Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fire From Heaven: A Lesson on the True Nature of Christ's Kingdom from Luke 9

Over the past three years there have been occasions when words from my fellow Southern Baptists--words directed either verbally or in print toward those Christians who disagree with them--have been particularly harsh. One SBC pastor, who shall remain anonymous, wrote me this week and said "your slobbering over ex-Pres. Jimmy Carter was embarrassing." He then added that he speaks directly and harshly to me because correction is needed. When I suggested his words seemed harsh and devoid of Christian grace and love, he responded:

"You and your friends would have called Jesus' harsh words to the Pharisees about them being white-washed tombs as being unChristian. When Jesus told the Pharisees that they were children of the devil, I suppose you think that was unChristian as well. Your smooth words are just that "smooth words." They sound good on the outside but disdain and sarcasm are behind them ... Brother, you have a huge problem with narcissism. You think you're always right and loving and graceful. As you've said many times, even in your book, "Just ask anyone who knows me." Do you realize how arrogant that sounds? Oh well, I choose not to cast my pearls before swine any longer. You have never exhibited any tendency for correction as I can tell either from your blog or your book, thus I will no longer attempt to beat a dead horse."

It seems to me my brother in Christ--whom I sincerely believe is truly a brother in Christ--has misunderstood the true spirit of Christianity. Jesus Christ has not called us, His followers, to condemn one another--but to love one another. In other words, we Christians ought to be more concerned with how we treat each other rather than what we teach each other.

In preparation for a sermon series from I Corinthians 13, I came across a very poignant quote by Jonathan Edwards in his book entitled Charity and Its Fruits:

When the disciples, on their way to Jerusalem, desired Christ to call down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans who would not receive him, he told them (Luke 9:55), by way of rebuke, "Ye know not manner of spirit ye are of."

We are to understand by Jesus' rebuke NOT that the disciples did not know their own hearts, but that they did not know and truly feel what kind of temperament was proper and becoming to their character and spirit as his professed disciples. They did not know the kind of spirit that was becoming of the evangelical dispensation that Jesus had come to establish ... Christ's kingdom is a kingdom of love and peace; but the disciples believed that a revengeful and condemning spirit was a proper spirit for them as followers of Christ. It is for this belief that Jesus rebukes them

Amen, Jonathan Edwards, Amen.

I wish

In His Grace,



Chris Ryan said...

More often than not, people speaking the "truth in love" are simply speaking "their mind in hate" and trying to whitewash it.

Qualitative differences between Jesus' rebuke of the Pharisees and this persons:

1. Jesus was speaking truth, this man was speaking his opinion that Carter was a terrible person.

2. Jesus was speaking to those who were convinced it was their whitewash that got them to Heaven. This man was speaking to someone who knows God's grace does far more cleansing than whitewash ever could.

3. Jesus' words were a call to repentence. This man's words were a call to change an opinion.

Personally, I think all those are very important distinctions. Perhaps the truth is harsh when it is the truth of the Gospel calling people away from cheap works to THE work of grace. But when our words are harsh because we have differing opinions of many things, yet we still have the same understanding of Christ, our tone may go too far.

Brent Hobbs said...

The internet and not dealing with each other face to face tends to bring out the worst in all of us sometimes. That's a really bad mix when you combine it with some people (even pastors) who are quick to note areas of disagreement and get highly exercised over even small matters.

Come to think of it, maybe BI writers should be banned from blogging... Haha, I kid. I kid. :)

david b mclaughlin said...

I loved this irony:

HE said:

"Oh well, I choose not to cast my pearls before swine any longer."

Yet also says about you:

"Do you realize how arrogant that sounds?"

I always get a kick out of stuff like that.

Hello mote-meet eye.


WTJeff said...

Honestly, I believe there is one thing that drives this type of behavior....fear. Fear that speaking of Jimmy Carter's genuine Christian character will somehow mean acceptance of his theological views. Fear that having a glass of wine with a lost person at dinner will somehow communicate abuse of alcohol is acceptable.

It also communicates a lack of trust. Whether that lack of trust is in the Holy Spirit's ability to correct and convict, a pastor's ability to shepherd his people, or a lay person's ability to discern God's will, I'm not sure. Where there is fear and mistrust, this type of behavior abounds. Praise God He "gave us a spirit not fear, but of power and love and self-control".

Anonymous said...

What is funny is that your post actually proved his words to be true...

More smooth talk... You point to "peace and love" and yet he points out that the way you use things like "peace and love" would not include Jesus himself in some of the ways he called out the pharisees.

Chris Ryan said...


You said, "More smooth talk... You point to "peace and love" and yet he points out that the way you use things like "peace and love" would not include Jesus himself in some of the ways he called out the pharisees."

That is incorrect. Please look at the differences I offered above between what this person did and what Jesus was doing. Just because Jesus used harsh words and this person used harsh words doesn't mean that they were both doing the same thing.

Bryan Riley said...

One distinct difference is that Jesus is the Righteous Judge; we are not. We are not commanded to judge in that way; in fact, we are told not to judge in the way. We are commanded to love as you point out, Wade.

David McLaughlin's observation is a good one as well.

May our understanding of God's love and Who God Is grow so that we will grow in faith and grace and be more and more willing to let God be God.

Anonymous said...

Bryan Riley said, "One distinct difference is that Jesus is the Righteous Judge; we are not."

Of course Jesus is way beyond us, being God and all, but I don't believe that eliminates our being justified at times in laying it on strong, and even being angry, about some who we perceive as being particularly unjust. After all, that same Spirit of Christ lives and abides in us believers. Look at Paul and so many others who were passionately opposed and vocal about their dismay at brothers in Christ who they saw as being way out of line.

