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

The Tongue Is a Fire: A World of Iniquity

This past summer I was in Richmond, Virginia for the July IMB trustee meeting. I wrote of a little sidetrip my wife and I took while in Richmond in a blog entitled Punching Holes in the Darkness.

In that post I discussed meeting the Pastor of FBC Richmond, Dr. Jim Flamming. I had never met Dr. Flamming before. In fact, I had never even heard of him. I recounted the encounter this way:

"When I was in Richmond this week I stopped by the First Baptist Church to tour the facilities and take a gander at the famous bell in the courtyard. I am a civil war buff, and the tour given Rachelle and me by the gracious Senior Pastor's secretary was very enjoyable. At the conclusion of our walk around the church we ran into Dr. Peter James Flamming, the Senior Pastor of FBC Richmond for the past quarter century. Dr. Flamming gave me a book that contains twelve messages he preached at FBC Richmond. The first message was a very enjoyable read entitled "Punching Holes in the Darkness."

Without going into detail regarding the message, the theme revolved around "the beautiful feet of those who share good news" from the book of Isaiah. Dr. Flamming's challenge to his congregation was that they be people who make it a priority to share good news, and in so doing, punch a hole in the darkness around them.">

The post said a few more things, but the extent of my comments regarding Dr. Flamming were those in the above two paragraphs.

A Charge of Liberalism

Several weeks later I learned that a few people had called an acquaintance of mine and chided him for being associated with Wade Burleson, a friend of liberals. My acquaintance then read the "Punching Holes" post, and he himself made the judgment that I was sympathetic with liberals because I wrote about meeting Dr. Flamming.

Besides the fact I continue to be bumfuzzled how the post above could be considered an endorsement of Dr. Flammning's theology, which of course it is not since I did not even know what Flamming's theological beliefs were, I did ask specifically why he was accused of "liberalism." Again, though I did not know Dr. Flamming personally, I knew that he was the pastor of the church where several IMB staffers are members.

In answer to my question I was told, verbatim, "Dr. Flamming denies the virgin birth of Christ."

Further, I was informed that since I wrote on my blog that I went to visit Flamming's church, that my acquaintance was having to distance himself from me, because it was said, "Wade Burleson must be a closet liberal myself." I laughed out loud when I heard that, until I realized the person telling me was serious. I was considered liberal because of a very brief, one time visit, with a man who allegedly denies belief in the virgin birth of Christ.

I then told my friend who was telling me this, "If Dr. Flamming denies the virgin birth of Christ, then he should be considered liberal theologically. But that does not stop me from being nice and civil to him, does it? Further, until I talk to him personally, I will reserve any personal judgment regarding his beliefs."

My Phone Call to Dr. Flamming

On Wednesday, September 20th, 2006, I called Dr. Flamming. Dr. Flamming was not in the office, but just a couple of hours later he called me.

I explained to him the situation and that I was calling to ask him a question.

I asked, "Dr. Flamming, do you deny the virgin birth of Jesus Christ?"

Dr. Flamming, in his deep baritone voice said, "Wade, I am glad you called me to clear this up. People don't usually do that."

He continued, "What you heard about my beliefs is a bald-faced lie. I believe in the virgin birth of Christ. I tried to track down where that rumor began, and what I have come up with is an interview with me decades ago where I was asked, 'Do you have to believe in the virgin birth to be saved?' I said 'no' and then quoted Romans 10:9, If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

I then told the reporter that I personally could not see how you could explain the uniqueness of the person of Christ without the virgin birth, and that I personally believed in the virgin birth, but it was not a necessary doctrine for salvation. Some people seem to have taken just the first portion of what I said, twisted it around, and the rumor that I deny the virgin birth has followed me for over 35 years.

I have tried to bury the rumor. I've preached series on the virgin birth of Christ. I have proclaimed to anyone who will listen to me that I believe in the virgin birth of Christ. But it seems that some just want to cast aspersions my way rather than discover the truth."

I asked Dr. Flamming for permission to post our conversation on the blog, and he said, yes, with just one caveat. He wanted me to explain how strongly he believed in the virgin birth.

Imagine that.

Lessons Learned

I reiterate that I do not know Dr. Flamming, and I am not attempting to defend him or his ministry. The only reason I called him was to ask him about the virgin birth --- the one doctrine I was explicitly told he denied. Is it as surprising to you, as it is me, that he called that allegation "an outright lie?"

I have learned through this experience that until people stop misrepresenting other people, and find it in their hearts to dialogue, rather than cast aspersions, there will never be any peace in the Southern Baptist Convention. I also learned you can't believe everything you hear --- or read.

The CBF has begun their own denomination. They have their own seminary. They have their own missionaries. They have their own way of doing business. Nobody desires the CBF back into the SBC, and nobody in the CBF wants back in the SBC.

That's old news.

It seems, however, that the tactics of a few have not changed. I believe that it is time for all of us in the SBC to stop casting aspersions and actually talk with one another and not at one another.

I pray we get there.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


SBC Layman said...

"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." Col 4:6

Most of us have little trouble with the salt and typically forget the grace.


A lot of times were more concerned with the people that are already in the boat (and sometimes trying to throw them overboard)and forget about the millions in the water who are drowning without a lifevest.

William Madden said...


I can attest to what you are saying. After I completed my journeyman service, I served for two successive summers as Minister for College Students at First Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia, the same church in which I later met my wife Leslie, and in which we were married, so I had a chance to get to know Dr. Flamming, hear his preaching, and observe his conduct. In addition to being a great Christian and preacher, Peter James Flamming is a true gentleman, head-and- shoulders above all of the mud-slinging that has become so common in SBC life.

I have already related to you how a fundamentalist administrator at the IMB who didn't know much of anything about me personally leveled false charges against me during my journeyman appointment process at the IMB in 1989. (The charges were ultimately proved false, and, thankfully, that administrator was unsuccessful in preventing my appointment as a journeyman). Since that administrator had no special reason to dislike me personally, I later suspected that I was targeted because I was a member of Dr. Flamming's church at that time, and Dr. Flamming although conservative, was not supporting the conservative resurgence in terms of pushing for a broad takeover of the IMB, pushing out Keith Parks, etc.

Wade, thank you for your efforts to expose and oppose the attacking spirit that is all too common in our churches today. It's one of the reasons why some lost people don't want to come into our churches. I think we need to re-uphold the concept of the Christian gentleman and return to an ideal in which no serving minister will make a slander against another in SBC life. You are setting a good example by keeping the focus on issues while refraining from and discouraging others from making personal attacks.

Take care, Wade,



Nomad said...

Thank you for taking the time to clear that up. That is commendable of you and should show people even more of who you are.

I don't know Dr. Flaming; never heard of him; quite frankly, I don't even care. However, you are leading by example when it comes to seeking out the truth and in dealing with others.

ewinwe said...

personally, i am VERY glad you have cleared this little matter up with dr. flamming. the man is a strong Christian, a good (nay, excellent) speaker/preacher, and has one of the most gracious spirits - of any Baptist, in any ministry - that i have met. i know all this because i have attended FBC-Richmond, i have heard him speak, i have read his sermons. i was not a member there (we attended another Baptist church closer to our home in RIC), but i have had many friends (still do) who are members, or were members until they moved to another location.
i guess, if the brush is to be painted in so wide a swath, that i - by the above associations - am a FLAMING (not flamming, mind you) liberal!!! how SHOCKING!

but i'm also an IMB missionary, serving on the field, and have been employed by the above entity for over 6 years. gee, how did *I* slip through the cracks????

one thing i do know about all this mess - it is not making a hill-of-beans difference to the work happening over here (except werving as an interesting reminder of how NOT to do things on the field).

