Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Hornets' Nest and Integrity at Our Seminaries

When I was a kid a observed over the course of several days Texas hornets building their nest in the dark crevice of our front porch. One day, after the nest was completely built and protected by the intruder hornets, I took a swipe at it with a broom handle. The swipe was a direct hit and the cacophony of violent buzzing assaulted my ears, not to mention the very intentional anger of those hornets who were told they didn't belong on this particular porch. The odd thing of this experience for me was that I had no animosity toward the hornets - in fact, I used my experience of observing them to eventually write a high school paper on persistence and teamwork.

But the hornets darn sure were mad at me.

I couldn't help but smile today as I heard Dr. Al Mohler give his 'seminary' report to our convention. Similar to Paige Patterson yesterday, Al's speech sounded more like the announcer at a World Wrestling Federation event whipping the crowd into a frenzy before the fight than a report by the erudite seminary President that he is. The messengers heard no statistics, no reports on new academic degrees or programs, and no financial information. What we did hear was how Southern Baptist messengers have absolutely no idea what we did last night in adopting the Executive Committee statement on the BFM 2000. I wonder if I am the only one who is just a little bit insulted at the suggestion SBC messengers are not smart enough to know what we are voting on. I, again, encourage everyone to watch the tape of the debate (I love the Internet).

There can be ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT messengers KNEW EXACTLY what they were voting on. Just like the hornets on my front porch, the reason some SBC leaders are mad is not because they didn't realize it wasn't 'their' porch when they started building their theological nests, they are upset because someone had the gall to knock them off the porch intentionally and without apology, telling them they had built their nest on the wrong porch. Seminary Presidents don't dictate 'de facto' what the convention believes by orchestrating the adoption of policies and guidelines that reflect their own theological shibboleths at institutions that they themselves guide (or worse, at those agencies they don't guide). Last night, the convention declared that our cooperation in missions and ministry revolves around the only consensus confession our convention has adopted - the Baptist Faith and Message. If you wish your doctrinal policies to be narrower and tighter at your agency, Mr. President, then get our approval. If you have great reasons for doing so - like hiring a seminary professor - we'll approve, but we won't be excluding people for disagreements over doctrinal matters not addressed by the BFM without full convention approval.

While walking back to the hotel I asked an older gentleman if he had heard Dr. Mohler's and Dr. Patterson's speeches to our convention. I think the gentleman's response indicated he was thinking in terms of the efficiency of his hearing aid rather than his presence in the arena because he responded, "I couldn't help but hear them. I had to turn down my hearing aid cause they were shoutin' so loud."

I admire Dr. Mohler. Like Al, I am personally reformed in my theology. We send students from our church to his seminary to receive the finest theological education in the land. I respect his theological acumen, passion and love for Christ. But today, Al Mohler showed me another side to his personality. He seemed angry. He seemed defiant. He seemed like his ego had been bruised. "How dare YOU tell ME what I can and cannot do."

According to Al, the motion passed last year at the Executive Committee (without debate or dissent), and adopted by SBC messengers last night, is the end of the Southern Baptist Convention as we know it, unless he and others do something about it. Joining Al as the guardians of the SBC are Paige Patterson, President of SWBTS, Richard Land, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and Chuck Kelly, President of New Orleans Theological Seminary.

These four men, led by Dr. Mohler today, thumbed their collective nose (Editors note: I changed the original analogy, desiring a little more grace here), "We do not care that you have told us the Baptist Faith and Message is the only consensus confession of the Southern Baptist Convention and is sufficient to guide us. We will draft any confessional statement, policy or guideline we desire because the hiring of seminary professors is critical to the future health of the SBC and the Baptist Faith and Message 'does not say enough' doctrinally to give us good hiring policies and guidelines."

Paige Patterson has already recommended to friends the disbanding of the SBC Executive Committee. Chuck Kelley said last night the adoption of the Executive Statement would have no effect on his institution and Richard Land has already angrily chastized two gracious SBC theologians who wrote an excellent book on grace and unity around the essentials and freedom in diversity on the nonessentials - a book given to all registered messengers in our SBC packet. The messages of these four men might best be considered like the pronouncements of the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse. They are not like the horsement in Revelation in terms of their persons or character (for we all know them to be fine Christian men), but their messages are those of death and destruction to the SBC if the messengers collective will wins out.

Famine, pestilence, disease and death. According to these four men, we are now ruined as a Convention. But is that not silly? What is it that scares these men? Read carefully again the motion that the entire Southern Baptist Convention adopted by a convincing majority on Tuesday night.

"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."

It reminds me of a little kid who gets scared because someone's in the room, only to have the light turned on and see it's Grandma.

There Is A Simple Solution That Nobody Wishes To Discuss

The convention has simply said, "If you wish to have doctrinal standards or guidelines that EXCEED the Baptist Faith and Message, simply GET convention approval!"

How easy is that? If Al Mohler wishes his seminary to be a Calvinistic seminary, which it is, and demands all professors be Calvinistic in their soteriology, which he does, then simply bring the Abstract of Principles to the Convention and articulate why we need a Calvistic theological seminary in the SBC. And you know what? The convention will approve. The Abstract, I guarantee you, will NOT be voted down as an additional institutional confession to the BFM 2000 --- for SOUTHERN SEMINARY. Frankly, I believe it can be shown that the convention has already affirmed its approval of the Abstract as the guiding confessional statement, above and beyond the BFM, for SOUTHERN Seminary

But, just as I listened to Al Mohler and Paige Patterson debate Calvinism at last year's Pastor's Conference and saw profound disagreement between the two men, if we were to attempt to get the Abstract as the additional institutional doctrinal confession at SOUTHWESTERN -- well then, Katy, bar the door! You talk about fireworks. The convention will look like New York Harbor on the night of July 4th.

There are SIX seminaries. For heaven's sake, one seminary may wish to ADD TO her doctrinal preciseness by adopting a confessional statement that holds to a particular interpretation on the gifts, that ALLOWS the seminary to hire continuationist Baptist professors like Dr. Sam Storms or C.J. Mahaney. For heaven's sake, Dr. Mahaney speaks for an entire week during campus revival at Southern, but because he speaks in tongues, and Dr. Mohler and Dr. Patterson demand that their trustees pass policies that prohibit tongues, they can't teach at Southern or Southwestern (or anyone like them). FINE -- bring those NEW doctrinal guidelines that go beyond the Southern Baptist Convention's Baptist Faith and Message to the convention during YOUR SEMINARY REPORT -- and let us as convention messengers vote to allow your institution to adopt this ADDITIONAL confession. We will when you explain to us WHY you need this at your seminary.

If we don't particularly like the narrow theological bent of your seminary, we very well may go to Golden Gate or Southeastern or somewhere else that doesn't adhere to those new doctrinal standards that exceed the BFM 2000 that your board, with convention approval, has adopted. We are not restricting you in any way from basing policies or guidelines on doctrinal interpretations of issues that are not addressed in the BFM 2000 -- get your trustees to adopt them and bring them to the convention for appropriate rationalization, debate and eventual implementation.

There's room enough in the SBC for six seminaries to disagree on matters of soteriology, ecclesiology, eschatology, etc . . . . Again, BE AS DOCTRINALLY PRECISE AS YOU DESIRE TO BE AND BRING YOUR ADDITIONAL CONFESSION TO THE SBC FOR APPROVAL!!

We'll honor it.

The Difference Between Seminaries and Convention Wide Agencies

There are six seminaries. ONE International Mission Board. There are six seminaries. ONE North American Mission Board. There are six seminaries. ONE Lifeway.

The Baptist Faith and Message is sufficient as the doctrinal standard for those agencies that represent EVERY Southern Baptist Church in our convention. Here is some helpful advice for the four men I've mentioned in this post - men I respect, but have no problem telling where they err in logic.

