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

What Would You Do If Invited to Attend or Speak at the Celebration of the New Baptist Covenant?

"And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God" (Acts 19:8).


Paul's example of meeting with people who were different than he was seems to me to be an example of wisdom that might be applied, as well as a behavior that could be imitated, by those of us in the Southern Baptist Convention. When Paul met with the Jews of his day in their synogogue, it did not mean he accepted what they said, nor that they necessarily approved of what he said. Paul's presence, however, did present an opportunity for the Jews to hear the truth about Jesus being the Messiah.

The objections to any Southern Baptist participating in the Celebration of the New Covenant Baptist next January in Atlanta, Georgia, seem to be based upon five various forms of reasoning:

(1). The Celebration is simply a veiled attempt to rally Christians to vote Democratic just a week before the actual Democratic primaries.

A Response: It has been said repeatedly and consistently, by every Celebration leader so far, that the Celebration of the New Baptist Covenant is intentionally and conscientiously seeking to transcend politics and avoid anything that would be controversial in the political arena - whether it be Democratic or Republican. A person either has to believe the organizers, or choose to disbelieve them. Paul gives the imperative in I Corinthians 13 that Christians are to believe all things said by other Christians until they happen to be proven wrong. I have displayed a willingness to gently but firmly point out when someone does not follow through with their word, and I'm sure others would do so as well if required, but it seems a tad premature to chastise the leaders of this Celebration before they have even had the opportunity to prove the reliability of their word by making the conversation and fellowship at the Celebration revolve around Jesus Christ.

(2). The organizers of this Celebration do not believe the same gospel as Southern Baptists.

A Response: In essence, this argument requires the person making it to allege that the organizers and participants are not Christian. I will not - yes, I cannot - even begin to go there.

(3). The participants and organizers are affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance, a liberal Baptist organization and participation would be an affirmation of liberalism.

A Response: Those of us who are conservative in our theology are not affirming 'liberal' theology if we happen to attend. Rather, we - like the Apostle Paul in Acts 19:8 - are simply showing a desire to dialogue about the kingdom. If there are Baptists at the Celebration who are neo-orthodox or flat out liberals (some would not say 'if' but 'since'), then maybe my conservative, evangelical friends, through conversation and dialogue, will show those Baptist liberals a better way. If we keep pulling out from fellowship with everyone that is more 'liberal' than us, then maybe we ought to keep our mouths shut about such convocations being 'liberal.' What do you expect? There are no gracious conservatives present to balance out the 'liberalism.'

(4). Jimmy Carter, the primary organizer is a universalist and inclusivist theologically, and has said some very intemperate things recently about President Bush. Attending the Celebration is to accept Carter's theological and political views.

A Response: To say Jimmy Carter is a universalist or inclusivist is proclaiming something directly opposite of what President Carter says about himself. Further, even if Carter actually believed those things, does the presence of thousands of other Baptists at the Celebration, many of whom are more conservative theologically than even Southern Baptists, mean they all believe the same way as Carter? The Jews in Paul's day (Paul himself being a Jew), did not believe in Jesus the Messiah. Paul's appearance in the Jewish synagogue did not mean Paul himself denied the Trinity. Likewise, like the presence of someone in the SBC at the Celebration would not make that person a universalist and inclusivist.

(5). Southern Baptists have nothing in common with the Baptists who will be gathering and should not seek to build relationships with those Baptists or begin a new work with Baptists who are not like Southern Baptists.

A Response: Again, it has been both publicly and privately stated by the organizers of the Celebration that there is no desire to begin a 'new' denomination or a 'new' missions organization. The purpose is to simply fellowship, dialogue and network among the autonomous Baptist churches and Baptist agencies that will be present at the Celebration. For Southern Baptists to stay away from what could very well be the largest African American and Caucasian Baptist convocation since prior to the Civil War does not send out a very good message to the world at large.

Closing Thoughts

It would seem to me, in following the example of the Apostle Paul, that the Southern Baptist and Christian response to the Celebration of the New Baptist Covenant should be both gracious and kind, and if called by God to do so, participatory. In no form or fashion should we treat with animosity and hatred those Baptists who attend the Celebration. We owe our very enemies love, and I know enough about the Baptists of all stripes who will be attending the Celebration to know there is no reason for me to despise or hate any of them, or denigrate them.

In fact, like the Apostle Paul, we should . . .

(1) Pray for those various groups of Baptists who will attend the Celebration,

(2) Present our particular views of the truths of scripture when the opportunity arises,

(3) Preserve as much as possible a civility between everyone involved, and

(4) Resist being controlled by the fear of what someone will think, say, or infer from our faithfulness in relating to all people in love, even those with whom we might disagree in some fashion.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

189 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wade, I really admire your patience with others. I was unsure of your motives in the beginning, but your patience with those who are hostile, your clarity and honesty to those with quesitons, and your love for everyone has convinced me that you truly desire what is best for the SBC -- and you are making a HUGE impact in my church, city and state.

Dr. Ben said...

I am an eighty year old retired professor who has been Southern Baptist for over half a century. Thank God for Wade Burleson.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you should thank God or the devil for Wade Burleson

Anonymous said...

My mom, my dad, my wife, my daughter, my son-in-law, the people in my home church and five thousand other missionaries thank God for Wade Burleson.

An IMB Security Three Zone Missionary

Jerry said...

Wade, can you tell me what you think of Morris Chapman? Do you know him or have you ever spoken to him? I would be very interested on your thoughts regarding Dr. Chapman and where he stands on this issue.

Wade Burleson said...

I know Dr. Chapman and respect both he and Jodi. I have not spoken with him in a long time and cannot tell you what he thinks about this issue. Dr. Chapman is caught between two generations of Southern Baptists and by the nature of his very position must not rock the boat too much. I am not a politician, nor do I care to be one. I do what I believe is right and the opinion of men like Dr. Chapman, though respected, is inconsequential to me.

Josh Hall said...

Wade,

Long time reader... First time poster...

Whether you like it or not, the reality is that meeting with Carter, Clinton, Gore, etc. DOES give the appearance that you are sympathetic to their theological and political beliefs. I personally think embracing Carter at this time, in light of his recent comments, is a slap in the face of the sitting president, period.

I don't have a problem with fellow Southern Baptists dialoguing with anyone, but I can't understand why Southern Baptists would attend this particular meeting. The whole concept of the "new" baptist covenant was born out of Carter's rejection of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. This is evidenced by the fact that the "new convenant" we're all supposed to celebrate doesn't have the input of a single Southern Baptist! Do we honestly think that all of a sudden this group wants our input? I have a feeling that trying to influence them is going to be akin to casting pearls before swine.

Wade, I think you are being used. You are a token Southern Baptist being used to give this group credibility. In the process, you're going to LOSE credibility with your fellow Southern Baptists, and not just the Fundamentalists, as you may believe.

Ron P. said...

If we are to follow the logical conclusion (exegesis) of the example of Paul you cite, he went into the synagogue speaking out boldly to preach to the lost, not to reason or persuade believers about the kingdom of God. So should the SBC go and do in Georgia as Paul did in this passage - preach to the lost that are at this gathering?

In all seriousness, here is the real problem that so many of us have. Many of the organizers have publicly proclaimed another gospel apart from what Paul did through out his life - Christ and Christ alone. Some are now telling you privately something else. This is not a minor trivial issue. We are constrained by scripture and conscience to heed Paul's words in Galatians 1:6ff "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." NKJV. Until we know which gospel they believe, their public statements or their private ones to you, conscience dictates that we follow Paul's examples throughout his epistles. Paul's call is for the church to be discerning and avoid false teachings.

Humbly His,

Ron P.

Bryan Riley said...

I know that some make the conclusory leap that we have nothing in common with others at this gathering because it is concluded that others don't believe in the same Jesus. Here's the good news: Jesus doesn't change based on our beliefs.

He loves all of us; the Bible tells me so.

He died to save everyone; the bible tells me so.

All anyone needs to be saved by Jesus is faith in Him; the bible tells me so.

Faith comes by hearing; the Bible tells me so.

Hearing comes by the Word of God; the bible tells me so.

And I know that Wade and others who are going will carry the message, the Kingdom, the truth, with grace and love. Praise God for that. Isn't it ironic that those who judge and predetermine that those gathering aren't Christians shun gathering with them? It strikes me that if it truly were a gathering of nonChristians (a conclusion I disagree with), that we should run to it, advancing the Kingdom, to demonstrate the love and acceptance of God. Instead, we act out a message of rejection, hate, and disgust.

It fails to represent Christ when we do that.

OC Hands said...

omzaafhiAnonymous,
"Thank God or the devil....?"
What kind of remark is that? If you are going to make such a sarcastic and hateful comment, at least have the courage to put your name under it.
That kind of comment does not belong on this blog.

Strider said...

So Josh and many others, I can hang out with publicans and sinners but I can't hang out with Baptists? The whole guilt by association thing is so far from Christ that I have no idea how on earth you guys can be reading the same Bible I do. I guess Jesus felt the same way: You search the scriptures and they speak of me....
We have a lot to learn from President Carter. He builds houses for poor people while you build theological constructs condemning people to hell. Let's guess whom God is more pleased with. Matthew 25 anybody? I am no universalist and I will not be a universalist if I meet with one. I am no muslim- though you may disagree with that since I live in a Muslim country. If you believe that the conference is a dark place then you a bound by a sacred command to shine a light there. If you are afraid of what others will conclude then you have never read anything of Jesus life. He was never concerned with what others thought.

Bob Cleveland said...

Josh said:

"Whether you like it or not, the reality is that meeting with Carter, Clinton, Gore, etc. DOES give the appearance that you are sympathetic to their theological and political beliefs." I respectfully disagree.

And, therein lies one big rub. Appearances.

I have to ask what Jesus would have avoided if He'd been concerned about appearances.

My guess is He wouldn't have spoken to the woman at the well. He wouldn't have gone to a party at a tax collector's house. He wouldn't have stood up for a woman caught in adultery. Or called a rag-tag bunch of commoners to hang around Him.

And He certainly wouldn't have exposed Himself to something like a cross.

The only thing I recall about "appearances" is that we're supposed to avoid the appearance of evil. For someone to avoid the New Baptist Covenant for appearance's sake is to call it evil.

I believe it was Pogo who said "we have met the enemy, and they is us".

Bob Cleveland said...

Josh:

I hasten to add that I'm not referring to you as the enemy. I'm just decrying the provincial attitude I see in so many places, that the message, and how good and pure and righteous we are in putting it forth, is more important the either the Savior himself, or the people He came to seek and to save.

irreverend fox said...

Wade,

I'd preach at a Mormon church, a Kingdom Hall and I have publicly shared the gospel, in debate form, in a Roman Catholic church...

I don't see what the big deal is...I'd speak or preach to any group who'd invite me.

The question is not in the group...the question is in the speaker...will a speaker speak the truth or will he capitulate to an "agenda"? That's it...by the way...I have a few things I’d like to say so if someone cancels at the last minute let them know that I am available, ok?

Bill Scott said...

Foxy,
You are 100% correct! I could not have said it better. You illustrated Bob Cleveland's point quite well. Are only church planters so bold as you?

gmay said...

Wade, I suppose I would preach. My calling is to preach, not mere public speaking. I would first employ the services of every prayer warrior I have ever known or heard about. Next I would carefully prepare and weigh through the temptations to preach the earth created by an intelligent God, all men affected by the fall in the garden, marriage as an institution given by God to a man and a woman, redemption only in the blood of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, hell hot, heaven sweet, and the final judgment of all. I expect I would have to run the risk of being dimissed as a fundamentalist. Oh, and I would surely mention that the Jesus to believe in is the eternal Jesus, the One present at creation, coequal with the Father, not the one who became god while on earth. I expect I would have to talk fast and be very concise since I am sure the time will be less than two hours.

The more I think about it, the clearer it becomes, I will never have to decide about that invitation because I will never be asked to adress such a meeting. But it could happen for you. To whom much is given, much is required.

Mike Ruffin said...

Wade,

The hope for the future of the Baptist witness lies largely, but not completely (since the good Lord is ultimately the source of all hope), in the willingness to worship with each other, to dialogue with each other, and to work with each other for the sake of the good news of Jesus Christ.

There are reasons, and some of them are probably good reasons, for many Southern Baptists not to participate in or support this gathering. There are also very good reasons, which you have articulated well, for them to attend.

In no sense are you a "token" Southern Baptist; the "official" SBC leadership has an invitation to participate but they have all, so far as I am aware, declined. That is unfortunate. We need to get our minds around the possibility that this may be something different and it may presage one new model among what will be many new models for being Baptist together for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Are the motives of all those involved pure? If someone is seriously asking that question, they need to check their naivete at the door. Nevertheless, it will be good if more of us will also set some of our suspicions and our cynicism aside, sit down with each other, and worship, talk, pray, and minister together.

blackhaw66 said...

Ron P.,

AMEN! For Wade to use Paul as an example is disingenuous. If Wade is going to preach the good news to them then I am all for that. If he is to state that they need to know Christ. Then go ahead. That would be a good reason to meet with Mormons or Jws. But not to have fellowship with them. Unfrotunately that is exactly what Wade is doing.

So Wade follow your own example and do what Paul would do. Preach the gospel to them.

Kaylor said...

Wade: Thank you for your excellent words! Though it seems that some are still unwilling to accept it, you are right on. The Celebration and its planners may not be perfect or even close to perfect, but at I believe this is a biblical effort that is desperately needed. I hope all of the critics would pray that the gathering would be as you describe it and not as they fear it will be.

Scott said...

First time commenter:

I don't have an opinion whether it is appropriate to join in this covenant, yet. But, I think some posters misapply the account of Jesus with the woman at the well, in the temple with the money changers, etc. First, his appearance never condoned their doctrine or practice. Second, his appearance was just that, an appearance, as opposed to joining hands with others in this New Baptist Covenant. At some level there is an agreement made between all participants. You just have to decide what you are affirming by participating.

Scott

CHRIS HILLIARD said...

Wade,
I honestly can’t make the connection between Paul’s example and this issue. The Jews Paul went to held to the Old Testament and may have been orthodox in every sense of the word. But they did not know that the Messiah had come. Paul is giving them “the rest of the story”. Paul isn’t going to worship with and minister with them. He is going to worship and tell them the gospel. Paul knew what he was going into. If they rejected the gospel, he would have brush the dust off and moved on to the next town.

We are talking about those who call themselves Christians and wear the label “Baptist”. We have already sat at the table with many of them and discussed the issues. That is ultimately why this meeting is taking place. That is why Carter came up with this idea. We shook the dust off from each other and separated. They have not repented of their rejection of God’s word as inerrant, openness to homosexuality, female pastors, etc. Now mind you, not everyone of those issues applies to every group and individual attending. In fact, as Wade has pointed out, there are some very conservative groups who have chosen to be a part of this. But the foundation of this whole thing is put together by liberal (and yes, even heretical) individuals and groups.

