Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Kinder, Softer Southern Baptist Convention?

Southern Baptist Conventon President Johnny Hunt has announced he will seek a second term as President of the SBC, telling the Georgia Christian Index that the SBC "is a ship “adrift” and so low in the water that it probably needs to rid itself of some unnecessary cargo to float and be healthy and strong again."

Hunt's solution to the problem in the SBC is to offer a document entitled The Great Commission Resurgence Declaration” which offers a 10-point plan for rekindling fervor in SBC life for Jesus’ missionary mandate and “shock” the SBC out of apathy and infighting.

Two prominent SBC leaders, Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines, have signed the GCD "with caveats." These two men should be commended for wishing to identify with the majority of Southern Baptists and current leadership of the SBC and signing the GCD - while at the same time maintaining their integrity by issuing caveats. Dr. Vines explains the need to sign the GCD "with caveats":

I agreed to allow my name to be added to the Great Commission Resurgence Document “with caveats” for two reasons.

First, I want to affirm my trust in the intentions of our president, Dr. Johnny Hunt, and Dr. Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I join them in a desire that the Southern Baptist Convention have a resurgence of winning people to Christ. As a past president of the Convention, a member of the Peace Committee and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 Committee, my motivation has always been to keep us true to the Bible and faithful to carry out the Great Commission.

Second, I added “with caveats” with a specific definition in mind. I mean “with caveats” in the dictionary sense of “with reservations” or “with explanations to prevent misunderstanding.” I do not sign a document carelessly, nor without a careful understanding of the meaning of its wording.

Is it possible that the fact Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines signed the GCD "with caveats" means the Southern Baptist Convention is becoming a kinder, softer Convention? Just a decade ago, these two men were at the forefront in removing from SBC service anyone who wished to affirm the basic tenets of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message with caveats.

Were the same spirit of a decade ago to be prevalent at this year's Convention in Louisville, Kentucky both Dr. Patterson and Dr. Vines, because of their refusal to sign the GCD without caveats, would be:

(1). Removed from SBC service, including the Presidency of SWBTS, and
(2). Called "anti-evangelistic" or not true Southern Baptists, and
(3). Labeled "liberal" and "un-cooperative," and
(4). Given no opportunities to ever speak on platforms across the SBC, and
(5). Encouraged to leave the SBC and begin their own Convention.

Maybe the SBC is changing. We should allow Dr. Vines and Dr. Patterson to express their disagreement with the GCD by signing it with caveats. The SBC is big enough to handle any signee who wishes to affirm the major intent of a Convention approved document while making known certain "caveats." We are not a creedal people. We are a cooperative people. Were the SBC to affirm President Hunt's 2009 Great Commission Declaration, I will oppose any attempt by Southern Baptists to remove Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines for their refusal to sign the Great Commission Declaration without caveats. Loving these two men, in spite of their reservations with the GCD, is the sign of a healthy cooperative Southern Baptist Convention.

In His Grace,



Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the distinction between the BFM2000 and this document is that the whole convention has not yet voted on this as a confessional document.

From the Southern Baptist Geneva
Robert I Masters

RKSOKC66 said...


I also saw the news clip from the Christian Index (GA) regarding Dr. Vines signing the GCR doc "with caveats". Supposedly in a couple of days the Index is going to put up some kind of statement from Dr. Vines regarding what the caveats are.

I just heard Dr. Vines' preach a pair of sermons today at my church -- First Southern Del City OK. I've never heard him until today.

All I can say is that I'm glad Dr. Vines "wasn't removed from SBC platforms" and/or "called anti-evangelistic" and/or he wasn't "labeled a liberal".

You are exactly right Wade, the SBC is changing and it is changing twords MORE COOPERATION. You are probablly too close to see it yet but it is happening. In fact, you are one of reasons this is happening.

There is a lot of work to do but the train is leaving the station.

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

P.S. Just a couple of hours ago I picked up a series of CDs from Dr. Vines of his John 3:16 conference. I think it is a response of Calvinism. There are about ten CDs in the set. With my "Rodney King" theological blinders I'm not much into Calvinism -- either to espouse it or reject it. However, the CDs will be useful to me in hearing some voices in SBC life that I've never heard before other than in print.

I'm not really into debating Calvinism -- for many reasons. One of which is that the "5 points" really do not have much to do with Calvin. While not anthetical to what one might derive from a synthesis of the various editions Calvin's INSTITUTES OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION, most of what we now think of as "Calvanism" --specifically the TULIP construction -- was the work of Theordore Beza as he interacted with his opposition who were called the "remonstrants."

The "remonstrants" came up with five points. Later day "Calvinists" took the five points, inverted the meaning of each of them, and then adopted the system as their own.

This is an exaggeration but it would be like me building a Christian theology by taking the Cardinal doctrines of Mormonism and then reversing each doctrine and calling it "Chrisitan".

I don't find an argument regarding some guy's theological system of interest. I'd rather just study "predistination", "free-will" etc. straight from the Bible devoid of any Calvinist trappings.

Denn said...

Baptists need to, with passion and urgency, practice the commands of the GC!

Southern Baptists need to also re-evaluate the structure of the way money and other resources are used in being good stewards at every level.

But these are two different goals, both with good intentions. They need to be addressed separately.

When lumped together, as it is, the document is either a business/political effort wraped in spiritual cover or a spiritual proposal hindered and tainted by possibly contentious human goals.

Let's make them two.

missshunary said...

If you want to know precisely what Calvinism is NOT, then by all means listen to the CD's from Vines and others at the John 316 conference.

Debbie Kaufman said...

I agree. I commend Danny Akin and company for allowing signing with caveats, although I'm not surprised that they did.

Unknown said...

I'm just amazed at the irony. I have to sign the BFM, spell out my beliefs letter by letter, agree not to do things that aren't clearly marked out in scripture and yet these guys sign with caveats.

I say we're getting gentler and they're staying about the same.

John Daly said...

I'm guessing for the 16 million, errrr, 6 million Baptists who reside in the South, it matters little what new fancy schmancy document comes along. It matters little who is president of the Baptists who reside in the South.

