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

A Black Mesa Moment of Reflection




On Monday, June 8, 2009 I did something I had wanted to do for a long, long time. I hiked up Black Mesa to the highest elevation in Oklahoma - 4,972.9 feet above sea level, a football field under one mile high. The Black Mesa was formed by lava flow from ancient volcanoes in the Colorado Rockies - an ancient lava flow easily seen in the map above. The Black Mesa was created by this lava flow and is like a table top sitting high above the plains. Black Mesa is as far west and as far north as you can go in the state of Oklahoma.

People think Enid, Oklahoma (Garfield County) is in far northwest Oklahoma - not even close. At 7:30 a.m. I hopped in my trusty 140,000 mile Honda Accord and headed west on US Highway 412 out of Enid. I went through Woodward (90 miles), through Guyman, Oklahoma, (210 miles), then to Boise City, Oklahoma (275 miles). In Boise City you go on a circle around the courthouse in the center of town and then follow State Highway 325 west 37 miles to the city limits of Kenton, Oklahoma. Just outside the city limits of Kenton, which necessitated me turning my watch back since Kenton is the only town in Oklahoma that operates on Mountain Time, I turned north and followed a county road 4 miles to the parking lot of the Black Mesa Natural Preserve. Distance from Enid - 312 miles.

At the Natural Preserve you must park your car and then hike 4.2 miles to the top of Black Mesa. On this day I was the only hiker. I never saw another human being during the almost 10 mile round trip hike. The sounds of the land were incredible. From the locusts nesting in the thousands of cacti, to the dozens of different birds, as well as the whistling winds sweeping down the gorges, it was a cacophony of sounds and sights the nearly two hours it took me to get to the top.

But my, was it worth it.

Black Mesa is in the far northwestern corner of Cimarron County, the most western county in the Panhandle of Oklahoma. Cimarron County has the distinction of being the only county in the United States touched by four different states. As I sat and rested on top of Black Mesa, I could literally see 1/10 of the United States in terms of our states.

Less than fourteen hundred feet to my west was the state of New Mexico. On the horizon I could see the mountains surrounding Raton Pass. To my north four miles was Colorado and the ancient volcanic mountains at the foot hills of the Colorado Rockies, the very volcanoes which provided the lava that formed Black Mesa. Back to my northwest was Kansas; to the south was Texas, and due east was the great state of Oklahoma. From my viewpoint a mile above the earth I could see over a hundred miles in each direciton.

But there was something that happened while I was on the top of Black Mesa that got me to thinking. It was a bright, sunny day and as looked at the beautiful blue skies I saw a passenger jet flying east to west above me. They say at night the stars kiss your nose on Black Mesa, and I can vouch that in the day the planes are close as well. I could clearly see the plume of smoke coming out of the twin engines of the jet, with the long, white crystallized cloud it formed as it crossed the blue sky. I thought about the couple of hundred passengers on their way to Los Angeles or beyond. Then I looked down and saw a Burlington Northern - Santa Fe train snaking its way, heading west. Beside the train was a modern state highway where a few cars were heading west as well.

Just to the south of the railroad tracks and highway, easily seen from my position on Black Mesa, was the path of the Old Santa Fe Trail. from 1823 to 1880 the Cimarron Cutoff of the Sante Fe trail crossed the Oklahoma Panhandle just to the south of where I sat, heading west into Mexico and Santa Fe (a city once in Mexico but now in the US's "New Mexico"). The United States in the 1820's were very interested in establishing trade with the new country of Mexico and so a trail was forged from St. Louis to Santa Fe - a wagon trail. At Dodge City (Kansas) the trail split into a southern route (the Cimarron Cutoff ), which crossed the just south of the Black Mesa, and a northern route that took the trail west through the Colorado Rockies and then south to Santa Fe. Most travellers and traders in the 1800's took the Cimarron Cutoff of the Santa Fe trail because it was 100 miles shorter and avoided the Rockie Mountains.

With the advent of the steam engine and the railroad, the Santa Fe trail fell into disuse in the 1880's. No longer would people make the seven week journey from St. Louis to Santa Fe via wagon. They would take the train. Then, just a few decades later, people were taking cars and planes to Santa Fe and beyond.

As I was thinking about all this, I pulled out my Blackberry Curve and saw I had missed a couple of calls.

And then it hit me.

If I were a business on the east coast wanting to trade with merchants and people in Santa Fe, how foolish would I be to keep bringing my goods in a wagon over the Santa Fe Trail? Not only would I be foolish - I'd be out of business. Times have changed. The world has become fast paced. Communication is instant. From my perspective on Black Mesa, a mile high, I could see this very clearly.

Why then, do we Southern Baptists continue to use an archaic system of governance that was established in 1845 - the very time the Sante Fe trail was being used to bring goods to, and communicate with, the people of Mexico?

Isn't it about time we started having our Convention regionally, electronically and efficiently? My wife and I just spent $2,000 hard earned dollars to buy our tickets, hotel and car to Louisville, Kentucky. I spent the weekend with a church planter from Arizona who not only couldn't afford to go to Louisville, if he could, he would use his money to attend conferences that would help him in his church planting ministry.

I asked him, however, if the Convention offered a regional Convention, via satellite, that would allow him to observe, participate and vote, would he attend - say if one of the regional conventions were in Phoenix?

Absolutely! He responded.

It's time the Southern Baptist Convention caught up with the rest of the world. It's time we stopped using our archaic system of governance that excludes the vast majority of Southern Baptists from being able to participate in Convention business.

It's time we changed how we operate.

In His Grace,

Wade

147 comments:

Denn said...

That certainly is an acceptable and practical way to effect badly needed and positive change in our convention. Still, it won't do the the whole job. Baptists must stop the "one-up-man-ship" mentality and go back to loving and cooperating. Can we do that? I see no current indication that we will. D.

(Loved the OK geog lesson)

Gene Prescott said...

Wade Burleson said:

((I asked him, however, if the Convention offered a regional Convention, via satellite, that would allow him to observe, participate and vote, would he attend - say if one of the regional conventions were in Phoenix?))

I presume from the location you were when the thought struck you, satellite would be involved. However, for others (likely most) fiber optics, cable, DSL, and wireless connections would be involved. Doesn't change your point.

pastorricky99 said...

I think this would be excellent... I am making plans to go to Louisville, in part because it is the closest site for a convention to where I serve. I can't make it to the others financially. There is no way I could go if I had to pay $2000. I have been pastoring for 10 years and this is the first time I have the opportunity to go. I know there are many more like me out there.

A regional meeting, via satellite, with fully registered and recognized messengers, with full voting privileges sounds great!

I propose Bro. Wade draft a resolution to that effect and present it at the convention. He has my full support on this one!

Pastor Ricky

RKSOKC66 said...

Wade:

I agree that the SBC should investigate some type of technology to implement "satellite conventions". I'm not able to go to the SBC convention but in the idea world I'd be there witnessing everything firsthand.

However, I'm going to attend the meeting of the IMB BoT in person in Jacksonville FL in Sept. I just can't consider going to two different meetings that are only a few months apart.

My wife has MS and I also have a disabled daughter. I just can't walk out on them all the time to go to some convention, even if it is the SBC and even if I can afford it.

As to the panhandle of Oklahoma, I just love going out there. Go to my website:

simpsonfamilyokc.com

and check out the pictures of the corners of Oklahoma. There you will see the "Preston Monument" which is at the northern end of the Cimarron Meridian. This location that is common to OK-CO-NM.

Also, I have pictures of the TexOMex USGS horizontal control station which is the point where TX-OK-NM meet.

I didn't go up to the Black Mesa but drove right by the parking lot at the head of the trail that goes up there.

When the convention gets going I'll be watching it (but not participating, of course) on the internet feed. I think this year's convention is likely to be one that is going to be looked back on as a turning point.

No matter what you think of the GCR document, it has certainly caused a lot of discussion on what the apparatus should be between the local church, association, state conventions, and the convention. All of this is good.

