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

The New Baptist Covenant

Yesterday I was taken by surprise when a couple of reporters called and asked me my opinion of The New Baptist Covenant and the Atlanta Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant scheduled for late January 2008.

I did a little research on the subject and only after learning the stated purposes of this union of Baptists included avoiding all politics and partisianship, and to unite together Baptists in order to address pressing social and cultural concerns through prophetic means (or, as I would say 'the gospel'), I issued an official comment (see below) to the reporters.

Since yesterday I have read some responses from Southern Baptists that contain more than a little cynicism about the New Baptist Covenant. Some have gone back to the old war flag of 'defeat the liberals,' and a few are seeking to repudiate this effort due to the character, or lack thereof, of some of the organizers.

Just a few thoughts before I post my public response to the Baptist Covenant.

(1). A child in Africa in need of a tetanus shot doesn't care about convention politics, he just needs a shot. A young girl trafficked in the sex trade does not care about the political bent of her rescuer, she just needs rescued. A tribe in need of a shipment of grain does not care from which Baptist convention the shipment came. A continent in need of an HIV solution does not even know the difference between Baptist conventions, nor does it care. A world in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ is helped when all evangelicals unite to do justice and love mercy, or at the least refuse to denigrate others' efforts.

(2). If we as a convention choose not to participate with this new union of Baptists -- so be it. But I believe it would be far better for the kingdom at large for us to wish them success in their venture, encourage them publicly, and pray from them privately. It makes no sense to me to ridicule people who are attempting to do some good things for the world at large. If Jesus was silent before his accusers who hated him, then good grief, maybe we could learn to be silent about our brothers in Christ who are different from us, but like us, desire to live out the gospel.

(3). If support of a gospel enterprise, or a non-profit ministry, or a union of evangelical people depends upon the unsullied character of her leaders, then we are all in trouble. Martin Luther once made the statement, "A truly Christian work is it that we descend and get mixed up in the mire of the sinner as deeply as he sticks there himself, taking his sin upon ourselves and floundering out of it with him, not acting otherwise than as if his sin were our own. We should rebuke and deal with him in earnest; yet we are not to despise but sincerely to love him. If you are proud toward the sinner and despise him, you are utterly damned."

With those thoughts in mind, here is the response I drafted:

"I am not familiar with 'The Baptist Covenant,' nor am I acquainted with the leaders of the 2008 convocation in Atlanta. However, it would be difficult for me to criticize any evangelical Christian movement whose stated goals are to live out the gospel through doing justice and loving mercy. There comes a time when we as Southern Baptists should simply remain silent if we cannot say anything supportive of other Baptist attempts at addressing pressing social and cultural issues in a prophetic manner. To provide a public defense of our convention's record, while at the same time criticizing others, seems to be acting in a manner contrary to the spirit of our Lord and the good of His kingdom at large. I wish nothing but success for all Baptists who seek to live out the gospel for a world in need of a Savior.

An ice storm is headed for Enid, so I thought I would get this up before the power went out!

Have a great weekend!

Wade Burleson

88 comments:

Dr. Sims said...

Once again, your wisdom leads us.

Are others listening?

Roger D. Lee said...

So, will you join them?

Wade Burleson said...

I will follow the desires of our Southern Baptist leadership in this matter.

I don't believe joining them is on the horizon.

I am simply asking that we not criticize them.

Mike Ruffin said...

Thank you, Wade, for your kind and Christian response to the news about the New Baptist Covenant. I believe that it is high time that all of us Baptists simply accept the fact that, while there are some theological and philosophical and hermeneutical points at which we disagree, we are nonetheless all called to do the work of the kingdom. I wish that "conservative" Baptists would not snipe at "moderate" Baptists and that "moderate" Baptists would not snipe at "conservative" Baptists. Our common enemies are the lostness, sin, sickness, poverty, oppression, and alienation that afflict millions and millions of people. Together we can do more than we can do separately. We have plenty of battles to fight that we can fight together, despite differences on the "non-essentials." Blessings to you, my brother, for what you keep trying to say to us.

peter lumpkins said...

Wade,

I googled for some of the criticisms of SBs against this "baptistic" alliance. Russell Moore does not appear enthused. Are you are you are of others?

With that, I am...

Peter

Steve Young said...

Wade,
I, too, wish success for all Baptists who seek to live out the Gospel. I also do not believe that our leaders were wrong to give some of our successes in light of comments like those of Bill Underwood from Mercer that the goal was "to draw attention away from Baptists who have the microphone" and to offer up "a true Baptist witness."
I am not sure how much Gospel is being lived out by those whose spokesman is not sure that a faithful Mormon needs to be evangelized.
That said, I am for anyone who helps the helpless. I am for Oprah building schools in South Africa, but I would be a little upset if she said she represented the "true Baptist witness."

Wade Burleson said...

Steve, this may be the very reason we don't participate, but we can encourage them in the good they seek to do. Peter, I have no desire to point you to the critical comments of others, many of whom are my friends. If you cannot find them yourself, then in the Providence of God, you are no worse for the wear.

Todd Nelson said...

Amen to your post, Wade. After reading the BP article and now your post, I was reminded of Luke 9 ...

49 John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.”

50 But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.” [NLT]

It's obvious that some on both ends of the Baptist spectrum want to lay claim to being the "true" Baptists. Is it really that hard to share the label and just move on in ministry without taking pot shots at one another, esp. thru the press? Do we do it do out of insecurity, self-righteousness, or what?

