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

Is There a Culture Among Southern Baptists That Goes Beyond Biblical Christianity?

I was recently asked by a fellow Southern Baptist pastor why I no longer write posts about the Southern Baptist Convention. He said that he missed my observations and wished I would begin again writing about the SBC. This pastor's email was the most recent of similar requests. Contrary to the suggestions of these well-meaning individuals, I intend to continue writing posts that have nothing to do with the SBC, but the following will give insight into the reasons behind my decision.

I can remember my father, a Southern Baptist preacher himself (but definitely not the preacher pictured here), often saying from the pulpit (I paraphrase)-- "I am a Christian who happens to be a Southern Baptist. If and when the Southern Baptist Convention ever moves toward a belief system, an attitude, or a mission that is contrary to that held by Christ, then I will cease being a Southern Baptist. But I cannot, I will not, ever cease following Christ."

This simple conviction was seared into my consciousness even as a youth, and the three Southern Baptist churches that I have had the pleasure of serving these past twenty-five years have heard me say something similar on several occasions.

I found myself in 2008, at times, questioning whether or not the Christ I follow is actually represented by the Convention with which we choose to affiliate. I recently spoke with J.C. Watts, former United States Congressman from Oklahoma and a life-long Southern Baptist, about our mutual affiliation and affection for the SBC. He said that politics in Washington D.C. is rough and tumble, but he has never seen anything as vicious as Southern Baptist politics. Though I have no experience with D.C. politics, I can echo similar sentiments regarding the SBC and the utter lack of civility among some.

Sadly, the simplicity of life in Christ and our mutual acceptance of the gospel of God's grace seem to have been superceded by the desire of some in the SBC to demand conformity on all things non-essential to the Christian faith. The polarization resulting from recent attempts to disqualify and disassociate from Southern Baptists who don't see eye to eye on eschatology, ecclesiology, spiritual gifts, soteriological minutiae, etc... causes me to wonder if our Southern Baptist belief system is beginning the slow descent into a closer resemblance to the pecular religious church dogmas of Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other cults that major on all things religious and minor on Jesus Christ and His work for sinners than to the New Testament. When we care more that people who affiliate with us look like us, talk like us, think like us, act like us, believe like us, etc..., then we've taken our focus off Christ and put it on our man-made system of religious performance. I do not wish to look like a Southern Baptist. I wish every Southern Baptist would mirror Christ in life and attitude.

I love the people I pastor in Enid. I love the people of Christ in my community, regardless of their denominational affiliation. I love the freedom and grace we enjoy as a church that is on mission for Christ. I love the Christ who has redeemed us. I love being a Christian. I, at times, wonder if my identity as a Southern Baptist is coming into conflict with my identity in Christ. That, in essence, is why I no longer write about the politics in the SBC. I wish to be known by others, foremost, as a follower of Christ. The culture of the SBC sometimes becomes an obstacle to this desire.

In His Grace,


Wade

53 comments:

Thy Peace said...

Amen. All that matters is being a follower of Christ.

Tim G said...

Wade,
Here is a question for you:
Is Christ Follower the best term to be used? Are we not more than a mere follower?

Wade Burleson said...

Tim G.

Maybe there is a better word. Disciple? Believer? Follower?

I'm open.

Wade

Kevin in Manila said...

Beautifully written, Wade.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
You said, “If and when the Southern Baptist Convention ever moves toward a belief system, an attitude, or a mission that is contrary to that held by Christ, then I will cease being a Southern Baptist. But I cannot, I will not, ever cease following Christ.”

For some reason your statement reminded me of what one missionary wrote to his director in 2002:

“I fully respect the authority of the IMB. My allegiance is to God’s Holy Word and that alone. To pledge to any other document outside God’s Holy Word violates my beliefs as a Baptist and my integrity before God.

I am reminded of…Chariots of Fire. Eric would not run on Sunday. One of the older lords said, “Don’t be impertinent, young man!” and Eric replied, “The impertinence, Sir, lies with those who seek to influence a man to deny his beliefs.”

I suppose that would be my response to those who seek to encourage me to sign a pledge of allegiance to the BFM.

You said you might pick out statements from missionaries to read to the board in such a way they would not know which missionary had said what. My request is, if you choose to use this…state it is from Stan R. Lee of Rwanda.