CHRIS HILLIARD said...

We can still talk. In fact, I hope we do. As long as reconciliation and repentance is possible, let’s talk. But this meeting isn’t about talking. It is about worshipping and ministering together. How do you worship hand in hand with a heretic on one side and a compromising liberal on the other. I would contend that that kind of compromise is dangerous. It is an offense to God. There would be “sin in the camp” and we are trying to ignore it for the sake of “unity”.

If I got a phone call tomorrow and was invited to speak at a mormon service, jw service, or a liberal protestant service, I would be glad to. But I would go with at least the understanding that 1) I was going to preach the truth 2) I was not coming to worship or pray with them 3) I could not minister with them 4) I come in love but also honesty 5) I’d do my homework to make sure I was appearing as though I was a part of them.

CHRIS HILLIARD said...

Sorry about the mistake on number 5:)

5) I’d do my homework to make sure I was NOT appearing as though I was a part of them.

Amy Downey said...

Wade,

I honestly don't knew where to begin. I could post perhaps the longest response in the history of blogdom but I doubt anyone would read it to the end. Therefore, I will attempt to keep my response brief and to the point ... as best I can.

1. Your use of Acts 19:8 is an example of "interesting" exegesis. Paul went to the synagogue to preach the gospel and not to discuss social issues of the day. To compare the two is theologically weak. He boldly proclaimed the Gospel to the lost. Unless that is what you are going to do, it is an apples and oranges comparison.

2. I might personally with the arguments with point #1 but for me that is a second or third issue and so I will let it go.

3. Regarding point #2, I want to go back to the question that you still have not answered. What would you do if it could be shown that a speaker at the NBC does not preach the same Gospel as the true Gospel? Would you go? I am not going to jump into your trap of questioning their Christianity, I am just asking. And if needs be, I will follow-up with examples of my original question.

4. Regarding point #3, see my response to point #1. Except to say to your sentence: "If there are Baptists at the Celebration who are neo-orthodox or flat out liberals (some would not say 'if' but 'since'), then maybe my conservative, evangelical friends, through conversation and dialogue, will show those Baptist liberals a better way." OH, PLEASE your naivete is showing.

5. Regarding point #4 and Jimmy Carter, we all know what he has said about Mormons and the Jewish people in the press and etc. You are basing your views on a short private conversation. The rest of us are basing our views on what is in print. Who has the stronger evidence?

6. Regarding point #5, I have a long but it needs to be separate response to this issue. I will save it for another comment.

7. Regarding your comment in the closing, "In no form or fashion should we treat with animosity and hatred those Baptists who attend the Celebration? We owe our very enemies love, and I know enough about the Baptists of all stripes who will be attending the Celebration to know there is no reason for me to despise or hate any of them, or denigrate them." To disagree with you is not to fall into this pit of which you are trying to cast your opponents. This is not an either/or proposition and to assume that it is is unfair and prejudicial in its own light.

8. And finally your comment on 1 Corinthians 13 is an example of eisegesis and utterly wrong. We are never commanded "to believe all things said by other Christians until they happen to be proven wrong." We are commanded however to be Bereans (Acts 17) and to test anything and everything against the Word of God.

My apologies for this long comment but it could not be helped.

Respectfully (and this is my honest desire),

Amy Downey

Kaylor said...

Amy: The answer to your #5 is the personal not the media is stronger evidence. That should be obvious. When you talk with someone you not only get the words but how they say them and their nonverbals. Additionally, the media does not always get things right (that should not be a shocking statement). They may focus on what was only a small part of someone's comments but leave out the more important statements.

Amy Downey said...

Kaylor,

You might have a point (MIGHT) if it was a one-time interview and not a repeated pattern of basically saying the same thing over and over and over and over again.

I remember when Oprah Winfrey challenged Billy Graham on the exclusivity of the Gospel. His response was basically if you have a problem with John 14:6 it is not a problem with Billy Graham but Jesus Christ himself. Could Jimmy Carter not have expressed himself likewise?

In other words, Jimmy Carter's equivocation on the subject in the press speaks volumes over what he might or might not say in private.

Amy

CHRIS HILLIARD said...

Kaylor,
Carter's answer to the question about mormons couldn't have been clearer. I don't care how you edit it.

Anonymous said...

I would like to offer 2 comments. One is on #1 and the other is on #4.
First #4. A congregation was accusing a local pastor of not believing the virgin birth. He came to me for advise. I suggested that he preach a message called, "Why I believe the Virgin Birth." That would have clear the air and the congregation would have known exactly how he stood on the issue of the virgin birth. He never did and the congregation to this day questions whether or not he believes the Virgin Birth of Christ. President Carter could clear up alot by making a statement concerning whether or not he is a universalist or an inclusivist. He can state his postition where any/everyone can understand it.
Now on #1. The conference would have been somewhat better received if it were not a week before a primary. I would not want to go to a conference a week before a primary if the keynote speakers and planners were Republicans or Democracts. The news media will put a spin and define the purpose of the conference since it is a week before a primary. In my opinion, it will not be defined by those who attend but how the media perceives the event.
Gene P.

Kaylor said...

Amy: But what about all the comments shared on another thread where Carter clearly talks about the necessity of accepting Jesus? Since those were written in his book it seems likely he had more control over the final copy. Thus it is not just one private conversation. What we have is you pointing to printed comments edited by the media versus printed comments by Carter AND a private conversation with Carter.

Chris: Actually, you never know what else he said. His printed comment (as was pointed out by someone on another thread) was only about a relative and not about Mormons in general. Maybe he first said something about how he is doubtful about a lot of Mormons and then told the story of one that he knows is a Christian. I'm pretty creative, so if you want I can think of several more ways the conversation could have gone that would have gotten edited down to what was printed.

I'm surprised that people put so much trust in the media on this issue. Aren't we always told that the media has anti-Christian bias?

Jeff said...

Wow, I do not know when I have been so moved to post so frequently to this blog. Is there no grace? That is not a rhetorical question, but I wish many who have been posting in here would make it a personal question for themselves. Do not worry of other peoples motives, ask yourself; "Am I showing grace"?

A few thoughts entere my mind as I think of meeting with folks like this. Often on holidays like Thanksgiving I travel to my Fathers house and I try to be gracious to my 3rd step mother, and my Father who happens to be an alcoholic. I limit the time my kids spend with them alone for they are not christians and the influence of their drinking I want only to serve as a bad example. And yet I love my dad, I am kind to him-respectful, I think I am a pretty good son considering he was never really a father to me. God has given me the grace to forgive and to love.

By attending these family gatherings; am I endorsing his drunkenness?

Also I have summer vacationed in sunny Florida where my mother; a pagan by practice and an athiest by profession, lives. Often I will have coffee at her table in the morning and her neighbors (two cohabiting homosexuals) will come over (as is their habit) and have coffee with her as well. These two are clearly Christ denyers with both their life and their word. And yet they like me, I think they are nice and kind (albeit lost) people. They took care of my mother and my step-father when my step father was dieing of cancer over a 2 and a half year period. It was a horrible death, but these two lost people never let them down.

Am I endorsing Atheism, paganism and homosexuality because I want to show my love and gratitude toward these people? Am I compromising my convictions because I will sit and drink coffee with these..."And such were some of you" as Paul says.

Again, I must ask... Where is the grace"?

I pray that my enemies will have the integrity to testify of me; "He showed kindness to us even when we did not deserve it". Sound somewhat like the gospel, doesn't it?

"While we were enemies Christ died for us."

If we believe this, why won't we demonstrate it?

Just curious.

Jeff

Amy Downey said...

Kaylor,

Let's say for just a moment you are right (and by the way I am not discussing Carter again because I will not get sidetracked from the main focus on my comment), should Carter not have gone back and corrected himself with the press?

I mean he is a former President of the USA after all.

To leave the press coverage as is ... speaks volumes.

I will give you an "A" for effort but that is all.

josh h. said...

Bob C. says, "I have to ask what Jesus would have avoided if He'd been concerned about appearances. My guess is He wouldn't have spoken to the woman at the well. He wouldn't have gone to a party at a tax collector's house. He wouldn't have stood up for a woman caught in adultery. Or called a rag-tag bunch of commoners to hang around Him."

Bob, your comparison of Carter's bunch to adulterers and tax collectors actually has a lot of merit! :)

But no, I think a more accurate analogy would be this... Can you see Jesus attending a convention of the Saducees, submitting His viewpoint as "just one of many here" and celebrating theological unity with them? Yikes!

CHRIS HILLIARD said...

I find it interesting that Belief.net, which interviewed Carter, had this intro on their page:

"The former president on why he believes Jesus will save everyone, and how his faith complicated--and sustained--his presidency."

http://www.beliefnet.com/story/214/story_21478_1.html

If Carter doesn't believe in universalism, he should speak out against Belief.net characterizing his answers to their questions as implying such.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

A question for you. You siad in your post.

"In no form or fashion should we treat with animosity and hatred those Baptists who attend the Celebration? We owe our very enemies love, and I know enough about the Baptists of all stripes who will be attending the Celebration to know there is no reason for me to despise or hate any of them, or denigrate them. "

I agree...but now the question. Is my convictional stand to not participate in this type of gathering or endorse it synoptic with the lanquage you use above. In other words, in my saying I will not be a part am I hating, despising or denegrating them?

Blessings
Jack

josh h. said...

And no... I don't think Carter's bunch has the same exact beliefs as the Saducees. That's not what I'm implying. But, they ARE very liberal in their beliefs. That's the comparison I'm trying to make.

kevin said...

Wade, I really hope those involved will keep their word and avoid politics. You have taken their word and I can't blame you for that. I know that you will not compromise on the WORD so I see no problem with preaching there.

Judging by some of the comments, it seems we take ourselves way too seriously. Maybe everyone should visit larknews.com and have a laugh before they post here.


"I've often said I would preach in hell if they promised to let me out."
--Jerry Falwell

Tim Cook said...

OK, woa. I have heard some surprising things here, and not the least of which is Chris Hilliard's assertion that we cannot pray, worship, or minister with heretics, universalists, or liberals. What!?!? Are you actually saying that wrong theology apostasizes someone? That someone who does not believe the Bible is inerrant is not a Christian? I'm sorry, but I can't see any way to justify that Biblically. Think through what you are saying: if a person has a less-than-perfect understanding of all things theological, then they are not in relationship with Christ or the with the church universal? If you cannot worship with someone who affirms the name of Christ, no matter how batty you think their theology is, then there is something wrong. They are your brothers and sisters!!!! Love and correct them, but do not insinuate that they are not saved. I can only take your statements to mean that knowledge of the correct view of scripture is what saves us. That is, in my view, every bit as heretical as CArter's supposed universalism or anyone's theological liberalism. Please re-think what you said, and examine your comments in light of scripture.

In Christ,
Tim Cook

blackhaw66 said...

Someone said "Where is the grace?" He was not so quietly stating that ones like Amy and myself are not displaying grace because we have concerns over the conference. Why? Is it grace to say nothing?

Second someone else brought up Jesus. He asked if Jesus would of been concerned about appearances then he would not of eated with sinners and tax collectors or met the woman at the well. Now of course this is a strawman and is the old 'pulling out Jesus' card in Christian debate. No one is stating that Wade or others should not meet with Carter or the other leaders in the meeting. Be like Jesus and meet with them. But do not do it under the assumption that all are Baptists and thus all display what it means to be a Baptist. When Jesus met with the woman at the well he preached the gospel to her. When he met and ate with tax collectors he preached the gospel. He was not meeting with them like the meeting in January.

Amy Downey said...

Completely unexpected but very much appreciated I received in today's mail a copy of an article that J. Greshman Machen (remember he is the one that WB referenced in a previous post) wrote for "The Presbyterian Guardian" in 1936. Here are a few of his thoughts as they might apply here as well:

"The whole program of the General Assembly is carefully planned in such a way as to conceal the real issues and give a false impression of faithfulness to the Word of God."

Regarding the conference on evangelism Machen wrote:

"One instrument of conceal is the program of the pre-Assembly Conference on Evangelism. That program is carefully planned. Its very name suggests to unwary persons that the Church is perfectly orthodox. "Evangelism" certainly has a reassuring sound. The contents of the program also often provides sops for the evangelical minority in the Church. There is nothing that Modernist ecclesiastics love quite so much as evangelical sermons that serve as the prelude to anti-evangelical action. They are such effective instruments in lulling Christian people to sleep."

Food for thought.

Eric M Schumacher said...

Wade -

I'd like to look into this issue further.

Could you provide some links with some specific examples of the 5 various forms of reasoning objecting to the SBC participating in the New Covenant Celebration (especially those you were thinking of as you drafted this post)?

Thanks!

Paul Burleson said...

Wade,

The point of Acts 19 is that Paul went where people did not agree with him and yet thought they were right with God. Paul's purpose was to present Christ as Messiah to correct/clarify to the Jewish mind God's plan in Christ.

The principle gleaned for me is that, rather than going only where there is agreement, go where you can present the gospel you hold to and see if this can become the basis for a fellowshipping together even if it takes a miracle of God for it to happen.

If it cannot/does not, you have faithfully declared the gospel. It it can be/does, you will be a part of something that can be a tool to win people to Christ.

The fact that those in Acts 19 were Jewish and these are Baptist doesn't alter much at all to me. Those Jews thought they were alright with God BECAUSE they were Jews and many Baptists seem to think they are right with God BECAUSE are Baptist.

No group that thinks that way, whether it be New Baptist Covenant, Southern Baptist Convention, Fundamentalists Baptist, or Jewish, is right. So a participant who DOES present the real gospel would seem to be in line with what happened in Acts 19 to me.

The outcome would be in the hands of the Holy Spirit of course, but Paul took several months disputing so he didn't simply present the gospel and leave. He made himself available to contend for the faith.

There are times when I feel I am doing that very thing in writing comments on blogs. To me, it's a good and worthwhile thing. So would being available to dispute with that group of Baptist be a good thing I would think. I also, don't believe it's bad exegesis to see the passage this way. But what do I know. :)

DAD

texasinafrica said...

Wade, thanks so much for this post.

It hurts to see so many commenters who are implicitly accusing Christians like me of not being Christian, or of being heretical, when they know neither the content of our hearts nor the nature of our relationships with God. But I have thick skin and can get over that. What truly scares me is the attitude some here are demonstrating that they aren't willing to seriously dialogue with anyone with whom they disagree. I'm sure glad Jesus didn't take that stance.

Robert Hutchinson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chuck said...

Jeff,

I want to encourage you in your living, loving witness to your lost or wayward family members. Never are our efforts to love the lost in vain.

