Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Rise of Neo-Landmarkism in the Southern Baptist Convention and the Disconnect from 18th and 19th Century English Baptist Ecclesiology

Southwestern Theological Seminary has some fine Christian leaders, but the seminary has become the poster child for the rise of neo-Landmarkism within the Southern Baptist Convention. Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, also has a handful of professors who hold firmly to neo-Landmarkism, and advocate its principles as the Baptist norm. Dr. Barber, a former SWBTS adjunct professor, has recently challenged my view of the rise of neo-Landmarkism in the SBC, implying that the fully separatist, closed-communion ecclesiology promoted by some in the SBC, including Drs. Malcolm Yarnell and Paige Patterson at SWBTS and Dr. Hershael York at SBTS, is similar to the ecclesiology of certain English Baptists of the 18th and 19th centuries. The purpose of this post is to show how modern neo-Landmarkism in the SBC differs from the teaching of Scripture and the practice of our English Baptist forefathers in several fundamental areas.

Dr. Barber wrote and asked me: to answer the following question:

Could you spell out for me in specific and careful terms what you perceive to be the differences between Neo-Landmarkism and the theologies of John Smythe, Thomas Helwys, William Kiffin, William Carey, Andrew Fuller, Adoniram Judson, Roger Williams, or John Clarke in the period of their lives in which they were Baptists?

The men mentioned by Dr. Barber are for the most part English Baptists, with just a couple of them, including Adoniram Judson and Roger Williams, having any connection at all with the New World and America. There are at three key differences that I will point out in this post between English Baptists of the 18th Century and modern neo-Landmarkers in the Southern Baptist Convention.

(1). Authority

In neo-Landmark theology, the only people with "authority" to baptize, serve the Lord's Supper, teach, etc . . . are men who hold an "office" that bestows authority. In other words, authority flows from "the church" and not Jesus Christ directly.

English Baptists, however, believed that the Christian's authority came directly from Christ, not the church, and that the fulfillment of Christ's commands was the duty of all Christians. For example, John Gill, speaking for English Baptists, said this about baptizing converts . . .

Baptism is not a church ordinance, (and by that) I mean baptism is not an ordinance administered in the church, but out of it, and in order to admission into it, and communion with it; it is preparatory to it, and a qualification for it; it does not make a person a member of a church, or admit him into a visible church; persons must first be baptized, and then added to the church, as the three thousand converts were; a church has nothing to do with the baptism of any, but to be satisfied they are baptized before they are admitted into communion with it.

It is impossible for a neo-Landmarker to understand the above statement because "baptism" is a church ordinance, and the authority to baptize comes from "the church" and not Christ. This is why the rise of neo-Landmarkism in the IMB has led to the new policy that any missionary candidate baptized in a church that doesn't believe in "eternal security" will be rejected as a Southern Baptist missionary. Rather than asking the individual Southern Baptist about his or her baptism and what it meant to him or her, the IMB trustees are now investigating "the church" in which missionary candidate was baptized.

(2). Communion

In a neo-Landmark church, communion is "closed," meaning that nobody else but "local church members" can partake. The idea that a Christian who has not been "properly" baptized could partake in communion with Southern Baptists is almost deemed "heresy" by neo-Landmarkers.

But the English Baptists, including those mentioned above, believed the following according to Dr. Greg Wills in Baptist History and Heritage:

Few Baptist churches in America practiced open communion, but most in England did. Many practiced open membership as well--they admitted persons to membership based on their profession of faith alone, whether they had submitted to believer's baptism or not. Open communion Baptists in England claimed an impressive heritage. John Bunyan, the great Baptist preacher of Bedford, whose Pilgrim's Progress was and remains a devotional classic, practiced open communion and ably defended his practice. In the early nineteenth century, Robert Hall Jr., the brilliant and eloquent Baptist preacher whose writing brought him extensive fame, persuasively defended open communion views. Baptist Noel, the immensely popular Baptist preacher whose defection from the clergy of the Church of England brought considerable notoriety, promoted open communion from his prominent London pulpit. Spurgeon's church combined open communion with strict membership. The combination reflected well his commitment to evangelical unity and believer's baptism.

The church I pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, holds to open communion with strict membership, a pattern followed by many within the SBC but called unorthodox by neo-Landmarkers in the SBC like Dr. Malcolm Yarnell. Ironically, again, the rise of neo-Landmarkism in the IMB has led to a clamp down on the Lord's Supper being served in "house" churches within countries like China where there are no men who can act as "pastor" and serve it. Here you have the problems that arise out of a neo-Landmarker's faulty understanding of both authority and communion.

(3). Cooperation

Cooperation with evangelicals is a very, very low priority to a neo-Landmarker. In a neo-Landmarker's mind, it is more important for there to be "doctrinal" conformity and purity before there is any evangelical cooperation and unity. All doctrines to the neo-Landmarkers are important.

Thus, a statement like the following from English Baptist Charles Spurgeon would be hard to understand by a neo-Landmarker:

"I am persuaded that neither the Church of England, nor the Wesleyans, nor the Independents, nor the Baptists, have got all the truth.... I would persuade you, my Baptist friends, that your system is not perfect. Nor can church polity prevent heresy and spiritual death. You cannot, by Presbytery, or Independency, or Episcopacy, secure the life of the Church. Ecclesiology does not preserve spiritual life in a denomination, but the "presence of the Lord" in its midst." (Spurgeon, "Things Unknown" (1858), in MTP, 46:105; Spurgeon, "Christ Is Glorious--Let Us Make Him Known" (20 March 1864), in MTP, 10: 163).

Sadly, the rise of neo-Landmarkism in the SBC and IMB is thwarting more evangelical cooperation and causing missionaries overseas to have to shut down cooperation with other Great Commission denominations and churches. To some Southern Baptists, it is more important that a person be baptized in a Southern Baptist church than it is to extend the right hand of Christian fellowship in evangelical cooperation.

For these reasons I will continue to write against the rise of neo-Landmarkism in the SBC. I trust I have fulfilled my promise to answer Dr. Barber's question.

In His Grace,



Brent Hobbs said...

I think that is an excellent summary of the problems with those BIM/neo-landmarkers. Add to these the grumpiness of many of those frequent commenters and I don't think they are winning many converts to their views - I hope not at any rate.

On a side note, thats a horribly early-90's-MS Word-WordART-looking-graphic at the top of this post. Can I offer to make you a new one or is there some significance to it as it already exists?

Anonymous said...

I asked this question on SBC Today and I'll ask it here:

In this view, since baptism by immersion is a prerequisite to partake of the Lord's Supper and a belief in eternal security by the baptizing church is necessary for a missionary candidate to be approved by the IMB, would this mean that we would not offer Communion to anyone who was baptized by immersion in a church that did not believe in eternal security?

Would the baptismal requirements for the mission field be different from the baptismal requirements for the Lord's Table? If so, on what basis?

It seems like logic would dictate that, according to the BI view, a belief in eternal security by the baptizing church is also required before a person could partake of the Lord's Table. Of course, there is zero Scripture to support that, but once you get into this view of the "true church", it seems like that is a logical conclusion.

Can someone address my questions?

Anonymous said...

"English Baptists, however, believed that the Christian's authority came directly from Christ, not the church..."

I think this is key--maybe even "THE" key to the whole controversy itself.

Does the authority of Christ come upon the individual Christian directly or indirectly [through the local church]?

If one is going to promote local church "authorization" by saying the "whole" of Matt. 28:19-20 was given to the local church, then the "whole" of Matt. 28:19-20 must be "authorized" by the local church.

In other words, not only would the practice of "baptism" have to be authorized by the local church, but making disciples and teaching would have to be authorized as well.

And this would seem to contradict this statement under article XI. evangelism and Missions:

"It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations."

wadeburleson.org said...

Brent Hobbs,

Please make me a new one:

I will post it promptly - thanks for the offer.


wadeburleson.org said...


Your excellent question seems, to me, to be rhetorical.

You answered it yourself in the asking of it.


wadeburleson.org said...


Amen, and amen.

Dr. Mike Kear said...

Thank you, Wade, for this wonderful post. Years ago I was an Independent Baptist pastor. I once had the opportunity of driving a Southern Baptist pastor in another city to and from a funeral service (I worked as a chaplain for the funeral home) and as we conversed I asked him whether his church would recognize my ministerial credentials. He replied very matter-of-factly that not only would his church not recognize my ordination, but neither would they recognize my baptism or even my salvation. He stated that if I ever wanted to join an SBC congregation I would have to repent and renew my faith in Christ and then I would have to be re-baptized in an SBC baptistry. Only then could I become a member of a Southern Baptist congregation.

That conversation scared me. I decided then and there that I could never be a member of a Southern Baptist Church. To me, if I were to get "re-saved" and "re-baptized" in order to join a denomination, it would be like I was casting doubt on the reality of what Jesus did for me when I was born again and on the covenant I made with Him when I was baptized. I do not doubt the reality of those momentous events and I cannot even imagine doing something that would make them seem less than efficacious.

My wife and I have been attending Emmanuel for a few months. This article that you have written (as well as other recent articles) have almost convinced me that we might actually be welcome as members - and without having to cast doubt on our conversions and baptisms!

Thank you for discerning the Body of Christ.

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

John Bunyan's position was actually the minority position among English Baptists at the time he debated the issues of baptism and the Lord's Supper with William Kiffin. Notice Leon McBeth's description:

"The First London Confession seems to have required closed communion. Certainly Benjamin Cox thought so; in his appendix to that document, he said 'We . . . doe not admit any to the use of the Supper, nor communicate with any in the use of this ordinance, but disciples baptized, lest we should have fellowship with them in their doeing contrary to order.' However, the Second London Confession, while much more detailed in its discussion of the theology of communion, does not mention closed communion but appears to gloss over the question of eligibility. This confirms a trand among English Baptists from early times away from closed and toward open communion. . . . Kiffin (1616-1701), described by opponents as the 'ringleader of the Anabaptists,' was one of the earliest and most steadfast Particular Baptists. . . . Kiffin helped formulate and signed every major Baptist confession of his time. He stood firmly for closed communion and closed membership, believing the two to be inevitably linked. Bunyan (1628-1688), famous author of The Pilgrim's Progress, was baptized in Bedford, where he later served as pastor. . . . To dispense with baptism, as Kiffin thought Bunyan's position would ultimately do, would be to lessen our esteem for Christ who commanded it and disregard the Bible which prescribes it. He bluntly concluded that communion belongs to the church, not to private individuals, and that only baptism is the door to the church. . . . The short-term victory went to Kiffin, whose influence in his generation was unmatched. During Kiffin's lifetime and beyond, most Particular churches held to closed communion. Yet the long-term victory went to Bunyan, as open communion ultimately prevailed."

McBeth, The Baptist Heritage (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1987), 81-83.

Anonymous said...

"In a neo-Landmark church, communion is "closed," meaning that nobody else but "local church members" can partake."

I think even the more loose "close communion" position runs into a problem if argued on the grounds of the "order" in Matt. 28:19-20.

The "teaching them to observe" all of Christ's commands that follows after baptism includes [the teaching of] communion, but of course is not limited to communion.

In other words, it is inconsistent to argue that only baptized believers can partake of communion based on the "order" without affirming the teaching of all the other commands of Christ as well.

Therefore, if a local church wishes to be completely consistent, then they must not only reject allowing an unbaptized Presbyterian to partake of communion with them, but they must also reject allowing an unbaptized Presbyterian to hear the teaching of the "law of love--John 13:34" wih them as well, for example.

OBJECTION: All denominations teach that baptism comes before communion.

ANSWER: Even if granted for argument's sake, this is an argument from church history and not an argument from strictly exegetical grounds and thus does not escape my "inconsistency" argument.

OBJECTION: But since baptism is an "ordinance", then this makes it different from all of the other commands of Christ that follow after baptism.

ANSWER: Even if this argument is granted for argument's sake, then it is still nevertheless true that this "ordinance" is still one of Christ's commands that Christ said is to be taught after Christ mentioned baptism in Matt. 28:19.

Chris Poe said...

To read this post, one would never imagine that Bunyan's views on baptism not being a prerequisite for church membership and the table was strongly opposed by William Kiffin, Benjamin Keach and Hanserd Knollys, three of the more prominent English Particular Baptist leaders who were responsible for the 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith (1677/1689.)

Article XI from the Goat Yard Declaration of 1729 by a church under John Gill's pastoral care looks an awful lot like what many are calling Neo-Landmarkism today:

"We believe that Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of Christ, to be continued until his second coming; and that the former is absolutely requisite to the latter; that is to say, that those only are to be admitted into the communion of the church, and to participate of all ordinances in it, who upon profession of their faith, have been baptized by immersion, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

Article XX of the Appendix to the 1646 London Baptist Confession by Benjamin Cox couldn't be clearer in its renunciation of open communion:

"Though a believer's right to the use of the Lord's Supper doth immediately flow from Jesus Christ apprehended and received by faith, yet in as much as all things ought to be done not only decently, but also in order, 1 Cor.14:40; and the Word holds forth this order, that disciples should be baptized, Matt.28:19; Acts 2:38, and then be taught to observe all things (that is to say. all other things) that Christ commanded the Apostles, Matt.28:20, and accordingly the Apostles first baptized disciples, and then admitted them to the use of the Supper, Acts 2:41, 42; we therefore do not admit any in the use of the Supper, nor communicate with any in the use of this ordinance, but disciples having once been Scripturally baptized, less we should have fellowship with them in their doing contrary to order."

wadeburleson.org said...


I beg to differ.

The entire emphasis on open communion and "strict" membership, as given by the examples of Spurgeon's church and our church in the latter portion of the post, precisely SUPPORTS Gill's Goatyard Confession.

One of the men who holds to Landmarkism that I HIGHLY respect for both his gracious attitude and his persistent articulation of his Landmark principles is Baptist Theologue. I consider him a true brother, and an expert on Landmarkism.

Ask him if he thinks Gill is Landmark.

In His Grace,


wadeburleson.org said...

Dr. Michael Kear,

Great to hear from you! Two quick questions: How long have you been in Enid, and which of our three morning services do you usually attend?

I just now went to the link to your blogs and you are quite the articulate blogger yourself!

I look forward to visiting with you further about membership.



Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Dr. Hammett from SEBTS commented:

"Until fairly recently, most Baptists have historically favored strict communion. There have been notable exceptions, such as John Bunyan, Robert Hall, and C. H. Spurgeon, and historically the Free Will Baptists have always advocated open communion. But most major Baptist confessions of faith, especially American Baptist confessions, have supported strict communion, as have their major theologians, such as J. L. Dagg and A. H. Strong. For example, the Principles of Faith of the Sandy Creek Association states, 'the church has no right to admit any but regular baptized church members to communion at the Lord's table.' The New Hampshire Confession of Faith and all three versions of the Baptist Faith and Message have seen baptism as 'prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.'"

John Hammitt, Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches: A Contemporary Ecclesiology (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2005), 285-286.

Dr. Mike Kear said...

Wade, we've been in Enid for three years. We attend the 8:30 service. We started attending (though not regularly) when Sam Storms had his conference.


wadeburleson.org said...

Great to hear Dr. Kear,

Next morning service, please say hello. I would love to visit with you.



wadeburleson.org said...

Thanks Baptist Theologue for the link to the article on open communion.

I am thankful to see Baptists are ever reforming and becoming more sensitive to Scripture and less bound to church tradition and culture.


Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Wade, you said,

"Ask him if he [BT] thinks Gill is Landmark."

If we look at the Gill quote from your post on Dec. 10, 2007, he certainly doesn't sound like he believes that baptism is a church ordinance:

"Baptism is not an ordinance administered in the church, but out of it, and in order to admission into it, and communion with it; it is preparatory to it, and a qualification for it; it does not make a person a member of a church, or admit him into a visible church; persons must first be baptized, and then added to the church, as the three thousand converts were; a church has nothing to do with the baptism of any, but to be satisfied they are baptized before they are admitted into communion with it."

On the other hand, the 1729 Goat Yard Confession indicates that Gill believed that baptism is necessary before the Lord's Supper can be observed by an individual believer.

Thus, Gill was not a full-fleged Landmarker, and neither am I. That situation illustrates the danger of assigning labels to individuals. The label may not be an exact fit for the individual, and thus the individual may be inaccurately portrayed.

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

I've got to be at the hospital at 6:30 in the morning for a member's surgery, so I've got to hit the hay. Goodnight all. It was an interesting discussion.

Anonymous said...

I do not think one can justifiably argue merely this:

"1. Disciple made


2. Disciple baptized


3. Disciple [taught] to observe communion.

Therefore, close communion."

I think one must go all the way and argue this to be consistent [I'm not promoting this view by the way]:

"1. Disciple made


2. Disciple baptized


3. Disciple [taught] to observe 'all' Christ's commands

Therefore, no unbaptized Presbyterian is allowed to learn any of Christ's commands--other than baptism--with the properly baptized local assembly."

Chris Poe said...


I'm by no means asserting that Gill is Landmark. I'm not Landmark either and have no doubt that real Landmarkers would have a lot of bones to pick with me.

Now, I'm not privy to all of the views of all of those identified with the "Baptist Identity" movement, but my concern is that positions are being labeled neo-Landmark when in many cases they are nothing more than the historic Baptist position, right or wrong. If practicing close communion is tantamount to Landmarkism then William Kiffin, Benjamin Cox and Mark Dever are Landmarkists. With all due respect, that's just absurd.

Earlier this evening I had posted a much longer post at another forum. Instead of posting it all again in the comment box here, I'll simply link to it:

My post there was in part occasioned by those who favor open membership i.e. not requiring immersion, but much of it applies in this case as well, and the issues aren't unrelated.

Anonymous said...

My opinion on Matt. 28:19.

Christians are to baptize "them"--a made disciple.

Christians are to teach "them"--a made disciple.

The "natural" order is this--disciple baptized and then baptized disciple taught.

If a disciple refuses to be baptized first, then the disciple disrupts the natural order, but not the commanded order [I think].

So, basically I make a distinction between what I think is natural and what I think is basically commanded.

Steve said...

This is a good post, dealing with a question far more important than anything I have noticed on other sites purporting to represent large numbers of Baptists.

The Baptist idea is founded on people sharing all the important things while not insisting on agreeing on every little thing, and that very characteristic explains our effective work for Christ - and it explains how some rule-book writers can't stand the way we are.

Anonymous said...


What's interesting to me is that I showed from Baptist history over at www.sbctoday.com that virtually 100% of American Baptists supported restricted communion. You know these Baptists do not support your position. Therefore you have respond by saying:

A) These American Baptists all believed in slavery, so all of their doctrinal views are suspect. So you attempt to discredit all of the Baptists in American history who disagree with you.

B) You also say the English Baptists support your beliefs about the church and the ordinances. I beg to differ. Let's take a lot at your three points and see what the English Baptists believed:

1) John Gill did not believe that just anyone could baptize. Only those who had been properly ordained by a Baptist church could baptize. He did not believe that any Tom, Dick, and Harry could baptize. While he worded things differently than American Baptists did, he still connected baptism to the local church through the ordination of the baptizer. So in that sense he did believe baptism was a church ordinance.

2. You are dead wrong here. What did Gill, Abraham Booth, William Carey, Andrew Fuller, Joseph Kinghorn, William Kiffin, Benjamin Keach, Hanserd Knolleys, Hercules Collins, etc. all have in common? They were all English Baptist leaders of the time who believed strongly in closed communion. I know you love to mention Spurgeon as a champion of open communion, but I have shown before that at the end of his life, Spurgeon claimed that closed communion was correct and wished his church would change to the Biblical position.

3. The English Baptists believed in a limited cooperation between Baptists and non-Baptists. Did they gather all the various denominations together at Thanksgiving for a joint communion service? No. Did they invite non-Baptist churches into their local associations? No. Did they join with non-Baptist denominations in planting non-denominational churches on the mission field? No. Did they publish books strongly rebuking the non-Baptists for their doctrinal error? Yes. Consider Gill's " Infant-baptism : a Part and Pillar of Popery".

Anonymous said...

Good to see you back to blogging Wade. I had stopped checking your blog when you "retired". Don't know how long you have been back, but glad to see it.

This post makes my last church so much more clear to me. We had been having communion on Sundays, then, all of a sudden, communion was religated to early pre-service time. We could not imagine why and asked the pastor. He told me that they had a responsiblilty over who took communion and they had to make sure that only believers took it. I commented that wasn't that between them and God and he just smiled. It all makes sense now. (of course, it is an SBC church)

I do find it interesting that he did not explain their position further, but then he knew I am not above a good challenge!

Rex Ray said...

I agree with Wade for his very good post.

Man wants to see, feel, and touch in order to know (just like Thomas). It’s hard to see faith, but man can see baptisms.

Most early Christian Jews accepted Jesus as the Messiah who came to back up their laws for salvation.

So they had a ‘Jesus plus works salvation’. They were saved because of their faith in Jesus in spite of their ‘works program’.

The majority of early Christians began to see being baptized as being saved. Even today, churches don’t record when people are saved, but write the date of their baptism.

These early Christians believed that being baptized in Jesus name saved them. It was natural to add Jesus’ command: “Let the children come to me” which resulted baptizing babies in Jesus name for salvation in 251 AD.

Anabaptist withdrew fellowship from the majority, and they with many names, have been hated and persecuted for not saving their children ever since.

Bart Barber said...


You have not fulfilled your promise at all, although you have completely fulfilled my expectations.

1. This post contains not one—not one!—word uttered by a "Neo-Landmarkist" person. I can draw assumptions about who these people are and what they have said, or even what "Neo-Landmarkism" is, but you've given us absolutely no substance on that point.

Bloggers like to throw around the term "straw man" with abandon, but really, this is a classic case worthy of reproduction into a handout or something to illustrate logical fallacies for classes in logic or rhetoric.

Here's why careful writing involves the direct citation and quotation of sources: To keep people from doing precisely what you have done in deceptively placing words in you opponents mouths. These words have been chosen not to represent the other viewpoint accurately, but in order to shape a misrepresentative case that you will have an easier time toppling than you would the real argument of your opponents. So, for the record:

A. You state: "In neo-Landmark theology, the only people with 'authority' to baptize, serve the Lord's Supper, teach, etc . . . are men who hold an 'office' that bestows authority."

Yet I do not affirm that statement, and I ask you to produce any citation or quotation where a proponent of "Neo-Landmark theology" has said so. I do believe that the ordinances are church ordinances, but I do not believe that only the "officers" of the church may administer them. I believe that the local church determines who will administer church ordinances. I do believe that the New Testament limits the offices of the church to men.

B. You said: "In a neo-Landmark church, communion is 'closed,' meaning that nobody else but 'local church members' can partake. The idea that a Christian who has not been 'properly' baptized could partake in communion with Southern Baptists is almost deemed 'heresy' by neo-Landmarkers."

But your characterization is patently and provably false. You leave me wondering whether you have ever perceived that there are other positions in between "open communion" and "local church only" communion. The only alternatives seem to be that you never have grasped that distinction, or that you are deliberately engaging in perfidy here.

So, I'll state plainly that the non-church-intercommunion position (held by J. R. Graves but rejected by J. M. Pendleton, by the way) is not my view of the Lord's Supper.

C. You said: "Cooperation with evangelicals is a very, very low priority to a neo-Landmarker. In a neo-Landmarker's mind, it is more important for there to be 'doctrinal' conformity and purity before there is any evangelical cooperation and unity. All doctrines to the neo-Landmarkers are important."

Again, patently and provably false. Let me state as plainly as I know how: I agree with every word of the quote that you pulled from Spurgeon. I defy you to produce a single "Neo-Landmarker" who will state that he does not agree with Spurgeon's words.

2. This post completely ignores the list of men I offered in my question. You cite John Gill, whom I did not mention. Then you cite Greg Wills's summary statement about English Baptists from a particular moment in English Baptist history, but Wills was not summarizing the ENTIRETY of the English Baptist story. Then you cite Spurgeon.

No Smythe.

No Helwys.

No Kiffin.

No Carey (who you said was one of your heroes, but you won't give him a single word in your post!?)

No Fuller.

No Jusdon.

No Williams.

No Clarke.

I'm not someone with vast classroom experience. I've served briefly as an adjunct professor, and I've determined to take up that avocation again next year. But my paltry service there makes me no great expert. Nonetheless, in the small amount of experience that I have had up to this point, I must say that it is a rare and noteworthy accomplishment to author an essay that successfully manages to avoid every single element of the question. But you have done it. Congratulations.

But you might have saved yourself a great deal of time by simply posting forthrightly and honestly in the last comment thread....:

"Bart, I don't like your question, and I don't intend to answer it."

Writer said...


Excellent post. You are revealing the truth of the neo-Landmarkers.

Please excuse my ignorance, but I have a question. When you say that Spurgeon held to "open communion with strict membership," what does that mean?

I have an idea but I would like to hear your explanation.

BTW, it seems that most neo and full Landmarkers are west of the Blue Ridge mountains, according to Tim Rogers. Thank God for keeping them out of our area. We're all full up with crazy. We don't need no more. :)


Unknown said...

Copied directly from the BF&M:

Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ's people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.

We seem to be getting away from that co-operation as perameters are getting narrower and doctrinal purity is getting to be the main thrust. This is not a good thing to get away from.

Stephen said...

This endless bickering over the various interpretations of Baptist beliefs demonstrates the walls we put up and the way that even well-meaning people undermine the presentation of the gospel. I knew a pastor who told a recent convert that he would not baptize him unless he quit drinking beer. ( I know about the Church Covenant, but that is really extra-scriptural) Another Baptist friend refused to let his daughters partake in a musical because drums were part of the instrumentation. In another church, the title “Minister of Music” was changed to “Music Director” because the newly-hired person was a woman. (This church also has a female “Children’s Director.”) When the pastors of the Association met at this church, a man was asked to lead the music when the usual protocol is that the Minister of Music of the host church leads the music. One church in this Association has evolved into what can best be described as a cult – refusing to allow any woman to speak (for any reason) from behind the pulpit and refusing to allow a woman to conduct the orchestra, and placing more emphasis on being anti-abortion and anti-divorce than on preaching the gospel of salvation. Membership in the Democrat Party also excludes anyone from this church. Yet another church forced out the female Minister of Music (sorry, that would be Music Director) because a prospective pastor did not agree with women in the ministry. They called the pastor, but had to let him go when we was caught in an adulterous situation. Finally, one church grew tremendously by taking in members of other Southern Baptist churches who could be convinced by the pastor that their previous salvation experience was invalid. These may seem like isolated incidents, but they really represent the trend in current Southern Baptist life.

Now we have Southern Baptist congregations that embrace Landmarkism, require abstinence from alcohol prior to baptism, treat women as second-class citizens, prefer Republicans, ……and people are going to hell.

When we have communion in our church, the pastor announces that anyone who is a believer and a disciple of Christ may partake. Dang, that seems so simple.

I repeat my suggestion that we replace the BF&M with the RA Pledge.

wadeburleson.org said...


Great question. I wish I could dialogue about it further, but I am heading into a funeral for one of our members, a western writer named Johnny Quarles. His books have sold on par with Louis L'Amour's books.

Anyway, open communion with strict membership simply means you invite every believer to the Lord's Table, those baptized by immersion as in the Baptist tradition, those believer who were sprinkled as infants in the evangical reformed tradition as a sign they are children of the covenant, those who had water poured upon them as a symbol of the Holy Spirit being poured out as some Mennonites practice baptism, etc . . . This is the open communion part. It simply means communion or the Lord's Supper is open to all believers in Jesus Christ.

Restricted membership, which Spurgeon practiced and our church practices, simply means that those who have been baptized by immersion only can be members of the church. John Piper's church sought to change this tradition by allowing membership (but not leadership) to those believers who were convinced in their own hearts that their infant baptism, or their baptism by pouring, etc . . . was a biblical baptism. John Bunyan's church is an example of a Baptist church having "open membership," where believers could be remembers regardless of the mode of their baptism. Piper's church was headed in that direction, but eventually withdrew their proposal to move to open membership.

What I will shout from the rooftops is the following -

You can be a BAPTIST church and practice open communion, open membership, restricted membership, or closed communion. We have historical precedent for all four practices in Baptist churches.

However, in our modern creed, the Baptist Faith and Message (I use "creed" intentionally because "confessions" were never clubs of accountability), open membership is not allowed. However, I have gone on the record stating that the BFM does not prohibit open communion.

