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

A Baptism Policy That Excludes Legitimate Christian Baptism?

Brad McCain, Pastor of FaithPointe Baptist Church in Norman, Oklahoma recently contacted me about a member of his church that he calls "Ed" who has served as a Great Commisson missionary, cooperating with IMB missionaries, on the missionary field. He has been Southern Baptist for several years and has recently applied to be career missionary for the International Mission Board. However, he has been rejected for service because of the 'new' policy on baptism at the IMB. Pastor Brad's story about Ed is compelling. (Update: I have been told by IMB staff that the missionary candidate "Ed" could have continued the process if he would have submitted to 'rebaptism' and thus, was not 'rejected.' However, Pastor Brad and 'Ed' both believe that to be rebaptized in order to identify with a particular doctrine or'system of denominational beliefs' is contrary to the New Testament teaching that baptism identifies you with Christ and would make a mockery of 'Ed's' Christian baptism. Thus, Pastor Brad and 'Ed' see a 'rejection' by the IMB while others would say 'Ed' pulled out because he refused to be 'rebaptized.')

The following is an open letter Pastor Brad sent to me and every other trustee of the International Board. He asked that I post his letter on my blog that those who read it can help him make sense of why the couple, whose Christian baptism has already been accepted by the local Southern Baptist Church he pastors, is now being told they are disqualified from serving as missionaries for the International Mission Board because their baptism violates the 'new' policy.

An Open letter to the Trustees of the International Mission Board and all Southern Baptists,

It is through the encouragement of a number of pastors and convention leaders that I have come in contact with, that I write these words. The intent of them is to cause us to reflect on the path we are taking and make the corrections that are necessary.

Oftentimes, it is much easier to deal with policies than it is to deal with the people those policies end up affecting. If we are not careful we end up getting so disconnected from reality that the process resembles edicts being passed down from a governing entity that simply does not care. I fear we are getting perilously close to that as a convention and especially as a mission board. With that in mind, I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine.

For purposes of anonymity and the safety of current IMB missionaries who are in country, I will call my friend “Ed”. Ed grew up in a Christian home in Norman, Oklahoma – with a brief time in St. Louis and New Jersey - where his parents were sure to raise him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. As a child Ed came to an understanding of his need for a Savior and surrendered his life to Christ. Afterwards, he obediently followed Christ in being baptized as a testimony of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, as well as his commitment to strive to faithfully walk in his “new life.”

Upon graduation of high school, Ed attended Oklahoma Baptist University, from where he graduated with a degree in history. Following college, he began to explore God’s call on his life concerning missions. After raising his own support, he went as a Great Commission Christian (GCC) to a level 3 country.

Ed worked closely with IMB personnel while he was on the field and came to appreciate their spirit and the way Southern Baptists support missionaries around the world. After his time on the field was up, he returned to Norman, desiring to join a Southern Baptist church. He knew that one day he would want to return to this country and preferred to go through the IMB.

He found our church. At the time, FaithPointe was not even a year old. He joined us because of our intense focus on being missionaries to the culture in which God has placed us.

Before joining he came to me and we talked for quite some time concerning the details of his salvation experience. Ed’s parents had raised him in a church that did not teach the security of the believer. This church believed that a person, of their own free will, could choose to turn away from Christ, never to return. While I do not agree with this church theologically, I do understand their interpretation of scripture and believe they are allowed the freedom to see it that way. I do not believe one’s leaning toward Arminianism or Calvinism invalidates their salvation. Scripture clearly teaches that salvation is by grace through faith. Intricate understanding of the finer points of Soteriology, or the doctrine of salvation, is not a requisite of salvation, according to scripture.

After, our conversation, I assured Ed that he would be allowed to join our church on a statement of his faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord and he did. Since that time, Ed has returned to the same country, at his own expense, to get reacquainted with contacts he made, both with the IMB and with indigenous people of the region. After much prayer, he realized it was time to pursue being in country on a more permanent basis, and so he sought appointment through the IMB. He began that process this fall.

Now Ed is being told that he cannot be appointed through IMB because of policy that was implemented in November of 2005. I am deeply concerned with this. On November 15, 2005, the Trustees of the International Mission Board approved a baptism guideline for candidates desiring appointment. This guideline is self-contradictory and also non-Biblical. Your policy states…

That each candidate’s baptismal experience be examined, during the application process, in light of the Baptist Faith and Message statement and the points listed below:

BAPTIST FAITH AND MESSAGE: ARTICLE VII – BAPTISM

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior; the believer’s death to sin; the burial of the old life; and the resurrection to walk in the newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.

I have no problem with any of these statements, as I find them to be scripturally based. The problem I am having is concerning added statements you have placed on candidates in item 2B of the same policy.

A candidate who has not been baptized in a Southern Baptist church or in a church which meets the standards listed above is expected to request baptism in his/her Southern Baptist church as a testimony of identification with the system of belief held by Southern Baptist churches.

On one page of this document, you have called baptism “a testimony to…faith” and “an act of obedience.” While on the second page you have downgraded baptism to “a testimony of identification with the system of belief held by Southern Baptist churches.” Which one is it? Is baptism to be done in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in testimony of Christ’s redemption for me through his shed blood on the cross? Or is baptism to be done in the name of the Southern Baptist Convention, in testimony to their “system of beliefs”? Can both coexist? One highlights the “traditional” view most Southern Baptist churches have held for decades concerning admission to membership, while one adheres to scripture alone. With which would you prefer Southern Baptists to side?

You are asking Ed to be baptized again because the church in which he was baptized does not perfectly align with what is “acceptable salvation theology.” In so doing, you have made two mistakes that I wish to address.

First, asking Ed to be baptized again “as a testimony of identification with the system of belief held by Southern Baptist churches” is shameful. Any candidate that would treat baptism so lightly should not be a candidate at all. Any Trustee that would treat the ordinance of baptism so lightly should not be a Trustee at all. Baptism is in the name of Christ alone! Not in the name of the Southern Baptist Convention. To ask a candidate to “go through the motions” because their first baptism was not “good enough” is, in my mind, making a mockery of the ordinance itself. I hold Christ’s sacrifice too high in my life to ask someone to do such a thing. I believe most of you do as well, but overlooked the implications of the words being used for this guideline. It is not at all that Ed is ashamed of his commitment to Christ. It isn’t even that he is opposed to being baptized again as a testimony of Christ’s saving grace in his life. He is, however, opposed to being baptized in the name of the Southern Baptist Convention. Additionally, I, as his pastor, refuse to baptize him in that manner. While the intent of this wording may have been honest, the implications are dangerous.

Second, if the Trustees of the International Mission Board can reject a person who is already a member of a Southern Baptist church, based upon there credentials for membership, then the Trustees of the IMB are holding authority over that church. Each church affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention is a local, autonomous body, responsible for governing itself according to the word of God. The International Mission Board is an extension of the local, autonomous church, and not an agency with the authority to govern over the church. The action the Trustees have taken in this matter has placed the IMB in authority - an authority that is not granted apart from convention approval. Was this your intent? The action itself denotes a lack of trust on your part for each church to do its due diligence in regards to each person desiring to join the local, autonomous church. The ultimate end to this path will lead our convention to some form of presbytery in which churches have no authority to govern themselves, but rather, must adhere to mandates passed down to them through governing boards, or face expulsion from the convention. This should be alarming to any Southern Baptist pastor and congregation.

I respectfully wish to request that you reconsider your action concerning this matter. I would like to invite all Southern Baptists to join me in dialogue on this topic. My goal is not further division within our ranks. We have had enough of that. My desire is for us to examine ourselves and see if these are the paths we are intentionally taking. If not, we need to learn from these mistakes and seek to head in the right direction. Our enemy is delighted by the way he has side-tracked us with political, social, and doctrinal debates which are important, yet non-essential to the exaltation of Christ. Please, let’s move into this century with the overwhelming desire to “make disciples” as we are going. If you wish to dialogue with me and other concerned Southern Baptists, I invite you to visit www.faithpointe.org/IMB to discuss the issue further. May God shine His light before us to illuminate the path we must follow.

In His Service,
Brad McCain, Pastor
FaithPointe Baptist Church
Norman, OK 73069

166 comments:

TruthOfActs said...

Instead of being baptized to identify with a system, why don’t they say what they really mean? Be baptized again to boost our egos.
Rex Ray

Nomad said...

Wade,

Personally, I was "raised" in a non-SBC church, presumably similar to the scenario in which "Ed" was raised. When I was in college, I decided to join an SBC, due to my involvement with the BSU. I decided that I needed to align myself with those like-hearted people. In order to join the church, I had to be, what I have always referred to as "re-baptized". I went through with it without much ado because I wanted to be SB. The pastor went to great lengths to accommodate an understanding to the congregation of my situation, but nontheless, required that I be baptized in his church.

Fast-forward more than 20 years...

This past year, I baptized my youngest child in a swimming pool at a regional event. My RL was there, but decided not to attend this special time in my kid's life, due to a conflict he perceived between reality and the new rules of the IMB. I was disappointed, but understood.

There were around 100 or so folks who did attend and I did not face any ridicule before or afterwards from them. In fact, since it was in a public venue, there were several "tourists" who watched, then came up to me and asked me what that was all about. I then had the opportunity to explain to them about the saving power of the Holy Son.

There happened to be a couple of candidate consultants at this particular regional event. I asked them if my child would be disqualified from Board appointment because of this baptism. After a LONG Q&A session about the situation, both said that due to the extenuating circumstances, that they wouldn't have a problem recommending my child as a candidate. Of course, this was because of some very VERY specific circumstances that we just happened to have met.

I am very happy that the consultants said what they did, but I am very unhappy that my RL didn't feel like he could even attend the baptism. I see these rules as "extra-Biblical crud"; silly rules that we make to convince ourselves that it is the SBC way or the highway. (Does that mean that the SBC way is the 'low'-way?) In any case, I hope that we (IMB-SBC)can get on past these petty little things that only serve to distract us from the "main thing".

Ben Stratton said...

Wade,

Let me try and response to Bro. McCain's letter.

1. I found it interesting that the type of denomination that baptized Ed was never mentioned. All we are told is it is a denomination that doesn't believe in eternal security. While this narrows it down some, there is still a lot of differences between say a Methodist Church and a Disciples of Christ Church, both of which believe a Christian lose their salvation.

2. Bro. McCain laments that many Baptists consider baptism to be “a testimony of identification with a system of belief" as well as “a testimony to…faith” and “an act of obedience.” Yet the fact is every time someone is baptized, they are identified with the person and church who baptized them. For example, I doubt Bro. McCain would accept an immersion into his church performed by a Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, or Catholic. Now before someone's cries "Straw Horse", let me explain. I know these groups baptize for different reasons than Baptists, but what if someone was really saved in these groups, and they personally didn't think their baptism was part of salvation. This person had read their Bible and knew they were supposed to be baptized after being saved. In this case we should accept them, but because their baptism is identified with a Mormon Church virtually every Baptist church would reject them. Why? Because of the identification factor. This is the very principle that strict Southern Baptists believe.

3. Bro. McCain's argument about the IMB is holding authority over local churches in rejecting some immersions doesn't hold water. Is the IMB holding authority over churches when it rejects sprinklings that some CBF church may have considered valid baptism? Of course not.

Brian said...

Wade, we need two catagories to report # of those baptized on our ACP. One that list the number of baptisms following pro. of faith, and baptisms from other.I wonder what our ACP would look like then? Welcome back.
I have a legal question on the lighter side for Dorcas, we use 100% HEB brand grape juice for our Lord's Supper, do you think the we can serve in leadership in the SBC?


God bless

Brian

Brian said...

Wade, we need two catagories to report # of those baptized on our ACP. One that list the number of baptisms following pro. of faith, and baptisms from other.I wonder what our ACP would look like then? Welcome back.
I have a legal question on the lighter side for Dorcas, we use 100% HEB brand grape juice for our Lord's Supper, do you think the we can serve in leadership in the SBC?


God bless

Brian

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

I presume when Pastor Brad mentions this candidate was baptised it was by immersion?

Blessings,
Tim

guymuse said...

Plain and simple...it is for situations exactly like these described in Pastor McCain's letter that the two Nov.05 policies MUST be overturned. Enough has been said and written on the subject, it is time for action.

Timothy Cowin said...

What a great letter,

"In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit and the Southern Baptist Convention."

Good Grief...

It probably would be helpful, Wade to Brian would identify what church or denom the origianal Immersion was in, otherwise people will miss the main point of the letter and go straight to "was he a mormon, jw, martian....?

Could you get this info Wade?

Tim

Wade Burleson said...

Ben and Tim,

I'm hoping Pastor Brad checks this string of comments soon to answer your question. I think it is a Free Will Baptist Church, but I'm not sure.

Nevertheless, if it is not, and it is some other denomination, I'll be sure and tell him that he needs to relay to his entire church body, who voted unanimously for the membership of the missionary couple after examining their Christian faith and baptism, that two fine men, who happen to be outside of their church membership roster, are now telling Pastor Brad's entire church membership roll that they cannot receive this couple into their membership.

I'm sure the Baptist congregration which Pastor Brad pastors will listen to your authoritative directives and comply.

That seems to be the new Baptist way. No more church autonomy --- denominational conformity!

:)

Wade

Nick said...

Wade,

My situation is similar to that of Ed. You posted an email from me here about a year ago.

I recently had my first scheduled meeting with a candidate consultant to officially here that I could not serve with the IMB. (At least one of my missiology professors basically said, "surely that policy would NOT keep you from serving.") Although convinced otherwise by all of the reading of the last year, I met with them.

He did indeed confirm that I would need to be re-baptized. (He said that then re-worded it without the "re-".) I told him my thoughts about that, and he advised me that my pastor could contact the IMB trustees.