The topic at hand, however, is whether to join a cooperative effort under the banner of "Baptist" in which it is unclear--even doubtful because of President Carter's reported interviews--that a clear gospel message can be central.

That's not judgmental, or lacking grace. We're talking about those who claim to be like us, not those who are lost.

Kaylor said...

Amy: Thanks for the A! I always strive for that in my classes.

I cannot answer for Carter. But as one who has been misrepresented in the press before, eventually you get to the point where you realize it does not matter what you say because often people will not listen but just write what they want even if it is not true (kind of like some of the comments here).

Wade Burleson said...

Amy,

You should be grateful that I believe a woman can teach a man. Thanks for your comment.

Robert Hutchinson said...

The Desire of these Baptist Men
"They reaffirmed their commitment to traditional Baptist values, including sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and its implications for public and private morality. They specifically committed themselves to their obligations as Christians to promote peace with justice, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and the marginalized, welcome the stranger among us, and promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity."

From the BF&M 2000
"We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick...Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth."

Notice that the BF&M doesn't read "all men who believe exactly the way we do." It says, all men of good will.

Now, after reading what the desire of these Baptist men is, can anyone say that their desire is not good?

Personally, as a Southern Baptist I would go and I would speak. And I would "act in the spirit of love without compromising their (my) loyalty to Christ and His truth."

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

You ask, "Is my convictional stand to not participate in this type of gathering or endorse it synoptic with the lanquage you use above. In other words, in my saying I will not be a part am I hating, despising or denegrating them?"

My answer: No, not at all.

Unless you condemn those with different convictions.

Wade Burleson said...

Robert Hutchinson,

Excellent post with faultless logic.

CHRIS HILLIARD said...

Tim,
Who said this?

"That someone who does not believe the Bible is inerrant is not a Christian?"

Not me.

Who said this:
"Think through what you are saying: if a person has a less-than-perfect understanding of all things theological, then they are not in relationship with Christ or the with the church universal?"

Not me.

But yes, I do believe I cannot worship and/or minister hand in hand with a universalist, heretic, or liberal.

Why?

"But actually , I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges . REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES." 1 Cor 5:11-13

"Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them."
Romans 16:17

"If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother." 2 Thess 3:14-15

"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds."
2 John 1:10-11

To call a heretic or universalist a "brother" is quite a stretch. A libera? Maybe...

CHRIS HILLIARD said...

Sorry, should have said "A liberal? Maybe..."

Wade Burleson said...

Eric,

Simply read the comment sections of my last four posts. Any further information you desire might be obtained by clicking on the names of some of the commenters - it will take you to their blogs.

Chuck said...

Wade and Robert H.:

Faultless logic granted, but one question:

Is the exclusivity / sole sufficiency of Christ to save a "traditional Baptist value"?

Or, stated in reverse, is the plurality of "legitimate pathways to God" a traditional Baptist value?

If your answers, in order, are "Yes" and "No", then your post is not faultless after all.

And therein lies the only issue many of us have stated with embracing the NBC.

Dorcas Hawker said...

Some have made contrasts between Billy Graham and Jimmy Carter and their perspective on issues. Well, I’m not so sure Billy Graham and I even agree on everything, from what I read on this post from last year … specifically the part Graham said about not every word of scripture being from God. Yet his belief on that wouldn’t keep me from attending a Billy Graham crusade. In fact, I have done so.

So what would I do if invited to attend the Celebration of the New Baptist Covenant? I would go if all expenses were paid and my bosses gave me extra vacation time for the occasion. In other words, I would do it if there was no cost to me. What would I do if invited to speak? I would probably think … they are really reaching to the bottom of the barrel on this one. Again, if all expenses were paid, I would probably do so. I would post a blog asking every Baptist what they would like me to say to such a gathering and then compile a speech of all the things that people thought needed to be communicated at such a moment in history.

Oh, and I saw someone ask Wade what he thought of Morris Chapman. Well, no one asked me but I would say that in the very little bit of acquaintance I have had with Dr. Chapman, he is someone worth listening to, is very wise in his work in SBC life, and should be prayed for often. He may be one of the key people helping to keep the SBC ship from sinking altogether. But that is just my humble opinion, and I know no one asked me for it.

Ann S. said...

Excellent post. You really hit the nail on the head this time. Amen, Brother. Perhaps your best post ever. Thanks, and God bless!!!

Dripping with the same sarcasm that Ben Cole employs

othoniel a valdes sr said...

Yes
Paul met with the jews for evangelism not for a political agenda nor a personal left leaning Christian worldview.
What is your purpose in meeting with them ?
But since your heart is made up have fun and remember to lean to the right because if you don't the ship may turn over

Bryan Riley said...

Chris Hilliard, great quotes of scripture. As to those that talk about bringing "this teaching," what is the teaching that is being referred to?

R. L. Vaughn said...

Strider, when you write "President Carter...builds houses for poor people while you build theological constructs condemning people to hell" you leave out at least two things: (1) President Carter, unless he is a universalist or an annihilationist, very likely also has a theological construct "condemning people to hell"; and (2) it is very likely that some of the you who "build theological constructs condemning people to hell" also build houses for poor people and/or otherwise engage in doing works of charity. Would you disagree?

Tim Cook said...

Chris,

I was under the impression from my study that all of those scriptures fall under basically 2 categories: unrepentant immorality and explicit denial of Jesus Christ. As to the scripture from Thessalonians, does not that "associate with", in context, imply church membership? or at least a closer association than a conference, worshiping together? Is it wrong to ever worship across denominational lines together? I am confused; I thought the only reason not to associate with someone was because they have actually denied Christ in some fashion. Being a liberal does not disqualify someone from being a brother in Christ. That is where I was coming from.

In Christ,
Tim Cook

Brad said...

For more insight into Jimmy Carters beliefs about salvation, you might want to check out this interview that he recently did with beliefnet.
http://www.beliefnet.com/story/214/story_21478_1.html

Emily said...

Pastor Wade,

I think you have explained yourself very well and given explicit assurance to all concerned where you stand on the relelvant theological and political concerns surrounding the NBC.

I am frustrated for you to see the same comments and questions (and accusations) come up over and over again. Its as if we think the more we type, the more likely we are to convince you that you're wrong. I, for one, have had enough already. (That is probably one reason why God has given you this public platform and not me!)

If this is what you're "friends" say to you and about you (after you're jumped through hoops to explain yourself), I would hate to see what your "enemies" say.

Thanks for your graciousness and courage. I look forward to the good that God has in store for you and the NBC.

-Emily

CHRIS HILLIARD said...

Tim,

Here’s my response to your comments:

“I was under the impression from my study that all of those scriptures fall under basically 2 categories: unrepentant immorality and explicit denial of Jesus Christ.”

I would completely agree. And heretics, liberals, and universalist (to use your list) that have not repented of their false teachings (immorality) apply. I could argue that many who fit in this list, as well, have denied Jesus Christ. They may claim His name but they are preaching “another Jesus”.

“As to the scripture from Thessalonians, does not that "associate with", in context, imply church membership? or at least a closer association than a conference, worshiping together?”

So, you don’t associate with them at church but if you meet at the civic center that’s okay? Don’t follow. Notice, Paul says “don’t even eat with such a one”. There is a point where complete fellowship can and must be withdrawn.

“Is it wrong to ever worship across denominational lines together?”

Absolutely not. Just because you are of another denomination doesn’t make you a heretic, liberal, or universalist.

“I am confused; I thought the only reason not to associate with someone was because they have actually denied Christ in some fashion.”

Not true. They may claim Christ but not repent of sin

“Being a liberal does not disqualify someone from being a brother in Christ.”

Completely agree.

Anonymous said...

President Carter,

If you are reading Pastor Burelson's blog (as you reportedly said that you do) this would be a great time for you to clear up this question of your soteriology.

I would like to believe that you are not a univeralist. PLEASE clear this up and you will gain the respect of many Southern Baptist, including this missionary who is serving some of the poorest of the poor in Asia.


Signed,
Security 3 Missionary

joerstewart said...

Wade, I have a simple question would you invite Jimmy Carter and/or Kirby Godsey to preach from your pulpit?

joerstewart said...

In the book The Forgotten Spurgeon Ian Murray relates three problems that Spurgeon saw in the non-conforming church of his day which led to the Downgrade Controversy:

1. There was reluctance and unwillingness to define doctrinal issues precisely and a hesitancy to question the beliefs of others because of an appeal to Christian charity.
2. Scripture was affirmed but not accentuated.
3. Pragmatism was often the substitute for truth.

Spurgeon threw down the gauntlet near the end of his life in a battle for the clarity of the gospel:
“It now becomes a serious question how far those who abide by the faith once delivered to the saints should fraternize with those who have turned aside to another gospel. Christian love has its claims, and divisions are to be shunned as grievous evils; but how far are we justified in being in confederacy with those who are departing from the truth? It is a difficult question to answer so as to keep the balance of the duties. For the present it behooves believers to be cautious, lest they lend their support and countenance to the betrayers of the Lord. It is one thing to overleap all boundaries of denominational restriction for the truth's sake: this we hope all godly men will do more and more. It is quite another policy which would urge us to subordinate the maintenance of truth to denominational prosperity and unity. Numbers of easy-minded people wink at error so long as it is committed by a clever man and a good-natured brother, who has so many fine points about him. Let each believer judge for himself; but, for our part, we have put on a few fresh bolts to our door, and we have given orders to keep the chain up; for, under colour of begging the friendship of the servant, there are those about who aim at robbing the Master.” Another Word Concerning the Down-Grade," The Sword and the Trowel (August 1887), 400.

Wade Burleson said...

I do not know Kirby Godsey, so no, I would not. I would invite Jimmy Carter to share his faith and testimony regarding Jesus Christ -- never to talk politics.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous Missionary,

Mr. Carter said he read the posts, not the comments (thank you Lord).

:)

Chuck said...

Wade, Robert H. and all:

Morris Chapman's recent quote:

“The most significant theological issue confronting Southern Baptists and all evangelical groups is the sole sufficiency of Christ for salvation.”

Reference link:

http://baptistcenter.blogspot.com/2007/03/q-with-morris-h-chapman.html

Again, my still unresponsed-to question:

Is the exclusivity / sole sufficiency of Christ to save a "traditional Baptist value"?

jack said...

"The opportunity for everyone to be saved through the grace of God WITH FAITH IN CHRIST applies to everyone."

-How does that make Carter a universalist?

Read the interview-- carefully:

Your first lesson on Ephesians describes man's reconciliation to God through grace and the sacrifice of Christ. Do you believe that grace ultimately applies to people who don't presently believe in Jesus?

Yes, I do. I remember two things. One is that in John 3:16, which is probably the best known verse in the Bible - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son."

And Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, for instance, said we should love our neighbors, but also love those who despise us and hate us and our enemies. So, the opportunity for everyone to be saved through the grace of God with faith in Christ applies to everyone.


'My own personal belief is one of God's forgiveness and God's grace.'


And I have been asked often, you know, in my Sunday School classes, which are kind of a give and take debate with people from many nations and many faiths - what about those that don't publicly accept Christ, are they condemned? And I remember that Christ said, "Judge not that ye be not judged."

And so, my own personal belief is one of God's forgiveness and God's grace. That's the best answer I can give.

Wade Burleson said...

Chuck,

Nobody is asking you to 'embrace' the NBC -- you and others are being asked to not 'condemn' those who do.

Wade Burleson said...

Chuck,

You ask, Is the exclusivity / sole sufficiency of Christ to save a "traditional Baptist value"?

I say of course it is. However, if anyone who claims to be a Baptist is drifting from a belief in this traditional Baptist value, you don't win them over by yelling and screaming at them.

You win them over through prayer, dialogue, gentle persuasion and love.

Blessings,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Emily,

Thank you for your kind words. I find your writing cogent and practical.

Wade Burleson said...

Out for my Friday golf game. Blessings to all.

Chuck said...

Wade,

Your request--though unnecessary--is granted. I'm not condemning, merely contending.

Will you address my question?

Wade Burleson said...

Chuck,

I did. Read three comments up.

Chuck said...

Wade,

My apologies--you answered my question while I was posting.

I've not yelled or screamed or said anything to Jimmy Carter (though "drifting" is a very generous term for where he is).

I would "win him over" before identifying myself, my church, and my denomination with a new "authentic, prophetic Baptist voice" of which he is the visible, advertised champion.

As a Min. of Ed., I'd also ask him to step out of teaching an adult Sunday School class, and attend a class instead.

(Then, I'd have to move from Plains, Georgia to another ministry position).

How have or would you, Wade, or you others in the ministry, handle(d) a Sunday School teacher who you discovered was a pluralist?

You probably wouldn't remove him from teaching, then join in a national spiritual movement he's heading up.

Bro. Robin said...

I don't know where in Scripture Paul says that Judaism is a legitimate pathway to God. But Jimmy Carter does.

Interesting.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

Thanks for that clarification. As far as condemning...don't know that I have even remotely implied that one is lost or not a Christian if they are a part of or support this conference. In fact, who has said that? I will disagree with them. However, I will say that it is wrong to be a part of this conference...not just wrong for me, but wrong. I will never join hands in the sense of Baptist Identity with Baptists that I do not and will not identify with. Now if wade and Ben Identify with them, feel that they are representative of where we as Baptists should be and are a picture of their ideal of a SBC that is balanced both theologically and ideologically…well boys...HAVE AT IT! Go ahead and hitch yourself to that wagon! But for Wade and Ben to attempt to superimpose this kind of ecumenical and inclusive spirit at any cost on the SBC may be their right...but they will be defeated. There is no doubt in my mind that this kind of 'unity at any cost' mindset will never see the light of day in the SBC. And should I be wrong and the day comes when the SBC is identified with the theology and ideology of Carter, CLinton, Shurden, Knox, Vestal and Godsey...well then I will no longer be SB...for my allegiance is not to the convention, but to the gospel and the one in whom it proclaims!

Jack

Brad said...

Other issues - How can we unite with Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton on issues of Social Justice, when both are supporters of abortion, which is probably the greatest injustice of our time? Remember, Bill Clinton twice vetoed a ban on partial-birth abortion, a barbaric and unjustifiable procedure.

Also, why if Jimmy Carter is really trying to unite Baptists, would he bring in two people (you and Ben) that have been some of the most outspoken internal critics of the SBC. It would seem to me that he would have looked for people who are uniting voices.

Geoff Baggett said...

In examining the list of people already committed to celebrate this "New Baptist Covenant," I find that I cannot, in good cosncience enter into a Gospel-focused covenant with the likes of Bill Moyers, Al Gore, and Bill Clinton. All three are committed to "Celebrate" this "New Covenant" next year.

bloginafogpastor said...

