Monday, August 27, 2007

The Origins of Quirky Religious Traditions Shown

A friend recently made me aware of a post entitled The Value of Theological Competition, written by Steve Hays over at Triablogue

A theological tradition, if allowed to develop internally in cultural isolation, is apt to become overly refined. It becomes quirky and absurd.

The examples are almost endless. You end up with quaint, legalistic dress codes which were originally well-intentioned, but have hardened into dogma.

You end up with violent schisms over the one true way to pronounced the name of Jesus or make the sign of the cross.

You end up with communion tokens.

You end up with gilded shrines encasing the finger bone of a legendary saint.

The altar call becomes the central sacrament in fundamentalism. The altar call is to fundamentalism what the Mass is to Catholicism.

I could multiply examples, and my examples would reflect my own theological bias. But I say all that to make this point: theological competition is healthy, because theological competition has a pruning effect on theological eccentricities.

When a particular tradition enjoys an unchallenged monopoly, it becomes inbred and overbred—like a hairless dog the size of a kitten. Isolated theological traditions either go from good to bad or bad to worse. It’s only a matter of time before rite makes right.

But competition purifies the competition. When one tradition shines a spotlight on a rival tradition, that makes it more difficult for an idiosyncrasy or historical accident to graduate into an article of faith.

By itself, competition doesn’t prevent theological quirks and curiosities from mutating into pious dogmas, but it exposes them for what they are, and offers an escape route for those who have the ears to hear.

Is there too much theological diversity in Christendom? Undoubtedly. But I’d much rather have a healthy dose of theological competition than allow a doctrinal or ecclesiastical monopoly to go unchecked until it perfects a false premise or optimizes a primitive corruption—leaving us fettered and shackled in a dungeon of dogmatic decadence.


All who advocate allegience to religious traditions above Scripture should let out a collective ouch.



Anonymous said...


I really like this.

And I hope that those who are so bent on the SBC being a strict subscription denomination--meaning, they want people to subscribe to every jot and tittle of the BF&M 2000 or they can't be employed--will really ponder what he is saying.

I know that they can see strict subscriptionism as a/the way to keep the denomination from sliding towards legalism.

But, in the light of what this gentleman has said, people should think about the value of dogma being challenged as well.

If you hang the threat of exclusion over the heads of people for failure to subscribe strictly to the BF&M 2000, then that can stifle intellectual stimulation since people could be so scared to think of even the "possibility" that there might be something wrong with it.

I think I favor a good-faith subscription approach to the BF&M 2000 and I think the REALITY of the internet can hold trustees feet to the fire to not let genuine liberals in on the mission field or the seminaries.

The Blogs allow for more accountability.

You DO NOT WANT A CONFESSION OF FAITH to have the same functional weight as the Bible itself when quoted in this denomination.

You can say all day long "the Bible is our supreme standard" but when the rubber hits the road [i.e., who's in and who's not], a confession can carry the same weight as the Bible itself if you don't watch it.

Benji Ramsaur

Anonymous said...


Aaaah, I meant to say "I know that they can see strict subscriptionism as a/the way to keep the denomination from sliding towards LIBERALISM [not legalism].

Anonymous said...

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus...

Preach Christ and Christ crucified...

Let the peace of Christ rule...

Be filled with the Holy Spirit...

Perhaps that would solve it.

GeneMBridges said...

As folks will be able to see if they go to the original, that post thread was hijacked by two persons we had to ban - sorry about the hijacking. We had to go to Constantinople and Cuba to get through that thread.

Allow me to clarify what Steve believes, because I share that belief. We believe in the value of theological competition, because, as I pointed out there, God does too, that is, there's a certain amount of dissension that is allowed and allowable in the churches according to Paul in the Corinthian letters. It's the way we deal with it that makes or breaks us.

Some folks seem to worry that any deviation will cast us all adrift forever. But is that true? We believe the Bible is clear, but it isn't equally clear on every topic.

