Sunday, November 18, 2007

Today's Debate Is Tomorrow's Success

The following was sent to me and several other IMB trustees, including Chairman John Floyd, by Southern Baptist layman Joe Hall. I do not know Joe. I have never met him, nor have I ever spoken to him, but I always find it refreshing when Southern Baptists laymen take the time to get involved, and in Joe's case, articulate their thoughts so well.


Can any good thing come out of Oklahoma?

By: Joe Hall

When I was a student at Grand Canyon College in the late 60’s I had a conversation with Dr. Niles Puckett, my Greek professor. The conversation came about because of a debate he allowed in Greek class between a Church of Christ and a Baptist pastor. Both were young and full of them selves and made their arguments. Some of the young students felt that the Church of Christ preacher may have won the debate based on his communication skills. He spoke louder and longer than either.

After class I spoke with Dr. Puckett and enquired as to why he hadn’t stepped into the discussion and corrected the false interpretations offered by the Church of Christ preacher concerning baptismal regeneration. Dr. Puckett was a member of the church I served as Student Associate Pastor and I felt I knew him well and yet was surprised by his answer. He told me, “Joe, it is not my calling to become the conscience of or to take the place of the Holy Spirit for any of my students. I allowed the debate because I want you to listen to various sides of issues and seek God’s voice to you and make intelligent decisions based on hearing all sides. Then I want you to go to God’s word and hear what the Lord has to say. Then I want you to make an informed decision for your self.”

Forgive me for this long story but Dr. Puckett’s advice has stuck with me and has served me well in my own life and in my business. I feel that my organization would be weakened if every one of my managers always agreed with me. I feel the need to allow my key leaders to shed light on all sides of our business.

Now we cut to the chase. It is my belief that the issue is not just the narrowing of acceptable standards and beliefs but the narrowing of leadership. In the recent actions of the IMB key leaders, trustees of the IMB, chosen for their leadership skills and knowledge of the work, have not been rewarded for insightful disagreement. Steps have been taken that attempt to keep any disagreement in check. I believe that once the decision has been made, the decision is the rule of the day until the rules are changed. To kill all disagreement before, during, or after the decision is made opens the door for falling into the trap of the good old boy syndrome. Stemming disagreement ensures inward growth. Everything that lives changes and change is good but change must be reasonable and useful. Therefore all sides of an issue must be explored, weighed for usefulness, exposed as correct or false, and decided upon in such a way that debate is not stymied. Gracious disagreement enhances the opportunity of a well thought through direction. Today’s debate or disagreement is tomorrow’s success.

The actions of the IMB of late are not healthy, productive, or insightful but rather smack of hurt feelings or a “who’s in charge here” attitude. They are not in the best interest of the SBC, IMB, individual missionaries, and most especially the lost and un-reached around the world. I have a personal feeling about things like private prayer language, baptismal authority, and individual disagreement but they are not important. What is important is my responsibility to add something significant to the discussion and not be castigated for my thoughts. John Floyd shared with me that a trustee who does not play by the rules will be sidelined. It is my opinion that the recent rules are ill gotten and ill advised. I would like an answer about how these rules relate to the constitution of the IMB, how they diminish or strengthen the work of a leader chosen to represent Southern Baptist, at least in terms of communication, and how it is good to do this censure thing the month before our largest single Missions Resource gathering. As a pew sitter I am in favor of some soul searching, explanation to the constituents, and some changes that will bring about healthy disagreement.

I have heard all my life this formula: tell the people, pray the issue, and lead where God is going. The IMB is God’s, entrusted to His people of the SBC. It does not belong to the leaders of the trustees of the IMB or to its’ staff. It is time for accountability to the people who provide resources for it in God’s name.


Anonymous said...

Joe used to pastor at North Phoenix.
IMHO, I wished he practiced what he preached.

David Simpson said...

Anonymous, that's gotta be a different guy than you're thinking of...

Rex Ray said...

No wonder you gave us Joe Hall’s statement…it’s wonderful advice.

It’s sad to see ‘Anonymous’ comment. He used the psychology if you can’t argue with what a man says; attack the man.

I wish he would keep his shameful words to himself.

Anonymous said...

Wade thanks for printing this on your post.
Dr. Niles Puckett, words is what I have been telling my self.
Debate various sides of the IMB issues and seek God’s voice to help us in making intelligent decisions based on hearing all sides.
Then we can make an informed decision for our self.

Anonymous said...

David, I wish it was but as far as I can tell its not. People will think I am attacking, but I am not. Wade really needs to check out who he is quoting. I am fearful that people are going to use Wade for the wrong reasons. This will be my last comment on this subject, but please Wade check this out.

Rex, You do not know my motives. I know anonymous gets a bad wrap, but I am being sincere. In fact, I deleted my first comment before posting. I am not sure how to convince you its not an attack. I don't blame you for thinking it is if I were in your shoes I would think the same thing.

davidinflorida said...


Lucky for Joe that he is not on the IMB.

He would surely be censured for that"mean spirited" report.

davidinflorida said...

Does anybody have Jerry Corbaley`s e-mail or fax number?

This needs to be sent to him immediately. If Joe can`t be censured from the IMB, he must be censured from the SBC.

This is worthy of a 153 page e-mail rebuke. How dare he not praise the IMB leadership. He has the gall to question their actions.

And if thats not bad enough, his letter was posted on one of those "evil" blogs.

Oh, the humanity!

Bob Cleveland said...


This all brings to mind the subtle change which surfaced in the BF&M 2000, namely "the priesthood of the believer" becoming "the priesthood of all believers". Folks who saw that change as part of some sub rosa plot to shift the authority in SBC beliefs from the believer to those few in charge, now have evidence that they were correct.

Indy is going to be interesting.

John Daly said...

Whenever someone tells me to “practice what I preach;” I respond with: “How about I preach what I practice?” Ahh, if I were to do that, might my “preaching” be something like…”Hey buddy, you need to read one or two chapters a day and then act like you did the Lord a favor and then you need to be very nice to all the strangers you meet but make sure you do a double barrel verbal assault on your wife and kids, and to top it off, make sure you get your bills done and put away some fun money and then give God a little something on the side.” Yep, it’s much easier to practice what you preach then preaching what you practice. Because if I do the former, then it’s still something I can aspire to, the latter reveals what’s already in my heart.

