Friday, June 22, 2007

Baptist Bloggers: Beware of Bloggers' Bitter Bile

Joe Klein offers his commentary in the June 18, 2007 edition of TIME magazine on the subject of the ever increasing bitter attacks against him by liberal bloggers for his attempt to present a moderate view on the war in Iraq. Klein is a writer that is not usually seen as a fan of the Bush administration, but he has defended the need for funding the Iraq war, not because he is in favor of it, but in order to ensure our troops are properly equipped.

Klein has become the target of very fierce rhetoric and ad hominem attacks by liberal bloggers. Again, though Klein himself is considered to be a political liberal, to the liberal fundamentalists who blog, Klein is not liberal enough. Klein says of the attacks by his usually like-minded bloggers . . .

The smart stuff is being drowned out by a fierce bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogospher.

Klein's words would be appropriate for any end of fundamentalism -- either liberal or conservative. He continues . . .

Anyone who doesn't move in lockstep with the most extreme voices is savaged and ridiculed -- especially people like me who often agree with the liberal position but sometimes disagree and are therefore considered traitorously unreliable.

One of the things that deeply pains me is the attack that comes from my fellow conservatives in the Southern Baptist Convention when there are minor disagreements on methodology or minor doctrines. The very intense rhetoric that breaks out, including charges of leniency on homosexuality, desires for rampant feminism, and a movement downstream toward deadly liberalism against those who disagree with certain SBC leaders is unwarranted. Twenty-seven years ago that kind of tactic worked, but the average Southern Baptist today is much better informed and connected.

I am hopeful that all of us Southern Baptists who blog will ban the bloggers' bile that has infected the secular world. We who name Christ as Lord and Savior should set the example for disagreeing with both grace and civility.

In His Grace,



Bob Cleveland said...

Matthew 15:19: For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

Mark 7:21: For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,.. (NIV)


Malcolm Yarnell said...


You are absolutely hilarious.

In Christ,

Anonymous said...

See some of our friend jeremy L Green's comments on Morris Chapman, that in addition to having a history of calling Wade a theological moderate, or how about the way that David Rogers commitment to conservatism has been questioned because he had the audicity to use Ben Cole as an editor

Jim champion said...


I'm not sure what response you desire to elicit from me, so I'll just simply wish you a great weekend and a wonderful Lord's Day this Sunday.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

Malcolm Yarnell said...


I hope you have a good weekend, too. I guess my laughter was somewhat in despair. Your ability to overlook the unwarranted attacks on conservatives by some Southern Baptist bloggers is just too unbelievable to take as anything but humour on your part. If I am wrong on this, please correct me and please forgive me for misinterpreting you.

In Christ,

Jack Maddox said...

Dr. Yarnell

Wade has made it clear that he does not speak for or to Ben Cole or others who may use unkind and un Christ like rhetoric to attack, libel and harm the character and integrity of those they find their selves at theological and political odds with. His remarks must certainly be directed at himself and those of us who frequent his blog...and of course Jeremy Green...

in other words Dr. Yarnell

Ben = good
Jeremy = Bad
irenic = good
convictional = bad

: )

now everybody take a deep breath and smile!


Jack Maddox said...

Dr. Yarnell

Have you read Ben Coles latest post on his endorsement of liberation theology. It is an amazing piece to say the least!


Glen Alan Woods said...

I am a regular reader of this blog, but usually I don't comment when the topic deals strictly with SBC stuff. After all, I am not in the SBC. What do I know about internal politics? However, I do have one observation to make, if I may.

When I receive feedback (criticism, broadside attacks, friendly reminders--call it what you want), whether it is in the context of church, work, or the large IRC network I administrate, I try to take into consideration the validity of the other person's point of view. Even if I disagree with some, or most of what that person has to say, I often find that I am able to grow and learn from some part of it. And to the extent that I extend grace to the other person, I believe that it lays the groundwork for a constructive conversation about any differences that remain. It also helps me to improve in my responsibilities and mature in my character. Unfortunately, my selfish tendencies tend to get in the way.

So anyway, thank you Wade for this reminder to me as an outsider to the world of SBC. I pray that I will learn to demonstrate consistently a Christ-like humility to those with whom I disagree in the future. I also pray that those who struggle to get along within the SBC will consider the validity of your observations.


Glen Woods said...


As graciously as I know how, I would like to ask you a question.

Do you not see that in your comments to Dr. Yarnell, you are doing the very same thing for which you seem so perturbed that others are doing?

Just asking. said...

Thanks Glen,

I am hopeful as well.

Jack Maddox said...


as sincerely as I can reply I thank you for your sincere question of which I am more than happy to respond.

Although my reply was meant to be taken more as humor than anything, I obviously am no threat to the thousands of un employed comedians that frequent our fair land.

However, behind my humor kind sir is a point to be made. You seem to imply that I have somehow harmed you or attacked you in my comment in context to your warning on your post. I have done no such thing. In fact, in both private and public conversation I have resisted the sinful tendency to call into questions your motives or your intent. I have stated nothing more than you have been gracious friend and fellow pastor even in the midst of our disagreement over the direction of our beloved SBC.

