Wednesday, February 21, 2007

True Leadership Being Exhibited in the SBC

The more I hear from Thom S. Rainer, the more I believe this man exemplifies the very type of leader the Southern Baptist Convention must have. Below is the February 19th President's article from the Lifeway's website where Thom reflects on last week's 'Baptist Identity Conference' in Jackson, Tennessee.

"When my three grown sons were small children, we would often play with a wooden train. Because they were so young, the boys would sometimes construct a track that ended up becoming two separate sections. The train could not continue to run because it would fall off the track. It was at that point that one of them would request with excitement: "Daddy, build me a bridge."

And so I would. The train could then run smoothly.

I am a part of a denomination that has many tracks but few bridges. And if we don’t start building some bridges quickly, God’s hand of blessing may move beyond us.

Let me share with you an example of recent days. I spoke last week at the Baptist Identity Conference at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. From an outsider’s perspective, one might conclude that the crowd was like-minded. After all, it was a gathering of mostly Southern Baptists.

But I knew better. Present were five-point Calvinists and others who would not affirm all five points. Also in attendance were cessationists and non-cessationists, people with differing views of women in ministry, bloggers, and print-media writers. There were some who thought leaving "Baptist" out of a church’s name was wrong; and there were others had already taken the denominational label out of their church’s name. The views on eschatology held by the attendees were many.

It was a diverse group of Southern Baptists indeed.

I spoke to many people before and after my formal presentation. One person commented to me, "Dr. Rainer, I better leave you before people start wondering why we are speaking with each other." Admittedly, his comment was meant to be humorous. But it did have a sting of truth in it. The labels had already been applied. The sides had been chosen. And you had better be careful about the side you chose or the people with whom you associated.

I reject that line of thinking.

As far as I knew, everyone at that conference was my brother or sister in Christ. As far as I knew, everyone was a Bible believer. I refuse to let labels keep me from building bridges.

My six years as a seminary student were difficult. Though I met many godly men and women and professors, I also witnessed firsthand much aberrant theology. I was and still am a firm supporter of the conservative resurgence. I knew we could not continue down the path we were headed.

But it seems as if we just can’t stop fighting even though the battle for the Bible is over and won.

I understand the risk I am taking by writing these words. But silence is not an option. I must be about building bridges.

Please understand that I have no illusion that my words will start a revolution or that many will listen. But I can only be held accountable before God for my own actions.

I choose to build bridges.

Though I am a fallible and sinful person, I will seek God’s power to stay true to the following:

1. I stand firm on the inerrant Word of God. I support without reservation the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

2. Though I may disagree with some on secondary and tertiary issues, I will not let those points of disagreement tear down bridges of relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ.

3. I will seek to join with those who will work together on the common causes of missions, evangelism and the health of the local church.

4. I will seek God’s will in prayer before I write or speak a word of disagreement against another brother or sister in Christ or even a non-Christian. I will seek to see the plank in my own eye before pointing out the splinter in another person’s eye. I will follow the truths of Matthew 18 when I feel that I need to confront a brother or sister in Christ.

5. I will spend more time rejoicing in the Lord (Phil 4:4).

6. I will seek God’s power to have a more gentle and Christlike spirit (Phil 4:5).

7. I will pray that the lost and the unchurched world will know me by my Christlike love.

Such is my commitment.

If God so leads, I invite you to join me in building bridges.

Amen Thom. Count me in.

In His Grace,



Anonymous said...

Amen also. Well said and a good spirit demonstrated.

OC Hands said...

I am impressed by such openness and candor from someone who is head of a denominational agency. He must indeed be a man of God. Of course he will need our prayers, because those who try to build bridges or be peacemakers often get shot at from both sides.
I do admire his courage as much as his convictions. And I do appreciate his desire to see the SBC come together for the purposes of evangelism and missions. May his tribe increase.

Dave Samples said...

May God continue to raise up men like Thom Rainer to provide leadership for our denomination as get on with our Master's assigned task of reaching the whole world with Jesus' Good News! I am encouraged...

Anonymous said...

Brother Wade,

It blesses me to read Brother Rainer's words. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

I'm tempted to volunteer as a messenger to San Antonio so I can shake your hand. It doesn't seem very complicated to me that all of us in the convention be brothers spending out lives working for the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Words to live by. Amen!

Kevin Bussey said...

Wow! That is great!

I think what is going on to use terms this generation would understand is:

We are playing PONG in a Playstation III world!

Michael said...

While serving on the field and reading all the division. It is very encouraging to read these remarks. I to will join in and build bridges. One suggestion to first building bridges is to learn to forgive.

Anonymous said...

I think I've said, several times this week, after reading comments and statements related to the conference in Tennessee, and now this, that Southern Baptists need to be paying a lot more attention to men like Thom Rainer, Timothy George and David Dockery. I think they represent more of the mainstream Southern Baptists these days than most of the conservative resurgence leadership.

I think we need to be hearing more from Dwight McKissic, Marty Duren, Ben Cole and Wade Burleson as well.

OC Hands said...

Amen, Lee

Anonymous said...

Great Article. Encouraging Words. Wade, thank you for making us aware of the spirit of some of the new leadership of the SBC. Most days as a student at SWBTS I don't feel like being an SBCer any more but you and, today, Thom Rainer give me hope. Thanks.

