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

The Issue for Us All Is Cooperation for the Gospel

There are a few readers of this blog who do not understand the deep problem we face in parts of the Southern Baptist Convention, some of her respective agencies, and some (not all) of our Southern Baptist state conventions. Those who misunderstand the issue will read yesterday's post Personal Holiness by Abtaining from Tea Drinking and be amazed that someone would use sarcasm to oppose the new bylaw amendment at the SBTC that identifies the use of alcohol as a beverage as 'sin.' Alcohol is NOT the issue. Neither is tea. Neither is a private prayer language. Neither is the the qualifications of the administrator of the ordinance of baptism. Neither is women teaching Hebrew. Neither is (ad infinitum) . . .

Southern Baptists are on both sides of the issue of private prayer languages (see the Lifeway poll). Southern Baptists could argue both sides of women teaching the languages. Southern Baptists could debate till Jesus comes whether or not Jesus drank alcohol as a beverage or whether or not someone 'sins' when they drink beer or wine without getting drunk. Southern Baptists can even argue, believe it or not, the merits or demerits of drinking tea. Yesterday I received an email from the author of a new book set to be published in January of 2008 entitled "The Truth About Caffeine, How Companies That Promote It Deceive Us and What We Can Do About It." The author also is the sponsor of the National Caffeine Awareness Month in the US - an annual event (5th year!) that is recognized in 5 states and over 21 cities.

Points can be made by people on both sides of the separate issues. But making points is not our problem. Arguing over the finer points of theology or morality, not abundantly clear in Scripture is not the issue. The issue is fundamentally much deeper and systemically much more dangerous.

We Southern Baptists are losing our identity.


We used to be known for our efforts to cooperate in taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to unreached people groups around the world. We used to be known for our stands on liberty of conscience and our firmly held belief that the Word of God was sufficient for our faith and practice. We were, in short, Christ-honoring, Bible-believing, liberty-loving, missions-minded, Southern Baptists who cooperated with each other regardless of our differences.

Dave Miller, commented on my blog yesterday and absolutely nailed the issue for Southern Baptists:

Any human organization can set its parameters for fellowship. If the SBC decides that teetotalling is necessary for employment in its organization, it can do so.

What it cannot do is imbue its parameters with divine authority. To require alcohol abstinence is fine for any human organization. To call it sin goes beyond the authority of any human being.

Only what is prohibited in scripture is sin.

The SBC can set any parameters it wants on its fellowship. The stricter the parameters, the more people will be excluded. And the SBC can limit the behavior of its employees in any way it chooses.

What it cannot do is claim these parameters are biblical mandates or that those who violate them are violating the will of God.

Too many Southern Baptists are sitting on the sidelines while some of our agencies and a select few leaders within the Southern Baptist Convention are narrowing the doctrinal parameters of cooperation within the SBC. The Bible is no longer the sufficient standard of our cooperation - and neither is the 2000 BFM - for the practice now is to change policies and guidelines at the personal whims of a few in power. This must stop. Liberty of conscience and a love for cooperation must be regained within the Southern Bapitst Convention. That is the issue for us all.

I close with the words of George W. Truett, the late pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, as he stood on the East steps to the Capitol in Washington, D.C. and spoke to 15,000 Baptists on May 16, 1920:

Baptists have one consistent record concerning liberty throughout all their long and eventful history. They have never been a party to oppression of conscience. They have forever been the unwavering champions of liberty. Their contention now, is, and has been, and, please God, must ever be, that it is the natural and fundamental and indefeasible right of every human being to worship God or not, according to the dictates of his conscience, and, as long as he does not infringe upon the rights of others, he is to be held accountable alone to God for all religious beliefs and practices. Our contention is not for mere toleration, but for absolute liberty. There is a wide difference between toleration and liberty. Toleration implies that somebody falsely claims the right to tolerate. Toleration is a concession, while liberty is a right. Toleration is a matter of expediency, while liberty is a matter of principle. Liberty is a gift from God. It is the consistent and insistent contention of our Baptist people, always and everywhere.

May we Southern Baptists regain our identity of liberty for the sake of cooperation in gospel missions and ministries.

In His Grace,

Wade

93 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

Right on. And as someone who occasionally prays (and sometimes praises) in an unknown tongue, and someone who agrees with the traditional 5 points of Calvinism, should the day ever come those things are labeled sinful by SBC dictates, or that I'm not free to express those things, then I can no longer be a Southern Baptist.

I won't stifle the appropriate use of Spiritual Gifts, and I won't change my interpretation of scripture to fit someone else's preferences. Or, give up the privileges specifically enumerated in the Preamble to the Baptist Faith & Message.

And I don't think I'm all that bad a Southern Baptist.

Tim Guthrie said...

Wade,
I write this as a lifelong SBC person who's family is as well (three activily serving in ministry). I do not write to preach or inpune but to simply state an opinion that you seem to miss.

Many SBC people (as myself) believe the Bible is clear on many of the areas you mention. We have always done so and do not appreciate being told that we are narrowing the parameters of that which we have always believed ( and as lifelong SBC members. In fact, SBC literature throughout the years has upheld these same teachings for the most part. The issue is not limiting people from believing what they desire or feel. People are free to do so. The issue is not identity or a change of, unless your positions are the change we are talking about. The issue is the Word of God and the standards we set in holding to the beliefs of that Word. We believe these issues are settled and do not appreciate having a few trying to paint them as altering Baptist Identity.

Your own blog is a great record of the fact that many truly believe that the Bible is clear on many of these issues.

You seem to hang on a poll (not thorough at that) and manipulated motions to defend your positions while others as myself simply hold to the Word of God. We do so without belittling and loss of respect for the freedom of others. We do so working with many who believe different and will continue. This has never been a problem for many of us. Your attempts to lump us into one big group are growing old and extremely disrespectful to the truth of facts about us as individuals. In fact, your practices contradict your own stand. You paint with a braod brush but the paint does not fit nor does it work. People cna believe what they will but that does not mean that I or we desire to support beliefs that differ nor do we wish to have them leading.

Wade, I will close by simply pleading with you to acknowledge that many believe deeply the opposite of your perspectives and deserve the respect that you demand. Please give it and please stop trying to re-write history while grouping your supposed opposition into a category that does not exist as a whole. Many on both sides can be wrong and have been and are. But to lump everyone who disagrees with you in one large group is to miss the truth of reality of what many believe and have for years without someone telling them to do so.

Why not a post on the Lottie Moon Christmas offering instead of stirring the pot with discord and strife? It would do you better IMHO.

In Christ,
TG

Wade Burleson said...

Tim Guthrie,

Not only do I affirm your right - and others - to believe the way you do, I call you all Southern Baptist brothers and look forward to cooperative ministry in the SBC with you and would affirm your right to hold elected positions in the SBC.

Do you offer the same cooperative spirit to me and those who think like me, or do you wish to exclude those who do not agree with you on some of these issues I mention from cooperative missions ministry and SBC leadership?

A one word answer is fine.

In His Grace,

Wade

Lee said...

Tim,
Just because some Southern Baptists have, in their own minds, determined what is "settled" as clear Biblical truth does not mean that what you've settled is "clear Biblical truth," nor does it mean that it should be imposed on other Southern Baptists, who see things a little differently, as "clear Biblical truth." We can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, make that determination ourselves. To withold cooperation on that basis with restrictive bylaws, and to shut down voices of dissent with draconian policies is stirring the pot with discord and strife. You can't make another Southern Baptist accept your view, and you can't stop them from desiring to cooperate in ministry. It is the attempts to do that which cause the problems, not the differences of opinion.

Tim Guthrie said...

I can cooperate with anyone - but can you?

If you can, call off the dogs going after PP and others and work with them. Live your message first before calling on others to do what you say.

It works both ways!

Tim Guthrie said...

lee,
There is no shutting down of dissent. There is a standing against discord. Big difference.

Dave Miller said...

My son, who is now studying for the ministry, told me he had a crisis of faith a few years back. As he began to read and study the Bible for himself, he discovered that a lot of the rules common to the Baptist churches he grew up in were not supported in scripture.

It made him start to question the whole thing. "If they made up the stuff about..., maybe they made it all up."

Fortunately, he learned to balance the grace of God and the legalism of man and is continuing to grow in Christ.

