Monday, May 21, 2007

Has the Gospel's Power Been Lost in the SBC?

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Romans 1:16

Throughout Christian history in general, and Southern Baptist history in particular, the power of the gospel has been the cornerstone of our faith. The prophet of old declared God saves sinners and we have unashamedly proclaimed that truth to a the world around us. We have openly preached the exclusivity of Christ (He is the only Savior our God has given among men), salvation by grace (God's grace), and the benefits of that salvation received through faith in Christ (and not our own works).

It seems to me, however, that the modern gospel is losing its power as proclaimed by some Southern Baptists. The true gospel never loses her power, but weak substitutes fizzle like damp fuses. We have become more focused on the minutia of our faith than the Man in whom we place our faith. Instead of declaring that faith 'as a mustard seed' in Christ saves, we have demanded a robust, detailed and precise doctrinal faith before we confer upon another believer our denominational blessing of true justification. We become angry and boisterous when fellow evangelicals don't see eye to eye with us on social, political and cultural issues and begin to discount the genuineness of their faith. We act as if it is our faith, our works, and our commitment that form the basis of our salvation. Though we say with our lips salvation is by grace through the work of Christ, we sometimes broadcast with our lives that salvation is really only found in our church, our message, and our baptism.

As a result, the Southern Baptist Convention, if we are not careful, will gradually become a denomination of religious hierarchy, and over time, as happens to all 'religions,' we will find ourselves increasingly irrelevant and spiritually powerless. Recently the new policy on baptism was shown to Ray Hugget, High Priest of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints and a direct descendent of Joseph Smith, and asked him what he thought of it. Ray read it carefully and then proclaimed that the policy is just like his church's view on baptism. I asked him to clarify and he said, "A legitimate baptism is one performed only in our church, because we are the true church of Jesus Christ on earth, and we would not accept any other baptism."

When we begin to focus so intently on what we confess to believe as a 'denomination' and lose sight of the sufficiency of God's Word and the merits of Christ's work, we are in danger of becoming a religious denomination instead of a convention of evangelical Baptist churches with Christ as our head. When we put the instructions of denominational authorities regarding 'true doctrine' above our own understanding of Scripture, no matter how sincere those authorities may be, we are one step away from crossing the rubicon to becoming a 'top down' denomination instead of a loose knit confederation of churches who cooperate for the purpose of missions. When we question the salvation of any Southern Baptist who doesn't cross every 't' and dot every 'i' in the same manner as the 'majority' of the SBC, then we prostitute our Baptist heritage at the altar of denominational conformity. When pressure to be faithful to our denominational decrees becomes more intense than to be true to one's convictions regarding Christ's commands, then we have lost the truest sense of what it means to be empowered by the gospel.

I am a Southern Baptist. Lord willing, I will be a Southern Baptist until the day I die. But, I am a Christian first. The power of the gospel energizes me and the love of Christ constrains me. For this reason, I accept all those around me who differ from me, but I will resist toe to toe any Southern Baptist who demands conformity to their views on tertiary issues. I will enjoy their company, cooperate without hesitation in missions and evangelism, and learn from them -- but we must not, we cannot, succomb to the temptation to be directed by anyone other than Christ.

God saves His people. He will not fail. He is not impotent or purposeless. He accomplishes all His will, for the counsel of the Lord shall stand. He does whatsoever He pleases. We have the privilege of getting in on what God is doing in bringing His people to glory through His Son Christ, but the advance of His kingdom is not dependent on Southern Baptists. In fact, to the extent that we are under the illusion that our convention (or denomination if you prefer) is synonymous with His kingdom, is the extent to which we become increasingly irrelevant. If we lose sight of Him and His power and begin to focus on our convention and our 'power,' then He can raise up the very rocks to honorably do those things we have forfeited. I don't think, however, he will make it to the rocks.

He will find others who are willing to focus more on the gospel and His Kingdom than their own denomination.

In His Grace,



Clif Cummings said...

Here is what I posted on my own blog this morning - apparently just about the same time you were posting. Don't intend to "pimp" my blog-- but apparently we were having similar thoughts this morning.

"Words from Spurgeon to the SBC"

I was perusing through my personal library over the weekend and found a book that had been given to me years ago by some dear friends upon their return from a trip to London England. They know of my admiration of C.H. Spurgeon and one day while shopping in an old used book store, the found a copy of his "Second Series Lecture to my Students". This book's copy right is 1882 and the publisher is Alabaster, Pasmore, and Sons. Printers, Fann Street, Aldersgate Street, London, E.C.
The book is old and tattered. The binding is loose and the pages are frail. But oh, the richness and beauty of the words preserved.

Here are some that I believe apply to what is unfortunately happening in our Southern Baptist Convention!

"We are not to go about the world searching out heresies like terrier dogs sniffing for rats; nor are we to be so confident of our own infallibility as to erect ecclesiastical stakes at which to roast all who differ from us, not, 'tis true, with fagots of wood, but with those coals of juniper, which consist of strong prejudice and cruel suspicion." said...

Great quote Clif!

One of the advantages of blogging for as long as I have is a long track record of being consistent.

I used the same quote almost a year and a half ago in a post entitled Terrior Dogs Searching for Rats

dwm III said...

That should be heels. ;)

Anonymous said...

I heard it recently said this way. We all too often teach two false gospels in postmodern christianity. One is the gospel of the church - which is what you are describing. The gospel that demands a certain religious belief system to save (and if you examine it further it almost seems gnostic). The other is the gospel of salvation - which is a gospel that says just pray this prayer and you will be saved. This one often is accompanied with little discipleship but the number of those saved is up, so praise the Lord.

The true gospel is the gospel of the Kingdom. That is the gospel Jesus taught and it is the gospel that Jesus focused on in His 40 days with the disciples after His resurrection and before He ascended. It's truly good news!

Jack Maddox said...


I am curious, and I mean this legitimately, to what your view is on doctrinal preaching. I do not believe that you are advocating a position which deemphasizes doctrinal preaching (Which I believe all true exposition is) yet one might draw that conclusion from your post. So I guess my question is very simple...bases upon your post, to what degree should I as a pastor stress doctrine and perhaps even Baptist distinctives?


Anonymous said...

dmw, you completely misread Wade's post if you believe he has said justification by faith is tertiary. It's not there at all. He says that a gospel that proclaims the church, the (exact) message we speak, or our baptism saves if a false gospel. Only Jesus saves. Only the gospel of the Kingdom is good news. That is of course salvation by grace through faith in Jesus!

Anonymous said...

Jack, my question of you is what is "doctrine"? What is meant by the scripture when it says doctrine? Is it theological propositions or is it something else or something more?? said...

dwm iii,

I, along with Bryan, have absolutely no clue regarding the meaning of your comment.

I am saying 'justification by grace' is THE cardinal doctrine of God's kingdom. said...


As a pastor for twenty five years, I can assure you that I preach doctrinally. However, our church gives tremendous freedom for disagreement and debate over tertiary doctrines. It is the demands for conformity on those doctrines I resist. said...

dwm iii,

I, along with Bryan, have absolutely no clue regarding the meaning of your comment.

I am saying 'justification by grace' is THE cardinal doctrine of God's kingdom. You may retype your comment if you please since you obviously unintentionally mispresented I am saying.

Jack Maddox said...


to answer your question...and it is a GREAT question..

ALL Scripture is God breathed and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3.16-17).

Christian doctrine is the body of scripture given to man by God so that man may live a life that glorifies God.

Certainly there are better answers than this...perhaps you have one. What would your answer be?


Anonymous said...


Here is a link where I thought out loud about what doctrine might mean in the context of 2 Timothy and other passages of the scriptures. Others commented there as well. It was a nice discussion. said...

Jack, dwi iii unintentionally misrepresented what I was saying. I am giving him a second opportunity as I am you. :)

Jack Maddox said...


I just read over the link and have bookmarked it for further study, however, one statement stands out as one that I for one find very alarming and I believe represents one of the great problems we face in the coming generation of preachers and preaching, especially as our culture becomes more and more predominantly postmodern. The statement was this

"What will bring the children of God back into unity will and must be a focus on Jesus Christ and Christ alone, not purportedly sound theories of what a particular passage of scripture teaches."

He is kidding right!!! Is he advocating a Christ focus outside of biblical revelation. To minimize sound theories of particular passages of scripture and what they teach is perhaps one of the most dangerous positions we can take when it comes to the man of God given the responsibility to proclaim the Word of God.


Jack Maddox said...


You are giving me a second opportunity??? What do you mean? How in the world have I misperesneted you brother? I just asked you a question as it pertains to preaching word man, are you getting a bit paranoid?


Kaylor said...

Wade: Excellent post. Your point about Ray Hugget's thoughts on the baptism policy should make it clear how far some SBC leaders are drifting. I wonder if all of the people who criticized you recently because of Carter's comments about Mormons will be similarly upset by this problem within the SBC.

Anonymous said...


one thing wrong with your using the mormon fella, and his statement about the mormons view on baptism resembling the landmark and near landmark southern baptist's belief. and, you seem to be writing as if a more narrow view of baptism will kill sb's influence and power, etc. but, wade, last time i checked the mormon cult was growing larger...even with their very narrow view of baptism. is this right? i believe that they are reaching more and more people all over the world with thier false gospel. correct?

if i based my viewpoint about growth and becoming more influential and reaching people, etc, on the success of the mormons with thier view of a narrow baptism, then we ought to copy them and become landmarkers. it would help us grow and become more powerful and influential, etc. right? i mean, if the mormons are growing and reaching people with thier very narrow belief about baptism, then maybe that would help us to reach people if we would become landmarkers again. :)

so, i dont think that looking at the mormons belief helped your arguement here. :)

disclaimer: i'm not a landmarker, nor do i want to be a landmarker. although i am very familiar with landmarkism. all that i said was said to just make a point.


Anonymous said...

