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

The Odd Report from Southwestern Seminary

In the official 'Book of Reports' of the Southern Baptist Convention, received by every Southern Baptist who registers as a messenger for the SBC 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland, there are 'official' reports from the various entities of the SBC. I spent the afternoon reading all the reports and the one from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary struck me as peculiar,  odd, and quite strange. Before I comment on what struck me as odd about the report, let me give it to you in toto from paragraph 2 through paragraph 4, highlighting the bizarre language in bold:

"Southern Baptists have a seminary in Fort Worth, Texas that is determined to recover the Anabaptist and New Testament vision. While appreciating the compromised theology of the Reformers, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary refuses to truncate the everlasting gospel. Confident with the Anabaptists that we can say to every man, "God loves you individually and died for your sins," Southwestern presses on in the intensity of a campaign to get the good news of salvation in Christ to all seven billion on this globe. While allowing no discrimination against our Reformed cousins who come to us, we continue to sound the trumpet of leading people to Christ, baptizing them by immersion in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and gathering them into free churches with congregational governments.

To that end, this year Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted a Homemaking Conference that drew more than a thousand women. This continues our accentuation on biblical gender roles and on the critical importance of the home in the plan and purpose of God. Our biblical homemaking degree is growing and exercising increasing influence."

Comments:

(1). "the compromised theology of the Reformers"  - if you are a Calvinist in the SBC, you are a 'compromised' Christian, believing a 'compromised' theology.

(2). "to truncate the everlasting gospel" - any teaching of the gospel that is contrary to what they teach at Southwestern is a 'truncated' gospel because they possess the truth.

(3). "against our Reformed cousins" - if you believe differently than we do on the subject of soteriology, then you are not even our brothers, you are our cousins. Even Vatican II did not stoop to separate from Muslims and Jews with the language of 'cousins.'  Now we have Southern Baptists separating from other Southern Baptists by calling those who disagree 'cousins' and not 'brothers.'

(4). "congregational governments" - if you are in a church with 'elders' or another form of government than 'congregational,' you better prepare yourself to defend why you believe you are not in violation of the convention wide adopted confession of faith.

(5). "hosted a Homemaking Conference" - not only will we accept Muslims, we will teach Muslim women how to cook.

(6). "our accentuation on biblical gender roles" - Translation: Women, stay at home and take care of your man. We will teach you how.

(7).  "the critical importance of the home in the plan and purpose of God" - if you work outside the home, woman, you are violating the will of God.

(8). "Our biblical homemaking degree is growing and exercising increasing influence." We are excited to teach women how to sew, cook, and care for the home. Forget training men and women to study the Scriptures, preach the gospel, and share Christ around the world; we are excited that our homemaking program is growing.

Conclusion: The fact that there are very few voices registering their opposition to the continuing downgrade of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary makes me wonder if the Southern Baptist Convention has so radically changed that people no longer think for themselves, or it is possibly that I am so out of lockstep with who the SBC has become that I no longer should participate in the SBC.

Honestly, this SWBTS report is bizarre.  Nothing is said of accepting practicing Muslims, but the seminary toots its horn about keeping women in their 'God-given role' of homemaking, and has no problem 'separating' from fellow Southern Baptist 'cousins' who believe differently about salvation than they. The slide toward neo-fundamentalism continues unabated.






52 comments:

The Govteach said...

I am sorry, I can't get over this cooking and cleaning degree program.....in this day of tight money, do we really need to be teaching people how to make King Ranch Chicken and peach cobbler?

The Govteach said...

Bro Wade,

I am thinking the average SBC person in the pew doesn't have a clue, and if they do, they leave, thus drop in the SBC numbers.
In 20 years, there might be 5 million SBC total. Take away about 3 million who don't attend, and it's another dead mainline denomination.
In my community the growing churches are non-denominationals, many of which are co-pastored by a husband wife team....

Robert Hutchinson said...

Lemme tell ya what "makes me wonder."

"After almost 30 years in ministry I have come irreversibly to this conclusion: congregational government is an invention and tool of the enemy of our souls to destroy the church of Jesus Christ." James MacDonald

And where is Brother MacDonald tonight? He's preparing to speak to pastors at the SBC Pastor's Conference.