I told the consultant that I had contacted the trustees in my state about a year previously, and only one trustee had responded, to tell me that he didn't feel it was his place to tell me what HE actually thought about the policies.

I think he understood my situation, and there wasn't much to say after hearing that even the trustees from my own state had either not responded or responded as described above.

I hope that as my wife and I get closer to being ready to go overseas, there is genuine discussion going at the Board to re-consider these policies.

David Phillips said...

Wade,

Hope you're doing well.

Alan Hirsch has a new book out this month called The Forgotten Ways. It's a must read for anyone; it's a seminal book at this point in time. I posted this on my blog a month or so ago. I was able to get a copy of it ahead from Len Sweet, who I'm doing some DMin work under. Let me share with you a quote, that I think accurately describes our SBC at this time:

Perhaps a further exploration of what is meant by institutionalism is needed here. Institutions are organizations initially set up in order to fill a necessary religious and social function and to provide some sort of structural support for whatever that function requires. In many ways they fulfill the very purpose of structure; organization is needed if we seek to act collectively for a common cause. All movements start this way, but in the initial stages structure exists solely to support the grass roots. The problem happens when the newly instituted structures move beyond being simply structural support to become a governing body of sorts - structure becomes centralized governance…


But something else begins to happen: as we outsource to the structure what is essential to the function, there is a transfer of responsibility and power/authority to the new established centralized body. In this situation it inevitability becomes the locus of power, which uses some of that power to sanction behaviors of its members that are out of keeping with the institution. Instead of serving the mission, institutions begin to have a life of their own, and they can become blockers, not “blessers…”


As far as I am aware, no historical denomination has ever been able to fully recover its earlier, more fluid and dynamic, movement ethos again. That’s why it is the network structure, where power and responsibility is diffused throughout the organization and not concentrated at the center, that more approximates our real nature and calling as the body of Christ.


With this, I see the continual institutionalization of the SBC, and as a result, I see it gradually declining in influence and missiology. We are loosing our love for Jesus and elevating the BF&M and and a handful's interpretation of the Bible to the trinity and removing Jesus and the Spirit. This saddens me.

I am sad for this missionary couple. I am sad for how they have been treated, how the IMB is viewing the baptism, and how the church has been treated. I agree with the pastor's letter, we are elevating the IMB's view of baptism to a view higher than the scriptures.

Thankfully here in Delaware, we could care less. I have to apologize for even being SBC; as a result, we don't talk about it, don't push it. We're kingdom people who are seeking to honor Christ in all we do.

From one conservative to another, who may get called a moderate because of where I'm doing my studies or who I'm doing them with...

Blessings!

Professor X said...

Wade, sorry but this is slightly off topic. I was just reading Ben's blog, which links to a Dallas Morning News artilcle and it hit me.

Does anyone find it funny, sad, and ironic that our IMB would approve a missionary couple who didn't pray in private over a couple who at least prayed?

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

I believe you have me and Brother Timoty Cowin mixed up in your response to Ben and Tim. I know there are many Tim's out there, it seems there was a run on the names a K-Mart. Or it could be our parents picked them up at LifeWay under their Blue Light.

Having said that, let me ask if my question caused any consternation in you? It seems you have defended a point that I have not made. I just merely asked if the baptism was by immersion. If you remember, you posted an article about a Ok. Church that would looking at this the issue of bringing church members into the fellowship without being baptised by immersion. This was due to the individual's belief that their "sprinkling" or their "infant baptism" was their baptism.

Could that be the issue? I do not know. You have presented a letter that you received from a pastor that chooses not to identify the candidates. Also, according to the letter it begs to question the validity of an SBC appointment. The M's were on the field under their own support, but now desire to return to the field without raising support.

Blessings,
Tim

Roger Simpson said...

Wade:

Welcome back after you 40 day absence. I find this discussion about baptism mostly just aedemic interest.

However, I have myself been baptized three (count 'em THREE) times.

Once at birth at a Roman Catholic church in Huntington Park CA. [by sprinkling]

Again at age 14 into Christian (Disciples of Christ) church in Hollydale CA. [by immersion]

Again at age 18 into Southern Baptist Church in Downey, CA. [by immersion].

It wasn't until years later that I learned that the Disciples of Christ baptism was "null and void" because they believe in the doctrine of 'falling from Grace and loosing your salvation'.

While stipulating that the Disciples of Christ doctrine is incorrect -- I would ask those who implement these "re-baptisms" what good do they do. As a kid I had no idea what the Disciples of Christ believed regarding 'security of the believer' -- one way or another. So does it make any sense for their 'bad' doctrine to flow back on me by reverse osmosis?

Here is my status relative to various "demonitations" as I understand it:

(a) Catholic -- I am a member of the Roman Church but not in 'good standing'. A Jesuit priest at the University of Santa Clara told me this when I was attending there in the mid 1980s working on my MBA. I used to attend services in the Santa Clara Mission gardens once and a while and take communion -- note the communion used real wine.

(b) Disciples of Christ -- I don't have any idea what my standing is with this denomination

(c) Southern Baptist -- As far as I know I am in good standing. I still have my "Certificate of Baptism" from First Southern Baptist Church in Downey CA dated around 1960. I am not looking at the certificate right now but as I recall it is an authorized document because it is multicolor form printed by Sunday School Board that is filled in with my name and the date and signed by the pastor.

I don't get carried away with any of this stuff since it is not going to impress the Lord much. When Jesus was talking to the thief on the cross did he say, "I'm sorry but you can't come with me to paradise right now -- straighten out you Baptism and then we will talk"

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

lottiemoon said...

Since the IMB will not recognize certain folks' baptism's as legitimate which the local sbc churches do recognize....
perhaps the SBC should reject the churches and the CP gifts from those churches since what they practice is unacceptable.

Who will make that motion?

"churches that accept members into their congregation that have not baptized by immersion in a church that believes in eternal security shall not be allowed to call themselves SBC and will not be allowed to contribute to lottie moon"

volfan007 said...

if i felt led to join a church, and they required me to do the chicken dance at the alter in order to be a member....if i really felt that the Lord would want me to join it, then i would do the chicken dance and join. thus, if someone really feels led to join a sbchurch, and the church requires baptism at a sbchurch, whats the problem? or, if the sbc requires a m to be a person who is baptised by a sbchurch....whats the problem? i really dont understand why this is such a big deal.
i usually go with the church that i pastor on this matter. i pastored a church that allowed people to join by statement if they came from another baptist church...even if it was not a sb church. now, i pastor a church that allows only sb church baptisms. i'm ok with that. my personal feelings about it would be to allow anyone who has been baptised at a church of like faith and practice....whether sb church, or not...but, the church i am in does not feel that way. so, i go along with them. its not something to make that big a deal over.

the church must be satisfied with your baptism. they decide what is a scriptural baptism to them, or not......what they will accept.

volfan007

ps. i have had to do no chicken dances yet.......i was tempted to do an elf dance, but after i saw wade....i changed my mind.

Wade Burleson said...

Tim R.

Thanks for the clarification.

No consternation ever in my heart. :)

My wife will tell you that I love debate, enjoy all disagreers, and am never offended with people! If we were all alike life would be boring!

Now to your question.

I am 100%, beyond any shadow of a doubt, absolutely convinced it was by immersion -- without even asking.

Your argument seems to me to be a straw man argument.

For heaven's sake Bro. Tim, the couple HAVE ALREADY BEEN SERVING ON THE MISSION FIELD FOR YEARS!

What has changed?

Oh, I know.

Now the administrator of the baptism is important --- not to the church, but to denominational leadership who serve as trustees at the IMB.

Not this trustee.

wade

Wade Burleson said...

Volfan,

My granddad Baptist evangelist and my forefather who founded Baylor U. would roll over in their respective soul empty graves at your comparing a chicken dance to baptism.

To RE-baptize someone who has experienced CHRISTIAN baptism is to denigrate, destroy and mock Christ's ordinance.

Wade Burleson said...

Volfann,

The elf dance was not one of my better moments.

:)

Wade Burleson said...

Nick,

I am keeping a careful and close eye on your situation.

Joel Rainey said...

AMEN! AMEN!! AMEN!!!

To Pastor McCain's comments:

"Any candidate that would treat baptism so lightly should not be a candidate at all. Any Trustee that would treat the ordinance of baptism so lightly should not be a Trustee at all. Baptism is in the name of Christ alone! Not in the name of the Southern Baptist Convention. To ask a candidate to “go through the motions” because their first baptism was not “good enough” is, in my mind, making a mockery of the ordinance itself."

This is the very point I have tried to make for months. I'm elated to see another brother ask the questions directly.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

Please define for me a GCC Missionary. Is that through the IMB?

Blessings,
Tim

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

GCC is a Great Commission Christian, or a Great Commission Church.

These are Bible believing evangelicals who are working to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, but are not Southern Baptist.

volfan007 said...

i guess my question is....if the majority of the sbc say that you must be baptised by a sb church....will you who dont like this go along with it, or will you continue to fight it and cause strife and division over it? i am not saying that you shouldnt work to change something that you dont like, or beleive is best. i am saying will you fight it? there is a difference.

wade,

i guess my comparison was not chicken dancing to baptism, but rather requirements for joining a church. you know, some churches require going thru a new members class. thats not in the bible either, but, if the church makes that a rule....i would do it if i felt the Lord wanted me to join that church.

i do hope that i didnt cause your ancestors too much unrest. i am not the most sophisticated guy around. i am a little rough around the edges. my daughter goes to union u. where dr. dockery is the pres. she's in the band. they played a lot of classical music the other day. i fell asleep four times. my wife poked me in the side so many times that my ribs were sore afterwards.


volfan007

Les Puryear said...

Roger said, "I would ask those who implement these "re-baptisms" what good do they do."

Not to be cynical or anything, Roger, but they sure do look good on the baptism stats. :)

BTW, did we get the million? Has anyone heard?

Les

ColinM said...

It seems there is a slight miscommunication along the thread. Baptism happens one time, not two, not three. Other events could properly be labeled "immersion" or "sprinkling," but certainly not rebaptism. No one has argued for re-baptism as of yet, correct?

The heart of the issue is what doctrinally and ecclesiologically you consider to be baptism. Those who wish, like dear Pastor McClain, to get the baptisms of these two individuals considered biblical would do well to argue the biblical grounding for the validity of their baptisms. Upon establishment, he can then approach the trustees about the appropriateness of "re-baptism."

If there ends up being a difference of theology regarding the nature of a true baptism between a church and the SBC entity trustees, what is the correct course of action? It seems to me that as you uphold the autonomy of the church to receive those believers as already baptized, you would also hold up the liberty of the trustees to dissent and lead the IMB, in their view, in the correct direction for the future. Just as if we had a church in the SBC, and I am sure we do somewhere, knowingly allow practicing homosexuals or adulterers as members in good standing, we wouldn't expect the IMB to change policy and allow those a same individuals as missionaries in order to respect the church's autonomy to hold their practice as biblical.

What am I missing?

CB Scott said...

Vol,

If you do join a church that calls upon you to do the "Chicken Dance" before you can be a member in good standing, PLEASE, PLEASE, ask them to wait one Sunday so I can come and bring my son and a camera crew from his magazine.

I truly want to witness that event and I am sure the whole of the Christian world would enjoy it as well:-)

cb

Jack Maddox said...

I am doing the chicken dance even as I read this blog...thats right...I am chiken dancing!

FRREEEEDDDDDOOOMMMM!!!!!!!!

Jack

CB Scott said...

Jack,

Send video. I will put it in storage with the famous Elf dance:-)

cb

Professor X said...

Volfan,
Many times now in various posts and blogs I have seen the phrase "majority of Southern Baptists believe..." or some version there of. Perhaps the ideal thing would be to take some time and research just what it is that a "majority of Southern Baptists" think. Let me be clear about this, this is not research to find what a group of Southern Baptist leaders think. When seeing this as a prudent option then I would call on you to fully support the letter sent to Lifeway asking for our newly founded research department to investigate just what it is we collectively agree upon by the group that met at the Roundtable.
If this is not a good option, perhaps we could require a qurom of the 16 million SBC members to arrive at San Antonio next year to decide such matters?

Brian

Roger Simpson said...

Les:

I don't want to be cynical either.

I recall when I was baptized that is was very meaningful -- both the second and third time.

I didn't think of baptism at the time as being valid as a function of some church doctrine -- especially one that I didn't even know about at the time.

I have a question for some of you:

Let us stipulate that the Disciples of Christ doctrine about lack of security of the believer is wrong.
Given that this is the case how would this necessarily cause the baptism administered by the Disciples of Christ to be null and void? Why would some bad doctrine necessarily influence the efficacy of baptism?

I had (and still have) no problem with being re-baptized since that is a SBC requirement -- at least it was in the 1960s and probably still is now. However, I think this is an institutional requirement and only has a second-order relationship to a person's being in God's kingdom.

I think I am picking up on the trend that is emerging. Maybe I should be baptized a FOURTH time.
My first baptism was by sprinkling as an infant so it was invalid. My second baptism was invalid because looking back on it I now know that the denomination doing the Baptism does not hold to eternal security. My third baptism was invalid because I didn't realize that the reason I was having the third baptism was to cancel out the error in the second baptism -- since I didn't realize that the second baptism had errors in it or what those errors were. So I guess to be acceptable I should be baptized a forth time -- this time with the full understanding of the inadequacies of the previous three baptisms.

However, maybe I should only consider this if I contemplate service with the IMB. I really have a hard time seeing St. Peter at the gate with a clipboard checking on the adequacy of all of these baptisms.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City

Wade Burleson said...

Volfann007,

Thanks for the clarification. I understand much better what you were saying.