A Simple Student

Anonymous said...

Our church's ministry staff and Sunday School leaders had supper and got acquainted with Dr. and Mrs. Draper during Sunday School Week at Glorieta in the summer of 2005. After that time, I continued to dialog with Dr. Draper by email. The day that the report said that Dr. Draper's successor would be announced the following day, I sent an email to Dr. Draper saying that I would believe LifeWay had found the right man to replace him if that man would make time to eat supper with folks in the trenches like us. Early the next morning, Dr. Draper's reply was, "I don't think you'll be disappointed," and Dr. Rainer's election was announced a few hours later. So far, I haven't been disappointed--but we haven't had supper together yet! Actually, I am very impressed (and he and I have exchanged some emails); he is a man "for such a time as this," in my opinion--and should be listened to for his insight and wisdom.

David Troublefield
Wichita Falls, TX

Anonymous said...

I do think that for bridges to be built, they have to have sure foundations. After all, since you could describe their purpose as making travel easier over treacherous ground, the bridge's sure foundation is essential to make it successful.

In the current context, there have to be some agreements between the differing tracks to create the sure foundation for a bridge. The basic one of these, I think, and which is Bro. Rainer's first committment, must be a high view of an inerrant scripture. This is more than just saying we believe it, our teaching and living must reflect it.

Recently reading Holiness by JC Ryle, I came across some descriptions that seem to fit some of the different tracks in the SBC.

"Sound protestant and evangelical doctrine is useless if it is not accompanied by a holy life. It is worse than useless: it does positive harm. It is despised by keen-sighted and shrewd men of the world, as an unreal and hollow thing, and brings religion into contempt."

"True holiness, we surely ought to remember, does not consist merely of inward sensations and impressions. It is much more than tears, and sighs, and bodily excitement, and a quickened pulse, and a passionate feeling of attachment to our own favorite preachers and our own religious party, and a readiness to quarrel with everyone who does not agree with us. It is something of "the image of Christ," which can be seen and observed by others in our private life, and habits, and character, and doings."

"There is an amazing ignorance of Scripture among many, and a consequent want of established, solid religion. In no other way can I account for the ease with which people are, like children, 'tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine' (Eph 4:14). There is an Athenian love of novelty abroad, and a morbid distaste for anything old and regular, and in the beaten path of our forefathers. Thousands will crowd to hear a new voice and a new doctrine, without considering for a moment whether what they hear is true. There is an incessant craving after any teaching which is sensational, and exciting, and rousing to the feelings. There is an unhealthy appetite for a sort of spasmodic and hysterical Christianity. The religious life of many is little better than spiritual dram-drinking [not sure what that means...maybe an 'emerging-phrase'], and the "meek and quiet spirit" which St. Peter commends is clean forgotten (1 Peter 3:4). Crowds, and crying, and hot rooms, and high-flown singing, and an incessant rousing of the emotions, are the only things which many care for. Inability to distinguish differences in doctrine is spreading far and wide, and so long as the preacher is 'clever' and 'earnest,' hundreds seem to think it must be all right, and call you dreadfully 'narrow and uncharitable' if you hint that he is unsound!"

The point is, there are some tracks that are unhealthy and bridge building should be considered very carefully. There are other tracks that are just different and bridge building should be the obvious choice.

So, I would add to Bro. Rainers committments to:
live a holy life based on God's word;
give charitable judgments;
develop a discerning spirit.



I'm wondering what the response to his (excellent) article would have been, had he not included the phrases "conservative resurgence," "BFM 2000," and "inerrant?"

I imagine there would have been some that would have questioned his loyalty. Friends, this is Thom Rainer!

Will there ever be a day in SBC life when a guy like Dr. Rainer can write something that challenges the status quo without rehearsing his loyalties?

I suppose he did so just to remind folks where he stood, and so he could avoid the knee jerk ("liberal!") response from some of those who disagree.

Anonymous said...

Brian makes sense. Several years ago a dear friend and brother had second thoughts about speaking in tougue. He sent me several hours of tapes that he made explaining his reason. Then he came to see me and he reasoned for 2 hours at which time he said to me "what's wrong you are not saying anything", to which I replied "your are the one with a new story, I'm still at square one, I still believe what you taught and preached when my life was greatly changed, I'm already convinced that what you taught then was right and I believe and shall continue to the end without change in that area." If bridge means compromise then I will have to detour. Change is good. But not always.

timothy cowin said...

Dr. Rainer is the real deal!!

I spent many hours with Dr. Rainer in DMIN seminars. When I saw that he was chosen, 1. I rejoiced exceedingly, a new day had begun for SB and they did not even know it,(because of Dr. Rainer's influence in the work of LifeWay and how they will partner with churches to be relevant in this new millenium!)

2. I grinned, from ear to ear knowing that this is a man totally unpretentious and unwilling to play the games.....

Timothy Cowin

Rex Ray said...

A bridge cannot be built if one side is blowing it up. One side has been screaming “Individual Priesthood” and the other “Priesthood of Believers.”
The bridge that could join these two was suggested by Baptist historian Bill Leonard: “Priesthood of all believers.”

