"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Fundamentalism's Fury Needs One Who Needles

The Christian Century, an evangelical magazine who once counted Reinhold Niebuhr as a contributing editor, has posted an article about LifeWay's decision to remove the Gospel Today Magazine from their bookshelves because of Gospel Today's October cover story.

In The Christian Century article, the writer quotes several sentences from my blog as I offered my opinion regarding the controversial LifeWay decision. What caught my interest was the phrase the writer used in introducing me:

Burleson, a pastor in Enid, Oklahoma, who often needles SBC officials, asked September 24 on his blog . . .

I paused for a moment to ponder the word "needles." A minute later I looked up the definition and found this:

Needle: To torment with persistent insult or ridicule

Someone once opined that perception is personal truth, reality is objective truth, and rare is the occasion when the two actually meet. I do not perceive myself as a needler of Southern Baptist Convention leadership, but I accept that The Christian Century, my Baptist Identity friends, and a handful of SBC leaders see me that way. I perceive myself a supporter of the SBC (I led my church to increase Cooperative Program giving last year), a defender of SBC missionaries, agency employees and administrators (we hired them to do a job, and we should trust them to do it well), and a Southern Baptist for the long haul (I've been a Southern Baptist my entire life, and I willingly continue my affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention).

To Question Stupid SBC Decisions Is Not Needling, It's Needed

My wife and I were rocking along the earlier part of this decade, raising a family, pastoring a church, loving Oklahoma and our Southern Baptist Convention, when we both were awakened to a radical change occurring within the SBC - a change that caught us by surprise.

We discovered missionaries were being fired. At the time we said nothing because, like most Southern Baptists, we believed the issue was a denial of the Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God - and by golly, we want Bible believers on our mission field.

Then, when I became a trustee of the International Mission Board, I realized to my horror that the issue in the Southern Baptist Convention was not a battle for a belief in the the inspired, inerrant Word of God. I trust my moderate friends will be patient as I restate what I just wrote in the preceding sentence. Had it been proven to me at the grassroots level of the SBC that the problem with our Convention was a denial by some of the sufficiency, inspiration or inerrancy of God's Word, I would never have second thoughts about my involvement in "The Battle for the Bible." Some may wish to debate with me the propriety of using the word "inerrant" to describe the Bible, but The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy defines the word inerrant for me, and I have absolutely, positively, not one iota of a problem using the Chicago understanding of "inerrancy" as a descriptive adjective of the Bible.

But, I discovered as a trustee of the IMB that inerrancy is no longer the issue in the Southern Baptist Convention; we have a much worse problem we are battling. Frankly, because of the way I have seen some of my fellow Southern Baptists who hold to inerrancy treated in this new millenium by other Southern Baptists who also profess to hold to inerrancy, I now have doubts about the veracity of the claim that the issue in the Southern Baptist Convention was ever a battle for a belief in the inerrant Bible in the first place. Let me illustrate.

The Problem in the SBC Is a Rejection of Conservative Evangelicals Who Disagree With Fundementalist Interpretations of the Sacred Writ.

I have seen an excellent Hebrew professor fired from teaching Hebrew at Southwestern Theological Seminary (Sheri Klouda), forced to sell her own blood to meet expenses, all because of a Fundamentalist interpretation that a woman should not teach men. I have seen an outstanding female supervisor (Wendy Norvelle) at the International Mission Board promoted by Dr. Rankin to be the Vice-President, only to see Rankin's recommendation overturned by Fundamentalist trustee leaders who forced their Fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible that "no woman shall lead a man" upon IMB administration. I have seen IMB trustees force their Fundamentalist interpretation that certain spiritual gifts have ceased, a belief that exceeds the BFM 2000 and in some minds contradicts the inerrant Word of God, and so close the door on otherwise qualified Southern Baptist missionaries from serving on the mission field. I have seen IMB trustee leaders force their Fundamentalist Landmark beliefs on an entire board, and thus remove from the possiblity of missionary service any Southern Baptist church member whose baptism did not take place in a Southern Baptist church. I have seen Fundamentalist trustees fire a missionary couple in Africa because they refused to "cease and desist" from cooperating with another conservative, evangelical missionary couple - who happened to be non-Southern Baptist - in planting a church among the bush tribes of Africa. I have personally been witness to Southern Baptist Fundamentalist leaders spreading vicious rumors against people (other than me) who dared speak out to oppose their views. I have seen Southern Baptists threatened, Southern Baptists excoriated, Southern Baptists fired, Southern Baptists mistreated, Southern Baptists lied about, Southern Baptists dismissed - all because they dared to express an opinion different than the Fundamentalist interpretation of sacred Scripture on tertiary matters that have nothing to do with being Christian or even Southern Baptist. The best way to identify these Baptist Fundamentalists is with the label "Baptist Identity" for truly, the Fundamentalists would rather demand people conform to their interpretation of what it means to be Southern Baptist than to cooperate with people who view things differently than they do. In other words, their "Baptist Identity," as they interpret it, precedes any identification with Christ and His commandment to love one another.

That, my friend, is why I speak out. The people in leadership who are hurting Southern Baptists by their demands for conformity must be removed from Convention leadership. Let me say that again: Those who demand that all Southern Baptists conform to their Fundamentalist views of Baptist Identity must be removed from leadership. Why? The Convention is built on cooperation (i.e. "The Cooperative Program), and demands for conformity disqualify any man who is to lead out in cooperation. I will continue to speak out until the sleeping giant we call the Southern Baptist Convention wakes up and realizes that what began as a "Conservative Resurgence" somewhere along the line became a "Fundamentalist Fury." It's time the fires of Fundamentalism's fury be quenched.

If my writing plays any part in quenching those fires, and if in so doing, the Christian Century writes that I "needle" the SBC leaders who exalt Fundamentalism (Baptist Identity), then so be it.

I plead guilty.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

230 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 230 of 230
Anonymous said...

Lydia:

I do not understand or know about the current "debate" about the doctrine of the Trinity that you are talking about. I am truly sorry to disappoint you. I just know so little about it.

My only reference to Trinitarian discussions and those who don't believe in the Trinity are with the liberal professors I read or had in college and that my friends had in seminary. They are no longer at SBC seminaires.

I am sorry to disappoint you, but that truly is my frame of reference.

You asked me a legitimate question, and I gave you the best answer that I could give.

I truly hope that you can understand and live with that.

I really want to dialogue with you, but it is difficult with all of the insults directed toward me.

I will keep it up, but it is tiresome.

Louis

Anonymous said...

Hi Louis,

It's me, L's Gran,

You wrote: "For those of you who, after our short lesson, now get the joke and the point being made by Dr. Rogers, write and let us know."

I read Mrs. Dumbledorff's remarks and immediate recognized her extremely sophisticated satirical joke about a rather unfortunate remark made by Adrian Rogers.

Apparently, Mrs. Dumbledorff is up on her literary skills, some of us are not. Political and/or religious satire is not easy to write well and it frequently goes over the heads of most of us, much to the delight of those who are having some fun with it and with us.

One thing you mentioned that I don't get. You said:
"Dr. Rogers was making the point that the denomination has a right to set doctrinal parameters for seminary professors and what it taught at SBC seminaries."

That part about 'the denomination' has a right to set doctrinal 'parameters'. . . .

WHO do you mean when you say 'the denomination'?

And WHAT is the range of the 'parameters'? Wade speaks of secondary and tertiary concerns. How WIDE or NARROW are these parameters? Who determines what lies within them?

Since, shockingly, the WORDS AND ACTIONS of Jesus Christ in the Bible are no longer the SOLE means of determining doctrine (BF&M 2000), WHO is going to be placed up there on the same level as Jesus Christ to do the determining of the doctrine ??????? (This change alone in the BF&M 2000 should immediately have raised eyebrows among ALL Southern Baptists.)

Whose job is it to set the parameters: what is their guide in determining the range of these parameters.

Sorry for lack of clarity, if any.
I will be happy to elaborate, if you wish. After you have answered my questions (PLEASE), I will be peaceful and I wish a peaceful evening for you, also. :)

L's Gran

Joe Blackmon said...

Lydia

I'll go further than implying it. I'll say it---disagreeing on the interpretation of scripture relating to whether women can be pastors does not make someone a heretic in my book. I don't question their salvation. I know for a fact that when I get to heaven I'm going to see "Oh, I was wrong about......"

It just won't be this issue. Haa. Mostly kidding. Haa.

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,

You wrote:

"Well Louis, You are talking to hicks with no teeth, remember? We are so glad you explained that Dr. Rogers really did not mean that pickles have souls. What would we do without you?"

I expect Louis was making a joke within a joke about a joke. (sorry)

I think the pickle lady was speaking on two levels:

Lower level: to us hicks
Higher level: to Louis, and those as bright as he is.

Mrs. Dumbledorff's satirical humor is fun for BOTH levels. Pretty clever writing.

Louis offers us a unique perspective (sometimes infuriating, often clarifying, at times confusing). For me, he is often unknowingly the 'devil's advocate' as I feel need to organize my own thinking in order to respond to his viewpoint and questions. I find this to help me clarify my own point of view.

My goodness I just realized I'm sitting here eating a pickle!
I wonder why? Oh, dear. :)

L's Gran

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dee said...

Anonymous

Again, my point is lost. Believe it or not, I could refute what you have written. I have heard it all before. There are wonderful web sites and great theologians all over the place on this one. I know you believe you have found a zinger. You haven't. If you had others would have converted to YE. They don't.Trust me, there are far smarter scientists and great theologians out there than you and I and they disagree. But, as usual the YE types will say that they know more than all of these folks.

I don't really care about your zingers. My friends and I endured two long months of ugly YE folks who contended we were close to going to hell. If that is so, I will be in good company. Billy Graham would make a good companion.

The issue: I respect your point of view. You should respect mine but I fear you will not because there is no room in the SBC for those who disagree. That is the point I am trying to get across.YOur world will shrink smaller and smaller as you reject those who do not follow your penchant for the issue of the week.
D

Wanda said...

Great points Dee!

It's such a shame that some can't agree to disagree on the YE/OE controversy. It's their way or the highway!

Instead of arguing over something that NO ONE except God can prove, we should be sharing the love of Christ with those who do not know Him.

Blessings my sister!

Wanda

Rex Ray said...

Tom Parker,
While searching my files for Rankin’s letters, (they’ll be on Wade’s post soon) I ran across this letter printed in the Baptist Standard on 11-24-03. Since it’s on the subject, I’ll print it:

LIFT UP JESUS
Malcolm Yarnell's speech to a seminary audience, praising the BFM 2000 for adding "triune God," is like bragging about a Band-Aid on a scratch of a severed arm.

