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

A Tale of Two Churches and Their Leadership

A recent post on Baptist Life caught my attention. It seems that Julie Pennington-Russell, pastor of First Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia, wrote in the January 23, 2009 FBC newsletter about a meeting she had with denominational leadership of the Georgia Baptist Convention. It seems that the Southern Baptists of Georgia passed a motion at last year's convention that the Convention would not receive money from First Baptist Church, Decatur because Julie is a woman, and she is the lead pastor. The good people of the Georgia Baptist Convention did not deem it worthy to communicate with the pastor or people of FBC, Decatur their intentions before taking last year's action. Possibly having learned their lesson, three Georgia Baptist Convention denominational officials met with Julie Pennington-Russell last week to inform her and the leadership of FBC Decatur that more than likely the church would be "disfellowshipped" from the Georgia Baptist Convention at next year's annual meeting. The denominational leaders present at this meeting were Robert White, Executive Director of the Georgia Baptist Convention; Danny Watters from the GBC Church-Minister Relations office; Gerald Harris, Editor of the Georgia Baptist Index; I will let Julie's words in her newsletter article describe her reaction to this information that she received from the three Georgia Baptist Convention leaders:

(I posed a question to them) that’s been puzzling me since November. “What’s the difference,” I asked, “between the GBC’s decision not to receive our money and a formal ‘withdrawal of fellowship’ from our church?” The response was a watershed moment for me. They replied: “As it stands now, even though we won’t accept your money, FBC Decatur is eligible to receive help from the Georgia Baptist Convention. We can still provide materials and services for your church such as the training of Sunday School or Vacation Bible School leaders, or help with evangelism and things like that. If we withdraw fellowship then you wouldn’t be eligible to receive those services.”

Not sure I’d heard correctly, I pressed a little. “Do you mean that if I called you up one day and said – ‘The Spirit is doing something amazing at First Baptist Decatur! Waves of men, women and teenagers are responding to God and are being baptized and we could use some additional help in giving them a good foundation. Could you send a team over to meet with our folks?” – are you telling me that the GBC wouldn’t want to help us with that?” To his credit, Robert rushed to assure me that he would be willing to come over and help us “personally – just not as a representative of the GBC.”

When I read Julie's article two quick things came to my mind:

(1). Robert White, the Executive Director of the GBC, ought to at least consider resigning if the Georgia Baptist Convention, the Convention that he leads, votes to disfellowship from FBC, Decatur. Why should he consider resigning if this happens? Simply because his own conscience would be violated. Any Executive Director of who lives by principle, and would personally assist a Southern Baptist Church in need would, for principles sake, seek to stop, speak out against, or work to prevent a motion to disfellowship from that self-same church. Dr. White's admission that he himself would personally assist FBC Decatur in their time of need is commendable. If he doesn't live out his personal principles as he leads the Georgia Baptist Convention then he is drawing a salary for convenience's sake and not one based on integrity. Since I am sure Dr. White is a person of integrity, his resignation if this motion to disfellowship is passed would cause Southern Baptists to admire his courage of conviction and might possibly knock some sense in all of us.

(2). Denominational leaders expressing "concern" over what some in the Convention think about sister Southern Baptist churches, to the point of allowing a motion to "disfellowship" from those sister churches, is a very dangerous precedent that leads to an even more slippery slope. Where will it stop? What if some of us are "concerned" about other churches in the Southern Baptist Convention that have "male" leadership? Do our denominational leaders bear a responsiblity to step in to help churches facing financial issues, problems that may force banks to foreclose on those churches? What if those problems are due to "poor" leadership of the male lead pastor? Do our Baptist Conventions have the duty to "disfellowship" or "discipline" those churches that allow autocratic, authoritarian male pastors to run amock, causing all kinds of problems in the church? Are we genuinely concerned about our churches, or are we playing gender games?

The Bizarre Nature of SBC Disfellowship

I do not know Julie Pennington-Russell. I have never met her. But, before I wrote this post I spent a couple of hours getting to know her. I read this Atlanta Magazine Article about her. I listened to two of her sermons. I read where one conservative pastor said Julie handled "the attention and displeasure with grace and aplomb. I scanned the last six newsletters of First Baptist Church, Decatur, and learned several things about FBC under Julie's leadership.

(1). Many are coming to faith in Christ at FBC Decatur, even choosing to write their testimonies of faith in Christ on the church's website for all to see. The testimonies of those whose lives have been delivered from various addictions are quite gripping.

(2). First Baptist Church, Decatur's financial giving increased by three percent in 2008 over 2007, even though the last quarter of 2008 was one of the worst economic quarters in last 70 years.

(3). I read where a member of FBC Decatur, a man who has been a part of FBC for over five decades, said, "I have never been more excited about being involved in a congregation. More than 60 members joined last year. While most churches inside the Atlanta perimeter are struggling, new converts are being baptized and people are giving generously to support innovative ministries to reach out into this diverse community at FBC Decatur."

(4). The two sermons I listened to by Julie Pennington-Russell were expositional in nature, illustrative in narrative, and delivered succinctly, warmly and with a genuine desire for listeners to be transformed by Jesus. It was as conservative a message doctrinally as I have heard, and frankly, far less serendipitous and shallow as I have heard from some of her male Southern Baptist counterparts. It was refreshing to actually hear the Bible being taught.

(5). By all measures, missional, evangelical, financial, and biblical, FBC Decatur is a church worthy of our fellowship. Regardless of your feelings on the "lead" pastor being a female, you and I are not members of the church, and nobody is forcing us to be members. We are simply called to fellowship.

The idea that the Executive Director of Georgia could personally be involved with FBC Decatur in terms of fellowship, but NOT as a representative of the Georgia Baptist Convention, makes me wonder if somehow, someway, we Southern Baptists have forgotten that the Convention is composed of PERSONS, the root word of personally, personhood, etc . . . I would like to know one reason why, though we may disagree with a church calling a woman "lead" pastor, we should formally disfellowship from such a church? I may be concerned for that a church, but why disfellowship? What if I have concerns for a church pastored by a male who may be exhibiting decisions or character that don't reflect "the biblical qualifications" for a pastor? Will the Convention listen to my concerns and go warn that pastor that "some" in the Convention might make a formal motion we disfellowship from the church he pastors? What if that church is being run into the ground financially, will the Convention see fit to "disfellowship" from that church?

Let me illustrate the inconsistencies that arise when Georgia Southern Baptists make it known they wish to "disfellowship" from FBC Decatur.

(Update: Edited, January 29, 2009). In the original post I gave an illustration of a Southern Baptist Church that is pastored by a man that has displayed to me personally, and to others that have served on his staff, character qualities that are opposite of those qualities that qualify a man to be pastor. For example, anger instead of gentleness (patience), selfishishness instead of self-control, finanicial chaos instead of managing financial affairs well, etc . . . My reason for comparing this pastor with Julie Pennington-Russell was simple: Why would the Southern Baptist Convention move to disfellowship a church who called a pastor that didn't meet one of the qualifications of pastor as some interpret it (maleness), while we do nothing about disfellowshipping from a church that has called a pastor that doesn't meet other much clearer qualities of a pastor as listed in I Timothy 3:1-9? Let's not be so inconsistent. Let's either meddle in the affairs of EVERY church that has a pastor that is not qualified (in our minds) and "disfellowship" every church that calls a pastor unqualified (biblically) to pastor, or let's not meddle AT ALL as a Convention. My argument is the latter. Our Southern Baptist Convention should let autonomous churches call whom they desire as pastor, to refrain from making "moral" judgments as to the worthiness of the pastor, and to help churches and pastors in their time of need. The Georgia Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention should NOT disfellowship from First Baptist Church, Decatur.

Nor should our Southern Baptist Convention or the Arkansas Baptist Convention "disfellowship" from the other Southern Baptist Church I specifically mentioned as well. In fact, we should help. I had called the pastor of the struggling SBC church before I posted the original post and left a detailed message of what I would be writing about his leadership and church troubles. He returned my call today. He said that my assessment of his ministry was judgmental. I countered that I, too, had personal experiences with him under his leadership, which only confirmed what his former staff members told me about his biblical pastoral qualifications, or lack thereof, so I wrote with firsthand knowledge, not second hand. But my point was not to emphasis his unworthiness as a pastor (though I stand by my assessment of his lack of biblical qualifications in at least three areas), but to reveal the fallacy of people (including me) attempting from "disfellowshipping" from churches by making "judgments" about the worthiness of that autonomous church's pastor. The pastor was quiet, and he seemed to genuinely reflect on my words. He expressed that times were tough, and the factors involved in his church being in financial shambles had more to do with the economic environment and the broken promises of people who owed the church money more than it did his lack of qualifications to pastor the church. I told him that I accepted his explanation, but the point of my post stands. I am trying to get Conventions to "stop" judging churches about they call as pastor. If you open the door of "disfellowship" on so-called "biblical qualifications" of a pastor, then you better be prepared to disfellowship a ton of churches in the SBC. The better solution is to let each autonomous church determine if the church's pastor is qualified. That is Baptist autonomy.

