Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Historic Vote No Amount of Spin Can Change

Last night the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio passed by a clear majority the recommendation to adopt the Executive Committee statement on the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. The official tally has not been released, but I was sitting in the back of the convention and saw with my own eyes the recommendation passed by a clear majority. The convention adopted the following statement:

"The Baptist Faith and Message is neither a creed, nor a complete statement of our faith, nor final and infallible; nevertheless, we further acknowledge that it is the only consensus statement of doctrinal beliefs approved by the Southern Baptist Convention and such is sufficient in its current form to guide trustees in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the Convention."

This statement is clear, concise and incredibly important.

In essence, the convention said that the agencies and institutions of our convention do not have the right to narrow doctrinal parameters beyond the BFM 2000.

This does not negate agencies establishing policies because of 'moral,' or 'ethical,' or pragmatic concerns -- but it does let the agencies know that no tightening of the doctrinal parameters shall occur without full convention approval. The agencies are children to the mother (the convention), and the children do not tell the mother what is, or is not, a Southern Baptist in terms of doctrine.

It seems to me that trustees of our agencies must take into account the action of this convention before they attempt to narrow the doctrinal standards of their insitution through policies, guidelines, or additional doctrinal confessions.

The mother has spoken.

I would encourage everyone to watch the debate at the SBC.net video archives. There was no confusion over the issue from those debating the motion, and there was no confusion on what the convention was being asked to vote upon. Some people are very upset because they believe the wheels have fallen off the doctrinal bus of the SBC (not true, but that's how they feel).

Some of us are absolutely ecstatic because the children of our convention (the agencies) have been given a little spanking by the mother. They have been told they have no right to say who is, or isn't a Southern Baptist. If agencies draft policies or guidelines that go beyond the BFM 2000, and then exclude otherwise qualified Southern Baptists from participation in missions or evangelism ministry based upon those policies or guidelines that reach beyond the Baptist Faith and Message -- then they are violating the very convention who elected them to serve as trustees.

Now, let's see if the kids listen.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

P.S. The vote was 57% in favor of the recommendation.


Anonymous said...

How could you see with your own eyes the results if it was a ballot vote and that the tally has not been release yet? Just curious...

Matt said...

Interesting title to the post, especially considering the following statement therein:

"Some of us are absolutely ecstatic because the children of our convention (the agencies) have been given a little spanking by the mother."

Seems to me that the spin cycle is indeed set on high.


I personally thought Bob Cleveland did a great job speaking to this issue and really put things in perspective when he spoke of how he could change the BFM.


Uh, anonymous. Everyone held up their ballots at first to show their vote. Then we use the ballots to cast a vote.

Bart Barber said...

Now, if I had been voting on what Wade just wrote, I would have had to vote no. But, since we were voting on this statement—one which describes the role the BF&M has had all along—I gladly voted yes.

Bart Barber said...

I sense the oncoming of another one of these debates in which Wade (the ever-tolerant and open-minded one) tells us that his interpretation of a text is the only way that anybody can ever interpret it.

Just watch and see...it is coming.

Anonymous said...

"In essence, the convention said that the agencies and institutions of our convention do not have the right to narrow doctrinal parameters beyond the BFM 2000.

This does not negate agencies establishing policies in areas 'moral,' or 'ethical,' or pragmatic grounds -- but agencies are children to the mother (the convention), and the children do not tell the mother what is, or is not, a Baptist in terms of doctrine."

Therefore Southern should cease using the Abstracts since they NARROW the BFM2K. And to your own admittance are in conflict with the BFM2K.

Do you agree Wade?? hmmm... ;)

Steve Allen

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Lets see, you are saying that you support this but you have caveats. You say this limits the Trustees but the wording says otherwise. You say "we" or "some" are upset, but this we voted for it!

Wade maybe this is the spin zone. You promote that which you cannot sign without "issues" and then say it limits. Maybe what this did do was say that now you must either agree with or resign as a Trustee.

Jack Maddox said...


Question? Does not the ethical issues you have alluded to not have their basis in theology? Is divorce a moral issue that exist out of a theological vacuum, or do those that have various views on the subject not claim that the basis for their positions are based upon the Word of God (theology) The BFM does not address divorce. How about the moral issue of gluttony? Ben has written quite eloquently on the sin of gluttony and used the Word of God to justify his position (Theology) The BFM does not address gluttony. Are the agency’s now limited in their ability to deal with these issues. I believe Dr. Kelly made it very clear what his position is!