I feel like a theological court jester at a dinner of nobles. In other words most of the comments on this post seem to be very well reasoned and articulate and you all raise some very good points. Could someone help me understand this whole issue in a more simplistic way? It seems to me the real question is "How do I make a decision?"

I don't know where I got all of these but I know some of them come from the journals of George Meuller. I keep a copy taped in the front of my Bible.

1) I first try to empty myself through prayer of any agenda of my own.

2) I seek the counsel of God before the counsel of man.

3)I seek to find the answer to my delimma in the teachings of Scripture. If anything I "feel" led to do is directly opposed to the teachings of Scripture I do not do it. (It seems that many on this post have a differing attitudes about the teachings of Scripture, for example one saying to not have fellowship with wayward brothers so "don't go", another saying we should be a witness to those who need it "so go". In this case you will simply have to depend upon the leadership of Holy Spirit.

4) I ask for the prayers of Godly people whom I trust to love me enough to give me a prayer bought answer, not just the one I want to hear.

5)I go back to the Father for confirmation that this is indded the direction He would have me go.

6) I seek to be obedient to God's will in a way that shows the humility of a servant carrying out the Father's will, cheerfully and patiently explaining it to all whom it may affect.

7) I do the Father's will without remorse or regret, regardless the cost.

If we really believe the words of Jesus in the "Great Commission" we will have to believe that He really is with us and that Holy Spirit is here to guide us.

Am I being too simplistic?

Kaylor said...

Brad: Your comment about Carter supporting abortion is incorrect (wow, what a surprise, an incorrect comment being made about Carter!). Look here for more information.

blackhaw66 said...

I have noticed that anyone writing in support of Wade is intelligent and practical. While anyone disagreing with him is not showing love or grace. Or better yet those who disagree are basically being characterized as being hate filled.

I guess many here have much more in common with their #1 enemy than they think they do. I will leave others to guess who their #1 enemy is.

RKSOKC66 said...

Wade:

The fate of civilization as we know it is not in the balance!

If you want to go and see what's up with Carter, Clinton, et. al. go ahead. If you don't, then don't go.

No matter what you do / don't do, I don't see that there will by any practical result either way that I could detect anytime in the expected 10 to 30 years in what is left of my life on this mortal coil.

I think your commentators are getting way too carried away over this.

My life doesn't hinge -- one way or the other -- on every step or mistep taken by every action by someone in the public eye in SBC life.

The sun will still come up! My wife, daughter and myself will still attend the same church we attend now and hear the same sermon and attend the same Sunday school.

I predict that whether you attend or not, Carter's influence will not change.

I think by any objective measure Carter was one of the worst, if the the worst, president of the USA in my adult lifetime. We had gas lines, very high inflation, very high interest rates, and very high unemployment all at once.

I think Carter has marginalized himself to a point of non-relevance in recent years. I don't always agree with the official Bush White House party line but some guy at the White House a few days ago got it right when he said: -- my rough paraphraise -- "Carter is no longer relevant in the public square".

I give Carter the "gadfly of the decade award". I don't know what cause there is still left that he is not trying to insuniate himself into.

I voted for Carter once. But after he showed that he is mostly talk and not action I ignored him. So far I have not looked back.

To bad the Gipper is not around to hold a conference. That would be some conference.

Enjoy your golf game. The enjoyment and relaxation you get from it is likely to have a more beneficial effect on your wellbeing than whatever happens in Atlanta.

Roger K. Simpson Oklahoma City

Brad said...

Kaylor

Your right and I was wrong. I'll retract the statement that Carter supports abortion. Clinton, however clearly does. From the article you referenced, it appears that Carter opposes the practice of abortion, but does not want any legislation against it.

"I think abortion is wrong and that the government ought never do anything to encourage abortion," he said during that campaign. "But I do not favor a constitutional amendment which would prohibit all abortions, nor one that would give states [a] local option to ban abortions."

That position is indefensible unless you believe that abortion is something significantly less than murder.

Anonymous said...

i hope that mr. jimmy carter is reading these comments. maybe he will address some of the concerns that many of us have about his theology and what he's asking the sbc to be involved in.

also, why dont all those other baptist groups just join up with the sbc if they really want unity around these issues. i mean, sb's are already doing these things by feeding the hungry, disaster relief, digging wells for water for those who dont have any, petitioning washington concerning moral issues, starting churches, etc. so, if they want to do these things, let them join us. we're baptist. they're baptist. so, why wont they join with us to do what we're already doing?

david...volfan007

Barry said...

David,

That is a good question. The answer to which illustrates quite clearly the issue.

Barry

Chuck said...

Recent quote from Morris Chapman:

“The most significant theological issue confronting Southern Baptists and all evangelical groups is the sole sufficiency of Christ for salvation.”

( http://baptistcenter.blogspot.com/2007/03/q-with-morris-h-chapman.html )

Looks like our fervent discussion is timely and relevant, according to this Southern Baptist Leader

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

After following these recent postings and comments on the CNBC, I've decided to keep my mouth (and keyboard) silent until the event is over. Jesus said, "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." Unlike many, I have little doubt that many of the organizers will reveal their true colors during (or at least behind the scenes) at the event.
Wade, after you have attended the meeting, I hope that you will be as forthcoming about the meeting as you have been about IMB issues and that you will address any liberal theology or political issues that are put forth as vigorously as you have PPL and landmarkism.

CHRIS HILLIARD said...

I share my thoughts as to why unity seems so evasive amongst us these days Here

Don't have the answers though, just the questions.

country baptist preacher said...

Wade, I would go and be thankful to God for allowing me the chance to reach out.

What an oppotunity to say
"I am not ashamed of the gospel" and "I do not seek to please man, but God........" (galatians 1:10)

To the naysayers I would say, "ye who are without sin, cast the first stone"

Always remember some people would vote against a cure for cancer.

I would do it in a heartbeat and have only God Almighty as God Almighty.

grace
cbp

RKSOKC66 said...

I'm going to be more explicit in this post than I was in my last one.

I don't think Carter has enough of a Bully Pulpet to affect public sentiment one way or the other. So whatever happens or doesn't happen in Atlanta really is just an academic exercise.

I think the extent to which Carter may or may not be a "universalist" and/or the extent to which he considers Mormans to be "Christians" to be of only a second order consideration.

Those who see this event as just another way to showcase the "statesmanship" of the Carter Center -- as I do -- wouldn't be wasting time having this heated debate over theological issues. Instead they would recognize that the meeting is largely just a "photo op" for Carter and his think tank.

I'm not saying Carter is not sincere. However, he is just in over his head on this.

Carter is one of the most moral and upstanding presidents we have had in a long time. However, he would be better off teaching his class in Plains -- not trying to be the self-appointed mediator
of every wrong in this world.

Just look at his track record of working with Baptists before. By his own admission, he couldn't make much headway in "mending fences"
between "moderate" and "conservative" Baptists in the late 1990s.

Unlike some of our past presidents, Carter is a Christian and also a very decent guy. He has worked tirelessly helping to build homes for the poor. However as a statesman I'd give him about a 3 on a scale of ten.

Even Clinton, who is an embarassment to all Baptists, would have to get at least a 6 or 7.

Bottom line: the job at hand requires not only a guy with the right "theological parameters" or "gravitas" but also there needs to be some level of demonstrated "competance"

Roger K. Simpson Oklahoma City OK

Anonymous said...

I have noticed a lot of comments as it relates to the participation of Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter throughout the posts of the last few days. I thought it somewhat ironic that Billy Graham does not appear to be concerned as to an association with these 2 men since it appears in news reports that they will be participating in the dedication of Billy Graham Library.

http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/163542.aspx and http://christianpost.com/article/20070505/27251_Bush,_Clinton_to_Join_Billy_Graham_for_Library_Dedication.htm and http://www.christiantoday.com/article/bush.and.clinton.to.help.dedicate.new.billy.graham.library/10619.htm

Based on these news reports, an adulterer and a "universalist" will be helping to dedicate a library honoring a man whose preaching of the Gospel has impacted millions of people over the last 50 years.

Of course, this is probably not the same as it has nothing to do with being a baptist. If it did, I'm sure Dr. Graham would not participate.

Don Sullivan

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I apparently do not understand the concept of pasting URLs in a post. I will have to work on that. :-)
Just google Billy Graham library dedication and you will see the articles.

Don

Randy Williams said...

If I am not mistaken I believe Jimmy Carter has stated that it is his personal belief that people of other religions are saved by the grace of God despite the fact they reject Jesus as the Son of God according to Dr. Mohler.

http://albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=909

If that is the case then Jimmy Carter has no business being regarded as a Baptist leader. That is my major problem with this. He is being giving credibility he does not deserve

Has anyone learned the lessons of the Episcopal Church USA when they allowed universalists such as John Shelby Spong to be a leader of Anglicans? Are we not falling in the same trap that lead that great denomination to the graveyard?

jack said...

You are mistaken.

Here is the quote:

"The opportunity for everyone to be saved through the grace of God WITH FAITH IN CHRIST applies to everyone."

jack said...

Wade & others:

There is a conference scheduled in August that will bring together many American Baptist groups to unite around common history.

Details @ http://www.baptisthistorycelebration.org/

Randy Williams said...

Hi Jack,

Sorry I am not mistaken. That is not the quote I am referring to. It is the next paragraph

"And I have been asked often, you know, in my Sunday School classes, which are kind of a give and take debate with people from many nations and many faiths - what about those that don't publicly accept Christ, are they condemned? And I remember that Christ said, "Judge not that ye be not judged." And so, my own personal belief is one of God's forgiveness and God's grace. That's the best answer I can give."

Carter's personal belief is we can't judge people of other faiths regarding their eternal destiny which actually makes the Gospel irrelevant. His belief is of God's forgiveness and God's grace to those who ultimately reject the Gospel. Carter's "Gospel" from his own words appears to be one without repentance or faith in Christ. It is your typical Protestant liberal gospel that is no gospel at all.

Wade Burleson said...

I don't know how many times it can be said that Carter said he believes a man is saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Period. He also says he is opposed to abortion. You and I may not agree with Carter politically (and at least I don't), but let's stop misrepresenting what he believes.

Lee said...

Right after the 2000 election, during all the inaugural shindigs, the Washington Times, a "conservative" newspaper owned by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon threw a bash for the religious conservatives who supported Bush. Included as speakers on the platform were James Merritt, who was then President of the SBC, Richard Land of the ERLC, and Morris Chapman, among other evangelicals. Paul Pressler was also among the invited guests, and even posed for a photo-op with his wife. When the criticism came rolling in a couple of days later, after the news had been reported that these evangelicals had endorsed Rev. Moon and included him as one of them, these individuals professed to be "chagrined" and shocked to learn that Moon was the host of the event, though at the time, none of them were caught on camera being very chagrined.

Did we hear much criticism of these guys for their presence at a meeting hosted by Rev. Moon? What they should have done was leave, the moment they realized who the host was. But what they did was strut and pose for the cameras, and take advantage of the speaking opportunities. I don't recall them being taken to task for that, at least, not within the inner circle of the SBC. The Rev. Moon did indeed take full advantage of their appearance to declare it as an endorsement of his church as mainstream.

The NBC isn't anywhere close to being on the fringe of the cult world where the Unification Church dwells. It seems a bit hypocritical, actually a whole lot hypocritical, for some Southern Baptists to be name-calling Carter and raking fellow Southern Baptists over the coals for attending a meeting with other Baptist leaders, but giving Land, Pressler, Chapman and Merritt a pass for hobnobbing with the Unification church and Rev. Moon.

K. Michael Crowder said...

"Whether you like it or not, the reality is that meeting with Carter, Clinton, Gore, etc. DOES give the appearance that you are sympathetic to their theological and political beliefs. I personally think embracing Carter at this time, in light of his recent comments, is a slap in the face of the sitting president, period."

National secular politics aside (except for the fact that Wade is cozying up to PRO-ABORTION-BABYKILLING SUPPORTERS) Why do some people get such a thrill ride out of meeting people, and then reporting their meeting and raving over what a great person they are despite the media reports---"but I have met them and they (and their wife--mentioned by name as to imply personal relation and friendship) are wonderful people who took me into their home, or engaged in wonderful conversation, or stroked my ego..."

People are all just people. If one needs to travel all over the contiguous 48 to meet headliner Baptists, then one needs to examine one's true purpose in God's greater plan.

Where does the shock value end? To slap SBC messengers in the face by going to Disney the day after the vote---I am Wade, I support corporations who go out of their way to promote homosexuality. To slap the SWBTS trustees in the face by openly supporting and making a big to-do of the firing of a professor---I am Wade, I do not support the right of Seminary Presidents and trustees to run their institutions. To come to Missouri and slap us all in the face by visiting with a former MBC church removed for allignment with an ultra-liberal Baptist Followship. I am Wade, I take back my copycat Luther thesis and support the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. And finally, shame on anyone who would cozy up to these 2 democrat presidents tring to make the dem party seem more Godly. Shame on these 2 men, and all of their supporters for not preaching the truth of God's Word. Shame on them for supporting histories largest holocaust--the murder of millions of unborn babies. I am Wade, I am pro-?

When our actions do not reflect our proclaimed convictions, our sincerity may be called into questions by our observers.

ihs

~kmichael

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

Your dillusional when it comes to this issue and I say this with as much kindness as I can muster. Wade...you say that is what he said to you (His exclusvie stance)...forgive us Wade but so what? Many have pointed to quote after quote and reference after reference...yet you will not even comment on those as if you are sticking your head in the sand and saying "I am not listening, I am not listening!" and then you claim that the opposition to this whole venture is political...you Wade insult our inteligence and in some ways cause us to question yours!

But hey...I hope we can still be friends you and me...

Jack

Bryan Riley said...

Here is truth to chew on. Regardless of the motivations of the men and women involved in this, did God lead/tell Wade to participate? If He did, then all those who would call themselves His brother or sister should not judge that call. I have to wonder what people thought of many of the prophets who did things much nuttier or as Jack just claimed "delusional." And, whether it slaps anyone else in the face in your mind or not, Michael, again, if God has spoken, then let God work. We shouldn't make our decisions as to what to do based on a fear of man; rather, we must do so out of a fear of and love for God.

bryan riley said...

Chris Hilliard, still curious as to how you define the teaching that is discussed in the verses you cite.

Anonymous said...

Everyone,

You are not going to change Wade's mind. He takes President Carter at his word and disregards all the other reports that contradict what the former president said to him. Wade has every right to go to Atlanta to take part in the NBC.

If the critics are right and the NBC is nothing more than a political stunt for the democratic party and there is no substance to the meeting, then the fact that Wade was dupped and used will be obvious. If in fact, these Baptists are truly intersted in dialogue, then it will be an excellent opportunity for Baptists like Wade to engage them in conversations about how we can partner to eradicate poverty and other social injustices as well as stand up for the exclusivity of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I'm looking forward to the day when conservative thinking Baptists are comfortable in their own skin and able to confront others whom they disagree in civil dialogues rather than through mud slinging.

