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

A Decision Based on Conviction Enables One To Embrace Any Disgrace

Last week I published on this blog an email written by a fellow Southern Baptist pastor to Southern Baptist seminary administrators. The pastor suggested in the email that it would be "helpful" if two professors were removed from their respective faculty positions because they published a scholarly article on "tithing" that took a view contrary to "the majority of Southern Baptists." That email, interpreted by some friends of the two professors as a call to remove the professors from their faculty positions, caused one of those friends to inform me that there was pressure being placed on seminary administrators to remove the professors. I called the author of the email to ask him if this allegation was true. He denied it. But then a friend of the professors sent me the pastor's email and it was clear the author of the email was being less than forthright with me. It has been the tactic of Southern Baptist ideologues to publicly act as if SBC employees had their support (think Russel Dilday, Ken Hemphill, Al Shackleford, Dan Martin, Sheri Klouda, Karen Bullock, and a host of others), while at the same time privately bringing about pressure behind the scenes to have these people removed from their positions of SBC service for doctrinal differences that have nothing to do with the essentials of the faith. Though in this last's weeks instance, the pastor in question had neither the authority nor the pull to bring about the termination of the two professors, the principle at play remains the same--the private, secret attempt by an ideologue to intimidate and/or bring pressure to remove a Southern Baptist from cooperative ministry because of a disagreement over a tertiery biblical doctrine.

I had a decision to make.

Do I make public the email to expose the tactic used to intimidate Southern Baptists who had dared to publish a paper with a doctrinal viewpoint different than that of the majority? Or, do I remain quiet? It was not an easy decision. Our church's Cooperative Program gifts pay the salaries of seminary professors. They are our employees too. I have a responsibility to be involved if I am aware that someone is being pressured by ideologues to conform to one view (i.e. "the ideologue's view") of a tertiery doctrine over which Christians often disagree. Personal considerations, including a vow I made to never again be silent when I saw employees of the Southern Baptist Convention under attack, were thought through carefully. I knew that if I chose to publish the email that a number of Southern Baptists would consider my action unethical, that many would not be able to comprehend my view that all Southern Baptist cooperative ministry business should be public and transparent (particularly efforts to remove SBC personnel over questions of doctrinal integrity), and that a few Southern Baptists would even question my personal integrity and Christianity. I knew all that before making the decision.

I chose to publish the letter because of a greater good than my reputation. People in the Southern Baptist Convention must be willing to cherish and protect the freedom needed by our SBC professors, pastors, teachers, leaders and/or laymen to believe, teach, preach, write, and publish different interpretations of the sacred text without fearing repercussions or intimidation from ideologues who demand absolute conformity. We are a Convention built on cooperation. By the very definition of the root word cooperate, demands for conformity must be resisted. It's time that we Southern Baptists push back against those who want everyone to look like them and believe like them; and my decision to publish the email was part of that push back. The decision to publish the email was thoughtful, intentional and convictional.

When a Decision Is Based on Conviction, One Is Enabled to Embrace the Disgrace

I do not begrudge any criticism or strong condemnation that comes my way as a result of my decision. I neither fault, nor desire to discourage, any of my fellow Southern Baptists from publicly questioning my integrity, my honor, or even my Christianity.

When Shadrack, Meshack and Abednigo defied the king's law, there is no record of them yelling and screaming at the king for putting them in the fiery furnace. They walked into the fire calmly because they lived on the basis of conviction and made their choices on principle. When Daniel defied the king's order and continued to pray, he quietly went to the lion's den. His decision to defy the law, based on a conviction, led him to not whine about his punishment. When Peter defied civil authorities and preached Christ, there is no record of him complaining about the jail term that came his way. He sang in jail rather than passing notes around about how he shouldn't be there. When John the Baptist was sentenced to capital punishment, you have no testimony that the Baptist bemoaned the fact he spent his life bowing his knee to the Lordship of Christ rather than kissing the ring of the king. When you do what you do because of conviction, then you embrace any disgrace that comes your way because of your decisions. Likewise, you pay little attention to any praise, which is easier, since most convictional choices are countercultural and bring little praise. Convictional people do not make good politicians. There's never any finger up in the air seeking the wind direction of public opinion. Our chosen path comes from within, as we are led by the Holy Spirit. And if the Holy Spirit leads us down an unpopular, unlawful (think Hitler's Germany, modern Iran, the rescue of orphans in Haiti, etc...), or difficult path, then we above all people should never complain when others seek to shame us or disgrace us.

Let me illustrate how this plays out for me in practical ways these last couple of days.

(1). The author of the email I published writes that he is receiving supportive and encouraging emails at the rate of 50 to 1. For his sake, I can wish it were a million to zero in support of him. Nothing in me is affected or changed by any ratio of support.

(2). One man wrote that Wade Burleson was "a pile of human excrament (sic) with the integrity of belly button lint." If I remember right, Paul called everything in his life "dung" (reputation, career, etc...) for a greater cause. To me, that's pretty good company. In other words, no offense taken with this man for his words. He feels them; I receive them.

(3). One SBC lawyer opined "It is a serious ethical breach for lawyers (which I am) to receive mail from other people like this. Ah, if only you preachers would live up to the standards set by the bar associations. I freely acknowledge that my decision does not live up to the ethical standard of attorneys, and were I one, I would welcome any censure or punishment handed out.

(4). One SBC pastor charged I had a self-perceived messianic complex. Others have alleged I desire adulation or want to be a hero. I admit a tad bit of confusion on those charges since it's been indicated support is running 50 to 1 against me. Messiah's and heroes usually have the 50 on their side. Of course, those pastors' charges actually go to the motive, not the results, of my decision to publish the letter. I feel quite comfortable knowing God and I are the only ones who can know my true motives, and even I am sometimes blind to them. For my motives to be considered suspect or sinful because of my decision is something I accept.

(5). Others have weighed in with their opinion that "they would not have done it the way Wade Burleson did it." That's absolutely true. Nor should they have. Were the whole world to choose a different path, that would not change any decision I make based on conviction.

Back when I saw the same pattern of forcing a specific ideology on all Southern Baptists through new doctrinal policies at the International Mission Board, I made the decision to make public my concerns. Trustees at the IMB were backdooring the new doctrinal requirements by bypassing a vote from the Convention, and then trustees were removing from service anybody who disagreed. In addition, trustees in charge changed the trustee guidelines in an attempt to keep me quiet. They passed a policy that stated any trustee of the IMB who publicly criticizes a board approved policy will be censured. I voted against the "no dissent" policy, and at the time stated that "it was the worst policy ever passed by any Southern Baptist board of trustees in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention," violating the no dissent policy within five minutes of its passage. When I chose later to continue my criticism of the new doctrinal policies implemented by IMB trustees, policies that exceeded the BFM 2000 (see The Garner Motion), trustee leaders moved to publicly censure me. When a reporter asked me how I felt about the censure, I responded in this manner:

The board of trustees have every right to censure me, and should--because their new trustee guidelines call for it. I welcome their censure and any future censures. I am choosing to criticize these new doctrinal policies publicly because I believe a greater good will come from my criticism. We must cease narrowing the doctrinal parameter for Southern Baptist cooperative mission efforts by refraining from demanding interpretative conformity on biblical doctrines that are not essential to our salvation. Southern Baptists must be free to disagree."
I've not changed my views on this in the last five years. When I come across secret attempts to intimidate or threaten fellow Southern Baptists for disgreeing over tertiery doctrinal matters, I will contact the person who initiates the intimidation privately, but if there is no remorse or repentance, the intimidation will be publicly exposed and publicly opposed--every time. The attitude "you must agree with all my interpretations of the Bible or get out of the SBC" is neither historically Baptist or essentially Christian. I will at all times, and on all occasions, publish any private emails or written communications from SBC ideologues that seeks to intimidate into silence any Southern Baptist employee who believes, teaches, or publishes a contrary or dissenting doctrinal viewpoint.

Ideologues in the SBC need to know that any and all attempts to intimidate other Southern Baptists who view things differently will continue to be exposed and opposed. Nobody who intimidates, bullies or threatens others in the Southern Baptist Convention--a Convention built on cooperation-- gets a free pass.

Lord willing, Southern Baptists will once again experience the true measure of Baptist identity--the freedom to believe, teach, preach, write and serve others as God leads. Our willingness to work with other Southern Baptists with whom we disagree is the essence of SBC cooperation. Those who can't cooperate, or won't cooperate, shouldn't be allowed to lead the SBC or determine who will be employed by those of us who pay the bills.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

141 comments:

Thy Peace said...

Amen.

Pastor Wade, the first sermon I heard at Emmanuel website was Long Reach of Your Speech > Pierces of Swords (Proverbs 12:18) - "Flattering Speech". In it you said you made a policy of discounting either praise or criticism of your sermons.

Now I understand why this policy was adopted.

In the end all of our actions are between God and each of us.

God bless you Pastor Wade.

Wade Burleson said...

In the end all of our actions are between God and each of us.

Precisely.

That's why, if your statement be true, what others say of what you do is inconsequential.

