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

That Friend Down Inside Me Is What Matters

It is my usual custom to read three books concurrently on three separate subjects: theology, history and fiction. My current historical read is Roy Adkin's Nelson's Trafalgar: The Battle That Changed the World, a compelling account of the 1805 sea battle between Napolean's combined French and Spanish Navies against the world renowned British fleet led by Vice-Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson.

Admiral Nelson is considered by some to be the greatest naval commander in the history of modern sea warfare. To this day his tactics are studied from Anapolis to Portsmouth, and his life is recounted by no less than one thousand biographies. Admiral Nelson was known for his fearlessness in the face of death, his creative seafaring against insurmountable odds, and his resolute leadership. This genuine hero of England lost an arm in his thirties, an eye in his early forties, and eventually his life in the Battle at Trafalgar that ultimately saved England from Napolean's planned invasion of the island.

There was a short paragraph in Adkin's new book that caught my attention the other evening as I read it. It seems that Admiral Nelson strayed from his marriage vows on regular occasions, and even had a longstanding affair with Emma Hamilton, the wife of the English Ambassador to Sicily, by whom Lord Nelson fathered a child. Adkin's said that the people of England were aware of their hero's moral failure, but . . .

"The relationship between Nelson and Emma has often been portrayed as that of a vulnerable hero seduced by a calculating courtesan -- a view that stemmed from the Victorian need to explain away a 'fault' in an otherwise exemplary man. The truth was somewhat different."

I think there is something in all of us that leads us to often turn a blind eye to the faults of our heros. There is even a blatant attempt by some to cover up the moral ineptitude of our beloved leaders. It's as if we carry the Victorian attitude, "Those who have led us so effectively cannot have a penchant for inappropriate behavior, for if that were the case, how could they have accomplished all the great things they have done?"

It can be said that Admiral Nelson was a great commander, but it cannot be said he was a great man. May Christian people never be blinded by the world's tendency to turn a blind eye toward unethical behavior or immoral activity simply because the perpetrator of such activity is considered a hero. And may those of us who are considered Christian leaders never fall into the trap of living like Lord Nelson, growing in fame and reputation for our successes, but neglecting the more personal issues of integrity, faithfulness and moral fortitude.

"I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside me." Abraham Lincoln

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wade,
Your recent prediction is now come to past,

Seminary First Lady Compares Pill to Abortion (http://ethicsdaily.com/article_detail.cfm?AID=8571)

Bob Allen
02-22-07
The wife of a Southern Baptist seminary president says women who oppose abortion should think twice before using birth control pills.


Dorothy Patterson, professor of theology in woman's studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and wife of President Paige Patterson, says in an article on her Web site that many women who believe life begins at conception are unaware that oral contraceptives are sometimes effective by preventing a fertilized ovum from implanting, "resulting in what is actually an early abortion."



"While taking an oral contraceptive is certainly not equal to purposely getting an abortion, the ethical considerations are similar," she writes. "One function of oral contraceptives is to help prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg. If life begins at conception, this function of the pill is not contraceptive but abortive."



While the percentage of times the pill actually functions that way is comparatively low, from 1 percent to 10 percent, she said, it is one of the designed functions.



"Many women who take oral contraceptives do not desire to have an abortion," she wrote. "However, a woman’s choice to use the pill does introduce the possibility of this occurrence."



Patterson urged Christian women to consider if "the use of oral contraceptives truly compatible with a pro-life stance." For many women, she said, the issue of whether to use the pill revolves around the issue of convenience. "Is mere convenience a good enough reason to take a drug that may terminate human life, no matter how low the risk is?"



Beyond that, Patterson said, is the "responsibility of maternity" that women fulfill.