We are not going to win anyone over with arrogant attitudes of superiority.

There are to many examples where messengers of truth muddy the waters with their unchrist like attitudes and actions and the onlookers dismiss the message because of the inconsistencies between the messanger and the message.

IMB M

Jack Maddox said...

bryan

Let me clarify...I do not believe Wade is 'dillusional" because he is participating. I agree that if God called him to this then he must be a part. I am saying he is 'dillusional' if he believes that the only reason I or others who agree with me are oppsed to this meeting is over politics. Please read what I write in context. Wade ought to be able to handle my calling him 'dillusiona' I have had no problem being called narrow, mean spirited, uncooperative, biggoted, anti-supernatural and the infamous "SPOOKY FUNDAMENTALIST" We are all big boys and girls here and I for one stand by my comment. However, you are right in and that Wade must follow his conscience and calling...I just wish we who oppose this meeting were given the same right without being called by perjorative terms.

Jack

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

I have no problem calling and considering you a friend.

Life would not be as sweet and varied if we were all the same.

:)

Brian R. Giaquinto said...

Wade,

I'm wondering something. I'm wondering if all those who oppose this "alliance" for their various reasons, ad nauseum, are creating an alternative - a framework in which they can work together. Since all the reasons given have nothing to do with maintaining separatism, there should be nothing that stops them from banding together with those of like mind. But, you know what...its not happening. I suppose it's easier to voice what you are against, than to work for "what your for."

Just a thought...
Brian

One Lord...One Faith...One Baptism?

Wade Burleson said...

If I were to go to the NBC (and I haven't decided yet) and the rally were to be a bash on Bush, a pro-Democratic rally, and everything opoposite of what they said it would be, then of course, I would have been duped and I will let people know. However, IMB missionary has hit the nail of the head. There comes a time that some people have to risk foolishness to show a willingness to dialogue.

Bryan Riley said...

Jack, I understood that. And I am not decrying you for not going. In fact, I hope I never decry anyone. I am decrying your decrying someone for going (make sense?). I am decrying the words and actions of those who would criticize another brother or sister for doing something in accordance with God's call on their lives. There is nothing sinful about participating in this celebration. There is nothing unbiblical or unspiritual. And, all this irrelevant talk about how the press has cast Carter's comments is just balderdash.

Moreover, it isn't delusional not to focus on what may or may not be someone else's motives. It actually is the sensible and humble way to approach things. It prevents prejudice. It also is impossible for us to know another's motives (only God knows the heart), and, frankly another's motives are irrelevant to our obedience to God's call for our lives. That is why it upsets me that everyone wants to decry Wade's actions based on what may or may not be the other participants' motives for having this get together. It simply isn't relevant.

joerstewart said...

Brian,
I'm for the SBC. It already does everything that the NBC is claiming to do. Come on over and join us.

Wade,
I appreciate your answer about Carter but to wiggle out about Godsey is not what I expected. Tom Ascol has documented in full what he believes. Knowing his doctrinal position would you invite Dr. Godsey to preach in your pulpit?

Anonymous said...

Kmichael,

I must say I am impressed. You have written in a paragraph what I believe most political observers would call a very good 30 second attack commercial. You have taken 3 actions of Wade's and spun it to the point that logic would dictate that Wade is against the SBC and supports abortion. I'm sure in your mind this is perfectly reasonable and justified in your defense of the "gospel" and the SBC. You know, the ends justify the means.

Well, I am going to call this what I believe it is. You have sinned against your brother in Christ. You have twisted this in such a way that you can slander a brother in Christ and call it "truth". What came to my mind when I read what you wrote were the witch trials in the 1600s. They too constructed accusations that twisted the truth in order to sway the people to what they believed.

Brother, you do not have to agree with Wade on what he says or does. That is your right. But you have no right to twist/spin this in a way that makes Wade into something he is not. All you are doing is bearing false witness. And that, sir, was written in stone.

Don Sullivan

Brian R. Giaquinto said...

Joe,

I'm for the Kingdom...I hope that's what you meant. Since I was speaking on the individual level, lets keep it there. Most SBC'ers feel their committment is finished when the donate money to a designated fund or a committee - not exactly "standing together."

Charles R. said...

The SBC has been used as a tool of the Republican National Committee for so long (old convention programs prove this)it must be impossible for those suspicious of the Atanta effort to even conceive that there just MIGHT be a motive other than partisan politics behind it.

Truth seeker said...

Appearances are not important but be prepared. These guys are politicos and know how to use a friendly media to send a totally false message.

Can't you just see the news stories..."right wing Baptist preachers join hands and hearts with Carter and Gore ...proving that the issues of abortion, homosexuality and Arafat should not separate us".

So truth takes a back seat to all the all important 'unity'.

You cannot control the message this will send. You actually become part of the false message. And those who are not biblically literate have found another loophole.

We are better off staying away and begging people to get into scripture for the full Counsel of God.

Randy Williams said...

"Wade Burleson said...
I don't know how many times it can be said that Carter said he believes a man is saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Period."

Wade, I appreciate your stand against IMB policies so it brings me great pain to disagree with you my brother. I really wish I could find where Carter said he believed Jesus is the Only way to Heaven. He did not do that in the interview. I think he is probably a nice guy who has helped many. What Carter said at Belief Net speaks for itself.

truth seeker said...

joerstewart,

Thanks for mentioning Spurgeon and the downgrade controversy. We can learn lots from Spurgeon about false unity. Even Spurgeon's own brother was against him. Yet he stood on truth and it cost him his health.

But, as to Carter...you all need to do some research on his long and traitorous association with Arafat and all that it entailed...even to the point of actually providing cover for Arafat during terrorist suicide bombings in Israel.

When you research Carter on this...you will see that his consistent actions are of someone who hates Israel and the Jews.

I believe Carter is evil. Why? Because he wears a 'facade' of Christ and many are deceived.

BTW: I know several atheists who build houses for the poor and work in soup kitchens.

Anonymous said...

"NAIVE SOUTHERN BAPTIST PASTOR OF THE YEAR" [in a land slide vote],
WADE BURLESON....

Jack Maddox said...

Charles R. said...
"The SBC has been used as a tool of the Republican National Committee for so long (old convention programs prove this)it must be impossible for those suspicious of the Atanta effort to even conceive that there just MIGHT be a motive other than partisan politics behind it. "

**sigh**

I rest my case

Jack

Anonymous said...

hey wade,

have you been asked to speak at the nbc? has ben cole been asked?

david....volfan007

Geoff Baggett said...

To all ...

Here is a partial list of the people already committed to this "Celebration of a new Baptist covenant." I got it from the web site. More politicians than Baptists. Worthy of a look.

*Dr. Tony Campolo
*President Jimmy Carter
*President Bill Clinton
*Former Vice-President Al Gore
*Marian Wright Edelman – Founder of the Children’s Defense Fund
*Senator Lindsey Graham
*Senator Church Grassley
*Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell – Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church of Waco, Texas
*Bill Moyers – Ultra-liberal journalist.

Surely, this is not about politics at all! How silly and uninformed for all of you "spookies" to think that.

I know, I know ... but President Carter said ...

Brian R. Giaquinto said...

Truth Seeker,

BTW: I know several atheists who build houses for the poor and work in soup kitchens.


Good point, which is why we MUST preach the gospel (properly defined) as we go.

Ecumenicalism usually leads to liberalism, the blurring of the essential tenants of the faith, or "going home" to Rome. Any talk about unity MUST be defined with Biblical truth being paramount.

Lots of people believe in Jesus, but not everyone believes in the "true" Jesus and Jesus' message as defined by Scripture.

Anonymous said...

HEADLINE, the day after the 'New Baptist Covenant Meeting' in the ATLANTA CONSTIPATION and the DAILY OKLAHOMAN,
"BURLESON meets with CARTER group: Group affirms broad belief system to not critic others' sins"

Wade will 'counter' in the media for weeks to come...but the damage has already been done.

The first headline is on A-1. The response is on B-15.

A man bent to 'hob-knob' won't be dissuaded by the truth of his friends.

GRACE is a two-way street. It doesn't always run in the direction you think it does. How about some GRACE for those you will seriously mis-lead thru this process???

Emily said...

Truthseeker,

I think you and KMichael should get together. Between the two of you, we have learned that Pastor Wade is a baby-killing, liberal, who hates the SBC, and that President Carter is an evil, traitorous, anti-Semite, who cooperates with the murder of innocent Israelis.

If Wade is delusional, then I have no idea how to characterize what you two are offering. Clearly deception is in the eye of the beholder. I'm not going to bother asking either of you to repent. I can see that being convinced of something is reason enough to publish unsubstantiated slander on the internet.

I seem to remember something Jesus said about anyone who says to his brother, "You fool!" will be in danger of the fire of hell. Hmmm...

-Emily

Debbie said...

To the anonymous person who anonymously called Wade naive and to to others who are using the word naive among other choice words. One may disagree but don't put the label naive on it. Wade is a man of prayer and does nothing in which God has not lead him to do. I call it courageous and would say this if any one of you followed God's lead despite mass opposition. Wade has gone places as I am sure have I that have been against mass opposition but felt God's call to go with such glorious results that could have only come from the hand of God.

I trust Wade no matter his decision or convictions not because he is my pastor, but because he is a man who loves people, desperately wants to do God's will, praying about it fervently. I call that courageous, loving God with all his heart. Naive would not be the word of choice and that would go for anyone who chooses to follow God's calling and not humans. Noah had plenty of opposition when building an ark, Moses had lots of public opposition but continued on in spite, I could go on and on but I think one gets the drift.

Anonymous said...

emily,

do you believe in hell?

david...volfan007

Anonymous said...

debbie,

may all church members love thier pastor like you love wade. it would make our churches a force in our communities for the Lord.

david...volfan007

Emily said...

David (volfan007):

I have no idea why that question is pertinent. But, to humor you, yes, I do believe in hell.

Is there somthing more I need to offer to "prove" my orthodoxy? :) Or are you fishing for something else?

-Emily

Anonymous said...

emily,

i was just wondering. you sounded like you were agreeing with the inclusivists in some comments. so, when you mentioned hell in your comment to truthseeker, it just made me wonder.

are you an inclusivist?


i'm not fishing for anything. i'm just a naturally curious person. :)

david....volfan007

Jack Maddox said...

Hey everyone

sorry to steal the show here but is anyone else having trouble getting to the SBC web site...www.sbc.net

If so can you e mail me. I need to know if the problem is on my end

Thanks

Jack

RKSOKC66 said...

Emily:

I agree with you that the rhetoric is going "over the top". This whole argument is unnecessarily causing polarization.

Carter is irrelevant. There is no need to raise a ruckus and parse to the nth degree every pronouncment that proceeds from his lips.

Please everyone! Give this a rest.
The future of the SBC and/or evangelical Christianity in the USA is not contingent on Carter. Leave him alone.

If you want to fight then pick something that is actually important.

Like Porky the Pig says, "What's all the hubbub, bub?"

I wish I could recommend someone else that is a "senior statesman" in USA Baptist life that could step in and host these proposed discussions. As poorly suited as Carter is for the task, I can't think of anyone else right now.

Maybe it is better to just wait until it is clear that a leader has emerged from the pack.

Maybe some overtures could start with some of the guys in the CBF that would actually be enjoined by conservative leaders in the SBC. Alternatively, maybe the "breath of fresh air" will continue in conservative precints and lead to a greater comity between historically polarized Baptist groups. Come to think of it, the guys I saw in that picture with Carter [sans Carter] would be a pretty good locus for starting some discussions. Added to this group of "gentler -- more inclusive conservatives" would have be some "moderates" who would respond in kind.

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Emily said...

David,

Thanks for your curiosity. I'd rather you ask than assume. :)

No, I'm not an inclusivist. Frankly, I would like to be (as I'm sure many of us would), but the biblical evidence does not convince me.

Of course, if convinced by biblical evidence to the contrary, I reserve the right to change my position. But, as it is right now, I think that personal, conscious submission to Jesus Christ is the only way into the Kingdom of God.

Now, where we may differ is that I am not willing to exclude inclusivists from orthodoxy (just yet). There are a number of reasons for this, which I won't go into here. But, that may be why you understood me to be arguing for the inclusivists.

-Emily

volfan007 said...

emily,

thanks for such a clear answer.

roger,

it's not just about carter. there are many others involved in the leadership of this ncb that make all of us friendly, loving, good looking exclusivists feel very uneasy about the ncb, and would certainly cause us to not be able to join with them in some sort of covenant to carry out the great commission(whatever they mean by the gc).

david....volfan007

LivingDust said...

Brother Wade,

This so-called "Celebration" IS NOT about Baptist unity - its about North American unity. When this event is over you will clearly know and see that you and all of the attendees have been used for a very specific purpose. Have you read the works of Mr. Carter's friend, Robert A. Pastor?

If I were "invited to attend or speak at the C of the NBC" I would politely refuse the invitation.

Debbie said...

Thank you david. You do not know how much I appreciate your comment to me.

Chuck said...

Wade, and others not convinced Jimmy Carter is anything but a kind, Gospel-believing Sunday School teacher,

Carter sounds hostile to evangelicals' Gospel attempts in these excerpts from "The Jewish Week" online story of Rabbi Lerner's early May meeting (I've heard no rebuttal of this report):

http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=14032
-------------------------------
Christian Zionists can be better friends of Israel by challenging its government’s policies, while accepting Judaism as a legitimate path to God, Carter told a group organized by Rabbi Michael Lerner in California last week, according to the rabbi.

“He said it was a terrible error for Jews to become allied with Christian Zionists who actually desire our conversion or burning in hell,” Rabbi Lerner related in an interview Tuesday.
“He pointed out the strong connections between Christian Zionism and the desire to push the Jews eventually toward converting to Christianity or burning in hell. He pointed out that the Christian Zionist view is part of that general theology that essentially views the Jews as an obstacle, not as friends, but temporarily views the Jews as friends in the process of bringing back Jesus and at that point having all of us convert.”

Carter, said Rabbi Lerner, “says that Judaism is an equally legitimate path to God and does not believe that a second coming of Jesus requires destruction of the Jewish path to God … He argues that the book of Revelations from which this perspective has been derived is deeply misinterpreted by the fundamentalists.”

------END JEWISH WEEK EXCERPT-----

Anyone else on this blog one of those Christian "Zionists" Carter warns Jews to steer clear of, because of our desire to share the Gospel with them?

Assure yourself that the Rabbi's lying or distorting what Carter said, or flee fast, far, and frightened from anything in the names "Christian" or "Baptist" Carter's publicly associated with as a leader.

