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

A Scenario That Is Not Far Fetched

I never dreamed I would see the day when a person was asked in an interview session, "Do you pray in tongues in your private prayer closet?" and if the answer was 'yes' then that person would be excluded from Southern Baptist missionary service. I never dreamed I would see the day when a person would be asked "When you were baptized, was it a Southern Baptist church that authorized the baptism or at least a church that believes in eternal security?" and if the answer was 'no,' then that person who had been baptized by immersion, after having come to faith in Christ, would be rejected for denominational service.

We are not talking about the public use of tongues. We are not talking about infant baptism or baptismal regeneration. Policies that have been established for decades insured that public speaking in tongues would not occur by our missionaries or they would be disciplined and/or terminated. And, no missionary in the history of the SBC has ever been appointed who was not baptized by immersion after having come to faith in Christ. We are talking about two tertiary doctrinal interpretive positions that are way, way beyond the fundamentals of the faith.

Yesterday a few people took offense at my post where I said that if we did not draw a line in the sand today regarding the demand by some Southern Baptist leaders that everyone conform to a particular interpretation of non-essential tertiary doctrines, then future demands for conformity in the SBC might reach deeper and deeper into the private lives of Southern Baptists. We are seeing this happen today in Florida with a demand that everyone who serves on state boards hold to a view of total abstinence. Mind you, Dr. John Sullivan is not saying that a person practices abstinence, he must believe abstinence is the only legitimate Christian, biblical view on the matter. But the example I used yesterday which raised the ire of some was the one on Natural Family Planning. I said that if we don't stop the spread of Fundamentalism today, there may come a day in the Southern Baptist Convention when NFP might become mandatory for all who wish to serve in denominational missions or ministry.

For the life of me I can't understand how some can not see this as a future possibility. Let me give you a possible scenario of an interview of a Southern Baptist who is applying for a ministry position with one of our agencies in the year 2020.

SBC Interviewer: "Do you use contraception?"
SBC Interviewee: "Yes."
SBC Interviewer: "What kind of contraceptive method do you practice?"
SBC Interviewee: "The pill."
SBC Interviewer: "Are you aware that the pill changes the lining of the wall of the uterus so that if ovulation happens to occur the fertilized egg cannot implant itself in the uterus?
SBC Interviewee: "No, I was unaware of that fact."
SBC Interviewer: "Do you believe life begins at conception?"
SBC Interviewee: "Yes."
SBC Interviewer: "So, if you carry life in your body via a fertilized egg, but refuse to allow that life to be implanted in your uterus by means of a pill, are you taking that life into your own hands, playing God, and committing an abortion of choice?"
SBC Interviewee: "I never thought of it like that. But how would I know if I ovulated and the egg was fertilized?"
SBC Interviewer: "It makes no difference. Would you not agree that by taking the pill you are preventing potential human life from being implanted in your uterus the way God naturally designed your body to receive it."
SBC Interviewee: "Well, I never really considered it."
SBC Interviewer: "We have a doctrinal statement at our agency that says human life is sacred, and it is our view, as it is yours, that life begins at conception. To artificially harden the lining of the uterus to prevent the implantation of the fertilized egg is committing an abortion, even unknowingly, and we must at all costs protect human life. We have recently passed a policy that no agency personnel will take the pill while in the employment of the Southern Baptist Convention, and we are asking you to sign this document saying you will only practice Natural Family Planning."
SBC Interviewee: "But I don't have that conviction, and I have taken the pill for years."
SBC Interviewer: "Well, I'm sorry, but unless you abide by our policy, we will not be able to appont you to service."

If you think the above scenario is far fetched you are naive. Just four years ago there was an uproar at the International Learning Center because mothers who had recently given birth and were in missionary training were asked by administration to use the breast pump, give the bottled milk to nursery personnel, and allow nursery workers to feed the babies while mom and dad finished the very tight schedule of training. A SBC seminary President and his wife were outraged that the mothers were not able to feed the babies the natural way and eventually caused quite an uproar. The problem was not that the mothers were not allowed to feed their children naturally, but that 'artificial' means of feeding were being employed at the IMB --- a method not designed by God.

The issues discussed in this post are, by their nature, very personal choices that a Southern Baptist individual must make for himself/herself. The nature of Fundamentalism is to insure that all 'private activities,' even those on which the Bible is silent, must all conform to a man-made precept or standard established by Fundamentalist leaders. If people don't see a problem with probing into someone's private prayer closet and forbidding them to pray in a particular manner (contrary to the explicit commandment of Scripture), and if people don't see a problem with rejecting one's personal Christian and biblical baptism which identified the convert with Christ but not a particular doctrine, then we may wind up one day finding ourselves facing demands for conformity in even more private and personal matters.

Let me say it again:

Unless our freedoms in Christ as individual Christians and autonomous churches are closely safe-guarded, we will wake up one day and realize that SBC leadership is defining Baptist identity in highly specific terms.

I not only stand by yesterday's post. I think it is important enough to rerun it.

:)

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

126 comments:

A 10-40 Window Missionary said...

Wade,

Does this scenario conger up Orwelian memories of the "thought police?"

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade: I'm with you, brother. I don't want to have to explain wrongful silence any more than I want to explain errant activism.

irreverend fox said...

Wade,

IF it can be scientifically demonstrated that "the pill" can and/or will cause an abortion then such a policy should be made. I support it 100%.

IF it can not be demonstrated then no such policy should be made. If it can not be demonstrated scientifically then I would oppose such a policy 100%.

IF such a thing can be scientifically demonstrated and there is a decision NOT to make such a policy then that would be one more reason that I can no longer support the IMB.

irreverend fox said...

slight correction/clarification:

I'm not suggesting NFP must be a policy...I'm saying that a policy SHOULD be in place that simply states that no sbc agency "employee" will engage in any form of birth control that will cause and abortion.

there are other forms of birth control, other than NFP, that do not cause abortions...

in those cases the policy should appeal to the individual believers conscious.

I don't see this as "either" - "or"...

Geoff Baggett said...

Wade,

Actually, your birth control pill illustration, while shocking and dramatic, is not valid.

The hormone-based birth control pill actually stops/prevents ovulation. It does not prevent implantation, nor does it render inactive the uterine lining. The "pill" prevents conception, not implantation.

So, your "pretend interviewer" in 2020 would not be evil, just uninformed.

Nice try, though. :)

Geoff
http://geoffbaggett.wordpress.com

Pamela Cook said...

Pastor Wade, you are a very bold man:)

I am not Southern Baptist nor any other denomination. I was a part of one growing up and quickly decided that they were nothing more than chains around people's necks. Eventually powerhungry people decide that they are going to force their views, NOT GOD'S WORD, down the throats of everyone. If this tendency is not stopped every denomination will end up believing things not in the word and persecuting those that believe in the word. I have been blessed to see those that desire to not allow outrageous chains to be around people's necks.

I'm a single female that lives according to the Bible. I have never taken the pill nor will I for reasons unrelated to what has been mentioned here. I'm not a scientist but from my understanding there is no knowledge that in every case the pill is preventing implantation of a fertilized egg. There is only a brief period of time a woman can get pregnant in the first place. She does not have a thousand eggs that are produced each month. I just find it amazing that a policy could be made assuming that in every case if a woman is taking the pill she is participating in abortion. NONE of these leaders can prove that she was ever pregnant in the first place. I am vehemently against abortion but I feel this is nothing more than unGodly hostility towards women that it appears the SBC has.

I am a Charismatic christian that sees that there is nothing in the word of God that says that the moving of the spirit ceased. They ceased because people stopped believing it. There is nothing in the inerrant word of God that says that God Himself intended for them to end. With that said I agree that the main issue should be what a person believes as far as Christ is concerned and the precious price He paid to reconcile us to Himself. The only time leadership should be asking for specific details about a person's life is if they suspect a person might be in trouble or falling into sin or something like that. The Bible endorses thinking the best of others. These policies assume that people are filthy rags that have no moral conscience and must be controlled in every aspect of their lives in order for the denomination to be pure. That is pure hogwash. I'm sure the Lord is looking at this mess crying because He came to set people free from religion.

In the legal arena people can get in trouble for illegal search and seizure. The same tactics are being used in the SBC from what I have been reading here. Any evidence that has been taken without reason is thrown out of court. Prepare for the SBC to continue to die a slow death if they do not change. People can read the Bible for themselves thanks to the printing press being invented. If what is being taught and/or forced down people's throats is not in the word many people are leaving and going somewhere else. Those leaders will have a lot to answer for. James says that teachers will be judged harder. The inference is because of the position of influence they hold over others in the body. It's not like they have not heard the truth. They have but want their way more than caring for the people they say they serve.

Jesus fought the spirit of religion when he walked the earth. I guess this type of foolishness should be expected. Sad that the ministry of Christ is hindered because of it. And church leaders wonder why people are not attending anywhere? They will no longer be able to say it is because they have walked away from the Lord. Many are sick of issues like this one being dealt with in this blog and refuse to participate. Thank God that He reaches them and leads them into His life.

Debate should be over. The SBC claims that the Bible is inerrant and the final authority. The leaders need to read the Bible for what it says and change any policy that does not line up. Again if that does not happen the SBC and other denominations will die. Just check out the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church USA.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

As usual, Right on. It was Mr. Sullivan who actually led the move to oust some churches because they had charismatic practices in their churches. Now he has taken upon himself to unilaterally and individually determine, beyond the BFM what every "valid" SB MUST beleive.

I used to say that I was a "Fundamentalist." And then I would explain, that that is because I affirm the "fundamentals" of the faith.

Men of this ilk or more then "fundamentalists." They are legalists. They are certainly modern day Pharisees, and I know that some will disagree with this statement but it is certainly true. The fault of the pharisees, as identified by our Lord, was to make the commandments of man, the commandments of God. How is this not the case in so many of our current issues?

God: Do not drink too much wine.
Man: Do not drink one drop.

God: Do not forbid speaking in tongues.
Man: Speak in tongues? Do not apply.

God: Go and Baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the HOly Spirit.
Man: Go and Baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the HOly Spirit and of the Southern Baptist Convention.


Keep on Wade !!!

TC

JOHN D HERRING said...

Geoff,

"Breakthrough Ovulations" can and do occur with the Pill (although infrequently). In that case, an egg is released and can be fertilized.