A letter from seminary professor Keith Eitel accused the IMB of pervasive theological error and needing to synchronize with the theological convictions of the SBC.
It seems the IMB errs by placing women as strategy coordinators.

Being under fire before, IMB President Jerry Rankin said he saved the IMB by asking missionaries to sign the BFM 2000.

Accountability to the SBC was the reason Rankin gave for firing missionaries.

Causing women strategy coordinators to be fired will be another notch on the gun that terminates workers for the Lord.

The question should not be: Do we save the IMB or missionaries, but how far should we remove troublemakers?

The SBC should stop downgrading women, sticking its nose into the autonomy of the church and individual priesthood.
The SBC should maintain its priority to reach a lost world. Not by arguing the Bible, but by lifting up Jesus.

If leaders won't do that, God help Baptists to get some who will.
Rex Ray
Bonham TX

Tom, I believe God may have answered my request in you know who. Wade, keep on needling.

Anonymous said...

SEVENTY-SEVEN LEADERS

Gary Snowden wrote this in reference to IMB missionaries being 'forced' to sign the BF&M 2000 or be fired.


"I think the IMB spoke of 77 as the number of missionaries who chose to resign rather than sign".

So, they were 'fired'. Seventy-seven souls called by God were told to go away.

Of all the members that a church has; it can be proudest of its missionaries: people responding to a call so strong that they are willing to leave families, country, and safety for God's service.

And they were told to go away.

Because they had the integrity NOT to sign a piece of paper that, in their eyes, was less than worthy of Christ's church than the previous BF&M had been.

We know these missionaries are somewhere serving God right now.

We know the people that fired them are somewhere serving someone else right now.

You cannot serve two masters. Those missionaries knew this. They picked the right Master to follow.

They would not serve a lesser master.

If the SBC ever does clean up the leadership, I can recommend seventy-seven candidates to take their place. They knew the right course to follow and they were unafraid. Be proud of these men, they reveal that, of the finest in the membership, some were able to keep their souls.

Rex Ray said...

Tom Parker,
I keep running into interesting files:

Don & Angie Finley's Letter of Resignation:

April 28, 2003 "One of the hardest things is that when we left for the field, Southern Baptists promised to 'hold the ropes' and support us while we were overseas. Now it feels like our leadership has taken that rope and tried to hang us with it."

"The Baptist Heritage" by Leon McBeth explains the difference between a confession and a creed:

"A confession designates what people do believe; a creed what they must believe. A confession is voluntary and serves to inform, educate, and inspire; a creed is required and serves to discipline and exclude. A confession offers guidelines under the authority of Scripture; a creed tends to become binding authority, in subtle ways displacing the
Bible."

___ How does the revision of the BF&M suddenly make all SBC workers suspect of heresy and force them to defend the faithfulness of their Biblical beliefs and loyalty to Southern Baptists?

___ If this action is to be the precedent, will not this process have to be repeated every time there is another revision of the BF&M?

___ Recent actions in the SBC and its committees have served to make all SBC workers suspect without regard to whether or not they have lived lives of service in integrity, held to and taught without compromise Scriptural beliefs, or to how well their record of service to our Lord and Southern Baptists may commend them. The willingness to discount all of the above is a betrayal of the trust relationship that has existed between the SBC and its missionaries (and other denominational servants).

___ If the question really is about what SBC missionaries believe, why are their own carefully written statements of their personal beliefs not the best evidence available and sufficient to answer these questions?

___ If the question really is about whether or not SBC missionaries are carrying out their responsibilities in accordance with and not contrary to the Baptist Faith and Message, why are their personnel files regarding their many years of service not the best information source and sufficient to answer such questions? If this is insufficient, why is not the testimony of their co-workers a more reliable source?

___ Does it make any sense to try to identify ‘heretics’ by trusting in their signature on a prescribed statement about whether or not they agree with and will act in keeping with the current BF&M?
___ Does this measure one’s theology or only one’s willingness to comply with the demand?
___ Is this the way we are instructed to identify heretics in the Scriptures?

___ If the real question is whether or not missionaries support the ‘conservative resurgence’ movement in the SBC and the current SBC leadership, is it a spiritually or denominationally beneficial exercise to force all missionaries to take sides and be drawn into the middle of the longstanding SBC conflict?
___ How is this going to benefit the cause of Christ in the USA and the rest of the world?

Rex Ray said...

Tom Parker,
Following is a letter written by IMB missionary Steven Armstrong to his regional leader, why he would not sign the BFM 2000.

___Dear Gordon:
Attached you will find my response to our president's request that all IMB missionaries sign a statement that we agree with the current Baptist Faith and Message and will carry out all our responsibilities in accordance with and not contrary to it. As you know personally, I respect you and all IMB leaders and your right to ask that I be accountable for my actions as a SBC missionary. This I have always been and remain willing to do. But to be asked to be accountable to a fallible man-made document and for my personal thoughts and beliefs is another matter.

I am being requested to do the unthinkable - to betray my heritage as a Baptist and sign that I agree with a creed (a statement of faith which has been made mandatory). This I will not be able to do - not just because I disagree with some of its contents. I couldn't even sign the Apostles Creed - not because I disagree with its content, but because
both are secondary man-made documents that do not represent the full revelation of Scripture nor carry its divine authority. It was for religious liberty and in opposition to the authority of church and state rulers over their faith that my Anabaptist forefathers gave their lives to implement believer’s baptism and secure for me a free church. I will
not dishonor their lives by pledging allegiance to any document other than the Scriptures nor to any lord other than my Lord Jesus Christ.

As one of Southern Baptist's great missionaries, Lawrence Hardy, used to say to me in recognition of our Baptist heritage and with great personal conviction, " We as Baptists have no pope to boss us; no creed to bind us; only Christ to guide us." Here I stand. I can do no other.

It is my desire to continue to serve the Lord and Southern Baptists through the IMB. The Lord has not dismissed me from fulfilling my calling as an international missionary. I hope that openly sharing my true thoughts and beliefs will be seen as an act of personal integrity and not defiance or disrespect.
___Serving Christ with you,
___Steven Armstrong

Chris said...

Peter,

I caught the nuance in your previous post. In the interests of saving both time and space in my response to Louis, I summed up your position in what was apparently a very unfair summation. My apologies, and you are understood. Thank you for taking the time to clarify, though. I do worry sometimes that the major problems on this blog arise when people are talking past each other.


Louis,

You may say that the denomination has every right to ensure that the missionaries they send out are believing the correct things. I say that if the church who recommends them is okay with what they believe, and that church is comfortable enough with the SBC to continue to work with it, then the SBC should accept the decision of the local church. After all, these denominational structures aren't really their own entities, they are local churches working together. It is the local churches (who can agree with each other long enough to cooperate with each other) that are supposed to be running things in the SBC.

Rex Ray said...

Tom Parker,
More facts:
From staff and wire reports:

All 13 missionaries fired by the International Mission Board (IMB) on May 7 began their missions service before current IMB President Jerry Rankin became head of the organization.

The IMB has declined to name the missionaries, but Associated Baptist Press confirmed their identities. They were terminated because they refused to affirm the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M).

The 13 missionaries, including two N.C. natives, collectively have about 246 years of service.

Rankin, who first "requested" the missionaries to affirm the BF&M, then later told them they'd be fired if they didn't sign, became IMB president in 1993.

Seven holdouts were given a May 5 deadline to sign an affirmation of the document but declined. Their names, places and terms of service are:
• Ted and Frances York, Ivory Coast and Benin, 1982-2003, serving 21 years. Ted York also served as a journeyman from 1974-76. He was born and raised in Ramseur. Frances York was born and raised in Greensboro. Before going to the mission field, they served at Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.
• Larry and Sarah Ballew, Macao, 1985-87 as journeymen and 1996-2003 as career missionaries, serving a total of 10 years.
• David and Susie Dixon, Spain, 1988-2003, serving 15 years.
• Mary Katherine Campbell, Philippines, Liberia and Togo, 1968-70 and 1989-2003, serving 16 years.
Six were terminated without the option of signing the document:
• Rick and Nancy Dill, Germany, 1981-2003, serving 22 years.
• Leon and Kathy Johnson, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, 1982-2003, serving 21 years. Leon Johnson also served as a journeyman from 1970-72.
• Ron Hankins and Lydia Barrow-Hankins, Japan, 1975-77 as journeymen and 1981-2003 as career missionaries, serving a total of 24 years.

Another 30 veteran missionaries resigned or took early retirement in recent days rather than sign the affirmation. They join 34 missionaries who resigned in protest last year.

Not counted among the 13 IMB missionaries terminated May 7 were Chris and Karen Harbin. The Harbins were fired last year for allegedly not teaching in accordance with the "Baptist Faith and Message." They served two years as journeymen, 1992-94, and as career missionaries from 1996-2002, for a total of nine years.

The firings climaxed a series of events that began in February 2002 when Rankin, in response to suspicions he said anonymous sources had raised about IMB missionaries' doctrinal integrity, asked missionaries to endorse the doctrinal statement. They later were given a May 5 deadline to decide.

Tom, did you catch Rankin’s “ANNONYMOUS SOURCES” ?

I believe Rankin’s letters reveals who that anonymous source was.

Rex Ray said...

Hey, Lydia,
I just noticed a “Lydia” Japan missionary. I was there sometimes twice a year from 1994 to 2003 doing volunteer construction for the SBC. Is the world small enough we know each other?

Rex Ray said...

Lydia,
I’m terrible on names. I remember a missionary named Ron in Fukuoka, Japan. If you’re the same Lydia, do you remember workers Joe and Loretta Henderson? We’re still close friends.

The ‘dots’ connecting you to Japan are your comments sound a lot like the following letter. Maybe this letter will help soften the heart of Joe Blackmon and others.

May 30, 2003 Rev. Ron Hankins and Rev Lydia Barrow Hankins

Family and friends in the U.S. and colleagues in Japan

The last few years have been uncertain ones for us as we have watched the Southern Baptist Convention change into something we no longer recognize. We have not kept in touch with you nearly enough as we waited in limbo to see what would happen in our convention and therefore to us. We have been immersed in Southern Baptist life since before we can remember, and we have served with the International Mission Board most of our adult lives. With sadness, and yet a deep sense of conviction, we now face termination by the International Mission Board, SBC, as missionaries in Japan, effective July 31, 2003.

