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

E-Mail, Missionaries and Mid-America

Today was a very busy day for Rachelle and me in Memphis, Tennessee. During the morning Rachelle continued her studies for her approaching NCLEX, the national nursing boards. I used the time to correspond with a number of people via email, and one particular exchange is pertinent to this blog.

Dr. Hershael York, a man that I respect and mentioned in my post yesterday as having a sympathy for Landmark tenets emailed me and graciously requested that his views not be labeled ‘Landmark.’ I really appreciated Dr. York’s dialogue today and do desire to represent his views accurately, so the following is a sample of the brief email exchange between Dr. York and myself to insure his views are portrayed by me accurately.

Dr. York wrote:

I don't question either your intent or your understanding of my position, but I really do hate that Landmark label because it allows people to fill in the blank and assume things about me that are untrue. I find the whole thing ironic because I was so ostracized by the Landmarkers when I pastored in Lexington. They even voted to not recognize my church's baptism, so you can see why I cringe a little bit when the same label that they wear is applied to me. So I don't mind being identified as completely supportive of the IMB policy, nor a restrictive view of the ordinances (which I defend exegetically more than historically), but I just don't think the label is fair.

I responded to Dr. York:

Thank you very much for your humble email allowing me to see into your heart. Now I realize you understand the depths of my feelings to have my own convention agency, no less than the very mission arm of the SBC -- the IMB -- reject my member’s baptism and his service on the mission field. I will be more careful with the label Landmark in the future and thank you for calling me out on it.

Is there a word that would describe your position? You would be hard pressed to say "Baptist" because Gill represents the traditional Baptist view. Maybe 'American Baptist' view? I'm just asking. Obviously, I would reject calling your position the "Biblical view" of baptism label as well.

Dr. York then emailed back:

I don't mind my view being called a restrictive view of baptism or the authoritative baptism view. I do believe that the authority of the administrator is as important as the intent of the subject. I would not object to anything along those lines.

I will close the review of the email exchange with my edited response to Dr. York:

I do appreciate the dialogue -- I find your spirit refreshing.

When Baptist Elias Keach baptized people in colonial America, and then was later converted while preaching a message he had taken from his father's notes (Benjamin Keach), were the earlier baptisms performed by Elias 'unacceptable' because the administrator was a 'lost man?' If you say, 'no' - the authority for the baptism was found in the commission of Christ to the 'church' not the 'person' doing the baptism -- then I think you will find we are saying the exact same thing.

The 'church' has the privilege and, yes, authority of baptizing converts to faith in Christ. But the definition of the church is the key when it comes to baptism. I would define the church as the universal body of the elect -- those whom the Father has redeemed -- therefore, any professing disciple of Christ has the privilege of baptizing his convert -- this was Dr. Gill's view. We Southern Baptists use pastors to baptize often out of convenience, but it is not necessary. The authority is given to all Christians by Christ. It is an ordinance (command) of Christ, not 'the church.' It is possible that some 'professors' of faith in Christ who baptize others are not actually converted, but that does not negate the validity of the baptism of the person who was baptized at the hands of a lost man, because baptism identifies a person with Christ, not a 'doctrine' or a 'local' church, and the 'authority' of the administrator does not make or break a 'Christian' baptism. The authority for baptism comes from Christ -- it is His ordinance.

The 'local' church is important for discipline reasons, accountability, etc . . . But admittance into my 'local' church is through examination of one's faith and baptism --- faith must be faith in Christ alone and the baptism must be by immersion, after having come to faith in Christ, identifying the believer with 'the universal body' of the Lord Jesus.

These are our differences. I would hold to the old English Baptist (and dare I say 'biblical' view) of baptism. You would hold to a modern, Americanized view that the 'authority' of the baptizer is important, but you believe that authority is NOT given to the baptizer by Christ, but by the ‘local’ church. Therefore, it is hard for you to see how Gill says 'baptism takes place outside the church (i.e. 'local' church) but is a prerequisite to membership. I believe, though, we both would agree baptism is not a prerequisite to becoming part of the 'universal body of Christ.' I would just simply say baptism identifies a person with Christ and His universal body --- you would say it should identify him with the ‘local’ church.

Where have I misrepresented your views?

Dr. York graciously responded that ‘I think you represent my view correctly.’

Missionaries

Rachelle and I had the privilege today of visiting with some absolutely wonderful missionary candidates for the International Mission Board. We were standing outside the Hilton, Memphis and ran into Jon and Reagan G______ from Oklahoma. They reside about thirty miles from where Rachelle and I live, and though I had met Jon before, it was the first time for me to meet Reagan and for Rachelle to meet them both. I cannot begin to share with you how much knowing missionaries like Jon and Reagan inspires me to lead our church and others to strengthen Cooperative Program giving. This good looking husband and wife are bright, articulate, and passionate about their call to missions. We enjoyed our brief but delightful fellowship with this wonderful couple.

We also were able to visit with Ryan and Laura W____ another young, very bright Southern Baptist couple who represent the future of Southern Baptist missions. Laura was raised Methodist and was baptized as an infant, but at the age of eighteen came to the conviction that believer’s baptism by immersion was biblical baptism and she was baptized in her church accordingly. However, in order to be appointed a missionary with the IMB, she was told she needed to be ‘rebaptized’ in a ‘Southern Baptist Church’ though her Southern Baptist Church had years earlier received her baptism as ‘biblical’ and she was a leader, mentor and teacher in her local Southern Baptist Church. Frankly, it was embarrassing to do what she was forced to do (be rebaptized) and she really struggled with the demand it be done, but her love for the mission field is too great, and so she consented. We had an interesting discussion over her acquiescing to the demand that she be ‘rebaptized’ in order to be appointed on the mission field, and without going into details, let me just say I am very, very proud of Laura and her husband and their ability to search the Scriptures for themselves and hold to their own convictions in a gracious, but firm manner. I will be praying for them in their IMB assignment which will begin in mid-July 2007.

We met several other missionaries during the day, and had a great time of fellowship with many of them, including Brian and Becky H_____ and Sarah and Bill M_______. It’s best not to use their last names or places of assignment even though not all are in security three zones.

Every time I come to one of these IMB meetings, I am reminded about the purpose of the Southern Baptist Convention – cooperation in missions around the world.

Mid-America Seminary

Tonight our trustee, staff and missionary dinner was hosted by Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Mid-America was founded by Dr. Gray Allison in the early 70’s as an alternative to the traditional six SBC seminaries. It is located across the street from Bellevue Baptist Church and sits on 35 acres donated by Bellevue. The $15.5 million dollar complex is stunning. Dr. Mike Spradlin is the current President and the current trustee chairman of the IMB, Dr. John Floyd, is Vice-President of Mid-America.

Dr. Floyd gave Rachelle and me and Dr. Allen McWhite of North Greenville University a personal tour of the facilities. Dr. Floyd was project manager on the construction of the facility and I must say, he did a superb job. The classrooms, preaching labs, auditorium are not only fitted with the most modern technology, they are all spacious, efficient and pleasing to the eye without being too luxurious. Frankly, Mid-America will draw even more than their current 542 students because of the superb facilities. Rachelle and I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Floyd’s hospitality and tour. A week before Dr. Adrian Rogers died he drove around the facility with Dr. Spradlin and was asked, “Does it meet your expectations” to which Dr. Rogers responded, “Oh, it far exceeds them.” Mid-America will produce some top quality Southern Baptist scholars and preachers in the years to come.

Rachelle and I ate dinner with Dr. Matt Acres, Professor of New Testament Greek at Mid-America. He is trained in Hebrew and Old Testament, but is teaching Greek, telling me he enjoys Greek as much as he does Hebrew. I was very impressed with Dr. Acres. We discussed the history of Baptists and views regarding ‘The Trail of Blood,’ the Baptist Missionary Association (whose members make up the second largest group of students behind Southern Baptists at Mid-America) and various and sundry other issues. Dr. Acres is dead on theologically and because of faculty like him, I have absolutely no hesitation at all recommending Mid-America to any Southern Baptist interested in serious theological study.

The Forum

Tonight all trustees met behind closed doors for what is called the forum. Again, the meeting was filled with prayer, praise, and encouragement to all.

The very kind of thing that should always happen behind closed doors in the SBC.

In His Grace,


Wade

103 comments:

Steve A said...

I understand the authority of the baptiser has been an issue with some Baptists for years, but it still disappoints me that a saved believer going though a believer's baptism (in a Christian Church, no less!) could be denied the chance to represent Christ as a missionary when he or she is otherwise qualified to do so.

This just sounds so limited, so unsure, so - worldly. I see each Christian as qualified as Phillip running to join the African and baptising him right after his salvation.

"Wait, Phillip - Where's his visitor card? Who's his daddy?"
Yeah, that all works for me....

Strider said...

I wish I could be as gracious as you are Wade but God has not made me to become that yet. I give a lot of grace for people as they struggle with the Holy Word to see what God is saying to them but this issue on baptism is over-the-top for me. It irritates me to no end that there are followers of Jesus that think they can steal the Lord's baptism and make it 'their' baptism.
There is one faith, one Lord, ONE BAPTISM, one God and Father of all. YOUR Church doesn't 'get' a baptism. It is the Lord's, not mine, and not yours. End of rant.

t. d. webb said...

Wade, this Okie continues to pray for you and Rachelle during the IMB BoT meeting in Memphis.

As to the "Authoritative Baptism view" to which Dr. York admits to adhering,is it just me. . .or does anyone else detect this very Roman Catholic-like approach to the doctrine of baptism? Not that "authority" does not fit into the equation, but does that authority find its source in the Church "Magisterium" consisting of fallible human leaders, rather than in the One who, according to Scripture, originally commanded the doctrine be administered? From Scripture we are informed that He (Christ Jesus) did not specify that "church pastors" be the exclusive agents in administering the ordinance. All Southern Baptists should have long since learned that the "Church" and "Church officials" are NOT synonymous terms.


In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

Hershael W York said...

Bro. T.D.:

A lesson in logic from Professor York for you. Here is the equivalent of what you wrote:

A: York is against abortion.
B: Mormons are against abortion.
Therefore:
C: York holds the "Mormon view" of abortion.

I really don't mind you disagreeing with my view, just get it right. Don't characterize or caricature it and then disagree with it based on YOUR characterization. Take the Scripture and show me my error, but don't label it and dismiss it as though that were sufficient to deny it.

Do not confuse my view of church (the pillar and ground of truth) authority with a magisterial view, and NOWHERE in the discourse did anyone say that church pastors are exclusive agents in adminstering the ordinance. Don't waste time disagreeing with something that no one has said nor thinks.