So while all the talk of caveats and nuances is quite "interesting," as usual it pertains little to the rank-and-file. For the most part, the Baptists who reside in the South are trying by His Spirit to live God honoring and Christ exalting lives and discussing yet another document adds little to their day-to-day realities.

Ramesh said...

Founders Ministries Blog > Morris Chapman and the Great Commission Resurgence.
I hope to explain my meaning by interacting with Dr. Chapman's arguments. Before doing so, however, I want to commend him for his willingness to speak openly and forthrightly about his concerns with the GCR document. This kind of open and honest dialogue about ideas is exactly what the Southern Baptist Convention needs. As Chapman has demonstrated, it can be done without stooping to personal attacks or assuming the worst about those with whom we disagree. I hope to follow his example by being pointed without being personal. I am concerned with his ideas and arguments, not with his motivation, intentions or integrity. I have no reason to doubt that his desire is to see Christ honored among the people known as Southern Baptists.
Links from Pastor Wade's blog related to John 3:16 Conference:

The John 3:16 Conference at FBC Woodstock.

"Foreknowledge" Means More Than Just to Know.

The Problem of Calling People Hyper-Calvinists.

Three Years Later; That Which I Feared Is Come.

God's Sovereignty and Man's Free Will.

Please Don't Call Me a Calvinist, But . . ..
Some past posts on GCR from Pastor Wade's blog:

The SBC Great Commission Resurgence Is Here [SEPTEMBER 26, 2007].

The Great Commission Resurgence: A Southern Baptist Tool of Evangelical Accountability [APRIL 30, 2009].

Stephen said...

John Daly has succinctly stated the reality of the situation regarding the GCR. My criticism of the GCR and the BFM 2000 is that these both put an identity on all Southern Baptists that many do not wish to have. These documents are never discussed in our church and are ultimately irrelevant to our ministry. said...


The Convention will be asked to vote on the GCD. My point is after it is approved, all those voted against it or had "caveats" in their acceptance of it, should be welcome in the SBC, including leadership and cooperative ministry and service.

We are not a creedal people. said...


At some point people will see the illogic of a double standard.

Christiane said...

Good Morning Everyone,

It's me, L's

Wow. So the celebration of the Pentecost vigil with its millions upon millions of prayers for the renewal of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men has taken place.

This morning, I read this after clicking on Wade's reference to the GCR Declaration:

(from the Part about the Great Commandments)

"We believe too many of us have lost some of our love for God and others somewhere along the way.

This has devastated our witness.

If we love Jesus as we should, we will love sinners as we ought and pursue them as He did.

Though we believe that God calls believers to speak out against moral ills, this must not be done in a way that is hateful toward unbelievers or trades gospel priorities for political influence.

We must not condemn those who are already under the just wrath of God, but must seek to serve them and proclaim Christ to them with the hope that God will save them."

I have often thought that if four or five nuns went into the B.I. bully camp to kick tail, it would all be over-with in about an hour. No, I'm not kidding. If you think I am kidding, you don't know anything about nuns. :)

Seriously, SOMEONE, somewhere, must have confronted the 'leadership' in a prayerful spirit of reconcilation and discussed the consequences of brutal actions that have scandalized the wider Christian Community. And, apparently, prayer and an openness to the Spirit's Guidance led to the writing of the quoted-words above. I hope whoever wrote those words IS A SINCERE PERSON OF FAITH, for the sake of the SBC, and that it is NOT just another 'political ploy'. I am always so hopeful.

I hope Roger Simpson is right when he says the 'train has left the station'. It will be interesting to see what all the B.I. reservations or 'caveats' (warnings?) are about.

In my faith, a time of hope has begun, and the tradition color of hope, 'green', is worn in our liturgy. The growth and the health of the Church is prayed for with great intensity. I will remember the SBC in my prayers also, that it may turn away from its past persecution of innocent Southern Baptists, and will seek to find peace and healing in its obedience to the Great Commandments of Christ. Love L's

Jeff said...

My struggle is that we must have standards in our convention, and I don't see why it can't simply be the BF&M. I am not trying to be narrow mind, I just don't get why people object to it. How big should the door be to our convention? Should it be as big as Heaven's gate?

Should we say that anyone who wants to be a baptist can be one as long as they are Christians?

What part should historical theology play in shaping our convention?

Can someone help me understand this?


Tom Parker said...


I really hope I am wrong but I do not believe the GCR will really change anything or there will be an initial excitement and then people will get bogged down on agreeing about how this will be carried out and it will fade away.

I firmly remember BMT--Bold Mission Thrust and how the CR knocked it completely off the front burner and this was 30 years ago.

Some Southern Baptist seem to have great difficulty with the word--COOPERATION; they talk about it but do not practice it.

I really hope I am wrong on this one.

Byroniac said...


Please do not limit your studies of Calvinism to the John 3:16 conference. The whole purpose of that conference seemed to be (to me) to oppose Calvinism and its effects on Southern Baptist evangelism, from what the speakers believed were Biblical grounds. There are excellent resources out there on the other side of the argument, in favor of Calvinism, from many authors. I believe you should read both sides before making up your mind.

You say, "I don't find an argument regarding some guy's theological system of interest. I'd rather just study 'predistination', 'free-will' etc. straight from the Bible devoid of any Calvinist trappings."

I believe you misunderstand something, sir. I could say the same thing, but end with "Arminian trappings." Both sides of soteriological understanding (leaving out Pelagianism of course) approach their views from the standpoint of Scripture. Where we disagree is in the interpretation of that Scripture. I would be lying if I said I had not made up my mind already, and am still open-minded on the subject. But, even so, I can tell you and I believe I am fair in saying this, that people on both sides of this issue are striving to be as Scriptural and God-honoring as possible.

Alan Paul said...

Should we say that anyone who wants to be a baptist can be one as long as they are Christians?

How do you suppose Jesus would answer this? Or maybe Paul and Peter in the context of the Jerusalem council in Acts? Specifically Acts 15:10-11.

jasonk said...

Jeff, by standards, do you mean "rules?"
We have the New Testament. Is that not sufficient? I would think that if we have the New Testament, anything else we would add would just be inadequate.
It's like we are saying, "I know the New Testament doesn't say this, but we feel compelled to add this in." By doing so, we are revealing our hypocrisy, when we say we are people of the Book. We say we believe in the infallibility of Scripture, but we do not practice it at all.

