Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Is It A Rebuke or A Response? The PC of the EC

Frank Page has spoken out about the New Baptist Covenant in this Baptist Press article

Page is quoted as saying,

"I will not be a part of any smokescreen leftwing liberal agenda that seeks to deny the greatest need in our world, that being that the lost be shown the way to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

It should go without saying that if the participants of the NBC deny the greatest need in our world is to be shown the way to eternal life through Jesus Christ, then all of us should be troubled. However, when our church financed and dug a water well in the slums of Bangalore for the 10,000 outcasts last November, it was the Hindu mayor that helped us. He denies the need for the gospel, but we continue to share the good news with our Hindu friend, something he has not yet accepted or believed. But his denial of the gospel has not hindered us in building a relationship with the mayor, nor partnering with him to relieve some suffering in the slums of Bangalore.

I should soon have the opportunity to ask Frank about the NBC's alleged denial that the greatest need in our world is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have not personally heard Mr. Carter or Mr. Underwood say this, and from my understanding, more than a few of the African-American pastors on the program are some great gospel preachers, but if I were to attend the Atlanta convocation, I will definitely be on the alert regarding any denial that the world needs the gospel. I make it a practice not to take someone's word about another, but wait until I hear it for myself, and if I were to learn that a Baptist brother denies the world's need of Jesus Christ, I would be greatly grieved. But I'm not sure I couldn't partner with them to relieve some suffering in the world, just like we've partnered with the Hindu -- and of course, I would try to convert my Baptist brother to true Christianity. Heaven knows that my concern for the past two years is that the Southern Baptist Convention may be on the verge of putting tradition and religion above knowing Christ and believing His authoritative and sufficient Word.

That being said, it does seem to me that Dr. Page's comments, as delivered by Baptist Press, sound like they may have been written by someone other than Frank. They are not quite as irenic as his usual words. Those of us who have been in such positions as Frank know that, on occasion, denominational or state officials prepare statements and have the President sign it. That may or may not be what has happened here. Regardless, Frank probably saw the document and signed off on it. The language and timing sure sound like someone high up may be a little afraid that the the SBC may be perceived by the secular press as becoming soft on liberalism - someone who was deeply involved in the conflicts of decades past.

I really think that there may be some in established denominational positions that carry so much emotional baggage over past conflict in the SBC that it is difficult for them to even think in terms of a new paradigm. Sometimes the softness of denominational luxury causes one to lose sight of the rampant poverty, disease, and sickness in third world countries. Of course, that happens to those of us who are pastors as well, and that's one of the reasons I enjoy going to third world countries with our people -- it helps me keep perspective.

Finally, the Baptist Press article today reminds me that Southern Baptists should always be champions of freedom - including a free press. We must always be on guard against any SBC Executive Committee offical or employee using Baptist Press as a public relations tool. Baptist Press must be free and employees of Baptist Press should not take their orders from denominational executives. As it stands, the headline on the Baptist Press article with Page's remarks within the first hour of posting from Page Rebukes New Covenant to Page Responds to Carter. I'm wondering who put the first title up, and who called and requested the second?

Not that it makes much difference. We are all Baptists. And as I said in my earlier post, we should respect one another's opinion, and love each other, even when we disagree. I'm not sure where I stand on the New Baptist Covenant - it may end up being a smokescreen for liberal politics - but I'm not sure how much different that would be from a convention attaching herself to right wing politics.

Both bother me.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

P.S. PC in the title is 'Political Correctness.' EC in the title is the 'Executive Committee' of the SBC.


Anonymous said...

Once again, you have opened my eyes. Thanks for being a breath of fresh air to those of us who are Southern Baptists, conservative to the core, but ready for a new way of doing business.

FBC said...

I'm surprised Dr. Page and the BP did not clear this article with you first. They surely would have got it right then :} said...

I love a man with a sense of humor!


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 said...

Mr. Anonymous,

Bill Underwood may, or may not be, a supporter of 'Planned Parenthood.' I happen to be the largest contributor to our local Crises Pregnancy Center, run by one of our members. Both Mr. Underwood and Mr. Carter told me they personally opposed abortion.

I am unwilling to make them my enemy over your comment.

Blessings, and, if you wish to be taken credibly, sign your name.

Anonymous said...

I am not asking that you make them your enemies; I plead for you to be more discerning. Do not lend them your good name, so that they can promote an agenda where the killing of the unborn does not matter.
The story of Underwood's support for Planned Parenthood is going to become huge news soon, starting with Baptist Press. Your image of "a true moderate" will be gone forever, after your undiscerning move. They will use it against you anytime you try to make something positive happen at the SBC.

PS Blessings for your support of your local crisis pregnancy center. I support CareNet as well.

Kaylor said...

Wade: Thanks for your thoughts on this. I was troubled by Page's remarks, but also by the write-up of the article (I've already dealt with some of my concerns here).

Kaylor said...

Anonymous: You should be honest with your claim and note that he helped underwrite an event sponsored by PP, which is quite different from giving them money. Thus, it seems he was supporting work intended to cut down the level of sexually-transmitted diseases and reduce unwanted pregnancies (which reduces the number of abortions). That is quite different from your insinuation that he is supporting abortion.

Anonymous said...

honestly, Wade, I find myself being embarrassed for you over this whole Carter thing. The Frank Page quote is a rebuke, even if the headline was softened. And it is, in my opinion, an awkward indirect rebuke of you and this blog. You have raised a number of good issues in the past, but I'm afraid they have all been discredited by the Carter thing.

Anonymous said...

I agree Frank Page's statements are not well-placed. I'd like to have his access to BP. :)

He, and all Southern Baptist conservatives should focus on this:

The exclusivity of Christ to save is central to the gospel and, as such, is a "traditional Baptist value."

President Carter's non-exclusive statements reported by Newsweek (Mormons, Islam) and Rabbi Lerner (Judaism) still stand unrefuted.

Until someone leading the NewBapCov movement clear these matters up, the NBC's identifiable leader is apparently denying a huge "traditional Baptist value" and the true gospel.

Thus, a good many Baptists don't want to be identified with a Carter-led Baptist movement, when his "prophetic Baptist voice" could just as well be Islamic, Jewish, or Mormon.

truth, not religion said...

OK, I have a question...

If I go somewhere...anywhere, that there is a group of people who deny Jesus and I get the chance to preach Jesus and the Cross of I dare pass the chance to preach to unbelievers?

Even if some in President Carter's new organization are the worst people on earth, shouldn't I take the occasion to preach Jesus if I get the chance.

What would Bonhoffer say?

What would Richard Wormbrand say?

What would the author of "The Heavenly Man" say?

What would Martin Burnham say?

What would Jesus say?

Thanks Wade, keep it up.

live in peace
CBP said...


I agree. :)

Though I will respect any person who holds to the non-exclusivity of Christ (as I would any Jewish Rabbi, Hindu, Muslim or seclurist), one cannot even be a Baptist and deny this truth. said...

