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

Will Someone Please Tell Me What Difference It Makes?

A very bright seminary employee of one of our Southern Baptist Convention seminaries wrote a comment on SBC Outpost yesterday saying, "If a private prayer language is that big of an issue to some, then over time I believe trustees can make those changes (to the new policy that forbids missionaries from having a private prayer language).

I responded to the professor's comment in this manner.

The issue in the Southern Baptist Convention is NOT ABOUT private prayer languages. It is about the freedom for orthodox, evangelical Southern Baptists to disagree on secondary and tertiary doctrinal issues.

Don’t get hung up on 'private prayer languages,' or Calvinism, or a church's style of worship, or the proper administrator of baptism, or elder rule, or the methodology of the ‘contemporary’ church.

The issue is FREEDOM for autonomous churches and independent Southern Baptist people to COOPERATE in missions and evangelism though we may not agree on secondary and tertiary doctrinal issues — whatever they may be!!

For you to continue to say the issue is 'private prayer languages' makes me wonder who else is missing it.
"

A Very Clear Illustration of the REAL ISSUE in the Southern Baptist Convention

I would encourage you to realize that there are currently two interpretative positions on the issue of private prayer languages in the Southern Baptist Convention. Some would like to write a book entitled "Unintelligible Prayer: The Futile Search for Biblical Support,” implying that anyone who believes the Bible teaches that to pray (privately) in an unintelligible manner should disqualify you from leadership or mission service in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Southwestern Theological Seminary is the center of this cessationist viewpoint and the two men who most represent this kind of thinking are, first . . .

Dr. Malcolm Yarnell, a professor at Southwestern Seminary who has written a white paper entitled Speaking of ' Tongues,' What Does the Bible Teach?

Second, Dr. Emir Caner, head of the College at Southwestern, has also written a white paper espousing the cessationist position entitled Southern Baptists, Tongues and Historial Policy.

These two men are bright. They are Southern Baptist. They believe to pray in tongues cannot be supported by Scripture.

On the other hand, there is another view among Southern Baptists that Scripture does permit, and in fact teaches, that the Spirit of God gifts some believers to pray in an unintelligible language -- to God -- for for their own edification. Two Southern Baptist men who would hold to this position would include, first . . .

Dr. Alan Cross, a Southern Baptist pastor and no small theologian in his own right, has written an article entitled Evangelicals and the Holy Spirit: What About Speaking in Tongues?

Dr. Alan Cross follows up with an outstanding contribution to the current Southern Baptist theological dialogue with an article entitled Evangelicals and the Holy Spirit: The Role of the Holy Spirit in Prayer which is an examination of what is commonly called a private prayer language.

Second, Dr. Sam Storms, a fellow Southern Baptist and an astute theologian and author has written two excellent articles on the subject simply called The Southern Baptist Convention and Tongues: Part 1 and The Southern Baptist Convention and Tongues: Part 2.

I have read all the articles by all four men. Here are a couple of observations about their writings:

(1). Dr. Yarnell and Dr. Caner are no more Scriptural or Biblical in their presentation than Dr. Storms and Dr. Cross. In fact, it seems to me that Drs. Storms and Cross appealed more to Scripture than Drs. Yarnell and Caner who seemed to support their views more on Baptist history and tradition than an exegesis of the sacred text.

(2). These two views are mutually exclusive. In other words, if you are a continualist, you cannot be a cessationist. Likewise, if you are a cessationist, you cannot at the same time be a continualist. Both views cannot be right at the same time. Therefore, someone is right and someone is wrong.

(3). Now comes the twenty four million dollar question --- who's right? Is there such a thing as a gift of the Spirit of God that enables a person to pray in the Spirit in a tongue that is unintelligible (possibly an angelic language?), or do those who pray this way come under the influence of something else other than God's Spirit?

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?

What difference does it make to a drunk in need of a Savior to deliver him from his demon of addiction?

What difference does it make to a woman who has been abandoned by her husband and is in need of a love that is eternal, unconditional and found only in a relationship with Jesus Christ?

What difference does it make to the one billion people in India who are in need of deliverance from their three million gods of the imagination and require a knowledge of the one true God?

What difference does it make to the fanatical Muslim who has a hard enough time understanding the clear language of the gospel of a Redeemer who died as a Substitute for sinners?

What difference does it make among evangelical Christian men and women who are bound together by a common love for the Lord Jesus Christ and are committed to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to a world in need of good news?

Please, someone, somewhere, somehow, tell me . . .

What difference does it make?

Can those of us Southern Baptists who disagree on this doctrinal issue -- and others -- that are not essentials of the faith, cooperate together in ministry and missions through our Cooperative Program for the sake of a lost world, the good of God's people, and the glory of our God? Could it be that those who are making these tertiary doctrinal issues a matter of primary importance and EXCLUDING people who disagree are actually harming our convention by causing us to lose sight of that which is truly important.

I ask, for the final time, what difference does it make?

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

158 comments:

peter lumpkins said...

Wade,

I trust your week was well and your weekend will be even better. I have personally stayed at a resonable distance on this particular issue, rather pleased I could sit on the sidelines and watch and listen a while. The more I observe the more uncomfortable I am becoming, however.

It's probably me, but I am just not getting it. This cow is being milked dry, if I may say so. And, posts such as your present one do not seem to offer, at least from my perspective I am sorry to say, any real solution. You ask eight times, Wade, one after another, "What difference does it make?" But Wade. If it really "makes no difference" as you seem to make vividly clear, why is it that it is being touted as such a major issue for Southern Baptists?

The fact is, that is DOES make a difference to many in the SBC. In fact, I would say it makes a difference to about 99.9% of your readers. And know this: were my personal view placed on a continuum with cessationism on one side and noncessationism on the other, I would fall much closer to the latter.

Aside that, as I understand you, Wade, you seem to be arguing that the issue is "about the freedom for orthodox, evangelical Southern Baptists to disagree on secondary and tertiary doctrinal issues...
The issue is FREEDOM for autonomous churches and independent Southern Baptist people to COOPERATE in missions and evangelism though we may not agree on secondary and tertiary doctrinal issues — whatever they may be!!"

Two things in response: first, the specific issue you cited pertained to private "unintelligible" language in prayer. Actually, a better acronym than "PPL" for that would be "PULP."

And, from my understanding, you concluded that honest interpretation from equally Bible-believing Baptist scholars could not solve the problem. In addition, since neither is unorthodox and both are consistent with the BF&M, why is it that one is acceptable and the other is not? I hope I have not misread the gist of your questions, my brother Wade.

The difficulty I immediately see is, if the particular line of reasoning you are suggesting is pursued, then where is this alleged fence row of "Baptist orthodoxy" to be?

For example, suppose for the sake of argument, it is granted that PULP--because it is based on Scripture and is not contrary to the BF&M--is perfectly acceptable by all sides.

However, if that is so, why is it not also acceptable for the classic Pentecostal doctrine of "baptism of the Holy Spirit with evidence in speaking in other tongues" to be fully appropriate for the IMB as well? This doctrine as you know is not a theological rabbit pulled out of a hat; rather is buttressed by a fairly sophisticated exegesis from the NT. Nor is it contrary to the BF&M that I can see anywhere.

More theological examples I'm quite confident could easily be offered but I think that is enough to demonstrate, from my view anyway, the wrongheadedness of this way of thinking about the issue. I simply see no solution whatever in just arguing Bible & BF&M for the problem--at least as I understand its presentation here.

Secondly, and I promise quickly, I think we've got a complex question on the floor here and, consequently, it should not surprise us that the end result is muddy pond. You write, Wade that the problem is Churches cooperating: "The issue is FREEDOM for autonomous churches and independent Southern Baptist people to COOPERATE in missions and evangelism though we may not agree on secondary and tertiary doctrinal issues..." If the problem is Churches cooperating, I'd like to see the evidence on that. Indeed I do not know of anyone, anywhere, anytime saying that Churches must do as Convention policy dictates and tells them they must do and believe.

And, I've said it before so I'll say it again: if the convention leaders told me what to do or how to run things in my church or what my church MUST believe, I'd inform them how much I love them in the Lord and politely tell them to kiss my butt.

The issue, it seems to me, is definitively NOT church to church or even church to convention, as you seem to suggest, Wade. Rather it is convention to employee, which, of course, brings in a coal car full of other issues involved.

Surely we would not argue that only the Bible and BF&M is important in securing a Pastor for our Church. Aren't there other qualities--persoanl qualities--we seek for? Do you use that criteria alone when calling a staff member at your church, Wade? I'll bet you don't. I'll bet you add bundles of joy to the job description/profile when that time comes. Moreover, I'll bet you look for a person that could best suit the needs/expectations/values of MOST of your Church Body.

For me, I think that does make a world of difference, Wade, when the IMB seeks to fill positions that similarly reflect the SBC.

Enough. I'm quite sure I'm already in a heap of trouble. And, I do apologize for such a tome.

Peace to all. With that, I am...

Peter

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

Maybe I'm too simplistic. But over the past two years, I've noted that ....

The IMB used to prohibit "pentecostal practices" in the ministry of their missionaries. Now they have moved from that, to prohibiting missionaries from speaking in tongues in their own "prayer closet."

I suppose SWBTS took a dim view of professors who had the gift of tongues, prior to 2006, but now they won't even allow a professor to teach if he believes tongues is a valid current-day gift.

I also refer to the changes in rules at the IMB in reference to baptism.

There's an old life insurance sales argument about a frog in a pot of water. You can increase the temperature slowly, a degree at a time, and eventually the frog will cook and die and never even realize it. Apparently the same thing can happen to baptists.

Yes is IS a big deal. Yes it SHOULD BE talked about and questioned.

Ask disqualified missionary candidates how much of a difference it makes. Ask the missionary who has the gift of tongues, now living under THAT cloud, what difference it makes.

Saying it's not a big deal reminds me of speaking ill of farmers who complain about their financial plight, while we're eating dinner.

David Rogers said...

I would like to ask an honest question of "cessationists" within the SBC. I would like to pose a hypothetical situation for the sake of making a point, as well as for the sake of helping me in my own thinking and decisions related to all of this. I would sincerely implore you to give careful thought, as well as to be as honest and objective as you possibly can in answering this question:

If, on the basis of your study of the Word of God, you were to come to the conclusion that "private prayer language" is indeed an authentic gift of the Holy Spirit still valid for today, though not necessarily the initial sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit; and, if, you continued to hold to the doctrinal position of the Baptist Faith and Message; and, if you continued to see the value of cooperating together with others who identify themselves as Southern Baptists for the advance of the Kingdom of God, how would you respond to everything that has been going on in SBC life over the last year related to these issues?

Would you:

A. Quit being a Southern Baptist, and look for some other group with which to cooperate?

B. Remain a Southern Baptist, but quietly bide your time, waiting for the administrative process to work out these issues on its own?

C. Become active in the process of helping the SBC to be more open in its acceptance of this particular position in regards to such things as missionary appointments and doctrinal statments?, or

D. Do something else not described well by either option A, B, or C?

CharlesRam said...

Wade,

I have followed the arguments on both sides of this issue. I do not personally have the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues or translating. However, I believe that this is a gift from God.

The cessationist would argue that God no longer gives this gift. The argue from the point that they have not been given this gift, so it is not relevant anymore.

The problem with this attitude is that it is arrogant and goes against the identity of who God is.

As you pointed out, what does it matter when we have people dying and going to eternal damnation because of our arguing on the side about who is qualified to do the mission that God is sending us to do. Thank you for stepping up and drawing a line in the sand for the wonderful old Baptist fundamental of freedom.

Charles

davidinflorida said...

Pastor Wade,

To answer your question; to the drunk, to the abandoned woman, to the one billion in India, to the fanatical Muslim, all who need a Savior, and the Christian men and woman who love the Lord and are committed to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, it should make no difference.
To the pompous, it makes all the difference in the world.

Bryan Riley said...

Davidinflorida, well said. I commented over on David Roger's blog in response to his question here, so I will place that comment here as well...

Before any one could get to the point of trying to determine what is the appropriate action in such a circumstance it would require an admission of error. Before one can admit error one must realize they have erred. Before they can realize error they must be humble. Begging the question argumentation, as you demonstrated was at play over on Marty's blog, is not typically a manifestation of humility.

Great question. I hear crickets. I am reminded of Ferris Bueller's teacher and classroom. I see ocean front property in Arizona (although if California falls into the ocean...). :)

Wade Burleson said...

Peter,

You play scare tactics. When the issue of the Pentecostal doctrine of 'baptism in the spirit -- evidenced by tongues' comes up, we will deal with it.

That is NOT a third tier doctrine because the Bible says "If any many have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."

So, to say that you must speak in tongues in order to prove the Holy Spirit resides in you is heresy --- Pentecostal heresy

Peter, name one Southern Baptist in this current debate who is saying this?

Just one Peter.

You can't.

Therefore, the only uncomfortableness created in this debate is by those who weigh in with hypotheticals that have nothing to do with the actual discussion.

Peter, you are not in a heap of trouble with me at all. :)

You are simply in a heap of confusion.

Blessings,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Bob Cleveland,

As usual, again,

You have nailed it.

Peter, read Bob.

Wade Burleson said...

David,

I am interested in people answering your questions.

As for me, the answer is C.

Thanks, as always for your clarity and civility.

Blessings,

wade

Wade Burleson said...

Charles, David, and Byran,

I need all three of you on the debate team.

"I hear crickets.

A classic.

Wade Burleson said...

Peter,

One final thought.

You say, "If the problem is Churches cooperating, I'd like to see the evidence on that. Indeed I do not know of anyone, anywhere, anytime saying that Churches must do as Convention policy dictates and tells them they must do and believe."

Peter, why don't you answer David Roger's question?

You may wish churches to leave the SBC, but I am doing all I can to keep pastors and churches from doing so.

IT IS CALLED THE COOPERATIVE PROGRAM, not the 'conformity contribution.'

Blessings,

wade

Alycelee said...

Wade, I think this is so clear, by far your best plea for unity and cooperation.
David, I've never been a cessationists but my answer is still C.
I stand along side of Dr. Alan Cross, Dr. Sam Storms and the Apostle Paul.

Pastor Brad said...