I wrote those words and I wasn't kidding. What I meant by them was that we all too often come to our interpreation of a passage through warped lens, the lens of our own humanity or the lens of our denomination or the lens of our world view, and we need to look at scripture through the lens of the mind of Christ via the Holy Spirit. I'm not talking extrabiblical revelation; I'm just pointing out that we can have misinterpretations of what sound doctrinal propositions are because the words of scripture aren't always easily understood, particularly when we examine them the way most of us do. In fact, they aren't understandable at all apart from a relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ.

Right after that quote that you cut and pasted here, I continued with this:

God’s word is living and active and it is Jesus. We need to follow Him and His life. His life was marked by a complete submission to the Father; likewise, ours must be. Even good works, without direction and authority from God and to His glory is nothing more than a nice social work of humanitarian aid. But, in Christ, our good works take on a whole new life-changing meaning. I don’t think any of us will stand before the Father and say, “Dad, I got it right on Calvinism!” We will join in the chorus of Holy, holy holy and set aside all differences because we will finally realize that we aren’t right; we simply are His. And in that realization we can rest and begin the process of really getting to know Him more and more intimately. Eternal Relationship. Wow!

Your comment also raises an additional question/thought. In addition to what is doctrine, one can also ask about how one determines what is normative for all time and what was culturally driven in the scripture...

Anonymous said...

When are the first times the Greek words for doctrine are used in the New Testament? Check out those passages and see how Jesus talks about doctrine.

Anonymous said...


You include, in describing the power of the gospel and proclaiming its truth, Southern Baptists', and the Christian church-in-general's, history of preaching openly the exculsivity of Christ to save. AMEN!

I believe this clear gospel message--including exclusivity--must be central to any cooperative effort we undertake in Jesus' name, and under the title "Baptist". (There might be a case for cooperating with non-Christian or non-exclusivists in general human efforts having a non-Christian billing, such as immediate response to disaster.)

In light of all the comments (to your May 18 entry) which point out President Carter's recent non-exclusivity statements, do you feel that endorsing/cooperating in his Atlanta 2008 gathering would help, or would it hinder, resurgence of the Gospel's power in the SBC?

dwm III said...


My apologies, you are correct you did not say that justification by faith is tertiary.

Perhaps my misrepresentation came by reading this with what Chuck has mentioned above.


Jack Maddox said...


I did not take the time to realize you were the author!!! (Major egg on my face) but I do disagree seriously with any premise that either directly or indirectly supposes that lost man and the prodigal Christian is drawn closer to the Father apart from "sound theories of what a particular passage of scripture teaches."
In fact, I believe it is of the absolute importance that we proclaim what those particular passages teach...thus doctrine!
I do concur however that our doctrine must be biblical doctrine and not a set of propositions set up by man or any particular religious system (i.e. Islam and Judaism have 'doctrine) Thus the 2 Timothy passage !


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, is it significant that the first time doctrine is discussed in the scripture that it is Jesus telling us to beware the scribes and pharisees who teach as doctrine the commandments of men? And is it significant that at the end of the Sermon on the Mount that it says the people were amazed at Jesus' doctrine? (slightly different greek word, but from the same root - words that simply mean teaching.)

Also, do you understand that I am saying that it isn't always clear, as clear as we would like to proclaim, what many passages teach? And, it is in those unclear areas that perhaps we should cling more to our familial relationship in Christ than to our differences?

Anonymous said...

Here is my theory. Take it or leave it.

You are constructing an argument (a straw man in my opinion) in which you subtly advocate that anyone who disagrees or finds fault in your meeting with President Carter is negating the Gospel's power. By constructing this argument, you are thereby able to negate anyone's argument as irrational and unloving.

This is a very tricky and smart debate tactic. However, it is improper at best and Machievellian at worst.

I can disagree with President Carter and your rationale for meeting with him because of the Gospel's sake. His view of the Gospel is not simply contrary to the modern SBC position but also to the Word of God ( please don't make me link to those previous articles to prove my point).

BTW, I did not grow SBC and so my dog in this hunt is minimal at best. I simply think it is hopefully naivete that caused the meeting and not political machinations.

Honest disagreement is what I thought you were fighting for through these blogs. This creation of an argument which prevents disagreement seems to indicate the exact opposite. Let me know if I am wrong.


Unknown said...

You said: "When we put the instructions of denominational authorities regarding 'true doctrine' above our own understanding of Scripture, no matter how sincere those authorities may be, we are one step away from crossing the rubicon to becoming a 'top down' denomination instead of a loose knit confederation of churches who cooperate for the purpose of missions."

Okay but if we do not do what you are suggesting we not do then what is in place to make someone believe in doctrines such as the Trinity or the proper understanding of the incarantion? Isn't it wiser to say that we want our churches and the SBC to give us some important doctrines as true and required but this grouping "doctrines" often becomes too broad? I think it is proper for our churches and the SBC to require belief in doctrines of the Trinity and the incarnation and if they did not then I would not call either one Christian. said...


When I am told that the basis of the New Baptist Covenant is 'salvation by God's grace through faith in Christ,' I tend to believe it rather than dispute it. said...


You seem to imply you know more intimately Mr. Carter's view of the gospel than even he does.

Anonymous said...

Good post, Wade. It strangely reads like statements made by my husband some 20 or so years ago.

Florence in KY

dwm III said...


What is salvation through God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ according to President Carter? You were at the meeting. Why don't you tell us?

Was it different than what he has communicated before in public concerning the faith of Jews and Mormons?

If so, how?


Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Great minds think alike?

Jack Maddox said...

If what you are saying is that we don’t all have it figured out yet...of course I agree!!! But the issue at hand the last few days is not those issues that seem to confound us from time to time yet it is the exclusivity of the gospel message as relevant to the person of Jesus Christ! On this I am sure you agree that there is no ambiguity. We must be clear. No one is trying to split theological frog hairs here...I am simply saying in regards to your original question to me (What is doctrine?) that we have a responsibility and indeed a holy one at that, to proclaim it, defend it, herald it, preach it and if need be fight for it! Jesus took issue with extra biblical and thus unbiblical religionist who added to and perverted the pure word of God (Psalm 119) To preach the whole council of God is to do the same thing. Jesus himself was a preacher. so to sum up...I do understand what your saying and I agree to a point...where we may differ is on where one draws the line in the sand called doctrine.

Jack said...

dwm iii,

I am unaware and uninterested in what say Carter allegedly said about Mormons or Jews.

I know what he told me personally about salvation by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ -- and I have no disagreement with him.

Jack Maddox said...


I am amazed at how you choose to make the kind of statement that you do to amy and folks like her and expect it to hold water. What she knows of Carters view of the gospel is what many, many folks is what he has said IN HIS OWN WORDS AND STATEMENTS. I will not post them here because they are all over the net and the blogs here of late. President Carter has stated clearly a position that is at best inclusivist and at worst borderline universalism. You say but you met with him and he has stated his position to you. Then I say let him publicly repent for his unbiblical gospel and state clearly his position. Why should we, and I mean no disrespect here and I wish my tone to be gentle, simply accept Carters position because Wade Burleson says so. You know better than that Wade. We are not all so naive and neither are you! One would have to wonder why you have determined to 'throw down this gauntlet' in this way but do know sir, it was you who did so...and for you to take issue with those of us who share your love of the gospel and the exclusivity of the work of Christ in and through salvation raises more questions than it answers and quite frankly does more to cause disunity in our Southern Baptist Zion than it does to bring us together.

I have now turned my may flail away!!! : )


Anonymous said...


I will grant that you are good ... probably a very good debater in high school and college. I suppose it takes one to recognize one.

However, you have completely ignored the theme of my thoughts to respond in a straw man (i.e., create a diversion) fashion.

But just to go off in your direction for a moment, I don't know what goes on in the mind of President Carter. However, I do know what he has stated in public, in print, and for public consumption. Want to see the links again?

Now how about you answering my thesis?

This comment will be my last post on this topic.

Jack Maddox said...


methinks Amy has tagged you dude!

: )

dwm III said...


You and I are just no-name bloggers. We obviously can't understand what Carter has said in public.

Just another dumb fundy,



Robin Foster said...

Wade, you said:

"I am unaware and uninterested in what say Carter allegedly said about Mormons or Jews."

Wow! You can't actually mean this. These were not alleged statements. He actually said them. You can hide your head in the sand, but that doesn't stop his inclusivism of Jews and Mormons. Do first tier doctrines not concern you anymore? You should be intereseted in what he said.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Amy, Jack, dm: Read Wade's last post again and again and maybe again.

Debbie Kaufman said...

And it seems Robin as well.

Anonymous said...


You made the statement "that we have a responsibility and indeed a holy one at that, to proclaim it, defend it, herald it, preach it and if need be fight for it!" Could you clarify for me what you meant by fight for it? I would like to understand the meaning you intended to convey with that statement. That word can be interpreted in a number of ways and since I do not know you personally, I thought I would ask. Thanks.

Don Sullivan said...


I do wish Robin, Amy, Jack and dwi iii could understand what you are saying.

I am NOT interested in Carter's views on a few things, I strongly disagree with Carter's views on many things, and am neither his defender or counselor.

That which I am interested in is loving those Christian brothers and sisters with whom I disagree, holding firm to my own convictions while being humble to others, and absolutely refusing to allow any of my political, cultural, traditional or national views transcend or trump my view of the gospel of Jesus Christ and my relationship with those who follow Him.

Carter has clearly told me his faith is in Jesus Christ and his desire is for Christians who are Baptists to relate to one another on the basis of what we have in common, not to divide over those things in which we disagree. We all have in common faith in God's grace through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

I am bumfuzzled as to why the four people mentioned above are asking me what CARTER believes on other issues or calling upon me to say Carter denies salvation by grace through faith in Christ when he himself told me just the opposite?

We would all be better off if we paid more attention to ourselves rather than attempting to correct others, particularly people with whom we have no personal relationship. said...


I would caution you, my friend, to be careful of making statements about me that are untrue.

I am very interested in first tier doctrines. I am uninterested in people who claim that a Christian brother denies the exclusivity of Christ when that brother has told me personally he does not.

In other words, in the I Corinthians definition of love, I believe all things told me by my brother in Christ.

Jim Paslay said...