Many of you will have followed, blow-by-painful-blow, the events within SBC life over the last 24 years. For those who have not, let us summarize by saying that the missions-minded, inclusive organization of our childhood and youth has long ago been replaced by power-hungry fundamentalists on the national level who have used questionable tactics to gain control of the SBC and all its agencies and seminaries. The list of faithful Baptist servants who have become casualties goes on and on, until we as international missionaries are added. In the current climate of suspicion, we surely are not the last. Those who hold the power now would say that they have returned Southern Baptists to their conservative theological roots and reversed the trend of secularism. In reality, they have implemented a theologically coercive policy mandating conformity and substituted civil religion for the prophetic role of a Baptist church in society.

All of these changes came to a head with the revision of The Baptist Faith and Message, a heretofore non-binding statement of faith in Southern Baptist life The 2000 revision of the 1963 statement 1) elevates scripture over the lordship of Christ and therefore the leadership of the Holy Spirit, 2) removes the historical Baptist belief in the “priesthood of the believer,“ and establishes the senior pastor as the only reliable interpreter of scripture, 3) inserts the word “substitutionary” as the only way for Baptists to interpret the work of Christ on the cross, 4) restricts women from serving as pastors and 5) directs wives to “graciously submit” to their husbands. The revised statement rewrites the role of the laity as well as the role of every missionary woman on the field. The restrictions on marriage and ministry spell a set-back of generations for the liberating power of Christ in the lives of women.

We were required to sign this new statement of faith, or be fired. On May 7, 2003, the International Mission Board fired 13 missionary couples for our refusal to sign The Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Together we have a combined total of over 150 years experience on the mission field. Not a single one of us has ever been questioned about theology or biblical interpretation. Another 30 veteran missionaries resigned or took early retirement because of the BF&M issue. These 60 of us join 34 missionary colleagues who resigned last year in protest to the signing. [CORRECTION FROM THE HANKINS: The number of missionaries fired is 13 individuals, not couples (six couples and one single), at the May IMB trustee meeting on May 7. The total is 15 fired, counting a couple fired earlier over the BF&M issue.]

We cannot sign a document that would deny Lydia’s call as a minister/preacher of the gospel. Neither of us could sign a document that requires that we not encourage young women to follow God’s call in their lives, including the call to the pastorate.

The question of signing The Baptist Faith and Message has been touted as an issue of accountability to the churches and of theological orthodoxy. On the contrary, the Southern Baptists that raised us and educated us still expect us to have the wisdom to voice what does not ring true and the integrity to take an unpopular, minority stand if necessary. The reality is, BFM 2000 raises some serious theological concerns which Baptists of the past would never have allowed. If the BFM 2000 is taken as a modern statement of Baptist doctrine, it neither reflects the best biblical scholarship and interpretation, nor does it reflect the teachings and practice of Jesus in its statements on marriage and women.

In the last few years, the IMB has more and more insisted that it is our “employer,” rather than the sending agency the IMB used to be. They have claimed as our employer to have the right to restructure at will, to dictate evangelism strategy, to demand obedience, and now to require acquiescence to a single theological statement.

Some would say, “Just get on board, and sign.” We have always been “on board.” Southern Baptists have moved away from us. There are those who do not understand how intolerable a creed is for Baptists; those who do not know the history of Baptists willing to die for conscience; those who do not understand that in any democracy and therefore congregational church polity, there is always room for a minority opinion side-by-side with the majority. These may not understand that Southern Baptists are no longer “Baptist” in faith and practice.

We realize there are those who do not allow for a woman preaching and being senior pastor. The view from the mission field is: Which is it? Do Southern Baptists want the gospel preached and people to be saved and baptized? Or do Southern Baptists want to create a controversy that will eliminate effective, experienced missionaries and tie the hands of all the rest left on the field? We have made our choice. Many of our colleagues have signed in a desperate attempt just to stay on the field, hoping to fulfill their call. We have all been put in an untenable situation. For us, to sign this statement when we did not agree, we might as well go back to the U.S. for all the effectiveness we would have in Japan. We would have compromised both the gospel message and personal integrity.

We are grateful for the generous support of Southern Baptists over these years. Through both prayer and financial support, we have been strengthened and sustained by faithful partners in the U.S. Although not under Board appointment, we still represent those Baptists here.

We are thankful to God and to Japanese Baptists for opening new avenues that will allow us to continue ministry in Fukuoka. Lydia will continue to serve as chaplain of all the Seinan Gakuin (Baptist) school system and Ron will continue to teach in the theological and social work departments and do individual and family therapy, as well as serve as the resident pastor of a new wedding chapel. God is good to us, and we thank God for the privilege of continuing to work alongside dedicated Japanese colleagues and friends here.

Luke (16) and Micah (14) are happy, healthy young men. They like their life and their school here, in the country where they were born. We are thankful to stay in Fukuoka, where God first called us and brought us together as partners in life and ministry. Returning to the U.S. in July and August to see family and friends, we will also attend the international conference of Christians for Biblical Equality where Lydia will lead a workshop. We are truly honored to receive the Priscilla and Aquila Award from CBE.

Perhaps the most regrettable of all in this controversy is that this year, during the Easter season, and in the middle of a war, the passion and energy of God’s people could have been better directed toward preaching hope and peace through Christ for our time.

In friendship and Christian love, grace and peace to you in your journey with Christ,

Rev. Ron Hankins
Rev. Lydia Barrow-Hankins

Anonymous said...

Rex, I am not that Lydia. But interestingly enough, a friend of mine is the director of a school for the children of Japanese executives. (It is amazing the lengths they go to for education) She came here 20 years ago to start the school.

When I first met her I witnessed to her and she was delighted but said that she was part of the 1% of Japanese who are Christians. Her family in Japan had been witnessed to by Baptist missionaries when she was a child and her parents along with two of her uncles were saved.

Lydia

Byroniac said...

chris:

I do not believe the SBC should just "accept the decision of the local church." The BFM 2000 is a minimal standards document. Perhaps it would be better for the local church to withdraw and financially support the missionaries directly, forming a fellowship with like-minded churches if necessary?

Anonymous said...

To Tom and Rex Ray:

I wish the two of you could co-laborate on a book telling the stories of these missionaries.

It would be facinating reading.
Their stories are very dramatic in the CONTRAST of their devotion to the Lord and His service;
and the lack of Christian character of those who fired them.

The CONTRAST is incredible.

You have already done some research and have some 'files'. You are both excellent writers.

Tell their story. Why not try?
I know you could do a good job for them. :)

L's Gran

Rex Ray said...

Tom Parker,
To understand Rankin’s reply to me, I’ll give some of the 5 page letter I sent to him as my first comment.

June 7, 2002
To Jerry Rankin,
Just received a ‘certificate of appreciation’ for construction…Japan…October 2001 from you…

Thanks for being a friend to my son, Joe Ray who was a missionary to Israel… Thanks for not firing my friend Dennis Folds for accepting being pastor of Tokyo Baptist Church. The IMB gave him permission to be the interim pastor but not a pastor since the preaching was in English. He and five other missionaries were in my home the night he said, “We will say as others have said, ‘We must listen to God rather than man.’” A short time later, I met Avery Willis at our church forty-year celebration and we discussed Dennis’ situation… [It’s not in the letter, but Avery said his hands were tied.]

My cousin, Mark Ray, is a missionary in Australia. Mark told me he had been on his knees with you and he would trust you with his life. I know you are a good man with a heart to win the world for Christ. It is a shame Baptists are in such a mess…

Missionaries’ call from God and integrity have been questioned by a man made paper. I know most will sign, but a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still…

Since you told my son and daughter-in-law a year ago that missionaries would not have to sign the 2000 BFM, do you feel you have been pushed into reversing that decision? Scare tactics of being sure there are no bad missionaries, will not hold water. Will signing a paper make a bad missionary a good missionary? Do you remember the push of signing a paper saying, “I am not a communist” fell flat on its face? The first person to sign would be a communist.

Our Sunday school quarterlies have; “The BFM 2000 is our doctrinal guideline.” I thought the Bible was our doctrinal guideline. Has the Holy Spirit revealed himself to a committee like He did the Book of Mormon?

The background that started the mandate for missionaries to sign the BFM seems to have started from an email by Scott McIntosh, a team leader/strategy coordinator for IMB work in Scotland. His ‘complaining’ email indirectly made its way to the Executive Committee president, Morris Chapman. He asked you to call McIntosh and find out why he had written the email and where he stood on denominational matters. You told McIntosh "Now we have to do some damage control, and this might cause the missionaries to have to sign the Baptist Faith & Message." A year later, McIntosh (no longer a missionary) said, "Jerry Rankin in my opinion is an honest, fair-minded person. I have never had any bone to pick with Jerry." From McIntosh’s perspective, the mandate for IMB missionaries to sign the BFM 2000 is not the IMB's fault. Rather, he believes, blame for any trouble caused on the mission field lies at the feet of other SBC leaders.

People don’t like to sign something for man when it is between them and God. What do you have when you have their signature besides enlarging egos of those behind the BFM? As far as “damage control”, forcing signatures is like putting out fire with gasoline. Do you think that raised morale and loyalty? The advice of old men to Rehoboam: “If you will be a servant unto this people…then they will be thy servants for ever.” You did the advice of young men: “…I will add to your yoke…I will chastise you with scorpions.”


…If we could all go back to when we were ten, we wouldn’t be so smart in all the things we think we know about the Bible. No one would be saying, “If you don’t believe the Bible like I do, then you doubt the Bible.” Those people are self-appointed judges and have become the modern day Christian Judaisers. Their labeling any opposition as Bible doubters was a political smoke screen that got them elected…

Your letter of the June “Commission” states, “…priesthood of every believer is predicated on…God’s Word.” This would indicate that you don’t realize the BFM 2000 has eliminated ‘individual priesthood.’ Seminary President, Al Mohler explained it this way; “They (conservatives) believe in priesthood of believers but not priesthood of the believer, because it leaves too much freedom for the individual.”…Maybe you could use your influence for a BFM 2002 to reinstate individual priesthood with some kind of statement that the Bible is taught by the Holy Spirit to every believer’s heart. And that does not mean the ‘high and mighty’ is the Holy Spirit.

Another thought: If God can use a donkey to teach a man, should the SBC prevent Him from using a woman? Man should be careful in telling God what he cannot do.

Again, I want to thank you for being a friend to my son. Once, he told me if I knew everything, I would be on your side.

Rex Ray

P.S. The 7-17-98 issue of the Baptist Standard quoted Tom Eliff saying, “All barnacles and parasites had been removed from the ship of Zion regardless of how Christian they seemed.”

