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

Baptist Identity and Ad Hominem Variants

Malcolm Yarnell, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Southwestern Theological Seminary and the Editor of the Southwestern Journal of Theology is one of the proponents of the new Baptist Identity initiative within the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Yarnell was asked to write a guest article on a Baptist Identity blog where he gave seven doctrines of baptism which "speak much to Baptist Identity."

David Rogers, missionary for the International Mission Board and son of the late Adrian Rogers, wrote the first comment in response to Dr. Yarnell's article, articulating his personal disagreements with doctrines 4, 5 and 7. David then asked Malcolm Yarnell several questions including the following:

If I am unable to unequivocably embrace your 4th, 5th and 7th major points . . . does that mean that I am not truly a Baptist?

I chuckled when I read David's question. When a blue-blood Southern Baptist like David feels compelled to ask such a question, then the Baptist Identity initiative is definitely a fringe movement. Before Malcolm could respond to David Rogers' questions, I followed up with on of my own regarding the 4th doctrine of Baptist Identity which Dr. Yarnell defined as follows:

Baptists do not baptize apart from the local church, because baptism involves local church membership.

Dr. Yarnell called this doctrine, and the other six Baptist Identity doctrines he posits, 'bedrock convictions,' and he wrote that "cooperation must end where our bedrock convictions are compromised." Dr. Yarnell and Mr. Lumpkin (the owner of the blog), both believe that cooperation should end with anybody who disagrees with them on these so called 'bedrock convictions.' Though shocked at such extremism, I politely wrote the following in response to such thinking:

Believing David Rogers' questions to be very pertinent, I do not wish to distract from the time required to answer them. However, if I might add a couple of simple questions to his.

You wrote: "Baptists do not baptize apart from the local church, because baptism involves local church membership."

My questions: Into which local church was the Ethiopian eunuch baptized? Into which local church were the 3,000 at Pentecost baptized - having come to Jerusalem from all over the known world?

And, if you are unable to identify the local churches, is it possible that our early Baptist fathers were correct that baptism does not admit anyone into the local church? One such early Baptist wrote:

Baptism does not make a person a member of a church, or admit him into a visible church; persons must first be baptized, and then added to the church, as the three thousand converts were; a church has nothing to do with the baptism of any, but to be satisfied they are baptized before they are admitted into communion with it. John Gill

In light of your statements here, that the principles you put forth, including 'baptism involves local church membership,' are 'bedrock fundamentals' of Baptist Identity, will you at least admit that one of the principles you call bedrock is a departure from historic Baptist belief, and that if this is the case, then the new Baptist Identity movement, which is making tertiary issues 'bedrock fundamentals' is a movement that will ultimately separate, isolate, and disintegrate all cooperation - even among Baptists?

Just wondering.

Malcolm Yarnell responded to my question with the following words:

Thank you so kindly for your enquiry, but because of recent history with regard to Southwestern Seminary and the International Mission Board, you probably understand if I choose not to interact with your queries regarding the membership of the first church of Jerusalem, or the use of a peculiar High Calvinist to construct Baptist ecclesiology or missiology . . .

Huh?

I called Malcolm and left a message for him to call me on my cell regarding his response. He did not call me back. Malcolm's use of ad hominem variants, is precisely what happened at Southwestern Seminary and the International Mission Board. In other words, he illustrates the attitude of past trustee leadership at the IMB and current administration of SWBTS.

Let me illustrate:

When Dr. Klouda was removed from her position I made a trip to Fort Worth to privately speak to the administrators involved, including Dr. Patterson himself. I waited for three hours but was told he was unavailable to speak with me because of previous engagements. I left my cell phone number and forwarded a list of questions that I had regarding her removal. I emailed again, requesting a response to my questions. Nobody from SWBTS ever called me. Nobody from SWBTS answered my questions regarding Dr. Klouda's removal. Days later I published my post on Dr. Klouda. Rather than answer questions, those in charge at SWBTS have resorted to the ad hominem (attack the person) approach.

The same thing happened on the International Mission Board. When the new policies were proposed, I asked several questions, behind closed doors, and requested answers. Why are these policies needed? What precipitated the process to change the policies? Is there anecdotal field evidence that these policies are needed? How does our IMB administration feel about the policies? Nobody in trustee leadership would, or could, answer my questions. But several brought all kinds of personal attacks against me. It was only after six months of repeated refusals to answer my questions as a trustee that I posted Crusading Conservatives versus Cooperating Conservatives.

Dr. Yarnell seems to imply that the fault for problems at SWBTS and the IMB is me. I respectfully disagree. The fault for problems at both institutions lies at the feet of those in leadership who are either unwilling or incapable of answering legitimate, honest questions by fellow Southern Baptists and resort to ad hominem attacks to discredit or marginalize those who question them.

If proponents in the new Baptist Identity initiative of the Southern Baptist Convention wish to convince others that their beliefs are 'bedrock convictions' that should define cooperation among Baptists, then it would serve their purposes better to answer questions rather than attack the questioner.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

156 comments:

jasonk said...

Reminds me of the scene on the news this morning of the thousands of people walking in lockstep in North Korea, watching the olympic torch go by. The government made sure no one got out of line, asked any questions about the government of China, or protested in any way.

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Then a low, quiet voice came from the Ball of Fire: "I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you seek me?"

I am Wade. And I seek answers.

"Please leave a message after the tone."

A Simple Student @ SWBTS said...

wade,

i think that you illustrate an important point: it is hard for some people to have real conversations. not to sound like a skeptic but it seems as though it should be more important that the Truth be discovered than that one's particular interpretation of Baptist's beliefs seize the day.

at the same time, i don't think that you should take offense at Dr. Yarnell's comments or lack thereof because you think that this is simply his attitude towards you or even a tactic of his. from the limited intereactions that i have had with him and his reputation among several i know on campus, you are simply seeing the man. i do not claim to know him like praisegod barebones but i think the attitude that you encountered is just the way that he interacts with everyone.

that being said, i find the attitude of the current administration @ SWBTS deplorable on certain issues and pretty good on others (like the stress they place on personal evangelism).

keep up the blogging,
a simple student @ swbts (at least for a short while longer ... i guess i will just be a simple guy not @ swbts at that point :))

Steve said...

I do not know much if anything about the academic life Dr. Yarnell must lead. Let's grant that he is as likely as anyone in Texas to have irons in more fires than the putter teams at Ping or Callaway.

However, having been in educational establishments long enough to have worked directly with about sixty administrators, I will say that if anyone daring to be considered an educator or professor responded to Wade's conscientious queries as Dr. Yarnell did, he would have found his career at an utter standstill until he explained such a cavalier attitude.

Professional? No

Honest? Not a chance

Religiously respectful of a fellow minister? Not EVEN close

A determined partisan protected by a closed culture of political activists careless of what their management is doing to a once-proud institution?
NOW we're getting somewhere.

Steve said...

The image of a gifted person of authority who has the chance to be a blessing to others but chooses NOT to for what appear to be the worst reasons has always fired my soul like nothing else. It is fortunate that life has not led me to Beijing (that's still Pekin in W. Ky.) or the Nixon or Clinton White Houses, or Pecan Manor, lest tragic or comic confrontations might ensue.

I have read classic efforts by acolytes of this non-Baptistic theology (Not even close, again!) called Baptist Identity and actually felt sorry for the True Believer attempting to make the sale. It is so much like the proven failure of an insurance agent I watched trying to make that last, desparate presentation simply because that was all he had.

Jesus saved me, not in the context of any building or denomination except soul-saving Christianity itself. Saying anything else is saying much, much less.

This new cultish belief makes me think of a beautiful young face marred by the hand of a capricious, dangerous surgeon who simply had to make his mark on something so he could call it his own. I praise God that I will never have to answer for such as this, on top of the scandalous mound I have already piled at the feet, at the cross of Christ.

Jason Epps said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bryan riley said...

May God awaken our hearts to the truth of His gospel and grace!

Malcolm Yarnell said...

Dear Wade,

My comments on Peter Lumpkins's blog said nothing about you personally and were certainly not intended by me to taken in that manner. You will notice that I did not place any personal blame on you. I do hope you understand that the water under the bridge at both institutions, and my own responsibility before SBC institutions, especially Southwestern, which has been the subject of various media criticisms, requires that I have limited contacts with vocal critics of those institutions.

As for leaving a message for me by telephone, please do forgive my tardiness in responding to you. My assistant became ill during the morning, and he will probably receive your message and pass it to me, today. In the past, you may remember, I have taken or returned your telephone call. Why did I and will I do so? Because I respect the authority of the local churches in our convention, and you, sir, are a local church member and leader. Therefore, I have some responsibility towards you, too.

As you can see, these two facts place me between a rock (a sense of loyalty toward an institution under criticism) and a hard place (a sense of loyalty toward the churches that authorize and support that institution.) Thus, rather than ignore you totally on the blog, I chose to provide a limited answer in which the germ of a more complete answer was contained. Please, again, look at my response to you for what that basic answer is: the church membership of Jerusalem, and the peculiarity of Gill as a Baptist theologian.

However, because we have been brought to this impasse, please let it be stated clearly right here that I do respect you as a Southern Baptist and as a Pastor. You have my sincere apologies for any offense that was given by me to you. Please know that in my heart, I did not intend any such offense. I deeply regret any personal harm this situation has caused and ask for your forbearance with me.

In Christ,
Malcolm

Dan Paden said...

Dr. Yarnell,

With respect, I am having a hard time fully understanding

Please, again, look at my response to you for what that basic answer is: the church membership of Jerusalem, and the peculiarity of Gill as a Baptist theologian.

Perhaps it is just me. If I am reading you correctly, it appears that you are asserting that the Ethiopian eunuch and the Pentecost 3000 were baptized into the Jerusalem church. I can, I suppose, "get" the 3000, but as far as I can tell, the eunuch was not in Jerusalem at the time, nor have I found anything, to my recollection, indicating that he ever went back. Insofar as I can tell, the only option this leaves me is understanding that regardless of where in the world a person is baptized, he is baptized into the local church from which the baptizer has come. Am I misunderstanding this? Whilst recognizing the demands on your time, perhaps you can take the time to clarify.

