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

The Wade Burleson Family and My Views on the Southern Baptist Convention



The Burlesons:

(Left to Right)

Logan, Rachelle, Wade, Charis, Kade and Boe.






There is an anonymous gentleman that goes by Matt2239 who has felt the freedom to make a few comments on a blog site called SBC Voices about me and my involvement in the SBC. Though he says he's never met me, he opines on what he feels are my views of the SBC. He writes that I have “a deep-seated animosity toward anything SBC."  He further surmises that my "agenda and that of CBF’ers" is to destroy the SBC. I just have to scratch my head in wonderment when I come across someone who feels they have the ability to speak for someone they have never met. It's a little like being a food critic without first tasting the food you criticize.

I would like to help Matt2239 and a handful of others get to know me a little better. First, my family is pictured above. I've been married to Rachelle for 27 years, and we have four great kids. Charis (23) is getting her real estate license in Florida after graduating with a business degree, Kade (21) is in the Business School of the University of Oklahoma, Boe (20) is in college at Northern Oklahoma and interning with Oklahoma's next Lieutenant Governor, and Logan (16) is going to be a junior at Oklahoma Bible Academy.

I pastor a Southern Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma that gives hundreds of thousands of dollars to mission work every year, including our support of the Southern Baptist Convention's Cooperative Program. We have twelve International Mission Board missionary units who are members of our church, with two more IMB missionaries in Russia joining this past Sunday and another two soon to join our church. We self-support two massive mission efforts in Niger, Africa and Bangalore, India, including hospitals, schools, orphanages, and water well drilling. Our church is about to launch a mission to West Africans who live in Harlem, just north of Central Park. This year our church will be directly ministering in Guatamela and Poland, as well as our continuing work in the aforementioned countries. Our church is situated in a town in northwestern Oklahoma that has just 50,000 residents, and a little under ten percent of the city's population is affiliated with our church in either membership, attendance or ministry.

I have been pastor of Emmanuel for over eighteen years. We continue to make the transition from seeing church as being three worship services on Sunday morning to worship, ministry, missions and small groups every day of the week. Our theme this year is "Together in the Journey" and our goal is to ensure that nobody who is touched by the ministries of Emmanuel feels isolated or alone in their walk of faith. We are not a perfect church, nor do we claim to be perfect. We value people, truth, freedom, worship and missions. The corporate worship involves various styles of music, but the teaching is expositional in nature. We have been privileged to see over five hundred people baptized upon their profession of faith in Christ over the past five years. These numbers are meaningless except for the fact each number represents a person with an incredible testimony of God's grace and it helps dispell any notion we are not "evangelistic" because we hold to the doctrines of grace.

Our church believes that half the priesthood is comprised of women, and we do everything in our power to ensure that females who have been touched by God's grace are used according to the gifts they have received. We emphasize unity in the body of Christ that extends  far beyond the walls of our church, and believe that Christians accomplish more together than we do divided. We do not mind cooperating with other churches and Christians in missions and evangelism, even though we may not agree on every doctrinal point with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We believe in the supremacy and exclusivity of Christ and feel we must show Christ's love to others, even our enemies. We will not hesitate to address issues, but we try very hard to never make any issue personal. We love those who disagree with us, and we encourage freedom for all to disagree, even with church leadership.

We are Christians who have chosen to affiliate with Southern Baptists. We affiliate with Southern Baptists because of the world-wide mission work that our Convention participates in. My forefathers were Southern Baptists in Texas in the mid-1800's, and I am a third generation Southern Baptist preacher (my maternal grandfather, my father, myself). I, and the people of Emmanuel,  are Southern Baptist by choice and involvement. Contrary to Matt2239's assertion, my goal is not to destroy the SBC. My goal is to save the SBC from falling into the trap of superficial religiousity. Before there was a Cooperative Program, there was Christ and His church. Before there was the Southern Baptist Convention, there was Christ and His church. Christ and His church supercedes everything about who we are as a Convention. Yet, we love the Southern Baptist Convention, and participate in her mission work.

I freely acknowledge that some of my writing has been critical of the SBC and the silly, unbiblical decisions we have made in the past (i.e. "boycotting Disney," "restricting missionary appointments over tetiary doctrinal issues," "the tight, political control of all boards and agencies by a few leaders," etc...), but my criticisms come from within the Southern Baptist Convention--not outside the SBC. One of these days Matt2239 and others like him will realize that internal critics keep an organization as large as ours humble, pliable, and missional. Were we only surrounded by people who always patted the SBC on the back, we would get complacent, lazy, and possibly even incompetent.

It's the friends who criticize you in love that you remember. Too many make the tragic mistake of thinking (or saying) that if someone is ever critical of the SBC, he ought to leave. Not at all. He's the one displaying real love. Even worse, some like Matt2239, who disagree with the criticism,  will try negate what is being said by attempting to make others think the critic is not even a part of the SBC. Attempts to do such things only ultimately reveal the lack of knowledge in the one who feels free to opine on a person he's never met.

On my way to speak to our kids at Youth Camp at Falls Creek.

Blessings to all,

Wade

148 comments:

Thy Peace said...

You can read all the sad and pathetic comments here.

My guess is this is the payback for questioning Ergun Caner.

Timothy Snider said...

Wade and EBC: May your tribe increase.
Tim Snider

Anonymous said...

I have always thought of you as a good Southern Baptist but I do wonder why anyone with your gifts, talents, and callings have stayed in the SBC. Its not a place known for creative thinkers. You would make a great non-denominational pastor and would be free of the baggage.

Lydia said...

Interesting reading.

I especially got a kick out of Miller's description of having one conversation with Corbelay and coming away upset that he believed your version of dealing with Corbelay...wasn't he the man who refused to eat with you?

Reminded me of Trudl Jung. She was one of Hitler's secretary's. When interviewed long after the War, she described a sweet, generous and patient man who was a great boss.

So experiences with people do have a "perspective" depending on where one sits.

James Hunt said...

Wade,

You're such a rabble rouser. :)

I appreciate the fact that you continue to provide a bright light upon things needing to be looked at more closely in the SBC.

James

Lewis said...

I've always believed that when you start attracting opposition, particularly opposition that's rooted in superficiality and tradition, you must be doing something right.

Keep doing what you're doing.

Anonymous said...

reading the blog that thy peace provided makes me nauseated and sad. but, truthfully, i think this is the same spirit of the leaders we have in the sbc now. sad, just sad. the overt disrespect of women and with anyone who disagrees with them is blatant. what in the world happened??

David Means said...

You could always leave the SBC (if I were you, I would seriously consider it). If you find a good Mission effort, then send your money there instead. Or just ask people in our congregation: could you send someone from your congregation or area to the field? Divert your monies to them instead of the SBC.

Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
debbiekaufman said...

Wade I'm glad you wrote this.

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic:

CRBC Pastoral Blog [Tom Chantry] > Encountering Charles Finney.

CRBC Pastoral Blog [Tom Chantry] > Charles Finney’s Stepchildren.

CRBC Pastoral Blog [Tom Chantry] > …and Finney begat Caner….

chadwick said...

Wade:

Why do you let an anonymous commenter on ANOTHER blog ruffle your feathers? I would not waste my keyboard strike energy to respond to such a comment.

Cordially,
--chadwick

Anonymous said...

Please DO NOT do what David Means has suggested. Even with so many "unfortunate" decisions by those NOT on the field, the missionaries on the field desire and NEED your support.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Gene S says . . .

We continue to make the transition from seeing church as being three worship services on Sunday morning to worship, ministry, missions and small groups every day of the week.

Wade, I like your concept here--"small groups every day of the week."

In this day and age a gigantic church building unoccupied except on Sunday is nothing more than an idol proving what man can build.

If small groups are going with a knowledge of Christ---something is going to happen!!!

(sorry I'm having trouble with the Google Account setting)

Anonymous said...

"Why do you let an anonymous commenter on ANOTHER blog ruffle your feathers? I would not waste my keyboard strike energy to respond to such a comment.
"

Chadwick wants us to believe he would ignore such things. Yhat he is above it. Yeah, right.

The question for Chadwick is why the bloghosts encouraged the attacks and making fun of Wade over there. Not one voice of love over there from the bloghosts?

Those are SBC pastors. Nice guys. Real Christian men. They are gonna teach me, what?



.

Anonymous said...

David Means (apt last name btw), your attitude is one of the problems now. "if you don't like it leave." I love the SBC just have a problem with actions/attitudes you represent. nope, i'll keep loving the "means" and pray for change while doing my part.

Wade Burleson said...

Chadwick,

When anonymous people make false public statements you don't ignore it, you simply respond with facts. Get's em every time.

:)

Lydia said...

From SBC Voices, Dave Miller, the author of the post:

"The meanness on the comment stream of that blog is amazing. Lydia compared Jerry Corbaley to Hitler! I was Hitler’s secretary or something – but I don’t look good in a dress."

Dave has reading comprehension challenges. I did not compare him to Hitler or his secretary. I used an example to show how our perspective of a person can be different depending on where one sits in relation to that person.

Dave made a comment that he had ONE conversation with Corbelay that negated Wade's experience with the same person.