It's that sort of division that Roman Catholics take and turn into an argument against Sola Scriptura and basing arguments on exegesis.
They argue that, w/o an infallible intepreter, there is no clarity, and w/o absolute clarity, there is no unity. Aside from the fact that happens to involve an impossible infallibilist constraint on knowledge and an aprioristic view of what constitutes true unity, we would argue first that we aren't concerned about an aprioristic idea of unity to find the right rule of faith. We're only concerned about the true rule of faith.

And when it comes to that rule (Scripture) we're concerned about exegesis. Not every tradition is built on exegesis and some exegesis is better than others. Better to divide after rigorous, sound exegetical debate than stay together being true to tradition when tradition is false.

Ultimately, every exegetical argument is admittedly an argument for the best probability. Probability means something very different in a secular worldview than in a Christian worldview.

To begin with, there's a fundamental difference in what is metaphysically possible or probable depending on your worldview.

And there is also a big difference in the epistemology of probabilities.

Suppose we only have probable evidence for some of our religious beliefs. But if we have good reason to believe in divine providence, then the evidence we have is the sampling of evidence that God has chosen to give his people or preserve for posterity.

And, with that in mind, I think we can be more confident about our reliance on probabilistic reasoning, for if God has wanted us to have more evidence or better evidence, then it was within his power to do so. Hence we are judging certain questions on the basis of the evidence which he has left at our disposal.

Therefore, we shouldn't be plagued by nagging, gnawing doubts about the possibility of being wrong. Even if I were wrong some of the time, it's out of my hands, and I'm in his hands. As a Christian, I don't require a godlike control over the evidence. I can go with what I've got because it's what God has given me to go by.

This thinking is what underpins his belief (and mine) in the value of theological competition. When you discard all the arguments that aren't built on exegesis and look to the ones that are, you'll always have some competition, and God seems quite happy about that, since He has seen fit to give us a Bible that requires exegesis and causes us to discuss and, yes, sometimes disagree. Better to disagree well that disagree poorly and better to divide the right way than the wrong, so we don't worry about absolute unity without deviation from X - why? Because God doesn't seem to worry about either.

DL said...

I was baptized in a church where women were expected to wear dresses. The pastor was shocked when non-Christians in jeans were being turned away at the door. He caught his members turning folks away, and chastised them. His members were misapplying the rule. Of course one can come to church in jeans. A couple times. Then the rule kicks in. I think that's a practical example of this post.

Scott Gordon said...


What do you have in mind here?

What are quirky traditions and what are convictions?

And those here in the comment line...

Benji, are you saying that the BFM2000 should be a minimal statement? You certainly seem to disavow it being a maximal statement. Are you advocating caveats to the BFM at an individual's whim? What then is a Southern Baptist?

Gene, theological competition is important, because in our pomo world we can't afford to assert convictions of a doctrinal nature based upon biblical authority...we need to argue vociferously based upon our personal preferences.

Darby, yes, and I've had people leave my church (yes, one who is on the Titanic and friendly to the 'spookies' around here) because men wear shorts to church and the preacher goes to movies and enjoys them.

Et al., should churches establish covenants together to affirm their commitment to each other and hold each other accountable...or is that just too quirky?

Anonymous said...


I was never more aware of this than while we were serving on the mission field in the Former Soviet Union. I discovered that some of the traditional baggage that I had entered with, so many people in that part of the world had no cultural hook to hang it on. It raised some big questions in my own mind and cause me to evaluate and sift through that which I found to be Biblical and that which I found to be merely traditional. I discovered that there was so much that I had been raised on that really did not hold a solid Biblical basis, but more of a traditional basis that had somehow found its way into our dogma. I didn't come home quite the same person. I'd be more specific, but not in a forum like this. (smile)

Anonymous said...

Well said. While the Baptist church might be more evagelical and more bible-based then some of the other denominations of today, it isn't perfect and it still has it's own traditions that make zero sense.

Let us not forget Colossians 2:8

Anonymous said...