"The basic moral question is not whether or not a baby is wanted but whether or not the baby was willed," she wrote. "The choice or consent to have intercourse is the implicit consent to bear children by divine fiat (i.e., God’s way of continuing the generations). The woman is not a baby-making machine, but she has by nature a baby-making body. Only one woman can bear a particular child, and her tie to that child is personal and her bonding virtually unbreakable. In the rearing of that child, she has the opportunity to impart within the privacy of her family circle her own values to the child. To refuse that procreative role and to throw upon society that nurturing responsibility is to abdicate her highest calling and greatest usefulness to the Creator and to His created order. Women are called upon to make sacrifices; they are challenged to live selflessly. These sacrifices and a selfless life are essential for the continuation of the generations. Women cannot shun this greatest responsibility of maternity without endangering all of civilization."



Patterson blamed "selfish whims" of individualism and materialism that believes "things are more important than children" for the decision of many modern women to delay childbearing.



"In Scripture, godly women were not concerned with whether or not they would receive discrimination in the marketplace but rather with whether or not their wombs were barren," she said. "Childlessness was looked upon as an affliction, an indication of worthlessness and insignificance (Gen. 29:32; 30:1). Women were not pining away, pleading with the Almighty that they might be priests or prophets. They were praying for the privilege of bearing a child. In Israel every Jewish mother hoped to become the mother of the Messiah, whose coming had been promised to Eve, the first mother (Gen. 3:15). Children were considered a direct gift from God (Gen. 4:1; 16:2; 17:19; 29:31; 30:22; Ruth 4:13). God has always been actively involved in fashioning the child in the womb (Ps. 139:13-18)."



Someone, she said, suggested that a couple weigh the "risk" of having a child, which God calls a "blessing" against the possibility of killing a child, "an act that God calls an abomination, whether in or out of the womb."



"God's gifts are not always timed according to your preferences and convenience," she said. "Some short-sighted mothers and fathers decide that the family or baby or the world would be better off if conception or birth does not occur. They refuse the grace God offers to fulfill His challenges and validate His promises (Mk. 10:27)."



Even if a child is unplanned by parents, she said, it doesn't mean he or she isn't planned by God. Even an unplanned child, she said, can be a blessing.



"I do not feel that it is my responsibility to convince people not to use the Pill," she concluded. "However, I do want to provide other women with the tools necessary to make an informed decision rather than one based on disinformation or ignorance. The moral issues surrounding use of the pill are difficult and are noticeably more 'gray' than many issues concerning the sanctity of human life. In matters of conscience, one must allow others grace to make their own decisions before God."



Patterson isn't the first influential Southern Baptist to question the denomination's traditional hands-off attitude toward birth control. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in 2003 termed deliberate childlessness by married couples "moral rebellion" against God's design. In a radio broadcast last year, Mohler lamented a "contraceptive mentality" that regards pregnancy as "equivalent to a disease."



Southern Baptist leaders including Timothy George, David Dockery, David Gushee and Rick Warren signed a document with Catholic leaders last fall listing birth control in a consensus statement on building a "culture of life."



"[W]hile we are not agreed on the moral permissibility of artificial contraception, we recognize the sad effects of a widespread 'contraceptive mentality' that divorces sexual love from procreation and views children as a burden to be avoided rather than as a gift to be cherished," says the statement by Evangelicals and Catholics Together.



Some Baptists subscribe to a "full quiver" movement that leaves family planning up to God.



Four years ago, while at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Paige and Dorothy Patterson complained about missionaries in training by the International Mission Board being asked to use a breast pump and allow nursery workers to give bottled milk to babies while their mothers finished a tight schedule of training. The issue, according to a blogging IMB trustee who doesn't identify the Patterson's by name, "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." EthicsDaily.com confirmed their identity with another knowledgeable source.



Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com

OC Hands said...

Wade,
I agree to a certain extent that the person inside you is the one that matters. Be true to yourself, and hence you cannot be untrue to any man, a quote that may not be exactly accurate.
However, the friend that sticketh closer than a brother is the one we should be concerned about. I can be deceived, the friend down inside me can be deceived, but the Holy Spirit, our friend and guide, cannot be deceived.

