Thursday, August 31, 2006

Welcome to the Neighborhood Dr. McKissic

I have never personally met Pastor McKissic. I know him by reputation only, but yesterday enjoyed visiting with him over the phone. I found him to be quite engaging in conversation, very respectful of Dr. Patterson and Southwestern, and quite confused over all the events that transpired as a result of his chapel message.

There are two or three things I found that Dr. McKissic and I have in common regarding our service in the SBC:

(1). A complete shock over public statements that contained charges never communicated privately and personally.

As Dr. McKissic told the Associated Baptist Press he enjoyed lunch with Dr. Patterson and and his wife, Dorothy, following the chapel service. "I love Dr. Patterson, Dr. Patterson loves me, we had rich fellowship today," he said. "If they had a problem with it [the sermon], they didn't utter it to me at all."

The Press Release from the seminary said, authorized by the President, stated, "we reserve the right not to disseminate openly views which we fear may be harmful to the churches."

Dr. McKissic only became aware of the controversy over the Seminary refusing to post his message --- because it was "harmful" to churches and critical of a "sister agency" --- when a reporter phoned him for an interview. He was absolutely stunned. In his mind, the entire chapel service was uplifting, Biblically sound, and above all, Christ honoring. In addition, he was received well with applause on at least three different occasions. Imagine what went through his mind when learned his church members were being informed via the media that their pastor was teaching something harmful, and he himself didn't even know that what he preached was considered harmful?

It is only appropriate, when charges against a Southern Baptist leader are going to be made public, that the person against whom the charges are directed be informed -- FIRST. In fact, I would go further and say integrity demands that the person in question be informed privately before anyone other person, entitity or especially the public is informed. For that not to happen is unconscionable.

Dr. McKissic should have been told in private that his views are harmful to Southern Baptist Churches. He might have become angry with such a remark, but at least he would be able to say, "They told me in private what they said in public."

I wish God would part the heavens and utter the following words so that every Southern Baptist would never forget them --- "Do not make a public charge against a fellow brother without informing him specifically and privately what charge you are about to make." (see Five Salient Points).

(2). A bewilderment how conservative, evangelical Southern Baptist pastors who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, and who base their messages on the sacred text, can be considered "harmful" or "heretical" by other Southern Baptists who disagree on interpretations regarding third tier doctrines.

According to the APB article, 'McKissic quoted from several Baptist scholars who offer biblical support for private speaking in tongues, including a quotation from Patterson's April 6, 2006, chapel sermon at Southwestern. "What do we conclude? The apostle Paul clearly said, 'Do not forbid to speak in tongues.'" McKissic quoted Patterson as saying. "It would be a mistake for evangelicals to forbid others to speak in tongues."'

Dr. McKissic's defense of his message with supporting footnotes can be found on Art Roger's blog and Marty Duren's SBC Outpost.

(3). A love for the SBC and her autonomous agencies, including the Presidents, trustees, and administrative staff of those agencies, but a growing concern that the SBC is narrowing the parameters of fellowship and cooperation.

Dr. McKissic said to APB in a follow-up story, "Because I said nothing during my message that contradicted the Bible or the 2000 “Baptist Faith & Message” [the SBC's doctrinal statement], I fail to see how my comments are viewed as outside of the Baptist mainstream."

In his message Dr. Mckissic said, "But I think it’s tragic in Baptist life when we take a valid, vital gift that the Bible talks about and come up with a policy that says people who pray in tongues in their private prayer lives cannot work in certain positions."

I have never spoken in tongues. I don't even know I agree with Dr. McKissic's interpretation of the texts regarding tongues, BUT I DO AGREE with his assessment regarding the narrowing of the parameters of participation and cooperation in our convention.

We must resist the growing tendency of some to demand that third tier doctrines, which in decades past have not been doctrines over which Baptists divided, be moved into the category of first tier doctrines, and exclude fellow Southern Baptists who disagree or give principle dissent. As Al Mohler states, "The misjudgment of true fundamentalism is the belief that all disagreements concern first-order doctrines. Thus, third-order issues are raised to a first-order importance, and Christians are wrongly and harmfully divided."

(see The Cooperative Program Means Cooperation, and A Theological Triage Test).

I'm honored to call Dr. McKissic a Southern Baptist. I'm glad that he is a leader in the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Texas Convention. I'm proud he is a trustee of Southwestern Theological Seminary.

And most of all I gladly call him a brother in Christ.

May his tribe increase.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Kevin Bussey said...

Your lead "groupie" here!

Great post! I'm glad to have McKissic in our denomination. This whole mess should have been avoided if SWBTS had not tried to control what was being said. If they had posted the message we may have heard about his views but not the firestorm that has occured.

Alan Cross said...


I saw the same connection over the lunch-email-reporter-public statement events this afternoon and commented on it over at SBCOutpost. The question becomes, "what did he know and when did he know it?" You might want to check the defenses of Dr. Patterson over there. Wes Kinney says that Dr. McKissic was alerted by email before the public statement was released. You seem to say differently. I read it the way you did and feel that you addressed that point, but did Dr. McKissic mention anything about an email BEFORE he heard from the reporter?

Ray said...

good post. it seems as if there is little room for individual disagreements in sbc life today. thanks for continually reminding us of that wade.

Bowden McElroy said...

It's the paternalistic tone of the SWBTS Press Release that offends me most. I remember that tone from my days at SWBTS; long before Dr. Patterson became affiliated with the school.

Wade, I do have one question: how would Southern Baptists - back in the day (before blogs) - enter into any kind of dialogue about the level or tier to which a doctrinal issue belongs?

I don't like some of what I read in the blogosphere - and I really don't like bloggers being assigned to one camp or another - but I find it easy to overlook the hyperbole because I firmly believe that shining light on these issues will ultimately make for a better Convention.

Is this part of the problem? Not that blogging is refining the mechanism to address issues, but that the medium is allowing the invention of a process?

I know it's a little off topic, but I am curious.

Jeremy Green said...


It appears that you may have misspoken in regard to the letter that Dr. Patterson sent to IMB Trustees more than two years ago.

On a previous post, ‘There is Nothing to Fear from Information: Information is Power,’ you stated: “I was not on the BOT at the time, but I received a copy from someone NOT on the board when they heard I had been nominated and BEFORE I even attended my first meeting --- they were asking about the letter.”

However, in your dialogue with Wes Kinney ( you appear to offer an explanation to the contrary: “As you know, I was not on the Board when all this happened two and a half years ago and never received the letter.”

Have I misunderstood or misread your posts? I am sure that there is a logical explanation for the seemingly contradictory statements. Thus, you may desire to clarify exactly what it is that you meant to say. God bless!!!

In Christ,

GeneMBridges said...

I for one am glad this happened, not because I agree with it, but because it only makes the rest of us look better by comparison. Eventually, folks show their true colors, and that applies to us all.

What's more, this single action has done more to damage SWBTS' reputation and stir up the Convention than making the message available would have ever done. Folks would have been talking about what Dr. McKissic said in his sermon. Instead, their talking about the ogre of censorship and yet another example of the Magisterial attitude that lies within certain quarters of the Convention. Have they not learned that "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."

I'm sure the bloggers will be blamed as some point too. There's an old saying, ""If the Tiber reaches the walls, if the Nile does not rise to the fields, if the sky does not move [rain], or the earth does [earthquake], if there is famine, if there is plague, the cry is at once, 'The Christians to the lions!'" Subsitute "bloggers" for "Christians."

Incidentally, Wade, Dr. Mark Corts of Winston-Salem, NC, a former Chairman of the IMB, passed away this past Tuesday. He was pastor of my home church, and I served on the staff of that church at one time. He would never have agreed with this sort of behavior. If you get a chance, go to and read the newspaper story about him to which I linked in my note on this day.

Rex Ray said...

It’s interesting to see the ‘caliber’ of some trustees at SWBTS today compared to the ‘caliber’ of trustees when Dilday was president—about like comparing a BB gun to a 30-06.
Six Baptist Seminaries including SWBTS, complained to Adrian Rogers wanting ‘better’ trustees. Rogers agreed, saying he would not allow some to serve on any committee of his church, but nothing was done.
Many trustees were appointed because of their political views and not on their abilities or training. For example, at SWBTS, one trustee would preface each statement with, “I thank God—I never attended any seminary.” He kept saying it because he received so many “amen’s.”
Wonder how long McKissic will last before he gets traded for a BB gun?
Now that's not very kind, but I'll blame it on being a 'wounded moderate.'
Rex Ray said...


Dr. McKissic told me the first thing he knew about the public charges was when a reporter called him. He mentioned nothing about an email.

By the way, on something eggregious as teaching things "harmful" to churches, and when it is one of your trustees, and when you are having lunch with him, for heaven's sake, talk to him face to face.

Emails are a cop out. said...

sbc pastor,

I never received a letter when it was sent. Over two years after it had been made public, someone gave me a copy.

No mispeak on my part.

A misread on yours.


wade said...


As usual, you are articulate, insightful and looking forward solutions.

The tone of blogging is sometimes detrimental, but I find it is usually so by those without substance.

As you know, "when one's argument is weak, one attacks his opponent's character."

That is unfortunate.

I do believe blogging is shedding light on issues.

One of the greatest journalists of all time once said reporting is "taking a torch to the back of a cave and telling the people outside what is happening."

At some point we need to begin working toward solutions.

I believe Dr. Mohler is on to something in the assignment of first, second and third tier doctrines.

We need to begin working toward a mutual understanding of which doctrines go where and agree that we will be Christian because of agreement on tier one doctrines, Southern Baptist because of agreement on tier two doctrines, and cooperating Southern Baptists who love to debate --- but not break in fellowship over disagreement --- in tier three doctrines.


Alycelee said...

I posted this on the last comment, however I thought it was a good read and for those who haven't gone there this morning, I wanted to make sure you saw it.

