Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Historic Day in the Southern Baptist Convention

It is 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, so this post cannot be too detailed. However, I think it is important that I give some perspective on yesterday's events (Tuesday) at the Southern Baptist Convention, in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The Convention convened at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning. The messenger registration would eventually reach over 11,000, less than what I had expected, but more than the previous few years.

The first motion presented on the floor of the convention was my motion at 8:45 a.m. requesting the appointment of an Ad Hoc Committee from the Executive Committee to investigate five concerns I have had regarding the International Mission Board.

During the morning session every motion, including mine, is simply introduced. There is no debate and no statement made other than reading the motion itself. I wanted to summarize my motion and not read it because of the length of it, but the microphone page told me I had to read the entire motion into the record. I later discovered that the volunteer microphone page was not right, but I followed her initial instructions and read the rather long motion into the record. Again, nobody could speak for or against the motion at this morning session as it was simply introduced to the convention, and a later time would be set for the purpose of voting on it.

I remind everyone that I had not intended to do anything at the Convention related to the IMB, including presenting a motion, until the Chairman of the IMB, at our May meeting in Albuquerque, publicly accused me of breaching confidentiality on my blog multiple times. This very public allegation, revealed in the presence of everyone, including my wife, was made without ever coming to me privately. When I asked to see the basis or substantiation from my blog for the charges, the microphone was turned off by the Chairman. To me that was an unconscionable series of actions that formed the last straw that led me to decide to make this particular motion at the convention.

You can read about my decision to make this motion, which I originally drafted two weeks ago, at this post entitled The Decision: A Motion in Greensboro. The motion I read into the record yesterday morning only changed from the original motion of June 1st in that I decided not to invoke Bylaw 26 and force the convention to vote on the motion while in session, but I would rather accept the decision of the Committee on Order of Business regarding how my motion would be handled.

The Committee on Order of Business' Decision

About 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon I received a call from the Chairman of the Commitee on Order of Business. His name is Alan Blume and he is a wonderful man. He asked that I meet with him and a member of the Committee at the platform.

Alan was very honest with me, but very fair. He said the Committee was going to refer the motion back to the IMB trustees, since he felt the trustees needed to be given an opportunity to deal with the recommendation themselves. He said, however, there would be two stipulations.

(1). The convention would be asked to debate and vote on referring this motion back to the IMB at 7:40 that night, so that if it passed, it would be said to the IMB that this is the Convention's action, not just Wade Burleson's.

(2). The IMB trustees investigative committee would be required to make a report back to the convention in 2007, issuing findings and recommendations on all five points.

I thanked Alan for the Committee's work, and told him I agreed this investigation should, ideally, be done by the IMB Board. However, I told him I had asked twice, in writing, to address the Board during the last year and was denied. In addition, I said the only reason we were at this point with the Convention having to deal with this matter is because the Chairman of the IMB and I could not agree who of the IMB trustees could serve on the investigative committee.

I gave the Chairman my suggestions regarding the makeup of the committee and they were rejected by him. Likewise, he gave his suggestions regarding the make-up of the Committee to me and they were rejected by me. Obviously, from my perspective on what is healthy for the IMB and the SBC, I did not want anyone who may have been part of the problem on the Board being placed on the committee assigned the responsibility of investigating those alleged problems.

In addition, I asked Alan if I could address the convention first when it came time for the debate to refer the motion back to the IMB. Alan agreed.

The Stunning Presidential Election

By now you know Frank Page won. I will not give you the numbers because several have already blogged about them, but I will tell you three anecdotes about the election.

First, after we cast our ballots but before the results were announced, I saw Dr. Page in the hall. I greeted him saying, "Hello Mr. President." He smiled and reminded me that I was the first one to call him several weeks earlier when he and I talked on the phone about him running for President of the SBC. We had a good conversation and I reminded Dr. Page of his pledge not to exclude from service godly, conservative Southern Baptists who affirm the Baptist Faith and Message, but yet differ in areas of doctrinal interpretions not addressed by the BF&M.

Frank graciously reiterated that pledge and then said he was looking to open up the appointments to people throughout the SBC that had a sweet spirit, a commitment to inerrancy, and a willingness to serve. He said he would not recycle appointments.