I have however brother asked you time and time again to please show some consistency in your posts dealing with rhetoric and innuendo and the questioning of motive and integrity of those we disagree with. In this little fray of ours I, and those in which I agree, have been labeled everything from "Spooky" fundamentalist to a "Militant" fundamentalist, I have been accused of narrow mindedness and even at times had my intellect and those of my friends called into question. I have seen a movement used by God to call a convention that was drifting into classical liberalism maligned and the men whom God used to bring about change attacked and shot at with the sharpest of verbal and moral barbs! I have seen a call from some to respect and accept and all the while those who call for such things continue to attack and malign the reputation and integrity of those in whom they disagree. So Wade, if you read into my comment a attack on you personally, or if my reference to Bens article on liberation theology a attack on Ben, well sir I fear you have become a bit overly sensitive. My comment concerning Ben's post was directed to Dr. Yarnell simply because I do not have his e mail address and I am curious to his take on a fascinating and illuminating post by the soon to be Dr. Cole. My comment concerning you is nothing more than a simple observation. That is when it comes to the sauce the goose and gander are two entirely different creatures all together.

So to sum up Brother Wade...I, like Dr. Yarnell find it somewhat funny that you would call into account the wild weeds of rhetoric from some without ever addressing the crab grass of innuendo and attack that grows in your own back yard.

However, your post taken within context of itself alone is no doubt worthy of our consideration and we all would do well to read it.

Jack Maddox

Emily Hunter McGowin said...

Wade and others,

I think there's something we are forgetting. In all things, including blogging, there are no innocents. Sin has affected all people in every way. So, in every disagreement, there will be plenty of evidence that could be used to accuse others of un-Christlike and unfair treatment. In many cases, such treatment occurs because there are serious blind-spots. Sometimes, there is a need to think deeply before speaking. And, in other cases, there is blatant disobedience.

In any case, no one involved in the blogosphere debates of the past two years is an innocent party. We can point fingers at each other all day long and accuse one another of myopia for the next two more years. Or, we can recognize faults on all sides and continue to spur one another on to godliness. I hope we choose the latter.

Grace and peace to all,


Ron Phillips, Sr. said...

Dr. Yarnell,

I agree with you. This post comes across (at a minimum) as hyperbole or satirical. I at least hope that it is not grandiloquence. :)

Seriously, I do hope that this is a genuine step towards more "irenic" blogging.

Ron P.

Malcolm Yarnell said...

Wise words, Ms. McGowin.

Thank you for your remarks and questions to me, brother Jack. As for Ben's blog, I really try to be careful about commenting about blogs that critique my beloved school, for fear that I might only engage in that against which Ms. McGowin warns.

In Christ,

Alan Paul said...

The "kind" and "gracious" pontificating on this subject is kind of funny - the posts back and forth read like everyone (with a few exceptions) is gritting their teeth while typing. Irregardless of what words are being used, what image is trying to be conveyed by the posters, I would refer everyone back to the first post - Mr. Cleveland's post. What you type doesn't really matter - what's in your heart does.

Anonymous said...

Greetings from Hoptown, Ky, -

I have seen outrageous words in the Baptist debate, that is for sure; yet only one side speaks openly of "getting rid" of opponents every 25 years. (At least no one speaks of jugulars any more!) Let's hope that seminary presidents aren't TOO well versed in loose talk from "The Sopranos."

I think we are coming around to the idea of not inviting secular politicians to speak at our events as we once did. Will we ever succeed at removing their ways of operation from our conclaves as well?

Steve Austin

Anonymous said...


My dentist told me that gritting my teeth would only ruin my teeth. It is a bad idea.

It is even a worse idea to hold any root of bitterness against anyone.

Ms. McGowin's reminder of our shared depravity and your reminder of our need to be honest and Ron P's reminder that we need to laugh at ourselves are exactly what we need.

Now, Wade will remind me of the time.

In Christ,

Anonymous said...

I have never posted a comment on your blog before. I am a conservative christian who tries to think carefully about the issues in the SBC.

I just want to say that I agree with your sentiments in this blog, but I also think you have contributed to the rhetoric slinging yourself in at least one of your blogs.

You seemed to pour the rhetoric on pretty thick last week when you characterized Albert Mohler as an angry hornet throwing a tantrum and then as one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

A man like Al Mohler, who is a tireless leader in our denomination and an extremely careful thinker, bears a tremendous burden and deserves much more respect than you showed in that blog.

I guess my point is that we have to be more careful when we disagree with men who lead our churches and convention. I hear so meny bloggers characterize Baptist leadership as being "only concerned about power."

This is a type of rhetoric that appeals to people who are skeptics at heart and enjoy extreme characterizations that vilify others. It makes straw men out of godly men and then knocks them over.

LivingDust said...

I have a elderly friend, a former IMB missionary of 28 years who was the President of a Baptist seminary outside of the US for 17 years. He is in his mid-80's and is supposedly in retirement. As he does every 8 weeks, he flew out yesterday for his service country. He'll be there for five days. He is still a strong mentor for many of the leading Baptist pastors in his service country.

We talked after the Wednesday night service at our church and he mentioned that he was disappointed that Mr. Rogers wasn't elected as the 1st Vice President at the recent San Antonio Convention. (Of course he has a bias for those who are in missionary field).

