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

Sectarians Focus More on the Church Than Christ

It seems when any struggle against theological liberalism ends, Baptists will invariably begin to withdraw from former evangelical allies in an attempt to preserve what Baptists believe to be a true, ecclesiogical "Baptist" identity. In other words, when the religious landscape is dotted with the carcasses of dead churches that have been overrun with the disease of theological liberalism, conservative Baptists recognize the foolishness in arguing with fellow evangelicals over lesser issues than the gospel. But when the circle of evangelical fellowship has been so narrowed institutionally as to exclude any who deny the true gospel, then the regrettable tendency of evangelical, conservative Baptists is to move away from discussion with other evangelicals over what it means to be "Together for the Gospel" into a struggle against each other over what it means to be "Separate" for the sake of church and ecclesiological purity.

I believe we are living in a very dangerous day for evangelical Christians and churches - particularly those of us who are conservative, evangelical Baptists. In a time when the world is succombing to aggressive and unbending Islamic ideology proliferated by the religious fanaticism of Islamic fascists, some Baptists, including Southern Baptists, are dangerously turning their wary eye toward fellow evangelicals in a battle for "church purity." Instead of recognizing the danger approaching externally, and the threat to destroy any vestiges of institutional evangelicalism, some conservative Baptists are removing their own evangelical brothers from fellowship - believing them to be either disruptive, unrepentant or ultimately illegimitate Christian brothers.

Fascinating Reading

I would like to offer five articles that will illustrate the point I am making above. Southern Baptists particularly will be hearing in the next five years from certain leaders about the importance of maintaining ecclesiological purity and a strict Baptist identity. I'm not sure why - in a day when we should be moving toward more evangelical cooperation and fellowship - that some among us are pushing toward strict separatism, but I will do my part in continuing to sound a needed alarm. The enemy is NOT among us.

Wayne Grudem, a man of incredible intellect and passion for Christ, seems to have been pushed by others to edit his Systematic Theology textbook. Strangely, the only section that is completely rewritten in the new edition is the section entitled "Do Churches Need to Be Divided Over Baptism?" In a textbook that numbers over one thousand pages, and in a day when many other subjects are in sore need of attention among evangelicals, why rewrite that section? I would hazard to guess that a couple of letters and phone calls from strategic people in the SBC who are pushing for a stricter and tighter Baptist identity sent Grudem to the edit room to change the wording of his textbook to reflect a tighter and "purer" ecclesiological viewpoint consistent with the resurging Baptist identity movement in the Southern Baptist Convention. (Update: So as to not have to guess I called Dr. Grudem and had him read this blog and he graciously told me that the rewrite was precipitated by some Southern Baptist elders in a former church where he was a member and another Baptist pastor who called him from out of state to urge him to rethink this question. He acknowledges that the debate is a serious one, but he rewrote the chapter of his own accord and not because of pressure.) One can read Grudem's rewrite of the section in question here.

Grudem's close friend, and fellow evangelical Baptist pastor, Dr. John Piper, responds to Grudem's rewrite, disagreeing strongly with Grudem, and carefully addressing the problems Grudem's textbook changes bring.

Dr. Grudem responds to John Piper's article with a personal letter published (with permission) here.

I appreciate the gracious spirit exhibited by both men, but don't let the kindness displayed by Wayne Grudem and John Piper cause you to miss the very important issues at stake.

To help you understand the consequences of the debate - which shall be ongoing in the Southern Baptist Convention for at least the next couple of years - you ought to read Southern Baptist theologian and fellow church member Sam Storm's excellent analysis on what is at stake in this debate between Grudem and Piper.


In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

96 comments:

Wayne Smith said...

Wade,

All of these Men of GOD were baptized as infants. Do you not believe these Great Men of GOD who are Born Again Christian bring more Glory to God than most Men? I believe John Piper has it right and would allow these Men to share in the LORD SUPPER at His Church.

This is what Wayne Grudem said and you can read it in his first book. Wayne Grudem SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY

Wayne Gruden in a testimony to Dr Clowney said:
It was very fitting, therefore, that Edmund Clowney was one of the eight people to whom I dedicated my book Systematic Theology, eight people who had the greatest influence in my life and thinking (and he also had a profound influence on John Frame and Vern Poythress, two of the other eight on that list). John Piper was probley on that list also.

In His Name
Wayne Smith

Wade Burleson said...

Wayne,

I agree.

Wade Burleson said...

Dave Miller,

I awoke earlier than usual with the exact thought you had on my mind and immediately got out of bed. I told my wife when she asked what I was doing that I had made a huge mistake on my blog and was going to correct it. I corrected it even before I read your comment.

Nevertheless, the one sentence I deleted, will not be the last time something I write causes you to be disappointed with me. I do what I do and write what I write because I believe it is right - and never because anyone, especially those whom I have never met, are disappointed in me. That kind of language doesn't even phase me.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

Jason said...

Being baptized at birth and being a Born Again Christian have nothing to do with one another. You might as well say "these men were born in AMERICA and then later were Born Again Christians". Who cares? Jesus said "Behold, I make ALL THINGS new..." so it hardly makes any difference what happens to a person, previous to Redemption in Christ.

Wade, I have only been reading your blog for a few days now, but I will continue to do so because of your profound insight. One of the best pastors I have heard in the last few years, Dr Bill Anderson, recent Interim Pastor of both FBC Euless and FBC Dallas, had but two flaws from what I could see. One, he used the word BAPTIST too much and two, he talked about Footbal too much (just my personal opinion ;) )

I don't remember Acts 2 talking about denominational seperation in the Temple after Pentacost, so I don't know why we need to play this seperation game today, with all the outside influences of this world, along with demonic activity, trying to squelch, silence and eventually KILL the church altogether.

You are correct Wade. The Enemy is NOT within...

peter lumpkins said...

Wade,

I must say, Wade, along with our brother Dave, to attribute to Professor Grudem a spirit of compromise because of pressure from SBC leaders is perhaps the oddest thing I've ever read on this blog. Where under heaven do you get such a conspiracy idea?

Could you do us a favor and post one of the letters Dr. Grudem received? Or perhaps you know of the person who called him. Maybe you could share that with us. It sure would clear up a lot of confusion here.

Also, I note that Dr. Piper didn't even come near accusing Dr. Grudem of caving into pressure from these mean-old SBC Identity power-brokers. No. Dr. Piper just stated his ignorance about it. From my vantage point, Wade, you would have done better to followed Piper's lead.

I suspect further that, if indeed SBC Identity folks do sling that big of an ax that they could get a major theologian to rewrite his theology, what a pity they were not more shrewd.

For, Dr. Grudem, perhaps more than any single person, has been influential in challenging cessationism, especially in SBC circles. His textbook, which openly advocates the more controversial sign gifts, dropped like a bombshell in the early 90s, making it intellectually, theologically and biblically defensible to be Calvinist, Charismatic and Baptist all at the same time. Not an easy do, I'd say.

What a bunch of dopes these SBC Identity guys! Think of it! With the power they possess, they could have gotten Grudem to rewrite his views on Spiritual Gifts and saved the SBC a heck of a lot of turmoil. What do you think?

Take a break, my Brother Wade. You're working much too hard. Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Anonymous said...

Jason,

The enemy is usually within.

Just check out the Hebrew prophets.

Scott

Bob Cleveland said...

If you read all the scripture about baptism, you might find several "requirements" for taking communion, like worthiness. So my question is this: what steps does the local church do to guarantee that those partaking are individually "worthy"?

