Sunday, October 01, 2006

Laus Deo: Our Highest Ambition

Every year we take our sixth graders from Emmanuel Christian School to Washington D.C. for the annual sixth grade trip. We go the great cities of the east coast including New York City, Philadelphia, and the nation's capital.

Last year I noticed that the skyline of the capital is low and squatty, unlike the skylines of her sister metropolitan cities. I disovered through inquiry that there is a law in Washington DC that no building can be of greater height than the Washington Monument (Update: The law regulates that no building shall be higher than 90 feet -- still lower than the Monument but the restriction is not tied to it).


The highest piece of man-made material in our nation's capital is the aluminum cap of the Washington Monument. On this cap are enscribed two words: Laus Deo.

These words are 555 feet, 5.125 inches high, perched atop the monument, facing skyward, overlooking the 69 square miles which comprise the District of Columbia, capital of the United States of America. The words are written facing the open sky and are unnoticed by the thousands of visitors to the monument each day.

Laus Deo! Two seemingly insignificant, un-noticed words. Out of sight and, one might think, out of mind, but very meaningfully placed at the highest point over what is the most powerful city in the most successful nation in the world.

These words were intentionally placed there by the fathers of the city in the 1800's.

So, what do those two words, in Latin, composed of just four syllables and only seven letters, mean?

Very simply, they say... "Praise be to God!"

May our highest objective in all the things we seek to accomplish within the SBC, our churches, and our individual lives be that which ultimately redounds to the praise of God alone.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Nomad said...

Now that's cool!

Rex Ray said...

When I first read this post, I though this topic should calm things down and keep things on the quite order.
Who can find fault with “Praise be to God!” But does God want to see words of praise, or deeds that give him praise?

Washington D.C.—the highest murder rate in America. (Correct me if I’m wrong about that.)
It was the location of our first trip with Volunteer Christian Builders where a man tried to steel my billfold and I was rear-ended while stopped at a yield sign. Worst of all, my 12 year old daughter was improperly touched while we were in an elevator.

So, do the words so high in the sky do any more good than “In God we trust” that Hitler had on belt buckles? Does a law prohibiting any building being higher than these words do any good at all?
Looks like that law has made an idol and it has failed like all idols. Man should be careful that the Bible is not worshiped more than the author.
Rex Ray

Terry Hamblin said...

A too literal interpretaion of the Tower of Babel story, perhaps. Ironic that the words should be written in a language that few understand today.

And as Truthofacts reminds us following he letter rather than the spirit does no good at all. said...

Good thoughts Rex.

I guess it goes to show you that it's not the words one writes, the truth one expresses, but what is in one's heart that determines whether or not God is honored.

Wayne Smith said...


I second Your comment and the ones building the Washington Monument honored God for His Eyes Only.

In His Name

Wayne Smith said...

I received an email from Wes saying that the building restrictions have now changed to be tied to the width of the street.

Thanks, Wes, for the update. I was told the other and I tried to verify it on the net, but as one knows from my post of yesterday, you can't always believe what you read on the internet.


Rkatect said...


Like most "urban legends" and tales of tour guides, there is some truth to the story you were told. The height of buildings in the District of Columbia was established by an Act of Congress on June 1, 1910. Know as the "Act to Regulate the Height of Buildings in the District of Columbia" is set the maximum building height at 90 feet. I am told this was to prevent any building from exceeding the height of the Capitol Dome, although I have not found any reference to the Dome in the current copy of the zoning code, only the 90 foot limit.

At any rate, I appreciate your post and your thoughtful insight. The words placed on top of the Washington Monument are word too often missing in our country today. Perhaps, if we spent more time asking “America to Bless God” than for “God to Bless America”, we as a people might see true revival in America.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

May we once again be a nation that seeks to honor God! said...


Part legend, part truth.

The good thing is that the words on the top of the monument are the truthful part and not the legend.

Bryan Laramore said...

That's cool Wade. How'd your sixth graders like it? We went in the ninth grade and I gotta say it wasn't too productive. I admit I was too immature to know the significance of such a city and my teachers seemed to care more for the fun of it than anything else. Interesting how the fathers of the city did that...well, LAUS DEO!!!!

Mike said...

I cannot believe you defended Marty's slander of God's word on his blog in the Rich Mullins's lyric post. Fortunately, I have kept both a hard and soft copy of the post including comments. Marty removed it but it is still saved. As an SBC member, I am demanding a public retraction of your defense of Marty's post and his position regarding the man of Christ and associated non-Biblical supported statements he made and you agreed to. A retraction is the least you can do. As I, and others have commented before, time is showing your true colors. I will also be sending the hard copy and soft link to Dr. Rankin and Dr. Floyd as well as to Dr. Chapman. I will be asking them to consider taking appropriate action against you as an IMB trustee. We do not need you as trustee when you support, defend, and endorse the slandering of God's word and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

psmpastor said...