Bro. Strider:

I imagine that even you believe that baptism has some requirements to be valid. A Presbyterian might say of you what you have just said of others. A convinced paedobaptist might indeed say, "It irritates me no end that there are followers of Jesus that think they can steal the Lord's baptism and make it 'their' baptism." They, too, believe there is ONE baptism, and that they practice it. Again, your self-admitted "rant" isn't really a true argument.

What are the parameters of baptism and how do you know? What are the ingredients for baptism that make it valid? Is the intent of the subject sufficient to validate it? In other words, if a newly born-again person is baptized in a church that teaches baptismal regeneration, does that person have New Testament baptism? What if a newly converted Christian submits to sprinkling, but his heart is pure and he is doing it because he believes this is what he must do to identify with Christ; does God honor his intent regardless of whether or not he actually fulfills the New Testament picture? My point is this: you may not like where I draw the line, but I assure you someone who does not draw the line as restrictively as you draw it can say the same things of your view. Ultimately, we have to glean from the Scripture just what New Testament baptism looks like. Who administers it? Who receives it? How is it done? When is it done?

Then there is a missiological issue that gets lost in all this. I am told that some of this issue is because of indigenous conventions and associations that we work with in other countries who want an assurance about the baptism of our missionaries. I wish I had time to write more about all this, as I am sure more questions and comments will follow, but my ultimate hope is that, like the Bereans, we search the Scriptures (not the blogs) to see whether these things are so.

Anonymous said...

Dr. York,

Was the baptism issue a big problem back when the new restrictions were voted on at the IMB?

Was Personal Prayer Language also a problem on the field when the new restrictions on it were voted on?

I have yet to hear any concrete evidence that either were problems.

If there is no evidence, why the vote back then?

God bless you and all trustees,
Steve

Anonymous said...

Wade,

You often cite John Gill as an authoritative reference for modern Baptist theology but I think you limit yourself by such. John Gill is a good reference for Baptist theology but he is not the only reference. There are many Baptist’s throughout history (Bunyan, Smyth, Helwys, Fuller, Wayland, Spurgeon, Dagg, Boyce, Mullins, Broadus, Manly Jr., Robertson, Carroll, etc.) who state just as well if not better some tenets of Baptist ideology. You have often stated you are Calvinistic. So you would agree that there are some before the Anabaptist movement who have a firm grasp on theological issues pertaining to Baptists today. I fear that your weakness is always referring to John Gill to win an argument. John Gill is not the end all of Baptist theology or practice. Please take the opportunity to search out the great wealth of wisdom that has been passed on to us by other great men and you will gain a better understanding of Baptist theology and ideology in the SBC today.

Oklahoma Joe

Ben Stratton said...

Bro. Wade,

You wrote: "You would be hard pressed to say "Baptist" because Gill represents the traditional Baptist view....I would hold to the old English Baptist."

As I have said before Gill does not represent the traditional Baptist view or even the old English Baptist view. If you will go to this website http://victorian.fortunecity.com/dadd/464/administrator.html you will find an interesting article that Bro. R.E. Pound wrote on this subject. Bro. Pound has been a student and teacher of Baptist history for over 50 years and has been studing the original writings of the old English Baptists for over 30 years. He gives proof after proof that they did not believe any Christian could baptize, but only someone contacted to a Baptist church. He also shows time and again that these old Baptists would not have received immersions from non-Baptist churches. I know you will counter and say their own 1644 confession says any disciple could baptize, but Pound shows what they meant by this. Several of their preachers felt they were misunderstand in this article and wrote works explaining who could baptize.

There is no doubt that Gill was a great Baptist. He was a great defender of believer's baptism by immersion, closed communion, and he even believed in the Trail of Blood. But when it came to the authority for baptism he was an exception to the rule among old Baptists.

Kaylor said...

Wade: Although Dr. York disagrees with the term “landmarkism” to describe his beliefs, there is still some truth in it. He offers reasons why he does not like the term, but much of it likely boils down to the fact that the movement is not well liked (rightly so) in many parts of Baptist life. This is kind of like “liberals” calling themselves “progressives” because the former term is not thought of well by many people.

While he gives the story of some landmarkists who did not accept him, all that proves is that he is not as hard-line of a landmarkist as some. But his exclusionary (or restrictive) beliefs are in the same mold. Maybe Dr. York could be considered a “soft landmarkist” or a “neo-landmarkist.”

You have the right spirit in not wanting to misrepresent people. At the same time, the most accurate description may not necessarily come from the individuals in question if they are trying to put their beliefs in a more acceptable light.

Dorcas Hawker said...

Wade -

I am glad you are enjoying your time at the IMB meeting. Is it okay for me to find a bit of humor in what you write? I hope so because I smiled at your comment about the "good looking" missionary couple and wondered why that was included as a descriptor. Especially because you have set yourself up a standard of honesty such that you might find yourself required to say in the future "well, they are dog-ugly, but God can use anyone." :)

Had to tease you a bit about that ... hope your day goes well.

bryan riley said...

Your exchage with Dr. York illustrates all too aptly the point that we shouldn't be about codifying disputable doctrines. You both believe in the biblical nature of your views, both are disputable, but we can both work together to fulfill the Great Commission without separating over the difference. Why can't we do that?

Bro. Robin said...

Dr. York

Your point is well taken. When some use even the term Calvinist, the immediate thought is hyper-Calvinism. I would hope we would all be more careful with terms we use.

Bro. Wade

Maybe I missed it, but I did not see where you admitted to erring in using the phrase in reference to Dr. York, "sympathy for Landmark tenets." You thanked him for calling you on it and said you would be more careful in the future, but I did not see that you don't believe that he is sympathetic to Landmark tenets.

Do you still believe this?

bryan riley said...

And, I find it more than fair to call out a labeling of someone. None of us like to be labeled, because it always involves some stereotyping, and labels tend only to divide, not unite.

Wade Burleson said...

Oklahoma Joe,

The first nine men you mention held to what I would call the Bibilcal view of baptism (also held by Gill). The last five held to what I would call the American traditional view of baptism or what Dr. York would call the 'authority' view of baptism.

I agree with you about Gill. I don't hold to my view of baptism because he taught it, I just happened to believe that this man, whom Spurgeon called his mentor in Israel understand biblical baptism.

By the way, Gill once wrote a book entitled "Infant Baptism: The Pope and Pillary of Roman Catholicism" so you know he was not soft on infant baptism. Bunyan, who preceded Gill, allowed for infant baptism, but in his own writings, he held to the same views Gill would later espouse -- baptism by immersion, after coming to faith in Christ, with the person leading the convert to faith having the privilege to baptize --- and all a part of the ONE faith, ONE Lord, ONE baptism.

Anonymous said...

Wade,
Does that mean that those you label as "American traditional view of baptism" are not Biblical like those you refer to as the "Bibilcal view of baptism?" If so I would have to disagree with you greatly. I must I have a hard time calling Dagg, Boyce, Mullins, Broadus, Manly Jr., Robertson, Carroll unbiblical because they are baptist who emerged in the states. These men all are very biblical in their approach to there theology of baptism whether American or not. Without them we would not have the SBC today. I think you should tread lightly here.

Oklahoma Joe

Anonymous said...

Wade,
Where did you learn to write so well?
I had two degrees, one from SWBTS, and still had no one show me the way until later on...
Just curious.
If "style is the man," you are a terrific and winsome pastor.

Wade Burleson said...

Oklahoma Joe,

Thanks for your caution, but I think I am quite aware of where I tread. I live by the Word of God, and not the traditions of men.

It's good ground to walk upon.

Those Baptists who would view baptism as I include: Bunyan, Smyth, Helwys, Fuller, Gill, Spurgeon, Dagg, and Boyce and literally tens of thousands of other Baptists throughout history. We would call our view, one faith, one Lord, one baptism.

We would believe the authority for baptism comes from Christ Himself, and His word, and baptism identifies a person with Jesus Christ and His people -- the universal church.

The others you mention may hold to a view similar to Dr. Yorks that 'the authority' of the baptizer, meaning the right 'local' church who believes all the right 'doctrines,' but I would agree with Dr. York that one gets nowhere speaking about who holds to which view --- except to add historical support.

Ultimately, it is the Bible upon which we stand Oklahoma Joe, and again, I need no caution.

And I'll walk upon that solid foundation without apology.

Bob Cleveland said...

Dorcas: Everyone is good looking. Some are just gooder looking than others, that's all.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

Also ... after Jesus was crucified, buried, resurrected, ascended, the disciples were to go back and wait for the Holy Ghost to show up. He did, like in Acts 2.

At THAT point, and never before, we had the current schedule of salvation ... repentance and faith in Jesus, and becoming a believer in whom the Holy Ghost dwells. So what were the very first instructions, from that point on, ever given to man on how to be saved?

"Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins." If the mode, the qualifications of the baptizer, what the baptizer preaches or what office he holds was important, I'd think Peter would have given further instructions. But he didn't.

These are rules we have made up and we ought to be ashamed of our pride in "getting it just right".

Rick Thompson said...

Ben,

As soon as I read Wade's blog this morning, I thought, "It won't be long before Ben Stratton jumps in on this!". It is good to read your comments again.

In reading your defense of a landmark view, I am curious if you hold to the belief that the Baptist church is the one true church, and that it's origins are dated back not to the 1612 church founded in Spitalfield England by Thomas Helwys, but all the way back to the early disciples?

I am not trying to be argumentative when I ask this, I just think it would be helpful to me and to others to know the full scope of your views as we dialogue with you.

Anonymous said...

I meant no offense with my comment just a clarification about who we call "Biblical" and who we do not. Clearly manmade traditions can be very unbiblical but again I have a hard time lumping Mullins, Broadus, Manly Jr., Robertson, and Carroll with those who have an unbiblical view of baptism (i.e. infant baptism, baptism without immersion, baptism by an institution that is not at all a church). Please do not misunderstand my comment. I think very highly of you and your opinion, I'm just a little concerned with labeling our great Southern Baptist forefathers unbiblical. They held to the supreme authority of the Bible just as stringently as you.

Oklahoma Joe

Wade Burleson said...

Hershael,

T.D. Webb is one of the sharper Southern Baptist Christians I have ever met.

In your response to him you state:

Do not confuse my view of the church (the pillar and ground of truth) with a magisterial view.

Dr. York, I believe you and I could fellowship on any occasion and find mutual agreement on many, many things. I admire your love for Christ, His Word and His people.

It is the above statement that causes me concern -- not because you said it, but because that view is ripe for abuse.

For 'the church' to be 'the ground and pillar of truth' as you call it -- then the 'authorities' in 'the church' are the gate keepers of truth. When denominations usurp the role of the pastor in the local church, and tells that pastor and church, that a member of the church has experienced a baptism that is NOT valid because the baptizer did not have propeer 'authority' -- then you have the bizarre result of the 'pillar and ground of truth' being a DENOMINATION or DENOMINATIONAL leaders. In other words, in your view, even if you don't intend it, the end result is a magisterial view of authority. Instead of the local church being the supreme authority, you have a top down denominataionl authority.

