Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bob Cleveland's Review of Hard Ball Religion

Bob Cleveland, SBC layman extraordinaire, retired businessman, and an active participant in the SBC blog world and Convention affairs, has posted his review of the now released book Hard Ball Religion. Bob was a participant in a few events detailed in the book, as he shares in his review, and his conclusions about what is needed to bring about change in the SBC are spot on. If for no other blessing than to know Southern Baptist laymen like Bob Cleveland are now actively involved in SBC affairs, the last four years have been worth it all to me. Go give Bro. Bob a visit at his blog Eagles' Rest.


Anonymous said...

Shall I comment on your comments on another person's comments on your commentary? :) I wouldn't know what to say...except that I plan to read the book. I know one or two of the players involved personally, though it has been quite some time since we've had any contact.

John Daly said...

It seems some of us did not receive a fancy schmancy PDF version so we'll have to wait for the hard copy :)

Joe Blackmon said...

Should the SBC be concerned with narrowing doctrinal parameters? It depends. I think Calvinists and Arminians should be able to put aside their differences and work together. I personally am convinced that the sign gifts are no longer operable. However, if someone has a "Private Prayer Language" I could work with them as long as they kept it private and I didn't have to know about it. By the way, if it's a private prayer language, how come they make a point of announcing it every chance they get? Of course there are other minor doctrinal differences that we can and should agree to disagree on.

However, that's not good enough for the moderates. To them, if you don't embrace working with women pastors, you're a woman hater in spite of the fact that your stance is based on bible exegesis rather than cultural whims. Some of the more extreme of the moderate set would include tolerance of homosexuality (i.e. those who can't recognize the clear need to disfellowship a church that affirms homosexuality like Broadway Baptist). Because this is the kind of cooperation that moderates want, I believe it is bad for the SBC. The sad part is that it would not surprise me to see the Moderate Resurrgence [(c) Joe Blackmon 2008] be successful.

John Daly said...

Yo Joe,

I hold to the Doctrines of Grace and also hold that the office of pastor/elder/bishop/overseer is reserved for men only.

Now if an Arminian pastor wanted to co-labor with me I could say yes even though I disagree with their interpretation of Scripture?

If a Calvinistic woman pastor wanted to co-labor with me I would say no because I disagree with their interpretation of Scripture?

I think one interpretation is just easier to spot than the other. I'm just trying to think through this, I mean, a male Arminian and a female Calvinist pastor are both wrong (in my book) but who do I push away from the table?

I'm just sayin' :)

Joe Blackmon said...


That's an easy one for me--the female Calvinist pastor. At least the Arminian isn't disqualified from the office per 1 Timothy 2. Of course, this assumes they are qualified per 1 Timothy 3.

"Now you know, and knowing is half the battle."

You know, when they would say that at the end of the G.I. Joe cartoon I always wondered "Ok, so what's the other half?"

Anonymous said...

wow Joe
"I personally am convinced that the sign gifts are no longer operable." So you "personally" get to decide what part of the Bible you believe to be active and relevant. Hmmmm- What about those that dissagree with you and draw their own "personal" conclusions. I think that about sums up your theology well.

Joe Blackmon said...


By "I personally" I mean "This is what I believe not because I was told this but because of the conclusions I've reached based on my study of the Bible".


Have a nice day.

Ramesh said...

Bob's blog: Book Review: HARDBALL RELIGION: Feeling the Fury of Fundamentalism

DO I THINK THE REFORMS HE SEEMS TO SEEK .. THE GOALS HE SEEMS TO PRESS TOWARD .. WILL HAPPEN? No, I don't think so. And for my reasons, consider some of what I see as some of his "money quotes".

Page 19: "Sadly, many times the majority simply doesn't care about the integrity of its leaders".

Page 57: "The Southern Baptist Convention needs and demands transparency, the free flow of information, the ability to dissent, and cooperation in the midst of differences on tertiary issues".

Page 69: "I still cannot understand why the average Southern Baptist, not to mention pastors and leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, are all remaining silent as they watch a small nucleus of Southern Baptists rotate from one trustee board to another -- all placed there by an oligarchy of Southern Baptist leaders led by Paige Patterson."

Page 77: "If we're not careful, we are going to lose a younger generation of pastors that are disillusioned with the SBC because all they see is the continuing narrowing of the parameters of fellowship within our convention".

Taken as a whole, therein lies the tale. The Convention needs openness and transparency, but the pastors in the pulpits, and the people in the pew, don't seem to care. So they deal with their own monsters where they are, and send their money off to Lottie and Annie and the CP, and "leave well enough alone".

The younger generation? I don't think I have the time to count the ones who have checked out.

So who's left to care? Read the book, and get acquainted with a few.

Including a too-lonely pastor from Enid, OK.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:10am....."So you "personally" get to decide what part of the Bible you believe to be active and relevant."......No my friend!!!....All gifts are at "the descretion" of the Holy Spirit and not manufactured on a "whim" by the believer[1Cor]!!!..Paul dealt conclusively with this issue where the sign gifts were being exploited[1Cor.chaps 12,14]...The question is does the Holy Spirit need to use tongues in a Church service or not,and what is the criteria for that use???..When one speaks,is it in an orderly manner with one following the other and another to interpret so that all maybe edified or no one has any idea what the speaker is saying,and with no one being taught???..In private why do I need to speak in tongues as though God can't understand english or whatever language???.Is it a source of pride issue;To show ones spiritual superiority because God has them speaking in an unknown language???...Paul stated that he would rather speak 5 words that are understood for edification of others than 10 thousand words in a tongue[1Cor.14:19]..Brethren,do not be children in understanding,but in understanding be mature!!!..The Holy Spirit can use tongues if He desires;But for what situational purpose would "He" need it???

