Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Statement on Southern Baptist Cooperation

It would seem to me that the central issue at the heart of the current debate within the Southern Baptist Convention is that of cooperation. Who is qualified to serve as a missionary? Who is qualified to hold the position of trustee? Who is considered worthy enough of fully cooperating in the missions and evangelism ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention? What are the doctrinal grounds of our cooperation?

It is my desire in the next few months to contribute to the discussion by offering positive, specific recommendations on how we might move forward in our desire for evangelical conservatives of all stripes in the Southern Baptist Convention to cooperate with each other in missions and evangelism ministry. Below is a copy of a possible Statement on Southern Baptist Cooperation that we might be able to use to help us unite around the essentials, give liberty in the non-essentials, and charity in all things.


The gospel is the story about Christ, God’s and David’s Son, who died and was raised and is established as Lord. We as Southern Baptists join together to proclaim the good news that God's Kingdom has come in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord and Messiah, in fulfillment of the Word of God.

The gospel we declare evokes faith, repentance and discipleship --- its accompanying effects include the forgiveness of sins, justification, reconciliation, adoption, wisdom and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Southern Baptists accompany our proclamation of the gospel with cooperative works of compassion and mercy for those in need or distress.

We strive to advance Christ’s kingdom on earth with the confession, proclamation, and application of the good news. The Bible is undoubtedly central to our cooperation, but Jesus Christ is the center of it. Therefore, we resolve to cooperate with one another, affirming the essentials of the gospel and our Baptist identity in these five doctrines:

(1). We affirm the authority, sufficiency and reliability of God’s infallible revelation to man in both His written Word and the Living Word Jesus Christ.
(2) We affirm both the full humanity and deity of Jesus Christ.
(3). We affirm Christ’s substitutionary death for sinners, His resurrection from the dead, and His gift of eternal life to all who are in relationship with Him by grace through faith.
(4). We affirm the Baptist distinctive of believer’s baptism by immersion for those who have come to personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
(5). We affirm that those apart from a relationship with Christ will face God’s judgment.

The sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Baptist Confessions, including the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, are only guides to interpreting the Bible, and have no authority over the conscience. We Baptists have historically differed in interpretation on finer points of doctrine not essential to Christian faith and Baptist identity. Yet, with all our differences on secondary issues, we as Southern Baptists desire to cooperate in ministry because of our love for the gospel.

Therefore, we intentionally put aside our differences on secondary issues for the sake of cooperative gospel ministry. We desire unity in the essentials, liberty in the non-essentials, and charity in all things. This statement of cooperation defines the necessary essentials which must be affirmed in order to participate in the cooperative ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention.

We desire to send to the world and our evangelical brethren through this statement of cooperation a sure and certain message: It is the gospel that unites Southern Baptists, and what unites us is greater than anything that might potentially divide us.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely brilliant!

Be prepared for some to say, 'But wait, the BFM 2000 is our statement of cooperation.'

This is where the EC Statement and the debate around it has served to illustrate a clear problem in the SBC. It was revealed last week's convention, and confirmed in the transcript you posted, that some Southern Baptists wish to add additional doctrinal guidelines and policies that make the BFM 2000 ineffective as a statement of cooperation. Others have successfully pointed out that as long as any consensus confession contains doctrines that are not essentials of the Christian faith or Baptist identity, that consensus confession will also be ineffective as a statement of cooperation.

You have a done a service to all of us as Southern Baptists in offering a basic, conservative and clear statement on cooperation.

My prayer is that those who comment in this string will be gracious and kind toward your proposal, as you have obviously been gracious and kind toward everyone who comes here and disagrees.

Thanks for setting a godly and Christ-like example for me, a young pastor in the ministry.


Bart Barber said...

Thank you for providing such a clear, straightforward, unambiguous statement of your convictions. Although I do not agree with you that this is a sufficient basis of cooperation (Harry Emerson Fosdick would fit nicely within it, I think), I do appreciate the honest thoughtfulness required to post it.

Anonymous said...

Very well done.

My church and my I say, "Amen! and Amen!"

We pledge our cooperation with anyone and everyone in the SBC who can, and will affirm the essentials of the statement on cooperation you propose.

It allows churches to be autonomous and strengthens the fabric of the COOPERATIVE Program.

Anonymous said...


Well said. I would be interested in Bart's proposed statement as well since he seems to affirm the authority of those in control of agencies to add whatever doctrinal requirements they please to the BFM 2000. How about it Bart?

Do you have something to offer?

Frankly, I think what Dr. Burleson has offered is the ticket for peace and cooperation among brothers in Christ in the SBC -- unless someone can clearly, intelligently and logically explain why it isn't. said...


Thanks for the tip of the hat. I would do the same if, like others have already suggested, you offer your view of what is necessary for Southern Baptist cooperation. We may actually be making progress.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

Anonymous said...

I'd truly like to see what your list of essentials for cooperation looks like. From what I've read from your posts and your blog, it seems that 99% of Southern Baptists wouldn't qualify to serve under your theological parameters.

You'll still take their money, though?

Anonymous said...


What do you mean by this term:

"secondary issues"

As you know, Dr. Mohler laid forth a wonderful discussion of the three tier system of doctrine division. From that, I believe Southern Baptists should agree on primary and secondary doctrinal issues...while agreeing to disagree on third tier issues.

Here though, you use the term secondary issues. What do you mean by that?

volfan007 said...


are you now saying that the bfm2k should not even be a maximum standard for cooperation? for being a sb? is that what you're saying?


LivingDust said...


IMHO, the BFM2000 is not in the purest sense a "statement of cooperation". In the BFM2000 Introduction, written by the BFM2000 committee, it says this - "It is the purpose of this statement of faith and message to set forth certain teachings which we believe."

But, as for "cooperation", the BFM2000 does contain this Article:

XIV. Cooperation

"Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ's Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ's people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament."

I believe the "Statement on Southern Baptist Cooperation" that has been posted by Brother Wade is necessary and will be helpful to the Convention.

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
Oops, Wade, I think you need to delete that Christ was David’s Son. Jesus said, “If David calls him ‘Lord’, how then can the Messiah be his Son?” (Matthew 22:45)

Jesus was known as the Son of Mary. I think he was the only man in the Bible known by their mother.

