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

A Network Is Not a Convention or Denomination

Dwight McKissic called me today and wanted to discuss a response we would give to media or individuals who were asking questions about the Antioch Network. It seems a handful of people have had questions about whether or not churches with 'women pastors,' or churches that practiced baptism in a manner different than immersion, or churches that were believed in the continuation of the gifts, etc . . . would be 'allowed' into the network.

It seems that some of the questions were asked in the spirit of a top-down denominational structure and the tightly controlled centralized authority viewpoint of a religious bureaucracy. Denominations - and in time 'conventions - can become bogged down in structure, rules and regulations, and efforts to maintain 'control.'

A NETWORK is different. In a NETWORK there may be 'leadership,' but they are not any employees of the NETWORK. The NETWORK'S highest authority is the local church. The NETWORK only fosters cooperation between churches through fellowship, equipping and partnership; but the LOCAL CHURCH maintains ultimate authority. For this reason, I suggested to Dwight that we respond to questions about Antioch as follows:

"We do not speak for the Antioch Network. In fact, if you have a specific question about 'women in ministry,' 'baptism,' or other issues, we can only answer you in regards to the way our church views these subjects, but we cannot speak for other churches or pastors in the NETWORK. To know what others in the Anticoh NETWORK of churches think, you will need to call and ask them. There are no 'official' positions on issues that are not laid out in the brief confession of faith. Every local church will have very specific views on these areas of which you ask - but conformity in belief on tertiary matters will not serve as the basis of fellowship in the Antioch Network. The NETWORK'S purpose is to cooperate for the sake of gospel ministry. We have no intentions of forming any new denomination or convention, but to foster greater cooperation and fellowship across racial, economic and demoninational lines within the kingdom of Christ."

I believe NETWORKS like the Antioch Network will continue to spring up all over evangelical Christianity and soon networks may very well be networking with other networks - all the while emphasizing cooperative ministry, and resisting demands for conformity and tendencies toward separatism over tertiary matters. For some reason, this seems to look like what the early church was.

To have a very good, practical view of what a NETWORK looks like, I would encourage you to go read ,a href Paul Burleson's blog. He himself was at the Antioch meeting this week and his down home way of explaining what a network is - and how it functions - will make you realize that a NETWORK is the furthest thing away from a convention or a denomination. I close with one of Paul Burleson's observations on how networks of churches handle differences:

Were someone to join in worship with any one of the fifteen local fellowships represented in that group (or network), they would hear the clear articulation of the variously held views on such things. But this little group of fifteen is not trying to be a local church, a denomination, a religious institution of any kind. They just want to be a part of a few people who want to love Jesus together, give money so that Jesus may become known, and love on one another as different as we all happen to be, and believe me, hypothetically, those fifteen are different.



In His Grace,


Wade

152 comments:

Bryan Riley said...

Thanks, Wade. I pray that all who are in Christ, those who are in agreeance and the skeptics, will see great fruit from this network and will see God's hand in it.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

this post goes a long way in explaining what you folks are trying to do. I say God speed and AMEN! I would see your group being more 'para church', however, I realize that in itself is not what you are. Perhaps a good way of explaining it is that you are a 'ministerial alliance' on a much larger scale than just the local community. It will be interesting to see how many church's involved do not have a dog in the fight of the SBC here of late. I think the majority of church's will be those who are currently dissatisfied. Time will tell. The context of the recent actions of the IMB and the last two conventions make it seem that this group is more of a reactionary fellowship, however, I clearly hear you saying it is not that at all. I will take you at your word and hope for the best.

I do have a question however. With the emphasis on local church "doctrinal" autonomy and not just the baptistic ' congregational' polity, will there be, or are there churches that hold to a oneness position on the Holy Spirit? Is there or do you believe will there be churches that believe in baptismal regeneration? I realize you may not be able to answer these questions...but they are something to ponder, are they not?

jrm

sb blogger said...

Problem is that when churches with non-biblical practices are members of your network, you are giving creedence to them. Even if you say you aren't. Even if you say it's only about working together for the one main purpose. You're giving creedence to them. And you're probably fine with that.

But really, this looks like the first step a pastor might take if he wanted to move his church out of the convention (without spliting the church or losing his job). Eventually such a church will start allocating funds away from the cooperative program so they can support more of these wonderful ministries the new network is involved in. There will be reports and testimonies of all the great ways God is working.

But in the end... this is about taking our ball and going home when we didn't get our way.

Just my cynical opinion.

traveller said...

Most Southern Baptists are so caught up in our own little world that we fail to see what is happening all around us. This type of network is more and more common. It is a result of a significant transition going on that historians believe happens about every 500 years or so. We are in the midst of one of those major transitions right now.

In our time it is in many respects a result of technology and globalization (which is far more than economic).

The result is that old forms of structures in society are passing away. Institutions will be radically transformed or no longer exist. One of the results of this transformation is that networks are one form of replacement structure. It is far more likely that denominational institutions will disappear while networks will proliferate, than the reverse. This is reaching down into the local congregational structure as well. The direction is toward de-program, de-institutionalize, and decentralize.

In this context people do not need to agree on everything. They network and cooperate in the areas where they do agree. In this context they are not endorsing anyone in areas where they do not cooperate.

Networks are very effective because they are simple and voluntary. They can last for long periods of time or short periods, often for specific projects or objectives. They can adjust rapidly to adapt to a changing environment unlike institutions that are very difficult to change quickly. In the increasingly rapidly changing world of today they are one of the most effective ways to work and cooperate.

Jack Maddox said...

"Problem is that when churches with non-biblical practices are members of your network, you are giving creedence to them. Even if you say you aren't. Even if you say it's only about working together for the one main purpose. You're giving creedence to them. And you're probably fine with that. "

Agreed. This is why many (including me) limit their involvement with ministerial alliances while at the same time pooling resources to help with benevolent and needs based work in the local community. I know it will get me killed on this site, but there are those of us who feel there still should be a distinction.

jrm

Anonymous said...

One cannot help but notice the excusatory double speak in this "Network" (not a convention or denomination)statement. In the words of W.A. Criswell... "A skunk by any other name, still stinks!" When will people realize that when they lend their name, time, and money to something; they are in effect endorsing it.

Joe W.

WTJeff said...

I think Traveler has hit the nail on the head. God actually does use churches outside the SBC for his glory. From Piper to Keller to Driscoll, God has shown he is not limited by SBC membership. While a network like this will provide some challenges in dealing with some doctrinal issues, it will also provide those participating an opportunity to work to grow God's Kingdom with those they would not have otherwise. Only time will tell if this is a wise, God blessed enterprise. In the meantime, it deserves our prayer, our respect, and a hiatus from exploring every "what if" scenario under the sun.

May God use the ANC for the glory of his name and may Isaiah 26:8 be its heartbeat.

Grace,

Jeff

greg.w.h said...

Wade:

Not suggesting this is apropos for the current thread, but thought it was tangentially interesting. Came in my WSJ email this morning:

"Times of London: Pope Benedict XVI plans to rehabilitate Martin Luther, arguing that he did not intend to split Christianity but only to purge the Church of corrupt practices. Pope Benedict will issue his findings on Luther (1483-1546) in September after discussing him at his annual seminar of 40 fellow theologians at Castelgandolfo, the papal summer residence. According to Vatican insiders the Pope will argue that Luther, who was excommunicated and condemned for heresy, was not a heretic."

John said...

I belong to a network of organic/simple/house churches. It definitely is not a denomination. We do have a very small list of essentials in doctrine. We agree on those. On the others, we often have disagreement. Some of the churches are affiliated with Southern Baptists of Texas while others are non denominational charismatic churches.

I am the leader of one of the charismatic churches. If one of my brothers from one of the baptist churches in our network wanted to do a work and needed support, we would do it in a heartbeat... same if it was one of our charismatic churches. The reason is these churches will agree on that minimal list of requirements.

But what really distinguishes the network is that we have truly grown to love one another. We operate out of that love and our commitment to Christ, being led by the Word and the Holy Spirit.

I've seen so many postings over the antioch network that have been very negative. I really can't believe the lack of charity.

If you're not comfortable with it, then just don't be a part of it.

I pray a prayer of blessing on the Antioch network. May the Lord bless this network and use it for the expansion of the Kingdom of God and bringing many to Jesus Christ. Amen.

Pamela said...

I have been absolutely disgusted hearing the haughty highminded comments that suggest that if Christians do not agree on every jot and tittle that we cannot fellowship. How in God's name can we influence others if we are accused of being heretical or endorsing what other people do just for talking with those we disagree with??? If married people maneuver like this no wonder too many Christian marriages are going to hell. How can people say they are FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST (btw that includes others beside those in the SBC) and be so mean just because of not seeing eye to eye on issues other than those that we as Christians must believe in order to be saved and on our way to heaven.

I have read this blog almost from its inception. I have learned a lot about the SBC. For the first time I understood that officially that it was not supposed to be a denomination. From what I have seen and observed it is one. I was in a similar organization a few years back that made the same claim but you had to adhere to a set of extra Biblical rules, attend their bible schools to be ministers, etc. I don't see the difference myself. The debates are amazing to me. And people wonder why others do not want to join the SBC, or are considering leaving or have already left? This is not unique to the SBC. Many denominations are dealing with this because they are putting unnecessary and unBiblical chains on people.

Those of you that insist on doctrinal purity before fellowship need to realize this fact: NONE OF US understand every jot and tittle of the word of God. Those in the SBC or any other group that believes that are either really deceived or full of pride which God hates. The whole point of a walk with Christ is to commune and allow HIM to teach and train us. Christians as a whole come from different places in their lives and religious groups. The Bible speaks of mind renewal in Romans 12. We all must go through that process to experience the Lord in fullness. As individuals we may approach it differently as well as the Lord may lead in different ways. To say we should not have fellowship because of differences that have nothing to do with heaven or hell is really sad to me.

I'm sure some will say that I have nothing to say on the matter because I'm not SBC. The Bible says that we are all a part of the body whether those in the SBC that I disagree with like it or not. We will be in heaven worshipping Christ when He returns for us. We should be worshipping Him as one now. However those that decide that I'm not worthy of fellowship because I may disagree on some points will refuse to. God is weeping at this madness. Maybe some that post on this blog care more about what the SBC says than God. They are not the same.