It is immaterial to me whether I serve Christ in Rwanda or in Texas as long as I know within my heart that I am pleasing to him.

It may be that this will turn out to be the end of my missionary career, but I want you to know that if I go, I go as a true Baptist and a true servant of the SBC, but Christ first. ALL FOR CHRIST.”

After 24 years on the field, this missionary was fired.

Aussie John said...

Wade,

I have dreamed for years to hear those words spoken by churchmen in this country.

Michael Ruffin said...

And that's the way it is.

You have, Brother Wade, after hundreds of posts and hundreds of thousands of words, arrived at the crux of the issue.

I wish you blessings along the way.

Joe Blackmon said...

It took how many years to kick Broadway Baptist out of the SBC? FBC-Decatur is still considered to be in friendly co-operation? People with a "private prayer language" were serving as missionaries?

Seems to me the problem is not that the SBC is too fundementalist but rather that the SBC isn't fundementalist enough.

Of course, having left the SBC, I'm looking forward to watching the forthcoming Mainstream Resurgence [(c) 2008 Joe Blackmon] and seeing the SBC morph into a copy of the PCUSA with pre-millenial eschatology.

Bill said...

Is having no missionary in a particular location preferable to a missionary with a private prayer language?

Is having no missionary in a particular location preferable to a missionary baptized as a believer in a Nazarene church?

Is having no missionary in a particular location preferable to having a lifelong, vetted, and proven SBC missionary who affirmed the BFM they were hired under but would not, on principle, pledge allegiance to the BFM2K?

This is a serious question. Is having no voice for Christ in a particular location better for the Kingdom than removing or preventing a missionary with the above listed defects?

Are the defects listed above so serious that the work of the Great Commission is actually harmed by allowing them to serve? Are they so serious that a reduction of missionaries on the field actually better serves the cause of Christ? Fewer but purer?

Debbie Kaufman said...

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.(1 Cor. 13:4-7)

Len said...

Well written Wade...about a decade ago this became my mantra:
1. I am Christian by Conviction: I will die a Christian-no doubt!
2. I am Baptist by Choice: I will probably die Baptist. Yep...relish their/our freedoms
3. I am Southern Baptist by Convenience: Mostly b/c of the nasty politic and mean outcome of a 30 year, ecclesiastical Civil War, I cannot say I will die an SBC-er

That'll preach: The 3 C's
Conviction, Choice, Convenience

John said...

Thanks Wade. Next time you talk to JC, see if you can get him to run for President!

linda said...

A post that needed to be said.

I was saved in 1967, without benefit of a church. I waited about 18 months before joining one. I studied the New Testament, prayed, and developed a relationship with Jesus. Then I went looking and found myself in agreement with the SBC, and joined a local church.

I never even heard of the 1963 BFM until the mid 80's.

Fast forward to the late nineties. Not only was I handed a 1998 (?) update but we were told this is what we MUST believe if we were to continue as church members.

OH REALLY???

It was time to say "bye ya'll" if I wanted to still affirm the Baptist principles I held dear.

Bill said...

It also sounds very close to the sentiments and position expressed by J. Gresham Machen back in the mid 1920s, when the denomination that he loved began to make, in his opinion, a sharp move leftward. He had no desire to leave the Presbyterian Church, but political forces within the denomination had so overtaken the church's politic that he was forced to support the formation of an "independent" mission board, because the UP's established missions agency had (again, in Machen's opinion) forsaken the central tenets of the Gospel. He was brought to trial by leaders in the denomination (yes, this same denomination in which he grew up, was educated, and ordained to the ministry). Sad.

Interestingly, Machen's convictions and unwavering commitment to principle was, in the end, lauded by voices not always thought to be allied to his position: writers like Walter Lippmann and even H.L. Mencken (no friend of established relgion, he) who wrote lines praising JGM in the days following his death. Even Pearl Buck, whose actions as a UP missionary did much to spark the whole unpleasantness, spoke praise, if not in support of JGM's views, but of his principles and character.

(BTW Mike...I learned all that in Dr. McManus' classroom :-D...funny that something I learned at Mercer in 1981 led me to eventually become a Presbyterian. The doctrine of Providence exhibits some fascinating facets from time to time).