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

It could be that Mary was not a ‘real mother’ but only supported life for God’s Son. It would be interesting if the DNA of Jesus could have been analyzed.

BTW, your statement on cooperation was excellent. It’s almost like saying the glue that holds us together is MISSIONS.

Anonymous said...

Is inerrancy a first, second, third, or fourth level doctrinal issue?

RKSOKC66 said...


As the smoke clears from the fog bank in San Antionio you introduce this statement of cooperation. What a perfect foil upon which to launch this.

On a scale of 1 to 10 it strikes me as a 12.

You do your best work when you take the issue head on instead of getting bogged down in what -- for lack of a better words -- are parsing the transactional dynamics of whatever happened in San Antonio. Trying to convince us of your take on Tuesday's result was wasting your capital on a rabbit's trail of fuzzy logic.

Now you have us moving!! Lets debate your proposal on its merits!!

Thanks for getting us back on task.

Getting a little more serious than is my habit let me state that I believe that the future trajectory of the SBC is at stake.

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

John Daly said...

Just one quick thought on #3:

3). We affirm Christ’s substitutionary death for sinners, His resurrection from the dead, and His gift of eternal life to all who are in relationship with Him by grace through faith.

I might just add at the end of this sentence..."apart from the works of the law." said...

To all,

It seems that someone has pretended to be an SBC missionary and linked to a site I find objectionable. I was able to find the author of the link and I can assure you, he is NOT an SBC missionary -- not even a Christian.

This is one of the reasons I do not like anonymous posting capabilities. PLEASE, everyone identify himself if at all possible. said...


Since I think you may have been duped by someone pretending to be something he/she is not, I will repost your comment below without the SBC Missionary comment. Same for everyone else who mentioned SBC Missionary.

Anonymous said...

I repeat what I have said in writing and in person—I am content to cooperate within the boundaries set by our polity. Thus, I am affirming as our cooperative boundaries not a document but a fair process, and one through which the Holy Spirit has worked well.

However, if pressed to choose a document, I will affirm The Baptist Faith & Message as an excellent minimum set of doctrinal parameters for cooperation. This document is the fruit of our process. As other issues arise, our process will address them amply, I am confident.

Anonymous said...


This really could be progress. Thank you.


You need to rethink the Harry Emerson Fosdick comment. He probably would not fit nicely within what Wade has suggested.

cb said...


You said, "However, if pressed to choose a document, I will affirm The Baptist Faith & Message as an excellent minimum set of doctrinal parameters for cooperation."

Bart, I honestly do not believe I would have one problem with what you are saying . . . IF

We did not find ourselves in the position of agencies adding to the minimum doctrinal standards of doctrinal parameters for cooperation, and then acting like those additions are the new floor - the new minimum - of cooperation by EXCLUDING EVERYONE who disagrees.


peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

My, Wade. You must have had a doozy of a weekend. Mine surely was.

As for your proposal, Wade, it is the same you offered in October,06 with no change. I'm curious as to why you think it will now be embraced.

Even more strange, at least for me, is your proposal of yet another document around which SBs cooperate together, and that on the heels of your insistence that the BF&M should be the only document--including those the seminaries uttilize--to measure hiring by our entities and agencies. I simply do not understand this, Wade.

Furthermore, your "toe-to-toe" challenge to anyone disputing the minimal credentials of being Baptist offered by Professor Nettles--Trinitarian Orthodoxy, Evangelical faith, Separatism--is now long forgotten.

Confusing. Very Confusing. With that, I am...

Peter said...


Calling Christ 'David's Son' is completely consistent with Scripture. It identifies Him as the true Messiah. There is no other coming. All the faithful people of Israel expected the promised Messiah to be a son of the line of David. It was promised them in the Old Testament prophesy, and also the city of His birth, which is Bethlehem --called the City of David. Therefore, when He was addressed by this name, ''Son Of David''-- they were declaring Him the Messiah.

Jesus came to die at Calvary and did not wish to be crowned an earthly King in this world, so his 'Messiahship was kept ''low key''-- not by the wishes of the people, but by His own preference.

Yet, when the people addressed Him openly as ''Son of David''-- He knew and accepted it as the clear expression of their faith in Him as the Messias. They were calling Him -- CHRIST or Messiah, and of course, when we call him Jesus CHRIST, we are calling him Jesus, Son of David. said...

Peter, progress portends possible places for principled positions. ppppppp :)

I'm sorry you are confused, but I trust my writing brings you more clarity since you obviously enjoy it so much.


Peter, since it is obvious that some wish nothing like the BFM being the sole measure of cooperation, but additional parameters are needed, yes, even EXPECTED, I believe they are possibly swinging other Southern Baptists toward a statement of cooepration like the one above.

Finally, by pointing out I wrote this exact statement last October, you once again prove my consistency. As far as what is different now? I would say people are beginning to see that everyone has a totally different set of parameters for cooperation, and nobody is willing to put them on paper.

I am.

Thanks for asking about my weekend. It was great!

ml said...

Wade, SO you are saying that the BFM is fine as a minimum standard document. I agree that a new document is likely not necessary since we have already affirmed the minimum with the vote in San Antonio. I think what is essential now is clearly articulating what fits in the tiered system, or however it is done, and wrangling with the differences between convictions and commands, and doctrinal essentials. I personally find the five fundamentals from Schaeffer as a good beginning set of important theological distinctives--Inerrancy of Scriptures [which includes the authorship from the heart of God but the personality of the writer preserved, but not the simple use of a coded word to show allegiance to a group or cause--I can elaborate if anyone cares to hear], Virgin birth and Deity of Christ [additionally his complete humanity as you state], substitutionary atonement through God's grace and human faith, bodily resurrection of Jesus, authenticity of Christ's miracles. However, I am not as set on eschatology as Schaeffer. I do remember that when Dilday was fired and some of my friends contacted one particular trustee he stated that women in ministry should be added as a sixth fundamental. This is where I thing you, Wade, are moving in the right direction. We need to have honesty in our doctrinally driven agendas. That will require setting our presuppositions on the table and allowing them to be digested and known. Personally, I do not find women in ministry [in a broad sense] as a fundamental for fellowship. But what is needed is this kind of dialogue that articulates each tier with clarity. So wade how about a detailed set of tiers that we can wrangle over and discuss. I believe this would be productive.