Country Baptist Preacher,

If I were invited to speak, I assure you I will preach the gospel as clearly as I know how and be polite to all who disagree.

Thanks for your thoughts.

We are in agreement.

irreverend fox said...


I do not understand what the big deal is! If this convocation is put on by people who deny the worlds greatest need...and they asked me to speak...guess what?

I'd accept...AND THEN GET UP THERE AND MAKE THEM AWARE OF THE WORLDS GREATEST NEED...and then sit down. It would only after being told what to speak about and what not to speak about that I would decline the invite.

I'd do this if asked to speak at a Mormon church or Kingdom Hall...why are we not seeing these invitations as Paul would have seen them?

"...From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.” Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!..." Acts 13:14-16 niv

Michael Ruffin said...


There may have been a time when BP was a legitimate news source, but over the past few decades it has become a public relations mouthpiece for SBC leaders and policies.

That's why independent news sources and (especially) blogs are so important these days. We all have our biases, but if we get information from enough sources we have a better shot at piecing together the truth.

Kaylor said...

Anonymous: I am Baptist. Are you? We don't know since you are apparently unwilling to stand by your words. I am not for promoting promiscuity for any reason. But my point stands: you seem to be misrepresenting the issue. And even if your claims are completely true, it does not mean we should not attend the Celebration. We can work together without agreeing on everything! If you don't believe that, then you must believe that Jesus thought prostitution was okay since he hung out with prostitutes.

Mike: Excellent point! said...


Your post has been deleted. Let's please keep things clean and once again, I ask you to sign your name.

Anonymous said...

I tried to be subtle about what Planned Parenthood is teaching...
If you care about that horrible thing. And you should...
Then why support the man (Underwood) that supports teaching such things to children?

Unknown said...


We must always be on guard against any SBC Executive Committee offical or employee using Baptist Press as a public relations tool. Baptist Press must be free and employees of Baptist Press should not take their orders from denominational executives.

Speaking of humor… sometimes you crack me up :-) said...

I thrive on understatement and underexaggeration. :)

Christa Brown said...

Very good point Mike Ruffin: the Baptist Press is a mouthpiece, not a news source. Must be nice for those who have their own well-funded press arm where they can pretty much say whatever they want.

I think Page's remarks are consistent with the tenor of other recent remarks. This is a man who called a self-help support group for child-rape victims "nothing more than opportunistic persons...seeking personal gain." That's not what I would call an irenic remark, and it's certainly not compassionate. Several clergy abuse survivors told me that when they saw it, they literally stopped breathing - it gave them an anxiety attack - they couldn't believe the meanness of it.

And Bill Underwood? From what I've seen and known through the years, he's an extraordinary scholar, profoundly intelligent, pragmatic and solution-oriented, and a compassionate human being who works well with others. Wish I could say the same for Frank Page.

volfan007 said...


maybe frank page either wrote this, or signed off on it, because he believes it! i applaud frank page for making such a courageous statement. i applaud frank page for continuing to steer the sbc ship in the "right" direction.

david said...


You are correct. Frank Page may believe this. I respect his opinion if he does, and I will ask him when I speak to him what led him to his conclusion. said...


I personally would cut Frank a little slack on this one. I really do believe him to have an irenic spirit.

volfan007 said...

btw, i have a new blog. imagine that? a southern hillbilly with a blog. watch out world!

my address is....

yall are welcome anytime. the door's open. sweet tea's in the fridge. coffee's brewing. and, my sweetie can cook good.

also, we dont care about correct grammar at my place.


Anonymous said...

Here's a link to Bill Underwood's Planned Parenthood connection from Baptist Press:

Underwood said he supported this particular program by Planned Parenthood because he wanted his children to learn about sex. The primary contention of conservatives with this program is with a book distributed by the program that Underwood said he didn't use with his children and hadn't read.

Anonymous, attending a meeting with someone doesn't mean you support everything they've ever done. If it did, then Frank Page and Morris Chapman meeting with President Bush means they support attacking a country that had no intention of attacking us, dodging the draft and not showing up for National Guard duty, secretly selling your stock in a small oil company drilling off the coast of Bahrain against SEC rules, drinking too much and getting drunk etc. etc. etc.

The New Baptist Covenant isn't about agreeing with what everybody who attends the conference has ever done.


texasinafrica said...

Brian Kaylor's response (which he mentioned above) to this is excellent:

It's interesting to me that there are some people who are apparently obsessed with discrediting the New Baptist Covenant and anyone who might or might not be associated with it. When believers conduct witch hunts against other believers, something is horribly wrong in the Kingdom of God.

Anonymous said...

An enemy's enemy is my friend? Is that how Burleson, CBF and alleged clergy abuse victims get together in harmony?

Big Daddy Weave said...


What's the obsession with Underwood? Tell the whole story or don't tell it at all.

Are you at Baylor? Come on over to my place and we'll rehash Bill Underwood all day. I mean, who in Waco hasn't heard this story (spun) a zillion times?

texasinafrica said...

I'll come talk Bill Underwood. I have a good John Pisciotta story, too! :)

GeneMBridges said...

Wow, there are so many uses of the all or nothing (aka illicit totality transfer) fallacy in this thread that they are collectively writ large.

Let's take the alleged support of PP by Bill Underwood. Is he giving money to their general fund or helping them underwrite a particular event? Where is the argument for "to cooperate with x means you support all x supports?"

Let's put it this way. Is it illicit to give to your local AIDS Service Organization because some of their clients are gay men? Does giving money to help feed persons with HIV or help them pay their rent or for their medicine mean you support "the gay agenda?" No, of course not, and, incidentally, this is one of those places where the churches most of us here would call "liberal" (and I'm talking really, really truly liberal groups like the PCUSA and the Alliance of Baptists) outdo most of us on the local level. While we pass the petitition against gay marriage around the proverbial sanctuary, they are giving bread and shelter to those in need. I know that's the way it is where I live, and I happen to be HIV positive myself, so I've seen it first hand. The PCA churches here (and who will dare say a church that is faithful to the Westminster Confession, which is far, far, less forgiving than any edition of the BFM) aren't afraid to do this, and they are the ones who do the "ex-gay" ministries in this area...because a former deacon from the largest SBC church here left that church because they didn't want to do that sort of thing, and he wanted to organize one, so he went to the PCA churches, and they got on board. I know him, and he hasn't bought into paedobaptism (but then you can be a Baptist and actually be a member of a PCA church) or Presbyterian polity; I don't even think he's a Calvinist, yet here he is in the PCA doing this ministry, because the largest, most influential SBC church in the area wouldn't.

Too many Baptists have this "all or nothing" mentality, where you can't lend your personal support to anything to which somebody else whom you may oppose supports too, but, let me ask candidly, don't we forfeit the right to complain about what these organizations say and do by refusing to do anything whatsoever with them? And exactly how are Southern Baptists right now in a position to act this way?