If you mean "what then is a [traditional] Southern Baptist", then we can let voices of the past speak for us:

“…nearly all Baptist churches, when they are received into the fellowship of the denomination, adopt one of THE STANDARD BAPTIST CONFESSIONS (emphasis mine), as the Philadelphia Confession, the Charleston Confession, or the New Hampshire Confession…”

From: The Biblical Recorder
Title of Article: Creeds and Declarations in Baptist Churches
Date: August 11, 1886
Source: Central Baptist

Boyce states that this was one of the guiding principles [for the drafting committee-not just one person] in relation to the Abstract of principles:

3. Upon no point, upon which the denomination is divided, should the Convention, and through it, the Seminary, take any position.

My commentary: I doubt that 15 percent of all Southern Baptists could agree with every jot and tittle of even one of these confessions.

If you mean "what then is a [contemporary] Southern Baptist", then if we take a strict subscription approach to the BF&M 2000 to define for us what is a Southern Baptist, then I doubt 20 percent of Southern Baptist members are Southern Baptists on the ground of the affirmation of closed communion alone in that confession.


Anonymous said...


Aaahhhh [again]

My last paragraph should read something like this:

If you mean "what then is a [contemporary] Southern Baptist", then if we take a strict subscription approach to the BF&M 2000 to define for us what is a Southern Baptist, then I doubt that even 80 percent of Southern Baptist members could affirm all of that confession on the ground of the affirmation of closed communion alone in that confession.


Anonymous said...

Scott G.,
to my mind, a southern baptist is someone who holds to the generality of baptist beliefs and chooses to associate with the southern baptist convention.
something we seemed to have over looked is the choice to associate in defining what type of christian you are.
however, if you are a southern baptist and there are dozens of caveats to your bfm perhaps you should think about other denominations that may suit you better.
it is primarily a matter of choice.

by the way, wade, was it intentionally "Origens" in the title or "Origins". just asking...

in terms of spellcheck, there is one for you browser
Internet Explorer
and firefox 2.0 has its own spellchecker

for the rest I have no idea but if you are using opera or something else I'm sure you can find one.


david b mclaughlin said...

"Of course one can come to church in jeans. A couple times. Then the rule kicks in. I think that's a practical example of this post."

Do you really mean this or are you using it as some kind of example that I am missing?

Are you saying if someone comes to church in jeans we should allow them to do so, but then after a couple times tell them they need to put a dress on?

I think I need some help on understanding this one.


DL said...


Yes, this is a true example. No, I don't agree with it. That's why I'm not a fundamentalist independent baptist. Of course there wasn't a written rule that one could wear jeans twice and then must switch to a dress. But that's the implication. What else could happen when the preacher constantly berates women for dressing like men; when he can cross-apply rules like that in an "exposition" of any text? In addition, surely the new one in jeans will see the dress code being self-righteously paraded all around her. The only thing that will stick out worse than her jeans will be her makeup. Eventually, the women in jeans will get the point. They'll either leave that church, or allow the preacher to bind their conscience in the name of "modesty." This process of conscience-binding will probably be weighing heavy on the jean-toting "sinner" within about two Sundays. While I think the pastors of such churches truly care about their flock, I think they're misguided. I am against most codifying of "good and necessary consequences" of biblical exhortations like modesty, etc. Such codes bump up against my New Covenant Theology sensibilities, and the priesthood of every believer.

david b mclaughlin said...

Whew! Thank goodness. I was scared there for a minute.

Thanks Darby!

Wayne Smith said...

Scott G.,

Darby, yes, and I've had people leave my church (yes, one who is on the Titanic and friendly to the 'spookies' around here)

I do believe you Scott Gordon, Belong to the SPOOKY CROWD that attacks Wade’s and other Christian Posts and Comments on these Blogs. They the SPOOKY CROWD also Defend the Holy Ones in High Places that don’t want to be Accountable to Their Christian Brothers and Sisters.
With That I am
In His Name
Wayne Smith

Christa Brown said...

Scott G. asked: "Should churches establish covenants together to affirm their commitment to each other and hold each other accountable...or is that just too quirky?"