It is from someone who does not know about the politics of the SBC. Did not even know who Dr. Patterson or Dr. McKissic was. I ask for her to read both Dr McKissics sermon and Dr. Patterson's response.

Her response was:
"One speaks from conviction, the other from fear".
Selah and good morning. said...


In over eight months of hosting this blog, I probably received more insight from your friend's simple comment than anything else posted. Thanks.

irreverend fox said...

I make the motion that we accept McKissic as a brother in Christ AND as a Southern Baptist even if he speaks in tounges.

dwm III said...

Dear Brother Wade,

In reading several blogs from people who feel the same as you I have had one question that keeps popping up. I figured that this was the blog to ask.

But before that let me say:

I am not meaning this question to be an attack. I only want to get information.

You qouted:
"Do not make a public charge against a fellow brother without informing him specifically and privately what charge you are about to make."

My question is has this been done with Dr. Patterson? Since there are so many things said about Dr. Patterson on your blog and others I wonder if the same treatment has been awarded him.

Through Christ,
dwmiii said...


Yes, I take exception. I did not see it until I went back and read Rex's comment again. Thans for pointing it out.

Rex, good post, but you must leave off the personal comment. I'll be happy to put your Fox's Book of Martyr's comment back up, but you must resubmit it without the comment jthomas is referring to.

Wade said...

dwm iii,

Fair question.

Dr. McKissic told me that he responded to Dr. Patterson directly, but you would have to ask him regarding the details and the reasons (for instance, was Dr. McKissic personally offended).

There is no personal offense between me and Dr. Patterson in this matter.

This is an issue that concerns our convention, her agencies, and the principles of religous liberty.

It is also a very public issue.

Public debate is the appropriate arena.

If it were a personal, private offense I had with Dr. Patterson, I would talk to him privately. I have done so in the past, and will do so in the future.

If someone were to say, "But what Dr. McKissic said in chapel was a public arena, so Dr. Patterson had a right to say whatever he desired about the message publicly" my response would be this:

What was said about Dr. McKissic's message being "harmful" to churches was not said to anyone, including Dr. McKissic, until it was said publicly.

I personally believe that Dr. Patterson should have some leeway on decisions about what can, and cannot, be placed on his school's web site.

THE ISSUE IS CLEAR: Who gave one man, or a group of men, the authority to determine a third order doctrine to be an essential for Baptist orthodoxy and Southern Baptist Cooperation when the CONVENTION has not said so in her Baptist Faith and Message?

To say his message is "harmful" is a judgment, that unless we believe in a Southern Baptist Pope, that should be questioned. said...


I caught the humor, and am grateful for it!

I like to laugh -- a lot!

Blessings, said...

However, Fox is correct, and your objection is ruled out of order.

:) said...

Your on!

Study hard and blessings to you.

wade said...


On my way to work, then to my Friday golf game.

Let's all be nice while I'm gone --- please.

In His Grace,

wade said...


With love like yours who needs enemies?


Have a great weekend.


P.S. If you get a chance, email me my agenda so I can know what it is.

Alycelee said...

Is it "unbecoming" to speak on this subject,
if this is the subject God gave him to speak on?
In Act 4, Peter and John were commanded not to speak about Jesus. They could not and did not stop.
We speak what God gives us, even if it isn't popular, even if it is controversial.
We would still be Catholic if somebody hadn't been controversial.
Dr. McKissic said clearly he prayed about what he brought at that chapel service and God had given him that word.
If Dr. Patterson is right and speaking from conviction, why are so many people rising up and saying no-no more. Why did hundreds of those seminary students clap and shout AMEN?
They aren't revolting against Dr. Patterson.
It doesn't have anything to do with him.
I believe, they and others are responding to the Holy Spirit who is saying to us all, be in unity.
Be inclusive to brothers and sisters who may differ somewhat in things that aren't pertinent to salvation, but in things necessary to salvation we are in agreement and that is all that matters.
We need to love God, more than we love our doctrines.
I know nothing but Christ and Him crusified.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

Hit them long and not often.


Rex Ray said...

From Truth of Acts
This is another interesting situation that shows how someone’s reputation can be slandered or ruined by ‘twisting’ what they have said without being able to defend themselves.

Until McKissic’s actual speech was printed, it was in question by being denied its proper channels by Patterson. It was like he had been found ‘guilty’ without a proper trial.

Likewise, it’s ‘all over town’ that I called Patterson a Pharisee. How do I correct that when what I said is ‘gone?’
J Thomas 899, referring to me, asked you, “Wade, will you take exception to Dr. Patterson being called a Pharisee?”
Wade, your reply was, “I did not see it until I went back and read Rex’s comment again.”
I’d suggest the reason you did not see it is because I did not say Patterson was a Pharisee.
I would never call a brother in Christ a Pharisee. I have said I have acted like a Pharisee in obeying the ‘don’ts.’ We have all acted like Pharisees on one point or another at sometime in our lives.
There is a world of difference between being a Pharisee and acting as one, and that’s how my statement got ‘twisted.’
Rex Ray

Rex Ray said...

A long time ago, if there was a Bible over the fireplace, there would be Foxe’s Book of Martyrs next to it.
For an example of censorship—cover up—hiding the truth or whatever, compare the ‘Original “Foxe’s description of James to the ‘New Foxe’s description.
In the new book, James could pass for a Baptist preacher instead of the appearance of the first Catholic priest.
Wade, why was the book changed other than some people want writers of the Bible to be PERFECT? I’ll ask it again, WHY WAS THE LIFE OF JAMES CHANGED?

The original: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs 1500 AD
“Of James, the brother of the Lord, thus we read:
James, took in hand to govern the Church with the apostles, being counted of all men, from time of our Lord, to be a just and perfect man. He drank no wine nor any strong drink, neither did he eat any animal food; the razor never came upon his head. To him only was it lawful to enter into the holy place, for he was not clothed with woolen, but with linen only; and he used to enter into the temple alone, and there, falling upon his knees, ask remission for the people; so that his knees, by oft kneeling (for worshipping God, and craving forgiveness for the people), lost the sense of feeling, being benumbed and hardened like the knees of a camel. He was for the excellency of his just life, called ‘The Just,’ and, the ‘safeguard of the people.’
When many therefore of their chief men did believe, there was a tumult made of the Jews, Scribes and Pharisees, saying; ‘There is danger, lest all the people should look for this Jesus, as the Christ.’ Therefore they gathered themselves together, and said to James, ‘We beseech thee restrain the people, for they believe in Jesus, as though he were Christ; we pray thee persuade all them which come unto the feast of the Passover to think rightly of Jesus; for we all give heed to thee, and all the people do testify of thee that thou are just, and that thou doest not accept the person of any man. Therefore persuade the people that they be not deceived about Jesus, for all the people and we ourselves are ready to obey thee. Therefore stand upon the pinnacle of the temple, that thou mayest be seen above, and that thy words may be heard of all the people; for all the tribes with many Gentiles are come together for the Passover.’
And thus the forenamed Scribes and Pharisees did set James upon the battlements of the temple, and they cried unto him, and said, ‘Thou just man, whom we all ought to obey, this people is going astray after Jesus which is crucified.’
And he answered with a loud voice, ‘Why do you ask me of Jesus the Son of Man? He sitteth on the right hand Of the Most High, and shall come in the clouds of heaven.’
Whereupon many were persuaded and glorified God, upon this witness of James, and said, Hosannah to the Son of David.
Then the Scribes and the Pharisees said among themselves, ‘We have done evil, that we have caused such a testimony of Jesus; let us go up, and throw him down, that others, being moved with fear, may deny that faith.’ And they cried out, ‘Oh, oh, this just man also is seduced.’ Therefore they went up to throw down the just man. Yet he was not killed by the fall, but, turning, fell upon his knees, saying, ‘O Lord God, Father, I beseech thee to forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And they said among themselves, ‘Let us stone the just man, James’; and they took him to smite him with stones. But while they were smiting him with stones, a priest, said to them, ‘Leave off, what do ye? The just man prayeth for you.’ And one of those who were present, a fuller, took an instrument, wherewith they did use to beat and purge cloth, and smote the just man on his head; and so he finished his testimony. And they buried him in the same place. He was a true witness for Christ to the Jews and the Gentiles.”

Wade, the modern book says there is confusion among the history writers over James’ death, but the simple conclusion would be, after he survived the fall, he was taken to ‘court’ and ordered to be stoned. The modern book reduced his life to about one paragraph. (I lost my copy or I would print it.)

Someone may ask what does this have to do with Dr. McKissic?
I see McKissic as James; and another ACTING like Pharisees trying to prevent, what they didn’t believe, to spread.
And like James’ martyrdom lifted up Christ and is recorded in history, McKissic’s message has spread far more than it would have.
Rex Ray

Alycelee said...

Thanks Eric,
Back/forth, back forth.
We just aren't going to agree.
Thanks for your post.

Alan Cross said...

Before this event, I have never criticized Dr. Patterson for anything on any of the blogs. But, the more I read from Dr. Patterson defenders, the more I see that objective truth does not matter. His actions in this seem so blatantly wrong to me, but completely defensible to others. It seems that there is no basis for communication when we cannot even agree on what is appropriate behavior for the president of a seminary and what is not.

Dr. McKissic felt he was preaching the Word of God and did not know that it would cause the firestorm it did. I accept his explanation on face value. I also accept Dr. Patterson's two reasons for pulling the message on face value. When I compare the two positions, I find more fault with Dr. Patterson's positions AND the way he handled the situation than I do with Dr. McKissic. There seem to be many who feel the opposite.

It seems that we are just split into warring camps with no regard for objective truth. There are two sets of standards when it comes to behavior. That is troubling to me. That is deadly to our convention.

Alan Cross said...