Yes Wade the wheel has fallen off...but I believe that not a few folks got a wake up call tonight...and the wheel is far from being beyond repair!

BTW...you posted earlier that the election of Jim Richards would be the convention endorsing a man who and I quote you

"Jim Richards represents the ideology that there are no tertiary doctrines in the Bible, and you must agree with me on every issue or you cannot be considered a true Southern

So Wade, which is it...with a 3-1 ratio of victory for Dr. Richards, has the convention today endorsed the above narrow fundamentalism you speak about ever so often or has it rejected the narrowing of parameters by men like Dr. Richards? I really am at a loss to what red hearing to catch or which straw man to burn! : )

btw - thanks for praying for my daughter, she is doing much better.


Ron Phillips, Sr. said...

Matt, You are correct. I had to hold my laptop down hard to keep it from spinning when I got to this blog. :)

Bart, I agree with you. Nothing in the resolution makes the BFM a maximal doctrinal statement. It is there "...to guide trustees in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the Convention.” (emphasis mine).

Ron P.

Anonymous said...

Wade, it sounds like we can make a good guess as to what some of the folks on this thread had for dinner, tonight. . .Could it have been. . .sour grapes? ;^)

In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice that the questions thrown at Patterson were all softballs. "Dr. Patterson is it true that you ended world hunger?" "Dr. Patterson what is it like to be the greatest leader the SBC has ever known?"

I certainly don't agree with much of what Ben Cole has to say but c'mon it was obvious that people were stacked at the mics.

Anonymous said...


It is interesting that you have already begun the spin by stating, "there was no confusion over this issue." As I was explaining the real issue to the person sitting to my right, the people in front of me were shouting, "The '63 is enough." Two thoughts [at least]...

1). This was very well organized slight of hand on the part of your coalition. There is one reason and one reason only that the ones in support of the motion tried to shut down the debate early. You had to get it shut down before the real issue became evident. Richard Land and Hershel York were left standing at the microphone, given the chance, they would have clearly articulated what this motion would do.

2). May I say "congratulations." Have you considered that the very thing you have rejected you have now embraced. Now, not only is the BFM the minimum, but it is the maximum authority. Congratulations by brother, you have raised the BFM to creedal status. It and it alone is the final authority. The trustees and presidents have been divested of their authority and now all authority, majors and minors, resides in a document that was previously a 'minimum guide.'

Brother Cole, you may cue the shofar as the fat lady warms her vocal chords. Our "Message in Music" is next in the order of service, and she is here at the special invitation of the Burleson Coalition.

PS -- Nah, I really don't think she will make it to the stage. Once the Convention realizes the consequences, they will kindly dismiss her. Ref: Jim Richards [68%] and David Rogers [32%]. The Convention is still well aware of the past, and they have no desire to return to Egypt. BTW, nice job on Dr. Patterson... you really showed him.

John B.

Pastor Noel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Writer said...


I agree with your assessment of this motion and its importance on this convention. If it has truly passed, it is the highlight of the convention for me.


Matt said...

O, the lovely cacophony of victory horn-honking I currently hear outside my hotel window in San Antonio... Wait. Wade, Ben, Dwight, is that you???

Anonymous said...

what part of "only" do you Bart, Tim, and Ron do you not understand?

a simple student @ swbts

"... it is the only consensus statement of doctrinal beliefs approved by the Southern Baptist Convention ... "

Greg Welty said...



Body of trustees X read this statement, and say, "OK, the BFM is sufficient to guide us in our establishment of policies and practices. Now, this guy over here wants to serve as an employee, but he believes that part of the BFM is contrary to Scripture. Clearly, the BFM guides us to exclude this guy from employment. I mean, who ever heard of a theological guide which was both sufficient and negotiable?!"

What would you say to this line of reasoning, apparently inspired by the statement itself?

I'm genuinely not trying to trap you in the middle of your position. To be honest, I'm having a hard time trying to figure out what your position is.

Unknown said...

So was the lady at the mic who spoke about liking the BFM 63 ed. but not the 2000 ed. clear on what she was voting on?

It was also interesting to hear Dr. Kelley's take on it as prompted by a question: [my paraphrase] "I will continue to do as I always have done. This resolution has no effect on my seminary."