If there is any Gospel power lost within the SBC, it came about by the weak, anemic teaching and preaching by men who deny or question the inspiration of Holy Scripture.

I have not had an opportunity to post on your most recent articles, but the subject of Jimmy Carter gets my blood pressure moving. Do you remember his letter to us pastors around 2000 expressing his disdain for the SBC leadership and for the SBC as a whole? Some of the reasons for the letter were separation of church & state, women pastors, and homosexuality.

I personally cannot forget his comments about Mormons and truly believe this "New Convenant" is a smokescreen for a "Get Out and Vote for Hillary." Maybe one of the questions you should have asked President Carter was who in the Democratic Party is he endorsing for President in 2008?

Finally, I believe his recent comments about President Bush and other comments during the last few years are the remarks of a partisan and not a stateman!

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me the anger I am hearing in so many of these comments about President Carter? You'd think that he had personally spit in your faces. Disagreeing is one thing--but if we we cannot disagree without being disagreeable, and if we cannot treat the man with the respect his office deserves, something is bad wrong--and it's with us, not him.

The mantra seems to be, "He has bad theology, and worse than that, he has disrespected President Bush!" Well, if I read the theological comments in question as a critic, it is bad theology; but if I read them in a somewhat kinder light, he is doing no more than allowing God to be God, and recogizing that he (President Carter) even as President doesn't get to decide who is saved and who is condemned. And even if he has criticized a sitting President for his policies/leadership, does that give us permission to treat him with equal disrespect? Let me tell you something: President Carter is NOT going to log in on any of these blogs, much less give any of us no-names an accounting of his belief system--and neither is George Bush for that matter. Why? Because neither of them owes an accounting to us. They owe it to God, and to Him they will be called accountable; but so will each of us, and I'd rather not have to account for being disrespectful to Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Wade Burleson, dwm iii, Bryal Riley, Jack Maddox, or anyone else. (Hey guys, I just pulled your names because you have each submitted multiple comments on this thread--don't read anything into that.) If I offend someone because of the Gospel (or my understanding of it), so be it; but let it be about that, and not about an anger issue.

John Fariss

Dan Malone said...

I'm only a lawyer and certainly do not claim to be a theologian of any sort. But I just went and listened to the BeliefNet interview of President Carter. Quite frankly, other than the tag line to the interview ("The former president on why he believes Jesus will save everyone"), I didn't hear anything in the interview to support the criticism/questioning in this post or the May 18 post that President Carter teaches or believes anything other than an orthodox Gospel.

Just as no one would reasonably build a Biblical argument on only one isolated verse from the Bible, neither should we ascribe to President Carter a position on the Gospel or as an "inclusionist" (I've never even heard this term before) based on a tagline created by an interviewer, or on a portion of an interview that either lacks crystal clarity or which has been misconstrued.

For you theologians, please listen to the entire BeliefNet interview, or at least listen to the portion in this link below, and help me understand how your understanding of the Gospel differs significantly from President Carter's. Please try to use quotes from President Carter's actual words when possible, and in fairness, try to put your criticism within the totality of what he said in the entire interview.

It seems very difficult to conclude that President Carter believes that all will be saved, whether they believe in Christ or not, when his actual words indicate (to me at least) nothing but traditional, Evangelical, Gospel orthodoxy:

- "What Paul said to the Corinthians, to the Ephesians, and I'd say more vividly to the Galatians, is that we should just remember one thing and that is that we're saved by the grace of God through our faith in Jesus Christ."

- "We don't have to give up our beliefs. But, we should have those as a very secondary thing to our common belief that we are saved by the grace of God through faith in Christ."

- "So, the opportunity for everyone to be saved through the grace of God with faith in Christ applies to everyone."

- (In response to question of whether he had one favorite Bible verse) . . . But, I think everybody likes John 3:16, and everybody likes the statements of Paul's that we are saved through the grace of God through our faith in Jesus Christ, and the first verse of the eighth chapter of Romans where Paul has described all of his own sins and failures and he knows about what he ought to do, but he never does do it, and then, the first verse says that "there is therefore now no condemnation of those in Jesus Christ." And so, those are some of my favorites just off the top of my head.

- "I would say that modern day Christians are more divided than they were in those early Christian church days. The Baptists are divided, the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Episcopalians from the Anglicans, the Catholics are divided from one another and so forth, maybe even more deeply before. And it saps away, saps away at the vitality of us to expand God's kingdom through Christ in a very serious way."

If Carter truly did believe that all will be saved (i.e., not just that all have the opportunity to be saved), why would he refer in the lattermost quote to be wary of letting tertiary issues sap our vitality as Christians (and Baptists) "to expand God's kingdom through Christ?" If he really believed that all will be saved, or that Christ isn't needed for salvation, why would he be concerned with "expanding the kingdom through Christ?"

Robin Foster said...

That was not a statement but a question.

Please read my comments correctly.

Does it not bother you that he tells you one thing and then makes public statements that are contrary to what he told you?

Most people seeking truth would investigate this further to seek clarification. said...


I trust people will consider your words carefully and thoughtfully. said...


Read Dan. And thanks for clarifying that you were asking a question and not making a statment.

No, it doesn't bother me, because I have seen the way some, including bloggers, use my words and twist them for their own ends and purposes. I find that face to face contact and conversation usually causes people, who were previously intentionally looking for things to attack a brother about, to pause and reflect on the inappropriateness of their actions.

Tim Patterson said...

Now I am worried. When the leader of a major cult endorses our doctrine... that is cause for concern.

Robin Foster said...


I wish brothers in Christ would stand up for their private statements in public settings rather than becoming clueless when confronted with them. That seems very inappropriate.

It is refreshing when some bloggers admit their mistakes, though they are not made deceitfully, and seek reconciliation. It is disappointing when intellectual arrogance in thrown in the face of some. But then again, there are some who are not able to comprehend SBC issues.

dwm III said...


I am not asking these questions out of a desire to malign you or Jimmy Carter. My concern, like yours is with the gospel and its purity.

Now, for some time we have been asking if he had said anything related the excluvisity of Christ in the meeting. You have to understand our questioning when we receive something similar to an unreturned call in your responses. We get that you are unconcerned with the matter.

This, (narrative language not pejorative language follows) caused me great concern as one who thinks heavily upon missiology, especially in the area of church planting and engagement of a culture with the gospel. If one preaches inclusivism I do not believe that is the gospel. If one supports uniting with one in evangelism or around the gospel we best better agree on what that gospel is. Namely, that no one comes to the father except through the son. Does everyone now know why at least I am asking these questions.

Wade has now said that Carter believes in the excluvisity of Christ. That's all we were asking is if he had said something in that meeting that differed from what we had heard. This is the first I have heard that answered as it was by Wade above. That's all I was looking for was an answer to that one question.If I missed it before my apologies.

If anyone has read a argumentative tone then it probably has more to do with the fact that I am a blunt man. I was asking with genuine care and concern for the gospel.

Through Christ,
dwmiii said...

dwm iii,

You missed it before -- three times.

Your apology is accepted.

Anonymous said...

For the last several years I have watched our "convention" belittle, and assign "Second-class citizenship" to anyone who doesn't fall in line with the present leadership's positions. I will say unequivocally that the SBC as it has been known will not last another 10 years.

Jack Maddox said...


By fighting I mean to get really mean and fight folks that you don’t agree with! hehehe

seriously, I simply mean to do all we can to stand for the gospel and stand against that which seeks to undermine it's power. The way I do this is by seeking to faithfully proclaim it every week to the folks I pastor, my fighting is done in the study and in prayer...and my fight is not against Wade or anyone else I disagree with...for our battle is spiritual and not against flesh and blood. I will concur that the choice of words can be problematic.


Unknown said...

"I will say unequivocally that the SBC as it has been known will not last another 10 years." Wow! I would say this is a grand prediction but then again "the SBC as it has been known" can mean just about anything.


Why is your one experience speaking with Carter more important than what he said publicly? I know you said that it was because people can twist another's words around. But really why would you not at least question what happened? Could it be because you want to beleive in his orthodoxy too much?

Also what does it say about the New Covenant meeting that the other key note speakers are Bill Moyers and Marian Wright Edelman? Are views on abortion something that should limit who we covenant as Baptists with? I guess not.

I am all for social justice and I believe the conservative church has dropped the ball on this big time. But why should one drop some very important doctrines in order to fellowship with those who do not believe as we do in order to perform social change?

Unknown said...

dan Malone,

I did listen to the portion of the interview of President that you linked. While I did not hear anything that stated that he believed all could be saved I still had problems with it. First Newsweek has reported that he does beleive that Mormons are Christians and that Mormons are saved. This is really unture. Second in this interview he states that he thinks questions about abortion, female head pastors, and homosexuality to be far more trivial than the gospel. Okay. But he compares these doctrines to Paul's discussion of eating meat to idols and to whether or not one should be circumcised. Neither really fit and really show what he thinks about these items. These items are much more important than whether one should eat meat offered to idols and I beleive the exclusion of female pastors, homosexuality and abortion all to be Biblical. By using Galatians and the discussion of whether one should be circumcised or not as a model is innapropriate because the Bible clearly teaches that gentile Christians did not have to be circumsized. That the judaizers were adding to the gospel. Are those that condemn women pastors, homosexuality, and abortion adding to the gospel?

But more importantly the problem is that one has to understand what type of fellowship we would be engaging in if we come together as Baptists. One is not just saying that we are all Christians. I can state that one who beleives in abortion, female pastors, and even homsexuality possibly can be Christians. However we would be fellowshipping not jsut as Christians but as a type of Christian. This would be a conference that would state what being Baptist is all about. And having been a baptist for most of my life I think I can say for certain that condeming homsexuality and abortion and not having female pastors is very baptist. In any case those beliefs are very important if one is to fellowship with another as Baptists. To say they are not important is just naive and ignorant.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for responding. I appreciate you taking the time to clarify that for me.


Anonymous said...

Help me here WADE...
You propose a good(old fashioned) BIBLICAL basis but are more than willing to associate, promote and partner with those who publicly question the veracity of Scripture, the exclusivity of Jesus and ignore Baptist/Biblical foundations.
Could you be a part of the 'watering down' problem yourself?