Analyzed:
‘barnacles and parasites’ means those who opposed their view of the Bible.
‘removed’ means fired or persecuted to the full degree of the law.
‘ship of Zion’ means Southern Baptist Convention.
‘regardless of how Christian they seemed’ means even Jesus could be included. Religious leaders put Jesus on a cross. Would they do it again for not signing the BFM?

Lydia,
Thanks for clarifying the truth of my wishful thinking. Japanese people are the most courteous I’ve known. One was a young woman the age of my daughter we called ‘Peanut Butter’. She had rushed to carry my suitcase and was asked why. She said, “I like Rex.” She was among the ones bringing our lunch every day, and had said she liked my ‘preaching’ at their church. I had to conceal my joy of returning home after seeing the tears on her face knowing we’d never meet again.

Rex Ray said...

Tom Parker.
Here is Rankin’s first complete reply to me, and is also my ‘second’ letter to him as I sent it back with my notes in brackets [ ].



August 8, 2002
Dear Brother Rex:
Words by Rex are put in [ ]

I apologize for my delay in answering your letter of June 7. It arrived after I had left for the Southern Baptist Convention, and the summer has been filled with travel so I am just now catching up with correspondence.

[Rex: My pastor said he would hand-deliver my letter at the Convention and gave it to someone that said they would give it to you. The main point of my letter was I hoped you could use your influence to reinstate ‘the priesthood of the believer’ into the 2000 BFM.
I’m disappointed that you did not address the subject in your reply. You did not criticize the way I viewed the Bible but was only critical of me reading the Baptist Standard and saying that making missionaries sign the BFM would only enlarge egos of men that wrote it.]

In fact, I enjoyed seeing Dan and Frances Ray at our International Mission Week at Ridgecrest last week. I appreciated your kind comments about me and my leadership as reflected by Joe and Mark. I did not know they were related until reading your letter. I have enjoyed working with Mark and Karen over the years in Australia as I was previously their area director and negotiated their assignment with Australian Baptists. Joe and Beth have made a wonderful contribution to our work in the Middle East.

It was also gratifying to hear of your own involvement in missions, especially in your conscientious devotion to the project in Japan. With the economy being what it is there, the labor you provided obviously stretched our very limited mission dollars. I cannot imagine anyone considering firing Dennis Folds. He and Judy are effective missionaries, and I recall his becoming pastor of the Tokyo Baptist Church was at a time of transition when we were moving away from supplying local church pastors for English congregations but affirming churches reaching the international community as consistent with our mission task. Under Dennis’s leadership, Tokyo Baptist Church has certainly demonstrated an effective ministry which the IMB endorses.

[Rex: My latest email from Dennis said they were having four morning services. God is using him in a great way. He once asked me did his preaching the Gospel make him a conservative or a moderate. Isn’t it sad that missionaries giving their life’s work for God and they’re forced to enter politics that they don’t know anything about?
Missionaries signing will force others to sign; “If you don’t sign what missionaries have signed, we won’t accept your money.” If Dennis had not signed, would you feel comfortable in firing him? I’ll bet you don’t feel good about firing anyone. How do you think local churches will feel? There is a straw that breaks the camel’s back. This may be it.]

I have received a large number of letters regarding the Baptist Faith and Message issue and appreciate your taking the time to write about your concerns at length. It is interesting that I have yet to get a letter or e-mail critical of my action that did not reveal an obvious predisposition against the leadership and direction of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Baptist Faith and Message. It is obvious that you have been reading the Baptist Standard whose reports bear little resemblance to truth or the reality behind our motives and rationale for this action.

[Rex: There are many kinds of Baptist; two are those that read the Standard and know what’s going on, and those that don’t. I was one of those that didn’t read until my son sent me your email to all missionaries in 1997.
You asked them to follow God-appointed leaders whether they understood or agreed. That substitutes leaders for the Holy Spirit. That let the cat out of the bag of what was coming with the 2000 BFM.]

I have been reminded of a quotation by philosopher William James who said, “Nothing is so absurd that if repeated often enough, people will believe it.”

[Rex: True. An example is what you said about the Baptist Standard.]

Our board drafted a policy, which I communicated to our missionaries, that current missionaries, who had already been processed for appointment in the past, would not be required to sign the revised BF&M.

[Rex: This was told to my son.]

They did not feel it necessary to reverse that position and it has not been changed requiring missionaries to sign the BF&M as reported. However, to dispel growing suspicions and mistrust which were threatening to undercut the credibility and support of the IMB,

[Rex: Who had the power to hurt the IMB? It wasn’t the BGCT, so it must be your bosses, the Southern Baptist Executive Committee. You said your actions avoided 9-11 to the IMB. Was the Executive Committee going to replace IMB personnel that would control missionaries like they wanted?]

I did personally ask our missionaries collectively to affirm once again to Southern Baptists that they would work in accord with the BF&M and not contrary to it.

[Rex: After your actions, the Executive Committee bragged on you, saying something like: “You wanted a leader. Now you have one.” Hitler ruled with a whip, but the Baptist world doesn’t work that way.]

They have responded with overwhelming understanding and cooperation,

[Rex; The majority of missionaries are ‘short term.’ The career missionary is the backbone of missions. How many career missionaries have left since you told them to sign? 77 refused to sign and many more have left without stating a reason. ]

yet Texas Baptists have taken a small handful of missionaries who have totally distorted the nature of our confession of faith and struggled with my request misrepresent the picture altogether.

Yes, the Bible is our only creed and sole authority of faith and practice, but do you know who coined that expression? It was Alexander Campbell who founded the Church of Christ. So what is it that distinguishes Baptists in East Texas from the Church of Christ, since both claim the Bible as their creed?

[Rex: It is repulsive to see in our SS quarterlies, “The 2000 BFM is our doctrinal guideline.” Your reasoning about Campbell for replacing the Bible with man-made rules is disgusting and shameful. German soldiers belt buckles had “In God we trust.” Should we remove that from our money? ]

For 400 years Baptists have been drafting confessions of faith to say, “This is what we believe,” and “here we stand,” in response to contemporary social challenges to the teachings of God’s word. It is unthinkable that the missionaries sent out and supported by Southern Baptists churches would represent that which is contrary to what Southern Baptists believe. Why would not a missionary, or any Christian for that matter, be reluctant to state what they believe whenever and as often as they are asked to do so?

[Rex: The new BFM sewed the curtain that God tore at Calvary. A creed is anything written by others you are forced to sign. True Baptists do not sign creeds. They didn’t sign for the same reason Quakers refused to take an oath to the king. Is there any difference?
The same attitude that killed Quakers fired missionaries. When 273 years of missionary service is fired, we have “the blind leading the blind.” The evidence shows the Executive Committee had rather argue Bible doctrine and persecute than win souls.]

For your information, missionaries are even allowed and encouraged to state any personal disagreements with the Baptist Faith and Message, so it is not a creed being imposed on any church or individual. Also, Morris Chapman did not ask me to call Scott McIntosh, as reported; I did so because of my personally concern for one of our effective missionaries I respected who was obviously having a problem due to some unfortunate perceptions, just as I would seek to encourage and minister to any of our missionaries.

[Rex: You did not deny that Chapman called you and you told McIntosh "Now we have to do some damage control, and this might cause the missionaries to have to sign the Baptist Faith & Message." Your “damage control” was putting fire out with gasoline. It anguished missionaries and only enlarged egos of your bosses.]

Where did anyone get the idea that our missionaries are being “forced” to sign something that they may not agree with, or that anyone would be terminated if they did not respond to my request? Neither of those positions has been advocated or communicated by the IMB.

[Rex: Why did it take over a year for you to let the missionaries know they would not be terminated if they didn’t sign? Most of them signed believing it was true. You had your cake and ate it too, but history repeated itself:
King Saul thought priests were disloyal and wanted them killed, and the Executive Committee thought unsigned missionaries were disloyal and wanted them fired. The army refused Saul’s request, and you delayed. Doeg killed the priest, and Avery Willis demanded signatures of missionaries on stateside assignment. You duplicated Pilate wilting to religious leaders.
I think you saw your job fading and stated May 5, 2003 as the deadline or be fired. You passed the tiger’s tail to the IMB to approve firing 13 missionaries.]

It certainly is not the first time missionaries have not agreed and done what I asked them to do. I am disappointed that you would presume to attribute motives of “enlarged egos” to those conscientious denominational leaders

[Rex: Who besides inflated egos wants missionaries fired?]

who are seeking to keep the Southern Baptists Convention anchored to the inerrant word of God? Where does scripture justify such judgmentalism?

[Rex: No other word has hurt the witness for Christ by dividing Christians than the word inerrant. I once heard a man yell at a SBC, “We have our inerrancy, and no one is going to take it away.” Sounded like the yells for the god, Diana.
Many years ago, I was denied permission at Southwestern Theology Seminary to pass out eight definitions of “inerrancy” that was written by one of their former professors.
I complained that Christian freedom wasn’t any better in America than it was in Israel. I’ll never forget what I was told; “That’s interesting. We may want to change our policy. I’ll bring it up at our next meeting. We have new trustees and we can do anything we want.” Case closed.]

Yes, some missionaries have resigned and there will probably be others, who are unwilling to be accountable to anyone

[Rex: Accountable to God takes precedence over man-made rules or those playing God.]

Avery Willis

[Rex: When I asked Willis to help Dennis, he said his hands were tied. Are your hands tied to help those missionaries who put their jobs on the line for the sake of God’s principles?]

once observed that we had a very biblical mission strategy—“Everyone did that which was right in their own eyes.” God condemned such independent arrogance in the time of Moses,

[Rex: Those people did not have the Holy Spirit to guide them. They needed a leader such as a prophet or king. We do not need a Baptist pope or the SBC to take the place of the Holy Spirit.]

and the scripture has some pretty strong teaching on mutual submission and accountability within the body of Christ. I do not know what the BGCT will do, but I can assure you we are going to keep our eyes on Jesus, and keep sending out missionaries to be obedient to His mandate to win and disciple the nations.

[Rex: Jesus’ mandate was the Great Commission and not the 2000 BFM. If the BFM must be bowed to or signed, before doing what Christ said, then the BFM is more important than God’s word.
The ‘glue’ that held Baptist together was missions or the Great Commission. Fundamentalists changed that ‘glue’ to doctrine and came up with their mandated 2000 BFM and look at the mess we are in.]