But that really hit me. We make these rules to protect and guide our young people. That protection made my son question the church in its entirety.

I still think it all comes down to our belief in the Holy Spirit. If we believe in the indwelling Spirit, we don't need extra-biblical rules to control people.

Our fascination with extra-biblical rules is to me an indication that we do not, in fact, believe in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide and direct.

Tim Guthrie said...

dave,
We are not talking about some "dumb" Baptist rules - I have seen many of them.

However, we are talking about specific doctrines that mena much more.

I can sympathize with your son as I have counseled many going through what he did.

Lee said...

Tim,
It is not those who are objecting to the narrowing of parameters who have "let their dogs loose."

Jack said...

Tim:

Sorry, but given the way these rules are being applied and how scripture is being ignored or mangled to justify them by people who proudly proclaim an inerrant and sufficient gospel, these ARE dumb rules.

When many inside the church begin to question them you can be sure that many more outside the church have already taken notice and judged us to be the hypocrites that we are.

Chuck Andrews said...

Wade

The problem with sarcasm is it is lost on so many people who want to argue the extreme. They miss the point. Similar to the parables Jesus taught. Maybe that’s why He said the ears to hear thing. The same seems to be true of yesterday’s post as it was when you first posted it.

For instants, James makes the following comment in yesterday’s comment stream:

Secondly, there is no scripture that says Christians HAVE TO drink alcohol. So NOBODY is "following scripture" by insisting on the right to drink wine.

He misses the point while making the point. That’s just it, there is no scripture that commands Christians to drink alcoholic beverages and there is no scripture that commands Christians to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages.

Those are the two extremes. Those of us who “hear” the sarcasm aren’t setting up a standard saying “Good Christians drink alcoholic beverages.” But, it does appear to me (because I use to be one), that those who want to argue ‘alcohol’ instead of the point of the sarcasm, are making a judgment call saying, “Good Christians DON”T drink alcoholic beverages.”

All we’re saying is, “Let’s unify around Jesus and cooperate on the inerrancy of scripture. We agree that it will not lead us into error. If we disagree on some interpretations, like alcoholic beverages, let’s agree to disagree with humble respect, loving admiration, and missions cooperation. Let’s not make every personal interpretation ‘a hill on which to die’.”

Why should people in Oklahoma concern themselves with what our sister organizations in other states are doing? That’s easy. In the United States the method of how our Presidential election is determined may be debatable but it is won or loss on the state level. Each individual vote is counted and carries a certain amount of weight but the electoral vote system determines the winner and some states carry more weight than others. In the CR we proved this to be true in the SBC as well. The CR organized on the state level before it became a national movement. The strength of the SBC as a national and international denomination starts at the local church but it doesn’t stop there. It’s in the associational and state conventions, where local churches bind together their strengths, which give those autonomous local churches the ability to impact a national and international movement. Leadership in certain states seems to carry more influence than leadership in other states. Unquestionably, the southern states carry more influence than the rest of the world combined.

A few influential leaders can influence the masses. Yet, if the individuals who make up the masses let their voices be heard, the masses can influence who the influential leaders will be and what kind of influence they will have on the masses. I pray that the voice of the masses will be loud and clear—“Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.”

Sorry for the length.

Chuck

Wade Burleson said...

Chuck,

Very, very well said.

Anonymous said...

I just read in the Baptist New Mexican of the IMB's Big Brother-like efforts to silence criticism. I read, meantime, in the book of Acts in the Bible, where the Christian Believers at Berea checked the scriptures to make sure all that Paul told them was correct -- and I'm sure they would have called him on it, and commented, if it were not.

In an academic discipline connected to my own, there is a notion called "appreciative inquiry," where in evaluating a program or product, you ONLY comment on the good things about it. I believe that has its place, and can be a valuable phase, but it cannot, and MUST NOT stand alone. Because if you only say that a rotten apple is an apple, and that part of it is red or green, and that it once was tasty and fresh, you're overlooking the fact that it's ROTTEN!

I do not know exactly what you said that was supposedly so against the IMB trustees. But whatever it is, I support you in your actions of conscience, to exchew censorship and to let light shine on hidden acts of committees that will change a denomination's missionary activity.

I say that as a former Southern Baptist, and a rather conservative one, at that. I have left a SBC church, because I came to see that the SBC body sadly cannot even see its true reflection in a mirror. I left after much prayer and angst for a number of reasons. Among them: denial of the Spiritual gift of tongues, among others; statements that recognition of God's sovereign election (predestiation, Calvinism) are dangerous to Southern Baptists, and a few others.

Wade, keep fighting the good fight, shedding light into darkness (in all sorts of corners, I must say!). And to a previous commenter: amen, Bob, 1000%

M J Smith
New Mexico

Benji Ramsaur said...

Chuck said "A few influential leaders can influence the masses. Yet, if the individuals who make up the masses let their voices be heard, the masses can influence who the influential leaders will be and what kind of influence they will have on the masses."

Ding! Ding! Ding!

We have a winner!

davidinflorida said...

Wade,

I don`t see an end to this debate any time soon. Do you? It`s been going on since before day 1 of this blog.

As long as you have the Tim`s around, and there are alot of them, all good people I`m sure, where is the end?

For over 2000 years, there has always been a religious group which was obsessed with man-made rules, always putting the law above the spirit and intent of the law.

At what point do you punt or are you going to continue until you can spike the ball?

What or where is the goal line, so you can tell that you have scored?

Debbie Kaufman said...

I still think it all comes down to our belief in the Holy Spirit. If we believe in the indwelling Spirit, we don't need extra-biblical rules to control people.

Amen.

Chuck, you are exactly right in my opinion. The state level is the pulse of the national level.

Anonymous said...

David in Florida,

You asked where the goal line is? Well, the goal line is not ours, and we the Church will win in spite of ourselves, because of Grace... "so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurableriches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:7 ESV). That's the goal, when we do get to heaven and get to put the differences, which arrive largely (IMHO) from ignorance -- not an insult, so much as encapsulating 1 Cor 13, which says that we presently know and prophesy only in part.

I'm not saying that disagreements do not matter; we must earnestly contend for the faith, and that will give rise to disagreements -- large and small, and small ones that look large! But we must, as Wade says in the title of the present blog post, cooperate for the gospel, so that every nation can hear, and many believe. In light of that, the greatest points over which we should contend are not tongues and drinking wine with dinner, but over WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?! We certainly have enough people to contend with over that!

M J Smith
New Mexico

James said...

Wade,

1) The 2006 SBTC Resolution on alcohol does not call drinking a "sin". The word "sin" is not in the resolution.

2) The SBTC is a SEPARATE state convention. It is not bound to follow the national BFM. As the commenter you've posted said, "Any human organization can set its parameters for fellowship. If the SBC decides that teetotalling is necessary for employment in its organization, it can do so."

Yet your last two posts leave the clear implication that for the SBTC to do set those parameters on the subject of abstinance is itself a SIN. They haven't done what you are accusing them of. But YOU are doing it.

3) This sort of posturing on principle fanatically carried to extreme will win us no new friends and earn the IMB plenty of them. It will harden the will of our opponents, and will cause our friends to decide that the fight isn't really worth it. It will cause fence-sitters to begin imagining a list of yet unspoken demands that add up to nothing less than rolling back the Conservative Resurgence...and they will definitely show up to vote against THAT.

Actually, if this was your MO when you began voicing your dissent two years ago, I am pretty certain those were precisely the dynamics that occurred on the IMB. It couldn't be otherwise. If so, you yourself would quite possibly share much of the blame for turning what might have only required a quiet course correction into a crisis.

And I'm very disappointed in this turn of events, because I'm not interested in being a part of Great Lost Causes.


[You said] We Southern Baptists are losing our identity. We were, in short, Christ-honoring, Bible-believing, liberty-loving, missions-minded, Southern Baptists who cooperated with each other regardless of our differences.

In the sense you mean it, this is ridiculous. Baptist have been just as narrow-minded as anyone else on the planet. Perhaps not as much as some, but certainly in the middle of the Bell Curve. It was the choice by certain bureaucrats in SBC agencies in the 60s and 70s to cure SBs of their narrow-minded (while retaining their own brand of narrow-mindednes) that eventually lead to the CR. If alcohol-abstinance is not part of our "identity" then I have spent well over 40 years in a different convention than you.

