Friday, April 07, 2006

Welcome to Wade's World

In my previous post I mentioned a stack of emails sent to all the trustees of the IMB. These emails were sent by Southern Baptists and ran 10 to 1 against the adoption of the new policies on baptism and tongues (I'm simply stating facts, not opinion). One of the emails in the minority was the following:

"Please don't back down on Wade (sic) ask him if a 6 year old could baptize a 6 year old at the lake with no others present and if this would be a proper baptism. He told me it could be. This man is out in left field. Don't let us down who have been in the war for the Bible (sic) we have fought to long to turn it over to those who believe such. Also please deal with Rakin (sic) if he desires to use tongues let him go to the penetcost (sic) movement. He needs to be honest (sic) he is not mainstream Baptist. We are praying for you. Don't back down (sic) many of you (sic) are in your corner."

I have already privately contacted the pastor who wrote the above email and requested a retraction. I do not intend to identify him publicly, even though I feel the above email is libelous of me. Frankly, I've learned to never take these type of public allegations too personally, simply because there are too many larger issues at stake within our Southern Baptist Convention to be too concerned about one's personal reputation.

I have said, since I began this blog, that the SBC is dangerously close to moving to a place where anyone who does not conform to a narrow, specific interpretation of doctrines that are NOT addressed in the BF&M will be removed from the privilege of cooperating in the area of SBC missions. I, and others, are working to see that this exclusive spirit does not dominate the SBC. We must learn to cooperate though we disagree. That has been the Baptist way throughout the centuries.

The Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins. I am not interested in the discipline or correction of those who seek to slander me or ruin my character. I simply want Southern Baptists to know enough to make up their own minds about the issues at hand. I do promise, in time, through diligent efforts to keep all Baptist work transparent and open.

Below is the actual transcript of the audio tape of the only conversation I have ever had with the pastor who wrote the above email and sent it to all trustees. Again, I have removed those words that would enable identification of this pastor (specific cities, locations, background, etc . . ). Though he calls me a heretic and a liberal in the conversation below, he unwittingly gives anecdotal evidence to support the very things I have been writing in this blog. For all those trustees, staff, administration and others to whom this man sent the above email, I offer the transcript and believe you can make up your own mind regarding following:

Is the direction we want our Southern Baptist Convention and affiliate agencies to move reflected in the attitude of this man as exhibited both in his email and in the following phone conversation?

