Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Personal Epiphany: Everyone Has A Filter

An epiphany is defined as "a comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization."

I have wondered why there has been such a dramatic, often emotional response to my efforts to articulate my Biblical opposition on a few issues confronting us in the Southern Baptist Convention including the decision to forbid the appointment of any missionaries who speak in tongues in their private prayers, the exclusion of missionaries who were baptized in a church that does not hold to eternal security, and the recent resolution requesting the refusal of appointment as trustee any Southern Baptist who does not hold to a personal abstinence conviction regarding the use of alcohol.

The continuing narrowing of the parameters of participation and cooperation in Southern Baptist work is a concern of mine, but what has startled me more than anything else is the often belittling, sometimes angry response of those who do not agree with me on these issues. It has been at best confusing, at worst, a little unsettling.

But yesterday I had an epiphany.

It happened as I was driving west on Owen K. Garriott, or Highway 412 for you outside of Enid, and I drove right by our church and the color video display screen on the church sign. The sign was functioning properly, and there were some great video announcements regarding the events upcoming at our church.

But the color was off.

The video screen was mostly yellow and green. The usual beautiful rainbow of vivid plasma colors that mark our sign was gone. We have had some problems with the sign since we were hit by lightening, and I picked up my cell phone to call Pastor Ted Kuschel, our Minister of Media, to let him know that we were having problems. I also wondered why Pastor Ted had not caught this, since he worked Friday and should have noticed the problem. I was just a little irritated.

Then, just as I was dialing his number --- I realized I had my golf sunglasses on. These fancy glasses filter out unwanted UV rays, but they also distort colors by dimishing any color but green and yellow, which makes things very crisp and clear on the golf course, but distorted in real life. Here I was upset with Ted for not getting the sign repaired in preparation for Sunday, but the problem was not the sign --- it was the filter on my eyes.

Had I not discovered my personal filter, and had Pastor Ted come down to the church at my beckoning he would have seen for himself a beautiful, multicolored display on our video sign. He would have told me there was nothing wrong with the sign and then he and I would have argued. I KNEW what I was seeing. He KNEW what he he was seeing. We were both looking at the same thing, but we were seeing it differently. I would have argued with him that color needed to be ADDED. He would have argued that adding any color would have distorted the already beautiful sign.

Here was my epiphany.

The gospel is a beautiful panalopy of brilliant color to me. It is Christ and Him crucified. As the Apostle Paul said, "I desire to know nothing else among you but Christ and Him crucified." Everything I say and write is an attempt to maintain the supernatural beauty of the gospel. When others seek to add to the gospel denominational regulations, performance oriented dictums, cultural prohibitions, and other man-made duties, I see the gospel being compromised, distorted, and ultimately marred. The beauty of the gospel is breathtaking to me, and anybody who seeks to add to it, destroys that beauty in my eyes.

But those who argue with me argue with all sincerity. To them, it is I who have "destroyed" the gospel. If I don't agree to their prohibitions and mandates, then my gospel is not truly the gospel of the Bible, and I am the one who is marring the gospel. I believe they look at the gospel through a filter. Maybe it is the filter of their upbringing, past personal disappointments or failures, or simply fear that a simple gospel, without certain prohibitions will lead to licentiousness.

Whatever the case, my personal epiphany has caused me to come to three conclusions:

(1). Never question the sincerity of my Christian brother who upbraids me for writing what I write. In his mind he is keeping the gospel "pure."

(2). Be patient with those who disagree. They may be unaware of any filter over their eyes, and only God can ultimately remove it.

(3). And for every person who will read this post and comment saying, "But Wade, YOU are the one with the filter over your eyes regarding the gospel!" I will simply respond --- "You may be right. That is why I am asking God to help me see the gospel in all its beauty without any of my preconceived biases. Pray for me that any filter I have over my eyes may be removed as well."

In His Grace,



Don said...

Very good post. Thanks for sharing it with us. Maybe some of us have our "golf glasses" on more than we realize it.

volfan007 said...

hey bro.,

i agree that sometime we have our sunglasses on. growing in our faith is a way to have them taken off.

and, i agree that we should not narrow down the boundaries so far that we are too strict...too narrow. we should let the bible be our guide of how narrow we should be.

but also, there are some things that give us a baptist distinctive in our flavor of faith and practice. like baptism by immersion for one thing. that's a narrowing boundary. would you be for allowing baptisms by sprinkling and pouring?

also, our belief about once saved, always would be for letting people who dont believe in that write our s.s. literature?

there are many other things that make us distinctively baptist...things that we would not call other non-christians for...but things that would cause us to not want them to be missionaries...nor to be s.s. writers....nor pastors of our churches...nor teachers in our seminaries....would you not agree?


Bryan Riley said...

This is my favorite post of any you have written, Wade.

While i appreciate the improtance of groups and collections of likeminded people, I think it is fair to ask oneself, would I rather be distinctively baptist or distinctively Christian? Which is more important? I'm sure we would all agree on the answer to that question, but our varying lenses may then act that out in very different ways.

Bryan Riley said...

This also made me think of 1 Corinthians 13:12. Praise God one day we will see more clearly in the perfect light of His love.

Bob Cleveland said...


Very very true.

Joseph Garlington touched on some of this in a sermon entitled "God's Strange Ways", perhaps 10 years ago. I wrote him and he sent me a copy of it and I have put it on a CD.

I'll send you a copy at the church. It's good (and entertaining, albeit I don't agree with evrything he had to say) and you might give it a shot in your car some time. said...


I would agree, but every illustration you gave has nothing to do with the current issues in the SBC.


Alycelee said...