Anonymous said...

I am a graduate of SWBTS and also a Calvinist so I guess I won't be invited to the alumni association meetings if they find out. Oh well, wasn't going anyway.

Bottom line is that Patterson is working to make the seminary in his own image but I'm not sure there's a single thing we can do to change it.

Maybe Wade in all his wisdom can give us some clues.

Tom Kelley said...

Baptists aren't Anabaptists. You'd think folks at a Baptist seminary would know what.

Beth Duncan said...

What??? I was under the impression that there have ALWAYS been Calvinists in the SBC! And also, what are women like me, whose husbands have issues that preclude steady work to do? Live in poverty?!?

Anonymous said...

Beth and Tom are both correct

The first 4 teachers at Souther seminary were all calvinists and held to the 1689 2nd London Baptist Confession.

Anonymous said...

Even good old Lottie Moon was a calvinist and the sunday school board even had lessons on election in the quarterlies. Wow. How we have fallen

Tom Kelley said...

Many of the founders of the SBC were Calvinists, particularly the leaders and processors at Southern Seminary. But Southern Baptist have long been composed of various theological perspectives, including Calvinists and non-Calvinists. One of the strengths of the convention was the spirit of cooperation for the common goals of evangelism, missions, and education, in spite of differences in secondary and tertiary doctrines. I think that's the point of Wade's post -- that the current SBC leadership continually seeks to narrow the parameters of cooperation that historically helped make the SBC strong.

Anonymous said...

"the compromised theology of the Reformers"

Patterson is spot on here. The reformers (Luther, Calvin, Beza, etc.) were compromisers. They believed in infant baptism, the state church, and severely persecuted the Anabaptists. Every Baptist that is honest will say "amen" to what Patterson wrote!

Man of the West said...

"... the Southern Baptist Convention has so radically changed that people no longer think for themselves..." Nailed it.

John said...

A lot of these big boy mega pastors may advocate congregationalism but they do not pastor the 150 family bred membership church whose authority is invested in a couple of power mongers or the Deacons. They do not carefully craft every decision to be brought to the church either. Paterson just demonstrated his independent decision making by bypassing the proper construct in the naming of the Muslim student.

Tom Kelley said...

Anon 15:00 PM,
Then you can call me a dishonest Baptist, because I cannot Amen Patterson's words. Sure the Reformers were "compromisers," in the sense that their doctrine was imperfect. But that is true of all of us. Given the whole of the wording of the SWBTS report, and the context of his anti-Calvinistic views, it is obvious that what he had in mind was not the Reformers views on baptism, nor church and state, nor their relations to Anabaptists (who were not Baptists, by the way). Rather by "compromised theology" Patterson clearly has in mind Calvinistic doctrines regarding salvation. His words are a very thinly veiled slam at Calvinists in the SBC.

Beth Duncan said...

Paige Patterson does not speak for the whole SBC. Due to the fact that there are a fair amount of Calvinists in the SBC, and the fact that there seems to be a renewed interest in Reformed theology in out denomination, Patterson's strong stance against Reformed theology could backfire on him.

Debbie Kaufman said...

I would be interested in the reaction of those who said we have been crying wolf, or that you(Wade) have a grudge against Patterson. What are they thinking, saying now when they read the report?

Is this report similar to what will be said when Southwestern gives it's report? What will the reaction and final thinking be? That will be your answer.

Debbie Kaufman said...

How would Al Mohler and other of the Reformed doctrine react to this report? It seems that the Traditionalists would have a lot of hurdles to remove before they can have this report become reality. They will have lots of opposition. It seems they are ready to go to war as Warriors for God. :) But they are not. The words in the report are pretty bold as are the last posts closest to the Convention date coming from SBCToday.

Rex Ray said...

Tom Kelley,

You said, “Baptists aren’t Anabaptists.”

That is correct BUT in 251 AD, the majority of Christians started baptizing babies for salvation.

The small number that didn’t agree withdrew fellowship. They were given a hateful name by their enemies as “Anabaptists”.

So even though Baptists are not Anabaptists, we came from them; otherwise we’d be baptizing babies just like Catholics.