ColinM,

I couldn't agree more.

Biblical baptism is by immersion, after having come to faith in Jesus Christ, and is in obedience to the command of Christ, thus, it is an ordinance of Christ.

The administrator of baptism is, according to Christ, the one who had the privilege of leading you to Christ, or if that is not possible, a person who is part of the ekklesia ('called out) of God.

Hope that helps!

Wade

colinm said...

Wade,

I am glad we agree. However, your view on the proper administrator of baptism is not held across the board. Nor do I see the NT or Christ as delegating the proper administrator of baptism as the one who led you to Christ. Our own Dr. Dever would also disagree with you on this point, and include a role for the local church (the visible expression of the ekklesia and ones who received the commands of Christ) as the witness of the baptism and receiver of the baptized.

It is not as simple as you laid out, because as you well know, there are legitamte theological differences as to the proper administrator of baptism, etc.

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

I almost need a drink after this discussion.

This rule adopted by the IMB is nothing more than my sword-welding brothers trying to shape our denomination in a way that aligns with their read of scripture. They are forcing it on the rest of the denomination; in fact, many in my state think what IMB has done is silly.

I don't see any other Baptist agencies passing similar rules, in fact, I have heard a lot of negative feedback from those who are aligned with many of our other Baptist agencies. I for one love the fact that this issue is being forced time and time again with letters like the one in Wade’s post. I believe the baptism rule will ultimately go the way of Soviet-style Communism.

Did you know that my baptism has been counted by two SBC churches? So if you read the SBC’s baptism numbers from 1984, go take one from that year’s numbers. I wonder how many more are like me?

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

What leads you to say; "The administrator of baptism is, according to Christ, the one who had the privilege of leading you to Christ"? I cannot remember seeing that in Scripture. Unless you are referring to Matt. 28:19. And then who did the apostles baptize between him giving that commission and the organization of the first church at pentecoast?

Blessings,
Tim

CB Scott said...

Wade,

Another view of Baptism is that the ordinance of Baptism is of Christ commissioned by Him to His church at the time of the commission.

As the church spread, as was Jesus' intent, local churches were born which made up the church catholic and the authority for Baptism was theirs as was and is discipline.

Certainly church discipline is not the sole responsibility of any one individual although discipline is an act of Christ to bring forth the best in His children and it is related even unto our self-examination prior to partaking of the Lord's Supper within the body local.

Please do not relate this concept to Landmarkism (which I know you [Wade] will not do. I speak to those that would be confused by that doctrine of Landmarkism which I know you are not). This far pre-dates the error of Landmark theology.

As I said in the beginning this is a different view and I hope you entertain it as such. It is in no way an attack on anyone as would be my normal mode of operation:-)

James said...

I've always thought the new baptism policy is more serious (in the negative sense) than the tongues policy. I can't help but thing of Paul's statments about baptism in 1st Corinthians.

Anyone interested in a historical parallel should read about the Donatist controversy around the 4th and 5th century.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

Is not the IMB BOT looking at this issue afresh and anew as asked by the last convention? Are they not looking into the controversy as voted on by the convention and set to bring a report? Does not posts like this and your continueing to blog against them serve any purpose at this point? Many of us agree that the policy needs to be changed yet should we not let the system work as you stated after the convention you were content to do? I have visited with some of your fellow trustees and they trully do not understand your methods and many misunderstand your intent. I have defended your motivation to them for I believe much of their misunderstanding revolves around more of a disagreement on what constitutes trust more than it does policy...I just do not see how coninuing to snipe at the board furthers the cause of course correction for the BOT of the IMB.

What say you?

Blessings
Jack

Bob Cleveland said...

Uhhh....

Jesus said to go and baptize folks.

Peter (actually, the Holy Ghost talking) said to repent and BE baptized.

So ... the toughest biblical stand would say you had to be baptized to get into heaven (along with repent, etc). Hence, at the very least, there are folks who will get into heaven but not into the IMB. Based solely on their baptism.

At the very least, it seems to be immense denominational pride. At the worst, mistrust of everyone else.

Including the missionary candidates.

Or not .. what do I know?

volfan007 said...

cb,

i will let you know if i ever do the chicken dance. hopefully, i never will.

wade and all,

i was sprinkled as an infant in a methodist church. later, after i was confirmed, so to speak, i was sprinkled on top of the head by a methodist church. would you have allowed that baptism at your churches? ....in order for me to be an m in the sbc?

later, my family joined the bellevue baptist church in memphis. a young pastor had just started there not too long....his name was adrian rogers. they asked me to be baptized. they asked my family to be baptized. we did it. later on, i really got saved....at the age of nineteen. so, i got baptized again...believers baptism. that was the right one. but, also, i understand why bellevue wanted me to be baptized. they would not accept sprinkling. that was what they required for joining thier church.

there has to be boundaries set....would you not agree? dont you think that the church is the one who must be satisfied with your baptism? and, thus the sbc must also be satisfied with our view on baptisms. i dont think that the majority of the sbc would want m's sprinkling on the head, nor should we accept jw's and mormons and church of christ's baptisms. do ya think?


now, my church requires every member to be baptised by an sbc church. its not so much landmarkism....although there may be a dab of that involved...but its really a matter of pragmatism. they think that if you ask ole joe to get baptised again, because he came out of a church of christ(which beleives that you get saved by getting baptised), then ole joe wont understand if you let sammy join by statement. because sammy came from a first evangelical church which beleives as we do about salvation and baptism. ole joe wil not be able to understand that, and he will be mad. thus, to avoid upset feelings, they ask all people to be baptised in order to join our church. is this wrong?

wishing that i could have seen jack do the chicken dance,

volfan007

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Wade,
On this topic - you and i agree. I have discussed this for years. My home church actually changed this according to who was the Pastor. Of the churches that I have served, each has been different. I have always said, saved by grace thru faith plus nothing and then immersed as an obedient act according to scripture, then ok by me and more importantly by God.

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

volfan,

What if I came by letter from another SB church? Would you even ask about my baptism?

What if I came by letter from another SB church that was one in a line of several, the first of which had accepted me on statement in spite of the fact that your church would not recognize my baptism?

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

Wade,

This whole concept is ridiculous if allowed to be taken to its natural conclusion.

If you have a non-landmark take on church history, as I was taught at SWBTS under Hemphill's and Patterson's tenures, then you have to conclude that somewhere in your baptismal "geneology" there was a baptizer who was, by the new SBC/IMB standard, not legitimately baptized himself and thus all his baptisms were invalid and thus any baptisms performed by that generation and so on.

If one takes the landmark view, that baptismal "geneology" would have to be authenticated by documentation tracing that baptismal "geneology" back to Jesus himself. Even B. H. Carroll said that was impossible.

Thus if traced to it's natural, yet unintended end, according to the new SBC/IMB standard of legitimacy for baptism there are NO ligitimately baptized persons on the face of the earth today. So what are we to do?

I guess we better recall every IMB/NAMB missionary and revoke their commission, close down the IMB and NAMB, revoke every ordination of every SBC pastor/minister/deacon, shut down and disband all SBC churches, formally apologize to the world and beg for mercy from God for 100+ years of leading the people of the world into an apostate heretical sect.

Or is there a statute of limitations that says after so many generations or some number of SB church hops that an invalid baptism becomes valid?

ColinM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin Holmes (and still baptist by conviction) said...

colinm,

It is my understanding that included in the question of "proper authority" is the baptizer's "legitimatacy" as an administrator of baptism.

I think you are mistaken. Are you saying that you believe the IMB would accept the baptism of a candidate if he/she were baptized by say a roman catholic priest, episcapalian rector, or a methodist pastor so long as it was done in the fiberglass baptistry within the walls of an SB church?

Perhaps for you personally the validity of the baptism of the baptizer does not matter. However, at least for some, the "proper authority" issue does extend to one administering the baptism. I know, because I've had this same discussion with some of them.

Perhaps Wade will be able to enlighten us on this particular nuance of the issue as interpreted by the IMB.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Bob,

My pink hat comrade, I need to ask what it was that Peter baptized them into? Also, when did the first baptism take place after The Great Commission was given in Matthew 28?

That is okay, do not worry about looking for it. It was at pentecost. Jesus commanded us to make disciples, with the beginning of discipleship being the first step of baptism. This baptism took place with the first 3000, according to Scripture that is. Another question. Do we rely on Gill, or do we rely on Scripture?

Blessings,
Tim

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

colinm,

As for your contention that my "description is of a type of apostolic succession, which the Catholic church readily holds to, but never Baptists", two points:

1)There is within the baptist realm (even among the SBC)those who hold to a belief in apostolic succession that parallels the roman catholic church. They are not a myth. They do exists. I've served a few as pastor.

2)That even those (at least the ones I've met or read) who hold to such a belief don't profess to be able to actually document that succession is exactly one of the points I made.

Debbie said...

Tim: Bob isn't relying on John Gill, he is agreeing with John Gill. Big difference.

colinm said...

Kevin,

You are right. I intended to set apart Landmarckers (holding to apostolic succession) from Baptists who believe baptism to fall under the authority of the church. Som "normally not any Baptists outside of Landmarck Baptists."

As to your other question, no. The emphasis is not on the person, but the church. I do not think it is unbiblical for a father to baptize a son, but it might not be prudent or wise to allow, as it may give the church the impression that baptism is largely tied to the decision and workings of the family, not the church.

I won't argue that the administrator is not important, or that some hold it as necessarily an ordained minister, etc. But the thrust of my point was that you cannot tie a line of illegitimate baptisms together after the se-baptizer Smyth, or the mutual baptism of Blaurock and Grebel (or any others) who were setting out to gather and form churches under reformational separatist principles.

Ben Stratton said...

Wade - I am not telling Pastor Brad he cannot receive this couple into his church's membership. I believe in church autonomy as much as anyone on this board. I do believe what he is doing is unbiblical, illogical, and out of step with our Baptist heritage, but I do believe his church has the right to do what they want to do.

Arkansas Razorback - This IMB rule adopted by the IMB is not about sword-welding brothers trying to shape our denomination in a way that aligns with their read of scripture. It is about trying to get our denomination back to where it used to stand on doctrine. There are many Southern Baptist pastors who not only want to see Southern Baptists return to their historical beliefs on inerrancy, but also ecclesiology.

Kevin Holmes - You are confusing independent Landmark Baptists and Landmark Southern Baptists. No Landmark Southern Baptists believe you should have to check the history of a particular church to determine if their baptisms are valid. We believe it is the doctrine of a church that determines if its baptisms are valid.

I do give Colinm a big amen when he says that even Dr. Dever (who is not a Landmarker) believers that baptism is connected to the local church, through serving as the witness of the baptism and receiver of the baptized.

I also noticed that none of you good brethren are willing to admit that you would accept the immersion of a Mormon believer into your church. interesting...

CB Scott said...

Colinm,
Kevin is right. There are those within our ranks that believe in Apostolic Succession. My opinion is that such a theological position within the SBC is cancer.

cb

CB Scott said...

Ben Stratton,

I would not accept the immersion of a Mormon for anything other the fact that I need to put them on a prospect list for the gospel, nor do I believe Wade or the other fellows in this debate would. For you to even ask such is an insult of which they are not worthy. What would you do with the immersion of a Mormon?

To speak of "Landmark Southern Baptist" is to use an oxymoron to grasp at the development of a hybrid term to justify spreading the error of Landmarkism afresh in the SBC.

cb

Alan Cross said...

That was an excellent letter, Wade, and so clearly shows the foolishness of the new baptism policy. Put that letter up against the white papers put out by the IMB last winter and you see an able theologically consistent mind opposed to illogical mush. I'm not trying to be harsh or personal - I don't know who even wrote the white papers. But, this letter is consistent and unassailable in it's logic and adherence to Scripture.

I think that this debate is boiling down to those who adhere to the sufficiency of Scripture and those who adhere to some form of Baptist tradition. But, I'm like pinko Bob. What do I know? ;)

colinm said...

Yeah, CB, I caught that a bit earlier. Thanks for keeping me honest!

Alan said, "I think that this debate is boiling down to those who adhere to the sufficiency of Scripture and those who adhere to some form of Baptist tradition."

Alan, I have set out in very few words to demonstrate that theologians differ on the proper administrator of baptism. You may not hesitate to assail me with the accusation of holding more firmly to tradition than to Scripture, though I would argue contrary to the accusation; however, would you charge that Mark Dever and other sound theologians disagreeing with your view are married to tradition over Scripture on this issue? If so, that is a substantial charge, and one you had better be prepared to defend.

And, if you agree that you can hold to a more strict view of the role of the local church and the administrator in baptism and still remain orthodox and Southern Baptist, then you must agree that you are arguing your theological view should trump other views in IMB policy. Isn’t that the very principle this camp has set out against?

Wade Burleson said...

Jack Maddox,

I regret you believe I 'snipe' at the Board.

I do no such thing, and always speak with fondness of all Board members.

I am attempting to 'correct' what I believe to be an eggregious error by the board --- big difference.

I also don't think there would ever have been a reexamination of the policies were it not for my principled dissent.

Wade Burleson said...

Colin,

Kevin is correct. There is a very strong belief by many trustees that a 'qualified' administrator of baptism MUST be a PROPERLY baptized person --- for how in the world could an 'improperly' baptized person ever be duly authorized by a true 'gospel' Baptist church to baptize if he weren't 'properly' baptized ---

As a result, any baptism not performed by a properly baptized admninistrator is ruled as an illigetimate baptism post de facto by the new policy on baptism.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

Sorry for the word 'snipe'. A poor choice of words. Perhaps I should have said that you continue to call into question the boards decision on qualifications for m cadidates in a public forum. I apologize.