Let me ask you this. Why should, let's say, the churches of the PCA or OPC or the Assemblies of God associate with the SBC right now when the SBC last year passed Resolution 5 while at the same time passed over a resolution on church discipline and integrity in membership with the explanation that "some of those people are our best prospects for evangelism?" Am I the only one who sees the absurd juxtaposition of those two resolutions? And why should those groups bother to cooperate with the SBC when the SBC can't get half its own church members into worship on any given Sunday of the month? If some of those being critical were remotely consistent, they'd ask themselves why the SBC should be taken seriously by its theological neighbors. Should they not work with NAMB to help rebuild disaster affected areas? Should the good folks of the other conservative evangelical or IFBx groups look at the SBC and say, "Sorry, we're not helping you serve food on the Gulf Coast this week, because of actions taken by the Annuity Board's investments in recent history," or "We don't want you to be involved in the community evangelism campaign, because it is transparent for all to see that you're antinomians since you can't get even half of your own "converts" to darken the doors of your churches on Sunday mornings and your rolls are burdened with people who need to be disciplined and you aren't doing it."

If we all did some soul searching, we'd come up with plenty of reasons not to support the SBC...if we were honest with ourselves. But we don't, do we? No, we continue in the hopes that God's providence will prevail, and knowing that we don't have to buy into the full program of every person in attendance at a meeting in order to cooperate with them on some things. I'm a big old Five Point Calvinist, high Calvinist who enjoys classical scholastic theology and a Reformed, covenantal Baptist, but you know what, I can work with Wesleyans in my town to share the gospel, and I can work with the Roman Catholics against abortion...but I'm very clear about the limitations of that cooperation, and Wade has been too.

Incidentally, my little church in NC is out in front of the local abortion clinic preaching every other Saturday morning and sharing the gospel while the Catholics demonstrate on the other side. We're witnessing to them as much as the clientele, and, incidentally, not a single church from the TWO associations serving the area shows up to help us, and I think that demonstrates the incongruity of criticizing PP while not showing up to support us on Saturdays.

And incidentally, I wonder if many of those who are critical of the NBC are equally critical of Justice Sundays. Let's not forget that on Justice Sunday 2, a Roman Catholic was allowed to preach in the pulpit of Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. The last I checked, Romanism denies the gospel of justification by grace through faith alone, and that communion long ago anathematized doctrines we'd consider fundamental; it is also rife with liberalism (just check any standard RCC commentary in the past fifty or so years). If we're going to be critical of the NBC and/or Wade over the NBC, then we should be equally critical of James Dobson's ministry and Two Rivers Church's pastor as well as ..and let's remember, he was, if memory serves, up for election to SBC President just last year, Jerry Sutton. I know of a few who are consistent in that, and I respect that, but by far most of those I've read against the NBC and Wade were and are quite supportive of Justice Sundays and are quite supportive of FOF, even though they comport with Rome on a regular basis, and Rome has openly set herself against the gospel for CENTURIES.

That said, the thing I am most wary of regarding the NBC is the vagueness of words like "social justice." That can mean a lot of things...and, incidentally, I don't see the NBC as dealing with cooperation in theological ventures. Rather, these are humanitarian ventures. So, where's the problem? Guilt by association? Well, there's another logical fallacy.

And I too am concerned that there may be a desire to use the presence of folks like Brother Wade to promote an agenda of legitimacy by some that might attend. I don't know, but let's be honest, it happens. The LDS is doing that with Richard Mouw at Fuller Seminary right now, because of the things he's said in Salt Lake City in recent years. So, let neither party be deceived. said...

Good thoughts Gene.

I agree with them all and will keep my wary eye open.

Anonymous said...

I don't know Frank Page personally but I do admire what I read about him. I am not sure when he reached his conclusion about NBC but I reached my conclusion about 2 weeks ago and posted it on this blog. The problem that I have had all along was that it was a smokescreen. It is suppose to be a religious meeting but one week before a political primary is mighty troubling. I think rather than attending another meeting talking about feeding the poor and taking care of the needy - I will spend my time doing what I have done most of my life - taking care of the needy. Why spending time talking, get busy doing it.
Gleason, TN

Unknown said...

Wade, you said:
Though I will respect any person who holds to the non-exclusivity of Christ (as I would any Jewish Rabbi, Hindu, Muslim or seclurist), one cannot even be a Baptist and deny this truth.

I find this encouraging. I must confess that I was concerned you were becoming a bit wishy washy and willing to sacrifice definitions for the sake of whitewashed unity.

It's good to know that you do still recognize that words have meanings, and as such there are dividing lines between A and "Not A".

I agree with you, though I will say that I would be one of those few people you refer to regarding being critical of Dobson's ministry et al. :-) As such I would definitely draw lines for cooperation with Catholics and other followers of false religions. I just don't see Paul joining ranks with gnostics to oppose immorality in Rome.

It's not like the world doesn't already have a hard enough time understanding that there is a difference. We don't help matters when we blur the lines. this isn't to say we don't ever work with people of other religions, but when it comes to 'interfaith' efforts I just don't agree. If I'm helping someone change a tire and someone offers to help I'm not going to ask for their theological pedigree, but if the local LDS church asks our church to join with them in opposing problem X I'm going to be against that.

Now, I'd happily join with an OPC church, or with a church full of bible believing non-reformed baptist brothers to accomplish good. I have no problem with that. But if we had a baptist church nearby whose church practice was openly in contradiction to clear scriptural teaching (say - lesbian pastor, or open theists, or if they denied the trinity or the deity of Christ, etc) then no, I'm not going to join with them.

Church that doesn't like alcohol? I don't care, it's hardly a reason to divide over.

The key thing, and the only thing that really concerns me in this whole thread of discussion, is that in our desire for unity (which is a *good* thing) we don't lose sight of the fact that all of Scripture clearly testifies that there *are* in fact things to divide over.

Wade, it's not my intent to say you *have* lost sight of it, but for some of us (and I count myself in this group) when our beliefs or choices are under attack it can be our tendency to grab hold of the ground we're standing on and fight for it, maybe even setting up more of a bunker than we normally would have. I don't want to see you driven into some wasteland where truth and error cease to have real meanings over this.

To me, that's far more of a prayerful concern than whether or not you go to this thing - both for you personally and for the future good you can do for the SBC.

Anonymous said...

Now, there you have it Wade. You are now an icon of the Baptist left: people are coming to you to defend Underwood's support of Planned Parenthood and its agenda to teach promiscuity to children (again contact Wade, do you know that Bill Underwood is a first class liar?
He will say "I am prolife; I even oppose the death penalty." Never mind, that he is a big supporter of CHOICE!
For example, before becoming interim president at Baylor, he promised several regents that he would keep leading evangelical scholar David Jeffrey as Provost. He broke this promise on the first day at his job. During his interim, he sought to empower the most anti-Christian force on campus, the faculty senate. Underwood also blasted former president Robert Sloan for his stand against same-sex marriage.
Bill Underwood is now president of a "baptist" university that has an official gay group on campus.
Sloan is now president of a Christ-centered university in Houston.
Thankfully, the regents saw how deceptive he was and kicked him out.
What does that tell you?
You are destroying your credibility everyday more and more my friend. Your logic is pathetic as well. You are going to Atlanta because it is an opportunity to share. Strip bars also offer such opportunities. Would you go there too?

