malicious. In that case, their standard was untruth of the pulpit, and wayward church practices. You ARE a liberal when it comes to others' misguided beliefs. You are CONSERVATIVE when it comes to the sufficient word of God! The basis is wrong, so the label is wrong. As others have said, take joy in the attack. There will come a day when a much higher percentage of true conservative, evangelic remnants will begin to bear the same labels, and already are.

Grace to you!
Jeff

B.L. said...

man oh man, i left the disciples church in hopes of getting away from the crap they "say" they live up to...i get to the SBC and there's just more crap to deal with...my campus minister and dear friend was correct and i was naive when he said "leaving one place's problems only gets you to the next places problems"...

Les Puryear said...

Wade,

If you will remember, I emailed you on 9/13/06 regarding this very question. As yet, you have not responded in detail to my email, so I will gladly go on record with the contents of the email via this venue. Sorry for the length of this comment. Here is the contents of my email to you on 9/13/06:

Wade,

Rather than continue to muddy up Marty Duren's blog, I thought I would just email you.

I don't agree with you on many things. I think it's important for you to understand a little bit
of where I'm coming from. You have said on your blog that it's all right if we don't agree.
You have also said on your blog that we should go to the person with whom we are in
disagreement first and discuss the matter with them. You said in your blog of August 13,
"Never question the sincerity of my Christian brother who upbraids me for writing what I write.
In his mind he is keeping the gospel 'pure.'"

You make these statements and then you chastise me for not agreeing with you.
You say talk to those with whom you disagree, and yet you say that you will not
dignify my posts with a response. It appears to me and many others, that you
do not practice what you preach. I'm not trying to criticize you. I'm being as honest
as I know how. You hold others to account about your view of good behavior and feel
offended when we hold you accountable.

This is how I honestly feel. And for the record, on my comment on Marty's blog,
I did not say that I have never called you a "liberal." Although I have not used the
word "liberal," I have called you a moderate. Why have I come to this conclusion?
Your own words on your blog sound like a moderate. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm just
telling you how you come across to a lot of us. Disingenuous. Self-righteous.
Martyr-complex. Thin-skinned. I am not trying to call you names. I am just
describing how you sound to a lot of us conservative baptists.

When you criticize others, like Dr. Patterson, you seem to enjoy the "attaboys"
from your fellow bloggers. But when some of us disagree with you, you seem to
get all bent out of shape. I am no Paige Patterson fan, but I respect him for
his leadership in the conservative resurgence. Has he gone too far? Yes, I think
so. However, that still does not give me the right to criticize him personally.

Right or wrong, you opened yourself up to both praise and criticism when you
started your blog. You seem to take the praise very well, but you're not as
gracious with those of us who disagree with you.

I tell you all this because I would like to see peace within our ranks. I'm sorry that
your wife was upset with some the things I have written. It is not my intention to
hurt your family, only to speak the truth as I see it. I know what it means to see
a wife hurt by criticism of her husband, the pastor. My wife has had to grow a very
thick hide to get through some of the challenges of being a pastor's wife.

As I said, I would like to see peace between us, but that's not going to happen
if you continue to reprimand SBC leaders in your blog. If you will cease and desist
criticizing SBC leaders, I will be very glad to cease and desist challenging you
in my blog. There are a lot of other things we can blog about such as the benefits
of Calvinism, the delight of Jesus, church polity: congregational vs eldership, etc.
I'm tired of having to defend the leaders that God has chosen to lead our convention.
I would like to go on to other things. How about you?

You say that I have sinned against you. I would like to understand your view a little
better about how you perceive that I have sinned against you. If disagreeing with
you is a sin, then yes, I'm guilty. However, I don't remember the Bible saying that
differences of opinion is a transgression against God's standard.

I have tried to state the issues as clearly and humbly as possible. Please
understand that these comments are merely expressing my view. But, hey,
we all see through a glass dimly, eh? :)


What do you say we call moratorium on criticizing each other and the leaders
of our convention?


Sincerely Yours,

Les Puryear

davidinflorida said...

I D O L A T R Y ........

phariseebuster said...

Excellent post Les - we'll see how long it is allowed to stay up.

John said...

Liberal is a name given to those who disagree with me because I am always right. Wade, I am surprised that you do not know the SBC leadership mantra.

Aquila Staff said...

Pharisee buster -

Your cloak of anonymity does not hide your bitterness.

And you bitterness is quite unbecoming.

Wade Burleson said...

Les,

Your posts have been particularly vitrolic toward me.

It's difficult to dialogue with a person who takes what I write, parses it, distorts it and then uses it to call for my removal as a trustee of the IMB for being a moderate.

Les, the spirit of this email is far better than anything you have posted on your blog.

I would challenge you to show anywhere that I have personally attacked anyone on my blog.

I have sought to address issues, focus on principle and accept everyone where they are --- including you.

What is difficult is when people, like you, call for my removal for simply being a voice of dissent.

Blessings, and I do appreciate the better spirit exemplified in your email.

In His Grace,

wade

Terry Hamblin said...

The thing about politics, whether it be local, national or church politics, is that somebody has to do it, and I'm always grateful when it doesn't have to be me.

After a lifetime spent trying to change things, here is a small piece of advice. You can make anything happen as long as you don't want to take the credit for it.

Alycelee said...

Phariseebuster:
That name in itself speaks volumns about the lengths you are willing to go to in judging others.
Selah

Tim Cook said...

Les,
I have a problem with the idea that we must not, ever, criticize our leadership. The standard for Christian life is the Word of God, not the leaders of men; that seems to be why we had a Reformation, and why we aren't all Catholic. Leaders "open themselves up" to criticism when they become leaders. If we see that they go astray from the precepts of the Word of God, it is not only right to criticise them, it is fitting. It is our duty. If this is done in a loving, concerned, manner without a spirit of hatred or personal attacks (as I have seen that Wade does things), it is right and fitting. If we can't criticize the leadership, then we should all still be Catholic.

In Christ,
Tim Cook

Alycelee said...

Tim,
Yes Amen
You said that so much better than I could have
Thanks

SWBTS Underground said...

Wade,

I have met people holding to the following positions:

1) Fully support you and Ben, and the desire to see different leadership at SBC and SWBTS.
2) Support your cause to maintain accountability among the leadership, but do not think the tent is being narrowed.
3) Support the movement to out all the personal failures or sins of Dr. Patterson; i.e. a personal cause.
4) Supported you until your alliance with those expressing a personal vendetta.
5) Support accountability but do not believe open dissent among brothers, aired to the public, is good for the Kingdom.
6) Believe you are a consevative with good intentions.
7) Believe you are a moderate with conservative leanings.
8) Believe you are a moderate with liberal sensitivities.
9) Believe your cause is not well-defined since there is no consensus on 2nd- and 3rd-tier issues.

and

10) Believe this entire debate is rich with SBC politics, American civil rights, Godly desires, and opinions, but bereft of Scriptural background and proof for many of the positions espoused here and on the other side: quote: "I have seen more Scripture invoked at a Yankee's game."

