Tuesday, June 19, 2007

In Honor of the Bob Clevelands of the SBC

"Christ appears not to need the Christian of great acquirements. He can glorify Himself with any of the pupils He has taught. He needs not to take one who has become most skilled or best informed, that He may show forth His praise. He does it in every one -- more in one than another -- yet He so does it in all, that all testify of Him, whom not having seen they have believed.

Let the scoffing world account for the universality of such testimony. Were it seen only in the best, it might be thought the result of virtue. Were it seen only in the wisest, it might be attributed to philosophy. Were it only in the bravest, it might be ascribed to courage. Were it only in the strongest, it might be said to be endurance. Were it only in the most faithful, it might be said to be innocence. Were it only in the unlearned, it might be said to be ignorance; but, to go no further into such particulars, which might be greatly increased, when it is seen in those without any of these advantages, but afflicted with their very contraries, to what can it be ascribed but to grace, the grace given by Christ, through whom strengthening the weakest can do all things?"

From the Discourse Delivered by Rev. James P. Boyce, D.D. Professor in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, at the Funeral Service for Rev. Basil Manley, D.D. in Greenville, South Carolina, December 22, 1868

I first met Bob Cleveland over a year ago at the Southern Baptist Convention in Greensboro, North Carolina. Bob is a Southern Baptist layman who became actively involved in attempting to make a difference in the SBC. I have a couple of stories in my file that I will one day reveal that illustrate just what an impact Bob made on the SBC in Greensboro.

But this post is dedicated to Bob because of the times he spoke at the SBC this year in San Antonio. Each time he was articulate, logical, and persuasive. I have listened to his speech regarding the BFM 2000 at least five times, and have placed the entire transcript on my blog. Bob has demonstrated to me that God doesn't just need the powerful name 'preachers' to make a difference in the SBC. As Dr. Boyce eloquently observed nearly one hundred and fifty years ago, '(T)o what can it be ascribed but to grace, the grace given by Christ.' I thank God for the great grace he has given to my friend Bob Cleveland and those Bob represents in the SBC -- people who are making a difference without having the 'name' or 'a position of honor.'


OKpreacher said...


Thanks for honoring someone that is an example to all Southern Baptists. You don't have to be a preacher to make a difference. To make a difference you only need courage, a passion for people, and a hunger for God.

Debbie Kaufman said...

I had the privilege of meeting both Bob and his wife Peg at the Holy Spirit Conference. He is everything his blog and comments are. I also heard him from the convention floor and was wowed by the same things you listed Wade. Bob has been a great encouragement to me when I was pretty discouraged several times this year by decisions and things said both in the media and some blogs. Thank God for Bob Cleveland and may God raise up more like him. Pink hat and all. :) SALUTE!

Lin said...

Ya know, It occured to me after reading the entire transcript that if the other side were able to write a comprehensive 'doctrinal' BFM, Spurgeon would not qualify as a minister of the SBC. Ironic.

Tony Kummer said...

I kept seeing Bob on the video feed and I thought, "Who is this guy?" He seemed very well informed and a little 'pastoral' when he spoke. It was too bad more people didn't hear him out on the Ascol resolution.

If I have time after VBS I might post together a best of Bob video. But first I want to do "Blogger Spotting Video" by mashed all the motions, comments ect from SBC bloggers who spoke up at the convention.

Anonymous said...

Amen! Bob is the real stuff, and he has an awesome wife too.

Chaucer said...

Bob Cleveland is a man of incredible integrity, and his wife, Peggy, is a beautiful servant of the cross.

Truly, the Southern Baptist Convention has been built on the backs of men like Bob Cleveland, faithful and prosperous business men who contribute sacrifically, pray consistently, encourage their pastors sincerely, and care deeply about the future of the SBC.

Missionaries touch unreached people groups because of men like Bob Cleveland. Seminary students are trained to lead Christ's church because of men like Bob Cleveland.

