Friday, June 05, 2009

Niceness Needs to Spread Throughout the SBC

The First Baptist Church in Charleston, South Carolina began an annual event a couple of years ago called Say Something Nice Sunday which is scheduled for this Sunday, June 7th, 2009. Many Southern Baptist Associations and Conventions have adopted the day themselves, including the historic Charleston Baptist Association and the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

Mitch Carnell, a member of First Baptist and a leader in the observance, said that the special day “came out of the church’s history of respecting all Christians of whatever persuasion, proclaimed in the church covenant of 1791.”

“Think of the joy on one day,” he told The Baptist Courier, “when no Christian will say anything bad about another Christian or Christian group or anyone else. It is to be a day of affirmation, a day which celebrates our unity in diversity.”

Jim Austin, executive director-treasurer of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, in a statement released to the Courier, “You never know how a word fitly spoken may be powerfully used by God to brighten someone’s day, to encourage someone ready to give up, to inspire one to true greatness. Speak those words to someone.”

“Let only positive words flow from your lips on this one day,” Carnell suggested, and then wondered, “Who knows? Perhaps if we can manage for one day, we can push it to two days or even more.”

I am cooperating with Mitch Carnell and other authors on a book that will be published soon entitled "Christian Civility." I have read the authors' proofs and a variety of men and women who have contributed to the book have done an excellent job of showing the importance of civility in our lives and culture.

Ironically, James A. Smith, Sr, the Executive Editor of the Florida Baptist Witness who opposes "Say Something Nice Sunday" opined in an editorial the following:

"Niceness is breaking out in South Carolina Baptist churches. I pray the rest of the Southern Baptist Convention is not next."

In the spirit of this weekend let me say something nice about the editor of the Florida Baptist Witness: God seems to be in the business of answering Jim's prayers.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Christiane said...

Dear WADE,

I think 'Say Something Nice Sunday' is a wonderful idea.
I hope Mitch Carnell invites the Catholic Diocese of South Carolina to participate. I know that they would accept the invitation.
Love, L's

jasonk said...

On "Say Something Nice" Sunday, I will be joining about a thousand people as we ride bicycles across Oklahoma, in the annual event known as FreeWheel. I will be sure to participate as we pedal along the western edge of our state, saying nice things to Christians and non-Christians, garbed in spandex and enjoying the beauty of God's creation.
Great post, Wade.

Anonymous said...

If I understand James A. Smith, Sr correctly... it is not niceness that he is against, rather it is insinuation that on this day we will not point out error, call sin by name and sinners to repentance, or preach the "negative" gospel message.

In my opinion, we could probably all be nicer. However, speaking the truth in love still involves speaking the truth (which may not be considered nice). As a pastor, I am called to preach the word and whole counsel of God... not be "nice". Reprove, rebuke, and exhort is my calling... that is a 2/3 "negative" message.

Alan Paul said...

Point out error... is that the goal of the Christian life these days? To point out error? I am thinking logs in eyes right about now...

Anonymous said...

Isaiah 58:1... Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

Ephesians 5:11... And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

2 Timothy 4:2... Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; REPROVE, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

Yes, point out error... as in not every path leads to heaven, Jesus is the only way, and just because your nice doesn't mean a hill of beans to a holy God...

John Fariss said...


It took only three posts before someone found a reason to be opposed to "Say Something Nice" Sunday. I am floored. But then, Joe: God loves you, and so do I. I appreciate your perspective. May ou have a blessed weekend.

John said...


I almost put up a post about Southern Baptist Wiley Drake, but decided to wait until Monday and after the say something nice weekend. Wiley is quoted as saying he is glad the abortion doctor in Wichita was murdered. He confessed to have been personally praying "imprecatory" Psalms over the doctor for a year.

Now he says that he has been praying "imprecatory" Psalms over President Obama and the same fate awaits Obama if he does not repent.

Joe, is Wiley's example what you call "pointing out error" and "calling sinners to repentance?"

Anonymous said...


To answer your question... No. Not even close.

What I call "pointing out error" and "calling sinners to repentance"... is clearly spelled out for all to read in the last paragraph of my second comment. I wrote... "not every path leads to heaven, Jesus is the only way, and just because your nice (or a nice person) doesn't mean a hill of beans to a holy God..."

My point is simply this... the above message may not be considered "nice", but it is the truth. Please note also that I said we could all be nicer.

bapticus hereticus said...

FBC, Florida
Pastoral Prayer

Dear God, we humbly ask thee to help us appreciate and celebrate the gifts given to this community and the ones so gifted; help us to be ever thankful for the treasures of earthen vessels, and to love each as Jesus loves each. But Lord, this day could not possibly be complete without us calling attention to Bill and his whoremongering with Fran, Susan, and, I think, Beth; Sally and her slothfulness; Frank and his political irresponsibility for co-sponsoring the latest pro-choice bill; Brenda and Carol and their mean-spirited, hatemongering barbs about my preaching; Tom's boozing on bowling night; and finally, Lord, Jason and gay sex. We surely wish to invite them to worship with us again, but they compromise their relationship with you and the perception that the rest of us are a loving and faithful people, a people ready to forgive and embrace. Yea, Lord, they are so divisive and we are so concerned. So that hell will not be their destination, convict these sinners of their transgressions so that we can be a more fully equipped community of faith ready to share the love of Christ to all. In the loving name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

jasonk said...

Perhaps you have yet to read Romans 2:4, which says that it is God's kindness leads you toward repentance.
So there's more than one way to skin a sinner. Like, love. And being nice to people. Kindness...what a concept.

Tom Parker said...


You said--"Like, love. And being nice to people. Kindness...what a concept."

I wholeheartedly agree with you.

But Baptists against kindness--go figure?

John Fariss said...

Tertullian noted that some pagans of his day noticed something different about Christians. But it wasn't that they called sin, sin. Nor was it that they made a stand against their culture. It wasn't that they were unafraid to condemn those who lived far from God. What pagans noted about Christians was, "See how they love one another."

When you contrast the rapid growth of Christianity then with its declining baptisms and "black eyes" among non-Christians today, even amid our culture warriors and "imprecatory" prayers and Psalms, I have to wonder: were they on to something?

Isn't it worth at least praying about, maybe even giving a try?


Anonymous said...

Who is against kindness?

JasonK... you might want to read the rest of Romans 2, maybe even the next 2 verses after verse 4. "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:" Now... that does not sound very "nice".

Is it kindness and nice to let people go on down the path toward Hell without sounding a warning?

I am all for loving one another... but this sentence is the one that concerns me... “Let only positive words flow from your lips on this one day.” What eternal benefit comes from "only" speaking "positive" and "affirming words"?

The good news, it sounds really good once you have heard the bad news.

Tom Parker said...


Maybe the word "kindness" needs to be defined. I'm certainly not against warning people about Hell.

Gram said...

at least it's better than "bring your gun to church" sunday.

jasonk said...

Joe, honestly, I was reading your comment, and didn't know what in the world it was saying. Something about that King James English. I don't speak King James too well, I guess.

I don't think anyone is saying that hell should never enter into the conversation. I have found that when you lead with hell and damnation, you come off like the boys up in Topeka, who are well versed in what you are saying, and would likely voice a hearty amen to your comments.

My experience has shown me that when you lead with love, and kindness, you gain an audience you would not otherwise have gained, among believers and non believers. You earn the right to say what needs to be said. When you have a reputation for being a person of kindness and love, people will listen to you when you speak of hell and damnation. But when you have a reputation for speaking often of hell and damnation, you have a very hard time being heard when you speak of kindness and love.

I think I have set a record for using the terms hell and damnation in one post. No? One more time.

Hell. Damnation. That ought to get it. Am I cursing?

Anonymous said...


Agreed... We need a working definition of "kindness" and "nice". When a person says... “Think of the joy on one day, when no Christian will say anything bad about another Christian or Christian group or ANYONE ELSE"... my tolerance sensors go off. I guess I am just tired of preachers with wet noodles for a backbone. My issue. Is there a difference in "Christian Civility" and open ended tolerance and affirmation? I hope so.


The Lord Jesus mentioned the subject of Hell 3 times in the Sermon on the Mount. If you had only been around 2,000 years ago to tell Jesus that about Hell, then perhaps He would have been more sucessful. ;)

Dr. W. A. Criswell once said... "Don’t you ever let anybody persuade you that our Lord came down from heaven in order to teach us a better ethic — we had all the laws we needed — in order to give us a fine example — we had all the examples we needed.

But, what drew our Lord down from heaven was the tragic plight of the eternal damnation and judgment that we faced: sinners in the presence of a holy God. This is the blood of a new hope, of a new remission of sin in Christ’s atonement—in His blood. That is why he came. It was an awful tragedy we faced that brought our Lord down from heaven."

P.S... My experience has taught me never to rely on my experience.

P.S.S... Here is Romans 2:5-6 (NIV)... "But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done." Still doesn't sound very "nice" to me.

Jon L. Estes said...

I thought this principle was a requirement for all believers 24/7. I guess not (for some) since there is opposition to do it 1/52 of the Sundays in a year or 1/365 for every day.

What a day to be a baptist. Now we can be ugly mouthed and stand out above the fallen world.

Lee Herring said...

Dear Wade,

Having served a great church in South Carolina for almost six years, I know from personal experience that most of the conservative evangelicals I knew there understood both the whole truth of God's Word and the interpersonal value of kindness.

JasonK, enjoy FreeWheel. When are you bringing your two-wheeler to Santa Fe so you can ride some real hills? I promise to be nice to you when you do.


Chris Ryan said...

Even if I shouldn't rely on experience, my experience has been that 90% of the time someone wants to "speak the truth in love" they really just have something cruel to say and are trying to give themselves permission to say it.

If it doesn't build up, then it isn't truth and it isn't spoken in love.

Anonymous said...

Chris Ryan,

Was it "building up" when Jesus called the Pharisees a "generation of vipers"?

Was it "building up" when Jesus called the Pharisees "hypocrites"?

Was it "building up" when Jesus made a scourge of small cords, turned over the money changers tables, and drove them from the Temple saying... "Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise".

More importantly... were His words not true becasue they did not "build up"?

Sorry I won't be able to interact further but I am off to VBS family night. The Lord blessed and we had 2 saved Wednesday night!

chadwick said...


The SSNS Resolution was submitted to the 2008 SCBC Resolutions Committee . . .

As a 'bona fide' South Carolina Baptist and a 'bona fide' member of the 2008 SCBC Resolutions Committee, I can accurately state that the SSNS Resolution was rejected by the 2008 SCBC Resolutions Committee.

The committee unanimously rejected the SSNS Resolution because it was down-right 'silly.'

I don't agree with all that James Smith writes. However, I am ecstatic about his truthful rebuttal of SSNS!!! . . . Yippee!!! Yippee!!! WHOOO HOOO!! . . . You go, James!!!!

On this Lord's Day, this South Carolina Baptist pastor will preach the entire counsel of God . . . which includes telling all evildoers that God hates them!!!! (Psalm 5:5) ;)


Jeff said...


In keeping with the spirit of this post by Wade, at least your happy about the fact that God hates sinners.

Alan Paul said...

The problem is Joe, we are not the Holy Spirit (last time I checked, it is He, not us who convict).

And further, some people make it their job to point out others' errors - it seems there is nothing good they can say about someone they disagree with. They, unfortunately, usually set the tone for everyone else - in this case, everyone else in the SBC. Hence the dwindling, struggling, waning SBC. Those you seek to see God save are no longer listening to you because you are judgemental and condescending - even if you really don't seek to be.

I am sick of condemning others to hell. That is God's job, not yours. God is the one who awakens a person, not you. You can point out error all day long and nothing changes. Or you can walk along someone - even on a public forum like a blog - and walk them towards God's saving grace - to which He will awaken them to. Or you can make pointless pronouncements and generally look like defensive, argumentative religious hack that either everyone argues with or no one listens to.

Which one for you Joe? I choose the latter. In the meantime, I will leave it to the Holy Spirit to change your heart.

chadwick said...


The Gospel literally means 'GOOD NEWS.'

