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

A Reminder That THE Issue Is One of Cooperation

It seems in recent days that some have lost perspective as to the singular issue within the Southern Baptist Convention that initiated convention wide change two years ago and resulted in the election of the relatively unknown Frank Page as President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The issue, contrary to some who are like the boy that cried "wolf," is not liberalism. The issue is one of coooperation - or lack of it. The Southern Baptist Convention is only filled with Bible-believing, Christ-loving, mission-oriented people, pastors and churches. Within the strong conservatism of the SBC, there is a wide variety of interpretations on various issues including spiritual gifts, women in ministry (there is a confessional consensus in the SBC regarding male senior pastors, but there are disagreements on the role of women in higher education, missions, etc.), soteriology (Calvinism vs. Arminianism), eschatology, ecclesiology (elder rule vs. congregational rule; open communion vs. closed communion, etc.), and other issues of interpretation of the sacred text that have nothing to do with the essentials of the gospel. People want leaders with hearts of cooperation.

But the convention seems to be divided into two clear and different groups of people. There are those who wish to cooperate with all Southern Baptists for the purpose of missions and evangelism. There are others who wish to make every Southern Baptist conform to their particular interpretations and bar anyone from SBC missions service or leadership who disagrees with what they often will call "historic Baptist identity." The first group - those who wish cooperation with all Southern Baptists - are respectful of all views on the tertiary issues. They have strong convictions of their own, but they do not wish to exclude others who disagree. They will, however, oppose strongly anyone who demands conformity. On the other hand, those who are demanding conformity show very little tolerance for any opposing theological or doctrinal view. In essence, the conformity group unabashedly states they alone possess true "Baptist Identity," which by their very claim shows a lack of understanding of historic 17th century Baptist identity. Our forefathers thrived on dissent and diversity in a day of English religious conformity.

I'm not sure what these two groups should be called. Dr. Chapman has suggested cooperating conservatives and crusading conservatives. I probably prefer cooperating conservatives and conformity conservatives. I am hopeful that those that currently demand conformity will see the danger of doing so in a convention built on cooperation - and they will change their view. Before anyone says, "But you are asking people to conform to your view," let me say, again, that the only demand made by cooperating conservatives is that people STOP DEMANDING CONFORMITY. Cooperating conservatives ARE NOT demanding anybody doctrinally change. Nobody has to abandon their firmly held beliefs, but what needs to change is a lack of openness to the views of others and an unwillingness to cooperate with those who disagree.

The rhetoric has been intense. In fact, my very perceptive wife has said to me that people seem to wish to confuse the issue in the Southern Baptist Convention. At her suggestion, I will write the problem, as I and others see it, both succinctly and clearly:

If those Southern Baptists demanding conformity ultimately force out those Southern Baptists who desire cooperation, there will be no future for the "Cooperative Program," cooperative missions, cooperative ministry, etc. because there will be no Southern Baptists left with whom the conformists can cooperate.

I have seen missionaries rejected, trustees ridiculed, and laypeople reprimanded for not being "Baptist" enough. Granted, there has been a very strong and active political movement against those who are demanding conformity, but that is because the stakes are enormous.

Some of us will not be forced to conform to a particular ideology in order to be called a true Southern Baptist. I will die with the fundamentals of the gospel in my heart, but I and others will not sit by silently while other Southern Baptists demand conformity on doctrines that are not fundamental to the gospel. We willingly cooperate with any Southern Baptist who disagrees with us, and we will willingly, patiently and graciously debate the issues as needed; but when any Southern Baptist begins to say his view is the "only" true Baptistic view - particularly any Southern Baptist leader - then we cooperating conservatives will intentionally, purposefully and strongly resist.

Again, the reason to resist what seems to be a resurging "Baptist Identity" movement in the Southern Baptist Convention, which is in reality a conformity movement, is clear. If this group is successful in excluding those who disagree with them from serving as missionaries, trustees, professors or convention leaders, we will cease being a convention based on cooperaton. As it is, I am doing all I can to prevent hundreds of Southern Baptists who have personally written to me from taking their Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon dollars and leaving.

Unfortunately, some Southern Baptists wish nothing less than for those who have ideological disagreements on tertiary doctrines to leave the convention. These conformists are the ones who believe no doctrine is tertiary. Ironically, these conformists are also the only people who should be disqualifed from SBC leadership. Why? You don't have people who demand conformity running a cooperating convention which is fueled by the Cooperative Program. If the conformists ultimately prevail in our convention and institutions, all we will get is petty conflict, moves to exclude dissenters, and an ever increasing smaller number of convention members, convention dollars and kingdom advancement.

In His Grace,


Wade

66 comments:

d-mc said...

I have only been reading your blog for a couple months but this is your best post yet!

I think what is happening in the SBC is a microcosm of what is happening in evangelicalism at large.

Well said.

Bill Scott said...

Wade,
There does indeed seem to be a dichotomy within our convention. These two opposing forces don't seem to be in balance thereby creating a measure of stability.

My fear is that the dichotomy will indeed fragment the convention into less effective smaller splinter organizations.

Darby Livingston said...

I agree that this is your best post in some time, Wade. You clearly laid out the issues. Here's what I find ironic. All the signs are pointing toward an even larger exodus in the future. We claim 16 million members, but we all know many pastors and members have left the SBC. Now for the irony. The ones you label conformists see this trend as a sign of our doctrinal weakness and liberalism, and press for greater conformity. They see the drop in support, and press harder for submission. Could it be the difference between sponges and fountains?