Wade,
I agree almost entirely with what Peter wrote.
To answer your question of what difference does it make, and this is the point: It makes a difference because PPL or PULP, if you like, is not biblically supported in the view of the vast majority of SBC eggheads or rank-and-file.
I am a continualist, or at least not a cessationist, but I see no support for unintelligible tongues of any sort biblically. If Baptists are to stand on the Bible, we must also stand on a sound interpretation of the Bible. Otherwise, it is meaningless to say we believe the Bible is inerrant, but will not take a stand on what it says or in this case, does not say. The vast majority of Southern Baptists do have a right to determine where the fence rests.
In my view, the same is not true of Calvinism. While I am no 5-pointer, Calvinism is at least supportable, properly understood, scripturally. So, to lump Calvinism in with PPL, which some on each side are doing for their own reasons, is also “scare tactics.”
Because the churches are autonomous, they have the right to control which interpretations they will support and which they will not. The trustees and the BFM are under the authority of the churches, not the other way around, as you know. I wish I knew why those on your side of the discussion want to paint this as a oligarchy, when it is in fact a representative democracy. Will you please tell me why?

John Mann said...

Wade,

You clearly missed Peter's point of this not being an issue of cooperation between churches, but of it being an issue of employer and employee.

Rob said...

Dr Yarnell in response to my comment on SBC Outpost won't even acknowledge that there are 3 tiers of doctrine. It's a hard line that they want all of us to toe, that their orthodoxy is the only valid one. Their side only sees one tier, not 3 like you Wade.

Pastor Brad said...

To answer David's question:
C
However, no one is denying them their right to do this, so I, respectfully, am not sure I understand.

Wade Burleson said...

Pastor Brad,

I can't answer your question on behalf of other people. I know neither their thoughts or logic.

However, I now know yours about PPL.

Could you explain to me, Brad, what you mean by 'I am a continualist' but 'I do not see support in Scripture of unintelligible tongues'?

If tongues are not 'unintelligible' (i.e. if they are, in your opinion, 'understood'), then what in the world does the Bible mean when it uses the word 'interpretation' as another gift? What needs to be interpreted if it is an understood tongue?

You are making no sense to me, but maybe it is my fault and not yours.

Blessings,

wade

Wade Burleson said...

Peter and Brad,

Methinks the two of you forget two things:

(1). Who, in your opinion, is asking people to make public what they pray in private in order to exclude from leadership and service?

(2). Why, in your opinion, is this even an issue? THIS SHOULD BE A PRIVATE MATTER --- WHY IS IT A PUBLIC ISSUE?

WTJeff said...

John Mann,

Peter's comments seem to have not considered the fact that the employer-employee policy impacts the local church. When the IMB tells churches that support it, that candidates they have sent are disqualified for PPL or not being baptized by a proper administrator, then our cooperation is not only limited but hindered. By elevating these issues to first tier status, they dictate what the local church must believe beyond what is stated in the BF&M in order to send missionaries through the very agency they support. The result, as Wade has clearly documented here in the past, is fully qualified God-called missionaries are not allowed to serve with the IMB and must seek opportunities elsewhere.

Wade asked the right question, what difference does it make?

Jeff

John Mann said...

Wade,

If I may respond to point 2 referenced to Brad and Peter. Where in Scripture is prayer a private issue? We pray privately, but we are not private. Is it possible that this is part of the individualistic concept of a postmodern mindset carried over into 21st Ecclesiology? Is any aspect of Christianity ever privatized?

Wade Burleson said...

Jeff, could not have said it better myself. :)

t. d. webb said...

You have spiked the problem that your adversaries, including Peter Lumpkins find "uncomfortable", Wade. Let's face it. . .there are many, even professing Christians among Southern Baptists, who "do not play well with others". These self-appointed legalistic guardians of "true church doctrine" are not merely satisfied to assert strict exclusionist policies extending to 2nd and 3rd tier theological issues, singling out and personally disparaging those who express dissenting perspectives. They seem to be bound and determined to pursue this strategy even if it means the splintering and ultimate destruction of SBC evangelistic missions, both here and around the world. Given this modus operandi, they should be "uncomfortable" and troubled.

In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

Baptist Theologue said...

The issue of ecstatic utterances, whether used in public or private, is indeed a big deal. If such utterances do not come from God, then they adversely affect the user and any hearers. If they are neutral, irrational psychological phenomena, then they detract from group worship and private prayer. If they come from a non-neutral, ungodly source, they desecrate public worship and cause communication with an ungodly source in private prayer. By the way, Christians are not the only people that experience ecstatic utterances.

Mike Morris (aka BT)

Wade Burleson said...

Pastor Jeff Mann from Texas,

You ask, "Is it possible that this is part of the individualistic concept of a postmodern mindset carried over into 21st Ecclesiology? Is any aspect of Christianity ever privatized?

Many Baptists lost their lives opposing ecclesiological authority. Many Baptists were drowned as traitors to the state because they resisted the offical 'church' view on baptism that bestowed citizenship and 'Christian' name (thus 'christening') at baptism. Many Baptists were burned at the stake because they stubbornly refused the intrusive and unbiblical power of 'the church' and they died as individual, Christ-believing, God-honoring people.

Individualism is not the result of 'postmodern' emphasis --- it is our Baptist heritage.

wade

Wade Burleson said...

Mike,

Thank you for your comment.

What should people who have a private prayer language and our affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention do?

You say they are not of God and desecrate Christian worship.

Hmmm.

Surely you don't mean what you write.

Wade Burleson said...

Mike, how would you respond to TD Webb's comment?

peter lumpkins said...

Wade,

Good morning. I hope you slept well. I did.

The thread, it seems, demonstrates, once again, my brother, that this venue appears to lack solid answers for the issue at hand.

Let's see, so far, the ones who disagree with the position advocated here possess an "arrogant attitude," and go "against who God is," are "pompous," and, of course, we cannot over look your warm and fuzzy descriptions of employing "scare tactics" because one is "confused." Why don't you guys tell your fellow Sbs how you really feel about them?

So, my brother, Wade, this constitutes the answer to this devastating issue ripping our convention apart? Interesting.

As for the supposed "fear tactic" I employed by simply offering a perfectly consistent example that fits the criteria you devised, Wade, it is difficult to respond. But I'll take it around the block anyway, if you insist.

First, our Pentecostal brothers and sisters, I'm quite sure, would not take so kindly to your identifying their view with heresy. Personally, I could never say that though I believe their view mistaken.

In addition, Wade, you simple mischaracterize their position when you suggest they hold that prior to the "baptism of the Spirit," believers are void of the presence of the Spirit. Hence quoting Romans 8 simply misunderstands their doctrine.

By the way, I've known lots of Baptist guys who hold that particular view of the Baptism of the Spirit (though minus the necessary evidence of tongues). I WAS ONE OF THEM. I picked the view up through R.A. Torrey and D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, though that was a journey or two ago, in my heresy days no doubt.

Finally, Wade, unfortunately, you also appear to misunderstand my position as well (of course, I cannot blame you there since I'm so very confused).

You write: "You may wish churches to leave the SBC, but I am doing all I can to keep pastors and churches from doing so...IT IS CALLED THE COOPERATIVE PROGRAM, not the 'conformity contribution.'

For me, Wade, that simply stands indicative of the problem I continually observe from the discussions on this issue. Though not one scrap I've written can support such a conclusion that I "wish churches to leave the SBC," the tarbaby my view becomes nevertheless.

I made perfectly clear contra your position--"freedom for orthodox, evangelical Southern Baptists to disagree on secondary and tertiary doctrinal issues...
The issue is FREEDOM for autonomous churches..."-- that I think the issue is more between Convention and employee, which you strangely overlook. Or, perhaps I'm confused again.

So there. I can trust this second post will not be received as a scare tactic.

Peace. With that, I am...

Peter

p.s. Oh, by the way, David's very good question is addressed specifically to cessationists.

Wade Burleson said...

Peter,

You act as if the Convention is an entity SEPARATE from the churches.

Have you been a lifelong Southern Baptist? I would think you would understand that the Convention IS THE SBC CHURCHES that compose her.

Reread Jeff's comment. When a convention agency acts, it affects 'CHURCHES' because we are the convention.

We are told as trustees, repeatedly, that the IMB is a servant TO THE CHURCHES.

THE CONVENTION is not Rome.

The COVENTION is every little Southern Baptist community in our nation, and I am speaking out for those CHURCHES that now feel excluded.

Employees of the IMB ARE MISSIONARIES FROM CHURCHES OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTON.

That is the answer to your employer/employee question.

wade

Bob Cleveland said...

Reminds me, a lot, of the philosophers debating how many teeth a horse should have. After a couple hours of energetic debate, the janitor wanders in and suggests they go check the horse standing out in an adjoining field, and count its teeth.

He was told "What, and trust a horse to know how many teeth it should have?"

One mistake cessationists make, IMO, is they apparently think speaking in tongues is something that those who have the gift, simply decided to DO.

It's not. At least not in my case.

Of course there abuses and counterfeiters, just as there are among teachers and preachers, helpers, administrators, etc.

It seems most cessationists don't have the gift of unknown tongues. Somewhat analogous to the folks who favor "abortion rights" having already been born, themselves.

AND NOTE: Within a month after the IMB made that pronouncement, I'd written a letter to the Alabama Baptist, giving my view. I also stated that God had given me that gift. The SAME DAY that issue hit the homes, I got a call from a nearby pastor, whose wife had been given the gift of unknown tongues. He said she rejoiced at my letter, as she had felt SO disenfranchised and hurt by the IMB pronouncement.

DON'T TELL ME THESE THINGS DON'T AFFECT THE LOCAL CHURCH!!!

John Mann said...

Wade,

Please do not continue to confuse the issue. I asked you yesterday to not do so, as well. If you must, read and reread my comment. It has nothing to do with individual liberties. Neither does it refer to ecclesiastical authorities. I, in no way, have called into question our Baptist heritage. Yet, even within that Baptist heritage we have maintained a certain amount of accountability to our fellow brothers. Are we still familiar with Church Discipline? Please, if you seek to continue to be a spokesperson, try to be honest. You misapplied Dr. Yarnell's words yesterday. You have neglected the comments regarding the differences between church and employees, and now you want to skew mine to say that I question Baptist Heritage. Interestingly enough, the only time you are interested in Baptist Heritage, it seems, is when it applies to your side of the argument. Seems I have heard many say something to the effect of, "it doesn't matter whether it Baptist or not, only Biblical." To that I will offer my wholehearted amen. But I plead with you, use consistency. Do not seek to confuse issues. Take my words for what they are and I will extend to you the same grasciousness. By the way, that is John Mann, not Jeff. An honest mistake, I am sure.

othoniel a valdes sr said...

what different does it make:
To the lost none but to those that are funding the Gospel proclamation a lot or we would not be having this conversation.
To Paul it made a big difference that Mark left early to Barnabas it did not but both stuck to their positions & went their different ways and the lost got 2 teams rather than 1

John Mann said...

One further comment I wish would be understood. The issue is not just about "cessationism or continualism." Many have said they are not cessationists, but do not believe in ecstatic utternances because that was never the proper biblical interpretation.

In regards to Baptist Heritage... we have also recognized the right of the majority to govern. Seems they have.

Baptist Theologue said...

Wade, let me clarify. I believe that both public and private expressions of ecstatic utterances today are not of God. There are probably multiple causes for these phenomena, some of them neutral and some non-neutral. The non-neutral sources (i.e., Satan and non-Christian religions) would lead to desecration, and the neutral sources would lead to distraction.

In regard to T. D. Webb’s comment, I think that the IMB and NAMB are not being destroyed by the new and old policies on charismatic phenomena.

In regard to David Rogers’ question, I posted the following comment on his blog:

D. If I had grown up in the Southern Baptist denomination (whose churches have disfellowshipped churches over this issue), and if I had spent a year on a ship with charismatics and gained an appreciation for their beliefs and for them as people, I would try to dispassionately try to separate my experiences from Scriptural data. (Of course, the Scriptural data would trump experience.) If I reached the conclusion that ecstatic utterances are bibilical and for today, I would wonder why I and others in my family had not experienced them, and I would leave the SBC and join a group where I might receive more encouragement in doing so. It seems that very few Southern Baptists experience this gift that supposedly is still in existence, so it would be logical for someone that believes it is still in existence to go elsewhere rather than trying to change the belief system of an entire denomination. David, check out my latest blog entry. I've done a bit more research on the topic.

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Mike,

Thanks for your comments toward my thoughts. I must disagree, however, that I do not perceive that the issue affect the local Church. Surely it does. But not in the way you seem to suggest, Mike.

Nor do I necessarily embrace this three tiered theory about Biblical doctrine. I very well may be ignorant, but I'd never heard of it until Dr. Mohler wrote a short essay about it and, abracadabra, instantaneous solution to all our denominational woes--theological tierism.

So I would ask my "Tierest" brothers a question: which splinter group gets to decide the tiers for IMB who is responsible for hiring our personnel? For me, I would not want just anybody in that privileged position. Moreover, are NO teirs other than first tiers considered?

Nor do I consider myself an "adversary," as our Brother T.D. seems to imply. My "uncomfortable" status to which I refered in my previous post is due to this chicken-little atmosphere that the sky is falling on the SBC and we need men like our Brother Wade to hold the umbrella.

Personally, I think there are larger issues, not the least of which is...well, I'm not here to promote my own crusade.

I trust, Mike, we will continue to dialog as brothers and fellow SBs as we search for better answers that have heretofore come.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Wade Burleson said...

John,

I apologize for calling you Jeff and not John.

You say, "Please, if you seek to continue to be a spokesperson, try to be honest"

(1). I am not seeking to be a spokesperson.

(2). I will always seek to be honest.

:)

Wade Burleson said...

Mike (aka Baptist Theologue)

Are you Southern Baptist?

I may make a resolution that anyone who says 'private prayer language' is not of God should be disqualified from SBC leadership.

:)

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Peter,

Unless we embrace some sort of tier system for doctrines, we will demand EVERYONE agree on EVERY doctrine.

When that happens, the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention could all be listed on one page in the Yellow Pages.

Wade Burleson said...

Bob,

How many teeth do you have?

:)

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Baptist Theologue.

I like you.

You say what you mean, and you mean what you say.