I confess that I am utterly at a loss to understand your comments on Dr. Gill. Whilst quite recognizing that I am untrained and undereducated and perhaps just missing a subtle reference, on the surface your comment appears to be an attempt to dismiss Dr. Gill's opinion solely on the ground of his Calvinism. Personally, I would welcome further explanation of this point if the time can be spared.

Ben Stratton said...

Wade,

Let me try and answer a few of your questions.

1. "Into which local church were the 3,000 at Pentecost baptized?" Answer: The church at Jerusalem. Acts 2:41 is very clear on this matter.

2. "Into which local church was the Ethiopian eunuch baptized?" Answer: It is interesting to speculate on what would have happen to the eunuch if the Lord had not caught Philip away. Do you think Philip would have sent him on his merry way, or would he have tried to disciple him and get him involved in a local church? Also remember Philip was an evangelist and was an ordained officer of the church at Jerusalem. Through Philip, the eunuch's baptism was connected to a local church.

3. "will you at least admit that one of the principles you call bedrock is a departure from historic Baptist belief?" No I will not admit this. Everyone agrees the American Baptists have long held to these principles. However some like yourself point to the English Baptists who were earlier and say they denied these things. While I disagree with Gill's statement, he did not believe any Christian could baptize, but only those who were connected through ordination to a local church. If you want to know what the English Baptists (besides Gill and Bunyan) believed about baptism and ecclesiology go to R.E. Pound's website http://victorian.fortunecity.com/dadd/464/Pound.html and read his paper on "THE ADMINISTRATOR OF BAPTISM, studies in the Particular Baptist Ecclesiology of the 1600s" or other of his excellent works.

Ben Stratton

K. Michael Crowder said...

I was at first inclined to agree with you for once Wade, but then I began to think (one day history might recount this as my fatal flaw): Do we really believe that the God's Word advocates baptism without accountability? We are accountably to our brothers and sisters in Christ. The local church was established for this very reason.

I am not sure that we can take examples from a still forming church of the apostolic age and seek to mimic every detail.

While I do not hold to all tradition as being inerrant and inspired, I do believe that some traditions were given to men by God through his Spirit and His Word. I cannot imagine a case where I would feel compelled to baptize a convert apart from the authority of the local NT church.

I am not an expert on apostolic authority, nor apostolic succession; and not to sound too Landmarkish here, but I believe when we remove ourselves from the authority of the local church, we remove ourselves from a successive authority which was given by Christ to the apostles. Does that mean I believe the church began b4 Pentecost? No. But the foundation of the church WAS the Apostles and the authority of Christ came through them. Our authority rest of course absolutely in the Cornerstone, but also very much THROUGH the foundation.

Anything else leads to rogue Christianity.


K

Mike Ruffin said...

If we still had Baptist Tel-Net (anyone besides me remember that?), I'd suggest that someone create a game show called "To Tell the (Baptist) Truth." Each game would end with the host intoning, "Will the real Baptist please stand up?"

Sheesh.

Dave Miller said...

K,

I believe that people need to be part of a local church for accountability.

But does it follow that the lack of a church means a Christian will be rogue?

I think the fundamental flaw of some of the more rigid Baptist Identity folks (and many pastors today) is a flawed view of the power of the Holy Spirit.

If I believe in the power of the Spirit to move in a Christian's heart, all I have to do is proclaim Christ, I don't have to control Christians.

Anonymous said...

" I do hope you understand that the water under the bridge at both institutions, and my own responsibility before SBC institutions, especially Southwestern, which has been the subject of various media criticisms, requires that I have limited contacts with vocal critics of those institutions."

In other words, my loyalty is to my paycheck, first and foremost.

What you wrote above is called circling the wagons. And it also says you have no 'academic freedom' unless, of course, you agree with the powers.

That still does not excuse your first response to Wade which everyone can read for themselves and know it means: I don't have to answer you because you are NOT one of us. Or maybe you are scared of your boss.

The arrogance gets old.

Lucy

Rex Ray said...

WOW! I really admire an actual comment on Wade’s blog from someone that’s been taken to the ‘cleaners’ by Wade. That takes courage.

Yarnell has broken the ‘golden rule’ of Patterson of letting silence do the replying.

Yarnell mentioned Peter Lumpkin’s blog. I noticed Lumpkin is still ending his comments with “I am”. His ‘ending’ has always iterated me because there is only one “I Am” and that’s God.

With that off my chest, I believe Yarnell is 100% correct as far as he went with his comment. It would have been so nice, if he had answered Wade’s question also.

Since Yarnell avoided the opportunity to answer, I predict he will continue to do so and will use Patterson’s golden rule.

Jack said...

KMC said:

"I am not sure that we can take examples from a still forming church of the apostolic age and seek to mimic every detail."

-Such as an ironclad "commandment from God" that women cannot teach or disciple men perhaps?

Bob Cleveland said...

IF....

The political power plays which have been common in the CR and its aftermath DO represent a political solution to a Spiritual problem, unworthy of Christian organizations, and ...

The firing of Dr. Klouda (people who want to say she wasn't fired, please read 2 Timothy 2:14) was as egregious as it seems, and..

If the manner of the IMB BoT was a outrageous as we know it was, and...

If inflating membership numbers is tantamount to lying, and we KNOW what God thinks about that, and...

The denominational egotism which is apparent to me is also apparent to God....

THEN I don't imagine the denominational hierarchy will even recognize the word "ICHABOD" when it gets written over the door. And exactly the sort of thing you've experienced, Wade, would be going on.

I think we're there. It's apparent most everywhere.

Joe W. said...

I find it very ironic that Wade would put up a post called "Conversational Terrorism" and complain about not getting his questions answered. Is this the same Wade Burleson who routinely ignores and makes light of questions and comments on his blog? And... when this fact is pointed out, namely that Wade does this very thing, others on here rally around him claiming he need not reply to every question!?

Personally, I have had several questions go unanswered or brushed aside with an Ad Hominem response. Wade is particularly fond of using the "Reverse the Question" ad hominum and the... "You will get it when you can acknowledge this..." response.

Not saying it was right... just ironic...

Lin said...

"Is this the same Wade Burleson who routinely ignores and makes light of questions and comments on his blog? And... when this fact is pointed out, namely that Wade does this very thing, others on here rally around him claiming he need not reply to every question!?"

You have lost me, Joe. Can you give an example of this?

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see Malcolm's response on this blog. Though I could have deduced his position, it's clearly stated.

I think that we need to recognize a fundamental truth about human communication.

Not everyone who thinks they are entitled to a dialogue and a response is.

I can call the Obama campaign this morning and ask that Senator Obama take my call so that I can discuss with him why he would sit under Jeremiah Wright for 20 years (Hey, isn't it great that all of the nuts in the world are not in the SBC?)

If Senator Obama refused, I could fly to Chicago and sit at the campaign headquarters and wait for him to meet with me.

I could send Senator Obama notes and ask that he write back.

I could camp outside his home a la Cindy Sheehan until I get a response.

But at the end of the day, human beings have the right to decide with whom they will communicate and how.

Decisions on that score are often affected by (1) the importance of the issue, (2) having the time, (3) circumstances surrounding the situation (as was the case here), and (4) the identity of the person seeking to communicate.

When a person decides not to communicate, it can be the result of any of these factors. The ultimate decision can reflect on the class and breeding of the person who refuses to respond, or it can reflect on the status and lack of judgment of the person insisting to be talked to.

Louis

Tim Greer said...

Dan Paden said...
Dr. Yarnell,

I confess that I am utterly at a loss to understand your comments on Dr. Gill. Whilst quite recognizing that I am untrained and undereducated and perhaps just missing a subtle reference, on the surface your comment appears to be an attempt to dismiss Dr. Gill's opinion solely on the ground of his Calvinism. Personally, I would welcome further explanation of this point if the time can be spared.

--I'm with you, Dan. That seemed to me like a rhetorical drive-by on Gill, which is laughable since Yarnell couldn't carry Gill's water bottle.

Wade, I wish the "Baptist Identity" Movement would be more precisely labeled the "SOUTHERN Baptist Identity" Movement, b/c otherwise it confuses them with people like Bunyan, Gill and Spurgeon, under the label "Baptist." Sadly, most of these guys probably wouldn't even seat Bunyan, Gill or Spurgeon on a committee.

Thank God for our heritage.

A great many current Southern Baptists, with their insistence on obedience to the "official" interpretation of tertiary matters, the authority of the "ordained" priesthood to administer "sacraments", their belittling of female believers in practice (while reverencing them in theory) and their shrill assertions that questioning those currently in authority is anathema, would make excellent Roman Catholics.

TG

Meloff said...

I've been a SB my whole life. But the arrogance on display at Peter Lumpkin's blog is astonishing. Somewhere I missed it when Christ said, "Upon this rock I will build my Baptist Church."

Anonymous said...

"But at the end of the day, human beings have the right to decide with whom they will communicate and how."

Really? Try that with your boss or your customers sometime and see how far your 'rights' get you.

Try showing that you are too busy or 'important' to bother with them. That ought to go over well. :o)

But, in the end, Louis, your response is just not how "Christians" deal with others seeking clarity or understanding. Even to the lowliest that you may think you are too good to interact with.

Of course, big important men just cannot think like that.

Lucy

Meloff said...

A great many current Southern Baptists, with their insistence on obedience to the "official" interpretation of tertiary matters, the authority of the "ordained" priesthood to administer "sacraments", their belittling of female believers in practice (while reverencing them in theory) and their shrill assertions that questioning those currently in authority is anathema, would make excellent Roman Catholics.

Ditto

ml said...

Wade, Malcolm is indeed placed in a hard spot because others from his institution who have spoken, dialogued, engaged, chatted with the "enemy" [read those who are critical of current administration] have lost their jobs--no questions asked. I am not an advocate of academic freedom; however, I also believe so strongly in the Truth that it does not need to be afraid of honest inquiry. But this can be run from skepticism or hope. Malcolm is simply articulating the frustration, whether he agrees or not, that Wade has been highlighting over the past couple of years. No matter whom you agree with, group think is not conducive to a thriving enterprise. And silencing dialogue is not a baptistic identity. Ironic isnt it?

Anonymous said...

For security reasons of the missionaries, I will write this anonymously.