He has a grasp of Baptist history and theology that would put many preacher's to shame. He has an understanding of Baptist polity that appreciates the nuances and tensions of this peculiar people we call family. He possess that remarkable balance of civility and courage, strength and humility.

Thank you, Bob, for being an example of Christlikeness to many young preachers who would have quit the ministry many times if not for men like you.

May your tribe increase.


peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

Thanks for the post honoring Bob Cleveland. Though not knowing Bob, I find his many footprints around the net both intriging and many times a breathe of fresh air.

His heritage in other theological traditions now wed with his deeply held Baptist convictions--not to mention his quick, homespun wit--offer a unique voice in any conversation.

Thanks, Bob Cleveland. With that, I am...


Kevin Bussey said...

Bob has been a good friend to me off the blogsphere. He is a fine man and consider him a friend. He has called me a few times just at the right time. Thanks Bob.

volfan007 said...

i wish that i could find me a pink hat.

i think that bob should start selling those hats, but he should put "Bob" on the front of them.


Anonymous said...

I don't have the honor and privilege of knowing Bob (except through his blog), but I go to his site EVERYDAY hoping, praying he has posted something. His manner of speaking cuts through the gunk, sobers you up and makes you laugh all at the same time! :)

Go Bob!!!

Anonymous said...

One of the truly great blessings of having entered the blogosphere has been reading Bob Cleveland's blog. He's a great example of the reasoning behind the Bible's advice to listen to your elders, though he and Peggy are very young at heart. Bob makes a lot of sense, and I've come to respect what he has to say because of that. Bob's life experience is worth far more than a seminary degree.

I've met someone else here in the blogosphere, and now in person, who has allowed God to mold and shape him through his experiences in the ministry, and whose blog posts related to ministry topics and life in general I am now keeping in a file. We can all learn an awful lot from Paul Burleson. I sure have.

Anonymous said...

Sadly the Ergun Caners and Hershael Yorks of the convention would tell us that the Bob Clevelands of the convention have not sufficiently built a churchly kingdom that should lead us to pay any attention to them.

It's so nice to read comments here that acknowledge the grace of God at work in earthen vessels just as the quote from Dr. Boyce indicates.

Thank you, Bob, and others like you who are being used by God in ways large and small to impact God's kingdom on earth.

Paul Burleson said...


I agree with EVERYTHING said about my friend Bob Cleveland, but especially "GO BOB."


Anonymous said...

Thank for posting this and sharing God’s Love for His People in all your posts.

If all the “people” in the Southern Baptist Churches were anywhere like Bob Cleveland we would not need the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. God and God alone hold us Accountable. God gave us His Holy Bible to live by and get to know him. Bob shows the Love of the LORD in his daily walk and witness. And God say Well Done Good and Faithful Servant. Thanks Bob for standing for the truth and defending God’s Word.

In His Name
Wayne Smith


What version of the Baptist Faith and Message do all your churches use as their Statement of Faith or do you not know???

Writer said...


Now you done it. Bob's head is going to be so big he's going to be even more irascible. :)

Seriously, Bob is a great guy and I enjoyed the time spent with him and Peg at SA.

Love That Bob!


Anonymous said...

I went to my first - and so far, only - SBC Annual Meeting last year. Nearly everyone I met was a minister and people I assumed I was (I wasn't, I was there as a lay man representing my church). I remember asking, "Where is the laity?"

We need more people like Bob on all sides of every issue.

