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

The Mere Replacement of One Set of Bureacrats

Dr. Timothy George once wrote:

The mere replacement of one set of bureaucrats with another doth not a reformation make!

A new group of Baptist Identity adherents have formed The Association of Convictional Baptists, and will be presenting a Resolution on Regenerate Church Membership, written by Dr. Malcolm Yarnell, at the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention in Indianoplois, Indiana. The resolution is good in what it says, but very revealing in what it does not say.

Dr. Tom Ascol has for years proposed that our convention adopt his own Resolution on Church Membership; a request our convention has denied on several occasions. According to former SWBTS adjunct professor Bart Barber, the organizer for the push to adopt the new resolution, Dr. Ascol intends to offer his resolution again at the 2008 Indianopolis Southern Baptist Convention. In essence, we will have TWO resolutions submitted on Regenerate Church Membership. Bart Barber writes of the two resolutions:

The similarities between the two resolutions outweigh the differences, although I prefer our resolution.
.
What Are The Differences?

A brief reading of both proposed resolutions reveals that Dr. Malcolm Yarnell's resolution, endorsed by The Association of Convictional Baptists, removes any reference to the years of our denomination reporting to the secular press inflated denominational membership statistics through the Annual Church Profile, and also removes any call for repentance by denominational and church leaders for boasting about the number of members within the Southern Baptist Convention - numbers that we Southern Baptists have known for years are deceptive.

I would hope that one of the convictions of the new Association of Convictional Baptists is a conviction to tell the truth. It is hard to understand the reasoning for not including repentance for any deception that has occurred. Unless changes are made and the two resolutions can be blended into one, we have the very real possibility of a debate over two regenerate church membership resolutions revolving around whether or not we wish to admit our sins of the past - or cover them up. A rather interesting debate considering we confess to believe the Bible and it clearly says, "Whosoever covereth his sin shall not prosper" (Proverbs 28:13).

Interestingly, the email debate between fifty of the initial sponsors of the Association of Convictional Baptists included suggestions that the statements calling upon Ascol's statements regarding denominational accountability be included, and thus, there could be a wide bipartisian support of a single resolution, with Dr. Ascol not needing to offer his.

Both Danny Akin and Mark Dever expressed their support for these additions, and Nathan Finn of Southeastern Seminary was particularly articulate in his argument for the inclusion of Ascol's statements that called for denominational accountability and repentance. Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, took Nathan Finn to task for advocating these additions, and with the two proponents of the new resolution - Malcolm Yarnell and Bart Barber - possessing fiduciary and personal loyalty to Southwestern Seminary and Paige Patterson, one can now understand why there are now TWO regenerate church membership resolutions - instead of one.

Repeating the Mistakes of the 1970's and 1980's

During the 1970's those in control of the Southern Baptist Convention and her agencies did not like information that caused the convention to be perceived in a negative light. Some were justifiably upset at the lack of transparency and accountability on the denominational level, including the illustration Dr. George gives in his article, regarding the support of abortion rights by the Southern Baptist Convention's Christian Life Commission in the 1970's.

We who serve in the 21st Century as Southern Baptist pastors and employees need to learn from our past mistakes. We must resist acting in our own self-interest or self-preservation by seeking favor through flattering influential people, and we must be Christian men and women who do the right thing because of principle.

Here's hoping that The Associational of Convictional Baptists will see the error of not addressing the language proposed by Dr. Tom Ascol before it is too late and there is an embarrassing debate, reported on by the secular press, over the reasons for the exclusions of denominational accountability.

In His Grace,

Wade

74 comments:

John Mann said...

Wade,

It appears that you have misconstrued the nature of a resolution in order to denigrate the character of Dr. Yarnell, as well as other 'convictional Baptists.'

First, Dr. Ascol's resolution has been denied twice now. It seems that there would be nothing inherently wrong with the construct of another proposed resolution in order to make a public statement encouraging biblical obedience under the Lordship of Christ. Your statement "In essence, we will have TWO resolutions submitted on Regenerate Church Membership," is simply an attempt to continue to paint those who disagree with you as being divisive. In truth, there will NOT be two resolutions presented in Indy. The Resolutions Committee will either choose one, or none, of which you are already quite aware I am sure.

Second, your continued painting of Drs. Yarnell and Barber as being someone whose strings can be pulled by anyone is quite irresponsible. Because these three Drs. [Patterson, Yarnell, and Barber] happen to agree on some things in no way makes them dependent upon the other. I assure you, both Dr. Barber and Dr. Yarnell are quite capable of thinking for themselves, while at the same time demonstrating great respect.

Third, your attempt to say the the Convention has been untruthful is quite untruthful. The Convention simply reports what the individual churches say on their ACP report. It is quite dishonest of you to hold the Convention as a whole accountable for the lack of church discipline practiced by the individual churches, or have you rejected your own championed doctrine of the autonomy of the church?

Last, what investigation have you put into the existence of the "Association of Convictional Baptists?" You imply that they are, or will be, dishonest, yet you have no basis for doing such a thing. Can you please tell me what they stand for? Are you reacting to their use of the word 'convictional?' If so, why is 'convictional' a negative word to you? Is it bad to hold 'convictions' in your view?

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade,

I fully expect that, if either one is to pass, it'll be Dr. Yarnell's. That would be consistent with, among other things, the acceptance of "rededicating your life".