P.S. Just prior to the CR one of the major affirmations for many that the SB colleges had been over-run with liberals was persistant reports of beer cans littering the campuses. You are busily injecting a poison pill...a highly unnecessary one...into a viable movement for very healthy reforms.

karen Gray said...

Just to clarify (b/c I can't find the text of the amended bylaw) -

Did the bylaw on drinking alcohol "call it sin" or say that it violates the will of God?

Because that is the line you say SBTC messengers crossed in voting for this bylaw change. I realize that some believe drinking alcohol is sin, but that seems to be a rapidly fading tradition. It would be very helpful to see the amended bylaw.

BTW, I totally agree that we should not cut off cooperation among groups if possible. My own church recently cut off cooperation with SBCT; not exactly sure why but it probably has to do with its narrowing parameters.

Trish said...

Karen, the bylaw change does not say anything about sin or violating the will of God. The change was made to the bylaw sections about cause for termination of the Executive Director, an Executive Board Member, or the removal of a Committee Member.

No Biblical references are made regarding any of the reasons for termination or removal from a committee. They are related to performance standards people representing the SBTC are expected to uphold.

These are not standards being applied to every church or member of the SBTC. I do not understand why a big deal is being made out of this subject. I do not know why there is a belief that the SBTC is calling the use of alchohol as a beverage a sin because they did not do that. I think a mountain is being made out of a molehill.

Trish

James said...

[trish said] I do not know why there is a belief that the SBTC is calling the use of alchohol as a beverage a sin because they did not do that.

Trish,

The reason people here think that is because Wade has been making that implication. This is the sort of thing that might cause people to accuse Wade of *ehem* slander. (yes, I know that is the wrong term but it amounts to the same thing)

I agree that this controversy worse than pointless. And I am more than mildly annoyed by it. I am also very disappointed by it because I think it has revealed something unpleasant about our host that I really didn't think was there. I suddenly wish I could get the IMB majority to censure someone else so Wade would not be the focus of the required reform.

Wade Burleson said...

James and Trish,

The two of you are free to dissent to your heart's content on this blog.

I stand by everything I post. Both of you are absolutely missing the point - but that's fine -

Thousands of others are getting it.

In His Grace,

Wade

Steve said...

The old, extra-biblical requirements such as this man-created "abstain-or-sin" rule on alchohol - and those earnest believers who live to set up such things - are so comforting in their traditional presence in our Baptist doings.

It is a bit like telling Jesus that He wasn't good enough, of course, to so exceed the tenets of Scripture, but we like that about ourselves, don't we? Aren't we getting to show God just how hard we're trying when we institure extra rules, and popes, and caliphates, and statues of fat happy asians, and old boys clubs, and expensive portraits with dogs and libraries, and "seminary reports" that are really just political stump speeches?

We even excuse this arrogance by labeling it an adherence to "Identity" as a Baptist - but we are so accustomed to such ingratitude to the Grace that redeems us. What's a bit more?

If, IF we are called to evangelizing a lost world, however, we really do not have time to set up a "comfort club" for Christians, where we stop worrying about the lost long enough to make up silly rules to show each other how wonderfully RELIGIOUS and WORTHY we all are. Isn't it really sinful to take a non-issue like a leader or layman having a glass of wine and label that as sin?

Yes, this was a state issue, not a national directive, but do you see that rules that go so far beyond The Lord's demands are all of the same sort of thing, cut from the same worldly cloth?

If this was just a pastime or game of man's design, these fiefdom rules of PPL, abstaining from alchohol,who-baptised-who, and the next and the next, would only be silly; but when the harvest is before us, there is no time for such posturing and pretension.

Go with God, and His Scriptures; they will always be sufficient for all.

Dave Miller said...

Tim Guthrie said,
"dave,We are not talking about some "dumb" Baptist rules - I have seen many of them.

However, we are talking about specific doctrines that mena much more."

There are three levels of truth here. The problem comes in assigning doctrines to those truths.

There are fundamentals. We must all agree on those. I believe the CR of the 80's and 90's was about fundamental doctrine.

There are denominational distinctives, those items that are not fundamental doctrines but are spelled out in our common document, the BF&M. This defines our cooperation as a denomination. It is an imperfect document, but it is our standard nonetheless.

Then, there are personal opinions. The problem has been the tendency of some powerful people to try to make their personal opinions into doctrinal distictives, or even fundamental truths.

PPL, stricter mode of baptism rules and other such movements are going beyond the established parameters of our cooperation.

You have every right to believe that these things are important doctrines.

However, until the SBC in annual session establishes them as part of our doctrinal parameters, neither you, nor John Floyd, nor Paige Patterson nor anyone else has the right to require them for participation in the SBC.

We have, as a denomination, establish parameters for participation. Some, who seem to think they are "true Baptists" and more doctrinally pure than the rest of us, are trying to bypass the SBC and require their own opinions be adopted by all.

And, frankly, it makes me mad.

Wade Burleson said...

James,

Speak to issues, not people.

Blessings,

Wade

Lin said...

Mr. Gutherie writes: "People cna believe what they will but that does not mean that I or we desire to support beliefs that differ nor do we wish to have them leading."

Then later...

"I can cooperate with anyone."

This is a bit confusing. Are you saying you could or could not cooperate with a leader you disagree with?

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Luke 7:33-35

For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, `He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, `Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." ' But wisdom is proved right by all her children."

James said...

[Wade]Speak to issues, not people.

Wade,

Honestly I don't know to what you are referring. I remember what I wrote, and I'm certain I referenced no third-party in particular. I'm an old hand at this, and I usually know where red-lines are.

But if I did cross such a line (perhaps something in reference to you?) then I abjectly seek your forgiveness.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks James.

Wade

Karen Gray said...

Those distinctions -- fundamentals, distinctives, opinions -- were helpful. In addition, there are several topics intermingled here:

1. SBTC bylaw on alcohol abstention (Tea post). Mr. Burleson's foundational statement was: "The only reason for such a bylaw change is the belief held by SBTC leadership that drinking an alocholic beverage is a sin - for everybody."
- Is that true?
= If so, does the amended bylaw impose abstention as doctrine, or declare drinking sin, or otherwise narrow doctrinal parameters?
- Does this affect Christian liberty outside SBTC leadership?
- Does it cut off cooperation?

2. Whether alcohol drinking is a sin, or abstention is advisable. (Not the main point, but relevant). As in Luke 7, someone's going to find fault no matter what one practices.

3. Narrowing doctrinal paramaters leading to a so-called "purer" Baptist group that cooperates with fewer groups. To me, the abstention bylaw does not fall in this category.

4. Christian liberty v. voluntary (key word) restraint - both Biblical, and woven through all discussions.

It is confusing to me to begin with the broad propositions, as in the Tea post, that leaders make policies (1) solely because they believe anything else is a sin, (2) for everyone; and thereby (3) impose legalism, restricting Christian liberty and (4) cut off cooperation that might better advance the Gospel.

That Baptist Ain't Right said...

Does this mean TX & FLA Baptists can't use NyQuil when they have a cold? Seriously, this is getting to the point to being goofy. When Jesus & the Disciples couldn't have the Last Supper in TX, there is a problem.

Jack The Baptist said...

Earlier in this comment stream there was a challenge to show where the SBTC - which has disqualified from its employment, boards and leadership any Christian who drinks alcohol (vs committed the sin of drunkenness) – has characterized drinking as a sin.

I offer these two statements by SBTC Executive Director & SBC VP Jim Richards:

“I am a biblical inerrantist. I also believe the Bible teaches total abstinence from alcohol as beverage.”

“Practical Christianity is based upon principles from the Word of God. The use of alcohol as a beverage (is) clearly in violation of principles from the scriptures.”

Wade Burleson said...

Thx Jack.

You have successfully shot dead the red herring.

G. Alford said...

I made this point on a separate post about this subject many months ago…

There are only two ordinances recognized by the Southern Baptist Convention and expressed in the Baptist Faith and Message; Baptism and The Lords Supper.

We Baptist make a very big deal of following the exact method of Baptism we find expressed in the Scripture… This being full emersion in water. Anything less is not recognized as acceptable.

