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

The Only Certainty Is God is God and I Am Not

I am a Southern Baptist by conviction and by choice. Our church supports the Cooperative Program and our missions offerings, and we willingly fellowship, cooperate, and support the SBC. Anyone who reads Hardball Religion knows my commitment to our Convention.

There is a great deal that we Southern Baptists can learn from fellow Baptists in either the Baptist World Alliance or other Baptist organizations, conventions or agencies. The following article is written by the Executive Director of Texas Mainstream Baptists, David Currie. In my opinion, David articulates quite well why all of us should be humble about our interpretations of the Word of God in those areas that are not fundamental to the Christian faith. Some will dismiss what Mr. Currie writes because of his association with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, but we Southern Baptists do so to our detriment.

Currie's article, orginally printed in his Rancher's Rumblings, is printed for you below:

"Throughout the history of the church, there have always been those afflicted with the disease of certitude. They know the truth. They know God's thinking on everything. No matter the question, they have the answer, because God has revealed it to them. And any who disagree with them are heretics.

Michael Sattler was killed by church members who had succumbed to the crippling effects of certitude. In The Anabaptist Story, Dr. William R. Estep records what happened to Sattler:

"On a spring day in May, 1527, Michael Sattler was sentenced to death at the imperial city of Rottenburg on the Neckar River. The sentence read: Michael Sattler shall be committed to the executioner. The latter shall take him to the square and there first cut out his tongue, and then forge him fast to a wagon and there with glowing iron tongs twice tear pieces from his body, then on the way to the site of execution five times more as above and then burn his body to powder as an arch-heretic."
What terrible things did Michael Sattler do to deserve to be put to death in such a horrible and cruel manner? According to the religious authorities of his day, Sattler wrongly "taught, maintained and believed that the body and blood of Christ were not present in the sacrament" and "he taught and believed, that infant-baptism was not promotive of salvation.

Baptists today agree with Sattler's theology. But in 1527 he was considered a heretic. Church members said he did not believe the Bible. He disagreed with those in authority and power. And he paid for his faith with his life.

In 1527, the Church called Sattler a heretic for teaching and believing contrary to "absolute truth." Today's Baptists consider the Church's absolute truth of 1527 to be heresy. On the other hand, today's Baptists consider Sattler's heresy of 1527 to be mainstream Baptist doctrine.

By the same token, might there be something considered "absolute truth" in 2009 that will be viewed as heresy 500 years from now?

The Bible is absolute truth. Where we get into trouble is by confusing our interpretations with the Bible itself. Our interpretations of the Bible are never absolute truth - and any who believe otherwise are sadly deceived, laboring under a controlling delusion.

Consider the content of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. At best, statements of faith are the best efforts of people at the time they're written. But using a "statement of faith" as an "instrument of doctrinal accountability" is both dangerous and evil. That's precisely what the SBC has been doing increasingly for the past 9 years, having wielded the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message as that "instrument of doctrinal accountability.

When the Southern Baptist Convention was formed in 1845, the founders did not adopt any creed or statement of faith, saying: "Confessions are only guides in interpretation, having no authority over the conscience."

W. B. Johnson, first president of the SBC, explained: "We have constructed for our basis no new creed, acting in this manner upon a Baptist aversion for all creeds but the Bible."

Today we recognize the wisdom of their decision, knowing that, if they had written a Baptist Faith and Message in 1845, it would almost certainly have included, under the heading "The Christian and the Social Order," language such as this:

In the spirit of Christ, slaveowners should treat their slaves with respect and dignity. Slaves should likewise obey their masters.
In fact, you can be sure that they would have cited - prooftexted, that is - scripture at the conclusion of the section in the same way that they cite carefully selected scripture as support in the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. And they would have been perpetrating a malignant interpretation of Scripture by endorsing great evil.

I am not opposed to doctrinal accountability on fundamental issues. Employees of any SBC, BGCT, or CBF institution or agency should affirm their belief that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, that Jesus was born of a virgin, and that the Bible is God's inspired Word and our authority in matters of faith and practice.

The problem with Fundamentalists, however, is that they have too broad a definition of what is a "fundamental issue." Yes, there are a few theological beliefs, as I've just stated, on which all Baptists should be expected to agree. However, there are many, many more on which the Scripture is open to interpretation - and on which good and faithful Baptists can and do disagree.

No Baptist, no missionary, no employee should be required to affirm every word of a statement of faith written by others - especially in matters that are not essential to salvation. Such nonessential matters include the role of women in the church and the structure of the family. Arrogance is symptomatic of the disease of certitude in nonessential matters - left untreated, it will cripple the Church.

You know, it is highly probable that, 100 years from now, most Southern Baptists will be very comfortable with both the idea and the reality of women pastors. Based on the experience of others, it is likely that this changed understanding will start in rural churches where congregations cannot afford to pay a full-time pastor.

For many years now, residents of rural communities have seen the local Methodist pastor do a good job of preaching and ministering - and, in many rural Methodist churches, the pastor is a woman. Increasingly, Baptists understand Paul's words to Timothy on pastoral qualifications as advice for a specific first-century culture rather than as a theological rule for the ages. They believe that God is making His intent clearer as He calls more and more women to all kinds of ministry, gifting them so well that no one with eyes to see or ears to hear can deny their call.

In responding to God's call, these women simply want to be obedient, to live out their call to preach the Word, visit the sick, baptize those who confess Christ as Lord, hold the hands of the dying and the bereaved, and to voice a prayer.

And yet it is over this issue - on which sincere, genuine Baptists should be able to earnestly disagree - that Southern Baptists have fired seminary professors and forced faithful missionaries to leave their fields of service. The disease of certitude is hurting God's work, hampering those God has called, crippling the church.

The problem with certitude is that, so often, what we are so certain of turns out to be dead wrong. Some early Judean believers taught that no man could be saved unless he was circumcised (Acts 15). The church members who burned Michael Sattler at the stake were sure they were right. Our ancestors were so sure the Bible taught they had the right to own other persons created in God's image that they fought a war for that "right." SBC leaders are so sure that they're right to require Baptist missionaries and seminary professors to affirm a faith statement written by someone else that they'll fire those faithful servants if they refuse to sign away their consciences.

No, we do not burn our fellow believers at the stake anymore, but we still "tear pieces from the body" of their work or their reputations with the "hot tongs" of untruth. Paul Pressler - one of the two co-conspirators in the 1979 Fundamentalist Takeover of the SBC - told a Houston television interviewer in 1982, "In some of our Southern Baptist seminaries, not a single professor believes the Bible is the Word of God." Do you think he really believed that?

We may "cut out the tongue" of a long-term missionary by silencing his or her witness on the field simply because he or she cannot in good conscience affirm the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. We may "forge fast to the wagon" those whose freedom to follow God's direction is hindered by required adherence to a human "instrument of doctrinal accountability."

History - and our own experience - tell us that human beings are often wrong. We are sinful people, unable to fully comprehend the mind of God or the teachings of Holy Scripture. Those who forget this basic truth are guilty of arrogance. Imposing one's own certitude on other believers in nonessential matters can become great evil. We must always have the humility of our Lord, and our humility should remind us that we don't fully know the mind of God on any matter. As Paul wrote, "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror" (1 Corinthians 13:12, NIV).

If we are to carry God's love through His Son to a world that needs Him, we must stay open to the work of the Holy Spirit within us. But staying open to the work of the Holy Spirit within us means repenting of our arrogance and laying it at Jesus' feet. It means admitting that we don't know everything. And it even means opening ourselves to the possibility that our interpretation might be wrong and the interpretation of our brother or sister might be right.

In other words, staying open to the work of the Holy Spirit within us means staying open to the work of the Holy Spirit in others, too - and to the call of God upon their lives."
Good words, David. The only certainty is that God Word is infallible, but those of us who interpret His Word are not. In short: God is God and we are not. Humility in the heart is a good antidote to absolute certitude on matters non-essential to the fundamentals of the Christian faith.

In His Grace,

Wade

126 comments:

Kevin M. Crowder said...

There were heretics in the 16 century, there are heretics today. They killed them then, we don't today. The church has grown Wade. There is no parallel to be made here.

"The Bible is absolute truth. Where we get into trouble is by confusing our interpretations with the Bible itself. Our interpretations of the Bible are never absolute truth - and any who believe otherwise are sadly deceived, laboring under a controlling delusion."

Oh, ok, let me dissect this. The Bible is absolute truth, but we cannot be sure we know it.

Poppycock!!!

I am absolutely convinced that my interpretations of which I am absolutely convinced are absolute truth and that all opposing interpretations are less than truth--until such time as the Spirit directs me otherwise. Otherwise I would be a foolish idiot believing in things to which I cannot truly comprehend as truth.

Wade Burleson said...

Kevin,

Please tell me God's mind on the following:

(1). Is one of the gifts of the Spirit speaking in tongues, and does that gift continue to this day?
(2). Did Christ die in the stead of, and atone for, the sins of His elect, or did He die as a substitute for every single sinner who has ever lived?
(3). Should communion be opened to every believer in Jesus Christ who is in the worship service, or only those who have been baptized properly?
(4). Should a Christian woman refuse to wear pearls, gold jewelry, and other outward adornments, or she she abstain from placing such things on her body?
(5). Can God call a divorced man or woman to be a missionary?
(6). Is there an "office" of pastor in Scripture?
(7). What does the Bible referring to when it says "deacon" Phoebe? (there is no Greek feminine "deaconness").

