Sunday, February 11, 2007

I'm Not In It To Win It: I'm In It To Resist It


There is growing up in society a Pharisaic system which adds to the commands of God the precepts of men; to that system I will not yield for an hour. The preservation of my liberty may bring upon me the upbraidings of many good men, and the sneers of the self-righteous; but I shall endure both with serenity so long as I feel clear in my conscience before God. C. H. Spurgeon

One of the Presidential candidates for 2008 recently declared at a New Hamphshire policital rally, "I'm in it to win it!" to the applause and cheers of supporters. I couldn't help but reflect on my involvement within the SBC this last year and a half when I heard that statement. There is nothing to win in the SBC, but there is a great deal to resist.

Spurgeon succinctly summed up nearly one hundred and fifty years ago what needs resisting by Southern Baptists today. It is not my desire to single out individuals for ridicule, but to put everyone on notice that unless the average Southern Baptist begins to take an active role in the governance of our convention, we are in real danger of being overrun by a Pharisaic system that adds to 'the commands of God the precepts of men.' Unless our freedoms in Christ as individual Christians and autonomous churches are closely safe-guarded, we will wake up one day and realize that SBC leadership is defining Baptist identity in highly specific terms which may include making Natural Family Planning mandatory for Southern Baptist women and barring those same ladies from any positions of authority over a man in society.

Sound far fetched? It's not. We must draw a line in the sand today against those who are demanding conformity among Southern Baptists on issues of ecclesiology (i.e. "baptism must identify you with the doctrine of eternal security," "you must be congregationally governed," etc . . . ), soteriology ("you can't be a Calvinist" or "you must not be a five-point Calvinist"), pneumatology ("you must believe that the gifts have ceased"), and eschatology "you must be a dispenationalist" ). All these doctrines stretch far beyond the fundamentals of the faith, and Southern Baptists have historically displayed a broad diversity regarding these secondary and tertiary issues. We must not let others lull us into the trap of believing that all Southern Baptists must look the same, act the same and believe the same. It is this narrowing of the doctrinal parameters and the tightening of the definition of what it means to be a Southern Baptist that must be resisted right now. If we don't resist conformity on these issues, demands for conformity will reach deeper and deeper until all women will wear hats, no pants, stay at home and make babies the natural way, and avoid any role of authority over a man. It is pure Fundamentalism, and the Southern Baptist Convention has never been a Fundamentalist convention.

I am in an active role to resist the advancement of Fundamentalism. It's happening. This is not about taking the SBC a more liberal direction. It is about preventing the SBC from becoming a Fundamentalist convention. For the sake of not wishing to offend my brothers I am leaving out the adjective 'spooky'.

Give me the gospel. Give me Christ. Give me the Bible. Give me my freedom. But don't demand I make your precepts part of my life. I won't seek to take them from you, nor will I marginalize or criticize you for following your traditions and extra-biblical convictions. You are free to hold them and obey them religiously. But I, and others, will resist your demand that all Southern Baptists obey them.

And in the end, the resistance will win.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Bill Scott said...

C.H.S. summed it up quite well. You said that there is nothing to win. I agree but I also feel that there is much to loose if people don't take an active role in SBC politics and governance. There is much at stake. There is much worth fighting for. said...


I agree. The work of the SBC is wonderful regarding missions.

That's why our church shall remain Southern Baptist -- it's the cooperative effort in reaching the world.

Steve said...

Here I was thinking all the dangers to our cooperative work were behind us.

How very catholic (if not Catholic!) of Ms. Patterson to look so fondly back to the past. Wait 'til the late-night hosts get a load of this.

We seem to face every bit as much danger from the fundamentalists as we faced from the Bible-verse picking and choosing of the liberal past. Lead on, Dr. Spurgeon, and lead on, Wade.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...


I am a bit confused about your statement:

include making Natural Family Planning mandatory for Southern Baptist women

Is this just a hypothetical? You did, of course, read the article, did you not? Did you catch Dr. Patterson's statement:

In matters of conscience, one must allow others grace to make their own decisions before God.

Also, did you happen to see Dr. Mohler's articles advocating practically the same stance (here)? He received a lot of heat from the press and the culture (and broader evangelicalism) from this position as well.

When I read your call to warning of the four doctrinal areas, it brings to mind the faculty at SWBTS. Dr. Patterson has brought in a faculty that clearly and openly differs in their stances on eschatology, ecclesiology, pneumatology, and soteriology. One of the joys of seminary is the banter between professors during their respective lectures about the "rightness" of their view and the "wrongness" of their coworker and colleague- always in fun, and always hilarious. It seems that SWBTS, then, is on the frontlines of fighting the sort of doctrinal conformity you allude to earlier.

I pray the Lord is bringing you, your family, and your congregation abundant blessings.

Anonymous said...

Wade typed, "Give me the gospel. Give me Christ. Give me the Bible. Give me my freedom. But don't demand I make your precepts part of my life. I won't seek to take them from you, nor will I marginalize or criticize you for following your traditions and extra-biblical convictions. You are free to hold them and obey them religiously. But I, and others, will resist your demand that all Southern Baptists obey them."

I totally agree, and have said so on this blogsite--but, along with others, also have encountered at the state convention level those who do not agree because they indeed are representative of the Fundamentalism about which today's posting speaks. The result has been otherwise conscientious theologically-conservative, biblically-literate followers of Jesus Christ of the Wade Burleson sort being termed "theological moderates" and then "theological liberals" by those of the spirit of Fundamentalism. The state convention of which I am thinking now has turned on itself, and always has almost nothing good for God's kingdom to report at all; its focus was and remains off-focus gospel-wise, and it still is very necessary there to toe-the-line in order to belong. Leaders among the troubles in that state convention would appear to favor a little work among us all in NFP--and homeschooling, lobbying the statehouse, and battling in the courthouse. All of this, of course, is justified--and justified for you by those leaders--from the Bible.