When I see that in churches, I cringe. The transaction is normally that someone has fallen into sin, gotten away from obedience to God, and now wants to be restored without what the bible seems to indicate is the remedy for that ... namely, repentance, confession, and restoration. Sort of a sneak back in approach.

I think that's what Dr. Yarnell's motion seeks to accomplish. I prefer Tom Ascol's approach. And I will say so, too, whatever that'll accomplish.

Bart Barber said...

Wade,

1. Would it change the way that your readers receive your deceitful allegations for them to know that Dr. Patterson proposed a revision to the document that I also refused to take up? I know not whether the deceit lies with whoever provided you with only a partial set of the emails involved or with you, but somebody is a liar.

2. Mark Dever was never, to my knowledge, involved in the conversation, having affirmed our resolution long ago but not replying to recent emails.

3. What, precisely, is the nature of my "fiduciary" loyalty to Dr. Patterson? I am not presently teaching for SWBTS, as you well know from a telephone conversation we had several months ago. Yet this knowledge does not prevent you from scurrilous allegations.

"Conviction to tell the truth" indeed!

Wade Burleson said...

John Mann,

I have no desire to denigrate the character of Dr. Yarnell. On the contrary, I appreciate his resolution, but only wish we would have the backbone as a convention to call a spade a spade.

Wade Burleson said...

Bart Barber,

(1). Do you deny that Dr. Patterson insisted that the language with references to denominational accountability and the reporting of ACP statistics not be included?

(2). I accept the fact that Mark Dever was not involved in the current email discussion. My statements about Mark Dever are in light of his previous support of the Ascol resolution.

(3). Fidicuary obligations include loyalty because of past employment and any hope of possible future employment or recommendations.

I would be unaware of any private conversation you and Dr. Patterson might have regarding any proposal he made for additional language, and your refusal to add it. Of course, I would think that the debate over what is, and is not, included in your resolution is a matter that should be discussed so that all Southern Baptists can know the process of how things work in the SBC.

Similar to this post.

Blessings,

Wade Burleson

Bart Barber said...

Wade,

1. Yes, I deny it, because Dr. Patterson was not in a position to "insist" upon anything. A freeflowing emails discussion took place in which several people advanced various ideas for modification of the resolution. The final decisions about any modifications were mine and mine alone.

2. You stated that Mark Dever "expressed [his] support for [Ascol's proposed] additions." Dever never did any such thing, and the mere fact of his previous support for Tom's resolution is meaningless.

3. Pastoring is my vocation, not teaching. The only person who has ever threatened me with the concept that my "career" might suffer from my engagement in current SBC discussions is Wade Burleson (in a telephone call to my home several months ago). Dr. Patterson has never even hinted at such a thing. My loyalty in this case is to the biblical precept of regenerate church membership. Why is it that you would labor so hard to take our focus away from that principle and attempt to draw our attention instead to alleged political strife?

My conversation with Dr. Patterson was no more "private" than the private emails that someone apparently divulged to you (without the consent of the other parties involved, I might add). it took place in precisely the same email thread. You or someone else have simply chosen to leave out portions of the truth in order to shape a lie.

Tom Parker said...

I wonder if either one of these resolutions passes if it will really solve anything.

Belief Matters said...

Tom, It will not make a difference. Resolutions are the most useless things in the world.

Anonymous said...

Who was the author of the women and ministry series? Was this not promised almost a week ago?

Makes me wonder if perhaps the revealing of the identity might be less than positive. Therfore, the attempt to distract with possibly defamatory comments about the character of two men who have done nothing to you but disagree. However, you apparently cannot handle it.

And because you allow others to do so, I am signing myself as anonymous by necessity.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Barber,

Several observations

1. You have consistently supported those who believe in closed door meetings, censorship and conduct unbecoming of Christian leaders.

2. You have consistently tried to undermine Wade's reputation by picking apart just about every post he makes. Many times ignoring the context of the post. (Go back and read your comments)

3. You can say that anything was or was not 'said'. We have seen denials of things in the past by your hero's and collegues that turned out not to be true. (Tim Rogers never called Wade a liberal? Yarnell and his passive agressive behavior with Wade claiming what he said was not meant...yada, yada, etc)

Many of us are learning that you all play serious word games. After a while, your words have no real meaning or credibility.

4. We know from experience that the SBC leadership wants to keep all dirty laundry secret and present a fake face to the public. They also do not want their behind closed door decisions to be made known until they have implemented them and it is too late for disagreement. (IMB)

So, why should we believe YOU? The power to shape after the conversation 'facts', always rests with those in power. We have seen lots of spin.

There is more. But you get my point. I simply do not trust you.

Wade has admitted when he was wrong in the past and has held out a hand of reconciliation despite disagreement to folks who snub him. All I have read from your hero's and collegues is hatred toward Wade.

You guys are angry because he puts truth on his blog. That is always what you have been angry about. You don't want people to know negative truths. The big power structure a few have built to edify men is starting to crumble because of truth.

Lucy

CB Scott said...

lhlvWade,

What do you expect to gain from this post?

Something has changed in you, my brother and it is not a good change.

Wade, Paige Patterson is not guilty of wrong doing here.