I mean it.

I get tired of people who act all lovey dovey and nice to you one moment, but pass resolutions, policies and motions that in every possible interpretation say, "Get out of the SBC" but then say, "No, that's not what we mean."

At least you say it.

You are telling people who disagree to get out.

That's refreshing. That is what a many others want to say but are afraid to do so.

By the way, that's why I'm in the SBC, blogging, and radical reformation of our convention for the long run.

It is to balance out and counteract people like you.

:)

I say that respectfully.

wade

Alycelee said...

Ascribing the gifts of God to "psycho-babble" or worse "demonic influence" is frightening for me to even read here. It amazes me the lengths one will go to, to be "right"
Mumford, in the Agape Road says on of the 7 spiritual giants we MUST face and overcome. They others are: "Look good, feel good, Be right Stay in control, hidden agenda, personal advantage, remain undisturbed" These giants confuse, hinder, put to flight and cause conflict and injury to our marriages, relationships and churches. The source of this conflict is rarely demonic, he says, but a result of the presence of these giants within us. They are pure Eros!
These giants cannot be taught how to behave, so they must domesticated, discipled so that they can pretend to do the will of God

So Wade, to answer your initial question,
It makes a difference, if you have an agenda.
It makes a difference, if you have to be right.

If you want to do what Frank Page has ask us to do, if you want to go about the business of making disciples, NO, it makes no difference.
Agape

Baptist Theologue said...

Thanks, Wade. My answer to David was specifically in regard to his question. In general, however, I believe that a section should be added to the Baptist Faith and Message that deals clearly with the issue of public and private ecstatic utterances. These phenomena have become a major issue in Southern Baptist life, and a clear statement needs to be made by those representing the majority of Southern Baptists.

jasonk said...

Several years ago, when I was wrestling with the issue of Calvinism, I was driving with my good friend who was the regional director of the FCA. I asked him what his stance on Calvinism was, and he said, essentially, "I don't care." I was shocked and dismayed. How could he not care?! Then he said, "I just want to see people saved."

Roger Simpson said...

David Rogers:

I can't answer you question because you phrased it as follows [rough paraphrase] . . . "if you belive that PPL is an 'authentic gift' then which choice (A), (B), or (C) would your take . . "

My problem (and I think 80% of those in the pews of SBC churches) is that I don't know anything firsthand about PPL, have never practiced PPL, don't personally know anyone who does practices it, and don't really care if a person practices it or not.

So I can't answer your question because I don't fit in the group you posed the question to.

Here is my question: If you don't know much about PPL do you think:

(A) The IMB (and other agencies) such just go ahead and allow it -- at least tacitly -- for the sake of cooperation given that it is a lower tier doctrine.

subpart A.1 -- because personally you think PPL is "OK"

subpart A.2 -- because personally you think PPL is "not-OK"

subpart A.3 -- because personally you don't know if PPL is "OK" or "not OK"

or

(B) The IMB should ignore any movement twords embracing a PPL thinking that this issue will blow over

or

(C) The IMB should [take / continue to take] a stand against PPL because, for better or worse, most people in the SBC don't support any "formal" endorsement of it by the IMB and the IMB should reflect the will of its constituency.


I admit I don't know how to answer this question myself right now. I am totally in favor of what I call the "breath of fresh air" blowing with a spirit of cooperation and aggreement to disagree on tertiary issues. However, I agree with Peter that the Rubicon is being crossed and there is a significant possibility that waging this battle for cooperation will ironicaly serve as a nexus for a lot of denominational squabbling. I am a pragmitist myself. I hold to the "Rodney King" theological position.

I know I probably don't fit in too well here since I'm not engaging this agument on it merits -- I'm only trying to suggest some "resolution" or "non-resolution" to clear this out of the way so the SBC can do more urgent stuff. What a tragedy if this drains energy away from the "main thing".

Wade:

I agree PPL doesn't make any difference. However, I also think this whole argument doesn't make THAT much difference either. I'd rather have cooperation than non-cooperation -- but at what price? The continuing disintegration of the SBC?

If the cooperation you are calling for doesn't happen some people may be leaving the SBC over minor issues. (i.e they will take their PPL, continualism, moderationism {is that a word} etc. elsewhere)

If the cooperation you are calling for does happen [as evidenced by more "open" policies on baptism, PPL, etc] and is endorsed by the SBC agencies then the SBC might have a Richter Scale 7 event.

I saw a item on the Baptist Press today saying that Dr. Page is calling for Baptists to "cool-it" and quit squabbling. [My interpretation of what he said] I agree with Dr. Page.

I think Dr. Page would be ill-advised to join what I've called the "breath of fresh air" because while I, as a nobody, can endorse it without consequences most denominational leaders can't risk the firestorm. They can't risk getting too far ahead of the those who voted for them.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Tim Cook said...

I seem to see a lot of Baptist historians on blogs lately, many who seem to also think that mmissionary sending policies should not affect fellowship. Frankly, if they are half the historians the rest of thier comments make them out to be, they should know better. Hearken back, if you will, to the very beginning of our beloved SBC: the issue that split us was, in fact, mission candidacy. Northern Baptists passed a measure through the Triennial convention to exclude slave-holding Baptist from missionary appointment. Thus, the SBC was begun to send missions candidates who were excluded.

Don't kid yourselves: in the SBC, missionary candidates and appointments are exactly the essence of cooperation. As soon as a church believes that none, or very few, of its members would pass muster based on doctrine, they will leave. They will find another way to cooperate in missions. After all, if we are to cooperate in sending missionaries, we want to send our own members. If we can't, cooperation is nonexistent.

Don't read me wrong: I don't think churches should leave, or that they are right to do so. I am just saying that it is what will happen. Dissent is a constant reality, but in the SBC, anytime someone is dissenting about missionary appointments they should be listened to, and listened to carefully. Let's not let history repeat itself.

In Christ,
Tim Cook

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

Very, very perceptive.

Wade Burleson said...

Roger,

As usual you are calm, bright and articulate.

All I can say to your comment is this:

Allow if you will, an illustration from war. Someone fires the first shot in a battle. The one shot at must make a decision if he should die quietly or come out firing in order to protect himself against those who would seek to take his life.

I don't like the analogy because it is one of war, but if you substitute the word 'squabble' for battle and "comments' for shots, then you have a little Baptist battle.

Who fired the first shot?

I would propose any policy or agenda that excludes people from missions ministry or SBC leadership -- by establshing doctrinal demands outside the BFM 2000 --- are those who fired the first shot.

I believed, and still do, that if Southern Baptists did not defend the right for fellow conservatives to believe differently in third tier doctrines, then we would die a quiet denominational death.

A squabble at least somebody out there cares about our convention.

Friday, January 05, 2007

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

As for your tierist theory, my Brother, that's your opinion and I should think you possess my express permission to embrace it. Too bad, however, our poor, poor, Baptist ancestors did not know of it. Where we would be now if they did one can only imagine!

As for everyone agreeing on every doctrine, that stands precisely my major compliant about tierism. One man's (or woman's) third may be another man's second. In addition, Mohler himself has warned about using his dandy little analogy he created in such absolutist ways that some in your community here seem to do.

And while I am unsympathetic with our brother Baptist theologue's notion that charismatic phenomenon be addressed in the BF&M, I think this is precisely where this issue is headed if folk such as yourself, Wade, do not cease waxing the floor with it. That's only my opinion, mind you. But it is my opinion.

And, if you think it needs bringing to the floor of the convention, I should say, do so. It will be washed down the same sink as moderation. Majority rules. Remember.

Now, as for my heritage as an SB, I'm unsure what that has to do with any position I've taken or point I've attempted to make. But to answer your question--no, I haven't been an SBCer than long. At least, relatively speaking to what perhaps you or others here have. My SB days began in 1977.

Prior to that, my denomination was the kingdom of Hell. I was ordained in an SBC church in 1981, and began pastoring SBC churches. So admittedly my short days as an SBCer no doubt skew my total understanding on actually how the SBC & CP works.

Consequently, my deepest apologies to all those on this thread: because I have been a SB only since 1977 and, even though I've never been a member of any Church other than an SBC one, please note that anything I suggest must be seen as skewed in that light. I'm so sorry I've confused the SBC with the Vatican.

Peace once again. With that, I am...

Peter

Debbie said...

To put the article that Roger Simpson spoke of in the Baptist Press in it's proper context here is the link.

www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=24709

Wade Burleson said...

Peter Lumpkin,

You say, "As for your tierist theory, my Brother, that's your opinion and I should think you possess my express permission to embrace it. Too bad, however, our poor, poor, Baptist ancestors did not know of it"

Hmm.

Are you familiar with Gill's close friendship with Augustus Toplady, to the point the Anglicans and Baptists of their respective congregations shared communion because they "wished not to allow disagreements over secondary doctrines to interfere with sweet communion of Christian brothers"?

Are you familiar with John Bunyan, and his view that to separate in Christian fellowship and cooperation of minor doctrines was 'sinful' and contrary to the spirit of Christ?

Are you familiar with Benjamin Keach, whose hymnwriting spread far and wide, much beyond the Baptist walls of 18th Century Enland, and led to a revival of evangelical cooperation among many Christians in his day?

Are you familiar with the Baptists of the 1680's, who for the sake of evangelical cooperation rewrote their 1644 London Confession of Faith, taking words straight from the Presbyterian Westminster Confession, and produced the 1689 London Confession of Faith to 'more closely identify with our brothers in Christ' and to display a unity and cooperation on the essentials of the gospel, minimizing the differences in secondary doctrines?

Which other 'poor, poor Baptists ancestor' would you like for me to remind you of?

Peter, your tone is a little different than your usual kind, peace loving tone.

But, each of us has our days, right?

:)

craig from Georgia said...

The problem with the authors mentioned (Yarnell, Caner, Storms and Cross)is they try to "use" Scripture to support their views. You don't use scripture to support your theology. Scripture dictates to us correct theology. This is done by studying a passage, chapter, or chapters, verse-by-verse, studying the context, and comparing scripture with scripture. None of the above men did this. You can skip around divorcing verses from their context and prove all kinds of things. The question is do you, your church, or your denomination really hold to the final authority of scripture or is it something you use to support your views or theology. There's a big difference. It can mean the difference between apostasy or revival.

"WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?"

We are told to earnestly contend for the faith. The faith referenced in Jude 3 is the body of truths revealed to the church through the Scripture. We are not told to categorize truths into various tiers and then intensely defend category 1 truths and lightly defend category 3 truths. Contending for the faith is just as much a command as winning the lost because without the faith you have nothing to offer the lost.

I'm not going to discuss PPL because it has been hashed over so much already and no one has yet through a thorough expositon of Scripture found any support for it.

Wade Burleson said...

Craig,

Thanks for your non-contribution on the subject.

:)

johnthebaptist2007 said...

Wade and Baptist Theologue - thanks for your views on this topic. I really enjoy considering both sides of this issue and remain open to modifying my beliefs/opinions as needed. As a layman, I am unable to add anything substantive to the arguments of course, except give you the perception of the "average joe in the pew." Like Alycelee, I agree this post makes Wade's point of cooperation as well as any he has written. However, after reading Baptist Theologue, his view is even more convincing. So on one hand, I agree with Wade by concluding "it makes NO difference." But then, someone who knows more than I, and thinks about it more than I, and studies it more than I, is able to clearly point out why it DOES make a difference. BT also makes sense in his reply to David's question by answering D and giving an explanation. I was thinking of answering B, since the missionaries are being well taken care of and can continue their work while those back at IMB offices debate this stuff. However, BT's logic makes sense. In other words, I would agree with Wade that David should never be forced to leave, or be kept from going. However, as I posted on one of David's blogs long ago. If he some day finds himself at odds with what the "home office" is dictating to him, he would probably voluntarily leave before anyone ever asked him to. (Not speaking for him of course.)

I do know that I am a Baptist because they do not rely on these "experiences" so much and my faith is based more on the scripture and faith than on experiences. For example, I know for a fact that God is both willing and able to heal everyone. However, I also know that all are not healed, and all that have been will again become sick and all eventually will die anyway. I certainly don't believe a man can schedule healings for TV or revival purposes. Some have accused me of not having faith because of this. The same people told me I don't have faith because I have not experienced tongues also.

What difference does it make? It makes a difference because so many feel so strongly about it. If there were two mission sending agencies, one all Florida Gators and one all FSU Seminoles, and right or wrong, I could just not work along side the FSU fans on the field, than the administrators would have to make sure no FSU fans were sent since our cooperation would not be possible. Even if we tried, we would end up arguing and fighting about it. And if I later realized I actually rooted for FSU, I would think I would make the change over to their agency rather than try and convince the Gators that sent me to change. :)

Wade Burleson said...

johnjaxthebaptist,

If Baptist Theologue's view represents the ultimate end of where we are heading, then so be it --- the SBC will not survive.

I do not believe his view will win in the end.

Cooperation among people with varying beliefs on secondary doctrinal issues is what makes our convention tick.

It it will keep on ticking long after we are gone.

Pastor Brad said...

Wade,
To briefly answer your question to me regarding the gift of interpretation, I reiterate that, if tongues of any sort (private or otherwise- as there is no mention of them ever being private), is the supernatural gifting to speak a known language, not known by the gifted individual, for the purpose of carrying out the Great Commission (Acts 2), and gifts are not for the edification of the individual, but of the church (1 Cor 14), then the gift of interpretation is a separate gift whereby those who do not speak the language being "tongued" may understand and be edified. That understanding has far stronger legs biblically than unintelligible utterances.
Would you please answer my question regarding the persistent attitude to paint current leadership as oligarchical, rather than representatives acting under the authority of autonomous churches?

Pastor Brad said...

Wade,
I believe a reading of 1 Cor 12-14 will tell you that Paul thought a proper understanding of tongues made a difference.
If the SBC is to survive and grow through a weak stance on solid, historic interpretation, then I agree with David's dad when he said, "We don't have to get along. The SBC doesn't have to exist."

Wade Burleson said...

Pastor Brad,

To 'interpret' a known language is a skill, not a gift.

The Apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 14:2 - 4 For he who speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to men, but to God: For no man understands him. But in the spirit, he speaks mysteries. He who speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself. .

Three questions Pastor Brad.

