Sunday, May 27, 2007

Independent Baptist Fundamentalism and the SBC

I have believed for the past decade that the conservative resurgence in the SBC has moved our convention beyond the initial goal of accepting the authoritative, inerrant and sufficient Word of God, toward an alignment with Independent Baptist Fundamentalism. When one examines the close connections between the late Jerry Falwell and leadership within the SBC the last twenty years, it does not take one long to see that the SBC has grown closer to the Independent Baptist Fundamentalism movement in the last few decades than anyone could have ever dreamed. Falwell joined the SBC, not because his church moved toward the SBC, but according to Falwell, 'The SBC has changed.'

Evangelical conservatives, like myself, have no problem affirming the fundamentals of the faith. However, where we part with Fundamentalism is in our differing views on the tertiary issues that are non-essentials of the Christian faith. John Piper, in his book Contending for the Faith, gives us a glimpse into the life of Dr. Gresham Machen. Machen was often hailed as a hero by the Fundamentalists of his day because he insisted on " defending the great doctrines" that had come under attack by liberals by "vigorously defending the truth."

However, Machen did not like being called a "Fundamentalist." Listen to his own words:

"Do you suppose that I do regret my being called by a term that I greatly dislike, a "Fundamentalist?" Most certainly I do. But in the presence of a great common foe (liberalism), I have little time to be attacking my brethren who stand with me in defense of the Word of God."(Stonehouse, J. Gresham Machen, p. 337).

John Piper gives seven reasons why Machen never spoke of himself as a Fundamentalist. To Dr. Machen, Fundamentalism meant. . .

(1). The absence of historical perspective;
(2). The lack of appreciation of scholarship;
(3). The substitution of brief, skeletal creeds for the historic confessions;
(4). The lack of concern with precise formulation of Christian doctrine;
(5). The pietistic, perfectionist tendencies (i.e., hang-ups with smoking, drinking alchohol, etc . . );
(6). One-sided otherworldliness (i.e., a lack of effort to transform the culture), and,
(7). A penchant for futuristic chiliasm (or: premillennialism).

Recently I received the following letter from a pastor of an Independent Baptist Church who has applied to be a missionary. He has given me permission to use the letter. This pastor and missionary candidate has brilliantly and practically articulated what Machen feared intellectually. I have highlighted some of the pastor's key points (in bold print).

Brother Wade Burleson,

I want to thank you for your thoughtful and honest blog of June 2006 on the use of alcohol. I resigned the pastorate of an Independent Baptist Church because of the Lord’s clear direction to pursue a missions calling. I went on deputation but want to clarify that I am not strongly opposed to the SBC system or the IB system, though I do see problems in the implementation of them both. Of course, I’m best acquainted with the problems in the IB system. The mechanical clumsiness is something I can manage (though its difficult to see something so broken go on without repair), but a different issue seems to be testing my patience nearly to its end. Worse, my conscience is completely in turmoil over it.

I am a conservative Baptist. My convictions about the scripture are that they are so holy that we must not subjugate them to our prejudices or second hand judgments. Surely, I have been guilty of this in my life, but I dread it almost more than anything else. I have dear friends who love me and fellowship with me though we may not agree on every point or every practice. I think they are somewhat open minded, but mostly, they are loving. However, the overall mood of Independent Baptists is one in which intolerance and intellectual dishonesty about issues like this one with alcohol, or eschatology, or missionary methods, or the textual issue, etc. are so pervasive that those who are willing to explore these matters biblically tend to keep silence while a herd mentality – which I believe is motivated by pride and perpetuated by fear – demands complete conformity on things that really need to be openly discussed and considered. The result is that our expression of religion is getting contorted. You know all of this, I’m sure.

Because I have made friends over the years who graciously respect my work and calling and because I practice some diplomacy and happen to hold the ‘right’ positions on the issues that come up in preliminary communications, I’ve been able to schedule meetings in churches without much trouble. But here and there I am confronted with these kinds of issues. The conventional wisdom is that I should just keep my mouth shut, raise my support, and get to the field so I can do whatever I have to do there. It makes sense and I’m willing to defer for the cause of the gospel. On the other hand, I’m the kind of guy who works in a team and believes in networking in order to maximize the impact for the world evangelization. I also believe in being pretty transparent. Furthermore, in the IB system, missionaries are somehow expected to represent each and every church and the secondary issues are often more important than the fundamental truths of the faith. On top of that, though the sending organization I’m part of knows my demeanor and respects it, I don’t really know if they can take the heat if my views become widely known. Actually, I’m pretty sure they can’t.

To cut to the chase, I feel like I’m in position where I would have to sell out my convictions for support and I really just will not do that.

Please forgive this overly lengthy email. I just want to thank you for your courageous stand. I never buckled on these kinds of things when I was a pastor, though I was sensitive to how much truth people could handle in a sitting. By the grace of God, I endeavored to preach all and only what the Bible taught and was learning more about how to do that year by year. Now my mind is constantly weighing the great need for the gospel in the field I am called to against the need for it to be delivered with integrity. I love my friends and would not want to offend them or discourage them. But if I don’t deal with this correctly, I will only forestall the offense and create organizational difficulties. Your blog article was an encouragement to me as were so many positive comments made by others. They represent the testimony of countless sincere believers who treasure God’s Word above their personal preferences or cultural traditions. It’s refreshing.

Your Brother in Christ

My prayer is that we who are evangelical Christians, and associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, might continue to love and respect our Independent Fundamentalist Baptist brethren, but gently resist the tendencies of Fundamentalism that are contrary to the spirit and a tenor of Christ and the history of our convention.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Anonymous said...

A homerun. A great post -- my wife agrees with me!

Anonymous said...


I'm not quite sure where you're going with this post.

I do not, at all, see an absorption of Independent Baptist Fundamentalism into Southern Baptist life today, or the "development" of an independent, fundamentalist mindset. Indeed, it has always been there ... especially at the local associational level. But I do think that the growing church planting movement and the development of the "contemporary" and "emerging" churches is serving to highlight the contrast. It just seems more noticeable and more "loud" than before.

Falwell's statement that, "The SBC has changed..." was a commentary on the return from a liberal wasteland to a reaffirmation of the inerrancy of Scripture. I hope you will agree that particular change was a good thing.

With regard to your closing plea to "...gently resist the tendencies of Fundamentalism that are contrary to the spirit and a tenor of Christ and the history of our convention," I think if you look far back enough in Baptist history (to the mid-19th century and the roots of the SBC), you will find that Baptists have always been independent and fervent adherents to the fundamentals of the faith.

I think that, too, is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Wade, this is a great "situation report" from the front lines of what issues we have simply got to deal with rather than "just sticking our heads back in our shell." Could it be that our friends from other faith groups will watch what we do with keeping little issues in their place as they in turn openly debate what they stand for?

Steve Austin
Hoptown, Ky.

RKSOKC66 said...

Every Monday night my daughter and I attend a Bible study. An Independent Baptist pastor and his wife are also reqularly attend this Bible study.