Our church recently did study on 10 Cultural "hot button" topics, one of them being abortion. My wife and I were surprised to learn that ovulation can occur with the Pill. So illustration still valid, unless I am terribly uninformed.

jasonk said...

Anyone who does not believe that fundamentalism can and does grow a head of its own, and grow out of control, is not a student of history.

irreverend fox said...

if JOHN D HERRING is correct then should NAMB, IMB and our seminaries have a policy?

I say "yes"! Furthermore, I say "they MUST".

Do we really believe that it's ok to take a chance with a human life? It's not that bad if it is infrequent? Give me a break!

Abortion is abortion...it does not have to a "choice" in order to kill a baby...come on now!

dwmIII said...

Wade,

I'm in agreement with Irreverend Fox on this one; that is in relation to the scientific proof.

It matters not what the individual person thinks on the matter, but what God thinks.

So, I ask this question only for you to clarify your position, not to be pejorative in any way. What if God was the interviewer? What if a fertalized egg was truly a living being created in the image of God? Should an individual Christian be thinking what God is thinking? Or is okay for them not to?

I fear that the idea of the individual will break down the proper understanding of the church. I also fear that we have been influenced more than we know by the naturalistic worldview around us when we speak of individual decisions. Though I won't go into how this fits into a naturalistic worldview.

Through Christ,
Dougald

Monte said...

Wade,

I also sat across from a fellow missionary before leaving the field because I did not want to sign the 2000 BF&M, and said, "If you think this is all going to end here, you're naive." He said, "I don't think so." The things you have brought to bear tell me that I was not wrong.

The point is--this was all beginning before the 2000 BF&M. Not after. We need to wake up.

Sarah said...

I am totally with you on this one, Brother Wade. If we keep playing the part of the Holy Spirit in people's lives it could get very ugly. I have a friend who is a Latter-Day Saint. She has to produce her financial records routinely to her bishop to prove she has tithed her ten percent. (Note: I am NOT suggesting by using this analogy that the SBC is a cult--I'm simply stating that what we might think of now as cult-ish and legalistic is not far in our future.) What happens when we start going down the path of asking people what they talk to God in private about? Or what form of birth control they use? Or where they were baptized? Do you mean to tell me that if someone was baptized in the Jordan River by a non-denominational, Bible-believing, child of God, that person would not be an acceptable candidate for an IMB missionary? Religion is man-made. We all know what the book of James says about religion that God accepts: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Again I am afraid your message is overshadowed by your analogies again. I find it disturbing to use a sweeping generality that all who believe in abstinance from alcohol, that a "private prayer language" is not supported in the biblical text, and that baptism is valid as a witness to what we confess about the work of salvation; are in cahoots with some iron fisted, radical Fundamentalism. Often in this post you take offense at those who would wrongly seek to "label" you, and rightfully so, but you are in turn using the same tactic against those you disagree with by making such broad generalities. It is unfair to lump those who see these doctrinal issues as a valid part of discussion in baptist ideology as some form of manipulative power hungery mongrels, seeking to creep into peoples private lives. I find that your perspectives are enlighting but you often damage your cause by a poor choice of analogies and anecdotes.

Oklahoma Joe

Bryan Riley said...

Things that have been suggested by leaders in the past during my Christian journey as important to a Christian walk:

1. Don't watch the Smurfs. They are proponents of homosexuality.
2. Don't go to Disney and boycott all of it.
3. Don't use contraception.
4. Don't dance.
5. Don't drink alcohol.
6. Don't go out to eat on Sundays.
7. Don't use projectors in worship.
8. Don't pad the pews.
9. Don't watch R-rated movies.
10. Don't listen to the radio, unless its "Christian."
11. Don't wear shorts that go more than a dollar bill's width above your knees.
12. Don't wear bikinis.
13. Don't pierce your ears if you are a boy.
14. Don't use tobacco products.
15. Don't sing choruses.

Anyone want to add to the list? These are just the ones I could think of in the 60 seconds it took me to type them.

Sarah said...

Well, I kind of hope you would never wear a bikini, Bryan! :)

Oh, and the Smurfs were also proponents of Communism.

irreverend fox said...

if the pill can kill a baby then it can kill a baby. not intending to kill the baby does not make the baby less dead. if we know that the pill can actually kill a baby then it is not too much to require that our ministers not do something that can actually kill a baby.

The pill can actually kill a baby or it can not kill a baby. It is one or the other and I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV…so that is why I ask “what does science tell us?” If it can actually kill a baby then it is a sin to take such a pill KNOWING that it might KILL A BABY. We’re not speculating on an issue of ignorance…if the science bares this out then there is NO DOUBT that we should prohibit its use as a contraceptive, period…

BUT...that does not mean NFP either...any form of birth control that can not kill a baby should be a private decision between a husband and wife. Any form that can kill a baby should not be permitted.

(can anyone tell that this is a passionate issue with me?)

Wade Burleson said...

Geoff,

A good point. However, as you know, women will sometimes become pregnant while on the pill. Ovulation does occur in some instances, but when it does, a second hindrence must be overcome and that is the hardening of uterous wall.

I am not attempting to be a doctor. I am showing how the more we SBC leaders demand conformity on areas in which the Bible is silent, the more we will move into areas of privacy to insure conformity.

In His Grace,

wade

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks Ben, for the name correction. I knew it was John, but the hour twas late.

Wade Burleson said...

irreverend fox,

I would encourage you to read Dr. John Gill's "A Body of Divinity." In his work on 'Man' he shows how the coming together of a man and woman does not 'traduce' a soul. In other words, the implantation of the sperm into the egg, does not produce a human soul. Obviously there is life, and yes it should be held sacred because it is the instrument (the body) that will house the soul.

Gill points out that God alone makes the soul. God alone, according to the prophets implants the soul. In addition, death occurs, as Solomon declares, when 'the silver cord' that holds the soul to the body is untied.

Traducionism seems to be a common notion of many evangelicals today, but the Word of God and Baptist theology has for years declared that human life is sacred because God alone has the power to make and impart the human soul.

Scientiests and science cannot do this. But as you are aware, the post has nothing to do with abortion.

In His Grace,

wade

Bill Scott said...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16824365

The link above is but one study, granted. It associates low risk with oral contraceptives.

I however offer other measures of risk for the unborn:
Caffeine
Car Accidents
Low folic acid level at conception
Poor diet during pregnancy
Etc, Etc...

Where do we draw the line? Who determines the rules for narrowing parameters for service? Are the parameters extra-biblical?

Bro. Robin said...

Bro. Wade

This is a disappointing post. With all due respect, if you must stick with scare tactics, stay with kicking out Calvinists or Non-Dispensationalists. While I don't believe that will happen, you might have some teeth with those analogies to scare/frighten and still seem credible.

This is really a weak argument from a world class mind.

Rob Ayers said...

Wade,

While others may be offended, I was merely dissapointed. And please, do not mischaracterize my position of yesterday. What I said was that the analogy could not be made to the article you proffered. The writer was (at least in the article) cogenial in allowing the individual their choice of conscience. THAT was my point. I believed you mischaracterized that article in the funnel of your ultimate conclusion. Think about this: I am one who agrees with you mainly - what will others do with your bombastic aspersions who do not? Perhaps you did it because of who the writer IS - and of course the Pattersons are "weapons free" as far as any of the resistance are concerned. Any other person who wrote the same article would be ignored. And I suspect that the writer would deny vehemetly your conclusion. Perhaps you are being a little pre-emptive. The thing about pre-emptive war of course is you may be wrong on your conclusions, no matter how the past or the present look.

There used to be a time that Christians would judge people by their actions, right or wrong, not on future hypotheticals that they MAY do. This was the theme of course of the Tom Cruise movie "Minority Report." Question: will God judge us on what we MAY do? Or on what we DO?

Rob

bryan riley said...

Irreverend Fox, some would argue whether you are killing a baby or not you are interfering with the author of life any time you attempt to use contraception. If you have faith you will simply allow God to author or not author life in your marriage and He will provide all you need to care for as many or as few babies as He blesses you with. I believe that to be true, but I also believe God may give individuals a different way to go. I think the bottom line point is allow God to be God in other believers' lives and stick to the Word with regard to any absolutes, at least as best as we can understand where there are absolutes in the Word.

Rob Ayers said...

If "life" is not an absolute, pray tell me what is?

Rob

TruthOfActs said...

Wade,
On the subject of wives submitting to their husbands, Mrs. Patterson said, in words to the effect, she submitted even when her husband was wrong. Then on judgment day, he would be accountable to God but not her.
I won’t dell on this but it’s not Biblical.

BTW, a year ago, would you have believed there would be the need for your ‘truth proclaiming’ of today?

In 2004, I wrote that the BFM 2000 was only the tip of the iceberg. That tip was devastating in firing 15 long-time missionaries in one day, and forcing a hundred others to take early retirement.

Is this ‘just water under the bridge’ or when wrong is done, when is it too late to make restitution? Did these missionaries ‘die’ in vain?

When the final ‘iceberg’ rolls over everyone, what’s left of the SBC will be following the footsteps of PPP. (Pope Page Patterson.)
Rex Ray

Tony said...

I agree that Bryan should not wear a bikini :)

While it is dangerous to come up with lists of things that should not be done it does not mean those lists should not be talked about. It also does not mean that there are things that God does prohibit, that are accepted by culture. On the issue of abortion, which I believe God prohibits, I would have to say that if something can be shown that it causes the death of the unborn it should be prohibited because God prohibits it.

I am in firm agreement that the SBC has over stepped the bonds of scripture on the issues that relate to prohibiting drinking. But this does not mean we can not advise that people practice abstinence. All too often I hear “freedom in Christ” turned into “I can do anything I like” when Christ does give many more commands than people want to heed.

In Bryan’s list it says not to wear bikinis but is it not possible that that is could be a biblical command. If we were honest bikini’s do conjure any number of thoughts in most males and that would make wearing one wrong, from a biblical perspective, and thus to be avoided.

If “Don’t pad the pews” means manipulating the numbers that are there then that would be lying and wrong. If it means don’t have cushions that that would just be uncomfortable:)

I am by far not into lists but lately I have heard more than enough people take the opposing stance to an extreme that basically narrows down God’s commands to just proclaim you love Jesus and everything else is fine. But if that were the case we could then include Mormons, JW’s and even some pagans I am friends with. I do think that God does command us to do and not do much more than we as enlightened 21st century Christians like to admit. Lets make sure that if we proclaim something as legalistic it is truly that and not simply that we do not like being told what to do. True freedom in Christ comes from not only being redeemed through the cross and Christ’s substitutionary atonement but also by knowing God’s commands/teachings and obeying them (Matt 28:19-20).