Just yesterday, Johnny Hunt was supposedly going to have a meeting with the "state execs". Hopefully, during the give-and-take that must have ensued they each began to appreciate the "other side" giving rise to a more common perspective on things.

If the GCR document serves as a catalyst to "encourage" everyone to have more of a shared vision then it is a good thing, even if the document itself just draws dust in Johnny Hunt's credenza.

I tried to go to OK-KS-CO but could not get there due to weather problems. I'm going to try again soon.

John Daly said...

As long as we're changing an archaic system, may we also change the archaic name?

Joe Blackmon said...

Yeah, well you know women pastor...err, I mean if the liberals...umm, Broadway Ba...hmm, BFM 20--...

I think this may be the first post I've read in a good while that I can say "Hey, that sounds like a good idea". They would need to give some thought to security if you're voting electronically by computer at remote locations but I can't imagine that would be a huge hurdle to overcome.

John Fariss said...

Amen for me too Wade.

And to John Daly. Pastoring in Maryland, it creates difficulties. I am in "southern" Maryland, but very few people are "from" southern Maryland, and those from other regions of the country (north, east, or west) assume a "Southern" Baptist church is only for expatriot Southerners and/or has appeal only for them.

John

Doug Hibbard said...

We do need greater involvement from all aspects of the SBC, from all corners of the US, and perhaps the globe, as we have churches everywhere. Somehow, we need to modernize the methods of convention governance.

Is it a bad indicator that we will rapidly, and perhaps rabidly, adjust how we worship, preach, evangelize, but not how we do business meetings?

And on the name change, I like 'Galactic Baptist Convention' but I don't see it passing.

chadwick said...

Wade,

Are there any legitimate entities, secular or religious, that conduct 'real [parliamentary] business'; ie. debating and voting via 'satellite'?

Cordially,
chadwick

Doug Hibbard said...

As far as electronic voting and security, back in the days when the guy from Full House hosted America's Funniest Home Videos (back when I was a teenager), they had a system that allowed people in various location audience to vote. If they could do that in the late 80s/early 90s, yeah, there's got to be a way.

Now that I think about it, the 3 shares of UPS stock I own allow me to vote electronically in shareholder meetings. I get a card with a unique ID number allocated to those shares, and login and vote them. Could we do the same with messenger cards? Have the church register messengers, and be issued unique IDs for each messenger? Then each one could only vote once per issue.

It would bog down motions from the floor---we'd have to go to a system of pre-submitted motions like we have for resolutions.

And I don't have any idea about cost, so that could be prohibitive, but you don't know if you don't investigate.

Joe Blackmon said...

And on the name change, I like 'Galactic Baptist Convention' but I don't see it passing.

And we could then do a translation of the New Testament into Klingon. Haa

Tim Marsh said...

Pastor Wade,

I agree with you wholeheartedly. As a pastor of a dually aligned church (SBC and CBF), you can imagine the amount of money it would cost to attend state and national meetings of two Baptist groups!

One, I think that it is mainly tradition that we meet annually and in the format that we do.

Two, why can't state and national meetings alternate years in which they meet?

Three, it is getting more difficult for laity to participate. Pastors are voting on the issues, while the laity cannot take vacation to attend.

Maybe before I retire (in the late 2040's) maybe some progress will be made toward that end!

Greg Alford said...

Wade,

There is absolutely no business being done at the national convention that could not (and should not) be done by mailing information and voting packages to each and every cooperating church in the SBC…

Every cooperating church in the SBC should be given the same opportunity to have their voice heard… (And don’t anyone come back with that same worn out line of everyone can send their messengers… No they can’t and you know it!)

I have been saying for years now that requiring our small churches to send messengers to the convention in order to have our voices heard is equal to the “Poll Tax” that was used in the South for many years in order to keep poor Blacks from voting in any significant numbers. “In the SBC we are all created equal, just some are more equal than others.”

The SBC should be doing everything it can in order to allow and encourage every cooperating SBC church to participate in the life of the convention… and right now I just don’t see it!

Grace Always,

Gary said...

Joe Blackmon said:


They would need to give some thought to security if you're voting electronically by computer at remote locations but I can't imagine that would be a huge hurdle to overcome.


Joe,

I'm an IT puke. We issue credentials which can only be used one at a time. It works. And once a ballot has been cast, then that credential cannot vote again.

You want a secret ballot? No problem. It can be done in secret, yet not allow the credential to vote more than once.

There are 'trust' issues, however. These are not technical issues, these are human issues.

But it can be done. Just don't let a cloister of folks do it. The setup just has to be out in the open for all to see and audit. Then the voting can be done securely and in order.

Gary Skaggs
Norman, OK

Jeff said...

Chadwick, Who cares? The SBC ought to be leaders, not followers.

Tim Marsh said...

Greg Alford,

I think that you have a great point!

Even medium sized congregations (100-200) struggle to get their messengers to attend STATE conventions, much less national conventions.

Thanks!

Jon L. Estes said...

Your reduced font is killing me. The items in the left column are the same as always but the posting has been reduced, is this on purpose.

I just broke my glasses and found reading this recent entry a bit painful to the eyes and head.

Other than that, I don't think the people in charge will go for your idea:

1 - it is from you
2 - it gives the opportunity for to many votes to be made and harder to control

I actually like the idea and would think it workable. This may be the last convention we attend due to cost and what seems to be a lackadaisical attitude towards doing things right.

The Garner motion is a great example. for it to pass as it did then be completely ignored by many in leadership, is flat out wrong.

Two more years of treadmill SBC life and I will probably lead to make some changes where I serve.

Tom Parker said...

I will be generous 10,000 mesSengers voting for the 16 million plus Baptists. There has got to be a better way.

greg.w.h said...

I'd add to Gary Skaggs comment that I'm aware of at least one debit card program that allows you to generate a brand new card number for each online transaction for the purpose of security. Trust me: if the credit card issuers trust such a system for accepting charges against a central account (REAL MONEY with NO parliamentary procedure!!), we can choose our 2nd and 3rd vice presidents and vote for silly resolutions using it.

Greg Harvey

Joe Blackmon said...

Gary Skags

Yeah, I figgered it could be done. They'd have to do testing the system before and I'm sure do an audit after to validate the system and the results. They could contract with the CPA firm of Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe, LLC. Or me and Tom Parker could do the audit for half the price.

chadwick said...

Jeff,

Your profound answer, 'Who cares' deserves a profound reply: ;)

The only way for Wade's (and yours)'cutting-edge' plan to even be considered is for someone to make a 'live' motion for you and Wade in Louisville?

Here can be the motion (You & Wade can have a coin-toss to see who will submit the motion and who will holler out, 'motion' after it has been submitted):

"Mr. President, I humbly submit to you the motion that you appoint Wade Burleson and Jeff Thomas to steer . . . [It will sound the best in a James T. Kirk voice] . . . An Alternative Parliamentary Convention Committee, for the final frontier. This is the motion of Wade & Jeff; an innovative motion: to explore strange new means. To seek out new & cheaper ways to vote. To boldly go where no man has gone before."

If you submit the motion and you have a hard time getting a second, I will 'holler' it out for you. Then we can take a vote to see 'who really cares' about finding an alternative to the tried and trued parliamentary system.

Good luck! ;)

chadwick

Gene Prescott said...

Jon Estes

Regarding small font ... most browsers allow you to increase the size by simultaneously pressing the Ctrl key and the = key (= to increase; - to decrease).

Elizabeth Prata said...

I have no opinion about the convention idea Wade proposed. I do have a thought, however. If I drove hundreds of miles and hiked hours upon miles and was completely removed from all human contact and was looking at God's grandeur and beauty from the top of a mountain, you can be sure that I would not be thinking of ways to propose reorganizing a religious convention.

I say this with all due love and respect...Wade, maybe it is time for a break! LOL

Robert said...

The idea that security systems for voting can made perfect is simply impossible!
As fast as you secure one error the 10,00 more can be manipulated.

http://tinyurl.com/ybfbb7


see also this conference.

http://www.defcon.org/


Robert from the SBC Geneva

Robert said...