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade,

When an organization disqualifies candidates based upon their possession of a Spiritual Gift, which the Bible clearly states is exclusively the Holy Spirit's to give, then the word isn't "beyond".

It's "against".

Christiane said...

REFLECTIONS:

It is so very difficult to see people who have struggled with the relationship between a church identity and an identity with Our Lord Christ. There is so much that I cannot say, out of respect, except that I am sad for those who have been hurt.

What is it that creates a 'climate' or a 'culture' for a group of people who pray together?

It is possible that, for SOME, without realizing it, they have given only a surface "lip-service" to the Name of Our Lord Christ and His Way.

And it is very possible that, for the OTHERS, the Name of the Lord Christ is more than just a surface 'acceptance':
they have invited Him to become the 'Guardian of their souls'.

So, maybe the struggles in the Church lie between the differences between:

some appearing to accept, even in their own minds, Christ, but only on 'conscious' level

and
the others: those whose very souls are in His Loving Care in this life and on into Eternity.

I make this distinction for a reason:
the depth of a person's relationship to Christ affects how that person will relate to others.

And, in community, this will show up dramatically in the way that people treat one another.

But here is the thing:
The members in Community, for whom Christ is the 'Guardian of their soul' have a responsibility to reach out in compassion to
the ones who cannot yet understand 'The Way': a phrase used by very early Christians to describe their journey with Christ.

Here, the 'fruits' of a deep relationship with the Lord Christ can be brought forward to serve the ones in the Community who do not yet 'know' Christ in their spirit as He watches over their soul.

If the ones who are closest to Him can reach out to the others, with compassion, He will be able to do much to heal what is broken in Community and His Peace will be felt there once more.

I don't suppose any of these ramblings will resonate with those of another tradition,
so I am just offering this as something to think about.

Jesu Christe: Dona nobis pacem.

Love, L's

Joe Blackmon said...

When an organization disqualifies candidates based upon their possession of a Spiritual Gift...

I don't agree that Private Prayer Language is a spiritual gift. However, as long as the people who "had" that "special gift" kept it to themselves, I personally have no problem with it. I mean, if someone's faith is so shaky that they need that as a crutch to prop on, who am I to knock it out from under them.

Bob Cleveland said...

Joe,

Fear not. You're not about to knock any props out from under anyone. Neither do you get to judge the faith of others.

Check Romans 14:4.

I heard it said once: some believe that, if God doesn't do it for them, He doesn't do it any more. Thankfully, God needn't abide by those opinions. Last I heard, He's still sovereign, and nobody gets to tell Him what He does or doesn't do any more.

Nobody.

barrywallace said...

Well put. My goal has always been to be a Christian first, and a Baptist (I won't even say second) somewhere after that.

city-connections said...

I believe many are reflecting on this.
I ask my pastor similar questions some time ago.
Now, Jerry Rankin has retired. We shall see where this leads us.
All I know is my son is on the Amazon returning after 6 days in the jungle- and this was my prodigal.
God is faithful.
Continually blessed by you Wade.

Greg Alford said...

Amen Wade!

Amen Debbie!

Amen John!

I just read that Jerry Rankin has announced his plans to Retire from the IMB in July 2010. He also revealed that in response to the GCR the IMB will be “implementing a radical paradigm shift in organization and strategy,”

I hate to see Jerry Rankin resign… and I hope the “radical paradigm shift” he mentions is a shift in the right direction… or I fear there will be a lot more Baptist announcing their resignations and walking away from an organization (the SBC) that has become a hindrance to their walk with Christ.

Grace Always,

Michael Ruffin said...

Bill,

Thanks for the note to me in your comment.

Now--who are you?

(To the rest of you...sorry to put this here but I could figure no other way to ask.)

Mike

Joe Blackmon said...

Thankfully, God needn't abide by those opinions

He also doesn't have to abide by the opinions of those who insist that the sign gifts are in operation or that personal experience trumps biblical revelation.

Benji Ramsaur said...

I just noticed something about the 1689 London Baptist confession.

This statement concerning liberty of conscience is *not* under the section "Of the Civil Magistrate" [it is actually under a section entitled "Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience"].

See below:

"2._____ God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his word, or not contained in it. So that to believe such doctrines, or obey such commands out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring of an implicit faith, an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience and reason also."

I think this statement is very important because folks *cannot* argue that this was some new view that arose in the 20th century.