Bryan Riley said...

And, it isn't as though you can't see that this is the issue discussed throughout the NT, or that God, being a tri-une God and a God all about relationship and reconciling the same, desires us to work together as one Body in Jesus.

Oh, hello... back in England and have a little more time again just to read and think. :)

Bennett Willis said...

We have met the enemy and they are us--I don't know if this was original with Pogo, but he generally gets credit for making it widely used.

While we are noticing that Baptists are not willing to cooperate with other Baptists, others Christians are moving on and cooperating with anyone who wants to go in the same direction. If we don't get at least some of this in our "business model" then we are in deep trouble.

I was describing what I was "hearing discussed" on various blogs with my daughter the other day. She commented, "Now you understand why we have not been members of a Baptist church in 20 years." And I do--actually I did even before she pointed it out to me.

Bennett Willis

irreverend fox said...

the previous generation, thank God, was used to usher in the Conservative Resurgence...

may this generation be used of Him to usher in a Cooperative Resurgence...

Tim Guthrie said...

Wade,
I was wondering as I read your post if maybe just maybe the real issue is not Cooperation but rather Employment.

Yes I know you have cited several brief examples but a closer look at each one of those will find that all are related to Employment and not cooperation. No church has been banned from cooperation for not believing. No church has been banned for not "conforming". In fact, the SBC is full of the most diverse group of churches in the world.

But employment is a total different story IMHO.

How could this bring an end to list of SBC uniqueness?

NativeVermonter said...

I know this post isn’t proposing ecumenism. I have friends who are willing to partner with those of other “faiths” in the cause of “social justice.” Tertiary doctrine is very important and should have a prominent place at the table…in the local church. It is the local fellowship where the Believer spends their time, energy and talents, where God grows them to be Defenders and where He prunes when necessary. If one is to defend a tertiary doctrine, it is there…not in San Antonio, Indianapolis, etc

John in STL

Rex Ray said...

D-Mc, YES.

Bill Scott, YES.

Darby Livingston, YES.

Bryan Riley, YES.
Acts and related Scripture tell how the majority became Catholic.

Bennett Willis, YES.
None of my three children attend a Southern Baptist Church, including one who had been a Southern Baptist missionary for seven years.

Irreverend Fox, WHAT?
The Conservative Resurgence replaced the glue that held Baptist together from MISSIONS to DOCTRINE (our way or the highway) and now we see the results, but you want to go out a winner. Right?

Tim Guthrie, MAYBE?
You try to twist the truth with improper facts.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Like some here, I think the SBC will continue its downward spiral. No telling how far gone things would be if not for your efforts to date, Wade, to turn the tide.

The only thing that seemed to unite us in any way was missions, and yet with all the controversy at the IMB the last two years or so, conformity to doctrine is becoming more the issue. Observers say that missionary orientation in Virginia spends much more time on doctrinal issues than in the past. Baker James Cauthen must be rolling over in his grave. How sad he would be if still alive to see what has happened (i.e. so many qualified applicants turned away or simply never applying due to PPL or baptism-related issues).

I wonder what the total number of IMB missionaries at the end of each year starting in 1997 through the end of last year is. Will we see a leveling off for some years? Seems like we've been stuck around the 5,000 figure for a long time. I don't think what we'll discover is the IMB's fault, but the result of those who want a much more strict set of guidelines for IMB missionaries. Trustees, obviously, have had a lot to do with this. We've got a lot of work to do if we are to reach 10,000 missionaries by 2010. Too many qualified missionaries are utilizing other avenues now instead of the IMB.

It's time to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He is opening up new avenues of service for his servants willing to pay the price.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to sign last post.

Steve

Jack said...

Tim:

There's a big difference between answering a call from God and "employment."

When you say "no church has been banned" what you ought to be saying is "no churches' money has been refused."

Therein lies the problem: The SBC gladly accepts cooperative funds without question but when a church sends a faithful member called by God to a missions agency they are denied entry to the missions field on the basis of some 3rd tier issue.

We are commanded to go into all of the world and make disciples -- not conduct employment interviews.

Dr. Jay Smith - HPU said...

Wade - I agree with d-mc. This is what is happening in evangelicalism and I would even say culture at large.There is a strong impulse towards narrow conformity rather than the more difficult route of generous cooperation. Maybe the "wide" way has become the path of conformity whereas the "narrow" path is the one of generous cooperation for the sake of the Kingdom. An insightful post. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

What a perfectly tragic irony it would be if the door that is open to the Southern Baptist identity being able to survive another century, cooperation in missions, is slammed shut by those who imagine themselves support that identity the most.

These agency and seminary boards think they are holding true to a past ethic while they ignore the cooperation that gave birth to that ethic in the first place.

Steve Austin
Hoptown, Ky.

Monte said...

Wade,

I think your name must be Martin Luther, and you have just nailed the 95 Theses to the door. Let the reformation begin! I stand with you, wholeheartedly. Excellent post. Thank you for your candor, your heart, and your undying courage to stand in the face of great opposition.

Darby Livingston said...

Let's see:

If one doesn't think the Bible teaches total abstention from alcohol - no missions, but one can eat like there's no tomorrow, even to the point of having to lean on the pulpit like a crutch.

