Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Big Picture: Resisting Separatist Ideology

This past week in the blog world has not been a particularly pleasant one. Sometimes it helps to back up and try to show the big picture. I remind Southern Baptists that it is possible to disagree with an ideology or a particular point of theology and not attack the character of the person with whom you disagree. To fundamentally disagree with the separatism of a person who adheres to Landmark ecclesiology and tries to creedally enforce every Southern Baptist Church to practice closed communion is not the same thing as disliking the Landmarker. To publicly express disagreement with the ideology of Fundamentalism that urges separation from other evangelicals is not the same thing as attacking the character of the Fundamentalist. To make it known that you abhor any ideology that would compel the termination of a Southern Baptist who disagrees over the extent of the atonement is not the same thing as abhorring the person who is seeking the terminations.

To publicly reveal that Paige Patterson is voicing his desire not to have faculty members at SWBTS who hold to classical Calvinism is not to attack Dr. Patterson's character. As I have said on numerous occasions before, I believe Dr. Patterson is a brother in Christ and is due all the love and respect every follower of Jesus should be given. In addition, to call the ideology of Paige Patterson a narrow, Fundamentalist, Landmark and separatist ideology is not to attack the Christian character of Paige Patterson. Thousands of people can individually attest to Dr. and Mrs Paige Patterson's personal civility and kindness. It is not Christian character that is being exposed and questioned, but rather it is the separatist ideology of some in the Southern Baptist Convention that is being identified and resisted. It is their ideology that compels them to separate from other Southern Baptist Christians who disagree.

The Ideology of Separatism

After a ten year absence from personal participation in Southern Baptist Convention ministry at a national level, I began serving as a trustee for the International Mission Board in 2005. In the almost four years since that time my eyes have been opened to the effects of the separatist ideology held by many in strategic positions of power in the SBC. I have stated before that I believe with all my heart that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God. I have no problem confessing my belief in the veracity of the Bible.

But separatist ideology goes way beyond a commitment to the veracity of Scripture itself. Separatists have a hard time comprehending that interpreting the Word of God and teaching people what the Bible says is not the same thing as affirming the Word of God and telling people what the Bible is. It is because there are differences of interpretation among Southern Baptists regarding what the sacred text says that all of us who are Christ-loving, Bible-believing Southern Baptists must learn to cooperate with each other rather than separate from one another.

For lack of a better nomenclature, those Southern Baptists who adhere to "separatist" ideology are sometimes called Baptist Identity people. These separatists have trouble believing that Christ-loving, Bible-believing, Southern Baptists can actually disagree over what the Bible is saying and still cooperate in missions and ministry in the SBC. In fact, when they come across a Christ-loving, Bible-believing Southern Baptist who disagrees with them, they implement plans to attempt to forcibly remove them from ministry or service (i.e. "separate").

Examples of Separation

(1). This is precisely what happened to missionaries who believed, contrary to the beliefs of Baptist Identity people, that spiritual gifts (i.e. a private prayer language) still exists. Baptist Identity people, compelled by their ideology of separatism, successfully implemented policies to remove these missionaries from future service in the SBC.

(2). This is precisely what happened to missionaries who were not baptized "in a church that holds to eternal security," which Baptist Identity people believe is the only proper description of biblical baptism. Baptist Identity people successfully implemented policies to remove these missionaries from future service in the SBC.

(3). This is precisely what happened to female professors who taught Hebrew and history at Southwestern Theological Seminary, contrary to a specific interpretation of the Bible by Baptist Idenity people that "a woman shall not teach a man," at any time, in any spiritual manner. Baptist Identity people successfully removed these women from their ministries.

(4). This is precisely what is happening to autonomous Southern Baptist churches that make decisions that are contrary to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and Baptist Identity leaders - Baptist Identity people are seeking to disfellowship that church.

A few years ago I defended First Baptist Church, Holdenville, Oklahoma from excommunication from the South Canadian Association because the church practiced open communion and receiving into membership people who had not been baptized in a Baptist church. The Baptist Identity leaders who brought the recommendation for disfellowship were all Landmark, Fundamentalist, separatists, including the Director of Missions. I successfully defended the church and the motion to disfellowship from FBC Holdenville failed at the annual meeting.