However, it is difficult for me to understand why this brother is so vicious in attacking Wade. We all tend to get passionate about our positions on things but his comments seemed to be a little over the top to me. Too bad we can't have a bloggers party and all of these personalities come and eat pie together.

Like someone said earlier, this guy probably wouldn't express himself so strongly should he be sitting across the table and drinking ice tea with Wade. But this impersonal blogging media lends itself to our being less civil.

Joe Blackmon said...

Correcting someone who is wrong is not unloving. Sorry to burst your bubble there, buddy.

Paul Burleson said...


I've learned that "correcting some one who is wrong isn't unloving" is a true statement one can safely make.

But the "devil is in the details" is another statement that metaphorically is just as true. This, without it being a scriptural statement obviously, but it is sure a relational one.

As a parent of four [all of whom are now grown] I learned the hard way often, that my words, tone and spirit were as important when communicating to them where they were incorrect as the correction itself. I've learned this as pastor to people also or even friend to friend.

In fact, I think the real issue was whether I was concerned with my relationship with them and whether I desired to edify them or wound them. If my concern was a relationship and to edify, my WAY of correcting was as important as the correcting.

If my concern was pointing out their wrong with no thought of relationship, I had no need of concern for the WAY I did it.

I think it is both correction AND relationship that must be in our heart, mind and words, especially when trying to speak the truth in love.

With respect to you as a brother in Christ, I'll let you decide which you and others do it, I'm responsible for the way I do it.

Like in this comment.

WTJeff said...


In a nutshell, we can't violate scripture to make our point, even if that point lines up with scripture. Sometimes I like to use Jesus' confrontational tone with the Pharisees as a model for my own, however, when I do so I forget one thing....He's God and I'm not. As God, He sees the content of the heart, I only see the actions.

Mr. Burleson has given us some wise words to consider. Christian civility doesn't mean compromise, but showing Christ's love for the saved and unsaved as the highest priority.

Thanks, Mr. Burleson.



Ramesh said...

"your slobbering over ex-Pres. Jimmy Carter was embarrassing.".

Ex-presidents get to retain their titles forever, so when you meet a past president, use the same form of address as you would with a current one.
Source: How to Address the President.
"You and your friends would have called Jesus' harsh words to the Pharisees about them being white-washed tombs as being unChristian. When Jesus told the Pharisees that they were children of the devil, I suppose you think that was unChristian as well. Your smooth words are just that "smooth words." .

Context is the key here.

What were the pharisees doing that caused them to receive the rebuke from Our Lord Jesus Christ?

The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3so practice and observe whatever they tell you— but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. 15Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30saying, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' 31Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Joe Blackmon said...

I think it is both correction AND relationship that must be in our heart, mind and words, especially when trying to speak the truth in love.

Actually, I agree with you, Paul. I think, though, that I have sometimes used a more stern rebuke with soomeone who I had a close relationship with than someone I didn't sometimes because, well, I knew them better and wanted to get their attention. However, I think that's all about context and it is very possible to be too harsh and unloving when correcting folks.

RM said...

I do agree that you slobbered all over Jimmy Carter and I do get weary of hearing about women's issues all the time but its not my right nor privilege to send you words of criticism. That's the basic problem among Christians today and not something Southern Baptists have cornered the market on.

I do enjoy your blog. Keep it up.

Bill said...

Jesus' occasional use of harsh language was seldom (if ever) used on the everyday sinner. Jesus was quite content to correct them without harshness. His harsh words were not for the theologically and politically liberal, but for the arch-conservatives. His harshest criticisms were for religious people who were wound so tightly, so rigid, so sure they alone were the source and arbiter of all righteousness.

Jesus had no problem rebuking sin in all people, but His righteous anger was directed at those who, under the pretext of religion, trampled other people under their feet. It was the sin of how they treated other people that drew His wrath. Something to think about.

Jimmy Carter was not, in my opinion, a terrific president, and he has taken some stands that I disagree with, politically and theologically. But I am not so insecure in what I believe that I fear to recognize the good within him or anyone else, especially those who name the name of Christ.

Ramesh said...

On Topic :) (At least for this week's posts)

Suzanne's Bookshelf [Suzanne McCarthy] > another imaginary masculine pronoun.

Entire post.

I honestly believe that those who have taught the importance of the masculine pronoun in the Bible have done a serious disservice to truth. Many of the masculine pronouns in the English Bible have no antecedent in the Greek, and yet, they are assumed to be communicating some part of God's truth.

I read this comment, posted on a blog article about Wade Burleson's recent sermon on women in ministry,

Also, qualifications for elders/pastors says he must be "one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence." 1 Timothy 3:4 (notice the word "his" . . . a man)

How can one argue with this? There is no "his" in the Greek. There is no word at all that underlies "his" - nada, nothing, blank space. If you tell one person this, the next person still doesn't know. The masculine pronoun has become the biggest urban legend in the Christian community for this decade, maybe this century.

τοῦ ἰδίου οἴκου καλῶς προϊστάμενον, τέκνα ἔχοντα ἐν ὑποταγῇ μετὰ πάσης σεμνότητος:

Here we see the heresy of the masculine pronoun at work.

Jeff said...

Joe, You are a hard-headed man to stand up against Wade's Warriors! I laughed when they all attack you but condemn the email about Wade and Jimmy Carter.

Paul Burleson said...


You said..."Actually, I agree with you, Paul. I think, though, that I have sometimes used a more stern rebuke with soomeone who I had a close relationship with than someone I didn't sometimes because, well, I knew them better and wanted to get their attention."


As I look back it was exactly opposite with me. I found myself HAVING no close relationship with someone I spoke to with my goal being "getting their attention."

Oh, I thought I was close but later found out they were a million miles from me relationally and I didn't know it. I discovered it was my tone, spirit and harshness that created the gap relationally.

As I said...interesting. We DO travel different journeys don't we!!! said...