I have not MET anyone YET who thinks you are a liberal. But, it seems like those who believe that also are quiet about it. (Except the usual suspects in the blogosphere)

As an admonition to all who want to call names and motivations in defense of Wade: It is sin to ascribe wrong motives to another, especially a brother. "PRIDE," "IDOLATRY," fear, ignorance, etc. are not good things to be saying about brothers. You are guilty of the very thing Wade is decrying. A commentor on another blog mentioned his personal relationship with Eitel, and another with Patterson, and attested to their love for Christ. Additionally, Marty Duren made a strikingly accurate point when he said that both sides think they are on the right side- both, in other words, think they have God's backing and Dr. Page's pep talk in chapel was speaking to them. Both sides want to honor Christ, remember that. Both love Christ and His gospel. Methodology IS NOT Motivation, however wrong you think it is.

Light divides, surely. However, darkness has been known to masquerade as light. And there seems to be plenty of darkness that hides pure motivations on both sides.

phariseebuster said...

Aquila staff and Alycellee,

You have done nothing to change my mind/opinion.

sorry if you find that "unbecoming." truth sometimes is ugly especially those who do not wish to hear/see it.

Wade Burleson said...

SWBTS Underground,

Thanks for your comment.

I am puzzled as to how everything seems to keep coming back to Dr. P.

I only wish to discuss the issues, not the personalities.

I can't speak for anyone else.

TruthOfActs said...

Wade,
For a short answer, you’re experiencing the fruits of fundamentalists. For a longer and better answer, read Dilday’s book.
Rex Ray

Swbts Grad said...

Wade says: I believe that we have begun to narrow the parameters of cooperation within the SBC to exclude good, conservative evangelical Southern Baptists because they disagree on third tier doctrines that, at least historically, Southern Baptists have refused to divide over. As a result, we are losing sight of the main thing (the gospel) and fracturing over lesser doctrines.

I say;
First of all you bring this all on yourself for excluding the many true Southern Baptist believers who are classified as moderates. Did you not realize when you opened this Pandora's box that it might rear its ugly head and bite you too?
Secondly, Why don't we list third tier issues and discuss them? I know you would disagree but I consider inerrancy a third tier issue for two main reasons. 1) It assumes that we know what God wants concerning his word. We assume he wanted a "perfect, inerrant" book." This is inconsistent with what we KNOW about his word. He has nearly always used the imperfect to bring about his perfect will. I am glad He does because now I know he can use me. 2) It is at best a circular argument because we do not have access to the original autograph of scriptures. How can anyone say it is inerrant when we can't produce it? This also is a wrong assumption of the power of God. IF God wants inerrant work why don't we have inerrant copies? Can't God cause copiers to get it right? Isn't God powerful enough to cause this to happen? Since we can disagree with this issue and STILL be true believers in Jesus, doesn't that clearly regulate this issue to being a third tier issue? A non essential element of faith?
I call you brother and friend and I can agree with you that brothers in Christ should be able to love one another even if we disagree.

SWBTS Underground said...

Yes sir, I know your issue goes beyond Dr. P.

Consider:

1) You had much discussion involving him and the McKissic incident at SWBTS.

2) That SWBTS Chapel incident was used to illustrate your cause.

3) You were going to come to SWBTS chapel to see Dr. Page.

4) He has been the focal point in the discussions about the narrowing parameters at the IMB, going back to the White Paper about which there was much discussion on SBCOutpost ealier this year.

5) You have aigned yourself closely with Ben Cole, and he has been very vocal about his animosity towards Patterson.

6) I am a SWBTS Student, and, naturally, Dr. P is in our discussions a little more than if I was at SBTS.

Les Puryear said...

Wade,

I'm trying not to be vitriolic here. :) I'm trying to give you my point of view.

You say you love Dr. Patterson and yet you seemed very quick to decry his handling of the Dr. McKissic situation. It seems that I continually read criticism of Dr. Patterson here and at Ben Cole's blog ,as well as others who support you in this comment section. BTW, if you want an example of vitriolic, Ben's recent rantings seem to fit the definition of the word. Where is your concern of his anger?

I personally have no issue with criticizing SBC leadership when it's warranted. I just don't go looking for it. But it seems to me that you and your supporters are constantly on the lookout for any misstep Dr. Patterson may make.

I confess that I have been vitriolic at times. Just as Ben Cole says that he was disappointed by Dr. Patterson and is angry about it, I am probably guilty of the same attitude about you. I have documented via my blog my initial support of you and resultant disappointment which I won't repeat here. I think I'm working through some of that and your continued criticism of me as I try to dialogue with you in a more gentlemanly manner is not helping.

I disagree with Dr. Patterson on many issues, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

Your anger towards me is evident in your comments and that's understandable. My anger towards you has been evident in the past, but you have no understanding of it. You dismiss my anger as immature and hateful while it appears that you believe that yours and Ben's is justified. That's where many of us have issues.

I'll try once again to offer a moratorium on criticizing our SBC leadership, which will consist of my ceasing to criticize you if you and yours will cease to criticize Dr. Patterson. What say you?

Regards,

Les

yugaidemeht said...

Why are some in the Southern Baptist Convention so angry toward me? And, why is it that a very vocal few now insist on calling me a liberal?

When people begin to see themselves losing a grip of something they find so near and dear to their heart, they begin grasping at straws. You may be a straw that sticks out. Not as a sore thumb, but as someone who has had contraversy surround them and they point the finger in your general direction. Not directly at you, but in your direction. The onslaught of "persecution" that follows is sometime overwhelming. If this is indeed bothering you, rather than assume that they are angry, ask the toughest question that many people find tough to ask..."what is it about me that you find so liberal?"

Good luck we pray daily for your ministry!

davidinflorida said...

R E L I G I O N .........

Steve Young said...

Wade,
I write as one who graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1985. Because of my limited exposure before college I saw most who had a different view as liberal. I went on to Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. It was there that I discovered good, solid, inerrantists who did not use the KJV, were critical of extreme Dispentationalism, who were Calvinist, who had differing views on the Ordinances. I also learned that those who presently in leadership roles had a narrow view. MABTS grads were not considered as FMB missionaries without attending one of the SBC schools for a year. Associational Missionairies who steered churches away from MABTS guys, etc. I also saw our president, Dr. Gray Allison just march on, require chapel speakers not to criticize the SBC, agencies, or agency leaders. He promoted the Lottie Moon offering when the president of FMB would not accept an invitation to campus. I learned a lot about graciousness. I learned there are some issues that matter. I learned some of my college profs were very moderate, though most were soundly within SBC mainstream.
Sadly, MABTS was often found guilty by association. Some conservatives are mean spirited and divisive. I believe that you are often found "guilty" of the same thing. Some who blog here are known in other areas to be hostile to the resurgence. I also believe that over time, your "Grace and Truth" will be a positive for all in SBC. Sorry this long.
Steve

Kevin Bussey said...

Wade,

I believe the reason why you are called a "liberal" is because of "FEAR!" I know this because I used to do the same thing. If I was approached with something that made me feel uncomfortable it was easy to dismiss it as "LIBERAL." I talked about this on Friday on my site. I have given a new definition of liberal. I want to be liberal with my with love, compassion, grace and sacrifice.

What I fear is that people are worshiping the Bible and not worshiping the God of the Bible!

Les Puryear said...