Kevin Bussey said...

Was Jesus a member of the SBC?

It really sounds arrogant to think that an SBC church can't cooperate with other believers.

Blessings to you Wade.

Bob Cleveland said...

I think one (exceedingly clever) reason why God gave us a Bible we cannot get our minds around, and a Holy Spirit who reveals truth to us a HE sees fit, is to test our hearts.

He told us to be one. To seek unity. I'd guess that's pretty important, yet some seem to look for reasons to avoid it, and even try to convince others they should avoid it, too.

Except with folks they deem acceptable.

One of the biggest problems with the spread of Christianity, and the coming of the Kingdom, may well be Christians.

For the record, I was at the meeting. I found no fault, and much joy and spiritual profit, there.

Blackhaw said...

Wade,

You had promised a doctrinal confession for the Antioch Netwark. Is this it? If not can you give me a link as to where it is? I would like to read it.

truth, not religion said...

Pamela, you are welcome in my circle of friends and faith. However we live 300 miles apart. Tulsa used to be my home. Still my favorite city.

TO WADE AND ALL TRUE SEEKERS OF CHRIST . I have something I want to share with you.

Some say it was written by ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI. Perhaps it might help you in your ongoing reflections.



"Keep a clear eye toward lifeʼs end. Do not forget your purpose and destiny as Godʼs creature. What you are in His sight is what you are and nothing more. Do not let worldly cares and anxieties or the pressure of office blot out the divine life within you or the voice of Godʼs spirit guiding you in your great task of leading humanity to wholeness. If you open yourself to God and his plan printed deeply in your heart, God will open Himself to you.

grace
wtreat

Bryan Riley said...

Some fear that this network is endorsing something... And it is. But it isn't any individual's beliefs. It is simply the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we can't endorse that then we might as well hang it up. I think God is big enough to handle the potential problems and perceptions and still make His glory known.

Bob Cleveland said...

Bryan,

What you said!!

Anonymous said...

Something that is being lost in this network vs. denomination argument is this ... some theological differences create an impasse in working together.

Theological differences are not a test of fellowshipping. Theological differences are not a test of one's salvation. Theological differences are simply theological differences.

Now I am not going to get into the silliness of the tier discussion which accomplishes nothing. However, I want to make one observation/question?

Can churches of different denominational stripes truly come together and work together in the area of missions, evangelism, and church planting?

Going back to my question of soteriology of Arminian and Calvinist(ic) (or in theological vernacular those who teach perseverance vs. those who apostasy) -- can two people who have that as a core difference in their theology truly be effective in working together in missions, evangelism, and church planting?

This is not about denominations. This is not about networks. This is about the basic principle of common sense.

So again I ask -- will there be a theological distinctive regarding the issue of soteriology? If not, I am afraid that problems will arise if/when churches with various soteriological perspectives join together.

Greg -- use if/when
Rex Ray -- I am using the theological term of apostasy as it relates to the issue of Arminianism vs. Calvinism.

Hopefully -- the question/issue can be discussed and not a parsing of a word choice and/or confusion over the theological nuance of a word.

Amy

Bryan Riley said...

Amy, I believe it can. As a missionary myself, but one with limited time on the mission field (a newbie) I have seen people from many denominations work together sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, discipling new converts and the like. As for church planting, it depends on what one calls church planting. IF it means planting a BAPTIST church, then clearly it will be hard for non-baptists to do that. But if it means planting a gathering of brothers and sisters in Christ who are all seeking to grow in Christ, worship the Father, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and learn from the bible, etc., then it is entirely possible.

Anonymous said...

This network is open to different beliefs about baptism by immersion or infant baptism. Yet this is not a bad thing...Those of us know Christ should work together although we are from different denominations. This network does not have more to do with baptists any more than it does methodists, or presbyterians.

Anonymous said...

You are going to see more and more networks pop up, simply because many church plants are opting out of denominations. The Pew study showed that the number of non-denoms is still growing, and typically they want to have loose associations (i.e. Acts29, Sovereign Grace, etc.) I think even Thomas Road/Liberty is looking into establishing a network.

Networks allow you to keep denominational loyalty, while at the same time letting you unite with other churches that share your ministry philosophy.

And if you think about it, all believers are networked together in a small way. How many of us rejoice when we run into another believer in the work place, regardless their denominational home. We tend to encourage one another, maybe even devise ministry plans for those we work with.

On the negative side, watch what happens the next time there is a 'moral failure' by a high profile Christian leader. To nonbelievers, we're all in the same network.

Mike

Anonymous said...

Bryan,

Scenario -- you are planting a church wherever you are located. You believe in perseverance of the believer. You co-worker believes in possible apostasy of the believer. How are you going to resolve the following issues:

1. What is taught from the pulpit as you cannot have both taught?

2. How discipleship will be managed/taught as assurance of the believer varies greatly between the two views?

3. How is church discipline handled as those who believe in the concept of apostasy would consider that they have lost their salvation while you would have a different perspective on the type, nature, and expectations upon return for the disciplined individual?

I could think of more questions. This is just the top three.

Amy

Dave Miller said...

I'm sorry, this whole thing seems kind of pointless to me. I guess i am too old fashioned to understand what a "network" is.

But, "by their fruits you shall know them." We'll see in a few years if this thing has any real point or purpose.

I have my doubts, but there is no harm to watching and waiting to see if it has kingdom value.

Bryan Riley said...

Amy, I think it would be easier if we could email one another rather than discussing this all here, so let me know if that is possible: bwriley4[at]yahoo[dot]com.

I think earlier I talked about this issue (what you've termed apostasy) on one of these posts and I'd ask you to look for that response. I see the issue often more semantic than substantive, even though you will think that crazy on first blush. Nevertheless, if churches were more like the churches described in scripture I don't think it would be a problem at all. Different people would teach all the time, people would all receive it and study it for themselves, seeking to know God more intimately all the time. Meanwhile all would be encouraged to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the poor, the hungry, the lost, the imprisoned, the alien, and so on.

I think we are all too often blinded into thinking that right doctrine is something we can know factually as opposed to knowing God, the fruit we produce, and something we do in love. We are simply preaching, as Christ did, the Kingdom of God, in other words, the reign and rule of God. Submission to God. Reconciliation with God through Jesus - through his death and resurrection. A gift.

Bryan Riley said...

Dave Miller, excellent comment. Will you also pray for God to reign supremely in and through it and for its participants to be true to the gospel of Jesus?

Anonymous said...

ALL you Negative SBC’er.

It Shames me to say this, But this little joke is about you negative SBC’er who need to become Christ Centered for God’s Glory. You just Pick Christ’s Love to Death. LEGALIST

A Baptist man walked into the Lingerie Department of Macy's in New York City. He tells the saleslady, "I would like a Baptist bra for my wife Size 34 B."
With a quizzical look the saleslady asked, "What kind of bra?"
He repeated, "A Baptist bra. She said to tell you that she wanted a Baptist bra, and that you would know what she wanted."
"Ah, now I remember," said the saleslady. "We don't get as many
requests for them as we used to. Most of our customers lately want the Catholic bra, the Salvation Army bra, or the Presbyterian bra."
Confused, and a little flustered, the man asked "So, what are the
differences?"
The saleslady responded. "It is all really quite simple. The Catholic Bra supports the masses. The Salvation Army lifts up the fallen, and
the Presbyterian bra keeps them staunch and upright."
He mused on that information for a minute and said: "Hmm. I know I'll regret asking, but what does the Baptist bra do?"
"Ah, the Baptist bra," she replied "makes mountains out of molehills"

Gary said...

Sigh...

When I was a kid, one of the jokes I grew up with in church was based on a tour of Heaven for a newly arrived group of saints. But lets hold that thought for a minute.

For some time now, almost three decades, we Southern Baptists have been "clearing the temple". Just what is it that we are clearing? Much has been said about that and I won't rehash it here. The gist is that "we" were clearing liberals from the temple. I'll ask a question as a rephrase of Bailey Smith, "Does God hear the prayer of a liberal?"

Let's launch on into a few more questions. I don't really know the answers, but have opinions. I expect you will as well.

I cannot see into the heart of my Pastor, your Pastor, Wade, Bailey Smith, or Paige Patterson. Only God can. With that premise, the questions:

Will a self-professing "Christian" who is Catholic, be saved and enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Why, or why not?

Will a self-professing "Christian" who is Pentecostal, be saved and enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Why, or why not?

What about one who was 'saved' and baptised a Baptist, but turned to the Mormon church later in life? Will that person enter the Kingdom?

What about a Baptist who was baptised "incorrectly" (sorry, you will have to add the definition of incorrect, there just seems to be too many "incorrect" definitions for me)?

What about a Baptist Christian who was baptised "correctly", but the person who baptised him/her was baptised "incorrectly"?

What about a Baptist Christian who is a member of a congregation who practices modified-open (open to all who profess Christ as Lord) communion?

What about a sprinkled Methodist?

What about..oh, nevermind, most of you get the point.

When we all stand at the foot of the Cross, what matters? Our divisions? Shouldn't those diverse viewpoints, real or imagined, pale when we are at the foot of the Cross? Do we preach Jesus? Or do we preach "do it my way"? The only thing that matters, ultimately, is Jesus, IMHO.

If we are caught up in rancor over who we break bread with, who they associate with, and how it is that they "do church", then we've lost the "Most Important Thing" as our focus -

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

I fear that rather than majoring on Matthew 28:19-20, many of us have devolved to action as described in Matthew 22:15.

Back to the joke, "Saint Peter told the new arrivals 'Here we have the Baptists, over there we have the Methodists, and, sssshhh, (whispered), here we have the Church of Christ folks. They think they are the only ones up here.'"

At the foot of the Cross, We ought find "The Great Commission" as common ground. If we can't, we aren't majoring on the "Most Important Thing". The joke will truly be on us.

Gary

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

I really appreciate the spirit of your first comment (second comment in this string). Blessings,

wade

Jack Maddox said...

