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

Who Is That Man Behind Senator Judd Gregg?

When Republican Senator Judd Gregg unexpectedly withdrew his name from Senate confirmation as Barak Obama's nominee for Commerce Secretary, his announcement took many people by surprise. Obviously, there were many factors behind his decision. Some Southern Baptists, however, may be interested in who showed up behind Senator Gregg in the CBS News pictures copied below. Some have asked me in the last few months, "Whatever happened to the erudite Ben Cole?" Well, from the looks of things he has landed in the middle of national politics and left the SBC behind.




Kevin M. Crowder said...

Why is Been Cole always following important men in his life?

1. Been following Patterson. (didn't work out)

2. Been following Jesus.(Preaching; didn't work out)

3. Been following Senator Gregg, the former Cabinet Nominee to the Obama Administration. (Still didn't work out...still following.)

Let's just call him "Been Following"

Some might like that better than "Following Ben."

© 2009 RevKev

Kevin Bussey said...


Why do you say he followed Jesus and it didn't work out? How do you know that God didn't call him to go to DC?

Steve said...

Looking at the TV shot -

What are the chances that a Liberal would ever be described as doing snything "erratically?" They can't do their taxes or drive to the Capitol at 2 in the morning, but only those wascally wepublicans can be erratic. Thanks, Mr. TV news guy.

So, is that really Ben?

irreverend fox said...

he'll fit right in, good for him!

Rex Ray said...

This is not about Ben Cole, and may never be on topic, but after reading ‘From the Foreword on Hardball Religion’, there seems to be something sadly lacking.

Maybe somewhere in your book will do away with my gripe, but all I see in this ‘Foreword’ is “I”.

The question is: Why do you have over three million hits on your blog? How many would you have if there were no comments? That’s the big question.

In my opinion, comments make the blog interesting. They give it color and make it alive. In some ways it’s like reading the funny papers where the reader is wondering what ole so-and-so is going to say?

People want to know what other people think besides just one person. Around the world are comments telling problems, joys, opinions, wisdom, and sometime ignorance.

Wade, as many athletes give thanks to their fans, I believe you should do the same for those who write agreeing with you and especially to those who disagree.

Ron said...

Does Ben actually work for Senator Gregg or does he just follow along behind important people carrying their papers? The twists and turns in his career have certainly been interesing. First as a hit man for Paige Patterson, he was sent to find heresy at the IMB. He served as a promoter for Wiley Drake the SBC political leader and Sun Myung Moon supporter. Is he still going to finish his book or has he moved on from that also. It would be interesting to read a book from the inside of the conservative resurgence by one of its most devoted foot soldiers.

Thy Peace said...

Dr. Tom Ascol: What will we be in the SBC?

I invite both my Calvnist and non-Calvinist brothers and sisters to join me in encouraging and working for this kind of future in the SBC. Let's work together to come to deeper understandings and applications of the gospel. We may disagree at points, but such disagreements, if handled with gospel grace, can work to strengthen our grasp of divine truth rather than to further divide us. That is my hope, and that is my prayer.

Bob Cleveland said...


You said: "Maybe somewhere in your book will do away with my gripe, but all I see in this ‘Foreword’ is “I”."

That is precisely the sort of hyperbole that makes any following point questionable.

chadwick said...


It looks like Ben is struggling with the load he is carrying!

Can we take up a love offering to buy Ben a nice leather briefcase?



John Daly said...

I think the fact that someone has served 15 years in one congregation is a testimony to God's grace in relationships. When you have invested in people's lives for such a period, bonds form that are not easily broken. So any backlash that may result from Hardball will be absorbed by the many, and not just by the one.

WatchingHISstory said...


Can monergism and synergistic theology mix? IMHO I don't think so. In the final analysis they won't mix, thank God!

Alan Paul said...

two words come to mind after reading some of the comments here:


More words came to mind that also should not describe a Christian - but perhaps describes (unfortunately) perfectly the image of a Southern Baptist.

Thy Peace said...

The above pictures come from the video of this CBS article:

Gregg Flip-Flop Emboldens GOP

debbiekaufman said...

Bob: I couldn't agree with you more.

I miss Ben a lot, but it's so good to see him where he believes he should be. I'm happy for him and proud to say I know him.

OK, part of the reason I say that is because he is in a picture that has been issued worldwide with Senator Gregg in the forefront, but hey I'm only human. :)

Steve Bezner said...

Wade, you may have already seen this, but Ben posted regarding his impending departure and his love for politics here:


I can't help but admire his courage to do what he believes best and right.

greg.w.h said...

