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

The Silent Majority

Allow me to introduce you to Charles. He is a long-time member of the scientific community and a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Tennessee. He has a masters in the social sciences field and currently works as an environmental scientist. Charles understands what it means to be Southern Baptist. He and his wife have been members of a large SBC church but currently attend an evangelical fellowship of another denomination.

Charles is fifty four with two elementary school age children. Several years ago he found himself at odds with some separatist Baptists who were on the extreme right of Fundamentalism. Charles was acquainted with several people who had been run over and hurt by the actions of these separatist Baptists who were seeking to bring doctrinal purity to the kingdom. Charles wrote me a very personal email yesteday that spoke to my heart. It caused me to evaluate my own thoughts, motives and actions. Though I have never met Charles, he has confirmed for me the validity of the promise that I made to my wife eighteen months ago: 'The day I can't genuinely enjoy my service in the convention, or the day I no longer can laugh at myself and not take myself too seriously, or the day I can't smile and forgive those who ridicule and attack me, is the day I quit all involvement in the Southern Baptist Convention. Charles helped me undestand the significance of my promise. I publish his email with permission.

"I was drawn into a conflict with other Baptists for many of the same reasons that seem to motivate you concerning injustice among brothers and sisters in Christ. I have other reasons that are described by words such as bigotry, ignorance, and trying to to force one’s beliefs on other people. However, mostly, I have been outraged by the treatment of others---all people with whom they disagree.

I learned the hard way how confict can affect one's soul on a web site called “Alabama Live!” It was frequented by a couple of particularly pugnacious Separate Baptists. You know---real fundamentalists with a capital F. Well, they let me know right away that they were right about everything and that anyone who disagreed with them was something they called “apostate” and in league with Satan himself. When you get labeled as a member of Satan’s camp, the gloves come off and you get treated like the human garbage that you so obviously are to them.

I was informed quite sincerely that unsaved people are—and I quote exactly---“little more than worms.” I mentioned that they must be awful valuable worms because Jesus loved them enough to die for them. That didn’t phase them a bit. They made me so angry that the anger turned into clinical depression and a higher dose of medication. That is when I learned that you cannot fight against them directly. It is like talking to a fence post. The only way to fight them is to appeal to the people in the middle ground who have not gone over to the dark side of the force as it were.

Unfortunately, I am afraid that these encounters over the past few years have been changing me in a direction in which I do not want to go. You see. I very much believe in “love one another and love your neighbor as yourself.” A friend of mine who teaches at a theological retreat in Oregon warned me about this. He told me that he does not engage in open fights with Pharisees. The reason he says is this. The very act of starting to fight them lands one of your feet on the first step to becoming one yourself. This is because Pharisees operate by drawing a moralistic line of their own definition in the sand and declare “thou shalt not cross over it.” According to my friend, the very act of fighting them automatically causes a person to draw their own line in the sand and defend it to the death. In doing so, one inevitably wakes up one morning and finds that they have become one of them.

Well, I think my friend may be right. I have carried on my fight for several years now. In the process, I have slowly seen “mere disagreement” turning into a simmering internal rage that just sits there aglow within me most of the time---doing more damage to me than them. I sense my rage crystallizing into hatred. My response to their incessant nastiness is to dig in my heels and shoot back with both scripture and withering sarcasm. Of course, as noted earlier, that has no effect on the Pharisees themselves, but I think it does cause many in the middle to avoid going where the Pharisees are---perhaps people who would otherwise be tempted to go. However, it is taking a terrible toll on me, and that leads inevitably to another issue.

My Sunday school class is starting to study the life and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. As you may know, Bonhoeffer not only opposed Hitler openly in the name of our Lord but actually participated as a plotter in the famous attempt to kill him. I suppose one could argue that this was not a Christian position. However, one could also argue that the principle of love for one’s neighbor required it as an act to save the lives of millions, including brothers and sisters in Christ. You might put it something like, “Greater love hath no man than this, but that he lay Hitler’s life down for his brother.” I think even C.S. Lewis was so inclined. Still, I am not so sure because an honest reading of the Bible could just easily argue that we as Christians are supposed to be totally passive and simply fold to all evil like a sheep before its shearers---just as Jesus did. Perhaps the few people with the superhuman strength it would take to do that are the only real Christians in this world---and all of the rest of us are mere pretenders. However, if that extreme is not true and Bonhoeffer and Lewis are right, then we as Christians need to consider the arising of the UNTHINKABLE in this world and our appropriate response as Christians to it.

What do I mean? About 20 years ago, I ran across a wonderful theological essay on Romans 14. As you know, this chapter says that stronger brothers and sisters in Christ should be willing to put aside certain acceptable liberties rather than tempt a weaker brother into sinning by violating his own conscience with regard to partaking in those liberties. It is posited on the notion that the authority in the church will always rest in the hands of the stronger brothers in Christ, and they will always be there to help the weaker brothers along. Then the essayist asked the most marvelous question: What would happen if the weaker brothers were to take over the authority of the church and run it such that the stronger brothers were in subservience to their whims?

Carrying this a step further, as Christians, what would we do if an evil as pernicious as the National Socialist Party (Nazi Party) were to successfully arise within the church of Jesus Christ, sustain itself, and grow to enormous national power---driven by an army of weaker brothers. To some that would sound preposterous. However, I am a serious student of history, and I am not so sure that this is impossible. In fact, I am not so sure that it is not already germinating.

If this nightmare were to be quite obviously coming true before our eyes (as was another nightmare in Bonhoeffer’s eyes), what would be the appropriate response of Christians like us who would know that it is wrong? Would we merely raise our voices in calm and loving dissent and be taken off as sheep to the death camps? Would it be acceptable to get rough with them verbally and physically to protect the babies from being tossed into the crematory ovens alive? Would assassination be an act of love for our brothers and sisters who were marching to their earthly doom, just as Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer rationalized when he plotted to kill Hitler? These are all hard questions that we need to be asking ourselves now. The German people comforted themselves with the notion that they were so civilized that such barbarity could never arise among them. It did. The church of Jesus Christ was so strong that it could stand up to the barbarity. History shows that the Catholic and protestant churches of Europe sat down in silence before it and actually became willing accomplices to the barbarity.

You say it cannot happen in your convention? You say it cannot happen in the church? Those who refuse to learn from history are destined to repeat it.

Charles, thank you for your email.

In His Grace,



Alan Cross said...

I am debating strongly my continuing participation in any conversation regarding the issues of the SBC. I have engaged in these controversies because I believe that a great wrong has been done involving the IMB policies, and strong voices need to speak up to oppose it from a biblical basis. I have tried to do this in a respectful way and have built relationships with people that I disagree with. I disagree with them, but I have come to respect them. But, if we are going to participate in the SBC at all, I have felt that we need to speak up. If we are going to do missions some other way because we have been shut out, we cannot do that with integrity until we have at least tried to change the system.

But, time is running short for me. Not because I want to give up on membership in the SBC or because I am growing cynical and tired. No, time is running short for me because I WILL NOT give my life to reforming a denomination while a world slides into hell and Christians live defeated lives. I have been told that if you want things to run correctly in the SBC, you have to be vigilant and constantly participate in denominational meetings so that special interest groups do not take over. Well, that might be the calling of some, but it is not mine. I have learned that we have no static protection by the Baptist Faith & Message or any other standard from the theological perogatives of trustee boards. I have learned that the SBC that I thought existed does not.

I am nearing an end of dealing with these issues because I want my life to be about something else. I want it to be about Jesus and His gospel. I want to lead my church to engage in missional living all over the world and right in their own back yard. I want to be at peace with men, and I will shake the dust off my feet when I am not wanted. I get the distinct feeling that I am not wanted in today's SBC and I am getting very close to saying that is fine with me. If something doesn't change with the IMB in the next several months, I feel that the convention in San Antonio will be the end of the road for my pariticipation in all of this. I will have given it my best shot through writing, participation and prayer for around 18 months. If that is not sufficient, then I must move on. I do not love the SBC more than Jesus or a lost world. I'm not saying I'll leave the SBC, but I will become one of those young pastors who will disengage from participation with anything having to do with the larger denomination. It will be hard to see the point.