Excellent point - one that has not been made. I think you're absolutely right about this. How would Dr. McKissic have known that Dr. Patterson was behind the IMB trustees decision? Or that he was speaking against the wishes of the seminary president on this issue? Has SWBTS ever made a statement to that effect? Has Dr. Patterson? If he wrote on it somewhere, is Dr. McKissic expected to read everything Dr. Patterson ever wrote on every issue before he speaks in chapel?

THIS IS WHY THE BAPTIST FAITH & MESSAGE IS TO BE OUR CONFESSION OF FAITH AND NOT THE ACTIONS OF BOARDS OF TRUSTEES OR INDIVIDUAL AGENCY HEADS!!! If we do not have a confession of faith that we agree on, how are we to know what is appropriate or not? If an agency takes action apart from or beyond the BF&M, why is that off limits for anyone else to speak about it? Should we just accept everything? Is the BF&M2000, that caused the firing of missionaries and division in churches worth anything? Or, was it just another step down a long road to fulfill an agenda? I'm really asking. Because, when I studied it and accepted it, I thought it meant something.

Alycelee said...

Alan and Tim were "preachin"
I was getting excited. Amen and amen.

Craig, bless your little Baptist heart :)
Please note I do not intend to debate you here.
We don't have the time and Wade doesn't have the space. One question-Where was the Apostle Paul speaking in tongues? He did, after all say he spoke in tongues " more than you all, BUT... in the assembly"
So if it was not there, where was it?

IMHO, I just don't think one is an expert in "speaking in tongues", unless one does.

Just a thought.
Great discussion Alan and Tim, I love it when u guys get going. So encouraging!

Alycelee said...

Before I was a Christian, my husband insisted we go to church. I was churched all my life but I did not have an intimate personal relationship with King Jesus. While attending a SS party at this "All white church" the pastor and deacon were making fun of a very old black women who attended on Sunday morning. She would often shout AMEN from the back of the church. As they laughed and made fun of her, I couldn't help myself and said, "If I were you pastor, I wouldn't make fun of her, if you haven't noticed, she's the only AMEN you get"
I left, told my husband if that's what he wanted me to be, NO thanks.
We left, went to another church, it was during that time I found King Jesus.
I pray God will let me live long enough to see the church united where there is no black/white, tongue/non tongues, baptist/methodist, for I am confident, completely pursuaded, God sees none of that and they are laid down as filthy rags at the feet of Jesus.

Bob Cleveland said...

Well I might was well.

1 Corinthians 14:
2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.

4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying?

I don't see anywhere there that tongues is a way to give a message to the listeners. Nor can I accept the truth of these verses and still think that Acts 2 was the disciples speaking to the listeners. That passage even says they were declaring the wonders of God.

Sounds like praise to God, to me.

I do not accept that God does not want anyone to edify themselves through that gift, or that He does not want my spirit to speak to Him. Further, Paul said he would pray and sing with his mind .. like we all do ... and he would also pray and sing with his spirit. It does not ring true to me that God doesn't want anyone to do that now, when He has not said the gift is unavailable.

And He never changes.

Dori said...

Jeff -

I am curious what your question about the transcript being "official" is getting at? How is that relevant to the discussion. It isn't like it is a unique original signed document that has to be authenticated. Order the DVD and match it up. I am sure Wade would correct any typos that you might find.

Bob Cleveland said...

Does it say anywhere in the Bible that tongues ceased for a little while?

Does it say Acts 2 was known languages? Does it not, rather, say that "each" (singular) heard "them" (plural) speaking in his own language (singular)?

Alycelee said...

Craig, the way you look at the scripture has everything to do with it and that is with a particular "filter" if you will that you make these comments.
Now before you get all upset, it's ok. We all have them. However consider please, we have all heard and read those scriptures you quote here and yet you quote them with the challenge to "change" our minds.
Your mission seems to be to post here and Bob, I and anyone else here who disagrees with you that Dr McKissic just might have a valid point, a scriptural one even, perhaps he just might speak with "tongues of men or angels" is more than you can stand.
I'm looking for fruit. For the scripture says that is how I will know. Long lasting, real fruit! "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:15-20). Even I can understand that one.

Alycelee said...

Tim, I looked at your blog.
What a blessing. 24 years old and serving God.
You actually seem old in God.

Craig, I wish you would get a blog so we could communicate elsewhere. You are in fact, anonymous and so all I know about you is that you are from Atlanta, your IP address, and you don't believe in the gifts of the spirit.

Rex Ray said...

From Truth of Acts
Have you every thought at Pentecost, that all spoke in ‘unknown tongues’ and all heard in their own language? Would ‘changing’ ears be too hard for God to do?
“Oh, but God wouldn’t do it that way!”—is that putting God in a box?
Sometimes we are so sure that God did it our way of thinking, we miss the boat.
Rex Ray

Alan Cross said...

Craig from Georgia,

You are making an extra-biblical argument on tongues ceasing based on a limited understanding of history and experience (not that your understanding is limited, but we are all limited because everything that happened was not written down). You are using the exact same hermenuetic that charismatics are accused of when it is said that they argue from experience instead of the Word of God. To say that the Bible says "tongues will cease," and then to infer that it meant by the first century is shoddy scholarship at best and adding to scripture at worst. It simply does not say when they will cease anywhere except for right after when it says they will cease will perfection comes and we will know as we are known.

The question is, "What do you think perfection is?" Cessationists generally say it means when the canon is completed. Now, I agree that the Bible is perfect, inerrant, and infallible. But, it's the other part of the comparison that says we will no longer see through a glass darkly and we will know as we are known. That cannot mean when the canon is completed, because we still have not attained that. It can only mean when Christ returns for us, in my opinion.

Therefore, I believe there is a VERY solid Biblical basis for believing that tongues will be operative in the church until the Return of Christ. Tim shared with you the historical basis. Many Godly people can speak to the experiential basis. That's a doctrinal trifecta that would be irrefutable on any other matter, but on tongues it is ignored because of presuppositions against it. Well, I would rather follow God' Word than man's traditions. Count me in with Dr. McKissic.

But, my point is not to convince you to my perspective. My point is just to say that there is overwhelming evidence that this perspective should be allowed to EXIST in Southern Baptist life. Should it be forced on anyone? NO! Should it be used as a theological litmus test? NO! You can believe both positions and be good Baptists, get along, and work together, IF your heart is right. That is all I'm asking for.

Dr. Patterson and his adherents have a different agenda it seems.

Alycelee said...

Jeff, (or is it Eric)
Give me your address or links to your church and perhaps I can hear a live pod cast of your messages. Then I can hear the amems for myself :)

I'm not saying anything, other than what I said.
I'm appealing to all to not be narrow in our thinking. To be accepting of other peoples manner and styles of worship. In not doing so, we could potentially keep someone out of the kingdom. It did me.

I don't care to count how many AMENS Dr. McKissic got
He got mine.
When I say AMEN to my pastor, I mean SO BE IT, never it's over, because I've never ready for it to be over. He has my undivided attention because I hear from God every Sunday.
However, I'm ready to move on now.

Writer said...


There's a book by John MacArthur which communicates his position on tongues and other charismatic practices. It's entitled, "Charismatic Chaos." It's a good source if you want to know more of MacArthur's position.



Dori said...

Jeff - I do not know that the seminary issued an official transcript ... I doubt it. What you read on the previous post was a transcription by Benjamin S. Cole, as Wade so indicated, done off of the DVD that anyone can obtain from Southwestern in the Roberts Library for a little over $9.00.

When making transcripts, some people choose just to transcribe the words, it appears that Cole also chose to include the other sounds in the room.

Wayne Smith said...

craig from Georgia, some food for thought...


1Co 14:28 -
But if there be no interpreter - If there be no one present who has the gift of interpretation.
And let him speak to himself and to God - See the note at 1Co_14:2, note at 1Co_14:4. Let him commune with himself, and with God; let him meditate on the truths which are revealed to him, and let him in secret express his desires to God.

1Co 14:39 -
Covet to prophesy - See the note at 1Co_14:1. This is the “summing up” of all that he had said. It was “desirable” that a man should wish to be able to speak, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, in such a manner as to edify the church.
And forbid not ... - Do not suppose that the power of speaking foreign languages is useless, or is to be despised, or that it is to be prohibited. “In its own place” it is a valuable endowment; and on proper occasions the talent should be exercised; see in 1Co_14:22.

A Brother in Christ

Alan Cross said...


I totally agree that an historical argument is extra-biblical. If that was the only evidence, it would be worthless. That is why I addressed the Biblical perspective first. Then, when you add the historical, and experiential arguments to it, it only serves to illustrate the truthfulness of the intrepretation of the biblical evidence. But, even without the historical or experiential, the Biblical evidence would stand on it's own. So, yes, you are right, but that was not my argument.


I've read MacArthur's Charismatic Chaos several times. I am very familiar with his arguments. While he is usually a good expositor of Scripture, he does very shoddy work here, both Biblically and historically. He picks and chooses his evidence to support his presuppositions, and at times, I had to laugh out loud at his conclusions. It is just so obvious that he does not start from Scripture, but from his own biases. If you are using Charismatic Chaos as a guide, you will be led astray, in my opinion.

But, my purpose is not to debate John MacArthur and Charismatic Chaos. It is to make the case that there is room within the SBC for those who adhere to MacArthur's view (however wrong he may be :)) and those who are right! Just kidding!

RKSOKC66 said...


I am also going to get that book "Charismatic Chaos".


I don't know anything about tongues. I have never heard anyone speak in them and of course I have never spoken in them. To me this whole argument is academic. If there is a fourth tier then tongues would have to be in it for me.

Reading these comments -- although many have not specifically said so -- it is evident to me that there are quite a few on both sides of this debate who think tongues (or lack thereof) is a first or second tier doctrine.

I am not saying that my inference is "scientific" but based upon the comments here (which of course is not a "scientific" sample of all Southern Baptists) I would guess that around 5% to 20% of SBC members would say tongues is a first or second tier doctrinal item.