TRANSCRIPT: Phone Conversation: February 28, 2006

Wade: Jim?
Jim: Yes.
Wade: This is Wade Burleson
Jim: Oh, just one second.
Wade: Okay
Jim: Okay, I’m back; I’m sorry.
Wade: Hey, no problem, Jim. I got the message that you had called.
Jim: Yes, uh, I’ve been readin’ some about the controversy and you were going to be out here in _______; and I’m an old ______ boy. That’s where I started my ministry.
Jim: But, uh, I’ve been hearin’ some about it and so I saw the advertisement for your web page and I’m going to be honest. I’m very disturbed about your web page. It…I’m not a Landmarker or I didn’t think I was; but the things you’re accused of Landmarks of is some things I believe. I believe in proper biblical baptism. I’m against women ordination and I have problems with somebody bein’ on a International Mission Board Trustee who holds to [ ] ordinations and some of this stuff. You’re attackin’ everbody.
Wade: No, I would just respectfully disagree. I don’t think I’m attacking anybody. By the way, I believe in biblical baptism as well.
Jim: So, you believe that somebody serves on a mission field ought to be scripturally baptized?
Wade: Oh, absolutely!
Jim: Okay, would a Church of Christ be a biblical baptism?
Wade: What do you mean?
Jim: Would baptism for salvation be a biblical baptism?
Wade: Absolutely not!
Jim: Okay. Well, your web page you mentioned you accepted someone who came from a church they were baptized by somebody who didn’t believe in eternal security.
Wade: Yes, but that’s not the question that you asked me.
Jim: I know.
Wade: You asked me – "if somebody who trusted their baptism for salvation had received a biblical baptism;" and my answer was categorically, "No!"
Jim: What if they’re baptized by somebody who believes in the doctrinal statement of the church?
Wade: But that’s not your question.
Jim: Okay, that’s my second question then.
Wade: Okay; (please repeat) the question?
Jim: What if they’re baptized by a church . . .
Wade: I’ve never seen a church baptize anybody.
Jim: Okay.
Wade: I mean, I’ve never seen a church baptize anybody.
Jim: Pastor of a church, then; I’ll be a little more precise with you.
Wade: Okay; if the pastor of a church . . .
Jim: Like I baptize ever time I tell ‘em what biblical baptism is.
Wade: Uh-huh
Jim: I just tell ‘em it shows the death, burial, resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s an outward expression of an inward event.
Wade: Amen.
Jim: And, uh, so, when they’re baptized that’s the statement they’re making to the church because I’m making sure they understand that. But I also know some Pentecostal believe salvation saves. You have to speak in tongues when you come up because I used to [ ]
Wade: Yes
Jim: . . the Church of Christ. Like I said in the Church of Christ things – they make the same statements I do concerning their doctrine, like I do ours.
Wade: Yeah
Jim: Washing away their sins. Is that biblical baptism?
Wade: Absolutely not.
Jim: Okay, so should we let our missionaries, if they’ve been baptized by those folks, serve as foreign missionaries without scriptural baptism?
Wade: Absolutely not.
Jim: Okay, then what is your problem with this requirin’ them to be baptized into a Southern Baptist Church, then? What’s the harm in it?
Wade: You’re changing your questions.
Jim: Okay
Wade: You’re not baptized into a church; you’re baptized into Christ.
Jim: That’s Holy Spirit baptism.
Wade: Well, there’s one faith, one Lord, one baptism. My point is that when you come to faith in Christ you’re baptized by immersion as a picture of the gospel –that Christ was buried, rose again for the forgiveness of your sins; and we (as pastors) examine every person who comes to our church regarding their faith and their baptism. If they’ve been scripturally baptized and if they’re trusting Christ alone for their salvation, we receive them.
Jim: Okay; what about foreign mission field? That’s where we’re havin’ the problems. Our trustees want to require us to be Southern Baptist baptism. What’s your problem with that?
Wade: There are no ‘Southern Baptist baptisms’. There’s Christian baptism. There’s biblical baptism.
Jim: Okay, then have you got a list of what’s biblical baptism and what’s not; what churches practice biblical baptism?
Wade: Church? I know what biblical baptism is. It’s coming to faith in Christ as your Lord and Savior, following him in believer’s baptism; not trusting the waters for your salvation, being immersed as a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. That’s biblical baptism.
Jim: Okay; so they’ve been baptized understanding that; but the person who is doing the baptizing; now, somebody has to perform the act.
If he tells him that it’s for salvation, or whatever reason they want to call it for, are they scripturally baptized?
Wade: The person who is baptized, did he or she believe that? Then No! If (the person being baptized) believed that, he was not scripturally baptized. If that pastor said it and the person being baptized believed it and said, “That’s what I’m believing,” no, it is not Biblical baptism.
Jim: Okay; but the pastor made that statement and they allowed him to baptize them, not agreein’ with it, are they still being baptized for the same reason? Because they’re allowing him to voice it for another reason.
Wade: Yeah, I guess what I would say to that is this: I’ve never met anybody that was baptized with that statement being made who didn’t believe it.
Jim: Okay: What about this young lady you said that joined your church, that hadn’t been baptized in a – ‘by a scriptural church’ I think is the way you worded it. I don’t remember how you worded it.
Wade: No, whoa…
Jim: I don’t want to put words in your mouth.
Wade: Well, I appreciate you not puttin’ words in my mouth. I would never say that.
Jim: Okay; what about the girl who came from another denomination that the church didn’t believe about proper baptism, but she did, and I think that’s the way you worded it. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Wade: I think the way I worded it was the church didn’t hold to eternal security.
Jim: Okay
Wade: My point was this: The little girl didn’t even know what eternal security was. She had trusted Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of her sins and no statement was made at the baptism about the waters regenerating her or saving her. It was Christ.
Jim: Let’s move on from that one to another one.
Wade: Okay
Jim: I didn’t even know about until I read your web page.
Wade: Okay, but let me say this, though. That’s the issue: eternal security. What I’m saying is I know folks . . .
Jim: (interrupting) That’s part of the issue
Wade: Yes, but in the (new policy on baptism), baptismal regeneration is something that there’s no disagreement over (from anyone). Anybody that believes in baptismal regeneration is not scripturally baptized; period. But what I’m saying is you don’t have to hold to eternal security, or the person who baptizes you doesn’t have to hold to eternal security, in order to have a biblical baptism.
Jim: Yea, I realize, very strongly disagree because I was – my wife was raised in a church that believed you could fall from grace.
Wade: Did she believe that?
Jim: If you fall from grace you have to be resaved; and to express your salvation you have to be baptized. So one baptism isn’t, you know, there’s not one Lord, one faith, one baptism in their eyes; because if you could lose it you gotta re-git it. If you re-git it, if you git saved you need to express that publicly in baptism. So the theology just doesn’t hold water.
Wade: Well I guess what I would say was if your wife believed that she saved herself she never was baptized in the first place.
Jim: Oh, absolutely.
Wade: I don’t have any disagreement with that.
Jim: What about women ordination? ‘Cause you brought that up. I’d never heard that no place ‘til you. That really disappointed me in you, ‘cause like I say I pastored in Oklahoma for years and I’ve been there when they walked out on women they tried to bring in to preach at the preacher’s conferences.
Wade: I’ve never used the word ordination on my blog. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Jim: You sure was, ‘cause I was readin’ through it and it said something about we requiring male ordination or something; I’m not quotin’ correctly, but I go on the web page and I can pull that up.
Wade: Yeah, please do, ‘cause I never even mentioned…
Jim: That the women have been keepin’ our churches growing. If we insist we’re gonna be a detriment to them…
Wade: No, no, no. I understand what you’re saying. I think you’re misunderstanding what i'm saying. What I was saying was this: If you’re on the mission field and the people who have come to faith in Jesus Christ are all women and they lead their son or daughter to faith in Christ, what I was saying was they have the privilege of baptizing their son or daughter. But I said nothing about ordination. I said nothing about them pastoring. I simply said that if they lead someone to Christ they have the privilege of baptizing them.
Jim: So if I lead somebody, I’m out here walking the streets and I lead somebody to the Lord in their home, I don’t need to bring ‘em before the church? I just baptize ‘em right there in their bathtub or their swimmin’ pool like they did in California back in the sixties?
Wade: What I would say is this: What do you…in the bathtub, if you act like they’re just playing a game in the water, that’s ridiculous.. But let’s say that you’re out at a picnic and there’s two families that have gathered together. One person has been sharing with his friend the gospel of Jesus Christ for a long time. In brokenness he trusts Christ as his Savior. Let’s say that his buddy says, “Would you like to follow Him in believer’s baptism?” And he says, “Yeah, I would.” And they gathered the family around and this young man shares his faith in Christ and how Christ has set him free of the bondage of sin. And he’s baptized as a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. And people are there observing it, what I’m saying is…
Jim: (interruption) I realize we’re theologically miles apart because I believe it’s an ordination given to the church.
Wade: I’m saying is that young man . . .
Jim: (Interruption) It’s a church ordinance; not a preacher or an individual ordinance.
Wade: Well, define church. The church is the body of Christ, right?
Jim: A body of baptized believers assembling together for worship.
Wade: Okay, that young man that shared his faith with his friend? He was a baptized believer, a Christian himself. He’s part of the church, right?
Jim: If that’s the case, yes.
Wade: Okay, well, then baptism is a church ordinance. He’s performing it on a person who’s a convert. We’re saying the same thing.
Jim: It’s performed upon the authority of the church. …what Pastor Bob said. One of the reasons that statement bothered me so much, I pastored First Baptist _____ and that church was made up of a lot of people. There was a preacher back in the fifties, an evangelist, that come to the area. That’s not too far from where you are and he would bring people to the Lord. He just took ‘em down to the river and baptized them; never united them with a church of any kind. Later, when this church was constituted the church required everybody to be baptized by the church and I know you disagree with that, but that started the breakthrough fight that I don’t believe an individual has a right to do the baptizing without the authority of the church.
Wade: Yeah, and guess what? It's ok to disagree. Let me just ask you this question. I appreciate your spirit; I’m not even trying to change your mind. But what I’m saying from a historic Baptist perspective the 1644 London Confession of Faith in Article 51 states that it is the privilege of any disciple to baptize his convert.
Jim: Okay
Wade: And all I’m saying is that at my church, when somebody wants to join my church they are examined deeply regarding their faith and their baptism. Their faith must be in Christ alone; their baptism must be by immersion after having come to faith in Christ, not trusting the baptism for salvation. What I’m saying is we don’t care who the administrator was at all. We want them to tell us about their baptism.
Jim: So if a six year old comes in and says I want to baptize another six year old, they don’t even have to…they just go to the baptistery and do it? I know that’s far fetched
Wade: Yeah, it is.
Jim: But what you’re sayin’…
Wade: Well, can a six year old trust Christ?
Jim: Oh, I know several that have trusted Christ that I know.
Wade: Okay.
Jim: I know some of them give better answers than some adults.
Wade: (laughs) Well, I guess what I’m saying is this: If I saw a broken hearted six year old who led his friend to Christ and you saw the Spirit of God on both those and that young boy asked me if he could baptize his buddy I’d say absolutely he can.