I took a couple of books from seminary days over there last week and discussed with him some points about Genesis that I believe he may have misunderstood. We had a great discussion.

I find some of his Bible interpretations a little "off the wall" but this doesn't in any way limit the good rapport we have as we discuss various texts.

I'm only a layman myself and I don't even remotely have the gifts to be a pastor or evangelist. So I appeciate any one who is proclaiming God's word -- even if they do have a few "idiosyncratic" interpretations.

I don't think God is going to give us a theology test when we reach the Pearly Gates.

Roger Simpson Oklahoma City OK

Anonymous said...

The one thing I would write back to that brother missionary is that He should not fear lack of support. If God has sent Him, that means that the One who owns it all has sent HIm and will provide His every need. I can testify to that even with transparency about things that many who support me might not fully appreciate.

Of the 7 elements listed, I see #6 as being one of the biggest problems. I even sometimes ask myself whether what we see today as "fundamentalism" is similar to the gnosticism of the First century.

Roger Simpson, you are right to say that God won't be giving us a theology test when we get to Heaven.

Here's a paragraph from a recent post:

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. 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! [or fill in the blank with any tenet of theology]” 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!

"The Captain" said...

There seems to be a very broad definition of the word drunkenness starting at zero alcoholic beverages for the believer. However, gluttony is more narrow. The average Christian feels a glutton would be described as the 1000 lb man. Many churches have deacons and pastors well over 300 lbs and definitely not the Mr. olympia look. However,drinking one glass of wine a week would disqualify a person in many churches. "food" for thought.

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
Geoff Baggett,
We agree on Falwell’s statement that, “The SBC has changed…”

The big question is ‘changed to WHAT?”

The easy answer is it changed to Falwell’s thinking just like he said. So the real question is what did Falwell think?

Your comment does not answer that—you put in your own opinion that it changed “from a LIBERAL WASTELAND to a reaffirmation of the inerrancy of Scripture.”

Falwell did not believe in a ‘bottom up’ rule but a ‘top down’ rule. Falwell believed the pastor was the ruler of the church. He believed the TOP should tell us how to vote.

The SBC changed from ‘spiritual leaders’ to ‘spiritual bosses.’

Was it WASTELAND or the changed SBC that ran over 100 missionaries off the field and fired 15 others because they listened to God rather than man?

Was it WASELAND or ‘new thinking’ that is forever making the circle smaller with its legalistic rules?

Baggett, be careful not to tout ‘inerrancy’ to the extent you worship the messenger rather than the one who wrote it.

Debbie Kaufman said...

When someone like a Dwight McKissic, Jerry Rankin or other strong Bible believing Christian has to whisper or keep to themselves what they believe in non-essentials for fear of exclusion, something isn't right.

Anonymous said...

The problem with using Machen as an exemplary paradigm theologian in a discussion regarding Baptists and Southern Baptists is that he was a Presbyterian. As long as the Presbyterians keep disobeying God, they will keep skewing theology and ethics. Being Southern Baptist is not being Presbyterian or Piperite.

Neil Cameron (One Salient Oversight) said...

As long as the Presbyterians keep disobeying God, they will keep skewing theology and ethics.

Is this comment an indication of what the SBC has turned into?

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray,

What? I cannot answer as to what Jerry Falwell thought. I am not a "mind reader." I guess I will have to leave that up to you ... since you obviously knew the mind of Jerry Falwell. But I suspect that his reference to change was with regard to exactly what I did mention in my comment - a dramatic return to the inerrancy and authority of Scripture. But that's just my guess. I'll have to take your insightful, discerning word that it was a growth of "pastoral authority" that caused Falwell to mail his first check to the SBC. But, personally, I find the idea a bit far-fetched.

I guess I'm just one of those "spookies" who would much (very much, much, much) rather have a theological climate in our convention where biblical (even independent Baptist) fundamentalists fit a little better that unitarian universalists. But that's just me...

Funny ... I'm an SBC pastor, and I have no spiritual bosses. Neither am I "boss" to anyone. So, I don't quite "get" that portion of your comment, either.

As far as your last comment directed to me ... obviously, I don't know you ... maybe if I did I would have at least a remote idea of what you were trying to say.

Anonymous said...

the captain,

who are you to decide what weight is the limit? does the bible teach that 300 lbs is the limit? is someone who weighs 300 lbs a glutton? how do you know? gluttony is not about how much someone wieghs. it's about eating past when you're full. a skinny, puny, annarexic person could commit the sin of gluttony.

many people are large people who are not gluttons. some people are large people due to what they eat...not so much how much they eat. especially in the south is this true. some people are large people because it's in thier genes. some are large because of when they eat....late at nite. some are large because they used to be gluttons, but now they've repented and are trying to do better...but, the wieght just wont come off.

i really think that you and mr. cole(on his blog) are missing the big picture on this one in your attempt to prove a point. both of you may think that it sounds cute...due to all the big pastors and deacons out there who are against drinking, or ppl's, or whatever. but, it's just not true...what yall are saying. you and ben are going beyond the bible in your arguements.

and yea, i'm one of those big pastors. i admit that i ate too much in my younger life. and yea, i'm a, guess what i eat? and yea, a lot of my people are very large, i guess it's in my genes.

but, guess what? i have some friends that are just as skinny as ben cole is who eat as much or more than i do. they eat that much and dont gain a pound. i sniff food and gain wieght.

so, i agree with you and ben that gluttony is a sin. yes. of course. but, some of what you say, and some of ben's "resolution" on his blog are just flat wrong and out of bounds.

now, drinking alcohol? i can show you where the bible teaches that it's foolish to drink the fermented, undiluted stuff...the strong drink. and, of course, its sin to be drunk. i choose to neither be foolish nor sin against my Lord.


Anonymous said...

I believe that from the beginning in 1979 the conservative resurgence in the SBC was moving our convention toward an alignment with Independent Baptist Fundamentalism and not toward the goal of accepting the authoritative, inerrant and sufficient Word of God. Many of the early resurgence presidents were leading churches that were more independent than Southern Baptist, Charles Stanley, Bailey Smith,etc. They gave token support to our missions programs and took no part in association, state convention or other SBC activities unless is would benefit them or their church.
You zeroed in on one of the prime symbols of the change in our convention, the involvement of Jerry Falwell. The joining of Jerry Falwell to the SBC has less to do with theology than with the association of Falwell and the leaders of the resurgence, such as Patterson and Pressler, in the Committee for National Policy (CNP). They have been working along with Sun Myung Moon organizations and other right wing groups for political purposes and joining the resources of the SBC to accomplish those goals.
Jerry Falwell stated soon after joining the SBC that his church would remain part of the Worldwide Fundamentalist Fellowship. In other words, they would have dual membership. Churches that support the CBF are not allowed to have dual membership and take part in SBC leadership positions according to Frank Page. That seems like a double standard.
The term Fundamentalist has so many meanings it hard to know what one means when the term is used. Once a FMB trustee chairman from California who was a leader of the resurgence told our missionaries in Taiwan that he was hurt that some referred to him as a red-neck Fundamentalist. I told him that in Arkansas we thought it was a compliment to be called a red-neck fundamentalist. Of course we referred to the definition that applied to acceptance of the fundamentals of the faith.
The term conservative resurgence has undergone some changes. Some felt guilty for not supporting it because it seemed to imply you were opposed to conservative theology. The truth however is that the conservative resurgence has always been a political organization and not a theological one. From the beginning it has stood for the use of dishonest labels, support for Republican politics, exclusion of those will not support their organization and inflating the egos of the leaders of the resurgence. I am thankful that I have never supported the pseudo-conservative resurgence.
Ron West

gmay said...