My bottom line is this: Independent of how one comes down on tongues there is not a shared understanding that tongues is a "non-essential" issue. No wonder the IMB debate is taking on a life of its own: there are two debates going on simultaneously and only one of them is being explicitely articulated.

Many are saying, "PPL and/or tongues are non-essential so lets agree to disagree on these issues and still cooperate" independent of the minority opinion that is implicitely (if not explicitely) saying a "correct" position on PPL and/or tongues is ESSENTIAL.

dave said...

I'm new to the discussion but I was wondering: is it odd that SW is not willing to post the sermon on their site but are willing to provide the dvd, for a small fee?

RKSOKC66 said...

Alan Cross:

No sooner do I propose to get "Charasmatic Chaos" than I see your comment about its shoddy scholarship.

What book do you recommend on the so called "gifts of the spirit (aka tongues)"

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Some summary thoughts from the NT:

1. We know for sure that the gift of tongues involved foreign languages on the Day of Pentecost.

2. There is no evidence in the NT that the gift of tongues ever consisted of ecstatic utterances. Such ecstatic utterances have no grammatical structure and thus do not form a language, human or angelic.

3. In the only passage that discusses the cessation of tongues (1 Cor. 13:8-10), the gift of tongues is clearly in a different category from that of the gifts of prophecy and knowledge.
a. One verb is used with tongues in verse 8, and another verb is used with prophecy and knowledge in verse 8.
b. The middle voice is used with tongues in verse 8 (indicating tongues would cease by themselves), and the passive voice is used with prophecy and knowledge in verse 8 (indicating something else--the perfect--would cause them to stop).
c. Prophecy and knowledge are called partial in verse 9, but the gift of tongues is omitted from the verse.

The key issue in 1 Corinthians 14 is how the gift of tongues should be dealt with in a group context. If no one was present who could understand the language, then the speaker would be speaking to God, not to men (14:2,4). If the one speaking in the foreign language can interpret what he is saying to the group that doesn't speak that language, then the group will be edified (14:5). If the speaker does not know the meaning of the foreign language he is speaking, he will be like a barbarian to the listeners (14:11). When a person is leading a group prayer in a foreign language not known by the group and not interpreted for them (14:14-15), listeners will not be able to say "Amen" because they do not understand what the praying person is saying (14:16). If no one in the worship service understands the language spoken, then the person gifted in that particular language should keep it to himself and God at that point in time (14:28). We should not forbid others from speaking in foreign languages under normal circumstances (14:39).

Chapter 14 does not tell us that we cannot forbid ecstatic utterances in our churches. The chapter is discussing languages, not the emotional repetition of several sounds. Private prayer language (PPL) as it is practiced today is not a language at all; it has no grammatical structure. It is simply the practice of ecstatic utterances in private.

Alan Cross said...

Roger, sure. I will be glad to recommend some books to you that present the continualist position in an accurate way:

Gordon Fee - Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God (more accessible) and God's Empowering Presence: the Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul (more scholarly).

Jack Deere - Surprised by the Power of the Spirit (he takes on MacArthur here head on in the footnotes of each chapter - the notes in the back are as informative as the book itself).

The Kingdom and the Power - a scholarly and pastoral approach to whether or not sign gifts and miracles are for today. It is a series of essays from many contributing writers (J.I. Packer, Jeffery Niehaus, Wayne Grudem, and many others). Edited by Gary S. Grieg.

Are Miraculous Gifts for Today: 4 Views - a balanced view of all 4 views of the debate from cessationists, to open but cautious, to third wave, to pentacostal/charismatic. It is edited by Wayne Grudem.

You can find all these books on amazon by typing in the title and/or author/editor. I don't necessarily recommend every word in these books or every idea, but they seem fair and to the point. I would recommend that you read MacArthur's Charismatic Chaos along with one of these books and make up your own mind. See which position fits best with the weight of scripture for yourself. It worked for me!

David Rogers said...

Craig, Baptist Theologue, and others,

I also have read MacArthur, both "The Charismatics" and "Charismatic Chaos," as well as the book recommended by Dr. Patterson, "A Search for Charismatic Reality" by Neil Babcox, and a whole slew of other books and articles from various assorted interpretational views.

I personally would recommend "Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14" by D.A. Carson as a very objective as well as scholarly treatment. I would also echo what Tim Cook has to say regarding Gordon Fee.

I would disagree that 1 Cor. 13.8-10 is the only passage that discusses the cessation of tongues. In my opinion, 1 Cor. 1.4-8 also speaks, although perhaps not quite as directly, to this question. It does provide a very important hermeneutical key, though, to the textual context of 1 Cor. 13.8-10, in my opinion.

1 Co. 1.4-5 talks about "all utterance" and "all knowledge" being a by-product of "the grace of God which is given to you by Jesus Christ." In my understanding, an obvious reference to the same thing as "tongues", "prophecy", and "knowledge" in 1 Co. 13.

1 Co. 1.6 makes the observation (or at least the clear inference) that these "grace gifts" were part of the "confirmation" of the "testimony of Christ." (Hebrews 2.3-4 also teaches the same thing).

1 Co. 1.7, talking about the same "grace gifts," links the practice of these gifts to "waiting on the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." It also makes clear that this does not refer to just some gifts, but rather "coming behind in no gift."

And 1 Co. 1.8 is the clincher. This confirmation (in my understanding, by way of the aforementioned "grace gifts") will continue until "the end," until the "day of our Lord Jesus Christ."

This, in my opinion, rules out the option of "cessationalism". It does leave open, however, the quetion of exactly what was the gift of tongues. And that is a whole other story.

David Rogers said...

Just noticed Alan Cross's last comment, after I posted mine. I add my endorsement to Alan's list of recommended texts, and his suggestion to study MacArthur alongside of them.

Dori said...

[That’s right, Amen!]
[Amens heard]
[Applause. Laughter]

Jeff - above is listed the totality of the inserts on sounds from the transcript. Nine words. I did not see the comment you refer to on the 100s of amens, but such was not given in the transcript.

In these nine words is no indication of quantity ... we can only assume there was enough of whatever sound to be picked up by the DVD recording device.

I thought you had a valid question this was getting to, but I see from your last comment that perhaps you were just trying to get a "dig" in on someone.

This will be my last comment on this matter.

Alan Cross said...

Baptist Theologue:

I agree with you on #1. It's #2 that forms your presupposition and your hermeneutical key for everything else you say. There is no biblical evidence you back up your foundational argument. You just throw it out there, as though it was true and build the rest of your argument on that foundation. Whereas, the Bible could be interpreted to say differently:

1 Cor. 14:2: "For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit."

1 Cor. 14:4: "He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church."

1 Cor. 14:5: "I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy."

1 Cor. 14:14-19: "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. 16If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.
18I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue."

Are there restrictions placed on tongues? Absolutely. But, it is beyond me how anyone can take these words and say that these are only human languages that must be interpreted. It just does not make sense to anyone reading it without a presupposition against the possibilty of these tongues being ecstatic utterances.

#3 I agree that tongues will cease. It says, that they will "be stilled." Something will stop them. Fair enough. How you make the jump to them ending at the end of the first century from that statement is very confusing. You can only come to that conclusion from a presupposition that tongues are no longer in operation today, therefore, they MUST HAVE ended sometime ago. You then, use the text to prove your point, but you came to the text with that view to begin with. This is what MacArthur does throughout Charismatic Chaos and it is just plain wrong.

Yes, tongues will cease. But context requires that they cease along with knowledge and prophecy: when the perfect comes and we know as we are known. In my opinion, this must mean the Return of Christ.

Now, as I've stated before, we can disagree on this. You have your points, I have mine. But, is there not room for both views in the SBC? Is my view so out there and heretical that it is "dangerous to the churches" and it must be silenced? Is my view a disqualification for missionary service? Whether I practice tongues or not, if I have this view, I would teach that they are for today and be willing to cooperate with others who feel the same way. So, the IMB is inconsistent in disqualifying only those who practice tongues. They must also disqualify those who believe they are still in operation, because they would propagate that teaching to converts. This is a very dangerous game that we are playing, and I don't think anyone would be happy with the ending.

Alan Cross said...


You are absolutely right about 1 Cor. 1:4-8. I completely forgot about that as I took the bait and got buried in 1 Cor. 12-14. Here, I think Paul is saying to the church that their gifts will continue by the grace of God until Jesus returns. This should give us insight into the "perfect" in 1 Cor. 13:10. Agreed.

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

David, you and I discussed 1 Corinthians 1:8 on Rob Westbrook’s web site.
To save time, I’ll put my response (BT) and your response to my response (DR):

BT: “David, the clincher for me in 1 Cor. 1:8 is the Greek "humas" (the second personal pronoun, "you," in its plural accusative form). What is being preserved to the end is not tongues; rather, the Corinthian Christians are preserved blameless. This verse is very similar to 1 Thessalonians 5:23. After they physically died, these people would no longer be exercising the gift of tongues. . . . It is interesting to compare 1 Thess. 5:23 and 1 Cor. 1:8. The optative mood is used to describe Paul's wish that body, soul, and spirit be preserved blameless in 1 Thess. 5:23. The simple future tense is used in 1 Cor. 1:8 to describe Corinthian Christians confirmed to the end, blameless. Perhaps this indicates that Paul knew that the Corinthian Christians would be at least spiritually preserved in 1 Cor. 1:8, but he wasn't sure when the second coming would occur, and thus he expressed a wish about their physical bodies being preserved in 1 Thess. 5:23.”

DR: “At the risk of my lack of knowledge of N.T. Greek being exposed, I will concede that the object being ‘confirmed’ are the Corinthian believers themselves. However, it still seems to me that the result of this confirmation (which will continue to the ‘day of our Lord Jesus Christ’) is ‘that ye (the Corinthian believers) come behind in no gift’ (also, as a direct consequence, continuing to the ‘day of our Lord Jesus Christ’).”