Kevin Bussey said...


Good stuff. Is there ever anything that we can all agree on? Reading the dissenting comments is disheartening.

Blessings! said...

ML, thanks for the comment.

IF everyone were to be able to agree that the BFM 2000 was satisfactory doctrinal statement of the MINIMAL standard of Southern Baptist missionary and evangelistic cooperation, then there would not be the exclusion of otherwise qualified and God-called Southern Baptist missionaries by implementing ADDITIONAL doctrinal policies and guidelines that reflect the theological shibboleths or views of those in charge.

Somebody has got to come up with a statement of cooperation that lists the essential 'doctrines' that hold us together in terms of COOPERATION. If this were adopted - the BFM could change every 25 years and become our consensus confession - seminaries could ADD whatever additional doctrines they desired to hire professors (with convention approval like we approved the ABSTRACT for Southern) - but our cooperative mission agencies would set this as the doctrinal standard and allow Southern Baptists with secondary differences (diffrerences that are not the essentials) to serve and participate in reaching the world for Christ.

Anonymous said...


Sometimes I read your post and then read through the comments and what I feel is sadness. The debate continues on, but it seems futile and senseless.

Wade, I do appreciate your heart and the fact that you strive towards middle ground, cooperation, and peace within this Convention. You are optimistic, and who cannot appreciate such optimism? This all shows your strength of character.

I think I once shared your optimism. I saw the things you see now, and shared the dreams for better days within the SBC. I would never want to dash such hopes. However, I guess because of the sorrow my family has gone through we don't feel that optimistic. Perhaps we retain some hope, but every time I read these ongoing debates I wonder if it's even wise to continue, but just let go and move on.

Honestly, with the subject matter we find ourselves dealing with at this point, it seems almost insignificant that missionaries resigned and/or were fired for not having signed the 2000 BF&M some four and five years ago. We've moved way beyond this in our present debate. But then, that's one of the very reasons why we could not sign it. We somehow knew that it would not end there, and we did not want to be part of setting such a precedent.

My utterances on your blog express my frustruation as sighs, but, somehow, I appreciate your heart. I don't wish to be presumptuous, but if I may offer a word of advice: Be sensitive to your wife in all of this. She knows your heart better than anyone on this earth. She knows that you are passionate to see accountability and healing come about in the SBC, but she may sometimes wonder to what extent. One day she may grow weary with the fight, the stress that this places on you, your family, and your church. She may grow weary with the attacks and insults that her husband faces endlessly. You may not feel that you always take your frustration home--but you do. One day, you may have to put it all on the line and ask yourself if the Gospel of Christ, your family, your church, and the ministry you've been called to is more important than the ongoing disputes of the SBC. My prayer is that you will know when that day arrives. I hope you hear my heart in this matter.

Bless you, brother.

OKpreacher said...


Cooperation can't be decreed. Just because you have a statement that everyone consents to doesn't mean there will be cooperation. Cooperation comes when God empowers people with a common calling. When His Spirit fills and leads a people to action. Until God touches Southern Baptist again with a passion to see the whole world come to Christ or to see God's Glory spread to the ends of the earth, there won't be cooperation. Cooperation isn't man made, it is a side of effect of God among God's people working for God's purposes in God's power.

I have a question for you guys. I heard something that surprised me at the convention. I was told by one seminary president who I appreciate that Baptists plant Baptist churches because that is who pays the Bills. My question is if Baptists plant Baptist churches, what type of churches does the Lord plant?

I believe God plants churches that are focused on His Kingdom. I think I understand why so few Baptist churches ever reproduce and plant another church. They are trying to plant Baptist churches. Think about this guys. During Jesus' preaching ministry what was the theme of His messages? Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. Part of the training was asking God to bring His Kingdom. My point is guys, God isn't Baptist focused, but Kingdom focused.

We need to focus not on what makes us Baptist, but on what builds God's Kingdom. Being Baptist isn't bad, it's just not the main thing. The main thing is to be Kingdom focused. Then God will touch us afresh so that we can cooperate with one another and God can plant churches that reflect His Glory.

Anonymous said...

Wade wrote: "I would say people are beginning to see that everyone has a totally different set of parameters for cooperation, and nobody is willing to put them on paper."

Bingo award...

Enough of the exclusion, enough of the talk, enough of the arguing, enough of good, conservative, young gifted leaders leaving the SBC, enough of decling baptisms and churches...

If necessary to go beyond the BF&M, give us a theologically conservative, baptistic statement of cooperation for doing mission, and let's move on.

For those that don't like Wade's statement; honestly and sincerely...let's see yours.

When it comes to some of these tertiary issues Southern Baptists are disagreeing over, why can't that be left to the local autonomy of the church, to the local autonomy of your church? We may have some disagreement over those matters, but can't we partner together to share the gospel with our North American and IMB missionaries?

Thus we could move on toward "unity in the essentials, liberty in the non essentials, and charity in all things."

Movin' on to do mission,


Bart Barber said...


Thanks for straightening things out with the "missionary" situation. Impersonation boils my blood. Somebody has been doing the same thing to David Rogers. It is cowardice, plain and simple. said...


A wise, moving, insightful comment.

Thanks. said...


I saw that on your blog. I started to say something, but felt you would take care of it.

Thanks. said...

Oklahoma and Darren,

Your two comments are so important, I will be writing an entire post next week on the basis of what you have said.

Anonymous said...

After all the haze and confusion that seems to have come out of the convention, this is a breath of fresh air.

Dr. Barber, it has been a while since I have read up on Fosdick, but I am not so sure he would have bought into it. After all, he did not insist on baptism by immersion in all cases, and as best I recall, did not even insist on the exclusivity of Christ (although he seems to have "preferred" it).

Wade, one question: red the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. Under this statement, can one (1) afirm that and (2) accept that the substitutionary death does not exhaust the legidimate Biblical record? After all, there are some very old, once orthodox doctrines of the atonement that are Bible-based yet are not strictly part of the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. Would your statement extend cooperation to those who affirmed substitutionary atonement AND other reasonable interpretations (not "AND," not "instead of").

John Fariss

Anonymous said...