(5). This is precisely what is happening at Southwestern Theological Seminary in relation to classical Calvinists on faculty, both now and in the future.

We Must Resist Ideological Separation

Some are very angry with my two posts last week that called out the ideology of SWBTS administrators that compels them to separate from classical Calvinists at SWBTS. I would suggest that we should not be surprised with any attempts to separate from classical Calvinists at SWBTS. It is consistent with the separatist ideology held by the President and administration. Let the words of Dr Paige Patterson and Dr. David Allen, Dean of the School of Theology, speak for themselves:

"Southwestern will not build a school in the future around anybody who could not look anybody in the world in the eyes and say, "Christ died for your sins." Paige Patterson, President of SWBTS, February 5, 2009

“A consistent five-point Calvinist cannot look a congregation in the eyes or even a single sinner in the eye and say: “Christ died for you.” What they have to say to be consistent with their own theology is “Christ died for sinners.” Since Christ did not die for the non-elect, and since the five-point Calvinist does not know who the elect are, it is simply not possible in a preaching or witnessing situation to say to them directly “Christ died for you.” Dr. David Allen, Dean of SWBTS School of Theology, SWBTS Center for Theological Research, November 2008

The above, my friends, is the latest example of the reason why separatist ideology, the core feature of the so called Baptist Identity movement, must be resisted with all hands on deck. Southern Baptists have historically disagreed over the extent of the atonement. Some Southern Baptists have believed that Christ died as the Substition for every sinner, even those who will ultimately be punished in hell for their sins. Other Southern Baptists have believed, namely the Calvinists among us, that Christ died as a Substition for only those sinners God chose to deliver from their sins, sinners the Bible calls "the elect," "His people," "the Bride of Christ," etc . . .

This issue has never been one over which Southern Baptists have divided, nor should it be. I am not resisting Paige Patterson the man. I am resisting the ideology that compels Paige Patterson to separate from Southern Baptists who disagree with him. I would say the same thing to any Calvinist who had a similar separatist theology.

That, in my opinion, is the big picture.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


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Byroniac said...

Jeff, I am not interested in communicating with you privately. We can talk here, in public. It's fine for you disavow knowledge, but an explanation of how two independent blogger IDs can carry on the same conversation without the honest one saying, "HEY!!!" should be forthcoming.

I don't buy it. If you're innocent, prove it (and apologies). If not, please go find something better to do.

Jeff said...

Bryon if you can find any others please post them. I'll take credit or blame for my words.

Jeff said...

I really not sure how that happen. I don't have two id's.

Last I check you ain't the boss of this blog. You are the one who is making something out of nothing.

I have own up to every word I have written. You pointed out one and I said that was mine.

Byroniac said...

If that's your attitude, fine. I simply pointed out something which you find yourself unable or unwilling to explain. Buenos Noches.

Jeff said...

I went to that comment again, and I notice I can't even delete it. I am not sure what happen.

I'll make it right if someone will tell me how to.

All my other comments are with a picture that one is not. I am not sure why.

gmommy said...

I guess if CP can have a blog ...Jeff can too.

oc said...

Jeff said:
"oc, Why? I have revealed more than most on this list. Noting is restricted, click on my picture. You can go to my blogs.

Wed Feb 11, 12:16:00 AM 2009"

No, I meant the part of the Miranda rights where you have the right to remain silent. You might have been wise to take advantage of it comments ago.

Jeff said...

gmommy, I wouldn't say my is much of a blog. I need to get some sources like Wade, then it would be a lot better.

Byroniac said...

Jeff, I am not trying to be harsh. But you will have to explain this better (at least for me to be satisfied). And you are right, I am not the "boss" of this blog. After what just happened recently, I would not wish that headache on myself and I would not have the grace to deal with the aftermath. And BTW, you do not just accidentally post a comment with a different unique blogger ID.

Bill Brown said...


On the contrary, you are not getting on my nerves. I'm about to get on yours. With no irascible adjectives, I simply say I can't stand pastors, like Wes Kidney and you, who lie through your teeth and then try to cover it up. Unfortunately, rather than Pastor Burleson allowing your sin to cause you shame, as he did with Pastor Kidney, he's covered for you. I shan't.