Jeff, if you would point out to me where Joe is attacked in this comment stream, I will remove the comment.

I have yet to find it and have searched twice.

On the contrary, the comments directed toward Joe seemed very resepectful of his person.

I've never met Joe, never spoken to him, and don't know him at all--but would not want him "attacked" as you say he was.

Again, can you point it out for me?

Chris Humphreys said...

I still think that any pastor who shows off his arrogant display of hot-headed temper in the company of numerous pastors at a local Founders Conference, to the dismay and shock of everyone present, and one who shouts down a customer at a local Lowe's to the shock of everyone present (including a fellow pastor) says much more to me about the character of a person that one who can write nice-sounding thoughts on paper or a blog site. Character is what you are in public, reputation is what you can establish in private.

Jeff said...

I wasn't referring just to this stream. Read all your posts! Read all the comments!!!

I notice you were specific to this one, but I was talking about the big picture.

Jeff said...

Chris, Is this particular pastor or just an illustration? said...


You wrote: I laughed when they all attack you but condemn the email about Wade and Jimmy Carter.

I assumed you could direct me to a specific comment to support your statement.

Gary said...

As a point of reference, read through the citations in this search result:

I'm not the one sayin'- God's Word is the one sayin'. I don't expect there to be much disagreement about these passages - that they were mis-translated, etc.

I tire of the 'pounders' who couldn't "love" their way out of a paper bag. Our Heavenly Father rejoices in a group of His Children who put clothes on poor kids backs, puts together backpacks of back-to-school supplies for the same kids, loves them no matter how dirty they are, and a church who feeds anyone who comes to their door any day over a "bunch of folks who talk as if they were followers of Christ". Hands and Feet, dear children, Hands and Feet. That is so much more powerful a witness to anyone than what you say.

Pop Quiz from the 60s: "And they'll know we are Christians by our __________."

Gary said...


Actually, reputation is what you are in public, character is what you are in private.

You seem to be implying the pastor in your illustration is me. That's just plain silly.

I struggle with many things, but an "arrogant hot-headed temper" and shouting down customers at Lowe's is not in that list.

To actually sully my character in a public manner, you might wish to choose something that might be true.

Jeff said...

Yes, Wade I can...Just read all the posts on your blog.

Wade's Warrior's can get quite nasty.

Tom Parker said...


You must be reading another blog besides Wades.

You say--"Wade's Warrior's can get quite nasty."

Examples please otherwise I will assume you have none.

Benji Ramsaur said...

If you're "hot", then some might take you as:

1. Zealous or righteously indignant.

However, others might take you as:

2. Condemning and arrogant.

If you're "cool", then some might take you as:

1. Walking in the Spirit.

However, others might take you as:

2. Being smooth.

I think it's our deeper theological/political/relational/etc. commitments that determine which way we see it. said...


It pains me when people who name Christ as Lord attack the character of their brothers and sisters in Christ--all because they don't "like the direction" they are going.

I would submit that if you go back and read comments, the personal and character attacks usually come from Christians who feel their brothers and sisters in Christ are "liberal"--even to the point of questioning their salvation.

Again, if you can point to a specific comment that is attacking the character of Joe, it will be deleted.

Comments questioning his biblical interpretations and logic are not personal attacks.

missshunary said...

I never have understood the "we are not to judge" position.

That's ridiculous. We all make judgements everyday about situations and people.

My take on scripture is that we are not to judge others with a different standard than we are willing to hold ourself against. And that standard is scripture.

i.e. I can't make a judgement against others that their homosexual behavior is a sin while at the same time I live a homosexual lifestyle thinking I am free from God's judgement.

Who can join the church? Do we make judgements about who can join the body of Christ?...Or do we just let anybody join?

oops...nevermind. Bad example.

Which also explains the mess we are in as a "church". said...


You are missing Edwards point.

Truth requires the making of judgments.

But the Chrisian who judges all things should respect those who disagree, love their enemies, and be kind to all.

So, bottom line, it is speak the truth in love - not speak the truth in hate. said...


Great thought.

Ramesh said...

So, bottom line, it is speak the truth in love - not speak the truth in hate.

This is the hard part of being a Christian. It is no sweat to be up on theology and what is current.

But it is difficult to be civil, when one's tempers are up. It requires a degree of maturity in love and patience that is not taught anywhere, especially in seminaries.

This is what makes a saint.

Bryan Riley said...

It's easy to see why God tells us not to judge - one person sees zeal; another sees anger. One person sees confidence; another sees arrogance. One person sees timidity; another sees wisdom. One person sees used car salesman; another sees encourager.

God alone sees the heart. We have all these judgments we make that don't jive with the commands to love one another, edify one another, let no unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, etc. And, if we see unhealthy anger where it's truly healthy zeal and try to correct it... well, what wholesome thing have we done?

Bob Cleveland said...

Bill came close to saying it, but I don't recall Jesus speaking harshly, in the manner He did to the Pharisees, to any of His followers. To any of those seeking to serve and honor Him.

I would ask if folks who trash other Christians in comment streams are following Jesus' example.

Remember, all a man's ways are pure in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives.

Remember, we're in no position to judge another's servant.

Jeff said...

Just what I thought would happen. Wade's Warriors do not want free exchange. They want to point out how wrong others are....

Christiane said...

'Domine, non sum dignus . . . that Thou shouldst come under my roof,
but only say the Word, and I shall be healed.'
How often I have prayed this.

Sometimes listening to those who disagree with who we are and what we believe,
is a way of embracing them.

This does not require us to speak against them, or reject them, or 'agree' with their argument (which they own),
but it does require us to care about THEM a person. They become someone important to us 'as they are'. And when we embrace that importance with love, we have done what the Father so needs us to do: we have loved them 'regardless', 'in spite of', and far, far beyond the pitiful needs and restrictions of our own selfish pride and ego.