Blessings,

Wade

Lydia said...

"In the end all of our actions are between God and each of us."

This is what I hope to instill in my child so she will not become a follower of humans but of Jesus Christ.

Lydia said...

"The author of the email I published writes that he is receiving supportive and encouraging emails at the rate of 50 to 1."

Kind of strange he posted that but then does not allow comments or even post the emails. Hmm. I guess we have to take him at his word again. :o)

Wade Burleson said...

By the way,

Regardless of who it is or what principle is held, convictional people are always unfazed by criticism.

But the one ingredient that a Christian with a conviction possesses, an ingredient that others do not have, is love--even love for one's enemies. It is this love that Jesus said will mark us as His followers. Too many Christians consider love as something that never confronts. Just the opposite. When you love something or someone, you will often make real enemies because what you love means more to you than self.

When we must do things that cause people to curse us, we bless those who curse us.

Wade

Lydia said...

Wade, Notice something in your examples...none of them were being treated this way by their brothers in the Kingdom of God. It was the pagans doing the nasty mean stuff.

That is what worries me the most.

RRR said...

“I think you know, Les, that if this is true, you will be doing the very thing that has caused me to speak up, and speak out, against the principles of certain individuals in the SBC. You will be demanding conformity on tertiery issues and threatening removal from fellowship and leadership those who do not conform to your particular (and some might say peculiar) interpretation of "storehouse" tithing. I can guarantee you that the sword you have drawn will be used to sever your own connection to SBC local churches because of your Calvinism, a system of thought deemed "peculiar" by many SBC leaders.”

Wade,

I admire you for seeking to be a voice speaking out against injustice and unfairness and for generally taking a position on the part of people who have been wronged. I know that your being vocal about many issues when others remain silent is sometimes a magnet for your taking personal shots and condemnation.

In my meager estimation, it is not so much that you speak out when others are silent about things that brings you such intense opposition. Neither is your opposition coming due to your being so bold as to confront and call the hands of the power players about their taking positions that are not right nor in the Spirit of Christ on particular issues.

I think that a lot of your intense condemnation and personal attacks may come from the spirit conveyed when you communicate; using words like those written above in what was apparently your initial correspondence to Les Puryear.

I can’t help but imagine that if any of us, yourself included, received a message like this addressing something that we had allegedly done, that it would certainly invoke a defensive and unfriendly posture in response. Your initial contact did not seem to me to be as much of an inquiry as it was an accusation. Even though you do make your condemnation based upon “whether” he did what was alleged, it still comes across to me that you are already saying that the guy did wrong and is going to pay.

I think that a better choice of words and softer approach at the beginning would be more likely to establish a dialogue that had some semblance of trust than that used in this correspondence. Perhaps a review before sending a message and sincerely asking our self how we would receive such a message would be helpful.

After all, what is the intent of the correspondence? I presume it is to help a brother that may have made a mistake to see how he could possibly have taken a better path and perhaps consider changing his original course. This just doesn’t seem to me to be the best approach for getting that done.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Boy oh boy is this gonna make for some tender dog food...

Jack said...

so then wade, does the end justify any means? Sometimes our actions are wrong even though perhaps our cause is just. The 50-1 sometimes speaks volumes...not always, but sometimes. There are those times that we simply have to say "I was wrong"

You were wrong Wade...and my gentle chastisement does not a martyr make...but it is the truth.

By the way, did you ever share with Les that you would 'go public" ? And what of his resolve to 'embrace any disgrace' ?

It is no wonder that you have become no more than a childish whimper in the life of our convention. You have marginalized yourself because of the way you handle your business and for this I am sad. You had a story to tell at one time and many of us would have listened however your tactics and methods sir were something that many of us simply could not in OUR GOOD CONSCIENCE sign off on.

Could it be that you were simply wrong...

Jack

Jon L. Estes said...

In a previous comment I said to wade...

""Wade,

I would not ask for a persons resignation but if I had a vote and they were teaching men that Malachi 3:8-10 is not relevant to todays church then my vote would be to remove them."

I do wonder why any Southern Baptist would support to keep anyone on payroll of any of our entities who would say Malachi 3:8-10 or, for that matter, any verse of scripture is not relevant for todays church.

I guess Wade believes it is worth standing up for and supporting, making sure they kept their job with my CP dollars even if they deny the relevancy of scripture for todays church.

Maybe cooperation is more important than the relevancy of scripture, to some.

Is this the SBC you want?

Kevin M. Crowder said...

May we each this morning pause to pray for Les Puryear and Wade Burleson as they enter the pulpit to break the bread of life to those whom God has placed before them. This is still a divine world and God is still in control.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

1. "Just because we can, doesn't mean we should."

2. The old saying is true, "a Baptist's favorite pastime is confessing...the sins of others."

3. "Mr. Chairman, I nominate Wade Burleson to the office of Hall Monitor of the Southern Baptist Convention"


K

Kevin M. Crowder said...

I make Les Puryear than Wade Burleson.


:)

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

So what is "the Baptist way"? I am writing from home and my resources are at church, but I seem to recall that back in the late 1700s, two groups of Baptists tried to join or reconcile with carefully thought out documents, positions, and compromises. They failed. The succeeded only when, as John Leland put it, "they all agree to think and let think." Radical! And this is the stream of thought that eventually became the Southern Baptist Convention!

Jon,

You mentioned "any verse of scripture is not relevant for todays church." I don't think Wade, the professors in question, or anyone else not embracing "storehouse tithing" is saying that Malachi 3: 8-10 is not relevant. Rather they are saying it is not binding. My personal conviction--aside from whether the OT text is "to" us or simply "for" us--is that it is a matter of spiritual growth and maturity. When Israel was young in the faith, tithing was presented (Leviticus, etc.) as a requirement from God, much as any of us would present requirements to a young child who could understand that much but little more. Later, when Israel had grown, and was somewhat more mature, God presented tithing to them as a matter of rewards, just as I told my children, "Get your driver's license, keep your grades up, and you will have access to driving the car." Then Jesus comes and says virtually nothing about tithing, then Paul, in the light of Christ's revelation, and says, "God loves a cheerful giver." In other words, giving is hilarity and joyeousness. That is the mature spiritual attitude we are to strieve for and which is possible, and it goes beyond any meager 10%. As I recall church history, that was the early church's explanation of why tithing was not listed as a requirement in the New Testament--that Christians did not want to be restricted to giving only 10%!

John

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"The Baptist Way" is quite simply reactionary. Our faith ought not be that way. "Freedom" in Christ is only part of the biblical narrative. We are slaves to Christ, his bond-servants. May we not forget this.

I am looking at 2 books over on one of my bookshelves. One is the BMAA's "The Baptist Church Manual" By J.E. Cobb, Baptist Publishing House; another is "The Baptist Way Book" by Ben Bogard.

Both legalistic, but claiming liberty and freedom in the the Baptist Way. Wade has one thing right: Legalism and Liberalism ARE cut from the same cloth.

The irony is that the only way to have true freedom is through the law of conscience. But since Utopia cannot exist, the conscience needs the law. But the law kills right? So do the wages of sin--that is the point. So we have Christ which frees us from the curse of the law but not the need for the/a law. Just as Utopia does not exist so too does not true and exact freedom in Christ exist while we are in the flesh. But death and glorification will, to the praise of His glory, bring both.

Knowing THAT should be the Baptist Way.


~ K

Thy Peace said...

Baptist Life Forums > SBC News and Trends > Power of blogs: Call the guy out!.

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

Read Jon's comment underneath you. Until people like John, you and others can discern the difference between someone holding to a difference of interpretation of a biblical subject and biblical authority, then we continue to have a problem in the SBC.

We accuse people of being "liberal" when they have a very conservative view of the sacred text.

wade

Wade Burleson said...

Kevin,

The old saying is true, "a Baptist's favorite pastime is confessing...the sins of others."

Ah, there you go ... Misunderstanding once again. Smile. Love covers a multitude of sins.

Except those sins perpetrated on the weak, defenseless and unprotected. Then, you expose and oppose it.

Blessings,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Everyone have a great day!

Wade

Lydia said...

"My personal conviction--aside from whether the OT text is "to" us or simply "for" us--is that it is a matter of spiritual growth and maturity."

Amen

Personally, I believe the backhanded tactics have gone on so long they are considered normal AND Christian in the SBC. They are so used to doing such things in secret that when they are found out, the guy who made it public is considered the sinner. It is all they have in order to continue in the tactics. And, it could very well be that spiritual immaturity keeps even pastors and leaders from seeing this.

It has become institutionalized sin and because the 'institution' condones it some cannot see it as sin.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Just havin' fun this morning Wade.

Feeling especially joyous this morning. Not sure why other than my Jesus I love thee I know thou art mine.

K

Blessings in the p-pit!

Bob Cleveland said...

I see a great similarity between Southern Baptists and Korean skaters. Just when we get going real good, we start taking each other out.

:)

Christiane said...

I think Wade has brought into the light something about Les Puryear, that Les would rather have kept secret.