If one believes that certain gifts of the Spirit haven't ceased - no missions, but one can speak all day of being "led" by God, and God "answering them with peace" and "God has told me..." in a way that would make the greatest mystic cringe.

If one has been divorced for any reason, even if deserted by one's spouse before they were Christians - no missions, but one who gets divorced as a pastor of a very large church doesn't have his church's cooperative program money denied, in fact hardly a word is said.

Yep, it's about a lot more than employment.

othoniel a valdes sr said...

I believe the issue is not about cooperation but interpretation of
important biblical issues that lead to cooperation or not and the rights of agencies to set standards
of employment.

Wayne Smith said...

Wade,

FOOD for THOUGHT!!!

If we limit the Missions Personnel to our way of thinking we will have more for OURSELFS. This way of Thinking is not what JESUS CHRIST is all about. SELF, SELF,SELF!!!

In His Name
Wayne Smith

Anonymous said...

Wade, your admitted leadership in the conservative takeover of the SBC means that you supported and used the same techniques which you now criticize. You and your ilk demanded conformity to your views or else one was banned from places of service and leadership. Now the conservatives are attempting to "outconservative" one another. Same old story!

d-mc said...

Dr. Smith said...

Maybe the "wide" way has become the path of conformity whereas the "narrow" path is the one of generous cooperation for the sake of the Kingdom.

Oh snap! Now there's some food for thought!

ml said...

Until Pattersonites stop seeing others as the enemy [Wade probe some recent dismissals at SWBTS over media relations] there will be no cooperation. Last I read our enemy is not flesh and blood and the spiritual tragedy of our theological ADD [I think Ed Young called it side streets] far outweighs the employment and accolade gaff that characterizes the SBC.

Eric said...

Wade,

I find it interesting that we are very exclusive as a convention in the missionary candidate process. All candidates must not only sign the BF&M, but must also meet various other criteria.

However, when we get on the international field, our missionaries work closely with other evangelical Christians, many of whom do not share "Baptist distinctives."

I'm afraid, as I'm sure you are based upon this post and others, that we may have no missionary candidates left if we continue to tighten the noose on who can be a missionary in the first place.

Eric C.

Wayne Smith said...

d-mc / David,
I agree with you 100% on your comment, as long as it is not about SELF!!!

greg.w.h said...

Wade:

Underneath the willingness to cooperate is the problem of self-assurance. By what authority do we choose to restrict ourselves to either being combative or cooperative over doctrine?

I think it's crucial to answer that question in a non-cynical way. I also think cessationists are going to have the hardest time arguing that they have an "in" to God on the issue.

The CR's focus on inerrancy was critical because of the lack of order brought to ALL discussions if some didn't trust the whole Bible. But the current lack of unity is based on varying interpretations of the text itself.

Some--like the doctrine of the Trinity--we resolve primarily through appeals to traditional interpretation. Others--like Arminianism v. Calvinism--are honestly not resolvable short of miraculous, divine inspiration...the kind of miracles God used to validate prophetic ministry. And I don't mean just some human-defined metric of "successful ministry."

Just saying "well that's what I believe and these 50% vote with me" seems somehow carnal unless there is divine validation of the position. Otherwise, leaving room for (plural) interpretational emphases of the actual biblical text with respect to non-core matters seems the only loving approach.

But, what's love got to do with it? It's just a second-tier emotion, right? ;)

Tim Guthrie said...

Jack,
You are almost right here. The difference is in the fact that a church sends money knowing the stand of the SBC and her entities. YOur position seems to state that if a church changes or disagrees from/with the SBC then the SBC must change. Not true.

A church decides to send. A church decides to not send.

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Brother Greg,

That was funny!

Love in Christ,

Jeff

Wayne Smith said...

Wade,
I don't think we are passing this test in the SBC as is!!!

HERESY:
Heresies can be discovered through asking probing questions. We can guard against man-made religions by asking these questions about any religious group: (1) Does it stress man-made rules and taboos rather than God’s grace? (2) Does it foster a critical spirit toward others, or does it exercise discipline discreetly and lovingly? (3) Does it stress formulas, secret knowledge, or special visions more than the Word of God? (4) Does it elevate self-righteousness, honoring those who keep the rules, rather than elevating Christ? (5) Does it neglect Christ’s universal church, claiming to be an elite group? (6) Does it teach humiliation of the body as a means to spiritual growth rather than focusing on the growth of the whole person? (7) Does it disregard the family rather than holding it in high regard as the Bible does?

In His Name
Wayne Smith

Anonymous said...

". . . The Southern Baptist Convention is only filled with Bible-believing, Christ-loving, mission-oriented people, pastors and churches . . ."

It only WAS, too, before the issue became one of cooperation in 1979.


David

Bob Cleveland said...

Someone said on one of the blogs, that when a new church is established it's very evangelical. But when it gets its own building, its ministry turns "inward" on itself and it tends to lose the focus on outreach and winning souls.

Since the SBC has built itself into the edifice it now is, I guess the same thing has happened.

Communion our way.
Baptism our way.
Gifts our way.
Church planting our way.

These things, seemingly, without regard to the group we're ministering to.

We know what happens after pride sets in.

Nathan Finn said...

Wade,

Do you really think there are only two groups? Serious question. The reason I ask is because I think things are not quite that cut and dry. I think that there is definitely a group of which you are one of the vocal leaders. I also think there is a group that includes many SBC agency heads and some prominent pastors. But I am not convinced that those are the only two groups. It is probably true that most informed Southern Baptists have sympathies with one group over against the other, depending upon preference, but I still think that the picture is a little more complicated. Just my thoughts.