(1). What language does God speak? French, German, Dutch, etc . . Since 'tongues' is always a known language (according to you), what language does a man speak to God?

(2). Why does a man need God to gift the interpretion of a 'known language?' No gift is needed. Just learning - pure and simple. If you learn German, you understand it.

(3). Language is a tool of communication between men, but Paul says a man who prays in 'an unknown tongue' is praying to God, therefore, why do you insist on attaching the phrase 'known language' to the Biblical phrase 'unknown language' and thereby twisting the very words of Scripture?

As far as your question to me, I cannot answer what others are thinking or saying about an 'oligarchy' of power. Let them speak for themselves. I speak for me.

Wade Burleson said...

Seriously Pastor Brad,

No hermanuetical gymnastics.

Just answer the straightforward questions about the inerrant, infallible, all sufficient Word of God.

You are an inerrantist, yes?

:)

kevin peacock said...

Please forgive this extended quote from an excellent text, Klein, Blomberg, and Hubbard's "Introduction to Biblical Interpretation," (revised edition). They state,

"Biblical interpretation cannot remain at the what-it-means-to-me level. Correct interpretation of the author's intended meaning in the text must always be our goal.

"But once we have eliminated erroneous interpretations, what do we do when sincere believers adopt different or, in some cases, opposite explanations of the meaning of the same text? Here Christian grace must prevail. We must listen to each other and appreciate the way others have arrived at alternative explanations. Consider [again] the millennial example. One of the views may be more historically defensible; it may express the historical sense of the relevant texts. But all views are certainly acceptable within their respective interpretive communities and within the shared interpretive community of historic orthodox Christianity. The communities could make their claims that their views meet the four criteria for valid interpretation [i.e. (1) conforms to orthodox Christian theology, (2) corresponds to typical paradigms of God's truth or activity in scripture, (3) produces godliness and advances God's kingdom, (4) confirmed along the full spectrum of Christians with an orthodox Christian faith (see p. 206)]. That being the case, and given our mandate to maintain and promote the unity of the body of Christ, when alternative interpretations (or perlocutions) meet the requisite criteria, Christians should agree to avoid using such 'interpretation' of texts to divide fellowship. Sadly, some Christian sects make an industry out of defining themselves by whom they are against and by separating from everyone else who does not agree with them. Beyond simple arrogance, as the history of interpretation shows, separating from other members of Christ's Church over these kinds of disputed texts causes great damage. . ."

"One may say, 'I don't agree with your conclusions, but in light of who you are and your community of faith, in light of how these biblical texts have been interpreted throughout history, and in light of the diligence and care with which you attempt to understand and live in conformity to the Bible's teachings, I concede your interpretation. You have responded to the Bible in a valid manner.'

"Certainly this is preferable to accusing our brothers and sisters of shoddy work (at best) or dishonesty or heresy (at worst), and separating from them as if they were enemies. We ought to exert every effort to keep in line with Jesus' words: 'Whoever is not against us is for us' (Mk 9:39), not to mention his prayer: 'May [those who believe in me] be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me' (Jn 17:23). If the cliche 'Blood is thicker than water' has any validity, then even more valid is the truth that 'Faith is thicker than either blood or water!' The landscape of Christian history exhibits the tragic evidence of Christian brothers and sisters damaging each other and the cause of Christ over their preferred interpretations of the Bible. Hear us well: our plea is not to condone heresy, error, or harmful teaching in the guise of Christian toleration; rather, we plead for humility and the grace to treat other Christians as siblings and fellow-seekers for God's truth. Where sincere Christians come to two different interpretations on nonessentials of the faith, we must allow that both options are possible (as outlined above), 'agree to disagree,' and support each other as brothers and sisters in the life of faith." (pp. 208-9).

I hope this helps.

Alycelee said...

Here we go again, debating tongues.
Let's line up sides.
Two lines please...

Those who do, along side with those who don't care that they do, along with those who think God can do whatever He says and wants to do.

The other line, those who don't, say others can't, and are convinced that the scriptures forbid speaking in tongues "publicly OR privately" and are bent on "teaching" everyone who lines on the other side how their view is either "unscriptural" or worse in the case of those who actually possessing a PPL, "demonic."

Where does that leave us?

Once again, for the 100th time, tongues is not the issue.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

Quoting Baptist Theologue:

"These phenomena have become a major issue in Southern Baptist life, and a clear statement needs to be made by those representing the majority of Southern Baptists. "

Why have they become a major issue? Because THEY caused problems in the work? Or is it because certain people took it upon themselves to change the "Baptist View" on the matters, and move to change some rules, to solve non-existant problems?

Preposterous!

I've had enough. I'm going to post on this, at Eagles' Rest.

Unless somebody pulls out in traffic in front of me on my way home, and lets me vent my spleen there.

Alycelee said...

Kevin, AMEN,
Bob, I'm coming too!

Tim Sweatman said...

Tongues/PPL is not the issue. Baptism is not the issue. Alcohol is not the issue. I'm even beginning to think that cooperation is not the real issue. After reading some of the comments here and on a few other blogs, I would say that THE issue is pride.

I am amazed, shocked, and saddened at how many people are willing to make absolute and dogmatic statements that Scripture itself never does. If you truly believe that the Bible does not teach that tongues or PPL is valid, that's OK with me. Feel free to express your view and to try to persuade others to embrace it. However, in the absence of any biblical statement to that effect (and no one has shown me one yet), do NOT try to claim that your view is the ONLY one that is biblical. Do NOT try to marginalize brothers and sisters who hold to another view. Do NOT fall into the trap of believing that your interpretation is infallible and that anyone who disagrees with you is less mature or even less of a Christian than you. I guarantee that when we get to heaven all of us are going to learn that we were wrong about some point of doctrine. I would hate to think that my stubborn insistence that others subscribe to a certain view on an unclear matter hindered the cause of evangelism and missions.

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

As for my tone, to my knowledge, it is the same as it's been since my first comment--indeed, I know it is, for I have in front of me a fresh cup of Batdorf & Bronson's, Seattle Espresso roast, a superb display of the finest roasted beans money can buy. Platonically speaking, Heaven's plantation surely is its Ideal form. Enough of that...

My oh my, Wade. Because one presses an issue, which I feel I'm doing now, one becomes, in your words, "different than your usual kind, peace loving tone."? I do appreciate your warm observation of my past composure, my brother, but sit glass-eyed as to precisely that to which you refer now.

I recall all my posts on this thread but I do not recall them being unkind nor lacking "peace-loving" tendencies. Perhaps a bit of self-directed sarcasm I employed exposing the folly of my lack of SBC understanding collided with your purposes, Wade. For that, I do apologize, and repent in double sackcloth and triple ashes.

As for your splendid rehersal of the three historical examples, I do not dispute them but embrace them. Perhaps, I could even use them against your own view, Wade, but nothing could be served in doing so.

It still remains to be demonstrated how such a simplictic policy of: a) one believes the Bible and bases his/her theological position (whatever it is) on such and b) the position one holds is consistent with the BF&M, may, after all, actually be implemented.

I gave you a perfect example--"Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues" as a case in point, which, given your criteria, would necessarily not be off limits. You dissed it as merely "hypothetical" and ran swiftly for cover, arguing as you ran "We'll deal with that when it comes up!" Well...O.K.

Not to mention, of course, the analogy of hiring church staff which I offered that surely demands much more than the simplictic judgement that the candidate proposed agrees substantially with the Church's theological position and bases all their beliefs on the Bible.

I'd like to be in on an a meeting at your Church, Wade, if you argued such to your Leadership Team as the only criteria needed to call your next Associate Pastor of Missions, or as the prospective young Pastor of a New Church start you guys perhaps were planting. For some reason, I feel so much more you'd insist was needed that fits neither qualification you gave above. Heck, the qualities you seek, Wade--and rightly so, I might add-- may not even be in the Bible!

As I said, if your community desires that ALL POLICIES & PROCEDURES--including every doctrinal yes/no OF APPOINTMENTS to SBC AGENCIES for VOCATIONAL EMPLOYEES--especially those in roles that reflect and/or perpetuate our theological/denominational heritage --be up for grabs, then bring it to the floor of the Convention. My guess is, most of us realize precisely what would happen. And, what would happen would be anything but healthy for our furture as SBs.

But, I may be wrong. It is only my opinion. But it IS my opinion.

Peace, Wade. With that, I am...

Peter

Wade Burleson said...

Kevin Peacock and Tim Sweatman . . .

Two apples for the best comments of the day.

Kudos.

Wade Burleson said...

Bob,

Don't committ harey carey!!

You are too valuable to me and the SBC!

Go into your closet, wrap all your coats around you really tight -- and scream to your heart's content.

It does me a world of good!

:)

Pastor Brad said...

Seriously Wade,
I think you are intentionally misinterpreting what I said.
1 Corinthians 14:2 2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.
1 Corinthians 14:22-23 22 So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers. 23 Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?
Two possibilities here: (1) Paul is contradicting himself – at one point he says tongues are speaking to God, and then 20 verses later says they are directed at unbelievers – how can both be true since he says that unbelievers will think you crazy; or (2) he is discussing the pagan practice of ecstatic utterances that came into the church and then comparing them with the Christian gift of tongues to correct their poor theology. My preference is to believe the latter. If we strip away all the personal experiences from the discussion and just read the Bible, you would be forced to read his comments in light of tongues in Acts 2. I don’t think that is “hermeneutical gymnastics” unless “hermaneutical gymnastics” is something else.

As I see I was not clear enough in relaying my understanding of the gift of interpretation the first time, let me give an example: Some poor lost soul just off the boat from Korea enters Emmanuel of Enid,OK this Sunday and doesn’t know one word of English. Suddenly, in the middle of your sermon, God gives you the gift of tongues (ala Acts 2) and you begin to share the gospel with them in Korean (assuming you don’t yet know Korean). God may not want your congregation to say “He’s drunk!” (also see Acts 2) if no one else there knows Korean, so he might give someone else the gift of interpretation, assuming they don’t also have the skill of that language, so that everyone else can understand and don’t think you out of your minds (1 Cor 14:24). However, as little is said of the Gift of Interpretations, I confess that I see one other possibility, that it could be intended for the one who does not have the skill of a language, so that he might be able to converse with the poor lost soul.

Or I could take the approach of others and say that when Paul says,
1 Corinthians 14:2828 but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.
that Paul is saying to speak to yourself and to God means that I speak to myself a tongue that I don’t understand and to God a tongue he does understand. Paul corrects this fallacious understanding in 1 Cor 14:14-15. I would also have to assume that God told me very little and not very clearly about something I would think he would want me to know how to do – talk to God in God’s language!

So let me answer your seemingly condescending questions, my brother:
(1) All
(2) Answered previously
(3) I don’t attach that meaning, the usage of the Greek word does.
(4) I am an innerrantist - and I endeavor to be sound expositor as well.

Wade Burleson said...

Peter,

I am not arguing against policies and procedures that are not based on Scripture.

We have a weight requirement for missionaries.

We have a health requirment for missionaries.

We have other policies that are not based on Scripture.

BUT . . . here it comes . . .

When you base a policy upon a 'DOCTRINAL' interpretation (key word 'DOCTRINAL') OF SCRIPTURE that is NOT addressed in the BFM 2000, and it is a secondary doctrine that Southern Baptists disagree over (of course there will always be a 'majority view' but we don't cooperate by 'majority'), and by fiat, exlude people from participation in cooperative missions ministry who DO NOT AGREE, then, "Houston, we have a problem."

Your old spirit is back! Welcome back Peter!

:)

johnthebaptist2007 said...

Wade - you wrote: "If Baptist Theologue's view represents the ultimate end of where we are heading, then so be it --- the SBC will not survive."

I must have missed something. I want the SBC to survive. Who knows, I may represent the minority of baptist lay people, but I just think his statement makes sense:

BT wrote: If I reached the conclusion that ecstatic utterances are bibilical and for today, I would wonder why I and others in my family had not experienced them, and I would leave the SBC and join a group where I might receive more encouragement in doing so. It seems that very few Southern Baptists experience this gift that supposedly is still in existence, so it would be logical for someone that believes it is still in existence to go elsewhere rather than trying to change the belief system of an entire denomination."

In any event, I will keep an open mind and keep reading and learning. I appreciate your blog that allows me to interact with you and others that I otherwise would have no access to outside of your prepared sermons. For that I am grateful! :)

Wade Burleson said...

Alycelee,

You are correct.

It is NOT about tongues -- it is about cooperation with those who disagree about tongues.

But when I hear a cessationist make such a claim that all 'tongues' are 'known' languages --- an expect every Southern Baptist to agree as if there can be NO other view, then I just can't help myself --- I must loop the rope of Scripture around their necks.

:)

Wade Burleson said...

johnjax,

I believe you would absolutely be shocked at how many Southern Baptists would leave the convention if it was stated in an official fashion that those who possess a private prayer language are not welcome in the SBC.

I pray that does not happen.

Pastor Brad said...

Alyce and Bob,
As for myself, I agree wholeheartedly that tongues is not the issue. Solid biblical exegesis is. Predestination is a topic that requires humility in one's view. Tribulational views require some humility. Tongues on the other hand has a clear example given in Acts 2 for us to use to understand the less clear passage in 1 Cor 14. A basic rule of hermeneutics - interpret the less clear passages in light of the more clear passages.

Tim Cook said...

Just an observation about this whole disagreement: can you feel the absolute fear of not knowing something about the Bible for sure? What if we just said "To God be the Glory! Tongues or not!" and got back to growing our churches? Or better yet, planting new ones? I am all for the study of the word and the seeking after answers...but seriously, let's all take a dose of humility. I confess here publicly, for all in the Blog world, that despite exhaustive study, papers written, prayers offered, and first-hand experience of both positions, I do not have a clear and definitive knowledge of what the gift of tongues is. In my ignorance, I must trust in God's Grace. Just a few comments above, a man much more learned than I conceded that there were at least a couple of interpretations of a particular scripture in 1 Corinthians. He then proceded to pick the one that he liked better. Friends, if that is all the certainty that we can muster, that should be proof enough that it is a topic that we should not seperate over or restrict too harshly. It simply won't be settled this side of heaven without a sovereign move of God. I am interested in this discussion, vitally so in fact, but even I am tired of the arguing and debating...and I love to debate. I was serious in my last post: this issue could send the SBC for a split. Just when I have recently found a denominational home, it threatens to be divided. Ah well, God's in charge...I will continue to pray for a speedy resolution to this latest baptist battle.