Malcolm Yarnell has done not one thing wrong. I spoke to the man in San Antonio last year about this. We have talked and emailed about this since on more than one occasion. He has been faithful in his integrity as a Believer and in seeking a biblical solution to a great problem among us as Southern Baptists.

Bart Barber is telling the truth. I received the same emails. I read the same emails. He has told you the truth.

You are wrong here. You are wrong to do this. You owe each of these men an apology. You owe the whole SBC an apology for this.

Brother, you have brought matches and gasoline to a well built home, declared it unfit without inspection and condemned it to burn. Why?

Why are you doing this? There is no gain here for the Kingdom's advancement, Wade, none, whatsoever.

cb

Dave Miller said...

I am confused after reading the two resolutions as to why they could not be combined into one.

However, I have been reading Bart's blog for several months, and I am offended at those in this comment stream who have questioned his honesty and character.

I have disagreed with him often. I still do. I am much less supportive of Dr. Patterson than he probably is and we have argued over polity, procedures and other things.

But those of you who question his honesty, integrity or genuine love for Christ are, in this fat preacher's opinion - absolutely wrong!

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

I'm not sure I understand your comment or the concern you allege to have. You can rest assured the author of the series will be identified. I wish to give a profile of his life and am working on it. I have other responsibilities besides blogging and have not been able to complete the profile.

Further, the author will be publishing his work, so you can be assured he would love for you to know who he is so that you can purchase a copy of it. :)

If your comment is intended to marginalize anything written on this blog, it won't work for two reasons. Attempts like yours happen all the time and readership only increases. Further, people who listen to any expositional preaching from me already know I have a very high, conservative view of Scripture. Finally, I can assure you that the readers of this blog are to wise for the intended effect you wish to actually occur.

In His Grace,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

CB,

You are always free to express your opinion on this blog and I respect your freedom to do so, as I do everyone who has commented.

I'm not sure I understand your comment about anybody doing wrong. I think you misunderstand the post and would encourage you to read it again.

The sin is our convention - and churches - exaggerating membership records and boasting about how many people we have as members and the two resolutions that are proposed to correct our collective deception.

The Association of Convictional Baptists' resolution calls on churches to be honest.

Ascol's resolution calls on churches and the denomination to be honest.

Ascol's resolution could have been folded into the former if just a couple of phrases had been added that express repentance over past boasting of our numbers and an encouragement for denominational employees to refrain from using inflated numbers.

These additions were opposed by Dr. Paige Patterson and ultimately Bart Barber and Malcolm Yarnell made the decision not to include the language.

I have accused no person of 'wrongdoing,' or 'sin' (those are your words).

The sin will be all of ours if we ignore the denomination's practice of boasting 16 million members when all of us know that number is millions of people off the actual figure.

As to whether or not I've changed, I'll leave that to the judgment of people who know me. As to your call for an apology, I find it very difficult to apologize for calling our convention to be honest and correct inflated numbers.

Blessings,

Wade

Tom Parker said...

Wade:

These inflated numbers have occured for many years and it hurts the cause of Christ--it goes straight to credibility.

Wade Burleson said...

Bart Barber (Your last comment),

(1). Whether or not Dr. Patterson is in a position to 'insist' is truly a matter of debate, but I do think you for confirming the accuracy of his opposition to the inclusion of the language.

(2). If Mark Dever expressed support for Ascol's resolution last year, then one would logically assume he would be in favor of the addition of the Ascol proposals.

(3). ? I have no idea to that which you refer in a 'phone call to your home,' but if you are concerned that your career may be hindered by some kind of threat from me, let me be quick to assure you that in the circles in which you run, anything I might say negative regarding you (which, by the way, I have no inclination to do) would actually be a recommendation for your ministry. :)

Finally, on a more serious note. You write:

My loyalty in this case is to the biblical precept of regenerate church membership

Amen. So is mine. I commend you and Dr. Yarnell for a well written resolution.

My point, if you reread my post is not what your resolution SAYS - it is what your resolution DOESN'T SAY.

And I believe it was unwise to not craft the language that would add accountability for the denomination and simply point out that it should be changed before th convention to avoid an embarrassing debate on the floor between on why the language was left out.

CB Scott said...

Wade,

Are you aware that Malcolm did ask Tom to join him in this effort to write this resolution last year after San Antonio and Tom refused?

I personally asked Malcolm to do so and he did?

Wade no one has changed the resolution who was involved in the emails; not Bart, not Paige, not Malcolm. No one has altered this resolution to benefit anyone's political agenda. Nothing like that happened.

Wade, it just did not happen.

cb

CB Scott said...

OK, Wade,

Then just present a motion (not a resolution) that all local, autonomous churches who have lied about their membership (and baptisms) repent.

Then the convention will have done all it can to call churches to do the right thing. That is all the convention can do anyway, right?

You have just stated the resolution was well crafted. I take it that means good.

Let the resolution pass without conflict. Pray the motion for repentance does and that all local, autonomous churches who have lied do so.

cb

CB Scott said...

"do so" as in repent, not lie:-)

cb

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

Your post seems to be full of straw men. You take to task the resolution that has been passed by a group of Southern Baptist in Texas. You endorse a resolution that has never been before the state convention in Florida, and has never made it out of committee for the past two years. While you are free to endorse whichever resolution you would desire, it seems the irenic thing to do would be accept the resolution that has made it past a group of Southern Baptist and present it to a larger group of SB.