Colin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin said...

Are you suggesting that those who support said SBC leaders are ignoring known unethical or unbiblical behavior because of some sort of victorian era hero mentality?

OR

Are you suggesting many turn a blind eye to their heroes who attack said SBC leaders using unbiblical and unethical standards to do so?

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Great comment. Of course, if you stay true to yourself and to the Lord, the only friend you have will not be the one inside of you. You will have many others incuding me. Thanks for your time blogging. It is making a positive difference in the SBC.

Greg Hicks said...

Colin,

I have a question for you.

Dr. Patterson is a hero of the Conservative Resurgence. I would be the first to acknowledge and thank him for his tireless efforts to ensure the SBC is on a conservative theological course.

But Colin, now that you know Dr. Patterson publicly inferred there would be no house cleaning of female professors from the school of theology faculty before he became president of SWBTS and privately told Dr. Klouda she had no reason to be concerned regarding her job - then forced her out at SWBTS; that Dr. Patterson had information regarding the issues that led to Claude Thomas departure from FBC Euless yet attempted to add him to the SWBTS faculty anyway; that Dr. Patterson had lunch with Dwight McKissic and said nothing about any concerns he had with the chapel message from the SWBTS trusttee but then prohibited the distribution of his message via the internet (as is the usual practice) and issued a statement that his message could be harmful to the churches of the SBC - what think you of Dr. Patterson?

Bill Scott said...

Wade,
Who is this "friend down inside?" I take it to mean the friend that sticketh closer than a brother that OC Hands mentions.

It only takes one "Oh my" to erase a lifetime of "attaboys" in morally based circles. However, in our culture at large moral failures are indeed largely ignored if there are other more appealing qualities on which to focus.

Wade Burleson said...

Colin,

It would, of course, work both ways in your illustration, but please point to one word in my post that would lead you to the conclusion I was referring to the SBC and not Ted Haggaard, Jimmy Swaggert, Jim Bakker, or Robert Tilton and the kingdom at large.

Wade Burleson said...

Bill Scott,

I was just using the quote of Lincoln as a closer. I do like the idea of the 'friend' being the Holy Spirit, but I think Lincoln would have considered his friend his character.

Wade Burleson said...

Anyonymous,

Prescience is the art of combining vision and logic. It's not hard to predict the future direction of the SBC.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

Good post. We can always find fault with such "moral messages" on some spiritual basis or other, but that hints at some of the problems with the SBC. My pastor referred to it as "being so spiritually minded that you're no earthly good".

Who put that "friend down inside" us? Mother nature? Or Father God?

He gave it to us. Let's use everything He gave us, and quit looking for stuff to criticize.

Well, doggone it, you got me started. One more vignette: I'm in a F.A.I.T.H. program and a team member, in the "afterglow", shares how they shared the program but left out some parts. Someone pointed out the steps they omitted and the "opportunities to share" that they missed. The team member had already pointed out that the person had prayed to receive Jesus!

Let's use everything God gave us, whether everyone thinks it's "spiritual" or not.

Steve & Tiffany said...

My boyhood idol growing up in So. Calif. was Magic Johnson of the LA Lakers. I thought he was the greatest person in the world and could do no wrong. In 1991 when he was forced to retire from basketball because of HIV, it crushed me. I cried like a baby. Not really because I would never see my hero play basketball again, but because the image I had built up of him was blown. We do build up our heroes to be more than they can ever be, and when they let us down, we are more disappointed than ever. We forget they are human, born into sin and they will let us down, even if they are our own parents. Thankfully, we have a heavenly father that will NEVER let us down. There is a real hero.
That day in 1991 taught me alot, and I am still learning from it today.

Les Puryear said...

Wade,

Excellent post.

