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

The Evangelist Who Led President Bush to Christ: Revelation of Character Through Personal Attack

Last Monday night evangelist Arthur Blessitt appeared on the PTL national program with host Richard Hogue of City Church, Oklahoma City. Also appearing on the show was Scott Camp, who used to be a Southern Baptist pastor and the former dean of Criswell Bible College,and Dwight McKissic, who is the pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church (SBC) in Arlington, Texas. I will write later about the show itself, but the point of this post is to request that my fellow Southern Baptists refrain from attacking the character of men because they do not agree with them.

Arthur Blessitt has spoken at several Southern Baptist Conventions and Pastors' Conferences in the 1980's. He is a Baptist and for many years considered himself Southern Baptist. When Arthur Blessitt faced struggles in his family life, my father was called upon to provide some counseling to the Blessitt family. The details of that time in Arthur's life are not important, but I mention it because of what took place in the blogosphere this week after Arthur and other Southern Baptists appeared on PTL. On a Southern Baptist blog - in the comment section - two statements made by two separate Southern Baptist pastors caught my eye:

Isn't Arthur Blessitt the Evangelist that carried his cross into the hotel room with his secretary?

By the way, was it in tongues when the Holy Spirit told Arthur Blessitt to divorce his wife and marry a woman thirty years younger than him?

This post is not written to defend Arthur Blessitt. It is also not written to challenge the two pastors about whether or not they have spoken to personally spoken Arthur about their concerns prior to writing them on an a public blog site. This post is written to make a simple point:

There is a human tendency to attack the character of those with whom you disagree. But the Holy Spirit, civility, and Christian grace should lead Christians to say something kind about those with whom we disagree.

For instance, how would readers of the blog feel about Arthur after reading a statement from these Southern Baptist pastors that went something like this:

Isn't Arthur Blessitt the same Evangelist that led President Bush to faith in Jesus Christ? Though he advocates speaking in tongues, and I disagree, the Lord has used him mightily around the world.

It is always preferable to express disagreement with a Christian brother apart from character attacks on him. Though it may initially seem effortless to fire an arrow of assault at the character of a brother in Christ, in the end, the ultimate piercing of the heart occurs in the Christian archer. I tell this to any Christian brother I know. Whether they listen is between them and the Lord.

In His Grace,


Wade

57 comments:

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

Feel free to post your comment again if you would like. Please read my last sentence. I tell this to everyone I know.

Blessings,

Wade

Anonymous said...

I thought the exact same thing when I read Mr. Guthrie's post. I'm sure he and the men who commented have good things to say, but I lose sight of it because of what I sense to be the incessant attacks on people who disagree with them.

Tim Guthrie said...

Annon,
No attacks by me. I simply reported what I watched on television last night only because my wife was flipping channels and saw it.

As for my post and character attacks - will you denounce the attacks on Dr. Patterson?

Tim Guthrie said...

Wade,
Since you deleted my comment, does this mean that you have instructed one of your staff members to cease the attacks on Dr. Patterson and they have been left to do as they please?

Anonymous said...

I heard no attacks on the television show. I simply heard people state the facts of what happened. Nobody stated publicly they had seen Dr. Patterson with a woman that was not his wife at a seminary meeting, or had embezzled money from the institution, or had a mental breakdown. Those things would have been personal attacks.

Wade Burleson said...

Scott,

Thanks for the invitation. I will do as you ask.

Pastor Bruce said...

Scott,

??

I have read some of your comments on the internet your inability to get your point across is because of your often caustic attitude.

Wade,

I do not know why you put up with people like Scott Gordon. He demonstrates the very thing you post about.

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

I have spoken to Ben on numerous occasions about the benefit of speaking out about specific issues, expressing disagreement with civility, and refraining from personal attacks. In the end, the gracious, civil, firm, persistent, and principled writer and speaker always wins those things that are important. You will get no disagreement from me.

In His Grace,

Wade

Tim Guthrie said...

Wade,
SOOOO your answer is ?????

Did you instruct or just discuss or is this between you and a staff member? I could understand the later but would (if I were you) for the sake of my own positions and stances, instruct and expect it to cease.

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

I discuss it. Contrary to the authoritarian style of some, I let people come to conclusions on their own. It is always better for something to come from the heart. We are not discussing matters of law or the moral code - we are discussing subjective matters of civility and grace - and it seems to me that it is viewed differently by various Southern Baptist pastors. My hope is that in time, it is all viewed the same.

Wade Burleson said...

By the way, I am discussing it here as well.

No instructions involved at all.

Tim Guthrie said...

Do you not find it ironic to call on people to stop attacking and yet allow a staff member to continue? Not trying to provoke here. Just trying to understand your position??

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

I don't know how I can be any clearer. I have stated to everyone I know that I believe it is ALWAYS best, at all times, to deal with issues and to refrain from personal attacks. Period.

Whether they do so is between them and the Lord. When you say I 'allow' these things to occur, I respond, "Tim, last time I checked I am not the Lord."

:)

Tim Guthrie said...

Wade,
That may be the most "Wade Burleson" response yet :).

Trust you and yours have thawed out from the ice.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks Tim.