Also, your historical inaccurate straw man of the 70's and 80's is something you need to go back an re-state. You state;
During the 1970's those in control of the Southern Baptist Convention and her agencies did not like information that caused the convention to be perceived in a negative light. Some were justifiably upset at the lack of transparency and accountability on the denominational level, including the illustration Dr. George gives in his article, regarding the support of abortion rights by the Southern Baptist Convention's Christian Life Commission in the 1970's.
Brother, you need to re-read history. The 70's and 80's were not about a lack of transparency and accountability on the denominational level. The issue that Dr. George references concerns that endorsement of the Christian Life Comission for something that was against Scripture. The issues of the 70's and 80's could have been resolved without any of the Conservative Resurgency coming to light, if the Presidents of the seminaries would have hired Professors that believed in the inerrancy of the Scripture. It was never about transparency. The accountability that was called for was those teaching being accountable to those who paid their salary. The Profs were teaching things that were contrary to what the people in the pew believed.

It seems that you have not only given information that was not complete, thus disparaging some fine men of God, but you are also trying to rewrite history.

Blessings,
Tim

Lindon said...

I am confused. Why the need for a new resolution? Why not just support Ascol's resolution?

I know one calls for admitting past counts and one doesn't.

Mr. Barber, How come you all felt the need to write a new one?

Matt said...

I wonder why the author of the resolution felt the need to restrict discussion of it to a private email exchange. Why not discuss the text on a message board or blog so that people other than the good ole boys and their ilk can participate?

Tom said...

CB:

You wrote:

"Are you aware that Malcolm did ask Tom to join him in this effort to write this resolution last year after San Antonio and Tom refused?

I personally asked Malcolm to do so and he did?"

If what really transpired between Malcolm and me last summer were a virus your first sentence above would be in no danger of catching it.

Everything I know about you tells me you are a stand up guy and straight shooter, so I assume you are merely repeating what you have been told. Before repeating what you have heard on this regard, however, I would encourage you to remember Proverbs 18:17.

Pastor Hilliard said...

Though I agree in general with each resolution, the concern I have is tone and focus. I've found that the term "church discipline" closes doors quite quickly. As well, I find the term "church restoration" opens doors just as fast.

The focus should always be on rescuing wayward brothers and sisters. Giving them support and a friend to fight for them when they struggle with sin (accountability). The whole idea of Matthew 18 is that we are to go into a spiritual "amber alert" mode when a brother or sister in Christ falls into sin, begins to spiritually rebel, struggles with sinful addiction, etc.

We are to do everything in our might to win them. That is the goal. "Discipline" is done because we love them. God the Father disciplines those He loves and He has given His bride the command and authority to discipline her children as well. But she disciplines to restore. The focus is on the restoration, not on the discipline.

If we give the impression that we are just seeking to "clear the rolls" and kick people out of our churches, we won't pass this resolution; and more importantly, we won't win over the churches to actually practice it. We are rescuing. We are restoring. We are going after family members that have come under spiritual attack and are flirting with spiritual rebellion. Do we ever withdraw fellowship completely? Of course. But it is a “tough love” approach. To spare the rod is to hate your child. So the church disciplines because the church loves.

And as we seek to restore these dear professing brothers and sisters in Christ, if we find that they show no evidence of salvation or in some way make it clear they are “unregenerate”, then we must by all means seek to win them to Christ. The weight of the discussion needs to be on restoration/winning and I’m not sure either of these resolutions accomplishes that.

CB Scott said...

Tom,

Are you telling me that Malcolm did not ask you after I talked to you and then later to him to join him?

cb

Tom said...

CB:

Oh, we talked. But your representation of how it went down is not accurate. I will be glad to discuss this with you further privately.

Timmy Brister said...

Matt,

That's a good question. It appears that a whole host of insiders were in on a long string of emails this past week. What is surprising is who was in and who was out of the discussion.

CB Scott said...

Tom,

My number is: 205.787.2704.

I do ask you to call me now if possible. There is another question I need to ask you also and I do think that should be private also.

cb

David said...

NO ONE who doesn't behave himself as if he IS regenerate should attempt to offer ANY resolution dealing with the subject during an annual meeting of the SBC.

This matter may have to wait until another year, when some of the folks who blog here are clearly more conformed to the image of Christ for the eternal sake of the watching public.

If the shoe fits, wear it.

Wade Burleson said...

CB,

You seem not to understand what I am saying:

There was an opportunity to AMEND the resolution by adding a couple of sentences that would enable for there to be just ONE resolution - not TWO. The issue is simple: Why is a resolution on Regenerate Church Membership being offered by the Association of Convictional Baptists, a resolution that is almost EXACTLY like Ascol's, except for denominational accountability and repentance? There were offers to AMEND the resolution by adding Ascol's language in two or three sentences, and articulate reasons for why those sentences should be added were given, particulary by Nathan Finn. A strong denunciation was then given by Dr. Patterson regarding the additional sentences of denominational accountability and corporate repentance, as well as a chastening of those who proposed it. Dr. Patterson's influence seems to me to be one of reasons, if not the singular one, why we have TWO resolutions being offered instead of one.

Finally, for you to say that the separate resolution being offered is NOT political, then please explain why Tom Ascol's resolution, which has been rejected for so many years, is all of the sudden being carried by a new organization?