That Les did not want what he did to be exposed is a given. And that says a lot.

In truth, Christian people came to Wade over concern for their friends, because they felt their friends were being attacked under the cover of darkness.
These Christian people knew of Wade's work on behalf of the 77 missionaries, and on behalf of Dr. Klouda.
So people 'out there' knew 'who to come to' for help.

Could Wade ignore the information given to him?
No. He could not ignore it and keep his own integrity.

He DID contact Les, but Les was 'less than forthright' with Wade. So Wade went ahead and exposed what had occured to the light.

Light is a great disinfectant.

In the Body of Christ, when one suffers, all suffer. A Christian may not watch harm being done to another without intervening to stop that harm.

Wade's response in this matter is consistent with his integrity in responding to care for others who were being persecuted. (Even our Kevin will remember that Wade stood up for him when the Missouri leader wrote Kevin a letter filled with intimidation.)

Do people know who to turn to in times of persecution ?

Does Wade consistently show that he cares for the oppressed, in spite of the consequences he must endure?

Can people in trouble 'count on' Wade to stand up for them?

To 'see wrong done to people , and to try to right it' is honorable, even more so when it is done at great cost to the person who intervenes to help.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

You did not even address my comment! You politically side stepped it altogether. For the record sir you will not brand me. I personally believe Les is incorrect on his position. I do not believe that the professors or the paper are in any way violating scriptural authority or baptist theology historically. I do not agree with their position but I do believe they have the freedom to espouse this view, certainly in the arena of academia. So do not try to to put me in a box of your own making...you do not even know me.

The issue sir is your incredulous posting of private correspondence with the motive of embarrassing another brother and at the same time inflating your own sense of self importance. Your clim that you "Saved" these professors jobs is about the most inflated and blown up example of narcissism I have seen in a long time. These men were NEVER in any danger of being dismissed! My Lord man, Liberty is not even a Southern Baptist institution.

My post was directed to the wrongness of your actions in spite of the convictions you claim to hold.

The old adage is true Wade - two wrongs never make a right. You should apologize for your blatant political tactics. Your convictions are not the issue here...it is your actions.

By the way - you never answered the question. Did you seek to contact Les and tell him that you were going public with his private correspondence?

Jack

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

Your write: My post was directed to the wrongness of your actions in spite of the convictions you claim to hold.

What is the conviction to which I hold? I desire to protect Southern Baptist employees from intimidation for publicizing a biblical interpretation that varies from ideologues who want Southern Baptists to all believe the SAME doctrines, and my desire to protect is stronger than my desire to have you consider me doing the right thing.

You consider my action wrong, unethical, sin, etc... I understand. I accept that, and I give you the freedom and my blessing to say you believe I am wrong on my blog.

That doesn't change a thing in me. I did what I did because of a greater good at play, and I will do it again because of a conviction that professors in our SBC institutions should be protected from intimidation in their pursuit of academic and biblical excellence.

The evidence that it is a conviction is that I embrace your chastisment of me and do not begrudge it one bit.

I will continue to oppose ideologues in the SBC who demand doctrinal conformity--like Jon, you and others.

Have a great Sunday!

Wade

Christiane said...

Hello JACK,

You know, it is perfectly understandable that when a man goes to a 'boss' to try to get others fired, that this man would want for people not to know about it.

Problem is: what is 'private' when the livelihoods of two individuals and the welfare of their families is attacked under cover of darkness?

Let me ask you this: what is there about Les that kept him from mounting an open campaign against these two professors?

There is a VERY great difference between 'private correspondence'
and those deeds done under the cover of darkness, with the intent to cause harm to others, while keeping oneself from public view and, thus, unaccountable for one's actions.
Would you not agree with me ?

Wade Burleson said...

I believe it was Bob Cleveland who pointed out to me in an email that the two professors were never contacted privately about concerns over their lack of belief in the "authority" of Scripture, or that there hermaneutic grid opens the SBC up to lesbians, homosexuals and abortionists on the payroll of the SBC.

Their supervisor was contacted first. The issue in the initial email, however, was a paper that the professors had published offering a different view on "tithing" than that of "the majority of Southern Baptists." The email contained two suggestions it might be "helpful" if those professors were not on faculty. Only after the intimidation was exposed and opposed did the issue become "the authority of Scripture."

Let's assume that "authority of the Bible" was the concern from the very beginning. That means that some in the SBC believe if you interpret tertiery doctrines in a different manner, you are denying the "authority" of the Bible.

That is precisley the danger we are now facing in the SBC. An ideologue is one who will not, cannot, handle any disagreement or dissent from his/her views.

Wade

reagan said...

I have a situation that is comperable to the one Wade faced and I was wondering how some would advise me on handling it as a believer.

I sat on the board of a condo association until recently when I felt I had to resign over wrong doing.

Another board member, in conjunction with our bookkeeper who is her daughter, doctored certain reports for over 4 months in order to protect a specific
resident from legal action due to 7 months of unpaid maint fees.

As I tracked this over a period of months, it became obvious what they were doing.

The four other board members, when I told them as Finance Chair, did not want the facts made public. Even though other residents were not protected in this fashion and had legal action taken against them for the same thing and within the same timeframe.

I resigned publicly and told why at a public meeting. However, now certain residents, who are not board members, want me to turn over the documents that prove this. The documents contain personal information about other residents so I could get in trouble for doing that.

And to make it worse, now the remaining board members claim no doctoring was done at all. They claim I lied. Only the original documents I hold tell the real story.

They went back and redid the documents to protect the board member and her relative,the bookkeeper.

Any advice on how to handle this?

PS: Three of the Board members who are backing this doctoring and redoctoring of reports are professed believers very involved in area churches. One is very involved in the local SBC mega church. Even teaches Sunday School kids.

Jack said...

WADE

I will not let you spin my post. I have stated very clearly that I do not demand doctrinal conformity. I quote my previous post

"I personally believe Les is incorrect on his position. I do not believe that the professors or the paper are in any way violating scriptural authority or baptist theology historically. I do not agree with their position but I do believe they have the freedom to espouse this view, certainly in the arena of academia."

What is it that keeps you from understanding this? You are a man of above average intelligence...please read my post and quit accusing me of that i which I HAVE NEVER BEEN IN SUPPORT OF. I have been consistent through the years Wade - it is your tactics that are at fault, not all of your issues.

My concern is with the unscrupulous manner in which you chose to address this situation when I know for a fact that you realize that Les was not and COULD not get these professors removed.

Do I understand you to embrace sinful action to prevent greater sin? Why is it that a SBC PAstor cannot question the teaching that is being put forth i one of our SBC institutions. And the fact is that one of the profs does not eve work for a SBC school!

By the way - why do you refuse to answer the question. Did you seek to contact Les and tell him that you were going public with his private correspondence? Why are you apparently fearful to answer this question.

Thanks for the well wishes for Sunday. it was a joyous Lords Day here i the Ozarks...I trust all was grand in Enid! Lord Bless

Dr. Michael Kear said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Michael Kear said...

Never mind me, I just misread something, commented on it, then saw how stupid my comment looked. Just one of those days, I guess. :)

Purifier said...

"That is precisley the danger we are now facing in the SBC. An ideologue is one who will not, cannot, handle any disagreement or dissent from his/her views."

Wade, Remember the incident you wrote about last year concerning the blogging issue and Mike Everson? How did they handle this...the GBC wrote a anti-blogging resolution and had a long time members who exposed him "smeared!"

They are such a protective little group that needs to busted apart!

Wade, does this mean you will now join us again in the fight to
"purify the church"?

At purifythechurch.com,..........

We have been and will continue to expose the real truths concerning those who we feel deserve exposing - no matter what.

Many emails need to be published, with it being legal in most cases, so that all the legalist get there just reward here on Earth first.

And there are many!

We are about to turn up the heat at our site too.

Come see us :)

Wade Burleson said...

Reagan,

Serving on multiple boards and President of two major boards, as well as a parliamentarian, I would recommend you do nothing until you visit personally with your attorney.

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

By the way - why do you refuse to answer the question. Did you seek to contact Les and tell him that you were going public with his private correspondence? Why are you apparently fearful to answer this question

?? I have answered your question twice, and this will be the last time. Les was contacted privately.
He denied he asked about removing the professors from faculty. It was later that I received the email that proved he did. Not only did I not inform Les I would be making his email publicly, I reserve the right to make public ANY EMAIL OR WRITTEN COMMUNICATION that intimidates SBC employees for publishing or teaching a doctrinal view that is contrary to the "Southern Baptist majority." A private contact will always occur first, and if there is remorse and repentance, the matter will remain private.

Jack, I am glad to hear that you do not demand others conform to your doctrinal views on tertiery matters. My experience with you in the past is just the opposite.

Glad to know you have changed.

Wade

Debbie Kaufman said...

Jack: I understood what you were saying. I believe it is not the point however. It seems you want the fact that you theologically agree with Wade as the defining factor. However, the defining factor in my opinion is that you think he was dead wrong in posting the email.

