Friday, February 12, 2010

Mission Accomplished

Dr. Andreas J. Kostenberger and Dr. David A. Croteau are the product of Southern Baptist theological education. These men, working on the faculties of Southeastern Theological Seminary and Liberty University respectively, have published many scholarly articles. One joint project, entitled “Will a Man Rob God?”, focuses on the abolishment of the Old Covenant law of storehouse tithing and the establishment of the New Covenant practice of graceful, cheerful and generous giving as believers are led by the Holy Spirit. Both men, inerrantists to the core, clearly display their love for the sacred text in the aforementioned article.

However, Southern Baptist pastor Les Puryear had never heard of these men or their published writings until someone mentioned them both in the comment section Les' post entitled Dangerously Close to Antinomianism. After it was mentioned to Les, he went to the site where the professors' article “Will a Man Rob God?” is posted. Les read it and by his own written testimony Les was "shocked." What was he shocked about? I will let Les' words on his own blog on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 answer for him:

... "I am shocked by the prevalance of antinomianism in our convention!"
... "Andreas Kostenberger and David Croteau document does need to be addressed. I will say that I have somewhat shocked that professors at SEBTS and Liberty University would advise our churches not to teach tithing."
...."If (someone) goes beyond the boundaries of his local church and seeks to persuade others (that tithing is not biblical), that's when a response is warranted. Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention. You can rest assured that action is underway to address these issues at every level of the SBC."
Notice, Les' objection is over the issue of "tithing"--nothing is mentioned about Kostenberger and Croteau denying the veracity and inerrancy of the Word of God. The stated issue for Les is the teaching of Kostenberger and Croteau on the subject of Old Covenant storehouse tithing and NOT their view over the nature of Scripture. Specifically, Les is expressing his consternation that seminary scholars are teaching something different than what he believes on the subject of tithing.

The next day, I received an email from someone very upset about Les Puryear calling for the removal from seminary faculty two professors who taught a view of tithing that was different than "the majority of Southern Baptists." I immediately called Les and then left this comment on his blog:


I received information this morning that you contacted the supervisors of a couple of men who are employed at one of our SBC seminaries. You expressed to a supervisor your disappointment that the professors do not teach "storehouse tithing." The person who contacted me indicated that you sought to bring about accountability by expressing a desire that these men be fired from their positions of service.

I have placed a phone call into your office to confirm if this is indeed true. Please feel free to delete this comment after you read it, but know that I am attempting to contact you to confirm the veracity of the information given me by my seminary source.

I think you know, Les, that if this is true, you will be doing the very thing that has caused me to speak up, and speak out, against the principles of certain individuals in the SBC. You will be demanding conformity on tertiery issues and threatening removal from fellowship and leadership those who do not conform to your particular (and some might say peculiar) interpretation of "storehouse" tithing. I can guarantee you that the sword you have drawn will be used to sever your own connection to SBC local churches because of your Calvinism, a system of thought deemed "peculiar" by many SBC leaders.

I look forward to hearing from you, but please know I will do everything within my power to stop men like you from accomplishing your goals of demanding conformity on tertiery issues.

In His Grace,


Shortly thereafter Les called and told me that he was NOT seeking the removal from faculty of these two men. He wanted to know what I knew and how I knew it. I told him that I would not tell him my source, but I vowed after the Klouda incident that I would do anything to protect our professors from ideologues who demanded everyone believe the same as they. I thanked Les in the following comment on his blog:

"Les, I appreciate knowing you were not seeking the firing of any professor for published papers that reflect a different view from yours regarding Christian stewardship."
So, it's over, right?

No, it's not.

It was then that my source sent me the email Les' had sent to the supervisors of these two men. He told me that Les had been less than forthright with me because Les HAD called for the removal from faculty of these two men for teaching something contrary to storehouse tithing. You may read Les' email to the seminary supervisors in its entirety on Les' blog. Please notice, that in the email, Les only addresses the professors' views on tithing. Not once does he express a concern that these men do not "believe the Bible." Also, Les suggests that these men might need to be removed from seminary faculty for teaching a position on tithing that is not the view of most Southern Baptists. Again, nothing is written by Les' that he was concerned about the professors' possible "liberalism"--he only mentions their different interpretation on the subject of tithing. The email is clear. Les wanted the supervisors of these men to stop the professors from influencing other pastors with their interpretations of storehouse tithing and suggested it would be helpful to possibly remove them from their faculty positions.

It was after reading Les' email that I knew Les was not being forthright with me on the phone. I chose to publish the email to protect the professors. My rationale for publishing Les' email, sent to me by someone concerned for their livelihood, ministries and families was made clear on Baptist Life in a comment to Les after he chastised me for making his email public.

"Your email, Les, was only made public after you denied to me privately, both by phone and in a written email that you published on your blog, that you DID NOT seek the termination of SBC professors who believed differently than you on "storehouse tithing."

My source, after reading the denial on your blog, wrote to me and said you were being less than forthright. He then provided the email, cited Mal 3 and the locusts that destroyed the crops of Israel and included an observation that you were seeking to take away the income of these men while ensuring your own. One of the professors is about to publish a book on the subject, based upon his own dissertation paper while at SEBTS.

Frankly, Les, after reading the email from my source it became evident that:

(1). You were not honest with me.
(2). You were trying to "sound the alarm" in the SBC by seeking the termination of professors who believed differently than what you allege "the majority of Southern Baptists" believe.
(3). Your doctrinal dogma on Old Covenant "storehouse tithing" is not even in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
(4). The secret, behind closed doors pressure is precisely what I saw happen at the International Mission Board on tertiary doctrinal issues that eventually became post de facto policy in the SBC--backdooring the demands for doctrinal conformity through the individual SBC agencies and not through a convention wide change in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
(5). The only way those types of things can be stopped is to make public what is happening.

I realize that the issue for you is the publishing of the email you wrote to administrators at seminaries. Please know that I have sources in every agency of the Southern Baptist Convention. Many of these folks are flat out scared. They are afraid to excercise their God-given spiritual gifts and mental acumen to publish scholarly pieces that may reflect different and nuanced views from the Fundamentalist establishment. They are concerned that nobody has their back or will protect them if they get in a pinch with Fundamentalist leadership. Many of them are leaving looking elsewhere to serve, and the scholarship drain at our institutions can be almost audibly heard. That is why these folks contact me. I don't ask for it. They seek me out. They know I know how to handle folks like you. I do not mind my character or my integrity being attacked for a greater cause.

The greater cause is to stop the unbelievable demands for doctrinal conformity that is causing our Southern Baptist Convention to out Mormon the Mormons and out Jehovah Witness the Jehovah Witnesses. When we get to where we are exegeting the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 to figure out the original intent of the authors on "storehouse tithing," we have abandoned sola sciptura and have turned the BFM into The Pearl of Great Price or the Watchtower Magazine. And further, when we seek to remove scholarly and published professors from their faculty positions for disagreeing even with the majority of Southern Baptists, we have sacrificed our true freedoms for intellectual pursuit at the altar of creedal Fundamentalism. I will do everything within my power to not let that occur in the SBC while I pastor a church that cooperates under the SBC umbrella.

Hopefully, this little episode will keep you from ever again seeking to intimidate Southern Baptists who view things differently in a private and secret manner while at the same time denying publicly what others involved in the intimidation know to be true"
Of course, Les is now saying his only motive in writing the email to the seminary supervisors is his concern that these men possibly didn't believe the Bible and we Southern Baptists are in danger of homosexuals and abortionists overtaking the SBC if we were to let men like this continue to be on the faculty of our seminaries. He now says he was only checking out to see whether or not his concern over these men's liberal denials of the sacred text was a legitimate concern. It was my making public his email that stopped his ability to have his concerns addressed. He never, not ever, wanted these men removed for teaching something different on the subject of tithing. The issue, to him, was something bigger.

Hmm. I submit Les words for Southern Baptists to read. My take on it is that Les, like most ideologues, doesn't know how to fellowship with Christians who believe differently than he on tertiary doctrinal issues. The exposure of him calling for the removal of SBC seminary faculty members over interpretative differences on tithing seems to have embarrassed Les. Though this has historically been the tactic by ideologues in the SBC who wish doctrinal conformity within the SBC, I think Les has been awakened to the fact that it won't work anymore.

I have grown accustomed to attacks directed at me personally. Without hesitation, I say that I love Les as a brother in Christ and fellow minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want only the best for him and his church. However, when he or anyone else takes upon himself the task of demanding doctrinal conformity in the SBC on all tertiery matters, they will have to answer to those of us who have had enough. Les, in my opinion, has learned a lesson. I do not believe he will ever again ask for the removal of someone in SBC leadership and ministry who disagrees with him on the subject of tithing.