These are just seven are multiple questions that I am anxious to hear the "correct and truthful" interpretation that comes through you via God, and look forward to telling everyone else who may disagree with you that they are "foolish idiots" for not being able to believe the truth as revealed by Kevin.

Smile,

Wade

Chris Ryan said...

Kevin,

Let me translate your last bit:

"I am convinced that faith is unnecessary because I learned to read in kindergarten and hope I picked up critical thinking skills some time since then."

You can preach your interpretation with full assurance. Preach boldly. Preach unapologetically. But never preach like you have the end-all of interpretation.

You are an expositor (may God raise up thousands more). I hope that means that you have used commentaries to help further your understanding. Do these men always have the same interpretations? No. But can each teach their interpretation? Yes. Because each teach truth as best they understand it while acknowledging the limits of their knowledge, discernment, self-awareness, spiritual growth, and wisdom.

There is *nothing* unfaithful about admitting that your firmest convictions may be wrong while being firmly convinced that they are not. That is spiritual and intellectual honesty.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Wade,

I am going to first answer Chris Ryan before I prophecy. :)


"There is *nothing* unfaithful about admitting that your firmest convictions may be wrong while being firmly convinced that they are not. That is spiritual and intellectual honesty."

Chris,

If you will re-read my post instead of making your own interpretation you might find that I said exactly that.


"I am convinced that faith is unnecessary because I learned to read in kindergarten and hope I picked up critical thinking skills some time since then."

2 things:

1. Based on that interpretation of what I said, it appears to me that you have a wrong definition of faith. Thought the folks on DayStar might agree with you.

2. Speaking of DayStar and TBN etc, their idea of a critical analysis of Scripture ends with a simpletonistic literal reading of every word or phrase without reference to its context. God gave us His word via written language. Thus, in order to understand it, one must first be equipped to understand the linguistic, grammatical, and syntactical devices employed in the language of delivery (English) and trust that God enabled men and women of old, and present to understand not only English, but also the language of reception (Greek, Hebrew). We can say that our ability to know God's Word in part rests in the hands of fallible men. And through the knowledge gained from the labors of fallible men we know about the sovereignty and purposes of God which are unstoppable and immutable.


Other than that, I though your comment was superb. Thank you.

K

mike fox said...

interesting post, thanks for posting it

i think the title and overall conclusion is a little to reductionist. we (believers, evangelicals, baptists, i don't know) can be certain about MORE than the fact that we're not. i am certain about the incarnation, about atonement and resurrection, about the church's duty to proclaim the gospel, and about the content of that gospel.

i appreciate what you're trying to say and do, but i think if we reduce our aboslutes down to "the only certainty is God is God and I am not," we're not much different than the other monotheistic faiths.

faith has content. i'm not for lengthy creeds, but as karl barth pointed out, we have to make "yes" and "no" statements and judgments whether we like it or not

still, i appreciate what you're saying

mike

Tim Marsh said...

David Currie's articles is one of the best I have read on doctrinal certitude, and the dangers thereof.

On the one hand, I want to sympathize with Kevin's position. I believe that we must work for clarity in reading and interpreting scripture. Following the "Duke Theology" in my background, I am thoroughly convinced that theology and ethics are interconnected. Bad theology will lead to bad ethics. Bad ethics indicates bad theology. Interesting note: James McClendon BEGAN his systematic theology with Ethics, and then moved to doctrine.

However, as Pastor Wade points out, it is difficult to speak with certainty on matters that he indicated. He has used terms such as secondary and tertiary to describe theological matters in which disagreement is possible and still the possibility to maintain fellowship.

The question is how to judge which ones are secondary and tertiary. I firmly believe that eschatology needs to be at least a secondary issue, possibly a primary issue. Eschatology probably effects more Christian practice and ethics than we want to realize. Yet, the church has never been able to speak with certainty on Eschatology.

My theology professor at Beeson, Fisher Humphreys, always spoke with clarity, yet with an unmatched kindness and humility, as he articulated the theological vision of scripture in class and in his Thinking about God. Some thought that he was being a "peacemaker," but, as an example, he has done the best at mediating between those who claim biblical inerrancy and those who do not use "inerrancy" to describe the Bible, but hold a high view of scripture.

I think that what attracts others to fundamentalism is the certainty of fundamentalism regarding particular doctrines. John MacArthur is a prime example. He is so certain in the clarity of scriptures, his church is its own denomination (there is no such thing as non-denominational). MacArthur has a following because he speaks with conviction, but I think that he is dead wrong on matters.

We need to speak with humility when we speak about doctrine and ethics, realizing that our interpretations are fallible, while scripture is not.

However, some of this is about power. And, as Chancellor Palpatine counseled Anakin Skywalker: "Those who gain power are afraid to lose it...even the Jedi."

Chris Ryan said...

But Kevin, by virtue of being willing to admit that on some given issue you may be wrong, you cannot claim that "all opposing interpretations are less than truth." You can say that all opposing interpretations are different, but you can be no more assured of their relation to *absolute* truth than you can be of your own. Where room for error exists, there are no absolutes (which is why I think we can agree there is no room for error on salvation by grace through Jesus Christ)

That does not mean that an absolute truth, a final reality, ONE truth, does not exist. It means that where you and I may be misinterpreting we cannot say we have anything absolute.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Wade,

I would never presume to tell you the mind of God. But I will attempt to tell you His revealed will as found in the available English texts of the Holy writings of the Apostles and Prophets compiled by the Spirit and sustained to this day by the hand of the Almighty in written form, perfect in essence and complete in its divine content and void of error or contradictions.

(1). Is one of the gifts of the Spirit speaking in tongues, and does that gift continue to this day?

(A1) Yes. Some claim that it does yet their practices differ widely leaving no general consensus of method and mode. The Bible is silent as to the continuation of this gift yet that silence should not be construed as to be for or against the practice. The Bible says we will know them by their fruits. We can today see no practical fruit from this gift as being edifying to the Body of Christ. While I can say with certainty that the Spirit has not given me this gift and thus will never be employed by me, it is not my place to emphatically denounce the practice alone, but clearly discern ministries and ministers for whom their general theology employs emotionalistic tactics to puff up the glory of "self."(2). Did Christ die in the stead of, and atone for, the sins of His elect, or did He die as a substitute for every single sinner who has ever lived?

(A2) Yes, as a substitute for the sins of the elect only. What you are asking me here ultimately is: did Christ die for those in hell? The answer is no.(3). Should communion be opened to every believer in Jesus Christ who is in the worship service, or only those who have been baptized properly?

(A3) Just as salvation is freely offered to those who believe, so to must the Lord's table be freely offered to those who believe. While it is my hope that every believer will follow the Lord in baptism, it is not my place to say that that must come before communion. We have no proof that everyone who observed the Lord's Supper in the Bible was baptized nor should we assume this.(4). Should a Christian woman refuse to wear pearls, gold jewelry, and other outward adornments, or she[sic] abstain from placing such things on her body?

(A4) Wade, I have a feeling we all know men and women who could spend a bit less money gaudiing themselves up, especially in the company of the Saints. There was a context to the passage which is the basis of your question. But it does not apply today to the normal moderate use of jewelry, regardless of the material out of which it is made.(5). Can God call a divorced man or woman to be a missionary?

(A5) Yes. He can and does. We need to keep in mind that sin is sin. That God's revealed will is the standard of ALL righteousness. But His decreed will (that which He allows to happen) is the reality of God's righteousness in a world under the curse of sin. It’s also called grace. That is to say we get a break. Some would see the righteousness of God and outcast all who do not meet that standard. God sees them and calls them to be missionaries. :) (6). Is there an "office" of pastor in Scripture?

(A6) I asked God and He wants to know what you mean by "office." ;) (7). What does the Bible referring[sic] to when it says "deacon" Phoebe? (there is no Greek feminine "deaconess[sic]").

(A7)She was a servant of the church in Corinth. As to the Greek, the word diakonos is a common gender noun. It is an accusative noun in Romans 16:1 following a accusative feminine singular participle (ousan). But none of that really matters as you will find in YOUR copy of Carson's "Exegetical Fallacies." While my copy is boxed up ready for a move, I assure you he addresses gender issues. It matters not whether this word is masculine, feminine of neuter in respect to whether the word diakonos get a capital "D" or not. Greek does not work that way, at least not always. Here is my opinion (which of course comes from the Lord) :)

The word diakonos is always used in reference to a servant of the church or of the Lord. But different "deacons" have different duties. Some deacons serve as helpers to the Pastor or Elder charged with care and oversight of the flock. These deacons need to hold the same qualifications as the pastor (see 1Tim3). Phoebe was not this type of deacon. She was a servant of either of a more general nature or given a specific task, like helping Paul.
I’ll let you know when and if I ever get “new light.”

:)

K

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Chris,

One more then I am off to bed.

We both know that truth exists whether you or I would hold to its exact essence or not. But you can be darn skippy that that which I hold to be true I do so with the afore mentioned conviction to the point that it would take a whack on the head to change my mind. Thankfully the Lord has done just that several times on several issues. But we are not talking about truth wherein the Bible is silent. Who wrote Hebrew? I answer who cares? :) Will Christ come before or after the 7 year tribulation? I answer will there even be a 7 year tribulation? :)

Those types of answers are not a lack of conviction, but rather answers resting on the silence of Scripture.

k

Anonymous said...