This man, after having seen all the turmoil of the conservative resurgence from afar during the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s, still prays for unity amongst Southern Baptist.

Wade, the remnants of “bitter bile” from the CR spill over into the blogosphere and so I suppose when all the “bitter bile” is out of the “body” it will be out of the blogosphere. In the meantime, the divisiveness within the SBC continues to render the SBC irrelevant to most congregations (except for cooperative fund giving) and assure less cooperation in the future.

Debbie Kaufman said...

LivingDust, I fear your words very prophetic and for the very reason of some of these comments so full of bile. Unity just seems further and further away as long as such an itching to be full of anger and battle exists.

Big Daddy Weave said...

Brother Jack,

You've completely misrepresented Ben's post - to put it nicely.

He didn't endorse liberation theology. Last time I checked, the only endorsement Ben has given was for America's Mayor.

So Wade, do tell - what's it like to be a full fledged member of the Baptist Left? :-)

John Daly said...

At the end of the convention I stated that I was looking forward to some God honoring, Christ exalting posts that would make much of Him...still waiting. There are plenty of political blogs out there and I would go to them if I was of that ilk but I'm a sinner saved by His Grace and as such I am here at this blog. Did I miss the memo on a format change?

Anonymous said...

Confusing are the comments in this thread. Wade's conclusion makes it clear that he is talking to every SB blogger, not just one "type" of SB blogger. To the extent that those read his words as singling out a particular "type" of blogger or a particular person, perhaps it is because of conviction in their own hearts?

Listen carefully again to his concluding paragraph:

I am hopeful that all of us Southern Baptists who blog will ban the bloggers' bile that has infected the secular world. We who name Christ as Lord and Savior should set the example for disagreeing with both grace and civility.

I would add to his conclusion the fact that the Word of God makes it very clear that we are to encourage one another, love one another, bear with one another, serve one another, not argue with one another, and so on and so on. There is nothing about this word of encouragement that can be attacked. It is based wholly upon fundamental Jesus principles. Calling another hilarious... well, in this context, it doesn't seem to fit these principles.

Anonymous said...

Given the signature line of "in Christ" it is almost as though one were to punch someone in the face and then say, "smile, Jesus loves you."

Wade, apparently your post is still, unfortunately, very needed.

Anonymous said...

I suppose such comments can be inspiring, though.

WTJeff said...

Jack Maddox,

Come on, man. Judging from the way you've articulated yourself on this blog, you are capable of understanding clearly what someone is saying. Both here and Ben Cole's blog on Liberation Theology, you seem more interested in spin then fact. Wade clearly indicates that verbal attacks and mis-characterizations has no place in any Christian writing. Ben Cole simply states that there are places, specifically in African American and Latino communities, that our outreach could be much more effective if we had a fundamental understanding of Liberation Theology. At no point did he endorse it or in any way support it. He advocates the same thing Paul did at Mars Hill, when he never quoted scripture, but instead quoted stoic philosophers to communicate the gospel of Christ. Ben advocates an understanding of the context that shapes some communities -- no more , no less.
At no time has Wade named specifically those whom he would consider in any fundamentalist category, he's simply named the characteristics of each.

I think Wade has the best interest of the SBC at heart. I think Ben Cole does, too, although I would agree his less than tactful manner often hurts his cause as much as it helps. I've simply grown tired of the constant rhetoric and all the mess that comes with it. The SBC grows smaller and more irrelevant by the minute. It's time to get one with reaching the lost rather than spending all of our energies trying to prove whose right.

These men don't need me to defend them, I just felt so inclined.


Jeff Parsons

Anonymous said...

We must be careful that we remove the planks in our own eyes before we attempt to remove the splinters from others. This is always a good reminder for just about anything, especially this post.

Alyce Faulkner said...

Bryan, you are always a breath of fresh air.
Emily, good point and thanks.
The 'me vs them' mentality must stop. Here is something I do know-God hates it.

RKSOKC66 said...


I had to bite my own tongue a few days ago. I put up some comments on your blog that were just too "supercharged" so I took them back down.

The entire landscape is just getting too overheated. I see battle lines hardening on both sides. It seems tragic to me because – at least at the outset --the points of contention were “trivial”. Who cares one way or another about the exact rules for Baptism and/or who does or doesn’t have a PPL? Hey, I’ve been baptized three times and I lived through it.

The initial disagreement is only serving as a point of demarcation which both sides have used as a convenient fixture to fire forays on the other side. Now we see a run-away escalation into what I believe over a period of years will be the gradual dismemberment of the SBC. Of course, cooler minds might step back and call a truce and reach out for a compromise -- but I don’t see any reason now to be optimistic. You guys still seem to be marshalling your resources of debating about the “the propositional truth of scripture” and “Baptist identity” ad-infinitum.

To add insult to injury, the tenor of the debate is coarsening considerably as time passes. I’d say things are getting a little out of hand when trustees and seminary profs are involved in school-yard brawls and/or refuse to talk to each other.

Well, you guys are on your own for a while. I’m going to take a self-declared moratorium from these BLOGS for at least 100 days. At that time I’ll assess if any thing “worthwhile” is going on here. In the meanwhile, I’m going to step back and smell the daisies: Maybe take a cruise in my Corvette.