NAF

Anonymous said...

Dr. Keith Parks was saying the same thing prior to his ouster. Funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same!

IMHO, the current issue isn't cooperation; the current issue is a perception that the twin towers of trust and trustworthiness are in serious need of repair.

It seems logically inconsistent to expect people to cooperate for ANY cause when there is a growing suspicion about these two issues, let alone the cause for which Jesus gave His life, namely expansion of the Kingdom of God through the Gospel.

Calls by leadership for loyalty to the Cooperative Program and innovations designed to entice the support of successive generations for the CP will fall on deaf ears unless accompanied by a corporate radical repentance that finds humble expression by the practical inclusion of those "others" in our corporate processes.

This inclusion will mean transparency of process, which will reflect trustworthiness, which will restore eroding trust, which will enhance unity, which will engender increasing cooperation, which will further impact a lost and dying world with the Gospel, which will glorify God, which is the purpose for all of creation.......

The alternative is unthinkable and unacceptable, for ultimately, satan is allowed to usurp the glory that rightly belongs to God....

Bennett Willis said...

Regarding this comment:
24 August, 2007 10:59 (you can do a Ctrl-f and search for it)
Actually some money has been refused (though with other motives IMO). When Missouri split Dr. Chapman refused to accept money from the new group (the folks who used to be really active in the old group but were now unwelcome).

Bennett Willis

Jack said...

"A church sends money knowing the stand of the SBC and her entities. Your position seems to state that if a church changes or disagrees from/with the SBC then the SBC must change. Not true. A church decides to send. A church decides to not send."

-Actually my position and many others is that:

1) The SBC and its seminaries exist to serve the churches; not the other way around.

2) It is the entities that keep changing the parameters of cooperation, not the churches.

The smoke and mirrors aren't working as effectively as they once did. More and more people are beginning to see this for what it is.

Blessings,

-jack-

K. Michael Crowder said...

"2) It is the entities that keep changing the parameters of cooperation, not the churches.

Mr. Jack,

I would humbly disagee with your point #2 (I completely agree with point #1, btw). It IS, in fact, the churches that are changing. But only a few, a relatively small number in comparison to the size of the convention. And one could argue that it is really not even these churches that have changed but the theology of their leadership. Thus requiring entities to "tighten the reigns" of otherwise implied biblical doctrines and policies (e.g. "baptist do not speak in tonges just like Catholics do not baptize by emersion.) Today, as has always been the case, we must address the herecies popping up within the church. And as cooperating Baptists, we must address the herecies of our sister churches (in so far as the herecy infiltrates the converts of the other churches and the ministries to which they contribute.) When a herecy does not exist, a policy may not exist. (e.g. There is currently not a policy within the SBC, or any of the State Conventions or local associations, or the churches themselves against the ordination of dogs. Neither does the BFM2000 address this issue. Infact, the Bible does not specifically address as being in error, the ordination of dogs, but one with a thorough knowledge of the Bible, and one who incorporates that knowledge into a biblical worldview, will most assuredly come to the conclusion that the ordination of dogs is herecy plain and simple. Or would they???

I assure you, if the need arises, regardless of church autonomy or personal liberty, the good people of the SBC will make sure their entities do NOT hire, affirm, or cooperate with members of churches who: ordain dogs Or dogs who consume alcohol! ;)

K

Wade Burleson said...

k michael crowder,

The word is heresy and the problem becomes who heads 'the heresey hunting club?'

What may be a 'herecy' to you may not be, according to Scripture, a heresy at all.

K. Michael Crowder said...

Bro. Wade,

Thank you for the speeling leson, it shall not happan agian.

You say: "the problem becomes who heads 'the heresey hunting club?'" btw, one too many 'ees'in your heresy ;)

I do not see this as a problem at all. Now, in light of Romans chapter 14....o wait...that is dealing with those who are "weak in the faith." And as I see it, Church and Convention leadership ought not be weak in the faith. (thought I would help unload your arsenal before we begin)

As a Baptist, I belive in the priesthood of the believer. That gives each of us the right and the duty to "contend for the faith."

"But as for YOU," and for all of the other pastors and denominational Peters and Pauls, "teach what accords with sound doctrine." Additionally (v.15), "Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you."

The culture is driving the Church Mr. Burleson, it would behoove us to do everything we can with the help of our Most Sovereign Lord, to reverse this trend.

Grab ahold of the root not the leaves, lest you float away come winter.

K

Tim Sweatman said...

Wade,

This was a much needed reminder of the main issue underlying the current strife and factionalism in the SBC.

While I am continuing to pray and work for unity and cooperation within the SBC, I am beginning to wonder if it is feasible to expect such change to happen. Can we have a cooperative convention when so many people insist that their interpretation on practically every tertiary or biblically ambiguous point of doctrine is THE ONLY view that can possibly be correct and that anyone who holds to a different interpretation is under the sway of false doctrine or even heresy? That kind of attitude does not lend itself to cooperation.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Is culture driving the SBC churches that may disagree with you Mr. Crowder, or are people reading all of scripture and not just the parts they are taught and coming to a better conclusion? Also I think Tim Sweatman has asked a very relevant question.

CB Scott said...