Anonymous said...

A creed and a confession are not the same thing!
However I am a Southern Baptist and I believe in Creeds. Particular Baptist have historically had little isue with creeds.

From the Southern Baptist Geneva
Robert I Masters

Jon L. Estes said...

Kinder and softer need to be specifically defined so we all work off the same page.

We had an ordination Sunday morning for a young man called and starting his journey (school and opportunity).

The ordination council time went well, the only concern was from a few who thought the man knew to little about the SBC and how it operates among the local church, association, the state convention and national convention.

As this man's pastor, I have not made the workings of the SBC an issue. The thoughts on such are to polar, the blog entries on this blog is a good example.

Kinder and softer, I hope but not for a few who had the opportunity to question a man's calling because he was not enough SBC minded.

The ordination went well, the man is ready to go anywhere for Jesus. Young (31), married with two children. A wife who joyfully in in love with Jesus. A novice among baptists a giant for the gospel in Jesus' eyes.

Anonymous said...

Is the OT Testament not also the Word of seem to want exclude it!

Robert from Geneva

Texan said...

Please tell me that we don't have yet another group that thinks they have the solution for everything. Usually it is just a bunch of preachers wanting fame and attention.

If you want Baptists to work and grow--JUST QUIT FIGHTING. When the world sees a change, they will come...

Anonymous said...

"We are not a creedal people."

...and therein lies the problem. The Bible is full of creedalistic passages. Paul was creedalistic, the Jews were creedalistic.

What makes Baptists so special?

Always a bridesmaid never a bride. Baptists have a problem committing. I predict the SBC will boycott the Marriage Supper of the Lamb for 2 reasons.

1. Fear of commitment.
2. There will be wine at the reception.


Anonymous said...

Kevin, creed but the Bible is a creed!

Even secularist understand this logic.


Test your C-Factor
see whether you are a Calvinist or Not

Robert from Geneva

Jeff said...

Jason, I agree that the NT is sufficient (and the OT) but what you think about certain NT passages and what I think might be different. What do we do then? Agree to disagree but associate anyway! For instance some believe the Bible teaches padeobaptism, and others credobaptism. Do we overlook that and allow both to be baptists?

John Alexander said...

My very humble take on things, written for someone that asked me about it.

John Fariss said...

A "kinder, softer Southern Baptist Convention"? A "great commission resurgence" document to sign, with or without caveats? Well, I'm all about allowing for the right of conscience in signing something. With a few caveats, I could even sign this document. But so what? That and a buck or two will get me a cup of coffee in most fast food joints.

I don't know; I would like to get excited about something the SBC is doing, and indeed about the SBC itself, but I think I am just too discouraged and/or too jaded about it. Like Tom Parker said, we had something in Bold Mission Thrust, but we left it in the margins--or maybe I was just younger and more naive then. Some "great" new program or thrust or emphasis, it seems, is always coming down the pike. Some of them just fall by the wayside, others get canned by the promoting agency without ever informing the rest of us (and here I am unashamedly thinking of NAMB). In my darker moments, I tend to think of all of them as just some program designed for life in the 1950s.

Back in the mid-1980s (don't remember exactly what year), we had simultneous revivals. (And I am not advocating another round of simultaneous revivals--I think the time of effectiveness for revivals has passed, at least for churches in urban and suburban areas, especially outside the Deep South and maybe the Southwest.) But when we had those, at least somebody (the Home Mission Board? The Radio and Television Commission?) produced a series of commercials which were well made and (I thought) very professional. They were made available to associations for them to use on local TV. The shortcoming, I thought then and still think, was that the people with the deep pockets--the Mission Boards--expected local associations to shell out the money to air the ads. Maybe that was not a problem in large associations, like in Dallas, Atlanta, Raleigh, Richmond, and so on, but where I was then--the Cullom Association in northeastern NC, which was poor and rural--we strained to find money for TV time, and even then, it benefitted only a few churches in the eastern edge of the association, where there was cable TV. But despite the shortcomings, at least there were quality ads produced and made available to the churches through their local associations. If the SBC wants to be serious about a Great Commission Resurgence, wants to re-establish a level of trust among those of us who have felt burned, and wants to say that this isn't just another "program of the month," then let's see or know that there is something else in the pipeline beyond putting our John Hancock on another piece of paper. Let's see if whoever still has a TV studio (assuming NAMB didn't sell it or give it away) is willing to step up to the plate and come up with something the churches can use. Let's see if the powers that be really are willing to be "kinder and softer" by actively selling this GCR--not just making speeches but by contacting individual churches and dialouging about it.

At least that's my opinion. I could be wrong.


jasonk said...

Hey Robert,
I believe the OT is the Word of God, but I do not follow it, except by coincidence as I follow the NT commandments to love God and love others. I'm assuming you are the same way.

I think we get too hung up on setting up guidelines for people, to make sure they don't cross the line. People usually can figure out where their beliefs are accepted or not accepted. Maybe your experience has been similar to mine--I recall on more than one occassion where people visit or join the church, then later ask questions like, "why don't we baptize babies?" As we have the opportunity to teach them what we believe and why (from the NT, not a creed or a little paperback book), they either accept it, or they move on to a place that is more comfortable for them and their particular belief.
I think we get in trouble when we start adding to or embellishing the Scripture to fit our personal tastes, then start holding people to it. We become like the Mormons or the JWs.
On the majority of issues, we are going to disagree slightly, which is fine with me. If I hadn't been allowed to disagree but remain in fellowship, I might not have ever embraced the doctrines of grace.
Oh wait, yes I would have. :)

Christiane said...


You wrote this to Robert: "I believe the OT is the Word of God, but I do not follow it, except by coincidence as I follow the NT commandments to love God and love others. I'm assuming you are the same way."

Jason, I am not a Baptist, but I did think that Baptists followed the Old Testament AND the New Testament as a 'unit' called the Holy Scriptures. I also got the impression that many Baptists, maybe it's just the ministers who blog here, were familiar with the writings of the Early Church Fathers and the first councils of the Early Church.