Where's the humility?

Ron said...

Wade,
David makes a good point. There are many beliefs that were accepted as certain by leading theologians throughout Christian History that have become not so certain. Even many of our reformation leaders imposed theological rules on those they led in much the same way the Catholic Church had ruled them.

I know that David was trying to show that absolute certitude on matters of non-essential theological beliefs has been the guiding force behind the actions of the conservative resurgence political organization. I believe that has been the stated reason but in actual practice it has little to do with theology. The main guiding force in the conservative resurgence in selecting those allowed to serve in SBC leadership positions and on trustee boards has been support for the conservative resurgence political goals and unquestioning obedience to its leaders. It has not been theological. Theological positions are only used as a tool to eliminate those suspected of not supporting the leadership. Theological beliefs are enforced or ignored at the convenience of the CR leadership.

For example Wade, were you censored and voted to be expelled from the IMB because of theological differences with the trustee leadership or because you did not support their agenda and questioned their actions? When in SBC history has a trustee board passed a motion saying when trustees speak publicly they can only voice support for actions of the trustees whether they agree with them or not? What would have been the reaction of the CR leaders if all the trustee boards had passed similar motions back in the early 80s before the CR had a majority?

I have seen this most closely in my home state of Arkansas. SBC presidents for many years gave authority to decide who could serve on convention trustee boards to a small group in NW Arkansas and primarily to one man in Rogers, Arkansas who has never been elected to any position of leadership or responsibility by the Baptists of Arkansas. As result, the overwhelming majority of Baptists in Arkansas are never considered for any national position. Instead a small group of people are chosen multiple times to serve in different capacities. We have pastors and laypersons from churches that have been strong supporters of the SBC and its missions programs who are never asked to serve. On the other hand, we have pastors and laypersons from churches that have shown minimal support for the SBC, the CP and the missions programs of our convention and a record of poor leadership in their local church chosen annually. Often these pastors and laypersons have shown no support for or knowledge of the workings of the entity for which they have been chosen to serve as trustee. As an example, one Arkansas Baptist chosen to serve on the SBC executive committee and on the committee on nominations and other SBC committees by the leaders or the CR left his SBC church and decided to join a Lutheran church. I wonder how important the theology represented by the BFM was to him while he was serving in those positions. I suspect there are similar stories in other states. The SBC is like an army going out to war but leaving behind most of its best trained and most loyal soldiers. It is no wonder we are declining in baptisms, membership and number of churches under CR leadership.

Wade, I will not try to answer your five questions but I will comment on two.
As far as number 5, it seems the IMB has said divorced persons can serve as missionaries but they must serve at a lower salary than other career missionaries and they may not serve in a leadership position.
As far as number 7, the CR leadership and the writers of the BFM2K seem to be saying that a woman Phoebe served as a deacon and this should be an accepted practice in the SBC today. For example, I doubt if any church in the SBC has been allowed to have more members serve as trustees or in other positions of leadership in our convention than Capitol Hill Baptist Church in D.C. and this church has women deacons. It seems the CR leadership has endorsed the concept of women deacons by their actions. This is also an example of how theological certainties have changed from just a few years ago when Paul Pressler and other CR leaders said having women deacons was a sign of a liberal church.
Ron West

Anonymous said...

It does worry me that someone might actually be accepting David Currie as an authority on anything. Check out his writings--everything he writes is to disparage conservatives and very little else. David has a tendency to find a snake under every rock.

But then there are snakes on both sides of the SBC issue.

Ron Mackey said...

Just a comment on Kevin's origianl reply, "There were heretics in the 16 century, there are heretics today. They killed them then, we don't today."
Kevin, do you mean to state that Michael Sattler was a heretic? If so, then you would fall in with those who sought out his death (not to imply you would ask for his death today, just that you would agree with his 'fault'). I think a re-reading of history here would should some good light on the brave and sacrificial contributions to the overall baptist life by this courageous and prophetic witness.

Jeff said...

When were the Abstract of Principles created?

Jeff said...

When the original charter of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was adopted in 1858 it contained the following statement which continues as a part of the "fundamental laws." "Every professor of the institution shall be a member of a regular Baptist Church; and all persons accepting professorships in this Seminary shall be considered, by such acceptance, as engaging to teach in accordance with, and not contrary to, the Abstract of Principles hereinafter laid down, a departure from which principles on his part shall be grounds for his resignation or removal by the Trustees."

Jeff said...

Sounds like this seminary had standards......

Thy Peace said...

Link correction: Rancher's Rumblings.

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jake Barker said...

Wade,
Let me preface the following with this statement...normally you and I are in agreement with the great majority of that which you post. However I find a multitude of problems with your speaking of the SBC in the same sentence as United Methodists. Having spent many years as a UM, the seeming majority of female UM pastors are at best in error and worse heretics and apostate. There are exceptions but few. The problems of the UM's stem from denying or ignoring the very basic orthodoxy that has been established over the centuries of the Christian church (universal not specific denominational). May God forbid that our SBC pastors whether male or in the future, female, hold to the unorthodox beliefs of many, many UM pasotrs. And before any (baptist, methodist or whatever)reading this jump on me for generalizing....I can, have and will in the future name names of UM's that hold to un-orthodox theology.

Jeff said...

How can be sure that the Bible is our authority? If no one can know for sure what it means.

Jeff said...

I reread the article and it disturbs me even more because it is entirely pragmatically driven. The reason there will be women pastors in the future so writes this fellow who is a Texas Baptist who is committed (to what?)is that rural churches will need a pastor so they will just call a woman. How demeaning to women? What an insult to trust God to provide biblical male leadership? Perhaps, instead of compromising those rural churches should pray and seek God's counsel.

Jeff said...

Another problem: Just because someone thinks they have a call doesn't make it a call. The call on our life will not contradict Scripture. The Bible does not allow for women pastors.

john said...

Wade,

I think the first guy had it most right. If we follow your logic in this post your position would be that the Bible is God's word but we can't know what it says. In the end, anything goes because no one wants to speak authoritatively. May God save us all from being certain of what we believe.

No, I can't go there. Count me among those Baptists who sin by knowing what I believe and why. Currie is wrong on this point and you are wrong for agreeing with him.

Oops, that sounds like I am certain.

John

Wade Burleson said...

Kevin,

Thanks for taking the time to answer thoughtfully. Remarkably, you and I see pretty much eye to eye on every single question.

And, you and I would never qualify as SBC missionaries. But, with the attitude of certitude by the Fundamentalists in charge, our disagreement with the doctrinal standards is an argument with God.

Blessings,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Jeff,

Nobody is saying "you can't know what the Bible means." I preach expositionally every Sunday, and the study of the Bible is central as I explain meaning. I am quick to confess, however, when evangelicals disagree on a matter, that I could be the one wrong in my interpretation. You seem to be saying that ONLY liberals and non-Bible believing Christians are affirming women in ministry. Jeff, there are thousands of solid, Bible-believing conservatives who believe a woman can be a pastor.

Jeff said...

Wade, In what post did I use the word liberals, I can't find it.

Thy Peace said...

Amen.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Jeff,

And one of those standards is pro-wine.

Jeff said...

ok

Kerygma said...

I find it interesting that conservatives continue to stress the virginal conception of Jesus as a doctrine more primary than his resurrection from the dead.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Let me say that I am basically pleased in some areas for the CR in relation to being a local church pastor.

I don't have to worry about the Sunday School literature having a nonconservative bent to it.

If someone wants to go to seminary, there is a great school [Southeastern] in my state that I can recommend to them.

However, it does bother me that if I taught, as a pastor, that Spirit baptism is when only Christ baptizes in the Spirit, then that could possibly keep someone from doing missions through the IMB.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Kerygma,

Without the VC, the R would have never happened. It is not that it is more important, but that it is the condition by which the sacrifice was made possible, resulting in the need for a resurrection. What about that do you take issue with?

Jesus the man was born of the Spirit, not of water (seminal fluid). This is important to the fact that He did not possess a sin nature. No one is saying that sex is a sin, but that one cannot deny the curse of the REAL original sin, that of Adam. The consequence is hereditary depravity in toto.

Lydia said...

"Let me say that I am basically pleased in some areas for the CR in relation to being a local church pastor.

I don't have to worry about the Sunday School literature having a nonconservative bent to it."

Benji, You have to be kidding. I will give you ONE example of why I quit using Lifeway materials years ago (beside the fact they are shallow and cherry pick passages in their precept materials usually leaving out the tough ones that are controversial)

In one study on Genesis the writer gave an example of what studying Genesis did for her: She was convicted by the Lord to stop using paper plates in order to be a good steward of the planet.

Maybe I just was insulted since my everyday dinnerware is called "Dixie". :o)

Benji Ramsaur said...

It basically comes down to this to me.

When we talk Southern Baptist history, we may talk Boyce, Dagg, Mell, and Carroll.

However, when we talk Southern Baptist "Cooperative Program" history, we are now talking about E.Y. Mullins baby.

Like it or not.

And the truth of the matter, as I see it, is that the baby has been changed.

And just as there were consequences to Mullins baby so there are consequences to this new baby as well.

People can complain about the consequences of Mullins baby if they want to, but if you change the baby, then I think you are going to have to deal with the consequences of that as well.

Personally, I think the new baby does have its theological benefits, but I think it's joints are too rigid.

Wade Burleson said...