Are you sure Falwell didn't move a little from the die hard independant fundamentalist camp? Three well known issues force this question.

1. Rick Warren was invited to participate in a leadership confernce cohosted with Jerry Falwell. The Independant Fundamentalist Baptist of my exposure have little good to say about Brother Rick. It seems as though I saw pictures of Jerry in one of Rick's patented shirts and Rick in a suit.

2. The estabilishment of Liberty University and its rise in academic quality. Even in your post you point out that these Independant Fundamentalist Baptist have litte regard for adademia.

3. Pitching in with the SBC overcomes a method of missions Independants revolted against in 1926.

Haven't we Southern Baptist desired a measure of independance with our distinctive of autonomy?

Jack Maddox said...


Your assessment of many IFB's is pretty much on the mark, however your take on Falwell I fear is a little of the mark. It is true that the CR led to his movement into the SBC...but he had really by that time became a man without a country. He had moved away from some of the hard-line policies and positions of the BBFI of which he was a part. Ask most IFB's what they thought of Dr. Falwell back then and you will see that he was far from representative of the IFB movement. If anything the SBC and Falwell kind of met in the middle.


Marty Duren said...

If someone in your church used the mental gymnastics to justify his/her sin that you do to justfiy why some Southerners are big, then you would open your Bible and show them that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

And you should do so.

You cannot blame southern food, genes, etc for a person who refuses to change their diet, refuses to excercise, makes jokes about not outlawing food and the like to avoid the clear fact that it is a sin against the temple of God the Holy Spirit.

Pious attempts to bring the alcohol issue into this are beyond tired. The issue is the hypocrisy that excuses one and condemns the other.

While most people consider me thin (though it isn't as easy as it once was to maintain it), I readily recognize when I have committed the sin of gluttony and I cannot blame the fact that there was a half a freezer of homemade vanilla ice cream left as the cause of my sin.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Geoff: Being a former independent fundamentalist myself for over 30 years, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, bashes like a duck, excludes like a duck....

Anonymous said...


Okay ... I don't get that one, either. So much for all of this higher theological education, I guess. I should have studied ornithology.

To whose "duck" are you referring?

One might also say the same with regard to inclusivist, universalist ducks, as well. If it "dialogues" like a duck, if it is in "unity" with all species of birds, regardless of their "duckness," just as long as they claim to be ducks ...

Anonymous said...


those are not mental's the truth. plain and simple. and, if you will notice, i said that some have committed the sin of gluttony in the past, and they repented, and now the weight wont come off. i confess that to that. i used to eat like a hungry dog often. i have since repented of my gluttonous ways, but alas, i'm still big. probably for all the reasons i stated in my earlier comment.

also, marty, where in the bible does it command us to exercise? or, to eat rabbit food? or, to not eat pork ribs? show me and i will start doing jumping jacks, and i'll stop going to the smokehouse restaurant for the half slab(i used to eat the whole slab). :)

and marty, where is the weight limit mentioned in the bible? where does the bible tell us what proportions of food to eat? does it say that we should only eat three ounces of corn, and one piece of cornbread, and five ounces of pork chops? where is the passage that tells us how much is too much?

my great grandmother was chubby her whole life. she was not a glutton. but, she ate good ole, southern, country cookin' which puts some meat on your bones. the first time she went into the hospital she was 94. she died at 96. geee, i wonder how healthy and how long she could've lived if she had gone to the gym and ate grapenuts instead of sausage and bisquits? :)

but, i can show you many places in the bible where alcohol is mentioned as foolish to drink...where alcohol leads to foolish choices...where drunkeness is called a sin. i can show you the harm that alcohol has done to many, many families.

so, lets extra piece of lemon ice box pie, or a shot of jack daniels? hummmmmmm...which would be better for me? i choose to lay off both. how bout you? especially with my wife looking at me with one of those stares of hers when she doesnt want me to do something that would hurt me. :)


Anonymous said...

Perspective, perspective, perspective...

If you get on over to some message boards and forums like the "Fightin' Fundamentalists" or the Jack Hyles supporters, or IFB enclaves like Tennessee Temple, you'll see that Falwell was already over on the left fringe of that movement. And while Falwell claimed he didn't move, and might not have moved that much, over the years he certainly did distance himself from the hard core of the "IFB'ers." If you read much of the Hyles-Anderson, Tennessee Temple crowd, you'll see pretty quickly that most of them think of Falwell as a liberal, left-wing sell out.

And I have to smile when I hear people characterize the pre-conservative resurgence SBC as a "liberal wasteland." That was the same SBC which elected people like K. Owen White and W.A. Criswell as president. From a theological perspective, inerrancy and infallibility were just catch-phrases, since the BFM 1963 already prescribed belief in the Bible as "truth without any mixture of error" as the standard of cooperation. The conservative resurgence may have moved the SBC slightly to the right, but it's main achievement was to replace an entrenched bureaucracy, which it did by establishing another even narrower one.

I think it was a combination of two things--Falwell's development of Liberty University into a quality academic institution that earned respect in the greater evangelical world which moved him a little to the left, and the SBC's change of language about the Bible from perfect and authoritative to inerrant and infallible that allowed Falwell to claim the SBC "moved in his direction" enough to embrace a minimal amount of cooperation, and a token contribution.

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

Geoff: I did look at what I had written and thought I needed to go more into detail, so I hear what you are saying . I was raised in the Independent Fundamentalist churches from grade school until I moved to where I am now, the last one I went to was different and not so exclusive and strict but this was the exception not the rule. I know the fundamentalist doctrine and mindset like the back of my hand.Splits and wars were a way of life, it's what I saw from childhood to adulthood including differences over end time doctrine. I was miserable amongst it all.

What Wade has written is spot on. it is what I see happening in the SBC. I have absolutely no objection in those who oppose whatever, I do have a problem when that belief is to the detriment of others who would disagree and be a source of measuring stick, yet that is what I see occurring. Doctrinal purity is never pure. It's always tainted wherever human beings are involved. The issues and attitude I have seen touted are the very doctrines I grew up with, the same anger or appearance of it and the same way of dealing with those they disagree with.(thus the duck illustration) Behaving it's like a war to be fought instead of something to be discussed among Christian brothers and sisters.

I don't want the SBC to head in this direction as it is painful for all who would disagree with tertiary issues while still holding to those things which are detrimental to the Christian faith. I believe this has already been seen over and over again. I saw it in last years convention. I have seen it in the IMB decision, and the decision that SWBTS has handed down. The pain is long lasting. I know having just recently been healed from all the pain. Pain I would not want anyone to go through.