Whoops: typo!

Should be "re: the substitutionary," not "red the substutionary." My bad!

John Fariss said...

I believe so -- it is the denial of subsitutionary atoment that would mean a loss of cooperation - not others understandings of it in addition to substitution.

Thanks for the question John.

Anonymous said...

Re: "It would seem to me that the central issue at the heart of the current debate within the Southern Baptist Convention is that of cooperation."

I think "cooperation" is merely the topic or subject matter. The central issue is Southern Baptist Identity. As far as I can tell, all sides of the debate would be happy to appoint missionaries and consider for denominational service anyone whom they consider a "real" Southern Baptist.

The central issue is some insist on differentiating between "real" SB and "just barely" SB.

Anonymous said...

Another typo (I should go back to bed I guess).

Last sentence, should read "note "AND," not "instead of" and not "not "AND," not "instead of."

John Fariss

Robin Foster said...

Bro. Wade

I guess I have been pretty hard on you lately, so I will try to be more friendly with this comment.

You assert that we should not go any further than the BF&M in making doctrinal criteria for trustees, missionaries, or other denominational employees. But yet, you also say that there are areas of the BF&M that are tertiary and that we should not hold those aforementioned people accountable to those tertiary doctrines. They should be able to state their disagreements and be allowed to serve. Unless if I am wrong, what you are saying is that we should not go beyond the BF&M for doctrinal criteria, but that also there are some things that we should consider tertiary in the BF&M.

So my question is this, who decides what is tertiary? Is it you, me, or the individual signing the document? If we allow for your tertiary issues to be ignored, then the BF&M is no longer a statement of doctrinal accountability. BTW, your understanding of tertiary issues in the BF&M goes against what the preamble states as the doctrines contained within the confession as "essential" to baptist tradition.

Why I disagree with you on this is that I believe your logic will eventually lead us away from any doctrinal accountability and put us back to 1978. While I don't believe this is your desire, this is basically what will happen.

Can we at least agree that the BF&M should be affirmed in the whole and the parts. If we can't at least start there, there is no doctrinal accountability.

William said...

While I appreciate your sentiments, were I a trustee for the IMB I would not find that document to be sufficient in defining who is qualified to serve as a missionary. If it is expected that it is, it falls woefully short.

If the statement is merely an expression of whom we can cooperate with on the various fields of mission work, perhaps it is acceptable.

Perhaps if you would answer these questions ordinary folks like myself could better understand where you wish to go. These are all terms and phrases that you have used.

1. What is doctrinal and what is not?
2. What is essential and what is not?
3. What is a 'finer point' of doctrine and what is not?

As it stands, looks like a great resolution, one that I may well support but not one that I would find helpful in a trustee decision as to whom we should invest a quarter million dollars or so to put on a mission field.

To be candid, I don't think a statement can be written that settles all the questions; hence, we have trustees like you to sort it out.

I am satisfied with current IMB policies. Had the blogging inner circle chosen to confront the issues head-on, rather that obliquely, clandestinely, and manipulatively, perhaps progress might have been made.

peter lumpkins said...


Far from showing consistency, Wade, it seems to reveal forgetfulness on your part. The statement is not acceptable now anymore than then.

Moreover, your hope for consistency pales into the night with your switching from BF&M-to Oct06/June07 statement-to Nettles' triad.

Again, Wade, the confusion continues.

With that, I am...

Peter said...


Is it possible the only confusion that exists is your own?


Just asking, because I find it amazing anyone can allege confusion in the mind of anyone else but their own.

The clarity continues. :)


P.S. Those who know me will also tell you that I have the memory of an elephant. :) said...

William, I confronted the problem according to the appropriate channels and a recommendation for my removal resulted. :)

That recommendation, ultimately unanimously rescinded, has now seemed to have brought a shift in the entire convention toward a more irenic, cooperative position.

ml said...

tfjWade, you know I suspect that where we are as a convention is not unlike where mega-corporations get and are forced to re-organize around their primary operational mandate. McDonalds, for example, recently had to unload a few added pieces to their empire in order to beef up their primary store :). In our case, maybe its time to re-evaluate our agencies and put an end to the redundancy and competition between the agencies-- i.e. world changers, centrifuge, m-fuge, associational camps, super summer, and the list goes on and on and on. These are all great but they are competing for the same thing--attendance and, well, money. Scaling back the convention based on our primary targeted goal might make this task easier. When the pieces take on a life of their own it is incredibly hard to stop like a boulder rolling downhill and picking up steam. How many convention employees are essential to the kingdom task and how many agencies are necessary to accomplish God's mandate? Are six seminaries essential? Should such vast theological distinctives be appropriate from school to school or is that detrimental to the overall health of our churches who the seminaries are suppose to support? IMO, we need to begin asking some of these peripheral questions because they may make our cooperation questions easier and more focused. Just a thought to complicate things further.

Anonymous said...

Peter, my laddie,

Confusion seems to be your constant state of mind. Please get some help. There is help available, but you must first admit your need and take that first step.

Don't wait any longer. Please get some help today. Clarity is waiting for you.

With that I am...

Anonymous said...


I agree that "Christ’s substitutionary death for sinners" is essential to baptist cooperation but there are those in SBC life that would not affirm this statment. And could not those same individuals in SBC life then argue that you are doing the same thing that you accuse the "fundamentalists" of by offering a statment that goes beyond the BFM 2000 since there is no particular wording about substiutionary atonement? It seems that you may be doing what you criticize others of doing in the name of cooperation. Just a question I would like to hear your response to.

Oklahoma Joe

Greg Welty said...

Associated Press (for immediate release)


Wade Burleson Openly Repudiates EC Statement Adopted At San Antonio SBC Convention

In a shocking turn of events, Pastor Wade Burleson, who has so energetically defended the passing of the EC statement as "the most important vote in the SBC in the last 10 years," has suddenly abandoned the key tenet of that document.

According to the EC statement, the BFM "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."

But according to his most recent blog post, penned a mere seven days after the passing of the EC statement, Burleson argues that the BFM is insufficient for the task of guiding trustees. Rather, trustees ought to hew very closely to an additional five-point "essentials" document that Burleson himself has produced.