Not quirky. I think it's a rough approximation of what American Baptist Churches do for considering reports of clergy sex abuse. Churches and clergy "covenant" to hold each other accountable to the larger faith community. On a regional basis, this then allows for a ministers' council to review and consider reports of that there is some accountability process that is outside an accused minister's circle of influence. And although the regional review boards exercise no authority, the process can at least serve to bring information into the light of day.

Anonymous said...

Q: What then is a Southern Baptist?
A: For a century and a half, it used to be a Christian whose religious body sent qualifying believers to the mission field without a creed having to be signed, some of us recall.

Steve Austin

Anonymous said...



I was a voice major:)


Blackhaw said...

I think competition is good to a point. But clearly some competition goes passed what is okay. I think we can all agree on that. No one can claim that God is not Trinitarian and still be a Christian. But saying this makes an interesting point about what is tradition vs. scripture. Tradition has been defined as "SCripture rightly understood." (Georges Florovsky). That is a better understanding of what the church fathers meant by tradition than the polemics of the reformation. The doctrine of the Trinity was proved through the use of tradition. What is the doctrine of the Trinity except a tradition? It is what the church beleives God is based upon a proper interpretation of the Biblical text. If one wants to argue for scripture only as our creed or as some have called "Solo Scriptura" then they can't denounce Arianism as a viable interpretation of the scriptures. it is only through tradition that one can reject Arianism. it is only through the faith of the Church given through the foundation of the apostles as Christ is the cornerstone can we support authentic Christianity.

So what i am saying is competition is good to a point and the outdated polemic of tradition vs. scripture needs to be done away with forever. It makes no sense.


GeneMBridges said...

Gene, theological competition is important, because in our pomo world we can't afford to assert convictions of a doctrinal nature based upon biblical authority...we need to argue vociferously based upon our personal preferences.

Scott, please clarify, are you saying that Steve is arguing for a POMO view? If so, can you quote him on that anywhere in the vast body of topics on which he has written? Steve is a Welsh Methodist Presbutero - Bapterian. That's eclectic, but it still makes him more conservative that just about every Southern Baptist, or do you think supralapsarian Calvinists are post-modern?

Or are you arguing that, in your own view, you can't argue on the basis of exegesis because you subscribe to the view that you argue on the basis of personal preference?

If you ask me, Scott, Resolution 5 is a wonderful example of what Steve was talking about. I'd also add that it's a prime example of arguing dogmatically for personal preference. If you disagree, I think Frank Turk would love to debate you on that on his debate blog. I'd add the altar call to that. In many an anti-Calvinist rant, I've heard pastors, even Paige Patterson, talk about the loss of the altar call. The altar call and the sacramental prayer are the Baptist Mass, the new Campbellite ritual of baptismal regeneration. There's nothing wrong with the sinner's prayer or the altar call on their own, of course, but they aren't sacraments that one must pass through or engage in to be a true Baptist, become a Christian, or have a credible profession of faith. I'm reminded of my friend Vinnie here at home who had a terrible time convincing the deacons of his church that he was saved because he admitted to never having prayed the sinners prayer.

Or are you putting these words in my mouth as if that is my view? I remind you, I subscribe to the First and Second London Confessions of faith and I have openly advocated dropping the BFM2k for a new confession altogether. I don't think anybody in his right mind could call me POMO or not a conservative Baptist. Generally, I'm the most conservative in the room, even in the SBC.

As I told Touchstone in that comment thread, I think theological competition is healthy for the reasons Steve stated (those are the practical reasons), and I think that an argument can be made from the NT to that effect as well. I'm not basing my view on my personal opinion; rather I'm basing it on Scripture, specifically what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11.

18For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it.

19For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.

1 Cor. 11:19 uses the Greek word "haireses" for "factions". We get the English word heresy from this Greek word. A heresy is a false teaching, something that deviates from orthodoxy. If we see that the Scriptures declare something clearly (orthodoxy), and if someone teaches contrary to that clear teaching, then he or she is teaching heresy.

The Scriptures teach that there is a place for division and thus competition and that is when opposing teachings that are contrary to sound doctrine. But division can only occur when the truth is known and those who abide with the truth should correct those who do not. So,there is a value to it, like it or not.