It’s obvious to me any attempt by me to be part of the solution would be marginalized or ignored. So at least I won’t be part of the problem.

One parting last shot: Slogging through the litter on the battlefield I see only one leader in the SBC that is BOTH speaking up and making sense. FBC Wichita Falls has reason to be proud.

Wade, the only communication you will hear from me for a while is when I send in something for Dr. Klouda.

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Anonymous said...

Jack Maddox said:
Have you read Ben Coles latest post on his endorsement of liberation theology. It is an amazing piece to say the least!

Did you read it? It isn't an "endorsement" of liberation theology at all.

And here we have an example of exactly what Wade is talking about. Simple debate doesn't get people riled up, or spur them to action, so the ad hominem attacks and labels are used. All the hot button issues are trotted out, and terms to heat up the rhetoric are brought out--liberal, pro-homosexual, feminist, even though it is pretty clear to thinking people that the person being attacked isn't advocating those positions. The rhetoric is for those who get their politics from a radio announcer and their religion from a televangelist.

Somehow it seems that a discussion over secondary and tertiary doctrinal issues cannot take place in a Southern Baptist context without an almost instant jump to the accusations, and that's usually brought about by those who seem to be on a crusade to bend the SBC's doctrinal position to their own interpretation.

I think it is time for everyone to take a good look around and evaluate the lay of the land. Southern Baptists, by and large, are extremely tired of this debate. Considering the vital signs of the denomination, and not just the figures we like to report, there might not be much left to control by the time the debate is over.

Anonymous said...

malcolm yarnell,

You work at Southwestern, I presume.

1) Would you please explain the decline in enrollment since Dr. Patterson has been president?

2) Would you explain the increasing expenditures while the enrollment is decreasing?

3) Do you think it the best use of funds to build a new auditorium that is not really needed when such funds could be used to meet more pressing needs?

4) Can you explain to me what the Patmos Evangelistic Association is and why it's address is the same as that of Southwestern Seminary?

The questions could go on and on, but I'll stop for now and wait for your response.


volfan007 said...

anonymous steve,

are you ben cole?


Jack Maddox said...

To all

I will agree and restate my comment
that Ben Cole did not ENDORSE liberation theology as much as he used his article concerning the need to INVESTIGATE liberation theology as a opportunity to attack so called anti-intellectualism in the SBC. To whom does he report is the picture of what thorough academic investigation should be? Dr. Marc Ellis, a agnostic Jew (oxymoron) who curses and holds a disdain for aggressive proselytization. I know all of the good little blue hair Baptist ladies in their respective WMU's are just thrilled to know that this is motis operandi of some at the Baptist Citadel on the Brazos. But really folks, my comment was directed towards Dr. Yarnell concerning his honest opinion of the piece, in which I feel is a excellent example of academic elitism. I am not attacking Ben...Ben has done us all a great service by writing such. The piece dose a excellent job of revealing the anti-fundamentalist/conservative bias that exist in many of our institutions of higher learning...even those who wear the name of Baptist. You can spin Ben's article anyway you want, and I suppose we all do, however, to see at as nothing less than an attack on our seminaries and more so an attack on Southwestern is to ignore the context in which it is written. Now that is not an attack on Ben, it is not an attack on Wade, it is not an attack on is a observation and a serious disagreement. Now I have to get back to the favorite TV evangelist is coming on and

"I got ta go and git me sum reeligun so ah can whup me up a sermun fer the service in da merning!...its just to hard fer me ta think dem dere sermons deren da week cuz I have to lisen to my favoriite radio show so as I will know how to vote fer prezident nex year...yeee haaw...its good to be one of dem funnymentalzt!!!!

Thanks Lee

Anonymous said...

Now you, Jack Maddox, are hilarious. True to form and hilarious.

I'd be glad to get your response to my questions for malcolm yarnell while I wait for his.


Jack Maddox said...


I would not even presume to be able to answer your questions, but I am flattered that you think me 'in the know' enough to be able to. I will however consult with my vast network of fundamentalist operatives and after checking with headquarters to see if it is OK to answer, I will offer a response!


You and I really do need to lay off of each other. I think we are the only Texan fans in the blogosphere! In a few months we will need one another! : )


peter lumpkins said...


I do admit I don't get out much. My wife keeps me pinned-in most of the day. It's just not fair! But she won't listen to me.

Anyways, you write:"...the attack that comes from my fellow conservatives...charges of leniency on homosexuality, desires for rampant feminism, and a movement downstream toward deadly liberalism against those who disagree with certain SBC leaders is unwarranted."

Wade I know you know I read your blog. And, despite not getting out much, just who are these fellow conservatives who've presumably accused you of being soft on homosexuality and desiring for rampant feminism? I must have missed it.

With that, I am...


gmay said...

Wade, Great post.
In light of your wisdom in this post, I would like to propose a search for a new vocabulary for this current discussion in SBC life. The term fundamentalist as it is used for the so called status quo carries the connotation of bile. The term moderate or liberal carries the same bile. Could we find a new set of words that might encourage reconciliation, display grace, and unity as opposed to rhetoric intended to excite those on one side or the other?

JayLee said...