Regarding the New Covenant Baptists, you're right, Wade, we should just bless their good works publicly, pray for 'em privately, and don't take offense personally (or on behalf of others) if we feel slighted or criticized. Silence often-times is better and more mature than self-defending.

I'm glad you addressed this subject. I have friends on the "other side."

Now, about casting out demons ... ;-)

Todd

Joshua Chavers said...

Pastor Burleson,

I agree with the notion that we should seek to keep silent under certain contexts (Js. 1:19-20), but in what sense would you say that the New Baptist Covenant is necessarily seeking to "live out the gospel"?

texasinafrica said...

I appreciate your sentiments, but I have to take issue with this statement: "A continent in need of an HIV solution does not even know the difference between Baptist conventions, nor does it care."

To the contrary, the Baptists I know in Africa are very aware of the splits that occurred among Baptists in the U.S. It hurt their financing and led to very confusing situations.

A technicality, but it would do us good to remember that our arguments have far-reaching implications.

William Madden said...

Dear Friends,

According to the press release I found, the goals of the new Baptist Covenant are:

1) to foster unity among various Baptist entities.

2) to speak and work together to create an authentic and genuine prophetic Baptist voice in North America.

3) to reaffirm traditional Baptist values, including sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and its implications for public and private morality.

4) to fulfill the biblical mandate to promote peace with justice, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and the marginalized.

5) to promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity.

As a native Georgian and Atlanta resident, I'm glad that this meeting is coming to my hometown.

Volfan, if you need a place to stay--let me know. I go to the other church in Peanutville.

johnthebaptist2007 said...

Peter - one who has blogged critically and offensively about this and even mentions Wade personally is the "Howard Stern of Conservatives" Jeremy Green:

Cut and paste the link:
http://sbcpastor.blogspot.com/

Wade Burleson said...

Joshua,

Jesus spoke of feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, visiting those in prison and then said, "And when you do it unto the least of these, you do it unto me."

That is living out the gospel by seeking justice and showing mercy.

Tim Walker said...

Wade, I appreciate your response to the reporter's questions. I hope they were not merely seeking a negative example of a Baptist being critical of other Baptists.

Mike Ruffin, very well said and I do agree wholeheartedly with you.

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Mo-Scratch,

I can assure you Jeremy is no Howard Stern of Conservatives - you crossed the line with that one.

I think we can do better, or I least I pray we can!

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Wade,
Is it not ironic that two ex-Presidents who are obviously in total diagreement with the SBC are doing this.

When did politicians get a free ride in Denominational issues. I cannot support it in any way.

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

I don't think anybody is asking you to join them, I know I am not. It's a matter of asking the question when will we cease being critical of fellow evangelicals.

Anonymous said...

I agree that we should seek to fight AIDS/HIV in Africa, poverty, and the sex trade. Further, even if we do not agree with Al Gore it is irresponsible for us as Christians to throw our hands up and say we don't care about the environment. That being said I think it is dangerous to be uncritical of ANY cooperative effort.

I would have some significant questions before I could jump wholeheartedly behind this new effort. While we as Southern Baptists have neglected our duty to the poor and the oppressed all over the world we still cannot confuse social programs with the Gospel.

I would have to know the underlying theology behind this new covenant before I could support it. We need to be careful not to over react to some of the problems in our own convention and buy into a Rauschenbuschian type of error regarding how the Kingdom will come.

Anonymous said...

Why do we not question the "doctrine" and politics and conduct of the owners/officers of stores we shop at or restaurants we frequent but are quick to refuse to work with people truly meeting people's needs on such a basis? Is it in part because we don't realize that all of it is a spiritual war and we dichotomize our lives between religious and secular?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure glad the Samaritan stopped and lent a hand. I hope they will do so when I'm in need.

johnthebaptist2007 said...

Tim - thanks for your assurance about Jeremy. I apologize to all and will be glad to withdraw that since comparing someone to Howard Stern brings with it much more baggage than I would ever accuse Jeremy of. That was a poor attempt at trying to point out that Jeremy is once again being extreme in his views, perceptions and tone. It seems he is always attacking and overstating his points. When he also includes Wade in his post he continues to show he has an agenda and axe to grind. The "shock jock" tone and manner of many of his blogs is what I was trying to allude to. He seems to be precisely the kind of person that makes those of us on the "conservative resurgence" side of things seem angry and aggressive. Although I am often on the same side of the issues as Jeremy, I think his style does more harm than good. The fact that he does not allow comments on his blog also makes him less credible. He seems to me to be "outrageous" for these reasons, thus the Howard Stern analogy. :)

Joshua Chavers said...

Wade,

I understand that your post has more to do with a comparison of certain SBC leaders' responses and attitude with your response, but I ask these things in sincerity. I agree with your approach in general, but curious how you might respond: What makes such an act distinctively Christian or gospel-centered? How would any effort on our part differ from those of say BONO, the Red Cross, or any number of goodwill organizations?

William Madden said...

Tim and Anonymous,

If you re-read my posting of the stated goals of the New Baptist Covenant, nothing in the statement says that they are prioritizing social ministries over preaching the gospel. The stated purpose is to: "reaffirm Baptist values including sharing the gospel of Christ and it's implications for rpublic and private morality." What's not to like about that?

Wade Burleson said...

Joshua,

See William's comment above. He answers better than I could.

It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that makes what we as Baptists do different than the kindness of others. I am desiring us to quit sniping at each other so the gospel can be heard. That's all. Good question by the way.

Perry McCall said...