We are doing well. Bracing for the next storm to hit tomorrow.

Blessings to you and yours as well.

Wade

CB Scott said...

Wade,

Your Father would seek to help anybody he could and give all his heart and energy to do it. He is a wonderful man of God and has a great heart for hurting and fallen people. He has wisdom and experience, having forgotten more than most of us will ever learn.

I am sure Paul did his best and with great skill and love to help Arthur's family, but that does not mean Arthur corrected anything.

It is true Arthur did great service to the Kingdom in the past, but that does not mean he is now. If you know the situation, you know that to be true and I will leave it at that.

cb

David Simpson said...

Arthur Blessitt has done some pretty incredible things as he has uniquely preached the gospel across the world. It is discouraging to read how some feel the need to further discredit him, and seemingly enjoy doing it with plays on words and innuendo.

Thanks for the post, Wade...

Anam Cara said...

Wow. Watching you guys over the last few days really makes me glad that I’m not Baptist! (You might want to remember that this is a public blog and anyone can stumble upon it. Consider the witness you are providing about Christianity to outsiders.) I am completely unaccustomed to people tearing each other up like this. I much prefer my world.

I am a new reader to this blog. The church that I come from is very careful not to engage in gossip to the point that we will not discuss the problems of someone not present at our Bible study so we don’t fall into it! We will pray for them knowing that God knows EVERYTHING concerning the problem and can help where needed, not where we specify.

From what I understand of this particular post, I believe that Wade is on the right track. I never heard of Arthur Blessitt before. I still don’t know much about him from Wade’s post. (I confess that I wish Wade hadn't included the post from the other blogs. What he said in the paragraph above gave enough information - Arthur has some personal failings like me and I assume the rest of the readers.) What I do gather from Wade's alternative post is that he (Arthur) advocates speaking in tongues (I’m willing to agree to disagree here).

The responses I read here sound like you are quite willing to just rip a poor soul (and each other if you disagree) to shreds. This isn’t praying for someone, this isn’t sharing a need for prayer, this isn’t edifying or even correction. This is just vicious gossip and tearing another person down.

In your response posts, what happened to love? What happened to edifying one another? Does any good come out of these posts? Where is the admonishing with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs? Where is the humility, the meekness, the attitude that “but for the grace of God…?” What I hear in these posts is a “holier than thou” attitude.
Maybe I'm completely wrong and this is just playful banter among Baptists. In that case, please forgive me for misunderstanding. But it sure doesn't look like that to an outsider.

I KNOW I’m a sinner saved by grace and everyday I try to remember what Paul said:
“but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Philippians 2:3” Maybe I haven't sinned the way Arthur has, but what I've done is certainly enough to condemn me to hell. I can't know if all my "petty" sins might not have grieved God more than another person's one big failing. In fact, when I properly examine myself, I can't imagine that others aren't "better" than I am. My only hope is to trust on the mercies of Christ to save me. May I humbly submit that perhaps others should take the same approach to sin? Sort of along the lines of "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."

Perhaps it would be helpful if folks reread Colossians 3
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Again, please forgive me if I also sound holier than thou and have offended. I meant well.

shadrach said...

Wade, this will sound like I am jumping at a chance opened by Tim, but I don't intend it that way.

I would like to know your opinion on when it is a Pastor/ Elder's responsibility to fire/censure another staff member due to inconsistencies in following what the pastor percieves to be the will of God, eg. making personal attacks or gossiping?

Again, I'm not trying to 'get' you, I just want to know what you think.

Scott Shaffer said...

Wade,

You are on target with your comments about personal attacks on the character of Christian's. I didn't see any of that in the posts with the possible exception of this:

The other issue that jumps out boldly here is how can you publicly attack a fellow minister on a global broadcast and then "speak in the Spirit" in an UN-repentant state of the sin just committed? All three of the guests did this.

And while I'm not sure DM is in unrepentant sin, I don't think the above quote constitutes a character attack. I'll have to mull it over.

As you well note, the attacks come in the comments, not the posts. This is often the problem and frankly I have seen it on your blog as well. We would all do well to heed your words of exhortation.

Bart Barber said...

When a person claims to have entered the "next dimension" of the Christian faith and invites us all to follow, it would be reckless not to follow Christ's advice ("By their fruits you shall know them") before signing up to go along. I didn't raise the issue, Arthur Blessitt raised himself up as the paradigm for Southern Baptists to follow on the video from Wednesday night (that everyone ought to watch for themselves, by the way).

In light of the allegation on the program that I and people like me do not enjoy the "intimate" relationship with the Holy Spirit that Arthur Blessitt and others on the program know, I simply respond that a Holy Spirit who...

1. ...is bestowing spiritual gifts on unregenerate three-year-olds.

2. ...is offering divine blessing upon divorce and remarriage.

...is not only someone whom I do not know as intimately as Arthur Blessitt or Scott Camp, but is also someone whom I do not know at all.

Rex Ray said...

Anama Cara,
You sound like a good Christian who acknowledges their sin to the Lord and hopes Christ will save them.

In a way that’s sad in not knowing Jesus has already and forevermore saved them since we are born again spiritually. Man cannot become unborn spiritually any more than he can be unborn physically.