Gregory said...

Wade, apparently Dr. Flamming is no longer pastor at FBC Richmond. There is a call for résumés for that position in this week's Baptist Courier, the South Carolina Baptist state paper. I assume that is a coincidence, but . . .

Thanks again for your willingness to bear truth!

peter lumpkins said...


I read your blog often. Obviously, you have a wide readership--given the readership of the blogosphere. In addition, I've commented once or twice here (nothing to amount to anything) and even quoted you (I trust I did not MISQUOTE you) on my blog during the infamous Seven Days Wine War back in the summer.

The incident you mention concerning Dr. Flamming resonates true with wartime enemy fire. Some do not understand that a "religious" war bears many of the same strategies as a non-religious war.

One such strategy is propaganda about one's enemy. If it is real war, the enemy will always get less than favorable estimations about his/her character.

Consequently, given the absolute wartime status the SBC experienced during the 80's and 90's, it comes as no surprise that Dr. Flamming, who was not only the "enemy" but a high ranking officer in the enemy's army, was given less than a fair hearing on his views.

Indeed, though I do not recall anytime I did, I may have even spoken his name a time or two in a not-so-wonderful light. It was war. At the time, the goal was to defeat the enemy, not consider his/her feelings or pander to technical accuracy.

Many new lights in the SBC do not appreciate the hell our convention experienced. They know it as a "controversy". That's b___s____. It was war... with all the tragic causalities of war.

Dr. Flamming evidently was one such casualty. I could name others--good and godly men and women--who were swept away under enemy fire.

That was then. This is now. Why does Dr. Flamming still experience some difficulty? Because once a casualty, always a casualty. Dr. Flamming will, unless he lives long enough, probably always be seen as an enemy officer. Enough rambling...

For my part, I think what you did is commendable. It obviously meant a lot to an old wounded soldier. And, from my perspective, I definitively would not give two squats what others thought of me for attempting to befriend whom I desired to befriend. They can just kiss my...well...

I borrow something from Whitefield. He once said "The young Whitefield said and did alot the old Whitefield would not say nor do." I substitute "Peter" for Whitefield.

Frankly, while Paul was caught up to the third heaven in his vision and experienced unimaginable things he could not utter, many of us, during the infamous wartime 80's and 90's in the SBC, were cast down to the third hell and experienced unimaginable things we, morally, dare not utter.

I envy you, Wade. I wish I could sit down with the old war veteran and have a good chat. It may even be a healing balm for me. I am a casualty too even though I was on the winning side.

Have a great day. With that, I am...


Cathy said...

Did anyone win? After years of indoctrination many young SBC ministers believe they are on the winning side.

I remember Dr. Flamming being a conservative Baptist preacher in Texas. He did revivals and church camps while pastor in Texas. He was typical of many of the brightest and best of our BGCT and the old SBC. None called him liberal.

If we lost our loss was our gain.

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Cathy,

I suppose one could ask the CBFers who won. Have a gracious day, my sister in Christ. With that, I am...


tl said...

Unfortunately, Wade, your efforts will not be appreciated by those who wish to tar and feather you.

You see, the point is not that you are conservative and Dr. Flamming believes in the virgin birth. You simply are not of "their" order

The self-labelled saviors of the SBC would say "You aren't one of us."

Ultimately the matter is not about theology or conservatism or belief in the Scripture. There is a party of men who have raised themselves up as the measuring stick of true belief. Very few seem to measure up.

Bob Cleveland said...


A lot of all the "Godless chatter" (I believe God had something to say about that) would end, if we would all follow some wisdom I picked up at Starbucks, having coffee with my bride last evening.

From the Starbuck's Coffee Cup:

"The Way I See It #156: "We don't need less partisanship in our political system. We need passionate partisanship thoroughly seasoned with civility, respect, and responsibility. It would be a refreshing and welcome change". Dr. Scott Williams, Endodontist and Starbucks Customer from Yakima, Washington."

Switch out a couple words and you have SBC, blogdom, etc.

And here I thought all you got at Starbuck's was coffee.

John said...

Wade, I almost daily read your blog and have posted very few times. I have to admit I was taken back by the statement "I am not attempting to defend him or his ministry." Why not? Is he a man of character? Is FBC Richmond a mission minded church? Is he a brother in Christ?

Wade Burleson said...


You ask a good question.

I do not know Jim. I consider him my brother and he has been very gracious with me, but my point in the statement you quote is that I will not be drug into a pro/con debate over the ministry of Pastor Jim. How can I? Again, I don't know him.

The only context in which we have had personal communication is the virgin birth of Christ.

I have no problem in defending him there, and as you can tell, have done so.

Tim Cook said...

wow. just wow. perhaps I am naive, but I am amazed that this rumor followed him around for so long. what a tragedy...

C. T. Lillies said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Moeller said...


You said: I stopped by the First Baptist Church to tour the facilities and take a gander at the famous bell in the courtyard. I am a civil war buff,

Dare I ask.....From what point of view do you see the civil war.... Freeing of slaves or war of northern aggression?


Mac McFatter said...

I "just gotta" say this even though something is telling me I should not.
I read and remember a little of this post soon after the Richmond meeting. I'll wager (bet) money, marbles, or chalk that the person who made the false claim in the previous post does not write or call and retract or apologize.
Mac McFatter

Wade Burleson said...

OK Everybody,

I have deleted five comments.

I consider my acquaintance a friend.

I have spoken of this matter to no one but my wife and one other person who helped me by giving me the cell number of my friend.

I have called three times and left three messages with his wife and have not heard back.

If my friend desires to reveal who he is that is fine with me.

I would just like to head off any (he's not your real friend kind of discussion before it begins).

He is.

And he still may disagree with me.

I stand by the accusation of the denial of the virgin birth. It's not true.

Wade Burleson said...

John Moeller,

Slavery is wrong.

There were good and godly men on both sides of the war.

I'm fascinated with the Civil War because brother turned against brother.

How tragic

Matt Snowden said...

My parents went to the same church when they were kids. The pastor of the church left to serve on the mission field with the FMB and then later taught at NOBTS. He had the "denies the virgin birth" tag placed on him by a later pastor of my parent's church. I asked my dad why he tagged him this way when I knew he believed in the virgin birth and dad said, "Dr._ asked Dr._ if one has to believe in the virgin birth to be be saved. Dr._told him that he was nine when he was saved and did not know what a virgin was but did know about his sin and Jesus' love." The tag was born. I see it happened more than once.

Travis Hilton said...


As a pastor in Virginia, when I first read your "devotional" featuring Flamming I did not consider you a "liberal", however, it did cause me to raise a couple of questions: 1.)Does Wade have any idea where this man has stood on major issues in the SBC in the past 25 years? (and I'm not talking about the Virgin Birth issue) 2.)Is this Wade's way of making good with the politically vanquished, the downtrodden moderates and liberals to show them he's for enlarging the tent? That is not intended to question your motives, its just the impression you gave me. When you quote another person's sermon, that can unintentially come off as an endorsement of a person's stance on other matters. I think the fact that you have quoted from some strong Baptist heros in the past made this quote appear odd.