Wonderful, timely post.
Thank you for reminding me to ask God to remove those "filters" and to renew my mind.
We are cautioned to not "have a form of godlyness and deny the power" but to be holy as he is holy.
I believe God has you, Wade in a place and time to be a plumbline.
A difficult thing to do, I'm sure.
I can see by the post here that many are praying for you, as am I.
I can also see that God is at work here and is advancing His kingdom.
This is much bigger than our churches, than our seminaries, than our boundaries, than the IMB than the SBC... it's the Kingdom.
Let those who have eyes to see.. see.
My prayer is that God will allow me to.
Thanks again for your continued faithfulness.

Rex Ray said...

Very good post, but your three conclusions will be hard for you or any of us to keep.
Once I saw this black green ‘stuff’ coming out of a big fish I had speared. I got rid of him as I thought eating him would kill me. I did not recognize the ‘stuff’ as blood because I did not know that below 50 feet of water the color ‘red’ was lost.

Why did Saul throw his spear at David? He was angry with others for praising David more than him. He couldn’t throw his spear at the women, so he took it out on David.
Wade, if I’m wrong on what I’m about to say, just laugh it off, but you may have realized this by stating the three rules you are going to live by.
You were angry for Welch saying what you believed when he was mistaken. Pastor Bob defended Welch. Three comments in a row praised Bob. So you threw your spear at Bob.
I may be out on a limb here, but with the shades I’m wearing, I sort of see it that way—excuse me for looking for more potatoes.

I’ve always liked the song, “Rose Colored Glasses.” I BELIEVE some wear those when they read the Bible. I believe God didn’t want us to worship the ‘messenger’ and the words of ALL men and the devil in the Bible are NOT the words of God and thus they are not true.
Some argue if EVERY word is not true, how do you know which ones are true? THAT’S THE JOB OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, and not the job of the SBC or the IMB.
Rex Ray

Wayne Smith said...

My filter is not working as I read your post.

I think you need to correct this word in you post.

But those who argue with me argue with all sincerity. To them, it is I who have "destroyed" the gospel.

Shouldm't it say (against me), instead of (with me)?

Other than that I say:


A Brother in CHRIST

Pastor Brad said...


Wonderful illustration. I agree with the idea of the post. I guess I disagree (I'm sure you're shocked) with the application.

Certainly, we all have disagreements over non-essential (and by that I mean non-salvational) issues. And certainly, we can disagree without a sense that one is hell-bound.

However, the question seems to me to be that of the right of an autonomous body, be it a church or a convention of churches to narrow down who it associates with. We all do it over some issues. For instance, I would think that your church would not accept a person into membership that has not been baptized as a believer by immersion (though that is not always a safe assumption any more in Baptist churches). You are not saying that they aren't saved, you are simply stating that they don't meet your best understanding of what scripture requires of a disciple of Christ.

However, you feel on the issue of tongues, alcohol, Calvinism, etc, surely we can agree that an autonomous association of churches can take a stand in areas that are not universally accepted throughout the whole of Christendom. You call it being too narrow, but it seems to me, and I am open to refutation, that Paul often narrowed down who the churches he was writing to should associate with and what they should or should not do in their personal lives. We must take a stand on issues that are not universally recognized, mustn't we?

That doesn't mean that we think people who speak in tongues or drink alcohol are not brothers and sisters in Christ. But there are other denominations and there are other churches. We must as leaders take a stand on issues that may not relate to salvation, but are nonetheless in scripture, even if they are not universally accepted. Agree or disagree?

Though you lost me in the middle, I agree again wholeheartedly with your conclusion. We must all be dilligent not to simply accept our preconceived ideas, but to constantly study the scriptures and refine our understandings as the Spirit reveals the Word to our heart.

To Bryan Riley,

I believe we are to be first distinctively Christian in primary issues. I am however also, distinctively Baptist in my convictions. And that is a good thing. This idea that we should shed our labels is the lie of ecumenicalism. There are many issues that are distinctively Baptist and I feel they are not in conflict with being distinctively Christian, but rather complete the theological picture for our people. People need to know what the Word says, not someone saying, "Well it may mean this or it may mean that" or worse, someone who ignores the issue all together.

For instance the issue of believer's baptism has given us great traction to lead people of Catholic faith into a desire to delve into the Word of God. Perhaps I am overworking your statement though.

God bless all of your ministries and may we lead one another to dig deeper in the Word. Thank you for being iron for me to sharpen against.

Wayne Smith said...

I see Pastor Brad Reynolds is back at it. He just loves to stir things up. Iain Murray would refer this to Fanaticism...


Please carry on in the Mission GOD put you in for the advancement of HIS KINGDOM

A Brother in CHRIST who happen to be a Baptist

RKSOKC66 said...


The problem is that everyone is wearing some kind of crazy glasses.

Simple Case #1:

If one person wore the distorting glasses and the other person wore none then maybe an "impartial" third person could determine which person was inhibited by the filters.

More Complex Case #2:

Both people are wearing conflicting types of glasses so the view is different between the persons. The impartial observer can't tell exactly who is "right" since each of them are right/wrong in about the same percentage: (a)they disagree on many issues; and (b) at the same time they agree on some issues because neither of their filters distorts those issues or distorts them in the same way.

Even more complex case #3:

Same as case #2 except there are no impartial observers since out of the universe of observers all of them have various types of glasses -- none exactly the same.

In my opinion, the real world case is #3.

There is not a person on this earth that is not wearing filters. There is not a person in the SBC that is not wearing filters. We are all seeing a distored view because of sin.

Does this mean then, that we can never come to a consensus? It probably does if the set of items requiring consensus is too big.

Somehow or some way we have reached this place in our journey with the latest BF&M. The process we used may not have been "perfect". Guys who came up with it were all wearing glasses.