But that’s not the point. Which does more good; prayer without ‘feet’ or those that do something about the answer God gives the one praying?

And the second and main point is; what can man do in correcting a wrong without some other good folks seeing something wrong in what he is striving to accomplish?

So many times the person is accused of starting trouble when the person is only reporting trouble.

We should report trouble because the Bible says not to report a crime makes us just as guilty.

The purpose of Wade’s blog is to report what some leaders have done wrong. Their rules are rejecting some people who have been called by God to do his service.

Now should we only pray those rules to go away, or should we report those bad rules and try to have them removed?

What would you do?

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

Let's look at your challenge to me. I was the one that you referenced with my quote; "Isn't Arthur Blessitt the Evangelist that carried his cross into the hotel room with his secretary? (Oh, you did quote me directly this time though you did not use quotation marks, but it was in block form so it was an exact quote)

I was not going to respond, but since Anam Cara has given praise to God for not being a Baptist (but along with your support wanted the IMB to sponsor him in missions work)I felt it best to express to you my reasoning for the statement.

I have a biblical example to follow. Paul in 1 Corinthians expressed something that he said was only a rumor--a man have sexual relations with his father's wife. Paul at no place said anything about Matthew 18. He dealt with it in a public letter because the sin was in a public setting and the Corinthian church was accepting of the sin. This person was evidently in leadership within the church and Paul called on the church to dis-fellowship with the Brother.

I called attention to the fact that Brother Blessit left his wife and began an affair with, I believe it was, his secretary. That is public knowledge. I also called attention to that seemingly unrepentant behavior, because he was on TBN as a "former" Southern Baptist calling on Southern Baptist Pastors to follow his example and cross over into Spirit-filled living. I become very suspicious when, as a Southern Baptist, I am told that I have become elitist, rich, and educated for the Spirit of God to work in my life. I am then further suspicious when the ones telling me this are the ones that tell me that I can have any of the worlds riches if I claim it. And these panelist are sitting in a studio owned by a man and his wife that make Jim and Tammy Faye Baker look like paupers.

That is my reason for posting the comment that I did. I will not back up from that comment.

I have not spoken against anyone that sat on that stage expressing their desire to see Southern Baptist Pastors having a more intimate knowledge of our Lord. However, in the venue this is presented, there are some issues I take exception to. I believe it was Brother Scott Camp that made an appeal to Brother Dwight McKissic at last April's Holy Spirit Conference to begin a movement within the SBC and for Brother Dwight to be the Bishop of such a movement. Please feel free to correct my understanding of his public invitation. Also, Brother Dwight did an excellent job defending his position, but his defense was not clearly articulated because of the venue. For example, Brother Dwight presented these same arguments at KCBI in San Antonio last June. No where did he receive such a response in negative fashion. Why? Everyone understood what he was explaining. However, move this venue to TBN--an openly Classic Pentecostal Doctrine mindset--and his views become muddled and intertwined within Classic Pentecostal Doctrine.

As to your post, I believe you owe something of an apology to President Bush. Do you realize that you have called into question the integrity of the personal testimony of our President and you have done so using the writings of someone that was not present and did not get the book deal?

Blessings,
Tim

Paul Burleson said...

CB,

I appreciate the kind words. I would have to say that I regret some of the choices that Arthur has made in years past as I would have to say of almost anyone I know, including myself. [I HAVE talked personally with Arthur about my problems with his choices.]

But I, as I'm sure you, love him and am grateful for the things God has done through him. I can honestly say this of many people whom I know but may not agree with totally theologically or even some of their life decisions.

I DO think it possible to disagree with someone in both theology and choices in life but owe them nothing but love. [And pay that debt.]

If I'm correct in my understanding of scriptural Grace it must reflect the attitude God has toward me to be real Grace. Boy am I glad his blessings don't rest on me based on my behavior but because of the behavior of the One who did it right.

For the life of me I cannot see how one would refuse to accept that to discuss/disagree with points, whether they be theology or life choices, need not be with attacks on the person. The statement from Jesus about "cast the first stone" is sufficient to stop any character condemnation of another for me.

I don't know Page Patterson but I knew and loved his father. I certainly love Page from a distance and were I to know him, it would be a close-up love. That doesn't keep me from strongly disagreeing with some decisions he's made, [firings/release of chapel sermons] some of his theology, [women in ministry/landmarkism tendencies] but I owe and want to pay my debt of love to him.

If someone asks why don't I go after Ben Cole I would answer I don't go after anyone. I know and love Ben and, if I disagree with him, and I have sometimes, it will be to him personally, as it has been, and I will continue to love him as he does me. This is true of Wade Burleson, CB Scott, Bob Cleveland, whomever.

I've used these illustrations to help pinpoint the fact that I believe we've lost a line of civility that is dangerous if we don't recover it. I can't do it for ANYONE else, but I can choose to do it for me. I want to be civil and show a love for those with whom I debate and disagree over issues. I will NOT cease disagreeing. But I choose to NOT attack the person with whom I disagree. It seems so simply to me.