Wade disagreed with Corbelay in an official capacity. Dave met him in a social situation at the convention.

Sigh. It is like talking to 10 year olds.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Nice story on your family. There's still one thing missing. Could you share in your personal opinion what you believe it takes for a person to go to Heaven and also give us a brief testimony of your conversion experience? Thanks.

Pastor Michael

Stan said...

Greetings all, in addition to those M's who are members of Emmanuel in the body, there are also those of us who are thankful for the streaming video of the worship services we are able to view while we are out in the field. Blessings and "always reading, praying and rarely commenting". Stan Stepleton

Wade Burleson said...

Pastor Michael,

If you do not know the answers to your questions you should not be pastoring. If you think I need to prove I know the answers to your questions you should not be commenting.

Wade Burleson said...

Lydia,

David Miller has a habit of putting words in someone elses mouth.

James Hunt said...

Pastor Michael,

Way to flush out the truth about Wade. He doesn't know what it takes for a person to have a right relationship with God. As a matter of fact he is leaning toward becoming a Mormon.

(sarcasm alert!)

Geesh! It's amazing that as long as Wade's been blogging and with the vast amount of in-depth articles he's written that someone would think that Wade needs to be flushed out regarding his personal testimony and belief regarding the way to a right relationship with God. To me that's just laziness on the part of the questioner. Read, brother! There's lots of material that is readily available and on this blog that will answer your questions of what Wade believes regarding salvation as well as his own standing before God.

Amazing!

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thy Peace said...

Pastor Michael:

Your questions are like asking Pastor Wade if he breathes air or methane? Or if he drinks water or oil?

I earlier encouraged you listen to at least one of Pastor Wade's sermons.

I do not know the intent of your heart in asking these questions, but these are easily answered by spending time with Wade. As in reading a ton of his blog posts or even listening to any of his sermons.

Scott said...

Well, hold on one minute.

You people have to remember something. There are hundreds of posts to wade through on this blog.

Pastor Michael may simply be asking an honest question.

Or not.

Let's aim to give the benefit of the doubt before we start going off on each other.

Chris Ryan said...

Joe,

I asked you about this before (actually, just about the time you swore you wouldn't be commenting on this site anymore), but do you know that Carter has a fundamental misunderstanding of the Gospel or could Carter have a fundamental misunderstanding of Mormon theology? You responded to me that you did not know for sure which was the cases.

Have you now found conclusive evidence for one or the other? Or is it easier to believe one over the other (and thus proclaim one over the other) because it is then easier to make Wade look bad?

James Hunt said...

Scott,

With all due respect, I think Pastor Michael is doing a drive by shot at Wade. I also think P.M. is demonstrating his laziness by his lack of willingness to do the research on his own with available documents already provided on this blog. Pick a post...they're all titled. If Wade has not already provided plenty of written evidence that he knows the way to salvation and the Savior then my name is Pastor Michael.

James

James Hunt said...

Joe Blackmon,

The Shack was a book full of abherrant theology and Wade's hosting of the author was done in poor judgment in my probably not-so-humble opinion. Additionally, Jimmy Carter's statement was ill informed at best.

But Joe...you seem really angry. Your questioning of Wade's salvation and his theology of salvation as if he's hiding something is downright lazy and silly. Read some posts, brother. Info is there.

Thy Peace said...

Folks, please get over it.

President Jimmy Carter is a born again Christian. He may not understand Mormon theology. But you will find President Jimmy Carter in heaven one day. For he is a Christian.

Jon L. Estes said...

"If you do not know the answers to your questions you should not be pastoring. If you think I need to prove I know the answers to your questions you should not be commenting."

Translated... Are you questioning my salvation? How dare you! there are lost people you need to asking that question too, not me. I have nothing to prove to anyone who would ask about how to get to heaven,pastor or not.

Wade, you missed a grand opportunity to present the gospel. Maybe that is something you see as unnecessary but I see it as a missed opportunity.

I had a church member leave the church when I asked her that same question. She said, how dare you? I've always wondered why a believer would not be more than glad to respond to such a question.

Then again, maybe you know better and the question asker should not be pastoring. I'm sure that's what the woman who left the church though of me.

Romans 1:16
1 Peter 3:15

But then that's me, a pastor who asks the same question to many people, in and out of church. Maybe the GC thing is something for another generation of church leaders?

Jon L. Estes said...

James Hunt,

You are probably right concerning the mountains of things shown concerning Wade but the issue is Pastor Michael may not see it and wants to make sure. Can you fault him for that? would remaining silent be the better thing to do because you read Wade differently? I don't question Wade's Christianity but Michael seems to differ from us. Why avoid the question and call Michaels heart into question?

1 Peter 3:15

Anonymous said...

Actually, I would love to read Wade's answers to those questions (again). His theology is so right on, it pleases me everytime I read it.

Anonymous said...

I wondered about the blogging name
'Matt2239'. It looked like a license plate number that referenced a verse of Scripture, so I looked St.Matthew 22:39 up.

After reading it, I realized I was wrong. There doesn't appear to be any connection in meaning to that verse and to the writings of
Matt2239.

Christiane

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thy Peace said...

Joe, when you get to heaven ... How will you get along with Wade, Debbie, Jimmy Carter and William Paul Young in heaven?

They will ALL be there in heaven with you.

Anonymous said...

And how will all of you get along with Joe?

TheWayofCain said...

"Our church is situated in a town in northeastern Oklahoma that has just 50,000 residents"

Oops, Enid is in Northwestern Oklahoma.

Pastor Michael, you might find some answers here:

SeeRomans

TheWayofCain said...

Link didn't work, try here:

http://www.emmanuelenid.org/oldwebindex.htm

Thy Peace said...

And how will all of you get along with Joe?

The way we are doing now :-) We love him.

Link Correction:

Emmanuel Enid > Sermons > Series on Romans: The integrity of God.

Scott said...

The Shack does have some questionable theology if it's taught as theology. I read it at my wife's request and found it to be an interesting work of fiction with overt Christian thematic elements.

Now, my wife and I both agree that this ought not be the basis of theology, but it is a story which I feel could be uplifting and beneficial to someone who is hurting.

Then again, how many secular books are out there that we do base our theology or what we define as biblical practices on?

I have no problem with The Shack being in the fiction section of LifeWay bookstores. There's far more worse stuff there that's in the Christian Living and Theology sections that don't get paid attention too because they've never hit the bestseller list.

Scott said...

James Hunt,

No worries. I'm just going to try and believe that Pastor Michael is asking an open and legitimate question.

I also am open to the fact that I could be wrong.

Scott said...

Joe Blackmon,

Why even come here and post?

I don't like my cousin. Therefore, I don't go over to his house. I spend one day at Christmas with him and his family because I like his father, my uncle. I don't call him. I don't write him. I haven't even friended him on facebook.

Why?

Because we don't get along and I don't like to really spend time with him.

Maybe that ought to apply here too.

Anonymous said...

"The way we are doing now :-) We love him."

Yeah, I can see that.

Chris Ryan said...

Joe,

Then, please, explain to me why you are comfortable being so incredibly dogmatic in your statements regarding former President Carter!! If you don't know that he may be misunderstanding Mormonism then you cannot know that His understanding of the gospel is flawed. Therefore, you cannot say with absolute certainty that Carter is not a Christian.

Now, *you* may arrive at that conclusion by any number of his other theological beliefs (seeing as you tend to be very restrictive in your idea of what ideology qualifies one to be a "true" Christian), but you do not have the evidence to back up your claims on THIS issue.

Please, find facts or stop pressing the issue. Right now, you appear to be putting the cart before the horse, or assuming guilt until proven innocent, or any number of other metaphors/idioms that all mean roughly the same thing. I may disagree with your conclusions a lot of the time, but at least you generally have genuine reasons for drawing your conclusions. You are better than this.

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Hunt said...

Joe,

The Gospel is:

The eternal second person of the Trinity became flesh, was born of a virgin and lived a life of complete obedience to His Father's will. His righteousness is applied to each person who by faith trusts in His substitutionary death on the cross where Jesus became sin for His elect so that the Father's wrath would be fully absorbed by Christ for the elect. Jesus bodily rose from the dead and because He is alive I live. My life is hidden with Christ in God. Jesus ascended to heaven where He enjoys the glory His Father has granted Him. One day Jesus will return to judge the world and demonstrate the glory of the Father's wrath upon the wicked while showing the glory of His Father's mercy upon the elect.

All glory to God for the Gospel by which all who personally confess Jesus as Lord believing that God raised Him from the dead are saved.

Jesus Is Lord!

No one is saved apart from personal faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ on their behalf.

Here I stand...here Wade stands (if I may be so bold).

Bless you, brother. Please give it up regarding Wade. The man is your brother in Christ.

Thy Peace said...

When Men Begin to Make Monkeys of Themselves.
As one who believes, unlike Lady Darwin, in a literal six-day Creation, let me add my agreement to her statement. When religious fundamentalists, no matter their beliefs, act as if they must defend the truth, to the point of destroying anyone who disagrees, then we are making monkeys of ourselves. Truth needs no defense. It simply needs to be loosed. And, if the enemy of truth tries to keep it caged, the God of all truth holds the lock.