Maybe we ought to wait and see if they actually invite the SBC to the meeting before we worry about participating:) In the press conference they were very clear that they intentionally and knowingly did not invite a representative from the SBC to join in this effort. They don't mind if a member of a SB Church comes but no official participation please.

Wade Burleson said...

Perry,

You must have missed this:

Conspicuously absent from the gathering were representatives of the Southern Baptist Convention, which with 16 million members on its rolls is the largest single Baptist body in the world. Although SBC leaders were not invited to the Atlanta meeting, Carter and Clinton said they are welcome to join.

"We'd be thrilled to have them," Clinton said.

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Thank you Mo-Scratch,

I appreciate your apology and accept it! :)

Perry McCall said...

Wade,
For the record, I am not making this point as an attack. If the SBC were forming a new org. or calling for this kind of meeting I am sure that we would not have invited most or some of these groups as well. However, your quote makes my point. We were not invited. SB individuals can come and watch but no formal participation by the SBC. Right now, the idea of a formal invitation to the SBC is simply an idea. Carter calls it a “goal” to invite all Baptist. Maybe they will invite the SBC to join in but as of right now Page or Chapman have not reported any invitations or request for formal participation. The people on this list did not have any confusion about their invitation.
http://www.abpnews.com/1604.article
So, I would argue that I haven't missed a thing. I understand what you mean by saying that they have invited us. At best, it is clearly after the fact. However, the reality is that they have not formally invited the SBC to be apart of this endeavor. Here are few comments reported from ABP and Atlanta-Journal.

"Although SBC leaders were not invited to the Atlanta meeting,"
They agreed that enlisting more conservatives and more Republicans will be important to the endeavor. "Our goal will be to extend an invitation to all Baptists," Carter concluded.

Carter said he would welcome Southern Baptists…"There are a number of folks here who are Southern Baptist," Carter said. "I don't want this to be the source of a fight. I'd be thrilled to have them come to this meeting."….The New Baptist Convention will include people of all races, classes, sexual orientations and political persuasions, Carter said.
Underwood said an invitation hadn't been formally extended to SBC officials because the North American Baptist Fellowship's membership provided the core of the Carter Center gathering. "But it's important to say that a number of people here are Southern Baptists," he added.

I don’t blame them for not inviting us. The history is what is and I think you make a good point about just keeping silent. But I do think that we ought to be silent about our formal participation in an event that we have not to this point been formally invited to.
That's all I'm saying. I am not trying to make some grand pronounce about the situation.

William Madden said...

Perry,

Your comments seem kind of strange in light of the history of the last 20 years or so. The leaders of the conservative resurgence never paid much respect to Jimmy Carter, so he took his ideas and service and went to work with other groups of Baptists. Similarly, the SBC never had much use for Bill Clinton either. My point is: didn't the SBC set the pattern of not welcoming these men or valuing their gifts? So what would be the point of them inviting the SBC to participate when they already know that most SBCers, at least those most loyal to the architects of the resurgence are not going to participate.

The architects of the resurgence are proud of their legacy of pushing out of the SBC those persons they labeled as moderates and liberals; it's their legacy and they stake their reputation on it, so they are not going to go back on it now and start cooperating with the very people that they worked so hard to exclude.

Again, my point is: who set the pattern of exclusion and non-cooperation? It was the architects of the resurgence, not Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton, don't you think?

Perry McCall said...

William,
That is what I was alluding to when I said I don't blame them for not inviting the SBC. I get it. It hasn't been happening here but in other places there has been a lot "blame" put toward SBC leadership for not being there. My point is more of a technical issue about the lack of a formal invitation and the less than robust after the fact invitation ought to make it easier for us to follow Wade's suggestion of just being silent. I am truly not faulting them for not issuing a formal invitation like they did to other Baptist groups. I am sure that we wouldn't have invited many of them to something we were sponsoring.

William Madden said...

Perry,

Truly sorry about that. Perhaps I overdid it a little. Anyway, I do see now the point that you were making and it makes sense to me. Thank you for taking the time to clarify.

Best,

William

D. Sanders said...

Wade,

From where I sit, as one who covers secular politics, there are two aspects to this story. First, there are those well-meaning Baptist brothers and sisters who want to work abroad as part of body of Christ. Second, there are the key players in this, former Presidents Carter and Clinton, both of who make no apologies for where they stand related to doctrine, theology and politics – that is their right. They also have a history of doing things in the church to rally support to their secular political causes.
I have no problem with former, even though we would disagree on some matters of theology, but just as I have a problem with the SBC taking orders the GOP, (I say this as someone who is considered a conservative Republican) I don't like the political edge on the BNC that comes from Clinton and Carters involvement, especially at a time with another Clinton will be engaged in her own White House run. This is a very different effort for Clinton and Carter than it is for those other Baptists who are involved with the BNC. Make no mistake, for Bill Clinton, this is about getting votes for Hillary.

volfan007 said...

personally, i would not want to join with clinton and carter for anything due to their thier liberal views. if they want to do good things for people....then more power to them. but, i would not want to join with them, and i would not be for the sbc joining with them. they can do thier thing, and we will continue to do our thing. no competition. i'm not wishing harm on them. i'm not trying to be a meany.

but, joining with them would not be the direction we should go. it's not the direction i should go for sure.

on another note...similar....but another note....would yall be for joining with benny hinn and robert tilton and kenneth copeland?

volfan007

Bryan Riley said...