Interesting article here on Chi Comm security.

listen to the audio in the middle

http://tinyurl.com/me9939

Robert from Geneva

Scott said...

Chadwick,

As far as I can tell, no organization has the width and breadth of membership and potential voters including our own national government. You can literally have thousands of voters with the way the SB convention is run. Now, if the churches were to vote on state and/or local candidates and then those candidates "represented" their state, then you can start to see some similarities to other organizations. Also, the state conventions would be paying the way for these delegates rather than churches and/or the messengers themselves picking up the tab of expenses.

Now, with the fact that each church can submit their own messengers and the fact that not every church is created equal in terms of finances and/or motivation for convention politics, then you can begin to see that satellite conventions would be not only sensible, but could also open up the entire convention for more participation. I know of many people, myself included, who would make the journey to a regional convention just for the spectatorship, the chance to meet fellow believers, and attend conferences that can strengthen us in our various ministry areas. I wouldn't care that I didn't have a vote, but I'd buy a visitor tag for the experience.

There is a drawback to opening up satellite conventions. It is the dispersal of power and influence. If you were to open up and all of the sudden have 10,000 voters rather than 2,000 voters, then there is a dramatic shift in political power from just the numbers. If a party has the initial 2,000 voting one way, but then all of the sudden 8,000 more showed up, you can see some interesting things begin to happen.

Also, in further support of states sending their own delegations, I would have states that have two conventions both send delegates. Texas, for example, has two conventions and both conventions can send delegates if they so choose.

I would be in favor for satellite conventions. I am also in favor of changing the convention name too. Like many things in this convention, the term Southern Baptist is limiting in our scope and it's "so yesterday" in terms of our membership.

John Fariss said...

Robert, are you suggesting that ther are no errors/no voter fraud in balloting in person--either at the SBC or at the polls?

The real questions, it seems to me, are:

1) Are voting errors/possibility of fraud any greater in remote electronic voting than in voting in a single convention venue?

2) Does the benefit of opening up the convention to greater participation by the people who ARE the SBC outweigh whatever possibility there is of voter errors/fraud?

Of course, you have to have the presupposition that opening up participation in the SBC by average people and pastors who cannot afford to attend in person is a good thing. I do; do you?

John

John Daly said...

I was thinking the Christian Baptist Convention. It's all-inclusive, it's short, and it has a nice ring to it. And best of all, our convention name is associated with our Savior.

Bill said...

Gene--you are a reel geenus!! (lol) Thanks for that info about font size

ALL; Do we really believe the power brokers of the SBC will allow this to happen? Color me jaded, but I this would pose as a threat to some pauer (sic) (power)in the good ole SBC. I can see some heads spinning now. lol

The old guard would be screaming "Not in my Convention!, As the Bible says 1 man, 1 vote"

Thy Peace said...

Baptist Messenger > GUEST EDITORIAL: Changing CP formula not answer
By Wade Burleson
.

Robert said...

John Fariss:
I did not say that so I do not mean such a thing.
It is a totally different question.
I will try to answer those questions now

1) Are voting errors/possibility of fraud any greater in remote electronic voting than in voting in a single convention venue?

yes 1)due to lack parliamentary oversight
2)uniform hardware/software issues.
It is not that inexpensive to replace hardware! My Church uses IMACs....I suspect that one of those would have wiped out Wades 2000 dollars.


2) Does the benefit of opening up the convention to greater participation by the people who ARE the SBC outweigh whatever possibility there is of voter errors/fraud?

I have to think long and hard about this one.

A couple of points to consider
The SBC is not the same thing as Southern Baptists.
Delegates are not the same thing as Messengers.
Not sure I want babes in Christ to have the same voting authority as elders.
Also not sure I want those with certain doctrinal parameters to vote. If Joel Osteen becomes a member in Wades Church then votes his conscience on whether the Southern Baptist should all believe in "Your Best life Now. ..should be allowed to vote.


Robert from the SBC Geneva

Robert said...

Just a point to stress here:
Some have made the point that the convention should get out of politics.

This discussion is all about politics.

As are many if not most of Wades post:
its all fine but it is politics.
I love politics.

Robert from the Southern Baptist Political Capitol...Geneva(aka Nashville)

Scott said...

I really think that opening up the Convention to larger groups will open up avenues on so many fronts that it is important to pursue this venture.

You'll be able to put SBC leadership in front of more of the congregations. Then again, this could be good or bad.

You'll be able to draw ideas from a larger sample of membership. The stifling of creativity and the inability to try new things is overwhelming.

You'll be able to teach to a larger audience. Most churches only have one, maybe two, seminary trained persons in their congregation. By opening up conferences within these satellite conventions, you can put more people in front of our best and brightest on any number of issues facing our church(es) today.

You'll be able to attain a pulse on a larger segment of the population of Southern Baptists.

However, opening this puppy up will cause shifts in power. All of the sudden, small churches will have a voice that is suddenly heard. Personalities and individuals who would have never seen the light of day in our convention will begin to emerge. This could be dangerous or this could be the biggest boon to our convention. I think it's a chance worth taking.

Bill said...

OFF TOPICE:

Wade: Is your idea of changing how the IMB is funded to be one in which the Missionaries prioritize needs on a scale and then have Richmond allocate resources for those individual needs? I understand that yes the "Regional Offices" of the IMB would also be involved and the "needs" would be run up the chain of command-so to speak.

Just trying to get a clear picture of what needs to happen on the field.

Am I understanding that "Richmond" dictates "downward" what they want to happen in field?

Thanks in Advance,

Bill

Romans 5:1

Robert said...

Hey Scott:
I think that your last line reflects well why I generally am cautious about this proposal.
I do not think the Christian life is about taking chances...its about obeying the Lord. And yes the SBC is not demanded in Scripture. But correct doctrine is demanded in Scripture and I fear that this would allow the doctrinal illiterate to have authority over the local church that Scripture clearly speaks in opposition too.


Robert from the Southern Baptist Geneva

Scott said...

Not to sound like a jerk, but scripture and claiming God's Will are too often used to justify any number of positions or to safeguard a tenuous position.

If you want to jump on my phrasing of my last sentence, that's fine. I can see where you'd say that and I'd even agree with that stance.

However, I grow tired of many debates becoming a race to see who can trot out the most scriptures or who can claim God's will first. I think that the wise thing to do here is to make the Convention more accessible to more members of the convention. I think the wise thing is to make our resources more accessible to more people in our convention. I think the wise thing is to make more of our leadership more accessible to more members of our convention.

I honestly and sincerely think that the wise thing to do here is to open up the convention via satellite sites.

Scott said...

Addendum:

Why do you think we have so many doctrinally illiterate?

Honest question and you can even email me your response to pkrevbro@yahoo.com so we don't clutter up Wade's comment section.

Then again, that could be an interesting topic as well...

John Fariss said...

Robert,

You said, "The SBC is not the same thing as Southern Baptists. Delegates are not the same thing as Messengers. Not sure I want babes in Christ to have the same voting authority as elders."

As I understand Southern Baptist polity, the only difference in "the SBC" and "Southern Baptists" is a matter of election by their local church, and then participation at the convention. If we had regional satellite sites, those who voted would still have to have been elected. Nothing I have seen in these budding proposals would change that.

I certainly understand that delegates are not the same as messengers; but then I have not seen anything about "delegates" in this comment string. If it is there and I have missed it, please point it out to me. Otherwise. . . so what?

On a pragmatic level, I agree that "babes in Christ" should not have the same voting privledges as those mature. Theoritically, election at the local church level should prevent that. . . theoritically. I have seen, as I expect you have, children at the SBC with ballots and credentials, presumably elected by their church. And I am not convinced that all those who participate, even get elected, are spiritually mature, viz., Wiley Drake. But I only see two alternatives to the system we have: (1) have potential messengers take and pass some sort of a litmus test, or theology test, etc--which would raise all sorts of questions about standards, fairness, etc., as well as basic Baptist distinctives; or (2) in keeping with your Reformed preferences, go to some sort of elder/presbytery/synod system, in which the "rank-and-file" or laity do not make the decisions anyway, but rather an elected representative-type group does that. Are either of these what you have in mind, or do you see some other possibility I do not?