Yet we find the example given in the Scripture for observance of the Lord’s Supper calls for unleavened bread and wine. This example is almost never followed in Southern Baptist Churches; instead we substitute Grape Juice and Crackers.

To say the least this is inconsistent application of Biblical Hermeneutics…

One can make the same point about the Lord’s Supper that Southern Baptist have made for many years concerning Baptism; that unless the Biblical model is observed it is not valid. That is to say that unless unleavened bread and wine are used in the observance of the Lord’s Supper then it not truly the Lord’s Supper.

In this case then both Texas and Florida have denied Southern Baptist the Lord’s Supper…

Friends That is Not a Minor Issue…

Grace to all,

Karen Gray said...

That is instructive.

But my question was what was the amended bylaw passed by the messengers...?

Karen Gray said...

Jack the Baptist: Using your quotes I found Jim Richards' article advocating abstinence as a "best practice" for Christians. Another summary quote from his article:

'Can a person drink alcohol as a beverage and be a Christian? Yes. Is it best for a person to drink alcohol as a Christian? No. The question is not, “How much liberty do I have in my lifestyle?” The question should be, “How much can I seek to please the Lord Jesus and be the best testimony for him?'

[From Can you be a biblical inerrantist and oppose the use of alcohol as a beverage? sbtexas.com
Posted Monday, July 31, 2006]

greg.w.h said...

I really appreciate the story of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 precisely because it cuts through the distractions and shows us Jesus's heart on the real issues. I will note that he forgot to mention both tithing AND abstaining from drinking alcohol in that story.

Kinda makes you wonder, no??? What was he THINKING???

Greg Harvey

Karen Gray said...

For the record, I have no strong opinion on abstention from alcohol. The old bylaw sounded fine to me.

I just think when we have the facts -- at least the text of the SBTC bylaw -- we agree on more and have fewer misunderstandings. It's hard to discuss something we haven't even read. But so be it.

That's enough from me on this side issue.

Bryan Riley said...

The title of this post says enough. Thanks for staying focused, Wade. Good post.

All the rest reminds me of Proverbs 10:19, one of those verses that shows my own folly often: "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise."

You'd really think that all the world would be lost but for the SBC and its exact beliefs when the truth is that Jesus is what matters. Lord, may we live more and more by faith and grace and not by our own wisdom!

Bill said...

I'd love for someone to respond to g.alford's excellent point about the Lord's Supper.

C'mon folks. I've been SBC for over 20 years. This is about scorn. Scorn heaped upon those who drink by those who don't. The furtive looks and the whispers about someone seen with a beer. The gossip in bible study about someone seen in the checkout line with a six pack. The righteous indignation over someone with wine in their fridge. Tacking the label "boozer" on someone who has never been drunk in their life but has a beer at a picnic. This is about the "but", as in "I know what the bible says, but"

An now a new generation of people is waking up and reading their bibles and saying "what the heck?" They don't necessarily want to drink. They just feel like they've been sold a bill of goods about what constitutes a "Good Christian" and they are starting to think and speak for themselves, because they don't trust their leaders to think and speak for them any longer.

The whole "hurts your witness" thing is a load of garbage because if Baptists were truly concerned about their "witness" there are lots more very public "sins" that they could refrain from, like scorn, gossip, backbiting, unabashed gluttony, etc. I work and live with non-Christians and believe me, they are utterly unconcerned about whether I have a glass of wine. My sense of smug superiority and straining at gnats and swallowing camels will, however, get their attention.

James said...

Karen,

Here are the 2006 Resolutions by the SBTC. Note that the resolution on alcohol does not call it a "sin". The implication that it does is the true "red herring".

[Jack the Baptist finds an *shocking* quote revealing that an elected SBTC executive thinks drinking alcohol is a sin]

[Wade replies] You have successfully shot dead the red herring.

(head swimming) Really? Because it looks to me as though Jack invited a whale-sized red herring to our little win and cheese party!

Wade, your original post was about the SBTC RESOLUTIONS not the personal opinions of individual Baptists (for the plurality of whom certainly agree with the quoted baptist).

I see a cloud of doom over the cause the majority of the SBC messengers voted for in June 2006. And it is because of contemptuous attitude toward the majority membership of the SBC and a willingness to find a "creed" under every bed that has developed by some here. It is an attitude I typically found sequestered among our brothers among the Independent Baptist churches and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. I'm very sorry for this.

Anonymous said...

If the issue really is "Cooperation for the Gospel" let's look at the apostle Paul. In Acts 15 we read that some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees began to spread the idea that Gentile believers must be circumcised. Deeply concerned about this, Paul and Barnabas traveled to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles and elders to discuss this matter. As we know, the Council came to the decision that this was NOT necessary and they sent Paul and Barnabas back with a letter to the Gentile believers telling them that they were not being burdened with the Old Testament requirement of circumcision. In the next chapter, Acts 16, Paul decides to take Timothy along with him, to deliver the decision reached by the council for the Gentile believers. Before they set out, what did Paul do to Timothy? He circumcised him! Why? Verse 3: “because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.” Apparently Paul did not want to offend the believers who were "for" circumcision. The result? “The churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers” (verse 5). Amazing!

We may have the liberty, but, as the apostle Paul demonstrates, maybe it is more important NOT to offend a weaker brother in the exercise of such liberty. Lord, help me to be careful to not criticize or be a stumbling block to my brother in Christ!

Katie

Wade Burleson said...

James,

My original post stated:

"The only reason for such a bylaw change is the belief held by SBTC leadership that drinking an alcoholic beverage is a sin - for everybody."

Jack gave us the following two quotes from the leader of the SBTC - SBTC Executive Director & SBC VP Jim Richards:

“I am a biblical inerrantist. I also believe the Bible teaches total abstinence from alcohol as beverage.”

“Practical Christianity is based upon principles from the Word of God. The use of alcohol as a beverage (is) clearly in violation of principles from the scriptures.”

To violate the principles of Scripture is sin. Many old Baptist catechism defines 'transgression' (sin) as "Violating the principles of God's Word."

Any clear minded impartial reader will see the accuracy of my original post. The attempt to point out the 'resolution' does not call it sin is a red herring because the statement was leadership allowed this resolution believing the subject in question to be sin.

In His Grace,

Wade

Bill said...

Katie: Paul also hoped the Judaizers who were troubling the Galatians about circumcision would just castrate themselves and go away. The question is not offending, the question is whether the "weaker brother" argument provides the weaker Christians veto power over the actions of all Christians for all time in every situation. As I have said before, if that is the case, then all Christians should model their behavior after the strictest Christians we can find, lest we "offend" them.

There are times when Christians must restrain themselves from exercising a Christian liberty. What is happening however is that some people want Christians to never exercise certain liberties.

Wade Burleson said...

By the way, James and Karen,

The two of you are MISSING the point. The EXCLUSION of otherwise qualified Southern Baptist for ministry and service within Southern Baptist life, either state conventions or the national convention, by adopting policies that EXCEED the 2000 BFM is the issue.

Why don't we exclude people that smoke? Why don't we exclude people that go to movies? Why don't we exclude women who were pants to convention meetings? Why don't we exclude the obese? Why don't we exclude people who don't read their Bible daily? Why don't we exclude (put your favorite topic here) . . .

Why don't we STOP excluding people by enacting policies that EXCEED the 2000 BFM.

That is the issue.

In His Grace,

wade

Wade Burleson said...

Katie,

"I am offended that you, a woman, commented on my blog. You should remain silent and let men debate theological issues. You should submit to the spiritual leadership of your husband, and if you desire to post a comment, ask him to do it for you - signing HIS name, not yours. A woman correcting a man in the blogosphere on theological matters is offensive.

Now, Katie, follow your own logic as you process through my offense. You say, 'it is more important NOT to offend a weaker brother in the exercise of such liberty.'

What will you do?

In His Grace,

Wade

Phil said...

Hi Mr. Burleson,
I am a 17-year-old young man and I was interested in your blog through discussions I have heard my parents have about the issues you bring up here on the internet. So I read through a few of your posts and scrolled my way through some comments. I understand one of the main issues lately brought up has been the issue of drinking alcoholic beverages by believers and if there should be guidelines regarding membership in certain Southern Baptist organizations having to do with abstinence from drinking.