Ouch! I am guilty. I rarely comment on this blog-primarily because I found someone else has already expressed my sentiments better than I could. On rare occasion have I read something in the actual post that brings me to the point of anger. Regularly however I find my critical spirit coming to the fore as I read the comment stream.

Just when my fingers are poised to post a scathing reply I read comments from people like Bob Cleveland or Bryan Riley. Like a splash of cold water to my "hot-headed" soul, their words bring a new perspective. I find myself sorely in need of repentance. Thank you, both of you, for being a voice of grace and peace when I feel anything but gracious and peaceable.

truth, not religion said...


Many years ago I had the skinniest dog you have ever seen. You could see every bone in his body and he didn't weigh 45 pounds. Just a mangy looking mix breed with no pedigree

It never failed that every big dog that came along would start growling and my dog would just try to walk away.

Without fail, the big dog would pick a fight and my little scrawny dog would chew the big dog to pieces.

The little feller knew how to fight. He just didn't like to.

It really was "hilarious" to see those big dogs scream and wail when they were the one that picked the fights to begin with.

Lot of wisdom in a mangy dog.

Fear God and Him only

Anonymous said...

We may be the only Texans fans.
Period. ;)
Lee said...


If there were terms that could be agreed upon, I would be all for their usage.

I am happy to use the word conservative for everyone - but when my fellow conservatives are attempting to exclude fellow conservative Southern Baptists from missionary participation - I need a word that would deliniate the exclusionsists from the inclusivists.

I'm open.

Anonymous said...


You say Wade laid on the rhetoric pretty thick when he called Al Mohler a 'hornet' and one of 'the four horsemen of the Apocolyspe. You are wrong on this.I went back and read the post in question and this is what Wade said about Al Mohler . . .

I admire Dr. Mohler

He is an erudite man

Wade also makes it clear that Al and other Seminary presidents are men of 'fine Christian character.' It is their message that the convention is in trouble if we allow the convention to set the doctrinal paramters rather than the President that Wade wishes to contradict.

For those of us who read Wade regularly we are able to draw a distinction between his disagreement with one's position, at the same time respecting the person who disagrees and diplaying a civil attitude toward everyone.

I wish the same could be said of all.


GeneMBridges said...

Wade I know you know I read your blog. And, despite not getting out much, just who are these fellow conservatives who've presumably accused you of being soft on homosexuality and desiring for rampant feminism? I must have missed it.

Notice the subtle shifting of the argument. This is what Wade actually said:

Anyone who doesn't move in lockstep with the most extreme voices is savaged and ridiculed -- especially people like me who often agree with the liberal position but sometimes disagree and are therefore considered traitorously unreliable.
One of the things that deeply pains me is the attack that comes from my fellow conservatives in the Southern Baptist Convention when there are minor disagreements on methodology or minor doctrines. The very intense rhetoric that breaks out, including charges of leniency on homosexuality, desires for rampant feminism, and a movement downstream toward deadly liberalism against those who disagree with certain SBC leaders is unwarranted. Twenty-seven years ago that kind of tactic worked, but the average Southern Baptist today is much better informed and connected.

He's not just talking about himself, but anyone in a similar position. As one looks back through some of the speeches @ the last SBC, we were treated with some of the very sorts of things Wade describes. That is what he was describing.

Have you read Ben Coles latest post on his endorsement of liberation theology. It is an amazing piece to say the least!

And here is a stellar example of the sort of thing Wade was describing. Ben did not "endorse liberation theology." What Mr. Maddox has done is rig the debate by trying to fasten the word "endorse" onto what Ben stated in a rather long article and then drop the caveats he offered by Ben. What Ben stated is that we can actually learn something from those with whom we vehemently disagree theologically. He did not "endorse liberation theology." The liberation theologian still has the image of God stamped upon his heart, and he still assumes God exists when he writes, and he can still say and do some good things and produce some useful ideas, even if he's a rank apostate from the faith once for all delivered.

Jack Maddox said...


If you will read my retraction a few posts up you will see that I have 'recanted' of my improper use of the term "Endorse" and stated that all I was doing was simply seeking a response from Bro. Yarnell on the article. I used this forum because he had posted and I do not have his e mail address. I think it is a fine article. I think Ben has some worthy thoughts. I simply disagree with his premise that such 'ignorance' of liberation theology means that the old SBC ship has been dashed on the rocks of anti intellectualism. I also disagree with his presumption that hyper intellectualism is the missing ingredient in our reaching a lost and dying world.

Sorry to disappoint guys, but I have attacked no one, and I have certainly not used the "Bitter Bile" that Wade is talking about. If to disagree with Ben and his article is "Bitter Bile" then when and how are we to disagree with one another at all?


Debbie Kaufman said...

And your comment Gene is why I have the highest respect for you. You have just given an excellent analysis.

Anonymous said...

"I guess my point is that we have to be more careful when we disagree with men who lead our churches and convention."

Why just with the men who lead our churches and conventions? I am seeing this 'touch not the anointed' everywhere these days and quite just ain't Baptist! (Nor NT teaching)

Why do we insist on kings? We are a Holy Priesthood. This insistence on 'kings' and following men is really the big problem in the heart.

"I hear so meny bloggers characterize Baptist leadership as being "only concerned about power."