David

What will be interesting is to what degree the leadership of this group is made up of folks who are SBC and at the same time unhappy with current convention leadership. I have said that if this is just a loose network of church's seeking mutual ministry and fellowship, then have at it and God bless, however, you cannot dismiss the context of this networks inception, which is the desire to see major reform (their words, not mine) in the current SBC. It is amazing to me that what seems to be lost here is that this is exactly the vision and idea that most folks if not all of them involved with this new network, would have for the SBC, should the ideology of Wade or Dwight or Marty or just name a leader in the pseudo reform movement prevail. In other words, If I have understood wade these past 2 years, if he could paint a picture of the SBC, the AN would be it.

I am probably not the champion of Baptist distinctives as say a Bart Barber or a Robin Foster is, but I have to tell you, if this is the leadership of the Antioch Network's vision for the future of the SBC then it makes Bart and Robin look extremely credible in what they have been saying. In the end only time will tell. If what wade has said is true and this network exists outside of the context of the current SBC and is ONLY about fellowship, ministry and cooperation in the Gospel, then I say AMEN and GODSPEED! (Yet I agree with Amy's concerns) If it proves to be simply a reactionary group, then my question would be, why not affiliate with the CBF? They are very open doctrinally and already have a established network.

jrm

Wade Burleson said...

blackhaw. Read yesterday's post.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

I posted before I saw your last response. Can you a address the 'oneness' or 'baptismal regeneration' scenario? Do I understand you to say by not addressing it that these positions would not be endorsed yet they would be accepted? If so, then Amy is dead on with her concerns. I am not trying to parse words or go rhetorical with you, I am trully trying to dialogue. I appreciate your candor and your response.

jrm

Wade Burleson said...

jrm,

Of the 35 people in that room, less than a quarter were 'Southern Baptist.' Doesn't look reactionary to me, particularly when all the Southern Baptists expressed their continued commitment to the Convention.

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

The broad confession is definitely not a 'oneness' confession - it speaks of the Trinity.

However, we don't have 'doctrinal' tribunals. If a oneness church had no problem with the confession and decided to NETWORK, they will not change what I or my church believes, and there is a very real possibility through relationship we may very well be used by God to lovingly help them see the error of their modalism.

Blessings,

Wade

Anonymous said...

Bryan,

I would be glad to correspond with you via email. I honestly do believe that there is honesty and transparency in your response. And while I appreciate that, I also believe there is naivete as well.

However, I think this is an important issue that needs to be discussed on this and other blogs. So I don't want to take the discussion away from folks who want to continue to ask important questions ... especially this one.

Amy

Anonymous said...

Wade:

As you work in defining this network, you might want to check out materials prepared by the Gospel Coalition.

This is a new network of evangelicals that's been spearheaded by D. A. Carson and Tim Keller. The organization's documents are helpful in thinking through what it means to be united around the gospel.

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/

Bryan Riley said...

Amy, I understand. And, I am glad to be naive - child-like with regard to my faith in the power of our Father, my Daddy. And please do not take that as piety. It is how I honestly strive to live. Thank you for your kindness to me.

I really pray that more can at the least take on the heart of Dave Miller, regardless of their questions and doubts, being willing to stand back if they don't want to participate now and allow the fruit of this work to be examined.

he's only chasing safety said...

This sounds like a pretty awesome idea.

"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification." - Romans 14:19

Forcing others to believe as we do on each and every issue is doing nothing more than leading the "weaker brother" to sin by going against his own convictions. As far as I can tell, we aren't commanded to think alike, but we are commanded to "bear with one another" and seek to have peace amongst ourselves despite disagreements and work together. This is one way that non-Christians see that there is something different about us. At least, they're supposed to see it anyway.

Anonymous said...

Jack Maddox Says:
March 6th, 2008 at 10:53 am That seals the deal for me Ben! Dr. Patterson is no doubt the anti-christ. This letter proves it!

jrm

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

Thanks for your quick response. Based upon what you have stated, then i would concur that this cannot be a 'reactionary' group and wish you all continued blessings and wisdom in this endeavor. Although I cannot in good conscience join with you, I certainly pray God's leadership and His sovereign rule and reign over all you do!

Could I bother you for an additional clarification? Do you believe the AN is a good working model for what your personal desire and vision for the SBC should be? I have stated that I believe this to be true, however I do not wish to misrepresent your thoughts or position.

jrm

jrm

daburck said...

Wade
I've been closely following the formation of the ANC and I see great value...especially for you folks back in the Bible Belt. Fortunately, we left-coasters have little of the controversies you have, and of course, the best SBC seminary with a tremendous leader in Dr. Jeff Iorg. Many of our California churches align with "networks" such as Purpose Driven, Willow Creek, Acts 29. I serve actively with another "network"...that is our local association. In our 80 churches we have a similar, cooperative spirit. Thank God! Wouldn't it be nice if all SBC associations had this spirit? It would override much of the dissension we observe from our viewpoint out west.

truth, not religion said...

You asked the question:

Can churches of different denominational stripes truly come together and work together in the area of missions, evangelism, and church planting?

Going back to my question of soteriology of Arminian and Calvinist(ic) (or in theological vernacular those who teach perseverance vs. those who apostasy) -- can two people who have that as a core difference in their theology truly be effective in working together in missions, evangelism, and church planting?

---------------
Yes, and it is happening every day around the world. I attended a church service in Eastern Europe. At the end, the Pastor of the church told us that by reading the guest cards there were people from 52 countries in the room.

THEN HE ASKED IF EACH OF US, ALL TOGETHER WOULD PRAY THE LORDS PRAYER FOR OUR CLOSING.

52 NATIONS, 52 CHRISTIANS, 52 PRAYERS AND GOD HEARD THEM ALL.

NO ONE ASKED ABOUT DOCTRINES/

In the refugee camps of Bosnia there are over 20 denominations working together with the muslim victims and all others.

Every day for 9 years, someone gives their life to Jesus Christ.

A few argue, very few. Ironically, the ones who argue come and go with little success. the Christians who stay and teach of Jesus with the love of Jesus are seeing lives changed and God glorified.

God is God and still on His Throne

wtreat

Jack Maddox said...

anonymous

Why are you posting my comments from another blog, dealing with another topic, taken out of context, for no good reason at all? Do you not think that folks on this blog do not read the outpost? Do you not think that folks who keep up with this blog and others know my feelings for Dr. Patterson and my absolute contempt for Ben's yellow journalism?

anonymous - you are a coward and a person of low character for not revealing who you are and your purpose in posting.

jrm

Debbie Kaufman said...

I wanted to confirm what Bryan has said as well. And this is something that will not be able to be controlled by those who would wish to narrow any further. That's got to be rough on some. :)

Alan Paul said...

It never takes long for the Pharisees to rise up and seek to control others' lives and in this case, organizations.

Jack Maddox said...

Debbie

Why the negative spin? Who would want to control such a organization? If your reference is vented towards those whom you would classify as 'fundamentalist', I will assure you, they will not want to control it for they will not want anything to do with it based upon their own convictions. If you are simply referring to the political animal which is in all of us and rises up in any organization, then I will agree with you. I however feel that Dwight and wade and others have made this network loose enough that it will not draw anyone who would seek to narrow. This is very much a ecumenical network...it is pretty safe from us 'narrow' folk : )

jrm

Anonymous said...

I believe that formal and informal groups like this within the SBC can be a healthy thing.

It's good for like minded people and churches to get together, talk and pray together about the things that inspire them.

For years there have been fellowship groups, conferences, seminars and such within the denomination (or that cross denominational lines), and they have never really been a problem.

I look at Together for the Gospel, the meeting that Mohler, Dever, Spruill (sp?) and Maheny (sp?) put on as something similar. Those guys do not use that meeting for any purpose other than what it is. They don't spend their time considering, talking about, running down, or plotting to take over the SBC. It is a more reformed oriented crowd, and includes Christians and churches from the SBC and other denominations.

I hope that this group is a healthy outlet for Wade, the church that he pastors and other like minded people who chose to participate.

Louis

greg.w.h said...

Jack,

As far as I know, the term was first applied to the Ecumenical (Greek for "the inhabited" and referred to the all of the churches in the Roman empire) Council at Nicea to differentiate it from regional Church Councils also called synods (syn- together, odos- road/way) because they shared something in common (Bishops).

I would offer that the Antioch Network is more like a synod in the sense that it is a group of churches that affirm the statement of cooperation. Ecumenical would be a far broader kind of network.

Greg Harvey

Darby Livingston said...

Just reading about all this open networking makes me feel dirty. I'm off to Helm's Deep to spread the Gospel. :)

Anonymous said...

"Problem is that when churches with non-biblical practices are members of your network, you are giving creedence to them. Even if you say you aren't."

Problem is when an SBC church refuses to discipline and fire sexual perverts in their ministry... then people think all SBC churches are like this, even if they aren't. (Especially when the well known powers in the SBC affirm them)

Mills

Anonymous said...

" Can you a address the 'oneness' or 'baptismal regeneration' scenario? "

Have you asked Mohler the same questions about well known pastor who teach Baptismal regeneration speaking at SBTS? Baby Baptizers?

They are teaching future pastors. This does not bother you?

What do you think of Together for the Gospel?

Mills

Anonymous said...

Debbie,

You and I have sparred in the past. You are loyal to your pastor. That is to be commended.

However, and Jack was right on target with his message to you, we are all called to be Bereans. In my questioning and receiving answers, I have come to the conclusion that this network has not considered all the theological ramifications that they will soon be facing. Naively hoping that they can change United Pentecostals on their view of the Trinity is either naive, shortsighted or brazen (chutzpah).

Perhaps my questioning will cause them to look more closely at some dangerous theological potholes they will soon face. Perhaps they don't care. Regardless I have done my job of calling attention to the issues. What they do with it is up to them.

So ultimately how am I being a smug fundamentalist again?

Amy

Wade Burleson said...

Amy,

You are not a smug fundamentalist.

You are a Christian who views a NETWORK as if it were a denomination.

It's not.

Whether or not a Holiness Pentecostal church changes her views on eternal security is beyond your purview. I would encourage you to relax and realize that not one soul will miss heaven because of an error in the Holiness Pentecostal movement.

Blessings,

Wade

Bryan Riley said...