Even better if Ben helped Gregg clarify his own personal philosophy to the point that he pushed back from the table. Using moderate Republicans as a false show of bipartisanship is precisely the kind of cynicism we don't need.

If there is any meaningful difference between Democrats and Republicans, it is an entire difference in world view regarding the role of government. One might argue that the Republicans have had the reins of power taken away because they didn't actually practice what they preached to get into office.

The Democrats aren't making that same mistake. They provide an implicit promise of larger government, more spending, and redistribution of earnings from high earners to low earners and to non-earners. And now they are delivering on those promises. The long-term results--based on similar efforts during the New Deal--are immediate-term political power in response to populists provisions followed by long-term economic peril as the Ponzi/Madoff structures of their populism fail.

I would like to think Gregg's reason for dropping out of the confirmation process was because he really does disagree with this approach to government. I would like to think that every thinking person sees the peril of using populist rhetoric to buy votes and then spending the largesse of the treasury to continue to secure those votes. That the Republicans were guilty of the same strategy to some extent or another during the Bush administration would be a very precise illustration of what my mom used to tell me when I excused fighting with my brother by saying "well he started it!!":

"Two wrongs don't make a right."

Even more ironic if the word "right" is interpreted in terms of victimhood-based rent seeking with the federal government.

Greg Harvey

Wade Burleson said...


An interesting observation with which I agree. The book is a personal narrative and requires the use of the pronoun "I." When an author writes biographical material about others, as this author has done with John Gano, Elias Keach, Isaac McCoy, Epaphras Chapman and Baptist forefathers of old, the personal pronoun "he" is prominent. It sounds like you might not be quite as irritated with biographical works as you are with autobiographical.



Steve said...

The whole idea of the author's notes on a new book is an explanation, an apologia, of why the book was written. Like any good speaker, authors have to answer the "why" of the book. Many authors' notes might be lifeless without personal references to the journey they have traveled.

Paul Burleson said...


I'm laughing.

That's because I'm thinking of that prophetic word now come to pass you said to me when you sent me the manuscript several months ago.


Rex Ray said...

May I start over?

You all know I’ve been a strong supporter of Wade since day one.

Many books have a dedication to someone. If he has learned half as much as I have from comments, then he misses an opportunity to say thanks if his book doesn’t say so.

To be described as bitter, jealous, words not describing a Christian, and the worst: a Southern Baptists; oh, horrors…maybe I should hang myself in disgrace.

Thy Peace said...

To be described as bitter, jealous, words not describing a Christian, and the worst: a Southern Baptists; oh, horrors…maybe I should hang myself in disgrace.

Rex: I did not think Alan Paul's comments were directed at your comments.

John Daly said...

If a movie comes out, I'll play Wade during his fit and athletic years :)

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Bob Cleveland,
I like your new picture.

(Just trying to get Wade's hits over 3 million.)


Kevin M. Crowder said...

"How do you know that God didn't call him to go to DC?"


I never said He didn't.


Lin said...

I just pre ordered your book. Can't wait to read it.

Will said...

According to this article (http://tinyurl.com/bjednc), Ben Cole joined your pastoral staff, Wade. Is this not true or no longer true?

Rex Ray said...

Thy Peace,
You’re probably right that Alan did not direct his comments to me.

You know the old saying…the guilty flee when no man pursues.

Guess I was a little jumpy after Bob, Debbie, and Wade replied the way they did.

I’m not use to that much fan fair:)

I’ll never forget the replies because I accused Wade of saying Jesus was a Southern Baptist.

Good to hear from Kevin Bussey.

robert prince said...

THAT explains why the senator is so confused!!!;)

Wade Burleson said...


He joined our staff by signing, up front, a one year contract. Everyone knew he was headed to DC at the end of the contract which he fulfilled.

Only By His Grace said...

And Gregg Harvey,

With most of what you say in your comment I agree with entirely and could not be more happy with the situation. Praise the Lord for a government that protects and provides for its people.

Of course, you and I are on opposite ends here; but you can be wrong and the Lord will still love and allow you to take communion with me in my church even though you were probably baptized by a hated Arminian.

Phil in Norman.

Will said...

Wade, I'm in DC. Do you know when he came in this direction? Do you know if joined a local church here? I hope CHBC, even?

becca said...

LOL! The tiny little head in the background...
it would be fun to be that person.

Ron said...

I had lost track of what Ben was doing since he said he was dropping out of the SBC and stopped blogging. I went by his church in Arlington once when I was there but he was not in the office that day. I would like to have met him and discussed some of his writings in person.