But I'm afraid a strain of anger has arisen in our culture that is invading our churches/pastors. Even perhaps our homes. It was present, no doubt, in the NT era but somehow they got past it and it was said of those early Christians, "see how they love one another." [This was not negated by the Corinthians having to confront one in sin as we have to do on occasion.] Until what was able to be said of that early church is said of us, I believe the gospel is hindered no matter how orthodox our theology.

Sometimes I think I'm from another planet. :)

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

I think, again, you miss my point. I am saying you have valid arguments about Arthur's views on tongues (which are contrary to Dwight McKissics). Don't spoil the argument by attacking the character of the person with whom you disagree.

That's the point.

Wade Burleson said...

Once again, Dad.

Well said.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

I only call his character into question because I am being asked to follow his example in moving toward the Spirit-filled life. If his example in the disciplined fleshly realm is any where close to his example in the Spirit-filled realm, then we have problems.

Do you really believe that his example of his character should not play in a decision as to whether he is presenting truthful doctrine?

Blessings,
Tim

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

I am saying that you do not know Arthur Blessitt, have not called Arthur Blessitt, have not prayed with or for Arthur Blessitt, and have not shown any evidence of seeking to restore either his character or reputation.

When you do the above, I think you are more than qualified to pubicly express the state of his character or the lack thereof and how it relate to his theology. Until then, I believe it expresses more Christian civility to simply argue against his theology.

Gary said...

Wade,

I have thought about human examples to follow regarding a spirit-filled life in the past and this thread brought those back.

I'm certain that you could choose any one of many. My choice since before Seminary was Jack Gray. His mother was a member of the church were I led music in college. He would visit her often and it was a joy that all four of my pastors there never felt insecure about letting Dr. Gray preach.

I also know Dr. Gray's example of a spirit-filled life. His mother. What a Godly woman. She couldn't hear it thunder, but she taught a mean Sunday School lesson and could pray the devil out of pretty much anyone. She also made the best fried chicken in Garvin county.

When I went to Seminary, I met, admired, and was influenced, as so many were, by T.W. Hunt in the music school. I'm recall that he went on the Nashville and worked for a while leading prayer workshops and has written, lead workshops, etc. about prayer and the spirit-filled life..

There are so many examples of good and Godly people, that we shouldn't have to depend on those who wear a mantle of sin which we mortals lift to a higher level than others. I said it before and you've preached it before, I'm certain, that sin is sin. Period. Any un-repented sin is that which separates us from God.

I'm no Biblical scholar. Far be it. I'm a bi-vocational church musician. But there are good examples to follow out there. I hasten to add that all of these good examples are sinners too, just saved by grace.

By the way, I appreciate your example of patience and perseverance and gentleness in your approach to some of us numbskulls out here in blogtopia.

Gary Skaggs
Norman, OK

Anonymous said...

Wade,

According to the letters Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth, Paul did not know the man in sin, Paul did not call him, he did not pray with him, though I do believe he probably prayed for him, and Paul did not show any evidence of seeking to restore either his character or reputation prior to calling him to be put out of the church.

Why would you expect Tim to do what Paul himself did not do?

Blessings,

Ron P.

Lin said...

"He dealt with it in a public letter because the sin was in a public setting and the Corinthian church was accepting of the sin. This person was evidently in leadership within the church and Paul called on the church to dis-fellowship with the Brother."

How do you get that he was in leadership in the church out of that passage? Is there a reference to his leadership somewhere else? Just curious.


"However, move this venue to TBN--an openly Classic Pentecostal Doctrine mindset--and his views become muddled and intertwined within Classic Pentecostal Doctrine. "

Can you say this about Way of the Master which is also on TBN?

Scott Gordon said...

Dearest Anonymous Pastor Bruce (or whomever you are),

Pointed=Caustic?

Now, if I parodied Wade and his views by showing a picture of a dog returning to his vomit... or if I lampooned Wade or Benjamin as Baptist buffoons... or if I created pictures of a sinking ship... or if I elevated my self to the point of equivocation with Martin Luther or Patrick Henry and left the insinuation that I was leading an army to storm the fortresses of Fort Worth or Louisville...

then I might be considered caustic (or at least pejorative) in my attitude. Frustrated with the double standard displayed here and by Ben at Outpost toward those who 'won't answer their questions', then won't answer specific, direct questions. Admittedly, my tone has been more direct and terse (not caustic). Chalk it up to the frustration of seldom receiving a direct answer here.

SOLA GRATIA!

Debbie Kaufman said...

I think another reading of "It's Easy To Focus On The Sins Of Another" may be in order.

I've used these illustrations to help pinpoint the fact that I believe we've lost a line of civility that is dangerous if we don't recover it. I can't do it for ANYONE else, but I can choose to do it for me. I want to be civil and show a love for those with whom I debate and disagree over issues. I will NOT cease disagreeing. But I choose to NOT attack the person with whom I disagree. It seems so simply to me.

Paul you said this well. The mean spiritness has bothered me as you know, for quite some time. I read Paul's correction of doctrine to churches in the Bible and I do not see it as a pounding of the fist type correction, it's so gentle that the words permeate not the harshness.