Anonymous said...

I read Bob's review of the book and complimented him on it.

I agree with Joe on this one.

However, the way I would articulate this entire debate is that ideas and concepts should be discussed one at a time, not under a global or broad banner.

For instance, I have always believed that even though the BFM says nothing about tongues, if the SBC were to address this issue, the BFM would reflect the vast majority position of Baptists on tongues and other charismatic practices. (I do not think the SBC would go that far on PPL).

On the baptism issue, however, I do not believe that if the SBC took that issue up that it would adopt a position requiring people to be baptized in a Baptist church or that the candidate is being baptized into the doctrine of the baptizer etc.

That's my take, for what it's worth.

All organizations are constantly in a state of flux, and the SBC is no different.

We should address issues of concern one at a time, and not get caught up in catch phrases that are less than precise.

I also believe that we should avoid personalizing issues if what we are really concerned about is some needed reform. I am not faulty Wade at this point. His book is about his experience. One would expect it to contain emphasis on personalities.

But for the long haul and reform purposes, it makes no sense to build a movement around opposition to Paige Patterson or any small group of people. Issues should drive any reform for it to survive.

I disagree with Joe as to any belief that the old Moderates are going to lead a movement to take the SBC over.

First, you can't find anyone to admit they were a moderate these days.

Second, many of them are caught up in the CBF. It's hard to ride 2 horses at one time.

Third, many of the old moderates have moved beyond issues that dominated the SBC in the 1960s-1980s to ideas that even people who once called themselves moderates did not embrace. For example, I suspect that Dr. Leonard at Wake Forest was not openly saying the things that he says about homosexuality when he was previously at Southern. My suspicion is that he feels liberated and has moved on. I doubt that he would have any interest in leading a fight back into the SBC to take it over.

Fourth, the people who were moderates because of personal allegiances and style differences (and I believe there are people like this) are often very conservative. They wouldn't have ever been moderates if some of their pastor friends and agency employees had not been influential in their lives which possibly helped color their view of the controversy. They probably do and would fit right in with the SBC. Some of them are more conservative in some ways (alcohol, gambling, lotteries etc.) than younger conservatives.

Fifth, things to go backwards. They move forward. I don't sense any significant interest in the SBC to move toward neo-orthodoxy or liberalism, and too many of our people now know the difference.


Anonymous said...


Things DON'T go backwards.

And correcting my previous comment proves the point.


Nate said...


Your comments made me think about this whole debate. Which I believe is a good thing, because I believe thinking is good :). But the majority of us here would define ourselves as conservatives. While few of us would want to be labeled as a moderate, liberal, or fundamentalist.

It almost seems that often times the fight becomes who will be able to wear the badge of "conservative". There are obviously two different groups all fighting for the same title. One group calls the others fundamentalists while the other group calls the others liberal or moderate.

Obviously there are issues at stake here (the bigger issue than just a title). But I found that interesting. We all want the same title of "conservative".

The lines I'm sure can blur at some times, but what issues define whether you are a conservative, liberal, or fundamentalist?

Obviously Wade is very conservative in his personal beliefs on Scripture, probably politics, etc. But is his desire for a "broader tent" one that moves him into the "liberal" category?

What issues make me a fundamentalist in the other sides eyes?

Obviously I wasn't around during the "resurgence", but from my limited knowledge of it I understood that the "liberals/moderates" didn't want to be classified as anything other than conservative. But the truth was they were far off from the majority of Baptists (hence they lost the battle).

Anonymous said...

I think that Wade has done a fairly reasonable job of promoting the agenda of his tribe ie the moderates


RKSOKC66 said...


I have your book on order. I have been following this blog for about the last three years so I think I have some context that will illuminate my reading of your book.


I agree that it is very unlikely that we are going "back" to re-fight the CR. I know there are places where they have Civil War re-enactments. However, they are not re-fighting the war they are just commemorating the battle.

The CR was fundamentally about the nature of scripture. Of course that argument was "overloaded" with tons of other stuff but that was the base agrument.

Compared with the CR battle, the issues Wade brought up are second order. So the fact that Wade "lost" (at least in the short term) the battle regarding re-Baptism" or "PPL" relative to the IMB is not at the same level as the importance as the battle waged during the CR.

It would be hard for me to make a case that I'm not in-sync with the BI guys idea of a need for "being re-baptized" since I myself have been baptized by immersion as an adult twice: once as a non-Baptist and once as a Baptist.

I really don't think whatever the BI guys are doing is going to have much practical effect for me or anyone else who is the average guy sitting in the pew. Specifically, the call by the BI guys for "more church discipline" or "tighter controls on communion" (regardless of the merits of their argument) is out of sync with the situation in the vast majority of churches. I don't see any ground swell to tighten up on communion and/or church discipline.

I could be wrong, but I think the BI movement, and it's antecedent Landmarkism, is going to top-out before reaching critical mass. If the BI movement fades into the sunset I won't miss it.

I don't think I'll live to see the
Moderate Resurrgence [(c) Joe Blackmon 2008]. Maybe younger guys will see it but I doubt it.

Roger K Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Anonymous said...

I doubt we will ever see the moderate resurgence either because of the large amounts of so called complimentarians in leadership.


Anonymous said...

John Daly said...
Yo Joe,

I hold to the Doctrines of Grace...(in my book)

Hey John, could I get a pdf copy to review? When's it coming out?


Anonymous said...


Great points.

For younger guys like you (and I am not that old), I suggest understanding the labels for historical purposes. It helps you get to where you are going if you know where you have been.

But for dealing with people (unless people want to be known by the label), labels can hinder communication.

For today, when dealing with people, I really try to start with a fresh slate and I try NOT to use historically loaded terms. (Again, I only use those terms when discussing things historically or on this blog, or if someone actually prefers the term).