Wade, I have sat down and had meals with Baptist leaders that I disagree with strongly when it comes to theology and missiology. Some of these people are some of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. They are the kind of people that we would wish all Christians would carry themselves in their demeanor. But you won't find me quoteing widely from them because we are not together on major issues concerning Christ's church and His Word.

I think you are sadly mistaken in your accessment of the CBF. They may unofficially be considered a "denomination" by some, but if you go their web site and look at the lists of churches in each state you will see that a considerable number of CBF churches are still SBC churches. It may be true that some of those listed have only a few contributors in that congregation, but they wouldn't receive funds if that church didn't somehow recognize them.

In your statement about the CBF I sense that you don't seem to think that there is a reason to be concerned about the influence of moderate/liberal in the churches of the convention. This is not my perception from where I stand. I have heard lecture after lecture from people in the local associations in which I have participated say publically how wrong the "Takeover" was and how "fundamentalists" have control of the seminaries and missions organizations. They will further warn how these people want to "takeover" their churches. This always makes me feel quite welcomed at any gathering since I consider myself blest to have recieved an excellent education from a conservative seminary. There is an attitude of animosity toward me and others I know for no other reason than where we recieved our education and where we stand theologically. I could tell countless stories.

I tell you this because I think you sometimes seem oblivious to the fact that there is still a battle that exists in the local church for truth. An aquiantance of mine just had to leave his church this past week because his church rejected what his stand on the Word. He happened to be a member of the Virginia Baptist Mission Board. He was not unreasonable, just solid. These are the kinds of occurances that go on in this State quite often.

So, I hope I've given you an idea as to why your words about Flaming or Daniel Vestal for that matter could be interpreted in such a way that one might think you empathize with thier cause.

Travis Hilton

WTJeff said...


I don't think that Dr. Flamming was saying that the Virgin Birth isn't a necessary element of the Christian faith. He was saying that at the time one receives Christ a knowlegde of such isn't necessary. Jesus saved me 20 years ago this December 28. Leading up to the time I of my salvation, I had heard of the virgin birth, but never considered it's validity. It wasn't until after Jesus saved me that I learned more about the virgin birth, it's importance in our redemption, and how incredible our Sovereign is to engineer such a miraculous story.

Also, no one would have known you were the acquiantance had you not publicly stated so. I hope those who may respond to you will follow the gracious example that Wade has set for us all on his blog.


Jeff Parsons

Wade Burleson said...



martyduren said...

Dangit Wade!

There you go again exposing lies and liars with the truth. There you go again having the audacity to call a stinkin' liberal and engage in conversation without taking into account all the warnings and innuendo designed to assure us of our rightness. There you go again reaching out to people who we all know are lepers.


I'm glad to call you my friend.

Thanks for your candor and the use of the only language that will properly convey the reality of those days. Of course, now you'll be plastered as a liberal or at the very least have your conservative credentials ripped from your lanyard and examined under an electron microscope for trace liberalism.

Chris Bonts said...

I appreciate the fact that you shared your conversation with this brother in Christ. It serves as a reminder to all of us of the importance of dialogue.

Your comment about "indoctrination" in our seminaries is both untrue and pejorative. I have been in conservative SBC schools for my undergrad, MDiv, and now my Ph.D. I have always been taught both sides of every issue and encouraged to think for myself. In my courses that covered history, theology, and yes, even the resurgence, we have always been pushed to study both sides of the issue. To cast aspersions about "indoctrination" in our seminaries violates the very intent of this bolg topic. Have you visited any of our seminaries lately?

Sure, our seminaries all teach from a similar perspective (BF&M 2000), but that is because the churches of the SBC which fund those seminaries require them to do so. Our seminaries serve the churches.

Cathy, to claim ministers have been "indoctrinated" for years is little more than empty rhetoric unless it can be supported with tangible evidence.

I pray that you will tone down your language in the spirit of Wade's requests.

Chris Bonts

Wade Burleson said...


Thank you for your very reasoned comment, seasoned with grace.

You have set the example on how to disagree, yet show civility.

Travis, I am on your side when it comes to truth.

I just want us to be far more gracious, far more civil, far more kind, and far more honest than maybe we have been in the past.

John Moeller said...

I totally agree....

South Carolina was trigger happy and didn’t give diplomacy the time it needed to work...

no matter the point of view, war was not the answer...

hmm, wonder if that could apply with the SBC today?

Wade Burleson said...

By the way, if anyone chooses to repost the comments that have been deleted, that will be your perogative. I do believe in free and open debate, I just felt a little course correction was needed.

I would just ask that you prayerfully consider whether or not you should post what you did. If the Lord gives you peace that you should, I definitely trust your wisdom and the Lord's direction given to you.

TruthOfActs said...

You wrote, “I have learned through this experience that until people stop misrepresenting other people, and find it in their hearts to dialogue, rather than cast aspersions, there will never be any peace in the Southern Baptist Convention. I also learned you can't believe everything you hear --- or read.”
That is true and well said, but you contradict your own words when you misrepresented other people by saying, “NOBODY’ in your following statement:
“The CBF has begun their own denomination. They have their own seminary. They have their own missionaries. They have their own way of doing business. Nobody desires the CBF back into the SBC, and nobody in the CBF wants back in the SBC.”

I am somebody, and I care and wish the CBF and the SBC were one and the same.
I wish the SBTC and the BGCT were one, and the other ‘split-off’ conventions in the SBC were one, and other Baptists conventions were one. I wish all Christians were one. I believe I am not the only somebody—I believe Jesus is also somebody.
Rex Ray
PS—just read your last comment of deleted comments may be posted again. Ahhhhh—now it will be thought this is my second time to post when it’s really my first.

TruthOfActs said...

See what you started? People may think you MIGHT have deleted any comment from now on unless they plead 'not guilty.'

David L. Miller said...

I was a pastor in Virginia during the late 80's and early 90's, during the height of the conservative resurgence. Those from other states do not often understand the level of vitriol and division in our state. I know it was real in other states, but in Virginia, it was all consuming.

When someone shared a tidbit of information, true or not, about a key figure on the other side, we gobbled it up with joy. It validated our belief that those who opposed us also opposed Christ. This kind of sanctified meanness was prominent on both sides.

It is not surprising that a rumor like this took hold. I don't know how many times I told my conservative friends that we should not assume that everyone who supported the other side was a liberal. Many Bible-believing folks did not see the reality of the problem of creeping liberalism in our schools or were turned off by the tactics of our leaders.

That message always seemed to fall on deaf ears. Conservatives were all Bible-toting fundamentalists with only power and control on their minds. Moderates hated the Bible and secretly wanted to destroy Christianity. We all wanted to believe the worst about the other side, and when a rumor floated that agreed with our position, fact-checking was not a high priority.

I am thankful there was a conservative resurgence. My nephew is at Southern and I am happy about that. Twenty-five years ago that would not have been the case.

But I am sorry that we could not have debated the matter in a difference way.

Of course, as you know, it was the other side's fault. Right?

David L. Miller said...

And Wade, I need clarification on one thing. What does it mean to be "bumfuzzled?"

I have a fairly extensive vocabulary, but that one befuddled me. It bewildered me. It perplexed me.

peter lumpkins said...