When asked by Associated Press to explain his about-face, Burleson responded in his typically blunt manner:

"Look, I realize that the SBC messengers in the year 2000 accepted the BFM 2000 after much debate and discussion. But you have to understand that they were confused at the time, and didn't really know what they were doing. There was a lot of pushing of buttons and confusing line-ups at the microphones. Yes, my detractors have a point when they remind me that the preamble to the BFM says that its contents constitute what is 'essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice.' But the committee members were wrong there, and so were the messengers who approved their work. The committee slipped a fast one by the messengers, when they dared to say that the BFM states 'those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely held among us.' This kind of overweening confidence in the sufficiency of the BFM to define us as Baptists has got to stop!

So, you see, there's really no need for trustees to refer to the BFM as a doctrinal guide. They just need to come to my blog, and they will be given sufficient guidance. My five-point statement is all they need for 'the necessary essentials.' I honestly can't figure out why the BFM committee devoted so much time to their task. Why have such a lengthy, convoluted, controversial statement of the 'essentials,' when my essentials are the *real* essentials?! Don't go beyond the BFM 2000? Bah! What was the Executive Committee thinking? I say unto you, and any trustees who are reading, don't go beyond my five points! You'll be hampering the work of missions if you do! Shame on the BFM 2000 committee for not realizing that. Shame on the messengers of that earlier convention, and our recent convention, for foisting on us needless doctrinal verbiage, and calling it 'sufficient'."

When asked if the convention's entities should appoint trustees and hire missionaries who (i) deny the Trinity, or (ii) deny the Second Coming, or (iii) don't practice the Lord's Supper, or (iv) affirm women in pastoral office, Burleson replied, "Look, why are so many of you reporters so dense? Can't you read? Are any of those things in my five-point statement? NO! So they are not essential for cooperation. Since we 'desire unity in the essentials,' my 'statement of cooperation defines the necessary essentials which must be affirmed in order to participate in the cooperative ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention.' What part of that isn't clear?"

When asked for an alternative viewpoint, pastor and blogger Bart Barber was characteristically concise, "Well, I agree that Wade *is* being exceptionally clear here. On this point we see eye to eye, although our respective visions diverge from there. So, hopefully more and more Southern Baptists will continue to benefit in their own way from Wade's clarity on these and other issues."

At this point Malcolm Yarnell, assistant dean and professor of theology at SWBTS, chimed in, "Since I'm joined at the hip with Bart, quite literally, I couldn't help commenting. Look, let's be charitable. This is surely an improvement over Wade's earlier position, which implied that the BFM is so sufficient that trustees couldn't go beyond it, but not sufficient enough to require agreement with its contents. He's sort of cut the Gordian knot with this latest move, which is refreshing to say the least. I'd call it 'progress,' in a postmodern kind of way of course."



peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

Again, when you cannot really answer a question, you attempt to go funny--sort of a distraction procedure, I suppose.

Ah, but I am a patient man, along with my alleged confusion. We will see if your support base holds in the face of continued waffling.

With that, I am...


docjoc said...

Most here seem to KNOW what Baptists believe and still more are certain what Baptists should believe.

Yet as the recent Lifeway survey showed many of us were surprised to learn how wrong we were about the basic beliefs of our fellow Southern Baptists.

To get the widest possible denominational support of our mission program, I suggest that we conduct a denomination wide survey of our members to learn their views of their basic doctrines or beliefs. I suspect that they are far more diverse than most of us think now.

Then only the top basic doctrines that most every Baptist believes should be required of any missionary.

Debbie Kaufman said...

All I can say Dr. Welty is it's a good thing you don't write for the Associated Press. You get your facts too skewed. Almost unrecognizable skewed from what Wade has actually written in his post. :)

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


is it not narrow and fundamentalistic of you to require baptism by immersion? i mean, what about all these people and churches out here who like to sprinkle, or pour? what about people in the desert who only have sand? why do you want to be so narrow and such a mean fundie about immersion? i mean, baptism by immersion is not an essential it? this is a second tier doctrine at it not?

david said...


Believers baptism is the hall mark essential of Baptist identity --

Definitely not Christian identity. said...

Dr. Welty,

I have to admit, you have a funny bone right down the middle of your serious streak. :)

I laughed reading your comment. I love it when a person writes creatively to get his point across -- and you have successfully gotten mine across.

You have admitted that the motion says what it says.

My fallback for those who says it DOESN'T say what it actually, indeed says, is to draft a statement of cooperation. No statement of cooperation is needed IF PEOPLE STOP ADDING TO THE BFM WITH EXCESSIVE DOCTRINAL RESTRICTIONS.

So, there you have it. Take the BFM -- or if you continue down the track you are going and ADDING to BFM, then somebody is going to have to offer some kind of statement of cooperation that we all can live by.

I've put mine in first.

volfan007 said...


that's so fundie of you to make the immersion issue an essential of being baptist. i mean, would you keep me off the mission field for sprinkling? over a secondary issue? i thought you were about cooperating? i thought you were about lining up over the essentials?

how dare anyone tell me that i should not be able to be an "M" or a leader in the sbc just because i sprinkle instead of immerse. out in the desert, we had no water. i had to baptise people out there with a canteen, or by pouring sand over thier heads. and now, wade, you want to make a non essential doctrine an essential doctrine. i'm just mortified. :)

luv ya,

david said...


If you denied baptism by immersion I would love you, be kind to you, and urge you to join a Presbyterian or Methodist missions organization.

At least my list of essentials is five hundred pages shorter than yours.


Anonymous said...

Although I don't appreciate Greg's sarcasm, I find myself in agreement with the Lord's supper (observing it according to scripture-not specifying closed communion)), the trinity, and the literal second coming of Christ as essentials for cooperation. I would also add that there is room for both cessationist and cotinuationist views of gifts, but the guidelines specified in scripture for the gift of tongues must be strictly followed.

There may be a few other matters that should be included as well. Perhaps an item should be included that would would not be an essential for salvation but would indicate whether a person accepts the typical Southern Baptist approach of interpreting scripture literally unless there is a good reason within the text for doing otherwise. For example, one could state that supernatural events are within the power of God and that miracles should be regarded as actual historical occurrences unless the text itself suggests a different interpretation.

Perhaps some of these items could be listed along with baptism by immersion under baptist distinctives.