We also should do all we can to help our sister Southern Baptist churches instead of publicly humiliating them. Our church currently has a fiscal year surplus. We have received more dollars in receipts than what we have budgeted. I told the pastor of the church that I wrote about that if his church was about to be in default on their bank loan this month, to let me know, and I would take the need of his church before our Finance Commitee and church body to see what we could do to help them make one of the church's $33,000 payments. I don't have the authority to pass such a motion, but I would do my part to help our church see the importance of helping our sister church who is struggling.

In the coming months, you will hear how our church will be helping FBC Decatur and Pastor Julie Pennington-Russell as well.

I refuse to be silent while the Southern Baptist ship is sinking, and for heaven's sake, I need others in the SBC to help right it.

In His Grace and Truth,

Wade Burleson


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Anonymous said...

Wtreat here

Brother Mike, KMC

I have tried not to speak to you here but bro. I think the "chick" phrase is way out of line.

Every woman I know, even biker babes who have never darkened a church door are offended at this phrase. It really is offensive, even to me. If you called my wife “chick” I would turn redneck on you until your manners improved. 

About the Word of God….Truth is that almost every preacher is only a mouthpiece for his professors or his dad or his childhood teachings. Very few have the ability to objectively do research on this subject without forgone conclusions.

Also, aren’t we adding to scripture when we say a woman pastor is a sin?

come'on, lighten up.


you said

"My point is simply that born again, Bible-believing scholars have combed through the Greek and come down on different sides of the issue"

I think this is one of the smartest think said so far on the post.

It is His Service

Anonymous said...

Some questions, which I do not expect to be answered:

Are women human? Are they created in the image of God? If you answer yes to these two you can disregard the rest of the questions.

Was Jesus wrong to send a woman to be the first to proclaim His resurrection? If you had been a male disciple would you have believed her? (Remember, in that culture women were not accepted as witnesses in court.)

Do you believe God does not call women to do certain things? If so, what are they? Is such an attitude an attempt to limit God? (Is the latter possible?)

Which of these do you think women should not do? In each case, why?

In churches:
Tell people about Jesus? (If only certain situations or people - other women, children, etc. - explain.)
Be a "senior pastor"?
Be a "junior pastor"? (If there are senior pastors, I suppose there are also junior pastors.)
Teach Sunday School/Bible study? (any restrictions as to whom)
Lead congregational singing, or a musical group?
Pray aloud in public? (If so, should she cover her head or have long hair while doing so?)
Be a chaplain? If in some places but not others, specify.

And the secular:
Lead a business?
Supervise men at work?
Teach males? (if age is a consideration, specify)
Hold public office? (If some but not others, specify)
Follow certain professions? If so, which?

It took a war for many early Southern Baptists to learn slavery was wrong. And many years after that before those previously enslaved were recognized as fellow human beings. I don't know what, if anything, will bring about Southern Baptist recognition of the full humanity of women. Of course, since I am a woman, I guess my opinion doesn't matter.


Anonymous said...

I forgot to ask about women deacons in my previous comment. So many different things that those who place restrictions choose between: Women can do this, but not that, and some things maybe in these circumstances. It can get mind-boggling, unless one simplifies it to all or nothing.


Charles Page said...


Would a church that believes redemption is particular without a free offer to all be disfellowshiped?

Kevin M. Crowder said...


You are not the first person to call me a chick magnet. It is rough sometimes the titles we must bear. :))


My friend and brother in Christ. In my culture, the word chick is not offensive; it is liken to a high five with a comedic flair. But I doubt I stick with it. I coined it today and out of shear stubbornness and rebellion I have refused to let it go. If I do let it go after today it will not be because you (no offence) or others were offended, but rather because the more I say it the more I think it might be a good title for a Jerry Springer show. :)

You say: "Also, aren’t we adding to scripture when we say a woman pastor is a sin?"

That my friend is the indirect crux of the entire thread. The question is though, does the Bible prohibit women to become pastors.

A friend of mine and fellow Religion major at Missouri Baptist University will be embarking upon a purely exegetical study of the passages of Scripture which would shed light on the answer to that question. (She is a chick btw) And when we are finished I/We will summarize our findings and post them on our (or at least my) blog. I am interested in really getting to the bottom of this as a pastor and leader. She is interested to help her with the scope of her own calling. She is also better at Greek than I. I do make one pledge--and that is that our findings through study and prayer will officially reflect my new and more informed theological position.

So, consider me "lightened up"

And as always thanks for the opportunity to converse.


Wade Burleson said...


It shouldn't be.

That's the church's business.

Charles Page said...


My inquiry is much more important than the issue of women pastors! Please give me an answer please.

You are dealing with secondary unimportant issues. My question strikes at the core of what the church is all about.

If we are not preaching the gospel, which I don't think most SBC churches are doing, then it don't matter whether a woman or a gay is pastoring. God won't recognize us anyway.

If we are preaching the gospel these ridiculous secondary issues will resolve themselves. God will see to it!

If we don't preach the gospel then God leaves us to endless pointless discussions that go over 200!

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Charles Page,

I am not sure if your topic is open to all, but could you explain what YOU mean by "free offer?"

I believe in a universal call to all, but I do NOT believe in universal grace, nor do I believe in the universal efficacy of the atonement.

That being said, my presentation of the Gospel will not reflect these aspects of my theology. Presenting the Gospel according to Scripture should look the same coming from a Calvinist or an Arminian. We can all believe in the sovereignty of God and let the Spirit be the Spirit.


WatchingHISstory said...


You would be a hypo-Calvinist, which is not really a Calvinist at all but a variation of Arminianism.

Hypothetical universal atonement.

IMO, respectively, you are wrong when you say "Presenting the Gospel according to Scripture should look the same coming from a Calvinist or an Arminian." The presentation is worlds apart. Now there are a lot of so called Calvinist who would agree with you.
Limited atonment is limited atonment.

We cannot all believe in the sovereignty of God and let the Spirit be the Spirit. We have to believe in a monergistic or a synergistic salvation. we can't have it both ways.

Rex Ray said...

You asked Joe Blackman questions that you thought “cross the line of propriety, and frankly, I have no right to ask them of you in a public forum.”

I’ll ask you and others what they think if a pastor started the service by going through the congregation, putting a mike in people’s faces, and asking them three questions: “Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen? Have you ever had impure thoughts?”

Then, in the pulpit with a laugh, saying, “Well, I see we’re all a bunch of liars, thieves, and adulters.”

Elisabeth said...

I am one who believes women should be able to be pastors.

But, believe it or not, I am with Kevin on one thing. Like with his culture, in my culture the word "chick" is not offensive - it's comedic. I did smile when I read "chick pastor."

Yet, I do know a lot of women consider the word "chick" to be demeaning and offensive.

Kevin M. Crowder said...


Call me what you will but your titles mean little to me. I absolutely affirm the Doctrines of Grace. A lost person is saved by grace, not the Doctrines of Grace. God will impart that grace to those whom he has foreordained to be called the sons of God. I will preach the Gospel of God concerning his Son to all whom He places in my path. The call is to all men. "Many are called.." But sin will keep all whose eyes have not been opened from making choice by faith, for they do not possess faith, not nor the desire or ability to seek God.

You agree with more people than you realize, I would urge you to tone down your ministry of rhetoric, labels, titles, and pigeonholing and allow the Spirit let you share Jesus. Your zeal for our Brother John Calvin is wonderful. But let us not let Calvin get in the way of Jesus.



Anonymous said...


So you don't like women?

Anonymous said...

Proverbs 24:17-18
Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice,
[18] or the Lord will see and disapprove
and turn his wrath away from him. [NIV]

Stephen Pruett said...


I remember BMT, and it was considerably more than a slogan. There were relatively detailed plans and goals for increased numbers of missionaries etc that projected to year 2000 would have seen every people group on earth reached for Christ. It was ambitious but not impossible. I agree with Tom that there was a sense of real excitement about the prospect of such an important goal. Obviously, the CR leaders believed it was more important to focus inwardly on theological conformity. Do you know the evangelism statistics for the CBF? I don't, but I do know the post-CR SBC isn't doing so well. It's not doing as well the pre-CR SBC, as far as I can determine. Only this time there are no liberals behind every tree on which to blame poor performance. The leaders of the resurgence love the word accountability. Well, it seems to me that when a particular group consolidates power and holds all of it, they are accountable when things don't go so well. Strangely, I have only ever heard them express interest in holding others accountable, not themselves. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Thieves need to be thrown out of the temple.