(1). You are the President of your agency alone, nobody else's.
(2). Don't try to tell us who is Southern Baptist and who isn't, the BFM does that.
(3). Add to the BFM all your heart desires for your institutional confession, we'll listen to your impassioned pleas for why you need the doctrinal preciseness, and approve it at our SBC with your well reasoned and well presented arguments.
(4). If we add to your institutional confession it does not mean a change in the general consensus confession that forms the basis of our cooperation -- the BFM.
(5). We don't want you demanding anyone be a Calvinist, or a Landmark, or a cessationist, or a continuationist, etc . . . We want freedom to cooperate while disagreeing on these issues.
(6). Keep your hands off the IMB and NAMB by demanding they reflect your personal, doctrinal shibboleths.
(7). Realize that the sheep are getting smarter.

We do quite well cooperating around the essentials of the faith, granting liberty in the non-essentials of the faith, and charity in all things.

That's who we are as the cooperating convention known as the SBC.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Anonymous said...

You do not know what you are talking about. You are ignorant of the facts. Yes, I could show you with your own words, but I'd rather let you and your little followers pat one another on the back for how clever you are to pull the wool over 57% of the people in the room last night's eyes.

Anonymous said...

You said,
"The convention has simply said, "If you wish to have doctrinal standards or guidelines that EXCEED the Baptist Faith and Message, simply GET convention approval!"

Wade, where does the motion say that all?

texasinafrica said...

The issues are different, but the rhetoric is the same as it was 20 years ago. I'm sorry you're on the receiving end this time, Wade, but I hope you're beginning to understand why those of us who are actually moderates (I still think you're a conservative!) were opposed to narrowing the doctrinal paramaters so much in the first place. Once the convention allowed this group of men to go down the road of determining what constitutes a Baptist in narrow terms, it's virtually impossible to stop them. Hang in there.

Michael Ruffin said...


You do realize, I hope, that this is never going to end, at least not before Jesus comes back.

The points are going to become finer and finer, the divisions deeper and deeper, and the anger harsher and harsher.

Soon, I suspect, a movement will begin to disenfranchise the new breed of "liberals" (not my word, but somebody used it this week) or "moderates" (a tag that will be placed on those who think like you do whether you accept it or not). And, twenty five years or so after that purge, somebody will think that another one is necessary.

I appreciate most of what you have tried to do. I hope that you and others are able to deal with what is coming.

Meanwhile, there are the lost and the lonely and the hungry and the outcast. I think I'll hang out with them and try to offer the Lord's help. Never once has such a person asked me how many angels could stand on the head of a pin.

Rob Ayers said...

Oh heavens. How ignorant the people are! How really ignorant they really are! How they do not understand like we do! How truly we have been endowed from on high, and have the repository of all that is righteous and holy and good, while the ignorant masses need our enlightenment. Anonymous - how really arrogant you sound!


Anonymous said...


If you are setting yourself up to fight a battle with Dr. Albert Mohler, I pity you. Dr. Mohler's opinion in the SBC is well respected.

You should really try to actually listen to what Dr. Mohler is saying instead of just hearing him.

Anonymous said...

anonymous #1,

shouldn't you be blaming the Exec Committee, and more specifically Morris Chapman?


Anonymous said...


Does this motion mean that SBTS can no longer use or require the professors to sign The Abstract of Principles, stating that they will teach in accordance and not contrary to it? The Abstract has been signed by every professor teaching at SBTS since its inception.

The Abstract was also written in such a way that a professor only has to agree with three out of the five points of Calvinism in order to sign the Abstract. While SBTS is Calvinistic, the professors are not required to be 5-point Calvinists. I attended Boyce College at SBTS and not all of the professors and teachers, many of whom were also SBTS professors, were 5-pointers. Some were 3, but most were 4 pointers.

Drs. Akin and Moore are both 4-pointers and are extremely close friends with Dr. Mohler.

I agree that we do not need to narrow the parameters. However, I do see the need for vigilance within our seminaries. I do not know what the answer is, but the rise of liberalism flowed out of our seminaries into our convention. The schools do answer to the Convention. I believe that we have very fine men leading all six of our seminaries. The days ahead will be interesting.

foxofbama said...

Will be quoting your line about Mohler giving the SBC the Finger and disseminating it where I can.
In Meantime I encourage you and Ben Cole to engage the discussion rooted in harold Bloom's Exquisite chapter on the SBC in his early 90's The American Religion.
There you will find analysis of SBC 88 in San Antonio and the resolution on the priesthood of the believer.
De Ja Vu all over again as you and Ben Cole are finding out there head up against the fundy juggernaut.
Yarnell in the Houston Chronicle got it right; mass confusion.
Good Luck: Stay on board for the Baptist Covenant next Jan in Atlanta.
Keep an eye out for what Randall Balmer will say at the BJC luncheon when the CBF meets in a couple weeks in DC.
And follow the various discussions about to combust with your friends at
Sfox of Bama

Anonymous said...

Apparently you listened to a different report from Al MOhler than I did. I heard no anger. I heard no vitriol. I heard no question of the intelligence of the messengers that approved the resolution. I did not see a bruised ego.
What I did see was a seminary president stating very clearly, that when it comes to hiring faculty, you must have a more indepth interview process than "do you affirm the BF&M?"
You sir have come close to slandering Dr. Mohler in your questioning of his motives (which you did indirectly). You can say that you respect the "four horsemen" as fine Christian gentlemen, but your rhetoric betrays you.
You have not treated them as fine Christian gentlemen, nor have you acted like one.


Bret Capranica said...

From the response of the people in the convention hall during Dr. Mohler's report, the majority did not understand last night's vote as our brother Wade understood it. Wade I came this year to listen carefully to you. I have great respect for you but believe your interpretation is not ultimately healthy for our convention. Thank you for being clear in where you stand. You have helped me in the discussion (I say that sincerely).

Greg Welty said...

The EC statement says that the BFM "is sufficient in its current form to guide trustees in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the Convention."

Wade says: "If you wish to have doctrinal standards or guidelines that EXCEED the Baptist Faith and Message, simply GET convention approval!"

In other words, the EC statement is incorrect. The BFM *isn't* sufficient to guide trustees. They, in addition, need to bring their proposals before the entire convention for approval.

Wade, you are "agreeing" with the EC statement, only to implicitly reject it. If the BFM is a sufficient guide, then trustees shouldn't need *another* guide, namely, the will of the assembled messengers.

That's why your position is so confusing, and borders on incoherence.

BTW, the case of Southern illustrates why the mother-child analogy completely breaks down here. The idea that Southern Seminary has to now come to get convention approval for a doctrinal statement that has governed it *for the past 150 years* is comical. Southern is not a child. At the very least, it's an adolescent, if not a grown man.

Obviously, "mama" has been quite happy with Southern for the past 150 years. Is this even a blip on your radar?

Anonymous said...

Amen to texasinafrica. The SBC is reaping the harvest of the seeds it began planting in 1979.

Anonymous said...

The lords of the ivory towers are angered. Their power is threatened and they will not be quiet.

I fear they have forgotten that they too, even as IMB and NAMB missionaries, are accountable to the SBC.

In fact, the seminaries, save for NOBTS, have a single owner: The SBC.

Anonymous said...

Boohoo. The poor little Christians can't get along. Cry me a river. If you ever feel that non-Christians treat you with contempt, you've rightfully earned it with your bickering and name calling. I'm not a Christian, thank god, nor will I become one. I can argue with people at the bar and at least have a drink while I'm doing it.

gmay said...

It was good to meet you this morning, I do believe faces to go with names and comments are imporant.