Jeff, you said: How can be sure that the Bible is our authority? If no one can know for sure what it means.Sorry, Jeff. The above is usually what I hear as the definition for liberals and assumed the word.

Thanks for the clarification.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Lydia,

I'm not saying that I could sign off on all of Lifeway's material.

However, I do believe I can be confident that it will maintain a good level of orthodoxy.

I don't think most pastors can initially come into a typical SBC church and change the Sunday School literature even if they wanted to.

Therefore, it is nice to have some level of confidence, as a pastor, in the material they are already using [even if the material gets changed in the future].

I would not be happy with any material that would teach a shifting of the flock's faith from Scripture to experience or to some "Jesus?" [notice the question mark] for example.

Anonymous said...

"Another problem: Just because someone thinks they have a call doesn't make it a call. The call on our life will not contradict Scripture. The Bible does not allow for women pastors."

Well. Jeff, you are 'certain'?

A call from God is unmistakable to those who recieve it. There is no question because of its strength and power to redirect that individual toward the service of God.

The Presence of the Lord in your life as you read the scriptures enables you to understand their meaning. You will never be able to understand everything in this life or all at once, but you will be give grace as needed.

The 'Bible' is clear on the following:

a young girl carried the Savior of the World in her womb.

a mighty daughter of Israel taught Torah to her people and served as a judge and finally, led an army against their foes. Even the general she commanded would not go into battle without her. And God granted Deborah victory over the Canaanites.

A woman was given the greatest privilege of a spokesperson for the Lord and was told to announce the news of the Resurrection to the men.

What is clear in the Bible?
That it does not record women being taught how to iron their husband's handkerchiefs in the manner of Prof. Dorothy Patterson at SWBTS.

God has found a better use of women than that. And no Baptist can deny this by saying that 'the Bible is clear' on the lowered position of women. It ain't in there.

Jeff, if you want 'men' to be your authority, you will never be safe.
You need to trust the Presence of God in your life to guide you and to learn to listen to your own conscience. The laws of God have been written on your heart. Honor them. Honor Him.

Jeff said...

Here we have a problem! You have assumed that women have a lower position just because they can't be a pastor.

Can you name one woman pastor in the Bible?

Jeff said...

A call from God will never contradict Scripture. No power how strong the feelings are in a person.

Jeff

Lydia said...

Here we have a problem! You have assumed that women have a lower position just because they can't be a pastor.

Can you name one woman pastor in the Bible?

Sat May 02, 12:12:00 PM 2009

Jeff, if pastors are so very important, can you name the 'pastor' of the Corinthian church? Why weren't ALL the Epistles written to the 'pastors'.?

Perhaps you are assuming a 'higher position'?

Jeff said...

Way to dodge the question:

The question is:

Can you name one female pastor in the Bible?

Only By His Grace said...

Kevin,

I am absolutely certain your interpretations are not absolute truth. We have truths, only God has The Truth. I am always scared of anyone who claims to have The Truth. We have seen enough Jimmy Jones', David Koreshes, Adolph Hitlers, Lennins, and others to last us until the Lord comes.

My Absolute Truth is that the Bible is Absolute Truth for all faith and practice. Don't ask me to prove it. I cannot and neither can anyone else. It is called a faith statement.

Phil in Norman

Anonymous said...

Jeff, your argument is flawed:

It goes like this:

The 'Bible says' women cannot preach.
So God cannot 'call' women to preach, because He would contradict 'the Bible'
Therefore, women who say they have been 'called' are wrong.


With a little insight, anyone can take your argument and turn it on its head. Like this:


God will never contradict 'the Bible'
God calls women to preach the Word.
Therefore the Bible may not restrict women from preaching the Word.

Only By His Grace said...

Wade,

One of your best blogs ever and I have only read one comment. Thank a million.

Phil in Norman

Jeff said...

Its not flawed. God will never contradict what He has revealed in Scripture to an individual based on a feeling.

Lydia said...

The question is:

Can you name one female pastor in the Bible?

Sat May 02, 12:26:00 PM 2009

I am not so sure I can name one 'male pastor' of a church in the NT. Can we define 'pastor' and 'church', first?

Was Timothy as 'pastor' as we define it today? He is described as a 'servant' and here we see this:

6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. 7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward.

We see this in 2 Tim:

9Make every effort to come to me soon;

In Titus we see he was to teach specific things and 'appoint elders' but then we know he was also instructed not to stay:

12 When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.

Was he a 'pastor' as we define it today?

Was Diotrephes a pastor? Gaius? Why aren't they described as such if they are and this is such a 'high position'?

I am just trying to understand where you are coming from.

Jeff said...

So you can't name one female pastor in the NT. Let's deal with that first.

Anonymous said...

Has God limited himself as to whom he can call? I think not. WE limit him in our finite minds. "Lord, open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me." We may have glimpses, but I think we can't take in the entire scope of God's greatness. Thanks, Wade, for this post.
Florence in KY

Anonymous said...

By the way, Wade, I just finished reading Hardball Religion. It is well written, and I pray it will make an good impact on all who read it. It is in our church library, and as librarian, I shall promote it!
Florence in KY

Jeff said...

God has not limited himself who he calls, but we are limited who can say we are called to be a pastor.

Robert said...

Who cares what David Currie believes.....Really!

I certainly dont care.

Robert from Geneva

Jeff

Lydia wont be convinced by anyone...she has a lot of certitude about her beliefs on women in ministry. She wants you to bend but she will never change!

Jeff said...

Lydia, is a fundie.

Lydia said...

Lydia wont be convinced by anyone...she has a lot of certitude about her beliefs on women in ministry. She wants you to bend but she will never change!

Sat May 02, 01:46:00 PM 2009

Robert, that is attacking the messenger who is asking sincere questions. It is not engaging in content.

The truth is that I DID change.

Lydia said...

Lydia, is a fundie.

Sat May 02, 01:53:00 PM 2009

LOL! Yes I am. I most definitely believe in the fundamentals of the faith. It is all the extrabiblical interpretations of secondary teachings I am concerned about. We seem to be making them salvic doctrine.

I am not so sure they would be so primary if we were still meeting in homes and being persecuted by the civil authorities.

word verification: locksmiz

Robert said...

Lydia,
Can you you show me One time that someone has said that if you believe that women can be pastors that you are not saved?

Not saved is not the same thing as saying we should not allow it in SBC circles.

Light that strawman
Light that strawman


Robert from Geneva

Robert said...

Lydia,
We are all still waiting for the example of a women pastor in the Bible!

Robert from Geneva

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"My Absolute Truth is that the Bible is Absolute Truth for all faith and practice."

Phil, how come you get to have absolute truths, and God can have The Truth, but I don't get to have (or know) truth? or is it jsut when my truth is different form your truth?

I contend that you will just simply need to be scared...VERY scared!


:)

Lydia said...

Light that strawman
Light that strawman


Robert from Geneva

Sat May 02, 02:41:00 PM 2009

Robert, are you sure you want to allude to fire pyre and Geneva in the same comment? :o)


"obert said...
Lydia,
We are all still waiting for the example of a women pastor in the Bible!"

I am not sure what all 'pastor' entails by your definition but I can name some female prophets for you. I would be interested in the difference and biblical examples of those from the NT. I cannot seem to find anyone specific, male or female, described as a 'pastor' in the NT. But I am open to your suggestions.

Jeff said...

What we do find is a list of rules for Pastors that are addressed to men?

Anonymous said...

Read
the Book of Ruth

teacher of Torah
judge
prophetess
warrior

The word 'pastor' does not appear in the Bible.

The analogy of a leader of the church being like a shepherd does.
Deborah in the Bible is a great example of someone who taught, preserved the law, prophesied, and fought against the foes of her 'flock'.

The 'pastor' thing is not in the Bible as such. It is a more modern term.

Stephen Pruett said...

Robert and Jeff,

You didn't yet name the male pastors in the Bible. The truth is, the term pastor is a modern invention, and the New Testament Church did not have an analogous position. There were women prophets. I can't name them, but I assume Paul would not have told women to cover their hair when the prophesied. There was a woman "deacon", Phoebe. There was a woman "apostle", Junia. There were women who "contended at Paul's side in the gospel" (note he didn't say they contended under his command), Priscilla (along with Aquila) taught Apollos.

The clear hierarchical role distinctions you like so much simply are not explicitly defined in scripture. They are based on interpretations, which are based on assumptions, which are fallible.

It is interesting that you guys have me siding with Lydia on this, because my guess is that I agree with you about more interpretations than with her. I have never been a member of a church that had a woman pastor, and I suspect that none of them would have; and that is fine with me. There is room for that interpretation in scripture. It is when you say there is only room for that but you cannot refute objections that there is a problem.

I assume since you are so certain about 2 Tim 2 that you also require women in your church to have long hair and men to have short hair (1 Corinthians 11). If not, why not? What is the difference?

Anonymous said...

Check that.
Read the book of Judges, not Ruth.

Only By His Grace said...

Kevin,

I stand behind my comment. When you or anyone claims to have The Truth, you scare me.

Eric Hoffer wrote a little booklet (less than 150 pages) entitled, "The True Believer." He saw what those who claimed to have the asolute truth could do to a whole continent from 1932-1945.

I posit, I cannot prove, I posit that the Bible is the only authority or rule for all our faith and practice. It is my one great leap of faith. I believe only Absolute Truths of all our faith and practice come from the Bible and no where else. Any deductions from those truths are suject and suspect of error.

Phil in Norman.