Anonymous said...

I also see that current Baylor president John Lilley is on the program committee.
Did you know that he has said that his favorite theologian is John Shelby Spong?
Way to go Wade!
Anonymous III

gmay said...

Wade, you really surprised me on this one. Why all the speculation and innuendo about Dr. Page when a simple phone call could have easily changed the face of your comments? The same speculation could present all kinds of scenarios that would have led Dr. Page to make the remarks published by Baptist Press including pressure from either side of the fence. It seems to me that pressure from the moderate cause would have been more likely to stir these remarks than any other. However, that also would be mere speculation and you have the relationship with Dr. Page to find out the bottom line without such speculation. Are you looking for debate on known issues or debate on straw men set up by mere speculation?

Anonymous said...

I thought Luke 4:18-19 (that the New Baptist Covenant is based on)was Gospel truth. Jesus seemed to think so when He read it from Isaiah in the synagogue.

If we only cooperate with those we agree with on everything we would be pretty lonely. I would be surprised to find even two people who agree on everything. Those who comment on this blog obviously do not agree on issues, yet there is cooperation, at least to the extent of dialog here.

For example: My church and I personally do not have to agree on all points of doctrine with the other churches who join together in an effective local ministry to homeless families that we could not do alone. We do agree to work together to help a need. (Matthew 25:35 "...a stranger and you took me in").

All of you work together on something with people you don't agree totally with at least some of the time. Otherwise there would be no churches, businesses, schools, civic or social organizations or even families. (Well maybe some families, since the BF&M 2000 says the husband is to be the ruler so I guess disagreement there would be sin.)

But since I'm female, and current SBC doctrine and practice discounts women I guess you can disregard the above.


Anonymous said...

Following pro-choice leaders is NOT the way to fulfill Luke 4:18-19. said...


It would be helpful to sign your name. Your lack of courage is revealing. Anonymous attackers carry no weight.

Blackhaw said...


First how is hiring or cooperating with a Hindu to a dig a well the same thing as a gatherig of Baptists united around common purposes. You lost me there. It seems like your comparing apples to oranges. They are just not the same thing. The NBC is more like us deciding to untite with Hindus because of the things that links us together as religons in order to support some social justice movement. When you partnered with the Hindu you were making no statement like you will be when attending the NBC.

Second why all the assummed motives of others in your post? I thought that was something that you would not do. But you make assumptions about Frank Page and about others others who fought the conservative reassurgence. I would think you would not do it if you told others not to do it.

Third I think it is a good question, based on your posts, why you do not want also to unite with Jws, mormons, Buddhists, Muslims, pagans, etc in commonality so that you can support a social justice agenda. (Not saying there is anything wrong with having a social ustice agenda.) But are you willing to unite with those above in the same way you are uniting with the NBC?

Anonymous said...

I guess you do not see the difference between a Baptist that waters down the faith and a Hindu
that has no faith.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Wade.

R.B. Nimoninsky (ask Underwood, he knows about me).

Now will you respond as to why you are following the leadership of supporters of Planned Parenthood?

Anonymous I

Anonymous said...

One things I learned in Bible School was the first part of Ephesians 4:32. Be ye kind to one another. I enjoy the lively disscusion but someitmes the harsh tone betwen the brethen bothers me. You can give Wade a whipping if you want but disagreement with a kind tone is more Christlike. I don't have to defend him, he can take care of himself. I might not agree with him. But they know us by our love one to another.

Charles Stearns

Anonymous said...

There's a difference between working with someone and following them. We [try to, or should] follow Jesus. We work with many others in many different ways to do this, without necessarily agreeing on things other than what we are agreed to work together on.



Do Bill Underwoods comments (the microphone thing) concern you at all and does it have any influence on your decision?

It seems to me that one (not the only one mind you) of the primary reasons for this gathering was to "counterattack" the SBC's influence. They simply don't like our message, our image, our methods, etc. Honestly, I believe the only reason the invitation has been extended to the SBC (not initially, which was intentional; how do you forget to invite the largest baptist group to a baptist gather?) is to make them appear as the "good guys" when we decline. When they realized that the world was going to see inconsistency in their claim that this was not a political thing but a unifying baptist thing and yet, they ignored us, the invited. So, they relunctantly invited us (not the conservative leaders but those who are SBC conservatives but still not thrilled with the SBC leadership; i.e. yourself and others likeminded). They KNEW we would decline and are hopeful we will. It would terrify them to the core if the SBC came out tomorrow and said, "Sure, we'll all be there!"

But, this is just my take and I could be wrong..

Anonymous said...


with all due respect, you say that Carter told you he believed salvation is through Christ alone. You further say therefore you have no reason to doubt his theology. Yet time and time you have been pointed to what he was written that denies the exclusivity of Christ. So why would he tell you he did believe in exclusivity when he has written differently? Is it possible he lied?

On another note, you say you will be very cautious to look for heretical teaching at the NBC. You need not look any further than Tony Campolo. That should convince anyone that this is a meeting to stay away from.

In Christ,
John B.

Anonymous said...


One further question...

since this is simply an opportunity to share around a common gospel, do you think a sermon on the evils of abortion or the need of salvation for the homosexual would be welcome at NBC?

John B.

Kaylor said...

Chris: But Southern Baptists have been part of the Celebration from the beginning. Check out Robert Parham's excellent response (or is it a rebuke?) to Page's remarks. He rightly points out that just because national SBC leaders were not there does not mean that Southern Baptists were not involved. Leaders of state SBC conventions have been involved since the beginning. We are not Catholics, which means one cannot say the SBC was not invited just because the "pope" didn't show up.

Also, the reason the national leaders of the SBC were not at the announcement meeting is because it was held in conjunction with a meeting of the North American Baptist Fellowship. The national SBC leaders are welcome to be a part of the NABF and the Baptist World Alliance but have withdrawn from fellowship. Thus, the national SBC leaders removed themselves.

John B.: I am quite confused how you can honestly claim that Carter has denied the exclusivity of Christ. Read my column from the other day. Could it be that his critics have lied?

Anonymous said...


I will read your column. In the meantime, how would you respond to the inclusion of Tony Campolo in the NBC. He is a known "pro-choicer" and one of the biggest supporters of gay-rights and the one of the biggest critics of the SBC there is. He has gone so far as to say the SBC is under a "demonic influence" for not allowing women pastors. Your response?

John B.

Kaylor said...