Dr. Phil.

Jeff said...

Bryon, I didn't post a comment other a new id. But I am thru explaining that to you. You ought to know that computers do strange things. If you really do know computers.

Jeff said...

Go for Dr. Pill

Ramesh said...

For Blogger Profiles: The Display Name is not unique. Only the Blogger ID is unique. The Display Name can be any thing and there are no checks for it to be unique.

So one can not just go by Name alone. You have to look at the numerical number of your blogger id. said...


I am not covering up.

I am simply trying to treat people in a better manner than they treat me.


Byroniac said...

My Spanish was wrong. I should have said, "Buenas Noches."

Now, Jeff, I do not know blogger well enough to know if posting with a different ID is possible. I do know for a fact, that it would take considerable talent (probably of the unethical kind) barring a system malfunction. If you are really innocent, apologies in advance, and if you are really a pastor, start acting like one.

Thy Peace said...

I am posting this using a different blogger id, but using the same display name!

Jeff said...

Wade, By not telling them you record them. How is that treating them better? Anyway Brother, I forgive you for not telling me.

I do want to say that I am sorry if I have misrepresented you in any way.

I cannot change my convictions that the meeting and plan to fire profs who hold to the doctrines of grace. By that I am not calling you a liar. said...


Just a word about Byroniac.

I have found him to be one of the kinder bloggers.

BUT, when he finds someone trying to pull a fast one, he does a pretty good job of exposing it.


Byroniac said...

I should have added that it is of course easily possible to post under a different ID when you possess the login for that account.

Next time, Jeff, try to pick two accounts that either both have profile pictures or both don't. That would probably have kept us going for awhile. And, anytime you want to, you can explain the incongruity of two IDs carrying on the same conversation. Just please try to make it believable.

Jeff said...

All I can say about is that I have not signed out. I did write some posts from the family computer and not my laptop. I also wrote some at my church office and some at my home office.

Would that matter?

Ramesh said...

Jeff: Please read my two above comments. That will explain it.

Jeff said...

Bryon, I have not lied. I am sorry if you don't believe me. I have offered my explanation. I have own up to every comment written by me. Believe what you want. I shall not waste my breath on this with you again. AND I will still post here. said...


I believe your comments at Dr. Bart Barber's blog have misrepresented me.

That is the reason I called you today. I do appreciate your apology, and I would find it very sincere were you to delete the comments that attack my character on Bart's blog.

It's your choice. Regardless, I will not attack your character or motives here.

In His Grace,


Byroniac said...


"I am not sure what happen"


"All I can say about is that I have not signed out."

Probably a true statement. It's easy to log into two different blogger accounts (which would each have unique IDs) using two different computers (or two different internet browsers I imagine).

"I did write some posts from the family computer and not my laptop. I also wrote some at my church office and some at my home office.

Would that matter?"


Third time the charm?

Jeff said...

Wade, Just his blog. I deleted the ones I think you found offensive.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Jeff with the visible profile ending in 4463 posted at these times today:

12:31 p.m.
12:48 p.m.
1:01 p.m.
1:10 p.m.
1:25 p.m.
1:26 p.m.
3:12 p.m.
3:14 p.m.
9:32 p.m.
9:48 p.m.
9:49 p.m.
9:50 p.m.
9:54 p.m.
10:02 p.m.
10:10 p.m.
11:50 p.m.
11:55 p.m.
12:08 a.m.
12:12 a.m.
12:15 a.m.
12:16 a.m.
12:18 a.m.
12:20 a.m.
12:22 a.m.
12:26 a.m.
12:31 a.m.
12:32 a.m.

Jeff with the non-visible profile ending in 5318 posted at these times today:

1:55 p.m.
2:33 p.m.
6:35 p.m.
6:56 p.m.
7:22 p.m.
10:28 p.m.
10:55 p.m.