Anonymous said...


Regarding your reply (which didn't answer my question): "When I am told that the basis of the New Baptist Covenant is 'salvation by God's grace through faith in Christ,' I tend to believe it rather than dispute it."

I hope you don't watch "Available on TV Only" ads, or you'll spend a fortune on every $19.95-plus shipping gadget ever concocted.

I'm sure you're not, but your replies to anyone not praising your "New Baptist Covenant" overtures sound naive, defensive, condescending, and totally disinterested.

I read Robin, Amy, others, and know myself to be concerned not with Carter's politics, not with minor Carter doctrinal differences, but with his well-documented gospel perversion. (HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THE LINKED REPORTS POSTED ON YOUR BLOG?)

Sure, Jimmy Carter can talk to you about salvation by grace through Christ--that's ONE of his viable paths to God!

I hate having to repeat myself to someone who can read, but seems to refuse to.

Anonymous said...

forget it DEB....WADE has been dupped and has ignored your question numerous times. He only answers what he wants to answer...and obfuscates everything else.

Anonymous said...

MIKE HUCKABEE withdrew from this liberal ecumenical movement today!
At least he has his 'spritual antennae' turned on!

Alyce Faulkner said...

My goodness.
I hear mean and contentious here. What's going on?

Jack, come on now, you NEVER EVER agree with Wade and I've never seen a post where you didn't in some way question or attack him. I was amazed at the Holy Spirit conference where you sat in the back left and shouted amen on 3 or 4 occasions to Bro Robin as he spoke on cessationist viewpoints.
Now I've hear AMEN on the 'glory of God', the 'coming of the Kingdom', 'worthy is the lamb'
but amen to a view that even Dr. Barber says cannot be proven in scripture-help me with that?

It seems to me (I could be wrong) that you just want to disagree with Wade, whenever and where ever possible. Join the club-many do.
Oh and Robin-not to be left out. Ditto to you.

I wish just once-we could discuss things of this nature without being hateful or have an agenda.
Is that too much to ask for those who 'are NOT their own'?

Can we do a 'do over?'

Unknown said...

It seems to me, however, that the modern gospel is losing its power as proclaimed by some Southern Baptists.

we have demanded... We have become ... Though we say with our lips salvation is by grace through the work of Christ, we sometimes broadcast with our lives that salvation is really only found in our church, our message, and our baptism.

As a result, the Southern Baptist Convention... When we begin to focus... we are in danger... When we question the salvation... to the extent that we are under the illusion that our convention (or denomination if you prefer) is synonymous with His kingdom, is the extent to which we become increasingly irrelevant.

First, who are the “some Southern Baptists?” Second, how does that mold into the “we” you continually speak of? Thirdly, is this then a future general admonition or something you have now attributed to the denomination as a whole instead of the “Some” you indicated at the beginning?

I am not following how this is perceived as a real danger. Many others have opined on the doctrinal ignorance of Southern Baptists, including a loss of the knowledge of the true gospel as opposed to conformity to a more rigid, fabricated gospel. Do you consider this a widespread SBC problem, and if so, what do you base it on?

Jack Maddox said...


My goodness...good to hear from you...ugh, I think : )

Allow me to respond

1)You say I never agree with wade...sorry, that’s just not true. I have agreed with wade on numerous occasions both on his blog and face to face. Sorry Alycele...your wrong on this. I agree with Wades soteirology, I agree with Wades Bibliology, I agree with Wade on a number of issues. And as far as attacking him....I guess if I disagree with wade then that means I am attacking him...I have never in my heart nor have I ever verbalized in any way an attitude which attacks anyone on the internet or an a blog. I believe one can vigorously disagree with a brother in Christ and not be accused of attacking can they not alycelee? I thought principled dissent is something that wade and Ben have been championing. I would assume that perhaps only those that you agree with are able to disagree and anyone verbalizing a different view is 'attacking' I would challenge you to find one time I have ever attacked anyone alycelee?

2) I never SHOUTED amen at the conference. I did say Amen on several occasions as did just about everyone at the conference. I did say amen when Robin spoke...I said Amen several times when Sam Storms spoke...I said Amen when Dr. Luter spoke...I even said amen when Ben spoke...I don’t recall if I said amen when Bart spoke, he is way to much like a professor for me to amen him! : )
By the way Alycelee...I am not a cessationist...I am a non charismatic continuist that does not believe that the charismatic expression of tongues is a valid biblical example of the before you go branding me you ought to get to know me. I would have loved to visit with you and meet you at the conference but you never spoke to me and I did not realize at the time that you were there. I did get to speak to Debbie..she was very gracious as was everyone I met. Sorry my "Amens" bothered you so much. So much for ‘unity in the midst of diversity’ I guess. can try to paint me mean if you want...but it just isn’t so...I am a teddy bear that just loves Jesus and happens to disagree with Wade on this issue of unity at any cost...that’s all.

Jack (The mean spooky fundy!)

Kaylor said...

To the anonymous who offered the news about Huckabee:

I have trouble seeing how you find that news to be "Good News." Jesus prayed that we would be one, not divided.

Alyce Faulkner said...

Jack-the mean comment was the first comment I made.
It pertained to the jest of 'some of the comments' here- I didnt direct that you anyone specifically, even you.
I'm confused when people say that they are continualist and then delete one of the gifts. Just don't get that one.
As for all the rest of your debate-
here is what I'm trying to say:
Let's all check our agenda and filters at the door. I think everyone (you and I included) could look at that more carefully and attempt to do that. In doing so, it would make our comments more credible.
Thanks Jack for the dialogue.
I'll make a point to look you up in San Antonio

Jeff Rogers said...

As a frequent reader of this blog, I must post the following testimonial. I have known Wade since 1995, and was a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Enid Oklahoma for 8 years. The preaching from the pulpit at Emmanuel is some of the most doctrinal I have ever seen or heard, and while I am in agreement with the vast majority of all the doctrine I have heard from that pulpit, I never felt like I could not question, inquire or debate if I saw an issue another way. As well I was a member of a very intense and highly doctrinal mens weekly bible study where many diverse views were declared, debated, hashed over and over with patience grace and generosity. I have come to a firm stand in most of my christian doctrine over the years, but the most important thing I learned in all those years under the mininstry of Wade Burleson, is that men of grace should treat each other with grace. If we cannot exhibit grace toward each other, how can we consistently declare those doctrines that hinge upon grace.

I know that many who read this blog will find this old news...but to those who have not had the privelge I have had...Take a vacation, visit Emmanuel Baptist church for one week. Start by going to the "Tool-Time" sunday School class, then to a morning and evening worship service, After that go to breakfast with any member you can find and pick their brain and their heart, and document what you find I think you will be amazed. Tuesday AM you must find yourself a seat in the "Grace Place" among the "Sanhedrin" (lovingly so-called), and see for yourself how a seminary ought to be conducted. Then attend a Wednesday evening meal and bible study and enjoy the great hospitality of Doug and Peggy and the phenomenal bible study of not just Wade, but any other of the men who from time to time stand in his stead. I think you then will understand what I mean.


Jack Maddox said...


IN regards to the charismatic definition of the gift of risk of hijacking the thread let me simply say that I hold that the legitimate gift of tongues were known languages...not ecstatic utterances. I have recently been studying Dr. Storms presentation but I am as yet unconvinced...but let me say again...I ain't mad about it! I do however support the IMB BOT's right to set policy and at the same time the SBC's right to change said polity if necessary.


Jeff Rogers said...

I must post again...not to add to my testimonial of the Spirits work at Emmanuel...but to share what I have seen since leaving there.

I have moved four times since leaving Emmanuel (that is out of state moves each time, not just down the road). I have in each move attempted to find fellowship and a berean spirit in the SBC churches I have come across. In that 5 year period even up to today I still have my membership at Emmanuel. Not because I want to be long distant members, but because most of the churches do not want to tolerate a christian who thinks and studies the bible for themselves. The pastors we have met have no sense of Gods work in the church as they feel they must control all thoughts of all members, and if we did not think like them we would not be welcome. Most of the time the issues were eschatology, new covenant vs old covenant, calvinism vs arminianism, etc. NOT ONCE has there been an issue of the supremacy of Christ, his work on the cross, his resurrection, his virgin birth, or any other primary doctrine. It is dis-heartening to want so much to fellowship with the dear saints of my local area, only to find that the pastor has "warned" them about me.

Every thought in my heart is Christo-centric when it comes to worship fellowship and church attendence, but rarely have I been able to even engage in an open and honest discussion of some of these issues since leaving Emmanuel.

I am not the least bit sorrowful for myself. God has taught many things in my life through this and several other personal struggles. But I am sorrowful for the churches that are so myopic about secondary and tertiary issues that they would be exclusive to sinners like myself, rather then inclusive. I would have gathered you like a mother hen gathers her chicks... But you would NOT!! That was a sad epithet for Ancient Israel, it may well be a sad epithet for the modern day SBC.

I pray not.


Jack Maddox said...

Your testimony is a breath of fresh air. There is no doubt in my mind that Wade is a great pastor, a great mentor, a gifted preacher and teacher (I love to listen to him!) and a compassionate shepherd and friend. No one that I know except maybe Jeremy Green questions his conservative credentials. I commend you for sharing with us the truth of a great and godly ministry in Enid Ok! However, that is not the issue in which we disagree with our brother. His personal ministry and heart for the Lord is not in question as far as I am concerned.


Jack Maddox said...


My above comments were directed towards you brother.

As far as your pilgrimage, I know for a fact that htere are many, many warm hearted, Jesus loving, Bible teaching,evangelistic Southern Baptist Church's of all flavors...I pray you will find one or at least a church that fits the above criteria even if under another banner.


Jack Maddox said...


another thought for you to chew on...the term 'non charismatic continuist' is a term that I learned form no other than WADE BURLESON. He shared that term with me in the center isle of cornerstone following Dr. Luters address. It is one he claimed for himself...

interesting isnt it?


Alyce Faulkner said...

Jack, I know
I've heard him say the same.
I still don't get it

Jack Maddox said...