Anonymous said...

I am so tired of this alcohol debate. Gluttony is wrong. Drinking alcohol to the point of intoxication is wrong. We agree on that point. The analogy breaks down however, when you consider the fact that we need food in order to exist. We do not need alcohol in order to exist. Consumption of alcohol in its current state of distillation is not wise. That is my conclusion based on the scriptures. That is what I will teach to my children. I will also teach them not to be judgmental about others on this topic, but to convey the truth and guidance in love and allow the Holy Spirit to bring conviction on this matter. Do I think the consumption of alcohol should be used as an evangelistic tool. Absolutely not! To do so would simply be flaunting my Christian liberty and possibly causing my brother to sin. Most people who promote this position fall into a different category of sin and that would be the sin of pride. I believe that it is pride alone that would prompt an individual to promote the use of alcohol as a "brave post" and it is pride rather than scripture that prompts one to promote "moderate" use of alcohol.

Blah! Blah! Blah!
Michele (exhausted by this whole discussion!)

Debbie Kaufman said...

Michelle: I would strongly disagree with your assessment. We are people of the Bible and we are not faithful to scripture when we promote things the scripture doesn't. I realize that we must agree to disagree on this, but it's not an "alcohol" debate as much as it is what exactly do the scriptures say.

Is it really pride that would look diligently in the scriptures, studying prayerfully, concluding that drunkenness and not moderation is what is scriptural. Pride would not be the label I would give. Courageous, honest, freeing. Those are the words that come to my mind.

Anonymous said...

Michele, great post. Those who "push" their agenda continue to look more and more "not wise" "foolish" and open the door(gateway drug) for sin. Christians, with great clarity, should avoid this "appearance".
The truth on Falwell and IBF along with the conservative resurgence and the SBC is that..."both have moved". We moved from liberalism. They moved(some have) to a more cooperative effort. Missouri and Tennessee and Georgia are actively seeking IBF churches who are interested in joining us.(MBC/SBC).

Anonymous said...

On a lighter note:
I had rather get knocked down by a obese person in the grocery store aisle than get run over by a drunk driver while I am cruising down the highway!
Gleason, Tennessee


On this post I can only emphatically and enthusiastically agree with the general warning we must heed. I’m not quite sure there is an agreement as to if and when we are flirting with crossing that line. Most SBC conservatives I mingle with see the IB differing in being KJV only, no dancing, no card playing, no theatres, no CCM, etc. These aren’t areas I see or fear the SBC leaning towards. Doctrinally, it seems we vary very little.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Read Ron West's post.

Bart Barber said...

Man! Where did I put my KJV? I guess I'm going to have to find it or purchase another one.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we will have to agree to disagree, but let us be sure we both understand the disagreement. I do not say that scripture tells us that drinking alcohol is a sin. I do see reference after reference that caution against strong drink, drinking in general. These passages have been referenced on many other occasions in a far better way than I can possibly articulate here. But, let us be sure that my position is also based on scripture and the "moderation" crowd doesn't choose to have them apply to this issue. So be it... but, I would also remind you that the scripture doesn't explicitly prohibit the use of drugs, but I hope the absence of a specific prohibition in scripture would not lead to someone advocating its use in "moderation".

I do not see the moderation stand as courageous.

So as not to be accused of hi-jacking this stream, let me say that these items are all related in my mind. It seems to me that much of this blog is spent on being a "nay sayer" of those who are "in charge". I submit to you that to continue to post negativity and strife about the SBC leadership is the equivalent of disgruntled church members who are unhappy about the decisions because they are not the ones making them. I am sure Wade and I could sit down and have a lovely conversation about many things. I still think he is wrong in many of his postings. Sort of like the deacon who shares all conversation that occurs in the deacons meeting. It is gossip. So, with that, I leave you to your own musings and vow not to be pulled into further debate.


Ron's biased and makes too many generalizations. I know so many who are connected to those leaders that don't fit his profile at all. It was always, for these individuals, a passionate call to return to the Word of God.

To make such generalizations is couter productive. It would be like me saying that all the moderates/liberals wanted to do was fill our churches with gays and give all the authority to women. That wouldn't be true at all. Many (most?) of them had sincere convictions that differed. Though I strongly disagree with them I will not falsely accuse them.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Michelle: This will be no surprise that I disagree totally and if you have read the posts on this issue will know Biblically why I disagree, including your definition of gossip. But thank you for your kind but honest responses.

Chris: I agree that not all leaders fit this, but too many do. I found Ron's post to be what my observations have been. My question is are we willing for the Bible to be the final authority or not?



"My question is are we willing for the Bible to be the final authority or not?"

And I agree that that really is THE question in the end. My contention with much of what I see on this blog and the comments is the assumption that either side is not willing to do this. I believe that both sides are (for the most part) seeking to do that very thing. The rub is that we aren't eye to eye on what's an "essential", "non-essential" or even what it means to show "love" where we differ.

As Wade sees a dangerous shift toward legalism, I believe many see a dangerous shift on his side toward liberalism. And just as people get angry when anyone hints that Wade may be flirting with liberalism, the other side finds it quite offensive to be put in the legalist department.

Again, as I've said before, I don't have the answers but the questions. I simply know that compromise is not an option and yet unnecessarily ostracizing brothers and sisters in Christ isn't either. But even there, I doubt we can agree as to when we are "compromising" or "ostracizing".

Humbleness, maybe that's the key...

Anonymous said...

I admit I am biased and probably do make too many generalizations. I apologize to those who actually believe the rhetoric of the conservative resurgence leaders and in good faith are working to make the Bible the final authority as Debbie has asked. In my generalizations I was referring to the heart and soul of the resurgence as represented by Presseler, Patterson, T.C. Pinckney, Roger Moran, Russell Kammerling, Ollin Collins, Ron Wilson and other heroes of the Resurgence that Pressler refers to in his book. My bias is based on 28 years of personal interaction and observation with leaders of the resurgence as an employee of our convention and a theological conservative who believed in inerrancy and the final authority of scripture.
Ron West

Anonymous said...

I admit I am biased and probably do make too many generalizations. I apologize to those who actually believe the rhetoric of the conservative resurgence leaders and in good faith are working to make the Bible the final authority as Debbie has asked. In my generalizations I was referring to the heart and soul of the resurgence as represented by Presseler, Patterson, T.C. Pinckney, Roger Moran, Russell Kammerling, Ollin Collins, Ron Wilson and other heroes of the Resurgence that Pressler refers to in his book. My bias is based on 28 years of personal interaction and observation with leaders of the resurgence as an employee of our convention and a theological conservative who believes in inerrancy and the final authority of scripture.
Ron West

Anonymous said...

I find myself smiling at the way this discussion has gone so far. It reminds me of how things usually turn out when my husband and I have a theological disagreement. (Thankfully, such disagreements are few and often lighthearted.)