"Give me the gospel. Give me Christ. Give me the Bible. Give me my freedom. But don't demand I make your precepts part of my life. I won't seek to take them from you, nor will I marginalize or criticize you for following your traditions and extra-biblical convictions. You are free to hold them and obey them religiously. But I, and others, will resist your demand that all Southern Baptists obey them." Amen, Wade.

David Troublefield
Wichita Falls, TX

Anonymous said...


If you think that article is wild, you should have been at Southeastern the day the ladies were told that if "Christian women had been having more babies" in the last twenty years, the 2000 presidential election would have been a sweep for George W. Bush.

I remember my jaw dropping at a local coffeehouse when two women's studies gals told me what had been said.

Even better than that is the story of the professor who announced to his class that he had "repented" of having allowed his wife to undergo IVF.

And then there was the day that the child-care center was bulldozed to make room for the Paige and Dorothy Patterson building.


irreverend fox said...

very well put Wade...I have no problem at all cooperating with brothers and churches who are more fundamental that I...not at all...and I wouldn't ask them to change if they sincerely held those convictions and believed that they were Biblical...not unless they asked me to become their pastor, lol.

Like you, I just want a clearly defined, succinct and orthodox statement that all true conservative evangelicals can live with. A creed (I still lol when people flip out over that word...every person...every church...and every denomination has a creed...regardless if they call it a's like those churches that says "we don't get into doctrine, we just preach of some sort. We just need a brief yet binding statement of faith and then move on. As far as I am concerned it can be as short as the Apostles Creed or as detailed as the BF&M2000 (or a revision of it)….I don’t care…so long as it is settled.

Again, I cry for a statement/creed that no agency or seminary can tolerate less than or discriminate further than when dealing with their staff.

I think we need to explain again to our agencies that they are autonomous from each other...but not independent from the convention...they don't answer to each other of course...but they ALL ought to answering to us and be accountable to us...the churches that fund them all...with how they spend money, how they hire, fire and "let go" and what they teach!

Is that too much to ask? said...


Thanks for the refresher regarding SWBTS. I appreciate your kind tone and the information.

I would, however, express my dismay and concern over the removal of women from teaching history and Hebrew in the School of Theology. These women were the best in their fields, but were born in a class that seems to be viewed as subordinate to men by gender.

This is at best adding a precept of man to Scripture, and at worst a violation of Scriptural injunctions.

Anonymous said...

Greetings Wade,

I am an IMB missionary and I wanted to know if you are open to receiving a personal email? If so, is your email address on the blog somewhere?

Thank You!

Tom said...

Great Spurgeon quote! May that spirit revive and then prevail among us in the SBC. Thanks, brother, for your effort in promoting just that.

-tom said...

Email address is found by clicking on my profile.

I am in staff meeting and have a funeral today, so it will be later this evening before I can respond to comments.

OC Hands said...

I think that my wife must be a prophetess.
When the IMB BOT issued their new policy regarding a potential candidate's experiences in private prayer, she exclaimed, "Well since they have invaded the privacy of our personal prayer experiences, I guess the next thing they will do is to come into our bedroom and make policies regarding our sex life."

I found it interesting that she refers to herself as a "theologian", not a wife or mother. Quite a number of years ago, one of our friends who was in a leadership role in the SBC, told us that Mrs. Patterson was traveling all over the US telling the wives to stay home.
We are living in interesting times.

OC Hands said...

The above post should read,
"I find it interesting that she (Mrs. Patterson) refers to herself as a theologian."
Some folk might think I was referring to my wife.

Anonymous said...

Just read Dr.Dorothy Patterson's article on birth control. This wonderful mother,wife, theologian taught me some things that I did not know...wait....I am man and she is a woman. She is outside of the Lord's will in teaching me anything theological! Oh well forget I said anything


Bob Cleveland said...

"Spooky" fundamentalism?

And here I thought "spooky" was one of the nicer adjectives.

Anonymous said...


I'm going to need more help with you email address. I'm sorry, I just don't see it. Could you (or anyone) offer further directions?


Steve said...

You're right, it isn't on his profile any more. The blog administrators are changing stuff around, so let's blame them.

I need to repent of blaming the John Kerrys of the world for cozying up to the Imams and the kooky spooky President of Iran, Mr. Dinnerjacket. How dare I, when our own forward thinking theologians in Texas want our vdaughters, mothers, sisters, and wives living in a status quite similar to the Islamic standard for the past thousand years.

Charles R said...

One phrase from the Spurgeon quote leapt off the screen for me this morning - "endure...with serenity..."

Loving words as I do, I decided to savor the idea of serenity by looking at the colors of its synonyms: calmness, composure, cool, patience, peace, peacefulness, placidity, quietness, quietude, stillness, tranquility.

It's hard for me to consider that list for very long without my mind leaping to Galatians 5:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Spurgeon qualifies the context for that serenity by saying - "I shall endure both with serenity so long as I feel clear in my conscience before God."

Galatians 5 concludes with a reminder that can help us feel clear in conscience before God. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

A final thought from Galatians confirms once again that the word of God is living and active as it cries out to me and all others in the Christian blogging world:
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Tim Dahl said...

What you say is completely correct. The average SBC laymen needs to wake up, or else we will continue to slide into fundamental extremism.

But, history isn't on our side on this one. Back some 30 years ago, when the extremists first took over, the laity were apathetic. You could talk about anything, but politics, both secular and denominational.

We even have the same guys in play, like Dr. Patterson, that began to narrow the parameters way-back-when. And, I'm afraid that the apathy of people still exist as much today as it did back then.

Tim L. Dahl

Anonymous said...

I honestly dont see this at all. There might be pockets of people that are fundamentalist but there is a huge diversity of Southern Baptist's. Here in Nashville all you have to do is go to Belmont to see the opposite extreme.
May I conclude that you think that Al Mohler is a fundamentalist?
Reasonable people can disagree on any number of issues! Not a problem.
Lets rally around the Gospel.