John

Robert said...

Scott:
Because of the Semi-Pelagian captivity of the Church.
It has become all about man:not about God and His Glory.

Robert from the Southern Baptist Geneva

Lydia said...

"Delegates are not the same thing as Messengers.
Not sure I want babes in Christ to have the same voting authority as elders."

So those having the money to go means they are mature in the Faith?

Lydia said...

"Because of the Semi-Pelagian captivity of the Church.
It has become all about man:not about God and His Glory."

Robert, there is nothing more 'man centered' than Patriarchy.

Robert said...

John Fariss:
Several have said one man one vote or pure democracy.
Leaving that aside I prefer the congregationally led eldership. My church has elders but they are really ruling elders.
Also I think Phil Newtons book elders clearly shows why this model is Scriptural on the local church level.
If this model is followed then the only thing left are the technical details...
honestly that is the tougher portion for me.Just look up all the stories about how people have lost/stolen data and used it to infleunce the political process. Also even fair use information to usurp the authority.

Robert from Geneva

Robert said...

Lydia:
God loves you and so do I but you know I think just the opposite.
Have a nice day!

God Bless
Rob

Christiane said...

Hi JOHN FARISS,

It's me, L's

I have been confused by the concepts of 'baby Christians' and 'more mature Christians.

I look at Wade's wonderful sermon and story about the 'Kindergarten Christian' Ronnie Cue.

I look at the apalling harmful abuse of Dr. Klouda by another 'self-styled' Christian: a 'Doctor'; a Seminary President.

Just what is it that determines the growth of a person in Christ?
Is it really 'how long' the person has 'been in the Church' OR maybe, is it something else: something of the Eternal interacting within their spirits and souls that is timeless in His power to change us, if we respond to His call to love one another?

I am curious. How is it that we know who is mature and who is not?

I imagine some would rather see Ronnie Cue voting than some others who have harmed innocents, but have great power and position in the Church.
I don't think it's about 'how long' someone is in the Church, so much as how deeply that person loves God and loves his neighbor. Am I wrong? Love, L's

Chris Ryan said...

L's,

I'm pretty sure you're not wrong. And thank you for the reminder that we can have sat in churches forever and never learned a thing.

John Fariss said...

Dear L's,

You asked, "I am curious. How is it that we know who is mature and who is not?" My answer is pretty simple: however it is determined, I am not competent to make those judgments. But I can tell you a story I like.

Back the the early or mid 1980s (before I left secular employment to enter seminary), there was an election for governor in my home state, Alabama. The winner (I don't even remember who it was) of course was making all his political appointments to state agencies. I was on my way to work one morning when they announced over the radio that someone had been appointed head of the ABC. (Unless you have lived in the Deep South, that won't mean anything to you. Down there, the sale of hard liquor is a state monopoly, and it is sold by the bottle only in "State Stores," known to an earlier generation as "Green Front Stores" from the cheap, industrial green paint they they once used to paint the outside of the buildings. The agency that manages these stores is the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, or the ABC Board, and in common usage, people omit the "Board" so it is just "the ABC." They also regulate advertising for alcoholic beverages, and I think, licensing for bars, restaurants, etc., that sell drinks on-premise and stores that sell beer & wine off-premise, as well as state-wide revenue enforcement for beverage alcohol.) ANYWAY, they announced the new head of the ABC, and played something he said. I don't think I'll ever forget what that was. "I want to put the state ABC stores on a sound business footing. Right now, we have employees at the state stores who have been working there for twenty years. But unfortunantly, that doesn't mean they have twenty years of retail experience. Some of them have one year of retail experience they have repeated twenty times!"

Unfortunantly, there are people in churches (I suspect of all denominations) who have been there twenty years, maybe thiry, even fifty or more. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they have twenty, thirty, fifty or more years Christian growth; some of them have one year of Christian growth they have repeated however many times.

Every pastor (and I suspect every priest and every rabbi, maybe even every imam) has had to contend with adherents or members, whatever, who whatever their physical age, were emotionally and/or spiritually immature. I am not absolutely sure yet what Robert's solution to that is (I have suspecions), but I see no way to address it within the confines of traditional Baptist polity. Our churches and our conventions (theorotically) act as pure democracies of the members, and one of our distinctives is that we believe God's call is based on His decision, not the person's education, or ability to pass a test, etc.

Hope this answers your questions; you are always such a joy to read.

John

John Fariss said...

Robert,

You said you prefer, "congregationally led eldership" and that "My church has elders but they are really ruling elders." For one who has but moderate familiarity with Presbyterian churches and their governance, can you share with me exactly what "congregationally led eldership" is and what the system of "ruling elders" looks like in a Baptist church? Thanks.

John

John Fariss said...

Dear L's,

Sorry I missed your last question, "I don't think it's about 'how long' someone is in the Church, so much as how deeply that person loves God and loves his neighbor. Am I wrong?"

From where I sit in the bleachers, you are not wrong. Preach on, sister!

John

Christiane said...

YES, JOHN FARISS,

You have helped me understand better.

Same in my teaching profession.
(I am now retired, sadly.)

Some of our youngest teachers come in 'on fire' with enthusiasm and willingness to adapt to the needs of their students who range in ability and in 'how' they learn best.

And then there are some teachers who have been around for ever, but are not flexible and responsive to the children, and as such, cannot do for them as well as someone with a willingness to make adaptations to need.

You tell a good story. You and REX RAY both. I love stories.
I can learn better from them than from 'doctrinal discussions'.

Thanks again for your kindness.
Love, L's

P.S. Wade wants ALL the people to have a say, not just the rich and powerful in the SBC.
God bless him for that.
In the Kingdom, the least shall be made the first, and brought to the head of the table. I like that. :)
L's

Byroniac said...

Joe Blackmon, it looks like there is already a Klingon translation of the NT, at http://klv.mrklingon.org/ (not sure WHY, but thought it's interesting at least...)

Lydia said...

"God loves you and so do I but you know I think just the opposite.
Have a nice day!

God Bless
Rob"

I love you too, Robert. And you proved it by leaving off the Geneva just for me. :o)

Dave said...

As the church planter from Phoenix, AZ stated in Wade's blog entry, I'd like to say once again that this is a great idea. I've not been to the SBC in over 10 years. Every time I've gone, it's been in the town I live in (New Orleans, Houston). As a missionary, all of our family's traveling resources have gone to seeing family. In fact, our only debt comes from all of the trips to see family over the past 10 years. As a church planter, resources for church related travel are few and far between. Therefore, I am able to go to my (local) state convention, just not the Southern Baptist Convention (national). A regional approach would certainly make the SBC more accessible to every Southern Baptist church - enabling them to send people and be more involved. Should that not be a goal? I think it should be a goal: to make the SBC more accessible to all Southern Baptists. Is this possible? Absouletly!

Thy Peace said...

Did any one notice that the map, posted by Pastor Wade is dynamic? It's a google map, you can click and drag, zoom ... All the buttons are active.

It's just I am surprised to see this on a blog, vs. a regular web page. Though come to think of it, a blog is a regular web page.

THE ARROGANCE OF INERRANT RIGHTNESS said...

"But correct doctrine is demanded in Scripture and I fear that this would allow the doctrinal illiterate to have authority over the local church that Scripture clearly speaks in opposition too."
------------------------------


On the above quote, I agree with the premise. However, I believe I know as many MDiv's and PhD's who are doctrinally illiterate as I do laymen.

In the little church I was raised in they had a saying...."OVEREDUCATED IDIOTS". Having been raised in an environment that was anti-education and then going to seminary, I have known both the UNDEREDUCATED IDIOTS AND THE OVEREDUCATED IDIOTS.

I would rather have a person who is Jesus Centered and fears hell doing the voting and running the SBC than a person who is a self centered religious icon in thier own mind who thinks they know all and can do no wrong.

The abuses we have seen for 30 years speak for themself. Doctrinal Knowledge "called" purity is not doctinal purity.

Doctrinal purity is loving the Lord with all your heart and you neighbor as yourself.