The Good News cannot be known until the BAD NEWS is presented.

The originator of the SSNS puts God's love on the forefront, which is incorrect.

A lost sinner does not give a rip about God's love. Before the Good News becomes GOOD NEWS, a sinner must hear, feel, & experience the BAD NEWS (Ps. 5:5)

God's greatest attribute is His holiness.

In Isaiah 6, did the cherubim did not cry, 'LOVE, LOVE, LOVE'

No, they cried, 'HOLY, HOLY, HOLY!'

"We are to tell all men on the authority of God and His holy Word that they are willful rebellious sinners.
If they are to be saved– they must know that they are obnoxious to the judgment of God,
They must know that they are responsible to God in that awful pit that they dug themselves.
They cannot change their awful sinful nature, and they are condemned by God's holy law.
They are taken captive by Satan, they sit in darkness in the prison house.
God Almighty has to perform a miracle if they ever get out . . . we are beginning to preach now." (Rolfe Barnard)


John Fariss said...
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John Fariss said...
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John Fariss said...


The two who were saved Wednesday night--that's great. But I am curious. Were they motivated when someone, whether you, a VBS teacher, or whoever, told them they were despicable sinners, having taken some other kid's pencil and thus became a damnable THIEF, or maybe peeked at a girl or boy they thought was cute and thus began the slide down the slipery slope of lust, thus were doomed and going to Hell? Or when someone, whether you, a VBS teacher, or whoever, showed them and explained to them the love and care of Jesus Christ as Lord and savior, and how that would change their lives forever, now and unto eternity?

Maybe your kids are different from the way I was, but I heard that message from the time I was a little kid, until I was in my mid-twenties, and it was like water off a duck's back. Same with all the sterile and forensic "proofs" of Jesus. But when someone lived out His love towards me--it made a difference. I listened. I couldn't help but listen.


John Fariss said...

I addressed my last comment to Joe, then when I entered it, I saw Chadwick's last comment. It goes to you too, brother.


Christiane said...

In the ancient tradition of my Church, we have the prayers of the Early Church Fathers.

Among them, are the prayers of St. Augustine. In one, he prays this:

"O, Jesus may he who loves You
not be filled with bitterness."

We must remember that the Light shone in the Darkness and the Darkness consumed it not.

Time to light some candles and say some blessings, to celebrate Christ's victory over death, and to give thanks.

Next Sunday is 'Trinity Sunday', a perfect time to celebrate 'unity in diversity' in the Body of Christ, which mimics the 'unity in diversity' in the Holy Trinity.

Not a bad day to show kindness to someone in the Body of Christ, maybe someone you never thought to speak to, or even noticed before.

If some in the SBC think that 'Say Something Nice Sunday' is 'silly', then they must not participate of course at this time.

But they know, at least,
that someone who was
"without bitterness" cared enough to come and invite them.

That's important.

That's a beginning.

They know someone cared. Love, L's

GeneMBridges said...

I think this may be a good place to post this:

David Simpson said...


My son Connor was assigned the Evangelist Billy Sunday for Famous American Day at his Christian School. He is in kindergarten (just graduated!). Here's a video link to see him reciting a part of a Billy Sunday sermon...

Billy Sunday's preaching came across fiery, but led to salvation to many, many people at the turn of the century.

Connor was recently born again (Praise the Lord!), and I can't help but think that he was drawn to Christ by the love of his family, pastor, and Sunday School teachers, but also by what he learned when he did this report.

You gotta know the truth to respond to the truth...

Very thought-provoking piece, Wade...

Darrell said...

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."

Seems to be this could be a misuse of scripture. Suppose we start with the HALF TRUTHS and SPIN of some of the CURRENT LEADERSHIP as examples of unfruitful works of darkness. (can anyone say covering up for MOLESTERS)

Lets apply "But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great,because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked AND YOU WILL BE SONS OF THE MOST HIGH."


sure is easy to twist scripture to make us seem meanspirited and holy (self rightous), don't ya think!

LOVE YOU ENEMIES, (who was it said that?) oh yeah, it was my Saviour!
BLESS THOSE WHO CURSE YOU (once again Jesus of Nazereth)


I dunno joe, seems to me like niceness and kindness are throughout the Word of God and from the Lips of God.

I have preached in over a hundred churches, jails, biker rallys, schools, nurshing homes,RV parks, bonfires, etc and the meanest people I deal with are some of the current pastors and leaders in SBC life on the left and right.

Shucks, I even pray for the Baptists Newspaper editors.


In His Kindness

Christiane said...

From St. Matthew, Chapt. 25

'for I was a stranger and you welcomed me. . '

Sunday is only one day. Just one day. Someone wanted to celebrate the Gospel in a special way: extending kindness and caring to others. Some called it 'silly'.
But then others remembered the Words of Christ in Matthew: 'for I was a stranger, and you welcomed Me. . . '
And they thought about it. And quietly, sometime on next Sunday, they will go out and 'be silly': they will be nice to a stranger, in His Name. Just one day to welcome a stranger?

Oh to be a silly fool for Christ's Sweet Sake. And to lay my pride down at the foot of His Cross to be covered by His Blood!
I can't wait for Sunday, I think I'll start today. :) L's

John Fariss said...

Dear David,

I may be old (56) but I wasn't around in Billy Sunday's time for him to try and evangelize me.

First, David, I was speaking for myself.

Second, a lot of things have "worked" (i.e., methodologies, strategies, etc.,) in one time that do not in another. Church history is full of examples.

And I will add a third: when I was unsaved, I had no comprhension of the depth of my sin, and refused to believe it, no matter how firey the messenger was. I was a good person, I cared, I was honest, etc. It was only after my salvation that I began to comprehend what sin really was. Now maybe that's just me; but then I am speaking of my experiences and perspectives.


GeneMBridges said...

I dunno joe, seems to me like niceness and kindness are throughout the Word of God and from the Lips of God.

True, but so are taunt songs. We should avoid sanitizing our language in an extraScriptural fashion. That's just legalism masquerading as being "nice." What happens in that event is the imposition of speech codes.

The problem before us isn't whether or not to be "nice," as if there is no binary choice to be not nice, as if we should be always nice or always disagreeable. Rather, the trick is knowing how to speak and when to speak. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is be quiet. Perhaps the problem in the SBC isn't so much a lack of Christian charity; rather it's the presence of legalistic speech codes on the one hand and the failure of some to keep their mouths shut when they shouldn't say anything at all.

Chris Ryan said...

Joe White,

As I said, 90% of the time people just want justification to say mean things. The other 10% of the time hard things actually need said.

In regards to Jesus' quotes, I'm sure He was absolutely correct to call the Pharisees vipers and hypocrites. But you find far more Pharisees in the church than outside of it. Speak the words of condemnation to the church who isn't living by the grace that saves us.

Did those words build up? Yes. Can they today? Yes. But you have to put them in the right context, speaking to the right people. Jesus speaks those words and drives from the temple those who should know better. To those who were outsiders, Jesus invited them in, treated them as a friend, ate with them, and showed them by His love the love of the Father.

It seems that our evangelism techniques involve speaking harsh words to those who don't know better and ignoring the shortcomings of those who should. If that is the case, then we have inverted things. And then we wonder why the techniques don't work...

Elizabeth Prata said...

I am reading a pre-bub copy of John Macarthur's "The Jesus You Can't Ignore: What You Must Learn from the Bold Confrontations of Christ"

Publisher Blurb: "Meek and mild. Politically correct. A great teacher. These are the popular depictions of Jesus. But they aren't the complete picture. Maybe because it's uncomfortable, or maybe because it's inconvenient, Christians and non-Christians alike are overlooking the fierceness of the Savior, His passionate mission to make the Gospel clear and bring people into the Kingdom of God. A mission that required he sometimes raise his voice and sometimes raise a whip."

Some quotes from the book:
"Formal statements of the evangelical position have become so vague and devoid of real conviction that no one seems sure whether they actually mean anything anymore. Chic values such as diversity, tolerance, collegiality, agreeableness, and academic freedom seem to have eclipsed biblical truth in the evangelical hierarchy of virtues."

"...but the one word that seemed to be key to the document was "civility"...the underlying assumption was that 'civility' always obliges us to disagree "agreeably" and avoid at all costs any hint of combativeness or serious contention...the new rules cal for perpetually friendly conversation, ideological largesse, non-judgmental transparency, and ecumenical tranquility."

"...In such a climate, evangelical dialogue about doctrine seems to have become a mostly-aimless conversation for conversation's sake."

Book out in July. Food for thought

Eric James Moffett said...

The editorial is based on the premise that kindness means the exclusion of the gospel. This is false. Besides, the kindness Sunday is meant for civility to be shown among Christians. To speak out against this shows the heart of fundamentalism, which carries with it some sort of 'cut throat' us against them mentality.

Michael Ruffin said...

Good grief.

"God is love."

Y'all rip that one up. I really believe some of you would be willing to try.

Not that I mean anything un-nice by that!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Elizabeth Prada: I have read John MacArthur for many years, and while I don't always agree with him, sometimes disagree too. I also think to read the Bible, John MacArthur etc, in context would also be helpful. First who did Jesus do this to, religious leaders who were legalistic and the money changers. How was he with sinners, the very ones he would eat with?

There is a disease among Southern Baptist life and Fundamentalist life called just being plain mean. Enjoying pointing out "error" and sin. Yes enjoy. Being nice is at least erring on the side of not hurting someone, not speaking when you should just shut up, as Gene Bridges pointed out, and just treating people kindly.

Joe: You refer to Jesus speaking to the Pharisees, who were they? Religious leaders who went around pointing out what people were doing wrong, supposedly for their own good. Ironic isn't it?

Debbie Kaufman said...

concerning John MacArthur, that should read, I don't always agree with him, but agree with him more than I do not. That's what I get after reading Elizabeth and Joe's comments. My blood pressure went up. Alot.

Elizabeth Prata said...

Hi Eric,

If you were speaking of the Macrthur blurbs in saying: "The editorial is based on the premise that kindness means the exclusion of the gospel. This is false"

I do not agree. In my experience, calls for "civility" (niceness) usually means excluding certainty and overt conviction. Which, by definition, excludes utterance of the fact of absolute truth of the gospel.

Pointing out heresy, false teaching is subsumed under the climate of this cloak of conversational niceness that weighs heavily on the Christian before they dare to speak. This is wrong.

Jesus' harshest words were reserved for institutionalized religious hypocrisy. This same hypocrisy exists today, more permeatingly, if I may say so. Yet we are told to face it with civility, tolerance, and agreeability. This is wrong.

I am not advocating NOT being nice. We should be. But sometimes we are not going to be nice because the gospel offends. Today's current climate calls for "niceness" is subtly meaning that we ALWAYS have to be nice, when sometimes, we must be unpopular and not nice. "O ye brood of vipers' comes to mind.' John the Baptist didn't say "Let's retire to the cafe and have a carmel latte whilst we discuss this agreeably.'

Paul confronting Bar-Jesus said "You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?" which isn't all that civil... but in today's climate of subtly forced civility his statement would be looked upon as unnecessary and distasteful and would not likely be said at all. It is this climate that actually prevents calling out falsity when it becomes necessary.

As far as Nice Sunday goes, I think it is very very sad that we need to be reminded to say something nice. A scene comes to mind: Jesus sending Peter, Paul, John the Baptist out to the harvest field: "Bye bye boys! Remember to say something nice today!"

How about saying something truthful today.

Elizabeth Prata said...

Debbie K, you asked how was Jesus talking with sinners, the ones He ate with. He was nice.

The point is that the climate of civility is subtle pressure to stay away from expressing fierce conviction and absolute truth. "Oh you can't say that there is only one way to heaven, that is intolerant! Uncivil! Just not nice!"

Jesus in His own synagogue, where he was known and grew up, effectively told a whole group of religious people that they needed to be saved. Today, under the insidious creep of "civility" that would be considered a non-no. It's just not nice to say those things!

You see where this leads...

Truth always sparks contention. We can't be afraid of it.

Elizabeth Prata said...

good comment. Thanks for making it

chadwick said...