Let's say you were driving your car down I-40 and you saw a car upside down in the median, another car smashed horribly about 20 yards away, and a man sitting with his head in his blood covered hands. You noticed that Benny Hinn was already on the scene. Would the fact that it was Benny (or Bill or Jimmy or Mohammed or Sue) stop you from seeing if the people in the car needed more help?

I understand there is a concern about the representation of who Jesus is (and I have that concern, too), but what if you could be that representation serving someone regardless of what the others doing the same represented? I also know that you can drag out this word picture into applications that would seem unseemly...if you feel like you need to.

jthomas899 said...

Can we encourage the Muslims? LDS? I don't think so! I cannot encourage Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton or their puppet convention. I will not refrain from speaking out.

Wade, you chose to critize our IMB Trustees, but will refrain critizing New Covenant?

I don't understand

Wade Burleson said...

David and all,

I do believe there is a time when we all need to quit thinking politics when it comes to the work of the kingdom. That is just my opinion.

johnthomas,

Equating fellow Baptists with Muslims, LDS, etc is absurd. You might need to rethink that position. I have never criticized an individual on this blog --- actions of a fellow brother, yes, but not an individual.

My point, repeated again, is simply this --- what ACTION, publicly stated, of this New Covenant needs critized?

If there is none, then maybe we ought commend them, or at the least, remain silent.

Blessings,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Additional thought about politics,

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with David S. that to rally support for a political agenda through the church is WRONG.

I'm Republican. Always have been, always will.

But am I the only Republican that is bothered by what seems to be the use of the SBC for political republican purposes? If Bill Clinton had been President, would we have had his Secretary of State speak to us like Dr. Rice did (by the way, a person I really admire?)

My point: When ALL brothers in Christ, lay aside paritisian politics, as was the stated goal of this group, then we ALL benefit. Can this New Covenant group do that? We'll see, but the very fact they said they would is a good start. If they don't, then I believe they should be criticized.

Wade

Alycelee said...

I'm reminded of what Paul mentioned in Phil 1, about men preaching the gospel with vain motives. He didn't care, he said at least the gospel was being preached.
David is probably right. I agree that Clinton is going to do all he can to get Hillary elected. His motives even in joining in this situation perhaps may be bad. Who knows. But people are getting fed, tended to in the process. Praise God.

jthomas899 said...

I don't mind the Gospel being preached, the problem is that I doubt very seriously Carter or Clinton preach the right Gospel. Wade, again you have done your share of critizing others, and always give a slight of approval to Ben "never" Cole.

How are you different from the ones you write against?

Anonymous said...

We would do well to remember that Bill and Jimmy are not the Enemy and that we are called not to fight against flesh and blood. I think that is part of what Wade is getting at when he says he is not criticizing individuals, but actions and attitudes...

bryan riley

Wade Burleson said...

Jthomas,

I am not sure I understand what you are saying, but it is not my concern to convince you or anybody else about me. I continue to argue based upon a principle, refuse to denigrate a person, and will not be sidetracked. It is your right to criticize my actions, I am just frankly unclear about that which you seem to be critical. Blessings.

Wade Burleson said...

Alyce and Byran,

Could not have said it better.

Thanks

jthomas899 said...

Bottom line: I find it ironic that you readily critize the actions of the SBC leadership, but go out the way not to critize the actions of forming a new board based on what they perceive as "bad" SBC policy.

Wade Burleson said...

I will criticize any action that is FORCED upon someone else that is not biblical and detracts from our main mission. I will never criticize people. The new group is not forcing us to do anything, so it seems to me we ought to just simply be quiet. By the way, john, I would NEVER criticize an action of an individual -- even if it is extrabiblical -- since that is between that person and God. The problem is when you force your view on another. Thanks.

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

Thanks for the non-response, my Brother. I guess I misread your post. I assumed, from your words, "Since yesterday I have read some responses from Southern Baptists that contain more than a little cynicism about the New Baptist Covenant. Some have gone back to the old war flag of 'defeat the liberals,' and a few are seeking to repudiate this effort due to the character, or lack thereof, of some of the organizers." meant public comments, which, of course, should be easily available.

But perhaps you meant private comments from personal friends since I can't seem to find them and in light of your comment to me. But if they are private comments, I do not understand why you would even mention them.

Anyways, have a great evening. With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Mo-Scratch,

Thanks for the info. However, I did not have in mind a blog. The way I read Wade's words led me to assume it was SBC leadership who's churning the butter.

But, as I've already conceded to Wade, I may have misread his post. Perhaps it was private comments from personal friends. But if so, my question is, why even mention it.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Wade Burleson said...

Peter,

I think the way ABP framed my quote it appeared I was referring to SBC leadership. Frankly, I had not read those quotes to which ABP referred, but, after reading them, they were similar to what my friends had said. :)

William Madden said...

Hey Guys,

Before anyone muddies the waters any further, let's take a look at who was present at the meeting at the Carter Center at which the plans for the 2008 convocation to celebrate the New Baptist Covenant were made.