To understand why we need TWO resolutions you must look at the DIFFERENCES beween the two and ask why those differences could not be bridged. I propose the only difference is the removal of a focus on denominational leadership, accountability and repentance.

Those things should be added.


Blessings,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Lindon,

You ask the million dollar question.

Keep asking it.

And pay attention to the answers.

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Matt,

You and Lindon get the golden apple for the best comments tonight.

Blessings,

Wade

RKSOKC66 said...

The resolution looks OK to me -- at least as far as it goes.

However, it really does not come out and say that churches should "prune their rolls" of those who are not active.

I think the following language -- taken directly from the proposed resolution -- is a little weak:

RESOLVED, That we humbly urge our churches to renew the practice of redemptive church discipline, reviewing their membership rolls and kindling fraternal kinship and accountability among all members of the congregation

Evidently, the "review of the membership rolls" is to be a result of church discipline. There is no mention of removing people from the rolls who can't be located. Presumably a church can't discipline "members" that can't be located.

If one of the purposes of the resolution is to encourage churches to prune their rolls so that only "active" members are included then language should be in the resolution that states this.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

CB Scott said...

Wade,

I do understand what you are saying. That has never been a problem for me.

I just do not understand why you are saying it. I just do not understand why you feel there is such a great need to say it.

I do pray the resolution does pass and this post and comment thread does not hurt it or stop it in any way.

I also will tell you something else I understand; If it were not for grace, we would all go to hell. That is especially true of me, Wade, because I actually see my sin, Wade. I really do.

I ask you to do me one favor, if you will? Let the people who read this blog (and we both know there are many) know it was not me who gave you those emails or any information from those emails. I will be greatly thankful to you if you will, my brother

cb

K. Michael Crowder said...

I think I have devised a plan to help me shrink my roll to the "actives" plus "shut-ins" plus "regenerate backslidden" (whatever that means). As I visit the scattered flock, I give the member who has "forsaken the assembling" either a bill for one filling of hot water in the baptistery (since baptisms are only free to the regenerate) or a "get out of membership free" card. :) So far I can’t garner any support for this idea :)

Debbie Kaufman said...

And some wonder why we can't trust the powers that be. So much for no more behind closed doors. Now there is email. I am once again glad that this is out in the open.

Anonymous said...

Resolutions serve no purpose have no power and tend to be devisive.
Lets make a resolution to do away with them.

Tom Parker said...

There are good intentions for both of these resolutions, but nothing of substance will occur if either one of them is passed. I can only begin to imagine what will happen in churches when even the idea of removing people from the rolls occurs. Where I live being on the rolls is important because it means a free burial plot.

NativeVermonter said...

After 14 years, I changed fellowships about nine months ago. Recently, I received a nice card from my initial fellowship asking about my status and politely saying that my name will be removed from membership status if I planned on not returning. And that’s how it should be; we don’t want to see folks simply drift off into oblivion. At least we’re not talking about yet another alcohol resolution. Maybe this/these resolution(s) might not officially do anything but it has us talking about accountability and integrity of membership, making membership matter once again…and that is a good thing.

John in the STL

RKSOKC66 said...

Evidently there is a perception that one gauge of "regenerate church membership" is the ratio of church membership to actual attendance. Presumably, the higher proportion of attenders to members demonstrates that your church is "regenerate".

Implicit in this idea is that people on your rolls who don't attend regularly are "unregenerate". However, there could be a number of reasons that people don't attend:

1. They are dead.

2. They are attending some other church and have not notified you of their move.

3. They have moved to a distant city / state (i.e. beyond reasonable driving distance) but they didn't request that their membership be terminated.

4. They have become disabled to the point that they can't travel to church. Possibly they are in a care facility.

5. The still live in your town and their health is OK but they have "lost interest" in attending your church.

I don't think that in every case it is true that when people stop attending that they are "ungenerate". Also, I don't think that it is necessarily appropriate that people that don't attend should be "pruned" from your rolls.

Upon reflection I guess it is a good thing that the resolution -- while calling for churches to implement "regenerate membership" -- does not prescribe any type of "membership pruning".

Roger Simpson
OKC

Tom Parker said...

Roger:

I think it is attempting to coome up with a simple solution to a complex problem. The practical application will keep much from being done. With the two resolutions, once again people will choose sides and we do not need any more divisiveness. One side will feel they won and the other side lost.

Anonymous said...

"I just do not understand why you are saying it. I just do not understand why you feel there is such a great need to say it."

Of course you don't. You are one of the 'behind closed doors' guys.

"I also will tell you something else I understand; If it were not for grace, we would all go to hell. That is especially true of me, Wade, because I actually see my sin, Wade. I really do."

That Grace did not come cheap. It is not there to cover for game playing, word games or behind closed door tactics.

"I ask you to do me one favor, if you will? Let the people who read this blog (and we both know there are many) know it was not me who gave you those emails or any information from those emails. I will be greatly thankful to you if you will, my brother"

What or Who are you so scared of? Afraid you will not be invited to the closed door meetings? Afraid you won't be a 'player' in the Patterson loop anymore?

I suggest everyone go over and read the comments at the Founders blog.

Wade Burleson said...