Anonymous said...

Time for women to walk away from so-called Bible churches that claim women are inferior to men.

These 'churches' have begun to change doctrine to conform with their misogynist view of women.

Time to walk away and find a real church that honors the Bible's view of women as important in the eyes of God.

Anonymous said...

Phil, what is your authority that established the canon of scripture?

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Oh Phil, you are such a drama queen. Your logic stinks, so please go be scared somewhere else.



Love,

kevin

Tom Kelley said...

Does the Bible require that churches have pastors? Deacons?

Lydia said...

What we do find is a list of rules for Pastors that are addressed to men?

Sat May 02, 03:56:00 PM 2009

So, you are interchanging the word pastor with elder? That is ok, just wanted to be sure.

I am not sure I see an EXCLUSION of women in that passage. Would it also exclude single men?

But there have been finds on female tombstones in Ephesus that use the same Greek wording for 'faithful spouse'. And it does say if 'anyone' desires....

Jeff said...

Try to muddy the water all you want. I have proven my point. The Bible gives no name for female elder in the Bible, what it does give is rules for the office of the elder which have as their focal point---males.

Lydia said...

The Bible gives no name for female elder in the Bible, what it does give is rules for the office of the elder which have as their focal point---males.

Sat May 02, 04:44:00 PM 2009

Jeff, NT does not use the term 'office'. That was added by the translators. But the fact that so many view such as an 'office' just as we view 'church' as a building helps me to see why our 'organizations' are no different than the public school system structure or any other secular organization.

In such organizations, the eye CAN say to the hand, I have no need of you.

Jeff said...

I have a question for everyone who believes that a woman should be the pastor of a SBC church.

Suppose you view was the majority in the SBC---Would my view be welcomed?

I think not based on what I have been called on this blog, and the unwarranted conclusions about my position.

I find it ironic that Wade does not step and say something about it.

I also believe that you are no different than the current leadership that you abhor so badly.

I have been told that before the CR certain type of people were not welcome in leadership, and in fact were ridiculed for their beliefs

Jeff said...

Lydia, Quit being so picky....You know what I mean. You can't respond so you have to pick something out.

Jeff said...

In fact the Greek word includes the word office. Have you studied Greek?

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"Would my view be welcomed?"

It depends on what you do with your view.

Lin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

Kevin, Bingo!!! If I preach it as conviction---the same thing that happen on this blog would happen.

Lydia said...

I have a question for everyone who believes that a woman should be the pastor of a SBC church.

Suppose you view was the majority in the SBC---Would my view be welcomed?

I think not based on what I have been called on this blog, and the unwarranted conclusions about my position.

I find it ironic that Wade does not step and say something about it.

I also believe that you are no different than the current leadership that you abhor so badly.

I have been told that before the CR certain type of people were not welcome in leadership, and in fact were ridiculed for their beliefs

Sat May 02, 04:53:00 PM 2009

Jeff, since this is becoming contentious let me just wrap up our conversation with the obvious fact that we disagree on the interpretations of some non salvic issues. But they are issues that speak to who we can and cannot learn from in the Body and who can exercise spiritual gifts in the Body.

Your comment above really surprised me. I worship and fellowship with several who do not share my interpretations of secondary issues. I would have no problem in fellowship with you. If I have mischaraterized your position, I apologize.

Anonymous said...

We actually had a pretty good discussion of this topic over at Volfan's blog

http://www.fromthehillsandhollers.blogspot.com/

Junia was an apostle, then you have Philip's daughters who preached and Phoebe who was a deacon. The word translated deacon can be used one of three ways - deacon, minister or servant.

there are examples of churches that met in women's houses, as I have read church historians they typically take that to mean that the woman was the leader/pastor of those churches

Jim Champion

Kevin M. Crowder said...

You 2 are driving me crazy with this "office" nonsense. Allow me to put the issue to rest.

The Bible does not give an explicit command to place one pastor in headship over the church, the examples we have were during a time when there was indeed an office: the office of Apostle. We also see a plurality of elders in some cases, and other cases where husband/wife teams and others planting churches, etc. The point is, there is nothing wrong with various models. But it all boils down to the sheep submitting to the model. In other words, if you chose to belong to a One Pastor/Deacon board type of church, then submit to their leadership or find another church.

We actually have a pretty big example of this very problem in the OT. The Israelites wanted a King. We know that it was God's revealed will that they not have a king: that their king would be the God of Abraham. However, God's decreed will allowed for a kingship. The story goes on that they had some good kings and some bad kings. To each God gave them authority. Even to the bad kings.

Today, the church needs human leadership. While the Holy Spirit is sufficient for that purpose, God chooses to lead His people through men of the Word (men of the cloth; vicars; pastors; elders; bishops and candlestick makers).

I believe in accountability. I'd be a Presbyterian in a New York minute were it not for the baby thing.

Most of you on here seem to have an issue with pastoral authority because of the Baptistic experiences you have had. If the pastor is to watch over the flock, who is to watch over the pastor?

Other pastors: the presbytery.

That is biblical. And never all from the same local body. We Baptists will never fix our problems until we require our ministers to fall under the care of a presbytery. Seminary life is very close to this. At Covenant Seminary I will be required to join (assigned to) a Covenant Group. One professor and a group of men to lift each other up, build each other up, share concerns, etc, etc, etc... Most SBC pastors I would imagine have never had this kind of support--not even within their own church.

I hear all the preacher bashing going on and what we should be doing is trying to fix the system. We tell preachers to yell, to be motivating, to not preach too long, to go pray over Aunt Flossie's ingrown toe nail at 11:00 at night. Then we pay them crap, tell them they don't need seminary or "Bible College," tear them down chew them up and spit them out.

Then we have the audacity to complain when they snap at us, or tell us no, or sleep with your wife. (ok, that last one is prolly not excusable under any circumstance) :)


The point, many congregations would do better without a pastor. Why you ask? Because many churches will never change, and at least they will stop ruining good men of God.



I am done,

I feel like a McDonald's ice cream cone now. :)

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Ok, Jeff, you have preached it as conviction. Now what?

Is everyone supposed to stop and turn to you and say yes?

I am unclear as to what you want.

People heard you. You have been understood and comprehended. You have not however been canonized.

So now the ball is back in your court. Is everyone else's dissenting view welcome? Or is it your mission tear down every wall of dissent in your path?

_ingo,



K

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

Don't follow after the B.I. leaders BECAUSE they dropped their sheep costumes shortly after the takeover and went after innocent people with their wolves' fangs clearly visible.

A lot of what was done by them was done to intimidate.

If you follow these men, they will lead you to do the same kinds of things in violation of the spirit of Christianity.

Be careful. You cannot serve them and Him.

Tom Kelley said...

Does the Bible require that churches have pastors? Deacons?

(Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?)

greg.w.h said...

Jeff:

Interestingly enough, here are all of the verses that Biblegateway found in the NT of the Holman Christian Standard Bible that include the English word office or officer:


Matthew 5:25
Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary while you're on the way with him, or your adversary will hand you over to the judge, the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison.

Matthew 9:9
[ The Call of Matthew ] As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, "Follow Me!" So he got up and followed Him.


Mark 2:14
Then, moving on, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, "Follow Me!" So he got up and followed Him.

Luke 5:27
[ The Call of Levi ] After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, "Follow Me!"

Hebrews 7:5
The sons of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment according to the law to collect a tenth from the people —that is, from their brothers—though they have [also] descended from Abraham.

Hebrews 7:23
Now many have become [Levitical] priests, since they are prevented by death from remaining in office
.

Matt 5:25 translates the word "(`)upereth" as officer, but the context suggests either deputy or bailiff as opposed to "krites". Since both are officers of the court in an English/American sense, translating one as officer seems a little strained to me.

The references to "tax office" all three translate the Greek "telonion" and appear to refer to the place, not the person and not the role.

The two Hebrews references to "priestly office" are more interesting. The first one in Hebrews 7:5 is based on the Greek "hierateia". The second is based on the Greek word "hiereis".

The first is an accusative noun with the root "hier-" which is a Greek concept we typically translate "priest" that is the object of the verb lambano which could be translated "obtaining". The sense of the sentence is that some Levites obtain the role we call "priest" while others don't. That implies a different "state" (as it were) and we might express that as "priesthood" or the English rendering of "priestly office".

The second use in 7:23 that uses "hiereis" includes no separate word that means "office" and the best rendering of "hiereis" probably is the very simple "priests". Whoever translated that verse inserted a word that is only found in the English rendering and not in the original Greek. I'm sure it is with good cause that they took this approach, but I offer this verse as a reminder of how very poor theology is that is based on translations rather than an understanding of the original language.

Now let's turn to the word "pastor". That English rendering occurs precisely once in the HCSB in Ephesians 4:11 if my search in biblegateway.com is accurate. The HCSB does not include either the word "office" or the word "role" anywhere near Ephesians 4:11.

That in English we would try to generalize from a list of words is natural. But the Bible does not refer to those as "offices". The New Testament itself makes several references that have been translated as "office" or "officer", but in the case of the HCSB use of those two words, three of those uses are based on the compound word "telonion", two based on compound words including the root "hier", and one seems to have been a misrendering into English that preferred the word "officer" to the word "bailiff" with no specific contextual reason for making that choice.

