I have never personally met Pastor McKissic. I know him by reputation only, but yesterday enjoyed visiting with him over the phone. I found him to be quite engaging in conversation, very respectful of Dr. Patterson and Southwestern, and quite confused over all the events that transpired as a result of his chapel message.
There are two or three things I found that Dr. McKissic and I have in common regarding our service in the SBC:
(1). A complete shock over public statements that contained charges never communicated privately and personally.
As Dr. McKissic told the Associated Baptist Press he enjoyed lunch with Dr. Patterson and and his wife, Dorothy, following the chapel service. "I love Dr. Patterson, Dr. Patterson loves me, we had rich fellowship today," he said. "If they had a problem with it [the sermon], they didn't utter it to me at all."
The Press Release from the seminary said, authorized by the President, stated, "we reserve the right not to disseminate openly views which we fear may be harmful to the churches."
Dr. McKissic only became aware of the controversy over the Seminary refusing to post his message --- because it was "harmful" to churches and critical of a "sister agency" --- when a reporter phoned him for an interview. He was absolutely stunned. In his mind, the entire chapel service was uplifting, Biblically sound, and above all, Christ honoring. In addition, he was received well with applause on at least three different occasions. Imagine what went through his mind when learned his church members were being informed via the media that their pastor was teaching something harmful, and he himself didn't even know that what he preached was considered harmful?
It is only appropriate, when charges against a Southern Baptist leader are going to be made public, that the person against whom the charges are directed be informed -- FIRST. In fact, I would go further and say integrity demands that the person in question be informed privately before anyone other person, entitity or especially the public is informed. For that not to happen is unconscionable.
Dr. McKissic should have been told in private that his views are harmful to Southern Baptist Churches. He might have become angry with such a remark, but at least he would be able to say, "They told me in private what they said in public."
I wish God would part the heavens and utter the following words so that every Southern Baptist would never forget them --- "Do not make a public charge against a fellow brother without informing him specifically and privately what charge you are about to make." (see Five Salient Points).
(2). A bewilderment how conservative, evangelical Southern Baptist pastors who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, and who base their messages on the sacred text, can be considered "harmful" or "heretical" by other Southern Baptists who disagree on interpretations regarding third tier doctrines.
According to the APB article, 'McKissic quoted from several Baptist scholars who offer biblical support for private speaking in tongues, including a quotation from Patterson's April 6, 2006, chapel sermon at Southwestern. "What do we conclude? The apostle Paul clearly said, 'Do not forbid to speak in tongues.'" McKissic quoted Patterson as saying. "It would be a mistake for evangelicals to forbid others to speak in tongues."'
Dr. McKissic's defense of his message with supporting footnotes can be found on Art Roger's blog and Marty Duren's SBC Outpost.
(3). A love for the SBC and her autonomous agencies, including the Presidents, trustees, and administrative staff of those agencies, but a growing concern that the SBC is narrowing the parameters of fellowship and cooperation.
Dr. McKissic said to APB in a follow-up story, "Because I said nothing during my message that contradicted the Bible or the 2000 “Baptist Faith & Message” [the SBC's doctrinal statement], I fail to see how my comments are viewed as outside of the Baptist mainstream."
In his message Dr. Mckissic said, "But I think it’s tragic in Baptist life when we take a valid, vital gift that the Bible talks about and come up with a policy that says people who pray in tongues in their private prayer lives cannot work in certain positions."
I have never spoken in tongues. I don't even know I agree with Dr. McKissic's interpretation of the texts regarding tongues, BUT I DO AGREE with his assessment regarding the narrowing of the parameters of participation and cooperation in our convention.
We must resist the growing tendency of some to demand that third tier doctrines, which in decades past have not been doctrines over which Baptists divided, be moved into the category of first tier doctrines, and exclude fellow Southern Baptists who disagree or give principle dissent. As Al Mohler states, "The misjudgment of true fundamentalism is the belief that all disagreements concern first-order doctrines. Thus, third-order issues are raised to a first-order importance, and Christians are wrongly and harmfully divided."
(see The Cooperative Program Means Cooperation, and A Theological Triage Test).
I'm honored to call Dr. McKissic a Southern Baptist. I'm glad that he is a leader in the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Texas Convention. I'm proud he is a trustee of Southwestern Theological Seminary.
And most of all I gladly call him a brother in Christ.
May his tribe increase.
In His Grace,