I noticed the difference early this afternoon when I briefly checked in. I didn't think it was two people, but this is why I require people to post on the NBBCOF with their profiles visible. We went through this with imposters before. Not suggesting one of the Jeffs today was an imposter, just that there has to be a logical explanation. One would have to log out and log back in using a different profile to be able to post this way. It doesn't happen by accident. Some people have more than one profile for perfectly innocent reasons. Sometimes they forget their login information and have to reregister. Occasionally a profile simply fails, and you can't log in again, I suppose due to some conflict with your ISP or system. But the fact remains, you have to log back in to comment using a different profile.

Jeff said...

Open, Thanks for pointing that out. I have no ideal what happen. I can only tell you that I haven't done anything to do deceive. There would be no purpose for me to do that. I found only two posts without pictures.

Unless someone is doing it for me. I don't have a clue.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Jeff with the visible profile said...

"All I can say about is that I have not signed out. I did write some posts from the family computer and not my laptop. I also wrote some at my church office and some at my home office.

"Would that matter?"

That's a logical explanation if you have two profiles, yes. I believe you.

Jeff said...

Open, The only change I have noticed is that I logged out of one gmail account into another.

Byroniac said...

Jeff, two different gmail accounts would constitute two different blogger accounts to the best of my knowledge. And now you have explained it to my satisfaction. Thanks.

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Ok, Bryon and Open I just figured it out. You can see the test post I did. This is under a different account.

Jeff said...

This is my main account with the picture.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"Thanks for pointing that out."

There were actually seven comments without a picture. See my 12:48 a.m. comment for details. Your explanation is satisfactory. That's what I figured had happened.

Now, I have to say if I'd had a private conversation with Wade and he'd recorded it without my knowledge and then chosen to blog about it without my permission, I might have been a bit miffed, too. However, what I would NOT have done is gone on Wade's blog (and heaven knows where else in the blogosphere) and whined like a pouty 4-year-old the rest of the day about being "violated" and "suffering emotional damage." I admit reading through your comments I thought of exactly what the Arkie did! I could just hear Chris Rock's voice as the guinea pig screaming, "I have been violated!"

Jeff, if you want to read about real "violations" spend some time here and here. Do you think you could help influence some of your SBC buddies to push for a convention-wide database of credibly accused and convicted sexual predators in the SBC?

Byroniac said...

Jeff, I apologize to you for not believing you.

Jon L. Estes said...


I am sorry many are piling on you for using two different blogger accounts or profiles. Anyone should be able to see (read), whether with or without the picture, it is you.

Those who called you a liar ( a word to quickly thrown out in Christian blog land) need not only apologize but back off the witch hunts for anyone who might make a mistake or be doing something honest (as you were) and the ignorance they have towards the technology being used.

There are greater mountains to climb than the one many have chosen in attacking you over the past while.

Who knows, maybe the ant hill they were climbing to prove you wrong (rolling eyes), is the biggest thing they can tackle.

I have disagreed with your approach but the way you have been treated is not right... even if you had been wrong. said...

New BBC,

I did not blog about our phone conversation except to say I enjoyed visiting with Jeff - until Jeff made a comment that contradicted what he told me on the phone and I corrected him. It was after he said he now understood how I "twisted" events for my own agenda, I simply posted his exact words which caused him some embarrassment.

When my integrity is questioned, like it has been by Jeff, I will give the evidence that what I am saying is true - except when somebody's job is in jeopardy. If the latter is the case, I'll simply take it on the chin.

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon L. Estes said...

For those who chose to call Jeff a liar and then discovered he did not lie...

This makes your accusations, words, beliefs, a lie. Or could we say, you lied about Jeff being a liar?

What then does this make those who chose to call names instead of speak to the content of the subject at hand? I know a four letter word that could easily fit.

Jeff said...

Wade, I was not embarrassed. You assumed I would be, but I am not because I know in my heart what I said and what I meant.

I have apologized to you for those comments you found offensive.

Bob Cleveland said...

I think we may be closing in on the secret of how to agree disagreeably.

I don't know WHERE we'll go from there....

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

I am not going to post anymore on this particular post. It needs to die, and I refuse to feed it anymore. I will not answer another charge about me. I will not shrink back from posting on other topics. I will not be bully by name calling. I am who I am and by God's grace He will not let me stay that way.

I will try and not attack Wade as a person, and if I do and it is pointed out I will do as I did on this topic. I will apologize.