John B.: Are you just making stuff up? In Campolo's recent book (Letters to a Young Evangelical), he writes that he is "firmly pro-life." You might disagree with his politics but do not misrepresent his beliefs. As for you claim about him being for gay-rights, you forgot to point out that he thinks that homosexuality is a sin (as he noted in Letters). Again, while you may disagree with his politics, do not misrepresent what he believes.

The one thing you got right was his remark about "demonic influence." He later apologized for that, so why can't you forgive him? His rhetoric was inappropriate. But so has the rhetoric of many within the SBC (Criswell and "skunks" comes quickly to mind). I wish everyone on both sides could tone it down and be more Christlike.

Anonymous said...


I have read your column, and must humbly disagree with your conclusions. At best, Carter has been elusive of answering the question of exclusivity. If he is going to publicize himself as an evangelical former president, he must be clearer. Certainly, if he has any desire to clear up any misconception, he has the platform that he can do so. Isn't his evangelicalism dearer to him than his political standing? If so, then he should not hesitate to announce to the whole world that Christ and He alone is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

In Christ,
John B.

Anonymous said...

Wade, it is curious that there are several here who are roundly condemning the NBC and casting aspersions at those (including you) who might participate in their meeting early next year.

One question: Where was the sense of outrage when Condoleezza Rice spoke (defending the present Administration's politically controversial foreign policy) to the SBC annual meeting last summer? Personally, this Okie would greatly prefer that all partisan politics cease to be practiced in the official meetings and activities of the SBC.

Kaylor said...

t.b.: And don't forget that Rice (unlike Carter, Campolo, or Underwood) is pro-choice. Using the poor logic of some posters here that must mean that everyone who attended that annual meeting supports abortion!

Big Daddy Weave said...

John B.,

You've entertained me this morning. I get the feeling that you have never cracked open a book written by the Rev. Campolo. Calling on gays to remain celibate (since homosexuality is a sin) isn't exactly an affirming or liberal position...

Blackhaw said...

While I am not in favor of Rice coming to the SBc convention and speaking about politics I do not see it as the same thing as the NBC. The NBC is a gathering of like minded Baptist who all agree on certain baptist principles. Rice was speaking as a guest to those who have come together as Baptists. Surely anyone can see how the examples are not the same. Again I am not in favor of Rice speaking at the convention to support a certain political agenda. However to compare the two in the way poasted is not correct. Again it is an apples to oranges comparison.

dwm III said...


Has anyone spoken in support of Rice and her views here? Or her speaking at the convention? It is a mighty big assumption you have made if no one has. A red-herring argument? Or at least assuming things unsaid. Where is your warrant for these statements?

So, I'll say, being one who has fallen on the other side of the debate with the NBC than you have Kaylor, that I don't like politics entering the picture at all.

But, at least for myself (not that you were addressing me) my problem lies with theology, not so much with politics.

I for one think that Carter gets a raw deal when it comes to the evaluation of his presidency. *gasp* He wasn't the best, but he sure wasn't the worst or even one of the worst.

To All,

One thing that has continually come up here is that if we disagree with Wade and others then we must not have any love for those who differ with us theologically. This is far from the case. But, if the NBC is about sharing the gospel in NA, then theology does matter. And it needs to be discussed. Painting those who wish to say, "Wait a minute!" before partnership occurs as hateful is just as wrong as being hateful with those who disagree.

The above statement has nothing to do with what Kaylor said, but I just felt it needed to be said.

Through Christ and his Love,

Anonymous said...

Wow. This string of comments has become unnecessarily vitriolic. I'm not sure why Wade is to be held responsible for the financial decisions of another.

Thanks for having grace and courage under fire, Wade.

Grace and peace,


Anonymous said...

I sort of stopped reading this blog for a while. I was very interested and passionate in support of the bloggers movement last year in opposition to the PPL and baptism guidelines.

As I have started reading the blog again recently, I am convinced there is a change in the tone. the tone is different. What was once corrective is now just critical.

Paige Patterson irritates me, but to read these blogs, he is the devil in a blue suit. He is vilified and scorned. Caner, Falwell, and just about anyone in a position of power and authority is viewed negatively.

Frank Page, last year's White Knight (and still mine), is now on the black list for taking a stand against a left-wing group that is organizing in opposition to the SBC.

The tone of the blog seems to have become more "us vs. them" white hats/black hats.

I know that everyone on the blog will say I am wrong, but this is one man's observation. I understand, Wade, that some of this is based on those who comment, not just your blogs. However, I have also noted which comments you confront, and which you let stand. Comments supportive of the SBC tend to be challenged, while critical comments tend to be supported.

From my observation, the tone and tenor of "Grace and Truth" has changed since last year.

I support and agree with many of the ideas presented here, but I am disturbed at the current direction of the blog (and the movement if it respresents one).

Dave Miller

(Sorry, I posted this in the wrong section, if you see it twice - I am still not part of the techno-illuminati)

dwm III said...


I'm sorry, I was posting at the same time as you.

Great minds think alike?

Maybe someone will give us a different answer to that question. :)


Anonymous said...


From your recent comment:

"John B.: I am quite confused how you can honestly claim that Carter has denied the exclusivity of Christ. Read my column from the other day. Could it be that his critics have lied?"

You know exactly how John B. and I can honestly claim that Carter has made non-exclusivity statements-- since the January 2007 NBC announcement meeting--according to Newsweek and Rabbi Lerner reports. Your article didn't address these damaging remarks.

You and I have commented back and forth on this. So, why are you playing games on this blog?

Please do yourself and us the courtesy of being forthright in your comments.

Blackhaw said...

Dave Miller,

I for one agree with your assestment of many of the Baptist blogs out there. To be fair it does go both ways. Some are so pro-establishment or anti-Burelson, anti-Ben Cole, etc. that they cannot give a critical interpretation of anything. But you are right that Patterson and co. are often seen as the enemy that can do nothing good at all. Some bloggers search and search for things they can criticize Patterson about. People need to think for themselves and not let their hatred so blind themselves from the truth. And yes I am ascribing motives to some people.

Anonymous said...

Col. Burleson, et. al.:

I have a chance to view this blog here and there, and I find your passion and vision for the SBC very refreshing and needed. As to this particular comment thread, I wanted to put in my three cents worth.


1. As you stated so understatedly, the Baptist Press is nothing more than a spin machine that kicks out stories for Baptist preachers to tell their congregation how the world is going to pot, how liberals hate God, how George Bush is the greatest president ever, and how only the SBC truly knows how to share the Gospel. It is sad to see what has happened to this entity since the resurgence began, and it would do the SBC a world of good to take a lesson from the ABP and 1) show some independence and write stories that may make a leader uncomfortable and 2) don’t fill every edition for 15 stories about the glory of the SBC. Methinks they speaketh too much of themselves.

2. Mr. Anonymous, if that is your real name, please stop with the Underwood red herring. Baylor people on the board have already explained this one, but I assume since you know the truth behind it, it doesn’t much matter. The support of one program with Planned Parenthood does nothing to disqualify him from trying to organize something. This is just a lame argument.