Thanks for this post, Wade. It reminds us that the ends should never justify the means, because we only contaminate ourselves. We must cling to Christ at all times and faithfully and gently proclaim His Word to all who will listen. May we preach nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. May our lives reflect the same.

Wade Burleson said...


I want to encourage you to hang in there. Your voice has been clear, compassionate and encouraging.

But I sure do understand your feelings. Thanks for the comment.

Bob Cleveland said...


One of the most frustrating things, I think, but also one of the things that make God God, is the fact that there aren't any "blanket instructions". I can think of enough stuff in the Bible to illustrate several responses to the stuff that's going on. So everyone's going to have to decide for him/herself what God's instructions to us are.

Then there's the fact that everyone's different, too. Some folks "fight the good fight" and still not descend into bitterness, and some may not be able to.

I think those things generate a feeling of being out there on our own, so to speak. Well, maybe that's how it's supposed to be. I know in my own case, even when someone else agrees with me, I don't want to view that as approval of my brothers, but rather a road sign that God put up in front of me to tell me I'm on the right track. So the support is His.

Jesus acted lovingly in the face of persecution. He also called the Pharisees snakes, and cleansed the temple. So nobody gets a canned answer, and we have to fall on Jesus instructions on how we are to act and let HIM speak to US. One at a time.

One of my heroes is Caleb. He (and Joshua) lost the vote, bigtime, and Caleb's response was to simply sit around, obey, and wait for the malefactors to die off. Then he got what was promised.

That's my attitude toward the SBC. I'm just going to sit right here, do my thing as God gives light, and watch it all come right. Darned if I'm going to let the spiritual thugs of the SBC dictate where I go.

Scotte Hodel said...

A strong letter that deserves reading and contemplation.

Our pastor for several weeks has called us to prayer. Last Sunday he reminded us to pray for those who misuse us, which in my mind has morphed into "pray for those you get you hacked off." As a result, I find myself repeating a two step procedure:

(1) angrily daydream telling someone off, and then
(2) praying God's blessing for them under the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

I told my daughter the names of a few of the people on my list; she answered tongue in cheek, "Daddy, what is this Christianity going to do to you?"

We can only hope it does a great deal more!

jasonk said...

Charles is so right. I appreciate his clear understanding of how these disagreements can turn on you, and lead you to a place you don't want to go.
When I read the blogs of these separatists, I feel a heaviness in my heart like few other things can cause. How can people who call themselves brothers treat others like this? I know, they say that they are protecting doctrinal purity, but they are not. They are allowing themselves to be tools of the enemy, used to cause people to shake their heads, and walk away from Christianity.
I left the SBC two years ago, and although all is not perfect out here, there is a strong focus on reaching people for Christ, and a lack of focus on controversy. Jesus is honored, people are beginning to follow the truth, lives are being changed.
I hope these people will repent and the direction of the SBC will get back on track. But if not, well, there is life after the SBC.

Tom Bryant said...

I am not willing to let Dr. Patterson define what a Southern Baptist is, but neither am I willing to let a charismatic (last week) or allusions to Bonhoeffer this week define what a Southern Baptist is.

Steve A said...

When we are in the midst of a seemingly endless conflict, the heroes of the past come alive in our memories to urge us on. Ethan Allen and Francis Marion scrapped like cats in hopeless times but saw victory through American independence. Helen Keller faced a hopeless life, but God sent her Anne Sullivan. Ronald Reagan never lost the ability to express his beliefs in an unshakeable, joyful confidence with the strength of a bomber command on ready alert. Reagan let his heart show at times, but ten thousand jackals in the press never got him down.

Little acts of service can make wars disappear. Go help a child write his/her name for the first time, and that will be the act you remember from that day. Are there babies at the hospital that need rocking?

Finally, Napoleon is credited with having said, "To his dog, every man is a victorious general. Thus, the popularity of dogs."

Anonymous said...

I think it is a far stretch to compare the differences in baptist polity and doctrine with the evil murderous acts of the Nazi regime. It also seems to minimize the death of those men and women who lost their lives in such a cruel act of violence by comparing it with some bickering between baptists. This type of rhetoric scares me into thinking that this is a life of death issue for some when comparing the wickedness of the Nazi's with the differences of opinion between brothers in Christ.

An Oklahoma Joe

TruthOfActs said...

WOW! What an email from Charles. He hit the nail so hard there’s no head left. His saying, ‘if you fight Pharisees, you may become one yourself’, makes me take a hard look at myself.

I have commented before about the debate between the devil and Daniel Webster—how in order to win, Webster started using the same ‘tricks’ of the devil until Webster saw the devil smiling.

That’s one reason I made an infamous statement that ‘inerrancy’ caused more trouble than any other word and I wish it would go back to the smiling lips of the devil.
I suppose that’s why I was told in an email I had been labeled a liberal by the ‘inner circle’, and if I attended the Roundtable, I would hurt their cause.

Before 1997, I was part of the silent majority—just a happy go lucky Baptists, teaching SS, going on mission trips with kids, Falls Creek, Gloryetta, building trips, and $2,000 a year to Lottie Moon. I didn’t know of any conflict among Baptists, didn’t know what inerrancy meant because I never heard of it, there were six relatives that were SB missionaries; including one of my sons, I considered myself as conservative as can be, and it was a wonderful life in the Lord.

The bottom dropped out by an email to missionaries: “…the guidance and anointing of God will require a significant shift in attitudes…a confidence and willingness to follow the wisdom and guidance of God-appointed leadership, whether we necessarily understand or agree.”

So looking at myself, how much of my fighting the ‘God-appointed replacing the Holy Spirit’ influenced my three children that now—none attend a Baptist church?

The ‘God-appointed’ said they were right because of the great amount of money given to them. Did this trick me into reducing Lottie Moon to only a token as money is the only thing they can hear? Their ace-in-the hole is using missionaries as pawns. The rule of a good doctor is first; do no harm. I decided I’d not support powers that fire missionaries because they would not sign a creed to support their inflated egos.

I believe the “nightmare” of the weaker brothers in power has happened in the SBC as Charles says may have started.

The reason I believe this is because I see the parallelism in Acts 15. There the weaker brother believed in the Jewish law as “necessary.” Their spokesman was one man saying, “Listen to me…” This top down rule involved into Catholicism.

Today, our churches are being “governed” by one man saying, “Listen to me” by way of the BFM 2000 which he controlled with his 15 hand picked committee in secret, and pushed through the SBC by not following its rules.

It is tempting to quit, and go back to the silent majority with their heads in the sand. Am I a Pharisee if I still shout, “Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears or tomorrow you will be Catholic.”
Rex Ray

Alycelee said...

I heard this loud and clear. I also heard how easy it can be to be fighting for what you believe to be right, what you believe God has called you to be on mission for and yet in your passion for this mission somehow you slip over into becoming what you hate, a legalist Pharisee. (when my opinion is more important than anyone else's and is the only right one, OR the only scriptural one)

BTW-I think the death issue is not about people or opinions but about a system and if that system is spinning out of control. Is it controlled by God or by men? Isn't that the real question?

Anonymous said...

Once again I find myself struggling with this post and with the larger conversation going on through the SBC blogs. Those reacting against the former leaders of the Conservative Resurgence, and their ideological children, engage in exactly the same kind of labeling that they accuse their opponents of. We simply exchange "moderate" or "liberal" for "Fundamentalist". I don't know one SBC leader (or run-of-the-mill pastor) that would routinely be labeled here a "Fundamentalist," spooky or otherwise, who would say that sinners are "lower than worms." Disagree with them, but lets not equate them to Nazis or to people who don't love the lost (it seems I have read this Nazi parallel previously here or at Ben or Marty's). Surely the greatest opponent of Dr. Patterson would acknowledge his love for lost people.
This does not advance the conversation, it polarizes the camps. These tactics (including holding press conferences, feeding the secular media "dirt," and pre-convention stumping) are why some of us see this movement as primarily political in nature. While I sympathize with many of the issues, I simply cannot support it. I doubt I am alone.

GGIEZ said...