P.S I dont here any leadership calling for your departure.
Sola Deo Gloria
Robert I Masters

Chris Bonts said...

No one in the SBC is calling for Natural Family Planning to be mandatory in the SBC. To even insinuate such and then link to a very lengthy artcle by Dorothy Patterson than most will not take the time to read is a rhetorical ploy and uncalled for. You have done to Dorothy Patterson the same thing your enemies have done with you - unfairly charged her with something she does not advocate (or at least did not advocate in the article you cited). You should not get upset with those who accuse you of liberalism and worse if you continue to employ such attempts to smear others. THAT IS NOT SERENITY.

I am encouraged by much of what you are doing Wade, but little stuff like the Patterson link undermine your credibility with those of us who actually read your citations to see if they actually support your position.

Compare yourself to Spurgeon if you will, but he did not misrepresent those with whome he disagreed.

For those of you who did not take the time to read the Patterson article, you should. Whether you hold to natural family planning or not, it is a very well written, helpful article, that will prove a useful resource if you have to address this topic in the future.

Chris Bonts
Preaching Pastor

Anonymous said...

Should be ..."hear"
in my post

Unknown said...

Irreverent Fox,

Wins the comment of the day award…

"I think we need to explain again to our agencies that they are autonomous from each other...but not independent from the convention...they don't answer to each other of course...but they ALL ought to answering to us and be accountable to us...the churches that fund them all...with how they spend money, how they hire, fire and "let go" and what they teach!"

This is “Spot On!”

Grace to all, said...

email address is

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind, the last group of Southern Baptists who resisted this were labelled as liberals, and their involvement in the SBC curtailed as a result of their opposition. And an honest examination of the history of that period of time will show that while there may have been a few liberals in the SBC who needed to be encouraged to move on to more compatible organizations, most of those who were accused of liberalism and pushed out of the convention were theologically as conservative as those who did the pushing, especially in their view of the authority of scripture.

I don't want to see anyone leave the SBC over either attempts to tighten the doctrinal parameters for cooperation, or over a lack of tight doctrinal parameters for cooperation. It would be great if we could just work together. I think we can, but I am also enough of a realist to know that there will be some individuals, likely on both sides, who won't be able to accept differences of opinion over tongues, predestination and the role of women in the church. I don't understand what difference those things make.

Unknown said...


“Militant Calvinists?”

Now there’s an idea that might actually speed up reform to the SBC… Wait, now I think I know why the Founders Conference is in Okalahoma this year, don’t they still allow you to ware your gun on your hip in Okalahoma? Does anyone know what caliber ammunition Tom & “Wild Bill” are going to be passing out at the conference this year? I don’t want to be embarrassed by bringing the wrong translation… (I mean caliber) gun.

Great Idea Benarie… Owasso first, then we march on San Antonio…

Rob Ayers said...


I carefully read and re-read the article from Dorothy Patterson. Here are my thoughts:

1) Certainly she is an advocate of her position, yet she was in no way been overbearing or in any regards demanding conformity to her position (at least in this article) allowing each person "In matters of conscience, one must make their decisions before God."

2) Most of the article deals with the beginning of life and the reaction of the culture against the premise of life, it's beginnings and otherwise. Having taught Marriage and the Family (Sociology) to undergraduates, I feel it is necessary for me to share the pro's and con's of all of the various birth control devices. One of the negatives of "The Pill" is a possibility that it could by default be an "arborticide," thus eliminating an already fertilized egg that would have been implanted in the uterus. You personally may not like that fact - it does not make it irrelevant in the wrestling of conscience for many Christians who want to follow God with all of their hearts - and clearly it has nothing to do with legalism. The writer notes that this did not come primarily out of her own independent research (she concedes that she herself used oral contraceptives as a young woman), but in the research of a student who wrestled with this issue of conscience and what information she gleaned from her own independent research. Does life begin at conception? If it does, what does this say about certain birth control methods that as one of a possible side effect eliminate that life in process? That was the point of the article that I could tell. I certainly did not pick up at any time a demanding conformity to her point of view, or a desire to pick up a view for the purpose of mainstreaming any political change. In my opinion, this makes your statement "making Natural Family Planning mandatory for SBC women" an overreach of massive proportions - claiming facts not in evidence. Before that ever happened, none of us would still be in the SBC voluntarily joined, with the rest remaining together as a cultish group on the scale of "The Handmaiden's Tale"

3) Your connection between the firing of Dr. Klouda and this article is tenuous at best - one does not necessarily lead down a slippery slope toward the other. I could make the claim that you castigating this otherwise obviously "pro-life" statement your possible opposition to life, and an advocate for abortion. Would it be proper for me to make such an assertion? I don't think it would.

3) In the last few days, I have sensed, not desperation, but a sense of frustration in the camp. From the Nazi analogies, to throwing around the "F" word all show uneasiness and a sense of loss. The fact is you are losing me and many others with this style of argument - even though we agree with you about the problem of restricting parameters and the use of absolute power by the current oligarchy. We have enough to deal with as is without finding false or misrepresented hypothetical's that have not even shown themselves to be true as of yet or even close to germination. Certainly your "proof" here is not "proof" in my opinion of your assertion. If we deal with what is on the front burner, the hypothetical's will never come forward (that is if they ever will - I believe you are reaching for a rhetorical "bloody rag" to rally the troops. The "blood" in this case cannot be proven to be true from the evidence you proffer IMHO). Let us focus on the main things, and not become spastic of a Patterson who writes a certain position paper about the possible efficacy of Natural Family Planning - who then allows her readers to reach their own conclusion.