In some countries where there is a high degree of murder, the “church” has a teaching we should notice. In this denomination, it is taught that all are going to Heaven. The one sin, which might keep you from heaven, is murder. They have figured a way around this. The assassins have a special church/chapel to go to before the killing and they offer a prayer and burn a candle and confess the upcoming sin to the priest (without using the word kill or murder, of course). THEY ARE FORGIVEN


Then, they go out and do the killing.

THIS IS APPROVED BY THE CHURCH LEADERS


IDENTITY?

Wade, terroism is the right word.

Anonymous said...

Lucy:

I would respectfully suggest that you not get riled up too quickly, especially this early in the morning.

Employee/boss relations are a great example of what I am saying. Not every interaction in that realm is the same. The employee had better respond to his boss, or there's going to be a problem. Whether a boss responds to an employee, just depends. I am sure that a door greeter at Wal-Mart in Hohenwald, Tennessee, cannot just fly to Bentonville, AR and demand to see Rob Walton.

The same is true of customer relations. Some customers get a hearing and some do not. It depends on a range of factors. The next time you have a bad expereince at say, Target. Just fly to their corporate headquarters and demand to see the President. I can assure you, if you do not get an audience, the fact that you may be poor will not be the reason. Mother Teresa was poor and was quite effective at getting a hearing with just about anyone she wanted to see.

The same is true in your life. You don't respond to everyone who wants to communicate to you (hence, mail and telephone calls get treated differently, depending on the factors that I mentioned).

You are right in that as a general rule it is rude to ignore people. It is equally true that gadflies should be ignored.

Surely you see this point?

The application in life is what calls for good judgment, no?

Louis

John Moeller said...

Wade et al,

referring to the article; In receiving baptism by the hands of a minister authorized by a local church, the believer enters a local church (Acts 2:41), .

Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Acts 2:41 states; Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Taking the verses as they are; If I preach Christ, and someone accepts Christ, I am bound to baptize them as commanded by Christ. That is the command Christ gave all believers!. Not just paid pastors, but ALL believers MUST go ye therefore as Christ commanded, preach and baptize. It is not attached to a church nor a denomination, it is everyone's command.

Pastors wonder why the congregation has so many pew warmers.... You keep telling us we are not qualified to perform the work of Christ.... and we are dumb enough not to read the Bible for ourselves to realize the truth...

mark richardson said...

Dr. Yarnell,

I carry Wade's concern about the separation and isolation that Larkmarkist SBC leaders bring to other SBC brothers.

At the same time I appreciate your words to Wade and hope you do contact him so you both can talk.

Mark Richardson

P.S. Wade, "conversational terrorism" is a bit much, brother. But with what you've endured at the hands of the IMB Landmarkists, I totally understand your response!

Anonymous said...

What church was Jesus baptized into if baptism is to identify a person with a local church. I don’t care to express what my views on baptism are, but I can clearly see that there are differing views of baptism that will leave the gospel in tact (while there are other views of baptism that will in essence destroy the gospel). It seems that both views of baptism being reflected by Dr. Yarnell and Wade leave the gospel in tact. They neither take away, nor add to it.

The issue isn’t where you stand on the issue…the issue is what am I going to do with the flock I am a part of, when I discover that we do not fall in line with EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE “STINKIN” Baptist identity requisites for cooperation. I love the work the SBC does, and want to remain a part of her, but I feel like it will simply be a matter of time, before my own conscience will dictate to me that I no longer “BELONG” here. I don’t want that!

Robert

Tom Parker said...

Joe W:

We are waiting.


Tom Parker

Anonymous said...

"I would respectfully suggest that you not get riled up too quickly, especially this early in the morning."

Nice try, Louis. You are the master at subtle insults. Like your original post was aimed at insulting Wade because he expected a big importatnt seminary president to actaully talk to little old him.

The problem with your 'logic' is twofold. First, apply it to the Body of Christ where the Beatitudes are our guide and all the 'one anothers' in scripture. Point out to me the great men in the NT who could not be bothered with what you perceive to be the lowly.

You are so busy bringing worldly principles into the Body, that YOU can't see the point.

Now, another problem with your scenerio, using YOUR worldly example, is that Patterson receives CP dollars from local churches. Our TITHE MONEY. The churches pay his high salary and for his luxurious lifestyle. Is it wise to ignore pastors from local churches who give lots to the CP? Using your worldly example, of course.

I hope you do see the point. Please quit bringing your worldly system into the Holy Priesthood.

Lucy

Anonymous said...

"When a blue-blood Southern Baptist like David feels compelled to ask such a question, then the Baptist Identity initiative is definitely a fringe movement."

Well said, Wade.

The most glaring disconnect of the present leadership of the SBC and its agencies is their belief that they are mainline SBCers. They think that the majority thinks like themselves and understands Scripture as they do.

Their conviction that this is true is probably due to the way annual Conventions have voted for twenty-five years. In reality, few people go to the annual meeting who disagree. That's why there are so few who attend.

Yarnell is voicing a minority SBC understanding. It has been held by SBC pastors of years, but has never been the majority opinion.

CR leaders are attempting to force the majority to accept their understandings. As long as the Bible is read, the Spirit moves, and the churches are free, this will not happen. But, they cannot understand this to be a fact.

Perhaps this is why words like "authority" and "accountability" are so important to them. Those words are simply ways of saying that leaders cannot be questioned nor disagreed with.

The day will come when fringe groups will no longer be in control. "How long O Lord, how long?"

JFritz

Joe W. said...

Lin and Tom,

I thought about ignoring your questions to illustrate the irony of this point. :)

Surely you must be joking? This blog is littered with questions that have been either ignored, not answered in a timely manner, or avoided with ad hominum. Comments like the following...

"Wade,
I have waited for well over a day for an answer to my question. I know you are busy but you have taken the time to respond to others with questions. Why not mine?

Amy"

and like this one...

"Wade,
Must be real busy! Still curious about the lack of defining Baptism in the statement?"

Not to mention my own illustration that I gave. Again, I am fine with Wade ignoring these questions and others. It is his blog and his prerogative. I was just noting the obvious irony.

And... it is ironic that you both came to his defense. ;)

Dave Miller said...

Joe W,

I see some validity in your opinion. Contrary views are often dealt with pretty harshly on this site (as they are on most sites). However, it is often not Wade who goes on the attack, but others on the site.

It is true that questions are often ignored, as well. I try never to ask rhetorical questions. I ask questions for information. If I have a point, I state it, I don't try to ask leading questions.

However, that is how many have treated this blog (and others). They come in like attorneys with questions designed to trap the person who answers.

I think there is a tendency to view all who ask questions in that light. How can you tell a sincere question from a leading question on a blog?

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

KMC said:

I cannot imagine a case where I would feel compelled to baptize a convert apart from the authority of the local NT church.

Really? You can't think of even one? Are you sure?

Come on. Think harder.

davidbmclaughlin.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
volfan007 said...

a blue blooded southern baptist? what? since when do we have royalty in the sbc? and, does this make someone right in every issue? does this make them "fit" for sbc leadership? i guess dr. yarnell is not blue blooded to express his view and be taken seriously????!!!!???? and, the way some of you are personally attacking dr. yarnell in here is just shameful. he's a scholar and a fine, christian man. you may not agree with him...but, to attack him so personally is something else. from being called a n. korean communist to a terrorist to a false wizard to paycheck loving hireling is just something to behold. it shows me a lot.

also, louis....from hohenwald, tn....my brother...my family on my dad's side is from just south of you....do you know where beech creek, wayne county, tn is?

david

Anonymous said...

Lucy:

I have only set forth simple principles by which all of us live.

I have not made any judgments about who is correct and who is not correct. I have certainly not made a judgment about Wade.

I will leave the judgments to those who, by their position in the various situations, have to make a judgment.

I have to make enough judgments in my own life each day about how I will respond to others than to make these sort of decisions and judgments for other people.

I have simply noted that the trip from prophet to gadfly is shorter than most of us realize, especially in the ears of our hearers!

And I can think of instances in the Bible (OT and NT) where people chose not to respond or answer questions posed by others, or where specific advice is given not to answer a person or a question because to do so is not productive under the circumstances.

Yes, the one who refuses to answer can be in sin by thinking that he is above those asking the questions.

So, too, the person seeking an audience can think too highly of himself than he ought to think by believing that he or his questions are deserving of a response.

Louis

Ken Coffee said...

Volfan, disagreeing with someone's viewpoint is not the same as attacking him. See? I have disagreed with you, but I sincerely hope you do not consider that an attack.

Mike Ruffin said...

"As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God--it is only believing our belief about Him.... If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said,'...believe alos in Me' (John 14:1), not, 'Believe certain things about Me.' Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in--but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him."
(Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, April 29)

volfan007 said...

ken,

so, you think that name calling and insinuating that someone is a terrorist and a paycheck loving hireling and other non-nice things as "disagreeing with him?"

ken, i like the way you disagreed with me. :)



louis, did you see my question for you? about beech creek?

david

Dave Miller said...

Vol,

You, Tim Rogers and Peter jumped me big time on another blog for being critical of the attitudes and words you used in disagreeing with others.

I don't see how you can defend one and condemn the other.

Belief Matters said...

Tom, There are many waiting for you to apologize your name calling. I guess you will now call Joe a poor excuse for a human being or something like that.

waiting

Belief Matters said...

Better watch vol, Tom will use it whip again on you.

Anonymous said...

I for one am glad to see these "Baptist Identitiy" folks pulling into their shells and refusing to cooperate with others. It might mean we won't have to deal with them!

Ok, tongue now out of cheek.

The root issue of all this sniping and fighting going on in the SBC is playing WHO IS IN CHARGE.

One side claims they have the lock on the truth, and cannot begin to cooperate with anyone not in 100% agreement with them.

But you know what I see happening? I sure do NOT see the rank and file getting in line and following them. I see them leaving for other denominations, for non denom churches, and leaving organized Christianity altogether while still very much loving and serving Christ.

Like the RCC before the Reformation, the powers that be in the SBC seem to believe salvation requires them ALLOWING the person to be baptized. It seems to require membership in a local church of which they approve and of course control. It sounds more and more like they believe they control who can be saved and who cannot.