Now I'm not a Greek scholar. It took me about an hour to piece together what I just wrote down. I use a cheat sheet that is an interlinear online that has some problems which I end up having to work around at times. But I can state with a pretty decent amount of certainty that the word "office" in the English sense of someone who holds an office like President is a post-biblical concept.

I'll go further: the Bible uses terms like episcopoi and presbuteroi almost interchangeably and those other terms are used more often for the term "pastor" that SBs more commonly use. The word translated "pastor" appears multiple times in various forms, but only one of them is rendered "pastor" instead of "shepherd" or "shepherding".

We "inerrantists" play fast and loose with the Bible like that ALL THE TIME. And we do so with self-piety and with the same certitude. We have no humility as we do that and then we praise ourselves for our certitude and pretend that if we "believe" the translation hard enough, then that excuses us from being humble about it.

I personally believe that we would be greater representatives of our Lord and Savior if we stopped all the nonsense that we rationalize and dealt with the both our own church members and with the unsaved with more humility and grace. I realize there is this fear that if we do that then the Satan wins as OUR faith is diluted by constant questioning.

But I believe our faith isn't about things like the role/office of pastor as much as that gift is designed to edify the body. Since Paul wrote both Ephesiahs 4 and the correction to the Corinthians regarding tongues and one of his key reasons for downplaying tongues seems to be that they weren't edifying, I think that's fair warning that the other spiritual gifts are useless when they're more about pride rather than edification.

I think David Currie's article goes a long way to examining that problem of pride and as Christians first and Southern Baptists second, we ought to try to hear what he has to say and see if we can apply it to our lives and within our churches for the sake of edification of the body.

And I close with this thought:

Eph 4:11-16 (HCSB, copied from biblegateway.com) And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, (W) 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God's Son, (X) [growing] into a mature man with a stature (Y) measured by Christ's fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, (Z) by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head (AA) —Christ. 16 From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together (AB) by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth (AC) of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.I hate looking at a verse without considering the context around it, after all.

Greg Harvey

Jeff said...

Simple Strong's Definition:

1984 ἐπισκοπή [episkope /ep·is·kop·ay/] From 1980; TDNT 2:606; TDNTA 244; GK 2175; Four occurrences; AV translates as “visitation” twice, “bishoprick” once, and “office of a bishop” once. 1 investigation, inspection, visitation. 1a that act by which God looks into and searches out the ways, deeds character, of men, in order to adjudge them their lot accordingly, whether joyous or sad. 1b oversight. 1b1 overseership, office, charge, the office of an elder. 1b2 the overseer or presiding officers of a Christian church.

Strong, James: The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Test of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurence of Each Word in Regular Order. electronic ed. Ontario : Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996, S. G1984

Jeff said...

Kevin, A greek word for you "whatever!" You missed the entire point. You were so much better when you were trying to get everyone to like you.

greg.w.h said...

That's right: rendering into English adds a word that isn't present in Greek. The question is what is the basis for that added word. It is not explicitly there to support the theological concept of pastor or bishop as an "office". We must not base theology on words that aren't there. Especially when our modern Baptist "Christian standard" translations don't even include the words.

Greg Harvey

Jeff said...

Greg, So you do realize that words are added in the English. For instance, the estin ---could be He is, She is, or It is. Two words in English, one word in Greek.

TDNT has a history:

epískopos.
A. epískopos in Nonbiblical Greek. The term means “overseer,” “watcher,” and thus comes to be used a. for “protector,” “patron,” and b. for various offices involving oversight, but not of a religious nature. The only religious use is for the gods.
1. The Gods as epískopoi. Greek gods are personified forces. They are thus related to the creatures nearest to them, which are under their protection, e.g., springs, groves, cities, peoples, and individuals. Deities watch over these and rule over them, giving sanctity to human life in society. They are thus called epískopoi. They watch over treaties, care for cities, and protect markets. They take note of offenses and punish them, e.g., offenses against parents or violations of graves. Pallas Athene watches over Athens and Artemis over pregnant women. Zeus and the gods watch over all good and evil deeds even down to the most secret details. Specific spheres come under different gods; e.g., Zeus and Pallas Athene rule over cities.
2. Men as Overseers, Watchers, Scouts. With the same basic sense, the term can be applied to various human activities, e.g., watching over corpses, overseeing a ship or a business or the market or construction, looking after young married couples, ruling a house. Other meanings along these lines are “protector” and “spy” or “scout.”
3. The Cynic as episkopṓn and epískopos. These two terms find a special use in Cynic philosophy. Epictetus, for example, views himself, not as a theoretical thinker, but as a divine messenger acting as God’s katáskopos to investigate what is good and to test people to see how far they conform to it. episkopeín is sometimes used for this testing, but only once, and later, do we find epískopos instead of katáskopos for the office.
4. epískopos as a Designation of Office. a. Athens uses epískopoi for state officials, e.g., supervisors sent by Athens to other cities of the Attic League. b. We also read of similar officials in other states, whether as secret police or as officials with judicial functions, and in one case as the officer over the mint. c. More commonly epískopoi are local officials or the officers of societies, but the exact responsibilities are not clear and even when there is a religious connection, e.g., the epískopoi of a society for a sanctuary at Rhodes, they have no cultic responsibilities but see to such secular tasks as looking after the funds. The Roman pontiff is epískopos only insofar as he has the duty of overseeing the Vestal Virgins. d. An interesting use occurs in Syria in relation to the erection of a public building in which it is clear that those who have the episkopḗ are supervisors of the work in the interests of the builders and perhaps with control of the funds. We find similar instances connected with the building of an aqueduct and a temple.
Kittel, Gerhard ; Friedrich, Gerhard ; Bromiley, Geoffrey William: Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : W.B. Eerdmans, 1995, c1985, S. 246

Jeff said...

in addition:

2. Elsewhere men are called epískopoi, and this raises two questions. a. Who are these people called epískopoi? The word is not used for itinerant charismatics but only for leaders of settled congregations. For such leaders we quickly find the words presbýteroi or epískopoi and diákonoi. As may be seen from Acts 20:28 (Paul’s speech to the Ephesian elders) there is at first no distinction between presbýteroi and epískopoi. All the presbýteroi here are epískopoi, their task is that of shepherding (cf. 1 Pet. 2:25; 5:2ff.), there are several epískopoi in one church, their calling is from the Holy Spirit (though this does not rule out election or appointment, Acts 6:3ff.; 14:23), and their function is that of the watchful direction of believers on the basis of Christ’s work. b. When does the free activity of overseeing become a designation of office? There is from the outset an impulse in this direction, for while Paul describes a function in Acts 20:28 he is also addressing a specific group. The addition in Phil. 1:1 (“with the bishops”) also shows that an office and not just an activity is in view even if it does not tell us what this specific office is except in general terms of function. In 1 Tim. 3:1 episkopḗ is a definite office that may be sought and for which there are qualifications (though no duties are listed). Since there is here no further reference to the Holy Spirit, everyday needs influence this development, but the qualifications are very soberly stated, embracing moral reliability, a monogamous marriage, disciplined family life, teaching ability, maturity, and blamelessness according to the standards of the non-Christian world. In the parallel passage in Tit. 1:5ff. the qualifications for elders are similar, and the sudden use of epískopos in v. 7 shows that the same function is in view, namely, that of guiding and representing the congregation, teaching, and conducting worship when no itinerant minister is present. The use of the singular in 1 Tim. 3:2 and Tit. 1:7 does not mean that there is only one bishop in each church; it is simply a reference to the bishop as a type. The point of the office is service rather than power; the bishop, too, receives admonition and must be sober and disciplined in outlook. His authority is from the Holy Spirit. The singling out of some elders in 1 Tim. 5:17 because of their good rule, especially in teaching and preaching, may hint at early distinctions that would eventually lead to a primacy of bishops. It is hardly likely that the angels of the churches in Rev. 1:20 etc. are bishops.
Kittel, Gerhard ; Friedrich, Gerhard ; Bromiley, Geoffrey William: Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : W.B. Eerdmans, 1995, c1985, S. 247

John Daly said...

So Michael Sattler "taught, maintained and believed that the body and blood of Christ were not present in the sacrament" and "he taught and believed, that infant-baptism was not promotive of salvation."

And he was willing to die for it. We have so many evangelical eunchs who are afraid to fight for these doctrines today because Rome is our friend, we need them for social causes, blah, blah, blah.

In fact, I'm struggling to recall any posts dealing with topics such as these...I could be wrong. But let's once again bring up women elders. I suppose 2,000 years of church history just wasn't smart enough to truly get it. Man, what were those guys thinking?

My visits here are becoming less frequent then in the past.

Lydia said...

"I believe in accountability. I'd be a Presbyterian in a New York minute were it not for the baby thing."

LOL! Yes, church history is replete with all sorts of nonsense like the baby thing, slavery, transubstantiation, sacraments, God war shield, burning heretics, pulpits, cathedrals, church/state, magistrates, etc.

"oes the Bible require that churches have pastors? Deacons?

(Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?)"

Good question, Tom.

And another point to consider as we are a long way from this:

"29Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace."

How did we end up with one guy preaching and NO interaction from the other 'prophets'?

greg.w.h said...

Jeff:

Back to pastor: it's sole use in the Bible is in a gift context, not an office context, which was the point Lydia was making. And the word shepherd is a superior rendering in English than pastor for all reasons except the historic English usage of pastor.