Anonymous said...

"Are women human? Are they created in the image of God? If you answer yes to these two you can disregard the rest of the questions."

Susie, Actually, Bruce Ware at SBTS teaches that women are not made in the 'direct' image of God but are a 'derivative'. They are made in the 'indirect' image of God.

I wish I had a link for you but I heard it with my own ears. Chilling, huh?


Anonymous said...

Yet, I do know a lot of women consider the word "chick" to be demeaning and offensive.

Tue Jan 27, 11:51:00 PM 2009

Not me. I would love to be a spring chick again. :o)


BTW: Crowder, you need a wife. You are not getting younger.

Native Arkansan said...

Please give me an answer please.

I hate seein' a grown man beg.

Native Arkansan said...

Crowder, you need a wife.

Not without a seerius attitude adjus'ment he don't.

Native Arkansan said...

I wish I had a link for you but I heard it with my own ears. Chilling, huh?

Maybe this?


Rex Ray said...

Native Arkansan gave the link to Bruce Ware ten statements listed below.

I’ve given them a ‘look’ from a different direction.

1. The order of creation, with the man created first, indicates God’s design of male headship in the male/female relationship (Gen 2; 1 Tim 2:13).

How many times in the Bible did God choose the youngest to be the leader?

2. The means of the woman’s creation as “out of” or “from” the man bears testimony also to the headship of the male in the relationship (Gen 2:23; 1 Cor 11:8).

Woman was not made from a ‘toe bone’ or a ‘head bone’, but from a rib representing the equal and partnership of man and woman.
3. While both man and woman are fully the image of God (Gen 1:26-28), yet the woman’s humanity as “image of God” is established as she comes from the man. Adam names her “isha” (woman) because she was “taken out of ish (man)” (Gen 2:23; cf. 5:3).
Man was made from dirt. Woman was made from ‘refined’ dirt.
God realized Adam needed help bad.

5. Man (not woman) was given God’s moral commandment in the garden; and woman learned God’s moral command from the man (Gen 2:16-17).

An example of the pupil getting ahead of the teacher.

6. Man named the woman both before and after the entrance of sin (Gen 2:19-20, 23; 3:20).

“The two are united into one. (Gen 2:24 NLT) “She would be the mother of all who live.” (Gen 3:20 NLT) Important huh?

7. Satan approached the woman (not the man) in the temptation, usurping God’s design of male-headship (Gen 3; 1 Tim 2:14).

As an airplane drops a bomb on a tank and not a foot soldier, the devil knew in winning the strongest; the weakest would follow like a puppy dog.

8. Although the woman sinned first, God comes to the man first, holding him (not her) primarily responsible for their sin (Gen 3:8-9; Rom 5:12-19; 1 Cor 15:22).

Eve was fooled to sin, but Adam was not fooled but did in rebellion. Adam claimed it was God and Eve’s fault, but God did not buy his excuses. So why would God agree with Paul saying, “It was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result.” (1 Timothy 2:14 NLT)

9. The curses on the man and woman indicate the fundamental purposes for which each was created, respectively (Gen 3:16-19).

God did not curse Adam and Eve, but only the serpent and the soil. God would use the offspring of Eve (Jesus…without man’s help) to strike the devil’s head, while the devil “will strike at his heel.” (Gen 3:15 Living Bible)
What a wonderful reward for Eve! Poor old adam would sweat to master the soil till his dying day.

10. The Trinity’s equality and distinction of Persons is mirrored in male-female equality and distinction (1 Cor 11:3).

Why does Paul write “…neither male nor female…” In some parts of the world, women love following their husbands—land mines.

WatchingHISstory said...


You seem to be a Wesleyan. God imparts a grace that enables a sinner to exercise faith and make a choice. You could also be a SB.

I was raised a Wesleyan and the Holy Spirit led me out of that!

My zeal comes from a vision I had from God. I have not read any of Calvins works but it does seem that we both share the same zeal.

Karen in OK said...

While so many are bothered by "chick", am I the only one bothered by Wtreat's assertion that "almost every preacher is ONLY a mouthpiece" for a list of things that do not include being led by the Spirit of God?
Wtreat, is it a safe assumption on my part that you see yourself as one of the "very few" who have the ability to be objective?

WatchingHISstory said...

"I would urge you to tone down your ministry of rhetoric, labels, titles, and pigeonholing and allow the Spirit let you share Jesus."

Funny, over 200 comments about women pastors and "chicks" and I should be sharing Jesus. I would imagine that even Jesus is laughing at that!

Actually He may be angry! His laughter is a mocking laughter.

Rex Ray said...

Pride goes before a fall.

Kevin M. Crowder said...


Either you have not a clue as to the prevenient grace teachings of Wesley or your understanding of the Doctrines of Grace are so off base...or both.

I am gonna guess both. Please if you will, refrain from replying to my comments because I cannot figure out whether or not you are double-tongued, or whether it is a serious learning disability which makes you type what you type.

God Bless,



WTREAT is really a good guy. He is the only person on here I met in person. I was not offended by his comment.

Doug said...

As a fellow SBC pastor (Alabama) I have been with you every step of the way in prayer. I attempt to take a similiar stand here in Alabama and your posts have encouraged and informed me. You may not know it, but you are raising an "army" of all ages and both genders who are saying "enough is enough". God bless you! Keep up the good work!


Anonymous said...

Dear Kevin,

You wrote this, 'My list of disfellowships earlier started out as a serious attempt until I realized I was the only one left standing.'

I'm so glad that you went admitted this. There is no one that can atand up to our expectations completely in THIS WORLD.
And that's okay. We are not here to 'please' each other by conforming. We are here to encourage one another in the love of Christ. ENCOURAGEMENT: to lend support, to give help, to pray for, to aid, to give of ourselves for their sake, to love, and to do it IN HIS NAME.

You did, and do, mean to be offensive to women. But I think that you have no idea in THIS WORLD, of the damage it does to you, to them, and to others who might follow your example.
Kevin, if you had any idea at all, I know you would not have done it, nor would you continue to do it.

You need to step out of your circle and visit another way to learn what you never had a chance to learn. If I am right, you will not be able to go back into that little circle, once your vision has grown. Be a seeker. At least, Kevin, make an effort to try to understand.

We love you, Kevin.


Kevin M. Crowder said...

Severely Injured Chick,

You had me until this:

"You did, and do, mean to be offensive to women."

I now feel less sorry for you. I am not your problem.

But thanks for the attempt at caring.


Anonymous said...

I have just seen this post and that there are 228 comments, probably by the same people saying the same things that we all have said about this issue.

So, I will not add to the stack.

I do have a few questions. I am so late to this that I will be surprised if they get answered, and that's no one's fault but my own for being out of touch for a couple of days. Here are my questions/points:

1. I have no problem if a state convention, the SBC, or an association wants to impose standards for membership or fellowship. I am not sure about Georgia, but if that state has said that the pastors of churches should be males, they have the right to do that. But that sort of thing should be done with notice and clear discussion and deliberation.

2. Wasn't there another woman pastor in Decatur, GA in another era who came from a church in Memphis that had been removed from the Memphis association, Nancy Sehesed (sp?). Whatever happened to her?

3. I am interested in hearing about the woman's and the church's theological perspective. My grandmother lived in Decatur, GA, and I went to that church a couple of times about 25 years ago. It was a fairly liberal church. Has it changed? Is that church a CBF church? I would find the answers to some of these questions interesting.

4. Certainly, one can hold to the idea of women being qualified to pastor and be conservative (the pentecostals, charismatics and Nazarenes have done this for 100 years). In the Baptist context, that has been more of a rarity. I am not aware of a formal or informal association of women pastors in Baptist churches. It would be interesting to see how many would have a high view of scripture.

5. Hatley and the church he pastors, Immanuel Baptist in Little Rock, is not relevant, and bringing it up, in my opinion, weakens Wade's point since he has such a rocky relationship with Hatley.

6. Also, I had heard that Wade had (maybe within the last couple of years) met or dialogued with the pulpit, pastor search or some other such committee at Immanuel Baptist. It is possible that I may have that wrong. However, if that's true, it's another reason not to bring that church into this.

7. There are going to be, and there are, lots of churches that are hurting in this financial crisis - for lots of different reasons.


Tom Parker said...


You said--"It would be interesting to see how many would have a high view of scripture."

Would you please elaborate further?

Anonymous said...


High view of scripture - you know, BFM, Chicago Statement on Inerrancy etc.

Surely, we have dialogued long enough on this blog for you to know what I mean.