Typically, I end up telling him he's too much of fundamentalist and he tells me I'm too much of a liberal. (Both smiling as we say it, of course.) Then, he'll affirm with conviction: "I am in the center of orthodox Christianity and you're just too far left." What he means by this is that he thinks he's in the center of Christian orthodoxy, while everyone else is too far left or right of him.

This makes me laugh, of course, because its preposterous for him (or anyone) to suggest they are "the center" of orthodox Christianity and that people should measure their position on the liberal-fundamentalist spectrum based on him.

But, that's kind of what we do in these discussions, isn't it? No matter the historical context, theological implications, or personal piety of those involved, we claim for ourselves the center-point of orthodoxy and categorize everyone else based upon our position.

Or, for those who prize being very far to the right, we claim the most fundamentalist position we can and then categorize everyone a liberal who doesn't reach that point.

Either way, the result is that my interpretation of orthodoxy is unquestionably correct and everyone else in Christianity needs to get with the program.

I don't know what the alternative is to this kind of thinking, but I am desperately dissatisfied with it. Call me naive, liberal, whatever, but I have to believe there's another way of talking about our differences.

For now, I'm banishing the over-used and abused terms "liberal," "fundamentalist," "hyper-Calvinist," "heretic," et al, from my vocabulary when I'm discussing another person's theological convictions. I'll let you know how it turns out.


I appreciate your honesty and I believe you really believe what you say. I personally tend to believe that Pressler and the others (I don't know them personally) had godlier ambitions. We shall see in due time...

I'm out to enjoy the rest of the day with the family...



How about being concerned about being in the "center of the Word of God"?

For real, I'm out now, my wife is waiting on me:)...

Anonymous said...


What a silly question. Of course we should be in the center of the Word of God!

The problem is that, too often, our interpretation of the Word of God becomes the Word of God to us. I interpret a passage one way and you another. I conclude you must be a heretic to interpret it another way and thereby call you "dangerous" or "liberal" or any other pejorative term I can come up with to distance my "right" interpretation from your clearly "wrong" interpretation.

That's the problem. That's what I'm fed up with. And, I know I'm not alone.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Chris said "And I agree that that really is THE question in the end. My contention with much of what I see on this blog and the comments is the assumption that either side is not willing to do this. I believe that both sides are (for the most part) seeking to do that very thing. The rub is that we aren't eye to eye on what's an "essential", "non-essential" or even what it means to show "love" where we differ."

You have written a very good point and I agree.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Emily: Which is why the issues as well as PPL, who and where one is baptized etc. cannot be used as a measuring stick on who is to be excluded in missions or in leadership. It depends too much on who is in power as to who is included or excluded. The only measuring stick should be what was before all this mess. The fundamentals of the faith such as the virgin birth, Christ being the Son of God, salvation through Christ only etc. period.

Anonymous said...


I didn't read your above comment closely enough and for that, I'm sorry. I agree with Debbie and with you. I think we were saying the same thing in two different ways.

Anonymous said...

Debbie: I agree completely.

Anonymous said...

Oops! Debbie, the above comment is from me: Emily.

Jack Maddox said...


Not only do I feel the slight sting of conviction but I am also refreshed by your common sense aproach and take of the current 'spat' we have going on in SBC life. May God increase your tribe!


Bob Cleveland said...

It strikes me as genuinely odd that the church described in the book of Acts had something going, that made them willing (perhaps even eager) to sell all they had and share it with others. They did not, however, have any of the New Testament.

We now have not only the entire Bible, but also computers that let us probe it in depths unheard of a century ago. And we are about as far away from the Acts Spirit as we can be. We seem to love feeding on our own, majoring on minors, and fault-finding.

I'm really, really glad I'm a Southern Baptist and have been for 26 years. I say that because, if I wasn't and hadn't been for all those years, and read this and previous comment strings about current events, I'd never want to be one.


peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

I trust your holiday has been well. Quite honestly, I noticed lately a rather obvious loosening of the boundaries, Wade, in your understanding of being Baptist. If I may, I'd like to show you what I mean.

In October 2006, you offered a "resolve to cooperate with one another, affirming the essentials of the gospel and our Baptist identity in these five doctrines." The big five you affirmed as essentials of our "Baptist identity" included a strong statement on scripture, high Christology, substitutionary atonement, believer’s baptism by immersion and God’s judgment to unbelievers. Your clear conclusion: “This statement of cooperation defines the necessary essentials which must be affirmed in order to participate in the cooperative ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention.”

More recently, the five essentials of being Baptist were reduced to three by utilizing Professors Nettles’ triad: Orthodox, Evangelical, Separatistic. Again you concluded without uncertainty: “THAT to me is the best short definition of what it means to be a Baptist. I believe we should vigorously challenge anyone who tries to narrow the definition any further.”

What’s interesting, Wade, is that, from these two curiously different statements, you apparently are “vigorously challenging” yourself. You swiftly move from a loose definition of Baptist identity in the October resolve to a quite distinctiveless identity of being Baptist in your last post. Is it any surprise that, given your view of what it evidently means to be Baptist, the SBC is dangerously close to morphing into an Independent Fundamentalist denomination?

Know I also question the characteristics of Fundamentalism you list, if by Fundamentalism you are including fundamentalists like our late Dr. Falwell. Indeed Jerry Falwell surely would not fit Dr. Piper’s seven concerns, of which, only two seem applicable to him (#5, #7). I'm not denying Dr. Falwell fundamentalist credentials. Rather, I am denying he was a fundamentalist per Piper’s checklist.

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the SBC is moving more and more toward fundamentalism. Should we object? Depending on the brand of fundamentalism, I would. The problem is, Wade, the prescription you appear to promote--even if it was true that the SBC is moving too far right--suffers the proverbial fate, at least in my view, of being the remedy worst than the disease.

If fundamentalists tend to possess too strict boundaries, your view, as I understand it, possesses too few.

For example, your latest definition of “being Baptist” seems to offer little distinction, if any, for being Baptist, only being historically evangelical. If one holds Trinitarian Orthodoxy, believes one is saved by grace through faith and holds to regenerate Church membership, one apparently is a Baptist.

The trouble here is, Nazarenes hold all three. So do Assemblies of God and most all Pentecostal groups, for they surely are Trinitarian, believe one is saved by grace through faith and immerse believers just like we do.

Also, this definition does not definitively squeeze out Open Theists like Professor Pinnock who is solidly Trinitarian, believes in salvation by grace through faith and is a strong believer, by last count, in separatism. Perhaps Dr. Patterson should lure his old New Orleans Professor to come to Ft. Worth.

Interestingly, in the mass evangelistic projects which I've assisted coordinating over the past several years, we use a similar method in building alliances between various evangelicals to lay aside their differences to work together on a mutual, city-wide, evangelistic project. Dr. Graham has successfully modeled this strategy for 50 years. But it is a strategy for working across denominational lines not within them.

Frankly, it really works in building relative cooperation among divergent theological families. It also necessarily annihilates public identity of any particular faith family--at least as far as the project is concerned. All is One and One is All. One beautiful rose of unity in diversity.