A PhD does not a Christian make.

If the SBC doesn't make some changes, I fear for it's future.

Great Post Wade. (was the dirt red up by the mesa?)

wtreat

Tom Kelley said...

Just my opinion, but I think I'd rather have a bunch of doctrinally illiterate babes in Christ deciding matters together than have a church (or convention) run by a autocratic group of arrogant so-called “ruling elders”. There are at least as many (I think more) examples of congregational governance in scripture as anyone could provide for elder rule, and congregational governance fits much better with scriptural (and historical Baptist) teachings about our freedom and equality in Christ and the priesthood of all believers.

Wade Burleson said...

wtreat,

The dirt was not red on top of Black Mesa. Brown dirt and black rocks. In fact, the early explorers of Black Mesa (1903) recorded that from a distance they thought the mesa was covered with trees at the top because it was black. Twasn't trees - but big black boulders. Thus, the name Black Mesa.

Wade Burleson said...

Tom Kelley,

Good point, I agree.

Robert said...

The options are not orthodoxy vs orthopraxis.
You cannot have orthopraxis w/o orthodoxy.


Its possible to have orthodoxy w/o orthopraxy

The objective is to have both.

Tom Kelley
In your example you would be violating what God commands for elders/ leaders of the local church.

Able to teach sound doctrine!!!!

Rob

Robert said...

It is possible to have a plurality of elders with Congregational authority.
Examples....Capitol Hill Baptist.

I agree with those ho say this the most Biblical.

http://tinyurl.com/lul8ms

Rob

aaron said...

Why get so many involved when a few control everything that gos on.

Christiane said...

Good Morning Everyone,

It's me, L's

Wade undertook a journey to the solitude of a mountain 'mesa' top.
From there, he could look out on his surroundings and experience a time of reflection in solitude.

In doing so, he received (and I MEAN 'received') an insight that might have meaning for the healing of the SBC.

There is a Christian tradition of seeking solitude on a mountain:
toward the end of the twelfth century, a group of hermits sought a home on the slopes of Mt. Carmel, which looks out over the Valley of Jezreel in the Holy Land.

From there, they prayed, centering on Christ, seeking an 'undivided heart', and, listening, in silence, to be taught from the Scriptures.

Christ, Himself, often sought solitude to pray. There is definitely a Christian model for 'coming away for a while to pray' as is recorded in St. Mark's Gospel.

Wade did something that he wanted to do 'for a long, long time'.
And he didn't come back without something of value to share.

What drew him to that place?

What gave him his moments of peaceful reflection?

And those connections Wade makes about the past and the present in how people travel and communicate?

What enabled him to see these insights and to see how an application might be made to meet the needs of the SBC?

Coincidence that he should do this 'just before the Convention'?


Like the Carmelite hermit fathers of old, Wade made a journey to a high place, and looking down, in silent reflection, was given an opportunity to see something, to make sense of it, and to know that it might be worth sharing.

Perhaps without knowing it, he joined an ancient Christian tradition, if only for a day. But, what a day!

Love, L's

Jeff said...

Robert, It appears to me what you are promoting is a two class system in our churches and conventions. I'm sorry I just can't buy into that way of thinking.

I think it was Paul Tillich (I know some will not like him) was ask what the difference was between him and a little old lady in some small church. He responded, more education.

I am not sure about that quote or if it is just legend. If someone can confirm it I would appreciate i

Jeff said...

Wade, One of dreams would to climb the highest peak in all 50 states. I think I could handle Arkansas and Oklahoma, but Alaska might be more than I could handle right now!

John Fariss said...

Jeff,

I'm with you on BOTH your last comments.

I love hiking on the Appalachian Trail, although I suppose that altogther I have hiked only about 200 of its 2000 miles. I have hiked across Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain in Virginia (elevation, 5729 feet and 5570 feet respectively), several North Carolina peaks in excess of 5000 feet, and quite a few in NC, VA, and Tennessee over 4000 feet (not bad for an old fat guy who's had a heart attack). But Alaska? Colorado and the Rockies? Ice and snow, not to mention the lack of trees and the presence of Grizzley Bears?

But back to the AT & me: as L's points out, it is always a rewarding time of solitude with God.

Robert has not responded to my last questions, and I hope he will. But right now, it also sounds to me like he envisions either some sort of two class system or a Presbyterian form of polity. I know a relatively few Baptist churches have adopted some form of presbytery in their governance, but I am wary of it. I followed his links, and it sounds like this "elder-led" system just changes the name of a deacon "board," and rolls into it the responsibilities of the nominating committee and various other functions. (Actually, our deacons consciously discarded the "board" concept, and call themselves the "deacon body" because they wanted to show they were embracing pastoral concerns more than administration or managerial functions.)

To those who think that an "elder-led" form of polity is "the most Biblical," I have several related questions. Is it possible that the New testament is deliberately vague about church organization, because it is just not that critical? Historically, Baptists read the Bible and find a pure democracy, while Presbyterians read it and find a representative form of government--could it be that they were both reading into the Bible the prevailing (secular) ideals of their day, just as the older, hierachial denominations read it and found an episcopacy, organized much like the kingdoms and empires of secular goivernment of their time? Is it possible that church organization is less a model He has given and more a pragmatic decision He leaves with us as long as it "gets the job done" given the various communities, expectations, and cultures in which the church operates?

Loom foreward to some responses.

John

John Fariss said...

Hmmm, that should have been "Look foreward," not "Loom foreward." But then again, you never know. . . .

John

Robert said...

Jeff:
When you fly on the airlines do you worry about a two class system. Would the passengers on USAIR rather had a low time pilot in command of that aircraft or someone like Captain Sullenberger.Anyone can become an elder but until they meet Gods requirements they should not be given the keys to the Church.

http://tinyurl.com/ktry4h

BTW....I understand the analogy is not perfect but you get the idea.

if you prefer you can use Pauls illustration of the Soldier.

Rob

John Fariss said...

Robert,

I actually prefer Southwest Airlines, which has only one class of passengers.

John

Robert said...

John Fariss:
What questions do you feel I have not answered?
Also you keep calling it the Presbyterian system but I would argue that at the Founding of the SBC it was the prominent if not the sole leadership model practiced by Southern Baptists.

the congregational led eldership

not ruling elders as in the Presbyterian system.

http://tinyurl.com/mdznnv

Rob

Christiane said...

Hi JOHN FARISS,

It's me L's

A funny story about the need for solitude:
in the middle of raising a family and a husband :), there are moments when poor old Mom here just needed a break. Now, I could never take a 'real' break, but the Good Lord directed me to the cow pasture. I will explain.

One day, I had had it. I yelled at my poor husband: 'I'll be back.' I grabbed the car keys and went out the door and headed south on a country road, with no idea of where I was going or how far.
I drove for some miles and noticed the MOST BEAUTIFUL SCENE:

a cow pasture, COMPLETE WITH COWS!
right there in the middle of the countryside.:) So peaceful.

Just on the other side of it was, of all things, a Burger King. So, I stopped and ordered what I always drink to calm my nerves: another cup of coffee. (it works for me)

Now, there was a seat there by the window looking out on that cow pasture. I don't know how long I sat there, but all the tension drained away, and, by God's grace, I began the feel the tug and pull of my family calling me back.
Oh, good grief, I thought, they must be fed. So Burger King fried chicken and biscuits and cole slaw were packed into my car, and I headed home to my loves, restored by the Peacefulness of the Lord.

And so it was, that on occasion, I needed to 'get away' from my own selfish frustrations, I would grab the keys. "Mom", where are you going? "COW PASTURE" I would holler and, before the door slammed, I would hear my daughter say, 'I guess it's fried chicken today."

Cows, solitude, and the Lord's Gentle Peace. :)
How good is the Lord. Love, L's

Robert said...

John Fariss:
The classes of luxury inside an aircraft have nothing to do with the chain of command.

Do you mean like this Southwest airliner!

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/12/08/chicago.airplane/index.html

Rob

Alan Paul said...

Hi Wade-

Is there by chance any camping at Black Mesa or nearby?