Full Disclosure and Christian Integrity in the SBC.
We Southern Baptists sometimes act as if truth needs a tight, vigorous defense; but like Spurgeon, I believe truth is like a lion and simply needs to be loosed, not defended. We Southern Baptists need to be humble enough to realize that the more we try to control the presentation of "the lion of truth" to others the more we might need to take a look at whether or not we've simply caged our personal system of beliefs and appointed guardians with instructions to protect her; all the while fearful other Christians might actually ask us to open the cage and prove we really have a lion.

Anonymous said...

"Here I stand...here Wade stands (if I may be so bold)."

Why are people so eager to answer for Wade?

Anonymous said...

"I am the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by me."

Not worth defending?

What exactly are we WITNESSES of? Don't WITNESSES testify to the TRUTH?

Just some honest questions for each of us to answer for ourselves.

Lydia said...

Thy Peace,

Mormons believe that Jesus Christ and Satan are brothers. (That is over simplifying it a bit). Also that Joe Smith was a prophet who found some tablets buried in upstate NY that an angel named Moroni affirmed from "god".

If someone can believe that and be considered a follower of Christ with the indwelling Holy Spirit then what is the point of the Cross?


All roads do NOT lead to Jesus Christ. He is exclusive. He was God in the Flesh. Not Satan's brother. (I get terrified even writing that!) And it is only through a narrow gate to Him.

So, does Carter know the Gospel or not? Does he realize that a Mormon cannot be a "Christian"? Obviously not.

He made the comment that Mormons ARE Christians not once, but several times in different venues.

Let us be careful. I know we want to love people but let us not do it at the expense of mocking Jesus Christ and His Sacrifice and Resurrection.

Anonymous said...

"We Southern Baptists sometimes act as if truth needs a tight, vigorous defense; but like Spurgeon, I believe truth is like a lion and simply needs to be loosed, not defended."

Does this apply to Caner?

Dave Miller said...

I blog because I like hearty discussion of biblical and ecclesiological topics. What I hate most about blogging is the inevitable conflict and the bandying about of accusations. It seems here that things I have written (or comments on posts I have written, made by others) have offended Wade and his loyal supporters.

I apologize for anything I wrote which came across as a personal attack. I do not like being personally attacked and I do not desire to do so in what I write. I am responsible to shape my words as carefully as I can to give as little offense as I am able, while still making my point.

I cannot apologize for disagreeing with Wade, nor for advocating for positions contrary to those he asserts. Any time you put a put a position out there, you invite people to discuss, disagree and debate.

I think that Debbie Kaufman would admit that while our engagements on blogs have usually been contrarian, she and I have discussed issues in a lively, but positive way. When she was attacked personally at Voices, I spoke to confront those who attacked her, though I did not delete any comments (my reasons for that choice are in the comment stream).

I have tried to debate Wade’s ideas and his positions. That was my intent. I think Wade is wrong about many things (as he thinks I am). I will continue to advocate my beliefs and convictions, even when they differ from his.

However, I will try to be more careful in my wording, when I confront Wade’s ideas, that I am directing my words against his views and not his character. I would ask that some on this blog make a greater effort to distinguish between disagreeing with Wade and attacking Wade.

Again, I will do what I can to confront ideas, not people. I will apologize in advance for when I fail. It is a process.

Big Daddy Weave said...

For what it's worth, I think "Pastor Michael" might have been trying to make a funny. I'm not sure. Maybe not.

Al Mohler preached a sermon at the Pastor's Conference this year about unregenerate ministers. Mohler was echoing Gilbert Tennet and the New Side Controversy from mid 1730s.

Basically, Mohler argued that there are unregenerate ministers in Christian churches including Southern Baptist churches. He argued that ministers of the Gospel should not be offended by someone asking for a personal testimony of a conversion experience. In fact, it sounded like Mohler was calling on Southern Baptist pastors to ask their fellow pastors if they are indeed regenerate because of the "Dangers of an Unconverted Ministry" to quote Tennent.

When I first saw Pastor Michael's drive-by, I immediately thought that maybe he too had heard Mohler's odd sermon.

Anonymous said...

Wade, has anyone told you that you could put on a wig and pass for Charis?

Just thought I'd post something light...

Scott said...

Dave,

I've enjoyed our discussion about possibilities concerning satellite conventions, online voting, and other things over at Voices.

I look forward to more exchanges about that because my heart breaks when I see churches in my community shun technology or don't embrace it enough to show it's benefit. Churches want to incorporate computers, networks, programs, videography, IMag, sound editing, lighting, set design, and many other things to change or, for lack of a better expression, spice up a function or even a worship service for something different yet they have no idea how much time, effort, support, and money it takes to do these things and do these things with the quality and excellence that one would want to give when doing something they feel that the Lord has called them to do.

Yes, technology can be expensive. However, technology can also open doors to improving and enhancing all the ministries of a church rather than just being the media ministry of a church. However, in North Louisiana, that's not a prevalent way of thinking.

Dave,

I hope we can chat more in the future.

Sincerely,

Scott

Wade Burleson said...

To all:

Thy Peace can speak for me whenever he wishes. He has not only earned that right, he does it quite well.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I get it now...

Talk to the hand. :-)

But why stop there?

Anonymous said...

QUOTE Joe, when you get to heaven ... How will you get along with Wade, Debbie, Jimmy Carter and William Paul Young in heaven?

They will ALL be there in heaven with you. END QUOTE

Yea! But God will deliver them from their moderate tendencies :)

Anonymous said...

"The fact of the matter is, Wade is a coward and won't defend the truth."

If Wade is such a coward, why did he stand up for all those missionaries who spoke in tongues, and stand up for Dr. Klouda when she was persecuted and her family made to suffer, and stand up for the truth about Caner?

Coward?

Hmmmm . . . no, Joe.
It's not going to work for someone like Wade. You will have to find another target for your venom on this one. 'Coward' doesn't fit Wade, you know.

I think you're jealous of Wade's courage. It's the one thing you don't understand in this world, Joe. That standing up for people in trouble just possibly might be a Christian action.

And that kissing up and kicking down is not. (All your heroes kick down, don't they?)

You just don't get it,
do you, Joe?

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

Do Mormon people have love one for another?

Did Jimmy Carter have love for people who needed shelter, and did he not organize many to come together and build homes for the homeless?

From the Gospel of St. John 13, this:

"35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’ "

JOE, it doesn't say
'by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have the 'correct' doctrine.'

JOE, it doesn't say
' by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you agree totally with Joe Blackmon'

It says what it says, JOE:
The 'mark' of a disciple is what CHRIST THE LORD says it is. Nothing more, nothing less.

Keep your focus always on Christ, Joe. You keep wandering a bit
from time to time. We all do.

Love, L's

Anonymous said...

If you do not know the answers to your questions you should not be pastoring. If you think I need to prove I know the answers to your questions you should not be commenting.

Wade and anyone else,

I promise you this was not a joke at all. I was asking a simple question and expected a simple answer. I have yet to receive it. But wait, Wade, what your saying is that if I don't know your testimony I shouldn't be pastoring? I'm not sure I understand that one. I didn't ask you one time to prove anything nor have I taken a disrespectful tone in my comments toward you--nor would I. When someone asks me those questions I can't wait to tell them how God raised me up out of the gutter, saved me by His wonderful grace and for some reason made me a Gospel preacher! I only asked because I didn't see it in your bio--which is no big deal, I had just never heard it, that's all. Brother, if you don't feel comfortable sharing it with me then don't. If you are offended with my questions, I certainly apologize.

Pastor Michael

Anonymous said...

If anyone is demonstrating grace here, it's pastor Michael.

Michael said...

Let's see, Joe's bible says, " By grace you have been saved through faith and must have correct theology about other cults." It also says, " But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, and to those who believe that Mormons are not Christians." It also says, "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and your theology is right on the mark concerning all other religions and cults, especially the cult, Mormonism, you will be saved."

Joe's logic...it's just not happening for him.

debbiekaufman said...

If anyone is demonstrating grace here it's Pastor Michael?

I'm sorry but I have to disagree. Reread his comments. I would have walked away silently if approached in such a manner.

debbiekaufman said...

Joe: You mean like the guts it takes to attempt to post 20 comments that no person who names the name of Christ and be serious would dare post in one day to my blog under various versions of my name? That kind of guts? :)

Anonymous said...

Gene S said . . .

This started as a simple statement by Wade with a nice picture of his family.

In the last day or so the swords and hatred are coming out far too much.

Why don't we go on and quit showing that "The higher the monkey climbs the tree---the more you see his tail."

In blog land, don't you know the world can look in at any time.

What are they seeing????

Sorry, I'm having trouble still getting my Google Account to work.

Anonymous said...

"If anyone is demonstrating grace here it's Pastor Michael?

I'm sorry but I have to disagree. Reread his comments. I would have walked away silently if approached in such a manner."

Wow.

His simple questions have been stated with politeness and tact, yet in this blog, such words offend. Now I know why there is such tension around here.

Anonymous said...