Mission accomplished. It is definitely a little mission in the big scheme of things, but our Southern Baptist Convention will never become truly cooperative and tolerant of differing interpretations of the sacred text without small steps like this one.

In His Grace,



Tom Parker said...


I want to thank you for exposing Les P's actions to the light where it belonged. said...


My greatest desire is to protect employees of the SBC. Unfortunately, that sometimes involves the embarrassment of others (i.e. IMB trustees). I do not relish my brothers in Christ being publicly embarrassed, and I realize when that happens, I become the target of their wrath, but in the end it is all worth it.

For the sake of others in the SBC who have no voice.

In His Grace,


Ramesh said...

Excellent post. I would like to thank FBC Jax Watchdog, for starting a series on tithing articles that led to this. In the end it was a great education on theology debates.

Ramesh said...

Some of the posts in Baptist Life Forums > SBC News and Trends, relevant to these discussions:

OK, Les is both good guy and victim in all this? [eyeroll].

Should SBC profs be fired for not teaching strhse tithing?.

Will Les Puryear explain his attempt to get profs fired?.

Non-Tithers Living in Stolen Houses.

Eric said...


Thank you for your post and for exposing this abusive behavior. I would like to believe that your "mission" has been accomplished and this person will not behave like this anymore. However, I think it is far more likely that the behavior will become more insidious and the abusers will learn to stop leaving a trail.

Nonetheless, thank you for your willingness to speak out against injustice and to stand up for traditional Baptist values, such as empowering each believer to seek the face of God and make their own choices about what they believe. said...

It's interesting that this concept of "storehouse tithing" is often abused by Christian ministers--manipulating members by placing guilt and an alleged "curse" of God on those who don't practice it.

From the category of "I wouldn't believe even if I'd seen it" one should read:

Evander Holyfield Allegedly Beats His Wife for Not Tithing

Ramesh said...

FBC Jax Watchdog > Les Puryear Meets Sheriff Wade Burleson. said...


I agree. Because of your comment, I added to the last sentence of this post.



FBC Jax Watchdog said...

What is most encouraging to me through this is Wade's admission that he has contacts at every SBC institution.

Men in the SBC who might be inclined to use their power to harm pastors or professors or lay people that they don't like or that they don't agree now know that if you try your shenanigans like Les, Wade will be on the case.

Way to go, Wade. said...


Thanks. The protection of people who wish to ask questions or express differing views is an essential for a free and democratic organization like the SBC or to a congregational church like an SBC church.

Once people lose their sense of freedom and protection, despotic rule is ineveitable.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thy Peace - thanks for the mention that this all really got started when I dared to post articles refuting this storehouse tithing doctrine last November.

It was last fall that I came across the Kostenberger and Croteau articles at SEBTS that just floored me, and I used that to launch into a series of articles discussing this doctrine, and exposing the worst abusers of it today in the SBC which I believe are Steve Gaines and Mac Brunson.

But going back even further than that, I believe it was my articles in the fall of 2008 when I was still a member at FBC Jax and was calling for people to NOT give to FBC Jax's special offering that caused them to throw the gauntlet down and call the sheriff's office to start an investigation to get my identity. As you know, it was the Monday after the Chest of Joash Sunday that they sprung into action and called the Sheriff's office.

If you hurt these guys in the pocketbook, they will come after you, and come after you hard.

The storehouse tithing doctrine is part of that. I believe most of these pastors know deep down that its not biblical, but as Croteau and Kostenberger point out, they keep teaching it because its easy to teach, and they fear what will happen to their offerings if they teach the truth.

I'm looking forward to Croteau's book coming will be good. Not so much just because of its content, but because there are plenty of credible scholars who are on his side.

Ron said...

Thanks for sharing this incident with us. I doubt if we had to depend on BP it would have ever come to the light of day. I couldn't help notice that Les used the old Conservative Resurgence tactic of finding an issue of contention, in this cause store house tithing, and then elevating it the belief we are losing our belief in Biblical Authority and of supporting homosexuality and abortion. This was the method used in attacking Southwestern and the IMB by other CR politicians and it was no more true then than it is now. If Les is correct, Danny Akin should be fired for permitting his seminary to start down the slippery slope of liberalism. He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.

I am thankful for the internet. It is too bad it was not available back in the 80s to make it possible to expose the underhanded attacks of the CR supporters and force them to defend their charges in public instead of hidding behind closed meetings.
Ron West said...



Bob Cleveland said...

The most common cry over the Baptists still confined in Haiti was "But their motives were good".


We protest how the media portrays Christians, but I sure hope they don't send the news hounds after this story. There's not enough lipstick to make this pig look good.

Nonetheless, it is good that this has been made public. Maybe we'll figure out just how naked we really are.

Oh. Yes. Proverbs 16:2, anyone?

Aussie John said...


It is much easier, for some, to get rid of the splinter, even if it means destroying the career of another, than to ever admit to the log.

I've noticed that received grace is always attended by graciousness.

Ramesh said...

Chronological sequence of events that led to this post:

FEBRUARY 1, 2010 - FBC Jax Watchdog > Gaines: Non-Tithers Driving Stolen Cars, Living in Stolen Homes.

FEBRUARY 1, 2010 - New BBC Open Forum > The Demand to "Tithe" vs. Willful, Cheerful Giving -- Are We Still Under the Law or Not? (Post of Posts on Tithing).

FEBRUARY 1, 2010 - Les Puryear's comment on FBC Jax Watchdog's blog.

FEBRUARY 1, 2010 - Les Puryear's comment on New BBC Open Forum's blog.

February 2, 2010 - Joining God in His Work [Les Puryear] > Dangerously Close to Antinomianism?.

FEBRUARY 02, 2010 - Grace and Truth to You [Wade Burleson] > The New Covenant Emphasizes Being Led by the Spirit: The Old Covenant Emphasizes the Law.

FEBRUARY 4, 2010 - FBC Jax Watchdog > A Clear Difference in Doctrine.

FEBRUARY 05, 2010 - Grace and Truth to You [Wade Burleson] > Free From the Law Oh Blessed Condition! The Reasons You Should Welcome the Charge of Antinomianism.

FEBRUARY 10, 2010 - Grace and Truth to You [Wade Burleson] > Christian Liberal Ideology and Christian Fundamentalist Ideology Are Brothers from the Same Mother.

FEBRUARY 10, 2010 - Baptist Life Forums > SBC News and Trends > Should SBC profs be fired for not teaching strhse tithing?.

February 11, 2010 - Joining God in His Work [Les Puryear] > A Statement From Dr. Danny Akin Regarding the Unauthorized Release to Wade Burleson of My Private Email.

February 11, 2010 - Baptist Life Forums > SBC News and Trends > Will Les Puryear explain his attempt to get profs fired?.

February 12, 2010 - Joining God in His Work [Les Puryear] > A Statement on My Email to SEBTS and Liberty University.

FEBRUARY 12, 2010 - Grace and Truth to You [Wade Burleson] > Preventing the SBC from Becoming the One View Baptist Convention.

FEBRUARY 12, 2010 - Baptist Life Forums > SBC News and Trends > OK, Les is both good guy and victim in all this? [eyeroll].

FEBRUARY 12, 2010 - Grace and Truth to You [Wade Burleson] > Mission Accomplished.

FEBRUARY 12, 2010 - FBC Jax Watchdog > Les Puryear Meets Sheriff Wade Burleson.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Wade - I recall not so long ago that Joe Blackmon acknowledged that his posts were mean-spirited, and committed to be a bit kinder and gentler.

But I want to post here what he posted on my blog just a few minutes ago. This shows the blackness of this guys heart, s he has declared you are "a pile of human excrement".

A new low for sure...

Tom Kelley said...

Wade Burleson said...
It's interesting that this concept of "storehouse tithing" is often abused by Christian ministers--manipulating members by placing guilt and an alleged "curse" of God on those who don't practice it.

From the category of "I wouldn't believe even if I'd seen it" one should read:

Evander Holyfield Allegedly Beats His Wife for Not Tithing

Fri Feb 12, 02:30:00 PM 2010

I wonder who will beat Holyfield for disobeying God's commands to love his wife?

And I wonder if Holyfield's pastor (Creflo Dollar) will counsel her to go back for more abuse so her husband can get saved? Naaaaahhhh - no pastor would ever do something like that, right? Hmmmm....