In my experience, if you were immersed, all is well aside from any cautions the pastor may offer in the words he says before. So, in those churches which insist the partakers must have been immersed, we leave it up to the individual to determine whether he comes to the table worthily, in every area except baptism.

I find that strange.

Wade Burleson said...

Peter,

You may be correct. In fact, I myself said in the post that it was a 'guess.' If this is the oddest thing I have ever written then I have done pretty good on all the other posts on this blog.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Blessings,

Wade

volfan007 said...

wade,

i just noticed that you took my name and others like robin foster and wes kenney and bart barber and other conservatives off of your blog list. why?

david

Monte said...

This is interesting stuff, Wade. I hope this isn't too far off subject, but I had the same feelings when we dismissed ourselves from the Baptist World Alliance a couple of years ago. I don't recall reading anywhere as to the real reasons why we were doing this except the lame old excuses that "They"(the Baptists of the world) were becoming too liberal. Reading between the lines, what I really saw was that this was an organization that couldn't necessarily be controlled by the SBC, and so we were taking our toys and going home because we didn't want to play nicely, anymore.

But you won't read in any S. Baptist publication about the fallout that has taken place in regards to this decision. I know of at least one region where our missionaries have been dismissed and discredited by National Baptist leaders and others because of the decision of Southern Baptists. In a time when we need to be as united as ever because of the increasing dangers of growing Islam, and because we need the help of our Baptist Brethren across the world in starting churches and advancing the cause of Christ, we should not be retreating because we believe them too liberal. In fact, when it really boils down to it, that argument really won't hold water. The fact is, Baptists around the world are all plugged into their own cultural influences, but the message of the gospel is the same. Sometimes their different lenses and cultural influences can be deemed as liberalism. But no matter how we as Souther Baptists might try to change their cultural views, that will never happen. We can, however, join them in the sake of the advancement of the Kingdom of God. In my opinion, we have made a huge mistake by withdrawing. We cannot benefit them, and we do not benefit our own international causes without the international Baptist community.

Brad Guenther said...

Bob,
You ask a good question. I believe the answer you would most often receive is that, with the exception of public, unrepentant sin, the instruction of Paul is for "each man to examine himself" before participating in Communion.
Baptism, on the other hand, is not to refocus the church on the Savior,as is Communion, but to publicly identify those who are followers of Christ. Believer's baptism is so clearly taught in scripture as the first act of obedience that those who refuse to participate do so out of ignorance or rebellion. I realize I might get criticized for saying that, but it is my best understanding biblically and experientially.
Grudem presents the practical difficulty and biblical quandry of Piper's position when he says, "I suppose a (hypothetical) Baptist church could say to someone, 'We require baptism for church membership, unless you disagree with our view of baptism. For those who disagree with us, we do not require baptism for church membership. Whether we require it or not depends on what you think of baptism.'”

Bob Cleveland said...

Brad: No disagreement. But that answer seemingly pertains more to membership than to taking communion. And I certainly agree with that aspect of it.

Wade Burleson said...

Brad,

I appreciate the spirit in which you responded to Bob's question, but I will be direct and blunt in my response when you quote Grudem saying . . .

"I suppose a (hypothetical) Baptist church could say to someone, 'We require baptism for church membership, unless you disagree with our view of baptism. For those who disagree with us, we do not require baptism for church membership. Whether we require it or not depends on what you think of baptism.'”

That's plain silly.

Every Christian, evangelical church requires baptism prior to membership. No church would ever say, 'whether we require baptism or not'

The issue is the nature of baptism, not whether baptism is essential for membership into any church.

By the way, our church requires 'believer's baptism by immersion' for 'membership' but not for fellowship around the Lord's Table.

AND, we gently and lovingly give much time for those who come from a paedo-baptist tradition so that they can come to a conviction of believer's baptism by immersion on their own. We do not make it an issue of fellowship among evangelicals who worship with us.

Jason said...

I was referring to Wade's comments...
The enemy is NOT among us.

Wade Burleson said...

Jason,

Scott knows what you were saying. He is saying the opposite of what you are saying. Scott is saying the enemy IS within evangelicalism.

Ben Stratton said...

Wade,

You wrote: "Southern Baptists particularly will be hearing in the next five years from certain leaders about the importance of maintaining ecclesiological purity and a strict Baptist identity. I'm not sure why - in a day we should be moving toward more evangelical cooperation and fellowship - that some among us are pushing toward strict separatism."

Let me try and share with you why. Since 1950 there has been a steady downgrade of Southern Baptist ecclesiology. This is evidence from Oklahoma to Kentucky to California to Florida and everywhere in-between. The fact is many, many Southern Baptists don't believe the same things about the church that their grandparents did. This is evident in the Lord's Supper, baptism, ecumenicalism, Baptist history, among other things. While there have been many Southern Baptists protesting this ecclesiological downgrade in the past fifty years, due to the conservative resurgence, strict Southern Baptists have more of a voice and influence today than they have had in the past. This is why we are hearing so much about Baptist identity today. A good many Southern Baptists want to go back to what Southern Baptists used to believe about church truth.

Jason said...

Well, I'd have to disagree with that. Evangelicalism, as it pertains to the Great Commission, is what we SHOULD be uniting together on... not worrying about baptism so much. Someone's obedience to Christ's command is their own business, sure we should encourage and direct each other, but shouldn't we also be more focused on Salvation as a whole? The thief on the cross wasn't ever baptized, OR a member of a church..

I'd also have to disagree with Monte's comparison of Batists vs. Islam, although I think his heart is in the right place. Why is it not 'Believers in Christ' vs Islam? Talk about ununited..

Brad Guenther said...

Wade,
In practice it sounds like your church and mine are in agreement.
It would take a lot for me to say Wayne Grudem's thought process is "plainly silly" even in those areas I disagree with him. His point is that paedobaptism is not baptism, and thus, whether the church would require baptism (or re-baptism as some would argue) is ultimately up to how the prospective member personally defines baptism. That's not a silly point. It very plainly states the position Piper has taken. The scope of his comment is the local church.
Thanks.

Monte said...

Jason,

I think you misunderstood me. I'm not contending that it's Baptists vs. Muslims. I'm just speaking within the context of who we are as Baptists. I'm very much plugged into a world of evangelicals and not just Southern Baptists, but when we look at the cause of advancing the gospel as Southern Baptists, we don't need to try to do it without the help of our international Baptist brethren. That's all I was really saying. My point was that this, too, has been a major way in which we as Southern Baptists have become isolationists, thinking that we don't need the networks of other evangelicals.

Darby Livingston said...

It's interesting that the "hot" issues within SBC life that are points of contention are mirrored within evangelicalism as a whole. The issues we're working through as southern baptists are the issues that all of evangelicalism are working through. I question how consistent with Scripture we'll be by the time we're finished.

Jason said...

Monte,
My mistake, then... I agree with your most recent reply. I just look at it as... we shouldn't be isolationists to 'the Redeemed in Christ', regardless of our man-made denominational seperations, which do not work to benefit the Kingdom of Christ, IMO.

Pastor Brad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pastor Brad said...

Jason,
Perhaps I misunderstand you, but if not, I want to respectfully and deeply disagree that believer's baptism is a man-made denominational separation. One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.

Jason said...

Brad,

No sir, that is not what I am saying. I am saying that baptists, methodists, lutheran, etc... are denominational seperations. Believers Baptism is a command from Christ that we should all obey, each on our own accord, POST acceptance of Faith in Jesus. However, it is not required for Salvation.

Pastor Brad said...