Thank you for posting Charles' email. No doubt, his story represents the experiences of many of us in the SBC the last few years. Our struggles and the nature of our conflicts may differ, but we should all come to the same place at the end... at what point in "the battle" do we lose the ability to truly love those with whom we disagree? May we not allow ourselves to ever cross over that line, where one day we realize there is no love in our hearts for those on the other side of the issues. For me, I can not imagine any cause being worth losing one ounce of love for another.
Wade, I have seen your heart. The other day in a comment you said that you would embrace and support those in leadership, to the point of doing whatever in your power to help keep them in leadership, if, in humility and love, they took steps to correct the problems. Reminds me of another time and place. I KNOW you mean it. The question remains, do they share this same spirit?
Greg Giezentanner

John Moeller said...


I am proud to say that I am a Tennessee grad too. (a ping on the SWBTS grads who all puff up here from time to time)

I find the spirit of your e-mail on target. I left the SB’s and went to a non-denominational church to get away from the narrow views of the few who seem to think that Baptists are the only true Christians around too.

I am saddened that so much time and MONEY is being spent by the SBC on such trivial items while so many need Jesus. I pray that the love of Jesus will fill your heart to overflowing and that your mission endeavors will lead many to Christ. Knock the dust off your feet and follow Christ, live in his power, love in his way, and know that God loves you dearly and is totally unconcerned about doctrine. He wants your heart not your religion…You have done the right thing.

Blessings to you and your family as you seek Christ!


Strider said...

A couple of things.
Anonomous- I think what happens amoung God's people is a lot bigger than the Nazis. They could kill the body but not the soul. We are on the King's business here and if we don't stay with it then the consequences for many are great- I don't care how calvinistic you are.
Alan, Stay with us a while longer man. A few voices are quite strident and irritating. What is really going on around the world is a lot bigger. God's Kingdom is moving at an incredible rate around the world and the IMB is a big part of it. Do the Trustees have their act together? I don't know, I have never seen one here in Middle Earth. I can tell you that as I look across this region the folks that are actually spending your money are seeing the works of the evil one undone. I sat in the livingroom and prayed with a couple who have been beating their brains out on the toughest field you ever saw for over 11 years. They have not seen any real fruit. I know they are exactly where they ought to be, doing what they ought to be doing and that a great victory is not far off.
When I hear you say 18 months it makes me sad. Let go of the petty guys who have already sidelined themselves in God's Kingdom and let Him worry about them. You and I can keep going about the King's business. Love is stonger than hatred, evil, or doctinal purity.
Blessings to all of you as you persevere for the high calling of Jesus Christ.

William Madden said...


If you think through it further, the analogy is not as farfetched as you think. The takeover of the SBC was achieved using similar tactics as the nazis--backroom cabals, propoganda, smearing of poltical opponents. The results have been similar, too: concentration of power in the hands of a few, politicization of terms of employment, continued demonization and marginalization of opponents, etc. Treatment of the "enemy" as non-persons. Strong controls on the press and freedom of speech. Disregard for established laws protecting rights and civil liberties (policies and procedures regarding tenure, etc.)The use of younger cadres to harass and attack opponents.

Consider, too, that the success of the fundamentalists has had an impact not only on SBC life, but also on the nation. The right-wing takeover of the SBC coincided with and facilitated the right-wing takeover of our national government as well. As a result, our nation has been transformed into a "war machine" that eats up money and men while disregarding civil liberties at home along with time-tested standards of decent behavior, including the writ of habeas corpus and the Geneva Conventions protecting prisoners of war from physical and mental abuse. The result is Abu Ghraib and a world of chaos and death in Iraq with estimates showing up to 300,000 civilian casualties--not enemy combatant casualties--but CIVILIAN casualties.

It takes some time and thought to connect the dots, but you can trace a line that links what has happened in the SBC to deadly consequences in other lands. Of course, for this to happen, spiritual death must have already occurred at home, but because it is not as easily observable, people don't worry about it as much.

Wade, I understand that you may not agree with some or all of this post. I do not say that people in the SBC are responsible for the Iraq war, but the leaders of the SBC have supported the president uncritically. Richard Land went on record saying just that very thing quite recently.

Bryan Riley said...

Question: If someone, anyone, is given the impression that they are lower than worms, whether it is said or not, by actions and attitudes of those who are seen as the leaders, then is it not as real to them as though it were said?

Perfect love casts out fear, destroys opportunities for errant perceptions, edifies and unites. When rules become priorities, at the expense of God's love, it is not beyond the pale for people to feel the things expressed in this post. We're human, for crying out loud, with hearts that are filled with deceit. Humans aren't the ones we need to fight, but we often do because we are such easy targets. Instead, we need to put on our armor supplied by God, pray for His strength and direction, and then simply obey whatever He says.

bryan riley said...

Alan and others, what is it that you are calling Alan to stay with? He is staying with the Body of Christ, regardless of where He serves. If that is God's call on His life, sobeit. Would we rather any of us serve Christ or serve an institution? As you debate internally, Alan, just seek His direction and follow, no matter the cost. i have confidence He will lead you in the right direction. If it be to continue associating with a denomination, praise the Lord. If it is not, praise the Lord. For many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. Join in His mission and purpose and forget the ways of man.

Alycelee said...

Bryan, as always, you provide a wonderful word of wisdom.

Anonymous said...

This post reminds me why I don't talk to the sepratist Calvinist fenceposts anymore, they are some nasty arrogant Baptists as well.

And you are correct Wade, there is a silent majority in the SBC. It is the one against this 'reformation' to only teach Reformed Theology and the Doctrines of Grace in the SBC.


Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Brother Steve,

You sure did throw down some strong terms when you called your fellow Southern Baptists "nasty" and "arrogant."

By "nasty," do you mean more the idea of being disgusting or more the idea of being perverse, or both?

Did you mean to describe only certain people you know personally, or Calvinistic Baptists in general? If in general, I certainly take offense at being called, "nasty."

Love in Christ,


Sarah said...

I appreciated Charles point about how when we fight with Pharisees, we often find that we have become one ourselves. I just finished reading a book called "Fool-Proofing Your Life" by Jan Silvious, and in it she talks about this very thing. When we deal with very difficult people (or fools) constantly, we often end up acting very foolishly. Jesus gave us the ultimate example of speaking the truth in love. He did not back down from truth. He did stand up for the right. He challenged the religious leaders, but He didn't let them dictate His behavior or distract Him from doing His Father's business. He still had meals with sinners even though He was called a glutton and drunkard, He still healed the sick on the Sabbath, and He still imparted wisdom and love to His chosen disciples so they (and now we) could carry the gospel to the ends of the earth. Thanks for the reminder...we must stay focused!

Alycelee said...

We recently had two men speak at our evangelism conference. Both well known. One was obviously reformed and actually spoke on the doctrines of grace to some extent.
The other spoke against limited atonement.
I liked them both. I respect them both. In fact, in God's family, I love them both. I went to the conference in prayer, asking God to open my ears and allow me to hear what He had for me.
Neither of these men were nasty or arrogant.
They were both men of God and both had my undivided attention and affection.
Perhaps we should look past the messenger and pray that God will allow us to hear the message.

Tad Thompson said...

I would say that this email sums up what took place in the resurgance and why those who fought the battle, continue to fight.

Dr. Patterson, Rogers, and others determined that they had to plan a hostile takeover of the convention because the stakes were so high.

Those who denied inerrancy and were treading down the path towards social liberalism were Hitler's to the SBC. I believe that these men were right and just in their determination to go to war. All wars have collateral damage and rebuilding that must take place.

I believe we are in the rebuilding phase. To abandon ship at this important juncture is not the thing to do. We have several divides that demand right thinking and comprise. We have theological divides (I recommend that everyone read Dr. Mohler's article on theological triage), methodological divides, generational divides, all of which threaten our unity and cooperation.

All of us who care deeply for the SBC must wave the banner of cooperation inside the parameters of theological orthodoxy and a conservative social agenda that enables to advance the kingdom without compromise.