Jeff said...

Bob, I think many people are going to be disappointed at Indy. I pastor a church in Arkansas and when I mentioned to them Wade B. Their response is WHO?

I think the circle of discontentment is smaller than you think.

Anonymous said...

Let's see...We hold up as an example a professor who allowed a church of christ pastor to stand before his classroom and proclaim baptismal regeneration to be true, but then refused to counter those arguments after his baptist student lost the debate. There are merits to debate, but allowing someone that preaches another gospel that kind of access to his students without correcting the falsehood is not one of them.

Part of being a professor is pointing your students to the truth. A second part of being a professor in a Bible College or Seminary (or a teacher/elder in a chruch) is guarding your students from error. You can let them read all the liberal, atheistic, or cult literature you want - but you had better equip them to see why its wrong. Failure to do so, fails your students and the churches that sent them to you.

I would not want that guy in my classroom. I wonder if any of his students abandoned the gospel for that which is preached by the church of Christ.

A simple student at SBTS.

knnuki said...

Criticize this guy - his practice or his preach - all you like. At the end of the day, what he says is true and I appreciate him saying it. knnuki

Lin said...

"This all brings to mind the subtle change which surfaced in the BF&M 2000, namely "the priesthood of the believer" becoming "the priesthood of all believers". "

Bob, when our friend Rex Ray mentioned this a while back in a comment, I had some questions and really appreciated that Rex did some research on this for me. I did some more research and found a few references that only brought even more questions to mind about this:

Baptist Standard

Baptist Standard 2

SBC Annual Meeting

After reading all of these quotes from Mohler, I really would like to hear an expanded explanation from him. I am very uncomfortable with this.

Kerygma said...

That's the way my professors at Southern Seminary taught. They got fired for being liberals who didn't believe the Bible.

Anonymous said...

Thank Baptist layman for some backbone.


Lin said...

"You can let them read all the liberal, atheistic, or cult literature you want - but you had better equip them to see why its wrong."

What better way for them to seek the truth by seeing both sides debated? That is what they will face in the real world. That is what being an 'adult' student is all about.

Anonymous said...

The Church of Christ fella must have jumped and clicked his heels when the Preacher allowed what a Baptist deems as undebatable to be debated. Particularly when he did not defend the truth. I doubt if Joe Hall's thoughts will effect the one's with whom you are in disagreement. Joe said,"I have a personal feeling about things like private prayer language, baptismal authority and individual disagreement but they are not important." Maybe not to him but to a great host of Baptists they are very important. Where shall we stand?
Jim Sadler said...


I have little respect for anyone who comments anonymously. I do not know who Joe Hall is, but if he were Sun Yung Moon and spoke truth, I would receive the truth, without condoning everything else Sun Yung Moon does or says.

We need to get to the place in Southern Baptists life where we dialogue with people about issues and quit attacking people.

Please show courage and sign your name.

In His Grace,


Anonymous said...

Wade, I cannot sign my name due to my concerns about Joe Hall. I can only say what I feel. Perhaps if you would go on public record assuring me of privacy. I could correspond privately with you. What Joe has written might be true, but my problem is his motives. I don't trust the man. I only ask that you be careful in allowing him into your circle.

Anonymous said...

A Simple Student @ SBTS said:

"I wonder if any of his students abandoned the gospel for that which is preached by the Church of Christ?"

News Flash:

The Church of Christ preaches The Gospel -- as does the SBC, many non-denominational churches as well as other mainstream denominations.

They just don't preach it the way you do.

The danger in your thinking is that it leads the SBC to divert time and resources from reaching those that have never heard or served Christ to "convert the already converted."

Jeff said...

Jack, You are dead wrong the C of C preach salvation by works. They believe you must be baptized to be saved. That is not the gospel.

Bennett Willis said...

I too found the note from the SBTS student disturbing. If you can get to that level of education and not be convinced that the great majority of our beliefs grow stronger through tempering to toughen them and challenging to make us think them through and understand them--then a lot of professors have not done their job.

This is supposed to be the best thing about a Christian education--it gives us a safe place with lots of resources to question, grow and firm our convictions. But if you can't think critically about all of it, you will come out with beliefs that are not well founded and which may crumple when faced with the challenges of the real world. Another problem with beliefs that grow without adequate thought and understanding, you may be unable to even discuss your beliefs without becoming angry with the need to discuss them.

Bennett Willis said...


I have no sympathy for anyone concerned about his personal comfort to the neglect of his convictions. I also have no interest in you corresponding with me privately.

If you can't put your name to your allegations publicly - but are willing to put your name to your allegations privately, then you should keep your mouth shut (or your pen down) publicly.

Be a man of integrity.

In His Grace,


Bob Cleveland said...

belief matters:

Indy is going to be interesting, for what it reveals and the direction which follows. A good football game is interesting, no matter which team wins, and a lousy game it lousy even when your team wins.

I don't recall saying which direction I thought would emerge. Perhaps you assumed something that is not true.

Anonymous said...

I am only doing what you allow. Be thinks you don't care so long as it promotes your cause. I don't see you rebuking others publicly who support YOUR cause.

Anonymous said...

Wade, What about IMB missionaries who complain to you privately....Do you feel the same way?

david b mclaughlin said...

I would add one point to the article. We also need to have the courage to admit sometimes we were wrong in our decisions. (New Coke?)

Sometimes we may believe we are hearing God and doing what is right, only to realize later that we were wrong. There is nothing wrong with admitting we missed it.

David Mc

PS-Truth is truth no matter who says it. If Hitler said that 2+2=4 it wouldn't make it wrong.

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

David, I respect you but disagree with you. There are others I could quote to get my point across that 2+2=5 :)......

Anonymous said...

A Simple Student @ SBTS wrote:

"Jack, You are dead wrong the C of C preach salvation by works. They believe you must be baptized to be saved. That is not the gospel."

Yes - and I assume that you would also tell me that Methodists baptize infants and charismatics speak in tongues (which "is not the gospel")?

I believe you are confusing the BF&M with The Gospel. There is a difference.

I believe we are commanded by Christ to seek out those who do not know him, share his teachings, invite them to accept Christ, and baptize them in his name.