Daniel said...


This will be my only comment...

1. I disagree with Les on several counts, and I agree with you that it was wrong for him to question these professors' employment before he understood the whole situation. BUT, after reading his account of the story, it seems that everything was settled before your source ever contacted you, and that despite the wording of his email, Les no longer had any intent to pursue the matter further. Your publicizing this issue has brought far more trouble to these professors than Les's email did. I appreciate your desire to protect them, but you have accomplished the opposite.

2. Les is not in a position to actually have anyone removed from employment. He is not a board member or an administrator. He is a small church pastor with a blog. I could understand going public with your information if the same email had been sent by an agency head or an SEBTS trustee, but not Les. You have launched a public attack on someone who has no real power over the situation. What you are doing is counterproductive because you risk making average no-name SBCers like me afraid to question SBC leaders for fear of being publicly outed and ridiculed by you and your "sources in every agency of the Southern Baptist Convention." I hope that in the future you will save your public attacks for people who are in positions of leadership. said...

FBC Watchdog,

There are times when both men and women must a make conscious decision to take a certain road in life, knowing full well that going down that road will cause others to question their integrity, their motives, and their Christianity. It has always been my conviction that when I come to such a crossroad and make a decision for what I believe to be a greater good, but knowing full well many people will be angry with me. When the anger comes I must receive what comes my way with grace, because I made the choice to do what I did, knowing some would be angry. In other words, I won't complain, strike back, or act the victim.

To have someone say my life is a pile of human excrement for making public Les' attempt to remove faculty members at our seminaries is something I embrace for the cause of Christ. It is an expected consequence of the choice I made to address the matter for the greater good of the SBC and nobody, particularly me, should resent it. said...


If and when you say something, whether publicly or privately, to bring accountablity to SBC leaders, you stand on a principle.

Wild horses ought not shake you from your principles.

Les had no principle upon which to stand and wild horses shook him.

Conscience said...

Do you really think that turning these disputes into WW3 is helpful to your christian life, those who read you, or those whom you directly affect?
Surely these passages are not nullified or is this being legalistic?
Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.... 31 All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness.
32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

Romans 15: 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. said...



Steve said...

It is just so sad to see the SBC spend al this time and money to find wonderful qualified missionaries or seminary personnel who then have to run the continuing gamut of small-minded graspers who demand their glory and recognition in this life, with apparently no thought at all of the next.

How ironic to see Crefilo Dollar - the issues pursued by Puryear and Patterson - oh, and the angriest preacher in Arkansas - and even the "religious" Texan knife-wielder you met once while with the IMB BoT - all mentioned or brought to my limited mind at the same time. I will now go sort out which ones were directed from Above and which were directed from below.

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

This post is somewhat timely to me. A member of SBC church in midwest city, oklahoma - was contacted about serving on church stewardship committee. Pastor, stewardship committee chairman (who has two family members on church payroll)and chairman of committee on committees call me in with accusations that we have been designating too much money and not giving enough to general offering. They went through contribution records and made decision to hold up my submission to church for approval. Of 17 checks written to church this past year, only 6 were designated. Is this taught in seminary or is this a standard practice now in SBC churches??? said...



I'd look for another church.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Well done, Wade! And a shout out to Watchdog for tipping the first domino. Light is a wonderful disinfectant!

This is from the last thread. (I'm behind tonight.)

JLE wrote:


Are you reading anything written by many of those who post against anyone who supports the tithe (referring to watchdog's blog mainly)?


Have you read Watchdog's blog? Neither he nor I nor Wade nor anyone else that I've seen is speaking against "the tithe" (however you want to define it) or those who support it. No one is saying we shouldn't give or tithe or whatever you want to call it. We're taught in the NT to give generously and cheerfully.

The problem comes when someone stands up and demands, "The Bible says you must tithe 10% of your income in an undesignated fashion to your local church," and that if you don't (in some churches, they say they "check it") you aren't "right with God." (If you've read Watchdog's blog, you know who said that.) I'm sure Wade could put this more gracefully than I, but I'll just cut to the chase. Baloney!

Even Les Puryear himself, who purposefully, albeit somewhat unwittingly on such a public scale, thrust himself into the center of this debate, said, "One may say that they do not agree with tithing because of the idea of grace giving. I can accept that argument as a valid difference of opinion in interpretation." Thank you, Mr. Puryear! Because that's really what I think a lot of us "antinomians" are saying! (That's my new word. It replaces the platitudinous "recalcitrants.") The problem for y'all is, you and Jon Estes and Steve Gaines, et al. don't get to define "grace giving" for me or any other Christian. That's between each of us and God.

You want to slam Les and anyone who disagrees with you on this. You say you want to cooperate but you are drawing a line in the sand yourself. You are saying that you welcome all to join you in your belief system and you want to define what are tertiary issues and what are not. How does this jive with your call to work with those who believe differently? It doesn't.

I believe what Wade is, as you put it, "slamming" Les for is his ummm... how shall I put this without using the "L-word"?... being somewhat less than candid about his thinly-veiled "suggestion" for the termination of seminary professors who were not in lockstep with him on the issue of "storehouse tithing"... as if one man's objection to one seminary professor's opinion about one tertiary issue (yes, I said tertiary issue) is going to result in the termination of said professor's job. Right.

The way I see it, it's people like you and Les who want to make a lot of things historically considered tertiary issues primary issues. You're the ones adding to the list of what's primary, not Wade.

{continued below}

New BBC Open Forum said...


You have pushed several good men, in words, under the bus because they differ from you. This is sad. You are playing the same game the trustees played but you are doing it on the internet disguised as being gracious. You are building your group of supporters. You are playing King and I pray you see it before God deals with it, personally.

Oooh, Jon. Playing the "God will get you for that" card, are we? Watch out, Wade. Jon's calling down the thunder on you!

Also, do not ever forget this, Elvis is king. Got that?

Seriously, the only person I saw in that whole fiasco doing any body-tossing was Mr. Puryear attempting to throw Drs. Kostenberger and Croteau under the bus. I'm sure TPTB at SEBTS and Liberty gave Mr. Puryear's questions the ten seconds of attention they deserved, had a good chuckle over it, and have moved on. As for "playing games," the only one in this case doing that was... taa daa... Mr. Puryear.

Go ahead and pour the grace words out and make it seem you are the victim or the one trying to save the SBC world of evil.

The victim? Pffft! I don't see Wade as a victim at all. I envision Wade wearing a yellow hat. Last time we checked in, he was in a bit of trouble, but I'm sure he'll be fine in the end. I guess we'll have to watch and see!

Sir, it is my opinion if you keep following the road you have taken you will do more damage, in time, than you think the leaders in the SBC have done over the past years. maybe not in the convention but in the kingdom.

Sir, it is my opinion if attitudes like yours represented those of most Christians, I wouldn't want to be one. It's legalistic attitudes like yours that are a big factor in driving people away from Southern Baptist churches.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Of course, Les is now saying his only motive in writing the email to the seminary supervisors is his concern that these men possibly didn't believe the Bible and we Southern Baptists are in danger of homosexuals and abortionists overtaking the SBC if we were to let men like this continue to be on the faculty of our seminaries.

You forgot "pastorettes." It's a slippery slope, you know.


John Notestein said...

"For the sake of others in the SBC who have no voice."

That would be people like me, and I for one am grateful for what you have done. Just when I'm thinking about leaving the SBC you show me that the 'thought police' don't always get their way. Thanks again.

Byroniac said...

John Notestein:

I like what a friend told me once before he passed away that, "You can find anything in the SBC, from a buzzard to a hummingbird." That pretty much sums it up for me. He was SBC, a gentleman and a scholar, and belonged to a fine SBC church. So, if he were still here on Earth, he would agree with me that there are still many fine people in the SBC.

For myself, I am technically still a member of an SBC church, but I no longer consider myself part of the SBC in any meaningful sense, and I do not know what I will do in the future. My personal beliefs, especially in the area of ecclesiology and denominations, have changed considerably from previous years. So I am not disgruntled with the SBC, though I do oppose some exclusionary narrow-minded doctrine that seems prevalent in it. I simply no longer belong. You may decide that, too, but please continue to be in prayer in it. I believe the SBC needs everyone that God puts on his or her heart to stay and work for the good of the Convention. But only you can know if that is true for you.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"For myself, I am technically still a member of an SBC church, but I no longer consider myself part of the SBC in any meaningful sense, and I do not know what I will do in the future."