My Brother Travis,

Though your post was not addressed to me, I'd like to take the liberty, if you will allow me the honor, to briefly respond.

First, your question about wondering if Wade knew where Dr. Flamming has stood on some issues over the past twenty-five years seems, at least to me, specious.

Dr. Flamming is, after all, a Baptist--albeit a moderate one (I'm quite sure he would not reject the label), but a Baptist nevertheless. It has always intrigued me that we conservatives will quote quite freely from Packer, Sproul, Berkouf and old Warfield himself concerning their unbending stance on the Doctrine of Inerrancy and that, despite their equally unbending commitment to either sacramentalism or infant baptism. But moderate Baptists are six inches short of heretics. I have a bald spot on the left side of my head from scratching so much about that one.

Secondly, to question whether one should be quoted because they hold positions different from one's heritage because "When you quote another person's sermon, that can unintentially [sic] come off as an endorsement of a person's stance on other matters" proves more than I think you yourself, my brother, intend.

If true, we should also hold the Apostle Paul accountable for evidently making it a practice of quoting pagan authors to stimulate a point.

I trust your day goes well. With that, I am...


Wade Burleson said...


You make a good point. I have a tendency to use absolute words like "nobody" and "everybody."

I apologize. I should have said either "the majority" or "nobody in leadership that I have spoken with."

Wade Burleson said...


"Bumfuzzled" is an Oklhahoma colliqualism.

It is a combination of being depressed, confused, and speechless --- bumfuzzled :)

peter lumpkins said...


Twenty years ago, your warning would have scared the fool out of me and I would be hoping my comment was one of the ones Wade chose to delete. With age, also comes freedom.

I really like Rhett's last words to Scarlett, but I can only think them, not write them :) With that, I am...


davidinflorida said...

Pastor Wade,...One of the best things about this blog is that when someone makes a statement or accusation you usually ask them for the proof. Most of the time you get no response, which usually means that the statement was not creditable....When we continue to perpetuate a story or rumor about someone that we really arent sure is true, then we are violating one of the ten commandments EX 20:16 ( YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST YOUR NEIGHBOR ).....This would also be considered a lie which would make us a lier......It is truly sad what has happened to Pastor Flamming, but why was this perpetuated so long and why did it take so long to correct?......Alot can be learned here: dont gossip, dont spread lies, and search for the truth....

Travis Hilton said...

Dear Brother Peter,

Surely you understand the landscape of Baptist life in the post-resurgence environment. I could quite easily quote from Karl Marx to make a point in the pulpit, but no one would have any reason to suspect me being a communist sympathizer. It would be clear to my congregation where I stand.

This is not the same kind of suspicion that arises in this current discussion. Kinship may be closer, but the disagreement is intense and personal. We will not be able to change that. Wade should know the terrain on which he trods. Most of us would percieve Wade to be an informed person. In the current environment that exists one would think that Wade would understand that perceptions are drawn from who we associate ourselves. It just so happens that this guy has a history of vehement opposition to conservatives. We could have drawn the same perception from sympathies expressed for Daniel Vestal. It just doesn't make sense to those of us who still see the positions of these people continue to be driven home in the present controversy. That may not be Wade's intention, but it is happening and reinforcing the opinion that the Convention has been taken over by "evil fundamentalists."


peter lumpkins said...

My Brother Travis,

Perhaps you give me far too much credit. I very well may not understand "the landscape of Baptist life in the post-resurgence environment." However, I do understand this: that to raise suspicions about a person's motives and/or beliefs for the simple reason he or she quotes another of a different persuasion, talks to another of a different persuasion, or fellowships with another of a different persuasion stands as the epitome of everything the ethics of our Lord is not.

And, as for "It just so happens that this guy has a history of vehement opposition to conservatives", I would simply say two things. First, so what? He no longer has a platform in the SBC, does he? Second, what would be wrong with being the kind of conservative Dr. Flamming could not "vehemently oppose"? That is, a conservative that not only stands on Truth, but also bears the blessed fruit of the Spirit known as love.

Have a great afternoon, my Brother. With that, I am...


Roger Ferrell said...

When I first moved to Maine to plant a church, FBC Richmond was one of our supporters. I had gotten to know their youth group through my concert ministry and through leading them in worship at a retreat so when I asked them for help, the church was very supportive of our new SBC church, financially and personally. They never asked anything of us and did not ever talk with me about CBF. We never supported CBF or had anything to do with that organization. They gave without asking in return.

Dr. Flamming was personally gracious to me as a young pastor. He also preached a great sermon the night I was there.

For some reason, many Southern Baptists' first reaction to other ministries is criticism. My first reaction to FBC Richmond was gratitude. I don't know what else they believe, but they were gracious to me.

When our first reaction is criticism, we become known for being critical and no one wants to be around us. When our first reaction is grace, we become known for being gracious and everyone will want to be around us. This is not compromise, this is character. Let's be winsome, gracious and kind regardless of the doctrinal differences or politics.

tim rogers said...

Brother Wade,

I thought I posted this before and maybe I didn't. Or maybe I did and it is still out in cyberspace somewhere, I believe that has happened before to me on my own blog. However, after reading your response to the reasoning you have for deleting some of the comments I have to assume mine was one of them. I do not understand why because it in no way tried to guess who you were talking about. But if that is not the case for mine, I guess that it just caught up out there in cyberspace.

My question was; Am I reading correctly you have an acquaintance that felt a need to distance himself/herself from you was for the sole reason you visited FBC Richmond and treated Dr. Flamming cordially? And thus from this visit this acquaintance considered you liberal?


Kevin Bussey said...

Thanks for this post Wade. This is a reminder to all of us no matter what side to discover the truth.

Paul Burleson said...


I read your blog regularly. I agree with some of what you say and some I do not agree with, but I appreciate it all being said so well. Very thought provoking whatever the topic. In fact, I REALLY like the way you say whatever it is you say.

With that, I am....

{Wait...who am I?...I'm getting to old for this.] :)

ewinwe said...

personally, i find it fascinating that "by association" wade is being labeled a liberal ... just 'cause he met with the man once ...

i seem to recall a Biblical precedent for this action - something about pharisees phussing about Jesus eating with sinners - but I may have been reading the liberal translation ...

Paul Burleson said...


I hope no one, especially Peter is offended by my attempt at humor. I've just returned from spending 5 days in one of the best church revival meetings I've experienced as a speaker where there were some genuinely significant renewal moments in people, couples, families and some blessed new Christians birthed. All in all, it was one of those "answers to prayer" if I'm to believe the people. I'm overwhelmed, joyful and a little bit giddy having been with those gracious people when God chose to do something extraordinary.

Thus my attempt at humor. I meant what I commented but the sign off may have fallen on it's face. Who can do that really but Peter.

Paul B.

Stephen Pruett said...

I only watched the resurgence from a distance, but it always seemed to me that one of the reasons the moderates lost is that they felt blatant politicizing of the annual meeting was wrong and they had no stomach for it. If that was the case, I agree with them on that point.

How then should the resurgence have been accomplished and how should we deal with the similar problems that you are concerned about in the present? I am not entirely sure how it could have been accomplished in the past, but it seems to me that now these concerns should be handled on a case by case basis with open hearings. If someone is accused of teaching or practicing in opposition to the B F & M, that person should be given an opportunity to present his/her case and confront the accusers. It should be done in public unless it involes a senstive issue or information and/or the employee does not want it to be public. I am totally mystified as to why secular organizations virtually all have such policies to insure fair treatment of employees who are not in positions of power, but we who consider ourselves morally upright have no such system.