Ron Phillips, Sr. said...

A simple student @ swbts,

Bart does a much better job than I ever could at explaining why Wade's spin is so wrong on this:

Ron P.

Ron Phillips, Sr. said...

Sorry about the badly formed http.

Ron P.

Big Daddy Weave said...

Both sides cheering victory?!?

Talk about confusing...

Between watching my Yankees on mlb.tv and bits of the webcast via sbc.net here at the BU library, I did manage to catch a glimpse of Bart Barber, Wes, and the stylish Jack Maddox (twice, I think). During the Patterson report, I was waiting for BSC to appear at the microphone and respectfully open up a can! No appearance from my former Wacoan Jeremy Green either. So disappointing...

Alyce Faulkner said...

Ron P, a simple 'sorry' would be more than enough.
Voddie spoke this morning on unregenerate church membership, perhaps we could discuss unregenerate messengers. Much of what I saw with my own eyes makes me questions if the problem with the "16 million strong" is exactly what he referenced.

GeneMBridges said...

Therefore Southern should cease using the Abstracts since they NARROW the BFM2K. And to your own admittance are in conflict with the BFM2K.

Are the abstracts more narrow or wider? That depends on the way the BFM is read. It is intentionally vague in some areas. The areas in which they may be more "narrow" are those relating immediate imputation (the Abstract opts for it) and mediate imputation (the BFM2K opts for it), but, in the wider Reformed tradition, both exist happily together, ergo, there is good reason to say that the BFM2k's reading and that of the Abstract, because they peacefully coexist elsewhere can do so in the 2 seminaries using the Abstract. Those us preferring the majority view on imputation in the Reformed tradition (immediate) find the minority view (mediate) rather convoluted, but we don't make a big deal about it to make our Amyraldian brethren happy. Things would be more complicated if you started reading libertarianism into the BFM2k. That's possible, but that would require bring Hobbs' views in the 63 forward too, so it's a complex argument. Doing that, however, produces a tension in the BFM2k and makes it noncommital.

Another area would be the articles on regeneration/conversion, et.al. At worst, the BFM2k is noncommital on the logical ordus salutis, regarding the priority of regeneration or faith. At best, it is monergistic. Ergo, no conflict.

The article on justification in the BFM2K would be agreed upon by those who affirm the Abstract anyway, so the Abstract is "more narrow" but is already stipulating to the BFM2k's doctrine of justification. The BFM2k does not exclude an affirmation of positive imputation. Since those of us affirming imputation after the type described by the Abstract are teaching that what the BFM2k teaches is the other part of the doctrine of justification anyway, we can sign the BFM2k.

That said, I would, Wade, beware those who wish to remove the Abstracts from their historic position. It may require another motion that states that those agencies who have used the Abstracts from their inception, because they are already doing so, and because the Abstract represents the first historic statement of Southern Baptist theology in skeletal confessional abstraction may do so in deference to those who founded the SBC and established those documents, but they cannot use those documents to exclude individuals from service for doctrinal reasons. I'm not sure how to craft such a motion, but I'm sure you and one or more could certainly do so. I cannot help but think that Dr. Mohler was expressing that concern when he spoke of trustees making certain determinations.

I continue to make the statement that somebody must interpret the BFM2k, so this motion is really only backing up the problem by one step in the end. There are those who see it as a broad confession and there are those who see it narrowly. Who gets to interpret it? It's like the Roman rule of faith in a certain regard. Who gets to interpret the Councils? What definition of "person" do we use to interpret Chalcedon? The Greek Fathers? Richard St. Victor? Boethius? etc. If we go with Boethius, we wind up with tritheism. If we go with Richard, we wind up at a more orthodox place, but which way do we go? And if we run to Calvin and the Reformed tradition, we wind up denying Nicene subordination and explaining the procession of the Persons differently than Nicea.

Jack Maddox said...


WOW! Are you questioning the salvation of messengers simply die to their disagreement with the position of those you do agree with. That is amazing...we are the ones who are supposedly narrow and exclusive yet no one is questioning anyone’s salvation that I am aware of. Surely you did not mean this. I thought all the messengers were very respectful and quite frankly gracious. What did you see that differs with my take?

Big Daddy....