{sigh} Me, too. I think we're what are referred to in some circles as "blessed subtractions."

Word verification: blesses

Byroniac said...

LOL. I shouldn't be laughing, but I'm glad I'm not the only one out there! Another friend calls himself and me, "church furniture." The important thing is we serve Christ, in our own special way, according to His will.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

New BBC:

Well said. They don't bother to read that I'm not against people "tithing". I'm all for people giving 10% or 20% to their church.

I made it clear that I was exposing the hardcore storehouse tithing teachers that were abusing their congegations by telling them if they don't fork over 0.1 times their income, only to their church, that they are in sin, and driving stolen cars, and causing the economic crash as God is punishing our nation because of non-tithers. Its all rubbish, a gimmick in an attempt to maximize revenue in their coffers.

But let me tell you...if anyone bothers to read what Croteau and Kostenberger wrote, and what John MacArthur has preached on this topic, no wonder guys like Brunson, Gaines and Puryear are running scared. The sheep might actually wise up and realize that God might not want them to fork over so much money to their churches, but spread it around and do ministry as they are led by the Spirit.

Their donations are dropping, and they can't stand at this particular time that anyone would dare call into question their sacred cow doctrine.

And I'm just getting started at the Watchdog site...more to come! Stay tuned Les, Blackmon, and Estes!

Ramesh said...

Barna Group > New Study Shows Trends in Tithing and Donating [April 14, 2008].

Born Again Giving Changes

The aggregate born again community (i.e., evangelicals as well as non-evangelical born again adults) donated a mean of $1971 to all non-profits and churches. That is the highest level reached by the born again population this decade. However, several giving patterns raised red flags for churches.

The percentage of born again adults who gave any money to churches dropped to its lowest level this decade (76%). In addition, the money donated by born agains to churches as a proportion of all of the money born agains gave away has also dropped precipitously. During the first five years of the decade, an average of 84 cents out of every dollar donated by born again adults went to churches. In the past three years, though, the proportion has declined to just 76 cents out of every donated dollar
Barna Group > The Economy’s Impact (Part 3 of 3): Donors Reduce Giving, Brace for the Long Haul [February 8, 2010].

Stable Tithing
One measure of American generosity that has stayed relatively consistent – despite the economic turmoil – is the practice of tithing. This is the concept embraced by many Christians of giving ten percent (or more) of one’s income. Overall, 7% of all adults reported donation levels equaling at least 10% of their income. The percentage of adults who tithe has remained constant since the beginning of the decade, falling in the 5% to 7% range.

Tithing levels, which could include both church and other charitable giving, were highest among evangelicals (24% of whom give at least 10%), non-mainline Protestants (13%), churchgoers (11%), and non-evangelical born again Christians (10%). Those over the age of 45 (9%) were nearly twice as likely as those under the age (5%) to tithe. Also, the study showed that income level was not correlated with tithing: just 9% of upscale adults gave at least one-tenth of their income, while 11% of the downscale set gave an equivalent proportion

Bob Cleveland said...

I don't think it is fair to categorize all preachers who advocate the storehouse tithing deal as people who want to "line their coffers". Claim that and you are giving credence to the accusation that those who are against "tithing" are just to stingy to pay their fair share.

And such invective does absolutely nothing to bring credibility to whatever position you hold.

Lydia said...

" Claim that and you are giving credence to the accusation that those who are against "tithing" are just to stingy to pay their fair share."

Bob, there is NO fair share. Barnabas sold his estate and gave it for distribution to those in need in the new Body of Christ. Who was claiming the widows needed to pay their fair share?

A&S were not struck dead because they held back their 10% but because they lied about giving all of it.

Paul did not ask the Corinthian church to divert their 10% to the Jerusalem Christians. He just asked them to set aside contributions.

What concerns me about teaching a 10% is that is teaches us to be consistently stingy. It teaches us to NOT be led by the Holy Spirit in giving. We write out the 10% check and think we have done this great duty to God. When, in fact, there might be a single mom sitting next to you who cannot pay her light bill but feels pressured to 'tithe' it instead in order to do her duty to God. When, in fact, the Body is not doing it's duty to her.

Being against tithing is NOT the same as being against giving.

Bob Cleveland said...

Lydia, you seem to have missed my point altogether.



FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Bob - let me clarify. Some who would consider themselves as "storehouse tithing" advocates are not what I would call "hardcore storehouse tithers". They teach it as a principle or conviction, not as a firm law - they have a conviction that for them they are to give 10% or more to their church, and they teach that as a principle to their people. They don't lord it over the people to intimidate and scare them into forking over money to their church. I have compared it to the alcohol issue. There are some, like myself, who take an abstinence view of alcohol. I have a conviction that I am to abstain. I don't judge others who don't, and I have taught my kids that it is a wise choice. But I recognize that for some that is not their conviction, and I don't claim they are in sin. They drink socially, don't get drunk, and they are just as much Christian as I am. But I also know there are some abstainers who claim that taking any drink of alcohol is "sin".

The hard core storehouse tithers are those like Brunson and Gaines - I use them aa examples because I am most familiar with them. They teach it as a firm, fixed, in concrete law from God, that all Christians MUST meet the 10% threshold of giving or they are sinning. They teach that ALL of the FIRST 10% MUST go to the church, and any of your first 10% that goes to other causes is unjust. Gaines is a perfect example of such nonsense. He said that people should not give to Haiti until they first pass the 10% threshold of giving to his church. He has said if you give any of the 10% to other Christian organizations you may be cursing them.

What got Les' dander up was when I was criticizing Gaines for accusing his church members of driving stolen cars and sending their kids to school using stolen money. Sorry, but if my elderly and infirmed grandmother heard such rubbish from her pastor Gaines and out of fear forked over a large sum of money to gain favor with God, I would take action to get that money back. This has happened before...look it up at First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach. Gaines should be ashamed of himself for such abusive preaching concerning people's money.

Ask a hardcore storehouse tither to explain clearly out of scripture their views, they won't do it. They say they've always done it, they say the previous pastors at the church taught it, that they're dad always tithed and taught them to tithe. But they don't teach it to their people usually, they just declare it is so. I asked Les a few very direct questions about his views, and he wouldn't answer them. That is par for the course when it comes to hardcore storehouse tithers.

Mark said...

I just want to point something out in reference to those who do not hold to "storehouse tithing." I understand we can have different views on this issue. The charge of antinomianism for those who do not hold "storehouse tithing" is disturbing.

What I'd like to point out is that even at the Puritan Board there are disagreements. Cf. Is the Christian required to give at least 10% of his income to the local church? where more than 50% of those answering the poll said "no".

The Puritan Board is hardly a hotbed of Liberal theology. Quite the opposite is true. They are a community of Reformed believers who hold to Covenant theology holding to a high view of God's law.

I've read elsewhere that even Calvin wasn't exactly clear on NT tithing, but I haven't researched this thoroughly just yet.


New BBC Open Forum said...

Re "FBC Jax Watchdog's" 6:02 p.m. comment. Here is Joe Blackmon's comment in its entirety with my own comments interspersed.

Joe Blackmon said...

First of all, anyone with an ounce of sense (which obviously excludes the dawg and most of his reaadership) could read the email Les wrote and see he was NOT trying to get anybody fired.

Well, you are among the "dawg's" readership.

Errr... what exactly then was Les trying to do when he asked Akin, "Do you agree with Dr. Kostenberger's position of tithing? If not, do you think it is helpful to the SBC to keep this professor on the faculty of SEBTS?"

Was that some kind of trick question? If Akin replied yes, would Les have called for his head on a platter, too? If Akin replied no, would Les have more strongly "encouraged" him to not keep this professor on the faculty of SEBTS? The way I see it, Les put Akin in a no-win position.

Les says, "After much discussion back and forth, Dr. Akin ably defended Dr. Kostenberger and denied that his professor did not believe in biblical authority. I then submitted to his position because he knows Dr. Kostenberger and I do not."

This is interesting. Les accuses Wade of jumping to conclusions about his motives (which I thought from his own words were crystal clear), but he felt free to jump to conclusions about Dr. Kostenberger's views on "biblical authority" or in other words, Dr. K's motives.

My guess (yes, I'm jumping to a logical conclusion) is that Les "submitted" to Akins' position because he had little choice. He could continue to stir excrement, or he could drop it and backpedal.

Second of all, only a pile of human excrament with the integrity of belly button lint would take fragments of a private email and make them public.

Joe, you're such a gifted wordsmith! Except you misspelled "excrement." Perhaps you should stick with the simpler, four-letter form in the future.