I will take your post serious when you change the title of your book to, "SOFTBALL religion."


Christiane said...

‘My Peace I Leave With You,
My Peace I Give To You.’

The sort of 'kindness' Christ asks of us is not 'weakness in the face of evil'.

No, it comes from the strength of our belief that the welfare of another is as important as our own. That others deserve the respect and consideration we would give to any brother. At the deepest levels of Christianity, we are asked to return good for evil, not rail against the darkness.. To 'return good for evil' is not in our human nature. It can only be done by people of strong faith, empowered by the Holy Spirit. But it can be done.

Showing 'kindness', 'niceness', or whatever name you call Christian charity, is showing the love of Christ for another, no matter what their circumstances..

Those who cannot bring themselves to reach out in this way are NOT to be condemned, but prayed for. They are fearful people and they see their world as a threatening dark place filled with evil and sin.
For them, the Light of Christ shines too dim to give them comforting.
They want to save people. They want to help. But they need to be more trusting of God's infinite mercy. Those most in need of their help would respond to a hug more than a thump on the head with a Bible. I know this to be true. It is Christian love than overcomes evil. If we don’t know this by now, then we don’t know Christ.

I've gone into places to work where most people would not be caught dead, in the inner city. I know what evil is. You cannot meet it with judgmental superiority. Christ teaches a better way. And the Holy Spirit to hold out our hand to those who need Him.

Being ‘nice’ to another human being might just be the only time that day that anyone shows caring for them. For God’s Sake, don’t deny them that.

People who are afraid to show love to others need to read the Gospels again and again and again until the fear of being kind is gone. It’s when you let go of that fear that God can begin to use your gifts to help others.
Trust me, the hurting people of this world do not need your 'contentiousness', they need Christ's loving compassion.

Is it so ‘silly’ to show civility to other Christians on the Lord’s Day?
How, then can we ever learn to love the unlovable ones in our midst.?
And we must love them, for His Sake. We must try, as He has commanded.
Be not afraid, He goes before us always.
May we abide together, as Christians, in His Peace. if only for one day a year? I think we need the practice. :)
Love, L’s

John Fariss said...

Amen, Christine.

There is a more excellent way.


Chris Ryan said...



I appreciate your insistence that people run back to the gospels. In Protestant life, we have become very Paul-centric. When we walk people through "how the Bible says to be saved" all we do is quote a few verses from Romans. It is almost like we really believe what Bultmann believed: you don't need Christ you only need the theological interpretation of Christ.

No. Let us flee to the Gospels. Let us flee to the life of Christ so that we can learn how to live. How to live a better way.

Eric James Moffett said...



I agree that the gospel calls for division at times, but the point of the Sunday event is to promote civility AMONG Christians. While I still think that God's kindness, shown through our own kindness, can lead to repentance, the point of FBC Charleston's day concerns those who are already Christ followers.

You point out that pointing out heresy is something that civility does not cover. What heresy are you speaking of? Fundamentalism has led us to cry heresy at anything different. A question of Christology, let's battle it out. A question of cussing pastors, let's have a chat.

Darrell said...

"and the failure of some to keep their mouths shut when they shouldn't say anything at all."
I's be sorry if'n i's upset ya'll cus i speaked so bad. after al, bein' from the hills and all, i jus sumtine doesn't git all that high flutin stuff in talkin lik sum folk. but i did notice won of them big shots wer fired for lian and there was over 100 folks told the boss mans so. but when he was fired them big daws sayd it were fer sumpin' else, not lian. that there were a lye and hunderds new so. they were i witnesses

However, I do notice that whenever some cannot or will not engage the conversationthat they cannot or will not defend theur position then they attack and get snotty.


"love your enemies" kind to one another"..etc.

When a person cannot or will not engage, u know, the Word of God, the Inerrant Holy Word of God, Often, that person is the very one who ask or demands others to shut up.

so's i really luvs my Saviour whos gav me the breth o'live and so's i's wil be a kepin' ontellin' folks out thare that Jesus died for them an we'uns shud ALWAYS be nice, cus Jesus said to luv ur enemies.

In the Holy name of A Holy God

Chuck Andrews said...

Just some thoughts.

Haven’t you ever met someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a nice way that you want to say thank you. The nicest words that can come out of our mouths are telling people that they are sinners and in need of our Savior. It’s usually not what we say but how we say it that turns people off.

The problem with the ones who want to preach the wrath of God is that they usually are guilty of transference. That is, they think they are the expression of God’s anger. Yet, James tells us “the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” If it is God’s wrath then seems to me He is fully capable of expressing it on His own and in His own way.

Besides, wasn’t the wrath of God satisfied on the cross? “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” Now that sounds like a nice way to say ‘repent!’

We have a High Attendance Sunday why not have a Say Something Nice Sunday?

Be Nice,


Jeff said...

Folks, its one Sunday, its not 52 Sundays.

Jeff said...

Elizabeth is there contention amongst the Trinity?

Darrell said...

Chuck Andrews:

Anonymous said...

Alan Paul,

I am tired and will be brief. I am not condemning people to hell. I am speaking the truth of John 3:18... "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

Tom Kelley said...

Is it Sunday yet? Do I still have time to get in a comment that some may feel is not nice? :)

If “nice” and “positive” are intended to convey civility and kindness, I’m all for it, and not just one Sunday a year. I know that many times I should be less critical and more encouraging. But if “nice” means not saying something that someone else might not like hearing, then, no thanks -- I get enough of that sort of political correctness already.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from Steve Brown: “Jesus didn't die to make Christians 'nice'. Gentle? Yes. Kind? Yes. Loving? Free? Of course! But NOT nice! In fact... you are now free to be bold. Sometimes boldness can be seen as quite offensive.

Tom Kelley said...

Word verification: precat. The politically correct term for an unborn kitten.

Anonymous said...

John Fariss,

To answer your question... all of the above.

The young man was 8 years old, a child of a member family. My mother and his grandfather counseled with him. The young lady was 9 years old and has been coming to our Wednesday night program for 2 years. My wife and I counseled with her. Both understood that they were sinners and deserved to go to hell, that Jesus died and rose for their salvation, and if they would repent and believe they would be saved.

On a side note, we had one other young lady indicate that she would like to be saved. Her VBS teacher and one of our Deacons counseled with her and determined that she was not ready, understanding, and that she should wait to make a profession.

John, I am not surprised that by your mid-twenties the message was like water off a duck's back to you. The Puritans have a saying, "The same sun that melts the ice hardens the clay." The word of God has this effect.

I take my calling and charge to preach the word very seriously, thus I am not willing to take even one Sunday off. No, not even to be "nice".

Jeff said...

Perhaps, we need to think about how we speak the truth, not just that we are speaking the truth.

Let us speak the truth in love.

Writer said...


Be nice? You're kidding, right? I'm up to my elbows in "nice" here in the deep South.

"Nice" is the reason we're more concerned about appearances than transparency.

"Nice" is the reason why our churches don't do church discipline.

"Nice" is the essence of the Southern culture of cover-up for vanity's sake.

We don't need more nice. We need more biblical transparency. At least we do here in my small corner of the Southern United States.


absonjourney said...

This is not going to be "nice" but it's not Sunday yet. Only Southern Baptists could be so dumb as to take the word nice and make it mean the exclusion of the Gospel. How about this, instead of be nice Sunday how about not pick a fight Sunday, or be civil in disagreeing with one another Sunday, or for some of you Shut up and listen Sunday because you can't ever say anything nice.

This is the most ignorant argument I have ever heard of. The editor of the Florida paper should be fired and sent back to grammar school to learn the definition of nice. those of you who agree with him could be his classmates. I am now convinced that when Jesus arrives on a white horse southern Baptists will argue about whether it's really Him or not. You guys can fight about anything.

Sorry that wasn't very nice but it was true. Are you satisfied?

Tom Kelley said...

Sounds like maybe you are a transplanted Yankee who doesn't appreciate the niceties of Suthren gentelity. Besides, no true Suthrener would consider North Carolina the deep South -- heck, it's even got the word "North" in it!

chadwick said...

"Hardball Religion is not a work of candid self-examination, so the reader should not expect revealing moments of second-guessing or regret on the author’s part. We searched diligently to find where Burleson might acknowledge any momentary error of judgment, harshness of tone or bitterness of spirit, though we found none." (Ben Cole & Marty Duren)

Writer said...

Tom Kelley,

Hesh yur mouth! :)

I was borned and raised in North Carolina. I ain't no Yankee.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Debbie Kaufman said...

Les: Kindness and Biblical transparency are one in the same as far as I am concerned. In fact Biblical transparency produces kindness. We remember what we were before Christ and what Christ did for us on the cross. Church discipline can be done, should be done in kindness and love. It's how God disciplines us. For the same purpose of restoration.

chadwick: Kindness is something that is seeming to elude you in your comments. Hardball religion is something I was saturated with. Believe me, the bruises took a long time to heal. It is what is causing some to forsake churches and I can't say I blame them.

Rex Ray said...

Haven’t read comments. Just thought I tell that one Sunday my uncle told a young couple he appreciated them joining the church and taking an active part.

They didn’t tell him they had an appointment the next day with a lawyer to get a divorce.

After his remark, they decided to postpone the appointment, and they’re still married forty plus years later.

Debbie Kaufman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie Kaufman said...

Elizabeth:There are those who have answered you better than I could have. :)

Either we take and practice the Bible as a whole book or not. 1 John 4:7-21 is in the Bible is it not?

Anonymous said...

"be civil in disagreeing with one another"

This is the key.

I read here but rarely comment. Know why? Because if I say something like "Calvin" and "reject" in the same sentence, I'm showered with the most vile hatred-- by "fellow believers". They say I'm the one being uncivil, but when I look at my words and compare them to theirs, I think they've got it backwards.

It seems that the greatest sin a believer can commit these days is to merely disagree with someone's pet doctrine. They equate disagreement with personal attack, no matter how it's stated. Recently I wrote to a prophecy teacher I have had great respect for, concerning a disagreement on a side issue ("tithing" is not a salvific matter, but some seem to think so). The response was rude, condescending, and sarcastic, even though my expression of disagreement was respectful and polite.

I know others who have had similar experiences, and though we all ache for fellowship, we feel like "a restless wanderer on the earth" for the crime of disagreeing on "disputable matters". And this is not a recent or infrequent issue either (see old rants Here and Here).

I'm all for letting people be who they are, and passionately defending their personal convictions. But attacking the person (judging motive, baseless accusations, and many other fallacies), especially a fellow believer, instead of the issues, is surely a sign of not loving people but viewing them as enemies. Love confronts, but it does not "beat its fellow servants". Love disagrees, but it does not abandon others at the first sign of non-conformity. Love does not seek to control, coerce, or condemn.

There are many of us out here in the cold and rain, quietly going "about our Father's business", rejected by our own spiritual siblings. But the Body is divided in many ways (clergy/laity, male/female, etc.) in spite of Gal. 3:28, in spite of 1 John 4:7-8, in spite of 1 Cor. 13, in spite of all the "one-anothers" of scripture.

If healing is ever to take place, each of us must make sure we're not as bad or worse than those we consider enemies-- and then examine our enemy list in light of scripture.

::runs back to the shadows::

Texan said...

"Nice" is a word that is truly in the eyes of the beholder. What some of us would consider nice is rude and condescending to others.

"Transparency" is another buzz word that makes people think they are being spiritual. If we were all transparent we would probably all run from each other. The only person you need to be transparent before is the Lord. Wade does not owe anyone any transparency--and certainly not some young theologians (in their own eyes of course).

Forget being nice and just learn to be Biblical. The "owners manual" pretty well covers all our behavior--now we just need to learn to obey it since we all think we are experts of what it says.

Seems like obedience to the Word is not working too well among Southern Baptists...

Ramesh said...

Amen to Paula Fether's comment. Paula articulates very well.

I understand this post, but I posit that being "nice" is only the surface behavior.

A better way to look at it is, if we seek Our Lord's Peace, then niceness, kindness and love will flow from that. And we do not even have to make an effort to love people, for it will flow from the source.