When Frank's election was announced I was walking around the arena and just happened to be stopped by a reporter in the undergound hallway. He wanted my reaction. Soon other reporters stopped and by the time all was said and done probably over 25 media persons from around the nation stood four deep and asked questions for forty minutes. One of the questions that kept being repeated over and over again is whether or not I believed blogs played a role in this election. I said, "Absolutely." Baptist bloggers in 2006 may well go down in history as the first time bloggers actually determined the outcome of a national religious/political election.

Why? When all three candidates were being nominated my wife leaned over to me and said, "I feel like I know all three men because of the blogs."

I attended the Press Conference for Frank Page and I am here to tell you he handled himself with class, dignity and grace. Southern Baptists have a right to be proud of this man.

It is brand new day in the SBC.

To say some were shocked by the outcome of the election is the understatement of the year.


My wife and I broke bread with some wonderful people today at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Too many to name, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to say if you shared a meal with us today you personally added to the pleasure of our day.

The Disposition of My Motion

At 7:40 p.m. I was allowed to address the recommendation of the Committee on Order of Business to refer my motion back to the IMB.

I tried to express clearly and graciously the issues involved. I told the Committee I respected their decision and wished to affirm it, while at the same time raising a couple of concerns. I first reiterated my love for the SBC, my fellow trustees and the work of our IMB missionaries. Then I said the only reason we were at this point in requesting an Ad Hoc Committee be appointed by the Executive Committee is because the Chairman of the IMB and I were at a stalemate as to who would serve on the committee from among the trustees of the IMB.

I tried to be kind, gentle and gracious, but at the same time, I let the convention know that I could not support a committee merely appointed by the Chairman of the IMB. However, I did not want to broad brush ALL the trustees. There are many good, godly men and women who I would be happy to see chosen to serve on the investigative trustee committee. The question remained: Who's doing the appointing?

I had several people tell me after the very brief debate that they appreciated my graciousness to the Convention. Several also said they were confused about what they were voting on. The issues were complex. One friend told me that I singlehandedly held the Convention back from acting against the wishes of the Committee on Order of Business by not opposing their decision. Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, I had already made the decision to trust in the Committee's determination, and that is what I did.

So . . .

In essence there will be a Committee of IMB trustees formed to investigate the five concerns of my motion and bring back a report and/or recommendaiton to the SBC in San Antonio in 2007.

I honestly believe the trustees and I can work this out. There are new officers. There will be new trustees meeting with us beginning with us in July. The IMB is doing a great work!! I would love nothing more than for the report to come back to the Convention in 2007 and it would contain concrete action steps to deal with the problems articulated.

I've got seven years left on the IMB. I can work with anyone. We will get this situation resolved, and the earlier the better!

An Unbelievable Time

After the last business of the evening a very large, informal group of bloggers, young leaders and messengers from my church met in our suite at the Sheraton. Frank Page came and we gathered around him and laid our hands on him and prayed. Wiley Drake, the Second Vice-President came by with his wife and his wife's mother and we prayed for him as well. Other SBC individuals came by the room and we prayed for them as well including missionary Wyman Dobbs, Bill Dodson, and Morris Chapman.

We committed not to blog about what was said because we wanted everyone to be able to speak in freedom, but frankly, if the details were to be shared it would sound like an old fashioned revival meeting with all the Scripture, spiritual exhortations and focus on Jesus Christ and the gospel.

Morris Chapman delivered a remarkable challenge to the bloggers in the room. He was passionate, wise and deliberate. I can honestly say that Dr. Chapman has displayed incredible leadership at the SBC these last several years. I have had occasion to speak with him and convention attorney's at various meetings I have had these last six months, and not one time has Morris Chapman ever endorsed a particular candidate for SBC office. He is a man that not only tells the truth, he lives it.

These young leaders made it very clear to these men they prayed over that they were seeking NOTHING for themselves. No positions. No appointments. No power. They just wanted to pray for those who would be doing the leading, and commit to support tehir leadership. What a sweet prayer time it was.

I was happy that our messengers from Emmanuel Baptist Church, Enid, Oklahoma were able to attend the fellowship including Dr. John Stam, Sherman and Carolyn Hamm, John and Mona Loewen, and Ben Carr. Dan and Donna were not able to make it. Four of the eight messengers from our church were attending their first ever convention.

Mona Loewen took pictures of the fellowship and prayer times and hopefully in the near future I will post a few.