K. Micheal,

I think you are right to a point. Culture does drive some churches. I do not think culture drives Wade. I have never been to his church, but I doubt culture drives it either. I think Debbie is right about many people. They are reading the Scripture and they have questions that demand answers.

Wade,

I think Nathan Finn may have a very valid point. There seems to be more players in this thing than have their names on the two rosters mentioned.

Cock fighters have a thing wherein they put about thirty roosters in the pit. They all fight until only one rooster is left. The owner gets all the money. The rooster is no good for anything but stew. Sometimes I think there is a group that feel like that particular rooster.

There also seems to be a group that always has a need to be the owner of the winning rooster. It appears they are always able to get a new and better rooster after a good meal of chicken stew at the expense of the old rooster.

There are more groups, I think, but I will have to come up with some more cornball ways to describe them.

cb

Anonymous said...

Bob Cleveland: Well said. The SBC's "focus" has become its mission. We can say it is missions and cooperation but the proof is in how we function.

Darby Livingston said...

I find it ironic that baptists don't speak in tongues, yet Paul did. Baptists don't accept prophecy, but are "led" all over the place after being "told by the Lord" which job to take, or whether to marry so and so or whether to give an extra five dollars in the offering plate. The reason no baptist baptizes, ordains or hires dogs is because the precedent isn't set in Scripture. The reason some baptists still find warrant for gifts of tongues and prophesy is because those things have biblical precedent, and no crystal clear word of cessation. (I am a cessationist, btw; but have no problem cooperating with certain brands of non-cessationists.) We shouldn't throw around the word heresy over issues that aren't deliberately divisive.

K. Michael Crowder said...

Debbie, you said:

"Is culture driving the SBC churches that may disagree with you Mr. Crowder, or are people reading all of scripture and not just the parts they are taught and coming to a better conclusion?"

Thank you for the question but I do not believe it is an either/or answer. As to the first part, it may very well be, but that is not the reason they disagree with me. they disagree because their hermeneutical approach to Scripture is different.

You see, I take Paul at his word when he tells us in the 3rd chapter of the 2nd letter to Timothy that "ALL Scripture is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training." The idea that one can exegete out passages because they have no 21st century cultural relativity is to me, utter bunk!

When we allow culture to drive our methodology, our methodology will then inevitably drive our theology, and our theology will ALWAYS drive US. When all along it should be the Bible driving our theology and our theology driving our methodology, or the "how" of our faith.

As to the second part/option of your question, it would be wrong of you to assume that I simply hold to the "faith of my fathers." It would also be wrong of you to assume that the new string of young unwavering conservative pastors in the SBC hold to anything less that their own deep heartfelt, Spirit-lead convictions about the Word of God.

Lastly, it should be known that the SBC is still the greatest cooperative missions agency on the planet. God has richly blessed the efforts all involved.

Now let me throw this out here at the end. What say you to a convention wide salary cap (a suggestion only of course to pastors--manditory for for the EC and other CP supported agencies and entities) of $125,000 per annum? What if we made ministry a tad less lucrative? An online friend has suggested the SBC selling the "Palace de Alpharetta."

I agree with Wade, that our focus is no longer Christocentric. But even though we may each have different views on tertiary issues, our focus can and should remain on Christ.

K

K. Michael Crowder said...

"I find it ironic that baptists don't speak in tongues, yet Paul did."

Even if Paul did speak in "ecstatic utterances," which I do not believe he did, he was an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. He did alot of things that the Apostles ALONE were gifted to do.

As for prophecy, I think Baptists most Baptists are quite the champions of dispensational theology. But of course you mean continuing divine revelation, correct? "Don't put a period where God put a comma?"

...the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints."

God's special revelation is over until the Son of Man returns. The canon has been closed. Scripture alone points to Christ alone.

So yes sir, anything else is heretical. The church that the world sees is over twice the size of the church that God almighty sees.

How can God bless his people when we continue to allow some church members to think they are saved when there is clearly no sign of sanctification in their lives?

ihs,

K

Glen Woods said...

Interestingly, many pentecostals are champions of dispensational theology as well. Yet they come to a very different conclusion about tongues and other gifts. Just to clarify, I am not dispensational, yet I am a charismatic/pentecostal. Just thought I would throw my two cents in, less taxes. :)

Blessings,

Glen Woods

Bryan Riley said...

KMC, where, how and why is it biblical to teach that all things spiritual died with the first apostles? Your last comment is so matter of fact, without basis, it is astounding. What do you do for a living?

Jim Paslay said...

Wade said:

"As it is, I am doing all I can to prevent hundreds of Southern Baptists who have personally written to me from taking their Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon dollars and leaving."

Is that what you call religious blackmail? Or could it be Baptist Nursery 101, where a person takes their toys and leaves when they don't get what they want? The last time I checked the Scriptures, our offerings to God are not our own. They are HIS!

I distinctly remember back in the 1980s when moderates called Jimmy Draper every name in the book for suggesting that CP dollars from his church be held in escrow unless agency heads cease their political activity.

But then who was it that actually pulled their funds out and went elsewhere? Not conservatives, but it was the moderates who formed the CBF and created a mission offering to rival Lottie Moon.

I'm sorry, Wade, but I fail to see the dangerous lack of cooperation that you seem to be crusading against. Are we a convention of people who have a healthy diet of sound doctrine or are there some "itching ear" folks? When I consistently read people's comments on your blog harping about the evils of the Conserative Resurgence, I wonder who are the real uncooperative people? Is there a point when cooperation can become compromise?