The view of Scripture that would be held by men and women on the most recent BFM committee, such as Adrian Rogers (RIP), Max Barnett, Rudy Hernandez (RIP), Chuck Kelley, Richard Land, Fred Luter, Al Mohler, Roger Spradlin, Simon Tsoi and Jerry Vines etc.

As opposed to the view of scripture held by some on the faculties of the Schools of Religion or Divinity Schools supported by the CBF, such as Baptist Seminary at Richmond, Mercer, Duke, Wake Forest, Texas Christian(?) etc.

Does that help you understand?


Anonymous said...

"You did, and do, mean to be offensive to women."


I believe you made it a point to use the phrase which is VERY OFFENSIVE to women and then refused to apologize.
This is something that you own.

So, in saying that you meant to be offensive, was I not telling truth?
In your saying that you would never apologize, were you not telling truth?

Kevin, you DO know that saying that was offensive? Maybe not.
That was the point of what I wrote.
That there is hope for you to see this differently.

EXTREMELY LIMPING AND WINGED 'CHICK' who still cares about what happens to you.

Anonymous said...

Baptist Women in Ministry

Rex Ray said...

Tom Parker,
You asked Louis to elaborate on his “high view of scripture”.

He replied, “You know, BFM, Chicago Statement on Inerrancy etc.”

I’ve asked him to explain “illusions” in the Bible as stated in the Chicago Statement, but he has trouble answering.

Maybe he’ll try harder if you ask him.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Limping Fried Chick[en] Wing:

You may email me privately and disclose your identity or you may be silent!


Anonymous said...

peep, peep, PEEP

Tom Parker said...


You say--"The view of Scripture that would be held by men and women on the most recent BFM committee, such as Adrian Rogers (RIP), Max Barnett, Rudy Hernandez (RIP), Chuck Kelley, Richard Land, Fred Luter, Al Mohler, Roger Spradlin, Simon Tsoi and Jerry Vines etc."

Where are the women in this list?

And yes, I admit to being very slow in comprehension and must ask again sometimes about things.

Anonymous said...


I am so disappointed. I thought you knew there were women on that committee. Those women just had a high view of scripture.

You can go to the SBC website. The committee members are listed there for you, including the women. That's why I said "etc." in my listing.

I listed a few of the people, almost all of whom I have met or known. I did not know the others, so I did not list them.

Rex Ray:

I answered your questions about my understanding of the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy. You had several questions about it. I hope that I helped you, but fear that I did not.

If you have further questions about what that committee met and my answers don't satisfy you, you might be able to correspond with some of the committee members. I think several of them are still living.

I am still waiting for you to tell me what the "moderate recipe for understanding the Bible" is.

You mentioned that recipe several times in our last exchange and implied how great it was. But you never got around to telling me the recipe.

Is is your recipe?

Is it something that this posted somewhere else or that someone else has described?

Is it a secret?

Are you embarrassed to say what it is?

Why not tell me what it is?

I would be glad to read it and give you my thoughts.

If I am never going to hear what it is because its for moderates only (passed on orally, like the secrets of a medieval guild) or you are sworn to secrecy, I'll understand.


B Nettles said...

Yes, Tom is my brother.

Thanks for a little insight into the "non-blog" you. Frankly, I agree with your friend. I, too, have quite a sarcastic streak, but have learned to keep it toned down in public forums. That's why we have close friends: so that we can get our sarcasm vented to someone who already knows who we are and aren't going to base first opinions on that sarcasm.

Keep up the logic. It makes everyone think. One of my favorite quotes comes from a scientist, A. D. Ritchie: "I disagree with most of his views, but had I agreed more I might have thought less." I try to remember that when wading (is that a pun?) through various non-anonymous comments.

The problem with a strict logic, I believe, is that in a fallen world, we apply our logic starting with propositions that will lead to the conclusions we want. That's difficult to avoid.

I agree that the subject of women in leadership roles in SBC life is heating up. Those with a "reluctant" bent would do well to realize that Capitol Hill BC (Mark Dever, pastor) has "deaconesses."

Looking forward to more critical thinking with good humor (not sarcasm!). BTW, I did like the list, in general, while silently predicting the backlash on "chick."

All the Best,

Kevin M. Crowder said...

B Nettles,

While the orthopraxy of others should not and will not ultimately determine my theology, CHBC's inclusion of women into the diaconate as well as their broad list of "servant activities" performed by this co-ed board has made me pause to reflect more on Scripture as I believe Dr. Dever to be a most brilliant ecclesiologist. Of course at the end of my study I may determine that it is my opinion that he and his church are in error. Of course if such a thing were to happen you might see the crucifixion of the century for who would I be to argue with the 9-Marks King? Of course I will consider CHBC and their views. I will also consider the study John Piper and his church did years ago regarding elder rule and the plurality thereof but will try to focus on the nature of women in the pastorate. At the present, I consider the role of deacon to be a direct extension of the role of pastor and subject to the directive of that office. This would seem to agree with Paul's desire to have the 2 roles hold almost exactly the same qualifications. But alas, you can simply pray for me in my study.


Anonymous said...

Role of Deacon

"The word deacon (and deaconess) is probably derived from the Greek word diakonos (διάκονος),[1] which is a standard ancient Greek word meaning "servant", "waiting-man," "minister" or "messenger."[2] One commonly promulgated speculation as to its etymology is that it literally means 'through the dust', referring to the dust raised by the busy servant or messenger.[3]

It is generally believed that the office of deacon originated in the selection of seven men, among them Stephen, to assist with the charitable work of the early church as recorded in Acts 6.[4][5] Deaconesses are mentioned by Pliny the Younger in a letter to Trajan dated c. 112. The exact relationship between Deacons and Deaconesses varies. In some traditions a deaconess is simply a female deacon; in others, deaconesses constitute a separate order; in others, the title "deaconess" is given to the wife of a deacon.

A biblical description of the qualities required of a deacon, and of his household, can be found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

Among the more prominent deacons in history are Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr; Philip the Evangelist, whose baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch is recounted in Acts 8:26-40; Saint Lawrence, an early Roman martyr; and Saint Romanos the Melodist, a prominent early hymnographer."

Anonymous said...

Forgot to sign,

peep :)

Anonymous said...

"New Testament Deacons serve the Lord by conducting the caring ministry of the church-doing the benevolence work, visiting the sick, being alert to the spiritual needs of the congregation-for the purposes of freeing the pastoral staff to focus on prayer and the ministry of the Word, promoting unity within the church, and facilitating the spread of the gospel."

Praying for you, Kevin


WatchingHISstory said...


"God will impart that grace to those whom he has foreordained to be called the sons of God."

"The call is to all men. "Many are called.." But sin will keep all whose eyes have not been opened from making choice by faith, for they do not possess faith, not nor the desire or ability to seek God."

These two statements you made, Kevin, are Wesleyan-like statements. I am 62 yo and was raised a Wesleyan from birth. I was a Wesleyan pastor for over 25 years working in Ohio, Tennessee, Illinois and 13 years in Europe.
I know Wesleyan theology.

SBC divine enablement is similar to prevenient grace. Previent grace prevents depravity from hindering the sinner to make a decision for Christ. This grace prepares the way for the sinner to receive saving grace or some other enabling grace.

This is similar to what you have stated.

I would appreciate your response to this without the adhominen attacks to my intelligence which I admit does not match your level. This is not about who is smartest but how we can dialogue and sharpen each others understanding.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"I would appreciate your response to this without the adhominen attacks to my intelligence which I admit does not match your level. This is not about who is smartest but how we can dialogue and sharpen each others understanding."

Fair enough, it is possible I jumped to conclusion as to your aim in this discussion.

I am not exactly sure where this leaves in terms of how we differ in theology, but let me explain my view of grace. I am beginning to come to the conclusion that it is inappropriate to use any adjective when speaking of grace. Grace has one purpose and that is to save. So it is "saving" by default. He saves us and keeps us by the same grace, therefore grace is sustaining by nature. It comes from God and God alone who has foreordained all things and thus is sovereign by nature. Since grace has one purpose to save, the idea "common grace" is not entirely biblical, but God's common goodness is sufficient for all things outside the covenant of redemption, which grace, in its sovereign design and irresistible nature, will complete before that day.

As for how Wesley viewed all this, I will submit to your knowledge. But I am quite certain I hold to a fairly mainstream and Calvinistic view of the Doctrines of Grace.

Other foundations to factor into my theology:

-Regeneration MUST precede faith
-Dead means dead not sick
-The enablement of regeneration does not impede the will of man but immerses the subject in grace conforming a once totally depraved soul (whose will was impeded in terms of choosing God) and gives it a life whose nature is like Christ's--resulting in nature, will, desire, purpose, etc that chooses God by default.

-I do NOT believe there is such a thing as "free will." It is a most illogical concept being we have a divine creator.