Oh well, the hour is late, and I must arize early to be at the convention by 8:30 in order to deal with the resolutions and one very interesting motion that is being made on my behalf regarding my status as an IMB trustee. I blog about it later tonight!

I am very positive about our future. Change does not happen in the SBC by leaps and bounds, but when the dialogue and discussion at the SBC is more on doctrine, the CP and bloggers, then one knows full well the conversation in the SBC is changing.

However, for an interesting exercise, go back and read what I wrote on January 14, 2006, exactly six months ago today Particularly focus on Point (5). unti the end of the post.

I'm not a prophet or the son of a prophet, but my predictions at the end of that January 14, 2006 post have seen an eerily precise fulfillment in a scant six months.

To me, that is unbelievable.

Yes, even historic.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Wade, for the update. I read about Page's election this morning (the 7-hour time difference makes it the middle of the night there), but it's nice to have the extra details that you provide.

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord for His provision of grace, His work of moving the SBC to address the critical issues confronting the IMB, and His guidance in leading the SBC Messengers to choose from among themselves, leaders who have committed themselves to including in leadership roles, conservatives dedicated to the essentials of the faith, yet who may have diverse perspectives on doctrines that are nonessential to one's salvation.

The video streaming (sometimes "trickling") of the Convention sessions yesterday punctuated the impact that technological advances, such as blogging and other internet media have had on events leading up to and during the Convention.

All in all, it was a great day for Southern Baptists the world over, for cooperative Christian missionaries seeking to reach the world for Christ; and, for rank and file Baptists everywhere, the day signaled a ray of hope in breaking the strangle-hold grip that some have been greedily seeking to tighten over the entities of the SBC. . .a historic day, indeed! Praise the Lord!

In His Grace and Peace,


Bob Cleveland said...


Were the events of the past months placed into the context of events in a local church .. say, an Education ministry and anti- or extra-BFM decisions being made; were the pastor either so disconnected from the operations that he was unaware; or had he chosen to ignore the unbiblical and un-BFM actions and decisions until they were presented politically in a format he could not ignore....

And were the Elder, when he was forced to do something, to simply tell them to fix it themselves without any involvement on his part ..without investigating and leading actively ... and come back in a year...

Were that to happen in a local church, how would God not hold that Elder (pastor, or bishop, or overseer) accountable? How could God not make an example of such worldly decisions and actions?

I'll say it one more time. If God is not merciful again, which I do pray He is, then we're going to be reading "ichabod" where we never wanted to see it.

Anonymous said...

We continue to pray for you and those who represent SBC members and supporters. We are constantly reminded that though on the surface it may appear that men are in charge, ultimately it is God who "disposes." That does not in any way dismiss us from responsibility for our actions and attitudes, as well as our speech.
I do have a question. IN viewing the video of your interview yesterday, I heard you say that "without the conservative resurgence we might be debating the ordination of homosexual women (?) to the ministry." Do you really believe this? I was shocked to hear you say that. I am personally acquainted with many of the SBC leaders of that era, and I cannot imagine any of them entertaining such a thought. THis is the kind of rhetoric that has been hurled at past leaders of the SBC, and I thought we were past that. Also, I thought you were above that.
I am also personally acquainted with some of the current SBC leaders and I do not hold them in as high regard as some do who credit them with the so-called "conservative resurgence."
Having lived through the take-over of the SBC, I have more background knowledge of what took place. I saw terms such as "inerrancy" and "liberal" used to discredit and remove very godly men from office. These were not liberals by any stretch of the imagination, but were simply "in the way" of those seeking power. According to your own statments earlier, you were in high school when these events occurred so perhaps you are taking someone else's word on these matters. So, my request of you is to go ahead and celebrate the "conservative resurgence" but please don't spend time vilifying the SBC leadership of the past. I am persuaded better things of you.

LivingDust said...