I believe that those who are members of The Church of Christ are my brothers and sisters in Christ even though I differ from some of their theology.

You appear to seek to go into all the world and make Baptists of men.

I believe we are commanded to go into all the world and make new Christians.

Jeff said...

Jack, You have assumed too much. Methodist don't equate baptism as a necessity with salvation. I don't have a problems with charismatics, not word of faith is different.

Anonymous said...

I was in a coffee shop just two weeks ago. Members of one of the larger Churches of Christ in the area were discussing the sad state of a mutual aquaintence. He had prayed to receive Christ on a visit made by a third friend. The aquaintence was killed two weeks later prior to his baptism (don't know what prevented the immediate baptism the C of C normally requires). The focus of their discussion? Their pastor's conclusion that this man went to hell because he delayed his baptism and never followed through with his commitment. The church of Christ believes that you receive the Spirit at baptism. That appears to be a different gospel than what I see in Scripture.

A simple student at SBTS.

Anonymous said...

I don't know Joe Hall from Job's turkey, and I don't know anything about his background, his integrity, or his practices; but he speaks the truth, as far as I'm concerned.

Simple Student,
If my seminary experience could be reduced to one word, it would be "PRESUPPOSITIONS." We all make them, throughout life, every time we read the Holy Word, and every time we listen to anyone exposit it, explain it, or debate it. Look to your presuppositions! It sounds as though a couple of yours are, "The Southern Baptists now at SWBTS have the authentic, true understanding of Bible doctrine," and "The Southern Baptists now at SWBTS have a positive obligation to denounce any interpretation at odds with theirs." The problem with this is that however smart, well-educated, or persuasive they may be--in the final analysis, they put their pants on one leg at the time, just like you and I do. It even suggests that you do not trust the Holy Spirit to bear witness to the truth, but that human intervention is necessary. Now mind you: I don't think you have ever articulated it like that, but it seems to me to be the logical result of your comments. And it leads to some very closed thinking, some dead ends, and ultimately, an almost ghetto mentality (and I use the word in its original sense). Now I'm not going to get into the debate about the CoC except in a very small way; I will concede that their theology is wrong, at least I believe it to be wrong in several aspects. Certainly if they believe salvation comes by works, I disagree with it. But I ask you: even if their theology is wrong, do they center about the same Jesus? And if so, does incorrect theology mean they are not saved, or cannot be? If your answer is "Yes," then who besides a Baptist can be saved? I think that is dangerous and rather egocentric. What is your take on it?

I post anonymously because I have tried to re-register onto Google several times, all unsuccessfully. Consequently, I sign my name to everything I write. I challenge all you anonymous posters (unless there is a legidimate reason, such as an IBM missionary, etc.) to do likewise, whether your comment is good, bad, or indifferent. Stand up and be counted, and when necessary, take a few on the nose. You will be more respected for it.

John Fariss

Steve said...

So sorry to hear the official line from the Ch. of Christ was that the believer went to hell. I s'pose that explains that baptismal pool at Calvary for the robber who confessed to Jesus.... oops.

Hey, do you guys REALLY think the students of that class were damaged by hearing salvation-at-baptism from a Ch. of Christ speaker?

Anonymous said...

As someone who was "raised" in the Church of Christ and is now an active adult member of an SBC church I caution those of you who adhere to the current SBC "party line" from denigrating the Church of Christ.

-Trust me, many of them have perfected the doctrines of Legalism, Theological Superiority & Separatism -- which is where the SBC appears to be heading.

david b mclaughlin said...

Hey, do you guys REALLY think the students of that class were damaged by hearing salvation-at-baptism from a Ch. of Christ speaker?

I dont really know what the hullabaloo (sp?) is about there. Wasn't it a debate? Where I come from that means both sides were presented.

And did that one debate undo all the other semesters of teaching there? If so, then they have bigger issues than that one debate.

Yet again-the comment stream has wandered far adrift of the point of the post. Which is a good one.

Alyce Faulkner said...

Today on Debbie Kaufman's blog she quote some stats from a LifeWay report done for KY Baptist. They state:

“One of the startling things we found is that 24 percent of Kentucky Southern Baptists believe we may be able to earn our salvation,” Rice said. “That shocked us.

“Another doctrinal surprise was that 38 percent believe Jesus may have committed sins during His time on earth,” he said. “Sixty-four percent of Kentucky Southern Baptists believe that we may need to continually work toward our salvation or risk losing it. We’ve just not done a great job in teaching that key doctrine of our faith, eternal security.”

Perhaps we need to get the theological beam out of our eye first.

Belief Matters-check out the new web site at ABN. The story on Wade has comments from people around the state. Last time I checked they were all in support of Wade. I believe more are aware than you imagine.

Jeff said...

Thanks Alcye for the heads up. BTW, We enjoyed worship with you. Bro. Paul is did an excellent job, wished I could have attended more services. Keep up your good work.

Jeff Thomas

Alyce Faulkner said...

In fact (Belief Matters) there is a comment supporting Wade from someone in your church :)

Jeff said...

I don't think so. Do you have me confused with Trinity?

Jeff said...

Alyce, Can you point to the story? I can't find it. I would like to read it.

Alyce Faulkner said...

Home page, at the bottom, second page.
I thought that's where you are?

Jeff said...

Alyce, Joe Hall is not a member of my church. I am the pastor to Temple Baptist Church. Carey Tricky is the pastor of Trinity.

Matthew said...

Debate sometimes leads to more debate , not good.

Anonymous said...

Why do you not care who you quote..."I have little respect for anyone who comments anonymously. I do not know who Joe Hall is, but if he were Sun Yung Moon and spoke truth, I would receive the truth, without condoning everything else Sun Yung Moon does or says."

How do you know the person speaks the truth? Could the person's opinion of "truth" be influenced by his agenda? Just because someone says something and you agree does it mean it is true--or false?

From North Phoenix BC today...He (Joe Hall) was an Associate Pastor on the NPBC staff several years ago. This goes back to the 80's early 90's prior to our current pastor's call in 1993. Joe Hall served under our previous pastor, Richard Jackson, and left the staff of NPBC to become pastor of the Greenway Baptist Church in Glendale and then the First Baptist Church in Scottsdale. Since this is so many years ago, I am going by memory as personnel files have long ago been archived. I hope this helps in answering your question.