My Baptist Identity friends are raising a stink saying that you can't be a Baptist unless you practice "closed" communion.

Tain't so, I say.



P.S. Bob Cleveland emailed me an excellent point about the BFM yesterday. In the preface it says that every Baptist church is free to draw up ITS OWN CONFESSION and practice their faith accordingly. It could be argued that ANY Southern Baptist Church who draws up a confession and practices its faith accordingly is a TRUE Southern Baptist Church.

Zack Barnes said...

Good idea Stephen:
The Royal Ambassador Pledge

As a Royal Ambassador I will do my best:

to become a well informed
responsible follower of Christ;
to have a Christlike concern for all people;
to learn how the message of Christ
is carried around the world;
to work with others in sharing Christ;
and to keep myself clean and healthy
in mind and body.

Bart Barber said...


Again: "My Baptist Identity friends are raising a stink saying that you can't be a Baptist unless you practice 'closed' communion."

One citation. Just one. Who said it? When? Where?

My previous comment and this one have not challenged your right to hold whatever opinion you wish. I have instead shown that you have shown no factual basis for your statements. I will further allege that you show none because you have none.

One can only conclude that, when it comes to your blogging, truth is not your goal.

And apart from that, I cannot see how our continued dialogue has any hope of being productive for you, for me, for the Lord, for Southern Baptists, or for the world. Each of us, I am sure, has other things that we can do with our time that do promise the chance to accomplish something. I believe that I will redirect my attention toward those things unless something changes.

wadeburleson.org said...


Just one? Okie dokie. Read the source material here

Dr. Yarnell writes of his view of Dr. Ascol's communion with a Presbyterian:

Dr. Ascol is not willing to affirm the Baptist Faith and Message in its entirety. Let it be clearly noted that communion with Presbyterians is certainly within the prerogative of Dr. Ascol's local church as a free church. However, communion with Presbyterians is outside Southern Baptist orthodoxy, at least according to the common confession of the Southern Baptist Convention. A reading of articles 6-7, especially the first paragraph of article 7, of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 will demonstrate how communion with Presbyterians is outside the confessional mainstream of Southern Baptist life.

John said...

I'll move away from quoting different opinions of man and go to an authority on the subject. Paul said, "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread."
Question--are we joined at the cross with those who may differ with us on the issue of baptism? We will not allow anyone to join our church unless they have been immersed (our focus is on the biblical pattern and not on who actually baptized them or who paid the water bill for the water in which they were baptized), but we will not exclude anyone from coming to the Lord’s Table if they are regenerate.
After instituting the Lord’s Supper, Jesus said, “I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” I guess some of you think heaven will have a baptismal at the gate so Jesus can make sure you were baptized before He allows you to sit down at His Table.
If our Lord won’t exclude them in heaven I do not see how we can justify excluding them from the Table in our church.

Anonymous said...


One correction. It's Dr. Greg Wills not Willis. :) I recently had lunch with him at the J316C. He's a very nice guy and would laugh about this, but I thought I'd let you know.


Bart Barber said...


You said: "My Baptist Identity friends are raising a stink saying that you can't be a Baptist unless you practice 'closed' communion."

Malcolm said that Southern Baptist confessions of faith have not allowed for open communion.

So, you've misrepresented Malcolm at several points:

1. You've falsely equated "Baptist" with "Southern Baptist." But there are Baptists other than Southern Baptists.

2. You've falsely equated "closed" communion (which you've defined in this post as non-church-intercommunion) with a rejection of "open" communion. In other words, you seem to be trying to force everyone to choose between the most extreme positions: the local-church-members-only position or the fully open position. Malcolm did not say that the BF&M mandated one position out of them all, he merely (accurately) pointed out that the BF&M excluded one and only one position on the extent of communion out of them all.

3. You've falsely equated agreement with the Southern Baptist confessions of faith with whether one can be a Southern Baptist. Yet Malcolm never suggested that Tom or you or anybody else couldn't BE a [Southern] Baptist. He merely pointed out the fact that those who take the one and only position on the Lord's Supper that is rejected by the BF&M are in disagreement with the BF&M.

You would have made none of these misrepresentations in this comment if you had cited Malcolm's own words rather than substituting your own.

Bart Barber said...

Well, actually, Malcolm said that the position of inviting the unbaptized to participate in the Lord's Supper was not only in disagreement with the BF&M in its latest revision, but with the preponderance of the statements of faith published by Southern Baptists. I want to be careful to be accurate, here.

Anonymous said...

Bart: A door is either open or it is closed. Please explain what is extreme about that statement and what would be the middle view? The door is halfway open and halfway closed?

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

I find it funny that I am here trying to correct something as I see you are sinking bad trying to foster your position with Brother Bart.

However Brother Les has stated a very serious mis-truth concerning me. I have never said that Landmarkism or as your refer to it Neo-landmarkism is prevalent west of the Blue Ridge Parkway. What I said was that close/closed communion was prevelant. I also said; "One who practices closed communion, a Landmarker it does not make".


Anonymous said...

" For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
Gospel of Matthew

Would a Landmarker accept these words of Christ?
Yes or No?

If one of the, shall we say three, baptizes another IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, would a Landmarker
recognize the baptism?

Yes or No?

Once the words of Christ no longer have power in a religion, people get lost. Their own 'understanding' of what is sacred and 'acceptable' becomes more and more mundane, distorted by their own human condition.

Chris Poe said...

Debbie asked about open and closed communion and all points in between. I think everybody knows what open communion is. Closed communion as I have always understood it restricts the table to those who are members of that particular local church. Close communion typically restricts the Lord's Supper to those who are members of churches of like faith and order.

As a pastor friend told me recently, when it comes to close communion, the question becomes, how close is it? Some simply require that the person be baptized (immersed) whether or not it was in a Baptist church. Others require membership in a baptistic church i.e. one of like faith and order. Others restrict it to the particular denomination, etc. My personal view is the first of these, that only baptized believers should participate in the Lord's Supper, but I'm always willing to be corrected from the Scriptures.

Note also that Baptists are not the only group that practices close communion. Many of the Reformed and Presbyterian churches that some of us greatly respect also practice it. Some (typically the continental Reformed) do not consider Baptist churches to be true churches and thus bar Baptists from the table. Others require that the person be a member in good standing of an "evangelical church."

See this article from "Baptist Why and Why Not" that explains the close communion view that is found in many of the Baptist confessions:


Brent Hobbs said...

The grumpiness has returned. Some of you guys really need to lighten up.

Les Puryear said...
"We're all full up with crazy. We don't need no more. :)"


Anonymous said...

From A Puritan's Catechism With Proofs Compiled by CH Spurgeon:

# Q. What is the Lord's Supper?

A. The Lord's Supper is an ordinance of the New Testament, instituted by Jesus Christ; wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to his appointment, his death is shown forth (1 Cor. 11:23-26), and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporeal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace (1 Cor. 10:16).

# Q. What is required to the worthy receiving of the Lord's Supper?

A. It is required of them who would worthily partake of the Lord's Supper, that they examine themselves of their knowledge to discern the Lord's body (1 Cor. 11:28-29), of their faith to feed upon him (2 Cor. 13:5), of their repentance (1 Cor. 11:31), love (1 Cor. 11:18-20), and new obedience, (1 Cor. 5:8) lest coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgment to themselves (1 Cor. 11:27-29).

My question: Where does it state that baptism is a requirement for the Lord's Supper?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone on here has noticed.

While this discussion has been taking place no-one appears to have come on the blog asking for Baptism.

And if they had, they'd have decided against it by now, I'm sure.

To be fair, no-one has come on asking for palm trees from Antarctica. Perhaps we could discuss that instead?

CB Scott said...


First, let me say I am more than glad to hear Johnny Quarles was a member of the church you serve as pastor.

May you minister to his family in the strength and power of the Lord. I seriously mean that.

Yet, I am constantly amazed at things you say.

Johnny Quarles was a great western novel writer. No doubt. Yet, he may have written 15 books at best. I am not really sure.

He started writing western novels the same year Louis L'Amour died, 1988. L'Amour began writing in 1952, if I remember correctly.

L'Amour wrote at least 126 books of which I am sure. His books were made into screenplays for at least 30 movies. His books have been translated into over three dozen languages. The sales of his books are well over 225, 000,000 copies before his death. They are still selling in most every bookstore in America.

It has been reported by some entertainment writers that L'Amour is the third best selling novel writer in the world. He even sold more books than Max Brand and was more famous than Zane Grey. I could go on, but the point is made.

His Sackett Series alone has sold more books than have all the books written by Johnny Quarles.

It is true Johnny Quarles was a great writer of western novels. Varro was probably his best.

Yet, how can you say "His books have sold on par with Louis L'Amour's books?

What do you mean by "par" here?

Was this just something you said off the "cuff" as you were typing a comment on a blog thread?

If not, what is the source of such a claim? Can you validate the statement?

Wade you also say that BI folks all believe in a "closed" communion. That is just not true. It cannot be validated.

Yet, you make the statement just as easily as you say Johnny Quarles' books have "sold on par with Louis L'Amour's books."

There is a flaw here, Wade. And you need to deal with it.


Anonymous said...

How far does the church have to apostasize before the Holy Spirit withdraws?


Salvation comes by the express work of God in the heart of the repentant sinner. Now, when this has taken place, how dare we draw lines in the sand as to who is in and who is out?

My Bible has a lot to say to the Judaizers--and none of it commends them that I can find.

If we don't stop fussing about who can baptize and who cannot, who can lead and who cannot, who can speak and who cannot, who can partake of the bread and wine(juice) and who cannot and get to the job of sharing the gospel with the lost, I believe God is going to soon shut down this whole she-bang known as the organized church.

That goes for all denominations and groups, landmark or not, liberal or conservative, liturgical or evangelical, whatever.

It would seem the day is fast approaching when being loyal to Jesus Christ will mean refusing to have anything to do with any so called church!

When that day comes, God help us!

Linda--who hears the gospel preached more often on country music radio in so called secular songs than she does in Baptist churches or Baptist media. For shame!

Anonymous said...

First of all CB your cruelty knows no bounds. How insensitive of you to post what you don't know in public. BTW not only did Johnny Quarles write outstanding novels, he wrote the screen play to the Lonesome Dove series. I'm sure you have heard of it. I pray his family does not read what you wrote.

Not only that but his novels were on the bestseller list for quite a while. Think before you speak. His wife, who is in my Sunday School class, is the finest woman I have ever known.

Anonymous said...

Wade: What is strict membership at Enid?

Anonymous said...


You sited Spurgeon's Catechism and then asked... "My question: Where does it state that baptism is a requirement for the Lord's Supper?"

I can tell you where, in all three version of the BF&M. The BF&M (1925, 1963, and 2000) all state that... "Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." And, the BF&M (all 3 versions) state that Baptism "Being a church ordinance, it is PREREQUISITE to the privileges of church membership AND to the Lord's Supper."

My question to you is... why are those in the SBC who practice what the BF&M says being labeled "Neo-Landmarkers" and a "Fringe" movement?

Alan Paul said...


You have won the award for most insightful comment of the day - perhaps of the week - or maybe month on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Wade you also say that BI folks all believe in a "closed" communion. That is just not true. It cannot be validated.

Yet, you make the statement just as easily as you say Johnny Quarles' books have "sold on par with Louis L'Amour's books."

There is a flaw here, Wade. And you need to deal with it.


Wed Dec 10, 02:05:00 PM 2008

This is exactly what I was trying to explain about CB a few threads back. CB is trying to plant seeds of poison here about Wade by parsing every word he writes. Even about a friend he was honoring who just died! How much lower can you go, CB? Your heart is very hard, friend.


CB Scott said...


I am glad Mrs. Quarles is in your Sunday School class. If you feel she is the finest woman you have ever known, I am also glad. Most of us have one woman in our lives we believe to be the finest we have ever known.

I also complimented Johnny Quarles in my comment more than once. I do know about the Lonesome Dove work for reasons of which you have no idea and would be of no benefit here. I have read some of his work. It is very good.

Now, remember, it was not me who said his books have sold "on par" with L'Amour's. That was Wade.

What I have said about both Quarles and L'Amour is something I know. It is not something I "don't know" either in "public" or in private.

It is Wade who has said something in "public" he either does not know, or, he has spoken poorly relating to what he does know.

Of course that happens to all of us who speak often in public. I simply questioned him. Naturally, to question Wade is always a wrongful act with you and others. Yet, it is never wrongful for you to question any and all about anything and everything even about which it is evident you do "not know."

Wade has not answered me and he may not. That is his privilege.

Yet, there is definitely a fact here.

I have said:

"It is Wade who has said something in "public" he either does not know, or, he has spoken poorly relating to what he does know."

That is not yet confirmed as to which it is.

But, be assured, Debbie, in this case, you have done both. And that is a fact.


CB Scott said...


Thank you. I knew I could count on you.

You guys will make this everything it is not. That is the norm here.


wadeburleson.org said...


On the New York Times Bestseller List, Louis L'Mour held #1 and #2 and Quarles "Brack" was #3.

That's what I meant when I wrote "on par." I realize you understood the statement in terms of total sales - I did not.

I normally try not to respond to personal things you say about my character, but on this one, I will offer a gentle encouragement.

I'm am quite sure you have more important things to do today in terms of ministry and family than to argue over whether or not Johnny Quarles is a match to Louis L'Amour in terms of book sales, and what that means about Wade Burleson if L'Amour's sales figures outweighs Quarles.



Anonymous said...

The BF&M2K is quite clear that baptism is a prerequisite for participation in the Lord's supper as well as membership.

It also defines what is meant by the term baptism.

Therefore the document clearly is stating that only those who've been baptized by immersion as a sign of identification with Jesus Christ may be allowed to commune at the Lord's table in the local church.

At this point all those who hold a different view than this clearly crafted statement regarding who may participate in the Lord's supper is clearly in disagreement with the BF&M2K at this point.

Now the question arises: May someone / a church that disagrees with the BF&M2K at this point remain a Southern Baptist in good, cooperative fellowship within SBC life? Should someone leave if they disagree with the BF&M2K at this point?

BTW - I suspect that how we answer this has implications for many Southern Baptist churches / people.

James Hunt

Anonymous said...