Brother Wade,

By the miracle of computer and internet technology many of us were able to "attend" the Southern Baptist Convention in Greensboro. I and thousands of others have enjoyed watching the Pastors Conference and much of the Convention floor activities on Tuesday. The tributes to the life and work of Dr. Adrian Rogers have been excellent. I am praying for Mrs. Rogers. It appeared to me that President Welch has done an outstanding job of moderating and ensuring that the business of the Convention has moved forward. Many of us were pleased to hear that Dr. Page is the new President of the SBC. He has told us of his intentions to bring change and new people into the mix at the SBC. I hope that he can successfully address all the issues he touched on in his May press release. We were able to watch your well delivered address to the Convention. Thanks for sharing about the prayer meeting. It brings confidence to all of us that our SBC leaders and messengers are taking the time to pray for our Convention and praise our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

I shared with you early on that this would revolve around a "consistent Christian life" like you preach about every week and Southern Baptists were looking for a "consistent Southern Baptist life"...one that gives consistent with its teaching about missions. ALSO, that Southern Baptists will recoil to the appearance of arrogance and pride by the way they treated you like "dirt" these last few months.
If the IMB trustee Board chairman is astute, wise, and Biblical he will immediately "restore" your trusteeship to the IMB. He nor the former chairman should alter the reason Southern Baptists sent you to the IMB. It's the messengers perogative to discipline your actions...not a politically select few on the IMB Board.
We rejoice in what has happened and your taking the high road. God has His rewards...sometimes later rather than sooner!

KAREN said...

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Anonymous said...

I still think you should have pressed forward with insisting that the SBC leadership appoint this investigative group rather than an IMB self study. But since God's ways are higher than our ways, perhaps His peace will fall upon the IMB Trustee meetings. Let us pray that it is truly His peace, rather than merely a break between Rounds 1 and 2. My gut tells me that after a brief period of quiet this doctrinal narrowing beyond BFM2000 will only rear it's head again at a later time.

Although I wasn't there, looking back at the 1960's and 70's in the SBC reminds us that there were repeated attempts to bring healing in a variety of conflicts such as this. But each conflict was the SYMPTOM of an underlying greater problem: the drifting away from our historic belief in the veracity of the Bible.
The men involved in the present IMB conflict are all good men who have a high view of Scripture. The greater issue before us is encroaching Fundamentalism, going beyond a confessional people toward a legalistic, divisive one. Unless this is thoroughly dealt with, we shall be back revisiting the problem in perhaps another entity.
You have my prayers for His peace. Keep the faith, speak the truth in love.

Clay said...

Thanks for your work.

I have been at the SBC 4 out of the last 5 years and decided not to go this year. However, I feel like I know more of what is going on due to blog like this. A new day has truly dawned.

I hope to go next year and am looking forward to being more informed as the year progresses.

Anonymous said...

Dear Wade,
I am grateful for your Blog Ministry and believe that all who read the same are much better informed Baptist.Before you came along most of us were in the dark as to the workings of the SBC entities.Now if each entity will have a forthright Bloger we shall have much more information at hand.I do wish that you had pressed on with the SBC forming the IMB investigation committee. I feel in my heart that next year we will be the same old song and dance and put it off.

God richly bless you and yours..\


Anonymous said...

I'm hearing reports to the effect that, even though the recent IMB trustee decision about a personal prayer language was only supposed to apply to new candidates to the field, a document was being circulated at the Richmond HQ requiring their staff personnel to affirm in writing that they did not practice such a gift, and that failure to do so required their resignation, and that there have been some. Can you confirm or deny this report?

Stefan said...

I hope the IMB self-study will accomplish something, though I am not optimistic.

3936jim said...

Many thanks for your Blog Ministry.Your efforts keep many in the light of SBC entities inner workings. If only every entity had such a Blogger as you we would be in the light and not the darkness.I really would have liked to see you push on with with a SBC formed investigation committee of the IMB rather than wait until next year. It may turn out to be the same old song and dance routine. Now lets not hurry and maybe he will go away. dont let that happen please sir.. I know its your call,but when you hold feet to the fire things get done quicker.Keep up the good work.
A friend in Greensboro North Carolina.

Anonymous said...

anonymous said,

"The greater issue before us is encroaching Fundamentalism, going beyond a confessional people toward a legalistic, divisive one."

Fundamentalists left the SBC in the 50s and 60s. Whoever these folks are who are trying to be legalists, they are not Fundamentalists; misguided Evangelicals, yes, but definitely not Fundamentalists.