Sincerely yours,
Jerry Rankin

[Rex: Jerry, I feel that much of what has been done, by the group you’re in, is not to your liking. How far must they go before you take a stand for your beliefs? Most of our life is over but it’s never too late to stand.
More than sincere,
Rex Ray]

L’s Gran,
Thanks for the nice words to Tom and I, but the book you suggest would cut down on our ‘blogging’. Ha
Seriously, who would such a book change? Sure people with open minds such as you would listen, but the ones in control of the SBC already know of the fired missionaries’ heartaches, and they don’t care because it’s our way or the highway. The same type of thinking would light the fires for those burned at the stake, and do so in the name of God.


L’s Gran,
Thanks for the nice words to Tom and I, but the book you suggest would cut down on our ‘blogging’. Ha
Seriously, who would such a book change? Sure people with open minds such as you would listen, but the ones in control of the SBC already know of the fired missionaries’ heartaches, and they don’t care because it’s our way or the highway. The same type of thinking would light the fires for those burned at the stake, and do so in the name of God.

Anonymous said...

To Tom and Rex,

It's me, L's Gran.
I was suggesting that the story of the missionaries and their persecutors is a human story that would reach a far wider audience in its pathos.

There is something about this story that transcends the smaller world of the SBC and even the Church as a whole.

This is a very human story. It is a lesson to everyone about what arrogance can do when allowed, or when others turn away and permit the tragedy.

Could six million people have died in the Holocaust, if people had not turned away, and allowed the horror?

Maybe the story of the missionaries is not comparable to the Holocaust: except for one thing. If Baptists are into 'saving souls from hell'; then how many people are on the Earth now who might go to hell because these missionaries were fired and not allowed to reach them? Tragedy? Oh yeah.

Think about that 'wider audience'. You are gifted. You are certainly interested in the subject.

Just encouraging both of you to use your gifts in a wider venue. Don't be afraid to try. This IS the kind of story that the Good Lord would want to be widely told. :) L's G.

Rex Ray said...

Tom Parker
Here is Rankin’s second complete reply to me, and my last letter in brackets the same as before. I don’t think Rankin read all my reply to him, and it’s so long, I won’t blame anyone if they don’t either.

Words by Rex are in [ ] August 9, 2003. My PS was written Jan.18, 2004 This has been like a diary to ease frustration.

June 13, 2003
Dear Mr. Ray
It was interesting reading your response to my letter of last August. It is apparent that your perceptions are firmly ingrained, and my efforts to provide explanations were not received.

[Rex: I notice my greeting was changed from “Brother Rex” to “Mr. Ray.” I was disappointed you made no comment of the many facts that nailed your bunch to the wall. You used the rule of thumb if you can’t argue with truth, then ignore what is said and discredit the person.
Is “firmly ingrained” the same as Communist, or non-Bible believer? I pointed out holes in your explanations, but you did not bother to explain the holes. It is as Marv Knox wrote: “Thanks for sharing Rankin’s letter and your responses. I’m surprised he even bothered to reply. But since he replied, I’m not surprised he blew you off. Like you noted, he ignores the points that invalidate his claim. Then he makes the same old, tired, invalidated claims.”]

I regret that you must be skeptical regarding my motives and integrity in rejecting the perspective I shared with you. It would apparently be futile to try to convince you otherwise. Nevertheless, I am enclosing an article I have written in reflection on this whole process of dealing with the Baptist Faith and Message. You will find it interesting reading although will obviously be in disagreement.

[Rex: You said existing missionaries would not have to sign the BF&M. You said unsigned missionaries would not be fired. You broke your word twice. Wonder why I would be skeptical about your integrity?]

I do appreciate your interest in missions and support for our missionaries around the world.

[Rex: Yes, you want our money but condemn us as non-bible believers because we will not give up our individual priesthood and bow to the creed your bunch has made of our BF&M.
How much time in meetings, correspondence, travel, and money did it take to fire missionaries? It would be agonizing to help in the removal of missionaries from their call. In giving money, I would be approving your actions.
Before retiring, we gave $2,000/year to Lottie Moon. This year our money went to where actions were doing no harm. It hurts not to support our missionaries but your bunch says they are right because of the great amount of money received. At the convention of the SBC, the cry of true conservatives falls on deaf ears. Maybe the lack of money is the only way the SBC will hear.]

Sincerely yours,
Jerry Rankin

Southern Baptist Struggling with Post-Modernism
Reflections on Response to Missionaries Affirming the Baptist Faith and Message
By Jerry Rankin
Asking Southern Baptist missionaries serving with the International Mission Board to confirm that their work and personal convictions are compatible with what their sponsoring denomination believes has been an interesting experience.

[Rex: The IMB purpose is to assist missionaries; not the other way around. Bible missionaries were sent with guidance of the Holy Spirit and not controlled by a church creed. To reflect upon the heartache, agonizing, and duress put on missionaries as “an interesting experience” makes my skin crawl. Would you say Christians fed to lions and burned at the stake was “interesting”? Living Bible Luke 9:48 “…Your care of others is your measure of greatness.” As Heriod was known for killing babies, you will be known for firing missionaries.]

It was not unexpected that many who do not agree with the leadership and conservative direction of the SBC would disagree with this initiative as well as those in disagreement with the faith statement itself.

[Rex: The SBC has used “not unexpected” many times to counteract alarming facts that should cause concern. Eliminating God’s principle of ‘individual priesthood’ and replacing the Bible with your BF&M as our doctrinal guideline is not a conservative direction, but a radical direction. Some were fired that agreed with the BF&M but refused to sign because it was a creed by being mandatory.]

However, reflection upon the high profile and critical communication from individuals and the media over the past year has revealed an alarming tendency of many Southern Baptists succumbing to the subtle influence of post-modern thinking and theological compromise.

[Rex: What is the example of this, other than they disagree with your new ideas?]

Many are offended that denominational workers would be expected to adhere to any defined commonality of faith. It is evident the precious doctrine of individual priesthood of believers is being perverted to justify whatever arises out of self-centered independent thought regardless of explicit Biblical teaching to the contrary.

[Rex: You forgot the new BF&M did away with “individual priesthood” by adding “s” to believer. The 1963 BFM had “priesthood of the believer” and the 2000 BF&M has “priesthood of believers.” “Believer” is singular as in individual, while “believers” is plural as in group, which makes the individual subject to the group. Remember Al Mohler explained that individual priesthood gave too much freedom and was dangerous. “Explicit Biblical teachings” are to be done by the Holy Spirit; not a one-man handpicked committee.]

Criticism of the Baptist Faith and Message and accusations of enforced creedalism indicate that many have lost any understanding of what it means to be a confessional people. For more than 400 years Baptists have been expressing their distinctive stance on social issues and doctrinal positions in drafting confessions of faith and will continue to do so.
[Rex: But none were mandatory! The "Centennial Story of Texas Baptists," published in 1939, characterized Baptists since our beginning. "The right of every believer to read and interpret the Scriptures for himself versus authoritative creeds and dogmas, officially decreed and to be accepted and believed without doubt or denial.” The 1963 BF&M states, “Throughout their history Baptist bodies, have issued statements of faith which comprise a consensus of their beliefs. Such statements have never been regarded as complete, infallible statements of faith, nor as official creeds carrying mandatory authority.” This was removed to prevent 2000 from being two-faced.]
Theological truth is absolute, so theological creeds do not change, but as long as the world and society changes it will be necessary for denominations to express where they stand and what they believe on contemporary issues if they are to maintain their distinctives and be salt and light witnesses in the world. [Rex: Don’t sneak “creeds” in to replace ‘confessions of faith’ that Baptists have always used. ‘Creeds’ belongs to Catholics.]

When many diverse denominations and cultic groups are basing what they believe and practice on their interpretation of the Bible, it is essential that Southern Baptists express what they believe and where they stand in a commonality of convictions and faith. The London Confession in 1644 was written in response to the Westminster Confession to clarify who Baptist were in contrast to the reformed tradition, both of which claimed the Bible as their authority for faith and practice. Rising ecumenism and Darwinism in the early 20th century precipitated the drafting of the original 1925 Southern Baptist statement, and the 1963 revisions emerged almost 40 years later in reaction to the liberalism that began to creep into our seminaries, as reflected in Ralph Elliott’s, The Message of Genesis.

[Rex: None were mandatory.]

While rejecting the BF&M as a creed, critics likewise demean it for supposedly attempting to change our beliefs. In reality the 2000 BF&M has not changed any beliefs at all, because the Bible is unchanging.

[Rex: Your logic says the BF&M is the Bible.]

Recent revisions have simply spoken to contemporary issues by confessing what the Bible has always taught about the role of pastoral leadership, the spiritual order of the home and to affirm that the entire Bible is the inspired, infallible word of God, not just that spoken by and with references to Jesus.

[Rex: Again, your logic says the BF&M is the Bible.]

The Bible—Sole Authority of Faith and Practice
Being a confessional people doesn’t contradict in any way the Bible as the sole authority of faith and practice nor an individual’s freedom to interpret Scripture as they feel led by the Holy Spirit.

[Rex: Have you switched sides? That is what your opposition has been saying all the time.]


Anyone can believe what he or she chooses. No one has to be a Southern Baptists. But those who are have the prerogative of determining under God’s leadership what they commonly hold as the teaching of God’s inerrant and infallible word.

[Rex: Your bunch used ‘inerrant’ to make the Bible a political inerrant smokescreen! Your definition of ‘inerrant’ won the hearts of the majority. In 1978, 300 scholars met in Chicago to define ‘inerrant.’ Eight definitions were argued. The one chosen by your group has 12 qualifications that may be accepted. Hardly anyone knows about these 12. I’ll mention just three: Applies only to the original manuscripts, may differ with science, and writers may disagree on the same account.
The 12 qualifications changed your definition of inerrant to be about like the others. Your bunch preaches that anyone not accepting your ‘inerrant’ is a non-Bible believer. The ‘inerrant ban-wagon’ got your bunch elected as leaders of the SBC. Do they believe what they preach about ‘inerrant?’ If they don’t, they know they have deceived trusting Baptists all over the world.
Former SBC president, Page Patterson preached at Prestonwood Baptist Church on March 26, 2000. I showed him the forward he wrote in Criswell’s Study Bible. I said I had a missionary son in Israel, and it was taking more guts to ask him a question than when I was 65 and swam 4 miles alone across the Sea of Galilee. His forward states “Harmonization of apparent discrepancies and explanations of passages thought by some to contain error are afforded the reader.” I asked if that mean all the errors or just some. He said, “All of them!” I said, “What about the leader’s daughter being dead in Matthew and alive in Mark and Luke?” I was holding up the line waiting to shake his hand. He lowered his voice and said, “We got all we could.” My father taught me if a person lied about one thing, he would lie about something else.
I noticed the Holman Bible of the SBC has changed the leader’s daughter to being alive in Matthew. It also replaced a ‘comma’ with the word ‘by’ in Acts 22:16. “…be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Vs. “…be baptized, and wash away your sins by calling on the name of the Lord.” Sure, ‘by’ removes controversy and makes it good old Baptist doctrine, but does God want us to change the Bible as we see it? Why are you changing the Bible when you say it is already perfect? Why didn’t Holman make Mark agree with Matthew when Christ walked on the water? Mathew said, “Truly you are the Son of God” while Mark said, “They were completely astounded because they did not understand about the loves. Instead their hearts were hardened.” I believe the one in the boat rather than the one trying to remember hearsay.
I believe the Bible has been preserved as God wants and not as man wants. He wants us to believe the Bible through faith and not because it’s like a math book. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” Christ said the Holy Spirit would teach us the Bible…not a committee. We are to worship the message and not the messenger. Through his energy, God’s Word (not the Bible) spoke the world into existence. Those that try to prove God exist because the Bible is perfect have committed the same error of those who say God does not exist because the Bible is not perfect. God’s existence does not depend on the Bible being perfect. His existence depends on “I Am.”]