I respect Dr. Mohler as much as I respect Bill Downs (a godly but poor old teacher in my church) but, I cannot for the life of me figure out why he did not just give a report on the state of his seminary. What would you call that?

Ron Phillips, Sr. said...


It's called leadership. I might add that it was an act of leadership that was overwhelmingly and enthusiastically supported by the messengers.

Ron P.

Writer said...

Dr. Yarnell,

Is this your week to monitor Wade's blog and engage in ridicule and hyperbole? Or is it Dr. Welty's turn?

Oh, sorry. I guess Dr. Welty's assigned week is next week.


Anonymous said...


It's called arrogance and sinful pride.

The person to whom you refer is supposed to be a servant of the churches who support his seminary financially.

Instead of giving an accounting of his stewardship of their contributions he took them to task for daring to usurp his (assumed) authority for defining the limits of non-cooperation.

"Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty heart before a fall."

Jim Paslay said...

Wade said:

"The very intense rhetoric that breaks out, including charges of leniency on homosexuality, desires for rampant feminism, and a movement downstream toward deadly liberalism against those who disagree with certain SBC leaders is unwarranted. Twenty-seven years ago that kind of tactic worked, but the average Southern Baptist today is much better informed and connected."

My question is were they just tactics which implies smear and fear-mongering or did we have theological problems?

I find it interesting that you used the number 27 in your remarks. If my math is correct, that would take us back to 1980, one year after Adrian Rogers was elected President of the SBC in Houston. I am confused. On one hand you say that you were glad we had the conservative resurgence, but now the problems in our convention can be traced backed to the conservative resurgence.

What group of people has been disgruntled within our convention for 27 years? What group continues to harp about the so called creedalistic 2000 BF&M? What group said we didn't have any theological problems in the first place? What group in some ways revels in the in-house bickering that is going on? Your answer to these questions will probably lead you to the bitter bile problem you alluded to!

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Gene,

Unlike Debbie, I cannot say you offer an excellent analysis--at least of the words I offer. But I do love my words being quoted over and over again. It's really cool and kinda humbling seeing them in print.

Grace, Gene. With that, I am...


Ron Phillips, Sr. said...


I most respectfully disagree. It was not arrogance and it was not pride!

He properly addressed an issue (that EVERY other seminary president also did after the vote on the resolution). I have read and been told that this was a "hot" issue after the vote throughout the convention halls. Bart Barber on his blog shared about a gentlemen who was so upset about the vote.

Many were rightly concerned about the possible agenda (though unsupported in the text of the resolution) and affirmed by many bloggers on both sides of this issue.

As has been attested by many, Dr. Mohler's speech that is so harshly condemned by a few, was the most well received speech by the messengers. If (a big IF) Dr. Mohler is nominated next year for President of the SBC as some are speculating, his speech probably cemented his victory.

So please know that just because you do not agree with Dr. Mohler, it is this kind of personal attack on a Godly man, that many of us are sick of. This is the kind of "bitter bile" that needs to stop.

Dr. Mohler spoke for many of us in the convention and a great majority of those present as messengers. We need more Godly men like Dr. Mohler.

Ron P.

Jack Maddox said...

And your comment Ron P is why I have the highest respect for you. You have just given an excellent analysis

Jack Maddox (The other Jack)

child of grace said...


Sorry, but much of my respect for Dr. Mohler was torched by his angry speech. Perhaps it sounded better in the original German.

It may have played well for you and your seatmates, but that does not a majority make as evidenced by the tally of the very vote he denounced.

Not all of the Seminary Presidents spit in the face of those they are supposed to serve -- just the "Godly, Godly" men you seem to worship.

-As for me and my house, we will worship The Lord.

Have a nice weekend,


Jack Maddox said...

To all

Hey, I just want to make one thing clear...I am the other Jack...the jack above me is with a little j...I use a capital J...

now I have to go and say my prayers to Dr. Patterson : )

Jack (with a capital J)

Anonymous said...

I think we would all do well to not measure the godliness of any man with an applause-o-meter.

Wade wrote this post to warn us of bitterness. It is a good warning to me because I too can be susceptible to that. So I have searched my heart carefully over the last week or more to determine what it was about Al Mohler's speech that had upset me so.

He has the right to his opinion. H has the right to speak his opinion. If his opinion is different than mine, it does not mean he is ungodly and that I am holy. Nor does it mean that he is holy and I am ungodly.

Yes, I heard the applause in the room. It means little except that humans are trained to applause at the climactic point in speeches often regardless of the nature thereof. Anyone with a skill at public speaking can get the crowd going. Some people applaud because they agree, some because others are applauding and so they think they should be too.

I know this is the human way of things because I once went with my mom to see a baseball game between the Rangers and another popular team (perhaps the Yankees) so a lot of the people were rooting for the away team, my mom kept cheering at the wrong moments because she couldn't follow the game very well so just cheered whenever anyone cheered.

I think this phenomenon happens in Baptist life as well. This is why we have ballot votes instead of determining matters by an applause gauge like a teen dance contest or some such.