Et al., should churches establish covenants together to affirm their commitment to each other and hold each other accountable...or is that just too quirky?

I don't believe you can quote Wade or me denying this. My church holds to the First London Confession. We also have a confession of our own drafted on that foundation. We're also smart enough to * articles that all members must affirm to be members and to state that other matters are, for the purposes of church membership, adiaphora. Is that too quirky?

Anonymous said...

You can make your argument from an entirely academic perspective if you want, but I'll grant that just as we missionaries carried with us typical Southern Baptist traditions into other countries that had no cultural hook to hang them on, likewise, they also have some traditional practices that they hold in high regard and would challenge anyone to defy them, and yet, we would not value in this culture. For example, if you are a man, try planting a kiss on another man as you walk in the door of your church on a Sunday morning. Or, if you're a woman, wear a head covering every time you go into the church, and don't wear make-up or jewelry. These are common traditional practices among Russian Baptists. Also, in Latvia, nearly all of our Baptist churches used a common cup for communion, and would not even think of using the little plastic cups that we use in the U.S. Any takers? My point is that these are sacred practices (traditions) among Baptists in these cultures, and they do not understand why we don't practice them. Likewise, they would not be interested in our altar calls at the end of our services, or other traditions we have developed, based upon our interpretations of Scripture practices.

It's always striking to me how we can make everything an academic argument in this country, but the moment we set foot out of that which we know into the practices of others, it suddenly puts everything into perspective. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it. I guarantee you that after you've spent time in that paradigm you won't see anything in quite the same way and you will begin to question so many things you felt at one time were permanent fixtures in your life. It causes you to sift everything back to the basics and identify those things in your spiritual life (and from a Scriptural standpoint), which really matter.

Gary Snowden said...


Your comments are well to the point. I well remember the first time as a missionary pastor in Argentina that I presided over the Lord's Supper. Unbeknownst to me, that church (and later I would discover it was quite common among Baptists) had the practice of asking the baptized members to stand to receive the elements. I learned afterwards that they did so in order to facilitate the deacons serving the Lord's Supper to only those who had been baptized into the membership of the church (Landmarkism anyone?). I hadn't been informed of that practice so after everyone kind of nervously looked around at each other for a moment or two, the aforesaid baptized members all more or less stood up spontaneously without my saying anything. Needless to say it caught me off guard at first, but I quickly surmised what was going on and clarified that later.

That was just one of many traditions that we found that were firmly entrenched among Argentine Baptists. Your point is valid.

Blackhaw said...


Good point. Bad tradition is never a good thing. Hopefully Baptist can hold on to the true Tradition.


Anonymous said...

Here is one of the things I have thought about today.

Let's think about two doctrines:

1. Innerancy
2. Closed communion

Now, I don't want to come from the angle of whether they are right or wrong [so everyone please don't think that I am trying to start a debate on this here]

Now, when the substance of innerancy was affirmed in the BF&M 2000 [yes I know that the confession does not include the technical term "innerancy"] and voted on approvingly by the messengers, then I strongly believe the messengers approved a doctrine that the vast majority of Southern Baptists in the pew believed.

No, they might not call it innerancy and no they might not be able to articulate what they believe about the Bible with the sophistication of the Chicago Statement on innerancy, but if you asked the average SB "Do you believe the Bible is fully true", then I think, at least 8 times out of 10, the response would by "Yes".

Therefore, it seems to me that the doctrine of innerancy naturally flows from the bottom up as a theological standard in the SBC.

However, I think the vast mojority of SB's in the pew DO NOT believe in closed communion [rightly or wrongly].

Therefore, when it was affirmed in the BF&M 2000, then I think this was a doctrine that flowed from the top down [even though it was legitimately voted on].


Blackhaw said...


I think you are right about innerancy but I have no idea of what most SBCers believe about communion. I think you are right but I do not know if many SBCers know what communion really is and is not though.


Anonymous said...

Where did you go?
Come back and answer those who you questioned. Do you just like dropping bombs and then running away or are you interested in questions that YOU asked?