John Fariss said...

Dear L's,

Thanks. I like that.

Robert,

If I remember correctly (I may not, and it's not worth my time to check) Quantas is the only airline without any casualities, and I don't go to Australia "much." That Southwest had the one you reference makes them neither better nor worse than most other airlines, although any human death is a great tragedy.

I used Southwest as an example because you said, "When you fly on the airlines do you worry about a two class system," and I thought you were speaking of classes of passengers, which seemed consistent with the dialogue. If you were speaking of some sort of chain of command on the flight deck or in administration, I missed it--my appologies.

I meant no insult by referencing a "Presbyterian" form of church government. Indeed, my favorite uncle (now deceased) was a ruling elder at a Presbyterian church, and had it not been for him, I would never have darkened the doorway of a church in my younger years, excepting at weddings and funerals. This relates to the questions I feel you have left unanswered. The first of those is, "can you share with me exactly what 'congregationally led eldership' is and what the system of 'ruling elders' looks like in a Baptist church?" (My comment of Tuesday @ 8:16 PM). The second group of questions, from my 1:31 PM comment Wednesday are, "Is it possible that the New Testament is deliberately vague about church organization, because it is just not that critical? Historically, Baptists read the Bible and find a pure democracy, while Presbyterians read it and find a representative form of government--could it be that they were both reading into the Bible the prevailing (secular) ideals of their day, just as the older, hierachial denominations read it and found an episcopacy, organized much like the kingdoms and empires of secular goivernment of their time? Is it possible that church organization is less a model He has given and more a pragmatic decision He leaves with us as long as it 'gets the job done' given the various communities, expectations, and cultures in which the church operates?"

I have long had an appetite for history, and especially in seminary did considerable research into American church history. I don't remember ever running across the asertion that "at the Founding of the SBC it (elder-led) was the prominent if not the sole leadership model practiced by Southern Baptists." Can you expand a bit upon that and give me some references? I am aware of course that (1) into the early 19th Century, Baptist pastors were often called "elders," and (2) this was mostly before the "deacons as boards of trustees" business model had made inroads into Baptist life. I am not clear what (if any) distinction theis made in "traditional" congregational polity verses what I think of as a representative form of church government, which I associate with Reformed thought and, yes, the Presbyterian church.

These are sincere questions, Robert. I am open the learning the truth if I am wrong.

John

Jeff said...

Robert, What does this have to do with having regional sites for the Convention?

Joe Blackmon said...

So Burger King fried chicken and biscuits and cole slaw...

L's

When did they do cole slaw? Was that a regional thing because we never had that at Burger King in my neck of the woods?

Thy Peace said...

Must be from KFC :)

No more fried food for me.

Christiane said...

Hi JOE BLACKMON,

I bought green beans, baked beans, cole slaw, fresh fried chicken, and the biscuits came with the chicken (very good).

I'm pretty sure there was cole slaw, but it has been a while since we lived in that area, and I might be wrong on that.
All I know is that, out of guilt for 'losing it' I probably bought some of EVERYTHING and plenty of it to bring home to my dear people. :)

Joe, you know that term: 'Jewish mother', a mom who feeds everyone in sight all the time.
Well, that's me. My French-Canadienne blood, I suppose: we are great eaters, always tons of food, and lots of family to eat it: Lots of love, love, love.:)

Love, L's

Robert said...

Jeff:
What it has to do with the convention is that the actions of the convention impact the local church. Good or bad.
If the local church is impacted by classless voting then those who are not mature in Christ will enact/ legislate actions that are contra -Scripture.
See we have listened to the lies that Paul Young "preaches "in the Shack that the Trinity is not Hierarchal so we want are convention to be a "Circle of Friends". It will not work anymore then the student pilot with lows hours will fly as captain on an Airbus 380(superjumbo jet able to hold 853 passengers)

BTW....Classless would be your word....
role differentiation is mine.

Same value and worth just different roles.


Rob

Scott said...

The problem with Elders and other forms of leadership is that we focas on the scriptural importance of the leadership which is good and very important. However, we brush aside the importance of accountability and measure to reign in the leadership by the larger group as a whole. It's as if we're told, "We're the elders/deacons/leadership and you just need to sit down and accept what we're doing because God said so." What biblical truth is there in that type of leadership, regardless of what it looks like?

Now, with the discussion of the satellite conventions which allow more messengers to attend and vote. How are they all of the sudden immature Christians? Does that mean smaller churches are full of baby Christians? Does that mean that our Mega-churches with our most educated and celebrated pastors are all spiritual giants? The premise that allowing more people to vote automatically means that more uneducated people are voting is fundamentally flawed.

What will happen is that fiefdoms and kingdoms of sand will come crumbling down as more and more scrutiny on methods, not message, are being brought to bear. What that means is that the power circles will be forever broken as more and more people and ideas are brought to the table.

What it means is that the wants of the few will be overwhelmed by the needs of the many. Yes, I'm intentional in how I phrased that.

Allowing more of our churches to bring their messengers to the table allows for a more accurate pulse of our needs, our conditions, and our vision for the future. I don't that God would be against that though I'm sure someone, somewhere is preparing to swing some interpretation of some scripture to attack my stance.

Jeff said...

Rob, Thanks for your opinion, but i disagree that only the educated can vote at conventions.

If I did agree with you---I would be worried about the national convention voting.

I can't go to the national convention because of family circumstances, but I have a BA, MdivBl, and I have done Dmin work.

My library while not as big as others have several thousand books.

I consider myself someone who has a good theological grasp on issues.

Yet, I can't vote but would if I could drive to Memphis, or Little Rock.

Your objections overlook the current state of voters at the SBC.

Robert said...

John Fariss:
Here is a good article on Biblical eldership in Baptist life.
good links to other articles.

some leaders who practice eldership.
baptist and baptistic

John MacArthur

John Piper

Wayne Grudem...keep in mind his systematic theology is used as a textbook in most seminaries.

Most if not all Bible Churches

http://tinyurl.com/m77ov7

Rob

Robert said...

Jeff:
I did not say anything about education.
Spiritually mature.

Rob

Greg Alford said...

Robert,

“I fear that this would allow the doctrinal illiterate to have authority over the local church…”

Seriously?

Jeff said...

Ok, Spiritually mature--What assurance can you give me that there will be more people who are spiritually mature at the convention than at their home the week of the convention?

Robert said...

Scott:
Honestly you and John Fariss seem to be arguing to different perspectives.
Although I attend a church that has ruling elders... I think your objections are met with eldership that is congregational.

Rob

Jeff said...

Rob, I am waiting for your answer.

Robert said...

Greg:
Absolutely it happens all the time.
An illustration...several years ago I attended a banquet at Two Rivers Baptist, the church I attended at the time. Somehow the discussion turned toward altar calls and the chairman of deacons who was setting next to me said that God always calls people to himself.I agreed but stated that is not the same thing as mandating Altar call. I then asked him where that mandate was found in the Bible. He proceeded to tell me that as long as he was deacon chairman that there would be Altar calls at Two Rivers.
I am still waiting for that Scripture that mandates Finneyism.

Rob

Jeff said...

Rob, how long will avoid my question?

Robert said...

Jeff:
Because the elders will have examined each individual carefully and rooted out those that are spiritually immature.

I also acknowledge that if the elder process is taken seriously the location is not insurmountable.
However some to be arguing just for more quantity sans the qualifications.....thats my beef.

Rob

Jeff said...

PCUSA has elders.....Are they more spiritual mature?

Christiane said...

Dear ROBERT,

What sort of knowledge led Ronnie Cue to make peace with his neighbor? Did he study to know doctrinal knowledge in a seminary?
No. He told Wade that 'God told him what to do.'

This IS based in Scripture:

If we look in 1 John, we learn this:

"20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge."

and,

27 " As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you.
But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in Him.*


So it is the indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit which gives knowledge and informs our consciences and guides us along The Way of the Lord.

When Ronnie Cue came into the Church for the first time, he was baptized by water AND by the Spirit.
And then, hearing Wade preach the Word, Ronnie was no longer in doubt of what it was that God wanted him to do. HE KNEW.