Amy, I think part of being willing to form such a network is a clear indication of one's lack of belief in oneself to do any brazen thing such as changing another's beliefs. Instead, I think, although I can't speak for everyone, that the hope is that by being one who seeks peace and submits to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who obeys the commands of Jesus and the exhortations found throughout the NT to seek unity, as well as being one who is an ambassador of Christ, charged with the ministry of reconciliation, that the Holy Spirit will do the work of which you speak. It really is the Holy Spirit's job.

Intellect and argument will never win. It is a weapon of man and we just aren't in a battle with man. God must be the One upon Whom we all rely and we must engage all of our faith in the weapons of spiritual warfare. I'd suggest prayer. Lots of it. Less rhetoric.

Josh In FL said...

Forgive me if this has already been covered or discussed, but why is it a problem to work together and even help another church?

The Baptist church I was raised in is on a two mile stretch of several churches of even different denominations. One of those churches was an Episcopal (Anglican) church. I say "was" because the powers that be in their denomination took their building from them after the people of the church took a stand against the ordination of gay bishops. Their fellowship was left "homeless." One local church was going to charge them six figures a year to rent their space for weekday services. Our church voted and decided that we'd share our building with them for their weekday activities free of charge until they could raise funds to get a building of their own.

Though there are obvious differences, and both sides recognize the differences, we get along very well. What we did blessed them, and truth be told they've been a blessing to us. When either of us have someone sick or in need it's great to know each have have an extra few hundred to help meet needs and come before the throne of God in prayer ;)
It's a beautiful thing.

We weren't called a "network," but I'm thinking we pretty much were without an official title. We worked together in community events, we prayed for one another, helped each other, etc.

Maybe the story is off base. Forgive me if it is, but that's what I think of when talking about a network.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Perfectly relaxed as my conscience is at total peace over this issue. I have sounded a clarion call. If you do not listen, that is your choice.

I do not view this as a denomination but as something not quite a true network either. Have worked in parachurch organizations. I know how they work. I know the pitfalls. I know the glories. I know the joy of fellowshipping with Pentecostals, Episcopals, Presbyterians, etcs. I also know the differences between us which prevent cooperative church plants. I have been there. I know to which I speak.

You have been cautioned. I am at peace.

Amy

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Final comment. For someone who encourages free thinking, it is amazing how you react negatively when someone disagrees with you.

Amy

Bryan Riley said...

I have a question for those who have been speaking doom or dismay for "networks" as Antioch is described: Are you saying that there is a universal law, something established by God, that dooms any network of Christians who have different views on some matters from working together?

Bryan Riley said...

Amy, I must have missed one of wade's comments: Can you please direct me to where you are saying he is being awfully negative???

Anonymous said...

Bryan,

My pet peeve is condescension. I read (perhaps between the lines) condescension and presumption about his concept of my experience and reacted. Perhaps too harshly. But I honestly don't think so.

Amy

Debbie Kaufman said...

Amy, Jack: Where in my comment did I used the word fundamentalist or even smug fundamentalist? I am simply saying that the desire to control seems to be there and a network is not something that is that controlled. This seems to be difficult for some to accept who need to have control of people's beliefs. The wording of my comment was smug and it shouldn't have been, I would not label you smug.

Anonymous said...

"I would encourage you to relax and realize that not one soul will miss heaven because of an error in the Holiness Pentecostal movement." ...I am Flabbergasted...

Surely Wade, you cannot possibly think that you sit in judgment of this fact!

This saddest thing that I continue to read on this blog and others... is how ignorance and indifference are praised. If some one says they believe the Bible and actually have the nerve to try and interpret it; they are labeled as "smug", "arrogant", and "fundamental". While at the same time... if a person says they have no idea what the Bible means and that it does not really matter any way... then they are the "Christians" to be admired and praised.

May the Lord raise up more Bereans like Amy.

Joe.W

Bryan Riley said...

Joe W., do you share email addresses? Or feel free to email me.

Tom Parker said...

Joe W.,

I have followed Wade's Blog for over a year now and have never seen in even 1 comment where a person said they had no idea what the Bible meant and that it does not matter any way. You are dreaming this up. Please support this statement. I think your problem is you think your interprestation is THE ONE AND ONLY INTERPRETATION!!

WTJeff said...

Joe W.,

It's not the attempt to interpret the bible that is criticized, but the lack of humility in which they do it. I believe that baptists have the closest thing to the correct interpretation of the bible. However, there are just as many who are not baptist who are similarly convinced. None of us have the correct interpretation, which we won't know this side of heaven. To say we can't cooperate at some level with non-SBCers because we don't agree on everything can appear arrogant. Just as you find the idea of cooperating outside of our faith tradition troubling, many find it liberating. Baptist have been known for what they are against too long. It's time we put tertiary issues aside and cooperate with our brothers and sisters out side of our faith tradition. Who knows? Maybe we'll learn something. Let those who decide to go down this path discover the problems that come with it. I suspect they aren't bigger than God's ability to fix.

Grace,

Jeff

Bryan Riley said...

Tom Parker,

he may be referring to me where I talked about the method of baptism. I asked whether it really mattered given that it is a symbol. And, in one sentence that can be taken out of context I even said words to the effect that it didn't matter. When he wrote that comment not designed to edify my immediate fleshy reaction was to respond in kind. Which is why I asked him to email me rather than react.

Jack Maddox said...

Mills

to address your questions:

1) I was asking wade the question.
2) I will answer yours.

I would have a problem with "teachers" at SBTS teaching or advocating such views, however to simply have them speak at chapel is apples and oranges when your talking about cooperative efforts and joining in covenant with other church's. I have not 'asked Mohler' because I do not know him nor do I have a audience with him. I do not know who you are referring to in regards to speakers teaching baptismal regeneration or 'baby sprinkling' perhaps you can be more precise.

jrm

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

"I would encourage you to relax and realize that not one soul will miss heaven because of an error in the Holiness Pentecostal movement."

WHOA!!!!! You have got to be kidding me brother! Surely you do not mean this! Many in this movement are modalist and you know it. Many teach baptismal regeneration. Many teach conditional security. Many teach christian perfectionism. If I am trusting in Jesus PLUS my Baptism, PLUS my perfection, PLUS my being baptized in JESUS NAME only, PLUS you just place the work in there...then I have trusted in a false Jesus brother. I do not say this to teach you brother Wade, I simply say it to remind you brother. Surely you will want to retract this statement or at the very least re word it. If you really believe this then you are either a hyper calvinist or a inclusiveist. I believe you are neither. Please correct this staement Wade or at the very least elaborate and clarify.

jrm

Jack Maddox said...

I just read where Allan Cross's son does NOT HAVE CANCER!!!!!! PRAISE GOD!!!!! On this we can all lay down our swords and join together in praise to our great God! Thank you LORD!!!!!

jrm

(gotta go run up and down the aisles in my church!)

greg.w.h said...

That's great news for the Cross family! And such a vivid answer to prayer. Praises to the Great Physician!

Greg Harvey

Anonymous said...

") I was asking wade the question."

If you want a private audience with Wade why not e-mail him instead of posting it on a public blog where any joe can answer?

"I would have a problem with "teachers" at SBTS teaching or advocating such views, however to simply have them speak at chapel is apples and oranges when your talking about cooperative efforts and joining in covenant with other church's. I have not 'asked Mohler' because I do not know him nor do I have a audience with him. I do not know who you are referring to in regards to speakers teaching baptismal regeneration or 'baby sprinkling' perhaps you can be more precise. "

I get the feeling that you guys think having churches in the AN that do not adhere to SBC Baptism beliefs would affirm those other teachings. I do not think it is apples and oranges to ask why you have not considered that this happens at SBTS. When Mohler hooks up with Duncan for T4G why is HE not affirming infant baptism by thhis connection? They share stages, do conferences, media appearances, etc. Duncan even wears a robe when he preaches1

The Baptismal Regeneration pastor is very well known in Louisville. Since he used to be my pastor and I know him well, I am going to not mention his name. He is retired but was pastor of a mega church. He believes in Baptismal Regeneration and preaches at chapel.

It became such an issue with some alumni that the church took their beliefs about baptism off their web site. But they teach it! I have a young family member there who really does believe he would only receive the Holy Spirit upon baptism. So, he got baptized at 9 years old to 'receive the Holy Spirit'.

The church teaches this and still has strong ties not only to SBTS but to Mohlers own church. Should the pastors from this church teach or speak at SBTS? Should Mohler's church have cooperative efforts with this church?

Should Mohler be affiliated with this church in any way in any cooperative effort in Louisville?

Same questions when it comes to Ligon Duncan.

Mills

Rev. said...

Wade: While I agree with you, from the divine perspective, that not one soul will miss heaven over doctrinal error, I believe it is vital we maintain Christian orthodoxy. One who persists in holding to heretical views (e.g., rejecting the Trinity) show they do not know the living and the true God. As such, they will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Gal. 5:19-21).

I would not be able, if I were part of a network, to permit a non-Trinitarian (thus a non-Christian) group into the association. I might disagree with paedobaptists over the mode and subjects of baptism, yet we still agree upon the fundamentals of the faith. Modalism is not merely doctrinal error, it is heresy - it is non-Christian - defined as such historically by the Ecumenical Church Councils as they upheld the teachings of Holy Scripture.

Bryan Riley said...

Does not understanding an inexplicable aspect of God's character like the Trinity, not being good at expressing one's understanding, or simply not expressing one's understanding in the same way as others sanction really mean that a person does not know God???

Lin said...

"If I am trusting in Jesus PLUS my Baptism, PLUS my perfection, PLUS my being baptized in JESUS NAME only, PLUS you just place the work in there...then I have trusted in a false Jesus brother. "

Jack, We have a whole convention full of people who believe if they walk an ailse, repeat a sinners prayer and get baptized...poof...they are saved. Oops, no regenerated heart but they are SECURE because some pastor told them that is all it takes to get into the heaven line.

So we have Jesus+walking an ailse, +sinners prayer, +Baptism.

We also have a convention full of mega church pastors preaching the seeker watered down message of sins are really just mistakes.

My goodness, maybe you can clean up our convention before you pick on Wade's AN. We are starting to look like Roman Catholics except we don't sprinkle...we repeat prayers and immerse. (Oh, and walk that ailse).