Wade,

One more thing I would like to clear up. You said in your reply to my comment, "What is difficult is when people, like you, call for my removal for simply being a voice of dissent."

I have not called for your removal as an IMB trustee because of your being a voice of dissent. If you will read my blog carefully you will see that I have called for your removal because you have been open about the fact that you have reservations about BFM 2000.

My blog of Sept, 11, 2006 details my concern. As I said on that blog, if I have misrepresented your position, please let me know.

Regards,

Les

Alycelee said...

Les,
What say you about Tim's post?
You seemed irratated that Wade didn't respond to you post, well what about Tim's?
I thought it was timely in regard to your's, thoughtful, reflective in light of former post of Wade and others, so what say you?
Your opposition to what is going on here is more than evident in more than one of your post on your blog and in more than one lengthly post here as well. I'm afraid there are times when all of our "vitriolic slip" shows. I don't want that to be the case in this post. I really would like for us to GO Forward, and stop coming back to the same old issues and it seems we cover endlessly and the same people say the same things.
I do believe, like Tim there is room for discussion about how things are being handled. I have never seen that done by Wade in a mean spirited way, nor do I believe he has an agenda.
I'm asking you to please consider Tim's post, as I believe he was right on, and also please consider that perhaps Wade and other men who question the status quo in religious life are possibly not only sanctioned by God but also annointed by Him to do so, else we would be Catholic (to quote Tim again) :)
Thank you for your consideration.
Selah

davidinflorida said...

If its wrong to address fellow brothers and sisters in things such as pride, idolatry, fear, ignorance, etc as some have metioned by calling it sin, then Paul was the king of sin. What do you think he is doing in most of his letters? Does he say that everything is great and keep on keeping on or does he call a spade a spade. There are areas that need to be addressed and corrected......It needs to be done in the spirit of 1 COR 13 (LOVE) or it will fail...Does Wade conduct himself in this spirit on this blog? I believe he does and I believe that it is his intention.

Les Puryear said...

Alycelee,

Sorry but I guess I overlooked Tim's comment by mistake the first time I commented.

I believe that I did address his comment in my second comment when I said, "I personally have no issue with criticizing SBC leadership when it's warranted. I just don't go looking for it. But it seems to me that you and your supporters are constantly on the lookout for any misstep Dr. Patterson may make."

I appreciate your comments and please believe that I am not trying to duck any comments directed my way. I post under my name openly and honestly as you and most others do. If I overlook any others, please advise and I'll try to be as non-vitriolic as possible. :)

Regards,

Les

Alycelee said...

ALERT to all here
I just received what I believe to be a serious and potentially frightening (perhaps because I am female) post on my blog. This should NOT happen here. I should not have to fear my brothers.
I employed comment moderation alerts on mine but wanted to alert you about the comments that a certain "Phariseebuster" made on my blog that I have since erased. I am copying them here from my email. There are two. The first was in response to God healing me from a vision problem.

1. "It was surely by the grace of God that you did not KILL SOMEONE WITH YOUR SELFISH INSISTANCE THAT YOU DRIVE IN THAT CONDITION. Spare me your harping of "never too much love" when you are willing to put your fellow human being at risk because you want to "embrace your weakness."
2. phariseebuster (http://www.blogger.com/profile/30766145) has left a new comment on your post "The Great I AM (http:/themiracleofmercy.blogspot.com/2006/09/great-i-am_14.html) you hypocrite
I felt a warning was necessary.

farmboy said...

What you refer to as narrowing the parameters I refer to as modifying the doctrinal understandings upon which autonomous Southern Baptist churches agree to cooperate. The BF&M 2000 is the doctrinal understanding on which Southern Baptists have agreed to cooperate. Fundamental fairness requires that all parties respect this agreed foundation. To unilaterally, after-the-fact modify this agreed foundation – either by adding to it or by subtracting from it – is fundamentally unfair.

From this perspective, the IMB's requirements regarding baptism and private prayer language are unilateral, after-the-fact modifications of the BF&M 2000. Hence, these requirements are fundamentally unfair. If certain IMB trustees believe that the BF&M 2000 should be modified regarding baptism and private prayer language, then there are procedures for modifying the BF&M 2000. Fundamental fairness requires that these procedures be followed, that they not be short circuited.

In general, I agree with the IMB's requirements regarding baptism and private prayer language. But, that's immaterial. There are procedures for modifying the BF&M 2000, and they should be followed. If I were king for a day, I would substitute the second version of the London Baptist Confession for the BF&M 2000, but that's not how Southern Baptist procedure is supposed to work.

I wouldn't take it personally, because it's not you that they ultimately dislike – it's the notion of playing by the rules, of following agreements that they dislike. In this important sense "conservatives" and "liberals" can be frightfully similar: There are members of both groups who refuse to let respect for agreed upon rules and procedures stand in the way of the ends they pursue. By modifying the BF&M 2000 aren't certain IMB trustees frightfully similar to Southern Baptist seminary faculty who attest to their agreement with the Abstract of Principles yet teach and write in a way that is inconsistent with the Abstract of Principles?

Tim Cook said...

alycelee,
you are right, that was uncalled for, and not just because you are a female. Shame on people who post this way.

phariseebuster said...

Nice that you left out the part of the post that inspired my comment.

your post states:
"My vision was bad, one eye was turning inward, I had to drive with one eye closed because people or cars seemed to be jumping out front of me. I could hardly see. My vision was extremely blurred and I was seeing spots."

My comment was:
It was surely by the grace of God that you did not KILL SOMEONE WITH YOUR SELFISH INSISTANCE THAT YOU DRIVE IN THAT CONDITION. Spare me your harping of "never too much love" when you are willing to put your fellow human being at risk because you want to "embrace your weakness."


You left a not-so-nice post on by blog but when the favor is returned you cannot handle it.

You are just like Wade: Can dish it out but not take it.

This is my last post on this blog.

Wade: you are a power hungry self-imagined martyr.

"selah": Whatever

Les Puryear said...

Alycelee,

Shame on phariseebuster. He sounds like the Pharisee.

He does not speak for me or anyone I know.

Blessings!

Les

Wade Burleson said...

AlyceLee,

Thanks for the alert. I will let Mr. Eric Stone know that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.

Justin said...

I am Not an inerranrist

I belileve the Bible to ba authoratative, sufficient, undeniably essential to our Christian lives, but not infallible and with the possibility of human error in several ways.

I am Southern Baptist by heritage, but only Baptist by choice. I refreain from referring to myself as a Southern Baptist, because the Southern Baptists will not allow me to believe that which i believe has been revealed to me through personal revelation throught my years.

I believe in many doctrines of the Christian faith, Some fundamental, some non-fundamental and non-traditional, and many historically traditioal baptist doctrines (hence why i'm baptist by choice).

I do not have fond feelings for the SBC.

I have a Christ-like love for all people, but dissagree heavily with many of fthe SBC leaders on many issues and tactics and am not fond of those types of people. However, I do not hate them, I love them.

I love people, be they SBC, ABC, Methodist, Prsbyterian, or catholic. I may not always agree with them, and they may not always agree with me, but i seek to form relationships with these people no matter the differences.