Anonymous said...

Hey! How about that terrific welcome to SBC messengers by Dr. Charles Wade and the BGCT? Link here:

Is any state convention doing more with a better spirit of cooperation? I'd like to hear about it, if so!

David Troublefield
Wichita Falls, TX

Anonymous said...


Still waiting for a response to my above question.

Oklahoma Joe

R. Grannemann said...

Great statement.

A shorter Statement of Cooperation will in fact be more effective because it will be easier to understand. A shorter statement will also mean more to our missionaries on the field and be less intimidating and intrusive. A confession should not be a filter to those whose ministry the Lord has accepted.

I would suggest adding to the Statement of Cooperation something about our belief in a believer's church. This is distinctively Baptist, quite biblical and quite important (and should help satisfy those concerned about Baptist ecclesiology).

* We believe in the new birth as the means of entrance into the Kingdom of God and as a condition for membership in a New Testament church.

I would make the statement on the Scripture simpler with fewer big words for people to argue about. Maybe something like:

* We believe in the reliability and authority of Scripture as a guild to life and a testimony to the saving power of Jesus Christ. said...

Oklahoma Joe,

You asked me, "I agree that "Christ’s substitutionary death for sinners" is essential to baptist cooperation but there are those in SBC life that would not affirm this statment. And could not those same individuals in SBC life then argue that you are doing the same thing that you accuse the "fundamentalists" of by offering a statment that goes beyond the BFM 2000 since there is no particular wording about substiutionary atonement? It seems that you may be doing what you criticize others of doing in the name of cooperation."

My response: Substitutionary atonement is the gospel.

It is an essential of the faith, and the BFM 2000 agrees (Article II B on 'God the Son'),

He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin/

As you have pointed out I missed your question, I point out that you have completely negated your own question by totally missing what the BFM 2000 says about substitutionary atonement, or worse, not even looking for yourself before you asked the question.

I don't mind answering people's questions, but it is draining when I have to answer questions that people should know the answer to themselves if they would simply take the time to do simple research.

In His Grace,


OKpreacher said...

Oklahoma Joe,

No one would argue your point because it would be clear that the person in your example that would be against substituationary atonement isn't a Christian. Hope that answers your question. One must believe that Christ took his place on the cross or there is no salvation. Hope that answers your question.

Anonymous said...


You misunderstand me. I did look at the BFM 2000 and the 1963 and the 1925 but my point is not that the implication of substitutionary atonement is there, which both you and I agree on, but those who argue that it is not. How then can we pronounce cooperation with all Southern Baptists when there are some very prominent Southern Baptists who do not affirm it? I too believe that the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross is the gospel but I have heard many Southern Baptist's who cringe at such "bloody cross religeon" as they put it, is not relevant.

My point is that in saying that we can not go beyond the BFM 2000 to cooperate there are those that will affirm it but yet are still left unchallenged by it in their liberalism and deny what you and I both support as the message of the gospel. The Carter/Clinton clan is such and many others I'm sure I do not need to mention because you already know in Baptist life.

As well the argument that we can not go beyond the BFM 2000 seems strange an argument from you when you then create a standard on your own beyond it that you urge Southern Baptist's to affirm.

I am sorry I have brought annoyance and by no means want to, I just see an inconsitency in your argument that I wish to have more clarity on. My questions from time to time are to find the "truth to you" as is the point of your blog, and do not wish to be a stumbling block to you brother. I am just concerned about the clarity of your arguments for SBC ideals. I assure you I have not asked as many questions as others before me.

Oklahoma Joe

LivingDust said...

Oklahoma Joe,

You said - "I have heard many Southern Baptist's who cringe at such "bloody cross religeon" as they put it, is not relevant."

It is not relevant?


Were it not for death of our Lord on that "bloody cross" we would all be doomed to face God's wrath and fury.

Anonymous said...

Living dust,

Isn't that mortifying to hear of Southern Baptists saying such? That is why I think we must have more doctrinal accountablity, not less as Wade argues, so that those who believe such understand that Southern Baptists are clear that we trust the blood of Jesus Christ is the only way to find eternal redemption.
With the resolution that the SBC just passed it hinders Southern Bapstists from keeping such liberalism out of our instituions.

Oklahoma Joe

Anonymous said...

Oklahoma Joe,
Please find and introduce me to a Southern Baptist liberal....please!! The only one I can think of is Jimmy Carter and he is no longer SBC.

Greg Welty said...


Let's see if I understand this. I write a brief satire which argues that this present blog post is in conflict with *your* understanding and previous advocacy of the EC statement, and this amounts to "admitting that the motion says what it says."

Yup, that's incoherent.

Obviously, I'm not satirizing *my* view of the EC statement. I'm not even expressing my view of it in the piece in question. Why would I do that? It's *satire*!

So your "fallback" for those who allegedly disagree with the EC statement is to disagree with it yourself, by posting a five-point basis for cooperation that competes with the BFM as said basis. Interesting...

You say you have offered a "statement of cooperation that we all can live by." So on your view, it's quite all right for Southern Baptists to appoint trustees and hire missionaries who deny the Trinity, or deny the Second Coming, or don't practice the Lord's Supper, or affirm women in pastoral office. This is a standard "that we all can live by"? I'm tempted to cite Tanto: "What do you mean 'we,' white man?" ;-)

BTW, here's yet another reason why your parsing of the EC statement strikes me as implausible. That 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." On your view, this means trustees should never go *beyond* the BFM in doctrinal areas. The BFM is a sufficient guide here. But wait a minute. The BFM itself says that the Holy Bible is "the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried" ("I. The Scriptures"). Well, which is it? If trustees are wrestling with a doctrinal issue not addressed by the BFM, should they not look to the Bible for guidance? On your view, they should not, since the BFM is sufficient to provide guidance. I regard this as incredible.

Much more plausible is the alternative view, that the BFM is sufficient as a guide in those areas it chooses to address, but it is obviously insufficient as a guide in those areas it *doesn't* address. And surely a trustee, led by conscience, is bound to *search the Scriptures* for wisdom in these areas the BFM doesn't address. Three advantages of this view come to mind:

[1] It is consistent with the EC statement itself, which says that the BFM is not "a complete statement of our faith," nor is it "final."
[2] It is consistent with the BFM, which affirms *the Scriptures* (not the BFM!) as our supreme standard.
[3] It is analogous to and therefore accords with our pre-existing understanding of Scriptural sufficiency.