Jason,
We agree. Sorry for the intrusion.

Scott Gordon said...

One thought triggered by the title of this post,

I am honored to be accused of focusing on that body for which Christ died. If Jesus valued the church then I must value her, too.

One not need love Christ and not the church. Certainly no one I know would be guilty of elevating the church above Christ. Since Jesus is building His church and even the gates of hell will not overcome it, I will gladly continue the evangelism of the lost and place the church in a place of high esteem.

BY GRACE ALONE!

John said...

Wade,
Separation over the ordinances are nothing new - nor a trait of strictly "conservative Baptists." If you will recall, the first reformers universally agreed on the gospel itself. However, Luther and Calvin separated from each other and formed two distinct churches (Presbyterian & Lutheran) over a fairly minor understanding of the nature of the Lord's Supper. If you will look in Grudem’s book, Bible Doctrine, you will see that even he agrees that disagreement over the ordinances warrant separation.

Darby Livingston said...

I think the question is, "Should there be anything beyond the gospel that hinders unity in a local church?" I'm not offering an answer because I'm an intellectual rodeo clown, but I'm dying for smarter heads to come to the biblical answer so I can follow suit. :)

Bob Cleveland said...

Brad: I note the reference to One Lord, one faith, one baptism. Certainly I agree with that. But I note that 1 Corinthians 12:13 says we're baptized into one body by the Holy Spirit. That seems to be the same word as Acts 2:38 and Ephesians 4:5. So the question in my mind is: are there, then, two baptisms? One by the Holy Spirit, and one by a man? Or are the two synonymous, which would mean that water baptism is a requirement for entry into the "body of Christ"?

This is no smart answer, by the way. My glass really is dark these days.

Pastor Brad said...

Bob,
1 Corinthians 12:13 speaks of two things that the members of the Corinthian church had that united them, and us. I don't think Paul intended to give them in a sequential order, but was simply listing them: (1) you were all baptized into one body; and (2) you were all made to drink of the same Spirit.
The two are not synonymous. We all receive the Spirit at salvation. Believer's baptism in effect did usher people into the church, as it was the outward and immediate response of those who believed. The act did not save them obviously and bring them into the church in a spiritual sense. However, the early church clearly believed that someone who had repented and received grace would always indicate it through baptism (Acts 2:38).
Humbly, this is my best understanding of scripture. Do you see it differently?

Debbie Kaufman said...

Ben Stratton: I for one appreciate your honesty. I do not agree with your view but I very much appreciate both the spirit in which you articulate it and your openness.

I will simply speak for myself on this. I want to get back to strictly what the Bible teaches. It has been shown that while knowing our history is good, our history isn't all good. We can't rely on historical things that are not in scripture using the scripture interprets scripture method. For me there is no other final authority than the Bible. Not even Baptist tradition which not only has changed through the years, but is fallible.

Darby Livingston said...

"This is no smart answer, by the way. My glass really is dark these days."

"Humbly, this is my best understanding of scripture. Do you see it differently?"

Who says bloggers are mean, and blogs are useless? Where's Dr. Rainer when one needs him? (Just a joke, I have the utmost respect for Rainer.)

Bob Cleveland said...

Brad: I wasn't even looking at the last half of the verse. I can't get past the part that says we were baptized (at least the Corinthians were) into the Body, and that by the Holy Spirit. When I read that, and think of the other verses, then I think that said baptism was what propelled us into the Body. And it was the Holy Spirit Who was the instrumentality.

If that was a Spiritual transaction, I understand. If it was a physical act, I understand. But if it was two separate occurrences, then that's two baptisms.

If it was one, then the water baptism seems a requirement for entering into the Body.

I have a whole 'nuther slant on this, and feel a blog post coming on.

It seems like the more stuff I know, the less stuff I know.

Anonymous said...

I'm led to believe that the revision was fueled more by the issues that have come up in reformed circles by the New Perspective on Paul/Federal Vision proponents. Their paedobaptistic views smack of baptismal regeneration, plus the examples being used in the dialogue between Piper and Grudem are all of the paedobaptistic variety.

Not everything has to do with SBC/IMB.

Your old friend,
JR

volfan007 said...

wade,

i'm still wondering what prompted you to take my name and other conservatives like robin foster and wes kenney and bart barber's names off of your blog roll? i mean, you can do whatever you want to, but it just seems odd.

are you becoming more sectarian? :)

david

Anonymous said...

Volfan - (think music)

You're so vain.
You probably think this blog is about you.
You're so vain.
I'll bet you think this blog is about you, don't you, don't you???

I've had a blog for 4 years and I'm not on Wades list. And I even use correct grammar and the caps key when I write!!!

Relax!

SL1M

Jason said...

Bob,
You can't read the verse, or the Bible, microscopically. It needs to be taken in whole. Reading the first half of the verse, and ignoring the 2nd half could be considered taking it out of context.
The Bible mentions baptism in many other passages, none of them saying or suggesting that baptism is REQUIRED for Salvation. This is one apologist point of view, that you won't find a stand-alone verse in the Bible that contradicts other verses about the same subject.
The invoking of the Spirit happens upon conversion/redemption. Baptism by emersion comes later, but isn't required for Salvation.

Pastor Brad said...

Bob,
I see what you are saying now. Sorry I missed it.
I think what Paul is doing here is using baptism to speak of our salvation - as Peter seems to in Acts 2. I admit, I am answering quickly without researching, but this is my understanding. I certainly don't believe it is referring to a second baptism, as he clearly points to the presence of the Spirit in the second half of the verse.

Bob Cleveland said...

Jason: Precisely.

Brad: I usually see darkly, and frequently write that way, too.

Anonymous said...

Jason, please learn how to spell "separation." Thanks.

Florence in KY

Anonymous said...

Ben Stratton made a point that Baptists today wish to "go back to what Southern Baptists used to believe about Bible truth." I quite agree with him, though perhaps not in the way he meant. Baptists 50 and 100 years ago made a BIG deal about the mode of baptism, something which can be confirmed by reading the debates which happened in small town across the US between Baptists and Methodists, often conducted in the context of joint revival services. You will find each side contending for its tradition using such arguments as propriety, modesty, pragmatism, etc., in fact all sorts of arguments, of which the Biblical and theological are last, if mentioned at all. While many/most of our folks have forgotten those debates, they retain the sense that the MODE of baptism is what counts, what is most impotant. The Baptist understanding I want to see a return to are those of 200-400 years ago, when Baptists understood that a church is made up of those who have made a conscious decision to follow Christ, and that adult Baptism (by whatever mode) was a sign of that decision. Baptists of the earlier generations understood that the mode was secondary to the decision. Pretty early on, they (we) came to understand that immersion was the general New testament mode, but the empjhasis (both in the NT and early Basptist life) was on what it represented rather than how it was done. When you understand it that way, it puts the argument about the covenant community through infant baptism/baptism by sprinkling, pouring, etc., in a different light altogether. It makes us, it seems to me, less Pharisical and rule-oriented and more relationship-with-Jesus oriented.
John Fariss

Debbie Kaufman said...

JR: None of those mentioned believe that padeobaptism is for salvic purposes. As far as I know neither do the Presbyterians(PCA). I hope this updates your information.

Blackhaw said...

I think the real question is how important is Baptism. It was very important to Christ and the Disciples. Jesus called us to baptize those we teach into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Peter said that we should believe and be baptized when asked about salvation. In the NT baptism has prominent place.