If I am not mistaken, your comment goes to the very heart of what Wade has been warning us about for three years. I hope people are listening.

CB Scott said...


Thank you for the clarification.

And might I say you should have more important things to do than sit and think up ways to belittle and distort everything in the SBC of which you have come to be at odds.

In the IMB situation you were right as were many of us who knew you to be truthful.

Yet, in the last two years you have made those issues to be of no value with your constant "parsing" of the words of men who have made as much or more a contribution to correcting problems in the SBC as have you and in the advancement of the Kingdom of God in general.


Anonymous said...


I can't help but think Mr. Burleson recieved your message as you intended. I know I did. No need to articulate out in further detail why you wrote what you wrote.

Now, CB, listen to my confession. I have been a sideline observer on this blog. I have read, absorbed, and sought to be impartial in my opinions.

But, frankly, the Baptist Identity Movement, as epitomized by you, Tim Rogers, Tim Guthrie, Peter Lumpkins, Bart Barber, Wes Kenney, Malcolm Yarnell and others who advocated BIM principles make me wish I had never participated in the Conservative Resurgence. The ungodly, over-the-top, snide character assassinations you guys make against fellow conservatives genuinely makes me wonder if you love being Baptist more than you love Jesus.

It also makes me wonder how those of you who were old enough to have been actually involved in the CR treated the people you called "liberals."

Whether you guys in the BIM know it or not, you are your own worst enemies. The more you write and fight, the more I see precisely who the true Christians are.


A no longer impartial reader

wadeburleson.org said...


Comment deleted. You may not like what CB said or did, but your comment is inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

No time to read all the responses but I am sure I am the only who would be dumb enough to ask this question. Does "open communion" and "strict membership" sound paradoxical? Define strict membership. If it means what it sounds like it means would that not constitute closed communion? I understand open communion but confused on strict membership.

Stephen said...

I hereby withdraw any support, endorsement, or belief in the BF&M. I will continue to support my Southern Baptist church and pledge to continue working for the Lord in the programs of my church. Officially, I refute, reject, and renounce the BF&M. I refuse to accept ideas and theology that are not in keeping of my interpretation of scripture.

Y'all have fun.

Wade, thanks for doing the things that others are not willing to do and saying the things that others are not willing to say. You are a good man.

Alan Paul said...

This has degenerated into a child's argument... you know, the kind of behavior I used to get into trouble for in kindergarten CB.

Anonymous said...


"Many evangelical Protestants similarly reject creeds as definitive statements faith, even while agreeing with some creeds' substance. The Baptists, for example, have no formal creed and do not empower the church to define one. Even so, they are generally in agreement with the Nicene Creed's substance."

Are Baptists in agreement with the Nicene Creed ?

Anonymous said...

NICENE CREED (Anglican Church)

WE BELIEVE in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.


Anonymous said...

Is there anything in the Nicene Creed that is not derived from Scripture?

Is there anything in any of the BF&M 's that is not from Scripture?

What is a creed, anyway?

How old is the Nicene Creed?

When was the first BF&M written?

Anonymous said...

Impartial wrote: "The ungodly, over-the-top, snide character assassinations you guys make against fellow conservatives genuinely makes me wonder if you love being Baptist more than you love Jesus."

Ungodly, oh yes!
Over-the-top, Yes
Snide remarks: absolutely

Christian gentlemen: no way.

Anonymous said...

Did I miss something or does Gill's expression that baptism is not an ordinance of the church leave him in contradiction of the BF&M, 2000 which says:

"...being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper" (Article 7, paragraph 1)

Now, I'm not saying I don't agree with Gill, I'm just saying that it appears you could disagree with him and not be going beyond the BF&M.

Writer said...

Tim Rogers,

Sorry, friend. I did not mean to misrepresent your statement. You are correct in correcting me.

I will say that personally, I have never knowingly met a Landmarker east of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

We still have all the crazy we need. :)


Writer said...


Thanks for your clarification on open communion with strict membership. That is my position as well and I too believe it is not in conflict with BFM2K.


Only By His Grace said...


After reading the article and the first thirty comments, it is easy to see that much Roman Catholicism still sticks even with Southern Baptist as much as the Lutherans, Congregationalist and Presbyterians. It is easy to understand since all founding fathers of each denomination were Roman Catholic priest before they became reformers including most all the Anabaptist and much grave clothes still hang on us.

Would someone please do a word history study to see what little difference there is between the Roman word (Latin) sacrament and the Greek word ordinance? I think both suggest the imputing of grace which as far as I know all Baptist vehemently reject. Are we sacramentalist heading toward sacerdotalism? Paul said, "I thank God I baptized none of you." I think if he were seeing the way we deal with Baptism and the Lord's Supper, he may well say, "I am glad I baptized none of you nor had the Lord's Supper with you."

Phil in Norman.

Brent Hobbs said...

Demanding documentation for the books sales of the writer in Wade's church is a perfect indication of how silly some of these comment threads become. Everything Wade says, you parse and want full Turabian footnotes.

"Where did I say that?" or "I've never said that!" or "Can you produce one instance of where I've made such-and-such claim?" Blah, Blah, Blah. When we all know he has described your positions pretty accurately according to the normal usage of the English language.

Look up how many books the guy has sold? Because of a passing comment? Please... Lighten up!

Anonymous said...

Pouring, sprinkling, dunking, phooey.

One drop of the water from Jesus precious side while on the cross would have had more effect that all the water in the world.


Is it the amount of water, or the 'method' used that imparts the blessing?

How did people get baptized in the desert? Or in a drought?

Don't get too hung up on externals.
They have no meaning in themselves.

Anonymous said...

All of the historical info is really interesting. It appears in the past there were those who believed in open communtion and those who believed in closed communion.

People on both sides of that issue today try to show that more of their Baptist forefathers supported their respective position.

I this discussion is a good exercise for theologians and such, but I am not concerned about or particularly interested in this debate. I don't think I have thought about it or written about it since my Baptist History class about 27 years ago, until the last couple of weeks when it came up.

None of this really means anything. I would suspect that most Baptist churches today practice open communion. I could be wrong. I know that many SBC leaders in churches and in leadership positions at SBC institutions attend churches that practice open communion. Dr. Chapman's and Dr. Rainer's churches come to mind.

So, this debate really has no teeth or any meaning beyond academic/blog circles.

Let churches continue to do what they have been doing, practicing open or closed communion based on their own convictions.

The claim about the BFM mandating closed communion is an "interpretation" that really doesn't hold water, in my view. This is shown not only by the language itself, but also by the practice of large numbers of SBC churches and the fact that open/closed communion, to my knowledge, has never been a bar to leading an agency, employment in an agency, being a trustee (even at the theological seminaries) or serving in missions.

I know people who were interviewed to be trustees last year by the Committee on Nominations. They were not asked any questions about open or closed communion. I served as a trust of an institution in the early 1990s, and was never asked that question.

One writer on another blog, a Mr. David Brumbelow, pointed out to me that the State of Arkansas had to amend their state consitution to show what they thought the BFM said - closed communion. In 2006, I believe, 62% voted to remove that from the Arkansas Constitution, but the motion needed 67% to pass, or someting like that. So, at least 62% of the people attending the Arkansas State convention that year are for open communion or something like that.

So, it's really not that big of a deal.

If people ever move at a convention to restrict participation or service in the SBC, then it could become a big deal. But they will never do that for obvious reasons.

So, while the debate is interesting, it really doesn't lead anywhere at the end of the day.

We can all discuss, but relax, too.


Anonymous said...

"We can all discuss,
but relax, too."

Yeah, until the SBC leadership tells you to tow the line or get out of the SBC.

Stuff creeps up on you when you aren't vigilant. If you value anything about your Baptist heritage, you might want to keep your eyes open here. And then, react, before you get clobbered.
Too much has already happened and no one reacted. Too busy relaxin' I guess. ?

wadeburleson.org said...


I agree with you completely.

I do, however, believe that engaging our neo-Landmark brothers in conversations about the views of our Baptist forefathers has one extraordinary benefit -

Great, common sense Southern Baptists like you know that Baptists have held to both views throughout history.

If someone didn't point out that there were Baptists of yesteryear who held to open communion, Baptist Identity people might succeed in convincing some Southern Baptists that "closed communion" is necessary to be an orthodox Baptist.

But, like you, these issues are non-essential to me, and we should just get about doing the business of sharing Christ.

wadeburleson.org said...

Anonymous right above me sounds like a person who speaks from experience.


Anonymous said...

What is the position of the Landmarkers on the difference between the Body of Christ and their concept of a new testament church?

Anonymous said...

Landmarkers seem to want to make the church so exclusive and membership so restrictive, it reminds me of the attitude of a not-quite-upper-crust country club: the kind of country club that panders to the newly rich but cannot attract the genuine blue bloods.

All these rules and retrictions might be designed to make the church seem more appealing to those needing a membership in order to be socially acceptable HOWEVER, to a practiced observor, these restrictions are simply the signs of an insecure organization with an inflated sense of their
OWN authoritative man-made importance.

Want a country club? Join one.
Want a Church? Look for one that keeps Jesus Christ at its center and does not depart from Him.

C.J. Adkins said...

I had been an ordained minister in another Baptist denomination for nearly fifteen years when I first joined a Southern Baptist Church. The church leaders were all apologetic, but explained to me that I would have to be rebaptized. Seemed kind of silly to me at the time, but since I was sure I was where God wanted me to be, although not convinced of the necessity, I submitted. Then, the first SBC church I served in Kentucky had Communion on Friday nights. That way there would not likely be any visitors present.
Members only!
While I respect the right of my brothers to excercise their opinions, I am certainly more personally comfortable in my present situation.

Anonymous said...

So Landmarkers want orthodoxy and orthopraxy from Early Christianity.
Are they SURE?

Take a look:


THE early Church admitted three valid methods of baptism: immersion, sprinkling, and pouring. But the Church admitted only one valid set of baptismal words, the Trinitarian. It wasn't enough to baptize only in the name of Jesus.

The Didache

"After the foregoing instructions, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living [running] water. If you have no living water, then baptize in other water, and if you are not able in cold, then in warm. If you have neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Before baptism, let the one baptizing and the one to be baptized fast, as also any others who are able. Command the one who is to be baptized to fast beforehand for one or two days" (Didache 7:1 [ca. A.D. 70]).


"When we are about to enter the water - no, just a little before - in the church and under the hand of the bishop, we solemnly profess that we renounce the devil and his pomps and his angels. Thereupon we are immersed three times" (The Crown 3:2 [A.D. 211]).


"At dawn a prayer shall be offered over the water. . . . Baptize first the children, and, if they can speak for themselves, let them do so. Otherwise let their parents or other relatives speak for them. Next baptize the men, and last of all the women. . . .

The presbyter then takes hold of each of those to be baptized and commands him to renounce, saying: 'I renounce you, Satan, and all your servants and all your works.' When he has renounced all these the presbyter shall anoint him with the oil of exorcism, saying: 'Let all spirits flee far away from you.' . . . Let them stand naked in the water. When the one being baptized goes down into the water, the one baptizing him shall put his hand on him and speak thus: 'Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty?' And he that is being baptized shall say: 'I believe.' Then, having his hand imposed upon the head of the one to be baptized, he shall baptize him once. Then he shall say: 'Do you believe in Christ Jesus . . . ?' And when he says: 'I believe,' he is baptized again. Again shall he say: 'Do you believe in the Holy Spirit and the holy Church and the resurrection of the flesh?' The one being baptized then says: 'I believe.' And so he is baptized a third time. Afterward, when he has come out, he is anointed with the consecrated oil, and the presbyter says, 'I anoint you with the holy oil in the name of Jesus Christ.' And so each one then dries himself, and immediately they put on their clothes. Then they come into the Church" (Apostolic Tradition 21 [ca. A.D. 215]).


"Why, when the Lord himself told his disciples that they should baptize all peoples in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, does this apostle employ the name of Christ alone in baptism, saying, 'We who have been baptized into Christ'; for indeed, legitimate baptism is had only in the name of the Trinity" (Commentary on Romans 5:8 [ca. A.D. 250]).


"The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants. The apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine mysteries, knew that there is in everyone the innate stain of sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit" (Ibid. 5:9).

Cornelius I

"As [the heretic Novatian] seemed about to die, he received baptism in the bed where he lay, by pouring. . . . And when he recovered from his illness he did not receive the other things which, in accord with the law of the Church, it is necessary to have, nor was he sealed by the bishop" (Letter to Fabius of Antioch 6:43 [A.D. 251]).


"You have asked also, dearest son, what I thought about those who obtain the grace of God while they are weakened by illness - whether or not they are to be reckoned as legitimate Christians who have not been bathed with the saving water, but have had it poured over them. . . . I think that the divine benefits can in no way be weakened or mutilated, nor can anything less take place in that case, where that which is drawn from the divine gifts is accepted with full and entire faith both on the part of the giver and the receiver. . . . In the saving sacraments, when necessity compels and when God bestows his pardon, divine benefits are bestowed fully upon believers, nor ought anyone be disturbed because the sick are poured upon or sprinkled when they receive the Lord's grace" [Letter to a Certain Magnus 69(76):12 [A.D. 254]).


"He commanded them to baptize the Gentiles in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. How then do some say that though a Gentile be baptized . . . never mind how or of whom, so long as it be done in the name of Jesus Christ, the remission of sins can follow - when Christ himself commands the nations to be baptized in the full and united Trinity?" (Letter to Jubianus 73:18 [A.D. 255]).

Cyril of Jerusalem

"You were led by the hand to the holy pool of divine baptism, as Christ was carried from the cross to this sepulcher here before us [in the Chapel of the Resurrection in Jerusalem]. And each of you was asked if he believed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. And you confessed that saving confession, and descended three times into the water, and again ascended, and in this there was suggested by a symbol the three days of Christ's burial" [Catechetical Lectures 20:4 [ca. A.D. 350]).


Let no one be misled by the fact that the apostle [Paul] frequently omits the name of the Father and of the Holy Spirit when mentioning baptism, nor let anyone suppose that the invocation of the names is a matter of indifference. . . . The naming of Christ, you see, is the confession of the whole; it speaks the God who anoints, the Son who is anointed, and the Spirit who is the anointing. . . . If, then, in baptism the separation of the Spirit from the Father and the Son is perilous to the one baptizing and useless to the one receiving, how can it be safe for us to separate the Spirit from the Father and the Son? . . . So too then are we baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (The Holy Spirit 12:28 [A.D. 375]).