Stylish? Dude, I have been called a lot of things, but never stylish! Now Ben was very GQ today. As far a 2 times...yes you are right, but I am through for this year before they start referring to me as Jack "Wiley Drake" Maddox!

Stylish??? I never thought I would hear that!


Ron Phillips, Sr. said...


I did not just say "sorry" without explaining for what, due to being in the WSZ (Wade Spin Zone). :)

Also, is it because such a large majority voted for Jim, that you are accusing them of being lost?

Ron P.

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...


I really did enjoy meeting you this evening during dinner. Your comment to me as I recall was that since we shook hands, I would be nice! I have never been mean much less questioned someones salvation for disagreeing over an issue. I saw much good discussion, people being introduced to one another, smiling, little if any rudeness at all. Please pray tell what you saw that would cause you to make such a statement?

I realize that I did not offer to buy your dinner nor CB's nor Bob's but I would have if it could have made a difference :)

Unknown said...


For those seeing a contradiction between the BFM and the Abstract, consider Chapman's second point:

If an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention adopts a confession of faith separate and distinct from the Baptist Faith and Message and it includes a doctrine unsupported by our confessional statement, the entity should request approval from the Convention prior to including the doctrine in its confession.

The possibility would be there for the messengers to disallow the Abstract's usage. Are you cautioning against those such as Chapman in statements like this? Also, if the consensus opinion is that the BFM is interpreted as a maximum (which this resolution did not say), on what logical grounds would you justify the motion to protect the Abstract? For once it was approved along with the BFM, it would become a "consensus" document, as the consensus of messengers approved it.

irreverend fox said...


wow...I think you hit a nerve!

I hope to God that your understanding of this vote and it's implications are right...I'm having a hard time reading as much into this as you are...but I hope your take it right.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Yep fox, he hit a nerve alright?

I have just one question Jack, Dr. Welty etc. If it was for the purpose that you say......why did Jeremy Green speak against it? :)

Dr. Welty: I'm no formally trained theologian and I see Wade's position clearly. He's been very upfront and open about all of his positions. I'm having trouble understanding why you are having trouble figuring it out. It's pretty clear cut.

Unknown said...

Debbie, it is also pretty clear cut that Jeremy has rescinded his opposition to the motion.

wadeburleson.org said...

Um, Bart, I think anyone with a modicum of sensibility simply needs to watch the video, and it will be clear what was being voted on. And, you might better talk to your friends at the microphone ready to speak adamantly against the resolution --- they seem to have understood the implications. Maybe they can help you see yourself.

wadeburleson.org said...

Steve Allen,

Southern and Southeastern both need to come back to the convention and request acceptance of the Abstract as the institutional confession under which they abide. I'm sure the convention will be sympathetic and open, simply because the Abstract predates the BFM and several have taken the position there is no real, or apparant conflict.


wadeburleson.org said...

am laughing as I go to bed this evening.

Jerry Corbaley and Jeremy Green both need to start a school teaching people how to say one thing one day, and then say they didn't mean it the next.

It took Corbaley two days to say he deceived people on his view on the gift of tongues and Jeremy Green two hours to say he was 'uninformed' when he adamantly spoke against the recommendation.


You guys made clear the implications IF people vote FOR THE RECOMMENDATION --- and they DID!

Now you are saying the implications are not what you initially said they were.

That's just silly.

Be people of integrity -- you lost.

The entire convention took a position contrary to your own.

Anonymous said...

I believe this is a terrible vote. I believe removes from the trustees the ability to apply policy which reflects the vast majority of Southern Baptists.

Now there must be a continual running battle to ammend the BF&M until we have such a cumbersome document it will no longer be useful.

I believe people were confused. I believe once this matter is fully digested, it will be a boondoggle of Edsel proportions.

I also believe the inability of trustees to disapprove those who believe in tongues, social drinking, and/or questionable baptism will drive more churches to direct their missions giving directly to those missionaries they know and trust, moving us closer and closer to model employed by other Baptist groups to support missionaries.


Anonymous said...

An article by liberal Louisville news paper reporter Peter Smith at



In a separate radio interview, the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Paige Patterson, contended that the new generation of dissenters doesn't "understand enough church history to crawl out of a thimble" and are unwittingly allowing the church to drift toward liberalism.

Burleson disagreed, saying in an interview that he opposes any effort to enforce the "traditions of men" if they aren't clearly spelled out in the Bible.

Question 1. Is this a correct statement of the exchange?