While I agree with you and with most Southern Baptists that drinking alcohol is not a sin, I also think it is reasonable to require employees of Southern Baptist organizations to abstain from alcoholic beverages. Paul instructs us to always be alert. Alcohol clouds judgment even with the first ingested milliliters.

Also, the most recent comment on this post I have more serious issue with. This blog is not a church. The verses that instruct women to remain silent deal with church services and maintaining order during services. Imagine a group of Greek women chattering on in a house church in Ephesus and we can better understand Paul's encouragement for them to remain silent. However, this blog is not a church service by any stretch of the imagination and I think that women have as much right to discuss theological issues as men do.

James said...

Wade,

[You say the point is] The EXCLUSION of otherwise qualified Southern Baptist for ministry and service within Southern Baptist life, either STATE CONVENTIONS or the national convention, by adopting policies that EXCEED the 2000 BFM is the issue.
[...]
Why don't we STOP excluding people by enacting policies that EXCEED the 2000 BFM.

(emphasis mine)

Well, why limit state conventions only? Why not end the sinful, legalistic, exclusionary practices of Southern Baptist CHURCHES as well? Let's require than Southern Baptist churches refrain from hiring practices that exceed or FALL SHORT OF the BFM2000? Let's turn every association within SB life into a subservient entity of the national convention.

[Also you said] Any clear minded impartial reader will see the accuracy of my original post.

I consider myself a clear minded but quite PARTIAL reader. I approached your posts very much as a your advocate. So based on my reaction, I recommend a re-assessment of your posts accuracy on that basis alone. Lets do that:

[You assert your original post said] "The only reason for such a bylaw change is the belief held by SBTC leadership that drinking an alcoholic beverage is a sin - for everybody."

Well, this is not your "original" post on this subject recently. Your protracted tea-drinking parody was predicated by a prior post denouncing the SBTC's resolution on alcohol abstinence among state agency employees and elected officials. And your ORIGINAL original post said nothing about a bylaw change. You seemed to have been under the impression at first that it was a 2007 resolution.

But could there be another reason that the leadership made the bylaw change in 2007? Hmmmm....could it be that the leadership was being RESPONSIVE to the vote of the majority of the messengers of the 2006 SBTC convention? Do you think the leadership should ignored the will of the messengers as Pharisaical masses whose resolutions on employee/executive standards of behavior require filtering by more divinely wise understanding?

Finally, no one (not one single body) is EXCLUDED by the 2006 resolution or 2007 bylaw change from serving as an employee or elected executive of the SBTC agencies. They are merely prevented from imbibing WHILE THEY HOLD THOSE POSTS. This is something that was already true for many church staff members among SB churches. It is not at all uncommon for someone being considered for a post 1) to ask about the hiring church's policy on drinking wine, 2) to be told that staff members are expected to abstain, and 3) for that person to follow that job requirement during the period of his employment. I've never met anyone who was otherwise generally happy serving in a Southern Baptist church to find this restriction overly onerous.

Anonymous said...

My name is Shannon. My wife Katie reads Grace and Truth to You. I'd rather she not. It seldom inspires her or motivates her to live out her missionary calling. I hope this doesn't cause anyone to challenge my ability to lead my family and move to disqualify me from missionary service under the BF&M's article XVIII. I was required to submit to the stipulations of the 2000 BF&M per the IMB board of trustees and should strive to conduct myself, my family and ministry within these confessions of our Southern Baptist Convention.

Wade, your clever comparison to remaining quiet in church to posting on a BLOG is an example of an extra-biblical restriction likened to what you addressed in your original tea drinking post. Yet, we all know Christ didn't establish your BLOG, so your offense is only mentioned to make a point. Again, very clever.

While you raised issues of merit regarding extra-biblical requirements and how they affect potential IMB missionaries in multiple posts, it is disturbing to see how venomous others become while addressing the issues. Calloused retorts do nothing to sway opinion and they certainly have little in them to call edifying.

Bill said...

Any pro-abstainers going to refute g.alford's question about the LS?

James said...

Wade,

One more thing...I feel stymied in attempting to "get to the heart" of the matter on this issue.

It is not that you are misrepresenting the details, practical results, or unstate intent of the SBTC resolutions (nor do I intend to say you are intentionally doing that). It's not that I have a personal problem with imbibing Baptists serving in SBC agencies.

It is that I think you are so far off-base in your dissent on so many levels of this argument, and yet that you seem to be under impression that your dissent comes down to "just one thing".

It is also that this is such a fruitless, hopeless foray that I am quite certain will destroy an otherwise winnable important broader fight at the NATIONAL level. I don't understand why you are willing to see that happen.

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

The question is not, “How much liberty do I have in my lifestyle?” The question should be, “How much can I seek to please the Lord Jesus and be the best testimony for him?'

The real question is why some think that when some christians exercise their liberty that they are not pleasing the Lord Jesus? If they have the liberty, how is it offending to Jesus? Or is it just offending you?

This "weaker brother" argument always cracks me up. It is usually the one claiming to be the stronger brother asking the weaker brother to come up to their "higher" standard.

MT 23:15 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

Bennett Willis said...

"One can make the same point about the Lord’s Supper that Southern Baptist have made for many years concerning Baptism; that unless the Biblical model is observed it is not valid. That is to say that unless unleavened bread and wine are used in the observance of the Lord’s Supper then it not truly the Lord’s Supper."

Much of this thread is an argument against EVER making an ironic or sarcastic statement or using satire to make a point.

But just for fun, I’ll make an effort to address the argument about wine for the Lord’s Supper. Let’s look at the Biblical model of baptism and see just how we follow it. First (if we use John the Baptist’s baptism of Jesus as the model) the baptism should be done in running water, unheated, and ideally the Jordan River. We generally skip one or more of the items. But we stick firmly with the idea that it must be by immersion and done after expressing the desire to be saved. It is done as a public demonstration of our statement that we believe in Jesus as our savior and it is not necessary for salvation since it is a “work.” It also reminds us of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ—which was clearly not an obvious part of the model presented by John and Jesus. We have definitely added a few things to the original model and we don’t do it for John’s purposes. [Holman, Mark 1:4 “John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Let’s look how we follow the model for the Lord’s Supper. We use bread, drink, and we very carefully do it in remembrance of Him. We don’t “recline at the table” and in most Baptist Churches we don’t drink from the same cup. I think that an argument could be made that we stick closer to the model on the Lord’s Supper than on baptism. We have added no other meanings to the original and we do it as Christ instructed, “in remembrance of Me.”

In both ordinances we strive to be true to the purpose of the original model and to approximate the original presentation. And to re-emphasize—I think that we stick closer to the model on the Lord’s Supper than we do on baptism.

As I recall the use of juice rather than wine in Baptist observations of the Lord’s Supper came about during prohibition—but I really have not checked on this. Once we switched, it has been hard to gain any significant interest in going back. Alcohol abuse and drunkenness has been a problem in the culture that many Baptists come from. This has encouraged us to take a cultural view that is desirable (obviously if you abstain there is no abuse) but which is not easily supported Biblically. We have not taken the same approach to smoking because the acute effects are not as immediate and smoking does not as obviously result in abuse of others (physically or financially) as does alcohol abuse. The same thing can be said of several of the other sins that have been brought up in this thread.

Once upon a time, I helped my brother-in-law pour the juice for the observation of the Lord’s Supper in his church. We were using some juice that was left over from the last observation and I noticed when I took the top off the bottle that it hissed a little. When I drank it that evening, I mentally noted that we were probably closer to the original elements than normal.

Bennett Willis

Wade Burleson said...

Phil,

Thanks for your comment and let me encourage you to continue your research as well as your participation in all things Southern Baptists.

Please understand that my comment to Katie is not something I actually believe - in fact, I am a proponent for the full participation of women in Southern Baptist life.

My comment to Katie is to show the fallacy of allowing the weaker brother to control what you say or do.

In His Grace,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

You, like my seventeen year old friend Phil, do not understand my comment to Katie. I am using simple logic to show that she herself, using her logic, would be stymied if someone simply said he was offended with what she wrote.

In His Grace,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

James,

A church can do as she wishes.

A convention is built on cooperation of different and diverse churches.

That's why the focus is on the convention and not your church - or mine.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade said
"A convention is built on cooperation of different and diverse churches."