Let's see, Joe's bible says, " By grace you have been saved through faith and must have correct theology about other cults." It also says, " But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, and to those who believe that Mormons are not Christians." It also says, "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and your theology is right on the mark concerning all other religions and cults, especially the cult, Mormonism, you will be saved."

Talk about a straw man! "You will know the TRUTH and the TRUTH will set you free" is what Jesus said, and the gospel is the TRUTH. This has been all about the gospel, not some side issue. If anyone believes Mormons are Christians they clearly don't know the gospel, the Truth. How can anyone who thinks they know the Bible say otherwise? Is the gospel a mere "doctrine" now? What's left of it that many here would stand and defend? From what I've seen, precious little. If you can't tell the gospel from "other religions and cults", then why bother with any of this? And what exactly are YOU defending, such that anyone who isn't like you is to be vilified?

Now I know why nobody will say clearly what the gospel is: they honestly don't know.

foxofbama said...

I invite the Burleson family to take a strong look at the four essays spotlighted this morning on the Southern Baptist Convention at www.ethicsdaily.com and keep an eye on how the discussion evolves not only at this blog but also at sbcvoices.com and baptistlife.com.
Strong discussions going on at bl.com where Wade sometimes participates on future of both SBC and CBF.

John Fariss said...

Mornin' Joe,

I have a big surprize for you: I agree with you (at least up to a point).

I agree that as a body, or a denomination, or whatever, the Mormon "church" is not Christian, and for the exact reasons you state: that their Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible, i.e., their theology is way off.

However, whether Mormonism is a Christian faith and whether an individual Mormon may be a Christian are two entirely different questions. Why? Because whether or not an individual is a Christian is determined by whether or not that individual has a saving relationship with Christ Jesus. When I became a Christian, most of what I knew was, at best, "pop theology." I didn't know enough of the real stuff to fill a thimble, but still Jesus came into my life. I am not at all sure the argument that Mormons cannot be Christians because Mormonism identifies a false Jesus always enters into the question of salvation because Mormon practice is to not inform "converts" much if any about their theology (other than generic stuff everyone from Penmtacostals to Baptists to Catholics would agree with) until they are firmly part of the movement. In fact, some elements of their theology are not available to members until they have been part of the group for literally years. Consequently, while this would have a direct bearing on spiritual growth and discipleship, it would have less--perhaps much less--on the issue of salvation.

To all,

No, Wade didn't give his testimony to Pastor Michael. Most of us here respond to entries based on one of two ways, either based on the content of the entry and/or our prior knowledge of how the person making the comment generally interacts. For instance, I expect Joe to define Christianity rather narrowly, and to condemn (somewhat) those with any viewpoint other than his own. I expect Christine to speak softly and be able to show grace and love even toward those who attack her Catholicism. Maybe Wade or some of you are familiar with "Pastor Michael," but I did not, so I had no idea where he might be coming from. He question was "out of the blue" so to speak, with little or no preface; and when you combine that with Dr. Mohler's apparently recent sermon on the subject, it did rather sound like he was setting himself up to judge Wade. And one thing I have learned through these blogs is that you don't have to go to every knife fight you're invited to.

Pastor Michael,

Based on a subsequent comment, it appears that I was wrong about the reasons/nature of your question to Wade. And for that, I appologize to you for what I assumed you were getting towards.

John

Anonymous said...

"However, whether Mormonism is a Christian faith and whether an individual Mormon may be a Christian are two entirely different questions"

I disagree, and here's why.

One cannot, for example, keep Buddha or Mohammad or Krishna and still have Jesus. One does not simply add Jesus to their existing package.

Jesus is "a jealous God", a God who "will not share his glory with another". Jesus must replace all other gods, all other so-called prophets, all teachings that clash with the Holy Spirit. Allah, Krishna, Moroni, Buddha--- these are false teachers and fake gods. To keep such gods and just add Jesus is to deny Jesus. If Paul ranted and raved about stepping one toe back under the Mosaic law, what would he say about joining hands with Mormonism?

I can't believe Baptists don't know these things.

Paul Burleson said...

John,

I think your comment is insightful on several levels. I've met folks who were saved IN SPITE of what their particular religious organization/denomination believed/taught because, somehow, they had been under the message the gospel personally.

I have also found some folks whose organization/denomination teaches the gospel clearly and yet, for whatever reason, they leave room to question whether they personally have a clue as to the real gospel. [Who knows rhe REAL condition of another's heart. I would have thought Lot was lost but Peter cleared that up for me.]

I also was reminded by your comment of when someone would greet me at the back door of the place where I had preached that morning and said something like.."Bro Paul, good message. But you left out...." and then was able to present their particular bone to pick with me.

Whether the one who commented earlier here was doing that, I now doubt, if his later comment is to be taken at face value. But I had my old familiar thoughts from fifty years of experience as I read the first comment. My bad.

Finally, you give me an example of dialogue that can be had between people who disagree if we're willing to address one another respectfully. Thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

2 Corinthians 6:14
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Joining Christ to the teachings of demons is probably the most disgusting thing anyone claiming to follow him could do.

Paul Burleson said...

Final thought. I have also found that most of those who responded to the true gospel in spite of their groups belief system, eventually left that group to fellowship with believers.

I know one or two who tried to stay as missionaries, so to speak, but it has been tough on them and I'm not sure I would recommend that without a sure-fire sense call of God to do so. Even then I'd get with other people often.

Anonymous said...

Those who are truly saved out of false religions can certainly witness to their friends and relatives who are still in it. But witness to what, that's the question. One can't pretend to still be in the other religion, or hide the fact that they have left it. A true believer cannot participate in any religious activity in honor of a false god or teaching. And if they can't still practice the former religion, they are no longer a part of it. So calling someone both Mormon and Christian denies the need for a clean break, or is ignorant about what Mormonism teaches. Here's the whole quote of that passage from 2 Cor. 6:

14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
"I will live with them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people."
17 Therefore,
"Come out from them
and be separate,
says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you."

18 And,
"I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."

Wade Burleson said...

Pastor Michael,

I do apologize for misreading your intent. You say your questions are sincere and not an anonymous drive by. I accept your explanation. Here is my testimony.

God has loved me from eternity.

Christ redeemed me at Calvary.

The Spirit is changing me effectually.

Blessings,

Wade

Michael said...

Anonymous,

I agree with you that a Christian ought to know the TRUTH of the gospel and what is NOT the gospel, like Mormonism. I also appreciate your boldness and Joe's boldness to tell it like it is.

Let's get real though, I've never met a pastor who knew all the Truth and when you look at the SBC and some of the doctrine they want to force down the throats of their members, it's clear they're wrong on many issues. Their error doesn't send THEM to hell.

Some Pentecostals used to believe that you had to speak in tongues to be saved, claiming that it was the evidence that one had the Holy Spirit. Their error about that did not condemn them all to hell. They were just wrong.

I understand, like you do, that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ. But, to my point in my earlier post, scripture doesn't demand we make a judgement about others who are in error, in order for us to be saved. Goodness, just read the New Testament. It's obvious that much of it was written to Christians, straightening out false teaching that some were believing. That didn't make them non-believers. Just think about the yoke the Jewish believers wanted to place on Gentile believers, telling them they needed to be circumsized to be saved.

So to say that Jimmy Carter is going to hell because he wrongly believes that Mormons are Christians...well, that's just ridiculous. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

Michael,

We're not talking about knowing all truth but the one Truth that is essential for salvation, and since few seem able or willing to spell it out, here's my definition of essential saving faith:

1. Believe that Jesus is God in the flesh, who died for our sins, rose again, and returned to heaven, where he prepares a place for us and will thus return

2. Since as James said "even the demons believe" these facts, there is another essential component: to want to be reconciled to God, on God's exclusive terms, and worship him alone

If you have only #1 you will believe that even Mormons can be saved, and other beliefs can be added to faith in Jesus. This by itself is all the farther many Christians' faith seems to go. But how would you answer #2? If even Satan believes the facts about Jesus, and he does, why isn't he saved as well? The answer is crucial.

God has told us in no uncertain terms what he requires for anyone to get to heaven, and it doesn't stop with a simple "I believe in Jesus". It includes "forsaking all others" and giving all glory only to God. If anyone does not have both #1 and #2, how can they be saved? Not according to scripture. Any pastor who doesn't know THIS ESSENTIAL TRUTH of the gospel is no pastor at all, and not even saved. And any pastor who is so weak on the gospel as to not know what's wrong with Mormonism is the blind leading the blind, because they don't know the gospel themselves. Mormons believe in millions of gods, who were once men (males), who will spend eternity birthing children and running worlds of their own. Carter doesn't know this??

This isn't asking a lot. This isn't requiring people to read and memorize and agree to somebody's systematic theology or book on cults. This isn't about drinking alcohol or dancing or speaking in tongues. This isn't about bylaws or conventions or resurgances or political views. This is about "what must I do to be saved", and that means having the right and only Savior and no others. It's very plain and simple, something a child can grasp.

Get over it yourself, Michael.

John Fariss said...