On November 24, 2003, Marv Knox wrote an editorial on Leonard’s idea. I thought his 1,095 words were wonderful and I emailed him a synopsis of it; changing words and reducing it to 269 words. He said it was excellent. Of course with my attitude I got carried away. Knox’s is here, and then click on Editorial: Priesthood etc.

Mine follows:
Priesthood of the Believer Defines Baptists Differences
Since Adam and Eve, all people are sinners.
Each person is born with a soul that relates him directly to God. We have a free will, to accept or reject God's love.
No one needs a ‘go-between’ but is a priest who can approach God with needs, repentance, and understanding.

The easy half of individual priesthood is privilege. Who wouldn't feel proud to relate directly to God?

The other half is responsibility. The emphasis that different Baptists place on responsibility is what divides Baptists.

Some emphasize that "me and Jesus" are sufficient to make all decisions. They discount the value of the Christian community by being the Lone Ranger who rides off alone with God. They say, “INDIVIDUAL PRIESTHOOD is all that counts.”

Fundamentalists assume Christians will take advantage of Jesus’ goodwill and ignore responsibility. They think that signing a paper of doctrine will insure responsibility. Instead of their theological wall preventing sin from entering, it captures those within. They say, “PRIESTHOOD OF BELIEVERS with majority rule.”

Nicked-named moderates or real conservatives believe both extremes miss the mark. We exist in a community of believers, and we're to serve and be accountable to them as Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking our own assembling together…but encouraging one another.”
Christ makes Christians new creatures and the Holy Spirit teaches and guides more than any theological wall of laws. We say, “PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS will work together to win the world for Christ."

Confessions of faith may be theologically accurate, but if they are coerced, they become creeds that imprison souls and deny spiritual freedom.
Rex Ray

Jack Maddox said...

I have not replied to much here of late but this post is worthy of response. AMEN AND AMEN!!!! I know no one who would disagree with Dr. Rainer...a hearty AMEN! I would like to commend especially point number 4 and 6...many bloggers would do well to prayerfully consider these biblical precepts presented by Dr. Rainer!

Jack Maddox said...

John D said:

"I suppose he did so just to remind folks where he stood, and so he could avoid the knee jerk ("liberal!") response from some of those who disagree."

A litle insulting dont you think John...maybe I just misuderstood you?

peraps Dr. Rainer used those terms because they appen to reflet his convictions and position concerning those isues...i other words..maye he says what he thinks and beleves!


Jack Maddox said...

and while I am at it John...perhaps I can go back to school and not only learn how to spell...but also how to type also!!!

: )


Quinn Hooks said...

It is a refreshing article. This is an encouraging word from an agency head.
The only concern I have was recent efforts by Lifeway to be open on Sundays.
Read more about this at SBC Outhouse:

Rex Ray said...

Thom Rainer,
No doubt we will meet in heaven, and neither of us will remember this letter.
We will know all the good and none of the bad, or even the struggles of life. We will know only what each of us has done for Christ.

I ask myself, am I helping Jesus? I cling to his saying we shall know the truth and the truth will set us free.
I cling to God’s Scripture with all my heart, and yet I’m told I’ve been classified as a liberal by the ‘inner circle.’

I don’t know who or what the ‘inner circle’ is. Is that something like the KGB?

You wrote that after your formal presentation, “The labels had already been applied. The sides had been chosen. And you had better be careful about the side you chose or the people with whom you associated.”

You say you reject that line of thinking, and said: “I understand the risk I am taking by writing these words.”

You say, “But it seems as if we just can’t stop fighting even though the battle for the Bible is over and won.”

Thorn, can’t you see the fighting has not stopped because the battle was never about the Bible.
They made the Bible a political football as a smokescreen to achieve power and control.

Also as John Herring pointed out why to build bridges must people have a ‘shield’ of “conservative resurgence,” “BFM 2000”, and “inerrant?” That shield will not protect from being shot in the back as a liberal.

The only sure protection is to become ‘one of us.’

You are headed for danger when you wrote: “I will seek to join with those who will work together on the common cause of missions, evangelism and the health of the local church.”

Don’t you see your mistake? You didn’t mention DOCTRINE. You are talking ‘Moderate’ and ‘CBF’ language…they say the glue that holds Baptists together is missions.
The conservative resurgence replaced missions with doctrine as the glue. You are doomed to be labeled a liberal.

If you plan to make a bridge connecting doctrine and missions, you better start practicing walking on water.
I don’t know if you can come to the moderate side…it’s getting pretty crowded.

Definition of a moderate: those that are not “one of us.”
Rex Ray

Rex Ray said...

If the majority keeps adding rules and never stops fighting over doctrine, makes one wonder if we’re on a legalistic path to baptizing babies in 251 AD.

Are some who joined to overthrow ‘make-believe monsters’, realizing their group was right in name only?

Would the ‘conservative resurgence’ have ever gotten off the ground with the name ‘rebel resurgence?’

“We went to fight the enemy, but found it was us.”
Rex Ray


Thanks for your comment Jack. I wasn't trying to be insulting to Dr. Rainer. I respect him tremendously.

My question simply is: Why do folks who criticize the status quo need to reaffirm their allegences to the resurgence, BFM2K, and inerrancy, et. al.?

Answer: Because they feel they must assure their critics that they are "on the team."