Jim: Okay, well, I have real problems with what you believe on that and, uh…
Wade: I don’t have a problem because I’m not trying to convince you. All I’m sayin’ is…
Jim: I know you’re not.
Wade: Good.
Jim: You have another major problem. I know a lot of people in Oklahoma, and I don’t claim to be a Landmarkist, but I know a lot of people who have and good, godly people. It’s very prevalent in that part of the country. And I think you’ve attacked them and said they were, their belief was a hindrance to the mission field. I really disagree with you and I think you’re out of line and I think you’re out of line going around hittin’ up pep rallies. We need to trust our board. You need to submit to their authority and you don’t need to run around causin’ trouble. The Bible says God is not – whether you and me agree theologically – the Bible says God is not the author of confusion.
Wade: I would agree with that.
Jim: And when you go around stirrin’ up problems and it’s been problems in our association. We had several people who were gonna go there and support ya’; and I pulled up your web page and showed ‘em and they decided they weren’t goin’ now. We heard you’re not comin’. I wish you had of; ‘cause the whole association as a whole was gonna go confront you on some of this. It is causin’ dissention in the body of Christ. You brought heat on Jerry Rankin and I think you ought to resign, personally. And, but, you cause dissension there. I talked to him today and he says he gettin’ call after call of people that think he’s wrong and even callin’ for his resignation. You hurt his ministry, whether you think you ought to be there or not, I don’t, but whether it is or not he’s there. You hurt his ministry. I think you owe some people an apology and some of the great men I’ve known in Oklahoma that you blasted; I think you owe them an apology.
Wade: Yeah, well, I appreciate your opinion, but frankly let me say I’ve never blasted any individual.
Jim: Go read your web page again, Bud.
Wade: I write it.
Jim: Go read it again.
Wade: Do you not understand. I write it.
Jim: And one other thing: Anything, any place I’ve read your articles any place, you always go back to a confession of this or that. I wish you’d start goin’ to the Bible; ‘cause see, I read the Confessions, too, and I’m not a Baptist because of a Confession. I’m a Baptist because of the Bible.
Wade: Okay, then, let me ask you about the Bible. Matthew 28. To whom was the Great Commission given?
Jim: The apostles.
Wade: Okay
Jim: Through them to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Wade: Okay, to the apostles; so only the apostles
Jim: (unintelligible)…church is different is what the issue is
Wade: So in your opinion only apostles, only the apostles had the authority to evangelize
Jim: That’s who it was given to. It was the foundation of the church.
Wade: So, only the apostles
Jim: And then the church; it’s given to the church through the apostles.
Wade: Okay
Jim: We stand upon the apostles…
Wade: Does every member of your church have the authority to evangelize?
Jim: Absolutely, but I believe they need to do it in the authority of the church.
Wade: Okay; they have the authority to evangelize
Jim: Through the church.
Wade: Okay, where does that authority come from?
Jim: From the Lord Jesus Christ through his church
Wade: The authority to evangelize, which comes from Jesus Christ in the Great Commission, also contains the authority to baptize.
Jim: Absolutely. He gave it to the church through the apostles.
Wade: So every disciple has the authority to evangelize and to baptize.
Jim: Those that godly received his word were baptized and added to the church daily.
Wade: That’s not what I asked. Does every disciple of Jesus Christ have the authority from Christ himself to evangelize and to baptize?
Jim: Through the church.
Wade: We’re sayin’ the same thing.
Jim: No, we’re not.
Wade: I just want to…
Jim: (interrupting) An evangelist that went out and baptized and just left people cold, which almost tore a church apart many years later. He was not doing it in the authority of the church. He was out doin’ his own thing.
Wade: I don’t understand that when you say the authority of the church. The authority to evangelize and baptize was given by Christ to the church. Was that disciple who baptized those people part of the church?
Jim: Where did guy that came out and went through that area and baptized people, what church did they unite with? None; there wasn’t a church.
Wade: Okay, what makes a person part of the universal body of Jesus Christ called the Ekklesia, or ‘called out ones’?
Jim: You study the language of the scripture, there’s really only two times there’s really a reference to that. The rest of the time it makes reference to a local New Testament body, a local body of believers.
Wade: Okay, all I’m saying is the very word ekklesia means ‘called out’.
Jim: Absolutely.
Wade: Okay, well, who calls the person out?
Jim: Jesus Christ.
Wade: So Jesus…
Jim: (unintelligible)…let the Spirit draw…
Wade: So all I’m saying is that man was part of the ekklesia, called out by Christ. He had the authority to evangelize and baptize.
Jim: So you believe that everybody that’s saved is immediately a part of the church, without baptism.
Wade: No! (Baptism identifies them with the ekklesia)
Jim: Okay, so you believe baptism is the door to the church, as the Bible says.
Wade: Yes, baptism is the outward sign of your identification with the ekklesia
Jim: (unintelligible)
Wade: Okay, that’s all I’m saying. But that man…
Jim: Okay, if you’re baptized outside a local church…if you’re not baptized into a local church, who are you tied to?
Wade: Jesus Christ.
Jim: Some universal church that nobody can see?
Wade: You’re called out to the ekklesia, or the…
Jim: We’re to be the light of the world. We’re to be the light upon a hill.
Wade: Right, and all I’m saying is…
Jim: We’re not to be secret mystics and hidden.
Wade: No, I understand that.
Jim: It’s a visible church.
Wade: Right, and all I’m saying is, when you’re called out, you’re visible. And baptism identifies you with Jesus Christ.
Jim: So, I had a pastor one time – I’ll give you a for instance – a pastor friend of mind and a good man, doin’ a good job; but he began to study scripture and realized that he was saved after baptism. And he knows he can put his finger on the time. He come and wanted me to secretly baptize him so nobody would know. Now to you that would be acceptable, right? ‘Cause I’m one believer, he’s another, so I can just go baptize him?
Wade: I would ask, no, ‘cause I would ask you this question. I don’t understand why you want to do it secretly, because when you’re baptized you’re telling the world that you’re a follower of Jesus Christ.
Jim: Well, because he didn’t want his deacons upset, or his church. And, uh, he wanted it to be a private thing, and it wouldn’t be taking him into the local church. His church didn’t know a thing about it.
Wade: Yeah, I guess what I’m saying is…
Jim: It’s gotta be a biblical baptism.
Wade: I don’t think (this example) is a Scriptural baptism because he’s not preaching the gospel to anybody.
Jim: So, if one little boy like you said while ago leads, the family leads somebody to the Lord and then they just immediately dunk him there…
Wade: No, no, no, no, no.
Jim: …the end of it.
Wade: That’s not…
Jim: That’s not, then what you’re sayin’ it needs to do.
Wade: But that’s not what I said. I said that boy asks for permission to baptize his friend. But then what I would say is get your families together. Get your parents’ permission. Ger your friends together and let…
Jim: No, that’s not what you said earlier. You said a couple families were out at the picnic. Somebody gets saved and they just out to the water’s edge…
Wade: I’m sorry, you’re switching stories on me, because that was not the two boys. That was a different story.
Jim: That was a couple families.
Wade: Yeah, right, I said a couple of families. But see, what I’m saying is those families gather around the pond. There’s witnesses. There’s friends there. There’s people who see that this boy has been called out by Christ.
Jim: Well, we’re not gettin’ anywhere, ‘cause we’re theologically miles apart and, uh, uh, I think you’ve done to the International Mission Board. I’ve got a daughter that’s finishin’ up school, plans on goin’. But I think you’ve done harm to her and everybody else. God is not the author of confusion and, uh, I think that, uh, I hope that you’re a kind of a church where your deacons get together and they can say anything they want to you. But when you come out, you come out unified and one blastin’ another, another blast another one; ‘cause that destroys the body of Christ.
Wade: Oh, I would, I would agree.
Jim: That’s what you’ve done.
Wade: Well, I don’t think I’ve done that. I would disagree with you. I think what I’ve done is been very gracious in my disagreement.
Jim: …and went and help pep rallies for ya’.
Wade: Wait a second now. ‘went and held pep rallies’. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Jim: Well, you come here to ------
Wade: Just a second now. Everything that I was doing was private with the board of trustees until they made a recommendation to remove, which they rescinded. The only reason I was coming to ______ is because this was being made public by those folks in their public recommendation. I cancelled the meeting because they rescinded. It doesn’t have to go to the Convention.
Jim: Because they said you could stay; so you got your way. I’ll throw a temper tantrum until I get my way; and I get my way and I’m sure disappointed them backin’ down ‘cause (unintelligible).
Wade: Oh, you’re calling me liberal?
Wade: Okay, so I’m a liberal. Am I a heretic?
Jim: I believe you’re very close.
Wade: I’m very close to being a heretic and a liberal.
Jim: Yeah.
Wade: Okay; well, that’s interesting. You know, I would just say that I’m a follower of Jesus Christ, a believer in the infallible and inerrant word of God and we just disagree on the authority of the administrator of baptism.
Jim: Okay, and I would encourage you, because of the dissension you’ve caused in the body of Christ.
Wade: Okay, can I ask a question? How have I caused dissension?
Jim: In public statements
Wade: Okay, public statements. I guess what I’m saying is this thing was not public until they made it public.
Jim: Well, you’re – I take the Georgia paper; I take the Oklahoma paper and I take the Missouri paper and ever’ one of ‘em shows your web page to go see your point of view. So if you’re not puttin’ it out public, it looks like to me you are.
Wade: Oh, I’m sorry, I misunderstood. I thought you meant the dispute is public. There was no dispute. I preach to fifteen hundred people every Sunday. I’m on the radio. Everything I believe is public. It can withstand the light of Scripture. All I’m saying is when people have theology or doctrine that is manmade tradition, I believe…
Jim: …your inference to the Baptist Confession, this and that. I don’t hear you quotin’ Bible until today when I talked to you. Everthing has been confession. Practice what you preach.
Wade: Okay, here’s the thing. Everything I believe is based upon the inerrant, infallible word of God; but I hear…
Jim: …quoting Confession (unintelligible due to excessive background noise)
Wade: Okay, but listen to what I’m saying because when I say that and then people like you call me a liberal or a heretic I can just simply say, well, wait a second. This is what Baptists historically have confessed. How am I a liberal?
Jim: Yeah, we’re not getting’ anywhere and I’ve got about twenty kids I’ve just picked up, so I’m gonna have to go.
Wade: Okay, thank you, sir.
Jim: But I will call for your removal at the next Convention. I don’t know if I can get it done, but I will do that.
Wade: You know, that’s your prerogative and I appreciate that and you know, it won’t succeed.
Jim: Well, we’ll see, but, uh, but part of _______ here, since they read your web page, they’re not supportive like they used to be.
Wade: Well, let me tell you; there’s about several thousand that are. All I’m saying to you is this: Practice what you preach. If you really want to work with a brother in Christ to reach the world for Christ, ask yourself if you’re truly causing dissension.
Jim: Have you caused dissension?
Wade: I’ve asked it: how? By me telling you what I believe, I’m not calling you a liberal or a heretic. By me telling you what I believe, you’ve called me a liberal and a heretic.
Jim: Because of what you’ve told me you believe.
Wade: Okay, well let me ask you. Is that not inflammatory language?
Jim: It’s statin’ what I believe.
Wade: Well, all I’m sayin’ is this: It’s causing dissension.
Jim: Am I publishing your papers and am I – like you have?
Wade: But what I’m saying…
Jim: By making interviews.
Wade: Yeah
Jim: I’ve gone to a brother.
Wade: Well, I’ve gone to a brother, too.
Jim: Okay, thank you.
Wade: You’re welcome.