Who are also responsible to send messengers to vote responsibly and convictionaly. Thats what happened in Texas Wade. Why do you weigh heavy your brothers and sisters in Texas who happen to hold a different and diverse opinion other than your own? Do you really believe that what happens in the SBTC is the straw that breaks the back of the SBC? In short...what business is it of yours what Texas does as a convention. It does not effect one iota what you good folks in Oklahoma do. Now if what Texas has done is LCEARLY out of line with scripture, then I believe you have a dog in this fight...but you have siad time and time again that there ought to be liberty for baptists and their entities to live as they feel led. Apaprently the messengers of the SBTC did just that. This was not a 60-40 vote brother...I was there. I do not recall more than maybe a handfull of votes against the by law change. SO again, what hath Texas to do with Oklahoma? or even Nashville for that maater?

jrm

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

The SBCT and BGCT split because of an unwillingness to cooperate.

Wade

Karen Gray said...

Mr. Burleson, I do understand your point. I agree with much of what you say. I was just chasing down a source, and trying to sort out the various threads of commentary.

When everyone who has a question or a slightly different reaction is told that we are MISSING THE POINT (the point being both accurate in substance and manifest to any clear-minded person), well, this is a kind of rough. Not sure if Trish and Katie and 17-yr-old Phil and James feel that way, it's just not what I'm used to on blogs.

Jack Maddox said...

Well good for you Wade! In a sense you’re correct, in and that there does come a time when one cannot cooperate due to the issues being to far apart and great to unify over. That was certainly the case in Texas. In splitting from the BGCT we have found unity and peace and a sense of mission that had been lost in the political mire that had become the BGCT. They still seem to be caught up in upheaval and discord, where we have managed to dwell in unity, at least for now. I am sure those who have found a home in the CBF feel the same way.

But what does that have to do with my comment or question to you to you? : )

what does Texas and her actions have to do with Oklahoma or the larger SBC as a whole?

jrm

James said...

Wade,

[you said] A church can do as she wishes. A convention is built on cooperation of different and diverse churches. That's why the focus is on the convention and not your church - or mine.

I agree that the focus should be the NATIONAL convention. Not so long ago you were a major figure in a movement to stop convention leaders from acting beyond the scrutiny and mandate the convention.

Now you seem to be heading a movement against convention leaders IMPLEMENTING convention resolutions that you disapprove of.


I'm feeling old and nostalgic.

Churches have the same problem with cooperation among diverse PEOPLE that conventions do with diverse CHURCHES and diverse STATE CONVENTIONS. (Imagine the problem my church has with me)

Should state convention faithfulness to the BFM2000 work the other way? Should state coventions be OBLIGATED to affirm the BFM2000 rather than, if they chose, the BFM1963?

Is it true that it is okay for a state convention to set standards of behavior for employees and executives based on things that don't matter, but wrong to set those standards on things the majority consider sinful (mistaken or not)?

Is it true standards that might *possibly* be construed to have been implemented with because a large number of messengers consider it sinful (even if the standards themselves don't condemn the act as sinful) should be off-table?

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
You’re saying, “The SBCT and BGCT split because of an unwillingness to cooperate” would be more correct if you said, ‘The SBCT was formed because…”

The “because” is a much debated issue:

1. The SBC ‘hotline phone’ told me “because the BGCT wasn’t giving the proper amount of money to the SBC.”

2. Their president, Miles Seaborn said because “…he would not give another nickel of his tithe to anywhere he thought was ungodly.”
3. Jim Richards said because “Those who depart theologically will be identified and called to repent.”

4. Richards said because “To the foes of SBTC…we’ve been called to contrast you.”

5.The real because was fundamentalist could not win the elections to put their leaders in charge of the 150 year-old convention that would not bow to the conservative resurgence smoke-screen of making the Bible a political football with their exaggerated cries of liberal.

James said...

rex ray,

errr...I don't think the SBTC existed when the BGCT chose to stop cooperating with the SBC.

If a church did want to associate with a state convention that *does* associate with the SBC, what choice did they have? Join the Oklahoma convention?

Many churches cooperate with both the BGCT and the SBTC.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

Why will you not answer my question. What does the actions of the SBTC have to do with Oklahoma or on a larger scale the SBC?

Not a trick question...

Not trying to 'trip' you up

just asking a honest question.

jrm

Anonymous said...

You know... do you ever stop to consider. You're at odds with the SBC, and the IMB. Most people I know that are southern baptists think you're a flake. But it's always someone else besides you that's wrong.

Now you're trying to convince us that the SBC has changed because they are opposed to drinking alcohol. And that somehow this is going to destroy the denomination.

Seriously, you should take some time off. And you should consider whether or not you really want to align yourself with baptists. I've been a baptist longer than you have. My roots are deep like yours are. Maybe you should spend your time preaching to the lost, instead of trying to change a denomination.

Jack said...

"Maybe you should spend your time preaching to the lost, instead of trying to change a denomination."

The SBC is supposed to be about cooperating to preach to the lost, is it not?

What is is those of you who oppose Wade's call for more cooperation fear?

Why are you so threatened by so many who wish to call you Brother and Sister and wish to cooperate to minister to the poor and reach the lost?

We are not the enemy.

Satan is.

Blessings,

-jack-

Anonymous said...

I think too many people are missing the real issue and that is:
Your CHINESE SISTER we'll call "ANN" lost her father last week to cancer. She could only sit by and pray as her father slipped away into an eternity without JESUS!

THAT MY FRIENDS IS THE POINT!!! And with those who are continuing to limit cooperation, and inflict continual pain and harassment among those who genuinely LOVE THE LOST and want to bring the SBC BACK to it's DIVINE CALL FROM THE FATHER to reach the lost(like Wade and so many others on this blog sight)people like Ann's dad, WONDERFUL, KIND, GENTLE, BUT LOST men and woman around the world are REALLY gonna be the people who end up paying the price for petty and childish rules and regulations that are trying to be impossed!!

I know that I'm not the most eloquent writer on this or any other blog....and I know that last sentence was a run on sentence that will be chided by the Kate Turabians(how EVER you spell that woman's name), but I think if you'll look closely enough, you'll find something of truth!

I hope that EACH OF US are spending 5 times the amount of energy and time on our knees that goes into reading and responding to blog sites. (Don't get me wrong, I love 'em and read....I'm just feeling such PASSION right now about the lost that I've gone postal!!!!)

WADE...keep it up!! You're setting fires under missionaries and pew setters around the world!!!

JALLEN

he's only chasing safety said...

"You're at odds with the SBC, and the IMB. Most people I know that are southern baptists think you're a flake. But it's always someone else besides you that's wrong."

I love you brother, but you should begin by being courageous and posting your name. No one will even take your comments seriously if you have to hide behind a veil. The people you know must be few because I know of an immense amount people who are having their eyes opened to the state of this convention and are ready to take action to band together as Southern Baptists, but foremost, Christians, for the sake of the Gospel.

That kind of "attack mode" attitude and a refusal to take into account that others may have a differing opinion than yourself is what is putting the SBC at stake of becoming a band of robots. Please, take the time to think these things through before you take a firm stance against something that may threaten "normality."

By the way, why are there still so many arguments going on about alcohol and other issues of that nature still going on? Did everyone read what this post was about?

I'm going to go have a beer. Wait, no I'm not. It's against Southern Seminary policy :o)

jallen said...

Wade...feel free to remove this, but right now I'm angry at this guy and all the rest of those who are missing the real issue for which you are, in the end fight!!!!!(and forgive my use of exclamation points, I know how you feel about them and to be honest, so does my laptop, I'm typing them so hard, I wouldn't be surprised if my computer doesn't crash from the zeal with which I'm typing....)


"A FLAKE"....oh, come on!!! Since when are you taking scientic polls trying to determine who or who doesn't NOT call Wade a flake!!

Maybe I could say that MOST PEOPLE THINK YOU ARE A CLOSED MINDED MORON!?!?!?!?!

HOW'S THAT FOR BEING ANONYMOUS...try speaking the truth

(which there is NONE is saying that people think Wade is a flake)!!!