4) The last part of the article dealt with her own life experience of which I found myself in pain with her. To lose a baby by miscarriage, to be told that one could never have a child naturally, to having God intervene miraculously twice over in glorious ways is a testimony I would love to have to have spoken in my church. Is not God good even to Dorothy Patterson? Was it fair then to include in your affirmation that this article "making Natural Family Planning mandatory for SBC women" this testimony? We may disagree with brothers and sisters - in this case the action of the husband (Paige) in his actions against an employee (Klouda). But let us not throw the baby out with the bath water (literally). You see, me and my wife were also infertile, and were told to "give up." We adopted a child from Family Services, and were content with our life. God had other plans in that in my "middle-old" age I now I have two small children ages two and one that have made me young again! If I took my doctors word for it, I would have already went under the knife. But God is good! I think you went overboard on this issue here.

My thoughts - now shoot away!


Bob Cleveland said...


Hasn't anyone made the obvious connections?

1) The BF&M used to say "This faith is rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ who is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever".

Now, it says "The 1963 committee rightly sought to identify and affirm "certain definite doctrines that Baptists believe, cherish, and with which they have been and are now closely identified." Our living faith is established upon eternal truths."

The change being our faith is now rooted in "eternal truths", which someone will probably explain to us, rather than on the Person of Jesus.

2) In 1963, we believed "Baptists emphasize the soul's competency before God, freedom in religion, and the priesthood of the believer."

In 2000, that was changed to "We honor the principles of soul competency and the priesthood of believers, affirming together both our liberty in Christ and our accountability to each other under the Word of God."

Have I lost my individual priesthood? Has it been "re-assigned" to the collective body? Do they now stand between me and our High Priest?

3) In 1963, we believed that "The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ".

We stopped believing that in 2000, and seem to have substituted the phrase "It (scripture) reveals the principles by which God judges us and will remain ... the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions whould be tried.

We seem to have replaced "Jesus" with "principles". I recall reading that the 2000 BF&M states that scripture is to be interpreted by the standard of other scripture, but I don't see it in what I'm reading now. But that still begs the question, why remove the reference to Jesus as being THE standard?

Doesn't anyone see a trend here? And if there really is one, aren't we like the frog in the pot when we don't call out the article about birth control?

truth, not religion said...

I imagine most of you have read "shall the fundalmentalist win" from 1922 or so. however, if not, here it is:

Rob Ayers said...

Brother Bob,

I respect you brother and your many postings, and am in no way attempting to "call you out". In the vast majority of your writing I have agreed with you. In this I must in some ways disagree.

1) In my opinion, the discussion about the failings of BFM2000 are passe. In any case, it was approved by the messengers to the convention. We can discuss this issue if the idea of "relational" truth has taken a back seat to "propositional" truth in the BFM2000 compared to the 1963 document. In principle I agree with you. We can also talk about if we believe or not that the document itself was not allowed a true hearing for input/dissent/change. This also is passe since the document was approved by the convention by vote. In defense of those who both wrote the 2000 and those who voted for it (that would include me in the later - and yes I carefully wieghed every word, and re-read portions several times) the pendulum at the time swung towards identiyfying the "Jesus of Scripture" to connect with the "Jesus of the Relationship" in order to counterbalance those who cliamed that one could hold to a relationship with Jesus yet hold to radical beliefs outside of an easy reading of Scripture. It was not a conspiracy to lead us down the slippary path of conformity in my opinion. In fact your assertions (in my opinion) call into question the integrity of those who both wrote the document and those who voted for it. We can re-visit and revise the BF&M as needed. A possible insertion could be an emphasis on the relational aspects of truth, leaving the propositional aspects as is.

2) In no way then can it be held logically that this document by Dorothy Patterson is in any way a precurser to ominous happenings, and the proof of this in the approval of the BFM2000. This slaps me up the head as (with all respect to you my brother) as paranoid. I dare say, that most of those who approved of the BFM2000 have used some form of birth control that would not be in the form approved by NFP. It is a leap logically without proof that any ominous movement is afoot from the position that Dorothy Patterson takes in relation to NFP to making it a mandatory position of faith in a future BF&M. The only reason we are having this discussion now, IMHO, is because of the writer's last name - Patterson. This is guilt-by-association - and certainly not a fair way to make one's point.


Unknown said...


I am glad you enjoy my tone. However, I was wondering if you could address my questions. As has been asked numerous times here, are you saying Dr. Patterson's article is advocating a NFP mandate? If so, what is your textual proof? If not, why on earth would you compromise your integrity even insinuating such a thing? Are you lumping those advocating for NFP, and those against abortifacient devices, as Fundamentalists (for instance, Dr. Mohler and many, many others)?

You often wonder aloud why people "don't get it." I have observed rhetoric far outweighing principle in the popularity of many blog posts. I don't get the rhetoric if the principle is suppose to carry the day. Rhetoric plus an explicitly stated motivating factor of revenge by your partner above make for bad bedfellows.

Please indulge me in regards to your justifications.

Chris Bonts said...

In light of several comments today that are "spot on" in providing constructive criticism of your links to Dorothy Patterson's article and your very unhelpful rhetoric, I hope that you will either retract your blog post or amend it to demonstrate a more Christ like spirit and commitment to the truth.

After all Scripture compels us "not to repay insult with insult, but with blessing" (1 Peter 3.9). It also commands us to avoid "slander" (1 Peter 2.1). Regardless of your displeasure with the actions of those with whom you disagree, you do not have the right to repay them in the same manner. If you will keep your appraisal of their ministries and desires for the convention above board, you will find that more people are in agreement with you.

We need to learn to have disagreement in the SBC without disparaging those with who we disagree. While it is rare that you do such a thing. The rare occurrences are still unacceptable.

Until you either amend your post or remove it, I will not read future posts or encourage others to do so.

Yours in Christ,
Chris Bonts
Preaching Pastor,
CrossRoad Church

hopelesslyhuman said...