This post helped me to understand the motion that passed last evening really did not accomplish what you had hoped. The wording is to vague and inclusive. Note.
"is sufficient in its current form to guide trustees in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the Convention." Guides assit you in making decisions, but they do not make them for you.

A strict interpretation of the word guide coupled with doctrinal accountability, would require all trustees and employees to sign without caveat. The establishment of policies and practices are still to be governed by the trustees. Whatever we do, we should be consistent. If its good for the institution, it is good for the trustees.

Wade, I really have no trouble with you serving as a trustee and I would like to see the PPL guidelines returned to the former. My contributions to these discussion is aiwth a hope for our actions to be consistent.

Writer said...


Once again I agree with your perspective on these events. As I mentioned in my blog today, "To ignore the will of the SBC convention is to effectively implement heirarchal rule. Ignoring the results of this vote is, in effect, ruling from the top down not from the bottom up which is anathema to Southern Baptists."

Good job.


Rev. said...

The 'Other Brother' stated: "Boohoo. The poor little Christians can't get along. Cry me a river. If you ever feel that non-Christians treat you with contempt, you've rightfully earned it with your bickering and name calling. I'm not a Christian, thank god, nor will I become one. I can argue with people at the bar and at least have a drink while I'm doing it."

Perhaps his comments will serve as a sober reminder of what the Lord Jesus prayed for in John 17.

Anonymous said...

other brother - hehe - That is surreal! I can't imagine being an enemy of God and all things Christian, and yet still find my way to a Christian blog discussing Christian issues. Weird!

Interesting perhaps, the fact you don't understand is expressed in scripture. In simple terms, spiritual things are not something you can understand. You don't have the ability. So don't fret. The Bible says that the things of God are foolishness to those that are perishing...that would be you.

However, if you would just happen to stumble through the inerrant, infallible Bible like you apparently stumbled through an errant, fallible (sorry Wade :) ) man initiated Christian blog, the things of God might be illuminated to you, the grace of God may do it's work in you, and you will find eternal rest for your soul.

If not, keep visiting Christian blogs. Good grief, if you are just killing time, you could do a lot worse on the internet than reading Christian blogs.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a link to see the proceedings? All I can find are other years.

I can find this years, but only if I watch it live. I want to watch yesterdays proceedings now. Where can I do that?


Anonymous said...

I think the post by texasinafrica says it all.

I am really beginning to question the intent of Wade Burleson and those who support him. Disagreement is one thing...but all I see from the Burleson segment is a desire for conflict and confusion.

I will stand with men like Dr. Patterson and Dr. Mohler any day over men who seem to be getting the support of the moderates/liberals who fought against the Conservative Resurgence.

Conservatives in the SBC better wake up...there is a cancer growing among our ranks.

Anonymous said...


The overwhelming majority of SBC'ers DO NOT want to bring every critical trustee/president decision to the annual convention to vote yea or nay. However your continued tirades, complaints, and whines against the authority of the institutions that the SBC'ers have put IN PLACE is driving it that direction. Why? Because you will not accept nor submit to the authorities in place.

The more you fight against what the majority of SBC'ers have put in place, the deeper you sink in the quicksand of your arrogance. I believe you are up to your nose.

I know you are tenacious and are 'not going away'. I are just sinking out of sight. :)

Steve Allen

Steve Bezner said...

Wade, good thoughts presented in this post.

A few thoughts I'm having after reading it:

1. The convention benefits from a diverse theology represented through its six seminaries. I can understand, of course, why some might disagree with that assessment, but it seems that, historically speaking, the best of Christian theology has been formed in the crucible of theological tension and difference.

2. Personally speaking, it seems that the convention would benefit even more by organizing diverse faculties representative of a variety of theological positions at each seminary. In other words, it seems that graduates from Southern and Southwestern might talk past one another theologically, since their classroom experiences were formed either for or against Calvinism, respectively speaking.

3. Baptist theological education would greatly deepen if we encouraged those who are professors or who aspire to become professors to study occasionally at institutions where they could dialogue and argue with those who hold different theological positions. Sometimes it seems we are concerned with theological issues that the rest of theologians have moved beyond. For example, while Calvinism is at the heart of the SBC theology debate these days, the broader theological scene is discussing hermeneutics and the impact of the biblical narrative on church practice. It would be exciting if we could have our own private discussions but simultaneously engage discussion and argumentation with the broader Christian theological community.

irreverend fox said...

this IS the end times...57% of the very elect have had the wool pulled over their WADE BURLESON THE ANTI-CHRIST!!!


Hey Anonymous #1 (the first commenter here)…only wimps and liberals stay anonymous!


Woooo! I love denominational warfare! This is far better than fooling with that God forsaken world out there!

Anonymous said...


Some I have spoken to think you have been grandstanding for the last two years. I don't think so...I hope that you will express your motivation for your convictions soon! said...

Uh, I've think I've been pretty clear.

What you read is what you get.

Cooperation around the essentials, liberty in the non-essentials and charity in all things.

Anonymous said...

For Anonymous that wanted a link to the proceedings, here it is.

Just cut-n-paste that into your browser...

Anonymous said...

Ooops..let me try that again..

SBC Convention 2007 Archives

irreverend fox said...

oh don't know what you are talking about! you are ignorant of the facts...stop trying to pull the wool over the rest of our eyes...57% is impressive...but you'll NEVER fool me!



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link, but I have that link. It only shows Monday night as far as I can tell. Is it possible to see anything from Tuesday?...or does it take more time.


Anonymous said...


I have a question. I've asked this of Les, and I would like to ask you.

According to your interpretation of this said this:

"If Al Mohler wishes his seminary to be a Calvinistic seminary, which it is, and demands all professors be Calvinistic in their soteriology, which he does, then simply bring the Abstract of Principles to the Convention and articulate why we need a Calvistic theological seminary in the SBC."

Are you now saying that in order for SBTS to use the Abstract of Principles in its hiring has to get Convention approval? And if SBTS doesn't, are they going against the will of the Convention?

Greg Welty said...

According to the transcript of Morris Chapman's report to the convention, Chapman said:

"Revising the Baptist Faith and Message should not be lightly regarded nor should our confessional statement be revised year after year. However, if we believe a doctrine is a part of the core belief system of Southern Baptists, it should be in the Baptist Faith and Message."

This is Chapman's own attempt to explain the significance of the EC statement. And on his view, anything in the BFM "is a part of the core belief system of Southern Baptists."

It looks to me like he rejects the view that there are tertiary, negotiable doctrines *within* the BFM. Rather, on his view the BFM is a *minimal* grounds of doctrinal accountability. Of course, Chapman believes other things. But he believes at least this.

Am I reading this right?

irreverend fox said...

greg...I think he said it "should" be...not that it is...there might be things in it that maybe shouldn't be and possibly things not mentioned that should be...

the key word was "should"

Anonymous said...

Wade: Cooperation around the essentials, liberty in the non-essentials and charity in all things.

Okay...sorry to have raised the question. And I agree with the above! Again, I don't think you're grandstanding. Many who agree with you are scared to be as bold as you and feel that you are speaking on behalf of us! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The question everyone is asking binding is this motion? How will the entities be held accountable in abiding by this motion? What if the SBC entities ignore this motion and continue to have doctrinal standards or guidelines that exceed the 2000 BFM? What happens then? said...


You have absolutely asked the right questions.

I know the answers, but will wait to see if anyone else figures them out.

I will be giving my official public responses to your questions on Thursday, July 19, 2007

Anonymous said...

Anoncraven, it's mighty simple to stumble across this blog. Even you could find another blog or two by clicking at the top of the page where it says "Next blog." Dang, that is 'bout as complicated as an indoor tiolet!

Course I don't understand why you think I don't understand what your scriptures say or what this blog is talking about. That I don't accept it? Is that your evidence for my lack of understanding? Heck, I don't understand physics, but I accept that it exists. Must be somethin' different, you think?