I would also suggest that in the NT its place is always BEFORE communion. One does not partake of communion before being baptized. Church History also has demonstrated that to be the case. In the early Church one would be baptized and only then receive his first communion. There was no place for the catechumen during the Lord's Supper. They did not take it until they were baptized. I do not see any change in this in the Middle Ages, the Reformation, or the modern periods. Baptism seems to always be a prerequisite for participating in the Lrod's Supper. We might not want it to be the case because we want to be friendly to other denominations but I do not see anyway around it unless one downplays baptism role.

So how can Baptists let RC Sproul and Lingon Duncan partake of communion with them while stating that they were never baptized and are refusing to obey a direct command of God? Would or should we baptize one that willfully will not obey other commands of God? Let's say one will not go to church. Are baptists to baptize them?

BH-CARL

Oh BTW I read Sam Storms writing on this and although I was impressed by his intelect I thought he made some of the same common mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Vofan does ask a good question. I am sure your decision to remove these bloggers took some deliberation. Would you mind voicing your concern with the blogs of Volfan, Barber, and Kenney?

John B.

ezekiel said...

Is it possible that we are baptizing for the wrong reasons?

Matthew 3:11
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

The emphasis in a lot of the discussion seems to be baptizing for salvation in our churches today. In many instances it seems that there is no repentance and no
baptizing of the holy spirit.

Has baptism been reduced to the sign of membership required at the club?

And while we are discussing it, Jesus insisted that John the Baptist baptize him. If baptizing is that important, who are we to accept changes to that?

Interesting note: word verification is godqc....

Wade Burleson said...

John B.

I am simply linking to people who link to my site. I'm more than happy to link anyone to my blog roll of friends who links my site to their site - including Wes, Robin, and David.

Blessings,

Wade

Wayne Smith said...

Wade or Anyone,
I have not seen or read who the Eight people Wayne Gruden said had the the greatest influence in his life and thinking by dedicating his first book Systematic Theology to them. In his tribute to Dr. Clowney he mentions Dr. John Frame, Dr Vern Poythress as well as Dr. Edmund Clowney. These 3 Theologians are all Presbyterians (PCA) and I wonder who the other 5 are. If you know would you please share who they are.

In His Name
Wayne Smith

Barry King said...

Wade,

You told John B. that you link to those who link to you. Fair enough. However, it seems the first three bloggers on your list don't link to Grace and Truth either. Can we expect Ben Arment, Tom Ascol, and Gene Bridges to meet with the same fate as Robin, Wes, and Bart?

Barry

Pastor Brad said...

Wade,
As you were blunt and direct with me, and I responded to your accusations of silliness, I'm curious as to your response. Did you actually read Grudem's response to Piper to understand the context of my quote of him? Just wondering since you have been mum thus far. If you did, are you saying that paedobaptism is baptism if the paedobaptist says it is? Piper is saying it is at the level of personal conviction in essence. Grudem is arguing against it.
Sure, most of us would let an unbaptized person (which includes those baptized prior to salvation) worship with us, but would we accept them into membership? I wouldn't. I doubt you would either. Now what is silly about that?

Bart Barber said...

Wade,

With all due gratitude to John B. and Barry King, I would request that we avoid controversies over such things as whose blog links to whom. I don't want to seem at all ungrateful to those who may be seeking to correct what they perceive to be a slight against me...really I don't. I appreciate the sentiment.

But the issues that we are discussing are so much more important than any interpersonal soap-opera-esque (to coin a word) goings on that might be reflected in shifting blogroll contents.

Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it. Christ is the Head of the church. To say that my love and devotion for the church necessitates a lessened love for Christ follows the same flawed pattern as the moronic failed argument that it must diminish one's esteem for Christ to hold God's word in high esteem. Both seek to introduce dichotomy to what God holds in unity.

Let us in our debates stick to principles and not personalities—to ideas and not individuals. Then perhaps we will see more light than heat. To do so is not always easy, and I have failed more than once, but let us try nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Wade - Barry King gives the precise reason why you should not answer people who have nothing better to do than to watch you and your every move. They get a thrill out of keeping up with silly details such as this and then reveal their true motive by doing all that leg work of going to all the sites on your blog roll to "check on you".

WOW!

My unsolicited best advice when someone asks something that is none of their business is to say "none of your business."

Good grief! Is it a revelation to state that one can do whatever one wants on his or her blog?

Now, back to the interesting dialogue on baptism. I'm enjoying and learning.

SL1M

Wade Burleson said...

Barry,

Absolutely. Thanks.

Wade

peter lumpkins said...

Wade,

Sorry I have not got back with you sooner. And, though I read through the comment thread, I do not see you've dealt with my concern--other than, of course, the complete evasion of it in your first comment to me. So, let me try it again, Wade.

In this particular post, you "guessed" that Dr. Grudem received "a couple of letters and phone calls from strategic people in the SBC who are pushing for a stricter and tighter Baptist identity" that consequently sent the good professor to the edit room to accomodate their wishes. Grudem's alleged to have sold his theological birthright for a bowl of stew.

To malign the actions of a major theologian with no more than a guess, Wade, seems inexcusable. Moreover, the nature of the "guess" you manufactured called into question the reality of his theological conviction as worth less than a confederate dollar bill.

In short, Dr. Grudem cannot hold any real conviction about Baptism because Dr. Grudem pawned his views under pressure stated in letters and phone calls you magically pulled out of the rabbit's hat.

Then, you incredibly offer this precious gemstone to Dave when he questions what you write:

"I do what I do and write what I write *because I believe it is right* - and never because anyone, especially those whom I have never met, are disappointed in me."(emphasis mine)

On the one hand, you magically produce "evidence" to drain the pond around Dr. Grudem, making him out to be a man whose words can be bought. And, on the other hand, you proclaim youself as a man who does what he does and writes what he writes because he believes it to be right. Bravo!

To be honest, Wade, it's getting easier still to become more passive about your posts. Gaffes like these--when raw speculation is substituted for factual evidence apparently to exploit a particular viewpoint--expose nicely the achilles heel of this entire quasi-evangelical movement within the SBC. Much flash, little fire.

I trust your evening well, Wade. With that, I am...

Peter

Wade Burleson said...

Pastor Brad,

Thanks for the clarification. The issue that flows out of the question at hand is the fellowship around the Lord's Table in the midst of a worship service with evangelical believers who by conviction have been baptized by other means or modes than immersion after coming to faith in Christ.

Piper and others are simply saying that Christian fellowship is around Christ - and church membership is not the same thing as membership in the family of Christ.

I respect the debate that is taking place. You are correct that constitutionally we accept into membership only those believers who have been baptized by immersion, but we do not bar believers from the Lord's Table who 'by conviction' view baptism in a manner different than us.

We believe this is what it means to be 'Together for the Gospel.'

Wade Burleson said...

Peter,

I'm not sure why you have a hard time understanding the word 'guess.' Webster's defines it as - "to suppose; to hypothesize; to conjecture."

If it is a pressing need on your part to prove my 'guess' wrong, have at it.

As for me, I'll stand by my guess, acknowledge it as a guess, and I will also guess - in order to show how good a guesser I am - that you will feel the need to comment further, and with that, I am . . .

Wade :)

Pastor Brad said...

Wade,
Thank you for your gracious response. Perhaps I missed something (always a great possibility), but after reading and rereading your post, I see communion discussed nowhere. I see cooperation, over which I agree to an extent. Then I see you pointing to the Grudem-Piper exchange to prove your point. My point to you is that Grudem and Piper are not discussing what you are discussing, therefore I fail to see its relevance. You are, if I read you right, discussing cooperation between those who, though they have differences (baptism), are still able to agree on the Gospel. What Piper and Grudem are discussing is differences existing within a local church, not within the church universal.
Thank you for the edifying exchange.