In reaction to the BF&M, many wave high their conviction that the Bible is their authority rather than a man-made creed,

[Rex: Amen!]

but don’t expect them to be accountable for believing and practicing any of its specific and explicit teachings!

[Rex: Why not?]

A creed is simply a statement of what an individual, or group, believes.

[Rex: Webster: “Creed: A brief, authoritative formula of religious belief.” You defined ‘confession of faith. You left out half the definition for creed…the authoritative or mandatory part. Your definition is only a half-truth. The devil excels in half-truths.]

Perhaps the reason a creed is spoken of with such anathema is that so many, typical of post-modern thought; really do not believe anything as absolute truth anymore.

[Rex: Your 1997 letter requesting missionaries ‘to follow God-appointed leaders whether they understood or agreed’ showed what was coming with the 2000 BF&M. You let the cat out of the bag and it raised so much commotion a committee was made to censer following letters to missionaries. Has this article been censored? Your bosses say the 2000 BF&M is not a creed and now you say a creed is OK. You slur opposition as being “post-modern thought” when they reject your new ideas. Your BF&M is absolute truth only in your mind.]

[Rex: Your following sentence of 74 words is hard to understand. I will take the liberty to paraphrase what I believe you mean: Many that are against the BF&M and hold to the autonomy of the church and priesthood of the believer neglect to acknowledge these Baptist concepts come from God.]

An extremely alarming trend, that has gained a large consensus from detractors of a statement of faith, is that in which many who espouse the priesthood of the believers and autonomy of churches as the hallmarks of what it means to be a Baptist, neglect to acknowledge that the foundational convictions of Baptists, and those upon which these two precious concepts are based, are the Lordship of Jesus Christ and authority of God’s word.

[Rex: Again, you slipped in “priesthood of the believers” when we believe in ‘priesthood of the believer’ because God split the curtain for the individual and not for a group only. Most, on paper at least, believes in the autonomy of the church and is based upon the Bible. In actual practice, it is another story if a church obeys the 1963 BF&M but not the 2000. The SBC withheld recommending a volunteer because his church hired a woman pastor while he was on the field. In other words, you believe in the autonomy of the church as long as the church follows your rules.]

Obviously, the oft-repeated accusation of the Baptist Faith and Message being used as a creed is due to the perception that it is being imposed on others. This is a hollow and distorted perception as it has never been imposed on any church or individual.

[Rex: Webster: “Impose: To charge, command, inflict burdens.” How do you explain conventions, churches, and individuals being removed as not being imposed upon? If the majority had accepted Peter’s BF&M (All are saved by the free gift of Christ), Catholics could never have grown from the Jewish BF&M imposed on Gentiles in Acts 15: 28, “…to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.” Is history repeating itself.]

One believes what one believes—something that simply cannot be imposed by others.

[Rex: Oh, how clever. I’m cutting your head off if you don’t sign this, but I’m not imposing my belief on you because that is impossible. Bowing before the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar did not change anyone’s belief, but it did enlarge his ego. So if signing a paper does not change a person’s belief, what is the purpose of signing other than enlarging the egos of those requiring the signing. Case closed.]

However, it is altogether appropriate that Southern Baptist churches expect those who represent them and who are entrusted with matters of faith such as missionaries, seminary professors and denominational workers hold personal beliefs and convictions consistent with what the denomination confesses to believe.

[Rex: Oh, your logic has changed; none of the above are individuals, and therefore, the BF&M was not imposed on anyone.]

Especially revealing is the pejorative [Rex: means derogatory] reference to the BF&M as a man-made document. It is certainly not on a level with the divinely-inspired Word of God, but it was formulated by men and women, priest of God, who prayerfully and earnestly sought God’s will and guidance in expressing the consensus of our faith according to the teaching of Scripture. Is a document formulated under God’s leadership and an expressed interpretation based on His authoritative, unchanging word nothing but a man-made document?

[Rex: I’m sure the Holy Office that killed heretics, was ‘formulated” much the same way as you described the one-man handpicked committee for the 2000 BF&M.
This is the problem: man assuming voted by man as leader makes him God’s leader. Did Hitler have God’s leadership? His solders had “In God we trust” on their belt buckles. Saying, “We are going to win the world for Christ” does not guarantee it is God’s plan. Any fool can say those words and have the dumbest plan in the world. For example, ‘you telling missionaries to follow God-appointed leaders whether they understood or agreed’ removes their trust and guidance of the Holy Spirit to fulfill their call from God. To replace the Holy Spirit with a CEO is the dumbest plan in the world. Remember your words? “It seems the whole world is waiting with bated breath to hear what I am going to say…we are preparing a revolutionary redesign of the way we are organized.” You started a revolution all right…a revolution of missionaries and Southern Baptists. How does firing missionaries show the world our love for each other?]

Southern Baptist, gathered in annual session, practicing the priesthood of individual believers, prayed and expressed their sense of God’s will in voting to adopt the BF&M.

[Rex: How can you say the committee used their individual priesthood when what they wrote abolished individual priesthood?]

Would critics who champion the case for individual priesthood as justification for dissension and independent thinking deny the very basis on which we practice church and denominational polity? What many critics imply by characterization of the BF&M as a man-made creed is simply, “I choose to ignore the scripture on which each article is based; it is not what I choose to believe, so it must not be of God!”

[Rex: Ah! So you do acknowledge “individual priesthood” is different from “priesthood of believers. What Scripture says the Bible will be interpreted by a committee and voted on?
A math theorem ‘cannot be set against’ another math theorem. The Bible is not a math book, but Adrian Rogers, former president of the SBC and chairman of the 2000 BFM, said, “Scripture cannot be set against Scripture.” That’s saying every Scripture verse can stand-alone because God wrote each verse without error.
One problem that causes different doctrines comes from not knowing when God is talking and when man is talking since the Bible records both as 1Cor. 7:10 explains; “…I command, yet not I, but the Lord…” Living Bible: “…I have a command, not just a suggestion. And it is not a command from me, for this is what the Lord himself has said…”
Some think anytime a person with a white hat speaks that is God talking through him. I beg to differ as in the following Scriptures. 1 Cor. 7:12, “But to the rest speak I, not the Lord.” Living Bible: “Here I want to add some suggestions of my own. These are not direct commands from the Lord, but they seem right to me.” Rogers would say, “No Paul, you are not telling the truth because anything you write is from God and stands alone.”
Another Scripture, 1 Cor. 1:14, “I thank God, that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius.” Would Rogers say, “That verse can stand alone because God wrote it without error?” Lets “set” verse 16 “against” verse 14. “And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.” Living Bible: “Oh, yes, and I baptized the family of Stephanas. I don’t remember ever baptizing anyone else.” Now which verse would Rogers say God wrote? Did God forget whom Paul baptized in verse 14? No! God did not forget because Paul was writing as a human with a forgetful memory. You might say that Paul didn’t tell us it was only him speaking as he did in 1 Cor. 7:12. That is correct. He didn’t tell us, and he didn’t tell us when he was writing the same way. God had the Bible written the way He wanted so man would need faith and the Holy Spirit to properly divide the Scripture.
In case that was a fluke, look at Acts 28:18-19, “The Romans gave me a trial and wanted to release me… But when the Jews protested the decision…I appealed to Caesar.” Did God write that without error? Before deciding, look at Acts 26:32, “And Agrippa said to Festus, ‘He could be set free if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar!’”
Paul appealed to Caesar when Festus had his trial in Acts 25. There was never a decision that was protested by any Jews because none of his accusers were even present when Agrippa heard Paul. Paul did not hear Agrippa’s decision said to Festus because they had left the courtroom. Paul probably learned Agrippa’s decision days later by way of the grapevine. We must “set” chapters 25 and 26 “against” chapter 28 to learn the truth. Mr. Rogers, that blows your theory about “Scripture cannot be set against Scripture.” Your theory would only be true if all the writer’s words were out of the mouth of God.

So am I on the slippery slope headed straight for hell because I believe, at times, Paul’s words were not out of the mouth of God and, sometimes he had a bad memory? About a year or more had gone by between Acts 25 and Acts 28. The Bible is a camcorder of what man has said and done. It doesn’t say who is not telling the truth; through ignorance, sin, forgetfulness or otherwise.

Even Jesus said more than once that only the Father knows. That meant Jesus did not know because His Father chose not to reveal whatever it was to Jesus. “My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?” His question was real. It was not fake. No harder question has ever been asked because God forsook his Son when He became our sin. God’s only answer was tears. God had not revealed this truth to Jesus, so Jesus did not know. He proved he did not know in John 16:32 by telling his disciples that God would be with him on the cross.
Does that mean we cannot trust the Bible? No! It means we can trust the Bible with the aid of the Holy Spirit to teach us, but not with a man-made paper of a committee.