To Everyone:

Per CB's request. CB did not give me the emails circulated among fifty Southern Baptists. CB did not speak with me on the phone. CB has in no form or fashion communicated with me about this issue. Frankly, the last time I recall speaking or communicating with CB, other than comment sections like this one, was at the 2007 Southern Baptist Convention.

Having made that clear, I would hope there will come a day when Southern Baptists don't mind at the free flow of communication when it comes to Southern Baptist Convention CHRISTIAN MINISTRY. There is nothing that needs to be secret about the things of God. If the Association of Convictional Baptists wish a structure of select participation, closed door meetings, and patent secrecy, then they will defeat the very purpose for their organization in terms of ministry, and will reveal themselves to be political in nature.

In His Grace,

Wade

Bill said...

I'll say what I said over at SBC Today. This new resolution is a way of killing Dr. Ascol's resolution without appearing to be against regenerate church membership.

Wade Burleson said...

Bill,

I believe you have taken your quota of Ginzeng for the day.

:)

Lin said...

I'll say what I said over at SBC Today. This new resolution is a way of killing Dr. Ascol's resolution without appearing to be against regenerate church membership.

Thu May 01, 10:11:00 AM 2008

It does appear that way. Especially when one looks at the way it was done.

I was reading the SBC Today comments and the reasons given for why their resolution is better sounds exactly like the reasons congress gives for changing bills so they will pass. Pragmatism over truth?

What is the point? I think bill answered that in his comment above.

Anonymous said...

"Having made that clear, I would hope there will come a day when Southern Baptists don't mind at the free flow of communication when it comes to Southern Baptist Convention CHRISTIAN MINISTRY. There is nothing that needs to be secret about the things of God. If the Association of Convictional Baptists wish a structure of select participation, closed door meetings, and patent secrecy, then they will defeat the very purpose for their organization in terms of ministry, and will reveal themselves to be political in nature."

Wade, this resolution is not the work of an SBC agency. It is the work of people across the convention and they have the freedom to debate this resolution in emails without inviting everyone in the convention to join them. For you to chastise them for this attempt to draft a resolution is rather hypocritical given that you have in the past politicked behind the scenes privately to advance your cause in the convention.

OC Hands said...

One thing that I have observed in reading this blog is how many who post here have the gift of judgment. From one paragraph or two, some are judged as being liberal, fundamentalists, not such as building a larger sanctuary. The pastor was indeed challenged, and proceeded with these plans. But in the midst of his planning, God spoke to him and reminded him of his call and responsibility for evangelism. Chastened, and chagrined, he began a project of contacting every member who had not attended church in several years. First, he wrote a letter to each one, inquiring as to why they had not attended, and what he could do to minister to them. He was amazed at the results, as scores of people responded to his communication with them. Then he began to communicate with people who lived in the vicinity of the church, inviting them to a discussion of the Bible and Christian beliefs. Many responded, and the result was his church began to grow again. Not only that, he led the church to begin several new churches, one of which I was personally involved in starting.
It would seem to me that an encouraging word to the churches would have more of an effect than one which was critical of the manner in which they have reported their membership in the past.
I would suggest a strong challenge to every church to begin a campaign to contact all the members on their rolls to find out where they are, and why they no longer attend the church with an offer to be of service to them. It might actually catch on and have the desired effect of these resolutions.

Rex Ray said...

I must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed because I’ve asked myself why I’ve wasted two hours on deciding which resolution I’d favor. Yea, that’s right, I’m grumpy.

I’ve read briefly the comments, and there are some good ones to my liking that don’t think these resolutions will accomplish much at all…about like playing a game of mumble-peg.

The ACB resolution uses the term “regenerate church” eight times. To me that’s the same as saying ‘regenerate Christian’. A Christian is a Christian and a church is a church.

Both resolutions miss the boat when they say: “Whereas the Baptist Faith and Message states that the Scriptures are ‘the SUPREME STANDARD by which all human conduct, CREEDS, and religious opinions should be tried’ (Article 1)”

Pharisee, Pharisee, no man-made paper is the supreme standard over the Bible! And creeds have no part in Baptist history.

(Webster: A creed is an AUTHORITATIVE formula of religious belief.) Former president of the IMB, Keith Parks, expressed it in layman’s terms: “A confession becomes a creed when others determine the beliefs one is forced to sign.”

This ‘creed business’ is contradictory to the foundation of faith in our belief that: “Confessions are only guides in interpretations, having NO authority over the conscience.”

Those that look upon any BFM as God’s Word, has an idol for God

Wade Burleson said...

Good point Rex about creeds.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

I would accept your explanation if one question could be asked and answered.

Was Tom Ascol given an opportunity to participate in the email dialogue?

If Tom Ascol was involved in the discussion, including receiving all the emails, then I would agree with your assessment. Why? Because Tom is the one who has been pushing this resolution.

To leave Tom out tells me this is not a representative cross-section of the SBC. I have a sneaking suspicion Tom was not included in the discussion, and if not, then 'people from across the convention' were not included. By the way, in reading the list of initial supporters, but for a half dozen easily identifiable people, the rest are affiliated with the Baptist Identity movement.

Tom Parker said...

Wade:

It is sad that people even have to choose between proposals that are basically saying the same thing. surely there was a better way. Once again it is about choosing sides. Why can't we simply work together?

Wade Burleson said...

Tom,

Great question.