The problem with lists is that even if they are correct people will follow then without knowing the reason but if we teach people to actually see the bible as authoritative, not just inerrant, and they are truly believers they should, through the Holy Spirit, desire to seek what God commands them to do.

I hope this does not label me as a fundamentalist, in the bad way, but I do think we need to be careful that those that dislike unbiblical rules do not start lumping in ones that are biblical simply because they dislike rules.

Matt Brady said...

Wade,

While it is true that this post is not about abortion, you do use the possibility of an abortion taking place as the premise of your argument.

I don't think I understand what you are trying to say with your last comment concerning "traducionism." I would agree with Gill that the human soul comes from God, but so does the physical life (Psalm 127:3). Could you clarify when you believe that the soul and body are united? If not at conception, when? Is this not a wide open door for the pro-abortion crowd to say that a human life does not equal a human soul until after the child exits the womb?

Wade Burleson said...

Robin,

Thanks for the compliment and and the criticism. I will ignore the first and meditate on the second. :)

I think you realize I think long and hard before I post anything. I actually believe what I wrote. I am not trying to scare anyone. I am attempting to articulate my vision of the future if we don't resist the narrowing that is occuring and simply focus on the gospel and our cooperative efforts to spread it.

We are sinking in the quicksand of demands for conformity in areas of non-essentials.

Somebody needs to say enough is enough.

Wade Burleson said...

Tony,

The commands of Christ must be obeyed.

The precepts of men are optional.

monte said...

Rex,

Thank you. Just your acknowledgement of this fact concerning those missionaries who were forced out is so appreciated. I keep hammering away at this, but it's like no one really knows what to do with us. As Richard Nixon once said, "I am not a criminal." We were not criminals. And though some might have thought "Well, they shouldn't have been there in the first place," that's not the case, either. Simply, we were people who had enough discernment and foresight to know where this might ultimately be heading, and under conviction, whether we believed the words in the document or not, we chose not to sign.

We understood that people like PP had not just hatched from an egg and appeared on the spot with all their legalism and harsh tactics. They had been around for a while and we had seen the fallout that had already taken place. We knew that if we gave in to this tactic that we would we become accomplices to the carrying out of a narrowing agenda and the cruel tactics we had already seen used. WE WOULD NOT BE PARTY TO THIS.

Tim Cook said...

OK, speaking to the subject from someone who has done the requisite homework and decided, with my wife, to use NFP: NFP is not in any way related to the idea of keeping women at home and out of the marketplace. We decided that NFP was preffereable to the pill because of the possible abortion idea AND because of the laundry list of possible side effects to my wife; I am a firm believer that our society is over-medicated to begin with. All htat to say that NFP itself is not an evil to be afraid of. HOWEVER, I think wade is right - it is a very personal choice, and not one that the church authorities should become concerned with. And, I think he is also right that thinking it could never happen is a bit naive. If our leaders become convinced that this is an issue to be passionate about, there will be no reason not to require it off all denominational leaders. There is simply not any any president for denying the trustees or leadership from requiring ANYTHING, not matter how far-fetched. That is why we need to draw some kind of line that cannot be crossed in violating matters of personal conscience in interviewing for positions like missionaries. I believe that we have reached that line.

In Christ,
Tim Cook

Tim Cook said...

ummm...that should be "precedent"

Sarah said...

I don't think you sound fundamentalist, Tony. When God's Word says women should dress modestly, women must dress modestly. We must still hold to the Scripture. It's when human beings add to it that becomes shaky ground. If I say, "Girls must not wear shorts," then I am going to judge and criticize any girl I see wearing shorts, even if the shorts are modest. I agree we should never say "I can do what I want because God will forgive." Scripture clearly teaches that we must not use our FREEDOM in Christ as a license to sin. This freedom should be leading us toward repentance and change in our lives through conviction of the Holy Spirit. Rules will never do that in and of themselves because OUR righteousness is as filthy rags--worthless apart from Christ in us.

Wade Burleson said...

Tim Cook,

Of all the posts I have received in the last year and a half, yours spoke to my heart as much as any.

I totally respect your decision for NFP. I honor not only your right to follow NFP, I believe you are being obedient to God's desires for you life.

What speaks the most to me is your gentleness and humility.

You are a man who sees the big picture. If the SBC were full of people like you we would accomplish our goals of reaching the world with the gospel.

You let private matters remain private. You grant freedom to those who disagree.

And you and I are brothers with mutual respect, though we take different approaches and views on the non-essentials.

Well done my friend. I respect you greatly and would never seek to alter your view or choices.

Wade

Matt Brady said...

Wade,

You have responded to other comments, but might have missed mine, so I will repost here:



I don't think I understand what you are trying to say with your last comment concerning "traducionism." I would agree with Gill that the human soul comes from God, but so does the physical life (Psalm 127:3). Could you clarify when you believe that the soul and body are united? If not at conception, when? Is this not a wide open door for the pro-abortion crowd to say that a human life does not equal a human soul until after the child exits the womb?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

irreverend fox said...

Wade,

your response to me is shocking...and does not even make sense. who suggested that science can create anything?

are you suggesting that there can be a time when you'll have a human life, yet soul-less at the same time? If the soul is not present when life begins then when does it arrive? I have never heard of a soul-less human life.

The issue is “how far should our denomination probe into the private lives of its agents…” That’s a good question and I’m addressing that. I think prohibiting its agents from doing something that can cause an abortion is not probing to far into a simply personal issue. Taking the chance of killing a baby is not a personal matter!!! I don't even know if "the pill" can cause an abortion. But are you saying that IF it can be shown that the pill can kill a baby (cause an abortion) that our agencies should not stand against it?

what about other forms of abortion Wade? are you anti-abortion yet pro-choice? My God, I hope not! Are you anti-intentional abortion only?

true or false: IF "the pill" can in fact be demonstrated to possibly cause an abortion then the SBC should prohibit its use among it's leadership?

I think we’d ALL like to hear a clear statement from you at this point Wade.

Very respectfully,

Gary Fox.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of "spooky" you scare me. Any more senarios? Wow, those corrupt guys sure slipped into this organization. Those horrible things like, "be a total abstainer from alcohol" how dare them! I love Jesus I'll do what I please. If I hear voices what's that to them? What's wrong with Billy Joe baptizing me in his swimming pool? Don't you just despise those legalist's? What has this denomination come to? After all 1500 can't be wrong.

Curious George said...

Ovulation can occur even when you use the pill. The pill and other hormone-based contrceptives (like the patch) can harden the uterine walls and prevent implantation. OB's have explained to me that it's a "second line of defense" if the contraceptive fails to prevent ovulation. The medical community believes that if you fail to achieve implantation, you were never pregnant; they would classify it as a miscarriage.

Irreverand fox, here's a scenario:

My wife has endometriosis. There is no cure for it. There are only 2 ways to stop it: being pregnant or taking birth control. So she either has to be pregnant the rest of her life, take the pill, OR suffer from the many problems endo can cause by not taking the pill.

If we applied to be missionaries, and the SBC required non-contraceptive birth control, and we told the truth about our situation, are you saying we should be prevented from being missionaries? I mean, sin is sin and if she takes birth control we may very well prevent implantations.

I know you may call this a rare case, but if we are going to be fundamentalists, then sin is sin, even if it's unintentional or committed in the course of maintaining the mother's health, right?

Is that decision my family's decision with God, or the SBC's decision for me?

Finally, why is it the SBC should nobly block employment to people for one issue (birth control), but won't block employeees that do not take care of their bodies, or people that are bad spouses, or people that are bad parents? Because those are sins as well. Where does it stop? Who on EARTH has the authority to declare which sins are "liveable (meaning you can minister despite these sins in your life)" and which ones are unliveable (sorry, you can't work for us)?

Curious George said...

Irreverend fox says:

"true or false: IF "the pill" can in fact be demonstrated to possibly cause an abortion then the SBC should prohibit its use among it's leadership?"

Why stop at leadership? The whole denomination should be prohibited. Gary, are you prepared to expel church members if they choose to use it? Because IF the pill can do it, then the members are killing babies too.

irreverend fox said...

curious george

my wife also has endometriosis.

she is having surgery on Friday as a matter of fact. I'd ask you all to pray for her since it has been mentioned.

endometriosis is better than taking the chance of killing a baby...at least that is what my wife says...and I agree.

irreverend fox said...

curious george...also...

would you expel a women who has an abortion every time she gets pregnant?

dead is dead. abortion is abortion, regardless if it is intentional, do you agree?

IF it can be shown that "the pill" can kill a baby I'd certainly come out against it and see every warrant to bring discipline to any member using it...AFTER SUCH A THING HAS BEEN SHOWN TO BE A FACT AND AFTER AN APPROPRIATE AMOUNT OF EDUCATION HAS BEEN ISSUED.

this controversy is very new and if that is in fact "science" then there needs to be a great deal of re-education in our churches, certainly...something that would not happen over night...but I'd fight to see that it did happen.

I'm pro-life.

Rich said...

Wade,
I must say that your post is misguided. You seem to understand that the pill can be abortative. In fact, there is NO pill that ONLY prevents ovulation. All pills primarily prevent ovulation, but, secondarily, they alter the lining of the uterus thus preventing the implantation of an embryo. Most of us consider an embryo a life.
All this to say, I understand that this is not the purpose of your post. This evidence, however, serves to buttress my main point. That is, insofar as we recognize the pill as potentially abortative, we should have no problem with SBC agencies "sticking their noses in our private lives."
Part of your argument seems to be based on the notion that they should "keep out of the bedroom," and while I appreciate your libertarian sentiment, I must disagree. I dare say that you wouldn't have a problem with the IMB forbidding a couple's right to have a "standard" abortion while on the mission field. You cited a persons lack of "conviction" about the matter, but what if a person has no conviction about a standard abortion? This does not make it okay; ignorance does not justify a person's actions.
Insofar as you see the potential for the pill to be abortative and you agree that "standard" abortions should be prohibited, there is no problem with the IMB forbidding the use of the pill.
To be honest, your argument sounds very similar to liberal politicians. I truly don't mean this as an insult; I simply wish to point out the similarity. They often say that the government has no business legislating morality by telling a woman what she can and cannot do with her body. By the same token, you say that the IMB has no business telling a missionary what she can or cannot do. Just as I disagree with them, I disagree with you.