But we do have Popes, Bishops, priests and 'sacralists' like the RC.

Jack Maddox said...

Mills

You throw a lot out there but I will try to respond. First of all I do not know what you mean by "you guys" As I have stated, I do not know Dr. Mohler, have never spoken with him, am not a alum of SBTS and really have nothing to do with the powers that be in the SBC, so I am tremendously unqualified to address such matters. As far as T4G, I again do not see the connection between a conference and a network/fellowship of church's. I did not attend the T4G and do not plan on doing so. I am not even critical of the AN. If men and women and church's care to set aside these doctrinal distinctions for what they believe to be a higher cause, I have said and continue to say God bless them! Wade has stated and I believe him that this is in no way a reactionary baptist group such as the CBF or the SBTC. As far as who is connected with who in Louisville and who endorses what...again, I am unaware of such and if I has the opportunity to talk to Dr. Mohler I would. I do believe Dr. York may be one who could address this issue. If the one speaker at chapel is such a hard core modalist, I would be curious why he would want to be affiliated with SBTS? Surely you are not implying that Dr. Mohler holds to or is sympathetic with such false doctrines?

However, to answer your question, if I was the president of SBTS I would not permit Modalists to preach in my chapel, just like I believe it was wrong for Prestonwood to have TD Jakes preach at their church.

jrm

Jack Maddox said...

rev

Yes to what you said! : )

jrm

Anna A said...

Greg W. H.

As one of the resident Catholic readers, may I clarify something for you. What Pope Benedict is doing about Luther is really just a high level university seminar series. He is getting together with former students of his, and having intellectual fun.

Nothing offical will be coming out of this.

Jack Maddox said...

bryan riley

To deny the Trinity is to deny the God revealed throughout scripture, so the answer to your question is yes.

There is a difference in denying the Trinity and having a poor understanding or comprehension of the Trinity. Such is not the case with the Oneness movement or Modalists

jrm

Jack Maddox said...

lin

You have no argument from me on the first part of your comment. I say AMEN to what you have said and I in complete agreement. I would only clarify that this is a CHURCH problem and not necessarily a CONVENTION issue, but I would not strain over knats on this. And again, please understand, I am not attacking or demeaning the AN. I simply would not choose to participate in it due to my own deeply held convictions. Is that ok with you or must I accept it in order to get a pass?

jrm

ps - you forgot our unwillingness to address the issue of church discipline...thats a problem also!

Rev. said...

Bryan:

I concur with Jack. There is a vast difference between "not being good at expressing one's understanding" and maintaining heresy. God is Triune. Those who refuse to believe that refuse to accept Christianity. They refuse to acknowledge God as He has revealed Himself.

Paul said...

Amy,

I'm not sure you really understand what sort of network we are talking about. The Antioch Network will not plant churches. The Antioch Network will support churches that plant churches.

Thus, in the example you gave to Bryan, that scenario simply will never come about. The network may lend some sort of support to a non-denom Arminian church that is wanting to plant a church, but the network will not plant the church. At that point it will likely be up to the ones who are actually planting the church to determine the doctrinal parameters of their work. All the network will determine is whether or not the work is worthy of whatever means of support it may be asked to contribute (whether that's financial, mentoring/advice/guidance, prayer...whatever). And the network may well, at the same time, lend support to a church or other network that is planting a Calvinistic church. But the people in the network have already determined that where one comes down on that particular issue will not prevent us from working together.

I think it is hard for us to comprehend a movement that is really more kingdom focused than denominationally distinctive focused. But that's the difference.

Anonymous said...

"Surely you are not implying that Dr. Mohler holds to or is sympathetic with such false doctrines? "

Is Baptismal Regeneration a false doctrine? Infant Baptism? (Lots of people lost their lives over this one in the past)

I have followed Mohler for a long time...up close. I do not think he cares much about doctrine except when it comes to using it to excercise convention power. He attends and teaches in an Arminian seeker mega church where my previous example of walking the ailse is practiced. He cooperates with Baby Baptizers and Baptismal Regenerationists... so as to how pure he is about doctrine, I would have to question that.

He seems to be much more concerned with secondary doctrinal issues that have more of a cultural bent to them. Such as how many children a couple is NOT having and whether a woman is in her 'role'.

Mills

greg.w.h said...

Anna A:

I'm sure you're correct. But public statements by the RC acknowledging corruption--no matter how they take place--are a bit like dodos and passenger pigeons. And it plays to a theme I've raised in the past regarding Luther: reformers sometimes have an impact that isn't fully visible at first.

I'm not precisely sure if you're posting because you continue as a Catholic and disagree with Benedict XVI's 'fun' or not. The article went on to compare the action to that taken to improve relations with Muslims as well. So I think I see where you're coming from.

Greg Harvey

Lin said...

ps - you forgot our unwillingness to address the issue of church discipline...thats a problem also!

06 March, 2008

Jack, the Body needs more spiritually mature believers in the pews AND in leadership (Part of the Holy Priesthood) in order to do what Matt 18 teaches. So, we must start with deep teaching from the pulpit.

If we don't, church discipline can become an ax that power hungry leaders can use to their own benefit to squealch any dissent or disagreement. Even disciplining those who ask questions they do not like. I have seen it far too many times.

I once saw a senior staff member fired because she had the nerve to suggest that having a staff day retreat in a sports bar as not a good way to spend tithe dollars. She was 'disciplined' for not being a 'team member'. This stuff goes on all the time.

Matthew 18, the entire process, must end up in front of the whole church if it comes to that. When is the last time you saw that happen? Leaders are too scared of it.

Jack Maddox said...

MIlls

To your first question...yes
To your second question...yes

To the rest of your statement, you seem to think you know more about Dr. Mohler than I do. As to your conclusions concerning him, I would disagree on the basis that what I do know about him is in great opposition to what you have said. I will leave it at that.

It would seem that you have more of a bent with Dr. Mohler than you have a real interest in the subject matter of Wades post.

jrm

Jack Maddox said...

lin

uhhh...ok...

jrm

Ken Coffee said...

The comment thread on this post shows exactly why networks will continue to pop up. There are lots of us who have been Southern Baptists all our long lives and have serious problems with people telling us with whom we can fellowship and still remain Southern Baptist. It seems like people are often opposed to things they cannot control.

Jack Maddox said...

Ken

In all seriousness brother, where has anyone tried to tell any of you that you cannot be Southern Baptist and belong to the AN? That would be like telling someone they could not be a part of the Founders Conference and remain SB. You can say it all you want but it just aint so.

jrm

Anonymous said...

Paul,

I remember watching a war protest on the news one day when Roy Scheider (guy from Jaws) came on the screen and said these words, "When they understand what we understand about this war, they will join us." I wonder why reading your comment to me caused me to have a memory of Roy Scheider.

Paul, and all sarcasm aside, I do understand what "this network" is. It is evangelical ecumenicalism. It is something that has deep theological problems because it has no basic doctrinal basis. It is something that I cannot support. However, like I wrote to Wade I have done my part and I have been a watchman on the wall.

If you choose not to listen or consider another's opinion (and someone who understands this concept a lot more than you might realize), I cannot stop you. The choice is yours as the choice is mine.

Amy

Wade Burleson said...

Folks, I am a Trinitarian. The Scripture teaches "You shall call his name Jesus for he shall save His people from their sins"

The Scripture doesn't say He hopes to save His people, or He might save His people, or He tries to save His people - it says He SHALL save His people.

The error of modalism - held by Pentecostals - does not keep one soul from heaven that God intends to save through the work of His Son.

Blessings,

wade

Paul said...

Amy,

I've heard your concerns here and I simply don't share them. Just because we have established a theological basis which isn't as detailed as you'd like doesn't mean there isn't one. The one we have is trinitarian, Christo-centric and permeated with the gospel. I understand that that isn't good enough for a great many Southern Baptists, but I cannot agree that not being more than that makes it somehow dangerous.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Amy: This network doesn't need your support so it's ok that you don't. In fact I would have been surprised if either you or Jack would have supported it. However, you are not listening to what is being said. You are making this out to be something it is not. You are creating a monster under your bed that isn't there.

Pamela: Amen

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

Thats weak and you know it. I share your soteriology concerning Gods sovereignty in the salvation of His redeemed people. I understand your ends and I agree, it is your means thats all messed up brother. If we are to take that kind of logic that you propose to the bank, then we could say that we can partner with Buddhist or Mormons because the error of Buddhism and Mormonism does not keep one soul from Heaven that God intends to save through His son.

You are wrong with this premise. There are much better arguments for fellow-shipping with heretical teachings and movements than that : )

jrm

Rev. said...

Wade: While I agree with you, from the divine perspective, that not one soul will miss heaven over doctrinal error, I believe it is vital we maintain Christian orthodoxy. One who persists in holding to heretical views (e.g., rejecting the Trinity) shows he/she does not know the living and the true God. As such, he/she will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Gal. 5:19-21).

I would not be able, if I were part of a network, to permit a non-Trinitarian (thus a non-Christian) group into the association. I might disagree with paedobaptists over the mode and subjects of baptism, yet we still agree upon the fundamentals of the faith. Modalism is not merely doctrinal error, it is heresy - it is non-Christian - defined as such historically by the Ecumenical Church Councils as they upheld the teachings of Holy Scripture.

Bryan Riley said...

Amy,

I've tried not to direct my questions in the past, but they seem to go unanswered if not directed. Here was one of the questions I asked earlier:

Are you saying that there is a universal law, something established by God, that dooms any network of Christians who have different views on some matters from working together?

I get the feeling that some are prophesying thus sayeth the Lord, "it will fail." Are you?

Glen Woods said...

Wade said,

"The error of modalism - held by Pentecostals - does not keep one soul from heaven that God intends to save through the work of His Son."

If might gently suggest a correction to this statement. In reality, while some pentecostals are modalists, many are not. Open Bible Standard, Assemblies of God and Foursquare are three denominations which are firmly trinitarian in conviction. Just wanted to chime in on that point. I will go back to my cave now:)

davidinflorida said...

Wade,

Please tell me if I`m wrong here, but isn`t this Network based on the Church in the book of Acts? Aren`t the characteristics based on that?