Your BF&M told God He could not call women as pastors. Look at a verse the committee used to come to that decision: 1 Timothy 2: 12, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Living Bible: “I never let women teach men or lord it over them. Let them be silent in your church meetings.”
Why did they use only half the Scripture? If they believe it was God’s command, wouldn’t they be afraid to discard half of it? Which is more important, not teaching man or being silent? Would you agree the more sever would be more important? If women were silent they couldn’t teach men. That’s killing two birds with one stone. So silent is the more sever and the more important. Why didn’t they choose it?
Did a little bird tell them that would create such a ruckus, they might loose their God-appointed jobs? True prophets of God gave the whole message regardless of the cost. The committee was not a true messenger of God interpreting Scripture for us to follow. Skipping half the Scripture, they claim to be from the mouth of God, makes them hypocrites. Allowing women missionaries to teach men in foreign countries proves it.
So if the committee only chose half of Paul’s words, I don’t think they believed any in that sentence came from God, but used his statement for their own personal egos. One sect of Jews believes women are so unworthy the messiah will have a miraculous birth by a man. Their pants are made in such a way as to catch the baby. They don’t permit women to teach men either.
If women are not worthy to teach men, they should not teach children. A man is mature to judge truth whereas a child will believe almost anything. Women not teaching men is pure fallacy and is based on men’s egos.

The key word in 1 Timothy 2:12 is “I.” If Paul had said, “This is what the Lord himself has said” as he did in 1Cor. 7:10, or used a teaching of Jesus, I would not doubt his statement.
Sometimes Paul tells us why he believes the way he does; by reading the Scripture, by Jesus telling him what to say, conferring not with flesh and blood, etc. Most of the time Paul doesn’t tell us about all the whys, but in this case he seems compelled to give two reasons. If those reasons are like ‘because the cow jumped over the moon’, then I would doubt his original statement if you get what I mean.
1 Timothy 2:13, 14, “Why? Because God made Adam first, and afterwards he made Eve. And it was not Adam who was fooled by Satan, but Eve, and sin was the result.”

First reason: Adam had seniority. Seniority works in labor unions but not with God. Remember Abel, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and David.
Second reason: Adam was not fooled by Satan, but Eve, and sin was the result. I know in other Scriptures, Paul properly blames Adam, (Scripture set against Scripture) but in this verse Paul said it was Eve’s fault.
That’s what Adam told God, but God didn’t buy it. Since God rejected Adam saying it was Eve’s fault, He would not speak through Paul agreeing with Adam. A committee should never use this Scripture to tell God what He cannot do.

I don’t know why Paul wanted women to be silent at church meetings. He might have thought there was too much ‘noise’. Remember how upset he was in 1 Cor. 14:23,27? “If the whole church…speak with tongues, and there comes in…unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?…let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course.” Living: “If an unsaved person…hears you all talking in other languages, he is likely to think you are crazy. No more than two or three should speak…and they must speak one at a time.”
Paul did not object for a woman helping to teach Apollos in Acts 18:26. He even took her and her husband on his third missionary journey. He sent a message of “Hello” to her in Romans 16:3 and in his final farewell in 2 Tim. 4:19.

If men analyzed why the devil chose Eve instead of Adam to temp, their egos might crumble. Gen. 3:1 “The serpent was the craftiest of all the creatures the Lord God had made.” Bombs are used on tanks; not soldiers. The ‘bomb’ took on the tank with all his skills of half-truths and smooth talk. He knew if he could fool Eve, Adam would follow like a puppy dog…no problem at all.]

Denial that God had anything to do with leading Southern Baptist to boldly affirm what God’s word teaches regarding church order, the marriage relationship and the inspired authority of all Scripture, reveals a pious arrogance and contradiction of values. Unfortunately and sadly, the result has been many Baptist churches and individuals mimicking society, choosing humanistic thinking, cultural accommodation and Biblical compromise at the expense of abiding and eternal truth to guide faith and practice.

[Rex: The new BF&M has new teachings. All that you said was probably said of Anabaptist who would not accept the new teaching of baptizing babies for salvation in 251 AD.]

Short View of Baptist History
Those who judge Southern Baptists for having abandoned what it means to be Baptists seem to have a short view of history. Their heritage goes back no further than the last generation when leadership and seminaries were embracing higher criticism, and erosion of Biblical authority and moving the denomination toward the precipice of liberalism reflected in other mainline denominations.

[Rex: These scare tactics won’t hold water as Page Patterson had a list of all liberal professors and the total was six.]

As we seek to hold missionaries accountable today, they forget that the Foreign Mission Board denied appointment to Southern Seminary professor, Crawford Toy, and withdrew the appointment of John Stout and T.P. Bell in 1881 because they did not hold to the verbal, plenary inspiration of scripture as did other Southern Baptist. They forget that the chairman of the original Baptist Faith and Message committee in 1925, E. Y. Mullins, made it clear that this definitive confession of faith was to be an instrument of doctrinal accountability for preachers, professors and those representing the denomination.

[Rex: “Hold missionaries accountable”? When did missionaries get a bad reputation? You make them sound untrustworthy. Christ did not warn us about missionaries, but He did warn us about you and your bunch in Mark 12:38 Living: “…Beware of the teachers of religion!” He also prophesied, “Many shall come in my name, saying, “I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Mark 13:6) They could not claim to be Christ and come in his name, so it’s Christian leaders, with twisted doctrine, which will fool the majority. Examples would be Catholics and your bunch. “Confession of faith” is proper but don’t try to confuse that a ‘creed’ is a ‘confession of faith.’]

Yes, it is evident that we have succumbed to the relativism of post-modern thought when one says missionaries deserve our support regardless what they believe or teach.

[Rex: You have run “post-modern thought’” in the ground. When truth is against you, you claim it is “post-modern thought” when actually; it is your bunch with “post-modern thought.”
Missionaries deserve our support because they are winning souls for God. Your scare tactics won’t work for in Baptist history, has one missionary taught false doctrine? A missionary asked, “If I preach the Gospel, does that make me a moderate or a conservative?” How would you answer him? You should be ashamed of what you have done.]

Exaltation of independent, self-centered thinking has supplanted submission to the word of God when one sent out and supported by the denomination is unwilling to affirm they will carry out their work in accord with what the churches they represent claim to believe.

[Rex: There has never been a doubt that missionaries were winning souls for God. That’s their contract with God. You did not fire them for failing that contract. Compared to their contract with God, you fired them for not signing a paper on how to break an egg.]

Many of those rejecting my request made it clear that they will be accountable to Southern Baptists the way they themselves choose to be accountable. Others say, “I want you to support me, but I am accountable only to the Lord!” How would a local church respond to a pastor who said, “I no longer believe and will not preach and teach what you as a church have said you believe, but I want you to continue to support me as your pastor since I have served so well in the past?” Such independent attitudes and thinking certainly has nothing to do with the priesthood of the believer and one’s relationship with God, as some claim. God leads believers within the body to live and work in mutual submission to one another and with respect for those God has called to servant leadership within His kingdom.
[Rex: “I no longer believe” implies missionaries have changed their beliefs. That’s a lie and you know it. You said, “Priesthood of the believer” again. “Servant leadership? That’s a laugh. How does popping the whip make you a servant? Servants do not fire People.]

Missionaries are called of God and are accountable to their Lord. They don’t have to serve with Southern Baptists, but those who are sent and supported by the Southern Baptist Convention have a stewardship and trust to teach, preach and represent what Southern Baptists believe with integrity and personally conviction. Asking for that affirmation is not a politically coerced initiative; it is simple bottom line of accountability to those we represent.

[Rex: I can’t find anything wrong with this because it is the old way missionaries were put on the field. People stated their beliefs either verbal or in writing and they were accepted or rejected as missionaries.
The papers I filled out for overseas volunteer service were much the same way until after 2000. Thereafter, my signature was required agreeing to a demand. Made me feel like authorities were flexing their muscles or egos. I had to sign that I would not smoke. I have never smoked once. If they are going to get legalistic, why not the Ten Commandments?
Gary Morgan of Waxahachie states the problem very well: “Christianity always has faced two great enemies—liberalism and fundamentalism. Liberalism denies the possibility of ultimate truth and encourages people to manufacture their own truth and create God in their own image. It causes people to deny Christ and embrace a god of their own making.
Fundamentalism creates systems, makes rules and enforces dogma. It leads people to believe that so long as they follow its precepts they are right with God. It becomes a substitute for Christ.”
He also had a solution: “Those who truly know the heart of God resist these errors by honoring God’s word, loving God and each other, and joining together to work for the cause of Christ despite their differences. They have kept the main thing the main thing.”

Marv Knox thanked me for writing a synopsis I sent him of his editorial. Here is most of it: “The easy half of individual priesthood is privilege. Who wouldn’t feel proud to relate directly to God? The other half is responsibility. The emphasis that different Baptists place on responsibility is what divides Baptists.
Some emphasize that “me and Jesus’ are sufficient to make all decisions. They discount the value of the Christian community by being the Lone Ranger who rides off alone with God.
Fundamentalists assume Christians will take advantage of Jesus’ goodwill and ignore responsibility. They think that signing a paper of doctrine will insure responsibility. Instead of their theological wall preventing sin from entering, it captures those within.
Nicked-named moderates or real conservatives believe both extremes miss the mark. We exists in a community of believers, and we’re to serve and be accountable to them as Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking our own assembling together…but encouraging one another.” Christ makes Christians new creatures, and the Holy Spirit teaches and guides more than any theological wall of laws.
Confessions of faith may be theologically accurate, but if they are coerced, they become creeds that imprison and deny spiritual freedom.]

The issue is not about individuals being terminated, but it is about the credibility of the International Mission Board being doctrinally accountable to our denomination.

[Rex: Now the truth comes out. It’s not God you are accountable to, but the SBC. You are like Saul being accountable to his army instead of God. You said you avoided 9-11 by asking missionaries to sign. Then Avery Willis assumed power by telling missionaries they had to sign. You couldn’t let him have your job. Did you wash your hands as Pilate? You said "denomination"…that's us. How dare you put the blame on us for your actions! On the other hand, you are right because for now, the majority of Baptists have remained silent. Few Baptists know how many long-term missionaries were forced off the field for not signing.]

It is about holding to the fundamentals of our faith that will enable us collectively to fulfill the Great Commission and reach a lost world for Jesus Christ.

[Rex: If fundamentals require firing missionaries, I’m for firing fundamentals.]

Few Southern Baptists would admit to post-modernist views. It is both sad and frightening that so many are unconsciously succumbing to these kinds of social influences and that those, even among our Baptist media, would be challenging the truths and convictions that have distinguished us as Southern Baptists.

[Rex: Your bunch has the post-modernist views and not those holding to God’s principles. We still sing: “Though the church is moving, I shall not be moved.”]