Anony at 10:24,

In disagreeing with my conclusions, you said, "One cannot, for example, keep Buddha or Mohammad or Krishna and still have Jesus. One does not simply add Jesus to their existing package." Actually I agree with that. So (I think) would the Mormons. But that is not my point. My point is that when one asks Jesus to be savior, the person's understanding of Him may be inadequate, it may be contain error, or the one urging them to surrender to Jesus may have theological error (ranging from minor to heretical), or not even have a saving relationship themself. But if the person professing Jesus truely repents of their sin and asks sincerely, does Jesus not become their savior--even if they subsequently embrace error? My suspecion is that they do, or at least that it is possible; and ultimately, the question of their salvation is above my pay grade.

John

Christiane said...

Hi WADE

Perhaps the Spirit Who changes you has led you to give your beautiful testimony on this particular day?
Your testimony is meaningful in its focus totally on the Holy One.

Why 'today' of all days, does the timing of your words resonate with me?
Well, this is the time of the Solstice (the turning of the year when light begins to 'decrease' in our northern hemisphere.)
And on this day, from time immemorial, the Church has celebrated the birth of John the Baptist, who said of himself this:

"30 'He must increase, but I must decrease.’"
(John 3)

The 'symbolism' for us has meaning, but the 'reality' of focusing on God in a testimony, as you have done, and saying that you are being 'effectually changed' by the Holy Spirit speaks to the mystery that, as we die to self, we come alive in Christ. To be 'changed in this way is to ask that He may increase His Presence in our being, as we are diminished to 'self'.

BTW, six months from now, we celebrate at the winter solstice, the Birth of Our Lord,
at the time of the turning of the year . . .

when the Light begins to increase in our world.

Meaningful?
Oh yeah.

Thanks for sharing your testimony (and for doing it on this very special day of my faith, though you did not know its significance).
In your timing, you have magnified for me the truth of your words.

Be peaceful.
L's

Anonymous said...

"My point is that when one asks Jesus to be savior, the person's understanding of Him may be inadequate, it may be contain error, or the one urging them to surrender to Jesus may have theological error (ranging from minor to heretical), or not even have a saving relationship themself. "

Then you're arguing that having a parial gospel is going to save someone, but it won't. A half-truth can't save anyone. "Ask Jesus to be your savior" can mean just about anything; it's too vague and will not save anyone.

"But if the person professing Jesus truely repents of their sin and asks sincerely, does Jesus not become their savior--even if they subsequently embrace error? "

No. Sincerity is not the gospel. Sincerity is possible in any religion. Think about this: even the Jews, who already believed in the one true God and forsook all others, had to have Jesus to be saved. Exactly what were they to repent of? Stealing, lying, other things they already knew were wrong? No, the repentance was to change their minds about Jesus, to turn to him as Messiah. But when you tell someone today to "repent of their sins", you're only telling them to be sorry, nothing more.

"the question of their salvation is above my pay grade."

This is a copout. Questioning salvation is required, or we're not spreading the gospel at all. Claiming final judgment is truly above our pay grade, but using this as an excuse to "not judge" when any surface reading of the new testament tells you you MUST judge between saved and lost is just lazy. Otherwise, how are we to avoid being "unequally yoked", if we can't tell saved from lost?

My jaw is on the floor at what I'm seeing here from pastors.

John Fariss said...

Paul,

Thanks. BTW, I like your statement, "I've met folks who were saved IN SPITE of what their particular religious organization/denomination believed/taught because, somehow, they had been under the message the gospel personally." Hmmm. . . almost as though Isaiah 55:11 is true! ("So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please , and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.")

John

Jon L. Estes said...

Luke 13:3 (KJV)
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Christiane said...

Hi ANONYMOUS,

It's me, Christiane,

You wrote this: "Questioning salvation is required, or we're not spreading the gospel at all. Claiming final judgment is truly above our pay grade, but using this as an excuse to "not judge" when any surface reading of the new testament tells you you MUST judge between saved and lost is just lazy. Otherwise, how are we to avoid being "unequally yoked", if we can't tell saved from lost?"


And St. Luke (Chapt.18) wrote this:
“God, I thank you that I am not like other people . . . "



As for your comment: "My jaw is on the floor at what I'm seeing here from pastors."

Pick your jaw up off the floor, dear one. The Gospel of St. Luke, the physician, will, with all humility, help you to put your offended jaw back where it belongs.

Be peaceful.

Anonymous said...

Romans 10

 1 Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

9 If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

  14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
    16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?" 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Anonymous said...

"Pick your jaw up off the floor, dear one. The Gospel of St. Luke, the physician, will, with all humility, help you to put your offended jaw back where it belongs."

Believe the gospel, dear one, and be saved, for there is salvation in no other name, and God will not share his glory with another. My jaw is not "offended" but aghast at the sight of the blind leading the blind.

I pray God will open many eyes and hearts here.

Christiane said...

For ANONYMOUS:

from The Gospel of St. Luke 18 comes this . . .

"11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector.
12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.”
13 But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”
14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.’ "


I would be cautious about pointing fingers at 'the lost' and telling God and the world that we are 'better than them'.

All you have is Christ. He IS your justification. He IS your Salvation.
You, unto yourself, are not able to judge other sinners.

A prayer that is said by many:
'Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
is more powerful than
'I thank God that I am not like
other people.'

The Only One Who truly was 'not like other people' is the Lord Christ Himself.
We are His creatures, His servants, and we are to be the servants of one another, in all humility, to honor of the One Who never sinned.
Nothing more.

Take another look at the Holy Scriptures. Have you missed something at the very heart of them?
Something from very Gospels themselves?
I think you may have done, anonymous.
Go and read.
And be peaceful.

Paul Burleson said...

Anon,

Sometimes making broad sweeping statements lose the point being made perhaps.

It is true that knowing 'WITH CERTAINTY" is above all of our pay-grade and is no cop out at all IMHO. In fact, it is the consequence of taking seriously Matthew 13:28-30.

On the other hand to attempt to discern whether what is being said or taught is correct according to scripture is to be part and parcel of our regular pay-grade it seems to me.

You said.. "but using this as an excuse to "not judge" when any surface reading of the new testament tells you you MUST judge between saved and lost is just lazy."

I'm assuming you're using the word meaning "discernment" since the english word 'judge' has nine meanings in Greek and can also mean "condemn" and we are told to not do that because we will be condemned in the same fashion as we condemn another.]

I would say it might be wise to hold what you're saying [With the correct meaning of judge] in one hand [metaphorically] and the truth of Matt. 13: 28-30 in the other hand at the same time and go forth challenging error and living life.

That would keep one from coming off thinking/acting as if they know what only God knows for sure and yet allow for examining the fruit of a life [Our own included] so we would/could choose to not be unequally yoked with what appears to us to be unbelievers.

This living out the Christian experience is not exact science [Formulas] after all. It is relationships that can be a bit messy between fallible people like us.

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"This living out the Christian experience is not exact science [Formulas] after all. It is relationships that can be a bit messy between fallible people like us."

We haven't even gotten to how one lives the Christian life yet. First we need to be reborn, and many here cannot say what is required, even though the scriptures are very clear. The one relationship that must be intact before any other relationships matter, is the one between a person and God. That reconciliation cannot happen unless it is on God's terms, which I tried to spell out earlier.

As for making broad judgments, they are flying around from all corners here.

Christiane said...

"That reconciliation cannot happen unless it is on God's terms,
which I tried to spell out earlier."

Try a different way:
All you need to do is to point to Christ . . .
the Holy Spirit will care for the lost, as only the Spirit can 'spell it out' and He has the power to open all hearts to the Word.

Anonymous said...

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?"

Get it?

Anonymous said...

Will the following draw anyone to Our Lord?

Being angry and contemptuous towards people who don't agree with you?
Judging those you consider 'the lost' to hell?
Deciding who is 'Christian' and who is not 'Christian'?

You have to keep the focus on Christ.

As long as you are leaning on your own understanding, you point towards yourself as judge and on your own views.

An angry judgmental self-righteous individual cannot point to Christ.

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"An angry judgmental self-righteous individual cannot point to Christ."

So the apostle Paul was a total failure:

Philippians 3:2
Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh

Galatians 5:12
As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

1 Corinthians 16:22
If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed!

As also was the apostle Peter:

2 Peter 2--
12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.

13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done.Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!

17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for "people are slaves to whatever has mastered them." 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud."

Losers at evangelism, that's Paul and Peter all right.

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

God has loved me from eternity.

Christ redeemed me at Calvary.

The Spirit is changing me effectually.

Wade,

While I agree with these three statements, is this really your testimony? These 3 theological statements would apply to anyone who claims the name of Christ. I believe a lost person would be confused if you were to use this to lead them to Christ. Most of our church members don't know what these statements mean, much less the lost world. I understand if this is too personal to share, I was interested in hearing how you were converted. Thanks, though.

Pastor Michael

Christiane said...

Hi JOE,

How you doin?
Debbie's worried for you, I read on her blog. I am ALWAYS worried for you. :)

I was actually trying to help, not 'blather'. I forgive you the term, Joe, but really, you shouldn't put quoting St. Luke's Gospel in the same category as 'blathering'.