I hesistate to put Dr. Patterson in the same camp as the theological liberals or Hitler (Ad related to the Bonheoffer analogy. He is most certainly fallible, as are all of us. I just don't think attack mode is wise right now...we are making head way when we stick to the message of cooperation inside the bounds of orthodoxy. This is where we can lead our local churches. Change in our convention is a grass roots effort to begin with.

Sarah said...


Your comment saddens me. First, I don't think it is a "silent" majority, as I have often heard open attacks to anyone who holds to the Reformed tradition. Second, like Alycelee, have heard tremendous teachers from both "sides" and God has blessed me and drawn me closer to Him through their teaching.

Certainly anyone can be capable of nastiness and arrogance, since we're all sinners. But please don't lump a group all into the same category of sin. Let each man show himself worthy or not.


Alan Cross said...

Clarification, guys: I'm not saying that I am even thinking about leaving the SBC. I am just saying that I do not want to spend time and energy on a denominational apparatus that appears to be broken. I can be a part of the SBC and just not participate that much in denominational ministry or initiatives. The next few months will tell the tale and we'll see if wisdom will prevail.

Yes, I am discouraged. But, I have no plans to leave the SBC. I am just saying that you can either be involved with bringing change and doing ministry with and through the denomination, or you can just ignore it and focus your time, energy, and resources in better areas. That is the decision I am wrestling with. That also has no reflection on the great work that is being done on the field by IMB missionaries. My hats off to them.

Anonymous said...

Steve - You are a good example of someone so flabbergasted by the thought of his inability to choose God without the gracious act of God Himself, that you will take any opportunity to attack any issue by showing your disdain for not being able to openly boast on your ability to choose God. Way to go Steve...you da man!!! Congrats! However, as for me, I am so thankful that He chose me, because (as Spurgeon said) if He had not chosen me, I would have never chosen Him. Again, great job Steve, but as for me I'll direct my praise toward Him.


Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

I personnally do not think it is fitting or proper to equate anything or either side in this debate with something so evil as Hitler and his movement.

This is appalling! Millions plus of God's chosen died at the hand of a man who did not believe in God and was easily one of the worst humans of all time. No way should anyone in this debate get lumped into or referred in any manner to such - NO WAY!

It is Posts and Comments like this that are beyond alarming!

Alycelee said...

Here is what Hitler said. (you obviously don't read my blog :)

"Today Christians … stand at the head of [this country] … I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit … We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press—in short,we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past … [few] years."
The Speeches of Adolph Hitler, 1922–1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pp. 871–872.

His purpose was to clean out races/people who disagreed with him.
By the way, the church sat SILENT when he did this.
The question here is this-Should we sit silent when we believe things are being done in the name of the church, that we believe are wrong?

Anonymous said...

I did read. The use of Hitler to describe any aspect of this debate is appalling! Read some of the comments - people are picking up on this. If we are to discuss and debate - fine. To use emails and comments that refer to some comparrison of the SBC issue in the same manner as Hitler and his evil is over the line. Hitler killed millions! No one in this debate has done or is advocating that. People on both sides are winning people to Jesus! How can anyone even begin to accept that there is any merit in comparring or gleaning from Hitler?

It is more than distrubing!

Tim G.

Aaron K. said...

Thanks Alycelee. Your giving that quote summarizes the only reason the comparison is there. I do not think anyone is saying that anybody within the SBC possesses or has displayed the evil and hatred that Hitler embodied. He was an evil man who had millions of people killed. The parallel lies with the simple and enforced demand to follow him and his word and in the SBC today it is follow man's word in addition to God's Word.

We are facing godly men who are committed to what we are committed to: the fulfilling of the Great Commission. The problems are in the guidelines they are requiring others to adhere to that are outside of the biblical mandates. Lines and rules and laws are being drawn that are more binding than the Bible.

I want to serve in the freedom of the Spirit not the binding of the laws of man.

Aaron K.

Anonymous said...

Aaron K.,
In no way does the idea or level of "mans words" even come close to camparring to the idea of what happened in history with Hitler and his ways. This is an emotional stretch and one that is over the line.

Tim G.

Alycelee said...

Here is what Charles said in the letter.

What would we do if an evil as pernicious as the National Socialist Party (Nazi Party) were to successfully arise within the church of Jesus Christ, sustain itself, and grow to enormous national power?

Question-What would we do?
What I quoted you from Hitlers own writings was his desire to burn out "all who want to destroy Christianity by ... burning out all the recent immoral developments ... to burning out the poison of immorality which has entered our life and culture as a result of liberal yada yada. The point is, Tim He thought he was RIGHT and while he did what he did-the church of God sat by silently! It's great to be enraged now. The church was NOT enraged then.

No one called anyone Hitler. Could there be evil afoot, the enemy at work? Of course.
Again, the question is- Are we going to be silent or are we just going to line up on sides, draw swords and kill each other?

Bill Scott said...

The use of the Hitler illustration is simply an extension of the author's argument that the some things things are worth fighting for and somethings are not. I didn't read or infer anywhere in the post that the rumblings within the SBC are in anyway analagous with the Holocaust or Hitler. It was simply an illustration of what can happen when good men (and women:-) do nothing and what happens when good men (and women) do something.

I still think one of the best illustrations for this situation is that of a group of people (the people of the SBC) in a large bus (the SBC denomination) asleep and uncaring about the direction of the bus. The people of the bus are also don't care who is driving the bus. Afterall, the bus driver (SBC Leadership) always knows the way..right? Shouldn't we trust the bus driver without question? We shouldn't look out the windows to see where we are going either, right?

peace said...

I have learned over the years how easily words can stir people up. Ever hear a Fundamentalist Baptist (with a capital F) rant about the SBC? People believe them for awhile and then realize they’ve been taken for chumps. Let’s don’t do that ourselves.

But one thing has become clear to me over the last day or so. The 2000 BFM is not confession of faith. When they put in the words that it was a document of accountability, it became an employment requirements document. And that is what they actually wanted.

How did we get here? The old Landmark Baptists were against the Convention having any authority to set requirements for missionaries. They maintained that the national association/convention had no right to dispute the qualifications of a missionary that a cooperating church recommended. They split off from the SBC because of this very point. Today we are actually going through a controversy similar to the one of a 100 years ago; namely: "Who can/should set missionary qualifications?"

This is always going to be an issue when we have a 175 million dollar a year foreign mission program. How do we manage it to everyone’s satisfaction? Let’s think of the motivation of the Traditional Baptist political machine. They mainly want to be sure the missionary program establishes churches exactly like them. They certainly don’t want to establish charismatic churches. Yes, they have too narrow of a view of “true church” and over-glorify the Baptist past. But this is not as bad as what it COULD be. When 40,000 churches are involved, it might be OK to agree to SOME narrowing of parameters to keep everyone on board. That doesn’t mean you AGREE to the parameters in principle. The 2000 BFM is NOT a requirement on any church and you should probably STOP calling it a confession. It’s simply an SBC employment requirements document. Perhaps an eventual decentralization of foreign missions would be the way to go to lessen the potential for conflict in the future and give churches more options they can live with.

I think you can work this out. Just be bold in expressing your concerns and making motions at the San Antonio SBC. You’ll never feel good about working in the SBC if you don’t express your concerns. Done rightly and you will have the majority of messengers on your side.

Suggestion for two things you could probably accomplish at San Antonio:

1) A vote to stop asking political figures to speak at the Convention;
2) A vote specifing that valid baptism for missionary candidates is believers baptism by a church of true believers and does not require a doctrinal litmus test for the baptizing church.

Rob Ayers said...

"Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." - thus making the discussion over.

Godwin's Maxim which is my retort:

"That’s why I take exception when self-important yahoos seek to compare everything they don’t like to Hitler or to Nazis.

Six million Jews did not die in order to give some spoiled American a handy rhetorical hammer.

You cheapen their deaths, and the deaths of others in the camps, and the deaths of those who fought the Nazis, when you make phony comparisons.

And they are phony. Do you think 'Page Patterson or any of the SBC leadership' (my insertion), your apparent bete noir, would tolerate the random shooting of individuals [gassing by the millions, etc, etc], so dramatically depicted in “Schindler’s List” and elsewhere?.....

[Those that do] ought to be ashamed for invoking real horrors in order to win [their] arguments."