As for understanding this blog, well now child, that's simple. It's a bunch of Christians -- like yourself I reckon -- who like to argue and bicker. Am I missin' something there? Maybe God himself is leading to you to challenge poor deluded Wade's beliefs. It must so comforting to you to think that.

Not that you really deserve my contempt, I guess. Just because you believe in a mighty allpowerful allknowing ghosty instead of science and evolution is no reason for me to doubt your reasoning ability. Perhaps you just don't understand those big words in the science book. After all, you don't accept evolution and that could only be 'cause you don't understand it, right?

Don't bother answering, Anoncraven. I won't be back to this blog or any of those other Christian blogs. I've seen what you have to offer. It ain't much.

Hey, if it makes you feel better -- and somehow I'm sure it will -- think of me burning in hell forever and ever and ever. That will surely warm your judgmental heart.

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

Be careful, old boy. Horents are notoriously painful!

Though not surprised, I am dizzy to say the least. This post, Wade, has got to be the most incoherent piece of which I've read of yours to date. Did you, Ben, Marty and David all contribute to it? If so, that explains a lot.

You write: "The convention has *simply said*, "If you wish to have doctrinal standards or guidelines that EXCEED the Baptist Faith and Message, simply GET convention approval!"

But Wade, that isn't at all what the SBC said. I'll bet you a cup of Starbucks--payable in Atlanta when you come to strategize for Indianapolis 08 with Marty--that nothing of your "simply said" remark will be reflected in the official minutes of the convention.

Rather what will be recorded are the words the EC statement actually said:

"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."

Wanna go for it? With that, I am...


Anonymous said...

It's interesting that some should be held accountable to the BF&M by being made to sign it, but those who enforce such would not make themselves accountable. But then, this, in my own observations, has always been the problem in the SBC. It appears that those who constructed the conservative resergance have always perceived themselves to be above the law and beyond the boundaries of accountablity. Yet, their intent has been to hold everyone else accountable to their own brand of the law. Perhaps it gives creedance to "What's good for the goose, is good for the gander." Or, the flip side is this--might we now hear from some who swore that the BF&M was not a creed a few years ago now say that it is being treated as a creed? I would find that to be VERY interesting. said...

If the BFM is sufficient, according to the Convention as a whole, and if an autonomous agency believes it is NOT sufficient for their institution, and requires ADDITIONAL doctrinal guidelines or policies -- then the agency is doing something different than what Mother SBC has told her.

Just come to mom and we will approve if the children have a good reason why they need something beyond the BFM.

Al Mohler told us Seminary Presidents require more doctrinal preciseness --

I think the SBC in previous sessions has already affirmed the Abstract as the doctrinal confession for SOUTHERN.

Anybody else need additional doctrinal guidelines or policies?

Come explain to us (the convention) why. said...

Mr. Welty,

Do you believe closed communion to be an essential of the Christian faith and Baptist identity?

Yes or no?

Debbie Kaufman said...

Steve Allen: Don't bet on it. :)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Pardon me, my comment should have said, Wade, Will you now sign the BFM withOUT reservation?

If not, how can you be a trustee of an agency of the SBC?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
In your opinion, what is necessary on your part of the Board's to restore you to fully functioning trustee which includes the ability to attend committee meetings as a voting member rather than just attending the meetings? Why do I keep bringing this up? Because it is important for you to be able to serve as a trustee in a complete and thorough fashion. In essence, the fact you cannot vote comes down to a matter of the Board not trusting you or agreeing with certain beliefs or practices of yours from the past--and potentially the future as well. It is impossible for you to state accurately that you are functioning as a trustee when you are not allowed to vote on issues but merely offer your opinin in the meetings. How can this be resolved to everyone's satisfaction?

Anonymous said...


So I am assuming you are saying that the Convention has already allowed Southern to use the AOP...and therefore, they are in their right to use it? Am I correct?

I must say...that when I first read the motion, I supported it. Now, with the interpretation being imposed upon it by Wade and others...I am a little skeptical of it.

There is no doubt that confusion existed among the messengers when this motion was voted upon. Everyone should pay close attention to how this is now being used.

Remember this come next year's convention.... said...


I have already wholeheartedly affirmed the BFM 2000 with two written caveats -- I do not practice closed communion and I believe infants are guilty for Adam's sin.

If someone wishes to remove me for those views, then you will have to remove 70% of churches for agreeing with the former, and 100% of Southern's professors and faculty for agreeing with me on the latter.

Southern professors tell me that the BFM 2000 is not teaching infants are innocent until they personally sin -- I don't know how they see that (maybe the same way people allege they don't understand this motion :) ), and if that is true, then there is no real or apparant inconsistency or contradiction.

That leaves just one minor disagreement.

If you wish to remove me, go ahead.


I can guarantee you the end result.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice how unfathomably beautiful the sky was today?

Praise Him... said...


You are correct.

The convention already gave approval for the Abstract.

No approval for anything else - yet.

If President's feel they need tighter doctrinal guidelines, bring them.

We will listen and do the right and honorable thing when it comes time to vote.

This motion keeps things from occuring behind closed doors when it comes time to change the identity or beliefs of Baptists, and places it front in square in full view of the entire convention -- where it ought to be. said...


I did.


I'm looking at it right now out my hotel window.

peter lumpkins said...


Do not be fooled by Wade's "guarantee." It sometimes does not work. I think he sees that but won't let on.


Do you wanna bet? You never said.

With that, I am...

Peter said...

Mr. Peter,

I don't bet. I'm a good Baptist.


This adoption of the Executive Committee statement means exactly what it says.

peter lumpkins said...


Ah, afraid you'll lose, ay. That's sweet...

Well, then, Wade, if it means precisely what it says, why would you need to serve us up a delicious glass of *simply said* in entirely different words than the EC statement itself?

With that, I am...


Anonymous said...

"I won't be back to this blog..."

Here's hoping you are person of your word.

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

[grammar/spelling fix]

Wade: Don't try to tell us who is Southern Baptist and who isn't, the BFM does that.

If the BFM tells who is and is not a Southern Baptist, how can one who disagrees with it be Southern Baptist?

truth, not religion said...

Wade, great job of writing! I get it. Seems some don't.

My previous post had to do with Momma teaching me that I could fall into religious dribble if my pride or education got in my way of thinking right things before the Lord.

The replies of some folk on your post MUST be what Momma was talking about. I do not understand the anger and hatred from people who claim to love a Jesus who said to Love your neighbor like yourself and "people will know you are my Disciples when you Love one another".

Since these 2 things are guidelines from the Lord Himself, Makes your wonder about that time He said "you love me with your mouth but your heart is far from Me".

I found a quote that needs some thought from smarter folks that me......................

" And Jesus said unto them, "And whom do you say that I am?"

They replied,"You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the ontological foundation of the context of our very
selfhood revealed."

And Jesus replied,........ "What?

live in peace

Greg Welty said...

Irreverend Fox,

OK, that's an interesting reply. Chapman's view is that the core doctrines "should be" in the BFM, but that doesn't mean he believes they are in there. Yeah, I guess that's possibly his view. It seems more plausible to me to take him as simply rehearsing the claims the BFM plainly makes for itself in its own preamble: that these are the things most surely believed among us, and are essential to Baptist faith and practice (cf. below). Still, you've given me reason not to be dogmatic about what Chapman believes here. Thanks; these are the kinds of replies and insights I'm looking for.


You asked, "What if the SBC entities ignore this motion and continue to have doctrinal standards or guidelines that exceed the 2000 BFM? What happens then?" As far as I can tell, the messengers can in a future convention replace the trustees of said entities, if they so choose. But I think that's the only *binding* decision the messengers can make with respect to the entities, is it not? I could be wrong here, because I'm not an expert in this area.