It usually helps simply to focus on the issue or theology straightforwardly.

So, for example, if we are dicussing the nature of scripture, in a respectable discussion, one may discover that another's view of inspiration is much different. Unless the person liked the term "liberal", I would probably not use it. I would use a term that simply describes his view of scripture. And, I submit that it's not healthy for people with significantly divergent views on the inspiration of scripture to try to run seminaries and such. Eventually you are either going to have a battle or you are going to delude yourself about the nature of your fellowship.

The same would be said of doctrinal differences on the nature of God, Christ, the atonement, salavation etc.

I agree with you. Most of the issues that are being argued over in Baptist life do not touch on Christian essentials. This is not to say they are not significant. And some of them do deal with why we are Baptistic and not Presbyterians or some other group. Those are going to have to be sorted out as we move forward.

I think Joe's concern, and my concern, as well, is that if the discussions are not clear, that it can unwittingly lead to changes and the discussion of issues that are settled in Baptist life.

God bless you in your ministry.


Anonymous said...

Roger said ' If the BI movement fades into the sunset I won't miss it.'

The BI thing may 'fade', but it will always be there haunting the SBC. It appears to contain enough hate and venom to propel it until the end of time. Just look at its victims: the quality of these Christians and how they were made to suffer.

You can always judge a 'movement' by how it victimized people, and by who it victimized.

The 'why' is not important.
There is no 'why' that is acceptable before the Lord.

Anonymous said...


I almost fell out of my chair envisioning a CR Re-inactment along the lines of a Civil War re-inactment.

I wonder how many people would want to participate in a re-inactment of Dallas 1985.


Christiane said...

Sorry, that was me, L's who wrote to Roger at 1:31 P.M.

Anonymous said...

Bob Cleveland, et al,

I have a question regarding the practice of a private prayer language. (or "prayer language" as Bob calls it.) First of all, is this considered a "Spiritual Gift" by those who practice and/or champion it? If so, could you help me understand how this could be possible when prayer in and of itself is NOT a Spiritual gift--in fact, it is my belief that prayer is not even to be used to effect change in God, nor is prayer ever effectual in evoking demands of the Lord. Prayer is an act of worship: a means of communicating with a God who already knows our thoughts and needs and desires. Prayer, no matter what form it takes, does not endow the creator to do things for us, nor heal, nor bless, nor give us stuff. It simply draws us closer to Him.

I believe strongly in the regulative principle of worship. I cannot find a place in Scripture where worshipping in an unknown tongue is permitted. And if you can correct me then could you please tell me why this doctrine is not taught to the masses? Prayer is commanded of all the saints. But as I see it, only a select group have been chosen to worship God in this special way. Is this an accurate description of a PPL?

Now please do not get me wrong. I am not advocating for a ban on such a practice. But in my study, if I cannot support it biblically, and if those who practice it consider it to be either normative worship or a Spiritual Gift, then I must in good conscience consider it nonsensical and render it unnecessary in my own life, and teach it as such to those in my care.

I of course have enlightened before on other issues (the day I accepted Calvin as my Personal Theologian comes to mind) :)
Any insight would be helpful.


Christiane said...

Kevin: listen to Celtic Woman,
Lisa Kelly, SING 'Now We Are Free' on U-tube.

The woman who wrote the lyrics has said that they were a private prayer language.

So the song may be a prayer around the freedom that Christ has brought to us.

You will recognize this song as it
was used in the film 'The Gladiator'. Love, L's

P.S. I do not know about 'prayer languages' but I would never limit the ways God communicates to us or the ways we can communicate with Him.
I have learned this, in humility, from God's teaching to me through my son who cannot speak to me in words. Love, L's

John Daly said...

My Sullivan brother,

I believe you have a copy (probably several) and it you use it faithfully to equip the Saints.

Anonymous said...


Thank you, I am a huge fan of Celtic Women. I even love the "song" you suggested. But it is not a biblical song. It is not a biblical act of worship. God have revealed Himself to us in the pages of Scripture. We dare seek Him from another source.

Btw, I have a decent voice and could likely sing something similar, calling it an angelic language and win the hearts of those hearing. But it would be foolish for it would not be of God.

I take pride in putting God in a box. The box in which he was revealed to me. His Word.

Col. 2

Chris Ryan said...


PRIDE in putting GOD in a BOX!!

I never realized anyone could put God anywhere but that He would go where and whence and how He pleased.

As to God only being revealed by scriptural means: examine the story of the magi.

How did they come to know of Christ? They were watching the stars, trying to interpret their meanings. Now, the Torah condemns astrology. But isn't it fascinating that the ones who come to worship Christ found him in a means God's word forbids. And them the one who came to kill Christ (Herod) found the town to massacre by faithful examination of Scriptures.

It is an interesting paradox, to me at least.

Anonymous said...


I think you are smart enough to know that I was speaking metaphorically. I also think you think you (and L's) are smart enough to know that that of which I am speaking is to say that God does not operate contrary to his revealed character. He can of course operate outside of that revealed character but not to the extent that it makes void that which He has already spoken. This is a foundational truth to biblical Christianity. We however, imo, are not to worship God in any manner pleasing to us, but only in those manners which He has deemed appropriate.

Btw: Herod did not faithfully examine the Scriptures. He read the Scriptures looking for what he wanted and needed to accomplish his will.

Sound familiar?

Christiane said...


Some of the greatest prayers to God are found in the Holy Writings.
There is a mystery about these 'prayers': they were written thousands of years ago, by those inspired of the Holy Spirit, and when WE pray them, WE say these words as though they were our own: out of our own spirits and minds and hearts and souls, afresh and new, as though we were the first to speak them to the Lord. These prayers are the Psalter: the Book of Psalms.