The problem is that while we agree by mutual consent -- through some type of deliberative process and/or democratic vote -- that we will adhere to the BF&M, each of us still strives for "perfection" in a myriad of extra-BF&M areas as defined through our mutually incompatible set of filters.

We can argue problems on their merits. There is nothing wrong with the principled debate like we had a few posts ago regarding alcohol. However, it will probably be more fruitful to agree to disagre on certain things.

Can we define the parameters of cooperation to be the BF&M? If so, then by default we don't have to enforce conformity to things beyond the BF&M.

Is the BF&M perfect? To me it is fine using my filters. However, even if it is not perfect it allows us to work together according to shared beliefs which are "approximately" "the essence" of doing our work in promoting the Gospel.

I think we could set aside the non-BF&M "issues" before the BoT by acknowledging that the importance of the issues does not rise to the level that would justify the missiness of trying to tackle them given the
environment of highly personalized and unique filtration that exists.

Bottom line: LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE. Using my own glasses I don't see any hills worth dying on.

Wayne Smith said...

Pastor Brad,


Tim Sweatman said...

Superb post. This should be required reading for all Christians. The truth is, every single one of us looks at the gospel through some sort of filter; no one sees the gospel in a purely objective way, free from personal biases or frames of reference. If we fail to recognize this, we inevitably will incorporate our personal views and interpretations into the fabric of the gospel. Thus, when people disagree with us, we perceive it as their disagreeing with the gospel. Your three conclusions are as wise to follow as they are difficult to follow.

Pastor Brad said...

In His Name,

Brother, I don't understand anything you asked me. Also, my last name is not Reynolds. Finally, I thought the point here was to dialogue, not just to pat the author on the back. I'm not out to stir things up. I'm just trying to learn from all of you and maybe help you see my perspective as well. Have I wronged you somehow?

Wayne Smith said...

Pastor Brad.

If you want to dialogue, please come out of the closet amd ID yourself with a Blob of your own.

Please forgive me, Wade for the distraction on your Blog.

A Brother for MISSIONS

davidinflorida said...

Pastor Wade,...Great post....Its too bad that Paul is not around today, as I am sure he would write a few letters to the southern baptists...SBC 2:26 might be similar to Romans 14 (liberty) or maybe SBC 6:14 might be similar to Col 2 :16-23 (legalism) or SBC 8:20 could be similar to James 4:11 (judging your brothers) , or maybe not..........One thing I cant find in the Bible is denominations. Where is this?....

Bryan Riley said...

I am not trying to be cute or thick with any of my comments here, but I really didn't understand the responses to what I wrote.

What does the Word say here?

20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me."

And what is the end game of this oneness that Jesus prayed for?

The end game Jesus was praying for was "so that the world may believe that [the Father] sent [Jesus]." In other words, so that the world can come to know Him... that is, so that the gospel would be preached to the world.... that is, the Great Commission.

Was this prayer about being distinctively Baptist? Help me understand how being distinctively Baptist furthers the Kingdom? Again, I think it is fine to gather together with people with whom you feel comfortable. I am a member of various groups that share certain things in common. I am a member of what people would view as a conservative SBC. But, my main concern is that we be willing to follow God's word together to share the gospel with the world. I think as long as we proclaim the self-importance of one particular group of saved by grace Christians over another we create a hindrance to the gospel of Christ.

I'm not sure we can expect to see the answer to Christ's prayer in John 17 until we who, "because of his great love for us, [were] made ... alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions [and who are] by grace ... saved...," are willing to work together. Of course, with man it is impossible, but thank God it is with Him possible.

Moreover, by fixing are eyes on Christ, and not Baptist distinctiveness, we will be enabled not to "regard [any]one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

Wouldnt' it be amazing if we became peacemakers among Christian denominations and were ambassadors of the ministry of reconciliation between Christians? I'm not talking about ecumenicalism, a manmade attempt at bringing together religions; I'm talking about all the new creations in Christ, from all over the world, being reconciled to one another in Christ. Then, perhaps people really would know who Jesus was through our love, because, speaking for myself, any act of love or peacemaking I do is truly only through the grace of God and can only be seen as His work.

RKSOKC66 said...

Let me be more concrete by giving an example of "leaving things alone":

Trying to adopt some type of "regulation" or "rule" or "policy" regarding PPL by the IMB BoT is does not seem to me to pass a cost / benefit analysis.

The amount of benefit -- if any -- that any such rule would provide does not justify what would evidently be "significant" BoT diviseness.

I think just like any other effective leadership body the BoT should "pick their fights" wisely.

Bro. Rob said...

Wade, thanks for this article, brother. For me personally, it was a timely post at a critical point.

Kevin Bussey said...

Can I borrow those glasses?

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

Your post appears to be a great concept and can explain why some say one thing and others explain it away using the same standard.

My question is not meant to be caustic or presented out of anger. Are you not advocating relativism? It appears to me that you are saying what is truth for you is not truth for someone else. It appears that we are working from a mentatlity that there is no right and wrong, just differences of opinion. While one is shaped by their personal disappointments and faliures, along with their upbringing it does not necessarily mean they place prohibitions on the Gospel. If one is aware of this shaping and deals with it honestly before God, they are then better able to discern truth in their own lives.

I submit it is not the filters through which one allows God's truth to come, but the methods of interpretation. Please, I am not saying you do not believe the Bible. I am however, saying there may be a different understanding of the rules of interpretation when regarding Scripture. Two people cannot be diametrically opposed on an issue and both be right.

I pray you receive this comment in the spirit of peace it is written.

Tim said...


I don't think it is relativism by any means.

Thanks for your spirit in asking and I trust you will sense my spirit the same as yours. What I am about to may sound harsh, but it is only used for illustration purposes.


Tim, you have blinders on. You have added to the simplicity of the gospel. You are in error and teaching a distorted gospel. You have added man-made prohibitions and culteral biases to distort the beautiful gospel.