I have always believed that 'the pillar and ground of truth' is the Word of God. The Spirit of God 'guides us into all truth,' but sometimes man, apart from the Spirit's guidance, will set up human tradtions in the place of the Word.

Baptists throughout the centuries have resisted edicts and bulls from ecclestiastical authorities and have lived steadfast to what they see the Word of God teaches.

You and I may disagree with the proper 'authority' of the baptizer, but the question becomes --

"Why is a denominational entity telling my church that the baptisms we accept (those baptism that come after faith in Christ, by immersion, identifying the convert with Jesus) are NOT valid baptisms?"

We may disagree on the 'authority' of the baptizer, but is T.D. not write in asking, 'Is that not a form of magisterial authority?'

Resprectfully,


Wade 'With No Authority' Burleson

:)

Wade Burleson said...

Rick,

Get back out on the slopes!! Don't burn up all the snow. Miss you here in Mempbis, but I'll be in Breckinridge, CO on Thurday. Enjoy the week with your family.

Wade Burleson said...

Ben,

I always enjoy your comments. I disagree with them 100%. Not only did Gill represent the English view of baptism, he was THE authority on the subject for over 150 years after his death in both England AND colonial America.

By the way, I also appreciate the fact that you are Landmark and tell others without apology. I do believe there is room in the SBC for all Landmarkers, I will just do everything I can to insure that nobody demands I be one before I serve or cooperate in missions.

In His Grace,

Wade

Alan Cross said...

Question:

I am in full agreement that the new baptism policy is unbiblical. I do not favor it at all. But, Dr. York does make a very good point. Where do you draw the line and who gets to decide where the line should be drawn? Dr. York places it in a more restrictive position than I would, but just resting upon the conscience of the one being baptized seems insufficient. What if they fully accepted Christ, yet were baptized in a cult that performed water baptism by immersion, but they did not believe that Jesus was God's Son, or that their leader was the new Messiah, ala David Koresh? Should our church accept their baptism? Most of us would say no, but on what basis? The heart of the person was right, but the theological system was wrong and the baptizer was not a believer.

So, the baptizer and the church has to mean something, right? I mean, it can't just be anyone or any "church" baptizing, can it? I don't want to draw the line where Dr. York does, because Assembly of God, Methodists, Presbyterians, and even some Churches of Christ believe what we believe when it comes to salvation and the meaning of baptism. I would accept those folks, even if the administrator didn't have it all together, because I believe that true saving faith can arise within those systems. But, Mormons also baptize by immersion in water, don't they? What if someone was confused about what Mormons taught and truly came to faith in Christ and were baptized? Then, when they realized what Mormons really taught, they left the Mormon church and came to our Baptist church. Would we accept their baptism? If so, it wouldn't be without a HUGE amount of investigation. We would probably still ask them to be baptized because we believe that Mormonism is a false religion. Do you see the problem here? And, I am about as far away from a Landmarker as you can get.

I don't want to sow confusion here, but where do you draw the line? I think that there must be some test of basic Christian orthodoxy by the baptizing church and/or administrator.

TruthOfActs said...

Hey! What happened? I can see why the comments on food were deleted, but I asked for help writing our church constitution on baptism and it got wiped out also. I’ll try again:

“We believe that the ordinance of baptism is the immersion in water of a professed believer in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried and risen Savior, and his own death to sin, the burial of his old life and his resurrection to a new life in Jesus Christ as Lord.”

I would appreciate if anyone has corrections or suggestions.
Rex Ray

GuyMuse said...

My understanding of the NT baptism and the reading of all the related Scriptures is WHO did the baptizing is hardly ever mentioned, but in WHOSE NAME they were baptized seems to be more of the issue.

A lot of this debate goes back to one's interpretation of the Great Commission. Was the GC given to the twelve and them alone, or was it given to ALL those following in their footsteps?

If the former, then indeed only a select few special called people--the successors of the 12 apostles can perform the tasks of going, discipling, baptizing, and teaching. But if one understands Jesus words as applying to the Church, then all of us have been commissioned to these tasks.

Also, I think Bryan Riley's comment is especially applicable in this dialogue, "we shouldn't be about codifying disputable doctrines. You both believe in the biblical nature of your views...but we can both work together to fulfill the Great Commission..." Good point.

volfan007 said...

wade,

i am a graduate of mid america baptist seminary. i went to the old school in mid town memphis ...in the old jewish synagogue. i agree with you totally about the new facilites... they are incredible. it almost makes me want to go back to school. :)

going to mid america was a tremendous blessing to my life. and, i, like you, would encourage any young preacher to check it out. it will help you.

btw, i went to mid america with dr. spradlin and dr. york, and i had dr. floyd as a prof. while there. i also had dr. nettles as a prof. at mid america. it is truly a great school, and they try hard to keep the costs down.

plus, while you go there....you get to enjoy the southern delicacies at the restaurants!!!!! especially the great barbeque.:)

david

david

John Moeller said...

A few thoughts…

Eph 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. …….12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

When will the day come when all people who are saved by the blood lay down their swords and realize that Eph 4 tells us all to work TOGETHER?? Unity in faith. It sounds as if Baptists now believe that baptism somehow saves the person. I recall that it doesn’t. It’s an outward sign of an inward decision for Christ. So then, who cares who does the dunking, sprinkling, or splashing? In a pool, lake, or ocean…

Did it display an outward sign for the convert? If YES then it should be valid!!!

I’d be more concerned with someone’s service after the dunking which is the real proof of a changed heart than the act if dunking according to Eph 4....

I am not saying that you have invalid points, but to fight over it, call names, get angry, and the like diminishes the effectivness of all Baptists.

I challenge each of you to sign up for a mission trip hosted by another evangelical denomination. Go out and see their passion for Christ, work together and realize we are all on the same team!

Baptist's fight and Satan laughs...

Wade Burleson said...

Rex Ray,

There you go my friend. NOW you've done it.

You have provided a Biblical, succinct, statement on Christian baptism.

I like it. You take your's and Guy Muse's comments and get everyone to agree -- the issue is resolved. :)

Wade Burleson said...

Volfann,

Taking my wife for BBQ today at lunch! I've enjoyed the back and forth, after I answer Robin's question, I must go to my meetings.

Wade Burleson said...

Robin,

You asked of me, "Maybe I missed it, but I did not see where you admitted to erring in using the phrase in reference to Dr. York, "sympathy for Landmark tenets." You thanked him for calling you on it and said you would be more careful in the future, but I did not see that you don't believe that he is sympathetic to Landmark tenets.

Do you still believe this?


Robin, I'm not sure why you ask, but I reiterate, in my respect for Dr. York I will not call him 'sympathetic to Landmark tenets.' He makes a good point about raising the ire of Landmarks himself.

I think we need to be careful though. We are acting as if "Landmarks" are evil people.

Ben Stratton is a Landmark and makes no apology for it. He is one of the better writers and commentors on this blog and his spirit is wonderful.

I would love for Ben to be a member of my church. I would love for Ben and I to serve on an SBC committee together. I would, however, do all I could to resist Ben's views becoming mandatory for the entire convention.

Nevertheless, I am proud to call him a brother in Christ, as I am Dr. York.

To be as precise as I can in aswering your quesiton allow me to say this:

Your view and Dr. York's view on the importance of the 'authoriity' of the baptizer is much closer to the tenets of Landmarkism than my view that the authority to baptize comes from Christ and His Word.

Having said that, I will call Dr. York's views 'the authority' view of baptism in the future, knowing that not everything Ben Stratton and other Landmarkers hold to is believed by Dr. York.

In closing,

Alan Cross

Why not examine the person who is petiioning to join our church, as we do, regardless of where he or she is coming from (including fellow Southern Baptist churches).

We ask the following:

Tell us of your faith in Christ.

What does it mean to you to trust Christ alone for your salvation?

Have you identified yourself as a follower of Jesus Christ through baptism?

Tell us about it

Questions like this help us see what the person petitioning to join our church believes. It lets us see his views of Christ, the people of God, etc . . .

And of course, if he was not baptized AFTER coming to faith in Christ, by immersion, as a testimony to family and friends that he is a Christian, unashamedly a follower of Jesus Christ, then we have the privilege of explaining the meaning of baptism and we will baptize him ourselves.

You ask, 'Where do we draw the line?" I answer. We draw it where Scripture draws it.

Everyone have a great day. I'll report back tonight on the days events.

Dr. York, thanks for the dialogue. I look forward to serving with you.

In His Grace,

Wade

Ben Stratton said...

Bro. Wade,

You wrote: "Not only did Gill represent the English view of baptism, he was THE authority on the subject for over 150 years after his death in both England AND colonial America"

You are quite right that Gill was THE Baptist authority for American Baptists up through the early 1800's. His works were recommended and republished many times in America. However American Baptists did not agree with his views on the authority for baptism. Check out the minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association. On six different occasions they rejected immersions that were preformed by non-Baptist churches. Other associations did likewise.

Also please take the time to read Bro. R.E. Pound work on "THE ADMINISTRATOR OF BAPTISM - Studies in the Particular Baptist Ecclesiology of the 1600s". I think you will be surprised. Again it is at: http://victorian.fortunecity.com/dadd/464/administrator.html

My early post left off the .html from administrator in the web address.

Wade Burleson said...

Ben,

I already know this. I'm not surprised at all.

A departure from Scripture can occur at any time, for any reason.

Alan Cross said...

Wade, I know that you're gone, but I will say that I agree with you and we do all of those things. We try and draw the line where Scripture does as well.

I guess that my question has more to do with people who come to faith in Christ and are baptized, but it is apart from the teachings of the "church" that they are in. If the "church" is a cult and preach a different Jesus, yet this person was confused and through television or someone else heard the real gospel and believed, yet was part of a cult, is there no correction in the baptism?

I'm not necessarily saying that there should be a "baptismal correction," but in a pluralistic America that has a strong Christian background, this type of thing happens all the time. The one time that I was a part of a decision like this, we found out that the person was heavily influenced by Baptist doctrine in their decision for Christ and they superimposed that teaching onto the teaching of their church. Also, the preacher of the church was considered very moderate for that denomination (one that we would consider heretical). After the old preacher left, a new, extreme preacher came in and restored the church to the right teachings of that group, which we would consider heretical. This woman and her family left that church to attend another, more moderate church that we would have more in agreement with. Years later she wanted to join our Baptist church. Instead of just looking at the label of the denomination, we asked her questions, listened to her heart, examined her faith and experience, and then admitted her as a member on the basis of her confession of faith and biblical baptism. That wouldn't have happened if we were just going by labels.