Jack Maddox said...


I am amazed that you would confuse the position of baptismal regeneration with the gospel? Have I misunderstood you? Do I understand you to equate a position which states that salvation is granted in any other way save faith in the Lord Jesus Christ plus NOTHING as being LEGALISM? Do I understand you to be saying that because the SBC holds to salvation by faith alone that they have erroneously narrowed the parameters of cooperation? This is startling my friend. Where would you draw the line?

Bennit Willis - The purpose of our SBC supported seminaries is not to present the false doctrines of others, but to prepare ministers to pastor, preach, teach and serve in our church's. To do comparative studies is one thing, to allow the propagation of a false gospel without reply from the SBC supported professor is quite another. This is one reason the CR took place..

Wade, since this is posted on your blog, what is your position on coc doctrine being received as simply another approach to the gospel?


ps - Hey Wade...GUNS UP BROTHER!!!!

Anonymous said...


Wade is not responsible for my comments. I am responsible for my comments.

-So let's explore what I know of the Church of Christ:

1) The Church of Christ professes not to be a denomination, that each church is autonomous, and that there is no priesthood. Local congregations appoint men to be elders and "preachers" as needed.

2) Salvation occurs through a profession of faith and baptism by immersion.

3) By tradition, musical worship is a capella (without instremental accompanyment).

I am aware of the "Baptist Distinctives" which separate Baptist Theology from Church of Christ Theology, SDA Theology etc.

I am also aware of an ever-growing list of SBC Distinctives which appear to be separating Baptists from Baptists.

I am aware of convictions within both groups (CofC and SBC) that theirs is the truest, purest application of scripture.

-And I honestly don't care who "wins" the arguments between these groups.

I currently serve in an active, growing SBC-affiliated church.

I serve Christ first, my local church second, and the SBC through the portion of my contributions which my church sends to the SBC.

I am called to win souls for Christ -- not the SBC or the CofC.


The "Other" Jack

Anonymous said...

“Part of being a professor is pointing your students to the truth. A second part of being a professor in a Bible College or Seminary (or a teacher/elder in a chruch) is guarding your students from error.”

As a former student at SWBTS (1991-1995), I would agree with my OT professor’s assessment of the regime that, at the time, was taking over the seminaries. He said “We want to teach you how to think. They want to teach you what to think.” He was right. In my opinion, the best equipped minister is the one who is taught how to interpret scripture for themselves and not dependent upon a professor (denominational leader, trustee, etc.) to tell them what is truth.

Paul in the PacRim

Anonymous said...

A simple student at SBTS,

It is the prerogative of the professor as to which technique he thinks is best for teaching his students. The professor obviously taught Joe Hill a greater lesson than whether or not the Church of Christ is doctrinally pure in matters of salvation: he taught the lesson of evaluating whether or not each and every statement is doctrinally pure regardless of the label on the forehead. BTW, nice signature ... where did you come up with it? :)

A Simple Student @ SWBTS

Anonymous said...


Has there been any response from the Trustees?

DL said...

“Joe, it is not my calling to become the conscience of or to take the place of the Holy Spirit for any of my students. I allowed the debate because I want you to listen to various sides of issues and seek God’s voice to you and make intelligent decisions based on hearing all sides. Then I want you to go to God’s word and hear what the Lord has to say. Then I want you to make an informed decision for your self.”

I just don't know if this jives with the life and death, day and night, tearful struggle that Paul had in Acts 20 to teach truth and be constantly on guard against error (compared with wolves - the same struggle he demanded the Ephesian elders engage in.

I'm sorry, but baptismal regeneration (what the quote referred to) is flat wrong, and contra-gospel. I don't see the virtue in expecting the Holy Spirit and individual conscience to do what Paul demanded the elders of a church to do. It's not wisdom. It's presumption. While this counsel may seem logical to western sensibilities, it's not biblical. All of this doesn't mean I endorse the direction the IMB is going either.

Jack Maddox said...

the "other" jack

Thank you for your response. Allow me to respond:

My inquiry of Mr. Burleson has nothing to do with whether you or he is responsible for your comments. I certainly posses the intellect to understand that your comments are your own. My purpose in the question was to gather Wade's opinion on the issue. That’s kind of what a blog like this is for. I am still waiting for his take on whether coc doctrine is consistent with the gospel. I have every confidence that Wade will not accept coc doctrine, especially their work based soteriology, as the gospel.

As far your use of the term distinctives. This is not about distinctives unless you are talking about biblical distinctives. This is about the gospel. A false gospel vs the true gospel. Not a Baptist gospel, but the gospel presented in scripture. For you to presume or advocate that baptismal regeneration, which is the position of most coc's, although there is some movement away from this, is just a different flavor of the gospel in which we can agree to disagree is simply wrong.

Now perhaps I have misunderstood you. So let me ask you. Do you believe that the gospel preached in the majority of coc's is a biblical gospel? I have been clear with my position. This is not a Baptist issue. This is not a local church issue. This is not a issue of distinctives, this is an issue which strikes at the heart of what saving faith really is.

As far as elders, music, the Lords Supper, etc...on this we can agree to disagree, however for a church to be a gospel church it must be a church that adheres to and preaches the gospel, and not a gospel which differs from that given to us in scripture.


shadrach said...

It has been called to my attention that I have seemed prideful and boastful as one who has 'arrived' at the purest understanding of God's will.

I apologize for that. I simply want the Church (Christ's body) to be the best it can be and the most socially active it can be. We have to be blameless and cooperative in our efforts to bring the Kingdom of God to the lost and dying around the world.

Transparency and unity in Christ is the only way to go.

Again, sorry if I've seemed cocky. I just want to be sharpened and to sharpen others.

Jack Maddox said...

by the way 'the other jack'

You did not answer any of my questions? let me make it very simple. Do you accept coc soteirology as biblical?


Anonymous said...

The idea that passionate but courteous disagreement is good before, during, and after reaching a decision is noted in several business "how to" books. "The five dysfunctions of a Team" is a good example. In it a new CEO finds that no one argues vigorously at meetings. She sees that this is not because everyone agrees, but because they don't trust each other enough to feel free to disagree.