I hope this helps. Naturally I am not a fan of being called a Wesleyan, but I suppose one could be called worse. Both john and Charles were great reformers as well as Whitfield.


WatchingHISstory said...


My little mind can embrace your words: "Regeneration MUST precede faith -Dead means dead not sick"

I like our common ground!


Rex Ray said...

You say, “I’m still waiting for you to tell me what the ‘moderate recipe for understanding the Bible’ is.”

On Wade’s post of Friday December 12 (WMU) I said on Sunday Dec 21, 3:41 AM, “Louis, the recipe of moderates have for believing the Bible is in the word ‘infallible’.

(1.) Incapable of error.
(2.) Dependable; reliable.

So Lewis…I take the recipe of Webster’s second definition ‘infallible’ while you take his first definition.”

On Wade’s post of Monday December 15 (Why can’t we ever admit we might be wrong on our interpretations of the infallible word of God?);

I wrote in my opinion the fallacy of the Chicago Statement saying the Bible was perfect but believers had to see “illusions” in the Bible.

I also backed up the BFM saying, “We believe that the Bible has God for its author; salvation for its end; and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter and that all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy” as explained by the lawyer for the SBC, Michel Whitehead.

Lewis, you were the next to comment saying: “Since Rex re-posted what I think he termed the moderate ‘recipe’ for understanding the Bible …” and ended by saying: “Rex thanks again for setting out your thinking on this.”

Lewis, my question is: If you can’t remember what I said, why can’t you remember what you said?

May I ask a question? Have you ever answered my request to tell what “illusions” means to you in the Chicago Statement?

If your answer is yes, would you explain again? If the answer is no, would you please explain?

Ron said...

Dave Miller,
I am not Tom Parker but I will answer your question. I have also attended an SBC church all my life and attended an SBC college and seminary. I was on the floor of the Astrodom in Houston at the 1979 SBC convention when Bold Mission Thrust was named and Billy Graham came to preach the send off. Bold Mission Thrust was far more than a slogan. It was a committment made by the SBC to share the gospel with everyone on the planet Earth by the year 2000. There were several goals. Some were meet some almost met and some not close. You mentioned evangelism. I believe the goal was 500,000 baptisms a year by the year 2000 and 50,000 churches and missions. Neither of those goals were met. You say to look at the CBF when judging the CR. That does not seem like a good way to judge the CR. The CBF is nothing like the SBC was before the CR. It would make more sense to look at the SBC before the CR took control and then look at the results of CR control. We were baptizing more people in the 70s and 60s before the CR took control than we have in the 80s or the 90s or the present decade. It is plan to see that the CR has hurt the SBC when it comes to evangelism. I have always thought that Satan was scared when he saw the SBC begin Bold Missions Thrust and what we were capable of doing for the Kingdom of God if we were united and working together and that is why he inspired the CR.
Ron West

WatchingHISstory said...

Adrian Rogers from his pulpit tried to use the baptism formula to push his CR agenda. One Wed nite he said in a sermon "we baptized 860 people last year..."

A LADY interrupted his thought with applause (she may have been one of the baptized) He put up his palms and stopped her and said "now you listen to me, you missed my point. What I was saying is that we could have baptized more than that!"

Mass evangelism is man centered growth developed from men's minds.
True evangelism is one person at a time with evough atention given to the one. Rogers lost that understanding. The CR movement along with advocates for Church growth advocates lost it also.

Thy Peace said...

This is the full text of Julie Pennington-Russell, pastor of First Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia, wrote in the January 23, 2009 FBC newsletter about a meeting she had with denominational leadership of the Georgia Baptist Convention.

“Among Friends”

Adventures in Missing the Point

It was a friendly meeting. Six of us gathered in my office on a Wednesday afternoon early in January: Robert White, Executive Director of the Georgia Baptist Convention; Danny Watters from the GBC Church-Minister Relations office; Gerald Harris, Editor of the Georgia Baptist Index; and three of us from FBC Decatur: Bob Woodson, John Hamrick and myself. This was the first conversation between FBC and the GBC since the Convention voted in November not to receive money from our church.

After we visited for a few minutes Robert asked if he might articulate his understanding of where we are and made the following four points:
1. As an autonomous church FBC Decatur is free to choose its leadership.
2. As an autonomous convention the GBC is free to determine the parameters of its membership and is free to disagree with FBC’s choice of leadership.
3. The vote by the GBC not to receive our money (and thereby not to allow FBC a voice at convention meetings) stopped short of the more drastic action of “withdrawing fellowship” from our church.
4. The vote in November did not satisfy some individuals and a proposal to withdraw fellowship from FBC Decatur is likely to come later this year at the annual meeting.

That’s when I posed a question that’s been puzzling me since November. “What’s the difference,” I asked, “between the GBC’s decision not to receive our money and a formal ‘withdrawal of fellowship’ from our church?” The response was a watershed moment for me. They replied: “As it stands now, even though we won’t accept your money, FBC Decatur is eligible to receive help from the GBC. We can still provide materials and services for your church such as the training of Sunday School or Vacation Bible School leaders, or help with evangelism and things like that. If we withdraw fellowship then you wouldn’t be eligible to receive those services.”

Not sure I’d heard correctly, I pressed a little. “Do you mean that if I called you up one day and said—‘The Spirit is doing something amazing at First Baptist Decatur! Waves of men, women and teenagers are responding to God and are being baptized and we could use some additional help in giving them a good foundation. Could you send a team over to meet with our folks?’— are you telling me that the GBC wouldn’t want to help us with that?” To his credit, Robert rushed to assure me that he would be willing to come over and help us “personally—just not as a representative of the GBC.”

Friends, in that hour-long conversation it became crystal clear to me why people are abandoning denominational structures in droves and why denominationalism as it exists today is doomed: It is largely missing the point. The denominational leaders in my office that day love people and care deeply about the gospel—I’m certain about that. But the sad reality is, most denominational organizations are stuck in bureaucratic systems that have forgotten why they exist in the first place.

This column is not about naming the splinter in someone else’s eye. The truth is, First Baptist Decatur will miss the point, too, if we ever forget why we exist. May God save us from the deadly notion that this church exists to provide goods and services for eligible “members.” If anything, the witness of Scripture shows us that the church exists for the sake of the world. We exist to worship God and to invest ourselves in bringing Christ’s kingdom on earth. We exist to discern and to do God’s will in an ever-changing world. We exist to follow Jesus into gospel adventures of all kinds in collaboration with all God’s people, whatever their denominational preferences or doctrinal stances. (The missional networks with whom we currently partner—Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Willow Creek Association, Baptist World Alliance, Atlanta Metro Baptist Association, etc.—are committed to this kingdom-focused way of operating in the world.)

One of the many reasons why I love being your pastor is that you get it in so many beautiful ways! We’re not a perfect church. We’ve got plenty of room to grow as disciples of Jesus. But more and more around here I see FBC folks with a gospel gleam in their eye. God is good, friends. And the Spirit is at work in our midst. I can’t wait to see what kingdom adventures await us in 2009.



Anonymous said...

Rex Ray:

Thank you. I thought that there was some additional formula that was coming, that never came.

I understand the moderate recipe for understanding the Bible. It's a selection of what you say is Webster's second defintion of "Infallible" -dependable and reliable. But that "infallible", at least the way moderates use that term does not mean without error.

I am not arguing with you on this point, but I think that you are being faithful to the moderate line. That is, that the Bible does have errors in it, but it is still dependable and reliable or "infallible."

I thought I had given you my understanding of your questions regarding the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy. If I missed something, or forgot to answer something, I will try again. I don't have time to go read the Chicago Statement and pull out the part about "illusions". If you'll summarize what you are talking about briefly, I'll try to do my best to tell you what I think that committee might have been driving at.

I do think that you would get a better answer from someone on the committe, however, and suggest again that you might direct your attention to them, rather than me. I would just be giving you my best guess.



Kevin M. Crowder said...

"We were baptizing more people in the 70s and 60s before the CR took control than we have in the 80s or the 90s or the present decade. It is plan to see that the CR has hurt the SBC when it comes to evangelism. I have always thought that Satan was scared when he saw the SBC begin Bold Missions Thrust and what we were capable of doing for the Kingdom of God if we were united and working together and that is why he inspired the CR. "

Hey God! Look at what we came up with!! We think's we can strategerize yur great commission to get everybody saved. That IS what you asked our help fur wasn't it be?

Actually Ron there are too many factors to begin blaming CR. Part of the drop in baptisms is that we have finally realized that baptism does not save.

Part of the drop in baptism is that we have a biblically illiterate see of congregants who do not know how to share their faith one on one without a manual, poster, pizza, Pepsi, lapel pin, bumpersticker, t-shirt, keychain. rock concert and a few candles.