You said, "May Christian people never be blinded by the world's tendency to turn a blind eye toward unethical behavior or immoral activity simply because the perpetrator of such activity is considered a hero. And may those of us who are considered Christian leaders never fall into the trap of living like Lord Nelson, growing in fame and reputation for our successes, but neglecting the more personal issues of integrity, faithfulness and moral fortitude."

That is also the point of my post on "Situation Ethics."

Kindest regards,

Les

Kevin Bussey said...

It is hard when your spiritual hero falls. I just hope we can lift them up in prayer.

I remember that song by Sweet Comfort Band "You Led Me To Believe" about the guy who led the author to believe and then fell.

Maybe we should take the advice of Craig F. on The Late Late Show (see SBC Outpost).

Paul Burleson said...

Wade,

In the flyleaf of my preaching Bible, received as a gift forty-two years ago from a group of young people I pastored at the time, is a short five point statement made by Oswald Smith about the "man God uses." The first of those statements is..."He is one who is completely abandoned to knowing and obeying God."

Your statement...

"And may those of us who are considered Christian leaders never fall into the trap of living like Lord Nelson, growing in fame and reputation for our successes, but neglecting the more personal issues of integrity, faithfulness and moral fortitude" goes hand in hand with Smith's words. I see your's saying... what we will be and not be and his saying... what the foundation is for our being true to the internal issues of Graced character.

I will also say, though I'm sure the charge of parental prejudice will be leveled, [so be it] you exemplify the truth and reality of both of those statements. Your abandonment to knowing and obeying the Father is evident and your willingness to keep your eye on the greater issues of personal internal integrity, faithfulness and moral fortitude is just as evident. I...for one...am grateful.

[What you've done is in the public forum so I've chosen to put my "thanks" in the public form.]

DAD

Colin said...

Wade,

I do not wish to play games. If you do not think it refers to the SBC, then say so. I assume you meant it as a universal truth, not confined to specific situations or instances. I also assumed since most of what you write regards the SBC, that this too has a reasonable and straightfoward application. How do I see it? I see it as overlooking certain behavior in order to achieve a greater end- which is clearly wrong.

Therefore, I would say it applies to both- given the unethical behavior is known. I would think it a mistake to infer those supporting SBC leadership are ignoring unethical behavior. I would also think it a mistake to ignore that many are now realizing the unbiblical behavior of attacking people via blogs and are now doing something about it.

Colin said...

Greg,

You obviously know more than I. I know that you should read the full comment string about the Euless situation. I also know that you only know one side of the other stories you mentioned. The US court system is more forgiving than the SBC blogosphere.

Instead of answering your question, I will ask you one.

I am a sinner. I don't always do my quiet times when I intend to. I lose my temper on occasion. I repent of thoughts and deeds constantly. I cringe at past actions I have done while a Christian, and the witness it gave. In fact, it is by the grace of God that I am not headed straight for hell as we speak, for it is what I deserve. You get the picture. Now, what do you think of me?

Wade Burleson said...

Colin,

Thou protesteth too loudly, as Shakespeare might say. You seem to be doing the very thing in your comments which you seem to oppose. My post seems to communicate very clearly the point I was making. I'm not sure what prejudice you bring to the reading of it, but I assure you that no games are needed, nor played, by me. :)

Wade Burleson said...

Colin, you said,

"I would also think it a mistake to ignore that many are now realizing the unbiblical behavior of attacking people via blogs and are now doing something about it.

It would seem to me the best thing these anonymous people - to whom you refer in your comment -could do is prove that what has been said via the blog(s) - again, you do not name the attacking blogs - is factually incorrect. It is not an attack when it is fact.

Do you have something else in mind when you say 'they are now doing something about it"?

Blessings,

Colin said...

Wade,

Protest? Are you sure your reading my comments? I agreed with the post. I assume you hold it as a universal principle, so I was prodding to see how comfortable everyone was with what universal actually implied.

I am confused as to whether you are denying or affirming that this goes on in SBC life. To your benefit, I was asking for clarification, which you are free to give. It took me aback that you wanted proof that you meant to relate this to the SBC. Left field?