You say, "Just come to mom and we will approve if the children have a good reason why they need something beyond the BFM." But if mom approves, then she is revealing that the BFM is *not* sufficient to guide the trustees. In addition, the trustees need the guidance of mom. This is a very simple point, and has been my argument all along. What you give with one hand, as you "agree" with the EC statement, you take away with the other, as you reject its sufficiency. It's an incoherent position. At least, it looks that way to me.

You say, "I think the SBC in previous sessions has already affirmed the Abstract as the doctrinal confession for SOUTHERN." OK, then. So why did you say earlier, "If Al Mohler wishes his seminary to be a Calvinistic seminary, which it is, and demands all professors be Calvinistic in their soteriology, which he does, then simply bring the Abstract of Principles to the Convention and articulate why we need a Calvistic theological seminary in the SBC." Again, what you give with the one hand (the Abstract needs to be approved), you give away with the other (the Abstract has already been approved). Well, which is it? This is yet another incoherent position in this post. It's like you're developing your position on the fly, with little desire for consistency.

You ask:

"Do you believe closed communion to be an essential of the Christian faith and Baptist identity?

Yes or no?"

Answer: yes.

Argument: the BFM itself says in its own preamble that the doctrines contained within it "are doctrines we hold precious and as *essential* to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice" (emphasis mine). The preamble also states that these doctrines are "those articles of the Christian faith which are *most surely* held among us" (emphasis mine). Closed communion is a doctrine taught in the BFM. Ergo, according to the BFM's own claims on its behalf, closed communion is essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice.

You're free to think otherwise. But I have the BFM on my side here. We've already been over this ground.

We *both* want unity in the essentials, liberty in the non-essentials, and charity in all things. Augustine's slogan isn't your peculiar property. But we obviously disagree on *what those essentials are*. Simply put, I go with the BFM on this one. You, apparently, are finding *another* standard that is "sufficient to guide" you in your proposed policies and practices :-) Yet another reason why you implicitly reject the EC statement, despite your protestations to the contrary.

BTW, I'd just like to point out that in the above I actually *answered* your "yes or no?" question. You, by way of contrast, have declined to interact with most of my questions, much less answer them. I realize that's your choice; I note this just to enter it into the record. I can provide links if you'd like :-)

Anonymous said...


I wouldn't celebrate a victory too quickly. You are only looking at half the picture. Your poor charaterizations of the seminary society may end up hurting your cause in the end. After all if you wish to suceed in your agneda you can not just fool the audience but you must dethrone those whom your audience sees as angry lords. Remember sir your age and that as long as the seminary keeps its godly leadership who educate the minds of the next generation you too will become the minority in a majority who has learned from the wisdom of these "angry" men. Your only audience now are those still licking their wounds from the 80's and those who are intimated by individuals in SBC politics who spin things for their own agenda in the media. If the Lord allows us both long life I have a feeling this Southern grad may have to undue what your are presently doing along with the rest who are now learning from the best theological and minsterial minds on the planet. So be careful what you do as Peter said, "Horents are notoriously painful!"

Dr.'s Mohler, Patterson, Kelly, Akin, Land, Moore, Yarnell, York, Welty, etc. We hear you, we respect you, and we will work with you to perserve the Baptisty identity of the SBC in the future!

Oklahoma Joe

Chuck Bryce said...

If we cannot even agree on what the motion meant what makes anyone think that we will agree on what the BFM2K means, or any other confession, statement of faith or any "Hiring and Firing Inquisition Manual" someone might come up with?

I suspect we better get ready for another 12 months of hashing this out on the internet and go through similar motions in Indianappolis.

The evening session will be interesting but personally I am trying to pray about the 25 people (at least) our church needs to reach, bring to Christ and baptize. (See the Convention Sermon if it ever gets posted.)

By the way, I have heard several criticisms of Frank Page's leadership in this meeting. As far as I am concerned he is doing a great job moderating, which is just a fancy word for "herding cats".

Wade and several others,
I would love to meet you before the end of the convention.

May the Lord bless,
Chuck Bryce

Anonymous said...


Do you belong to Travis Avenue? I believe they practice close communion, similar to what Wade describes.

If not, what form of Lord's supper does your church practice?

I have been a member of three SBC churches in the DFW metroplex over the years, there have always been SBC proffs who attended those churches. None of them practiced closed Lord's suppers

Jim Champion

Greg Welty said...

Oklahoma Joe,

Thanks for your encouragement.

Jim Champion,

I don't go to Travis Avenue, although I did visit there before I settled on my present church, which is Heritage Baptist Church in Mansfield, TX. You'll probably discover a lot about my theological convictions just by reading the URL :-) There's even a link on the front page to a series of sermons I recently preached on the book of Jonah.

Yes, we do practice closed communion. Indeed, we stress before each communion service that baptism *by immersion* is a prerequisite to the Lord's Supper.

So sorry to disappoint ;-) said...

What's a horent?

:) said...

By the way, for those who believe I've been too tough in this post, I'll have a very nice gift for you, and the Seminary Presidents tonight after midnight on the post that will remain on this blog for through the weekend.

I hope to tie everything together.

In His Grace,


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"You do not know what you are talking about. You are ignorant of the facts. Yes, I could show you with your own words, but I'd rather let you and your little followers pat one another on the back for how clever you are to pull the wool over 57% of the people in the room last night's eyes."

I was in the room last night, was one of the 57%, cast my ballot of my own accord and not "following" anyone else, and I'm 6'5" and not "little" by any stretch of the imagination.

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


Been tough? I do not think I have noticed. I have observed your pattern though: When you have a post that you simply cannot squeeze enough fuel to get you that extra mile, you go funny.

All is a light reply, with no real content. Just friends, having a grand old time shooting the bull.

You have to be one of the slickest dudes with which I've ever communicated.

Unfortunately, some of your groupies have even abandoned you presently. I am so sorry. Honest!

I do possess a quick question. You driveled only a couple posts back that Dr. Mohler was such a "brillant man" for him to "establish a theological triage system" for us all.

How is it that "Al" now is no more than a goofy dunce, jesting along sharing the same platform as Dr. Patterson?

My oh my, how much waffle may a man take?

Have a good supper, Wade. With that, I am...


Anonymous said...


"...the proverbial finger?" I am sure you can do better. Please do.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Welty,
Could you please clarify more completely what you mean by closed communion?
From my Landmark Baptist grandparents, not SBC, closed communion meant you could only participate in the individual Baptist church of which you were a member in good standing.

My present SBC church practices "close", not closed communion. That is, other Christians who have been baptized by immersion with the same understanding of it (not Church of Christ but yes, Evangelical Free, for example) are invited to examine themselves and participate if they decide to. Southern Baptist or not.

Is my church in your view going against the BFM?

Neil Cameron (One Salient Oversight) said...

I should have nothing to do with this debate. I am in Australia and I am Presbyterian.

But here's my five cents.

It seems that pre-1979, the SBC's problem was theological liberalism. It trusted in the wisdom of man rather than in the word of God.

Now, however, a similar problem exists. Rather than trusting in the wisdom of man, the SBC seems to be overly trusting in individuals.

Al Mohler is seen by many American Calvinists as their "poster boy". As a Calvinist myself, all I can see is his unbiblical teaching on alcohol and his immoral stance on torturing terrorist suspects (he supports it). Richard Land, another SBC bigwig, was instrumental in writing the Land letter that gave President Bush support for the invasion of Iraq.

It's important that in the SBC, as in all denominations, that our authority is based upon the Word of God only.

As it stands, the current BFM is hardly of the calibre of statements of faith like the Westminster Confession or the 1689 London Confession. But, as I understand it, it was never meant to be.