First of all, we all know that these professors could have been fired eventually by one man because that is usually where brouhaha begins in the SBC. With one or two people. It then grows into a mob and Sherri Klouda would disagree with you that one person cannot get someone fired. They can. It has happened. Movements have begun with one or two people, others agree with them, join etc.

It took one person, Madelaine Murray O'Hara to get prayers out of school. So one person threatening another's job is a big deal that should be confronted. I would have posted that letter in a heartbeat and for the same reasons.

Jon L. Estes said...

John,
"You mentioned "any verse of scripture is not relevant for todays church." I don't think Wade, the professors in question, or anyone else not embracing "storehouse tithing" is saying that Malachi 3: 8-10 is not relevant. Rather they are saying it is not binding."

Let's see..

I make the following statement...

I would not ask for a persons resignation but if I had a vote and they were teaching men that Malachi 3:8-10 is not relevant to todays church then my vote would be to remove them."

Tom Parker then responds...

"I asked you whether you would fire these men and you danced all around my question:

but you said to Wade:

"Wade,

I would not ask for a persons resignation but if I had a vote and they were teaching men that Malachi 3:8-10 is not relevant to todays church then my vote would be to remove them."

That sure is a long way of saying yes to my question.

In this you are EXTREME!!! just like Les P."

To which Wade responds...

"Tom Parker,

Amen."

A few comments prior to that wade stated:

"That Jon, is why I will do everything in my power, and ask God for His help, to keep you and those like you from being in SBC leadership.

You, sir, will destroy any cooperation among conservative, Christ-honoring Southern Baptists with differing interpretations of the sacred text.

I pray God will change your heart. Thanks for your honesty!

Wade"

I don't know how not to say Wade is not saying Malachi is not relevant.

If he believes it to be relevant and is OK with people on the SBC payroll teaching otherwise, he needs to explain himself.

Of course you quote only part of what I said...here it is in full...

I do wonder why any Southern Baptist would support to keep anyone on payroll of any of our entities who would say Malachi 3:8-10 or, for that matter, any verse of scripture is not relevant for todays church.

Jon L. Estes said...

"As I recall church history, that was the early church's explanation of why tithing was not listed as a requirement in the New Testament--that Christians did not want to be restricted to giving only 10%!"

who supporting the tithe is restricting the believer to giving only 10%? It has been stated, this is the beginning.

Now some of the grace only givers are settled in on less than 10%. This is wrong.

Man of the West said...

I have been involved with Southern Baptist churches for, oh, about 18 years or so now, and teaching Sunday School for, I think, the better part of six. For most of that time, I really had very little inkling that not all was well in the SBC. Oh, I knew that there were people like the fellow that came to our church and spoke at a gathering and told us that we all ought to wear coats and ties to services, on the grounds that we'd dress our best to meet with our bosses, wouldn't we, and didn't God deserve at least that much?

"Silly fellow," I thought, "I am sure he meets with God every morning before he puts on his pants! But I'm sure he means well."

I never dreamed that there were people in the SBC who would take such things seriously, but I have since met them.

I never dreamed that there were people in the SBC who would bar a person from certain kinds of service because they had been baptized by immersion upon profession of faith in the wrong kind of Christian church.

I never dreamed that there were people in the SBC who would bar people from missionary service because they had a private prayer language (the whole concept of which I find silly, BTW), even though they did not teach such things in their missionary work and the subject is largely unaddressed in The Baptist Faith and Message.

I did have an inkling that there were people who would get positively livid if someone were to point out publicly that there is no command for the Christian to tithe (people suddenly get serious when money's involved), but it wouldn't have ever dawned on me that someone would suggest that professors be terminated over it.

In short, for the most part, I would either never have known about such things or have dismissed what little I did know or hear as insignificant aberrations were it not for the things Wade Burleson has written over the last few years. So, without wanting to sound sycophantic, I say, "By all means, please continue to let us know of such goings-on."

'Cause you know, down deep, Nashville ain't gonna say a word about it, don't you?

New BBC Open Forum said...

"My concern is with the unscrupulous manner in which you chose to address this situation when I know for a fact that you realize that Les was not and COULD not get these professors removed."

I will reserve judgment as to whether Wade's methods were "unscrupulous" or not. Does anyone, including Wade, really believe that Les Puryear was in a position or had the necessary influence to get a seminary professor fired? Of course not. But who's to say the next ideologue who pulls a stunt like this won't be in such a position or have the clout to influence TPTB? The way I see it, Wade's actions were a preemptive strike, a warning shot across the bow, if you will, of any person or group who thinks they have the right to "suggest" the removal from his job of one who does not agree with him on even a single tertiary matter.

Cindy said...

A few thoughts come to my mind as I read this post.

1.) In witnessing to my Mormon neighbor over the past couple of weeks, I gained some new practical insight into how we defend ourselves when we feel threatened. Though we are adults, depending on how significant the threat, we rely on defenses that tend to be more typical of early periods of development. As we age, we use more mature defenses and only intermittently rely on those from earlier periods of our growth which tend to be determined by the .

HERE's the RELEVANCE and my point in support of the early comments about SPIRITUAL MATURITY that I think Lydia offered: Adults have a mature code of ethics which weighs following rules against the principles behind the rules. If you manually water your lawn every Monday, if it is raining on Monday, a mature adult will not go out into the yard in the rain with a hose. The man ends up serving the law instead of the law serving to aid man meet the goal.

For older children and adolescents, good ethics come not from the weighing of the intent of law in light of the big picture. Their ethics come from following rules. They look to the rule, not the intent of the rule. Adults can certainly do this as well if the stakes are high, but the mature person should ideally also consider the greater principles that call for the law. This is not antinomianism but is wisdom.

In my mind, at least, I see too many people in the faith that should be mature falling back to the law because they are still drinking the milk and cannot handle the meat of the Word. For them then, it is best to stick with the rules and the milk, because it keeps them on course. But for the mature believer in Christ, this matter is one of the richest meat, maybe even the meat that some see as meat sacrificed to idols. But Paul addressed that issue, didn't he?.

This whole issue is not an issue of the Pentateuch or Malachi but of the Christian liberty discussed in Romans 14.

2.) The Law is our schoolmaster, but it was never the plan (if I read the NT correctly) for us to remain novices in school for the rest of our lives.

3.) I'm put in mind of Martin Luther's statement at Worms which I am going to paraphrase, but I figure that you all know what I'm talking about:

I am duty bound to follow the Word and I am captive to my conscience. Here I stand, God help me.

Everything the Christian does in life ought to be governed by this principle, but it is especially notable when powerful people don't like our decisions to act.

I'm encouraged to note that there are other Christians out there who follow this principle, even when the stakes are great and the decisions have been complicated, requiring maturity.

Soli Deo gloria!

Tom Kelley said...

These folks who are saying that Les didn't have the clout to get any professor removed are missing the fact that all it takes is one person asking questions to get the attention of the big boys, who will then carry out whatever it takes to remove those who don't hold to the party line.

And folks saying that it was wrong or unethical for Wade to publish a "private" email are missing the point of the need to do away with the secrecy and privacy with regards to contribution (CP) funded business. Plus there is no reasonable expectation of privacy when sending correspondence to anyone in a CP funded institution. Plus we are dealing with public teaching, not private offenses.

This whole hierarchical, authority-focused mindset, which leads to abuse of power, and to secrecy to maintain power in spite of abuses, has got to go!

Wade Burleson said...

New BBC Forum,

A BBC Big Amen.

Wade Burleson said...

Tom Kelley,

An even bigger Amen.

Cindy said...

OOopps!

I think the cat helped me delete the end of a sentence which should read:

As we age, we use more mature defenses and only intermittently rely on those from earlier periods of our growth which tend to be determined by the ramifications of the situation at hand. If there is much at risk and the consequences can be damaging, it is better to drop back to a rules based perspective.

Wade Burleson said...

Cindy,

Your logic, biblical understanding, and hermeneutic, as usual, is outstanding.

Debbie Kaufman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wade Burleson said...

Man of the West,

Welcome to the SBC.

Stick around. We need you.

linda said...

Les Puryear should have listened to my grandma and my mama:

"If you wouldn't want me and the whole world to know you did or said something, don't do or say it.

That is what integrity means."

It absolutely totally boggles my mind to think of pastors doing ANYTHING they do not want to have see the light of day.

I believe it is in John where scripture discusses not wanting our deeds to be brought to the light because our deeds are evil.

If our yes is yes and our no is no, we have no need to hide it.

I disagree with Pastor Les about tithing, but more than that, I disagree with him about expecting to address it behind closed doors.

If he wanted to send the email that was fine--but why secretly? Why howl in pain when it was exposed?

Why not just a proud "Of course I did. Why didn't you?"

I can only think of one answer: our convention has become one of backroom deals and powerbrokers, rather than unabashedly saying what we believe. Of course, if we do the latter, others might disagree and we might not get our way.

And that is something apparently some are not willing to risk.