Welcome to Wade's World! It definitely is not boring.

Let me reiterate my excitement over what God is doing in the SBC.

I believe you will find you will have a say in many matters at Greensboro.

This liberal and heretic :) wishes you a wonderful, grace filled weekend!

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Anonymous said...


As a missionary who daily deals with people in a cross cultural context, that conversation could be very close to what I experience when I call the telephone company, a travel agent, or the electric company. But I am dealing with people of other cultures, whose first language is not English. Grace and Peace to you brother as you deal with convoluted logic as depicted. I did get a good laugh from it.

Anonymous said...

Er. . .uh. . .please pardon the interruption. . .another dissenting “heretic” stirring up trouble is coming through. . .ah. . .an “EXIT” door. . .please resume all of your unifying efforts as soon as you hear the sound of the door hit my dissenting backside, Jim. . . ;^)

In His Grace and Peace,

Ken said...


One of my favorite leadership books talks about challenging the process as one of the hallmarks of a good leader.

Unfortunately when we do that, suffering is a sure result. I appreciate you challenging the process of the new policies and enduring the suffering. They need to be challenged. I cannot imagine the e-mails and phone calls you get. Know that we stand with you in that process.

PS: It seems that the Jim's of the world are not about to let the Bible or logic stand in the way of what they believe. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Wade. You made my day.

Trevor said...

Thank you Wade, for the comic relief! That phone call must have been painfully frustrating (kind of like talking to a brick wall?)...

I am one of those younger pastors who have decided to only align myself with Southern Baptists through missions.

Our church loves the IMB and NAMB and we financially support them from time to time.

But convention politics and this movement away from autonomy has confirmed to us our decision to be an independent, evangelical congregation without SBC affiliation.

My lifetime experience (I'm 31) as a Southern Baptist has shown me that this denomination as a whole is largely unyielding and unteachable.

You represent a contingent of leaders (hopefully more numerous than we know) that can help the SBC retain some sense of relevance. I am praying for you.

Trevor Davis

Anonymous said...