COMMENT: If the Landmarkers aren't satisfied with keeping it simple, they had better stay away from early Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy OR the Landmarkers can get into very deep waters indeed. (no pun intended).

Why would they say they EVER want to go back to the first three centuries of Christianity?

People don't know when they are better off. For purposes of baptizing, Landmarkers need to take a hint from the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Stupid.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Anonymous said...

The term "full communion" is frequently used to refer to a relationship between Christian Churches that are not united, but have only entered into an arrangement whereby members of each Church have certain rights within the other.

If a Church recognizes that another Church, with which it lacks bonds of pastoral governance, shares with it some of the beliefs and essential practices of Christianity, it may speak of "partial communion" between it and the other Church.

The communion of saints is the relationship that, according to the belief of Christians, exists between them as people made holy by their link with Christ.

This link with Christ is the basis for 'partial communion' between Churches, allowing for open communion among some differing churches who hold to the sacredness of this link with the Savior.

Anonymous said...

Tim Rogers,

Tim would you please provide the Bible Verses that support your position as to the Baptizing of the 12 Apostles and the fact that Judas did not participate in the First Lord’s Supper with Jesus Present?
Tim this all took place before Paul’s Ministry.

Wayne Smith

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that we are so arrogant that we have forgotten that the gifts of Baptism and Table felowship were given to the WHOLE Church. Is the amount or location of the water more important than the divine calling inherant to the symbol? In the book of Luke, Jesus sat at table with anyone who would have Him, proof that all who cal on the name of the Lord can be saved. Should we do less? Will we really deny fellowship to those who desire to fellowship with Christ because the BFM says we should? How far we have fallen from being a people of grace.

John Moeller said...

I do think that it will be just a few years before the Baptist and the Catholic church will merge....

For all the Baptists who just cringed, let me explain.

The Neo's want the "CHURCH" to be the master of everything. The ORDAINED PASTOR is the only one qualified to administer....

The Baptists like to bash the Catholics for not being "Christians", but alas, The Baptists want to now emulate the Catholics and the Convention wants to be the Pope, the pastors the holy fathers and the church to be the only place where god dwells.

And silly me, I thought that the Spirit of God lived inside of me and my body was now the temple of God and that all power in heaven and earth was given to little old me..... And if any other gospel is preached, I am to flee from it....

The gospel I hear the Neo's preaching is not freeing and Spirit filled....

Think about it.

Anonymous said...


I just want to say that the things that are being said about CB here are ridiculous and wrong. He is a good man and I know that for a fact. Perfect? No. But good. He has a heart for the Lord and for people. I'm not saying that everything that he says is right. But, I've seen some vicious stuff spoken about him as well by some of you who seem to be so offended and everyone needs to cool it. He is strong on the blogs in the things that he says, and even he admits that he comes across coarse, but if you knew the man you'd understand why he is saying what he is saying. But, you don't.

The blogs are not the place for all of this. We are Christians, after all. We need to act like it.

It would be best for all of us to take the admonition of the Lord and refrain from judging a person's heart and motives and pray for them if we are really concerned about them.

Anonymous said...

Would someone explain to an independent, SBC S.S. teacher at Two Rivers, who has 37 years of Pastoral experience what "strict membership" means???

Anonymous said...

Course? It's a little more than course. Alan on that we will have to agree to disagree. Course isn't the words I would use to describe what CB's verbage has been. And it doesn't matter to me why he says it. It's wrong. Period.

Paul Burleson said...


I have to agree. I'm thick skinned most of the time. [Not as T S as Wade.] But when I have been personally offended by someone's comment, which I have been on rare occasions, I've E-mailed them with the offense personally. I don't believe one can show offense toward anyone for what they say on the Internet, in kind, without violating the scripture in doing so. [Matt 18:1

Let's take seriously the difference in talking of what we disagree with one another about, even when it's a critical disagreement, and being personally offended and expressing it in print instead of private. There IS A DIFFERENCE and I believe we're all mature enough to know the difference.

Just my thoughts on an atmosphere that is not needed. I'll check myself only on this.

Anonymous said...

That should be word and verbiage.

Anonymous said...

CB needs to type his comments and have someone read them back to him before he 'saves' them.

If he could HEAR his own words, he would be shocked at the way he comes across. Perhaps in person, or in conversation, he is not as abrasive. In writing, CB appears closed-minded and full of righteous indignation towards those whose perspectives are different from his. There is little or no sign of Christian humility in this man's writing.

He needs to realize that the WAY he delivers his message drowns out the message. Sad waste of effort.

Anonymous said...

Paul and Alan, I think this is the first time I've disagreed with both of you. :) My thought is if it is done in public, it should be addressed in public. I don't personally see this as violating scripture. But this is just my personal thought. I don't think we should call names or go to the level as the person who offended us, but I certainly believe we can address them publicly.

Anonymous said...

I am also going to stick my neck out and say that frankly I am to angry and upset to email CB. It would not be the right thing for me to do.

A person just can't say whatever they want and think it won't affect people. It does. It did me. I realize I am being too publicly honest, but there it is.

Unknown said...


Be Careful Brother Wade, Bart and his Neo-Landmark buddies over at SBC Today just might “Censor” your comments and Ban you from posting on their blog also.

See this post if you need a good laugh: SBC Today “Censors” my Comments

Grace Always,

Unknown said...


I posted this over at SBC Today earlier, but seeing that brother Wes has told me that I am banned from his blog I thought I would bring it over here.

Bart, Tim, David, All,

A lost man is shipwrecked on a desert island, and after a long while a bible washes up on shore… this man picks it up and read the gospel for the first time in his life; is convicted of his sin, repents and ask God to forgive him.

After his conversion he reads that he needs to be baptized, but there is no church and no one to baptize him… he wrestles with this as he wants to be faithful unto the Word of God, so he decides to baptize himself in obedience to Gods Word. He walks into the ocean and submerging himself saying “I am baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost”.

1st – Is this man a “True” Christian?
2nd – Is this man’s Baptism acceptable?
3th – Should this man be allowed to serve with the IMB?
4th – Should this man be refused communion in a Baptist Church?
5rd – Is this man an “Orthodox” Baptist?

Grace Always,

Anonymous said...


You keep saying that "common sense Southern Baptists like you know that Baptists have held to BOTH views throughout history"

Unfortunately you have not listed one person in Baptist history who believes like you. You tried to claim John Gill and Charles Spurgeon, but have been disapproved on both accounts. When I showed on www.sbctoday.com that American Baptists universally believed in restricted communion, you dismissed 200 years of Baptist theology, because some of these men believed in slavery. Please show us someone in Baptist history who believes like you do in Baptist ecclesiology.

Anonymous said...

Greg Alford,

Read about Johann Oncken (1800-1884) to learn the answer to your question.

ezekiel said...

Spurgeon has a neat way of showing up just when needed. Today's evening devotional.

“Whose heart the Lord opened.”
- Act_16:14
In Lydia’s conversion there are many points of interest. It was brought about by providential circumstances. She was a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, but just at the right time for hearing Paul we find her at Philippi; providence, which is the handmaid of grace, led her to the right spot. Again, grace was preparing her soul for the blessing-grace preparing for grace. She did not know the Saviour, but as a Jewess, she knew many truths which were excellent stepping-stones to a knowledge of Jesus. Her conversion took place in the use of the means. On the Sabbath she went when prayer was wont to be made, and there prayer was heard. Never neglect the means of grace; God may bless us when we are not in his house, but we have the greater reason to hope that he will when we are in communion with his saints. Observe the words, “Whose heart the Lord opened.” She did not open her own heart. Her prayers did not do it; Paul did not do it. The Lord himself must open the heart, to receive the things which make for our peace. He alone can put the key into the hole of the door and open it, and get admittance for himself. He is the heart’s master as he is the heart’s maker. The first outward evidence of the opened heart was obedience. As soon as Lydia had believed in Jesus, she was baptized. It is a sweet sign of a humble and broken heart, when the child of God is willing to obey a command which is not essential to his salvation, which is not forced upon him by a selfish fear of condemnation, but is a simple act of obedience and of communion with his Master. The next evidence was love, manifesting itself in acts of grateful kindness to the apostles. Love to the saints has ever been a mark of the true convert. Those who do nothing for Christ or his church, give but sorry evidence of an “opened” heart. Lord, evermore give me an opened heart.

The SBC is trending toward the same mistake that Israel and her priests made, the same mistake the catholics made and anyone else you can name that made/make the practice of religious ordinances and ceremony more important than having a soft/open heart that can only come from God himself.

When it comes time, I will baptise my son/daughter in the pond out back....if they want to do it as an act of obedience to the Word. Any other reason will be out of bounds...membership in your club or whatever. It was good enough for the ethiopian in acts 8...

Anonymous said...

Greg Alford,

Join the crowd on being Banned from these Baptist Identity People’s (BIP’s) Blogs. I have been Banned from The following Blogs
Wes Kenney Blog
Tim Rogers Blog
Peter Lumpkins Blog
SBC Today’s Blog
The reason for my being Banned was because My comments were Mostly using Bible Verses and these BIP’s can’t Stand The Truth of What God’s Word Says.

Wayne Smith

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Paul. I have always respected you and always will. I know that you know the nature of this feud, so your words should be especially heeded - more than mine.


I like you a lot and we were in the great Blog Wars of 2006-2007. We know each other well. You are my sister in Christ. CB is my brother. I am sorry that CB has offended you and I am not here to defend everything that he has said. I don't read every comment on every blog, but I have read enough to know that he has said things in ways that I would not and I disagree with those things.

But, if I can, let me put whatever blogging credentials I have left (not much, I know) and say that from what I know of CB, he is a good man who loves the Lord and loves people. He is not the demon that people here are making him out to be. And, even if he was, he is a brother in Christ and the way that we treat one another should reflect that. I say that to say that jumping up and down on someone because they have offended us will not do anything to advance the cause of Christ or put our souls at rest.

Love your enemies. Pray for those persecute you. A kind word turns away wrath. We can disagree and do so in love.

Honestly, I thought the same thing about the Western author that CB did. How could his sales be on par with Louis L'Amour? When I read, I actually process and comprehend what is said and I stumbled over that part and wondered at the validity of it. It wasn't until after Wade's response to CB that I found out that one book was on the best seller list at #3 while L'Amour's books were #1 and #2 at the same time and that is what Wade meant. Without any communication with CB, I wondered at the same thing and why Wade would present it that way. Now I know what he meant.

Anyway, I don't know everyone here and I'm not trying to come off holier-than-thou. I just hope that we can maintain civility all around and love one another even in our disagreements. I also wanted to put in a word for CB because what he is being accused of here is not the man that I know. And, I would do the same for any of you.

Anonymous said...

Greg, I would like to take a shot at answering your questions from my perspective. I grew under the gun of Landmarkism. I currently detest its principles but am influenced by it none the less. There are some good points being made over at the BI camp but I cannot jump in head first. I am more and more thinking that I would like to join the ranks of those Baptists who consider themselves to be "deep water Presbyterians." With all that in mind here is my best shot:

1st – Is this man a “True” Christian?


2nd – Is this man’s Baptism acceptable?

His heart was obedient, but the method misses the point. Baptism I think needs to be a public display of a profession of faith. I would think that if rescued, he would desire a public baptism of the mode which he discerns is most biblical through a local fellowship under which he can be nurtured and discipled.

3th – Should this man be allowed to serve with the IMB?

No. Firstly I think because he is a new believer. I do not believe new converts should be thrust onto the mission field without a basic knowledge of Scripture. And no, I do not know how long that takes. A year? 6 mos? 2 years? Of course this could all be a mute point if the man is rescued and joins a AoG church. Why then would he want to an IMB employee? If he makes his faith known at a SBC church and desires a baptism which is public, then sure, after a season, set him apart for missions with the IMB. That is sort of a no brainer.

4th – Should this man be refused communion in a Baptist Church?

No. I do not find in Scripture a directive which links the observance of the Lord's Supper to a requirement to be baptized.

5rd – Is this man an “Orthodox” Baptist?

I am not sure we can really define what an OB is. But I do know that this man was shipwrecked by God, sent a Bible by God, regenerated by God, (if) rescued by God, and brought to the arms of a loving church by God.

I wonder how many of us on this blog would be worthy of meeting this man and guiding him and discipling him. He will no doubt have many questions.

Paul Burleson said...


I understand your words and your feelings. My view about a correct action is my view and my practice. I respect what you believe you are to do in being true to your Lord. Your desire to do that is one of the things for which I've always been grateful.

As far as I'm concerned we'll both stand bfore the Lord having obeyed Him from the heart. Until then we'll just, as we've always done, keep on loving each other and have fun talking, learning, and serving until He does come. More power to you in doing what you believe needs to be done.

Anonymous said...

What is it about a NEO-Landmarker that is different from a 'traditional' Landmarker?

What are the 'historical ties' that were mentioned?

There are no commentaries from the early church fathers referencing this movement, are there?

What year did the 'Landmark' movement begin as a professed entity recognized by those around it?

Anonymous said...

It seems a little odd to me that everyone must take someone else's word on how great a third person is because you sure can't go by your own personal experience of what you see, read, and how you feel after interacting with said third person.

Should we judge someone based on someone else's experience with them or based on our own?

Just my thought. Clear as mud?

Me too. :)

Cowardly missionary,


Anonymous said...

If someone comes to the Lord's Table to be fed, is that not a sign that they seek the comfort it will give them?
Who among us has the authority to deny this person that comfort?
Whose Table is it, anyway?

What happens when a soul seeks help at a church and is turned away, maybe during a critical time in their life?

In Los Angeles and in New York City emergency rooms, people have died from not being cared for. A woman in Los Angeles bled to death internally. A woman in New York waited 24 hours for help and collapsed on the floor. She lay there in view of staff. No one helped. Why?

Is there any comparison?
Approaching a church for comfort?
Approaching an ER for help?
Being rejected?

No hopital-ity offered?
Think about it.
The next time a stranger comes to your church and is refused the comfort of the Lord's Table, what will be the damage done TO THEM?
It won't be the Lord sending them away uncared for. Not Him.