Some seem to trust themselves as guardians of our souls rather than trust God.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Never mind me, I just misread something, commented on it, then saw how stupid my comment looked. Just one of those days, I guess. :)

Mike: The same thing just happened to me so it has to be one of those days. :)

Cindy said...

After reading New BBC Forum's comments, I am reminded of a principle of human behavior.

People are strongly influenced by what people around them do, making it more acceptable. This is a basic human nature trait, and it can be used for good or evil.

It is this human tendency that can take a bad situation, a potential perfect storm, and turn it in either direction which makes every single person's independent action a very powerful thing. Phillip Zimbardo discusses this at www.lucifereffect.com, and he has launched an initiative to do what he can to foster people's confidence to do the right thing instead of following the consensus in ethical matters. He's launched the "HERO project."

When reporting on the Nuremberg Trials, Hannah Arendt coined the term "the banality of evil" when she described the Nazi's indifference and lack of a sense of personal responsibility in ethics because they deferred to the ethics of the group. Zimbardo hopes to foster "the banality of heroism," finding a way to help society find it easier to exit situations wherein social pressure and authority make it hard to go against these forces and human tendency in order to encourage people to trust themselves so that they do what is right.

As a participant in the Hero project, I declare Wade the hero of the day. I think Dr. Z would gladly agree with me.

It is my hope that Baptists and all the rest of us Christians would become the epitome of these everyday Heroes.

Video: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/272

The Hero Project: http://www.lucifereffect.com/heroism-signup.htm

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog post by Wade:

"How The Civil War Got Its Name."

The north wanted to be civil and the south wanted war...

Margaret said...

I am grateful that you have chosen to bring into the light the things which would have been hidden in darkness at one time. Anyone writing an email in this day and age should understand that it could easily be made public. If they're not being honest about what was in the email, they should understand that the likelihood of the email becoming public is much greater.

Neita said...

Keep up the openness!! Thanks for tackling the tough issues!
blessings,
bruce mcgowan

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Wade,

On a serious note. Does it concern you that the GCRTF appears to be doing everything in secret? One would be curious if any blue birdies have information of worth, or is the SBC being restructured behind closed doors?

Lydia said...

"And folks saying that it was wrong or unethical for Wade to publish a "private" email are missing the point of the need to do away with the secrecy and privacy with regards to contribution (CP) funded business. Plus there is no reasonable expectation of privacy when sending correspondence to anyone in a CP funded institution."

Exactly.

Lydia said...

"Now some of the grace only givers are settled in on less than 10%. This is wrong."

Jon, where do you get this stuff? Who are you talking about?

Inkling said...

Wade, I agree with your actions. You did the right thing. But let me add one point, as respectfully as I can.

You wrote:

One SBC lawyer opined "It is a serious ethical breach for lawyers (which I am) to receive mail from other people like this. Ah, if only you preachers would live up to the standards set by the bar associations."

Who is this lawyer, and where was this said? I ask because this lawyer's claim is, to borrow a phrase, a pile of human excrement.

I've been a practicing attorney for a dozen years. I know a thing or two about the ethical standards for attorneys. And I can state, categorically and without reservation, that this so-called "SBC lawyer" is either lying or utterly ignorant of legal ethics.

Mark

Thy Peace said...

One SBC lawyer opined "It is a serious ethical breach for lawyers (which I am) to receive mail from other people like this. Ah, if only you preachers would live up to the standards set by the bar associations".

Said here!

Wade Burleson said...

Mark,

The attorney goes by the name "Louis" and commented here--about fourteen comments down.

I would love for Louis to comment here and respond to your comment.

We'll see.

Smile.

Jon L. Estes said...

""Now some of the grace only givers are settled in on less than 10%. This is wrong."

Jon, where do you get this stuff? Who are you talking about?"

Someone kept bringing up the point that most people give less than 3%. Some of these who support this are non-tithe, grace giving folk.

Wade Burleson said...

Thy Peace,

Once again--thanks!

Tom Kelley said...

linda said...
If he wanted to send the email that was fine--but why secretly? Why howl in pain when it was exposed?
Why not just a proud "Of course I did. Why didn't you?"


Excellent point. That is a response I could respect. It is pretty much how Wade is responding to those who are hollering about him publishing Les's email. "Of course I did. Why didn't you?"

It is a favored tactic of some who don't like what others have done to claim the action was somehow unethical. My response to that is "hogwash".

Wade Burleson said...

Tom and Linda,

You both have given me something to chew on.

Wade Burleson said...

Mark,

Thy Peace's link to Louis is different (and better) than mine.

I would be really interested in your take on what he has said.

Wade

Cindy said...

Tom Kelley wrote:

It is a favored tactic of some who don't like what others have done to claim the action was somehow unethical.


Kill the messenger. And ad hominem tactic. It's also like a red herring to take attention away from the primary issue.

Lydia said...

Someone kept bringing up the point that most people give less than 3%. Some of these who support this are non-tithe, grace giving folk.

Sun Feb 14, 07:57:00 PM 2010

How do they count the money folks give to those in need around them? See, the whole problem is the idea of a documented tax deductable "tithe" to a non profit organization we call a church.

I would be careful. Grace giving folks do not know what the left hand is doing and don't keep score.

Bob Cleveland said...

Perhaps one of the bigger hypocrisies along us Southern Baptists is that we champion "priesthood of the believer", but are so quick to deny it in others. For anybody who loves the SBC, that ought to be more troublesome than speculation over what some task force is apt to suggest.

Steve said...

I am so surpised - not - at the tender sensibilities of Wade's critics who stumble over the possibility that Wade might take credit for keeping the attackers at bay in this recent contretemps. Oh, but what could have been!!

Can you imagine if Jack had been there when the leadership of Southwestern decided out of pride or anger to take a pulpit that - gasp! - a weoman had spoken behind and hidden it from view after discussing whether to just burn it. Jack would have absolutely had a stroke!

When Southern Baptist conservative Ken Hemphill was ousted from Southwestern simply because he wasn't from the right group of Fundamentalists, these critics would have all pitched over dead at the pride and crowing that had to be present. By contrast, Wade keeping the heat off today's professors looks like a battlefield medic applying bandages.

I rest assured 'tis a blessing that angry politicos don't have time machines!

Bill said...

Wade,

Forgive me if this has been said. I've read many of the comments but not all.

I appreciate your willingness to stand up for what you believe and I agree with your call for acceptance of diverse viewpoints on some non-essential doctrines.

My concern lies in the email. If Les didn't send you the email, and Dr. Akin didn't send you the email, then someone intercepted an email that they should not have. This is akin to taking mail out of someone's mailbox, making a copy of it, and putting it back. It may not violate the same federal laws as tampering with snail-mail, but it crosses the same ethical boundaries.

In this case, I don't believe the ends justify the means.

Wade Burleson said...

Bill,

Not necessarily.

There are a number of ways that email could be received by any number of people who care for the two professors involved.

Unlike the emails that revealed the global warming deception (which were hacked), this email was forwarded to several people for various reasons, and once an email is forwarded ...well, you know what happens then.

Inkling said...

Wade,

I read Louis' comment (thanks for the link, Thy Peace) and I stand by what I said earlier. That's unfortunate, because I've always thought of Louis as a reasonable fellow (assuming it's the same Louis I think it is).

Under the rules governing lawyers in most states, a lawyer primarily has two responsibilities towards third parties: he cannot make a false statement of material fact or law, and he cannot obtain information in a manner that violates another person's legal rights. I fail to see how your actions violate either of those principles in any way. Your reading or publicizing the e-mail violated none of Les' legal rights.

If someone wants to cite a specific statute or principle of law that says otherwise, please do so. And if Louis (or anyone else) wants to identify the specific rule of professional conduct that Wade's conduct supposedly violates, please do so. Until then, it's hard for me to offer anything more specific than the above.

Mark

Bill said...

If Dr. Akin forwarded this email to other parties, then brother Les needs to have a chat with Dr. Akin. Dr. Akin would himself be the leak that he denied having.

Thy Peace said...

Bill, you are making much of nothing.

If you read the first paragraph of this post carefully, your questions become moot.

I will bold them for you.

That email, interpreted by some friends of the two professors as a call to remove the professors from their faculty positions, caused one of those friends to inform me that there was pressure being placed on seminary administrators to remove the professors. I called the author of the email to ask him if this allegation was true. He denied it. But then a friend of the professors sent me the pastor's email and it was clear the author of the email was being less than forthright with me.

Thy Peace said...

BTW it is very easy to track the email if it was forwarded. All the information is in the headers.

My guess is this email came to the professors and from their went to his friends.

Thy Peace said...

Unless they copied and pasted the text of the email (a smarter thing to do), then that header information will not be there.

Thy Peace said...

Anatomy of an Email Message.

Thy Peace said...

A cautionary note to future email "forwarders":

1. Do not use any company or official email systems. They always have email logging and tracking built-in. That is ALL your incoming and outgoing messages are ALWAYS archived for at least 90 to 180 days by most companies and businesses.

2. If forwarding, copy and paste the text of the email.

3. Use throw away email addresses (one time use only).

4. Always use Tor to hide your ip address.

EFF > EFF's Top 12 Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy.