Let's see, what does a censure do for trust? The idea that debate should end after a vote is harmful and indicates lack of a biblical self-critical attitude that all Christian organizations should have. If those who won the vote are truly convinced they are right, why would they object to a difference of opinion? A confident person or organization does not just tolerate, but encourages dissent. As the leader of a couple of small organizations, this is how I operate and it has served me well. Contrast this with President Bush's advisors who apparently had no tolerance for disagreement and thereby made some disastrous policy decisions on the strategy for Iraq after the initial hostilities.

I don't know Joe Hall, but as another baptist layman, I too would like to see some accountability on the part of the IMB BoT.

Batchap67 said...

Great post; my question to you is can you give me a version of your gospel? I heard several different "biblical" gospels across a broad spectrum of SBC churches. Some versions include belief in a virgin birth; others would be labeled as Lordship salvation; others included works... Do you see my point? And these differing versions were all from men who matriculated from SBC seminaries.

Also, "Guns UP!" I weep for my beloved Sooners with sack cloth and ashes...


Jeff said...

Gee Chaplain, I hope they believe in the Virgin Birth. TO deny it is to deny the Gospel.

Batchap67 said...

Belief Matters
Have you read "The Gospel Of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration"? Very little, except in one place, Affirmation 7, is the virgin birth even mentioned, and there it is mentioned not as the point of that affirmation but rather, in passing. Several SBC leaders signed that document. I would wager that 25 different SBC profs would give at least 20 different answers concerning what is "gospel.".
Most SBCers would agree that the virgin birth is essential/gospel but then again, it isn't in the FAITH outline is it? (at least none that I have seen). My bigger point is that in the evangelical world there is not even unity in defining the gospel. Hence, I would applaud the prof who attempted to teach his students to think for themselves as opposed to telling them what they need to believe or correct thinking (we are talking about Masters and doctoral level student and not about 18 yr old college Freshmen).


Jack Maddox said...


Let me say first of all thank you for your service to our Country. I sincerely mean this. I am grateful!

Your question was concerning a version of "my gospel"

Chaplain, I do not have a gospel. The gospel which I have received is the gospel clearly spelled out in scripture. Your educational resume tells me that you are familiar with it. The gospel (good news) in simplicity is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The gift of forgiveness is offered to all and given to those who trust in the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross on their behalf. My particular understanding of that gospel has it's anchor firmly embedded in the doctrines of grace. It can be said that I am a Calvinist, I am simply not mad about it! : )

The gospel as I understand it clearly in scripture is simply faith in Jesus plus nothing. It is not my gospel, it is the gospel proclaimed clearly in scripture. It is not a SBC gospel no more than it is a Anglican gospel. It is a biblical gospel.

In that I would agree that the gospel includes the truth of the Virgin Birth. I would include the physical resurrection of our Lord in this. I do believe that this gospel changes a man (or woman’s) heart which leads to good works, but anything that is meritorious is always a result of a changed heart, not the means to one.

hope this helps! btw...when were you at Criswell?


Anonymous said...


First let me say that I still consider those in the Church of Christ to be my brothers and sisters in Christ. I would cooperative with them in efforts evangelistic and otherwise -- as I would members of many other Christian denominations and non-denominational Christians.

According to my study of scripture I do not believe that baptism itself is regenerative; nor do I believe it is soley a local church ordinance that can only be performed by an authorized administrator.

However I can work side by side my SBC and Church of Christ brothers, despite what I believe to be their errors in interpretation of scripture.

I also believe that - although God gave us a perfect plan for salvation - as error-prone humans we will invariabley make mistakes as we attempt to interpret and understand scripture.

I long ago quit searching for the "one, true church" on this earth. That will come in the New Jerusalem.

Until then I seek to win souls for Christ, encourage them to join an authentic group of local believers - and then turn them over to God.

I hope this answers your questions.


Anonymous said...

"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and to the other apostles, 'Brothers, what should we do?' Peter said to them , 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Are Baptists and Church of Christ folk so hung up on their own interpretations of passages such as this that they think God witholds the sanctifying, justifying power of the Holy Spirit in someone's life because they accept a human interpretation of baptism that differs from their own, when it was the Spirit's conviction that brought them to repentance in the first place? It is just as ludicrous to believe that someone who came to repentance in Christ but died before they made it into the baptistry has gone to hell as it is to believe that someone who believes that is going to hell. Come on people! Get the point.

And the fact that someone is trying to discredit the author of this article, who made an entirely different point, as well as Dr. J. Niles Puckett, with this ridiculous argument is just as ludicrous. What an absolute demonstration of personal insecurity! With people all around us lost, dying and actually going to hell, we are still involved in promoting the divisions between believers that are largely responsible for turning off two generations to the church. God help us!

I was a student at Grand Canyon University from 1975 to 1979, and had four of the soundest, most committed Bible professors who ever taught in a Baptist college, including Dr. J. Niles Puckett, a Mississippi native who taught Greek with a Southern accent, Dr. J.P. Dane (whom we called "Great Dane" amongst ourselves) a native Oklahoman who is now pastor emeritus of Portland Avenue Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, and Dr. D.C. Martin, another Mississippian who looked a lot like Johnny Carson, and had an even better sense of humor. I may be biased, but I hung on their every word. I was a brand new believer and I have yet to meet three more dedicated, caring, loving examples in Christ. These men left the comforts of being Southern Baptist professors in Dixie, two from Mississippi College, one from Oklahoma Baptist University, to teach future church leaders who would serve the small, struggling SBC congregations, and others, in the spiritual desert of Arizona, as well as serving in the churches there themselves. They did it for much less of a paycheck, and retirement, than they could have had "back home," and they were as soundly Biblical as any three professors anywhere in the SBC. Those of you criticizing Dr. J. Niles Puckett do not know him, and you do not know what you are saying. You don't know Joe Hall, either.

Perhaps Baptists and Church of Christ need to pay attention to the last part of Peter's statement that I quoted earlier. I think the problems that we both have thinking we are the only ones who have it right and butting heads over that come from ignoring that statement to "be filled with the Holy Spirit." We seem to be much more filled with our own righteousness and our own arrogance, not leaving much room for the Spirit to work, and we certainly don't want to be accused of being "Charismatic."