If what you wrote is true of the average Southern Baptist, a lot more might come into focus for me. It's just that I wasn't aware of all this before. Can you explain a little more about why you 'don't follow' the OT? Is it to do with something like the ancient laws of circumcision and the dietary laws of the early Hebrews? Or is there some other doctrine that teaches not to follow that part of the Scriptures? Thanks, if you can help. My name is 'L's'. :)

RKSOKC66 said...


As far as I can tell we are in agreement.

First of all, I have not listened to the John 3:13 conference tapes yet so I can't comment on what any speaker says.

Second, I have no problem with Calvinism or Arminianism or any other "theological system" that is out there as long as it only serves as a guide to understanding the Bible.

Third, I was playing "dumb". I've studied Calvinism fairly throughly -- including the mind-numbing task of reading at least the highlights of an English translation of the INSTITUTES.

Forth, my wife, daughter, and I attended a Reformed Church for six months and I took several classes there on "reformed theology" including studies from a book called CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE by Dr. Shirley Guthrie, Jr. who is professor emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary. I think it would be fair to say the Guthrie is one of the leading voices regarding the Reformed tradition in North America in the last 100 years.

It is crazy that a hard-core Baptist would be darkening the doors of a Reformed church. It is a long story, but we did go there for a few months. Mostly, it was due to a guy I met at Western Baptist Seminary, who believe it or not, ended up being the pastor at a this reformed church. I know it must be unprecidented for a guy with an MDiv from a Baptist seminary to end up pastoring a reformed congregation but that is what happened.

So I respect Calvinism and Arminianism equally but I'm not carried away with either. Like you, I just try to understand the best I can what scripture is saying. Trying to resolve the apparent "freewill / predistination" paradox as well as other things that certain theological systems elucidate is just over my head. Thankfully, neither my salvation or my ability to be in fellowship with other Christians, is or should be, contingent on any theological system.

They are great systems and guys two-orders-of-magnitude smarter than me laid them out in a systematic form. I just observe them with a detached awe.

I do have one "minor" (well in is minor on a grand scale) problem with Calvinism or more properly "Reformed" practice. That is they toss water around on babies. This is not my understanding of what the Bible is showing us as a prototype for Baptism.

But when I show at the pearly gates and discover, quite to my surprize, that sprinkling happens to be more or equally as efficacious as immersion then I'm covered. This is because I've been "baptized" (depending upon your definition of "baptism") 3, "count 'em three, times.

Come to think of it sprinkling and immersion are both equally as efficacious. Namely they both are "zero percent" efficacious.

RKSOKC66 said...

Sorry, I mistyped the verse.

Should have been,

the JOHN 3:16 conference ....

Anonymous said...

No I am not the same way concerning the OT.
You seem to be arguing for the insufficiency of Scripture!

I was surprised to say you believe in the Doctrines of Grace.

some questions for you in relation to this point.

what is the role of law in the believers life?
What about worship do you believe in the regulative principle?
Is the Cultural mandate a Biblical mandate....after all this is found in the OT and has never been rescinded!
How were Christians saved in the OT?
By Grace or something else?

A good book on this subject is Edmund Clowneys ...Christ in the whole Bible...

See also Graeme Goldsworthy.

From the Southern Baptist Geneva
Robert I Masters

Anonymous said...

I want to re-emphsize that I absolutely do not believe what you said about the OT.

Graeme summarises my reasons for saying so.

"The Gospel Is at Stake

Failure to grasp this truth-largely because the proper study of the Old Testament has been neglected-has aided and abetted one of the most unfortunate reversals in evangelical theology. The core of the gospel, the historical facts of what God did in Jesus Christ, is often downgraded today in favor of a more mystical emphasis on the private spiritual experience of the individual. Whereas faith in the gospel is essentially acceptance of and commitment to the declaration that God acted in Christ some two thousand years ago on our behalf, saving faith is often portrayed nowadays more as trust in what God is doing in us now. Biblical ideas such as "the forgiveness of sins" or "salvation" are interpreted as primarily describing a Christian’s personal, subjective experience.

But when we allow the whole Bible-Old and New Testaments-to speak to us, we find that those subjective aspects of the Christian life, which are undoubtedly important-the new birth, faith, and sanctification-are the fruits of the gospel. The gospel, while still relating to individual people at their point of need, is rooted and grounded in the history of redemption. It is the good news about Jesus, before it can become good news for sinful men and women. Indeed, it is only as the objective (redemptive-historical) facts are grasped that the subjective experience of the individual Christian can be understood."

jasonk said...

I feel like you're trying to put me into a theological sleeper hold! I'm not going to play along, if that's okay. Because I know that you do not follow the OT. Actually, I don't know that for a fact, its just that every time I hear a person say they follow the OT, they really are not. For example, do you cut your hair and shave your beard? Do you eat shrimp and lobster? Do you gather for worship at sundown on Friday, or on Sunday morning?

I'm a simple guy. I crave the simple life. (This will hopefully answer your question, L's). The role of the OT, as I see it, is to contrast a life of grace. How can we possibly hope to live up to all the finer points of the law? There are so many--we focus on ten, but there are many, many more commands in the OT, we just get bogged down. When we finally figure out one set of rules, we get slapped with fifteen more. The Jews couldn't do it, what hope do I have?
Then, at just the right time, Jesus comes to us. He teaches us about the love and grace of God. One day the Jewish religious leaders approach Him and ask Him which commandment was the most important one. He replies with a simple answer, "love God." It is the first, and most important one. But then, He added, "love others." He said that the entire spirit of the OT hangs on these two things. We can surely manage to obey the Ten Commandments, but miss out on what really matters--loving God, and loving people.
Jesus led us to a more simple understanding, stop striving, be still. Know that He is God. Its not that hard.
Problem is, if we latch on to that, it puts a lot of good theologians out of work. There isn't as much to think about. I mean, seriously how hard can it be to wake up every morning, and say, "I love you God, now help me put that into practice." And to say, "I love my neighbors and co-workers, and fellow Baptists and Catholics, and even lost people (gasp)."
Do I believe the OT is the inspired Word of God? YES! Is it valuable? Yes, in fact I quoted it today as I shared my faith with my boss, who is suffering with cancer. It is valuable, but is it prescriptive? In my opinion, no it is not.