All temporarily, of course. When the crusade leaves town, so does the cooperation. Baptists return to being what they distinctively are: Baptists. So do Presbyterians, Methodists, etc.

In short, Wade, your challenge is needed if our goal is to unite all evangelicals--no matter the persuasion--together for the gospel. However, as a hook upon which all Baptists may hang their identity? It’s just my opinion, but I've the feeling you oughta rethink that one, old boy.

Grace. With that, I am...


Anonymous said...

Our varied statements about where "the center" is reminds me of the Incans' Center, or Navel, of the Universe in Cuzco. It becomes so much easier when you have a head guy (head glutton?) who just marches up to the biggest intersection around and says, "Why, it's right here, of course!"

Steve Austin

volfan007 said...

i just wanted to report to marty and to the capt. and to ben that i did not commit gluttony today. i stopped one bite short of it tonite when i ate pork tenderloin and the trimmings at a church members house. :)


Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
Volfan 007,
I believe you are big enough to get a bigger subject. I believe a lot of preachers die early because the congregation feeds them to death. Didn’t Falwell have a double chin?

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
You say, “I cannot answer as to what Jerry Falwell thought.”

I assumed you might have read some newspapers since his name has been over the place for years. How many ‘apologies’ has he made and do you know why he made them?

You say, “I suspect that his reference to change was with regard to exactly what I did mention in my comment – a dramatic return to the inerrancy and authority of Scripture.”

Hey! You left off “liberal wasteland.” Did your conscious get to hurting a little on those words? Those words upset me.

The political battle cry of the conservative resurgence was something like “liberal wasteland’, but that dog won’t hunt anymore because people today realize those words were not true. All the ‘liberal body bags’ were only full of hot air.

The real ‘body bags’ were filled with true conservatives that were not in the ‘us crowd’ such as Russell Dilday.

Strange you should mention Falwell’ s first check to the SBC. It was something like $10,000 wasn’t it? And he received over $100,000 the first year to build a church he would control. I’d say that was a pretty good return on his investment; wouldn’t you?

You say you want a “theological climate” in our convention. I believe the Pharisees had one in theirs.

You say, you have no ‘spiritual bosses.” But you are ‘under’ the BFM 2000 are you not? It plainly says, “Baptist deny the right of any secular or religious authority to impose a confession of faith upon a church”; but then contradicts itself by saying, “The office of pastor is limited to men.”

“The office of pastor…” is a confession of faith! Does the BFM get by with that by implying it is not secular or religious? Wake up!

A man on the mission field was offered a job at a university if he was given a recommendation by the SBC. While he was on the field, his church called a woman pastor…he was denied a recommendation…recorded in the Baptist Standard. What kind of a “theological climate” is that if it’s not ‘spiritual bosses’?

Baggett, “touting inerrancy to the extent you worship the messenger rather than the one who wrote it” means a person burns his Christian brother at the stake because he believes the Bible with his whole heart a different way than him, so he calls him a LIBERAL. That’s right up there with calling your brother a fool, and we know what Jesus said about that.

If we ever met, we’d probably like each other, but you know how blogging goes. Sorry for the delay, but I’ve been working on church steps for a wedding.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I was 14 when the Conservative Resurgence took hold. But even at age 14, I knew that things were amiss in the SBC. I'm glad the course was corrected. You quite specifically qoute many instances and facts with which I am not personally familiar. But I'm equally sure that there are other interpretations of those "facts" that may be quite different from the things you describe.

Yessiree, indeed, I do desire an orthodox theological climate in our convention. Without one, we will suffer the slowly declining fate of many of the other "mainstream" denominations, at best, or devolve into a relativistic universalism, at worst.

Obviously, we hold some pretty dramatically different points of view. But I can live with that. I like you, anyway. :) Just keep speaking your mind, and I'll do the same.

BTW ... call me Geoff.

Anonymous said...

Do you ever wonder if any lost people read WAde's blog and the comments? Maybe they don't but what would they conclude if they did?
Charles Stearns

Anonymous said...

charles stearns,

did you used to attend utm in the early 80's? i knew a charles stearns in college and wonder if you are the same guy.


Anonymous said...

i think maybe i should have a long talk with dwight mckissic about ben's resolution on gluttony that marty and the capt. like so much. dwight and i are about the same size. i wonder how he feels about it?


Anonymous said...

No, that's not me. But I'm sure he must have been a fine fellow.


Jack Maddox said...

Rex Said

"Strange you should mention Falwell’ s first check to the SBC. It was something like $10,000 wasn’t it? And he received over $100,000 the first year to build a church he would control. I’d say that was a pretty good return on his investment; wouldn’t you? "

Rex, what in the world are you talking about?


Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Funny how you take the late Dr. Falwell to task for being a Fundy and yet the Fundy movements took him to task for a being a "sale out" to their cause.

To say use Falwell as an analogy here does not fit. As one who served on a board at Liberty and one who graduated from Liberty, I can assure you that Falwell did not isolate nor did he cave in.

I think one might be better served sticking to an analogy that can be proven instead of using one that the Fundys disaprove at every step.

I may lean somewhat to defend but remember - I was an SBC from pre birth and had family at Baylor and I went to Liberty. This duck does not look like a duck nor does it walk like one. Falwell was totally different and to define him is next to impossible.

Maybe that is why God used him the way he did! He marched to Gods drum not the definitions of man!

One must also remember that even Dr. Billy Grahams grandchildren graduated from Liberty and I would not put Dr. Hraham nor Franklin Graham in the spooky fundy camp.

Just a thought!

Shane "George" Lambert said...


At the risk of sounding redundant (I'm getting into the conversation a little late due to the long weekend), Dr. Falwell was not a hard line fundamentalist until the day he died. It is true that he never moved when it came to his conservative convictions regarding the inerrancy of scripture and the fundamentals of the faith, but he definitely softened in the area of non-essentials. He readily acknowledged that some of his earlier positions were in error and he was not ashamed to apologize for those times when he said things that were out of line.

Dr. Falwell officiated at my wedding during the time when I was working at Liberty and attending seminary there. He was nothing like he was portrayed to be in the media. And he was very welcoming of those whose beliefs didn't line up with his on third and fourth tier doctrines. Just taking a look at the student body at Liberty University is the greatest example of this fact.

Although I don't think it was your intention, you somewhat portray Dr. Falwell as an independent Baptist who was the same in the new millenium as he was in the 60's. That is a misrepresenation of this giant of Christian conservatism.

I didn't always agree with Dr. Falwell, and he made more than his share of mistakes. But he came a long way in the 50 years he served as pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church.

BTW, I enjoy reading your blog even when I don't agree.

In Christ,
Shane Lambert

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Your mentioning of the $100,000 is a little misleading. Several churches were started this way and Falwell did not get the check - the new church did. Many other mega churches were in the same program aimed at starting healthy churches from the beginning. To say that Falwell gave $10,000 and got $100,000 is more than misleading - it is over the top of the whole program. By the way, Thomas Road had to put up money for the this church start as did the other Megas that helped to implement it.