In Christ,
Tim Cook

Tim Cook said...

I posted before pastor Brad's last comment, and felt I needed to clarify. I feel an equally strong rule, and one that works just as well, is to use didactic passages to interpret historical passages. Acts simply says what happened - it offers no instructions. Unless you also require a rushing wind and tongues of fire when the gift is used, it might not be the best example for what is considered normative.

Alycelee said...

I agree, cessationist may have once spoken for the majority of SB churches. I doubt that is now the case.

In 1975 my husband and I were called on the carpet by the pastor and deacons for saying to the youth group that "tongues" were not of the devil. My husband felt obliged to do so, only when one of the youth asked about it the the other adult supervisor said it was "from the devil." My husbands responce was, "That is not true," and promptly stopped that line of questioning, referring them to their parents. For that, we were rebuked and put on a short leash. Keep in mind, neither of us spoke in tongues. This is what I see as the ultimate in "spooky fundamentalist"

Today, that church, then 450 strong, has 25 people left, have been through and fired 7 or 8 pastors.
People do more than leave the SBC, the spirit of God does too.

Quenching the Spirit is serious business to God.
Attributing the things of God to the enemy is also serious and in this case, deadly.

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

That comment of your's is smoking hot!! You pulled that one out of the oven at just the right time. You must be a good 'cook.'

:)

Wade Burleson said...

Pastor Brad,

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

I'm waiting for your answers.

:)

Wade Burleson said...

Good wordy Alyce!

Pastor Brad said...

Brother Wade,
You must have missed my answers, as I have posted them.
You are beginning to throw around that cessationist label as often as the spooky fundamentalist label. I am not a cessationist, as I stated.
May we both have scripture looped around our necks that we may be bound to it.

Alyce Lee,
I think you would find SB support ppl about as much as they did moderation in 2006.

Tim,
I think 1 Cor 14 speaks clearly enough, as I illustrated above. I do require tongues of fire and a rushing wind ;). You know us unenlightened "cessationists".
Indeed, imagine a situation where a denomination cannot teach many things with certainty for fear of isolating others.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

Fear not. I writ me a post over at Eagles' Rest and I'm all better.

I have to go now. My keeper is taking away my keyboard and kicking me out of the rubber room.

peter lumpkins said...

Wade,

My inner world is slow dad-blasted sluggish, that, if it HAD left me, I assure, it would not have returned until late next week, perhaps Sat. around 3:17p.m. Ask my wife of 34 years; she'll confirm that...

Thank you, Wade, for confirming precisely my point that took me 5 long tomes to glean it.

A) Other Criteria exists than simply doctrinal issues. BUT, even then, doctrinal overlay takes place which calls for the indepth process.

B) You state "When you base a policy upon a 'DOCTRINAL' interpretation...OF SCRIPTURE that is NOT addressed in the BFM 2000, and it is a secondary doctrine that Southern Baptists disagree over...and by fiat, exlude people from participation in cooperative missions ministry who DO NOT AGREE...we have a problem." Avoided once again, Wade--legitimate, biblically based interpretations that do not collide with the BF&M2k--namely, "the baptism in the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in other tongues." Why not accept folk who hold this view? Can you discriminate against them based upon your criteria?

The answer, from my view, must be in the negative. As would say, true Landmarkian ecclesiology. If SBs in our SB desire to hold such a view of the church, I cannot complain as long as: a) they do not wish to wash our SBC of all nonLandmarkism, or B) they are appointed as missionaries.

Personally, I do not think Landmarkian views would work too well on the foreign field, do you?
And even if they did work well, I'm not sure, Wade, I'd desire the antaganist relationship such a missionary would surely create with other evangelicals working in the same area. Evem so, Landmarks, ought rightfully to be appointed as missionaries according to the criteria offered here.

I believe at least a soft case for Wesleyan holiness could likewise be argued and defended from the duo criteria you employ, Wade: a) it's argued from scripture b) only by stretching to fit Article IVc. under Salvation in the BFM2K could the doctrine be deemed "inappropriate," thus disqualifying a candidate.

For me, this entire discussion is rapidly bleeding out to this: if the criteria and implementations you guys seem to be advocating were indeed the standard, the consequent would, in the end, it seems to me, blot out a distinctive Baptist identity in our world. We would be so fuzzy, so indisinguishable from any other evangelical organization, one could rightly ask: "Whatever Became of those distinct Christian people known as Batpists?

I trust your afternoon well. With that, I am...

Peter

Alycelee said...

Pastor Brad, do they even speak English in NY?
(just kidding)

Tim Cook said...

Pastor Brad,

We can, of course, know certain things for sure. You seem to indicate that there are some things we can't know for sure, though, like predestination. At least, if we do know for sure, we should concede that it is complicated and we may be wrong. I assure you, I am no pentecostal, but I did attend a Charismatic-influenced church for many years. I was baptized there. my parents are members there. i can also say, with a bit of certainty, that they are not stupid. They do not allow tongues without an interpreter. It is not all chaos and healings and such. I have heard numerous explanations of the gift of tongues, and I promise it is not as simple as all that. Maybe I am the one that is unenlightened, but I know only 3 things for sure about tongues: 1) some kind of tongues happened at Pentecost, 2) some kind of tongues was used regularly as a part of worship in Corinth and by Paul, and 3) the only explicit command we have in scripture regarding tongues is not to forbid it. I may be the "unenlightened" one, like I said, but that leaves me short on certainty, long on mysterious wonder at the gifts of God, and with a large amount of humility at my lack of understanding. I think we should collectively release our need to control the things of God and work together for the kingdom.

Peter,
If Baptists were to disappear, never to be seen again...what of it? Would the kingdom disappear? As long as Baptists disappear becuase the Church of God, committed to the innerancy of scripture and reaching the lost, eclipsed them, I am fine with that. more than fine, I pray for it. There won't be an SBC in heaven. Like all other temporary things, it will pass away. At God's pleasure and will, of course, and with His timing.

hmmm...yeah. I am definitely fine with that.

In Christ,
Tim Cook

PS I am off for the rest of the day. The discussion has been good. God Bless

Alycelee said...

Tim, I'm glad you said that :)

Why are we to be "so disinguishable?" Because our doctrine is so far superior than every other "evangelical organization"? This is the ultimate of pride and perhaps too many SBC'ers believe just that.

Tim has it right. The kingdom is coming. The kingdom! It has with it ALL God's people, all colors, all creeds, all denominations, ALL He has called into that kingdom.
Frank Page got it right, again.

Pastor Brad said...

Tim,
I realize that labels have become bad in our day. If you think the existence of Baptists an unfortunate fact, then look to groups that only identify themselves as "Evangelical" like the ETS. Open Theism is the debate, not Calvinism. Homosexuality, not moderation.
I am not a Landmarker, lest anyone start labeling me further, but I am thankful to God for the existence of Baptists, and am one because I believe they are faithful to the Word like no other group.
I have visited in many Charismatic churches, and I have not seen the same reliance on the scripture. I have yet to see an interpreter of any sort. I have yet to see one where they speak one at a time. Such may exist, but I must think them not the norm. By the way, my family comes from an AoG background, and I had, among others, a dear sweet grandmother who prayed in tongues. I do not think her insincere, but simply incorrect in this area.

Geoff Baggett said...

Wade,

First, I want to apologize for the length of this response. I’ve been saving up.

I’ve stayed out of this conversation all day. It’s been interesting to watch. I think you know where I stand on “private prayer languages” based upon my recent posts on my blog and your recent comment (or question) there. I, personally, have serious theological reservations regarding the practice of “private prayer languages.” I think that I have expressed very clearly how I have developed that view in my study of God’s Word. But, I’m one of those guys who’s not mad about the whole thing. My new friend, David Rogers, and I have very differing views, and we have been able to discuss those views at great length without getting into all of the name-calling, sarcasm, and apparent intellectual elitism that I detect whenever I wander into this verbal venue.

I know that I will probably be the recipient of some of the more popular monikers (I’m sort of getting used to being called “spooky,” “troubling,” and a “cause for concern.”) But I think I’ll just weigh in anyway.

A couple of points:

I think that there is much credence in the argument put forth earlier in the thread (I can’t remember who said it) that the issue over missionaries is more an issue of “employer/employee” rather than “cooperation.” However, it is a bit more complex than that. Actually, I think that most Southern Baptists see the role of a commissioned SBC missionary as that of an “ambassador.” It may be an incorrect view to hold, I don’t know. But it is the common perception. We see our IMB missionaries as our “representatives,” or “ambassadors,” on the international mission field. After all, we are paying their support. In a way, they do work for us (though not really). Baptist “cooperation” is the mechanism that we have chosen to fund their endeavors.

The simple reality in any cooperative endeavor is that the work must, often times, be “accommodated” to fit the convictions of everyone involved. In some circles, we might even say that you have to “dumb down” something so that everyone involved (i.e. “writing the checks”) will be comfortable with it. That is why, I believe, that churches should plant new churches … not associations or state conventions … because the methodology must invariably be “dumbed down” to fit the convictions of the most methodologically conservative (“stuck in the mud”) contributor.

That is what this issue is truly about. It is not about cooperation. It’s not about “Baptist freedom.” It’s not even, really, about “tongues.” It is about ambassadorship.

Unlike Alycelee, I believe that there are many, many (dare I say the vast majority of) Southern Baptists who vigorously oppose, or at least seriously question, the practice of glossolalia in any form, be it in public or in private. You said, “I believe you would absolutely be shocked at how many Southern Baptists would leave the convention if it was stated in an official fashion that those who possess a private prayer language are not welcome in the SBC.” Of course, no one is suggesting such a move, as far as I know. That is more than a bit off subject. But I submit that this vast majority of Southern Baptists will be unable to set aside their deeply-help convictions and support missionary “ambassadors,” chosen to represent them on the mission field, and paid with their Cooperative Program dollars, who adhere to a practice (glossolalia) about which they hold such deep reservations.

The reality, I believe, is somewhat in reverse of the one that you suggested. The moment that someone makes the decision to send SBC missionary representatives to the field, knowing that they are active practitioners of glossolalia (even in private), there will be an instantaneous disappearance of CP dollars. The big “sucking” sound. The money will be cut off. I’m not wishing it … I’m certainly not calling for it. My church will, most likely, not react that way. I’m just saying that it will, most likely, most definitely, happen.

On the other hand, I (and probably a majority of Southern Baptists) stand with you in our opposition to the ill-conceived policies on baptism passed by the IMB trustees. Yesterday, I stated my opposition publicly on my blog in my latest post. I sincerely believe that those of us who desire “reform” in the SBC should be focusing on this issue. It can be changed. It will be changed. But I truly feel that PPL is a “no-win” issue in overall SBC life. It is, literally, “playing into the hands” of those who desire the “status quo.” It is “playing on their court.” As long as the “status quo” folks are able to label us as the guys who want to go out “drinking” and “speaking in tongues,” the people in most of the pulpits and pews are not going to listen. We desperately need to change this subject.

Pastor Brad said...

Wade,
I offered a great amount of scripture, which you have not nor have you replied to mine. Perhaps you have just become accustomed to overlooking it.

:)
(I realize now that to be irenic requires I end my statements with a smiley)

Wade Burleson said...

Peter,

Read the BFM 2000 again.

I quote from Article II C: "At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service

The comparison with the Pentecostal teaching of tongues being evidence of the Spirit's presence, and mandatory for the indwelling of Holy Spirit is on a DIFFERENT TIER! That teaching is contradicted by the BFM 2000. Private prayer language is not.

So, Peter, you are chasing Peter rabbits - again.

:)

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Tim,

Glad you left me a little fingerprint, my Brother Tim. I can only pray that your disposition stands indicative not in the least of this community here. Woe to us all if that foreshadows our future SBC leadership.

Peace, Tim. With that, I am...

Peter

Wade Burleson said...

Pastor Brad,

Smiley's don't hurt at all as long as you mean them.

And I do.

:)

Wade Burleson said...

Geoff,

Believe it or not, I do not disagree with most of your post --- but adamantly with one major point.

The baptism policy will change by modification if not full reversal -- for the only thing added was the adminstrator of baptism to an already well written policy.

The private prayer language was a total addition --- in the past if a person spoke in tongues in their private prayer lives they were told not to do it in public.

There is no evidence of a problem on the field with this issue. Anyone who violated the policy of the IMB and spoke in tongues publicy was either disciplined or terminated.

Here is where I disagree: You say, "The moment that someone makes the decision to send SBC missionary representatives to the field, knowing that they are active practitioners of glossolalia (even in private), there will be an instantaneous disappearance of CP dollars. The big “sucking” sound. The money will be cut off."

You are dead wrong.

The two greatest missionaries Southern Baptists have ever produced have prayed in tongues -- Miss Bertha Smith and Dr. Jerry Rankin.

Last year we set records in giving to the IMB and Lottie Moon, and every Southern Baptist I know doesn't give a flip about Jerry's private prayer life -- except a small handful.

Wade Burleson said...

I am off to watch my son's basketball game for Homecoming at Enid High. I will not be in until late tonight. Let's all be civil while I am gone.

:)

Alycelee said...

Geoff and Brad have both indicated that the "vast majority" of southern Baptist would vigorously oppose, or at least seriously question, the practice of glossolalia in any form, be it in public or in private. Where do you get these stats? From the feeling of your local church? Interaction with other local pastors? The powers that be in your convention? Year before last, at our local convention, a well-known pastor spoke to the delegates and said, "this isn't your grandpa's convention anymore"-I think he is right.

Where would this vote turn out? Beats me.
I really hope it doesn't come to that, but it seems to me that Jesus is the one who drawing the line in the sand-and it was always the "religious ones" on the other side of it. God help us step over that line and be on HIS side. Isn't that where we all want to be?

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Wade,
After reading through this discussion today, I ask the simple yet obviously huge question:

Who will decide the breakdown of the tiers?