I might also point out that David murdered and committed adultry, yet God called him a man after His own heart, Moses murdered and lost his temper more than once, yet God used him to lead the people of Egypt. We fail as human beings, yet God through Christ Jesus raises us up. I have always said, please don't bring up my past, it's a past I am ashamed of yet Christ forgave me and raised me up, changing me so much that my past is as if it actually occurred to another person and not me.

Anam Cara said...

Rex Ray,

Thank you for your kind words.

I don't think I said that sin didn't need to be confronted. I was trying to say that there is a way to do this without tearing down a person who is supposed to be a brother or sister in Christ.

As for knowing if one is saved, don't be sad for me. I would respond that I was saved on a Friday afternoon around 3 PM around 33 AD. In addition, I am constantly being saved as the Holy Spirit lives in me and helps me to be obedient and show mercy. (Heb 5:9, Acts 5:22. 1 Pet 4:17) And I will be ultimately and finally saved on that glorious day when I receive my new body at the Second Coming. In my way of thinking, salvation is not a done deal - the completion is yet to come. I hope, just as the Apostle Paul did - not fancifully, but with earnest expectation.

The blog today was not about the rules - that was yesterday. Today's blog was about keeping the sins of someone ever before them. If this man has repented and received God's forgiveness for a sin committed years ago, (and who can say he hasn't?) why are people bringing this back up again? If God says he puts are sins as far as the east is from the west, why bring them back up again?

And the way the some responders replied to each other! What grave sins have they committed that they need to be spoken to that way?

Paul B. is dead on with the following:

"But I'm afraid a strain of anger has arisen in our culture that is invading our churches/pastors. Even perhaps our homes. It was present, no doubt, in the NT era but somehow they got past it and it was said of those early Christians, "see how they love one another." [This was not negated by the Corinthians having to confront one in sin as we have to do on occasion.]"


Tim said:
"since Anam Cara has given praise to God for not being a Baptist."

Tim, Tim, that is not what I said. Reread. Please:

"Watching you guys over the last few days really makes me glad that I’m not Baptist!"

There is no PRAISE involved in any of this. Just happiness. (And a growing sense of relief which may turn into praise.) You have further proved my point by putting your own words into my mouth for a second time in as many days.

And on that note, Tim, I'm out of here. I do not need to be the target of your barbs (thankfully that hasn't happened yet, but I'm not sticking around to let it) or misquoted to say what you feel I should have said or what you wish I'd said. ...I wonder if people who come to your church get the same impression of anger and lack of mercy I have from the blog and also flee for another place?....

To those of you who are at least civil and even better, kind, thank you for letting me visit with you. I pray you will all grow in love towards one another and be patient with one another as love is the one thing that will go with us after death. see 1 Cor 13 (Even Jesus' resurrected body bore the marks of love - the wounds in his hands, feet, and side.

greg.w.h said...

I think the pointedness of the comments regarding what was spoken on TBN comes from this fact:

If even one person exists in the world who has a legitimate private prayer language today or that legitmately speaks with an unknown tongue in public, then the cessationists are completely wrong.

That's why there is so much opposition to Wade's continued stance. It's why these people turn Dwight's comments into a caricature and why Paige opposed them being spoken from the chapel at SWBTS. If Dwight is correct, if his congregation correctly permits speaking in tongues, then Paige knows he is wrong.

So Paige feel that God is calling him to do something about that. He has hired cessationists. He has motivated policies against private prayer language. He has spoken against a sitting trustee (appointed by the Convention to oversee him by the way, and not the other way around).

I actually don't any strong opposition to the cessationist position itself. I recognize that there is legitimate concern regarding whether the modern Pentecostal experience--specifically that part we Baptists refer to as ecstatic utterances--is real or not.

But recognizing the problem due to a lifetime of dealing with the sin of pride in my own life, I shudder at the arrogance that has been expressed against Dwight through explicit statements and implicit slams.

I also shudder against the sense of superiority that leads someone to focus on the sin in a person's life in trying to tear down their ministry. And even to use the example of someone's grandchild to attack them by suggesting they didn't see what they believed they saw: an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Wade closed his post by suggesting that when we unloose arrows we end up wounding ourselves. I certainly agree with that comment and offer biblical support from Paul who noted that when one member is injured we all suffer.

But I as I think through what is being done--once again by Christians to Christians--I would take Wade's comment one step further: the one we really pierce is the one who has already been pierced on our behalf. Is there any additional sacrifice available to us when we do that?

No...at least not according to the book of Hebrews.

Greg Harvey

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

I have to chime in on this one as someone who actually knows (or rather knew) Arthur Blessit (we have lost touch over the years).

Arthur Blessit, IMHO, is a good man who made some stupid mistakes. He will tell you that himself.

To say he is continuing in unrepentant sin is to say he must leave his current wife. This does not (ab)solve the original problem and only creates a new one (one for which he would be castigated).

I will debate Blessit's theology all day long. I will also tell him when I think he is in sin. But I will not throw him under the bus and write him off.

I do believe that when any minister is in going through such things as he did that they should step down from public ministry at least for a time while they get their act together. But of course, that would also mean that those of us who preach restoration need to be willing to step up to the plate and help them financially.