Anonymous said...

You said....."The role of the OT, as I see it, is to contrast a life of grace."

Can you show me in Scripture where you get this from......
I think I know..... but I suspect that that is a difference of a reformed understanding of the law and a dispensational understanding of the law.

How was Abraham...was it different in the OT and how Paul was saved in the NT?

Robert from Geneva

Christiane said...


Thanks for explaining your position. I am sure you are on to something very important in your priorities: the love of God and the love of our neighbors as ourselves. Or, better yet, as Christ put it: 'love one another as I have loved you. ' How much damage could have been avoided in the SBC, if 'leaders' had followed this Commandment!

Can you imagine a world where Christians all took this seriously as their priority?

I can. :)

I am a Catholic of the Roman rite.
We believe that the whole of Scripture focuses on and points to Jesus Christ. So for me, the OT is special. I have been privileged to learn from an old, very kind and very wise rabbi, who presides over the Temple where my best friend works as an Education Supervisor for the Hebrew School. From this rabbi, I have learned some things about the OT which help my own understanding of the Lord Christ and make my own faith more meaningful. How much we can learn from others, when we don't push them away and think that they have nothing to share with us.

Thanks again. I can relate to your 'simple Christianity' very much. I think your heart is in the right place: focused on Christ and on His Great Commandments. I hope you always have these priorities. Love, L's

jasonk said...

Thank you, L's. I always enjoy reading your comments here, because they are always so filled with grace and humility.
You are right, but not just about Baptists--how many great atrocities could have been avoided if we had only focused on loving God and loving people? I can think of many, right off the bat. Southern Baptists are just among the latest to forget what Jesus said. We are really good at spiritual arrogance (at least some of us are).
Robert, again, with all due respect, I don't want to wrestle with you. I've done that already, and it doesn't lead anywhere good. We start asking questions we already know the answers to, and we do it just to get a "one up" on someone. Not profitable. I feel that too often, people are led away from the simplicity and purity of sincere devotion to Christ, by getting involved in these wrestling matches, hoping to achieve an "a-ha" moment.
So if it is all the same to you, my brother, I'll just sit this one out. But it doesn't mean that I don't love you, or appreciate your knowledge.

Michael Ruffin said...

Wade said,

"Were the same spirit of a decade ago to be prevalent at this year's Convention in Louisville...."

I say,

"Not to mention had it been prevalent at every SBC annual meeting from 1979-1991, had it been prevalent at the so-called Peace Committee meetings, and had it been prevalent at every SBC institution's boards' meetings from 1979-1991."

Anonymous said...

Honestly I do not do this to get a leg up on you or anyone.
I do it because I believe we are commanded to love God with all of our mind.(heart and soul also but not the topic at hand).
The point that Graeme Goldsworthy was making is that unless we understand the OT in that context we fail to understand the Gospel.

This is why the dispensationalism is anti-nomian at its core and ultimately semi-pelagian theology.

From the Southern Baptist Geneva
Robert I Masters

Rick Boyne said...

Kevin Crowder...

Your "2 reasons" was FUNNY!


Anonymous said...

Wise counsel from Ian Hamilton:

Pertinent to the GCR

and Law and Gospel.

Robert from Geneva

Lydia said...

"I'm just amazed at the irony. I have to sign the BFM, spell out my beliefs letter by letter, agree not to do things that aren't clearly marked out in scripture and yet these guys sign with caveats."

"Some animals are more equal than others"

George Orwell, Animal Farm

Joe Blackmon said...

The difference between having a caveat, for instance, with signing the BFM 2000 because you believe women can serve in the pastorate or you have a private prayer language (haa) and having a caveat while signing the GCR, for instance, because you're not sure what is meant by reorganizing to be more effective is the difference between the Space Shuttle and a Yugo. The two documents are totally different. Not comparing apples to apples here, we are not.

Lydia said...

"I agreed to allow my name to be added to the Great Commission Resurgence Document “with caveats” for two reasons."

Personally, I thought this was the height of arrogance. Have Baptists become such man followers that we sign documents based on the big names that endorse them?

I would never vote for it. It is just another campaign ploy to try and ignite bored and defecting troops. We will end up throwing more money at institutionalizing the campaign.

We don't need more campaigns. We needs serious repentance. The fall on your face kind that brings lots of resignations because of the shame of how we have acted and treatd people.

Unknown said...

Well said. This document is only a way to reignite the people that are still active in the convention.

Attitudes are what need to change....not more creeds or documents. I wish it was that easy to change. I'm just amazed at the similarities between the SBC and GM. GM has been bleeding out for years...but suddenly when it hits head on they decide to's too late.

We've hit a decline in the convention...the IMB is putting a freeze in place and suddenly we want to change....people have been asking for change for years...and no one responded. And it cracks me up that two of the most vocal voices of the SBC cannot even sign onto a document that tries to change things without throwing on their caveats.

I find it ironic that the old "you're either with us or you're against us" mentality is thrown out the window when it's different people leading the charge.

I can't help but wonder if the caveats help to save face since the CR they fought so hard for resulted in decline and disenchantment....not what they were after. Only speculation but interesting to think about it.

Christiane said...


You wrote:
"I can't help but wonder if the caveats help to save face since the CR they fought so hard for resulted in decline and disenchantment....not what they were after."

Do you really think that they 'care' about 'saving face'?
I mean, after what they have done to so many innocent people, they know that their reputations, shall we say, are 'of their own making'.

Maybe they just wanted to seem powerful. And all that suffering of innocents was just to 'warn' others not to cross them? I don't know what their true motives were, I just know 'from the fruits of their actions' that it had nothing to do with Christianity. Nothing.

As for the 'decline' in the CR movement, that was 'built in' to the first time they used the Lord's Name when they trashed people's lives.
What other 'outcome' did they expect?
Maybe they had no faith, just cynicism? But surely, if they were men of any faith at all, would they not have been terrified for their souls when they started hurting innocent people?