I assure you that statistically I will baptize less folks in my ministry. Why? I refuse to baptize the unregenerate. Let me say that again for greater impact. I REFUSE to baptize the unregenerate.

So to LifeWay: take all your stats, programs, and Pneuma DVD's and blend them up with the veggie tales and throw it all out on the compost pile.

Let me tell you what is wrong with SBC soteriology. I quote LifeWay writer Suzanne Krein on page 40 of the "Baptist Adults" BTU book:

"God will give us the strength and courage to walk down the church aisle and trust in Christ as Savior."

The people in my church read this and are to this day convinced that walking the isle is the only effective way to "confess Christ before men."

This quote for this book is the most dangerous doctrine the SBC holds. For most, it is a walk of damnation for their hearts are cauterized into thinking that that prayer, or by saying "yes" to the pastor saves them with no prior regenerative power. Only an emotional walk.

Makes me sick to God's word so manipulated.





Anonymous said...

Thy Peace:

Thanks for printing Ms. Russell's explanation to her congregation. It is her side of the story, and I would like to hear both sides, but it is clear, direct and to the point.

I still can't figure out where Ms. Russell is theologically. I am not finding fault. There is not enough info here to really get that. And, it appears that the GBC is not relating to this church because the pastor is a female, not for some other theological reason (though I am not clear on whether there would be).

I would be glad to hear that Ms. Russell is as solid as any other evangelical, it's just that her church has chosen to hire a woman pastor. There are churches like that. I disagree with them on that issue, but that's it.

On the other hand, I believe that the CBF affiliation is telling. FBC Decatur has been known as a liberal church (in Atlanta where I lived from 1983 to 1986) for some time.

This incident, in my opinion, is the continued fall out or realignment of churches that will continue over the next few years in various denominations.

The Baptists have had their separation on a denominational level. The CBF just hasn't ever decided to call itself a denomination.

What is happening now is the continued fall out from that. The flashpoint in this church is over women's ordination.

I actually do not think it is an unhealthy thing for there to be different denominations for churches that believe different things - and I don't think that the ordination of women is a illegitimate basis of organization.

I do agree with Ms. Russell that denominations often miss the point, and churches can, too.

However, I would not go so far as to say that dividing over church leadership beliefs misses the point. Nor would I say that churches who believe the Scripture provides a directive for male leadership miss the point, or that the denominations made up of those churches miss the point.

The conversation that she recounts, however, does seem tedious and strained. It is the product of the type of Byzantine line drawing and rule making that can occur during the separation process that is occuring. That conversation does miss the point.

During the CR I always advocated for a direct discussion and laying everything on the table as soon as possible. But that could never occur because the professoriate which was the problem in Baptist life would NEVER consent to anything like that. The people who did not see or refused to see any problems in the schools were always giving cover, and lots of those guys were conservative personally.

So, the issue is the same here.

I say that if people are so unhappy with the SBC and SBC policies etc. that they can't live within the system and really rejoice in it, just move on. There's a whole world out there. Move on.

FBC Decatur did, or were forced to. Fact is, they probably were really out 20years ago. They just couldn't pull the trigger.

Now they can move on and do what they want and the Georgia convention doesn't have to deal with them.

Each side can go forward proclaiming Christ. All of these issues will be settled out in eternity.

On earth, we are just going to disagree, and we are going to have to decide what issues are big enough to divide over, and which ones are not.

Doesn't Proverbs say, "How can two walk together unless they are in agreeement?"


Anonymous said...


Karen from Oklahoma,

I did not say I was objective. Actually what I said was a quote from a great seminary prof who was trying to get us to be independent thinkers.

He did not want us to blindly believe Calvin, Luther, Wesley, or any of the "so-called" church fathers through the centuries ON DOCTRINAL ISSUES. . He wanted us to think for ourselves. THIS DOES NOT TAKE AWAY THE GOSPEL OF JESUS.

He taught us to :

First: learn to study the evolution of languages. For example, a word and its meaning in the first century may have had many meanings over the centuries.

Second: Look what the earliest text says. Does the bible actually say that a woman can't pastor? where? Is the "husband of one wife really what was said or was is a "one woman man" or was it the "spouse of one spouse"?. or was it "must be married" Who gets to say that verse was for all churches for all time. Why can’t it be for that time and that place? Believing one way or the other doesn’t mean I don’t believe the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God.
However, following someone else and their opinions blindly and calling it orthodoxy is something I refuse to do.

Is the same verse really addressing divorce? if so, why doesn’t Paul just say, "cannot be divorced?">

Did you know God Himself divorced Israel?

Also, since there is no example of a Christian wedding in the Bible, can Paul be talking to Jews only? We know that Jesus went to a Jewish wedding but not a Christian wedding. So, Paul is writing to Jewish converts who have become Christians. (hypothetically speaking does this mean only Jews who have become Christians cannot be divorced? Why not? Who gets to say this is not what he means? Why?

He taught us to ignore the opinions of others and start as a blank slate and look.

I had profs with PhD's who disagreed on everything but that doesn't mean all were wrong or all were right.

Am I objective? Sometime. But not all the time nor am I right or wrong all the time.

Truth is, I am influence by my deceased Dad more than anyone.

In Peace

Wade Burleson said...


FBC Decatur did not "move on" as you put it.

They are cooperative Southern Baptists, and contrary to your notion, the problem is NOT with people staying, it is the problem of people "moving on."

It's time people stayed.

And they will, so you better get used to it.


Anonymous said...



I thought that FBC Decatur was moving on from the Georgia Convention. That they had come to an impasse over this issue, and that they were going to cooperate with the groups that Ms. Russell mentioned in her letter that I complimented.

Did I miss something? Are they fighting to stay in the GBC and I missed that.

I don't know what FBC Decatur's relationship with the SBC is.

I do know that Ms. Russell wrote that FBC Decatur would be working with the groups they agreed with, and she lists the following:

(The missional networks with whom we currently partner—Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Willow Creek Association, Baptist World Alliance, Atlanta Metro Baptist Association, etc.—are committed to this kingdom-focused way of operating in the world.)

I do not see the IMB in there. Maybe it is (through the CBF).

I don't understand why you have become so fractious all of the sudden.

What gives?


Anonymous said...


Also, I have never advocated kicking anyone out.

I just think it is emotionally healthier for people who are yearning for the SBC that existed in 1979, are angry about everything that has happened since then, and oppose so much of the SBC as it has been for almost 20 years.

I have been saying this for a couple of years on this blog.

I don't want to kick anyone out.

But I really think for my own emotional health that I would not be hanging around in a denomination if I felt so differently about so many issues.

You are a CR supporter, as you have said many times. The CBF people have described you as a "young fundamentalist" fighting with the "old fundamentalists." I think that's pretty correct though I don't like that term.

There are others, however, who really do have serious objections with the SBC structure and mission, but for some reason can't emotionally move on.

I think that they would be better off.

Take care.


Wade Burleson said...


FBC Decatur supports the SBC and the IMB through the Lottie Moon offering. A few families in the church even have family members on the mission field with the IMB.

Tom Parker said...


Do you realize how easy it is for you to say--"I think that they would be better off."

It is not your call as to whether they would be better off.

You have learned well from the CR.

Tell them all they will be better off to get out.

But its not for their betterment but yours.

You don't want them because they are "liberal."

Anonymous said...


thanks for the info. you really do know quite a bit about this church.

Given the contributions the church makes to Lottie Moon, I am curious as to why Ms. Russell would not mention the church's relationship with the IMB. I do not think that is a mistake on her part. Perhaps the relationship with the IMB is a hold over of tradition but that the church's real vision going forward that they are proud of is with those groups that Ms. Russell touted in her piece.

I had asked in some earlier commenta about Ms. Russell's theology. what do you know about that?


Anonymous said...


I am no better off either way.

It's just my opinion that people are usually happier, less bitter and more productive in their religious endeavors when they are enthusiastic about their church and other religious affiliations.

I suspect that most people agree with that notion generally.

Others don't agree.


Wade Burleson said...


Read the 265 comments on this post, including some who are members of FBC Decatur and you will know as much as I. And, I happen to agree with Tom, you sure seem to know what is best for FBC Decatur.

I personally would lean to what FBC Decatur and her pastor felt was best for them rather what you felt was best for them.

Tom Parker said...


Louis' attitude is sadly too common among too many of those who supported the CR. If they had their way they would kick all the "liberals" out and they want be satisifed till they get them all out. it does seem to matter that the SBC is destroyed in the process.

Rex Ray said...

You said, “If you’ll summarize what you are talking about briefly, I’ll try to do my best to tell you what I think that committee might have been driving at.”