David, if you want to expand on our past discussion, I’ll be glad to respond.

Alan, let’s review what I said and your response:

BT: “2. There is no evidence in the NT that the gift of tongues ever consisted of ecstatic utterances. Such ecstatic utterances have no grammatical structure and thus do not form a language, human or angelic.”

AC: “It's #2 that forms your presupposition and your hermeneutical key for everything else you say. There is no biblical evidence you back up your foundational argument. You just throw it out there, as though it was true and build the rest of your argument on that foundation.”

Let’s use a modus tollens argument:

1. If A, then B.
2. B is false.
3. Therefore A is false.

1. If the biblical gift of tongues ever consisted of ecstatic utterances, then there would be evidence in the Bible for it.
2. There is no evidence in the Bible for it.
3. Therefore the biblical gift of tongues never consisted of ecstatic utterances.

Alan, you said,

“There is no biblical evidence you back up your foundational argument.”

The point of my argument is that there is no biblical evidence for ecstatic utterances. Thus, you would have to provide such evidence to disprove my argument.

foxofbama said...

Wade, Ishare something in common with you and McKissic, and all of us with David Flick.
I think what you are facing at the High Levels of the SBC is similar to what I havefaced in the local church here in Alabama, the church where my Mother was baptized.
My version is the pastor's wife acted like Betty Criswell and with complaints from other women who saw my take on things as a threat to one's career with a minimum of credentials as a librarian, and then the minister's wife perceiving me to be a threat her husband's stature in the community; sought to turnthe screws to have my voice silenced and dismissed.
Kevin Phillips is right in American Theocracy in his analysis of Baptists. It is a folk church; and then autonomy of the local church genius as an outflow of the priesthood of the believer, is at all levels often hijacked by powerbrokers and folks who refuse to have their self sustainted vies of themselves challenged.
It is a pathetic mess, when it goes askew, Baptist ecclesiology I am talking about.
I commend to you James Ault's chapter The Neck that Turns the Head in his perceptive analysis of fundamentalism Spirit and Flesh.
I specifically challenge Alycee to read it.
Hope you Wade, will read it and blog. Be interested to see your take.
Beatles have a song for it all. See if you or Marty Duren can name that tune.
Alabama said...


Thanks for the comment.

I do consider you a brother in Christ as well!

I was having a little fun with my "with love like yours statement."

Frankly, I do appreciate you saying what you have said.

By the way, I have people all the time in my pulpit who teach things contrary to what I teach and I absolutely love it!

It gets my people to thinking and teaches them that they are not to take the word of a man on anything but to be like the Bereans and search the Scriptures for themselves.




David Rogers said...

John Farris,

I agree with you about the purpose of this thread. It's just if you let certain dogmatic statements go unchallenged, you give the impression no one has a good answer. This whole question was disussed in a lot more detail on Jerry Corbaley's blog. It's a shame he kind of left some of the points hanging, and never completely answered them, though. Anyone who's interested can go back and read The IMB and the Tongues Policy. Also, as Baptist Theologue mentions, we had a bit of a discussion about this on Rob Westbrook's blog at Cessationism as well.

Baptist Theologue,

I am happy to continue the discussion, but, as John Farris mentions, that's not really what this post is about. Maybe we could go back to Westbrook's original post, and continue there.

Alan Cross said...


The rest of my comment dove into 1 Cor.14 and passages that can be used to prove that tongues is a spiritual language. I guess we could all define ecstatic utterances anyway we want, and I am not necessarily interested in debating that with you. My definition of a "prayer language" or "heavenly language" would be a language spoken by the gifted person through their spirit that is unintelligible and is between them and God. That seems to the definition that Paul is using as he goes through several different phases of argumentation in 1 Cor. 14. Why would you respond to my criticism of your foundational fallacy with an accusation that I provided no evidence, when I clearly did? You might disagree with my evidence, or have a different opinion of what that evidence suggests, but to claim that I provided no evidence is not accurate on your part.

See comment at this time: Fri Sep 01, 06:41:02 PM

I can surely go into those verses further if you like, and would be happy to do so. But, at some point, I've got to move on.

But, let me also add this evidence: "Therefore, my brothers be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues." If you follow Paul's description of tongues in chapter 14 as a spiritual language, this verse makes sense. Why would anyone forbid the speaking of other human languages? The Roman Empire was full of various languages. And, when does the prohibition of forbidding speaking in tongues run out? When tongues cease?

The answer to all of this controversy is found in verse 40: "But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way." The answer is not prohibition, but pastoral guidance according to the Scriptures.

BT, you are hanging your position on vague references to voices of Greek verbs that do not necessarily prove what you are implying based on context. I appreciate your position, but it is not convincing to me.

Again, I fully affirm your presence in the SBC and would LOVE to fellowship with you and work alongside of you. I think we both affirm the inerrancy of the Word of God and highly value it's authority in our lives, our theology, and our practice. The SBC is richer for people like you who take the time to study the Scriptures. My only problem, is that it seems to be pushing people like me out, who do the same but come to different conclusions. Thanks for the dialogue.

SigPres said...

Where, in cooperative missions ministry, will an individual's belief in private prayer language (or not believing in it)ever make such a difference that it would prevent believers from working together side by side?

When I've volunteered at the inner city Baptist mission center, and spent the afternoon cleaning and organizing the food pantry, I wasn't asked about my belief in private prayer language before being allowed to pick up the broom. When I helped a crew of high school kids put a roof on houses in Savannah three different summers, I wasn't asked about my belief in a private prayer language before putting on the tool belt and climbing the ladder. And it never came up in the conversations on the roof, either.

I'm just one of those "blend into the background" kind of Baptists. I am known by those in my church, and in the churches where I've served, and that's about it. Even on the one occasion that I was involved in a mission project with someone who was prominent enough in Baptist life to be identifiable, and who held some theological views that I strongly disagreed with, it never interfered with our work, we were prayer partners for the whole week and I just decided that bringing it up would only serve my own pride and no other purpose.

Sometimes, for the sake of what we are doing, it is better for us to keep our mouth shut anyway.

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Alan, you said,

“The rest of my comment dove into 1 Cor.14 and passages that can be used to prove that tongues is a spiritual language.”

The gift of tongues indeed involved spiritual language. It was spiritual because it was a gift of the Spirit. Let’s emphasize the word “language.” Ecstatic utterance in no way constitutes a language. There is no structure to it whatsoever. I have heard folks argue that an ecstatic utterance is an angelic language (1 Corinthians 13:1), but the angels obviously would have to have structure in their language in order to communicate details. They are not omniscient, and God would have to communicate certain details to them as He gives them detailed orders. This obviously requires a language with structure. There is not one verse in the Bible that describes the gift of tongues as ecstatic utterances. When the gift of tongues first appeared on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11), foreign languages were in evidence: “We hear them in our own tongues” (NASB). The believers were speaking with other tongues (Acts 2:4). There is no evidence that this foreign language gift mutated into ecstatic utterances at some later date. Over 20 different languages were regularly spoken at Corinth, according to Dr. Francis Nigel Lee, retired professor of systematic theology and church history at the Queensland Presbyterian Theological College in Australia. I think you would agree with me that the historical and geographical context of a biblical passage is important in interpretation. The need in Corinth was for a gift of foreign languages, not ecstatic utterances. Note what Dr. Lee said about other commentators on chapter 14:

“According to the earliest extant comments -- those of the 185 A.D. Irenaeus and the 190f A.D. Clement of Alexandria -- the Corinthians tongues were clearly linguistic (and therefore not ecstatic). So too Origen, Eusebius, Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianze, Gregory of Nyssa, Basil, Hilary, Jerome, Chrysostom, Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodoret, Vincent, Leo, and Gregory the Great. Likewise Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and John Calvin. So too Matthew Henry, Lange, Plumptre, Meyer, Alford, Buswell, E.J. Young, Morton H. Smith, Robert Reymond, Richard Gaffin, Leonard Coppes, and Francis Nigel Lee. Indeed, even some (Neo-)Pentecostalists themselves -- such as Harald Bredesen, Carl Brumback, Howard Carter, David J. DuPlessis, Donald Gee, Harold Horton and Oral Roberts -- also concede this point.”

From “Tongues at Corinth: Languages, not Ecstasies!”

Alan, you asked,

“Why would you respond to my criticism of your foundational fallacy with an accusation that I provided no evidence, when I clearly did?”

I was asking for evidence that would identify of the biblical gift of tongues with ecstatic utterances. You did not mention ecstatic utterances in your interpretation of the verses in chapter 14, and the biblical passages you cited did not mention ecstatic utterances. The passage I cited (Acts 2:11) indeed mentioned foreign languages.

You said,

“But, let me also add this evidence: ‘Therefore, my brothers be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.’ If you follow Paul's description of tongues in chapter 14 as a spiritual language, this verse makes sense. Why would anyone forbid the speaking of other human languages?”

Paul said that if no one in the audience could understand the language, the person should not speak in that particular language (14:28). Verse 39 (“do not forbid speaking in tongues”) is a general comment about what is permitted under normal circumstances, but notice that Paul said in verse 40 that all things should be done properly and in an orderly manner. Thus, when no one is present who can understand the language (14:28), the speaker should not use that particular language. Verse 28 and verse 39 do not contradict each other; they are speaking of what should happen under different circumstances. Notice what Albert Barnes said about verse 39:

“And forbid not ... - Do not suppose that the power of speaking foreign languages is useless, or is to be despised, or that it is to be prohibited. ‘In its own place’ it is a valuable endowment; and on proper occasions the talent should be exercised; see in 1Co 14:22.”

Likewise, John Gill commented on verse 39:

“And forbid not to speak with tongues; such as have that gift, and are desirous of exercising it, provided they observe the rules prescribed, and have an interpreter; this he adds to promote love, and prevent dissension and discord.”