If you want to raise suspicions with Underwood, I think that some may be warranted. I do not personally know the man, and I am sure that he may be a fine individual. However, his love and concern of Baptist life seems to be more recent than life-long. I personally am not aware of all of his Baptist background. His time at Baylor did much to increase the status of the Law School, but he didn’t seem too involved with the BGCT or the SBC or the TBC or the CBF. He did debate former Anglican Dwight L. Jeffrey on the idea of Baptist freedom, but that was mainly involved with the argument over Baylor 2012.

When he was made interim president at Baylor, he interacted a little with the other Baptist folks, but not too much. It wasn’t until Mercer that he seemed to develop a major concern for Baptist life. This is mainly because he is trying to increase Mercer’s status and position itself as the premier Baptist institution in the world. In order to do this, he is vying for those on more of the left side of the aisle, Baptists that would be friendly to Mercer. He is also in the process of relocated the Baptist History and Heritage Society to Mercer, and he is working to develop a Baptist Studies program there. All this, and now he is pushing the New Baptist Convocation as well. So his involvement here should really be seen in the light of his desire to position Mercer. Maybe he thinks that there is some untapped money out there or something like that. Who knows.

So stop it with the whole Planned Parenthood thing. If you are going to really question something, do so with logic and reasoned facts, not backhanded accusations.

3. Col. Burleson, I do think that there is something to be said with the danger of the involvement with the NBC group, and I think that these comments on the board demonstrate it. The big issue is something that nobody has come out and said (at least as far as I can see) is the involvement of Bill Clinton and now Al Gore.

For the most part, many people, while some disagree with Carter’s political stances, consider him to be a person of faith and character. Not so with President Clinton. His personal and public character flaws, and seemingly lack of concern with them, has caused many on the more conservative end of religious to see him as something akin to the anti-Christ. While this harsh view is unjustified, it is, however, present among many in the SBC, and Clinton’s involvement with the NBC group has taken it from a fairly religious concern to a very political one. Vice President Gore’s involvement only pulls it further that way.

Of course, it hasn’t helped that Carter’s recent comments about Bush and Blair have caused so much uproar among conservatives and that Carter so publicly denounced the SBC and embraced the CBF. Nonetheless, if it were Carter and perhaps a Republican heading the NBC group, then it would seem more political neutral and open to some SBC folks.

All this to say, Wade, watch out with this one. Be open, be fair, be interactive, and don’t abandon your principles and your faith in cooperation, but be sensitive to the position that you are in right now and the anger that many have with Clinton.


Anyway, those are my three cents. Thanks for the time, and Mr. Anonymous, I hope that my comments did not come across too harsh. I do think that you can do better and play more fair with the criticism of Underwood, but I do not want to throw you under the bus without fully knowing your background as well. May the Peace of Christ be with you and with all on the board this day.

Anonymous said...


Be careful in judging others motives. Remember that is left only to the Sovereignty of God.

Oklahoma Joe



"But Southern Baptists have been part of the Celebration from the beginning..." Oh, okay. So then, what's all the discussion about? Not only did we help get this thing going but we've been involved all along.

No one ever said that not one person who claims the label "Southern Baptist" is involved. Clinton? Gore? And I believe that Carter, though he has distanced himself from the SBC, still attends (and teaches) at a church with SBC connections.

But to insinuate that the SBC and NBC are together on this is quite a stretch don't ya think? I mean, why is Carter extending an "invitation" to the 4 SBC bloggers and now inviting the SBC as a whole if we are already involved?

Also, it's not that many of us aren't aware that individuals like Campolo have stated they are "pro-life" and that "homosexuality is sin"'s that even those who have "said" the right thing have completely contradicted themselves in so many other interviews, affiliations (Underwood and the PP), books, etc.

Anonymous said...


The Rabbi's remarks have been unrefuted. As has Newsweek's interview.

For Carter to not refute reports attributing to him pluralistic, some evangelical-hostile, statements and views is, at best, unwise, and quite likely an indication that Carter has nothing to say to dispute them.

Again, you're relying on supposition and hope--certainly as much as I am.


That does make any of Rabbi Lerner's comments suspect. said...


Anyone who does what they do 'to get hold of a microphone' bothers me. Let's just do ministry and not talk about it.


The problem I think we are all having is what Ralph Elliott referred to as"double speaking" in his book "The Genesis Controversy". It was, and I believe is, a known "method" used by the liberal side. It is an unwritten but discussed rule that you don't tell the man in the pew what you proclaim in the classroom. So, when the media ask a question, you answer one way. When a conservative brother ask you in person, you answer another way. When you sit at the table with other like-minded moderates/liberals, you answer it another way.

This is a problem for many of us but NOT the liberal/moderates. Elliott shared that this was standard procedure. Read the book if you haven't. He shares it with shame not glee.

How do we know that's not what we are getting? Maybe that explains all the confusion over what they really believe. Elliott, according to himself, was neglected and abandoned by many of his friends on the left because he refused to "double speak" and told the truth. In essence, it let the cat out of the bad and when the conservative man in the pew understood what the liberal leaders of the day believed, they reacted.

Campolo is an example of double speaking in the same letter. Here are quotes from the same letter he wrote to Jerry Falwell:

"Certianly I believe that Jesus Christ is the one and only Savior of humanity."

"On The Charlie Rose Show, I said that I am not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians. I stand by that statement."

How do those quotes go together? They don't. But when you are trying to please two sides, that's what you do...Is Carter? Underwood?

Certainly said...


I am not the spokesperson for Bill Underwood, Tony Campolo (whom I have never met), or Jimmy Carter.

Why do you keep asking me to defend them?

That's like me asking you or someone else who attended the SBC last year to defend Dr. Condaleeza Rice's pro choice view on abortion and her moderation view on alcohol.

Am I my brother's keeper?

Bart Barber said...

Bro. Wade tells us that "anonymous attackers carry no weight."

I, too, encourage all to take responsibility for their thoughts, but I offer this sole word of encouragement for anonymous posters: If you carry no weight, then you are safe from Ben Cole's latest resolution.


"Why do you keep asking me to defend them?"

I'm not asking you to defend them (though the question is dishonest for you have clearly done that numerous times over the past few blogs/comments). I am suggesting that either you (and maybe the rest of us as well) don't truly know Carter's view on the gospel (as well as abortion, gays, etc.)or that you were given "double speak".

"That's like me asking you or someone else who attended the SBC last year to defend Dr. Condaleeza Rice's pro choice view on abortion and her moderation view on alcohol."

As for this issue, if I had known (which I did not) Rice's position on these things and that instead of coming as simply a mouthpiece for the White House/President Bush, she was coming to share her own Christian witness, I would have had a problem with it. I was quite disturbed to see her a short time after this swear in a homosexual while referring to his partner's "mother in law". So, I don't/won't defend her views but condemned them as wrong according to God's Word.

"Am I my brother's keeper?"