Simple gifts, Robert, simple gifts. But only to humble hearts that are ready to receive them.
On the simple faith of these good people, Christ builds His Church.

The wisdom given to the humble may be far superior to some of the current teachings of doctrine out there in B.I. land.

I would not discount the 'simple' people of faith as 'illiterate' in the Way of the Lord, Robert.
Christ, after all, chose His followers, the Apostles, from humble men, and not from the learned of the Temple.

Who would you rather have voting: someone with the Spirit-informed heart of an Apostle?
or someone with the knowledge and temperament of a Pharisee?

Love you dearly, L's

Robert said...

Scott:
As I see your emphasis....I would say this that the Church(local) is not a democracy . The Lord has spoken clearly about how to organize and run His Church. all we need to do is figure out His will from His Word.

Rob

Robert said...

Jeff:
Not Congregationally led elders.

Rob

Scott said...

I'm for more churches being present at the conventions. These churches will obviously have their rules and procedures for their own messengers. I'm for more representation amongst the churches and then my points come to pass.

I also think that regional conventions allow for more teaching and training opportunities for those who may not be messengers, but wish to be present for the event itself.

Robert said...

Christiane:
Since you keep bringing up Ronnie Cue...
Do you believe Wade would make Ronnie an elder today or deacon(not sure of your polity Wade).
2) Would Wade nominate Ronnie Cue to be a messenger for Immanuel...and if he did should he and why from Scripture.

Rob

Scott said...

I know that churches aren't a democracy.

However, now that churches have become leadership without accountability due to the whole, "God put me, you can't touch me." mentality is far more dangerous and unscriptural.

I have no problem with Elders. I have problems with Elders who have no accountability, even when they too get mired in personal sin.

I watched Elders destroy my previous church on nothing more than preference of worship style and congregational size, yes, size.

The congregation needs to be able to hold wayward Elders accountable for their actions and deeds.

Touch not, God's annointed. This is a dangerous premise to operate under.

Wade Burleson said...

Alan Paul

Camping all around is permitted. Also, there is a wonderful beed and breakfast at the base called Black Mesa Bed and Breakfast. Vicki and her husband are the proprietors. Ministers stay free as part of their ministry.

Wade

Robert said...

Scott
I have no disagreement at all with that last comment

Rob

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan Paul said...

Thanks! I was showing my 9 year old son this post and told him we may head up okie way to spend a few nights there.

I wish I was a minister. No freebies for me. ;)

But I will check the bed and breakfast out as well.

Christiane said...

Dear ROBERT,

It's me, L's

Well, let's see.
Hmmm, I don't know from 'elders' but we have Deacons. I don't think they are appointed by an authority unless they are 'called' to the service of Our Lord by the Holy Spirit, at least in my Church.

I don't speak for what Wade should or should not do. I believe that Wade prays before important decisions, as most of us do, the the guidance of the Lord.

Your system of messengers is not familiar to me, I only know of how the first Church Councils were called and that bishops came from the Christian world of that time (East and West). In my faith, a bishop is a 'full priest' who confirms us in our faith and can administer the holy orders to anoint a priest. So, of course, that is not the same as a 'messenger'.

Our councils are still called in the old ways. Love you dearly, L's

Tom Kelley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Kelley said...

Robert in Nashville,
To clarify my previous comment on church governance and follow up on your responses, let me just state that, I, too, have no disagreement with Scott's comment at Wed Jun 10, 05:54:00 PM 2009. I also like what John Farris said at Wed Jun 10, 01:31:00 PM 2009 (about proponents of each form of governance finding support in the Bible).

I have yet to see a church with multiple elders which follows a congregational polity, such as proposed by Phil Newton. (And I've been to his church, and have friends who were very involved there -- nothing against it at all, but in practical terms what I have seen there looks more to me like elder rule than congregational governance.) But then, I have encountered very few churches in which the leaders (whether just one pastor, or a pastor and associates/staff, or a deacon board, or priests & bishops, or whatever they are called) are the humble & spiritually mature servants and shepherds that the Bible describes and prescribes.

Mostly what I see is one form of “rulers” or another. I think it is common to follow the patterns of this world in leadership and to fall short of the standard that Jesus set (that the greatest will be the one who is the least and the servant of all. Every time I hear or read a reference to "authority" in the church I cringe, as it seems to me that sort of focus is far from the Spirit of Christ.
-----
Tom

Jeff said...

Robert, Who elects the elders for each church?

Robert said...

Tom Kelley:
What about Capitol Hill Baptist....I will have to call some friends who attend there.
I am asking only

Rob

Robert said...

Jeff:
The congregation in the congregational model.

Rob

Tom Kelley said...

Robert,
I don't know what Capital Hill is like. And my perceptions of South Woods as an outsider looking in could be mistaken. But I do know that in most churches I have had contact with I have encountered more folks in leadership who are focused on being an authority than on being a servant.
-----
Tom

Robert said...

Tom Kelley:
I dont really have a problem with authority or even authoritarianism if it does not clash with what I believe are Biblical positions.

I believe the model is slaves to Christ not just servants of another.

Rob

Jeff said...

Rob, How can we trust the congregation to elect elders?

John Fariss said...

Robert,

I will follow this link as I have the others you have given.

I'd still like to see your references that circa 1845, most "Southern" Baptist churches followed an elder-form of church governance that was different from "traditional" congregational polity other than sometimes in the title of the pastor and the emphasis of the deacons.

John

Jeff said...

John, I have a couple of books of which I have only skimmed. I am not sure we can say it was a majority, but an elder form was not unheard of in 1845. But again these spiritual mature Christians also owned slaves.

Robert said...

Jeff:
Because the Bible tells me so!
ie be obedient to His Word.
Trust and Obey...for there is no other way.

Rob

Jeff said...

You are saying that you trust spiritually immature Christians to elect elders, but you do not trust them to vote at the SBC convention. WOW!

Paula said...

Every time I hear or read a reference to "authority" in the church I cringe, as it seems to me that sort of focus is far from the Spirit of Christ.

Amen.

Jesus talked about "where two or three are gathered". According to tradition, that must mean that these two or three have to have some ruler over them, who emits a mystical, magical "covering", and expects his "anointing" to be followed as they follow God. But if tradition shows us anything, it's that the business model with its hierarchy is no guarantee of doctrinal safety.

Jesus also said "Not so among you", and "neither here on this mountain nor in Jerusalem, but in spirit and truth". The NT writers called the people-- all of them-- the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

I know the NT well and have never found anything teaching us to set up buildings, pews, altars, pulpits, candles, stained glass, or any of a thousand other props that make us feel religious. Neither have I found (when looking at the Greek) any concept of rule, hierarchy, "lording over", or class distinction of any kind.

To crave the seat of power is to have not the slightest grasp of the humility Jesus Himself modeled, per Phil 2:5-11, wherein He laid power and privilege aside to stoop down and lift up His bride. To desire to rule is to reject the Golden Rule.

And to even extend hierarchy into the Trinity is borderline blasphemy, for it divides the One True God in essence. One essence cannot be divided and thus cannot be hierarchical. One Being cannot be dissected into ranks. The Persons of the Trinity are of one will, one essence, so any attempt to turn this unity into a chain of command is an attempt to dismember God Himself.

So when people try to model the community of believers after a distortion of the nature of God, they err at the very foundation. Such a house can never stand.

:-)

Robert said...

Paula:
Lost me that on that .....seems rather heretical to me.

Rob

Thy Peace said...

ABP > Book says SBC lacks system of preventing sexual abuse.
A book released in advance of the June 23-24 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention claims the nation's largest Protestant faith group has more than 100,000 clergy, but no effective system of denominational oversight to protect children from sexual abuse.

This Little Light: Beyond a Baptist Preacher Predator and His Gang is a combination memoir and exposé written by Christa Brown, an anti-clergy-sex-abuse activist.

Brown tells her own story of being sexually abused by a youth minister at the Texas Southern Baptist church of her childhood and how years later as an adult she met a bureaucratic response when trying to warn denominational officials there might be a sexual predator in their midst
.