Then why did a team leader like Dr. Rainer do this?

Answer: Because he likely will be assailed by those who disagree with him (his quote: "I understand the risk I am taking by writing these words.") His loyalty may be called into question b/c of his criticism. So he affirms his beliefs to remind his critics that he is on the team.

(Corrollary Truth?: only those who are "on the team" can have a real voice at the table. i.e. you must be a supporter of the conservative resurgence, BFM2K, inerrancy, etc. to have a real voice in this discussion. If you don't, then you don't. Don't even bother to raise an objection, b/c you will most certainly be dismissed as a moderate or liberal unless you affirm the pillars of conservatism.)

Now... my concern is primarily... what will be the next pillars of conservatism that we will have to affirm in order to stay at the table? THAT, I believe, is the heart of Dr. Rainer's piece.

That is the place we find ourselves in these days.

I admire Dr. Rainer's courage and pray that folks will take his suggestions to heart.

Anonymous said...

Baptist Faith and Message 2000 I have come to believe is more important to some then Christ and much more important the the Bible. It is a mistake to add to the Bible just as it is to take away. I hope we get a Pope soon so he can tell us what to believe and not to.

Jim Paslay said...

How refreshing! A good word about a good man within our convention. But over half the people who consistently comment on Wade's articles will not agree with Rainer's point #1 because they have problems with an inerrant and infallible Word and because they still haven't let loose of the 2000 BF&M, that dastardly document that was put out by those narrow- minded fundamentalists.

I appreciate an individual in leadership who is not afraid to speak with clarity. Did you hear that Rex Ray? Ranier supports without reservation the 2000 BF&M. How refreshing!

Alyce Faulkner said...

I read this from Thom Rainer and was very encouraged. I'm also encouraged by most of the comments and those who say they too, are willing to 'build bridges.' IMHO, this is what Wade has been doing for some time-building bridges and asking others to do the same.
"Above all, clothe yourselves with love, (AGAPE) which binds everything together in perfect harmony." We need not agree intellectually about all things. We need to agree on the Apostles Doctrine and the Holy Spirit will guide and direct us to unity on the rest of things in His time, after all He is our teacher.
We are not unified nor do we build bridges because we have a vow or commitment in the 2000 BF&M, but in love, love that we have been given as children of God, when we came in relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ as our Savior. This is not an intellectual relationship-but a spiritual one-so now, we cannot require membership by intellectual means. Rather by the same means we came into the family. By grace and by God's calling-we answered and said yes. After entering-AGAPE builds bridges. He allows us (through the ministry of reconciliation)
to build bridges. God will take care of the rest.
We must love the process of building bridges-to the lost and to one another, for I believe GOD is the architect of this building project. We must love bridge-building more than we love our opinions, our doctrines, our traditions and yes, I even believe our precious BF&M.
We can join Thom, Wade and others and build or we can refuse and love our opinions more than we love people. As for me, I'm signing up!

Anonymous said...

If every SBC leader was like Thom Rainer then many of the problems within the Southern Baptist Convention would disappear overnight. Many of our leaders would be better leaders if they had served longer in a church environment, mainly as a pastor. My favorite seminary professors were those who recently left the pastorate in order to teach at the seminary.

Unknown said...

Reading the comments of Thom Rainer made me think of a statement that has lost all meaning in today’s political charged battlefield of SBC life… “How Christian of him…”

Grace to all,

Anonymous said...

Jim Pasley,
I recently heard that 94% of statistics are made up on the spot.
Over half? Really?
Maybe Wade should have a poll? :)

Rex Ray said...

Jim Paslay,
You say you appreciate a person who will “speak with clarity.” That’s good advice, as it’s dangerous to be sarcastic on a blog.

One might get confused if you were praising or condemning Ranier for supporting the BFM 2000 by your saying, “…they still haven’t let loose of the 2000 BFM, that dastardly document that was put out by those narrow-minded fundamentalists.”

BTW, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the statement, “The BFM 2000 is our doctrinal guideline.”

Did it loose popularity because a guideline is higher than the content which would make the BFM higher than the Bible?

Maybe that statement got tucked away with the “Battle for the Bible” in the trophy cases of the Rebel Resurgence.

Ut, oh, didn’t take my own advice about sarcasm.

You keep bringing up inerrancy. Besides the ‘strict’ definition accepted by the SBC, would you mind telling us the other seven definitions by the same people.
Also you might list the twelve qualifications of the ‘strict’ definition.

The ‘Chicago Statement’ says, “Where for the present no convincing solution [for discrepancies] is at hand…one day they will be seen to have been illusions.”

I guess an example of that would be: all translations have a girl dead in Matthew but alive in Mark and Luke.

This is in keeping with one of the twelve qualifications:that authors of the Bible don’t have to agree with each other on the same subject.

Would you explain why a person of your convictions would be required to be delusional from time to time over picky things that don’t amount to a hill of beans?

Another BTW, why didn’t you answer my six True-False questions on Wednesday February 14? Did they reveal truth that you couldn’t swallow?

And I really mean; thanks for asking me if I heard.
Rex Ray

Anonymous said...


I think you are wrong concerning Dr. Rainer.

First, no one on the 'team' would/could label Dr. Rainer as being liberal/moderate or disloyal - it is not possible.