The truth is, they cannot force anyone to agree with them, to stop ministering, to stop preaching, to stop singing, or to stop baptizing. They can refuse to recognize the baptism of course, and refuse membership into their little group.

But more and more the answer of the world is "who cares?"

More and more I see young people getting their Christian music from the media sources. More and more I see them getting their preaching either on tv or from respected authors. More and more I see baptisms in swimming pools by lay persons. More and more I see them refusing seminary in favor of deep study. Marvelous tools are available to them over the net, and they use them. More and more I see them bypass the church when called to missions in favor of parachurch assignments, or just going where God leads and getting a job and setting out to evangelize. More and more I see them organizing those local churches the landmarkers believe are the only valid form of the church. They just see no need to affiliate with any group beyond.

In short, I think the SBC needs to realize it was organized as a cooperating convention of those local churches, and stop trying to be a hierarchical denomination.

Otherwise, we may find that while Christ did indeed establish the church, He established no conventions and we can safely dispense with them altogether.

Linda

Tom Parker said...

BM:

I have only had you to ask for an apology and I'm not even sure that it was you.

Wade Burleson said...

Malcolm,

Thanks for your comment above. I do stand by my assessment that your refusal to answer my question was attached with an ad hominem statement, but I look forward to discussing this issue with you personally. I am very serious about my questions, which remain unanswered, and respect your ability to identify yourself as a Baptist, yes, a Southern Baptist, though you and I may disagree on these issues. Further, I look forward to our continued cooperation for the sake of the kingdom through cooperative missinos and evangelism in spite of our disagreements in this area.

Wade

Rex Ray said...

Let’s suppose the C/R was a professional sport coach.

How many losing seasons would expire before the public demanded a new coach?

Malcolm Yarnell said...

I have tried to speak with you and work with you, Wade. However, in light of what I can only consider to be a false accusation, dialogue with you seems to be impossible. To interpret my statement as you have, even against my explanation, indicates that it would likely be a fruitless exercise, does it not?

Joe W. said...

Rex Ray,

How would you define a losing season?

Even 2007, being what it was, the SBC still saw 345,941 baptisms, an increase in primary worship attendance, and increase in churches, and an increase in mission expenditures and total missionaries.

Can you please define a "losing" season for us... statistically speaking?

As one person put it... "A statistician is a person who draws a mathematically precise line from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion."

Belief Matters said...

Rex, It is not a sport, but a kingdom issue. I guess by your account Isalm is a pretty good religion.

To the rest ease up on Wade I like the title of the post. Its just a title.

I only wish Dr. Y would truly grasp the finer points of the historic baptist doctrines of grace.

Jeff

Tom Parker said...

BM:

Why did you attack Rex Ray? I do believe you know what he was trying to say--but you try to make more of it.

volfan007 said...

belief matters,

watch out, or you'll be the next one to be called a pitiful human being. after all, you dont agree with the "in" crowd in here.

david :)

Anonymous said...

Louis, Your last comment was simply changing the subject and using spin. Go read your first comment and tell me you were not alluding to Wade and Patterson.

Then I get a big lecture about trying to get in to see Obama. Once again, you keep brining in worldy principles to the body. You simply can think no other way. Open your NT and read some.

Also, they may be the principles by which you operate within the Body but not me. I am so grateful that attitude is not in my church.

We have created these 'important' men with 'official' titles who are our 'authorities' and we should know our 'place'. We really have created a professional Christian caste system. Or gone 'Catholic' in the past 25 years.

If Patterson can make time for "Patmos" to line his pockets even as a busy big time seminary president, he can make time for a pastor who sends money to keep his ailing seminary afloat.

Lawyers! Sheesh! :o)

Lucy

Alyce Faulkner said...

Only 11% of Southern Baptist Churches could be considered to be "healthy and growing"
This study, quoted by Ed Stetzer and published in BP News included as indicators, membership increase, number of baptisms, additions by conversion etc.

Another really great quote by Stetzer is what he believes is an answer to this problem. " Fall in Love with Lost people again, fall in love with seeing men and women come to faith in Christ"

Therein, I believe lies the problem...and the solution.

Tom Parker said...

007:

I was not going to speak to you today, but I will. You try to play games with people and for that you are a pitiful human being.

Belief Matters said...

Attack? Did you play football without a helement? Hardly, I just questioned his argument, not the man.

Vol, Young Tom doesn't scare me. I rejoice that he doesn't live in Arkansas.

volfan007 said...

belief matters,

dont forget....you and i are not blue blooded southern baptist. we're not sb royalty...at least, i know that i'm not. i used to be a methodist.

belief, was your dad and grandad and his grandad a southern baptist? if so, you may be royalty as well. and, at that point, you will be considered right about everything, and you will inherit the keys to sbc leadership.

david :)

Belief Matters said...

Tom, look up attack in the dictionary. For you do the very thing you accuse others of doing. I imagine you feel pretty safe on this blog since every rows the boat the same way.

Anonymous said...

"Even 2007, being what it was, the SBC still saw 345,941 baptisms, an increase in primary worship attendance, and increase in churches, and an increase in mission expenditures and total missionaries."

Joe, wonder how many of these were over the age of 6? It would be interesting to know. Anyone know?

Lin said...

For those who have not gone to the Baptist Identity blog linked to in this post, do so then read the comments. It is very instructive in not only behaviors but exclusive new doctrines.

Linda, I think your comment was very astute. I am seeing the same things.

Belief Matters said...

I must be a blueblood. My dad is an SBC pastor. My granddad was a deacon. HOWEVER, My mother's side were methodist. :)

I am sure that would be enough for young Tom Parker to call be a sorry excuse for an SBC'er.

Dave Miller said...

Tom Parker,

I have found myself (by my limited recollection) on opposite sides of several debates with you. However, I have always found you to be someone who addresses ideas, not personalities, who debates well (even if disagreeing with me is inexcusable).

I think that this debate with Vol and others may be one you want to consider walking away from.

Wade Burleson said...

Malcolm,

Your original statement:

Thank you so kindly for your enquiry, but because of recent history with regard to Southwestern Seminary and the International Mission Board, you probably understand if I choose not to interact with your queries

I believe your response to my questions to be an ad hominem varient, and I linked to a definition and illustratation of an ad hominem varient here, which summarizes an ad hominem varient as a person saying:

I'd like to respond, but taking into account your background (I will not) . . .

You then post a comment no this site where you defend your original comment on Mr. Lumpkin's blog, but express a desire to be loyal to the churches that support SWBTS. You redirect me to your 'limited answer' and explain that you are caught between a rock and a hard place and cannot say anything further. I appreciate your response, but the issue for me is the ad hominem varient, not the limited answer, nor your inability to comment on matters that involve the institution. I responded to your defense of your original comment by writing I stand by my assessment that your used an ad hominem varient with no full answers to my questions.

Now you express an offense with me by writing:


(I)n light of what I can only consider to be a false accusation, dialogue with you seems to be impossible. To interpret my statement as you have, even against my explanation, indicates that it would likely be a fruitless exercise, does it not?

Dr. Yarnell, I will consider this matter closed with this, my final comment to you, on the subject at hand.

If you choose not to dialogue with me, that is absolutely your perogrative. I understand time constraints, and it is not my desire to tie up your time. In addition, I do appreciate SWBTS and the cooperative ministry that unites you, me, SWBTS and my church together for the kingdom's sake.

However, I would encourage you to recognize that the person offended by what he perceives as personal attack is usually the interpretor of whether or not something is ad hominem. The manner in which a Christian responds to a brother who expresses offense at an ad hominem attack is: "I am truly sorry. I did not intend for my words to be an attack on you or your character. I can see how you might interpret them to be such, and seek your forgiveness for the unintentional offense my words caused."

Forgiveness is then granted fully, freely and unconditionally. In those rare exceptions when a Christian defends what is perceived as an ad hominem attack by others, then the rule of thumb is also found in Scripture, "Love covers a multitude of offenses." I consider this offense covered.

Before others ask if this ever happened at the IMB, I can so unequivocably yes. At no time, and in no fashion, did I seek to attack the character of the people who differed with me, and when some expressed offense that there was an attack on persons, I sought forgiveness immediately.

The focus for me has always been on the issues, not the people. My original question was about the issues of Baptist Identity. The inability or unwillingness to answer my questions, and to use an ad hominem varient in the response, is my offense. Again, please consider the matter closed on this end.

In His Grace,

Wade

Belief Matters said...

So Dave, Do you think calling someone a pitiful human being addressing an issue?

Jeff

Kevin Bussey said...

where in the Bible does it talk about church membership?

Malcolm Yarnell said...

Wade,

I do not understand your logic. How could I apologize for something I did not intend? I can apologize for the effect it obviously had upon you, and I did, but I cannot apologize for something I never did nor intended.

There was never an ad hominem attack. Indeed, the language is impossible to read in this manner, unless something else is read into the statement, as you obviously did. Alas, in spite of my best effort here to be a peacemaker, there seems to be nothing I can do to keep you from misinterpreting my statement.

I would request that you stop referring to me with such violent language. It is personally demeaning.

In Christ,
Malcolm

Belief Matters said...

Kevin, I Corinthians 5 implies and thus other places.

Wade Burleson said...

Malcolm,

I do apologize for offending you with the phrase 'conversational terrorism.' I did not intend to demean you, and seek your forgiveness. I am also changing the title of this post to 'Ad Hominem Varients.' I used the phrase 'Conversational Terrorism' because that was the title of the link that defined 'Ad Hominem Varients.' I can see how you thought the phrase was personally demeaning and seek your forgiveness for my unintentional offense.

In His Grace,

Wade

Anonymous said...

"Thank you so kindly for your enquiry, but because of recent history with regard to Southwestern Seminary and the International Mission Board, you probably understand if I choose not to interact with your queries "

What did this statement mean, then? Why choose not to 'interact' with Wade on a question about Baptism? Can you be more specific about why you chose not to interact with Wade?

Martin

Kevin Bussey said...

implies is a long way from commanded. These kinds of arguments sound very legalistic.

Belief Matters said...

You did ask where it was commanded.

Anonymous said...

David:

I know where Wayne County is - the Southern border of the state. I had a case there once. I don't know about Beech Creek down there.