Now, Tim, which do you prefer. The post I have written and the spirit in which it is written, or the comment I just made?

That is a sincere question, because if you want me to stand on "absolute truth" I have a hard time understanding how I can respond with people who disagree with me.

I don't like saying what I said in the comment above, but what choice do I have if I choose to believe I am standing on absolute truth.

volfan007 said...


i believe that you understood my posts. the point being that we do set boundaries that other christians may not agree with nor like. your church probably has boundaries set for membership that some christians would not agree with. dont ordain women as ministers and you? well, there may be some out there that would not agree with this. but, your church has set that boundary. or, you wont accept the baptism of someone who has been sprinkled....would you? well, there's another boundary. the one who has been sprinkled and wants to join your church may have a huge problem with that.

i contend that your church is autonomous and has every right to decide to abide by yall's personal convictions on these issues. and, we as southern baptist hold some things very dear....and we count it very important that everyone abide by these boundaries.

if we, as southern baptist, do not want tongue speakers and drinkers to be in lesdership positions nor as missionaries...then we have every right to do so. or, if we, as southern baptist, do not want people who believe a person can lose thier salvation to write ss literature, then we have that right to do so.

well, pastor brad tells it much better than i can. he really does have a way with words. pastor brad, you are a very good writer. you ought to write a book.


RKSOKC66 said...


I agree that as autonomous churches each has a "right" to define any parameters it wants -- such as private prayer language or whatever.

However, that is not the question. The question is even though any given church or association has a "right" to narrow parameters is this really advancing or retarding the cause of Christ?

I guess we have a "right" to only use a certain type of song book or only have a certain version of the Bible. I guess we have a right to hold to some certain type of eschatology or to hold to a certain position on the Calvanist vs. Armenian spectrum.

Hopefully, there is a better reason to do something other than we have a "right" to do it.

I guess I have a right to paint my house purple, but I am not going to do it due to the distraction it would cause in the neighborhood.

I think the key question is "Can we agree, in principle, to some basic set of guidelines that we are all going to follow while allowing freedom in other areas"? Don't you agree that the BF&M is the "basic set of rules"? If so, then we shouldn't be adding other stuff.

If something is so fundamental that you can't be a Baptist without holding to that position then I think we should add it to the BF&M.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

Personally, I prefer the illustration version. That is more honest and sincere than "we may all have filters." In the illustration version the writer honestly states beliefs. It is an honest response, though it may sound harsh, it is honest. It is then that one can respond honestly as to what they believe. Also, according to your last paragraph the illustration version is what you believe.

Allow me to use an illustration. Would you say this is a honest statement? One that is true to the way I feel?

Wade, while you are a great person and I trust your intentions are pure, your arguments seem less than standard for one who holds to the inerrancy of Scripture.
Illustration over.

If you say no because of what I have posted in the past and some actions you have observed me take I have left myself room to argue that I have never tagged you with the "l" or "m" word. The entire disruption we find ourselves in relates back to how people have said things on the surface only to act differently behind the scenes.

Relating back to the filter of upbringing, I probably just grew up hard. I do not know. My family was the type that would state exactly what they thought.
Therefore, I am used to people taking hard shots at me. However, I have become accustomed to being able to discern when one states truth to me for my betterment, and when one uses vernacular trying to put me down.

Disclaimer: I believe you have done the latter. I am not angry.


irreverend fox said...


I've also had an epiphany.

Try this one on for size. I believe the reason why we are experiencing (what I believe are) growth pains is:

part of our convention view themselves and the convention as "baptist Christians" (I'm sure that half will not appreciate this one bit) and "half" see themselves as just plain old "Bible" or "conservative" Christians.

I know, for myself, the reason I'm a southern baptist is not because I'm southern or "baptist" (I'm in NE Ohio! btw GO BROWNS!). It's cause I'm #1 in agreement with the BF&M2000, #2 I believe in the concept of the CP and #3 I believe in the autonomy of the local church yet #4 I'm not an isolationist.

I don't call myself a baptist, the church I'm planting, which is NAMB supported, is not a "baptist" church (Southside Christian Fellowship). It's about doctrine and missions for us. We like our assocation, our network and our missions. We are baptist in doctrine but not in tradition. Therein lies the "problem" we are no seeing emerge.

I don't think I'm alone, what do you think?

Maybe NAMB made a mistake by funding guys like me who are not out planting "southern baptist" churches? Cause now you have a whole crop of guys like me who support CP, in principle and in practice, yet who do not view themselves or their churches as southern baptist in tradition.

Tim Patterson said...

The fact remains... we all look at our world and at the word of God through our cultural lenses. Maybe if we ventured outside of our culture... you know, like Jesus commands in the Great Commission... that would help us to see things from God's perspective.

Matt Snowden said...

Good post. I think the more we get into the shoes, hearts, and minds of others the better chance we have of finding creative solutions to our problems. Now we may have to look through their shades as well. Thanks

Tom Bryant said...

Thanks for the good illustration and warning for all of us.

foxofbama said...

Wade: You seem to have pilgrimmed to a furhter place in the bloggin world of the young conservatives. Your tent is bigger than Marty Duren's, least that has been my experience so far.
My heart is pure on this one; want to invite you and all who see this to my blog and my comments on Jabbok's Ford, Bill Leonard, now of Wake Forest, last sermon at Southern Seminary. Wade, you especially, make it a goal to get in touch with Leonard and get a cd or tape copy of that sermon.
Maybe our mutual friend David Flick can help you there.
Hope things otherwise are well.
Breaking news in Baptist world today is the Prime Minister of Israel, his Brother Olmert, is speaking today at some kind of Friends of Israel Ralley at Samford U in Bham, where Timothy George resides to my dismay.
Could have interesting political ramifications for the governor's race in the state, as the new Samford President Underwood feet are getting in the fire.
Interesting aside for some of you Baptist junkies, Duke McCall's grandson and Billy Graham's grandson were at Samford at about the same time, Billy' Gee's Stephen Tchvidjian in law school where he was cut of the same ideological cloth as Al Mohler, the DJ Kennedy headset.
Bush 43 staffer Eric Motley may have had something to do with gettin Olmert to Samford today

Wayne Smith said...

