Thursday, August 03, 2006

Comments Are Not From the Author of the Post

In the past seven months I have posted approximately 200 articles on this web site. Comments per post average from five to one hundred and twenty five, depending on the interest in the subject posted.

I have had a few people who have attempted to say that I am responsible for the comments. In other words, if I allow the comments to be posted, then I must agree with them. As a result, there have even been instances where comments on my blog have been read publicly and some, without success, tried to hold me responsible for them.

Let me reiterate that I do not always agree with the comments. There have been many comments that are critical of me and a few critical of other things --- comments that I would not agree with in substance. It is my desire, however, for people to be free to speak what they believe, regardless of my views.

A healthy organization and family will let people speak freely, but an unhealthy system will seek to clamp down on those who disagree. In addition, Southern Baptists need to get to the place where we stop acting like everything is wonderful publicly and rail against each other privately. If there is a problem, we need to be free to address it openely, offer solutions, and move forward.

As I have thought through my desires to let people speak freely on this blog, I found it a little inconsistent to enable comment moderation. I have only rejected a handful of comments out of the several thousand sent, and those were because of very personal and direct criticism toward individuals (other than me) that I felt were unwarranted. In one instance I refused to post comments from a blogger that was dominating the post by sending multiple, lengthy comments. I suggested he start his own blog and he was offended and never came back. Other than that, every comment has been placed on the board.

Therefore, I will no longer operate comment moderation. If someone wishes to post, it will go up immediately. There may be rare occasions where I will have to remove a comment, but I believe those occasions will be rare.

Remember, the comments do NOT originate from the author of the post.

In His Grace,



Bob Cleveland said...


Durn your hide, you've flung one on me. I'm going to have to revisit comment moderation on my own blog.

Worst part is I can't find any loopholes in what you said. I wish I was busier so I wouldn't have to think about this so much. said...


Yes, you do have to be a blogger.

Though it is not difficult to hide one's identity as a blogger, I got tired of people pretending they were someone they weren't and posting a comment as "anonymous."

So . . .

If someone wants to comment sign up for a blog.

foxofbama said...

Good call Wade, see my post on the Mike Huckabee thread from the Dallas Morning News below...sfox

Dori said...

Wow ... only a handful of comments rejected. I'm impressed. I reject three or four a week at least. But then y'all don't really want to read all those marriage proposals I get, do you? :)

So I'm sticking with comment moderation right now. But I hear your points ... good logic.

Groseys messages said...

Here is one of those rejected comments:
It was written by me in the heat of the controversy over tongues in the IMB.