If anyone ever questioned the power of the Holy Spirit to use the sacred Writings to enable us to pray, they need to read the Psalms, not only read them, but to pray them. Magnificent enoounter with the Spirit of the Lord!

As for 'God in a Box', well, I will remember you in that hour of vigil before the dawn of each remaining day of Lent, when I light a candle and pray in silent reflection before the Lord. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Kevin. Love, L's

P.S. God's love is all around you, Kevin.
You know this. I KNOW you know this. Remember the blessing.
Love and prayers, L's

Chris Ryan said...


I'm a true conservative. Only literal readings are permitted, none of this metaphor stuff. You must be a liberal...


And I can agree that God will not contradict what He has revealed. But does a PPL actually contradict what is revealed?

Christiane said...

Dear Kevin,

I wish I could share how the chaplain at Eastern Christian Children's Retreat in Wykoff, NJ, has ministered and blessed the residents there.
The residents are non-verbal and are unable to search the scriptures to find 'ways to pray acceptable to the Lord.'

But they are INCLUDED in worship services and are blessed by the chaplain and by those clergy who come to visit them from ALL faiths.
Yes, the chaplain is a woman. Yes, she is member of the Dutch Reformed Church, and she ministers to me as well as to my son.
My son has received the sacraments of my own faith and she has arranged this for us. And I have asked her to give 'pastoral blessing' to my son, herself, in all ways permitted, as well as allowing my son to be blessed by all clergy who visit of other faiths.

Please know that there are many of God's children who are not as blessed with 'intelligence' as we are; but that does not mean that they are not in communion with God.
And this is not done through any book, but through the Holy Spirit and through the Lord Christ directly.
God uses many ways to reach us.
I know this to be true.
Much Love, L's

RKSOKC66 said...


I'll walk through the lobby of the arena on the way to the sky box with the ham.

Will you stop me and ask me what I'm doing as I ascend?


Lydia said...

I think that Wade has done a fairly reasonable job of promoting the agenda of his tribe ie the moderates


Thu Mar 26, 12:46:00 PM 2009

Well, I see the other Lydia is back. Just so we are clear, I am not a member of any movement, tribe or group. Just a Christian which 'could' mean all tribes and nations. Ha.

Lydia said...

"God have revealed Himself to us in the pages of Scripture. We dare seek Him from another source."

We know of one instance He spoke through a donkey. :o)

Christiane said...


It's me, L's

I'm laughing. Maybe today, another 'donkey/a.k.a. 'ass' has spoken again, and played a trick using your name to harass you.
However, this time, it was not the Lord's doing, as in the case of Balaam's donkey.
Not this time.

Whoever used your name must know that this represents evidence that there are more horses' asses out there than there are horses.

Lydia, we know to look for your name in LARGE LETTERS, so we can discount any attempts to use your name illegally here.
My guess is that the person doing this harassment is mentally or emotionally unstable,
but, who knows, he might just be, maybe, after all, 'an ass'.
I personally think that it is the latter.
Love, L's

Anonymous said...


If remains very difficult to dispute anything you say for even when I see theological differences between us, your sweet spirit will not allow me to say anything which might be construed as negative. Additionally, your love for the Psalms is wonderful and refreshing. Paul loved the Psalms as well I believe. His deep theology is rooted in the same truths contained in the Psalms as well as the wisdom of Proverbs. All that being said, I feel compelled to say that I do not find the act of men praying blessings on other meant be biblical. I am not certain that we can pray grace on others. We can pray for others--thereby coming to God and communing with Him. I believe biblical doctrine must dictate the method and mode of our prayers--not whim or tradition.

Allow me to correct my quote:

"God ha[s] revealed Himself to us in the pages of Scripture. We dare [not] seek Him from another source."

As far as nature is concerned, God is not found in nature. His handiwork is. He is revealed to exist through observing nature, but He is not nature.

and let us pray we never become like Balaam such that God need use a donkey to get our attention.

The Bible reveals God's communicative style for the present age specifically for the purpose of allow us a way to know it is Him and not the powers of darkness. We should be careful to make the distinction.


greg.w.h said...

I'm not here to promote the concept of a private prayer language and, for the sake of discussion, I won't even talk about whether I have one or not.

THE source of discussion of the concept is 1 Corinthians 14. Paul offers guidelines regarding praying in languages. We have to add to the text "other" because we assume he means languages other than ones we use in an everyday fashion. Paul makes a couple of comments about "praying" in another language:

1 Corinthians 14 (HCSB)

13 Therefore the person who speaks in [another] language should pray that he can interpret. 14 For if I pray in [another] language, my spirit (G) prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. (H) 15 What then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with my understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with my understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will the uninformed person [e] say " Amen" (I) at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may very well be giving thanks, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank (J) God that I speak in [other] languages more than all of you; 19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words (K) with my understanding, in order to teach others also, than 10,000 words in [another] language.

Paul argues those who speak in [another] language should pray that HE can interpret. He then talks about the concept him praying in [another] language that his spirit will pray, but his understanding would be unfruitful. From verse 13--the parallel to 14--we're forced by context to surmise that he means praying in [another] language that he does not understand. This suggest to me that he is talking about praying in [another] language ONLY if the pray-er can interpret (if not guide the articulation) what he prays. After all, as Paul notes later, the spirit of the prophet is under the control of the prophet.

Then in verse 28 Paul says (in a comparison of the order in worship of those speaking in tongues compared to the order in worship of those prophesying) "But if there is no interpreter, the person should keep silent in the church and speak to himself and to God..