BTW, one definition of “Conservative” is the resistance to change.
With hindsight, Baptists that would NOT go along with the C/R were given the hated name, “Moderate” even though they were the REAL conservatives.

For proof of this statement, just look what the SBC has become and what its doing today.

“By their fruits, you will know them.”

Ian said...

Robert Hutchinson,

James MacDonald is an authoritarian and abusive leader whose church ran up huge debts whilst he was drawing a huge salary.

Check out www.theelephantsdebt.com for more details on what this dreadful man gets up to.

He's opposed to congregational government because it would make him accountable to his church and stop him exploiting people.

It saddens me that he's being allowed to influence SBC pastors.

Doug said...

Wade, you write: "or it is possibly that I am so out of lockstep with who the SBC has become that I no longer should participate in the SBC."
I have been following your blog for many years now. I have wondered when you would finally come to the realization like many pastors (such as myself) that we are wasting our time and God's in trying to "fix" the SBC as it slides ever more right and becomes more and more narrow and authoritarian. The SBC is dying the natural death of any man-made entity. Let it die. Let's spend our time searching for life and the wonderful work of God that is going on throughout the world without (gasp!) the money, blessing or leadership (or should I say “meddling”) of the SBC. I am saddened when I think of what it has become...but ever hopeful in Christ who is always doing something "new". Wade, you have so much good to offer to this "new" movement of God's Spirit...it is a shame to squander your gift on Patterson, et.al.

Ian said...

More generally, this report from Southwestern is highly divisive, and I'm sure it was drafted with that in mind.

I can't help contrasting it with the 2013 SBC statement on Calvinism - see www.sbclife.net/Articles/2013/06/sla5

The latter is written is a gracious and conciliatory manner and (IMO) is a model for handling differences in a respectful manner.

Here are some lines from that statement:

Neither those insisting that Calvinism should dominate Southern Baptist identity nor those who call for its elimination should set the course for our life together

We affirm that Southern Baptists must avoid the development of a party spirit amongst us, with friendships and trust extended only to those who are in agreement with us.

We deny that issues related to Calvinism or non-Calvinism should alienate or estrange Southern Baptists from each other. Instead, we will extend to one another the mutual respect befitting the bonds of fellowship that hold us together.

We affirm the responsibility of all Southern Baptists to guard our conversation so that we do not speak untruthfully, irresponsibly, harshly, or unkindly to or about any other Southern Baptist.

We deny that our cooperation can be long sustained if our conversation becomes untruthful, uncharitable, or irresponsible.

No entity should be promoting Calvinism or non-Calvinism to the exclusion of the other.

We must do all within our power to avoid the development of partisan divisions among Southern Baptists.

I can't see how this report from Southwestern complies with the above.

What's more, Patterson himself is recorded as signing the SBC's Calvinism statement, saying,

There is little that I will sign in the way of corporate statements. My love for the unity in essentials among Southern Baptists for the purpose of getting the Gospel to every human on earth has wrung my signature on this document from my heart. The most important aspect to me is the provision for honesty and integrity for all. God grant that it be so.

Has Patterson forgotten what he wrote just a year ago?

I also want to comment on gender roles. The wording of this report suggests an approach far beyond what the BFM2000 contains and is yet another example of how extremist and non-confessional views are being adopted by SBC institutions.

Anonymous said...

FYI

Anabaptist were almost pentecostal or as a good friend saidqhakerish" and they also held some very heretical views of Christ

Robert Hutchinson said...

Ian,

What saddens you angers me.

Anonymous said...

Bingo!!
James P Boyce was the first president of SBTS, just read his systematic theology and tell me that he was not a Calvinist.

Tom Nettles settled this issue in 1987 with his book "By His grace and for His glory". The book clearly demonstrates that the first SBs were indeed calvinists. Noone has written a book seriously refuting this claim

Bill
Romans 3:25-26

Anonymous said...