They have become our brothers and our sisters because WE have embraced them, in His Name.
Why? Because He asks us to love them. As they are.

How can we do this, being as 'human' as we are? WE can't.
Not alone.
But as Corrie Ten Boom once said:
"When he asks us to love one another.
He gives us the love to do it."

That's so human.

The kind of love He gives us demands so much more.
The kind of love I speak of comes to us from an Eternal Well-spring of Living Water.

If we feel we need to sit in judgment and require others to rise to 'our standards' before we love them,
we can say to Our Lord,
'I thirst'.
He knows our need.
He will help us to love instead of to judge.
Love, L's

It is the Holy Spirit that will change others, as God sees into their hearts and knows their needs.

It is our Christ-given love for a person that will point him towards the Christ. HE will do the rest.

Are we to be the man in the temple who gives thanks that he is 'not like the other one'?
Or are we 'the other one' who says 'Lord, I am not worthy . . '?

A little humility will go a long, long way in the Kingdom.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Bryan Riley,

I agree that we are not to judge in a condemning sense.

However, [and you might not disagree with this anyway] I think there is a noncondemning sense of formulating judgments according to the Scriptures [notice how something is to be "obvious" in 1 John 3:10].

I think this is why it is very important to have the right ultimate commitments than need to be theological in nature. If we don't have them and we instead have some ultimate commitment to legalism [for example], then if someone threatens our pet legalism, then our perception of their attitude and actions can be seriously distorted. Accordingly, it can turn into a case of NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO, they can't be right in our eyes for they are a threat to our pet.

Let me use another example. If I am talking to a PCA pastor [with a wife and 5 kids] about baptism, then the stakes are very high for him. He has MUCH to lose. If he changes his view and thus disagrees with the "Westminster Confession of Faith", then he will lose pastoring that PCA flock and thus lose bringing home a paycheck to feed his family.

His commitment to feeding his family and commitment to following Scripture could clash. Does he have an ultimate theological commitment to follow Scripture that will win if he is convinced "infant covenant baptism" is not biblical?

It's the same kind of thing with SB's employed in the convention in relation to the BF&M. If they end up disagreeing with it, then they can lose much. So, they might have to try and justify things in their mind by saying "well, I think it is poorly worded at that spot, etc.".

* This is one of the reasons, I think, why having a "no compromise" view on everything in that document is not good in my opinion.

I am well aware that we should put our commitment to Christ before job security, etc. However, let us also realize that we all have feet of clay as well.

No one is Superman. Christ alone is Holy.

God Bless,


WTJeff said...


Since you have my name, let me take a stab at this.......Don't make generalized criticisms. If you want to be taken seriously, show specific instances of how commenters on this blog have attacked people. If you don't, it will appear that your intent is to randomly criticize rather than lovingly redeem. We have enough of that in the blogosphere already. said...


Well said.



Anonymous said...

Pop Quiz from the 60s: "And they'll know we are Christians by our _JERKS_."

Anonymous said...


I ignored your points because they weren't good and carried no weight.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing such a stark reminder of why love should always be our defining characteristic.

A particular verse came to mind when I came across this quote: "...we Christians ought to be more concerned with how we treat each other rather than what we teach each other."

While it is undeniably true and of utmost importance that we should be known for our love, it is nevertheless crucial to remember Christ's words in Luke 11:42: "You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone." I point out this verse as a reminder that we should treat each other with love, grace and humility - of course - and yet love each other in such a way that we stand for truth in our present age of relativism.

I've actually been thinking a lot about this verse and its applications lately, and, with both truth and love being such monumentally important issues, thought it might be relevant.

Keep up the great work. I am learning a ton from reading what you write.

Christiane said...

Speaking the abrasive versions of 'truth in love' is a strange thing, when Christians talk 'truth' at those who are homeless, friendless, and in despair.

Telling them they are 'going to hell if . . . ' is more than a little cruel when we think about it: many of these people are already in a kind of hell.
They know little else.

Can we think about what we are doing before we 'talk truth in love'?

Can we think about the perception of the person who is listening to us talk and talk and talk and talk . . . as they stand there, kept at arms length, and very much alone?

And, if they turn away, we must try to understand: it may not have 'truth' they were rejecting.
It might have been OUR pride, OUR ego, and OUR triumphalism in the face of their misery and their alone-ness.

There is something to be said for holding out our hand to another in the Name of the Lord, and sitting with the person, and listening to them. There is something very, very Christian about that.
How we, as followers of Christ, reach out to and relate to that person, may be the gift of encouragement they need to reach out to Christ and to raise their eyes to Him.

Something to think about.
Love, L's

Chris Ryan said...


Then you see no differences whatsoever between what Jesus was doing and what this emailer was doing to Wade?

Because you can only say for certain that "You point to 'peace and love' and yet he points out that the way you use things like 'peace and love' would not include Jesus himself in some of the ways he called out the pharisees" if there is no significant differences between the two.

And, just because I always like to know when my thinking may be misguided or imprecise, why is it that none of the differences I noticed are both poor and weightless? If I am wrong-headed, I would really appreciate your insight to point me in better directions.

Chris Ryan said...

PS. My sincerest apologies for messing up the spelling of your call name.

Darrell said...

If a person sees with their own eyes, a Christian organization withhold the retirement funds or slow down the paperwork on said funds, is it “political” to report it on the blogs to interested parties? If Professors have their health benefits dropped in order to twist their arms to sigh a gag order when retiring, and it is reported on the blogs, is that an “attack” on the institution that withheld the health insurance? WHY? What are they doing that needs defending?

I would like to know if the President of NAMB was forced to sign a gag order in order to be treated right in his retirement.

Sometime, on Wade’s blog, some of the people writing the response comments sound like the rabid left who attack everyone who is not in agreement with the rabid left. It feels like reading the local newspaper.