That is the closest thing I have ever seen of you disagreeing with bro. Wade! : )

(WInk WInk)


Anonymous said...

to the
Perhaps when Jesus said, "Do you suppose I came to give peace on earth? I tell you not at all, but rather division."(Luke 12:51)
Perhaps with the "no antennae" and "antennae up" crowd(s) it's time to "shake the dust off our feet" and move along separately rather than continually trying to change each other. Both ministries will be better for it. That's why WADE'S efforts with CARTER are like oil and water...they simply don't mix. The burden-of-proof is on WADE to tell us why his "personal visit" overrides the many anti-Biblical statements of CARTER. The facts are before you WADE! Don't go on a 'feeling'. They're untrustworthy. Listen to your wife.

Jack Maddox said...

anonym said

"Listen to your wife"

alright dude or dudete...I don’t know which...but that’s just would be advised to leave bro. Wades wife out of this fight...not only is your anonymous reference to her might get bro. Wade’s dander up...and he is hard enough for me to deal with when he is in a good mood...much less when folks like yourself get him riled up!

Yikes...alycelee disagreeing with Wade and me defending him in one thread...Bro. Wade...its time to kill this thread!

Jack : )

Anonymous said...

The Topic is "has the Gospel been lost in the SBC." The Clinton's, Gores, and Carters are all in the SBC. I honestly wonder if they are concerned that we have strayed from the Word of God and are not proclaiming Christ as we should. Wade evidently had a wonderful talk with President Carter. Are we to believe that these baptists are now part of a real repentance in our convention. If so, have we any real evidence of this being the case. Just food for thought.

Anonymous said...

I am 75 years old, retired from fifty years of ministry. I did not take my family half way around the world because I had any questions about the uniqueness of the Gospel as the way of salvation. I was blessed in seeing people come to Christ as my witness was blessed in my missionary endeavors, and later in several pastorates.

I was called to preach in a Southern Baptist Church, educated in a SBC university and seminary. I served on boards of SBC entities, and two state conventions.

I do not insult the Bible by implying that it needs me to defend it with the choice of "correct" orthodox adjectives to modify it. I have sought, remembering the words of one authority that "we hold this truth in earthen vessels" to live by it and to lead others to do so.

I am not fanatic about many things, but I do cherish the old time Baptist doctrine of the priesthood of the believer - not as caricatured by some as believing whatever one wants, but in the conviction that I have direct access to the Word of God and am directly responsible to God for how I respond to it and share it with others.

Because of that conviction I have, along with far more committed and gifted individuals than myself, been ostracized by the SBC, and some of us have experienced severe health damage because of the stress and persecution engendered in the denominational conflict. I have surrendered my anger over that to the ONE who in his time and in his way will preside as the righteous judge in making sure that whatever men sow they will reap.

When he was president Jimmy Carter was asked by a Korean pastor whose church he was visiting to bear a witness to the president of Korea, to which Carter agreed. Shortly after the pastor was called to the presidential dwelling with the explanation that President Carter had encouraged president Pak Chung Hee to invite him there to share the Gospel without the language and cultural barriers. My source indicated that no one knew the outcome of the witness, but the Korean president heard a Christian witness not too long before his death. I dare say it is a unique story in American history in so far as an evangelistic witness from a sitting president.

I was skeptical when I began to read this blog. But how impressed I have been at Wade's efforts to accomplish some degree of integrity at the IMB in the personal freedom of Baptist missionaries. How hopeful I am at Wade's refusal to conform to the efforts to homogenize Baptists to the inth degree, at the expense of fellowship with those who have shades of difference about doctrine and practice.

I won't be able to attend the conference President Carter is promoting to encourage the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, but I am grateful that Wade is willing to incur the wrath of Carter's detractors. I have sat in the man's Sunday School class in Plains, and heard him present a sound, well prepared Bible study, in many ways authenticated by his efforts to minister to needy souls around the world - a record unmatched by any president in history.

Wade, I may not agree with you about some fine points of doctrine, but I admire your efforts to resist the attempt of some Southern Baptists to rewrite the plan of salvation by adding to the simple word, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

Alyce Faulkner said...

See Jack, there are indeed miracles in our day.
We're both one!

truth, not religion said...


"That which I am interested in is loving those Christian brothers and sisters with whom I disagree, holding firm to my own convictions while being humble to others, and absolutely refusing to allow any of my political, cultural, traditional or national views transcend or trump my view of the gospel of Jesus Christ and my relationship with those who follow Him."



Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
From a 75 year old to a 75 year old. Maybe it’s the age, but your comment made me feel so good I read it more than once.
Thank you.

And thanks to Jeff and others for standing up for Wade.

Before I read any comments, I printed Wade’s post and gave it to my wife while saying, “This is the best post I remember reading.”

I’m more than shocked at the criticism and dislike of his post. Could it be you guys are still holding on to ‘our way or the highway’?

R. L. Vaughn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

If I'm reading some folks here correctly, we can solve all of our denomination's problems by simply accepting their interpretation of scripture as "what the Word of God says."

And, while we should never accept the secular, public media's interpretation of what Jerry Falwell said, or what Prez W said, or what Paige Patterson or Paul Pressler said, we should accept their interpretation of what Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton said.

O.K. I get it now.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Deleting my above post with bad html to hopefully fix it with this one.

"...the basis of the New Baptist Covenant is 'salvation by God's grace through faith in Christ'..."

The NewBaptCov web site documents
A North American Baptist Covenant as an outcome of a Jan 2006 meeting convened by former President Carter and Mercer President Bill Underwood. There is no clear statement in this document that salvation by grace through faith is its basis (though the language clearly does not exclude it). It does say that they "reaffirmed their commitment to traditional Baptist values, including sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and its implications for public and private morality" (which could include it). Have any of the organizers of the Conference put in print or stated publicly that salvation by grace through faith in Christ is the foundational basis of this conference? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

This is not a discussion about the Gospel or any other worthy topic. At 83, Carter's words and tone and works are clear for any discerning person to see. Has Carter set a good example of Christian statesmanship even this weekend? No, he has not. He is an embarrassment more for his lack of statesmanship and class than his political views. Bless his heart.

These posts on Carter have been a disappointment and revealed that I don't have as much in common with some people as I might have thought.

What kills me the most in these posts (and some comments) is the stubborn naïveté.

Debbie Kaufman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bart Barber said...

Dan Malone,

The question on the floor is not whether Jimmy Carter believes that salvation comes by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ—the question is whether Jimmy Carter believes that salvation comes only by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. When asked, point-blank, that question, he has replied in the negative.

Bob Cleveland said...


The direction this comment string took has given rise to some questions. The first is, as I understand it, related to the purpose of the proposed covenant. Isn't it to address social injustice? And isn't all the objection stuff going on as a result of Pres. Carter's theology?

Now, I have seen comments that folks were off to New Orleans to help restore churches, rebuild houses, etc. Are we expected to ask the theology of that guy helping nail up some shingles, or carry out trash from a flooded home? Are we supposed to check in at the border and make sure there aren't any Mormons on site?

Second, what is it that we SBC'ers are trying to protect? Do we really think we have all that impressive an image out there? Do we think we'll be "stained" by someone whose theology we differ with, by trying to help the poor via cooperative effort?

I suggest that the direction this string, and all those others on the same topic, has taken is, indeed, indicative of what we are. And it's what the world correctly sees us to be.

Or not. What to I know?


"I wonder if all of the people who criticized you recently because of Carter's comments about Mormons will be similarly upset by this problem within the SBC."

As one who was commenting (not criticizing) on Carter and mormonism, I assure you that I personally am uncomfortable with some of the decisions being made in the SBC. I found Wade's post well put and a challenge to wake up and be on alert.

But I also believe many of the leaders in the SBC would agree with his post. I think there is just great disagreement as to when that is or is not taking place.

But, again, I enjoyed Wade's post today and take the challenge to heart.

ml said...

Wade and All,

Once upon a time a people organized unified around a singular purpose. Their goal was the propagation of the gospel to the ends of the earth. They were a motley crew driven by a passion from which they were excluded by others due to their own acceptance of something theologically unacceptable. Nonetheless, as is often the case, God, in his sovereignty, takes our faults and uses them for his glory. This group spread like wild fire in a specific geographic region and defined themselves largely around those boarders. It was not an infallible venture without faults and problems being that it was a cooperative effort designed by humans. Still, they were a part of something bigger based on a greater guarantee--the gates of hell could not and would not prevail against them as they were a part of the body of Christ. And that was the goal to which they struggled and fought that the body of Christ would multiply. And multiply it did. To the far corners of the globe, where many formerly were unwilling to go, they went. Their heart for the world eclipsed other differences and they simply agreed to disagree--a good Baptist heritage [Hobbs 63 BFM]. Their goal was something bigger than themselves. It was God centered in that it arose from the heart of God as revealed in scripture. Fast forward to the previous 50+ hours since first posting his question--Has the Gospel's power been lost in the SBC? First I would offer that the power inherent to the gospel is neither human manufactured nor dependent. So at first glance I would say the gospel will not lose its power. Now the corollary at work is a different story—have we failed in our effectiveness of our call to proclaim the gospel? Will God always use us in His plan for His church? History in the Middle East tells us that yesterday’s success is not a barometer for tomorrow’s victory—see the modern plight of the seven churches in Revelation. For all the wrangling that has been done about keeping the gospel pure, have we been reduced to merely talking and debating about the gospel and reflecting about the legacy of those behind us and forgotten the power of the gospel is when it is actively used to engage the world around us to the ends of the earth. The gospel’s power is unto salvation and not debate? IF those who have been posting on this site have not actively shared the gospel in the past 50+ hours as they have sought to defend that which needs NO human defense but calls for witnesses who will proclaim the message, then I would say the gospel no longer grips our senses and our debate and wrangling over the nuances of the gospel has fostered an indifference to the lost who need to hear about the gospel. The gospel is not for those who already have responded to the message of grace and hope. We have shrunk from the passion that this gospel ought to produce in us. What is my proof? Check out our lagging baptisms and our struggling flesh and blood attendance with respect to our purported mass. We have gotten sidetracked on side streets [Young 06 SBC Pastor's Conference] and the SBC “gospel” has largely become a piece of art being debated in a growingly stagnant and irrelevant museum called the SBC. God help us if we defend something to the death with those who already “know”, while those around us are dying because they are ignorant of what we are defending. said...