That is exactly what I am asking. It would seem to me to be about control and credit.

The powers that be don't want them dang Calvinists involved.

:)

Anonymous said...

basically, it goes back to the "good ol' boy network. In other words any idea ain't worth salt unless it comes from one of the good ol' boys. Once one of them picks it up, then it becomes a great idea.

been see'n this since '79

plum sad to me.

Country boy overseas

Anonymous said...

O.K. This is NOT meant to hurt anyone's feelings, but - WHO CARES?

Of course the subject matter is important and the theology is even more important.

In my opinion, this kind of activity does not move us forward. I actually prefer Ascol's resolution, except for the last paragraph.

But it still doesn't matter, really.

The BFM actually addresses these topics, and we don't need to restate them in a resolution. And we especially don't need to spend a lot of time, in my opinion, debating about competing resolutions.

I would rather hear an excellent sermon at the Pastor's conference from Ascol, Yarnell, Mohler or whomever on these topics. That would have more impact than a resolution anyway. And all of the "plotting" and two-camp intrigue would not distract from what we all agree on.

In other words, despite two well-worded resolutions written by many people whom I deeply respect and admire, I think that the convention has already addressed these issues in the BFM, and it would be more productive for our annual meeting to be forward thinking from gavel to gavel.

An organization that keeps splitting hairs like this, and then arguing about who splits the hairs the best, continues to show a bellicose spirit which is unproductive at best and a huge turn off at worst.

Organizations that spend too much time fighting and/or redefining themselves over and over are usually stuck and not moving forward.

Organizations that are building and moving forward are usually so busy keeping up with new business and new prospects that they don't have time for this sort of minutia.

If this were some major theological controversy that needed to be addressed, I would feel differently.

Again, these are just my feelings.

I plan to be in Indiannapolis, but when this comes up, I hope that I am at a really good restaurant or doing something productive.

Again, I know these men, and think that they are great. This is just not what I am interested in, in the least.

Louis

Belief Matters said...

My preschooler could see that the only reason for this other resolution is to prevent Tom's from having his presented.

Jeff

ml said...

Wade, I am all for accountability and meaningful church membership; but, these documents seem to call merely for church attendance as the corrective to wayward living? Ok we adopt these or one of these, so what? If all we want to do is measure church attendance then we may surely miss the more important heart and character growth that may be completely absent from those who merely attend. I wonder how many of these people left the church because the leaders were not feeding them something of relevance to their lives or were modeling something counter to the gospel? The general reasoning goes something like this: "hmm these people only come 2x's a year; they must not be really committed." Maybe they only come because those are the only times it is only about Jesus? Maybe they only come these two times because they are committed to Jesus and not church schedules? Maybe the resolutions should also call for repentance over bad preaching and teaching so that people are lulled away perhaps to other churches? Or repentance over fighting which has made the integrity of our call to meaningful church membership a farce? Maybe an overweight gluttonous pastor is as much a hindrance to church attendance as a hypocritical deacon who drinks in excess. I think the issue/fault may not always be on the side of the ones who are not showing up at our churches each Sunday. Besides the convention is being run by people who, I suspect, go to church each and every Sunday. The fallacy of these documents is that weekly church worship attendance will not correct what is ailing our convention and is a poor barometer for health? What would they have us discipline? Church attendance? Sin? What sins? Drunkenness? Over-eating? Sharp tongues? Gender terrorism? I for one am tired of going to church; I am eager for us to be the church God has called us to be. And btw I would suggest we need to repent for not doing church enough [daily according to Hebrews 3:12-13 and that doesn’t mean 7 day preaching services] Let's do away with the clinging to Baptist Dis[stink]tives and other traditions as our mantra and let's get back to reaching a lost world not to be Baptist but to be Christ-ians and teaching them [chiefly through our own life examples] to obey everything Jesus has commanded us--especially in unity around the gospel, humility in dealing with each other, grace and mutual submission, and love for each other [John 13, 15-17]. After all, according to Paul, it is God's kindness that leads us to repentance not the threat of his discipline. Sorry for venting.

Lin said...

"Organizations that are building and moving forward are usually so busy keeping up with new business and new prospects that they don't have time for this sort of minutia."

Louis, since I know a bit about 'organizations' moving 'forward' from my career, let me say that one should never ignore the symptoms of cancer in any organization.

We can paper over a cancer and pretend it does not exist. But the cancer grows while the organization is 'moving forward'.

That is exactly what Enron and MCI did. A lot of senior people ignored the cancer. They even knew the root cause of the cancer. Some were the cause of the cancer.

There are several ways to deal with cancer in an organization:

1. Treat it immediately
2. Surgically cut it out
3. Ignore it

The problem is that many like you do not think the SBC has cancer. It does.

The resolution may not be that big of a deal to you because it is not binding but the tactics and behaviors of those who created the second resolution is one of the symptoms that there is cancer in the SBC. There has been quite a bit of evidence over the years that there are manynother cancer symptoms that have been ignored.

What was the Clinton mantra during the Lewinsky scandal...Let's move forward?

Anonymous said...

Lin:

I agree that problems in organizations should not be ignored.

But how to act depends on the type of problem and a host of issues.

The ability to distinguish between the nature and significance of the problem requires judgment. Otherwise, as I have said, one goes around addressing problems, each of which appear equally important.