To those who are indicating that there is no basis for the inference Wade is suggesting that Dr. Dorothy Patteron's views on family planning could one day become the standard for Southern Baptist life -

Can any of you point to anything Paige Patterson has written or said that would have provided a roadmap for us to see that one day, his views on "private prayer language" would become the standard that every prospective seminary professor would be required to meet before they would be acceptable to teach at Southwestern? Or the standard that IMB missionary candidates would be required to meet before being acceptable as IMB missionaries?

From my view, there was no reason to anticipate Dr. Klouda's removal. As has been well documented on this blog, while being questioned before becoming the President of SWBTS, Dr. Patterson publicly inferred there would be no house cleaning of faculty at SWBTS on the basis of his views on the role of women. But Dr. Klouda - and perhaps Dr. Bullock - were removed and Dr. Patteron's views on the role of women is now the de facto standard at SWBTS regarding the role of women as well.

Can you honesty question whether or not it is fair to ask if this will become the next third tier interpretation by the Pattersons that will be forced on the rest of us if we want to participate meaningfully in SBC life?

Bill Scott said...

SWBTS Disclaimer:
Future Performance - Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Therefore, you should not assume that the future performance of any specific policies or hiring strategies will be profitable or equal to corresponding past performance levels.

Charles R said...

Heavens to mergatroid!!

All of this acerbity and apoplexy from Bro. Bonts et. al. is a bit perplexing. I fear he and his friends have missed a very, very important three letter word in Wade's post.

Wade wrote: (emphasis is mine)
Unless our freedoms in Christ as individual Christians and autonomous churches are closely safe-guarded, we will wake up one day and realize that SBC leadership is defining Baptist identity in highly specific terms which may include making Natural Family Planning mandatory for Southern Baptist women and barring those same ladies from any positions of authority over a man in society.

These choleric friends should take a deep breath, enjoy a walk around the block, have a glass of iced tea and then read every word of the whole post again.

Bob Cleveland said...


I respect your comments and the obvious thought that went into them. And the conviction they display, and your demeanor to boot.

Only thing I'd say is I'm not paranoid. I'm just an observer.

In plain fact, nothing of all this really affects me, anyway, as none of it impacts my personal ministry. I'm just a layman teaching a SS class and serving in a couple of local capacities and not involved in church government or oversight in any way.

I'd be happy to swap some email on the subject if you'd like but hesitate to start a tag-team match here.

Anyway, thanks for the comments.

Anonymous said...

Hey Wade: Why don't you run for President of the United States?

I kinda like the idea of women wearing hats and dresses and covering up some of that flesh--especially those young supple ladies sporting earrings in their navels around my husband and grandsons.

I really like the idea of women staying home and raising babies instead of giving them over to daycares and government-run school systems.

As far as having authority over men, I bow to God's decree in Genesis. C'est la vie! SelahV
P.S. Thanks for that link on contraception. I didn't know Dorothy Patterson had a website. Kewl!

Bill Scott said...

Aunt Merriam and Uncle Webster say:

Acerbic - acid in temper, mood, or tone

Apoplexy - to cripple by a stroke

Choleric - easily moved to often unreasonable or excessive anger : hot-tempered

Charles R said...

What type of assumption is the writer of the following statement making about the character of the one to whom the statement is being made?

"Until you either amend your post or remove it, I will not read future posts or encourage others to do so."

The one making this statement assumes that the one he addresses:
1. Bases his self worth in others agreeing with him.
2. Is obsessed with the hit count at the bottom of his blog homepage.

I personally wonder if the statement doesn't say more about the vulnerablity of the one making the statement rather than the one to whom the statement is being addressed.

Anonymous said...

irreverend fox: How much "us" gets to have a say in the "what" that goes on with the "thems"? Just wondering...selahV

Charles R said...

Thanks, Sgt. Scott :0)

RKSOKC66 said...

I read Dorothy Patterson's paper. Her paper is a nuanced view of the "reproductive landscape" that face Christians today in the USA.

I think it is a stretch to link whatever is or is not going on in the SBC relative to "cooperation" to Patterson's paper. I just don't see the linkage between this paper and the state of "cooperation" in the SBC.

I think arguing over this by both sides is a sideshow. Pastor Bonts, calm down. Wade, any coupling between this paper and the wider state of governance at SWBTS and/or "cooperation" in the SBC is tenuous at best.

I urge all sides to argue Mrs. Patterson's paper on its own merits independent of some perceived "linkage" it has with other issues in play at the IMB and/or SWBTS.

It is crazy that there is so much polarization flaring up over this.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Anonymous said...

steve A: with all due respect to your wit, I don't really think the TX folk are advocating such demeaning of women as what is done in the strictest Islamic culture of Iran. Are they? Really? selahV

Anonymous said...

Hey Rob from Missouri: I like what you said and how you said it. Especially how you said it. One question, if I may. Dr. Klouda was fired? selahV

Chris Bonts said...

Since you ask...I am assuming that Wade genuinely wants to make a difference in the SBC and writes to INFLUENCE people.

If he does want to influence people, then I will assume that he does care whether people in the SBC read his posts. If he is going to do the same thing that others have done by going beyond fairness in an effort to make a point, then I will ignore his posts the same way I ignore others.

I do not assume that Wade us obsessed with the hit counter on his website or that he lives for the approval of men. I did, by reading the entire article, assume that he desires to have an influence in the future direction of the SBC. I merely wanted him to see that there are those of us out there who are tired of rhetoric (much like your response to me - "acerbity and apoplexy") and will no longer be a party to it.

If people quit reading his posts because they see him falling ito the same habits of his detractors, then doesn't that, in some way, detract from the stated purpose of both his blog and the article in question?

By the way, is there anything in Patterson's article which indicates that NFP is there goal for the convention? If there isn't, then we should probably not assign those motives to her. That is why I am asking Wade for clarification or retraction.