Rex Ray said...

K. Michael Crowder,
These people have given you some good advice:
1. Wade: “What may be a ‘heresy’ to you may not be, according to Scripture, a heresy at all.”
2. Tim Sweatman: “Can we have a cooperative convention when so many people [YOU] insist that their interpretation on practically every tertiary or biblically ambiguous point of doctrine is THE ONLY view that can possibly be correct and that anyone who holds to a different interpretation is under the sway of false doctrine or even heresy?”
3. Debbie Kaufman: “Are people reading all the Scripture and not just the parts they are taught and coming to a better conclusion?”
4. Bryan Riley: “Where, how, and why is it biblical to teach that all things spiritual died with the first apostles? Your last comment is so matter of fact, without basis, it is astounding.”
5. Crowder: “The idea that one can exegete out passages because they have no 21st century cultural relativity is to me, utter bunk!” (Why don’t you take your own advice?)
6. Darby Livingston: “The reason no Baptist baptizes, ordains, or hires dogs is because the precedent isn’t set in Scripture.” “We shouldn’t throw around the word heresy over issues that aren’t deliberately divisive.”

With that said, I’d like to go into more detail why “We shouldn’t throw around the word heresy”.

There are only two sources of information—God and the devil.
It’s obvious you don’t contribute tongues is from the Holy Spirit, so you must contribute tongues to the devil.

“When the Pharisees heard this, they said, ‘The man drives out demons only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” Jesus refuted by saying “Whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the one to come.” (Matthew 12: 24, 32)

The Pharisees contributed the work of the Holy Spirit to the work of the devil.

Crowder, would you explain why your ‘doctrine’ is any different from the Pharisees and why you’re not afraid you MIGHT BE WRONG?

Mike Corley said...

So the SBC should be led by views, opinions and a "spirit of cooperation" instead of the Word of God? Thanks for your article. In some ways it explains betyter than I why I left the Southern Baptist Convention.

K. Michael Crowder said...

Rex,

There is flawed logic in each of the quotes you gave, let me show you. Btw, I am quite serious, not cynical (Ok, maybe a tad of the latter at times):)

As to #1--totally circular--"I know you are but what am I" the same could be said of the opponents of all.

As to #2--the answer is yes--However, the bracketed insertion of [YOU], meaning ME, is strange, for I have not said that my views on nearly every tertiary doctrine are "perfect from the Perfect."

[FYI: it should be noted, that Mr. Burleson and I(so far as I can tell) line up on nearly all major and most minor points of the faith. We even line up on our "personal" use of tongues, infant baptism, and reformed theology. Where we disagree is how much "liberty" can be extended to those with whom we "cooperate." Infact, that is the crux of the entire debate now isn't it?]

As to #3: I responded to Debbie on this. Almost as circular as Wade's comment (see #1)

As to #4: Mr. Riley has a lot of things going on in that one little sentence. First of all, being a cessationist does NOT mean that one believes that "all things spiritual died..." To Mr. Riley: you are obviously looking for me to prooftext my way to an answer and that is not going to happen as is the case for the existence of such gifts today. One must maintain that such Apostolic gifts were intended for the "Starting" of Christ's Church, a jump start if you will.

As to #5--this ties in nicely to my response to #4--"All Scripture is beneficial..." But because Noah built an ark does not mean that WE need to build an ark. That which the Apostles did supernaturally, is not for us today. When I say 'exegete out passages,' I mean passages like Genesis 24. Those who say that Biblical narratives are not allegorical are totally NOT reading the "Bible for all its worth." Or that not ordaining women into the pastorate is a cultural relativism that should have died with King James I.

As to #6--Let us use a specific example. I have ABSOLUTELY no problem with Dwight McKissic's church, et al practicing their belief in the use of ecstatic utterance in the context of their local worship setting. Additionally, I have no qualms about cooperating with such a church(s). And if this type of church makes up the majority of the convention then by all means let them set policy. But until such time, it is the perogative of the people (majority) to set the agenda in Southen Baptist life and missions. Those who object to glossolalia and PPL's being practiced by our IMB missionaries should NOT be labeled as fundamentalists, uncooperative, and all of the other host of name given to them by the fine folks on this blog.

As to your final comments, Rex:

-satan is a source of information? not sure I would characterize it like that.

-with all due respect sir, I get tired of being accused of blaspheming the Holy spirit for being a cessationalist (Wade accused me of this indirectly last spring). You are pulling that passage in Matthew TOTALLY out of context--it has no bearing in this instance. You should come to my Sunday School class Oct. 7th, we shall be discussing this very passage in its greater context. :)

As to your last question: I hold to a rather "plain sense" view of Scripture. I do not take literal those passages that were not intended as such. Additionally, because I love you and each of the respondents on this blog and not only do I look forward to greater cooperation among our Baptist brother and sisters, but I, like you, look for the return of He who is called FAITH and TRUE!

ihs,

K

Bryan Riley said...

KMC, there was nothing going on in my question other than to point out that you were making bold statements about what you believe, which is not necessarily absolute truth, without any scriptural support. I know of no scripture that talks about the jumper cords of spiritual gifts but would be interested in knowing why you "believe" in such. That is why I asked. I also was sincerely interested in knowing where you were in life.

Also, please understand that I am not heavily laden with lots of labels like cessationist or big words like prooftexting; I simply desire to see brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus understand there is a much bigger God out there than the one they often picture, Who desires that we act as one Body in Christ.