Sometime, the ones writing a response comment sound like the rabid right who attack everyone who is not in lockstep with the rabid right.

And we wonder why the SBC is getting smaller or why churches are dying.

May God continue to bless the level “others” with a kind, patient and gentle Spirit.

Lord Jesus, have mercy

Darrell said...

Oh No, someone might think that was an attack, or being poitical or, Heaven forbid, political attack!!! (smile)


Joe Blackmon said...

msvoboda said...

I ignored your points because they weren't good and carried no weight.

Yeah, you could pretty much make the same comment about anything he writes. After reading folks like him and others of Wade's Warriors I'm about convinced that the "Mainstream" in "Mainstream Baptist" means the same thing as "mainstream" in public education.

Chris Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Ryan said...


You have accused me of being a mainstreamer before, and apparently don't think I ever say anything worth words. You have your right to that opinion.

Would you please demonstrate how it is that I am a Mainstreamer? What is is that makes me so? Everyone who knows me thinks that I am pretty conservative in my theology. Since you use the term mainstreamer very liberally (as in, all the time) it is sometimes hard to tell what you actually mean by it beyond that you disagree with whoever you are talking with.

John Fariss said...


Have you noticed that these folks who proudly (OK, they would deny it's prideful, but it comes off that way to me) talk about how they "speak the truth in love" even it it comes off harshly--how they claim it is Biblical, yet can never cite any significant number of examples for how it has positively impacted their hearers? I would be first to agree that changing a life is the Holy Spirit's job rather than ours, but after all, He works with what we give Him.

Seriously, I know there are people who have a gift such that they can speak "harshly" and get a hearing. But I think that gift is relatively uncommon. To suggest we must all practice it is to claim we all have the same spiritual gifts, not to mention the same personalities.

It reminds me of something our Youth Minister showed me--a "spiritual gifts inventory" for teens. It said that any teen who enjoyed confronting sin in the life of another person had a gift of prophesy. I reminded the youth minister that (1) someone who enjoys such confrontations might just be showing a lack of maturity, and (2) might just be trying to avoid confronting their own sin. Now before anyone says I am impying that your critics such as "msvoboda" or Joe Blackmon are either immature or avoiding their own sinfulness, I am not. I don't know either well enough to say. My point is that there is more than one reason why different people enjoy being harsh; sometimes it is the stated reason and sometimes it is not.


kehrsam said...

Chris: You're doing fine, and pay no attention to the Joe's of the world (God bless 'em). You and I can never be as pure, even with the help of Jesus. :D

As you correctly point out, we speak of our opinions, not the reality of the situation: Only God knows all the facts and all the intentions of all the actors. Be true to yourself that you are motivated not just the love of God -- for that is the First and Greatest Commandment -- but also the love of our brothers. That we are called to, also.

The other day I ran into an old friend I had not seen for several years. As we were in a physician's office we started discussing health care reform, a topic of interest to us both (she is now on Medicare and I am disabled). Another man in the office promptly stood up, placed himself between us, and began YELLING how "Socialized Medicine" would be the end of freedom as we know it. It was no good trying to dispute any of his ideas, because he really only had one, that he was RIGHT and we knew nothing.

So be it. He was right, at least in claiming I couldn't tell him anything: But that was only because he wasn't listening.

Joe Blackmon said...

You are going to go to a seminary that is associated/affiliated/whatever with the CBF. You believe women can be pastors. You believe someone can be a practicing homosexual (engaging in the act, not just struggling with the attraction) and be a Christian. That puts you on the left of the theological spectrum and therefore, as I understand the term from the website Mainstream Baptists, makes you Mainstream.

Chris Ryan said...


Kevin Crowder is going to a Presbyterian seminary. Does that mean he agrees with paedobaptism? He has emphatically stated otherwise. Does me going to a seminary that is affiliated with the CBF mean that I agree with everything the CBF has supported? I realize it's rhetorical, but since you have a way of translating things that is entirely your own, the answer is no.

Women have been pastors and deacons in Baptist churches since the days in England. Sorry for sticking to the way Baptists have traditionally interpreted the Bible and not trying to read scriptures through the "Leave it to Beaver" lens of the 50's.

I believe that a homosexual can be a Christian in the same way that a glutton can be a Christian. Or someone puffed up by pride can be a Christian. Or an adulterer can be a Christian. Or a liar. Or a murderer. They are in the wrong. They should not be told that they are living acceptably. But neither should they be told that God hates them or that their faith in God is fake because they sin. Call to repentence, don't call names. And a call to repentence isn't only for the non-Christian. Our churches would be far better off if we heard more calls to repentence for Christians.

So if believing that God can call you to places that you might not be 100% comfortable in (somewhat like what God does with missionaries, huh?), adhering to traditional Baptist beliefs about women in ministry, and believing that homosexuality is a sin are problems for you then I suggest that it is you who are out of step with Conservative Baptist theology.

Thank you, though, for adequately defining how you intend the term to be used. Now you can name call and we will know what you mean. That should help a lot.

Ramesh said...

Some stats on the viewing of Conference > Midwest Regional Meeting - New Baptist Covenant:

General Session 2 (Pastor Ellis Orozco 01:24-01:59)................Total Views 551

General Session 3, Fri (President Jimmy Carter 00:55 to 01:20)................Total Views 274

General Session 4, Fri (Pastor Wade Burleson 01:30 to 02:08)................Total Views 1071

I am sure the other speakers viewing also went into this.

Anonymous said...

John MacArthurs excellent point.

Relevant to this topic.


WTJeff said...

I don't know why I'm commenting so much today, but here I go again.


In the words of Kenny Mayne at ESPN,
"Home RRRRRunn". You've shown Christian character and a high view of scripture. You made your point without stooping to a personal attack or name calling. May we all learn by your example.

chadwick said...