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lee, for reminding us that "the main thing is the main thing." I couldn't agree with you more.


The "other" Jack

Batchap67 said...

I was at CC 1998-1999; excellent response; I concur. However, not to get too far off of point, whenever we share the gospel, we each do have our version, things we include that others may not, (I prefer a Roman Road or one verse approach as contrasted with EE/CWT/FAITH) just as M, M, L & J each wrote their own, respective versions of the gospel (e.g. Mark/John do not mention the virgin birth).
Again my point was to applaud the prof for teaching vs. indoctrinating.

Thank you for your kind words (except about TT/OU) We're headed to 2/7 Marines next month (though the Bible doesn't state it, it has been said the gates of heaven are guarded by U.S. Marines :)


Jack Maddox said...


Thanks for your response. You have answered my question. Thank you.

lee - why is it when we simply state that we are confident in the biblical gospel in its simplicity, that is namely salvation by faith plus NOTHING, that we are in effect accused of holding to a position which states, "we are the only ones that have it right"

I do not know what you mean by "we". If you are talking about Christians, then well, yes, we are the only ones who have it right. If you are talking about Baptists, then well, no...there are loads of other Christians who worship in other denominations that have it right when it comes to the gospel.

The coc is not one of them (sorry jack)Am I saying that if you are a member of a coc that you are lost? Certainly not! However, if you hold to the coc teaching of baptismal regeneration you have embraced a gospel of works and a gospel of works cannot save. Thankfully, it is the Lord who judges our hearts, but as far as a theological system goes…the coc is weighed in the balance and found dreadfully wanting.


Jack Maddox said...


On a lighter, it is a STONE COLD FACT...that our Houston Texans are now ready to take their rightful place as the new powerhouse in the NFL!

ya gotta believe!

jrm : )

Batchap67 said...

First it was TT now Houston Texans; I guess Calvin was right about depravity...:)


Jack Maddox said...


Why yes, he was!


he's only chasing safety said...

Oh man, I can tell that this post has lost it's direction and I hate to add to the clutter, but I just can't help myself. I even tried walking away from my computer and getting a glass of water along with some of those holiday icing covered pretzels. Alas, here I am typing . . .

"A Simple Student at SBTS," I have always been adamantly against posting anonymously, but in your case, I think I'm glad you did. Otherwise I would likely have found you on campus for a discussion in which I hope I wouldn't have been as bold as I think I might be. I love you brother, but you are very wrong and very sheltered from the "real world of ministry."

I've been a Southern Baptist for a little over two years now, but have served in ministry with Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Charismatics, and even *gasp* members of the Church of Christ. Believe it or not, I arguable learned more about the Bible from a Church of Christ pastor who I took several classes from in college than anyone else. All of this to say that you might need to define what your definition of "the gospel" is.

Sure, I don't agree with everything theologically with every person I've served along side in ministry, but for the most part, I think the focus of the mission was clear. To represent Christ as best as possible and share the good news of what He has done through word or deed.

It's this kind of inclusivism (if that's even a word) that is ravaging so much of our convention. I'm so tired of endless discussions questioning the validity of the salvation of others who we should be working alongside (to some extent) to proclaim the gospel. Should views on baptism, gifts, and other things of this nature honestly keep us from working with others for the good of the gospel?

For crying out loud people, let's stop being so prideful to think that God is smiling down on Southern Baptists while He shakes his head at the rest of the world. How dare we think that we have it all figured out and not take the time to listen, and maybe, just maybe, learn something? If nothing else, maybe even help our own faith grow stronger?

But who am I? I'm just a dumb (seriously dumb, seriously) kid at SBTS.

he's only chasing safety said...

My name is Kiel Hauck, by the way. You can find me in the balcony at chapel running the lights on Tuesday and Thursday mornings if you'd like to discuss further. I'm really not as mad as I seem. I'm a nice guy :o)

Jeff said...

I don't think any on this blog has said that baptists have it right, but to add to anything to salvation by grace is a perversion of the Gospel. This is what the COC has done. Call it what you like, but that is exactly what they have done.

Anonymous said...

Country Baptist Preacher here:

I really love what Joe wrote.
I remember when I was a student at seminary. The ethics professor would lay out a case study and present 4-5 different sides. Let the discussion begin!

I was astonished that with 21 men in the room there were 21 opinions. And all differed with mine!

In that class, I learned to think and I learned to listen.

That one class taught me more about ministry in the real world that all the others.

I also remember this beatiful mural on the buildings. It was people at the foot of the cross.

One of the first things the the "new" leadership did was have the construction crew put stucco over the people.

I always wondered why they removed the people from the foot of the cross.

Darrell Treat

Anonymous said...


Thank you for posting. It gives me hope for the future to read posts like yours -- especially from a student at an SBC seminary.

Belief Matters:

Since you believe that to add anything to salvation by grace is a perversion of the gospel, do you support the extra-biblical definition of Baptism as "a local church ordinance performed only by an authorized administrator?"

Anonymous said...

Quote of the Day?

“If you’re ashamed to be a Baptist, don’t be one.”

Paige Patterson to Baptist Churches who do not display the name “Baptist” in their church titles because it carries negative connotations in the minds of unbelievers.

SWBTS Reformation Day Chapel Services, Oct 31, 2007

shadrach said...

Kiel and BM,

You are both right, sort of. From Niger, I am supposed to be 'planting' SB churches, but I don't take that to mean I have to teach everything we talk about in these discussions. I believe the IMB has it right on their levels of cooperation.

If we are evangelizing, we need to do it with those who have a Biblical view of the Gospel. If we are doing social work and human needs, lets get together with all those Catholics and Anglicans.

Seriously, we can work together without agreeing on theological issues, we just have to be careful in what ways we work together.

Bob Cleveland said...

I think it would be good to get a panel of kids, say, 5 to 8 years old, and run all these problems past them. They wouldn't have all the things we have, like jobs and pastorates to protect, sacred cows to avoid eating, oxen in ditches, egos to protect, etc.

I recall Frederick Haynes preaching one time about having told his 5-year-old about Humpty Dumpty. When He got to the and .. "and all the King's horse and all the King's men, couldn't put Humpty together again", his son said "If the king's horses and men couldn't put Humpty together, why didn't they just ask the King?"