Curious George said...

fox...

It IS a fact. The pill CAN and DOES prevent implantation. So there's no IF to it. The church is unwilling to accept it because for so long we championed it's safety while laughing at the error of the Catholic church to enforce the prohibition of it.

I hope your wife's surgery goes well. I don't know if this is her first, but if it is, be prepared for severe cramping from the gas they will use to expand her abdominal cavity, it takes a couple of days to expel. My wife says her post-op pain from endo surgery was just as bad as labor.

irreverend fox said...

curious george, thank you for your prayers...it will be her first surgery...it's this Friday.

Matt Brady said...

Gary,

We will certainly be praying.



Curious George,

I'm sorry for your wife's medical situation as well. Perhaps NFP in addition to the pill would solve both problems. But then, I'm in no way an expert and you have studied this more than I have.

I do, however, take exception to your use of what an OB told you would be just a miscarriage. The word "miscarriage" sounds better, just like "fetus" sounds better to an abortionist than does "baby." A miscarriage is by definition a premature ending of a pregnancy before the baby is able to survive outside the womb. If that miscarriage is intentionally induced by a drug, that is an abortion regardless of what an OB decides to call it.

The only exception to that would be if we are willing to say that life begins not at conception, but rather at implantation on the wall of the uterus. I think most of us would agree that life begins at conception.

My wife had an OB who completely stopped prescribing the pill, because in his professional opinion, it did cause abortions. He felt so strongly about it that he was willing to lose a number of patients over it.

With our limited understanding, issues of birth control can be difficult and very emotional. I'm not trying to be argumentative, and I'm not sure what the answers are, but I'm very concerned about the line of reasoning that describes life beginning at implantation or at a subjective timing of unification of soul and body, etc. If anyone can write their own definition of when life begins, then we must roll over and yield to the pro-abortion lobby.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

I am assuming that in your use of the “unnamed seminary president’s” objection to ILC policies on feeding babies you are trying to establish grounds for the baseless accusation against Dr. Dorothy Patterson. What is amusing is that you actually disproved your own point. If what you say is true it appears that the ILC was narrowing the parameters of cooperation beyond the BF&M by requiring nursing mothers to use a pump and traumatically deny nursing infants the comfort of their mother. It would seem that you would be on fire to protect the right of mothers and newborns to feed as they see fit and would condemn ILC policy that was tearing newborns from their mother’s breasts. If those who stood against the injustice of narrowed parameters by overstating their case would they not have been doing exactly what you do in most of your posts?

By the way, it seems that Southern Baptist boards and agencies should have some interest in the matter of employees using abortive contraceptives.

“We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.” (BF&M 2000)

Rob Ayers said...

Matt Brady,

Not putting any words in Wade's mouth (not knowing his heart, yet observing his past actions) I would say that Wade has no answer for you (or at least one that he publically wants to express - and I will state that I hope I am wrong, and I will be happy to be wrong). He needs to answer your question, otherwise the silence is deafening. We can assume an answer from silence ("Qui tacit consenture vidatur") but that answer would probably chill the resistance movement to its very core (again, I am willing to be wrong). However it needs to be answered, brother, I agree.

Rob

Anonymous said...

You know, it seems some are getting into the jot and tittle of life and faith here, using the "abortion" issue, even though this post was about the possibility of more extrabiblical rules being laid down to define what makes a good employee of the SBC, and subtly indicates what makes a good Christian. Truly, the most faith-filled position on life is the one who says I will do nothing but allow God to determine when the womb will bear a child. Anything less really is just getting into the letter of the law and not the Spirit. But again, that is not what this post is about. I'm not sure why people want to derail it to argue they have the best understanding of when life exists and what amounts to murder of such life.

irreverend fox said...

I know that I am very upset right now...I hope and pray to God that Wade will clear all this up...I really respect and admire Wade...I hope that doesn't change...

Curious George said...

Matt,

I have issue with it as well. I was just passing along what we were told when we decided to stop using the pill.

Matt Brady said...

Curious George,

I understand.

Matt Brady said...

Anonymous,

I think we all know what Wade’s post is about. He has repeatedly written that his blogging is about the narrowing of parameters to make “tertiary” issues essential issues for working within the SBC. He has used numerous different issues to make his point., and today he chose to use the very hypothetical issue of the use of the pill one day being used to prohibit missionaries from serving with the IMB. I think it is fair to discuss just how “tertiary” this issue is.

What scares me most is Wade’s reference to traducionism as not being taught in the Bible or held by Baptists. The Bible’s teaching of , and our belief in original sin would lend great credibility to the fact that we do hold to the human soul coming into being as a result of the actions of father and mother. Nevertheless, where a soul comes from can be debated by greater theologians than myself, but Wade’s insinuation that an egg and seed once conceived does not have a human soul is truly scary. In this comment stream Wade says, “Obviously there is life, and yes it should be held sacred because it is the instrument (the body) THAT WILL house the soul.” (Emphasis mine)

I’m not trying to hijack the point of the post. I would just like a little clarification.

Tom Bryant said...

Judge Pressler called Dr. Sullivan a "moderate" in his book. You believe he is part of the spooky fundamentalists. Sounds like Dr. Sullivan is right where he ought to be.

Matt Brady said...

I'm not trying to be shocking in asking this, but could not someone using Wade's line of reasoning argue that an abortion at an early stage (before the soul unites with the body) would be acceptable? After all, they would not be killing a real human being, just a blob of tissue that would one day become a human being with a soul.

I would really like some clarification here. Does Wade believe the product of conception is a soulless fetus or does he believe it is a human child?

Lee said...

I don't remember all the questions, but I think most of us who attended an SBC seminary remember going through an interogation of similar proportions to justify, as I was told, "Southern Baptists investment of their missions money in your theological education."

Perhaps someday someone in the SBC will invent a micro chip that can be implanted under your ear to make sure your thoughts are pure....

Les Puryear said...

Wade,

It seems that most commenters are distracted by your illustration from your point.

To me, your point is: Let's not go beyond the essentials of our faith (which I have been arguing is the BFM2K). If we allow agencies and institutions to add doctrinal requirements beyond the essentials (BFM2K), we risk theological chaos with no end in sight.

If I have misspoken regarding your point, please provide correction. :)

Regards,

Les

Charles said...

From Dr. John Gill's "The Body of Divinity" Book 3 Chapter 3. (http://www.preteristarchive.com/
Books/1769_gill_divinity.html)

Some have been, and are of opinion, that the souls of men are "ex traduce", as Tertullian; or generated by and derived from their parents, with their bodies. But against this it may be observed, that Christ was made in all things like unto us, having a true body and a reasonable soul; which soul of his could not be generated by and derived from his parents, not from a father, because he had none, as man; nor from his mother, for then she, being a sinful woman, it must have been infected and defiled with the contagion of sin, the corruption of nature; whereas he was holy and harmless, without spot and blemish. Moreover, if souls are by natural generation from their immediate parents, they must be derived either from their bodies, or from their bodies and souls, or from their souls only; not from their bodies, for then they would be corporeal, whereas they are not; not from both bodies and souls; for then they would be partly corporeal, and partly incorporeal, which, they are not; not from their souls only, for as an angel is not generated by an angel, so not a soul by a soul. Besides, if the souls of men are derived from the souls of parents, it is either from a part of them, or from the whole; not from a part, for then the soul would be partible and divisible, as matter is, and so not immaterial; and as not a part, so neither can their whole souls be thought to be communicated to them, for then they would have none, and perish; to such absurdities is this notion reducible. Besides, what is immaterial, as the soul is, can never be educed out of matter; if the soul is generated out of the matter of parents, then it is and must be material; and if material, then corruptible; and if corruptible, then mortal; and it is a maxim, that what is generated, may be corrupted; and if the soul may be corrupted, then it is not immortal; the doctrine of the soul’s immortality, becomes indefensible by this notion; for if this be admitted, the other must be relinquished.[10] But what puts this matter out of all doubt is, the distinction the apostle makes between the "fathers of our flesh", and the "Father of spirits" (Heb. 12:9). Man consists of two parts, of "flesh" and "spirit", body and soul; the former the apostle ascribes to immediate parents, as instruments thereof; and the latter to God, as the Father, Author, and Creator of it. Nor is it an objection of any moment, to the soul being of the immediate creation of God, that then a man does not generate a man: to which it may be replied, that he may be said to generate a man, though strictly speaking he only generates a part of him; as when one man kills another, he is truly said to kill a man, though he only kills his body; so a man may be said to generate a man, though he only generates the body; from whence in this case man is denominated. Moreover, as in death, the whole man may be said to die, because death is a dissolution of the whole, though each part remains; so the whole man may be said to be generated, because in generation there is an union and conjunction of the parts of man; though one part is not generated, yet because of the union of the parts, the whole is said to be so. Nor is it an objection of greater weight, that man does not do what other creatures do, generate the whole of their species; as a horse a horse, not only the flesh, but the spirit of it; since it is not at all derogatory to man, but it is his superior excellency, that his soul is not generated as the spirit of a beast is, but comes immediately from the hand of God. Such who are otherwise right in their notion of things, give into this, in order to get clear of a difficulty attending the doctrine of original sin, and the manner of its propagation, which they think is more easily accounted for, by supposing the soul derived from parents by natural generation, and so corrupted; but though this is a difficulty not easily to be resolved, how the soul coming immediately from God, is corrupted with original sin; it is better to let this difficulty lie unresolved, than to give up so certain a truth, and of so much importance, as the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is; which, as has been seen, must be given up, if this notion is received; but there are ways and methods for the clearing of this difficulty, without being at the expense of the loss of such an important truth; as will be shown when we come to treat of the doctrine of original sin. In the meanwhile, let us take it for granted, that souls are of God’s immediate creation; the making of them he claims to himself; "The souls that I have made" (Isa. 57:16; Jer 38:16).