Paula said...

How many Gods are there, Robert? I count One.

Can One be divided? Can there be hierarchy among One?

What I'm saying is that hierarchy in the Trinity is the ancient Arian heresy of tritheism, because it is logically impossible for Persons of equal essence and being to have permanent, intrinsic rank. And contrary to the pronouncements of some with credentials (who are still not infallible), hierarchy is not required for distinction of Persons.

And contrary to some who wish to engage in revisionist history, the position I'm supporting is the historical one of the church. Notions of hierarchy in the Trinity are clearly heresy.

Robert said...

Paula,
Frankly ...thats just an ignorant argument!

Rob

Lydia said...

"I dont really have a problem with authority or even authoritarianism if it does not clash with what I believe are Biblical positions."

Then what is the point of human authority in the Body of Christ? Your position makes little sense. You have to know correct doctrine to make sure your elders are not false teachers.

So, in effect, you are admitting they really have no authority at all. Which is true. Jesus Christ is the authority of the Body.

Robert said...

Paula:
You and Paul Young can preach that all you want but most South ern Baptist do not.

Rob

Paula said...

Robert:

Frankly,that's just your opinion.

Paula said...

So tell me Robert... why do you love hierarchy, to the point of insisting even God is so arranged? What bearing does this have on the gospel? What is your agenda in stressing a chain of command?

Thy Peace said...

Stop Baptist Predators > Harsh words make my point.
Did you see the article about my book in the Associated Baptist Press? Did you see the first guy’s comment underneath the review?

Take a deep breath and take a look. Here’s what he says:

“This woman is on nothing more than a vendetta against the SBC because she's still having problems as a result. Her constant desire to get publicity is evidence of her penchant for hateful revenge. Frankly, I suspect her alleged experience really happened, and yet it's still just a story without substantiation. Being Baptist had nothing to do with her experience. It happens is all walks of life and it's unfortunate. The article states that she 'found him on her own.' What more compelling evidence can there be but that this woman still has mental/emotional issues she can’t overcome? Writing a book to keep herself in the victim spotlight maybe. Indeed, the SBC has examined her whining and has done exactly the right thing according to Baptist polity—it has to be left to the local church…. This woman seems to have done little to acquire a spirit of forgiveness. Her story is not unique. Some Baptist pastors do have lapses of judgment in this area. And so do Presbyterians, Lutherans… Catholics and all the others. This woman writing a book to keep attention on herself serve no useful purpose….”

Scott said...

I threw out a couple of comments with my usual irreverent nature that I try to keep from this board.

That article is pretty compelling, especially in the light of Darrell Gilyard's story.

John Fariss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert said...

Paula:
1) Its in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000
2)We have had this this discussion ad nauseum. I doubt either will be moved by the others argument
3)I believe it is Biblical
Obediance...

John Fariss said...

Paula,

I think you are on target. It is consistent with the Greek I know (only 1 year in seminary) as well as Systematic Theology and church history as I have studied them at both the M.Div. and the D.Min. level--and BTW, one of my professors in my D.Min. work was a world recognized scholar of historical theology.

Rob,

Can you substantiate your claim that "most Southern Baptists" believe in some sort of hierachy in the trinity? You remember, the "powers that be" said the same thing about PPL and the spiritual gift of tongues, then Lifeway's research contradicted them.

John

Paula said...

Thanks John! :-)

Robert: Again I ask how many Gods you believe there are. And what does "Biblical obedience" mean? Are you talking about one of those Gods obeying the other, or people needing to pattern their relationships after that chain of command-- even though scripture never even hints at such a thing?

Robert said...

Paula
Are you a Oneness Pentecostal?

Paula said...

Robert: Are you a tritheist?

Now I'm going to answer your question first even though you've been failing to answer mine: NO, I am not a OP. Haven't I made it clear that I believe in One God in Three Persons?

So tell me, Robert, how many Gods are there? And then tell me how One can have hierarchy. No more evasions and new questions until you deal with that.

Lydia said...

Paula, Just keep asking Rob questions. Because you are asking very good questions.


He is just playing offense so he does not have to defend his position biblically. He still has not answered John's questions from several threads back about liberal/conservative and what it takes to be either/or in his view.

I would be interested in seeing Robert's biblical case for human authority in the Body of Christ.

(If you do not agree with him, you are usually accused of being liberal. Now, you are a pentecostal because you believe in the ONE True God in three persons with ONE united Will for eternity. Sheesh)

Paula said...

You're right, Lydia. I'll be surprised if I ever get a direct answer. But the questions just beg to be asked. ;-)

Lydia said...

"Some Baptist pastors do have lapses of judgment in this area."

That is EXACTLY how Patterson treated the seriousness of Gilyard's sexual perversion.

That is why he MUST be fired.

No big deal. Just a lapse of judgement. Let's just ignore Biblical teaching on qualifications for elders. And who cares about future victims? After all, most are just young girls, right?

They can be forgiven from behind bars for the rest of their lives.

Robert said...

Paula:
I fail to see the relevancy to the post at hand...could you clarify that for me!

Rob

Paula said...

You're not going to answer me then. That's okay, but it also means you have no more right to ask questions.

Robert said...

Paula:
Better do like Thy Peace

Alert OFF TOPIC

Rob

Paula said...

Robert: better not to bring up the topic you just labeled "off".

(Wed Jun 10, 04:03:00 PM 2009 is where YOU brought it up)

How about I label all your comments "off"?

Robert said...

John Fariss:
One can never be a CBF aligned Church and be a conservative!

Rob

Robert said...

okay here come the evangelical feminist!

Rob

Paula said...

"okay here come the evangelical feminist!"

OFF!

(and logically fallacious to boot!)

Robert said...

Now a word from our sponsors

try the CBE..genuine Feminist for Christ

Twice the pablum ....half the Gospel.
Never Filling(you know H.S filling)

Rob

Scott said...

I think we have left the realm of civil discourse. Perhaps we can all reconvene on Wade's next posting when it comes down the pipe.

Grace and Peace.

Paula said...

Aw, Scott, we were just having a little fun, eh? ;-)

Robert said...

Scott:
I figured they could dish back well.
I think we are all in good company.
No foul no harm.

Rob

Scott said...

Then by all means, don't let me stop you two.

Besides, you two are making my worknight go by a little quicker.

Grace and Peace.

Paula said...

Glad to help a brother out, Scott. ;-) But it's getting late here, and besides, merry-go-rounds get old pretty quick.

l8r

THE ARROGANCE OF INERRANT RIGHTNESS said...

Wade, I am guilty of sometime speaking off topic myself so this time I will at least get back to the Mesa. In 1968 I was there. In '70 we cut wheat in the panhandle and also in southern Kansas. I love the country.

Now, I propose that you throw a great big revival and rally on the mesa and invite every person who claims to love Jesus no matter the denomination.

I volunteer to do anything that needs to be done from cleaning the toilets to staging and lighting to sound and playing drums if necessary. I will even preach if someone can't make it at the last moment.

The platform might be "Fellowship in outreaching to all who come in the name of Jesus."

Or, "A new day in communication"

Maybe get Joel or TBN to use their satellites for a worldwide outreach. (just to tweek some pharisees).... :-)

Maybe get Anna Graham Lutz just to be reach out. Billy says she is the best preacher in the family and we don't need to call this a Baptist rally so she will be OK (HA!)

"FROM THE MESA TO THE WORLD.
COMMUNICATION IN THE NEXT MILLENIUM."

Ah, the logistics; State approval, water, camping and RV space, toilets, security, $1million in liability insurance(minimum) traffic control, parking, stage and sound system crews, lighting and crews, musicians, roadies, showers, janitors, etc.

1-2 years to plan.

OK, you get the thought.

May as well think big, He's a big God.

A Big Smile
wtreat

John Fariss said...

Rob,

So then. . .conservatism is defined pragmatically, by affiliation, rather than theologically, by what doctrines one holds? It's good to know (even with all that time I wasted in seminary learning about theology).

John