May God Bless You All

Byroniac said...

Jon L. Estes:

I do not know if you are referring to me as well by your words or not.

I apologized publicly to Jeff on "Wed Feb 11, 01:16:00 AM 2009" for not believing him.

I thought he was trying to play a game with us, which I did not appreciate. As it turns out, I was completely wrong. I cannot take back my words, or undo the past situation, and had Jeff not been honest and had he actually been playing a game, I would not have apologized at all, and I would have slept soundly last night. So, I have apologized for being in the wrong, and my conscience is clear.

Byroniac said...

Jon L. Estes,

You said, "For those who chose to call Jeff a liar and then discovered he did not lie... This makes your accusations, words, beliefs, a lie. Or could we say, you lied about Jeff being a liar?"

Your logic does not follow. Merriam-Webster online defines "lie" as you are referring to it as, "to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive." One cannot make an untrue statement with intent to deceive before one discovers the untruth about that statement. The statement is still wrong, but the person is not lying. That destroys the whole force of your assertion because your logic is faulty.

Jon L. Estes said...


Good for you but the sour side of the subject was the personal attacks on Jeff, especially his being called a liar, when he wasn't lying.

I think there is a better approach to find truth than to call someone a liar and end up, when wrong, being a liar ourselves.

I believe your apology but I think, as believers, we can approach circumstances and discussions in a manner which would not lead us to have to apologize. Especially in this case where Jeff stood by every word he said, whether it was with comments where his picture showed or not.

What does the kingdom gain when we call fellow saints,liars? Who wins? Not Jesus.

I say this from someone who has been called a liar on this blog (not this specific post)from someone who is ignorant of the facts of events in my life. It hurts personally, is very painful emotionally. It is unneeded.

I do thank the Lord for your apology to Jeff but I wonder if that is enough to erase the spear wounds inflicted by the prior comments.

As a pastor, I have been called a liar, when I have not been. I have been accused falsely of many things and been asked to resign immediately by people not willing to calmly and in a Christ like manner discuss the issues.

I think you are capable of this and would encourage you to at least give thought to these words I have shared.

Jon L. Estes said...


Most people do not carry around a dictionary to find out what you are trying to say. A lie --- an untruth, intentional or not. A lie --- the kingdom philosophy of Satan.

Please be careful of your words, is that asking too much.

Jon L. Estes said...

One more thing Byron...

Since you use the dictionary, let me also bring it into the discussion..

noun, verb, lied, ly⋅ing.
1. a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
2. something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture: His flashy car was a lie that deceived no one.
3. an inaccurate or false statement.

Your reference to the number one idea is true but there are more defining lines to help us understand lie. Check out # 3. I put it in bold for reference.


3. an inaccurate or false statement.

Does your name calling fit # 3 .

Byroniac said...

Jon L. Estes:

By your definition, yes, my name calling fits your definition #3. I was not aware of that. And that definition may be technically correct.

Are you using by any chance? Because I have looked in two different dictionaries online, and they do not define it that way. And even yours does not make it the main definition. I have always thought (and been taught) that a lie is intentional falsehood; it is not simply passive.

Be that as it may, I understand your warning to be careful of words that wound. However, being skeptical and checking someone's words out thoroughly is sometimes called for. I admit I was not being gracious at all, when I was trying to figure out whether Jeff was real or not, as I was more interested in truth at that point. I think this falls into an "honest misunderstanding" category.

I am sorry you have been falsely accused.

You also said, "I do thank the Lord for your apology to Jeff but I wonder if that is enough to erase the spear wounds inflicted by the prior comments."

No, it is not enough. However, it is all I can do. Christ can do the rest, and my conscience is clear.

New BBC Open Forum said...


My take on it was Jeff was more upset that you'd recorded your phone conversation without his knowledge... and of course that he was later quoted word for word didn't help {blushes}. I can understand your reasons for such a practice. (In fact, I was rather impressed!)