The souls of men were not made in eternity, but in time. The pre-existence of all human souls before the world was, is a notion held by Plato among the heathens, and espoused by Origen, among Christians; but is exploded by all wise, thoughtful, and judicious men; for whatsoever was before the world was, is eternal; if souls were created before the world, then they are eternal; whereas there was nothing before the world but God, to whom eternity only belongs (Ps. 90:2), nor were souls created together, as angels were; but they are created one by one, when their bodies are prepared to receive them; they are not created without the body, and then put into it; but they are formed in it; "Who formeth the spirit of man within him" (Zech. 12:1), not brought quraqen, from without, as Aristotle[11] expresses it; but when the embryo is fit to receive it, it is created by God, and united to it; but how it is united, and what is the bond of that union, we must be content to be ignorant of; as well as of the particular place of its abode, whether diffused through the whole body, as some think, or has an apartment in the brain, or has its seat in the heart, which is most likely, and most agreeable to scripture, and to that known maxim, that the heart is the first that lives, and the last that dies.

Leigh Ann Powers said...

Wade,

I apologize because I know this comment is somewhat off topic, but I have to say that I was really suprised to hear that the IMB had asked nursing mothers to use a breast pump rather than making accomodations for them to nurse their babies. As a nursing mother I would have been neither willing nor able to comply with such a request for several reasons:

1) Not all nursing babies will accept a bottle. Mine wouldn't--and expressed her strong opinions on the matter to anyone within earshot.

2) Because babies are more efficient than breastpumps not all nursing mothers can express enough milk for their babies with a pump. Even with a top of the line $300 breastpump I was never able to express more than a couple ounces at a time--hardly more than a snack for a growing infant.

3) For the nursing mother, skipping nursing sessions can be physically uncomfortable, potentially embarassing if your milk lets down at the accustomed nursing time, and can lead to complications such as mastitis and clogged ducts.

4)Given the well-documented emotional and physical benefits of nursing to mother and baby, as well as the fact that presumably some of the mothers would be serving in areas where it might be difficult to obtain clean water for formula and sterilizing bottles, it seems to me that the IMB should do their best to make accomodations for mothers to nurse their infants. Young babies are fairly portable, and many moms could probably either bring their babies with them or have a nursery worker bring them the baby so they could discreetly nurse during the training session. Or with the technology available at MLC, surely a nursing room could be set aside where the moms could still watch the proceedings.

I really hope that the IMB is not currently putting nursing moms in the position you described in your post.

Again, I'm sorry for focusing on the illustation rather than the topic at hand, but as a mom who nursed for 16 months I can identify and sympathize with moms who were in this situation.

Overall though, I agree with and support what you are doing. The narrowing of theological parameters in our convention is disturbing. I am grateful to you for taking a stand.

Blessings,
Leigh Ann

jbub said...

Matt Brady,

So when are soul and body joined? Do you have biblical evidence that this occurs at conception? I don't see it...

The thing that distinguishes man from animal is that we have a soul and animals don't. So to answer your question-- yes, it would be acceptable to abort living tissue that does not have a soul.

It seems to me that the primary difficulty in the abortion discussion is that God has not chosen to tell us when the body receives a soul. For the life of me, I don't get that! It seems to me that on such an issue that all would deem as critical, that God has been silent.

I'm sure this post will invite plenty of flames....

jbub

B Nettles said...

Wade,
If "fox" is right in how policy should be implemented, shouldn't we establish a new agency which investigates all the possible things that a pregnant woman could do that MIGHT result in a fertilized egg failing? That way we can quit depending on the sovereignty of God to bring forth what He will.

Fox, you are bordering on "bad science" by saying (my paraphrase) that even if something has the smallest chance of causing an abortion, intentional or unintentional, we must exclude those who use that method. We need to make sure she doesn't use aspirin either. Oh, and did she take enough folic acid, because if she didn't, that could cause a miscarriage. Be careful, because this type of argument NEVER ends.

And science is never the neutral, authoratative thing that you appear to be saying that it is."IF it can be scientifically demonstrated... " There is always a bias and uncertainty in scientific research.

I would much rather see a policy implemented on whether your soul has been damaged by attending a place like Baylor {SMILE BEARS!!}

Steve A said...

This legalistic separatism demonstrated by Mr. Suillivan and other agency heads will result in fewer and fewer missionaries being sent where they need to be and more and more gifts given by God going unused in His service. Will He forgive our corporate denial of so many gifts being denied to His use? Will our lampstand go dark through such self-important, Pharasaical decisions by men?

Agency leaders, this is not a game you play at your leisure. I assume the Spirit led the Body of Christ to place you in these positions.

The clock is running and you seem to be fiddling your tunes of making more and more rules to show other sinners how glorious you are.

Total abstinence from alchohol? The Catholic tradition of birth control? How some pray can disallow them? What's next, no musical instruments? No haircutting? No shaving? No belts? No synthetic materials in clothing?

Hell is filling up, and you're showing off how pure you can be by making up more rules as you go?
Tell you what, make you next rule about obese gluttons, and we'll see how many trustees feel the pinch.


Steve Austin

G. Alford said...

For those who think that what John Sullivan has done to all Baptist of the state of Florida is really not a “Hill on which to die”… let me frame the issue in a little different light.

It’s not about alcohol; it’s about an abuse of power and of trust broken.

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his word, or not contained in it. (The Baptist Faith and Message 2000, The Baptist Confession of Faith 1689)

John Sullivan and all those who are imposing their beliefs (commandments of men) upon the Baptist of Florida are most certainly violating the principle of Religious Liberty expressed in our Baptist Confessions.

But it goes far beyond that!

The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed, to be observed in his churches, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and showing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death, confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other… The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to a holy use,… (The Baptist Confession of Faith 1689)

Can anyone deny that the Lord Jesus Christ instituted the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper with the two elements of bread and wine? Can anyone deny that there in that upper room Christ and his blessed Apostles each partook of the bread and the wine? And has it not been true that down throughout Christian history that believers have maintained the practice, received by example from Christ himself, of observing the Lord’s Supper by partaking of the bread and wine without altering or substituting either of these two “blessed elements”?

And now John Sullivan, having placed himself in the position to speak for God on this matter, is telling all Florida Baptist that he is the proper authority on the ordnance of the Lord’s Supper, and that they no longer have the Christian Liberty to follow the example set by Jesus Christ, His blessed Apostles, Christian History, or our Baptist Confessions of Faith.

If this does not frighten anyone then I do not know what will…
http://gritsgrace.blogspot.com/2007/02/sullivans-law.html

Grace to all,

Anonymous said...

I completely agre that if not careful "fundamentalism" will go too far, perhaps it has, but I also realize that if not careful this "reformation" will lead to an "everything goes, who am I am to tell you how to live" mentality as well. Balance is the key. Balance the freedom we have in Christ. Balance based upon the fact we are slaves for Christ.

Eric

G. Alford said...

Eric,
I agree that balance is necessary…

But for Heavens sake, do not deny me the Lord’s Table…

Grace to all,

Anonymous said...

Some of us don't know much about traduce-shun or whatever... And, I don't know that the bible has ever told me anything about it... so, why quibble? It's just theory isn't it? Minutiae for which we have no answer? Deut 29:29...

Anonymous said...

g.alford, it is sad that some take it there. I think the convention and Christians in general would be well served to learn that there are first, second, and third levels of theology. The Lord's Table is only denied based upon first level issues. IMHO.

Eric

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that Wade recently had a posting entitled "When brothers in Christ won't talk". Wade chose the abortion illustration. It seems to me that he does not think that the Bible speaks to life beginning at conception and thinks that ‘notion’ is a non-essential. It appears that the BFM2000 does speak to life at conception. (I could be wrong; I just read that in a previous comment) In any case, I think the questions being asked by Matt Brady are valid. We could accuse the questioners of getting off topic, but that sounds a lot like accusing people of not following the proper guidelines for questioning PP or the BOT.

Bob Westwood

Anonymous said...

about the abortion issue, I have no idea what some are trying to prove, but some are getting dangerously close to saying abortion is ok. Maybe it is all semantics, but unless that is what you are trying to support, I would reconsider how I write my points.

Eric

Wade Burleson said...

To all readers:

Les Puryear has hit it on the head.

Everyone is distracted from the point of my post. Or maybe even more precisely, everyone is proving my post.

When we lose sight of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and a world in need of the good news that God provides salvation through His eternal Son's death on the cross, we lose sight of our mission, our calling, and one of the very means through which God is glorified - the redemption of sinners.

Wade Burleson said...

Leigh Ann,

Thank you for your insightful and personal comment. I really appreciate ladies with the intelligence and courage to jump into the foray.

You have won me over with your arguments, but I confess, I think you may have missed my point. I am not saying a woman shouldn't breastfeed -- I am arguing that if someone says a Christian woman MUST breastfeed because it is the natural and godly way --- then we have made a precept.

Let us give freedom to everyone to make their own choices. I respect yours, and if I were a woman I might decide the natural way because of your arguments ---

But the issue for me is protecting the individual and autonomous decisions of Christians in churches within the SBC on issues not addressed by the Bible and the BFM 2000.

Anonymous said...

Wade, I believe the things being critiqued by you and others are issues that address those already following Christ. No one on either side of this debate would deny the centrality of the salvation of the Lord. Perhaps, you can explain to me how your posts are primarily about bringing the Gospel to the lost; they seem to primarily be about SBC polity. So maybe we all have lost sight. (This sounds more sarcastic then I intend.)

Eric

irreverend fox said...

nettles you said:

"Fox, you are bordering on "bad science" by saying (my paraphrase) that even if something has the smallest chance of causing an abortion, intentional or unintentional, we must exclude those who use that method."

Sir, let's get real, ok? I never said that. From the way it is sounding...the use of "the pill" does not simply cause "the smallest chance of causing an abortion". It sounds like it will actively cause an abortion…that it is designed to do so.

I've asked this very simple question: Will "the pill" actively cause an abortion? If so, then clearly this should not be permitted by any SBC agent.

Are you, sir, in favor of our missionaries or agents KNOWINGLY taking a pill that, from what I've read today, can and will actively cause an abortion? Are you in favor of that?

Just answer the question.

If aspirin can and will cause an abortion then I'd mandate them to abstain from that as well. I'm in favor of mandating that all our agents abstain from anything that they KNOW would actively cause a little baby to die...are you sir?

Or are you pro-choice?

irreverend fox said...

Wade,

this is an issue addressed in the BF&M200

section XVIII

"Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord."