So why was I upset? For the very reason Ron P. suggests that with that speech Al Mohler cemented the SBC Presidency. Dr. Mohler was assigned to give the seminary report during that time, not a political speech. Yet he did not give the seminary report, instead he used the time to speak on whichever topic he wished. Some in this string have called it leadership. I believe a true leader is one who is faithful to the task set before him in that moment, realizing there will be time enough to speak his own mind on matters at hand in other forums where he is the one to choose the topic.

I am not angry or bitter toward Dr. Mohler at this time. I have been challenged to realize that he has been good for Southern Seminary. And to the extent that is true, I pray for his faithfulness and success at the task he has there. However, in the matter of the speech during the seminary report, I think it was poor timing and not the wisest of choices.

I hope all will realize this is not an off topic comment because I am trying to illustrate how one can disagree with someone else without the bitterness or bile that can destroy us.

And Gene - I think now would be an appropriate time to pull out the Star Wars quote as to the matter of applause during that speech time:

"So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause."

Debbie Kaufman said...

Dorcas: I'm so glad you wrote that.

Anonymous said...

Les Puryear,

Praise the LORD you are finally seeing the big picture that has been going on for a 1-½ years. They do tend to come out of the woodwork. Forgive me for placing you in that group of Bloggers.

In His Name
Wayne Smith

volfan007 said...

dr. yarnell,

i will now takeyour place in watching wade's blog. you may go to bed now. either you or dr. welty can spell me at dawn.


volfan007 said...

the original jack maddox,

hey bro. i just wanted you to know how much i respect your writings. you give an excellent analysis of things. :)


ps. wade, what did you mean with the statement...."Twenty-seven years ago that kind of tactic worked, but the average Southern Baptist today is much better informed and connected?"

Jack Maddox said...

I am soory David, but I have to call you on this. Did you get permission from headquaters to watch this blog? We do NOTHING without our orders...YOU KNOW THAT!

Now look alive and mind your masters!

Jack : )

Ron Phillips, Sr. said...


I am grateful that you do not harbor anger or bitterness towards Dr. Mohler. It was not my intention to (nor do I think I did) state that it was his speech nor the tremendous acceptance and support of it that commends him to Godliness. I was making a statement that the bile attacks on this Godly man were unwarranted.

Disagree with him. I have no issue with anyone who does not agree with the assessment he made. I merely pointed out that the majority of messengers supported his assessment. But the belligerence needs to stop.

I do have one question, how is it that Wade and others claim that the messengers were NOT confused on the vote of the resolution, but you are in essence saying they were not smart enough to applaud and cheer statements that they agree with? Are the SBC messengers only smart enough to follow others in the crowd, or only worked up by a good public speaker? That statement is incredible. It belittles every messenger who agreed with Dr. Mohler.


I worship only One. His name is YHWH. I do not worship anyone or anything else. I do however have great respect for many of the men that have taken incessant peevish attacks on their personal character. I do not know Dr. Mohler personally, yet I find his scholarship and preaching to be much that I agree with. However, I do not agree with him on all things.

I hate to restate it, but the overwhelming majority of messengers clearly, loudly, convincingly, and enthusiastically supported Dr. Mohler's statements. NONE of those messengers, NONE, felt like he spit in their face. Quite the opposite. He affirmed the resolution as it was worded and voted on, and he was affirmed by the messengers.

The interesting thing is the myopic belief that the "Red Haired Pope" and others, control and dictate what we conservatives believe.

What is so painfully obvious, yet completely ignored, is that we like men such as Patterson, Mohler, Yarnell, Akin, etc. because they believe like WE do. It is because they agree with my theology and that I agree with theirs. It really is that simple.

So, I gently and respectfully ask you that instead of accusing any of us who find these men to be Godly and biblically correct as idolaters, just accept us in Christ as those who do not agree with you on this particular issue.

I accept you and others who disagree with me on this as my brothers and sisters in Christ and eagerly affirm you as such.

Ron P.

Anonymous said...

Wade, now I see a second bile that one must beware. It is the one that comes up in the mouth when one views words that evidence things that aren't the virtues discussed in Philippians 4:8.

Sometimes I struggle much with the words I write. I definitely want to be sucked into the lie that certain people are my enemy. But then God asks me this:

what if instead of just writing silly comments I prayed for wisdom?

What if I prayed that God would give me strength to stand against the powers of darkness?

What if I prayed for you, for others, for myself?

What if I made sure that all of my words exhibit encouragement and love?

Anonymous said...

Greetings from Hoptown -

I have seen from my college years onward how leaders assigned to report on something go off on their own tangent and talk about what they feel comfortable talking about instead.

I possess no data at all on whether this has been a problem in the SBC at convention time or not, or whether the Hunneycutts and Dildays and Hobbses were worse at it than today's group.

HOWEVER, if someone messed up and let ME be the SBC President while one of our agency heads took his report time to address his own interests instead, I would cut his microphone off and send him back to the end of the line. That's what my high school teachers did and it taught me a lesson.

AND if that agency head set up a bunch of softball questions instead of hard ones about his leadership with manipulation of the microphones in the audience, I bet any of us could smell a rat and call a halt to it.

Wade, this was a wonderfully written and timed post. How you can look past the ways some misrepresent your words is a testament to what's inside you.

Steve Austin

Anonymous said...