Also, what am I doing that I oppose? I am completely missing your point here.

On the other issues, I am talking about John Stickey's idea of accountability in the blogs.

Wade Burleson said...

I think, Colin, there is a failure to communicate. I appreciate your comments, but since I seem to have missed what it is you were saying, as it seems you have missed what I was saying, possibly it would be best to wish each other a great weekend and move on.

Wade

Jim Paslay said...

Wade:

On the homepage of your blog, you tell us that this blog is about your "personal reflections on the SBC." You have stated very clearly that you are concerned about the direction of the convention the last 15 years. (Take note, Rex Ray, he didn't go back to the Conservative Resurgence) I certainly took your article as did Colin as referring to the SBC. In fact the majority of your articles have pertained to the current situation within our convention. I promise you Bob Allen thought you were referring to the SBC with the first comment.

It is clear to me that there are many disgruntled people who have hitched their wagons with you. The only problem is that you are dealing with recent situations while the disgruntled ones are going all the way back to the start of the Conservative Resurgence. In my opinion they cannot be linked.

Your articles are thought provoking and challenging. It is clear you desire changes in the direction that some in leadership positions within the SBC are taking us. Fine, but I do not believe you are asking us to go back to the days before the Conservative Resurgence as some moderates are hoping for. That is too high a price for Southern Baptists to pay.

William Madden said...

Colin,

Pardon me, but I have to agree with Wade. You and I have dialogued a couple of times before on this board, and I have read your posted replies to others as well. In general, your posts repeat the same rhetorical strategy, which is simply to turn the tables on the primary poster's argument by turning it against them and judging them by their own standard. In doing so, however, you rarely directly address or answer the question or wrong raised by the original post, so your rhetorical strategy comes off as evasive (avoiding or denying the original point), and somewhat child-like (like on the playground, when a kid says "I know you are, but what am I?"). I'm not trying to give you hard time, but I think it would be good for you to take some time to think about how you think and answer people on these blogs. My basic impression is that because you are "inside the bubble" at Southwestern, that you are unwilling to find fault with the actions of the administration there no matter where the facts may seem to lead. Recent postings on your blog show interest in the Dr. Sheri Klouda issue. Do you feel some pressure to support the administration no matter what they do, or do you really believe excluding women from the seminary professorate on the basis of gender alone is pleasing to God?

Geoff Baggett said...

Wade,

You read three books at once?!

Cool. I haven't done that since Sysstematic Theology. :)

Geoff

Geoff Baggett said...

Make that ... Systematic Theology.

Duh.

Roger Simpson said...

I have been looking over the shoulder on the comment stream.

All, I can say is whatever Colin's point is -- it is so convuluted that it's going right over my head.

Colin, if you are making a point then please just come right out and make it. Otherwise, you are leaving most of us in the dust.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Anonymous said...

"I do not feel that it is my responsibility to convince people not to use the Pill," she concluded. "However, I do want to provide other women with the tools necessary to make an informed decision rather than one based on disinformation or ignorance. The moral issues surrounding use of the pill are difficult and are noticeably more 'gray' than many issues concerning the sanctity of human life. In matters of conscience, one must allow others grace to make their own decisions before God."


Based upon this statement it is just a matter of time before we kick women out of the convention for using birth control :).

Can't you folks see that Patterson is just being consistent in her application of sanctity of life issues? If the pill allows fertilized eggs to be ejected from the womb, then knowingly using certain birth control pills opens the door to abortion in our own bodies. You are then morally culpable for the life you destroy.

Greg Hicks said...

Colin,

Early on when I first started reading the blogs about the IMB issues I emailed then Chairman Tom Hatley and the IMB trustees from my state. Without any preconceived idea as to whether or not what was being suggested was true and recognizing that there are at least two sides to every story, I simply asked for information as to what was going on from their perspective.