Looking at the totality of what's happened in the past 24 months, since I've been watching the SBC et al, I'd say we''re doing too much of the former and not enough of the latter.

Rex Ray said...

When is a person saved?
We can think back to that day, and there would be many different answers.
Should we group those answers and divide them into denominations? No!

I know now Jesus saved me months after I was baptized (yes, I’ve been baptized twice) when I prayed to him alone, but being ten years-old, I questioned my salvation because my inner peace was not like my father who ran down the isle shouting.
The devil put a doubt in my mind for many years.

It would have been natural for Paul to go home when he became blind, but he obeyed Jesus, not to be saved but a result of being saved.

“…why are you persecuting Me?” I think Paul knew with a sinking and repenting heart before he asked, “Who are You, Lord?” He believed Christ’s answer. No wonder Paul wrote: even our faith is a gift from God.

Back to the question WHEN.

The lady was healed ‘when’ she touched his garment.
Would she have been healed if someone had pushed her away? Was her faith limited to touching? Would Jesus have felt the power leave him if she had believed his shadow or something else was required?

We all limit God’s power in different ways. We all have ‘boxes’ that we put God in.

I believe most Church of Christ people were saved before they were baptized, but some may not have been saved until they were baptized because they limited God to that box.

Anonymous said...

an informed decision can be wrong.
Bad theology is
being taught in the name of the Holy Spirit and if Jesus & Paul had the same philosophy as this professor than they would not have corrected any of the bad theology they saw in the jewish community nor in the early christian community.

Bob Cleveland said...

My pastor told a "tear-jerker" story of a woman who sat next to her husband every evening in revival, crying. The revival preacher asked the local pastor why she cried, and was told that she wanted to "go forward and be saved", but her husband wouldn't let her. He was deacon chairman and said that would embarrass him.

The woman obviously had faith. I think it irrelevant that she didn't get to "pray the sinner's prayer". I don't read where the apostle Paul did that, either, and I'm pretty sure he was saved.

Sadly, because of human nature, we sometimes act as if we're the gatekeepers who stand at the pearly ones and let people in or shut them out. I've said it before and I'll say it again: we're not in management. We're just in sales.

he's only chasing safety said...

"if Jesus & Paul had the same philosophy as this professor than they would not have corrected any of the bad theology they saw in the jewish community nor in the early christian community."

I'm not sure how you can compare a seminary professor with Jesus or an apostle. I'm not making the argument that seminary professors shouldn't shephard their students and help them learn Biblical doctrine, but the point of this post is that instead of looking to God's Word as our final authority, we're looking to others who we "trust" because they're in a position of power.

I hate to use the Berean argument, but don't forget how they went to the scriptures and put it against what Paul was preaching in order to make sure he wasn't speaking heresy.

Just imagine if that professor had shot down that CoC student in class and convinced all the students in the classroom that he was right and affirmed in everyones mind that that being a Baptist was the way to be. How many of those students would have gone home and ran to the Word of God to check everything that was said? Surely some, but being a fallen human being, I can admit that I have failed to do this on more than one (or two, or three, or . . ) occasion since beginning classes at Southern.

If the rest of the student body is this devoted to take a grain of salt with each and every thing that comes from the mouth of some of these professors until it has been confirmed on their own through scripture, than it may just affirm my assumption that I really don't deserve to be here.

John Moeller said...

Kiel Hauck,

Thank you for saying what I was thinking. Southern Baptists think they have it all together..... They don't, Jesus came to bring LIFE, and LIFE more ABUNDANT!!! I don't see abundance in all this fighting and I don't see "love one another" either....

Heck, southern baptists aren't any better than any other denomination, and they may be worse because they are too hung up on doctrine to link up with fellow believers to "go ye therefore"

Some of by best times were experienced with some Church of God and non-denom's in the mission field. I learned some things too! I can't put God in a doctrinal box and expect Him not to blow it apart by letting me experience His Power in a new and special way.

Jack Maddox said...


Are you saying that one can be saved by trusting in the Lord through faith AND THEN BAPTISM?

I don't think your saying that. You and I are worlds apart onmost issues, but I trust you and I would agree that the gospel is free of meritorious effort.


ps - please dont make a denominational argument out of this : )

WTJeff said...


What you are expressing is a desire to be educated not indoctrinated. I can't speak for this professor, but it seemed he hoped his students would be bothered by some of what they heard and in turn would dig into God's word to figure it out. It seems to me he's leading them to discover rather than telling them what he would want them to know. Under mentorship, discovery is incredibly more enlightening and enriching than indoctrination because the process of discovery requires us to seek God through His Word.

Jeff said...

Alcye, I still believe that most people just are not interested. There were only three responses to the story.

Gary said...

Open comment to anyone posting from the State of Georgia,

Stop. Stop blogging or commenting on blogs. The Georgia Baptist Convention has declared it.

See BP Article at

It is about 2/3 the way down.

Oh, and there is another little nugget in there just above the blogging resolution.

Now for the remainder of us, we can be Georgia-free from here on.

As you were.

Gary Skaggs
Norman, OK

Dave Miller said...

Gary, I assume you are being funny. But the Georgia resolution only says that the blogs have been the scene of many personal attacks and that they should stop. There is nothing that outlaws blogging (even if Georgia had that authority).

Once again, I assume you were using exaggeration for humor, but I thought I would clarify.

Dave Miller said...

This writer articulates a principle that changed my ministry. I want to teach it to every young pastor who comes in our state.

I am a proclaimer of truth. I am not the enforcer of truth. The Holy spirit convicts and motivates. My job is to proclaim what God has said.

When I tried to be the Holy Spirit for other people, I was a CAUSE of division. When I learned that my job was to proclaim and not to control, to declare God's glory and not to protect it, I became an agent of peace and unity in my churches.

I am able to preach the word and state my convictions clearly, but since I allow the Spirit to convict, convince and motivate, He can do so without causing division.

I think the current powers-that-be are causing problems because they are trying to take the place of the Holy Spirit.

I applaud them for upholding the truth of the Word. Now, they just need to trust the POWER of that word.

The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to do the Work of God in the People of God.

Rex Ray said...

I hate to admit it, but I agree 100% how you explained salvation yesterday in your 23:13 comment.

Gary said...