Question 2. Wade, won't you admit that Paige at least has a valid point about people not knowing history?

Question 3. Are you saying in your statement about not accepting the "traditions of man" that you don't accept the Council of Nicaea in 325 and you are open on the old argument of homoousios versus homoiousios? Or you do you accept some "traditions of man" but not others?

Anonymous said...

Can someone guide me to link to view the archives for this years meeting...i.e. I missed it last night and want to watch it today.


Ms Shunary N. Yourup :)

Bart Barber said...


Aren't you glad I'm around? Just think how much less laughter you would have in your life without me!

But obviously, I believe (and have said as much) that everyone at the microphones last night misunderstood the implications of the statement.

...Discussion against the motion
...Discussion in favor of the motion
...Sermons and addresses in the convention
...Blog posts and comments

None of these things were voted on last night. Solely the actual text of the statement was voted upon.

You do note, don't you, that I endorsed this motion before it ever even came to the floor. After your dismal loss in the 1VP election, why would I do such a thing unless I were sincere?

Pastor Brad said...

I confess, I was confused about its implications, as I watched the video stream. Clearly I am not alone.

However, we could not be in more agreement when you said...
"Be people of integrity -- you lost.
The entire convention took a position contrary to your own."

So when should I expect your post relating to the sound defeat of David Rogers, your "widen the parameters" candidate? When your statement of concession?

Even 2,000 miles away, I could understand that vote.
I'll be waiting patiently...

Anonymous said...

Wade lost these battles a month ago, when he decided to be a follower of Carter, Clinton, and Underwood.

Matt said...

The problem, Bro. Wade, is that you are saying the vote meant only what you say it meant. You regularly rail against those who claim to speak for the convention in matters of doctrinal issue, yet you'll smugly sit here and implicitly claim to speak for the entire convention concerning the meaning of last night's vote.

Anonymous said...

Will you now sign the BFM with reservation?

Anonymous said...

Pardon me, my comment should have said, Wade,

Will you now sign the BFM withOUT reservation?

Anonymous said...

Just a couple of quick thoughts in a long discussion. I do think there was confusion on the floor, especially among those who have not been following what is going on at SWBTS and IMB. At the same time, I think the intention was clear -- to be restrictive -- and for that I am thankful.

In response to the one who was pondering Dr. Kelley's remark, it is the response of an institution that only uses the BF&M as the guide for being a part of the faculty -- no additions.

gmay said...

As I stated on my blog, I am afraid this motion is opening a Pandora's box that neither side of the issue will appreciate in the long run. Words from your previous post illustrate my reasoning.
From June 7.
"Personally, I don't have near as much of a problem with SEMINARIES having confessions that are narrower than the BFM 2000."
One of your responses on this blog says that Southern will now have to bring the Abstract of Principle before the convention. This is a Pandora's box. If we think the issue of tightened parameters is emotionally charged, just wait until you start debating second or third tier issues such as election at the convention.

If this motion limits how far the trustees are allowed to go, it stands to reason with me that it also dictates how far they must go. If this document is enforced strictly as a doctrinal guide, then those who sign it with caveats will need to be removed from their positions. Some would agee as long as it is only the major doctrines. I think the motion implies that all doctrines contained within the BF&M are major doctrines when we say it is a doctrinal guide.

Pastor Brad said...

I'm guessing I'll probably be waiting a VERY long time for that one...
I guess this is why Dr. Patterson's report bothered you - he dealt with his challengers, rather than ignoring them.

Anonymous said...

IMHO this motion was nothing more than a smokescreen. It is uninforcable, it still requires interpretation- but it is a great discussions starter and ENDER when people complain about "extra" doctrine enforcement at agencies. The fundy political machine has rarely made a political mistake- i would not celebrate this just now. Perhaps those interested and those that have recently joined in the debate have been duped.
just my thoughts- time will truly tell.
John daniels

Anonymous said...

What will this mean for Mohler having professors sign the AOP @ SBTS?


Anonymous said...

nevermind that question...i hadn't read the comments yet...

wadeburleson.org said...


Simply have the seminaries bring their abstract to the convention, ask for approval for it to be THE INSTITUTION'S doctrinal guideline, explain why -- and the convention will approve.

That will keep Seminary Presidents from giving their reports at the SBC that sound more like an IMB report than an academic institution report.