I think Wade is a very Christian, very forgiving person. He, of course, would handle the perpetrators in the correct way.

I wish I didn't have so much 'anger' about what was done, but I do.

Lydia is right: there are some who need the kind of 'falling on your face' repentence. Dear Lord in Heaven, what a strengthening of faith would it be to see them do that and then ask forgiveness of those that they hurt so much.

And resignations?
My goodness, they 'resigned' from the Church the minute people were victimized.
And, in the case of Dr. Klouda and her family, I think that some, in all honesty, must have temporarily resigned from the human race.

There, I feel better. This is almost like a 'confession' of anger, and tomorrow, I will probably repent of my anger. But, you know, sometimes a little honesty is a good thing. And my anger about what happened is, right now, a good thing. But I feel no peacefulness, only sadness.
I wish the people who need to repent could be 'led' by the Spirit to make that commitment to the victims and to the Lord.
Then, the sadness I feel would go away. I will keep praying for them to repent. Love, L's

Byroniac said...


OK, you got me. :) I agree. Thanks. (I'm not a hard-core Baptist, by the way, though I do believe credo-baptism is the only proper way to Baptize people).

Anonymous said...

All right now we have the Catholic and the Feminist going to town!
Pretty typical for Wades blog.

Robert from Geneva

Gene S said...


You have had the courage of the Prophets to "tell it like it is" in Baptist life. I commend you for this.

The new GCR is just another ploy, in my opinion, to gain a following and a giving for a Convention which has become past tense thanks to "bulls in the china shop." With great gusto the "Conservative Resurgence" tried to clean up the so called corrupted SBC from any "liberal" participation.

Now the bus which was stolen from autonomous Baptists in 1979 with crooked voting and all kind of schemes from the "Sky Box" is running out of gas! Nothing has changed as a few mega-church minded folks try to install a hierarchy which Baptists have never known before.

The problem, as I see it, is that lowly church members in a strapped economy are making hard choices about what to give. Further, local churches--especially mega-churches--are choosing between funding the "big show" locally as opposed to funding missions.

It doesn't help that our new Pharasees are all insisting on 3-digit incomes with hidden fringe benefits which may carry then to 4-digit affluence. Meanwhile, most church members have taken a 40% hit on income and investments in a bad economy. I know whereof I speak because I run a small Tree Surgery business and do some supply and interim preaching--at far from a 3-digit income. My ministry is a service rather than a high-dollar profession.

If one compares the salary of missionaries and church planters with Johnny Hunt, Jerry Vines, Danny Aiken, Morris Chapman, etc. there is a vast difference.

What we have in these "new Pharisees" running the SBC is a demand for the tithe from visitors to the Temple (er, mega-church)at Jerusalem. We have gone from members of the Synagogue who minister locally with compassion to Christian entertainment by gifted Elmer Gantries of 2009. Anyone who read the book or saw the movie learned that "Jim Baaker gets old after a while and if the IRS checks his misuse of funds, he could go to Federal Prison for a while!"

Instead of a BFM2000 or GCR, we just need leaders who will quit claiming to be a servant and start acting like one! If the local church knows missions is being done for a 1% administrative cost, we will feel better about our giving and do more of it.

Gene S said...

Gene Scarborough (cont.)

The Biblical Recorder Editor, Norman Jamison, did an interesting piece last Friday concerning his experience with the Esecutive Committee under Porter Routh. I made a comment regarding the HMB under Corts Redford and Arthur Rutledge. The essence of this is administrative costs with Morris Chapman are at 3% compared with 1% under Porter Routh. The HMB, now renamed, is at the same levels, I suspect.

When Jesus and the 12 walked with dusty feet among the poor and needy they were respected. When the Pharasees and Sadusees were carried in fine regalia by slaves or chariots, dressed in their robes and philacteries, they had become a characture of the dusty Prophets who gained respect of the people because they were "one of the people."

It is so simple: get down from your mega-church king pastor thrones and start serving instead of dictating. Quit talking in .25 cent words of Paige Patterson and start communicating WITH people about spiritual needs and ministry opportunities. Restore the Carver School of Missions, "DR" king of Southern Seminary, and I will once again believe we have a Great Commission Heart. Anything short of this is pretence and empty words which have no respect from those of us who are not "DR" so-in-so. A Dr's degree is easy to get these days and no longer stands for what it once did.

If you really want to read the words of Jesus relative to all this, simply tkurn to Matthew 23. Jesus was not kind to those who were "whitewashed tombs full of dead men's bones." He used "viper" to describe the slick methods of the Pharasees and they killed him for it. He died for our sins, but He also died for saying the truth to unlistening ears that only wanted His silence on the cross and in tomb---BUT God raised Him from the dead!! Out of the death of the Autonomous Baptist church with the Conservative Resurgence came a ressurection called Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Autonomy and Cooperation are not really dead. They are alive and well with those of us who see through pretence and title and choose no longer to support a "smoke-and-mirrors" approach with "Southern Baptist" for its empty title.

Is this clear enough???

child of grace said...

"How big should the door be to our convention? Should it be as big as Heaven's gate?"

"Should we say that anyone who wants to be a baptist can be one as long as they are Christians?" ...

"Can someone help me understand this?"


His name is Jesus.

See John 17

Lydia said...

"All right now we have the Catholic and the Feminist going to town!"

Does calling for repentance automatically make one a feminist?

But,what on earth is a feminist? Are you speaking of those who worked to get women the vote (You know, only men could have voted to pass the 19th Amendment. Ironic, huh?) Or are they the same folks who worked for women to have the right to sign for a loan, open a bank account or have equal pay?

Those feminists? If you are referring to those feminists (which included men) then yes, I am one.

I must be the only "feminist" that has voted republican since age 18. Sigh.

Christiane said...