In many ways Ben reminds me of David Montoya, the Spiritual Samurai, who has recently been involved in the BGCT controversies. I don’t know if most of you know his background or the uproar he caused in the SBC back in 1989-90. I was in Arkansas in 1989. David was a Criswell College grad who was brought to Arkansas by the CR leaders to pastor a small church in NW Arkansas. Even though he had only been in Arkansas a short time he was put in one of the two Arkansas slots on the SBC committee on nominations. However in the meetings in Rogers and Springdale, AR discussing possible nominees he noticed that often the people being criticized and attacked were more conservative theologically than the leaders of the CR doing the attacking. He seemed to have had an attack of conscience then at the SBC meeting that year opposed putting Ronnie Floyd on the SBC executive committee from Arkansas and began a campaign against the CR organization. He was using the methods he had been encouraged to use when he was supported by the CR and was attacking non-CR Baptists. The CR leaders whined and cried as if they were being tortured. It reminded me of my youth when a bully would pick on other kids but when someone hit him back he would run to the teacher crying and tell on the person who hit him. As we used to say, they can dish it out but they can’t take it.

Ben is similar in that he was in the middle of the CR attack on non-CR Baptists. I don’t know the reason for his break with Patterson and the CR. It may have been conscience or hurt feelings or something else. In any case he began using the same bombastic attack methods he used on behalf of the CR to attack those in the CR who had previously supported him. They immediately started yelling foul when they felt the force of his attacks that they had previously applauded. The again proved they can dish it out but they can’t take it. I am interested in knowing if he is going to finish his book or if not would he be willing to post it on the internet. I am especially interested in hearing the reasons that Patterson had him attacking the IMB. He once said he was offered a job or had a job at Southwestern paid by cooperative program funds for the purpose of finding issues to use to attack Jerry Rankin and others at the IMB. If this is true I would like to hear confirmation of that.

Since this post was about Ben, could someone can answer these questions if he is not going to publish his book. Maybe CB Scott could comment. Why did he break with Patterson? Why was Patterson bringing him to SWBTS? What is the status of his book? Did he finish his Ph.D.? Why did he say he was leaving the SBC? Did he have any real knowledge of the SBC outside of the Patterson/CR bubble he lived in before his revolt?
Ron West

CB Scott said...


I know this:

Ben has moved on.
He is doing well.
He has no connection with Judd Gregg.
His being in the picture is mere coincidence.
He was not happy with this post.


Wade Burleson said...


I know this:

CB didn't answer one of your questions, and I'm not happy with his comment.

:) Just ribbing him.


CB Scott said...

No, I did not answer one of his questions, Wade.

But I did tell the truth.

Wade, The Gregg clip was on the news. That is for sure.

Ben told me about it. He said it was simply coincidence. He also said he told you the same thing.

There is not a connection between Cole and Gregg just as there is no connection between Cole and other things, people and places any longer; no matter what may be inferred or implied by any particular person related by events, places or circumstances of the past.

Some things just end. Some things just run their course. Some things should.


Wade Burleson said...



Sometimes I have no idea what you are saying.

The old Indians used to say, "Him speaketh with fork-ed tongue."

You speak with confusing tongue.


Ron said...

I have a lot of respect for Ben Cole. He his a lot of talent and ability that if used correctly could benefit him and those he associates with. I am not sure it was used well when he was working with Patterson and the CR bullies. I know nothing of his background or personal history.

I was always amazed at the inside information he had on what was happening inside Southwestern and I assume he had the same information from inside Southeastern when he was there. I was especially interested in his time studying the IMB and trying to find heresy. I am with the IMB and heard stories about him before I even knew his name. I recall him talking about making trips with some professor at Southeastern to different mission fields to meet with SEBTS grads to try and gather dirt on the IMB leadership. I wonder if this was done with CP funds or if he is independently wealthy and can pay for these trips himself. These are questions I had hoped to hear answered in his book but it looks like it is another project he is now going to follow though on. I think he would be a great source on the extent the CR will go to attack, slander and destroy those theological conservatives who will not follow their leadership or swear obedience to their leaders.

CB would also be a good source of information if he would just share the facts without letting emotion enter into his stories. I know that is hard to do for me also. I have seen too much of the harm the CR has done to ever speak in any way favorable to it or its leadership.
Ron West

Blake said...

LOL! I never knew Ben Cole used to be the Cardinal Josef Ratzinger of the SBC. Too bad Ben didn't become SBC's pope. He'd do a better job than the mob bosses currently running things.