In my notes, this is my December 14, 2008 comment to you:

Exposition; C; page 9 says:
“Apparent inconsistencies should not be ignored. Solution of them, where this can be convincingly achieved, will encourage our faith, and where for the present no convincing solution is at hand we shall significantly honor God by trusting His assurance that His Word is true, despite these appearances, and by maintaining our confidence that one day they will be seen to have been ILLUSIONS.”

Lewis, how can a person that sees “apparent inconsistencies” as illusions, condemned another that sees them as discrepancies?

End of comment.

Today, you said, “I do think that you would get a better answer from someone on the committee…I would just be giving you my best guess.”

How many years have you been beating the drum for ‘inerrancy’ based on the Chicago Statement, and you don’t know what it says?

You don’t know why it takes ten pages to define one word? Have you just trusted others to tell you what to believe?

Do you win law cases by concluding that’s “my best guess”?

Study and maybe you’ll join me as a ‘true conservative’ but without the ‘chains’ of Moderate.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for digging all of that up. I do remember that now.

I agree with what the statement says. There are places in the Bible or biblical history where there may be apparent inconsistencies. I think that I list two - Moses writing and Hittites. Do you remember that?

Your question is a good one. How can one person who sees but cannot reconcile an apparent inconsistency but believes that it will one day be revealed as an illusion criticize someone who says there is an inconsistency?

Did I get that right?

I can answer from my experience. The people that I have met who maintain that there are inconsistencies almost always have a different theory on inspiration and what the Bible is.

My "Baptist" profs in religion class would say that the Bible is a work written by men who were trying to make sense of what was happening and who God is. The writers would include myth, stories, untrue facts etc. to prove their points. So, one should look for the big spiritual picture being taught whether or not any of the details are true. And as time goes by, we see that the Bible gets more and more lofty in its portrayal of God. So that the OT portrayal is a vengeful, tribal God, whereas the NT portrays the lofty Jesus.

The product we end up with is a mixture of myth and truth, bad facts, bad history etc. Some of the moral teaching is just a product of the era involved. Some of the teachings about Jesus are untrue, and major doctrines such as the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, the vicarious atoning death and the resurrection are fictions. Etc.

I believe that the correct Christian view is that the Bible is not man's understanding of what was happening, but that God revealed himself through the writing and that the writers were lead to write what they wrote by God.

Contrary to what you think I should know and be able to recite about the Chicago Statement on inerrancy, I just don't live that way.

Thanks, again for such a good summary.


Rex Ray said...

I’m not so honored that you have treated me as James treated Peter in Acts 15.

James bragged on Peter in saying he was right about God’s Spirit being given to the Gentiles, and they did not have to obey the Jewish laws. [Thanks for digging all that up. Your question is a good one. Thanks again for such a good summary.]

Now for the knife in the back:

BUT, we will write for them to obey four necessary Jewish laws. [“The people I have met who maintain that there are inconsistencies…end up…teachings of Jesus…major doctrines…are fictions.”]

If a dog has flees, is he no longer a dog?

Lewis, your dog and pony show has been around a long time—believe one word in the Bible is untrue; and you’re on a slippery slope straight to hell.

Thanks for the reply.

Anonymous said...


Thanks. Your dog and pony show is fun, too.


Anonymous said...

You don't NEED to prove the Bible errant or inerrant.

The Scriptures stand on their own.
They are what they are.

It is the 'reader' that may be in error or 'not in error' in their interpretation of scripture.

Kevin M. Crowder said...


I disagree. Scripture given to us today is contingent upon our knowledge of the language arts. We must face the fact that from one perspective, our beliefs rest upon the contending of others both in our time and times past. We are dependent upon the knowledge of language by, in most cases, men and women other than ourselves.

Jude writes to the church as a whole (beloved) Beware of false teachers among you and eagerly contended for the Scriptures (faith once for all delivered to you). [Kevin's thought for thought]

What does it mean to contend? I contend, that contend means to fight for truth, uphold the text, study O.L.'s Uphold doctrine. Answer question from detractors. Edify new converts through exposition of Scripture. Help the church interpret in light of Scripture. Denounce proof texting. Help believers eliminate doubt, which is a tool of the devil, by showing parallels and working through potentially tricky and seemingly contradictory passages.

PROVE IT TO BE TRUE! Such that can be done by the human mind and the humans heart though the power of the Holy Spirit.

Scripture I contend does NOT stand on its own. A closed family Bible on the coffee table will serve as a free ticket to hell. We must open it, read it, and understand the literature and grammar with the mind and the truth with the heart (via the Spirit)

We must contend for the faith, friend.

We are losing our knowledge of Scripture as the days go by. We live in a society whose light is dim for it has not trimmed its wick.

Will you help me trim some wicks? Will you help me fill some lamps?


Anonymous said...


You can only read the Scriptures by the light of lamp held by the Holy Spirit.

In that light, you read, and are nourished, comforted, and strengthened.

Read until the book begins to fall apart:

it is said that Bibles that fall apart are read by people who aren't.

Scriptures were never meant to be read without the guidance of the Spirit poured out on you.
They were not written without His Guidance, and cannot be understood without His Light.

Anonymous said...

Dear k, maybe this will help:

The Holy Scriptures are mysterious: once I think I am 'familiar' with them, I read them and see something more.

Speaking of these writings in human terms is not going to cover what the mystery is all about.

There is something sacred within these writings: not 'God' as such and we do not worship 'the Scriptures', no.

But there is something that God has touched in a way that gives each person the gifts He wants them to have from the Scriptures. Something blessed.

We should be careful and reverent when we approach these writings.
They convey to us from the Lord a special kind of blessing, if we are open to receiving what the Holy Spirit intends for us, at that moment.

Words like 'inerrant', phrases like 'without error', all seem to miss the point:
that, it is not the Scriptures we have to argue for.
The Holy Writings stand on their own, from time immemorial.

It is our approach to them that may be flawed, if we come to the Scriptures without bowing our heads in humility and asking to be taught from the Holy Writings by the Lord.

The mystery is this: the Holy Writings are of a depth and a breadth beyond our ability to plumb. We cannot completely fathom them.
And yet, the heart of a young child can understand, with perfect clarity, the story of Jesus' love contained within these Writings.

There is a lesson there, I think. L's

Kevin M. Crowder said...


I completely agree, but one still needs to be able to read and comprehend the text in light of the rules of grammar and syntax.

For example, listen to some old sermons of hard-shell Baptists who never studied before sermon delivery. They relied upon the Spirit for the words to say. I happen to believe that some of the them were faithful in prayer and so when the spirit purposed to deliver the Word through them He did. But 200 years of dispensational, darwinistic jargon proof texting and other such "Spirit led" utterances have led to a breakdown in the knowledge of Scripture.

I simply believe that God is more glorified when we earnestly contend through prayerful scholastic study.

Today when it is mentioned to pastors that they need to spend at least 30-40 hours a week in devoted Bible study, most either scowl or get a guilty knot in their heart.

Christians have a duty to know more fully the God that they serve.

How else can this be accomplished if not for study.

I do not think Spirit/study is an either/or, but a both/and.

Paul prays for the believers in Ephesus in this manner:

1:17 "that God...may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,"

The Spirit empowers that knowledge I completely agree. But will grow in this knowledge and grace the more we study and discipline ourselves to desire obedience in the Word.

I love God and His Word. I want to know the former more through the later. His Word is His very breath.

Holy Spirit breath on me...


Kevin M. Crowder said...


Thanks as always for your input.

A couple questions for you if I may, just to clarify your points.

Are you of the opinion that Scripture can mean different things to different people or just that the Spirit applies the same, one and only truth to different circumstances?

How much would you say that situational emotions play in the average Christian's rendering of Scripture as they seek answers to their impending problems?

Anonymous said...

Dear k,

We must study the Word with our hearts and in humility.
Then, the gifts contained within will be opened to us.

There is a prayer I say that begins: 'Come, Holy Spirit, enlighten the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your Divine Love. .'

I, too, study the scriptures and search them for meaning. My respect for scripture scholarship is great: I even go to a rabbi for help when I am not sure of something in the OT. But, in the end, I know that 'memorizing' and 'rationalizing' will not work, unless I am open to the sacred blessings of the Spirit that pour out from the Holy Writings, when they are read with humility.

In the darkness of our world, the Spirit brings light and holds the light while we read, as He held the light when the writers wrote in ancient times.

Love, L's

Jesse said...

New BBC Open Forum, thanks for the cursory dismissal.

I'm not trying to be ridiculous. It just seems that Wade is going for every negative issue he can find in the SBC by highlighting one woman who appears to be pastoring correctly while in clear contradiction of the scriptural qualifications for a pastor/elder while at the same time pointing out a man who appears to be abusing the office of pastor/elder.