You still did not adrress my question. I realize, in fact we are all very aware, that you felt it necesary to do what you did in order to bring about change. The question was now that the BOT is looking into this policy afresh and anew, and are also investigating the whens and whys, why do you continue to publicaly confront them...to what end?

Is there a possibility that your refusal to stop publicaly blogging about IMB BOT isuues will continue to bring division between you and some of your fellow trustees?

Blessings
Jack

gmay said...

I find this dialogue to be quite intriguing. I have been a member of 5 Baptist churches in the last 35 years and 4 of them would require “rebaptism” of the candidate. I mention this not as reason to agree with IMB, but as a note of fact that at least some SBC churches would not accept the previous baptism. When we work together through conventions, these closely held beliefs and traditions will always spill over into agency policies and will therefore have to be discussed and debated regularly.

While the dialogue has been intriguing, it has also been a bit disappointing. Some have chosen to make a villain out of those who made the policies and even question whether cooperative program funds should be accepted from churches with differing beliefs. This approach may be the norm in Washington, but it does not have to be the norm in SBC life or in blog life. Can we dialogue about this issue without making all who disagree to have evil ulterior motives? If the SBC is to continue and move forward in a healthy manner, all of us must come to the understanding that there will be policies and actions with which we will disagree. With that understanding we must be diligent to seek to work together even when we don’t agree with every policy.

Jack Maddox said...

gmay

AMEN! A great post! And Praise the Lord that in the SBC there is a system in dealing with those issues which we do not agree witht he leadership of our agencies or their actions...it is called the trustee system and the convention. History will determine if taking this battle to the blogosphere was helpful or not...

Blessings
Jack

Alan Cross said...

Colinm,

Good point about my comments. They were probably a bit too strong and divisive. I withdraw them. As I continue to read this debate on both the tongues and baptism issue, that is definitely the impression I get because I am not seeing any solid biblical arguments in support of the new policies, in my opinion. I am seeing arguments and I am seeing people use the bible. But, it is being done in a way that is not consistent, in my opinion, with a strong Biblical hermeneutic. I would be happy to debate Mark Dever or anyone else on these issues. While I respect them, I am not afraid to point to what I believe the Bible says or doesn't say. I believe that both of these new policies are in error and come more from a tradition that has predisposed it's adherents to read Scripture with a cessationist and Landmarkian bias. That is my opinion, but I do not want to infer that these men throw away Scripture and just follow tradition. Upon furhter reflection, that is clearly inaccurate.

In essence, it comes down to interpretation. But, in all honesty, my interpretation is right and theirs is wrong! Ha Ha! :) Kidding!

Wade Burleson said...

Gmay,

Point well taken. I also agree.

:) Yikes, Jack and I are in agreement!

:)

I look forward to cooperating with all my Southern Baptist brothers and also look forward to continuing reversing an unbliblical policy in a spirit of grace and truth.

wade

P.S. Jack, please answer a question for me --- for 161 years missionaries were appointed under the old policy that was biblical, sound and --- Baptist!

Why the change? Why emphasize the qualifications of the administrator after 161 years?

Are all the other missionaries appointed under the old policy without 'appropriate' baptism? Do we reexamine them all?

My point, from the beginning, has been to talk about this issue, but for heaven's sake, don't transform baptism into a sacerdotal rite able to be performed only by a heirarchy of qualified priests.

Ed said...

Hello, I am the "Ed" to whom the open letter refers. Wade, I greatly appreciate you taking the time to post this letter on your blog. I have also enjoyed reading through the various comments this morning. I am both encouraged that I am not alone and challenged to continue pray and examine the whole of this particular situation.
Furthermore, I wanted to make a couple of simple clarifications about this situation in response to inquiries made by several posters. Wade initially talks about a couple, and the letter itself discusses "Ed". While the overall situation is very similar we are two different "entities". That's probably a poor word choice, but I want to avoid any confusion. Furthermore, I was baptized by immersion in a Free Will Baptist church. I hope this sheds a little light on the details.
Ed

Big Sandy said...

I sypmathize with Ed's situation. I was raised, saved and baptized in the Free Will Baptist Church my dad pastors. As I have grown older, I have begun to enjoy attending SBC churches more, (if it wasn't for limited atonement I'd almost consider myself a Calvinist) but I have yet to join one because so many of them would require me to be "rebaptized"...as to say the Baptism and salvation I received in the Free Wills was insufficient....as to say the Gospel my father preaches is insufficient.

Glen Woods said...

Not to be facetious or throw this discussion down a rabbit trail, but I wonder if the powers that be would question John the Baptist's baptism of Jesus on the basis that John was not a Southern Baptist? (Yes I know, how could he have been)I wonder how John and Jesus would have responded to this discussion and the events that precipitated it? It gives new meaning to "WWJD." Or perhaps I should say, "WWSBCD?"

With my tongue only slightly in cheek so as to prevent any PPL from slipping out and risk offending my SBC colleagues. Just kidding! :D

Blessings,

Glen Woods

Wade Burleson said...

Ed,

Thank you for the clarifications.

We are praying for you.

In His Grace,

wade

Wade Burleson said...

Ed,

Since Pastor Brad's letter only deals with you, I have changed the language in the introductory paragraph to reflect only your situation. Thanks for pointing out that the word 'couple' is technically not correct.

Blessings,

wade

volfan007 said...

kevin,

we ask about everyones baptism who wants to join our church.

volfan007

ps. would your church have accepted my methodist sprinkling i recieved as a child?

volfan007 said...

sorry,...the ps. was intended for glen woods...not for kevin, but if kevin would like to answer to, that'd be fine.

volfan007

Wade Burleson said...

Volfann, I'll answer for Kevin or Glenn, or whoever :)

"No" because sprinkling is not immersion, the Biblical mode (i.e. "baptizo" to "dip, or immerse").

Volfann, you keep switching the subject.

The DEBATE is not about MODE or CANDIDATE (all AGREE baptism is by immersion for believers in Jesus Christ -- NOT infants or sprinkling) ---

The DEBATE is about the administrator of baptism --- must it be a Southern Baptist 'church' or a 'church' that believes in eternal security.

Kevin and Pastor Brad are saying (and I agree) that biblical baptism identifies a person with Christ, and if a Southern Baptist Church examines a prospective member and they believe in Christ alone for salvation (not their baptism or ANY human ritual) and if they were baptized by immersion after coming to faith in Christ in the name of Christ --- then on testimony of their faith and baptism, they would be accepted into membership.

Baptism does NOT identify a person with 'Southern Baptist doctrine,' it identifies a person with the person and work of Christ!

Your sprinkling baptism would not have been accepted Volfann :)


That, however, is not the issue at hand.

Glen Woods said...

volfan007,

I am not sure why you singled me out, but here is my attempt to answer.

Just to clarify, I am not SBC. I am in a very small denomination called Open Bible Standard, an association of affiliated independent charismatic and pentecostal churches. We teach and practice believer's baptism by immersion.

I wonder, what do you mean by accept? Do you mean accept into our church doors? Into church membership? Into ministry ordination? Yes, we would accept a person who was baptized at infancy into our church doors. Yes, if the person has confessed and exhibited an authentic faith we would accept them into membership. As for ordination, I expect the same would be true so long as their character, confession and life are consistent with biblical teaching and a growing Christian maturity. I have never sat on a credential board so I have not had to deal with that sort of thing personally. I am just a volunteer kids pastor in a small church in a small city.

Remember, while it is a critically important Baptist distinctive to emphasize the choice of the believer in seeking baptism, we must not forget the role which God plays in working in and through the person. For those who practice infant baptism, the primary emphasis is on God's work as well as the responsibility of the larger community to nurture the child in faith. (I realize there are many other issues too but this is not my blog so I don't want to monopolize the discussion). In baptistic circles (I was raised in a baptist church--no, not SBC) the emphasis seems to be a bit more individualistic, focusing on the individual, although often a statement is made about the responsibility of the community, at least has been in my experience.

I hope that answers your question.

Blessings,

Glen Woods

Glen Woods said...

Sorry Wade, I didn't see your answer before I posted. We must have been typing at the same time.

Just to clarify, I personally teach and practice believer's baptism, as you so eloquently stated. However, I part company with the idea of dismissing out of hand infant baptism based on the strict adherence to a believer's baptism priority. However, if an infant-baptized adult or youth wants to be rebaptized as a matter of personal conscience, then I would help them in that regard, subject to accountability with my pastor and church elders. In other words, it isn't a baptismal free for all. We still focus on personal salvation, regardless of mode of baptism.

Blessings,

Glen Woods

Wade Burleson said...

Sorry Glen,

I did not mean to anwswer for you. I appreciate your reply.

wade

Pastor Brad said...

Ben,
You said, "every time someone is baptized, they are identified with the person and church who baptized them", yet you have called my stance unbiblical. Actually, every time someone is baptized, they are identified with Christ.

Stephen Pruett said...

colin said, "...then you must agree that you are arguing your theological view should trump other views in IMB policy. Isn’t that the very principle this camp has set out against?"

No we are not saying our theological view should trump other views. We are saying autonomous SBC churches should make this determination and that the IMB should not trump the church's position on baptism by refusing to accept its recognition of the validity of some missionary candidate's baptism.

I agree with Alan Cross that I have seen no convincing exegesis that is leads me to believe that the IMB position is the best interpretation of scripture on the matter of baptism. Therefore, even if it reflects the practice of the majority of churches, I oppose its elevation to an official policy or doctrine by any SBC agency. It really baffles me that people are so sure that this policy reflects a biblical imperative that they are willing to deprive unreached people groups of otherwise qualified missionaries. When I compare the consequences of leaving people unreached and of the IMB accepting the determination of its supporting churches as to the validity of candidate's baptism, there is really no contest. The potential consequences of failing to send missionaries who are otherwise qualified for the purpose of protecting doctrinal purity (on a biblically questionable doctrine) are so serious that I personally would not want to be accountable to God for such a decision.

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

volfan,

As Wade has said, the discussion currently in the SBC isn't over mode or chronology of events. At least those within the SBC that I've spoken to and read agree that the proper mode of baptism is by immersion. The chronology is to be after salvation as a believer.

You ask if I would accept your methodist sprinkling. The answer is no because I believe the Bible is clear that the established mode is immersion (That's what the word means.). I believe that only immersion is appropriately symbolic of the death, burrial, and resurrection of Jesus as well as the individual's death to sin and rebirth to walk in a new life.

That said, if a person were baptized by immersion in a methodist congregation and that person had a biblically correct understanding of baptism, I would personally see their baptism as valid. Whether or not they would be excluded from church membership without being rebaptized would be a matter for the receiving congregation to decide.

If a local, autonomous, SBC congregation, being fully aware of the facts, accepted that person into their membership, that in essence is tantamount to that congregation validating that baptism as being as authentic as one performed in their own church.

So if the "proper authority" is the local SBC church, in this case that requirement would have been met and that person should be seen as a viable candidate for commissioning by the IMB/NAMB and for service in other roles within the SBC.

If that baptism is rejected by the SBC, it is the same as saying that while the local church can do as they please (autonomy), the local church is indeed not the "proper authority", but rather that the authority to determine the validity of spiritual events lies with the SBC.

What next, a policy regarding successful completion of chatachism prior to baptism using an SBC standardized test? After all, we can no longer trust the local church to assess the validity of matters concerning such high theology and ecclesiology.

Maybe we ought to have a special circuit-riding squad of NAMB missionaries who are SBC certified to perform chatechisms and baptisms. We could then develop a policy only that accepts baptisms by these high priests. All SB's could be rebaptized by this dunking squad. All future baptisms could be performed only by members of this group. We could make a big day of it. Once every three months, all the baptismal candidates from all the SB churches in the dunker's diocese could be gathered at a single church and the baptisms performed under the authority of the certified immerser acting under the authority of the Southern Baptist Church (SBC).

What next, a policy on the proper wording of the "sinner's prayer for salvation", or the proper posture during that prayer, the proper geographical point from which that prayer is to be prayed, the proper chain of verses that are to be read prior to the prayer, the proper workbook exercises which must be completed prior to the prayer ...

Absurd? Indeed it is.

Pastor Brad said...

Ben,
Why do you keep bringing up Mormons? No pastor in his right mind would allow someone who had been baptized as a Mormon to join their church based on a statement of faith. It's pointless to even bring up.

You said, "I do believe what he is doing is unbiblical, illogical, and out of step with our Baptist heritage." This is the point exactly. We are more tied to our heritage than we are to scripture.

I have consulted with pastors who are currently at some of the highest attainable positions of denominational leadership about this topic. All of them confirmed to me that my position on scriptural baptism was accurate. They do not know me.

I'm having difficulty seeing where I'm off base scripturally.

Pastor Brad said...

Can someone tell me the scripture reference on that "Sinner's Prayer"? Is it Denominations 3:2?

Pastor Brad said...

"If the SBC is to continue and move forward in a healthy manner, all of us must come to the understanding that there will be policies and actions with which we will disagree. With that understanding we must be diligent to seek to work together even when we don’t agree with every policy."

This is well said, gmay.

My generation has had several labels, but perhaps Generation Y would be most appropriate? I am unwilling to accept what has always been without first examining scripture and coming to what I believe is an accurate interpretation. I'm asking "Why?", while many of the ministers my age are just checking out of the SBC altogether.

I'm not interested in division. I've seen the results of division upclose and it is painful. My Savior's renown is too important to me to be trying to stir up division.

I'm not interested in making a name for myself. I hope to retire in 35 years from the church we planted 2.5 years ago.

What I want is simple: "the nations as my inheritance" (Psalm 2:8). I'm committed to "make disciples", not just converts, to the ends of the earth. I believe the way we have supported missionaries over the years is the most effective model available. I want to see that continue. I'd like for us to hold fast to the "Cooperative" in the "Program".