Then, of course, Paul requires that they "do not forbid speaking in [other] languages" in v. 39 but does require that "everything must be done decently and in order." Necessarily, if speaking in [other] languages is not forbidden by the passage, it is expressly allowed. And if Paul not only provides guidance for praying in an [other] language but also instructs someone who would speak in an [other] language to speak only to himself or to God, then we probably ought to conclude not that private prayer language is something completely different than this but rather is essentially the same and the restrictions on this kind of prayer are--by Paul's on mouth--less restrictive than that on speaking in [other] languages.

We also need to remember that Paul's use of glossa doesn't conveniently come with the [other] in brackets and that Paul uses in the same letter the example of "even if the tongues of men I may be speaking and of angels". Most SBs reject the concept of so-called "spirit languages" and the Holman translation reflects that view in its rendering of "glossa" (literally tongues) as "language". But that is an example of an idiomatic usage that might not entirely be accurately reflected in the more specific "languages".

Not that, Kevin, you listen all that well when people do attempt to answer your questions (despite your comment), but there you go. I would argue no one can construct an airtight case against a "private prayer language" for the simple reason that you have to exclude extra-biblical positions and traditions in order to do that. The Bible itself doesn't support it and the clearest, simplest reading of what Paul wrote actually condones praying in [another] tongue/language as long as the one praying UNDERSTANDS what he/she is praying and doesn't claim it's just his spirit praying without his mind understanding.

Greg Harvey

greg.w.h said...

...the simple reason that you have to exclude extra-biblical positions...

should instead have been written

...have to include extra-biblical positions...

Anonymous said...

And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered;
27 and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:26,27

Anonymous said...

If this verse quoted above by Anon 4:59 is what is used to support PPL then I feel it is on shakey ground. For if this language the Spirt gives us cannot be uttered (which means to express audibly) how can one even know he is praying in it. Is it just in the mind? Is it audible? If so then it is in contradiciton to this verse because the verse says it cannot even be uttered.

Anonymous said...

No where does it say that the 'groanings' involve 'words',
as the 'groanings' cannot be uttered

Anonymous said...

August 26, 1990 Bethlehem Baptist Church
John Piper, Pastor
(Psalm 19:1-6)

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and there is nothing hid from its heat.

* * *
God made the skies
With voices clear,
And gave you eyes
So you can hear.

Anonymous said...


Is that you?

You sure are talking ugly for a good catholic girl like yourself.

I would wash my kids mouth out with soap if they used the word "ass" 4 times in only a couple of sentences and directed it towards other people, no less.

On PPL, I'm kind of on Kevin's side of the road here (if I'm making assumptions correctly).

Assuming we all agree that praying is more about us and changing our hearts then it is about God and changing Him, what would be the purpose in God allowing us to speak in a tongue that neither the prayer nor anyone in his presence can understand?

Sounds like a God of confusion to me.

If it's in private and there are no other "listeners", then the question still remains. Another language that the one who needs the attention can't even understand? For what purpose?

God doesn't speak english. He listens to our heart. That's why no one will go to hell if they were "trying to get saved" but fouled up that lousy sinners prayer.

Horrible theology in that paragraph above, but I hope you get my point.

As Christians, we put way too much stock in the words that flow out of our mouths.

My 2 cents. And just barely at that.

Anonymous said...

Greg and Anon:

I am not going to get into a full discourse on PPL, though I think that you both have identified the salient texts and made the points made on either side.

My own conclusions about this issue are as follows:

1. I believe that most of the passages in the NT are talking about the ability to speak other languages. So, if someone has that ability supernaturally, those languages should be interpreted. I think that it is possible for the Lord to do this today. I have never seen it done, but God can certainly do that. It seems that the references in the NT indicate it may have been a more prevalent phenomenon in those days. I don't know why that it is, but that's the way it appears. I am open to having such a gift, but until God bestows that on me, I suspect langugage school will be the path that I follow, as do the missionaries commissioned by the IMB.

2. I believe that the "groanings" passage does say that they can't be uttered. The spirit is praying, but we are not. At least that's the way I look at it.

3. I am sure that I am not the first one to say this, but it seems to me that people from all sorts of religious practices engage in chanting, groaning that is audible, that doesn't constitute a "language", but mere sounds.

That would seem to indicate that the natural human reaction in some people to deep religious feelings during prayer, meditation or other practices is to make sounds that are not spoken languages.

I wonder if instead of trying to say these sounds must be some language that we are really creating an unnecessary point of division.

What if we just said that when some people are deep in prayer, they make sounds and noises that are human speaking, but are just their mind's and body's way of reacting.

Could it be that simple?

4. Before I were to claim that the sounds I was making were a language, I would feel a need to be able to say why I know it is a language.

If I began making sounds when deep in prayer, I believe I would just say that I make those sounds. I do not know why, but that I do.

If I want to go further and claim it is a language that I am speaking, it seems to me that I would need to show why I know it is a language.

Does it have a grammar, a syntax, is it repetitive, etc.?

If I could not really know it was a language, I would personally feel very uncomfortable say that I had some private language that was given to me by God.

Again, I think I would feel much more comfortable saying that I make certain noises or sounds when I pray, and that lots of people do that, from various religious, when they are deep in prayer, and that it is a natural reaction that some people have.

That, it seems to me, keeps things very simple. We don't have to say we are speaking another tongue or language when we don't even know that we are.

And it doesn't cause us to apply scripture passages that might not really even be applicable.

I am sure I am not the first person in the world to have had these thoughts, but I would enjoy hearing from the theologues out there.

So, what's wrong with just saying that some people make sounds and noises in prayer (as do many people in other religions), but stay away from the claim of those sounds being "languages", which is something we can't even know anyway?


Anonymous said...


Not only that, but I will verbally acost you and say that you should have no say-so about our Baptist schools since you did not attend them.


Anonymous said...


I appreciate your comment on one level, that is to say I agree with your understanding of Pauline Theology. However I must rule your comment out of order and inadmissible on two grounds.