Some of you might take some offense to what I might write here ...

My parents are Hindus and I have been raised as a Hindu. Later in life I have become a Christian.

In Hindu and Indian thinking, Yoga and Meditation are big to seek this Peace. Now I notice in US that Yoga is very popular. I practice Yoga more for my body than for my spirit. It helps me for lot of medical problems. I also practice Meditation, but I have learned to substitute Christian based meditation than Hindu based meditation. The goal here is also to seek Our Lord's Peace. But the immediate benefits to me are increased concentration or if you will, focus. From Hindu texts on Yoga and Meditation, they say it takes many, many years before one reaches this Peace. I have also seen lot of similarities between Christian Saints of Old and their practices of Meditation and with Hindu Meditation.

I clearly understand the differences of God's Peace, each chooses to aspire, for clearly Hindu and Christian religions are very different. But some of the techniques are similar.

The interesting thing I have found is, and slowly discovering and re-discovering, is that one does not have to spend years in Meditation to attain or reach Our Lord's Peace.

I will be honest enough to say, I only have glimpses of this Peace. For now that is sufficient.

The trick seems to be Faith. Or a child like trusting of the Father.

Here is an excellent sermon by Pastor Wade on this topic of Our Lord's Peace, #5. Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), of the series The Christ We Know. If you watch the video, it's titled "The Christ We Know: PRINCE OF PEACE", December 28, 2008 - Part 5 of series on Isaiah 9:6.

Ramesh said...

Excerpt from the above sermon of Pastor Wade's sermon notes:

III. When and where Jesus Christ reigns over all, peace rains all over.

Do you remember that time that you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ? Some of you know the feeling. It was as if the weight of the world was removed from you. There was a sense of wholeness, rest, safety and security. But what happens later? "What causes wars and what causes fightings among you? Is it not your passions which are at war in your bodies? You desire and do not have . . ." (James 4:1-2). When a parent desires peace and quiet but the children are all excited, anger erupts. The girl desires to get married, but her fiancee breaks the engagement, peace leave. A political party desires to control government, but fails, so it smears the opposition. A nation desires a safer border, so it invades another land. "You desire and do not have, so you kill" -- or steal, or exploit, or lie, or grumble, and so peace vanishes.

The gospel of peace does not demand that we cease to desire, but that we direct our desire toward God and discover that the promises purchased for us by Jesus Christ on the cross and secured for us by his resurrection -- these promises are satisfying beyond measure. And so, if you are here on this last Sunday of 2008, and you have unfulfilled desires and longings, turn your focus to Jesus. He is the Prince of Peace

Christiane said...

Good Morning EVERYONE,

It's me, L's

I am sharing this morning from a sermon given by one of the Early Church Fathers, St. Augustine.

"the Father will give what we ask if we love one another.

For love is itself the chief gift of Him who hath chosen us when as yet we were fruitless.

It is not we that chose him, but he that chose us, and ordained us, that we should go, and bring forth fruit, which same is that we love one another." St. Augustine

Some among us advocate for a 'tough love' to be administered to others.
But that was not His Way.

Is it 'tough love' that binds up the wounds of a stranger in Jesus' parable, or hugs an AIDS baby?
Is it 'tough love' that brings us to where we can share a meal with a homeless person, as equals, and be 'with them' as a brother?
Or give a drink of water to a disabled child who can only swallow a few drops at a time?
Or offer kindness to someone who has been unkind to us?

We have a lot to learn. It's only been two thousand years, since He came to teach us. I suppose we should not expect so much of ourselves. If we are choking on saying something 'nice' to someone on a Lord's Day, how little we have come along The Way.

We have a lot to learn. May God have mercy on all of us, for we are each other's keepers.

At least, let us 'go through the motions'. Who knows? Maybe it will become a habit. Maybe our children will see and learn from what we had to 'fake'.

Maybe our children will begin to do what is so difficult for us because of our pride. And they will be able to understand the Words of the Lord, as we could not. At least we can try for our children's sake.

The children are watching and learning. What do they see?
Love, L's

chadwick said...

Solution for SaySomethingNiceSunday (tomorrow):

Every SBC church have a satellite telecast of the sermons of:
1)Joel Osteen
2)Rick Warren
3)Robert Schuller

Surely no one will be offended and everyone will leave their house of worship with the 'warm-fuzzies' feeling better about themselves.

Case Closed!!!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Thanks ThyPeace... you always have something "nice" to say. :-)

Paul Burleson said...


It seems to me that too much is being made of too little to deserve so much said.

"Say something nice" Sunday. I suppose what they are asking is...well, first let me say what I DON'T believe they are asking.

They are NOT asking to say everybody IS nice. They are NOT asking to say that everybody can believe ANYTHING and be alright in doing so. They are NOT saying anyone can believe anything and STILL be a nice person. [Terrorists/militant "christians" disprove that.]

I hear them saying that, if you will, choose to say something nice about anybody you speak to or you speak about this one day.

It reminds me of that old story of the little girl who got upset at her mother for being so positive all the time. She said to her mother. "I believe you could find somehing nice to say about the devil." Her mother thought a moment and answered "Well, you could say he is a persistent fellow."

The devil isn't nice, isn't truth, isn't good, isn't even a believer but I believe he is persistent as that mother said. Choosing to say that on one day doesn't negate all the other facts about him. And it CERTAINLY doesn't make one blind to reality. Just evidences an all to often fogotten choice I can make. To choose to say something nice about anybody once in a while.

It's really a little thing. I know it's the little foxes that spoil the vines. But I also know it's the little grain of faith that can move mountains. A little word spoken in grace and truth can heal a person. [Truth about that one thing you are speaking about only.]

A little grain of a nice statement may do a lot of good as some seem to think it can do some bad.


Christiane said...


It's me, L's

I read your list, which seems strange, but then I am not a Baptist.

May I share some ideas from my Catholic perspective about how to celebrate tomorrow?

1. Cook extra food and take some over to an elderly person in your neighborhood.

2. Take some toys to a group home for children with developmental disabilities: they receive a lot of attention at Christmas, but are often 'forgotten' the rest of the year.

3. Call someone in your family with whom you have had an estrangement or a disagreement. Tell them that you are sorry that you have not spoken: tell them that you love them.

4. Go into a neighborhood in the city where there are restaurants and where sometimes the homeless ask for money. Invite one of them into a restaurant: buy them a meal and sit with them while they eat. Tell them Jesus loves them.

5. Write a letter to a soldier in Iraq: To Any Soldier.
Tell them that you appreciate everything that they are doing. Send them some cookies and brownies that you make with your own hands.

6. Visit someone in hospital. Someone you don't know very well, but just go and see them. The Lord will tell you what to say. :)

7. Go to a nursing home where someone in your church is. Bring flowers from your garden, that you grew yourself. Spend the day there. Help others around the person you are visiting. The Lord will lead you in your efforts.

8. Visit a shut-in. If they have no one there to help, care for them as you would want to be cared for: the dishes, cook, clean-up, scrub a bathroom, fresh linens, some laundry. And a hug.

9. Visit a new neighbor. Take over some food. Invite them for a cup of coffee.

10. You, by now, have probably thought of your own way to celebrate tomorrow. But remember:
it's not about 'receiving' warm-fuzzies. It's about the giving.

Try one of these, if you can.
Is it 'being nice'? You bet.
Like that man whose sermon you mentioned: Rick Warren, who said, 'it's not about 'us''

I'm a Catholic. I will get sent out of Mass tomorrow, as always, with these instructions:
'GO. You are dismissed to love and serve the Lord.'
I will try. I will try.

Some ideas I share. I hope it helps you a little bit, Chadwick.
Welcome to Wade's blog. I have learned more about Christ from the people here than I knew when I first came to this blog.
I'm glad you are here with us.
Perhaps, you will find out what I have learned: 'That God is in this place, and I did not know it'.

Love, L's

Jon L. Estes said...

I remember visiting for an afternoon at a leprosy camp outside of Ogbomosho, Nigeria. I remember thinking they did not need a hard hitting sermon about the ugliness of sin and the future it brings but rather the love of God for them, just as they are (diseased and all) because his love was a gift offered to remove the inner disease which would lead to one day having their outer disease removed.

Yes, we dealt with sin but only in the context of its debilitating results but that there was a man named Jesus who loved them, in their sin, and was offering a way out of their sin... Stressing the love of God much greater than the sin of man.

His love is greater, so let's keep our words in the same perspective. This, at least, works best for me.

Ramesh said...

Texan said ...:
I checked the Biblical list of people who will not be in Heaven and Southern Baptists was not among them; however, backbiters, adulterers, and fornicators were. Perhaps some of the thinking on this blog is a bit deluded.

That is not a "nice" comment, especially on Christa Brown's blog, Stop Baptist Predators. The above comment was made in this post, Stop Baptist Predators Blog > Hottest Places in Hell.

Anyway, there are lot of comments following Texan there, that take exception to Texan's comments.

Elizabeth Prata said...

You guys, (Debbie, Jeff, Eric) I'm NOT saying not to be civil.

I am endeavoring to point out the dangers of pressure to be civil, when the climate for civility permeates discourse to the extent that it is pressure not to speak up or speak out. Example: There were many times that the author of this blog in the past three years spoke up, civilly by the strict definition. That definition was that he spoke politely, humbly, sincerely. But that is not the kind of civility I am talking about nor is it the kind of civility that is permeating the secular and the Christian discourse.

He was accused of incivility because he simply spoke about things that were outside the status quo. Or spoke of truths that others didn't want to hear. Then he was accused of "incivility".

I've seen it happen over and over. 'Civility' or "niceness' has become a code word for "DON'T speak up about heresy. DON'T speak up about doctrinal errors from the pulpit. Go along to get along. Be nice." The climate of forced and inappropriate (where it applies) niceness is defeating Christianity through the apathy, or the fear, that this subtle pressure instilled in too many Christians who do not speak up because they do not want to be perceived as 'uncivil' simply for speaking up for truth. Or accused of being brutish in speech when they were simply asking questions. It is a successful satanic tactic. And you guys are falling for it.

Elizabeth Prata said...

to be even clearer:

Satan has taken this word "civility" and corrupted it. We understand the definition of the word is to be used as 'speaking politely and humbly' when speaking up. Satan has adopted this word to mean DO NOT SPEAK UP OR ELSE.

And and the majority of the people in both the secular and church worlds take it to mean the latter. So they do not speak up, even for Truth.

Joe Blackmon said...

Are there SBC Churches with female pastors? Yes, FBC Decatur.

Are there SBC churches with openly homosexual members who are not called to repentance? Yes, Broadway Baptist. Hopefully after this summer's convention that will read "...former SBC Churches..." (crosses fingers).

Are there SBC churches with members who believe the Conservative Resurrgence was wrong and that we need to return to a more "Mainstream" (translation-liberal) denomination? Yes. Dozens unfortunantly.

Seems to me the SBC is already WAY too nice as it is.

Anonymous said...

Are there SBC Churches with female pastors? Yes, FBC Decatur.

Are there SBC churches with openly homosexual members...

So "female pastors" is on the same list of SINS as homosexuality.


Tom Kelley said...

I appreciate and relate to your comments dated Sat Jun 06, 09:47:00 AM 2009.

Regarding your recent question -- unfortunately, there are those who seem to consistently bring up the issues of women pastors and homosexuality at the same time, giving the impression that they see them as equivalent and as the greatest dangers facing the SBC today.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tom! :-)

Yes, they do. But if anyone tries to bring up "complementarianism" and wife abuse in the same list, suddenly the "slippery slope" argument needs some fine print. And it's this sort of double standard that contributes to disputes.

Joe Blackmon said...

So "female pastors" is on the same list of SINS as homosexuality.

As far as I'm aware there's only one "list" of sins and that is the sins that are listed in the word of God.

Anonymous said...

Is "female pastors" on that list? Please give the reference.

Stephen said...

Someone at the SBC meeting needs to confront Wiley Drake and speak the truth in love to seek his repentance. If he does not repent, the SBC should move to disassociate his church from the SBC.

Lydia said...