But when one denies absolute truth and embraces a theological relativism that says whatever one chooses to believe and practice is all right, when one advocates soul competency but without any adherence to the Biblical authority of God’s revealed word, and when one insists that self-centered, independent personal opinions supercede any sense of doctrinal accountability, one is, indeed, moving from the foundations of our historic faith to the nebulous, humanistic standards that characterize our post-modern society. The inevitable result should be apparent—a diluted, ineffectual witness for the Lord Jesus Christ and diluted influence on a valueless and directionless society that would be disastrous in America and erode any potential for fulfilling our Great Commission task.

[Rex: Your first sentence of 76 words describes a lost person. Why would this lost person, in your next sentence be witnessing for Christ? Oh, I remember…in 1998, Tom Eliff told Page Patterson all barnacles and parasites had been removed from the ship of Zion regardless how Christian they seemed.
Your first sentence describes barnacles and parasites in more sophisticated terminology. Have you told Eliff he was wrong about ‘all’ had been remove? Because after five years you are still scraping barnacles off the ship of Zion by firing missionaries. You will probably agree with him about them seeming like Christians since most had preached the Gospel over twenty years.

Should Paul have given up his individual priesthood, obeyed the majority group, and preached ‘obeying Jewish laws’ for salvation? (Gal. 5:11)
Your BF&M defines “our Great Commission” for men only. Since fundamentalist have taken over and pushed their doctrine for all to obey, the average Baptist church salvations per year has decreased from 12 to 9 despite the growing population.
It’s sad the present SBC puts more priority on doctrine and arguing the Bible than wining souls.
You are right, Jerry…I disagree with your reasoning, philosophy, doctrine, and article, but I still think you are between a rock and a hard place trying your best with a limited vision.

In His grip…firmly engrained,
Rex Ray




[Rex: PS January, 2004
Lots of water under the bridge since you wrote. I wonder if you were writing today if you would change any of your words. I’m reminded of a sad ballad of a man wishing he had done things different as a boy, when he ran with the wrong crowd…“It’s true I’d like to be honest but I know it’s too late to begin, for when you join with a gangster, it’s a game you must play to the end.”
Do some play games, using their view of God’s Word, to get their way? How many times must your crowd stab you in the back before you see you are not like them? As Hitler wanted to rule the world, your crowd wants to take the place of the Holy Spirit in controlling Christians.

The 2000 BF&M changed: “The church is committed to His teachings” to “The church is governed by His laws.” By changing only three words, the autonomy of the church is governed by the SBC ruling “His” laws. Example: “The office of pastor is limited to men.”
Why do you answer to Paige Patterson? You would expect the president of a seminary to believe the greatest need in America was acceptance of the Gospel, but he said the greatest need was for every boy to have a dad, a dog, and a gun. What kind of gospel is that? He was speaking to a hunting club and wanted their approval. His political mouth matches his political heart.
I have a relative that works with the Baptist Student Union. At present there are students from his group that are witnessing in China by raising $60,000 themselves for their expenses. When I was in college, the Baptist Student Union gave my life a better view. Patterson stated money supporting Baptist Student Unions was a waste. What does he base his opinion on?
My letter in the Baptist Standard on 11-24-03 noted you being under fire. I noticed the letter above mine refuted Patterson saying the CBF denies the exclusivity of Christ for salvation. Hitler said if you tell a lie big and loud enough, people would be believe it.
Morris Chapman pointed the finger to Patterson as the source of the report and that Erich Geldbach said, “I am not even sure that there is any such thing as the Great Commission, but if there is I am confident that Jesus never said it.” Patterson made the mistake of not quoting a dead man and removing the records. Geldbach denied such trash and emailed the committee to repent and turn from their wicked ways. Why did you take Patterson’s word? He didn’t have to lie to me, a nobody, but he did. The truth is not in the man. Did the study committee agree that the end justified the means? Are you free from the study committee or have you joined a group that must be played to the end?
That “leftward drift” is like the SBC, in their 2000 BF&M raft, going over Niagara Falls into legalism, yelling at people on the bank, “Why are you drifting from us?”
Is Patterson so important that Baptists believe whatever he says without proof? Do you not think the study committee lies will hurt Southern Baptist? They give all Christians a black eye.
How does your own’ medicine’ taste when Patterson and Keith Eitel jumped on you and the IMB? Your defense was a worn-out motto about the IMB being believers of the inerrant word of God. That slogan, at one time, is about like “Hiel Hitler” was to Germans. Your definition of’ inerrant’ is a slippery slope to legalism. You got caught having women in positions over men. Will you demote or fire them? Will you fire all women missionaries if Patterson gets the SBC to rule “His laws” include women to be silent?
An army commander argued that a soldier was at his best when he was killing the enemy. My father, a Chaplin in World War II, had written in a publication that a soldier was at his best when he was on his knees before God. What comes from a man’s mouth reveals his true heart.
Leaving the Baptists World Alliance makes me want to bust. Southern Baptists spend a hundred years developing Baptists all over the world to unite for spreading the Gospel, but Patterson and a crybaby committee gets their egos hurt from pure jealously of the CBF, and they want to quit. They let Patterson do the dirty work, but they are just as guilty as him. They believe anything is OK as long as it is for the good of their group. The BWA got a taste of what opposition of fundamentalist has been getting for years. I guess your bunch figured if lies worked once, they would work again. They have made mockery of John 13:35: “Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Jerry, if you’re not Joshua or Caleb on that big shot committee, you will go down with those ‘kicking against the pricks.’ If I were you, I’d resign from the study committee. Southern Baptists don’t mind being criticized by the world, but not by true Christians. I hope SBC messengers use Mordecai’s gallows meant for the BWA to end the study committee’s reign of control at the next SBC.]

Tom Parker said...

Wade:

Tim Rogers informed me this morning on his blog that I was making a false statement in saying that Dr. Klouda was fired and that he would not allow my comment saying she was fired to stay in the comments and removed it.

It is people like Mr. Rogers who not only believe the way they do but will not even allow a dissenting voices. I call that censorship and told him so.

May we all do everything we can to help Dr. Klouda.

Anonymous said...

"Tim Rogers informed me this morning on his blog that I was making a false statement in saying that Dr. Klouda was fired and that he would not allow my comment saying she was fired to stay in the comments and removed it."

Wonder what Rogers calls it when they relieve you of your hired position, put you in another department but refuse to tell you if it is permenant or not or give you any indication that it is permenant and refuse to answer when you inquire?

Perhaps, 'forced out' would be a better term. They wanted her to leave.

Rogers is playing the Clintonesque game of parsing meanings.

The best Rogers can do is censor such things. Truth does not make his idol look good.

Lydia

Tom Parker said...

Lydia:

I have never to my knowledge been censored and I am still very angry about it.

I lost a lot of respect for Tim Rogers today.

He can not silence me from how I feel about what happened to Dr. Klouda. It was wrong in every way!

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
I'm glad you're concerned about the attitude that fired missionaries. I believe the same attitude condemns Moderates in the way Moderates look at 'inerrant.'

You said: “The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy defines the word inerrant for me, and I have absolutely, positively, not one iota of a problem using the Chicago understanding of "inerrancy" as a descriptive adjective of the Bible.”

Following are some statements written in the Chicago Statement.

'Infallible' signifies the quality of neither misleading nor being misled and so safeguards in categorical terms the truth that Holy Scripture is a sure, safe and reliable rule and guide in all matters.

Similarly, 'inerrant' signifies the quality of being free from all falsehood or mistake and so safeguards the truth that Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions.

Page 1: [We] do not propose that this Statement be given creedal weight.

[Rex said…Does this mean a person does NOT have to believe ‘inerrancy’ to hold leadership positions in the SBC?]


Page 5, Article 14: We deny that alleged errors and discrepancies that have not yet been resolved violate the truth claims of the Bible.

[Rex said…Example: Ecclesiastes 1:5 saying the sun travels around the earth does not disprove John 3:16.]

Page 5, Article 19: We affirm that a confession of the full authority, infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the whole of Christian faith. We further affirm that such confession should lead to increasing conformity to the image of Christ.

[Rex said…Is this saying if a Christian does not believe in “inerrancy”, they are second class because they cannot “understand” the whole of Christian faith, and cannot have “increasing conformity to the image of Christ”?]

Page 5, We further deny that inerrancy can be rejected without grave consequences, both to the individual and to the Church.

[Rex said…Does “consequences” mean burned at the stake, rejected from SBC, or snubbed?]

Exposition
The truthfulness of Scripture is not negated by…reports of false statements (for example, the lies of Satan),

[Rex said…Does that include the lies of men, their ignorance, bad memory, confusion, deception, and stupidity?]

or seeming discrepancies between one passage and another. Where for the present no convincing solution is at hand we shall significantly honor God by trusting His assurance

[Rex said…trusting Chicago Statement]

that His Word is true, despite these appearances, and by maintaining our confidence that one day they will be seen to have been illusions.


[Rex said…Is this saying ‘A woman saved by childbearing’ 1 Timothy 2:15 is an illusion? Must inerrantists see illusions, and believe those that can’t are second class Christians.
Hey! Do Conservatives have an illusion the king has a perfect suit while Moderates see him naked?]

‘Inerrancy’ is a recipe that Conservatives have for believing the Bible.

‘Infallible’ is a receipt that Moderates have for believing the Bible.

The Chicago Statement says the two words are similar. Both produce the same Gospel. So why are Moderates condemned when their recipe produces the same ‘cake’?

Rex Ray said...

Hey! Where did everybody go?

Why is no one agreeing or disagreeing with my last comment?

We’re talking about the Baptist Identity group making rules which make the circle of Baptists smaller.

Can no one see that ‘inerrancy’ has done the same thing?

Will your eyes only open when it happens to you, but not someone else?

Just for clarification ‘Moderates’ did NOT name themselves. That name was given to those who refused to join the ‘ONE OF US’ crowd.
It was a slanderous name given to those who argued they were the REAL conservatives. Even Wade has been called ‘moderate’ and ‘liberal’.

Moderates were much like Paul’s ‘meat’ Christians that withdrew fellowship from ‘milk’ Christians when the ‘milk’ Christians started baptizing babies for salvation in 251 AD.
‘Meat’ Christians were given the slanderous name of Anabaptist.

Today, how much ‘garbage’ has to be mandated before Baptists realize who is ‘meat’ and ‘milk’ Christians?

The increase of legalism has made cobwebs snaring trusting people. It’s time to vote spiders out of leadership.

Anonymous said...

Rex: They're all in shock. It seems that Miss Piggy, herself, has commented on the new strand. Go look! Wow. This is getting good. Our first big celebrity!

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray:

Was Jesus Christ:
a liberal?
a moderate?
a conservative?
a fundy?

What do YOU think and WHY do you think that. Curious.

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