That situation is similar to the current Paula White situation. IMHO, she and her husband should both immediately step down. And I would LOVE to debate their theology.

Anyway-I said all that to say, Arthur Blessit is one of the good guys even though I disagree with some of his theology.

I will also say that everything you have heard about Arthur Blessit may not be the gospel truth. I have heard gross distortions and exaggerations.

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

sorry-i have always left off that last T on Arthur's last name.

Shibboleth,
David McLaughli

kehrsam said...

Fortunately, we will never by ourselves win our way to Heaven, even by being present when the Holy Spirit convicts the heart of a future President. We all also sin, and when we do so publicly, our public witness may be compromised for a time.

But the Spirit can use even public humiliation to further the Father's Kingdom. He used Saul, and He has used Chuck Colson, and I am sure He can use Arthur Blessitt, whatever past failings may be involved (I had never heard of the man before).

What I find dismaying is so much petty bickering over whether to criticize a brother over what he has done. The only rational approach is to criticize what a man says. For if we were to be criticized as to what we actually are in thought and deed, none of us could claim any credibility whatsoever. And I count myself first among the blameworthy.

Blessings to all.

Kurt A. Ehrsam

Shamgar said...

Isn't Arthur Blessitt the same Evangelist that led President Bush to faith in Jesus Christ?

Er...I thought the point was to AVOID personal attacks against a man's character.

WTJeff said...

I'm growing a little tired of people using Paul's correction of the Corinthian church in 1 Cor. 5 as an excuse to attack another man's character. Since we're all baptists who believe in the inerrancy of God's word, perhaps we should appreciate the context of scripture as well. Paul was speaking to the church in Corinth, instructing them to deal with the situation. Never did he name the individual or make sarcastic comments about him or his character.

Wade's point is that we can disagree with a man's actions, comments, theology, or the fact he doesn't root for the Sooners without attacking his character.

The comment: "Isn't Arthur Blessitt the Evangelist that carried his cross into the hotel room with his secretary?" is over the line and just plain unnecessary.

Grace,

Jeff Parsons
Amarillo, TX

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

The only rational approach is to criticize what a man says. For if we were to be criticized as to what we actually are in thought and deed, none of us could claim any credibility whatsoever. And I count myself first among the blameworthy.

Good preaching Kurt! You only made one error: I am first. You must be second.

Lin said...

" I do believe that when any minister is in going through such things as he did that they should step down from public ministry at least for a time while they get their act together. But of course, that would also mean that those of us who preach restoration need to be willing to step up to the plate and help them financially"

David, you make a good point. How do we deak with such behavior in an elder (teacher, pastor, etc) in light of 1 Timothy 3 which says that an elder must be above reproach to the outside?

"1The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable,hospitable,able to teach, 3not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil." ESV

The man! said...

How is asking about his public sins a an attack? I could care less if he speaks in tongues, but I do have a problem with him doing what he did.

Please tell me how that is a personal attack.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Wade, I think we mostly disagree on the PPL & tongues. But I agree that what Arthur Blessit or you or I or anyone else may do or not with their secretary is not the standard of whether what we believe is true. The Scriptures are the source of that decision.

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

David, you make a good point. How do we deak with such behavior in an elder...

I guess you are asking me though I was just quoting Kurt. But I'll bite.

We deal with it biblically. Go to the person. If they do not repent we take someone else with us to the person. If they do not repent we go before the church. If necessary, we expel them from fellowhsip with the goal of restoration.

What we dont do is spread gossip and hurtful things about the person (even if they are true).

A big question is who "we" is. This should be done in the context of their local church. The Paula White situation is a sad one where nobody in the local church (or in the their TBN "parachurch" world) seems to be doing anything about it. Thus the issue becomes more public and brings more reproach on the name of Christianity.

Breaks my heart.

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Might I add that many times when you go to the person, you find the facts may not have been as you initially thought.

Been there done that.

CB Scott said...

Paul,

I am a liar, because I said what I said and then said I would leave it at that. Now here I am coming back. Forgive me and grant me grace, again.

Paul, I have great respect for your heart toward people. You have shown grace toward me even though I am, at times, a hooligan.

First, I want to say David Mclaughlin is wrong. No one in this comment thread wants to throw, or has thrown Arthur "under a bus." (That is not to say some in this thread have not thrown people under or off of things, but Arthur was not involved) Any person that I know commenting in this comment thread would be willing to help Arthur. I believe that with all my heart. At the same time I know Arthur refused to be helped. There is a difference. I did not know about your efforts to help the family, but I do know other people did.

Ther are several "Old line" CR leaders that tried to help. I am not going to name them, but I know they tried. They were not condemning. They were not mean.

I am going to say something here due to the nature of this subject matter. I will only name one person and I pray he does not become more angry than he is toward me for telling this, but Dr Patterson has personally helped many people in the kind of trouble Arthur got into through the years. This is not about being judgemental or mean or not being willing to help a fallen brother. Again, I think everyone I know in this comment thread has given his life to helping people fallen or otherwise.