On this latter point, when we say that the Scriptures are "sufficient," we mean that they are sufficient to provide guidance in the areas they have chosen to address, either explicitly or implicitly. But the Scriptures are insufficient to guide in those areas they do not address. This is uncontroversial. The Scriptures do not tell me whether I should allow quarks into my ontology, much less whether they have charm or spin. The Scriptures do not tell me how the JFK assassination went down. Nor do they tell me if Malcolm Yarnell is saved, since Malcolm Yarnell is not mentioned by name in Scripture. I have to consult other sources of information to get guidance on these and other matters.

The parallel with Scriptural sufficiency is instructive in a further sense. If I say that the Scriptures are sufficient to guide God's people, it would be bizarre in the extreme to add, "But, of course, you're free to reject parts of the Scripture as true or authoritative." Who ever heard of Scriptures that were both sufficient and negotiable? And yet this is the position you appear to take with respect to the BFM: it is sufficient but negotiable. In short, you are attaching to the term "sufficiency" a meaning it has rarely, if ever, had among conservative evangelicals.

I know, I know, the Bible is our creed, not the BFM. But wait a minute. Let's say you succeed in this post in coming up with a simplified list of "essentials" that we can all agree on. Since it *will be* a list of the essentials (finally!), then it's both the minimum and maximum of what trustees and employees need to believe in order to enter into a relationship of service with the SBC. Would you not have turned a man-made document into a creed? After all, why would requiring belief in the entire BFM make it a creed, but requiring belief in the entire "little-BFM" you produce here *not* make the "little-BFM" a creed? What would be the difference, exactly?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Welty,

I assure you that I am saved, and I got it straight from the only sufficient text man possesses. See Ephesians 2:8-9. I include myself as the subject of Paul's "you".

Now, remember, Dr. Welty, please do not be too hard on your playmates. You are a big boy who can easily hurt others without realizing it. Mom said dinner was at 5:30 pm, today, so try not to stay out too late.

In Christ,

R. L. Vaughn said...

Jake, I also thought that Jimmy Carter is no longer SBC. But someone mentioned this on another blog and I had to correct my belief. He is a member of Maranatha BC in Plains, GA. If you check out, you will find that Maranatha is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention.

LivingDust said...

Brother Greg,

If you would put as much energy into trying to come up with a solution to some the issues at hand as you do ribbing Brother Wade, we just might get somewhere.

How about it Professor - What solution(s) can you put on the table that addresses SBC agencies who are dis-qualifying Baptist brothers and sisters in Christ because of their beliefs and practices regarding non-essential doctrines.

I'll patiently await your reply.

RKSOKC66 said...

Dr Welty:

The Lone Ranger's sidekick is Tonto -- not Tanto. :-)

On a serious note: I think you raise a good issue about Wade's document being a "mini-BF&M".

However, setting that argument aside for a moment how do you see the bigger picture of "co-operation" vis. a vis. supposedly "third tier" doctrines? Do you think there is a problem with the IMB's stance on PPL and/or Baptism by Immersion by non-SBC churches? If so, what is a proposed solution?

I believe you are a professor at Southwestern. I always look forward to visiting your campus. You have a GREAT library. Also, you have hydrangeas along the front of the main administration building which are probably in bloom right now.

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Anonymous said...

R.L. Vaughn,
I tried the link and while the church is listed their website is no longer active. I can only surmise that with the church being an active cooperative baptist church that they have been disfellowshipped by their local SBC association.
AND once again someone please introduce me to a liberal SBC member.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Jake Barker, click here for the church web site. I'm sure you can e-mail the pastor if you wish.

R. Grannemann said...

A culture has been developed in the SBC for every employee to sign a statement that says they believe in SBC approved orthodoxy. This came about from the Conservative Resurgence's perception of liberalism in the seminaries.

In the end, such an innovation does not save "orthodox" theology. Orthodoxy is maintained by the Spirit of God and people with knowledge of it writing, teaching and convincing Christians and the culture of its truth - not by signing documents.

The purpose for a reduced Statement of Cooperation is that it is simpler. I have known several IMB missionaries personally. Most have a year or so a seminary training, but they are not PhD's in theology nor do they care to be. They have a heart for God and for others. Why badger these people to sign a statement that we can argue about for weeks.

Such a signing requirement is not quite a creed if we always allow a person to sign by noting any points of disagreement and still allow them to serve if the employment committee deems their reservations reasonable.

Anonymous said...

Tony Campolo, Dale Moody, Dan Vestal, Russell Dilday, Walter Shurden, Molly Marshall, Grady Cothen, James Dunn, and yes Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, do you need more? said...

Missions cooperation for the cause of Christ transcends political disagreement.

Greg Welty said...


Ah, my dear Oxonian. Just a codicil to your addendum to my footnote, if you please. With respect to the minor and entirely dispensable illustration I employed, I am quite in agreement with you that in Eph 2:8-9 Paul sets forth a number of truths about those who are saved by faith. But that is precisely my point: the blessings Paul speaks of there are for those who have saving faith. Unfortunately, I do not read in my Bible that Malcolm Yarnell has saving faith. I must obtain that information by other means (and I believe I have :-). It's a subtle point, to be sure, but an important one. I cannot infer from (i) those who have faith in Jesus Christ will be saved, that therefore (iii) Malcolm Yarnell will be saved. I need an additional premise here: (ii) Malcolm Yarnell exercises saving faith. I submit to you that (ii) is not in my Bible :-)


Let's see. I posted exactly *one* comment on Wade's blog Tuesday (the comment to which you refer). The day before, Monday, I posted exactly *one* comment. And I believe my comment before that was a single one which came on Saturday. Posting less than a comment a day since Friday is not devoting "much energy"; that's called taking a brief break from my day job :-) (BTW, I'm not "ribbing" Wade. I'm making a serious point: his position on sufficiency and the EC statement is just plain incoherent. This is no way to engineer an ecclesiastical revolution. Politically speaking, you have to at least *appear* that you're interested in consistency. You can't imply a statement only has teeth when it suits you, otherwise not. That just doesn't fly.)