To me, as I stated weeks ago, the issue over baptism will be resolved with little trouble. However, when you dive into PULP or PPL, or what ever it gets called, the debate will get serious. There are many who will claim it a priority on bith sides. So who will decide????

By the way, though maybe 1 or 2 may want people to leave the convention, I really feel that just because someone says they disagree does not mean they want that person to leave. I keep reading it here and it is not true and very much a "scare tactic" from one side. A number of people have said this today and I think they are right!

Bryan Riley said...

I remember something about the Israelites crying for a king because everyone else had one. God gave it to them even though it wasn't His best for them. I wonder if the way we chase things as a convention isn't something like that. Wouldn't it be amazing if we just followed God's word?

Anonymous said...

It is hilarious to me that now some of those who Marty has monikered as Tories are asking the question who would decide the tiers... That is the very question that has concerned those who are for reform for a very long time... it is part of the reason why we should quibble over less and be mostly concerned about Jesus and who He is for us and who He is for the world than anything else.

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

Actually, there's hardly a reason to chase rabbits here, my Brother. There is too much deal with that is clear--like our good Brother Tim's despondent hope that SBCers might just go away. Oh, me...

Again, Wade, you seem to misunderstand the classical Pentecostal doctrine. For them, Tongues is the initial physical evidence of the baptism of power, which is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth. It definitively IS NOT about the Spirit's initial work in the life of the Believer.

The only contradiction that exists is unfortunately the one for which you desparately are searching to find. But, that's what you accuse cessationsits of, is it not?

Again, even if your view happens to survive the "baptism of the Spirit," you must now contend with a host of other alleged compatible doctrines that are not historically found in SBC life yet nevertheless are present in other solid evangelical Church groups to which, by the way, you must find "find" contradictions--a lifetime pursuit, I can only assume.

It seems a more Baptistic approach may be to argue that some policies and criteria we employ may after all be, at least in part, based on our theological heritage as Southern Baptists. But, of course, if you do so, your stated and well argued position is, as good old Francis Schaeffer once said, planted with two feet firmly in mid-air.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Dear Anonymous,

I do not ask the question out of fear. I ask the question as an honest valid issue in this discussion. I may not believe as some, but I think both sides want to know who will decide what God is saying when both sides are theological in their approach.

The question of who will decide the tiers is very valid. It is the hidden unknown in how any of this will be decided in the SBC. There is no process nor is there a precedence for this outside of the BF&M and yet look at the controversary over it.

The SBC is not simple - it is very complicated when you try to settle a doctrinal issue. Then try to put the doctine in tiers and watch what will happen.

No politics here - just sound practical application!

Tim Guthrie

Rob Ayers said...

Geoff,

The answer to this delimna may be the previous IMB policies, which for a better term was as follows:

Don't ask - Don't tell.

As far as I can see (I concede I have little evidence from here or there) that the previous policies worked very well to eliminate Charismatic practice in the field, while allowing a personal, private, practice to go forward unheeded. Dr. Yarnell advocates action in the "theological scandal" in connection to the President of the IMB (just sounds like looking for bogey men to me), yet for how long have Southern Baptists known that Jerry Rankin has a PPL? Answer: the astute have known since his installment.

Wade,

I too lend my voice (as you already know) to the need to focus on the Baptismal policies as the weakest link of the armor on the "status quo" folks. I too have refrained from using "battlefield" terminology - but since you have opened up, let me use some as you appointed me "chief strategist:"

The Germans did not invade France by hitting the Maginot Line - it was well fortified and dug in. They waited till spring, and then went around it - the weakness was at the ends, not in the middle.

What does matter in this debate that at the end of it we can say that our brothers have heard our concerns. I do not believe we can accomplish the goal by fighting on this field.

If you consider the philosophy behind it, consider the dialectic as my response.

May God give you grace my brother,

Rob Ayers

Alycelee said...

My Dear Peter,
I don't think anyone here is talking about "classical penecostal doctrine"
Neither are some here interested in a more "baptistic approach"
Perhaps some are talking about laying down both for the sake of unity and cooperation? Would that be permissable according to the scriptures?
Agape

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Alycelee,

I do not believe we've met. Greetings and thank you for the reminder that no one here is presently arguing for classical pentecostal doctrine to necessarily be implemented. If I gave that impression, it is was definitively unintended.

The point, however, still stands, unless I missed where our Brother Wade, likened to old Dagon, smashed its head off, that, given the view apparently advocated here, no necessary prohibition exists why, in fact, classic pentecostal doctrine on the baptism of the Holy Spirit with initial physical evidence of speaking in other tongues should not be acceptable. As goes for Landmarkism, and even perhaps a soft weslyen holiness.

And, surely, my sister Alycelee, you do not mean by your statement that "Neither are some here interested in a more "baptistic approach"" similarly to what our Tim provocatively suggested that "If Baptists were to disappear, never to be seen again...what of it?", do you?

Is this particular conception of Baptist heritage the heart of this unsettled community?

If so, I am glad I know that. For frankly, I possessed absolutely no idea that was the case.

Grace tonight, Alycelee, and faith for tomorrow. With that, I am...

Peter

Anonymous said...

My, My, this must keep you very busy and very learned. It must be nice to be so smart. Where in the Bible does it say "remember Timothy there are 3 tiers so don't be argumentative Some will have a PULP but no worry that's third tiered?" Unfortunately I only have what he actually said to Timothy therefore I am uninformed.

Alycelee said...

So now we are introduced Peter :)
I've seen and read you, obviously you have missed me, as well as my earlier post to Tim where I talk about the kingdom-but yes, that is precisely what I'm saying.
I recruit for the kingdom of God. I have no agenda to build a specific number to my church or my denomination. I do believe in making disciples and all that encompasses. I've found it very successful and rewarding to go with no personal agenda and be about God's business.
Agape

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Anonymous,

Wow, was that towards my comment?

This discussion must play out in the practical of the SBC and her operations. The average person sitting in the pew has no clue as to the idea of tiers - so who decides is very valid. Smart? No, just wondering!

Wade Burleson said...

At halftime of the girls game. Taking a quick break to encourage everyone to pray for Dr. Al Mohler. My nurse wife tells me his condition is critical and unless the clots in his lungs dissipate --possibly fatal.

Obviously God can intervene, and we pray for His mercy in this situation.

Read about Dr. Mohler here

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

I believe you ask the important question at this time in the SBC.

I don't have an answer, but your question is very relevant.

Bob Cleveland said...

Peter:

Don't mean to have been reading someone else's mail .. well .. yes I did .. but you said the following:

"The point, however, still stands, unless I missed where our Brother Wade, likened to old Dagon, smashed its head off, that, given the view apparently advocated here, no necessary prohibition exists why, in fact, classic pentecostal doctrine on the baptism of the Holy Spirit with initial physical evidence of speaking in other tongues should not be acceptable."

I am not sure I understand, but are you saying that particular pentecostal view should be acceptable, given the fact that some are continualists, or even given to speaking in unknown tongues?

Is that what you meant?

If it is, I can answer that.

Could you elucidate, please?

peter lumpkins said...

Brother Bob,

So, reading other people's mail, ah. 40 lashes minus one for you!:)

My own view is that all Pentecostals are noncessationists (or, continualists, as you put it), but not all noncessationists are are Classic Pentecostals. For example, charismatics are noncessationists but are surely distinguished from Classic Pentecostals.

My point is that, given the particular form of the loosening of the reign, so to speak, that is being argued here, it cannot consistently embrace one leg of noncessationism--PULP--and not the other leg--"baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial physical evidence of speaking in other tongues" (Classical Pentecostalism)--IF THE OTHER LEG MEETS THE CRITERIA.

The criteria as I have observed it is: a) the view is based on the Bible b) the view is not inconsistent with the BF&M2K.

The conclusion, I draw, Bob, is that Classical Pentecostalism's understanding of the "baptism of power" fits just as nicely as the argument for PULP. Indeed so does Landmark ecclesiology, a loathing doctrine, I assume, banned in this community by threath of hanging by the neck until one is dead!

I trust your evening and weekend well, my Brother. With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins said...

Alycelee,

Thank you for your response, my sister. I think you have a perfect right to embrace such. And being the good Baptist I am, would gladly argue your honor to do so.

Of course, I am not sure how such a view would be seen by Baptist folks by and large should it make itself to the priviledged position of being paid for by our CP dollars.

I have a hunch that, should such views become widespread, our Baptist family would likewise exercise their autonomous right, and unfortunately, the CP would probably be transformed almost overnight into a lamentable, empty hull, gutted of any real likeness to its former missionary glory.

Ah, Alycelee, that is my opinion only; but it IS my opinion.

Faith. With that, I am...

Peter

Bryan Riley said...

I didn't mean to be anonymous with my observation that people are now attacking the tiered approach by questioning who would name the tiers when that was part of the basis for concern by those questioning current leadership of naming everything essential for service. So, Tim, I am posting again to be named.

Also, I wish I knew why everyone so feared whatever it is they think is charismatic. If it is the teaching that tongues must be spoken to evince salvation or a baptism of the Spirit, I would agree that such teaching is unsound. However, teaching that God still does miracles, signs, and wonders... well, I want that kind of teaching. I believe that. And it is being taught (and was taught two weeks ago at my conservative SBC church) by Avery Willis. If it is a concern that people might raise their hands and be freer in their worship style... well, i don't even know how to respond to that civilly. ;)

I know that isn't all people are concerned with and i am not trying to belittle, but there is no fear in love. There also should be no fear when we believe in an almighty God who can and will accomplish His purpose in spite of us. There are many incredible organizations being used mightily by God that have a lot of charismatic bent. And, if you disagree with that statement, then please say it here clearly and give us all examples of heresy through charismatic mission work.

What would be really appropriate would be examples of SBC missionaries gone wild. :)

Bryan Riley said...

By the way I was the first anonymous, not the second. I do not know who that was. I just read through the other comments and saw someone else came in anonymously.

Nomad said...

Well, after having spent an hour or so trying to figure what all this means, I finally have decided, regarding PPL, that I am a "don't-really-know-can't-know-for-sure-don't really-care-ist".

I want tongues. I really, really do. Not PPL, but the kind in which I can tell my next door neighbors about Jesus. Now, THAT would be something useful!

Anonymous said...

I agree, Nomad, as hopefully does everyone on this comment string. I didn't understand half of what was written, which is why I didn't comment for a long time, and then when I did I don't think I spent enough time on it to make any sense. Given what you just said and the fact that I got a hearty amen over on Marty's blog with a similar point, and I wrote the comment after everyone had left that party to come here and talk about who knows what, I will say it again here.

What is incredible and God glorifying (versus human glorifying) about the fact that your hypothetical is incredibly common, Stephen, with a host of issues (e.g., PPL, alcohol, baptism, the end times, women in ministry, six day creationism, sovereignty of God, free will of man, and so much more!), is that it shows how much we need Him. No matter how much we study, pray, “know” scripture, our finite minds can come up with many “reasonable” interpretations of Scripture; nonetheless, all the reasonableness we can muster pales in the face of an all knowing, all powerful and sovereign God.

Doesn’t it just make you think of Job standing before God and receiving that lengthy rebuke? Wow! [God speaking, and speaking . . . “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his? . . . .and continuing to speak….]

Because God is so amazing and because we are just starting to scratch the surface in our understanding of the Father, it makes all that much more sense to me for us to come together, rather than to push ourselves away from one another, as we continue on the journey of following Jesus.

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Bryan,

I do not understand where you are getting fear from my post. I am asking as Wade said I am asking the question that no one is discussing and shoudl be - how do you implement or how do you defend?

Maybe I should also ask, why is it that when one may not agree, they are said to be in fear or closed, or wanting people to leave or ...!

This does not make sense to me at all. NO FEAR! NO PROBLEM! NO "GET OUT"!

Bryan Riley said...

Tim, I never took fear from any of your posts or said that you said anything about fear. I wrote a post immediately after your question in my name and then a second one that came out as anonymous (i think i'm hitting tab at the wrong time). Neither of those say anything about fear.

I later mentioned fear because it seems to me that people, out of fearfulness, often throw around the charismatic label to denounce all sorts of practices, without defining what they mean or how it violates the scripture. There is the appearance that the excuse for banning PPL is a fear that it will lead to other things.

My post about your question was about irony, but I have spoken too much in this comment string now, didn't explain myself well there, haven't understood most of what others are talking about, and feel like the whole thread has gone very awry. That happens sometimes i suppose. Anyway, I agree with you and Wade that it is a poignant and important question, and that was the point I was trying to make.

Alycelee said...

Tim, you may not be saying that, others here, have said exactly that.

Peter, my dollars turn into CP dollars. I'm one of those thousands of people who places the resources that He has given me into the resouces that will be used to send people all over the world. Yes, I'm interested in this issue. For Him...and for Them and for Those they will reach. For "blessed are the feet of them that bring good news"
But as it stands now, Bertha Smith, or the President of the IMB could go on the mission field.

As far as your quote Peter "the CP would probably be transformed almost overnight into a lamentable, empty hull, gutted of any real likeness to its former missionary glory"... Let's pray that's not a prophetic word.

Alycelee said...

Correction-Could NOT go

Stephen Pruett said...

Peter, Perhaps the answer to your concern lies in the history of the new IMB policy on PPL. Previous policy precluded openly speaking or praying in toungues or teaching that these were normative for Chritians. I do not know of anyone who disagrees with this position. Altough one could argue that it goes beyond the Bible, which after all specifically states that tongue speaking should not be forbidden, I think virtually all Baptists, not just a majority, believe that the safest practical position on tongues is to discourage their public use, because it would be so difficult in a practical sense to enforce all the regulations specified by Paul in the public use of this gift. Thus, there was NO PROBLEM before the IMB changed its policy. PPL was private and nobody knew or cared. Public tongue speaking and teaching that it was normative was prohibited for missionaries.

It simply is not the case that Wade's reasoning leads to problems on issues such as public tongue speaking.

My view is that the slippery slope that is the most slippery and the most dangerous, and the most likely to harm the effectiveness of the SBC in the cause of Christ is the slope leading to tighter and tighter enforcement of conformity on smaller and smaller doctrinal points. My evidence for this opinion is empirical. Which direcction has the SBC been going for the past 25 years? Toward liberalism and lax doctrinal standards, or toward increasingly tight standards on increasingly minor points? I see it more as the latter than the former. As a scientist, I often extrapolate to predict how a result will change over time in the future. It doesn't always work, but it works better than looking at current trends and assuming that things will move in the opposite direction. If things keep moving in the direction they are now headed, and if folks like BT have his way, the SBC in 50 years will consist of two people with a list of 100 interpretations that they must believe to stay in the club.