1. Your condescending remark was not entirely true and could have hurt had I not had been equipped with thick skin.

2. I have a desire to soak up some real discussion of this topic from those who have a PPL and desire to share it particulars--those who are not ashamed, and from those who categorically reject the idea and do so on firm biblical grounds.

Your comment was shrouded in secrecy and an unfaithfulness to open and honest discussion. While I agree with your position, you have added nothing to my repertoire of knowledge other than to say that those who have a PPL and cannot comprehend the linguistics behind the heavenly tongue are simply full of Balaam's donkey doo.


Christiane said...


It's me, L's

Did I IMPLY that the person who tormented our Lydia was a 'you-know-what'? tee-hee . . . :)


We good Catholic girls also look after good Baptist girls and I am not above pulling out all the stops in defense of someone as special as Lydia, from whom I have learned much.

No apology to the offender who tormented her.
I suppose one could say, 'If the tail fits, . . . '

As for your information, the word 'ass' is a generic which can be applied in many contexts.
Here are some examples:

"Mule: A domesticated, hybrid animal that results from crossing a mare (female horse) and a jack (male donkey or Jack-ass.)
Donkey: A domesticated ass.
Which, of course, begs the question "What is an ass?"

Ass: A four-footed, hoofed mammal related to the horse, but smaller, with longer ears and a shorter mane, shorter hair on the tail, and a dark stripe along the back.

I refuse to apologize to the tormenter of dear Lydia. However, I should like to sincerely apologize to all of God's four-footed creatures who fall under the category of tje species 'ass' for having IMPLIED that Lydia's tormenter was anything like them.
The animals are innocent creatures of God. God forgive me for doing this, for their sake.

Now, anonymous, I hope this 'clears the air'.
Sometimes 'tormentors' need to be called out. I will not defend myself,
but I can most ass uredly
stand up for others who are tormented.

I hope you have been ass ured
of my intention, in using such language. All mis-interpretations ass ide, I am not at all offended by your comments TO ME.
Love, L's

Bob Cleveland said...


If you'll email me at I'd like to give you my views on the matter. They don't agree with anybody I've ever met.


Christiane said...

What is meant by 'PPL' ?

Anonymous said...

PPL="Pedophile Priest List"

Wade tried to get one started in the SBC but the powers that be felt it was a private prayer matter.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I thought this was a family friendly sight!

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Anonymous said...

The site is messing up my sight!

Robert from Geneva

Chris Ryan said...


PPL stands for private prayer language.

Although Kevin has a point. We could use some more debate in the SBC on his new expansion of the PPL acronym.

Anonymous said...

Wade and Obama.
From the last post

Some enjoyable smackdown!

Eileen said...

I can't believe that someone who has served as an IMB trustee would even suggest using strategic reserves this way. Not to mention the faithlessness that suggests doing an end run around the Lord's timetable for missionary candidates. If the Lord intends for them to reach the field, they will, when He is ready. You might not have been much help as a trustee, but your suggestion makes me think you'd be a great asset to the Big Brother Bailout Team in Washington.

Robert from Geneva

Anonymous said...

but the 'bailout money' for the houses of the missionaries is the Lord's tithe money:
how would He want it spent?

It's not about the money, is it?
It's about something else.

greg.w.h said...


I'm not trying to go beyond the absolutely simplest and clearest interpretation of that one passage. I don't have an opinion on whether glossa means actual language or not, though I think the simplest reading is to put, literally, "tongue" in the passage instead of the Holman effort to force one view. But that's gut, not linguistics.


I didn't hide a thing. My personal practice--either direction--is completely irrelevant to what the Bible actually says, unless I am trying to use my experience (one way or the other) to interpret what the Bible says. I hereby submit I have not and that not one word that I wrote is anything other than a very direct exegesis of the passage. Some of that is based on various sermons I've heard from various preachers over the years.

Conveniently enough, it also is the substance of the discussion the Indonesian Mission had about Jerry Rankin's private prayer language when he was in Indonesia with my parents. I just didn't bother to mention I was reporting from portions of a historical discussion (that were shared with me and that I remember) where some 100+ missionaries concluded that Jerry's work spoke loudly regarding his character and that the Bible specifically did not forbid this particular pattern of prayer.

We could, of course, immediately claim that all 100 missionaries are irrelevant because they hadn't yet agreed (or resigned or disagreed) to sign the BF&M 2000 and thereby repudiate history by, essentially, sticking our fingers in our ears and going "LA LA LA LA LA LA." That's kind of how your response to me sounded, anyway, so I wouldn't put it past you to continue that line of "reasoning".

Greg Harvey

Lydia said...


Thank you for your ass istance.

Lydia said...

"I can't believe that someone who has served as an IMB trustee would even suggest using strategic reserves this way. Not to mention the faithlessness that suggests doing an end run around the Lord's timetable for missionary candidates. If the Lord intends for them to reach the field, they will, when He is ready. You might not have been much help as a trustee, but your suggestion makes me think you'd be a great asset to the Big Brother Bailout Team in Washington."

But the Lord's timetable was met with the addition of a Pastry chef at Pecan Manor. Glad to see we have our priorities in order.

Anonymous said...

Where is the compassion?

Pastry chefs need jobs too!!!!!

Robert From Geneva

Jon L. Estes said...


Not to mention the faithlessness that suggests doing an end run around the Lord's timetable for missionary candidates.

what if it is part of the Lord's timetable to have the IMB purchase homes so that we can get the missionaries on the field?

I don't know if I favor such an idea but to dismiss it as it can't be of God is dangerous.

Anonymous said...

John L Estes.
My intention was to bring that quote to the attention of everyone on this post....I figured it could not be worse then the adult language others were engaging in here!
However I hoped you noticed that Eileen made the statement.