Since it is found in the *1689* confession, it has historical Baptist credibility.

Also, I think it is very important since it is "Liberty of Conscience [singular]", not "Liberty of Consciences [plural]".

In other words, you don't run into the "Priesthood of the believer vs. Priesthood of the believer[s]" debate.

Unless I am missing something, I think the 1689 Liberty of conscience statement gives the individual protection against majoritarian harm against his or her conscience.

Whether that be majoritarian harm by a local church or denomination.

Benji Ramsaur said...

I want to follow up on my last comment.

It seems to me that there is an idea promoted that goes like this:

"Since an individual voluntarily signs a confession [and thus is not forced], then there is no harm done to the conscience."

However, if an individual feels any pressure in any sense to have to sign a confession that contains anything that is *not* a doctrine or commandment from God, then how can those who advocate signing it for any reason be in harmony with the 1689 Liberty of conscience statement that says "God...hath left it free..."?

Christiane said...

Hi BENJI,

Throughout time, different 'cultures' have handled the question of 'conscience' different ways.

At the beginning of Nazi Germany, an official was quoted as saying,
"I have no conscience of my own.
My conscience is Adolf Hitler."
Six million innocent deaths later we see the resulting Holocaust from that quote.

In the country of Sweden, it has been the custom to sign formal documents with personal signature and the addition of these words:

'signed upon honor and conscience'.

I wonder, if this had been a 'custom' of the culture of the SBC at the time, how many missionaries THEN, would have still signed
the BFM2K?

My guess is that it might have made a difference. (?)

Love, L's

Benji Ramsaur said...

BTW

I'm not planning on "binding" the conscience of any of my children with the doctrine of "Peace and War" which states "...Christians...should do all in their power to put an end to war" contained in the BF&M 2000.

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

* For those of you who might be wondering, I am commenting off of Wade's comment concerning freedom in his post.

I noticed that the BF&M does connect Liberty of Conscience with the government.

However, the section on Christian Liberty in the 1689 confession says nothing about the government. And #3 states this:

"They who on pretence of Christian liberty practice any sin, or cherish any sinful lust..."

Cherishing some "sinful lust" does not seem to be something that would bring in government interference. So, I don't see any indication that mere secular government interference is in view in the 1689 confession itself.

Rex Ray said...

Christiane,
It was interesting what you said about Sweden – “Signed upon honor and conscience” and wondering how many missionaries THEN would have still signed the BFM2K.

I’ve noticed as the years went by the legalistic thinking of the IMB got stronger on applications to do volunteer work overseas.

To go to Afghanistan I had to sign ‘I would not smoke’. I’ve never smoked once and it rubbed me the wrong way.

Made me think maybe the missionary was not exaggerating as reported by the Baptist Standard: “They tell us how to breathe.”

Rex Ray said...

Benji,
You said, “It seems to me that there is an idea promoted that goes like this: ‘Since an individual voluntarily signs a confession [and thus is not forced], then there is no harm done to the conscience.”

Those that ‘pushed’ the signing of the BFM 2000 claimed that no one was being ‘FORCED’.

On February 26, 2001 SWBTS President Ken Hemphill stated: “The revised BFM is not being forced upon anyone, and requiring faculty at seminaries to sign it should not alarm anyone.” [Duh?]

In a letter to me August 8, 2002, Jerry Rankin wrote in part: “To dispel growing suspicions and mistrust which were threatening to undercut the credibility and support of the IMB, I did personally ask our missionaries collectively to affirm once again to Southern Baptist that they would work in accord with the BF&M and not contrary to it.
Where did anyone get the idea that our missionaries are being ‘forced’ to sign something that they may not agree with, or that anyone would be terminated if they did not respond to my request?
Neither of those positions has been advocated or communicated by the IMB.
I am disappointed that you would presume to attribute motives of ‘enlarged egos’ to those conscientious denominational leaders who are seeking to keep the Southern Baptist Convention anchored to the inerrant word of God. Where does scripture justify such judgmentalism?”


Benji, who do you think was threatening to “undercut the credibility and support of the IMB” that Rankin feared?

The story goes like this: Scott McIntosh, IMB missionary, sent an email requesting to stop sending the BP as it only criticized ‘one side’ etc.
The email ended up on Morris Chapman’s desk (President of the SBC Executive Committee.)
Morris called Ranking and told him he better get his missionaries under control.