Thanks for your comments Charles. It was a privilige having you speak down to me. My vulnerability was exposed by your attack.


Anonymous said...

Chris: -Given what happened to Dr. Klouda under Mr. Dr. Patterson's watch.. can you understand why some might be concerned about where we might be heading by reading the following from Mrs. Dr. Patterson?

"In Scripture, godly women were not concerned with whether or not they would receive discrimination in the marketplace but rather with whether or not their wombs were barren. Childlessness was looked upon as an affliction, an indication of worthlessness and insignificance (Gen. 29:32; 30:1). Women were not pining away, pleading with the Almighty that they might be priests or prophets. They were praying for the privilege of bearing a child."

irreverend fox said...


whatever constitutes a quorum at the annual sbc and whatever constitutes a legal vote of whatever constitutes a legal majority (majority or super majority...whatever our sbc constitution states for a any certain decision to be binding...I guess all things are 51% but perhaps some votes would require 2/3’s…whichever is fine by me…)

Chris Bonts said...

I can certainly understand why that quote would bother someone. It does not follow, however, that that statement necessarily leads to NFP become the default expectation of autonomous Baptist Churches, nor does it follow that Dorothy Patterson (or Paige) desires for that to happen. We just need to be careful in assigning motives that have not been clearly stated.

My point in calling for clarification continues to be a "toning down of the rhetoric." Dorothy Patterson's article had nothing to do with Wade's post. It was used as an appeal to the audience: "see how my detractors are such hard core fundamentalists and how extreme their positions are."

Wade's point would have been made in a much stronger manner if he had left the citation out of his post altogether. I am all for debating whether women should be teaching men biblical languages. Dorothy Patterson's position of birth control that functions as an abortificant has nothing to do with Dr. Klouda or whether Southern Baptists want women teaching in our seminaries.

God bless and thank you for the charitable way in which you asked your question.

Chris said...


I said, If we don't resist conformity on these issues, demands for conformity will reach deeper and deeper until all women will wear hats, no pants, stay at home and make babies the natural way, and avoid any role of authority over a man.

Notice the word 'if.' I am simply saying that demands for conformity on secondary issues, if not resisted today, will eventually turn into demands for conformity on tertiary issues. This is the nature of Fundamentalism.

I stand by that statement but respect those who disagree.

In His Grace,

Wade said...

By the way everyone.

Read Greg Hicks comment.

Well done. said...

By the way everyone.

Read Charle's comment.

Spot on.

I have used the word 'may.'

I never dreamed I would see the day when Southern Baptists with a private prayer language would be excluded. I never dreamed I would see the day when Southern Baptists scholars would be excluded because they were women. I never dreamed I would see the day when the 'authority of the baptizer,' a Landmark tenet, was the standard of legitimate baptism.

It happened.

I am challenging us to see the direction we are heading.

In His Grace,


Stephen Pruett said...

Recent history strongly suggests that people have been and are being exluded from SBC service on the basis of doctrines that they were assured would not be used to do that. Missionaries were assured they would not be removed if they had minor differences with the B F & M 2000. Female Professors at SWBTS were assured their jobs were secure. The PPL and baptism rules were based on the opinions of the IMB BoT, perhaps with some influence from SBC leaders and not on a consensus position of SBC ministers or laiety. We all know what happened in all of these cases. People have been excluded, or fired, or forced out. During the resurgence, people were forced out on the basis of all sorts of issues. Anything that seemed remotely "liberal" was enough.

I do not think we will ever see an official SBC policy mandating natural family planning. However, could we see this as one of several factors that will determine who is nominated for leadership positions or who can be missionaries? History says that this could easily occur.

I do not see this as paranoia at all, but simply extrapolating the most likely outcomes in the future based on events and trends in the past. The trend seems very obvious to me. Interpretations that are biblically disputable, even among true conservative inerrantists, have now become the basis for exclusion from service and the pace of this exclusion and the reasons for it have increased rather than decreased. There is no logical reason why the other issues Wade mentioned in this post will not become a basis for exlcusion in the future. Now that several precedents have been set, the only limitation on which new criteria will be used for exlusion is the opinions of those in positions of power. As we saw with the PPL issue, there was no evidence of a specific problem or trend that necessitated this rule as a response, it was simply based on the opinion of a majority of the BoT. If you really think about it, this makes for a truly frightening and counterproductive environment, because almost all of us have at least one issue on which we have an opinion that is different than the majority opinion in the SBC. Why should anyone put time or money into an organization from which one could be excluded at any moment based on nothing more than the opinion and power of a few leaders? No wonder missionary candidates are fewer than they have been in many years.

Chris Bonts said...

1) With all due respect, the word "may" does not tone down your comment.
2) Southern Baptists have always required more than just an adherence to the "Fundamentals of the Faith" in order to cooperate and participate. Every statement of faith we have ever adopted has said much more. Furthermore, we always have expected conformity to these positions to serve.

Believer's baptism is not a fundamental of the faith - it is a secondary issue. Am I a fundamentalist if I insist on adherence to believer's baptism in order to serve as a missionary with the SBC? The answer is no. I am a confessionalist and our statement of faith has very explicit comments about issues such as regenerate church membership, believers baptism, church governemnt, etc.

If someone insists that a missionary candidate must be baptized in a church that affirms eternal security before being eligible to serve, then we should question whether that is a legitimate application of our statement on baptism.

Wade, you raise a great point. We have agencies that have gone BEYOND the BF&M 2000 in their ministries. We should hold their feet to the fire on this practice. If SBs have not decided, as a convention, that PPL is outside the bounds of cooperation, then we should not exclude PPL adherents. Slinging around terms such as fundamentalist and cast "hypothetical" aspersions does not help your (our) cause. You could have made your comments without specifically referencing Mrs. Patterson (and then citing an article as if it proved your point that we might be moving toward NFP).