As been repeated here, this analogy is outrageous and over the line. This discussion is over. It has reverted now to a emotional standstill.


Alycelee - I can duplicate all sorts of Hitler quotes to substantiate any position. He also said that Christianity was " a religion of the weak minded." To which quote would we say that modeled best his actions?

Wade Burleson said...


See Bill above.

Nobody is comparing anyone to Hitler.

Reasons that motivated the silent majority to remain silent in 1940 Germany are compared to the reasons the silent majority remain silent today. I would urge you to stick to the issues Tim and not focus on personalities or attempt to say others are either.

I also remind you that the post is simply an email -- a well written one at that.

I happen to like Bill's illustration of the bus as well.

Wade Burleson said...


I would encourage you to see that calling a commentor a yahoo does not win you friends or arguments, just as comparing someone to Hitler does not as well.

Let me encourage everyone to focus on the ideas and issues and debate those.

The post has a theme:

When you try to defend against encroaching Fundamentalism and the hate and anger exhibited toward those who disagree, you can, if you are not very careful, become just like those you oppose ideologically.

This is a caution for all of us to be kind but firm, unyielding but loving, trusting the bus driver but looking out the window as well :)

Tad Thompson said...

I don't think anyone is suggesting a direct parallel with Hitler...it is more of an association with the type of situation Christian's were places under in Nazi Germany. Associations are not attempts to call situations identical or equal...

But I agree that references to Hitler and Nazi Germany do produce the highest of emotions and should prob. be avoided.

Wade Burleson said...

By the way.

Alycelee does a pretty good job of redirecting people to the issues and not people.

Well done.

And she is a lady.

I am hoping that does not keep the men here from learning what she is saying.


Anonymous said...

Rob - "This discussion is over" - Then we won't hear anymore from you?

I bet we do.

Tim - It is my contention that you read everything with a slant just because it is Wade (or Wade's post). If you'll read the post with brains instead of emotion, you will see that no one is saying Patterson is a Hitler or that anyone else from either side is a Hitler.

You respond to this just like you did with the good doctor fired for being a woman...all you had to say about that was "...as President Patterson can do what he wants."

Compassion overfloweth from thee.

Rob Ayers said...


I was quoting Godwin in his maxim - if you wish you can erase it from you mind - but with all due respect I much prefer it. It may not win me many friends, but this point needs to be made - when you attempt to make a comparison between one of the greatest murderers of all time, and those whose rhetoric or way of leadership is merely controlling, you are way out of line. Godwin's Law suggests that whatever the "main point" of the original post was is now very much lost with the invoking of the analogy, for whatever it was is now lost in a visceral reaction by people (like me) who lay disgusted that any type of point could be made in comparing people to the Nazis, unless they indeed are shown to be mass murderers.

And for the record, Wade - I did not bring up the Nazi analogy. I and many others are reacting to it's use, and are suggesting both strongly that it is inappropriate.


Rob Ayers said...


Your sarcasm and condencension is duly noted. Too bad you don't come out under the rock to show yourself.


Wade Burleson said...


You are always welcome in the debate and I appreciate your insight. I am leaving the posts, I am just suggesting everyone take a deep breath and realize the discussion is around ideas and not specific people -- that's all.

docjoc said...

As a private in God’s Army my first duty is to take orders. I take my orders directly from God’s word as revealed to me by the Holy Spirit. I have learned to read it as well as the theologians and with the Holy Spirits help understand it just as well and sometimes better....

I also try to listen to the voice of God’s Spirit and do what he says. When I am still uncertain I seek counsel from other seasoned veterans.

I avoid trying fretting about those parts of the scripture that remain to me unclear. I have too much to do in my senior years just to follow the direct commands.

I am like Mark Twain who while reading the bible was once asked if he was disturbed by the things he did not understand. No he said “I am disturbed by the things I do.”

Roger Simpson said...

I agree with Charles and I disagree with him.

I think he is way over the top to compare whatever bickering may be going on between warring SBC factions to Nazi death camps.

However, I agree with him that there are some Baptists who take an hard line and they think their practice and interpretation is the only valid Christian one and everyone else is wrong and worthy of villification. I also agree it is best to ignore them rather than fight them. They won't change anyway and you will only burn yourself out in an exercise of futility. Instead you just have to keep keep going to positively promote change.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Anonymous said...

Most Southern Baptist are somewhat Calvinist in their theology. According to a recent Lifeway poll, even though we as Southern Baptist are Calvinist, less than 10% hold to all 5 points of Calvinism. Many have problems with limited atonement and irrestible grace. Yet, those who hold to all 5 points of Calvinism often times look down on those who do not. Because I don't hold to all 5 points of Calvinism, I have been accused of not loving the Scripture and not taking the Scriptures seriously. With all the problems we have in the SBC, I feel that we need a little more "Christ-likeness" from all sides.
Sometimes I agree with Wade on this blog and sometimes I don't. Yet, I feel that Wade is taking the Scriptures seriously as he sees it. As I read this blog, never will I, nor have I ever questioned his love for Christ or for God's Holy Word. Wade does not attack people but he attacks problems.

Wade Burleson said...


Good words. Food for thought.

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

To All,
I think the use of this idea (Hitler analogy) is a dangerous one! We need to remember that the two scenerios are different and though one might be able to make an intellectual connecting of some dots, we as Christians should allow our spiritual to override the intellectual and stay away from these dangerous connections. There are better analogies than Hitler etc.

My grandmother (yes I learned from a women :)) use to say that when you use an analogy or example that is tied to evil to discuss something good, you failed to research enough!

I think she was right! Our spiritual should override the intellectual in this situation thus the answer that never should something so evil be used as an analogy in describing the debate and discussion of brothers and sisters in Christ.

I really do not think this is so difficult to understand. I am not responding to this just because it is here on Wades blog. I have agreed a few times with Wade. This is just over the line. The two do not mix!

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

I realize what you are saying, I just simply do not think that Hitler is worthy of being used in a Christian discussion.

As for the bus, I really doubt that as many are alseep as you think.

Debbie said...

Rob: Many? Out of 44 posts I only count 2 people who are upset. The rest of us seem to get it.

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Please re-read my comments and posts. I have never ever said the Dr. Patterson can do as he wants. Though has misrepresented what I said!

Read the above for my comment concerning Wades blog. Your idea of a slant is indeed a slant in and of itself!

Wade Burleson said...


The agreement or disagreement is Charles, not with me.

It's Charles email, not mine.

However, I still am scratching my head over the identification of any person with Hitler. That is simply not done on this post.

The discussion is around why do people remain silent? Why was the church silent in Germany in 1940?

Surely the same reasons then could apply today, even if the characters involved today are Mother Theresa compared to Hitler. We are not talking about personalities.

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

My point is over the whole idea of using an analogy that ties to Hitler regardless of the "connecting of the dots". I did not accuse the author of trying to tag any personal reference. I just think the whole idea of using an evil that killed millions in this discussion is totally out of line. The appearence is more than enought o show this. Think through it..
Who is the church asleep and not noticing?
Who is about to kill millions?

It is a gross exageration and one that raises the emotions on both sides.

This is the point I am making. I think you could have found something better to illustrate "being a sleep"!

Rob Ayers said...


"I get it." I am nuanced enough to grab the distinctions. However, that does not irradicate the analogy, or make it a good rhetorical device to use - none of us know the real horrors of the Nazis - and I imagine that the original e-mail author has not a clue in which he speaks, or he would be hesistant to use the analogy too.

I myself do not claim I know the horrors of the "Final Solution" or the all controlling beast from hell that was known as the "Third Reich." My uncle helped liberate a concentration camp as a forward observer unit. He saw the horrors there of the bloated bodies stacked up like wood - the tons of ashes from the ovens - and the emacipated bodies of those who would beg him for water and bread. And even though he left a very strong emotional guy, these particular sights changed him forever - he told his family that he had nightmare visions of the things he saw in that camp. He tried to drown himself in alcohol as the result, and died a fairly young man.

No cheap rhetorical trick is worthy to compare to the horrors of Nazi Germany. No good argument is won is using it. It is known in debate as the "bottom feeder" rhetoric - a device to be used when you are losing an argument - but then you have lost anyway.