1. Jimmy Allen, Chairman, Baptists Today; Former President of Southern Baptist Convention.
2. Lloyd Allen, McAfee School of Theology
3. Rob Appel, Executive Director, Seventh Day Baptist Conference.
4. Jedaias Azevedo, General Secretary, Association of Brazilian Baptist Churches in North America
5. Jeremy Bell, Executive Minister, Baptist Union of Western Canada
6. Ken Bellous, Executive Minister, Baptist Convention of Ontario & Quebec
7. Yvonne Best, Associate Director for Program Development, Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Society
8. Ron Black, Executive Director, General Association of General Baptists
9. Larry Brumley, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff, Mercer University
10. Richard Brunson, Director, North Carolina Baptist Men
11. George Bullard, North American Baptist Fellowship
12. Ruby Burke, North American Baptist Fellowship
13. Thelma Chambers-Young, Vice President, North American Baptist Women’s Union
14. Alan Culpepper, Dean, McAfee School of Theology
15. David Currie, Executive Director, Texas Baptists Committed
16. Lance Currie
17. Charles Deweese, Executive Director, Baptist History and Heritage Society
18. Ralph Duke, North American Baptist Fellowship
19. James Dunn, Executive Director Emeritus, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
20. William Epps, Editor-in-Chief, National Baptist Voice
21. Beth Fogg, Past Member, Coordinating Council and Advisory Council of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Past President, Baptist General Association of Virginia
22. David Goatley, President, North American Baptist Fellowship, Executive Secretary, Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Society
23. Harry Gardner, Executive Minister, Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches
24. Gail Gardner
25. Kirby Godsey, Chancellor, Mercer University
26. Roland Grimard, Canadian Baptist Ministries
27. Sarah Hallstrand, Executive Minister, American Baptist Churches of Greater Indianapolis
28. Derrick Harkins, Vice President, North American Baptist Fellowship
29. George Harlov, Russian-Ukranian Baptist Union, USA
30. Gordon Harris, Interim Executive Director, North American Baptist Conference USA & Canada
31. Joyce B. Harris
32. Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications, Baptist World Alliance
33. James Hill, Baptist General Association of Missouri
34. A. Wayne Johnson, General Secretary, National Missionary Baptist Convention of America
35. Jerry Jones, Team Leader, Global Missions and Evangelism, Baptist General Association of Virginia
36. James A Keefer, Baptist Educators
37. Marv Knox, Editor, Baptist Standard
38. Robert L. Lamb, Baptist Educators
39. Patricia Lane, Strategist, Intercultural Affinity Group, Baptist General Convention of Texas
40. Bill Leonard, Dean, Wake Forest School of Divinity
41. Denton Lotz, General Secretary, Baptist World Alliance
42. Emmanuel McCall, Moderator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; Vice President, Baptist World Alliance; Pastor, Baptist Fellowship Group, East Point, Ga.
43. Ashley McNeil, Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Society
44. A Roy Medley, General Secretary, American Baptist Churches, USA
45. Phil Miller, Ministry Team Leader, Baptist General Convention of Texas
46. Gary Nelson, General Secretary, Canadian Baptist Ministries
47. Robert Parham, Executive Director, Baptist Center for Ethics
48. William Perkins, Professor, Morehouse College
49. Lewis Petrie, Vice President, Baptist General Conference
50. Johnny Pierce, Editor, Baptists Today
51. Tyrone Pitts, General Secretary, Progressive Baptist National Convention
52. Bruce Prescott, Executive Director, Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists
53. Michael Reel, Managing Editor, National Baptist Voice
54. Paul Reitzer, Baptist Educators
55. Albert Reyes, President, Buckner Children and Family Services
56. Herbert Reynolds, President-Emeritus, Baylor University
57. C.C. Robertson, President, National Missionary Baptist Convention
58. Don Sewell, Executive Liaison for Missions Relationships, Baptist General Convention of Texas
59. William Shaw, President, National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.
60. Jerry Sheveland, President, Baptist General Conference
61. Walter Shurden, Director, Center for Baptist Studies
62. T. DeWitt Smith, President, Progressive National Baptist Convention
63. Richard Swindle, Senior Vice President, Mercer University
64. Rev. Ademir Simoes, President, Association of Brazilian Baptists of North America
65. Alan Stanford, General Secretary, North American Baptist Fellowship
66. Yutaka Takarada, President, Japanese Southern Baptist Churches of America
67. Gerry Taillon, National Ministry Leader, Canadian Conference of Southern Baptist Churches
68. Bill Tinsley, WorldconneX Leader, Baptist General Convention of Texas
69. Stephen J. Thurston, President, National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.
70. Samuel Tolbert, General Secretary, National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.
71. Bill Underwood, President, Mercer University
72. John Upton, Executive Director, Baptist General Association of Virginia
73. Victor Upton
74. Daniel Vestal, Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
75. Houmphanh Vongsurith, President, Laotian National Baptist Fellowship
76. Charles Wade, Executive Director, Baptist General Convention of Texas
77. Rosemary Wade
78. Greg Warner, Executive Editor, Associated Baptist Press
79. Ross West, Director, Baptist Way Press, Baptist General Convention of Texas
80. Brent Walker, Executive Director, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
81. Bertha Williams, Vice President, North American Baptist Fellowship

If we look closely at the list above, we will find that there are actually more Southern Baptists planning to participate in the 2008 meeting and the Covenant than we might have expected.

Aside from that, what's all this complaining about these folks forming a new convention? Nothing has been said about a new convention. The participants listed above are just talking about ways to partner together in ministry and missions. It's a covenant--a simple, albeit sacred--agreement, not a convention.

davidinflorida said...

Pastor Wade,

This is what I see....; Mat 7:16-17 " You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles" ?

In secular terms ; If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and smells like a duck: then its a duck, regardless of what it call itself.

William Madden said...

David,

I like your quotation from scripture, and I think it's very apt.

But I'm confused on the duck thing. Are you saying that all that we can really do is wait and see what kind of fruit comes out of this? If so, I would agree with that. Or were you trying to get at something else?

D.Sanders said...