Wade Burleson said...

Stephen,

Excellent analysis.

David R. Mills said...

Dr. Rogers to the rescue again. When asked to compromise in order to bring peace to the SBC he said, "we don't have to get together, the SBC doesn't have to survive, I don't have to be the pastor of Bellevue, I don't have to live!! But I"M NOT going to compromise the WORD OF GOD." I guess in order not to compromise the Word of God we need some convictions about it, right???

Bob Cleveland said...

Peter:

Thanks for responding. You clarified the matter from your chair.

The evidence for those who claim that speaking in an unknown tongue, that I have seen, is all episodic. The same sort of reasoning that leads the Reformed Presbyterian Church North America (if I remember correctly), and others, to avoid instrumental music in worship, because they do not see it specified in the New Testament.

Where you see people receive the Holy Ghost, they spoke in tongues.

The matter of speaking in tongues, where specified as the gift it is, is stated as being given as the Spirit wills. Paul even went on to state "Do all speak in tongues?" in 1 Corinthians 12, concerning the distribution of gifts within the church. I cannot envision that he was saying some folks in the church, in the ideal distribution, had not received the Holy Ghost.

In that same chapter, he also said that by the Spirit, we were all baptized into one body. When I put those two together, I can only conclude that the bible states that not all who were baptized by the Spirit, spoke in tonges.

I do not see a connection between the two thoughts, and I can attest that some do consistently "embrace one leg of noncessationism", and not the other. I, for one.

Be blessed, brother. You're entirely too young and good looking to be so sharp. I'm struggling with envy over that, even as I type.

Wade Burleson said...

David Mills,

Your logic cuts both ways.

For example: (Alert: Hypothetical argumentation).

"Everyone who denies that the Bible teaches that the gift of 'tongues' is of the Holy Spirit, is denying Scripture itself.

Anyone who forbids a person from praying in tongues is violating the clear commandment of God who says, "Forbid not the speaking in tongues."

Anyone, therefore, who denies the gift and the right to use is a danger to the SBC because he denies the sufficient, inerrant Word of God and is in open rebellion to the commandments of God."

I don't hear any continualists in the SBC saying that, but I sure hear a ton of cessationists saying something similar to it.

It sounds like you want continualists to have such strong convictions to kick cessationists out of the SBC. Am I missing something?

Alan Cross said...

Thanks for the title of "Dr.," Wade, but I just have my M.Div. from a Southern Baptist seminary.

(Read following with a hard country accent) Yep, I'm just a poor old country Baptist pastor who only went to seminary fer that there M.Div. I can't hardly stand up against them there Ph.D. types. If they disagree with me, they won't even answer my questions! They all run off and hide, like scared little rabbits, or somethin'. I used to hunt rabbits down in the holler. Might pick it up agin', one of these days. Maybe one day, not too fer off, I might have a Ph.D. too! What does that stand for anyway, Pretty Hard to Discern? (end country accent - just kidding, by the way!).

Seriously, thanks Wade. I didn't want to claim a title that wasn't mine. Those guys worked hard for theirs and I'm just laboring in the pastoral trenches - no time for school - yet.

Bob Cleveland said...

CORRECTION ALERT!!! CORRECTION ALERT!!

My previous post's second paragraph should have started:

The evidence for those who claim that speaking in an unknown tongue is the initial evidence of receiving the Holy Ghost, that I have seen, is all episodic.

Guess I used up one of my whoops allotment.

Wade Burleson said...

Alan,

You are a doctor in my book.

Excellent articles. Thanks for the clarification of your official degrees.

Blessings to you.

wade

Wade Burleson said...

The discussion has been good.

I remain convinced:

Whether a person prays in his closet with the gift of tongues or not makes not a hill of beans difference in the kingdom.

People need to take a chill pill and quit making it an issue.

:)

patrickbarrett said...

this may be my favorite post that you have written so far.

volfan007 said...

i need all you to stop talking about ppl's and baptism, and help me overturn the imb's stand on 1)not allowing big people to go to the mission field, 2)not allowing people with teens to go to the mission field, and 3)not allowing people who have not been married for a year to go. i am going to present resolutions on all of these, and i need yall's support. also, i am gonna start a blog to promote this agenda. will yall support me?


so what if i'm a big guy? whats that matter to the imb? and, where in the bible does it say that a big fella cant do missions?

so what if i have teens at home? whats that got to do with not being able to do missions? where's that in the bible?

whats being a newlywed got to do with not being able to do missions? sometimes they are the most energetic and enthusiastic. where in the bible does it say that newlyweds cant do missions? huh?

where does the imb get off telling people in these groups that they cant do missions? i'm ticked off. not allowing these people to do missions might kill the sbc! it might send a chill down the spine of freedom. and, if everyone knew of these imb policies, then they might quit sending money to the cp and to lottie.

are yall with me?


volfan007

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Volfann,

Cute, but it won't work.

You know why? There are medical, practical and logistical reasons for the policies you quote.

But NOT Biblical reasons.

The problem with the baptism and PPL policies is that they are be based upon a specific doctrinal interpretation -- one which Southern Baptists are not in total agreement.

And the doctrinal interpreations behind both policies are not found in the BFM 2000. But we now have an agency demanding that Southern Baptists, by fiat, accept a certain doctrinal interpretation, one which Southern Baptists have disagreed for centuries, in order for their churches to be able to appoint missionaries.


Good try.

TruthOfActs said...

Volfan,
Never in a blue moon did I think I’d take your side over Wade’s.
The whole problem with the IMB is that it has promoted itself over the Holy Spirit.
The reason it has been allowed to do this is because the blindness of man to realize unless they get their toes stepped on, it’s OK. We don’t care until we get hurt

I know a missionary that’s never been married. She’d been on the field over 20 years. Her heart was broken because the IMB would not let her adopt a little girl. She was given a choice—our way or the highway.
Ah, the thrill of power and control; it’s been around since man wanted to be as God.

The IMB wants the perfect but God throughout history has used crooked sticks to hit straight licks.

My advice to those upset with new rules is to get used to it because until the glue that holds Baptist together is changed from theology back to missions, rules will rule the day.
Rex Ray

Pastor Brad said...

Wade,
In your comment to Volfan you say, "But we now have an agency demanding that Southern Baptists, by fiat, accept a certain doctrinal interpretation, one which Southern Baptists have disagreed for centuries." This is simply not supportable historically.

volfan007 said...

wade,

medical, logistical, and practical evidences that big people cant do missions!!!!!????? i'll have you know that my great grandmother was fat her whole life. she worked hard her whole life. she was poor. she loved the Lord. she'd have made a great missionary. btw, the first time she ever went to a hospital, she was 94 years old. she was healthy as a good horse her whole life. she died when she was 96. may we all eat southern, fried foods like her and be fat like her so that we can live long and be healthy.

also, my daughters roomate at union u. family are in romania right now with 4 teens and one about to be a teen. they were told that they couldnt go with the imb due to teens. so, they went on thier own. they are doing a great job in romania.


thus, i am leading the charge for fat people and people with teens and newlyweds......imb, get ready. the big people and the rest are coming at you....in your face. we are gonna blog and make resolutions and get our way. get ready....here we come....get ready...here we come...aaaaaah...get ready...get ready.

volfan007

David R. Mills said...

I am looking forward to the conference with your Dad. He can remember, and so can I that meetings like this were abundant in the "old days", but not so anymore. Bible conference, revival meetings for revival, not just because it is Fall, and Spring, and Prophecy conferences were the norm. Maybe that is why the "identity" conference is needed because we have forsook Titus chapter 2. I would think that from 1845 to 2007 162 years the SBC would know it's identity. I hope you print your Dad's messages, I will order them!!!!

David Rogers said...

Roger Simpson (and others who have answered my question on comment #3),

I will "take a stab" at answering the counter-questions you ask we way up there around comment #35 or so.

If I didn't know very much about the whole PPL issue (and I was truly interested in the work of the Kingdom, and specifically in the SBC part of that work), I would spend some time studying the Scripture, get some good commentaries representing various sides of the issue, and try, before God, to come to some conclusion regarding what I thought the Bible to be saying regarding this issue. Not so much because it is a major issue in Scripture, as much as because it is an issue that seems to be leading to other issues that have important implications for the advance of the Kingdom of God.

Next, anyone who has read what I have written on my own blog, and various comments on other blogs, knows, up to now, I have chosen "answer C" on my own questionnaire, which I think (if I understand your counter-questionnaire correctly) would correspond to your "answer A.1."

Having said that, one thing I am not willing to do is to compromise my understanding of what the Word of God teaches in order to "grease the wheel" of the denomination. In this sense, I feel myself to be true to the spirit of what my father said (referenced by Pastor Brad elsewhere in this thread), when he said: "The SBC doesn't have to exist. But I will not compromise the Word of God."

My question is, once you have taken this position, what do you do when you find yourself to be in apparent disagreement with the majority? I have no interest whatsoever in dividing the SBC, or sowing discord in any way. But, at the same time, there are times when the thought expressed in the famous quote by Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” weigh heavy upon you, and you must decide if it is best to just quietly leave, or rather to “jump in the mix” and stand up for what you believe to be right. (*Not meaning to insinuate that I necessarily see the continuation of the new policies as “the triumph of evil”).

Perhaps the majority in the SBC are, just as you describe yourself: “I don't know anything firsthand about PPL, have never practiced PPL, don't personally know anyone who does practices it, and don't really care if a person practices it or not.” If such is indeed the case, I am hopeful that, through what I write, I can help to make more people knowledgeable about the issues involved, and to come to a more educated position on what they think.

If, though, in the end, the majority study the Word of God, and come to the conclusion that people who take the view I take should not be welcomed as partners in cooperation, I will likely have no choice but to revert to my “answer A.” What would I lose? A spiritual family, for one. But, then again, the family of God is much broader than the SBC. Also, a chance to use my gifts, resources, and service to the Lord make an impact for the Kingdom through a system that I think uses a good stewardship of those gifts, resources, and service. It would be a shame to lose that opportunity. But, if it were ever to come down to that, I am sure that God would open up a door, and provide in ways that would surprise me.

For the time being, I must be faithful to what I understand the Word of God to teach. And I must keep trying to discern how to be the best steward of the gifts and resources he has given me, as I continue to serve him for the advance of the Kingdom.

David Rogers said...

A slight correction:

David Mills got the quote from my Dad right:

"we don't have to get together, the SBC doesn't have to survive, I don't have to be the pastor of Bellevue, I don't have to live!! But I"M NOT going to compromise the WORD OF GOD."

CJ said...

I think that Peter Lumpkins is asking a good question. It does appear that Wade is arguing that doctrinal stances of SBC agencies should not go beyond the BF&M. The BF&M allows for different interpretations on some issues (take premillennial, postmillennial, and amillennial interpretations as an example) while being very exact on others (believer's baptism only).

If I am understanding Peter correctly, he is asking whether the BF&M is exhaustive enough to be used this way. Landmark theology seems to fit within the parameters prescribed by the BF&M as he noted. The BF&M is silent on speaking in tongues (ecstatic or otherwise) and Wade has agreed with the previous IMB policy on this issue. I'm sure we could come up with other issues that are not covered.

The preamble of the 2000 BF&M even states we do not regard them [BF&M statements] as complete statements of our faith, having any quality of finality or infallibility. It does not claim to be complete. I think that we must be careful what doctrinal stances we have in addition to the BF&M but does appear that we need them.

Wade Burleson said...

I tell you what we do.

We elect David Rogers President of the SBC.

Seriously.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

How about the SBC institutions not adopt doctrinal policies beyond the BF&M, except where there are factual problems which arise, which cannot be solved in ways within the parameters of the BF&M?

Wade Burleson said...

Even better Bob.

Alycelee said...

I sure didn't want to come back here this morning and beat a dead horse.
Then I get here and find a breath of fresh air.
Thanks David, I wish I'd said that-AMEN

Roger Simpson said...

David:

I'll do the best I can to take you up on your challenge. I admit that my idea of coming to grips with this based upon pragmatic grounds is not nearly as desirable as actually studying all sides and coming up with a reasoned answer.

I'll find out where your blog is since you evidently have written about the PPL issue --- pro and con.

The challenge you are putting out there as I understand it is that it is -- in principal -- possible for laymen, like myself, to come to a definitive understanding of whether PPL is or is not "OK".

Are you also saying that once a person comes to an understanding on PPL the decision to cooperate or not flows logically from that decision?

Assuming I study the PPL question and I can actually grasp it and actually make a Biblical case that PPL is "wrong" then would it follow that I would agree with the IMB directive to purge PPL adherants from service. Or would Wade's (et. al.) perception that people can co-operate even though they disagree on PPL be consistent with your framing of the issue?

If the latter is the case then studing PPL on its merits is not necessary is it?

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Lee said...

I've been involved in a Southern Baptist church since I can remember, went through most of the programs all the way through, got a B.A. from a state convention related university and an M.A. from an SBC seminary. I've read Baptist history and studied Baptist polity from several perspectives.

My own personal opinion, based on my education and experience of going on 28 years of ministry service, leads me to approach your question with two observations.

First, the various levels of the SBC, from associations up to the national convention, are built around one central polity concept, that of the independent, autonomous local church. The SBC structure is not equipped to enforce doctrinal conformity, because the authority for determining doctrine is left up to the individual churches. The BFM is the basis for denominational cooperation, not a requirement for membership. That's the key difference. The result of too much fine tuning, related to doctrinal positions that are not held in common, is controversy.

Second, in the history of controversy in the SBC, doctrinal conformity has been used as an instrument to gain, or hold on, to denominational power and influence. I think when you ask the question "What difference does it make?" this is where the answer leads. It's almost a campaign slogan based on fear issues. You don't want the SBC taken over by liberals, do you? Then vote for me and I'll keep that from happening. You don't want the SBC taken over by Charismatics, do you? Vote for me and I'll keep that from happening. And the list goes on and on.