This story is partly confirmed in the same letter Rankin wrote me:

“Morris Chapman did not ask me to call Scot McIntosh, as reported: I did so because of my personally concern for one of our effective missionaries I respected who was obviously having a problem due to some unfortunate perceptions.”

Notice Rankin did not deny Chapman calling him or getting missionaries under control, but only about not calling McIntosh.

The bottom line - who is calling the shots of the SBC?

I believe it’s the same person that told the IMB to stop ‘bothering’ Wade as he could sue them; and the IMB took his advice or should I say ‘order’?

Joe Blackmon said...

Morris called Ranking and told him he better get his missionaries under control.

Well, if that missionary was bothered by the reporting of the Baptist Press then it's pretty obvious what "side" he was on. I will guarentee that he had no problem with the reporting of the Baptist Standard. Goodness knows they're not the least bit slanted, are they? Maybe he should have went to the CBF for salary and benefits since his conscience was so troubled.

Bill said...

Is no one who supports the IMB policies going to step up and answer my question?

Is having no voice for Christ in an area better than having an SBC missionary who was baptized in a Nazarene church?

Anyone?

Joe Blackmon said...

Bill,

Did the person believe in eternal security? Oh, I don't mean when he was baptized. Heck, I'm not sure I understood exactly what eternal security meant when I was baptized. I mean, do they affirm it now? Do they affirm that the pastorate is restricted to men only? Do they affirm that sign gifts are no longer operable or if they have a Private Prayer LanguageTEXT do they keep it to themselves like they should? If not, the CBF is always hiring.

Benji Ramsaur said...

I'm not against requiring someone to sign a confession.

I'm against requiring someone to sign a confession that contains content that cannot be justified from Scripture which pressured anyone to act against conscience.

And I think those who support the signing of a confession that contains error so that someone felt "pressure" to act against conscience will have to face Christ concerning that.

I think there is no greater need today amongst conservative Christians than to fear the Lord [Jesus Christ] concerning the pressuring of the conscience to sign a man made peace of paper that contains content that cannot be justified from the Bible.

I don't think "Well, we were just sticking with our denominational confession/tradition...we just wanted to be *clear* on what we stood for" is going to fly with Yahweh the Son.

I understand someone might say "Well, any man made document is not going to be perfect" to which I say "then why are you demanding *perfect* adherence to a document that contains thousands of words for any reason?"

I think there needs to be some way that those who have a problem or problems with a confession need to have a voice.

I think the CR was supposed to be about the inerrancy of the Bible.

Not the inerrancy of a confession or a majority.

Joe Blackmon said...

I think there needs to be some way that those who have a problem or problems with a confession need to have a voice.

I think there is such a mechanism. I believe it's called a letter of resignation.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Joe,

And if that is what you support, then I guess you have alot of faith in that "2,938" word document when you face the King.

And I'm not talking about Elvis.

Grace to you,

Benji

John Fariss said...

By the way, Joe,

When you said, "However, as long as the people who 'had' that 'special gift' kept it to themselves, I personally have no problem with it," you over look an important point. They were not allowed to "keep it to themselves." They were asked if they had ever practiced it, which meant they either had to lie or know that with their admission, so called, they "disqualified themselves from SBC service." So much for the "private" part.

You later said, regarding a call for a way to deal with a conscienious difference, "I think there is such a mechanism. I believe it's called a letter of resignation." In other words, you have no problem with the "my way or the highway" mentality of too many in SBC leadership, regardless of the Scriptural content of "my way." Gee, Joe, why did you ever leave the SBC anyway?

John

Rex Ray said...

Bill,
You said, “Is no one WHO SUPPORTS THE IMB POLICIES going to step up and answer my question?”

Since I don’t support the IMB policies, I’m eliminated from your question:

“Is having no voice for Christ in an area better than having an SBC missionary who was baptized in a Nazarene church?”.

I’ll tell why they don’t answer. Your question makes them embarrassed. But some are so ‘hardened’ like Joe (“The CBF is always hiring”), it’s just water off a duck’s back.

Bill, let me ask you a question? Why has only one person replied to Flboy’s (signed “With a broken heart - RWP) Tuesday Sep 15, 2:19 PM 2009 comment on Wade’s Monday September 14 post with 92 comments?