Wade Burleson said...

Pastor Brad,

You are welcome. Thanks for your gracious response as well.

One of the unfortunate things about blogging is you can't press the point you are intending to make with inflection, passion, etc . . .

This post was initiated because of an email I received from a church member training to be a missionary. She sent me the blog post of our member Sam Storms - a blog which I had not seen until the email - and I wrote my post immediately.

Sam is showing the practical application that I wished to emphasize, but you may be correct that I have not been clear.

In His Grace,

Wade

peter lumpkins said...

Wade,

Know, my brother, I aim not to disappoint. And, know also, were this not of a moral nature, I'd gladly exchange emoticons with you. We've exchanged funnies before.

Now, however, you appear to ignore the unfair characterization you've laid at Grudem's feet. Instead, you offer a definition of "guess": "to suppose; to hypothesize; to conjecture."

O.K. Fine. So, you've "supposed," without any proof (other than your imagination), "hypothesize[d]" in absence of any established facts (except your guess, of course)and "conjecture[d]" even though you're standing without sufficient evidence for proof (unless your guessing record qualifies).

If you guessed Dr. Grudem's age or weight, Wade, perhaps we could all call it a night. But you didn't. What you did do is seriously malign Professor Grudem by making him out to be a theological jellyfish, void of convictional backbone, all the while blowing your own trumpet about writing what you write because you believe it to be right.

Unfortunately, Wade, tactics like this ooze only a foul, repugnant smell. No one's convictions or actions deserve to be "guessed at."

You surely would not want it done of you. And why you chose to frame the question on this thread at Grudem's expense goes beyond reason or explanation.

Finally, I believe you know I have no personal interest in Dr. Grudem per se (not to be confused with him as a Christian brother and fellow human being). He is a staunch Calvinst; I am not. He is a charismatic; I am not. And, if I recall, some of his views may be a tad over the top (It's been a while since I last read him). Nor have I any ever had any contact with him--at least at this point in my life.

And, if I am honest, I think it may have been better for SBs to have avoided his Systematic Theology as a textbook for seminarians.

All that aside, Wade, Dr. Grudem does not deserve his convictions to be paraded as a paper tiger on the basis of a subjective, ignorant guess.

Thus, what you did is wrong, Wade, wrong; it is unworthy of a servant of our Lord; it only deserves repentance, retraction, apology.

May our Lord be merciful to us all. With that, I am...

Peter

d-mc said...

I teach a sunday school class in my church every sunday straight out of Grudem's Systematic Theology textbook. We call the class "Go Fish." Seriously. Who wants to sign up for a class called Systematic Theology?

Grudem is a first-rate, soundly orthodox believer. I disagree with Grudem on certain points, election and eschatology for example.

I heartily agree with this (Wade's) article. We can agree and disagree on certain points without dividing.

What I find fascinating is trying to agree on a list of what doctrines are "essentials" on which we must all agree.

Stan said...

d-mc,

"I teach a sunday school class in my church every sunday straight out of Grudem's Systematic Theology textbook. "

What about the WORD? Public reading of scripture?

1 Tim 4:11Command and teach these things. 12) Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15Practice these things, immerse yourself in them,[c] so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Anonymous said...

Stan, that was just weird.

peter lumpkins said...

Wade,

Once again, Wade, you simply diss the moral issue your cooked up accusations toward Professor Grudem brings. Guessing him guilty of spineless conviction absent any evidence whatsoever may seem to you like my getting "so worked up." Even so, deflecting your ethical dilemma in another direction only weakens your rationale yet again.

As for your assumption about my views toward our Dr. Grudem's book, it stands unsurprising you'd be mistaken given today's track record.

This is what you said I said: "...you don't believe his textbook is worthy of SBC seminaries."

Now, note what I actually wrote: "if I am honest, I think it may have been better for SBs to have avoided his Systematic Theology as a textbook for seminarians."

How you got I implied his textbook is not "worthy of SBC seminaries" out of that, when I offered not one syllable about the content of my reservations, escapes me (I only stated reservations exist). Nor did I mention a shred of commentary on his book's value per se. Rather, I merely made mention it may have been better to have avoided it as a textbook.

I imagine, however, given your not-too-good-of-a-day, Wade, one may safely conclude that you *guessed* my reservations, *hypothesized* my reasons, *conjectured* my thoughts and *supposed* my judgments about Dr. Grudem's book.

Oh well. I guess you got me real good, Wade.

With that, I am...

Peter

Stan said...

Anonymous,

What I consider weird is the fact that we have the witness of the WORD and the HOLY SPIRIT and still turn to a man's writing, or his theology and teach it in Sunday School. Maybe we should spend more time teaching the WORD. Or we can keep teaching man's interpretation until the water gets so muddy we don't know what truth is any more.

John 1:14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.


2 Tim 4:1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

2 Tim 3: 16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

I don't know Grudem from Adam, but I do know Jesus, the WORD and I know He won't lie to me, and I know He is the TRUTH. Why would I teach Grudem's opinion when I have the WORD at my finger tips and the Holy Spirit in my heart?

Heb 8:10, 10:16, Psalms 119.

Can you imagine how the WORD feels when we show up at church on Sunday to worship Him and teach from another book?

Weird. You are right.

Jack said...

Of all the observations about how man perverts Christianity, Gandhi's haunts me the most:

"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

Gandhi, curious about Christ's teachings, was turned away from the door of a church because of his race. From that day on, he turned away from Christianity.

Within the SBC are those who seek to categorize and separate Christians through labels such as Egalitarians, Complimentarians, Paedobaptists, Winesippers, Psuedo-Charismatics, Charismatics, Moderates, Liberals, Conservatives, Calvinists, Hyper-Calvinists, Fundamentalists, Arminians, Ecumenicals... and the list goes on.

This is so far from the teachings of Christ that I don't know whether to weep or vomit.

What I do know is that there are many lost people in the world who would probably tell us "I like your Christ. I do not like your Southern Baptists. Your Southern Baptists are so unlike your Christ."

-jack-

Anonymous said...

Stan,

I don't know Gruden from Adam--he (Gruden, not Adam) was before my seminary experience, or outside it one. But if he is like virtually any other theologian, the Word is integral and foundational to his work. Unless you are willing to say that you don't use a Sunday School quarterly in your class, but only the Word, and that even then neither you nor anyone else uses a commentary or other study aid to assist understanding, your comment to D-MC doesn't have a leg to stand on.

John Fariss

d-mc said...

"What I consider weird is the fact that we have the witness of the WORD and the HOLY SPIRIT and still turn to a man's writing, or his theology and teach it in Sunday School. Maybe we should spend more time teaching the WORD. Or we can keep teaching man's interpretation until the water gets so muddy we don't know what truth is any more."

Stan,
Maybe I need to explain what systematic theology is. It is the systematic study of God's Word. We use Grudem's text book (in just this one of many classes) to aid us in systematically studying God's word. As I mentioned, I do not accept all of Grudem's theology, nor does everyone in my class accept mine. We try to be Bereans about it.

What I find most interesting is the comment about "teaching man's interpretation." All teaching is man's interpretation. In fact, your criticism of me for using Grudem's textbook is your interpretation of John 1, 2 Timothy, et al, that I should not do so.

If man's interpretation is irrelevant please explain to me why I should care about yours?

I dont mean for that to sound as sarcastic as it does. I am genuinely interested in light of your criticism.