Do you not think that it is uncouth and 'ungraceful' to blog about a private email conversation between you and another person?

chadwick said...


Not when the person is anonymous and the email gives a specific example of a general principle. It is precisely what we are asking for from Jeff when he generally says people are attacking Joe--but can't provide specific examples

Show us and we will believe you.


Ramesh said...

Some discussions and posts on Pastor Wade's recent speech:

Adventures In Mercy [Molleth] > Wade Burleson on Baptist Policy, Women, and the Way of Love.

ABP News > Pastor urges respect for women in ministry.

Ethics Daily > Baptists Called to Promote Civility, Cooperation.

Joe Blackmon said...


Women have been pastors and deacons in Baptist churches since the days in England.

1-Just because you type it doesn't make it true.
2-Even if that were true, that doesn't mean those churches were right.

Comparing going to a theologically conservative seminary to a theologically liberal seminary is like comparing apples and elephants. The reason you would choose a seminary that is associated with theoligcal liberalism is that you must agree with it enough to be willing to tolerate it. Theological liberalism (questioning the deity of Christ, saying that the Bible "contains" the word of God rather that it IS the word of God) is considerably worse than a seminary who has a mistaken view of infant baptism. It's not like they're taching baptismal regeneration.

So you would say that an adulterer who is engaged in committing adultry and will not repent is a genuine Christian? Wow. Just, wow.

Fear not. You and the rest of Wade's Warriors will probably be able to swing the SBC back in a good leftward direction. When (or am I being to hopeful to say "If") that happens you won't have to worry about battling me for the convention. See, I have too much integrity to associate with a denomination that I didn't agree with on core issues.

Chris Ryan said...


Maybe you are a better person and more mature Christian than I. But I know there are things in my life which I have persisted in even after being told that they were wrong. Some, by that point, were addictions that took a long time to break. They took time even to be willing to break them. Others I enjoyed. Others just didn't seem like a big deal given what other habits I was trying to break. Eventually, God and I got around to taking care of most of it. We're still working on the rest. I know that all this occured within a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. I can't imagine that if He was willing to put up with me, He can't be working just as hard with other sinners who have different problems and aren't willing to face the music just yet.

As for women in ministry, just saying that doesn't make it true and nor does them believing it make it correct. But just so you know I'm not making it up, from Bill Leonard's Baptist Ways p. 162, "In the early revivals, Baptists seemed willing to permit women to speak or 'prophesy' in religious gatherings of both sexes - a practice which would later be abandoned.... Fearing the loss of men to the church, ministers soon encouraged women to exercise their primary religious influence in the confines of the home rather than in the public arena.... Thus, frontier Baptists seem to have modified their response to women in an effort to appeal to men. These actions reflect the development of what some have termed the 'woman's sphere' - prescribed boundaries in which women had great influence but beyond which they were not to venture. They could prepare communion but not serve it, feed the preacher but not preach themselves."

On p. 277 I find, "Black women found much room for involvement, expression, and leadership in the Baptist churches, which was in keeping with both the Southern Separatit tradtion and earlier African traditions. Many congregations permitted women to serve as deaconesses and some women even preached. With time, however, the women's 'sphere' in African American Baptists churches did not include ordained ministry or participation in the pastoral office."

But Joe, just because you say it is not so does not make it not so. And just because you believe the Bible prohits it does not mean that the Bible does. Neither of us can say it and make it so. The question was what is HISTORIC, CONSERVATIVE, Baptist doctrine. I am right in line with what it was until the 1890's. Especially following the CR, there was a whole swath of legitimate Conservative teaching that was branded liberal. But just saying it doesn't make it so, Joe.


Chris Ryan said...

Joe, cont.

As to the issue of Seminary, I have never heard of one professor at Truett who questioned the deity of Christ. In my experience with them, they held to just as high a view of Christ as most Southern Baptist professors. They may have even had a higher view for His importance in the shaping of church mission and ministry. Furthermore, I was very specific in my language in the previous post: I did not so much choose to go as God called. Where he leadeth I will follow. And it is not a matter of being willing to tolerate anything. I can tolerate conversation with Muslims, Jews, Buddhists (though I've never actually met one), Mormons, etc. That doesn't mean that I have to agree or even take something worthwhile away. It is not toleration that is key, but knowing the other side. I cannot condemn nor can I respect what I do not understand. So if you have not taken the time to really try and understand what your so-called liberals believe, not their caricatures, then I don't believe you have any right to judge.

Do you even know what it meant to be a theological liberal prior to the great expansion of the CR? The defining mark of a theological liberal at that time was that they did not believe in the supernatural. Whatever God did, He accomplished it by natural means. That didn't mean that Christ wasn't God. That meant that they simply didn't yet understand how His miracles were possible. That didn't mean that the Bible was unreliable or not God's divine word. It meant that where people assumed God was defying nature, they simply had not progressed in their understanding of nature enough to do the same. A high view of Christ and a high view of scripture weren't talking points until the 1980's.

Just be careful. One of these days the term "liberal" is going to get so loose it is going to include you. Then you'll know that it isn't true. But there will still be people who refuse to see that because they have such a high view of themselves (not a high view of Christ or Scriptures) that THEY have become the benchmark for conservative orthodoxy. If you'd like, we can start practicing calling names now so that you are used to it when the time comes.

Tim Marsh said...

Joe Blackmon,

Again, you speak before you think. Please get your facts straight before questioning other's beliefs.

I have a beef not with your high view of scripture, but how you read it. And, let's just say it this way: I believe that fundamentalists are misguided on their reading of scripture. It has nothing to do with how high you believe it, if you are inaccurate when you read it.

You could learn a lot from Chris Ryan.

Tim Marsh said...