Southern Baptist Liberties:

The 2000 Faith and Message added these Bible Verses for Baptist Liberties on the LORD'S DAY.

Remember what GOD'S WORD SAYS, the BIBLE is inerrant!!!

Remember the LORD'S Day(SABBATH) and Keep it HOLY, it is the
Fourth Commandment, written by the Finger of GOD!!!

Remember the Resolution on Alcohol!!!

Rom 14:5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
Rom 14:6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.
Rom 14:7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.
Rom 14:8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.
Rom 14:9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
Rom 14:10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;

Now you can take your Rose Colored Glasses OFF
and lets not be a Hypocrites or Legalists!!!

A Brother in CHRIST for TRUTH

Wayne Smith said...

I should have added these two sentences:

F & M 2000 SAys: Activities on the Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

F & M 1925 and 1963 Says:, Both public and private, and by refraining from worldly amusements, and resting from secular employments, work of necessity and mercy only being excepted.

Nathan White said...

Wade, your post testifies to why many problems in the SBC are so crystal clear (no pun intended):

The root issue in these matters is almost always the nature of the gospel, and I cannot see where there will ever be any real agreement here between those who believe God is responsible for regeneration, and those who believe man can choose to regenerate himself.

It's no secret that the Calvinists (dare I use the term) oppose the alcohol resolution and the other examples you gave -while the non-Calvinists seem to support these things unanimously. The line in the sand is plain and clear.

So then, there are glasses being worn by both sides: one side is focused on things that spring forth from the gospel they believe in, while the other side is focused on the things that spring forth from the gospel they believe in.

That’s why I believe (and some disagree with me on this) we should strive for unity in soteriology above everything else, with the understanding that if we fail to agree on this, then we will ultimately fail to agree on most everything. The things like alcohol and baptism are simply secondary issues that will never be agreed upon if the foundation is different.


art rogers said...

Wait. Wade, you have said something that I jsut can not understand nor in good conscience support.

You have special sunglasses just for golf???

I can't wear sunglasses of any kind when I golf, as they slip around.

I agree with the rest of it.

RKSOKC66 said...

Some of you are saying that there are core things that we just have to believe in order to be a Baptist. Of course, I agree.

However, some of the things people are bringing up as typical of the "essence" of being a Baptist are already in the BF&M so they are not in dispute. By common consent "everyone" I have seen on these BLOGS subscribes to the BF&M. So to bring up doctrines convered in the BF&M up as being subject to being "diluted" due to personal "filters" or relativism is a "straw man" argument.

For example, several people have said [loose paraphrase] , "You can't just ignore the security of the believer . . that is a non-negotiable core belief."

The reason this is a straw man argument is that section V. "God's Purpose of Grace" of the 2000 BF&M states "all true believers endure to the end . . .".

No one on any side of any discussion I have seen on this BLOG is arguing against anything in the BF&M.

Can anyone name anything that is NOT in the BF&M that is key to being a Baptist?

One commentator said "Baptism by Immersion" is a key practice. I agree, but that is ALREADY in the BF&M.

Some of you are arguing like this:
(a) We have to have core beliefs
(b) We can't just slip into relativism
(c) Any belief I don't like might potentially be a "core belief" and not subject to individual or cultural filters

Are you ignoring the fact that our core beliefs have already been enumerated in the B&FM?

Tim Sweatman said...


For the record, I am not a Calvinist and I have been vocal in my opposition to the alcohol resolution. I also do not believe that man can choose to regenerate himself, but that's another discussion.

volfan007 said...

t's not a straw man arguement to say that there are certain boundaries that we have which make us distinctively baptist. the b,f, and m of 2000 was a boundary that we set as a convention. that does not mean that we cant add to it. does it?

again, i say that i dont want us to narrow down our boundaries until we are too strict and legalistic, but there must be boundaries....and some of the boundaries may not be clearly spelled out in the bible...but they are important to us as baptists.

i personally would not want a missionary overseas teaching a bunch of new christians to be five pointers who speak in tongues. no sir. i would not want my cp money going to do that. also, i would not want some missionary teaching a bunch of new christians that they can lose thier salvation and they should get baptised before they are really saved....would you?

there are some things...non essential things....that we can disagree about and believe different about, and i would still call you my bro. in christ. but, there are some non essential things that would cause me to not be able to join your church even though i would still call you bro. and i would hope that you would still call me bro. i guess southern baptist are trying to discern what those things are for us as a convention.


ewinwe said...


what if the baptist missionary is overseas and now has to teach the local new believers that drinking is wrong?


good post wade, i'm reminded - through reading this and the comments - of jesus' own words to his disciples and others listening in: let them who have eyes see, let them who have ears hear.

disciples: "duh, like everybody has eyes and ears lord."

jesus: "double duh, you are obviously not using them right yet!"

maybe our lord was talking about filters long before polarized lenses were the thing ... or was he really a scratch golfer in his own right??*

*if implying that our lord and saviour is only a scratch golfer offends anyone out there ... golly gee, i'm sorry!

Rex Ray said...

I’m having second thoughts on “Filters.” The way you refer to FILTER is not seeing something and that is correct. But you seem to excuse us by saying, “Everyone has a Filter.”