Oh, and regarding all the fuss about making "private" things public, I bet Bill Clinton said the very same thing about Monica Lewinsky and a certain blue dress! How dare she! That was private!

Of course, it takes one with a yellow strip running down their back to praise another of the same stripe.

No, no, no! Not a strip. Or even a stripe. A hat! Wade has a yellow hat! (I sure hope this saga doesn't go to his head though. His hat wouldn't fit anymore.)

I think you've clearly illustrated your true colors this evening, Joe. Or did I wrongly assume you were calling a fellow Christian and pastor a "pile of human excrement"? Whatever happened to "touch not mine anointed"?

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

Bob: I agree with you.

All: I think what gets my ire is when not believing in storehouse tithing or believing women in ministry supposedly leads to condoning homosexuality, abortion etc. How one has to do with the other is beyond me! My eyes get big every time I read or hear this nonsense.

Lydia said...

Lydia, you seem to have missed my point altogether.



Sat Feb 13, 12:59:00 AM 2010

I don't think I did at all, Bob. They can accuse folks of ANYTHING. We ave seen it happen...just in Kostenberger not believing in the authority of scripture. Was THAT warranted over the doctrine of storehouse tithing?

Rex Ray said...

You got the same advice Wade gave me: “I’d look for another church.”

It’s a wonder he didn’t warn you not to speak of your local church problems. He doesn’t want to hear them as he’s only interested in problems at the Convention level.

I believe you raised a very important question: “Is this taught in seminary or is this a standard practice now in SBC churches?”

Maybe a quote from the fastest PhD accomplished at SWBTS will answer your question:

“I’ve been trained how to run a church and I’ll run this church!”

I believe our seminaries have trained pastors to be more than spiritual leaders but spiritual bosses.

Instead of being leaders of the flock, they’re leaders of dumb sheep as brought out by:

"It’s a shame that some want to ask the congregation what THEY want to do instead of God telling the congregation what they should do.’

Rex Ray said...

Another thing – I believe more would be accomplished instead of having a sheriff working on the top, we need a sheriff working on the bottom.

The Gentiles sure had one in Paul.

Anonymous said...

I would like to bring up a tiny point then back off and see what the dronus populus thinks.

If one covenants together with a local congregation for the purposes of the church (universal), and that church collectively decides on a polity which enacts a yearly budget, and all that goes along with that, but that person gives what amount they give either A) to the local food pantry only, or B) designates their monies only to the building or youth funds, is that ok?

I ask this question in terms of covenant giving and to bring up the designated vs. undesignated issue.

My church does NOT do designated gifts. EVERYTHING goes into the budget offering. Everyone knows that, it is the way of things (with minor exceptions: mission trips, benevolence, building fund, special offererings, LMCO, AAEO). You can vote for or against the budget, you can stay or you can leave. Obviously that is not the way they communicate it, but I am simply giving you the brass tacks here.

WE all know that people are fickle, and that today I might support the budget, but tomorrow I might get mad and write a check to ministry "xyz."

Now when you have a large church like Wade's (several thousand members) or a medium sized church like mine (1000 members) a few of those "fickle peeps" is not so bad. But what about small churches with 50-250 members and the preacher says something to tick off a family whose "generous and cheerful giving" pays the utilities and salaries? I mean let's face it small church preachers DO worry about this stuff. It is a real and practical concern.

This is why Baptist churches for years have had "Prove the Tithe Sunday." The budgets were based off of this. You were simply expected to give what you pledged.

I am not saying that is the right way, but come on people, worse things have come out of ecclesiological traditions.

Just some thoughts,


Anonymous said...


Obviously the leadership calling you in is unbiblical and uncalled for, not to mention just plain stupid. But, while others are calling for you to find another church (which still may be the best option) I ask you this:

Can you just give generously and cheerfully by writing an undesignated check each week/month?

Or are there systemic issues in your church which demand you not support certain ministries? That would be the reason to leave. As I wrote before, you might find a new church which only accepts "budget offerings" and certain, specific other giving options like building, missions/mission trips.

Just a question to help us better understand your situation--and I doubt you are alone amongst the readership of WadeBlogoLand.


Word Verification: redgyrms- (n) Communist infections coming out of the White House under the Obama Administration. :)

Ramesh said...

You can read Louis lawyerly advice on Bart Barber's blog here.

We all know FBI, NSA and Dept. of Homeland Security routinely, scans ALL internet traffic courtesy of major ISP voluntarily offering their data streams to the Govt.

And we have to read snippets of advice from Govt. that routinely reads all internet data for the greater good of catching terrorists. So they say.

Wiki > E-mail privacy.

EFF > NSA Spying.

Tom Parker said...

Louis comments always trouble me because they are so lawyerly and I just am not able to read any feelings in them.

I'm sure he does not mean it this way, but that is just how his comments read to me.

It always appears he would take a stand for no one.

Byroniac said...


Who said that Christians need church buildings, programs, or even clergy? (Oh wait, almost all of them do). It's not wrong to have a building or programs, but being part of the "clergy" is mostly just good paperwork and having others believe it. No doubt true clergy are called of God to do their work, but lacking ordination and a license (i.e., paperwork) never stopped any of the prophets or those God called before.

Just a thought.

Ramesh said...

It always appears he would take a stand for no one.

If you read carefully, he is taking a stand. He always tilts in favor of powers to be. Lot of equivocation, but the tilt is there.

Anonymous said...


I am asking a serious and practical question. I am not concerned with a stupid postmodern ideology that is almost yesterday's news. Teaching people the Word of God via Sunday School and other methods surely requires classrooms, from a practical standpoint. I am concerned with the troops on the ground right now. your question is for another day if you don't mind.


Ramesh said...

I am copying Dr.Kelly's comment from the prior post.
Russell Earl Kelly said...
Why is Kostenberger getting all of the credit for supporting grace giving only?

Dr David Black at SEBTS did it two years earlier.

D. Daniel Akin himself did it in November 2007

Even Martin Luther did it in 1525

The word "tithe" does not appear in any SBC Faith and Mesage and tithing texts were not added until 1963. It was first proposed in 1895 and rejected. That is SBC history.

SAT FEB 13, 11:37:00 AM 2010

Byroniac said...


Fine by me. But I must ask, does your statement refer to the point of view in my comment? You said, "I am not concerned with a stupid postmodern ideology that is almost yesterday's news."

Tom Kelley said...

Kevin M. Crowder said...
I am not concerned with a stupid postmodern ideology that is almost yesterday's news.

It's rather convenient to be able to dismiss the merits of a biblically-based position out of hand by classifying it as stupid and postmodern.

Word verification: fundrynt.

Byroniac said...


I am just thankful that my checks still have that nifty "Pay to the order of" field on them. I do not have to tithe/give/whatever to a denominational funds acquisition agency (though I often do). But I am also free in Christ to give directly to my brothers and sisters in Christ, and to do so even outside of a "church" building. In fact, we could meet in a house and do Sunday School if we wanted, and take offerings. But there's no reason you must do that. The point is simply that the "Church" properly defined are the people of God, not the buildings, programs, and clergy they use. If you are concerned with "troops on the ground," you can be concerned with this too because it is highly relevant.

Rex Ray said...

There-you-go – making me jealous again.

Maybe you could answer all of Glenn’s question: “Is this taught in seminary…” instead of what your church does.

Did your church vote on how money was given or was it from the preacher?

A long time ago, our staff had good salaries except the youth director. When the youth ate out, she brought a sack lunch because of her finances. She had a seminary degree, but when a complaint was made, the pastor said that she was just a girl.

She was delighted in her increase in pay, but to this day she never knew is was from a tithe designated to her.

BTW Wade, I was on their Mission Committee but there was never any money for us because it was spent on replacing church carpet etc. I left after 20 plus years when they went a million in debt to remove/remodel the educational building to attract baby boomers. In a couple of years, their attendance went from 500 to 150. I believe they got tired of hearing: Will a man rob God? Finally their debt was paid by a millionaire dying, and today their attendance is around 300.

Lydia said...

" But what about small churches with 50-250 members and the preacher says something to tick off a family whose "generous and cheerful giving" pays the utilities and salaries? I mean let's face it small church preachers DO worry about this stuff. It is a real and practical concern."

It is much safer to make tents and not be a burden or beholden to the big donors. If one wants to preach the Word then they will preach the Word. It was never intended to be a professional career with a negotitated salary, perks and benefit package.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"If you read carefully, he is taking a stand. He always tilts in favor of powers to be. Lot of equivocation, but the tilt is there."