Honestly, I am pessimistic about the future of the SBC. However, there is a small area of hope kept in my heart for the future of this orginization. That hope centers around the idea of the SBC reevalluating itself and centering itself back along the lines of traditional Baptist beliefs. However, There are too few people like you wade, who are trying to make that happen.

I am not in a position of leadership withing the SBC hierarchy, and honestly do not want to be. I will never serve in any national leadership role because honestly, the power-players would never let me because i do not use words like inerrancy and infallibility simply for starters.

I love Missionaries, and hold them in high reguards. They are brave people with a special heart and willingness that is rare today! I do however, worry about them because of the limitations continually placed on them by the SBC (such as signing the creedal BF&M) I pray for them and that they will do whatever is needed to minister effectivly in their situations, even if it means breaking their signed vows.

I say all this to say that Wade, you are not a classical liberal! In fact, classically speaking, I am not a liberal. I believe in the divinity of Christ, in his saving grace for all the world, and in the love he has for all of his creation. I think that rules out any classical religious catagories of being a liberal.

However Wade, prehaps you are a liberal in the more popular, secular sense:
adjective 1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
--Dictionary.com

That my friend is not a bad label. From what i've read I think you might qualify.

However, as has already been mentioned, you are being labeled "liberal" in a condescending sense. I agree with many that this is caused by fear, pride, and power.

However, psychology tells us that we berate others to make ourselves feel better. The ones labeling you as a liberal are scared that perhaps you just might be closer to being more Baptist, and more Christ-like than they are. Labeling you in the negative immidiatly allows them to label themselves in a positive light.

The question is, how does the label effect you? How do you chose to view the label? you can either accept the label, redefine it in a positive light, and wear it with pride, or continue to get bogged down in the sidebar of name-calling and lose focus on your true goals.

If you BELIEVE that God has called you to the purpose that you seem to state through this Blog site, then use the label as a ralley call. Use the label to be revolutionary, as the dictionary definition suggests.
Using those terms to define liberal, it might just be said that Jesus was a liberal too. You know, if it was ok for him, i don't think it's so bad for me either!!

Although we may not agree, I do wish you luck, encouragement and love in your mission. Perhaps if there were more people like you in the SBC, i wouldn't be as pessimistic, and would trade sides to the optimistic!

Dale Huckabay said...

Those who intend to love one another even in disagreement will have to find some way to do it while not insisting on their own way, withtout irritation or resentment, while bearing and enduring all things (I assume that would include things aimed at oneself in negative ways and things with which one would disagree), and do so with long-suffering endurance. Other ways may be exciting, provocative, cheer-inducing, or otherwise satisfying but they won't be right. I'm not really trying to be Holier-than-anyone since I don't have a dog in this hunt but in the past when I have been more personally involved I have created for myself regrets that outweigh the satisfaction I got then by being "right". Still have some of the regrets but none of the satisfaction.

Wade Burleson said...

Farmboy,

Well said.

Thanks for the comment.

Alycelee said...

Is that who that was?
I know whoever it was they are in Virginia because I have their isp and city/state.
I'm shocked that a brother would behave that way.
Totally shocked and I'm way too old to be naive.
He had a blog up and immediately took it down.
Please tell me he is not a pastor.

SWBTS Underground said...

Ahh, ISPs. Reminds us that there is always someone in the know- always. I will say this about Wade- he knowing who I am- or should know- would never give me up if the gestapo came to him to reveal my identity. He is a man of conviction. I admire that greatly.

foxofbama said...

Did you go to Bridge BBQ in Shelby NC while just up the road in NC when you visited Spartanburg?
If you did to the degree you loved the vinegar slaw, you are a conservative. I am that much a conservative, cause I like good conservative BBQ.
You should go back to Sburg and get a better grip on the WMU. If you had gone 25 miles east to Furman, and learned of the authentic baptist legacy of LD Johnson then your pilgrimage woulda had new opportunities.
Pastor Bill Thornton sheds new light courtesy of Ben Cole on Paige Patterson today in the SBC threads at www.bl.com
So this liberal/fundy divide in Baptist life is a curious thing.
For me the real workable definition is will you play ball with the takeover leaders Pressler adn Patterson and Ronnie Floyd, now Mohler etc. If you do not, your conservative credentials are suspect. You are suspect to the degree you affirm Frank Page and the IMB leader. Ben Cole makes that clear in his recent revelations from conversations with Joel Gregory

Wade Burleson said...

AlyceLee,

He is not a pastor.

Thank the Lord.

David L. Miller said...

I think the root of your problem is your choice of college football teams.

It costs you credibility and influence on other issues.

Wade Burleson said...

David,

President David Boren is requesting the NCAA to not allow the OU - Oregon game to count in the official records.

Go figure.

However, the former head of the CIA, President of Oklahoma Baptist University, and Governor of Oklahoma is quite connected. It just came across our television stations a few minutes ago.

Lee said...

I don't understand it either.

I don't see anything in your list of essential doctrines that I would disagree with. I don't know any of the SBC leaders personally, but I was in Sunbeams and then in all the levels of RA's all the way through my senior year in high school and I was taught to pray for the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, a practice I have kept up on pretty much a daily basis, even though I may not always agree with what they say or do.

Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ is easy. But we are called by Christ to love our enemies, too. Why would any other Southern Baptist Christian be our enemy?
Even if we can't reconcile our differences, shouldn't we still be loving people with the love of Christ? I don't see that you've done anything to deserve what has happened to you.

Even if you had publicly proclaimed a doctrinal view that was seriously out of line with the BFM2000, accusations and name calling would not be the Christ-like way to handle it. There is a biblical principle that should be followed in seeking resolution, and then, a convention-approved procedure for handling it.

I do have one little problem with you, Wade. I hear you've been hopping around Texas. If you came to Houston, and you didn't come by here, you missed out on a free lunch. Sorry, I don't play golf. If you do get down this way, the lunch invitation still stands, as long as you don't wear anything that says OU on it! ;-)

IN HIS NAME said...

sWade.
IMHO I believe your true Brothers and Sisters are with you. Our Sword (The Word) is our defense for God's Glory. We are not of this world. Out of Texas in Santa Barbara visiting our M Son and Grandchildren.
You and Your's are in our Prayers

IN HIS NAME Wayne

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

One other thing: Dad always said "Pleasing everybody pleases nobody."

Maybe some folks just don't want everybody to be pleased. Or loved. Or respected.

yugaidemeht said...

Wade -
All I can think of is a little fictional book that changed my perspective on church issues. Ever read This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti? I know it seems silly to ask in a this bloggosphere of theological yadda, yadda, yadda.....but seriously our stuggle is as it is written Ephesians 6:12. Satan and his dominion perform sneak attacks frequently. I have been a fan of your ministry since I was a teenager, and now as an adult I respect you now more than ever. I tell my fourth grader students that pointing fingers means there are some pointing back. We are praying for you!

Melanie

p.s. I am using my husbands blog account here because I couldn't resist responding.

dwm III said...

Wade,

There are a few things that bother me about this discussion (not with you Wade, but with comments)

1) No one has yet defined what a liberal is.

2) Others decry that if one uses the term is is just out of "fear" (Sorry Kevin yours is the one I remember).

So, what is a liberal? Though some have attempted to define it none have given an adequate definition.

Any takers?

Thanks Wade,
dwmiii

RM said...