So if we don’t see something, we are wrong. Do you agree we should not have filters and they are the devil’s lies for us to not know truth?

I’m going to ask this question to everyone one more time and again and again until someone is brave enough to take their ‘shades’ off and try an answer.
Did God put ‘shades’ on his Son so he would not know the horrible true until the last moment of “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
Isn’t Abraham ‘sacrificing’ his son a symbol of God doing the same thing, and didn’t Abraham put ‘shades’ on his son until the last moment?

I think I know why my question is avoided; it might put a dent in ‘inerrancy’ that Jesus spoke words to his disciples that were not true because he was wearing God’s sunglasses.

In Paul’s day, the devil caused one Christian group to believed ‘Jesus plus something’ (Jewish laws) while another group believed ‘Jesus plus nothing.’
Now the ‘Jesus plus nothing’ group is divided over ‘inerrancy.’ And it is like Tim Rogers said, “Two people cannot be diametrically opposed on an issue and both be right.”
Rex Ray said...


You ask a great question.

I look forward to a response.

volfan007 said...

the non essential things that would cause me to not be able to join a church....i believe that baptism is by immersion...some christian groups do not...

...some christian churches believe that you can lose your salvation...i do not...and i would not want to join that church....

would you?

some christian churches believe in tongue speaking and rolling around in the floor.....i do not....i would not join that church....would you?

i could go on about non essential things that would keep me from joining a you want more?


Wayne Smith said...

Rex Ray

Mat 27:46

The physical darkness was a demonstration of the agony of the Lord's human soul. My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me: The duplication of “My God, My God” indicates Jesus's deep sorrow. The fact that Jesus spoke in Aramaic, the tongue of His birth, may be another sign of the extreme stress He was encountering. No human can understand the theological significance of this cry. It graphically parallels 2 Cor. 5:21. This was not a cry of defeat, however. Christ was quoting from Ps. 22 and may have been alluding to the great victory that the psalm describes.

A Brother in CHRIST

Rex Ray said...

To Volfan,
This seems to be ‘pick on Volfan’ post.
So I’ll join the criticism you are getting. (By the way, are you a Moderate?) My question is: Do you not know had to make a capital letter or is this your personal revolt against the English language? But then, maybe your shift key is broken?
Why does this bother me? I don’t like to see the name of Jesus or Christ or his Father belittled by not giving them the proper respect.

With that said, I don’t see a thing wrong with your last post, that Sonya, Ewinwe, and Sembrador jumped you. Even Wade got on Sembrador’s side by saying he asked a great question.
Sembrador asked three questions, so I don’t know which one Wade was talking about or maybe it was all three.

You asked, “What if the Baptist missionary is overseas and now has to teach the new believers that drinking is wrong?”
If they’re Muslim, they will give praise because they believe it is wrong also. If they believe it is OK to drink and they stop, they will live longer and be a better example of avoiding all appearance of evil.

It seems most of your comment is quoting Volfan and you say, “If it is not clearly spelled out in Scripture, why do we make it so important as ‘Baptist’? This problem seems to be when we elevate being ‘Baptist’ above ‘being Biblical’.”

Since most Christians believe in ‘falling from Grace’, are you suggesting we elevate being ‘Baptist’ above ‘being Biblical’ when we believe ‘once saved always saved’?

You ask:
1. “What are some of those non-essential things that we can disagree about, believe differently about?”
You don’t specify if ‘we’ are Baptists Christians or if ‘we’ are non-Baptist Christians. There would be a different list. The ‘Baptist list’ could be about Bible translations, church attendance, witnessing, praying (often vs. seldom, long, vs. short, talking to God vs. preaching, habit vs. special, broken vs. prideful, happy vs. sad, memorized vs. sincerity, etc.), dress code, tithing, role of deacons—pastors—women, drinking, Revelation, inerrancy, how long of a list do you want?

2. “What is your standard for judging my interpretation of scripture?
The standard is ‘TRUTH’. The standard is ‘looking through the eyes of Jesus’.
3. I am not talking about things that the Bible prohibits, but what freedoms do I have in your eyes?
The truth will make you free. You have the freedom to do right. You have the freedom to know God better and better so you can enjoy him more in heaven. You have the freedom to listen to the Holy Spirit and obey or not obey. You have the freedom to love your brother that is a conservative, moderate, lost banker—drunkard—terrorist.

How come you didn’t jump on the comment on August 13, of one who ended by saying: “A Brother in CHRIST who happen to be a Baptist.”
In fact, why didn’t anyone tell the poster that Christ was never a Baptist. I guess we’ve been through this discussion once before with Wade saying on May 3, “Today I am extremely grateful to be a follower of Jesus Christ who also happens to be a Southern Baptist.”
Rex Ray

volfan007 said...


i would agree with you thatwe shouldnt condemn others who believe differently than we do about things that are not clearly spelled out in the bible. i would agree with you that we should not look upon someone as lost who disagrees with us over non essential issues.

but, there are some non essential issues that cause different denominations....and each one feels that the issues are very important.



RKSOKC66 said...


I am going to get Swindoll's book "Grace Awakening" as you suggest.


I've picked up a couple of books that were recommended by commentators on previous BLOGS here. One that I thought was pretty good in filling in some of my "blindspots" was the book by Russell Dilday -- the fired president of Southwestern. As Paul Harvey would say, it gave me the "other side of the story".

Your BLOG helps guys like me who are "not connected" to get a handle on what's going on.

Rex Ray said...

To In His Name,
Thank you so much for replying to my comment about Christ’ question on the Cross. I’ve asked this several times through the weeks and you are the first to answer.