GET WITH IT...you and everyone like you...what is at stake here is the CONVENTION THAT GOD CALLED INTO BEING TO SEE THAT HIS COMMISSION WAS FULFILLED. I've almost lost all sense of security, but I'm so ANGRY that people wanna fight about ppl(WHICH ARE AN AMAZING HELP when one is on the front lines of spiritual battle), you wanna fight about who baptized who...who hates beer, but teaches with such idiocy about such matters to their children that they have no alternative but to join their buddies in some parking lot and getting so drunk they have to call their pastor father and tell him they're spending the night at a friends...you're talking about OVER WEIGHT pastors railing against their favorite 'sin' that people are missing the WHOLE point of Jesus death....FREEDOM, and the need to see that EVERYONE in the world has a chance to hear the life changing message that HIS GRACE has taken care of it all and made a way for us to be reconciled to a LOVING, JUST, FORGIVING GOD!!!!

A FLAKE...right now I need to shut off my computer and get on my knees for you my dear 'anonymous' brother....A FLAKE!!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Yes, indeed A FLAKE!!! AND THAT FLAKE IS YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

IT'S ABOUT THE LOST DUMMY!!!!

G. Alford said...

Jack,

You ask what does Texas and her actions have to do with Oklahoma or the larger SBC as a whole?

Jack have you ever heard of “Death by a thousand cuts”? Be it a dagger through the heart or a thousand tiny cuts the end result is the same.

And are you saying that if the Virginia Baptist Convention passed a Bylaw change restricting service in their State Convention to exclude all who are NOT Calvinist (which they have not) that you would have no problem with this?

Grace Always,

Stephen Pruett said...

Oh come on Tim Guthrie, we hang on polls whereas you believe the Bible--Puleeze. The arguments for and against private prayer language and proper administrator for Baptism have been thoroughly discussed here and on other blogs, and I did not see that either side slam dunked the other. The truth is scripture does not permit definitive conclusions on these matters without the insertion of at least one presupposition or opinion (which, of course, cannot be regarded as inerrant). If you support exclusions of baptists from missionary service on the basis of one interpretation on these matters, then you have (contrary to your assertion) disrespected the freedom of others.

Anonymous, I can understand why you don't use your name (if you are going to insult someone, can't you do better than saying everyone thinks you are a flake?). For the 9 millionth time, the point is not supporting alcohol consumption the point is not even necessarily to support a private prayer language or to deny some requirements for those who administer baptism. The point is that (contrary to Tim Guthrie's position) excluding people from service on the basis of these things is unbaptistic. When I was growing up "No creed but the Bible" and the "Priesthood of the Believer" and the "autonomy of the local church" were real and were meaningful. When these are abandoned as some seem determined to do, we have truly lost our identity. Please note it is not Wade who wants to change the SBC. The real rebels and radicals are those who would impose rules of their own making without consulting the folks whose prayers and money make mission work possible. These individuals seem determined to discard the principles that have been among the most important baptist distinctives. Wade made the mistake of telling the truth about what they are doing and waking many of us out of complacent slumber. Even though he has paid a price, I am grateful.

When the folks with this mind set finally settle on excluding folks who believe like you do on some issue, please post and tell us how you enjoy it and how you like for the SBC to move away from you even though you and your family have been devoted participants. You may think this is farfetched, but the trajectory is clear. A woman can't teach Hebrew to men, private prayer language can't be tolerated, only baptisms by "authorized" persons are valid. What will be next can probably be predicted on the basis of discussions here. Prohibition of any consumption of alcohol, requiring closed communion, a pre-millennial view, less than 5-points, belief in a literal 7, 24 hr days creation, etc etc etc. Will you be on the "right" side of these or other issues? You really can't know. That's why some of us are complaining loudly when our neighbors are excluded. Couple that with a state association that seems willing to follow this exclusionary, legalistic trend and agencies that do not allow dissent, and there is genuine cause for concern. .

Lin said...

"Most people I know that are southern baptists think you're a flake."

Interesting comment which I found amusing since I know several people who work at one of the seminary's who do not even know his name but refer to him as that pastor in OK on the IMB BoT who makes a lot of sense.

But then, both of our experiences are anecdotal.

Karen Gray said...

I have a dumb question, here goes:

What does cooperation entail?

When my church voted "not to cooperate" with SBTC, I was told it meant not sending money or messengers. Here it is used in a broad and fluid sense, e.g., doing what it takes to effectively promote the gospel...?

RM said...

Just a little note to anonymous...

I have been a Southern Baptist for probably much longer than either you or Wade (and probably longer than both of you put together) and I know tons of Southern Baptists--and I have yet to find one who think he's a flake. In fact, most of them think he's AWESOME.

Jack Maddox said...

rm

I think wade is just AWESOME also!
Wade...your AWESOME!

jrm

G. Alford said...

JohnMark made the observation over on another Blog that:

These actions are divisive by nature and by design.

I agree 100%...the ONLY purpose for these acts is to exclude other Southern Baptist from positions of service and influence...

And as Stephen Pruett pointed out... You can be sure... it ant over yet! Them Good Old Baptist Boys have a long list of those they will exclude before they are through...
if ever they will be through with their "Purge of the SBC"…

Grace Always,

Jack Maddox said...

g. alford

I will respond brother but I gotta run...just got a call that the church is a flooding!!!!!

later!

jrm

G. Alford said...

Jack,

No problem my Brother… You and your Church are in my prayers!

Rex Ray said...

James,
Hmmm, am I the only guy that’s going to question your saying, “errr…I don’t think the SBTC existed when the BGCT chose to stop cooperating with the SBC.”

“Cooperating” covers many things. When and what are you talking about?

I believe the BGCT gives more money to the SBC than any State, so you couldn’t mean that.

Maybe you mean they don’t cooperate because they don’t have any elected positions in the SBC.

I couldn’t argue with that as the June 17, 1998 Baptist Standard reported the presiding president of the SBC, Tom Eliff, told the new president, Page Patterson, all barnacles and parasites had been removed from the Ship of Zion.

On July 15, 1998, Jack and Velma Dickerman from Wichita Falls, wrote: “Many are totally unaware that those who have named themselves ‘Southern Baptists of Texas’ are the same group who took over the SBC, and who are now making every effort to take over the BGCT. They call us who are traditional/grassroots Baptists ‘moderates’ and ‘liberals’ while we are the ones who have remained true to basic Baptist doctrines and beliefs, such as priesthood of the believer and autonomy of the local church.”

The fundamentalists that Dickerman was referring to lost at the Texas Baptist Convention at Houston, November 9-10, 1998, so they announced their new convention after being defeated.

Ronnie Yarber, SBTC administrative director said: “Although the constitutional convention November 10, 1998 will mark the official launch of the new convention, it has been in operation since January. We’re 10 months old. The baby’s learning to walk well. Then it will run and produce.”

What Yarber meant was the baby had been going all over Texas persuading churches to join them by quoting the October 1998 Plumbline news journal saying bad things about their opponents: “Denied deity of Christ, need for his death, and importance of his virgin birth. Called for the ordination of gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons. Proclaimed the Bible does not condemn all forms of homosexual behavior. Referred to God as ‘mother.’ Defended the reproduction and distribution of child pornography.”

Now that the SBTC claims to be a sister convention with the BGCT, they should apologize for why and how they started.

Phil said...

Hi again, Mr. Burleson.

I was thinking more about the recent posts here on your blog and recognized a lot of similar traits in many of the participants in this discussion that I see on Facebook and myspace. The arguments that are presented are juvenile personal attacks. I don't see much of an honest intellectual search for truth in the discussion. Its sad for me to look at my elders in the church and see the immaturity they display in their arguments.

I'd really appreciate being able to email you one-on-one so I can get a closer look at Southern Baptist church politics and more fully understand the organization and hierarchy of the conventions. I'm interested in a career as a pastor so I'd like to do some research before I get too involved.

shadrach said...

Phil, congratulations. By the way, I think you understood the point. Wade was not drawing an equal argument.

I need to do a quick rundown of comments before my point. I appologize ahead of time for the length that may ensue.

Chuck Andrews said that what the individual states do does matter and called on us to unify around our unifying doctrines.
Dave Miller spoke to the three levels of 'truth': fundamental, doctrinal, and personal.
G. Alford said we don't follow scripture in our observance of the ordinances in that we don't use wine or unleavened bread.
Bill said, "the whole hurts your witness thing is a load of garbage" because we are not looking at other, more obvious 'sins.'
Bennet Willis did an excellent defense of the way we observe the ordinances today.