"Satan has taken this word "civility" and corrupted it. We understand the definition of the word is to be used as 'speaking politely and humbly' when speaking up. Satan has adopted this word to mean DO NOT SPEAK UP OR ELSE."

Amen Elizabeth.

I would prefer for myself and for all of us a 'humility Sunday'. One can be humble and speak the truth. Hopefully with tears in their eyes because their hearts are broken over the lack of the fear of God in our churches and our Convention.In any event, Humility Sunday would put the celebrity pastors on par with the nobodies in the pews.

The whole area of 'nice' needs to be defined better. Too often it is defined as not speaking any negative truths at all or at least no negative truths about leaders. It would mean I could not speak out about Patterson dismissing Gilyard's victims as not being convincing and promoting the sexual pervert to pastor another church where there were MORE victims. It would mean I cannot say he was cruel and unbiblical in his treatment of Dr. Klouda. Because these things would not be 'nice'.

What about us being nice to their victims and speaking up for them?

If Joe, Joe and Chad are so concerned with the WHOLE counsel of God, then why do they ignore the not so nice behavior of the Patterson's of the SBC?

At the very least, I hope no one here agrees with this minister who taught:

"If you get upset with your pastor or your staff, believe it or not, we're gifts of God. These are gifts from Jesus Christ. He established this. And remind yourself: when we get upset and when I want to grumble, when I may not like something, do you know who you are grumbling against? The head. Jesus Christ. You're not grumbling against the staff, you're not grumbling against your neighbor, you're not grumbling against your pastor. Your unsettledness is with Jesus Christ."

Kevin King, FBC Jax

I don't think Gilyard's victims see him as a gift from God. Or would a gift from God call his fellow brother in Christ a sociopath for the newspapers?

Would he be defining grumbling as disagreement? Dissent? Is he defining a pastor as some sort of earthly priest who is specially anointed and not to be questioned.

There is some scary stuff out there. A lot of elevation of mere men going on. Men who have no business preaching or disciplining others in any capacity. Well, at least not until they fear God more than they want to elevate themselves as some sort of earthly authority over others in the Body.

Was my comment not nice?

Gram said...

"it seems to me that too much is being made of too little to deserve so much said."

i agree with you, paul. it seems that many who post comments just argue for the sake of arguing. yawn.

Jeff said...

Hey Joe, There just might be homosexuals in your church. Or is your church full of perfect people.

What do you think?

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


Both of you have me thinking about what is considered 'nice' when 'speaking out' to others in the Church.

I think I have worked up a personal ethical and moral formula that helps me sort this out a bit. It goes like this:
'if I'm the 'target', I have the choice not to respond negatively. I CAN choose to engage the person on a different level, trying to understand what is behind the attack. Sometimes, when I have done this, I find out they just needed to get something out and I was a 'safe' target because I won't reject them, and they know this.

HOWEVER, if another person is the target of some very vicious treatment, then I MUST NOT BE SILENT. I MUST SPEAK OUT IN THEIR DEFENSE. Not to do so is to be inhumane, as my silence and inaction can only encourage the bully who is harming the victim.

Two situations. The difference is this: I cannot be silent when my brother suffers. Or I am also am guilty, in my silence, of his suffering.

I guess there are different levels of 'nice' among Christians: some who look the other way when their leadership is in 'wolf mode', respecting authority in silence.
These Christians seem fearful to me, not willing to risk their position in the eyes of the 'authority' who is abusive.

Then there are the other types of Christians. They speak out in defense of the battered sheep, even when it costs them, especially when it costs them.
I think this may be the 'higher road', more Christ-like. Did not Our Lord care about those who were oppressed? Did He not come to redeem the oppressed? And we know it costs Him. We know this.

So, what is 'nice' may be relative to what people regard as what is 'Christian'. Interesting to read all these comments.
I really appreciate learning from both of you. Love, L's


Thank you for sharing. I thought you might be a fellow contemplative. Have you ever prayed vigils, or kept the Hours of the Divine Office, or something similar? I know that many Protestants do this in monastic settings and privately, particularyly the Episcopalians and the Anglicans. The Methodists are getting into it, too. Maybe you could form a group of Baptist Benedictines. (I really am serious.) It would be wonderful to introduce Baptists to the beautiful ancient monastic ways of praying.
I think it would bring them some peacefulness and center them more on Our Lord. What do you think?
Love L's

Ron said...

I think we need to seriously consider Stephen’s call for the SBC to disfellowship Wiley Drake’s church at the SBC this summer. In his interview on Fox he not only said the death of the abortion doctor in Kansas was an answer to his prayer, he said he was praying for President Obama’s death. He then said he believed that the abortion doctor’s death was arranged by Obama supporters so that they could use it against the pro-lifers. I am confused but that means the Obama supporters were answering his prayer but he seems to think that is also a bad thing. His logic has always amazed me going back to the time when he was a big supporter Sun Myung Moon but accused other SBers of being heretics if they opposed the CR.

Every time Drake does something like this, and it will continue, the national media will describe him as a former SBC VP and try to make us look as foolish as he looks. We need to distance ourselves from him. If we are willing to disfellowship a church for having a women pastor or over having homosexual members, doesn’t praying for the death of the president rank somewhere near that?

I remember trying to figure out why Ben Cole would invite Wiley Drake and the Missouri state paper editor to the Memphis Declaration signing when it was supposed to be calling for a new direction. I later realized that Ben was like a lot of the young CR supporter who had spent their entire SBC existence inside the CR propaganda machine and had no knowledge of the larger SBC family to draw on.

Ron West

Joe Blackmon said...

I think we need to seriously consider Stephen’s call for the SBC to disfellowship Wiley Drake’s church at the SBC this summer. In his interview on Fox he not only said the death of the abortion doctor in Kansas was an answer to his prayer, he said he was praying for President Obama’s death.

Sounds like a plan. I totally disagree with Obama and anyone who supports him but we should be praying for his and his family's saftey.

Unknown said...

Hey, Joe, I actually agreed with you on something! You're 10:15 comment is spot on. (Except I do kinda like Obama - just am against some of his policies.)

I'm for disfellowshipping Wiley Drake's church. What he was saying is not Godly AT ALL!

Christiane said...

Here is help for some:

Tomorrow, if you 'choke' on 'being nice', here is something you can say that was said by Christ's followers as early as the first Century A.D.

You can say: 'The Lord Be With You'

If someone says this to you, you can reply to them: 'And with your spirit'. or 'And also with you'

There. That's not so 'nice' that some cannot say it. If it was good enough for the Apostles who knew Him, I think we are on safe ground with this greeting to our fellow Christians. Give it a try.
It is not just a 'greeting', it's also a blessing. :)

Dominus Vobiscum,

Tom Kelley said...

Et cum spiritu tuo.

Christiane said...

Dear TOM,

Thank you, dear brother, for that most Christian blessing. Love, L's

Jeff said...

Tom and L's Are you speaking in tongues? :)

Joe Blackmon said...


I really can't say I dislike him. It is also some of his policies. I can't say "all of his policies" as yet because, well, the jury's still out on some of 'em. We'll have to wait and see what the effect of the ARRA is. I have no idea if it'll work or not.

But yeah, anyone that can't pray for his safety and the safety of his wife and children have a problem.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Elizabeth Prata: I am not falling for anything. I disagree that niceness means to not speak out. That is what has been happening for three years. We have been speaking out against those who have been anything but civil.

Steve said...

I find things to agree with most writers in this thread. We have to keep in mind, however, that SBCers have long been thought of as prejudiced, superficial, angry, authoritarian, and way too judgemental. If we are to add these strangers to our flocks, there needs to be a way to appeal to them without weakening our message.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Chuck Swindoll once wrote:

"Just as the lost don’t understand the gospel, the saved rarely understand grace. There are few activities more exhausting and less rewarding than Christians attempting to please the people around them by maintaining impossible legalistic demands. What a tragic trap, and thousands are caught in it. When will we ever learn? Grace has set us free! That message streams often through the sermons and personal testimonies of the apostle Paul."

I agree.

Christiane said...

But STEVEN, the strength and compassion of your welcome to these strangers IS THE MESSAGE. :)

'for I was a stranger, and you welcomed Me'

Think about it.

This is one of those things that a small child can explain to all of us, who have grown too old to understand the wonder of it. Love, L's

Eric James Moffett said...

Elizabeth Prata,

We must be going back and forth, first of all, because of semantics. You mention that you've seen civility be a tool of some type of weakened doctrine standard and you mention that you've seen it over and over. We apparently have a difference in opinion concerning what civility means. To be civil or to be 'nice' does not mean you must weaken your doctrine. You can be civil and disagree at the same time. (Like we are doing here) We obviously have a difference in opinion and, yet, you are being very civil to me. Does this mean you have fallen for the same 'tactic' that you say I have fallen to?
You also mention that I am falling for some satanic tactic concerning civility. Those are strong words since you have only a couple of blog comments to go off of. You don't know me, my church or what I believe. Please be careful with throwing around 'satanic plots' without any backing.

Blessings to you,

Eric Moffett

missshunary said...

Today I told anyone within earshot that they had better repent or they will perish. I spared no details and they are not pretty.

Was that a nice thing to say or did I break the rules today?

Maybe I should have kept my big trap shut and just had them over for lunch after the service.

My bad.


I'm glad I only had an audience of "One" this morning.

Ramesh said...

Adventures In Mercy > Pathological Spirituality.
But obsession is a dangerous thing if the motives behind it are screwed up and because of that, it wears us out and does damage. Obsession is a unhealthy thing when we are trying “to control a situation and force it to be what we want instead of surrendering to and accepting life the way it is” (Beattie, pg. 136).

When I read that, it was a bulls-eye moment. It was a perfect description of that season, that horrible time period when I was terribly confused about who God was and what He wanted, living in a state of fear and denial—a lot of denial—instead of a place of grace and peace. I had that kind of obsession—the not so good kind. I do not ever want to live in that place again. Ever

Adventures In Mercy > When God Says to Rebel [Feb 22, 2007].
I once wholly believed a patriarchal view. Not only believed it, but acted upon it. I didn’t care if it didn’t *feel* good, I cared about obeying God.

So I took my leader-self and made it sit in the back seat. And I took my voice and silenced it. I took my enthusiastic animation and dulled it down

Chris Ryan said...


I love the Swindoll quote. Where is it from?

Stephen said...

Ron articulated the logic behind my statement about disfellowship. Thanks, Ron, for giving more details about this.

This is not about trying to put a good face on the SBC for public relations. It is a call for the SBC to follow Jesus and show His love - first toward a brother who needs to repent and then to people whose greatest need is to accept Jesus as Lord.

How can the leadership of the SBC ignore the actions of Drake and still call ourselves "people of the book?" We need to be focus on being followers of Jesus.

Drake's actions are not unlike those of Westboro Baptist Church. As God's people, we cannot be associated with this type of behavior. It is unacceptable to God.

Darrell said...


If you had an email I would write you personally.

I believe you have one of the best pastors hearts on this blog, indeed, that I have ever heard.

I wonder if you live anywhere close to me so I could study and learn from/with you.

Wish I would have had a heart like yours to learn from as I was growing up in the hell and damnation, isolationist, church of my childhood. Also wish I had had more seminary profs with a Christian heart and spirit like yours.

Thanks just for all the times your thoughts and writings have been so good.


Debbie Kaufman said...

Chris: I believe I got the Swindoll quote a year or two ago from his blog. I liked it so much I wrote it down.

Lydia said...

Drake's actions are not unlike those of Westboro Baptist Church. As God's people, we cannot be associated with this type of behavior. It is unacceptable to God.

Sun Jun 07, 03:42:00 PM 2009

Drake's quote made the newspaper in Louisville. Just in time for the SBC Convention. The article was more about McKissic's resolution about Obama.

Ramesh said...

"Chris: I believe I got the Swindoll quote a year or two ago from his blog. I liked it so much I wrote it down"

You can get it from here: > Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit (Great Lives from God's Word, Volume 6) (Hardcover) by by Charles R. Swindoll.

Look in Page 148 or search for "When will we ever learn? Grace has set us free!".