I think I'm in good company tonight.
If I don't believe that ANYONE should be abused, I guess that makes me a feminist, too. :) L's

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

Robert and Joe Blackmon, I grow increasingly tired of fundamentalism that does pretty much nothing useful but still manages to look down its nose at other people, all the while proclaiming how much better their way is and how everyone should be beating the door down to join the club. I do not agree with egalitarianism (sorry, Lydia), Catholicsm (sorry, L's), or Arminian soteriology (sorry anyone that applies to), but in the end we're just people trying to live by God's grace to the best of our understand[ing] that He's given us. Try lightening up a little, and remember we're people on the other side of the computer screen, and generally mean you no harm. Best of all, every comment is guaranteed to be made with 100% recycled electrons, so that ought to satisfy any trendy "green thing" we got going on. (I hate typos, and captcha is grade, LOL)

Ramesh said...

"Best of all, every comment is guaranteed to be made with 100% recycled electrons, so that ought to satisfy any trendy "green thing" we got going on".

Actually there is an energy cost to even posting comments. Here is a link of Google energy costs for a typical search on Google:

Official Google Blog > Energy and the Internet.

Official Google Blog > Powering a Google search.
Recently, though, others have used much higher estimates, claiming that a typical search uses "half the energy as boiling a kettle of water" and produces 7 grams of CO2. We thought it would be helpful to explain why this number is *many* times too high. Google is fast — a typical search returns results in less than 0.2 seconds. Queries vary in degree of difficulty, but for the average query, the servers it touches each work on it for just a few thousandths of a second. Together with other work performed before your search even starts (such as building the search index) this amounts to 0.0003 kWh of energy per search, or 1 kJ. For comparison, the average adult needs about 8000 kJ a day of energy from food, so a Google search uses just about the same amount of energy that your body burns in ten seconds.

Anonymous said...

Wow ...frankly that was the silliest comment I ave seen from you.
Grace is not a is a an example of change that I would agree with as it relates to the people you mentioned!

Robert from Geneva

Byroniac said...

Sorry, Robert. I can't help but call it like I see it. Interesting article, though. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Well I am not forcing you to keep reading my comments...departure is always an option ...that is if you are "tired of the fundamentalism".....

Robert from Geneva

interesting label from an anti-labelist!

Byroniac said...

Robert, it's not so much entirely you, or Joe Blackmon, or other people in general (OK, I see your point about the label). I guess what is irking me is not the certainty of opinion so much... Lord knows I'm guilty of that if that's a crime.

It's the presence sometimes of condescension (I guess it's unintentional, maybe), like in the sneer behind the PPL remark by Joe Blackmon, and your own recent comment that ended with the snooty dismissal, "Pretty typical for Wades blog." It wasn't helpful, right, or particularly needed in this comment thread. And you know what? I've been guilty of this too, in other places. I don't know what causes this phenomenon. It's almost like some hero complex: the daring, brave Roman soldier dashing off to fight the barbarian hordes and face potential martyrdom every day, let's say. I don't know what it is; I just know it doesn't work. At least not with any that I've personally tried it with, and irony of ironies, now I get to be on the receiving end of it. Well, serves me right. The best way to learn some lessons is the hard way.

I even like you, Robert, as a person. I don't know Joe Blackmon all that well (from Adam, actually), but I'm sure if he ever escaped his shell of fundamentalism (sorry, my label again) I think he'd be a pretty decent fellow. It hasn't escaped my attention that most folks seem to put the two of you on "ignore" mode, almost if they've found some secret mute button I desperately wish I could use at times in certain comment threads. And you're right, I'm not being forced to read your comments, and departure is an option. I'm not angry at you or Joe Blackmon right now, but I'll happily tell you how I feel and pull no punches. If you don't like it, or don't want to change, or can't, fine. I'll just deal with it. No offense, but I'm not sure I can explain myself any better, or care to do so.

Anonymous said...

People do ignore me because they have an agenda and they disagree with mine.
The result is still the same...Few Southern Baptist give a hoot about what Wade wants for the convention.
Hi ideas on women preachers, PPL, and Alcohol are still in the minority.
So I dont care if Catholics or feminists or ppl persons ignore me.
Love God

Robert from the Southern Baptist Geneva

Tom Parker said...


"It was said by Robert--"Hi ideas on women preachers, PPL, and Alcohol are still in the minority."

It was also said by Robert--"Few Southern Baptist give a hoot about what Wade wants for the convention."

It would really be great if we could poll SB members on there views on Women Preachers--PPL and Alcohol.

Robert you might be right about what you stated in the first quote but you just might be wrong.

The second comment above in quotes is just wrong. Can you prove your statement.

Please forgive me in advance, you made it too hard for me to ignore you this time--Smile.

child of grace said...

Re: ""Hi(s) ideas on... PPL... are still in the minority:"

'Half of Southern Baptists pastors surveyed by LifeWay Research believe it is possible for the Holy Spirit to give some people the gift of a special language to pray to God privately—often referred to as a private prayer language.'

see: /

Gene S said...


Let's refrain from abbreviations and esoteric talk. Deal with the real issues this blog addresses--PLEASE

Anonymous said...

Child of Grace:
Dont confuse half of the pastors surveyed and the total Southern Baptist membership!

Robert from the Southern Baptist Geneva

Anonymous said...

Tom Parker:
We know that to be true because of the way the convention has consistently voted on those issues.

Robert from the Southern Baptist Geneva

Christiane said...


It's me, L's

You wrote this: "So I dont care if Catholics or feminists or ppl persons ignore me."

Robert, I hope you don't feel that I have ignored you in any way.
If you want to dialogue with me, just let me know. I promise not to ignore you. Your feelings are important to me, and I hope you know that. Love you dearly, L's

John Fariss said...


What about the people you ignore? I have asked you honest questions, I think more than once--questions which were simply questions, not attempted traps, etc--and you have yet to answer the first one.

I'll try again; what would I have to agree to, sign off on, accept, etc., in order for you to consider me (or anyone else) a conservative? By the same token, if one accepted some, most, or even all of those, what would make this person into a "liberal"? And finally, do you see any other possible positions between being "liberal" and "conservative," that is, are there any legidimate "moderate" positions? Are there possible shades of gray, or is everything black or white?



Tom Parker said...


You said to me:"We know that to be true because of the way the convention has consistently voted on those issues."

Let's see 10,000 people speaking for lets say 16 million. This used to be upwards of 30,000 and 40,000 but that is another story.

Also why not have more Southern Baptist be allowed to vote on issues using a secret ballot.