Here is a big issue: we can cooperate without agreeing on extra scriptural issues.

As SB's, we should all affirm the BF&M. As individual states, churches, and organizations we can adopt any guidelines we desire as long as they do not contradict the BF&M, but we do so acknowledging that our extra guidelines do not limit our cooperation with the whole, they simply help us define who we are in light of the whole. Alcohol, tea, Southern's Abstract of Principles, and the SBTC's bylaws all fall in this category. We use them to define ourselves and as standards for disagreement in contexts such as this.

I am against alcohol consumption by any Baptist beacuse my background has led me to believe it to be harmful. I can still cooperate very successfully with those who drink in private. But when they drink in public, I believe it to be hurting their witness and mine if I am with them. Bill, I try and weed out anything in my life that harms my witness. Come visit me and tell me how I can do better. I mean that. I appreciate instruction on living a better, more holy life. As should we all.

SO this argument is way too personal, as Phil suggested. It is over non-essentials, but rather than treating it as us trying to refine each other or sharpen each other into the strongest witness possible in our culture, we have made it 'a hill to die on.'

Let's calm down, realize drinking is not a sin, try to clear all the sin out of our own lives so we can help others in side issues, and cooperate in winning the lost.

When we have the right goal, we can civilly debate the side issues.

Wade, I also think you're awesome. I'm glad you prompt these debates, but wish you would help a little more in keeping us on focus.

Bill said...

Shadrach: I disagree about moderate drinking "hurting our witness", as I said. I've just never seen it happen, or heard of it happening. I've only ever been warned about it from teetotallers (of which I am one). I think people should live out their convictions, and I think people are free to convince others to their point of view. I think we need to be very careful, however, when legislating our point of view unless it is a scriptural slam dunk.

I know accusations and counter accusations of gossip have been thrown around this blog and others but what I'm about to say is not prompted by that but by my own personal observations and experiences. Gossip is the single biggest threat to local churches. I am convinced of it. Drinking doesn't even come remotely close to it. It is pervasive, insidious, and almost universally committed. I have been hurt by it I have hurt others with it. I am a victim and guilty. And I cannot think of a single person who is not guilty of it. It is the slow poison which infects our churches and tears them apart. If our efforts to stamp out drinking by Christians (which honestly causes more outrage than harm) were channeled into stamping out gossip, then our churches, missions, and lives would be far healthier.

Phil said...

Bill said: "I disagree about moderate drinking "hurting our witness", as I said. I've just never seen it happen, or heard of it happening. I've only ever been warned about it from teetotallers (of which I am one). I think people should live out their convictions."

I totally agree with you here. I've been in situations where I've been asked if I want a cigarette or a sip of a beer and I've said no because of my personal convictions, not because of my religious beliefs. I've refused to go into shops with acquaintances when they go to buy cigarettes because I don't want to appear at all to condone and affirm their choices. I've waited outside of shops as my friends have gone inside to buy their cigarettes. Just a bit of a role reversal there.

I think that abstaining from alcohol or tobacco can be a totally non-religious decision. I think that if Southern Baptist organizations want to make drinking alcoholic beverages off-limits to their employees that's fine so long as they back-up the rules they enforce with secular authority rather than divine authority.

karen gray said...

Phil, thanks for encouraging mutual respect.

rex ray - My question "what does cooperation entail" referred to the title of this post -- cooperation for the gospel. Everyone agrees on that, but in practice it seems to get hung up. I will ask my pastor since my question is so broad. Thanks!

Jim Paslay said...

Wade said:

"We used to be known for our efforts to cooperate in taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to unreached people groups around the world. We used to be known for our stands on liberty of conscience and our firmly held belief that the Word of God was sufficient for our faith and practice. We were, in short, Christ-honoring, Bible-believing, liberty-loving, missions-minded, Southern Baptists who cooperated with each other regardless of our differences."

Question 1: When did we used to be known for what you have commented on?
Question 2: When did it change?

Question 3: Who is at fault for the change?

I would be interested in your answers!

kehrsam said...

Jim Pasley: Perhaps I'm not the best person to answer that question (since I was not a Christian at the time, much less SBC), but I would say the answer to all three parts is, "Before the Conservative Resurgence." The CR may well have been a necessary corrective, but that is where the roots of the current politicization of leadership and narrow legalism lie.

The SBC is in a tightening spiral of excluding whoever is "unBiblical" or "unBaptist." Only the definition of those terms is constantly changing. The current targets are charasmatics and Calvinists (ironic, given the roots of the Baptist movement).

At this rate, in 30 years the SBC will be three men standing at the altar of an empty megachurch in some suburb. Oh, and i don't trust the guy on the left.

Anonymous said...

jallen: Why would Wade ever consider not putting such brillance on his blog? I feel so good since I read your words of wisdom. Which is only excelled by your ability to punctuate. Thank you; Jim Sadler

othoniel a valdes sr said...

Please refrain from speaking for all of us. As a long time Southern Baptist,who attended a Southern Baptist University & a Southern Baptist Seminary and who was born in the home of a Southen Baptist pastor and who is presently supported through a southern Baptist ministry I for one do not feel that our Southern Baptist Heritage is at stake or at a cross road as you are constantly implying.

cameron coyle said...

Wade,

Two questions:

1. Can you point to any reference at all that shows the SBTC or any of its leadership hold a position that would justify this statement of yours, "the new bylaw amendment at the SBTC that identifies the use of alcohol as a beverage as 'sin.'"

2. Would you say that the SBTC's bylaw change is out of step with this line from the SBC's 2006 resolution on alcohol use? "RESOLVED, That we urge that no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that is a user of alcoholic beverages."

Bennett Willis said...

There is only one good thing about extremists: They don’t know when to stop. That was key to the surge. The anti-mingling, pro-Qaeda Iraqi Sunnis went way too far — in beheading people, suicide-bombing mosques, forcing marriages with the daughters of Sunni tribal sheiks and demanding that men grow beards and stop drinking whiskey.

It was this extreme fundamentalism that prompted something you so rarely see in Arab-Muslim politics: moderate Sunnis going all the way, rather than just going away. That is, rising up, risking their own lives, even aligning themselves with America, to defend their more moderate, traditional, Sunni way of life from the jihadists.

This is a quote from Tom Friedman's column today (Illegal Mixing--about the woman who was sentenced to 200 lashes). I thought it was interesting.

Bennett Willis

Jack said...

Cameron asks:

1. "Can you point to any reference at all that shows the SBTC or any of its leadership hold a position that would justify this statement of yours, "the new bylaw amendment at the SBTC that identifies the use of alcohol as a beverage as 'sin.'

---
Here you go:

“I am a biblical inerrantist. I also believe the Bible teaches total abstinence from alcohol as beverage.”

“Practical Christianity is based upon principles from the Word of God. The use of alcohol as a beverage (is) clearly in violation of principles from the scriptures.”

-SBTC Executive Director/SBC VP Jim Richards

I will answer your second question: "Would you say that the SBTC's bylaw change is out of step with the SBC's 2006 resolution on alcohol use?" with another question:

Would you say that the resolutions changing standards from committing the sin of drunkenness to (the extra-biblical standard of) consumption of alcohol as prohibition from serving on state SBC boards, conventions, etc is out of step with the SBC's 2007 "Garner Resolution" (below) which was first approved by the SBC Executive Committee and then by messengers at the SBC Convention?

“The Baptist Faith & Message is neither a creed nor a complete statement of faith, nor final or infallible; nevertheless, we further acknowledge that it is the only consensus statement of doctrinal beliefs approved by the Southern Baptist Convention and as such is sufficient in its current form to guide trustees in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the convention.”

Blessings,

-jack-

Rex Ray said...

Jack,
You are correct in saying, “The BFM is neither a creed…”, but it becomes a creed when people are FORCED to sign it.

Anonymous said...

There has arised throughout the years many "confessions" and messages (BF&M). I would say that each time these were made specific standards were narrowed.

Each time a confession or message was made it was in respopnse to an error that was being taught. That is historic of Baptists and particularly Southern Baptists.

So the issue isn't the narrowing of parameters. What is the issue is do some feel picked on because the Convention will not justify their error.