That's always the impression I come away with, too. I admit I could be wrong as motives, intent, and tone don't always come through accurately in this medium, but still my impression is... backside firmly planted on the fence, leaning with the winds of TPTB.

Christiane said...

I am a little bit confused about the strong emphasis given by some on the 'tithing offering' from the OT, rather than on the 'todah offering' which was considered a much more superior offering in the OT.

How is the concept of the 'todah offering' practiced in the Baptist faith ? I haven't heard it mentioned in any of the discussions, but I may have missed it.

Thanks so much if anyone can help. L's

Bob Cleveland said...


There's plenty of Biblical evidence that preachers should be paid for preaching, including among others 1 Timothy 5:17-18.

Anonymous said...


Its not my fault Lydia feels the need to waist air time responding to me. I mean it really IS OK if she just ignores me. Maybe someone could pass that along to her. Byron on the other hand I enjoy. When he is not being brilliant he is stirring the pot. To him I say: don't always believe what you read. Btw, I do not want to keep Byron tied up on here this weekend, he has a date with his S.O. You don't even WANT to know what they have planned. *covers eyes*



Byroniac said...


Yikes! I just want to clarify something. I have NOTHING sinful planned. A lot of people this Valentine's day have a Significant Other, like a spouse or romantic partner. I have a computer, so it is my Significant Object. I'm planning on buying it something this weekend or soon thereafter (well, it's really for me, but I'll pretend). ;)

Byroniac said...

Bob Cleveland,

First I agree with you, but... is the primary meaning behind those Scriptures that a preacher receives monetary reimbursement? In the NIV it reads like this:

17The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages."

Verse 17 speaks of being worthy of "double honor" not monetary compensation, and verse 18 shows the ox receiving some of the fruit of its labors. Sure, you have the word "wages" in verse 18 as well, but isn't it simply pointing out that the worker deserves the compensation he is entitled to, without necessarily equating the form of compensation with what the church elder receives for his work in the Gospel? I know, this does not deal with the other passages of Scripture. But the point is, does honor, even double honor, necessarily have a dollar amount assigned to it here?

Bob Cleveland said...

From Strong's Concordance:

The word "honor" in the NIV is:

5092 time (tee-may');

from 5099; a value, i.e. money paid, or (concretely and collectively) valuables; by analogy, esteem (especially of the highest degree), or the dignity itself:

KJV-- honour, precious, price, some.

Sounds like that verse says they are especially worthy of being paid for their ministry of the word. And that's just one verse.

linda said...

Pastor Wade,

If I've missed this please someone give me a link, but I sure would appreciate a reading list of what is really historic Baptist teaching.

I believe if we understood better where we came from we might put the brakes on where we are going! said...


There are a number of links on the Internet to 17th and 18th Century Baptists (like John Bunyan) in England--the folks from whom we descend. There theology was solid. Beginning around the time of the start of the 19th Century, many cultural problems among "southern" Baptists in America worked their way into our ecclesiology. It would be hard to give you all the links, but some of the key words would be "liberty," "soul competency," "non-conformists," "sola Scriptura," "grace," etc...

Gene S said...

Well, well, well--the drama finally has a solid source. My conclusions:

(1) The higher the monkeys climb the tree, the more you see their tails!

(2) The dirty tricks played in the ouster of Randall Lolley and other professors--instigated by Paige Patterson--continue with their own kind now totally present at SEBTS.

(3) Only the fundies eat their young to avoid competition--as do lions & tigers!

(4) A monotone Bible with all parts equal has, long ago, proven to be a stupid man's Bible.

(5) Any ideology has a common source: man trying to figure out God with a good fist fight thrown in---so those watching these present day disciples are asking, "If this is Christianity, do I want any part in it?"

(6) That was when Jesus picked up a child and placed him on his knee and spoke of anyone hurting a child (new follower / small one) he would be better off having a millstone tied around his neck and cast into the middle of the sea. That was equal to the electric chair in our day.

I think we need to listen again to Jesus on these matters--and start acting a little more like him, if we want anyone following us!

JasonL said...

Where is Jesus in this situation?

I'm ashamed of/for both you and Les. This appears to be about ego..for both of you. It's gone far too public and personal.

Les has an opinion and you have an unnamed source. You have a vow and he has a concern. You BOTH seem to have an agenda, but neither of you seem to actually be LOVING each other.

So, I ask again, "Where is Jesus in this situation?"

JasonL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia said...


So who gets ’single honor’? If it’s about pay, then who gets half a “pastor’s” salary? And of course, the context is about honor, because Paul immediately follows that statement with the “dark side” of double honor: double shame.

Byroniac said...

Bob Cleveland, OK, I see where it can include compensation for services rendered (you are right there), but I still think the primary focus is the honor given them by the church there. But I will to read more. Thanks for correcting me. said...


Jesus is where He has always been and where He always will be.

I can appreciate that you feel shame for me over this situation. You are more than free to share your feelings with anyone you deem may benefit from your expression of them.

As for me, since I did what I did on the basis of conviction, I welcome your feelings of shame and your expression of them...

And I will do the same thing in the future if I feel an SBC employee is being threatened or intimidated for expressing a differeing belief than the majority of Southern Baptists.



Bob Cleveland said...


I am unaware of a verse that talks about "single honor", but I'd be happy to discuss it if there is one. But the passage here says what it says, regardless of whether you or I can figure out how it all works.

And I for one am happy that my pastor is paid by those people to whom he ministers, so he can so without the diversion of a secular job.

Rex Ray said...

You said, “And I for one am happy that my pastor is paid by those people to whom he ministers, so he can without the diversion of a secular job.”

What do you think about a pastor who had a good salary asking permission to work part time and he would give his wages to the church?

As usual, people don’t respond much.

Bob Cleveland said...


If the pastor to whom you are referring has that much spare time, then so be it.

Our pastor doesn't.

Anonymous said...


If sermon prep does not take a preacher 30-40 hours a week, then he is weak and his sheep are starving. This reality is why most churches have gone form 3 weekly sermons down to just one. It is sad. Spurgeon preached nearly every day and had several books as a time he was expositing. Pastoring should be 1st about preaching the
Word and prayer. Hospital visits and the like is deacon work.

Obviously there is some wiggle room in that seemingly strict opinion, but generally speaking that should be the goal in part.


Tom Kelley said...

Kevin M. Crowder said...
If sermon prep does not take a preacher 30-40 hours a week, then he is weak and his sheep are starving. This reality is why most churches have gone form 3 weekly sermons down to just one. It is sad. Spurgeon preached nearly every day and had several books as a time he was expositing.

I'm all for anyone who purports to teach others what God's word says doing all the preparation possible. And I'm more than tired of hearing fluffy sermons without any expositional meat.

But, on the practical side, are you saying 30-40 hours per week per sermon, or is that for 3 sermons? If it's for 3, that's 10-13+ hours per sermon (unless one considers one of the sermons more significant, so as to require more work than the others). If it's 30-40 hours per sermon, then a preacher with 3 sermons a week should be spending 90-120 hours per week in sermon prep -- quite a work week there.

If it's 10-13+ hours per week per sermon, then Spurgeon, who preached daily, to avoid being considered a weak preacher with starving sheep, would need to have spent 70-90 hours a week in sermon prep. But, if it's 30-40 hours a week per sermon, Spurgeon should have spent 210-280 hours per week preparing to preach. A very busy guy indeed.

Of course, perhaps I've missed the point entirely, and 30-40 hours per week is a blanket number that covers all sermon prep, whether it is 1 sermon or 20. That would be a better deal for the preachers who preach the most sermons. (Kinda like requiring a flat rate 10% tithe of all church members is a better deal for the guy making $250,000 a year than for the gal making $25,000).

But, gosh, it sure gets confusing keeping up with all these rules. Wouldn't it be nice if God had set things up so that we could rely on the Holy Spirit to gift all members of the body to come together to worship (some with hymns, some with lessons, etc.) and to lead them to prepare accordingly?

Jack Maddox said...


Many people on this blog have gladly expressed their desire to see Paige Patterson dismissed for HIS convictions and feelings concerning women in ministry and other issues. Do you and will you also defend HIS right to hold to these convictions as the president of SWBTS and will you expose publicly any private correspondence that would support such efforts, including perhaps your own?


Jack Maddox said...


I love ya bro and I am equally committed to the exposition of the sacred text, however your statement very well shows your lack of understanding of the work of the pastor.