I am sincerely sorry if my comment was offensive in any way. Based on your comment following I cannot tell but it seems as though you were upset by it.

platformshoes said...

Great post. Thanks Wade for ringing the warning bell. This conformity movement will be what kills the convention. As a recently appointed IMB "M" I've seen first hand the quest for conformity. Throughout the entire process I was paranoid because there is such a spirit of conformity to the process. I'm told to write out my beliefs in my own words and then those are reviewed by others 4-5 times and I'm told to re-write them so that the trustees will find them acceptable. Do we want people that know how to think on their own or people that will simply check off on the beliefs expected of them? Do we want IMB clones that conform to theology based on loud mouthed opinions or people who allow God to shape their views?

We're fighting about the wrong things. The 35 million muslims in my country don't care if we pray in a private prayer language. They need people to come and share with them the truth of who Christ is. Let's send those who mandate certain beliefs to the IMB to the field and see how they change. A few months of trying to learn a new language and you start praying for the gift of tongues :-)
Blessings!

Debbie Kaufman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie Kaufman said...

Mr. Corley: It seems that you just took the entire article here and rewrote it. IOW that is not at all what was said. But tell me do you believe that you have interpreted scripture 100% correctly on every doctrine? Why couldn't you work with one who had a view different than yours on things not salvic? This is a sincere question.

If I remember correctly you are now in the Presbyterian church are you not? That would be considered by many Southern Baptists way beyond the scope of orthodoxy and drifting away from scripture. In fact there is a big debate going on among some Southern Baptists now. If my memory of your change of churches is wrong, please forgive me and I am open to correction.

Darby Livingston said...

Wade,

Your words have once again proven true. I am a reluctant cessationist (leaning mayber 70-30 toward cessationist) because I do not think the texts are clear enough to warrant absolutes on this issue. However, even after stating such in an earlier comment, no one has attacked me. I've said similar things about my complementarity view of spouse roles. Again, I've never been attacked. I'm guessing that's because I'm not demanding conformity to those views - as I view them as secondary to the gospel. I've even interacted in opposition to stated views in various settings, and still haven't been attacked by those who disagree. I see your primary point as being one of cooperation and "live and let live" on secondary issues for the greater cause of gospel proclamation. Am I close?

RM said...

My Dad used to tell me, "Son, once a dog sucks an egg, he will always suck eggs." That holds true in all areas of life...

When our leaders (either conservative, moderate, or liberal) have sucked eggs at the trough of power, money, and prestige they will always drink at the trough. And they will always fight to protect their drinking...

Just a little food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Cooperation has its limits. For example, what sound Christian leader would cooperate with the New Baptist Covenant? I heard that there is a movement at the BGCT to force Charles Wade to pull out of this pro-Hillary charade.
These may be the reasons:

Here are the sponsors to the event mentioned in the previous post.
Planned Parenthood is "kind" enough to post it for us: http://www.plannedparenthoodwaco.org/docs/3Rbrochure07.pdf
POSTED BY BAPTIST TRUTH AT 7:45 PM
Another "Covenant" Speaker with Planned Parenthood Connections
Today, has been a very sad day for me.
Another speaker, one I used to respect, has been shown to have ties with Planned Parenthood of Waco.
The Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell, former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Waco, was one of the Sponsors of this Planned Parenthood event:
http://www.plannedparenthoodwaco.org/RRRregistration.htm

This conference was designed to counter "True Love Waits." Bill Underwood's former pastor is also listed as a sponsor of the same event.

Thank you for the notes of support. Please continue emailing the link to this site to pastors and leaders on your associations, conventions (or fellowships).
POSTED BY BAPTIST TRUTH AT 9:07 AM
WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2007
A Marxist Interpretation of Luke 4?
Here is the curriculum that will be used in Atlanta: http://www.ethicsdaily.com/static.cfm?mode=curricula_the_agenda
Listen to the videos. Is it just me, or does this sound like Marxist rethoric?
While there is no denial that the church should love the poor, and minister to them; you are not preaching Jesus' Gospel if you do not call people to repentance and transformation.

Here are other problems that I have with this agenda:

1-Lesson 8 was written by a pastor in Kansas who has gone public on her support of same-sex marriage: Rev. Heather Entrekin, Senior PastorPrairie Baptist Church, Prairie Village http://www.queervisions.com/arch/2005/03/50_clergy_in_ka.html

2- The commentaries were written by the religion faculty of Belmont University. Belmont's religion department is very liberal. Another writer, Todd Lake (VP for Spiritual Development at Belmont) was a member of 7th & James in Waco, a church that openly supports Planned Parenthood. Todd was out of place when he was at Baylor, because he was too liberal even for them! He sided with the secularists that lost the battle at Baylor.

3- Why would a Christian group appoint Jimmy Carter as a spiritual teacher?
Read this interesting interview:http://www.baptist2baptist.net/printfriendly.asp?ID=190

And there is more... Stay tuned...
POSTED BY BAPTIST TRUTH AT 8:31 PM
Covenant Leaders Show Their True Colors
Bill Underwood and Daniel Vestal (leader of the CBF) invited a very controversial figure to read parts of Truett's speech at the capitol. As Frank Beckwith reports on his blog http://rightreason.ektopos.com/archives/2007/06/baptist_unity_r.html , one of the participants was Stan Hastey from the Alliance of Baptists, http://www.allianceofbaptists.org/. They are very open about affirming behavior contrary to Scripture. They openly claim affiliation with this organization:
http://www.wabaptists.org/ Their mission statement reads:
"Members of the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists (AWAB) are churches, organizations, and individuals who are willing to go on record as welcoming and affirming all persons without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity, and who have joined together to advocate for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons within Baptist communities of faith."