Wade Burleson said...

Obviously, David, I would disagree with any belief that that says Judaism is a legitimate approach to God. However, you have a Jewish Rabbi saying that Carter said "Judaism is an equally legitimate path to God and does not believe that a second coming of Jesus requires destruction of the Jewish path to God … He argues that the book of Revelations from which this perspective has been derived is deeply misinterpreted by the fundamentalists.”

Is it possible that Carter, in attempting to be sensitive to his Jewish Rabbi friend, was misunderstood? I think it is unwise to act on the words of a Rabbi regarding what Carter believes, and even if Carter did believe what is alleged, it would seem that the only way Carter could be lovingly corrected is to attempt to have civil dialogue.

Lee said...

There's a comment from an anonymous individual here who identifies as IMB M, which I assume is IMB Missionary, that I think is worthy of reading and I'm going to copy it again:

Everyone,

You are not going to change Wade's mind. He takes President Carter at his word and disregards all the other reports that contradict what the former president said to him. Wade has every right to go to Atlanta to take part in the NBC.

If the critics are right and the NBC is nothing more than a political stunt for the democratic party and there is no substance to the meeting, then the fact that Wade was dupped and used will be obvious. If in fact, these Baptists are truly intersted in dialogue, then it will be an excellent opportunity for Baptists like Wade to engage them in conversations about how we can partner to eradicate poverty and other social injustices as well as stand up for the exclusivity of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I'm looking forward to the day when conservative thinking Baptists are comfortable in their own skin and able to confront others whom they disagree in civil dialogues rather than through mud slinging.

We are not going to win anyone over with arrogant attitudes of superiority.

There are too many examples where messengers of truth muddy the waters with their unchrist like attitudes and actions and the onlookers dismiss the message because of the inconsistencies between the messanger and the message.

IMB M

Saturday, May 26, 2007


The rhetoric that is often used by conservative Southern Baptists against those that they perceive as enemies does nothing to either promote whatever cause they think they are promoting, nor does it honor Christ. I'm glad to see that there are some conservative Southern Baptists who have come to the point in their Christian life and walk that they've succeeded in removing that beam that they can see well enough to help so many other people get the specks out of theirs. I must admit, I'm not there yet.

Second, doesn't it bother you, just a little bit, that one of our IMB missionaries feels that he must respond anonymously on an issue like this? I'm not sure I like the message that sends about the IMB or the SBC.

Chuck said...

Wade,

(I'll assume you meant me in your reply to "David".)

Sure, anything is possible. Even that the multiple reports of Carter's pluralistic soteriology, and this one of his anti-evangelical sentiment, are true!

It's even possible that Carter, in attempting to be sensitive to his SBC blogger friends, was misunderstood by them to believe in the exclusivity of Christ to save.

And, of course, loving correction through civil dialogue is always recommended.

Will you call President Carter, as I suggested many posts ago, and have this clarifying dialogue?

Stephen Pruett said...

I understand the concern that being part of this event will be viewed as an endorsement of various liberal positions or a possibly inclusionist or universalist view held by the organizers. However, recent history does not support such a concern.

Among the many articles written recently about Dr. Falwell, one by Lenord Pitts (liberal syndicated columnist) noted that Dr. Falwell hosted a meeting with homosexuals for the purpose of dialog and restoring civil, respectful interaction. Perhaps Dr. Falwell was concerned that his objections to homosexuality had been so strident that some unbalanced listener might use his statements to rationalize violence against homosexuals.

In any case, Pitts noted that Dr. Falwell endured tremendous criticism from conservative evangelicals for having the meeting, and based on many of the comments in this string, I believe it. Even so, there was no indication that anyone believed that Dr. Falwell supported or changed his view in any way on homosexuality. Pitts did not interpret it this way, and I don't think anyone who followed Dr. Falwell's public statements after the meeting could possibly interpret this 1999 meeting as anything other than an honest effort to restore civil and respectful dialog.

Considering that believers are to be known in every culture for their love for each other, this meeting would seem an excellent opportunity to show a little love.

If I was invited to go, I would go. If I was invited to speak, I would be very surprised, because I have not spoken to a group larger than our local Chinese Baptist Fellowship. However, I would do it, and I would express the essentials of the gospel. I would not say everyone who ________ (you fill in the blank with your favorite phrase) is doomed to hell. They may be, and the only way to be sure of salvation is to repent, accept, and confess Christ as Lord and Savior. However, God makes that determination, not us. I think He will accept infants, young children, and mentally disabled people, but I admit this is just an opinion because the Bible does not address it directly (other than Jesus saying we must become like little children to see the Kingdom, which could be interpreted simply to refer to child like faith).

It may even be possible that some who have not heard the gospel could be saved. Certainly, many OT figures mentioned in the roll call of the faithful were saved even though they knew little or nothing of Jesus. The Bible does not state specifically that this salvation by faith is not available after the incarnation as it was before to people who do not know the gospel but accept what they do know of God by faith. Again, the only sure road is clearly indicated in scripture, but the possibility of another way to appropriate the grace of God through Christ definitively existed in the past and may still exist. In my opinion Mr. Carter was probably trying to express this idea and counteract the "you're going to burn" confrontational approach that is blatantly counterproductive in the modern world. I would really like to know what Mr. Carter has said or written in a positive way about Christ as the way of salvation. I suspect he has written such things, which would indicate his belief in the exclusivity of Christ as the means of salvation. Perhaps it would be a good idea to find out before deciding that he is a universalist based on a few of Mr. Carter's statements quoted by commenters that are quite vague and could be interpreted in various ways.

In any case, I don't think anyone who believes in the exclusivity of Christ would be tainted by attending the meeting. Their life and continuing verbal testimony will demonstrate their stand on this issue. Attending the meeting would only reveal them to be willing to obey the Bible and make love their top priority (1 Corinthians 13:13). If you don't think that passage applies, then what does that passage mean? How do we show love to believers with whom we disagree? It seems to me there has been much criticism of Wade, Ben, and Marty for attempting to find a way. I would like to turn the question around. What are the criticizers doing or proposing to do to truly love and to demonstrate it to believers with whom they disagree? Scripture does not present this as optional, so how are the criticizers addressing it? I think it was frequent commenter Peter who noted that he recently participated with believers from a wide range of doctrinal positions in an outreach effort, so he is demonstrating this love at the local level. Yet, I believe he criticized Mr. Carter's meeting, which is attempting to do the same thing at the national level.

If Mr. Carter really is a universalist, this should become evident at the meeting, and it will clearly contrast with the view of the more conservative speakers (if any show up). This would be a great opportunity to get the gospel on the national media, becuase they love conflicts. It would not show support of wrong doctrine for conservative Baptists to attend, it will leave proper doctrine unstated and will represent a missed opportunity (a sin of omission?) if they do not attend.

Sorry for the long post, but I have been reading and thinking for a few days and just had to unload

Wade Burleson said...

Very well stated Stephen.

Greg P said...

If I was asked to *attend* the NBC meeting, I would not go.

If I was asked to *speak* at the NBC meeting, I would go in a heartbeat.

There is all the difference in the world between attending a conference like this and Paul going into a synagogue to *preach* the gospel to these people (whom, I might add, he "withdrew from" "when they were becoming hardened and disobedient" - see the verse next verse, Acts 19:9).

Based on Paul's recorded acts in Scripture, I can't imagine him ever going somewhere to "dialogue". Either he was proclaiming/defending truth, or he was receiving it from God.

And lest we forget, liberalism is virtually never won over by conservativism. The liberals simply suck in the conservatives. Iain Murray's wonderful and tragic book "Evangelicalism Divided" demonstrates this plainly enough.

My suggestion is for anyone who cherishes the word of God to stay away. May God protect through faith those who do not.

Chuck said...

Stephen,

Jerry Falwell shouldn't have been criticized, and Wade, you or I shouldn't be criticized for taking the salt and light of a Christian witness into the spiritually tasteless and dark world of those who are lost without Jesus.

However, in the context of this question (Wade's title to this article), your comparison doesn't seem to apply. This celebration, and the NBC itself, is to be a show of Baptist unity, a "new prophetic Baptist voice." We're talking about believers with believers.

Of course, Falwell wasn't identified as embracing homosexuality as a result of his meeting. However, it's not an illogical or far-reaching leap for a watching public to conclude that those leading a gathering to demonstrate Baptist unity--the likes of which they say was lost with the Civil War, only now regained due to the leadership of the most publicly well-known Baptist, Jimmy Carter--are together with him on his reported statements regarding pathway(s)to God, and the misinterpretation of Revelation which leads evangelical "Zionist" fundamentalists to seek to convert Jews.

Split hairs, if you will, about female pastors and priesthood of the believers--but please, not about the exculsivity of Christ to save.

A clear gospel message is central to cooperative efforts undertaken in the name of Christ, and under the Baptist banner.

RKSOKC66 said...

Stephen:

I agree with 99% of your argument.

I think the only point of divergence between us may be that implicit in your remarks is that you think that Carter and his think-tank are actually relevant in public square today.

I have no problem with Wade or Ben or Marty or anyone else going down there to Altanta. However, don't be surprized if it is just a photo-op which serves to polish Carter's credentials as a mediator and peacemaker.

I agree with you that the is no liklihood that there would be any negative fallout on those (like Wade) who go down there -- should they choose to do so. I don't see any potential "risk" to the SBC or Evangelical Christianity.

However, I still say Carter is so marginalized that he and his
think-tank are "not relevant".

I say this totally independent of Carter's view or non-view on "universalism".

I guess I am the only one commenting on either side who is taking the position I am taking. Everyone else, pro or con, actually thinks that Carter is leader that can effect change.

I'd like anyone to show me what it is about Carter and his think tank that gives any of you reason to believe that Carter is any longer relevant.

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Emily said...

I have read a number of people affirming that if they were called upon to preach at this meeting, they would go. But, if called upon to attend only, they would not. This leads me to wonder: So, a monologue in front of "liberals" is ok, but not a dialogue?

There seems to be an overwhelming feeling from many commenting on this matter that we, as Southern Baptists (or Wade, Ben, et al in particular), have nothing to gain simply from meeting and dialoguing with those in the NBC. I have a hard time believing that there is nothing any of us can learn from simply sitting and listening--even if at a table with people with whom we disagree considerably.

Surely we have not come so far in our conservative resurgence that we are unwilling to "conserve" the virtues of humility and teachability. Who knows what we may learn from those from whom we have alienated ourselves for so long? Who knows what they may have actually gotten right, apart from the many things we think they've gotten wrong?

Do we really thing we've advanced so far that we are in a privileged position in God's economy? God has dispensed all wisdom and faithfulness to us, but the rest of the Baptist world is out of luck? I just don't buy it.

Grace and peace to all as you worship and dialogue in your Christ community tomorrow,

Emily

Jim Paslay said...

Let's see now the New Baptist Covenant is going to unite as us as Baptists right? We will be emphasizing the the words of Jesus when he spoke to his home town of Nazareth. "Feed the hungry" - will that involve another government program? "Care for the sick" - maybe universial health care; "welcome the stranger" - a new immigration policy; "Religious liberty, separation of church and state" - would that be the ACLU's definition or the Founding Father's definition?

I have a solution to all of this, Jimmy Carter and all the other CBFers cease their belly-aching and come back into the SBC and agree to an inerrant and infallible Word of God and then we can have some old fashion Baptist unity! Otherwise this is smoke and mirrors!

I don't need a "New Baptist Covenant" to know what I am responsible for as a Christian. And I don't need a bunch of disgruntled CBFers talking about Baptist unity. Actions speak louder than words!

If Jimmy Carter is truly interested in Baptist unity, he can start by apologizing for his letter back in 2000 to Baptist pastors for ripping the leadership of the SBC and the convention as a whole. That would be a good first step!

Wade Burleson said...

Greg P,

I cannot speak for anyone else, but as for me, there is no way I would ever be sucked in by theological liberalism, even if I lived amongst them for my entire lifetime. I am unafraid that my faith will falter.

Big Daddy Weave said...

Jim,

You may not need a "New Baptist Covenant."

Don't participate.

But, many of us Baptists from many different groups (black, white, conservative, moderate, American, Canadian, etc) do desire such a Celebration.

Does your invitation to us CBFers also extend to the 10 million African-American Baptists that will be represented at the Celebration? A new Baptist organization is not the purpose of the Celebration. And the SBC is not the solution.

Take a breath. Sit back and watch. You might just be surprised.

And Jim, you're the one doing all the belly-aching.

You're invited, Jim. All Southern Baptists are invited. And some will attend. Most won't. But nobody is pulling your arm to the ATL.

I'm attending for several reasons. One day after I become Dr. big daddy, I hope to write on Baptist history. If this Celebration turns into a truly historic gathering of Baptists - then I'll be able to write a little first-hand history. For many Baptists, the Celebration looks to be an exciting occasion. Knock it all you want but you can't take away from the Glory that will be given to God through a two-day display of unity between various groups of Baptists.

Anonymous said...

I have deliberately refrained from commenting on this thread. After all, I think I made my sentiments well known on other blogs regarding President carter and the issues. But now I have to say:

Wade, you are brilliant! You've got all this criticism and griping about participating in the NwBabCov meeting--you've been painted as consorting with basicly the devil himself, and a traitor, and a fool, and maybe worse. Now all you have to do is announce you're not going to it after all, but instead are going to attend the "Why Islam Is the Best" conference in Tehran. Why not? I don't think some of these folks could possibly lambast you any worst than they already have.

Lighten up folks. Satan no more lives in Plains, Georgia than he does anywhere else on this planet. Not Wade nor Bart Barber nor me nor Big Daddy Weave nor anyone else will be turned to the left by this rubbing elbows with Baptists of differing perspectives. "Greater is he who is in me than He who is in the world."

John Fariss

Chuck said...

John Fariss,

(Tongue-in-cheek)
I think I've found someone who wouldn't lambast Wade were he to opt to attend the "Why Islam is the Best" conference. This very tolerant, inclusive person has said:

" . . . to compare Christianity with Judaism and Islam and Hinduism and so forth, would be constructive. It would show that there is a compatibility among them all . . . I read the Quran, and I had Islamic scholars come and talk to me. The basic human-behavior principles were the same. The Islamic Bible, the Quran, teaches peace and justice and care for one’s neighbor and helping the poor."

-- former President Jimmy Carter to Newsweek Magazine

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17723147/site/newsweek/

Hmm. Peace . . . justice . . . care for one's neighbor . . . helping the poor. Sounds like the same noble, Baptist-rallying initiatives as those stated to be the purposes of the NewBapCov.

To hear Carter tell it, though, the NewBapCov "prophetic Baptist voice" could just as well be Islamic, if not Jewish or Mormon.