But, I've wondered since then if we would have done the same thing with a Mormon? They talk about Jesus and it is easy to get confused and take our evangelical meanings to what they are talking about, if you don't know the right questions to ask. Would we accept their baptism or not? I would say "No," while still affirming this person's faith, if they have believed in the biblical Jesus. I would point to the system being a false religion and would ask them to be baptized into the body of Christ as a member of His universal church, of which I do not believe Mormons to be a part. I'm drawing the line WAAAY beyond Dr. York and Ben Stratton, but there still seems to be a line somewhere out there. The first group that I mentioned, while having heretical beliefs that I absolutley oppose, would still be considered to be within Christendom. Mormonism would not. Oneness Pentecostals also deny the Trinity. Would we accept their baptism, if we baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and they only baptize in the name of Jesus?

Probably no one has read this far, but I'm not trying to be oppositional, I am only trying to figure out where the lines of the "Universal" body of Christ are, and is that the line that the Bible draws? Or, would we accept pagan baptisms, as long as the person baptized believed in Jesus as their Savior? I'm just trying to close off some loopholes for this thinking in my mind.

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Brother Alan,

Someone has read this far. For that matter, I read every comment from you that I see on any blog!

I believe you are raising this question because you have seen the part of the Landmark tradition that is correct. There is SOME relationship between the teaching of the baptiz-er and the validity of the baptism. Exactly what that relationship IS remains the question. Is it enough that the baptizer is an orthodox Christian, like a Methodist or AOG, or must he also be a Baptist? If he must be a Baptist, then must he also be an "eternal security" Baptist, or not? This is not a simple question, and obviously there have been multiple answers given by Baptists over the past 400 years.

Love in Christ,

Jeff

Debbie said...

My main concern about the current baptism policy goes out of the United States and onto the mission field. Missionaries give the gospel, the people or person believes and is baptized, but by who? And if by the missionary out in the river, why is that baptism not valid.

In other words, we have a recent convert in another country and right away we begin to throw strict laws concerning baptism at them before they themselves are considered baptized and able to go spread the gospel themselves. Why? Am I as clear as mud?

T. D. Webb said...

Herschel W. York says: "A lesson in logic from Professor York for you."

O.K. . . .go for it, Dr. York.

Herschel W. York says: "Here is the equivalent of what you wrote:

A: York is against abortion.
B: Mormons are against abortion.
Therefore:
C: York holds the "Mormon view" of abortion.
"

Dr. York, there must be much in your academic background which makes you confident to be an expert in the instruction of logical fallacies. Sir, if such is your area of "expertise", then you should be knowledgeable of the term, "straw man argument", since your "equivalent" is little more than a classic example of that particular logical fallacy.

For example, you say, "I really don't mind you disagreeing with my view, just get it right.

Dr. York, respectfully, my observation is based on your remark, "I don't mind my view being called a restrictive view of baptism or the authoritative baptism view. I do believe that the authority of the administrator is as important as the intent of the subject. I would not object to anything along those lines." (emphasis mine) in today's blog post. Dr. York, as distasteful as the thought may seem to you, it is this very precise concept of "authority" that parallels the rationale of doctrinal authoritarianism which has historically pervaded the Roman Catholic Church in dealing with doctrinal dissent in the RCC.

On the other hand Dr. York, perhaps this Okie does have an inaccurate concept of your position on the subject of "authoritative" as it applies to the IMB BoT's assuming authority in precluding Southern Baptist Missionary applicants from serving based solely on new parameters adopted by the BoT in November of 2005. The decrees that followed occurred in spite of the fact that the candidates' local churches had previously accepted their baptisms as being administered in accordance with Scripture.

Dr. York, do your writings not indicate that you unequivocably supported the adoption of new parameters in restricting certain Missionary applicants from being approved for services as Southern Baptist Missionaries. Sir, has that position changed?

Dr. York, absent explicit or specific Biblical support, where in Southern Baptist doctrinal precedent does an agency of the Southern Baptist Convention have the presumptive "authority" to define Christian doctrine for the SBC or over-rule local churches in specifically prescribing non-essential details of the administration of Christian baptism as a prerequisite for qualifying as a SBC Missionary?

Perhaps, the answer could be found in the following remark you made in your blog, Dr. York. "Any denomination sending missionaries would be within its rights and responsibility to make certain that every candidate representing its churches has been baptized in a way consistent with that denomination’s view on baptism." ("Confessions of a Pastor", Monday, February 06, 2006)

Notwithstanding the fact that many Southern Baptists do not agree with your implication that the Southern Baptist Convention is a "denomination", the more pressing curiosity is that you are, in effect, designating the IMB BoT, sans any "authority" conferred on it by the SBC, to be the final arbiter as to what precisely defines what is acceptable or unacceptable in the practice of administering the ordinance of Christian "baptism" to the point of denying the opportunity of candidates to serve as Southern Baptist Missionaries based on the afformentioned narrowed parameters of the definintion that is divergent from and at odds with views of the ordinance to which many local Southern Baptist Churches adhere.

Sir, it is the IMB Bot's "magisterial" imposition of their authority in denying brothers and sisters in the SBC the opportunity to serve solely based on the aforementioned arbitrary narrowed doctrinal parameters in a doctrine not essential to salvation which resonates to this Okie as being Roman Catholic-like in its effect. The "magisterial" requirement that a Missionary candidate's baptism must be specifically administered the IMB BoT "way" or the candidate must "hit the highway" is partcularly repugnant to Southern Baptists who find no Scriptural basis or SBC authorization for such a stance.

In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

Debbie said...

T.D.: I have read your comments and although I have not been educated in a seminary nor am I a theologian, concur that this too is what I see in Dr. York's statements and although I cannot form the questions in the same wording that you have, these are my questions as well.

I also agree with what Strider has written as this is my frustration with this new Baptism policy.With all due respect to Dr. York, I see the Bible including more than excluding and the "rules" for Baptism seem much simpler than those laid out by Dr. York, both on his website and here.

G. Alford said...

Dr. York,

You said “What are the parameters of baptism and how do you know? What are the ingredients for baptism that make it valid? Is the intent of the subject sufficient to validate it?”

Do you hold true to your logic for both ordinances (baptism and the Lord Supper)?

What are the parameters of the Lords Supper and how do you know? What are the ingredients for the Lords Supper that make it valid? Is the intent of the subject sufficient to validate it?

Is it still the Lords Supper if the ingredients are not actually what the Bible says that Jesus used?

Again your words “Ultimately, we have to glean from the Scripture just what New Testament baptism looks like. Who administers it? Who receives it? How is it done? When is it done?”

If this is true for one ordinance of Christ, it is also true of the other… is it not?

Grace to all,

Paul said...

G. Alford,

I have been trying to make that same point for months and have yet to see a sufficient answer (or any answer whatsoever) given. I hope you get an answer to your question.

t. d. webb said...

Debbie, thanks for your gracious comments. However, I notice now that Wade (as usual) has articulately and succinctly distilled (Here's to you, BSC!)this Okie's thoughts much more than my second post, reminding me once again that "less is more". Once he get's back from lunch with Rachelle, Wade will probably do the right thing and assign my comments to the "delete heap" . . .

While we are on the subject, just how good is that "Memphis Barbeque", Wade?

In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

Baptist Theologue said...

The Issue Expressed Concisely:

The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message says the following about baptism:

“Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water. . . . Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.”

Thus:
1. True baptism is by immersion and is only performed on believers (not infants).
2. It is a church ordinance. The church is its administrator.
3. A person should not be allowed to be a church member or to partake of the Lord’s Supper unless that person has been immersed as a believer.

How is the church defined in the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message?
1. As an autonomous local congregation
2. As all of the redeemed of all the ages

Thus, the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message does not say that all the redeemed of this age (2007) form a current universal/catholic church. The Greek word for “church” (εκκλησία) literally means “called out ones,” but it meant more than that to Greek-speaking people at the time the New Testament was written. It meant an organized, visible assembly. Local congregations are organized, visible assemblies. In the New Jerusalem after Christ’s visible return to earth, there will be an organized, visible assembly of all the redeemed of all ages. In the New Testament, references to the church refer to local congregations, the church in glory, or the institution of the church. For example, when the Bible says the pastor should be the husband of one wife, it speaks of the institution of the pastorate, not a particular pastor. If you haven’t done so already, read the article by B. H. Carroll (founder of Southwestern Baptist Seminary) at the following address:

http://www.reformedreader.org/ekk.htm

I've got to go run some errands. Best wishes,
Mike Morris (aka BT)

t. d. webb said...

Mike, to which "local church" was Jesus Christ addressing when He commanded His eleven disciples, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19)?

In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

Bro. Robin said...

Bro. Wade

"I think we need to be careful though. We are acting as if "Landmarks" are evil people."

Thanks for the explanation. After reading your other comments you have tried to correct what you originally did. Thanks for the time and enjoy the BBQ.

Hershael W York said...

Wade:

1 Timothy 3:14-15 (ESV)


The Mystery of Godliness

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth.

[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

JayLee said...

Dr. York asked "does God honor his (a new convert's) intent regardless of whether or not he actually fulfills the New Testament picture (of baptism)?" I believe that is exactly what God does. It's called grace. As spiritual infants God does not expect us to understand every teaching of scripture in regard to Christian living (especially on matters where many learned biblical scholars may disagree).

But we really aren't talking about new converts in relation to the baptism policy of the IMB. No one who is applying for appointment with any mission board should be a new convert. The person in question should no longer be ignorant of biblical teaching. If they persist in believing that sprinkling is the biblical picture, or that baptism is required for salvation, then I would submit that they are applying through the wrong agency and should be rejected by the IMB. We as Southern Baptists are asking that all candidates for church membership as well as service via various agencies be baptized by immersion after belief adding nothing to the symbolism of the act-the scriptural directive as outlined in the BF&M. Wade has made that point very clear. If I am reading him correctly he does not want us to require people be baptized in the name of the SBC (instead of in the name of Jesus) before appointment.

In the case Wade used in his post the lady in question had been sprinkled as an infant, but after salvation and a study of scripture she was convicted that she needed to be immersed to line up with what scripture taught. She did just that when she requested and received baptism by immersion in the Methodist church. Her baptism was biblical, just not SB. The fact that she now aligns herself with an SBC church and its teaching indicates that she has come to believe in the security of the believer (otherwise there would have been other questions regarding her appointment that her personal baptism).

I am not a biblical scholar and I am not trying to "correct" someone who is. I admit I could be wrong. This is simply my understanding of scripture, as imperfect as it may be.

JayLee

Wade Burleson said...

Robin,

I accept your opinion that I am attempting to correct something, but I think you may misunderstand me. I am simply showing my heart felt respect for Dr. York and desiring to call his beliefs by the lable he prefers and not one of my choosing.