We should send TULIPS weekly to Paige Patterson signed by great men like: (1) W. B. Johnson (1782-1862). First President of the SBC.
(2) Patrick H. Mell (1814-1888). President of the SBC for 17 years.
(3) John L. Dagg (1794-1884). The first major SBC theologian. His Manual of Theology was the standard textbook of theology in all SBC seminaries.
(4) Basil Manly, Sr (1798-1868). and Jr (1825-1892). Leading founders and theologians in the SBC in its formative years.
(5) John Broadus (1827-1895). The official SBC publisher, Broadman Press, gets its name from Broadus and Manly.
(6) James Pettigru Boyce (1827-1888). SBC President, founder and first President of Southern Baptist Seminary. His Abstract of Systematic Theology rivaled Dagg’s as the leading SBC official textbook on theology.
(7) B.H. Carroll (1843-1914). Founder of Southwestern Baptist Seminary.

Anonymous said...

^i think that I know who wrote that!!

:)

Bill

Rex Ray said...

Ian,

I like your comment very much.

You said, “Has Patterson forgotten what he wrote just a year ago?

I heard him say very loud to the crowd around him, “WE GOT ALL OF THEM!”. Less than a minute later, he said in a whisper, “We got all we could.”

To answer your question IMHO, he never forgets. His problem is he is a LIAR!

jamie steele said...

Is this real or fake?

Ian said...

Robert Hutchinson and Rex Ray - thanks!

Rex Ray - I think it's fair to say that Patterson is a politician (a synonym for liar) - he does whatever advances him and his party - truth is of no concern when it stands in his way.

Wade - seeing as the Pattersons sent you flowers, perhaps you should repay the favor by doing as anonymous Bill suggested and sending them some tulips!

Anonymous said...

Jamie. Please be clear, is what fake?

Debbie Kaufman said...

Jamie: Very real. But I know, it's that unbelievable isn't it. :)

Anonymous said...

Well, I just read that King Ronnie has been crowned. Now get ready for the flaunting of one's ego and personality for the next two years. What a sad day for Southern Baptists.

Anonymous said...

Well, I just read that King Ronnie has been crowned. Now get ready for the flaunting of one's ego and personality for the next two years. What a sad day for Southern Baptists.

Anonymous said...

He was already very free with telling everyone what to so, can you imagine how it is going to be now?

beckylovesthelight said...

Whoa. Odd indeed. I'm not a Baptist, but I know the SBC influence reaches far and wide. I found the sounds of those pronouncements chilling.

Aussie John said...

Wade,

That statement is the work of one person which has been rubber-stamped by their fellow politicians.

Anonymous said...

I say Amen to Dr. Patterson's vision and mission and for SWBTS! The report is spot on about the reformed compromisers, etc. I am grateful for his leadership at SW and I pray that God raises up a new generation of theologians and admins like him.

DH said...

Very troubled by this--be interesting to see if any questions are raised when SWBTS reports tomorrow.

As it stands, I think we're seeing that the slippery slope picks up speed as we go down it. We battled for the Bible but then simply replaced the people, not fixed the problems. Now we have authoritarians that push to the right instead of academicians that pull to the left.

We had a window to repent of our failings---including of the compromised founders of the SBC who stood for slavery--and do well. I think we're right close to missing it, and expect to see it slam shut in the next 2 years. Then, it'll be time to find/found an organization that loves Jesus, loves people, defends the Word of God and defends the innocent. All four, because we've been neglecting 2 out of 4 for quite some time.

Anonymous said...

Your all nuts. Calvin didn't believe in a limited atonement. His successors took his theology too far because they realized it was flawed and without the L in tulip the while system falls apart. Patterson cares about the spread of gospel period. You guys care about blogging and trashing someone who fought for the Gospel. Do something as great as he has for the kingdom then criticize. Bunch of children!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 4:54,

It's " you're".........
4:54 and 4:12....I am sorry, but all Mr. Patterson and the rest of the "new" conservative leadership cares about in power and their ego.

Anonymous said...

Well I messed up "is power"

Anonymous said...

"The Battle For The Bible" was never real in the first place. It has always been about power, money, and control. When the "battle" began the power, money, and control were in the hands of one group and now they are in the hands of another. What a pathetic indictment of the SBC that this ever happened in the first place.

Shirley Taylor said...