God Bless
Robert from Geneva

Anonymous said...

"No apology to the offender who tormented her."

But L's! Even if it costs you your salvation?!?

By the way, my kids telling me the other person deserved being called an ass wouldn't stop the soap from entering their mouths.

James B. Foyle said...

I arrived a little late today for the "private prayer language" discussion. I will, however, share the best advice I ever received on the subject. It came from Dr. Dan Crawford at SWBTS: "You stay out of my prayer closet and I'll stay out of yours." Advice the IMB trustees would have been wise to take.

Christiane said...

Dear Lydia,

Don't mention it. Happy to help.
Little 'men' who har-
ass women do need ass-
istance with their behavior from time to time.

Dear Anonymous,

A story. One time, my family were hosting my neighbor Kaye, a very proper and formal woman, on our deck in the summertime.
My daughter told a really funny story and in the course of telling it, came out with an absolute 'whopper'.
I was so shocked, I said , 'Jenn, twelve years of Catholic school and you come out with that whopper in front of my neighbor Kaye!

To this, my daughter replied,
"But Mom, school was in
New Jersey."

Now, EVERYONE laughed, including Kaye, thank God. And, having lived in deepest New Jersey for fifteen years, I also had to laugh.

If you don't see the humor, I guess you have to spend some time in New Jersey. Trust me, you would get it. :) Love, L's

P.S. Don't worry, I've already done penance for calling someone a jackass.
Tonight, while my husband ate steak, I had a nice 'tuna and lentil' salad: Lenten food. No seasonings. My mother's recipe.

SOAP would have tasted better than that salad!
Now, I hope that makes you feel better. Much Love, L's

Anonymous said...

Can we call it the Mediate Resurgence? It's really about who mediates on our behalf isn't it?

Anonymous said...


I don't think I misunderstood you. Sorry if I did not get your point.

You are as sharp as a tack.


Rex Ray said...

It’s almost funny that your main desire is to slam Wade. You’ve even enlisted Eileen’s previous comment to help you.

If that’s fair, then I post my reply to her.

Rex Ray said...
I like your attitude on the “Big Brother Bailout Team in Washington”, but I believe Wade accomplished a great amount as a trustee.

Even the President of the Executive Board, in fear of a lawsuit, cautioned the Board on how they were treating Wade.

I believe future trustees will be treated the better for Wade standing for truth.

I also disagree with your statement as a cop-out in saying, “If the Lord intends for them to reach the field, they will, when He is ready.”

That’s the thinking of a ‘Hard-shell Baptist’…what’s going to be is going to be regardless if right or wrong is in control.
Thu Mar 26, 10:36:00 PM 2009

I don’t see all this to-do over a name signed “Lydia”. Everyone knows a name in BLUE is the real person, and a name in black can be anyone real or not real.

To assume the black name Lydia, was trying to fool people into thinking she was the blue Lydia is a stretch.

A storm is about to hit us. Glad the computer is in the safe room, but it’s shutdown now.

Anonymous said...

Rex said 'I also disagree with your statement as a cop-out in saying, “If the Lord intends for them to reach the field, they will, when He is ready.”'

Well, the 'means' to getting them there already exists in those reserved funds, so the B.I. people just have to 'get out of the way' and the money can flow, the missionaries can go, the church can grow, 'cause God said, 'Go'.

Sometimes, it's people what get in the way. Stingy people hoarding the Lord's money. What better way to invest those reserve funds than to use them to get missionaries out into the field? The pay-off will be 'out of this world'.

Anonymous said...


Interesting discussion. I think those who believe in a private prayer language interpret 1 Corinthians 14:13-15 & 28 as allowing it. Verse 28 says, "If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God." Speaking to yourself and to God is prayer, n'est pas? Doing it in a language that requires an interpreter to be understood and the context of this passage, which deals with tongues among other things, indicates Paul is recommending praying in tongues, but not in church-only in private. Voila-private prayer language.

Is this always an established human language? Most passages are consistent with that idea, and at Pentecost this was specifically stated as the nature of this gift. However, other passages seem to indicate that an "non-human language" can also come under the gift of tongues (e.g., I Corinthians 14:2, For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries). "No man understands him" doesn't seem consistent with an established human language.

There was a major discussion about this some time ago in Wade's blog and others. Some who claimed a private prayer language cited these passages, if I remember correctly. However, people who did not speak in tongues (privately or otherwise) also found it difficult to rule out the possibility of a private prayer language based on these passages.

People who are sure tongues are gone as a legitimate spiritual gift seem to cite "tongues will pass away". However, the passage does not clearly indicate when that will happen. Concluding it has happened already seems to me to be strictly an assumption. I would only suggest that if we want to forbid tongues, we had better have definitive scriptural evidence that the era of tongues is over, because if it isn't we are disobeying the command to "forbid not speaking in tongues.

greg.w.h said...


I understand why you said what you said. I'm pretty sure you understand why I repeated what I said, namely that we simply do not have enough information in the text to lawyer the extremely specific nuance that you chose to dwell on. I don't mind that a lawyer would lawyer it, though, but I mind if a theologian--or worst yet, a populist preacher or seminary professor--does in the name of raw power.

Btw, I encourage the most skilled Greek scholars to force fit "other language" on the first half of this occurrence of "glossai/glossais":

3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

The HSCB at last drops the very awkward [other] language for at least one occurrence of the Greek glossa and its various nominative and dative plurals:

3 And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 Then they were all filled (D) with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech.

I fully understand WHY they do that. I don't even disagree with it, but unless you bother poking through the English to the Greek, you're losing a wealth of perspective. It's the job of translators to not make those kinds of decisions for readers of the Bible. Only indoctrinators are permitted to do that, and usually only the kind of indoctrinators that Southern Baptists traditionally have opposed, i.e. the brainwashing kind.