My wife and I ate at Corky's. We enjoyed it, the food is great, but I can say with assurance that beef ribs in Enid beat pork ribs in Memphis hands down.

:)

Blessings,

Wade

Strider said...

Ok, so I have read through the comment stream and I have gleaned some things. First, I was accused of not making a true 'argument' in my rant. To this I agree. When I teach on Baptism we go through all the scriptures on Baptism (OT and New) and seek what the Lord is trying to teach us in each. I will not do that in the comments section of Wade's blog. (Please hold your applause.)
Second, I hold to my comments anyway and I give all of you this warning: We must tread very lightly when working any of these issues because the vast majority of the places where we disagree are places where we have made 'logical' inferals. God is quite clear in scripture that his thoughts are not our thoughts. Our so-called logical inferals get us into trouble because we too often use worldly logic instead of Kingdom logic. To illustrate: Nowhere is it recorded in the Word that Baptism is an ordinance of the Church. Google it, get out your concordance, search for it, it ain't there. That is a logical inferal based upon a number of scriptures including the Great Commission- which does not use the word Church. I happen to think that it is true but what I think means nothing in eternity. So, I hold it, but I hold it loosely. On the other hand the point was made about the Lord's Supper. We 'logically' infer that this is a spiritual meal and therefore the issue of wine or grape juice or crackers or bread or unleavened bread is not such a big deal. Jesus was always more concerned with the heart than with the ritual so we 'logically' conclude that it is not so important. But hold it loosely because if someone else disagrees I will not disfellowship with a brother in Christ over my confidence in my own logic. None of us should.
The BFM was laid down by cooperating churches. The IMB exist to serve those same cooperating churches. For the BoT to exclude the very SB's who have created it on the basis of 'logical' inferals is not wise.

peter lumpkins said...

Dr. York,

Greetings. I was just about to post the marvelous text in Timothy when it wonderfully appeared on the thread. I thought it curious as presumably you did too that Wade would strangely "warn" us, in light of Paul's clear assertion, about speaking of the Body of Christ as the "pillar & ground of truth." I guess now the Inspired Apostle will be accused of Roman Catholicism.

Caution though, I must include: Scripture here sometimes works with certain issues only. Remember the wiggling out of 1 Corinth 6.1-8?

Grace, Dr. York. With that, I am...

Peter

Alan Cross said...

Strider,

Very well said. You are addressing those nuances that we take as fact and then drive home, hence the error of creedalism. Thank you.

Wade Burleson said...

Peter Lumpkin,

I wholeheartdly believe the text from I Timothy that 'magically' appeared. Let me reqote it

"I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth.

Now answer me this Mr. Lumpkin.

My local church, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Enid, Oklahoma is called 'the pillar and buttress of truth, the 'church' or the church of the living God, according to Paul. Now, my church, as defined by the Apostle -- has accepted the baptism of one of our members as Christian.

Now, if I understand right, you saying that a denominational entity, which is not a church, can overrule the 'church' of the living God?

My dear Peter, with that I am . . .

Wade Burleson, pastor of the church which is 'the pillar and buttress of truth . . . '

And the 'church of the living God.'

I respect you and your writing, but I think my warning is for you and other Baptists to not define the church differently than the Scriptures.

My church takes our orders from the living God and His Word, not a denominiational entity.

Nor do I desire my church to demand your church be like us.

God has a way of leading us Himself.

:)

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Landmark Labelizer Brothers,

The following story is true if we are to believe one of SB's earliest historians:

In 1788, the Clark’s Station Church in Wilkes County, a part of the Georgia Association, proposed to admit a Mr. James Hutchinson to membership. The interesting thing is, Hutchinson was saved and subsequently baptized by immersion by the Rev. Thomas Humphries, a Methodist minister.

In the interests of respect, Clark’s Station Church brought the matter before the Association and, after hearing Hutchinson’s testimony, the Association voted their full confidence for the Church to receive Hutchinson even though his baptism was performed by a “pedobaptist minister.” Jesse Mercer, the most influential Baptist at that time presided over that meeting.

Hutchinson proved to be a dynamic minister and quite the evangelist. In fact, he shortly moved to Virginia, witnessing and evangelizing as he went.

Consequently, at least a hundred new believers gathered together, organized into a church, Hutchinson baptizing them all.

But when the church applied for admission into an Association, it was rejected on account of the invalidity of their baptism. The problem? The church WAS NOT baptized legitimately because Hutchinson WAS NOT baptized legitimately as he was baptized by an UNbaptized minister.

The story has a happy ending--at least it's supposed to be. Hutchinson submitted to baptism. Then virtually all of the gathered folk submitted themselves to Hutchinson once again--this time to be baptized validly.

Jesse Mercer later was commissioned to compose a Circular letter to all Georgia Baptists apparently arguing for the position that acceptable immersion should only be by churches of like faith and practice. (The History of the Baptist Denomination in Georgia, Vol.2, Samuel Boykin, 1881, p.344).

Poor, poor Georgia Baptists. Our silly "tendencies toward" Landmarkism existed before even before Landmarkism. I guess we did not know about good, old Gill.

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

Peter

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

Thank you once again for the "warning." What is of immense interest to me is your response to my little post card to Dr. York.

Why, my Brother Wade, did you eat, with your wonderful BBQ selection, the "Scorned Woman" Hot Sauce? It's a lethal injection to be sure.

For the life of me, while I understand you comment, I do not get the connection to my note to Dr. York. They don't add up in my arithmetic anyway.

All I did was congratulate him on posting the wonderful txt from Paul. I concluded nothing about either the definition of a church nor even hinted that your church was wrong to recognize someone's Baptism, as I recall.

Drink a little Buttermilk for your stomach (I'd say wine, but you'd nail me for being inconsistent:). It works wonders.

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

Peter

Strider said...

Peter, your story illustrates the ludricrousness of the authoritarian position perfectly. Thanks for sharing. I knew you were one of us, in spite of everything Wade said about you.

Anonymous said...

Funny, how we fight the same battles over and over.

In Augustine's day it was called Donatism. Today, it is Landmarkism.

Donatism...Landmarkism...let's call the whole thing off.

Wade Burleson said...

Peter, the pronoun 'us' as in "I thought it curious that Wade would strangely warn us . . " is the connection with Dr. York.

No offense has been received and I hope no offense has been taken, but your last comment makes me wonder if your feathers might be a tad ruffled.

:)

Debbie said...

anonymous: That just goes to show that "there is nothing new under the sun."

Anonymous said...

Here you are again Peter, offering your pound of condescension when an ounce will do the trick. I don't get it?

I am a learner. I am reading along all the comments taking in each one...reflecting...thinking...and continuing on in an effort to learn. I am learning, even from points I may not agree with. And then, your comment...which always seems out of place and simply made to bring about anger. That would be sin Pete.

I sincerely don't know why you, Tim Rodgers and a few others even frequent this blog. You don't have to agree here. Simply contribute constructively...and listen...and you will fit in fine. Right now and right here, you are a very square peg in a round hole.

Furthermore, regarding your "almost" posting of the verse in Timothy, I don't believe you frankly. How many people type a comment and then before sending it go back and read all the comments again? I say no one does...including you. I think you were looking for an opportunity to bring about anger, you couldn't come up with something yourself, so you piggybacked onto Dr. York's reference verse that doesn't even address the heart of the problem of who is the "local church".

I really don't understand all the hostility? You don't agree! Okay. No problem. Contribute. Listen. Share. Learn (maybe?). But condescension only brings about dissention. Don't google that...I just made it up.

Bring on the denial, the ambiguous compliment, and a twisted attempt at "clearing" the water of muck...although you must nopt forget...you don't reply to "anony's".

With that...
You will still be Peter, I'm sure.

SL1M

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

You need to know that my dear wife has me on a very short leash. Consequently, she gives me extremely limited times I can emotionally explode/implode.

Know I am radically cautious about using my meager outbursts/inbursts from little Ms. Stingy. Having said that, no, I did not waste one on this thread.

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Anon,

With that, I am...

Peter


Dear Strider,

And, you are very welcome, my Brother. Tellingly, what you dub "ludricrousness" (sic) our earlier Baptist community dubbed both Biblical and Baptist.

Grace always. With that, I am...

Peter

Alyce Lee said...

I am no teacher of Hebrew. No teacher of men. However, having trained four children, 5 grandchildren, 5 dogs and 2 cats, could I suggest to Ms Stingy she trade in her lease for a choker collar?

With that I am jesting of course.
Alyce

Alyce Lee said...

'leash'
Never indeeded to say she has a lease on you :)

peter lumpkins said...

Dear alyce lee,

She's afraid she'll kill me, if possessing the power to choke :) But actually, she has trained me so well, just a thump on the knoggin does the trick.

She has one hefty reward awaiting her, I've been told. I do not doubt the truth of it. I definitively married way, way up.

With that, I am ...

Peter

t. d. webb said...

A Grace and Truth to You Lament

Now, Peter seems a gleeful sprite,
though given to sarcasm,
condescending to a fault,
nothing seems to phase him.

Yet what annoys me most of all
is that “full of himself” good-bye,
Which prompts him to display the gall,
And causes me to sigh.

For this Okie there’s just One
Whose Son became the Lamb,
Who has the right as the true Light,
To be the one “I AM”.

In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

peter lumpkins said...

Dear T.D.

How I truly love poetry, though I must confess, I am not much good at it.

Yours, nevertheless, is catchy! Kudos to you, multiplied over, my brother.

I do apologize for the unintended offense my "I am..." evidently spawned. Of course, like poetry, it never dawned upon me one would literally equate it with the Divinely Unutterable Tetragrammaton. Something I shall ponder now every time I write it.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Debbie said...

I must admit, the more I read in the comments, the more disturbed I become.

Anonymous said...

To all,

I would encourage all of you to listen to Dr. Yarnell's chapel sermon at SWBTS today, it was quite an exposition dealing with much of this very same issue. I can't wait to see how it will be [mis]quoted.

Grace,
John B.

G. Alford said...

Paul,

I keep asking the question and I keep hoping that someone from the Landmark camp (or someone like Dr York who shares some Landmark beliefs but does not like the label) would be bold enough to attempt an answer… but so far all I have gotten is “Crickets”.

I am however amazed at how the Landmark-ers can elevate the ordinance of Baptism to the position of a first level doctrine (excluding all those who do not hold to their precise views and interpretation of Scripture on this ordinance) and yet at the same time show such disrespect for the ordinance of the Lords Supper that I suppose cheese crackers and a coke served on the bumper of a old Ford log-truck is acceptable?

Paul, I predict more “Crickets”… most Southern Baptist won’t touch this one with a ten foot pole…

Grace to all,

Baptist Theologue said...