This excellent post from Wade illustrates one more change that is needed. We need an SBC culture in which rumors are intstantly investigated by everyone who learns of them and then shares with those who told them if the rumor turns out to be unfounded. It really should be just as shameful to spread a falsehood about a brother as to be labeled a liberal.

ColinM said...

Chris Bonts,

Good word. I have spent a lot of words here nad elsewhere defending the integrity of my educational institution. This view of our seminaries is popular, yet unfounded.

P.S. I was discipled by Brandon. He has spoken very highly of you.

Ricky said...


I was a SBC pastor in Selma, Alabama. Located in our historic town was a Presbyterian church that tradition said had a rose vine that was over 100 years old.

I was new to the area so went to this beautiful church and asked the pastor to see this vine. He was very gracious and took the time to tell me the history of the church and why the vine was planted decades ago. I was appreciative of his time.

I have often wondered why some in our denomination have accused me of being a closet Presbyterian...now I know.



Tim Sweatman said...


This experience perfectly illustrates one of the points I make in my post The Crisis of the Southern Baptist Convention. There I state that one of the gratest problems we have in the SBC is our willingness to assume the worst about those with whom we disagree. The more I see examples of people who have been lied about, the more disgusted I become. No wonder we're in the mess that we're in. I'm grateful that you are willing to actually talk with people in an attempt to determine the truth. May we all follow this example.

farmboy said...

Travis Hilton offered the following as part of his comment: "I tell you this because I think you sometimes seem oblivious to the fact that there is still a battle that exists in the local church for truth."

Based on my experience in the local church I agree. Those that are committed to conserving and preserving the key teachings of orthodox Christianity are engaged in a battle for truth.

My experience, however, is that the opposition comes from two groups: The first group, the doctrinally apathetic group, is far and away the most prevalent. Members of this group see little if any importance in the battle to preserve truth. As an example, it is easy to find those who have been Christians for years, yet they have not a clue as to why it's important that the notion of imputed righteousness be an integral part of our understanding of justification.

The second group, the doctrinally liberal group, is made up of relatively few. At least members of this group realize that the battle for truth is important. They realize that doctrine matters, that practice follows from doctrine. For this I respect them.

In theory, can members of the doctrinally liberal group be a problem? Yes. In practice, however, it is members of the doctrinally apathetic group that create most of the problems faced by those committed to conserving and preserving the key teachings of orthodox Christianity. I've seen more people leave churches over how the kitchen in the fellowship hall was built than over doctrinal disagreements. I've seen more time in Sunday school devoted to the upcoming class party that to the Scripture passage to be covered that Sunday.

Jack Maddox said...

Peter said:

"Many new lights in the SBC do not appreciate the hell our convention experienced. They know it as a "controversy". That's b___s____. It was war... with all the tragic causalities of war."

I am really suprised no one at this point has challenged this dear brother on his choice of vocabulary to make a point...perhaps he meant "Bad Stuff"

hmmmmmmm? Gues its ok if you tote the party line...


peter lumpkins said...

My Paul,

How dare you, my Brother, read me and not agree with me! Of all the nerve! Do you not realize that I, being the breed of another gene, cannot allow such unhealthy relationships? :-)

As for the offense, the answer, of course, would be negative. I appreciate a good chuckle. And, know you have every reason, given your good report from the meeting, to experience a little divine giddiness.

Plus, if you're like me, extreme giddiness becomes more pronounced with age.

Have a grace-filled evening. With that, I am...


Travis Hilton said...


Perhaps I got the wrong impression from your words and photo. I mistook you for a deep-thinking Frenchmen who would see the nuances on these issues. My mistake. Seriously, I'm not going to repeat why I had reason to question the post.

"However, I do understand this: that to raise suspicions about a person's motives and/or beliefs for the simple reason he or she quotes another of a different persuasion, talks to another of a different persuasion, or fellowships with another of a different persuasion stands as the epitome of everything the ethics of our Lord is not."

Peter, I would tend to agree with you. But my assertion is that the nature of Wade's blog is not free of political purpose (read George Orwell's essay "Why I Write"). He has motives behind his words. It is up to us to discern what those words mean. Wade has stated what he intended and I intend to take him at his word.

"And, as for "It just so happens that this guy has a history of vehement opposition to conservatives", I would simply say two things. First, so what? He no longer has a platform in the SBC, does he?"

He does have a platform in some circles.

"Second, what would be wrong with being the kind of conservative Dr. Flamming could not "vehemently oppose"? That is, a conservative that not only stands on Truth, but also bears the blessed fruit of the Spirit known as love."

Peter, conservatives were opposed primarily for where they stood on doctrine. The friut of the Spirit should always be exhibited in our lives in fullness. There has no doubt has been disobedience in this area by some. I agree that Flamming should see that in us, but that alone would not change the areas of disagreement.


peter lumpkins said...

My Brother Jack,

I am as surprised as you! But, you really don't want to know what I thought to write, but didn't :)

As for "...tote the party line", that, for me, dear Brother Jack, is a framable quote for my office. Quite honestly, I'm probably the biggest misfit in the SBC.

No particular group will have me. I make Calvinists uneasy because I question Limited Atonement. I make fundamentalists mad because I affirm women in ministry. I make moderates mad because I limit women in ministry (to all but Senior Pastor). I make traditionalists a little nauseous because I do not believe "husband of one wife" necessarily means "not-divorced." I make...
Oh, skip it. I guess I'm just all messed up.

Have Grace this evening and Peace for tomorrow. With that, I am...


Chris Bonts said...

Stephen Pruett,
You said in your post that the main reason the moderates lost was because they did not have the stomach for politicizing the annual meeting. With all due respect, you have missed the point of the resurgence. The reason for the resurgence was theological - on that we can all agree (inerrancy and implications of inerrancy such as exclusivity, deity of Christ, abortion, etc). The reasons the moderates lost, however, had little to do with their refusal to politicize the meetings (their own writings made it evident there were attempts to do so). The reason the moderates lost in the resurgence was the fact that they were in the minority. The conservatives won every election after the resurgence began. They called the seminaries, mission boards, and other agencies to account for their failures to advocate positions that a majority of churches held.

Let's be honest, the seminaries, boards, and other agencies were NOT reflective of the SBC as a whole. They were dominated by moderates and liberal that rose to power through a good ole boy networkn that was paid absolutely no attention by the churches of the SBC. When the leaders resisted the churches efforts to call them to task for their teaching, etc., the churches removed them from their positions through the resurgence.

Even Barry Hankins' work in "Uneasy in Babylon" shows this to be the case (he is a moderate to boot). For further evidence that moderates were clearly in the minority, one only need to look at the relatively small number of churches that have chosen to partner with the CBF (whose numbers were demonstrated to be INFLATED by an article in this week's Baptist Press).

I do not mean for this post to sound like a rebuke. It is not given in that sense. I just don't want folks to miss the central reason for the resurgence: our teachers, administrators, leaders should reflect the theology of the churches that support/elect them.

Chris Bonts

Travis Hilton said...

Stephen Pruett,

You said: "I only watched the resurgence from a distance, but it always seemed to me that one of the reasons the moderates lost is that they felt blatant politicizing of the annual meeting was wrong and they had no stomach for it."