David Rogers said...

Roger,

You ask: "Are you also saying that once a person comes to an understanding on PPL the decision to cooperate or not flows logically from that decision?"

Not necessarily. I can understand how you may come to one decision on your understanding of PPL, and then come to a completely different decision on cooperation from someone who agrees completely with your understanding of PPL.

My purpose in the "questionnaire" is to get people to put themselves in the shoes of other people, and think outside of the box a little bit, and see if maybe that helps some to understand a little better what the issues really are.

Regarding your other questions, if I came to the conclusion, for instance, that PPL was always evil or demonic, or something like that, then no, I could not support Wade's position on cooperation. It would not be a "third-tier" issue anymore.

So, in my opinion, it helps to study enough to at least have an informed opinion about why PPL should be considered an issue to divide over or not.

P.S. My most coherent presentation of what I think the Bible teaches about PPL can probably be found at Geoff Baggett's blog, on my comments on a series of various posts on PPL, as well as on the very first post of Baptist Theologue's blog (back on August 31).

I would strongly recommend you reading Alan Cross's posts on his blog as well.

Aslan's child said...

Tim Cook made the most sense of anything I've read today. What most of this boils down to is pride. We read. We become educated. We want people to agree with us because we see ourselves as a force to be reckoned with. We become so convinced of our invincibility that we fail to realize we could be wrong! Let the non-essential things remain non-essential! If the arguments are mutually exclusive both cannot be right. BUT, BOTH CAN BE WRONG! We need to realize that. Thank you Tim for helping me see.

volfan007 said...

are yall totally ignoring my fat people can do missions too stance? people with teens? newlyweds?

is anyone with me out there in blogdom?

i am 45 years old...have a 14 yr old at home....and i really dont fit the weight chart for the imb....thus, i would not qualify for a missionary. yet, my church gives big time to the cp and to lottie.......for a church our size we give big time. yet, i would not be allowed to go to the mission field.

wade, i await your response, my friend.

irenic, lovable, huggable,

volfan007

Bob Cleveland said...

Volfan:

I'm in the insurance business. From a standpoint of weight, the IMB would be completely in line to establish requirements for weight, as I know how much they affect medical costs. They must consider that, as stewards of God's money.

There's also the issue of being a witness in places where folks go hungry routinely, and sending someone who is overweight.

I speak from experience. Accoring the usual charts, I should be between 8 and 9 feet tall.

Having teens? I imagine they have BTDT and know whereof they speak. At least I hope that's the case.

As to giving to the Cooperative program: the easy inference is that it should somehow buy you a spot on the field. I trust you don't mean that, but if there were any possibility that such could happen, I wouldn't be in the SBC today.

Roger Simpson said...

David:

I looked over your "debate" with the Baptist Theologue as well as the other references you mention.

Most of this goes way over my head. My background is in Microcode Design as a Software Engineer. I don't know much, nor do I have a talent for, Biblical languages.

After retirement from IBM I took some seminary classes. I had a fairly solid academic background in Engineering and Business (in top 10% of my MBA class at University of Santa Clara) but I found Hebrew to be very difficult. I just couldn't keep up and had to drop out.

So I just don't think I'll ever get to the point where I will be able to grasp an argument regarding "middle voice" or any other point of Greek grammer.

I think most of your argument is showing why PPL is acceptable. As far as I know you have not attempted to show that "tiers" (as argued by Al Mohler et. al.) is valid or that PPL is a third tier issue.

To change the minds of those who currently agree with the IMB "anti PPL rule" I think all three have to be shown: (a) the idea of "tiers" is valid, (b) PPL is in the third tier, (c) cooperation trumps a stance on PPL.

You have to prevail on ALL THREE POINTS.

Given my lack of sophistication I think I am going to have to punt and just "conclude" that PPL is a third tier issue and watch as in interested observer.

I still don't think it makes much difference whether the IMB allows PPL or not. However, I'd like to see cooperation if it doesn't mean the dismemberment of the SBC.

To use your father's analogy, this PPL argument is not "a hill to die for". I'd keep my powder dry for some more important skirmish.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Lee said...

volfan 007,

There are three families in our church, which also gives a lot to Lottie Moon, and to the CP, who have felt the call within the last five years to serve in missions overseas. None of them qualified for the IMB, in two cases because of children, and in one case because of weight. One family applied and was accepted with YWAM, one with Campus Crusade and one found a group of churches sponsoring a congregation in Central America that needed a pastor. They joined a growing number of missions minded, God-called Southern Baptists on the mission field serving outside of the IMB. Now we have people in the church asking questions as to why we continue to support Lottie Moon and the CP when families from our congregation serving as missionaries don't benefit from it.

I can't answer their question.

Bryan Riley said...

I don't really get the teen requirement at all... but i like what Lee had to say, and, for those who are so up on the SBC they should be excited to know that good SBCers are working in other organizations, being salt and light there. Just like us Rileys. We are serving through YWAM right now.

Wade Burleson said...

Volfann,

The Bible says, "Answer a fool not in his folly."

An irenic, smiling conservative brother.

:)

volfan007 said...

a fool!!!!

wade, are you mr. T now? calling people fools.


i have decided to drop my challenge to the imb concerning overweight people such as myself, and newlyweds, and people with teens. i will submit to authority, even though i dont like it.

i also dont like those tiny booths at mcdonalds...you'd think that they'd make them bigger. i mean, fat people eat more...buy more...dont they? so, why in the world would they make booths for skinny people?

also, those seats on the airplanes..dont get me started. not only am i a heavy person, but i am also well over 6 foot tall. why cant the world accomodate me?

bob,
about the weight and health stuff...dont forget what i said about my great grandmother.

volfan007

Wade Burleson said...

:)

David Rogers said...

Roger,

I can appreciate your frustration with the Greek stuff, though, I will concede as well that it does have its importance in this discussion.

Did you check out the Geoff Baggett posts and Alan Cross posts as well? I think you may find them not quite so "technical."

Also, I agree, on these particular posts "tiers" are not the point being argued. I do have some posts where I deal with those issues on my blog here, here, and here. Many others have also commented about this. As a matter of fact, I was not aware that the concept of "tiers" was really up for question. The question is what issues fall under which tiers.

In any case, if you want to just conclude that PPL is "third-tier," you are in good company. :^)

Roger Simpson said...

David:

Thanks for your reply.

I read the three posts you reference regarding Al Mohler's "Theological Triage". This idea was also brought up a few years ago by Jim Sawyer, Prof of Theology at Western Seminary in a paper called "Hierarchy of Doctrines".

I agree that the idea of tiers is valid. I also agree that "PPL" etc. are third tier. I also agree that Baptists should "agree to disagree" on these issues.

I'm not the guy who needs convincing. It seems to me that there is quite a bit of "institutional inerta" that at least tacitly agrees with the IMBs "anti-PPL" rules.

My whole point is -- while conceeding that you, Wade and others are correct on all your points -- I still don't know if the "value" of staging and winning this "issue" with the IMB (and by extension the SBC "leadership" at large) is worth it.

Twenty years ago the SBC was at a crossroads. I personally think the fight for "inerrancy" was a fight worth having. Maybe there was way too much collateral damage -- I don't know. If the Bible is not the basis for truth then I guess we are left with experience.

I am very simplistic regarding "inerrancy" -- either the Bible is God's word or it isn't.

Assuming the Bible has errors then, I don't have the tools to decide which passages are "accurate" and which are "phony".

I find the textual variations in the NT between the Alexandrian, Byzantine, or Western witneses are "negligible" and proceed as if all these variants are part of a bigger corpus. I don't loose sleep because we don't have original manuscripts or because translations aren't perfect -- I still hold that we have "the word of God".

If the Bible has errors then preaching using any Bible text is a waste of time. Sunday school lessons are a waste of time.

Now, this "cooperation" issue is on the horizon. The cooperation issue has a number of subcomponents -- such as PPL, non-Baptist non-regenerative immersion baptism, etc. I'm concerned that this "cooperation" issue could blossom into a significant line of demarcation in the SBC. While I don't think the potential for schism is nearly as large as the "conservative resurgence" (which gave birth to several new state conventions and a whole new "sub convention"), I do believe the "collateral damamge" in waging this "war" is significant.

My prognostication is: The amount of benefit by winning the issue for "cooperation" [as framed by Wade et. al.] is probably 20%, or less, as valuable as winning the conservative resurgence. The amount of potential disintigration to the SBC by waging this battle is probably 20% to 40% of the disintegration that resulted from the conservative resurgence.

So on balance I don't think this is a fight worth having. This fight just doesn't pass muster using a cost/benefit analysis.

Wade:

The guy I'd support as the next president of the SBC in 2008 is the person who steps up and gets both sides to bury the hatchet on this. I think this it going to take explicit intervention to bring the key players on both sides together. By TOGETHER I mean physically together in a room with IMB leaders, trustees, seminary presidents, key SBC luminaries, etc. to hammer out a resoultion.

That sucking sound you hear is the vacuum that is developing for one or more leaders to step in and mediate this before a forest fire breaks out.

Wade, It doesn't make any difference "who started" this fight. The important thing is "who is going step up and mediate a solution".

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Wade Burleson said...

Roger,

I do not disagree with your analysis.

However, I remind you that there is only one philospophy at play that says, 'Unless you agree with us, you cannot cooperate with us.'

Explain to me how you get those brothers to 'bury the hatchet' and I'll nominate you for President.

I do not care to change anyone's mind. I do not care to convince anyone of a particular interpretive viewpoint. It is my desire to simply pastor my church, go about our business of cooperating with other SBC churches for kingdom work, and to be gracious and kind to everyone.

My hatchet is buried.

However, I will continue to lovingly remind Southern Baptists that we cannot demand doctrinal conformity on tertiary issues. I will lovingly continue to be open and transparant with my fellow Southern Baptists about relevant issues in our convention.

I think it is a wise thing to encourage brothers to bury their hatchets -- but I would argue that mine has never came out of the ground. :)


In His Grace,

wade

John Fariss said...

I said I wasn't going to comment on this thread. I suppose I lied to myself.

There is a root to this issue that few have touched upon--though Tim Sweatman comes close. He said the issue isn't PPL, or tongues, or alcolol, etc., that it is pride. I tensd to agree, although with a bit of a twist: I think there are two related issues, and pride is a part.

As I see it, the surface issue is CONTROL (and pride is all over this one) and the deeper issue is FEAR. Some of the folks in this debate seem to have an exagerated view of themselves and the value of their intellect. They are not only convinced they are right, they are convinced that they are superior to others, and that therefore their reasoning, arguments, and positions are superior. HOWEVER: scratch most such folks, and you will find that what motivates them is FEAR. They are afraid, they feel threatened, by anyone who advocates anything different. And because they feel threatened, they launch al-out attacks against anyone advocating a different position OR against anyone advocating the FREEDOM to have different positions. And oftentimes, these folks never articulate their fear, not even to themselves. What they articulate are intellectual arguments, whether based on philosophy, religion, or in this case, proof-texting the Bible. Nonetheless, it is FEAR that motivates. And doesn't the Bible say something about perfect love driving out fear?

Several have suggested that folks with perspectives succh as mine need to include Biblical texts to be effective. I haven't the time to go into depth; but I will invite you to consider 1 & 2 Samuel, and the conflict between David and King Saul: wasn't Saul motivated by the fear that his family would fail to retain the rulership in Israel? Or for that matter, many of the conflicts between Jesus and the Pharisees/Saducees; wasn't much that they did motived by the fear that they would loose power and influence? I can't think of any instane where Saul said, "I'm afraid of David or what he will do," or where a pharisee said, "I'm afraid Jesus is going to ruin things for us." They couched their position in terms of Old testament theology and false accusations against Jesus, usually of blasphemy; but any reading of the texts almost has to lead to the conclusion that they felt threatened.

I believe that the "cecessionist" view requies a great many assumptions, not to mention arguments from silence, and therefore I do not espouse it. On the other hand, I do not practice any form of tongues (notwithstanding what my Greek professor in seminary thought), and I do not have a PPL; but neither do I feel threatened by those practices. In my opinion, for what that's worth, much of the passionate (hear PASSIONATE, not simply those who read the arguments and conclude that they agree) opposition to PPL comes from those who do feel threatened, even if they have not admitted it to themselves.

johnMark said...

Michael Spencer wrote and article in which he made some interesting points entitled "Bad Medicine: Firing missionaries for not signing a bad confession was a big mistake."

While not addressing the current concerns exactly, there is at least one point that I've been thinking about which he worded better than I. It is this:

"Another objection comes from Southern Baptist Polity itself. The BFM is a statement approved at the annual meeting of the SBC. The messengers of the churches endorse it, but it has absolutely no binding power over any church unless that church approves of it in their own constitution. Most SBC churches do not use the BFM in any binding way at all. In the same way, the IMB is funded by the Southern Baptist Convention, which is made up of churches, most of which do not use the BFM as a requirement for membership, ordination or ministry. Predominantly Southern Baptist local associations and state conventions do not use the BFM to enforce conformity. What is the precedent in Baptist life for the IMB's actions? Why is a document so unimportant in the denomination so important to the IMB's work?"

He compares the PCA and their confessional standards, then, several paragraphs later is a line I find humorous yet possible.

"It is almost comic to think what the Westminster Confession would look like if Southern Baptists had it in for 400 years. Right alongside the doctrine of justification would be a plug for the latest evangelism program and an endorsement of tax cut legislation."

The whole article can be found:
http://www.internetmonk.com/articles/I/imb.html

I am not endorsing everything in the article though he does make some good points in it.

Mark

Dr. Robin H. Cowin said...

I can't say that I read every word of all 156 comments before mine, but I wanted to make a few observations.

PULP, that's funny. It also illustrates the cluelessness of many weighing in on the debate. "Unintelligible" suggests that the pray-er does not know what he is saying, or intends to say. That may be Classic Pentecostalism, but it is not the way many Baptist practitioners of PPL observe it. In the heart they know what they are praying but words fall short. Far from unintelligible both God and the person praying know exactly what is being said between them.

Language is communication. We are getting caught up in the form while missing the substance.

Check my blog. I finally decided it was time to weigh in too. I can't do any worse than add to the confusion.

Dr-Robin.blogspot.com

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