I've been thinking about your hang-ups with Mormons, and Jimmie Carter, and I have decided that you need to get to know some Mormon people.
Yes. Just go out and meet them. And get to know them. Spend some time with them.
You might find some of them to be very close to Our Lord.
There IS NO substitute for actually getting to know people, Joe.
All those 'labels'? Throw 'em out.
Those labels just keep people from meeting each other and getting to know one another for real.
You need to form your opinion of Mormon people based on something more than the old labels.

As for Jimmy Carter, well, why don't you go and work for a while with Habitat for Humanity,
and then reform your opinion of him.
Maybe you could even meet the family that moves into the home you helped to build. God will love you for that kindness to them, Joe.

The 'real' Gospel? You don't just read it, Joe.
You know have to actually LIVE IT, don't you? Of course.

If you like my intervention ideas for making it 'real', I have a whole lot more.
Just ask. :)
Glad to help anytime.
Love, L's

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

Aye cryumba?

Now, Joe. You've got to make an effort.

Wait til you my ideas about meeting Muslim people in your community !

And then I can see you going to meet with a nice group of nuns. They are going to just love you. They love challenges to pray for.
And you would make their day.

Forget the 'aye cryumba'.
Get out there and meet people!
Go for it. You need them. They need you, too, Joe.

Love you dearly,
L's

Thy Peace said...

These following posts are from the label The Gospel:

Do Church People Truly Understand the Gospel?

Which Pastor Is Actually Preaching the Gospel?

The Good News

Brad Pitt and the Guilt Christ Bore for His People

A Parable About An Unrepentant Son (or Sinner)

A Little Humility in the Pulpit Is Needed in the SBC

Has the Gospel's Power Been Lost in the SBC?

That Which Unites Us Is the Gospel of Christ

John Fariss said...

In looking over the various submissions, especially those which are reactions against what Christine, Paul, Micheal, or myself have said, it occurs to me that we have a difference at the presuppositional level. This involves the definition of "truth." Several of you--Joe and maybe a couple of anonymous contributors--seem to be defining truth in a propositional way: to know the truth means to accept certain things as factual. You accept as factual a literalistic understanding of the Bible (for the most part), you accept as factual a 19th and early 20th Century interpretation of the Bible as identical with what its 1st Century (and earlier) authors meant, you accept that in order to be saved, one must accept some list of propositional truth, usually based on "The Fundamentals" or something derived from that. This would then mean that salvation comes by what you know, which (it seems to me) is either a somewhat gnostic approach, or a very deterministic/enlightenment approach. I will not attempt to speak for Paul, Christine, Michael, or anyone else, but I approach "truth," that is "gospel truth" in a more relational way: that salvation comes from "knowing" the person of Jesus Christ in an intimate way, even though I would concede that the Jesus one knows must be the Jesus of the Bible--and yes, that means I wrestle with whether and under what crcumstances a person who believes in the Jesus of the Mormons or the Jehovah's Witnesses can be saved, and who it is they have a relationship with. But that aside: would those of you who have disagreed with my conclusions agree that our differences originate with our different understandings of what truth is and what the Bible means about knowing truth?

John

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

John Fariss,

While the literal/historical hermeneutic is broad-brushed by some as backward and unenlightened, even Gnostic, it is the way anyone can understand words, if words are to have any meaning. And as already pointed out, if we are "witnesses" then we must have some verifiable fact to testify to. "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free" is what Jesus said, and John said "these things are written that you may know…".

If this is outdated, then so is the gospel. And if the words no longer matter, then throw away your Bible.

Call your way "enlightened" and elevate experience and emotion over reason if you want. But you are responsible for what you've heard.

Thy Peace said...

Some more interesting posts of the past year related to this discussion:

The Devilish Origin of Questioning Another Believer's Salvation

Walking Worthy: Graced People Live Gracious Lives

Jesus Fulfilled the Old Testament and Became a New Lawgiver Better than Moses

Graced People Reap What They Have Not Sown; Lost People Reap What They Have Sown

Why It Is Absolutely Unnecessary to Make a Person Feel Conviction of Sin

The Best Theology Is Summed Up in the Words: Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

The Excellency of Gratitude In Comparison to Other Christian Virtues Including Repentance and Prayer

The Atonement in Plain English: God Saves Us

Jimmy Carter: A Genuine Christian Character

The God Who Meets Me at the Place of Shame

I Believe Is Not the Same Thing as I Know

The New Covenant: Christian Living at It's Finest

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia said...

"Believe the gospel, dear one, and be saved, for there is salvation in no other name, and God will not share his glory with another. My jaw is not "offended" but aghast at the sight of the blind leading the blind.
"

Anonymous and Joe,

We are seeing first hand why the Gospel (The FULL Gospel) is so offensive to so many. But thanks for defending it.

Defending the full gospel truth will get you labled as one who hates Mormons or Muslims or whomever. You will be labeled as one who does NO good works. (Which is judgemental in a backhanded way...notice that?)

Wade Burleson said...

Joe Blackmon,

You wrote: "This has nothing to do with getting out and meeting anyone. It has everything to do with Wade's assertion that Carter is a Christian when Carter doesn't belive (sic) the true gospel."

On two separate occasions I have personally asked Jimmy Carter about his own faith in Christ and what He believes about the exclusivity of Christ. Contrary to some press reports (and blog comment sections full of rumor), Jimmy Carter gave one of the most eloquent articulations of what it means to be born again through trust in the work of Jesus Christ. He also shared how his most important work, ever, is bringing this gospel to the nations as people from all over the world come to hear him teach Sunday School.

I am neither defending Jimmy Carter nor advocating for Jimmy Carter. I am just simply saying you make yourself look very, very silly when you continually harp on a subject of which you have no first hand experience.

If a Mormon denies that salvation is by God's grace through faith in the work of Christ, the Mormon is not saved. Just like a Southern Baptist who declares he believes in Christ and treats people like the devil is neither saved as well.

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thy Peace said...

You and Debbie get treated the way you and Debbie deserve to get treated.

Joe: Please also include me in the above list. I will be honored to be on that list.

Paul Burleson said...

John,

You've stated it well. As I understand it, Truth is a Person. Truth is Jesus Christ Himself. The fundamental characteristic of truth, it seems to me, is consistency. Truth to be truth must fit every fact, every known and unknown situation. What we discover often is people who have what they say is truth but they have to force things to fit their belief or squeeze pieces in because they do not quite fit, then they wind up not having the truth at all.

The glorious thing about knowing Christ is that the longer you live and the more you observe life, with Him at the center, you find that everything fits. Without struggle, without pressure, without having to twist a little here or turn a little there, all of life fits, for He is the truth. The scriptures are what speak of the Him who is Truth. My understanding of the scriptures is ever growing but I know the One [Truth] of Whom they speak.

Anonymous said...

I have always had the nose to smell a rat. And I smell one.

I don't believe "pastor michael". I think he was devious and up to no good with his little question.

And the more he comments declaring his "innocence", the more my nose hurts.

For what it's worth. (which ain't much)

Michael said...

Anonymous:

I think most of us on the blog would agree with you concerning how one is saved, and that salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone. There's no need to cover that again.

However, when I became a Christian in 1975, the summer after my freshman year in high school, if someone asked me if Mormons were Christians, I would not have had a clue.

Yes, I had a biblical conversion and was born again. Any way you want to slice it, there's no way I was not a Christian and there's no way I was doomed to hell, just because I didn't know, or even if I had been naive enough to think, that Mormons were Christians. Mormons present themselves as Christians and carry a bible around. It would be easy to undersatnd how the uninformed could be mistaken about Mormons.

However, that knowledge concerning Mormons or lack thereof, is not one of God's, "exclusive terms," you mentioned for being saved. Do you understand that?

And don't worry, I got over myself a long time ago.

Wade Burleson said...

Joe, I assume you mean Debbie and I are evil and deserve to be treated in an evil manner. Right?

I'm not sure what Scripture you base that view of Christian ethics upon, but it seems to me Jesus taught the opposite.

John Fariss said...

Anony @ 4:32,

I do not elevate experience over reason, though I believe it is important (you ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!). Many of you might be surprized at how much of the Word I take literally. And if you knew me, you would never suggest that I elevate emotion over reason. But I do not assume that a 19th Century interpretation based on 16th & 17th century enlightenment pronciples is how 1st century authors and audiences understood the Written Word.

John

Anonymous said...

QUOTE If a Mormon denies that salvation is by God's grace through faith in the work of Christ, the Mormon is not saved. Just like a Southern Baptist who declares he believes in Christ and treats people like the devil is neither saved as well END QUOTE

What kind of theology is this? First, you must not just believe in "any Christ," but in the Christ of the Bible. The Mormon Christ is no Savior at all--he might as well be a lamp post. Why would any Baptist minister use such a statement to imply a Mormon, acting as a Mormon, can be saved by believing the Christ of Mormonism. That's got me scratching my bald head.

Obviously, the last part of the statement is some childish school-yard fight between grown toddlers.

Anonymous said...

"However, when I became a Christian in 1975, the summer after my freshman year in high school, if someone asked me if Mormons were Christians, I would not have had a clue."

I wouldn't expect you to, unless you had been a Mormon. That's the point: we're talking about what has to be given up from one's former religion, not having to instantly know every cult out there. I've tried to say this several times.