I can assure you that my tongue was firmly planted in cheek when I made my remark. If I were really serious, I would've included 3 exclamation points for emphasis.

The BP article stated:
'The convention approved two resolutions, one expressing appreciation for those who worked to make the annual meeting a success, and a resolution about blogging which cited "divisive and destructive rhetoric." Georgia Baptists said they oppose "blogging when it is used to cause division and disharmony among the members of our Southern Baptist family," and they said "all personal attacks should cease immediately."'

I would submit without my tongue anywhere but in my mouth that the interpretation of "all personal attacks" will vary widely according to which side of the "attack" one may be located.

If you are the recipient, a simple statement of fact taken out of context (or with extra sensitive feelings) will be taken as a personal attack.

It has ever been, and shall ever be, thus.

Some of us, me included, need to have thicker skin and be less sensitive to the slings and arrows that get thrown around in the course of debate. But the debate should continue, else we live by fiat from the Ivory Towers of Those Who Really Know What is Best.

Y'all have a fine Thanksgiving. I will.

Gary Skaggs
Norman, OK
(did you know that Oklahoma is 100 years old as of last Friday? Just getting our legs under us...)

Jack Maddox said...


its not so hard agreeing with me...but if it helps, lets just say you agree with the Bible!


shadrach said...


Bravo. Speaking the Truth in Love and letting the Holy Spirit do the work. That's what I want to be, but sometimes it's just hard for me to let go. I pray it's from a desire for truth and not from pride.

Kiel, I'm glad you're at Southern. Please tell me there are others like you. It is an outstanding school, but it's hard to get past the "I'm the master of truth" attitude that comes from a few vocal students.

Long live free debate! May we all be bettered.

Anonymous said...

Wade, I think what you have here is an example of why things are the way they are. A story from Joe Hall, quoting Dr. J. Niles Puckett, winds up drawing attacks on both men from people who don't even know them, simply because they aren't on the right "side." And then, several take it upon themselves to go even further by denigrating the Church of Christ in order to blast the point you were trying to make completely out of the water.

This, for lack of a better term, is crazy. said...


Well said.

Crazy indeed.

Anonymous said...

I know Joe Hall. I had personally dealings with Joe Hall. I don't consider it an attack. I offer to correspond with Wade privately, but he doesn't want to because it supports his argument.

Jack Maddox said...


If stating that the church of christ teaches a false gospel is dinigrating them, then I guess I am guilty. But it has nothing to do with a 'side'

Lee, my question for you brother is how can you defend a false gospel? I am not implying that you would, but if you imply that to take issue with the coc on their soteirology is 'dinigrating' them, then one has to wonder where you would draw the line.

Wade, I have asked you yet I rather doubt you will answer...Is the gospel presented by the coc a legitimate gospel? in your opinion of course..


Anonymous said...

I have several close friends who serve in the Church of Christ. They preach the same gospel we do. I have discussed this at length with the pastor of the local Church of Christ whose children attended the Baptist academy where I taught Bible for eight years, and were in my classes along with at least a dozen others from that same congregation. His belief, which he characterized as mainstream Church of Christ, was that Baptism was a required act of obedience, but was not salvific in and of itself, and that repentance and faith in the risen Christ to save was sufficient for salvation. He laughed at the idea that they were characterized as believing someone who had made a profession of faith in Christ would go to hell if they died before they could be baptized. He did emphasize that he believed baptism was a necessary act of obedience in order for a believer to be filled with the spirit, but felt that the characterization of Church of Christ theology as believing in baptismal regeneration or a gospel of works is misrepresenting what the Church of Christ teaches and practices. He did acknowledge that there were those within the restoration movement as he called it, who did lean in that direction, but pointed out that the Church of Christ, as a very loose group of independent and autonomous churches, is much like Baptists in that individual churches can be quite diverse in their views.

I see little difference between the doctrine of baptismal regeneration as salvation by works, and the fundamentalist Baptist doctrine of salvation by doctrinal purity, which is also works.

Jeff said...

Lee, Funny thing, I am in the middle of C of C heaven in Searcy Arkansas. They have a great college and graduate school. I can tell you they believe that one is not saved till they are baptized. I discussed Saturday night with one of them. They have perverted the Gospel. Next thing you know someone will be saying that the RCC doesn't pervert the Gospel either.

Jeff said...

Lee, I can't believe you make the assumption that baptists believe in salvation by doctrinal purity. This is wrong! Why would you misrepresent Baptists like this?

Again Your C of C friend is not main stream. I can tell over and over again mainstream C of C will tell you must be baptized.

Jack Maddox said...


belief matters is right! You have it absolutely wrong onthis brother. And as far as your salvation by doctrinal purity shot...what a silly, silly thing to say. Can you name ONE Baptist that you would characterize as a fundamentalist that believes that you are saved by doctrinal purity?


Anonymous said...

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard a fundamentalist Baptist say, "You can't be a Christian if you believe...."Isn't that salvation by doctrinal purity? Having to line up all your doctrinal ducks in order for God to let you into heaven? I'm not saying that's "mainstream Baptist," but I am saying I have encountered a lot of Baptists who believe that.

Regardless of what they may believe related to the act of baptism itself, Church of Christ believes that repentance and faith in a risen Christ are steps that must be taken before baptism, which does lead to the sanctifying, justifying power of the Spirit. That is the gospel, and I believe that everyone who does that in a Church of Christ is saved. I also consider them brothers and sisters in Christ, and I do not withold fellowship from them. I am discovering more and more Church of Christ people who are willing to do the same with people of other denominations, which is also a big step for them. The Baptist academy where I taught Bible for eight years has a large group of students from two nearby Churches of Christ. Two decades ago, that probably wouldn't have been possible.

BTW, Jack, I'm not going to mention the "p" word and the Texans just yet. Maybe after a couple more wins.

Jeff said...

Lee, I am not here to say who is saved or is not saved. I can only tell you that its just salvation by faith in Jesus for the C of C then follows baptism. Its the entire ball of wax for them.


Jack Maddox said...


I will close with this...this 'spooky fundie' will say "You cannot be a christian if you believe that baptism is necesary in order to be saved"

it's either faith plus nothing or nothing at all...thats not fundamentalism, thats not baptist, thats just the bible!