I assume that since you are opposed to man's interpretation that you do not read any books (or blogs) related to theology. You only read the Bible, and no commentaries.

Byroniac said...

I greatly respect Dr. Wayne Grudem. When I first begun studying God's sovereign grace, a very dear friend of mine recommended his systematic theology to me, four chapters in particular. These were extremely helpful, and spiritually edifying.

However, I must respectfully disagree with him on this issue (and with any in the SBC who share that view). I will have to vote my conscience and agree with Wade Burleson and John Piper here. It just strikes me that, in an age where greater unity in the Spirit is needed, more sectarian disunity seems to be developing on all sides. That is truly sad.

But, Romans 8:28!

Soli Deo Gloria.

Wayne Smith said...

Jack,
Of all the observations about how man perverts Christianity, Gandhi's haunts me the most:
I agree with you 100%, Gandjhi said before he was killed that he was still searching. He had not found Christ. Martin Luther King was our best example of a Peace Maker in A Christ Like Manner.

Debbie Kaufman said...

jack said: "Gandhi, curious about Christ's teachings, was turned away from the door of a church because of his race. From that day on, he turned away from Christianity.

Within the SBC are those who seek to categorize and separate Christians through labels such as Egalitarians, Complimentarians, Paedobaptists, Winesippers, Psuedo-Charismatics, Charismatics, Moderates, Liberals, Conservatives, Calvinists, Hyper-Calvinists, Fundamentalists, Arminians, Ecumenicals... and the list goes on.

This is so far from the teachings of Christ that I don't know whether to weep or vomit."


Jack: You have expressed my thoughts on this exactly.

Stan said...

d-mc,

A good systematic study of the WORD to me is just reading it. Front to back. Over and over. That is what works for me.

Commentaries are good as long as one remembers what they are. One man's opinion. Just like mine.

What I was reacting to was your statement "I teach a sunday school class in my church every sunday straight out of Grudem's Systematic Theology textbook. "

What would your response be if I said I teach sunday school every sunday straight out of Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life book. Or 40 days of Purpose?

Not that I consider these anywhere close to comparable works. But my point is if you are going to teach using a "system" or theology of man, how do you judge between which is right and which is wrong without knowing enough WORD to be able to discern between false teaching and false prophets that we are repeatedly warned about in the WORD?

Then, if you have enough WORD to be able to discern the errors in teaching or theology, why do you need them? Write your own book.

Like you, I am not being sarcastic. My concern is that we make it so hard that folks feel like they can't have a relationship with the WORD if they are not theological brains, following some system and have to have a preacher or teacher between them and God. I find it strange that the Bible is about the only book I can think of that has so many people thinking they need to teach others how to read it. Do you think that it grieves the Holy Spirit when we have the attitude that the WORD is too hard to understand without a man to interpret it for me?

Then we have the constant problem of pride, self exaltation and arrogance displayed by these seminary trained experts telling us that we can't understand Him or comprehend Him without their help. Sounds like a pharisee to me.

All we really need is a soft heart and some point in time that we sit down, ask for wisdom, knowledge and discernment from that heart. Humble ourselves before Him and ask for help. Then let Him write his commandments and statutes on our hearts. Hebrews 8

Stan said...

Gandhi, understandably, didn't know Jesus. He was anti war though, right?

Rev 2:16'Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.

Do you suppose Gandhi had an incorrect idea of Christ when he made that statement? Would he have liked the Christ that we see in Isaiah 48?

Isaiah 48:10"Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

Sort of puts a different spin on the nature of Christ. In this day of "get your blessing now" teaching I wonder if we as professing christians don't have the same impression as Gandhi?

Do we really know Christ? Let's face it. The fluffy, harmless meek Christ fills pews and bank accounts. The Christ, The WORD that we see in the bible is anything but fluffy, harmless and meek. And the world hated Him.

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Stan,

Please contact me through my church web site e-mail form. I would love to interact with you regarding the issues of Bible interpretation that you have raised here.

Love in Christ,

Jeff

Wayne Smith said...

d-mc,

Would you please e-mail me at smith.we@gmail.com.
I have a question for you.
In His Name
Wayne Smith

A Simple Student @ SWBTS said...

I think it is safe to say that Peter missed the point of the post.

A Simple Student @ SWBTS

Wade Burleson said...

A Simple Student at SWBTS,

I was wondering if anybody else felt the same way as I about Mr. Lumpkins comments.

d-mc said...

A good systematic study of the WORD to me is just reading it. Front to back. Over and over. That is what works for me.

While that is indeed “systematic,” it is not what systematic means in this context. Systematic Theology is the study of the doctrines taught in scripture by topic. For example, one week we will discuss, what the Bible says about the topic of the Trinity. We will examine all the verses related to that topic. The next week, we may discuss Soteriology. And so on.

I agree that reading the Bible front to back is a vital part of every believers walk. But it is also extremely helpful to examine what the Bible says on certain topics. While studying soteriology for example, I may forget by the time I get to Ephesians what Isaiah said if I am only reading cover to cover. I suggest doing both.

Commentaries are good as long as one remembers what they are. One man's opinion. Just like mine.

Amen, brother preach it!

What I was reacting to was your statement "I teach a sunday school class in my church every sunday straight out of Grudem's Systematic Theology textbook. "

What would your response be if I said I teach sunday school every sunday straight out of Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life book. Or 40 days of Purpose?


Maybe what bothers you is the phrase “straight out of.” My point was that we use his book as a springboard. Trust me, we read the Bible in that class more than Grudem’s book.

But my point is if you are going to teach using a "system" or theology of man, how do you judge between which is right and which is wrong without knowing enough WORD to be able to discern between false teaching and false prophets that we are repeatedly warned about in the WORD?

You seem to be assuming I have never read the Bible. Rest assured I have. And I discern false teaching and prophets by checking what they say against the Word. Actually, Grudem’s book talks about doing this very thing.

Then, if you have enough WORD to be able to discern the errors in teaching or theology, why do you need them? Write your own book.

I have actually written three so far. Ironically, one of them is a 52 week study guide of the Bible, cover to cover (http://www.voyagethroughthebible.com). But given your original post, you would deem my book, or any other books to be irrelevant. Maybe I read too much into your original statement though.

Like you, I am not being sarcastic. My concern is that we make it so hard that folks feel like they can't have a relationship with the WORD if they are not theological brains, following some system and have to have a preacher or teacher between them and God. I find it strange that the Bible is about the only book I can think of that has so many people thinking they need to teach others how to read it. Do you think that it grieves the Holy Spirit when we have the attitude that the WORD is too hard to understand without a man to interpret it for me?

After teaching the Bible for 20 years or so I can tell you that is EXACTLY how people feel. I agree it is unfortunate, but our society is Biblically illiterate. My mission in life is to help them overcome that. I also firmly believe that some of the Bible IS hard to understand. Especially if you do not consult commentaries and history. A 21st Century person would have a very hard time understanding James when he says for the elders to anoint the sick if he did not understand that in the first century the word used for anointing there refers to doctors applying ointments as medicine. James is literally telling the sick to ask for prayer and medicine. There is no way to get this info JUST by reading the Bible.

Then we have the constant problem of pride, self exaltation and arrogance displayed by these seminary trained experts telling us that we can't understand Him or comprehend Him without their help. Sounds like a pharisee to me.

I agree that would be arrogant. But I don’t think that’s what most seminarians would say. They would say, let me help you where you need help.