Second, you are talking about a man who very much knows the importance of words (remember he has authored probably close to 15-20 books.) He is intelligent, extremely well read and a clear communicator. If it didn't need to be in there for him to communicate what he wanted to communicate, he wouldn't put it in there.

Subsequently, are you suggesting that a president of a denominational agency should not support 2000, inerrancy or the conservative resurgence? of course your not - what is the big deal man?

Third, just as bloggers complain about being broadbrushed by traditionalist/megachurch/non-bloggers/etc. as being liberal/moderate/neo-orthodox/emergent/post-modern etc. it seems to me that every denominational president/director/professor/megachurch pastor etc is broadbrushed as some kind of uneducated Paige Patterson wanna be, irregardless of their lack of connection to SWBTS.

Consider for a moment the close ties between many of the men who are not assaulted daily (some have even garned praise on this and other like-minded blogs recently):
Drs. Rainer, Akin, Dockery, Thornbury, Craig Blaising, Phil Roberts, Jerry Johnson @ Criswell have all come out from the leadership of Al Mohler at Southern. That is 4 School Presidents, 1 denominational agency and 2 major Faculty/Admin positions. With Russ Moore waiting in the wings.

(side note: i think all or most of them were members at the same church while in Louisville - think about that.

My point: There are a lot of really good men out of there that are mislabeled simply because they don't blog (at least not in the personal sense as Wade, Ben, Joe etc. do) and don't champion the cause of bloggers. They are old guard guys that quiet honestly have a lot larger leadership footprint in the SBC than aforementioned bloggers may ever have. It would probably be a lot wiser and much more advantagious to try and work with them and not accuse them of 'rehearsing their loyalties.'

If guys like you would quit attacking their friends, running around like a bunch of revolutionaries calling on presidents and directors of major SBC entities to answer every objection and criticism that is plastered all over the internet - then I would give you good odds they would probably be more willing to listen to real concerns from real pastors. These guys are too busy to rehears their loyalties. I know all of them. Personally.

D. N. Ramsey

Rex Ray said...

That True-False test was Sunday February 18.

Jack Maddox said...

D.N. Ramsey

That is perhaps the best post I have read in a year! Amen and AMEN!!!


Anonymous said...

The question is ?
what tracks are acceptable and what bridges will
define us.

Rex Ray said...

D. N. Ramsey,
I know you did not address me, but some of your statements just won’t fly.
You said it’s not possible that Rainer could be labeled a liberal. Wouldn’t that be easier to do than putting the Son of God on a cross?

Once, a beloved Pope was being praised in a parade, but before the parade ended the Pope was stoned to death for falling off her horse and having a baby.

Ramsey fell off the ‘conservative horse’ when he said #3: “I will seek to join with those who will work together on the common causes of missions, evangelism and the health of the local church.”

Is he going to work with moderates and the CBF since that’s their theme song?

Ramsey, in a way, said the same as Welch upon being elected as the 2004 president of the SBC. Welch said, “There’s not one problem in the SBC that cannot be solved by AGREEING to save souls.”
That “agreeing” is the same as Ramsey’s bridges.

You hint if Patterson was left alone, he would answer real concerns.
HA, that’s the biggest laugh I’ve heard in a long time. When did Patterson ever answer for his false statements and illegal activities?
Do you want proof?

1. Morris Chapman, President of the SBC Executive Board, and chairman of the ‘study committee’ to investigate the Baptist World Alliance, pointed the finger, saying it was Patterson who wrote the report that had false statements. Patterson was out of the country and was unavailable for comment. He has never made a comment about the false statements.
2. The last speaker at the 2004 SBC to address the issue of leaving the BWA was Patterson. He made a new charge the BWA was gay friendly.
3. Patterson’s method of ‘removing’ many professors at SWBTS violates the school’s procedures.
4. Sheri Klouda. (Need I say more?)

You say you know all of them personally? Well, if you know of the illegal acts of Patterson, and have not reported them, the Bible says you are just as guilty.
Rex Ray

Jim Paslay said...

The BF&M of 1925, 1963 and 2000 says:

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter.

Above is the statements concerning the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. I read words like "perfect treasure" and "without any mixture of error" and I keep wondering what is so controversial that stirs up moderates so much. The original autographs were without error and we have 99.4% reliability in the copies that are available today. Does a perfect God give imperfection? Our Baptist forefathers didn't think so and neither do I. It wasn't conservatives that wrote commentaries and articles that cast doubt upon the Word of God. It wasn't conservaties that dismissed the first 11 chapters of Genesis as fable and it wasn't conservative seminary professors that questioned various miracles in the Scriptures. It was higher criticism that was taught and widely acclaimed at Southern, Southeastern & Midwestern seminaries.

Quite frankly, it is moderates that need to answer some questions. Is the Bible the Word of God or does it contain the Word of God? If it contains the Word of God, then what spots are inspired and who is inspired enought to pick the spots? I am satified with our statement of faith

Bottom line, we would have never had a Conservative Resurgence if the men in our seminaries and pastors in the pulpit believed and taught the inspired Scriptures that is without any mixture of error.

Anonymous said...


I'm afraid I was not as clear in using Patterson as an illustration as I was attempting to.