If there are people / leaders within the SBC who wish to narrow the definition of what it means to be Baptist, they should do it openly rather than "behind closed doors". If there are people in the IMB who wish to exclude people based upon their theology then they should work to change the BFM rather than the entry requirements of the IMB.

There needs to be transparency all around. Landmarkers should make their opinions well known and should garner support from the grassroots - as should Calvinists. There's nothing wrong with political action, so long as it is done in a Christian way.

I'm ranting. I hope I've contributed in some way. said...


You write that I imply ' "Al" now is no more than a goofy dunce, jesting along sharing the same platform as Dr. Patterson?'

I'm sure your words were not intended to be untruthful, nor is your character devious, so I'm sure you just happened to miss my statements in this post . . .

"I admire Al"

"I respect his theological acumen, passion and love for Christ"

in addition to calling him 'an erudite Seminary President.'

Oh well, as Pilate may say to Peter, "What is truth?"

:) said...

Barry King,

I admit, the analogy I used is not usually my style, but no regrets. It is seriously the language that I thought best revealed the shocking actions of the President of Southern in direct opposition to the will of the convention. said...

Mr. Welty,

I, like you, am a busy man. I sometimes miss questions, but seek to answer them all. Your voluminous posts sometimes hide short questions that I miss.

Please, feel free to ask again, and if possible keep them concise.

Greg Welty said...

Hi Karen,

What I mean by closed communion is, first and foremost, what the BFM says. (This is how Wade would use the term as well, since in his earlier post he says, "The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 Teaches Closed Communion.")

Now, what does the BFM say?:

"Being a church ordinance, it [baptism by immersion] is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper" (VII).

I take that as it stands, namely:

[1] You cannot be a member of a Southern Baptist church if you have not been baptized by immersion.

[2] You cannot partake of the Lord's Supper if you have not been baptized by immersion.

Notice that, in addition, *some* advocates of "closed communion" (really, "strict communion" or "restricted communion") also believe:

[3] You cannot partake of the Lord's Supper if you are not a member of the particular local church at which the ordinance is being observed.

On my view, while [1] and [2] are clearly taught in the BFM, [3] is not. Typically, [3] gets supported by way of the language of baptism being a "church ordinance" in the BFM. But the BFM is vague here. I can definitely get [1] and [2] from BFM VII. I can't get [3].

So, our church practice is in accordance with [1] and [2]. But we do want to take the language about "church ordinance" seriously. So, in addition, we require that:

[4] Any participant of the Lord's Supper be a member in good standing at a good evangelical church, and who is therefore not under church discipline.

The difference between [3] and [4] is significant. [4] takes church membership seriously as a prerequisite to the Lord's Supper, but we do not require them to be a member of *our* particular church.

It seems to me that those who accept [3] (such as the Landmark church to which you refer), and those who replace [3] with [4] (such as our church), are both well within the bounds of the BFM. The BFM simply doesn't clearly teach either [3] or [4]. It grants us liberty here, as best as I can tell.

By way of contrast, in the post I linked to above, Wade rejects [2], and so he rejects "closed communion" as defined by the BFM.

It seems to me that your church practice is exactly the same as ours. Perhaps the only slight difference here is that your church "invites" them to participate if they decide to, whereas our church *exhorts* them to refrain if they do not meet the conditions of partaking of the Lord's Supper. But that may be a distinction without a difference. In any event, it seems to me that your church is *well within* the bounds of the BFM.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Karen, I can't answer for Dr. Welty, but IMO the BFM is sufficiently vague enough to allow for several versions of restricted communion -- all of which require immersion as a prerequisite. Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.

You might find the following links interesting:
The Relationship between Baptism and the Lord’s Supper: Four Views
Participants in the Lord's Supper -- defining Baptist views

Greg Welty said...


Here's a brief question to which I thought a reply would be interesting.

I guess another brief question was that found at the end of this comment.

Implying that a statement is "sufficient but negotiable" as a doctrinal guide is just weird, I guess. Extremely so.

Have I ever thanked you for your open comments policy? :-)

Greg Welty said...

Thanks R.L. Vaughn. My thoughts exactly. The sticking point is baptism by immersion as a prerequisite to the Lord's Supper.

Can I appoint you as my editor? ;-)

R. L. Vaughn said...

Sorry, Dr. Welty and Karen; looks like I was typing while he was posting. Also looks like we agree on the interpretation of BFM Art. VII.

Anonymous said...


It's your call. But even if you think it's 'truth,' you surely don't think it's 'grace.'

ml said...

Greg do you serve the Lord's Supper in a worship service? Is so do the deacons require that each person they serve prove they are in good standing? How do you go about enforcing your requirements? Or do you have a statement and then it is basically the honor system? OR do you serve the Lord's Supper in the evening at a closed, presumably members only type of meeting? Just curious?

R. L. Vaughn said...

How much does it pay? ;-D

R. L. Vaughn said...

Speaking of closed communion: Wade in your post you wrote, "Don't try to tell us who is Southern Baptist and who isn't, the BFM does that."

Would you say that the BFM tells us that a Southern Baptist is one who observes closed communion?

Ann Onimous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg Welty said...

R.L. Vaughn,

LOL. I never saw Nathan Finn's stuff before. That's an excellent link. Looks like he and I are in agreement about what is consistent with the BFM.

Being my blog comment editor is unfortunately a position without pay. One simply engages it out of a sincere love for the well-being of humanity ;-)


We serve the Lord's Supper at the end of a worship service, once a month. It is always preceded by a separate (though brief) message from the Scriptures, distinct from the full sermon.

We have a very strongly-worded statement from the pastor who is presiding over the ordinance that morning, outlining the requirements to partake, and then it is basically the honor system.

By way of contrast, when I helped pastor a Baptist church in Oxford in 2000-2003, we took the second option you describe (because that was the tradition when I got there). Communion was served once a month in an evening service. Basically, after the benediction at the close of the evening service, members of that church came forward and sat in a circle at the front, and we would have the communion service. However, those who were not members of the church could partake *if* they had been interviewed by one of the pastors ahead of time, as to their church background and baptism. Otherwise, they could observe but not partake. We *never* had any visitors complain about this practice, as far as I remember. They always respected it.

Interestingly enough, during my time in Oxford I actually accepted a fundamental plank of Wade's view, such that one didn't have to be baptized *by immersion* in order to be a church member or partake of the Lord's Supper. I actually co-wrote a "Pastor's Position Paper" defending that view. However, near the end of my Oxford sojourn, I thought through the issues more carefully on the mode of baptism, and ended up writing a second paper that refuted my earlier paper :-)

All that to say, my practice at the Oxford church was both more moderate (re: mode of baptism) and more conservative (re: members only) than our current practice here in Ft. Worth.

Anonymous said...

Thanks r.l. and Dr. Welty,

And here is a plug for r.l.vaughn.
He has a great blog on lots of things including Sacred Harp and the history of many Baptist groups we in the SBC are too unaware of.

ml said...

xGreg and All,

Here is an awesome link on Baptist distinctives.

Plenty of reading and bloggin info here.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Greg, while I would like to hope that I have a little "sincere love for the well-being of humanity," I must turn down your offer -- I already have too many jobs that aren't paying jobs! ;-)

Karen in OK, thanks for your kind compliment (but most of all for reading the blog). Take care and God bless. said...

Mr. Vaughan,

Read my post -- your question is an excellent one, and I will answer it definitively for you.

:) said...

Bary King,

I would agree. :)

Anonymous said...

Please refrain from criticizing Wade. He is, after all, almost perfect. If he had the virtue of humility, the Lord would translate him on

Anonymous said...

After reading this thread, this Okie is reminded of a Christian message board that he once moderated. A group of Roman Catholics attempted to hijack the forums with a litany of angry, sarcastic, bitter, discombobulated,and supercilious rants. In the final analysis, it was decided to let their calumny stand, thus indicting them by the very words they, themselves, spewed . . . Sound familiar?