What in the World are you talking about? Not everyone is in the know.

I appeal to Matthew 18 on your part. Of course, I have no idea what you are talking about. Why don't you try to talk to Wade about your concerns before you take your stated action.

Wes Kenney said...


Thanks for this post. It is good that you have challenged us to keep God's glory above all else.

I hate to detract, but the info I found on wikipedia is slightly different from what Rkatect mentions above. An 1899 law prohibited buildings that were taller than 288 feet, the height of the capitol dome. That has been replaced, and the current restriction prohibits buildings that are more than 20 feet taller than the width of the street in front of them.

I hate that I'm so picky.

;-) said...


After you take a couple of blood pressure pills why don't you post my comments here for all to see.

They were neither a defense of Marty nor a slander of the Word of God.

In fact, I stated that I found no comfort in Marty's extra-biblical logic of the humanity of Christ, as he does.

Marty took a logical position that goes beyond the written Word and into human logic. You seem to ignore the fact that Marty does not deny the inerrant Word, and affirms the sinlessness and Deity of Jesus Christ.

My comment was to challenge people in the SBC to be intellectually and spiritually honest and admit that some of their beliefs and views of the Christian life, like Marty's views on the humanity of Christ, are extra-biblical.

Nothing wrong with following extra-biblical ethics or holding to extra-biblical views --- unless you demand others follow them or hold to them in order to be "holy" or a leader in the SBC.

I would be delighted for you to send my comments anywhere because anyone who reads them without prejudice or jaundice will see what I said for themselves rather than taking your word for it, which is a rather poor representation.

And by the way, what in the world does you comment have to do with "Laus Deo?"

Mike said...

I will post Marty's entire post shortly on your blog and then folks can decide for themselves with ALL the writing in the light of day. said...


You are not welcome to post Marty's post on my site.

I said you may post my comments about it.

Marty took his post down, and it is not your place to put it back up.

However, you have my complete and full permission to post my comments about his post anywhere you please.



Unknown said...


What are you trying to achieve? What is your aim or goal? And, what is your biblical support for your actions?

Mike said...

"You are not welcome to post Marty's post on my site."

Wade, you posted other people's comments on your site. Plus, other people have posted non-Burleson blog posts on your site in the past.

Why are you restricting the posting of Marty's blog on your blog now? I understand it is your blog but be consistent Pastor. You advocate the free exchange of information yet when your hand is called you disgress. What are you concerned about in not allowing Marty's post on your blog? Granted, Marty withdrew because of the controversy surrounding the post and comments including yours.

However, the posting occured and it is public information. Choose to "restrict" on your site but it is about to appear in other public places.

SWBTS Underground said...

What are you trying to achieve? What is your aim or goal? And, what is your biblical support for your actions?

Wade did this openly not privately when he posted on Marty's blog. It is open for all to see and for Wade to have opportunity to respond openly and for all to see his responses plus how his responses fit in context to other people's comments--their names will not be shown in the exchange.

What am I trying to achieve? The light of day regarding Wade. The more time goes by the more of what he really believes comes out for all to see and discern.

Wade needs to retract his statements on Marty's blog immediately.

Should he resign as an IMB trustee? IMO, yes. Wade and/or others will decide that for themselves. Folks please wake up. There are reasons why he is not allowed to function fully as a trustee even after all the publicity! This will add to the reasons and possibly cause further action.


Who ever you are hiding under the name Mike, why don't you come out of the closet and post whatever on your Blog. You must be a friend to other Boggers that hide or will not allow comments on their Blogger. In the world view they have names for this type of person. Only missionaries would be exempt IMHO.

In His Name

Wayne Smith

Marty Duren said...

First, there was nothing unbiblical about my post; it was, however, disconcerting to a number of people and that is why I took it down. Obviously, it was not a subject that some people were ready to contemplate, so rather than allow confusion, I removed it.

Second, as is noted in my Creative Commons License, you do NOT have permission to repost that writing anywhere and to do so will be a violation of the law.

Third, if you think that Morris Chapman has anything to do with removing trustees of SBC entities, you are as ignorant as a post.

Fourth, you did neither comment on my comment thread, nor contact me via email about your concerns, instead you chose to run over to a third party and accuse me of "slander of God's word." You are in violation of Scripture yourself and there is no slander any worse that claiming to hold something that you actually ignore.

Last, you need to pay close attention to Wade's comment. He did not even agree with the position that I espoused. Why don't you write everyone to complain about me instead?