Anonymous said...


Excellent comment. As a layman who has not had the benefit of a seminary education but who has been trained as a scientist, I was initially somewhat surprised upon learning that exegetical discussions on baptist blogs often turn on an assumption that may be supported by some evidence but is by no means conclusively established in the Bible. In science, if we find ourselves in a situation in which assumptions that cannot be defended by evidence are required, we simply seek evidence to defend or reject that assumption. I suppose I was initially disappointed that exegesis is often an exercise in probability. However, your comments put a different face on it. I think you are exactly right that the Bible is precisely as God intended and if He had intended everything to be explicit and not require exegesis, He would have caused it to be written that way.

I remain disappointed that there are so many Baptists who cannot or will not admit that their exegesis on doctrines dear to them cannot be established with certainty from scripture. I have also noticed that in most cases interpretations that are socially conservative or have tradition behind them are the ones about which people express such certainty (e.g., cessationism, prohibition of women pastors or deacons, focusing on the wife submitting to the husband rather than the equally biblical mutual submission, closed communion, and authority of persons who baptize). I favor most conservative positions in the SBC and would fall within the social conservative range on any objective assessment. However, I recognize that some of these positions cannot be derived with certainty from scripture. When this is the case, I am uncomfortable using these issues to exclude people from service in the SBC. Of course, any organization has the right to decide criteria for service, but it seems to me contrary to the consistent call in scripture for humility (admitting the possibility we are wrong in some of our doctrinal preferences) and the call to avoid disruptive disputes over relatively minor matters. Paul did not advise anyone to ignore genealogies nor did he say they were unreliable. He said we should avoid disputes about them, and it seems very likely he said this because not all genealogies in scripture are consistent with each other. It seems to me that a number of the issues about which there are disputes at present are also in this category.

DL said...

"Of course, any organization has the right to decide criteria for service,"

Stephen, I think your comment is good. I agree with the above statement to an extent. I don't believe the Bible gives a church the right to delegate the appointment of elders. The question then becomes, "Are missionaries to be elder qualified?" I think according to current standards, they have to be more than elder qualified! When the organization is funded by the cooperation of local churches, then that organization should fund those candidates that the church sends forth. Churches, not boards, qualify people. Boards should train and administer those the church deems qualified. If the candidate is not cut out for missionary service due to health or inability to adapt, etc., then reject them. But I don't see where we have the right from Scripture to place the local church under another body to "stamp" what amounts to traveling elders.

stephen said...

You must have read my sermon notes. I have been really burdened with this same line of thought for the past few months.
I have been working, as of late, on a sermon from the book of Colossians.
Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

I was speaking with a Baptist Pastor on a subject, that I will not take the time to get into now, and I showed him several places where scripture dealt very clearly with that subject. Much to my surprise, in one of those heated unthought moments, he said "All good Baptists have did it this way for years. I don't care what the bible says this is Baptist tradition.

God help us.

Scott Gordon said...

I was out rearranging the deck chairs :-)


Apparently hit a nerve.

If you follow sarcasm, my remark should remind you of another doctrinal affirmation made by the esteemed Rev. Burleson... a conviction based on personal preference rather than scriptural principle. I'm a 'sola scriptura,' confessional accountability guy.

Theology of personal preference is the essence of the post-modern ideology.

Gene, I appreciate your defense of your position and the clarity of your definition.


Debbie Kaufman said...

Scott: I keep hearing theology on personal preference phrase and I'm wondering what that means. For me personally, it's theology that I see in scripture and not necessarily traditions that I have been taught and do not see in scripture.

I think it's all in how one views it. IF one thinks the world is getting worse, then so apparently is the theology. If one sees the world as possibly getting better, even in some areas, one would say it's more like some of those before us, read scripture, study it, form the doctrine to scripture and not scripture to their doctrine.

Debbie Kaufman said...

that should be not form scripture to fit their doctrine.

Blackhaw said...