By the way Wade, if you draw a line in the sand against those who would insist on congregational church government you are dangerously close to drawing a line against article 6 of the BF&M 2000:
VI. The Church - A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord.

In know this is long, but bear with me - it is my last psot after all. Unlike many here, I actually stood and spoke in your defense at the convention last year. I asked the messengers to send your request to the executive committee because I did not think an investigation would take place. I believe in what you are trying to do. I am just trying to help you see that you are actually hurting your cause among many young leaders such as myself who want vigorous debate about all of these issues, but do not want to see insults hurled or implied by those involved in debate (from either side).

I will pray for you. While I did not frequently comment on your blog, I was a frequent reader.

God bless you,
Chris said...


Thank you for your comment.

The Lord's blessings to you. I stand by my post. I will miss your insightful comments because it is impossible to comment if you are not reading.

In His Grace,

Wade said...

Been in staff meeting all day. Off to see my son play basketball in OKC. Everyone have a great evening.

Anonymous said...

I am not a Southern Baptist so I am uneffected by your constant attack on the leaders of the organization you so dearly love.(thats how it comes across to me) But I would be very curious as to the actual numbers who agree with you. Your numbers of responses on your blog are good but only a drop of the 1000's who may have an opinion. A percentage would give me a real good reading on just where the SBC stands. I will continue to observe and perhaps soon it will surface.

SelahV said...

irreverend fox: me too. selahV

SelahV said...

Chris Bonts: Just couldn't let your statements slide by without telling you something KEWL:
Know where you said: "Dorothy Patterson's position of birth control that functions as an abortificant has nothing to do with Dr. Klouda or whether Southern Baptists want women teaching in our seminaries." ??
Well, I doubt seriously Dorothy penned that article with that thought in mind. But what is kewl is the fact that about three years ago, my 34 year-old daughter who had a 19 year-old daughter, a 14-year old son and a 12 yr-old son, was volunteering at our Pregnancy Resource Center here in Lawton. At the time she was there, she was happily counseling young women contemplating abortion and supporting them in making a choice to keep their babies. It was at the Center she learned of the NPF and realized she'd been taking the "pill" and possibly negating all possibilities of having a fertilized egg make its way into her family. She and her husband who is 6 years her senior, decided they would let God make the choices for them.
From their decision, God brought forth two little girls. One is two and a half, the other four months. And in March my daughter will be a grandmother for the first time. Is that not neat? SelahV

Anonymous said...

Is this a fundamentalist point?

From the southern Baptist Geneva
Robert I Masters

Steve said...

I must agree with sending readers to Mrs. Patterson's writing rather than simply trying to describe her point. 99% of the time, condensations & descriptions don't do service to the writer's own creation.

Her writing all by itself is innocuous enough; she IS the first Protestant writer I have seen to find fault with "the pill" as used within a Christian marriage. Her (reported) political comment about the 2000 election was the first time I'd heard that said. Who knew seminary presidents' wives thought about crass national politics??

The thing is, though, something coming from her is like an idea from Karl Rove or James Carville; people HAVE to assume this is going to grow in importance as time goes by. We MUST see this as a trial balloon if not a promise.

The highlights of the Islamic life for women as our guys saw in Saudi in 1991 were -

women stay home & don't drive;
women don't choose leaders;
the husband makes and controls all the money;
the husband and biological chance
control reproduction;
why educate women? They're furniture!

Forgive me if I see parallels.

Oh, Al Mohler was mentioned: he can at least weigh some concerns as secondary and tertiary issues, which puts him ahead of some folks. (I probably just got his Fundamentalist card pulled saying this.)

I hear the dismay and shock in Wade's words as he sees things he never thought he'd see happening in the SBC.

I hear the dismay in Bro. Cleveland's words as he recounts the changes in the Faith & Message and what we lost, only to see narrower minds keep changing the rules within their fiefdoms. We traded Jesus away for lists of rules someone else gets to interpret. (My words, not his.)

Y'all who'd give up on Wade, give him the patience you'd lend another believer. Ain't most o' y'all preachers? I honestly believe he's holdin' back true stuff you would see as political that really ain't.

Forgive my overreactions.
Dona nobis pachem/Grant us peace.

Steve Austin
Hoptown Ky

Anonymous said...

Dr. Sheri Klouda speaks:

farmboy said...

"Thanks for your comments Charles. It was a privilige having you speak down to me. My vulnerability was exposed by your attack."

Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I expect more than the above from a preaching/teaching pastor (is there any other kind) in a local church.

When an objective benchmark like the BF&M no longer serves as the theological basis for cooperation, we are, by default, left with the subjective benchmark of the theological persuasions of those in power. Given this, it is useful to look at the theological "pet issues" of those in power and of their spouses.

The words and views of a generic pastor carry one set of weight as do the words of the generic pastor's wife. The words and views of a seminary president carry an entirely differet set of weight as do the words of the seminary president's wife.

Were the BF&M to be consistently observed as the objective theological benchmark for cooperation, it would not be necessary to pay such close attention to the words of those in power.

Unknown said...

Stephen Pruett,

The trend seems very obvious to me. Interpretations that are biblically disputable, even among true conservative inerrantists, have now become the basis for exclusion from service and the pace of this exclusion and the reasons for it have increased rather than decreased… Now that several precedents have been set, the only limitation on which new criteria will be used for exclusion is the opinions of those in positions of power.

For those of us who now server in Florida this is fast becoming a reality… John Sullivan, the Executive Director/Treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention has put forth a “Decree” saying:

We are not going to have people on our boards of trustees that do not believe in total abstinence.

In an email exchange with Tom Ascol, Executive Director of Founders Ministries, John Sullivan went on to explain he actually meant that it would not be enough if a trustee abstained from drinking alcohol, but that he or she would also have to hold to a total abstinence conviction. He also pledged to pursue action within the Florida Baptist Convention to assure this.