T. D., sorry I’m late getting back to you. I arrived home at 9:00 p.m. CST. You asked,

“To which ‘local church’ was Jesus Christ addressing when He commanded His eleven disciples, ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.’ (Matthew 28:19)?”



In regard to Matthew 28:19-20:

1. I’m not sure how many were in the group to which Jesus spoke. Was it just the eleven (Matthew 28:16) or was it five hundred (1 Corinthians 15:6)? In any case, it was a visible assembly that heard Him.
2. The command of Jesus was to make disciples of all the nations. The people to whom He was physically speaking in that time period were not able to obey this command in their lifetimes. I believe they were supposed to begin the process of world evangelization. Thus, this command would be obeyed by the redeemed of all the ages, not the redeemed of one particular local church or many local churches of one particular era of history. For example, the Philistines apparently disappeared as a people group and were absorbed by the Assyrians. We cannot reach the Philistines (as a separate people group or nation) in our era (2007). New people groups and nations sometimes arise due to new circumstances and affiliations, and those to whom Jesus was speaking could not reach such groups that were not yet in existence.

TruthOfActs said...

Wade,
I guess your suggestion is for me to add Guy Muse’s comments to what we have written on baptism.
I agree that what we wrote does not clarify WHO can baptize.

How do you like this revision?

“We believe that the ordinance of baptism is the immersion in water of a professed believer in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried and risen Savior, and his own death to sin, the burial of his old life and his resurrection to a new life in Jesus Christ as Lord.
In keeping with the Great Commission, the position of who baptizes is not essential, but worship is.”

Any suggestions? I’m struggling here. How about it, Peter?; you’re good with words.
Rex Ray

Anonymous said...

Mr. York,

I am an M with the IMB and I can't let your comment you made slide by, this is:

"I am told that some of this issue is because of indigenous conventions and associations that we work with in other countries who want an assurance about the baptism of our missionaries."

I have been on the field for 13 years and have NEVER EVER heard this. I am quite angry that you would even suggest this is going on. Yes, angry! I rarely comment on any of these blogs, but, making this comment went way too far.

M who is about to have ENOUGH of this!!!!!!!!!

Paul said...

G. Alford,

Agreed.

t. d. webb said...

Baptist Theologue, thanks for taking the time to respond to the Okie's question.

Baptist Theologue aaid:
In regard to Matthew 28:19-20:
1. I’m not sure how many were in the group to which Jesus spoke. Was it just the eleven (Matthew 28:16) or was it five hundred (1 Corinthians 15:6)?


B. T., is it the case that you are confused about what the two passages actually say, or are you implying a contradiction exists between the two passages? While this Okie did not raise the question about the Corinthian passage, it is evident to this Christian that Paul was recounting Jesus' appearance to the 500 as occuring after He had earlier appeared to Cephas and to the twelve. (See 1Corinthians 15:5 and the context of "after" in vs. 6) Nevertheless, shall we conclude that your answer to my original question is that you aren't sure?


Baptist Theologue said:
2. The command of Jesus was to make disciples of all the nations. The people to whom He was physically speaking in that time period were not able to obey this command in their lifetimes. I believe they were supposed to begin the process of world evangelization.

B. T., surely you are not evading the aspect of Jesus' command regarding "baptizing" in Matthew 28:19. The issue that we are discussing in this episode does not pertain to a conclusion to which all of us likely agree: Namely, that the eleven remaining disciples could not personally complete the evangelization of the world. Rather, the topic and issue of the question remains: Were the eleven disciples addressed by Jesus authorized to "baptize" before any local churches had yet been formed? How say you?


In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

Strider said...

TD and BT- See my previous comment on 'Logical Inferals.' You are both giving really good examples of this.

M who has just about had enough- I have stated this several times on several blogs concerning both the Baptism and the PPL issues. Every time I have there have immediately been comments by some pastor whose brother-in-law just talked to a guy who knew an M who swore that this was a big problem. I maintain that when the BoT passed these new regulations they (hopefully unintentionally) slandered all of us. I feel the same way you do brother. But, we are not promised friends and supporters who will never make mistakes and will never betray us. Our Lord didn't have that luxury and neither do we. Endure.

t. d. webb said...

Strider said:
"TD and BT- See my previous comment on 'Logical Inferals.' You are both giving really good examples of this.

Strider, do you take exception to "logical inference" as a matter of principle, or is there some specific example of an inaccurate logical inference that this Okie employed to which you are referring?

My initial purpose in asking B. T. the original question was to give him the opportunity to establish from Scripture or the documented secular historical record any explicit and/or specific evidence of the contemporaneous existence of any "local church" when Jesus communicated His command of "baptizing" to His eleven disciples, as recorded in Matthew 28:19. If one were to successfully establish from Scripture or secular history that a local church existed at the time Christ Jesus issued His command regarding baptism in Matthew 28:19, the Landmark view as to who must administer baptism might find greater support.

Conversely, the absence of any local church having been in existence during that immediate time period would provide ample evidence with which one could logically deduct and conclude that the local church could not have been Christ's exclusive agency in administering the ordinance He charged His disciples to perform.

By the way, this Okie does not expect anyone to agree with his view on this doctrine as a prerequisite to cooperation in the mission to which we, as Baptist Christians are called.


In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray,
You asked for advice on writing a church’s constitution covering the importance of WHO has the authority to baptize.
Your revision has “In keeping with the Great Commission, the position of who baptizes is not essential, but worship is.”

I would suggest you write, “In keeping with the Great Commission, the position of who baptizes is not essential, but the spirit of worship in his name is.”

Anyone else want to help this poor thinking, sometimes an idiot guy who accused Wade of deleting his comment when all the time it was him forgetting what post he had put it on?

Thanks to Wade for his usual grace in not condemning him for being the ignorant fool he sometimes is.
Rex Ray

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Rex Ray,

I read your comment on Wade's latest post. So I checked back. Actually, I do not know what you are precisely asking. I've evidently missed your point. Sorry, brother.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Strider said...

TD, I meant no offence. I regretted that comment after I sent it because I knew it could come off arrogant or condemning- I meant neither.
I was pointing out what you just pointed out. The Word is not explicit in the matter of the local church at the point of the giving of the Great Commission. Therefore I logically infer that if it was not important enough to mention there then that must not be something I am to worry about.
In the end, your comment is utterly correct in that if there is not an explicit command given then we should not break fellowship over our logical inferences- which we sometimes are required to make.

TruthOfActs said...

Peter,
Oops, I told you the wrong post. It is this post (Tuesday March 20).
Wade told me on this post:

“You have provided a Biblical, succinct, statement on Christian baptism.
I like it. You take your's and Guy Muse's comments and get everyone to agree -- the issue is resolved. :)
Tuesday, March 20, 2007”

So Peter, I’m trying to add Guy Muse’s comments to our church constitution in a short precise statement that our committee will agree on.

Sorry.
Rex Ray

t. d. webb said...

Strider, thank you for your gracious remarks.
You most certainly did NOT come across to this Okie as "arrogant". Neither were you offensive in your tone. In fact, in my opinion, your comments have been consistently on point in this blog comment thread. Moreover, I must admit to have, all too often, been found in error, if not on the face of what was written, then with the manner in which the conclusions were reached. Thanks, again.

In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

Baptist Theologue said...

T. D., you asked,

“B. T., is it the case that you are confused about what the two passages actually say, or are you implying a contradiction exists between the two passages?”

I simply don’t know how many were in the group to which Jesus was speaking. I don’t know if it was just the eleven or if more than the eleven were there. A. T. Robertson and John Gill thought the group included the five hundred mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:6.

You also asked,

“Were the eleven disciples addressed by Jesus authorized to ‘baptize’ before any local churches had yet been formed? How say you?”

Remember that Jesus talked about church discipline in Matthew 18:17 (before the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2):

“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

Here’s what A. T. Robertson said about the verse related to the issue:

“The problem here is whether Jesus has in mind an actual body of believers already in existence or is speaking prophetically of the local churches that would be organized later (as in Acts). There are some who think that the Twelve Apostles constituted a local ekklēsia, a sort of moving church of preachers. That could only be true in essence as they were a band of ministers and not located in any one place. Bruce holds that they were ‘the nucleus’ of a local church at any rate.”

Obviously, church discipline must be handled by a visible, organized, local church. It cannot be handled by an invisible universal church. If Jesus had in mind local churches as agents of discipline (before Acts 2), it is quite possible He also had local churches in mind as the administrators of baptism (before Acts 2).

G. Alford said...

Good morning everyone…, (or should I direct this comment to Dr. York and others who hold to the Landmark position on Baptism)

I went to sleep last night to the sound of “Crickets”… and this morning I woke up to the sound of “Crickets”… Your silence is profound.

CHIRP… CHirp… Chirp… chirp… … … …

Anonymous said...

Strider,

You say: "I was pointing out what you just pointed out. The Word is not explicit in the matter of the local church at the point of the giving of the Great Commission. Therefore I logically infer that if it was not important enough to mention there then that must not be something I am to worry about."

Your "logical inference" is actually an argument from silence and fails to consider the fact that the church had not been birthed yet (and no, all the redeemed of all the ages does not mean the church existed prior to pentecost).

Alford,
Did it ever occur to you that Dr. York has not been back since his last comment? Not ever pastor in our convention goes to sleep to the soothing sounds of Wade's blogs and rises to check it first thing in the morning. Perhaps you should take the advice of Wade and others that signed the Memphis Declaration and CONTACT Dr. York (via email through SOuthern's website) instead of attacking him on this blog.

Signed,
A Missionary who IS concerned about the baptism issue and does not recognize the baptism of those baptized in Campbelite churches.

Debbie said...

BT said: "Obviously, church discipline must be handled by a visible, organized, local church. It cannot be handled by an invisible universal church. If Jesus had in mind local churches as agents of discipline (before Acts 2), it is quite possible He also had local churches in mind as the administrators of baptism (before Acts 2)"

Say this was the case BT, which I disagree, but for sake of argument. Am I as a layman not a part of the local church? Therefore could I not be able to baptize?

Baptist Theologue said...

Debbie, the local church is the administrator of immersion. Thus, your local church must determine whether or not you immerse someone.

t. d. webb said...

Baptist Theologue says:
"I simply don’t know how many were in the group to which Jesus was speaking. I don’t know if it was just the eleven or if more than the eleven were there. A. T. Robertson and John Gill thought the group included the five hundred mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:6.

B. T., whether or not the twelve disciples were present with the 500 is not the point and makes no difference. Now, if you could demonstrate evidence that the 500 were present when the Scriptures specifically refer to Jesus addressing the eleven (Matthew 28:16-19) or the twelve (1Corinthians 15:5), your case might have greater merit. Absent that evidence, you are left with speculation to support your conclusion.