Greg Harvey

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that you made amends L's.

Back on the straight and narrow for you! Good "work"!

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon.

It's me, L's

Happy to share recipe for tuna-lentil salad. It works better than 'soap'. Just ask. Love, L's

greg.w.h said...

Anonymous wrote:

Glad to see that you made amends L's.

Back on the straight and narrow for you! Good "work"!

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'


22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.


18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

Greg Harvey

Anonymous said...

L's - The act of putting soap in the potty mouths is meant to discipline, not to fill the belly.

Greg - Not sure what you are saying, but thanks for the scripture.

You do know that L's is catholic, right?

She has the deeds thing down pat. That's why I was giving her the what for for having a potty mouth.

And then, I was congratulating her because she said she had done the penance thingie.

She is all squared away again on that whole salvation catholic thing.

Anna A said...


I believe that you were asking some questions about Private Prayer Language. I won't argue Scripture with you, but I can share my experiences.

Once, over 25 years ago, in a private prayer group, I was given a message in tongues. 3 or 4 of us were praying, and one of the more experienced knew that there was a message to be shared. With encouragement, and the comment that there was an interpretation, I allowed myself to speak. It was as natural as English. But, I wasn't in control.

Later, I receieved/developed a private prayer language. This is completely under my control. I don't use it much as prayer, though. I do trust that it is true prayer, but never has there been an interpretation. I would only use it alone, under my breath in a group, or in a situation where a number of people are using their prayer languages aloud.

Groanings of the spirit. Experienced times when all I can do is to groan, in a very painful sounding tone, in prayer. This is involuntary, and I would never, ever seek it out. And yet, I am allowed to/asked to by the Holy Spirit.

Christiane said...

Hi Greg,

Thanks for trying with 'anon'.
We never know what does any good, when we try, but I have learned that, even when the signs are not so good, if we pray, in time, God will use our efforts in some way to His Glory and in the care of the person that we pray for.
I love the verses that you quoted.
God Bless, L's

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

Hi Anna,
It's me L's.
I don't have a 'private prayer language' myself, but I believe you.

I had an experience many years ago: a 'communication' with God while I was alone in the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona. It happened during a time of great sadness. I don't know exactly what happened there but I was completely overwhelmed by God's comforting grace. No words. Something much, much more. I consider it a 'healing' experience and also, the highlight of my spiritual life.
I think God 'speaks' to us in many ways and we 'speak' to Him in many ways also. Thanks for sharing about your experience. Love, L's

Junkster said...

Anonymous said...

I almost fell out of my chair envisioning a CR Re-inactment along the lines of a Civil War re-inactment.

I wonder how many people would want to participate in a re-inactment of Dallas 1985.


Thu Mar 26, 01:31:00 PM 2009

Christiane said...
Sorry, that was me, L's who wrote to Roger at 1:31 P.M.

Thu Mar 26, 01:39:00 PM 2009

I just KNEW it! L's and Louis are the same person!! It should have been so obvious -- the kind and compassionate Catholic woman is just an alter ego for the crusty male lawyer Baptist church elder. Just like Clark Kent and Superman.

Word verification: anaken. As in "I'm your father, Luke!"

Anonymous said...

Junk - There are 2 comments at 1.31. So what you are saying is in fact junk.

There is also no way Louis is catholic with all the good theology that comes through in his comments.

Too much bible study leads one away from catholicism, not toward it.

Anonymous said...

Anon, WHERE is your sense of humor?

Lighten up.

Christiane said...

Hi, it's me, L's

JUST TO CLARIFY, this is what I wrote:

"Roger said ' If the BI movement fades into the sunset I won't miss it.'

The BI thing may 'fade', but it will always be there haunting the SBC. It appears to contain enough hate and venom to propel it until the end of time. Just look at its victims: the quality of these Christians and how they were made to suffer.

You can always judge a 'movement' by how it victimized people, and by who it victimized.

The 'why' is not important.
There is no 'why' that is acceptable before the Lord.

Thu Mar 26, 01:31:00 PM 2009 "

That 'contrast' with Louis and me is cute. How interesting are the ways in which God handed out our gifts: what one has, the other lacks, and vice-versa. In this way, people were made so that they would need to communicate with one another and help one another. God is wiser than we know. That is an understatement. Love, L's

Anonymous said...

Anon, the comedian - I found it.


Anonymous said...

'bout time.

Rex Ray said...

Greg Harvey,
Probably no one will read this comment, but it is one I never got around to replying.

You quoted James 2:18 “Someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”

First let’s look at verse 17: “So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” (NLT)

To summarize James’ much quoted verse is ‘Faith without works is dead’.

Since Paul said ‘even our faith is given by God’, do you believe God gives some “dead faith”?

James would be correct if he had said, ‘Belief without works is dead’ because faith is ‘belief in action’ or ‘belief with works’.

“Faith without works is dead” is like saying ‘man without a body is not a man’.

I believe in this verse, James went back to Acts 15 where he contradicted Peter saying salvation was a gift by his “judgment” of adding ‘works’ (food laws etc.) as necessary.

With that said, lets look at verse 18 where James talks about what he does as deeds.

James doesn’t name his deeds; does he?

Paul’s deeds got him stoned and left for dead etc, but what deeds did James do that made him hero of the Pharisees? (Foxes Book of Martyrs)

James kept his Christian identity a secret in the temple where his daily job was to pray for the sins of the people. He was thrown from the top of the temple the first time he spoke for Jesus.

In my opinion, James didn’t even practice his ‘wrong’ salvation preaching (Jesus plus works) but he died good.

No wonder Luther considered his book a “book of straw”.