I think that they preety much did the same thing. Its probably debatable who started the politicizing, but moderates/liberals engadged in it just as much. They had their meetings, they selected their candidates every year. As a matter of fact, if you would like to get a taste of the offspring of their politicizing check out the Mainstream Baptist website, Virginia Baptists Committed, Texas Baptist Committed or EthicsDaily.com.

As to your second comment, I agree that everyone should be held reponsible for their words. That includes backbiting, gossip and slander.


peter lumpkins said...

Forgive me, Wade. The last thing I want is for your post to spawn The Travis & Peter Show. I won't post to Travis again.

Bonjour mon Travis,

Thank you for my smile, my brother. Me a deep-thinking Frenchmen? However, thank you more for proving my point better than I, that appearances can be so deceptive, do you not agree?

As for Dr. Flamming having a platform, please forgive me my mistake. I did not know he was visiting professor anywhere at one of our seminaries. Or, is it a board or agency on which he sits? Yet, I'm really secretly wondering right now if anyone in the SBC under thirty-five knows this man is born?

Finally, Travis, you appear to agree with me that not only do our Lord's ethics stand supreme, but also that the Fruit of the Holy Spirit should rule our relationships, but then, confusing to me, conclude "that alone would not change the areas of disagreement." Frankly, I did not realize because one must be loving toward even one's enemies, that it necessarily follows that differences must be shoved under the rug.

More importantly, to place such a questionable dichotomy between our behavior on one hand and our beliefs on the other, only muddies the water for those of us who are not so informed.

avoir la belle vie. With that, I am...


CB Scott said...


First you wipe out my comment. Now you respond to wtjeff with "BINGO" What is that? WTJEFF, frankly you don't know what Jimmy said it is not that you don't think.

I never at any time said Wade was a liberal. I have openly defended Wade against that charge. Anyone that can read will have to agree to that.

I have called Peter James Flamming a liberal and much more. I have never said he does not believe in the Virgin Birth. Anyone that says I did is a liar. Anyone that says he said that is a liar and I know some that said it and I called them liars to their face 20 years ago.

I did say he said one can not believe the Virgin Birth and still be a Christian. That is the context of my statement. He did not say a person can become a Christian without knowledge of the Virgin Birth. That was not the context of his statement. He said a person could be a Christian and deny the Virgin Birth.

Flamming is a first degree liberal. I never said Wade was liberal because of his statements about Flamming. I said that when I read the post it made me want to throw up and it still does.

There was a real battle for the Bible in VA. There were real conservatives. There were real moderates. There were real liberals. Flamming falls into the last group.

Today some liberals of the old days call themselves moderates. At the same time some of the moderates call themselves conservatives.

I have called Wade friend and still do. He says the same of me. He does not agree with me on all things. He does not have to agree with me on all things or many things for that matter.

If friendship depends on total or mostly agreement on all things then I for one have no friends, nor do I want any. For such relationships among men would dull the soul and never sharpen the mind. Now, for all you lads that do not understand that I say let the Devil take the hindmost from all of you and I will just play BINGO, Wade.


Travis Hilton said...


Your last post proves my suspicion above all else that you are truly French. The sarcasm was oozing from your words!

I do suspect that you know the answer to the question you ask about Flamming. His influence would be within the BGAV. And because Virginia Baptists love Frenchmen, you would be privy to that information.

"Finally, Travis, you appear to agree with me that not only do our Lord's ethics stand supreme, but also that the Fruit of the Holy Spirit should rule our relationships, but then, confusing to me, conclude "that alone would not change the areas of disagreement."

And you don't understand what I mean by that? I did not insinuate that "differences should be shoved under the rug." I was making the point that possesing the friut of the spirit personally won't change the fact that differences still exist. That's not insinuating sweeping it under the rug, that's saying that Flamming, at the end of the day, may still vehemently oppose conservatives.

Wade, I also appologize for this conversation. Time to move on.

To Peter, avoir, fairwell.

Lee said...


It would drive me crazy, and I don't think I would handle it very well if I realized that everything I did or said was under close scrutiny and was going to be criticized. You are handling this very well, at least, in front of your blogging audience.

If I may, I would like to just point out for others to be reminded that you have a family and you are a pastor, and that they are going to be affected by personal attacks and accusations.

Wade Burleson said...


Thanks for the comment.

Thanks for clarifying that you are not the one who has accused Dr. Flamming of denying the Virgin Birth.

As you are aware, this accusation has been made by several, and if it were true, would be cause for concern.

It is not true, and I hope that this post puts that rumor to bed.

In His Grace,


CB Scott said...




WTJeff said...

Did someone call a BINGO game and forget to invite me? Dang it! I always miss out on all the fun.

Using some of the restraint Wade displays on this blog,


GeneMBridges said...

The whole exchange about you being a liberal for associating yourself with "liberals" strikes me of indicative of a need to go back and read the conclusion of Matt. 5, where Jesus says explicitly that we are not to hate our enemies. On the contrary, He says that we are treat the "Gentile" with great kindness and mercy. Such treatment means we associate with them, even if we don't believe as they do or cooperate with them for certain activities. So what if this gentleman did, in fact, deny the virgin birth? John Broadus was friends with C.H. Toy until his death. Does this mean Broadus was a liberal too? Roman Catholics affirm the Trinity. If I discuss my agreement with a Romanist on the Trinity and value his insights, does this then make me a Romanist? Of course not. I think Karl Barth's insights on the marriage bond and why God hates divorce are quite insightful. I'm a 5 Point Calvinist, not only that I tend to favor modified supralapsarianism. One can hardly call me neo-orthodox. I'd be willing to wager that a great many of the people who would say this about you have tons of commentaries on their library shelves written by men who share more in common with the likes of Moltmann than they do Spurgeon. For example, the standard critical commentary on 2 Peter at present is by Bauckum. If a pastor references it, does this make him "liberal?" If our seminaries are littered with books by liberal theologians, does this make our libraries "liberal?" No, and nobody would seriously argue that.

Folks that make these accusations today should refer themselves to past church history when this same thing has happened. Yes, I know, God forbid Southern Baptists who went to seminary actually remember something from the church history classes that they took, ostensibly because they had to slog through it. It'd be nice if they'd actually take that survey course seriously, but I digress...During the Origenistic controversies of the late 3rd and early 4th century, John Chrysostom, while disagreeing with Origen's speculations, vocally appreciated the insights that could be gained from Origen's expositions of Scripture and protested against the violent persecutions of Origenistic monks in Egypt. Origen was known for his wild speculations, his universalsim, and a number of other things; when he was bad, he was very bad. On the other hand, when Origen was good, he was very good, and some of his ideas even helped form the Nicene Creed when appropriated by those in the generation after him. It's worth noting that Chyrostom was an Antiochene literalist whith respect to his hermaneutics, though a semi-Pelagian. Origen was a heavy allegorist of the Alexandrian School. By today's standards that makes Chyrsostom the "conservative" and Origen the "liberal." Chyrsostom's enemies used ungodly means including guilt by association in order to depose him. Chrysostom was deposed and exiled, but years later his bones were returned to Constantinople by Theodosius II's imperial decree, and he was vindicated and elevated to sainthood in the West and East. Today, Chrysostom is remembered as one of the greatest preachers who ever lived and a model of a Bible teacher who was unafraid to name the names of those who needed to be named for the ignominius behaviors. Nobody remembers the name of Theophilus of Alexandria, his greatest enemy who went to Constantinople and held a secret council in order to procure an edict of banishment by concocting false charges of immorality, unchurchly conduct, and high treason--all because Theophilus disagreed with Chyrsostom's views on Origen and the fact that Chrysostom had called Theophilus out for the violent persecution of the Origenistic monks in Egypt. When Chrysostom of Constaninople dared disagree with Theophilus, Theophilus made it his object in life to depose Chrysostom.