I spend about 20 hours in sermon prep for 2 messages a week

Jack Maddox said...


I need to restate - not the work of the pastor, but the reality of his obligation to balance his obligation to first and foremost study his text and also love and minister to his people. If one gives their mornings to the Lord in nothing but study God will insure there is time for the rest of the work


Anonymous said...

To the Rapper T Kelley:

Here is the breakdown:

10 hours: Searching for catchy 'Texts and Titles.

10 hours: Trying to make the Texts fit the Titles.

10 hours: reading books written on the text.

5 hours: Listening to sermons preached on the text.

3 hours: Writing a manuscript

1 hour: reading the manuscript through twice (some preacher can read theirs through 3 times)

1 hour: scrapping the whole thing, pull out credit card, log into, purchase something that looks relevant.

I can't believe you never learned this. :) said...


You can rest assured that if I ever feel the need to say anything about Paige Patterson, Al Mohler, or any other Southern Baptist leader, I will say it publicly and sign my name to it. I've shown that to be the case.

And, you are absolutely correct that I have not sought his removal. I have opposed HIS REMOVAL of SHERI KLOUDA because of his peculiar ideology that forbids a woman teaching a man Hebrew.

Were someone to call for his removal privately through an email I will make it public--absolutely.

Thanks for asking.

Ramesh said...

Why are most sermons only 30 minutes in length? Have they always been like this? I personally prefer if they are of 90 minutes, with 30 minutes of praise in the beginning, totaling 2 hours.

Lydia said...

"I am unaware of a verse that talks about "single honor", but I'd be happy to discuss it if there is one. But the passage here says what it says, regardless of whether you or I can figure out how it all works. "

1 Timothy 5:17-18

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “Workers deserve their wages.”

The context preceding this is about support for widows, but first note that it was given in the form of food, not specifically money. And this verse begins a shift to specific instructions about elders. But what does “workers deserve their wages” mean here?

The key is found in the words “double honor”. If the meaning here is all about money, paying salaries to professionals, then does “double honor” mean they get twice as much as someone else? And who is this “someone else”? If the elder is being compared to the rest of the congregation, then it would mean everyone gets a salary! (Unless preachers would agree to getting double of nothing!) If “someone else” means only widows, then elders should only get twice as much as the church gives widows. Some may claim it means they get twice as much as deacons, but nowhere are deacons told they should get material support from the people they serve. They are not mentioned here at all.

I think “honor” means just that: honor. The reference to not muzzling an ox simply illustrates that elders who do work for the people deserve something back, which in this case is respect. This is reinforced by the next verse, which states that accusations against elders have to be supported by 2 or 3 witnesses. The reason this is so is because elders are worthy to receive “double honor”.

Notice also that it says “the elders… the church”. There were to be several elders in each church, each with equal respect and authority. There was no head elder or Senior Pastor.

Just some thoughts

Lydia said...

"What do you think about a pastor who had a good salary asking permission to work part time and he would give his wages to the church?"

Should we have one main preacher? That has proven to be dangerous in many venues. I like the model in 1 Corin where several speak and others judge. One has a hymn, a psalm, etc. That way the Body is developing and exercising spiritual gifts. We are not paying 'professional Christians' to exercise the gifts we are given to edify the Body. It is more accountability in the Word, too. It would be harder for someone to twist scripture if others are searching and judging what is said.

I also hinders the Body in growing past the spiritual maturity of the one guy who speaks week after week, year after year.

It would also keep ministry from being a career choice and lure of building a large personal kingdom to control. It would really be ministry.

Anonymous said...


I think your pattern is quite typical of very good pastors. And you are right that my limited experience of being a PT pastor of a small country church blinds me form reality. But my folks expected 2 on sunday, Bible study on Wednesday, SS, and a few other speaking engagements a month at nursing homes. Plus I was in school. I had to find short cuts and I hated it. No doubt the pastor needs to be "in the field" but study and prayer before proclamation are so important. 30-40 hours a week is not unreasonable for the load mentioned above. But I think personal devotion, prayer, family worship, personal reading time, and daily events to be illustrated could all count as sermon planing and prep. Preachers need sabbaticals too. Personal AND Sermonic sabbaticals.

I still think deacons can help out both in pastoral care AND in research, sermon prep, and other administrative duties.

Maybe the traditional model is not always the best.


Lydia said...

Many people on this blog have gladly expressed their desire to see Paige Patterson dismissed for HIS convictions and feelings concerning women in ministry and other issues

He can hold convictions all he wants. The problem is that SWBTS awarded her the PhD in Hebrew and HIRED her to teach there. I am having trouble understanding why you think Patterson owns SWBTS when the rest of us pay his salary and his pastry chef.

Of course, we are all seeing how well things are going at SWBTS now under his leadership.

Chris Ryan said...

Actually, Kevin, study of effective pastors (done by Tom Rainer and Lifeway) show that they will spend around 22 hours a week in sermon preparation (twice as much as less-effective pastors in the study):

12 for Sunday morning
6 for Sunday night
4 for Wednesday evening

If you studied hard in college or seminary and planned out your preaching instead of spending hours agonizing every week over what text to choose, then you save a great deal of time. And as you practice sermon-crafting, it becomes easier to do the same amount (or more) work quicker.

Planning is really the key. You don't agonize texts. You already have an idea of what you will be preaching about so you are listening for illustrations months in advance. You are thinking for weeks in advance about what is coming allowing you to meditate on the texts even before you begin in serious study.

Spurgeon wrote most of his sermons for Sunday morning on Saturday night. And he did very, very well. He did far better than I ever will. But you wonder how much better he could have been if...

Deacons can and should be used for the purposes of pastoral care and administration. But those are integral parts of pastoral work, too. Yes, the pastor is the one set aside to search scripture and remind the people what faithfulness looks like by his or her proclamation (not that anyone is excused from searching scriptures for themselves). But the difference between a pastor and a motivational speaker is the pastor's commitment to living with the people. Seclusion in the study does not navigate that distance. And I say that as an introvert who loves his secluded studies dearly.

Gene S said...


A man who has much time in the pastorate can usually put together a good sermon with about 8 hours of work.

With the research powers of the Internet, make that about 4!

With no conscience and access to a preacher of your taste, you can read it the next hour to the congregation---just be sure to give credit for the sermon to the one who wrote it, or you're a stinking thief!!!!!

Gene S said...

To be a great preacher, I offer the following ideas which have served me well:

(1) To be great, read and use the ideas of the greats. My favorites are Harry Emerson Fosdick, Leslie D. Weatherhead, George W. Truett, Charles Allen, Peter Marshall--the dummies these days (in my opinion) are: Charles Stanley, Joel Osteen, and others of their "simpleton ilk."

(2) Preach about God and preach about 20 minutes--most people will be inspired and empowered--REMEMBER: the mind cannot absorb more than the tail can endure!

(3) Spend far more time ministering to your people than preparing your sermons--their needs will tell you the pulpit needs. You ought to know enough about the Bible already to figure where to look for the biblical basis of the next sermon.

(4) Use humor and illustrations in abundance--people remember stories long after the points fade away.

(5) The Bible gives us informatonn about real people with real needs in their time--those same real needs never change even in our rocket age. Preach the Bible, and you will never run out of material or subjects.

(6) Who really cares about the Jebusites--in other words, preaching is about inspiration and not a lecture on theology or history.

(7) People would rather see a sermon than hear one any day--be authentic and live what you preach.

(8) You are needed most in sickness / death / life's hard places and a good minister will be more appreciated than a good preacher. Never give the hard ministry over to a staff member. That's what you are being paid more to do well as an example to a staff member who might go with you.

(9) There are times when the people are bored and you are bored--admit when that happens and forget the 3rd boring point you thought was so important in the study. Do the benediction and quit!!!!!--and throw it away!!!

(10) And why the heck do people want a good song from the choir repeated--yet, complain when you preach a good sermon again--with proper updates to the needs of the week you discovered as you ministered.

(11) Give the Staff members a chance to be in the pulpit even on Sunday Morning (especially when televised). You're not as great as you think!

(12) Listen to your wife and children--once my wife wrote at the bottom of my notes before I filed them, "This is too long, cut it short!!!" I adjusted it the next time I preached it. She was totally right!

(13) Do sermons worthy of repeating. If it was good the first time and well-thought-out, it is good enough to be preached again as the Bible is be read again! If it doesn't appeal to you when going through the files, then it won't excite you enough to bore a congregation again!

(14) All sermons should touch the heart and the brain--one without the other will never get the message across.