"Dear Wade,
I know that this runs counter to everything that you are publishing on your blog, but clearly the SBC is not struggling with the problems that other Baptist denominations in other countries are struggling with, and that many on the mission field are struggling with.
About 30 years ago, when the pentecostal movement broke over the denominational barriers in Australia, many of our Baptist churches were affected, as AOG people transferred in (or moved into parachurch organisations affecting our Baptist churches), built up a following and split our churches to create AOG churches.
Many did not split the churches. Sometimes the leadership of the Baptist churches became pentecostal themselves under the aggressive proselytising conducted by pentecostals who saw themselves and their "blessing' as the only way to fruitfulness and fulfillment in the christian life.
In fact, many times I was asked over the years, if I spoke in tongues, and why I didn't, as, not being a tongues speaker, I therefore was regarded by them as an agent of the devil.
Let me give you a few case studies.
From 1991-1996 I pastored a Pentecostal Baptist church. Many in the church were affected by the Toronto Blessing. The previous interim pastor had stood in the pulpit just before I came there, and demanded that those who didn't speak in tongues should either get their lives right or get out of the church! (this man was an ordained man in our NSW Baptist Union of churches).
The church was sadly deeply affected by some of the excesses of the Pentecostal movement. Strong women preachers were brought in. An overemphasis on demonism was normative. Derision of the non tongue speaker as unspiritual was overwhelming.
Worship... hymns were not allowed at the church when I first came there. Perhaps possibly one hymn may be sung per day (not per service). Emotional frenzy, ungodly relationships, and terrible pastoral care issues were normative, all the travesties of typical Pentecostalism.
Over 6 years, and with the help of a friend of yours, Wade, Errol Hulse of Reformation Today, an ex-Elim Tabernacle pastor, our church was brought back to a conservative evangelical position. The Pentecostal stuff just fell off, as, under God, we brought people to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
On moving to Newcastle in 1996, we found a Pentecostal man in the congregation who was most unhappy that the church had called a non tongue speaker to be their pastor. He brought in a pastor of a nearby Baptist church and held a meeting with him to discuss how to get rid of me (for "not being a spiritual man because [I] did not speak in tongues"). I was privy to their meeting, as, unbeknownst to them, I was sitting in the next room, my office, listening to their conversation. They determined that they would gain control of the diaconate by maliciously attacking the weakest deacons on any issue that would cause them distress, and replacing them with men they would pick and move into our congregation for that purpose. When they gained over 50% of the seats on the diaconate, they said, they would sack me, employ the Pentecostal Baptist pastor as pastor, and then tell the non tongue speakers in the congregation (95%) to leave the church.
I stepped out of the office, demanded the keys from this guy and sent them packing. The pastor of that Pentecostal Baptist church has since taken his church out of the denomination and become a “Christian City Church”, a denomination that regards tongue speaking as essential .(We believe “In the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a gift available to believers, with the normal evidence of speaking in other tongues;”)
He had taken full control of the congregation, dispensing with congregational government several years ago. They have also not repaid debts they owed to the Baptist denomination on their buildings, and have told the denomination that they deny that they are responsible for those debts, as they are no longer a Baptist church.

These are just two incidents in my ministry.
I could recount innumerable incidents from our denominations history over the last 30 years.
5 years ago a friend invited me to the meeting for Toronto Blessing Baptist ministers in our state, representing 1/5th of Baptist ministers in this state.
That means that probably 1/5th of our Baptist churches are into the Toronto Blessing in some way. My how the "private prayer language" multiplies!
Why was this not addressed denominationally? Because, how can you discipline someone for a private prayer language?
Why was the Toronto Blessing thing not disciplined? Because many of these people became denominational leaders.
Once the sting is in, its in!
Sure, you may want to widen your fellowship now, but in 20 years, when all that is left is rubble to a once flourishing denomination, you may regret that decision.
I would like to suggest to you, that if you look outside your SBC, and the USA, that you will see my stories repeated all over the world, particularly on the mission field.
I can understand it if you do not wish to publish this on your blog. Such situations would appear to be warnings that what you are proposing could blow up in your face. But to be fair in debating the issue, others should know that what you are proposing has ramifications you may not be able to control.
Every Blessing Wade,

GeneMBridges said...

Nevertheless it always helps to lay the ground rules. Might I suggest you head over to and look under the topic "Rules of Engagement." There's a post there that deals with the rules for comments on our blog. I composed it from some of the best rules on a number of blogs. Every so often you get a person who wants to turn the combox into his own private parallel universe. You might want to have some rules laid down spelling out what is and is not acceptable behavior.

Liam Madden said...

Pastor Steve Grose's comments ring true with me in a certain sense; I was once a leader of a thriving college Bible study that broke up under an assault from a tongues- speaker who was determined that everyone else speak in tongues and kept at it until many guys just got tired of it and quit coming, so it's not hard for me to believe that such a think could happen to churches, missionary communities, etc.

Even so, as this issue pertains to the IMB and some previous postings on the topic of tongues, I think it's important to keep in perspective whether the charges against IMB figures who have been accused of speaking in tongues are accurate or not. In making this point, my intention is to undergird pastor Burleson's theme of the damage that is done to the SBC by an ongoing pattern of unsubstantiated (and, I believe, largely politically motivated) pattern of personal attacks against SBC leaders, with accusations of heresy, prayer languages, etc.