My generation is fleeing the SBC as quickly as they can over these types of questions. It's easy to just walk away. It's much harder to walk against the current. For now, someone needs to walk against the current, and from the looks of this blog, many more than I realized are doing just that.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

I will be glad to answer your question Wade.

I AGREE! Surely you know this by now. Have you and I not dialoged enough that you do not realize that I agree with you on the baptism policy? The PPL issue may be differant, but on this we agree...that has never been the issue. My problem has always been with your methods, not your message.

Now will you please answer my question because so far you have not ( Ihave asked it twice).

Why when after the convention you stated that you were happy that the BOT were going to look at this issue and report back to the convention, do you continue to publicaly Blog in such a way that it seems that you are being critical. Why not let the system work...Is not the BOT of the IMB investigating this isuue? DO we not have fresh and new leadership that seems to be less abrasive? (President of the BOT)

Do you really think that this forum is helpful at all? It would seem to me your preaching to the choir.

Blessings
Jack

Pastor Brad said...

While the BOT takes an entire year to discuss/decide, amazingly qualified missionary candidates are being told, "no". These candidates will be forced to look for other options to fulfill God's call on their life, and the SBC churches they are members of may be forced to decide where support will be allocated.

Jack Maddox said...

Pastor Brad

How does the continueing attack of the BOT change that? The point I am trying to make is that the problem has been from day one with Wades taking this battle to the Blogosphere where many feel he has breached trust. I am not saying that he has, I am simply saying that is the way many of the BOT feel. My point is to bring out the simple question...has this helped? Is it helping?

If this issue is a hill on which to die, then it may be that many will have to make a choice...however, that is unfortunate...I guess we will just hvae to see what tier doctrine this si to a lot of you folks.

Blessings
Jack

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

Ben wrote: Arkansas Razorback - This IMB rule adopted by the IMB is not about sword-welding brothers trying to shape our denomination in a way that aligns with their read of scripture. It is about trying to get our denomination back to where it used to stand on doctrine. There are many Southern Baptist pastors who not only want to see Southern Baptists return to their historical beliefs on inerrancy, but also ecclesiology.


Ben,

You are incorrect, I say this with grace, but surely you know the history surrounding the policy changes at the IMB. We fought the battle for the scripture and we won. Now pressing forward on a particular brand of ecclesiology is not called for. There are some of us who take Jesus literally, in that we, as believers, are called to Baptize and that particular ordinance isn't only reserved for the a pastor of a SBC church.

Anonymous said...

Paul and the twelve and Jesus would not qualify for the IMB. This looks like a problem. Jesus was not much for church rules and I doubt he would be impressed by ours. I was dunked inorder to join a club that met in a church. I was sprinkled to join the boudy of Christ.

volfan007 said...

wade,

i guess the point i am trying to make with the methodist baptism and the church of christ baptism is that we all have rules(for a lack of a better word at the moment) concerning what baptism we will accept, and what we wont. right?

so, you would set the limits at a certain place, and i would set the limits at a certain place....maybe a different place. right?

so, who is to say what place is the right place, or the right rules, or limits?


and, if we(the sbc) decide what the limits are...whats wrong with that?

volfan007

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

Hey VolFan,

You said "and, if we(the sbc) decide what the limits are...whats wrong with that?"


Volfan, in this case who is the SBC? A select group of trustees of the IMB certianly isn't the SBC. The SBC is comprisedof local churches. Secondly scripture should be our guide and we shouldn't create policy on such debatable matters.

Bryan Riley said...

I am not a theologian in the seminary trained sense. So, please understand I am writing this as a student, not a teacher. I am desirous of understanding.

Here are my thoughts: I understand the word baptizo means immerse. However, that words is used as a verb with all kinds of objects, such as the name Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, into Moses and the sea, fire, etc. and etc. In those instances the word is meant to immerse in a figurative way. To be immersed into something or be covered by or identified with, but not a literal immersion into fire, etc.

At the same time, we see people saying, look, there is some water, what keeps me from being baptized? Of course, we know not how much water or how deep it was, but we at least see that they were interested in there actually being water for baptism.

Nevertheless, the bible doesn't spell out how to baptize other than the fact that we know the Greek word used meant immerse. Again, we immerse ourselves into our studies, into Christ, into a football game, into lots of things without it meaning submerge.

Here is another thing I understand. I have always been taught, and believe, that baptism is symbolic and not mystical or mandatory for salvation. It is simply an act of obedience demonstrating our faith in Christ.

Given these observations, why is it that someone choosing to participate in that symbol through sprinkling (as a believer) is considered unbiblical? We typically don't argue over whether the baptism takes place in the Jordan, a creek, a tub, a pool, a baptismal, or the ocean (although some have historically), but we want to draw lines in the sand on who is able to serve based on submerging versus the use of a handful of water?? Please help me understand how this jives with God's word?

Bryan Riley said...

How is this different than teaching, as a good friend of mine who is Church of Christ would teach, that baptism is a mandatory requirement of salvation?

Debbie said...

Bryan: That is the exact question I have had in my mind.

Wade Burleson said...

Jack Maddox,

The day that trustees of the respective agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention cannot dialogue about, debate with, and discuss openly policies that are passed that seem to violate the very clear teaching of the Word of God is the day we should fold up the tent and close shop.

We are Baptists. Our rule of faith is the Word of God.

If a policy cannot be defended by the Word of God then trustees have an obligation, yea, a moral duty to express their principled dissent.

You say it is a 'breach of trust' to discuss this publicly? Jack, I respectfully disagree with you.

I wish people could see that simply disagreeing with someone does not mean you disrespect them.

In my opinion it is a breach of trust to attempt shut down discussion or shut out dissenters. You will never be able to convince me otherwise Jack.

Open dialogue and debate is wonderful. I have learned a great deal through blogs, including yours.

Knowledge is power.

In His Grace,

wade

Wade Burleson said...

Bryan,

You ask a good question.

I respect that you draw the line a little broader than I would in terms of baptism.

John Bunyan and other Baptist pastors in centuries past allowed both sprinkling and immersion as appropriate forms of baptism.

However, since the Baptist Faith and Message (and in my opinion Scripture) spell out baptism is by immersion, then for a church or individual to be considered 'Southern Baptist' they would have to be baptized by immersion.

This is exactly what I told my friend who pastors Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. They were considering allowing members into their church who had either been immersed or sprinkled. To the elders, the mode of baptism was not an issue over which Christians should divide.

I shared with him that his church had the right to take this approach if they desired, but they would no longer be considered a 'Southern Baptist' church.

Many evangelical congregational, and independent Bible churches take the broad approach to the mode of baptism that you have articulated. They do missions independently, and do not cooperate with Southern Baptists in terms of the Cooperative Program or provide leadership to our agencies and institutions.

My desire is not to 'broaden' the requirements to be a participatory Southern Baptist Church, but to STOP the narrowing of the parameters of cooperation to exclude people from serving on the basis of doctrinal interpretations of issues not addressed by the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and to keep anyone from tightening the general confession by continuing to add non-essential doctrines to it.

Therefore, the issue before us is simply the 'administrator' of baptism, or more precisely, does 'baptism identify a person with a system of doctrine or a denomination.'

The BFM 2000 emphatically says baptism by immersion identifies a person with Christ.

Hope this helps with your question.

Alycelee said...

If I told you what I thought about the "requirements of baptism and who could" I'm sure a swift typing hammer would come down on my head.
With that, I'll just say.
I agree with Razorbaptist (good thing since we live close)
Love and agree with Alan and Bob.
(how very refreshing and real)
Bryan-Great Question (for the remission of sins or because our sins have been remitted?)
I'm twice baptisted BTW (but if I could do it again, I would have my husband baptize me)

Timothy Cowin said...

Bryan,

I think that Immersion is the Biblical Mode for biblical baptism for many reasons, including

1. Baptizo, which literally means "to dip" or to "immerse."

2. Because Immersion best symbolizes Christ's Death, Buraial, and Ressurection. (See Romans 6.4)

3. Furthermore, look at this very interesting and telling verse found in John 3.23

"Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized."

Bryan, Why did he need "much water"?

I really have to disagree with your assessment that Immersion is not clearly taught in the Bible.

Tim

Debbie said...

I too believe firmly that immersion is taught in scripture. Alycelee asked my question perfectly when she said "For the remission of sins or because our sins have been remitted?" That is my question concerning why the change in policy? What exactly is the reason for baptism becoming to the leaders that agree with the policy change?

davidinflorida said...

Pastor Wade,
Funny that there is another blog discussing Baptism as is yours.
I believe that I can say almost the same thing here as there.
Its amazing that some can sit here in the USA and discuss rules for Baptism which are far more detailed than what is in the Bible.
As we do this, there are Christians in countries such as China, North Korea, Cuba, Iran etc that are getting Baptized in 50 gallon drums and buckets. Some are having water bottles poured over them. They do this because it is dangerous to be a Christian in these countries and they do not want to leave evidence of a Christian Baptism ceremony.
They also do this because they are compelled by their hearts to be Baptized into Christ and not into a denomination or church.
Look at 2 COR 3 2+3, its the heart, not the denominational rule book.
Go tell these Christians that they are not being Baptized the correct way. Go ahead.
Ivory Tower American Christians...

Paul Burleson said...

Bryan,

Way to go with some thoughtful questions and lack of fear in asking them. My personal two-cents worth is along this line.

You're correct in saying we are baptized by other than water in scripture. The Holy Spirit baptizes us into the Body of Christ at our salvation. The word means "immersion" but has the connotation of "total Identification." So when we are Baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ it means total identification [immersion] with Him.

I hold that "immersion" in water to picture this [going under to be immersed/identified] is biblical baptism for several reasons.

One is logic. [Never the final or weightest reason.] If water is used to baptize/identify [show a picture] of your Spirit experience with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, then it is best symbolized by going down under. Much like a submarine is identified/immersed with water to show it's a submarine, His death, burial, and resurrection, and my participation in it symbolically, is best seen in going completely under the water. It is death and burial after all.

Language is my second reason. As pointed out by Timothy, John 3:23 does mention the fact that "much water" was needed for whatever they did. The language adds weight to my logic.

Finally, the text itself. In Acts 8:38 it is said of Phillip and the Eunuch..."and they went down both into the water, both Phillip and the Eunuch, and he [Phillip] baptized/identified him [the Eunuch] there." [Total identification with His death, burial and resurrection.]

If someone says, "Phillip may have poured water on him while both were standing in the water." I grant that that could be true. But when I look at the logic, language and text with the simplest view I see "immersion under water." These are representative of verses and moments in scripture that encourage me in my view,That is why I hold to baptism by immersion and believe I am biblical in doing so.

BUT, my fellowship is with believers around the person and work of Christ. [1 Corinthians chapters 1,2,and 3.] The more narrow fellowship I have is with Southern Baptists who hold to that same view. I hasten to say, however, my first call is to the text.

This view does identify me with Baptists historically, it is true, with a few exceptions as Wade mentioned. And with Southern Baptists also. I choose to remain here. [I, too, don't want to narrow our group any further than necessary. Let's leave PPL private.]

Having said all that, I don't believe you're incorrect in asking, investigating, researching, questioning, and coming to your own position as I know you will.

My local fellowship Henderson Hills Baptist church has done the same thing. We want to be sure we see baptism through biblical eyes. [Not as to it's candidate, mode, or motive. That we hold is a believer, testifying of their union with Christ, by immersion.] But to see if it is biblically the door for local church membership.] Nothing wrong with that except some people do tend to paint you with the brush of heresy just for getting around to asking/investigating. I don't my brother. Keep investigating.

Paul B.

Paul Burleson said...

Wade,

I read the comment above mine after I posted and thought I wanted to add my word to exceptions.

I don't believe sin is committed when circumstances demand variations because of the motivation of it all. I, for example, baptized a totally paralyzied teenage boy who could not go under water by physicians orders for good reason. We set him in shallow water and I got us both a little wet. His folks were happy, our congregation was happy and I think baptists ought to be. :)

Dad

Bryan Riley said...

All of the answers help, and for that I am very grateful. In fact, I, contrary to what some may think, may well agree with you theologically and personally (although with questions). It is what I have always been taught, and I am a believers' baptism kinda guy as well.

I still wish someone would address the tension between teaching that it is but symbol and yet mandating a method for the symbol. I suppose that is what is being said by the death, burial and resurrection, but because that is even symbolically displayed by dipping, it can be symbolically displayed by sprinkling. I also think that what I have received are two verses, one about much water and the one about Philip that I had already identified. As I said, we see that people used water (although perhaps that was simply because that is what John was doing), but "much water" is not an indication of what that meant. What was much to John? Enough to dip in or simply an ever present source? Becuase we are placing emphasis on "much water" should we likewise place emphasis on the fact that it was outside? Not a well? In a stream or river? Are we outside the bible because we build nice, clean baptismals, with heaters, that only go so high, in which the pastors can wear neat little waders so that they can hurry back to the service?

I am not trying to be trite at all... in fact, my point is that we are making much out of very little. And, then, to make matters worse, we are willing to divide the body over it. What did Paul say to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 3?

Does anyone get my point? It's not so much that I disagree with the fact that the bible may very well tach that baptism is submerging a believer into water; rather, it is that there are reasonable questions to the truth of that doctrine yet people are willing to break ties with brothers and sisters over those differing reasonable beliefs. I see this as no different than the issue of PPL or any of the others we have been raising for some time now. Sigh.

Bryan Riley said...