A friend said to me the other day, "Marty, you need to understand that for the most part people like you. But, they hate Wade." Mike is serving as a living demonstration of that sentiment.

Unknown said...


In other words, you have no biblical warrant for your actions. You want to demean a man's character who is a brother in Christ. You are intending to divide. You are not using an established forum to voice your concern about a trustee. Ironically, this is the main complaint about Wade using his blog. Welcome to the club.

Unknown said...

calrification- the blog as forum part is the complaint about Wade said...


This is Rachelle, Wade is in Oklahoma City doing a revival.

I don't hate Wade. ;)

CB Scott said...


I asked Marty to delete the post. People like you are the reason I asked him to do so.

I asked him to do it for the weaker brother's sake. Wade did not in any way say he supported,or agreed with the post. He was giving Ben Cole an admonition about "fairness" as is his normal way of approaching things.

The problem with Wade is he tries to be too radically kind to everyone. I guess he thinks he is having the mind of Christ when he does that stuff.

You know, Mike I guess he ought to be mean as a snake like me and you.
That brand of faith is so much more acceptable in our circles isn't it?

Why don't you stand down on this one. If Wade did anything wrong it was to seek "excessive" grace between two brothers having words with each other.

"Excessive grace?" Where did I come up with that?


Tim Cook said...

OK, I am confused...I thought Marty's post was great. If it is now removed, I am sorry I didn't comment on it earlier. I missed it, but here is the thing: this type of knee-jerk accusing and attacking is unnacceptable at all times. Period. Everybody just needs to relax....

Wes Kenney said...

So, anyway, about the words on the Washington Monument...


I just saw a blurb on the History Channel about how that cap is a solid 6-pound pyramid of aluminum, and it's one of the earliest examples of man working with that metal, as it takes huge amounts of electricity to refine it for use. Interesting.

Matt Knight said...

um, I was just going to comment about this post. The last time I was in DC on a tour the tourguide stated that according to law, as has been pointed out, no building can stand taller than the dome of the US Capitol building. The tourguide also pointed out that the steeple on St. Joseph's church stands taller but this is overlooked because "they answer to a higher power." I thought that was an interesting story although I have no hard evidence or numbers on the exact height.

RKSOKC66 said...


Get a grip! What are you talking about?. When you send that letter to Dr. Chapman and Dr. Rankin send me a copy also?

For the 99% of us reading this BLOG who have no idea what you are talking about please clarify your position.

Look up my BLOGGER profile and get my e-mail address. Then send me an e-mail. I will give you my mail address so you can copy me on whatever letter it is that you are going to send out.


Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City Oklahoma

SBC Layman said...


Talk about chasing rabbits and private agendas!

The post Wade put up was about Laus Deo - Praise be to God!

It's not about the height of the buildings, the zoning laws, or some other post on another blog.

It's about the words "Praise be to God."

It's a reminder of a heritage in this nation which is quickly fading away. The practice of honoring God and giving Him the glory.

It's a reminder that God's work and presence can be found in the most unusual places.

It's two words - that should be on everyone's posts here - because Laus Deo is the point of this discussion in the first place.

Grace and Salt

SigPres said...

And in reference to those words on the Washington monument, may I add this comment?

If you look at a map of Washington, you will notice that the national mall area is in the shape of a cross. It was designed that way on purpose. The top of the cross is the Lincoln Memorial, the foot of it is the US Capitol building, and if you are facing the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial is at the left end of the cross, and the White House is at the right end of it. The Washington Monument is right in the very center, so the words "Laus Deo" would be at the very center of the cross.

And yes, that was done on purpose.

Kevin Bussey said...

I think that is something we all can agree on, I hope!

Kevin Bussey said...


I didn't read all of the comments before I posted.


What is your problem? Marty is one of the most passionate people I have met. He is a Godly man, husband, father, minister and he has been a great friend to me. Saturday, he just emailed me to check on a personal issue that my family has been dealing with. He has shown Jesus to me much more than you have towards Marty. He removed the post. I didn't see it, but I've removed posts too when people I trust recommend it to me. CB did that for Marty. Marty removed it and that is good enough for me.

Phil and Mary Ann said...


I am posting this here and on Brad's blog b/c these two are perhaps some of the most read of the SBC blogs. I need to preface what I am about to say and tell you who I am and my situation. My name is Phil Hopkins. I did a Ph.D. under Keith Eitel at SEBTS and was his teaching fellow for ~5 years. I am a “Five Point Calvinist.” My dissertation was on John Piper’s understanding of theology (Calvinism) and how it promotes missions. I respect Eitel and Patterson and consider them friends. I also respect Tom Ascol and consider many others of the Calvinistic persuasion co-laborers. We do not always agree, but the three people mentioned as well others pray for my wife and me on a regular basis and receive frequent updates.