We can contemplate the silence of the church at the time. I can attribute it to some to false theology, and the desire to stay alive in the face of a regime from hell itself. But until we are faced with the same, we will never know how we will react to it. I hope like the Bohnoefer's and those other evangelical hero's who suffered and died under Nazism that I will be able to stand.

And I don't think my reaction is not without support. If truth be told, I believe my position is one that is also held to by the "silent majority." No one who is not a mass murderer likes to be compared to the Nazis - regardless in comparison to "real people" or merely the hypothetical caricultures of them.


G. Alford said...


This post reminds me why I don't talk to the sepratist Calvinist fenceposts anymore, they are some nasty arrogant Baptists as well.

And you are correct Wade, there is a silent majority in the SBC. It is the one against this 'reformation' to only teach Reformed Theology and the Doctrines of Grace in the SBC.

Names please…

Who are these “Separatist Calvinist Fencepost”?
Who are these “Nasty Arrogant Baptist”?

Calvinist in the SBC are Separatist? You are not serious?

It has been my experience that most “Calvinist” in the SBC have, for many years now, been striving to be accepted in SBC life… although many have become “Separated” against their will.

Steve, do you realize just how “nasty” and “arrogant” your post sounds?
I am very sad that you see Calvinist Baptist this way… for I do not know any Calvinist Baptist who would fit your description (and I know quite a few).

Grace to all,

Alycelee said...

aRob, I went to your blog and read a post you had written about humility. I enjoyed it.
It is with that in mind, I would like to appeal to you again to take a look at the whole content of this post. If I thought people were being compared to Hitler, I too would be enraged. I don't believe that has happened. I looked at the context of this post The silent Majority
Hitler reference was about influence, suppose, just suppose there were an influence so bad, so corrupt, so evil as this (ie Hitler) would we be silent?
What if he had used as a comparison, selling penance in the church? He was saying, I believe, CAN we comprehend something evil overtaking us, and us being so complacent, so asleep, so carefree, so dependent on man and not God that we sit by and do Nothing?
I honestly believe He used this to shake us out of complacentcy in an attempt to wake us up.
No one was called Hitler, The pope, Jim Jones, a Heretic. What he is trying to say and others here I believe, What I am trying to say is.....
Are we armed, are we watching, are we asking God for discernment? Are we slaves to God and Him only? Are we careful to walk in the Spirit and not in traditions of men? AND Will we be silent if we see Wrong/evil attempting to overcome Right/Good and God?

I hope you appreciate this post as an honest attempt to communicate with you. It is.

Jim Paslay said...

I just "love" the little digs that moderates like to interject on this blog.

Rex Ray said: Today, our churches are being “governed” by one man saying, “Listen to me” by way of the BFM 2000 which he controlled with his 15 hand picked committee in secret, and pushed through the SBC by not following its rules.

First of all every Southern Baptist church is autonomous and we are not governed by anyone or anything. Second, I don't get my marching orders as a pastor from Paige Patterson. You, however, have bought into the lie that two men hijacked the SBC and have turned it into their own little denominational toy. Thirdly, can I assume that you also believe that these 15 individuals did Patterson's bidding? If so you have insulted all of them and have attacked their integrity.

Rex, it is high time to get over the last 20 plus years. I am no doctor but I suggest Prozac or a group hug and maybe sing "We are the World".

I am also in agreement with some who has expressed dismay over the mere expression of Nazi Germany in the same sentence with what is going in the SBC. It is inappropriate and uncalled for. Come up with another analogy because this dog won't hunt!

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

I appreciate your points with rob. May I ask this however:
Why use something like that in this discussion? Event the situations you have just mentioned are not even close nor is the SBC situation even close to the horrible events of those events. If a disclaimer were added to the posted email signaling no comparrison - it might have value to any generation to wake up. But to include it in the midst of the SBC discussion is to infer that some horrible (evil in comparrison) exists and this is not true.

Alycelee said...

Tim, He is not saying it is THERE, he is saying, IF it comes, will we sit silently?
I don't think Tim, we can be so proud that we can say, nothing evil can touch us. For but the grace of God-it can. God does raise up and bring down, in particular systems? SBC life, while not bad, has in the course of it's lifetime done amazing things with God's initiative. And will continue to do so, when led by God. We cannot afford to go astray. Agreed?
If we go astray, will the majority sit silent?
That is all the point here?

BTW Jim,
Rex Ray is no moderate.
I have found him to be always liberal with love, grace, knowledge and a great sense of humor :)

Anonymous said...

Flannery O'Conner was often accused of writing "too over the top" with her use of violence and blood..Such use of the "grotesque" was designed to rip through a person's "desensitized mind and sensibilities"

She found it an effective use of imagery (even the holocaust in "The Displaced Person" )

Maybe that is what is occurring here

I find it strange that we get upset over evil of the holocaust and not the evil in of own hearts. Jesus says that they both spring from the same place and they have the same effect.

I am afraid Hitler lives in all of us and only the redeeming work of the cross can assasinate him

I might not have murdered/raped 6 million Jews but I wonder how many times my hatred and lust have served the same evil purposes of the enemy

Left to our own devices we will either embrace the darkness around us, become complacent in the face of it, or hardened by the effects of the battle...all options are detrimental to the work of the Kingdom

As some have written...this train of thought is apalling...but not because it is offensive...because when I look at my heart...I find it to be true


Wade Burleson said...


Well said.

The only people I see making comparisons to Hitler in this comment section are those who are saying it is being done and outraged about it.

The rest of us don't see it, and would be just as outraged if we did.

The post is about the reasons the silent majority remain silent.

Alycelee said...

Perhaps on of the reasons we are silent is that we are so easily distracted from the truth :(
Agape Wade, off to church.

Bob Cleveland said...


I didn't read the whole thread but perhaps the reason the silent majority is silent is that they don't care. Oh, they care the same way we care about baby seals in Alaska when we don't see the pictures, or about global warming.

But like me and baby seals, not enough to get involved or lose sleep.

Maybe the ones yelling on both sides of whatever sides there are, are the only ones who really DO care.

The NIMBY Syndrome at its finest. If it's not going on in my back yard, I don't care.

Debbie said...

It both saddens me and frustrates me when a point is lost due to nitpicking. I think the point of silence in wrong doing and injustice to be more important than the nitpicking.

WTJeff said...

The problem with using any reference to Hitler is exhibited in these comments. A valid point was made, but a poor comparison was chosen. The gentleman who wrote the email is far more intelligent, wise, and educated than I, however, I wonder if his point about fighting Pharisees so hard you become one would be the topic of this thread if he had chosen another analogy. I agree with the point of his email. I'm just afraid its become lost due to his choice of words.

Frankly, I'm feeling the same way Alan Cross is. I'm tired of the constant battle. I run a city wide ministry through our association and am currently finding more people outside our baptist family more passionate about reaching the lost. As a matter of fact, they're finding me! I just hope we don't spend so much time fighting that we miss what God is doing.

Sorry to be so negative this time.


Anonymous said...

I am almost 38

I was 10 when the resurgence started
Some battles seem to be worth fighting so I cheered
Others battles,I thought were trivial..so I sneered
Then some battles were just wrong..so I either got mad or wept
Now I do not know what to do.

I pastor a people "in the pew" who just don't care about the controversy (They could not tell you anything about the BFM). They believe the Bible. They know they are Southern Baptist but they know very little about the important aspects of BEING Southern Baptist.

They "are who they are"
They do things because that is the way it has always been done or someone has told them how to do it.
Educating them now is not easy because we have to deal with what the SBC once was and what it is

They look to the "big boys" and say "let them take care of things" or they say "our voices, imput, money do not matter."

The believe that the big always overrun the small and that is the way it has always been and will be

In the meanwhile their marriages struggle, they get cancer, their kids get caught up in drugs, They work two jobs to try to make ends meet, They live. They die.

The old are stuck in the past
The young are stuck in the present
No one really cares about the future (unless they are talking about growing up or retiring)

No one things eternally anymore.

I wonder if they majority is silent because the SBC is not longer central to their identities as believers.