Also, please remember, that I seriously have not done the study of many of you... and i'm reminding myself of that, too. I don't know geographically what the rivers talked of for baptism looked like water-wise, and I really don't know what the ancient practices were; however, I sense tension between teaching symbolic value only and then mandating method. I also sense tension between talking about non-essentials and not dividing us over them but then choosing baptismal methods as a point of division when it would be difficult to argue that the method is an essential doctrine. Thank you for the answers and please continue to mentor this seeking follower of Jesus.

Timothy Cowin said...

Brian,

You stated:

"I suppose that is what is being said by the death, burial and resurrection, but because that is even symbolically displayed by dipping, it can be symbolically displayed by sprinkling."


Would you please explain to us how sprinkling could be symbolic of a death, burial, and ressurrection? I definitly do not see the correlation.

Tim

Bryan Riley said...

Tim,

It is symbolic that we say that the dipping represents death, burial and resurrection. Clearly, we don't in fact kill anyone, they are not dead, we do not bury them, and they do not rise again to new life; in fact, according to our teaching and the teaching of the scripture, they are already New Creations and the baptism is but a symbol. Just as we are creative in connecting dipping with death, burial and resurrection, I can be creative and say that taking my hand and placing it over someone's head shows that they are completely submitted to God, dying to themselves, they are buried under my hand and the water that runs therefrom, and, when I remove it they are presented with new life. Now, I just made that up, and given more time to think about it i could probably suggest other ways that such a portrait portrays the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, but I simply wanted to help you understand what I meant.

Is there any where in scripture where it spells out the symbol we have otherwise made submerging out to be? And, what was John doing prior to Jesus going through His death, burial and resurrection? Are there contemporary or historical precedents for similar religious activities before John?

Bryan Riley said...

I was in fact submerged as a believer about 26 years ago in an SBC church, btw. I laughed when I recently baptized Tanner because I asked my in laws about their baptisms. They were baptized in the Church of the Brethren some 60 or so years ago and they all were baptized by dunking FORWARD THREE TIMES (in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit).

Would that baptism qualify in your church?

Wes Kenney said...

Wade,

You said:

The BFM 2000 emphatically says baptism by immersion identifies a person with Christ.

I don't know that I agree that the BF&M says that emphatically, as you suggested. I would agree that the BF&M says it implicitly.

But what it says explicitly is that baptism is an ordinance of the church, and that it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership.

Pastor Brad said...

Wow! You guys have gone way off thread here.

Pastor Brad said...

Since some on this thread seem to uphold that the BOT is seriously reconsidering this issue, can you tell me when we are going to know what their decision is, or how it is going?

Les Puryear said...

Wade,

I have "waded" through the comments here [no pun intended :)] and am wondering something.

Is this issue of baptism being connected to a particular church a Landmark issue? Are we saying that Landmarkism has thrust its head into IMB policy? Or do I misunderstand?

Regards,

Les

Wade Burleson said...

Wes,

Please answer this question:

The word ordinance means 'an authoritative rule.'

Is baptism an ordinance of Christ? Yes or no.

In other words, Wes, did Christ establish the rule of baptism, or did the church?

Upon whose authority is baptism an essential of one's faith?

Just a simple answer to my question would be nice?

:)

Wade Burleson said...

Les,

When trustees tell me, "I'm Landmark and proud of it" then yes, Landmarkism is present within the IMB.

Les Puryear said...

Wade,

That has the be the scariest thing I've heard in a long time.

Les

Wes Kenney said...

Wade,

Absolutely, baptism is a command of Christ. On that, we can have no disagreement if we are reading the same Bible.

But the question, "To whom was the command given?" needs to be answered as well.

I think (please correct me if I am wrong) that you would answer that the command was given to every believer, to be carried out as they are convinced by Scripture is correct.

I would answer that the command was given to the local church (as no baptisms are recorded until Acts 2), to be carried out by its members under the authority of the church.

This, I believe, is the substance of our disagreement, a disagreement which allows me to fully support the policy you openly criticize, and to do so totally outside the influence of what I believe to be erroneous Landmark ecclesiology.

Paul said...

Wes,

If it doesn't say so emphatically don't you agree that it should?

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

I did not say that what you are doing is a breach of trust. I said to some on the IMB BOT it is viewed that way. There is way more to this issue than what is simply blogged about and you know there is.

I am simply implying that this may not be the best way to approach course correction. To continue to deal with this issue in such a public way seems to me to simply be causing more division.

I will say this, you certainly are entitled to say whatever you wish...not only is it a Baptist tradition but according to the 1st amendment it is your right! I just wonder if it is helpful much less edifying.

By the way...your comment about someone on the board stating what they did concerning a landmark position...can you state who said this? If not, should you have even remotely shared this information on a public forum? Is it not borderline gossip? Did your statement help to reconcile your problem with the BOT?

Blessings
Jack

Jonathan K. said...

At this point in the discussion, I'm going to chime in here. I live in the Oklahoma City area, but I am not a Baptist. I've read some rather interesting views in this and other blogs today, some of which I agree with, and some of which I do not.

I believe the command to baptize was given as an ordinance to the church as a whole, and that means not to any particular congregation or local entity, but to believers more generally. The command was given expressly to the disciples. It was not given to local pastors, or anything like that. It was given to the twelve (minus Judas).

Further, there is no evidence in the Scriptures that this was given to local congregations. The idea of the local church had not been established when Jesus instructed the disciples to baptize in Matthew 28. It was given to the disciples. If you are a born-again Christian, then you are supposed to be a disciple, and so you have a responsibility to win the lost, and make disciples (the first step, as someone astutely put, would be to get the person involved in a church, water baptized, and as a charismatic, I would add getting filled with the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of living an effective Christian life.)

Thus, to say that Christ gave water baptism as an ordinance to the local church is a misnomer, because it was given to the church as a whole, meaning ALL believers (regardless of whether they are pastors or not).

Paul said...

Wes,

I'm not sure how baptism being an ordinance of the church affects the substance of the issue that Pastor McCain is addressing - which is where the policy goes awry. The couple in his church was baptized by immersion, after conversion, by a local church. It just wasn't the right "sort." This is the problem with the policy; not that there was no local church authority involved.

Now the policy states that the proper local church authority is a church that believes in eternal security. The BFM statement on baptism doesn't even imply that in the statement on baptism.

Thus, one could believe that the local church is the proper authority for baptism and still disagree with the policy. That's simply not the issue for so many of us.

Timothy Cowin said...

Wes,

The issue is: Where does true authority come from? Baptists first understood authority to come from Christ and not an ecclesiastical entity. The ordinances were seen to be the ordinances of Christ. Read carefully the confession of the first Baptists:

1644 London Confession
Section XLI On Baptism.
The persons designed by Christ, to dispense this Ordinance (of baptism), the Scriptures hold forth to be a preaching Disciple, it being no where tied to a particular Church, Officer, or person extraordinarily sent, the Commission enjoining the administration, being given to them under no other consideration, but as considered Disciples.

It is sad that we have so quickly forgotten the lessons that the first Baptists would teach us. Ecclesiastical authority is to be guarded against at all times, it is the cause of much persecution and even death.

You should know that our first Baptists were told that they did not have the authority to preach, baptize, or take the LS. Only an authorized clergy from an authorized church had this authority. The "church" had not given them that authority. These bold men took their Bible and basically said, "authority comes from Christ, He has authorized all disciples to preach, baptize and come to His table!" And now we are back to where they started from with this talk of "proper ordination" of an administrator and "true churches." With all due respect Wes, we are going backwards when we take authority away from Christ and place it into the purview of an ecclesiastical institution, even if it is Baptist.

Wes there was more then just 11 men on that hill when Jesus said, "Go Baptize..." Now some "expert" wants to tell me that He was only authorizing apostles who later gave the authority to the church? Please give me an exegesis of the passage that teaches this. Sounds eerily like Roman Catholic arguments to support the concept of their clerical and ecclesiastical authority. Christ gave all His disciples the mandate and the right to preach and baptize. Is it done in relationship to His ecclesia or gathering? Certainly. But people are baptized into the body of Christ, not into a denomination, and people are baptized by any disciple, not by only those who are “authorized” by an ecclesiastical entity.

Practical application: the clergy in a Baptist church must never be seen like the priests of a Catholic church….. the “authorized” ones.

Tim

Paul said...

Sorry to address Wes again, but you wrote: "I would answer that the command was given to the local church (as no baptisms are recorded until Acts 2), to be carried out by its members under the authority of the church."

John 4:1-2 states: "4:1 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee."

[all emphasis mine]

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

I would enccourage you to focus on the issues.

Les asked me a question and I answered.

Wes,

Thanks for answering my question. I believe you have a logic problem if you believe the command to baptize was only given to 'the apostles' in the Great Commission --- for if that were true, then only the Apostle were commanded to evangelize.

I have no problem in saying that 'the church' has the authority to baptize --- because Christ gave his command to evangelize and baptize to 'the church.'

The problem is our definition of 'the church.'

You see it as an insitution with a hieracrchy of authority --- I see her as the Bride of Christ --- the people of God -- Christians from every nation, kindred, tribe and tongue.

There are local 'churches' but the ordinance of Christ to baptize, given to the 'church' is a command to all disciples --- not just to the 'clergy,' 'priests,' or potentates of an istitution.

For practical and 'pragmatic' reasons, pastors may baptize most converts, but the principle of New Testament baptism states that the person who evangelizes also has the privilege to baptize.

Wes Kenney said...

I can't really respond to everyone adequately, but Tim, it sounds like you're relying more on tradition than on Scripture... ;-)

I'm just kidding, but I truly believe that the whole of the Great Commission, and not just the command to baptize, was given to the church, and should be carried out by all believers within a relationship of accountability to a local church. I don't in any way attach ordination to the authority to baptize; a local church could authorize the person who checks the fire extinguishers to baptize if it so desires. It could also authorize each missionary it sends out to baptize converts on its authority, each chaplain it sends into the military, and so on.

What I oppose is the divorcing of the ordinance from the authority Christ invested in the local church.

Wade Burleson said...

Tim Cowen,

Who are you? The more I read of what you write the more I think "This guy is brilliant!"

Of course, it may be because you sound like me. :)

Wes Kenney said...

Wade,

I believe what I do because I believe it is faithful to Scripture, and because it has the added benefit of providing accountability to something outside myself, which I believe is a Biblical principle as well.

Everything I do in the carrying out of the Great Commission must be done in the context of a relationship of accountability to a local church. This includes baptizing, but also sharing the gospel, teaching, and discipling. This accountability is a safeguard against aberrations in theology which can lead to greater problems.

Fundamentally, we agree about ecclesiology.

Wes Kenney said...

Oops.

Obviously, "agree" in my last comment should be "disagree."

Please don't put that sentence in an endorsement for your next book...


;-)

Wade Burleson said...

Wes,

God is sovereign.

There are no mistaes in the blog world.

I'm glad the Lord convinced you of the truth.

:)

Wade

P.S. Just kidding of course. No book endorsement will be taken from your comment.

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

I have noe final thought for you tonight before I go to bed.

I pray we can get to the point in the SBC when debate is not feared.

Iron sharpens iron, and the men and women on this blog and others have made me a sharper Southern Baptist.

Lay down the argument we do not need to discuss these things.

It's a weak one anyway.

I promise you there are hundreds more well informed Southern Baptists than there were a year ago because of dozens upon dozens of excellent blogs and comments -- including yours.

Wes Kenney said...

Wade,

The last paragraph of your comment to Jack is one on which I can unequivocally say I agree with you. And you can put that in a book endorsement (in context, of course ;-))

Timothy Cowin said...

Wade,

Thank you, I am flattered...

Just a St. Louis Preacher, from the show me state, and in my context, Show Me means from the Word:)
Of course it is amazing what one will arrive at when they can cast all aside and read the Word...Sola Scriptura!

Iron sharpens iron, and it has been comforting and encourging to read your blog and realize that
there are still some genuine "particular baptists" out there:)

Tim CowIn

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

I will close with this comment. You tell me to stick with the issue when all I am trying to say is that your blogging has become the issue for many on the IMB BOT. When you make a comment such as you did concerning a certain BOT member making a statement that you claim was made, thats is inuendo and you know it. This is part of the problem that we face. We have a lot of SBC folk talking about each other and hardly anyone talking to each other. Anyway, you have answered my original question, I think, and I will let it go. I fear that my comments may be taking away from some excellent posts on the nature and various views on baptism.

Blessings
Jack

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

Wade,

I had the same though about Timothy Cowin, this guys sounds great.

Tim,

Tell us more about yourself. What is the name of your church? Yada yada yada. And where the heck have your been over the past year, great comments!

Jonathan K. said...

I'm going to jump in here again.

Tim, I am originally from St. Louis... I was a member at Rivers of Life Church in Sunset Hills. I think your issue with baptismal authority is key. If water baptism as an ordiance of Christ, and not of an ecclesiastical entity (i.e. a church, the SBC denomination, etc.), then Wes Kenney's point that the command to baptize believers was given to the church, and not to believers in general (or at large) does not make any sense, and that is a strong argument against the Landmarkist view that Pastor Kenney is espousing here. Further, I agree completely that, "we are going backwards when we take authority away from Christ and place it into the purview of an ecclesiastical institution." Tim, I also agree that "people are baptized into the body of Christ, not into a denomination, and people are baptized by any disciple, not by only those who are “authorized” by an ecclesiastical entity."

Wade, I completely agree with your view that 'the church' is the bride and body of Christ. Yep.

canawedding said...

Here is a brief summary of baptism Truths: John's water baptism was the only one ordained by God, Isa 40:3-5. Six times we read that John baptized with water but Jesus baptizes with God’s Holy Spirit, Mt 3; Mk 1; Lk 3; Jn 1; Ac 1-2; Ac 11. Jesus Christ fulfilled "all Righteousness" under the Old Covenant when John baptized Him in the Jordan River, Mt 3; Lk 16:15-17. When Jesus Christ's Righteousness is ignored or rejected there is no Grace, ever, since Faith comes before Grace as Paul made clear in Romans and Galatians.