But for TEACHERS and PREACHERS, such ignorance would be a very serious failing, and could send Mormons to hell because they were never told about the need to REPLACE their Mormon beliefs with the true Jesus. Otherwise, what exactly are they being told? Would we tell Hindus they can keep Krishna? What are they believing about Jesus anyway?

But I have run out of ways to say this, sorry.

Anonymous said...

How did this blog post degenerate so badly? It would be funny if it weren't so sad. Surely believers have better things to do than insult other believers. I think Jesus left us enough to keep us busy.

Anonymous said...

This is no petty playground squabble but a battle for souls. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered.

Christiane said...

Some thoughts, after reading JOHN FARISS' comments:


"The wise speak only of what they know."
J.R.R. Tolkien

Christians 'know' in different ways.
For some Christian people, truth is consists of abstract propositions to be stated, argued, and affirmed or denied.

For other Christian people, Truth, while it may be argued, is essentially something not to be argued but experienced.
The Truth is always linked with the Mystery of the incarnation, and is therefore something to be encountered and experienced.


I thought for a long time about John Fariss' words here:

"This involves the definition of "truth." Several of you--Joe and maybe a couple of anonymous contributors--seem to be defining truth in a propositional way: to know the truth means to accept certain things as factual. You accept as factual a literalistic understanding of the Bible (for the most part), you accept as factual a 19th and early 20th Century interpretation of the Bible as identical with what its 1st Century (and earlier) authors meant, you accept that in order to be saved, one must accept some list of propositional truth, usually based on "The Fundamentals" or something derived from that. This would then mean that salvation comes by what you know, which (it seems to me) is either a somewhat gnostic approach, or a very deterministic/enlightenment approach. I will not attempt to speak for Paul, Christine, Michael, or anyone else, but I approach "truth," that is "gospel truth" in a more relational way: that salvation comes from "knowing" the person of Jesus Christ in an intimate way . . '


I thought: 'relational way ? Yes.
For some of us, yes.
Experiencing Christ is to enter into the mystery that IS Christ. The Bible tells of Him.
But HE HIMSELF IS :
the Way, the Truth, the Life . . .

The Holy Spirit can reveal Him to us by opening up before us the meaning of the Holy Scriptures,
but the actual encounter with Christ is a deeply spiritual experience.

We are changed by this encounter,
as it is said that 'grace' is not just some abstract religious term,
but is instead the very coming of His Presence to us in our need.

Michael said...

"That's the point: we're talking about what has to be given up from one's former religion, not having to instantly know every cult out there.
But for TEACHERS and PREACHERS, such ignorance would be a very serious failing, and could send Mormons to hell because they were never told about the need to REPLACE their Mormon beliefs with the true Jesus."

Agreed. The ignorance could mean serious consequences for the Mormon, but, again, does not condemn the ignorant teacher or preacher to hell. This is what the crux of the argument was; the ignorant claims that Carter is not a Christian because he made erroneous statements about Mormons being Christians.

Anonymous said...

"Agreed. The ignorance could mean serious consequences for the Mormon, but, again, does not condemn the ignorant teacher or preacher to hell. This is what the crux of the argument was; the ignorant claims that Carter is not a Christian because he made erroneous statements about Mormons being Christians."

I never said the teacher goes to hell, but that they may send others there through their ignorance. Qualifications for teachers are very high; they must know the Word, live the life, and defend the faith. If we put ignorant people there we "share in their sins", and such unqualified teachers are to be publicly rebuked as a warning to the others.

Carter is a teacher. And his teachings are sending Mormons to hell.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, one more thing...

Carter has no excuse to say Mormons are Christians; he should either say he doesn't know or that they aren't. The fact that he says they are makes him responsible for knowing what they believe. If he does know what they believe and yet still considers them saved, then we have no choice but to conclude he himself does not know the gospel.

Michael said...

Anonymous: You must have come late to the debate.

Joe Blackmon started the debate when he said, " Way to completely avoid the question. Considering your blathering about how wonderful a book The Shack was and the fact you say that Jimmy Carter is a real Christian even though he says Mormons are real Christians (thereby proving he has no idea what the gospel is and is therefore NOT a Christians)", yesterday at 12:53 PM.

Then he said at 3:18 PM " The man said Mormons are Christians. Therefore, he does not know the biblical gospel. Therefore, he is lost, dying, and going to hell."

Then he said at 10:12 PM
"Therefore, because Carter believes that Mormons are Christians and Mormons are NOT Christians, Carter does not know the gospel as revealed in scripture. Ergo--he is completely lost.

Others joined the debate. So that was the crux of the argument for me. I think your posts are right on, with maybe one exception. I don't believe Carter's teachings are sending Mormons to hell. First, he's not teaching on the subject; he said some erroneous statements in an interview that are being called into question. Second, I think God gives all of us ample opportunity to accept Him and that which in known about God is evident within all of us, so we are all without excuse, according to Romans 1. But, I agree with the rest of your posts and appreciate the passion and concern for lost Mormons.

Dee said...

Have any of you ever asked the average Baptist to define the trinity? I have and some of the responses would raise a conservative theologian's hair. So, if the average Baptist is theologically incorrect in defining the Trinity, are they Christians?

Muff Potter said...

Joe Blackmon,

You would have made a great inquisitor in 15th century Spain.

Tell me something, when you hear the howls of torment from all those you've consigned to flame, where will it hurt you?

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Michael,

Thanks. :) But whether Carter is teaching on Mormonism or not, the problem is that he is ** a teacher ** and has apparently said that Mormons are Christians. Because he's a teacher, and a famous person, what he says about a given topic will influence people. And there are undoubtedly Mormons who think themselves saved because of him. Hope that helps.

This blog is also read by many, and if the gospel is not clearly stated, many may be led astray or have a false sense of security. That's why this is so important, why I keep pressing for precision. I look at scripture and see what is required, not from one or two proof texts but the whole thing, and those two points I mentioned earlier are the simplest way I can summarize it. Otherwise we have to say that the demons are saved because they believe the right facts, or that even atheists will go to heaven if they are nice and humanitarian. Both extremes miss the mark. Some here have called such talk legalistic or unenlightened, but it's what scripture says. And if we can't quote scripture as authoritative, then why bother reading it? If we're going to explain it all away, why not just "do what is right in our own eyes"?

I really think that if a Christian does NOT get upset about false or vague gospels, something is very wrong, because souls are at stake. Negative passion can be the most loving thing a believer can have.

John Fariss said...

Let's try a thought experiment, folks, OK?

One Saturday morning, Joe is stumbling home, hung over from the night before. He is no longer commode-hugging drunk, or even knee-walking drunk, but he is none too steady on his feet, and occasionally, as his stomach and liver try to purge his body of the toxins he has ingested, he still has to throw up. (And yes, I have some experience here.) Fred comes up to him. He and Fred went to together, but they haven't seen each other in years. "Joe," begins Fred, "What is the matter? You look terrible!" Joe manages a smile, and says, "Why hello Fred. Rough night last night. Had too much to drink, I guess. I'll be ok--BURP--uh, that tasted bad--I'll be OK after I sleep it off." "Joe, why do you do that? Why put yourself through all that?" "Why, 'cause I had so much fun," comes the reply. Fred inquires, "Was throwing up all that much fun? How 'bout that shiner, was it fun getting it? And I think you're missing a tooth? Was all that really fun?" Joe notices his missing tooth. He hadn't noticed his black eye before. "Uh, yeah, I kind-of remember getting into a fight." "Joe, listen," says Fred, "I used to be just ike you. I'd go out, get drunk, get high, get into who knows what all. But then I realized that I wasn't having fun. I was wrecking my health. I had a beer-gut, just like you. I was blowing any change to have a family. And worst of all, I had no self-respect. I was a mess." "You don't look that way now. What happened?" asks Joe. Fred smiles. "Jesus happened, that's what. Jesus came into my life. And everything changed." truth is, Joe has been questioning his lifestyle. He knows he is headed down a path of destruction. He knows he has an emptiness that neither booze nor drugs nor casual sex can fill. So he asks, "Can Jesus change my life? How?" And Fred replies, "Jesus is the savior. He is the Son of God. He wil change you, Joe, just like me." Joe says, "Yeah, I want that." But Fred cautions him. "Now Joe, this is serious. To have Jesus as your savior, you have to be serious about it all. You have to repent--that means you have to be willing to turn your back on the life you have how. You have to be willing to turn away from the god of alcohol, and whatever other idols are in your life. If you are willing, then you have to express all that to Jesus--pray that is--and ask Him to be your savior. Do that, and He will change your life. But you have to mean it." And (with apologies to my Calvinistic friends) that is exactly what happened. Of course, Fred wants Joe to come to his church, and invites him. But it is all the way across town, and Joe has a cousin who is in a church just down from where he lives. Joe doesn't know any theology. But now he knows Jesus.

A couple of years pass before Joe and Fred see each other again.