Very interesting conversation. You were able to keep your cool much better than I would have. Your pastor friend says God is not the author of confusion, and I agree. Perhaps the confusion in the SBC is not from God but has other origins. There are two ways to stop confusion. First would be to give up and let the folks with the loudest voice and the quickest accustion that their opponents are liberals or heretics have their way. Second would be to doggedly, relentlessly repeat the the scriptural basis for disagreement and the scriptural requirement to love other Christians. I think you are doing a great job with the second option, and I hope and pray you will persevere.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the dialogue between you and "Jim" (if that's his real name?). Is he aware that you recorded the dialogue? I would assume that to be a yes! Since I doubt you would depict the linguistic colloquialisms used otherwise. I think Jim is dealing with some issues where he has strong Biblical support! Though I admire your methods and definitely support dissent as well as differing opinions, I would also commend your restraint from exchanging descriptive adjectives of derision. I would also agree with Jim on several of his points, but not agree with his desire to silence your dissent or restrict your Biblical interpretations concerning the nature, polity, administrative responsibility, et. al., of the "ekklessia"! I would definitely work for the defeat of any effort to have you removed from IMB BoT?
Though Broadman refused to publish Fred Fisher's book by that Title (or in English the "Church"), he made a convincing argument for a limited application of the term to a "local, visibly assembled group". At that time the purveyors of unity at Broadmen were convinced it was too controversial to the unity and cooperative nature of our "body" to publish. Basically, it was (in the early '60's)too much of a challenge to the growing influence of Theological personages pushing for greater acceptance of reformed tradition as it and much neorthodoxy moved toward broader useage and application of the Universal concept of the "church"! Along with those same conclusions was what appeared as a prevalent influence in our Seminaries of more literary/documentary analysis concerning the authority of Scripture! Hence, the so-called birth of the "Conservative Resurgence", and what I believe to be a surge of "Lay" or "grass roots" response which was reflected in the votes of SBC Messengers beginning in the late 50's and formalized by Patterson, Pressler and other's useage of the political instramentation that was commonly applied by Leadership at that time! Has the pendulum swung too far? Probably, but, I believe the corrective agents are there (In IMB BoT), and you're probably one of them, though, I have confidence that there are others. If not, then I believe things will be determined by vote, as issues are brought to the floor of the SBC.
To me, not only do we have an encroachment in the perimeters of Missionary Selection and Service that become to restrictive, I believe it challenges the Authority of the "Sender"/"Supporter" and that IS CHANNELED through the affiliated Churches in most part! I am disappointed that Jim resorted to name calling, rather than simply acknowledging a difference of opinion. I praise God that both of you seem to know Truth...... and HIS name is Jesus! Keep the dialogue/bloggin' going! It will help us all deal with and maybe, even reformulate our positions! As my Dad (also a Fla. pastor for many years would have said as he prefixed his comment!) "Pardon my collegiate English, but, Ain't change stimulating?"

steve w said...

>> "Go read your web page again, Bud."

I almost fell out of my chair laughing. I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time, but that is priceless!

This conversation is representative of the disagreement between many brothers and sisters in Christ. Yet all who are saved will be together in heaven. I can't even imagine the shock and amazement there will be when some people see who else is there.

What a gracious, amazing Lord we serve!!

Wade, the grace of God and the light of Jesus shines brightly in and through you. You being on the board gives many of us hope for the future of our convention. In the future, I pray that there will be many more trustees seeking to learn and follow the truth of God's word rather than seeking to protect the traditions of man. (I know you are not the only trustee seeking to learn and follow God's truth -- I'm sure most of them are.)

I also wish more trustees would blog. I have learned a lot about our convention through blogging trustees, pastors, and M's. said...


You said,

" . . he made a convincing argument for a limited application of the term to a "local, visibly assembled group".

I would like to see the book because I have never seen any arguement that has convinced me of the Scriptural validity of a limited application of the word ekklesia to "a local, visibly assembled group."

I'm sure you are aware this is the fundamental tenant of Landmarism

Anonymous said...


I have put up some satirical posts on my blog at . I am hoping that a little humor can shed some light on the issues.

Anonymous said...

This guy didn't know what he was getting himself into when he called you. I can't believe he used the terms "liberal and heretic"-- that is the last refuge of scoundrels.
I believe in the inerrant Word of God, but these doctrines and theological positions that have been developed by men need to viewed for what they are – my goodness you would think these guys sit ex cathedra.

I hate to say it but the problems we have in our local church and the denomination, will either be taken care of by an act of God or with the passage of time (as some of these folks retire from this world or the ministry).

Wade, keep up the good fight I know you will.

I would encourage anyone who calls Wade liberal or a heretic to spend the hours I have spent reading Wade’s blog and hours listening to his sermons. I would also tell then to go check how many baptisms Wade’s church had last year. God has blessed his church a lot.

Wade’s deacons and friends in Oklahoma know this. I have never heard anyone preach the Word of God as he does. They should talk to people who have worked with Wade in the ministry. I think people make the mistake of reading this blog and projecting hatred into his Words.

Listen to me folks, the people who know Wade will tell you that there isn’t even the tiniest fraction of anger in what he writes! This is a gracious man.

I will make this prediction: Wade be a great leader of our denomination someday – you are now, but what I am saying is to a greater degree. I have found if you talk to people about Wade Burleson, who don’t know Wade Burleson they say one thing – usually negative, even if they agree with his positions on the IMB.

If you talk to people, who know Wade and have worked with Wade, the characterization is totally different.

Wade, I struggle not to get angry with the people, some of whom I know, who malign you. You are a bigger man than me.

Anonymous said...

Wade, You kept your cool much better than I would have! So your pastor friend wanted you to talk about the Bible not a confession of faith, but when you did talk about the Bible (the Great Commission, no less) he seemed to want to change the subject. He is not unique in the SBC in this regard. I have corresponded with more than one Seminary President who suddenly lost interest in discussing the Bible when it became clear that I could ask questions for which they had no ready answer. I was interested to learn that the authority to baptize comes through the apostles to the church. Of course, the Bible does not spell this out, it is a human inference. I thought our major problem with our Roman Catholic friends was that they infer that the authority of Peter was passed on to the church and that this gave the church authority equal to that of the Bible. It seems wonderfully ironic to me that a Baptist pastor uses this reasoning to justify an extra-biblical inference regarding baptism. Another part of your conversation that really got my attention was the comment that God is not the author of confusion and that you should keep quiet. I agree that God is not the author of confusion, but I would suggest that the confusion did not originate with you. It seems to me that there are two possible solutions to end this particular confusion. First would be to keep quiet and allow the IMB to narrow the bounds of cooperation. Second would be to relentlessly explain the biblical basis for your views until enough are persuaded to effect a change. You have done a great job with option 2, but I am concerned that you are now prohibited from discussing the Bible as it relates to approved actions of the Board. I would just make one observation (not criticism) about this. People who are sure that their interpretation of the Bible is logically sound, is the only reasonable interpretation, and has been developed through prayer as well as reasoing should have no fear or concern whatsoever about someone who opposes their interpretation and who is gracious and loving in this opposition. The fear of division that has been expressed and the fact that your blog has not been inundated with discussions trying to show you from the Bible why you are wrong speaks volumes about what is really going on here.

Scotte Hodel said...

I've encountered one or two people like "Jim" over the last quarter century. I often wonder why they think that the first person to cite "author of confusion" or "dissension" scriptures gets to hold the moral high ground.

It's for reasons like this that I regularly wear a "Looney Tunes" tie whenever I address the Faculty Senate at my University.

Dr. H

Anonymous said...