To All,

If the convocation of Baptists were political in nature, I, like Mike Huckabee, would not desire to attend. Why? I have no interest in politics of the stripe of Jimmy Carter.

I am taking his word, and the words of the organizers, that it is NOT political in nature. Some may wish to call me naive, but my desire is simply to get Baptists to think in terms of Christ's kingdom and liberating the captives through the good news of Jesus Christ.

If I am ever told by an organizer of this event, whomever he may be, that Christ is not the only way to God, or His work is not the only atonement for sins, then I would express my love for these folks but let them know I have nothing in common with them.

The organizers with whom I have spoken have told me directly that Jesus Christ is the only way for a man to be at peace with God.

Unknown said...

hmmm. I think some are confused. This is not about Carter and others presenting beliefs which are on the border of being accepted. i.e. speaking in tongues, deaconesses, etc. He is promoting items such as homosexuality, female head pastors, and Mormonism as being Christian. The last one is actually the most important. For I know of no conservative denomination including Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic that would accept that Mormons are Christians. They have a completely different gospel. Doesn't everyone see the problem with that?

Second, as I say again, this conference is not about whether Carter is a Christian or not. Or should we fellowship with him as another Christian. What it is about (whether one wants to beleive it or not) is proclaiming what it means to be a baptist. So this conference would state that being a Baptist means that we promote social agenda. I am all for the Baptist church becomig a larger voice in social justice. I really am. But is this how we want to do it? Do we want to offer up the Christian faith on the altar of social justice? Because that is what we are doing if we publicly fellowship as a denomination with one that believes mormons are good christians. Now maybe Carter really does not believe this? But I see no reason to think that he does not. I certainly would want more than what Wade is willing to accept.

And finally what does this kind of statement mean?

"priesthood of the believer - not as caricatured by some as believing whatever one wants, but in the conviction that I have direct access to the Word of God and am directly responsible to God for how I respond to it and share it with others."

You of course can believe whatever you want to believe and you will be held responsible for what you teach. However does not the church have a responsiblity to help guide the believer into right doctrine? I hope so. And why would this doctrine as stated not allow a minister or church member to beleive what he wants to believe? I know he will be punished or rewarded in the next life for what he does beleive, but in this life what is the process for the church to discipline one who does not believe Jesus is Lord or in the Trinity? The answer is that there is none. The person will be judged by Christ in the hereafter but the church can do nothing now. The SBC by using this doctrine, as stated, could not remove fellowship with a church that preached Arian doctrine. They are very biblical. Maybe even sola scriptura. I believe that faith must be ours and that on little things we can agree to disagree. However there must be a system in play that will limit some beliefs. The early church had the 'rule of faith' and then the creeds. Why should not we? The problem with Patterson and some in the SBC is that they want a creed that includes some items that are not 1st tier or even 2nd tier doctrines. i.e. the woman clause in the SBC BFM. However we must not go the other way and include Arians, Nestorians, Mormons, JWs and many others because we are afraid of being too exclusive.



You said, "If I am ever told by an organizer of this event, whomever he may be, that Christ is not the only way to God, or His work is not the only atonement for sins, then I would express my love for these folks but let them know I have nothing in common with them.

The organizers with whom I have spoken have told me directly that Jesus Christ is the only way for a man to be at peace with God."

Okay, what about these statements in Godfrey's book, with comments by Al Mohler:

"What about universal redemption? "Universalism has a very high view of God. God's grace and God's love are the ultimate realities revealed in Jesus. . . . Universalism contends that God never gives up in creation. God's creativity remains a force throughout eternity."[202] According to Dr. Godsey, universal redemption solves the problems left by dual destiny and conditional immortality: "Universalism holds together the paradox of the severity and reality of judgment alongside the power and ultimacy of God's forgiveness."[203] He clearly presents universal redemption as superior to the other alternatives."

The whole article is here:

Is the "catch" that none of these individuals (organizers of the event) have told you directly anything contrary to the essentials of the faith? Because some sure have in their own writings and interviews.

Cherryl said...

These posts do get a bit heated, but it is hopefully because we all care very much about the gospel. I posted on another entry a few days ago. To be honest I come from a sketical positon on President Carter, however that doesn't preclude the fact I could be absolutely wrong. Romans 10:9&10 "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." Enough said on that. I am a relative newcomer to the southern states, a former northern, so was raised in Southern Baptist ranks. We struggled to find a church that taught scripture, many were short devotional types, skits, entertainment, or how to deal with problem this week self help deals. Not much meat offered to the congregation. Even had one pastor (yes a SBC leader) who from the pulpit said he would never preach on Revelations as it was too divisive. This for a book which early on (Rev 1:3) says "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near." What happened to 2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is inspried by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correcton and for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equpped for every good work." I had two children and did not feel we could stay in this particular church as I wanted them to be taught, to question and to dig into all scripture. So to make a too long story short, I am maybe over sensitive to the "it's all good" approach to doctrine and study. Anyway Wade I appreciate your clarity in this most recent post, yes I might not agree but I believe we can follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in each of our lives and be open to sharing the outcomes. Looking forward to seeing the comments after the meeting!!

R. L. Vaughn said...

It is interesting to read that Ray Hugget, High Priest of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints, agrees with the new IMB policy on baptism. But actually that is irrelevant. Baptist faith and practice must be derived from the Bible. If something we believe happens to be the same or similar to something Mormons, Catholics, Charismatics, or even non-Christian religions believe, should it go on the scrap heap for that reason? No, we check the Bible. If it doesn't match the Bible it goes on the scrap heap. If it does, we don't worry about who else may hold the position.

Bob Cleveland wrote, "Now, I have seen comments that folks were off to New Orleans to help restore churches, rebuild houses, etc. Are we expected to ask the theology of that guy helping nail up some shingles, or carry out trash from a flooded home? Are we supposed to check in at the border and make sure there aren't any Mormons on site?"

Bob, I think the answer to your rhetorical questions is an emphatic "no". But isn't it implicit in the idea of the "New Baptist Covenant" that we are at least recognizing the "theology" of the participants by admitting we all recognize each other as Baptists? Or, looking at it another way, the reason for the gathering is not just to gather a bunch of Americans to address social injustice, but rather to target Baptists to unite for that purpose.

Bob Cleveland said...


You said: "...the reason for the gathering is not just to gather a bunch of Americans to address social injustice, but rather to target Baptists to unite for that purpose."

Apparently yes. But then that makes the SBC folks the ones who say we don't want to unite for that purpose, based on (our interpretation of what we've heard about) someone else's theology.

Anybody work for a secular company? Anyone participate in United Way? What about all the favor I've noticed about "Faith-Based-Initiatives" in which we'd be asked to unite with the federal government?

How about any local charities? Anybody contribute to Make-A-Wish or march for the American Cancer Society? Do you stop being Baptist, or hide your identity, when you do that?

Goodness gracious. We're asked what good it is to pray folks will be helped if we're not willing to help them. Up pops a way we can do a little of that, and look what happens.

Baptists are involved in a lot of things now. I met about a half-dozen members of the SBC Disaster Relief Team, while on my way to Arlington for the Conference. I'm glad we're doing that sort of things, but with 16 million members, how prominent should we be?

Robin Foster said...


"It seems to me (I could be wrong) that you just want to disagree with Wade, whenever and where ever possible. Join the club-many do.
Oh and Robin-not to be left out. Ditto to you."

You chide Jack for saying Amen when I spoke at the conference. Yet you do not chide others when they said AMEN loudly when a continualist spoke. Amens were said repeadily during Wade's sermon. And might I add that was a very prominent occurence for most speakers.

Dear sister, I would ask before you take me to task for always being negative towards or disagreeing with Wade, that you check my comments as a whole. There are areas in which he and I are in agreement. The Doctrines of Grace would be one (though I am not a Limited Atonement advocate, I don't know if Wade is or not). When he has blogged on this, I have commenteed in the positive.

I have also complemented Wade several times on what I consider a "brilliance of mind." Right now we are in the middle of a disagreement. I don't consider him my enemy, but I disagree with his vision for the SBC.

So, I ask that you be a little more fair in your assessment of Wade's and my relationship. At least from my stand point.

Anonymous said...

wade and bart,

if you would both allow me to say something personally on both of your blogs, i would appreciate it. i will copy and paste this to bart's blog as well.

someone who comes into these two blogs has called a friend of mine, and just flat out told him lies about me. i know that this seems incredible...yet, it's true. i cant imagine someone claiming to be a christian would do such a thing, but they have. you know who you are. you know what lies you told. you also know what God thinks about lying and about liars.
my friend would not tell me who you are, nor exactly what was said. but, it was not good.

i am asking you to confess your sin to God, and then to this man that you told the lies to. if you do this, then everything will be fine with me. but, if you do not, then i leave you in the hands of a God who hates lying, and who has promised that vengeance belongs to Him. the Lord will deal with you.

this is all that i plan on saying about the matter. i dont want to go into details. in fact, i wont talk anymore about it. but, i just cant imagine someone stooping so low...especially someone who claims Jesus as their Lord and Savior.


Kaylor said...

Bob Cleveland: Very well put!

R. L. Vaughn said...

Yes, Brother Bob. That seems to be the point to me. There are varieties of ways that we CAN help others. In addition to the New Baptist Covenant, there are Baptist organizations that present a more specific Baptist identity and secular organizations that have no theological identity. We can also personally help others and work through our local churches.

As for my part, I prefer those routes to working with a Baptist organization that implies I believe that all versions of Baptists equally perserve the Baptist identity. That seems to be implied by what I’ve heard and what I’ve read on their web site. If not, can someone point out where I’ve missed their meaning?