I'm really surprised at the Baptists who are saying private prayer languages are a minor issue or even a non-issue. Prayer is a vital aspect of the Christian's walk so anything concerning prayer is important. With the way eastern mysticism is getting into the American church via contemplative prayer/spirituality I'm surprised folks aren't being more discerning about prayer languages. The Bible speaks much on prayer, but gives no exhortation or instruction on private prayer languages. This is a Scriptural issue, not a legalists versus the inclusives debate.

Anonymous said...

I rejoice that, indeed, a new day has dawned in our Convention. However, there are many who view that new day as a cloudy, stormy day. I have every confidence that these folks love Jesus and the SBC and want nothing but the best for our Convention. But in their love they desire to place constraints around us that are not clearly-drawn lines in scripture.

I do not believe that any committee appointed by the current IMB chairman will be unbiased in its investigation. I believe the current chairman is neck-deep in the actions you have opposed and was probably the author of the new policies that are so wrong.

Keep holding to high standards of conduct in your actions and speech Wade. Those who you have spotlighted would love nothing more than an accurate accusation to throw at you for a change. And thanks for the Convention blogging; it is almost like being there.

Tom Parker said...

Wade, I can not believe for all the "good" you are trying to bring about that you would make such an outlandish statement that you made in your video interview that "that without the conservative resurgence we might be debating the ordination of homosexual women to the ministry."
You can never prove or disprove such a statment as yours. I would hope that you would retract this comment. You have slandered many wonderful and Godly men and women who faithfully served the SBC for years before they were forced out because they were "liberal." They are not in the convention anymore but you have to keep beating up on them by saying such outlandish things. Please, leave the "liberals" along. If you can't say something nice, it is better to say nothing.

Brian said...

Wade Keep up the good work. I liked Welch's address this morning. Impromtu but on target. our battle is not with each other, and i just hope that our Old School leaders ( I use that term because i could'nt think of anything else) listened. God bless all of you.


Anonymous said...

This EBC member is proud of you. Christ be with you and your family.
VBS is going well. Don't let this change you. TLC

Brian said...

Wade could you tell me if they are going to grandfather in the chair of the IMB trustees because of his pension? I did not hear any discussion or resolutions on this, other than the xcom first meeting. Any thing i can do in texas let me know.


Shane "George" Lambert said...

In response to Tom Parker, I must disagree with your characterization of Wade's comments. I did not take that as being directed toward any individuals, but rather at the general direction our convention was headed in some 30 to 40 years ago. Had things not have changed, in my opinion, the authority of the Bible would today be one of our biggest debates in the SBC. Thank God we've already settled that question!

And by the way, his comment said "we MIGHT be debating the ordination of homosexual women to the ministry" (emphasis mine). Using the word "might" instead of "would" makes it obvious that Pastor Wade wasn't trying to prove that this would absolutely be true. Again, thank God we don't have to worry about that scenario.

Anonymous said...

Thought it was interesting that your blogs are filled with "I" over and over again. You are so concerned about others being the "decision makers" yet you seem to want to have things your way also.
Also interesting that these "private meetings" of others are offensive and you feel like others are trying to "keep information under the rug", yet those in the room with the President pledged not to blog on what was said.
Your blogs discuss the faults of others and point the finger, but never at "your" group. It sad that there are "groups" when we are all the body of Christ!

wadeburleson.org said...

Mr. Anonymous,

One must blog with integrity. If someone does not wish to have his words blogged, you abide by those wishes. Period.

wadeburleson.org said...

Mr. Parker.

Those were Dr. Mohler's words I used.

purpletigers said...

I have viewed all the webcast sessions of the convention as well as the innovative "man on the street" interviews. Let me add my surprise, disappointment and indignation at your remarks concerning what would have happened had not the "resurgence" occurred. Please DO retract your remark that we would now be dealing with the ordination of homosexual females. Preposterous. I am a life-long Southern Baptist 75 year old woman (yes, a blogger!) and I have forgotten more about the takeover than you have capacity to remember. It was a disappointment to see you stoop to the tactics of those who show no Christian mutual respect. Please restore your class act and genteel spirit while keeping us informed. Billie Geurin Sharp

Tom Parker said...


As your christian brother I ask your forgiveness for jumping to a conclusion from listening to the video. I should have sought clarification from you. I mean this sincerely.
All I am trying to say is would you not agree even if you were repeating Dr. Mohler's words those were words that served no useful purpose? When I listened to the video I did not hear you say these were words spoken by Dr. Mohler and you were repeating them. You were asked a question and I listened as you made this comment about ordaining homosexual women. Did I miss this your saying you were repeating his words?