I heard back from only one trustees, whose sole response was "I didn't vote for the policies," and Tom Hatley, who promised that information was forthcoming in a public forum.

Several months later, Hatley released his position papers on the two IMB issues, and they did not demonstrate what he had claimed, namely, that there were documented instances of problems on the field that led to the policies. I found his theological rationale completely unconvincing as well.

Further, after the IMB voted to bring Wade before the SBC to be removed from the BOT, I noted that Wade continued to call for all the specifics of the ever changing charges against him to be made public, to no avail. To try to get specifics, I dialogged with Jerry Corbaley via his blog (whom I understand made the motion for Wade's removal), and got only fog and obfuscation. Later, when it became clear that there would be an expectation at the Convention for the IMB to make the case, the BOT reversed course and unanimously voted to rescind the motion to remove. This convinced me they could not make the case.

All the while Wade has continued to say that he is willing to retract and apologize for anything he has written if it can be shown to be factually inaccurate. That includes what he posted regarded the treatment of Dr. Klouda, and I find it interesting that Van McClain, who publicly indicated Wade's post was "filled with inaccuracies" but has specified only one (that the vote to hire Dr. Klouda was not unanimous) will not release the meeting minutes to verify what is factually correct on that meaningless issue.

I remain open and would be happy to hear more of the "other side" of the story (as you note); however no one from that "side" of the story seems to be willing to do anything other than make broad brushed accusations that are never substanciated with evidence. Instead, it appears to me that they take extraordinary steps (such as the diversion of Wade's motion at the convention for the IMB to investigate the IMB) to ensure a complete impartial investigation of the evidence never occurs. As Dr. Phil says, "Those who have nothing to hide hide nothing" and over time, if you pay attention, I think you can figure out who is telling the truth.

I presented you with a series of well documented and supported information regarding Dr. Patterson and asked you for comment to see if there is even a possibility that you believe Dr. Patterson is, like the rest of us, fallible. Scripture says Christian leaders are held to a higher standard, that we are to be above reproach, but my sense is that some consider some of our leaders beyond reproach - they get a pass regardless of what they do because of giftedness, past contribution to the convention, etc. The only way they know to keep their heroes on the pedestal they have created for them is to hide a blind eye from their actions.

Despite the fact that you won't answer my question, I'll answer yours - I think the same of you that I think of Dr. Patterson - and more importantly, myself. We are all people desperately in need of God's mercy and grace - and part of that grace is being surrounded by a loving community who will hold us accountable for our actions. It is for our own good.

Colin said...

Greg,

The fact is that you have one side of the story well documented, as do others, yet persons have already been convicted and are awaiting sentencing by the SBC. It makes no difference whether they are factual or not- the issue is what you are doing with those facts.

Why would I accept the testimony according to one witness as to indiscretions of a leader? Why are they being publicly broadcast anyway? Why not forgive him if he is guilty or trust the trustees? What makes you think because something is factual it is should be fodder for public gossip?

Your answer for your question (again)- I think of him the same as I do myself- he is a sinner saved by grace, held over the precupice of hell by a thread as am I, I trust God to sovereignly accomplish His will through the position he has been placed in, and I measure everything I hear with the knowledge that I have been forgiven of so much more than could ever charge another man with. I love him, respect him, and am willing to defend him as vigorously as any brother in Christ who is determined to be obedient to God.

Wade Burleson said...

Greg,

My wife read your comment and said, "This guy nails it."

:) I happen to agree.

Wade Burleson said...

Greg,

My wife read your comment and said, "This guy nails it."

:) I happen to agree.

Anonymous said...

She read it twice....he nailed it twice...and you agreed twice!!!

As always Wade, you are consistent.

Blessing!

bryan riley said...

May we not be great in reputation for being great at following an easy list of do's and don't's while failing miserably at loving, kindness, compassion, integrity, forgiving, forbearing, giving, hospitality, and the like.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

That's funny.

I'm leaving the duplicate comment up just because of your comment.