Wade, I would love to see you set an example. Hire a woman pastor for adult men and women. Have a few women deacons in your church. My friend, put your church where your mouth is. I appreciate what you say, but I would like to see you do what you say.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Wade you are "so out of lockstep with who the SBC has become" that you should not participate in the SBC. Of course, me, too. Belief in creationism and storehouse tithing are requirements to be in good standing. Preachers calling themselves "Dr." with only a 30 hour D.min. degree from a distance learning seminary. SBC executives who were formerly called 'executive secretary' are now CEO's. The SBC is not what I grew up in.

Anonymous said...

Patterson and Co. beat the liberals out of the convention and now it is time to see if he can get the Calvinist (who are more conservative than Patterson) out of the convention. Keep it up Wade and your next book can be, Knocking the Cover Off Hardball Religion!. Jesus stood up to the these types and I thank God that you don't back down either.

ScottShaver said...

Most "megachurches" do not appear to me as "congregational".

They are small episcopacies...satellite campuses joined at the hip in a top down structure under the direction of a "senior" pastor with self-appointed underlings at various locations.

How is that congregational?

Anonymous said...

Scott. You are very correct

Anonymous said...

Wade, do you read your Bible the way you read this report? You said a lot more than he said, which confirms your bias. You should withdraw from any comments on Patterson until you get this under control.

Nicholas Myra said...

@Rex Ray

Christians have been Baptizing their newborn children since the First Century. There was no challenge to this rightful practice until the sixteenth century when the first Anabaptists emerged, many of whom likewise denied the Trinity, Original Sin, Sola Gratia, and Sola Fide.

Anonymous said...

Nicholas

You are most incorrect. The didache which is a first century non biblical book but speaks to 1st century christianity would say otherwise

Grace and peace sir

Bill

Romans 3:25-6

Anonymous said...

"(1). "the compromised theology of the Reformers" - if you are a Calvinist in the SBC, you are a 'compromised' Christian, believing a 'compromised' theology."

Not sure why anyone is surprised. The foremost SBC leader is Mohler and he said that if you want to see the nations rejoice for Christ, New Calvinism is the only place to go.

Why are people surprised at the pushback on what has been going on at SBTS?

"(2). "to truncate the everlasting gospel" - any teaching of the gospel that is contrary to what they teach at Southwestern is a 'truncated' gospel because they possess the truth."

Again, why the surprise. Mohler is part of the fab four of T4G who are all Reformed and pushing it as the True Gospel. Oh and TGC which is all Reformed, too.

"(3). "against our Reformed cousins" - if you believe differently than we do on the subject of soteriology, then you are not even our brothers, you are our cousins. Even Vatican II did not stoop to separate from Muslims and Jews with the language of 'cousins.' Now we have Southern Baptists separating from other Southern Baptists by calling those who disagree 'cousins' and not 'brothers.'"

Again, why surprised. What did Mohler say about his "brothers" when the Trad statement came out? They need to be marginalized? Even called them the semi heretic word.

"(4). "congregational governments" - if you are in a church with 'elders' or another form of government than 'congregational,' you better prepare yourself to defend why you believe you are not in violation of the convention wide adopted confession of faith."

Again, why the surprise. Elder led has been pushed like crazy by SBTS as "biblical".

Look, I think Patterson is a nut. He has no credibility with me at all. But then neither does Mohler.

Mohler wanted power to push NC and he got it. It is a fighting movement. Enns has a great piece on this point. Why are Reformed folks surprised there is pushback when so many of them claimed to have the true Gospel? I won't even get into chapter 4 of Quiet Revolution which is scary enough.

Anonymous said...

"The first 4 teachers at Souther seminary were all calvinists and held to the 1689 2nd London Baptist Confession."

Many in the pro slavery South of that time were Calvinists. Dutch Calvinists implemented apartheid in SA. When the determinist god did not control them winning the war, many (not all) "Baptists" started rethinking the determinist god paradigm they believed.

That we elevate men like Boyce is an embarrassment considering their views and DEEDS when it came to slavery.

Calvinism has a bloody evil history of tyranny because they believe in a tyrannical god.

Anonymous said...

The founders of SBTS may have been Calvinists but they also strongly supported slavery. Can't make them heroes.