Furthermore, it is interesting that it has been those with more moderate theological positions that are reaching out to say: "let's work together and move forward even though we do not agree on secondary and tertiary issues."

I don't hear that coming from Fundamentalist camps.

Christiane said...


Would you object to a woman standing in the pulpit of the Church on Easter Morning to preach "He is risen." ?

Love, L's

Anonymous said...

"Chris Ryan said...

Kevin Crowder is going to a Presbyterian seminary. Does that mean he agrees with paedobaptism? He has emphatically stated otherwise."

I do however affirm the fact that we Southern Baptists have indeed baptized a bunch of babies. :)

Chris Ryan said...


LOL! That made my day.

John Fariss said...



Joe Blackmon said...

Hey L's

I would object to a woman preaching from any pulpit any time. However, that does not mean that women, and men for that matter, don't and shouldn't have opportunities to worship God and tell others how good He has been to them particularly on Resurrection Sunday.

Joe Blackmon said...

Furthermore, it is interesting that it has been those with more moderate theological positions that are reaching out to say: "let's work together and move forward

Well, that is why they call it the Cooperate with anyone Baptist Fellowship, isn't it? Now if all those dually aligned churches would go ahead and leave the SBC instead of trying to do like the Sith of Star Wars fame and get their revenge for all the evil conservatives did in the CR.

Word verification: bgfndy=bIg fUndy...yes, yes I am. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

"I ignored your points because they weren't good and carried no weight" This is not a reason for rejecting someone's argument, it is a statement of opinion with no justification provided. It is worse than a weak argument, because it is no argument at all. Reasons please. Without them, we can only assume you have no valid, explainable reasons for your opinions.

Christiane said...


I asked because I wanted you to share with you this:

The first person to say 'He is risen' WAS a woman. She heard the Voice of Our Lord tell her to announce the 'good news' to the Apostles.

She did. And for this obedience to Christ, she was given the title "The Apostle to the Apostles" by the early Christians.

There are women today who feel that they have heard the Voice of the Lord telling them to announce the 'Good News'. They are not making this up. It is too life-changing for them.

For them, it is not a matter of 'interpretation of scripture', or 'a struggle of wills', or even a denominationcultural battle.

It is more.

They have 'heard His Voice' and they must follow where it leads them, without fear of rejection or condemnation, or ridicule.

For them, there is no other way, Joe. They will tell us that they have heard His Voice as truly and as clearly as Mary Magdalene did, two thousand years before.

I needed to explain this because, even though you disagree, I wanted you to understand these women. Joe, for them, they see the way prepared: the Hand of the Lord rests upon them.
They do not seek 'our' blessing.
They will tell you, they have His.
Love you dearly, L's

Tom Kelley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Kelley said...

Joe Blackmon said...
I would object to a woman preaching from any pulpit any time. However, that does not mean that women, and men for that matter, don't and shouldn't have opportunities to worship God and tell others how good He has been to them particularly on Resurrection Sunday.

Ok, Joe -- what exactly are the restrictions? Can the woman tell of Christ's resurrection or of God's goodness to her only when not within a congregation? Or can she say it in the church, but only when in the back pew? If she says it loud enough to be heard by the men in the row in front of her, is that ok? What about two rows up? Or what if it is a small gathering of, say, 10 or 12 men and women, and they all hear her say it? Is that ok? Or is it ok as long as she is less than half way between the back of the building and the pulpit (assuming the pulpit is at the front)? Is the front row ok? Is it ok if she is next to the pulpit, but not behind it? Is it only when she steps behind the sacred desk that she can't proclaim Christ's resurrection or goodness? Or is it ok, as long as she keeps it short, or she doesn't get too loud and shout and sweat and give three points and a poem?

Joe Blackmon said...

The first person to say 'He is risen' WAS a woman. She heard the Voice of Our Lord tell her to announce the 'good news' to the Apostles.

That is true. That does not negate Paul's universal "for all times and all cultures" command in I Timothy 2 that women are not to be the teachers/preachers in the church. There is a difference between a person called by God to teach scripture to the body of Christ for the edification of that body and a woman who was told to go deliver a wonderful message to the apostles.

Have a good rest of the weekend, L's.

Joe Blackmon said...


Proverbs 26:4.

Chris Ryan said...


What that woman said the disciples in the upper room taught those men a ton of scripture, even if they didn't realize it. Her proclamation teaches us scripture, too. The words of that woman ARE scripture. That woman is teaching men even to today. And when we come upon her, we all give an "amen." But if a woman stands behind a piece of wood to echo those same sentiments in an extended form, you would turn your back and leave. How many words does it have to be before a woman is preaching?

And what was it that Jesus said about calling a brother a fool? According to Matthew 5:22, they "will be in danger of the fire of Hell." You're a conservative so you know that is a real place, right?

Verification: nodirtly - no dirty lies

Tom Kelley said...

Gee, that puts me in a tough spot. If I go by your last reply, I still don't understand how one would practically apply your objection to a woman speaking from a pulpit. But, by relpying to you, I run the risk of being perceived by others as violating the admonition of the passage you cited.

I'll take the risk -- your statement did not make sense to me, so I asked raised what I thought was a very practical question. Will you please try to explain just what is and isn't biblically acceptable speech by a woman within a church congregation?


Christiane said...

In my faith, the words of Mary Magdalene still echo through the centuries.

There are many things in my religion that are not bound by time.

The thing about Mary Magdalene is that CHRIST chose HER.
In Christianity, if anything matters, everything matters.
The signifigance of Christ's choice of messenger for this news mattered. It matters still.

We must not take the Words and the Actions of the Lord for granted.
He knew exactly what He was doing.

Joe Blackmon said...