So what is the worst thing that can happen here? The second resolution passes and Ascol's does not. So what? They are both good statements, so I am not bothered by either.

I, also, am not worried that one side will win over the other side. Even if I accept a face value, for the sake of argument, that the proponents of the second resolution are bad people and have too much influence, it doesn't matter. The fact that their resolution passed doesn't give them anything. The will have no more power than they have today. The convention will have simply seen that their resolution was better than the other.

Are you going to Indy? If so, you are welcome to join me and my friends at the restaurant when this piece of business comes up.

Louis

Lin said...

Sorry Louis,

Whatever the ends may be, it still never justifies the means. I have serious concerns about lack of intergrity displayed in many other situations besides this one.

The way in which this whole NEW resolution was 'approached' and implemented suggests deception and political tactics. I do not think that is a small thing to be dismissed in Christian leadership. It is a cancer that will be emulated by too many young impressionable followers.

I fear you may admire these tactics. Perhaps it is admirable in the secular world but there is no room for it within the Body of Christ.

Blessings

traveller said...

Of course, if the convention no longer asked for any numbers from SBC affiliated churches there would be no need for either of these resolutions.....but then the SBC would have no basis for bragging about being the largest Protestant denomination in North America.

Only institutions and organizations focus on things such as numbers instead of the actual people the numbers represent. I would prefer to leave the counting to the Father.

To me, that is the saddest aspect of this situation.

Anonymous said...

Lin:

I neither admire, nor don't admire any actions or tactics discussed regarding these resolutions.

I don't CARE that much about it.

But I understand that you do, and why you do.

Traveller, while there probably is some legitimate reason for the stats, you are getting really 'warm' in your assessment.

I guess you can go to dinner with me and my friends instead of Lin when the vote on this comes up.

Louis

Lin said...

Maybe I can come to dinner after all since I do agree with Travellor up to a point. :o)

Actually, I would like to see a motion to stop counting all together... After a resolution to repent of the sins of inflating the numbers and affirming regenerate membership.

Then, we would not be insulted with headlines such as: 16 million Baptists are represented by: fill in the blank.

Of course Louis is buying, right?

Is there a Ruth Chris in Indy? ;O)

traveller said...

Since I frequently have a meal with Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists, I suppose it would be acceptable to have a meal with another Southern Baptist that I might not agree with on everything. :-)

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
I’m sorry I was mistaken, when I read “Scriptures are the supreme standard by which all human conduct…” I thought it was saying the BFM was the supreme standard… I was thinking it was repeating our SS material: “The 2000 statement of the BFM is our doctrinal guideline.” Guess I’m getting gun shy.

Glad you agree about creeds.

Belief Matters said...

Rex, I believe in the Bible, but to make little of the BF and M just doesn't make sense. In fact it is part of our history. Confession's of faith have been used for a standard on which groups can say this is generally what we believe. This is why I am for the BF and M as our doctrinal guidelines, and why I think every missionary ought to sign it.

Chris Harbin said...

Belief Matters,
The way we are now using the BF&M, however, is a great departure from the way they have been used in the past. Rather than general agreement, it is an "instrument of doctrinal accountability." This is no longer a general statement, but something we may not argue with.

Do you agree that Adam is responsible for your sinful deeds? Am I not at fault for my own complicity? That is one distinction between the 1963 and 2000.

Belief Matters said...

Chris, I do not want to sound mean, but the bottom line is that until the SBC directs otherwise the IMB is within their power to request all missionaries to sign the BFM.

The answer to your questions is yes.

Chris Harbin said...

Belief Matters,

Yes, they are within their right, whether or not I believe it prudent.

Do you then preach that Christ died for the guilt of Adam, instead of our own?

Belief Matters said...

Chris, Christ died for all who have and will believe.

Chris Harbin said...

Belief Matters,

Agreed, but while Christ died for believers, what do you do with the Bible's statements that Jesus died because of sin? Is this just about Adam's guilt?

othoniel a valdes sr said...

If I get to go to the SBC I plan to vote against both resolutions
and all others because resolutions are not binding, and usually devisive maybe one day we will no longer have them .

Rex Ray said...

Belief Matters,
You said, “I am for the BFM as our doctrinal guidelines, and why I think every missionary ought to sign it.”

My Webster does not have ‘guideline’ but it has ‘guide’: “To regulate and manage; direct; order; govern; hence to superintend the training of; instruct. Guide implies intimate knowledge…to keep those that follow in order and control.”

Therefore, the GUIDELINE has replaced the Bible in importance.
It tells how to believe the Bible. It tells women cannot be pastors etc.

If it has the right to tell how to believe one Scripture, it has the right to tell how to believe every Scripture.

I hope those who signed the BFM won’t be as remorseful as Thomas Cranmer. He was martyred after he recanted for signing a creed. He held his signature hand closer to the fire so it burned first.

Legalistic authority had dictated new doctrine like leaders today…nitpicking over controversial doctrine.
No wonder Jesus said, “…beware of teachers of religion.” (Mark 12:38)

Whose influence besides the devil’s has drowned witches, burned Christians, fired missionaries, and all in the name of God?

Why would anyone chose death or be fired over a piece of paper? On the other hand, why not die for truth…Jesus did.

Michael said...

Wade I would love to have the opportunity to read the email exchange! Any hope for that?