I think it would be helpful to go back and read my post with the understanding that I am saying "ok, I'll give you Patterson as an extremist if you want, but don't broadbrush the rest of the guys that he has relationships with (and would probably take similar stand on a lot of issues but would methodologicall and politically handle them different. not on everything, but most things) Just like a lot of bloggers feel like they are misrepresented (often times by people who leave emotionally charged commente on their blog see Thornbury's UU address) by ____________ [insert radical blogger who probably doesn't represent the mainstream]

Now regarding the possibility of Dr. Rainer being labeled liberal. Of course it is possible, its also possible for the SBC to pass a resolution next year affirming lesbian pastors as the biblical standard for SBC churches. It's possible, but its not going to happen. My point is that there is no one in the 'conservative camp' that is really going to question Dr. Rainer's theological position. I think that your charge here is a little over done .

In terms of his cooperation with CBF/Moderates. I understand his statement to read that he would cooperate with anyone who holds to inerrant view of Scripture to plant churches, train leaders and help churches grow. Although i don't think you will find many of them in CBF/Moderate camp -- that is why they are there.

Again, I did not intend to assert that Patterson was the model statesman nor do i defend everything he has done. Also, I do not claim to know Dr. Patterson personally and did not mean to indicate so.

My point remains the same: Take some of your attention off of patterson and evaluate the whole body of work by those 'in power' and ask yourself it is that unbearable. I understand the 'young leader' concern that we are not letting younger guys to the table. However, I am a young leader and I also understand that when a group of men and the men that immediately proceeded them give a lifetime to the reestablishment of a major American donomination to conservative roots, I can understand why they may be a little reluctant to hand over complete control to a group of 30 somethings (many of whom have not really accomplished much in ministry, partially because they are so young), especially when they feel like they still have something to contribute.

btw, I think these guys ARE reproducing themselves, some people are just frustrated that they are not being called into those roles. I think most folks would agree that if you go build a great church, lead with integrity, train a bunch of guys to do ministry and stay a long time, there is generally a multitude of people that want to hear what you have to say.

I'm sorry i was so unclear in my original post - I hope this answers the majority of your questions.

DN Ramsey

Rex Ray said...

Jim Paslay,
“…truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter” didn’t make sense to me for many years. I always wondered why “mixture” was in the statement until I asked the presiding lawyer at the 2004 SBC.

He said, “Mixture means the truth of the Bible is true, and the untruth of the Bible is untrue. That’s why we added ‘the Bible is trustworthy in all areas that it covers.”

Both of his sentences make sense to me. What do you think about them?

I know any question to you is like spitting in the wind because you won’t answer them. You can’t/won’t even take a simple true-false test. It’s like trying to communicate with a sign. Everything you read must go in one ear and out the other.

You say, “The original autographs were without error.” Do you know that is one of the 12 qualifications that may be believed about the Chicago Statement of Inerrancy definition?

So little by little, you may get around to answering my question to name the 12 qualifications of the ‘strict’ definition of inerrancy chosen by the SBC.

BTW, if you add the other 7 definitions together, and compare the 12 qualifications of the ‘strict’, it comes close to being the same definition.

It makes one wonder what’s all the fuss about? I mean, why is one side condemning the other—saying you don’t believe the Bible?

You asked, “Does a perfect God give imperfection?”
May I answer that with some questions? Did God use the best ancestors in the birth of his Son? Did Jesus choose the best men for his disciples?

Jim, you will agree that men’s ways are not God’s ways. Neither do men think like God. If you were God, would you permit the world to be in such a mess today? No, we would set up a lot of rules and zap anyone that didn’t obey.

Isn’t that the main friction in the SBC today? The ones in control want to zap everyone that refused to become one of them. Did Jesus command us to love only those that are ‘one of us’?

You come up with the same old stuff about seminaries not teaching the Word of God. If they did what you said, then their students would lead the people to not believe the Bible. But it’s obvious the revere is true because Southern Baptists (including me) believe God’s Word.

You asked, “Is the Bible the Word of God or does it contain the Word of God? If it contains the Word of God, then what spots are inspired and who is inspired enough to pick the spots?”

Anything in the Bible that is not true is NOT the Word of God. Is that too hard for you to understand? The lies of Satan and men are not God’s Word. The ignorance and stupidity of men are not God’s Word. BUT THEY ARE IN THE BIBLE because the Bible is a camcorder that shows what happened. God does not inspire lies.

You asked, “who is inspired enough to pick the [inspired] spots?”

In the first place the inspired Word of God is not “spots.” If you understood the words of Jesus, you would know the “Who” is the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would teach us all things. Wouldn’t that include the Bible?

But some people will not trust the Holy Spirit to teach us. They have to have a committee.

You say, “Bottom line, we would have never had a Conservative Resurgence if the men in our seminaries and pastors in the pulpit believed and taught the inspired Scriptures that is without any mixture of error.”

“Conservative Resurgence” is an erroneous belief within itself. “Conservative” means a resistance to change. To change something, you must rebel against that something. So a more fitting title would be ‘Rebel Resurgence.’

So what did you really rebel against? You rebelled against what you didn’t understand; mixture of error. The sad part is you used “mixture of error” for your banner to proclaim something that it did not say.