(15) View your sermon as "group counseling" (Harry Emerson Fosdick's take). People are there to be helped with their real needs, not bored with your real wants to impress!

(16) You have your doubts (all of us who are real do), but people are not there to hear doubts. Instead, they want to know what you believe that will help them with their doubts!

"The opposite of faith is not doubt--the opposite of faith is absolute certainty."

Think about the last statement. I have had people write it down on the bulletin before sharing my sermon entitled, "The Value of Sincere Doubting." It admits all people have doubts as part of their faith. If there were no doubts, we wouldn't need faith. We all have them. The honest preacher admits he has them too, but is working through them with God's help!

Gene S said...


Your desire for a good 2-hour worship experience makes you a perfect candidate for a good black church. They do it with style and furvor.

That's why most "people of color" are not happy with a white church of any kind. We're just not "spiritual" enough for them.

Byroniac said...

If I'm listening and a sermon goes beyond 20 to 25 minutes, I tend to zone out. I might have ADD, because I don't listen well anyway. And if I could skip the worship at the beginning and the close-out activities at the end, I would do it. A lot of people are worried about being spiritual. I'm just worried about lunch.

LOL, I must be the worst churchgoer ever.

Gene S said...


You are!!!

As long as you leave you Tithe+ in the offering plate, I'll forgive you for yawning!

The best thing, which relieves you of the Preacher's disdane, is: YOU'RE HONEST!!!!!

Gene S said...

ANE--old buddy--you look a little gluttonous to me.

Is it too much KFC and McDonald's???

Byroniac said...

Gene S, I don't like admitting it but yes. That is a sin in my life.

Gene S said...

God forgives you, brother, I don't if KFC runs out of original recipe white meat!!!!

Go thou and keep it under better control!!!

Byroniac said...

I'm in the wrong denomination for trying to lose weight---too many good cooks! (that's no excuse for sin, though, I know)

Christiane said...

Good Morning, Gene.
What you wrote below confuses me. Can you explain it please.


Your desire for a good 2-hour worship experience makes you a perfect candidate for a good black church. They do it with style and furvor.

That's why most "people of color" are not happy with a white church of any kind. We're just not "spiritual" enough for them."

Gene, my church has no racial boundaries.
It never did.

Catholic 'spirituality' is not exclusive to Catholics, as it is intensely and passionately Christ-centered.
All who worship the Lord Christ with their whole hearts and minds, will enter into this spirituality, no matter what 'denomination' they are in. The Holy Spirit enables this to happen.

I do sometimes wish, though, that those who need to absorb and communicate the deep peace of Christ, in their ways with others, could spend a week or two in retreat at a monastery.
They could use some time spent in deep prayer with the Lord, without the distractions of 'this world' to pull them away from Him. They would find some healing in His care.

As for our prayers and 'time':
a prayer in the Name of Lord Christ is timeless.
It stands before God in all eternity.

Sorry for my confusion. It happens a lot.
Love, L's

Byroniac said...

I think maybe Gene's comment should have been directed to Thy Peace Sun Feb 14, 12:01:00 AM 2010? said...


You sir, have been a wonderful example of how to disarm personal critics.

I thought about deleting your exchange with Gene, but I think the maturity and wisdom in your responses grants us all far more grace than my delete button.

Well done.


Christiane said...


I see. I had not noticed that, so I thank you muchly.

P.S. ENJOY that fried chicken at KFC and those burgers at MacDonalds. And give thanks for the abundance and the goodness.
AND THEN WALK TO CHURCH AND WORK OFF THOSE CALORIES. It all evens out in the end, dear one.
Love, L's

Gene S said...


Don't worry too much about your abuse of gluttony--since the CR crowd is rather "corpulent" and has little room to be preaching against gluttony. With arrogance and pride comes money to eat well!


I was just saying with "tongue in cheek" that black churches worship differently than white ones in the free church tradition.

Whereas, the typical black congregation is focused on worship and praise, the whites tend to be thinking "what's for lunch and don't keep me a minute past 12:00 so the Methodists and Presbyterians beat us to lunch."

As a matter of fact, I once served a church which started worship at 10:45 so we could beat them to the single restaurant close to all the churches in the town!!

We eat / they worship in the beautiful ways you advocate. That is why a good fast never hurt anyone--especially in overweight America!

I'm sure glad we have a "person of grace and love" in these deliberations!

Wade has become one by witholding the "delete" button. Anyone remember the "Gong Show."

Sometimes we have one here!

Christiane said...

Hello GENE,

We have Sunday worship from sundown to sundown, so we get to go to Mass on Saturday evening and it counts for 'Sunday'.

We also have Masses in our parish very early Sunday morning and again at 11:00.

These varying times are not exactly designed to free us up to hit the restaurants before most Protestants can get there, but that's how it works out. Yum.
So, WE are the probably the fat ones stuffing our faces at the diner when you all walk in door. :)

P.S. If it's a buffet, I bet most of us are already on our third plates.
Gene, many Catholics are 'ethnic' people who love to celebrate food and family.
And I am no exception. :)

I, personally, could give Byroniac some serious competition in a fried-chicken-eating contest.
I love the stuff.

I realize that Lent cannot come soon enough for me to put the brakes on all this gluttony.

Gene S said...


Catholics have some great ideas of ministering to the people--EXCEPT the crazy notion of a celibate priesthood and sisterhood. That is too literal a reading of the Apostle Paul who had his own issues with sexuality!

Somehow, I invision you as a svelt 36-24-36 woman of intelligence! Don't ever destroy that for me because a lovely woman with your intelligence is someone I would value as a fellow theologian.

linda said...

Pastor Wade--thanks! I've found a couple of promising sites and am slowly working my way through them.

How refreshing it would be to hear a sermon series or discipleship training course showing us "then" and "now", especially for some of the younger Baptists born since 1979.

Christiane said...

Gene, I'm certainly no theologian. That should be very apparent.

BTW, there ARE Catholic priests who marry, just not in the 'Roman' rite. Catholic priests in the Eastern rites may marry, of course.
Also, Anglican priests, who are already married, may remain married if they return to Rome and decide to serve as Catholic priests.
It all has to do with the traditions and the liturgy of the rite a person belongs to in the Catholic Church. The many Catholic liturgical and traditional rites vary according to which of the first centers of Christianity they descended from: Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Rome, Corinth and Ephesus.

I would like to see WOMEN priests. The door for change on that is still open. It could happen in time.
And the Roman-rite Catholic Church could change the tradition of celibacy anytime it chose to do that, as it is has never been a binding doctrine of the faith.

Gene S said...


Theos = God
Ology = Knowledge

I have read enough to know you know a lot about him, Greek, scripture. In many ways, more than some of the paid clergy here. Don't put yourself down in the least and I rejoice in your loving spirit.

Let's don't get off track here on marital rules of the Catholic Church and you have widened my knowledge already. See me on my web page and email for more.

Discreetly, you have no email link or I would pursue this one there.

Dave said...

I have left this similar comment on Les' blog.

I am a new reader on Les' blog and have found it helpful in some ways. I have, however, been very disappointed at the recent battle waged between him and you, two brothers in Christ, in public view. It is yet another reminder of the unwillingness of brothers and sisters in Christ to remain committed to the bond of the Spirit for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom.

I realize that this discussion is important at certain levels, but it is a disputable matter that soils the image of Christ in the world and saps strength from Kingdom ministry. It could have been handled much differently and it grieves me to see relatively trivial matters derail the purpose of the body of Christ. I urge you and Les, both, to approach one another in the spirit of Romans 14:13-19. said...


I can assure you there is no personal animosity nor dislike with Les Puryear in me--at all. I think he is a wonderful brother in Christ, will buy his lunch at anytime, and consider him a family member in Christ. I am committed to the bond of the Spirit for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom when it comes to Les.

To oppose his seeking the termination of SEBTS professors for their publishing a view contrary to his on tithing is not personal, from my perspective, at all.



Gene S said...

PP and company have left, but the pile of cow manure left behind still has much odor.

Did you know a Baptist gathering is kin to manure: as long as it's spread around the field, there is not too much odor--but pile it in a corner heating in the pile, and it's a mite smelly!!!!

Unknown said...

I can't believe you guys are fighting over something like this. Really, who cares. Get on with kingdom work. Seriously. You have both demonstrated yourselves as much less than Christ-like--a damage to your testimony, a damage to the church, and damage to your own selves.

Rex Ray said...

You gave no examples, no facts, just your opinion, so I’ll give you mind: You’ve been flying too many kites.