Can one go to scripture without preconceived notions? I do not think so. Is it okay to go to scripture with theological assumptions? I think so. Many theologians are also arguing for that. Theological interpretation is very popular right now. One of my professors likened the interpretive process as being a circle. Biblical text to theological dogma to piety (I added Piety but it does not always have to be there) and then back to the Biblical text. It is a large circle and there is no point in asking what point in which it began.

So do we come to the Bible believing that Christ is God or do we find it in the Biblical text? Well for most I think the answer is both. But to answer why might take a long discussion and will bring in Irenaeus and maybe other church fathers.

But how do we get around tradition? I od not see Sola SCriptura as a denying of the authority of tradtion but just stating that dogmas have to come from scripture (at least in some way). But our liturgy is often based upon tradition and I do not know if I see Luther or Calvin having any problem with that or requiring others to worship traditionally.


Debbie Kaufman said...

Can one go to scripture without preconceived notions? I do not think so

I believe it can be done and many do go to scripture with "Lord show me the truth, change my mind where I am in error." That's Phil. 1:6 at work in the form of the Holy Spirit.

DL said...


I think I understand what you mean, but have to say you proved the opposite point. Do you mean that one can come to Scripture and come away with God's correct intention for that Scripture? Your point is well made. However, in order to humbly ask God to "show and change," one must assume that one may potentially start out with ignorance of or rebellion against the text. I think that's what's meant by bringing preconceived notions to a text. In other words, I always plug what I learn into a framework of what I think I already know. said...


You said,

my remark should remind you of another doctrinal affirmation made by the esteemed Rev. Burleson... a conviction based on personal preference rather than scriptural principle. I'm a 'sola scriptura,' confessional accountability guy.

You do not know me. You have never spoken to me. You have never heard me teach or preach.

I am not sure how old you are, but wisdom would dictate you not make assumptions of people you have never met or do not know. I, too, believe in sola Scriptura, sola gratia, sola fide.

Soli Deo Gloria,


Wayne Smith said...

I think I agree with You and Debbie if I’m reading you’ll Right.
The Holy Spirit is the one that reveals Truth of Scriptures and The Bible is the only Word to Prove Itself through the Holy Spirit..

In His Name
Wayne Smith

Wayne Smith said...

I told you a long time ago that I could see Your Heart. That was about 2 years ago. I can still see Your Heart, and I have never met You.
I have also shared that I am having a Problem Seeing Scott’s Heart.
Wade, I don’t always agree with every thing that you write as I don’t always Agree with all the other Bloggers on every Post or Comment they write. But when it comes to HEARTS I either SEE of Don’t SEE their Hearts.
I’m not saying I See as GOD sees as far as Salvation or Justification. So far God has never Proven me Wrong in my 37 yrs of Being Born Again from Above. A GIFT from GOD ABOVE
In His Name
Wayne Smith

Anonymous said...


I don't know what doctrinal affirmation you claim that Wade made because you did not say.

However, let me say this. This year I had the opportunity to get to know a gentleman who happened to have one of the sharpest, keenest minds that I have met at Southeastern.

Now, I do not say that because we agreed on everything. We didn't. However, there was no mistaking how well versed he was in the Scriptures.

Anyway, he told me that Wade Burleson had helped him through Wade's preaching in Romans over the internet.

He did not even know about Wade's thoughts on the SBC. In fact, he asked me about it.

But when it came to being helped to understand the Bible better, he credited Wade Burleson.

Scott, the church Wade pastors hears him preach through books of the Bible and grows numerically [and I'm sure spiritually] year after year.

Disagree with Wade if you will [and I have at times as well], but your seeming slight of him being committed to Sola Scriptura is bothersome to me.

At the least, why not be specific and attempt to back up your assertion with some evidence?


Benji Ramsaur

Debbie Kaufman said...

However, in order to humbly ask God to "show and change," one must assume that one may potentially start out with ignorance of or rebellion against the text.

I agree and disagree with this statement. I believe that we should always go to scripture with humbleness, always studying all and not just parts. We may come to the scriptures with pre-conceptions, but if we are wrong, we must also be willing(always) to have God show us our error. It doesn't mean ignorance per se, it does mean humbleness and not thinking we know it all. Not even if we are in seminary.