Seminary Presidents run no other agency but their own.

irreverend fox said...

Wade please correct me if I am wrong...

the issue is not if a certain trustee has personal convictions beyond the BF&M2000...or if a trustee has a personal issue with the wording of the BF&M2000…that he or she does not personally agree with each sentence in the document…

the issue is that our trustees should not be allowed to discriminate...one way or another...based upon their PERSONAL, secondary, INTERPRETATIONS and OPINIONS of those secondary issues.

Wade might have a problem with the wording of the BF&M2000 for example...I know I do in a few silly instances…that's fine...but what would not be fine is if he took HIS PROBLEM and made it a GUIDLINE and discriminated candidates based upon HIS PROBLEM with the wording of the BF&M2000. The converse is true as well...it is FINE for a trustee to have a PERSONAL conviction on a theological issue that goes beyond the BF&M20000…it's not ok to take that PERSONAL conviction and discriminate with it.

this is not about the personal beliefs of the trustees on secondary issues...this is about the ability of those trustees to DISCRIMINATE based upon those personal beliefs and interpretations.

Wade...am I understanding you correctly here? Is this your position? Because if it is…and since I’m your number one commenter I’m pretty sure I know my rabbi well…I think it is and I agree with you.

wadeburleson.org said...

Irreverend Fox,

Bingo. Could not have said it better.

Since we also voted last night that the BFM was not infallible (thank the Lord for that one), I feel quite comfortable with my wholehearted affirmation of the BFM with only two very minor disagreements over 'closed communion' (I believe in modified open communion as do the majority of Southern Baptist churches) and the innocency of infants until they personally sin (I believe the Bible teaches infants are guilty before they actually sin).

Now, here comes the rub.

Since I wholeheartedly affirm the BFM 2000 - except for those two areas I've mentioned above. I have also pointed out three other minor wording problems (the 'Spirit baptizing rather than 'Christ' etc . . . ), but those were not mine own personally, but written by Sam Storms and used to illustrate a point over 'minor' doctrines vs. 'major' doctrines.

Nevertheless, if someone believes you can't wholeheartedly affirm the BFM 2000 while expressing disagreement over closed communion and the innocency of infants, well then, make a recommendation for my removal before the very convention that placed me as a trustee.

I would have no objection!


In fact, I can't wait till I have the opportunity to respond before the entire convention to such a recommendation.

It will be like pulling back the curtain in the Wizard of Oz and people seeing what's looking behind it isn't quite as scary as they thought.

In other words, conservatives disagreeing over minor doctrines, but cooperating in missions for the purpose of God's glory and the good of this earth is not only possible -- it's the Southern Baptist way.

And I can assure you, most Southern Baptists will see people from other churches taking communion with my people as a minor doctrine -- as well as the debate as to whether or not infants who die in infancy are guilty because of Adam's sin (as do I, but I also believe they are part of the elect and redeemed by Christ), or are innocent until they personally and actually sin (as the BFM 2000).

These are non-issues.

Anonymous said...

Funny how Wade has yet to put his spin on the landslide election of Jim Richards to 1st Vice President. Wade, are you ever going to address this?

You can count me as one who doesn't understand where Wade is coming from on this. I don't see how the acceptance of this policy has gave "victory" to Wade's side.

Greg Welty's logic is very precise in his post...and so far, Wade has ignored that post and continues to live in his spin world.

After reading posts from Wade over the past week...I am really starting to believe that Wade's position is whatever makes Wade and "his side" look like the winners. The mere fact that Wade had to brag about his suppose "victory" over those who "loss" really worries me. Where is the unity in that type of talk?

I admit that I haven't been at the convention this year. Yet, so far, I have yet to see any vote come out of the Convention that seems to give support to "Wade's side". Jim Richards won by a landslide...and this policy doesn't say what Wade thinks it says.

R. L. Vaughn said...

I posted this question on Bart Barber's blog, and would like to ask it here as well.

In practical application, who will determine the meaning of this statement? For example, when our US Congress passes a law the courts (and ultimately the Supreme Court) finally determine what it means. What about in SBC life? Will each instituation/agency determine for itself what the statement means? Or is there someone else to interpret it and enforce a consistent application of it from agency to agency?

While the statement itself may be "clear and concise", the multitudinous ideas about it are not.

davidinflorida said...