One simple question--If you were in charge what would you do with any SB that:

1. Had a PPL--How would you know unless you asked them?

2. A SB did not believe that drinking was a sin based on the Bible.

3. A SB believed that the Lord calls both male and female to be Pastors based on the Bible.

Byroniac said...

Robert, I'm sorry now (today) for tearing into you yesterday (and I wasn't sorry then, I admit). For me personally, I would care if others ignored me or not, especially my enemies (of course, I want friends to pay attention, but unlike my enemies, I do not need to win them over). We all have our agendas here and I do acknowledge that, but my point was more in how well we interact or should interact at least (something I can be faulted in at times).

You mentioned minority views on Alcohol, PPL, and women preachers. I hope the minority views on at least the first two continue to grow. I have no problem with alcohol consumption, as long as it does not become drunkenness. I also have very few problems with PPL (other than I feel that the majority of so-called PPL is bogus, and possibly dangerous). I admit I'm not keen on women pastors, but with each church being autonomous, if they want women pastors, more power to them I guess. I might even visit, though I doubt I would join. Some of these women preachers ARE better than the men.

A friend asked me, would I rather listen to a male pagan give a religious speech or a Christian woman preach? Well, I could be mean about it and just say, neither, and stay at home. But I'm not sure that would be the wisest choice in all circumstances. All I know for sure is that I would rather listen to a Christian woman than the pagan.

Gene S said...

What in the world is PPL???

Byroniac said...

Gene S, PPL = Private Prayer Language, aka one of the Charismatic gifts of the Spirit.

Anonymous said...


The validity and authenticity of a PPL aside, I submit that it cannot be classified as a spiritual "gift"(SG). SG's serve the sole purpose of edifying and building up the Body of Christ which includes but is not limited to adding to (Gospel proclamation), discipling (teaching), caring for (ministering to the heart), etc. Prayer, from my theological perspective serves one purpose and one purpose only and that is to commune with God so that He can reveal to us His glory and his will. That is it. Prayer serves no other purpose ultimately. Our catalyst for prayer many times is a need or a want or a hurt whether of ourselves or another. But the purpose of prayer is not to get God's blessing. All the problems that exist, exist only to make us rely on God. Sin exists for the consequences. The consequences draw us to our knees in communion with God. Once there on our knees, the resolution to the problem becomes insignificant to the glory and will of God.

I say that to express my humble opinion that a PPL does not serve the purpose of communion with God. Others may believe that the Spirit communicates back to our hearts, ministering in a way which cannot be ultimately known to us. I respect those people, but I also believe their concept of communicating with God has some fundamental errors--yet no more so than a majority of American Christians who use the Heavenly Telephone Company to place orders from the Heaven & Roebuck Catalogue and expect overnight delivery from HPS. Prayer gets us to a place to bask in His glory and since American Christianity is a bit pale, we really need to get some Son.


Byroniac said...

Kevin, sorry, I'm confused. Does prayer itself involve the exercise of spiritual gifts (SG) then?

Leaving PPL aside for the moment, I believe differently than you do on prayer in a way. I believe prayer begins with God, who puts both the desire and the ultimate "message" of prayer on our hearts by the Holy Spirit. So we wind up praying His own will back to Him. And that will can include all sorts of things, everything from the need for God's dominion and glory to be shown in one's life, to spiritual help for others, especially brethren in the church, even to prayers for government leaders to have wisdom to govern righteously. I believe if you are truly led by the Spirit in prayer, then God has already revealed His will and glory to you---you are praying it! I believe your view of prayer is slightly anemic. Trust God instead of what you think you know about prayer and what it accomplishes. Prayer does accomplish what God wants and decrees it should accomplish before the beginning of time, or else there would probably be no prayer offered (no true prayer, anyway).

Anonymous said...


We do not disagree regarding the providence of God. I believe strongly in the predestination of God in every facet of life.

As to pray, I believe modern Christendom has it wrong. Prayer has no ability to change God's mind. Prayer has no power. God has power and His Will will be accomplished whether we pray or not. Prayer is THE communicative tool to (along with Scripture) to commune with God. My current thinking is that our modern prayers insult the intelligence of God.

When we read the model prayer we are taught to focus of those for which we ask of God or the thanksgiving or direction, but it is my opinion that Jesus was trying to convey through that prayer that we should pray prayers of affirmation, knowing that God is indeed powerful and glorious enough to meet our needs and bring glory to His Son.

The problem with the modern American Christian's prayer life is biblical illiteracy. WE do not know enough about the God we serve to properly and effectively communicate with Him.


Christiane said...


It's me, L's

I can recommend a wonderful book about the OT. It is called
'Jewish Literacy' and is written by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin.

This book covers a lot of the OT from the viewpoint of a rabbi, and it is extremely well-written and easy to understand.

Most libraries carry a copy.

Hope things are going well for you.
Love, L's

Christiane said...

oops, KEVIN, it's me L's

That reference should be for Telushkin's BIBLICAL LITERACY.

He has written other books which I have read and I got the titles mixed up. Love, L's

Gene S said...


We started with a discussion of the SBC and its new Great Commission Incentive. Like a game of "Gossip" we are 100 miles away and mired in "favorite causes / special words / initialed issue stuff" that has little relevance to anything and NO relevance to the start of this blog.

No wonder an average citizen punching in a religious phrase to his search engine would have NO CLUE we are anything other than a bunch of BS artists!

Wade--post another subject and let's quit wasting the energy cited above on religious nonsense.


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

Kevin, I do not think I could agree more. Your words, "My current thinking is that our modern prayers insult the intelligence of God" are pretty blunt, but I agree. I think a lot of modern religion insults God's intelligence (and I think I know this because it insults mine as a participant, and insults the intelligence of anyone who is paying attention). And sometimes, I do not feel spiritually like praying with the congregation, so I merely bow my head and "go through the motions." It is more spiritual to pray than do that I know, but only if it comes from the heart, and I feel like lying to men (by pretending to pray) is still better than lying to God. Sometimes, I'm brave enough to not even bow my head because I truly don't feel like bothering. So I guess that's when I am completely honest (had to correct a typo; if I missed any others, I'll just live with it).