P.S. From your last statement, you seem to recognize that "he who is in the world" may be in Atlanta rubbing elbows with you, attempting to turn you to the left? I think you may be right.

Anonymous said...

If I were invited, I would attend. If I were invited to speak, I would...telling people to be Salt and Light to a lost and dying world, and offer a few ideas of how we could be that Salt and Light.

A 10-40 Windows Missionary

Kaylor said...

Chuck: I figured with your use of the ellipsis that there might be more to that passage. And as it turns out you are taking it out of context. Here's the question and his answer:

A new book, “Religious Literacy,” by Stephen Prothero, argues that religion should be taught in public schools. Do you agree?

I wouldn’t have any aversion to that. To teach a comparative religions course, to compare Christianity with Judaism and Islam and Hinduism and so forth, would be constructive. It would show that there is a compatibility among them all. I can’t claim to be a scholar, but when our hostages were being held by Iran when I was president, I read the Quran, and I had Islamic scholars come and talk to me. The basic human-behavior principles were the same. The Islamic Bible, the Quran, teaches peace and justice and care for one’s neighbor and helping the poor. I would not be in favor of public schools endorsing Christianity.


ME: In that context he is absolutely correct. If you have heard or read any of Prothero you would realize that Carter is right on here. Many of the important issues in America deal with religions and yet most people are woefully ignorant of other religions.

I hope this is a lesson about not taking things out of context to try and prove an inaccurate point.

country baptist preacher said...

Lord, forgive us for forgetting we are your servants and our only commands are to love You with all our hearts, our neighbors as ourselves and to preach the gospel to all nations.

Lord, I recognize that every time I preach the gospel their are less than disirable people in the audience.

Father, help me never to forget that in a room full of people there are sinners, publicans, tax collectors, pharisees and even miserable folks who really need to know you with a one on one personal relationship.

Give me every opportunity Lord to reach that one in the crowd that You are calling to Christ.

Help me to recognize Your will as You send me to preach your Word and give me peace about the attackers and naysayers.

In Jesus Name
Darrell

Rick in Thailand said...

Wade,

I'm very thankful for your site and for your influence on recent IMB issues. But I wonder how in the world you find time to write and respond on the blog site, serve on Boards like IMB, make appearances, and still fulfill responsibilities as full-time pastor? I need to attend a seminar you lead on multi-tasking!

Anonymous said...

An oracle of a sense.

To Roger Simpson of OKC,

These are the words of the faithful and true, the one who holdeth both the reels and the acetate.

Behold, I know thou to be a good man, one who hath persevered through seasons of black and white, forsaking thou the allure of sugary cereal commercials in order to present thy teeth as a living sacrifice, white as snow, without spot or blemish.

Nevertheless, I have ought against thee for from thy fingers hast proceedeth the vilest of error and misattribution. Thou hast cast words before swine and hast not rightly handled the word of truth, thus causing your bretheren and sisteren to stumble.

For verily, verily I sayeth unto thee, that if thou hadst spent the fleeting years of thy youth studying the RCA version of the manuscripts instead of seeking grace through the deeds of the flesh as thou didst clean thy room, and didst feed thy dog, and didst mow the lawn of thy neighbor's wife, and didst rise up in the presence of the gray-haired to stretch forth thine hand to helpeth them make passage across the street...

Yes, verily, verily I say unto thee, hadst thou been as diligent in thy studies of the original Looney Tunes parchments as thou wast with thine homework, thou wouldst have have known the TRUTH, without any mixture of error, that it was BUGS BUNNY and not Porky the Pig which spake those inspired words:

"What's all the hubbub, bub?"
(cf. "Falling Hare" (1943))

Remember from where thou hast fallen and repent, therefore, while the time is still at hand. To him that overcometh, he shall once again typeth with inerrancy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious keystrokes, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his posts with him.

These are the words of the faithful and true. He that hath spell check, let him blog.

William said...

Wade, I haven't been posting much lately, but just want to drop in and say thank you again for what you are doing to build bridges in the SBC and keep the tent large enough for Baptists who might disagree on little things, but agree on the big main things.

Thanks, too, for placing a link to my blog on your page. I'm in China now with students from my college, and I'm posting daily photos and diary entries from our trip on my blog:

www.postcardsfromasia.blogspot.com

Next time you're in Atlanta, let us host you for a fellowship meal at First Baptist Church of Decatur GA.

Anonymous said...

Hey lee,
I don't think the anonymous IMB M was anonymous because he didn't want his name associated with the post...it probably had more to do with security where he's working. There are many of us who read this blog through proxies and VPNs because if the governments who monitor our internet activity found what we were reading, and that we associated ourselves as M's...we might compromise our work.

A Different IMB M

RKSOKC66 said...

Dear Mr. Oracle:

I repenteth of my misattribution.

When this conference is over, I'll be asking myself the question "What's up Doc?"
Hopefully, I'll be proven wrong and something tangible will come out of this.

Does anyone have a link containing a copy of the letter that Carter sent out to SBC pastors?

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Paul Burleson said...

Wade,

I'm sitting here before my keyboard with mixed emotions. I've said before how much blogging has blessed me personally. This has not changed.

I must admit however, the tone and spirit of this comment section has grieved me considerably. it is not that there is disagreement. For crying out loud...we're Baptist. To do so celebrates that fact.

It isn't that we have come to differing conclusions about this or ANY issue. You asked in your post for what people would do and I'm sure you knew there would be different ideas there and invited them.

So, someone may ask, "what are you grieved about" and I'm not sure I can answer that question with ease. I'm normally a very positive person and seldom see the negative about something and, when I do, I usually am able to put it into a perspective that gives me some ability to see some good that will come from whatever it is that is a negative.

I think that may be my problem here. While the comments are certainly only the opinions of people and are not to be viewed as binding or as "Truth" [mine included] but for what they are, only opinions, it is the attitude or spirit that I sense that gieves me.

I realize that the truth of scripture gleaned from the text of scripture is precious and to be proclaimed. I've spent my life doing so. But the spirit with which we do so is important too. Somehow we are to speak truth as we see it but not build a wall that seperates us from those to whom we speak that truth.

Jesus was able to do this and so must we. I'm aware it was the work of the Holy Spirit in Him and not the normal course of human activity. But this same Spirit lives in us and He empowers us to be God's people here and now.

It is being God's people that, then, would distinguish our attitude and spirit in all things...even disagreemnt.

While I have never voted for and do not appreciate President Carter's politics, I do love him as a person. Since I've been given instructions to owe nothing EXCEPT to love a person, that demonstration of love would be more important that my opinion of his politics OR theology. I have to say that same attitude is what I want to be present in me about Bill Clinton, for whom I've never voted and about whom I've been disappointed and moved to prayer often. The same can be said of President George Bush for whom I did vote but disagree with on several present issues..

Lest someone think I'm speaking of a love that is weak...I would only say it is the kind that caused Jesus to grieved over Jerusalem so much that He said "how often would I ...but you would not." This shows that moving away from a person because of their decisions or lifestyle doesn't empty my heart for them as a person.

I'm afraid we may be becoming empty hearted people moving away from those with whom we disagree. I don't wish to say anymore than this because I'm speaking of a spirit or an attitude, not any particulat person or comment. I certainly don't want to do that of which I speak by trying to say who or who is not guilty of this. It is just a concern I have for us all as this part of God's Kingdom called the SBC.

I know I am probably prejudiced in this, but, I believe I've seen in your posts this desire to move toward exemplified. I know I see it in some others and even in comments. What I'm expressing is a desire that it characterize us all as a Convention. Maybe that IS my problem. Maybe I'm losing hope there.

Again, this is NOT to say we don't proclaim truth as we glean it from the scriptures. It is not to say we don't see some who choose to go different directions. It is not to say one cannot move into an heretical position about which we would speak and defend a differing position.

It IS to say we must never empty our hearts of those people that might do so. We MUST continue to cast insights and give flavor which helps to preserve as light and salt in relating to ALL men/people. But to do so our hearts MUST relfect the spirit of "how often would I have gathered" and know we will always gather with people with no empty heartedness. They may not but we will. May it be so in San Antonio and in me.

I guess my fear is really that were our hearts to be emptied of people with whom we disagree it may be a sign our hearts are empty of the One who enables us to love at all.

DAD

Bart Barber said...

Wade,

As a point of personal clarification (although I'm not sure whether my post or my perspective is addressed by what you have said here), I have not objected to the fact that you attended the meeting with President Carter. I objected to your assertion that the gospel is what unites you with the NBC and President Carter in particular.

Paul never announced that the gospel was what united him with the synagogues in which he preached.

With regard to most of the commentary that I've read, it seems to me that you are addressing questions, arguments, and implications other than the ones that people are raising.

What would I do if invited to attend or speak? I guess I have been invited to attend (indirectly through the press), but do not plan to do so, not because conscience would prevent me from doing so, but because there is only so much time, money, and energy for such things, and I plan to spend mine elsewhere.

Chuck said...

Kaylor,

I don't feel my omission of the first and final sentences changed what President Carter said.

I did do the honest thing and put in ellipses, as well as include the handy link reference to save you the time of having to hunt the whole thing down to see the entire context. :)

(Folks only read so much of a blog comment, you know!)

Oh, and I didn't mention that the same interview had the "Do you think a Mormon is a Christian?" reply of President Carter, "Yes I do . . ."

-- former President Jimmy Carter to Newsweek Magazine

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17723147/site/newsweek/

No offense intended, Brian. In the future, I shall remember you're from the "Show Me" state.

What are you thinking about Carter's reported conversation with Rabbi Lerner?

Wade Burleson said...

I guess my fear is really that were our hearts to be emptied of people with whom we disagree it may be a sign our hearts are empty of the One who enables us to love at all.

A pretty powerful thought Dad.

Anonymous said...

""BURDEN OF PROOF""
rests with WADE on why a 'new Baptist' organization is needed vs. them coming back to the SBC and dialoging.
Jerry Falwell was in charge of his meeting and had an agenda(besides talking) to present the clear Gospel and for showing a Christian's reasons for believing what they believe.
Carter clearly is in charge of his meeting and his agenda and it can't be the same purpose if he really believes what his public statements have indicated.
"Emptied of those with whom we disagree" is a cute emotional phrase but that's NOT what is really happening here. We are asking you to not be in "unity" and "alliance" with those who do not believe what Jesus said He said He was(is).
We are to "confront" and "compel" those who say Jesus is not what He says He is. This is not a simple "difference" or "disagreement" but a foundational truth that you're getting sucked into.
Your statement that you'll "not be sucked in"(paraphrased) may be a statement of pride rather than boldness.
DINNER at the BRICKYARD says you'll be used(abused) by CARTER and the MEDIA in the closing statement(agreement) and in the papers the next day.
Extricate yourself now...while you can.
PROVERBS 18:17

Dan Malone said...

From BeliefNet's "Daily Christian Wisdom" of May 27, 2007:

A pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself, but a spiritual man is easy on others and hard on himself.

-A.W. Tozer

Kaylor said...

Chuck: I do think it makes a difference. The standard for a public school course is different from the pulpit. Carter is not making the comparison for all settings, but for an educational one.

As for your question about the comment by the Rabbi, here is my thought: it is hearsay. Second-hand statements like this would generally not be allowed in a court of law as evidence so why are you using it as "evidence" against Carter? (Sorry for the court reference but I'm a huge Law&Order fan.)

RKSOKC66 said...

I wasn't going to say anything more but somehow I think I need to tie up a few of my thoughts.

My angst with this meeting is NOT because of Carter's politics (I voted for him once) or his theological perspective or his views on any issue.

Also, I have no problem with anyone going down to Atlanta for a rap session with Carter. I don't think there is any "downside" risk. Also, I think there could be some marginal "upside" but it is a longshot.

I'm an ex-manager of a Microcode Development Group in Silicon Valley. To be able to survive in my business people have to demonstrate some degree of competance. Their "portfolio" has to show that they can successfully complete the tasks at hand -- even if the tasks are laced with complexities that no on could have possibly predicted. In short, to be able to survive in Silicon Valley people would have to be able to navigate even the most complex terrain and still make progress and deliver the product. Would there be pitfals along the way -- yes? Would there be unexpected land mines -- yes? But somehow, a talented and self-motivated team would "walk on water" (a term we used all the time in Silicon Valley) and reach the promised land.

I don't see any of this in Carter. I don't see that his think-tank has really made a contribution. In fact I'd argue that whatever he did vis. a vis. the Arab/Israeli situation and whatever he did relative to brokering some accomodation between "moderates" and "conservatives" in the late 1990s at best didn't help and at worst only made things worse.

We have some examples of diplomacy that Carter could emulate. Look at Senator Mitchell. He put quite a lot of personal capital into the Northern Ireland situation and was able to orchestrate a favorable result. Was it easy? No. Was Mitchell single-handedly able to do this -- no? But he is the guy that is most identified with the success and without him (not just some other bureaucrat at the table) it wouldn't have happened.

Where are Carter's credentials? By what objective measure can any one demonstrate that he is able to do much to effect change? Who has appointed him with this task of "bringing Baptists together" when by any objective evalulation he has already shown himself unable to deliver the goods in a similar situation.

Look, I'm not being mean spirited against Carter. He is a nice guy.

However, if he is going to step up to the plate and insuinate himself into becoming the statesman for Baptists in the USA then it is incombant on him demonstrate his credentials.

Isn't it fair to expect that a guy has to have some level of
"success" before you engage him. We are going to have a new pastor at First Southern Del City, OK. He starts next week. I'll tell you for a fact: the pulpet comittee didn't just go out and find a "nice guy". They didn't find some iconic public figure who might attract attention. They chose someone WITH A TRACK RECORD OF DOING JUST THE TYPE OF TASK THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE.

Each of us needs to walk by faith -- trusting in the Lord. We need to follow leaders who are really "leaders". The role of "personalities" needs to be subordinated.

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Debbie said...

Anonymous said "Your statement that you'll "not be sucked in"(paraphrased) may be a statement of pride rather than boldness."

Boldness is signing your name to a comment, taking responsibility for one's words. Not hiding behind anonymous. The above statement would be assurance not boldness, not pride. We need to quit fearing that a true born again Christian is "going to get sucked up" into anything just because they dialog with someone you disagree with. I don't see where the Bible says that at all. If that were true missionaries would be "sucked up" in the culture or religion of those they are giving the gospel to out on the field and we'd better quit trying to reach the lost lest we get "sucked up". Paul would have been "sucked up" by the Jews religion. That's ridiculous. The Holy Spirit in us is more powerful than that in keeping us.

Debbie said...

"I guess my fear is really that were our hearts to be emptied of people with whom we disagree it may be a sign our hearts are empty of the One who enables us to love at all."

I too found this statement powerful.

Chuck said...