Most people think that Hohenwald is "Hole in Wall" when they hear it for the first time.

That town has gained some notoriety in recent years because they have an Elephant Sanctuary for Elephants that "retire" from the Circus and other similar attractions.

Lucy, thanks for the smile at the end of your response! Gives everything that you are saying some context. I am saying one thing, and you are hearing another. We can try again on another thread.

I don't think that Wade believes I am attacking him.

I don't like to attack people anyway. I recoil when people are called stupid, unsaved, and a host of other epithets on comments to blogs.

First, in my writing I like to refute bad ideas, not people (e.g. bad theology, setting up sexual predator reporting and monitoring agencies for the SBC in Nashville, legalism in giving requirements to the SBC, etc.)

I try not to lose my cool and start calling other people names. That's usually a sign that I have lost an argument.

Second, I am not a passive/aggressive in written communication since I do it all day. If I take something on, I am direct about it.

Other times, however, I just like to discuss. That's what I attempted to do here.

Louis

RM said...

I can't believe this is actually degenerating into such a discussion (and argument). Its kind of sad reading the comments back and forth between Wade and Malcolm.

Other than a few preachers who think way too highly of themselves, I doubt seriously if anyone in any church actually cares about who joined First Baptist Church of Jerusalem and who didn't.

I also doubt seriously that the First Baptist Church of Ephesus would require your "church letter" or certificate of baptism if you wished to unite with their church from First Baptist Jerusalem.

Anonymous said...

rm,

When you do a drive by, at least have the courage and conviction of your principles by identifying your name, your place of ministry, and your credentials.

Otherwise, your comments are received as from a coward. I frankly believe Wade Burleson handled his offense beautifully, and illustrates how to express oneself when offended, apologize when giving offense, and desiring to cooperate with all Christian brothers.

Tom Parker,
Associate Pastor
Chicago, Illinois

J.D. Rector said...

I for one am like Mrs. Rogers, who stood confidently at the podium of the Southern Baptist Convention in Greensboro, NC, and politely exclaimed that her late husband would not like the "tightening of parameters" around tertiary doctrinal matters concerning our Baptist distinctives and thereby making them Baptist necessities, or as some would call them a "Baptist Identity".

I think the framers of the Building Bridges conference like Dr. David Dockery and Dr. Timothy George could teach all of us some lessons on building bridges of peace and not constant back-biting and bickering.

Oh how I long for a heaven-sent, NOT man-induced emotionally, Holy Ghost revival upon my beloved denomination, church, and yes, my own life that God would receive the absolute honor and glory!

J.D.Rector

Dave Miller said...

::loudly applauding JD Rector::

Bruce said...

I don't really know how to characterize Dr. Yarnell's original answer to Wade's original question. But it made me think of the British lady game show host saying "Wade, you are the weakest link......goodbye"

R. L. Vaughn said...

Wade, wouldn't this also be an ad hominem variant: "When a blue-blood Southern Baptist like David feels compelled to ask such a question, then the Baptist Identity initiative is definitely a fringe movement"?

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Vaughan,

The action of declaring principles over which Baptists have historically disagreed 'bedrock convictions' and a declaration that anyone who disagrees should be severed from cooperation is a fringe MOVEMENT.

There is a difference between challenging an action and attacking a person. So, no, it is not ad hominem.

Meloff said...

Dr Yarnell said:
I do not understand your logic. How could I apologize for something I did not intend? I can apologize for the effect it obviously had upon you, and I did, but I cannot apologize for something I never did nor intended.

Has anyone ever bumped into someone at the grocery store. The kind of bump where you come around a corner and were looking somewhere else and, "wham!"

I have. And I have certainly apologized - profusely. And yes I have included words like, "I am so sorry I was not looking where I was going - I should have been."

I have never intended to clean somebody out on aisle 3, but I have.

But I definitely don't tell the person as I'm apologizing - "You know, I really can't apologize for slamming into you as I didn't intend to.

Anonymous said...

Malcolm Yarnell,
What is the ‘GERM FORM’ that you used in your answer to David Rogers on Peter Lumpkin’s Blog and Peter even commented using the """GERM""".

Part of David Rogers follow up question to Malcolm Yarnell.

David Asks Malcolm:
4. If you choose not to answer Wade Burleson's questions, I also ask you the very same questions. You can give your answer to me, and Wade can just look in. :-)

Part of Malcolm Yarnell’s reply to David Rogers.

Finally, since you are willing to interact on behalf of the other questions raised, and since my answer is found in “”””germ form”””” in my initial response, perhaps you could answer Steve's question for him.

Peter Lumpkin’s interaction and Baptist Love is displayed by Peter.

David (Rogers),
Thank you my brother. We see perfectly well the differences you've made quite evident between your view and Dr. Yarnell's. Your impasse is now clearly noted.
As for answering Mr. Burleson's question, please consider that a done deal in Dr. Yarnell's first response with the “”"GERM"”” of it and my response pertaining to Mr. Gill.
I hope your evening well. With that, I am...
Peter

CmlCros said...

Wow, what an interesting discussion this time.
There are several things that bother me about all of this.

First...Dr. Yarnell...I don't know him but he comes across as very passive agressive. If you don't like Wade...just say it. We don't all have to like each other...if there's a baptist identity section of heaven we obviously won't live near each other. :-)

Second....Baptist identity....who cares? Only in the US is this a big deal. We're quickly becoming the global minority of believers and most of the world doesn't know what a SB is. In most of the world new believers are baptized in tubs, pools and lakes and no one surveys the guy doing it to see if his beliefs line up Patterson's.

We're fighting about something that in light of eternity doesn't matter. Do we want 2-3 "perfect" baptists that don't drink, smoke, speak in tongues or have much fun or do we want the nations to know Christ and if the theology is a little messy....so, Christ can handle this. He trained 12 guys with no seminary, no application process, no BOT and no Baptist identity, the guys screwed up some, struggled some but we're fruit of their legacy.

With that...I am the Camel Rider!

Tom Parker said...

Dave Miller:

I have the utmost respect for you and will accept your great advice.

David said...

I appreciate a leader who understands the chain of command and abides by it. I appreciate even more a courageous leader who stands up to ask questions others are afraid to ask.

There is a time to obey the pecking order, and a time to inquire, "Why . . . ?" until answers are received. In this case, the one abiding by the chain of command is being asked "Why?" by one who pay the bills, right?

As a TRUE SOUTHERN BAPTIST NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE ELSE SAYS, I would appreciate Dr. Yarnell taking his stand over at the "I am" blogsite and then sticking up for his beliefs, chain of command or no chain of command (course, it can get him locked out of his office as has happened before at SWBTS); as a true Southern Baptist whose CP contributions help keep the lights on at SWBTS, I appreciate very much Wade asking "What do you mean by . . . Isn't that NOT what Baptists historically have stood for . . . ?" on his behalf and ours.

The rest of the peace-making thing seems like snow.

Belief Matters said...

Dave Miller, Your silence betrays you convictions:

Is calling some a pitiful human being attack the issues or the person?

J

RM said...

Tom Parker,

Thanks for your gracious and Christian response. I am hardly a coward. I was simply saying that the discourse between Wade and Malcolm is disappointing. The rest is a satire and you need to get over it.

My identity is basically none of your business nor concern.

Belief Matters said...

Tom, at least have the humility to refrain from name calling. Calling someone a coward is beneath a pastor.

Anonymous said...

cmlcros

Not that it matters but (to me) what a great post -- The only thing that is going to matter in this life is the thing that death can not change -- Great sign off

Tommy Greene

K. Michael Crowder said...

*kicks the Ph.D.*

*in hoity toity voice* "I understand you are busy and I do not desire to take up your precious time.*

*kicks the Ph.D.*

*gives the Ph.D. a discourse in logic while pretending to be said Ph.D.'s friend.*

*kicks the Ph.D.*

*talks to Ph.D. like nothing ever happened*

*apologizes to P......no...*kicks the Ph.D.*

*invites the Ph.D. over for tea and crumpets to talk about hoity toity things.*

*kicks the Ph.D.*

*wishes he had a Ph.D.*


*Ph.D. rolls eyes*








[no Ph.D.'s were harmed in the making of this post......but one M.Div. may have been] :)

Dave Miller said...

Belief Matters,

The only reference I see in the comment stream is when Tom copied the wording of Volfan's comment. If there was something else, I have not seen it.

I am not defending Tom's statement. He is a big boy.

I was observing that the sarcasm and personal attacks being lodged against him were aggravating him.

I counselled him to walk away. I would suggest the same to you, but I don't really know you.

Dave Miller said...

K michael,

You were doing so good with your comment before - thoughtful and all.

Why did you have to go there?

Anonymous said...

K. Michael Crowder,

Insightful synopsis of this post! :)

riley said...

14Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Tim Guthrie said...

crowder,
You are funny and IMHO correct.

Chris Harbin said...

Wade,

I am only surprised that Malcolm took the step of writing you at all. When we were being terminated as missionaries, the other missionaries were told to avoid contact with us. They felt that their own jobs were on the line if they should show up where they knew we would be.

Two years later, they still felt their jobs were threatened to be around us.

Belief Matters said...

Crowder is funny!

Belief Matters said...

Tom Parker what Southern Baptist Church are you an associate pastor at in Chicago?

Rex Ray said...

April 30, 2008
Joe W.,
You asked: “Would you define a losing season for us…statistically speaking?”

That’s an interesting question. Alyce Faulkner quoted Ed Stetzer in the BP News saying: “Only 11% of Southern Baptist Churches could be considered to be ‘healthy and growing.”

Last Sunday night, our church hosted the annual Fannin County Baptist Association for the third year in a row. The thirty-six exhibits of missions being done were down from the fifty exhibits from last year as many said a shortage of money prevented them coming.

On July 12, fourteen of us will be going on a mission trip for the third time near Ixtapa, Mexico. (That’s close to where a swimmer was killed by a shark yesterday. Hmmm, may cut down on my usual ocean mile swim.)

Our church runs around 70 plus in Sunday School which is about doubled when I was a charter member in 1944. (That growth would average about ½ a person per year.) So why would our country church be chosen for the meeting?
Three years ago we built about a million dollar new church that is the most beautiful and largest of the 38 Southern Baptist churches in this county. With the new building our one staff has increased to three. Has all this increased our growth? Not much. What’s the problem with countless lost people in this county?