I just read through all the comments and it is somewhat amazing to me that Christian brothers and sisters can say such things to each other. I have never seen Wade respond in any way other than a Christ-like manner but for people to say they are angry with him (over a blog no less!) and then some of the other hate filled comments is more than I can comprehend. Sounds to me like some people need to do some serious repenting and asking for forgiveness. Folks, a BLOG isn't worth this kind of ungodly behavior.

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Wade, I have been a Southern Baptist all my life. I grew up south of Ft. Worth. I have seen all the political stuff for years and yes I have seen it on both sides. I realize that you may not agree or like this next statement but when I read it, I am reading the words I heard in the seventies and some in the early eighties and they came from the mouths of those who called themselves Moderates or Liberal. Notice I said "who called themselves". You may be geniune in your love for the Lord and people and this not debated. Your words however, show a leaning that is indeed within the self described leanings I mentioned above. I am not questioning your christianity nor your spirituality. I am just pointing out why you are labeled. For us who grew up in the middle of it - it is obvious.

Jacob Jones said...

Wade,
I am new to ministry (at least the officially “employed” side of it). I have recently asked the same question after some problems with parents of the children in the youth group I lead. This parent doesn’t like the way that I am leading, but I am doing my best following the direction of the LORD. It had me really down.
This morning I was studying in I Samuel 8 and found a passage that gave me a new perspective. It isn’t my leadership that the parent is rejecting, it is God’s.
You, your family, and ministry are in my prayers.
Jacob

Mike said...

Wade,
Why did you remove my post? It did not say anything confidential. You were a member of the Central Asia subcommittee; you have stated that yourself. I used no names of the missy or gave any particulars of the situation nor will I ever do that to anyone. I merely illustrated a point that you are the consumate politician and have alterior motives with Cole and others. The manner in which you handled the issue at hand that we both are keenly aware of was excellent politics but poor oversight as a trustee. Time is an excellent source of information.

CharlesRam said...

A liberal is someone who denies the divinity of Jesus Christ.

CB Scott said...

Wade,

I think people call you a liberal because they are afraid to call you what you really are:

A STINKIN HIPPIE:-)

Pastor Brad said...

Wade,

I am truly sorry if those things are happening to you and your ministry. I am sure they hurt you and confuse you.

I often find myself in disagreement with the particulars of your point of view and with your methods, but I respect you and love you as a fellow brother in Christ and as a fellow preacher of the Word. I have listened to two of your sermons and was blessed by both and in agreement with both. They certainly did not sound liberal to me.

If I have communicated an anger toward you in past comments, that was not my intent and I apologize if they came out that way. I often sensed anger or shortness in your responses, which was frustrating, but it is often difficult to determine intent over a medium such as this.

You and I have honest disagreements over methods, but they should not break our bonds of fellowship in Christ, and if others have hated you and attacked you personally, then God will judge them.

I have every reason to believe that your intentions are good, and you desire the best for the SBC. The SBC is certainly big enough for you to be in it. I pray that God will bless you, your family, and your ministry at Emmanuel. May many people come to Christ through your faithfulness. Your Father knows your heart. Your ministry is to him, not to us and not to the SBC. Rest in that.

God bless.

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

They are threaten by you, because you do not bow to their "authority."

Charlie said...

Wade
I think the "Blog" has lost it's usefulness. Too much hatred being
demonstrated. The Gospel is the Good News. Too many of the same responders giving too many personal opinions. Some need their own blog. Carefully see if the Spirit of the LORD is really in the blogs. Satan is the divider. JESUS is the unifyer. I do pray for you daily and I appreciate what you have done. I am addicted to the blog,but, I think it is time for me and a lot others to give it a rest.

GOD bless
Charlie of Gainesville

irreverend fox said...

Wade,

I can not believe that you don't understand this.

1. you do not swallow everything
2. you question "authority"
3. you are consistant in the face of inconsistancy
4. you are not a leagalist
5. you have been Christlike

6. at the end of the day you are right and they are wrong. they have nothing else to use to refute your position. when all else fails assisinate character. (I do it all the time, it works! (wink))
7. you have not backed down

next question.


Gary

ps
I honestly don't believe for a second that you are unaware of these things.

SBC Layman said...

Wade,

I tend to prefer davidinflorida's one word remarks: Pride, Idolatry, Religion.

However, I think those are actually symptoms. From the guidance of scripture we know that hearts are deceitful. I think we are deceived by Satan or our sinful flesh into believing we are actually protecting God's kingdom.

Deception is very subtle and something we all are susceptible to and usually impossible to detect in oneself.

Troy

irreverend fox said...

dwm,

it is because we have "no creed but Christ" that there IS NO answer to your question, not in this context. until the sbc adopts some form of an actual creed it is not possible to make such a distinction.

for me, anyone who denies the Apostles and Nicene Creed plus in addition to that deny innerrancy-infalibility-sola scriptura AND sola fida are LIBERAL (and yes I say that word LIBERAL with a growl)

mark sims said...

Bro. Wade,

It seems to me that any attempt to answer your two questions (except for one who is in fact angry w/ you and who does in fact believe you to be/call you liberal) would
border on conjecture and presumption. Having read all the comments confirms that for me.
So I won't attempt to do answer them (especially since I am in no position to do so). But I (will eventually) have a question for you.
I have paid attention to your ministry since just after you came back to SCBA to help FBC Holdenville overcome some serious Landmarkish issues. It was not too long after that I was called to the area. I heard about the meetings, read your pamphlet, and I think I even read some minutes from the meetings (may be imagining that one). I have paid attention as you preached at Falls Creek and some on staff there ridiculed you because of your (shared) doctrinal beliefs and assumed ego-centricism. I have paid attention as you took leadership in the BGCO and handled that role very well. Now that I am in TX and attending SWBTS I still am paying attention thru your blog.
Never have you struck me as the type of Christian leader who would be flustered by criticism. So my question is this: what (if anything) has changed?
There are some whose knee-jerk reaction is to shout, "Liberal!" at every point of disagreement. Others shout, "Fundamentalist fascist!" every time someone suggests we slow down and think things through.
I'm young and nowhere near as wise and patient as I think I should be, but I am learning that I don't like either battle-cry -- and I certainly don't want to be one who shouts that way. But I can't do anything about what others shout.
What has happened that has caused such (seeming) concern for the cries of others? Isn't wisdom known by her children?

Just wondering,

mark sims

Wade Burleson said...

Mike,

Internal matters of IMB committees should not be discussed by you.

Further, I have no clue what issue to which you refer, and since you are not a trustee, if you think you have knowledge of an "issue" covered within the committee, then somebody on the IMB is violating confidentiality. Your post was deleted for that reason.

Wade Burleson said...

Pastor Brad,

Thanks for your kind comment and the spirit I sense from it.

I mean it.

Thanks.

wade

Wade Burleson said...

Mark Sims,

Good thoughts.

IMBLITS said...

Wade, your blog is "too great a temptation" to me. I thought I had put the disappointments of the last 25 years behind me but I am remembering anew the agony caused by men who were held up to be "living giants of the faith," but conducted themselves and the convention's business in a manner that reflected something far different. I know I don't have to read but I see a glimmer of hope. Thanks.