B. T., the fact is that there is no Biblical evidence that any physical local church existed when Jesus commanded His disciples to "baptize". While one may speculate as to the existence of a church when Jesus spoke these words, consider the more likely possibility (since no explicit evidence exists to the contrary) that there were no local physical churches functioning at that time. Does one also speculate that the disciples delayed performing all baptisms until a local physical church authorized the act?

In any case, it does not follow that an agency of the Southern Baptist Convention has the authority to autonomously decree that all qualifying Missionary candidates must agree with all of its administrative stipulations pertaining to the ordinance of "baptism" in spite of the fact that many local Southern Baptist Churches have already affirmed that said Missionaries have been Scripturally baptized. To say on one hand that the local physical church should make the call as to what is Biblical in reference as to who administers the ordinance, while concurrently endorsing the act of an SBC agency in over-ruling local churches on this matter is inconsistent, at best.

Baptist Theologue said:
"Obviously, church discipline must be handled by a visible, organized, local church. It cannot be handled by an invisible universal church. If Jesus had in mind local churches as agents of discipline (before Acts 2), it is quite possible He also had local churches in mind as the administrators of baptism (before Acts 2)."

Notwithstanding the fact that Dr. Patterson considers "his" agency a "church"; and, other agencies, such as the IMB BoT, act as if they are local churches in usurping the role of local churches in the matter of church discipline, the fact is that SBC agencies are NOT churches with magisterial authority over traditional local Southern Baptist churches. It appears to this itinerant Okie that this is a classic case where the IMB BoT, itself, needs a good dose of "discipline" for abusing its authority and power in this matter.

In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

Debbie said...

BT: With all due respect, you cannot make such a statement and it be so. I read scripture and since I believe that scripture interprets scripture see this.Acts 16:33; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; etc. where Paul allowed others to baptize besides himself.Matthew 28:18-20. Since this was given to all Christians, I believe baptism to be included in this. In the Epistles, I never seen who baptizes even mentioned. The mode is but not the who.

You also have to think that out in the mission field a "authorized authority" is not always available. Sometimes all there is would be a missionary or even just a female missionary. God knows this.

ml said...

I must say I hurt for that poor Ethiopian. If he were time warped to today and God called him as a missionary he would have to find another people or agency to send him. Or maybe that is one of the problems to begin with. Are we taking our position as Southern Baptists too seriously over-against our place as brothers and sisters in God's household which is whose church? The church of the living God who has been entrusted with the truth. What is truth? Hierarchy design and committee resolution on doctrine? I think verse 16 answers it perfectly. We are possessors of truth in that truth is Jesus and our godliness is not a matter of agreement with doctrine. Paul's statements are not to be taken as legislative body authorization but rather as an incredible sense of awe and humility that we are included into what God is doing.

Some time ago I had a conversation with Wade Akin who commented that the impetus behind his Pioneer Evangelism, one of the texts used by the IMB, was a problem in Brazil. [Maybe this is the very thing to which Hershael is referring.] Wade commented to me that there was a pastoral shortage in Brazil, and around the world, and he was trying to empower local groups of believers to take on the task of the ordinances and function like a local body of believers. The problem was that the people would not baptize or gather for the Lord's Supper because there was no one authorized to do such things. Now can you imagine a believer in another part of the world who meets someone because God has arranged it, shares Jesus, the person accepts Christ, and then they come to a body of water and the person says, "why shouldn't I be baptized?" To which the evangelizer says, "OH wait, I am not a duly ordained official and we are not even in a church building, and no one is sanctioning this baptism, we are not a part of a local association, nor are we a member of a denomination on the state or national level, and I am not even a member of a constituted local body of believers. Come to think of it, you might not even be saved!"
It is amazing how Americanized, or at least Westernized, but, definitely, Baptistic this whole thread has been. Is the issue the mode or is it the authority? If it is authority by what local church did Phillip confer baptism on the Ethiopian? And what group oversaw the authorization of that local group? It certainly was not Baptist [unless you really do believe in the trail of blood--which often sounded more like the trail of tears to me]. OK maybe you would say his authority rested in the Baptist church at Jerusalem. But he certainly was not a shepherd nor was he an ordained minister. He was one of the seven. At best, he was something like what would be later called deacon. So Hershael would you accept the baptism of a person by a deacon? One thing we all would agree on is that the mode was immersion as they went down into the water and came up out of it. Really, in the end our conversation ends up sounding much more like 1 Corinthians--I am of Apollos, I am of John Calvin, I am of Peter, I am of John Gill, I am of Southern Seminary and Al Mohler, I am of SWBTS and Page Patterson.

Paul says, I am glad I didn't baptize any of you. So that no one could say they were baptized in Paul's name. In fact he even says baptism is not the thing on which we should dwell it is the preaching of Christ which is of most importance. The proclamation of the very thing we are entrusted as noted in 1 Timothy. He says, "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with clever words so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied of its effect." This does not mean Baptism is not important since Paul did baptize. Does this mean Paul's baptisms are not valid since he was not called specifically to be a baptizer? That is the point. It has nothing to do with authority of a person, a local church, or even a larger body of churches. It has to do with alignment and followership of Jesus [MT 28:18-20]. If you make it anything more as a qualification for fellowship or service in the household of God then you might be approaching the equivalent to a modern day Judaizer where baptism has become your circumcision. I agree we ought to make sure someone's position on Christ is solid, I would even hold out the mode as important, but it seems the biblical position on baptism takes a back seat to the gospel here.
If Hershael York holds Landmark views, I would even go so far as saying he is not fit to teach in a Southern Baptist Seminary, nor should he even be a trustee of one of our institutions. Which raises another question, "How could he be nominated?" I am afraid that it is another instance of the Good Ole Boy Network that we are propping up as the pillar and foundation of truth. [Like the way Ken Hemphill gets fired one day and magically another position created for him the next.] Maybe that is the bigger issue--people are serving men and positions and somewhere I suspect God is wondering if we ever noticed that he was conspicuously absent from the whole debate.

Baptist Theologue said...

T. D., you said,

“To say on one hand that the local physical church should make the call as to what is Biblical in reference as to who administers the ordinance, while concurrently endorsing the act of an SBC agency in over-ruling local churches on this matter is inconsistent, at best.”

One local church administers baptism for itself, not for other churches. The messengers from SBC churches at the SBC annual meeting decide who will be on the IMB board of trustees. Those trustees do indeed have the right to vote on qualifications for missionary candidates.

t. d. webb said...

Baptist Theologue says:
"One local church administers baptism for itself, not for other churches."

So, how do you account for an individual who was baptized in the church where they were saved and subsequently move their church membership to another Southern Baptist church which enthusiastically receives them? Did the first baptist church (no pun intended ;^) not administer the person's baptism, as opposed to the second baptist church?

In any case what does this have to do with the IMB BoT autonomously stipulating requirements and imposing self-made definitions of baptism that deliberately narrow the parameters already established by the SBC's BF&M2000?

Baptist Theologue says:
"The messengers from SBC churches at the SBC annual meeting decide who will be on the IMB board of trustees. Those trustees do indeed have the right to vote on qualifications for missionary candidates."

Certainly, the IMB BoT has the right to approve Missionary candidates based on the latter meeting the qualification requirements for being appointed to the mission field. However, the IMB BoT is NOT authorized by the SBC to autonomously decree the underlying doctrines by which the selfsame Missionaries are qualified.

In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

Baptist Theologue said...

T. D., you asked,

“So, how do you account for an individual who was baptized in the church where they were saved and subsequently move their church membership to another Southern Baptist church which enthusiastically receives them? Did the first baptist church (no pun intended ;^) not administer the person's baptism, as opposed to the second baptist church?”

The first church administered the baptism. Both churches are autonomous. Thus, the second church has the right to decide whether to accept the baptism done by the first church. If the second church decides that the baptism was administered improperly, then the second church has the right to ask the person to be properly baptized. The person, of course, has the right to refuse the second church’s request for proper baptism, and the person can then seek membership at a third church.

The IMB trustees do indeed have the right to decide that a missionary candidate’s baptism was administered improperly.

Baptist Theologue said...

Debbie, sorry I’m late getting back to you. In regard to missionaries, Paul and Philip were intimately related to local churches. Philip was an officer of the Jerusalem church (Acts 6:5), and the Jerusalem sent Peter and John to visit him while he was working in Samaria (Acts 8:14). Paul was sent out by the church at Antioch (Acts 13:3), and he reported back to that church after his first missionary journey (Acts 14:27).

Anglican said...

Just a little blast from the past.

XXVI. Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments.

Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the
evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as
they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ's, and do minister by his commission
and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving
the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ's ordinance taken away by their wickedness,
nor the grace of God's gifts diminished from such as by faith, and rightly, do receive the
Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of Christ's institution and
promise, although they be ministered by evil men.

Nevertheless, it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church, that inquiry be made of evil
Ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences; and
finally, being found guilty, by just judgment be deposed.

T. D. Webb said...

B. T., you may presently feel comfortable with this top-down ecclesiastical system of magisteriums controlling all aspects of Southern Baptist doctrines. However, this Okie is troubled that the mindset of narrowed parameters in the secondary aspects of Baptist doctrinal beliefs and an exclusionary mindset against anyone who dares to express dissent concerning these tertiary issues is a mortal threat to the longtime survival of the SBC as a vital and effective Christian missionary witness to the world.

B. T., today the power players are dictating narrowed baptism and private prayer parameters. What will it be tomorrow? Lord Suppers of local churhes invalidated because they didn't use Welch's Grape Juice or unsalted crackers? Preacher's defrocked because they don't preach from the King James Version of the Holy Bible? Churches disfellowshipped because their choirs don't wear white robes? Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Yet, one has only to view the plight of other professing Christian groups who chose to tred down that same Pharisaical road. Shriveled in their numbers, they withdraw to their dark little church buildings, smugly huddle together, isolating themselves from anyone and everyone not in agreement with their strangled view of the Christian faith, preaching a dead gospel of legalism to a dead church, all the while consoling themselves and one another that they are the only ones who know the truth of God. This Okie fervently prays that the SBC will wake up before it is too late.

In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

Baptist Theologue said...

T. D., I feel your pain in regard to what you consider secondary and tertiary issues. Consider, however, that what seems to be a tertiary issue in one context can become a primary issue in another context. For instance, I can have coffee and an edifying conversation with a Christian snake handler at Starbucks. We can cooperate to share a Christian witness with non-Christian customers there. As he shows me his snake bites during our discussion at the coffee house, it may strike me as a tertiary issue. If he visits the worship service at my church and brings a box of snakes with him, the issue suddenly becomes primary.