Shane "George" Lambert said...

Regardless of who first used these words, I think they were appropriate in both situations. Again, these words were not slanderous attacks against individuals. I believe to characterize them as such misrepresents their meaning.

Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say congratulations, Wade - and fellow bloggers. :)

There will be many interpretations of what it means that Charles Page was elected as SBC president, but your hard work and newfound influence were undeniably crucial factors.

Know of my continued prayers and best wishes.

Mark R.

Paul Burleson said...

Wade, I knew you were quoting Dr. Mohler, I was there and heard him say it. I have to say, however, I thought at the time it was a bit over the top. My opinion only.


Anonymous said...

As an IMB missionary, I am so thankful to see a president that supports the Cooperative Program. Now if we can just get trustees that will stick to the Bible and not pass rules that go beyond a reasonable interpretation of scripture. (prayer tongues). By the way, I wrote one of the trustees in my state about this matter. I politely asked him to explain to me on what Biblical grounds they passed this rule. He ignored my letter.

Perhaps Dr. Page's election is a sign that brighter days are ahead for our convention.

Anonymous said...

I believe 3 necessary ingriendients were mixed into this convention that made it so good.

1. Knowledge--those who came knew the issues and knew the candidates for election to offices.

2. Understanding--those who came understood why the issues were important. They knew why it is important to have persons of influence who demonstrat real support for the CP, who practice accountability to the messengers and who would cast a broader net of cooperation.

3. Freedom of Conscience--perhaps the greatest of the three. Those who came Knew the issues, Understood the issues, and voted their conscience.

Without the presence of each of those ingriedients no Democratic/Congregational Christian organization whether church, association, state or national convention will clearly discern God's will.

Because of their incorporation this year...I believe the will of God was clearly discerned.

May all those who vote and participate in the SBC continue to be diligent in gaining Knowledge and adding to that Understanding and adding to that Freedom of Conscience. In so doing may God's Will Be Done!

That's the Baptist way especially, the Southern Baptist way.

Robert Hutchinson
Faith Baptist Church
Harrisionville, MO

Anonymous said...

Brother Wade,

on the SBC resolution on Drinking:

I serve overseas and have once held to the idea that abstaining from drinking was the best. However, today I can honestly say that what I realized was that I wasn't willing to learn how to CONTROL my flesh. Honestly, this resolution has nothing to do with the fundamental truths of the WORD and is as some have already said, " it is standing against what CHRIST taught". Christ didn't say don't drink, He said, "don't get drunk with wine". The emphasis isn't on the wine it is on the amount you drink.... therefore the focus of our attention should be on our ability to control our flesh. Which is fitting with the teachings of Christ.

I just don't know what to do really? How do we as members of the SBC justify this false teaching? How can we keep allowing men to stand up and make resolutions that are CLEARLY Contradicting the WORD OF GOD?

I'm struggling... any words of wisdom?

Thanks for striving for unity and for being a man of integrity that will stand up for RIGHT teaching.

I pray for you and your wife -
Phil. 2: 12-15....

I'm "holding tightly the word of life".... Phil 2:16

Anonymous said...

My Dear Brother:
I write as one who has serious reservations about some things that you say, but I do not question that your motives are pure. I do take exception to your statement that Southern Baptists have not been known for expositional preaching. Adrian Rogers, Jerry Vines, Homer Linsey, Jr. W.A. Criswell all would be described as tremendous expositional preachers. Most of the preachers in my circle of friends are expositors. We may not come to the same conclusions that you do, but our scholarship is not suspect. If we are to accept your differing interpretations of scripture in love, so must you ours.

wadeburleson.org said...


Thank you for your spirit.

There is difference between "exegetical" preaching (which I said was a weakness of the SBC) and "expositional" preaching. I agree many, and you have named several, preach expositionally.

However, an exegesis of the text let's the text speak for itself. An eisogesis of the text imposes a system of thought UPON the text, to that the text is then interpreted through a particular lens of the pastor.