Stephen Pruett said...

Wade, Why do you attract vitriol? I am not sure, but I wrote a series of letters to some of our SBC leaders and was told by one among other things that my exegesis was "twisted" and that when he had time he would write a book to prove it. However, he had no answers for three or four simple questions I asked that represent problems for his view that need to be refuted for his view to be viewed as definitive.

My natural human response to this was anger. However, I have slowly come to a realization that has helped me to perhaps understand and hold a less critical view of him in some ways (I still am not impressed with his arguments on the issue we discussed). Some of the issues we are dealing with here involve deeply held beliefs about which some people are very passionate. Wade, you are obviously passionate about preventing further narrowing of the parameters of cooperation, and I am also. However, others are equally passionate in their belief that "creeping" charismatic practices or diluting doctrinal standards on issues like baptism are a real danger. Dr. Mohler and others have been quite effective pointing out the dangers of the rampant relativism and post-modern thinking in our culture, and some are so concerned regarding this that they will not settle for anything less than absolute certainty (TRUTH) on every issue.

In any case, I have recently found that I can more easily relate with people like this and hold them in higher regard in my own mind if I just remind myself that they are simply passionately attached to beliefs about which I mostly agree with them (e.g., the negative aspects of relativism and post-modernism).

I must confess that I have had a rather negative opinion of one Baptist Theologue, because I disagree so strongly with some of his opinions. However, to his credit, he has kept the discussion with me at least on the issues and has not made disparaging personal remarks. On the contrary, sarcasm and obvious irritation has crept into some of my replies to him. My passionate belief that the course of action he favors will harm the SBC and the cause of Christ prompted me to rationalize the ill will I had for him. I think now I can see that this may also be happening to some of those who have been your main detractors. It is hard for me to clobber them too severely for this now that I have admitted I did it too!

To your credit, I think you have been very careful to avoid personalizing and to discuss issues. Sometimes it is impossible to discuss issues without mentioning the person involved. In those cases, I do not think we should remain silent but that we should take care to attribute honorable motives to those with whom we disagree. I don't want this to sound like I am giving you advice, if anything, I have learned from you as you remained calm about comments that would have sent me over the edge. I am really just sharing my personal experience for whatever it might be worth.

One more point, none of this means that we should be tolerant of genuinely and apparently purposely hurtful comments (e.g., Mr. Eric Stone's). Passion can't be used as an excuse for stuff like that.

P.S. Baptist theologue, if you are out there, I want to apologize for having disliked you (based solely on my disagreement with your posts) and my somtimes sarcastic responses to your posts. I still don't agree with you and have not been swayed by your arguments, but I admire your passion and your RELENTLESS pursuit of your points. Temptation is always around. I was about to write a final sentence chiding you for your anonymity. However, I re-read one of my statements above and decided that perhaps I should just assume that you have legitimate reasons for remaining anonymous.

WTJeff said...

Wade,

It seems that both opponents and proponents of your blog have lost their cool to some extent on this one. Though I have an undergraduates degree in business, I have no formal religious education other than what some Christlike men I respect have recommended I read. One thing that seems to be fairly prevelent in all the blogs I've read is a lack of humility when it comes to our fallible interpertations of God's infallible Word. We seem to think we have the market cornered sometimes on third tier issues and when someone questions our interpretations, many seem threatened or genuinley upset that their position isn't validated. Rather than seeing that anothers interpretation is coming from a sincere heart, attacks on a persons integrity or assumptions about their character are made. Again, IMHO it seems their is a lack of humility when approaching God's Word.

I've made so many mistakes in my life - ones so big many would question my commitment to Christ - that the Lord has made it almost impossible for me to cast stones. I'm one messed up pup. Thankfully our God specializes in making masterpieces out of train wrecks.

Wade, you've taken a stand that puts you on an island and I truly admire the grace God has given you.

Keep standing up for the truth in love.
Grace,
Jeff Parsons
Amarillo, TX

SWBTS Underground said...

Davidinflorida,

1) You are not Paul, speaking with the authority of the Holy Spirit; i.e. Paul's position was God's, and to reject Paul's interpretation was to reject God's interpretation. Do you take the same stance on authority in your words?

2) SBC leaders include presidents, professors, engineers and orchestrators, etc. Each of those who disagree with Wade to a point that his actions have perhaps made them angry, for whatever reason, you have called prideful, idolatrous, fearful, ignorant, etc. i.e. "If they don't agree, it must be sin."

Many are angry who have refrained from labeling. That is what I suspect [caution- speculation only] hurts in this. It is one thing to have the fringe disagree and call you names, but another to have men you respect be angered over your actions which you whole-heartedly believe in.

3)

colinm said...

SBC leadership- this includes many high profile individuals. On the basis of narrowing parameters and authoritative takeover, I see one soul above mentioned Dr. Mohler.

Does all the name calling apply to him as well? Is he considered to be one of the men narrowing parameters in the SBC?

SWBTS Underground said...

That is usually how my exams end as well!

Baptist Theologue said...

Stephen, you said,

"I was about to write a final sentence chiding you for your anonymity. However, I re-read one of my statements above and decided that perhaps I should just assume that you have legitimate reasons for remaining anonymous."

I identified myself in a comment on Wade's post of August 30th ("Decide for Yourself"). My name is Mike Morris. Thanks for your kind words.

BT out.

Baptist Theologue said...

P.S.: Stephen, I have a blog if you want to interact on some other stuff.

OStatePhil said...

Wade,

You are a “conservative” Christian, but I have trouble calling you a conservative Southern Baptist. There is a difference between a conservative Christian and a conservative Southern Baptist.

A conservative Southern Baptist CRINGES when he hears that Jesus drank wine, STRUGGLES to admit that problems may exist in the church (or in the Republican party), and would NEVER be caught watching anything other than the 700 Club with Pat Robertson.

Just remember that the problem can be found in how these labels are defined and not in the theology that you hold to. Quit trying to be a conservative Southern Baptist. You can be a Southern Baptist, and you can be conservative….but mixing the two labels can be mighty dangerous.

Phil

Bryan Riley said...

I know my own blasted sin nature and think of Paul's heart cry in Romans 7 and the words in Jeremiah 17. Perhaps that is the reason for the folly.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.

It is so humbling and frustrating and disappointing in my own life, whenever I become angry with my children, impatient with my wife, overwhelmed with silliness like others' poor driving... how in the world can i expect to be nice to people much less important in my life than my family? Nevertheless, I too am amazed at the vitriol that takes place on the blogs among alleged Christian brothers and sisters. It doesn't reflect well the love of Christ in our hearts.

I had to create a nonbeta blog so that I could post. I wish everyone would go beta! I understand it will be compelled at some point.

Bryan, http://charisshalom.blogspot.com is my active blog

A 10-40 Window Missionary said...

Wade,

OK, fair is fair...we could ask you any question we wanted, so you should (and did), ask us a question you wanted. I only wish I were as adept at debating as many who chose to answer your questions...and so very good answers were posted. Unfortunately, some rather poor answers were also posted.