The TRANSITION from John's ministry to Jesus' ministry was described in Mt 4; Mk 1; Jn 3:22-4:3. After this transition there were NO water baptisms until Ac 8; Ac 10-11, the TRANSITION from Judaism to Christianity. Ac 8; Ac 10-11 were water baptisms of Jewish tradition given to Gentiles before the apostles understood that they no longer belonged to Judaism, Mt 23; Ac 11:1-18; Ac 15; Gal 2:11-21. In Ac 11, the apostles learned, "Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto Life!" They never again baptized with water after Ac 11.

The only saving baptism is God’s Holy Spirit baptism, Mt 3; Mk 1; Lk 3; Jn 1-7; Ac 1-7; Ac 9; Ac 11-28; 1Co 12:12-13; Eph 4. The Great Commission was never about physical water; it is about God’s Holy Spirit, clearly explained in Jn 13-17; Jn 20, the detailed Great Commission. Not one adult, who has died and who will die believing in physical water baptisms, was saved or will be saved for following false gospels. Those who teach false gospels will be punished even more severely.

CB Scott said...

Wes,

If I understand you correctly you are saying Baptisim was commissioned to the Apostles.

If I understand Wade correctly he states the church was commissioned to baptize converts by Christ.

Wes, tell me where you base this idea unless you are of Landmark theology. If you are then you do not have to explain it. I know where you got it.

The Apostles are dead. There are no Apostles. Jesus knew they were going to die. How and why would He give the authority to baptize only to them while having full knowledge that His return would be long after their deaths? Is not the GC to be a mandate for the church until Christ calls the church unto him?

I must agree with Wade in this area of debate. Baptism is an ordin.ance of Christ. I think he agrees with me that Christ commissioned the authority of it to the church.

I think Wade and I disagree as to the definition of church at this point, but we agree Baptism was not commissioned to the Apostles alone.

Wes, tell me if I understand you or not in this matter. Wade, am I close to where we agree and disagree in this matter. I really would like to know if I understand where you guys are with this.

cb

Jonathan K. said...

CB,

I wish to respond to some of the comments you made in your most recent post.

First, I agree, and would like to also inquire of Wes, whether he gets his ideas from landmarkism, because that is what it sounds like to me, as well. If not from landmarkism, from where???

However, Bro. CB, I do need to take issue with you on a few comments you made. You asserted that the apostles are dead. This is not exactly true. Yes, the original apostles (the ones we find in the Bible) are physically dead. But there still are apostles active in God's church, the body of Christ. You may not see them visibly in your denomination, but I'm not Baptist, Bro. CB, and my pastor's pastor is an apostle. You may think there are no more apostles today, but that is wrong, you're not looking in the right places.

However, Bro. CB, I do agree with you that Christ gave the command to baptize to the church at large, to believers at large, and not to an institution (like the Roman Catholic Church teaches and believes).

So, Bro. CB, I think we are close to agreeing with each other, except on the apostles issue. Thanks.

CB Scott said...

Jonathan,

It is a fact we do not agree about this apostolic position of which you speak.

It is also probably a fact we do not agree about the idenity of the church. I would have to read the doctrinal statement of the denomination (or church) of which you belong. I have no foundation to base a statement upon without such.

cb

Bryan Riley said...

It would be nice if someone addressed well written posts like canawedding's. It clearly expresses beliefs that aren't generally taught in good SBC seminaries, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be considered and addressed.

I know mine sometimes aren't well written, but I still wish the questions raised would be addressed. I apologize that I can't use terms like ecclesiastical and such and know what all that infers, but I really am amazed at Wes Kenney's comment about everything must go through a local church. I believe a whole church can be just as screwed up, if not more, than a single individual. But, that's just me. We all fall short of God's glory and cling desperately to Him. If we are clinging to anything else, including a local church, we commit idolatry and will not find rest.

Jonathan K. said...

Bro. CB,

Could you articulate what your definition of "the church" is - ???

You stated we probably disagree on this issue, but I never read what your view actually was. Thanks.

Jonathan K. said...

Bryan,

I am going to do my best to respond to canawedding's post. However, I'm coming from a non-denominational charismatic angle here. So, you might find me making some distinctions you disagree with or are uncomfotable with.

First, we need to establish that there really are three (not two) baptisms established in the Scriptures. We need to distinguish who is the baptizer in each of these, and what the substance the baptizee is being immersed into.

Clearly one kind of baptism, which is a command for all believers, is water baptism (John's baptism), which is the subject of this post.

But there are two other kinds of baptisms that need to be mentioned. One kind of baptism is what happened when you are saved, which is the baptism into the body of Christ... when you are saved, you are baptized into Christ... this is mentioned in 1 Cor. 12, and it is very clear that the Holy Spirit is the one who does the baptizing here, while the substance the believer is being baptized into is Christ (or the body of Christ). This is when the Holy Spirit comes to indwell the believer, and is demonstrated by Jesus blowing the Holy Spirit into the disciples in John 20.

Another kind of baptism that we need to mention (and this is my charismatic perspective) is the baptism into the Holy Spirit (or as some say the infilling of the Holy Spirit). This happens at a point later than salvation, and is not the same as what I described in the paragraph above. This is what happened to the believers and disciples in Acts 2, and is in fulfillment of Matthew 3, Mark 1, and the other Scriptures that canawedding mentioned in this regard. The purpose of this baptism, which is performed by Jesus Christ, and into the substance of the Holy Spirit (this is different than the indwelling), is to endue the believer with POWER to live an effective Christian life and to serve God. It is a biblical command according to Eph. 5 to be filled with the Holy Spirit. There is one baptism in this regard (mentioned in Matt. 3 and other Scriptures), but several fillings therein.

Now that these different baptisms have been laid as a foundation, I will discuss the rest of canawedding's post.

Canawedding is correct to note that Jesus fulfilled all righteousness, and also that the next water baptisms, as documented in the Scriptures, occur in the Book of Acts. However, Cana then makes some other statements that I believe are strong doctrinal error. First, as a matter of fact, in Acts 13, 18, and 19, the baptism of John is still acknowledged as a vald practice. So, it is false doctrine to deny someone water baptism today. :)

Then, canawedding makes a really clear false statement, that the "only saving baptism is God’s Holy Spirit baptism." This is clearly against the Scriptures. Eph. 2:8-9, "By grace you are saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;not as a result of WORKS, so that no one may boast." Canawedding then comments that the baptism that is a part of the Great Commission is this saving Holy Spirit baptism. This is completely NOT TRUE. There is only one baptism discussed in Scripture where it is a DISCIPLE that is charged with the baptizing, and that is water baptism. In water baptism, the baptizer is a disciple, and the substance is water. That's pretty clear. However, in the other two kinds of baptisms, there are other distinctions I clarified above.

All of this being said, Bryan, you and the other readers here need to discern that canawedding has made some false statements and doctrinal errors that do not line up with the Scriptures, esp. in her last paragraph. So, please be advised concerning that.

Does that help you???

Ben Stratton said...

Wade,

You asked,
"for 161 years missionaries were appointed under the old policy that was biblical, sound and --- Baptist! Why the change? Why emphasize the qualifications of the administrator after 161 years?"

Because for most of those 161 years alien immersion was not much of a problem in the SBC. According to 1915 survey by W. P. Throgmorton less than 15% of Southern Baptists churches at that time received alien immersions and they were mainly in a couple of states. I was say the numbers were even less around 1950. Before that around 1875, the numbers were probably about the same as in 1915. The vast majority of missionaries send out by the IMB / FMB in the past 161 were baptized by Southern Baptist churches.

However fast forward to the 2006. The last couple of a decades a few things have begun to change. Many (although still a minority) Southern Baptist churches have begun to receive alien immersion. Southern Baptists are weaker on ecclesiology than they have ever been in their 161 years of existence. Now many conservative pastors are trying to get the denomination back to its earlier standards on baptism. This is the reason for the change.

Ben Stratton said...

Here's the reason for the Mormon baptism question:

What if someone with family connections to the Mormons was saved at home through reading his Bible or through hearing the gospel on TV or the radio. Because of their family connections that person goes to the Mormons and is baptized. Yet after a period in the Mormon church, this persons comes to see they are unbiblical and wants to join the Baptists. He comes to your church and asks to join. He has been truly saved He was baptized by immersion after his salvation by the Mormons. He didn't know anything about theology. At the time he was never told anything about baptismal regeneration by the pastor. All he knew about baptism was that he had just read the N.T. and saw people were baptized after being saved. This individual doesn't want to be baptized again. What would you tell him? Should he be baptized again? Why or Why not?

worker on the field said...

Paul had Timothy circumcised. (acts 16)

Paul was one of the most adament opponents of physical circumcision for new believers because it was relying on the flesh as a sign of what was on the inside. He was whole heartedly against it.

And yet, Paul still had Timothy circumcised.

We can see this in two lights: (1)in order to be a more effective worker to the places the Paul was going to travel (become all things to all people); AND (2) i think we can infer it was a requirement by Paul for Timothy to do it in order to go with him (so as not to be a stumbling block).

But, in order to go with Paul, Paul circumcised Timothy.

Our leaders are our leaders for this time for the only reason that God Himself has placed them there. And He has allowed this decision to be made. He can also allow for change in the future.

If Timothy would have went with Barnabas, would he have had to be circumcised? Who knows? Did Timothy object and say, "but this isn't what circumcision is all about?" (I suppose we don't know, but he was circumcised because it says Paul circumcised him)

The point is this: Paul in fact did place upon Timothy extra-biblical requirements for a specific purpose.

The trustees are not contemporary Paul's, but they are the leaders God has placed in authority.

A quick note: I infact did have a friend who was on the field with the IMB for two years as in ISCer, went home to come back career, and during the process his candidate consultant realized he hadn't been "properly" baptized. So, my friend asked an SB pastor friend of his to dunk him, and he did in his house with a few family members around.

Then, he was told this second baptism also wasn't right. He had to have it done again by an SB pastor IN an SB Church DURING a service.

My friend did it. Does that make him any less in those of your eyes who oppose it. Did he kow-tow to pressure to conform?

My friend heard the Master say, 'I want you to go with the IMB and by doing so, you are submitting yourself to their leadership which says you need to do this." Would any of you say he was wrong? Certainly, you will not play the part of the Holy Spirit.

A good book I would recommend is "Under Cover" by John Bevere, which deals with biblical submission to leadership.

If anyone starts the process with the Board and during the process don't want to submit to their leadership, then we don't have to. That's their own choice, but if our Master says, 'this is the road I have for' then it's the way we are supposed to go, even if it means being re-baptized.

Just be thankful that the Board isn't asking people to be circumsied.

I'm interested to hear others thoughts.

Timothy Cowin said...

Jonathon K,

It is good to see that there are other Missouri Mules out here:)

I am the Pastor of Rock Hill Baptist Church and The Jesus Church, (which is a 2nd location; we are going to the Soulard community, downtown, pray for us).

Worker on the field:

Yes, the BoT's are in authority, and if one wants to do Kingdom work through the IMB, they will have to submit to their rules.

Wow, a re-re-baptism? Your story is very troubling and following the BoT's logic on this, the Ethiopean baptized by Philip, would have had to of been re-baptized at some point also!

I remind you that the BoT is also under authority: the Convention's (thats me and you:) authority, and the Bible's authority. That is why we write.

Tim

Pastor Brad said...

Wait a second. The Paul/Timothy thing doesn't hold water with this thread. If we were talking about IMB's policy on drinking alcohol it would work, but not concerning baptism. I understand that you are saying Paul required Timothy to give an outward sign, well, not too outward, but he wasn't telling him to do it in the name of the Pharisees (no inference intended, really). I am being asked to baptize Ed in the name of the Spouthern Baptist Convention.

Pastor Brad said...

To both sides of this discussion,

Wade brought up a favorite scripture of mine to talk about, so I will.

"Iron sharpens iron"

Have you stopped to think what is actually happening when an instrument is being sharpened? What happens when you rub two pieces of metal together long enough and hard enough? Friction is created and so is heat. This process is actually what leads to the sharpening.

Oftentimes it is through our disagreements that we become sharper. I have seen this in my own life when someone questions what I believe. It causes me to study more and understand better my position on scripture. I have also seen this manifested in my own personal relationships. We all know that pastors frequently deal with "in church" conflict. Sometimes that gets personal. If we will allow, and by we I mean both sides of the "argument", this disagreement to be dealt with in an appropriate manner and not just ignore one another, then the friction leads to us all being sharpened.

I think it's worth the process. The public disagreement, scrutiny, and discussion actually leads to a healthier SBC in the long run, or at least that's my prayer.

The BOT has been forced to dive deeply into this issue and discover what scripture says and determine what they believe. I am quite certain that the implications of the wording they used was simply an oversight and not an attempt to pull authority away from the local church. I am equally certain they do not want me to baptize in the name of the SBC, but the wording implies that.

In time this friction will work its purpose in all of us and we will be sharper. Are we "man enough" to keep the sharpening process from dividing us? I hope so. I know on my part, the answer is yes. I've been forgiven too much (by my Savior) and understand God's Sovreignty enough to know this process is good for me and the SBC.

CB Scott said...

Pastor Brad,

Thank you for your last two comments. You are right. The Paul-Timothy is not a strong argument for this thread.

Also, guys like Wade, Art, Marty, Wes, Brad R. Tim R. etc. bring to the front issues that need examined and probed. Much has been learned and much has been exposed.

I truly think when we "cross swords" properly we learn to walk more circumspectly before God and each other. We also learn to walk more circumspectly in the battle with the evil one of which Paul's admonition was in reference to in the first place.