This is about theology and giving spiritual guidance. The truth is Arthur is in no place, right now, to be speaking with or as having authority in either. That is not to say he cannot ever do so again. No one is saying that.

Frankly, I think Bart has spoken to this matter with wisdon.

Paul, I do appreciate the way you have befriended guys like me and I might say my friend Ben Cole. You did not have to do that. Several people that Ben and I know and helped much in the past would not even speak to us while we were in San Antonio.

I hope you see my point here. Arthur needs to get some things straight before he goes on national television claiming to be able to give guidance to Southern Baptists about the work of the Spirit.

cb

kehrsam said...

Lin asked: David, you make a good point. How do we dea[l] with such behavior in an elder (teacher, pastor, etc) in light of 1 Timothy 3 which says that an elder must be above reproach to the outside?

A very good question, and not one that admits a bright-line answer, as David has already suggested. Really, the only question worth answering in such a situation is, "Will this man (woman) seek and then accept the guidance of the Holy Spirit in these things?" Beyond this, we run up against the weaknesses of the flesh.

We seek perfection, and are commanded by Jesus himself to be perfect, as is the Father in Heaven. But any perfection we may achieve is not our own, but in imitation of Jesus, through the enabling work of the Spirit. Beyond this, there is nothing but pride.

As for the PPL debate, I really don't care. I have not been annointed by the Spirit with that particular gift; my concern, therefore, is with the proper nurturing and use of the gifts I have been given. I am perfectly happy to wait until I am in Heaven to learn how the whole thing works (if even then; perhaps I don't need to know, and I can happily accept that, too, despite being the curious sort).

At an earlier stage of life I was a divorce lawyer, and I imagine I have seen more heartache over divorce than even many pastors. These days I facilitate a divorce recovery group at church. God quite properly hates divorce: It is a terrible thing at best, ripping the flesh of not just those bonded by God, but their families, their friends, their communities.

I do not know Brother Blessitt, so I cannot say where his heart truly lies. I would guess that, like many of us, he is torn between the desire to please his Heavenly Father and the desire to serve his earthly flesh. The yoke of one of these is easy and its burdens light. Yet ever we strain against the goads, seeking to flee the light.

To be human, then is to both be burdened and to seek its release simultaneously. We cannot condemn, for we have ourselves been forgiven.

Blessings to all,

Kurt

Rex Ray said...

Anam,
On a bear hunt in Alaska with my 63 year old father; he asked, “Do you know where we are?
“Sure!” I did not add ‘I think’; because he was worried enough about his hurt knee. He was using a rifle as a crutch and holding on to my shoulder.

It was so dark; you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, and with no flashlight, we felt our way along a bear trail. Bears were so big they made a separate path in high grass with each paw. All we saw were peaks of mountains against the sky, and I could only hope we were going to the right one.

After five hours of stumbling along, we fell into a hole of cold water. With hip boots and two rifles strapped on my back, I couldn’t swim, but I had grass in each hand. My father’s stomach was pushing my head under.

“Get off me!”
“I can’t!”

It seemed forever before we got out, and I was still just hoping.
Finally, on top, we saw the lights of the village.

Anam, oh what joy of knowing you’re saved instead of only hoping.

Only By His Grace said...

Wade,
I will first of all state that I am what some on your blog call a cessationist. I am one of those dispensationalists, so "tongues" is not a problem for me. I think they ceased with the setting aside of Israel at the end of Acts 28. I can defend my position and have for over forty-five years. I know that Dr. Criswell was a dispensationalist and think that Dr. Paige Patterson is one, too. Do you find it peculiar there was a movement in the late sixties at SWBTS to have Dispensationalism declared a heresy? Is there a movement in the SBC, now, to have Calvinism declared a heresy? Will PPL be declared a heresy? Wow! I am a Southern Baptist by choice. My daddy was not one nor was my Mommy. I am Southern Baptist because of the broad freedom within our convention and the Cooperative Program.

Debbie's excellent comment reminds me of a situation I had about twenty five years ago in Mission, Texas. Thanks Debbie for your comment about David. Last time I checked David was still married at the end of his life to Bathsheba and Solomon was a result of his murder and adultery.

I left FBC Watauga (Ft Worth) to go to a Children's Home as Chaplain for eighty boy and girls in 1982. A husband and wife who worked for the Children's Home were graduates of Hyles Anderson. There was a Jack Hyles church down the road, so they joined there. About two months later, they asked to see me in my office. They were having problems in the church down the road. The pastor and two deacons came by to see them. They told them they had to get a divorce and start living separately because Mr. B… had been married before and did not inform them when they joined the Church. Mrs. B.. said they had been married over ten years. It made no difference. Mr. B… said that he was not a Christian when he got a divorce. It made no difference. Mrs. B…asked what about their six and eight year old daughters. It made no difference. They were living in sin. To be a member of their church, they could not live together. They joined my church.

A few years ago there was an acronym which went around right before WWJD. The acronym was PLU. I want no part of a Convention where the only people welcome are People Like Us. How a person prays in private makes not one wit of difference to me. Prayer and how she prays is between her and God. If she teaches in my Sunday School and is demanding that our Jr. High Girls learn "tongues" from her. Well, that is a whole different story. It is no longer Private Prayer Language. I don't ask my church members and I don't want them to tell me if they do or do not use PPL. We are more concerned about winning our community to Christ and ministering to the poor and the fatherless.