It appears that you don't believe this statement...Please stop side stepping this issue...you have stepped onto this land mine by your post and subsequent statements in this comment section.

it is an issue the BF&M2000 addresses...now will you?

Wade Burleson said...

Matt Brady,

You say, "I'm not trying to be shocking in asking this, but could not someone using Wade's line of reasoning argue that an abortion at an early stage (before the soul unites with the body) would be acceptable? After all, they would not be killing a real human being, just a blob of tissue that would one day become a human being with a soul.

I would really like some clarification here. Does Wade believe the product of conception is a soulless fetus or does he believe it is a human child?


Matt, as Charles has conveniently given to us Gill's Body of Divinity in this comment section I will not rehearse it for you. All Baptists prior to the 20th Century would have been Gillite in regards to the Biblical understanding of the creation of the soul.

You ask two specific questions: First, "could someone not use Wade's line of reasoning to argue for abortion?"

Abortion is wrong. But the reason it is wrong is because of the moral choice made by the person doing the aborting. That person is basically saying "Regardless of God's revealed desires for my life (bearing a child), I intend to extinguish the life of the child."

I make no distinction between the human body created through biological reproduction and the soul that is housed within that body -- both are sacred -- created in the image of God. It is what makes us difference from animals. To take human life is wrong.

The second question is "When does God impart the soul to the body?" Your words are 'can a fetus be soulless (sic)'. My answer is two fold: First, I do not know when God imparts the soul, but frankly neither do you. We should protect the fetus regardless.

Second, can a fetus be without a soul? I do not know the specific answer to that question, but I can give you an opinion.

Women will probably naturally abort hundreds, possibly thousands of fertilized embryos during their individual lifetimes as the fertilized eggs are flushed out of the body through the body's natural menstruel cycle naturally.

I am not convinced that when Christian mothers arrive in heaven there will be thousands of children (or adults) waiting at heaven's gates saying, "Hello mother."

God imparts the soul at a time of His choosing. I do not know that time, but Gill and others believed it occurred around the time of what the old timers called quickening. It's interesting that the regeneration of the spirit by the Spirit of God (spiritual life given to the dead soul) is also called 'quickening' by the Apostle Paul.

Regardless of when God imparts the soul, abortion speaks to the sin in the heart of the mother or father who desires to desecrate human life, and as those who know me understand, I have opposed abortion at every turn and in every semester, including leading our state's fight against it.

But I fight abortion on the moral grounds that to kill either the body that will contain a human soul, or the human soul itself, is murder, because both body and soul are sacred. I don't hold, neither does Scripture teach, that when an egg and the sperm intersect a soul is traduced. Scientiests are not creating human life in test tubes. They take biological life and watch it grow. God imparts the soul.

Again, according to the prophets, only God has the power to create the soul, and He does in His time and in His way.

And the same God who created the soul will call that soul back to Himself to give an account for how his/her life was lived.

"Fear not him who can destroy the body, but fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell."

Jesus was referring to God in the above verse, not the devil. Hell is nothing but the eternal wrath of God upon the human being that has rebelled against his Creator.

I think we should do our part as Southern Baptists to proclaim the gospel of Christ to a lost and rebellious world and quit getting bogged down in the non-essentials.

In His Grace,

wade

Wade Burleson said...

Fox,

Children are a heritage from God.

They should be protected at all costs.

In His Grace,

Wade

P.S. Again, I think my point is being proved. We get so consumed on the non-essentials we lose sight of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

irreverend fox said...

thank you for making your thoughts clear Wade.

I think I've had enough.

God bless.


Gary

Lu said...

Oh my goodness. This is quite a discussion....

I don't think this is really about fundamentalism or liberalism. I think its about legalism and grace.

It seems to me that in all this talk of how "wrong" and "sinful" abortion is, grace is completely missing and forgotten. All this judging and condemning as unfit for service anyone who would, through use of a medication, unknowingly "abort" a new life -- as well as all the talk of whether life begins at conception, implantation, when the soul arrives... -- all of it is, from what I can see, a microcosm of what's happening throughout the leadership halls of the SBC (which, of course, was Wade's point to begin with).

And that is: There is no grace.

Where is God's loving, compassionate, all-consuming grace in all this?

Dougald asked, "What if God was the interviewer? What if a fertalized egg was truly a living being created in the image of God? Should an individual Christian be thinking what God is thinking? Or is okay for them not to?"

Good questions. What if God were interviewing you? Would you want Him to judge you on the basis of the Law, and your keeping of every command, or on the basis of Grace?

If we are going to judge people as fit for service based on the law, we must then judge ourselves by that same law. How do you measure up? Are you godly, righteous, holy 100% of the time? Do obey 100% of the law 100% of the time?

I'm so grateful to God He doesn't judge or condemn me based on my actions!! I'd not only be disqualified from serving Him but I'd be bound for hell right now----because I swear I cut off at least one person this morning in my rush to get to work -- and then I got furious at someone else who did the exact same thing to me, and proceeded to tell them off in not very Christian words (not that they heard it, I was in my car with the windows up, but does that really matter?). I was NOT thinking happy, kind, loving thoughts about that person, believe me. Just my commute to work would disqualify me!

If we are going to think as God thinks, the first place we've got to go is Grace. The first thing we have to start with is Grace. We have to start there because that is where God starts. And ends.

God pours out His grace on us! Through Jesus and the cross, through His Spirit within us, God's grace gives us everything we need, and covers us when we sin, when we fail, covers all our inadequateness, and redeems everything.

Grace covered my attitude and actions and words this morning. When sin abounds, so does Grace. I don't keep on sinning to get more grace, but thank God I don't have to worry about reaching some sort of limit or "cap" on it.

But if I were under the law, well, like I said, I'd be bound for hell right now. Because the law is inadequate. All it can do is condemn. It is powerless to save. Or redeem. I know we all know this already.

So when are we going to learn that the law is just as inadequate as a measure to judge people fit or unfit for Kingdom service? It cannot reveal the heart. It does not show us our humanity, only our sin.

The other thing with the Law is there are no big laws and little laws; there are no big sins or little sins. God sees it all as the same. Whether you take the Pill and unwittingly, unknowingly abort a new life, or whether you mutter under your breath in frustration at your spouse, it's all the same under the law; you are guilty and condemned as unworthy for service.

So if we're going to disqualify someone for taking a pill, we have to disqualify everyone else for muttering under our breaths -- because none of us are innocent of that one, of that I'm sure!

So then, who is qualified to serve?

The only solution is Grace. When we give grace to others, we don't judge them by their actions. Rather, we allow God thru His grace within us to affirm their humanity and their ability to serve, and the best place for that service.

Wade, Your post is, as usual, full of turth AND grace. Thank you for continuing to blog, and for doing so with grace oozing from every word.

Bill Scott said...

Matthew 5:15 - People15 do not light a lamp and put it under a basket16 but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house...

I think that sometimes all of our extrabiblical arguments and extrabiblical doctrine weave a "basket" that obscures the light of the Gospel.

What do we want to really accomplish in this world?

(1) Do we want a polished and shiny polity, that is effective in administrative dictates?

(2) Or, do we want to effectively reach the lost with the Light of the Gospel of Christ Jesus, through a compassionate and effective organization?

How do we take care of the lost if we treat some of our own so badly?

RM said...

All this stuff about birth control pills, breast pumps, and nursing babies is WAY MORE THAN I NEED TO HEAR AND KNOW! Surely people have to realize that Wade wasn't bringing that up to actually discuss it.

I still remember at the SBC about 20 years ago when a preacher made a motion condemning oral sex. After half of the audience passed out from hearing "the words" and the other half was rolling in the floor laughing I never thought we would be where we are today.

I'm just sitting here wondering what we will be discussing next!

Anonymous said...

Wade - Would you please, so that we can get back to your important points, clarify your position on conception, when life begins, etc. I appreciate SO MUCH your posts, and you're correct -- people are missing the point. HOWEVER, it also appears to those who are passionate about the issues of life (not abortion), or to those who wish to throw stones at you, that you're ducking the question.

Charles Brazeale
Neosho, MO

Wade Burleson said...

Charles,

Read my comment above. It's as clear as crystal.

Wade Burleson said...

rm,

Thanks for reminding us all of the issues and redirecting the conversation.

I promise you the majority of SBC people see the issue. I am patient that if it said enough, the others in the minority will begin to see it.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade: I appreciate your expressed stand on abortion. I wrote a poem about abortion, ten or so years ago. I'm going to email it to you, should it ever be useful to you in your stance.

Feel free to do whatever, with it.

Anonymous said...

Wade -

Thank you for your clarification. That OUGHT to satisfy everyone.

You were apparently replying as I was asking the question. Forgive me for asking for what you had already presented!

I appreciate you, Brother.

Charles Brazeale
Neosho, MO

bryan riley said...

Lu, FABULOUS.

Anonymous said...

Tom Bryant,

As an FBC pastor in Osprey, do you consider Dr. John Sullivan a theological "moderate"?

One Salient Oversight said...

I have posted on the abortion issue here

I will point out here that I defend the use of the Pill, despite the 1% chance of conception and miscarriage. Click on my link to find out my argument.

And Wade - this has obviously turned into a "hot potato" subject that you didn't intend. I understand your reason for using this illustration and do not, in any way, believe you support abortion.

RefbapRob said...

Lu,
May I ask what your theological pre-suppostions are in your post on law and grace. I ask because it seems that alot of your pre-suppositions are based on a antinomian base. Often times you will find that point behind the statement..."we are no longer under the law".
In Christ
Robert I Masters

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks One Salient Oversight.

You are correct about my opposition to abortion.

I do believe that the point of my post, however, will ultimately be remembered because of the illustration that is used.

ColinM said...

First, and I think the most obvious inconsistency- not taking the pill is NOT NFP! NFP is much more than not taking a pill.

Second, many people have been born while their mother was on the pill. Therefore, pharmaceutical companies put an abortifacient in the pill so, in case conception does indeed occur, the fertilized egg will not implant, therefore causing it to abort. There are pills, I believe, that contain no abortifacients. (and btw, this is not a chance of happening, it does happen)

Third, your argument:

Abortion is wrong. But the reason it is wrong is because of the moral choice made by the person doing the aborting. That person is basically saying "Regardless of God's revealed desires for my life (bearing a child), I intend to extinguish the life of the child."

is interesting. The same argument can be used against abortifacient pills, if the man and woman know its functionality. It is also veyr interesting how you divorce morality from the Bible and/or theology.