Pastor Wade,

You said " this does not negate agencies establishing policies because of moral or ethical or pragmatic concerns".

You don`t think that some would consider ppl to be immoral or pragmatic, do you?

That could never happen in the SBC, or could it?

Anonymous said...

I'm a journalist at the convention right now -- if you'd like to talk about the likely impact of this resolution, call me 512.940.8012 or email me at
michael dot erard at-sign gmail dot com

Rob Ayers said...

To some who continue to mire about:

Why is it so difficult to percieve this? The Convention has reserved for itself the duty of determining doctrinal suitability - and however messy that is, then that is what will be. The discussion of doctrine is a GOOD thing - it gets all of those things open and in the air. The Congregationalist system is a GOOD thing. Now I know some of you go to churches where you have not had a business meeting in 10 years, but the rest of us enjoy the system which our ancestors thought was superior. The convention has affirmed two things: experience of leadership (Dr. Jim) and the importance of the Convention being the arbiter of all things doctrinal. If these agencies wish for any further guidelines not contained in the BF&M, they are more than free to bring it to the Convention for discussion and approval. Baptist discussion and diliberation is slow (note the motion referals not to be decided until the 2008 Convention) yet it has been found to be the best. Why are you guys so afraid of the churches?


Anonymous said...

What Dr. Al Mohler said.

Greg Welty said...


I have no dog in this fight over the statement itself. You and Bart are both very bright individuals, and yet you interpret it in radically different ways:

Wade: the BFM is a maximal doctrinal standard, but not a minimal one
Bart: the BFM isn't a maximal doctrinal standard, but it is a minimal one

Indeed, there's a third view which also seems compatible with yesterday's statement: the BFM is both a minimal and maximal doctrinal standard (for trustee policy and practice).

My view is that the statement is pretty useless if it's compatible with all three views above. Key words like "sufficient" and "guide" just weren't explained clearly enough, to rule out rival views. At the very least, I think my analysis is more plausible than one which posits that either Wade or Bart lacks basic intelligence :-)

But that is neither here nor there. Based upon your most recent comment here, I have to conclude that you believe that the BFM is a sufficient guide for doctrine, but some of its doctrines are negotiable.

You don't see any problem at all with that position? Honestly?

Jack Maddox said...

Thank God for Dr. Mohler!!!


Matt said...

Ouch. It seems the only "spanking" that's been handed out is the one the convention just gave you via Dr. Mohler a few moments ago.

If the applause of the convention is any indication, the entire substance of this post is erroneous.

ml said...

Yeah Wade seems like the sentiments made via the resolution and its acceptance are now matters of "interpretation" of what the actual use of the resolution will be. Looks an aweful lot like the responses after Sunday services when people say, "wonderful service preacher," and then go on their way unchanged. Appears this resolution will have--no, produce--little functional teeth on the practices of our agencies.

Anonymous said...

Irreverend Fox said it correctly: Wade, you struck a nerve.

At the same time, Wade, I am sometimes astonished at your naivete--in saying that it can't be spun! Of course it can, it will, and it already has been. By next week though, one of two things will have happened (getting out the old crystal ball here): either the spin by then will make today's look like up-and-down-straight-reporting, OR those who dislike it will simply ignore it/forget it (I'm sure they will find adequate justification--what politician can't, within the church or without it?).

And as far as the "contradiction" between this vote and the election of Jim Richards: OK, in terms of logic, and without any other parameters or mitigating factors, it could be seen as a contradiction. Call it post-modernism, or call it simply human nature (I think that one), people do sometimes come to conclusions which are apparently illogical. It is illogical for the American electorate to elect a congress dominated by one political party, and a President who is of the other, yet that is exactly what has happened for all but the last six of the past past 20 or 30 years. Illogical--if understood that one vote or the other (congressional or Presidential) is some sort of an absolute mandate. But what is going on, in reality, seems to be that the American public wants some checks and balances between the two branches of government, so with considerable consistency, they have kept "balancing" government between the two parties. (BTW, we're talking perception here, not constitutional law.) Whether or not that has been effective is a different question altogether, but it seems to describe what has gone on. Had it happened only once, it could easily be explained as a fluke, as superior electionering tactics, etc., but for the pattern to be repeated over so many years, that can hardly be. I suspect the two votes at the SBC are much the same thing: the Southern Baptist people (at least the messengers) want some balance, and see the two "contradictory" votes as providing that. Whether or not this will provide effective balance is a different question altogether--one that will be answered by the actions of the IMB, SWBTS, and other SB agencies in the coming months, and at next year's Convention.