If this is not about about Baptist identity, then why not invite others to participate -- other Christians, non-Christian religionists, atheists. As you have so aptly pointed out, they all can nail on shingles, carry out trash, etc. Are not their exertions for social justice in these areas just as good as ours?

davidinflorida said...


You said " why not invite others to participate-- other Christians, non-Christian religionists, atheists"

A 2005 Barna study said that 33% of people that call themselves born-again Christians believe that if they are good enough, they can earn a place in Heaven.

My guess is that some of these 33% attend a Baptist church.

My point is ,is that those that you describe are already there.

Bob Cleveland said...

P.S: I think the question as to invitees should be directed to those doing the inviting. That's not my call.

Sierra said...

The context of Jimmy Carter's most recent Bush blasting was an interview about his Bible study series. Does that teach us anything about his inability to separate his "Baptist" agenda from his politcal agenda? If so, what? If not . . . well I just don't believe "if not" is an option here.


Great observation Sierra. What's sad is that many are going to go to this Baptist get together and be "shocked" when similar things happen. Look at who is putting this together. Look at who is speaking. Surely there is at least a little red flag here.

BTW, if anyone in the past has sought to read my profile, sorry. I had no idea that I hadn't set it up yet. It is now

Big Daddy Weave said...

Chris Hilliard,

What does Kirby Godsey have to do with this post? My gosh.

I haven't responded to this thread because I fear my temper might get the best of me.

From many comments I've read, it seems as if the burden is on ME (a moderate Baptist) to prove that I actually believe the TRUE Gospel. My time in the presence of Jimmy Carter has been limited to a few occasions but there is no doubt in my mind that he is a Christian who is doing great things to further the Kingdom. I encourage everyone, if possible, to take a weekend vacation to Plains and attend Jimmy's Sunday School Class. Stop by Koinonia Farm on your way out of town. My few trips to Plains have always been great experiences.


Wade said, "If I am ever told by an organizer of this event, whomever he may be, that Christ is not the only way to God, or His work is not the only atonement for sins, then I would express my love for these folks but let them know I have nothing in common with them."

Kirby is one of them who signed the The New Baptist Covenant to kick this thing off.

Unknown said...

Again what this conference will state, whether anyone likes it or not, is what it means to be a Baptist. Giving to the United Way or the Salvation Army does not define who I am as a Baptist. To compare the two is rather silly.

Again this conference specifically states it is a Baptist thing. So if one goes to it then one is accepting the other participants theology. Maybe not evey single detail of their theology but we are not speaking about small details anyways. And again why does the SBC need to join with another group of very disimliar theological leanings in order to help society? You make it seem that if we do not join this conference then we can't do it on our own or with other denominations that are more like us.

And although this might shock some I beleive that the SBC is more like conservative anglican, methodist, presbyterian, or even CAtholic (shocker) denominations than ones that support abortion, the gay agenda, and that mormons are Christians.

and finally if anyone can really show that Carter, CAmpolo, Bill Moyers, and others do not support these items then please post it. So far there has been no real reason given to think that Carter and company do not.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Sharon: Based on the facts I have read both on the official site and from those who spoke to Jimmy Carter, I would disagree with your comment. I believe in taking the word of those putting on the event as well as those who have actually spoken to Jimmy Carter. It seems there are some whose imaginations are seeming to get the better of them and based on conjecture, not actual facts. As far as defining Baptists. I can't buy that argument that you give either. Southern Baptists can't agree on what a Baptist is, I doubt this meeting is going to try to do what no one else seems capable of doing.

Marty Duren brought this up in his thread, but isn't it rather hypocritical to be railing against this more than Richard Land's meeting with Mick Romney? I think this discussion would do well to consider Marty's words on his blog today, they hit the nail on the head with this post. I think it would answer a lot of arguments by those railing against this event.

Debbie Kaufman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie Kaufman said...

Rev. Chris: Can you show me exactly in this covenant where Christ is not the only way? I have read and re-read and read it again, I can't seem to find that implication.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Sierra: In every interview that is done with Jimmy Carter, the interviewee asks political questions. I do think Jimmy Carter could refuse to answer them and focus on the topic at hand, but I can't quite fault him either. If asked, he will probably tell. That really tells me nothing. I do not agree with his assessment of Bush. But with me personally it's a "if you don't want to know don't ask" kind of policy.

Unknown said...


So you would not take the words of Carter himself said publicly the Mormons are Chrisitans? Amy Downey has posted a link to it I believe in this thread. Also what about the other speakers. What are Bill Moyers beliefs? What about the woman who is the other primary speaker who supports planned parenthood? It does not take a rocket scientist to look at who are the organizations who are putting on he conference and who are the main speakers to see that it is liberal. I won't say moderate because it is not moderate. Supporting planned parenthood or believing mormons are Christians is not moderate. It is liberal. And I would think and hope most moderates (Maybe I am one myself) would not want to be a part of an arganization or group that suppports such wrong doctrines.

But debbie you are right. There is a debate on what makes a Baptist. Conservatives have not really made a definiton yet. (atleast one that I would be comfortable with) And just so you know I do not agree with all the things Patterson and his type do. But I am not so blinded by a disdain of Patterson that I willingly or blindly jump to the other side. I will not. I am a conservative Christian and a Baptist and I will not be a part of an organization or group that defines what it means to be a Baptist in a more liberal or open way.

So Debbie I would ask you to look at the facts. Who are the speakers who are speaking at the conference? What do they beleive? What have they said in public about Mormons, abortions, homosexuality, and female pastors? Take a look at the Organizations that are supporting the conference. Who are they and what do they support? After you do this then I think you will see why many are worried about the conference. said...


You say, "Again what this conference will state, whether anyone likes it or not, is what it means to be a Baptist."

I could not disagree more. The very essence of being Baptist is that you cannot be defined nor limited -- the Spirit is our guide and the Scriptures are our boundaries.

It is when groups attempt to 'define' what a 'genuine' Baptist is that we get into trouble.

My friend Dr. Tom Nettles has given perhaps the best definition of what it means to be Baptist of anyone I have read. You may find it in his classic "By His Grace and For His Glory."

Tom says a Baptist is . . .

Orthodox -- regarding the Trinity as defined by the early church fathers and councils. This separates Baptists from the cults adn other world religions who renounce Christ as the second person of the Trinity.

Evangelical -- salvation through faith in Christ. This 'evangelicalism' is the 'good news' that a sinner is made right with God through the person and work of Christ and thus we 'believe' the good news of what God has done. This 'evangelicalism' separates us from Roman Catholics in the traditional sense.

Separatists -- meaning we believe in the separation of the church and the state -- (i.e. 'we do not baptize infants and bestow upon them a 'Christian' name and citizenship at baptism). This separates us from the German Lutherans, the English Anglicans, the Scottish Presbyterians and other church/state evangelical denominations.

THAT to me is a definition of a Baptist and I would challenge anyone who tries to narrow the definition any further. You have inspired me for my post tomorrow. Thanks!


Big Daddy Weave said...


Better take the female pastors item off your list.

My pastor, Julie Pennington-Russell, will be speaking next January at the Celebration.

Anonymous said...


Since you will only accept as one's doctrinal beliefs what that person says to you personally, I've done some homework for you.

Please take the time to call former President Carter on the phone and (1) ask him the same question Newsweek asked:

Do you think a Mormon is a Christian?

If his response is not "Yes, I do . . .", ask him why he or a representative has not refuted Newsweek's report of its interivew with him. (Reference the following link):

Then, (2) ask him if Rabbi Lerner lied about their recent conversation in which Lerner reported Carter said (quote is Lerner's) "Judaism is an equally legitimate path to God and does not believe that a second coming of Jesus requires destruction of the Jewish path to God … He argues that the book of Revelations from which this perspective has been derived is deeply misinterpreted by the fundamentalists." (Reference the following link):

Although the Rabbi indicates he has recordings, etc. of the meeting, let President Carter answer for himself.

Then, please do so many of us the courtesy of reporting back.

I hope this will make your quest for truth easier.


I never said anything negative about the convenant. Go back and read all my commments. In trying to answer questions asked of me, it seems you lost the focus of my comments.

R. L. Vaughn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R. L. Vaughn said...

Sorry. Trying again. I'm having trouble with the html tags and the preview feature (evidently my computer and not blogger).

Brothers Bob and David.

I think both your responses really miss my point. We can't see into hearts, and I doubt not that most all Baptists admit there are some self-identified Baptists who are not really even Christians. But the point is that the organizers have invited self-identified Baptists and have not invited other Christians and self-identified non-Christians.

The "inviters" certainly have a right to invite whomever they wish and exclude whomever they wish. I don't question that. Further, I don't think there is any need to question the "inviters" as to the invitees. The fact that they have invited only self-identified Baptists is a statement in itself.

Further they have a web site we can peruse. President Carter himself stated, "Our goal is to have a major demonstration of harmony and common commitment to personify and accomplish the goals that Jesus Christ expressed in his sermon to his own hometown in Nazareth." The site also relates, "The [18 Baptist] leaders were unanimous in their desire to transcend their differences and seek common purpose." If they did not mean Baptists, other than Baptists would have been invited.

Wade, I will be looking forward to your post tommorrow. With all due respect to Tom Nettles, his definition seems very generic. If Will Shin's comments on Nettles' Baptists: Key People Involved in Forming a Baptist Identity (Volume One: Beginnings in Britain) are accurate, perhaps Tom has revised his essential principles of Baptist identity to four.

Orthodox. One must first be a Christian before he can be a Baptist, Nettles writes. Baptists have always subscribed to the orthodox doctrines of God, man, the person and work of Christ and the Trinity, among others, he notes.
Evangelical. Baptists have always believed the doctrines central to the Gospel, including justification by faith, the necessity of the work of Christ and the necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation.
Theologically integrated in their view of the local church. "Baptists have always held to a view of the church that is developed in full awareness of its necessary connection with a network of other biblical truths," Nettles writes. "This involves such components as believers' baptism by immersion, regenerate church membership, liberty of conscience, separation of church and state, and the necessity of Gospel proclamation to all persons in all nations."
Conscientiously confessional. Baptist churches have always made plain to their members and to the world the truths that are believed by the church as a whole, Nettles writes. They have done this by setting forth confessions of faith that have been used for teaching doctrine and in corrective church discipline, he notes.