This much is undeniable: The biblical gift of tongues is described as speaking in foreign languages in the Bible. Ecstatic utterances are never described as the gift of tongues in the Bible.

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

David, if you want to continue discussing tongues, we can do it on my blog.

BT out

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Oops, my link for the tongues article didn't make it:

Scott said...


You need to create a message board.


davidinflorida said...

Hi Folks, I have been out all day so I thought I would check out my favorite blog. I cant believe that so many of you are trying to have a discussion with Craig from Georgia.... I tried this for a couple of days, but I soon found out that he is THE authority on the Bible...Craig has spoken on the tongue issue, so, its over. Stop wasting your time.....

RKSOKC66 said...

David Rogers & Alan Cross:

I am going to get some of the books you suggest.

Thanks for giving me a reading list.

Robert Hutchinson said...

baptist press had an article written just yesterday about the southwestern incident but now i can not find it, even under 'recent news', without doing a search.

i wonder why that is? might it be that somebody did not like what president frank page had to say.

Stephen Pruett said...

So BT, I noticed you did not respond to Alan's final paragraph, which really is the main point of this blog from beginning to now: Would your SBC (if you alone were making the rules) have room in it for people who believe like Alan on tongues to serve on Boards or as a missionary?

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Stephen, I agree with both the IMB and NAMB that those who use ecstatic utterances privately and/or publicly should not be hired. Here’s the NAMB policy:

“No person who actively participates in or promotes glossolalia (tongue speaking) will be approved.”

“No person who actively participates in or promotes glossolalia shall be employed by NAMB in an exempt staff position. This includes having a private prayer language. A representative of NAMB shall counsel any exempt staff member who becomes involved in glossolalia. Continued participation will result in termination.”

Here’s the IMB policy:


1. The New Testament speaks of a gift of glossolalia that generally is considered to be a legitimate language of some people group.

2. The New Testament expression of glossolalia as a gift had specific uses and conditions for its exercise in public worship.

3. In term of worship practices, the majority of Southern Baptist churches do not practice glossolalia. Therefore, if glossolalia is a public part of his or her conviction and practice, the candidate has eliminated himself or herself from being a representative of the IMB of the SBC.


1. Prayer language as commonly expressed by those practitioners is not the same as the biblical use of glossolalia.

2. Paul’s clear teaching is that prayer is to be made with understanding.

3. Any spiritual experience must be tested by the Scriptures.

4. In terms of general practice, the majority of Southern Baptists do not accept what is referred to as ‘private prayer language.’ Therefore, if ‘private prayer language’ is an ongoing part of his or her conviction and practice, the candidate has eliminated himself or herself from being a representative of the IMB of the SBC.


1. This policy is not retroactive.

2. Any exceptions to the above policy must be reviewed by the staff and the Process Review Committee.”

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

P.S.: At first glance, the IMB and NAMB seem to have different definitions for glossolalia. The definition seems to include private prayer language in the NAMB definition and thus would indicate ecstatic utterances. The IMB first seems to define glossolalia as speaking in foreign languages. The IMB separates private prayer language from the biblical use of biblical glossolalia and seems to view PPL as ecstatic utterance. By implication, it would seem that the IMB would also frown on public display of ecstatic utterances. For the topic "glossolalia," under #1 and #2, the IMB policy mentioned the New Testament while describing biblical glossolalia as foreign languages. Under #3, the IMB policy does not describe modern glossolalia as biblical and perhaps includes public ectatic utterance as glossolalia. Statement #3, however, is open to more than one interpretation.

RKSOKC66 said...


As in most real life situations it is not possible to study one idea in isolation.

I believe your overarching theme is that tongues and/or PPL is not an essential doctrine so therefore as Baptists we can agree to disagree on it and continue to coorperate.

I totally agree with your position.

However, it is becoming obvious to me that there is a minority that does not agree that tongues/PPL is non-essential. I don't know how to quantify this minority -- it is not a "sizeable" minority -- but it is not just a fringe that is less than 5% either. My guess (and of course this is only a guess) is that those holding that PPL/tongues is either tier 1 or 2 could be as high as 20-25%.

Here is a layout of the four relevant spaces in which a person might be relative to the SBC / IMB PPL/tounges issue:


-->1a. Don't practice tongues / PPL

-->1b. Practice tongues / PPL

2. PPL/Tongues is ESSENTIAL

-->2a. Don't practice tongues / PPL

-->2b. Practice tongues / PPL

Personally I am camp 1a.

I think one thing that is missing from the debate is making the case that PPL/tongues is - in fact - non-essential. There are "quite a few" people that are in either 2a or 2b. To move those people to 1a or 1b respectively you have to show them why the doctrine really is "non-essential". I think that is the crux of the current situation.

to-obey-is-better said...

I think the main point that keeps getting overlooked is that Jesus said to go into your closet and pray.

How people pray and what they do when they pray is between them and God!

Most, if not all, IMB M's don't speak in tongues (I'm not including PPL in this)!!!

You would be surprised that there are a number that have a private prayer language! The only reason I've even heard about it from some of my friends (that I didn't know had a PPL) is because there is concern that these new polices could be made retroactive and it would effect them.

These people don't teach their people about private prayer languages, they don't talk about them on their team.

Why! They remind me of Dr. McKissic!

They pray in their "prayer closet".

It seem that by many on the SBC front, the implication is that speaking in a private prayer language can't be from God, so therefore, ifyou have a private prayer language, it's from the Devil himself. I would pause long, and think hard about this.

Who are we to say what we will and won't accept from the Lord's hand?

We, your IMB M's strive hard to be good, solid, biblical people. Goodness, if we aren't we won't last long. Our accountability levels are high.

I don't know of anyone that has taught new believers or others about a private prayer language.

I'm just waiting for the next question. What will it be?

"Do you "visualize", or "chant", or pray in "labyrinths" or any one of a dozen other "outside the norm" prayer methods in your private prayer closet?."

God help us.

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Could Matthew 6:7 be applicable to private prayer language?

Matthew 6:7 – “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.” (NASB)

Our best-known Southern Baptist Greek scholar, the late A. T. Robertson, commented on the verse:

“Use not vain repetitions (mh battaloghshte). Used of stammerers who repeat the words, then mere babbling or chattering, empty repetition. The etymology is uncertain, but it is probably onomatopoetic like ‘babble.’ The worshippers of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 8:26) and of Diana in the amphitheatre at Ephesus who yelled for two hours (Acts 19:34) are examples. The Mohammedans may also be cited who seem to think that they ‘will be heard for their much speaking’ (en th polulogiai). Vincent adds ‘and the Romanists with their paternosters and avast.’ The Syriac Sinaitic has it: ‘Do not be saying idle things.’ Certainly Jesus does not mean to condemn all repetition in prayer since he himself prayed three times in Gethsemane ‘saying the same words again’ (Matthew 26:44). ‘As the Gentiles do,’ says Jesus. ‘The Pagans thought that by endless repetitions and many words they would inform their gods as to their needs and weary them (“fatigare deos”) into granting their requests’ (Bruce).”

Another Greek scholar, Marvin Vincent, commented on the verse:

“Mat 6:7 - Use vain repetitions (βατταλογήσητε) A word formed in imitation of the sound, battalogein: properly, to stammer; then to babble or prate, to repeat the same formula many times, as the worshippers of Baal and of Diana of Ephesus (1Ki_18:26; Act_19:34) and the Romanists with their paternosters and aves.”

Alan Cross said...


We've pretty much run to the end of this discussion. Thanks for your participation. The purpose, again, of this for me, is not to prove to you that you should accept the modern view of tongues as a prayer language, but to show that it does have validity and should be accepted as an option within the SBC, with the proper, Biblical qualifications. I believe I've done that.

Here is where I believe you are wrong:

You say, "The gift of tongues indeed involved spiritual language. It was spiritual because it was a gift of the Spirit. Let’s emphasize the word “language.” Ecstatic utterance in no way constitutes a language. There is no structure to it whatsoever."

As I said earlier, I am not interested in defending "speaking in tongues" as ecstatic utterances under your definition. You're right, the Bible never calls them that. It relates tongues to "praying with the Spirit," which, under the rules of context in 1 Cor. 14, seems to be much different that a human language.

At any rate, I believe that you are using human arguments and your reason to define biblical concepts. In other words, "everyone knows a language must look like this, therefore tongues must be a HUMAN language." How can you possibly judge the language of angels by human constructs? Will you judge eternity by the limits of time? Do you judge God's wisdom by your own limited understanding? I'm not saying that it is impossible for you to be right on this. I'm just saying that your starting foundation of how you assess a prayer language is terribly faulty in my opinion, because you are saying that

prayer language is an ecstatic utterance

ecstatic utterances are not languages

speaking in tongues can only be a language to be biblical

therefore, prayer language is not biblical

You've defined the terms and have created a sine qua non argument in which your proposition on tongues CANNOT be true, unless your definition of all language possibilities is accurate. This is quite a leap and your evidence is unconvincing. It bascially comes down to, a "because I a some others have said so" argument. It is not based on fact, but only upon an INTERPRETATION of what could be.

You are free to do that. I applaud you for your research and presentation. I am better for it. Your error is in taking your argument, which I believe is very weak, and laying it over the whole SBC and eliminating people from service who BELIEVE the way I do, because the policies against PPL do not make sense if they only apply to practicioners. They must also apply to those who BELIEVE that PPL is o.k., even if they do not practice it. Even though the number of PPL practicioners in the SBC might be small, the number of those who believe it is possible are quite a bit higher. Pushed to it's logical conclusion, this argument splits the SBC in half. Is it worth it? If so, we have dark days ahead.

Again, I would not argue about this at all if there were not people who said this view had NO place in SBC life. They started the argument, not me. Thanks BT for your gracious intelligent tone. You've really made me think and it's been a pleasure discussing this with you.