Dr. Fisher was N.T. Greek & Interpretations Prof. @ GGBTS. His manuscript was used as a teaching tool for several years. Incidently, he was often called a "liberal" but he challenged his Student's to think and do research! Many of his Student's actually did some of the research on his manuscript. The fact that you haven't heard of any documentation doesn't surprise me. Most College and Seminary students do well to cover reading requirements. I would imagine a manuscript would still be in the "stacks" at GGBTS library? I still have a copy filed somewhere?
One of his points was related to the Hebrew translation of the Septuagint Version, 3rd Century BC. Which, he discovered only used "ekklessia" to describe Israel when "visibly assembled"!
He proposed that it reflected linguistic useage of the Koine Greek for that period, and even through the formulation of the earliest N.T. manuscripts!
You said; I'm sure you are aware this is the fundamental tenant of Landmarism" (sic). So is "Jesus is Lord".... I've always believed you certify Truth not package it attached to the environment where it's found. My Dad started us on a motorcycle when I was a small child.... when I called it a car... he "gently" pointed out, that just because he parked it in the garage...didn't make it a car! Look at the overwhelming useage in the N.T., which incidently, has been pointed out repeatedly by Evangelical Scholarship! I submit that we are a Convention of Messengers sent from "churches". That what is being regularly referred to as "The Church of North America", along with other references to the Catholic or Universal cancept fits more harmoniously with the N.T. concept of "basil" or "Kingdom" rather than the "church", or at least as it is used in N.T. Koine Greek parsing.
Oh, BTW, I believe there is a universal CHURCH and someday soon it will be "caught up" (1 Thessalonians 4:17), but until then, I am reminded of verse 15, and it won't be universal until those folks are a part of the experience!
Caio! Praying you'll have great worship experiences tomorrow as you lead your folks!

Kevin Bussey said...


How do people like Jim view the baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch?

LivingDust said...

Brother Wade,

At least Brother Jim is honest, told you what he believes and what he intends to do - request your removal from the Board of Trustees. I don't think that your removal from the BoT will accomplish any good. From what I read on this blog, the BoT has already, by its own actions, cast a cloud over the missionary community with its "accept this or else" policies from the boardroom. The present BoT has formed its "identity" by it actions. If a vote of confidence were to be held amongst field missionaries, I think you know the result would be "no confidence". Your communication efforts, with this blog, have pulled back the veil and let light shine onto areas that have needed light and transperancy. Some folks like Brother Jim may have issues with what you are doing, but openess and transperancy are always good for the soul. Our Lord, Jesus, had a knack of pulling back the veil and exposing things that needed correcting. My prayer is that, in spite of what may be happening with the IMB BoT, our missionaries will boldly tell the story of Christ, share his love with all peoples and always be proud to say that they are associated with a group of dedicated Christians called Southern Baptists. said...


I think you misunderstood my answer to your first question.

The Fundamental tenant of "Landmarkism" is a denial of the UNIVERSAL church of Jesus Christ. I believe that the ekklesia is also local and visible (what you call "a church") but I am simply saying that the predominate use of the word ekklesia in the NT is the universal "called out" sinners who have been chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and regenerated by the Spirit. The ekklesia transcends manmade denominational walls.

Anonymous said...


Unfortunately "Jim" is indictivive
of many misled pastors and lay people. Grace and truth has to be all over you to even carry on a conversation with him. He reminds me of a new convert I led to the Lord whom heard Dr Kennedy talk about the Holy Eucahrist and my friend thot He said Holy Uterus and called Dr Kennedy on the phone and began to wail away at him for giving Mary such a high honor. Of course the Good Doctor was totally baffled because he had no idea what my friend was talking about.


Anonymous said...

Bro. Burleson,

Very interesting phone conversation! Just a quick historical comment. You cannot really use the 1644 London Baptist Confession to defend your position of any Christian being able to baptize. If you read Hansard Knollys' book "The Shining of a Flaming Fire in Zion", he mentions that their article on the administrator of baptism in this confession had been misunderstood and gives a detailed explanation on the Particular Baptist's opinion on this issue. In short they believed that only a baptized preaching disciple should administer the ordinance. I can provide you the quote from Knollys if you like.

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Blampp and Dr. B,

Jesus used the same Greek word "ekklesia" to refer to all Christians worldwide (Matthew 16:18) and to a local assembly (Matthew 18:17), so obviously the English word "church" can legitimately be used to refer to either one. I am sure both of you understand this, but it seems to be a point of confusion in your exchange.

Love in Christ,


Tony Gulbrandsen said...

It is an interesting theological argument, but Brother Wade, I think your original point (as I understand it) is getting lost in the fray.

Was not your objection to the new "standards" based on the idea that the BF&M2000 was already the guiding document and no further "refinements" were required?

If so, the argument of where you(or anyone else) stand on "ekklesia" or ordination or any other of these controversial issues is not on the table. If we agree to be part of the SBC, we agree to the confession of faith for the SBC. And that confession is the BF&M. Within that guideline is room for these disagreements as well as room for us to continue the work of Christ around the world especially when we disagree. The BF&M is the biblically-based guiding document for just this sort of disagreement.

My point being, if someone can honestly say they believe and will uphold the BF&M, they should be cleared to advance the Gospel on behalf of the SBC.

Of course, that is my understanding of your position, feel free to correct me. I don't intend (or even desire) to speak for you.

Bro Tony said...


I agree.

Pastor Tony,


Ben Stratton,

A baptized preaching convert in 1644 language is "a believer who himself has been baptized and shares the gospel."

Surely you are not assuming it means an "ordained" minister?

"Preaching" has historically been the word used for proclamation.

Thanks to one and all for your comments.

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Tony,

I'm not sure I agree with this statement of yours:

"If we agree to be part of the SBC, we agree to the confession of faith for the SBC."

My church, for one, has not adopted the 2000 BFM. I am certain many others have not.

So, what exactly do you mean?

Love in Christ,


D.R. said...

Wade, I have to say honestly that I disagree with your two illustrations used above (the family picnic and the boy who wants to baptize his friend), though I still agree with your major point that baptism is not illegitimate based on the baptizing church's (or pastor's) denial of eternal security.

I don't think that anyone can baptize a person without there being local church support and approval. Of course I also believe that one needs to be converted first, then interviewed by the church which he or she would be baptized under authority by, and then voted on by the elders and congregation before baptism. So essentially I agree that baptism is a local church ordinance, but can be performed by any mature baptized member of the local church body which authorizes the one to be baptized, having Scripturally examined the candidate.

In the case of the young boy, while a sweet, heart-warming story, I personally don't like baptizing children as young as 6 in the first place, due to their general emotional and mental state at that age. While I think conversion can sometimes occur in your children, I take baptism as a testimony to receiving public accountability and as a witness that one fully embraces the concept of Lordship (something that is difficult, if not impossible for children to embrace at that age). Having made that clear, even if a church practices such (as most SBC churches do), I think that the act of baptism should fall to a mature believer, one who at least can qualify as a deacon (and yes, I am with John MacArthur and John Piper and believe women can be deacons, though not elders or pastors).

Some of these points are obviously argued from a reasoned overall view of Scripture and not a specific text, which I think is legitimate in this debate.

HOWEVER, regardless of which side you or I fall on in this regard that is NO EXCUSE for any person to label you as a liberal, and especially not tell you that you are close to being a HERETIC. That is absolutely convoluted and slanderous. I am sorry that you had to deal with that and I echo your words that this pastor should publically apologize if this email he sent out was indeed one of public record for misrepresenting your views.