I wonder if the majority is silent because they just don't care.

I wonder if the majority is silent because they feel insignificant.

I wonder if the majority is silent because they are self-centered and complacent.

I wonder if the majority is silent because "icabod" has been written across the doorpost of the SBC.

Jerry Falwell coined a a phrase called "anointed methodology"
He states that God uses various methods and organizations in anointed ways for a certain season. Then as they lose usefulness God raises up something else

Early in the catholic church history someone look around and said "we no longer have to say silver and gold have we none"
to which someone replied "and now you cannot say "rise up and walk"

The glory days of the SBC were in the 50's when we were considered the denomination on the wrong side of the tracks" But,we got respectable and uppity...and our influence began to wane...is there connection?

Just finished "To The Golden Shore: The Life Of Adorniram Judson"

Later in his life when he returned to America for a visit, he had become somewhat of a legend. Whenever he would speak people would be disapointed because he always told the simple message of the Gospel and not some fantastic tale from exotic Burma. When this was brought to his attention he stated "what could be more exciting than the gospel?" and then he said When I speak if that is all they remember...all the better!"

Maybe the majority is silent because the gospel is not central anymore it is secondary to the agenda of the SBC

Wade Burleson said...

It is interesting that everyone picks up on the analogy used by Charles and nobody has mentioned the fact that he was told he was a member of Satan's camp and an apostate.

Rob Ayers said...

Wade and Alycelee,

Sometimes Wade you exasperate me to no end. It is like you do not read anything you post or write, or if you do then you forget what you said just a scant few minutes ago. You also have a frustrating habit of what I call "transference" that it like is pulling a fast one by accusing the your accusers in the same way they started out in accusing you - really great original rhetoric. Read the email. The inference to me is clear. Charles says, and I quote,

"Carrying this a step further, as Christians, what would we do if an evil as pernicious as the National Socialist Party (Nazi Party) were to successfully arise within the church of Jesus Christ, sustain itself, and grow to enormous national power---driven by an army of weaker brothers. To some that would sound preposterous. However, I am a serious student of history, and I am not so sure that this is impossible. In fact, I am not so sure that it is not already germinating."

According to Charles, inside the church now there are probably "Nazis in training." The proof of this is in the way those who are calling the shots are doing thing: they narrow parameters and hold power and control the "weaker brothers who are lording it over the strong" The writer is suggesting that some in the church and in leadership now (and since this is from the pen of a former Southern Baptist, I MUST assume he is referring to his previous past in dealing with some "Pharisaical" control freaks in a Southern Baptist Church, which of course is a hop, skip and a jump away from current convention leadership) could be the future new "Hail Hitler" class who will stamp out all dissent to the point of mass murder - who will overthrow our republican government and set up a theocracy that will demand conformity - of course only "Fundamentalist" religion has the capacity to be a murderous regime ala radical Islam (of course this is nonsense - visit with your local communist sometime). You can ask him about authorial intent - yet I can only come to the conclusion that this is what he meant. The first half of the email spoke to me. The second merely offended me in my sensibilities to positive God glorifying, truth telling, uplifting rhetoric instead of denigrating, humiliating, and shameful analogies.

Alycelee, I am all against the misuse of power - if you have read my blog, then you know that I truly and firmly believe in Congregationalist polity, and in the model of 1 Corinthains 12. I have took the leadership to task in the areas of squashing dissent, my desire for more accountability, and being men and women of character and integrity. I do not support un-Baptist power plays, the restricting of parameters on missionary service, the dismissal of gifted seminary instructors because of gender, and have said so. I have advocated a humble approach because if I support the idea that my adversaries are wrong in what they do, I had better be willing to be wrong as well. While I understand the nuance of what the writer was trying to say - it was a bad analogy. The Nazis did not fire people from their jobs, humiliate them, drive them away, attack their character, make them feel small or not wanted when they dissented against the regime, or were outside the narrow parameters of what made people "good" in the Nazi agenda. They killed them - summarily. Google sometime "The White Rose" and see how real Nazis dealt with dissent.

Unlike Debbie, I do not think this is being nitpicky. I would say if it was something she believed in strongly, she would not think she would be nitpicky then.

Well Anonymous I am done. This is my last post here on this topic. I will not fill up any more space here on this subject. If anyone wants to talk to me some more about this, I am more than happy to oblige them in a private email. Thanks Wade. We just disagree this time.


Wade Burleson said...


I could think of a number of things worse than being exasperated by Alycelee and me.


Being terminated for being female is one.

Count your blessings.


Bob Cleveland said...


I think the yelling about Nazis and all that misses the point completely, and perhaps is a subtle way of really avoiding the real truth about ourselves.

The Nazis and the German citizens who went along with it and the army members who did unspeakable things were not born Nazis or horrible people bent on unspeakable evil. They were born human like all of us and they had the seed of sin in them just like we did when we were born. Some of them were perfectly fine church folks, too, I imagine, who were caught up in patriotism and respect for the authorities over them just like we are.

Yes, we can sink to the same level the Nazis went to, just as we can sink to the level of God's chosen nation of Israel, as they cried for Jesus' blood. The only way we can possibly avoid that is to depend totally on the redeeming and sustaining power of Jesus Himself, and walk in obedience to Him all the time, every time. Without that, we're as hopeless as the Nazis were. Except we know it. They probably didn't, until too late.

If there'd been a vocal church and blogging in Nazi Germany, there would probably have been more martyrs of the faith. But there may also have not been the holocaust.

A comparison to, or contrasting with, Nazis or Hitler is really highlighting human nature. No wonder we're uncomfortable with that.

We have no choice but to continue to call wrong, wrong. History shows the results of not doing that.

Or not. Just my opinion, which is free and worth every penny.

Bill Scott said...

It was once said, "You can lead horses to water, but you can't make them think." :-)

I believe that this thread has been a wonderful illustration of one of Charles' points:

"According to my friend, the very act of fighting them automatically causes a person to draw their own line in the sand and defend it to the death. In doing so, one inevitably wakes up one morning and finds that they have become one of them."

I chuckled to myself on the way to church at the posturing in this thread and how it illustrates this idea to all of us.

The debate advice and references would not be replete without making mention of the futility of personal attacks. Personal attacks are the direct result of a lack of meritorious arguments worthy of introduction in a debate.

I would rather like to think of this blog as a discussion of issues among brothers and sisters in Christ.

johnMark said...


I like the way Derek Webb put it in an old Caedmon's Call song.
"You can lead a horse to water, you can even make him drink, but you can't change his point of view"

You know, maybe the analogy using Hitler is a poor one if by no other reason that the greater point of the email is lost on this alone.


I think your proposition about all of us being Nazi's is right on. We are all Nazi's to God so to speak prior to coming to Christ. And even after that we struggle with the notion to do the goose-step.

To anon,

The little guy probably feels like he doesn't have anyway to project that voice. How many small churches have "super star" pastors that are well-known, influential and selling books they've written?

We all draw battle lines and must decide when and where and how. We do still need to love each other in our disagreements. The question is how is this going to happen and who is willing to make it happen?


Steve A said...

Enough Htler stuff. Next time, how 'bout some good old sports analogies?

One thing I've noted about competing efforts among peers or fellow believers is that, if the only time I ever meet a fellow is when he's pounding me with a pillow at RA camp, or throwing a snowball at me outside a college dorm, or he's accosting people in a political effort at a convention, I go through life thinking he's nothing but a fighter, and a base fellow at that.
Welcome to human nature.

Maybe the more the Jeremy Greens and the Ben Coles and the Tims and the other Tims of the world tangle with each other in blogs, the less likely they'll have titanic Texas-sized tussles at conventions.

Wishful thinking?

Bill Scott said...

Well said brother.
Bill Scott

Anonymous said...

Rob is funny...

"This conversation is OVER!!!"

After he makes 9 more comments...

He says, "I'm done!"

See ya' in a few minutes Rob.

TruthOfActs said...

You put me in an awkward position by saying such nice things; now I’m afraid to say anything. But thanks.

Almost 38,
I believe you made one of the better comments that describe the silent majority: “They believe the big always overrun the small and that’s the way it has always been and will be.”