Anonymous said...


Amazing......How Wiley Drake has made the liberals in the convention support Richard

!st and probably the last time.

Question for everyone.

Are imprecatory prayers unBiblical and if you believe so; what Scriptural verses do you use to support that argument?

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Elizabeth Prata said...

Hi Eric,

I appreciate your comment.

I wish to reiterate (again) that the standard definition of civility is not at issue with me. As a matter of fact I have seen civility at most places of meeting both secular and Christian, even when there's tension.

I AM saying that the concept of civility is being appropriated and misused by the other side. And that appropriation has borne fruit in that it suppresses honest discussion, even (and especially) where there is weak doctrine.

As you know, the majority of people are afraid to speak up, even in small churches where they all know one another. Even on innocuous issues they remain silent. No one wants to ask a question at church conference about why the bills are suddenly so high. "It's not nice." No one wants to approach the pastor on that strange interpretation of the verse. "It might cause division." No one wants to voice an opinion on the shaky doctrine of a so-called Christian book to be used as a basis in Sunday School. "I'll wait it out, she is a nice teacher and I don't want to hurt her feelings."

Contrast that with Paul in Galatians 1:6-10 rebuking his brothers strongly and calling the false teachers cursed along with anyone who would listen to it! He said in chapter two that he would not stand for that for an hour! People today remain silent, for an hour, for weeks, for years, not wanting to be uncivil according to the new definition which in my opinion is a satanic ploy. Even Jesus said in Rev 3 that He would spit out the lukewarm ones. Excessive emphasis on civility over doctrine make a person lukewarm because they would rather say something nice than stand for the gospel. O, Lord, send us a Paul!

This progression from the literal definition of civility (speak up -kindly-but firmly- for purposes of gentle restoration) toward the false civility (DO NOT SPEAK UP AT ALL or you won't be acting nice!) gives an opening for weakening of doctrine, and stilled tongues in the face of falsity. It's a progression that leads from real civility... toward silence.

And once you have silence, you have acceptance.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, I totally agree. I've lost count of the number of churches, blogs, and boards I've joined and left because it is forbidden to disagree. There is no allowance for individualism, just like the world. There is no tolerance for independent thinking, just like the world. And the "nanny state" mentality of the world is being copied by the church.

Sunday School is typically a time for everyone to "share what this verse means to me" instead of be trained as spiritual warriors against falsehood. We can't defend the faith because we can't even define it. We have abandoned absolute truth for spiritual thrills.

How I wish for Sunday School to be truly a school, where people actually graduate and learn to stand on their own two spiritual feet! We need courses in basic logic, then basic exegesis. Once we know our scriptures then we can apply them-- beginning with 1 Cor. 13.

Anonymous said...

I should add that part of the reason for so many spiritual infants is, whether it's "nice" to say so or not, a fear on the part of clergy that an educated laity (how I detest those class distinctions!) might not be such blind and willing followers. Even the smallest church can have a Diotrephes, who either craves power or fears loss of influence.

Did the apostles ever really intend for any warm body who can read a "teacher's guide" to train up the next generation of believers? We all need to take a hard look at "Sunday School".

Ramesh said...

I would encourage you all to watch/listen to today's sermon of Pastor Wade. I believe this sermon to be pivotal and seminal. Excellent sermon.

#21. Perfect Love Casts Out Fear (I John 4:17-19), of the series I John: The Christian and Complete Joy. If you watch the video, it's titled "Perfect Love Casts Out Fear" June 7, 2009 - Part 21 of series (1 Jn. 4:17-19).

There are special message(s) for everyone, especially for this blog readers!

Lydia said...

"Are imprecatory prayers unBiblical and if you believe so; what Scriptural verses do you use to support that argument?"

Robert, off the top of my head we have the example of Stephen praying that God would forgive his persecuters and Jesus asking God to forgive His murderers. Does not mean they were granted forgiveness. We don't know. But the example is there.

I know you are a follower of Douglass Wilson and he is an advocate of imprecatory prayer.

Lydia said...

"I should add that part of the reason for so many spiritual infants is, whether it's "nice" to say so or not, a fear on the part of clergy that an educated laity (how I detest those class distinctions!) might not be such blind and willing followers. Even the smallest church can have a Diotrephes, who either craves power or fears loss of influence. "

Very good point, Paula

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lydia! :-)

On imprecatory prayers, there's another point that needs made: Jesus told us to be kind to those who curse US-- not God! There's a world of difference between taking abuse from unbelievers, and standing idly by while the Name is dragged through the mud.

We have got to draw the line between that which is aimed at us, and that which is aimed at our God. Just as it would be considered an act of disloyalty or treason or cold-bloodedness to attempt no defense of someone being victimized in our presence, it is even worse to show no indignation when someone opposes Jesus.

Tom Parker said...


I am going to be nice. Wiley Drake said--"He confessed to have been personally praying "imprecatory" Psalms over the doctor for a year.

Now he says that he has been praying "imprecatory" Psalms over President Obama and the same fate awaits Obama if he does not repent."

Simple question--Do you agree with Wiley Drake in what he said above?

My thanks in advance for your answer.

Anonymous said...

An article on imprecatory prayers.

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Jeff said...

Robert, Do you do everything exactly like the Bible tells you?

Lydia said...

Robert, are you sure that is the right link? It is telling me I have to buy a book to find out who the beast is in Revelation. Or is it the article about Dr. Spock being the anti Christ? :o)

Debbie Kaufman said...

Paula: In the Bible, who does it say is our enemy who we are be "warring" against. Hint: It's not people, not even the lost. Answer is in Ephesians 6 beginning with verse 10. It is a book that I have taught in Sunday School along with the books of Galatians. Two good books to begin to study and practice.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Thy Peace: I have been at church as these messages have been preached. I highly recommend them too. If one can listen to this series and then give a Biblical argument as to why these sermons do not stay true to the scriptures, I sure would like to hear it.

How does everyone expect those without Christ aka unbelievers to behave? Like you? They can't. Neither could you when you were without Christ.

Anonymous said...


I've written some thoughts on Gal. and Eph. too. :-) Excellent studies.

And yes, our enemy is Satan. But my point is that if it is wrong to put up no defense if someone were to slander a loved one, then it is much worst to put up no defense if someone were to slander Jesus. If we will not defend His honor, is there anything we'll stand for?

We must, if we are faithful, stand strong against evil-- which in practical terms means confronting and opposing those that disparage the faith.

What was Stephen doing in front of the Sanhedrin? How exactly did Apollos "vigorously refute the Jews in public debate"? What did Paul mean when he told Titus about refuting those who oppose sound doctrine? Should Paul not have said that some people were "dogs", and that those pushing circumcision should "cut themselves off"? What did Jude mean by "earnestly contend"?

Anonymous said...

Yes that is the correct link.

I think this is especially true in the evangelyfish world.

"Truly, many pietistic clergyman have maintained that the God of the Old Testament is full of wrath and hate and yet the very same God is full of sentiment and love in the New Testament. Rather than a Biblical depiction of the God who “is the same yesterday, today, and forever”, their perception is of a truncated and schizophrenic deity who maintains an identity crises replete with subjective, mercurial and arbitrary actions.

Due to these views, the pietistic, antinomian, dispensationalist framework denies any possibility of enforcing negative sanctions in the temporal yet inconsistently and hypocritically affirms Divine wrath in eternity. Such incongruent thinking is typical of anticovenantalists.Jeff Zeiglar from the Forerunner.

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Debbie Kaufman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie Kaufman said...

Paula: I see you have authored books on Galatians and Ephesians, so you should understand the answer to your own question.

What was the correct doctrine exactly that Paul and Stephen were standing for? What was the heresy specifically being taught?

You say: And yes our enemy is Satan but...

The but to me simply says that you cancel what you just said before the but. None of the Bible is contradictory. All of it falls into place, so how would you reconcile the two passages you gave with the rest of what Paul wrote in Romans, Galatians and Ephesians etc. or with the passages in 1 John? That would be the answer to your question.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's all about relationship. I think that is sorely missing from most gospel presentations. We dangle the lost over the flames of hell but fail to stress that this is all about reconciling with God through Jesus.

But I think you're missing my point, which as someone put it once, which was something like "Grace to the humble, law to the proud". That's an aspect of context we dare not ignore. Paul wrote crudely and sarcastically to those who would scatter the flock, but tenderly and compassionately to those who had been the victims of deception. There is no "one size fits all" approach, because people are individuals, with unique contexts.

"Without love I am nothing", but without the right Savior I am even less. Love and correct doctrine are not mutually exclusive; they are not enemies. Rather, they are two sides of the same coin and inseparable. Doctrine comprises the bulk of Romans, for example; did Paul waste his time?

All I'm striving for here is balance. People tend to go to one extreme or the other, as I've written about in my blog. We need both doctrine and love, truth and "fruit".

"There is a time for everything", as Paul showed by example, and as he and others wrote by inspiration. We must develop this "timing", this discernment, and know when to do what.

That's all I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

"Due to these views, the pietistic, antinomian, dispensationalist framework denies any possibility of enforcing negative sanctions in the temporal yet inconsistently and hypocritically affirms Divine wrath in eternity. Such incongruent thinking is typical of anticovenantalists.Jeff Zeiglar from the Forerunner"

It's late so I'll dissect this statement tomorrow.

Christiane said...

For some time, people in the wider Christian Community have noticed a resemblance between the extremist groups in all major religions.

For example, in the extreme hi-jacked form of the Islamic faith, religious leaders can call down 'fatwahs' on an intended victim who has 'violated their beliefs' and 'insulted Allah'.

The result: an executioner is sent forth to carry out the sentence of the 'fatwah' and thereby 'defend the honor of Allah'
by an act of murder.

Now do we have a counterpart in the extreme far-right wing of Christianity?

A 'minister' seeks the death of someone who has violated his beliefs. An executioner 'defends God's Honor' by murdering the intended victim. And the minister claims to have arranged this through 'imprecatory prayer' to God? And now the minister is making more statements, of a particularly serious nature?

Different religions? No way.
Same Play-book. Same results.

Different vocabulary is all:
'fatwah' for 'imprecatory prayer';
'Allah' instead of 'God'
'imam' instead of 'reverend'

No. These two 'faiths' are truly the same religion: and this religion is called
'Extremism'; and it worships the same Master. And, sadly, it bears the same bitter, deadly, poisoned fruit.

The three ancient Abrahamic religions have NO PLACE for these extremists who hi-jack faith and use it for terrorism.

I suppose when ANY religious 'leadership' has set a pattern for the 'ends justify the means', then even murder is acceptable to the followers of that religion, in pursuit of honoring their Deity?

Maybe it starts with the abuse and subjugation of women, and then proceeds to supporting the use of torture, and then calling down the wrath of God on the infidels (an executioner usually does the honors) . . .

Slippery slope, folks, slippery slope.

How close to edge can we get, and still be human, much less Christian? L's

Anonymous said...

Hi Debbie:
I think that the reason that I freq disagree with you is that on this core principle we dont share common ground.
Relationship is not the goal but rather a subset or to put it another way as John Piper states...Is God for us or for Himself.

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Anonymous said...

Hm, post changed while I was posting...

Debbie, you said I contradicted myself, but again I think you miss my point, which is that Paul and Stephen got in people's faces about falsehood. They defended the faith strongly and forcefully. Today that would be labeled unloving.

And no, the Bible is not contradictory, but surely many interpretations of the readers are. And I should ask you the same question: how do YOU reconcile the passages? Do you just ignore the "dogs" comments by Paul? Or when he said "A curse on anyone who doesn't love the Lord"? How do those fit in with your interpretations?

I wrote about timing and context probably while you were revising your post, so hopefully that will clear things up.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Paula: I disagree. Again Paula you have not answered my questions and the first post did not change much except in wording. The questions I asked are the very same. Questions you have not answered.

Scripture does not contradict itself. Answer the questions(even if just for yourself) and you have the answers for yourself. Obviously it seems that I cannot do that for you. You seem bound and determined to find reasons to to get in peoples faces.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Paula: I would add, and I did miss your first answer, I would be more apt to agree with your earlier comment.