Some of the greatest preachers I know(Wade and Paul B included in that) are the ones who are willing to be changed by the rendering of scripture. I don't know if I have clarified or if it's mud. That is a big part of Sola Scriptura. IT's one thing to say well, scripture backs me's another thing to actually prove it.

Scott Gordon said...


I do know you. You will likely not remember the time, but I had the opportunity to interview you for my OBU summer intern class back in 1991. I was attending Oneta Road Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, OK, and you were pastor of Sheridan Road Baptist Church in Tulsa. I appreciated your openness then and do so now.

I have both challenged and affirmed your thoughts in your posts. Where I have agreed and appreciated your point of view, I have said so. Obviously, where I have not I have also said so. I appreciate the more direct and thoughtful response this time. I am more acclimated to being simply brushed off here or my questions being misinterpreted or misrepresented. Yes, I am a young pastor who is looking at the landscape around me and troubled by what I see. I am probing, sometimes pushing buttons, to see what the arguments each side proffers are made of. Certainly I will tend to be more inquisitive of those who make assertions with which I am at first inclined to disagree.

I have started blogging to resharpen my apologetic skills in the church arena and the non-church arena. That was one of the greatest contributions both college and seminary interaction offered me. Anyway, I appreciate this line of discussion.

Wade, my problem stems from comments made regarding your basis for leading your church to hold the conviction that women should not be pastors. You, in comments on others' posts or even within threads here (I'm sorry I cannot recall just now where they are located), stated that your leadership was based upon your personal preference and not scripture. I cannot concur that the Word of God does not speak directly to this issue...It does! I cannot find any way in which to affirm that the elder, pastor need not be the husband of one wife. That may seem far afield of the post title, but I see this as a root issue. That shift moves the foundation of leading your people away from Scripture and onto individual philosophy. As I see this trend in areas like the emergent church, I am troubled that so many confessional evangelicals would be tempted to buy into this way of thinking.

I can agree that too many times we hold to traditions which are not biblical but are legalistic instead. That thought was the thrust of my comment in agreement with and affirmation to Darby.

I am glad to see that you affirm sola scriptura et al. When our Father speaks, we must faithfully obey.

Thank you for allowing me to poke around.

SG! said...


Thanks for your kind words. I do not remember you. I accept your word that you interviewed me while an intern. Allow me to ask you a couple of questions.

Do women in your church wear head coverings when they worship?

Do you greet each other with a holy kiss as commanded (it is in the imperative) by the Apostle Paul in four of his epistles?

Do you use wine during communion service?

If the answer is no to any of the above questions, I would like you to answer how you are consistent with the following closing paragraph of your comment . . .

I am glad to see that you affirm sola scriptura et al. When our Father speaks, we must faithfully obey.

Scott Gordon said...


thanks for your questions. don't have time right now but will get back on these.


Robin Foster said...


Concerning your questions to Scott, do you believe the command by Paul on women not teaching or usurping authority over men is based on his cultural preferences and therefore should be disregarded?

Unknown said...
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Scott Gordon said...


We've taken it a step further... We have a kissing booth (a fundraiser to restock the wine cellar)! If your ever in town, stop by...and bring your lip balm!


Let me see...

No head covering & No holy kiss = Women as pastors.

This kind of contextualizing echoes the argument given to me by an individual who is homosexual. His rationalization followed that since we don't stone people for sin--same Law books of the OT--we cannot condemn homosexuality. Since we don't follow the kosher laws, we cannot condemn the homosexual lifestyle. Same type of argument. Is he justified?

I'm sorry but I do not see imperatives of hospitality rising to the level of requirements for church leadership.

sg! said...

Scott Gordon,

So you believe you should faithfully obey the Father in the large things (such as church government) but ignore his words in the small things (such as hospitality).

Your approach to exegesis concerns me.

A consistent hermanuetic is essential for proper exegesis - yours is very inconsistent.

Scott Gordon said...


So, to my would your consistent hermeneutic answer the man (real not hypothetical) to whom I was talking?