Yes, I understand that words can support multiple concepts and that's why we translate them from single words in another language into multiple words in English. I'm not as familiar with Greek as with Hebrew where the verb form includes the gender and plurality of the subject as well as the tense AND intensity of the verb. Essentially a single Hebrew verb can include--when rendered into English--the subject, the verb, and may include an adverb to convey intensity (pael--really, for instance.) And, yes, verb forms can do the same. But the title is not the description of the office. The idea that there is an office is, as you've demonstrated, implied from the context, not from the word itself.

In fact, the word itself provides very little use to us for understanding the office as you demonstrated with your background material on it. The terms overseer, patron, or protector are probably a little strong for what Paul had in mind except in this sense: these men should feel responsible for their ekklesias and take an affirmative action to guide them. Yes there is implied authority in that, but the more effective authority is not delegated but the own person's authority through gifting by the Holy Spirit. The ekklesia should not trust them because of their office but because of their clear gifting for the office.

As to whether the lack of mention in the Bible of women as pastors matters: I don't think that the substance of our faith is what the name of the offices are or who can fulfill them. I have stated repeatedly that I am a complementarian and that I believe the simplest reading of biblical texts seems to reserve those roles for men. But--as in the case of Deborah--God is God and he chooses who he will gift. If a woman expresses that giftedness--a combination in my opinion of administrational and teaching gifts hence the "kai" between pastor and teacher--we should be careful about how we insist on how she practices it. In our local ekklesia perhaps we can express a more firm voice. But in one that has gathered to pray to God and believes with conviction--the same kind Kevin talked about earlier--that God is instructing them to let her lead, it's hard to imagine that that is such an important issue that we should disfellowship that local ekklesia. It's a discussion worth having, but I'm not sure it's one worth dividing over. Being a woman isn't a sin after all, and God consistently--though not commonly--used women in very important roles in the OT that are very similar to the Ephesians 4:11 gifts.

The other reason I avoid the term office is that I firmly believe based on experience that the gifting goes to those that will use it for edifying the church. When someone that was previously gifted misuses the gift or the honor that goes with it to move towards manipulation and control, the local ekklesia should denounce their role in the local body. The same is true for state conventions, the national convention, and "employees" of the entities.

I know from personal experience that we treat the calling as permanent when the person can and sometimes does disqualify himself after the fact. SBs deal very poorly with that self-disqualification and often will protect the person from appropriate discipline up to and including removal from the role. And I mention that not because of a single situation with a single minister but with MANY. We feel sorry for them that they could lose their "job", but they should hold themselves and must be held by others to a higher standard in the same way they were qualified by meeting a higher standard.

Greg Harvey

Only By His Grace said...

Anonymous,

The Holy Spirit within the body of believers using content, context and the harmony of message; also, the rule that the writer had to be have seen Jesus face to face.

From what we gather in the writings of the early church fathers there seems to not have been much disagreement as to the books to be placed in the canon. The Scriptures are so important to our faith that I cannot see that God would leave such an important matter up in the air for human decision.

These early men had great doctrinal faults from baptismal regeneration to what is much like the Roman Catholic view on transubstantiation; however, in the long run they got it right.

Phil in Norman.

Off to bed with me. Sermons, children's message, Sunday School, bus ministry and teaching about Christ and His ascension tomorrow evening. Day usually runs about fifteen to sixteen hours non-stop.
phil

Anonymous said...

Some of you on this blog act like huge jerks and need to learn to love each other as Christ compels us and commands us.

Anonymous said...

Reads like a lot of certitude being posted in this thread.

Anonymous said...

The two best student preachers heard while I attended one of the SBC's seminaries: both women. Would I attend if either served a Baptist church as its senior pastor? No; and I (certainly don't think the idea ever will catch-on in the U.S. among Southern Baptists--the majority of whom will continue to disagree with those who suggest that the Bible's teachings permit a woman to serve as a senior pastor of a church. Still, the two best student preachers I heard while attending one of the SBC's seminaries: both women. That seems to say something; everyone else here, you decide.

Senior pastors (all males, it appears) posting in this thread probably ought to be careful about the tone of their comments. To my knowledge, I don't attend the church where any of them serve--but if I did AND if I disagreed with the biblical interpretation being posed by one of them from the pulpit during Sunday sermons, I'd (certainly) tell him so during non-worship service times--and I'd be able to show him my understanding from the Scriptures. My doing so possibly wouldn't change how that preacher preaches, but he'd know at least one congregant doesn't always agree with either what he preaches or how he does, or both. (I serve as an associate pastor of an SBC church, and know the Bible at least as well as our current senior pastor--and he knows that I do. BTW, I've been a senior pastor.)

Christiane said...

Sabbath Reflections


About 'translations':

something is always lost
something is always gained

what is lost is the completeness of meaning in the original language, all the nuances that supported that meaning, the idioms, the cultural and historical contexts

what is gained? the new language brings nuances of meaning all its own, together with the bias of the translator, which may be unconsiously done, so that a new slant is given to the translation that did not appear in the old language

Solution? Only the Holy Spirit can bridge the gap of language differences, of personal bias of the translators. Only the Holy Spirit can preside over the great range of centuries between the writing of the text and the reading of the text in modern times. The Holy Spirit helps us to read the text in the 'language' of the heart. Unless, of course, we choose to always exclusively seek the 'wisdom' of others in their commentaries on a text.


'lean not unto thine own understanding. . . '
instead, there is the help of the One who inspired the writers and who will guide us when we read. Just be open to His guidance and seek His Wisdom. Come to Him without pride in 'how much you know', and sincerely ask for help.

Just some thoughts as to how the Holy Spirit can aid us by smoothing out the multitude of road-blocks between the meaning of the ancient texts written under His Inspiration, and the reading of these texts in a context of the gap of millenia, of language and cultural limitations, and of translator biases. The Holy Spirit holds the light whereby we read the scriptures, if we are open to His Presence when we read.

Remember, He was there when they were written. :)

Jeff said...

Greg, It is probably best to let this subject die, but I just don't understand what the objection is to the term office. It doesn't promote a person or make him infallible. I agree we can become disqualified from the calling/office. I honestly think some people just wanted to be nit piking because they didn't have an argument. However, what I was trying to show is that the term did include the concept of office.

This is my last word on the subject.

Blessings to all.
Jeff

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"Reads like a lot of certitude being posted in this thread."


Anon,

How certain of that are you? If so did you arive at that conclusion based on observable evidence or simply by faith?


I'll be over here waiting for a definitive answer.


:)

John Fariss said...

Wade gets it. Greg gets it. Christine gets it. Kevin gets it. A few others do--thanks to you all. The point is not that "we" are wrong, or even who among is wrong--but simply that none of us, no matter how convinced we are, how skillful our interpretative abilities are, how accurate our language skills are, or whose "feet we sat at," that none of us are infalliable; and that consequently, we could be wrong, and that we should live and preach humbly. Did the Bible say something to that effect?

Micah 6:8, "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

John Fariss

Linda said...

Whie agree that Christians may disagree and both still be Christians, I cannot agree with this post.

I cannot find anywhere in my Bible where we are to be popular, or be accomodating, or judge our faithfulness by the number of people agreeing with me.

It may turn out that to be faithful to Jesus Christ means to cease fellowship with some. It may turn out to mean NOT experiencing church growth.

It may turn out that the tiny and dying church that refuses to compromise is the church that will hear well done.

My Bible does warn me that I cannot serve both God and mammon. And that if I am faithful to Christ the majority will reject what I have to say.

Sorry, but maybe the fundamentalists are right.

Anonymous said...

Kev:

Is there a reason you ask?


Anon

Anonymous said...

Linda wrote: "It may turn out that the tiny and dying church that refuses to compromise is the church that will hear well done."

Problem with this is that this is not what Christ promised for His Church. The Church was never meant to be a small collection of like-minded individuals who reject others who are not like-minded.

At the coming of Pentecost, Christ's Disciples were infused with a fire and a power that drove away their cowering fear and sent them out to conquer the Roman Empire and its colonies for Christ.
Their witness wasn't some pitiful fundamentalist list of rigid tertiary beliefs, not at all, it was the full Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, which they taught and were faithful to, even unto martyrdom.

People that cower in dying 'churches', afraid to come out and fill others with a love for the Gospel have need of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The time of cowering in the Upper Room was over long ago. Now it is the time to go out and share Him with the a broken world.

The ' doctrinally pure' tiny, dying church is not the Body of Christ. It needs the Gospel to be brought to it again and it needs renewal and reconciliation with the Body of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

But Linda is right about one thing: fundamentalism will continue to fracture and fracture and fracture into smaller groups that are 'isolated' from others with whom they disagree, and rejecting of any that will not 'tow the docrinal line' of the leadership.

The emphasis in fundamentalism is on control of others, or rejection of them.
There is nothing in this that remotely resembles the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Stephen Pruett said...

Linda,

The reason I am not convinced that scripture precludes women as pastors is based on scripture, not on any desire to accommodate or to seek mammon (by the way, I am also not completely convinced that scripture recommends women as pastors). Paige Patterson wrote to me that the reason this prohibition was added to the B F & M was to push back against radical feminism. The desire to accommodate or oppose our culture should never be the basis for our interpretation of scripture. Of course, I suspect Dr. Patterson would say his interpretation was independent of his desire to push back against radical feminism, and I similarly would say mine has nothing to do with accommodation

I would also suggest that you would not be so sanguine about the fundamentalists if they picked something with which you disagree to constitute a basis for withdrawing fellowship, and based on recent events, they could very well do so. Are you on the "right" side of the 5 points, the timing of the tribulation, communion for all believers or just Baptists, the cessation of tongues and other gifts, the authority of one who baptizes and on and on and on. It is almost certain you are on the "wrong" side on something, and they will eventually get around to cleansing your particular belief.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Anon,

You don't get to dialogue, you get to answer the question. You want to dialogue? Show your face.