Lydia said...

The but to me simply says that you cancel what you just said before the but. None of the Bible is contradictory. All of it falls into place, so how would you reconcile the two passages you gave with the rest of what Paul wrote in Romans, Galatians and Ephesians etc. or with the passages in 1 John? That would be the answer to your question.

Sun Jun 07, 10:57:00 PM 2009

Debbie, Neville Chamberlain really did believe that "nice" would appease Hitler. Because of that belief, 50 million people died.

We are fighting evil powers that happen to dwell in mankinds heart. You cannot separate people from the equation when dealing with evil.

Scripture talks about evildoers and that our hearts are wicked.

It is a conumdrum and helps us understand why Quakers are pacifists.

Anonymous said...

"Due to these views, the pietistic, antinomian, dispensationalist framework denies any possibility of enforcing negative sanctions in the temporal yet inconsistently and hypocritically affirms Divine wrath in eternity. Such incongruent thinking is typical of anticovenantalists."

1. "pietistic" in this context is being used as an epithet to insinuate that people who reject "covenant theology" are faking their piety. That is a judgment of the heart reserved for God. It surprises me that any self-respecting Calvinist would so dishonor the sovereignty of God.

2. "antinomian" is a common slam on anyone who believes Christians are not under the Levitical law in any way. It infers that we are lawless in the sense of being spiritual anarchists, which of course is a straw man. Instead, we believe that (a) Gentiles were NEVER under the Levitical law in the first place, and that (b) per Hebrews' statement that where the priesthood goes, so goes the law, Jesus canceled the old covenant (Col. 2:14, Heb. 7:12, 18). Of course there are similarities in the two covenants, since one God made them both, but we need not look to Levi or Moses to know what law we are under now, for "love is the fulfillment of law" (Rom. 13:10) and should be the basic characteristic of every believer (1 John 4:7-8). Paul would certainly be labeled an antinomian as well, since he spent considerable effort fighting against its infiltration into the Christian community.

3. Dispensationalism is not a sin, a crime, a disease, or anything else but a legitimate interpretive framework. It simply recognizes the unfolding nature of God's revelation through history, noting pivotal changes God introduced from time to time (pivotal because they changed the way God deals with various groups-- see also Heb. 1:1-2). It sees a progression in time from an actual period of antinomianism (Eden to the Flood) through, eventually, the Millennium. This is a simple matter of observation.

4. Knowing now what "dispy" is-- and is not-- we can wonder what it is that makes it "inconsistently and hypocritically affirm divine wrath in eternity". Where is there any connection? The only possibility is that the quote presume much more about "dispy" than is actually there. And not all "dispies" agree on the matter of our being free from the old Law, so how can it be equated with antinomianism? It can't; there is nothing "incongruent" about it.

5. To call the straw man erected against "dispies" typical is to paint us all with a broad brush as hypocrites. People can believe that if they want but it doesn't make it true. This is just a cheap shot ad hominim, and if I were to put myself on this person's level, I could easily list a few "typical" things about covenant theologists.

Anonymous said...

Debbie: "What was the correct doctrine exactly that Paul and Stephen were standing for? What was the heresy specifically being taught?"

The correct doctrine? That Jesus is God in the flesh, who rose from the dead.
The heresy? Denial of that fact. Also, per Paul, the attempt to bring believers under the bondage of the old Law, as well as other sins such as what he wrote about to the Corinthians. If you know Paul at all, you know that he was quite harsh on anyone who tried to corrupt the church from within-- that is, professing believers. Those are the ones he called "dogs" and "wolves". Quoting Paul:

"But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with any who claim to be fellow believers but are sexually immoral or greedy, idolaters or slanderers, drunkards or swindlers. With such persons do not even eat.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked person from among you." (1 Cor. 5:11-13)

This whole thing is about believers being "nice". Anyone who claims to be one, yet practices evils such as physical or mental abuse, aiding and abetting criminals, dismissing "the testimony of two or three witnesses" (how about 40?), trying to put believers under bondage to law, homosexuality, etc.-- that person is to be vigorously refuted, confronted publicly (1 Tim. 5:20, or to paraphrase a line from Spiderman: "With double honor comes double accountability"), and expelled from fellowship if unrepentant. As long as the Christian community refuses to do so, the Body will be sickly and neutralized.

mitchc said...

Wade, thank you for such a good post. I am happy to report that the Catholic Diocese of Charleston did join Say Something Nice Sunday as dd the Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery and many Methodist and Episcopal churches. The worshipers at FB Charleston heard a good sermon and left the sanctuary with a daisy to give to s stranger along with a warm greeting. Daises symbolize friendship and fellowship. Mitch

Debbie Kaufman said...

I disagree with you again Paula, but I will deal with it after I get off of work, where I am heading to now. Getting in someone's face is neither biblical or does it build the church, in fact it does the opposite. In many cases it is downright sin.

Anonymous said...


In the next post comments I listed some quotes from Paul. Tell me if you think none of them, including the ones I've mentioned already, is not "getting in someone's face".

If you do not wish to acknowledge that there were times when Paul, by both example and teaching, was decidedly harsh toward some who claimed to be believers, that's fine. But it's not fine to call someone who disagrees with you a sinner.

I'll see what you have to say later, but I really think we're going in circles here. No matter how I try, I can't make "nice" out of "let them be cursed". There is a time and place for that. You disagree.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Paul was qualified to speak against false doctrine. And even if we do it is to be done with patience and not by being calloused or mean. Neither of which Paul was.

Motive. That is what should be looked at. And the doctrine you may be "correcting" may be right and yours may be wrong. IOW you may be that false teacher Paul was speaking about.

The reason I had you answer the question of what the doctrine was that Paul was speaking about was because that is the doctrine we should be looking at when correcting, not teaching that is not clear in scripture.

As for an in your face approach, I disagree that Paul did this. He did it with a deep desire to win these people over to the truth, not out of control or to be argumentative or to even be right, but because he desired them to know God deeper. That is why I say it is relationship that is important, not every jot and tittle to be as you believe.

Grace and the fact that we are New Covenant Christians, not under the law but grace is important as it affects how we read scripture and live. Christ must be recognized as all the things Paul described as it points to the cross and the gospel.

Getting in someone's face is just fighting to enjoy fighting, using doctrine as the reason. That is sin. Scripture interprets scripture. Both love and teaching truth are true. Contending for the faith, but doing it out of love. Love for God, love for His word, Love for other people. All things which Paul did possess.

No Paula, getting in someone's face is never the answer.

Debbie Kaufman said...

"The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.”

Tim Keller, The Reason For God

Anonymous said...


It looks like you're conceding that Paul did in fact "get in someone's face". But since he told us to follow his example in everything (1 Cor. 11:1), then we can't pick times not to follow his example. And did I say anything about motive?

Per your "may be the false teacher" comment, you are effectively gagging any believer from ever confronting another over false doctrine. Yet Paul did this continually. But I suppose we can't follow him in that example.

As for unclear teaching, when have I ever said anything but "there is a time and a place" for confrontation? Doesn't that mean the opposite of "every and any topic I personally feel is wrong"? Please don't put words in my mouth.

You say, "As for an in your face approach, I disagree that Paul did this. He did it..." It can't be both, Debbie. Either he did it or he didn't, and this is a repeat of the "motive" issue you already brought up.

You also say, ". That is why I say it is relationship that is important, not every jot and tittle to be as you believe."

This is the OPPOSITE of what I believe. Where did you get this? Show me where I ever said anything like it... and then I'll show you where I talked about the Relationship you say I'm ignoring.

You say, "Getting in someone's face is just fighting to enjoy fighting", but since you've said Paul did this (but qualified it with motive, thought not allowing me this same qualification), then Paul is just as guilty. I never said we should "contend for the faith" WITHOUT love.

No, Debbie, putting words in my mouth and saying contradictory things is never the answer.

And "with that, I'm" going to let you have the last word. But please at least show me where I'm guilty of the charges you've made against me.

Debbie Kaufman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie Kaufman said...

Paula: Round and round and round we go. Read my comments again because you have totally missed my point, you have totally twisted what I have said.

If I have accused you of anything, it's trying to find passages that say it's OK to be of a Fundamentalist mindset. There is none.

To be honest, I am in the middle of studying again just how Paul did confront those who taught wrong teaching, and he did not go to those teachers directly, but told the believers in the church how wrong the teachings were, and he did use strong language at times. But not to the teachers directly. He also told the believers of his passionate love for them. He showed his passionate love for them. In all the passages given. So no, I do not agree with you. Also the teaching he was correcting was teaching that had them observe more Jewish laws, do more, do more. His message was the New Covnenant. Grace. If this is what you are correcting, then great keep doing it. With love. The same love Paul had for those he was talking to.

Lin said...

"If I have accused you of anything, it's trying to find passages that say it's OK to be of a Fundamentalist mindset. There is none."

I have been reading over at Paula's blog for a long time and conversing with her on other blogs. She is NOT a fundamentalist.

If you read some of her books or blog posts, I think you will see that more clearly.

It is ironic that in discussing whether or not to 'get in someone's face' the comments seem to be 'getting in each others face'.

Perhaps we need to define what that means exactly.

"Paula wrote:
You say, "As for an in your face approach, I disagree that Paul did this. He did it..." It can't be both, Debbie. Either he did it or he didn't, and this is a repeat of the "motive" issue you already brought up."

1 Tim 1

"8 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme."

If writing about this for all to read for many years is not 'in your face', I do not know what is. Perhaps we need to define 'in your face'.

Would the following be considered 'in your face' since he did this publicly?

11 Now when Peter[a] had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you[b] compel Gentiles to live as Jews?[c] 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

And 1 Galatians 5 was written for all to read:

12I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!


Anonymous said...

Tanx Lin! :-)

And excellent choice of scriptures-- as I've come to expect from you, sis.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Lin: It would be hard for me to read Paula's blog not knowing where it is as her profile shows nothing.

It is ironic that in discussing whether or not to 'get in someone's face' the comments seem to be 'getting in each others face'.

A Fundamentalist mindset is to get in someone's face. Paul was pointing out error, that I agree, but what was the error? That is important. For example, Paula made a snide comment about Calvinists. Is that error in her opinion that should be corrected, or if she is a Calvinist, would a non-Calvinist be in error or heresy? That is the difference in Paul. He allowed for some minor disagreements in doctrine, but the thing he was promoting, was the doctrine of Grace, who we are in Christ. So it would be difficult to "get into somone's face and still promote those doctrines wouldn't it. That would be an oxymoron. Scripture interprets scripture and you must reconcile the passages you have given with those in Galatians, Ephesians etc.

If you are truly teaching and promoting what Paul is saying in his writings, getting in someone's face would be to those who try and be Grace Killers. Promote the law not the gospel which is freeing to people, not bondage. Now I probably am not any clearer than before. I do agree that we are getting into each others face by discussing this further.

I would be happy to read Paula's blog to understand her better if given the link, I try to be a fair person and not judge at least until given further evidence, but admittedly I have here. Being in a person's face sets off alarms with me. I hate it, and I do not believe that is what the Bible is promoting.

Debbie Kaufman said...

What connotations do you hear when you hear the words, in your face? I think Lin gave a pretty good definition when she said that Paula and I were in each others faces. In your face I believe is different than what Paul was doing. He certainly was not doing what Paula and I are doing here. That is my point.

Ramesh said...

For the record, I love and enjoy reading posts of Paula, Debbie, Lin, Cindy, Cheryl, Molly, Tiffany, Christa, Mary and others :)
(Please forgive, if I left you out)

"I would be happy to read Paula's blog to understand her better if given the link,..".

Words of a Fether.

Anonymous said...

Thanks ThyPeace! :-)

Debbie Kaufman said...

Paula: Your blog is um interesting to say the least. You and I would not agree theologically on much, except maybe egalitarianism, of which I am more in the middle than either or. I will come right out and tell you that I am partial preterist who could also be amil. So as you can see I would disagree with pretty much all you write and believe. Should I correct you and get in your face? After all I believe that my beliefs are what the Bible teaches or I would not believe them. Should I call you a heretic and a dog? After all I disagree with 90 % of what you have on your blog. I hope now you are getting my point, as I would take issue, but never get in your face about it.