RWP said, “I believe the BFM 2000 was written under the influence of a small group of leaders in the SBC to promote their interpretation of the scriptures.
This has cause more harm to the churches and missionaries of the SBC than anyone this side of heaven will ever be able to comprehend.
The Japan Mission is a mere shell of what it was in the 1990's. My heart breaks for the missionaries who have left, but it breaks even more for the thousands of Japanese who could have had a witness from a missionary, but did not because that missionary couple was forced to return to the states.
I know this is true because we are soon to be resigned/terminated from the IMB. We will join a large company of former missionaries who love the Lord and the people groups that we worked with.”

The only reply to RWP in 5 days has been in part:

“Most people are so wrapped up in their activities, that few will hear your words. Only time and history will prove your knowledge and wisdom.
My heart goes out to you as you say goodbye to our feuding SBC, our legalist IMB, and the BFM 2000 CREED. Tue Sep 15, 07:03 PM 2009”

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic:

Adventures In Mercy [Molleth] > Far-Right Christians: Our Society *is* Our Enemy (Schaeffer Essay Says).
I used to wonder how anyone could ever burn someone else at the stake and actually feel righteous about it. Now, I don’t wonder that anymore. I used to worry that, someday, the secular liberals would come to imprison all of the Christians (anyone remember that big rumor before Y2K about the prison camps being built all across the country)? Nowadays, I’m more nervous about some of the people who, technically, are supposedly on my team. I’m pretty sure that some of them wouldn’t think twice about using me for kindling.

Bill said...

Joe: You didn't answer my question. I doubt that someone who disbelieves eternal security would be an SBC missionary. It is also my understanding that the IMB explicitly asks candidates if they have or ever have practiced PPL, so keeping quiet about it isn't an option.

I'm talking about a person baptized as a believer in a Nazarene church. A person who believes that they were baptized according to biblical standards and refuses to denigrate their biblical profession of faith by undergoing the process a second time. Is the mission field better off empty than with them there?

If we had more missionaries than places to send them, then the issue doesn't arise. But I suspect we don't.

Rex Ray said...

Opps,two days.
Maybe I should have left it 5 days, and Louis would have corrected me. Seems like that's the only time he comments these days.

Maybe he could 'correct' me on APPLES and ORANGES since Benji has chosen not to.

Joe Blackmon said...

When you said, "However, as long as the people who 'had' that 'special gift' kept it to themselves, I personally have no problem with it," you over look an important point. They were not allowed to "keep it to themselves." They were asked if they had ever practiced it, which meant they either had to lie or know that with their admission, so called, they "disqualified themselves from SBC service."

As they say on Maury Povich, you're 125% correct. I don't think they should have been asked. I wouldn't have asked as long as they kept it to themselves. Of course, I wasn't consulted. I think I was finishing an accounting degree at the time.

Darby Livingston said...

Joe Blackmon said: "As they say on Maury Povich, you're 125% correct."

I hear there is a move among some in the SBC to force missionaries to sign a statement along the lines of: I have never, nor will I ever know anything that is said on Maury Povich.

Of course, that won't bother Joe because, as he keeps reminding everyone, he left the SBC and is supposedly so happy with his move that he has to keep commenting on business he no longer has.

Kevin said...

Pastor Burleson,
I have read your blog for some time now. I have no banter to add to the give and take that commonly takes place here among readers. However, this post has lead me to one logical question: why are you still a apart of this convention? Why is your church still a part of the SBC? You said that you would no longer post your disagreements with the SBC but "here you go again". You said if it ever gets to a certain point, you will cease being a Southern Baptist. Sir, what point is that? Have you not stated enough cases of disagreement and contention that it surely, by now, has reached that point? What are you waiting for? With all due respect, please honor your own statement of no longer writing about your issues with the SBC or get out.

Put up or shut up as they say. Keep your word in at least one
area: no longer blogging about the SBC or admitting that they have finally caused you to reach that figurative point of removing your church from the convention.

Perhaps the New Baptist Covenant would be a better, more tolerant organization with whom to align yourself.

Benji Ramsaur said...