I pray that God continues to give you the strength to press on in the face of such resounding opposition. You are right that there are several thousand behind you.

Anonymous said...


I agree that the man you were speaking to needs to do a better job in defending his position in Scripture (baptism) as well as stop making comments he cannot demonstrate to be true (i.e. "heretic" and "liberal"). That not only is poor scholarship, but it is a personal attack. It is one thing to disagree with a person’s belief, it is another to attack someone personally and use ad hoc arguments to demonstrate your case.

That stated, perhaps one reason for his concern arises from things in the past. For example, books written by international workers that either were theologically and epistemologically flawed, but promoted, i.e. Camel method ( I hear it is being redone). Also, at MLC, at one point (again not sure how it is now) women were told they had to facilitate (lead) small groups -- including men, in some cases at MLC small groups were considered no different than local churches, and when some in leadership were asked to define the difference between a Bible study and a local church and when they were asked when does a small group Bible study become a church, they did not answer the questions and seemingly took offense to the person asking the questions. A small group Bible study is part of the body of Christ, and part of the church universal, but it is in no way a local church. Those in leadership promoting methods of sharing the gospel should know the difference.

Some of these things have changed; perhaps in large part due to the fact people from the outside that challenged the establishment. Maybe this guy’s concerns are just reactionary, but maybe his whole point is that we need more accountability? There needs to be someone in the board that international workers can go to without the fear of getting blacklisted. said...


I do not normally record phone conversations. Of course, if you are a party to the conversation you are free to record in Oklahoma the conversation.

I felt I needed to record this conversation because of the tone of the message left on my machine asking me to return the call. I felt it would be in my best interest to record the conversation, but had no intentions of using the recording, unless what was discussed was used to distort the issues at hand.

Of course, that is what happened. I will not be making this an issue any further. However, the beauty of a blog is that people can get the information they need and make their own decisions about what is best for the SBC. said...

Mr. Anonymous,

I forgive the man who distorted the truth of what I said.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you, but I define a "local church" a body of believers that is self-sufficient and fulfils the neccessary functions of the church.
Worship, Ministry, Evangelism, Fellowship, Discipleship
if you can find a body of believers that fulfill these functions than THAT is a church.(there is not a size limit nor always a pastor)

By the way what is your definition of a local church?

Michael H

art rogers said...

It is interesting to me that those who throw around the words "liberal" and "heretic" are so rarely accurate.

I'll tell you what I think is liberal - additions or subtractions from the Word of God. If it is there, it's there, if it is not, it's not.

I'm not saying that pastor Jim was adding to or taking away from the Word. I am just saying that this is the deliniating mark for me and unless someone is clearly doing either, you ought not be calling them either.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your opinion, just disagree with your conclusions.... I would agree with J.R. Young, but add that I believe the concept of the church transcends even the "universal" since that term generally is not considered to denote, eternal or altered status of existence, for instance, those who are absent from the body, but "present with the Lord." In other words, I would take issue with the idea You expressed concerning "predominance"... you said:
" . . . but I am simply saying that the predominate use of the word ekklesia in the NT is the universal "called out" sinners who have been chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and regenerated by the Spirit. The ekklesia transcends manmade denominational walls."
That statement, in my opinion, reflects more the idea concerning Jesus use of the "Kingdom", nor, do I conclude it would reflect Paul's useage, or the other occcurances in the N.T. text. Though I would agree there are several useages that could be construed
to communicate that concept!
With that said, I also believe these concepts are not the issue you raised, I simply mentioned some of these ideas that seemed relevant to Jim's premise, and also reflected in Kevin's comments concerning Godly influence of folks who are professed
"Landmark", which would hardly lead to establishing a basis for
making either side "heretic" or liberal!
Incidently, I have no problem asking personnel of an agency to subscibe to the latest accepted text of the BF&M, But, I do have a problem of trying to impose those restrictions on a cooperating "church".... I think Micael H. also asks some relevant questions concerning consequences of what constitutes a "church". I mentioned in our e-mail exchange that I have ideas that I would not impose on others in my own "family of faith" (TRBC), though I would advocate for what I believe to be reasoned scholarship, diligent search of Scripture and discernment of the Lord's direction for me personally! Again, I may not agree with you in all areas of church polity, but I have serious concerns when we (BoT) want to supress divergent opinion and assume that by displaying a facade that all are in agreement somehow makes the decision the best alternative! I believe Micaiah's (2 Chronicles 18:27) admonition would be well taken by the IMB BoT and the SBC Messengers! " . . . he added, 'Mark my words, all you people!' . . . "
Keep us informed, and Keep ASKING RELEVANT QUESTIONS, I think you are being a responsible Trustee by doing so......

John Moeller said...


I read the article in Charisma Magazine and as a Spirit filled Southern Baptist, I am ready to renounce my association with the SBC and move on. If this is the movement the SBC is making, then it is a movement against God. The manifestation of the Holy Spirit with the ability to pray in the Spirit was a gift that God gave me 12 years ago. I was at a low point in my life and God set me free. I began doing missions and miracles began happening all around me. God still moves and continues to confound the “wise”. To say it isn’t truth and Biblical is rubbish. It happened on Pentecost, has been happening ever since and still happens today.

Keep the faith, the fight, and the truth! Either you win, or we all loose.

GeneMBridges said...

For Brother Stratton:

It would be rather odd for Knollys to have meant that only an ordained minister can administer baptism. To begin with, if that is what the majority practice of the PB's was, then one is at a loss to explain the repeated instances of Paedobaptists who charged them with believing that anybody could baptize anybody else. Either the Paedobaptists didn't know Baptist practice or the PB's didn't hold to the exclusivity of the adminstrator, viz. an "ordained" minister. That makes the Paedobaptists look foolish. These were not foolish men.

In fact, the 1643,44 / 46 Confession reflects Spilsbury's views on baptism and not those of the Blount group. The Blount group had sought for adminstrative succession. Spilsbury's group did not. Knollys was of a mind with Spilsbury on this.

Knollys signed the 1689. The later 1689 Confession changes the wording of the Westminster Confession on baptismal administration for that very reason, so one is left to yet another ad hoc explanation for a change of thinking on baptism, the most fundamental issue alongside Calvinism, for those early PB's. William Kiffin signed both confessions. Ergo, if there was change in thinking, then Kiffin would be the person to whom we should look, not Knollys.

The 1644/46 reads: The persons designed by Christ, to dispense this Ordinance, the Scriptures hold forth to be a preaching Disciple, it being no where tied to a particular Church, Officer, or person extraordinarily sent, the Commission enjoining the administration, being given to them under no other consideration, but as considered Disciples

LCBF2 reads: These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.

Compare to the WCF: There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the gospels, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord: neither or which may be dispensed by any but a minister of the Word, lawfully ordained.

Considering that the LCBF2 is 95 % of the WCF in verbatim form, there must be a difference in what these statements mean.