There was no $100,000 for giving $10,000!!! said...


Falwell may not have been a hard line Fundamentalist, and the comments by some have led me to believe he wasn't. Even if he were, I would thank God for his ministry.

My point is simply that the SBC need not move that direction, and the fact people are saying Dr. Falwell agrees with me proves my point.


Anonymous said...

Bill Underwood, one of the leaders of the “Covenant” meeting in Atlanta, has been a financial supporter of Planned Parenthood in Waco. Here's the proof:

If you doubt the veracity of this, please contact Baylor professor, Dr. John Pisciotta, the director of Prolife Waco. His email is

Debbie Kaufman said...

I think the letter that is posted within the OP is something however that cannot be brushed aside.

Kevin Bussey said...


The post about Bill Underwood was spammed on my site too. I think he was wrong to do so in that manner.

peter lumpkins said...


You write: "My point is simply that the SBC need not move that direction [of Independant Fundamentalism (IF)?]. What you seem to miss is that many of the commenters like myself dispute that very point, Wade. There is little, if any, evidence the SBC is drifting toward IF.

But with a distinctiveless view of being Baptist, like I suppose you possess, it is no wonder you have visions of that taking place.

Grace. With that, I am...


Anonymous said...

I don't see the connection that we are leaning far right and in the world that I have travel since 1987 in my service as a Baptist in No La,Birmingham Al and now in Fl I have yet to see it and I have worked and related to 100's of churches ,pastors,staff members & lay people so you might want to check your eye sight.

CB Scott said...


It is very rare for me to agree with Tim Guthrie about polity, practice, etc. relating to the SBC.

I must say that in the case concerning the money and Dr. Jerry Falwell he is correct in all points.


Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

I did not know you and I disagreed so much? News to me!



Anonymous said...

Peter, Treating a confession of faith as a creed and violating its preamble in the way it is used is a move toward IF. Modifying the confession to favor particular disputable interpretations of scripture, which, although supported by most Baptists, can be legitimately disputed by an inerrantist on the from the Bible is a move twoard IF. Asking about and prohibiting a type of PRIVATE PRAYER is moving toward IF. Moving toward a Landmark view of baptism is moving toward IF. Firing a qualified Professor because she is a woman (after she was assured this would not be an issue) is moving toward IF.

These changes constitute a pattern, and it is not difficult to predict where it is heading: a statement in the B F & M favoring closed communion, mandating not just a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2, but a literal interpretation that includes assumptions that cannot be established from scripture (24 hr days of creation), prohibiting women as deacons, and encouraging all Baptists to remove their children from public schools.

You may see most of these as Baptist distinctives, but I do not. The key Baptist distinctives have been autonomy of the local church, the priesthood of every believer, and cooperation on missions as the glue that holds us together in spite of disagreements.

The autonomy of the local church has been subverted by making the IMB rather than local churches the entity that determines what is an acceptable baptism. Other issues have caused churches to be removed from regional associations (some of which I agree with and some of which I do not). Cooperation on missions is threatened by an increasingly centralized view of the IMB, which is nothing more than an instrument of local churches and which should not place itself above them. I know you find it frustrating that a number of conservative Southern Baptist congregations disagree with you on some of these issues and you believe it is good to have "standards" enforced at the national level. However, when there is legitimate disagreement based on scripture (as there is in at least some of these cases) these standards do not reflect polity or primary allegience to scripture, they reflect power.

I would suggest to you that it is the IF's among us who have abandoned the key Baptist distinctives that allowed us to grow magnificantly until fairly recently (about the time the IF trend started, interestingly enough). The idea expressed most eloquently by Dr. Mohler and others that in previous years we overemphasized the role of the individual and should correct that by emphasizing the reponsibilities of the individual to the group (the SBC). I would be fine with that if the true will of the group was known and was followed (when consistent with scripture), but the will of the group has tended to be determined by a relatively small number of leaders, until Frank Page's election last year. That was no conspiracy theory, by the way, there was an open "coronation" of the appointed "king". The serfs just didn't go along with it. May that trend continue!

peter lumpkins said...


I very much enjoyed your read. What I most enjoyed, I must say, is reading my name as the addressee. Stephen: what on earth did you once engage that I wrote here?

Granted, you list a series of complaints you marshall as evidence of our alledged drift toward IF. But other than that, Stephen, I know not about whom you refer.

That said, I would say that you need to address your chief concerns to Wade. For it is him toward which you most vigorously contend. Allow me, Stephen, to explain.

Our Wade offered approvingly Dr. Piper's checklist as a gauge for IF rooted deeply among us. There were seven signs of IF in number. His list included no appreciation for scholarship, no engagement in transforming culture, extreme premillenialism, no historical perspective among others.

And my main point there was, Dr. Falwell, whom he cited as IF, at best could only claim two of the seven. Therefore, he did not make Wade's grade for IF. Others here made similar points about Dr. Falwell.

On the other hand, Stephen, the litany of evidence you offer that IF exists among us is not remotely kin to Wade's--no PPLs, Landmarkism, forbidding qualified females from professorships, etc--none of which matches at all Wade's list. Thus, to judge what I concluded by your criteria for IF and not Wade's--whom I was addressing--is skewed at best.

Frankly, you guys need to get on the same page if you want to make a convincing case for IF among us.

Even more troubling, Stephen, is that not only do you disagree about the symtoms--thus, calling into uncertainty the precise disease--you also totally disagree with Wade as to what constitutes Baptist Identity.

You write: "The key Baptist distinctives have been autonomy of the local church, the priesthood of every believer, and cooperation on missions as the glue that holds us together in spite of disagreements." This may surprise you, but I possess similar convictions as do you at this juncture.

On the other hand, Wade's latest and most concise definition of being Baptist is the Nettles' Triad: Trinitarian Orthodoxy, grace through faith and separatism. Unfortunately, his three is definitively not your three, Stephen.

Hence, I suggest, if I may, you and Wade duke it out. Then, we'll discuss the issue once again. And know, my Brother, I'd like that very much.

Grace, Stephen. With that, I am...


Anonymous said...

Just as I expected, Wade has ignored this message. Why?
Once the message is out there that he is following the leadership of a man who has supported Planned Parenthood financially, he will be forced to gives us an explanation.
The days of being an influential player in the SBC, will be over for him.
Here it is again. I repeat, the president of Mercer University has supported Planned Parenthood. This VERY, VERY important:

Bill Underwood, one of the leaders of the “Covenant” meeting in Atlanta, has been a financial supporter of Planned Parenthood in Waco. Here's the proof:

If you doubt the veracity of this, please contact Baylor professor, Dr. John Pisciotta, the director of Prolife Waco. His email is said...

Mr. Anonymous,

I do not know Bill Underwood. However, both he and Jimmy Carter expressed their opposition to abortion to me personally in a face to face meeting. I can't help but chuckle when an anonymous person expects me to accept their word about a man who disavows to me personally what you are attempting to pin on him anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
Stephen Pruett,
Well said.