:) Have a nice day.

Pamela Cook said...

Pastor Wade,

I am not a member of the SBC. When I read this entry nothing was mentioned about the SBC at all. I realize that probably most people that read this blog are from the SBC. I usually take what a person's writes at face value and not add anything to what is written regardless of a person's point of reference.

When I read this piece I thought about the body of Christ as a whole. This is a general post warning each of us IN THE BODY OF CHRIST to not gloss over moral problems of talented, gifted people. The craziness with the SBC never crossed my mind. Maybe it is because I sat under a pastor that has become a proponent of universalism. There were things that happened beforehand that were not addressed long before he started teaching heresy. Dealing with glossing over immoral behavior is not just a problem with one group or denomination. It is a problem throughout the body of Christ that needs to immediately stop.

I feel the comments inferring that you are making veiled accusations about SBC leaders reveal one thing that concerns me about denominations, that is, it is all about the denomination with no thought at all about others that are a part of the body of Christ. Believe it or not we are out here. As followers of Christ we are to be united by the message of the word of God. Denominations by their very nature are exclusive and divisive. It is sad when you cannot make a general statement like you did in this blog because of the blinders of the SBC. Biblical truths are NOT exclusively SBC ones.

I realize that this blog is dealing with the issues about the SBC. However can you not deviate from that once in a while and take a broader view about just being a good Christian? It appears that some are incredibly narrow IMHO.

Commenting on the following that was posted in the first response:

Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in 2003 termed deliberate childlessness by married couples "moral rebellion" against God's design. In a radio broadcast last year, Mohler lamented a "contraceptive mentality" that regards pregnancy as "equivalent to a disease."

I an absolutely horrified at these statement. I agree that there may be some truth to the hatred of children. Maybe this is what he is trying to address. HOWEVER these type of statements also communicate unwarranted shame to those couples that really desire children but cannot have them. Those couples may not tell others that they are trying but cannot. When they hear messages like this I'm sure the first thought they think is that, 'these people are probably thinking that we are deliberately childess since we have no children.

This also implies that every married woman healthwise is able to have children. That may be the case for many women where they feel they should use some type of contraception to preserve their lives. There may be reasons for a woman not having a child other than so-called contempt for children.

The harshness of how this issue is being dealt with is deplorable to me. For a denomination that prides itself about grace and truth this type of expression is very hypocritical. I can understand a sincere attempt in wanting to be consistent in expressing and living out a pro-life conviction. I wholeheartedly agree with that heart and motivation. However I would ask those leaders to please consider the people they are speaking to and not scream out harsh blanket statements that may not apply to the vast majority of people.

I am unmarried so this issue does not apply to me. I am close to 50 so if I do marry I will probably not ever face this issue. However if I ever heard a pastor make statements like this that would be my last time attending that church. I would probably leave the service right after that statement was made. You would never hear Jesus making those kind of condemnations without considering how they impact those that might be struggling with things in their lives. Jesus never used shame in dealing with people. Even when he rebuked the religious leaders of the day there was no shame in his heart. This fellow is trying to use shame and condemnation to modify behavior. I pray after his latest health battle that maybe he has changed his tune in his attempts to communicate truth. Sometimes hard battles will soften the tone of people. He needs that done.

AUJeff said...

Pamela,
Before you are too hard on Dr. Mohler, please take a deep breath and re-read the quote that you posted in your comment. Dr. Mohler was clearly referring to DELIBERATE childlessness - not those who are unable to conceive or have health issues.
I hope to find the quotes from Dr. Mohler in their original context before I decide what I think. The author of the article may have wrenched the "juicy" portions of Dr. Mohler's comments out of context much like many of the commentors here frequently do to Wade.

William Madden said...