Note too that, in exile, Chrysostom, without a pulpit, decided to write. To quote Justo Gonzales, whose history text is currently a seminary standard, "the world was moved" as a result. Chrysostom was orthodox for his day, and he was not afraid to call people out from his pulpit or with his pen, whether they were Patriarchs like Theophilus, or Emperors like Arcadius. He did not make up the charges against these persons when he spoke or wrote of them; and when they opposed him before his exile, he continued his duties as a minister at St. Sophia's and did not dignify them with the same sorts of sordid methods. Instead, he simply spoke the truth from his pulpit and later his pen, and when exiled, brought back, and exiled again, he, like Christ, did not revile his persecutors. He let them do what they wanted to do. In the end, he is the one remembered by all in every strand of Christianity for his homiletic skills and his character.

Sounds familar, doesn't it?

"Guilt by Association" seems to be common currency these days. I think, Wade, you'd do well to read the series at the Pyromaniacs blog on this same subject: http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2006/

LivingDust said...

Brother Wade,

Gregory posted that Jim Flamming is no longer the Pastor at FBC Richmond. I believe this is incorrect. Pastor Flamming has announced, per information at the church website, that he will leave at the end of 2006.

There must come a day where Southern Baptist brothers and sisters REFUSE to speak "about" each other unless both persons are present.

Cathy said...

Chris Bonts and colinm

I am still looking for the word seminary in my post but am having a hard time finding it. I certainly wasn't referring to anything educational. I was referring to everything political.

I only posted because I don't see Flamming as having lost. He had a couple of long pastorates and is loved and respected by many. I am one of those that will forever remember him.

Stephen Pruett said...

Chris, No rebuke taken.
Chris and Travis,
You may very well be right, I had heard that efforts were made by moderates and I seem to recall that they identified one particular year (I don't remember which) as one when they would make maximum effort. My point was that even with such efforts on the part of some of them, they could not rally the same level of participation or enthusiasm as the conservatives. As to whether the conservatives or moderates were in the majority amond Southern Baptists as a whole, I am not sure how anyone could know. At the annual meeting a few thousand people (mostly ministers) make decisions on behalf of 16,000,000 Baptists (or 8,000,000 if we were to report accurate numbers). My impression is that those few thousand certainly include some people who attend for all the best reasons, but many probably attend because of their interest in SBC politics. This may not make for a truly representative group. I can only tell you that among the laymen I know at my very conservative church (the pastor is vocally inerrantist and supports every item in the B F & M 2000 and is on the Board of Trustees at SBTS), opinions on the recent IMB policies have been almost universally opposed. Another example that comes to mind is the Disney boycott. I don't know a single person out of the hundreds of baptists I know who decided not to go to Disney World because of the boycott.

CB Scott said...


There is no BINGO game that you were invited to or are you one of the ones that cannot read that said I called Wade a liberal?

Just ragging on you. I never called Wade a liberal and I never said Flamming denied the Virgin Birth. I have defended both against the respective charges. I did say Flamming was and is a liberal because he was and is.


Big Daddy Weave said...


Glad to know that you STILL think Flamming is a liberal "because he was and is"...and how?? Come on..

Hope you didn't sign the Memphis Declaration as you likely have violated #3.

We're tired of the liberal game, CB. Really really tired.

WTJeff said...


I don't know you personally, this being my first interaction with you on this blog. I've never said that you called Wade a liberal. I only commented on Dr. Flamming's comments as quoted on this blog. I truly believe that you are sincere and that it troubles you that many have mischaracterized your statements. They've taken the fact that you've called Dr. Flamming a liberal and have apparently applied that to Wade. How they've reach that conclusion, I'm not sure, but it appears Wade's fascination with relics of the Civil War era has somehow tainted both your reputations. (Wow! How does that happen?!) I think I'll keep my more refined interests to myself and stick to watching football!!

Rest assured, cb, I believe you and am truly sorry for any pain and/or problems this misunderstanding has caused you.

May God's grace give you peace.


Gregory said...

livingdust, thanks for the correction. I made an assumption based on what I saw in my Baptist state paper. It escaped me that some churches seek to fill a position before the actual vacancy when a retirement or some similar departure is anticipated. My comment was not intended to speak ill of Dr. Flamming, whose name I became aware of only through reading this post. I had read the paper literally minutes before turning on my computer and seeing this post, so it was fresh in my mind. I wasn't intentionally speaking "about" someone in a derogatory manner. Hope you didn't think I was.

Steve Mills said...

If one must beleive in the Virgin Birth to be saved, then one is not saved by grace, but by a belief (works). If that is true then we are not saved by grace by by a certain belief.

Somehow, I think God has far more grace that we care to admit or live.


antonio said...


I think I can understand their ignorance in the matter. When I first read the post, I read, "Do you believe in the virgin birth?...no..." LOL, that was not what it said at all. Prime example of why we should not say something or act upon something unless we are certain we know what we are talking about first.

colinm said...


If there is one man who has gained my respect above the rest in this, it is you. If your full range of comments on all these blogs had been read, one would surely conclude 1) you have no personal agenda, 2)you love Christ with all your heart, 3) you probably would be a good guy to know in a gang fight.

I respect you mostly because you have admitted the errors of both sides openly and freely.

CB Scott said...

Mr. Weave,

I would like to ask you to answer a question on my blog if you would so honor me.


Any of you other guys are more than welcome also. Wade I would be interested in your answer also.

Mr. Weave,

One more thing for fun. I was really, really, really tired of the liberal game before you were born. Now, I am tired of all the games.

I just want the truth, I guess because I am just now able to handle the truth no matter what Jack Nicholson says or thinks:-)


CB Scott said...


Thank you for your kind words.

I am trying to have no personal agenda, but sometimes I get mad and say stupid stuff which vexes me greatly.

I want to be like Jesus more than anything, but I keep seeing ME in the mirror of my soul. As Paul did I shall continue to beat myself into submission untill I see His reflection or die trying.

To my sorrow fighting still comes too natural even at my age. I still work out, but not to fight. Anyway, that is what I keep telling myself.

One thing I must say. If I am with you and bandits fall upon us I will not run away, but neither would Ben Cole or Brad Reynolds.

The strange thing is that once we fought off the bandits we just might all three start fight each other harder than we did the bandits. It seems that SEBTS boys are prone to punching each other but still love each other forever just as we will our former boss and president no matter what divides us now in the present.

We are a strange lot:-) Again, thank you for the kindness.


William Madden said...


I have to agree with Cathy. I don't see Dr. Flamming as having lost either. When I moved away from Richmond and moved my letter from his church, FBC Richmond was a vibrant and thriving church in an era when many inner city churces experience declines in growth. Both in person and thru his televised sermons, Dr. Flamming reached many for Christ.