All we really need is a soft heart and some point in time that we sit down, ask for wisdom, knowledge and discernment from that heart. Humble ourselves before Him and ask for help. Then let Him write his commandments and statutes on our hearts. Hebrews 8

This is what Joseph Smith did.

Stan, I appreciate the conversation but I don’t want to take over Wade’s blog. If you would like to discuss this further I would be happy to. You can email me at david@voyagethroughthebible.com.

Stan said...

d-mc,

I am going to ask Wade for a little room here. If I overstay my welcome, I will leave if asked.

As I predicted in my earlier reply, now you have to establish the books you have written and the authority for your arguments. Nice try. And while I certainly don't believe you have not read the Bible, in light of your last statement concerning Joseph Smith I do wonder just how much, or how many times you have read it.

"But given your original post, you would deem my book, or any other books to be irrelevant."

You are correct.

Now let me show you why.

I said,

"All we really need is a soft heart and some point in time that we sit down, ask for wisdom, knowledge and discernment from that heart. Humble ourselves before Him and ask for help. Then let Him write his commandments and statutes on our hearts. Hebrews 8"

You said,

"This is what Joseph Smith did."

Now the basis for my comment regarding softening our hearts and let Jesus write his commandments and statutes on them is as follows.

Deut 10:16 16"So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.

Jer 4:4"Circumcise yourselves to the LORD And remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My wrath will go forth like fire
And burn with none to quench it,
Because of the evil of your deeds."

Rom 2:28For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

Rom 9: 6But it is not as though he word of God has failed For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel 7nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED."
8That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.9For this is the word of promise: "AT THIS TIME I WILL COME, AND SARAH SHALL HAVE A SON."

So we have either softened our heart, circumcised it, or we haven't. And we are children of the promise or we are not. And we are either part of or party to this covenant or we are not.

10"FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. 11"AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN,
AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, 'KNOW THE LORD,' FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM. 12"FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES,AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE."

So given what you have written, it appears that you feel Mormons are children of the promise.

Or you are biblically illiterate in which case you should not be writing or teaching.

So, you are correct. I would not consider your books worthy of reading.

d-mc said...

Now the basis for my comment regarding softening our hearts and let Jesus write his commandments and statutes on them is as follows.

Then you proceeded to list a bunch of scriptures. Fine. But actually the basis for your comment was Hebrews 8 which is the passage you ended your statement with. None of which you listed in your rebuttal.

Of course I do not think Mormons are Christians. My point was that you said "all we need to do is".

Sure, if we do that perfectly we will come to the right conclusion. But if we don't, we may come up with our own new cult. AS is the case with Joseph Smith. Maybe you are unfamiliar with how he got started. He started by reading the Bible and praying for God to reveal Himself to Him. He obviously went awry.

I was in no way establishing my books as authority for anything. You suggested I write a book. Just letting you know I did.

You have affirmed twice now that you do not need any books other than the Bible.

Why pray tell me then are you reading these blogs? They are only mans interpretation of theology which hold now value for you.

Please tell me if you have ever read any spiritual books other than the Bible. Which ones and why? How are they useful since they are only mans interpretation?

Stan said...

d-mc,

See, this is where we are going to continue to have problems.

"Sure, if we do that perfectly we will come to the right conclusion."

Why do you say we have to humble ourselves and let Him write his commandments and statutes on our hearts "perfectly" as if it is something we control or bring about?

It is not a work that you or I have any control over other than the humbling part. And some would even argue that we don't control that either.

He is the author and finisher of our faith. When you raise doubt that it can be done "perfectly" you in reality question His ability to get it done.

To then say that Joseph Smith humbled himself and asked God for guidance which then resulted in a heretic, makes me ask this question. How do you know that Joseph Smith humbled himself and asked God for guidance? Did Joseph Smith tell you he did? If he did, do you believe him?

As for other material and other books. I have a bunch of bibles, ESV, KJV, NASB and the Greek/Hebrew Keyword study Bible, Strong's, and Macarthur's commentary. I don't use it often for the reasons I have discussed.

2 Tim 3: 16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Maybe I have interpreted the above incorrectly. Maybe the WORD doesn't contain enough information for me to be adequate and equipped for every good work.

Maybe there is other material out there that is inspired of God and profitable for teaching. That brings me back to the other question that I have. How can I tell which of them are and those that are not, profitable?

Now how many times have you read through? The scripture I quoted is pretty important to how one views the WORD. If you think that the OT is written for Jews and does not apply to us, I refer you to a closer study of the scripture I quoted. If you believe that the entire WORD applies to us, and has teaching in it that is important to us, then the casual flippance with which you disregard the importance of softening our hearts and turning to Jesus concerns me.

Pharoh hardened his heart then God finished the job for him.
Israel hardened their hearts in the wilderness and again in Jerusalem. That didn't work out too well for them.

Today, just as it was in Jerusalem, we practice religion, we have pharisees writing books, we have pastors starving people for water, telling us peace, grace, mercy and love.

And all the while we Gentiles just march on toward the abyss, hard hearted and stiff necked.

2 Tim 3:7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Stan said...

d-mc,

I forgot to answer your question on blogging.

I blog because I want to see what the "church" out there is doing and what is being said by whom.

It truly is amazing to see just how well what we are doing as a people today, lines up with what "God's people" back then got wiped out for. Especially the "get your blessing now" muck that is flowing in our streets. Peace, Peace! There will be many that are just as surprised as Israel was then when God crushed them.

Our turn is coming if we harden our hearts, or worse yet, if He does it for us.

Rev 14:19And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

Stan said...

d-mc,

Reviewing our comments today, I notice something very important missing. Not one time have you mentioned the importance of the Holy Spirit and His guidance in teaching us. Your arguments have all been centered around other writings, other men and their opinions.

You indicate that Joseph Smith really comunicated with the Holy Spirit initially and then failed, going off on a tangent of false doctrine and teaching.

"AS is the case with Joseph Smith. Maybe you are unfamiliar with how he got started. He started by reading the Bible and praying for God to reveal Himself to Him. He obviously went awry."

Are you saying the Holy Spirit failed Joseph Smith after he honestly asked for guidance?

Prolly not. But then we can say that Joseph shouldn't have quit reading his bible. Maybe he could have been saved along with many others if someone would have jsut told him that the Bible was the only thing he needed to make him adequate and equipped for every good work.

Maybe then he would not have gone out and created his own religion...Reckon?

d-mc said...

Reviewing our comments today, I notice something very important missing. Not one time have you mentioned the importance of the Holy Spirit and His guidance in teaching us. Your arguments have all been centered around other writings, other men and their opinions.

Stan, this is patently unfair. Throughout our discussion you continue to mischaracterize my arguments and make ridiculous assumptions and place them in my mouth.

I have not centered my arguments on other men's writings. The blog post related to to Grudems book and I made a comment about his book. All of my discussions about the book have been because you are criticizing me for using it.

I could go on and on debating you on this and if were so inclined I could get in a "how many times did you mention the Holy Spirit" and "I quoted more verses than you contest."

Here is the bottom line. You see no value in books other than the Bible, except for John MacArthur's study bible.

I see great value in other books. But never make the mistake of thinking that I do not revere the Holy Bible above all others. It is our final authority. Sola scriptura!

Godspeed as you figure it out all on your own. I'll get all the help I can, hold fast to that which is good and forgetting that which is not. And I'll do that by comparing what men say to the Holy Bible.

All with the help of the Holy Spirit of course.

d-mc said...

Pharoh hardened his heart then God finished the job for him.

Oh yeah...and finally, this is purely your interpretation. Scripture does not say this.