Wade,

I'm with you. I think the only people who want to divorce politics from religion are a few of us who have become increasingly frustrated by the cheapening of our faith by those who want to wrap it around a few key stances on political issues.

I wish Dr. Rice hadn’t appeared in Greensboro. She is a very accomplished individual, but I didn’t think it was a great idea. On the other hand, I wasn't one of the people who were critical of Rick Warren when he had Sens. Obama and Brownback at his conference a few months back.

As for the group that gathered at the Carter Center, the only person I know of is No. 80: Brent Walker, Executive Director, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

In January 1997, I was a senior at Ouachita Baptist University up in D.C. making an appearance on CSPAN's Washington Journal. I, along with a group of other students, made a stop at the BJC. Walker was the group's legal council at the time. The only thing I remember about that visit was all his political stories. He wasted little time blasting conservatives – both political and theological. He had seen me on CSPAN a few days earlier and made sharp little digs, while bragging about being an alternative delegate for Dukakis in 1988. He had a little DNC 1988 watch on his wrist.

My bottom line: I am highly suspect of any group that leads with Clinton and Carter; it tells me that their aims are not all spiritual.

Wade Burleson said...

David,

Good points.

I would add only one other thing. If the subject of Dr. Rice had been solely message on her conversion to Christ, or the power of the gospel to transform lives, or an exposition of the sacred text, or an emphasis on humanitarian work I would have had NO problem with her speech.

D. Sanders said...

Wade,

Yet again, I agree with you 100 percent.

Kelly Reed said...

Wade,

I have chasing a rabbit question. If the motion on church role accountability had passed, would Bill Clinton still be on the roles of a SBC church?

Think about it. He left AR in 1992 and has not lived there since. Haven't we as memebers agreed to actively seek out a new church home whenever we move?

Has BC sought to join a new church or is he just holding onto this membership for the right to claim he's a Southern Baptist?

If the motion had passed, wouldn't he have been cleaned off the roles?

Kelly

jthomas899 said...

Dr. Sims, Shouldn't be looking for the Holy Spirit to lead, not the wisdom of Wade. I fear that Wade is becoming a legend into many minds. Has he become like those you chasten? Do you (2PL) goose step behind him without criticism?

Wade has been right, but here of late he appears to be attempting to the Holy Spirit for the Convention.

In religion when one has attempted widen the tent, it has led to people further from the Bible.

We ought to be more worried about a wide tent, not how narrow it has become. When the tent becomes to wide no one is left out.

I for one do not want to go back to the early and mid 70's.

Wade Burleson said...

Kelly,

I doubt Clinton would be removed from the rolls at Immanuel, Little Rock for a couple of reasons.

First, resolutions passed at the SBC are not binding on churches, and IBC Little Rock would probably pay no attention to it.

Second, autonomous SBC churches are really different from church to church - even among 'conservative' churches there is a difference. For instance, FBC Dallas encourages people to join there church and contribute regardless of where they live in the U.S.A. Many celebrities joined Dallas First during W.A. Criswell's tenure, and have rarely attended -- including Billy Graham -- so to remove someone for lack of attendance is an individual church decision.

And not many churches in the SBC are willing to do that.

Wade Burleson said...

Jthomas,

I have enough trouble being a husband, father and pastor. I don't need, nor desire the role of H.S. for the SBC.

:)

jthomas899 said...

Wade, I reread your blog post.

Two questions:

What makes you think this new "baptist" thing is evangelical?

What makes you sure they believe the same Gospel you do?

Anonymous said...

What makes any of us sure anyone believes as we do?

Wade Burleson said...

jthomas,

Since I am not a part of this group, and since their stated goal is 'to do justice and to love mercy,' which according to Scripture is the feet of faith to the poor, captives, and those in need, I am simply encouraging those folks as they seek to live out the gospel as they perceive it, and it matters not if they believe the exact way I do. However, I would be really careful about comparing our Baptist brothers to Mormons and Muslims. They name the name of Christ as Lord. Jthomas, I think you might need to blog your thoughts. You have many, and I'm sure others would love to hear them.

TruthOfActs said...

jthomas899,
Who are you? Are you someone’s puppet? Are you the ‘dummy’ of some ventriloquist?

It seems your main goal is to condemn Wade. You’ve made 5 comments, and each one is just making noise of criticism without merit. You even say he’s attempting to be the Holy Spirit for the Convention.

You say, “I for one do not want to go back to the early and mid 70’s.”

Hmmm, back then a missionary’s pledge to God was more important than the pledge of an employee to the egos of men today.
Back then the glue that held Baptists together was missions, and not theology that’s narrowed a ‘circus tent’ to a ‘pup tent’.
The 2008 convocation is more evidence of another nail in the coffin.

I’ll agree the tent ought to be narrow enough to prevent such criticism as yours.
Rex Ray

TruthOfActs said...

Wade,
When I said the 2008 convocation is more evidence of another nail in the coffin, I didn’t make it clear the coffin belonged to the type of proud thinking of jthomas899.

Tombs are needed for “our way or the highway”, and “believe as us, think as us, act as us.” ‘Us’ has become the god of many.

A tomb is needed for the blindness to see that you’re fired if you don’t sign an ego creed, if you don’t pray as us, if you don’t baptize as us, and if you think women can teach men. Off with their heads if they don’t fit the cookie cutter.

We need a change in leadership to love our brothers as Christ loved us.

The majority has been asleep too long. Thank you, Wade, for disturbing the sleep of many.
Rex Ray

jthomas899 said...