Unknown said...


i guess you are putting believer's baptism in the church and state (seperatists) part so i will give you the benefit of the doubt there. But what about regenerate church membership? Well maybe that is a logical outcome of believers baptism. Not really but it could be seen that way. And I guess tom means to include the right view of the incaranation with the right view of the Trinity. Although not stated i could see that.

"THAT to me is a definition of a Baptist and I would challenge anyone who tries to narrow the definition any further. You have inspired me for my post tomorrow. Thanks!"

Well in some part i have gone no further. Mormons would be excluded from what you said. But I am saying that the Carter in his own words has said mormons are Christians.

But i have problems with your definition in our current culture. As far as I know Baptists have always been against abortion and against homosexuality. Abortion has not been an issue until recently (historically speaking) and as long as it has Baptists have been against it. And as far as women pastors go again i have never seen Baptists be for women pastors. now this one i guess is not such a big deal compared to the other ones. So i will be willing to drop that one.

I will enjoy reading your post that explains that a Baptist can state that Mormons are Christians and thus deny orthodox christianity pretty much as a whole. And that they can also support abortion and the gay agenda. Please show me historical proof that Baptists are okay with these kinds of beliefs. Remember that some things were not issues until recently but since they have become issues Baptists have been very clear about them. But the whole Mormon thing is pretty straight forward.

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Sharon,

I appreciate your engaging style. Perhaps Wade underestimated what he was getting himself into by simply having a picture made :^)

I must say I am surprised that you responded to Wade's last comment, however. He writes: "The very essence of being Baptist is that you cannot be defined nor limited..." Ummm. I wonder how we could ever know who was Baptist? "I Baptist, Wade Baptist, You Baptist--all God's children Baptist."

Yet, he spoils it all by paradoxically leaping forward: "Tom says a Baptist is...Orthodox...Evangelical
...Separatists...THAT to me is a definition of a Baptist..." If only our Brother Wade could make up his mind.

Peace. This evening. With that, I am...


Big Daddy Weave said...


Baptists have always put a heavy emphasis on the individual conscience. Liberty of conscience. Individuals have the right to read and interpret Scriptures. Of course, those same individuals are also responsible to their local church (community).

That said, Baptists can and do differ on the role of women in church ministry. I don't think a woman is disqualified from being a Baptist merely because God calls her to preach the Gospel.

Heck, W.A. Criswell at one point held a pro-choice position on abortion. His belief at the time sure didn't disqualify him as a Baptist. I do believe he held this position while the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. And W.A. Criswell was no liberal.

Baptists are a diverse bunch of believers. I doubt one single definition can adequately define what it means to be a Baptist. However, many historians point to Baptist distinctives that help to define the Baptist Essence.

Unknown said...

This is my last post in this thread and possibly my last in this blog. It seems some just want to believe what they will. But sure Baptists have believed that the believer should have a somewhat liberty of conscience but there were also confessions that stated what a Baptist was. While there have been no really new confessions as of late (except if you count the BFM)surely there have been some beliefs that Baptists have shared. Clearly Baptists believe that Mormons are not Christians just like Arians or nestorians are not Christians. Carter has said that they are. i do not understand the confusion. From Wade's own words on who Baptists are displays that Carter probably is not one. Wade is not interested in what Carter has stated in public but I think a non-naive person should be.

gmay said...

A careful read of the comments given by Carter in GQ did not deny the exclusivity of the Gosple nor did it embrace exclusivity. What Carter said was that he did not have the ability to be the judge, only God does. This sounds humble and noble on the surface but points to a real problem for preachers. The attitude suggests that no one can speak definitively about anything the Bible says. If I take that approach to the Scripture, what shall I preach on Sunday, merely my own opinions?

Dan Malone said...

Look carefully at what President Carter was actually asked, and what he actually answered:

Question: Do you think a Mormon is a Christian?

Answer: Yes, I do. I have a cousin who is a Mormon and she married one of the Marriott family. I don’t know anyone who’s more devout in their faith than she and her family. I admire them very much.

The question that he was actually asked was not, as has been reported on this post, "Do you think all Mormons are Christians?" The question is if he thinks "a" Mormon is a Christian.

In response to the question which he is asked, President Carter responds with an example of "a" Mormon who he believes is a Christian. Now unless someone knows the soul and beliefs of this cousin of President Carter's who is married to one of the Marriotts, I don't think any one can justifiably portray President Carter as being an "inclusivist" because of this statement.

For example, I worked with several Mormons who were co-employees in my first job over 15 years year ago. I recall several conversations with them about their beliefs, particularly those from the Book of Mormon and how those beliefs differed from what was taught in the Bible. The Mormon coworkers I knew and spoke with told me that they believed that Jesus was the son of God and died on the cross for our sins, and that although Joseph Smith was a latter-day prophet bringing additional revelation, that many of the things that Joseph Smith said or taught were no longer accepted by most Mormons and that much of what appears in the Book of Mormon is "written off" by many in the current-day church. (I remember discussing historic Baptists views on dancing, playing cards, keeping the Sabbath holy, only Baptists were the "true" Christians, etc. as being similar to how they viewed some things that Smith and the Book of Mormon taught.)

Now I frankly don't recall from 15 years ago what part of the Book of Mormon they still believed in (I remember something about underwear, though), and maybe those beliefs would concern me more if I knew what they were. Nor am I saying that their beliefs reflected official Mormon church theology -- just like some Baptist's theology doesn't reflect some Baptist leader's theology.

But in my humble, non-theologically-trained opinion, these Mormon friends and coworkers were Christ followers and as best as I was able to determine in our limited conversations, and therefore were most likely "Christians." So from what I heard my Mormon co-workers say to me, I can personally identify with President Carter's recitation of "Judge not that ye be not judged."

Remember, folks, President Carter is a man who is able to attract between 200 - 1000 visitors of all faiths to his Sunday School lesson 40 weeks a year. I spoke to one of the Secret Service agents who has been with President Carter over six years, who told me that Sunday mornings are generally the busiest time of the week for him. The Secret Service makes people walk through metal detectors to get into the church -- much like entering a courthouse these days. He said that not everyone who appears for the SS class "looks like" they attend church very often.

Part of the reason they are willing to come hear him is because he has a reputation for, and makes it a point to show, respect for their religion and for many, their and their families' deeply-held religious beliefs. How can President Carter expect anyone to listen to his beliefs, or be open to the Gospel message, if he does not display a similar respect for their particular religion or their religious beliefs? (And no, respect should not and does not equate to agreement.)

If anyone on this post was speaking to 200 - 1000 people every week, many of whom are Muslim, Buddhist, Catholic, and even Mormon, I'd bet that the reasonable ones would be much more careful of their public words and witness and seek to find as much common ground as possible, while at the same time presenting the Gospel as clearly as possible to those who are there to listen and, hopefully, learn.

Now whether President Carter holds views or goes about things in his ministry at FBC Plains differently than I would, I could only wish that I would have the opportunity to share the Gospel openly with as many receptive people as he is.

Would I wish that he would respond negatively to a question such as, "Do you think all Mormons are Christians?" I do.

But I also think he would be obligated (and accurate) in responding in the negative if he was asked if all Baptists were Christians as well. Just look at the spirit of these of these comments -- will they be able to know that we are Christians by our love?

Anonymous said...


I'll give you credit for a great "Matlock-like" effort defending the Mormon answer. (Jury's still out, however. You might think about an 11th-hour plea bargain.)

At least you--unlike the disinterested in anything he reads Wade--seem to realize Carter's reported statement needs defending.

Are you now working on the Rabbi Lerner case? It's tougher--and more current.

Dan Malone said...


I am not willing, and unfortunately do not have the time, to defend everything that President Carter (or anyone else related to the Convocation) says. Maybe Carter has an explanation, or maybe he doesn't.

The convocation is not just about Carter, though. It just took someone of his prominence to convene all these disparate Baptist groups. Do you know anyone else in Baptist circles who could have likely pulled all of these Baptist groups together in one room and for one purpose?

As the website of Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant states (

"The leaders of these organizations affirmed their desire to speak and work together to create an authentic and genuine prophetic Baptist voice in these complex times. They reaffirmed their commitment to traditional Baptist values, including sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and its implications for public and private morality. They specifically committed themselves to their obligation as Christians to promote peace with justice, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and the marginalized, welcome the strangers among us, and promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity."

If that's not enough for you, Chuck, then I'm coming to the same conclusion that you appear to have reached -- this Celebration is probably not best suited for you at this time.

With as much grace as I able,


gmay said...

The following is a quote by Dan Vestal from 2000. Maybe he has already answered Wade's question.

Vestal, addressing a challenge shared by the CBF and ABC, said, according to ABP, "To be honest, as I look at ABC, I guess I don't see ABC churches and folks being really aggressively evangelistic. They don't win a lot of people to Jesus. However, having said that, I don't see most moderate Southern Baptist churches being aggressively evangelistic. We're not really passionate about the gospel changing people's lives. We're ... more oriented to political correctness and relevancy. To be candid, I see that as a problem that both ABC and moderate Southern Baptists share."

Anonymous said...

Paul met with the Jews for Evangelism not for political propaganda nor for a personal left leaning christian agenda.
What are you meeting with them for
But since your heart is made up have fun leaning left.

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
Othoniel A Valdes Sr,
Excuse me, but in Acts 15, Paul argued with Christian Pharisees, not for Evangelism, but how man was saved.

Paul tried to get them to ‘lean left’ away from the ditch of legalism of the Law and to get in the middle of the road with faith only in Jesus as a gift from him.

Paul failed as shown by, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law.” (Acts 21:20)

Was Paul happy over the evangelism of thousands, or was he sad over their theology?

If Wade can help Fundamentalists to lean enough ‘left’, they may leave their ditch of legalism in making more and more rules and their BFM narrowing the circle.

He may help them to keep the ‘main thing’ the main thing, and get in the middle of the road.

I hope he has fun.