John Fariss

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

The EC statement says that the BF&M is not a complete statement, but it also says that it is sufficient to guide trustees. How can something be incomplete and sufficient at the same time? There’s only one answer. The BF&M is a sufficient guide only in those areas that it addresses. It does not address tongues, divorced ministers, etc., so it is not a sufficient guide in such areas.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives typically hold
that the meaning of any text should be determined according to "strict construction" of "original intent."

I think that Dr. Barber would never use his interpretive
strategy(the text can mean whatever one can construe the words of the text to allow)to
the Constitution or to the Bible. So why-o-why does he apply it to the resolution in question?

It is very clear what the Executive Committee intended / understood in the language of resolution text and how the resolution was undertood by the majority of those voting, whether 'yes' or 'no.'

Anonymous said...

Could someone give a recap of what Dr. Mohler said.


Steve Bezner said...

Wade, I agree with the passing of the resolution. Clearly the convention needs doctrinal orthodoxy, but it's refreshing to hear that said orthodoxy will be settled on the floor of the convention rather than in meeting rooms without broader dialogue.

Steve Bezner said...

Theologue, I agree with your assessment of how something could be both incomplete and sufficient simultaneously, but there is another facet. Theological discourse is continuously being updated and modified to engage issues...perhaps even some we've yet to imagine. In other words, I imagine that there may be some pressure to amend the BF&M in the future regarding, say, genetic cloning or some such. Just a thought.

wadeburleson.org said...

Anonymous Mike,

I must have missed your earlier question.

I am a fully functioning IMB trustee and have voted on every item of business since my tenure began two years ago, and shall continue. I speak freely, when I choose and as I please, but do all I can to listen to others and learn from them as well.

I don't know where you got your idea I couldn't vote, but that has never been the case, nor will it ever be.


Anonymous said...

I guess we can 'banter' this around for 11 months, but we'll bury 'it' 6' under with the proper interpretation when we elect Al Mohler as Pres. of the SBC in Indy('08) and Louisville('09). Nobody can articulate it better than "Dr. Al"...

Rhett Wilson said...

I have spent an hour or two today reviewing various blogs reporting on the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting.

I am reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 15:18, which I read today on the June 13 and 14 devotion of Henry Blackaby's Experiencing God Day by Day. Timely words.

I referenced them in my blog, www.rhettwilson.blogspot.com.

May God give us all sanctified mouths and sanctified communication which come from sanctified hearts.

Ephesians 4:29

Anonymous said...

I don't think the passing of the EC statement will change anything and believe it will lead to at least another year of clarification.

Anonymous said...

Did I hear Wade say that you cannot make everyone in the Southern Baptist Convention believe the same way? Oh my how we forget. I guess as long as you believe the same on those important issues as defined by, oh thats right, humans, not God. Things like speaking in tongues, eternal salvation, election, those are the minor things I guess. It seems to me that this is the same old same old, everybody wants to be in power and whoever isn't is going to say, "You can't make everybody believe the same" and whoever is will say, "We are doctrinally accountable to the convention as it speaks." I getting tired of the whole thing. There is absolutely no doubt why we are not reaching the lost, we are lost ourselves in the mud of pride and ego.

Wayne Hatcher said...

I didn't read what you read from Mohler. Maybe some of the others, but not Mohler. I listen to Mohler regularly on Southern's chapel podcast and his radio podcast, and he always sounds like that.

And "we were given the proverbial finger". Really now, was that necessary?

AndyHigg said...

I got that feeling from Mohler's tirade (which I was VERY surprised at) at the sem. pres. en masse don't see the BFM statement the same way...my pastor and I spent the whole Southern report trying to figure out if Mohler was pro-narrowing policies or against? Thoughts?

AndyHigg said...

just read the next posting about Mohler...questions answered!

Anonymous said...

"The agencies are children to the mother (the convention), and the children do not tell the mother what is, or is not, a Southern Baptist in terms of doctrine."

I guess I do not get it...don't these agencies...including the 'mother' get their money from the churches...our tithes?

There are many of us out in the 'churches' that would not be happy funding Warren style non-gospel. That is the real fear...