So the real bottom line is what did the Resurgence accomplish? Yesterdays newspapers carried what Morris Chapman thought about it. He brought up the question was the SBC the better or the worse for it. The news was not good.
Rex Ray

Rex Ray said...

DN Ramsey,
I like your ‘tone of voice’ in your reply. That’s something I have troubles with.

You say, “. My point is that there is no one in the 'conservative camp' that is really going to question Dr. Rainer's theological position.”

No one ever questioned Russell Dilday’s theological position, but he was still fired for not being “one of us.” The same could happen with Rainer being labeled a liberal.

You say, “. I understand his statement to read that he would cooperate with anyone WHO HOLDS TO THE INERRANT VIEW OF SCRIPTURE to plant churches, train leaders and help churches grow. Although I don't think you will find many of them in CBF/Moderate camp -- that is why they are there.”

Rainer’s #3 did not have “who holds to the INERRANT view of Scripture”; that’s something you added.

His #2 even states: “Though I may disagree with some on SECONDARY and TERTIARY [third] issues, …”, he would still work with them. That means he would work with “CBF/Moderate camp” to spread the Gospel because inerrancy is only a second or third issue and not even mentioned in the BFM.

I’m glad you’re not including Patterson in the group in power, you asked me to ‘evaluate’. This evaluation was written as a question by Morris Chapman in Friday 2-23-07 Dallas Morning News under the title:

“Southern Baptist leader ask for an examination of health of convention."
It quotes him saying: “Is our convention any better spiritually because biblical conservatives are leading? I leave that question for you to answer in the depths of your own heart.”

The article reads: “In the last few years, the number of baptisms…has reached a low point, and many of the congregations have either not grown or declined in membership. Internal conflicts have arisen over whether Southern Baptist can speak in tongues.
Chapman said, “that cooperation among Southern Baptists is the ‘glue’ that holds us together. Are you willing to take the risk of trusting your fellow Southern Baptists and being worthy of their trust?”

Ramsey, did you notice Chapman made no comment about inerrant?

At a SBC, I heard a man yell, “We have our inerrancy, and no one is going to take it away from us!”

Maybe he is right and no one will, but maybe conservatives will dissolve it themselves when they realize it has done more harm than good in creating cooperation.

If I am correct in what Rainer wrote, would you call him a liberal?
Rex Ray

DN Ramsey said...


I'm not sure that you can really make an accurate comparison between the leadership style and theological positions (and the way they are articulated) of Drs. Rainer and Dilday. That is a totally different discussion for a different day but I would summarize my position by saying that if we could go back to 1994 and drop today's Dr. Rainer in the situation at SWBTS I don't think he would have been fired. One caveat - i don't know who the board members were at Southwester so that may pla a role. I think Rainer founded the Graham School at Southern around 94/95 but I'm not an expert at the differences b/t SBTS and SWBTS- though there are several on here who probably could.

Again, I don't think I was as clear as I should have been regarding the inerrancy discussion. I read #3 through the lens of #1. I understand Dr. Rainer's points to build on one another, at least where possible but certainly not contradict one another.

I could be wrong but I think this would disclude the possibility of planting church, doing missions (read Gospel work here: CPM's, Youth ministry, church growth stuff. not necessarily hunger/humanitarian/disaster relief issues - that would be a great example of #2 type work, IMO) or church health stuff with CBF/Mods b/c the way that we approach, interpret and apply Scripture is too different. I don't think Dr. Rainer views inerrancy as a secondary/tertiary issue.

eg. I just can't see FBC Jax/2nd Houston partnering with a CBF church led by a woman pastor to plant a church to reach 20 something artist types in their respective cities.

I'm sorry, I am not close to being the smartest guy on here, but I don't understand the correlation b/t the Chapman article and Rainer being a liberal.

We probably need to just agree to disagree. I think we differ too much over what the conservative resurgence did, why it took place and what the real issues where -- but I would challenge you to give Dr. Rainer and others the benefit of the doubt. A lot of these guys are very smart, have been pastors and are working very hard to do their best for the Kingdom and the Convention.

It sounds like you, and probably a lot of good men you are friends with, were really hurt by a lot of things that went on then and continue to transpire now. I'm sure that could cause a guy to become very suspicious of people's heart and motivations. I feel the same way about guys who start sounding a little too much like Barth, Schleiermacher etc.

Semper fi,

DN Ramsey

Rex Ray said...

DN Ramsey,
If you want to know if Rainer would have been fired like Dilday, you would have to know if Rainer would have stood up for truth like Dilday in fighting the un-Christian methods being used in that day.
You would have to know if he would have joined the ‘one of us’ crowd.

If you’d like to know about the SWBTS trustee board, read Dilday’s book.

Today, I believe Rainer would not join the ‘one of us’ crowd in using un-Christian methods to get their way.

You say, “I don’t think Dr. Rainer views inerrancy as a secondary/tertiary issue.”
Are you saying he believes it is higher or lower?

Thanks for replying, but I’ll ask again; if I am correct in what I believe Rainer wrote, would you label him a liberal? (That just takes a yes or no.)
Rex Ray

DN Ramsey said...


I openly confess to not know nearly enough to speak intelligently regarding the firing of Dr. Dilday. However, I've never met a man who admits to being fired justly - nor have any of the men that I've ever fired seem to think it was just.