No, but you are a "guardian" of the truth entrusted to you and we are to watch out for those who dilute it, twist it, deny it, or add/take away from it.

Honestly, I believe you do see the gravity of this situation and I don't believe you'll attend. I think the discussion has been healthy and only hope it has not given some a negative image of the SBC and the conservative leadership that it has. said...


It is helpful when you dialogue with someone to attempt to avoid calling his questions dishonest if at all possible.

The gravity of the situation? Is it the end of the world?

Would the Apostle Paul deny an invitation to speak in the Jewish synagogue?

Would Luther shy away from an audience before the Pope?

Would Bonhoeffer decline an invitation to speak before the German senate?

Not only do you not know me, you have very little understanding of what I believe is, or is not, important.


If you are invited to speak, please speak. A call to repentance would do well...I mean that honestly and without anger or harshness...With that I am off to work on sermons. said...

Thanks Chris. I wish you a wonderful preparation time as you give to your people the Word of Life.

Anonymous said...

i am sure that you are proud concerning the successful boycott of the Girl Scouts by your waco pro life group.
For crying out loud- go to another board or sign you name.
John Daniels

Anonymous said...

Judging from this comment string
and other on previous posts I think we need to all remember somthing VERY VERY IMPORTANT.

Everyone that believes that Jesus is the son of God and he died for our sins and that we can have a personal relationship with the creator of the Universe if we so choose.

whether or not they are catholics, people that call themselves hindus, people that call themselves muslims or even jews. It does not matter what they call themselves, it matters what they believe.

personally I think I'm not going to call myself baptist anymore (not that I did before anyway)

I'm worried some people are more interested in being baptist than christian.
is it true is it more important to be a baptist than to be a christian.

Interestingly enough I know of Muslim background believers that still call them selves muslims and jews that are believers that are still jews (they're called "messianic Jews")
I'll bet that throws a wrench in
some gears around here

to all a good day

Hill Memorial Baptist Church said...

Bro Wade,

You have stated correctly that we Southern Baptists must respect our diversity in theology. It must however be based on the Gospel.

I don't believe the NBC has any comparison with the Apostle Paul speaking at a synagogue etc..This has more to do with giving credibility to Jimmy Carter and others as Baptist leaders. A more accurate comparison would be Athanasius trying to work with Arius to spread the Gospel. (NOT GONNA HAPPEN!)

President Carter has stated in two well documented interviews that Mormons are Christians and that people can be saved by the grace of God apart from believing in Christ as Lord. I appreciate you and your Christian attitude but the theology of the NB people should not be treated in a trivial manner.

Grace to you, Randy

ml said...

A few months ago you took a different direction on the anonymous blogger. Just thought I would remind you about your positional statement about allowing anonymous replies.

BTW maybe the reactions to this post, and others over the recent weeks, are a part of the baptistic ethos mentioned in your post a few days back. Could you elaborate on this tendency toward separatism?

There is a perception that Baptist churches do it alone in spite of our "cooperative" spirit with each other. For example, when I made suggestions that the churches I was serving partner with other churches, dare I say, even beyond our Southern Baptist circles, the reception was amazement and seen as a radical idea. Thankfully, this has changed over the previous decade or so. I think the separatism idea does also lead, as I have stated before, to our tendency to define ourselves more by what we are not rather than what we are [which is an evangelical pitfall as much as it is a Baptist]. This inherently makes us sound negative in tone to outsiders and, consequently, renders us with fewer options as to who can become our partners in ministry. The balance to this, of course, is the real caution that whomever we welcome and become partners with may result in our becoming a partner in their wickedness as opposed to the other way around. Thus, careful consideration is wise and prudent in order to discern whether we are being duped by the political machinations of the right or the ideological agenda of the left. Let’s ALL be honest it does happen both ways. The idea of separatism, as I understand it, is intended for us to delineate between our allegiance to God's kingdom over against our patriotism and/or nationalistic fervor. Thus it may be completely appropriate that we support ideas from the right and left, but at the same time remember the war is spiritual and not against flesh and blood.

ml said...

Wade and All,

Oh and I forgot to add, didn't Billy Graham receive criticism for his involvement with the 9/11 Memorial services? But yet, have you ever heard a more compelling Gospel Message that cut across all religious boundaries? Should he have declined the invitation to speak out of separatistic desires?

Anonymous said...

"Would Luther shy away from an audience before the Pope?"

Huh? Are you now saying that Carter has significant beliefs that are different that yours (as Luther's were significantly different than the pope's)?

Up to this point you have tried to contend that Carter is misunderstood in his wacked out positions on the Gospel, abortion, gay marriage, Iraq, Israel, etc. as when you spoke to him personally he said only things that he wanted to to hear.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Brian, thanks for posting Robert Parham's Why Does the SBC President Think Jesus' Agenda Is Liberal? -- an interesting read. You said that "Southern Baptists have been part of the Celebration from the beginning." Robert Parham correctly writes concerning Baptist polity that "The truth is that church membership defines what it means to be a Southern Baptist." Yet we can also notice that the NewBaptCov site is careful not to list the Southern Baptist Convention among the participating organizations. The presence of a church member does not mean his/her local church, as a church, is participating, nor does the presence of a Southern Baptist church member mean that the Southern Baptist Convention, as an organization, is participating. I think we all understand this. Did the NewBaptCov actively seek the participation of any Baptist organizations other than those affiliated with the NABF?

BTW, I think Parham's apparent attempt to tie an organization's lack of participation to racial prejudice is below the belt. Is there any evidence that this is even in the picture?

Chris, you wrote "So, when the media ask a question, you answer one way. When a conservative brother ask you in person, you answer another way. When you sit at the table with other like-minded moderates/liberals, you answer it another way." Sounds like "triple-speak" to me!

And "It is an unwritten but discussed rule that you don't tell the man in the pew what you proclaim in the classroom." I have viewed that up close and personal. The person in question wasn't liberal or moderate, but the positions presented in the classroom were more liberal than those presented in the pulpit. There might be some things appropriate for the classroom and not for the pulpit, but the beliefs held should be the same in both places.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Wade, you mentioned working with a Hindu mayor to dig a well, et al., and someone mentioned working with a Roman Catholic against the murder of unborn children. I don't have a problem with that, and in the same way can work for a common social cause with a Baptist I don't recognize as a Baptist. I cannot help but understand that the NewBaptCov asks us to work with one another as Baptists who all recognize one another as "true Baptists". If someone can explain why this is not the expectation, I would be glad to know.

Further, many have argued for participation in this on the basis that it is about social justice, on which we can generally agree. But Robert Parham's Why Does the SBC President Think Jesus' Agenda Is Liberal? hints that the NewBaptCov will also be about evangelism when he writes "Another biblically related assertion [by Page] is that the NBC planners are disinterested in evangelism." If that is so, all parties certainly need to be sure they are agreed on the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ.

dwm III said...