If so, wouldn`t the naysayers also have a problem with the early Christian Church and their function?

Anonymous said...

Davidinflorida,

Just because you name your organization after a church in the Bible does not necessarily mean you share the characteristics.

As for Wade's commment... "The error of modalism - held by Pentecostals - does not keep one soul from heaven that God intends to save through the work of His Son."

It is just that kind of "hyper"-calvinist view point that sends many people to Hell. Wade, if you truly believe that what will be will be, and that our actions have no impact on the future... then why preach... why pray... why send missionaries out... why do anything?!

Surely, you cannot just right off all human responsibilities so flippantly?

Joe. W.

Anonymous said...

It is just that kind of "hyper"-calvinist view point that sends many people to Hell.

Ugh!!! Say it ain't so Joe!

Do you really believe that a "viewpoint" is the catalyst behind someone blazing their way into hell?

Why do people go to hell Joe? Do you know? Please tell us why someone goes to hell.

Thanks in advance.

Dull Iron

p.s. Gene Bridges- Once Joe replies, you can take it from there. :)

Anonymous said...

People go to Hell for 2 basic reasons.

1) They are sinners, seperated from God, and they deserve to go to Hell.

2) They reject the Savior, trample under the Blood of Christ, and choose to go to Hell.

And Yes! I truly believe a "viewpoint" can lead people further down the path toward Hell. Maybe it is their humanist viewpoint, their Islamic viewpoint, thier atheistic viewpoint. or even their "hyper"- calvinistic viewpoint... but regardless they fail to view things the way God does.

Of course... if you believe human beings do not have a choice, it is fine for you to have that "viewpoint". But I do not believe God wishes for anyone to end up in Hell... I am not a fatalist... and yes I believe there will be many people led astray by the erroneous teachings of Pentecostal Holiness Churches. Then again, I could always be wrong... but that is my "viewpoint". ;) I am learning to put these little faces on my sentences so they don't sound so harsh.

Joe W.

Anonymous said...

Bryan asked, "Are you saying that there is a universal law, something established by God, that dooms any network of Christians who have different views on some matters from working together?"

Absolutely not. Partner together on social efforts such as Pro-Life causes, feeding the hungry, etc., etc. However, those who share different soteriological stances and/or Trinitarian stances will face I believe insurmountable obstacles/conflicts when it comes to missions, evangelism, church planting.

Bryan -- thanks for asking. And thanks for asking without trying to assign to me motives and views I don't have.

Amy

Debbie -- don't put your words into my mouth. I don't see monsters under my bed. I do see fallacies and I call them as I see them.

Scott Gordon said...

Jack and Dave and Rev...

Thank you for your clarity in expression of solid biblical convictions. As a Calvinist who would run screaming from Modalism, I, too, am troubled by Wade's assertion and the direction of the ANC. Any group which rallies around to say that the rest of the convention is just not as good as "us" is problematic to healthy discussion within our convention...and that goes for Founders, too. I like many of the guys over there, but I have a problem, myself, with crusading for all Calvinism all the time versus the preeminence of Christ and the primacy of the Gospel mission.

And, Wade, don't repeat the only 20-25% there were Southern Baptist. Then don't bring the report back to your blog as a critique of our convention. Go do your own thing, like the CBF, and leave the SBC out of it.

Sola Gratia!

John Mann said...

Wade,

The question is not, "are you a Trinitarian?" The question is, "do you think it is possible to be a Christian and a non-Trinitarian?" You say, "the error of Modalism does not keep one soul from heaven." So, would you please answer the following question. Are you then saying that a non-Trinitarian will go to heaven?

Jerry Pierce said...

Wade -- Please allow me to state for the record: The Southern Baptist TEXAN has not asked any of the questions you cited in your post. I cannot answer for others in Texas, but I assure you, in my telephone call with Dwight McKissic Tuesday, I simply asked for a news release when it became available. Nothing more. You can check with Dwight for confirmation. Thanks for an opportunity to clarify the record. Blessings.

Jerry Pierce

greg.w.h said...

John,

I think your reasoning should be expanded to all of the issues. It actually is helpful:

- Can you be a Christian and a non-Trinitarian?

Yes. It depends on how God accounts for Paul's Romans 10 claim that confessing with your mouth and believing in your heart is sufficient for salvation.

It raises the bigger issue of how we relate to people who do not believe Jesus is God or to those who are essentially pantheists while using Christian nomenclature. I agree that it is very difficult to find cause for intimate fellowship with groups like that for the same reason that most of us would reject Jehovah's Witnesses and Latter Day Saints (no matter which portion of the LDS spectrum they hail from.)

But, regardless, the Antioch Network of Churches deserves the freedom to cross that bridge when they come to it. It is impossible to anticipate all of the potential problems and create a set of rules to follow to avoid them all.

I think those who continue to put forth positions intended to illustrate the insufficient thought that has gone into the formation of the Antioch Network of Churches have a very valid point, by the way. Wade I want to point out that you failed to vet this Network with the Southern Baptist Convention before you helped put it together.

Your church and the other Southern Baptist-affiliated churches that put this network together are, therefore, acting solely on your/their authority as local churches. As such you should expect little or no help from the Convention itself beyond that which might be made available to the typical SBC church.

I thought that you weren't being clear enough on that point and that might be causing some of the confusion, so I thought it would help to reiterate it. ;)

Greg Harvey

John Mann said...

Greg,

I agree with your assessment that the Antioch group will need some time and in no way can they see the problems in advance. But my point is simple. The issue of Trinitarianism has been raised, and Wade has spoken to it. Wade has championed more openess for 2 years now, and I am simply asking him to be open about this issue. The former comment he made seems to be saying that there can be salvation apart from a Trinitarian doctrine. I am simply asking for his clarification. This is very important for at least one reason, if not more. Wade is championing a more inclusive vision for the SBC. The question that must be asked is, "how inclusive should the SBC be in their cooperation?" Should we acknowledge the viability of missional participation with a group who is not Trinitarian, i.e. the Oneness Pentecostals? This group just does not decide to 'not discuss the Trinity,' indeed they are anti-Trinitarian... that is, they speak against this doctrine.

Now I understand that the Antioch group is NOT trying to replace the SBC. But, nonetheless, Wade's is a voice that has been advocating reform for a sustained period of time. It is my opinion, that before his voice can be heeded, one must ask, how much will we reform? For me, the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity is beyond the purview of acceptable parameters. Indeed, to not accept the Trinity should discqualify a theology from being considered Christian. So, in order to seek reform, should SBC churches partner with those that are not Christian to do the mission of Christ? I find that to be quite an oxymoron.

Blackhaw said...

"The error of modalism - held by Pentecostals - does not keep one soul from heaven that God intends to save through the work of His Son."

That is true. But those who hold to modalism and do not repent before they die are not those " that God intends to save through the work of His Son." At least not when one is speaking about his Divine sovereign will. IF not then the churred erred big time with the sabellianists and the monarchians. Not to mention the council of Nicea and Constaniople is all a waste of time. And really so is Ephesus and Chalcedon since they affirmed Nicea. Arianism and modalism were the two big heresies of the 4th century.

Man this is so fundamental and is just theology 101. Everyone who is a baptized member in our churches should understand that modalists are heretics big time. I guess the phrase about the confession not being binding on one's conscience really fits now.

My advice to anyone thinking about this network is RUN! RUN AWAY! If the leaders of the Network are so theologically ignorant then there will be big problems.

Blackhaw said...

Greg,

"Can you be a Christian and a non-Trinitarian?"

NO! Can one be saved and be a Non-Trinitarianism. Maybe if one never heard of the doctrine or something like that. But no if it means that one flat out rejects Trinitarianism. Trinitarianism is at the core of the Christian Faith and is its central doctrine. Everything falls if the doctrine of the Trinity falls.

"But, regardless, the Antioch Network of Churches deserves the freedom to cross that bridge when they come to it. It is impossible to anticipate all of the potential problems and create a set of rules to follow to avoid them all."

This is not a small issue. What you are saying here applies to little things that can't be anticipated. This is basic Christian Theology 101. If the Antioch Network did not think of this then they have more problems than Amy and others have said here.

greg.w.h said...

Carl (and John, but answering using Carl's post)

I agree with you that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being separate persons and all God at the same time (and not THREE Gods) is central doctrine of belief in the Cross. The term Trinity itself is anachronistic, though, as it first got "canonized" with the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea. So NONE of the very first believers used the term and I suspect they understood implicitly, rather than explicitly, the concept of how you explain that all three are God and yet all three appear separate and even, seemingly, separated.

I think you understood the point I was making because you acknowledged that some might not have heard the term "Trinitarian" and, therefore, might be considered non-Trinitarians. I agree that anti-Trinitarians--which is the category we all should be concerned about--are not Christian.

It reminds me of a post by Gene Bridges on Tribalogue in 2006 (I just refreshed my memory on this) talking about whether the essence of the Son and Spirit are dependent on the Father or not. It is a very interesting topic and I know in my heart it is important.

But I will offer that people can come to salvation with less than complete knowledge--and even occasionally defective--doctrinal understanding. That's why the concept of regeneration doesn't produce a whole, completed Christian. Sanctification completes what regeneration starts.

That is how I read Wade's comment. And I suspect that I'm pretty close to what he was trying to get across. Just trying to be helpful in carrying forward a conversation between his posts, by the way, and not trying to answer for Wade.

Greg Harvey

Jim said...

Blackhaw,

I find it interesting that you seem to define "Christian" as one who intellectually assents to a set of doctrines rather than one who is a "little Jesus." The latter meaning is of course the one that the New Testament describes. It is very difficult for me to understand those who seem to define the gospel in terms of cognitive beliefs rather than a real relationship with the person of Jesus.

jim

John Mann said...

Jim,

If I might speak to your comment to Blackhaw, though not for Blackhaw.

To have a relationship demands certain ascents to cognitive confessions. A husband and wife cannot be in relationship without making certain dogmatic statements about the other's person and nature. To say one must simply "love Jesus" is shortsighted. Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and others would 'Amen' that statement. But to confess Jesus as Christ is to make certain confessions not just of my love for Him, but also about Who He is by nature, i.e., the second person of the Trinity.