Perhaps the plan is to put pressure on Southern Baptists increase their numbers through breeding, since many people I know who are not Southern Baptists would not consider becoming one in a million years after all of the infighting that has gone on in the last 25-30 years. (In case it's not clear, the part about the "breeding program" is intended to be a joke; unfortunately, the part about no one in our area (for example, students at my college)wanting to be a Southern Baptist is not.

William Madden said...

P.S. There is a typo in the previous post; it should have read:Perhaps the plan is to put pressure on Southern Baptists to increase their numbers through breeding,"...

Pamela said...

To AUJeff,

I understood that he meant deliberate. I guess I did not make my point clear. Maybe stating it differently will clarify what I was trying to say.

I feel that all couples without children would be unfairly judged as being in moral rebellion, including those that are trying to conceive but have not gotten pregnant. No one knows all the reasons why married couples do not have children. Unless SBC leaders demand that couples tell them why they do not have children in a so-called reasonable period of time after marriage, they should not make statements saying that all couples that are deliberately childless are in moral rebellion.

A woman may have been told by her doctor that she has a serious medical condition where carrying a baby to term could risk her life. If she and her husband prayerfully decide to not have children that is a deliberate decision to be childless. Would they be in moral rebellion for making that choice? I would make it in a heartbeat with no shame or feeling like I was morally rebelling against God whatsoever.

From your reply I agree I should have done a web search for context of those comments before making my statements:) Normally I would have but I must admit when I read the term 'moral rebellion' I was truly undone. Terms like that I put in the same category as flagging someone as liberal because they do not tow the so-called SBC line.

I have known or heard of married women in both scenarios. In fact I met the husband of a couple at my church recently. They have been married for 15 years but have no children yet. I'm glad the pastor of the church I attend does not throw out statements like that from the pulpit. He is very Biblical in his views.

Since I'm not SBC the only thing I know about him is that he is a SBC leader. I do not remember his position. I truly hope and pray the man is not as hostile as those comments sound:)

Love the dialog, aujeff. Be blessed in Christ.

TruthOfActs said...

Jim Paslay,
Why did you mention my name on this post, since we had a good conversation going until you quit on a previous post? (Wednesday 2-21-07)
Why are you afraid to go back to the ‘Conservative Resurgence’? Isn’t that when new leaders took over with a new philosophy of changing the glue that held Baptists together from ‘missions’ to ‘doctrine’? But you say the problems of today cannot be linked to it…“That is too high a price for Southern Baptists to pay.”

Hmmm…You seem to say we need to cut the weed down but it would be too much to pull up the root.

I believe until the root is dug up, the weed will continue to grow and spread.

Friday 2-23-07 Dallas Morning News: “A top Southern Baptists executive says leaders in the convention should examine the spiritual health of the denomination now that theological conservatives have been in control for several years.
Morris Chapman, president of the Southern Baptist executive committee, said his fellow leaders must look at whether the 16.3 million-member church is now better off.

“Is our convention any better spiritually because biblical conservatives are leading? I leave that question for you to answer in the depths of your own heart.”

The conservative resurgence started in 1979, when Southern Baptists angry about what they saw as the liberal direction of their seminaries, elected a fellow conservative as the convention president. It was a watershed that began a dramatic shift to the right—theologically and politically—in the years that followed.

But in the last few years, the number of baptisms…has reached a low point, and many of the congregations have either not grown or declined in membership. Internal conflicts have arisen over whether Southern Baptist can speak in tongues during worship, among other theological disagreements.

Chapman said that cooperation among Southern Baptists is the ‘glue’ that holds us together. Are you willing to take the risk of trusting your fellow Southern Baptists and being worthy of their trust?”

Jim, would you say yes or no to Chapman’s “Is our convention any better spiritually because biblical conservatives are leading?

In Chapman’s last question of being willing to take the risk, he had to mean moderates. Right? And maybe even—gasp—CBF? Jim, would you trust them?

Notice Chapman changed the “glue” from ‘doctrine’ to “cooperation.” I guess if he had said ‘missions’, that would have been too big of a price to pay.
Rex Ray