:)

Stan said...

d-mc,

Yes, scripture says it.

Hard Heart

Stan said...

d-mc,

"Godspeed as you figure it out all on your own."

There you go again. I am not alone. When I sit down every morning it is me, the WORD and the Holy Spirit. That is a long way from alone.

All you have to do is ask with a soft heart and He will come.

"I'll get all the help I can, hold fast to that which is good and forgetting that which is not."

How will you know the difference?

d-mc said...

And I promised myself I wasnt going to continue, but here I go again...

Yes, scripture says it.

Read everyone of them. None of them say God finished hardening Pharoah's heart. Some say Pharoah hardened his heart. Others say God hardened Pharoah's heart. None say what you said.


How will you know the difference?

This is why I wont be doing anymore of this. I have told you three or four times that I do this by comparing what they say with scripture. And it the quote you used above I answered it in hte very next sentence which you did not use in your quote. With the help of the Holy Spirit.

Nice talking to you Stan.

finis

Stan said...

d-mc,

I said,

"Pharoh hardened his heart then God finished the job for him."

Then in your last post, you agree that there is scripture that says both, God hardens and Pharoh
hardens his heart.


How is that inconsistant with what I said?

Then we have Pharoh dying when the Red Sea drowns him...most people would say that it was done then.....his heart had to have been pretty hard to follow Israel into the bottom of the sea with walls of water on each side. And the sea didn't close over them on its own.

What do your commentaries say? Do they make it any clearer or easier for you to understand?

K. Michael Crowder said...

"What I find fascinating is trying to agree on a list of what doctrines are "essentials" on which we must all agree.

This is quite simple, providing one understands the 3-tiered doctrinal platform on which most of us stand.

Primary doctrines are those that pertain to soteriology. On these there can be NO compromise

Secondary issues are those issues that bind us together as Baptists (particularly Southern Baptists (I would include Reformed southern Baptists). This included believers baptism. On these there can...er, should...be no compromise.

Tertiary doctrines are an entirely different ball of wax. These will most certainly be "divisions" over things like open/closed communion, wooden or fiberglass pulpits, wing-tips or cap-toes, etc...

You can coalesce with no regard for believers baptism, but in doing so, you castrate the Convention and the Church. Whether or not Piper or Sproul can join my church, or whether or not Bethleham's "constitution" would allow me is so far beyond the point it is almost not worth mentioning. I love both these men, but by their affirming, or in Piper's case "allowing" for an alternative view (of infant Baptism)they open the doors to a host of sketchy doctrine already plaguing the church.

Way to go Dr. G!!! Now if you will just revise chapters 54-57 before the rapture, you will have the perfect book. :)

ps to dr g: i liked the size of the old edition better.

pss to Wade: been busy all summer, haven't had time to stir your pot much but I wanted to tell you that you should have smiled while at the mic at the annual meeting--you looked a tad sinister...

d-mc said...

Here is the dedication of Grudem's ST book for those interested:

This book is dedicated to eight people whom God sovereignly brought into my life:

Arden and Jean Grudem, my parents, who taught me to believe the Bible, to trust in God, and to speak and write clearly;

A. Kenneth Ham, my Baptist pastor, who awakened in me a love for systematic theology by teaching a class on Christian doctrine when I was thirteen years old, and who taught me by example to believe every word of Scripture;

Edmund Clowney, John Frame, and Vern Poythress, Westminster Seminary professors and friends, who influenced my theological understanding more than anyone else, and who taught me Reformed theology in humble submission to every word of Scripture;

and Harold Bredesen and John Wimber, pastors and friends, who, more than anyone else, taught me about the power and work of the Holy Spirit.

d-mc said...

Primary doctrines are those that pertain to soteriology. On these there can be NO compromise

kmc,
This kinda gets to the point of my question. Eternal Security is part of soteriology. Is that an essential doctrine? In other words, if someone does not believe in Eternal Security, are they a heretic?

This is a perfect example of how defining a list of essentials can be a little tricky. Do we divide as believers over ES?

K. Michael Crowder said...

Eternal Security is part of soteriology. Is that an essential doctrine?

ET is part of the soteriological discussion in the broader sense. But ones view of Eternal Security is NOT salvific. I would place this doctrine at the very TOP of the secondary tier AND and the very BOTTOM of the Primary tier. We divide on the primary tier where and when this doctrine inhibits true repentance. We divide on the second tier on matters of ecclesiastic structure and missional efforts.

In other words, if someone does not believe in Eternal Security, are they a heretic?

One becomes a heretic only when ones unbiblical view becomes divisive and inhibits the unity among believers. I believe such a doctrine, if introducted into the SBC would indeed be heretical. Preached in an AoG Church? NO.....unbiblical? YES Heretical? NO just keep it out of the SBC!

This is a perfect example of how defining a list of essentials can be a little tricky. Do we divide as believers over ES?


As a Convention, there is NOTHING the SBC CANNOT do on its own to fulfill the great commission for its member churches (both on their behalf and through them directly). WHY ON GOD'S BLUE EARTH DO WE NEED TO INLIST THE HELP OF THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE AS WE DO??? We are not called to unite Globally. We are not even called unite nationally. We are called to unite and be of one mind within the local ekklesia.

the antichrist will do the uniting one day....imo, we need to focus on Christ and the task at hand.

K

Wayne Smith said...

d-mc, David,

Thank you very much for your efforts to gather the names of these 8 people in answer to my request.

In His Name
Waybe Smith

d-mc said...

kmc,
I whole heartedly agree with your response to the ES question.

I guess when I talk about dividing, I am talking about the church universal, not just the SBC.

I guess this is because I was raised AoG and now attend an SBC.

I personally do not feel like I belong to any denomination. Maybe that makes me a little out of place here. I am a believer in Christ. This is why I would not place ES as an Essential doctrine worth dividing over (though I wholeheartedly agree with ES).

I see what you are saying about the unity within the SBC though.

However, this comment seems to go a bit too far imho.

We are not called to unite Globally. We are not even called unite nationally. We are called to unite and be of one mind within the local ekklesia.

Other than that, enjoyed your response.

d-mc said...

kmc, oh yeah...

Isnt a heretic a heretic no matter what denomination they are in? I was a little confused on that too.

dm

Stan said...

2 Chronicles 7:14 (King James Version)
King James Version (KJV)
Public Domain



2 Chron 7:14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

K. Michael Crowder said...

Isnt a heretic a heretic no matter what denomination they are in? I was a little confused on that too.

Yes, but they need to be a member or in close ties with a group who subscribes to some certain set of beliefs. I would contend however that some of the more modern denoms with a very loose set of doctrines (or none at all) might lack the ability to have heretics as members for one cannot divide or be divisive when no "narrative" has been compiled of "things most surely believed among [them]."


Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source
her·e·tic /n. ˈhɛrɪtɪk; adj. ˈhɛrɪtɪk, həˈrɛtɪk/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[n. her-i-tik; adj. her-i-tik, huh-ret-ik] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun 1. a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.
2. Roman Catholic Church. a baptized Roman Catholic who willfully and persistently rejects any article of faith.
3. anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle.
–adjective 4. heretical.


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[Origin: 1300–50; ME heretik < MF heretique < LL haereticus < Gk hairetikós able to choose (LGk: heretical), equiv. to hairet(ós) that may be taken (verbal adj. of haireǐn to choose) + -ikos -ic]


—Synonyms 1. apostate, backslider, recreant, protestant. 3. dissenter, skeptic, freethinker.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.