I guess I'd have to say while it's probably legal in most cases, I'd have to ask if it's always ethical. For a Christian that seems to be a bit of a gray area to me to just automatically record every phone conversation you have without revealing this to the other party. (And I don't have a lot of gray areas, so if I question it I'm sure others might, too.) We learned some very interesting things about the leadership of Bellevue through recordings in which only one party was aware the conversation was being recorded... for example, the associate pastor telling a member that if another church requests a copy of the church bylaws, they just tell them "we don't have any bylaws." It nearly took an act of congress for a member to get a copy of the bylaws (which were written in 1929, comprise exactly half a page of paper, haven't been changed since, and are not followed anyway). I doubt he would have admitted this if he'd known he was being recorded though.

When you call any business where the call may be recorded, you're always apprised of such ahead of time, probably because different states have different laws concerning this, and the interstate rules kick in, so it's a matter of legality. Those same laws must surely apply to an individual, too, and I'm sure you want to abide by the law -- whatever the law is in this case. I'm just saying perhaps in the future you might want to consider a warning to people. "Hi, Jeff. Wade Burleson here. Before you say anything I just want to let you know I record all my phone conversations. Now, how're you doing?" I'm sure that would be a nice ice-breaker. That's all I was saying.

Of course I'm sure the word of your practice has gotten around by now. You know... telephone, telegraph, tell a Baptist. (Note to self: If the Caller ID says "Enid, Oklahoma," don't answer!)

Do you block your number whenever you can, too? That could come in handy if you should ever desire to call one of those people who've "warned you twice" and now consider you to be perverted, heretical, and/or warped (depending upon the translation of Titus 3:10-11 you choose) and say they're never going to speak of you (or to you) again (while they continue to talk of little else).

Whatever, I was still pretty impressed. :-)

New BBC Open Forum said...


One drama queen a week is sufficient, thank you.

Jon L. Estes said...


I never thought your intent was to hurt Jeff. Yet as one who carries pain in ministry due to being abused by those we shepherd, this issue is very real to me and very close.

Jeff is a pastor, I do not know him personally but I do know his calling and ministry very well. The good, bad and ugly.

If you care to understand me more fully, below is a link to a blog I started which has a purpose of loving and helping hurting ministers.

Just for reference, don't feel you have to check it out.

Byroniac said...

Jon L. Estes:

I was already looking at it before you posted the link. Nice blog. And I am sure it is helping.

I don't want to get off-topic here, though, so I'll end this with that.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Waid, you wrote, "It's difficult for some to understand that I have no desire to defend my credibility."
No problem there. I suppose each one has to choose whether or not they find you (or anyone else) credible.

"You either believe me or you don't."
Of course. But the very fact that you are posting about this implies that you want or expect us to believe you. Otherwise there would be no point of putting it on your blog, would there?

But suppose Greg Welty also says to me, "You either believe me or you don't." Both of you are saying things that, regardless of how sincere you both might be, are opposites and cannot both be correct, as best as I am able to understand the matter.

It doesn't change the truth that there is a movement by some in the SBC and SWBTS to separate from classical Calvinists in terms of cooperative ministry and SBC employment.
The truth is the truth regardless of what anyone believes. If there is such a movement, then it is true. What I am saying is that you and others have given us no basis on which to make a logical and objective of finding of the truth. It all rests on believing you & others on the one hand or those on the other side. (And your initial post was not about a general "movement" but a specific set of events that were about to occur.) said...

New BBC Forum,

I love your humor.


After having a handful of Baptist leaders tell me one thing in private, and then come out and say the bald faced opposite in public, I determined it best to always let people know they will be accountable for their words.

It works out nicely.

Bob Cleveland said...

(I've heard God records all phone conversations.)

New BBC Open Forum said...

"It works out nicely."

I see that.

Jon L. Estes said...

New BBC Open Forum,

Do you have a problem with Christians calling other Christians names? Attacking character instead of subject?

I hope so.

QueenKnitter said...

I was first intrigued by your overview of separatism, Wade, and I wholehearted agree with it. It parallels my observations and critiques.

But as I read further into your post, I am stunned at the parallels. My husband and I, too, were purged from our fundamentalist/Baptist employer for being too Calvinistic in 2007. I write the story here.

I hear similar stories going on all over the country. What is going on? God is up to something! It feels like birth pangs. . . .

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