Anonymous said...


(In my humble but accurate opinion)

The Lord's Supper in no way was meant to "feed" or "comfort."

It is an act of obedience for the believer only to refocus the heart back to Christ.

"In Remembrance"

It is an act of worship. Solemn remebrance yet joyful praise.

Paul I think addresses the "feeding" issue.

"Comfort food I saith shall not be sought at my Father's table but at the donut shop where Kevin is about to goeth." :)

Cheerful Morning to ya!

Paul Burleson said...


I've been asked why, if I believe Matthew 18:15 says we should go privately to one who offends us and not respond in kind publically, would I say "more power" to someone [Debbie] who disagrees with me? Good question. My answer is......

First, I'm a little suspect of my own infallibility in the understanding and explanation of some biblical issues. [Non-salvific generally] Especially where there is some question textually I'm not clear on myself.

For example, in v15 of Matthew 18 there is the "alone" statement I used for the basis of my original comment. But, if that fails, the verse says I'm to take one or two others. If failure is there I'm to take it to the "church" of v17.

My question is twofold. One--If I start the private and don't finish with the "church" of v17 am I being consistent? Two--Add to that my question as to what the word "church" is really referring to since "ecclesia" was used for ANY group called out for a specific purpose. [A city council or boy scout group, had they existed then, would have been referred to as 'ecclesia.'] So this could be referring to a group chosen to arbitrate an issue. Just a thought since the church wasn't seen functioning bodily then. That came after Pentecost.

So my own view disturbs me a little and lead me to my comment to Debbie. I also genuinely appreciate Debbie's disagreement as I do Allen's agreement because of the spirit of both.

Wade, sorry for the distraction from the post.

Anonymous said...

Do Christian folks typing replies here who MEAN well but who, in their postings, STILL CONTINUALLY seem like arrogant ol' cusses making baseless accusations and needlessly offending others get a free pass--and defense from their friends--to do so if they choose? If so, then this blogsite really IS a place where people--except those who post anonymously, who apparently are COWARDS--can encounter LOTS of grace!

Either EVERYONE here who professes to be a Christian actually type like one, or shut down the blogsite. Anonymous posters aren't cowards, "CB" doesn't mean "Cry Baby," and Wade and Bart and even Ben are more right than they are wrong. Let's cooperatively find the way together like the family Jesus made us, people!

The Man in the Mirror
Who is OK with What He Sees

Ramesh said...

NYT: Pulitzer Prizes to Accept More Online Work
The online publications must publish at least once a week and be “primarily dedicated to original news reporting and coverage of ongoing stories,” according to the revised eligibility rules.

Maybe blogs are also eligible. Some of you can submit some articles/blogs. Just an idea.

Anonymous said...

I guess there is no explanation of what "strict membership" means.

Ramesh said...

Another idea. :-)

If someone wishes to submit Pastor Wade's name and some thoughts for an interview with Fresh Air (Terry Gross) or other NPR programs:

NPR: Contact us

I am not that good with words, maybe one of you can submit this. More avenues to spread Pastor Wade's words, thoughts and ideas.

Anonymous said...


I never said that someone should not be confronted or that they should not be disagreed with. I never advocated a free pass. You can believe what I say about CB or not. That is your choice. It is also my choice to say it. I clearly stated that I did not agree with all that CB says. Neither do I agree with all that Wade says. I do not check my brain at the door and blindly follow any man and give him full agreement no matter what. Scripture and the Holy Spirit should be our guide.

That said, we should still love and respect one another. If we stop doing that, even in our disagreement, we have all become what we despise. When CB was being confronted, I felt no need to jump in. All of you were doing that just fine. Why pile on? But, at the same time, with none coming to his defense, I felt the need to say something about the man that I know. He is not the demon that some here think he is. Do with that what you will.

Should we confront? Yes. But, in our confrontation we must make sure that we do not do the same thing. I have been coming to Wade's blog since it first started in December 2005. I read his first post after a 30 minute conversation on the phone with him. I was with Wade in Greensboro and San Antonio and I was in the hotel suite in San Antonio when the Garner Motion was introduced. I know more background about what has happenedn in the SBC over the past three years than anyone, including Wade, can imagine. I have opposed the BI guys tooth and nail over what is going on and have wrecked any "career" that might have ever had in Southern Baptist ministry in doing so (not that I ever wanted one - that is what freed me up to speak the truth). I say all that to say that I know both sides of this issue and that if those who are opposing the direction of SBC leadership become mean-spirit, offended, and narrow minded in opposition, then you have already lost.

This blog is not what it once was. Many of the commenters here are acting like those that they oppose. I would lovingly encourage you to be the loyal opposition while also acting Christlike. Disagree in love and deal with one another in truth and with accuracy so that you judge the action and not the person or their motives. I am just one voice crying in the wilderness on this, I know. You can take that before the Lord and do with it what you will.

Ramesh said...

For readers looking for more explanations of strict or restricted membership, please look at Pastor Wade's comment here.

Unknown said...


Thanks for taking a shot at those questions… You have given me some “food for thought”… I really liked your “Deep Water Presbyterian” comment. My Grandmother was a faithful member of our local Baptist Church, however she always claimed very openly that she was a “Deep Water Presbyterian” and your comment brought back fond memories.

I must admit however that my questions were put out as “bait” for the BI guys… but the tide must be going out as my cork has not even bobbed once.

The thrust of what I would like for everyone to see is that a man’s faith and obedience is unto God and God alone, and not unto any visible church. Brothers, we are Christians. What more needs to be said?

Grace Always,

Unknown said...


Wow Brother, you have been bad!

Grace Always,

wadeburleson.org said...

Ben Stratton,

? I have no idea to that which you are referring. Charles Haddon Spurgen held precisely to the same view of communion and baptism that I do. John Bunyan held to both open commuion and open membership, differing in the membership aspect from my view and Spurgeon's view. John Gill held to a belief about baptism that is PRECISEY the way I believe.

Your statement makes no sense.



Paul said...

I don't know about all of the Landmark/Neo-landmark stuff, but what I hear from the BI crowd sounds very much like what I've often heard (and read) from Independent Fundamentalist Baptists.

wadeburleson.org said...


I understand the position from which you come. I respect you enormously. My counsel to you as a friend, and not necessarily your pastor, is to take a deep breath, relax, and realize that sometimes a non-response, as Jesus was silent before his accusers, is more effective than any response. Genuine love for brothers and sisters in Christ covers a multitude of sins.

Ramesh said...

Amen [your last comment], Pastor Wade.

Anonymous said...


You make a great point. The only things I have read which qualifies as vindictive, mean-spirited and un-Christlike is what C.B. Scott has written about Pastor Burleson and those with whom he disagrees. Then, Mr. Cross comes here and acts as if Debbie, who is the member of Pastor Burleson's church is in the wrong for being angry with C.B. It seems to me that Mr. Cross has not read comments by C.B like the following:

Monday, October 27, 2008 at 09:37 AM

"Wade begins to "split hairs" with meaningless rhetoric which hold little valid substance other than to draw in his groupies to defend him and advance his personal agenda."

"Wade brings forth in his vendetta against (seemingly) all things SBC for not anointing him king."

"Wade has chosen to continue his vendetta and gather his groupies for whatever reason only he knows."

"(We must) counter him and expose his game."

"Wade gives you enough valid ammo to fire back at him without strapping explosives around the waists non-combatants and sending them into the fray again and again."

"Like I told a mutual friend just recently: Remember, If you are going to fight monsters you must not become one."

Mr. Cross, if the above is your definition of a good man who writes Christ-like comments, then I feel you need to check your definitions.

Gregory - not Greg Alford.

Anonymous said...


Re-read the second paragraph of my post immediately above to figure out what I choose to "do with it" as you state--essentially what you appear to suggest.

I'm advocating that people--all posters here--cease behaving in ways which make other readers THINK those folks are arrogant ol' cusses who SEEM to make baseless accusations and APPARENTLY don't mind whether or not they needlessly offend others. I'm NOT saying that anyone you refer to IS that sort of person--though he or she actually may be (in which case, I'd advocate getting right with God). To do so would equate to anonymous posters being termed COWARDS when in reality the accuser can't know whether or not the charge is true--a legitimate point I sought to make in an earlier thread, with opposition.

Your reference to CB: in my 2-3 years of reading his comments here, I haven't gotten the impression that he requires anyone sticking up for him--though he at times certainly has seemed to need someone to suggest lovingly he "cool his jets" (or equivalent term). Others--like me on occasion--have appeared the same; the cautions received should have been appreciated much more than some of them were. CB is a big boy; he's demonstrated he otherwise can take care of himself.

The content of this blogsite--seldom considered by the average Baptist, or the average anyone!--usually is much more important than all the seeming bad feelings which appear here; a spiritual family in Christ ought to be able to discuss that content and even to disagree about it without being disagreeable. But we shouldn't presume upon each other's grace for dumb comments posted, despite Jesus' instructions about "70 times 7"--we should grow up, past the continual need for so much of it.

You, or anyone else, can do what you will with that.

Anonymous Mirror Man

Anonymous said...

And, by the way, in regard to anonymous postings at this site: if Wade didn't at least somewhat favor anonymous postings here, he wouldn't: (1) continue to enable it via the "Choose an Identity" setting he's selected; (2) respond either as kindly or with the correction perceived as needed by them/us; and, (3) post, as he did this week, letters written by SBC leaders--whose reputations/names are NO MORE important to protect than is mine or anyone elses. Wade, as owner of this blogsite, probably continues to have the ability to know/discover who anonymous posters are--and he actually knows who I am from previous interactions with him at this site and via email. As he owns the site, it's all that concerns me--aside from the Lord sitting beside me as I type any entries here. Enough.

Anonymous said...


“The Lord's Supper in no way was meant to "feed" or "comfort."
It is an act of obedience for the believer only to refocus the heart back to Christ.”

"The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."
30 So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?
31 Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
32 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
34 "Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread."
35 Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." John, Chapt 6

Kevin, no comfort in Jesus? I did not know that. Very sad to find this out from one so 'accurate'.
Next time I'll skip the Lord's Supper and go to Dunkin' Donuts instead. Symbolically, the Baptist Lord's Supper is a remembrance of Him, and He does indeed bring comfort to many Baptist hearts.

Donuts, anyone? Don't forget to say 'grace'.

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Wade, Ben said,

“Please show us someone in Baptist history who believes like you do in Baptist ecclesiology.”

In response, you said,

“Charles Haddon Spurgen held precisely to the same view of communion and baptism that I do. John Bunyan held to both open commuion and open membership, differing in the membership aspect from my view and Spurgeon's view. John Gill held to a belief about baptism that is PRECISEY the way I believe.”

But Ben had earlier mentioned Gill’s views on the Lord’s Supper, another issue of ecclesiology. Gill believed that only those believers who had been immersed could partake of the Lord’s Supper. Notice again Gill’s Goat Yard Confession of 1729:

“XI. We believe that Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of Christ, to be continued until his second coming; and that the former is absolutely requisite to the latter; that is to say, that those only are to be admitted into the communion of the church, and to participate of all ordinances in it, who upon profession of their faith, have been baptized by immersion, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

You quoted Dr. Willis in Baptist History and Heritage in your original post. Notice what else Dr. Willis said about Spurgeon in Baptist History and Heritage:

“In 1907, G. W. Gardner quoted John A. Broadus to enforce a claim that his open communion sentiment was an anomaly: ‘I heard Dr. Broadus remark once that the statement made by Spurgeon to the effect that he had never given the communion question serious consideration was unworthy of Spurgeon.’ Others argued that he hardly qualified as an open communionist. J. T. Christian, professor of church history at New Orleans Baptist Bible Institute (now New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary), made Spurgeon an honorary member of the close communion club in his 1892 book defending close communion. After he proved that Spurgeon was wrong to invite unbaptized persons to the Lord's table, he proceeded to enlist him as a close communionist. He quoted William E. Hatcher who in 1892 visited Spurgeon. Spurgeon confessed to Hatcher that ‘if I were to come to America to live, I would join a close communion church and conform myself to its practices on the Communion question.’ He quoted Cleveland Baptist minister W. A. Perrins, a recent graduate of Spurgeon's College who claimed that Spurgeon was ‘at heart a close communionist.’ Spurgeon confessed to Perrins that ‘if I had to begin my ministry again, I should certainly commence with a close-communion church. I am led to believe the American Baptists are right, but cannot alter the usages of my church, which have been of so long standing.’”

From Baptist History and Heritage, Summer-Fall, 1999 by Gregory A. Wills


It sounds like Spurgeon changed his mind. You admitted that you do not agree with Bunyan about open membership, an important issue of ecclesiology.

Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

Oops, let me try again with that link for the article by Dr. Willis:


wadeburleson.org said...

Baptist Theologue,

I shall not accept your opinon, Ben's opinion or Greg Will's opinion that Spurgeon changed his mind on open communion.

I will ask Spurgeon himself when we sit down at the Lord's Table in heaven beside all those Presybyterian, Anglican, Episcopalisan, Lutheran and other unbaptized believers in Jesus Christ with whom we shall have communion in heaven.



wadeburleson.org said...


I think that what Alan Cross was saying in his comment was that ANYONE who is uncivil in their comments is out of line. He was not specifically pointing out anyone in particular, just that the nature of our Christian dialogue should be civil.

I agree.

In His Grace,


wadeburleson.org said...

Anonymous mirror man:

An unanonymous Amen.


Anonymous said...


From what I have been reading on the blog here, there are some hurt feelings and a lot of anger.

From the English 'Sarum' Antiphons of Advent (Preparation in prayer for the coming of Christmas) ,
I found this for you.

I hope this prayer helps. Love, L's

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver,
the Desire of all nations, and their Salvation:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

O Emmanuel
O come, O come, and be our God-with-us
O long-sought With-ness for a world without,
O secret seed, O hidden spring of light.
Come to us, Wisdom, come unspoken Name
Come Root, and Key, and King, and holy Flame,
O quickened little wick so tightly curled,
Be folded with us into time and place,
Unfold for us the mystery of grace
And make a womb of all this wounded world.
O heart of heaven beating in the earth,
O tiny hope within our hopelessness
Come to be born, to bear us to our birth,
To touch a dying world with new-made hands
And make these rags of time our swaddling bands.