Fourth, if the Bible is silent on it, why are you loud on it?:

the implantation of the sperm into the egg, does not produce a human soul.

Fifth, the logical conclusion of your position would dictate you must not reject partial-birth abortion on biblical grounds.

Sixth, in what century did something as weighty as abortion become outside the church's purview and member's accountability?


It seems to me Les, and you, are wrong. You are using the BF&M to substantiate a claim that parameters would be narrowed by enforcing anti-abortion measures. You assume that this would narrow parameters in a negative manner. It truly is amazing to me how many take your word for it when your logic and reasoning argue the exact opposite.

Wade Burleson said...

Colin,

This post is not about abortion. It is about demands for conformity on non-essentials. Respectfully, it is your logic that seems to be faulty.

This post is about people demanding you cease using the pill. A faulty view of God's sovereignty and man's inability to reproduce himself is at the heart of Fundamentalism.

The Bible teaches we are created in God's image and we cannot, and do not, thwart the purposes of God. It seems you and others are the ones attempting to use abortion in your arguments.

I am saying that taking the pill has nothing to do with abortion, but in an attempt to get everyone to conform in not taking this contraception device, some might resort to attacking those who use the pill as 'supportive of abortion.'

I hope that is not your view.

In His Grace,

wade

Wade Burleson said...

If it is.

You prove my post.

:)

RefBapRob said...

Lu,
Here is a link to what Wade wrote about law and grace.
http://kerussocharis.blogspot.com/2005/12/law-and-grace-in-church.html
In Christ
From the Southern Baptist Geneva
Robert I Masters

Michael Copeland said...

Well, this comment is late and is not a big thing, just an agreement, not having anything to do with the abortion issue. So i bet it will go unnoticed.

I agree with Wade about the tendency of IMB board of trustees to make the smallest doctrine an issue of service.

My wife and I have been in the process to go as apprentices for more then two years now. We have been stalled for a number of things. Wisdom teeth, and other medical clearance issues, a hurricane and the move it caused. But among those things has also been doctrinal. I have had to be re-baptized in a SB church due to the fact that I was baptized by immersion after salvation in a church the I did not belong to as a member. Because I was not a member there was no way for the IMB to check up on my baptism, and the doctrinal beliefs of that church. At least that was how it was explained to me by our Candidate Consultant (who is an amazing man, and has helped us immeasurably).

Right now we are held up on one thing, my wife has to lead someone to the Lord. I don't know if its a policy, or a rule of the books, but both my wife and I have had to led someone to the Lord within the last year in order to be appointed.

Well, long story short, it seems amaziing to me the small rules that continue to grow within the IMB. What is funny is all the Candidate Consultants we have talked to, all the missionaries we have been in contact with including our (hopefully) future supervisors, do not deal with it on the field, and most believe that these things are hinderances to getting people on the field rather than actual helps in highering qualified, and passionate workers.

Wade, as a trustee, I wanted to put a vote in with you, to keep pointing out the small doctrines becoming big policy. Also, about the whole leading someone to the Lord within the last year issue. I understand the desire to make sure that workers are doing the basics of the Christian walk, and witnessing is included in that. But witnessing and someone actually coming to know Christ are two different things. One is up to us, the other is up to our King.

I also have personal friends, who have desired to serve with the IMB and because of one of the fore mentioned small doctrines have either given up or been excluded. I think the IMB is losing out on many good, called, workers.

If you have time amongst the thousands of other stuff, let me know what you think.

Wade Burleson said...

Michael Copeland,

I think you and your wife will make great SBC missionaries.

Congratulations!

I also think you get it.

wade

Matt Brady said...

Wade,

I appreciate the time you took to make a detailed and clear response to my questions. I think I understand your position much better now, so after this comment, agree or disagree, I will leave the issue alone, and let you get back to what is essential versus non-essential.

I can see how your line of reasoning could defend all human life both physical life minus a soul or physical plus a soul, and then we can leave the timing of body and soul unification to God. It would make no difference. My real concern is that someone who does not have any values concerning the cells that make up the physical side could use your line of reasoning to say that since as you say, scientists aren't creating life in the test tube, then embryonic stem cell research is all right or that early term abortions are Biblically acceptable. Even with your high view of the physical side, it almost seems that you come dangerously close to saying that the youngest products of conception are expendable since many are dispelled from women's bodies naturally anyway. I think equating a natural miscarriage to an intentional one is a bit much, but I see your point.

I don't know enough to say that all your reasoning is wrong, just that some might take it in a very bad direction. I'll have to study some more on the whole Traducion issue. [By the way, thanks for teaching some of us a new word. :-) ]

I don't think I will come to agree with you on this, but I do appreciate you taking the time to help me understand your previous comments.

Karen said...

"I am saying that taking the pill has nothing to do with abortion..."
But the problem is that there is new medical evidence that needs to be evaluated that it may indeed cause an early abortion.

Count me in as one of those in the pew who admire your efforts to stand against wrongdoing in the SBC, specifically overnarrowing of parameters for service.
But I am also one of those increasingly puzzled. Sometimes you sound like you are wanting to go to the opposite extreme of complete individualism on all but a very short list.
And you are using some fairly inflammatory examples (Nazism was another one) all the while saying that you are only debating issues, not people.

I do not think this thread has been a tangent. You implied that Dorothy Patterson could be intending to force her views on birth control on others.
Since you brought up the example, (and as others have pointed out, it wasn't a very good one) it is apropos for you to clarify what you mean by it. After all, many people who hold to your view about the impartation of the soul do use that to justify early-term abortions.

In other words, you have a lot of support for specific things you have complained about.
But you are in danger of losing that support if people perceive a desire on your part to attack individuals for what you think they might theoretically do some day. All the while saying that people should not read so much into your statements, that you are as pro-life as they come.

Well, I am glad you cleared it up, because some of your earlier comments were more suspect to me than Dorothy Patterson's.

Karen in OK

Karen said...

Reading blogs such as this has made me realize more and more how out-of-step my church in OK is. And I thought it was fairly loose on most things. In a good way.

For example, if you wanted to join my church and had been baptized in a Bible Church, or Evangelical Free, or Plymouth Brethren, that would be ok. If you had been baptized in a Church of Christ, you would probably have to be re-baptized. Around here, that is fairly loose. Many require baptism in a Baptist church.

Sounds like my church is amazingly restrictive in the eyes of many that post here.

Karen in OK

Wade Burleson said...

Karen,

Thanks for your comment.

It should be obvious by now that I am not interested in gaining, or fearful of losing, support.

I am speaking to principle.

I appreciate your comment and simply say that sometimes future performance can be anticipated by past reality.

In His Grace,

wade

Anonymous said...

After reading Michael Copeland's post, and many, many others who have had to endure the IMB inquisition. I for one am seriously looking at supporting other GC Missional Bodies, such as New Tribe.

I am no prophet in an OT sense, but if the SBC continues down this path of legalism. And also isolationism from other Evangelical GC entities, it will experience a slow but sure Ichobod phenomenom.

TC

davidinflorida said...

Pastor Wade,

I think that it is very interesting that the missionaries,(the ones out on the line doing the GREAT COMMISSION) usually agree with you, and understand how you are trying to help.

At the same time, others that sit in places like Waco and Knoxville seem to be waiting to be offended by your posts.

Sometimes the truth hurts. Keep on bloggin!

R. Grannemann said...

It is not clear from the Bible that the soul enters the body at conception. That is simply the earliest time the soul COULD possibly enter the body. John was filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb, but Bible does not say "when", "at what time" in his mother's womb he was filled with the Spirit. But this phrase is actually probably only meant to say God was present in the making of John's life, not meant as a statement about when the soul enters the body.

WHY THE SOUL MIGHT NOT ENTER THE BODY AT CONCEPTION BUT RATHER WHEN BRAIN WAVES ARE FIRST DETECTED IN THE FETUS (at about 2 months): Many, many conceived eggs self abort even when no contraception at all is used. This could be prevented only if people stopped having sex. Since it is not God's will that all people stop having sex, it seems equally likely that the soul enters the body with the first appearance of brain waves. The loss of brain waves IS the scientifically accepted definition of death.

Personally, I don't profess to know when the soul enters the body. Just offering this alternative as an equally likely one.

Stephen Pruett said...

I did not see, as mentioned by some, that the example of Mrs. Patterson's position on NFP was intended as a criticism of Mrs. Patterson. On the basis of clarifications in this thread, I would guess that Wade and Mrs. Patterson are very close to complete agreement on these issues. The problem is that recent history has PROVED that statements which begin as preferences of one or more SBC leaders can quickly and without approval of the SBC as a whole be used to exclude conservative Baptists from service.

More than one person on this post has stated that there should be a rule prohibiting people who use the pill from service, so it cannot be argued that no one would go that far. This is a real issue, not something pulled out of the air as a scare tactic.

If we will ask people what they do in their private prayer time, we obviously do not recognize the concept of privacy or personal responsibility to God rather than collective coercion to force adherence to certain preferences. There is an excellent interview of Bill Curtis that addresses the trend of adding more rules about disputable preferences (http://chadwickivester.wordpress.com/2007/02/13/interview-with-dr-bill-curtis-part-one/). The rules taken one at a time sound good to many, or they probably would not be implemented. However, the net result will be a legalistic and spriitually dead group of people. Muslims are very good about enforcing moral rules on those under their control. Is that really the direction we want to take? Even if we agree with the rules, they can quickly take the place of Christ as the focus of our work.

One Salient Oversight said...

The rules taken one at a time sound good to many, or they probably would not be implemented. However, the net result will be a legalistic and spriitually dead group of people.

It's pretty obvious, therefore, that the SBC's stance on alcohol is not just a one-issue problem, but is indicative of something far deeper.

G. Alford said...

Brothers pray for the State of Florida…

The Florida Baptist Witness is reporting that the 99-member State Board of Missions during its Jan. 26 meeting at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center approves alcohol abstinence bylaw revision…

http://www.flbaptist.org

The Florida Baptist Witness article continues with -

The abstinence commitment will be added to a written questionnaire currently in place that asks potential nominees a series of other questions, such as: if they have “received Jesus Christ as savior;” have been a member of a cooperating Florida Baptist church for a year; are in good standing in their local congregation; tithe; and support the Baptist Faith and Message. Nominees must record positive responses and a signature of affirmation to the written questionnaire to be considered for service.