In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

hopelesslyhuman said...

My college pastor used to say there are three kinds of books - 1) a book that was a waste of time to read; 2) a book that was a very worthwhile and helpful book you were glad you read, and 3) a book so good you wish you had written it.

Wade, I wish I had written what you wrote here.

Jason Epps said...

Holy cow! I can't believe there are already 92 comments on here! I hadn't even read the post yet! Anyway - Wade - I usually agree with you, brother. But tonight, I'm afraid we must part ways :0) You said that you send your students to Southern Seminary to get "the finest theological education in the land." I would submit, and defend passionately, that the quality of theological education given at Golden Gate Seminary is, at the very least, equal to that of any other institution in the land. Called "the only major seminary prepared for the challenges of the 21st century," Golden Gate's contribution to the SBC and to the Christian missionary enterprise is too often underrated. Southern does a great job "training pastors," as Mohler said in his rant - uh, report, I mean. But guess what? Pastors ain't the only theologians in the Christian Church.

With that, I am...
Jason (Please forgive me for not having cool red and green lights shining down on my picture to show how wonderfully cool I am)

Anonymous said...

So, since the word "inerrant" is not contained in any version of the BF&M, it cannot as a specific concept be used to divide biblically-conservative Southern Baptist from biblically-conservative Southern Baptist anymore, as has been done in recent years, right? The SBC messenger majority in SA this week essentially voted that ones who either chose to walk away or who were compelled to leave over the specific use of "inerrant" or "inerrancy" (also not in any version of the BF&M) may now walk back into the happy SBC house? And, when the SBC family gets ready officially to use the term to describe its stance, sufficient dialog may be expected beforehand (else two great opportunities to include the word/s have been missed by otherwise sharp folks)? I'm asking because we know a parting of ways occurred over the use of the word/s, and the actions of the messenger majority in SA seem to suggest this. Someone explain (briefly, if possible--it's almost 11:00 here).

Bret Capranica: I followed the links to your photo at one of your blogsites; you were a such a thin young fellow years ago in our Amarillo youth group, but same friendly smile! God bless you in CA--say "Hey!" to your dad for me!

David Troublefield
Wichita Falls, TX

Jason Epps said...

Oops - allow me to offer a clarification. The quote I offered above was, you might be asking, from Lyle Schaller.


Anonymous said...

I think it's amusing to spend so much time defining why your not like other Christ Followers.

Greg Welty,
be careful, wade asked about a certain belief and from your response it seems you believe mainly because the BFM says so. that is very dangerous thinking. the BFM is not meant to be blindly followed. it is just a summary of beliefs that some people follow.

perhaps we should call it "a semi-complete summary of Southern Baptist Beliefs"(S.S.S.B.B.) that way we would stop idolizing it so much.


Cally said...


I've never met you but followed your writing for a time. You are wasting your time if you think you are going to change the narrow-minded meanness that has permeated the SBC. This attitude has been kept alive in the name of doctrinal purity for decades. Wait to see who the next SBC president will be and you'll see what I mean.Things will return to "normal."

Don't be too disappointed or surprised at the reactions of the seminary presidents. They are kings of their own kingdoms. Nothing will change. Autonomy, remember? said...


You ask, ""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?"

No board of trustees has the authority to remove a trustee. If you are concerned, take it to the convention and let the convention decide.

If it is an employee, I believe the trustees should treat that employee the way the convention treats the trustee --

For example: Don't fire David Rogers over disagreement with closed communion -- take Wade Burleson before the convention for removal -- and let's see what the convention says.

We might just be surprised that the convention never intended for the BFM to be a creed and there is room to point out disagreements on minor doctrines and be an employee, trustee, and leader of our agencies. said...


You ask again,

"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?

No I don't.

Take the issue TO THE CONVENTION.

They alone have the right to remove trustees, and I am in favor of issues like this being resolved by the full convention. Again, you may learn that the SBC messengers understand better the difference between a creed and a confession than anyone else. Also, I think they will allow wiggle room on non-essentials, and that pattern should be followed by agencies if they do.

Let's do it.

I'm ready.

:) said...


I have answered your questions.

Now, I am traveling and unavailable for comment for a few days.

Blessings to all.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

Mark Garner said...

I watched the Convention on and off for the past three days, I'm embarrassed. First of all I don't like cuff-links. Very few grassroots Baptist can afford them and find them unpractical. Where do you buy those shirts anyway. Across the board, I saw very little humility. I envisioned a homeless person walking right through the middle of the convention and wondering what are all these people are arguing about. I realize the importance of baptist policy and the business at hand, but when I heard the moderator at one time say "Don't yell at me, I have just enough redneck in me for it to upset me" I thought why am I watching this? But I was reminded that I have a love for the convention, because of what the local church means to me. I mean I grew up in a church where you memorized the RA pledge and attended childrens choirs. I love to hear the stories from missionaries who have connections to our church. My gut level is to let the cuff-links have it, there seemed to be a parade of them coming across the screen. On the web-cast, I wish they had cut to more of the convention hall instead of those on the platform, so we could see the real southern baptists. The anger displayed by Al Mohler just won't fly in todays churches that are making a difference. They may shout all they want, but if the Southern baptist convention continues to display such narrow-mindedness, they may soon find themselves and their cuff-links holed up in their church castles as empty as many of the cathedrals in Europe. Believe me those in the churches are looking for those who are more interested in spreading the kingdom instead of building their own. Mark Garner
Worship Pastor - First Baptist Church Hurst, Texas

Anonymous said...

Mark Garner said:

I envisioned a homeless person walking right through the middle of the convention and wondering what are all these people are arguing about.

I envisioned an average Southern Baptist church member reading all these Baptists blogs and wondering what are all these people arguing about.

I spoke tonight with a friend who had returned from Prayer Meeting who said he had not heard one word at the church about the convention in San Antonio. He had heard of it only from an article today in the local paper.

A dangerous gap is developing real church members and the people doing the talking at SBC conventions.

Anonymous said...

Finally seeing Big Al for what he is, huh?
Back when he was firing professors right and left in the mid 90's, he stood in chapel with that same condescending, pompous attitude and professed that he does not answer to students, but to the convention! (In the billboard-o-sphere which existed at the time, his fundamentalist buddies just praised good ole Athanasius.)
He had a mandate from the convention and backed up by the (1963) BF&M to be a seminary president gone wild.
Well, well. Now the same convention is using the (2000) BF&M (Which he wrote) to try to reign him in.
That's just not playing fair, now is it? Gloating? No. Enjoying the Hebraic irony of it all, absolutely.

Anonymous said...

Attention Posters:

Because of press and internet coverage of the San Antonio convention and the growing perception therefrom, correct or not, that the SBC has changed course to enlarge its tent, this and other "Baptist blogs" are pulling many new readers, be they welcomed or not, who have not attended theological seminaries and may not undestand some of the terms used and the assumptions and facts and history underlying some of the arguments stated.

Please write here and elsewhere for ordinary people, not for seminary class professors.

Anonymous said...

OK; I'm ready for an explanation about how "inerrancy" and "inerrant" will be affected by the messenger majority's vote regarding the EC's motion. Someone? Anyone?

Let's resolve (not manage any longer) the issue and take 2 steps forward together with the gospel--we still can!

Safe travels to all returning home from SA today.

David Troublefield
Wichita Falls, TX

Anonymous said...


LivingDust said...

Anonymous said - "A dangerous gap is developing real church members and the people doing the talking at SBC conventions."

I asked several friends at my congregation if they were watching the Convention via the internet and nearly everyone of them didn't even know that the Convention was going on in San Antonio.