Ron -

To answer your questions adequately I believe would definitely hijack the string from the topic of Wade's post. If you want to know my take on the matter of messenger involvement at the convention, please read my blog post here.


volfan007 said...

ok, it's way past dawn. where's my replacement? i'm calling dr. patterson. i dont care if it does wake him up.

david :)

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

"It's called leadership"

Funny, I would have called it disrepectful to ignore the topic he was called to account for to the messengers. After all, they are paying for much of what he does at the seminary.

child of grace said...


I accept you and those you look to as leaders as Brothers and Sisters in Christ even when we vehemently disagree. When there is disagreement as well as dialogue, discernment often follows. On the other hand, where there is a demand for conformity and little conversation, conflict usually results.

My views are admittedly shaped by watching legalism stifle the spirit of a loving and once-growing church.

I saw men I respected force out a pastor when divorce “damaged his witness” (his wife divorced him to marry another man).

I saw these same men engage in biblical contortions to justify man-made doctrines opposing “long” hair for men, dancing, and use (not abuse) of alcohol.

I sat through hate-filled diatribes against “cults” such as Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses and “false religions” such as The Catholic Church and Charismatics (I am not defending any of those denominations, so read on…)

As a result our church became known in the community for what we stood AGAINST instead of what we stood FOR.

Today that church is no longer growing and contemporaries who remained in my community and should be leading that church today worship elsewhere because any questions they asked were answered with rebukes to “respect your elders” by “Godly Men” who were sincerely steadfast --- and who I believe were sincerely wrong.

That—I fear—is the course the SBC is now on.

I do not begrudge your right to follow conservative leaders or to worship or preach in a conservative or traditional manner.

Please do not begrudge my right to point out that the emperors are wearing no clothes or to worship in a contemporary way or witness in an unconventional manner.

There are many different lost people in the world and many ways to reach them without compromising on the essentials that Christ taught us when we walked the earth as flesh or when God spoke directly to the prophets of old.

We need to quit arguing about what it means to be a “real” Baptist, stop obsessing about planting traditional Southern Baptist Churches in non-traditional settings, agree to disagree on all but the essentials of Christian faith and come together to win souls FOR CHRIST as opposed to making sure our converts are truly “Baptist.”

Finally, from those whom I have shown a lack of grace, I ask forgiveness. I also wish to set aside our differences in order to cooperate with you to expand the Kingdom of God. Finally, I pray that the sincerely steadfast leaders who oppose such cooperation among us will soon see that they are sincerely wrong.

In Christ,

child of grace said...

(graph should have read) "There are many different lost people in the world and many ways to reach them without compromising on the essentials that Christ taught us when HE walked the earth as flesh or when God spoke directly to the prophets of old."


LivingDust said...


Your post directed to Ron has my support and admiration. It expresses my sentiments exactly. As I think about all the brothers and sisters at my congregation, I know there are differences of opinion, conviction and belief. Yet we worship, fellowship, study and work together as a Southern Baptist congregation to touch our community. Letting those differences hinder us from working together to reach the lost with the message of Christ in our local community is not an option.

It should not be an option within the SBC.

I really don't care if you talk in tongues, pray in some private prayer language, hold a timber rattler in each hand during worship services, your favorite Preacher is Jimmy Swaggart, you got a degree from Oral Roberts University, wear white patent leather shoes and belts, you flunked out of SWBTS and SBTS, just got out of jail, carry lots of anointing oil, don't like instruments during worship, will only touch a KJV, read AW Pink for entertainment and your favorite word is repent.

I'll be your Southern Baptist brother in Christ and we'll walk side-by-side and proclaim Christ Crucified.

volfan007 said...


what if he's a ku klux klan member?

david :)

CB Scott said...


We will do the best we can to work with you and all your family:-) We all believe there is hope for you:-)


child of grace said...

Living Dust:

Thank you for your kind comments (that's quite an image of a non-traditional Christian you conjured up!)


Anonymous said...


I've been away for a while, and haven't commented lately.

I appreciate the heart behind this post. I, too, would like much more civility, kindness, and courtesy on our blogs. I'll be sure to keep things civil over at my place. ;)


volfan007 said...




ps. it would take too big of a sheet for me, and i just dont look good in a hood...besides, they just go a direction that i wouldnt want to go.

Alyce Faulkner said...

jack (with a little j)
Amen and amen.

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
Country Baptist Preacher,
Your dog story of the little dog whipping the big dog was interesting in the concept of the SBC.

I have another ‘dog story’ that may apply also. Our neighbor had a dog that didn’t like a pup that was purchased. Once every day the dog chewed on the pup and made him beg for his life. In time the pup got twice as big as the dog, and once every day, the former pup made the old dog beg for his life.

So, Jack Maddox,
Are you afraid the ‘pup’ is growing as you say, “I have seen a movement used by God to call a convention that was drifting into classical LIBERALISM maligned and the men whom God used to bring about change attacked and shot at with the sharpest of verbal and moral barbs!”

I believe the ‘pup’ are those who are waking up to the fact that the ‘trump card LIBERALISM’ was only a smokescreen to achieve their goals of legalism as the way fundamentalist believed.

BTW, why have you never responded when I said I would name two acts of ‘legalism’ since the ‘conservative resurgence’ for every one act of ‘liberalism’ you could name before the ‘takeover’?