Now answer the question!


You can't? Then be quiet, your certitude is offensive.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Btw Anon,

Only my closest friends call me Kev.


You, since you are not my friend, can call me Rev.

:)

K

Anonymous said...

Rev Kev:

Be careful. I might be your momma--or your next door neighbor, or your deacon chairman.


Anon

greg.w.h said...

Jeff:

My main objection to the word "official" is how many times I've seen behavior from pastors and other "officials" in the church that is "officious." I would rather they realize that are to be accountable to the people of God as well as to God for every action they take. We don't even have a single example of the apostles acting "officiously" when they made decisions.

How did they accomplish that perception?

1. They listened to the concerns raised to them.

2. They discussed controversial decisions with many people.

3. When decisions were issued, they took into account the minority position in all cases except where they believed heretical beliefs--for the purpose of dividing the believers--were being taught.

4. They did not hold grudges and attack people who opposed them. In many cases, in fact, you see an effort to reunite with those they disagreed with in the past.

(Thinking specifically of four situations: 1. complaints about treatment of Greek widows that led to the appointment of the first deacons, 2. the handling of extending the preaching of the Gospel to the nations (goyim/gentiles), 3. the handling of meat sacrificed to idols, 4. this is specific to Paul, but his handling of the importance/preference of spiritual gifts which resulted in a clear compromise that we don't seem intent on honoring in today's SBC because of our fear of "charismatics".)

Southern Baptist leaders of the CR failed to behave in a way that demonstrated the same magnanimity in many cases. Recent behavior that also lacked that includes Patterson's mischaracterization of Calvinists (defending himself from a charge of a specific plan to fire Calvinists from SWBTS by the way) and the John 3:16 conference.

Officials who behave officiously should be confronted repeatedly by those who would be like the Bereans. That is what Wade is doing. Others might disagree with Wade on specifics in each of the circumstances, but no one gets to play fast and loose with the Bible, especially in a Convention that makes such a huge deal about inerrancy.

I guess I should return the question: why are you so interested in protecting the concept of "office"?? Especially if there are ZERO simple words in the New Testament that are rendered as "office" in English. Seems like an unnecessary reach to me.

Greg Harvey

Joe Langley said...

I know that David Currie is associated with CBF and other non-Bible believing groups, but a comment section discussing the statements in his article would have been interesting reading. :-)

Joe Langley said...

Sorry, I didn't express that clearly.

I should have said "the main idea" of his article.

Anonymous said...

Joe Langley said 'I know that David Currie is associated with CBF and other non-Bible believing groups . . . '

Well, if someone did not know anything more than the behaviors of Paige Patterson and similar SBC 'leaders' towards fellow SBC members, one might wonder if the SBC were a Bible-believing organization.

At least Mr. Currie has hurt people in some scheming to take over power in his organization.

Joe, take the beam out of your own eye. SBC has got a lot to be ashamed of, as its leaders have behaved in extraordinarily unChristian ways.

Anonymous said...

correction: At least Mr. Currie has NOT hurt people . . .

Anonymous said...

"Well, if someone did not know anything more than the behaviors of Paige Patterson and similar SBC 'leaders' towards fellow SBC members, one might wonder if the SBC were a Bible-believing organization."

And there is a long list besides Patterson of some very dirty shenanigans. Are we sure they are 'bible believing'? They seem to have no fear of God at all.

Anonymous said...

Patterson's play-book is not the Bible, that is CERTAIN.

Only By His Grace said...

Kevin,

Thanks for the compliment. I guess you were my date the other night in drag. Sorry, I had to stand you up.

Drama Queen? Again, sorry. I can't pass the physical. Drama King? maybe.

Kevin, learn how to speak without hyperbole. Do you practice to be offensive or is it just come naturally to you?

Phil.

Joe Blackmon said...

You know, it knaws my craw that there are any Southern Baptists that would accept a woman pastor. I mean, it makes my rear want to dip snuff. However, I had an epiphany last week---I don't have to care. I live in an area where that will never be accepted in a Baptist church. I go to a church that would never accept it. We give to ministries that sffirm what we believe. What somebody does somewhere else has zero effect on me. It was a very freeing thing to realize.

Oh, as to the quote from the CBF'er that made up the majority of this post--Typical Mainstream drivel.

Kevin M. Crowder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin M. Crowder said...

Joe,

Why don't you just go and sit on a big fat cigar. Watch Wade's latest post. While I anticipate never being a member of a church with a female elder, my present thought is that I would prefer a thriving church with less than biblical leadership than the current state of things with....um.....less than biblical leadership???

Either I am becoming more liberal or more wise Joe, but God did not call the church to hide in the hills. We are not equipped today to handle another Pentecost. This I why we see no revival. Let's use all who have a heart and voice.

As the LifeWay writer wrote this past Sunday, "The need is the call."

Your anger only stirs the fires of hell.



K

Lydia said...

"I live in an area where that will never be accepted in a Baptist church. I go to a church that would never accept it. We give to ministries that sffirm what we believe. What somebody does somewhere else has zero effect on me. It was a very freeing thing to realize."

Joe, Does this mean that no baptist women in your area will be witnessing to men or showing them truths in the Word because that would be 'teaching them' and having authority over them?

Or do you believe that can only happen if you are standing in a pulpit?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Joe would understand the need for women to 'serve' in the Church if he realized that it isn't 'authority' they are after at all. It is the chance to serve the people of God to the maximum of their potential.

It is after all biblical that those who would be the greatest will be moved to lower seats and those who served humbly will be raised to the higher seats.

To 'serve' in humility is completely within the examples given in scripture as to the behavior of women who followed Jesus and helped him. Imagine the difference in the behavior of someone like a Paige Patterson or a Mac Brunson if they saw themselves as 'servants of those they shepherded?

Women who are 'called' don't want to be 'Pattersons' or 'Brunsons'.
They do want to serve Jesus' people, to the maximum of the gifts that God gave them.

If the mentality has fallen to the point where certain 'male' leaders are held in high esteem in spite of major 'shenanigans' (or worse), then there is little hope for people to want pastoral care that humbly serves their needs.

Joe Langley said...

You guys crack me up. Go back and read my post.

I said that I would have liked to see more response to the original argument that David Currie stated.

He talked about the disease of certitude. Instead of discussing it, I felt many posts only reflected it.

(Now I will probably catch it from the other side.)

BTW - I consider David Currie a personal friend.

And BTW, the gender of the pastor is the sole business of the local congregation.

Sorry I tweaked the wrong crowd.

Joe Blackmon said...

Joe, Does this mean that no baptist women in your area will be witnessing to men or showing them truths in the Word because that would be 'teaching them' and having authority over them?

Lydia

My comment had nothing to do with anything resembling something related to someone sharing the gospel. My comment was obviously about women pastors. Pretty huge difference between sharing the gospel with a lost person and teaching the Bible in a church.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"Pretty huge difference between sharing the gospel with a lost person and teaching the Bible in a church."

no, not any more

Joe Blackmon said...

Oh, really, anon.....and of course you can explain how they're there is no difference---using the Bible (something mainstreamers are loathe to do).

Anonymous said...

Joe, now, the churches are full of lost people too. Just look at how missionaries got treated.

Lost. Very lost.

othoniel said...

I wonder if is wonderful to call another believer a co-conspirator
.

Gene said...

Was out on an NPR story today on the SBC and women and somebody referenced this site. Scanning this blog, I sense Mr. Burleson has a good spirit, even if he is wrong. :). Don't know if I can say that about some of the others. Mr. Crowder seems very certain of things unproveable. That sounds like "faith" to me. I "hope" he is wrong. Jesus was not a Christian, he was born, lived, and died a Jew. I don't think the early fathers (and they were fathers) intended to start something new. It distresses me that you all can place so much faith in a book that came into being nearly 400 years after the fact with the express intend of eliminating views that didn't match those of themselves. And those men who made that book were all Catholics - who I personally have heard W.A. Criswell send straight to hell. Your claim that it's not the book that fails but just our interpretation of same is a very weak argument. If God had wanted you to have certainty, don't you think a better job would have been done. To use your book, doesn't someone the Catholic church claims to be Paul say somewhere something about being saved by grace, through faith, and that not of yourselves? I see no certainty in that. You slice and dice this book endlessly, but still cannot agree. I take issue with much of what is said here as you would of my beliefs. For instance, Jesus before Pilate, death starring him in the face, says his purpose on this planet was to "bear witness to the truth". Did he lie? Nothing there about getting killed for somebody's sins. Did he put that on himself, or did others do that later? So, you take that away and do you still have faith? If the Virgin Birth is just Matthew incorrectly quoting Isaiah, does that destroy your faith? How much of this baggage do you have to carry to have faith? And faith in what? I have my answers, you have yours. Who's are correct? Does anybody really know? Does God even care about correct theology? Now abide these three, and the greatest of these is the thing I most often see missing in the fundamentalist position. If your "faith" works for you, that's great, but remember, that's what it is. Allow others to have theirs too, even if it doesn't match yours, remember, you could be wrong - work out your salvation with fear and trembling.