Surveillance Self-Defense.

Tor.

Good luck!

RRR said...

Christiane said: “In truth, Christian people came to Wade over concern for their friends, because they felt their friends were being attacked under the cover of darkness.
These Christian people knew of Wade's work on behalf of the 77 missionaries, and on behalf of Dr. Klouda.
So people 'out there' knew 'who to come to' for help.”

That’s a good point. For whatever reason, Wade is known as being a voice of accountability to those generally considered to be the Southern Baptist establishment. They could be pretty scary if totally unchecked, but couldn't we all?!

Wade has that reputation for being a voice of opposition, or accountability, and now he has a substantial forum, or audience, that increases his effectiveness as one who so often confronts those who are otherwise unchallenged.

I often do not agree with Wade’s approaches or the way he communicates, but I am glad that he is there. I suspect that his passion is the cause for his rough, bull-in-a-china-shop, approach but that is one reason he has established such an effective forum. His voice is difficult to ignore these days and he does provide a source for balance and reason.

Lydia said...

If Dr. Akin forwarded this email to other parties, then brother Les needs to have a chat with Dr. Akin. Dr. Akin would himself be the leak that he denied having.

Sun Feb 14, 11:07:00 PM 2010

What would be wrong with him forwarding the e-mail to the professor accused by Les who also worked for Akin?


Akin has every right to inform the professor. BTW: Didn't someone say that Akin does not believe in storehouse tithing, either? Did I see a link to that in comments on one of these threads?

Thy Peace said...

Tithing - Russell Kelly > AKIN, DANIEL, PRESIDENT SEBTS.

Thy Peace said...

The above link needs to be read with this too:

SBC Position Paper, that mandates its employees to endorse the pro-tithing position.

Rex Ray said...

Steve,
You said, “When Southern Baptist conservative Ken Hemphill was ousted from Southwestern simply because he wasn't from the right group of Fundamentalists…”

If you remember, Ken Hemphill was not fired but ‘promoted’ up the lader to a ‘special’ position made for him.

The real reason he was removed was that he had a heart that prevented him from using unethical ways to fire ‘unwanted’ professors at SWBTS that had ‘hunkered down’ by signing the BFM.

This was a job for Patterson that he handled very well.


Wade,
You said, “…some in the SBC believe if you interpret tertiery doctrines in a different manner, you are denying the "authority" of the Bible. That is precisely the danger we are now facing in the SBC.”

I believe for every Fundamentalist you ‘catch’ doing this on the Convention level, there are a hundred Fundamentalist doing this in local churches.

Wars are not won at ‘headquarters’; wars are won in the trenches.

Some leave churches thinking of themselves; others stay thinking of others.

G. Casey said...

But Dr. Russell Kelley asserts and documents that some Old Test. occupations had exemptions of the tithe, Jon L Estes. The welfare of the parents were to be honored before tithing in Paul's letter to Timothy.

G. Casey said...

He must FIRST take care of his relatives and not let them be a burden to the church.....this would be great policy politically speaking as well.

John Fariss said...

Jon,

Thanks for the reply. And I understand what you are saying, I just do not agree with it. Of course, part of the difference--I think--lies in the definition of the word "relevance" that you use. Judging by the way you use it, you seem to mean that it applies fully to us, just as it did to the Jewish people under the Abrahamic covenant. Is this correct, or am I missing something? And if I am correct, then I would ask, first, why does a requirement given to another people under a different covenant apply to us? Second, does that mean that everything required under that covenent also apply to us? And third, if it does not, how do you "draw the line" so to speak between what does and does not apply to Christians?

By "relevant," I would mean that it has importantance, without necessarily being directly applicable, especially in a legalistic way. Thus my use of it as a matter of spiritual growth and maturity on the way to the "giving is joy" statement made by Paul. To me, that does not deny the "relevance" of any passage of Scripture, while it does acknowledge that not all Scripture was/is directed at us.

While it is (I think) a passing point for you, I also have a problem with the current attitude toward seminary professors (and perhaps especially missionaries) that they are regarded simply as "employees" who can be terminated anytime if they do not dot every i and cross every t of current SBC doctrine and "guidelines." I would prefer to regard them as being called of God to their positions. That means we pay them not to do a job, but in order that they can afford to do what they are called to do, and thus we should give them a bit more leeway than some in the last 20 - 30 years have been given. There are those who are as conservative as the day is long, but lacked the proper politics (or perhaps the proper biological "equipment") and thus have been fired or pressured to leave. At least that's how I see it.

John

Christiane said...

IF the 'Baptist Identity' people are going to push 'tithing' as an OT law that was not rescinded, they need to be much more knowledgable about ancient Jewish practices.

Since time immemorial, one of the most ancient prayers of the Jewish people was recited at Shavuot: The Festival of First Fruits, as they laid the offering on the altar. This ancient prayer is now a part of the Passover Hagaddah Seder recitation:

Take a look at this ancient prayer and notice how it fore-shadows our Salvation by Lord Christ:

"And my father was a wandering Aramean,
and sojourned down to Egypt;
and became mighty and numerous.
And we were oppressed there
and God took us out
with a strong
hand and outstretched arm
and brought us to the land of Israel"

What's the point?
That the tithe offering foreshadowed another Offering, that of our deliverance by Christ. Hence, the celebration of Christian Thanksgiving. The meaning behind the ancient tithe has been fulfilled in Christ:
Our Lord's death on the Cross enables us to come out of a state of bondage. He was offered on the altar of the Cross for our deliverance, the 'First-born' pure offering. For this complete offering of Jesus Christ, we are to offer now our Thanksgiving and our praise. We honor God by giving Him thanks and praise for the perfect sacrifice of Christ by which God has brought us out of bondage.
The tithe, or 'redemption tax' of the O.T. need no longer to be offered in the same way that it was before Christ's sacrifice.



The other consideration I offer is this: the Apostolic Fathers warned of those who took money from the people excessively. They were called the 'Christ-mongers'.
This warning tells Christians not to give their offerings to such people.
When you have 'Baptist Identity' leaders living in mansions in gated communities, and traveling the world first-class, it is important to understand that providing for the lavish life-style of these individuals may actually offend God, rather than glorify Him.

Just some thoughts, since the subject of tithing seems so very, very divisive.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Does either of the professors who was targeted have tenure? Did Sheri Klouda have tenure? If yes in any of these cases, who sets the bar over which a tenured professor can be terminated? There are the obvious things, such as the example of the woman in Huntsville, Alabama who "went postal" last week. (I understand she had just been denied tenure but even if tenured she would have been terminated because of the nature of her actions, not to mention she's likely going to be spending the rest of her life in prison.) But how much does "tenure" really protect a professor from the whims of TPTB, and are we seeing a lowering of the bar in our SB seminaries?

New BBC Open Forum said...

"Perhaps one of the bigger hypocrisies along us Southern Baptists is that we champion 'priesthood of the believer', but are so quick to deny it in others. For anybody who loves the SBC, that ought to be more troublesome than speculation over what some task force is apt to suggest."

You're forgetting they already did that when they penned the BF&M 2000... by adding an "s" to the end of the word "priesthood." It's subtle but opens the door to "priesthood of the committee."

1963: Baptists emphasize the soul's competency before God, freedom in religion, and the priesthood of the believer. However, this emphasis should not be interpreted to mean that there is an absence of certain definite doctrines that Baptists believe, cherish, and with which they have been and are now closely identified.

2000: Baptists cherish and defend religious liberty, and deny the right of any secular or religious authority to impose a confession of faith upon a church or body of churches. We honor the principles of soul competency and the priesthood of believers, affirming together both our liberty in Christ and our accountability to each other under the Word of God.

"Can you imagine if Jack had been there when the leadership of Southwestern decided out of pride or anger to take a pulpit that - gasp! - a weoman [sic] had spoken behind and hidden it from view after discussing whether to just burn it."

Are you serious? (I mean the part about the pulpit, not Jack.) Did they really do that???

Tom Parker said...

Wade:

Les P. has up a new blog item but look what he has up now as it relates to his blog:

"Comments on this blog are restricted to team members."

Wonder what he is so afraid of, Wade.

I guess he is bunkered down and can only deal with comments that support his view, he no longer really has a blog.

You reckon we ought to tell him that?

anon said...

I do wonder why any Southern Baptist would support to keep anyone on payroll of any of our entities who would say Malachi 3:8-10 or, for that matter, any verse of scripture is not relevant for todays church.
___________________________________
Jon, or any other pastors...please someone, anyone, explain to me how the Israelites bringing 10% of their crops to the Levitical priests to feed them and help the poor means that New Testament believers are obligated out of obedience to Christ to give 10%, undesignated, of their wages, to a local 501(c)(3) body of believers?

Where did this happen in either the OT or NT? Where did Jesus teach this? What about all the cheerful giving, not under compulsion giving texts in the NT?