On top of this, a great many Baptist ministers were imprisoned in those days, off and on. How then did the local churches baptize if their pastors were imprisoned, particularly those who went without pastors for a long time? This makes no sense if ordination of an administrator is being inferred by either confession. The answer would have to be "plurality of elders," but this raises more questions than it answers, given the Reformed view of the qualifications of deacons and elders (see below). For those holding to another model of church polity, this raises even more questions.

In addition the Baptist catechism mentions administration:

Q. How do baptism and the Lords supper become effectual means of salvation?

A. Baptism and the Lords supper become effectual means of salvation, not for any virtue in them, or in him that doth administer them, but only by the blessing of Christ (1 Pet. 3:21; Mt. 3:11; 1 Cor. 3:6, 7), and the working of the Spirit in those that by faith receive them (1 Cor. 12:3; Mt. 28:19

This is important. It shows us that they denied efficacy by way of a particular administrator. The successionist position implicitly attaches a type of efficacy that is conferred by the administrator. It would be odd to say this applied only to salvation and not to an idea of succession.

The point here is that they didn't let "just anybody" baptize, but they didn't assert that only the ordained could do so. Persons who were deemed spiritually qualified could do it. The question remains, "Who were those persons?"

Well, unlike most if all of the people posting here, I may have a good idea, since my church holds to the 1646 Confession. Even among RB churches today, this is rare.

We affirm that there are qualification for elders (Titus 1) that must be followed. However, among those duties and qualifications in Scripture it is remarkable that one does not find "administration of the ordinances" among them. One would think that Paul would have addressed that specifically in the Pastoral epistles. When he does mention it in 1 Cor. he is appalled that a notion of successionism is coming into the church.

It's worth mentioning here that in one of the debates on baptism vs. Baxter, this head was discussed in the section on history. The Baptists wrote:

Under this head:

An Historical Account of Baptism, as we find it was upon the Profession of Faith owned to be practiced by the testimony of Antiquity, both in the First, as well as in the Remaining Centuries.

This statement:

Secondly, as to the administrators of baptism, they say they find that other ministers of the church, besides the apostles did baptized, which in after-ages came more especially to be fixed upon Bishops, though in case of necessity, not only lay-men but women also, were admitted to administer that ordinance.

So, it would seem that this is the way that Baptists of that day viewed baptismal administration in early church history.

The Philadelphia Association, which adopted its own version of the 1689 Confession, planted new churches by way of discharging families from their membership when they left for the "frontier" (which wasn't too far away in those days) when those same individuals planted their own church. This could only be done if fathers were seen as de facto elders in the home (which RB's affirm in our theology of the family). As heads of the home, they were shepherds of their own flocks. They were the ones charged with starting new churches when they left. A great many Philadelphia Association churches were constituted in this manner.

In short, the Reformed Baptist presumption is that, while the local church elders and congregation may call a limited number of elders to actually serve, (1) the qualifications of elders and deacons are the same, except elders must also be able to teach (Titus 1); (2) every man must be ready to be called upon to be a deacon or to lead as an elder in the event of an emergency; (3) fathers are de facto elders in their home, responsible for teaching their children and washing their wives in the water of the Word (Ephesians), as such qualifications for elders and deacons are unique to the church and its function, but nevertheless incumbent upon every man to strive in his home and be ready to be called upon in his church. There is not a set of ethical, behavioral, and doctrinal qualifications for elders and deacons that is not to be found in church members as they grow in grace and knowledge. Those that we find as elders and deacons are merely the ones recognized by the other elders and/or the congregation who are also willing to serve. Their ability to serve should never really be questioned if everybody is living a growing life in Christ and immersing themselves in Scripture, prayer, study, fellowship, worship, etc. In other words, ideally, any committee in my church should always have more work than qualified men, since all the men should be qualified. (This is ideal; it does not happen in a fallen world). The real question should be their willingness and availability. Ergo (4), any father of any home should be qualified to plant a new church on his own if called upon; in the former centuries, this meant "if the family moved to another area where there was no church with which they could unite. " (5) Ergo, those qualified to administer baptism need not be ordained as elders or deacons in the church. At the same time, the members of the church should not be living by one set of doctrinal and ethical standards while their elders and deacons are living another.

MediaDude said...

I recall seeing that someone wrote that all the emails sent to the IMBTrustees address did not represent SB members because most did not have email or use the internet. Does anyone else think it would be interesting to survey SB members on their use of modern technology, including the internet, blogs, cell phones, etc? I would think that an online survey could be used. Let me know. TheMdude

Preachin Jesus said...

Bro. Wade,

You're an inspiration to we younger SBCers. Keep on with you ministry and find your encouragement in Christ.

The recent Landmarkist moves by many in the SBC leadership are raising problematic issues that were dismissed years ago. The continual misuse of the terms "liberal" and "heretic" to wrongly demonize faithful servants of God is particularly problematic and wholly unChristian. Why are peripherial issues in theology detracting from the main message of the glory of the Kingdom?

Anonymous said...

Wade, What do people like Jim do with the theif on the cross---Tom

Anonymous said...

Dear Wade (please ignore or replace my earlier comment as it was done late at night full of typos) Thanks

Dear Wade

"Welcome to Wade's World"

You could also say, welcome to CBF's world, and the missionary's world who were fired over not signing the 2000 BF&M or resigned over discouragement of seeing faithful missionaries fired who had never done, or thought anything wrong, but simply came under suspicion (as is currently happening) of "some". Good grief, who are these "some" who wield such power as to smash the ministries of God ordained missionaries, sent and affirmed by good conservative Baptist Churches. We are not Catholics. We are Baptist. Leadership is not infallable, especially leadership that came to power in a nasty split back 10 years ago with Christian breatheren, when slander and inuendo was often a documented means by whick many of these very leaders came to power.

Slander and inuendo was the order of the day back when many wodndrful God fearing, Bible believing, humble gentle, Jesus adoring Baptist were slandered and inuendoed right out of the SBC.

As many were truly immitators of Jesus in their faith and practice they sickened of the slander and inuendo and just took the high road and left without making a fuss or getting even. It hurts me now to see you getting slandered.

For true healing to ever come to the SBC, the mass of non slandering Southern Baptist have to tell the IMB that we can dissagree and work with other belivers for the Kingdom of God, and have faith that God will keep his Church pure without gossip and slander.

And to not be hypocritcs those believers with whom we should be free to work with should should include fellow Baptist of the CBF. Unless that kind of spiritual maturity and honesty and repentence manifest itself in the SBC and IMB all your warnings of where the IMB and SBC is headed I fear will come true.

It will be a slow painful embarrasing spiral of death for a denomination that raised me and that I still love. The once mighty SBC, a former jewel of Christian service and mission work, will become ashes on the heap of dead inistitutions that died of a simple lack of Love and true Christian humility that strayed to far from the cross.

Make no mistake, God has no use for those who claim to follow Jesus in doctrine and ignore Jesus in practice using slander and inuendo, ignoring the cross. He loves even these that do such things, but he will be forced to choose others to do his work of making true disciples.

Keep up the good work Wade, be gentle and kind and plead, but don't back off. You and others like yourself still in the SBC must lead the denomination back to the the ultimate symbol of humility, the cross.

From a Baptist brother now on the outside looking in.