CIRCULAR LETTER
Philadelphia Baptist Association
"Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience"
By Rev. Thomas Memminger
1797


"The all-wise Jehovah has given unto all men an equal freedom and liberty of conscience, the court of which is sacred, and wherein NONE HAVE A RIGHT TO TREAD but the INDIVIDUAL HIMSELF and the blessed GOD BY HIS WORD AND SPIRIT, those ONLY being the judges, who have authority to decide ALL matters concerning it. The angels of God themselves have no authority to interfere therein, much less ANY of the sons of men who are creatures of the dust, short sighted beings of a moment; and therefore their commandments, doctrines, or ordinances, unless founded upon, consistent with, and springing out of his word, which alone is truth, are by no means to be considered by you as obligatory; who, having your consciences purged from dead works, are called upon to hearken unto God, rather than unto men, making his word ALONE your rule and guide in all things." (caps mine)

http://www.geocities.com/baptist_documents/1797.cl.phila.html

Benji Ramsaur said...

The rest of the website address above starting with "p":

phila.html

Rex Ray said...

Benji,
I like it – there were some smart men in 1797. Too bad it didn’t transfer to all our leaders today.

Kevin,
How does that go? – the hog returns to the mud etc. The ‘old you’ is back again. You should adapt to that song: ‘If you mind your own business, then you won’t be minding mine!”

Bryan Riley said...

I hardly read or comment any more. I just haven't made time for blogging and it is much less a priority for me these days. I have generally blogged with the intention of trying to bring people together, but I must admit that when I read some people's comments I really feel the temptation to be quite angry and start using my sharpest tongue. What I pray is that I will not do that - I will not react in the same spirit of judgment and hatred and instead respond in the opposite spirit of grace and love. But it really is hard to do. May God give us all the grace to love one another, as that really is what He has called us to.

God bless.

Jim Shaver said...

Here's another 3-C statement that I have always used.

Christian - I am a Christian by Conversion
Baptist - I am a Baptist by Conviction
Southern Baptist - I am a Southern Baptist by Choice.

anon said...

Amen

deepintheheart said...

Colossians 3, for those who don't realize it, is part of the Bible that we claim to believe so fervently and completely.

Gary said...

You don't have to be a five-pointer to be a Calvinist. If you believe in "Once Saved, Always Saved" you are still a "Calvinistic Baptist". I believe that this false teaching is sending thousands if not millions of Baptists and evangelicals to hell due to a false sense of assurance.

The Back-Slidden Baptist's Salvation Check List:

Just as there are many orthodox Christians, including Lutherans, who, to their eternal damnation, rely on their infant Baptism as their "Get-into-heaven Free Card", I believe that there are many Baptists and evangelicals who rely on their one time "Decision for Christ" as their automatic ticket into heaven.

Just to be clear, I am sure that there are many, many Baptists and evangelicals who are much better Christians than I am. As Paul, I am the first among sinners. But I believe that the teaching of Decision Theology accompanied with the horrific teaching of "Once Saved, Always Saved", has damned just as many Baptists and evangelicals to hell as "Once Baptized, Always Saved" has damned many poorly catechized orthodox Christians.

I was taught growing up fundamentalist Baptist that a born-again Christian who stops going to church, reading the Bible, praying, etc. is a "back-slider". He has back-slidden into sin.

So let's review the "Back-Slidden" Baptist's and (Baptistic) Evangelical's Salvation Check-list:

1. Have I attended church in the last twenty years: No.
2. Have I partaken of the Lord's Supper in the last twenty years: No.
3. Have I read my Bible in the last twenty years: No.
4. Have I prayed (other than, "Lord please help me win the Powerball!") in the last twenty years? No.
5. Have I shared the Gospel with a non-believer in the last twenty years. No.
6. Did I pray the Sinner's Prayer twenty-one years ago in a Baptist altar call. Yes.

Conclusion: SAVED!

Now, if you present this to a Baptist or evangelical of the Baptist persuasion, he or she will say that the person above was never saved. That is why we do not see any "fruit of the Spirit".

They have a much harder time, however, using that explanation when the "back-slider" is a prominent conservative Baptist or evangelical pastor or evangelist who has "won many souls to Christ" and has preached great moving sermons for years. "How could the person who led me to Christ have been a non-believer??" Situations such as these really rattle these "Once Saved, Always Saved" Christians.

Gary
Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals
an orthodox Lutheran blog