Their participation at a public gathering in Washington speaks volumes as to Underwood's and Vestal's real agenda.

Here's another commentary:
http://insightscoop.typepad.com/2004/2007/06/liberal-baptist.html
POSTED BY BAPTIST TRUTH AT 9:00 AM
The Covenant Speakers
Former President Jimmy Carter , Pro-choice and very liberal Baptist leader. Theologically, he tends to be a universalist (for example, he has criticized efforts to evangelize Mormons saying that they are saved). Carter said at the beginning that "the covenant" was a gathering for Baptists of all sexual persuasions.

Former President Bill Clinton , needs no introduction!

Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund
Edelman is cited by Martin Peretz in the New Republic as "Hillary's closest sister and ideological soul mate."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marian_Wright_Edelman

Former Vice President Al Gore
Dr. Joel Gregory
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham - minor Republican figure
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley - minor Republican figure

Bill Moyers, author and journalist -- Long time friend of moderate Baptist causes (the more left-wing, the better!)

Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Waco, Texas --
A staunch supporter of Democrat rep. Chet Edwards (very liberal). She was on meetings where she, and Dorisanne Cooper (pastor of Lakeshore Baptist)*; Raymond Bailey, the pastor of 7th and James* in Waco; the late Herb Reynolds; and others strategized on how to rally the Baptist vote for Edwards, two elections ago when Chet had significant opposition. Nice lady, but make no mistake, very partisan.

Dr. William J. Shaw, pastor of White Rock Baptist Church in Philadelphia and president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
Again a Democrat. He went public on his opposition to a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man a woman.

* These two churches support Planned Parenthood. See http://www.prolifewaco.org/ for more details.
POSTED BY BAPTIST TRUTH AT 5:57 AM
TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2007
Who are the organizers of the "New Baptist Covenant"?
1- Bill Underwood
A leftist Baptist leader. He tried to become president of Baylor University; but the Baylor regents decided he was too liberal. Key to his defeat in Waco were revelations that he had supported a Planned Parenthood event:
http://www.prolifewaco.org/documents/Fool04FlyerOnePage.pdf

2- Bill Clinton
Needs no introduction; but he has the most to gain by moving Baptists votes in the south for Hillary.

3- Jimmy Carter
A leftist politico who supports ordination of gays, and abortion rights. See this article:
http://www.baptist2baptist.net/printfriendly.asp?ID=190

CB Scott said...

RM

It is a fact that some dogs have been broken from sucking eggs.

Some have even been broken from killing chickens.

cb

RM said...

CB,

Thanks for the words of wisdom. I'm quite sure we could cure a dog from sucking eggs easier than a power-hungry Baptist from pursing more power.

Anonymous said...

Wade said,
"If those Southern Baptists demanding conformity ultimately force out those Southern Baptists who desire cooperation, there will be no future for the "Cooperative Program," cooperative missions, cooperative ministry, etc. because there will be no Southern Baptists left with whom the conformists can cooperate."

Can you prove that statement with any proven facts? How can you prove any facet of that statement?

Mike J

Rex Ray said...

Michael Crowder,
My, my—you sound so educated but some of your sentences are not sentences. But maybe that’s the way you want it because no one can prove you wrong if they don’t know what you’re saying.

You say there is “flawed logic in each of the quotes”, but after your explanations, you’ve proved them more logical than ever.

Then you pulled the old ace up the sleeve—‘Scripture out of context’ to cancel any fear of contributing to the devil the work of the Holy Spirit

Rex Ray said...

Mike J,
Excuse me for butting in but I think the answer to you questions is history and common sense.

Bennett Willis said...

26 August, 2007 18:11
This anonymous comment looks like chum for a really nasty web site. It should probably disappear.

Bennett Willis

K. Michael Crowder said...

Rex,

If there is something you do not understand, please email me and I can be more precise. But a re-read of my post would indicate that it IS infact in english and DOES, infact, adhere to most grammatical and sentence structure rules--at least for a blog comment.

Let me give yo a link to one of the reasons we as Southern Baptists MUST rid ourselves of the heresies that beset our Convention.

Sir, the elect are already chosen, all we must do is spread the gospel and obey God's commands and live ever increasing Holy, sanctified lives always giving praise, thanksgiving and worship to the Lamb.

check this out: Click here

...and here

What a sad commentary. The end of Titus chapter 2 tells us to "rebuke sharply" apostacy like this.


K

Jack said...

Bennett:

The anonymous commentator is the same kook we always hear from. He's from Waco and would feel at home more in Lynchburg, Greenville or Virginia Beach - but cannot afford the bus fare.

blampp said...

K.
just so Wade doesn't...
Apostasy also has an "s" not a "c"....
This "chain" has been an interesting "read'! I would remind everyone..... you need to be a "messenger" and stay during the business sessions if you plan to see changes in the SBC! :)

CB Scott said...

RM,

Having watched the efforts to break both dogs and preachers from sucking eggs I am inclined to agree with you as to which is harder to break from the habit.

cb