John Mann said...

By the way... we are still awaiting some answers from Wade on some very substantive questions.

greg.w.h said...

John Mann,

Oh yes...the relational part of "push becoming shove." Has that worked between you and God lately?

:)

Greg Harvey

Anonymous said...

John Mann,

Don't you realize he wrote a new post so that he doesn't have to respond? He has changed the subject.

Amy

Wade Burleson said...

Amy,

Nice try.

Won't work.

wade

Wade Burleson said...

John Mann,

God saves people. Not you, not Amy.

Start sharing Christ with people and leave the results to God. It is far more productive doing that than trying to change the views of Pentecostal Holiness churches.

Blessings,

wade

John Mann said...

Wade,

My comment has nothing to do with trying to change Oneness Pentecostals. It has to do with seeking some clarification from a fellow Southern Baptist who is advocating reform. My question is simple: Specifically what parameters will you place around missional cooperation? Are non-Trinitarians acceptable partners for missions?

Blackhaw said...

John, I think you answered Jim as I would. I think there is an unhealthy seperation between doctrines and Christian living in many of our churches. The Trinity becomes a doctrine to be affirmed but it has not real practical application to daily life. Right?

The truth is that one cannot really seperate beliefs (or the ascent to certain theological truths) and right Christian living and faith. They go hand and hand. They even influence each other.

So Jim you can look to John's post and mine for your answer. You basically have raised a false dichotomy.

CARL

What would be interesting to note is that renowned but non-Christian church historian Adolf Harnack made much the same statements as Jim has done. He thought things like the Trinty or the incarantion were just a "Hellenization" of the true Christian faith and true gospel. He thought the true gospel was ethical and moral not metaphysical. Thus he had real problems with Nicea and the Eastern church in general (the Western church also but not as much). But I think it interesting that a liberal and non-Christian scholar has closer beliefs to some in our churches today than the Church Fathers.

John Mann said...

Wade,

BTW, I agree concerning your comment about evangelism. However, my question is, do we share the Jesus who is revealed to be trinitarian? Or do we share the Jesus who is non-trinitarian? Or are these the same Jesus? As you are a voice who is advocating radical reform, please answer a simple question in order that I might know where you stand.

Blackhaw said...

"Start sharing Christ with people and leave the results to God. It is far more productive doing that than trying to change the views of Pentecostal Holiness churches."

Shouldn't we be sharing Christ with oneness pentecostals since they are not Christians and going to hell? I for one believe that we should try and change their beliefs through evangelism and missions. But then again I would say that about ALL nonChristians, even those that claim to be a Christian Chruch.

John Mann said...

Greg,

As your last commnet is an effort grounded in the foolishness of diversion, I shall ignore it. Should you desire to offer something substantive to the conversation, I will give you my undivided attention.

Wade Burleson said...

John,

I will attempt to answer without feeling insulted or demeaned by your question.

We share the Jesus who is the eternal God in human flesh, the fullness of the Godhead bodily, fully human and fully divine, who died for sinners on the cross, was buried and rose the third day as our Kinsman Redeemer, the unique Son of God.

I could give the Nicene Creed, and the Trinitarian Confession of the First or Second London Confession, or any other doctrinal statement that might prove to you my orthodoxy.

But, unfortunately, I thought we were not talking about me, but Pentecostal Holiness brethren, and my point to you and Amy is to concern yourself with a lost world rather than being the guardian doctrinal watchdogs or moral compass bearers for a church that is both unorthodox and irrelevant in their views of the TRINITY - and who will have absolutely ZILL impact on th Antioch Network.

It is the chasing of rabbits offered by the two of you that make me wish I had never begun blogging.

Blessings,

Wade

Dwight said...

Wade,
Here are the facts related to the request of Jerry Pierce regarding his desire to be present at the ANC exploratory meeting.

Jerry asked if he could come and cover the story. I requested that he not come because it was a by invitation only meeting and I wanted people to feel free to talk without the concern of their names being published.

I was reading on Tim Guthrie's comments in this thread where he was pressing you concerning "baptism" and someone else was asking you questions about women pastors. I anticipated Jerry Pierce, or other reporters and other inquirers about the ANC asking these two questions. Therefore, I sent you an email on March 5 to discuss how we might handle these questions wherever they came from. I later called you on the same day to discuss these matters not knowing that you had been in a committee meeting with the BGCO and unable to respond. Again, I anticipated Jerry, Tim and others asking the questions and I wanted to make sure we were ready to answer. However, Jerry's request was only to attend the meeting. I promised at his request to notify him first when or if we released a press statement and he committed to staying away from the meeting. We both honored each other's request. He asked no questions to me regarding women pastors. I apparently miscommunicated with you during our conversation but I hope this clarifies the matter.

I apologize to you and Jerry for the miscommunication.

Dwight

John Mann said...

Wade,

So does your answer mean that a non-Trinitarian is by de facto a non-Christian?

I apologize for hurting your feelings or offending you. I thought it was OK to discuss issues and not people at Grace and Truth.

Wade Burleson said...

Dwight,

No problem.

Thanks for the clarification.

wade

Wade Burleson said...

John,

Issues can be discussed. I just would like for them to pertain to the post.

Whether or not a 'modalist' is a Christian is a question that only God can answer.

He gave His Son for sinners, and if a person comes to faith in Christ, by the grace of God, then whether or not that person comes to a full realization of the Deity of Christ seems to me to be up to the same grace that gave to the believer the gift of faith. I would imagine, that at some point in time, EVERY believer will see the fullness of the Godhead in Christ because God will ensure it.

I will not be boxed into saying WHEN that recognition comes - before or after 'conversion' since I see conversion being an act of God upon man.

John Mann said...

Wade,

Then you would affirm the following statement.

"A Christian does not need to affirm the deity of Christ."

Is that correct?

I am unconcerned about the 'when' and am well aware of the Calvinist view of regeneration. My question is simple. In regards to Antioch Networks statement of cooperation not disqualifying non-trinitarians from missional cooperation, would you advocate the same effort within the SBC at large?

Blackhaw said...

"Whether or not a 'modalist' is a Christian is a question that only God can answer."

That is one scary answer. You do know that Christianity as a whole has stated that they are not. Right? This is something that Baptists agree with the early church on.

Wade Burleson said...

John Mann and Blackhaw,

You are barking up the wrong tree. Go engage modalists with your questions. I am uninterested since I ain't one.

Blessings,

Wade

Paul said...

It might be helpful if those of you with concerns about the ANC's position on the trinity, deity and humanity of Jesus, etc. would go back and read the faith statement that came out of the meeting. It is clearly trinitarian, clear on the deity and humanity of Christ and the way of salvation.

Now, I'm wondering why someone who rejected the trinity would want to join the ANC? Are there some of you out there who are credo-baptists who are chomping at the bit to join a pedo-baptist network? Are you dying to network with Oneness Pentecostals? Do you really think they are going to read that statement and ask how soon they can join?

If you'll just go back and read the faith statement you'll quickly see how irrelevant all of these questions are. Unless you have some other agenda.

Blackhaw said...

"You are barking up the wrong tree. Go engage modalists with your questions. I am uninterested since I ain't one."

You are not a Hindu or Buddhist either. But I am sure you are concerned about them and will witness to them.

But you are a pastor and I guess leader of this new Antioch Network (or one of the leaders of it). So you have to engage in discussions like this. This is part of the job descriptions (hopefully) of those positions.

John Mann said...

Wade,

I realize that you are not one, but surely someone who is as widely read on theology as you are has some thoughts, at least as far as missional cooperation would go. So, understanding that you are not a modalist, would you advocate missional cooperation in the SBC with Modalists?

John Mann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blackhaw said...

Paul,

That is what is somewhat strange about what Wade is saying. The point is that the confession of beliefs is Trinitarian. Why not believe in your confession of beliefs. But maybe it has something to do with the Confession not having any bearing on one's conscious clause. I do not know. But in a way I am asking for Wade and thus the Antioch Network to be consistent with its own confession.

Blackhaw said...

My last statement on this topic is that I ask the Antioch Network and Wade to be consistent with their confession of faith.

I will leave the discussion in the much more capable hands of John.

John Mann said...

Paul,

The question is not whether or not a Modalist would want to be a part of the ANC. Rather, it is would the ANC, who is calling for reform of the SBC, allow a Modalist to be a part of them for the sake of missional cooperation? If Wade [and others asking for reform] would invite missional cooperation with a Modalist, that is quite revealing as to what type of reform they are seeking in the SBC. I repeat... "is it acceptable to have missional cooperation with a non-Trinitarian?

John Mann said...

Paul,

You said, in the above, that the ANC will not plant churches, but you will assist in planting churches.

Question: Will you assist in the planting of a non-trnitarian church?

Wade Burleson said...

Blackhaw,

I am the 'leader' of my church - not the network.

Our church plants churches that are solidly Trinitarian, and I can assure you that any participation we have in planting churches will be solidly Trinitarian.

You guys remind me of an old man who is hard of hearing. You have to repeat, and repeat, and repeat what is being said, only to realize there may be a complete inability to hear.

greg.w.h said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
greg.w.h said...

Anonymous:

There is no goodness in that comment. At the least own up to the comments and sign your name. Yes the two of them insist on being intentionally dense in an effort to use manipulation to control the situation.

But their efforts to undermine Wade's leadership do not go unnoticed either here or in heaven. And Wade's remarkable patience has won more than a few people to his side.

What they intend for evil (though they may not be able to see it that way), God intends and is actively redeeming for good. Just trust Him.

Greg Harvey

P.S. And, yes, I ought to listen to my own advice more often, Bryan. ;)

Rev. said...

Many seem to find it difficult to define a Christian as "one who intellectually assents to a set of doctrines rather than one who is a 'little Jesus'", asserting erroneously that the definition needs to go no further than that.

The gospel must be defined not only in "cognitive beliefs," but also with a "real relationship with the person of Jesus." When you read the writings of the Apostle Paul he addresses belief and behavior, doctrine and devotion, the intellectual and the spiritual. He does not divide these things, he - under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit - unites them.

The Trinity issue is not merely something on the list of a "watchdog," but is part and parcel of being in communion with the living and the true God who is triune. It has everything to do with knowing God. To deny the Trinity is to deny God, to deny Christ, to deny the faith.