My answers, I will answer your questions with questions. What is it you are doing that is so threatening to people that they resort to playground mentality? First, name calling, then lies, then slander. What next, will you be challenged to a third grade fist fight after school? And why, because people are small and can only make themselves bigger by trying to bring you down. My advice is to handle it as we did in high school. Have a drag race through town, winner take all. That would be the mature, Christlike way to resolve it. Don't try to talk about it or love Wade, when he refuses to fight, but only be loving and gracious to those who would try to sully him.

Nomad said...

In response to your original question, way back up at the top... My answer is "because we are on THIS side of Heaven."

blessedman said...

Who? Who, when, and where? Who, when and where were you labeled liberal?

Wade Burleson said...

Blessed Man,

I refer you to my friend Marty Duren's blog and comment 43 for a few examples.

Bob Cleveland said...

Someone needs to write a new C&W tune:

"If You Love People That I Don't Love, Then I Ain't Gonna Love You"

Seems lots of folks already been singin' it.

davidinflorida said...

Dear underground,... I never said I was Paul. As a matter of fact, I am the worst person on this blog. Wade asked a question, and I gave him my answers. Pride, Idolatry, and Religion are a few of the subjects that I sin in every day. With GODS grace I am able to deal with it correctly.......This is not name calling. When someone in a position of authority has a pride, idolatry or religion issue , they need to recognize it and correct it. That is why Paul wrote about these issues (sins) so long ago.......I hope that you dont think that leaders of the SBC dont deal with sin. That is why we are commanded to pray for those in a position of authority daily.

Donald said...

I appreciate your openness on the blog. I do need to take your football team to the woodshed a bit though. They are being hypocritical in calling for their game to be overturned due to poor officiating. I wonder if the president of the school is willing to give UAB the win after that poor officiating. :)

To answer your question. I believe that anytime someone questions the establishment, you are going to have some who feel threatened. Often, those who feel threatened will go to interesting measures to silence opposition.

Keep up the good work!

yugaidemeht said...

I agree with Donald!

miriam plowman said...

Wade –

“Why are some in the Southern Baptist Convention so angry toward me? And, why is it that a very vocal few now insist on calling me a liberal?" Although these are the questions on your heart right now, perhaps they are the wrong questions. It is hard to fathom why Followers of the Lord Jesus Christ hurt and strike out at one another with such fervor at times.

The real question perhaps… “Who is the “enemy” and what did you do to put yourself in his sights?”

We never really lose sight do we that our “war” is not against flesh and blood, mere humans – but against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places? The battle is fought in this spiritual realm. And to some extent the physical reality is but a shadow, a reflection of the fight that is waged.

A great tactic of the TRUE enemy is division. God calls us to stand in one spirit, to contend with one mind. Satan will use friendly fire, people, buildings, words, definitions, money, influence, all kinds of things to bring division to the body. WHY he even uses “worship.” Like our “worship wars” of today. What will historians write of us, the history of the American church? I came across a quote the other day where a guy was talking about contemporary music. He said I don’t like contemporary music. He said it’s shallow. It’s repetitive. He said in fact the guys that write it, the only reason they write it is so they can make money. He was an American preacher. He was writing in the early 1700’s about Isaac Watts – hymnal.

The enemy wants to divide us so he can conquer us, so he can keep us from forging ahead in unity. We recognize that Satan wants to divide the body of Christ. He always has. He knows he can’t stand against the unified body of the Lord Jesus Christ. He’s got that much sense. He’s seen it marching across eternity. So he wants to divide us.

We know who the enemy is.

What did you do to put yourself in his path? OH Wade any number of things. Praying faithfully. Teaching the Word. Standing in the gap that God called you to. Serving as He has appointed you. I’d even be so pointed as to say you stood up for some missionaries in West Africa – God’s calling to them and their faithfulness in service. Satan wants as many missionaries called back off the field as he can get. As well as keeping as many from answering the call as he possibly can. Call it Satan’s “narrowing” – the enemy would like to narrow the path and those pointing to the “narrow way” (i.e. our gate to Jesus) right out of existence. Yeah, I’d say you have done and continue to put yourself into the enemy’s sights.

Well, praise God for that! I’m not even going to pray people stop calling you names. I’m not going to pray for your protection from them or from the battle. I’m going to pray that by God’s grace, His hand and His power alone He will stir within you the passion, the discipline, the calling to be a really really dangerous Christian. Fight the fight. Face the True enemy. And never forget who you are and whose you are! And may the Kingdom, the Church feel the impact and God receive the Glory.

SWBTS Underground said...

Davidinflorida-

To clarify, Wade asked why people are not agreeing with him. He asked why people get angry over certain issues. He asked why some have labelled him as liberal.

Your answer: sin, which equals pride in seeing your viewpoint as in the right (non-sinful one) and theirs in the wrong (sinful one).

The truth of the matter is that there are no good guys and bad guys here. Cojnsequently, each side has valid points. It is too bad that this devolved into a "we-they" siege movement.

Mike said...

A quote from Miriam, "I’d even be so pointed as to say you stood up for some missionaries in West Africa – God’s calling to them and their faithfulness in service."

Too bad you did not do the same when you were on Central Asia subcommitte. Instead you played politics and that is what some are seeing you do today. Truth will come out in the end--and it already is in the CA matter.

v domus said...

Perhaps I Timothy 3:15 holds the answer.

davidinflorida said...

Dear underground,.... your responce shows that you dont get my point. Its a spiritual issue, sin is the root. It doesnt mean that they are bad guys... That is what I said.... Stay in school

SWBTS Underground said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SWBTS Underground said...

Davidinflorida,

Likewise, your response shows you don't understand mine.

Spiritual issue with sin as the root? The spiritual issue is that they don't agree with Wade. Nothing in his question indicates they have sinned. You inferred that.

I haven't degenerated in my comments by being condescending to you. I would enjoy the same courtesy.

davidinflorida said...

Dear underground, This is my opinion,.... sin is the root of the problems. When people cant accept, or search for the truth, then there is a problem, and sin is at the root. Yes, can you believe it, SIN. All of us sin, its how you deal with it that determines the outcome. PRIDE, IDOLATRY, and RELIGION is what ( I ) see. I am done with this post........

Kevin Holmes (and still baptist by conviction) said...

Wade,

They are angry because some one dared not only to believe that the "emperor has no clothes" but, that you found a way to circumnavigate the controls of the various baptist news outlets to get your voice heard.

The controllers on both sides are more shaken than I've ever seen. It's the same tactic used by both sides of the isle for years. If you can't silence the voice, destroy the speaker's credibility. To use the Star Trek analogy, you must be assimilated or destroyed.

Secondly, they call you "liberal" because that's the worst thing they can think of to call you. If they call you "moderate" there is a self-identified group of people who would take you in as one of them, thus giving you credibility and "safe habor". But, to brand you as "liberal" almost assures you to be ostracized by both sides of the isle.

Ellis said...

Wade:

Habit. They've been doing it for more than 25 years to anyone who disagrees with them on any point. It's their modus operandi. It's all they know to do, and it has worked.

As a Baptist pastor, if you can label me "liberal," and get enough people to believe you, then you have effectively ruined me. No one will call me to their church and no one will listen to me.

That's what they want to do to you. They want to shut you up. It has worked in the past. I pray it doesn't work with you.