This is truly a sad day in Florida, when abstinence from alcohol is considered as important a doctrinal question as ones salvation, and the doctrines contained in the BFM. But what strikes me as even more sad is the fact that “No opposition to the bylaw revision was expressed by any board member.”

Not one of the 99 board members of the State of Florida found any cause for concern in this at all… Not one of the 99 board members found any reason to stand up and defend the life of Jesus Christ and his witness… Not one of the 99 board members found it within themselves to ask does this now mean that Jesus Christ, the Apostles, and the vast majority of Christians who have lived throughout history can not serve in the Florida Convention… Not one of the 99 board members stopped to consider the implications this action will have on the Baptist doctrine of Christian Liberty… Not one of these 99 board members stopped to consider the implications of this action on our understanding of the doctrine of the Lords Supper… Not one of the 99 board members found the courage to ask where this will all end… Not one… Not one… Not one…

Friends, I know some of these men… and I am stunned!

Anonymous said...

I agree with another poster on here, for the Bible to be so silent on the issue of when the soul enters the body and for you to be so against extra-biblical understanding, you sure are loud on this subject.

Anonymous said...

What scares me is that Southern Baptist seem to be such extremist. There can never be balance. Right now we are arguing because everyone thinks those in charge are "Pharisees"; in order to avoid being so we will swing to the other end...I know everyone says no way, but then again no one thought the powers that be were Pharisees when they changed things did they? Well no one still in the SBC.

Wade said " simply say that sometimes future performance can be anticipated by past reality."

That is what scares me.

Eric

Anonymous said...

As an SBC pastor in the Florida Baptist Convention, I am surpried at the uproar over the SBOM proposal under Dr. Sullivan's leadership. G. Alford says that not one of the 99 stood and opposed the proposal. Could it be that they are all in favor of the recommendation? I believe it is a clear call for leadership to put our witness for Christ before personal liberty. Further, what possible connection could it have with the Lord's Supper?

Steven

Lu said...

Robert I Masters,

Thanks for the link to Wade's post. I'll have to read that sometime...

I actually recently wrote my own post on what God's taught me, and that will probably better answer your question than me posting a really long answer here. It's here. If I have a "theological pre-supposition" that's probably part of it.

Brian, Thank you.

Davidinflorida, I am so with you!

TulsaJim said...

Wade,
There is no reason to take offense at your post. You simply pointed out what is completely verifiable. Every group eventually moves from a posture of expansion to one of preservation. When this happens it becomes obligatory on the part of the group members to identify those who are "truly" with them. The easiest way to do this is by applying an increasingly rigorous and segregating set of regulations. These regulations may not always be right, but must always be preeminent. Stay warm in Enid.

Wade Burleson said...

Matt Brady,

Thanks for the spirit in your last comment. It means a great deal to me to dialogue in grace even in disagreement. You and I would both be very anti-abortion, and your point of my view leading others to justify abortion may or may not be valid. However, I don't base what I believe on how others without Christ may or may not receive it or logically extend it to a wrong decision. I base what I believe on the Word of God.

Again, thanks for your comment.

Wade Burleson said...

Tulsajim,

Thanks. It is FREEZING here tonight.

Wade Burleson said...

To all, thanks for a very interesting comment string.

On to other subjects.

ColinM said...

Wade,

With all due respect, I think it is safe to say everyone here gets it that this is about narrowing parameters and being forced to conform to Fundamentalist ways of thinking. But since this post directly references abortion, the pill, and NFP, it is also about those things.

I am saying that taking the pill has nothing to do with abortion, but in an attempt to get everyone to conform in not taking this contraception device, some might resort to attacking those who use the pill as 'supportive of abortion.'

If a pill has as its stated mechanism to abort the fertilized egg, you are saying this has nothing to do with abortion? I am saying that, if knowing that being an abortifacient is not enough to get someone from using that particular brand of the pill, there is a problem. I will use your argument again (with and addition in brackets):

Abortion is wrong. But the reason it is wrong is because of the moral choice made by the person doing the aborting. That person is basically saying "Regardless of God's revealed desires for my life (bearing a child), I intend to extinguish the life of the child [knowing that the abortive mechanism in the pill I am taking will likely be induced to perform its stated purpose]."

Therefore, if a person knows that abortion is taking place, would that not make them supportive of the practice? You may argure for early/late term, but all you are arguing is age and degree of development, which is a baseless argument made on no foundation. I would be very interested in Gill's take on the actuality of what is occuring, versus a theological notion that bore little cultural weight in his day. In addition, though one cannot thwart God's plans, like one murdered in the providence of God for whatever reason, that doesn't negate the culpability of the offender.


This is not the Ecumenical Baptist convention, nor the Cultural Baptist Convention, but the Southern Baptist Convention. And I would be willing to bet that most in the convention would support any measures against abortion if brought to the floor. I would also submit that they would be biblically just for doing so, though it may not be a prudent measure. It is not about the pill Wade, it is about those pills that are abortifacient in their secondary mechanisms. And in the larger picture, it is indeed about abortion. If I am a Fundamentalist for wanting to protect a baby from your agenda or a theology based on philosophy, sign me up. Show me where my logic is faulty. I think it is a stretch to use this issue as a warning sign to narrowed parameters. I appreciate your willingness to engage.

Wade Burleson said...

Colin,

Are you saying SB women should not take the pill, and do you support a policy at agencies that forbid women from serving as missionaries or employees who take the pill?

ColinM said...

Wade,

No, that is not what I am saying. I am saying that EVERY woman should avoid taking a birth control pill that is abortifacient in its primary or secondary mechanism.

Christian couples must ensure that the methods chosen are really contraceptive in effect, and not abortifacient. Not all birth control is contraception, for some technologies and methods do not prevent the sperm from fertilizing the egg, but instead prevent the fertilized egg from successfully implanting itself in the lining of the womb. Such methods involve nothing less than an early abortion. This is true of all IUDs and some hormonal technologies. A raging debate now surrounds the question of whether at least some forms of the Pill may also work through abortifacient effect, rather than preventing ovulation. Christian couples must exercise due care in choosing a form of birth control that is unquestionably contraceptive, rather than abortifacient.

I think that quote is dead on. Guess who penned it?

I would support a policy for Christian agencies to have the ability if they so desire to decline potential missionaries or employess who support abortion, including those knowingly taking birth control pills that are abortifacient. It isn't about the pill; its about which pill.

TruthOfActs said...

Colinm,
An egg and a sperm are alive but when do they become human life?
I just read where a woman had a baby from her husband who had been dead for two years.

The heartbeat of a baby is started by a spark from something no larger than the head of a pin.
Since there is no element or mixture of elements in man, how does this small ‘thing’ create a spark?
Man does not know. Brainwaves are the result of electricity.

I believe this spark comes from the miracle of God, and human life starts with the heartbeat which is after conception.

The bottom line is taking any kind of pill does not cause murder.
Rex Ray

Wade Burleson said...

Colin,

T think we may be saying the same thing, but you have switched pills on me.

;)

G. Alford said...

Steven,

You ask what possible connection could excluding those life long Southern Baptist who do not hold to a total abstinence form alcohol view from any service whatsoever in the Florida Baptist Convention have with the Lord's Supper?

Quite frankly, I am stunned by the lack of consideration for the convictions of other Baptist by the action of the Florida State Board of Missions in their reckless hast to adopt Sullivan’s proposal on total abstinence from alcohol.

Everyone agrees that alcohol abuse needs to be addressed and confronted, however this is not the way to do so. This will not prevent one young person from taking their first drink, and it will not prevent one family from being destroyed from alcohol abuse… If anyone thinks otherwise they are just kidding themselves. What it will do is cause those who do not hold to this position to never be involved with the Florida Baptist Convention at all… is that what Dr. Sullivan wants, less participation from other Baptist who do not hold to his personal convictions?

This may come as a total shock to the 99 members of the State Board of Missions but there are Southern Baptist who never take a drink socially or in private (so in practice they are teetotalers) but who also have deeply held convictions that the Lord’s Supper must be observed with the proper elements of unleavened bread and wine (most often just touched to the lips), as was the example and commandment of Jesus Christ.

What Sullivn and the 99 members of the State Board of Missions are now asking these very conservative Baptist men and women to do is choose between their convictions and conformity to this doctrine of man in order to be considered for service in the State of Florida…

Shame on them all!

One Salient Oversight said...

It appears that very few people have read my post about the Pill and abortion.

For the sake of informed argument, please take it into consideration - because I think there are some very good and solid reasons why taking the Pill is not sinful.

Please lick here and read the article

One Salient Oversight said...

I mean "click", not lick

selahv said...

Wade: I think your "scenario is far-fetched." Sorry. Just my opinion. selahV

R. Grannemann said...

One Salient Oversight,

I read your posting on your site.

I think you are right. In addition to spontaneous abortions, many fertilized eggs do not implant in the uterus wall even if a woman is not on the pill (I've read 30%, but I'm not sure I can verify the percentage again, probably very dependent upon the individual woman). In any case, whether one uses no birth control or the rhythm method (which often is not effective), there will be more fertilized eggs destroyed without the pill than with it.

John Fariss said...

Unless I missed the point of Wade's post, it is about the possibility of secondary matters, not addressed by the BF&M or the SBC as a whole becomming exclusionary principles, not about how the birth control pill actually works--in other words, perception verses reality. And unfortunantly, people act on perception and NOT reality.

I find that scenario plausable however. When I was in seminary back in the mid 80s, there were those who argued passionately against the pill for exactly the reasons Wade listed--that it might prevent implimentation of a fertilized embryo, and hence become a defacto abortion. The people arguing it at the time were fundemantalist students and non-Southern Baptists who are now in the driver's seat in the SBC.

Cam Dunson said...

Just two points:
1. Use of a breastpump is much more difficult than you would think.
2. Many babies, when trained to use a bottle, then put to a real breast bite, HARD.
I'm glad the seminary president stuck up for the mom and baby newby missionaries!
and two observations:
1. I haven't had a "peace" about using the pill for years. I don't know why and I certainly wouldn't condemn anyone who did, but it seems to be that only God can make a life and, although I pray He doesn't again in me, I just can't take that into my own hands.
2. Yes, I know that none of this has anything to do with the intended topic of this post.