Instead of an allegory of Hitler, look at the facts in Paul’s day. The big Jerusalem Church kept tabs on Paul’s small churches by sending out preachers, missionaries etc. to teach the Christian pagans.

What they were teaching can be seen by Paul’s disgust: “We do not tell them that they must obey every law of God or die.” (2 Corinthians 3:6) This book could be described as a running gun battle between Paul and these guys.

Some had recommendations like the ‘delegation’ sent to deliver the Church’s letter (BFM?) to the Gentile Christians in Acts 15.

Did this set a precedent that the big could govern the small by telling them what the rules or laws were as interpreted by higher-ups? Hmmmm.

BFM 2000: “The church…is GOVERNED by His Laws.” One church was kicked out because they hired an associate pastor who was female. Was this antonymous church “governed”? This illustration makes Baptists being antonymous a joke.

Jim Paslay,
My apologies as you say for making a little dig—I meant for it to be a big dig. I’ve already covered the false impression that every church is autonomous.

On you second point; If you don’t know how a few men took over the SBC, read “On a Hill which to Die.” Paul Pressler tells how it was done. Criswell said if they had known this, [what’s in the book] they could have taken over long ago.

I question your third point of Patterson NOT controlling his committee of 15 because I believe, as Wade called him a “self-appointed watchdog”, he takes control of everything around him.

To illustrate, Patterson has taken on the duties of the SWBTS trustees in removing people.
The trustees are the only ones with the authority to hire and fire, but not with Patterson in control.
You probably know better than I do how many people he has fired or run off from SWTBS. One of them had been our interim pastor.

Patterson’s actions show he is not worried about hurting the integrity of the trustees—after all they should be grateful to him for giving them their jobs.
He should be their employee, but his actions show they are his employees. The same with his committee.

Tim Guthrie,
Every time I see your picture, you are usually against what ever Wade has said. On this post, you successfully high-jacked the theme from the silent majority to Hitler.

Sorry, Alycelee,
Today, I’m having a problem with grace management. You have taught me much. Having admitted that, will I be condemned as much as you?
Rex Ray

Debi L. Maestri Bella Vista, AR said...

PEOPLE! Some of you have SOOOOOOO
missed the point of Charles's
e-mail! If you've ever been courageous enough to hold a "brother" accountable, or better yet, courageous enough to have been held accountable yourself, you'd probably get it!

DEALING with a "brother" who refuses to listen (or talk) can make you nutty! To keep your sanity, you MUST remember what you are dealing with: principalities, powers, rulers, and get this, "spiritual wickedness in high places."

Jesus is courageous! He is my HERO! According to Matthew 18 (and according to MY interpretation) verse 18 says WE have a responsibility to "bind up" offenses and not to expect Jesus to fly down like Superman and fix everything.........

Remember, too, that all it takes for "spiritual wickendness in high places" to triumph, is for good (is there not a wise man among you? I Cor. 6:5) men to do nothing!

Thank you very much! My first post ever and probably my last......I have arrived!

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray and Anonymous - I have been telling Tim G. that for weeks. His eyes are sealed shut so get used to it.


Anonymous said...

Ray? Where are you???

TruthOfActs said...

I'm under my hat, at home, in a chair, in Bonham, Texas. Is it fair to ask who you are?
Rex Ray

Anonymous said...

RR - It is fair to ask, but I can't say. I'm a L3 IMB missionary. However, honesty compels me to admit that I kinda' like this "anonymous" stuff.

Wade, if you are still on this post, the IMB website has an update on the motions. You probably know this already and perhaps even referred to it somewhere else. Also, just simply FYI, Chairman Floyd sent out a letter to all missionaries that was very gracious and uplifting. The story from Cuba was...well, it was a WOW! moment. I am so happy to serve.



Anonymous said...

Rex Ray,

RMS and I are kindred spirits.We are also friends. He called me to confirm I was who he thought I was. He told me you thought I was him. He recommended Judson's autobiography to me.


TruthOfActs said...

Lets see if I have this right; there is anonymous, anonymous L3M, and anonymous almost 38. But then L3M said it was fair to ask who he (anonymous) was, so that would cut it down to two anonymous. But then L3M told me and Anonymous about Tim G., so are we back to three?

Oh, I give up. It’s about like trying to figure out why the ‘silent majority’ is silent, or worse yet; why are the ‘powers that be’ stay silent when truth is knocking on their door?

Almost 38,
Do I dare ask if your words are quoted in Dilday’s book, which asked why a SWBTS trustee had lied to him about NOT firing Dilday, and the reply was, “Didn’t you see me wink?”

This seems to be par for the ruling men at SWTBS, and what do you have when ‘trust’ is removed from ‘trustee’? It’s ‘Eeeeeeeeee’ straight down in the fall to falsehood. No wonder their mouths are zipped tight because their truth would split Patterson’s bunker of silence wide open.
Rex Ray

Anonymous said...

RR - You have it right...I think?

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray

He is a mutual friend.
I find it significant that when I asked him that incident he knows it happened but is fuzzy on the details. (It was almost 15 years ago). He does not remember how it could have gotten into Dildays book! He was so upset that he only spoke to a few people about it. But then again those days were crazy for all of us.
Almost 38

Anonymous said...

One last thing...not all of the trustees were not unethical. Most of them were Godly men and women. Many of them believed that it was Dilday's time to go. For that matter many of the students felt that as well. But, it should not have happened the way it did.

That my conundrum Mr. Ray. The resurgence needed to happen. Most involved were genuine and humble in there conviction to make a course correction in the direction of the SBC. The "silent majority of conservatives" had been ignored for far too long by the old guard in the SBC. They felt like they had their voice heard. The problem is that once the battle was over, they sat down again and let a small group of new guard run things. Maybe it is time for another course correction but I hope we do not follow suit by becoming what we battle against.


TruthOfActs said...

Almost 38,
Small world that my pastor and you know the student who heard, “Didn’t you see me wink?” as quoted in Dilday’s book. Have you read his book? My pastor hadn’t until we swapped books 3 months ago.
Other than ‘orders’ to get rid of Dilday, (“We did what you wanted us to do…”) why did trustees believe it was time for him to go when they had agreed with everything he had done and was planning to do? When Dilday asked them why they fired him; their response was duh…”We don’t have to have a reason…we got the vote.”

Later, the trustees gave a lot of trumped up reasons trying to cover their actions.
The real reason: Patterson told Dilday he was conservative but “not one of us.”

So tell me “38”, why did “many students” feel it was time for him to go? I haven’t heard that before.

What are students feeling now if the one on Wade’s blog was afraid of not graduating for telling the truth if he was identified?
Why has Patterson NOT given tenure to any professor since he took over? Is he afraid of loosing control?

You say most of the trustees were Godly. I’m sure they were Christians, but why did all six seminaries complain to the higher ups that they needed more qualified trustees? One example is one trustee at SWBTS preferenced his statements with “I thank God I never attended a seminary” which brought a lot of amen’s. It was almost like saying, ‘Yesterday I couldn’t spell trustee, but today I are one.’
Regardless of their education they were honored as trustees because they were fundamentalist who had been loyal to the “us” crowd. As soon as fundamentalist became the board majority, Dilday was fired.

“The resurgence needed to happen.” I’ve heard that so much, I’m almost brainwashed myself. “The fight for the Bible” is another slogan that people pat themselves on the back for accomplishing.
What really happened is the silent majority stayed silent, but the ‘political’ crowd was bamboozled to ‘get rid of liberals’ and ‘save the Bible.’
Sure there were some real liberals…Patterson had a list and being the ‘self-appointed watchdog’ as he was, I imagine he had done a fine job. His liberal list could have been put in a Volkswagen.

What did the new guard accomplish? They started a ‘top down rule’, and changed the glue that held Baptists together from missions to doctrine.

The trouble with ‘doctrine glue’ is it’s not ‘waterproof’ and it dissolves in the rain of different small beliefs among Baptists. A church janitor was fired because he had the ‘wrong’ idea on Revelation.

What ever our differences are 38, we agree it’s time for a change.
Rex Ray