Dr. Flamming also traveled with members of his congregation on successful mission trips to Tanzania in partnership with IMB missionaries by whom he was also welcomed and respected. The mission teams from First Baptist Church of Richmond, VA put the roof on a large dormitory at the Baptist Seminary in Arusha, Tanzania, and had good fellowship with IMB missionaries and the African Christians while we were there; it was Dr. Flamming's leadership that made that possible.

Also, I think his students at BTSR also appreciate his role as a teacher in the art of preaching, an art in which I have known few who could match him.

As far as his theology goes, I am familiar with it, as I listended to him preach nearly every Sunday for almost five years. He lines up very well with Billy Graham, but of course, even Dr. Graham has become a punching bag for right-wing Southern Baptists in recent months--go figure.

Dr. Flamming has run a good race and kept the faith. I don't see that he has lost a thing.

LivingDust said...


Please accept my apology. The second part of my post was not directed to you. I should have made this more clear to all readers.

My second paragraph was a separate comment addressing the issue of rumor and how it might be stopped amongst Southern Baptist brothers and sisters.

John Fariss said...


Thanks for your insightful and gracious comments.

Re: the Civil War. My great grandfather and two of his brothers were officers in the 4th Georgia Infantry Batillion, and I have always been glad that that unit (later expanded and reorganized as the 60th Ga. Regiment) was sent north to be in the Army of Northern Virginia, because at the same time, cousins who moved first to Tennessee then to Illinois were in the (Union) Army of the Tennessee (one of them was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery at the Battle of Shilo or Pittsburg Landing). I used to debate the standard list of causes of the war: slavery, states rights, differing cultures north & south, etc. Then one time I was at a seminar on family dynamics and counseling, and they showed a video of a proponent of that, the late Milton Friedman. Turns out Dr. Friedman was a Civil War buff himself, and at one point he mentioned that he believed all those things created a climate ripe for conflict, but that the cause of the WAR itself was a failure of leadership. Think about that a minute: Civil War almost errupted in the 1830s, but due to the leadership of President Andrew Jackson, it was avoided. (Supposedly, Jackson's order to Federal troops was to find John C. Calhoun, leader of the secessionist movement and former Vice-President of the US, and hang him from the nearest tree). That is strong leadership. Civil War almost errupted in the early 1850s, but thanks to the leadership of Senators like Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, it was avoided. This time was a compromise--a different sort of leadership from Jackson's take-charge-commander-style, but still leadership and still effective. When the Civil War was brewing and errupting in 1860, there simply were not leaders of that magnitude on the scene. History nuts like myself can tell you who was president, but most people cannot, such was the lack of energy and vision and leadership there. Lincoln was barely on the scene and had not risen to his full measure of leadership. Jackson was long dead, as were Webster, Clay, even Calhoun. I agree with Dr. Friedman: the Civil War was caused by a lack of leadership.

Is there not an application to our SBC here? Regardless of the issues which make it ripe with conflict, our "wars," back in the 80s and now, if another one comes, will have been caused by a lack of leadership. Chilling, right?

TruthOfActs said...

John Fariss,
I agree that leadership is the cause of conflict in history and in the SBC. But I declare that it is not the LACK of leadership but the WRONG leadership

In the early church, the private meeting of the apostles and elders agreement was summed up by Peter’s speech of salvation being a gift of Jesus. But his speech was victim to the strong leadership of, “Brothers, listen to me. My judgment is…” And this judgment produced a BFM that opened the door for Catholic roots to grow.

Germany fell for Hitler’s ‘We are the super race’, and the SBC fell for Patterson/Pressler’s “We are inerrantists.”

It took time to take care of the ‘super race’, and many are finding out that inerrant is not a bullet proof vest.
Rex Ray

TruthOfActs said...

One more thought; Paul said, “It takes only one wrong person to infect all the others.” (Galatians 5:9)
That person would not be a janitor, but a leader.
“Who has interfered with you to keep you from the truth? It isn’t God.” (Galatians 5:7-8)

Wade’s blog is searching for truth why the devil has Baptists in such a mess with each other, but be prepared that search leads to some important leaders.

B.L. said...

here's an uplifting idea, you seem to spend a TON of time online each week ("i don't count the hours" to quote you on your 'ask any question weekend'..though i went back to copy and paste it and couldn't find it...not sure why...) anyhow, you spend a ton of time posting and commenting and debating and all...why don't you set aside one post a week, just to tell your MASSIVE reader base the good and fruitfull things about YOUR church that YOU serve...I wanna hear things relevant to YOU and YOUR ministry...there will always be crap "on your name and your plate" to deal with, especially now that you've put yourself out there...you'll always have plenty of blog material for that. tell me about your church, your mission, your weekly happenings, the life and blood of the people your responsible for, helps and lessons learned (only from your church, not convention BS) to give examples for young pastors and pastors to be, etc. let's hear stuff that matters to the local church. to qualify my request, i'm not asking for names and specifics and things of that light. i just want to know that your church isn't suffering from your time online and your controversies abroad...

TruthOfActs said...

Lets improve on your “uplifting idea”—if your suggestion that Wade post once a week is good, then lets make it once a year.

If it’s good that he write only about what his church is doing, let’s limit him to write only about golf.

You say this in the disguise you’re concerned about his church, but what you’re telling him to do is ‘shut-up’—to stop revealing truth that will set us free.
If you’re tired of ‘truth and grace’, then stop reading.

Your blog says you are starting at SWBTS. I wouldn’t try your idea on them.
Rex Ray

TruthOfActs said...

I forgot to mention: “Birds of a feather flock together”—your name is too close to a dirty bird.

TruthOfActs said...

To nobody,
I’m tired of being ‘negative’—if it’s OK to talk football, I’ll tell what happened to my brother (Hez) last week.
At a family outing, his grandson got permission from his lawyer dad to shoot a large box of Roman candles into the ocean. After a couple went off, they saw a flashing red light coming as it was a drought zone.
Lawyer: “Hide the evidence!”
Boyfriend of lawyer’s daughter dumped the box into the beach-fire.
Police got out of their car, but jump back in as rockets in all directions, almost hit them.
They find the beach deserted except Hez with a bad knee who said he would take full responsibility.
Soon the grandson comes back and says he is responsible. Followed by his father who says he is representing these two—tells his son to quit talking.
Hez said the boyfriend made up for his poor thinking with speed.
The fine was huge.

Wade Burleson said...


I wish you would write your thoughts using cleaner language.

I think I will post five times next week on the subject of using words that edify.


B.L. said...

well goodness, let me try that again...i'll speak w/ "cleaner words" this time...

wade, in the same sincerity that you post each and every day on here, i ask will you tell about your church happenings, the breath of God that blows through you and your leadership and your people, ministry stuff, etc?

for clarity, i'm not asking wade to post less or more, just that of his everyday postings, at least one of them a week, meaning if he posts 7 posts, one for each day, that ONE of those SEVEN posts would only deal with the life of his own church...is that clear? i can try to say it differently if i need to...

also, I apologize for saying it the way I said before. You're right that's not good of me to use "unclean words".

i'm not trying to get down and dirty and get some kind of dirt on you, wad, or anybody on here. just curious about the life of your church...

TruthOfActs said...

Sorry. I didn’t read your comment correctly. Hearing what Wade’s church is doing is fine with me, but lets not make any rules for Wade to go by.