You know by now what I meant when I said Falwell joined the SBC by giving $10,000 and the SBC contributed $100,000 to building a church he would control.

BTW, I like the way you quoted all that I said, instead of like Guthrie leaving off that I had said the money went to build a church he would control. He acted as if I had said Falwell had put the money in his pocket, and criticized me for indicating that.

Since the ‘Old’ SBC tangled with Falwell and visa versa, I cannot imagine the ‘Old’ SBC contributing any money to a 'Falwell' church.

Would someone please answer this question: ‘If Falwell had not joined the SBC with $10,000, would any money from the SBC have been given to build a ‘Falwell’ church?

If the answer is NO, then I will stand my ground. If the answer is yes, then I will apologize.

Guthrie, if I don’t have to apologize, then your statements about me are misleading.

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
You say, “Call me Geoff.”

OK…’Geoff’ it is.
I like your friendly letter. You say you were 14 when you knew something was amiss in the SBC.

I guess I’m a little retarded because at the age of 65 I thought there was not one ripple of disagreement within the SBC. I didn’t realize a war had been fought and lost, as I was too busy playing church league softball. There are still a lot of ballplayers out there.

I didn’t wake up until 1997 when my missionary son received a letter from the IMB ASKING them to have confidence to follow their God-appointed leaders whether they understood or agreed.

Later, they were told they would not have to sign the BFM. That changed. Then they were told they would not be fired if they did not sign. That also changed. It got so they did not know what to believe or who to trust. They did not have a ‘Wade Burleson’ in those days.

Geoff, in a debate when you’re faced with facts, you can’t win by saying you’re sure someone has a different point of view.

Anyway, maybe we can both learn some things together and can love one another in the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Now, Wade, are you that naive? Of course! Most liberals say that they oppose abortion; they are just "pro-choice."
But you are still avoiding the issue: Underwood, whose leadership you are following, has been a financial suppporter of Planned Parenthood. Here's again the evidence:

Bill Underwood, one of the leaders of the “Covenant” meeting in Atlanta, has been a financial supporter of Planned Parenthood in Waco. Here's the proof:

If you doubt the veracity of this, please contact Baylor professor, Dr. John Pisciotta, the director of Prolife Waco. His email is

CB Scott said...


There are several reasons why some people support Planned Parenthood. Not every person that supports Planned Parenthood or even the United Way understand the strong position these (and others) organizations take on abortion.

The reason I do not support these organizations is due to their position on abortion. I have supported organizations that supported abortion. I did not know it at the time. I do not know the reason Bill Underwood has given support to Planned Parenthood. The subject never came up.

I do know that both Bill Underwood and President Carter said in a very clear and easily understood way that they are against abortion.

In that meeting no one was anonymous. Each person speaking was identified and took accountability for what they said. They did not fear anyone knowing their names or positions on issues. Thusly, Anony, I must ask; What is your problem? Give us your name.


Anonymous said...

Now, CB, are you that naive? Of course! Most liberals say that they oppose abortion; they are just "pro-choice."
But you are still avoiding the issue: Underwood, whose leadership you are following, has been a financial suppporter of Planned Parenthood. Here's again the evidence:

Bill Underwood, one of the leaders of the “Covenant” meeting in Atlanta, has been a financial supporter of Planned Parenthood in Waco. Here's the proof:

If you doubt the veracity of this, please contact Baylor professor, Dr. John Pisciotta, the director of Prolife Waco. His email is

PS Do you like my ID blocker?

Anonymous said...

Peter, I was responding to your statement: "What you seem to miss is that many of the commenters like myself dispute that very point, Wade. There is little, if any, evidence the SBC is drifting toward IF."

I would agree with you that each of us may have a different definition of IF and of Baptist distinctives.

However, I think if you check Wade's posts over time, he has not wavered in his opposition to the list of issues I mention, which by my definition only, are consistent with independent fundamentalist Baptist practice. Therefore, I do not see any real problems here with consistency. By the way, the only reason I would care how these issues are categorized is that I would not want to attribute practices to a group that they really do not embrace. So, perhaps I should have said, in the interest of accuarcy, that an Independent Funamentalist Attitude in the SBC has contributed to the list of actions I mentioned. I don't know if Independent Fundamentalist Baptists would endorse everything on that list or not. Even if one did, being independent, others might not.

As to the apparent differences in Baptist distinctives, mine are based on history as I remember it and what was emphasized as I grew up in Baptist churches. Wade's is more a formal theological analysis. I don't disagree with his analysis, by the way, so I don't think there is any need for duking.

However, based on your past responses, I am reasonably sure that you are so determined to find fault that you will not accept legitimate alternatives to your explanations of things. So, if it makes you happy to see conflict where there is none, OK.

CB Scott said...


Can you not read? I did not say he was not a supporter of Planned Parenthood. I said I did not know the reason he was in support of Planned Parenthood.

I did say he said he did not support abortion.

One more thing. We have never stated we were following his leadership. We simply went to meet with him. I have met with Communist leaders in foreign countries. I did not follow them either.

One thing you can count on is that I would never follow an Anony. They have no ID:-)


peter lumpkins said...


Thanks for the rejoinder. Nevertheless, it remains hard to accept the "no differences between us" assurance if, indeed, we compare the posts as written.

Nor, my Brother Stephen, is the switch from IF action to IF attitude helpful, at least from my view. After all, morphing from something one may evaluate visibly (i.e. actions) to something one may not evaluate visibly (i.e. attitude), pushes the discussion into almost total subjectivity. No thank you, please.

Finally, since your perception that "[I am] so determined to find fault that [I] will not accept legitimate alternatives to [my] explanations of things" appears to be, shall we say, "so determined" I remain unsure if further dialog would help us.

Know that, I am, in the end, Stephen, no more set for the defense of what I believe than our Brother Wade. He too swims upstream in a river that perceives him out of rhythm with the flow of things. The difference is my river is your piece of the swamp. His is elsewhere.

Grace for your journey, Stephen. With that, I am...


Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
I believe enough time has gone by to assume no one is going to correct me by saying “Falwell’s church’ to be built was going to be given $100,000 by the SBC whether Falwell was a SBC member or not.

So, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that maybe he joined the SBC like this:

Hey! Falwell, since the SBC has come around to your thinking and you have mellowed some in yours, have you heard the SBC is ‘helping’ to build new churches? If you joined the SBC, you’d probably get some money to build that new church that you want.

If that’s the way it happened, then I still say Falwell got a good return on his $10,000. Of course that would take a ‘suspicious’ mind to believe that wouldn’t it?

It would be like when Prestonwood Baptist Church was deciding to stay with the BGCT or join the new convention of Texas (SBTC) that had the backing of the SBC. The president of the SBC at that time was Patterson who was invited to preach. Not long afterward, Prestonwood joined the SBTC and guess who became the next president of the SBC? The pastor of Prestonwood. Would a pastor’s influence be enough to swing the vote? Would there be a ‘carrot’ for the pastor if he joined the ‘us’ crowd? I remember his parting speech as president of the SBC—it was not complementary of the ‘us’ crowd.