You see, to ask a question and not be answered can be taken several ways. If you are a parent and your child does not answer, you may get a little red in the face.
If your boss does not answer, you may figure you shouldn’t have asked in the first place.
If a blog does not answer, your question may have insulted them someway, and ignoring the question is the best way to insult you back.
Last but not least, your question may have made them face the truth which they don’t want to do. It’s been said that Confucius made the people think and they killed him for it

You gave an excellent significance of Christ death on the Cross. But you did not specify if Jesus was alone and his question was real.
You say, “No human can understand the theological significance of this cry.”

I admit that no one can grasp the pain and agony of this cry, but the facts seem simple enough to me.
When Jesus became sin, his Father could not comfort sin, and his Father forsook him.
Jesus was alone. What is so hard about that?
If Jesus was not alone, his Father did not forsake his Son, and the cry of Jesus was fake. You can’t believe that because you said his cry indicated his deep sorrow.

Was the nails, whip, blows, or spit worse than Jesus being forsaken? No! “He died alone for you and me” and let us never forget that.

You referenced a lot of good Scripture that pertains to the subject, but why did you not mention John 16:32? “Look: An hour is coming, and has come, when each of you will be scattered to his own home, and you will leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.”

Is this Scripture so ‘deep’ that “no human can understand the theological significance?”
Again, it seems quite simple that Jesus told his disciples they would desert him but his Father would be with him.
Rex Ray

foxofbama said...

I am convinced, especially after reading those who posted after me about 3/5ths of the way into these responses; almost all of you are in dire need of a little remedial Baptist spectrum revenance; particularly Randall Balmer's exquisite chapter "Where Have All the Baptists Gone is his great Thy Kingdom Come in a Bookstore near you.
And if I may since Wade visits there on occasion, would like to direct all of yall to the heated, intense discussion at faith and practice about Baptist Press's Greg Tomlin's butcher job on the CBF....Grace, Truth an dPeace

Royce Ogle said...

Distinctively Baptist? Hmmm

I was saved in an independent Baptist church. Years later I was a member of three Southern Baptist Churches. Between those I attended a Bible church for some months. And now, due to a marriage and family harmony I worship with wonderful church of Christ folks.

I am still the same guy, and I still believe exactly the same essentials of the faith. I have not tried to "fit" a particular church or denomination.

I believe a person should with an open heart and an open Bible learn who they are and then worship with like minded people.

I believe it is wrong to conform to any "distinctive" of a church or denomination just to fit in.

By the way, I have never had a pastor with whom I agreed 100% on every topic, all of the time.

I am distinctively born again by grace through faith.

Grace and Peace,
Royce Ogle

Rex Ray said...

To Roger Simpson,
Glad you liked Russell Dilday’s book—“COLUMNS—Glimpses of a Seminary Under Assault.” I believe I’m the one that recommended it.
I wonder if all the shouting conservatives would have a softer tone if they knew what happened 12 years ago. I would have named the book, “Trustees Gave No Reason For Lynching an Innocent Man.”
I felt sorry for one trustee who wrote to ‘higher authority’ that they had done what was wanted, and now, no one was backing their actions but people were saying there was a special place in hell for them.

Wade, have you read the book? If you’ve read it, I doubt you will answer.
Rex Ray

volfan007 said...

i believe we have some liberals in this room who defend a man who was taking a seminary down the tubes of liberalism. i cannot and will not join with anyone who has a low view of scripture.

also, to say that you can worship in a church of christ...unless it's max lucado's church, or one just like it....speaks loud to me. the church of christ that i know...and i know a bunch of them...believe in salvation by works, and they beleive you can lose your salvation, they are legalistic....i could not join a church of christ.

sometimes, the tent tries to get too large. the umbrella tries to get too big. we definitely need to narrow the boundaries when it comes to liberals and church groups that go against the clear teachings of the bible.

my wife would have to either go to a different church or she would go without me...if she wanted to go to a church of christ. the husband should lead the wife, you know.

simple, humble, hillbilly observations from....


Rex Ray said...

(Truth of Acts said…)
To Sembrador,
Sorry for the delay. I couldn’t figure out if you were agreeing with me or disagreeing. I still can’t.

Oops, I think I figured it out. Wade wanted us to answer your ‘good’ question but did not specify which of your three questions he referred to, so I answered all three.
Your first question was: “What are some of those non-essential things that we can disagree about?
I gave a long list of “Bible translations, church attendance, etc.” and you quoted my answer to your first question.
You end up saying, “My question was not “what will you prohibit,” but rather “what will you tolerate.”

What you ended up saying was a paraphrase of your first question. My answer was a list of the things I WOULD tolerate (“Bible translations, church attendance, etc.”} It was NOT a list of things I prohibited.

By the way, how did you know which question Wade referred to? I thought they were all good.
Rex Ray

Rex Ray said...

(Truth of Acts said…)
To Volfan,
Please address the person you are throwing mud on or you may offend someone you didn’t mean to. That’s just good advice you know. (I see your ‘shift key’ is still lost.)

I’ve may have been the only one trying to defend you, but I think I’ve found your main problem—you don’t know what you’re talking about.

What is your source of information that Russell Dilday was “leading his seminary down the tubes of liberalism”?
If he was doing that, why would the Trustees that fired him, agree unanimously to commend him on his performance review? (“Russell, you’re doing a marvelous job in all areas.) He preached every word in the Bible was breathed by God.
Even Patterson told him, “Russell, you’re a conservative all right, but you’re not a ‘courageous’ conservative.”
Patterson meant by “courageous” that Russell did not support his political campaign.