I believe our guest speaker at the meeting unintentional hit the nail on the head when he said their church had gone to Bible study on Sunday and Wednesday nights.

We have the same program with open discussions and that’s right down my alley as I like to get my two cents in. I enjoy it a lot, but are we frogs in hot water? Christ said if I be lifted up. He did not say if you have correct doctrine, knowledge, etc that all men would come to him. I’ll repeat my father’s words: “A sermon that doesn’t touch the preacher’s heart will not touch a sinner’s heart.”, and “I hate a sermon that doesn’t mention His name.”

I believe the leaders of the SBC have gone overboard on legalistic rules when they changed the glue that held Baptists together from missions to doctrine, and in my opinion that’ a losing season.

Joe W. said...

Rex Ray,

I think I understand the situation you are describing for us, and those numbers cannot be denied.

However, I question the correlation you are making between the CR and the individual churches. How are individual churches worse off today because of the CR? I understand the correlation to the seminaries and mission boards, but how has the CR hurt your church?

Wade's church seems to be doing fine, as are many others. And the ones that are not... is it because of the CR in the SBC? I don't see it. Do you think a more liberal SBC will add numbers to our churches?

The places that one would expect to find harm if the CR has hurt the convention, would be in giving to missions and attendance in the schools. I certainly don't see that.

"Chicken Little... the sky is not falling!" :)

Can't hardly wait till Indy...

Belief Matters said...

I know numbers mean something, but I am not sure they tell the entire story. How would we measure the success of Jeremiah's ministry in 2008? We ought to ask questions, but let us not become obsessed with numbers. The call is to be faithful to God, and He will bless us as He sees fit.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Mr. Burleson, you wrote: "There is a difference between challenging an action and attacking a person. So, no, it is not ad hominem."

Please note that I played on the words of your changed title, "ad hominem variants". You wrote "When a blue-blood Southern Baptist like David feels compelled to ask such a question, then the Baptist Identity initiative is definitely a fringe movement." Now that is not a traditional ad hominem argument, which, as you correctly note, attacks the person instead of answering an argument.

But what you did with that statement can qualify as an ad hominem ("to the man") variant ("a variation, different version") in that you appealed "to the man" instead of offering proof. The fact that Brother Rogers is "a blue-blood [aristocrat, noble, member of a prominent family] Southern Baptist" does not offer proof whether or not the Baptist Identity initiative is a fringe movement. It may or may not be, but that does not prove it to be so.

Chris Harbin said...

Joe W.,

I know various individuals who are not in church today due to CR. Many others have left the SBC to go to other denominations due to the fighting over CR. Many have watched the tactics of the CR, saying, "This is not of God. If this is how Christians act, I want no part of it."

To many of them, it was never about doctrine, but about means/tactics. To some, it was about tightening doctrinal parameters. To others, it was about their own exclusion from the denominational process.

Yes, that impacts local churches. Yes, it correlates to the CR. No, it is not about liberal theology. It is about mean-spirited tactics, enforcing the doctrines of some upon others, and classifying those who disagree as heretical and unworthy of being in the SBC fold.

Tom Parker said...

BM:

Just so we are clear there are two Tom Parker's in this thread, I am not the one who signed off as Tom Parker Associate Pastor in Chicago. My name is always listed first and not last.

Belief Matters said...

Chris, I know some who have joined the SBC because of the C.R. So it does impact the local church and from what I have seen the good outweighs the bad.

Joe W. said...

Chris Harbin,

If I said the words "Conservative Resurgance" or mentioned the "CR" from the pulpit Sunday, maybe 5 people would know what I was talking about.

You say you know people who have been hurt and left the convention... did they just now leave, this year?

I am with BM... if the CR has had any effect on the local church, it has been positive.

Rex Ray said...

Joe W.,
You said, “I understand the correlation to the seminaries and mission boards, but how has the CR hurt your church?

You said, “Chicken Little…the sky is not falling!” You’re right…it’s not falling because it’s already fallen.

Do you remember how Bob Cleveland said he would change Southern Baptist? He would change the schools that taught preachers and they in turn would change the church members.

An example would be of the pastor, Frank Harber that got his PHD the fastest on record at SWTS.

A lot of you know what happened at his church in Colleyville, Texas. 1-10 are the thoughts of Frank Harber and his by-laws before he kicked four long time members out for opposing his desire to sell the church and move it to another town. The church finally fired Harber, and offered him a quarter of a million to leave peacefully, but he wanted a million. He took a lot of the members and started a non-denomination church nearby.

1. Harber preached only once a week on Sunday morning.
2. Pastor shall be in charge of all ministries of the Church.
3. Deacons are set aside as servants of the church.
4. Church has ‘Leadership Board’ that makes most decisions.
5. Pastor shall hire, fire, and determine staff’s salary.
6. Pastor shall be leader of the Leadership Board.
7. Deacons nominated and screened by Leadership Board.
8. Harber knew who ‘gave the money.’
9. The Church is dually aligned with the BGCT and the SBTC.
10. The Church confirms the BFM 2000.

I don’t know if Harber got his ideas in school, but it’s strange that our pastor gave a paper to our church before he was hired that had 38 statements backing up Harper’s ten thoughts.

Joe, I think the CR was using Bob Cleveland’s thoughts before he expressed them. If you don’t think so, ask Patterson where he got his.

Belief Matters said...

Joe, You are correct. In fact the reality is that if I mentioned the name Wade Burelson they wouldn't have a clue who he was. They have no ideal about the problems that he and the IMB has had.

Wade Burleson said...

Belief Matters,

It sounds like you have no idea who 'Wade Burelson (sic)' is either.

wink

Spelling matters,

:)

Belief Matters said...

I love it. :) I guess I don't! I thought that look funny, but after seeing your "hat" picture---I thought that maybe you were a whole new man. :)

BTW, Wade BurlEson, Your sermons on Genesis are excellent. Good preaching! In fact I usually read them ONLY after I have finished my sermon on Genesis.

Seriously, Their lack of knowledge might be my fault since I rarely discuss the political side of the SBC.

Wade Burleson said...

Belief Matters,

Glad you enjoy Genesis!

Wade

Anonymous said...

Oh, I can assure you many students and most faculty know his name or at least know him as 'that pastor in Oklahoma' at sbts. And all of them go to church somewhere. :o)


Anoymous because I have seen how mean spirited the leadership is if you dare say anything positive about Wade.

Joe W. said...

Rex Ray,

The sky fell?

How did I miss it?

Seriously, I try to keep up with things like that! :)

Belief Matters said...

I agree that many students and teachers know about Wade, but I am talking about joe blow and jane blow in a local church.

Elisabeth said...

Baptist Identity scares me. It makes me feel like if I'm "different" in any way, shape, or form; or my background's different, or whatever, I would not be welcome.

I wonder how many others feel the same way I do about that.

Belief Matters said...

Wait a minute!!!!! I just remember something.

What happen to our 1 million baptism goal? Did Bro. Bobby W promote that while he was in office?

What was the outcome? Surely, that promotion helped! Right?

:)

Jeff

Chris Harbin said...

Joe W.,

I can't say 2008, but I know of individuals who left in 2005, 2006, & 2007. They may not know the term "Conservative Ressurgence," but they know "takeover," "SBC politics," "firing missionaries," "women can't be chaplains," etc. (i.e., they read the newspapers).

Sure, some have joined SBC churches because of CR (i.e., Jerry Falwell), but is that real growth, or just sheep shuffle?

traveller said...

Joe W.

One of the things the SBC'er in the pew does not generally recognize is, whether the CR has a continuing impact (negative or positive) on local churches, there is a significant re-formation generally of the church happening in North America and to some extent in Europe. This re-formation is related to structures of the church (it is becoming less institutional, less programmatic, smaller groupings, less distinction between lay and clergy, and more networked) and it is related to theology in that there is an increasing emphasis on relationship with God and less on doctrine.

Interestingly, this is happening among most evangelicals, and to a lesser extent among Roman Catholics, but not so much among SBC churches. Whether one thinks all of this is good or not depends on any given person's perspective. My point is simply to indicate to you there is a much larger change going on outside the SBC that is having some influence on the SBC, not in terms of changing it but a reaction to this change by the SBC leadership and some people leaving the SBC to join this re-formation.

All the indicators from George Barna's 20+ years of research would suggest this is accelerating and may result in some rather dramatic changes over the next few decades.

If you wish to get some feel for this I would suggest that you visit Mr. Barna's website. And, if you wish to understand the basis for some of this change I would suggest that you read a book by Reggie McNeal, who works for the state SBC convention of South Carolina. The book is "Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church".

Belief Matters said...

Traveller, You can't divorce your relationship with God apart from doctrine. I never can understand this type of argument. Theology is all about God.

Chris Harbin said...

Belief Matters,

The point of the folks to whom traveler was referring is that doctrine is a constantly moving target.

I have beliefs about my friends, but the relationship with them is not about all the things I believe about them. It is about journeying in life together, getting to know each other better all along the way.

In one sense, relationship of faith in God is also like that. Certain aspects of doctrine will not change. Others better, or I am not really trying to learn more about the one in whom I trust.

Abraham "believed God" and it was credited to him as righteousness. He still did not comprehend all that God is. Neither do we. The hinge-pin of the relationship is not the "facts" to which I cling. Rather it is my dependence upon God's sufficiency, grace, forgiveness, love, etc. Remember that in both Greek and Hebrew faith is a verb, more like our term trust.

traveller said...

Belief Matters,

It is not a divorce of the two but where the emphasis is placed.

It is not my intent to get into a debate on this point but to merely express what is pretty clearly happening, not only from my personal observation but many of those involved in this and the research being done by Barna. There is a large amount of writing in books and other publications if you wish to learn more.

As I mentioned many will not agree with what is happening but it is happening....that is my only point.

Rex Ray said...

Joe W.,
When logic cannot be defeated, the best rule is to make a joke of it. You’ve done that by asking how you missed the sky falling.

I guess you missed it because you were in boiling water with the frog, or your head was under the sand. Maybe if it was your brother-in law that was kicked out of church, or you were told that you were “evil”, you might have realized the reaction of pride.