In another word Wade, you are saying don' post here again...

I think if people will do some research just on this blog, they will see that I have agree with Wade on some issues.

When I agree with Wade, I'll agree with him, when I disagree I'll disagree.

I can tell by the reaction of some on this blog, that they are really don't different than the fundies they hate so dearly.

Bryan Riley said...

JThomas, you are making stuff up; perhaps to suit your own purposes. Wade was encouraging you to write your own posts, but in no way did he tell you not to comment here. No one has spewed hate here, either.

But, you make a great point. We are all human. That is all the more reason why we need more grace and less shrinking of the tent. That is why we need to be all the more humble and cognizant of the fact that we are all struggling to understand this incredible and amazing Creator who loves us dearly and who saved all of us in the most unusual of ways.

Anyway, anyone who would go back and really read the comments would see that your characterization of things is Alice in Wonderland.

Wade Burleson said...

jthomas,

I really don't know where you got I said to stop commenting here. I am puzzled as to why you would say that. You are always welcome to comment here.

jthomas899 said...

The reality is that when you expand the tent, you lose theological soundness. Just look at the Methodist Church, and many others.

Do we really want gay pastors, and baby killers?

Wade Burleson said...

jthomas,

Look up straw man argument in the dictionary and write the definition on a chalkboard one hundred times before you post again.

:)

Just kidding. The answer to your question.

No.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Sorry for the anonymous post--I'm not a blogger and, besides, I'd rather remain unknown.

I appreciate your refusal to criticize and I do not interpret that to mean that you agree with Carter, Clinton, et al as others posting seem to do. I learned of your position by reading Associated Baptist Press which probably makes me somewhat different from your usual reader.

I am a former SBCer. I was in seminary in 1979 when the Conservative Resurgence began. I was around when the stones were being thrown at my professors and other Convetion leaders whom I knew and admired and believed (and still believe) were faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Some of the stones hit me as well. I was among those that many of your posters invited to leave the SBC: I did. I am still a Baptist, but I am no longer adding theological diversity to the SBC. So, why are the stones still being thrown?

I appreciate your refusal to throw stones, Wade. I wish others would follow your example.

jthomas899 said...

Wade, I find 100 to narrowing for my taste. I was probably over the line with those questions. Please forgive.

I am slow to learn so please help me understand how you widen the tent without compromsing on essential doctrines.

Wouldn't you agree that the mainline churches did that, and look at the results?

Please again forgive me, I said a 100 hail Criswells does that help? :)

Anonymous said...

Wade, I am reminded of something that happened when my husband was a pastor in the late '50s and early '60s. At the end of a church service, as a lady member was leaving, she asked my husband if he thought Albert Schweitzer was a Christian. My husband's reply was, "He acts like one, doesn't he?" The same question may be asked about Mother Teresa, a Catholic. She sure did act like a Christian.

Florence in KY

Anonymous said...

jeff thomas, i know a lot of godly and Jesus following Christians who happen to be at methodist churches.

bryan riley

volfan007 said...

i used to be a methodist. we left the methodists due to liberalism. we had two pastors in a row who didnt believe the miracles happened. they didnt believe it was important to believe in the essential doctrines of the faith. and, my mom and dad were teaching 4 and 5 yr olds, and the literature said that Jesus failed and made mistakes like all little boys do, so you dont have to feel bad about making mistakes. we left the methodist church. we joined the baptists at that point. we joined a little church in memphis called bellevue after a young preacher had been there for just a little while. his name was dr. adrian rogers.

my church is full of former methodists now. in fact, at my last deacons meeting, i laughed about how many of the deacons were former methodists.

may we never go the way of the methodist denomination.

volfan007

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be nice to just go the Jesus Way? How about that? How about being Christians that live out the Sermon on the Mount?

jthomas899 said...

Bryan, The only reason I like you is you graduated from Ouachita (didn't you?) I just hope you were a Kappa or Beta :)

Anyway, Bryan I was speaking in general about Methodist. I would come near joining Methodist church before I joined some CBF churches.

At least you got my name right

Wade has been calling me John :)

Alycelee said...

David in Florida,
I really can't believe what I'm about to post here, as I am from Arkansas, a republican, have NEVER voted for Bill Clinton,and have worked and campaigned against him. While saying that and concerning your comment on a "duck being a duck" I would hate to think that the sum total of who I am, particularly to God and to my fellow members in my church is what I have displayed in my lifetime as "fruit" judged by ONE action. For there have indeed been times that I have failed and other times I have been closely related to not that sweet grape but a prune. I'm certain that's why God has given me grace to live by and grace by which to administer to others.

Bryan Riley said...

Jeff, I just failed all your litmus tests, because I am not a graduate of OBU. Sorry. I went to the U of A. Go Hogs.

jthomas899 said...

Sorry that I can't fellowship with you because in the Thomas Confessions of 2007 revisionnumber 778

I fellowship not with those who graduated from secular schools :)

My bad....bad thing for the Hog losing Gus isn't?

volfan007 said...

i would like to add this about the whole jimmy and bill "let's all get together" thing. i dont think that jimmy and bill would want all of us jihad fundies joining with them in the first place. notice that the sbc leaders were not invited to this meeting. and, i doubt that jimmy carter would want any of us who really beleive the bible to join with them. especially when you think of the statements that he has made in the past about conservative sb's.

look at www.baptistpress.org for more on this. also, go to www.abpnews.com for more on this.

it really looks like this was a two way street about not joining together. you know, they didnt want to dance with us, and we didnt want to dance with them to begin with. there are just too many important differences between us.

anon, how can someone possibly live the sermon on the mount if they dont even believe that Jesus is the virgin born, Son of God? how can someone live out the sermon on the mount who denies that Jesus has the power to do miracles? how can anyone live out the sermon on the mount who denies the bible and doubts that the sermon on the mount is truly the words of Jesus to begin with?

again, i am thankful for any good that jimmy and bill and thier group does. if they help people who are hurting, then great...wonderful. but, i would not be for joining with them.

volfan007

Bryan Riley said...