True exegetical preaching will always let the text speak for itself, even if the speaker does not understand what the text is saying, he simply preaches the text and NEVER waters it down.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your work. I have not been to the SBC in seven years. Your writing along with the nomination of Frank Page gave me good reasons to go and be involved (again). I am still cautious about the SBC's future. A divide exists that is theological, methodological and cultural. But for now... thanks for your work. Please keep it up!

Shoshana L said...

Craig from Georgia, I agree with you when you say--"I'm really surprised at the Baptists who are saying private prayer languages are a minor issue or even a non-issue."

However, I strongly disagree with your statement that--"the Bible speaks much on prayer, but gives no exhortation or instruction on private prayer languages."

In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul describes the private prayer language in verse 2. "For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries."

He goes on to say in verses 14-15, "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What is the outcome then? I shall pray with the spirit and I shall pray with the mind also; I shall sing with the spirit and I shall sing with the mind also..."

And in verse 18, he says, "I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all..."

Paul wasn't blasting this gift. He believed in this gift. He operated freely in this gift. However, people who don't understand tongues or private prayer languages often miss the meaning of this chapter.

There are two distinct gifts of tongues spoken about in scripture. One is the gift of speaking in tongues which the believer receives upon being baptised in the Holy Spirit. It is a private prayer language whose use "edifies" the individual believer (verse 4).

However, there is also the gift of tongues that manifests as a message in tongues given to an entire congregation, which must be followed by the gift of interpretation, so that the entire church will understand what is being said (verse 5).

This act of giving a message in tongues, followed by interpretation, is equal to the gift of prophecy given to a congregation in its native language. All of these gifts...tongues, interpretation, and prophecy...are revelation gifts (see verse 6). The gifts are given by the unction of the Holy Spirit, and the ones meant expressly for the assembly reveal a message given by God for edification, exhortation or consolation (verse 3).

The entire chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians was written by Paul to delineate the proper use of tongues given as a private prayer language, as opposed to the tongues given as a message to the entire church.

Evidently, the Corinthians were speaking aloud in the assembly in their private prayer languages, causing chaos and confusion. Paul wanted all to be able to understand what was being said aloud in the assembly, so he urged keeping their private prayer tongues just that--private.

In other words, don't speak in tongues in church unless you know it's a special message of God for the entire assembly, to be followed by the gift of interpretation, so that all may understand and benefit.

So why these two impartations of tongues in the first place?

According to Paul, the private prayer language is given so the Holy Spirit may speak thru us "mysteries" to God. Our minds don't understand the words (are "unfruitful", vs. 14), but the Holy Spirit knows exactly what he's doing, praying what the Bible seems to indicate are completely pure prayers on our behalf.

So why the other gift of tongues--that is, a message given to a congregation that is followed by the gift of interpretation? Verse 22 tells why: it is "a sign to unbelievers" in the congregation; a miraculous display of God's truth and power.

So why the need for prophecy (given in the native language of the assembly) as opposed to a message given as tongues and interpretation? It is "a sign to believers" (verse 22) and benefits by way of "edification, exhortation and consolation" (verse 3).

As one who prays in tongues privately, and who also, on occasion, has given congregational messages in tongues and/or interpretations, I can say that if one remains quieted before the Lord and submitted, you learn how to distinguish between these gifts. For one thing, you can pray anytime in your private prayer language. However, a message in tongues for the assembly requires a special unction or prompting of the Lord.

I believe every gift from God is important, and every gift is explained in scripture, if we seek it out. I also believe that every gift that God gives is "essential," or He wouldn't be giving it.

I do know this: that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for today, and is for every believer. This baptism is the experience that gives entrance to the gift of tongues, and other revelatory and power gifts spoken about in scripture. Power for witnessing is the reason you seek God for this baptism (Acts 1:8).

In the past, I've tried scripturally to convince skeptic Baptists of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and can never get them to receive this wonderful gift because they already believe they "have it all."

But the believer who is hungering after more of God to the point of putting aside his traditional presuppositions is more easily led into the baptism of the Holy Spirit, because he hasn't put up all the religious roadblocks.

The "private prayer language" is a controversy in the SBC because of those denominational skeptics who will not believe it, will never receive it, and who want to keep everyone else from receiving it as well.

Jesus told the disciples to "wait for what the Father had promised" (Acts 1:4)--not to sit around and debate whether or not it is an "essential" of the faith.

How richly blessed are those who follow His admonition.

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