RKSOKC66 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
volfan007 said...


i wonder if you, and others who feel like you, ever consider that there would be people that bob would not welcome into the sbc? do you understand that there are people that bob would probably not want to be leaders nor m's in the sbc? i mean, it's not just the caners and the yorks and the barbers and the jeremy greens of the sbc that have guidelines and convictions and ideas of who should be a leader in the sbc and who shouldnt.

i mean, just because dr. caner and dr. york see things a little more narrow than you do...does this make them bad, evil people? i dont think so. they just would not agree with you and wade and ben and some others about how narrow the sbc should be.

i will guarantee that there are many people out there who would say about wade and ben and bob and others what many of you in here think of caner and york and mohler....because they would not be allowed to be an "m" under wade's new coop. statement. they could not adhere to the five points of wade-ism.

so, i just dont understand all the anger and the hate that seems to come out against dr.'s caner and dr. york and dr. patterson and bart barber and others from the crowd that hangs out in wade-land. can we not disagree in an agreeable manner? can we not see things different without all the mean spirited rhetoric about how sad and bad these guys are?

there aint no ggod guys...there aint no bad guys...there's only you and me, and we just disagree...

david :)

volfan007 said...

that should be good...not ggod.

the tune is obvious to most.


Debbie Kaufman said...

I thought this thread was to honor Bob Cleveland?

volfan007 said...

i did too. then, people start dragging up other things....


volfan007 said...

i would like to invite wade and all the rest of yall to come and read my new post. i think that yall would find it very interesting. it's an article that i plan on putting in my churches monthly newsletter. maybe yall can give me some thoughts about it as well.

my address is ..... fromthehillsandhollers.blogspot.com


Alyce Faulkner said...
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Alyce Faulkner said...

Wade, I have made it a practice to listen intently when Bob speaks. He is a strong, solid man of the scriptures. Peg is a woman who lives to worship God.
I'm blessed to have gotten to know them and thank you for blessing him in this way.

RKSOKC66 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Bob has been my Sunday School teacher for approximately two years now. Perhaps the greatest compliment I can offer him is this: When my wife and I were searching for a new church home, we happened into his class one Sunday. He didn’t teach from a prepared lesson or theological textbook. He simply taught from the Bible and how it applied with such profound relevance to our lives and current events. He also brought to bear his considerable life experience and knowledge of the faith.

At the end of the lesson, I turned to my wife and said: “If this is how it is every Sunday, I think we’ve found our new church.” She agreed.

Anonymous said...

Bob is a hero of the faith and someone all of us "younger" men in the faith could do well to have as a mentor. Great post, Wade. It is precious to see such an encouraging word about such a fine man.

Marty Duren said...

I agree about Bob. It was heartening to hear many non-pastoral types speaking; even the guy who needed clarity on parliamentary procedure.

But, I ain't wearin' a pink hat...

Anonymous said...

A photo of Bob Cleveland is on this week's cover of The Alabama Baptist. It won't be online until tomorrow or Friday, but here's the link: http:www.thealabamabaptist.org.

Oh, I almost forgot... The accompanying article mentions some obscure Oklahoma pastor named "Burleson"... :)


Mark R.

docjoc said...

Yes...its the "Bobs" of the world whom God uses to further the Kingdom. Not promarily the theologians, not the big time preachers...its the "Bobs"

Sure Bob is a Baptist but first and foremost he is a Christian.

From some on this blog...this seems not the case

Anonymous said...

I don't always agree with Bob on every issue, but I praise God for any layperson who is involved the way Bob is. I hope to meet Bob one day. I am sure that he is a fine "young" man (no pun intended). Honestly, Bob resembles my brother-in-law who is a Minister of Music in Georgia, that is minus the pink hat.
Gene Price

Anonymous said...


I didn't see this post yesterday, and didn't have the opportunity to respond. Bob and Peggy live a stone's throw from us in Pelham. I've gotten to know him over the course of the last 10 mos. What a humble, gracious, man--and Peggy, also. When we were moving into our house, Peggy brought lunch over to us and we all sat out on our deck and ate and fellowshiped. We will always remember their kindness towards us.

I don't get to meet up with Bob as much as I would like, but when I do, it's always a great exchange, and I learn from his humble spirit. People like him have always displayed the great character of Christ, which teaches us that there is greatness in humility. And as such, people respond with respect and a willingness to follow.