I thought Chris Harbin’s comment (“When we were being terminated as missionaries, the other missionaries were told to avoid contact with us. They felt their own jobs were on the line…”) was the saddest comment of any ever made on Wade’s posts.

And what love or sympathy did you reply to Chris?
You said, “If the CR has had any effect on the local church, it has been positive.”

So you think forcing over one hundred long time missionaries off the field had a positive effect on the local church? Duhh

If pride had weight, the CR would need wheelbarrows.

Joe W. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron P. said...

elisabeth,

Your fear is based on FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) raised against a Biblical confessional (and convictional) Baptist identity. Do not believe everything you are reading against Baptist Identity. Much of it is nothing more than fear mongering by those advocating widening the parameters of what it historically has meant to be Baptist thus attempting to move the SBC to become a more ecumenical Convention. Anyone opposing such a move, is being painted as fundamentalist, Landmarker, and now big bad Baptist Identity fringe group.

The name calling over the past couple of years has changed, but the tactics and goals remain the same: ecumenism.

Blessings,

Ron P.

Joe W. said...

Rex Ray,

Your statement that the sky "has" fallen is neither actual or factual, and least of all logical.

As far as the removal of those missionaries from the field who could not sign onto a "minimal" or "sufficient" document of faith... well, it is safe to say I do not share your view that this is the saddest thing ever written of this blog or that it hurt the local church. Remember, it was Wade who wrote these words... "The trustees of any agency have the right to set any policy they desire, even extra-Biblical requirements..."

It is all just perspective. I guess if Chris wants to call the growth during the last 40 years or so of the CR... "sheep shuffling". Others could just as easily call the recent decline "a thinning of the herd" or "pruning".

Again, I call your attention to these numbers... 345,941 baptisms, an increase in primary worship attendance, an increase in churches, and an increase in mission expenditures and total missionaries. It looks like a beautiful blue sky to me, with maybe a few clouds. :)

Chris Harbin said...

Joe W.,

I mentioned sheep shuffling as a question regarding those joining the SBC "because of" the CR. I am not referring to growth via conversion. I would assume that would have little to nothing to do with your rationale of "joining because of the CR". I would assume that those joining via baptism would be joining because of evangelism, not CR. (Excepting those who were already believers, but were baptized on joining.)

Chris Harbin said...

Joe W.,

One more thing...

I also don't have a problem with an SBC agency firing missionaries due to a shift in parameters. I do have a problem with the means this was done and the lack of sincerity regarding the motivation. If you want to fire me because you don't agree with my theology, just say so.

They claimed that nothing had changed in the BF&M2000--"Just sign it."

They claimed no one was being fired in regard to the BF&M2000. I guess maybe that was true, as it was due to politics, instead? They they renigged on that one, too.

They instilled a climate of fear and mistrust. That has no relation to the love of God in Christ. Why should missionaries be afraid to have contact with folks accused of heresy? Aren't they the ones we have commissioned to take the gospel to all sorts of heretics of all faiths?

Duplicity has never been shown to advance the cause of Christ-the cause of men, yes.

Joe W. said...

Chris,

I must admit, I again fail to see your logic and the correlation that numbers are down due to the CR. If as you claim the growth over the last 40 years is to be attributed to evangelism and conversions, then why is the decline not as well (as in a lack of).

Evangelism + Conversions = Growth
Conservative Resurgence = Decline

Are these the formulas you propose? Is the loss in total membership really because of the CR? Is the CR impacting local churches, more specifically, how does the CR impact your Cooperative Baptist Fellowhip church?

Mike Ruffin said...

Jeff,

I suspect that the same thing happened to the one million baptisms push that happened to Bold Mission Thrust. It was forgotten and laid aside for the sake of things that are obviously more important than saving souls and changing lives--defining "real Baptist identity" so we can be sure to keep the imposters and liberal/moderate/not conservative enough heretics out.

Anonymous said...

Joe W:

You said, “As one person put it... "A statistician is a person who draws a mathematically precise line from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion."”

Be careful about throwing around numbers, someone may think you are a statistician. :)

Keith Price

Chris Harbin said...

Joe W.,

I never said that the CR has caused the decrease in the SBC. I said that it has been responsible for some decrease. As far as CR impacting my CBF church, we are still part of the local association. We also still have to share with our neighbors from New Jersey and New York that Richard Land, Paige Patterson, and Al Mohler do not speak for us. As far as they are concerned, the Baptists that make the media speak for all Baptists. As a result, they want nothing to do with Baptist churches.

Most folks don't know there is a difference from one Baptist church to another. Like it or not, CR does impact my church, as well as SBC churches. Mostly, however, they see the infighting and say that if Christians act that way, they want nothing to do with them.

What should I tell non-Christians, Joe, when they ask why I am no longer a missionary, though I am a Baptist minister? How should I have answered our non-Christians friends in Brasil who wanted to understand why we were leaving?

Anonymous said...

Traveller, You can't divorce your relationship with God apart from doctrine. I never can understand this type of argument. Theology is all about God.

Wed Apr 30, 03:51:00 PM 2008

Of course you can't. That is a given. I think what concerns most is two fold:

1. What does one mean when they say correct doctrine. Does this mean the basic Gospel or does it include what Russell Moore is now teaching on patriarchy? And all the other secondary and tertiary issues we see discussed that seem to be all the SBC leaders care about.

2. Has knowing correct primary doctine transformed those who know it? Are our leaders more loving, humble and gracious since they have known and taught correct doctrine? Do they care for souls in such a way that they are willing to give up their power, status and worldly wealth for the cause of Christ and for their brothers and sisters in Christ as role models? Or, do they silence them, censure them and play passive agressive games with word meanings? Do they shun those who disagree? Do they throw temper tantrums with their underlings? Do they live like kings in their mansions paid for with dollars that should go to the work for the Lord? Do they seek to lord it over others? To gain control? Do they seek national prominence? Seats at the tables of world leaders and presidents?

If there is no transformation (regeneration) that is consistent
(1 John..walking in the light as a lifestyle) in a person's life who knows correct doctrine then it is just knowledge that 'puffs up'. It is meaningless unless it leads to bearing the Image of Christ which is love, grace, humility and servanthood. And if this does not show up in leaders who have been leaders for 25 years, then there is a problem. A serious problem...for them.

There seems to be lots of talk about doctrine but with little love, grace or humility. Doctrine is used as a club to gain followers and call others liberals who disgree on secondary issues.

I pray for true leaders who will fall on their face in repentence and through love, humility and grace give up all earthly status, power and applause from men for HIS name. Many do this but they are unknown and will stay that way. But you WILL know of them one day.

But we still build statues to men and say, I am of Apollos, I am of Paul.

For His Glory Alone. Because it really is only about HIM. We are NOTHING apart from His Grace. Isaiah 2:22

Martin

Chris Harbin said...

Martin,

Well put.

Rodney Sprayberry said...

This just in:

We are doing so well!

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/B/BAPTISTS_DECLINE?SITE=OHALL2&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

GeneMBridges said...

1. "Into which local church were the 3,000 at Pentecost baptized?" Answer: The church at Jerusalem. Acts 2:41 is very clear on this matter.

No, that's just as much an inference as stating that the promise to you and your children refers to physical children.

The text says not a word of the sort: It says: So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

Period.

It does not say, "And they were added into the Jerusalem Church." That's merely an inference. It is by no means "plain."

In order to be added into that church, that local body would have to be preexisting. It's a pity Ben can't follow his own position's arguments. So, we'll have to do it for him - as usual.

Here's the essence of Ben's own ecclesiology: Baptism admits one into the local church. For this ecclesiology to work, the church into which one is baptized must exist in order for the administrator to be valid. For the administrator exists and an instance of the local church, under its authority.

But The Jerusalem Church did not exist prior to their baptism, Ben, on your own ecclesiology, since believers must also be baptized to constitute a local church. Rather, they were added into the universal church by their regeneration and faith, then they were baptized according (which is why we call it believers or professors' baptism - Baptism 101 you know), then and only did they constitute the Jerusalem Church.

You'd have to argue that the Upper Room group constituted the Jerusalem Church in order to maintain this argument. Where's the supporting argument? There isn't one. Rather, that would be merely an assertion - and you know it is.

--And that is the sum total of the low church Baptist argument for baptism and the church. The argument is that, based upon regenerate church membership, the visible, local churches are instances of the universal church. So, the "line of succession" runs not via local churches and administrators (that's the high church argument). It only runs through the visible churches only insofar as they are instances of the church universal. The universal church grounds the local church. Wade's argument - and Gill's, and my own, and that of many others has been that a person is baptized into the universal church and then is free to find a local church. S/he is not a de facto member of a local church and his/her baptism can be performed by anybody. If we lose that, we have to establish Holy Orders, Ben - and in fact, Rome did that long ago for, among other reasons, that very reason. If we establish Holy Orders, then we cannot recognized Baptist churches that spring up from the ground spontaneously - and that is precisely what Landmarkers have in the past clearly believed and taught, for that is the essence of Baptist successionism - to say so and so's baptism is valid, the administrator must be valid, and so on and so on - the line of succession has allegedly been maintained. That's not Baptist, that's Roman Catholic to the core.

But Ben, being a Landmarker, denies the universal church, as does Rome and as does Constantinople. That's because Ben's ecclesiology (and that of every Landmarker) is truncated due to his ecclesiolatry. If Ben was remotely consistent, he'd believe in Holy Orders too. Holy Mother Church must authorize baptism. That sort of argument is what I expect from the Catholic Answers people.

By the way, that's just High Churchmanship applied to the sacraments/ordinances. This exact same argument is used by Roman Catholics for establishing the canon of Scripture. According to them - and I see it every day - the Church authorizes the canon and thereby underwrites the authority of Scripture. According to them, Scripture is a product of Holy Mother Church.