I don't know what to say in terms of the 'one of us' stuff except to say that I suspect when you are with like minded friends you refer to those who are now 'in power' in terms of 'us' and 'them'.

I have tried to make my point clear throughout: If people are concerned about being 'in power' and 'control' of the SBC, history has proven that if you lead with integrity, people are saved, you train and equip others to do successful ministry and stay a long time people will generally care what you have to say in terms of church growth and denominational discussions. I still maintain the majority of men in prominent leadership roles in the SBC (which includes things that happen outside the state of Texas) accurately reflect that description.

I think Dr. Rainer would probably view inerrancy as a first tier issue when it comes to planting churches, church growth, theological education etc. As I said in my previous post, I'm sure he would partner with RCC folks to champion pro-life legistlation and work with CBF churches on disaster relief type missions.

Again, I wasn't very clear-- i have read again all of our lengthy posts and I don't understand what you mean when you say:

"if I am correct in what I believe Rainer wrote, would you label him a liberal?"

In terms of further discussions over the legitimacy of Dr. Rainer's conservative credientials, if that is indeed what we are discussing, I think one can sufficienty ascertain where Dr. Rainer stands by evaluating his many books, writings, sermons and the relationships he invests in. I don't think I'm going to engage on this point any further - I'll let his record and writings speak for themselves.

However, if you will clarify you question I would be happy to answer it in a straightforward manner.


Jim Paslay said...

Rex Ray said of the lawyer at the SBC:

He said, “Mixture means the truth of the Bible is true, and the untruth of the Bible is untrue. That’s why we added ‘the Bible is trustworthy in all areas that it covers.”

I am not familiar the lawyer you keep referring to, but the phrase in the above quote is nonsensical. In 1979 a resolution was voted on and passed which stated that the Bible to be "truth, without any mixture of error." Wayne Dehoney, who made the resolution went further and explained what he meant by his resolution. He said, "My interpretation and Adrian's is that the original autographs God's revelation was perfect and without error--doctrinally, historically, scientifically, and philosophically." Hershel Hobbs affirmed the motion and was asked what the term "truth without any mixture of error" meant? Did the phrase include the whole Bible or just the part that is true? Hobbs reaffirmed that it meant the whole Bible. I suggest maybe disregarding the lawyer's advice.

A perfect God does not give imperfection! From your answer you gave you would say "No." You and I part ways because I believe He did. You seem to have a problem with the doctrine of inspiration of Scripture that states that all Scripture is God-breathed. Maybe your lawyer friend can help you on that one too.

Your comments about the Conservative Resurgence being the Rebel Resurgence is a sad commentary on how you have been duped. "You rebelled against what you didn't understand" is a pitiful statement about good men and women who saw the problems within our convention. We had serious problems and you either fail to recognize that or you continue to keep your head in the sand.

"But some people will not trust the Holy Spirit to teach us." Can the Holy Spirit teach us anything else but the truth? Does the Holy Spirit's teaching contradict what God has revealed to us in His Word? The Spirit of truth does not give error!

Rex Ray said...

You say, “I don’t know what to say in terms of the ‘one of us’ stuff…”

If you ever read Dilday’s book, you would know I was quoting Patterson when he said to Dilday, “There is no question of you being a conservative, but you’re not one of us.”

You would know all six seminaries complained of not having quality trustees. They were put there for their loyalty of being ‘one of us.’
One at SWBTS continually preferenced his statements by saying, “I thank God I never attended a seminary”, which would get a round of applause.

You indicate that Dilday would be like most fired men—sour grapes. When asked why he was fired the reply was: “We don’t have to have a reason—we got the votes.”

Later, one complained for not getting backing in a letter to a SB leader, “We did what you wanted; now we’re told there’s a special place in hell for us.”

You say, “History has proven that if you lead with integrity, people are saved…”

Have you read Morris Chapman’s news release that baptisms are a new low, and ask the question is the health of the SBC better because of the conservative resurgence? (His article is in the last comment to Paslay on Friday 2-23-07)

You say, “I think Dr. Rainer would probably view inerrancy as a first tier issue when it comes to planting churches etc.”

I thought ‘first tier’ was believing Jesus was God’s Son etc. How can you say “first tier” on anything if it’s not connect to salvation? The BFM does not have ‘inerrancy’ as second or third tier—it doesn’t have it at all.

Chapman didn’t mention inerrancy. Maybe he figures that word has done more harm than good as now he has stopped using doctrine as the glue that holds us together and switched to cooperation as the glue.

Chapman states, “Are you willing to take the risk of trusting your fellow Southern Baptists and being worthy of their trust?”

What Southern Baptists was Chapman referring to? If these folks believed in inerrancy, there wouldn’t be a risk. Right? So I believe he is referring to all Southern Baptists even those who refuse to use ‘inerrancy’.

I believe Rainer believes the same as Chapman by Rainer saying his #1, #2, & #3 and concludes he would join those who will work together [Chapman’s cooperation] on missions, evangelism etc. even though they may not believe in inerrancy.

Back to my question: If Rainer believes what I think he believes, would you label him a rebel?

BTW, based on his article alone, would you label Chapman a liberal?
Rex Ray