Alan Cross said...


Again, context. Matthew 6:5-8 shows us how to pray. Don't pray to be seen by others. Don't pray in a way that others will think more of you. Don't pray about something over and over again, thinking you will be heard because of many words. God knows what you need before you ask. This passage deals with our heart and the unseen motives within, as does the entire Sermon on the Mount. It is actually consistent, in my reading, with the prohibitions Paul places on public tongues speaking in 1 Cor. 14. But, it in no way, relates the babbling of the pagans to the praying with the Spirit that Paul is talking about.

To take verse 7 in isolation and use it against a Private Prayer Language, apart from it's context is disappointing. I expect more from you on this, BT! :)

David Rogers said...


You and I think amazingly alike on this question.

I think I'm just going to have to limit my comments to: "What Alan said." :)

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Alan, thanks for the kind words. I have enjoyed our discussions.

You said,

“At any rate, I believe that you are using human arguments and your reason to define biblical concepts. In other words, ‘everyone knows a language must look like this, therefore tongues must be a HUMAN language.’ How can you possibly judge the language of angels by human constructs?”

Let’s look at how God spoke to angels.

2 Samuel 24:16 – “When the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the calamity and said to the angel who destroyed the people, ‘It is enough! Now relax your hand!’ And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” (NASB)

Notice the two sentences that God spoke to the angel. We don’t know what language the LORD was speaking, but this must be regarded as an inerrant translation of what He said. It has structure, as do human languages. This was not an unstructured ecstatic utterance. This same episode is recounted in 1 Chronicles 21:15.

In regard to Matthew 6:7, the context indicates that our prayers should not be like that of the non-believers. Notice that verse 8 repeats this: “Do not be like them.” Ecstatic utterances were a part of the pagan worship of that time, according to John MacArthur:

“In other words, the effectiveness of the sign of the gift of languages, depended upon its difference from the ecstatic babble that they were so used to in the pagan worship of Corinth. So, in the Corinthian assembly, the genuine gift of languages was a true language with a true translation. That was the miracle. If all an unbeliever heard was babble, he wouldn't be able to say anything except, ‘This is just the same old pagan hysteria.’”

Alan Cross said...

Thank you, BT. Again, our starting places are different. I do not assume that all private prayer language is ecstatic utterance in the form of being pointless babble. I'm really even not sure what that is. Have you heard everyone's private prayer language? Do you know if it has structure or not? I have read accounts of linguists studying recordings of people speaking in tongues and the pattern of language is consistent with what they understand language to be. Then, there were recordings of people "faking it" slipped in, and the linguists said that was just babble - "They Spoke With Other Tongues," John Sherrill.

At any rate, YOU are deciding what prayer language is and are defining it as ecstatic utterance. You then say it has no biblical place. Your examples do not prove your point. Of course, when angels speak to men or when God speaks to angels and the conversation is placed in the Bible, it will be in a way that is understandable to us. It will be in a human language form. But, 1 Corinthians 14:2 says, "For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, NO ONE (emphasis mine) understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit."

The cessationist takes a negative view of this phenomenon and says that Paul is saying that anyone who speaks in a tongue utters foolishness that only God could understand, thus, we should only speak and pray in intelligible tones. That is not what Paul is saying. He actually IS speaking of another phenomenon that many call a private prayer language. The public form of this that is to be interpreted for the edification of the church is another discussion entirely.

Again, I do not begrude you your position and your standing as a Baptist. You, however, do say that my perspective is not allowed in Baptist life. Your arguments, in my opinion, are logical leaps, based upon interpretations of Greek verbs and cessationist scholars. I place more of an emphasis on context and intent, in my opinion. I believe that your presuppositions are guiding you instead of a faithful reading of the text. But, that is alright. We differ. I would hope that we could still work together and rally around the cross of Christ and the preaching of the gospel. You disagree, it seems. You would divide with me over this issue and not allow me to participate in denominational missions because of what I BELIEVE on this issue (that theological litmus test must be next, because to just place limitions on missionary service to practicioners of private prayer language alone is illogical).

Our starting places on THIS issue are different and we must agree to disagree. However, our starting place in our faith is exactly the same, and because of that, I believe we could work together. That is the point of Wade's blog and the point of this whole controversy in SBC life. It will be interesting to see where it goes.

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Alan, you said,

“At any rate, YOU are deciding what prayer language is and are defining it as ecstatic utterance.”

If Jesus was describing prayer language when He discussed what Gentile unbelievers were doing in Matthew 6:7, then it involves something akin to babbling. Many Southern Baptists have expressed emotion (laughed, cried, groaned, shouted, etc.) during their prayers, but I think most of us would all agree that private prayer language involves more than that.

Jim McGuire, Professor of Greek at Logos Bible Institute in Sun Valley, California, discussed the common misconception about groaning:

“The word for tongue in Greek is GLWSSN (glose, plural glossalalia). It is
the normative word for language. It was a known language, not gibberish or
babble or an unknown prayer language. In King James' day, ‘tongues’ meant
what ‘languages’ mean to us. . . . Romans 8:26 says, ‘And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself
intercedes for [us] with groanings too deep for words.’ Some say, ‘See
there, these groanings are referring to unknown language! They are groanings
too deep for words.’ But the Greek says a very interesting thing here. It
literally says, STENOGMOIS ALALNTOIS, ‘unutterable groanings.’ These are
groanings which cannot be uttered, not groanings which can be uttered.
Furthermore, it is the Spirit who prays interceding for us, not we who pray
these unutterable groanings. So this is hardly a passage to support unknown
prayer languages.”

I’ll quote John MacArthur on prayer language:

“Now there are some people today who say that the gift of tongues is ecstatic babble--a prayer language.”

Alan Cross said...

I believe your assumption that Jesus' words in Matthew 6:7 refer to the same thing that Paul is talking about in 1 Cor. 14 is without merit. If it was the same thing, then the Bible would contradict itself, because Paul approves of it, with regulations. But, we don't have to worry about that, because they are not talking about the same thing, as I showed in my last comment.

Yes, there is pagan babbling of ecstatic utterances. That is not what Paul was referring to when he talked about "praying with the Spirit." This was a spiritual gift that edified the user and the church when it had interpretation.

You know, if the biblical hermeneutic that cessationists use in the tongues debate was applied to the rest of our theology, we would have a garbled mess. If that was forced upon the rest of us, then maybe they are right. Maybe, we cannot work together. Fortunately, they only apply this hermeneutic to discount tongues and the miraculous gifts of the Spirit. I'll give them a pass on that and move on, but I do disagree.

But, I find it hard to understand how Arminians and Calvinists can find common room in the SBC and cessationists and continualists can't. It is beyond me.

RKSOKC66 said...

I think at least 85% of the debate going on here is the wrong debate.

How about setting aside whether PPL/Tongues is Biblical and ONLY concentrate on whether it is essential.

Isn't the point to determine if differing views can enjoy mutual cooperation. If so then why is it necessariy to get into an nuclear arms race to show that "my view" is correct?

Alan Cross said...


I assure you that I have no interest in proving my view to be correct. I'm fine with people having other views. I just feel that at some point it is important to answer guys like BT instead of letting statements just go unchallenged as though this position cannot defend itself. One major criticism that cessationists have against continualists is that our view is based more on experience than scripture.

I agree with you completely about the main thrust of this argument. That is why the end of every comment I have made brings it back to that point. BT has engaged with it only once to say that people who believe what I believe should not have a place in SBC missions. I don't think that we can discuss what is essential, however, until we show that both sides have merit. I would not be interested in discussing the essential nature of doctrine with a Mormon or Jehovah's Witness. Some doctrines are beyond the pale. BT seems to think the position that I, David Rogers, and others is not worthy of being included in a discussion on denominational life in the SBC. I am trying to correct that viewpoint.

I totally agree with you, however. This debate has been a good exercise for me. If Dr. Paige Patterson and crew have their way, I'll need this experience in the future, I'm afraid. Until then, I am finished.

Sola Scriptura

RKSOKC66 said...


I have been reading your comments and I am 101% in agreement (if that is possible).

I noticed you say earlier that if we can agree to cooperate vis a vis Calvanism then we should also be able to get along regarding PPL/Tongues. Of course, I agree.

Maybe we need another Patterson / Mohler non-debate only this time on PPL/Tongues.

Baptist Theologue:

Stipulating that "continualists are wrong" for the purpose of this question, could you still cooperate with them?

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Alan, you said,

“I believe your assumption that Jesus' words in Matthew 6:7 refer to the same thing that Paul is talking about in 1 Cor. 14 is without merit.”

I think you misunderstood me. I believe Paul was discussing the gift of tongues in terms of foreign languages in 1 Cor. 14. Jesus was discussing babbling prayer in Matthew 6:7. Remember that A. T. Robertson and Marvin Vincent in my earlier post both discussed the Greek word “battalogein.” Both of them described it as babbling. Robertson said the word is onomatopoetic; i.e., the word was formed in imitation of the sound it describes.

Alan, you also said,

“But, I find it hard to understand how Arminians and Calvinists can find common room in the SBC and cessationists and continualists can't. It is beyond me.”

Arminians and Calvinists can both use James Kennedy’s Evangelism Explosion. Most of the people from both sides would agree that regeneration and faith/repentance occur simultaneously in terms of chronological order. They would disagree on which one precedes the other in terms of logical order. The important point is that both groups agree with the soteriological section of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, and they can share the same gospel in a worship service.