Kaylor and others,

Rabbi Lerner may be lying.

And this isn't a court of law.

This is about Wade, you and others taking your Christian leadership responsibility seriously enough to ask a purported Baptist spokesman straight-up about his reported (in an article linked on The Baptist Standard online) meeting and comments which express pluralistic soteriology and undermine the efforts of evangelicals.

If it's untrue that Carter said Judaism is a legitimate pathway to God, and that evangelicals who attempt to convert Jews are not really their friends, then I'll have done you and the NBC a favor by pointing it out, and you'll do President Carter a favor by asking him about it. He can then call Rabbi Lerner the story-teller that the man would have to be.

Wade as a pastor, and you, Brian, as a Christian journalist and "Law and Order" fan, owe it to your readers and yourselves to not be "disinterested" in, or dismiss as "hearsay" (or maybe, Brian, you meant to spell "heresy"), such serious reports. Especially when you've both had your picture made with President Carter this month and this year, respectively.

As soon as these statements and their most obvious implications are disavowed by President Carter, I'll not use them as evidence against his qualifications to keynote/lead a new Baptist movement giving America a "new prophetic voice."

davidinflorida said...

Pastor Wade,

I believe that I would pray about it, alot. I would also search the Word.

Try using these four verses combined

1. Mk 12:31 " And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself, Their is no other commandment greater than these."

2. 1 Cor 1:23 "but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness" ; use in context with verses 20-25

3. 2 Cor 6:14 "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteouness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?"

4. Mk 16:15 "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

God help you.........

Mike Ruffin said...

The question that was asked was, "What Would You Do If Invited to Attend or Speak at the Celebration of the New Baptist Covenant?"

In answer to the first part, I don't think that a personal invitation is required. I didn't receive one and I know some of the organizers. As I understand it, any Baptist (and probably anyone, period) can attend. So, if I want to go, I'll go.

In answer to the second part (what would I do if I was invited to speak), the answer is I'd say yes. I made up my mind a long time ago that I would preach anywhere and everywhere that I had the opportunity. In a situation like this one, I'd find common ground where I could and be open about convictions I have that run counter to the prevailing opinion of the crowd.

Incidentally, the SBC and the state convention with which I am most familiar would be well served if they would expand their speaker rosters beyond those who only sing the second verse, same as the first. Shoot, I'd even preach at one of those meetings if I was asked, and I'd still be faced with the challenge of being appropriately and politely oontrarian--after I stated my areas of agreement, of course.

Shamgar said...

Brian R. Giaquinto much much earlier said:

I'm wondering something. I'm wondering if all those who oppose this "alliance" for their various reasons, ad nauseum, are creating an alternative - a framework in which they can work together.


Maybe not individually, but yes, there are many who are doing that (though they're likely not posting on this thread).

But, you know what...its not happening.

Actually - it is. There are conferences like the 'baptist history conference' and others if you're willing to do a little digging.

What they aren't however, is an attempt to build bridges to make a 'big tent' christianity so as to include people whose very beliefs are antithetical to our own.

There was a comment by another here in regards to how do we think we can't learn from them, and are we unteachable. No, I don't think so. I learn regularly from many people who are not exactly like me theologically. My own pastor is one example - but there are many.

However, we do have a common base to work from. We both recognize the unshakable authority of God's word over our lives and doctrine. It is a fundamental principle that simply must be in place.

As part and parcel of that, we must agree on who God is, including who Jesus is. It's not just a 'word'. Jesus is definable by Scripture. Anyone who worships a Jesus that is different from the Jesus of Scripture is just as much an idolater as the Hindu who worships but calls on his god as 'god'. The name is not the thing. It's who we worship that is the crux of the matter.

We should seek commonality. I have no trouble worshiping with my orthodox presbyterian brethren despite our difference in baptism. I don't have a problem worshipping with baptist brethren of various stripes who have 'received a faith of the same kind as ours'. But I would not worship with someone who denies the trinity or the deity of Christ, or any of a number of other crucial points of doctrine any more than I would with a Roman Catholic, a Mormon, or a JW. I would not enter their worship service and sing and pray with them in idolatrous worship with a false god in either case.

Now, there is a *very* big difference between someone who is theologically immature and growing in Christ and someone who is mature and has been exposed to the truth of Scripture and has rejected it. There is a difference between the average layman in a church who is growing in grace and knowledge and the liberal professor, pastor, or church leader.

There are many who believe and worship Christ but are confused about various issues, and as has been noted they should be admonished gently and instructed not shunned. But there are others, like those organizing this NBC who have seen the truth and have rejected it.

There are very different standards at play there.

Wade, this is a decision only you can make - I'm well aware of that. Whatever your decision, I do wish you and others here in the comments would cease creating straw-man representations of those who would disagree.

IN HIS NAME said...

SHAMGAR,
I believe my GOD is much bigger than your GOD.

3. The Ascription Of Praise (Eph_3:20-21)
Eph_3:20-21. Paul closed this prayer with a doxology. He praised God who is able to do far more than one could ask or imagine, according to the standard of His power (dynamin; cf. Eph_3:16; Eph_1:19) that is at work (energoumenēn; cf. Eph_1:19) within us. No human or angel (cf. Eph_3:10) would ever think that Jews and Gentiles could function together in one body. But with God’s power of love in each believer’s life, Paul was confident that Jewish and Gentile believers can function and love one another. This is astounding and though it is not naturally possible, God is able to accomplish it. Paul therefore ascribed to God glory which is to be manifest in the church, where the miracle of love will occur, and in Christ Jesus, who made the union of Jewish and Gentile believers possible.
Praise to Him for this accomplishment is to continue throughout eternity (cf. Rom_11:36; 2Ti_4:18). This doxology serves as a fitting conclusion not only to this prayer but also to this book’s first three chapters.

IN HIS NAME
Wayne Smith

R. L. Vaughn said...

"What would you do if invited to attend at the celebration of the New Baptist Covenant?" Well, I haven't received my invitation in the mail yet, but there's still plenty of time! Seriously, I assume there is a general invitation to any and all Baptists in North America. If I had all the time and money in the world, I might go to see what is going on. Since I don't (among other reasons mentioned in previous posts), I won't be attending.

While over 30 organizations in North America are participating, over 50 (some large, many quite small) are not. I noticed no participation from Baptists in Mexico, which is also a part of North America. I suppose part of this could be language differences?? In his comments, Big Daddy Weave wrote that "All Southern Baptists are invited" to the NewBaptCov. I am curious as to whether specific invitations were sent to all Baptist bodies in North America, or if the invitation is just general. I have sent a query to NewBaptCov about this. If nothing else, maybe I'll get on their mailing list! ;-D

"What would you do if invited to speak at the celebration of the New Baptist Covenant?" I would speak, Lord willing. Most of us Baptist preachers are ready to preach the Word. But we also understand that the opportunites and open doors fall under the providence of God. If God opened the door, I would go preach.

Kaylor said...

Because a lot of inaccurate comments have been made about Jimmy Carter, I wrote a column for Ethics Daily that works to set the record straight: Jimmy Carter is not the Anti-Christ. I hope that this will help stop the false allegations about Carter and the Celebration.

Chuck said...

Kaylor,

I agree Jimmy Carter is not the anti-Christ.

I've never mentioned abortion, or the political issues.

In your article, you neither mention nor refute Carter's more revealing comments as reported by Rabbi Lerner or the Newsweek interview.

I must remind you also, by your definition, that Wade's report of Carter's comments is as much hearsay as Rabbi Lerner's.

Selective--and incomplete--journalism, Brian.

Kaylor said...

Chuck: Sorry I was not able to get the Rabbi's remark directly (the piece was getting pretty long, which is why most journalism is selective and incomplete). However, I think the quotations I have from Carter about Jesus stand in direct opposition to the Rabbi's claims.

As for the hearsay, we are actually much closer to Wade (as he is here to answer questions and clarify) than the reading of a Rabbi's remarks in a magazine. This should give us greater confidence in the accuracy of the report (Carter through Wade rather than Carter through Rabbi through Newsweek).

What I cannot understand is why you trust the Rabbi over Wade. When two conflicting voices are out there, we must decide which one to listen to. Although I have met neither man, I am more comfortable trusting Wade than the Rabbi. Additionally, Wade's remarks match Carter's own written words, which seems to offer support for Wade over the Rabbi.

Chuck said...

Kaylor,

Let me clarify . . .

I maintain that both Rabbi Lerner and Wade are reporting accurately their May 2007 conversations with President Carter.

I've never questioned Wade's report of what Carter said. I only contend that Wade should be interested in the other reported (via reputable news media--Newsweek and The Baptist Standard Online) statements of Carter which indicate he is an inclusivist/pluralist.

That's the nature of pluralism--one actually believes and can say what pleases the person(s) he is talking with at the time, while not mentioning the other "legitimate" pathways to God he believes exist.

In his defense, perhaps President Carter doesn't see the exclusivity of Christ to save as a major doctrine. You know, he may feel that, as long as the Christian gospel is included--and is, in fact, his stated personal method--in his list of paths to God, why should any Christian object?

Wade, you and other NBC proponents may prove this assumption of Carter's accurate by refusing to consider the reported statements that indicate duplicity on his part.

Again, my conviction is that a clear gospel (exclusivity included) message is central to all cooperative efforts under the banner "Baptist."

I repeat--you, as a Christian journalist, and Wade, as an involved pastor, have a responsibility to find out the truth.

Anonymous said...

Josh Hall,
You are 100% correct.
I am an evangelical, member of a moderate church who had high hopes in the leadership of Wade Burleson.
I still think that Wade will realize what a stupid mistake he made in bowing to Clinton's and Underwood's leadership. Wade does not know Bill Underwood. I DO!
Please pay attention to this. Bill Underwood (one of the leaders of the “Covenant” meeting) has been a financial supporter of Planned Parenthood in Waco. Here's the proof:
http://www.prolifewaco.org/documents/Fool04FlyerOnePage.pdf

If you doubt the veracity of this, please contact Baylor professor, Dr. John Pisciotta, the director of Prolife Waco. His email is John_Pisciotta@Baylor.edu

Kaylor said...

Chuck: Although your theory might be correct, I do not think that the comments by both Lerner and Burleson can be accurate.

I find it hard to believe the Rabbi's remark for a couple of reasons:

1. It does not match with Carter's written words that very clearly point out that he sees the need for one to accept Jesus.

2. I am cautious to accept the word of Rabbi Lerner because he has admitted in the past to making things up. See story here.

I echo your desire for a clear gospel message to be issued and I truly believe that will happen with the Celebration.

Chuck said...

Kaylor,

That's good digging.

You should be encouraged, and your journalistic/investigative juices flowing to find out, once and for all, if the Rabbi is again misrepresenting the truth, or if the former President of the U.S. and would-be Baptist spokesman actually believes the extraordinary things regarding Judaism and evangelicals which the Rabbi attributes to him.

Blow the lid on the Rabbi, and you'll have served the Lord, yourself, and all Baptists well.

Verify the truth of Carter's remarks to the Rabbi, and you'll have served the Lord, yourself and all Baptists well.

You can't go wrong--unless you do nothing, choosing instead to suppose and hope for the best.

Anonymous said...

IMPORTANT:

Please pay attention to this. Bill Underwood (one of the leaders of the “Covenant” meeting) has been a financial supporter of Planned Parenthood in Waco. Here's the proof:
http://www.prolifewaco.org/documents/Fool04FlyerOnePage.pdf

If you doubt the veracity of this, please contact Baylor professor, Dr. John Pisciotta, the director of Prolife Waco. His email is John_Pisciotta@Baylor.edu

R. L. Vaughn said...

Brian, I notice from your Ethics Daily article, "Jimmy Carter is not the Anti-Christ", that you are on the communications committee for the New Baptist Covenant Celebration. I'm not sure what all that entails, but perhaps you would be able to answer my question from the post above. Do you know whether specific invitations were sent to all Baptist bodies in North America, or if the invitation is just a general "if you're a Baptist in North America you're welcome to come?" Thanks.

Chuck said...

Kaylor,

When you're asking President Carter about the Rabbi Lerner comments, you might also ask him what he meant--in terms of salvation--by his 1986 comment about where Rev. Jerry Falwell could spend eternity:

http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/2687391/
(audio via CNN)

http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=AT&p_theme=at&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB7C24750C8B049&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM
(print via Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Carter: "I don't let Jerry Falwell or anyone else define for me what is a Christian". I hope he didn't mean to include Jesus, Paul, Peter, etc.

There's good news and bad news to be gleaned from this 21-year old instance:

Good news: Carter's probably not a universalist--probably just a pluralist.

Bad news: Carter's comments seem very divisive--much like Rev. Falwell has been credited with.

Anonymous said...

I have fully agreed with Wade about unity on non-essential doctrine. But some of Jimmy Carter's stances go to the heart of essential, "fundamental" doctrine.

On that, we MUST take a stand. I am worried that Wade is crossing the line that so many have crossed before.

It is so hard to walk the balance of being firm on essential doctrine and gracious on other doctrine. People tend to become firm on issues of personal preference or to compromise that which should not be compromised.

As I have watched this thing develop over the last couple of years, I am becoming convinced that Wade is on a path of dangerous compromise.

Chuck said...

Question to Morris Chapman:

What would you say is the most significant theological issue confronting Southern Baptists in this generation?

Morris Chapman:

"The most significant theological issue confronting Southern Baptists and all evangelical groups is the sole sufficiency of Christ for salvation. In the future, when a tidal wave against Christ and Christ alone as the way of salvation threatens to sweep our witness off the face of the earth, I believe we will pinpoint this moment in history as the beginning of a rising tide. We have less time than we think to fortify our witness for the ridicule and disdain that will come first upon the organized church, make its way through the ranks of nominal Christians, and finally slam against the people who are guided daily by the Holy Spirit and whose only desire is to honor Christ and glorify the Father.

As a boy growing up in Mississippi attending a Southern Baptist church, I could not have imagined that to believe in the veracity of Scripture, especially the sufficiency of Christ, would ever thrust a person into a confrontation with individuals who would argue that there is more than one way to heaven. Already, the debate has erupted at the highest levels of intellectualism. Soon it’s coming to your community. When the tidal wave comes, those who have tried to keep one foot in the Kingdom and the other foot in the world are going to be shocked that their faith will not stand up under the barrage of ridicule. This reason alone is enough to cause us to fall on our faces before the Lord, confess our disobedience, and unashamedly profess to the world that He is our Savior and Lord."

Anonymous said...

Evil's excrement inside Mohammad's gullet (Mohammad prophet Allah) = Quraan.

کیر خر آغشته به سنده خوک تو کس خواهر و مادر و زن و بچه همه سیدهای اولاد پیامبر اسلام.

کیر خر تو کس ننه امام حسین و محمد رسول الله.

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