Currently, we are working among several very unreached peoples in Central Asia. We are the only company people in this country. We have virtually zero Christian fellowship. However, we are blessed to have outstanding supervisors and an excellent God-centered, US fellowship that prays, cares and communicates regularly with us. We are humbled that God has chosen us for this work.

I say all this to say, we have to be somewhat creative in receiving spiritual nourishment. Sometime ago it was suggested that I survey the SBC blogs. I thought it may be a good way to keep up with current SBC events as well as receive spiritual edification. In part this has occurred. Some of the topics and discussions are a blessing to read. However, I am disturbed with some of the posts and comments on these blogs. People on both sides of the current controversy have delved into personal attacks, misrepresented positions and used ad hoc arguments to support their case. That not only leads to godless chatter (2 Tim 2.16), it is sin.

From an international worker in a difficult situation, I beg the bloggers, if you are going to debate:

1. Show integrity. Represent the opposition in the same manner they would represent themselves. If you are correct, your critique will be stronger. If you are wrong, you will learn.

2. Stop the personal attacks. Only God knows a person’s motivation. If you are unsure, do not publicly question, privately ask. If you are upset with another person, call him on it, literally (Matt 18). If you do not receive an answer, do not speculate. Similarly, realize in many cases, you do not have all the facts; nor is it your right to have them.

3. Edify. If you cannot say the truth in love, and say it to build up, do not say it. Eph 4.15; 4.28 applies to us all.

4. Check your pride at the door. I learned just as much if not more from scathing, yet kind critiques than from people always agreeing with me. It is ok to be wrong and admit it.

5. Get your wife or another female to proof your posts and responses. Ladies tend to have a more tender heart and see things that maybe misunderstood. This will also give time for you to reread the comment. If you are really excited about the post at hand, that can only be a good thing.

Jack Maddox said...

You all wonder why 99.9% of all Southern Baptists think ALL OF YOU to be rather silly and involved in a monumental waste of precious time.



Tim Rogers said...

Sister Rachel,

I do not believe I can say I love Wade like you do, but neither do I hate Wade. :>)


You are dead wrong on this issue. First you post without a name or anyway to identify you. Second, you break all blog etiquette by posting about something in another blog.

I must agree with Marty. To think that Dr. Chapman or Dr. Rankin can do something to remove Wade, reveals you ignorance of that situation that you claim to protect. I will tell you the same as I have told others IDENTIFY YOURSELF IF YOU ARE GOING TO GO AFTER SOMEONE.

While Wade and I disagree on issues and we are both passionately in disagreement on some, this is one area I will defend my Brother. You say he should recant. I say he has repeatedly stated he did not say anything remotely to what you accused him. Also I say he did not say anything remotely close to what you accuse him. Remember, I should know because it was the comment stream that Ben Cole and I were having that caused Wade to comment. I know--I was on the blog.

I pray that you had great success tonight in your meeting. I also pray that at the end of your remarkable sermon, you gave an invitation that invited people to come and receive the Grace that God makes available. Whether they chose to come or God chose them to come, well that is another blog, I just pray they came.:>)


RKSOKC66 said...

Phil & Mary Ann:

I agree 110%.

Those who disagree with Wade should advance their objection by focusing on the merits of the issues -- not by making character attacks.

For example, in response to Wade's points they should build a case that shows:

(a) The idea of "tiers of doctrines" is not correct


(b) If there are "tiers" then PPL is not a 3rd tier doctrine but a first or second tier doctrine


(c) The idea of setting requirements for service in the IMB depending upon a person's stance on PPL is actually desirable

I have been reading all the comments on this BLOG for six months. I have followed Wade's arguments and I happen to agree with them.

Unfortunately, many who disagree with Wade are not really engaging him on the issues. I can't recall any person commenting on this BLOG that disagrees with Wade advancing a cogent argument of why implementing an "anti-PPL" requirement for IMB appointees is actually a good idea.

Wouldn't it be interesting to actually debate the issues? To do that, pretend that Wade got hit by a truck tomorrow. Then he wouldn't be in the way of the discussion. It would then be possible to focus the discussion devoid of any baggage connected the personality of one or more persons. said...


I would sure like to debate the issues, but I also vote against me being hit by a truck.

;) said...

Thanks Tim for your kind words.

Wayne Smith said...

Phil & Mary Ann:

Have you been following Dr. Reynolds blog since your post here.

This all started when Brad Reynolds started with his hit and run attacks on Wade's Blog around April/May of this year.

In His Name