Rev. said...

Anonymous:

You speak of the "Love of Jesus Christ," but when speaking about people who make you "SICK" because they are like a "Blood Sucking Leach," I'm sure not feeling any of that love. You may need to take your own advice to "get on your knees and get to know Jesus Christ."

For that matter, I would encourage everyone (myself included) to be thoughtful with what you type and pause with reflection before hitting the "publish your comment" button.

--

"He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him." - 1 John 2:9-10

Jim said...

Blackhaw, John mann, et al,

I am not at all suggesting a false dichotomy when I complain about your emphasis on determining whether someone is a Christian or not simply by examining intellectual cognition.

What I am trying to do is to point you back towards a New Testament (and early church) understanding of what a Christian is. As I mentioned previously the Net Testament understanding of a Christian is "Little Christ".

I believe Christ has/is/will redeem the whole person, not just the cognitive part of a person. So when someone emphasizes the intellectual part of a person as much as you seem to do, I think you have missed an important part of the New Testament understanding of who a Christian is.

I am also trying to point out the difficulty of determining who a Christian is. Simple litmus tests of 'does this person believe A, B, and C, but not D' just don't cut it.

Let me give you two examples to illustrate what I mean.

Example 1: I became a Christian at age 13. I grew up in a traditional SBC church, and in response to the Holy Spirit's wooing me over a period of time, I walked down the aisle to give my life to Christ. After the service, he took me up to his office and asked me some very basic questions about who Jesus was, my sin, etc. I think I have missed everyone of them. I became afraid that I had somehow done something wrong because I knew I was getting all of the answers wrong. At the end of the day, he somehow saw past all of my bad answers and agreed with my parents that it was appropriate for me to be baptized. In short, he saw past the lack of intellectual understanding into what God was doing in my heart. So was I not a Christian at that point because I could not intellectually understand nor articulate what God had done in my heart? Certainly I've grown in my faith and I'm certain I could now easily give all the 'right' answers. But i could not at that moment at age 13 do so.

Example 2: While in grad school in North Carolina, I became friends with a fellow who had grown up in a *very* conservative Baptist church. I worked side-by side with him in ministry for 4 years or so. We had many conversations, led Bible studies together, did ministry together, etc. In every way, his life demonstrated that he was a Christian. He moved away and we lost touch. When we picked up our friendship again 2 years later, i realized he had become in one of the 'unity' pentecostal churches that deny the trinity and that he espoused this view. So was he a Christian at that point now that he believed the unity pentecostal doctrine of God? According to your litmus test, the answer would be 'no'. So was he a Christian when we did ministry side-by-side for 4 years? I think the answer is undoubtedly 'yes'. This person later went on to receive a PhD from Southeastern Seminary in 2002 and is currently teaching at a college in Georgia that is funded by the Georgia Baptist Convention. We've lost touch once again and I have not had the chance to talk with him about his views on the Trinity. But I would guess he probably would never have been hired at the college where teaches with a non-trinitarian view of God. So did he fall from grace? Was he never a Christian to start with? Or is it possible that he was a Christian at the time when we first met until today?

I'm very curious-- how would you deal with both of these illustrations? In both cases, the individuals in question would fail your doctrinal tests. But I think both of these individuals were almost certainly Christ-followers at the time when they would fail the tests.

In short, I think that determining who is/is not a Christian is a difficulty and complicated endeavor since it ultimately involves matters of the heart which are not always evident. Christ certainly desires to redeem the whole person (including the cognitive part of a person), but it seems to me that since sanctification will only be complete in the full presence of jesus, that there will always be unredeemed parts of us that deny God. But do those unredeemed parts of us make us 'not a Christian'?

Simplistic litmus tests create lots and lots of bad side effects that, to me at least, seem much too close to the kinds of mental gymnastics that legalists in the New Testament were employing with Jesus. The downside of such checklists is much greater than the upside, as far as I am concerned.

jim

John Mann said...

Jim,

I do appreciate your questions and find them quite useful to the conversation at hand. Thank you for using a tone that is both clear, yet Christian. For that very reason I will respond in kind. However, it is getting late on a Friday, so I will be spending the evening with my family, so my dialogue may be short and sweet.

I would like to first point out that I in no way said a person 'is' or 'is not' saved due to an acceptance or denial of the Trinity. I do not expect the little 10 year olds that I have the great joy of leading to Christ at VBS to be able to explain the intricate details of the Trinity. Yet have no problem saying that salvation seems to have occured.

To the contrary, what I have sought understand is whether or not a particular theology is acceptable. If the church is the pillar of truth, than its doctrine must play some part in its foundation. In no way have I said that a person cannot become a believer until they explain the economic or ontological Trinity. I have simply stated that a trinitarian doctrine is foundational to any missional effort. I have simply tried to discover whether or not the Antioch effort agreed, and more importantly to me, whether or not voices advocating reform in the SBC was willing to have separation over such a foundational doctrine as the Trinity.

If my explanation is coherent, that should make your two examples null, since I am not speaking of converts, but of doctrines. Nonetheless, I will offer a clear yet concise answer as I can at this time.

1). It sounds as if you had the same understanding of the Trinity at 13 when you accepted Christ as I did at 8. I believe that was salvation.

2). It seems that your friend either was revealed to have not been saved, and therefore was able to deny the true doctrines of the faith; or perhaps, and more likely, he was in theological error from which some brave soul was able to rescue him.

I hope that makes sense, and will gladly correspond more as time allows should anything I have said need clarification.

Anonymous said...

Greg and Rev,

You are both correct; sometimes you have to be a little harsh to get their attention. Did Paul or any of the Apostles check the credential of fellow Believers and see if they believed in the Trinity? Sometimes we are very Stupid in our asking some Questions.

Anonymous said...

John Mann and Blackhaw,

Read the Baptist Press for any Question you have about the Network.

greg.w.h said...

Anonymous:

I cannot deny the truth of what you're saying. But I do oppose the use of anonymity to say it. I could do no less in part because I've done so with others in the past.

Anonymity leads to excess. Even the use of the relative anonymity of handles and distance (plus hiding behind the glowing screen in our homes as we type) can lead to excess.

Greg Harvey

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Grow up! You have no idea how much time of my life spending witnessing to the lost. If you did, you would be ashamed of your comment.

Amy

P.S. BTW I don't care about Holiness Pentecostalism and you were the ones who brought them up and said they could join the network. Now have the last word, my work of being a watchman on the wall is done.

Wade Burleson said...

Amy,

There is no need for hostility.

I am glad, however, that you understand there is no intention to answer any more absurd questions that have nothing to do with the post. Contrary to your comment, someone else asked a question if "Pentecostal Holiness" churches could join the network and you jumped on the bandwagon.

Please know that if you intend to comment on blogs you are going to need a little thicker skin.

Blessings,

Wade

Paul said...

John Mann,

The ANC is not seeking reform of the SBC. There were a number of people at that meeting who were not Southern Baptist and have the least interest in reforming a convention to which they do not belong. While we met we never once discussed how to reform the SBC. We simply discussed how we might work together for the cause of the gospel. In fact, as we ended the meeting on Tuesday Bro. Dwight encouraged us all to pray for the SBC and strengthen our ties to it, while committing to do just that himself.

Please don't invent some false purpose for the meeting.

Second, why would the ANC support the starting of a church it will not be asked to support starting? I have no more reason to believe that a Mormon group will ask the ANC to help start a church than I have reason to believe a Mormon group will ask my local church or yours to help them start a church.

It really is pretty useless to posit every wild hypothetical scenario to try to call the purpose of the ANC into question. The ANC is on the record as being trinitarian. I think it is wholly unreasonable to think that some anti-trinitarian group is now going to come calling on it for help in church planting or anything else. At least as unreasonable as expecting those same groups to petition your church or local association.

Blackhaw,

Who said the Antioch Network is being inconsistent with it's faith statement? So far it has neither been petitioned for nor offered to help anyone who is not in agreement with the confessional statement and there is absolutely no reason to expect that it will be. Period.

Anonymous said...

I think John back up at the beginning of this post, said it best.

"If you're not comfortable with it, then just don't be a part of it.

I pray a prayer of blessing on the Antioch network. May the Lord bless this network and use it for the expansion of the Kingdom of God and bringing many to Jesus Christ. Amen."

Amen and Amen.

Steve

Bryan Riley said...

Scott Gordon,

I find these two sentences together to be one of the most ironic things I've ever seen:

"Go do your own thing, like the CBF, and leave the SBC out of it.

Sola Gratia!"

Bryan Riley said...

The whole trinity thing escapes me. I am a trinitarian, as best as my mind allows me to understand it. And please understand I am not trying to be falsely modest. God blessed me with intellect. I won't go into my CV, but I can humbly say that I have a good mind because that is who God made me. However, I also know that we can only approach the Father with the hearts and faith of a child. Someone in this string of cmoments talked about how it is basic theology to understand the Trinity. But, if you ask people to explain it they can give all sorts of word pictures or analogies, but what do they really understand? How many ten year olds have a "theological" understanding of it? Do they need to to be saved?

I have never been to seminary, so perhaps that is why I will say what I am about to say, but when I read definitions of modalism and the like, i don't really see why it is so horrifying. Perhaps there are things about it that I havce no clue as to why it so undercuts the fundamental beliefs of Christianity, and perhaps all "Oneness" pentecostals know that (although I doubt the average laypeople do), but I find all this conversation and bickering about this issue to be overblown.

Can one of you theologians make the theology 101 explanation for why this particular concern so horrifies you??? And, just by having such a question does that mean I am not a Christian to those who are raising this debate??? You definitely put off that demeanor.

Bryan Riley said...

I wish that several of us who comment here, both those who generally agree with Wade and those who do not (and there is a wide spectrum of the amount of agreement and disagreement) could come together and pray together. There are comments flying about here that discredit what all claim to be about - the good news of Jesus Christ, how the cross and His resurrection enable our reconciliation to the Father, and how we are called to love God and love others.

Rev, your comments are well taken. I am not sure I agree with all you have said about how Paul writes about cognitive belief and relationship, but I like what you've said and how you've said it.