Lin said...

Debbie, I did not really understand your comment on Tue Jun 09, 03:20:00 PM 2009.

I read Paula commenting on her experience with Calvinists which is a factual event(s) that she was reporting.

"So it would be difficult to "get into somone's face and still promote those doctrines wouldn't it."

Actually in Galatians he was 'getting in their face' about extra biblical teaching. At least in how I am defining 'get in your face'.

He did this even to the point of hoping they would emasculate themselves! Yikes. Everyone at that time knew who he was talking about.

You wrote:
"In your face I believe is different than what Paul was doing. He certainly was not doing what Paula and I are doing here. That is my point."

I don't see a huge difference. But then, I am not the brightest crayola in the box, either.

But I do know that some will see any disagreement as mean or 'in your face'. Sometimes it just works out that way and they think being nice means agreement.

Another irony is that Paula and I disgree on DoG... but iron sharpens iron and we have had some great discussions. I even read a book on it that she recommended.


Anonymous said...


You've been nothing but "in my face" this whole time; your actions are speaking louder than your denials.

This has become a personal vendetta for you, so I'll leave you alone. Please return the favor.

Christiane said...


I am probably more 'different' from you in my religious 'doctrines' than Paula is.

But, never once, have you, in any way, been less than Christian in your responses to any questions I might have had, or any comments I might have made.

I do not think that, in my case, you were ever less than kind.

Perhaps some see a disagreement with them as a personal attack.
I just don't think you are one to attack anyone personally because I can discern no evidence of your animosity towards anyone here.
I wanted you to know that I have always appreciated both your honesty about what you believe in, AND your civility in areas of disagreement. Thanks again for past kindnesses.

Love, L's

Debbie Kaufman said...

Thank you L's. It seems that this is being thought of as personal from those who are disagreeing with me. You understand me properly.

Lin: It seems neither you nor Paula are getting my point. So be it. This is not a personal attack on Paula, but a point in that Paul was confronting specific Biblical doctrine concerning the things I said he was talking about, not just every doctrine under the sun. I used the fact of things I disagree with Paula on as an example, not an attack. Geez guys lighten up a little cause you are going in the wrong direction. Both you and Paula. Now I have 2 enemies that were not enemies when we began this discussion. Usually the result of an in your face attitude. Further proving my point actually. :)

Debbie Kaufman said...
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Debbie Kaufman said...

Paula: It's not so right when it is happening to you is it? The in the face thing I mean.

Lin said...

Now I have 2 enemies that were not enemies when we began this discussion. Usually the result of an in your face attitude. Further proving my point actually. :)

Wed Jun 10, 03:10:00 AM 2009

Debbie, I never once thought of it as making enemies. Since I know Paula, I thought she was being mischaracterized and misunderstood. I do not think you are my enemy at all! You are my sister in Christ.

Just a thought on the whole idea of 'niceness':

I attended a shallow seeker church where 'niceness' was used to cover a whole lot of sin and lies. It was intensely phoney but 'niceness' was celebrated over truth. Did not matter what it was masking. No one cared as long as you were viewed as being 'nice'. No one told truth that might be negative because that is not nice. It was all about getting folks in the pews.

I would actually prefer transparancy and humility over niceness. I knew a lot of nice fakes. My heart grieves over the shallowness of such things being promoted that do not take such things into consideration.

I do believe the truth should be told in love even with tears in our eyes, But many will still think it is not nice.

Blessings to you

Lin said...
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Anonymous said...


You keep addressing me even after I asked you to leave me alone, but I must insist that we part ways since we're not communicating. You think this has all gone one way, but I could throw everything you've accused me of back at you, including "snide remarks" like "it's not so right when it is happening to you is it?" That's called a double standard on your part, and there's no reasoning with someone who only sees the faults in others.

So please, enough of this which you deny is personal attack. I will leave you alone now, even if you keep addressing me.

Christiane said...

The Freedom Of Christ:

if we are in anger towards our sister, may we extend to her the freedom of our forgiveness,
as He forgave us and set us free?

Anonymous said...

Luke 17:3-4
If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him.

God convicts us of sin, we repent, and He forgives. So also we are to forgive those who repent. We can show someone their sin, but only God can bring conviction.

Christiane said...

If someone does not agree with us, is it the same as 'offending God'?

The fundamentalist approach that 'the truth' is what one says it is, based on one's own opinion, and anyone who disagrees is "offending God": that is the strangest of all for me to comprehend.

But, it takes a whole lot more effort to try to 'understand' the other person's point of view, and therefore embrace them as a Christian sister in that way, than to 'reject' them because they see through the eyes that God gave them.

Sometimes we can learn from those who see things 'differently'.
It doesn't mean we change our own point of view, but sometimes we are enriched in our knowledge by an insight they share, that has not been given to us personally.

I'm glad we are made to see things differently. Then we must try to learn to share and to respect each other.

Anonymous said...

If someone does not agree with us, is it the same as 'offending God'?

Why did you bring up the matter of forgiveness? No one here has said any such thing as equating their own opinions with God's. Why did you say this?

And it takes two to disagree. I presume you're addressing two people here who disagree, and asking both of them the same questions.

The fundamentalist approach

What does "the fundamentalist approach" have to do with anyone here?

that 'the truth' is what one says it is,

Who has said such a thing or even implied it? Are there some privileged people here I am not permitted to disagree with? Or are you talking about somebody else? Your statements are very vague.

anyone who disagrees is "offending God": that is the strangest of all for me to comprehend.

I completely agree. I wish everyone understood this.

But, it takes a whole lot more effort to try to 'understand' the other person's point of view

Absolutely. There are some here who have not heard a thing I said nor made any effort to understand, but again I'm not sure who you're directing this at.

than to 'reject' them because they see through the eyes that God gave them.

I have lost count of the number of professing believers who have rejected me because I don't see what they see, or I do see what they don't. It's a very common problem.

Christiane said...

Dear Paula,

I don't reject you, Paula.
I think that God gave you your own special gifts to share with us here. And that you are one of His Gifts to us. In the Body of Christ, each are given different gifts to share. :)
I may not understand everything you speak of, or agree with everything, but I appreciate YOU, Paula, trying to express your thoughts and feelings with us here.

I do think that you are a sensitive person, who may be hurt more easily sometimes if YOU believe that someone has attempted that. Most people here share their opinions without 'attacking' others personally. Some attack and yet they must be forgiven, in Christian charity.

I remember a time when Wade wrote about me and another Catholic woman. You should see some of the responses that came from 'I do not know who' and from some who gave names. I didn't take the comments personally, Paula. If you want to see all this: click on 'Women', one of the 'labels' that Wade lists on the front of this post.

As a matter of fact, I have become friends with one of those who were very abrasive, by listening to his upset, without anger towards him.

We became friends. :)

It had something to do with 'elephants'. :)

Love, L's

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the kind words. I'm not sure why you think I'm hurt or angry, but I do have a strong aversion to injustice, no matter who it happens to. I tend to write formally which some interpret as being angry, but rest assured that's not the case.

I've been in enough boards and blogs for enough years to have grown a fairly thick skin, and I've met many who differed with me on many topics. Some of my best internet friends disagree with me strongly on some issues, but the glue that holds us together is the essential quality of the love of Christ. There are people I agree with on many things but who are unkind or intolerant of being questioned. There are others who are very kind and tolerant yet will not hold to the essentials of the faith.

I believe in a balance between essential doctrine and fruit of the Spirit. Neither is good without the other. The pendulum has swung to both extremes and seems to be moving in the anti-doctrine direction these days, which is why I tend to emphasize it. At the same time, I also strongly oppose any whose doctrine is sound yet who will not treat their spiritual siblings with civility.

My conversation here with Debbie was, IMHO, a case of her jumping to conclusions and making many erroneous assumptions about me. I tried to correct them but was met with responses which indicated she did not hear what I was saying. That is why I asked her to stop the assault. Yes I know you and she do not see it that way, but nobody ever thinks they're the one being aggressive. All I asked for in that was to be granted the same things that were being demanded of me.

I am a technical and analytical person, which again can come across as cold or angry, but that has not been the case here. But there are also the dynamics of debate to consider. Most people don't study debate, and it really is more about swaying the perceptions of the onlookers than dealing with actual issues. It can appear to be a brutal game to some who are not used to it, but the participants can usually shake hands when it's all over.

All I ask is an even playing field, where both sides abide by the same set of rules and stop focusing so much on the messenger. I hope for the day when we can all just be ourselves.

Personally, looking back over all this, of course I still believe I was only defending myself against a personal attack and trying to correct baseless accusations about being a fundy or saying my opinions were on a par with scripture. I have no clue how anyone could get those ideas from anything I've said here. Of course you disagree and that's fine, but I recognized that we were not communicating.

And that's the honest truth. :-)

Christiane said...

Dear Paula,

Maybe the important thing is to try to reach out and communicate.
We can't control how we are perceived by another, or how they react to us.

But, sometimes, it is possible, by the grace of God, to hear past what they are 'saying' in words to something deeper.

Paula, people lash out against ideas and each other sometimes without knowing or understanding the other person or that person's beliefs. If you are aware that the other person 'does not know what they do' in lashing out, then it is incumbent not to become upset with them. We have Christ's example.

I believe this:
that in trying to understand another person, we embrace them where they are at, as they are.
And, in doing that, we give them permission to be 'who they are' and to feel accepted 'as they are'.

There is something in that acceptance that transcends any doctrinal 'debate'. What you do is to first establish a 'relationship' that lets the other person know that you respect them, as a person, as a child of God, as a brother, or a sister.
Then 'debate' becomes 'sharing'.
And 'sharing' leads to understanding.
If the person is aggressive or abrasive, does it matter? Not if you understand that, just then, they may need to be that way, for a while. By not rejecting them, you tell them that THEY are more important to you, than whatever it is that divides you. And this lies at the heart of who we are as a Christian family.

I suppose I don't make much sense.
I'm not very organized and certainly not technical. But, having raised a Down Syndrome child, I have learned from him in the way that he showed love to others, who didn't care for him, and sometimes made fun of him and tried to hurt him. He always responded to others without anger, without fear, without rejecting them. He did not seem to see their contempt for him. He didn't understand anger or hate. Was that a part of his 'handicap'? Or was it something else, maybe a gift humans left somewhere back there in Eden? I don't know the answer.
Patrick just loved people, as they were. No doctrine. Just love.


So that is where I come from, that is what I understand now.
My son never spoke these teachings in words. Love, L's

Anonymous said...


I learned a long time ago how people talk past each other. And though at first it used to upset me, I got over it and learned that the best response sometimes is to recognize it and then walk away. I used to try to keep communicating, but there comes a time when we have to realize that such attempts only keep the flames alive. It's a judgment call.

Even though I've already explained that I am not emotional or upset about this recent episode, you keep indicating you don't believe me. To walk away from someone we can't communicate with is not a rejection of them or calling their opinions false, it just means we cannot communicate. And as I've said, it's a two-way street; both sides have to want to communicate or it will never happen. Yet I only see you addressing me in all this, indicating you still feel I'm the one with the problem.

Your views on steps to communication are fine, but of course you know they are your opinion, and not the only way. I would find them more acceptable if those principles were applied without bias, that is, to all parties involved.

I applaud your raising a Downs Syndrome child, your sweet spirit and desire to make peace. But that is your gift, and you need to allow others to have their gifts too. We are all parts of one Body, and the parts cannot say to each other, "I have no need of you". Again, a two-way street.

Love certainly is a vital component of Christian living, but it can never replace doctrine. Both are needed at the same time; they guard each other. It is just as wrong to discard doctrine as it is to discard love.

Well, I think enough has been said about all this. We are who we are, and we all need to stop jumping to wild conclusions about each other and start really listening. This is an everybody problem, not a Paula Only problem.

"And that's all I have to say about that." -- Forrest Gump (sp?)