And Jon, why must we not be circumsized (at least Jesus did that) since all the verses are still applicable to us according to you? Don't we put ourselves back under the law, and therefore under a curse, if we try and live according to the law? And Jon, aren't there thousands of laws the Jews followed under the law, not just 10? And shouldn't we do even more under grace than under the law? So maybe should cut off even more skin than they did?

Jon and pastors, please help this laymen see the light. My checkbook (and scissors) are in hand!

Anyone?

Jon L. Estes said...

"Our Lord's death on the Cross enables us to come out of a state of bondage."

There is the problem. Tithing is seen as bondage. Wow, I never thought of it that way.

Now, if tithing is bondage and grace giving ought to be greater than the tithe, it would seem we are being asked to be in greater bondage.

Thy Peace said...

Tom: My guess is Les would have misconfigured his blog comment moderation settings. I remember this once happened to Pastor Wade too. Easy to correct.

BTW all the quotes he has about tithing, well SBC Position Paper, that mandates all its employees to endorse it.

Bob Cleveland said...

NBBCOF:

That's one of the things I point out to my class which is studying the BFM. That point pales, though, in the face of some even more subtle changes therein, especially in comparison to the 1925.

:)

Thy Peace said...

Are you serious? (I mean the part about the pulpit, not Jack.) Did they really do that???.

The Contaminated Pulpit and Other Weird Things.

Christiane said...

Hi JON ESTES,

it's me, L's

When I wrote this:
""Our Lord's death on the Cross enables us to come out of a state of bondage." ;

the word 'bondage' is reference to being 'un-saved'.
(I'm trying to use Baptist language here.)

Byroniac said...

Thy Peace,

I ought to re-Christen you "Thy Google." I don't know how you find everything you find, but I am sure glad you do. I thought *I* was good with Google, but I'm just a lightweight. :)

I like this link to Dr. Kelly's website concerning the SBC Position Paper because I think the formatting is a little bit better on the website than on the blog. And I appreciate Dr. Kelly's knowledge and efforts to provide information to all who are curious on this subject.

Christiane said...

Hi TOM PARKER,

Well you were right when you wrote this:

"Les P. has up a new blog item but look what he has up now as it relates to his blog:

"Comments on this blog are restricted to team members."



TOM, I went over to take a look, and sure enough, this is what I saw:

"Comments on this blog are restricted to team members.
You're currently logged in as Christiane. You may not comment with this account."

I think he is worried about questions that may come as a result of his actions.
You would think he would welcome an opportunity to debate his issue of tithing with people. It may be that he is more worried about how to speak to personal attacks on his character, though.

I would want to question him about his take on Christian ethics. I think he need not fear that, but I accept that he can only handle what is in his comfort zone at this time.

I hope someday that Les can trust other Christian people enough to be open with them. I can see him doing that someday, if people who care about him will help him towards that goal.

Susan said...

As a minister's wife who saw the mean spirited undermining prevalent in the SBC in the 1980s and 1990s, I came to the conclusion that it was not going to stop. I finally gave up after 20 years of hoping that the SBC would come to its senses and am now a Cooperative Baptist; this group has allowed me to finally feel comfortable again in my Baptist skin.

Tom Parker said...

Christiane:

Les P. says :"The emails are running about 50 to 1 in favor of support and encouragment. Thank you."

I guess we will see how many of these become his team members and share their support publicly.


I really find his behavior odd in all of this.

Dr. Michael Kear said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Michael Kear said...

As an interesting exercise I decided to read what Rousas John Rushdoony wrote about tithing in his book The Institutes of Biblical Law, which is hands-down the most legalistic book of theology in my library. I was fascinated to find that while Rushdoony believed that Christians were bound by the OC law of tithing (all the tithes of the OC!), going so far as to say that, "Those who do not tithe are spiritual anarchists: they destroy both the freedom and order of society and unleash the demons of statism." (p 58), he also taught that the storehouse was not necessarily the church. On page 55, he states, "The tither was not tithing if his tithe went to a faithless storehouse;...Similarly, the tither today is not tithing unless his tenth goes to truly godly work, to churches, missionary causes, and schools which teach the law-order faithfully."

Then on page 511: "The tithe belongs to neither church nor state: it belongs to God and is to be given by God's people to those who will administer it under God."

Again on page 513: "The tithe is to the Lord. Thus, in the days of Elisha, a man from Baal-shalisha brought his tithe to Elisha and his school rather than to the priests (II Kings 4:42). In doing so, he was exercizing his right to give to that which served the Lord best, rather than to an official but apostate priesthhood"

While Rushdoony is about as far from my theological perspective as can be, I find it interesting that in his adherence to the minutia of the Law and his perspective that we are all still under that OC minutia, Rushdoony's insistence on OC tithing would be rejected by some in the SBC today because of where he believed the tithe should go.

Christiane said...

Tom, Les seems very defensive at this time, for sure, as he is surrounding himself with 'his team'.

I am interested to see some outreach to him for reconcilation and his re-union with the whole community of Southern Baptist people. who are most certainly a part of 'Team Christ'.

I think he would be more peaceful, then. I know he would.

Byroniac said...

Well, Les Puryear certainly has the right to restrict commenting on his blog and do with it what he wants. And he is free to say what he wants, but not to escape the consequences of what he says (the same goes for all of us). But restricting commentary to team members is in effect withdrawing from the conversation and casting a vote away from free discussion and reasonable debate towards control and censorship, at least at the level of his blog. So be it, I guess.

Tom Parker said...

Bryoniac:

I believe the censorship he is using at his blog now is exactly what he was attempting to do to the two professors.

Jon L. Estes said...

L's I knew you meant that but thought you were adding thee tithe into the picture of bondage since you mentioned the tithe in the same paragraph.

Thy Peace said...

I suspect as I mentioned earlier Les Puryear mis-configured his blog settings.

Blogger > Settings > Comments > Who Can Comment ?

- Anyone - includes Anonymous Users
- Registered Users - includes OpenID
- Users with Google Accounts
- Only members of this blog

I think he accidentally selected the last option.

Tom Parker said...

Thy Peace:

We shall see.

Jon L. Estes said...

Tom,

Can you consider the following... Les may simply not want the ugly, ungodly or unbiblical comments to be spewed on his site.

Probably not.

I have my blog set for comment moderation and nothing will be put up I do not believe is in the best interest of the blog topic. Of course, I do not deal with convention politics, that often.

Even the famous Tom Rich moderates his comments and I know for a fact he does not publish all the comments he gets. Do you think he is afraid of opposing ideas? I don't.

Tom Parker said...

Jon:

Les is not moderating comments. He is blocking those that are not a member of his team.

You said:"Can you consider the following... Les may simply not want the ugly, ungodly or unbiblical comments to be spewed on his site."

Who would do this? I assure you I would not.

My last comment on Les's Blog:

"Les:

I guess it is just time for me to leave voluntarily, because you ask me to apologize for a deleted comment and then publicly attack me as if that is acceptable behavior on your part. Do you not see the hypocrisy?

I will just consider myself not welcome here.

I really can not tolerate your double standards any how and my life will be better without your personal attacks.

In parting, you really ought to get help for your anger problem.

February 9, 2010 2:44 PM"

Jon, all of us do not act the way that Les P and others do.

You, Jon, are just making excuses for Les.

I have not been back to his blog nor will I.

Tom Parker said...

Jon:

I think Les can dish it out but he can not take it.

He started all of this drama.

Maybe Les will let you be on his team at his blog. I feel very confident he would let you.

Thy Peace said...

Russell Earl Kelly said...
Les Puryear Censorship Blog

Les Puryear has just changed his blog to allow only authorized team members.
http://lesliepuryear.blogspot.com/2010/02/quotes-from-christian-leaders-on.html
Quotes From Christian Leaders on Tithing.

He has posted a number of those who agree with him.

In order to be fair he should also publish my long list of about 50 who disagree with him.
http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id2.html
THEOLOGIANS AND HISTORIANS WHO AGREE.

MON FEB 15, 01:07:00 PM 2010
.

Cindy said...

An interesting tidbit about Rushdoony:

He LOVED to debate with people who did not share his opinion. He was highly respected for the respect that he showed to others including people who were not Christians. He didn't pull secret political strategies to win the day. He was very much someone who "put all of his cards on the table" in open forums. He did not abuse and undermine his opponents. He was opinionated, but he respected those with whom he contended in the forums of the exchange of ideas. He loved and reveled in the process of iron sharpening iron. I understand that he thought that it made him all the better.

(Unfortunately, such is not the case with those who carry on his legacy. If such a thing happened, Rush has to be spinning in his grave.)

Dr. Michael Kear said...

That's very true, Cindy.

Thy Peace said...

Interesting discussions taking place here:

Baptist Life Forums > SBC News and Trends > Power of blogs: Call the guy out!.

Dr. Michael Kear said...