Cessationists, semi-cessationists, and continualists face a different problem in a worship service. Let me draw an analogy:

Let’s suppose some snake handlers (who were in agreement with all of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message) joined Southern Baptist churches in large numbers. The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message does not address snake handling; it had never been much of an issue in Southern Baptist churches. Let’s say that some of the snake handlers started bringing snakes into Southern Baptist worship services. Suddenly it becomes a big issue in certain churches and associations. The snakes are a distraction to the non-snake handlers during worship services in the churches. Let’s also assume that some of the snake handlers apply to NAMB and the IMB to be missionaries. The boards state that modern snake handling is unbiblical. Some of the handlers agree not to handle snakes in public; they will only handle them in private. The boards are concerned that the handlers will teach this practice to those they evangelize on the mission field. They are also concerned about the fact that handlers will be doing something in private that is clearly unbiblical and could be exploited by Satan. The boards publicly issue a statement that describes private snake handling as unbiblical, and they refuse to hire any private snake handlers. Some people protest this decision. After all, they say, the snake handlers are good, sincere Christians who agree with all of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. Surely we can all cooperate in planting churches on the mission field. Also, Paul handled snakes without harm (Acts 28:3-6) and this certainly impressed the nationals on Malta. Besides that, Mark 16:18 says believers will pick up serpents. There is clearly some disagreement about interpretation of these key passages. There is also disagreement about whether snake handling is an essential issue. A movement develops to change the policies the boards have developed on snake handling. Some people who believe snake handling is unbiblical say that snake handlers should be hired by the IMB and NAMB. The issue is brought up at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, and a turning point in the battle occurs when a snake handler who is protesting the board policies releases snakes in the convention hall during the debate. Eventually a statement was added to the Baptist Faith and Message that spelled out in detail the SBC position on snake handling.

What will the turning point be in the battle over private prayer language and the policies of the IMB and NAMB? I’m not sure.

The Southern Baptist Convention is not a Pentecostal denomination. I can cooperate with Assemblies of God folks under certain circumstances, but the churches our missionaries plant should be distinctively Baptist. That’s just good stewardship. Perhaps we should think seriously about adding a section to the Baptist Faith and Message that describes the majority position on ecstatic utterances/private prayer language.

RKSOKC66 said...

Baptist Theologue:

I don't want to put words in you mouth but I guess the answer to my question "can you cooperate with those practicing PPL/tongues" is NO.

As far as I can discern you wrote an 200 word essay to give a one word "NO" answer. Right?

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Under certain circumstances I can cooperate with them, but under other circumstances I cannot.

Stephen Pruett said...

So BT, I would suggest it is inconsitent to appoint Staff and Trustees of our agencies who practice a PPL, if we refuse to appoint missionaries who do. Therefore, I assume you would favor rules prohibiting future staff and trustees on all SBC agencies and boards from having a PPL. If so, I assume you would also prohibit those who may not actually practice a PPL but who believe that scripture allows it. Thus, under the new BT rules, future Rankins and McKissic's and Burlesons will simply not need to apply, but should take their service elswhere, correct?

If so, how could it possibly be consistent to stop with private prayer languages. I mean, we Baptsts are not Episcopaleans, so we should not drink like they do. Therefore, anyone who believes it is possible to interpret the Bible to support anything but absolute abstinence from alcohol consumption should be excluded from service, correct? (Oops, there goes Dr. Mohler, he suggested that intellectual honesty should prompt us to concede that alcohol consumption is not absolutely prohibited but that abstinence is the safest position of for the Christian today).

How can we possibly stop there. Now we are really clearing out those dangerous unbaptistic folks. Let's move on to soteriology. I happen to know that you do not believe that if you or I fail to heed the call to share the gospel with a particular person that this cannot be said to have caused this person to miss salvation. Why don't we exlude everyone who believes differently? They obviously have a deeply flawed soteriology.

Wait a minute, What about the critical criteria for the baptizing authority and the matter of whether one's acceptance into a local Baptist Church was valid?

Where do you see all of this going, and do you see a stronger, more effective SBC emerging?

Stephen Pruett said...

Oops, too many negatives in paragraph 3 of my previous post. The middle part should read:
I happen to know that you believe that if you or I fail to heed the call to share the gospel with a particular person that this cannot be said to have caused this person to miss salvation".

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Stephen, both public and private ecstatic utterances are Pentacostal/charismatic manifestations. The SBC is not a Pentacostal/charismatic denomination. I assume that most Southern Baptist agree with me on those points, but I have no statistical proof. This issue is not dealt with in the Baptist Faith and Message. Perhaps it should be. Perhaps alcohol should be also. Soteriology is already dealt with in the BF&M, and I think both sides are comfortable with it. Ecclesiology is also dealt with--baptism is a church ordinance, not a gospel ordinance.

You asked,

"Where do you see all of this going, and do you see a stronger, more effective SBC emerging?"

If the issues of ecstatic utterances and alcohol continue to fester, I assume the BF&M will be revised and will deal with them. I do think our doctrinal discussions are fruitful, and I do believe a stronger, more effective SBC will eventually emerge.

Alan Cross said...

Thanks Baptist Theologue,

It took a couple of days, but I finally understand your perspective. Your Biblical basis for your argument is weak, in my opinion. You are left to arguing for "baptistic" churches and saying we are not a pentecostal/charismatic denomination, therefore, we should not have anyone who practices or believes in a private prayer language. How about just being a biblical church? You analogize prayer languages to snake handling. Brother, I am very sorry for your position, but extremely happy for this debate. It helps me understand a lot better the absolute danger that your camp is to the SBC and world evangelization. If your "one way only" view is standard, we are in deep trouble, again, in my opinion.

I have been involved in this debate before, but you have really mobilized me to become a great deal more active to make sure that what you propose DOES NOT happen regarding the BF&M. If it does, I believe that you will be shocked as to what will happen to our beloved SBC because the implications of such a move will be detailed and broadcast far and wide. Yes, it appears that your position, if it carries the day, will push all of these issues into the "first tier" status and we will have quite a fight on our hands. But, you really can't be consistent if you only go after practitioners, can you? You must also go after all of us who believe that this view is biblical and/or permissable, if the real issue is what we will teach to new converts as we plant churches. I may not have the gift of administration or helps, but if I believe it is biblical, I am obligated to teach it to others. In the same way, someone may not have the gift of tongues, but if they believe it is biblical, they will teach it as such to new converts and cooperate with others who believe the same. Your theological litmus test is going to get pretty messy. I'll be resisting you all the way.

But, in all seriousness, I do appreciate your thoughtfulness and Christian decency as we debated this. So many turn these types of things into a nasty argument. I had hoped that we could find some common ground, but it doesn't seem possible. I am truly sorry for that.

RKSOKC66 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Alan, thanks again for your kind words. I think our denomination benefits from such civil debates.

You said,

"You are left to arguing for 'baptistic' churches and saying we are not a pentecostal/charismatic denomination, therefore, we should not have anyone who practices or believes in a private prayer language. How about just being a biblical church?"

I believe that Baptist churches are the most biblical churches. That's why I'm a Baptist. If a Baptist believes that Pentecostal churches are more biblical than Baptist churches, that person should join a Pentecostal church.

As I said, I can cooperate with Pentecostals under some circumstances. For instance, we can show the Jesus film together to a group of non-Christians. When it comes time to plant a church, however, I want to plant the most biblical church that I can, and in my opinion that will be a Baptist church, not a Pentecostal church.

RKSOKC66 said...


This is an excellent debate. It has been civil on all sides. It frames the issue clearly.

Alan Cross said...


I too, would not be comfortable in a Pentecostal church because of their emphasis on a baptism in the Holy Spirit as a second blessing with tongues as the sign. That is decidedly NOT what I am saying. I wish you could see that I am not advocating pentecostal theology. Pentecostals would not agree with me at all. Pentecostalism is much more than the existence of tongues, and you show a basic misunderstanding as to the beliefs of that group by assigning my theology to pentecostalism. As Dr. McKissic stressed, I believe you receive ALL of the Holy Spirit when you are regenerated. So, no, pentecostalism is not where I would find myself (although I do consider them brothers in Christ). I just believe in a continuation of the gifts of the Spirit, including tongues, and do not believe that the age of miracles ceased at the end of the Apostolic Age, but continues to this day. This position is not exclusive to pentecostalism, but is widely accepted within evangelicalism. If the SBC decides that this view is not consistent with their perspective of baptist theology through an amendment to the BF&M, or through consistent application of exclusive policies to our entities, then, I will move on and find a more Biblical denomination to be a part of, because I truly believe if that happens, we will cease to be a people of the Word and we will have thrown our lot in with unbiblical traditions and presuppositions. I pray that day never comes.

But, even if it does, I will still consider you a brother, and would be happy to work with you as a Baptist or as a Christian. It is you who are drawing the line. I pray that you and others like you will prayerfully consider the implications of your position on the future of the SBC. Again, thank you for the debate. I am sure we'll meet again in the blogosphere. I have nothing else to say on this matter at this time, but I did want to clear up any misperception that I am advocating Pentecostal theology. What I am talking about is a good deal different.

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Roger, I think I can speak for all posting here when I say, "Thanks for the compliment.

Alan, it's been good. Maybe we can similarly discuss other issues in the future.

Rex Ray said...

To Jaf Fleming,
Thanks for the
Besides his picture looking like Emmett Wilson, this news story shows a further side of McKissic in being a person who gets his way or leaves.
It shows how scary his words were when he said, “I was so disappointed by the policy that I gave serious consideration to leading my church out of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
WHAT! He gets his feelings hurt over one incident, and he’s ready to leave the SBC like he pulled his church out of the BGCT over ONE word that is NOT even in the BFM.

Sure he had a right to be disappointed over Patterson ‘breaking the rules’, but to quit?—What about forgiving your brother 70 times 7? Does he only practice Scripture that suits him?
It’s obvious since he took his church out of the BGCT and thinking about leaving the SBC that he is a pastor that is the ‘ruler’ of the church.
This is one more example why a pastor should be a ‘servant leader’, so the authority given to the Church by Christ, does not become a one-man rule which does away with individual priesthood.
Rex Ray