Another example may be edifying. I have corresponded with a man who serves as a missionary in a country where the practitioners of an animistic religion engage in ecstatic utterances. My Christian friend does not use ecstatic utterances in private or public, but he said that some other Christians there do use ecstatic utterances. The nationals cannot tell the difference between the ecstatic utterances of the Christians and those of the animistic folks. He said that the ones who were won to Christ out of animism who formerly utilized animistic ecstatic utterances were quite disillusioned when they found Christians using ecstatic utterances. Do you see the possibility of syncretism in this context? Do you see the possibility that a new convert might intend for his ecstatic utterance to be glorifying to God, but the utterance instead might be a mere repeat performance from his time in animism?

Some might consider abstention from consuming blood to be a secondary or tertiary issue, but this became a primary issue on the mission field during the first century. The Jerusalem Council dealt with such issues. Paul, Barnabas, and other believers attended the conference as messengers from the church from Antioch. There were also messengers from the church at Jerusalem. The meeting was moderated by the very influential James, who was called a pillar of the church by Paul in Galatians 2:9. He made a proposal for a solution (Acts 15:19-20). His proposed solution met the approval of the assembled messengers, and it became their missionary policy for dealing with new Gentile converts in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia (Acts 15:23).

t. d. webb said...

Baptist Theologue said:
"If he visits the worship service at my church and brings a box of snakes with him, the issue suddenly becomes primary.

Therefore, B. T., a young African man who receives Christ, was saved by grace through faith when God used a lay Christian to witness the Gospel to the young man, was subsequently baptized by the one who witnessed to him, was publicly immersed in a local river in testimony of his dying to sin and being raised from the water as a picture of his new birth in Christ, whose baptism is reviewed and accepted as being Scripturally administered by a body of Southern Baptists in a local Southern Baptist church, and who, according to Scripture, will be received in Heaven to eterally live and reign with Christ. . .this Baptist Christian is denied the opportunity to minister as a Missionary to his own people in Africa under the auspices of the IMB, an agency of the SBC, because the BoT decided a year and four months ago that his baptism (box of snakes, B. T.?) no longer met their new criteria for baptism. Thus, he was disqualified from service in "their agency", not because his baptism experience is incongruent with the BF&M2000 of the SBC. Rather, these Trustees took it upon themselves to autonomously narrow the doctrinal parameters to the end that they force their doctrinal views on anyone and everyone in the SBC who believes he is called to serve in "their agency". B. T., the IMB is most definitely NOT the BoT's "church". . .They are servant Trustees, not a doctrinal "Magisterium", accountable to the SBC and, ultimately, the local Southern Baptist Churches who provide their funding. . .Southern Baptists, many of whom are fed up with the personal hidden agendas, power players conspiring behind the scenes pulling doctrinal and personnel strings within the SBC and its agencies to further entrench their power in the Convention, and the systematic exclusions of faithful, qualified fellow Southern Baptists excluded from service solely because they brought "snakes in a box", that is they have a private prayer language or have experienced a baptism which was not administered in strict accordance with the recently revised rules reflecting the present group of Trustees' personal beliefs.


Baptist Theologue said:
"He said that the ones who were won to Christ out of animism who formerly utilized animistic ecstatic utterances were quite disillusioned when they found Christians using ecstatic utterances. Do you see the possibility of syncretism in this context?"

B. T., your illustration might find favor with certain Trustees of the IMB BoT, who apparently conspired to rid themselves and the IMB of President Jerry Rankin because he, just as have other great Southern Missionaries before him (for example, Bertha Smith), had candidly revealed that he practiced a private prayer language. By the way, you are aware that the examples of "ecstatic utterances" to which you referred are instances of public speaking in tongues, a practice not addressed by the IMB BoT recent revision (public speaking in tongues was already prohibited) which dealt exclusively with "private prayer language".

This Okie believes that our discussion, while enjoyable, is getting somewhat "long in the tooth". Therefore, I am pleased to let you have the final word, B. T. Have a great week in the Lord!


In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

Baptist Theologue said...

T. D., thanks for giving me the final word. If you change your mind, I’ll understand.

If I understand you correctly, you are critical of the following appointment policy:

“a. Baptism is a church ordinance.

Baptism must take place in a church that practices believer’s baptism by immersion alone, does not view baptism as sacramental or regenerative, and a church that embraces the doctrine of the security of the believer.

b. A candidate who has not been baptized in a Southern Baptist church or in a church which meets the standards listed above is expected to request baptism in his/her Southern Baptist church as a testimony of identification with the system of belief held by Southern Baptist churches.”

http://www.imb.org/core/story.asp?storyID=3837&LanguageID=1709

Again, if I understand you correctly, you believe that the new policy, especially in regard to the doctrine of the security of the believer, goes beyond what is said about baptism in the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. Let’s look at the applicable section of article 7 (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper):

“It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead.”

Notice:

1. Faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour – If the believer loses his salvation and desires to be saved again, the Saviour would have to be crucified, buried, and risen again, which is impossible. We were buried with Him “through baptism into death” (Rom. 6:4), and we cannot be buried with Him through baptism twice. We were baptized with reference to His death—a one-time occurrence.
2. The believer’s death to sin – If the believer loses his salvation, he has not experienced death to sin. Article 7 lists Romans 6:3-5 as a supporting passage: “3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.” (NASB) If a believer has been crucified with Christ, that cannot be undone.
3. The burial of the old life – If the believer loses his salvation, his old life is not buried. Again, we have been baptized “into His death” (Rom. 6:3), and we have been “buried with Him through baptism into death” (Rom. 6:4). Christ’s death and burial were one-time occurrences. If a church asserts that salvation can be lost, then the symbolism of baptism is damaged.
4. The resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus – If the believer loses his salvation, he does not have eternal life. Paul in Romans 6:5 mentioned that if we are united with Him in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection. Again, if a church asserts that salvation can be lost, this symbolism is lost. Thus, a church that teaches that salvation can be lost is a church that cannot properly administer immersion.

For many years, most Southern Baptist churches have accepted immersions from other Southern Baptist churches or from churches of “like faith and order.” Most of them considered “like faith and order” to include a belief that salvation cannot be lost.

Bertha Smith did not practice a private prayer language.

t. d. webb said...

B. T., please read Wade's post and references, Tears For Miss Bertha Smith -- Then Cheers! on this blog dated January 7, 2006.

B. T., as much as this Okie would like to continue this discussion with you, there are other priorities which I must address at this time. Actually, the assertions you made in these last remarks, have been previously refuted very effectively by others on this blog. However, it would be a pleasure to revisit the issue at later date if you are still interested.

In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

Baptist Theologue said...

T.D., our conversation has been edifying. Let's do it again in the future. I did read Wade's columns about Bertha Smith. I did read both of her books. I repeat, she did not use a private prayer language.

Strider said...

This conversation challenged me so I wrote out my own teaching on Baptism on my blog. Check it out if you are able and give creative reflection if you have any.
http://talesfrommiddleearth.blogspot.com/2007/03/teaching-baptism.html

Strider said...

I messed up the link. Just hit my name and you will get there.
Sorry.

R. L. Vaughn said...

First, to g. alford: How can the Landmarkers "...elevate the ordinance of Baptism to the position of a first level doctrine (excluding all those who do not hold to their precise views and interpretation of Scripture on this ordinance) and yet at the same time show such disrespect for the ordinance of the Lords Supper that I suppose cheese crackers and a coke served on the bumper of a old Ford log-truck is acceptable?"

It would probably be best to have someone who holds the cheese crackers and coke theory to answer this. But in rural south non-SBC landmarkburbia, a number of churches (but certainly in the minority) can only be happy with homemade unleavened bread and homemade grape wine -- for the reason they believe these to be the ingredients the Lord used. Attempted precision on baptism but not the Lord's supper does seem to be an inconsistent application of views of necessary orthopraxy.

R. L. Vaughn said...

The rest of my comments are in reference to Dr. York requesting that his views not be labeled ‘Landmark.’ Dr. York notes that the Landmark label "allows people to fill in the blank and assume things about me that are untrue." I do not know enough about Dr. York's ecclesiology to know whether I would even think he is symphathetic to Landmarkism. And I respect anyone's right to not be called by a label they view as pejorative.

I also believe there is a need to further investigate this terminology "Landmarkism". In my opinion Landmarkism is to ecclesiology what Calvinism is to soteriology -- a systematized view (whether a correct one or not is a matter of opinion).

Landmarkism is often a great bugbear used to "warn off" folks from going too far "that way". Don't get too close, he might bite! Further, Landmarkism, for purposes of refutation, is often caricatured by its extremes [e.g. only faithful landmark Baptists will comprise the Bride of Christ] and sometimes things almost any self-respecting Landmarker would not hold. Tim Holmes' Landmarkism and Today's Baptist Church: The Bad Idea that Will Not Go Away is a good example of this [e.g. "The main reason for the creation of the Southern Baptist Convention was due to an attempted escape of Landmark ideas in the church...A dynamic Baptist preacher comes to town telling the people that unless they become Baptists, they will not see heaven."] Another problem is that self-identified Landmarkers vary in details of ecclesiology and sometimes do not recognize one another as Landmarkers. And finally, many people think Landmarkism is whatever they believe it is.

I think there needs to be more study of what the essence of Landmarkism is. With Calvinism we understand that there is an essence. While one may venture to "Fullerism" on one end or absolute predestination on the other, we are able to identify the common thread of Calvinism. If one wishes to not be identified as a Calvinist (e.g. most Primitive Baptists reject the term) that is OK, but one may still hold tenets that are identified by "outsiders" as Calvinism.

Six or seven years ago, I conducted a study to identify/count independent unaffiliated Baptist churches holding Landmark ecclesiology. To do so I had to develop criteria for such identification, and look at what might be the essence of being "Landmark". Because the three pillars of Landmarkism (Dayton, Graves, Pendleton) were not agreed in all points, I determined the best way to identify a "Landmarker" would be to identify the common characteristics of "self-identified" Landmark Baptists from their day to the present. From that I developed what I believed would be the minimum requirements (in combination) it would take to be a "Landmark Baptist church". All might not agree with my method or my conclusion, but I offer the results here for comment.

1. The church holds the belief that the church is a local autonomous body authorized by Jesus Christ to evangelize, baptise, and teach His disciples.

2. The church holds the belief that Jesus organized a church during His personal ministry, promised its continued existence, and that church (generically) still exists today.

3. The church holds the belief that baptism is the immersion of a believer in water by the authority of a local New Testament church, and will not receive believers who have been immersed by other denominations.

4. The church holds the belief that the Lord's supper is restricted to baptised believers who are walking in orderly church capacity.

More study of what the essence of Landmarkism is might lead to a better understanding of the term (maybe) and to more accurate and less pejorative use of the term (maybe not).