Since you have compared what you are doing to Paul as he went into the synagogues, should we then compare the NBC to the Jews?

DWMIII said...

dwm iii,

You should be silent or supportive.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Wade, are you suggesting that everyone should always remain silent concerning things they do not support? said...


You ask "Are you suggesting that everyone should always remain silent concerning things they do not support?

Not necessarily. However, unless there is a compelling reason to speak out against those who are gathering for the expressed purpose of making the world a better place through relieving suffering, exalting justice, and specifically sharing the good news of Christ, I think it wise to keep our mouths shut.

The stated purposes of the NBC, per the official press release includes the following:

We are Baptists who are:

(1).Committed to speak and work together to create an authentic and prophetic Baptist voice in these complex times,

(2). Committed to traditional Baptist values, including sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and its implications for public and private morality, and

(3). Committed to promote peace with justice, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and marginalized, welcome the strangers among us, and promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity.

If you can't agree with anything in the above, I believe it is best to remain silent unless a compelling reason to speak out against it can be given.

So far, I haven't heard one. I'm not saying people must support the NBC, just don't slam it.

dwm III said...


How can a question be supportive or unsupportive?


PS- All I'm saying is it is a bad analogy. :) Please take it lightly. Where the sense of humor in comment #3?

Anonymous said...


I contend that there is a compelling reason to speak out against the NewBapCov:

As things stand now, an "authentic and prophetic Baptist voice" will not be heard from a movement which has Jimmy Carter as its most publicly identified voice. This is due to his recent statements to Newsweek Magazine and to Rabbi Lerner indicating his belief that a Mormon is a Christian, and Judaism is a legitimate path to God.

Unless and until these reports are refuted by President Carter, they should be considered, not ignored or assumed false.

Since the exclusivity of the gospel is a "traditional Baptist value," and "one cannot even be a Baptist and deny this truth," (your quote), there is a compelling reason to urge conservative Baptists to not (mis-)identify themselves with a Carter-called gathering purposed to show Baptist unity.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Wade, I guess I am kind of "in the middle" of what you say, partly agreeing and partly disagreeing. If by "speaking out against it" you mean trying to harm the parties involved and shut down their celebration, I would agree. They have every right to their meeting on whatever basis they can agree to have it (and you and anyone else have every right to go if you choose to do so). But if by "speaking out against it" you mean a person delineating the reasons why this event is not representative of all Baptists, why he/she will not participate, etc., I think we have not only the right but also the obligation to speak out. I think this arises at least out of the fact that some are billing this as an event for/of "all Baptists". When they invoke "all Baptists", those invoked have a right to say "no, not us" (and explain why).

BTW, Ben Cole's blog gives new light on Frank Page's statement. said...


Your position is one of grace and thoughtfulness. I would never oppose someone speaking out on those terms.

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray says…
It’s been advertised on this blog several ‘horrible’ things that Carter has said. Ben Cole has pointed out how the Baptist Press has ‘reshaped’ Frank Page’s statement to suit its desires.

I’d like to copy Carter’s message to a 13,000 Sunday school class in England a couple of years ago. I believe the ‘powers that be’ do not want his message to be heard in the New Baptist Covenant.

By Ken Camp Managing Editor Posted: 8/05/05

Birmingham, England—Fundamentalism characterized by rigidity, domination and exclusion—practiced primarily by authoritarian males—divides Christians by adding restrictive requirements to the simple gospel message, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter told delegates to the Baptist World Centenary Congress.

“Divisions in the river of faith that divide us into swirling eddies and meandering tributaries constitute the most serious plight currently facing the church.”

Carter, a deacon and Sunday school teacher for Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga., taught what was billed as the largest Sunday school class in history at the international meeting in central England. About 13,000 Baptists filled the National Indoor Arena in downtown Birmingham, England, for the Sunday morning event.

Taking his lesson from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatian church, Carter focused on a rebuke to early church leaders who added additional requirements for fellowship and salvation beyond the clear gospel of grace.

Carter said, “To redefine the gospel always has been a temptation, either to liberalize and dilute the gospel so it becomes meaningless, or to add to the gospel, constructing creeds and imposing them on others—a practice Baptists traditionally have opposed.”

He compared the first-century threat to Christian unity among the Galatians with modern-day fundamentalists, pointing particularly to Southern Baptist Convention leaders who cut off fellowship with the Baptist World Alliance.

“Characteristics of fundamentalism include the leadership of authoritarian males who want to subjugate women. Their leaders have a tendency to draw clear distinctions between themselves as ‘true believers’ and other people whose beliefs are suspect. They have a militancy in defending their beliefs and an inclination to define themselves and their circle of fellowship in increasingly restrictive terms.”

Carter did not minimize the importance of controversial issues such as abortion, homosexuality, separation of church and state, Jesus Christ as the standard for biblical interpretation and the relationship between pastoral authority and the priesthood of all believers.

But he criticized fundamentalists who “demagogue” selected social issues and make differences over non-essential matters a test of fellowship. “Rigidity, domination and exclusion” are key words to describe fundamentalist movements, he said.

“To add any issue—no matter how important—to the gospel message of salvation is an abomination and an impediment that dams up the mighty stream of evangelism.”

The gospel can be reduced to one simple statement, Carter said, and he led the crowd in reciting it: “We are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.”

“This is adequate as a foundation on which every Christian denomination on earth can unite in harmony and peace and mutual cooperation to spread the gospel of Christ to all people.”

“Instead, too many Christians choose to narrow the parameters of fellowship and cooperation over side issues, such as the SBC’s insistence that women are disqualified for pastoral ministry because man was first in creation and woman was first to fall into original sin.”

Carter decried the “continued practice of discriminating against women, depriving them of their ability to serve God. Jesus treated women as equal to men—a view dramatically different from prevailing practices. But some Baptists want to keep women in their place.”

“Some passages from the Apostle Paul’s writing have been used to promote the idea that women should be submissive to their husbands and silent in church. But Paul affirmed women in other texts such as Romans 16, where he expressed appreciation to some women among a list of deacons, apostles, ministers and saints.”

“Paul was not separating himself from the lessons Jesus taught. His clear message is that women should be treated as equals in their right to serve God.”

Carter cited Paul’s statement in Galatians 3:28: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

“If being Jew or Greek, slave or free does not impact a Christian’s equal opportunity to serve Christ, then being male or female shouldn’t either.”

“Should we Baptist, Christians, exclude more than half the devout Christians on earth from fulfilling the call of God to service of Christ?”

Carter acknowledged various Baptist groups within the BWA may disagree over the role of women in ministry, but that should not prevent them from working together.

“The vast and diverse Christian world needs to rise above divisive controversies, adhere to the basic Christian message, to emphasize healing of differences.”

“In drawing close to Christ individually, believers also will draw close to each other to follow our Savior, the Prince of Peace, in reaching out to the lost and alleviating the suffering of others.”

Tony Cartledge of the North Carolina Biblical Recorder contributed to this report.