Tom and Chris,

As much as I enjoy the verbal ping pong with you two, I'd have to say I'm calling it a night. And honestly, in the end, it really doesn't matter. You're going to go to your left wing churches and as I'm looking for a church now I will only consider one that is agressively complementarian and complies with Paul's universal (i.e. not bound by time and culture) prohibition on women teaching or having authority over a man. I intend to find a church where anyone could come and would be welcome, but that no e-gal would be willing to go to because of the staunch complimentarian doctrine taught in the church.

Chris Ryan said...


Okay. We'll anxiously await you actually answering the points that have been put to you once you've had the opportunity to sleep on it.

And by the way, the pastor of the church I have attended until now (because I moved three states away, I kinda have to look again) would have been right up your alley. Very complimentarian. The pastor managed to turn every passage in scripture into a speech against homosexuality and abortion. He believed that America was a Christian nation in the sense that God chose it to redeem the world. Anything President Bush did was great, anything a democrat did was evil. You know, if you ever move into the KC area let me know and I will give you the church info.

He and I disagreed a lot, but I could still attend. He and I could still get along well. He and I could still call each other brothers.

But just so you know that those of us who are left of you aren't all going to moderate or liberal churches. Some of us are just conservatives who differ on non-salvific issues.

Tom Kelley said...

Good night Joe, and God's blessings as you seek a new church home. I, too, am in need of a new church family. (By the way, I've never been a part of any church that was not staunchly complementarian and thoroughly theologically conservative.) The ping-pong can be fun, but I have a pragmatic streak (as well as my evident sarcastic streak), so I genuinely would like to know, if you get a chance later, the practical aspects of what you believe is and isn't acceptable speech for a woman within a congregation.

Bryan Riley said...

I find it interesting that we can focus so much energy and effort into contending for a man-made doctrine that has been cobbled together from a couple of verses yet ignore the thirty-plus times we are told to love or forgive or edify or be kind to or pray for or live in harmony with one another. We can separate and divide from brothers and sisters in Christ over what gifts a woman can use in ministry, based on a few confusing words in Paul’s letters, while ignoring Jesus’ prayer for our unity in Him. And those who argue most vehemently that any way but the way they read the scripture is sin do so in a way that ignores not only the aforementioned scriptures but also the scriptures that teach us to correct and reprove gently. Why?

RM said...

Perhaps some of you guys could go get your own blog so we don't have to listen to your arguing and acting so spiritual.

Tom Kelley said...

RM said...
Perhaps some of you guys could go get your own blog so we don't have to listen to your arguing and acting so spiritual.

What I see is a generally civil discussion, which I thought was normal and expected for the comment stream of a blog. As to who is "acting spiritual", I'm afraid I'm not spiritual enough to be able to tell whether someone else's spirituality is sincere merely by reading a few sentences on a blog.

Jeff said...

Wade's Warrior cont to practice attack those who don't believe like we do, but preach tolerance....makes your head spin around.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Jeff: I see by your profile that you are a minister. Do you think the Bible really says to call people names? To insult? To browbeat? What bothers me is the number of those who are ministers and talk like the world. Fight like the world. How would you deal with a passage like John 15:9-12?

Jeff said...

My point continues to be made....

Christiane said...


Can you tell us a little bit more about what is troubling you that was said here?

Details might help us to understand better.
Obviously something happened that caused you to comment, but it is not clear what that is. said...


You seem to me to be making a point by . . .

(1). Calling people a name that some find insulting because it carries with it an identity they have not chosen--i.e. "Wade's Warriors." Nobody here has identified with me in any official capacity, and your willingness to label folks who think independently of me as my "warriors" seems to some to be inflammatory.

(2). Giving no specific examples of "attacks" but generally alleging that you and others (like Joe) are being attacked. Until you provide specifics your charges will be either ignored or discounted.

Jeff, it seems to me that it is sometimes difficult for you to separate disagreement from "attacks." You have told me before that it is difficult for you to see disagreements as healthy, and I'm encouraging you here in this comment stream to not jump to a conclusion that those who disagree with you are either attacking. It would also be a primer for civil discussion to refrain from using the acronym "Wade's Warriors."

Of course, you may continue if you wish--and if you do will be an indicator for us as to the true intentions of your heart. You have heard from someone who has asked you to stop and given specific reasons why--I appreciate in advance your consideration of my request.

Civil, loving discussion among Christians who disagree is very healthy.

In His Grace,


Former FBC Insider said...

WTJeff & Chris Ryan,

Great job in pointing out your thoughts, opinions and facts by speaking the truth in love. If that is not our core, then what should it be?

These 'pastors' are fueled by fear. They are afraid. They are frightened when confronted, when opposed, and when questioned. I've seen it all too much.

Keep up the great work/words.
I enjoy reading both of you brothers.

Charlie J. Ray said...

"In other words, we Christians ought to be more concerned with how we treat each other rather than what we teach each other." <<<< I think this sort of thinking leads to theological liberalism. We ought to speak the truth in love but love does not negate truth. How we teach and what we teach is just as important as love. Love with a false gospel is not love at all. That being said, your quote from Edwards is true but most likely directed toward his critics who rejected his preaching of both law and Gospel and experiencing true conversion.

I personally think Jimmy Carter is not a Christian. I base that on books, comments and other public statements Carter has made. While Carter might be a nice man who does much good in the world, he is sincerely deceived in matters of biblical faith.


Anonymous said...


While I disagree with Carter on many political and Theological matters, of this I am confident: that he "knows that [his] redeemer lives and on the earth again shall stand."

To that end I am more confident of his profession of faith than I am in your's, as your last post gives no indication whatsoever that you are a Christian. I might encourage you to rethink your soteriology, to rethink your definition of truth and indeed love. Your position is that of the radical and extreem christianity which fails to live out it's theology. I submit, as does Scripture, that if you have not love you have not Christ.

Love a little harder,


Word Ver: carma