Ending scenario #1: Joe has gotten active in his cousin's church, Possom Swamp Baptist Church, and indeed his life has turned around. He is seeing a sweet girl and they plan to get married. He is even being considered as a deacon. And running into Fred again, they talk, and Joe says, "You know, I probably should have went to your church. But I was scarred, and it was a long way away, and I don't know. Maybe I can visit it one Sunday." "Be glad for you to Joe. It's the only Mormon church in town!" The fact that Joe was led to Christ by a Mormon--and nothing in my conversation is different from what a Mormon might say--does that call Joe's conversion into question?

Ending scenario #2 is exactly the same--except that Joe's cousin's church is a Mormon church, and Fred's is Possom Swamp Baptist. Was Joe saved when he made that prpofession of faith? Did he loose his salvation going to a Mormon church?

John

Anonymous said...

If God could give a donkey the ability to speak to Balaam . . . .

God's ways are far above ours.

Anonymous said...

You still don't get it, John. And choosing the name "Joe" right now was pretty low, regardless of what you intended.

The question is, did the Mormon give the gospel accurately? Did he give the whole thing? Because if he did give it accurately, he'd no longer be a Mormon and would never try to get someone to join it. You don't invite lambs to dine with wolves.

And let's ask you a question: why not do this little play with a Hindu? Do you really think a practicing Hindu knows the gospel? Then why would a Mormon?

I really can't fathom how this matter of how people are saved is so hard. But I will stop trying to say it here anymore, because it clearly isn't welcome.

Anonymous said...

According to South Park, the Mormons got it right.

Gene S said...

John Farris--

I sure like your take on that one!

You can say all you want about Mormons in criticism, BUT you can't deny they are serious about their calling!

The practice what they preach---AND none of them is any more perfect than any of us Baptists.

If we were half as serious, we might be growing rather than declining.

Is our problem that we consider the church a "glorified country club" rather than true believers and practitioners of the way of Christ????

Michael said...

Muff, I'm laughing out loud. That was great.
Dee, rock on.
Joe, I love your conviction and your willingness to share it. Thanks for the apology.
Anonymous, I don't like that Carter got it wrong either and it is serious. So, we should correct the ignorance, but off to hell with Carter? No.
John, good scenario. If he came to the Father through Jesus and was born again, then I'm confident that He who began a good work in him will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Gene S said...

Joe Blackmon conrite!!!

Now I believe in Santa Clause / and infallable Pope / and all the other hard to believe things on the face of this earth!!!!

Joe, when you continue a contrite spirit and a control of your judgmental nature, I will rejoice in your salvation.

Right now, it seems a little too "showy" and quick for me.

Gene S said...

Joe has consistently been one of the most obnoxious and hostile members of these discussions ever since I have met him.

I would like to believe he is sincere. I will give him the opportunity to prove it.

BUT, I bet he will return to his old ways as soon as anyone crosses him.

Only time will tell and I would love nothing more than to see him genuinely change!

Just in case he is having problems, I will call on Christiane to pray for him! I know her to be sincere. There are several others who are equally sincere who remind us to be nice in our comments===Wade among them.

Joe Blackmon said...

I had a beer-gut, just like you.

John, I snorted when I read that. LARF!!!!

Joe Blackmon said...

Gene

Just in case you missed it, I apologized for the MANNER in which I said what I said, not the SUBSTANCE.

Two quick questions for you:

*Are Mormons Christians?
*Can a Muslim go to heaven without professing faith in Christ?

Now, your answer, unless you were to lie, to both of those is "Yes". Further, upon reading that answer, Wade will not correct or rebuke you for taking a position contrary to what is taught in scripture.

Thank you for making my point for me.

John Fariss said...

Hey, folks! My "Joe" was absolutely not intended as any reflection on Joe Blackmon; for that matter, it was not intended as any reflection on Bily Joe Blackmon, whom I went to school with, or on Joe Germany, who was my Uncle Sam's best friend and my neighbor growing up. It is just a name, selected for no reason other than that it is common. For Joe Blackmon and any who think otherwise, well, number one, you are wrong, and number two, I apologize for creating a scenario which somehow suggested otherwise to you.

Now, having said that, is my scenario and the witnessing described significantly different from at least 90% of the witnessing that takes place in America? How much more theological detail do any of us go into? How much theological minutae do we need--Biblically need--to go into? If Joe's cousin's church had been Possum Swamp Baptist and Fred's was Edge of Town Baptist, would anyone have raised an eyebrow? And anony @ 11:24 PM, I believe the words I used in the "witnessing" are words that a Mormon would be comfortable with, based on what I know about Mormonism and Mormons I have known. A Hindu, at least in India, would have little or no cultural knowledge of Jesus, and would have to be educated about Jesus before any profession of faith was either possible or meaningful. But in America, especially in the South, there is a broad (if not altogether accurate) cultural understanding of Jesus, and witnessing generally builds on that, or such has my experience been.

I had hoped that this would spur some real thinking about what we say when we witness, and what we need to say, rather than just knee jerk reactions.

And Joe Blackmon, I was impressed by your apology. I saw it only after I entered my "scenario" entry. God bless!

John

Joe Blackmon said...

John,

I didn't think you meant me. I do however, have a beer belly which is really more of an ice cream/Dr. Pepper belly. But you get the point, I'm sure.

If I understand the point you're getting at with your scenario, I would say that it's possible for someone to get saved and be lured into a cult due to ignorance about what the Bible really teaches. Does their entering a cult negate their salvation? If they were really saved, no. Does it prove they were never saved? Well, it could prove that. I wouldn't know for sure.

I think what you're getting at is "How much does a person have to know to be saved? Do they have to have all the docctrines right?" Well, there are things that a person has to know to be saved. But I would not say there's like this checklist of doctrines and if they don't get all of them God can't save them. At the same time, if you told me someone had gotten saved and that person didn't believe that Jesus was God or that Jesus died on the cross and rose the 3rd day, I might respond in the words of Lee Corso "Not so fast, my friend." I'd say let's go talk with this person and make sure they understand what the bible says and what salvation means. Let's be sure they've got the facts about what salvation is and from whom salvation comes and how it was acoomplished.

John Fariss said...

You get it, Joe. BTW, I have one of those too--mostly potatoes and ice cream and such, though the beer I used to drink "BC" didn't hurt it a bit. However, unlike "Fred," I didn't loose mine after I got right with Jesus.

Now I have to go replace the belts on my car, as one broke on the way home yesterday.

John

Muff Potter said...

My comment was never intended to be funny. When the zeal for religion strips us of our humanity, it is no laughing matter. When you look into the abyss yourself and see it licking its chops for you, Romans 2:1 comes alive sharper than a Katana (Samurai sword).

Joe should be applauded for manning up and apologizing. The Lakota would say that he is a true man of the people for doing so.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Pastor Michael is KMC from missouri

Michael said...

Muff:

"when you hear the howls of torment from all those you've consigned to flame"

I know you did not mean for it to be funny, but it was to me;it was articulated so well with such a visual. Plus, it was funny to imagine the judgementalism, yet we know full well those who have been so judged are NOT consigned to the flame. That's what was funny to me. I'm sorry, I just couldn't help myself, but laugh.

I just read over Romans 5 and 6 with my 16 year old daughter. It was a great reminder that the God we serve is the One who justifies, not condemns. The death of Jesus and His resurrection was for all men. We should be offering this free gift of righteousness instead of condemning those who are in Christ.

Tiffany Thigpen Croft said...

Wow. I am coming into this post late, and I am once again amazed at the broad range of comments. The hatefulness never ceases to amaze me.

Wade, You are one of the few and special people that I believe God can really use to help people to begin to really get back into the gospel. Not just go to church and claim to believe the Word - but to really get into the Word and discover for themselves what Jesus was really teaching us. If you cannot stand on the living Word, know what you believe and why you believe it then you are not growing. You have become one of the lukewarm people that the Bible speaks of. Romans 10 speaks of the Israelites, questioning their salvation. It speaks of them being zealots for God but their zeal is not based on knowledge, they did not know the righteousness of God. Go read it for yourselves. The way to salvation is preached in vs. 9-10 and clarified in vs 13. ANYONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved as talked about in the previous verses. Vs. 21 "But concerning Israel (Isaiah says) all day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people." I feel this pertains to most of the christians today - mainly in regards to southern Baptists.

Throughout Romans and also in I Peter - we are told that we gain faith through knowledge and that it is in fact dependent on knowledge. That doesn't mean just listen to what we have been taught, but to search the scripures for ourselves. John 8:32

As to Wade's conversion and Pastor Michael's questions - please go to John 8 and read it, especially vs.14. Throughout the whole chapter, they are questioning Jesus, God's own son, and his beliefs and credibility.
I love Jesus' response "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I came from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgement on no one...I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father who sent me."

Just keep looking to your Father, Wade! I am proud to be your sister in Christ!

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to a broken and contrite heart over one's sin and rebellion...to a repentant heart for one's sin and disobedience...to a loving heart for those who are lost and headed into an eternity lost and without hope...to a heart that glorifies the Saviour for who He is and for what He has done...to a heart of humility that seeks the good of others first...to the heart that acknowledges the Lordship of Christ in their lives...to the heart that when facing death, says "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day...I for one choose to follow His will and my hope is built on my Saviour's blood and His righteous...I have been praying for Baptists to return to a faith that trusts in Christ and Christ alone.