P.S. I have heard the Sarum 'O' Antiphons sung in Latin at this time of year. Very beautiful and healing and evocative of the Prince of Peace, they are.

Have a little patience with each other at this time of year. Focus on the Christ and what His Coming has meant for all of us. It puts a lot of our little troubles in perspective and brings us hope.

Please help the less fortunate at this time of year. PLEASE, for His Sake.

Love, L's

wadeburleson.org said...


Great prayer, please leave out any names in it!



Anonymous said...


Wade is right. I was saying that ALL of us should be civil toward one another in our disagreements. That goes for me, CB, Wade, everyone. We can disagree and debate, but we should not be ugly about it. We should not judge one another's motives (Jesus forbade that) and we should not get personal. That goes for me too. And CB. And Wade. And, all of us. And, if some of us are violating this, others of us should not respond in kind. I have found that a good argument can take apart just about anyone else's if your logic is sound. We should keep all of this in the realm of ideas and principles and not make it personal.

For example, I think that Bart Barber made some excellent points here in regard to what he was trying to get at in his questions to Wade. He had many sound arguments. I'll leave the rest of what Bart was saying to him, but all of that can and should be worked out in dialogue. I often disagree with Bart on the blogs, but we can be civil about. Wade and Bart disagree, but they can be civil. Bart is a smart man and he makes some good points. A dialogue means that we listen to those points, and where they are valid, we give them merit. Where they are not, we present our side. But, to dismiss someone's argument out of hand is a major mistake.


From what Wade said in his comment, I want you to know that I did not mean to offend you. Nothing that I said in this was directed to you. I only spoke to you when you addressed me, and in that, I was just trying to explain what I meant. If you have reacted poorly to CB or anyone else, that is between you and God. I was not trying to specifically call you out. Like I said, I do not remember who said what and that was not my point. I was just trying to explain what I meant in my original comment. I love you as a sister in Christ and respect you.

Anonymous said...

"I just want to say that the things that are being said about CB here are ridiculous and wrong."

I am not sure what this means. Are you saying he does not mean what he writes in comments? Are we reading them wrong? In the last thread he called a new Christian commenter here a 'busybody'. He was quite cruel to this person.

But he always adds in some words like, I'll buy coffe or something like that thinking it mitigates the other offensive and cruel statements. It doesn't. It just seems fake.

" But, I've seen some vicious stuff spoken about him as well by some of you who seem to be so offended and everyone needs to cool it. He is strong on the blogs in the things that he says, and even he admits that he comes across coarse, but if you knew the man you'd understand why he is saying what he is saying. But, you don't. "

But the only way we are to know him is by his words, here.

"The blogs are not the place for all of this. We are Christians, after all. We need to act like it."

I find it equally distressing that you do not admonish CB, who is a pastor, for his cruel words and to act more like a Christian.

"It would be best for all of us to take the admonition of the Lord and refrain from judging a person's heart and motives and pray for them if we are really concerned about them."

Alan, We can only judge the words CB writes here. Do words not come from the heart? I really do think you are being somewhat hypocritical in your admonition here.

I hope you are not suggesting there are a special set of rules from some or that 'some animals are more equal than others'.


Anonymous said...


Amen. Nobody pulls the wool over your eyes. Keep calling it like it is.

The only person judging anybody's heart is the CB, who calls people every name in the book, including bozo, goofball, liar, groupie, stupid, liberal, etc

Everybody else in this comment stream dialogues with civility till the name calling by CB and his buddies begins.

Anonymous said...

CB SCOTT did this:

THY PEACE on the last post:

"You do things to cause conflict among Baptists. You are not of us yet you post comments as if you are concerned. That seems to smack with hypocrisy don't you think?"

In writing this, essentially, CB did this to THY PEACE !

1. CB called him a trouble-maker.
2. CB said Thy Peace was 'not
one of us'
3. CB told Thy Peace that he
faked being 'concerned'
4. CB called him a hypocrite

Now, all of you know the work of Thy Peace on this blog. If CB can do this to Thy Peace, he can do anything to anyone. Thy Peace is most definitely 'one of us', thank God. Who has not benefitted from his observations and contributions?

CB is not behaving like a Christian person, in spite of whatever is said on his behalf. He is a mean-spirited, name-calling, trouble-making man of great ill-will. He does need to be called to account for his attacks on some of the finest people who blog here.

The thought that this man is a pastor makes me sick.

Ramesh said...

Anon: I do not hold any anger against CB. I think I know what happened.

I posted a link to Frank Schaeffer's interview with Terry Gross of NPR's Fresh Air radio program.

I will be honest enough to say, I only heard of Francis Schaeffer only recently (about 2 weeks ago). But I felt the interview gave some hidden insights to the southern baptist leaders.

I also linked a post of Peter Lumpkins, because of the recent John 3:16 conference and it's controversies. I just wanted readers to be aware of the "dialogs" taking place in the blogosphere.

My take was, CB got upset because of the abortion issue.

Also about Ben Cole : I have no clue who he is. I understand he is somewhat linked to Pastor Wade. I see some echos of his posts on Lumpkins's blog. But I have no idea what sbc outpost was.

I like Lydia (Lydia has helped me several times with her comments) and I was trying to help her retrieve some posts of Ben Cole. That was all my involvement. It was not to needle CB. I do not know what the posts/comments contain.

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry I used you as an example. I was so upset when I saw what CB did, I just reacted.
Some people on this blog enjoy a position of respect and you are one of those people: you are not a trouble-maker and, if anything, you have tried to be a peace-maker.
I wish that I had your self-control. What CB does to people is wrong: he just aims the garbage at different people whenever he feels like it.

"upset over abortion" is not a reason to attack decent people the way he does. Once again, sorry for having used you as an example of one of his 'victims'. I know you feel no ill-will towards him; that just makes me angrier about his unfair attacks.
He is a second-class bully using words to beat people up.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I am going to say this and then bow out. When my son, Caelan had cancer at 8 months old, my wife and I took the trip to Birmingham for his surgery. CB didn't know me at all, but he heard about my son on my blog. He was there and prayed with my wife and son. When we thought the cancer returned back in February of this year and we had another surgery, CB showed up at the hospital and prayed for him. He was very compassionate. In his dealings with people that I have observed first hand, he has exhibited great compassion and sincerity. No other pastor from my home city even called me to check on us when my son had cancer. CB, who didn't know me, came to the hospital. I'll speak well of a man like that.

I am sorry that you have not experienced that side of CB. Many of you posting are relatively new to Wade's blog and the Baptist blogosphere. If you don't know who Ben Cole is and what SBC Outpost was, you are really new. There is a lot that has gone on over the past few years that you guys have no idea about. There is a lot of history and much that is said is built on what has come before. It doesn't excuse anything and we should still be kind to one another even in disagreement. I am not excusing CB for his words. I am just calling for civility all around.

I'll speak no more of this. I understand how you all feel - you have made it very clear. At this point, I'm sorry I said anything about it and I'll leave you guys to the discussions here.

Anonymous said...

"open communion with strict membership simply means you invite every believer to the Lord's Table, those baptized by immersion as in the Baptist tradition, those believer who were sprinkled as infants in the evangelical reformed tradition as a sign they are children of the covenant, those who had water poured upon them as a symbol of the Holy Spirit being poured out as some Mennonites practice baptism, etc . . . This is the open communion part. It simply means communion or the Lord's Supper is open to all believers in Jesus Christ."

I too have a question for Wade or others regarding this.

1. Is there a distinction made between "inviting" some to observe and actually policing who does and who does not observe?

2. Do you or others "invite" non-Baptized believers to observe?

3. A new family attends your church during a Lord's Supper Sunday. They have a 9 year old kid. Do you question them? Or serve the kid by directive of the parents? Maybe the kid was baptized as an infant but has never committed his or her life to the Lord.

4. You have a 12 year old bus kid who has been coming but has never made a decision for Christ. Does the deacon serve if the kid attempts to observe?

I have "administered the Lord's Supper 4 times. I first explain various aspects of the ordinance as well as saying that salvation is freely offered to those who believe and as such the elements of this supper are also freely offered to those who believe and confess Christ as their savior. There is a 17yo in my church who has made a decision for Christ but whose mother will not let her be baptized until she is 18. I do not refuse to serve her. However, the first time I ever administered the ordinance I explained that children who have never made a public profession of faith remain seated and not be allowed to observe. I had a deacon who did not understand and the row of kids seated with their teacher all grabbed a piece of bread. I walked down and with my hand out took all the bread back. I later explained to just those kids why they could not have "this snack." I do wish now that I had let them taste the bread after the service but oh well. Btw, I am quite sure that this offended a few of the unbelieving parents who never attend but heard about the issue—it won’t be the last time I offend someone.

When it comes to adults, I have instructed the deacons to serve all who stand. I do not believe that it is our palace to judge their hearts. But here is what it does do for me. I know who in my church believes they are a believer and those have remained seated for whatever reason. Those who have remained seated get a visit from their pastor in some form or another as I seek to make a deeper connection with them.

Anyway, we can talk about restricted this and closed or close this or that but in the end, who really would have the right to refuse the bread and the cup to an adult who desires to observe.

I admit before God and blog that I have served Baptists, Presbyterians, a Catholic man and a Lutheran woman who were visiting during Lord's Supper services. The Catholic man told me afterwards how very much he enjoyed the service and how communing with his Baptist brothers and sisters was a blessing.

My heart smiled all afternoon.

Any thoughts to my ramblings?

Anonymous said...

KMC writes 'A new family attends your church during a Lord's Supper Sunday. They have a 9 year old kid. Do you question them? Or serve the kid by directive of the parents? Maybe the kid was baptized as an infant but has never committed his or her life to the Lord.'

A nine year-old?

'And suffer the children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven.'

Simple enough: let the child 'observe' and forbid him not.

Anonymous said...


CB did right by your child, for sure.

When he can do right by others without the abrasive intent to harm, then I will call him Christian.

It is the hard things that we can overcome when Christ is the Lord of our lives, not the easier things to do.

CB is not integral in his behavior towards others. He is able to bless the one and curse the other on the same page. Sometimes he blesses and curses the same person.
Integrity is not there. He has worked at his act and it has been his decision to treat others as he has: he believes he has the right to trash others 'because they deserve it'. Very Sick.

Only By His Grace said...


Thank you for the astute comment. I appreciate your honesty which seems to disarm us when we think about using some things to hurl at one another. I figure I have served the Lord's Supper some two hundred and fifty to five hundred times.

I find myself in much the same place as you do in the times you have served the Supper.

I think we get too uptight over a sacrament or ordinance. I know Baptist hate the word sacrament; however, it means the same thing as ordinance which is the reason I prefer observance.

What Paul was upset about with the Corinthian church was their abuse of the Lord's Supper making it a feast almost on the level of some Dionysian or Bacchantic orgy for rich folks while the poor watched and starved.

For me the Lord's Supper has no relation to Passover and is a sermon using symbols with the table being symbol of all believers gathering to celebrate that our real wine and real bread is our Lord Jesus Christ. I am astounded at how many professions of faith among adults I have seen in the forty some years of observing the Lord's Supper.

I simply tell the morning congregation to not take it frivolously or desecrate the Supper with humor. I tell the morning worshippers that if they do not believe that Jesus Christ did not die on the cross for them and rose again and if they have not called on Him to be their Lord to please allow the elements to pass them by without taking them.

I am not so much concerned about the Baptist Faith and Message as I am concerned that our church be Biblical. God did not call me to preach the Baptist Faith and Message; He called me to preach His Word. The last time I looked the local Baptist churches tell all entities within the SBC from associations through the General Convention what to do.

I think we tend to try the Roman Catholic method of using the Lord's Supper as a tool for discipline getting ourselves in trouble by forgetting the local church in business session is God's final arbiter of what the Bible teaches for all faith and practice and is our method of discipline.

Phil in Norman.

Wayne Smith said...

Alan Cross,

Again I say Amen Amen Amen to your Comments Above.

I have shared many tines about the Heart of some Blogger s. No one has a Bigger Heart for the Lord than our Brother CB Scott.
Brother Wade I Pray this meets with Your Approval.

Wayne Smith

Bob Cleveland said...

Anonymous who commented to Alan:

No wonder you didn't sign your real name. After expressing judgments about a man you don't even know, it only makes sense.

I know CB. Quite well. Everything Alan says is true. Most of what you say isn't.


CB Scott said...

Bob and Wayne,

You guys are real friends to both Wade and me. You don't have to get into this. "These boys 'don't bother me none." (A quote from Louis L'Amour:-) I have been away most of the day. I am just now really geting caught up here. I expected no less when I made the comments earlier in the thread.

(Bob, as a matter of fact I would like for you to call me if you are still up and willing.)

As for Wade, well he will say something and as always I will agree with him and support him. Later he will say something I can't support and I will disagree with him and not support him. That is just the way of it with me and Wade. Has been since we first met. Bob, you and Wayne both know that. You both have been around Blogtown for a while. These other fellows do not know the story behind Ben's and my relationship with Wade.


I won't be around for a while. I have some things to tend to very close at hand. So, I'll see you when I see you. In the meantime, try to shoot straight and keep your powder dry. 'Cause there are lots of bad outlaws out there.":-)

Lastly, I seriously am glad to know Johnny Quarles was a member of your church and you ministered to his family. I really have read some of his work and he was quite good. To hear he was a believer makes me glad and I know he heard the gospel if he was in your church. I just wish you had not made that comment about Louis L"Amour. I wrote him letters before he died. But, I never heard or read of him knowing Christ. Of course, that does not mean he did not and I hope he did. Nonetheless, he was certainly a fine and noble man and writer.

Of course, Johnny Quarles was a fine writer also and even better, he was a Christ-Follower.

I do trust you will leave that slavery post till another day. Of course, that will give your good dog time to eat it:-)


wadeburleson.org said...

I don't have a dog.


Put your reading glasses on.



wadeburleson.org said...


Absolutely it meets my approval!



Steve said...

Wow! C.B. Scott really knows the old western novels genre. Who would have known that? So, college football and now the western novel are two of his expertise areas.

As someone who loves to over-react to C. B. sometimes, I think everybody had an over-reaction party here lately. Must be itchin' for some snow.

Anonymous said...

Alan, Thanks for your last comment about CB. It helps to understand better your original comment admonishing some here but not him. I think many of us would have had the same reaction with that personal experience.