Patterson was right about that. Not only did Russell not support the fundamentalist political campaign, he fought it.
“It’s one thing to believe the Bible is the perfect Word of God, but it’s another thing to live under the authority of the Bible...(a man may know the Bible by heart, but his heart may not know the Bible) the rational seemed to be ‘the ends justify the means.’ Fundamentalists…employed unrighteous methods including:
1. cunning, dishonesty, slander, control, threat, gossip, ridicule, innuendo, hypocrisy
2. partiality, self-promotion, subtle coercion, shrewd twisting of the truth
3. secret caucuses to plot the destruction of others, guilt by association
4. majoritarian silencing of dissent and contrary opinions
5. arousing false suspicions to enlist followers (McCarthyism)
6. threatening and punishing those who disagree
7. saying “I love you, brother,” then secretly plotting to hurt you
8. squelching free and objective press reports”

Yep, that’s what got him fired alright.

Volfan, you sound like you have been listening to fundamentalists, or maybe you are one?
Rex Ray

Cliff4JC said...


You know good and well that what got Dr. Dilday fired was that he would not fire the professors that were viewed as moderates or liberals by the trustees. A courageous act in the eys of some; a deraliction of duty according to others. You decide.

In the interest of full disclosure: I'm a fundy right down to my undies. I'm just not mad at anybody. :) just a little word of advice; your own strong feelings about the past cause you to sometimes be just as ungracious as those you are critising for the same. Not everybody that believed in the Conservative Resurgence/Fundamentalist takeover (I'm being PC just for you! LOL) were in it for political/power reasons. I don't deny that some where; but many, if not most, supported the movement based on principle and sincere devotion.


Rex Ray said...

(Truth of Acts said...)
To Cliff,
So, you want me to be gracious about you telling me I know something and tell it otherwise? How do I do that? I mean, how do I smile and say thank you for you telling me that I’m lying?

You said, “You know good and well…” How do you know what I know?

You stated correctly, “he would not fire the professors that were viewed as moderates or liberals by the trustees.”
The only trouble with your statement is that the “he” was Hemphill and the one brought in to do the firing was the ‘hatchet-man’ Patterson.

Hemphill was too nice of a Christian to break rules and do the dirty work. They ‘moved’ Hemphill ‘higher up’ to another ‘job’ as if it was a promotion, but it hurt him very much. And it hurt the students and the school.

You are correct that most in the Conservative Resurgence/Fundamentalist takeover supported the movement based on principle and sincere devotion—but for that to be exactly true the “principle” and “devotion” were based on falsehood of the Bible being made into a political football, and a lot of other ‘scare tactics’ such as there being an army of liberals in our schools and churches.

What is really sad, is that most still do not know what happened and what is still happening.
Wade is finding out the hard way by them coming after him.
Oh, I almost forgot—be happy.
Rex Ray

Cliff4JC said...


Please accept my humble apology for my gaff. I in no way intended to imply you were lying. Also, my intention was to reach across our differences in friendship. I am not accusing you or trying to fight with you brother.

I stand corrected as to the president I was speaking of. I often get the names of Dilday and Hemphill mixed up in my A.D.D. mind. I know very little about Dilday. I have a very good friend who was a SWBTS trustee during the Hemphill/Patterson move. It was to that I was speaking. I apologize for the misunderstanding.

You said: “the “principle” and “devotion” were based on falsehood of the Bible being made into a political football, and a lot of other ‘scare tactics’ such as there being an army of liberals in our schools and churches.”

The nature of scripture and how it is dealt with is a matter of utmost importance to me and most of those I was speaking of earlier that supported the “movement.” (is that a good neutral way of putting it?) With all due respect; the Bible and the way we view/treat it IS at the core of the divide. You have chosen to reject inerrancy, I choose to embrace it. This is not a cosmetic difference and I do appreciate that difference.

As to liberals in our schools…I attended a SBC college and went to SEBTS in the same year Dr. Patterson arrived. Every prof in the Bible dept. of the college I attended supported a view of scripture that I could never support. There were no conservative theologians at all on the faculty. At SEBTS there were still profs from the previous admin on staff. I took classes from these folks. Some supported positions that are not consistent with a conservative view of scripture. Liberals did exist and it was having a profound effect on our educational system. We may disagree on the merits of the effect…but there was a marked difference. My guess is, when people say there were no liberals in our schools etc., it simply points to differing views of what constitutes a liberal or conservative. Fair enough?

Rex, my purpose is not to refight the battles of the 80’s and 90’s. I really was reaching out to you in friendship. I enjoy building relationships with those I disagree with. Many of the profs I mentioned above were and still are close personal friends. I just disagree with them on some critical issues. We have a good time “ribbing” each other over them occasionally.

Print communication is limited. Please know that everything I have said in both posts to you have been from a “happy” heart and friendly tone. I didn’t mean to offend you or attack you in any way. Please read my words as if they are coming from a soft friendly voice.

BTW; I have wanted to ask this for sometime. You may have made statements to this in the past but I missed them. Did you choose to stay in the SBC or have you moved on? I realize this question could be construed as mean spirited; but I don’t mean it that way. I am just curious to know how you have decided to deal with all this. Thanks…


PS: I am happy!!!! LOL

Rex Ray said...

Thanks. I feel a lot friendlier. I’ve spent over twenty years studying where the roots of Catholics started in Acts 15. I see the SBC going down that same Catholic road of denying individual priesthood and becoming more and more legalistic.
I have not abandoned ship but decided to bail water by proclaiming truth the best I can.
I drove over 2,000 miles to vote for Page in the last SBC.

In the 2004 SBC, 20% and more voted for an unknown pastor that was nominated from the floor.
Probably most of those votes were from moderates. I believe if no moderates voted in 2006, Page would never have been elected.
I look upon Wade’s blog as an education to the masses, and as more knowledge is known, our leaders will be chosen for fulfilling the Great Commission and all the names of conservative, moderates, fundamentalist will fade into oblivion.
Rex Ray

Jerod said...

Just wanted to say thanks. You are doing much needed and good work. From someone on the other side of the world I know that I appreciate it.