I get a sense that interest in the Convention is limited at most Southern Baptist congregations. However, despite the limited interested, there continues to be a dedication to funding missions via the Cooperative Program.

I find it unfortunate that many Pastors will not encourage participation in the annual Southern Baptist Convention. The registration of messengers barely exceeded 8000 and only 3000-4000 voted on the issues presented to the Convention.

I agree with Anonymous' statement. Perhaps Dr. Chapman and the Executive Committee ought to be spending some energy and effort to reconnect with Southern Baptist congregations and promoting increased participation by the 6,000,000 Southern Baptists who make up the Convention.

DaRev said...


Your post is the most insightful statement I have read in a long long time!

Anonymous said...

Oklahoma Joe,

I am a current SWBTS student & I am embarrased by Patterson, Mohler, Land, Kelly. My point is that there are many of us current seminary students who are looking to right the wrong caused by the resurgance (takeover) years ago.

SWBTS Student

gmay said...

As these comments and other posts have circulated concerning closed communion, I am afraid I have not fully understood your position. By closed communion, my circle of influence has taught me that means you must be a member in good standing of the church offering the ordinance in order to partake. This understanding comes from my experience as a little boy when our pastor (who only lasted about 18 months) declared that anyone who was not a member of our congregation was to sit while those who would receive the elements stood. I am not so sure that is what you mean by closed communion. Please clarify or point me to the post where you define what you mean by closed communion and how you disagree with that definition.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg Welty said...


I have no idea why you would think I "believe [in closed communion] mainly because the BFM says so." As a matter of fact, I have given no reason for why I believe as I do. The fact of the matter is that I believe it because I sincerely hold that it accords with the best interpretation of the Scriptures. Like you, I believe it is a "summary of beliefs that some people [i.e., Southern Baptists] follow."

I don't believe anything because it is in the BFM. I believe the BFM because I believe it to be an accurate summary of many biblical doctrines.


Thanks for your answers. I'm puzzled by them, because I wasn't even talking about the issue of "removing trustees." Still, thanks for taking the time. As you know, I've given you a more substantive reply in the next thread.

Anonymous said...


As you no doubt know the Dallas Morning News picked up the "finger" remark from your blog and published it in this morning's edition. Is there anyway you can squeeze this toothpaste back into the tube? Have you had any contact with the "four" to express regret for the remark? Having said my fair share of stupid things (though thankfully most of them were not printed in the newspaper), I will pray that God will give you grace to know and do the right thing. said...


No way to squeeze the toothpaste back into the tube.

I made a mistake -- and I have written a personal apology to Dr. Mohler, and corrected the comment on my blog. It is not my first mistake and will not be my last.

In God's providence, my mistake was made public. I will live with the consequences because I believe God, in His grace, makes His children better through every circumstance, even through our sin.

By the way -- my mistake was not one of integrity -- my initital staement is exactly what I felt.

My mistake was one of prudence and self-control. Normally, I am given that grace. Not this time.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for your reply. I am glad to hear about your note to Dr. Mohler. I do pray God will give us all an extra measure of prudence and self control as we seek to do (and say) what we believe to be right. said...

Dr. Welty,

The only way the convention has authority over agencies is to
REMOVE trustees. Trustees can't remove themselves. I am attempting to make our agencies reflect what I believe the convention desires.

You say the convention desires CLOSED COMMUNION to be an essential to Southern Baptist identity, and if you don't believe it, hold to it, and practice it, you are NOT Southern Baptist.

I say you are dead wrong.

Now, will somebody help me prove it?

:) said...

I am also saying that the convention is saying "NO agency say tell us who IS or ISN'T Southern Baptist, or worthy of service in SBC agencies, based upon doctrinal interpretations that EXCEED the BFM 2000."

The BOT of the IMB is saying they have the right to exclude missionary candidates based on an interpretation of glossalalia and 'the authority of the baptizer,' two doctrines that the BFM takes no position.

The convention said Tuesday night they didn't have that right -- who enforces the convention's desires?

Ron Phillips, Sr. said...


You state in part "The convention said Tuesday night they didn't have that right..."

With all due respect, that is not what the messengers voted. They voted to affirm the BFM as a guide..."

Based on your other statement "The convention has simply said, "If you wish to have doctrinal standards or guidelines that EXCEED the Baptist Faith and Message, simply GET convention approval!""

No where does the word "EXCEED" appear in the resolution. Furthermore, if your statements are correct that you can not "EXCEED" the BFM then your other statements regarding homosexuals, divorced people serving as missionaries, etc. does not hold water! In the way you try to rewrite the resolution, the BFM becomes a creed. NO RESOLUTION by messengers would be binding on the agencies because any resolution that does not change the BFM would "EXCEED" the BFM. Resolutions would thus be meaningless on the agencies of the SBC.

This kind of reasoning is reminiscent of the Supreme Court contriving a right to privacy out of thin air which eventually led to Roe V. Wade. The belief that only the BFM can be used is a contrived opinion that does not come close to the text of the resolution.


Ron P.

TKB said...

Wow- it is really sad to read the comments above...I am happy the resolution passed. I also agree with Wade that the President's of the seminary should not hold so much power. Power and control lead to sin. Jesus is the head of the church, not the SBC, not PP, or anyone else. When we let Him lead His church we will be much better off. I do agree, we need unity and love in the body of Christ. However, there are some baptists who don't believe in the universal church. They will be greatly shocked when Jesus returns for his bride and it includes Baptist, charismatic, methodist, etc... followers of Jesus. Our Theological pride has blinded our eyes.
I think the disunified church in America might need a good taste of true persecution and hard times to weed out the false believers and the chaff.

Who knows what our future holds.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused, If the statement does not mean what Wade claims that it means (and what Morris Chapman explained in his EC report) than why did 43% of the convention vote against it? Were they voting no confidence in the BFM2000?


(BTW, Wade, I do think Hershael York is right about one thing -- I do think you owe Dr. Mohler an apology for your poor choice of words) said...


I agree. It was sent two days ago. :)

I have said that the phrase was wrong not because it lacked integrity, for it was exactly what it felt, but it lacked the needed temperance. You don't tell grandma you don't like her pie, and sometimes you should use phrases that temper the raw emotion you feel when someone cavilierly dismisses the actions of the convention.

It's not the first mistake I have made, and will not be the last. Thanks for the request, and now my request for you. Please sign your name. The Southern Baptist Convention needs strong people of courage who are not afraid -- regardless of their positions.

Carly said...

How unbelievably silly it all sounds! I spend all day studying the Bible. Then, I look at this. I'm glad we're concerned with doctrinal purity. I believe that is fitting. I just wish we sounded a little less selfish, self-absorbed, self-concerned. I hear this and feel like a wanderer in a very dark land. "Is anybody out there? Can anybody hear me?" (from The Wall, by Pink Floyd)

Anonymous said...

We tried to tell you 20 years ago that the Four Horsemen were dangerous for the Convention. You didn't listen; instead, you stabbed us in the back, defamed our ministries, and labeled us "evil liberals."

The SBC deserves the Four Horsemen as its leaders. You reap what you sow...

Hill Memorial Baptist Church said...

Excellent coments Wade!

Anonymous said...

This is a great conversation, I'm sorry I've gotten in it so late. I agree with the comments that have said their was some confusion from the messengers, this is definitely true of the people I was sitting with/talked to.
I also feel we have not looked hard enough at the statement that was adopted. It said:
"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."
Though some may have thought they were voting for all entities to have the BF&M as the one and only set of rules when hiring staff/faculty, the wording "to guide trustees" takes the bite out of the statement. If the BF&M is a guide that means it is part of the process but not necessarily the be all and end all of decisions made. Because of this wording the trustees can definitely still require new hires to believe/sign other belief statements.