Again, thank you for you words.

cb

Wade Burleson said...

CB,

Your analysis of my position, which is the historic Baptist and if I don't mind saying so, a Biblical position, is correct.

:)

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Ben Stratton,

Your straw man Mormon argument is a fallacy for three reasons.

I have yet to hear a Mormon articulate the gospel clearly.

Second, in your illustration you say the convert was converted by reading the NEW TESTAMENT. (What a novel thing :) ).

Third, the convert then seeks out baptism --- I can guarantee no Mormon who listens to the converts simple faith in Jesus Christ is going to baptize him in a pool.

Ain't gonna happen. It's a straw man argument.

You see, when the young man explains his simple faith in Christ and inquires about baptism, the Mormons will add to his faith.

So, by the time this alleged convert baptized by Mormons in the temple arrives at my church I will either determine he has no understanding of the gospel, is trusting in baptismal regeneration, or is a Mormon.

So, Ben, in your hypothetical, incredibly unrealistic anecdote, I will tell you he would be out and out rejected for church membership for both FAITH and BAPTISM

Wade Burleson said...

Ben,

Could you explain to me how a fellow believer in Jesus Christ, who has been baptized by immersion, AFTER having come to faith in Christ, trusting not in his baptism for the forgiveness of sins, but in Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone -- is called by you 'an alien.'

Seriously.

I would like to know.

Wade Burleson said...

Worker in the field.

Your analogy is possibly a good one. At least it fits. There is no missionary appointed now who is not baptized in a Southern Baptist Church or a church that 'believes in eternal security.'

Like the Apostle Paul, many are now 'adamant opponents' of the policy. :)

Wade Burleson said...

Canawedding,

Your analysis of the Great Commission being 'only' a baptism of the Spirit is indeed wrong. It was water as is evidenced by many texts of the New Testament.

volfan007 said...

wade,

someone said on another blog that your grandfather, or great grandfather...rufus burleson...was a landmarker. is this true?

volfan007

worker on the field said...

Pastor Brad,

I do have to say first off that I have an affection for you just because you live and work in Norman, which is where my wife and I consider our home to be (go Sooners! but against Boise St, please; at least we could have got Louisville.), and I would love to visit the church you pastor when we go to the States.

About the sentence that you wrote: I am being asked to baptize Ed in the name of the Spouthern Baptist Convention.

Agree. And you can look at it another way.

The requirement is simply submission to leadership. You are being required to baptize Ed in accordance with the rules set forth. (which I agree is not what baptism is about)

If Ed feels led to go with the IMB, then in the same way he had to be a member of an SB Church for a certain amount of time and meet other standards (some unbiblical as well like the not drinking alcohol issue for a certain amount of time), he also has to be baptized in accordance with the (unbiblical) rules they have set forth. And in turn as a leader (you) that Ed has already submitted to, decide together if being re-baptized is what God wants him to do. If not, it wasn't His will that Ed go with the Board for some reason. (and then you go on to do what you are doing to try and change the system; i'm thankful for people like you who speak out)

But if through prayer, you both decide He is saying go with the Board, well, then there's no step other than obedience--a rebaptism service is in order.

I personally know of ten people who have been 'disqualified' from going with the Board for weight, alcohol consumption, non-agreeance (compliance) with BF&M, and this baptism issue in the past three years. And yes, they were all great people, some of whom are on the fields of Asia and Africa as what we term GCCs, all not with our Company.

So, for me, it comes down to submission to leadership.

If it was sin they were asking me to do/perform, then I could say no. But if I have submitted myself to Board, well, they are submitted to God, and ultimately I submit myself to God by submitting myself to my leaders.

For me, the whole point of the book (Under Cover) I mentioned early is this: God's kingdom is exactly that--a kingdom. (not a democraacy with rights like we have here in the States.) A kingdom in which a King has set up rule and no one rules unless He has allowed them to rule--even Kim Jong Il (i'm obviously speaking outside of the Church Kingdom). But in our Church Kingdom, when I obey my direct leader, I am ultimately obeying God because the King has placed that leader in that position and the King has placed me under the leader's position. Unless he (my direct leader) has asked me to do something that is sin, I follow him without grumbling. I trust my Abba; our Abba is safe. We have to trust Him in this work; otherwise, we come to depend on ourselves and assert "rights" that we don't have in a kingdom. Their are no "rights" in a kingdom, only privileges that have been granted by the King. (not that you have done any of this but only my heart toward the Church) Oh, that we would not assert our "right" to be right, our right to let others know that we are right, our right to assert my rights, but instead when one takes our coat, give him our shirt as well, to bless when cursed, to pray when persecuted and not assert my "right" that "I don't have to take that; I'll show them."

So, we have to ask this question: is what the Board asks candidates to do in the way of being re-baptized unbiblical? Yes. Is it sin? No. Therefore, if the King asks me to submit myself to the IMB as a Candidate, then I will follow Him by following them. And I will pray, pray that the King will change their hearts.

I would like to just say that I'm sorry that you are having to deal with this, but also I am thankful that you are speaking out. If I can make one request, please don't stop supporting those of us who are here (in the field) because of what goes on there (in the states) by way of prayer and support. It would be easy to do so, and I know so many who have, but, I speak for everyone here, we are thankful for your prayers and your giving.

gmay said...

The question at hand seems to be "can we have differing views on ecclesiology concerning baptism and continue to cooperate." I have seen on this post and others a thankfulness for the conservative ressurgence. Many streams in SBC life contributed to the river that changed its course. One of those, among many, was the Landmark stream and the other was the Calvinist stream. Is the tent big enough for the Landmark stream if it wins the day in the mission boards?
I have seen this debate played out in association camps and local churches. The first time some youth ministers wanted to baptize in the camp swimming pool, the battle was raging. For the most part, seeing the ordinance as a local church privilege and responsibility, carries the most weight among SBC churches in my area. This thread has served to identify various interpretations within the very denomination that was founded with the principle of believers baptism as a major rally cry.
My point is this, the final decision on this policy will create winners and losers in the convention. I believe we must seek consensus building with open debate in order to regain a unity in our convention. "Worker on the field" presents a possible working principle to accomplish just that even though his logic and hermenuetic have been called into question.
Do we really baptize just for the numbers? This motive has been suggested here and on other blogs as well. Having served in churches that only recognized baptism from Baptist churches, I can assure you that at least some who require "re" baptism are not in it for the numbers. They are seeking to be faithful to the Biblical witness as they understand it. Along the same lines of discussion, SBC has never required us to keep non-resident and inactive members on our rolls. We do not keep them so that anyone can brag about numbers. We keep them because they are family or friend to someone and a "holy war" would follow a move to remove.(this is not endorsement of the practice, only an observation of reality) Many SBC churches actually purge their roles on a regular basis.

Wade Burleson said...

Worker in the Field,

The IMB trustees have a right to reject any candidate --- for any reason --- blue hair, freckles, overweight, 'I don't like your attitude,' etc . . .

You are absolutely correct in that analysis.

However, it is in the best interest of everyone involved if the IMB trustees would not 'reject' candidates based upon an INTERPRETATION of a secondary 'doctrine,' and then make that 'doctrine' policy.

To crystallize a second or third tier doctrinal interpretation in the form of policy, a doctrine not even addressed in the BFM 2000, and then exclude anyone who disagrees with the doctrine, is not wise.

It's what is appropriately called 'narrowing the parameters of cooperation' and 'tightening the definition of what it means to be Southern Baptist' and will turn our Cooperative Program into a Conformity Contribution and kill the Southern Baptist Convention.

Wade Burleson said...

Volfann,

Nope. If my forefather Rufus Burleson was a Landmarker he sure made enemies of his buddies :). He integrated education (men and women) at Baylor -- a drastic step for his time -- and refused to back down when confronted, was considered a liberal by Landmark Texas Baptists, particularly because he served as BGCT President for two terms, and was eventually slandered in both character (accused of a relationship with a young coed at Baylor) and ministry by his enemies.

volfan007 said...

wade,

what about this statement from colin on les' blog:

But, as Dr. Barber mentioned, it would be a mistake to lump all Landmarkers into the same camp. B.H. Carroll, himself holding to Landmark tenets, defended Texas missions against Landmarkers who sought to subvert it, namely T.P. Crawford and Samuel Hayden. As an aside, Carroll was hurt that his good friend Rufus C. Burleson of Baylor supported Hayden and Crawford.

i guess he was not a landmarker...just a friend of these men who were landmarkers? is that it? i just supposed at first reading that he must have been a landmarker too. thanks for the clarification.

volfan007

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Volfann,

Might you ask for documentary evidence?

T. Walker said...

Dear "worker on the field"

I read through your post and want to go over something. You said, "

So, we have to ask this question; is what the Board asks candidates to do in the way of being re-baptised unbiblical? Yes. Is it sin? No."

Why in the world is that second question even asked?
If a policy or a group calls for an action that is unbiblical, how can that be defended? Why would you want to advocate going against scripture? Are we elevating IMB policies over scripture?

volfan007 said...

wade,

i was just wondering what you thought of colin's comment about your grandfather and landmarkism. i figured you would be the one to ask about it.

volfan007

Wade Burleson said...

No problem Volfann in asking.

I would be hardpressed to take Colin's word for someone to whom I am related --- and this relation has been dead for over a hundred years.

:)

Pastor Brad said...

Worker on the field,

We are a new church start of 2.5 years. We run 80-100 on any given Sunday, 60-70 of which are under the age of 30. So far, we have given $3,000+ this year to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering. Last year was nearly $5,000 when we finished. I WILL NEVER STOP SUPPORTING THOSE ON THE FIELD.

Psalm 2:8 is my continual prayer.

Let me know when you're stateside and I will get you here to speak. We have 2 ISC'ers coming in this Sunday.

Pastor Brad said...

Worker on the field,

Is it sin? Maybe.

If "Ed" feels he is invalidating his true baptism and his conscience is troubled but he goes through the motion anyway, then I would say he has sinned and he would say the same.

I think Paul properly covered this in his discussion on meat sacrificed to idols.

ColinM said...

Is this how rumors begin. I never said RC Burleson was a landmarker. I simply quoted from Dr. James Spivey's article on BH Carroll in Theologians of the Baptist Tradition, eds. Timothy George and David Dockery, pp166-167. This was a passage I noted months ago, and came across it again during my exam review.

According to Spivey, when TP Crawford and Samuel Hayden made a decisive move to counter the Landmark attacks on Texas missions, Carroll responded. Hayden and Crawford were extreme Landmarkists, and Spivey notes the deep hurt Carroll felt when his good friend, RC Burleson, sided with the Landmarkers Hayden and Crawford when Carroll attempted to circumvent their subversive ploys.

What is really interesting is that BH Carroll became known as the leader of the Anti-Whitsitt party, a large contingent outraged at Whitsitt's denial of the historicity of a succession of Baptist-like churches prior to the English separatist movement (an anti-Landmark theory).

Carroll was fighting for the Landmark view, those his views were not nearly as sold out to the theology as Hayden's. Spivey picks up, "Carroll said his role in the denominational controversy served one purpose: to promote unity...He saw the real issue in the Whitsitt dispute as 'breaking up of Southern unity, and the quite possible dismemberment of the convention.'"

Carroll, coming from a Landmarkist perspective, had a very similar purpose as the current anti-IMB policy movement has. He "went public" with the information in order to promote discussion. He saw Whitsitt's bold move as dangerous to the convention...hmmm. Interesting that this labor to save the convention from disunity came from the Landmarkers (of which I am not), but to call them aberrant in their theology like many of you have, well...

that just seems to be somewhat closed minded as to the predominant views that have shaped Southern Baptists, like current views are the only views, like the convention in 160+ years never had those sorts of inclinations and policies...and, as one statesman duly noted recently:

"A case of corporate amnesia."

ColinM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve A said...

Hmmm ... re-baptism might lead to annual baptisms since institutional thinkers may have to justify their robes and pointy hats. That isn't too far from annual days of atonement when the next policy statement comes into force, & something has to be donated, or sacrificed.... Maybe an Official SBC pastor would have to go into the super-duper secret spot to pray so his church doesn't get into "Double-Secret Probation!!" Would the IMB order us to return to our original church of record in order to be re-recorded, or taxed? Would there be room in the inn, or would some of us have to ... oh, never mind.

Scott said...

Reading this post has made me dizzy. All the different talk about baptism this and baptism that amongst preachers has been interesting.

I also find it substantial how easily you dismiss baptisms of Mormons.

Baptism is essential for salvation. Jesus was the perfect example and yet he suffered it to be so, that he was baptized.

Baptism has to be done by someone with the proper authority or otherwise called Priesthood and it has to be done through immersion. There is no other way folks. The Bible teaches this principle and ordinance throughout.

The only confusing part about this thread is who is the IMB and where did they get their authority?

I'm sure I'll be dismissed summarily on this post because of my beliefs, but that is OK.

I will also cherish my baptism in The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) by someone who had the proper authority .

Best wishes in your quest to understand baptism more thoroughly.

Pastor John said...

Scott,
Please do not feel dismissed. The conversation you are seeking would represent a significant tangent away from this discussion & most Baptists are not too up on the inner workings of LDS theology, just as I’m sure most LDS’s are not too up on Baptist theology.
If you would like to continue this discussion feel free to email me at pastorjohndearing@hotmail.com If you would explain the LDS understanding of salvation/baptism/etc to me I would be glad to help you navigate through our discussion of baptism.

John

Anonymous said...

Do you know anyone who admits to having an ugly wife and terrible children???

Pastor John said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pastor John said...

Ahh...Mr. Anonymous,

It takes a brave man to anonymously take a swipe at another's family.