In a stunning display of arrogance Sullivan went on to say in an article written for the Florida Baptist Witness “Please understand, I am not taking a poll on this matter.”

The speed at which this trend toward excluding livelong Southern Baptist from service is growing is truly frightening… It is almost as if those in positions of power throughout the Convention, as they are approaching the end of their carriers and seeing a new generation that does not share their personal convictions on secondary matters of the faith, have cast caution to the wind in their attempts to mold the future of the SBC in their own image while they still can.

If this dangerous, and very Un-Baptist, trend is not corrected soon… I fear we may not even recognize the SBC in few years. I hate to sound so negative, but one man just excluded me from cooperate service in any capacity in the State of Florida.

Grace to all,

Anonymous said...

As an SBC layperson for most of my life, and as someone who has avoided SBC politics again for most of my life because the small amount I paid attention to it in my youth was right in the middle of the conservative resurgence and I was just an "amen-er" to all of it then without any thought, I will say that this layperson was taught to be SBC through and through, with "good doctrine" and all, and was also taught not to affiliate with others outside the SBC. When I look back at my youth group days and my younger Christian years, there were a lot of Christians out there that I never even knew were Christians because we made it all about ourselves and staying in the SBC fold. Perhaps it wasn't like that for everyone, but that was my experience.

Then, as an adult, I learned to hang out with others like me and to avoid those who weren't. One bad apple might ruin the whole barrell ya know.

I wonder how many of the SBC people who comment and fret so much about Wade and his approach to things really get outside of their teeny protected world. Are all the people outside of this circle of blogs who are writing incredible things, doing incredible things, seeing amazing things happen on mission, witnessing miracles, working in orphanages, giving people clean water, adopting babies, helping widows, getting their hands dirty, etc and etc, are they all not cut out for the SBC because they may have some theological differences? Why do questions about PPL and women in ministry and alcohol and the like make some start saying things like perhaps you should look elsewhere for a church? Why does this post warrant all the attack? It's Wade's blog for crying out loud. He is expressing his opinions. He stays an SBC pastor in spite of the institution that the SBC has become because God has called him to it. Is he really that much of a threat to the denomination? Is God using his ministry? (i can tell you from personal experience God is.)

This is just a rambling comment (one of my worst ever) because I have too much to say and no time in which to frame a coherent comment, but I am trying to say in part that the legalism of some really make it challenging to my faith as a Christian. I surely am not the only one who just dies at the comments that specifically treat other brothers and sisters in Christ as though they are the enemy and worthy of being shot down publically and with great humiliation. ARGH!

If you go to non-SBC blogs that are just writing about their faith, their walk, their love for Jesus... well, let's just say it is refreshing! Like Wade, however, I think some things are worth enduring to resist them (at least some times I think that; at times like these...i'm not so sure).

Unknown said...

Chris Bonts:

Email me please.
cmcgahey (at)

Steve said...

Oh, but think what's worth saving! I can't help but feel this great old engine for missions can still serve Jesus! Anything with this many people is just going to need tending, and we got the farmers to tend it here.

Anonymous said...

"nor will I marginalize or criticize you for following your traditions and extra-biblical convictions"

I agree with most of your post, I just do not see this happening. Sure seems like people are being criticized for what some would deem traditions and extra-biblical convictions. Yet many support the issue of private prayer language, which must be taken from tradition (a tradition that began in 1905 with the Pentacostal movement) and is clearly extra-biblical. Inconsistency is not good. Otherwise I agree with your post.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Those who do not want this revealed or discussed, causes me to wonder why. I believe this should all be out in the open. We are discussing. That is good. We are seeing what is happening that is wrong. That too is good except to those doing the narrowing.

Sheila Kippley said...

Natural family planning is basic physiology and includes not only systematic NFP (fertility awareness and periodic abstinence) but ecological breastfeeding or eco-breastfeeding. The Seven Standards of eco-breastfeeding are largely unknown. The right kind of breastfeeding is the most natural of NFP methods. It is God's plan for baby care and baby spacing. What woman wouldn't enjoy a year or two without periods! For information, go to The free online NFP manual is short and eary-to-read and includes all there is to know about NFP. Sheila, volunteer and co-founder of NFP International

Rex Ray said...

Just returned from the Texas State Capital where we had a ‘protest rally’ to stop 11 new coal plants from being built.
I could only make it halfway through the comments before I feel compelled to share what I learned last week at a funeral while listening to a ‘learned’ person. He said there are two things that happen within the human body that man cannot explain:

1. How a person can get a ‘second wind.’ (I’ve never experienced a ‘second wind’ in a race, but I have many times while playing basketball.)
2. How a spark is produced to start the heartbeat of a baby.

Man knows what produces the spark. It's something the size of a pin head within the baby. But none of the elements in man can produce a spark.

He believes the spark comes from God, and I can’t disagree.

So the guilt trip of using ‘the pill’ would be null and void. And ‘murder’ would not happen until God created life with a spark to start the heartbeat.
Rex Ray

Bob Cleveland said...

If NFP is the only way to go about such things, then I presume strict adherence to the "biblical model" would be required in all areas, lest one be guilty of hypocrisy.

That gives rise to such questions as a) pre-natal care .. I presume adherents would not see a modern physician with modern medicines and tests; b) having the baby born at home without any modern conveniences or medicines; c) adherence to biblical-times modes of transportation, etc.

And by all means, if the baby is born in distress, don't do anything medically that wasn't available 2000 years ago.

No thanks. God gave us modern medicine for a reason. I'd rather view its availability as a blessing and not a temptation.

Anonymous said...

Wade, you wrote: I'm In It To Resist It.

Is anyone hearing this but me:

We are the Borg. We will add your technological and biological distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is futile!

Is Fundamentalism actually Borg theology? I just couldn't resist. As I had not the time to read all the comments, I hope no one else wrote this before me.