Tim:

Two questions: What was the man's name living in an incestuous relationship in I Corinthians? What was the woman's name taken "in the very act" of adultery? and the same with woman who washed His feet with tears in John? I do not believe you know because both Paul and John are too courteous and kind to mention their names.

Phil in Norman.

Paul Burleson said...

CB,

Your words convey your thoughts AND your spirit. I'm grateful for both. I would not disagree with anything you've said in your comment.

My real issue is that I've been told to "judge nothing before the time when the Lord will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and make known the motives and intentions of the heart." [1 Corth. 4:5.]

That is certainly not to say that we don't challenge a brother/sister whose behavior is lacking or whose choices are sinful. But you would agree it is to be done scripturally with a major scriptural guide being that we discern and confront but don't condemn. [Both English words discern and condemn are 'judge' but different Greek words as you well know.] You and I know the difference and it may simply be an attitude that is conveyed but we know when it's there.

After confrontation is done the outcome, and whether genuine bokenness is present or not, is left for that day to reveal. I'm to keep on forgiving and loving. [Seventy times seven won't permit me to question the repentent's sincerity.]

You and I have lived long enough to know some people who have never morally failed [and are proud of it] are as grievious to the Spirit [The elder brother] because of that pride as one who has failed morally and continues to struggle even in religious efforts to pay God back for failure. [The prodigal brother/make me as a hired servant]

When someone says, as have you, that one who fails morally should not be telling others how to live in the Spirit.. there would/will be no argument from me. I would not follow that person's advice generally speaking anyway. But I am to love the prodigal brother as well as the elder brother and leave the heart of each to His judgement in that day. This is more important to me than his/her behavior unrepentent or not.

Whether the commenters in this post fit one of these brother categories or not I do not know. Whether Arthur does or not is not mine to say. I AM confident you and I want to be neither.

That day will reveal a lot of surprises to us all I'm sure. Maybe there is wisdom in our being told that each servant will answer to his/her true master. You and I will leave Arthur AND the commenters to that answering. We've got our own hearts to be concerned about and we are kept busy aren't we. :)

By the way, I'm glad you and I are brothers and Kingdom family. You keep me encouraged about it all.

CB Scott said...

Paul,

In what you have said we can agree. I do want you to know that I do not believe Arthur can never be of service again. That was never my point. God's grace can restore a man.

I am saying wrong is wrong and right is right. I have had much experience with wrong and I had to deal with it properly. I also realize that when I am right I have to deal with that properly also.

Therefore, if I said anything that made me appear to condemn Arthur as a person, forgive me. I do condemn what he is doing. It is in that I make my stand. I do pray he deals with some things properly as must we all.

I trust you understand my position. The next time I see you face to face I will be glad to meet a man I know to have honor and integrity before the Lord. The fellowship will be good.

cb

Paul Burleson said...

CB,

"Amen" to the fellowship that's coming. It will be good

I hope my comment only lends light to WHY you and I can face the reality of someone's actions with honesty without it BEING condemnation. I believe that is true of us both. No apology necessary at all.

shadrach said...

I think we have an issue here over the word 'judge.' Andy Stanley does an excellent series on how we are to judge and you can find it in his podcasts, but to summarize: we are to judge others in the way we desire to be judged.

Thus, before I publicly say Blessit was wrong, I must publicly say I used to be addicted to porn.

We have to be able to lay it all on the line before we start judging others. Judging is not a bad thing and we are deffinitely to judge those in our cirles of influence, but we do so in love, in such a way that they will be drawn to Christ and not pushed away from Him. Also, we only do so after examining ourselves and laying out our failures at the same level as we desire to expose others'.

By the way, I'd still like a response to the question: when it is a Pastor/Elder's responsibility to fire/censure another staff member due to inconsistencies in following what the pastor percieves to be the will of God, eg. making personal attacks or gossiping?

Again, I am not trying to 'get' Wade, just asking his opinion.

jasonk said...

Tim Rogers:

You said this:
I called attention to the fact that Brother Blessit left his wife and began an affair with, I believe it was, his secretary.

You BELIEVE it was his secretary? You go on a public blog and make a snide remark about the sin of another, and you are not even sure of your facts?

What if you're not right about Blessitt's affair? The whole world knows that he had an affair, like, twenty years ago. What if he had an affair with a woman OTHER than his secretary? You should know your facts before shooting off your mouth that way. You may have just maligned an innocent woman.

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

First, I want to say David Mclaughlin is wrong. No one in this comment thread wants to throw, or has thrown Arthur "under a bus."

I am sure I am wrong about many things, but I never said anyone here was throwing him under the bus. I merely said that I would not do so myself. I did not mean to imply that others here had. I guess in the back of my mind I was thinking of those I know personally who had.

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Therefore, if I said anything that made me appear to condemn Arthur as a person, forgive me. I do condemn what he is doing. It is in that I make my stand. I do pray he deals with some things properly as must we all.

"IS doing"?