Now, as to "solutions that address SBC agencies," I've already addressed your kind of question in the first half of a comment in another thread. Key quote:

There is a balance here between the power of the messengers (to recall trustees) and the prerogatives of the trustees (to make decisions on policy and practice for the entities they lead).

Let me be blunt. I don't think I agree with the two much-discussed decisions the IMB trustees made in 2005. By that I simply mean that if I were an IMB trustee at that time, I would not have voted for those decisions. But I also agree with historic SBC polity, including the prerogative of trustees to make exactly that decision. To say that the trustees have to get convention approval for each and every one of these kinds of decisions is an *abandonment* of the trustee system, and a replacement of it with direct democracy, which is unworkable. This is what Mohler was getting at in his brief explanation of the trustee system in the Southern Seminary report. You are essentially saying, "You are trustees, but we don't trust you to make these kinds of decisions." This is as contradictory a position as to say: the BFM is a sufficient doctrinal guide, but parts of it are non-essential and therefore negotiable (which is your position, correct? :-)

I also repeatedly make the point in that linked comment that trustees are *already* answerable to the convention, since convention messengers can remove them from office if they so wish. This has been my view all along.

In short, I agree with Bart Barber's earlier resolution, as well as his recent proposal on explicit referendum powers, to clarify trustee accountability. Indeed, Bart seems to be having a fruitful dialogue with Les Puryear on these points. I'm not sure I could add anything substantive to Bart's recommendations.

I hope that helps. I simply don't see that the system that has served us so well for 150 years is now broken. Nor do I think that something as vague as the EC statement helps matters, for all the reasons I've given in this and earlier threads. I *certainly* don't see how a little five-point statement of essentials is at all appropriate. We might as well put the BFM behind glass in a Baptist museum exhibit, safely under lock and key, since apparently it no longer has relevance as even a minimal doctrinal standard for cooperation among Southern Baptists.

Roger Simpson,

Thanks for the correction. I see Google is not infallible :-)

Hopefully, what I write to LivingDust above is helpful in answering your query as well.

I agree with you that the campus is beautiful. There are many hard-working people who make that possible. Several of them are in my classes.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Tony Campolo, Dale Moody, Dan Vestal, Russell Dilday, Walter Shurden, Molly Marshall, Grady Cothen, James Dunn, and yes Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, do you need more?

What is your definition of a liberal? I think that J Carter is no longer SBC, am I not correct. Bill Clinton has precious little influence in any church SBC. The last I heard about Gore he was apostate united methodist. Dilday was accused of liberalism but that was not proven....slander in other words. Campolo is independant baptist...or non denominational as far as I can tell. Perhaps you have evidence that you would care to share with the rest of us??? And that would include the name of the SBC church that the individuals named above are members in good standing of and if that church is in fellowship with the SBC.
Further if you had a hair on your chinny chin chin you would not post as "anonymous"

R. L. Vaughn said...

Jake, if you are interested, here is the reply I received from Maranatha Baptist Church (where Former President Carter is a member in good standing and teaches Sunday School):

"Dear Mr. Vaughn,

"We are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Covention and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

"Jeffery Summers, pastor"

LivingDust said...

Brother Greg,

Thank you for your reply to my earlier post.

You said - You are essentially saying, "You are trustees, but we don't trust you to make these kinds of decisions." This is as contradictory a position as to say: the BFM is a sufficient doctrinal guide, but parts of it are non-essential and therefore negotiable (which is your position, correct? :-)

Let me be more clear - I am essentially saying, "You are trustees, we empower and trust you to make decisions, but the Convention has set forth boundaries in which you will operate. The purpose of our BF&M is to set forth certain teachings which Baptist believe. It is not 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. It is sufficient in its current form to guide trustees in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the Convention. We are not embarrassed to state before the world that these are doctrines we hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice. The BF&M does not address every doctrine of the Christian faith and you will find differences amongst Baptist regarding these non-essential doctrines. The differences of conviction and practice regarding non-essential doctrines are not grounds to disqualify any Baptist from service at a SBC agency. The singular purpose of the Southern Baptist Convention is cooperation and it is the duty of every trustee to foster cooperation by working to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner as they carry forward missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ's Kingdom. The Convention will hold trustees and other agency leaders accountable for their decisions.”

In this statement you find my “position”. I sourced words from the BF&M Introduction, BF&M Article 14 and the recent Convention-adopted statement of the Executive Committee.

I trust that someday, either by changing the BF&M Article 14 or by adopting a Statement of Cooperation, the Convention will be clearly acknowledge and express that differences regarding non-essential doctrines can and do exist, yet Baptists cooperate and serve together in Christian unity.

Perhaps the next Convention will be the time and place to address this issue and provide trustees with additional and beneficial guidance.

Anonymous said...

Jake Barker,

Sounds like you are just looking for a fight by derailing the conversation about the EC Statement and the discussion about what baptists historically confess. Just my observation.

Oklahoma Joe

Greg Welty said...

Hi LivingDust,

I hope you understood that when I said above that "You are essentially saying...", that was a quotation of a comment directed to Wade days ago. It had no direct reference to you.

I think the clearest and most relevant sentence in your statement (which you did not "source" from any preexisting document, if I'm not mistaken :-) is: "The differences of conviction and practice regarding non-essential doctrines are not grounds to disqualify any Baptist from service at a SBC agency." For maximum clarity, it should probably be made explicit that these "non-essential doctrines" are simply doctrines that go beyond the BFM. I think that would be a pretty clear statement for the messengers to vote on, FWIW.

LivingDust said...

Brother Greg,

I think we all might agree that excluding those Baptists who have been led the Holy Spirit to serve as a missionary or in some other capacity (like you - you're a Professor) because of their conviction and practice regarding a secondary or tertiary doctrine is not the Baptist way, nor in agreement with New Testament scripture.

Now remember I'm talking about "non-essential" doctrine, those that are not essential to salvation. (BTW, I really don't like to say that any doctrine is non-essential).

Somehow, someway the Convention needs to address this issue and get it settled. My preferred position is that Article 14 be modified to confirm our cooperation, even though there are differences in non-essential doctrines amongst Baptist.