It would do Ben and others of his convictions to stop talking about "Baptist identity" some good to get his feet wet arguing for the Protestant rule of faith against the ecclesiolaters in the RCC. I do it all time,so I it makes it easy for me to see ecclesiolatry when Baptists commit it. While they witter on about "Baptist identity," the way the Quasi-Amyraldians in Reformed circles talk about the scope of the atonement to the exclusion of most else, the rest of us are interacting with atheists, Muslims, Catholics, the Orthodox, and many others. While they talk about "Baptist identity" the world is going to hell around them - and the real irony is that many of the BI people are vocal opponents of Calvinism, but when I look on the blogs, I see the Calvinsts doing a LOT of the work of apologetics and evangelism. Funny, I thought we were the ones who weren't evangelistic.

"Into which local church was the Ethiopian eunuch baptized?" Answer: It is interesting to speculate on what would have happen to the eunuch if the Lord had not caught Philip away. Do you think Philip would have sent him on his merry way, or would he have tried to disciple him and get him involved in a local church? Also remember Philip was an evangelist and was an ordained officer of the church at Jerusalem. Through Philip, the eunuch's baptism was connected to a local church.

In other words, Ben has no answer.

. Everyone agrees the American Baptists have long held to these principles. Everyone with
whom Ben agrees.

And "what everyone agrees American Baptists have long held" is not our rule of faith. We can be true to tradition w/o tradition being true. Ben's arguments are profoundly Roman Catholic. They read just like the people I debate at the Beggars All blog and elsewhere.

If you want to know what the English Baptists (besides Gill and Bunyan) believed about baptism and ecclesiology go to R.E. Pound's website http://victorian.fortunecity.com/dadd/464/Pound.html and read his paper on "THE ADMINISTRATOR OF BAPTISM, studies in the Particular Baptist Ecclesiology of the 1600s" or other of his excellent works.

Yeah, been there, done that. This site is the one that calls the 2nd LBC "dipped" in Presbyterianism and Puritanism. Unfortunately, Pound would do well to read the True Confession of 1596. About 50% of their Confession was taken directly from this older document. In addition, they relied very heavily on a book called The Marrow of Theology, written by a very famous and important puritan, William Ames.

Apparently, he's completely oblivious to some historical facts or Mr. Pound is so consumed by his belief in Baptist successism and his desire to repudiate Paedobaptists ( whom he calls "Presbyterians and Puritans), he doesn't bother to consider that a great deal of the very confession he likes is, in fact, directly drawn from Paedobaptist and Puritan documents of that day. I'd not trust Pound's work on much of anything. By way of contrast, I think he (and you) would do well to read James Renihan's articles on the FBLC in the Reformed Baptist Theological Journal.

Since he can't get basic facts right and even excises them from his accounts, why should we trust anything he else he writes?

From the article:

In receiving baptism by the hands of a minister authorized by a local church, the believer enters a local church (Acts 2:41), .

Dr. Yarnell believes in holy orders too it seems. Let's see what happens if we make this argument elsewhere:

In being married by the hands of a minister authorized by a local church, the couple's marriage is recognized as a covenant by Christ acting through his mystical body.

In receiving the Lord's Supper by the hands of a minister authorized by a local church, the believer's faith is strengthened by Christ acting through his mystical body.

--That's Romanism folks. I thought he believed in Baptist Identity.

His "argument" for this position is about as good as his arguments against the doctrines of grace were and only slightly better than an exegetical argument for Libertarian Free Will.

This is a good spot to make a larger point: It strikes me as ironic that many - not all, but many - of the folks that take this position are also believers in LFW and therefore, while maintaining justification by faith, then separate it from the sufficiency of grace, thereby leaning toward Rome in more than one area. I wonder what our Baptist forefathers would say about that and Baptist identity?

David said...

Go, Gene!

Rex Ray said...

Joe W.,
Thanks to the reference of Rodney Sprayberry, your “345,941” number of baptisms for 2007 is correct, but you failed to say that was the third year in a row that baptisms have decreased and is the lowest since 1987.

Also membership has dropped 40,000 since last year.

Joe, you better watch those clouds in your beautiful blue sky, you might bump your head on one.

Joe W. said...

Rex Ray,

This conversation reminds me of the ones I used to have with my Dad concerning my report card. My Dad just could not understand how one semester I could get an A in Calculus and the next semester get a B. He was convinced that it was because I was not studying hard enough or applying myself enough. And no matter what I said, I could not convince him otherwise. However, truth be known, I had actually studied harder and applied myself more for the B than I had the A.

Only God knows if the effort was there in 2007 or not. It may be that there was more effort in 2007 than 2006... whether the numbers say so or not. Either way, I still rejoice in the great number baptized, and believe that the SBC still has great days ahead of her!

Anonymous said...

Either way, I still rejoice in the great number baptized, and believe that the SBC still has great days ahead of her!

Thu May 01, 10:08:00 AM 2008

Joe, do you know how many of those baptisms were for children under the age of 6. Your hero, Patterson has said that is the fastest growing age group for baptisms and we are becoming a denomination of baby baptizers. I am quoting Jeff Noblitt from a recent sermon.

If Patterson said that, that is one thing I can agree with him on.

Wade Burleson said...

Gene Bridges,

With your permission, I would like to take your comment and turn it into a post.

Well done.

Anonymous said...

William Ames: Loved him on "Charles in Charge" and as "Bibleman!"

Belief Matters said...

I also heard from an employee of a certain state convention that the greatest decisions are from 4-6 years old now. I resisted the urge to stand up and shout. Don't get me wrong, I have the firm conviction that God can save who he wants---but I have trouble with this new strategy.

Belief Matters said...

I love Gene. I just wish his posts were not so "short." :)

Chris Harbin said...

Joe W.,

What should I tell non-Christians, Joe, when they ask why I am no longer a missionary, though I am a Baptist minister? How should I have answered our non-Christians friends in Brasil who wanted to understand why we were leaving?

I am still waiting.

Joe W. said...

Chris Harbin,

What should you tell them? ...

You should be truthful and do your best to relay the facts. Explain to them that you were being removed from the field for... "the persistent advocating of doctrinal opinions inconsistent with the Baptist Faith and Message.”

Tell them that your teaching were "brought to the attention of an IMB administrator by the nationals for scrutinys" ... and that your teachings..."would never have been allowed in the history of the FMB or the IMB".

That is what I would recommend you tell them, as that is what you were told.

Tom Parker said...

Joe W:

What is really sad is that one day the IMB was ok with Chris and the next day it was not. They were told they did not have to sign and then they were told they would. I do not believe the advice you gave him on what to say was very Christ like. It sounds very cold and clinical--I'm sure you are not that type of person.

Joe W. said...

Tom Parker,

I'm not sure how I could answer Chris' question any different. Remember, he said he was being asked by "non-christians". My advice was to be truthful, relay the facts as best you can, and tell them what you were told... what else could he do?

Chris Harbin said...

Joe W.,

If those statements about my termination had been true, we would not be having this discussion. I was also told that I could simply sign a piece of paper and put the matter to rest...

Truthful I will be. Faithfully following the party line as though it were truth is an entirely different issue.

Joe W. said...

Tom and Chris,

I am sure that I do not have all the details of Chris' termination.

However, from the information I do have and from Chris' own admission, I do believe it justified. Chris takes a critical view of scripture, co-pastors with his wife, and has many other beliefs (ie. "Adam") that are outside the BF&M (1963 and/or 2000).

Chris Harbin said...

Joe W.,

Interesting that the issues you mention now never came up...

I don't imagine that most SBC recognize that the BF&M2000 hands the guilt for our sin over to Adam, exculpating us in the process.

Joe W. said...

Chris,

It seems like the issues did from what I am reading here... http://www.baptiststandard.com/2002/11_25/pages/harbin_probe.html

I realize that this is no doubt a sensitive issue with you, even with the passing of years. I have no desire to rehash these events or speak against you. However, you can count me among those who are pleased that a least a few of the missionaries who deny the inerrant, infallible word of God... have co-pastoring wives... and some "interesting" views on Genesis are no longer representing the SBC and IMB. I just do not share the view of many on here, that this is the saddest thing ever heard.

Joe W. said...

Sorry, the complete link did not attach. Here it is... http://www.baptiststandard.com/2002/11_25/pages/harbin_probe.html

Lin said...

"Wade's argument - and Gill's, and my own, and that of many others has been that a person is baptized into the universal church and then is free to find a local church."

Gene, excellent comment and teaching! What you wrote above is exactly what I was taught in several SBC churches as a youngster. My how far we have strayed.

Jack said...

Chris Harbin said...

“What should I tell non-Christians, Joe, when they ask why I am no longer a missionary, though I am a Baptist minister? How should I have answered our non-Christians friends in Brasil who wanted to understand why we were leaving?”

Joe W. said...

“What should you tell them? ...

You should … explain to them that you were being removed from the field for... "the persistent advocating of doctrinal opinions inconsistent with the Baptist Faith and Message.”

Tell them that your teachings were "brought to the attention of an IMB administrator by the nationals for scrutiny" ... and that your teachings..."would never have been allowed in the history of the FMB or the IMB".

That is what I would recommend you tell them, as that is what you were told.”

----

-Chris, I would first point them to the following examination by The Baptist Standard of your termination:

“Harbin contends passages from his classroom syllabus used at the Baptist Theological Seminary of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil have been lifted out of context and misconstrued to bring charges against him.

He contends no complaint about his teaching ever was lodged by a Brazilian student or administrator at the seminary where he taught the last six years. The seminary's student body and the organization of local pastors wrote letters of support for the Harbins after learning the IMB was sending them home.

Harbin has responded in writing to the 13 passages cited by the IMB as evidence of doctrinal lapses. The passages were taken from his course syllabus.

The doctrinal study in question, titled "The Doctrine of the Bible," was written by David Dockery, who at the time was academic vice president at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and now is president of Union University in Jackson, Tenn. It was the text for the SBC's annual doctrinal emphasis in churches nationwide. Neither the book nor Dockery's definition of inerrancy have ever been put before messengers to an SBC annual meeting for affirmation or rejection.

IMB officials selected passages from the syllabus they found objectionable, often linking passages together with ellipses and thus dropping out explanatory or contextual text that spans a full paragraph or more.

"The quotes in question as extracted do not represent my beliefs," Harbin said. "My course text was apparently searched for content that could be used against me, regardless of whether a specific passage reflected my position or whether I was stating a position I was attempting to refute."

-Then I would use this a teachable moment to explain the commandment about “Not bearing false witness against thy neighbor.”

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