Anonymous said...

As long as CB doesn't refer to anonymous bloggers here as "cowards" simply because they don't sign their names, I'm OK with him. If he does it again, I'm not OK with it--and will let him know it again.

Man in Mirror

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


Thanks for the response. Too bad no one else around here seems to care about the practical side of the ordinances. This seriously has to be the worst thread of comment I have ever seen on Grace and Truth. I ask some most serious questions as to the practical nature of our Traditional Baptist Ecclesiology and the CB fight goes on and on. Though you didn't answer all of my questions Phil you did make one spectacular point. You have witnessed many salvations through a biblical observance met with Holy Spirit given common sense. After my four, I have seen the conviction of the spirit through an observances met with much prayer and study. But there are always instances which no creed nor confession could ever dream up. I refuse to cauterize the mind of a child lost in their sins. Adults can make up their own minds.

But at the end of the day this young pastor was simply asking for opinions. Now I am off to see what on earth the WMU has done.

Anonymous said...

writes: "I think we tend to try the Roman Catholic method of using the Lord's Supper as a tool for discipline getting ourselves in trouble by forgetting the local church in business session is God's final arbiter of what the Bible teaches for all faith and practice and is our method of discipline.

Phil in Norman."

Phil, you are SO right. Unbenownst to the whole world, there exists a secret gospel. In this gospel, Jesus did NOT institute the Last Supper on the night before He died. He called a meeting of Baptist men, gave them the Bible (in English, of course) and told them to run their respective local churches in their business sessions according to this book.

All this hooey over His Words in the Gospels about the Last Supper is of course a substituion made by those who didn't want things done the right way.

Jesus would NEVER have spent His last night before the crucifixion doing anything LESS IMPORTANT than instituting Baptist men's business meetings in local churches!

Amazing how YOU saw through all the hooey. ! You are right to keep the Lord's Supper in it's place: just a man-made distraction from what is REALLY IMPORTANT. The Holy Spirit at work indeed.

Amazed Grace

Anonymous said...

Paul: I agree with your statement that if this is not landmark thinking that it is at least Independent Fundamentalism Baptist thinking and hope that there will be those who read the link you gave.

My other concern is that there are those who need to come to an understanding of baptism and that it is an act of obedience. That isn't always a get saved/get baptized one two three thing, but is at times a process that should not keep anyone from partaking from the Lord's supper who is not yet baptized. This is where discipleship as well as the work of the Holy Spirit to further sanctify comes to play.

Anonymous said...

To follow Revelations, there has only been three denominations form the begining. There has been The Fellowship of the Worldly Church, The Fellowship Faithful Brethren Church, and the Fellowship of the Persecuted church.

Anonymous said...

We need to be awefully careful about asserting too much about denominational markings to where it becomes a form of factional thinking...that is nothing short of the fruit of the flesh. (Galatians 5:20) There are a lot of Bible Churches that are great churches too as well as conservative Methodists and Presbyterians.

Anonymous said...

Bart Barber wrote, "You state: "In neo-Landmark theology, the only people with 'authority' to baptize, serve the Lord's Supper, teach, etc . . . are men who hold an 'office' that bestows authority." Yet I do not affirm that statement, and I ask you to produce any citation or quotation where a proponent of "Neo-Landmark theology" has said so.

Might I suggest that there is a very well known policy developed by the Trustees of the IMB that emphasizes the authority of the baptizer. Seems like that qualifies as neo-landmark. This (along with one other) policy from this group is the reason that we are having this (or any other baptist blogging) conversation now. Otherwise, Wade would probably have not started blogging. Therefore, I have trouble understanding your assertion that neo-landmarkism in the SBC is a straw man. This certainly is not composed of straw from the point of view of otherwise fully qualified missionaries who have been rejected or told not to bother applying. So long as there are real examples of excluding people on the basis of a belief that is at the very least not explicit in scripture, your idea that Wade is improperly focusing on the extremes of each position will not gain much traction IMHO.

Anonymous said...

I am convinced that the Spirit of God may leave all Gentile denominations period, end of story. I never had the worst sickness in years until this Easter season. I could not help to noticed that Ressurection Sunday had no correlation to Passover and repented. I can tell you clear and true that the SBC leadership is squabling for power into order to be the head interceder because. They simply don't understand how to bring Jewish understanding back into the denomination.

Anonymous said...


Are you implying that salvation is maintained or that the church is held together somehow through the observances we keep? Specifically that grace is lost by not observing the OT Passover Festival? Passover pointed to the cross. I am of the opinion that Christ's blood was shed once for all who will believe.

We are all now one in Christ Jesus. Free from the bondage of the law. This my friend is the glorious mystery of the Gospel. There is only one church. There are only man-made denominations.


Anonymous said...

KMC: I found this for you.

"Eating Passover is considered to be not a memorial but a reliving."

The Lord's Supper as partaken by most Protestants is not a reliving, but a memorial. The connection with the past has been severed in these churches so that the strand of meaning in Judaism is not carried forth into Christianity for these Protestants.

Roman Catholics, Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches, and only some Protestant denominations follow the pattern of observing the Lord's Supper as a reliving of the actual event.
In this way, the strand of meaning is continued into Christianity from Judaism, which celebrated Passover as a re-living of the actual event. L's

Anonymous said...

"The Lord's Supper as partaken by most Protestants is not a reliving, but a memorial. The connection with the past has been severed in these churches so that the strand of meaning in Judaism is not carried forth into Christianity for these Protestants."

And to me that is entirely biblical.

You disagree?

btw, any credits for your quote?

Only By His Grace said...


I am sorry I am waiting so late to get back to you. I needed to make hospital calls, drive ten miles to pick up four at four locations, bring them back to church for counseling and then take them home, take two of my van girls to Sams to buy coats for this cold weather, attend a church social, make a last minute hospital call, and call thirty eight youth and children to pick up in the morning starting at 7:30 AM. I will teach a Sunday School class, preach a morning sermon and an evening message with a children's sermon in between the baptisms and the morning message.

You need to read carefully. There is no secret Gospel, and I did not imply there was one; but you are way out thinking that the Lord's Supper or Last Supper or Holy Communion or whatever name you wish to tag on it is the same as the Old Testament Passover.

The Passover was a Feast of the Jews and a "Tom Shov" or High Sabbath in which a family secluded themselves with a Lamb to be eaten or burned entirely (God expressely tells us not to observe Sabbaths as in Colossians 2:16, "Let no man therefore judge you in food, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days."); not even close to being the Lord's Supper. Passover had four cups an egg, bitter herbs, and few other things besides it was only observed once a year on one set day.

The Lord's Supper was the instituting of the New Covenant prophesied in Jeremiah. I do not even use the Lord's Supper for that. For us it is a rememberance and an observance. We remember the bruised body (bread) and the death (fruit of the vine) of our Lord Jesus, we remember to walk in fellowship with Him and each other, we remember to do this unil He comes (Second Advent) and He is indeed coming again. It never was and was never meant to be a table of discipline.

Phil in Norman

Only By His Grace said...


Stick to your guns, but do it humbly with an open mind, an open heart and an open Book.

No matter what anyone tells you just remember the Lord only requires three things from you for fellowship with Him according to Micah 6:8, "He has shown you O man what is good. And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

God will judge your stewarship according to how he leads you through His Word and how you respond in loving obedience.

If you let men interpret the Word for you they will put so many rules and restrictions on you, it would have been better if you had never been born.

Love you much in our Lord Jesus,

Only By His Grace said...


Sometimes we think we have problems. I am baptizing a third grader, Stephanie, in the morning who was saved this pass summer, but not ready to be baptized until now. She has walked the aisle four times.

When Stephanie was two, she was being held in her father's arms in their front yard with Elaine who is two years older standing near them. A neighbor walked out of his house, walked up to them and shot her Daddy's brains out while he was still holding Stephanie. Stephanie does not remember it; however, Elaine remembers it all.


Anonymous said...

The church is to reflect Jewish fulfillment. Easter is a pagan name and has nothing to do with Resurrection Sunday. The early church always held their celebration within a week of Passover. The debate concerning Colossians 2:6 more has to do with ordinances and ritualistic codes and how things were to be done on days. It meant nothing about the abolition of the feast or else Paul would have never participated in them. Often Paul's grace was in respect to many who could not participate on various days and therefore the Sabbath was not mandatory either, but note he stated in Acts 15 that the exercise of reading of the Torah was not neglected in the synagogues on the Sabbath. Think about it this way and you will understand, there are churches making their Sunday a manditory day of worship without consideration of a feeble Christian Jew that wants to worship in a Saturday service. Shall we tell him to go a Messianic service? We are one but we all not the same...

Anonymous said...

If you thought this mentioned issue is about salvation, it is not. Rather it is about stumbling blocks.

Anonymous said...

Dear Phil in Norman,
The Passover is a shadow of Christ, right. The Passover was unveiled before the apostles in terms of its shadow (what it meant). The neglect of the proper aspect of the Lord Supper does result in discipline because it is a love and fellowship feast. Think about it this way, we lift up Dec. 25 as a high day over others and yet it follows absoultely no Jewish connection. Sometimes we quote Colossians to ensure no Judaizer intrusion on our freedoms, but sometimes we do the same thing. It is merely a matter of stumbling blocks and only that.
From a non-Jew

ezekiel said...

"You need to read carefully. There is no secret Gospel, and I did not imply there was one; but you are way out thinking that the Lord's Supper or Last Supper or Holy Communion or whatever name you wish to tag on it is the same as the Old Testament Passover."

"Same" may be the wrong word to use. Would you prefer "similar"?

Just as we say "shadow of things to come", now we have the real thing. The real sacrifice. The real Lamb. That sacrifice, The Sacrifice does for the church, exactly the same thing that the passover sacrifice did for Israel. Ex 12.

Exo 12:13 The blood shall be for a token or sign to you upon [the doorposts of] the houses where you are, [that] when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt. [I Cor. 5:7; Heb. 11:28.]

See also:
Exo 12:13
the blood: Exo_12:23; Gen_17:11; Jos_2:12; Heb_11:28
and when: 1Th_1:10; 1Jo_1:7
to destroy you: Heb. for a destruction

The reason we do it, observe the Lord's supper, is for the same reason Israel observes passover. So we don't ever forget.

Exo 12:14 And this day shall be to you for a memorial. You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations, keep it as an ordinance forever.

Exo 12:14
memorial: Exo_13:9; Num_16:40; Jos_4:7; Psa_111:4, Psa_135:13; Zec_6:14; Mat_26:13; Luk_22:19; 1Co_11:23-26
a feast: Exo_5:1; Deu_16:11; Neh_8:9-12
by an ordinance: Exo_12:17, Exo_12:24, Exo_12:43, Exo_13:10; Lev_23:4-5; Num_10:8, Num_18:8; Deu_16:1; 1Sa_30:25; 2Ki_23:21; Eze_46:14; 1Co_5:7-8

1Co 5:7 Purge (clean out) the old leaven that you may be fresh (new) dough, still uncontaminated [as you are], for Christ, our Passover [Lamb], has been sacrificed.
1Co 5:8 Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of vice and malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened [bread] of purity (nobility, honor) and sincerity and [unadulterated] truth. [Exod. 12:19; 13:7; Deut. 16:3.

Heb 9:20 Saying these words: This is the blood that seals and ratifies the agreement (the testament, the covenant) which God commanded [me to deliver to] you. [Exod. 24:6-8.]
Heb 9:21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and all the [sacred] vessels and appliances used in [divine] worship.
Heb 9:22 [In fact] under the Law almost everything is purified by means of blood, and without the shedding of blood there is neither release from sin and its guilt nor the remission of the due and merited punishment for sins.
Heb 9:23 By such means, therefore, it was necessary for the [earthly] copies of the heavenly things to be purified, but the actual heavenly things themselves [required far] better and nobler sacrifices than these.
Heb 9:24 For Christ (the Messiah) has not entered into a sanctuary made with [human] hands, only a copy and pattern and type of the true one, but [He has entered] into heaven itself, now to appear in the [very] presence of God on our behalf.
Heb 9:25 Nor did He [enter into the heavenly sanctuary to] offer Himself regularly again and again, as the high priest enters the [Holy of] Holies every year with blood not his own.
Heb 9:26 For then would He often have had to suffer [over and over again] since the foundation of the world. But as it now is, He has once for all at the consummation and close of the ages appeared to put away and abolish sin by His sacrifice [of Himself].

The New Covenant is founded on better promises and a better sacrifice. Other than that, the differences between the old and the new (not to minimize the Ultimate Sacrifice) is where the commandments and statutes were written. Theirs (Israel's) were written on a stone tablet, ours is written on our hearts.

Anonymous said...

There was a sacrificial LAMB present at the Last Supper.

Anonymous said...

A sacrifice is a very bloody situation. The men had blood on their hands and all over their clothes. To the Samaritan or the ancient Israelite, the Mosaic statement, "the life is in the blood," must have left a profound impression of the cost of the sin that required such a sacrifice. Christians today in the sterile environment of the sanctuary may miss the benefit of understanding the gravity of sin that was an integral part of the life of the Israelites. The judgment for sin is death, and God allowed the substitution of animal death until he provided the substitute of his Son’s death.

*The Passover sacrifice is a family affair. The children were at the ceremony, playing with the sheep beforehand. In the Old Testament the Lord commanded the Israelites to bring the lamb into the household on the tenth day of the month, four days before the sacrifice. The family would get "acquainted" with the lamb in the course of those days and the children would be especially impacted when the father put the knife to the lamb’s throat. You can imagine the cries of the children as their new pet was killed, "Why, daddy, why?" and the teaching moment that would have been gained.

The lamb was skewered in the shape of a cross: another fore-casting of the Sacrifice of Christ.

Unknown said...

there is always the issue of unity versus uniformity in terms of doctrines and deeds, principles and practices, beliefs and behaviors, exclusivism vs. inclusivism, extremism vs. moderationism, etc. etc.... ad nauseam ..... in the church history, be they evangelical or not, be they Baptist or not, be they Landmarkist (full, neo, or whatever cadaver) or not!!!!

Just who is really right in their position(s)? By what and whose standard(s) can we judge? Can Christians be more clearer and consistent in answering the hope and faith they profess???