I like the comment by John MacArthur (not exactly a libertine) in the MacArthur Study Bible on 2 Cor 8:3:

Paul highlighted 3 elements of the Macedonian's giving which summed up the concept of free-will giving: 1) "according to their ability." Giving is proportionate - God sets no fixed amount or percentage and expects His people to give based on what they have... 2) "beyond their ability." Giving is sacrificial. God's people are to give according to what they have, yet it must be in proportions that are sacrificial... 3) "freely willing." - lit, "one who chooses his own course of action." Giving is voluntary - God's people are not to give out of compulsion, manipulation, or intimidation. Freewill giving has always been God's plan... Freewill giving is not to be confused with tithing, which related to the national taxation system of Israel and is paralleled in the NT and the present by paying taxes...

[The "..." in this quote are scriptural references]

New BBC Open Forum said...

The Contaminated Pulpit and Other Weird Things

Oh, good grief. How did a kook like that ever get appointed president of a seminary? I don't know how I missed that article, but I don't remember it. And I think it would have left a lasting impression!

Thank you, TP.

A woman who now attends Wednesday morning Bible study at MABTS told me when Gray Allison was president he did not allow women to attend the Bible study, so apparently this attitude towards women is pervasive.

I ought to re-Christen you "Thy Google."

We already have affectionately dubbed him "Thy Link."

:-)

Gene S said...

"The ethics of a lawyer" -- I'm still looking for them!!!

They are the very model for this kind of problem:

They know the rules.
They interpret the rules as they do the law.
They put time on the clock of the client.
They charge at least $200 per hour for that time.
They love to have an oponent lawyer so both lawyers clock up more time to each client.
Their comercials declare "we're on your side / don't give in to the big, bad insurance company / we're the 'people's advocate' / etc. BS!!!"

Wade--keep on telling it like it is. The more light is shed on the ways and wiles of SBC participants these days, the more we see that monkey climbing that tree.

Far better that we see it and correct it than ignore it and be the laughing stock of contemporary society!

anon said...

Jon Estes - maybe you missed this post directed to you. Please answer it if you can. :)

You wrote: I do wonder why any Southern Baptist would support to keep anyone on payroll of any of our entities who would say Malachi 3:8-10 or, for that matter, any verse of scripture is not relevant for todays church.
___________________________________


Jon, my question to you or to any other pastors...please someone, anyone, explain to me how the Israelites bringing 10% of their crops to the Levitical priests to feed them and help the poor means that New Testament believers are obligated out of obedience to Christ to give 10%, undesignated, of their wages, to a local 501(c)(3) body of believers?

Where did this happen in either the OT or NT? Where did Jesus teach this? What about all the cheerful giving, not under compulsion giving texts in the NT?

And Jon, why must we not be circumsized (at least Jesus did that) since all the verses are still applicable to us according to you? Don't we put ourselves back under the law, and therefore under a curse, if we try and live according to the law? And Jon, aren't there thousands of laws the Jews followed under the law, not just 10? And shouldn't we do even more under grace than under the law? So maybe should cut off even more skin than they did?

Jon and pastors, please help this laymen see the light. My checkbook (and scissors) are in hand!

Anyone?

Purifier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Purifier said...

You guys are giving LES much more attention than he deserves.

Those within his group are only part of the thousands of S B C Baptist members who feel this way and who have it down pat with responsive actions when they are challenged to answer questions about their LIES.

I have personally seen this played out many times before when we have confronted cowardly deceitful men who have tried to manipulate the masses.

He is only acting the way he was trained by those within "the Baptist Mafia" .

Now that he is being exposed for all these issues, he goes to the page in the manual that says...

"When caught, deny deny deny"....

....and Bury your Head in the Sand, Quickly"!

Our saying "The Internet - The Great Equalizer"!

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

Jon,

I recognize that you are under no obligation to answer my questions, but would appreciate it if you would. They are asked in a simple attitude of inquiry. I would very much like to understand your perspective on my base question, "Judging by the way you use it (the word 'revelance'), you seem to mean that it applies fully to us, just as it did to the Jewish people under the Abrahamic covenant. Is this correct, or am I missing something?" and the three corolary questions, "And if I am correct, then I would ask, first, why does a requirement given to another people under a different covenant apply to us? Second, does that mean that everything required under that covenent also applies to us? And third, if it does not, how do you "draw the line" so to speak between what does and does not apply to Christians?"

I'm sorry, but if your answer is, "Now, if tithing is bondage and grace giving ought to be greater than the tithe, it would seem we are being asked to be in greater bondage," then I am afraid I do not understand the logic of "grace-giving" (I suppose that is the term, although I have not used that specificially) being greater bondage than tithing, not that I have used one that either. My perspective is not grounded in the bondage issue, but rather in the issue of covenants and appropriate applications. Could you unpack that a bit more?

John

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Ladies and Gentlemen,

You heard it here first: I am officially calling for the firing of Ken Star as President of Baylor University on the fundamentalist and ideological grounds that he is not a Baptist. And I am unanimous in this decision! :)

K

(PS: Inkling, I love your screen-name, I am jealous.)

Dr. Michael Kear said...

Kevin, that's funny!

Byroniac said...

New BBC Open Forum,

Oh, that's right. "Thy Link" is a better nickname (no copyright infringement either). Seriously, how does he do that? Maybe he's a secret agent working for the government...

Thy Peace said...

Ha ha!

Most of the links I post, I have already come across them before and have read them.

Byroniac it's a pleasure to read your comments Sir. God bless you.

Wade Burleson said...

Thy Peace is a highly trained, super educated, enormously beneficial techno wizard to all us Southern Baptists!

Thanks Thy Peace.

Byroniac said...

Wade Burleson,

I want to make sure I remain friends with Thy Peace. For all I know, the entire Internet might pass through his computer in his cubicle at work (for some secret Department of the Government, no less). My only consolation is that no human alive can process all that data without the aid of computers. ;)

Chris Ryan said...

Kevin,

Can I second your motion?

As a Baptist whose seminary is affiliated with Baylor, I think I have that right!

Bill said...

On Les' blog, Dr. Akin is quoted as saying that he has kept his phone and email correspondence with Les confidential. That would seem to suggest that Dr. Akin did not in fact forward Les' email to anyone, unless there is a different definition of confidential that I'm unaware of.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

I am officially calling for the expulsion of Chris Ryan from Truett Theological Proving Grounds for publicly disagreeing with the trustees of said institution and for public disparagement of the newly elected president of the mother ship, Baylor "Billions and Billions of Years" University.

:) <-----NOTE

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

New BBC Open Forum said...
A woman who now attends Wednesday morning Bible study at MABTS told me when Gray Allison was president he did not allow women to attend the Bible study, so apparently this attitude towards women is pervasive.


Well, at the time it was called a "men's Bible study", and there were other functions and Bible studies at MABTS directed just at women. I don't think the intent was to exclude, just to be directed to a specific audience.

Nonetheless, I think you are right that there is in certain SB circles a pervasive negative attitude towards women.

Inkling said...

KMC, glad you like it. I chose it because of the literary allusion but many more people seem to interpret it as I have only an inkling of the subjects I write about. I guess my profile picture doesn't help since it's not even one of the Inklings -- I was just in a Chesterton mood when I chose it.

Chris Ryan said...

Kevin,

You can call for it. Just know it isn't going to happen! Down here we still believe in freedom of speech. We can disagree and still get along. :)

New BBC Open Forum said...

"Well, at the time it was called a 'men's Bible study', and there were other functions and Bible studies at MABTS directed just at women. I don't think the intent was to exclude, just to be directed to a specific audience."

Well, of course they called it a "men's Bible study." Only men could attend!

It's been my observation that in many churches (which I guess extends to the seminary), "men's" Bible studies are often held very early on a weekday morning or at noon during most people's lunch hours. Women's studies are frequently held in the middle of the morning or afternoon when many women are working. They seem to assume that all women are free during these hours which is not the case. Just as an example, the monthly "Ladies Prayer Luncheon" at MABTS is held on Monday mornings at 10:00 a.m. while the (formerly men's) weekly breakfast and Bible study are held at 6:30 and 7:00 a.m., respectively, on Wednesday mornings. Likewise, Steve Gaines' "Morning Manna" breakfast/book study for men only is held at 6:30 a.m. on Thursdays while the women's Bible studies led by Donna Gaines are held at around 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. As much as Paige and Dorothy are in denial, our Leave it to Beaver days are history.

Also, I wasn't aware Bibles came in "pink" and "blue" versions. Is there really some "Baptist Identity" rule which states men and women cannot attend Bible study together? So many of the "women's studies" I've seen are fluff anyway. IMO "Bible study" should be directed at Christians, not just men or women.

Tom Parker said...

I wonder if Les P. will allow any dissenters at his blog:

So far he allows the following team members who have commented:

Scott Gordon and
Jon Estes
J. Adam Byrd


I'm really kind of doubting it, but it is his blog.

Byron said...

Tom Parker,

Apparently Les Puryear has changed the blog setting. On the latest post the current setting reads, "Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author." Perhaps it was just a mistake, and not what I took it to be. Or perhaps he just changed his mind.

Tom Parker said...

Bryon:

I stand corrected. Thank you.

Tom Parker

Thy Peace said...

Les Puryear had one more last word (705 words) on this episode here. William Thornton had this in reply to Les Puryear, here.