How about pointing out women pastor's who are teaching contrary to scripture? It beginning to appear that Wade is on his own witch hunt within the SBC.


Anonymous said...


BTW, I understand that you are studying to become a deacon, which in my faith is a great service of love for the Church. I am praying for you, that God will bless your study, and He will use you to do much good. :)

You asked two questions:

"Are you of the opinion that Scripture can mean different things to different people or just that the Spirit applies the same, one and only truth to different circumstances?"

Well, after my father passed away, I prayed to God for peace to accept my Pop's passing. I opened to the Scriptures during this time, and was given something I had not noticed before. The words were the SAME, but I had changed. MY need was different. And now the meaning of the words was more clear AND, YES, I was given peace. Thanks be to God.

I don't know a theological answer to your question, Kevin, but I have great faith that the Good Lord gives us help, when we come to him, and ask our 'Abba' with sincere hearts. So, in my experience, I have found that my understanding of the 'truths' contained in the Holy Writings matures as I need the help, and as I am open to the gifts contained within.

"How much would you say that situational emotions play in the average Christian's rendering of Scripture as they seek answers to their impending problems?"

Wow! Do you know any 'average' Christians? I think God sees each of us individually as His child. I am not knowledgable about the effects of emotions on interpretations of sacred writings. With me, it kind of works in reverse: I try to approach the Scriptures peacefully, like an 'empty cup' and ask God to teach me. This is done prayerfully. I always come away with some gift, for which I give thanks.

Kevin, my advice is to ask Wade about these questions. The second one is, I think, a theological one, and my tradition is so very different with respect to how those of my faith view the scriptures, that I'm sure Wade could help you better.

I will keep you in prayer.
And, in your study, pray the Psalms, one per night, if you can, before you sleep. It will strengthen you mightily for the job that God is preparing you for. If you pray the Psalms in this manner for years and years, they will become part of your soul.

Be peaceful, Love, L's

Kevin M. Crowder said...


I appreciate your insight, not too sound arrogant (as I sometimes come across) but those questions were not for Wade. I know how he would answer them. i was asking those questions for our dialogue only and to get a better understanding of where YOU are.

I am not studying to be a deacon. I am a Baptist Pastor. I finish my undergrad in religion in 12 weeks and will begin a Master of Divinity (4 year endeavor) this fall. Neither am I "studying to be" a pastor. I will be a lifelong student of Scripture. I do not post here though for new knowledge specifically but to test my thoughts, theories and ideals. I enjoy your posts and enjoy picking your brain. I enjoy mixing anthropology with theology. The human psyche has a very negative effect on raw information. Our interpretive skills are ALWAYS clouded by our environment and our preconceptions and indeed misconceptions.

I have a very detailed answer for each of those questions I asked you. I believe how one answers them says a lot about how they truly view the Bible and how they formulate their theology (we all have a theology whether we call it that or not.)

btw, are you Jewish? Or just interested in Jewish thought and culture?

Anonymous said...

Brother KMC

Thanks for speaing to Karen in Oklahoma on my behalf. I realize that at times our humor can be misunderstood on these blogs. I am grateful that you understood the "redneck" line as OK.

In you post tha begins

" Scripture given to us today is contingent upon our knowledge of the language arts........"

I admit that you are a thinker, but as a matter of thoughtful discourse without any intended snottiness, I have a question. Do we have any (and I mean any) !st century, original copies of the NT writings?

Isn't all we have copies of copies of copies?

Now, don't misunderstand the questin or intent. I am very conservative and believe the Bible to me the Word of god from cover to cover.

However, to be sure of something that is a faith issue is a personal thing between you and the Leading of your Creator. BUT IT IS A FAITH ISSUE. Not an issue you can prove by producing the original documents.

so, we rely on the translators WITH FAITH to pass it along, then the next guy then the next etc.

The point is, when we say "the plain teaching of Scripture, we take it ON FAITH that we are right because we CHOOSE IN FAITH to believe that God guided the ink pen of the copiers.

When we say that Jude says something or that some doctrinal interpretation that we hold to is the only RIGHT ONE then we are saying that no matter how I learned this or from what teacher or prof I am right and all who disagree are wrong.

Then there is the argument of time and date.

WHAT GROUP OF MEN DO WE FOLLOW TO THE PROPER TIME AND DATE OF USAGE OF MEANING? Is this verse for then or now? how about tongues, and the wole argument? Why do one set of men follow the NOW ARGUMENT and others follow ONLY FOR THEN.

Only God knows and only being saved in Christ gets us to heaven. All else seems almost moot in light of the Gospel.

Thanks for listening. Hope to see you for lunch this summer


PS, you didn't answer the question before so I will, The Bible itself DOES NOT say it is sin for a woman to pastor. :-)

Anonymous said...


I have really got to get more sleep and do a better job of proof reading myself before I post them here. Olease forgive the typo's

Kevin M. Crowder said...


It is indeed late, but I think I missed your specific question, however, I should make one clarification to the line you quoted.

I said: "Scripture given to us today is contingent upon our knowledge of the language arts."

My point would better be conveyed by this: "Our understanding of Scripture given to us today is first contingent upon our knowledge of the language arts."

This is true both for readers and for oral learners.

You are correct that we take it on faith that the custonians of the Word throughout history have been guided by God. I hold in my hand my 4th Ed. UBS Greek NT. I put alot of faith in the Aland's, Bruce Metzger, et al and consider this to be, of al the bible I own, the most near to the autographs. The problem is that it is in a language that has not been used in day to day conversation and writing for almost 2000 years (prolly a bit less). In the words of Paul, "But God," through His granting to some the extraordinary abilities in the fields of language arts, has given us the ability to successfully ranslate the Greek into almost every language on earth. Thus we are dependant on the translatory abilities of others.

This of course does not hinder the "average believer" from gaining a vast amount of knowledge from Scripture through reading and prayer. But the Lord also gives some greater gifts of discernment and abilities to dig deeper into the Word for the edification and building up of the church.

I guess my point ot all this that pastors and teachers need to be teaching Bible study methods as well as the actual content.

I am sure this is something upon which we can all agree.

One small thing I am doing is to attempt to read a book a day. Somedays it might be 2 John :)

Another thing we can teach folks to do is to refrain from proof texting, AND when memorizing, to memorize BIBLICAL SENTENCES and paragraphs and not verse just .
specific verses.

Stuff like that.

Lastly, the "read and respond" Bible study method is killing our in depth Bible study time. The best didactic approach will always be the teacher/student method.

But you might be right...maybe I just "think" too much.

Rex Ray said...

Well Louis,
Once you and I got our “dog and pony show” out of the way; Kevin, Anonymous, L’s, and WTREAT got to the real way of letting the Bible become a part of a Christian instead of the other way around.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning KEVIN,
it's me L's

I liked your 'thought provoking' questions. I hope I answered 'enough' to give you some idea of my thoughts, but in order to answer further, I would need to go into an explanation of my own faith, which involves something called the 'sacramental' nature of the Holy Scriptures, which is not a part of the Protestant belief.
Doesn't matter. Protestants receive these 'blessings' I speak of regardless of the doctrinal 'names' we use. I have no doubt of this at all. : )

I much rather share anecdotes about encounters the Scriptures and how I have been blessed. That is something everyone can understand here. :)

Jewish. No. I am not Jewish, although I have been called a 'Jewish Mother' in the way I feed everybody to bursting point and I make a lot of 'chicken soup' when there is sickness. Nurturing is my thing.

Kevin, I have Jewish friends. Many of these people work in our city, giving much time and talent to benefit those in need. I am in awe of their commitment to the loving service of others that so few want to help.
While growing up, I visited Jewish homes of my friends. My oldest and best friend is the principal of the Hebrew School at a local synagogue. I am privileged to be acquainted, through her, with the rabbi, whose counsel I sometimes seek. And he has given me insights into the OT, that have been valuable in increasing my own Christian faith.
There are so many connections of Christianity to its Jewish roots: as Christianity fulfills its ancient prophecies.
So, yes, I have an interest in Judaism as a magnifier of Christ.
The study of Judaism brings me closer to Christ in ways that are rich with meaning for me, as a Catholic.

So. You are NOT studying for the deaconate? Oops. Well, those prayers didn't hurt you, and I'll just switch over to pray for benefits to flow from your graduate work. :)

Feel free to pick my poor brain anytime. And good luck in your studies. Oh, and don't hesitate to go to a rabbi if you have questions about the OT. They can help. I know.

Keep your focus on Christ always. and you will not lose your way. And pray the Psalms. :)
Love, L's

P.S. Here is an interesting exercise for you. Write down those 'detailed' answers to your questions about the Scriptures.
Tuck them away for five years. Then go back, and see how much more you can add. It's called being a 'work in progress'. :)

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