If it's any consolation ... there have been many great and Godly men who have been assasinated and burned at the stake in the past twenty years (on both sides, I'm sure), by these tactics.

From what you have written, I sense that they are building the bonfire under you right now. Labeling you a liberal is the first step. If they say it often enough maybe people will start to believe it.

I'm praying for you.

Jim Paslay said...

A liberal is one who denies the divinity of Christ. There were examples of such beliefs within this convention before the Conservative Resurgence.

One such example is the late Robert Alley, Professor of Religion at University of Richmond, who said to athiests at a Universalist church in Richmond, "I see Jesus as really a Jew. I don't imagine for a moment that he would have had the audacity to claim the deity for himself. I think the passages where he talks about the Son of God are later additions--what the church said about him."

The common denominator for most liberals is a very low view of Scripture. They deny the miracles, they pass off Genesis 1-11 and other important passages as fable or fiction. They use higher criticism to bastardize the Word of God.

What I am hearing among some on this blog is an attempt to equate 3rd tier theological issues of today with 1st tier problems that were clearly evident in the 1970's and the 1980's. They are not the same. I don't believe that men of God like Adrian Rogers, Jimmy Draper, and others resorted to name calling because of fear or some power hungry attempt to hijack the convention. The attempt by some in this blog to equate the issues of today with the theological problems of the past is absurd.

If you are still upset about the Conservative Resurgence, may I suggest some Prozac and group therapy with some Mainstream Baptists.

Light Horse said...

Pastor Burleson,

I have a few observations on the situation that help me deal with things.

1. The warfare metaphor. It is really unfortunate that much in sbc life has become a battle with fairly rigid ideology for being on whichever is the proper side. Maybe folks are looking for a new fight?

2. A Baptist form of "the politics of personal destruction" that has been ruinously common in US partisan politics. It bothers me that there seems to be some need to destroy and discredit opponents.

3. The felt need for control. I wonder if we model a lot more of the way we do things on Jack Welch than on the 1st century church, but I'll defer to the preachers to know what the 1st century was like.

4. Maybe there is sort of a let down after 20ish years of conflict?

I grew up thinking that tithes went to tell unreached folks about Jesus on the premise that 1,000 churches could pool their resources and do more good together than any one could do alone.

I think your call for transparency is worthwhile and laudable. Maybe God is using you to help the convention lay down its arms as enemies and come to the table as brothers? I hope that is what the Lord is doing and that continues giving the strength turn the other cheek.

Ellis said...

Jim,

You missed the point. I agree with you on your definition of a "liberal," and I agree that there was an extremely tiny minority of folks in the old SBC who fit that description, and I agree they needed to be ousted.

But, in the process, many good and Godly and conservative men(like Wade) were also labeled as "liberal," simply because they would not bow down to the agenda.

And as far as letting go ... again ... you missed the point. The point is that they are STILL DOING IT. If they weren't still doing it there would be nothing to write about. Everything would be great. But, obviously, its not.

ellis

sembrador said...

Pastor Wade,

I appreciate your post. I appreciate a sincerety that I perceive in you. Personally, I have a lot of respect for you based upon your blog.

I cannot answer your question, however, I have given some thought to it, and have come up with the following entry that I thought I would share and maybe it will be encouraging. Maybe it will be just useless ramblings, you can decide.

Much has been said about bloggers calling each other names, and doing things in such a way that does not demonstrate Christian unity. As I began to consider blogging, and the way that it is influencing the world around us, I began to weigh the pros and cons of the blog culture. I came to some decisions that I would like to share.

First of all, a blog is a means of communication. It is a tool. Tools are amoral, meaning that they are neither good nor bad. For someone to say that a gun, a knife or even an atomic bomb is bad would be incorrect because they have no morals at all. They are objects. Bad people use them to accomplish their selfish goals sometimes, but that does not make them bad in themselves. Even the words of the sacred scripture can be twisted to accomplish the desired end of someone evil. That does not make it a bad book. So, blogging is a tool.

Communication is good. We need healthy communication within the Christian world. I love the CP, SBC, IMB, BFM, BOT, NOBTS,SWBTS and several other acronyms that I don't remember. However, one problem that we have as missionaries is that many of us don't discipline ourselves to write as much as we should. For me, blogging is a means of self discipline. If nobody reads what I write, I still need to write it because I need the discipline of doing so. Communication is both sending and receiving of messages. If I discipline myself to be encouraging, informative and interesting my writing skills will improve, and the audience will grow, resulting in more prayer support from my brothers. Wade, you are a great example of this.

I really struggle with the name calling issue. However, it is nothing new. They called Jesus names. They said that he was illegitimate, demon possessed, a drunkard(Mt 11:18), and on several occasions they even tried to kill him. The people also called John the Baptist a demon possessed (Mt 11:19). From both the old and new testament, name calling has been common place. Throughout history those who have chosen to live their lives as slaves to the Master have struggled with name calling. I suppose it hurts more when it is within family members.

Having said that, I don't believe it is necessarily a sin to call name. Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees names as well (Mt 23), John the Baptist called them names Matthew 3:7. Peter and Paul, in their epistles called names. So, it is not new, both Jesus and his enemies have participated. There are certain groups that I call heretics. I have no problem telling my disciples that these groups are living under the yolk of the law designed to rob them of their joy, and freedoms, as well as give them a false sense of hope. However, God has not gifted me as a prophet, or an apostle. That means that I can identify with the apostle john more so than with Peter. Peter was the man in whom Jesus said was no guile. He called it like it was. He had lots of enemies, while John was much more concerned for the sheep. John's words were strong too, but they were not nearly as offensive as those of Peter.

So, just the fact that one person called another a name publicly, may or may not be a bad thing. The scripture teaches that we will each be judged for what we say. Js1:26, 3:1-2,5:9 just to mention the ones that come to mind.

So, I suppose that the conclusion to the test for calling a brother names is four fold: 1 Has this brother stepped outside the clear teachings of scripture (Holy Bible)?
2. Has someone talked with them privately about the issue? He is a brother and this is the scriptural model.
3. We have the privilege of judging the blogger who criticizes or calls names based upon what they say about their brother, and how they say it.
4. is it profitable?

The comments to your question are proof that when someone calls another a name, we can go to the scriptures and make a judgment call about the validity.

All that to say that you are called to be a slave to liberty! Don't let it get you down. It is great to reflect, and question, but the standard is not legalistic rules, it's liberty.

Hope that this has been of some help.

Todd Buck said...

I agree with someone (can't remember who) who said you are going too far with your humility to even ask the question.

Of course, a godly man who has been greatly used by God in the many leadership positions as you have---who nevertheless is daring enough to not always "drink the Kool-Aid" is a huge threat.

I don't question the motives of those "in power" (whether they be Dr. P or Dr. Floyd, et al). I love both men and know they (and others) have the SBC in general and the Gospel in particular at the center of their concerns.

All of us have blind spots. We fight for what we "think" is right.

I don't assign a "power" ploy to those who are disagreeing with you. I think you know that they cannot budge because to budge, is to be wrong. Don't we all hate that?

The personal pain of this to you and yours is exactly the same as what happens in every local church.

As many others do, I pray for you often.

I disagree with some of your positions, but then none of us agree all of the time.

I know God is large and in charge.

In the Lamb.