With respect to IMB President Jerry Rankin, I can say that during my time of journeyman service in Thailand 1990-92, at which time Dr. Rankin was serving as the Area Director of SE Asia, I never once heard him speak of a private prayer language or suggest to missionaries that they should practice such. In his person and manner, Dr. Rankin was always approachable but business-like. The mission meetings of the Thailand Baptist Mission were, in those days, more like the
business meetings of a family-run company than a Wednesday night prayer meeting at any church (charismatic or otherwise), and in his manner, Jerry Rankin was always conservative and professional.

I add these comments here because I think that when we begin to consider accusations against this person or that person, that it's important to keep the actual person and their behavior in view, and not just give hearsay and unsubstantiated charges the first seat at the table. For example, to speak of "the IMB tongues controversy" implies that an actual problem existed, and I'm not sure that the facts bear that out.

For too long, in Baptist life, we seem to have abandoned the principle that one is innocent until proven guilty. Instead, in Baptist life, the accusation itself becomes the trial--and the punishment. Our Baptist system seems to lack a mechanism to adjudicate these kinds of concerns properly, and too often, the outcomes of such judgements have seemed to depend on not who is right and who is wrong, but whose group is more powerful and who can pull together enough votes for an ouster or an absolution. We need to acknowledge the factional and carnal motivations behind many of these disputes that dishonor the spiritual principles within which they attempt to cloak themselves.

Scripture can provide guidance toward a way out of these seemingly endless controversies. Baptists need to exercise more self-control and refrain from making unproductive accusations against their leaders and others who differ with them. Making baseless accusations against a believer or any other is a form of false witness, and it's important to remember that not bearing false witness is one of the "thou shalt not's."

Alan Cross said...

Regarding the flaming over the tongues issue, there are MANY who do not do things that way. They have a sweet Christian spirit, are respectful, and are not dogmatic. You have plenty of inerrantists who are legalistic and abusive. It doesn't mean that inerrancy is wrong. This is a character issue. I can be dogmatic and exclusive about ANYTHING. The problem is not tongues, but the heart of the people. Tongues has been used by a lot of people to be exclusive and you can trace that teaching back to the beginning. But, apart from pentecostals who have abused tongues, many other people are very gracious and quiet about it. Let's go from the Bible and not react to abuses of humans. If we did that, we could shut churches down all over the country and never do anything at all.

Liam Madden said...

Dear Alan, I hope that you understand that my purpose in posting the above was not to derogate all persons who practice glossolalia. I have a few good friends (in other denominations)who speak in tongues, although I don't. I think we all agree that any gift practiced ego-centrically leads to bad results, so the problem is not the spiritual gift itself, but the character of the person as you yourself eloquently stated. But what I meant to try and get across is that when an essentially false accusation of misusing a spiritual gift is made against another, then all parties, both the accused, and those who practice that gift legitimately get smeared, and that's why I think such attacks need to be brought to a halt.

Dave Miller said...


I imagine that comment moderation was a pain in the neck for you. But I think it was a wise choice on your part. You are a controversial figure and we have seen that there are those among us willing to use flimsy evidence to smear others. I am afraid that you will be held responsible for the comments others might make on your site, and their comments be used to impugn your actions.

For most of us, comment moderation might be frivolous, but for you, discretion might be the greater part of valor.

I am not sure that everyone will understand that the "comments are not from the author of the post."

Wayne Smith said...

One of the things I LOVE about you is your OPENNESS. JESUS was open to all and showed US HIS LOVING KINDNESS. HE died for SINNERS, so that those who TRULY are SAVED may TRUST and OBEY.

You are NOT, repeat NOT accountable for the comments posted here on YOUR BLOG.

A Brother in CHRIST

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