Volfan, i think you are missing the point. I'm saying if you want to follow Jesus, then living out the Sermon on the Mount is a great place to start. And, that is more about beginning with yourself than it is worrying about what other people believe. Do you think, when Jesus asked the disciples to follow Him, that they believed in Him as all that He was? Heck, they didn't even know what He was talking about right at the end when He said He would rise again. They clearly had their beliefs all messed up, but Jesus still worked with them because they were willing to follow Him. We'd do well to remember that.

volfan007 said...

bryan,

i agree that we should work with people who dont understand some things....and with those who are mistaken about some things. but, when talking about those who are fighting against the truth...its another ballgame. Jesus dealt with His disciples a lot different than He did with the pharisees and sadducees. when dealing with people who are fighting against the Lord and His Word, who are trying to lead others astray, is what i'm talking about.

volfan007

othoniel a valdes sr said...

why do you take pot shots at those that have responded to this new covenant in a different way that you
have and assume that you are more loving or biblical

volfan007 said...

otho,

staying true to Gods Word and encouraging people to stay true to Gods Word is compassion. its in the bible that we find Gods truth, and the truth will surely set you free. if i love someone, then i will want them to know truth.

to encourage someone to stay away from those who would lead them astray is to love that person. to warn people to stay our of errors that will cause them harm and hurt thier relationship with God is love.

thus, i would not want to join with t.d. jakes or benny hinn in a bible conference. i would not want to be in a "together we do good things for people association" with mormons and liberals who reject the bible. i would not want to build up organizations that lead people astray and cause people to be confused and doubting Gods Word.

on the other hand, i would preach at a methodist church if they asked me. they might not like what i preach, but i would preach there. i would preach at a mormon temple if they asked me....gladly. i would love to preach the gospel to them. i would love to help build a house for people who truly need one...even if i was hammering next to jimmy carter. but, i would have a hard time officially joining in some association with these folks.

volfan007

foxofbama said...

Wade and folks in your sphere of influence.
Missourian Brian Kaylor takes the measure of Richard land in a column up Jan 15 in comparison to your response about the Atlanta Convocation.
I encourage all of you to take a look at it
www.ethicsdaily.com/article_detail.cfm?AID=8407

Stephen Pruett said...

Volfan et al, Where have you seen anyone propose that the "big tent" will include liberalization? The only proposals I have seen are proposals to undo NEW restrictions that did not exist previously. Was the SBC a bunch of flaming liberals 3 years ago? If not, why would it cause a problem to go back to that?

LSU TigerFAN

Bryan Riley said...

Volfan, you are so sure of your knowledge of the truth but you wouldn't want to speak with those whom you are sure don't have a complete understanding of that same truth at a bible conference. Using that reasoning, what you are saying is that you would rather leave all those who attend such a bible conference without anyone speaking for the truth than to be sharing a stage with people with whom you disagree on some issues of doctrine. I find that interesting. I don't understand it.

I'm just thinking out loud here with this next thought, and dont' know if it is accurate, but it seems like it would be those who are most mature in Christ who would be the most willing to speak alongside any and share their message anytime in order that more would hear what it means to follow Christ. They also would likely be excited to have an opportunity to be iron sharpening iron with those who perhaps have a different understanding of some tenets of the faith. It's not like we need to fear that God will forever be tarnished by an SBC pastor speaking where someone else speaks who has a different understanding of some doctrines. If that could tarnish God's reputation then we don't need any one else to stand up with us to do that. We'll do it all by ourselves. :)

gloria said...

I've been very supportive of almost all you've posted in the last couple of years, but I do have some hesitation about comments in the blog about Dr. Klouda. i agree that her dismissal was wrong, but i do think the issue of a woman's authority over a man can mean something beyond just her not serving as senior pastor. i'm not sure where that line is, but it makes me nervous to quote the US laws on gender discrimination about it as the fact that it is a US law doesn't make it in accord with God's law. let's stick to the Word for our reasons, not the law of secular govt. thanks.

Jim Paslay said...

When the list was posted as to who was there, you talk about a Who's Who's of Disgruntled Baptists! Quite frankly, I don't trust a former president that doesn't know enough about cults to say that Mormons are Christians, and I certainly don't trust Bill Clinton anymore than Hillary does.

This is nothing more than a get organized and get ready to vote for Hillary in 2008. By the way, what gospel are we talking about? Because some of the men listed as being at the meeting have had trouble in the past articulating as to whether Jesus is the only way to salvation.

If James Dunn, Daniel Vestal, and the other disgruntled Cooperative Baptist boys want to covenant with Bill and Jimmy, so be it. But don't expect me to swallow the line that their purpose is to unite Baptists when they have spent the last 20 plus years dividing us and being uncooperative.

You can take to the bank, this "New Baptist Covenant" will be used as a rally cry to unite behind a certain senator from New York. And if you think that Bill Clinton is really concerned about our denomination, I've got an OSU National Football Championship shirt I'd like to sell you!

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